New England Leaves

New England 2015

Let’s rewind to the first of October . . .

K and I set out for New England, chasing that moment when the Eastern seaboard transforms into technicolor autumn. Instead, we found ourselves navigating the earliest touches of fall. The leaves teased us with bursts and patterns unpredictable, as if to say: You left, and you can’t just have everything back all at once, and only for a week. 

Still, we went apple-picking with young-couple relatives and their tots, sipped cider and marveled at how unique even the smallest humans are.

New England 2015

image

We visited a gothic summer cottage, scaled the White Mountains of New Hampshire in an aerial tramway, walked among miniature mountain-top trees, and watched trained bears dance. I knocked my head multiple times, and hard, against the low, slanted ceilings of our frilly bed-and-breakfast rooms, just below the attic, and felt like an overgrown Alice fumbling through a dollhouse. However, the breakfast was delicious. Later, we dined on Thanksgiving fare and I drank a glass of cranberry wine. We played old-school arcade games and drove back to Massachusetts.

New England 2015

image

New England 2015

Thanks to the pervasive autumn chill, I found myself once again craving tea throughout the day, so I scrounged up whatever I could find—tea bags in the back corner of a cupboard, Earl Grey k-cups that sputtered in a faulty Keurig machine. Upon my return to Oakland I was greeted by a cerulean blue sky, warm sun, and palm trees silhouetted above skyscrapers of humble stature. I made a beeline, tugging my suitcase-on-wheels behind me, for Burrito Express, and thanked my lucky stars that I live in California.

And so my beloved autumn has become a fantasy season, more inspiring in daydreams and tumblr photos than it is in person. Still, I miss the long stretches of brilliant hues I experienced in Maine, when each of the seasons awaited me and I had time to enjoy my pumpkin spice coffee and crisp, cool breezes day by day, instead of trying to scoop up all of the pleasures of fall in the space of one week. Traditional seasons evade me here, but it’s a small price to pay to live in the region that feels more like home than any other. And so my heart lives in disparate places, but mostly—approximately—it’s here.

imagesignature

 

Advertisements

East Bay Days

All my life, I’ve wanted to live in San Francisco. I can remember being about four years old, walking through Chinatown, utterly enchanted.

Recently, my lifelong dream of living in this city came true. Sort of. I currently live right across the bay from San Francisco, with a foggy view of the Golden Gate just a short walk past my door.

Though the city sits just beyond the stretch of blue that separates it from me and the East Bay, my weekday commute gives the illusion of a much greater distance. {If only I could just take a ferry across the water!} So when it comes to the weekend, I like to explore the little patch of the Bay Area in which I actually reside.

DSC04345

If only windswept hair looked as glamorous as it sounds.

On Saturday, K and I started out by meandering through the artisan booths of Oakland’s monthly waterfront market, Jack of All Trades. We saw plenty of adorable goods, but I have to admit that we also discovered the food trucks, where we enjoyed strawberry lemonade and cheese fries from Cheese Gone Wild. I was skeptical of the concept of cheese fries, but these ones were delicious.

In downtown Oakland, we discovered E.M. Wolfman, a small bookstore with a gallery and a gratifying small press selection. This place gives me hope for the East Bay I am only just beginning to know.

DSC04348

Gondolas are frequently seen in Oakland’s Lake Merritt.

With a bit of time to spare, we headed to a more familiar spot—the picturesque Lake Merritt, which always seems to draw us to it. We grabbed a couple of books from the nearby library and bided our time before heading to a vegan Chinese restaurant, Nature Vegetarian, for dinner. The dishes we ordered—Veggie Mongolian Beef (I think it was made with seitan) and Braised Eggplant with Spicy Sauce—were just as flavorful and hearty as I’d hoped. I am neither vegetarian nor vegan, but if delicious food is available to me without worry of gristle or (animal) fat, I often prefer it. This place (along with San Francisco’s House of Nanking and Shangri-La Vegetarian) makes my evolving shortlist for Bay Area Chinese food.

DSC04351

A festive view of Lake Merritt’s evening sky speaks in warm tones.

As the work week winds up and then down, I like to imagine what this coming weekend will bring. How are you planning to spend it?

My look ~ Sunglasses & Scarf: Charming Charlie. Earrings: Inherited from Grandma. Top: Thrifted. Pants: H&M.