Tag Archives: San Francisco

San Francisco Outing #1


A few weeks ago Rem and I had a play day in San Francisco.  The campus where I work is closed on Fridays for eight weeks every summer (LOVE) and I like to make the most of these special days. Here are some of our pictures.

First stop: Spire. An outdoor art installation by sculptor Andy Goldsworthy. It is quite near Inspiration Point in the Presidio, which is where we parked, and also worth a visit.



Not very far away, we visited WOOD LINE, which is also in the Presidio.



We searched for a labyrinth but didn’t find it on this visit.

Instead, we climbed this beautiful mosaic stairway.


It starts deep in the ocean and goes all the way up to the sun!



From the ocean to a flowing river with plants and animals along the side.



And then, above the earth to the sky, moon and stars.  The moon is pieced together from pieces of mirror.


The stairway has handcrafted shapes of animals, flowers, fish, birds and stars with names of local sponsors pressed into them. It is really an incredible work of art.


And finally, at the very top is the sun.


At the top, looking back down.


From the top, we crossed the street and started climbing a whole bunch more steps to Grand View Park. If it had been a clear day, I’m sure the views would have been quite grand.

Our final destination? The concrete slides at Seward Mini Park.


We both had a few runs on the slides and Rem said it was his favorite thing of the whole day.


Thanks for sliding by. Tomorrow I’m starting the 30 Day Journal Project, #30DayJournal!



Filed under Life

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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Out & About

Bay Bridge & SF

Rem and I have enjoyed a few local outings after Christmas.  We remind ourselves that we live in an area that has so much to offer and we just need to get out and enjoy it.  These first photos are from the Sausalito waterfront, looking towards San Francisco and the Bay Bridge, which we visited on the 26th.  It was a beautiful day and warm enough that some folks were in shorts.

Shorts 12/26

Unfortunately, I did something stupid last night and cut the index finger on my left hand so I’m not going to put much narrative.  I’m glad that I’ve already done a bunch of crafting during this lovely time off.

Lots of People

We heard at least half-a-dozen different languages as we strolled around.

Gingerbread House


Two beautiful gingerbread creations.

On the 30th, we went into San Francisco and strolled around the Mission District, happily eating on our way, though I didn’t get any good food photos.  We started with pastries from Dianda’s Italian American Pastry.  Then walked to Mission Market for pupusa’s.



old glass

Movie sign


Lucha Libre


This Chinese Lion is in Mission Chinese Food where we shared a small plate of Tiki Pork Belly.  Incredible, rich and wonderful with a side of rice.  We took leftovers home.  It was quite dark inside so the picture didn’t come out, but it comes with a wedge of pickled pineapple, mandarin orange segments, shaved coconut, macadamia nuts, a puddle of soy caramel on the plate, a maraschino cherry and a small, yellow paper umbrella!

Free birds

Song Titles

Gracias Madre


Women's Building mural

Stunning mural that wraps around The Women’s Building or El Edificio de Mujeres.


Bi-Rite Cookbook

Cookbook of Bi-Rite Market where we splurged on a one-bone prime rib (more of a thick steak than a roast) for our New Year’s Eve dinner.

Green Onions


Rem guiding a plane

Rem is on the tarmac, guiding a plane in for landing…


with packages of spaghetti.

Billy Balls

Graffiti style doves

Peace to you in this sparkling new year.

The only advice I will offer at this juncture is to unplug your immersion blender before using your finger to scrape off the whipped cream.

Thank you, as always, for reading.


Filed under Life

Batkid Saves San Francisco

Batkid Adjusts His Mask

A few weeks ago, while I was pushing papers around at work, Rem went into the city to witness Batkid save San Francisco.

In case you were hibernating or busy studying for your orals, you might have missed this exciting event.  5-year-old Miles is a cancer survivor and Batman fan.  Thousands of people turned out to participate and watch as the day unfolded, a surprise for Miles from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.


Click on these links to see more pictures and read the posts Rem wrote about that day.





The Penguin

Miles was diagnosed with leukemia at 18  months old, so chemo was a big part of his life.  He is now in remission and making memories fighting crime, a welcome change from battling cancer for so long.

batkid running

Thanks for stopping by.


Filed under Life

Day 17: Niche with Wings

Niche with Wings

Day 17: Niche with Wings.  Here is another feather from my collection.  It is set in a little niche or shallow recess that I cut into about 8 pages all glued together.

I started this page on Saturday, worked on it a bit yesterday and finished it today.

Feather in Niche

After work I took another challenging hike with my sister Sarah and a few other hiking buddies. I’m tuckered out, so I’m just going to share some more pictures and call it a day!  We combined the last two hikes, going up one hill and coming down the other side instead of looping back down the same way we’d come.  It took a little logistics with cars, but it really felt like an achievement.

Here is our view coming back down.  It isn’t the best quality photo, but it shows the view.  The Richmond San Rafael Bridge is in the foreground, Larkspur Ferry is a little dot in the middle and the Bay Bridge is in the background.

Bridges & Ferry

Now back to my page.

Bird and Leaves

Leaf Detail

Feather Close Up

More views from the hike: Bay Bridge and SF Skyline.

SF Skyline

Richmond San Rafael Bridge with Oakland in the background.

Richmond SRafael Bridge

And one last look at the Niche with Wings.

Niche at an angle

Day 17 in 2012 was my big Chocolate Bowl Fail – what a mess!  I found splatters of chocolate on the ceiling.

In 2011, Rem and I went into the city on Day 17 and so I did Friday Photos in San Francisco.

Thanks for stopping by.


Filed under 30DOC, Crafts

Chinatown, San Francisco

Lanterns & Banners over Grant Avenue

Rem and I weren’t prepared to brave the crowds at the Chinese New Year parade in San Francisco tonight (Saturday, 2/23) but we did enjoy a visit to Chinatown last weekend.  New Years celebrations were ongoing so we decided a walk around enjoying the sights, and some nice baked barbeque pork buns would be a great way to spend the afternoon.  I hope you enjoy our photos.

Mural of Chinese Lion Dancers.

Mural of Chinese Lions

A lantern-shaped streetlight with the Transamerica Pyramid in the background.

Transamerica Pyramid with Chinese Lantern

Colorful embroidered shoes.

Colorful embroidered shoes.

The sidewalks were crowded with people.  Plenty of tourists, like us, and lots of locals out shopping.

This gentleman is dapper in a navy suit with blue pinstripes, a leather vest and a beret.

Dapper man.

Walking around the bustling streets we saw produce stands piled with tangerines, oranges, and many different kinds of greens. Oranges are considered auspicious – the word for orange in Chinese sounds like “wealth”.

Oranges for sale

A window display of roasted ducks and chickens.

Glazed Duck

A large tray of steamed pork buns.

Steamed Pork Buns

Very fresh (still live) crab.

Crab Wagon

Roly poly piggy banks.

Street Stall Wares

Are these the opposite of dunce caps?

Wisdom Hat

Bay Area locals may have heard radio ads for The Walk Shop in Berkeley, home of footwear for people who walk.  Here is another Wok Shop.

the Wok Shop


Dragon details on several buildings.

Dragon Detail

Dragon II

We heard the loud, rapid popping of firecrackers several times and once, when it was particularly long and loud, we jogged to a corner and up around to an alley to see what was causing all the ruckus.

We were in time to see the very end of a long string of firecrackers, hanging down from a balcony, exploding noisily.


Afterwards, the sidewalk was littered with bits of red paper.

Confetti Remains of Firecracker

Walking down another street we saw several groups of young men, some with flags, others with drums and a few in traditional lion dance costumes.


Several lions were going to different businesses.

According to Wikipedia:

During the Chinese New Year, lion dancer troupes from the Chinese martial art schools or Chinese guild and associations will visit the houses and shops of the Chinese community to perform the traditional custom of “cai ching” (採青), literally means “plucking the greens”, a quest by the ‘lion’ to pluck the auspicious green normally ‘vegetables’ like lettuce which in Chinese called ‘cái'(菜)that sound like ‘cái'(财)(fortune) and auspicious fruit like oranges tied to a “Red Envelope” containing money; either hang highly or just put on a table in front of the premises. The “lion” will dance and approach the “green” and “red evelope” like a curious cat, to “eat the green” and “spit” it out leave it in a nice arrangement, like an auspicious character but keep the “red envelope”. The lion dance is believed to bring good luck and fortune to the business and the troupe is rewarded with the “red envelope”

Festive Flags

Lion Dancers I

Lion Dancer II

Across the street, an orange lion and a green lion were bringing good luck to restaurant.

Orange Lion

Orange & Green

As they leave, one of the group lights a small firecracker at the doorway of the business to scare away evil spirits.


Thanks for stopping by, I hope it has been a good visit!

Close Up Orange Lion


Filed under Life

Room With A View

Sometimes you go out to eat and you know you’ll be paying a little extra for the view.

Sometimes it’s worth it.

Rem and I enjoyed our dinner at The Caprice in Tiburon, CA the other evening.  We especially loved the view.

The weather was beautiful.  Boats went by right outside the window.

Angel Island was just over my shoulder.

There was a little regatta.

Dinner was good too.  Not great, but very nice.

But the view…

It was worth it.

We drove around Belevedere before heading home, stopping to take another look at Angel Island.

You can just see the restaurant in this picture, right there at the tip of the land.

We returned home relaxed and well-fed not only from our meal.

Thank you for checking out my post.


Filed under Life

City Sidewalks

The same day we got our Christmas tree, Rem and I went over the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco to ride the cable cars and enjoy Christmas lights and decorations.

Santa hats in place, plus the addition of a strand of battery-operated lights that Rem had strung around his scarf, we started at Ghirardelli Square.

After a sample of dark chocolate peppermint bark and some window shopping we headed to Aquatic Park and the end of the Powell-Hyde cable car line.

Riding a cable car with your sweetheart is nostalgic, romantic, exciting and fun.  On a Wednesday evening in December there was a very short wait.  We were able to get seats on the bench outside and enjoy chatting with the Italian couple who rode standing on the running board, hanging on tightly.

The city is all dressed up for the holidays and I really love looking into homes and businesses as we rumbled along, seeing the lights, Christmas trees and other decorations.

We got off at Union Square and started a slow stroll around the stores to look at the window displays.  I have to say I was a bit disappointed.  There was nothing really special in most of the windows of the fancy stores around the square.

This sweet little carousel in the window of Tiffany & Co was lovely and the displays in the Swarovski Crystal shop were stunning (but didn’t photograph well).  Everything else…meh.

There was plenty to look at other than window displays.

Like the beautiful 80-foot fir tree covered in 21,000 twinkling LED lights in the middle of the square.

A blur of skaters on the ice rink.

In the background the Macy’s windows are each adorned with a wreath.

Sparkling palm trees.  This is California after all.

Every corner of the square had a different street artist or musician: I noticed a bagpiper in a kilt on one side and a robot doing carol karaoke on another but the trumpeter playing Silent Night in the cold, clear night was the one that got my donation.

We entered the lobby of the Westin St. Francis to see what their pastry chefs had concocted for the holidays this year.

From the Westin St. Francis website:

Executive Pastry Chef, Jean-Francois Houdré, will reveal The Westin St. Francis’ Sugar Castle in the historic Main Lobby. Resembling a French Chateau from Chef Houdre’s hometown of Bordeaux, the 100% edible castle weighs more than 1,200 pounds and features more than 20 grand circular towers, approximately 30 rooms, illuminated windows, and is surrounded by a quaint village and a running train. New this year is an extensive life-like replica of a medieval French village complete with intricately constructed homes, a church, a bakery and stores, all with illuminated windows and surrounded by a magical forest. A second train filled with elves will encircle this winter fantasyland.

A sign nearby said the castle was comprised of:

70 lbs. of gingerbread,  130 lbs. of pastillage (powdered sugar, egg whites and gelatin dough), 40 lbs. of pulled sugar, Royal Icing made from 300 lbs. of sugar and egg whites, 40 lbs. of molasses, 60 lbs. of flour, 100 lbs. of assorted Christmas candy and 360 hours of hard work!

It makes the gingerbread house we decorated seem so small!

Back outside to catch the cable car to Hyde Street.

More buildings and more decorations to see as we rode back to Aquatic Park.

It was a wonderful day and special evening.  I was running out of steam and ready to say goodnight to the city.

Thank you for stopping by.

Thank you to Rem for sharing some of his beautiful photos.

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Day 17: Friday Photos in San Francisco

Rem and I picked up celebrating his birthday month with a wonderful, relaxed meander through the North Beach neighborhoods of San Francisco.  My creation for Day 17: photos from our day.

We started with pastries at Victoria Pastry and progressed on to pizza and chicory salad for me, calamari friti and meatballs for Rem at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, with Rem picking up a chocolate truffle at Z. Cioccolato in between to keep up his strength.  We continued right on to amazing gelato at Naia Gelato (mine: tiramisu and canoli, his: chocolate mortale and canoli), a stop at Molinari Deli for fresh mozzarella, salami and bread (to eat later) and a final purchase of tri tip from Little City Selected Meats.

It was a beautiful day with interesting and beautiful sights at every turn, sunny weather, landmarks to admire and people to watch. But we weren’t finished.  We left North Beach and went to Flax art & design where creative people shop.

It is just an amazing place and delightful to visit.  I could have spent much more time and money but luckily I’d made a careful shopping list and we had limits on both our time and budget.  I stuck pretty closely to the list and enjoyed the store very much.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little visit to North Beach and Flax.  The photos were:

Thanks for stopping by!


Filed under 30DOC, Life