I realize that it might seem a little late to be writing about Labor Day weekend, but that's only because it was so great that I can't stop talking about it (and because I've been really busy since then).
It turns out that Labor Day is the best thing that ever happened to San Francisco. Chris & I discovered this for the first time because for several years, we've been out of town camping during our long weekend. It turns out that every other San Francisco resident also leaves town-- and they must close off all the bridges to tourists, because there was a shocking lack of them as well. It was a little bit like Left Behind, only with really great weather and no Kirk Cameron. We literally found a dozen parking spaces, coming home late one night and wondered if we were stuck in the Twighlight Zone.
On Saturday, we woke up and made the most amazing oatmeal cinnamon raisin pancakes (I'll have to post the recipe-- yum!). Then, I made a metamorphosis that I've been wanting to achieve for several months: I became a cyclist. That's right, I did the whole spandex shorts (with capris over them!), jersey and helmet thing and rode a [sadly] exhausting 15 miles.
We drove North on the Golden Gate Bridge to Mill Valley, parked the car and rode our bikes along a lovely bike path into Tiburon, overlooking the Bay and beautiful rolling green hills. It was like a little slice of heaven. On the way back, we stopped in downtown Mill Valley, sat in the town square, watching dogs chase pigeons & children play while we shared a tiny cup of ice cream.
After a long nap back at home, we rode our bikes a few blocks away to an old house-turned-music-center and met some friends for a [free!] classical piano show. The pianist was an old childhood friend of this couple, and she was touring with her boyfriend, who accompanied her on the double bass. It was truly incredible. She looked as though she were dancing when she played-- like she was experiencing the music through her whole body. I think her fingers had three more joints each than mine do, because as I watched them fly across the keyboard, I knew that her hands were not made of the same matter as mine.
When the show was over, we had the privilege of going out to ice cream with the talented duo, and found them to be funny, witty, normal people who were adorably in love. (Okay-- they weren't that normal, considering they studied at Julliard and live in Amsterdam and England!). It was a double privilege because we went to one of those little San Francisco gems that I eye with envy every time I pass, but had never actually experienced: Bi Rite Ice Cream. Although it was a freezing, windy San Francisco night, we all huddled inside the tiny store and savored every bite of our gourmet ice cream... mine was salted caramel, and was the most decadent thing I have ever tasted.
On Sunday, we had a BBQ in Dolores Park for our students (only a few showed up, but it was a great excuse to spend the day in the sun!). Now, Dolores Park is one of those interesting, truly San Francisco experiences, where places like Orange County seem imaginary and time slows to a Woodstock, hippy, free-loving crawl. Several years ago, when we we went there for the first time, we were offered "French Chocolate Marijuana Truffles" by a very flamboyant black man, swinging a gold chained pot around like incense. There was also a whole gang of hula-hoopers, swinging to 80's techno music, blasted through stacked speakers.
Last Sunday didn't disappoint, as the park was filled to capacity with young picnicers, drinking beer, smoking pot, playing with their dogs, and listening to spoken word poety & music being performed on a makeshift stage. We grilled & ate, got sunburned, and were even offered french chocolate marijuana truffles by the same guy that we saw years ago (he was making some pretty good money that day!).
Later that evening, we went to some friends' house for yet another BBQ, and got to catch up with all the young church-folk that we hadn't seen since leaving for Africa.
Needless to say, I spent all of Monday in bed, with a really bad sore throat and a fever (I guess I over-did it the rest of the weekend!), under the delusion that I was still in my hammock in Africa. I've spent the rest of this week trying to recover from my weekend and my cold, while juggling work & ministry... but am still smiling over my Labor Day adventures.