Ina Coolbrith Park

Wednesday I woke up feeling like a cold was creeping up on me. With a sore throat, I decided to take it easier with my adventuring since I have a lot of pet sitting jobs over this weekend. After catching up on my errands, I took Meeko and Snickers for a two hour walk. We went to our usual Huntington Park where Meeko met a puppy willing to play chase. Snickers sniffed around and didn’t leave my side.

From there, we walked North on Taylor St. We had to manage some pretty steep hills. On one of them we met an Chinese couple with a really snappy chihuahua. They were laughing at how tough it thought it was. Meeko of course did not take it’s threats seriously and tried to get it to play.

Ina Coolbrith park was on a “100 must do” kind of list I’d found on a hipster website. The gardening was all well kept, and it did have some awesome views of the Bay. The park itself was all along one slope of a hill, with paths and stairs winding down it. This made it a little tougher for Snickers, so I’m not sure we would go back. Maybe the views would have impressed me more if I didn’t live in the neighborhood and walk around a lot.

On our way back home, we made another stop at Huntington park to make sure Meeko was truly exhausted. She chased some more puppies and begged for treats from strangers. After Snickers snapped at another dog, I decided we’d better call it a day.

Musings on the Cable Car Museum

A mere half block from my apartment, it is a mystery why I hadn’t visited the Cable Car Museum sooner. And it’s free!

I walked over in the afternoon, catching another great foggy view of Alcatraz. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to seeing so much water on a daily basis. It’s always throwing me off. Even when I lived in Tokyo, the ocean wasn’t something I saw too often.

I’ll admit, I haven’t ridden a cable car yet. It’s on my list to do, but the fact is that I live right by most of the lines. I walk by 3 of the 4 lines almost daily, so I guess I haven’t found a situation where I’d need to use them.

The museum was full of awesome, well-written information. I actually understand how the cable cars work now! Check out the photo gallery below for a graph, but essentially, the cable cars have a claw grip that grabs onto a constantly moving wire. If the cable car is fully clamped onto the wire, it moves at it’s maximum speed of 9.5 mph. When the car needs to slow down, the cable car loosens it’s grip on the wire. Genius!

Like many cities, San Francisco had horse-drawn cars. But with horses come other problems, like tons of manure. Interestingly, my neighborhood now has a variety of dog and human…. on the street. Some things never change.

One of the starts to the cable car was the invention of the wire system–this is the same system used today. I was reading a biography of the guy who invented it, and surprisingly he initially came to San Francisco as a gold surveyor. Through working around mines and other engineers, he learned a lot about the business, the tools, and more importantly, what could be improved. In failing to find gold and strike it rich, this guy gained the knowledge that would turn into his idea for the cable system. Coupled with his engineering skills, he created a new kind of wire that could handle a cable car.

Ever since my successful dabble with entrepreneurism (see my website here!) all my ideas about being a business man/woman have gone out the window. The stereotype in my head was more like a nightclub advertiser, stuffing handouts and business cards into unwilling hands. In my head, to be a business woman, I would have to act in ways unnatural to me. To be clear, this is what I thought would have to do, not what I think of all other business people. In starting my website, I found a voice for myself as a writing coach, and as a counselor to students and families.

Now, I see that my two years in admissions and four years as a student at Carnegie Mellon may not have led me to a “gold mine” of a concrete, guaranteed career plan. At the same time, I have soaked up valuable information like a sponge. Information that actually has a dollar value. It’s weird to think of a brain like that, but I’m starting to see that this may be the key ingredient to entrepreneurism. More so than a pocket full of flashy business cards.

As I think about what kind of career(s) I want to have, I keep finding little stories like this everywhere I look. Man goes hunting for gold, ends up earning it through quirky cable cars which long after his death come to represent the very city he moved to in search of gold!

On top of inspiring stories and history, I found gems in articles and photographs. Of course, seeing the inner workings of the cable system was really cool as well. Whoever designed the museum did a great job of making such an mechanical warehouse appear accessible enough for the casual tourist. I definitely recommend it!

Our new place!

After two weeks of unpacking, errands, and figuring out where the dogs should go pee, I am ready to start writing again!

By some miracle Ashwin found us a very nice place in the neighborhood of Nob Hill. There are six apartments in our building, and we are on the top floor. The ground floor has a small market, which is very convenient. I wave hello to one of the guys that works there every morning. He also touched up the paint in our apartment while we moved in.

I’d like to state for the record that there was no moving crew. It was just Ashwin and I, moving the rest of his things from his old apartment to our new one with a U-Haul. I’ve never been so happy to see a split box spring! When we emptied out the car it was a very strange feeling. I’d been living surrounded by my things for over a month and to seeing it spread out made me realize how full the car had really been! Between the various spices that had spilled and the vinegar spill back in North Carolina, the car was not smelling good at all once it had baked empty in the sun for a few days. Had I just gotten used to it??

So far Snickers’ least favourite thing about San Francisco is the hills. Specifically the one we live on. It is actually at 45 degrees. At first, I was having them go potty in the little dirt squares around the street trees on our hill, but Snickers was really having a tough time balancing while she peed. And then it would all just run down the hill. Now we go around the corner to a nice flat street, four times a day.

I am so glad that my trip is over as I am really anxious to get writing! It is hard to believe that August is here already–only four months until my first graduate school application is due.

Location: Home in San Francisco, CA