Monday, April 6, 2020

Not So Little Village --- Day 8/360

Walk: 1. No  2. Hood
Distance: 1. Yoga  2. 1.5 miles, Yoga

When we entered the current crisis, Ciwt wondered why so many people were travelling to and from a tiny, remote, backward village in China called Wuhan.

Well.....the answer lies in the photo above.  For armchair non-traveller, Ciwt, it was interesting to learn that Wuhan is a capital city in central China and headquaters to domestic car and steel producers.  Known as the Thoroughfare of China, Wuhan serves as a critical industrial, research and educational base as well as an integrated transport hub for the entire nation.  It's importance is far from just domestic as more than 300 of the world's top 500 companies have a presence in the city, including Microsoft, German software company SAP and French car manufacturer Groupe PSA.

Wuhan also appears to Ciwt to be aesthetically creative in engineering and architecture. See if you agree after watching this pretty amazing video.  (You'll need to "Open" bottom left after you get to the link.  Worth it 😀)

Saturday, April 4, 2020

War Houses --- Day 8/359

Walk: No (Storm)
Distance: 0, Yoga

So Ciwt has been diving into The British Are Coming, Rick Atkinson's first book in his planned trilogy on the American Revolution.  (press link for trilogy site)

As she read she remembered visiting The Jumal Morris House during her Real New York Walking Tour last Fall. So she let her fingers walk her to the extraordinary New York Public Library's digital division where she found historical prints and photos. 

Located in Harlem Heights, the William Morris house (as it was named before Jumal bought it)  served as George Washington's home and headquarters early in the war.  It is also one of the few historical houses left standing in The City.  This by sheer luck as several other famous and/or notorious people lived in the house after Washington. Usually and ruthlessly development has always taken precedence over history in The Apple. 

In the picture, you can see why The General likely chose the house.  Its slight resemblance to his beloved Mount Vernon, yes, but mostly for the unparalled view.  He was able to take out his telescope and sight all the way down to Wall Street in one direction, across the Hudson at New Jersey in another and a long way up the Hudson River Valley in a third, all three directions from which the English might attack.

Meanwhile, the very man who would have led that attack, Sir William Howe, British Army Commander-in-Chief in America, lived a mile or so downtown in at The Beekman House.  It was located at 50th Street and First Avenue on the East River, a Primo midtown location its future was likely very brief after Howe left it in 1776.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Dinobird!!! --- Day 8/358

Walk: Short Hood (like we are supposed to)
Distance: 1 mile, Yoga

What is this new orange creature out on Ciwt's deck?!

Getting closer.  Hope it doesn't attack.

It's a Dinobird!!
Ciwt's artist friend, K. Libbey Nash is partnered with another artist, a sculptor who has lately been creating Bob's Birds from found objects.  All sorts of shapes and sizes, each with its own definite personality and each guaranteed to make you smile if not laugh out loud.  Even in photos which is where Ciwt saw them.

Just thinking of them brightened her day and then today, unbeknowst to Ciwt, one of them arrived at Ciwt's house!!!   What a pick me up, and how great to have a new friend on her deck during these shelter in place days.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Ah, No More Close Ups for a While --- Day 8/357

Walk: No  (Taking it easy, just like Mona Lisa)
Distance: 0, Yoga (x2)

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

No Amy: Week 3 --- Day 8/355

Walk: Garbage Out, Housework
Distance: A small way, wee yoga

So far Ciwt is keeping up pretty well with housework during these shelter in place times without Amy, her wonderful Tuesday cleaning girl.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Ciwt Weighs In --- 8/355

Walk: Presidio
Distance: 3.6 miles, Yoga

Ciwt is sort of at a loss for a topic today so she's going to stoop to being a nosy neighbor.  New buyers (?)have just had their little Victorian repainted. They must love it, and each to their own.  But, well......Ciwt thinks the whole side of the street has lost its flow and visual appeal because of the new clashing colors.  Classic example of doing it right is the picture postcard block with the famous San Francisco Painted Ladies.  (Thus spoke Ciwt....)

Sunday, March 29, 2020

A Little Pink --- Day 8/354

Walk: No, Rain and waiting for grocery delivery
Distance: 0, Yoga

Ciwt was happy to see pink blossoms and new green shoots on her deck trees today.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Nice to Read Anyway --- Day 8/353

Walk: No (Rain and Sleepy)

Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald

So, along with many other people, Ciwt received an email copy of a letter from F. Scott Fizgerald while quarantined in the South of France during the Spanish Flu pandemic in the early 1900's. There were all the lyrical sentences, the boozey references, the ongoing frenemy spat with Hemingway. Ciwt has long loved Fitzgerald's writing and was thrilled to read a letter she'd never encountered before.

Unfortunately, the reason she'd never encountered it was that it was actually written
like now by Nick Farriella of the humor website McSweeney's.  But Ciwt is going to post it anyway, for nostalgia's sake.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Look Up Sunshine --- Day 8/351 & 352

Walk: 1. No  2. Presidio
Distance: 1. Pedal, Yoga   2. 3 miles, Pedal, Yoga

There's a young street artist a few blocks down who has a way of gladdening Ciwt's heart.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Walking and Learning --- Day 8/350

Walk: Presidio
Distance: 5 miles

Pershing Square, El Presidio de San Francisco

Pursuing her current interest in history, revived from college major days, Ciwt took a closer look today at Pershing Square on the Main Post of the Presidio.  The flagpole marks the site of General 'Black Jack' Pershing's house while he was briefly Commander of the Presidio in 1913-15.  It commemorates General Pershing's highly distinquished and much decorated career as well, sadly, as the house fire that claimed the lives of his wife and three of his children while Pershing was in Texas pursuing Mexican revolutionary 'Pancho Villa.'

The flagpole is  flanked on either side by cannon. The name of one, El Birgen de Barbaned, wraps around the barrel, and when Ciwt returned home she found it was forged in Lima, Peru, and, along with five other Spanish cannons in the Presidio, is among the oldest artillery in North America.

El Brigen de Barbaned

dated 1693

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Flower Power --- Days 8/348 & 349

Walks: Hood
Distance: Only a mile, yoga

Tulips are Here!!!

Luckily San Francisco, like Ciwt, considers fresh flowers a necessity.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Art Around the World --- Day 8/346

Walk: Hood
Distance: 2.5 miles

You Know Who*

Let Ciwt be maybe the 50th person who has made you aware of on line virtual tours of 2500 museums, world class and otherwise.

And for you opera and classical music buffs these opera and symphony companies are streaming works for you to enjoy from home.

Of course there's online yoga, workouts, brainiac stuff, you name it.  If we have to shelter in place, this seems a good era to be doing it in.

* In case not:

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, known as LEONARDO DA VINCI (Vinci,1452-Amboise,1519),
Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, known as the Mona Lisa, c. 1503-19
Louvre Museum, Paris, France

Friday, March 20, 2020

Wouldn't Have Thought of Those Places Myself --- Day 8/345

Walk: Presidio
Distance: 3.5 Miles, small yoga

Cats Have Their Own Ideas About Sheltering in Place

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Presidio Shelter --- Day 8/344

Walk: Presidio
Distance: 2.75 miles, Yoga

Someone's Sheltering in Place Along Andy Goldsworthy's Wood Line

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Inhale, Exhale --- Day 8/343

Walk: No
Distance: Yoga x 3

Thank goodness for indoor exercise.  (But wouldn't it be nice if it were a bit more fun)?

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Green --- Day 8/342

Walk: Hood
Distance: 2 miles, Housecleaning (it's stenuous!)

Monday, March 16, 2020

Speechless --- Day 8/340 & 341

Walk: 1. No 2. Presidio
Distance: 1. Yoga  2. 3 miles

What could Ciwt possibly say at this time?

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Splendor in the Rain --- Days 8/338 and 339

Walk: 1. Presidio  2. No, Rain
Distance: 1. 3 miles, Yoga  2. Nada, enjoying the rain

Martin Munkacsi (American, born Hungary - 1896-1963), Jumping a Puddle, 1934. Gelatin silver print
Before Richard Avedon or any lively fashion photographer there was Martin Munkascsi.  He took the medium from a staged affair using mannequine-like models in a musty studio to the above. For the first time, fasion photography was genuine, breathless, artistic, creative.  For these qualities and many others, he is considered the Father of Modern Fashion Photography.

Richard Avedon said of Munkácsi:
He brought a taste for happiness and honesty and a love of women to what was, before him, a joyless, loveless, lying art. Today the world of what is called fashion is peopled with Munkácsi's babies, his heirs. ... The art of Munkácsi lay in what he wanted life to be, and he wanted it to be splendid. And it was.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Bounce Factor --- Day 8/336 and 337

Walk: 1. Presidio  2. Marin Driving
Distance: 1. 3.5 Miles, Small Yoga   2. Medium Yoga

With so many things closed or closing, not much for Ciwt to bounce off of in San Francisco these days.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Another Sort of Home --- Day 8/335

Walk: St. Dominic's church and Hood
Distance: 2.5 Miles, wee yoga

St. Dominics Church, San Francisco
So when guides give public tours of the houses in Ciwt's neighborhood, for some reason they begin at the top of the Alta Plaza Park steps looking across to the church in the distance.  Where?  Not just to the church but to the steeple tower.  Can you find it (in the approximate middle of the photo)? 

Usually by the time Ciwt figures out what building they are talking about, the guide is well into their spiel about how the original steeple was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake, and they never rebuilt it.  Not a particularly electrifying beginning in Ciwt's opinion but probably an excuse to talk about about the 1906 earthquake - which always gets everyone's attention. 

Today, continuing her recent 'Home' theme and after decades of walking by it, Ciwt explored St. Dominic's - on line and in person. On line she saw right away why they didn't rebuild the original steeple. Given how the fog rushes in and the wind howls in San Francisco, it is a wonder it even lasted from its erection in 1873 until the earthquake .

St. Dominic's Church Interior
(Why can't iphone cameras capture stain glass? Ciwt wonders).

In person, the church is gorgeous. Particularly the woodwork which was carved by the Edmund Schmid Woodcarving Studio of Oberrammergau, Germany.

In the old days, wood carvers were itinerant and carved individually in situ.  But by the time of St, Dominic's rebuilding in the 1920's, it had become customary for carving to be done by machine.  So it was a joy to see wood that - albeit it in Germany by contract - was carved by hand.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Stop, Look, Enjoy --- Day 8/334

Walk: Sloat Garden Center
Distance: 3.8 miles, Yoga

Several reasons to stop here, especially to enjoy the gorgeous blue ceanothus bush.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

More Homes --- Days 8/332 & 333

Walk: Presidio both days
Distance: 4 miles and Yoga both days

Why so many home pictures?  Homebody Ciwt - like many health conscious people - has been doing double duty these days so her home is particularly on her mind.

Sadly she has virtually no pictures of the grand house on the lake she patially grew up in - and it is on a grey, almost leafless early fall day.  Anyway, it had a tennis court, beach house, dock and rolling hill to those.  Ciwt thought it was gorgeous, lakeview and light-filled, beautifully appointed.*

But the house she identifies with is this one.  Again on a leafless day, taken on one of Ciwt's rare visits to the place she grew up.  This was the Zipper (her dog) house with woods all around it that she and Zipper explored every day after school.  It was red with white shutters when she and her family lived there.

* After Ciwt left for college and her family moved on, the next owners painted it bright white which Ciwt thought was way too showy.

Then, grand and well situated as it was on on the property, it wasn't grand enough for the last 'owners.'  After paying a pretty penny, they tore it down and built a hulking (Ciwt thinks monstrosity) that overpowers the property and sprawls nearly to the lake.  

At first when she heard the house was gone, Ciwt was quite devastated.  Now, she feels relief.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Home --- Days 8/330 and 331

Walk: 1. Not sure  2. Hood
Distance: 1. Yoga  2. 2.8 Miles, small yoga

So, Ciwt doesn't remember ever showing you a picture of the outside of her building.  Finally, here it is.  

It is an Edwardian which is an architecture style in vogue amongst style conscious San Franciscans from 1904 to 1910 (Ciwt's building is 1904).  Named for Victoria's son, Edward, it was intentionally more 'tastefilly' plain or 'less cluttered'

and decidedly less colorful

than the Victorians that preceded it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Ciwt's World Turns Curious Yellow --- Days 8/328 & 329

Walk: 1. Errands 2. Presidio
Distance: 1. 2.5 miles, medium yoga   2. 3.8 miles, Yoga

So many yellow wildflowers in bloom in the Presidio right now.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Earliest San Francisco --- Day 8/327

Walk: Trader Joe's
Distance: 2.5 Miles, Yoga

Louis Choris, Ohlone Indians in a Tule Boat in San Francisco Bay, ca 1922
Since she knows a bit about San Francisco history, several people have asked Ciwt why they don't hear or read more about its first settlers, the Ohlone Indians. So, Ciwt did some research and found that present day members of the Ohlone tribes know very little of that themselves and are working hard to learn more.  

In many respects much of their history has vanished.  And in many respects this is due to the Ohlone taboo against mentioning the name of a dead person.  This taboo is common to many indigenous peoples worldwide, and can go so far as to remove a person's name from the language entirely.  Needless to say, individual lineage/geneology is nearly impossible to trace along with many aspects of Ohlone culture.

Along with this taboo, the decimation of the Ohlones' lives and culture by Spanish, Mexican and American colonialists and the diseases they carried was so rapid, historical accounting was nearly impossible. 

Certain things are known or known with some dispute.  These are just a few:

Original migration to California:  Either 20,000 years ago by land from Asia or 3000 years ago by sea from Siberia by sea.  There are other theories, with the preceding being the outer limits.

Northern California Village Regions: From the present day San Francisco Peninsula to Big Sur and inland to the Diablo Range. 50 distinct nations or tribes have been recorded to date with 50 to 200 in each.  These interacted through trade, intermarriage, ceremonial events as well as conflict.

Diet: The Ohlone were hunter-gathers and rough harvesters.  They ate crushed acorns, nuts, grass seeds and berries.  Hunted and trapped game, fish and seafood were also important to their diet and abundant.

Arts: Basket weaving, female tattoos, ear and nose piercings and other ornamentaion.  

Clothing: Men did not wear clothing except in cold weather when they wrapped themselves in animal skin or feather capes. Women wore deerskin aprons, tule or shredded bark skirts along with ornaments of shell beads, abalone pendants, bone or wood.  As mentioned, they were tattooed.  On cool days they too wore animal skin capes.

Building Materials: On the Coast, dome-shaped houses of woven or bundled tule mats 6 to 20 feet in diameter.  Inland they built conical houses from redwood bark on wooden frame.  Their boats were built of tule or balsa wood.

Contemporary San Francisco Area Ohlone group: Muwekma Ohlone Tribe has over 400 enrolled members and is comprised of 'all of the known surviving Native American lineages aboriginal to the San Franciso Bay Region who trace their ancestry through the Missions Dolores, Santa Clara and San Jose and who descend from members of the historic Federally Recognized Verona Band of Alameda County.'

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Trader Joe --- Day 8/326

Walk: No, Recovering while doing laundry, reading, enjoying Sunday
Distance:  Yoga

Joe made a trader out of Ciwt.  And that's saying something.  Ciwt is basically a non-cook, non-foodie, one of those who eats to live.  But!  She Loves going to her local Trader Joe's.

For one thing it is a perfect mile away - which makes a walk there and back 2 miles.  Add a few more errands, and, voila, a long or longish walk.  For another, how could she live without the Alstroemeria lilies that light up her life and she buys by the dozens because Trader Joe's sells them for $3.99 - at least half of what they are sold for elsewhere? At Joe's she can count on the year round affordable fruits and juices, the premade and healthy salads, the tuna, nuts, cheap and good wine (and the addictuive snacks).   All Ciwt needs - along with super friendly employees and a zanyish atmosphere Ciwt likes better than a few of the ultra high brow grocery stores around her.

So, a personal thank you and send off to Joe Coulombe, the original Trader Joe who made all this trading joy available to millions of people.

Joe Coulombe (1930-2020)

Saturday, February 29, 2020

247 Ain't Bad --- Day 8/325

Walk: No, Home Recovery Mode continues
Distance: Yoga

So a friend sent Ciwt a Washington Post article* about the Oscar nominees and winners since 1976.
That's about 275 movies altogether.

Ciwt, who prides herself on being a bit of a buff,  was chagrinned to come face to face with the fact that she hasn't seen (or doesn't remember seeing) 28!? of those.  But then her same friend turned Ciwt's reaction on its head:  Seeing 247 nominees out of 275 is 'just amazing!'  She's right, and she's seen even more than Ciwt.

Okay, here is Ciwt's Unseen Nominees in the Past 44 Years List:

Bound for Glory
Braveheart (?)
Driving Miss Daisy
Heaven Can Wait
In the Name of the Father (? not sure)
Les Miserables
Letters From Iwo Jima
Mad Max: Fury Road
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Norma Rae
Saving Private Ryan
Tender Mercies
The Color Purple
The Elephant Man
The Full Monty
The Help
The Kids Are All Right
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
The Mission
The Shawshank Redemption (? not sure)
Thin Red Line
War Horse

Here's the article

Friday, February 28, 2020

1776, part 2 --- Day 8/324

Walk: Hood then Doc and Rx Store for antibiotics
Distance: 3.5 miles

So, again in home recovery mode, Ciwt continues her thoughts about 1776, the writing of the Declaration of Independence and Thomas Jefferson.

From the Library of Congress:
Drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776 became the defining event in Thomas Jefferson's life. Despite Jefferson's desire to return to Virginia to help write that state's constitution, the Continental Congress appointed him to the five-person committee for drafting a declaration of independence. That committee subsequently assigned him the task of producing a draft document for its consideration. Drawing on documents, such as the Virginia Declaration of Rights, state and local calls for independence, and his own draft of a Virginia constitution, Jefferson wrote a stunning statement of the colonists' right to rebel against the British government and establish their own based on the premise that all men are created equal and have the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Through the many revisions made by Jefferson, the committee, and then by Congress, Jefferson retained his prominent role in writing the defining document of the American Revolution and, indeed, of the United States. Jefferson was critical of changes to the document, particularly the removal of a long paragraph that attributed responsibility of the slave trade to British King George III. Jefferson was justly proud of his role in writing the Declaration of Independence and skillfully defended his authorship of this hallowed document.
Let Ciwt add that Jefferson was 33* years old at the time of that writing.  He went on to become our first Secretary of State, Vice President under John Adams and our third President of the United States.  
* For theater buffs, in 1776 Alexander Hamilton was @21 (the exact dates of his birth vary)

Thursday, February 27, 2020

1776, Coast to Coast --- Day 8/323

Walk: Hood Sinus Infection 😒 Supplies
Distance: 2 Miles

So in home recovery mode, history buff(ish) Ciwt began thinking about the year 1776.

That was the year San Francisco (then called Yerba Buena) was actually occupied by the Spanish.  They had claimed the land in the 1500's, but it wasn't until 1776 that they began fortifying it with structures.  First El Presidio de San Francisco (now called The Presidio, 4 blocks from Ciwt) and then Mission San Francisco de Asis (now Mission Dolores).
So, in 1776, San Francisco was just moving from Ohlone Indian land to a sparse and rudimentary collection of  garrisoned soldiers, a priest or two, fisherman, fur traders. Much of the small population was illiterate or literate in languages other than English (Russian, Spanish, Ohlone, Latin).

Meanwhile, also in 1776,  a committee was meeting in Philadelphia. The members had been selected by Congress to draft a declaration of independence. It was composed of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert R. Livingston, Roger Sherman, who among others were to become known as our Founding Fathers.  They in turn instructed Thomas Jefferson to write that remarkable historical document, The Declaration of Independence. 

to be continued......

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Annals of Aging: Actually Fold --- Day 8/322

Walk: SPCA (other cat)
Distance: 3.5 miles

So, Ciwt is happy she turned on a dime and (graciously) exited a training program that turned out not to be what she expected or for her.  It has actually taken her a long time to be able to do something like that.  Draw a boundary if you will.

Knowing when to fold em has never been a problem for Ciwt. She has always knows in about a nanosecond her true feelings about 'things.'  But, actually folding has been the problem. Enter days, weeks, years of tar baby relationship to 'whatever' until she finally exited.  Then humpty-dumpty recovery time while she reassembled herself.

So, yay, age, finally getting the whole process and freedom.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Annals of Aging: The Good --- Day 8/321

Walk: SPCA & Hood
Distance: 3 miles, Yoga

There are days when Ciwt positively savors being old(er).  Take Slow Walking.  At boarding school she was a member of a small pack who sped up the dreaded hill to the senior house.  In New York she kept up with the fastest of the walkers.  (Probably that's an exaggeration becsuse fast walking in New York is like the wind 💨).  Until fairly recently every Ciwt walk was a mini-jog.

Then she began to notice pedestrians were passing her - a lot of them, and they were much younger than Ciwt.  At first Ciwt took this a bit personally and tried to speed up.  But over time she's come to let it be, go with the slow.  Legs ache?  Fine, she'll back off.  Injured knee hurts? Okay, baby it.  Just plain tired?  Lovely, just take your time and enjoy.  It's nice.