A recent Friday at 3:08 p.m.:
After settling on a tiny pink cowboy hat, Penny Skwish put Lolly Squirrel on the dash of her car. They are headed to the Golden Gate Bridge to add one more San Francisco landmark to a growing archive of pictures they've made together over the years. "When I go to a place and take pictures, Lolly makes the pictures better - actually she makes the pictures perfect!" said Skwish, who received the plastic lawn ornament as a gift from a friend in 2003. Since then, the unlikely pair have traveled the West Coast and beyond, making memories with a point-and-shoot camera and little handmade outfits. "I just kind of think, if I were a plastic squirrel, what would I do?" she said. When she started collecting the snapshots, Skwish, who says she is naturally shy, would sneak her squirrel out of her bag for a quick photo in front of something like a cable car or an enticing piece of street art. But after a while she got over the idea that anyone would even care. "The weirdest thing is when nobody notices - when nobody says anything." Skwish hopes to eventually start a travel blog with some of the images she made of Lolly. Until then, she is content to enjoy their adventures. "It makes people laugh when I talk about her as if she's real," she said. "I don't think she's real. I don't talk to her in the car or anything like that. It's just kind of fun. Life can be too serious sometimes."
To see a multimedia production of this piece, go to sfgate.com/cityexposed. If you have ideas for the City Exposed, e-mail Mike Kepka at email@example.com.
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