Saturday, July 26, 2014

The (New & Temporary) Bridge to Nowhere

September, 2013

When we first took a hike on the new Bay Bridge bicycle and pedestrian path last September, the old Bay Bridge was completely intact. Empty, but whole.

Not any longer. This is how it looked last weekend. My, that demolition crew certainly has been busy.

It seems that the complete removal of the old structure will take somewhere between three and five years. We plan on watching it go, especially now that I have my new bike(!). Leaving from the house, the outing is about 15 miles round-trip, including the short detour to Arizmendi in Emeryville for pastries (ya pedal it all off, right?).

I wasn't aware that the new Bay Bridge troll (Yup, that's right. Troll. Not "toll". There is nothing new about the toll.) has now been placed in its permanent home on Pier E2 of the new bridge. It cannot be seen while driving, although according to a bridge spokesman, it is "somewhat visible from the bike path."

Hmmm, next time I'm on the path, I've gotta find that baby.

July, 2014

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Little Lettuce That Could

Bronze Arrow lettuce is the big hero of the salad bowl these days. No caterpillars, no bolting, and, unlike the English queens, if you chop off it's head, it simply grows a new one. I have to confess that it is not the most flavorful lettuce, but it tastes waaaay better than anything you can buy.

One seed must have slipped into a crack in the patio during planting and has now formed a lovely little head. A bit redder than most (must be the daily baking it receives), and certainly somewhat lonelier, but it never complains or whimpers.

I'm a bit torn, though. One the one hand, every time I see this little lettuce, I am impressed with its determination and valor. On the other hand, I wonder if it too would re-grow a new head...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Best Cheap Cat Toys #2: Underwear

If the designated laundry folder at your house is as conscientious as the one here, he will keep folding those creaky old pairs of underwear without noticing just how unsuitable they are for wearing. So when you have underpants that really needs to be consigned to the Rag Bag (or the garbage can):

Turn the elastic at the top into a favorite cat toy.
Cut out the top elastic. Use the bottom portion to wash the car, re-stain an old piece of furniture, or simply throw that heroic article away.
Take that circular piece of elastic and cut through it to make one long piece.
So much the better if you have two dead pairs. That way the two pieces of elastic can be knotted together to form a longer cord: much less strain on your back at playtime.

You can stop at this point and have a great toy, or,
for even more enjoyment, dig out an old sock (purple or otherwise) and pin it to one end of the elastic cord.

(The optional black streamers on the end are narrow strips cut from an old sweatshirt. Cats get bored with toys, but a few small imaginative changes can bring back that old excitement.)
This toy is great for kittens because they can't swallow it, the way they can with string, yarn, rubber bands and all those other cute and dangerous play items.

Throw it in the washing machine when it gets grungy. It will last for years and years of safe fun.

Just ask Princess!