31 August 2010

Open Market, Haunted House

The time covered in Jesse's parents' visit was (for me) a series of weekends. It was futile for me to try and see them (or Jesse) during the week because I got out of work so late. Janna had a birthday during that third week. Jesse took them to Tony's to celebrate. I missed the whole party (and the truffle pizza). Janna's friend Peg arrived that night from South Dakota. Let's see. That was Wednesday. Peg, Janna & I went to lunch together Thursday at the Empress of China Restaurant. It's minutes from our place, but I had never known it was there. I admit Chinatown all blends together in my mind. Peg had been to the Empress before and recommended it. The food was delicious. Let's blur past Friday to Saturday, when I met the group at the Noe Valley farmers' market.

The atmosphere put a smile on my face. It was a community. There were families there with their kids and dogs, buying their sustainable wares from their regional farmers. It was all very neighborly and very pleasant. I could have seen Jesse & I there in another five or ten years. But, well, you know. It's cool. I'm sure there are spinsters who shop there too.

Saturday morning in in Noe Valley.

Honey products.

Veggies.

I just like living in a city that celebrates good food. This was the breakfast spread at La Boulange.

We browsed. Jesse got a honeycomb for his dad. He & I had coffee at La Boulange. On the way back we spotted Janna & Peg having their (apparently obligatory) Bloody Marys and chatting with some locals. Quintessential vacationers, those two. We then wrapped up the morning and started the afternoon with a trip to San Jose.

If you get the opportunity to tour the Winchester Mystery House, take it. Otherwise, you may never have pure lunacy stare you in the face. And that would be a shame. It was the home of the Winchester heiress. She was haunted by all those killed by Winchester weapons and tried to keep the ghosts off her back by building rooms for them. Ghosts don't necessarily need doors, so some stairways lead into walls or ceilings. I have no doubt Mrs. Winchester was being haunted, I even think the ghosts are still there. Here's why.

There are no pictures allowed during the tour. This was made clear before we started. As we toured, two people with fancy cameras decided the rules did not apply to them. They were both reminded by the tour guide that pictures were not allowed. One guy kept taking pictures anyway, sneaking his wife and kids into shots while holding the camera at waist level. Peg & I shook our heads at him. I even said he'd get his. I was right. He lost control of his fancy camera. It wouldn't turn off. And then it started shuffling through every picture on his camera card. He said it shuffled faster than he'd ever seen. It would not stop. Eventually he had to pull the card out of the camera. I'm not sure if he lost his pictures or not. Logical explanation: ghosts.
I think Mrs. Winchester's lunacy came not from believing in the ghosts, but in trying to avoid them. I think if she had met them face to face and donated to charity or established a fund for their families, I'm sure all would have been forgiven. She probably could have lived in her modest home in peace. Then again, if she had done that, how would we have spent our Saturday? I suppose everything happens for a reason.

We made a pit stop for shakes. You know, just to hold us over until we got to a bar in San Francisco. We ate dinner at the Bocce Cafe, an Italian restaurant designed like a grotto. There was a live band and the food was excellent. In fact, I think the eating is probably the best part of having visitors. We rarely go out to eat. There really needs to be an occasion. Otherwise it's truffle pizzas (or in this case spinach ravioli) every day until I go broke or have a heart attack. And that would be a downer.