Monthly Archives: November 2014

Thanksgiving Walk

These are pictures from my walk with Molly Thanksgiving morning.  We walked around the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District water treatment ponds.  It isn’t far from the freeway but it is a world away.  Fields and marshes surround the paths and the only sounds were gravel crunching under my feet and birdsong.

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It was a hazy morning and Mt Tam was just visible in the distance.

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As I walked along, I was thinking about all the goodness in my life.  There are so many things I’m thankful for.

I’m grateful for my wonderful, imperfect life.

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I’m grateful that I live in a place crisscrossed with beautiful paths to walk and hike.

I’m grateful to live and work where I see Mt. Tam nearly every day.

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Though we have no pets of our own in our small apartment, I’m grateful for the frequent visits of a neighbor cat.  She wants nothing more than to be petted and loved and soaks up any attention we give her.  I, in turn, get the benefit of lower blood pressure and raised serotonin levels.

I am glad and grateful to have a happy dog to join me on this walk.  When I go to pick up Molly, she greets me with exuberance.  I’m thankful to have my health to get out and walk or exercise most days.

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I’m very thankful for the latest health updates of two family members.

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My sister-in-law was just released from the hospital the day before Thanksgiving and is recovering. My brother continues to slowly heal from a major health crisis last spring.  I’m so grateful for their improving health.

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I work with people that I respect and I have their respect in return.  Some of my colleagues are sure to make me laugh and though I don’t see them every day at work, I can count on seeing some of them every week and for this I’m grateful.

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I have so many wonderful memories of my dad and though I miss him I don’t have that feeling of deep sorrow when I think of him as I used to. I think of him often and sometimes it is with sadness and tears that he is gone and other times it is just a sweet memory or something I think he would like.

Across one of the ponds I saw an old-fashioned windmill and I thought he would have liked it.  He liked old barns and this windmill made me think of him which made me glad.

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I’m thankful for all my friends and family.  I’m glad to see my mom every Saturday and eat lunch together.

The crafting I fit into my life, the books I get from the library every few weeks, and the singing I share with other women in the Threshold Choir all add richness, variety and even joy to my daily routines.  Writing this blog and having readers all over the world delights me and I’m very grateful for every one of you.

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The one that has my heart is Rem.  I am so very grateful for his humor, caring and love.

As Molly and I looped back around to where my car was parked, I looked again at the familiar outline of Mt. Tam.  I have so much that I’m thankful for.

Thank you for your visit and a special word of gratitude for every comment. I appreciate every one.

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A Visit to Pinterest HQ

Welcome to Pinterest

After our morning walk (in a steady drizzle), my sister Kathleen and I went to #38 Makers Show at Pinterest Headquarters on Saturday.  I was delighted to see their space, and attending a Pinterest-curated craft fair of SFMade vendors was also pretty cool.

The weather had cleared up by the time we got into the city.  There was a line outside the brick warehouse in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood.

One end of line Getting closer

Although it wrapped around the corner, it was moving fairly steadily.  As we chatted in the sunshine, a staffer brought around a tray of cookies and pointed out cider at a nearby table so the wait was really pretty nice.

Autumn Cookies

Once we got inside, there was music playing in the large, industrial space.  A buffet table was loaded with delicious snacks for munching, and there were interesting things to look at in every direction.

A large blue assemblage to one side served as both a room divider and artwork.  It reminded me of “It’s A Small World” at Disneyland.

Blue Room divider

More blue

We stopped for a nibble before checking out the vendors.

Menu

Just for fun I had scribbled out a “Pinterest Bingo” card for each of us. I made a list of items that I thought we might see at a Pinterest event.  Kathleen rolled her eyes a bit but went along with my silliness.  We saw infinity scarf and Mason jars before we even got inside!  Other items I was able to cross off were fingerless gloves, ampersand, chevron pattern and cake platter.  We didn’t see spray-painted plastic animals, something felted,  something Steampunk, tissue paper or washi tape.

This is a wall with pictures of some of the original pinners on Pinterest.

Wall of users

I decided not to take pictures of the crafts because it was crowded and a little tricky to get good quality photos, which they all deserve.

Here are links to some of the sites of makers that had products that caught my eye.

3 Fish Studios – I love the graphic of the bear hugging the state of California.

BikeWrappers – Reflective, protective, decorative wraps for your bike frame.

b-spired – Greeting cards made from laser cut wood.  They also had some wooden bow ties, laser cut ornaments and cute old-fashioned toolboxes.

DDCC – Dirty Diana’s Clean Clothing – Beautiful active wear for women. “Live clean. Get Dirty.”

Drywell Art – Quirky artwork for eaters and drinkers – lots of diagrams and charts.

Hilside Bags – Zippered bags in tons of fabrics and many different sizes, with oilcloth lining.  You can do custom-order at her website and choose the exterior fabric, interior oilcloth lining and color zipper or choose an exterior and let the designer choose the others for a more economical option.

Kika’s Treats – Locally sourced sweet treats, like the delicious caramelized graham crackers dipped in chocolate, with alternative sweeteners, no white sugar or corn syrup.

note*ify – City-inspired cards and other paper products.

Poco Dolce – Delicious gourmet chocolates

Richshaw Bagworks – I was tempted by their graphic Golden Gate Bridge tote bag and at their website found cool customizable backpacks, messenger bags and other bags and totes.

Sharon Zimmerman Jewelry Design – Modern jewelry with interesting organic shapes.

Urban FarmGirls – Gorgeous living wreaths with grapevines and succulents.  Garden and plant design.

Usagi Team – Bow ties for the well-dressed pet.  Some with shirt collars, some without.

Wildebeest – Pet leashes, collars, harnesses, and my favorite, the “meadow” pet rug.

There was something for everyone, including this pup.

Golden

The show was set up in the wide open first floor cafe space.  Office areas and the stairs were cordoned off, but there was plenty to see.

Ready Steady Go

DIY

How about this office desk…

Office Desk

made from a car?

made from a car

harassment Nothing GoodBoring Shit

Pinterest offices are pinned on a full wall-sized world map – this just shows the a portion.

Map

Conference Rooms are named after Pinterest trends (is Kale available?  OK, let’s meet in Ombre then).  And if you want to meditate or nap, just slip into the Quiet Room.

Shhhh

A stacked suitcase/plant stand.

Plant stand

How about a Lego wall?

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As we left, we got a freebie: Pinterest artists were silk screening posters on the spot and giving them away.

38 Makers Poster

SFMade is holding a holiday gift fair on December 13 & 14 but it won’t be at Pinterest.  It is at Fort Mason Center, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and it is free entry.

We stopped by the San Francisco Wholesale Flower Mart and though we saw some beautiful flowers, Kathleen just bought one succulent.

Succulent

I’m sure it would have been bustling in the early morning on a week day but it was fairly quiet on this weekend afternoon.

Pink & White

Purple

For more photos of the Pinterest Offices, check out this BuzzFeed article.

Thank you for your visit.

Bay Leaf Pepper Berry Wreath

 

 

 

 

 

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Fall Colors

Yellow Red Grape Leaves

Here’s a quick photo post.  I had Veteran’s Day off and we went for a drive through the Sonoma and Napa valleys.

Yellow Red Dark Green

After a string of warm, sunny days, it was a cool, foggy day.

Down the row

Purple Grapes

Stripes of crops

Trailing Red Leaves

The tapestry of different colors was beautiful.

Big Red Leaf

Glowing, Warm Color

Yellow Vines in Rows

Vines on a hill

Thanks for stopping by.

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Darkness & Light

Day of the Dead altar 2014

Rem and I set up our Dia de los Muertos altar last weekend.  Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead is a not an event from the culture either of us grew up in but we borrow or share it with our neighbors here in San Rafael and San Francisco.

Each year the altar is a little different. It seems like each year we have new names to add to our garland of hearts.

Heart Garland

This year we included sweet Ruby and I found a photo of a much younger Rem and a young Ruby to display.

Ruby Girl with Rem

In addition to our altar, we attended the San Francisco celebration for the first time.  This included a Festival of the Altars in Garfield Park and a Procession with traditional Aztec dancers, artists, activists and community members.  I like the description on the Dia de los Muertos SF site about the event:

Dia de los Muertos is a traditional Meso-American holiday dedicated to the ancestors; it honors both death and the cycle of life. In Mexico, neighbors gather in local cemeteries to share food, music, and fun with their extended community, both living and departed. The celebration acknowledges that we still have a relationship with our ancestors and loved ones that have passed away.

In San Francisco, Day of the Dead has been celebrated in the Mission district since the early 70s with art, music, performances and a walking procession, which help us contemplate our existence and mortality — a moment to remember deceased friends and family, and our connections beyond our immediate concerns.

Altar in SF

So – a holiday that remembers and honors our loved ones that have passed away, and uses both food and art in the celebration. This is Pan de Muerto, or “bread of the dead,” a sweet bread yeast bread, from our altar last year.

Pan de Morto 2013

At Craft Gym in late October we made Papel Picado or perforated paper, used as decoration for different occasions but for Dia de los Muertos, it usually depicts humorous and whimsical skulls and skeletons.

Homemade Papel Picado

Rem and I have some beautiful papel picado that we bought on a visit to Tijuana with much more detailed and elaborate designs.

commercial papel

Artisans using traditional methods use chisels to cut through about 50 sheets of tissue paper at a time but machine made versions are also available.  I cut mine with scissors and did one sheet at a time.

In our celebration of Dia de los Muertos, I notice the contrasts: skulls that are made of sugar, bright, festive colors instead of the more familiar dark ones used around death and grieving in our culture.

Candles glow on our 2013 altar.

Candle Lit Altar 2013

This past weekend I paid a visit to my dad’s grave. It was late in the afternoon and from the path below his grave, I could see the piece of abalone shell set into his gravestone, catching the rays of the setting sun.

I hiked up the hillside  and cleared away stems and dried up flowers from the site, arranged some fruits and vegetables of the season, then scattered the dried flower petals around. I still feel deep sadness and miss my dad terribly, but I also honor his memory in many ways, including lighting candles on an altar for Dia de los Muertos.

After shedding a few tears, sharing some current events and singing some songs, I took a final look at his grave.  The colors of the abalone shell, glowing in the last, diffused sunlight were beautiful and reminded me that even as our days become shorter and we’re entering the darkest part of the year, there is still light and beauty to be found.

Thank you for your visit. Thank you, Rem, for sharing your photos.

Altar 2014

 

 

 

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