Archive for the ‘urban living, madly’ Category

Welcome, Shlomo

Monday, March 29th, 2010

A photo of a Northern Mockingbird, and one of Shlomo's mishpocheh (brethren)

Last week activity at mad maison slowed a little because I was on a business trip to Plano, Texas. While I could write an entire post (perhaps even a few) about the differences between the Greater Dallas area and the Greater San Francisco Bay Area (and why I’m grateful to live in the latter), today’s post is about the new neighbor who greeted me upon my return to mad maison. Our new neighbor didn’t announce himself until after night fell. Once it was dark, he sang his song all night long. Yes, loyal mad maison readers, Shlomo (which is Hebrew for peaceful) is a bird (and yes, irony was present when we named him). After a little bit of research it was clear that Shlomo is a Northern Mockingbird. It seems that when male mockingbirds are without a mate, they sing throughout the night to attract one. While Shlomo hasn’t prevented the residents of mad maison (human or feline) from falling asleep, it’s our hope that he finds a date soon. Of course, Shlomo is one of those small reminders of the differences between New York and the Bay Area. For all of the articles I read about the Peregrine Falcons in Manhattan, I didn’t see many non-pigeon birds in New York City. And of course, avian sightings were even less likely before April or May. But here in temperate San Francisco, with plenty of hills and trees for friends of the forest to make themselves home, Shlomo is welcome.

Holiday Revelations & Resolutions

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

While running some mad-oriented errands on the commercial strip of Diamond St. in Glen Park, I stepped out of my vehicle recently to discover an odd bit of adornment on the parking meters that I hadn’t seen before. We’ve already been struggling with the red & yellow-topped restricted meters all over SF in the never-ending search for parking….isn’t that quite enough, already? Now we have another restriction to worry about?

On closer inspection, I realized that it was a red ribbon wrapped around the meter pole to suggest a candy cane. Oh, that’s a relief, I thought to myself. I’m glad I’m not one of those jaded New Yorkers or anything.

In other mad-related developments, we’re inching ever closer to our goal of completing the upstairs bedroom. Our latest task consisted of drilling holes all over the room to allow the magical “Big Wally’s” caulk to work its charm. It does have the unique effect of suggesting a game of “connect the dots” run terribly awry, or an interstellar constellation. It (almost) makes us regretful that we’ll have to cover it up as we paint.

We’re holding steadfast in our belief that the new year & the new decade will see vast improvements in our humble home, and in our lives. We’re feeling eager & enthusiastic about the future, and we hope everyone reading this feels the same.

Happy Holidays to our dedicated readership, or, better yet, Happy Whatever-You-Wantakah.

another madcap parking designation in Glen Park.

another zany parking designation in Glen Park.

purging madly

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

mad believes in purging. It’s something we grew quite accustomed to living together in a relatively small apartment in New York. Here is San Francisco, purging is an essential skill because the folks who lived here before us did not purge. At all. And while my pops did a great job of clearing the top two levels of our home, the bottom level with the garage is still full of stuff. We’ve already taken five truckloads of stuff to the dump, but mad’s aforementioned late-night car-parking extravaganza inspired us to descend to the garage and do more purging today. The only thing better than purging is guilt-free purging. And the only thing better than guilt-free purging is cost-free purging. When it’s both guilt-free and cost-free we call that purging madly. And today, thanks to the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council’s recycling center, that’s exactly what we did. We took a bunch of mixed paper (two car loads, in fact) to the recycling center. It was easy, it was free, it was quick, it was madness.

Want to purge madly? Head to the Haight Asbury Recycling Center

Want to purge madly? Head to the Haight Asbury Recycling Center

yes, we live in San Francisco. . .

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

San Francisco is known for many things. Cable Cars, sourdough bread, beat poets, hills, liberal politics–I could go on. Of course, San Francisco is also known for challenging parking. Take a city as densely packed as New York City, throw in some wacky hills, and you have San Francisco parking. I know of no other city where at certain times and on certain streets (that I still haven’t figured out) you’re allowed to park in a lane of traffic. Despite this, Mike and I have felt pretty lucky when it comes to parking. We actually have a garage (that’s currently filled with items from the former residents) and a driveway. In addition, we don’t live in one of the more densely packed neighborhoods of San Francisco. For the last two months we’ve been able to keep one car in the driveway and park one on the street. Given that today is our two-month anniversary here in SF, it seems the fates wanted to have some fun with mad. Last night, we came home a little later than usual and there was no parking to be found. No parking on our street, the adjacent street, or even the street two blocks over. I’m happy to report that under battlefield conditions, mad performs with aplomb. We quickly cleared a little spot in our packed-to-the-gills garage so we could park the smaller of our two cars inside. This allowed us to park our second car in the driveway. Most important, it allowed mad avoid a night of sleeping in our car.

Yes, those cars are parked in a lane of traffic. Photo credit

Yes, those cars are parked in a lane of traffic. Photo credit

Happy to be friends

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

It’s ironic that the day after mad unpacked some of our books we removed a ton of books from the house. My family members who lived in the house before us had a bunch of books that are not valuable to mad. Rather than simply throw all of these books away, we found a good cause to donate them to–the friends of the San Francisco Public Library. We’re frequent users of the SFPL, so in addition to being thrilled that we weren’t throwing these books into a landfill, we’re happy they’re helping an institution we believe in. The fact that their facility made it so easy to drop off over 12 boxes of books was a nice bonus. The friends of the library host regular book sales to help fund the library system, so we’re hopeful that someone will appreciate the books that we donated. We’re now a little bit closer to removing all the old belongings out of the garage–and a little bit closer to our house being 100% mad maison.

It's easy to be friends of the SFPL

It's easy to be friends of the SFPL

I can see the light. . .

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

. . . and for the first time in a couple weeks, I’m thinking it might not be an oncoming train. mad made great progress on the living room paint project. We’ve completed two coats of the ceiling paint and one coat of the living room walls. We’re very happy with the color. Tomorrow we’ll complete the second and final coat on the walls. Which means we’re another day closer to actually using our living room.

sweet progress. No that isn't green trim--it's painter's tape.

sweet progress. No that isn't green trim--it's painter's tape.

In other happy mad news, today we received our official SF residential street parking permits. This permit allows us to leave the mad cars on the streets of our neighborhood for long stretches of time without having to move them. Our streets have this restriction because of our proximity to public transit, so mad it pretty happy with the trade off. We’re even happier that Mike doesn’t have to run out of the house like a fireman every weekday at 1pm to move the cars.

bona fide

bona fide

Walking West

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

After providing Denise with blog assistance for the past month or so, I figured it was time to become a full-fledged contributor. As Denise has mentioned previously, I’m a New York native, but I’m very enthusiastic about our move to San Francisco. I’ve been lucky enough to discover SF’s gorgeous landscape & quirky charms during prior trips, and it’s a nice feeling to be able to trade one world-renowned cosmopolitan city for another.

One of the many things I’m looking forward to in SF is to discover it for the first time as a walking city. To me, one of the sublime & largely unwritten merits of NYC is the ease of walking through the many diverse neighborhoods of the city, and being able to perpetually make new discoveries along the way. It just seems that many times, history & local color are more internalized by walking through the boroughs, rather than passively reflecting out the car window (though that does have its benefits, as well). There’s a unique feeling, strange & warm all at once — when you’re able to see something unusual or discover a new route, alley or landmark you’ve never seen before, and it’s very early in the morning, and you feel like the only person for miles who’s been lucky enough to see this revelation, even though you’re in the middle of a city with over 8 million people.

SF certainly has a reputation for being one of the great walking cities of the world, and I’m looking forward to taking advantage. I’m grateful to have a partner who’s supportive of these endeavors. She’s even gone as far as to procure a SF Biking Map for my benefit, even though I’m not much of a cyclist. This map not only gives a nice, comprehensive overview of the city, but also displays the grades of SF’s famous steep hills. So, not only will we be involved in the adventure of driving cross-country & fixing up an old house, but I’ll be discovering SF’s rich history & varied, colorful neighborhoods, one block at a time.

a treasure map, of sorts

a treasure map, of sorts