Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sea lions, artisan-residence and sunrise on Mt. Tam

And the fog. That magical, magical beast.

But I should start at the beginning, yes?

My cousin Bridget came to visit without a plan (hurray for mystery!) and hopes to see the sun rise from a mountain top. So, after an amazing night playing bocce and eating Italian-family-style with all our adults, we bent our minds on an overnight to Marin County.

he said they have Shrek ears
First up : kayaking the Tomales Bay. We both crave the quiet of the water and weren't in any hurry to cross, so we paddled up as close as we could get to the crowd of sea lions lounging on the deck of an obliging sailboat.

the foundry inside outtrapdoor tower
The kayak outfitter told us that the sea lions have Shrek ears, but he also told us we should check out an abandoned "artists colony" at Laird's Landing. There was a couple walking amongst the cabins when we pulled up our boats and they transformed our stop with a pretty amazing story. Bob was bringing Mary to see the cabins for the first time. He's an artist and used to live in Marshall, the town we paddled from, back when the buildings belonged to Clayton Lewis. In advanced apology to my artist & architect friends, I had never heard of him before, but I am now fully enchanted.

good food & great friends @ Eat Real

We started talking when the gates opened and barely noticed 3 o'clock rolled around. That's how you know they're friends for Real.

Jen & Pepperpaella!
Jen, Pepper and I always seem to come together around good food. We met as garden volunteers and have been trading invites to picnics, potlucks and festivals ever since. This time it was the Eat Real Festival in Oakland. 3 days of street food and micro-beers made with local, organic ingredients - I can't even begin to recount the variety! There was ice cream and Korean BBQ and crunch salsa in a cone. We all managed to grab something different, and left full and happy.

A-men.ah...Lina Bo Bardi
Two bits I had to share : Liberty and Lina Bo Bardi (or at least her influence).

Friday, August 28, 2009


Napa with Jen!Napa with Jen!Napa with Jen!

Saturday was the loveliest kind of whirlwind! Picnic on the Bay with Jen & Jessica - organic wine-tasting at the Frog's Leap winery - dinner across from Napa vineyards - and Ben Vereen.

I feel grown-up, Californian and broke. It was worth it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

getting dirty

Our First Day In The GARDEN!
We've already had a few afternoons in the garden - lots of dirt flinging, wet shoes and new sprouts - http://clarksinthegarden.blogspot.com.

Redwood Park!

I've been meaning to visit this park, and it was one of those days where each moment helps you to appreciate the next even more.

Redwood Park!
The trail starts off uphill in a mixture of dust, gold grasses and low trees. Suz decided this would be a great time to disappear! It's happened a few times, so my heart doesn't go straight to dizzy-speed, but hearing her crash and crunch back up to the trail made me exceedingly grateful.

Redwood Park!
There were a number of side trails and we headed for the Eucalyptus Trail because it went down into the river valley. Everything about the path seemed 'fresh' - it was shady and there was a mish-mash of sharp, minty eucalyptus.

Even that couldn't have prepared me for the redwood grove we wandered into. The pictures don't even begin to do justice - the gently filtered light and undeniably ancient green froze me for a bit. You get the sense that the soil is richer, that (in spite of the park signs) you are walking through a slice of floral history.
Redwood Park!Redwood Park!Redwood Park!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Still happy in CA!!

"Slowing down" is one of those lovely states you dream about when you're working nasty hours and eating noodles on the fly. So, now that I'm jobless and cooking, why can't I turn my brain off?!! Something about feeling productive has been tattooed onto our DNA and, while my left-brain is sub-consciously married to job-searching, my right-brain is surreptitiously re-routing all that energy to things that I actually enjoy doing. Or things I've always wanted to do but haven't had the time/materials/cojones for.

More-or-less in chronological order...

the lone tree
Mt. Diablo?
Hiking in the East Bay foothills. Most of the parks share space with cattle ranchers, and when Suz came face-to-face with a cow for the very first time she nearly burst out of her harness. (Seriously, she flipped herself over and managed to twist it inside out.) Now when we go back she rushes the bulls with about 10 feet of good grace. Aye!

wild orchids!
San Francisco Bay
eucalyptus light
Hiking the Coastal Trail in Marin County. Until then, I didn't have a proper sense of the fog. It isn't really weather, it's much more physical and present than that - like one of those heavy velvet curtains at the theater. I love it.

...and ready to eat!
Making pizza! Ok, the dough is $1.29 at Trader Joe's. Next time I'm in it for the whole pie, flour to cheese.

Buncombe Buckles' display
The Renegade Craft Fair! I didn't end up taking too many pictures (had to post the first one!), but I did buy a recycled metalcraft belt buckle from Buncombe Buckles (Asheville, NC) and some incredible merino yarn from Spincycle Yarns (Bellingham, WA). Such a great day with a long, hilly walk through a chain of tree-lined West SF neighborhoods to get to Fort Mason!

homemade TOFU!!
Homemade TOFU! This one deserves a second attempt (where's my tidy little cube?), but I grabbed a mish-mash of recipes from the web and made it while watching Kung-Fu Panda - not an intentional combination, but so much fun!!

test swatch: weaving bike tubes
Weaving bike tubes? I'm not sure where this is going, but so far the experiments have involved weaving, sewing, ironing, felted wool and grommets.

Mr. Seahorse is wise.
Collecting more graffiti in SF. Mr. Seahorse is wise indeed.

Mulching in the Visitacion Valley Greenway. I've been volunteering with Hands-On Bay Area in a group centered around urban gardening - some of our host organizations focus on increasing access to healthy food, others on ecosystem restoration and environmental justice, while others like VVG focus on neighborhood restoration. I signed up to get a hands-dirty perspective on the City and local non-profits and have found a great group of friends. (More pictures and our group blog HERE.)

the goods
yellow pear tomatoes!
Gardening with my niece and nephew!!! We don't officially get started until tomorrow, but this is a taste of our line-up : strawberries, 6 kinds of tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers and a handful of herbs. I don't quite have the audience for a shout-out, but the folks I bought these from are amazing : they grow all their own plants organically, offer classes in medicinal herbs and don't have a single stone statuette for sale. How many landscape shops can say that? Yay, Sunset Color!!

my first homemade bread!
Homemade bread!! I was completely inspired by reading a friend's post on facebook, so I quick looked up a recipe and gathered the ingredients before I lost the nerve. Sooo glad I tried it!

Tomorrow marks the beginning of our best family project yet! I'm gathering all our supplies - little trowels and stakes and compost - and cannot wait to see Ryan and Allison up to their elbows in vegetables. Check for updates at our new blog : Clarks in the Garden!.

Monday, July 6, 2009


night flight
My dog and I headed North out of Austin on 183 and hunkered down in the back of the wagon after a beautiful sunset in Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

back seat driver
Then we got up with the sunrise and drove straight on in to Colorado.

Steve's wedding was such a fabulous hurricane of family and friends that I didn't even pick up my camera until we started hiking. This one is in an aspen grove just up from Ceran St. Vrain Creek.

ice lakes
A few more hikes and one visit to the badass National Mining Hall of Fame later, my friend Patty suggested we try Ice Lakes Trail outside of Silverton, CO - it's the sort of place that reminds you no imagination is more creative or courageous than Mother Nature's.

Suz loved every minute of it!

monument valley post-storm
We wound our way through the mountains outside of Durango, CO - stopping to pick up a few bottles of honey wine! - and met up with Patty, her husband Ryan & dog Jack just north of the Arizona line. We had an INCREDIBLE time with them in Tsaile (and a little slice of Utah!), and finally got to meet their wonderful friends, Julie and Dave! We even ran a 'Just Move It' 5k! (The photo above is from our trip to Monument Valley - usually folks say storms are to be dreaded, but once you see rain fall from the desert sky...)

suz loves patty
Yea for new friends!

american west
There was a searingly hot stretch between Arizona and California that (though possessed of indescribably sheer white light) I'm glad is in the past...

...particularly because it has led me to San Francisco.
muir shoreline
going for it
To exploring the Pacific Coast with my friend Coby.

love this face
To my family.

And perhaps to my own future garden!

After finally getting the not-so-good word from NOLA, I am thrilled by the opportunities that SF opens up and have already started digging through the want ads. More on that once my brain get's itself sorted! In the meantime, there are an obscene amount of photos HERE.