Thursday, June 26, 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Feline Intermission

While we wait for my next adventure to start (whenever that is) I thought it would be fun to show our cats hanging out together for a change enjoying the fresh Berkeley air this evening.. Windows open are nice for the kitties as 1. we have windows that can open 2. lots of birds and flowers in our neighborhood 3. friendly neighbors always out & enjoying the community. Plenty of things to keep the furkids entertained rather than going at each other..




I know, it's a bit backlit.. I was using the "photo booth" feature on my mac..

Monday, June 23, 2014

More North Berkeley Parks!

Today was a 'free day' for me as we move ever slowly to getting cleared of our Eville apartment, so I decided it was a perfect day to get to Mortar Rock Park.. a place I've been curious about since first reading about it in April this year..

I took the bus up to Hopkins (thinking it was a long walk to take from South Berkeley, and I'd recently re-wounded myself walking the 3+ miles from Oakland Saturday night.. new shoes.. pinching toes, the usual!) and walked up the fountain stairs and around the corner, up the road.. there we go.. Three City of Berkeley Parks in one day!! (not as amazing a feat as it sounds!)

Indian Rock Park is very small and is only a very short walk from Mortar Rock Park..

a fun little climb and a lovely view can be yours if you're adventurous.. I however, was not..

I did see some other adults (and not just excitable children) scramble up the rock stairs and sit up top having a little picnic. Me I decided I wasn't wanting to take a chance with the camera (and my laptop) and have them tumble down the boulders there..

Mortar Rock Park.. the reason I was wandering around the neighborhood..
Mortar Rock Park

Here the Ohlone native people would use the rock outcroppings to pound acorns into a fine meal. While I didn't spot any 'bowl-shaped' divots in the rock, I did manage an easier time of climbing to the top and checking out the view..


don't look down.. OK.. look down!
Here you can get a sense of the 'stairs' that carved out to make it easier to climb up to the top..

John Hinkel Park was a surprise.. I hadn't planned on going there but it too was only a short walk up the street. I ended up entering it from the backside.. so the picnic and playground were the last things I saw (along with the signage) While I hadn't planned to go there, it was my favorite of the three parks..

John Hinkel Park


There's just so many pathways and stairs and moving water from the creek is nice to see when you know there's a drought on..
small creek

You can see my three photo sets here:

Indian Rock Park

Mortar Rock Park

John Hinkel Park

ps: the walk home was just fine! I wore my Vibrams (which are very comfortable for me despite the funny looks & comments I get from random people) which came in handy for mini rock climbing.. So that & the downhill walk back to worldly conveniences was comfortable and quick!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Summer Solstice

Last week one of our neighbors on posted about the Summer Solstice concerts at Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland.. the Garden of Memory columbarium walk-through has been an annual event since the mid-late 1990s according to their website..

chapel of the chimes entrance Untitled Untitled

I spent some time researching Friday night what was involved, how I would get there.. trying to convince the spouse (he wasn't interested) and then finally purchasing my ticket online so I could "avoid the crush of people" that would be queued up to purchase tickets in person.. We're still in the midst of a drawn out moving in/moving out.. so there was the timing of how I could get there and from where.. It all worked out though.. I got there and I was just a little early.. which was nice because I got to experience how nice a soprano sax sounds echoing through the beautiful Julia Morgan gothic-inspired columbarium..

Untitled Untitled

There were so many groups and individuals performing.. I definitely didn't see or hear everyone.. but I'm grateful for the experience. By going early I felt like I could take in the music and still experience the columbarium with some sense of reverence and appreciation of art and architectural detail. I kept in mind that a friend of mine had only recently experienced the interment of her grandmother. Then I found myself in the Chimes Chapel..

It's so beautiful..

Chimes Chapel

and not knowing what I would walk in on.. I found myself sitting in on a performance of Left Coast Chamber Ensemble accompanied by actor Steven Anthony Jones performing "Reply to a Dead Man" (written by Laurie San Martin inspired by a short story by Walter Mosley) the rather jazzy, contemporary music with Jones' well-timed narration, drew me in. I only wish I had come earlier to catch the entire performance.

Left Coast Chamber Ensemble

Although I wish I'd seen the entire performance, the event lends itself to wandering and taking in the various sounds, and musical genres.. whether it's experimental "bubble" music, feedback, water glasses, jazz, classical chamber, sitars, bells, or any number of sensory experiences.. I managed to experience several performers and I take a few photos with my cellphone.. and while not very good, can give you a general sense of what it was like.. some I posted here;

You can see the rest of my set including a couple very short videos HERE

If I manage to go again, (and I'd like to very much) I'll be sure and remember (along with a sweater and comfy shoes for my walk home) to bring the Nikon (wasn't sure I could bring a regular camera but you had lots of people taking images with digital cameras, iPads, and cel phones.) I would think as long as you don't take flash pictures it may be alright.. but checking ahead of time is always a good idea.) This is a place of rest and reverence for people and their departed loved ones.. I would think some consideration should be given before anyone goes shooting off photos or whatever..

As a little girl I witnessed skipping up to her mother exclaimed: "Look Mommy! More books!!" (this is where I kind of cringed) and her mom replied "Yes honey, more books.."

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Central Library

Berkeley Public Library
afternoon sun shines on the Central Library as a window-washer works from above.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sack's Coffee House

Sack's on College

Looking for a local local for the days I don't want to hoof it all the way to University or beyond (what? when would I NOT want to do that??) I came across local favorite Sack's Coffee House.. They already make a lot of Daily Cal's best cafe lists.. but I hadn't known that just yet. I just saw a place I've not been to, and they weren't too busy what with it being between semesters..

First thing I noticed were these GIANT Rice Krispie treats:
Ginormous Rice Krispy Treats!

..and the row of various cookies.. distracting me from ordering my coffee:

I ordered a cafe au lait & a red velvet choco chip cookie:
Sack's Coffee House on College

Cookie was so freaking good! Crispy cookie, but not so hard it crumbled from breaking pieces off.. flavor was so good. Sweet but not too sweet. The coffee? I could taste the coffee notes beneath the steamed milk.. which often isn't the case with a lot of au laits I've had.. Happy Camper. Thank you!

I came back today and tried the wifi.. Wifi was just fine, thanks.. not hyperspeed like a place I frequent now & again on Shattuck.. but fine, and much better than my regular hangout over on U. While I did some online reading, I treated myself to lunch..

Iced coffee & people watching:
iced coffee at Sack's

Club Sandwich (toasted nice!) came with a pepperoncini and a sad pickle slice (which I did it wasn't that sad):
Club sandwich at Sack's

As many may already know:

Sack's Coffee House
2701 College Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 644-2233

They are open most every day from what I understand and have lots of other good food.. so I would expect to see more food "porn" from me here at some point now & again. I do expect I'll go back there now & again.. especially for those cookies. As for the crowds, I'm sure they'll be back too.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Days of Reading and Meditation

beneath the big tree, the sun shining through the branches

red against green.. the leaves not yet all fallen off, contrast against the surrounding green and the grey-blue sky.

the branches stretching out, giant arteries of life.

steps B&W
solitude.. but close enough to hear the sounds of life all around me.

*for joe.. ; )

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Strawberries are in Season!!

need pie.. want pie..


how about this instead??

strawberry pancakes! OMG.. not pie but just as naughty for a late night treat..

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

What remains.. Chalk (minus the chocolate)


Unable to attend the North Berkeley Annual Chocolate and Chalk Art Festival on Saturday the 31st of May (as we're in the process of moving into our new Berkeley flat/condo and the day got the best of us getting things organized/installed.) We had attended in 2012 so I was really bummed to have missed it yet again this year, (I think we were out of town last year??) I was in for a bit of a surprise today!

On my afternoon walk I found that many of the chalk art drawings were still on the sidewalk, and in pretty good condition.. I took some iphone pix of some of the better ones..

Rather faded, but hey.. Star Wars!(I'm assuming that's dark chocolate that Darth is holding out to Luke):

Maurice Sendak is always a winner with me.. still lovely 5 days later!
where the wild things still are..

remnants of a mad tea party:

dragon (I kind of cheated on this one and did autofix.. but it was so nice!)

There were many others still out there but they are slowly fading and smudging from the trodding of many feet. A few are deftly hidden beneath sidewalk benches, (and despite being still nice, are difficult if not pointless to take photos.)

I'm glad I got the treat of seeing what remained.. As for the chocolate, a lemon square did the trick just as well. ;)

Yum @ the Berkeley Buslab

My daily walks to and from Berkeley has had me walking by the Buslab on Adeline near the intersection of Stanford and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The Buslab always has neat VW vans/buses that are in the process of being serviced, repaired or even converted..

Monday the 2nd I was walking and spotted something new.. the Tillamook Cheese Yum Bus.. 8!
Tillamook Yum Bus -08

Tillamook Yum Bus -08

Tillamook Yum Bus -08

Heading over to the Tillamook website.. I was surprised to find that they had a variety of these VW conversions.. numbered 1 through 7.. but not 8! So this may be just the newest edition to their "Yum" fleet.. and, as it turns out.. they are on tour in SF Bay area.. I'm not advertising for them though, so you'll just have to go to their site to see where in the City they'll be the next few days.. I just wanted to post pix of this neat conversion job.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Poetry Unbound at Art House Gallery

One of the new pleasures of living in our area of Berkeley is visiting the Art House Gallery


Located near Shattuck and Russell (just a short walk to Ashby BART,) it's a peaceful retreat from the world with a great poetry reading series every month. I actually came across the place on my walks to and from downtown Berkeley during the Spring school session and house hunting.

After spotting a poster taped to a light pole advertising an event hosted by Art House Gallery for the Anniversary of People's Park, I finally went to check them out in late April. The Art House Gallery and Cultural Center is an art and photography gallery owned and operated by noted Berkeley photographer Harold Adler.. The space also functions as a small event venue for local writers and performers. Mostly run on donations, it's become a gathering place of community to share ideas and creativity in the South Berkeley area these past five years.

I wasn't sure what the place was.. As most the events occur on weekends, it's closed during the week and daytime hours.Come the weekend, there's open mic events, live music, and poetry! One of the key event series is Poetry Unbound, a three hour evening event featuring spoken word, poetry and sometimes other performance art if the muse strikes someone. These events feature different noted area poets, as well a brief open mic for locals to read, perform.. whatever.. For about 3 minutes, you can have a live audience to test your latest poem(s).

Last night (Sunday) Poetry Unbound celebrated its one year anniversary of monthly readings.. Featuring readings by Kayla Sussell, who writes poetry with music themes (Jazz especially!) She shared that she's been writing poetry for about the last five years, but they are all quite polished and refined. Featured poet Charles Curtis Blackwell, reading his poem "Cousin Alice" was a super treat to the ears, and my personal favorite of his set.

Afterwards "jazz/world" inspired ensemble band COPUS performed a strong set to close out the event. COPUS is a 5-piece performance group of rap, fusion, jazz and world music.. Formed in 1998, this San Francisco-based band has great flow. Led by Royal Kent,(whose lyrical and well-timed word and song stylings seemed to transcend rap or spoken word poetry at times).. Other current members: Monica Williams on flute, Patrick Mahon on bass and electric guitar, Greg McCray on percussion/drums and composer Wendy Loomis rounding it out on piano.

Last night was a special night, but you can still come to Art House and enjoy the next Poetry Unbound.. They're usually the first Sunday of the month.. hosted by writer/poets Richard Loranger and Clive Matson, the open mic signup starts at 5pm sharp, with readings beginning around quarter after/530 pm... Don't quote me on that but instead check out the Art House Gallery Website where Poetry Unbound and the various live events are posted, as well their facebook page.. There's many other events that go on here.. but I've been having such a great time attending these poetry readings.. so many creative and talented people!

Art House Gallery and Cultural Center
2905 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA
FRI-SUN evenings (check their website or facebook page)