I picked out this conference months ago - an oncology conference set in the historic Palace Hotel in downtown San Francisco. Last year, when I went to Monterey, I was on an isolated resort and was so relieved to have some time away from family obligations that I just ate in the resort hotel every night and retired to my room. And watched Obama win the election. And started my blog.
This year, I may not pay the exorbitant internet hotel fees, because before I even booked my plane dates or registered for the conference, I booked a night tour to Alcatraz. Recently, one of my good friends in the gross room went to New York City by herself - she saw plays, went sightseeing, crossed the Brooklyn Bridge. While she was on the Bridge, she saw a wedding party getting pictures taken. She was amazed, and wondered how they got there. She decided to ask a high-heeled, hot-pink satin clad bridesmaid.
"How did you all get here for pictures?"
The beautiful girl, who I saw in her trip pictures, answered loudly: "We Foo-kin walked! Can you believe that shee-it?"
So I was inspired, by her. Go to a big city by yourself, and instead of hole up in the hotel at night, see the sights.
I hear the night tour of Alcatraz is amazing. I will take a ferry to the island, watch the sunset, and listen to an audio tour of the prison after dark. Fitting, since among others, two of the books I have read in the past month are Monster, by Walter Dean Myers, which I picked up last spring at B&N and finally got around to reading, and Sleep Toward Heaven, by Amanda Eyre Ward - a great book about a doctor, a widow, and a woman on death row, that my mom gave me for my birthday. Monster won a lot of book awards, and I am glad to have read it, to pass along to my son when he is a teenager. Both books highlight the precarious lifeline between ourselves and those that end up in prison, even on death row. Circumstance, and life experience, can turn the tables in an instant.
I also learned that Wicked is playing at the Orpheum in San Francisco, from one of my partners. Again, I'm over the moon. A great musical that I haven't seen, and I read the book last spring. I called my pathologist friend that works at Stanford, and even though she may not make it to the musical, since she has a new baby and is still nursing, she is trying to coordinate a night to come to dinner with me in the city. My foodie brother, who ate at Alice Water's restaurant Chez Panisse last week (I'm so jealous!), is helping me find some great restaurants to get reservations.
When I booked my night tour, I worried, because I will be missing about two hours of the conference. Not typical schoolgirl behavior - but what the hell. You only live once.