Monday, March 30, 2020

Scenes from Sheltering

Sheltering at Home during Covid-19

It's been two full weeks of sheltering at home here in the San Francisco Bay Area.
 I'm keeping my Social Distance from others when I go out (6 feet). I've had FaceTime and Zoom get togethers with friends...virtual coffee dates, a cup of tea, a glass of wine.

Here's some scenes of what life is like these days.

To stay fit, I've been walking a lot and doing some at-home weight training and stretching. 

The picture above is some creative art that I've observed on one of my many local trail walks.

One another trail, on St. Patrick's Day, this was another art work.

Every night at 5 p.m., we and neighbors from 4 houses that surround us, come out on our driveways for High Five at Five.  We keep our safe distance and chat a bit, check in with one another, sip a drink of our choice, and then head back indoors to prepare dinner.

When I make a trip to a grocery store (Trader Joe's or Whole Foods are my mainstays), I stand in line waiting to get in.  The guidelines by the stores is to limit the number of shoppers in the store at any one time.  These are lines at recent Trader Joe's trips. Notice that shoppers are keeping 6' between themselves.  

Meanwhile, my spring garden is flourishing and has become the subject of my and my neighbor's daily photographs.  

And, with not going out to dinner a few times a week, I've been preparing all out meals at home.
Last night, it was a Paula Deen recipe for Italian Chicken and Vegetable Soup.  Yummy and colorful!

Stay well and be careful!

Thursday, May 9, 2019


Not only is Gram Cafe & Pancakes an "Only in San Francisco" phenomenon, but it is the only location of this popular Japanese café in all of the United States!

Gram opened in the Stonestown Galleria shopping center in San Francisco a few months ago, to wildly popular reviews.

It's concept intrigued me so much that, today, I drove over an hour to the far west part of San Francisco to sample their "signature" Premium Pancakes.  While the café serves other pancake dishes, it is the Premium Pancakes that are causing all the commotion.

They are souffléd pancakes, served as a stack of three with whipped cream, butter, and a tiny pitcher of warm maple syrup.

Serving times for the Premium Pancakes are each day at 11 a.m., 3 p.m., and 6 p.m.  Only 30 orders are prepared at each serving and the staff gives out tickets for each serving time.  Each order is prepared to order at the rate of 10 servings each half hour.

The Premium Pancakes are very delicate and customers are not offered a take-home box for them.  These pancakes are fragile and will lose their "pouf" after awhile.

Customers are not required to order the Premium Pancakes.  There are several other menu items from which to choose and you can just drop by anytime to enjoy those.  

I met Harriet at Gram at 10 a.m. this morning and we settled into the line of numbered seats.

At 10:30, a staff member handed us our numbers.

While we were waiting, another staff member offered us cups of coffee and water.  Then, she further psyched us up by coming around with a stuffed-toy version of the Premium Pancakes.  She offered, and we accepted her offer, to take pictures of us with these toy pancakes.

Promptly at 11 a.m., we were seated in the dining room. 

Several customers at tables near us decided to share just one order among their party and to order other pancake creations as well.

Harriet and I each wanted our own order.  

And, we had a great time and loved the Premium Pancakes.  

At $16 an order, the Premium Pancakes are a bit of a splurge, but well worth the experience.  Several staff members came to our table to talk about the pancakes and make sure that we were enjoying our meals.  It was a leisurely experience; we were not at all rushed.

I say that the Premium Pancake is well worth the advance planning and worth the excursion.

And, the Stonestown Galleria is a very nice shopping mall, so, for us, this was an excellent way to spend a day together...eating and shopping!!! 

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Swim A Mile for Women with Cancer 2018

Last Saturday, October 6, 2018, I did my 21st Swim A Mile for Women with Cancer, a fund-raising swim to benefit the Women’s Cancer Resource Center (WCRC) in Berkeley, California.

The Swim took place at the beautiful pool at Mills College in Oakland, California.

This year, our team of 4, “Janet’s Angels” (Allison,Amy, Harriet, and me), swam in memory of our dear friend and Harriet’s daughter, Janet, who passed away from metastatic breast cancer last year, at the age of 42.  And, I personally swam in honor of 48 of your and my friends and family members who are surviving their cancers and in memory of 43 who have died of cancer.  

My personal sponsors generously donated nearly $5000 to the Women’s Cancer Resource Center. 

The Swim A Mile is an inclusive event that welcomes women, men and children to swim, or even walk, a mile in the water. We swimmers are put in lanes with others who swim at similar speeds and it all works out very well. It's a two-day well-organized annual event that the WCRC staff and its many many volunteers make work seamlessly.

There is always a lot of very good food to eat, music and cheering going on, and overall joy.  

This picture was taken early in the morning as breakfast food were being set out. 

WCRC's Board President, Penni Hudis, came to thank us for our participation. 

Here, Allison's son watches as Amy and Allison wait for their lane assignments.  

and, the rest of us join them to line up for lane assignments. 

At the far end you'll see Harriet and I getting ready to get into the water.

Harriet comes into a turn and I head on out.

Here are  “Janet’s Angels” after the swim; we’re wet, smiling, and showing off our achievement medals.

Most teams go into a huddle before their events.  But, not Janet's Angels; we rejoiced the completion of our swim with a huddle and some private congratulatory words!!!

Amy's kids congratulate her after the swim.

And, we did our interpretations of Wonder Women with WCRC's photographer.

More than 437 swimmers participated in this year’s Swim A Mile. $328,000 of WCRC’s fundraising goal of $400,000 has been raised. Donations towards this goal will be happily accepted through November 30, 2018; if you donate now, be sure to specify the name of the swimmer you are sponsoring.

The Swim-A-Mile for women with cancer is a special event for me and I feel honored to be able to raise funds for WCRC. 

Looking forward to swimming again in 2019!

Friday, October 5, 2018

Salesforce Park

A few weeks ago I spent half a day at the newly-opened Salesforce Park in San Francisco.

The Park, on the rooftop of San Francisco's new Transbay Terminal Center, covers 5.4 acres and extends between Beale and Second Streets.

Little did I know that, as I write this post, both the Park and the Terminal are closed, as is Fremont Street near the Terminal. What happened? On September 25, 2018 (six weeks after the Terminal started full bus service), workers discovered a cracked steel support beam in the ceiling of the Terminal, a beam which supports the rooftop Park.  Further investigation revealed a second cracked beam.

As of today, October 5, 2018, both the Park and the Terminal are closed while supports are being installed in the middle of Fremont Street to support the cracked beams.  Work is ongoing to determine what went wrong and how to fix it.

Meanwhile, the buses coming and going from San Francisco are being redirected to the nearby temporary bus terminal that was built while the Terminal was being built.  Salesforce Park is closed to the public, for the time being.

So, while we wait for the Park to open again, here are a few photos of what it's all about.  If you've visited the High Line in New York City, Salesforce Park is a sort of mini version of the High Line...lots of plants, pathways, open spaces, bigger community spaces, many benches on which to rest and contemplate. It's a favorite spot for both locals and visitors.

You can get up to the Park from sidewalk level  by elevator and stairs and a gondola.  A few weeks ago the gondola was not working properly, thus the crew busily working on it.


Signs describe the more-than 200 plant species that fill the Park.

Sit in a quite space.

Or, enjoy a larger seating area where there might be a free lunchtime fitness class going on.

At the Art Cart, children, and even adults, can use the Park's art supplies to create their own works of art.

Borrow a book from the "Reading Room" to read while you relax in the Park.

The day I was here, local artist Lindsey Millikan was working on her painting "Rising Waters."

A special bus ramp allows buses to bypass the crowded streets below and enter and exit the Bus Terminal directly.  This vertical structure senses the buses and triggers a series of water jets in the Park's 1,000-foot fountain that runs the length of the north side of the Park.

From sidewalk level, it is nearly impossible to take a picture of the full height of Salesforce Tower.  From the Park, here it is.

Salesforce Tower is on the left and the Millennium Tower, most recently known for its cracked window on the 36th floor, is on the right...great views of both from the Park.

A great view of 141 Fremont Street, one of the condominium buildings in San Francisco.

Several large companies occupy buildings that overlook the Park.

And, there is even a place to look down into the Terminal building.