Sunday, May 30, 2021

Sweeney Ridge

I went on a birthday walk with my cousin and his family today at a place called Sweeney Ridge. My cousin lived in the vicinity as a teen and had fond memories of the area. He left for college in 1987 and hasn't been back until now. And I only recall hiking the trail with him when we were both teens. Back then there were horse stables up on the ridge. My cousin's step-mom boarded her horses there. Tasked with taking care of the horses when his parents were away, he remembers hiking the trail in order to feed and brush them. I think I 'met' the horses at some point. There were two of them and I remember one was called Smokey. My cousin and his step-mom would often go riding up along the ridge and even down around the nearby Crystal Springs reservoir. How they were allowed access to what is actually our local source of drinking water, I do not know. No one but a park ranger living near the reservoir has that sort of permission these days.

In the intervening years, Sweeney Ridge has come under the jurisdiction of the National Parks Service. What was once a sleepy trail at the end of a residential street in a fog-covered neighborhood is now a bustling walk path with an ever shortage of attendant parking spaces. 

The picture directly below shows a barely legible bit of lettering reading: FOG LINE. From this point on a yellow strip of paint down the middle of the path is meant to help keep walkers on the footway. The fog this morning was not too dense, so following the yellow line wasn't necessary, fortunately. 


Fog line, baby!

Rather cheerful-looking local flora.

A bit of (very early) berry.








Friday, May 21, 2021

Back to work...

I have been working a couple of days here and there the past few weeks. It's been good, but fatiguing. I have had to re-adjust to standing for longer periods. Fortunately, I'm working with both friends and family, so if I need to 'take five' and rest the feet, then it's usually not an issue. 

Last weekend, I worked at the crepe stand my friend runs. We were at a well-visited Famers' Market in the East Bay. I hadn't worked with her since 2018 before a foot injury temporarily sidelined me. Most of how to do the work came back to me like riding a bicycle. Figuring out the payment system (Square & an iPhone) took me a minute as it's not second nature. Apple Pay was pretty dang easy to pick up. The customer holds his or her phone over the merchant's phone (aka the hand-held payment device) and VOILA! funds are transferred. 

Below is a shot of the crepe stand at the end of the day. I had already begun taking down the menu boards and the French flag before I thought of taking this picture. Does anyone recognize the flag not yet taken down? 







A small pile of lemon crepes to-go.

I worked a decent amount window-washing with my brother and his business partner this past week. The partner's adult daughter was on-hand as well. We all get on for the most part until someone mentions politics. The partner and daughter are political knuckleheads, to put it bluntly. During lunch one day this week I was recalling the time I was nearly sent back on a flight to the USA from Heathrow because it seemed that they thought I was trying to stay in the UK illegally. I had been put in a room with other travelers from Europe, Africa and the Middle East and my passport was removed from my person. After about three hours, I was released and able to join my friend who'd been patiently waiting for me to emerge from the international area of the airport. Both the partner and daughter were like: Whoa! If only we were that tough! We let everybody in! Blah-blah-blah....


The daughter, I should mention, is on government assistance. She lives in subsidized housing and she pays a pittance for medical appointments and prescriptions. I don't begrudge her the tremendous governmental support she receives, but I wonder if she's thought much about how the political party she identifies with would rather see her destitute than give her the aid she needs. I guess the question I would like to pose to her is: How can you both be a Republican and be on food stamps?  (Dear Reader: I will never ask.)

Monday, April 26, 2021

From cats to bats.

I have been watching every bat rescue vid I can find on Youtube. Meg, of Megabattie fame, does a bang up job of rescue and rehab for (mostly) flying foxes. I think I heard her say in one of the vids that her eyesight isn't what it was, so it's easier to see the 'bits' on the larger variety of bats. That and she doesn't really enjoy feeding meal worms to the microbats. (I, personally, find the megabats/flying foxes much cuter than the insect-eating bats and would prefer to work with them as well, were I to have a choice!

We do not have fruit bats, aka megabats, flying free here in the US. Our wild bats are strictly tiny, meat-eating variety. In fact, I don't think I knew that fruit bats looked a bit like a cross between a fox and a dog in the face until a few years ago. (Thanks, David Attenborough!)

All bats, whether large or small, fruit or meating eating, are extraordinary mammals. Bats spend a majority of their lives upside down. They eat upside down, give birth upside down and sleep upside down. What they don't do, appropriately, is relieve themselves upside down. Through a process known as inversion, bats flip right side up, hang on by their thumbs, empty bladder and/or bowel, then perform a little shake of their entire body before dangling once again by their feet. It's a little bit funny to watch the whole routine, but it gets the job done! 

Speaking of funny, I found a vid of Meg's from a few years' back in which one of her colleagues caught a naughty juvenile bat taking a milk bottle from a holder and absconding with it. The only problem was that without actual hands with fingers, the poor battie couldn't figure out how to tip the bottle nipple down in order to procure the milk. 

If  you're keen to have a chuckle, then take a gander at this botched milk theft video--




Saturday, April 17, 2021

News of late.

I was starting to feel a bit anxious re: Covid vaccination accessibility last month. Starting back in January, relatives and friends of friends who weren't immuno-comprised yet desperate to skip the queue were able to get the jab via somewhat questionable means. Some cousins of mine who are in their 30s claimed that they worked in the hospitality industry and therefore were able to get the jab. One had her hubby put her on the payroll at his restaurant, the other just said she tended bar, in fact she used to, but now no longer does. So did she need to bring proof of employment? And, if so, what did she show the folk at the vax center? Someone I know owns and runs an event space where beer and wine are occasionally served, so she was eligible and got the jab. I thought, should I be doing this, too, in order to be vaccinated earlier than others? Is that a correct thing to do? In the end, I felt it wasn't, but couldn't shake feeling nervous about not being able to easily obtain a vax appointment once they became available to my age group. After fruitless online searches, thanks to social media (said usually no one ever), I caught wind of an abundance of vax appts. at a local college. I was able to book online the very first go. The initial dose was administered on April 7th. I will go back for the second injection on May 7th. Those of us who booked at this particular site were offered either the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine. I chose Moderna not for any other reason than it was the default choice on the website. 

My husband, who is a year younger than I am, is now able to be vaccinated along with everyone else ages 16 and over. He's tried booking an appt. for the past few days, but has so far come up short. I suppose if he were willing to travel some long distance, then he could possibly be able to book an appt. sooner rather than later, but who wants to drive 75 miles away to have a needle stuck in their arm? 

***

Since the start of lock-down, a portion of JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park has been closed to vehicular traffic. As a driver, I could stomp my foot and talk about 'my rights' as a car owner and demand that all of JFK be re-opened to car traffic, but it's not just about me. Having this roadway in the park closed to all but walkers, joggers, skaters, bikers and parents with kids in strollers has been a real boon to those of us wanting to be in a leafy-green park, but with a decent amount of social distance between us. Now the folk behind the big-monied museums in the park just off this closed bit of roadway (note: buses are still able to drive through) with ample underground parking between them, are crying that barring car traffic from almost literally their front doors is a hindrance to visitors. Even with the partial street closure, through-traffic in the park still exists as do over 4,000 parking spaces. So, really, why are the museums squawking? You'll get your $$$. People are still showing up, ffs.

In addition to the museum heads, we've even heard from district supervisors in SE San Francisco, now predominately neighborhoods of color, complaining that the park closure represents some sort of 'recreational redlining'. I call bullshit on that. As someone who used to live in SE SF at the beginning of lock-down, I could either take a direct bus into the park or drive to the park and PARK IN or around said park. The only issue that I take with the partial closure of JFK is that it doesn't seem to take into account those with pronounced mobility issues who might wish to visit either the museums or the Conservatory of Flowers now that this institutions are beginning to re-open to the public. 

Many SF families with young children have been able to enjoy the park together. I have seen more than my fair share of little'uns learning how to ride bikes without the worry of cars whizzing by and many parents on cargo bikes with their brood in tow. I don't need to be a parent to recognize that the park street closure is a good thing. Again, it's not about me as a motorist who wants to easily and quickly get to the other side of town via Golden Gate Park, it's about the majority. And the (vocal) majority are San Francisco families who want a car-free JFK. 

This past Saturday I attended a car-free JFK Dr. rally in front of the Academy of Science in Golden Gate Park. There were a good couple hundred folk in attendance. Most attendees were parents with children, but there were a few of us 'non-breeders' there as well. No one from City Hall showed up in support. Fortunately, state assembly member David Chiu (who lives in SE San Francisco, no less) took part in the rally and he also lent his voice to the cause. Here he is from behind in the picture below delivering a solid message of support to rally participants. 




Hope all of you are safe and well! x Bea








Monday, March 22, 2021

'Mamie Pink'

First Lady Eisenhower in a lovely pink gown.


I had mentioned to a friend that my husband and I are attempting to restore the tile in our bathroom to its original state. What was once a floor covered in white paint (why?!) is now one of two-tone fun: a rose-pink border with an extremely light sort of lavender/grey center. My friend asked when the house had been built. When I told her the year was 1944, she said, 'Oh! That's probably Mamie Pink!' Whose pink? 

From what I gather, Mrs. Eisenhower, 'Mamie' to her friends, adored the color pink. When she and President Eisenhower moved into the White House, she set about redecorating the residence leaning heavily on her favorite color: PINK. The White House was dubbed The Pink Palace during her tenure. Pink became the color du jour for decorators & Mamie Pink bathrooms began popping up all over the country. Given that Mrs. Eisenhower was First Lady in the 50s, my pink-bordered bathroom pre-dates the pink tile bathroom trend. And when I came into the world in the 70s, rooms in homes were awash in pea and avocado greens. Pink had been sidelined. 

Here are a few snaps of the bathroom tile renovation in progress---


Note the white paint and the newly uncovered lavender-ish tile adjacent.



The last remaining bits of white paint are now only in & around the grout.


Scraping white paint off the trim.







Thursday, March 11, 2021

Sticks and stones...



'Were your dad alive, he would be ashamed of you. Pathetic.'  I stewed on these words from my Uncle for a good hour, or so, before, as the Disney song goes, telling myself to 'let it go'. After years of receiving crap right-wing mails from him, I finally put my foot down yesterday. I think I wrote something like: Since you cannot seem to refrain from sending me emails of a political nature after I've repeatedly asked you stop, then I have no choice but to block your email address. Look, I realise that I poked the bear, as it were, but friendly entreaties to 'please refrain from sending political missives' were repeatedly ignored. I can't actually say 'ignored' because I think he either forgets to whom he's sending these emails or just doesn't care and 'spams' all of his email contacts with hateful content. Apropos 'spam', that is where all of his anti-Hilary/Biden/Obama emails landed. I couldn't be bothered to read them. 

His aggression when challenged struck me. My Dad, who was a life-long Democrat (as were their parents) spent his entire career working as a Business Agent/Union Rep. on behalf of the 'little guy'. It was as simple as: You had a beef with management? Call Doug! I know this as I was home many-a night when workers would call. And Dad always took the call. I am more inclined to think that Dad would be ashamed of the many things his elder brother has done. Let me outline a couple of instances for you---

My Uncle, a fairly decent-looking man in his prime, had quite the wandering eye. He's had many girlfriends and three wives. He was unfaithful to all of them. He slept with his best friend's wife, among other women, when married to his first wife. He then went on to divorce her at the time of her receiving a cancer diagnosis. She, unfortunately, died and he gained custody of the two kids. The elder one ran away from the family and never came back. After finding out that his second wife (on whom he had been cheating) had had a dalliance with another man, my Uncle decked her in the face. They then divorced. He left his third wife via kitchen table note. He'd packed her a lunch to take to work, as he always did in the morning, bid her farewell, then packed up his truck and bailed. She got the house in the settlement, at least. The woman that my Uncle left his last wife for is a minted widow whom he'd met on a cruise he'd taken with that last wife. Maybe it had been their Honeymoon even? Thanks to this last union, my Uncle has been living on easy street for the past twenty years. He wants for nothing yet manages to fill his ample free time with complaining about all that is wrong--according to him and FOX news-- in this world while jet-setting between various homes and various continents. Shame on him!






Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Horror flick; lock-down mane

Gregory Peck, Lee Remick and David Warner together in a film is ace, but I don't think The Omen (1976) holds up terribly well. Maybe it's that I had a hard time buying Lee Remick, looking every bit 20 years Peck's junior--and then some--, as his wife. The special effects are, to our modern eyes, fairly dated as well. The film's score, however, really sells the horror and suspense of the story. Discordant instrumentation does more to set me on edge than a barking Rottweiler any day. For the uninitiated, Peck's character is tasked with killing Damien, the Satan-spawn masquerading as his young son. If he does not, then that will spell the end of mankind. 

I'm just watching the tail-end of the film now. It's Peck against the kooky nanny who was sent by Satan to protect the boy. It ends badly for her. -lots of over-the-top deaths in the film, to be honest, and hers is no different. I recall there being more than one Omen sequel, so I probably needn't have to tell you if 'good' prevails over evil' here. 

***

I have not been to the hair dresser in nearly two years and it shows. I had feathered hair when I was a young teen. My feathers always drooped in the abundant coastal fog. Because of my sad-looking locks, some bratty kid/s decided to reward me with an unfortunate nickname: Lassie. 


Like my 'shiny coat'? Har-har.

Lassie is a pretty dog, but I did not and don't resemble her...or do I?







Sweeney Ridge

I went on a birthday walk with my cousin and his family today at a place called Sweeney Ridge . My cousin lived in the vicinity as a teen an...