Yesterday, Nick and I took the kids to see a matinee of A Christmas Carol at A.C.T. in San Francisco. It was a great show -- and was even reasonably affordable with the 4-pack ticket special.
Afterwards, upon my having a near panic attack in Union Square, we decamped for the less-frenzied and -commercial climes of the Mission District. (As a child, my husband made an annual pilgrimage with his family to see the big tree and the window displays in Union Square, so he was warm and fuzzy associations with that particular holiday ritual. But for me, the idea of scratching my own eyes out is a more pleasant alternative to the surging crowds and the canned holiday music blaring out of the overheated stores there.)
First we checked out the Mission Indie Mart, which was just as packed and noisy as Union Square had been, but had a much mellower vibe.
We picked up a great little key holder from FluffyCo. for a mere $12 and stopped to admire the wares by Wexford Girl and Kate Durkin before the kids started mutinying.
Over on Valencia, we visited the new-ish Curiosity Shoppe, where our daughter had a tantrum, screaming "I. Want. To. Go. HOME!" and kicking my shin. I can therefore never show my face in this lovely shop again. (But I will most definitely sneak back sporting a head scarf and big sunglasses.) Anyway, tantruming daughter safely installed on the handy built-in window bench for a time-out, we quickly browsed the shop's Small Stakes exhibition and hastily purchased a couple of these awesome Graphic Mugs ($6 each) and Parasol and Panther Cap Porcelain Mushrooms ($20 for two).
And at Little Otsu a few doors down, we got this Lart Cognac Berliner 2008 Map Calendar for $11. It's kind of useless as a functional calendar for keeping track of dentist appointments and such, but it was too pretty to pass up.
Both kids were pretty much in full, tears-on-the-sidewalk meltdown mode at his point (and yes, we did try offering them some food, to no avail). There's nothing quite like being called "the worst parents EVER!" who "only care about yourselves and never do anything that WE like!" amid a swirling sea of twentysomething hipsters (all of whom, no doubt, headed straight home to their funky Mission flats and made appointments to have their tubes tied or other bits snipped) to make one feel old and hopelessly lame.
Anyway, gazing at the fish tank at the Pirate Store at 826 Valencia magically calmed them down, and we all actually enjoyed perusing the weird and wonderful wares at Paxton Gate next door (Laurel was particularly taken with the store's mounted Morpho butterflies) before tucking in to a yummy Thai dinner at Osha.
Afterwards, the kids had a blast wandering around X21 and cracking each other up with their reactions to the collection of strange and stranger nudes on display there. And we were all delighted by the charming handmade (by owner Yaeko Yamashita, who was there stitching away) goods at Laku Yaeko. It took great strength of will not to bring home the sweet knitted owl pillow that first drew me in from the sidewalk.
A perfect day? Hardly. But it did have its moments.