Saturday, April 30, 2011

spring came

while i was in san francisco, spring came to the west coast of newfoundland. crocus blooming. rain to green up the grass. warm days for drying fleece and yarn out on the line.

Friday, April 29, 2011

on the streets of san francisco

everywhere we went in san francisco, we were blown away by the colours of the buildings. mostly soft and delicate. like the wet coast air. and the careful attention to detail. like cake decoration.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

our last day. day 7

at breakfast on our last day, we went through our list and chose what we couldn't bare not to see before going home. (we had come with a very long list!)
1. we took a cab to the mission district to visit the oldest remaining building in san francisco. the mission dolores was built in 1776 for the ohlone indians and while the nearby cathedral was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake (and later rebuilt), the mission chapel stood strong. the graveyard in behind was where kim novak hung out in hitchcock's "vertigo".
2. we took a long stroll along valencia st. just to take in the sights of this multi-ethnic area - mexican and italian and indian and irish and asian. and had a wonderful indian lunch.
3. we kept walking and ended up at dolores mission park where we got an outstanding view of the city.
4. the castro district with it's beautifully colourful houses, it's streets proudly decorated with rainbow flags, borders the park and we went to harvey milk's store (if you haven't seen sean penn's movie "milk", you must) and the human rights campaign action centre.
5. in the late afternoon we took a cab out to the marina to "the palace of fine arts". it was a fake greco-roman replica ruin built of burlap and plaster for the 1915 international exposition and in the 1960's was recast in plaster. weird and wonderful. the pink plaster against the cherry blossoms. the sorrowful women.
6. we walked along the marina past the yacht club to the "wave organ" built in the 80's to capture the sounds of the ocean. it was unfortunately low tide but we still were impressed.
7. and then the final stop of our trip was greens restaurant for supper. greens has been going strong since 1979. it is run by the tassajara zen centre (started in 1966) and is by far the best vegetarian restaurant i have ever been to. all the produce is grown organically and locally at 3 garden centres (we saw one - green gulch farm - on our visit to the muir woods). annie somerville has been their head chef for most of that time. she came out of the kitchen and we had a lovely chat with her. i've never before experienced such a relaxed chef and staff!
8. so on our last evening, we ate a beautiful meal looking out at the pacific ocean as the sun set behind the golden gate bridge. a perfect trip.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

gathering. day 6 in san francisco

on april 18th, 1906 at 5:12 am san francisco (and much of coastal california) was rocked by an earthquake. san francisco toppled. 3,000 people died. the city burned for 3 days. the only source of water that was still functioning, in the downtown area, was lotta's fountain. every year on april 18th (at 5:12am) people gather to commemorate.
1. so barb and i got up at 4:00 am. we expected that there would be only a few people. silent with their thoughts. but there was a parade! with vintage cars and fire trucks (sirens wailing) and people dressed in period costume. we followed this fireman to the fountain. rather than a sombre occasion, it was a celebration of a city that rebuilt. and a city that is preparing for the next great earthquake.
2. we went back to bed for a couple of hours and then had a leisurely breakfast at the hotel. best granola and oatmeal i`ve ever had. that`s a cable car going past the window.
3. we`d been almost a week in san francisco. my thoughts were turning to what i was bringing back. what new ideas. what colours. and we found our ``eyes``were changing (barb is an artist too). details jumped out. we stayed downtown this day and did a lot of window shopping. this dress popped out at me - little squares of silk chiffon.
(i`ll use that idea as applique on some of the felt pieces i`m making).
4. we went to the jewish heritage museum and then wandered over to the yerba bueno gardens to the martin luther king memorial fountain. san francisco has a history of fighting for human rights and you can sense that everywhere.
5. we had japanese tea and moroccan snacks at ``samovar`` - sitting outside and surrounded by draping purple wisteria.
6. a long time spent in the san francisco modern art museum where i visited with some of my favourite old artists (those are frida kahlo`s feet) and met some new ones.
7. then back out onto the street for more window shopping. this was a crazy glittery store.
8. and i can`t pass by a betsey johnson store (she`s one of my heroes). more silk chiffon - this time in circles. and we helped molly pick out her prom dress.
9. my last stop of the day was britex fabrics where i purchased - yes - silk chiffon - in san franciscan colours...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

our international day. day 5

i live in corner brook newfoundland where the population is almost 100% white anglo-saxon. the first black or asian people my children saw (growing up in the 70's and 80's) were on sesame street. so, when travelling, delving into other cultures is always a huge treat. and on our 6th day in san francisco, we dove.
1. the alemany flea market is the biggest and best in san francisco. so on sunday morning we took a cab out under the freeway and spent hours just browsing. mexican and asian. old hippy. some wonderful finds like this lace runner (my daughter asked me to look for some lace to make a curtain out of). i bought glass beads and shell buttons and delicate depression glass and a hand embroidered tablecloth (that was $5.00). for lunch we had salvadorian take-out.
2. from there, we took a cab to alamo park to see the elegant victorian "painted ladies" houses. we wondered if we'd be impressed after seeing so many gorgeous homes. and we were. something about their pale delicacy.
3. then we walked to the john coltrane church. this was one of the highlights of the trip for us. it's an african orthodox walk-in church that celebrates the power of music as a devotional expression. a 3 hour jam session every sunday afternoon. everyone welcome to bring their instruments and play or sing or just get up and dance. black iconic saints look down on you including one of john coltrane with flames coming out of his saxophone. the music, the spirit was wonderful.
4. we left the church and walked over to japantown and the tail end of the japanese cherry blossom festival parade. the streets were packed as far as you could see. the event was for all ages. traditional japanese kimonas (women in their 80's to little toddlers). hundreds of teens dressed up as their favourite anime characters. drumming and the crowning of the cherry blossom princess. and culminating in a medieval feeling performance. we then wandered into the japanese bazaar - food and music and japanese craft and everywhere fundraising for the japanese earthquake survivors (here children were decorating fans and donating money to the cause).
5. and we finished our day for dinner at a great pizzaria near the hotel.