July 4 Weekend

Thursday night, I managed to catch Kali while she was in town. I met up with her & some of Caio’s friends in North Beach. It was nice to see her. I still seem to forget she doesn’t live here. We capped off the night with some delicious philly cheesesteaks at Buster’s (and now I want one…dang).

I had an underwhelming date Friday but managed to pull off an exciting night with Tim & Emily and their friend’s last night in SF.

I took Ryan to my horseback riding lesson. The ladies were a fan of having a male spectator. They didn’t need to know he’s gay. Afterward we went up to the Marin Co. Fair. It was a crazy hot day (95-degrees), so the walk from the parking lot to the fair felt like an epic journey. I went with the intention of fulfilling my hometown fair fix, but it became immediately obvious, this place wasn’t going to do that. Large, clean bathrooms and well-dressed families. You call this a fair? I think I only saw two goth kids roaming the carnival.

I settled my foot long corn dog craving with a regular sized chicken corn dog :-/ And the snocone guy I picked didn’t even have multiple flavors and he served it in a cup. Minor setbacks. We walked around the so-called barnyard, which was a little sad. There were about 3-4 animals representing each of the large animal species. No sign of 4-H kids and their livestock. I got to see a litter of potbelly piglets, so it wasn’t a total wash.

We took a ride on the Scrambler in prep for The Zipper, which was Ryan’s one request for the day. No amount of mental preparation can prep a person for the first roll. He made an attempt to film us. I tried keeping my eyes open but decided I couldn’t risk it. It’d been so long since I’d been on an intense ride, I didn’t know what skills I’d lost with age. His snippet doesn’t fully capture how much we screamed like little girls. We out-screamed every person on the ride.

It was so hot that we decided a trip on the swings would be refreshing. It was like 5 minutes of heaven. My bare feet dangling as we spun in the breeze. I will say it’s the most scenic view I’ve ever had from a carnival ride with the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed civic building and rolling hills in the distance.

We walked through the exhibit hall to soak up some A/C. Scott Weaver’s Rolling through the Bay toothpick contraption was center stage. We walked up just as he was about to do a demonstration with the ping pong balls. That was cool to see it run in person.

Since Golden Gate Bridge’s 75th anniversary is next year, that was the theme of this year’s fair. They had a competition for making a replica bridge using chairs, which had some pretty good submissions. There were also walls of photography/paintings on display. I thought this painting was particularly striking…standing in front of it, you literally felt as if you were staring down the side. The judges seemed to agree based on the purple ribbon.

Also, there was a big exhibit devoted to artifacts, timelines, and historic photos/info about the building of the bridge. We only read some highlights. I think we were both too tired to take the hour it would have taken to read it all. But still, seeing photos like this was pretty awesome. I’m a total nerd for old photos and trying to figure out the vantage point from which they were taken, especially when they’re town/city images.

I wrapped up the holiday weekend watching fireworks from my sofa. I never remember how much they rattle my place each year.

Gillian Welch

This show was officially the first time I’d paid for a concert ticket without having ever heard the artist’s music. I was pretty sure Gillian had performed with Bright Eyes on a track, but that was all I knew of her. Well, I left a complete fan. There were no openers or any of that business, just her & David Rawlings, a couple guitars, and a banjo & harmonica. They were a charming duo with just the right amount of banter and good humor. Watching David play guitar was pretty incredible. She took his guitar from him and played a bit on it. “See, it’s just a regular guitar. He makes it sound that way.” They played at The Warfield. It was my first time there and it was really pretty & ornate…but nearly every medium-sized venue in SF seems to be. It’s sad because it makes them seem slightly less spectacular with each one you attend. Anyway, she said she was at The Pixies show at that venue when they danced so hard they collapsed the balcony. Kind of cool to hear stories like that. She was one of the most humble & genuine & plain (I mean that as a compliment) people I’ve ever seen perform. Great show!

Buck

Last Sunday, I ventured down to Lumiere Theatre to see Buck. It was a really tiny room, but I was finally able to check another local theatre off my list. The film was great, though. The people came across as very genuine and the honest dialogue made me laugh. It was also quite emotional from the sense that you saw a man who had truly found his passion/gift. It naturally hit me on another level seeing the country life, father/daughter bonding, & way in which some horses used to be treated. I walked away feeling inspired about a number of things.

It made for a great Sunday. It was such a pretty day that I decided to walk home from the theatre with a stroll up Polk. I always forget about that street and the cool places it seems to house.

Casablanca

This Friday, I went with Tim, Emily, & Ryan to see Casablanca at Davies Symphony Hall. They were screening the film while the symphony played live accompaniment. I can’t decide what would have made it better, but it wasn’t quite as awesome as I hoped. The music sounded so good that the film’s dialogue seemed less good and at times, they didn’t quite balance out with levels. However, I love the movie and I’d never seen it on the big screen, so I still thoroughly enjoyed the night. They had a man at a piano doing sing-a-long’s in the lobby, which the old people were totally participating in. It made me smile.

Riding

I can’t believe I’m already through 7 of my 10 horseback riding lessons. They’re flying by. I suppose they haven’t really gotten me as far as I expected, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I tend to be cocky about thinking I can do things, so it’s been humbling to be critiqued and limited in what I’m allowed to do. The last few lessons, I’ve been riding an 18-year-old mare, Merri Silver (in the pic). She fights me a little but I don’t mind it. The other geldings I rode fought me in a different way…by not wanting to move. Merri likes to go. Getting her to stop is the hard part. I’ve felt a total difference riding her, though. With the dudes, I was so focused on trying to get them to go that I couldn’t focus on my form and everything else.

I felt really good about today’s lesson. Merri didn’t even try to creep once we halted and our trotting plus turning went pretty well. Merri shares a paddock with a more rambunctious horse, so I can’t put her away by myself. It’s fun, though, because the last two weeks it’s given me a chance to chat with the instructor’s wife, Teresa. She’s a lovely woman, even though she never remembers my name. She takes Merri in while I hold the gate and handle throwing in the hay. Merri always acts a little weird at the end of the ride, and I fear it’s because she hates me. Though, I think it’s because she’s hungry (all the other horses get some hay before our ride, she gets it after).

Anyway, I was sharing my concerns with Teresa and she assured me that I’m doing really well with Merri. Apparently, my personality is complementary to Merri’s. She needs someone who is quiet and attentive, which is why I was picked to ride her. I was glad she shared that tidbit with me, as I was genuinely convinced Merri didn’t like me. She further explained that you have to be pretty terrible for a horse to hate you haha. I suppose that’s reassuring. It’s just that I feel extra pressure to keep Merri happy because I know she’s the favorite of the barn’s manager. I can understand why. I think she’s pretty close to the personality of the horse I’d like to have some day. I’ve been taken mental notes of characteristics to look for.

The time between lessons seems to go so slowly. I’ve taken my Wii Fit back up and hope to do it at least every other day. So many of the balance & core strength exercises directly relate to riding. I think I felt a difference today just from doing the few yoga exercises the night before. You have to be extremely loose to ride well, and I think that’s half the appeal of riding. I would stay in a constant state of tension otherwise. I will save the great realizations about the life lessons learned from this experience for another post.