Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Friends at the Garden

My garden next to my neighbor's...yes, pretty sad!
No, I am not including the "rat or mouse" as the new friend at the garden.  Yes, we have something/animal helping itself to our garden...rumor has it, it's the scurrying kind.  Though I have not seen it (and hope I never do), it did eat all of my lettuce!

Mojito mint and Chocolate mint joined my other friends, basil, rosemary, tomato, arugula at the Alioto Garden!  I can't wait until they grow!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Braving the Elements

Mustang Suit--a waterproof snowsuit
Yesterday, while out for a ride, I started thinking about the weather.  I know, how "Minnesotan" of me to think, talk, discuss, debate the weather.  Sorry, it's in my blood.  Anyway, the summer weather in SF is the opposite of the sunny, hot, dry climate associated with California.  It is windy, foggy, wet.  So the summer weather pattern is as follows (minus any technical weatherperson jargon/explanations)--the heat of the inland desert hits the weather & moisture from the Pacific and the Bay, creating fog that just sort of settles right over us.  Summer mornings are wet and foggy, the sun peaks out for a (usually) warm afternoon, followed by the fog rolling in again in the evenings.  The fall is generally the best weather in SF--warm and no fog.

Yesterday, as I was crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, out for a ride with friends to the North Bay, I got to thinking (pretty easy to get lost in thoughts when you sit on a bike for a few hours!) about how we adjust to the weather.  Really, we don't have a choice if we want to live where we do and in order to do the outdoor activities we love.  When I lived in MN last winter, I biked from my brother's to work each day--7 miles each way.  It was great!  I got to catch up on my NPR news & podcasts (though, I still have mixed feelings about riding and listening--a little dangerous!); catch the sunrise over the River; ride through UMN campus--around Mariucci Arena and through the Minneapolis/St Paul campus-connect-way (only law enforcement, buses, bikes can ride); over 2 footbridges, past the museums of the Warehouse District, over a cobble street (I pretended I was in the Paris Roubaix!).  There were mornings it was 17-degrees when I left Greg's, but I wanted to bike, so I dressed warm.  And really, I usually warmed up within the first 15-20 minutes.  There were a few miserable rides when I never warmed up, or during the year's first big snowstorm when I almost got hit by a cab skidding through a stop sign.  Those were the days I thought the bus sounded pretty good.

Braving the cold!
In thinking about other activities that people enjoy--skiing, motorcycling, rock climbing, hiking, fishing--all of these can be dependent on the weather (as well as the enjoyment of them).  But most people, if they want to get out badly enough, will put on the extra pair of long-underwear, rain coat, sunscreen in order to enjoy themselves.

Last winter, when I was home for the holidays, my friend and I ran outside when it was 5-below zero!  We really wanted to get out!  We were so bundled up, only our eyes (which turned into icicles) were showing.  Or a few winters ago, while working in DC, I went out on the water with co-workers.  We had to break the ice at the landing to get the boats in, but we did it.  We wanted to get out on the water and be adventurous!

So, dress appropriately to get out to "brave" the elements.  But get out.  Move, breathe, be.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Labor Day in SF!

Giants Game
My parents came out for a visit over Labor Day weekend.  They had not been for over 2 years.  I feel I know the city so much better than the last time!  I think I now know the reason they waited so long to come back...they were scared!  I made them walk so much!  I don't have a car, so I bike everywhere.  I take the bus, sparingly, and usually regret it every time! No, it's usually not that bad....usually.  My parents came at the perfect time of the year--the weather began to shift from the foggy, windy "summer," to the warm, sunny fall!

Dad & Mom in Sausalito
My parents stayed in Nob Hill, a very old, very hilly, somewhat touristy part of the city--right down the street from the famous Grace Cathedral, Tonga Room, and in their hotel, Top of the Mark, a bar at the 20th floor with an amazing view of the city. Going to and coming from their hotel was a nice hill-climb--it really was, as my dad reminds me, "uphill both ways!" But my parents, as always, were good sports. We watched the Giants beat the Rockies at AT&T Park. We took a drive down the coast to Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz, and not surprising, ate at an overpriced seafood restaurant on the Boardwalk.  In Napa, we walked all through the downtown and had lunch at the Oxbow Public Market.  Not to let them feel as though they ever left home, we hit up a dive bar called the Hyde-Out, a few blocks from their hotel!  Though, SF might rival Hibbing on the bar/people ratio! We stopped by the Ferry Building farmer's market on our way to catching a ferry to Sausalito, where we had lunch at one of my favorite, coffee-refueling-while-biking cafes, Cibo.

Giants Game
Santa Cruz

My dad even installed a new shower head in our bathroom. My parents let me cook them dinner the night they left, which they graciously claimed was the best meal they'd eaten in SF.  I think they were just delirious and hungry from walking so much!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Alioto Garden Plot

Finally, I have a garden plot! It is a tiny, 3'x3' raised bed in the nearby Alioto Park garden. I have been on the waiting list for about 1.5 years! I had tried herbs in the window boxes at my apartment, but they became too wind-whipped, and the boxes dried out too quickly for me to keep up! So I replaced them with succulents.

When the window boxes didn't work out as I had hoped, I got myself on every list for a garden plot I could find and hoped for the best. Plots are hard to come by, and I had heard I might have to wait up to 5 years (for the popular gardens)! In my new plot, I planted tomatoes, peppers, arugula, lettuce, rosemary, and basil.

On my way, the night I planted, I almost got in the middle of 2 girls fighting on the sidewalk! Then, when I was planting, Sidney, a gardener's dog, started fighting with another dog at the park.

A few days later, I decided to finish my run at the garden, so I could water. I fell on my way. Tripped on what? I don't know. Just totally wiped out, right in front of a cafe too, of course. So, I hope all of the "incidents" are out of the way with my garden! Now, I just need nice warm weather for my little plants!