Jump the hills at Shells Dirt Jumps

Jump the hills at Shells Dirt Jumps

 Dirt Jumps at Shorebird Park in Foster City You know when you come across these hills at Shorebird Park in Foster City you are in a fun place. Finding them  is quite simple, just take any dirt path off the main biking trail that heads towards the Bay. One Yelp reviewer warned to watch for snakes.

Google map of Shorebird Park's BMX trail in Foster CityOn a Google map image the path is marked as BMX trail and Bike BMX Jumps. If you look up dirt jumping on Wikipedia you find an image of the Foster City Shells Dirt Jumps.

Dirt jumps at Shorebird Park in Foster City So, it might not be such an unexpected destination after all. I enjoyed being there without any bikers around. But if you are a BMX biker or love to dirt jump you found heaven. I definitely want to go back and hopefully take some pictures of jumping bikers. The path is dirt mixed with oyster shells. It crushes under your shoes like tightly packed snow. 

Do you have any good pictures of dirt jump bikers?

 

Hear the wind blow

Hear the wind blow

To find a windy day in South San Francisco might not be too tough. The real obstacle, if you want to see the Wind Harp, is finding parking. Surrounded by Genentech buildings during the weekdays this area is busy. For Wind Harp visitors Sunday might be the day to go.

Wind Harp, South San FranciscoErected in 1967 by Lucia and Aristides Demetrios the 92 foot metal sculpture stands on top of a hill. If it weren’t for the office buildings surrounding it, one would have a great view of the Bay. Three metal benches invite you to sit and listen to the fog horn like arie.

Wind Harp, South San FranciscoIf you interact with it by let’s say hitting a metal column in a fast pace with a small object, maybe a stone, the sound coming back might remind you of laser guns in Star Wars. This is, of course, information only, not encouragement for you to do this!

My love for large sculptures brings me to the most interesting places.

 

Have you ever played with a wind harp? 

Do you have a large sculpture that you love?

 

Visit the Woodside store

Visit the Woodside store

Have you ever driven by Tripp Road in Woodside and wondered what the general store was all about?

Counter of the general store, WoodsideThe old general store, post office, and community center constructed in 1854 by Robert Orville Tripp and Mathias Parkhurst is now a California Historical Landmark.

Tripp also was a dentist and winemaker. The store flourished; it was the only general store and stagecoach stop between San Francisco and Santa Clara.

Today, school groups can explore what it was like in a general store. The Woodside store is also open for the general public, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to 4 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12 pm to 4 pm. I really enjoyed the fact that you can go behind the counters and take a closer look at the packages on display.

Gift shop at the general store in WoodsideThe little gift shop in the corner is appropriate – with books from that period and arroCandy cane at the general store in Woodsidewheads. But the best offering are the candy sticks. I have been told that bubble gum is one of the favorite flavors. At 25 cents each they are a true bargain and a welcome souvenir to take away.

The back rooms are a tribute to the lumber industry with large saws  on the wall, but also skunk and racoon fur to touch.

Have you been to the Woodside store?

 

Cheer on the Silicon Valley Roller Girls

Cheer on the Silicon Valley Roller Girls

Ever since Whip it! I knew about roller derbys and I remember how excited I was to see that the Bay Area has multiple teams. Saturday, I got invited by the Silicon Valley Roller Girls to see a game. Don’t let the name fool you – roller derby is a contact sport and these girls are tough!

SV Roller GirlsI have to admit even after my preparations looking up the rules and watching a YouTube video I’m still not sure how the scoring works. It is worth buying the $1 program which starts off explaining the basics.  Look for the roller with the star on her helmet, that’s the jammer. The jammer scores by passing the opposing blockers. Both teams are in the ring at the same time and can score at the same time. Oh, and if you noticed the striped helmet, she is the pivot and can become the jammer.

SV Roller GirlsThe City Beach volleyball center was transformed into the flat track with chair seating areas in a half circle around the track. They do serve drinks and some food options, but you have to consume it in the bar area.  After the Star Spangled Banner and the introduction of the teams each roller girl gets one round on the track greeting fans. I love the inventive names. Bully Elliot, Chewblocker, and Belle Wringer, to only name a few, give you the idea that this sport can get rough sometimes. The chiropractor that promoted its praxis in the back should have been a clue as well. The crowd was surprisingly calm. Some dressed up and one brought her puppy. I also enjoyed the high-five round at the end where each player came around and gave the audience a high five.

The announcer was mostly blocking our view of the scoreboard, but it was clear that V Town had a great run this evening. The fans were happy. A great family friendly event.

If you’d like to experience the Silicon Valley Roller Girls, there are three dates left for the 2018 season:

September 9 and 22 and November 17SV Roller Girls skates

Other leagues in the Bay Area are:

Peninsula Roller Girls

Santa Cruz Derby Girls

Bay Area Derby (BAD)

 

Have you ever seen a roller derby game?

 

Hail to the water (part II)

Hail to the water (part II)

Water is precious. If you live in the Bay Area and experienced a few droughts, you’ll know this perfectly well. So, it might not comes as a surprise that there are a few water temples around.

I already talked about the water temple in Sunol. If you find yourself near Filoli in Woodside you should consider stopping at the Pulgas Water temple.  

Pulgas Water Temple, WoodsideAs a monument to the engineering of the Hetch Hetchy Project, that brought water 160 miles from the Sierra Nevada to the Bay Area, the Pulgas water temple is a tribute to the ancient architecture of Greece and Romans. The 20 year project finished in October of 1934.

Plaque with inscription at Pulgas Water Temple, WoodsideThe inscription “I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people.” underlines the importance of drinking water after the 1906 earthquake and the raging wildfires that followed the quake.

I was surprised at how many people were exploring the monument. Some relaxing on the lawn, some horsing aroPulgas Water Temple, Woodsideund the pool. The reflecting pool, a great backdrop for wedding photography and other photo opportunities was widely used as such.

The water temple is open seven days a week, from 9 am – 4 pm, but on the weekends the parking lot is only available for permitted events.

How do you hail to the water?

 

Study the history of digital games

Study the history of digital games

I know it sounds contradictory to try to get my teenager away from electronics by going to a digital game museum. But it’s all about being able to experience and not just consume. That was my motivation.

The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) in Oakland has an impressive collection of over 5,300 playable games. Your $10 entrance fee buys you a whole day of playing every game imaginable.

They start historically with pong and the old astroid games, but they have all consoles and a ton of games. To preserve the game cartridges you have to ask the staff to switch the games for you. You lounge in comfortable sofas or for the PC games on office chairs.

Star Trek Phaser Battle box, MADE in OaklandI liked the old pong-clone consoles, the colorful boxes, and was amazed at the different controllers they used to have. Some games were hard to figure out, but I can imagine the older child coming here and recreating their childhood from the 80s.

Guitar hero band set up, at the MADE in OaklandI wish I were more adventurous, I would have tried the drums for guitar hero. Yes, they have the whole band setup!

This place attracts mostly boys, but there were also some girls holding their ground. The mothers enjoyed the free WiFi to check their phones. Seating was plenty and comfortable.

 

A great place to teach kids about digital games and play some old favorites.

Have you been to the MADE?  

 

Buy art by locals

Buy art by locals

If you missed the Silicon Valley Open Studios this year, but you are still on the hunt to purchase local art, one place to consider is the Community Art show at PJCC. The Peninsula Jewish Community Center in Foster City currently shows art to purchase by 83 local artists until August 26th, 2018.

On a variety of mediums from metal to paper, jewelry, and sculptures you get a great overview of the local art scene.

For me, always a fan of the whimsical, two artists stood out. First, Winnie van der Rijn. Her The 37 ingredients in Wonder Bread- a contemporary still life is a sculpture art, having the ingredients of wonder bread in 37 small glass bottles. Also the necklace creation Second Sight repurposing old glasses caught my eyes.

I also liked the paper art by Marlene Subhashini. She has two pieces showing: Maple Leaf and Sailing Ship. Rolled up paper that form into a picture.

Of course you are encouraged to find your own winner of the show.

Mother with child, from the Grow Justice Mural at the PCJJ, Foster CityI enjoyed a light lunch at the cafe and ate outside at the Mark Hamlin Garden. The Grow Justice Mural at the garden facilitated by Jay Wolf Schlossberg-Cohen, has an eerie current relevance, one of the five panels is showing a mother with a child and the words ‘Human’, ‘Rights’, ‘Stop Profiling’, ‘Immigration Rights’ and ‘Freedom’ on tiles below. Grow Justice is a Jewish commandment to make the world a better place; a goal we should all strive for – no matter what we believe.

If you are Inspired to paint yourself, the PJCC offers classes for young and old.

Do you buy local art?

 

Discover what’s living in the tide pools

Discover what’s living in the tide pools

Tide pool at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss BeachJust touch with your eyes – as our new favorite saying goes. The creatures living in the tide pools of the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach, one of the most diverse marine lives areas, are not to be touched. In fact, you should make sure you are not stepping on anything either.

Before you go, check the tides schedule, low tides, one foot or less, are best for viewing. People tide pooling at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach

You can pick up a brochure at the park center guiding you in what you might find. At the same place, they also show a video with examples,  have information on Abalone, the geology at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, and talk about whale migration.

I was hoping to see an octopus, but these masters of disguise require more patience and a bit of luck I suppose. We did see a hermit crab (no snail can walk that fast!), and a few tiny fish. A group ahead of us spotted a CRAB! I felt happy to watch their sea critter treasure hunt.

Bench overlooking the cove at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss BeachFor the not so stable walkers, there is a bench overlooking the Cove.

A tip for people coming from the inland bring a sweater! Temperatures dropped 20 degrees Fahrenheit. We enjoyed a clam chowder at Sam’s Chowder House afterward to warm up again.

Have you looked into a tide pool recently?

 

Appraise the color of summer

Appraise the color of summer

The title of the main current exhibit at the Saint Mary’s College of Art Museum in Moraga is The color of summer. These watercolors from the California Watercolor Association can be seen Wednesday – Sunday 10am-4pm, until August 26th, 2018.

 I will have the water by Michael Granger at the Saint Mary’s College of Art Museum in MoragaI was expecting a lot of beach images and was pleasantly surprised at the broad palette of summer. I will have the water by Michael Granger won us over – a depiction of colorful drinks in a refrigerator.

Into Being - The River by Diana Hobson and Susan Alexjander at the Saint Mary’s College of Art Museum in MoragaMy son found the multimedia installation Into Being – The River by Diana Hobson and Susan Alexjander quite relaxing. At the time of our visit, we were the sole visitors and could enjoy the relaxing telegenic water images without any distractions.

The third current exhibit is by Richard Gayton: Strangers on the train, a watercolor study of BART riders on his daily commute. Gayton is an excellent observer of moods and this is reflected in his drawings of BART riders.

Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art sculpture gardenSaint Mary’s College Museum of Art is a great day trip. Visitor parking can be found adjacent to the museum and admission is free, donations are accepted. I also recommend the little sculpture garden in the museum’s courtyard, a relaxing place.

What are your colors of summer?

 

Touch a shark

Touch a shark

I touched a shark and it was swell!Touch a shark and get a sticker to proudly proof it. The Seymour Marine Discovery Center in Santa Cruz is one of my favorite places in the Bay Area. Besides petting a shark – a real swell shark that is! – you are also invited by the great volunteers to get your finger wrapped up by sea creatures like anemones, spot a hermit crab or hold a sea star. The aquarium tanks hold shark babies and jellyfish. Jellyfish floating in a tankDid you know that jellyfish needed a round tank to generate the circular flow keeping them suspended in the tank?

If you talk about the wildlife of the Bay you also need to see the exhibit on the sea otter. There is otter fur to touch, which is the softest fur ever.

Shark Science Week is July 22 – 28. 2018 – to get a deeper understanding of sharks.

Sea Otter Awareness Week is September 22 – 30. 2018 – this is an annual event all around the Bay recognizing the importance of the sea otter for the nearshore ecosystem.

Inside Ms. BlueThe tour that is included in the entrance fee takes you outside the center. It starts off with the history of the Seymour Marine Discovery Center. An important stop is Ms. Blue, the 87 feet long blue whale skeleton that greets every visitor. You are invited to go into her belly, touch some baleen plate, that is used to filter out food and a glass jar of krill to understand how much food is needed for these giants. The tour might end behind the scene of the Joseph M. Long Laboratory. Here our group got to see two dolphins and a seal that are being studied.

In July and August the Seymour Marine Discovery Center is open every day 10 am – 5 pm. Adults admission is $9, senior, children and students are $7. For the free days you need to check the web site. They also participate in the Discover and Go program.

Have you ever touched a shark?