Last week of freedom

Very excited about starting my new job next week—staff writer at Inman News—the leading US real estate news website here for realtors which also runs big conferences during the year in San Francisco and New York City ( I finally get to New York…) The office is in Emeryville, just 15 mins drive from home and I’m likely to “divide my time” between the home office and Emeryville. The Emeryville office looks straight across to the Pixar (behind animation films like Toy Story, Inside Out) HQ which is enormous and includes a field for football, a pool, gym etc for staff.

In the meantime, I am making the most of my last few days of freedom, visiting some favourite spots and finally getting to some places I have been meaning to go to for yonks. With that in mind, I had a great visit to The Mission district today. Got off the Bart station at 16th Street, accosted a local about which way to go, and set off down Mission Street. It’s a colourful part of town with more than its fair share of homeless people but really vibrant and alive and gentrifying as we speak. A bit of rain had put a smile on everyone’s face. I was headed for two key locations – the big Heath Ceramics store and workshop on 18th Street where I was hoping to find some groovy ceramic house numbers and succeeded, buying two in tasteful black and one in ochre. Sure they will come in handy with the next earthquake. The firemen will know just where to come…I was tempted to pop into the Blue Bottle cafe, next door, an Oakland enterprise which has coffee and tea drinkers all excited but I was looking for more calories. I headed past Mission St again on 18th Street and found my next treat, the Tartine Bakery on Guerrero. It is a real mecca for foodies and is probably hideous on the weekend but at 11.40 on a Wednesday it was just right. The glass counter was oozing with buttery croissants, cheesy croque monsieur(s), and the most delectable cakes and pies. I couldn’t take my eyes off the banana cream pie, topped with cream and dark chocolate shavings. My friend Cat arrived to help me eat and all was well in the world. A lovely convivial feeling in the cafe, people chatting with strangers in their united enjoyment of the place.

Very little planned for dinner tonight and tomorrow my last daytime session of tennis. Then I will have to find an evening slot. I am determined to keep playing, it is sooo much more fun than going to a gym. Then Friday, lunch with a realtor friend at Meal Ticket in Berkeley to celebrate the new job. Again fantastic food at this place, omelettes and hash browns, my favourite, and steak sandwiches to die for apparently. I’ll be very fat by the time I get to work on Monday but it’s going to be a busy first week, including a conference in San Jose on Wednesday, so sure I will run it off.

And, don’t worry, I have a list of boring things to get sorted before Monday too, like a lockbox for a spare key, in case the kids forget/lose theirs when they come home from school, foam fire extinguishers, harder to find than you might think and a big grocery shop. Lastly the family needs to discuss where we congregate in case of an earthquake if we can’t get home from our various locations. And then I just need to persuade David to put those beautiful house numbers up over the weekend. Amazing what makes you happy, isn’t it?