Sunday, February 6, 2011

Seasonal Surprises

I can't get over how nature has managed to provide us with spring in the middle of winter but I'm not complaining, no not at all.  I'm marveling at the bright pink plum blossoms on the street trees in my neighborhood, and on the stunningly blue skies swept clean every once in a while by winds strong enough to knock over the patio umbrella standing on the deck.

The view from my front windows often includes spiraling turkey vultures, wings spread wide, searching for the movement of small animals in the canyon across the street.

The Monterey Market remains an incredible source of fresh fruits, vegetables and bulk foods, along with nearly everything else one could want in the way of edibles.  Anything they're missing is probably available across the street at the Monterey Fish Market, the meat market, or the cheese and tea store.  These places could hold their own with many Parisian purveyors.

Recently we drove past one of the remaining old movie "palaces", the fabulous Grand Lake Theater, and spotted this lovely sight.  The streetlight farthest from the wall is visibly stronger than its mate and thus casts a shadow of the weaker one onto the wall, 15 feet high.  Getting the shot before the traffic moved on was a challenge, one of the drawbacks to being in a car most of the time.

On the first Friday night of every month the nascent Oakland art scene holds an open house/street party called Art Murmur in downtown Oakland and we dropped over to 23rd Street the other evening to see it.  Stands were set up in the street selling anything from homemade clothes, to postcards, to food.  Crowds wandered between galleries and music played.  Old movies were projected onto an adjacent building wall. It's a scene.

A very good dinner at Flora, a restored Art Deco flower shop decorated with original blue and silver tile work, followed, beginning with a cocktail called Carter Beats the Devil; how can you not order that?

Across the street was the recently renovated Fox Oakland, another former movie palace now used for live shows that attract the crowds.  For someone who worked in a virtually dead Oakland for many years, this new vibrant city is a revelation.  There is definitely a there there.

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