Sunday, April 19, 2009

Let's Talk about Chicks

Off you go to your new home.

A few weeks ago when I arrived at the Master Gardeners Annual Heirloom Tomato and Pepper sale a few minutes after the 9 AM start time only to find there were NO PARKING places near the event and then 15 minutes later after parking a short distance from the sale and walking to the rows and rows of tomato plants only to discover many varieties were already sold out, I got the feeling that home vegetable gardening had become something of a phenomena.  There were scads of people cruising the aisles, loading up on tomato and pepper plants and these weren't just us old-timers like me.  There were plenty of young people including young parents pulling wagons full of kids and plants.  How heartening!  This weekend I decided to check out the chick sale at Sam's Downtown Feed store and saw a scene similar to the plant sale only a smaller scale.  Sam's hosts a baby chick sale each year with 4H members on hand to inform and educate the public on chicks and 4H.  The chicks were selling like crazy.  I overheard one customer urge someone on the other end of her cell phone to decide quickly because there was only one of a particular variety left.  Are these "victory chickens" to get us through tough times?  If you would like to get in on this backyard chicken movement then head on over to Sam's on Saturday, June 6th when this event repeats.  You can learn all about raising poultry, buy a few chicks and pick up all the feed and equipment you need for them while you are there.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Walking to Cure Multiple Sclerosis

When my beautiful friend Mary was diagnosed with MS three years ago, she responded in her typical positive, pro-active and dignified way.  She made positive changes in her life and reached out to help others who have more severe cases of MS.  Today I joined her on her walk to raise money for a cure.  That's Mary, the one in the middle with the radiant smile, and her group of walkers.  The walk route was along the Guadelupe River Parkway and it was packed!  The walkers warmed up with the incomparable Jerome leading us in jazzercize and then we walked and talked in the beautiful sunshine.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Mmmmm, Yogurt

I am sort of a late-comer to the whole natural tart yogurt craze but now that I'm here, I am staunchly onboard.  I first tried tart frozen yogurt at Yolicious (on San Fernando between 3rd and 4th).  I had the plain with sprinkles.  I loved it.  I have visited often enough to have a good start on filling up a frequent buyer card and I don't care if frequent buyer cards were mocked on Will and Grace as being pathetic.  Then in the interest of being fair and balanced, I tried Penguin Frozen Yogurt (on Santa Clara between 1st and 2nd) and really they are virtually indistinguishable from one another.  The stores are quite different though.  Yolicious is pink and clean and happy and fun where Penguin appears to be going for an industrial look.  Penguin has more toppings but Yolicious has Satura desserts (great cakes!).  But I have to give the nod to Yolicious because they don't have Fox news with Bill O' Reilly being broadcast from a large screen TV.  Either way you like it, with or without Bill O'Reilly, natural tart frozen yogurt is delicious.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Some Building Graphics I Like

A cautionary picture.

This little guy makes me smile.

I love these goofy guys.

Just one of several bold and colorful paintings on Fabers
Several months ago, while riding my bike down First Street, I spotted three of these images painted on buildings.  Then not long ago I noticed the elaborate painting on the side of Faber's Bicycle Shop.  All of these designs are located within a one block area.  What fun!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


The neighborhood I live in must have the perfect growing conditions for wisteria because it is spectacular here.  Every spring from bare, dry, twisted and tangled branches, come huge, billowy sprays of wisteria blossoms.  The wisteria vine outside my window (see above) is so aggressive that it manages to pry open the screens and twist its way into my dining room.  By summer I will have about 3 feet of wisteria growing inside the house.  But the wisteria plant pictured at the Friends house takes the prize for the most spectacular one I've ever seen.  Note that in addition to engulfing the house with blossoms it continues up the power wires.  Wow.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Speed City - Catch it While You Can

Back in the sixties, long before steroid use and high tech training equipment, before high performance footwear or even adequate nutrition, there were these  athletes at San Jose State that were just straight up gifted and talented.  Two of these athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, won the gold and bronze medals (respectively) for the 200m at the '68 Olympics in Mexico City.  When they took the platform and raised theirs fists to the world, many of us were shocked and awestruck and regarded it as an act of unimaginable self-sacrifice and courage.  An exhibit called "Speed City" is now on display in the wing behind the rotunda at San Jose City Hall.  The exhibit pays tribute to the talented minority athletes who trained at San Jose State from the early 50's to the late 60's.  The photos and artifacts tell a story of remarkable athletic feats and political activism in an atmosphere that did not embrace these athletes or give them the recognition they deserved.  I urge you to go see the "Speed City" exhibit on display now.  At the end of the exhibit you will see directions on how to walk over to the sculpture (at nearby San Jose State University) which commemorates Tommie Smith's and John Carlos' black power salute.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

All's right with the world

After a very long day of rainy day recesses, a difficult and depressing faculty meeting wherein we discussed the ramifications of the state budget cuts and then a ride home in the rain, I walked through my gate and I see that my roses have started to bloom, suddenly since just this morning and again all is right with the world.  So this post isn't so much about San Jose (except that aren't we lucky that the temperatures have been in the high 70's and even low 80's) as it is about my front yard, but hey, my front yard is in downtown San Jose.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Looking Good Mrs. Butterworth

I like little elements of surprise in the landscape, little things that catch my eye and make me smile.  Well this rather handsome railing (on N. 16th) did just that.  To me this is recycling at its best.  It may not be immediately obvious, but this was constructed with empty Mrs. Butterworth syrup bottles.  Sounds tacky, looks great.