Saturday, May 5, 2012

San Fran Odds-n-Ends + Thank You Universe

One of the things I loved about my few days in San Francisco was how wonderful I felt in the morning.   I found myself wide awake in the dark at 5:00 a.m. (that's 8:00 Eastern time) and then I had time to check e-mail while watching the sun rise next to the Transamerica Building. It looks a little short here since it is down the other side of the hill a bit from my vantage point.

We had lunch one day in a little sandwich shop a short walk from the hotel called "Toast". I selected the citrus salad, sans the goat cheese on the crostini. The flavor combination in this salad was eye-rolling good -- pink grapefruit, strawberries, avocado and onion on wild greens, all drizzled with a sweet balsamic vinaigrette. YUM! I left many of the raw onions off to the side.

Here's my dinner the night of the ceremony. It was in a brothy sauce that was quite good. I ate a fair amount of white flour products in San Fran, for which I am still paying the price.  I know if I had ventured out on my own I would have easily found whole-grain-and-bean goodness, but the main point was to be with my family, so that's what I did. A few days of double dosing the probiotics and I will be good as new.

Before I close the San Francisco chapter, I must share a "truth is stranger than fiction" story. Upon arriving in San Francisco, I opted to catch a cab to the hotel. I wheeled my carry-on across to the central median where the cabs were lined up. There were four of them, each with the driver standing outside of the car. I liked the looks of the driver furthest away. She was an older lady with white hair punctuated with patches of bright pink and blue. I walked up to her and she opened the trunk and picked up my very heavy bag. I felt guilty. As the trip to the hotel began, we started out with small talk that went deep pretty quickly. I told her why I was there, and about my Mom, and all about the Submariners' League and my grandfather and his loss on the Triton. She asked if I'd ever heard of the Thresher (!)

"Um, yes!" The Thresher was also a submarine which was lost. The cab driver had lost a boyfriend upon that vessel! Without that personal connection, why would this cab driver have even heard of the Thresher? Seriously, how many people even know someone who has been on a submarine, let alone someone who has lost their life on one? "Yes, universe," I was thinking, "I'm paying attention," At that point, I really needed to figure out who this person was, and we were stuck in traffic for an hour, so that worked out.

The driver's name is Murai. Early in her life, when her children were young, she was a clothing designer with I. Magnin in New York. She had about a decade of prosperous years in the designing business, mostly because she had a good friend as a partner who had patience for the less appealing aspects of the business -- the financial and accounting parts. Once that friend married and moved away, Murai realized the project had lost its bloom, and that she had concentration problems which was why the numbers business didn't appeal. Murai resolved to go to school to find out why she had what she self-diagnosed as ADD. She learned a lot about nutrition and holistic healing(!) She took a good look at her life and determined that she liked going to school, she liked creating, and she liked driving. Ever since this realization, she has been a cab driver. She has also been a student for over 40 years, taking classes at community college. For the last several years she has made a point of creating a piece of art every day. Driving cabs affords Murai a comfortable lifestyle, and the ability to travel the world, visiting her grown kids, one of whom lives in Holland. Murai said she never told anyone her age, but she intimated that she was older than my Mom. When we reached my destination, Murai apologized that the fee for the ride was so high. I gave her a 30% tip.

The hour I spent with Murai was a privilege and made me realize that there are no coincidences and there is more going on with the universe than we understand. I had to wonder if Mom had something to do with my crossing paths with Murai.


  1. That is such a cool story Cheryl! You are right, there are no coincidences.

  2. Hi Melissa -- just found this comment -- Thanks! I've seen some of your photos on FB -- pregnancy really agrees with you -- lovely!