It’s Time We Hung Some Tinsel on That Evergreen Bough

…yes, we need a little Christmas now!

Ready or not, Christmas is here! Tonight, I went down to Macy’s at Union Square for the 21st Annual Tree Lighting. It was an evening in a winter wonderland. A great way to kick off the Christmas season!

First, let me tell you about the hustle and bustle. Black Friday in San Francisco is an unbelievable site. Imagine a city sidewalk lined with shops. Now think about putting as many people on that sidewalk as you can. Then add 300 additional people. I’m not kidding. There were traffic cops at every intersection because the people were clogging the roads. I learned very quickly that I had two choices in a crowd like that: keep moving or die.

Macy’s was beautifully decorated for the holiday. There was a twinkling wreath in every window, and a big tree out front. The store front windows contained beautiful displays similar to the windows in New York (so I’ve heard). This year, the display had live kittens playing on a Christmas set in a joint promotion with the local animal shelter. It was very cute. I walked by the windows at around 5:00 and couldn’t get close enough to see the cats because of all the people. I had to go back later when the crowd thinned.

Across the street from Macy’s is a park called Union Square. This park has palm trees with twinkle lights, an ice skating rink, and a big. giant. Christmas tree. According to The SF Examiner, the tree is 80 Feet tall, 30 Feet wide, and 20 Years old. It contains 1,500 Ornaments and it took 14 Days to assemble (read the full article).

The flyers for the Tree Lighting event said 6:00pm. I had this great idea that I would “beat the crowd” and show up at 5:30. Well, I wasn’t the only one with that idea. When I arrived, the area around the tree and in front of the stage was completely filled with people. So I had to stand at the outer edge of the park . The festivities began at 6:00. The UC Berkeley Men’s Octet performed, and Katharine McPhee was there (from American Idol)!! Santa stopped by to say hello, and the tree lighting was the grand finale. It was a lot of fun! (additional info)

After the tree lighting, I got hot chocolate, sat, and watched the shoppers.

Some tips if you’re thinking of attending the Tree Lighting next year: (a) Wear layers. It was pretty cold outside tonight, but when I got to the park and crammed in with all those people, I got hot. (b) Get there early. I couldn’t hear the music very well from where I was standing. (c) The tree doesn’t come on till 6:50pm. I was surrounded by people who thought they were gonna show up at 6, watch the tree, then leave and get dinner by 6:10. Well, that’s not the way it works. They have to make a big ta-do.

Here’s is a video of the Tree Lighting. After they turned on the lights, I turned around and filmed all the people taking pictures.

I Love Walking

I find new ways to love this city every day; most lately, I love it’s walk-ability. From my apartment, I can walk to the post office, the bank, Walgreen’s, the public library, a coffee shop, the supermarket, a laundromat,  and many happenin’-looking restaurants.

There was one day in September that I was hot inside (because I have no A/C) and decided to go for a walk. I went to the library, read a book for an hour, then I went to Walgreen’s and got some toothpaste, then got some ice cream. All of that was less than 3 blocks from home!! I recall another night when my husband and I wanted to go out to dinner. We walked down the street to The Little Chihuahua and ate nachos and drank margaritas. It was kinda romantic to leave the restaurant and stroll home. And you wanna know the best part? We could drink as much as we wanted and not have to worry about driving.

Why do I love walking so much?
(1) I hate abhor driving. Back when I lived in suburbia, a day of errands was the worst possible way to spend a day. Shopping is great, but it can be tainted by all the driving, parking, and fighting traffic.
(2) It’s good exercise.
(3) Deep down, we all want to live in Mayberry. We want to eat breakfast at the local diner where the waitress knows how we take our coffee. We want to have neighbors who’ll lend a cup of sugar. And, by golly!, we want to say hello when we pass a stranger on the street. In my mind, that’s the way it outta be. My neighborhood here gives me a glimpse of that kind of world and I love it!

And if there’s something I want to do that’s too far to walk, I just hop on a bus! It’s so great!

Here are my latest pictures. Today I went to the Mission Bay area to take pictures: home of the Giants and also TechCrunch. The picture below shows the Bay Bridge (the GG Bridge is orange) and the SF Bay. The second picture is a giant bow-and-arrow statue in the middle of the park (random?). I was really excited that the weather helped me out so I could capture these sights!

Blink and Miss This View

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. But thanks to all of you who check in everyday to see if I posted something knew. I don’t know who you are, but thanks! From now on, I will try to write a new entry every Wednesday night. Another change I’m making: I’m gonna try to reply to comments. If I ignored your comment in the past, I’m sorry.

The biggest news that happened since we last talked, I GOT A JOB! I will be working for a really great company doing work that’s related to my certification….starting Monday! I’m so excited!!! :-)

I want to share some pictures from around the city. I make a point to carry my camera with me wherever I go so I can capture scenes like these. This first picture was taken in front of the Safeway on Diamond Heights Blvd. There are a lot of trees that block the view, but there are enough bare spots to leave you speechless.

This one was taken Downtown (I think I’ve told you that there are several neighborhoods in SF. One of the ‘hoods is called “Downtown”). This is the area with all the shopping: Apple Store, Macy’s, etc. I’m gonna talk a lot about this area when I do my Christmas post. So you’ll get to see lots more pix, I promise!! I think this is the corner of Market ans Stockton St.

Also, I have another restaurant recommendation: Tommaso’s Italian Ristorante (1042 Kearny Street www.tommasos.com‎). It’s a tiny Italian place in downtown; it probably only seats 50 people. So that means don’t go on Friday night unless you’re prepared to wait. But it’s very charming and the food is excellent! When you’re inside, you actually feel like you’re in Italy!

Best chicken marsala I’ve ever had (even better than my own recipe).

Am I posting too many pictures? I hope it’s not taking forever to load. I hope it’s not too many because I want to post one more picture. I will leave you with this Church of the Day.

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