foggy 4th, summer cleaning and the kindness of strangers

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I hope everyone had a lovely holiday weekend. I didn’t have a very traditional 4th of July, but it was fun none the less. The 4th is funny in San Francisco. If you’ve been here in the summer, you know that it is actually quite cold and foggy. July is often one of the coldest months of the year. I have attended many a barbeque in Golden Gate Park while bundled up in a winter coat and scarf, clutching a hot latte to warm my poor frozen hands while fog rolls by like tumbleweeds. More often than not, the fireworks are cloaked in a veil of fog. You know they are there, the fog changes from blue to green to pink, but you cannot actually see them. When it is clear enough, the best places to see them (the waterfront and the bridge) are a nightmare. Crowds and crowds of people, no parking, and busses packed like tuna cans, full of drunks. So we usually end up finding a hill to climb and hope for the best. Having a small child makes most of this seem like more trouble than it is worth, so we haven’t done much to celebrate the 4th in the last few years, save for a lovely backyard barbecue in Oakland last year.
 
The weather turned out to be pretty nice – certainly not hot, but I don’t like hot, so it was perfect for me. We went to Japantown for lunch with a friend. Then we bought Japanese incense and browsed Kinokunia bookstore. My mom came up later in the afternoon and I did some cleaning and purging while she played with Pip. We decided to brave the waterfront because Pip is old enough to appreciate fireworks. It turns out there was tons of parking by the shop because it is on the opposite end of the waterfront from where the fireworks are. After a 20 minute walk, we were at the Ferry Building which was crowded, but not crazy and it was lovely to watch the fireworks surround the clock tower. Next year we will have to make some more formal plans.
 
Speaking of cleaning and purging, I have been bitten by the spring cleaning bug in the summer. In the last week, I have donated 6 garbage bags full of stuff and tossed another 3 bags. We haven’t done a proper purge since Pip came into the picture and, man, was it time. It’s still a work in progress, but already feels much better. I feel inspired to be much more mindful of the purchases I make and what I allow to enter my home. While my home will never be quite as spare as this one from Skona Hem – we all have the magpie gene in this family – I have been returning to it again and again for motivation and inspiration. I do love the crisp, clean white.
 
Lastly, this morning I realized that I forgot my wallet when I went to pay for my coffee. To make matters worse, this was at 5:45am and I didn’t go to sleep until 11pm last night so coffee was sorely needed. Luckily, I frequent this coffee shop and the cashier told me I could pay her tomorrow. I was happy to have my coffee but annoyed at the thought of being without cash, debit card, and ID for the entire day. I brought some food with me and we have some vendors visiting the office today that usually bring snacks, but I wanted to go to the farmers market. As I was leaving, I turned to the cashier to thank her again for letting me pay for my coffee tomorrow and she let me know that the woman behind me in line paid for my coffee! How lovely! It totally turned my morning around and now I’m not worried about the farmers market. There are, after all, three more markets within close proximity to my office this week. I’ll live. Thank you, kind stranger. Now, I have to remember to do something nice for someone today. What about you? Have you done any good deeds lately? Do tell.

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