Thursday, March 31, 2011

Additional Highlights (of my trip)

The Twin Peaks, uhm, piqued, my interest. Other highlights created memories that have lasted a lifetime.

Traversing the Golden Gate Bridge and hiking throughout the Marin Headlands remain among the more breathtaking travel experiences I have ever had. There is no way I can truly put into words the majestic nature of walking over the Pacific Ocean, seeing the city of San Francisco, climbing above the bridge on the Headlands, and losing myself for hours in the peaks and valleys.

The Bridge:

 And the bottom picture is the Headlands.

There was Pier 39

I'd go here for fun, and to eat the scrumptious bread baskets with White Clam Chowder -- eating the bowl when I was done with the soup!

I went to two baseball games. On June 7, 1997, I saw the Braves (my team) play the Giants. Greg Maddux was his usual masterful self. He had a perfect game going late, before allowing the Giants to tie on a 2-run homer by Glenallen Hill. But the Braves rallied in the ninth, thanks to a triple by Kenny Lofton, in his only season with the Braves. Mark "Bay City" Wohlers shut the door, striking out Barry Bonds to end it. Contrary to popular belief, he hadn't yet folded his tent, despite his struggles in the 1996 World Series.

And on June 14, I saw the Oakland A's play the Colorado Rockies in the first year of interleague play. Of note, Mark McGwire still played for the A's, and Jose Canseco and Walt Weiss also played for the Athletics that day.

I saw Haight/Ashbury, and Coit Tower (I apologize for the quality of the pictures, and the orientation of the tower).

Not pictured -- visits to Golden Gate Park -- quite spectacular.

And, the unheralded Sutro Bath, ruins of the worlds largest indoor swimming pool.

There was finding $40 on top of a video game -- on my 26th birthday, June 26, 1997. I spent the money on dinner at The Stinking Rose.

There was Ghiardelli Square, great for a chocolate lover like I was.

It may have only been my first travel experience, and I may not have maximized my time. But oh, what memories I have!

It is no wonder I returned in 2003.

Those First Steps

I left for San Francisco on Thursday, May 22, 1997.

Why San Francisco? Well, one answer comes from one of my many heroes -- Winnie the Pooh, from author A. A. Milne's The House at Pooh Corner:

"We'll go because it's Thursday"

So why, on this particular Thursday, did I choose San Francisco?

I had contacts there, friends of my sister. I had met them on an interview for graduate school in 1995. At that time, I had gone out to a night club, where a woman had asked me to dance. So I got some mild flirting, along with exceptional sight-seeing. Naturally, there was magic in this city (sarcasm mode if you couldn't tell :) ).

I had no idea what I was doing. I thought there would me magic answers out there, and I would be transformed into a "better" person. I definitely grew from this trip, but not in any magical, transformational way.

One of my supervisors told me that you learn to do psychotherapy by doing it. My thoughts? That is an oversimplification. As it regards my trip to San Francisco, while I was preparing, people asked me what I wanted to do, and encouraged me to research the city. I had no idea what I wanted to do -- it was the city that would do the wokr of transforming me! So I came in blind, not knowing how to maximized my time in San Francisco. I wasn't going to research anything -- I was taking time off! Research is work! But I did learn about traveling, and the magic of San Francisco, by following my future supervisor's advice, and "just doing it!"

The sight-seeing I had done in 1995 included my friend taking me to the Twin Peaks. I was certain I would hike there every day, picking up good fitness habits, becoming a new person. Yeah, right. But I did enjoy the Twin Peaks on several occasions.

The following picture is a digital picture of a picture I took with a disposable camera, memorializing one of my hikes to the Twin Peaks.

I think this picture is perfect in its imperfections. It shows how, uhm, primitive I was in my travels in 1997 as compared to now. I bought a cheap, disposable camera in San Francisco, not planning ahead, and "winging it." This is a beautiful representation of my first step of traveling.

I probably weigh in the 160s in this picture -- about 30 pounds more than I weigh today. I hadn't hit, or even remotely approached my high-water mark of 265. I was still in denial, eating fatty, carbohydrate-laden foods, with no concept of how they would affect me long-term. I was naive in weight management, as I was naive in traveling.

As for the Twin Peaks, I felt as if I was on top of the world every time I was there -- I loved looking down and seeing the beautiful city of San Francisco. It may have been a first, primitive experience, but it is remembered as much for its beauty as it being my "first."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


In 1997, I decided to take a break from my studies to be a psychologist. I had been a student since I was five years old, and thought I might find some answers "out there." I flew to San Francisco in search of those answers. By the end of the Summer of 1997, I had spent considerable time in San Francisco, CA; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; Vancouver, BC; and San Diego, CA; as well as brief (hours) in Tijuana. These travels included attendance at four major league stadiums -- the now defunct Candlestick/3Com Park; the Oakland Coliseum; the now defunct Kingdome; and Qualcom Stadium.

I consider this the beginning of my identity as a traveling man, as well as the beginning of my interest in seeing major league baseball stadiums. My experiences in both arenas have multiplied over the years. The "answers" I have searched for have come, and I continue to search. They did not come in big, dramatic waves. Sometimes, they were years in coming. In this blog, I will share what I have learned.

The first answer I will share is my need to be humble. I have, in fact, become a psychologist. I have learned much from supervisors, mentors, and patients. I know I don't have all the answers, and it's okay that I don't have them. In this blog, I hope to learn from those of you who read and respond to what I write -- for all I have seen in the 49 States I have visited, there is a lot left to see, and I hope you, my dear readers, can speak to what else there is to see.

I am also proud, as I approach 40 years of age (my birthday is June 17, 1971), to say that I am currently successful in managing my weight. Here is a picture of me in December of 2007 -- I got electrocuted for gluttony at the Criminal Hall of Fame in Niagara Falls!

The picture on my blog was taken at a Knicks game on March 13, 2011.

How did I do it? I am happy to share my journey and the "secrets" I have learned. I look forward to our correspondences, both what I will share, and what I will learn from you.

Thank you and God Bless -- Eric