Monthly Archives: September 2013

Teddy Bear

Teddy Bear sunflower

Teddy Bear sunflower

I saw some beautiful sunflowers this summer, in fact numerous varieties. My favorite — name wise was a variety called teddy bear sunflower (I have always been partial to bears). Looking at the bushier ones (you can see them in the background), the name is most appropriate. Some of the other varieties of sunflowers were both taller than my son Patrick and myself, and we are not exactly garden gnomes. Sunflowers are one of my favorite flowers of summer. Their name in French — tournesol describes them aptly: turning toward the sun. I have tried planting them in the small yard I have here, but there has never been enough sun. When I did plant some in a planter box on my former landlord’s car port where there was more sun, the squirrels took delight in never letting them reach their proper height, by trampling on them, or chewing off their heads, as well as breaking them off, before they had had a chance to unfold their beauty. My fondness of wildlife — squirrels in particular — at that point was rather diminished by such crude behavior. My cat Calvin can’t keep an eye on them either at all times unfortunately, so sunflowers have been off the summer garden planting list in Oakland since then.

Have a blessed week

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Noah’s Ark

Chicken

Chicken

I have to say, today I saw the most unusual rendition of the story of Noah’s Ark. Set up on stage for Sunday Service, seven children (Noah and his family) donned construction worker hats and started hammering away at the play structure Ark, that was set up on the stage. The pastor had to raise his speaking volume several times, in order to drown out the sound of the hammering. Besides a multitude of stuffed animals peeking out from various crevices and holes of the Ark, there was also a cage on stage which contained two live chickens and a duck. Several instances of clucking and quacking occurred during the abbreviated sermon, lending an air of authenticity to the whole production, and a general sense of bemusement. The pastor’s daughter — owner of the feathered cage inhabitants, later told me that the chickens behave themselves better when they are together with the duck, a fact I found to be rather interesting.

Have a blessed week

Sugar cane

Sugar cane

Sugar cane

I originally wrote this post in the spring, so it has a little seasonal delay.

It seems that my local Target store has implemented the new Bay Area “no more plastic bag” law, and switched to paper bags. I am amused though, when I receive a plastic gift card after purchasing some paper towels (for use in cat footprint removal as you may recall).

My destination today is the Oakland Farmer’s Market. It has been a long time since I paid a visit to it. It is cold on the sidewalk that is in the shadow of the high-rise buildings, but once I move into the sun on the opposite side, it is a pleasant walk. An abundance of produce is for sale today, and an assortment of food booths exude their aromas. One table has a stack of sugar cane stalks on it, and several young kids from a school class on an excursion are restrained by their teacher from grabbing them for misuse. I chuckle, as I fondly recall my oldest son’s mischievous antics at that age. I saw sugar cane once in the form of a burning sugar cane field in Venezuela, a memorable sight. It was a real blessing to be able to visit my youngest son there — thanks be to God.

At the corner of the market a three piece band is playing Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five”. One of the musicians is playing a flying-V electric violin. It is a unique rendition of the song. Mr Brubeck (may he rest in peace) would be delighted I’m sure. I have only recently explored and visited the historic part of downtown Old Oakland, and I must say it is delightful. Cleaned up streets, historic Victorian buildings, and small interesting local businesses. A rebirth. It is a fun place to walk.

For lunch I have a small combination bento box in a Japanese restaurant. I observe one of the patrons at the table next to me, rubbing two chopsticks together periodically after having removed them from the paper sleeve. After I receive the check, I stop by the table and ask what the purpose of this is, as it is unknown to me. The woman giggles, and says it is to get rid of any possible splinters. It seems today is an educational day.

The sun is shining on the market now and I stop at an orchid stand that I had passed earlier. After a fun discussion, and some information about proper orchid care, I purchase a Cattleya orchid (which is the queen of orchids I am told — I hope it won’t be a royal pain in terms of maintenance).

Back on Broadway, a worker is giving one of the old ornamental street lights a coat of fresh black paint. It is nice to see some civic pride in my adopted hometown.

I hope you have a blessed week, and an abundantly filled bento box day, but no splinters!