Monday, August 15

Aquarium of the Bay

This was a great place....very serene and lovely. I would definitely go back more often if the tickets weren't almost 20 bucks for an "adult" like me.

Friday, August 12

Days of Nature...uh...

Okay. I totally understand the goal. To get you doing something for 30 days to make it a habit, or to really get into the feel of things. 30 straight days of nature is a perfectly lovely idea. That being said: I live in a city. Yes, I do happen to live in an area where nature is coveted and coerced to come out of every nook and cranny of window boxes and sidewalk utility strips. But I'm not going to kid myself and call sitting on the sidewalk communing with hand planted greenery "nature." I guess I could stretch it my saying "human-nature" or "human-created nature," but this is for me. And that's not what I meant.

Despite the fact that I practically live in one of the largest cities on the west coast, there is plenty to do. And there is also the fact that I have and awful, terrible, no-good memory. So when things happen that I want to remember or to relate - I'll try to put it here. Starting today, because, psh. I've been here for 4 months? I don't remember ANYTHING (that's an utter lie. It's been perfectly lovely, but I've been a grump because I'm sorta lonely. So lets just try and forget that whole bit and learn to be lonely and appreciate it, right?)

Today, instead of struggling to focus on doing work in my house, or slurping down excesses of coffee to make up for my lengthy work stays in cafes, I went to the library. Duh, right? The library near me is far too small and well used (how cool is that?!) for me to focus on work. So I went to the San Francisco one. I'm currently shaking my head in disbelief that I haven't done that before.

It's a large library - I settled on the 4th floor, 2nd being the children's library, the third being too crowded, and I hadn't gotten to the 5th or 6th levels yet. I was instantly more productive. Of course that was once I figured out that I had to be close to a hot spot to get good enough wifi for all my work connections. I was there a good 3 hours before I took a quick snack break in the cafe at the lower level. Headed back upstairs because I figured, what the heck. If can pound out more work, it's worth it. I'm there for another...oh, 2 hours before a gentleman with a laptop came wandering by with some mumbles and eventually sat down across from me at the communal work tables. I don't think much of it.

Until he REALLY starts mumbling. Like. Focusing on stuff and talking in that direction. It got to the point where it would distract me. So, like I usually do, I start saying bits and pieces of the things I'm working on to keep me focused. ...and it actually quiets him down for a bit. I stop, because he's become quiet. A short while later though, he starts up again: "Your HOLE is OPEN. That's the reason..bladity..blah...mummble do." So, I start my bit up again. Thankfully, I was pretty tired of work by this point, so I finish up and pack up to the sound of this fellow, outraged that the holes are still open. Good luck with that buddy.

I did get a library card for there though! I'm excited, they let you PICK which decoration you want on your card!

So there are my city experiences for the day. As I walked to the BART, I pulled out my headphones and was content to pretend I didn't hear the city for the rest of the way home.

Sunday, August 7

Day 2 - Redwood Regional Forest

This visit was such a renewing experience. The past few weeks have been emotionally hard on me for some reason, yet as I walked up the first path, barely out of sight from the parking lot, this is what I saw:

And yes, I got all teary. True, these redwoods are not the monsters that can be in other regions where conditions favor their growth. However, they still had that quiet majesty that I imagined Redwoods have. The eternal hum of the nearby highway near our house and the ruckus from construction a block away was hardly a memory here. I could hear voices and the happy shrieks from nearby summer day campers and yet there was that underlying stillness that you only find when you are amidst great amount of biomass to damper the background static of modern life.

So here I wandered for a good portion of an afternoon. A lot of it did happen to be aimless wondering (I had no map!) but it didn't matter. If you have no destination, then it can be incredibly relaxing.

Once I finally located a map, I decided to hike to the top of the noted Redwood Peak. It wasn't a very hard climb at all. At the top was several boulders and a United States Geological Survey (USGS) marker officially marking the highest point of the peak.

View of the peak:

USGS Marker:

I attempted to continue on a path identified as the Redwood Peak trail. However, as I discovered why my initial hike to the peak was easy - I had parked in a location that was already elevated. The Redwood Peak trail heading north away from the peak turned out to be a downhill hike to the nearby Redwood Creek. The map I had indicated that the trail to the creek was "only" bit over a half mile, so I figured I could take it without much effort.

Yeah. I think I got about halfway down the trail before realizing, I would have to come back UP that way. The trail spanned a 700 foot elevation change within that short half mile, so as I forgot to factor in, it was pretty steep. And seeing as I already used a lot of my energy by wandering aimlessly, I decided to try it again another day.

Here is a link to the map of the Redwood Regional Park. You can see the trail I took is just to the north of the area named Redwood Bowl.

Wednesday, August 3

30 Days of Nature

Since there is so much to explore here in the Bay area, that I figure I would give myself a place to start. This 30 day thing is a recent trend. is currently in the midst of 30 Days of Fun. While that does sound great, I find reading a book fun - so that wouldn't be all that interesting to get me writing about (currently reading The Baroque Cycle by Neil's a tad challenging). Instead, to get me out of the house, I'll be trying to experience some sort of nature every day for at least 30 days. Here is where I'll write about it and hopefully post pictures (though I have misplaced my camera battery charger and won't have "real" photos until I do...). Anyway.

Day 1
Marina Park. Okay, So I started off "small." It's less of a park and more of a parking lot near the Bay. It's at the very tip of a curved peninsula off to the west side of Emeryville. It appears to connect to a large running/walking/biking/non-vehicular use trail that is along the eastern side of the Bay.

Looking north on the Bay:
Also: squirrels? that live in the ground? These need some investigating:

Aww...cute little feller! Especially seeing as he didn't try to attack me! And whatdda know, they are actually called California Ground Squirrels! Man, that's awesome. I didn't even have to do any digging.

Well, there. Now there are two things that I didn't know previously existed. Tomorrow: Redwoods. Things I did know previously existed, and may have gotten emotional being in their presence. Yes, I mean presence of trees. I was not kidding about the tree hugger bit!

Monday, August 1

Experiment in California Housewifery

Frustrating: Folding a fitting sheet.
Humiliating: The number of times I had to watch youTube videos to get it right. (when one woman said "one of the most challenging things you will have to do in your life is folding a fitted sheet" I wanted to reach in there and shoulder punch her. Lady. Rock climbing is challenging, relationships are challenging. This is just stupid.)

Frustrating: The amount of laundry I do in a week.
Humiliating: The excitement I had puling out that stupid pourer thing in the laundry bottle so I could get the remaining soap out for one more load. And cleaning it so I could recycle it.

When I worked I could care less about this stuff. Now that I'm home most of the day, I have time to contemplate it and spend the extra 10 stupid minutes to figure it out.

But now I'm off to explore the Redwood Regional Park(!).

...still trying to decide if the benefits outweigh the frustrations.