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?


Explore the Dimensions of art

Explore the Dimensions of art

A rainy Sunday is a great excuse to go to a museum. I convinced my family that the Dimensionism exhibit at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) would be worthwhile.

On the first floor the Harvey Quaytman: Against the Static is on display till January 27th and an excellent beginning of a study of shapes, textures, and colors. There will be a gallery talk on January 24th, at 5:30: Artist John Zurier joins curator Apsara DiQuinzio for a multifaceted look at Harvey Quaytman’s art.

A new exhibit that was not yet open last Sunday still brought me a lot of joy by just peeking at it and I can tell this will be a new highlight. Unfortunately you can’t touch the furry creations of Masako Miki but MATRIX 273 opened January 9th and runs till April 28th, 2019.

All these forms, shapes and colors will introduce you to the next level (on the lower level): Dimensionism: Modern Art in the age of Einstein. The modern artists interest in science, named Dimensionism, includes Kandinsky, Miró and Picasso. I really enjoyed the works of Isamu Noguchi, his sculptures representing the cosmic view with pleasing shapes.

Harold Edgerton’s Milkdrop Coronet was fascinating, not only the image, but the fact that he in 1933 invented the stroboscopic method of taking photographs with stroboscopic light, creating the illusion of freezing an action.

Staircase in the BAMPFA, Berkeley

The blood red stairway up to the Babette Cafe felt like being captured in an Andy Warhol print. But the friendly staff and yummy cake were well worth the transformation!

Thanks to Discover & Go, a service our library offers, we were able to get in for free. Usually adults pay $14, but there are many discounts available. People under 18 are always free. On the first Thursday of the month gallery admission is also free. The museum is open Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 11 am – 7 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am – 9pm. Since everything can change, it’s best to check online.

What is your favorite Dimension?

Hike around a quarry

Hike around a quarry

One of our New Year’s Day traditions is to begin the new year with a short hike. The first time we did this we ended up on quite a hill which had frost on the ground.

This year we went to Fremont and hiked around the Quarry Lakes. ($5 parking fee)

Around the quarry is a moderate hike, I would guess under 4 miles, with a mostly flat path. The view is spectacular with surrounding mountains and always a great view of the water. We even saw an egret. The San Francisco Bay Area is part of the Pacific Flyway and a welcome stopover for many migrating birds.

A word of caution for people depending on wheelchairs, most of the path is gravel and I assume tough to maneuver. The beach area offers beach wheelchairs on a first come basis and the fishing pier and some picnic areas are also accessible. We did see bikers and they did not seem to mind the gravel. In fact the park’s trail network connects with the Alameda Creek Regional Trail. You could hike/bike from Niles Canyon all the way to Coyote Hills and the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge.

Quarry Lakes park, Fremont

Besides hiking there are opportunities to swim, fish, and boat. Swimming wasn’t that popular, but maybe we will come back in the summer to check this out.

Do you have a New Year’s Day tradition?

What are your favorite short hikes in the Bay Area?

Happy New Year!

Change the light with Brilliance

Change the light with Brilliance

Brilliance artwork in Palo Alto

I admired the six sculptures between the Palo Alto library and the Art Center during the daylight. Just recently I learned that these bulby metal objects with the stanced out metal messages glow in the dark. The design even allows you to change the color by pressing a button.

Brilliance in Palo Alto

Joe O’Connell of Creative Machines,  an artist collective that specializes in interactive exhibits and artworks, and Blessing Hancock created Brilliance. Like my experience with Brilliance, their goal is to create beautiful objects that evolve into a deeper meaning and use.

Button on the Brilliance artwork to change color.

The phrases in multiple languages that you can see on the sculptures got collected from the community. The writings reflect the diversity of Palo Alto and it is fitting for the space between the library and art center to have a community engaged art collection.

Brilliance in Palo Alto

To dive deeper into the experience you can now connect with STQRY an app that gives you background information.





I hope your New Year will be a brilliant enlightenment. Wishing everyone a great start into 2019!

Admire the lights on Eucalyptus Street

Admire the lights on Eucalyptus Street

This is the season of lights. There are many neighborhoods in the Bay Area that cherish this tradition in an extraordinary manner.

Santa landing strip, Eucalyptus Street, San Carlos

Eucalyptus Street in San Carlos is two blocks of Holiday Wonderland. Parking is tight but not impossible. There is a park nearby, Burton Park, that might be your best option for parking. If you start on the corner of Orange and Eucalyptus Santa is asked to land there. He might as well stroll up and down to see all the beautiful lights. There are a lot of people and the little ones are plentiful, too.

Kids writing letters to Santa

On my visit on Saturday night I saw a lot of residents having private holiday parties. Nevertheless they made this an event for everyone by having a brass band playing Holiday favorites, a young juggler performing, plenty of photo opps for the instagram or Holiday cards, and of course the lights and moving objects to look at. My favorite attraction was the letter to Santa mailbox. Kids can write letters to Santa, last year they wrote 3217, and Nan Pat and Bumpy personally will deliver the mail.

Eucalyptus Street, San Carlos

This is a nice festive activity. A little boy of maybe two pointed at the moon as if he just saw Santa’s sled. Overall I think they did a great job! Got me into a merry mood.


Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Relax in the Gamble Garden

Volunteer raking at the Gamble Garden, Palo Alto.

365 days a year you can go over to Old Palo Alto and see what’s in bloom or just chill and soak up the beauty.

The Gamble Garden is open for the public year round, on the grounds of the historic home  where Elizabeth Gamble grew up 100 years ago. The garden became a public park in 1985.

Kids digging and measuring worms at the Gamble Garden, Palo Alto

Every second Saturday they open the doors a bit wider. The next event is January 12th, 2019. A morning (10 am – 11:30 am) for the whole family. They offer tours around the garden, a family nature hunt, and a tour of the first floor of the home.

I enjoyed the Second Saturday in December with some friends. We browsed the seasonal offerings of decorations and the holiday greens sale. It was fun to see all the kids digging for the longest worm.

Water drops on plant at Gamble Garden, Palo Alto.

My friend introduced me to her passion of photographing water droplets on plants; we could find many examples.

Mary our tour guide at the Gamble Garden, Palo Alto.

I was so glad we caught the tour with Mary our tour guide! We started at the new water catching area, a water tank that feeds a little stream with water plants, experienced the wisteria room and its tranquility, and got a lesson in photosynthesis and how to describe plants.

Schola Cantorum chorus at the Gamble Garden, Palo Alto.

It was a festive outing with the holiday carols from the acclaimed Schola Cantorum chorus.

This will be on my holiday to-do list for the upcoming years. A great tradition is born.

If you are interested in visiting the Gamble Garden for the next Second Saturday you should register with them on their website.

Do you have a holiday tradition?

Breath in the peace of Shelldance Orchid Gardens

Breath in the peace of Shelldance Orchid Gardens

Last weekend we tried to escape the smoke by going to Pacifica. Of course everywhere in the Bay Area the air was considered unhealthy to hazardous. My heart goes out to the people in Paradise and the neighboring cities who have lost everything! For us the ocean was a relief. Some salty air, waves crashing.

Succulents and Bromelias at the Shelldance Orchid GardensI also was glad that we took the steep road to the Shelldance Orchid Gardens. Only open on Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am – 5 pm. When you enter you will be transported into a different world. I was reminded of the Botanical Garden in Berlin where the tropical plants are. I started my wandering about in the Northwing and was greeted by Spanish Moss. I found a lot of air plants. Immediately calmed, it was quite a magical moment.

cat drinking out of ikebana dish at the Shelldance Orchid GardensI followed the house cat to her claimed water dish, which also was a ikebana arrangement from last weeks class. They have a beautiful reception room for weddings and other parties and of course there are orchids. I was told people even board their orchids here. In the Conservatory you can admire all different kinds of orchids, but if you find a price tag it means it could be yours.

enjoy the flowers sign at the Shelldance Orchid GardensThe owners, Nancy Victoria Davis and Michael Rothenberg are both artists. Committed in helping local artists, they offer an exhibit space in the art gallery room. Davis and Rothenberg have created a lovely place for the community to get together.

Where did you go to escape the smoke?

 

Go plant shopping at the San Mateo Arboretum Society

Go plant shopping at the San Mateo Arboretum Society

I don’t usually recommend that you go shopping. Unless it’s something with a cause. Doing good while shopping helps everyone. In this case you can snatch a deal on plants in Central Park in San Mateo. The San Mateo Arboretum Society open their doors on Tuesdays, Thursdays 10 am – 2 pm and Sundays 10 am – noon. Starting December 4th, 2018 their winter hours are 10 am – 12 pm.

They have scrubs and flowers and a whole lot of succulents. Most succulents come in an interesting pot.

The real beauties are the orchids. They are in the back conservatory. All of the plants are fair priced and help the Arboretum Society to protect and maintain the horticultural heritage of San Mateo.   

Roses for sale at the San Mateo Arboretum Society.Thanks to these gardeners the Central Park is in splendid shape. They made it their mission to educate the community about sustainable gardening, while creating and maintaining demonstration gardens in Central Park. At their opening hours, between 11:30 am and 1 pm, you can talk to a Master Gardener for advice on your plants.

You can also improve your gardening skills by taking a class. The next classes are a wreath making workshop (December 2, 2018)  and a rose pruning symposium (January 6, 2019). Please check the SMAS website for more information.

Fairy garden at San Mateo Arboretum SocietyAs an extra bonus I enjoyed their fairy garden. A bonsai, some succulents and other plants arranged with whimsical creatures.

Do you have a place to shop for a cause?

 

Admire the foresight of Palo Altonians

Admire the foresight of Palo Altonians

I don’t know if you are called Palo Altonien if you live in Palo Alto. So forgive my word creation and listen to the laudation.  

I have been hinted at multiple times that, especially in the Bay Area, water is life. Some nicely decorated water towers, Libby ‘s in Sunnyvale and Campbell’s come to mind, proof that people around here worship water.

Historic water tower, Palo AltoI’d like to add the historic Palo Alto water tower and well to this reign. The foresight the early inhabitants showed for the preciousness of this element makes them admirable. In 1896 Palo Alto was one of the first cities in the nation to operate its own water utilities. In fact, Palo Alto is the only city in California to own and operate its own utility services.

Erected in 1910, it took $2000 to purchase the land the tower is built on, and almost $10,000 to build. This well-insured the citizens of North Palo Alto a reliable source of water and was also used for fire protection for the many wooden structures around.

Not only the tower but the garden surrounding it is a tribute to water. The drought-tolerant plants are arranged in a flowing water theme. Historic water tower, Palo Alto

These days it looks abandoned. The only article I found was from the Palo Alto Online in 1995 which states that Tom Taylor was proposing to buy and convert the tower as a living space for him and his family. This obviously didn’t happen.

Do you know of any plans for the Palo Alto water tower?

 

Discover the Redwood City rose garden

Discover the Redwood City rose garden

Fountain at the Catherine Brennan Memorial Rose Garden, Redwood City Sometimes by wandering around I discover the most wonderful things. The other day, while I looked around at the Red Morton Community Park  in Redwood City I was surprised by the blooming roses. A fountain in the middle with some ram heads spilling out the water. Rose petals decorating some of the water’s surface.  

Rose at the Catherine Brennan Memorial Rose Garden, Redwood City It is a small garden with a large variety of fragrant roses. The Catherine Brennan Memorial Rose Garden was established in 1968. It is named after the woman who proposed developing a municipal rose garden but sadly died two years before the opening.Mosaic art work at Catherine Brennan Memorial Rose Garden, Redwood City

I love the quote I found embedded in a mosaic art work:” A single rose can be my garden…A single friend my world.” by Leo Buscagila.

Have you been to the Catherine Brennan Memorial Rose Garden?

 

More information about Redwood City’s fascinating history of their parks can be found in the PDF:

The Story of Redwood City Parks 1937 – 1987