Saturday, June 30, 2012

Today's 12-mile walk

Today's route

Another great 12-mile training walk with the Warming Hut Hotties!

Today's weather was quite unusual for San Francisco. We were in the fog for most of the morning, but it was also oddly humid and warm. Weird. It was definitely a day for dressing dressing in layers.

We walked through the Presidio, and into Golden Gate Park. We passed the beautiful Conservatory of Flowers along the way.

Conservatory of Flowers

We then went through one of my favorite areas of Golden Gate Park: the AIDS Memorial Grove. This grove is just so beautiful, so serene, and is so touching. It really is a special place.

The entrance to the AIDS Memorial Grove

The AIDS Memorial Grove Circle of Friends

After leaving the park, we walked down 9th Ave, where we passed a balloon girl in front of an Othrodontist practice building. The funny thing is, this balloon girl looked just like one of our walkers, Sandy! Unfortunately, Sandy was too far ahead of me to get a photo, but you'll have to trust me on this one. She often wears her long brown hair in pigtails, and has recently gotten braces! (the balloon girl is braces on!) Anyhow, it was pretty funny, and we just had to get a photo.

Here's the FABULOUS Judy posing with Sandy's Doppelganger Balloon Girl

After a quick break at UCSF's Student Union, we continued up Parnassus, UP Stanyan, and yes, UP the stairs to Tank Hill. It was still plenty foggy by the time we climbed to the top, so we didn't have much of a view, but we all felt plenty good about making the climb!

the view from the top of Stanyan

Warming Hut Hotties at the top of Tank Hill

We walked downhill onto Twin Peaks Blvd, which became Clayton. Somewhere along the way, we passed this really cool graffiti in a construction area.

The Question is the Journey

We walked down 17th Street quite a ways, then turned onto Ord, then UP the Vulcan Stairway. I love these tucked away stairs, and the gardens that are built around them.

looking down on the Vulcan Stairs

Somewhere along Masonic, we passed by the Four Seasons Victorians. I never knew of them before, but they were pointed out to me today. You can see the house on the left has a snowflake design on it. That's Winter. The next three are Spring, Summer and Fall. Neat, right? I looked online, but couldn't find any information about them.

Four Seasons Victorians

We continued down Masonic, onto Presidio Blvd, onto Lyon Street, and went through the Palace of Fine Arts. We were in a pocket of sunshine while we walked around the Palace of Fine Arts. It was really beautiful.

Palace of Fine Arts

We walked back onto Mason, then onto Beach where we followed the path back to the Warming Hut.

What a great walk, and the last training walk of the season for our teammates who are walking in the Avon Walk next weekend!

Today's stats

Friday, June 29, 2012

All in a Golden Afternoon

"You can learn a lot of things from the flowers,
for especially in the month of June.
There’s a wealth of happiness and romance,
all in the golden afternoon..."

Flowers (and fruits!) in bloom in my garden on this lovely June afternoon.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Oil Painting Class: Session 4

After 4 sessions, my little 1920s Volland Raggedy Ann oil painting is nearly complete! I probably only need another 1/2 hour on her or so.

I was a little rushed getting ready to leave today, and I forgot to take a photo. I really enjoy seeing the different stages of my paintings so I can study them and see how they progress.

Dean was kind enough to take a photo of my painting for me tonight and just sent it to me (thanks, Dean!).

Today, I worked on her dress, her shoes and finally, her face. The whites behind her shoe button eyes need to be toned down just a bit, and I need to put the stripes on her stockings. Other than that, I think she's just about done. :)

week 4

in case you need a refresher of what my model looks like:

from my first session of painting Ann.
You've come a long way, Baby! ;)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dinner at Grandma's House :)

One of my favorite parts about spending the day with my Grandma in Stockton is when she makes dinner, and I get to learn how to cook from her.

Tonight, she made a couple of things that I've made with her before (string beans and steamed fish) and one new dish, winter melon soup.

Grandma just went to China a couple of months ago with my cousin, Bruce, and his family. While she was there, one of the members of her family there gave her a large bag of dried winter melon. Apparently, they had a very large chinese winter melon that they couldn't eat in its entirety, so they dried a large portion of it, and gave it to her. I've had winter melon soup several times, but I've never watched Grandma make it.

I should post Grandmas's recipe's here sometime so I can reference them easily in the future. I'll get to that soon.

Here are some photos I took of tonight's' dinner.

Thank you, Grandma!

Grandma preparing the green onion and ginger for the steamed fish

the steamed fish - pre-steamed

Winter Melon soup and soy sauce chicken (which we bought at the Chinese restaurant where we had dim sum for lunch

steamed fish

Chinese string beans with chicken

Getting my Chinese On

I'm in Stockton today, visiting my Grandma. She just taught me how to make homemade garlic and black bean sauce. :)

Cheaper, more flavorful and less sodium than store bought. :)

Approximate recipe:

1 cup dry Chinese black beans (from Asian market - buy the kind in the cotton bag versus plastic)
3-4 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Mash the black beans and the garlic together (as you can see, Grandma uses the bottom of the handle of a cleaver)

Mix in the vegetable oil.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Figure Drawing Fun with a friend and comparing styles

Yesterday evening I went to my 5th figure drawing session. It all went very well, but the absolute best part about it was that my friend, Miguel, came along as well!

One of my favorite parts of art classes is seeing what the other artists are doing. I think it's helpful to see how different people interpret the same thing, and how everyone's styles are unique. One of the most important (and first!) lessons that I learned in art school is that there is no "right" or "wrong". Really, everyone just has a different style. There may be room for improvement in anyone's pieces, but the style is their own.

The drawing sessions that I'm taking are non-instructional, so there are no critiques at the end, as in traditional classes. This is good and bad. Good, because you can feel free to just do your own thing, and now worry about judgement. Bad, because feedback is often useful and can help you advance.

Miguel and I were able to sit next to each other last night, so it was easy to look and compare our work throughout the night. It was very cool because our styles are SO different from each other, and it's very interesting to compare each of our drawings of the same pose.

Miguel's style is very graphic and bold. I really enjoy his bold use of lines and shadow. For lack of a better word, it's very stylized. My style (which I don't really think about) is probably much more classic, which seems kind of boring next to his.

Of course, we each thought each other's work was much more interesting than our own. :)

I'm hoping that Miguel will be able to join me on a regular basis. Although I certainly enjoy the sessions on my own, it certainly was a lot more fun sharing the experience with him!

Here are some comparison photos of our drawings from last night.

Migue's pieces are on the left, while mine are on the right. You'll see that his vantage point was also further right of mine, so our view of the models differed slightly.



10 minute

7 minute

7 minute

New glasses and Rainbow Hair

Today, I had my first optometrist appointment in almost 4 years. I knew my eyes were getting slightly worse, and I was long overdue for a check-up. My appointment went very well - my prescription for my glasses needs to be adjusted a bit - not a surprise, but everything was great otherwise.

I decided to get a new pair of frames. I still like my old (now 4-year old frames) but I thought it would be nice to have two pair that I could rotate between. (or, one to keep in my car, etc.,)

Plus, new frames are fun! :)

The person who helped me with my frames was very helpful, and had a good eye. She brought out at least 12 pairs for me to choose from, but my favorite were the first two. I had a hard time deciding between these two frames. Dick was with me as well, and liked both. Ultimately (and just for fun) I decided to post these two photos of Facebook for a quick 5-minute poll.

Frame #1

Frame #2

Ultimately, Frame #2 got the most votes, and by that time, I was leaning in that direction, too. So, we put the order in, and I should get them within the next couple of weeks.

On a side note, these photos do a good job of capturing the color of my hair right now. I had the "blue" streak recolored almost 3 weeks ago. My hair stylist did everything exactly the same, including using the same brand and same color of the blue dye. For some reason, my hair decided it really wanted to be purple this time around. The purple started showing up top after the first couple of washings. Last week, the top started turning more of a bright magenta color, fading into purple, fading into blue.

Go figure.

It's fun and different, and I've actually gotten many compliments on it, so that's nice. :)

My joke last weekend was that my hair wanted to celebrate Gay Pride Weekend. ;)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sunday's 12-mile walk

Sunday's Route

Oh, my - between Saturday's training walk full of stairs, and Sunday's 12-mile walk full of hills, hills, and more hills, I was plenty exhausted by the end of the weekend! As my friend, Sandra, said, "Somehow saying 24-miles doesn't even begin to describe the quality of those 24-miles!" :)

We started Sunday's walk in the Presidio. After the first mile of our walk, we kicked it into high gear by walking UP, Up and UP Divisadero street! Trust me, nothing will wake you up quite like tackling Divisadero first thing in the morning!

The view at the top of Divisadero looking down to the Bay

We walked all the way down Divisadero, about 2.5 miles where it turned into Castro Street. We then made our way to Market, to Dolores Street, walked up a few more blocks to Clipper and then walked UP Clipper (a stretch I've driven many, many times, but never walked!). Oh, my. The many, blocks of Clipper to Portola is a slow, steady climb up several blocks. I'm not sure if I've ever walked such a long stretch of up-ness before! :)

The View from Portola/Market

Clearly, I was too tired to take many photos today. :)
Suffice to say, it was a beautiful day, a beautiful walk, and we were all plenty tired (but proud!) at the end.

Sunday's stats

Sunday's elevation chart

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fun with friends at a Drum Corps Show!!

Saturday night, I went road trippin' down to Palo Alto with Mike and Philip to join a bunch of friends for a night of Drum Corps! I haven't been to a drum corps show in 8 years, and it was so much fun to see a show with a bunch of great friends.

We started the evening with drinks and dinner at Nola in Palo Alto. We had a HUGE group, but the service and food were both fantastic. Thank you, Laura, for organizing! :)

Guard friends, old and new, having dinner and drinks before the show

Another group shot - with me, this time :)

At the show - Charlie and Mike.
Charlie was my sister's Junior High School Band teacher when she was in 7th grade. He was instrumental (pun intended) on getting her into high school marching band, which led to her joining the high school winter guard, which lead to me watching her perform, which eventually led to me joining guard as well. Thanks, Charlie!

State Street Review Alumni - very far from Madison, WI! Laura, Kala, Mike, Carol and Trina. Representing marching members from '86, '87, '88, '89, '92 and '93!

Ron, Philip, Jolie, Carol and Spike at the show!

Saturday's 13-mile walk

Saturday's Route

The weather for Saturday morning's walk turned out to be surprisingly clear, warm and beautiful! The forecast was supposed to be like Friday, which was cooler, foggy and misty. To our surprise and delight, Saturday morning was just gorgeous, and a perfect day for walking.

Today's route featured lots and lots of STAIRS! The Mosaic Stairs on Moraga to be exact (plus some!). The Moraga Stairs consist of 163 beautifully tiled mosaic steps - the most beautiful stairs in SF, in my opinion. Dick joined our walk again today (GO, Dick!) and had never seen this stairway before. I was so happy to share it with him!

After we climbed the Mosaic Stairs, we continued Up, Up, UP to Grand View Park. The last time I came up here, the city was shrouded in fog. Today's view was crystal clear, and you know, on a clear day, you can see forever. ;)

On our way back through the Presidio, a few of us took a quick detour into the new Inn at the Presidio. It just opened in early April, and looks very beautiful.

Another fun and beautiful Saturday training walk. We were pretty tired afterwards, but it was well worth the effort!

Saturday morning's view of the Golden Gate Bridge

Walking along Stow Lake

View from the bottom of the Mosaic Stairs

Close up detail of the Mosaic Stairs

View from the top of the Mosaic Stairs

Wait- there's more?!

climbing up more stairs

Beautiful view from the top of Grand View Park!

A bunch of Hotties, plus one Hottie Husband, at the top of Grand View Park

Here's Sandy using my new favorite water fountain at UCSF!

enjoying the rocking chairs on the front porch of the new Inn at the Presidio

the Presidio military cemetery

Saturday's Walking Stats

Saturday's elevation chart