Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bookshop Cat

Children, Sailing, and Home are three categories of books here but I like the mental image I get when I read it:  Children sailing home.
Any retail shop that has a resident cat or dog is guaranteed to get my business.  Even if Recycle Books on the Alameda didn't have an adorable cat I would shop there because of their tremendous selection of used books, but the cat is definitely part of the draw.  The place is packed to overflowing with books but they are incredibly well-organized and easy to browse through.  Recycle Books recently replaced the flooring with gleaming new hardwood floors.  While they were moving and packing books in preparation for the work to be done I thought to myself  "This is not going to work."  But they managed to do it and retain the wonderfully stuffed, cozy feel of the the place.  By the way, it is air-condition and a perfect place to pass a hot summer afternoon.  You're going to love this place.  Did I mention the cool free bookmarks with every purchase?  Are there any other shops in San Jose that have a resident dog or cat?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Make it Work

If you have ever watched the TV show Project Runway, then you are familiar with Tim Gunn's signature phrase "Make it work."  For instance he will be looking at a dress form draped with seat belt straps and a work table piled with random automobile parts and the contestant has been assigned to make a sophisticated dress from these things and Tim will just say "Make it work."  Well I don't know if I would ever choose to plant most of my garden in recycled plastic containers but the gardener of this lovely plot of land in front of an apartment building on S. 3rd Street made it work.  I am always touched and pleased when I see the great effort people put into making their little piece of the landscape more attractive.  Is it human nature to want to improve our surroundings?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Yes We have Some Bananas!

Now that school is out I have plenty of time for long walks and exploring different neighborhoods.  My walking buddy spotted this banana bearing banana tree!  I had never seen an actual fruit-bearing banana tree in San Jose.  Has anyone else seen bananas growing here?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Trees Wearing Sweaters

I may be easily amused but when I pulled into a parking place on First Street this morning and saw that the tree in front of my car had been dressed in a sweater, I thought "Now this is going to be fun!"  The section of First between San Carlos and San Salvador is lined with beautiful Jacaranda trees and for the time being, most of them are dressed.  Some of the wrappings are simple and some are quite ambitious.  They may be dressed inappropriately for the season but they are lots of fun to observe, both up close and from afar.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Exotic Ingredients Right Here in Downtown

I have a favorite Vietnamese market (on S. 10th and Story) but now that I am riding a bike, that market is not so handy. While looking through Everyday Greens Cookbook I found a recipe for Red Curry with Summer Vegetables and Thai Spices that sounded fabulous. The list of ingredients was long and some ingredients were completely unknown to me. I vaguely remembered seeing a Vietnamese supermarket somewhere downtown and so I rode my bike around until I found it (420 S. 2nd St). When you walk inside you are transported into a world apart from the one outside. The market is noisy and busy and packed.  Don't even bother trying to negotiate a cart around the place. I had no problem locating galangal, one of the exotic ingredients I needed for my curry, or any of the other 8 or so other uncommon ingredients I needed. Dai Thanh Supermarket is bright and colorful and in addition to all the food, it carries a wide variety of "objets d'art." I've visited that little tableau with the bananas twice now and one of these days it's going home with me.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

First Falcon Fledged

As if San Jose City Hall wasn't special enough, for the past three years a female peregrine falcon has nested there. The father this year was Esteban Colbert. When Mayor Chuck Reed was interviewed the other day on the radio, he mentioned how Esteban Colbert liked to hang out on a railing outside his window. Mayor Reed says Esteban gives him the "Colbert Stare" sometimes and sometimes he is out there ripping a pigeon to shreds. Mayor Reed compares the pigeons to Stephen Colbert's guests on the Colbert Report. Much of the city (and beyond) has been captivated by the beautiful falcon family that goes about its business as the occupants of city hall go about theirs. While I was riding home on Monday I spotted two people near San Jose State looking through a telescope at the rotunda. They pointed out the little falcon sitting on the rotunda and told me she had JUST flown out of the nest. What a sweet sight. You can watch live footage of the falcon family in their nest by clicking here.