The question I have been getting the most these days, after "How are you?", is "Where are you?". You probably know through recent comments and posts that I've been spending a lot of time back and forth between Southern California and San Francisco.
As much as I love San Francisco, it seems the only way to keep my sanity lately is to be on the move - constantly busy, and constantly changing the scenery.
Though most of the time I fly Jet Blue between here and Long Beach, I take the chance whenever I can to drive up Highway 101. Those who are the pedal-to-the-metal types take Highway 5 and brag about how quickly they can get from Los Angeles to San Francisco. I, on the other hand, am a meanderer. I only drive when I have time and won't be stressing about getting home, and often split my driving over two days, as I have some great friends with two fantastic kids who live halfway up the state.
Highway 101 holds a lot of memories for me. When I was in college with a new car, friends and I would drive a couple of hours up for an adventure in Santa Barbara or Solvang or Pismo Beach. When I first moved to San Francisco from Huntington Beach, my good friend Rachel and I made the drive on 101. I used it to drive home to my family in the dark days after September 11, 2001. And I happened to drive up Highway 101 on the day that J. and I had our first date. I have driven it when I couldn't wait to get to my final location, and also when the journey was in the drive. Driving on 101 grounds me. It reminds me of where I came from and where I am trying to go.
These days, the drive can be bittersweet, but it also helps to feel comforted in the memories.
Driving through the bountiful farm land and vineyards along 101 -- in the Salinas Valley and the Central Coast -- helps center me ideologically as well. Some of my best brainstorms have come from this drive, including hashing out the "10 reasons to Eat Local" post. It also doesn't hurt that the food along Highway 101 is plentiful on each exit, and there are farmers' markets to entertain me every day of the week.
So the answer to "where are you" today is that I am home. Home with my new chair. Home with my view of the dog park. Home with my friends who keep me as occupied as I want to be. Home with my farmers' markets. Home with Rainbow Grocery. Home with Pesce and Darbar and Gourmet Carousel. Home in San Francisco.
More information about food on Hwy 101 can be found in my 2-part Bay Area Bites post:
Title from the old nursery rhyme "To market To market":
To market, to market to buy a fat pig;
Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.
To market, to market, to buy a fat hog;
Home again, home again, jiggety-jog.
To market, to market, to buy a plum cake;
Home again, home again, market is late.
To market, to market, to buy a plum bun;
Home again, home again, market is done.
To market, to market, a gallop a trot,
To buy some meat to put in the pot;
Three pence a quarter, a groat a side,
If it hadn't been killed it must have died.