Meet some local wildlife

Meet some local wildlife

The Sulphur Creek Nature Center in Hayward is not only an educational facility – thousands of school kids and adults learn about local wildlife and domestic animals each year – it’s main purpose is the rehabilitation of sick, injured or orphaned wildlife found by the public.

Owl at the Sulphur Creek Nature Center in Hayward.

On my visit I was able to see a couple of owls, some red falcons and a golden eagle. And that’s just the outside volaris! Inside the center are snakes, frogs and spiders.

The owls were hard to spot, kind of a where is waldo game. It was harder for me to find the first snake and talked to a staff member. He assured me the snake is comfy in its hiding place. When I understood that concept I was able to spot some more creatures.

Who made this nest? display, Sulphur Creek Nature Center, Hayward.

There is also a display of animal skulls and one of different nests.
Saturdays and Sundays (10 am – 3 pm) you can take advantage of the Animal Lending Library. If you ever wondered what it would be like to own a mouse, hamster, rat or guinea pig here you can rent them for a week ($28, cage and other equipment is provided).    

Golden Eagle at Sulphur Nature Center, Hayward.

Opening hours are from 10 am – 4:30 pm, admission is free, but a donation is encouraged. $3 a day for two to three months could rehabilitate a baby racoon, or $2 a day for one month could help a baby rabbit. There are multiple ways to donate, not only the cash box at the entrance. Check out their amazon wishlist, bring by some items like dog food or trash bags (see list on the website), or adopt an animal.

How close have you been to local wildlife?

Contemplate among bonsais

Contemplate among bonsais

Seek out a tree and let it teach you stillness.

Eckhart Tolle

Medium sized bonsai trees at the Japanese Garden in Hayward.

If you are looking for well-manicured trees I recommend the Japanese Gardens in Hayward. A large variety of conifers, but also a few deciduous trees are styled in medium height bonsai fashion and where possible were shaped into rounded heads.

Bridge over the koi pond at the Japanese Garden in Hayward.

The gardens are surrounded by the San Lorenzo and Castro Valley Creek. Thanks to the rain the creeks below are filled with water and the rush of water accompanies you in the quest for serenity. Another water feature is a koi pond with a waterfall. Many of the koi are huge and might be on a diet, because the feeding is prohibited.

One of the gazebos at the Japanese Garden in Hayward.

The gardens wind in a few loops and have multiple gazebos for you to rest. On a smaller loop I heard a frog croaking; birds are also part of the natural entertainment. Overall a nice place to walk, contemplate, and enjoy nature.

The Japanese Garden is open daily, 8:30 am to 4 pm. Admission is free. No dogs allowed.

Have you been to the Japanese Gardens in Hayward?

Resources

https://www.haywardrec.org/DocumentCenter/View/5425/Japanese-Gardens-Brochure?bidId=

https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2018/02/12/haywards-hidden-gem-japanese-gardens/amp/



See 100 murals

See 100 murals

The 100 Block Mural Project is going for a Guinness record. They created 100 murals, each their own 3×3 space, as a large continuously collaborative mural. You can admire the artwork at 300 First Street in San Jose, across the California Theatre.

Some of the 100 Block Murals
Some of the 100 block murals
Some of the 100 block murals
Some of the 100 block murals

The creators of this, Exhibition District, are not only on a mission to beautify the city; their plan was to discourage graffiti. And, what is really amazing, they paid the artists for their murals.

Two of the 100 block murals

And given that women are present but not well represented in the art community, they achieved a great set of statistics. Of the 100 artists, 90% of the artists are local, 50 males, 40 females and 10 non-binary.

Each of the art pieces has a different feel. But it is not overwhelming, rather fascinating. The official unveiling was done March 1st, 2019, so you’ll be able to still get a fresh look at them. While you are out check out other murals around. The SOFA districts booms with murals. But clearly the 100 block is something special in the world of murals. It brightened up a rainy day for me. More please!

Have you seen the 100 Block Mural Project?

Resources:

https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Artists-Collaborate-for-Guinness-World-Record-Mural-in-Downtown-San-Jose-506468401.html



Celebrate Steinbeck

Celebrate Steinbeck

Steinbeck Center entrance, Salinas

Steinbeck’s birthday is February 27. He would have been 117 this year. Steinbeck grew up in Salinas and later moved to New York. The Steinbeck Center in Salinas celebrates their famous author all year. Only closed for mayor holidays the center is open 7 days a week from 10 am to 5 pm. The entry fee for adults is $12.95 – a steep price tag for a roadside attraction.

Growing up East of Eden, Steinbeck Center, Salinas

The Center is conveniently placed at the beginning of Main Street, 1 Main Street. And the downtown area has lately been revived with modern eateries, coffeeshops, and breweries moving in.

On the other side, Salinas is still a town of rural farmland, with a saddening rate of one in four kids considered poor. This makes Steinbeck as present and meaningful as ever.

If you have kids in tow, they might enjoy the scavenger hunt that is offered. Grab a printout and a pen from the entrance area and start looking for clues.

Cannery Row reading, Steinbeck Center, Salinas

I have to admit I haven’t read anything by Steinbeck before. We did listen to The Grapes of Wrath and a lifetime ago I have watched East of Eden. So, with this challenged novice knowledge I was pleased to watch a bit of East of Eden coming into the Center. The history lessons dispersed throughout the exhibits were helpful. The little movie clips I glimpsed at made me hungry for more.

Steinbeck was awared the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962, Steinbeck Center, Salinas

A very interesting man in a very interesting town. Both worth checking out.

Have you read anything by Steinbeck?

There is also the Steinbeck House. Maybe on our next stop in Salinas.

Interesting article about the situation of Salinas kids from KQEDs California Report:

https://www.kqed.org/news/11716780/for-many-students-in-salinas-homelessness-is-becoming-the-norm



Shop for some gifts

Shop for some gifts

Every town and city in the Bay Area has its distinct feel. It’s hard to describe, but that’s what I love about it, too. Los Altos, for example, is all about gift shops. There are candy stores, toys and book stores, and several shops for giving presents.

Gallery 9 storefront, Los Altos

If you like to give some local art work, gallery 9 might be a good place to shop. Originally founded by 9 artists in Menlo Park, it relocated in 1973 and is now the oldest art gallery in Los Altos with over thirty artists.

Current exhibit at gallery 9 features Mam-Weber's paintings and ceramics by Shigemi Sanders

Every month they feature different artists in the front of the gallery. This month you can admire paintings from Mami Weber and ceramics by Shigemi Sanders. Gallery hours are Tuesdays – Saturdays 11 am –  5 pm and Sundays from 12 pm – 4 pm. Since it is an artist collective you will meet one of the artists on your visit.

Ceramic figures by Shigemi Sanders at gallery 9, Los Altos

Gallery 9 also participates in the Los Altos’ First Friday with an artists’ reception.

Do you love to give gifts?


Get a glimpse of the Cuban School of Ballet

Get a glimpse of the Cuban School of Ballet

Did you know that the Cubans are as serious about ballet as they are about baseball? In fact the school is so successful that kids come from all over Latin America.

Rebekah Bowman, a Mexican-American photographer from Berkeley, went on and off to Cuba the last six years and captured the intensity of the young dancers.  You can see her work at the KCI Gallery at Foothill College. Until March 21st, 2019, nineteen images are shown in the gallery. Ballet images are perfect for the round space with the handrails on both sides. If you want you could probably re-enact the poses.

Rebekah Bowman's photography at KCI gallery, Los Altos Hills
Rebekah Bowman's photography at KCI gallery, Los Altos Hills

I found the choice of the black and brown photos printed on bamboo paper represented the fragility of the Cuban surroundings and helped the objects to shine. And shine they do, in strikingly perfect poses, all muscles. Bowman also managed to capture the playful sides of her objects. I imagined joyful, dancing teenagers. Hard working, but also developing into adulthood.

You can own the prints, prices are $500 for the small prints  and $800 for the larger ones.

Rebekah Bowman's photography at KCI gallery, Los Altos Hills

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019 the Foothill College will show Horizontes (2 pm – 3 pm, Room 4006 KCI), a documentary about two dancers of the National Cuban Ballet.

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019 there will be a Gallery Talk with professor Ron Herman (12 pm – 1 pm, KCI Gallery).

KCI Gallery hours are Monday – Thursday 8 am – 7 pm, Friday 8 am – 5:30 pm and Saturday 8:30 am – 4 pm. To get to the KCI Gallery you should use the parking lot #4, parking is $3.

Have you heard about the Cuban School of Ballet?


Call me Ishmael

Call me Ishmael

Call me Ishmael phone, Los Gatos library

“Press any button to hear a story from an anonymous bibliophile about a story they loved.”  This is the sentence you hear when you pick up the receiver of the old pay phone in the Los Gatos library.

Reviews are read from different book lovers. Unfortunately there was no volume button. Some recordings are hard to listen to from the recording quality and the speed of the reader. But the personal account is priceless. Some are short and sweet but most of them are true personal recollections.  

Press 0 and you’ll hear a pitch for ‘Call me Ishmael’ or if you are at home in front of your computer you can watch their YouTube video for their earlier kickstarter project.

Current book selection from Call me Ishmael, Los Gatos library

Currently the book selections are from Sarah Boynton’s Pyjama Time! , a picture book, to classics like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, to the Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.

If you like to record your own review you can do this by calling 774.325.0503. On the CMI website you can also listen to featured calls.

Los Gatos library (front entrance)

A fun way of learning about new books! The personal touch of the stories makes it feel like a friend is telling you about a book they loved, and the Los Gatos library is a great place to hang and discover new books.

What book would you review?

Marvel at the Eichler X-100

Marvel at the Eichler X-100

X-100 indoor garden and fireplace

Usually I wouldn’t tell you about this house, if I myself hadn’t been inside. For the inside is really the interesting part. But in this case I make an exception. Thanks to the American Institute of Architects San Mateo who generously provided me with images from the inside of the Eichler X-100.

You, who know Eichlers, are aware of the private facade Eichlers display towards the street. So, to be able to look inside this marvel, even just seeing the pictures, is a treat. You can imagine the design ideas of Quincy Jones and Frederick Emmons the main architects of a lot of Eichler homes.

Double oven in the X-100

The San Mateo Highlands are the largest Eichler community with over 700 of the “Modern California” homes. The X-100 is an experimental home with steel instead of wood beams. It shows off its modernity with two interior gardens, but also the kitchen equipment was prototyped and came in 1956 with a black dishwasher, a garbage disposal (“pulverator”), a double oven and a radio and intercom to name a few features.

Heated inlay in the table at the X-100

One of my favorite upgrades is the heated inlay in the kitchen table to keep the food warm.

Since it is occupied, tours are rare, and are by appointment for groups only. Please respect their privacy.

Are you an Eichler fan?

Resources:

https://www.eichlernetwork.com/article/eichler-x-100-house-steel

https://www.realtor.com/news/unique-homes/eichler-x-100-house-steel-available-rent-5500k/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-100_(house)

http://www.eichlermidcentury.com/index.html

https://www.bungalowjournal.com/eichler-experimental-the-x-100/

Buy something at Reach & Teach

Buy something at Reach & Teach

If this is your year to become more sustainable maybe Reach & Teach in San Mateo can help. They were awarded the 2014 Sustainability Awards from Sustainable San Mateo.

Store front of Reach & Teach, San Mateo

This small store has everything from games to books to fairtrade tea. It is a great place for buying a gift. You could even fill out their gift advisor form online. But if you go by the store and need some advice, they are happy to help and might even play some games with you! Most of the games are unique titles that are not usually found in other game stores, teaching the players about peace, equality and sustainable living. One of the games is their very own invention: CIVIO – A civil rights game.

Games you can try out at Reach & Teach, San Mateo

Their slogan is: “transform the world through teachable moments”. Reach & Teach got founded as a subsidiary of Craig Wiesner and Derrick Kikuchi’s award-winning educational consulting company, WKMN Training, LLC. If you like to learn how you can make a difference in this world, best to stop by the store and get some ideas.

How will you be more sustainable in 2019?


Get a high score

Get a high score

We went to the Pinball Museum in Alameda before and I was surprised that they also have an Interactive Arcade Museum.

Playing arcade games at High Score, Alameda

High Scores on Park St in Alameda (or B St in Hayward) is another rainy day option. $6 buys you an hour of fun, if you plan to stay longer you might want to invest in a $12 day pass. Teach your kid who is boss in Mortal Kombat II or eat some dots and ghosts in the classic Pac Man. A lot of these games are multiplayer, so, bring a friend or a few kids. You can also celebrate your next birthday or organize a team building event. The atmosphere is loud and crowded, but on our visit there you could always find a machine to try a game.

arcade inspired art

I liked the arcade inspired artwork above the video games and the Donkey Kong photo opp outside.

Pac-Man arcade game at High Score, Alameda

Which one is your all time favorite arcade game?