Thursday, August 28, 2008

The way my brain works...

Today I Googled "pudding course"...probably the oddest phrase I've ever searched for. I heard it referenced in a video about state dinners at Buckingham Palace. [minute 1:10] Honestly, anything with "pudding" makes me giggle.

It helps to hear it in a wonderful British accent. :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Oooooo look...color...

Some days, it doesn't take much to perk up my mood :) With this shot, I just really like how the colors jump off the screen. (If you're curious...the shot is from Ocean Beach on Sunday.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


My goodness...reading that last post with the benefit of a morning latte high, I noticed a touch of anger seeping into my blog :) So, let's lighten things up with a photo of a seagull bathing.

Of course, if I were to pan back, you would see that it was bathing in run-off from the Ocean Beach parking lot.

But let's giggle at nature.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Target takes its toll...and yes, I use the s-word...twice...

Some days, you just regret leaving the house :(

On Sunday afternoon, Jeff and I decided to venture into South San Francisco to pick up some items at Target. I mean really, who can resist those hip, colorful, Beatles-driven Target ads.

After we patiently navigated the parking lot of lost souls, we approached the store's glass sliding doors...unaware of the chaos within. The doors parted and we entered Back To School Hell. Screaming children everywhere. And more Chinese-made shit than anyone could possibly need. (To be fair...Target has AWESOME Chinese-made shit :)

We tried to seek respite in a store in the adjoining mall, but the slow walkers and teenage slackers were out in force, and the diversion only made moods worse.

We left without buying anything at Target. Nothing, nothing, NOTHING is worth that pain.

To make matters worse, a rock was kicked up off the freeway on the drive, and I now have a crack gleefully making its way across my windshield.

Sigh...I could have bought razors at Safeway.

Under attack...

On Saturday, Jeff and I did some native plant habitat restoration at Inspiration Point in the Presidio with about twenty folks from my company. Our primary activity was clearing out dead grasses from a hillside that was home to an endangered plant...the Presidio Clarkia...which has a delicate pink flower...sometimes. This time of year, the plant is brown and dry (pictured above).

About halfway through the morning, we moved to a different work area to dig up an invasive weed called Sheep Barrel, which has tiny, bright red leaves. Unfortunately, while we were digging in the dry soil, my dear colleague Susan happened upon a yellowjacket nest :( The way those nasty yellowjackets swarmed around her reminded me of all those summers growing up when Cliff and I would inevitably run over a nest with the lawn mower. Susan took a couple of stings for the team, but kept in good spirits.

We finished the work project with wonderful sanwiches from Freddies...many thanks to ailing Anders for organizing the day. Later in the afternoon, Jeff and I worked in our own garden...including extracting our own infestation of Sheep Barrel, which had taken over a pot. As the light dropped, the afternoon colors caught my camera's eye.

Oh and this morning, I did a quick spin through Bayshore. I liked these lonely corners.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Photos from 9...

Look...I promise...I tried to edit this set down :) But I just love the variety of these shots. Day 9 was all in Florence, but we walked all over Florence. Enjoy.

The Tuscan sun shined brightly this morning, when we ventured out after breakfast. Began our day at the 14th-century Basilica of San Lorenzo. Although lacking a finished facade, the church's interior is bright and full of famous treasures commissioned by the ruling Medicis. Brunelleschi, Donatello, and Michelangelo contributed. Also visited the quiet adjoining cloister.

The nearby streets were lined with the leather and garment stands leading to the Central Market. Il Mercato Centrale is full of food stands of all types: meats, seafood, cheeses, pastas, and produce. The "mystery meats" tested our fortitude...huge folded piles of tripe, stacked cow hooves, and pale pig snouts. Yum!

The image of the snouts faded and we grabbed lunch at Trattoria Anita. Spaghetti ragu, tagliatelle with porchini mushroom, and a creamy asparagus-topped chicken.

Dessert across the Ponte Vecchio at our (current) favorite gelateria...Santa Trinita. Visited the Chisea di Santa Maria del Carmine, with its famous Branacci Chapel. This frescoed chapel contains the iconic scene of Adam and Eve being cast from the Garden of Eden.

As the afternoon grew late, we headed through one of the old City walls, headed up a long, STEEP set of stairs, and arrived at the Chisea di San Miniato al Monte. A large beautiful church with almost no interior lighting...leaving the interior details to be revealed slowly as eyes adjust to the darkness. An emerging scene of lovely frescoes, a painted beam ceiling, and gold-clad altars. At 5:30, the local monks begin to chant, filling the halls with a magical, soothing sound that surrounds you. Early evening views of city below. Returned with a short walk through a hillside rose garden full of amore. A peaceful stroll along the Arno.

Returned to Coquinarius for dinner. Fantastic Chianti and bruchetta to start. Two wonderful first courses: cheese and pear ravioli, gorgonzola and bacon gnocchi. Two hearty salads as our entrees. The only downside to dinner was watching the last two pieces of dreamy cheesecake go to another table while we sat and sat waiting for our waitress :( We had revenge gelato from nearby Grano, famous for its artisan flavors...very good, but we enjoyed Santa Trinita better.

Too tired to go our, we strolled the city. Discovered a dual-guitar concerto echoing through the Piazza della Signora.