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Ode to Loving Where You Live

View of San Francisco, Bay from Oakland Hills

I fell in love with San Francisco in the autumn of 1995. Wouldn't you? A juicy hotbed of 49 miles rife with creativity, innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, politically progressive ideas, and culinary excellence. Every time I look at San Francisco, I get a zing. That has never ceased. Mother San Francisco holds my heart like her sidewalks and neighborhoods anchor what we all know as (capital "T") "The San Francisco Bay Area." This isn't a view from my house...but it's a look at why it is so expensive to live here or possibly what made the New York Times  declare Oakland #5 (even though the views aren't mentioned).

My heart will always live in San Francisco, even if I never have. And speaking of hearts, 10 years after I discovered San Francisco, I got to work on the Hearts in San Francisco Project. It was the most fun I'll have ever have had writing a press release (for me, press releases have changed so much now, the form I knew them in doesn't really exist any more). My favorite was pitching the story about the stolen heart bikini (never recovered).

In late 1999, another city came into my life. She didn't exactly steal me from San Francisco, but she made darn sure I would never rest my head somewhere among those 49 miles. By 2000 Oakland was mine. It's a town that invites you to dive in (to the meal, to the avant garde, to an open house along Campus Drive--see the lead photo). Several years ago Oakland had a blend of experiences to offer the weekend visitor. Those elements are still here and both the good and the bad have grown.

But it isn't really about where you live. It's about how you live. Holding together the deck outside our house, I found something wonderful recently. A piece of metal made by Simpson Strong Tie. It's a company owned by a well-known Bay Area philanthropist. As his company's products hold my house together, I hold his values of giving back close. Give what you can. Leverage what you have, but not to excess. Ultimately, we can all affect the well-being of others (people, animal, planet).

So tell me in the comments:  where and how do you live?

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