Thursday, December 10, 2009

Where's Waldo?

Okay, here's a little guessing game. I took this photo this afternoon. Where was I?

Seems pretty appropriate for the Christmas season, doesn't it? Okay, did you guess yet?

Now here's a photo taken this morning at 9 a.m.

We were in a party "limo" in the office parking lot. The guys there are a couple of attorneys and our office manager, making sure we started the day off right. Fun, huh? Champagne at 9 a.m. on a Wednesday morning? I think the Girls Gone Wild videos were mentioned.

Each year an attorney organization holds its annual conference on either the first or second Thursday and Friday in San Francisco. Traditionally, the staff at our firm are treated to a day in San Francisco on the Wednesday of the annual conference--most of our attorneys don't work that day because they head to San Francisco too. When I first started working for the firm over 18 years ago, the tradition was that the staff shopped most of the day and then met up with the attorneys and clients at a S.F. restaurant for appetizers; afterward, we'd leave to head back to Sacramento and the attorneys would stay for dinner with the clients. The attorney conference and associated seminars began the next day. In recent years, though, we just go and shop; we no longer meet up with the attorneys or clients.

The party limo was a new thing this year--normally we go in three "standard" limos, divided up into groups depending on where each group wants to shop. This year, we still had three or four groups, but the party bus drove between the groups and ferried us around the city, and when the party bus was already busy, we'd grab a cab.

My group wanted to start out in the Hayes district and do a little shopping. Our first stop was this darling store. Can you see the Santa ornament in the window, kind of high up? I ended up buying one of those--it's kind of a circus Santa.

At 12:30, it was time for lunch at Absinthe, a popular and trendy restaurant known at least in part for its extensive specialty cocktail menu and artisanal cheeses.

We tried out a few of those specialty cocktails. If you ever go to Absinthe, the Casino is yummy. Kind of like a gin martini but with a cherry floating in the bottom. Just to make sure I liked it, I had two. I also enjoyed a chestnut and mushroom soup and a cheese platter of brie and grapes. Good stuff.

The Santa ornament was packed in a box with shredded purple and white paper; because my friend Teri likes purple, I let her wear the paper on her head. I'm nice like that. (She was drinking a Sacred Heart, or maybe it was a Bleeding Heart? Well, actually she was drinking two.)

Since San Francisco is so architecturally recognizable, I took a couple photos for you. After lunch, we headed to the Noe Valley area for more shopping, and that's where I took these photos. We were walking down a hill to the shopping area--the party bus let us out early because he was afraid of bottoming out on the hill.

Another cool shop--this was in Noe Valley and is called The Urban Nest. I was sorely tempted to buy more Christmas stuff like those snowmen, but I resisted.

More Noe Valley architecture. See the inflatables? See the Christmas decorations? And the sign? It said something like Happy Holidays, Noe Valley, and 2009. I'm not sure what that meant--if it was just something the owner put up or if it was some kind of award. I was sitting outside Starbucks at the time, drinking an iced latte, and freezing to death. An iced anything wasn't a good plan, especially since I realized after I ordered that there was no available seating inside and it was really, really cold outside. Brrrrr!

We ended the day at the Ferry Building down near the Bay. The Ferry Building is filled with all kinds of food-related shops. I would have LOVED to buy some exotic (to me!) mushrooms at the mushroom shop except I don't have much experience with exotic mushrooms--not even enough to have a clue about what to buy! We did a little cheese tasting at the cheese shop, and I came home with about a pound of cheese altogether--four different kinds. Yum! And boy was that shop FRAGRANT! All of us--the office staff--gathered at the Market Bar for some appetizers and then at 7 p.m., we boarded the party bus back to Sacramento.

Good-bye San Francisco! See you next year!


Quilt Hollow said... of my long ago home in Bay Area! Every time I see SF photos it brings back tons of memories!! You got some great snap shots!!

Eileen said...

Thank You Kim, for not forgetting your camera. Loved the shots of the stores. Sounds like a great time had by all. Merry Christmas

Wilma NC said...

Thanks for sharing the pictures of your great time!!! I absolutely LOVE that Santa ornament.

Peaceful Piecer said...

This boring NC gal found San Francisco to be so exciting and little scary at night. My friend from NYC laughed at me most of the visit. Love your pictures and the santa

Kim said...

Sounds like a great time! I loved the photos. What a nice perk you have at your job. But really, too cold in CA to drink an iced latte? We're -20 today, so that's hard to believe! :)

dianne said...

the one time that i remember (don't ask) being in San Francisco i thought my patootie was gonna freeze - and it was July - so i hear ya about the cold!

i gotta ask, though - looking at the Santa that you bought - which tree he's gonna go on ... cuz those don't look like velvet tights, but he does look like he's light on his feet in a circusy kinda way

Nicole said...

Now that is what I would call an amazing staff holiday outing! Oh, how I love shopping in San Francisco! My husband just emailed me a photo he took of the tree in Union Square. I am so jealous.

Bonnie said...

Kim, when it comes to jobs you definitely got the good one, although I am sure you work your fingers to the bone some days to make up for all the galavanting around! Honestly, I know attorneys and they never say anything about these types of events. I'll have to ask my friend in SoCal if his firm does this.

Your Santa looks cute. When you get home take an upclose pic and share! And, now, back to the grind. What type of law does the firm specialize in? Just curious.

Carline said...

San Francisco is my favorite city! I haven't been there for many moons. I spent my first honeymoon there and left something a lot more valuable in today's market, than my heart, if you get my drift.
What a nice place to work, they do so many nice things for you. I've never been lucky enough to work in places that do that. Thanks for the photos, great memories.

Greenmare said...

I think I remember reading about last years trip, and I'd have to say you all outdid yourselves!!