Wednesday, September 30, 2015

25 Things About Me | by Chandler

Chandler, shelter_dog
1) I was rescued by a hard-hat worker at a construction site when my sister and I were discovered at 5 weeks following around a dog who wasn't our mom in an attempt nurse. The man turned us over to a local shelter and they were worried about our disposition after losing our mom that early on. But we're both really nice dogs now who greet everyone with joy!

2) I live in downtown San Francisco and my sister was adopted by a nice man who lives on acres and acres with a pond and goats! So like Drake, we started from the bottom now we here. Our parents still email each other.

3) My family and I are lucky to have found each other as it was really because one of their friends thought of them in the perfect moment when they saw a post that I was available. You can read all about it here. They are forever grateful. And even made me my own hashtag on Instagram.

4) My mom taught me how to do this thing called "Fancy Dance". It's a really easy trick and I like it because all I have to do is put my paws on her hip and move my feet for a second and I get a treat. My dad however, says it's the stupidest trick he's ever seen.

5) I have only lifted my leg to pee about 5 times in my existence. I have, however, finessed the art of lifting my leg against a tree while I try to go #2. I don't know why I do that and I don't appreciate everyone laughing as I figure out that it doesn't work.

6) I go on 5-Mile runs with my dad a lot. I am a pretty good runner! I never go on runs with my mom but we go on lots of walks and she's usually the one who plays fetch with me before work.

7) My best friend is a dog named Maddox. She is my same-aged cousin and whenever I see her, I forget everything else in the world and we immediately mold into a tornado together and blow through the house in this connected ball. They call us "Lady & the Tramp" because I am a scruffy shelter pup and she is a pure-bred spaniel with long pretty ears.

8) In Portland, Maddox and I went to the same school and a lot of times I would get there and immediately see her across the classroom! Our parents said they could see us find each other on the webcam and it made them happy.

9) I sleep with my parents each night. I always settle in across the pillows as they brush their teeth until I am instructed to move to the end of the bed. I don't mind too much because I can stretch my entire body out down there.

10) One night my mom abruptly shoved a huge Q-Tip into my mouth and rubbed it against my cheek. A few weeks after that, they yelled "I knew it!" as they opened the mail and then started telling people that I was a Labrador Retriever/Jack Russell Terrier mix. Passerbys prior to that always said I looked like a Lab puppy but my chin scruff confused them. I think my parents were happy to have a definitive answer.

11) I like eating huge leaves of lettuce (they're crunchy!) but broccoli is not worth my time.

12) When I'm stressed or excited, I yawn excessively. Every time I hear my leash jingle, I start yawning a lot.

13) I need to work on my jumping up on people. The rumor is that once my parents get back from their trip next week, they are gonna hire someone to help with that. I just get so excited and honestly, they can only blame themselves as they always let me jump on them.

14) Picture taking is really stressful in my house. My mom never seems to have the perfect shot and bribes me to sit still for seemingly hours. It's my least favorite time.

15) I am high-energy. That means that sometimes when I am overstimulated, I have a hard time figuring out what to do with myself! The beaches in California are a lot more populated than the ones in Oregon and I think my parents are trying to figure out how to calm me down upon arrival. I JUST CANT WAIT TO START RUNNING. 
^Maddox & Me aka Lady & the Tramp. She is my cousin/best friend.

16) I am not mean at all and don't even have a mean bone in my body. I am really used to new dogs from all my time at doggy daycare and I love playing. You can see me playing with tons of new friends here!

17) I like to ride in my crate in the car. I curl right up and go to bed! But when I'm in the car and not in my crate I do not like it. I just want to get to a lap as soon as I can. 

18) I do not understand farm animals and that always gets me in trouble. Whenever we are somewhere where they are, I shoot over to them and start barking to warn my parents about these giant dogs with hooves and horns standing around! However, that always scares my mom and she generally doesn't let me run loose at farms anymore. Something about me getting stampeded.

19) When I am playing fetch (my favorite thing by the way),  I get in a very obedient zone. I don't care about anything but the ball and my owners and that's the only thing I focus on.
dog at wedding, dog in tux, ashland wedding
20) My first morning with my parents when I was 8 weeks old, they took me on a walk through downtown Portland. I had never been in a city before and when the trolley went by and made noise, I did a backwards somersault as I tried to get away. It's one of their very favorite memories.

21) My nicknames are apparently "Schtink", "Ajahmana" and "my sweet boy". They are all pretty stupid and the second one makes no sense. They have no idea where it came from though we think it stemmed from the opening line of "Circle of Life" and how they used to sing it while they held me up like Simba (which they assured me all 90s-kids do with their pets [eye roll]).

22) I take baths every single Sunday! I am used to them and don't mind them at all. I just stand there until it's over and then I sprint around the house manically for 10 minutes in celebration.

23) I am a downtown dog through and through. It's the only life I know! I don't have a backyard but since my parents walk almost everywhere they need to go, I get to go to most places with them.

24) I love giving kisses. Which is good because my parents are always asking for them. They said they don't understand people who have dogs but don't let their dogs kiss them.

25) Next week, I am going to be with a new sitter for 10 days while my parents are gone. This is making my mom and dad really nervous because usually I would stay with my mom's brother or my mom's dad! But they live too far away now. I think between now and then we are all going to be snuggling a lot. My mom won't stop kissing me and telling me how much she will miss me. I like it when I'm at home and we can snuggle on the couch but she tried to stop me at the park yesterday to begin telling me that and I just did not want to stop playing to hug. I gave her lots of kisses on the walk home though.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Cliff House | Ocean + Eats

When I wrote here about driving 8 hours two Saturdays ago to attend our friends' wedding in Oregon, I didn't delve into the other part of the story. Not only could Jay not make it to the wedding and miss seeing his friends while I left town but it was his actual birthday that day. Bummers all around. Weddings trump birthdays so we had to be separated but I wasted no time the following weekend planning a wee' littl' celebration for the belated birthday boy.

When I get excited about something, I do a sh*t ton of online research to feed my anticipation. And by online research, I mean Googling things, clicking links and never keeping track of any sites I visited so I guess it's a bit liberal use of the word "research". But no matter. In the historical case of The City of San Francisco vs. Caitlin's Entertainment Needs, I tried to read EVERYTHING I could before we came down here. With respect to that, I was so ready to eat sushi burritos, test my car's brakes on Lombard street, go on a run with Chandler at Crissy Fields ("run" again is a very liberal use of the term...) and get drinks at the Mark hotel. But what most articles about SF fail to mention is THE BEACH and how much access to it you have. 
san_francisco, Cliff_House, Sutro_baths
My first Sunday here, I drove all over in a quest for vintage furniture stores and somehow rounded this amazing bend which produced the most incredible views of the beach, the ocean, the neighboring homes and a restaurant called "Cliff House". It looked like something from a movie and I was in disbelief that I had never even heard of this place after scouring lists of things to do in SF. I mean just look at it:

So that's immediately where I decided to take Jay for his birthday late lunch. He didn't know where we were going but just like my first time, as we rounded the bend and he saw the ocean and view he couldn't help but say "wow!" over and over and over again. We quickly parked and soaked in those views as we slowly made our way to the restaurant.
san_francisco, Cliff_House, Sutro_baths
^I feel like THIS should be listened to right now
san_francisco, Cliff_House, Sutro_baths, Golden_Gate, _Ocean
^Are you kidding me with these views?
But soon enough, it was time to partake in my favorite activity of all time: Gorging myself. So we made our way into the restaurant and got settled in at our table at Sutro'sordered our traditional libations while we visually accosted the menu items.
^"With enough butter, anything is good" - Julia Child
san_francisco, Cliff_House, Scampi
san_francisco, Cliff_House, Chicken_Dumplings
^I enjoyed the Chicken & Dumplings and noted how much the exquisite output didn't match the simple title
san_francisco, Cliff_House, Scampi
^Jay devoured his Scallop & Gulf Shrimp Scampi
san_francisco, Cliff_House, Pacific_Ocean
With our bellies full after our meal, we made our way down to the ocean to walk off our indulgences. As my toes burrowed into the sand and the ocean crashed against the rocks, I felt so happy in that moment. The beach is a special place and it's hard to not feel like there's  something larger than you at play when you're on one.
So this may not be 40. But this is 32 & 31 (respectively^). And it feels pretty good.

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Monday, September 28, 2015

San Francisco Proper

I am comfortable saying "everyone" & "always" in the following statement: The first thing that everyone always asks us when we tell them we just moved to San Francisco is some form of: "Are you actually IN the city?". Because the Bay Area encompasses a lot of other cool hoods just outside the city (East Bay for instance). So I figured some readers may have this question too. I'm happy to say that we do in fact live in San Francisco proper. 
When we started apartment hunting to live here, the rent was shocking. And it still is appalling to be honest. I can't believe how much they can charge (but then again, we bit at that dangling rent price so joke's on us). It was really enticing to imagine living across the Bay for either less rent, more space or a combination of the two. However, we decided against that the more we thought about it.
^Yes, we live within the true, proper confines of San Francisco.
The reasons we decided to bite the bullet had to do with a) We both work in the Financial District downtown thus would ease our commute b) Access to the dog (If we wanted to do something after work we would have had to cross the bay before coming back to let him out) c) We don't have kids yet. May as well soak it up while we can. d) We love living downtown and the final (and most important) reason is e) We felt it was the best way to get to know San Francisco. Not having to load up a car to explore a city and make it a big event ensures that you LIVE it a little bit more. And that's something we both really wanted out of this move at least initially.

 I do love the downtown life wherever I am but you better believe I will be excited whenever it is that we have our first garage + backyard. But for now, it's all about ease of access.

Happy Monday!
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Friday, September 25, 2015

Go Mom, It's your Birthday

Today is my Mom's birthday. And I sure love my Mom. If there's one thing I learned from her (there's more than that) it's to befriend those who look like they could use it. She lives this. And I love her all the more for it.

Happy birthday to my sweet, loud, awesome, Italian, expressive Mom. I miss you tons today!!

Happy Friday to all others :)

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Castro ♥

Something that Jay probably knows about me more than anyone else is that I watch documentaries constantly. CON-STANT-LY. I throw them on when I'm getting ready in the bathroom in the morning, I listen to them while I'm plugging away at the office, I watch them on the bus home ... I'm always watching documentaries. I just love how entertaining and informational they are all in one quick swoop. I generally stick to my three favorite categories when I'm on the hunt to be entertained: WWII, crime & fringe religious groups.

However, when we finalized a move to San Francisco, I changed my tune and started exclusively picking ones about the city so I could arrive as a local armed with a little bit of knowledge outside of the fact that the GG Bridge is "like an orangey-red color". And some of my favorites were all about the Castro district. I knew its reputation but getting to the root of its history and how that came to be was eye-opening and I couldn't wait to explore the hood as soon as we were there. And I can't lie, outside of its historical merit, what girl doesn't want to go kick it with a host of gay men? 
^Full spectrum of colors at the rainbow crosswalk.
^Apparently that was the only pose I could think of this night ...
^It looks like I'm posing in front of a store at an airport and while I like the HRC a lot, I was really just honored to be at Milk's old camera store (which is now the HRC).
^I'm sure it's obvious in all the images above which were taken with me good ol' grainy iPhone.

We only had about 30 minutes of roaming time in the Castro before we had to move on with the night and stop taking pictures but I am definitely going back soon with more time. The bright lights of the signs perfectly mirrored the vibrant personality that flourished everywhere. I wanted to go in more stores, talk to more people and take photos of all the life around me. Alas, it'll have to wait until another day.

The nightlife is seemingly just as fun as I ended my evening on the dance floor belting out Spice Girls & Britney Spears. Which brings me back to my first question: What girl doesn't want to go kick it with a host of gay men? Surely no one I would be friends with.

And in the words of another artist playing that night: Bye Bye Bye!
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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

8 Things I Regret

No one wants to embrace regret anymore, do you notice that? Most people I know will push that term to the side in favor of the more poetic "No regrets!! Every mistake molded me into the person I became!". Yeah, yeah, yeah ... 

Don't get me wrong, I think there's a TON of merit to that mentality in many arenas. I don't regret any past relationships as I do sappily feel like you leave with parting gifts that shape your future mindset (good & bad). I don't regret a lot of youthful decisions even though I wouldn't make those same choices now knowing what I know. I adore that they left me with hilarious adolescent memories before I even knew (or had to know) how to function like a grown-up. Some dumb/bad/hard decisions are definitely worthy of being in your life as a secret blessing all the years moving forward.
But can we all just stop pretending for one little second that EVERY choice we made came with a deep and poignant message. Face it: Some things you did (or didn't do) sucked and were bad ideas with no redeeming quality. That's just life. So let's open the door wide and invite regret on in to the table. Take a seat, podna'. You have a place in my sphere. Here's some things I regret so much that if I could do it all over again, I would immediately change:

I regret tanning.
Dude. They shouldn't let 16-year-olds tan as much as they possibly can or want to. Because that's gonna be err'y day. I was a young girl who always could muster up the $11 and lie about running to the store really fast. As much as I love the look of a faux-tan, I sincerely regret the damage to my skin for no reason. I kinda blame you, Britney for making me love and want to copy you. 

I regret not going abroad.
I will never understand what was going on in my head when I didn't actually sit down and PLAN when I was going abroad in college. I went to a host of seminars on the topic, had a little folder marked "GERMANY" in my room (as if that would get the ball rolling) and then just never took any actual steps to go live in another country as a student for pennies. What an idiot. 

I regret making fun of that girl's capris in gym class that one day. 
I was not a mean kid growing-up, not at all. So this was so out of character for me but I remember walking into the locker room in 6th grade to see this known "uncool" girl (she's probably like CEO somewhere now) dressing back up for class. She was wearing these sweat pants that were kinda tattered and cut off mid-calf. I remember seeing her, seeing "cooler" kids near her and decided to impress. I said "I like your pants Elizabeth, they remind me of my shorts". The insult was incredibly stupid but she knew it stung. Her face was so sad as she tried to keep it together as everyone laughed and I have never forgotten how mean and awful I felt in that moment. I hope if she ever sees me again, she spits in my face. I'd high five her. 

I regret complaining about & during family vacations when I was a kid.
Oh, Caitlin- I'm sorry you're bored at Glacier National Park and want some Goldfish crackers to the point of stammering your feet and tears. How else can we accommodate you on this vacation where you don't have to bring any money, all your food is prepared and given to you and I've also taken the liberty of packing you a sh*t ton of entertainment so you're happy during the boring parts of the traveling. Did I mention this is my only summer vacation this year before I head back into the office to continue to provide for your life in every single way? Sincerely, Your Parents [at least that's how I imagine their inner dialogue during this time].

I regret not taking college seriously the first year.
How hard would it have been to go see a college guidance counselor and have them actually tell me important classes to take? Rather than finding out I took a bunch of courses that did nothing towards my degree? Time & money well spent!

... OR not taking my hair health seriously freshman year of college due to being broke.
In the vain attempt to remain a blonde while having about 30 cents to my name, I resorted to the grocery store bleaching hair kit where you pull strands of hair through a cap and then throw clorox on your head for 5 hours. NBD. At the end of freshman year, my hair definitely looked like this. 

I regret not taking a personal finance class when I was 19.
Oh, you mean all those magazine subscriptions I signed-up for actually affect me if I just stop making payments because I'm over it? 

I regret being so awkward about this blog.
I'm the weirdest blogger. Using this as an outlet brings me a lot of joy but I have a lot of trouble talking to people about the fact that I like to blog. I don't know, it all feels so ... [if you could only see my awkward face as I type this]... but I don't need to be in hiding about it. I'm not about to broadcast it everywhere but I need to stop being so weird about talking about it! Actively working on this one.

How about you? Pony up- anything you just good, ol' fashion regret?
[all images are mine]

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