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June 2013

Scrambled

Another Father's Day. . . another Annual Croquet Tournament!

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This year, we tried a new twist:  a Croquet Scramble!

We divided into teams (a rather complicated process; I'll spare you the details).  It was . . .

The Cheaters Brian's Team

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vs.

The Blue Balls (Yes.  I know.  Certain members of the other team could not resist.  And, yes.  They are rather tiresome.)

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I know it looks unfair; rather unbalanced.  Four against three, and all.  But . . . we had a secret weapon!

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Yep.  Jenny was on our side!

As usual, the afternoon was marked by . . .

Strategy!

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Technique!

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Personal victories!

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Nail-biting tension!

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Hyjinx!

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In the end, there was a winning team . . .

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 And a whole lot of fun . . .

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Any way you . . . scramble it!

(And - added bonus - nothing caught fire this year!)

 


The Watchdog and An Encroacher

Yesterday morning, Jenny let me know that there was something Not Quite Right on the back patio.  She had spotted  . . .  an Encroacher!

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Right there.  In her domain!

Encroacher.

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She watched intently -- guarding her property . . .

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until the toad hopped away -- into the cool spots under the hostas.

And we were safe again.

Have a great weekend!


Dock of the Bay . . . OR . . . The Story of the Traveling Socks

As a tourist in San Francisco, there are certain things you hear over and over and over. 

Cable cars travel at 9 1/2 miles per hour - up and down hills.

The importance of Van Ness Avenue.

The location of the "Mrs. Doubtfire house."

Where O.J. Simpson went to high school.

The exact location of Steve McQueen's Bullit car chase.

And this song . . .

 

It's no surprise, then, that I've associated this pair of socks . . .

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with the Dock of the Bay!

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And while they didn't start out to be traveling socks . . .

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they turned out that way!  (After all, I cast on for them to knit on the plane on my way to Salt Lake City - way back in September - when I visited Margene.  And I cast off on the plane on my way home from San Francisco.  These socks have seen a lot of miles . . . and no one has even worn them yet!)

Enjoy some other views . . . from the Dock of the Bay.

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(All photos shot from Fisherman's Wharf.)

(Ravelry details here.)

 


The Language of Birds: Words in the Wild

I love public art.  Sculpture on the streets.  Paintings on the buildings.  Structure in a garden.  Musicians on the corner.*  It's unexpected - and accessible.  To me, civic art demonstrates a sort of collective humanity  and a certain freedom to . . . create.  Art.  For all of us!

One of the things I love most about San Francisco . . . is the city's embrace of public art.  It's everywhere.

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Absolutely everywhere.

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From the side of a shop in Chinatown. . .

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to a restaurant entry in North Beach . . .

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to a mural in the Haight Ashbury district . . .

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there is something wonderful to look at; something that highlights the collective identity of the community.

Messages of social justice.

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Fun "markers" of place and time.

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Tradition.

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San Francisco is certainly a city that embraces and supports civic art.

Most moving to me, though, was a public art installation that I - quite literally - stumbled upon!  As we drove the streets of San Francisco . . . in city buses and taxis . . . I noticed a particular corner at the edge of Chinatown.  What first caught my eye was laundry!

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Every time we drove by, there was laundry hanging out the windows of the building.  On hangers.  Over the fire escape.  Draped.  And dangling in the breeze.  Unusual.  Unexpected.  And beautiful - in an other-place kind of way.  I was captivated by the laundry.

One day - on a long walk to Coit Tower from our hotel - we passed the "laundry corner" on foot.  I zeroed in for some photographs.  I was distracted, though, by a small group of Chinese musicians playing on the corner.

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We stopped to listen for a moment.

And then I looked up.

There were hanging sculptures . . . kind of like birds in flight . . . hanging over the corner.

And then I looked down.

And noticed . . . words.

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Words.  Scattered all over the pavement. 

English.  Italian.  Chinese.  Backwards.  Forwards.  Grouped together.  Single.

Words everywhere!

And then I put it together.  The sculptures . . . the ones that looked like birds in flight . . . were actually BOOKS.  Open books.

And the words on the sidewalk?  They had fallen out of the books!

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Right onto the pavement!

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I wonder how many people walk the streets of San Francisco . . . and never look up. . . or never look down. . . to discover the power of . . .

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Right there to discover!

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I got so excited about the words on the sidewalk and the books in flight that I never actually took a photo of the books themselves.  Click here to see images of the corner and the books.  Click here to read more about the art installation itself -- "Language of the Birds" by Brian Goggin with Dorka Kheen.

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* Except maybe for full drum sets.  I think I'll draw the line at full drum sets.  (Especially when they're directly under the window of my hotel.)


So Much

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This week, we're talking about ... being grateful ... or, more specifically, Ten Things We Felt Grateful for Last Week.

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For me, there is So Much.

  1. Traveling
  2. Sister-time
  3. Coming home
  4. Flashlights
  5. And blooms
  6. Dog kisses
  7. Fish tales
  8. Moving a sofa
  9. Or two
  10. Settling back in

How about you?  What are YOU grateful for this week?

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Join the fun!  Sign up for Ten on Tuesday here.

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PS - I took the photo in today's post in the San Francisco Botanical Gardens - deep in the heart of Golden Gate Park.


A Walk in the Woods

In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.

--- John Muir

When we were in San Francisco, my sister and I took a day trip to a place Full of Awesome.

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Neither of us had ever seen the redwoods -- not the coastal redwoods we saw here at Muir Woods, nor their bigger "sisters" at Yosemite.

All I can say is . . . WOW.

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Definitely the coolest, most "storybook" forest I've ever walked!

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It's hard to convey how tall these trees really are . . . with just an everyday camera and limited photography skills.  So you'll just have to trust me when I say . . . they're tall.  Really, really tall!

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(We did keep expecting Yoda . . . or the Ewoks . . . to pop up somewhere around us.  The Star Wars film "Return of the Jedi" was filmed in Muir Woods.  Can't you just picture it?)

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It was a lovely morning.

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Peaceful.  Quiet. 

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Exactly right.

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And so much more . . . than we were seeking!


The Highlights

My sister and I spent an entire week in San Francisco. . . which gave us plenty of time to visit every single highlight the city could offer us!

We visited Chinatown. . .

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and the Japanese Tea Garden.

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We rode the cable cars . . .

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and hung out on the Haight.

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We watched the sunset from Fisherman's Wharf . . .

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and from the Top of the Mark.

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We made many crossings over the Golden Gate Bridge . . .

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and (because we became temporarily directionally challenged) climbed multiple stairways to Coit Tower.

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We walked the crooked street (up, of course!) . . .

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and sampled the Irish Coffee.

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We escaped from Alcatraz . . .

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and relaxed in Napa.

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So many adventures!  Stay tuned.


Surprise!

Bet you were expecting to tune in today and find a post about San Francisco???

SURPRISE!

Because . . . I have an explosion to talk about instead.

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A week ago, I left for San Francisco with anticipation of a great trip and a long visit with my sister -- but also with a heavy gardener's heart.  As my departure date drew closer, I could see that I might actually miss some of the best blooms in my garden.  I packed my suitcase . . . and said goodbye to my pergola covered (HEAVY!) with buds.

But when I arrived home - late on Tuesday night - Tom led me out to the garden with a flashlight and showed me a glimpse of the blooms . . . in progress

I hadn't missed them after all!

When the sun came up this morning and I could see my garden in the light of day, I found this. . .

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A clematis explosion . . .

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of color and bloom!

And . . . it ain't over yet . . .

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There are so many more buds!

The stars of the show . . .

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But the wisteria is waiting in the wings.

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Should be a gorgeous, blooming kind of weekend!

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The best kind of surprise!


Left My Heart

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You know you've had a good vacation when you forget all about . . . work and chores and to-do lists!

I'm back home today.  Back to reality . . . deadlines and weeds and to-do lists!  I've got 24 hours to get my act together and get Back At It.

Definitely left my heart . . . in San Francisco!