Raw, noun: 13. unrefined sugar, oil, etc.

And cue the silence.

The mass holiday exodus has officially begun. I woke up this morning to quiet streets, the strange void of no doors slamming, and the exaggerated squeak of my bare feet on the hardwood floors. It's Christmastime in the City, and that means one thing: everyone flees.

High on the laundry list of reasons that San Francisco rocks my world is its nature as a haven for transients, a destination from which few have come and to which many have escaped. It's always been that way, really, since the Gold Rush days on, and it remains a city where people come looking for something, flush with high expectations of widespread granola and anti-Bush bumper stickers and wild sex orgies in the street. And, given the right time of year, all of those expectations can pretty much be fulfilled. The upshot of this is that with so many transplants and so few natives, the City really empties out come holiday time. It's at once eerie and fantastic, but I'll take it, though I do miss the low baritone rumblings of the guys next door, strangely enough.

They're playing the Yule Log this year again on TV on Christmas Day, and I've gotta say, it's on my calendar. As long as I'm in the house, that little baby is going to burn, burn, burn. Don't know what I'm talking about, you say? Read here for the story of this hilarious holiday tradition. I discovered it last year in the throes of a not-so-stellar Christmas, settled here at home on my sofa with a pan of lasagna, a half-empty bottle of Bailey's, and the tinny sounds of 1970s "Little Drummer Boy" carols coming from the TV. And at once the sick notion of a perpetually burning yule log ON THE TV and the strange comfort it gave me to know other people out there were watching this absurd shit made me smile, and take another swig of the Bailey's, before diving facefirst into my pan o' lasagna.

Enjoy the long weekend - and if you are anywhere near Denver, I hope you're loaded down with lots of hot chocolate, a bottle of Jack and a few good books. We've been complaining about the rain and the wind here, but all I have to do is read the news reports from Colorado to know that I'm immensely content to be exactly where I am. As for me, it's going to be a weekend of baking, yoga, a few little Christmas gatherings, and maybe a quickie service at Grace Cathedral - they really know how to do the music right, especially if you've got a hankering to sing a bit. Mostly, though, I'm psyched to take advantage of the girls upstairs being away by playing piano and wailing my guts out without having to worry about them stomping around (i.e. passive aggressively telling me to shut the hell up). Sweet! Gotta love those thin Edwardian walls.

Cheers, and happy holidays.

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