Sign at Montalvo Art Center: ART is the highest form of HOPE

Find hope in art

Montalvo’s new exhibit “lone some”  almost feels like a self fulfilling art and is on point during a pandemic where here in the Bay Area we have been under shelter-in-place order since early March. On 25 independent sites around the Bay, including San Jose’s Museum of Textile and Quilts and at Montalvo’s public park, artists have created talking points about isolation and loneliness.

A bus stop in Atherton. The poster reads: Dig if you will the picture.... by Modesto Covarrubias.

Also on bus stations from Atherton to Redwood City there are messages to inspire the lonely viewer. Part of this series are posters from Modesto Covarrubias titled: Hear, There and Everywhere. These mantras, prayers, poems, and lyrics are supposed to summon the meaning of isolation and might help you to work through your predicaments. If you would like to connect with the artist and offer your thoughts, or favorite song about loneliness, you can call (408) 777-2103 and leave your input. You might also find billboards as part of the series around the Bay Area.

Artists of lone some include works by Lucas Artists Fellow Chloë Bass, Modesto Covarrubias, Jane Chang Mi, Leena Joshi, Susan O’Malley (1976-2015), and Alyson Provax

A 4 x 4 mirrors by Alyson Provax.  “You can’t deny that longing for the past.”

In the park at Montalvo there are messages etched in 4 x 4 mirrors by Alyson Provax. One for example reads: “You can’t deny that longing for the past.” The social distance signs at the park feel like part of the “lone some” exhibit with directives like: “No sitting, gathering, or picnicking.” Signs of times, food for thought. 

Sign at Montalvo: No sitting, gathering or picnicking.

Lone some will be on display until July 31st, 2020. A map of the widespread exhibit can be found on Montalvo’s website.

What does loneliness mean to you?

Sculpture of a M at Menlo College.

Enable new sculptures

There are spaces for new sculptures in this country. While some sculptures are offensive and protesters have managed to topple some of them lately, there are also sculptures that inspire us.

Georg Huerter's Yellow Barrel Ring at Menlo College.

One place to view new sculptures is Menlo College. From September 25 – 27 the Silicon Valley Sculpture 2020, a fine art fair, will be held on their campus. This year’s theme is “Past, Present, Progressive”, a fitting motto for 2020. 

Sculpture at Menlo College from Rotaut. Part of the Silicon Valley Sculpture 2020.

They have just started to add sculptures on campus. For example George Huerter’s ‘Yellow Barrel Ring’ greets visitors when entering the campus. There is also the work of Rotraut, a German-French visual artist, which glisters in the sun in a metallic black. 

Are there any sculptures you would like to see in public places?

Wind Wave with art in the park sign at Byxbee Park, Palo Alto.

Enjoy some art in the park

A few years ago I wrote about The Pole Field at Byxbee Park in Palo Alto (Walk the trails between Bay and posts). Since my radius of wandering is limited right now, I recently went back there. Speaking of limited, parking is only allowed in the lots, no street parking. But this was no issue in the middle of the day on a weekday.

There were only a few people walking and running. The most interesting method of movement was presented by three motorized unicyclists in full gear on a hot day.

 Foraging Islands by Watershed Sculpture at Byxbee Park in Palo Alto.

I did come for the art and the joy of exercise. Foraging Islands by Watershed Sculpture was installed in 2018 and is an ecological sculpture absolutely fitting for the Byxbee Park and its idea of intersecting nature and culture. With the help of a multitude of volunteers gathering nearby materials, they established a dam-like temporary public art installation, a perfect habitat for insects and rodents.

Wind Wave by Peter Richads, Michael Oppenheimer and George Hargreve & Associates at Byxbee Park in Palo Alto.

Across from the Foraging Island is the Wind Wave which is part of the permanent art displayed together with The Pole Field and The Chevrons, a collaboration of artists Peter Richards, Michael Oppenheimer and the landscape design and architects George Hargreaves and Associates

Have you ever enjoyed a walk of nature and art at Byxbee Park?

Trees behind a fence

Go on a virtual nature tour

Last week I gave you a collection of virtual art. This week, with John Muir’s birthday on April 21st and Earth Day April 22nd, it is natural to talk about nature in the Bay Area.

Screenshot of the Oakland Zoo grizzly bear cam.

If you are looking for animals the Oakland Zoo has some webcams for bears and elephants. On my latest visit I did not see any animals, but this might be a virtual hunt (https://www.oaklandzoo.org/webcams)? 

Screenshot of jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

I was luckier at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the otters were frolicking around (https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams/sea-otter-cam), the jelly cam mesmerized me with some minimalistic sounds and the slow movement of the jellyfish (https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams/jelly-cam). 

If your love for animals is on a smaller scale, you can watch a few YouTube videos of insects by the Essig Museum of Entomology (https://essig.berkeley.edu/bugged/). 

To explore interesting articles by Bay Area Nature magazine (https://baynature.org/category/explore/) is always a great pastime.

How about a virtual garden tour? Bringing back the Natives Garden Tour (https://www.bringingbackthenatives.net/2020-virtual-tour) will zoom you to native gardens in the Bay Area the next  three Sundays from 10 am – 3 pm, registration is required, donations are appreciated.

A virtual park experience is promised by the East Bay Regional Park District (https://www.ebparks.org/activities/digital_learning/default.htm). Park Naturalists tell you everything from how to dissect a flower to why you should count worms in your soil.

Participate in the City Nature Challenge, April 24th – 27th, 2020! You’ll have to download the free iNaturalist app and upload your findings (https://citynaturechallenge.org/).

Or how about playing a nature bingo? (https://drive.google.com/file/d/121rcsGxlSuXQ7ekmkKzEO-h9H-4xqova/view)

On May 6th you can join the live streamed walk of the Los Gator Creek, RSVP required (https://www.savedbynature.org/event-info/creek-tales-nature-walk). Saved By Nature is an amazing organization whose goal is to bring nature to the people that can’t physically go and see it themselves. In the old times this meant persons by illnesses bound to their beds. 

Screenshot of the parktracks website.

For a calming 12 minute listening experience I recommend ParkTracks, a compilation of nature sounds (https://findyourpark.com/about/news/parktracks).

There are many resources out for you to explore. Let’s all enjoy nature close to home right now, so we can flatten the curve. 

Happy Earth Day!

Map of the Stanford Dish loop.

Run around the Dish

It is vital these days to exercise.  A lot of public parks and open space preserves have been closed off, due to the excessive use and therefore people not being able to keep the 6ft required distance. 

We were lucky two weeks ago when my son and I decided to hike the Stanford Dish it was still open. As of April 3rd, they closed access to the Dish. 

The Stanford Dish

I have to confess I put the Stanford Dish hike in my 50 things to do in Stanford without ever being on the path. I am glad I did this hike before it got closed off. The path is concrete, which allows for wheelchairs and strollers, but keep in mind the alleviation changes dramatically – my health app said I climbed 22 floors that day!

Old radio telescope, Stanford Dish hike.

I always wanted to do this 3.8 mile loop passing the old radio telescope visible from 280. I was surprised that there are actually two radio telescopes! We parked at the Stanford parking lot, which is free. Be sure not to park in the residential area, because they will ticket.

The Dish is (usually) open from sunrise to sunset. No dogs, accept service dogs, or bicycles are allowed.

Stanford Dish

Have you hiked the Dish loop before?

Do you know of any hikes that are still open?

Front of the egg vending machine at the Glaum Egg Ranch in Aptos, advising you that you will need 4 crisp dollar bills.

Vend your eggs

Easter will be April 12th, this year. There is a confusing tradition that links bunnies to eggs, which  I don’t understand or even feel qualified to explain. But for now let’s just focus on eggs. 

The Barn, egg vendor and eggs sold here sign of the Glaum Egg Ranch in Aptos, CA.

Before the shelter-in-place order I went to Aptos to see the egg vending machine at the Glaum Egg Ranch. I believe it is still open, but in these days and times anything can change. Are we even allowed to drive that far? I think not. 

Please take this as a virtual tour and when you have the chance of freely moving around again consider this as a fun activity for young kids. It is not the vending of the eggs that I refer to here, it is the show that is offered after you vend. You can see this demonstrated in this YouTube video (be my first subscriber to my new channel!):

Succulents in egg shells at the Barn, Glaum Egg Ranch, Aptos.

To see the show you need four crisp dollar bills and you will be rewarded with 18 eggs and a show. The barn store will be happy to provide you with wrinkle free money. By the way the barn store is open Mon – Fri 8am – 4pm and Sat 8am – 2-pm. There you can get a lot of products around eggs. One was succulents in little egg shells, such a cute idea! They also have interesting gift ideas mostly food related.

Chicken dressed up in their Easter outfits - part of the show at the Glaum Egg Ranch, Aptos.

I wish you all a Happy Spring!

Have you ever vended your eggs?

chalk art drawing of Vincent Van Gogh starry night, Mountain View

Stroll on a chalk art walk

It’s been over a week now for shelter-in-place, and I hope everyone is still healthy and safe!

Since it is still OK to go on a walk – one of my neighbors had a great idea: a chalk art walk.

Walkway to a house, full of chalk drawings, Mountain View.

Last Friday almost 60 households participated in beautifying their drive or walkways with artful chalk drawings. 

All in this together - chalk drawing, Mountain View.

A lot of flowers and we-are-all-in-this-together messages.

A walk-by meditation chalk drawing, Mountain View

My favorite was an instruction to a walk-by meditation to stand, observe and breath.

It was really great how the neighborhood came together. There are some true artists out there!

We had a lot of media coverage for this (see the resources link below).

How are you coping with the shelter-in-place? 

Please leave a comment for creative ideas for the whole neighborhood below.

Resources:

https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2020/03/22/us/california-sidewalk-drawings-coronavirus-trnd/index.html?f

https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/22/us/coronavirus-first-week-social-distancing-wrap-up-trnd/index.html?

https://mv-voice.com/news/2020/03/23/young-chalk-artists-brighten-the-mood-in-cuesta-park


50 things to do in Cupertino

Explore 50 things to do in Cupertino

Since Tuesday we are officially ordered to ‘shelter in place’. So I like to take this time to introduce you to my series: ‘50 things to do’. I try to find 50 things to do in a city nearby. It is an interesting challenge and I enjoy discovering every aspect of a city.

Bowling balls at Homestead Bowl, Cupertino.

In my latest ‘50 things to do’ I discovered Cupertino. Most of you might know Cupertino as Apple’s headquarters, but this is not all this city has to offer. I was really surprised to see how many interesting options for sports they have. From disc golf to archery, hiking in the hills, and yoga in the park. This city also has two bowling alleys and an ice rink!

aquarium at the Cupertino library

There are some cool outings for kids, too, like the 16 feet wide aquarium in the library or the Deer Hollow Farm at Rancho San Antonio. If you like to explore local history you’ll be able to enjoy a few fascinating finds.

If you have any suggestions of places that I might have missed I’d love to hear from you!

Are you ready to explore Cupertino (virtually)?

Bottles of sparkling cider, Watsonville.

Stock up on some cider

In our house we agree that Martinelli’s makes the best apple juice outside of Germany and the local farmers market. For special occasions we always have Martinelli’s sparkling cider as the non-alcoholic choice.  

When I learned that Martinelli’s has a tasting room in Watsonville I had to go! 

They are open Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm, and Saturdays 10 am – 2 pm.

Old labels from Martinelli's, Watsonville.

There is some information about the history of Martinelli’s and you should look around the pictures and bottles before you sit down for the tasting. This makes for excellent conversation, because you can quiz your attendant about all things related to cider and apple juice. The pours are free and you get deals on the cases.

Shopping cart filled with cider, Watsonville.

We ended up with a few cases of our favorites. Did you know they have a blood orange cider? Well, it is only available in Watsonville! 

As a special treat for women’s history month you can read up on Martinelli’s women: https://www.martinellis.com/company/the-women-of-martinellis/

Have you ever taste-tested cider before?



Windows on the Past, a display of wild flowers at the Museum of San Ramon Valley, Danville.

Get informed about wildflowers and climate change

Entrance of the Museum of the San Ramon Valley, Danville.

There is a rotating exhibit in Danville’s Museum of the San Ramon Valley on wildflowers and climate change, named Beauty and the Beast. This display of photographs will run until the end of March, 2020. A docent at the museum told me that the wildflower bloom occurs earlier each year and that this messes with the rest of the ecosystem.

Picture of the 100 year bloom at Joshua Tree National Park.

“Erratic weather cycles cause more severe and longer droughts, followed by more frequent wet years and flooding. Native plants and life that depend upon them, are being crowded out by invasive species that benefit from this greater rainfall. Our beautiful wildflowers are losing ground.” (Quote from one of the panels in the exhibit.)

Dried wildflowers at the Museum of the San Ramon Valley, Danville.

In my experience most wildflowers are really small and to see a large image of them is quite a treat! In fact they also show you the process of the photographers, Rob Badger and Nita Winter.  The images span from the superbloom of the California deserts to the alpine ‘rock gardens’ of the Sierra Nevada. 

To get up close with some wildflowers you can use a microscope and zoom in on some dried species.

To combat climate change you are encouraged to become a citizen scientist.

Part of a Mastodon jaw at the Museum of the San Ramon Valley, Danville.

For history buffs this museum, a former train station, feed store, and a home for an eccentric artist,  is also full of local artifacts. One of the most precious artifacts is a part of a Mastodon jaw. 

Bob, a mannequin, in the caboose playing cards.

The restroom outside in the caboose is also a lot of fun with a train driving soundtrack!

Admission to the museum is $5, it is open Tuesday to Friday 1 pm – 4 pm, Saturdays 10 am – 1 pm and Sundays 12 pm – 3 pm.

Did you know about the relationship of wildflowers and climate change?