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August 2010

Things I Learned About San Francisco While My Family and Friend Were Here

  • You pretty much don't have to pay to ride the cable car if it is crowded, and you didn't get on at the turnaround or Ghiradelli Square
  • We are not weather wimps! It's as cold and windy and bone-chilling as we all say it is.
  • The Tonga Room will fuck you up. And your mama, too.
  • Don't go to The Top of the Mark for breakfast a) hungover b) without a wad of cash c) without a camera. The view is phenomenal, and so is that brunch buffet (with dim sum!)
  • The Mark Hopkins Intercontinental is a very swanky and clean and quiet hotel with windows that open onto a gorgeous city skyline, and it's very reasonably priced. For what you get I'd say it is a steal.
  • Many tourists--way too many--never see more than Union Square, Fisherman's Wharf, the Ferry Building, Chinatown and/or North Beach. There is just so much to see and do in San Francisco, and because other people who visited tell up-and-coming visitors all the best things to do, one local's recommendations cannot overcome the power of grand tales of the sea lions. Which are pretty damn cute.
  • It can be hard to find what my mom calls "normal food," and find variety. That said, we ate some stellar French, Italian, American and seafood. Everyone seemed to leave with pleased palettes. 
  • Traveling in packs of five or six makes it very hard to cab anywhere, and twice as expensive.
  • The City does not have a large number of men that appeal to my single sister and our friend Emily, both of whom brought their A game.
  • Breakfast places open unusually late. At least a lot of them.
  • The ladies who work at Miette are always so nice. This visit cemented that.
  • They don't have sweet tea.
  • Holy crap, am I going to miss it something fierce.

A Little About Aunt B and Her New Book

There's this woman I know named Betsy, and she's in every way awesome. She fucking kills me on so many levels. First of all, smart as a whip. Like, you go have a drink with her and suddenly you start penciling in library time on your calendar because you can suddenly feel a little dim. But it's not like she's all snobby and smug like a lot of smart people, who love nothing more than to make others feel unintelligent. That's not it. It's that she has this razor wit and she'll reference something you totally know, but she does it in such a sly, clever manner that you don't catch on to what you missed til you are driving home later.

And she has the best laugh. She's one of these people who throws her head back and laughs with her whole body, and even if you are pissed off or crying, you can't help but laugh back. She's also just as funny in real life, if not more, than she is at her hilarious Tiny Cat Pants

I found Tiny Cat Pants when I first started the blogging job at WKRN, and I was immediately charmed by its tagline: "Is there anything funnier than tiny cat pants?" At the time I discovered this question, I thought no. There couldn't possibly be anything funnier than that until I read the blog. The answer to that tagline is clear: Yes, there is, and its Tiny Cat Pants.

Here's the thing, though. Her blog is not jokes. No way. It's genuine, good-hearted humor. That's why it translates into real humor in real life. She's not trying too hard. She just is who she is, and she does it on a blog. And it's real, and it's always, always thought provoking, and it's fair, almost all the time, and if she says something she regrets, she says so. The woman is never loathe to admit a mistake.

Anyway, I admire the shit out of her. She's a strong-willed, beautiful soul who will defend you, support you, tickle you and serve you wine in her backyard in a mason jar on a hammock.

And she wrote a book. A book about ghosts and their stories in and around Nashville. 

This woman's writing reads like breathing--effortlessly. She's a master at the craft, in my humble opinion, and while her blog is scattered in topic, I can't wait to see her nail down this single idea.

You have to buy it. It's not optional. Do yourself the favor, and bring the delight of my friend Betsy into your home. It's a far cry from having her swapping stories and swatting flies with you, but hey, we can't all be so lucky.

Get it here.

And here is the book's website.

Shitty Songs That Have Played at this Coffee Shop So Far

  • "Baby, Baby" - Amy Grant
  • "Desperado" - Eagles
  • "Straight Up" - Paula Abdul
  • "More than Words" - Extreme (On a church youth trip to Panama City Beach, I sang this song to a bunch of stranger boys around a campfire. They applauded after. True story.)
  • "I Will Always Love You" - Whitney Houston (If it had been Dolly, it would not be on this list.)
  • "Endless Love" - Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey (I sang this with my HS boyfriend in a talent show. We won. Did I mention I used to think myself a singer?)
  • "Footloose" - Kenny Loggins (I waited on him once. He was wearing a lot of makeup, and asked to be seated facing the wall so he would not be noticed.)
  • "Even the Nights are Better" - Air Supply
  • "The Game of Love" - Santana with Michelle Branch