Sunday, April 25, 2010

Golden Gate Park Walkabout

What a remarkable place we call home. Within minutes we can be in the a world class city. Everywhere we look there are stunning views and diversity. I feel sorry for those people who when training for the 3-day are somewhat limited in where to go. For me, it is a matter of which of the hundreds of possibilities suits my mood, time schedule and walking partners....

Stephanie and I had invited our husbands to join. As Glenn says, he is a "fair weather walker", sort of like I am a "fair weather sailor." He says, he could walk much further but why? He isn't training. Knowing that, Stephanie and I settled on a walk under 10 miles (7.1 miles according to the GPS). It was important to be sure the boys could have lunch and a beer along the way.... The perfect venue? Golden Gate Park.

Golden Gate Park is about 3 miles long. Although the Panhandle is officially part of the park, the majority of the Park runs from Stanyan to the Great Highway, and sits between Lincoln Way and Fulton Street. It covers over 1000 acres and is larger than Central Park in New York. The variety of trees and legendary. You walk through parts of the park and see areas that look like your in Jurassic not GG Park. Huge ferns and towering trees with names you have no idea of. There are museums and a Conservatory of Flowers, a Japanese Tea Room, an Arboretum, Casting pools, a lake for model boats, one where you can rent a paddle boat, buffalo, polo grounds and riding stables all leading down to the Pacific Ocean. There are those people who call Golden Gate Park an urban Oasis (sounds like one of my marketing fliers!)

For us, the fact that we could park one car near Haight Asbury and one at the Beach Chalet meant we could walk to lunch and back to our car and see it all.

We met at the Beach Chalet on the Great Highway. The slight breeze from the ocean made me wish I had brought a heavier jacket, but the forecast was calling for temps in the mid 70's. I figured once we were away from the coast things would warm up.

The Beach Chalet was originally designed by Willis Polk and built in 1924. The murals in the downstairs visitors center were commissioned as a WPA project during the depression. Inside there is a model of the park and that was a good place for Glenn and I to look at where we would be walking. There are a lot of things to see in this beautiful spot.

Once the Cihaks arrived we jumped in their car and parked on the opposite end, near Stanyan Street. The weather was beautiful, although still a little chillier than the blue skies would indicate. Off we headed on our Saturday stroll.
My phone only rang about 4 times with urgent business from a recent sale of one of my listings. After the fourth call... I turned off the phone.

Stephanie and me, Flowers among flowers.....

And our better? halves?

Glenn and Chuck have been friends forever... The Cihaks are the Godparents of our daughters and we are the Godparents of their children. Time somehow has us all running in a thousand directions, and the more complicated our lives have become, the less we have been able to just hang out. One thing I am genuinely looking forward to is having more time with our dear friends. the 3-day walk and training give us that wonderful side benefit. It shouldn't take an event to bring friend together, but sometimes... that is what happens.
The Conservatory of Flowers.
For well over a century the Conservatory of Flowers has delighted visitors with it Victorian architecture and plethora of flowers and plants.

We stepped off the road to go see the log cabin. The cabin was constructed in 1911 from redwood logs, floated down on a raft from Humboldt County. It was built to honor Pioneer Women of California and now houses the permit division of the park.

Nothing like Redwood siding!


As we walked along you could hear the sound of water pretty consistently along the way. There were path side streams that danced their way over rocks. Then there was the rushing thundering sound of this waterfall.

3.1 miles later we were at the Beach Chalet. Beer anyone? (Not me or Steph, but the boys hoisted one) The Chalet has gone through a number of transformations. Glenn and Chuck remember when it was rather dilapidated, morphing from a Bikers Bar to a disco spot, to basically not much of anything. Today it has two restaurants. This upstairs restaurant has glorious views. Downstairs there is a glassed in restaurant that flows out onto the grass where people come and sit with their children and dogs, on picnic blankets sipping their drinks and eating their lunch. It really is quiet the spot, and Glenn and I like to take our out of towners here.
After having a nice lunch we headed back out to try and find another route back to the car.

Scooting by the Soccer fields we came across a windmill being refurbished and one that was actually turning. You can't see it in this picture, but there was a bird's next sitting in one of the spokes. (Not habitable I'd say)

Some of the trees grown horizontally on the ground, with twisted trunks that reach for long distances.

LaCrosse game at the polo grounds and one of the many runners in the park.

One of the many lakes in the park.

Some how we ended up on the same route but on the other side of the street than before. The park had many yellow irises in bloom. This one in front of the waterfall.

The root of one tree pierced the strata of the hillside.

There are still some Spring blossoms in the trees in the park.

Chuck noticed this Zen circle, so I went to take a look.

Each rock placed thoughtfully on the other....

We walked over to see the Japanese Tea Garden. I have never been inside, but I remember pictures of Allison and Katie there. They visited with Glenn's Mother when they were young.

The Japanese tea Garden was built in 1892. During the turbulent year around WWII until 1952 the garden was renamed the Oriental Tea Garden.

The original family the Hagiwara family was evicted and sent to an internment camp during the war. The garden now bears their name.

The music stand also know as the Spreckle's temple of Music is located at one end of the Music Concourse between the DeYoung Museum and the Academy of Arts and Science. Today they had a dance festival going on. Lithe young dancers were waiting their turn to perform.
The DeYoung Museum in the background stand in stark comparison to the traditional monument architecture of the Band Stand.

The latest recreation of the California Academy of Science houses the Steinhart Aquarium, Morrison Planetarium and the newest green building concepts. The living roof is really something to see. The solar panels become an integral part of the design trellised front of the building.

Near the end of our walk we passed the JFK tunnel. These musicians were playing, mainly for themselves enjoying the acoustics the tunnel created.
By the time ended we all looked at each other and realized what a perfect day this had been. Great weather, great friends planning an even greater walk in October. The Cihaks have agreed to cater our Wine Wars in August. Those of you who have had the honor of eating their food know... they put to shame the vast majority of caterers out there. We are VERY lucky!
So now's the time people. Get in your RSVP! You don't want to miss this!

Friday, April 23, 2010

How you live...

It isn't about how you die that is of any consequence.

It is how you live.

Yesterday a bright young talent died. Some of you have read her writing as she chronicled her battle with Cancer. Her name was Alicia Parlette. She was 23 years old when she was diagnosed with a rare and incurable form of Cancer, that was found in her hip and in her Breast. She died at at the age of 28.

That is how she died. But how did she live?

She had in her a light so bright that it was made to shine through her writing. A passion so intense she was restless with creativity until she found why she was so afflicted. The Cancer, she noted, was a kind of a blessing. How often have we heard this from people who have fought this disease. Cancer a blessing.

For Alicia, after finding she had cancer, it all became clear. Writing about her cancer, was what she was meant to do. She was there to write for all those who felt the same way she did, in words that were not theirs to speak. She gave them a voice they did not have before.

It struck me that she not only wrote about this journey, but she found it in herself to do even more. She sat with chemotherapy patients as they waited for their treatments at UCSF. She adopted a shelter dog. She lived her life.

I find it ironic that today I read about her passing. This morning I met with my oncologist and a good friend and fellow survivor Julie, who have been following their passion to found a healing center in Marin. I was meeting with them because I wanted to explore whether there is something I could do to help.

That restless feeling that Alicia was feeling before she understood what she was supposed to do with her writing, is something I understand. I have been feeling a little restless myself. I feel a lot less restless when I am focused on the 3 day.

There is a book I read called "Finding Your Sweet Spot." It uses the analogy about when a golfer hits the ball just right how it flies effortlessly further and truer than anyone ever imagined. Like when a baseball batter hits the ball just right and the bat and they are one - they hit the sweet spot, it feels like the easiest swing they have ever made, and the ball goes forever.

There have been times in my life when I have known I am doing just what I was intended to do. It is seamless, and in it I feel my deepest satisfaction. Alicia found her sweet spot in writing , and we all are left gifted by the fulfillment of her purpose. Everyone says "It's a terrible loss" when someone dies. I prefer to say "What a tremendous gift their life was."

With every step, with every mile I am saying thank you for those who have brighten my path with the brilliance of their lives. It's how you live that matters. Alicia you lived your life well.

Honor Alicia by making a donation to end Cancer.

or to the fund set up in her name

Alicia Parlette Fund for Aspiring Journalists, Reynolds School of Journalism, Mail Stop 310, University of Nevada, Reno, NV. 89557

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Oh what a beautiful morning!

The morning came to Mill Valley without even then softest whisper of a breeze. The sun was out in all its glory in what promised to be a warm and wonderful day. I wandered in our garden and surveyed the glory of spring in the blooms on the apple tree. The sweet scent letting me know, this is the best time of the year.... a good day to go for a walk.

Team member Dana has asked if we were planning to do a walk this weekend. This is a rare weekend that I didn't have an open house scheduled, so we made plans to meet at 10am and head off for a training walk.

When Dana arrived, we said goodbye to the dogs and headed down the hill to park at my office. For some reason our office is the Southern Marin Firefighters staging ground for drills. When they do this they block off the entire parking lot. So we parked a little ways off and joined the dozens of people already on the Sausalito Bike path, heading into Sausalito.
Glenn has an I phone and it is relatively new to him. Getting the phone ready to read our distance, takes a few minutes, because I believe it is a lot like asking for directions. Guys just don't want to "read the manual..." But once he had the phone ready to be our eyes from the sky, off we went. I took them in and out of the houseboat communities, and long the waterfront. We walked to Vahalla, and reversed course to have lunch at the club.
After lunch (and a glass of chardonnay) we started back toward Mill Valley. It has hard to leave the warm deck with it beautiful view.
As we were walking along Pelican Harbor Dana saw our friend's car. Larry and Sharon has a new motor yacht and Glenn and I had never seen it before. We took the opportunity to head down E dock to take a look. Its beautiful and quite a different experience from a sailboat. With all the comforts of home plus a glass of wine....I could have stayed awhile here as well! Today was shaping up to be a different kind of training walk.
Larry and Sharon offered to donate a cruise on this great boat for Wine Wars! It could be the showdown of the auction items. Haz Wa versus (I think they are re-naming their boat E-Cruise). Invite your friend to come to Wine Wars and bid, maybe they will take you along! Larry also is very generously donating wine and will be pouring for the Henry Wine Group. We are luck to know him and so appreciate this great support.
We pried ourselves away to go back to where we had come from. But along the way we stopped at Schoomaker to watch all the people who had come to the little beach there to enjoy the beautiful weather. There were children playing the sand, collecting flowers while parents and grandparent watched. There were kayakers and dingy sailors all enjoying the warm temperatures.
Those warm temperatures had me glad I had worn a tank top and shorts. I thought about Glenn in his black shirt and thought.... I bet he is hot!
After getting to the car we returned home and downed a few glasses of water. Dana left to go off to judge a sailing race, saying "We'll get there by October..."
Yes we will Dana, yes we will. And we will have more great days like we had today.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pt San Pedro - end to end

What a girl does on a Thursday... cause she can!
This morning I couldn't make the office meeting because I was meeting a client to show him a home. The day other than that was completely open. The skies were blue. I have busy times ahead, so I got on my walking clothes and tied up the shoes and headed to San Rafael.
I have done a lot of walking over the bridge when trying to get in longer walks, so I decided to head the other way. I parked under the freeway near Glenn's house and off I went.

Down Lincoln Avenue....

Down Brookdale and past the old steps to Glenn's old office... It is so strange to see the house gone in favor of a wider freeway...

Up and over toward Los Ranchitos...

Peeking over the fence at the tennis court at 10 Glenside where we had a GREAT fundraiser for our 3-day last year.

Taking a turn east on North San Pedro Road.

Up to Civic Center

The beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright building with its amazing details... Gates like the emerald city.

The hallways flooded with light in the atrium

After a potty break, off again down North San Pedro Road... Santa Venetia

I stopped in an open house of Steve Pringle's. Wish I had some cash. Its a cute one.

Bus stop with a message

Along the side of the road... a duck in water.

As I reach China Camp there is a warning sign that there is an upcoming marathon. Note: Last year there was no warning and I was stuck in the middle of a triathlon. The road was closed and it was quite the .... moment.

Here is where I am missing my camera. This phone takes ok little pictures, but stinks at zooming... and the color not nearly as vibrant... but here we go... there is a bird on top of that post.


The sign at China Camp

Me and the sign

Classic California landscape

Flowers on the road...

Can't see that purple hill can you?

A few artists were working....

More flowers

The bayfront...


Flowers redux

Ok.. when you are walking... you really appreciate rest stops. Problem is with the budget crisis half of them were closed..... like this one.

Madrone and the bay

At the edge of the point there were three people fishing. It was kinda high off the water, so I wondered about pulling them in from there....

Flowers on the trail

An old foundations.

People enjoying the nice day.. at a hidden beach


Flowers framing the view

Walking along the trail toward China Camp...

China Camp Beach

Picturesque place....

The pier at China Camp

Photo op


From inside a shack

Weathered buildings...

Back to flowers



Heading up Point San Pedro on the other side.

The Rock Quarry in the background

Pictures out to the quarry and the brick foundry
Ditto. I would like to have a tour someday... The drivers of the trucks that were leaving here waved to me. Half of them had on turbans like Sikhs.

The seawall along the road in front ot Peacock Gap.

Iceplant flower

Looking up the seawall I saw a number of birds.

Like these ducks

These sandpipers

This couple is ducky!

Some of the waterfront homes have little piers, like this one with a studio on it.

At Lockh Lomond Marina, I stopped to eat some lunch from Andy's Market and enjoy the harbor views.


Coming into town and looking across the canal, there is a stone "lighthouse."

Heading toward Glenn's office I decided to peak over the fence at the studio that sits behind the office... It isn't very attactive is it.

But Dotty... well Dotty is quite attractive. She is the mannequin in Glenn's office's tub....

After finishing the walk I drove back to my office. And low and behold... there it was ... THE SIGN! So glad we finally have it there, now everyone will know we are in business in Southern Marin.

When I was at Andy's market I picked up my favorite cheese... Mt. Tam by Cowgirl Cremery. My favorite cheese, not just because it is absoultely YUMMY, but because they are an amazing company. They just donated lunch for four, and a tour of their Pt Reyes cremery to Wine Wars! THANKS!!!!
Have you RSVPed yet? Remember it is August 13th 6-9 at the Mill Valley Golf Clubhouse.