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How I Spent My Summer Staycation

We did a true staycation, and I’ll work backwards and say that at the end of it I had two very satisfying personal writing days while Sandy has been off at continuing ed. I was going to take one writing day, but it was so relaxing and productive, and I feel so comfortable about MPOW, that I stretched it into two.

I wager I have spent at least 14 hours writing these past two days in solid stretches of three or four hours, most of it on a short story I started about a year and a half ago largely on a whim. I meant to begin work on a new essay, but I found myself in that pleasurable circle of revision. I am neither an athlete nor a musician, not by a long shot, but I suspect I know what it is like to push one’s body into deeper and deeper levels of expertise, where at each steppe you discard earlier goals and focus on moving past the new normal.

At the end of my writing siege I opened an essay I had been undecided about for over a year and immediately saw the right opening. Once, in teaching a writing workshop, a student had commented that writing was a muscle. What an apt metaphor! I feel my muscles starting to flex and regain their shape.

How we spent the rest of our staycation:

Thursday night: Saw Impressionist exhibit at the de Young. Gorgeous. Went to wine bar on Irving to have luxe glasses of vino and split a cheese plate (a theme of this staycation).

Friday: Ladies’ Day. Drove to Union Square, walked into Chinatown for dim sum, walked back to Union Square for extended shopping. For us, shopping does not result in dropping much money. But we found some small gems and I had a stunningly wonderful experience at Victoria’s Secret, where I was expertly handled the minute I walked in the door–as much or as little help as I needed or wanted, with absolutely no judging me for selecting their version of the Corolla of foundation garments.We came home and walked to Social Kitchen and Brewery, where we enjoyed their beer and split an appetizer.

Saturday:We took the 6 to the Ferry Market, where we admired the goodies, then walked to Delancey Street, a favorite restaurant of my father’s. We had wine with our lunch which felt terribly naughty. Then we walked all the way to Fisherman’s Wharf, restored ourselves with a Pellegrino in the lounge at Alioto’s, spent $5 in quarters at Musee Mechanique, quaffed Irish Coffees at the Buena Vista, observed a verbal altercation on the 19 Polk, then had beer and wonderful nibblies at the Magnolia Pub on Haight before toddling home.

Sunday: We met friends at Lovejoy’s Tearoom and had a nice ladies’ tea, then heard Frank Bruni talk at the Omnivore Bookstore. Once upon a time, many years ago, I lived at 27th and Sanchez, and it might as well have been on the dark side of the moon. It’s all quite chi-chi now. But Bruni was wonderful and the Omnivore was a great find, and afterwards we walked first to the Pi Bar for a restorative and then to Monk’s Kettle, where we quaffed beer and shared a charcuterie plate. Sandy let me eat all the duck prosciutto.

People pay a lot of money for our experiences. We hopped on the bus or took a short car trip, and there we were. I would love to stay in San Francisco the rest of my life. But if that’s not possible, I am full of joy for every day I can be here.

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