New thing #23: The Cliff House, Sutro Baths, and TATTOOS!

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Today was one long, great day.

Ria, Veronica, Domi and I started the morning with brunch at the Cliff House in San Francisco. I’ve never been to this local landmark but have always wanted to go. It has a long and detailed history that I won’t include here, but I will say that the first Cliff House (it has been renovated multiple times over the years), opened in 1863.

I felt a little spoiled going to two meals in a row at fancy restaurants on the water, but oh well, what are you gonna do? It’s a $50 flat rate for brunch, where you get unlimited food and (more importantly) champagne. We lost count of our champagne refills at some point… probably around the same time we started uncontrollably laughing and didn’t stop till we left. There were many awesome moments at that meal, one of them being when the live harpist played happy birthday for me.

Right next to the Cliff House are the Sutro Bath ruins, which we were able to walk down to and look around. The Sutro Baths was the world’s largest indoor swimming establishment that opened in 1896. Shortly after closing due to high maintenance costs, the building was abandoned and then burned down in 1966. All that’s left today are the “ruins”, which consists of concrete walls, staircases, passageways, and caves. I loved it here! Not only was it beautiful, I have so much fun exploring places like this. I could have spent all day there, but we were in a hurry to get to our next appointment…

at the TATTOO PARLOR!

Yes, I got my first tattoo. This is a big deal for me because for most of my life I have had zero interest in getting one. It’s not so much the pain that deterred me, but I couldn’t imagine wanting anything on my body forever. I just never felt like the tattoo type.

This changed last year, when my four best friends (who all have tattoos already) and I decided to celebrate 20 years of being friends by going on a trip, and getting commemorative tattoos. This is the first tattoo I could ever imagine getting. I love those four girls to the ends of the earth, and I know that even if we ever somehow drift apart, I would never regret a tattoo designed with them in mind.

Our “friendiversary”  trip unfortunately has been postponed, but 3 out of 5 of us did get our tattoos today (Roxanne and Katie, your turn next!). We had tossed around a few ideas, and settled on a star. It was simple, which mostly appealed to me, and it has five points and there are five of us. After more discussion though, the ideas got more complicated and we acknowledged that we didn’t all want the same thing. I wanted to stick with the simple star idea, and Ria and Veronica went with compass designs.

Ria’s friend Earl was our tattoo artist today. He was cool, and didn’t make me feel lame for wanting something small, but he did convince me to do the star a tad bigger (I wanted it really, really small). We played around with the idea of coloring it in, but once he put on the outline, I really liked it that way. It’s perfectly suited to my simple tattoo tastes.

I went first, and I was nervous as soon as I sat on the table. There was really no need though, because it literally took two minutes. It hurt, but it wasn’t that bad. Not even close to the bikini wax pain. And it made me happy to see how happy my friends were that I was actually getting a tattoo. You should have seen their faces. I’m almost sure it was two of the best minutes of their lives.

Veronica went next, who got a compass on her ankle, then Ria, who also got a compass with some roses and a quote from Peter Pan on her back. My tattoo is boring compared theirs, but I love it. I felt proud when Earl admitted that although the others were more detailed, that he was the most nervous to do mine. Perfectly straight lines are not easy to get right.

We were at the tattoo place for a total of 6 hours. I’m exhausted and I can’t wait to go to bed- wake up on my official 31st birthday, and have a relaxing day off work. And I’m positive that I will spend a significant amount of time tomorrow looking down at my new star.

I can’t believe I got a tattoo!

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New thing #15: Walk Across the Golden Gate Bridge

I have crossed the Golden Gate Bridge countless times in car, but have never actually set foot on it until today. As a Bay Area native, this walk feels like a must. A right of passage. So I asked my Aunt Karen to join me in finally crossing this off my SF bucket list.

There was a story a couple weeks ago that said Japanese tourists voted the Golden Gate as one of the most overrated tourist attractions in the US. “’I thought it would be more impressive, but it was just an ordinary red bridge,’ said a 29-year-old woman who responded to the survey.” I can’t help but wonder what they are expecting. True, it’s just a red bridge, but it’s anything but ordinary or overrated. I may be biased, but I tend to agree more with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservatory website, which describes the bridge as “a work of art, an engineering marvel, and an American icon.”

Our 3.4 mile round trip walk on the bridge was fantastic. We started on the SF side, which had a new plaza and exhibits that were put up for the bridge’s 75th anniversary in 2012. This walk is said to be a chilly/windy one, so everyone warns you to take extra layers, but in today’s uncharacteristically warm weather we were wishing we had brought shorts and sandals.

I think the whole walk took us a couple hours. We took our time to savor all of the bay views along the way, I stopped a lot to take pictures, and we spent a few minutes at the lookout spots at each end. I even stopped to hug the guy with the “Free Hugs” sign.

After we finished the walk, we went to Sausalito for lunch and ice cream. It was one of those perfect San Francisco Saturdays. One of my favorite parts of the day though, was when I got to Karen’s house to pick her up this morning. She had a present for me: a necklace that had a picture of the golden gate bridge inside, and it said, “31 new things, #15.” How awesome is that?! I don’t tell her thank you enough for everything she has done for me over the years, and how I believe that a lot of my own generous nature and creativity comes from her influence. So thank you, Aunt Karen, for being there for me today and always.

New thing #8: Dancing on TV

IMG_4489Last summer when my mom decided to go to a taping of one of her favorite shows, Dance Party— a local cable show put on by KOFY TV20 in which people dance to 80’s music (or whatever other theme they have cooked up for that episode)— she asked me if I wanted to go on the show with her. I believe I said something along the lines of, “I love you Mom, but no. Like, just hell no.”

Don’t get my wrong, as much as I love the 80’s and moderately enjoy dancing, dancing on a TV show sounded more like a nightmare to me than a fun Saturday afternoon.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago when I was beginning to draft my new things list, and trying to think of doable ideas that would take me out of my comfort zone. I went to my mom and asked if she wanted to do Dance Party again, but this time, I would go with her. Not surprisingly, she said yes, but I don’t know who was more shocked that I was asking her to join me on Dance Party, my mom, or me.

So this morning, I got up at 6am to get into my 80’s gear and makeup, drive to SF, and wait 3 hours in line outside the KOFY studio for the first taping of the new season of Dance Party. When we got there, my mom pointed out all the regulars as they began to show up, and there are a lot of regulars who go to every single taping. From their costumes to their dance moves, they really get into it, and they make somewhat shy people like myself stand out as extreme wallflowers.

When we finally got inside and started filming/dancing, I was trying to get out of my head and just have a good time, but I’m not sure how successful I was (alcohol would have really helped me today). I did have fun, especially when they played good songs like Super Freak and Whip It, but I caught myself thinking too much. Am I doing that one move too much? Where is the camera? Is my lipstick smearing? I’m starting to sweat, is my face getting shiny? It’s so hot in here!

I suppose that just like anything else, loosening up enough to dance on TV with abandon takes practice. But, I did it, and I’m proud of myself.

Thanks for dancing with me, Mom. Can’t wait for our big “premiere” next week!