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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