Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Tiny Bit Glamorous

I've been meaning to tell a little about the trip I took to San Francisco right before New Year's. It was a great time. If you have kids, you know how important it is to get away from them once in a while, and this trip turned out to be the perfect parenting intermission. I went out there to go to an academic conference and to interview for a job (more on that below). All of that was fine, but I really loved the chance to be with friends and bustle around in the city. There is nothing like gorgeous weather and a good hotel in San Francisco to make you suspect that you are secretly a Queen of the World. (You probably are.)

So, here's Where I Went and What I Drank There:

1) You may recall my tale of how I wound up in first class on the way to California. It was everything I ever dreamed, in the sense that it did not suck like economy class. After I settled into my huge seat, the nice lady brought me a very robust gin-and-tonic. Then, THEN, there were warm nuts. Like, a little ramekin of mixed nuts that had been magically heated.

Yum. So that's what's going on up there in first class, besides the free booze. Warm nuts, y'all.

2) My dear friend Erika and I roomed together at the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill. When I checked in, the clerk told me that we'd scored an upgrade on our room. It was my day for upgrades. Lucky duck!

A total dump, right? Yeah, it was beautiful. It's the kind of place I could never stay in without special conference rates.That brick-looking facade on the left is a huge gingerbread archway, which made the lobby smell wonderful. It would be so great to take the kids to a good, big city hotel at Christmas sometime, I thought. Here was the view from our floor.

Turns out the UN charter was written here, and Orson Welles ran into William Randolph Hearst in a elevator after making Citizen Kane (awkward!), and all the presidents have stayed here, and several cocktails were imbibed by me here. Off the lobby there was a very pretty tea room/bar where they made a delicious pomegranite and cucumber mojito. I didn't think those things went together, but now I'm a believer.
Totally worth the $12. I think I wound up in this bar three separate times. But it's all in the name of professionalization, right?

3) My interview was in a corner suite at the Fairmont. The search committee's view was truly jaw-dropping. They could see Alcatraz, Coit Tower, and the bay bridge. (I didn't think it would be appropriate to pull out my camera and take pictures though.) So it went fine, but not a slam-dunk. There were three interviewers, and they were very nice and said some complimentary things about my work, and asked a lot of questions. I think I said everything I wanted to say, but I didn't sound all that sharp to myself. Still haven't heard anything from them about the next phase, which is probably not good news at this point. But as my advisor keeps telling me, it was really good to get a conference interview at this stage in my work. Definitely a good learning experience, and I'm at peace about it. A successful first go-round on the market. And I looked cute, which is of course what really counts. I wore a tan suit from Banana Republic with a top that looks like this, only it was silk instead of poplin. (That is not me in the picture. It is a poor headless model.)

What I drank: Ice water, which was free. And when we were saying goodbye, one of the professors said, "Thanks for walking up the hill." And I said, "I'm on the 21st floor, so I just had to come down the shaft." Then I thought, "That sounded dirty." Whatever, y'all! I threw a handful of warm nuts at them and fled.

4) One night I went out with David, Michael, Veronica, and her fiancé Patrick. They took me to Ti Couz, a Breton crêperie in the Mission. Fun and delicious. Leave it to San Francisco to have not just French restaurants, but an authentically Breton one.

And there they had a cocktail which I think was just called the "Ti Couz," which had I-know-not-what inside of it, except I do remember a lot of berries. Veronica should be able to tell us, because she had two. I also can't remember what that set me back, except it was less than $12. I only had one drink because I was saving all my love for the banana and nutella dessert crêpe.

5) Then late that same night, we went up to the Top of the Mark, the top floor of the Mark Hopkins hotel, which is next to the Fairmont. It's kind of a San Francisco institution, I guess. It was too dark to take pictures of our party, but here are some more glamorous and better-hatted people from different eras.

I love the kind of tourism that consists of sitting in a beautiful location and talking with good friends. As my sister-in-law Kate says, you feel like you're doing something even if you're just lounging and holding a drink. I had a Hendrix gin martini with cucumber. It was $12, which seems to be the going rate. And because I know you want every detail, I wore this silk top, in emerald green, with a little black jacket.

I looked better, because I had a head. (A lot of my weekend wardrobe wound up being Banana Republic, because of some last-minute stress shopping coupled with after-Christmas sales.) Also, I wore kind of a lot of eyeliner. Dramatic eyeliner, not whorish eyeliner. Here's hoping.

So I also went to some great panels and learned stuff. You know how it goes. But mainly it was just a great time to see friends I love, and to feel renewed by a beautiful city. By my last morning there, I could feel that the invisible rubber band that joins me to my house and family had stretched to its maximum, and I was ready to snap back into place. But boy, I loved being there. Attention fellow moms! You've got to get away by yourself, even if just for a night. Go stay with a friend. Anything. If you know me, you know I preach this all the time.

In other news, Matt's LASIK went well, he's convalescing, it will not stop raining, and we're watching North By Northwest on PBS. I hope y'all having a great weekend. Here's to lots of warm nuts for everyone.


Carrie said...

Ah, Ti Couz. How I miss it. Specifically, I miss the Todd Dessert, which is an apple caramel sundae like no other.

Just before we moved away from SF 2 years ago, we stayed up on the hill too. In a condo across the street from the Fairmont, for free. A friend's parents have owned the place for decades, and usually only come there at the holidays. Nice, eh? Tell you a secret: Our second child was conceived there. Add that to your list of Fairmont -- well, a stone's throw from the Fairmont -- events.

Amy said...

Wow, that really sounds like a fab time. And OF COURSE you looked cute, I just know it. That hotel lobby is so pretty! I would be jealous, except that you really deserved this, and I suppose you paid your dues--all those years of grad school and writing a dissertation, etc. to get there. :)

I totally second the idea of moms getting away. I have friends that just WON'T do it, and I'm all, "You guys are CUH-RAZY."

Coffee with Cathy said...

Thanks for taking us along on your trip. Loved the fashion descriptions, too. And you are so right that moms have got to get away every once in awhile. Has something to do with appreciating your family more when you get back, I think -- or maybe it's the other way around!

Michele said...

San Fran rocks!

My sister lives near Sonoma so we get a chance to pop down to the city when we visit. Between the wine at her place and the drinks in the city we have a pretty good time.

I had Lasik a couple of years ago. LOVE IT!

Jenni said...

My BFF lives out there, not in SF but in Santa Cruz. Oscar and I went to visit her there this summer and I really couldn't understand why everyone on the planet didn't move there. I mean, the ridiculous cost of real estate might be the reason, but the weather, oh the weather.

Casey said...

That sounds like a wonderful trip. I'm laughing at the warm nuts. I was gonna say my husband keeps his nuts warm all the time but then it didn't sound funny. I said it anyway. Glad you got out and had a fun trip. Also glad you got the chance to pile on the eyeliner. I never know where the line between whorish and dramatic is, you'll have to teach me.

Veronica said...

I don't know how having two of the cocktails qualifies me to know better what was in them.... but it was something along the lines of blackberry and vodka and champagne. Yum-O.

David said...

It was great seeing you, dude. We miss you already.

Hurry back... not least because it seems we need to stage an intervention with V: she's quoting Rachel Ray again, and it's worrying me.

Ginny Marie said...

That sounded like a great trip...I loved reading the little details! Great pictures, too.