Sunday, September 27, 2020

A Box Too Small --- Day 9/164 & 165

Walk: 1. Presidio Pickleball   2. Presidio Pickleball                                                                                          Distance: 1. 2.5 miles, 1 hour pickle, yoga stretch  2. 2.5 miles, 1 hour scorching hot pickleball, stretch

Another heat wave (and fire alert).  If only there was more room in that shady box Ciwt's cat found.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Not Your Old-Timey Zoo --- Day 9/163

 Walk: San Francisco Zoo                                                                                                                               Distance:  3.5 miles, small yoga stretch

So, the last time Ciwt was at the San Francisco Zoo was when she went to see Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, the Pandas visiting from the Washington Zoo (via a gift to the U.S. from China).  The bears were a national sensation when they arrived in the States in 1972 and equally so when they toured the West Coast in 1984 and were seen by millions including Ciwt.  

Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing

The Pandas were just darling but the viewing (and the zoo) left much to be desired.  Ciwt remembers standing in a long line on steaming concrete  with no shade in the midst of a heat wave.  Other than the bears, it was a downer - as were the few zoo visits in other cities she had experienced before then.  You know - unhappy looking animals in small, barish cages.  Sad.

Well, not so any more!  She was invited by a Zoo Docent and donor friend for an update, and Wow!  Turns out zoos are on the forefront of the current conservation movement, and it shows.  Besides on-going education programs, and numerous behind the scenes advancements, the 'new' SF Zoo is huge, with trees and landscaped gardens, signage and walking paths galore.  Oh, and animals.  More than you can imagine in environments that duplicate their home territories and give them abundant space, indoor and out, to roam, bath, frolic, leap, whatever they naturally do.  They are clearly cared for and seem content, so it is interesting, educational and a pleasure to see them.  

One of three beautiful, happy seeming SF Zoo Siberian tigers (whose name Ciwt has forgotten)

And all that will only increase as more funds and energy are poured into zoos.  So, if you have a zoo near you you haven't visited in a while, Ciwt thinks you might enjoy a trip.  

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Home and Reading --- Day 9/162

 Walk: Hood                                                                                                                                                       Distance: 4.4 miles, Yoga stretch

The back side of Ciwt's little local library looked so peaceful today.  Deserted/Closed but peaceful.  She could see some of the books on shelves through the windows.  It was a nice reminder of how calm she can feel just sitting at home, maybe on her deck, reading.  

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Ciwt Rides a Bus and Goes to a Museum --- Day 9/161

Walk: de Young Museum                                                                                                                              Distance: 6 miles, Yoga

Line for Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving

As we all know, everyday happenings are now major events, so Ciwt felt very adventurous when she got onto the 1 California bus and rode part way (she walked the rest of course) to the de Young Museum's Frida Kahlo show.  

It was hung in early March and had already been sold out so anticipation was high for huge attendance and rave critical reviews.  And then.... the doors were closed for six months and nobody got a single glance at it except the security guards and a few museum personnel.  Until yesterday when the doors reopened. 

Once again the show is sold out, but this time to a very limited number of visitors with restrictive advance reservations, masked and standing 6 feet apart.  Well,  the best laid plans.....Six feet apart as they waited to go in as you can see above.  But, the show itself has many cramped alcoves with small pictures where there is no way you could keep that 6' distance even if you tried.  And, predictably,  many visitors got caught up in the photographs and jewelry and talking to their friends through masks, and forgot to try.

Ciwt walked right on by those tiny alcoves and pictures and letter scraps and whatever was in them.  She'll buy the book or something and read it in health at home.  But luckily there were several wide open stretches which upended Ciwt's understanding of Kahlo.   One of them was a huge wall with a 1941 home movie of Frida and Diego Rivera.  As is well known Rivera was her husband and international sensation and saga in and of himself.  In most portrayals - paintings, photographs, news clips - he towers over or beside her and is the focus, the star. Frida looks tiny and more or less simply decorative.

But not so in the show's movie - not at all.  It is a real life reversal of sorts.  She is still tiny and decorative but clearly a powerful woman in her own right and very much Rivera's equal.  He doesn't have the star swagger and simply sits with her, a middle aged man in wire rim glasses.  He could be a professor at Columbia University or somewhere.  And, whatever they are doing, she is clearly in charge and he clearly admires and is challenged by her.  You could even say he is minding her.  

Ciwt may have read in books that Kahlo was a strong person and presence to be reckoned with, but Rivera has gotten so much attention over the  and there has been so much emphasis on Kahlo's illnesses and injuries, it took this short film of them together for Ciwt to grasp how equal they really were, as artists and individuals. 

After the movie, the show opens to a large room filled with mannequins dressed in some of  Kahlo's outfits. Costumes really.  If you like fashion - which Ciwt does - seeing these creative and colorful 'authentic' Mexican outfits is a treat.  But the treat is both enhanced and altered by understanding that Kahlo was wearing them not in old timey Mexico but in places like New York City, Paris, San Francisco.  It was the early 20th century; even in Mexico most women had long since stopped dressing ethnically and were wearing the latest styles.  Kahlo would have been a powerful, regal, awesome person walking among them.  Your instinct would have been to stand back in admiration.

It is a rich show, and others may have been struck by different things than Ciwt.  But she bets most of the viewers came away from 'Appearances Can Be Deceiving' feeling the show lifts Frida Kahlo right up and (finally) does her justice as the complex, strong-minded, creative, compelling person she was. Plus it gave Ciwt an opportunity to ride a bus and go to a museum - finally!

Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving
September 25, 2020 - February, 7, 2021
de Young museum

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Watching the Bison Roam --- Days 9/159 and 160

Walk: 1. Presidio  2. Hood                                                                                                                            Distance:  1. 4 miles, 1 hour pickleball (again), Yoga stretch  2. 4 miles, small stretch

So, did you know there are buffalo, ooops bison*, at Golden Gate Park?  As a tribute to the legendaryWild West, first one was brought to San Francisco in 1891 and he?/she? was soon joined by bison from public and private herds. 

Today we have 10 calmly roaming the huge field toward the middle of the park.  Over the years the  males presented the Park rangers with "teaching moments"- like when one tried to maul a policeman on horseback - so our heard is all female.   Bailey, Betsy, Buttercup, Bambi and Bellatrix are the long-time members and five new (unnamed) yearlings were added recently as part of the park's 150th anniversary celebration.  

You can watch them like Ciwt was the other day on  a new Bison Cam at

*Actually, in spite of the Home of the Range lyrics, no buffalo ever roamed the U.S. ranges because they are indigenous to South Asia (water buffalo) and Africa (Cape buffalo).  The critters in North America and parts of Europe are bison.  Among the differences between the animals is beards; bison have thick ones while buffalo are beardless.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Back on the Courts (after a fashion) --- Day 9/158

Walk: Pickleball, T. Joe's                                                                                                                              Distance:  3 miles, 1 hour pathetic pickleball

Young Totally Focused Ciwt Who Easily Trounced Her Tennis Opponents with her Powerful Shots 

Ciwt on the Pickleball Court Today.  "Harder?  What do you mean harder?"

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Shaggy Trail Story --- Day 9/157

 Walk: Presidio   Distance: 5 Miles, Yoga

"I wrote you a note...."

"Dragonfly found the Note...."

"Mouse found the Note.  She made a sunhat and worked in her garden all day....."

Since kids can't be in school, school has come to them outdoors and there are many cute teaching moments along some of the San Francisco trails.  This is just part of the "I Found a Note..." saga.  Ciwt had to take another path so sh didn't see the ending; Hope mouse doesn't get eaten by a coyote or something...

Friday, September 18, 2020

R.B.G. --- Day 9/156

 Walk: Hood                Distance: Just a few blocks, Pedal, Yoga

In memory of an extraordinary legal mind and an exceptional woman.  Godspeed.  Your work will live on.