Real mail! It’s better than Christmas.
I’ve been looking for a pretty photo card for this year. If you’re looking too, these are some of the more attractive options I found:
Merry Little Everything card from Artifact Uprising, 1.75 each
Joy Photo Card from Artifact Uprising, $1.75 each
Painted Diamonds Photo Card from Minted, $1.63 each
Here’s to the Good Photo Card from Artifact Uprising, $1.75 each
As you can see, I’m a huge fan of Artifact Uprising, they are nailing it right now. If you have any favorite print sources you don’t see listed, let us know in comments.
Paper Culture is a great option, and holiday photo cards are 30% off right now. Thanks, EG!
As part of my Life List goal of getting to know my city like the back of my hand, I’m collecting 100 of the best things to taste in San Francisco. These are 11-18:
Let’s go somewhere delicious and fun.
1. Pork Shumai at New Asia, $4.50
New Asia is a kitschy Chinatown banquet hall, and their weekend brunch features rolling steam carts with endless, reasonably priced dim sum to ease your hangover. The mostly Chinese patrons are an excellent sign, but the pace can intimidate if you’ve never cart-ordered dim sum before. Research what you’d like to try, and ask the waiters zooming by to send it your way. Otherwise, you can just nod when they show you something appetizing.
2. Happy Hour Oysters at Waterbar, $1.05 each
Fresh oysters and bubbly with a view of the Bay Bridge, this is among the best reasons to live here, 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
3. Dessert Soufflé at Café Jaqueline, $30
Café Jaqueline is a romantic, all-soufflé restaurant tucked off the main strip in North Beach. Call ahead to secure a spot at one of the five or six tables, and settle in for a nice slow dessert or savory soufflé with a bottle of wine. Use the restroom so you can peek at the little kitchen, where you’ll find a bottomless bowl of eggs resting on the counter.
4. Burger at Mission Bowl, $15
Burgers that are simple, juicy, and with some kind of magic sauce — all to the soundtrack of pins toppling.
5. Half a Fresh Cracked Crab at the Swan Oyster Depot, $20
San Franciscans will queue for absolutely nothing but great food, so a line is a sign. You will always find a line at this tiny seafood diner, especially now that it’s crab season. Wait in line. Take a seat on a swivel stool at the counter and enjoy a plate of oysters on ice. Grin at the suckers in line, and order another glass of white wine while you crack into your crab.
6. Afternoon Tea at the Ritz Carlton Lounge, $65
I feel calmer just thinking about this place. If you’re going to take tea, there should always be a harpist at hand.
7. Ribeye at Alfred’s, $32
Alfred’s was founded in 1928, and it still feels like you should be able to smoke a cigar at the table. The steaks are exceptional, and reasonably priced for a San Francisco steak house, but I love it because the cocktails are perfect and the place is so cozy. Especially good for a rainy or foggy night.
8. Nebulous Potato Thing and a Breakfast Milkshake at the St. Francis Soda Fountain, about $10 for both
This soda fountain has been around since 1918, and was run by three generations of the same family until 2000. In 2002, the current owners renovated the 1948 dining room and installed a kitchen, making it my favorite diner in the city. Everything is good, but I like the Nebulous Potato Thing – a mound of potatoes fried with onions and whatnot, smothered in melted cheddar with sour cream on top. Your choice of thick breakfast shake on the side, tin included.
Thing a white, middle-aged guy at the next table just said out loud, in San Francisco, to his white-guy friends:
“I think I’m gonna go on welfare, guys. I like the idea of the government paying for my transportation, healthcare. Sounds like a good deal.”
Artist photoshops herself into her mother’s childhood photos. (Daughter left, mom right.)
The Suitsy A business suit onesie, for men who’ve given up on getting laid.
Have you considered Tiny Cheese? A low commitment, low cost way to bring more cheese into your life.
I mostly shop for stocking stuffers and Christmas gifts online, and I try to avoid shipping fees. We’re Amazon Prime subscribers, so all the ideas below are Prime eligible. Also, Target is offering free shipping on everything through the holidays, so you might want to poke around over there as well.
If you’re an auntie or uncle and unsure of what little gifts will please a 6-8 year old, you can send one of these every few months with the click of a button, and bam! You win all the affection and thoughtfulness awards.
1. Piperoid paper craft robot kit — This is a good gift for grownup kids as well.
2. Hand buzzers — Can be repurposed for next year’s jellyfish Halloween costume.
3. 52 Nature Activities — Let’s all put down the iPads for a sec.
5. Rubberband Powered Glider — Classic. It should break the first day or you aren’t doing it right.
6. Tin Can Robot — A little kit that lets your kid turn a regular tin can into a mobile robot.
7. Finger Monster Temporary Tattoos — Also stellar for grownups. The good ones, anyway.
8. Assorted Pack of Foam Gliders — There are 72 gliders in this $7 pack, so be aware.
9. LED Light Up Balloons — I may actually bust these out on Christmas Eve as a morning surprise. How magic to find glowing balloons all over the living room floor when the kiddos sneak out before sunrise.
10. Animal Crayons — Fresh crayons are a no-fail.
11. Color My Bath Color Changing Bath Tablets — Hank loves these. They’re tiny bath fizzes that change the color of the bathwater.
12. Rainbow Monkey Bandages — Solid non-branded bandages.
13. Glow Sticks — This is two big packages of glow sticks, so you might just want to pick one up somewhere. I like to keep them around to make the bath water glow. Yes, I’m sure it’s killing us all slowly. Shhh, Internet. Shhhh.
14. Oogi, a figure toy with suction cup head, hands and feet, and long stretchy arms.
15. Silly String — This is three cans, because the tyranny of the single can of silly string will not stand.
16. Wind-Up Retro Robot — It’s a challenge not to make every gift guide an all-robot gift guide.
17. Bloonies — If you don’t know Bloonies, do get some. They’re a liquid plastic that you push onto the end of a small straw, then blow up to make tiny fragile balloons. They are wondrous.
Happy holidays, nice people.
The best parts of Green Hills of Africa by Ernest Hemingway:
‘The people one would see if one saw whom one wished to see. You know all of those people? You must know them.’
‘Some of them,’ I said. ‘Some in Paris. Some in Berlin.’
I did not wish to destroy anything this man had, and so I did not go into those brilliant people in detail.
‘They’re marvellous,’ I said, lying.
At present we have two good writers who cannot write because they have lost confidence through reading critics. If they wrote, sometimes it would be good and sometimes not so good and sometimes it would be quite bad, but the good would get out. But they have read the critics and they must write masterpieces. The masterpieces the critics said they wrote. They weren’t masterpieces, of course. They were just quite good books. So now they cannot write at all. The critics have made them impotent.
‘And what do you want?’
‘To write as well as I can and learn as I go along. At the same time I have my life which I enjoy and which is a damned good life.’
‘Do you think your writing is worth doing — as an end in itself?’
‘You are sure?’
‘That must be very pleasant.’
‘It is,’ I said. ‘It is the one altogether pleasant thing about it.’
He moved toward his tent carrying himself with comic stiffness, walking in the dark as carefully as though he were an opened bottle.
They had that attitude that makes brothers, that unexpressed but instant and complete acceptance that you must be Masai wherever it is you come from… [It is] the thing that used to be the most clear distinction of nobility where there was nobility. It is an ignorant attitude and the people who have it do not survive, but very few pleasanter things ever happen to you than the encountering of it.
The earth gets tired of being exploited. A country wears out quickly unless man puts back in all its residue and that of all his beasts. When he quits using beasts and uses machines, the earth defeats him quickly. The machine can’t reproduce, nor does it fertilize the soil, and it eats what he cannot raise.
Citizens, I feel very well.
Tyroler Hat – The Tyrolean hat (also Bavarian hat or Alpine hat) is a type of headwear that originally came from the Tyrol in the Alps. A typical Tyrolean hat originally had a crown tapering to a point and was made of green felt with a brim roughly the width of a hand.
white hunter – professional big game hunters of European or North American backgrounds who plied their trade in Africa, especially during the first half of the 20th century
dynamo – an electrical generator that produces direct current with the use of a commutator
klaxon – a vehicle horn
shamba – A plantation or area of cultivated ground; a plot of land, a small subsistence farm for growing crops and fruit-bearing trees, often including the dwelling of the farmer
sisal – a species of Agave native to southern Mexico but widely cultivated and naturalized in many other countries. It yields a stiff fibre used in making various products.
kongoni – The hartebeest, an African species of grassland antelope
musette – a small leather or canvas bag with shoulder strap, used during hiking, marching, etc.
This is the birthday card Brad drew for me this year. I’ve been a little quiet around here lately because I’ve been putting all of my energy into sitting very still so I can keep food down.
This is because we are expecting a baby. A tiny one, who does that thing with the giant yawn that’s still only as big as a thumb print. A little one, who keeps its fists by its face in case of trouble.
The baby is coming in late April, and Hank has told everyone in his class several times over. Other kids have begun requesting siblings from their parents in the interest of fairness, which along with my unmarried status, has made us very popular at the elementary school.
When we found out our baby schemes had worked sooner than expected, I started pulling together Instant Wedding. Finding-a-venue-and-a-dress-and-a-cake-and-calling-everyone-and-bopping-to-the-courthouse-and-doing-this-thing! Then I fell asleep. I have been asleep for several weeks now, so we’re delaying the wedding until we’ve had time to have a baby. Also to procure knitted hats and booties, which said baby can pull off and throw on the ground.
Come out, baby! I cannot wait.