City Hall is blue tonight

City Hall was all lit up tonight for the Twitter holiday party. This building is a chameleon: orange for the Giants, red and green for Christmas, and rainbow for Pride Week. Also, it’s gorgeous inside!

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The new Bay Bridge is ugly

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They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Okay, that’s true. But I beheld the new Bay Bridge today and I wasn’t impressed.

The Bay Bridge is made up of two parts: The East and The West with Treasure Island in the middle. The Eastern Span was damaged during the 1989 earthquake and has been seismically unstable ever since. So a new bridge has been in the works for many years now. After much anticipation, the new part opened last night at 10:00pm. And you might think it’s pretty…

If you think safety is beautiful, then you might like this new span. “It is designed to withstand the strongest earthquake estimated by seismologists to occur over the last 1,500 years,” according to The Sacramento Bee. So yay for that!

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And maybe you think engineering is awesome (shout out to my ramblin wrecks). Then you’ll be excited to hear that the new bridge contains “approximately 200 million pounds of structural steel, 120 million pounds of reinforcing steel, 200,000 linear feet of piling and about 450,000 cubic yards of concrete” (from baybridgeinfo.org).
If you’re a big expenses kind of beholder, then I should tell you that this bridge cost $6.4 Billion.
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Maybe you like that it includes a bike/pedestrian path. That maybe gorgeous to you! I walked the 8-mile walkway today and I didn’t enjoy it. Too much wind. Too much walking. But you might…
And I feel it’s necessary to mention that it took over 11 years and hundreds of thousands of workers to complete this project. And that’s pretty awesome!
I took all of these details into account before writing this blog post. I think all this is great, and I’m excited that we’re all safer. But at the end of the day, I look at the hundreds of naked light poles, and the tall white tower with unequal spacing in the crossbeams, and really,  it’s still ugly.
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Massive wildfire at Yosemite

Wildfire Frenzy

I was planning to write today about a restaurant, but I changed my mind in light of recent news about wildfires in California. Right now, there are 11 different wildfires burning in the state of California, including a devastating fire that has burned 225 square miles of Yosemite National Park. Statewide, more than 8,300 firefighters are battling nearly 400 square miles of fires. (source CBSNews).

Official reports today say that the fire at Yosemite is dangerously close to the reservoir that provides most of the drinking water to San Francisco, as well as our electricity. Firefighters are doing what they can to contain the fire and prevent damage to our favorite park, and our water, but they admit that their resources are running thin.

courtesy of cbs news

What about the trees?

Historically, the Giant Sequoias and the Eucalyptus trees are fire-resistant due to an oil produced in the bark. This may explain the abundance of these two species (evolution and adaption make me all tingly inside). But this fire is one of the largest in California history so park officials are taking every precaution to protect the trees.

courtesy of nbclosangeles.com

Let’s talk about climate change

I think it’s time we get our heads out of our butts and take the data on climate change seriously. It’s not a theory or a hypothesis anymore. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that the temperature of the earth is increasing, and there are going to be serious consequences. One 2006 Arizona State University study found that rising temperatures appear to be a major driver of increased Western wildfires in recent years. One reason is that, as winters get warmer and warmer, the snowpack in the mountains has gotten smaller and is melting earlier in the year. (source washingtonpost.com).

photo from evergreenmagazine.com

So I decided to write this today because I’m feeling overwhelmed by the evidence, consequences, and future projections of climate change. If you are feeling overwhelmed too, I have a few suggestions about what we can do about it. We all are doing a good job reducing our electricity and water consumption, and staying informed about greenhouses emissions. Keep it up! You could also try buying local produce, because it takes a lot less gas to get it to you. Look for biodegradable or recyclable packaging at the store and avoid styrofoam at all costs.

I apologize for using this blog as a soapbox. My heart is heavy today and I wanted to let you know. I have made an effort to educate myself about climate change and the practices that are affecting it, and I think in the next 5-10 years we are going to see some serious action from government and individuals to fix it.

If you want to read more about the fires that are sweeping through California, Oregon, and Idaho, please visit http://www.inciweb.org/.

Greater Things, Part III (with @epicchurchsf)

Today, I volunteered at a Family Fun Fest put on by an organization called Because Justice Matters. This group reaches out to women who have been trafficked, exploited, or isolated. They put on a Fun Day to get to know the women and families in the Tenderloin community, form meaningful relationships, and spread the love of Jesus.

This festival had everything: games, bouncy house, hot dogs, face painting, and cotton candy! About 300 kids came today and I think they had a blast! The Cal Dance Team was there too with a DJ and dance lessons with the kids. They put on such a show that people walking down the street would stop and watch the dancing.

I filmed the cupid shuffle. Click here!

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I manned the Down the Clown booth, and I met a little boy named Henry. He was 9 years old and a baseball enthusiast. He threw the beanbags and knocked down all the clowns on his first try… and also on his knees… and backwards. I called him “Tim Lincecum Junior” and he smiled and gave me a big hug. And that, my friends, is why I volunteered today.

Because Justice Matters has been ministering to women and families in SF since 1995. If you’d like to contribute, you can donate to their new women’s shelter, or attend the fundraiser in October. Learn more at www.becausejusticematters.org.

A big thanks to Epic Church for organizing this “Hope for the City” weekend. These guys believe that church is more than Sunday morning worship. That we should be actively sharing Jesus with the people of SF.  I’ve had the chance to do volunteer work in the Tenderloin three times, and I am continually amazed by what God is doing there. There is a definite feeling that He is bringing hope to the hopeless, and I believe that greater things are still to be done in this city.

Read my previous two “Greater Things” posts here: part 1, and part 2.

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today I learned that my husband can do balloon animals

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Now with fireworks!

I have been to two SF Giants games so far this season, and I have to say that I am really loving this team! They are so talented and fun to watch.

The game I went to in April had fireworks after the game, and I thought you guys would like to see the show. It was so fun to get a victory over the Padres and then celebrate with a light show. I loved hearing 40,000 fans sing “we are the champions” at the top of their lungs.

Let go Giants!

 

SF Giants Photo May 20, 7 15 53 PM Photo Apr 19, 10 30 41 PM Photo Apr 19, 10 35 36 PM Photo Apr 19, 7 16 28 PM Photo Apr 19, 7 08 37 PM Photo Apr 19, 7 32 08 PM Photo Apr 19, 7 34 10 PM Photo Apr 19, 9 56 03 PM

The Noe Valley Town Square

The Board voted today to turn a parking lot in my neighborhood into a town square! This may not seem like a big deal to you, but to us Noe Valleans, it is a huge victory! Big thanks to Scott Wiener of District 8 for all his hard work!

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This parking lot is located at the corner of 24th and Sanchez, and is currently used for the Saturday farmer’s market… and, um, parking. Boring! Those who petitioned for this improvement stated their mission as “The Town Square will be the central gathering space for Noe Valley. It will be used by and for all Noe Valley neighbors and will host everything from twice-a-week farmers markets to food pantries, music events, evening movies, neighborhood bingo, exercise classes, cafe seating, senior citizen events…” – from noevalleytownsquare.com

Here’s the plan for the square:

courtesy of sf.curbed.com

There is something very charming about a little neighborhood with a central town square. I think deep down we all wish we lived in Mayberry, and a town square makes that a little closer to reality. And it’s so nice to be part of a community! I am really excited about this addition to my neighborhood. I love the events like the Noe Valley Harvest Festival held every fall, and I can’t wait to attend more activities like it!

Tonight, there was a party to celebrate the vote, held in the soon-to-be-torn-up parking lot. There was free pizza from Patxi’s Pizza and live music. I am a loyal reporter, and I loovvvee Patxi’s, so of course I went! I met Todd David, the project coordinator. He was so excited about the approval that he high-fived everybody who walked by. I had such a pleasant afternoon meeting my neighbors, listening to a local band, and sharing in the camaraderie!

http://noevalleytownsquare.com

https://www.facebook.com/NoeValleyTownSquare

http://sf.curbed.com/archives/2013/06/04/noe_valley_town_square_project_getting_closer_to_reality.php

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This is the team who put this all together. Many thanks!

Greater things, part 2

Today I had the privilege of serving at City Impact. The church I attend, Epic Church, canceled all services all sent us out to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

I wrote about City Impact two years ago, when I had the opportunity to serve with another congregation. I can’t believe how much it’s grown since I was there. They have a new thrift store, a new medical facility, and a new kitchen for preparing meals. I am so amazed by the difference they are making in the lives of their neighbors.

The TL (the tenderloin) is a 1-sq-mile neighborhood with 37,000 residents and another 8,000 homeless. The average person makes less than $15,000 a year. (http://www.city-data.com/neighborhood/Tenderloin-San-Francisco-CA.html)

This morning there were 600 volunteers who showed up ready to spread the love of Jesus to the people of The TL (from Epic, Journey church, and MPPC). We gave haircuts, medical care, and food, plus many more. My team got to prepare over 1000 to-go lunches for the people in the area. I was so touched to see that Trader Joes and Costco had donated crates upon crates of food (huge high five to them!!). Someone else had given lettuce, strawberries and cantaloupe. I was so excited to know that people were going to open their sack lunch and find salad and fruit today!

I got to work with a bunch of great people today. I was so honored to be a small part of the work God is doing there.

City Impact’s website has changed. It’s now http://sfcityimpact.com/. Donate today!

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March of the Rainbow Flag

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They shut down Market Street. During rush hour. Their message of marriage equality was definitely heard.

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On Tuesday the Supreme Court will make an historical decision regarding the constitutionality of gay marriage. Here is SF, there is no shortage of  supporters for legalizing gay marriage, and they came out in droves tonight to express their opinion.

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The March4Equality rally took place tonight starting at Market and Castro and marching all the way down the busiest street in town. The supporters waved rainbow flags, displayed signs saying “we deserve the freedom to marry”, and chanting “gay straight black white. marriage is an equal right!”

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I was impressed by the number of people who came out. Not because I don’t think this cause has many supporters, but because I had no idea about it until I drove by and saw the road blocks.  Yes, they got the police to block off the road for their march. Now that’s impressive.

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Holy Bay Bridge Light Show, Part II

I had an incredible adventure. 21-year-old me would’ve been so proud!

Tuesday night was the grand lighting ceremony for the Bay Lights. I met up with some friends and walked down to the water for the big moment. But someone we didn’t invite decided to show up: the rain. We stood in the rain, without an umbrella of course, with thousands of other people, waiting anxiously for the lights. After a thirty minute delay, I was officially soaked and miserable.

View of the bridge for the Hyatt

View of the bridge for the Hyatt

My friend James, who is way more adventurous than me, decided that we needed to go find a hotel with a view and watch the show indoors. I was so tired of the rain at that point I couldn’t argue. We walked to the Hyatt on Montgomery and found the “all-the-way-up” elevator. Small problem; it needed a key to operate. So we stood in the elevator for 10 minutes waiting for someone at the top to call it. Finally they did. The elevator dinged, James looked at us said, “be cool”, and walked out like he owned the place. Turns out the top floor of the Hyatt is a private club for members only. We were not members. But we somehow sauntered over to the window and got to see the bridge in all its glory.

That didn’t last long. The staff at the Hyatt became aware of our illegal presence very quickly, and kicked us out. James, who kept getting more daring as the night went on, then suggested that we go to the Marriott on 4th. Thankfully, at the Marriott, the top floor was open to the public, so we didn’t have to sneak our way in. The SkyBar, as it’s called, is an amazing place to have dinner. There are panoramic views all the way around. I really want to go there next time there’s a special occasion. My friends and I sat down at a table by the window and got a great view of the bridge one more time. Beautiful! We decided to order a few drinks and grabbed the menu. Holy expensive drink menu! We were way out of place! We all kinda gave each other that  look that “I-cant-afford-this” look, got up and waked out.

me and my friend, Katie

me and my friend, Katie

The last stop of our crazy evening was the Westin on 3rd. One friend was actually staying there so we figured we’d be able to get to the top no problem. We piled in the elevator and ascended to the top. The doors opened, we walked out, only to find we were not at the top, but two floors down. James, in his final act as Mayor of the Unpredictable, found a stairwell to the roof. We climbed two flights and spilled out onto the roof. We found, for the triumphant conclusion of the evening, a giant building blocking our view of the bridge. There was nothing to see.

By then it was midnight (on a school night) and I was tired and wet and ready for bed. I said goodnight to my companions and headed home. As James said goodbye, he actually remarked “I”m glad it’s early because I still have work to do tonight!” Unbelievable guy.

Live streaming of the Bay Lights!!
http://www.livestream.com/acmelive

The Giant Illuminated Dragon

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The booming drums, the flashing lights, and the cheering crowd. It was so much more magical than I remember. Two years ago, I watched the Chinese New Year Parade in the rain. This year the weather was nice and the parade was fantastic.

The Chinese New Year Parade is a great display of traditional Chinese culture. It included Chinese musicians, big guys playing those loud booming drums, martial arts, dragons, lions, and firecrackers. There were also several entries from the local Chinese community; school children dancing to gangnam style, Miss Chinatown in the back of a convertable, and the Chinese Cultural Center marching band! But the true magic of the parade comes from the big floats with bright colors and lights.

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The route of the parade changed this year. It no longer makes a loop around union square park, but instead u-turns one block north. I went around to the north side to meet my friend and stood on Powell Street to watch the show. Since powell has a steep incline, it was like watching the chow from stadium seating!

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photo courtesy of my good friend C.D.

If you read about the parade two years ago, you know it has a grand finale. After the last entry, all the lights went off to set the anticipation. Then there was the sound of fireworks echoing off the buildings. An entourage of dancing lions, sword twirlers, and tangu drummers set the stage for what was to come.

And finally, it came. The giant illuminated dragon!! The bright orange dragon was carried by over 100 men, and lit with thousands of lights. I stood there with hundreds of fascinated spectators and watched as the magnificent dragin snaked its way down the street.

Photo Feb 23, 8 09 17 PM

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photo courtesy of C.D.

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