It's About Time

This morning I spent a good five minutes looking for the door to number six on my advent calendar, cursing Cadburys for their shoddy advent calendar-making and fuming about what exactly they had against the number six (was it something to do with 666, I pondered?) before realizing that ah! Of course! Silly me! I'd already opened door number six yesterday, and today was in fact December 7th.

And then I fell over on the floor. Because really! December 7th! How has it come to this? How is it December? How have we already had a week of December? I mean, do you know what happens in December? What happens, in fact, three weeks and one day from December 7th, which, BY THE WAY, IS TODAY?

I move to San Francisco, that's what.

(Oh, come on, did you think I was going to say Christmas? Did you think I was worried about Christmas? That old chestnut? Pah! I don't have time to worry about Christmas; I'm too worried about moving to San Francisco!)

Because holy bejesus butterfinger, I am moving to San Francisco. (Did you like that? Holy bejesus butterfinger? I liked that. It may replace sweet cracker sandwich as my non-expletive expletive of choice.) I am moving to San Francisco on December 29th which means that I will be arriving both homeless and jobless in the most expensive city in America just in time for New Year's Eve. That should work out perfectly!

Since I make lists to deal with my worries the way other people order shots or buy shoes, I decided to make a list of things I'm looking forward to about moving to San Francisco, and also a list of things I'm worried about. And that ended up looking a little something like this:

Things I Am Worried About With Regard To Moving To San Francisco
1. Not having an apartment, and having to look for one.
2. Not having a job, and having to look for one.
3. Paying approximately 113% more rent than we paid in Charleston. (This is not an arbitrary amount, by the way. Sean just did some Poverty Math and figured it out.)
4. Spending all my savings because I'm needing way more chocolate and wine than I budgeted for. Also, more Netflix rentals. See 1 and 2.
5. Earthquakes.
6. Having to find a place to park The Cursed Car That Would Not Sell, I Mean, Really, South Carolina, What Is Wrong With You? Because apparently I am keeping this car now. And paying for it. Because no-one else wants it. Like it's my fault they never learned to drive stick.
7. Leaving my family.
8. Negotiating hills. In a stick shift. In my car. The one that would not sell. Did I tell you it would not sell? Did I tell you how crazy I found this?
9. Having to go on job interviews and, like, impress people and shit.
10. Not being cool enough for San Francisco. (No, seriously, I am worried about this. Don't I need, like, asymmetrical hair to live in San Francisco? Or a yoga mat? Don't I need to like sushi? And maybe be vegetarian? And know someone who knows someone who knows that guy from the Decemberists? I'm worried my glasses aren't going to be ironic enough. Really. I'm worried I'm going to look like a tourist and no-one will ever stop me and ask for directions. This is the kind of thing that keeps me awake at night. I swear.)

Things I Am Looking Forward To About Moving To San Francisco
1. Target

No, I'm sorry, that's really not fair. It's actually more like this:

Things I Am Looking Forward To About Moving To San Francisco
1. Target
2. Being able to wear my Jackie O. coat.

And of course there is Jemima, Jemima who moved from Charleston to San Francisco in September, Jemima who paved the way, and who will be my only friend in San Francisco, an honor she will undoubtedly want revoked once she has received the 89th phone call from me bemoaning my lack of a job, or asking for her to accompany me to the police station because I've rolled into the back of someone on a hill in my stick shift. The one that would not sell. Did I tell you about that?

So this would be the time where you say things like "oh! Don't worry! You'll love San Francisco! I know this great place you should go and it has the best coffee/falafel/crack! Here, let me give you the address!" and also "hey, don't be nervous, moving is hard, but you'll settle in!" and also "wait! I have a cousin who's moving out of his place and wants to rent it by January 1st! It has hardwood floors! And they allow cats!" and also (most importantly) "TRADER JOE'S! REMEMBER THE TRADER JOE'S!"

Maybe you even live in San Francisco and you'll volunteer to be my friend and we can do mini facials together and talk about boys and give poor Jemima a break. You can totally borrow my coat, and even if you spill mustard on it, I'll just laugh and say "oh! silly you!" and you'll insist that you pay for the dry-cleaning, and I'll say "no, no! Don't worry! Just keep being my friend!"

So how's that for a plan? Are we on? Are we?

Dec 07, 2006

I will move to San Francisco and be your friend, solely because of the coat.

Also? When I'm worried? I buy shoes. Which explains a lot, doesn't it?

Dec 07, 2006

I am also addicted to Jemima's blog, and when she said she was moving to San Francisco, I breathed a sigh of relief for you. Holly will know someone, I thought! Well that makes things so much better. She'll have someone to tell her where she can park her car and where the best grocery store is and which neighborhoods are overpriced.... phew! Because I was seriously worried for you, as worrying is pretty much what I do best, and moving stressed me out so much the last time that I made myself physically ill for several weeks prior.

I feel better about your move, is what I'm saying. Does that make you feel any better? If not, just look at that coat. Holy bejesus butterfinger, that is one AWESOME coat.

Dec 07, 2006

Really, I had no idea they even MADE the Jeep Liberty with a manual transmission! That makes them cooler. (you Do Have A Jeep Liberty, right?) On the hills? Just peel out to avoid rolling backwards into other people's cars. Sure, you 'll have to replace your tires more often, but that's cheaper than a collision deductible.

It is fabulous that you already have a friend in San Fran though - maybe she can find an apartment and a job for you, and then you could lend her your coat for thanks. That would be a good friend.

Dec 07, 2006

Without a job, how can you afford to turn down my offer of dry-cleaning?

Dec 07, 2006

I am going to set you up on a blind internet friendship date. Head over to She Just Walks Around With It ( Kristy is super-fun and super-smart and also a writer and lives in -- wait for it -- San Francisco!

Dec 07, 2006

I have a friend in San Francisco! I will get you her email. She's my very best shopping friend, you know, the type who tells you that you should purchase the ridiculously overpriced shawl/wrap thingie that you think to yourself you will A) never wear and B) never be able to afford but then you buy it ANYWAY, and it turns out you wear it all the time.

Like, way more than all the $5 shirts from clearance at Gap, the ones you bought alone, and convinced yourself you were being economical about.

So anyway, she's a great friend to have, for that any many other reasons. Her name is Jess. I will get you two hooked up.

wood from sweetjuniper
Dec 07, 2006

1. Your coat will be perfect.
2. You are plenty cool enough for San Francisco
3. Our friend says that our landlord hasn't rented our old apartment yet. It has a garage and an extra parking spot. I'm not telling you this because you should live there (but you could!), but because I think the rental market has been cooling off and it shouldn't be too hard to find something that suits you.

good luck! you're going to love it.

Dec 07, 2006

oh holly! you're going to love it there.

actually, i've never been. but can we stay with you when we visit some day? i say this because i have no doubt that you won't be homeless for long.

let me know if you'll be driving through dc again! and i'm sorry that this comment is so bland and boring but lately so am i.

Dec 07, 2006

The great thing about San Francisco is that anything goes. No one there is any cooler than anyone else because everyone is so unique. There is no other city that I've ever been to where I immediately felt at home. I lived there about 9 (!) years ago, but got married there this past May. It's still and forever will be wonderful. No worries, Holly!

Dec 07, 2006

You will love it. You will find a job, but make sure it's not at a certain company that is ALWAYS hiring writers in the Bay Area and whose name I can't print here but whose name I will tell you if you email me and it will save you five kinds of time and heartache. Finally, I won't tell you about how we burned out the clutch on Powell Street but I WILL tell you that you need to regularly travel all the way out to the end of Geary Street, pull into the parking lot by Louis', and take the little dirt path leading out of the north side of the lot, then, after about 50 feet, cut off the path toward the ocean and climb the rocks until you get to as close to the water as possible. Then you can sit and think and be happy that you live in San Francisco.

Dec 07, 2006

ok, so i don't actually live IN san francisco... i am just a hop, skip and a jump down highway 101 in san jose. you are going to love it. i'll be your friend. we can get your hot pink kitchen aid mixer and my brand new pink one together for some mixing. ;)

Daily Tragedies
Dec 07, 2006

I will totally be your friend! Why, yes, it's a two hour drive down from Sacramento, but no bother! SF is WAY more fun than Sacto!

Also, I will send you a fabulous list of places to have spend all your savings on wine and chocolate. And, if you're lucky, you can make some new friends there, too!

Dec 07, 2006

Listen to me you are going to be FINE and you are going to love it. Come on! It's San Francisco! You'll be writing for some incredibly swish magazine and carving out your meteoric rise to journalism stardom before you know it. A good friend of mine lives there and I can hook you up via email if you like. Also, doesn't Maggie from MightyGirl/MightyGoods live there? YOU ARE SET. All will be well.

Dec 07, 2006

If I lived there, we could totally be friends and give each other manicures and wander Trader Joe's together.

But I don't.

But as you already know, I wish I did.

Except the earthquakes, too, because: freak out. Am I going to get sucked into a deep, dark 5' crevice and die?

That said, you will love it. You'll get a job. You'll impress people. And I'm willing to bet you won't be homeless.

Kyran, Notes to Self
Dec 07, 2006

Frankly, don't go.

Think of the earthquakes.

Come to Little Rock, which is cool enough to appreciate you for being talented and gorgeous, but not so cool that you'd fade into the background beside thousands and thousands of other cool, talented and gorgeous people about to be swallowed up by the gaping abyss.

You and Sean would be practically like movie stars here. Also, you could babysit for me.

Dec 07, 2006

Well, I think San Francisco is totally you and you are totally San Francisco. But if you two don't fall in love and all that, move on up to Oregon. Portland is pretty awesome too.

Dec 07, 2006

Drive your car to a CarMax in the metro DC area. Their ads claim (claim not verified by me--I'm still driving my old clunker) that they will buy your car even if you don't buy one of theirs. It's a used car dealership, really big. I'm SURE this is on your way to San Fran, right?

Dec 07, 2006

If you find that you are not cool enough for San Francisco- and honestly these days I feel like people are wearing costumes when they are actually just their outfits- do you have your skinny jeans and high heels and 80's rocker shirt handy?- I will totally do facials with you. But early, cause I go to bed at like 9.

But seriously, email me- I have a temporary apartment idea for you.

Amanda Perino
Dec 07, 2006

Aw. How sweetly paranoid you are.

Dec 07, 2006

People asked me for directions all the time when I lived in NY and I was by far the least cool person in the whole City. I think it has more to do with not looking scary. But yes, I did get excited each and every time since clearly I appeared to be a real actual New Yorker. Then sometimes I accidentally sent them off in the complete wrong direction, thereby ruining the impression.

Dec 07, 2006

Oh Holly! Moving gives me the heebie-jeebies too. (I've already got them on your behalf, and on my behalf, because I'm moving in 9 months and IT'S NEVER TOO SOON TO START WORRYING, of course). But you will LOVE San Francisco! It's possibly the greatest place on earth (I say possibly, because I don't get out much. And I'm in Salt Lake City, so really, anywhere else sounds pretty good right now.) And don't you dare say you're not cool enough. You are beyond cool enough. SF will shrink at your coolness and beg for mercy.

Dec 07, 2006

I don't live in San Francisco. I've actually never even BEEN to San Francisco. But I hear it's lovely, and if I ever make it there, I will totally come to visit you and admire your coat.

Dec 07, 2006

Hooray for you! My brown eyes just turned green with envy for a moment.

The Best Dim Sum in the world (well, the western world at least, since I haven't toured Southeast Asia for months on end like some people), can be found at Yank Sing (

Wait until after you've landed the fab job, though, since it's kinda pricey. Worth EVERY DAMN penny, though.

Dec 07, 2006

I'm de-lurking to say that although I only know the online Holly, she is definitely cool enough for SF. Moving is a traumatic experience, but never fear, you will find a great job, apt and friends.

Love your blog and I'm looking forward to reading about your new Californian life!

Dec 07, 2006

Hi Holly--I've been a regular reader for awhile and finally am leaving a comment! I moved to SF from Chicago almost four years ago and I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions of my life. Moving is always stressful but life here is definitely worth it. You are incredibly funny and seem to be a brilliant girl, so you will thrive here! I'm not an expert on the city by any means, but if you ever want advice, please let me know and I'll do my best to help. Good luck!

Dec 07, 2006

Don't forget the currency that is your accent. That'll get you invited to all the cool parties right off the bat.

Dec 07, 2006

The earthquakes are only bad on Thursdays.

Dec 07, 2006

Go to and see the writers that they need in SF area. At lest you can start as a freelancer.

How about this:

Good luck!

Dec 07, 2006

You should be worried about all of those things on your list. And just when the worries start to steamroll you onto the floor say, "So what? I'm going to be living in San Francisco! One of the prettiest, charming-est, tastiest, best-est cities in the world!" I remember walking down the street with my friend who lived there and she was complaining about her boyfriend, life, job, apartment and thinking, "Yeah, all that sucks, but it sucks in San Francisco, which makes it so much better." Does that make any sense? It will all work out, I promise.

Dec 07, 2006

1) You are plenty cool enough
2) You will absolutely love it
3) The weather will remind you of England
4) You will swoop in and dazzle many at interviews and end up with a hypercool yet fun and meaningful job in publishing
5) You will see your cats again
6) You will see Jemima all the time
7) You can eat at California Pizza Kitchen and have the best Waldorf Salad ever
8) You can always move to NZ if it doesn't work out - they have stick shift over here and your car will be worth a fortune

Dec 07, 2006

Craigslist is also great for scoping out apartments, too.

I would offer to be your friend, but I don`t think I`m cool enough --- I`m like 15 or so years older than you, I`m chubby and frumpy, I have three kids, and I`m a room parent at my kids` Catholic school -- plus, even though I`m also a journalist, I`ve been pretty much unemployed since we moved here and have only recently begun to try to go back, so I can`t even give you any good job-hunting advice. Doesn`t that make you want to meet me? Sometimes I think I`m not even cool enough just to read your blog....

Our family relocated to SF from Tokyo about a year and a half ago because of my husband`s job transfer, and we now live on the southern side of the city (near City College). You will surely end up in a much cooler neighborhood, but SF is so small (compared to Tokyo) that even if you`re completely across town, you won`t be far away at all.

We go to Target ALL THE TIME.

Dec 07, 2006

I had never driven a stick shift until I moved to San Francisco. There was much wounded dignity, but nary an accident. First gear up the hills, second gear down, and remember to breathe while parallel parking on a steep uphill incline. (I almost passed out the first time I tried.)

Best coffee: Philz
Best burritos: El Metate
Best place for bonfires: Ocean Beach
Best place to shop when you're eating on $25/week: Trader Joe's, baby!

If you want someone to shop with, or drink coffee with, or dissect for San Francisco info, or anything else really - let me know. I'd love to apply. I'll even bake you Welcome to San Francisco cookies. (Yes, that was a blatant bribe. I am shameless.)

Dec 07, 2006

Think of it this way - you'll be like thisclose to the Napa Valley! Hello! Wine! I don't know anyone in SF but if you feel like taking a road trip I am more than happy to be your friend who lives in LA.

Dec 07, 2006

My previous offer to direct to you to our cool friends who live in Berkeley (but work in the city and know tons of people there) and manage an amazing apt. building from about the 20's still stands. I agree, your accent would automatically make you 'cool enough' for S.F. Driving is over-rated- sell your car and get a BART card!

Dec 07, 2006

Hell, you've almost convinced me to move to San Francisco just by mentioning Trader Joe's!

Dec 07, 2006

Think about it this way... you are that much closer to Singapore living here than in Charleston. I'm just across the Bay from San Francisco near Berkeley. Even better, there's a two-story Target over here in Albany - that alone merits a trip.

I second the Traders Joe's addition to the list. Also, there's IKEA and the new part of the Westfield Mall in SF (Bloomingdales!). BART is also a savior. Find something near the BART & Muni lines and you can sell your car when you get here.

There's a whole group of your readers living in the Bay Area. I for one am very happy that you're heading for the lovely Bay Area. You need to have a "welcome" event so you can get all your potential friends in one place at one time. Count me in!

Dec 07, 2006

I am the annoying one who must tell you 25 times to GO EAT AT TI COUZ. you will fit right in, and it is delish!!! please email you the moment you do this..... k? and when i come to visit, i will treat you to crepe when i drag you back again.

I am soo excited for you. I feel a flashback from 10 yrs ago coming about. now i am not cool enough to live there, and have to stay in SC with my two cool kids and cool lab :) have fun sister :)

Dec 07, 2006

Yes we're on for that. Just one pesky detail ... change "San Fransisco" to "Orlando."

Dec 08, 2006

The only thing you have to know about driving in San Franciso is how to blow the eff out of your horn. And probably how to NOT roll backwards into someone...but honestly, work on your horn.

Dec 08, 2006

Two words: Margaret Mason

Dec 08, 2006

I haven't lived in the Bay Area since grad school years ago, but here are my suggestions for a rainy day(I was back about 2 years ago and these places were still open and awesome). Head to North Beach (the old Italian neighborhood which borders Chinatown). Find a place to have an espresso and a chocolate something or other (there are tons of cafes - all awesome). Work your way over to CityLights bookstore (Lawrence Ferlinghetti started it I think) and browse forever finding no less than 20 books you have to have RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Take some time narrowing it down to 2 0r 3. Pay. Then head next door to Vesuvio (a fab bar). Order a guiness and then stake out a table upstairs which overlooks the alley (aka Jack Kerouac Lane). Work your way through one of your books and many Guiness. Before you get too drunk, stumble down the street to the House of Nanking (best Chinese food in town). Remember, they're only open for a few hours at lunch and a few at dinner. If the husband is seating people, you might get a good table. If the surly wife is there, she won't even let you order what you want. Stay anyway. It's that good. When you're full and happy, stumble back up to Vesuvio for an after-dinner drink. Then find your way to a taxi or BART and head home.

Sleep it off.


Horrible Warning
Dec 08, 2006

I see that IQ from Daily Tragedies has already offered to come from Sacto to be your friend...and now I have to offer, too. Any excuse to go to SF. Plus, fun with Holly!!

Oh, and I highly recommend having martinis with Miss IQ...

Dec 08, 2006

I have always been a skulking lurker in your blog, but now I will post to tell you that you must go to Yokoso Nippon--otherwise known as No Name Sushi. (I was going to tell you about Ti Couz, but one Jen beat me to it. Drink the pear cider! It is amazing!) Anyway, No Name Sushi is the best, cheapest sushi in the city. They are a tiny hole in the wall of DELICIOUSNESS. They have a byob policy, and there's a great little beer/wine store on the opposite corner to take advantage of that fact. You may have to wait a bit to get in, since it is so tiny, but you will be glad you did when you discover that you can gorge four people for less than $40. 314 Church Street.

Now I am jealous and excited for you. I might've moved to San Fran, but instead I moved to Boston. But! we too possess a Trader Joe's! I will continue to lurk and worry on your behalf for the move.

Sarah Marie
Dec 08, 2006

I think you'll fare well in SF. Even without asymmetrical hair and ironic glasses!

Dec 08, 2006

Holly -

I have been reading your blog for quite awhile now and I just have to say -

Holy Bejesus Butterfinger!!!!! If someone who's backpacked around Southeast Asia for months on end and writes an awesome blog isn't cool enough for SF, WHO FRICKIN' WOULD BE???

Everytime I'm in NYC, some poor soul asks me for directions. I'm from Kansas and I look like - hey! - a mom from Kansas, but I must look like someone who knows her way around NYC, either that, or my face is friendlier than the average New Yorker on the street.

I've only been to SF once, and I loved it, and I would have stayed, if I hadn't been 15 and on vacation with my parents. With your sense of adventure, resourcefulness, and talent, you and Sean are going to be just fine.

Dec 08, 2006

Finding the apt. might be the hardest part, but not impossible. If you don't have pets or kids you're a shoe in. I've lived in Singapore and San Francisco and they are both great. I grew up in the bay area (70's and 80's) and lived in the city after the '89 quake and in the 90's. Earthquakes are NOTHING to worry about. I know people freak when they hear about them but 99% of the earthquakes you won't even feel. I hate to break it to you but the closest Target is a good 25 minute drive, but it's better than no Target at all. I usually made a once a month trip for supplies. And they've opened two more Trader Joe's stores since I've moved out, so you're set. Don't worry about driving you can always get around the steep hills, it's not as bad as everyone thinks. I lived in the Sunset, Inner Richmond and downtown lower Nob Hill. I recommend the later two. If you have any questions, just e-mail me. You're going to love it, I've traveled all over the world and San Francisco is still my favorite city.

Dec 08, 2006

Are you kidding me? I sometimes feel wholly unqualified to even read your blog. To wit: I, like L. from "Homesick Home", am a good 15 years older than you, also with three kids, also frumpy. Target? One-stop shopping for me. My city only just now got a Trader Joe's, and last Saturday I snatched up the Charles Shaw wines like a lunatic, as if $3 wines were the epitome of cool. You, Holly are one of my Internet Arbiters of Cool, and soon you'll be living in one of my favorite cities, which should embrace, exalt and employ you in short order. No worries.

P.S. If S.F. is too hum-drum for you, Wisconsin is nice this time of year. There's only about 12 inches of snow on the ground (so far).

Dec 08, 2006

Your life is sooo exciting! I want it! Man, when I finish uni I must make sure to have such an exciting life as you do...

Dec 08, 2006

See, the fact that Cory, above, says that Target is a 25-minute drive PROVES that I live an uncool part of the city -- I can get there in 10, if I catch all the lights on the way to 280 and don`t get stuck behind a bus or something.

Dec 09, 2006

I like to think of SF as my surrogate home. I'm not cool enough enough to live there full time, now that I think about it I'm not cool enough to live in Charleston either

Dec 09, 2006

ONLY 113% more? I'm shocked. 'Cause the rents there have ZOOMED since I left. (We pay now what I paid in S.F. in the late 80's for my apt. We're about an hour+ out now.) I didn't know they'd actually put a Target in the City, but I see by Cory's comment that they haven't. I do take issue with one thing Cory said though...about earthquakes being no big deal...notice the comment says that she/he? moved there AFTER '89. I lived through Loma Prieta...and I'd been in a lot of quakes before then...that one scared me. But hey, welcome! ;) That said, I'm sure you'll have a fabulous time. After all, it's not only one of our most expensive cities, but also one of our best. As one of your other commenters said, if you tire of S.F., you can always head up to PDX. I've lived in both cities, and Portland's pretty damn hip. If we're headed into the City for a gig, I'll drop you an email (my mate's a musician). In the meantime, check out J's Pots of Soul in Hayes Valley for great breakfast...and everyone has to go to Glide on Sunday at least once in their lives. (I used to be a member.) It's downtown across from the Hilton. Good luck with the move!

Dec 11, 2006

I read Marilyn's response to my comments about the earthquakes, so here's the deal. I grew up in the Santa Cruz mountains (about 45 min. south of the city) Yes, there are earthquakes. My childhood home is half a mile from the San Andreas fault (the one responsible for the '89 quake). My parents home did suffer some damage BUT overall damage from that quake was big but could have been SO much worse. The building codes in the bay area are very strict and take into account the frequent earthquakes. Like I said earlier 99% of the earthquakes you won't even feel. The worst of the damage in the city was in the Marina district and that's because it's built on landfill. Landfill doesn't do well in earthquakes, so if that's a concern than don't live in the Marina district. Most of the city is built on bedrock. Yes, I moved to the city after the quake, actually a month after the quake. We drove over the bay bridge the first day it reopened after the quake. Our move more had to do w/wanting to support the city...lots of non-natives moved out of the city after the quake and rents took a tumble...always a good time to move back. =) Like I said before it's a beautiful city, enjoy it.

Dec 11, 2006

Oh, and by the way, I'm a girl/woman. I know the name Cory can go either way these days.

Dec 13, 2006

Hi Holly! I'm a lifelong resident of the Bay Area, who can say in a most authoritative tone that YOU are going to be right at home in SF. Don't sweat it at all. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find a native San Franciscan that's as cool as you are. AND! You already love Trader Joe's!! That's half the battle right there! And TARGET??!! Awesome. (The closest one is actually in Serramonte, I believe...but that's just a short drive.) Did you also know that there's an enormous Ikea (in Emeryville, by Berkeley) right across the Bay Bridge?? It'll take you like 15 min. to get there--but you must go on a week day, or else you might get trampled to death. Oh! And they just finished remodeling the SF Shopping Center-complete with BLOOMINGDALES. Guard your wallet. The final thing I'll bore you with: You must go to Ghirardelli Square and get an ice cream sundae. My favorite is "The Earthquake", but it is built to feed at least 4 people!!