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In the midst of Golden Gate Park is the California Academy of Sciences. It’s pretty much a natural history museum complete with (1) the Steinhart Aquarium that rivals the Aquarium of the Bay in Fisherman’s Wharf and even slightly at par with Monterey Bay Aquarium (I’ll actually leave this judgment for later since I haven’t been to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in a long time); (2)the Morrison Planetarium (Planet Arium South Park episode, anyone?) which I still think is one of the best places for a nap in the middle of the day; (3) a Rainforest which is basically a giant circular humid greenhouse; (4)  the Kimball Natural History museum with the mammal room, and exhibits on sustaining life on earth; and oh…yeah, they have a revolving special exhibit…this time it was (5) SNAKES AND LIZARDS.

Between my boyfriend and my brother, many pranks and psychological torture were applied on me in the Snakes and Lizards exhibit. There is apparently a lizard that can leap from boulder to boulder and run at 16 mph. My brother whispers, “You can’t outrun that…” Then Boyfriend tossed a rubber lizard at me which resulted in a strangled scream which resulted in a lot of people looking at me which had my brother asking in a LOUD VOICE, “Was that scream you?”

I don’t care. I’ll scream if I want to.

After that ordeal, the rest of the day went easy peasy. We went to the Aquarium where we touched starfish and sea urchins, we napped in the Planetarium where Jodi Foster’s throaty voice lulled us into a dream filled with nuclei and mitochondria, we went to the Living Roof (my first time in over 5 visits) and froze our butts off in the freezing San Francisco summer wind, we played with the toys in the gift shop and overall had a great time!

on the Living Roof overlooking the De Young Museum

well, a slice of the Philippine Reef was behind us.

mmm...Moray Eel

Hey, fishy, fishy...

It's a piece of rolled up carpet...Oh, actually it's a snake.

Sssslytherin's in the House

...and finally, this guy always makes me smile by planning little trips to make me happy!

Here’s the caveat: The California Academy of Sciences is a whopping $34.99! This hurts because the Smithsonian in Washington DC is FREE! And even the one in Los Angeles is only $12!

So, unless you really value the rainforest attraction and the planetarium, the living roof, the albino alligator, and the sustainable design of the CAS, then it’s recommended that you really plan your visit for that day instead of just randomly dropping in for 3 hours. If that was the case, then I’d say hop on Thursday nights Nightlife: 3 hours, NO CHILDREN RUNNING AMOK, wine, beer and hors d’oeuvres served — all for $12. STEAL.

Below are a few shots from Nightlife from my birthday in January:

Glow in the Dark

Nightlife Crew

Hey, Lil' Guy...

 

When there aren't little kids running around, you actually get to learn stuff.

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My Life List has “Go to the Alameda County Fair” on it. I’m not sure why. I’ve been to the AC Fair before, when I was in high school. But I created the list well after I had graduated from UC Berkeley, and well into the swing of Law School.

The only thing I can think of is that I remember absolutely zilch about the two times I did go to the Fair back then. All I remember was looking for the photograph that won me a blue ribbon at the fair, and a few of my brothers’ artworks that also won various prizes.

I don’t remember the food, the games, the rides, the anything.

So, the fair was on the the list.

I went with CCop. I never thought he was the type of guy to do the county fair thing, but I guess it’s just one other good thing about him. He is a doer. He makes plans. He follows through. He will suffer through the heat and my quirks.

That, and there was Blue Oyster Cult playing at the fair that day.

So, we hit the horse races. We petted sheep (they feel like knotted up carpet), we watched poor children attempt to do a calf show (think Dog shows, only with cows), we looked at bunny rabbits, we shuddered at lizards (okay, that was just me. CCop mostly laughed at how I broke into a cold sweat at the sight of them).

We also went on Rides. Well, I went on the wimpy ones and he went on the redonkyoulus ones. I also rode the Ferris Wheel for the first time ever. I guess that’s one real thing to cross off my life list (not that it was ever on the list). I just have this thing about heights…or maybe it’s about falling. That whole motion of having the ground slip from beneath you…*shakes head.

We played some games, ate some alligator burgers (yum!) and of course, had some funnel cake. I mean, what’s a county fair without the artery-clogging deliciousness?

I remember the Fair being that much bigger when I was younger, and being that much bigger of a deal. But I guess if you had some piece of artwork to be displayed, it’s a bigger deal. Getting that blue ribbon is pretty awesome. This time around, I had nothing on display though, but there were some pretty great pieces in contention.

 

Later, we watched the Blue Oyster Cult which was actually a really good show. I mean, who can forget SNL’s “Cow Bell” skit? They actually had someone play a cowbell during Don’t Fear the Reaper! And I totally chanted along to Go-go-go-godzilla!!! Haha!

Overall, it was definitely a fun day. It was hot, but hell, it’s summer in the East Bay, couldn’t expect any less. At least, it wasn’t as hot as LA ever got. One of the funniest scenes of the night was CCop getting some ice cream while I munched on my giant bag of kettle corn. He stood right next to these three pretty big, tough looking dudes, working so hard to lick away at their ice cream cones before their tower of flavors toppled over. There they were, four big guys, acting like little kids. It was awesome.

I’d definitely go again, once every year. It’ll be tradition. Yeah, that’s what it’ll be. =)


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from Clipart Today

Yikes!

Is it bad that I’m relieved I have a perfectly good excuse for avoiding Valentines Day for the second year in a row that I’m single?

I hate Valentines Day. Okay, fine…scratch that…besides these last two years, I’ve had one Valentines Day when I wasn’t in a relationship and even then, I went on a socially-pressured date. And the result of that was a friendship ruined because I couldn’t figure my own head out and do the right thing by going stag on Valentines Day.

Because a girl has to have a date for Valentines, right?

I mean, last year, I had two dates lined up and both of them purposely not on the actual day, but really, we all know it was to “celebrate” the day. I had sort of dreaded those dates coming up. Not that the guys weren’t perfectly awesome, because they were. If I had been in a better emotional place, I know one of them would have been Mr. Perfect for sure–the kind of guy you run to tell your mom about. The other guy was the kind of guy you showed off to your girl friends: Mr. Tall Dark and Foreign.

And around this time last year, I was trying so hard to fall in love again. But I just couldn’t, and I was too terrified of the prospect of another post-Valentines-Day-I’m-really-not-that-into-you fall out.

Then my grandmother passed away and I had to pack my bags and fly to the Philippines. I had to cancel Valentines Day. And I did not mind at all. In fact, it was the catalyst for my “Time Out” from dating until June.

This year, I’m almost glad I have the shelter of “studying for the Bar” to protect me from the social pressure of going out with someone on Valentines Day. It’s just that…Valentines is such a statement in this society that it’s kind of terrifying. What does it mean when I say yes to a Valentines Day date? What do I have to be next?

I don’t want to lead people on. Not especially when they’re friends and I hate stepping over and blurring the lines. It gets too complicated and the worst part is, I always come out of it one friend short.

I don’t know…I’m confused. I suppose there is one (or two) guys I would hope to go on a V-day date with. But this excuse also gives me a reason not to hope that he’d (they’d) bother to make plans. He (they) know that I’m in the midst of Bar-frenzy and cannot be disturbed. I’ll just pretend that that’s the reason why he (they) wouldn’t ask me out.

Maybe I’m just a coward?

Maybe I’m just not ready?

Someday, I’m going to have to figure it out. Because I can’t be possibly be (UN)lucky enough to have another catastrophic reason to miss Valentines Day for the third year in a row, right?

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Apparently, I am:

The Too-Busy-To-Date-Dater: You are a procrastinator and you always pack your days so full that you can’t focus on love or do anything to find love.  Maybe it’s your career or children, but you need to be proactive to find love.  You need to make finding love a priority and make time.  Quit using the excuse of your busy schedule as a reason to avoid your personal life.  If you really liked someone, wouldn’t you make time for them, no matter how busy you are?

Sad. But true. If I did, would I? Or would I just be too caught up in my own thing to return text messages, phone calls and emails? Aahhh!

On the other hand, this message was brought to me via a matchmaker-type of ad, so really, they WANT me to make the time to find “love” so that they can make money off of making me feel like I need someone else to make me feel whole. Right?

I can’t decide if I’m being a realist or being jaded.

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You ask me what my favorite memory is.

And I laugh and say that there aren’t many to choose from. It was meant to be a light joke, but I’m somber all of a sudden at the truth of the statement. There aren’t many and I doubt there will be many more.

It’s doubt that’s the enemy, isn’t it?

I tell myself to have faith. To believe. To hope.

But no, Buddha was right when he said:

There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.

But I do. I doubt. And it kills me.

You hear it in my voice and soon I hear it in yours. If I can’t have faith, how do I expect you to believe in me? If I refuse to believe in you, how can I expect you to stay?

“I’ll miss you, too.”

Is that your way of acknowledging that I’m pulling away? Is that you saying goodbye?

I close my eyes and sigh.

It’s the way you always curve your arm around my waist every time you walk by me. Whether I’m brushing my teeth or getting a glass of water, you pass by and your arm snakes around my waist slightly, then your hand runs across the small of my back before you continue on with wherever you’re going. It’s the way you give me that teasing look on your face when I get scared. You laugh and whisper encouragement but you always say, “Don’t look at me with those scared eyes.” You somehow know just how to bring the fearless out of me.

It’s the way you make me feel flawless.

It’s the way you lace your fingers with mine as we sit and talk with your friends, or when we’re sitting at the dinner table drinking our wine; it’s the way you squeeze my hand so hard I can feel your bones fuse with mine just before I say goodbye.

You ask me what my favorite memory is, and I want to say, “You are.”

But I can’t.

And so, someday, I know I’ll sit in front of the sunset feeling the sand slip right through my fingers and I’ll miss you, too.

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Trouble is…

If I’m not doing it, how can I expect you to do the same?

I could hope.

But then again, you could be hoping and I’m here knowing that it’s in vain.

I could be a fool.

But I don’t think I’m strong enough to be foolish.

I smell trouble. Worse, it’s a double standard on my part.

Evirrrr.

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It’s slightly out of rhythm at the thought of you.

My hands shake–they never shake.

I take in the beauty of you in bits and pieces, like looking through a viewfinder of a camera. I pan from the thick curls of your hair, the dark gold glint of the scruff of your jaw. My eyes trace the collarbone all the way to the simple sculpted V where the muscle of your shoulder joins your bicep.  I focus on the veins just beneath your skin, cording around your arms, disappearing as my eyes slowly find your fingers wrapped tightly over my wrist.

It’s thundering.

You can feel it, can’t you? The pulse just beneath the paper thin stretch of skin pounding against your fingertips.

You smile at me, I smile back as you slowly release my wrist and thread your fingers with mine. Then you pull me against you and we watch the sun rise, turning shadows into light, clearing the fog over the ocean.

You lean in and kiss the pulse just beneath my jaw.

“This is crazy.” You steal the words right out of me.

Yes, I know. Can’t you hear the beating of my heart?

The sun breaks through and the water is impossibly blue.

Blue. Impossibly blue. Like the belly of the ocean.I could fall into them and never find my damn way out. You know what I’m talking about.

You laugh suddenly, and I don’t know why, but now I’m laughing, too.

Because this is too damn crazy. I look down at your arms wrapped around me and I marvel at the way the dusting of light gold hair contrasts with the tan. I trace my fingers along your arm and carefully rest them over your pulse. I feel your smile over my shoulder.

And this is the sound of my heart beating.

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