Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Live Oak Park

After a morning of what felt to me would be another comedy of errors.. missed meetings and opportunities, (everything pretty much worked out eventually!) I decided I wanted to try finding Live Oak Park again.

Rather than trying to retrace steps I only vaguely remembered from a month or so back.. up Vine.. turn on Arch.. no wait. hmm. Google maps had Live Oak Park straight up Shattuck, no need to wander from Peet's as a starting point, as I did last week when I got lost and ended up giving up and just meandering to the Rose Garden.

OK, so up Shattuck! Here we are.. beautiful trees, rough stone, aged wrought iron bits, the sounds of water as the creek makes it's way under the footbridges and street overpass, funked up graffiti.. all around you the sounds of kids playing in the distance (there's a center nearby, not to mention the park's in a residential area)a wide open area to sit and enjoy the sounds of birds, flowering shrubs and possibly a quiet tree to read under, (which I wish I had done).

stairs up to the picnic area


a bee sat still long enough to let me include it in the shot..

I didn't take that many but you can see the rest HERE

I will include this last shot of a grouping of trees I told my dad it looked like a family of some kind could have made a treehouse out of if they were so inclined (assuming they were of the tree climbing raccoon or bear variety):

Friday, April 04, 2014

Berkeley Rose Garden

Thursday early afternoon, I decided to take advantage of the lovely weather to explore the hidden places I never bothered with when we lived in Berkeley before.. I had come across "Live Oak Park" when walking off brunch a month or so back, and of course I missed a turn somewhere and never found it. Instead, I hike up to the Berkeley Rose Garden, which I hadn't visited in forever... not since we lived here before.

Ideally I wanted to get some practice in with the camera.. The Spouse got a new Nikon sometime last year, and I've not used it all that much, since the iPhone seems to be a bit more flexible when it comes to carrying in my pocket, and as you can see, I was able to take a photo of the lovely Bay View:

I didn't pack the larger lens, so the Nikon was pretty much useless for anything like that. I deleted many of my images because I was trying to take a view from the road or the flash was just too much for the macro I was trying to get of the flowers. I'm still not happy with the flower images... and I can't say I'm pleased with how I did on much of anything. The moss covered steps were the most amazing green.. and the fact that not many flowers were in bloom didn't matter.. there were so many layers of green!

this last one is my favorite..

I did attempt to shoot a few roses and you can see the rest of the images HERE

I probably will go back at some point to give it another go, but I've still got other footpaths and green spaces I want to explore. I'm still trying to decide if I have time to take a photography class this summer session or I should just hold out til the Fall for the classes I actually need. I like using the old Nikon but that one isn't working anymore so I'm stuck learning all these new features on the new camera, or my iPhone. Not a big deal, just may take a little time.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Of homes and blogs.. and Berkeley.

We've been officially house hunting since late January. We were looking in Emeryville (there's no homes for sale in Emeryville for our price range), all over Oakland, Albany, El Cerrito, Richmond Annex, and Berkeley. We came close to finding a place on San Pablo a couple times (in North Oakland and Albany respectively), as well a lovely condo in Temescal. We even saw a most amazing craftsman beyond Eastmont (that's in Oakland) with original 'keyhole' archways and built-ins that I fell in love with, but the neighborhood and commute was something I'd rather not think about.. but my mind always turns to Berkeley.

When we originally lived in Berkeley I used to imagine my happiness as a "big" house in North Berkeley, with a well-worn & loved porch to read the paper on Sundays, drinking coffee and nibbling a day old bagel from Saul's, relaxing with my shoes off (because that's what I do) and hearing the birds singing in the trees and the occasional car driving up the street. Then we moved to SoCal and while I absolutely LOVED living in the Historic Core (4th & Main DTLA) and everything that I had there, it wasn't Berkeley.

I can't tell you what I love about Berkeley. I can tell you what I tried to verbalize with my brother-in-law once a few years ago before we came back home, but even then I couldn't say what it was I loved about Berkeley. It was a feeling. A sense of being..

When I got off work I would stand outside on Shattuck and I feel the fog misting through the air. It wasn't Ketchikan rain, it was like someone was spraying your face from 10 miles away with some sort of Evian mist.. It was cool and clean and fresh.. and the wind would come up and blow the hair from your face. When the sun shone, it glittered like firelight off the buildings and glass. When the leaves fell, it was like Autumn in Indiana.. one of the few things I miss about living in Indiana. The sidewalks outside our apartment on Grant would be scattered with pine needles and and leaves and the crunch of Fall. I lived in my sandals. If I wore shoes at all it would be my worn out (hole worn in the soles) docksiders. Sweaters. You have to love a place where you can wear sweaters in the summer. I love sweaters.. It's like you're wearing a hug all day. I guess that's what I feel about Berkeley.. and still do. Some un-imaginable happiness is wrapping itself around my heart, it greets me when I step closer to downtown, and stays with me, like a fading light as I make my way back to Oakland.

Don't get me wrong, there are things I love about Oakland.. I love my local cafe and the galleries and the love and heart that my neighbors are putting into their community. I love that I am close to so many good things, despite not being so close to school and things and people I care about. I like that our loft is huge and airy and full of history despite a general lack of appreciation of old buildings here in Emeryville. I love many of my great neighbors who embody the sorts of things that I appreciated and miss so much from my time living in Downtown L.A. The connections and the support I had in LA are so missed here, so when we were able to find a place with history and community of people that look out for each other.. Not the same as Old Bank District at all, but close.. and very OK!

Finding a place in Berkeley should have been impossible, as we'd sized ourselves out of our price-point, (our place at OBD was 1400sq ft. and our current place is about 1200sq.) We even considered finding a small place to rent for a year while we scrounged up enough extra for a down-payment on a place that was be-fitting our size issue.. but after looking at a few apartments and realizing we'd still have to down-size, (and store all our excess furniture) I actually looked at what was out there that was under our size minimum, and managed to find a few places to check out!

As of right now, we do have a place. It'll be a long wait (for me) before we move into it, but when it happens I imagine all sorts of new experiences and new adventures will be awaiting me.. and I imagine I won't be blogging all that much about Emeryville, (if I did all that much anyway). I don't expect it would be all about Berkeley though either.. although the focus would change, of course.

As every time we move, I need to come up with a new name for this blog. I hate that the default url is my name.. but this is my main blog. One day we will no longer be on "the edge of E*ville"and instead will be living within proper distance of the city limits of a place I love very much, and the reason my heart was aching to return back to the Bay Area. I don't know what I should call this blog at that point... "Meeko on Main" worked when I was in the OBD, but I won't be moving to any Main Street... and "Meeko's Crumbs"(ramblings and meanderings) worked when we lived in Anaheim and South Park area of DTLA because I was constantly walking and meandering all over DTLA.. and finding my blogging feet.

School and things have kept me busy all this semester and I don't expect things will slow down all that much especially as I'm trying to find a niche regarding my love of history,community, architecture, books, writing, food, and a tad of photography. Unlike DTLA, I haven't found the magical blogging fairy that compelled me to attend a blogger meetup at an online friend's 100th Rate-A-Restaurant.. the day I decided I thought blogging was the neatest freaking idea ever.

I sometimes wonder (and think) that blogging is over, as is newsprint, then I see that other people are doing it still, and doing it well. Magic doesn't happen in the same ways every time, so I leave myself open to possibilities and the positive, good-natured beauty that is out there in the universe. I will be changing the name of the blog eventually.. to what, I don't know, and how often I'll post.. I don't know.. or what I'll write about, again, I don't know.. but if you're adventurous.. it could be anything. or nothing at all. Hopefully it won't really be about me, though. These personal posts are draining..

..And, I have a paper due tomorrow so I need to clear my head and focus. Oh, it's written.. it's just got too much of me in it. ;)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

What We Leave Behind

I had an overly emotional moment in an independant bookstore last evening when I found another copy of a certain history book for sale signed in a personal way to the author's uncle dated 1982; I mean WtF people? Don't you have any respect for your own friends/ family?

I know it's just a book, but books have life in them by those that wrote them and those that loved them. There's a reason I call something a 'keeper': the item is worth keeping and cherishing. Certainly not all books are keepers to all people, but there are some, that depending on the person, they hold and cherish and love and read and their finger smudges and dna get all over them and in them (and yes,that sounds gross) but it is so with any object. You are infusing your possession with your energy and emotions, (or cigarette smoke at the least!)

Getting back to this, I couldn't breathe. I immediately thought again of an incident my dearest friend had when he discovered his nephew had sold off some valuable things my friend had given his sister over the years; signed books and art.. whatnot.. why had the nephew not given these items back to his uncle when his mother had passed on?? I don't have an answer for it and I will never know.. except that it hurt my friend very much.

I had just come from another store where I'd found a couple French translations (one my Honorary Uncle had done) and it had made me happy in a bittersweet way, knowing he was still alive through print and relevant.. "When you write you live forever and" what was I babbling this morning? .."your soul is bound through your words", and the works you leave behind as well, I would think.

It was all I could do to just leave the shop and keep from crying in public. I really hate that sort of thing, but I ended up walking down Bancroft, hands in my pocket with my face continually leaking.. I went to the Central Library at that point thinking I might have some sort of luck finding the book I was actually after (nope!) The library actually calmed and centered me so that was something. Maybe Ray Bradbury was right about surrounding yourself with books, sniffing the pages and climbing the stacks, (which I did not do!) I left still unhappy but at least not threatening to leak out my eyes anymore, instead I think I was sadly annoyed. What is that? frustrated? I'm sure there's a better word.

It's had me thinking about what we leave behind. I know most things aren't important. Your clothes, your shoes, most of your things.. everything is replaceable. The 5 or 10 items that are YOU or that you hold dear, however are not and go with you regardless of where you end up, and when you can no longer move on.. those are the things you don't want to end up in some used bookstore or auction or whatever. Give them to someone trusted, that will cherish the item too, and not see it as so much waste. Have some respect for people's things. Don't hold on to what isn't yours, but certainly don't just give it to the next person along the way. Find a home for it.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

City Storage Emeryville

Future site of City Storage Emeryville.. brick facade will remain

Things keeping me busy the past month or so, so I haven't been out and about, but out of town. Today upon returning from a quick venture out in the world for lunch, I got a closer look at the deconstruction of the former "National Upholstering Company" building at 40th and Adeline. I'm not overly familiar with Emeryville and admit to not knowing how the mostly abandoned warehouse-like structure was originally used. The spouse and I had guessed it was a bakery warehouse, but honestly had no clue. I liked it though, despite the over-grown ivy and occasional homeless camp that sprouted up in warmer weather. I had hoped something more would become of the place, but I perhaps selfishly hoped it would be more housing.. not storage.

Storage is what it will be! It seems City Storage, a company with locations in San Francisco had purchased the location a couple years ago and finally got through all the hoops of conditional use and planning approvals. We first noticed demolition of the interior this last Saturday, though it could have been earlier.. (as mentioned, we've been out of town).



According to the August 2013 progress report from the City of Emeryville Building and Planning Newsletter dated 1 September, 2013:

"City Storage: This proposal involves the conversion of an existing 32,291 square foot brick 
building at the northeast corner of 40th and Adeline Streets to 57,600 square feet of self‐

The applicant would retain the existing brick facades and locate all parking and storage 
units inside the building. The proposal includes a single residential unit for the on-site manager and a small retail space at the corner as accessory uses. 

A second story of storage units and extensive landscaping work along Adeline is proposed. 
The Planning Commission approved the project on October 27, 2011, and approved a one‐year extension on January 24, 2013." (page 7)

One might wonder if Emeryville really needs more storage,(there's at least two other companies: Public Storage on Christie and ExtraSpace on Hollis) but as a renter in the E*ville Triangle area, I can tell you storage is hard to come by and expensive. Many of the apartments and lofts being built up in our area are small and costly, and often lack the space to store anything as simple as a bicycle or other off-season gear and equipment. While we're lucky we have a large enough unit now, if we wanted to move, we'd have to find a place to store a good portion of our furniture. I'm not sure where we'd keep our bikes, as leaving them locked up outside in our fine community is asking for trouble and inviting theft. While we're on the 'Edge of E*ville' we're more accurately on the Edge of Oakland when it comes to crime.