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How to hold my iPhone when out and about in San Francisco

2012 was a great learning year.  I learned to bake, learned more about the SEO/SEM world, went to my first yoga class… but my biggest, most important lesson of 2012 was “How to hold my iPhone when out and about in San Francisco”.

Late last year, I left house and went for a walk in my lovely, safe neighbourhood of Nob Hill carrying with me only my iPhone in one hand, headphones in ear, and my other hand free to do cool hand gestures such as


and this


Yes… I’m one of those embarrassing walkers. 

And this folks is what brings the story of “The Day I got Mugged in San Francisco” or “The Day I Got Mugged Ever”.  You pick your own heading for this story.

It started off as a beautiful, sunny afternoon.  An usual 80+ degrees (high 20s for my lovely canucks), I was giddy on life and sun.  Music was blasting through my phone as I hopped down a hill heading towards my friend’s place.  Beep beep!   An incoming text comes through so I slowed down my pace to check the message.  Then it happened.

… … … wait a second something’s wrong.

Someone brushes up against me.  My headphones are coming loose.  Both of my hands are empty.

Phone?  Where art thou?  What is this kid doing?  What is going on?  Where am I?  This is a joke right?  These things don’t happen in real life.

My phone along with my headphones were in the hands of a 17 year old brat running like hell downhill.  After processing the situation in my head for 10 seconds, I promptly chased after him for a few blocks, screaming bloody murder at him with the lovely residents of North Beach looking at me like I was the crazy one in the situation.  Ultimately at the end, my phone became his new phone and I walked away with an unexpected workout.  Not the kind where I was able to get high off of endorphins but a workout nonetheless.  #positivethinking

So tourists and residents of San Francisco, here is what I’ve learned from this situation or as I like to call it, how to hold my iPhone when out and about in San Francisco:

If you’re using your phone publicly on the streets of San Francisco, hold it tightly to your chest, look slightly crazy and deranged, and if someone even comes close to you when you’re using your phone, sneer at them.  You will scare off potential robbers and in my case, scare off a few poor tourists that just wanted directions… but in my defense, that French family look like they were going to rob me.


Are you there blog? It’s me, L.

Oh… hi old friend.  It’s been awhile eh?  This is a bit awkward.  We haven’t spoken in like 8 months and I know you’re hurt that I forgot about you, haven’t checked up on you, and basically just went MIA.  But there’s a reaaaaaalllly, really, really good reason for that.

When I first started you, it was to document my new life in San Francisco and it was easy back then.  Back in 2011 when I first moved and had no friends.  But things are different now.  Instead of talking to myself, I’ve made friends.  A network.  People who appreciate or at least put up with my antics.  That’s no excuse to forget about you and cast you aside like yesterday’s garbage but it happened.  Forgive, forget, accept it and move on.  I’ll start blogging again and tell you stories about getting mugged in San Francisco and how I’ve slowly morphed into an organic, chemical-free, wannabe yogi and runner hippie, and on your end you’ll start bringing in traffic and readers again.  Deal?



For You Googlers

I’ve noticed that my blog started picking up quite a number of referrals from Google searches which makes me super happy.  However, taking a closer look at the search words, I feel that when the googler clicks on my link, hoping to find the answer to their search, I leave them with nothing but disappointment because my blog did not provide them with the answer they needed.

So in hopes of being less of a disappointment to you googlers, here are my answers to your frequently searched words.

1) Where is the Full House house?

Somewhere between 1987 to 1995.  Full House is a fictional show.  The house does not exist.  It is not possible for a family of 3 adults and 3 kids where only one of the adult has a real full-time job while the others are a bad comedian and occasional radio host to realistically rent a massive house in San Francisco.

Erm bitter much?  I just wanted to know the address of the house that was used as the exterior.

Sorry.  I have to write my rent check this week and it’s hard not too cry every time I write it. The Full House house neighborhood is located in Alamo Square and the set of houses are the Painted Ladies.

Painted Ladies

If you’re looking for the actual Full House house exterior, you can find that at 1709 Broderick St.

The Painted Ladies are often confused with 1709 Broderick

2) Is Nob Hill safe in an earthquake?

I don’t know.  There was an earthquake a few weeks ago.  I’m alive, nothing fell on me, I didn’t have to grab my earthquake pack so I can only assume it is.  I try not to think about it much or I won’t sleep.

3) Tim Horton’s San Francisco.

Go north of the city, a little past Napa… a little more up, have you passed Oregon?  You’re getting there.  Is it getting colder?  You are on the right track.  A few more miles up, say hi to Seattle… say bye to Seattle.  Look around.  Do you see mountains?  Do you see the ocean?  Is the money coloured?  Congrats, you’re in Vancouver.  A Timmy’s should be around the corner somewhere.

The answer is no, we don’t have Tim Horton’s in San Francisco.

4) How to Make Friends in Your 30s.

I’ll let you know in about 7-10 more years.

5) Typical Charleston Things

Sweet tea, plantation, Magnolia, Southern boys with southern accents, Folly Beach, Coast, Seafood… I’m not really much of a Charleston expert but my fellow blogger, The Unlikely Expat is from Charleston.  I’m sure he would be happy to answer any questions.

6) Losing facebook friends motivational.

Um… I’m not sure.  We can be facebook friends.  I’ll write a motivational quote on your wall everyday.  Deal?

7) Living in Carmel by the Sea.

OMG TAKE ME WITH YOU.  Adopt me, hire me, marry me?  I don’t care.  Let me move there with you.

8) I need to come up with a name for a hotel on a tea plantation.

The Great Tea House

Tea R Us

Little TEAse

Grand Ol Tea

Sweet Tea Hotel

Teacup Inn

9) Muir woods and wine country tour

I really enjoyed this one from Extranomical.  You can read more about the tour here.

Well that was my good deed for the day.  Back to my Hunger Games countdown.  Keep on googling, yahooing, binging, or whatever tickles your fancy.

Lost in Translation

Sometimes… when I want to show people how cultured and sophisticated I am, I like to throw in one or two words of French in my conversation like this:

Hey… do you know if Mark and Jess are still together?

Hmmm peut-etre. Pourquoi???

Meh, I just heard some stuff.

In most circumstances I’ve been in, the individual I’m having a conversation with me understands what I am saying because they are:

a) Canadians from Ontario and have suffered through the same poor Ontarian educated French classes that I also endured or;

b) fellow exchange students studying in Belgium with me.

But recently I find my conversations these days going something like this:

Wait, did the lady say we only pay 20% and insurance covers rest?

Je ne sais pas.  Je suis confused. Je miss l’healthcare libre.


I’m then reminded that there’s a language barrier between Americans and me.  The language confusion goes both ways when one day I asked my roommate over GTalk:

Are you going to the gym after work?

No. Por que?

Huh?  Does she not know how to spell?

I turned around to point it out to her only to be met with her response “It’s Spanish”, followed by a We’re in California so duh it’s Spanish look.

So my fellow Canadian friends and readers, be prepared that when I return to Toronto, I will be dropping Spanish words here and there to look sophisticated, well traveled, and worldly.

A California Bucket List

Inspired by Katie on her 2012 Bucket List – Things to do before I am 30, I’ve put together my own bucket list of everything that I want to do in California while I’m living in this gorgeous state.

  1. Go to Disneyland.
  2. Spend a weekend in Napa and enjoy the good wine and good food.
  3. Learn to sail.
  4. Visit the Walt Disney museum in San Francisco.
  5. Join a wine club.
  6. Take a cooking class.
  7. Road trip it down from San Francisco to San Diego.
  8. Visit Laguna Beach and Newport Harbor… I need to create a clever hashtag that describes being a teenager/coming of age in the ’00s.
  9. Try surfing in SoCal.
  10. See San Francisco very own band Train perform in the Bay Area.
  11. Weasel my way into being a movie/television extra somewhere Hollywood, CA.
  12. Scuba Dive in the Pacific!
  13. Grape stomping in San Francisco.  I thought I was trying to be funny when I put this on my list but then a quick Google search showed that the Bay Area host several grape stomping festivals.

What would you have on your California bucket list?


    15.  Visit Marcel the monkey from Friends at the San Diego zoo!

    16.  Camp in Yosemite Park

    17.  Visit Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in San Marino.

    18.  Giant Sequoia National Monument

    19.  Go to Death Valley

    20.  Visit Lake Tahoe in the Summer

    21.  Follow the mission trail on El Camino Real

    22.  Watch the swallows come back to San Juan Capistrano

    23. See Kongo when you get to San Diego!

How to [Not] Make Friends – San Franciscan Style

I recently started taking an Introduction to Digital Photography class at the San Francisco Art Institute.  The course is part of their continuing education program and attracts a mixture of individuals with varying degrees of experience in photography.  My purpose of taking the class was two-folds:

  1. Learn how to use the manual settings on my camera
  2. Go beyond the walls of my office and make some new (and hopefully local) friends

But of course things don’t always come that easy.

On my first day of class, I sat next to this man probably in his mid-30s.  As part of our ice-breaker activity, we had to interview the person next to us and then present them to our class.  The man next to me was my partner and I believe his name was… hmmm let’s call him Cliff.

I found out a few things from our interview.  Cliff is not an amateur photographer.  He is taking the course to learn how to use photoshop and print his own photos.  He has a scary, intense looking DSLR.  Wanting to steer our conversation away from the obvious topic of photography and our class, I asked him

So… what do you do?

I’m a deportation officer.

I’m sorry… a what?

A deportation officer.

Sirens!  Red flags!  Defense wall shoots up immediately.

Oh wow!  Your job must be insane eh?

Frak.  Did I just say eh?  Your Canadian is showing.  WTF is wrong with you?  Why are you panicking?  You have a visa, he can’t deport you.

Hahaha.  Ya, I’ve seen a lot of crazy things happen on the job.  People hiding in closets, lying, running the minute they see us.

Note to Future Me:  Don’t hide in a closet three years from now when your visa expires and Cliff comes to hunt you down.  

It was Cliff’s turn to interview me.

So where are you from?  What do you do?

I just moved here from Toronto but like I’m legit.  I have a visa and everything.  I guess you would be a good person to be friends with.  You can help me cheat the system if I ever lose my visa.  Hahaha.

My brain is sending strong signals to tell my mouth to zip it.  I babble on desperately for another minute.  Cliff looks at me strangely.

Um… yea… hope you’re enjoying San Francisco so far.

We’ve had four classes and Cliff hasn’t spoken to me since the first night.  I think I came on a wee bit too strong.

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Oh Those Hills and Wheels!

There has to be a trick to this.

Oh em gee



This car’s insured right?

FRAK!!! Do I have health benefits?

Summary of my thought process while I was waiting at a stoplight, foot on the brake, light just turned green, on a close-to-90 degrees angle hill, car starting to pull backwards as I lift my foot off the brake to hit the accelerator.

“Uh, maybe try putting your foot on the brake and your other foot resting on the accelerator and then gently let go of the brake as you press on the accelerator” my poor colleague, Rob, advises.  Somehow, he was the unfortunate guinea pig in my first attempt to drive in San Francisco.

I followed his coaching and up my little Zipcar went. YES!  Thank GAWD!

“There you go!  Thatta girl!  Great job!” Rob enthusiastically says to me.

I turned to Rob who somehow has scarily morphed into my driver ed teacher from way back when.  Sadly, I knew he was genuinely trying to be encouraging and supportive but I still couldn’t suppress the terse “thanks” reply I gave him nor could I suppress the facial expression I gave him.

A replica of the look I gave him but less cute because no one is more adorable than Michelle Tanner!

Driving in San Francisco is a whole different ball game.  You need a new level of skill here – one that involves going up steep hills, then being expected to stop at a light or stop sign while gravity is still trying to pull you down.  This post should not discourage you from letting me drive you places.