Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bike Share report

80+ page report by many contributors, for OBIS. June 2011 (7.6MB pdf)
Via ECF Newsletter:
"Here’s a great report on existing bike share systems throughout Europe. It’s invaluable in identifying key features in successful systems."

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lucern Cycle Chic

I was particularly taken with this decorated bike I saw by the Lucern Train Station in Switzerland.
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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

more children on bicycles in Paris

Likewise, here's more support of my statement about more children riding on bicycles in Paris.
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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Helmets in Paris

I was worried no one would believe me that people are wearing helmets all over Paris. Here are a few more photos as proof.
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Saturday, July 02, 2011

adventures with my baby: at long last

C found her feet in Mallorca,
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learned to roll over in Poitou,
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and outgrew all her clothes in Switzerland.
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What an adventure! We’ve been home now for some time, but it’s been madness, I tell you, madness, and I’m just getting to finishing up our story now.

After Switzerland, we returned to the dirty, delicious bicycle city that Paris is now. I noticed more people on their own bikes (as opposed to Velib, the City's bike share system)
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more children on bikes,
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and a lot of helmets.
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Parisiens didn’t used to wear helmets because it would mess up their hair. Now, I guess athleticism is in style, for one thing, and for another, they’ve discovered Nutcase (I'll dig up a photo but can't put my fingers on one now).

My Parisiens have always walked for exercise. But now the city is filled with wayfinding signage, a campaign to promote walking for health. Of course, it’s French; so, it’s beautiful.
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Another difference I noticed this time is more English being spoken. Not only that, but a lot of graffiti was in English too. J pointed out that a lot of the graffiti she’s seen appeared to be a string of English words that made no sense. But what’s changed? G burned me a CD of French musicians singing in English, another new phenomenon. They used to sound silly, my friends claimed, and now they sound good. The Euro? Economic collapse? C, of course, continues to prefer bad music. Alas!

Paris real estate prices have gone the way of San Francisco's. Theory or fact: people want to put their money in something concrete because the stock market is unreliable. Tina told me that their apartment had appreciated like 50% in the 6 months since they bought it (exact number not available).

Flight home, I watched No Strings Attached which I had kinda wanted to see (I love bad romantic comedy), but I found it to be completely charmless. Also, the main characters’ first hookup is not realistic because of a basic bad breath issue. It’s as if the writers/directors had never known anyone who had an all-night bender. It makes people’s breath stink (duh!), which makes other people not want to have sex with them. (Double duh!)

(1) This photo was actually shot in Paris.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Thursday, June 09, 2011


In Mallorca, they love their citrus so much, they decorate their scooters with images of it.
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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Sunday, June 05, 2011

adventures with my baby: this is NOT a food blog.

What we mainly do is walk and eat: me pastries, C breastmilk. Before we arrived, J asked me if she could get anything for us like diapers or baby food. They also borrowed a crib for us.

I didn’t have any preconceived notions about what kind of parent I would be. However, I have gravitated naturally towards what’s called “attachment parenting”: baby carrying rather than using a stroller, cosleeping, breastfeeding, etc. What I didn’t realize as I made each of these decisions instinctively is that they make us a highly-mobile family unit. I never need cribs or bottles or really any extra equipment. I brought toys for her, but she’s really just as happy with a crinkly piece of paper as any rattle.

In the meantime, all this walking, or just my shift in hormones, helped me lose 20 lbs. Congratulate me for being back in the range of my normal weight after gaining about 45 in my pregnancy. (BTW, I personally think the doctors’ recommended 25-35 lb. gain is major BS. Nearly every healthy woman I know gained 50 lbs, and the last thing you need to get hung up on when growing a healthy human is your own size.)

As my body got smaller, C began looking like a baby chick with a tuft of blond hair newly grown on her head. It’s unbelievably cute! Of course, this began the debate about what her hair color will ultimately be since her eyes are surprisingly blue (!!). I remain absolutely certain that she will have dark brown hair, but not everyone we know is convinced.

The next stop in our big adventure was Switzerland to visit Dan and family. The train ride lasted a whopping 6 hours the primary event of which was C turning my éclair over onto herself resulting in one clothing change. (And I tried so hard to be careful! But a woman’s need for chocolate pastries can be powerful.) Then a massive poopy blowout which proved that poop and chocolate do not look the same at this age.

Every time I go to Switzerland, the clarity of the water in the cities’ rivers amazes me. Lucerne is all about its river and bridges to cross it, doll-house town centers surround. We missed the famous lion sculpture. A few minutes on the bus brought us to Dan’s little neighborhood where we wandered through a quaint school before finding their building. Wide, natural lawns were everywhere – the entire US is trying to emulate this look with lawns they must support with constant watering and chemicals.

Dan’s wife, A, is a wonderful cook, creating each meal for us like it was a work of art. Their daughter is 9-months old, a long skinny little dancer who loves to look around, sit and wave her hands in the air. (C, on the other hand, has very little interest in sitting. But she’s much younger.) A made baby food for her daughter with spices, ginger, garlic, herbs, to get her used to the flavors. We spent a magnificent afternoon walking through an idyllic valley to work off all this deliciousness. By the time we got back to Paris, C had outgrown the clothes I brought on this trip for her.

[We've been back for more than a week, but I still have one more post on our trip forthcoming....]

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

adventures with my baby: round and round

The big news since I last wrote is that C is rolling over from back to front. Our 5-month newsletter from the hospital suggested she should be doing this, and like clockwork (a few days later) she did. Admittedly this makes our mobile system a bit more awkward. For example, after I’m finished washing her in the bath, I put her on a couple nice soft towels in the floor while I finish with myself. She can now roll off these towels onto the cold hard tiled floor… and does. At home, I have a seat (or 5) that should contain her but not here.

Her first time rolling back to front was at Jacq’s (G’s mom) place in the countryside where the name of the game is delicious French cooking. One highlight was a recipe from a book called La Cuisine Mexicaine. Jacq apologized because it was spicier than she expected due to the peppers being from her garden. Of course, French very spicy is Mexican’s medium. So delicious!

Yes, that was a highlight. The other top highlight was the cherries which had just ripened on the trees. Jacq also had so many strawberries she had someone selling them for her at the market – and this wasn’t her usual occupation. Both were amazingly sweet, juicy, tasty. But everything was good… of course especially the company.

The house had 3-foot thick walls and a worn-away stone staircase to the second floor. I wish we could have stayed longer but J&G had to get back to work on Monday.

The Friday before, I had lunch with Tina, my favorite American living in Paris. She’s going to write a book about the recent twists in her life; so, I won’t give anything away. I asked her about the breastfeeding issue. She said French women have some idea that breastfeeding makes them a slave. It sounds to me like first-wave feminist – the idea that to be equal, women must be like men. Not to go on and on about food, but for lunch we got some tartes from the bakery across the street: leeks and chevre, and another with berries and apricots.

As I mentioned, we’ve been primarily riding the buses around town -- easier to get on and off in case of fits, good window views, more space – and I’m now in love with Paris’ bus system. Buses serve the city comprehensively. But what I love most about the bus system is the stops: every stop has a name that is both clearly labeled and clearly indicated as the bus approaches it. The buses serve the stops frequently and real-time-travel information is displayed in each shelter (all stops have shelters). It’s like the bus stops are Places which adds value to the bus system (once you try it – in all these years, I’ve never tried one before).

It fait chaud. Fortunately, C has a sunhat, but I can’t always get the strap around both her chins. Sometimes it gets stuck around just one of them. I feel very lucky to have such a fat baby. When she was tiny, I felt vulnerable with her – like she could get crushed or miss a meal and that would be that. A temper tantrum could burn all he available calories. Fortunately, she also tends to be happy.

I wanted a photo of her in front of the Eiffel Tower; so, we spent the day in the 16th. Trocadero had some kind of protest about genocide in Sri Lanka. She slept through our first visit to the area, but when we returned hours later, we, hopefully, got the shot. In between we visited my favorite hand-powered merry-go-round. I was overwhelmed by all the children, again, in the park on this beautiful weekday. In addition to the merry-go-round, they rode ponies and played in the sunlight.

Friday, May 13, 2011

adventures with my baby: Jim Morrison

5 days in Mallorca is really not enough to fully unwind. The last time, I think it was a week. Then, I felt like we had time enough to do little enough: get up late, have a coffee and pastry, wander around the town center, return for the typical 4-hour French lunch, take a siesta, go to the beach and swim, sunbath and read, return for dinner. Now that I type that out, it’s actually a lot. I certainly never got through that much in one day with my baby in tow. We almost never get out of the house before 2p.

But we’re back in Paris now. The flights were uneventful, and J very kindly met us at the airport.

As I mentioned, I’ve been riding the bus instead of the Metro because it feels safer with a baby. I stepped out of the house for the first time today at 3p. There’s a bus stop right in front of J&G’s building; so, I checked where those buses went. One goes near Pere Lachaise and was coming in 1 minute. We got on it.

I went to Pere Lachaise last in 1995 with Grayson, and we visited heady graves like George Elliot and Chopin. We never found Jim Morrison’s grave. I wonder if his grave is now more famous as he is? It’s one of the top tourist attractions in this city of famous things. Leaving the grave site, I directed 3 middle-aged American-in-the-worst-sense-of-the-word women to it. I can’t even imagine them listening to The Doors!

I just googled him to get the spelling of the cemetery and find myself surprised at how young he looks in the photo, like a teenager. Now that I have a baby I see everyone as somebody’s baby: bin Laden, Jim Morrison, Obama, Madonna…. Another strange coincidence: C shares Jim Morrison’s birthday, and he was born the same year as my mother.

I had my usual lunch of 2 pastries in the cemetery before heading back on foot.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

adventures with my baby: maternity leave and birthday dinner

You know how C likes to “talk” at length when she is moved to do so? Well, these guys have decided she is running for office. I don’t remember who it was, but one of my friends said she was promising that if she is elected, all mothers will get indefinite paid maternity leave. Of course, this transpired into a conversation of exactly how long is the right amount. The US’s 6-weeks paid something (not your salary – something else) is clearly not enough. Even California’s 12 weeks falls short. Here in France, they get 6 months fully paid. I took 24 weeks, but I certainly didn’t get paid anything for the second half. I took that time with the generosity of not losing my job…yet. On the other hand, 18 years is probably too much. They told a story of a friend who doesn’t work on Wednesdays. Her teenage daughter sent her to the movies on a Wednesday so that she could have the apartment to herself after school.

But back to our chronicles… the night of J’s birthday, we had dinner at the fancy restaurant, CaN’ai, where J and G had their wedding reception. The walls surrounded us huge and stone as the light faded through huge pointed windows, and everything seemed made of heavy wood. I was very worried about C’s ability to play it cool throughout dinner, but she cooperated wonderfully and never fussed at all. I did nurse her twice and held her on my lap throughout the dinner.

The meal began with an “amuse bouche” – a tiny seafood mouse with what tasted like guava jam in the bottom. They provided us with mini-baguettes and pads of butter. The red wine was particularly delicious, probably local. Next was onion soup – the plate arrived with a piece of hard toast topped with caramelized onions, cheese and fresh herbs. Then, the waiter circled the table pouring broth into the bowls. The main course choices were beef or fish. I choose fish, a thick white flaky fillet with mushrooms I didn’t recognize …among other things. G kindly shared a good portion of the meat from his plate with me as I had told the story about being low iron when I was pregnant: very tender. Dessert was almond cake with vanilla ice cream. We decided to take our coffee/post-dinner drinks as home as the selection there was extensive.

Monday, May 09, 2011

adventures with my baby: thoughts and observations

Breastfeeding, apparently, isn’t very common here. J said that most French mothers she knows only breastfeed for the first few weeks. She also observed how much easier it is for me to feed C than these French mothers who have to organize bottles all the time. I really had the impression that the Europeans would be more advanced on this matter but alas. I guess it’s a bit like Italy where everyone just schedules their c-sections rather than waiting for a natural birth.

A major difference I noticed in Paris this time, compared with previous visits, is that people are wearing bicycle helmets – often the stylish ones but sometimes just the athletic helmets. Of course photos will follow.

They asked me if I thought it was strange that we permit children to drive at 16, vote at 18 and drink at 21. I believe everyone is allowed to do everything here at 18. I asked J when she thought people should be permitted to do things. She said that there should be no limit on drinking, that people should only be allowed to drive from age 40 to 60 (when our bodies start to fall apart but before our sight and brain begin to go), and since she is in charge, no one would need to vote anyway.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

adventures with my baby: rabbit, jetlag, and racism

So I got to J&G’s apartment a lot later than I’d imagined but quickly got my priorities straight again and began running our bath. J had left us a lovely note and some metro tickets. JP arrived. Once out of the bath, C began to fuss. I considered myself very lucky at this point, because she could have become fussy at any point earlier but kept it to a minimum. She was saying “Mommy, after our bath at home we go to sleep at home. Why aren’t we there?” or something similar. So, I thought it wise to take a nap. I was also completely exhausted myself; so I set the alarm for 2 hours.

JP prepared us a lovely dinner of “aioli” which is to say: steamed fish and veggies (including artichoke) with flavored mayonnaise. And of course we enjoyed my two favorite beverages: kir (to start) and red wine. For the cheese course, I contributed several local California options from Cowgirl Creamery which disappointed no one (much better than the time I brought wine from Napa Valley but maybe they were just being polite). For dessert, we had a range of amazing and indulgent French pastries: the religiouse (sp? basically stacked round éclairs) and a raspberry tart.

C and I slept 11 to 11 – rock on, team. She then proceeded to take her usual 2 morning naps during the second of which I wrote the previous post. We finally left the house around 2p and walked along the viaduct des arts with many others including lots of children. I spent a long time looking for a bench in the shade but with the long winters, Parisiens worship the sun or so the landscape architects assume. A not-very-young man approached us to do a photo shoot in his studio for a school project he was working on. I let him take our photo and took his card. I wonder if he’s going to have any luck with that – who would bring their young child into a stranger’s photo studio? (It’s like the night a stranger followed us home because C was crying and wanted to come in to help me sooth her. Like that would be good parenting.) But I fell in love with all the flowers along the viaduct.

I helped 3 Korean tourists who understood no French at all (but spoke English) find the billetteria at the Opera Bastille.

Then I popped into a children’s clothing store. The salesman said something to me I didn’t understand. Then he said “You want help with something?” I said “no, thank you.”
“What country are you from?”
“Etats Unis”
“Then you have to leave because I am Muslim.”
“I’m from San Francisco where we love all religions.” I said, turning away, as his companion tried to save the conversation by telling me that I didn’t have to leave and he isn’t Muslim. He went on to say what a beautiful city San Francisco is and how expensive it is to have a car there.

Interestingly, J told me we would see in Mallorca a celebration of dispelling the Muslims from the island which of course sounds terribly racist. It turns out it’s the celebration of a Masada-like event where they defended themselves against Turkish pirates. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Paris is filled with children of all ages, it seems, unlike San Francisco. We stopped in Place des Vosges and I enjoyed watching dozens of children playing in a big sand box. C got a break from the carrier. I wondered what it would be like, from a very American perspective, to go to college and tell your classmates that you played in the sand in Place des Vosges as a small child. Of course, these children probably grow up together and end up at universities with each other. So playing as a child in such a remarkable place will give them no cache.

With so many diaper blowouts in a row (4) I decided to invest in the next size up long before using up the ones we had. She weighs 15lbs which is well inside the current range, but I guess she has a large bottom or something. Getting more diapers involved finding a natural (bio) grocery store, which turned out to be surprisingly easy. I asked J later, and she said that yes, organic is all the rage. I also apparently forgot my baby soap, but that I got bio at Monoprix.

The thought of riding the metro at rush hour with a baby made me very uncomfortable. So, we found a bus, also crowded, and rode it back. Someone did kindly give us a seat and I loaded baby, backpack and huge pack of compostable diapers onto my lap.

C slept fine that night – she seems to except for the small matter of getting her to go to sleep. I woke up at 4 and finally got out of bed at 8a.

It was a quiet day as we were flying that evening to Mallorca. We walked around the block, ate some pastries, had lunch with J at home, and headed to the airport at 4p. A friend of JP’s picked us up at the airport – apparently no one bothers with carseats around here. So we sit in the back and I strap her into her carrier as tight as I can. Of course we prefer to walk or ride the bus anyway.

The next day was J’s birthday. C and I slept until 1p. I finally agreed to get out of bed because I could hear and smell wonderful things cooking: paella! My special lady friend isn’t yet on solid foods, and paella would certainly be the wrong kind for a 5-month-old anyway, but she stuck her hand right into it which of course made her quite upset (the only other time she’s done this was with Thai soup at the Thai Buddhist temple brunch in Berkeley though she’s reached for my room-temperature food before).

The paella had a range of seafood in it, all recognizable, and some other kind of meat. Through an internal process of elimination, I asked “is this rabbit?” it was. J said “I’m sorry. We should have told you.” Now, I am not a fussy eater. I despise that sort of thing (though of course am always respectful of other people’s choices). J had called me a “warrior” just the night before in that regard, which I think must be a normal thing to call someone in French. She knew I wouldn’t mind, but it’s always nice to be informed of what you’re eating.

It’s now 4a again, and C is fast asleep beside me. I guess I’ll give it a try, and catch you up at my next opportunity.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

adventures with my baby: getting there

The flight with C was fine. She might have even loved it as she doesn’t usually get so sleep all the time ON her mother – I usually put her down once she falls asleep. This time I just held her because there was no where to be and nothing to do but wait until the plane landed in Paris. Her ears were never an issue as she sucked away at her pacifier throughout take off and landing although I had to encourage her to keep sucking and not fall asleep during take off. Beside us on one side was a very helpful lady who used to work for Y!Mail and now lives in Germany. She had an accent and appeared to be reading Chinese.

On the other side was a couple with a small 14-month old who was not as well behaved as C, but almost as cute. At one point she pulled her mothers straight blonde hair right from the top of her head. I don’t know how her mother would have reacted if it hadn’t been public – she was pretty mad. I was feeling particularly tolerant of C tho she only really cried once and did sleep a little. The bassinette was a lifesaver!

The landing was one of the roughest I’ve felt to date – I thought the plane would tip over. Good thing the babies were strapped in. my belt was accidentally very lose, and I slid almost out of my seat.

Air France played a couple very bad-looking movies and a nature program. So, I didn’t watch them. Yet the flight still went by pretty quickly – maybe we slept. I have no idea. The food was remarkably bad, but I enjoyed champaigne as an appero and red wine with dinner.

Customs, bag collection, etc. all went smoothly and took forever. I was worried about taking a taxi because we didn’t have a carseat, and drivers can be so crazy. I also wasn’t crazy about the fare for just us 2 (50 euros, I was guessing). So I thought we should take the bus. The one that goes to Nation is the 351 which, it turns out, is a local bus, and CDG is a long way from Paris. But first, we had to find the stop!

Yeah that took about 45 minutes. The bus stop was on the 5th floor above the train station, but I didn’t realize that we couldn’t just take any elevator that went to the 5th floor to find the bus stop. First, we found the place where the taxi drivers hang out.

But before that even, the information desk gave us the wrong info and said Air France bus #3 went to Nation. Turns out it just goes to the other airport (Orly, for about 20 euros). Fortunately we didn’t get on the bus because a nice Berkeley-type lady and her preteen son set us straight. I then asked tourist information, and she was much more helpful even selling us a “carnet” (10 Metro tickets, 12 euros), 3 of which got you into Paris on the 351.

A couple from Utah also waited for the bus, which took about 30 minutes to come. I enjoyed the company, but I don’t know how they selected a hotel at Nation for their first visit to Paris. While we waited, C lost her cool because she was starving. There was nowhere to sit and nurse her so I sat on the edge of a luggage cart. She was also on her 3rd outfit since we left home, after 2 massive diaper blowouts, and I hadn’t found socks for her (the previous 2 outfits had been neck to toe pajamas). I tried wrapping my scarf around her cold little feet but she hated it and it didn’t stay on. Eventually I figured out that I could put her little feet in the pockets of my sweater and they would stay in and keep warm.

So the bus ride took about 1.5 hours as we meandered through suburb after suburb. I was reminded of the people in front of us in line at Tourist information who had a 4-hour layover and wanted to sit in a Parisien café for some of it rather than just sit in the airport – was there someplace closer than the center that they could go? “No,” said the lady, and I agree. “You should go all the way into the center to either Les Halles or Bd. St. Michel.”

As a bus line should work, it was nearly empty at first, the filled up right as it crossed the boarder into the City where most people got off at Gare du Nord or shortly thereafter. A woman with mismatched shoes and missing teeth ran for, and caught, the bus at one point. I nursed C near the end, and no one seemed to notice – it was her first time eating on a bus. A lot of people rode the bus until the end of the line at Nation. My huge bag and the space we took up with our stuff irritated the other passengers who wanted to sit in the space we collectively occupied (C+me + our stuff).

The 15-minute walk from Nation to J&G’s was not that difficult with my baby, backpack, tote and wheely bag tho originally I had intended to take a taxi for that short distance. So we arrived without significant incident – except maybe the lack of socks and that all together it took 2+ hours longer than a taxi would have. As my friends from Utah pointed out, we started our tourist experience of seeing Paris.

J&G’s place is always a magnificent oasis in the heart of a major bustling city. You can see the sky and hear birds. Equally charming is the sound of men playing ball in the parking area below and the chime of the church bells.

Sidebar: I wrote this as C slept. Just now, I mirrored her as she stretched after the nap, the kind of nap the often begins right when I’m ready to leave the house, but away, she kept looking where I was pointing with my stretching arms. She understands pointing! I never read that that was a developmental stage, but I don’t think she’s always understood pointing.

…Which is to say that we should leave the house now, and I’ll finish my story another time.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mean Mamas

Motherhood brings out the best in most women, I read somewhere recently. It is certainly the case for me. I’ve never felt happier and find it easier than usual to dismiss the dysfunctional. So, I was particularly surprised to be rejected from a local moms’ group I attempted to join.

The myth is that there aren’t any kids in San Francisco – everyone moves to the suburbs to raise their family. I’ve also heard people say that there are lots of kids in SF, but no school-aged kids. Yet, San Francisco has a range of networks for parents.

I found without difficulty, the Mission Parents’ Network where people borrow and lend parenting items, compare notes and narc on each others’ nannies, etc. It’s great. I attempted to form my own moms’ group, but it seems to be stalled as I was really hoping it would be more members-driven. But I haven’t given up. I also attend regularly a City College playgroup (which I completely love), and I know some people nearby who just happened to have babies around the same time I did (who are also great). I also completely love Jane Austin's yoga classes which I started when pregnant, and now I enjoy mom and baby yoga.

In Noe Valley, I heard there is a weekly stroller walk that leaves from Holy Bagels at 11am every Thursday, but I haven’t made it yet. It’s like Critical Mass in that it happens spontaneously without central organization. Other groups I haven’t tried yet include Golden Gate Mothers' Group which serves the entire City and costs $75 to join, Natural Resources which also has moms’ groups which cost $15 and up, and a Bernal Heights list similar to the Mission parents’ list.

Last week, I learned about two more groups: the SF Mission Mamas (such a cute website -- love it!), which I may ask my group to morph into, and MILFs and Cookies, a Glen Park moms’ group. For those of you unfamiliar with SF, Glen Park is the next train stop from my Mission neighborhood, and it takes literally 3 minutes to get there. So, it should have been a great fit.

But alas, the MILFs are exclusive. While they accept members who live in nearby neighborhoods, nearby Mission residents are not eligible. The reason? They want the kids to all go to school together… which is interesting since San Francisco doesn’t put kids in schools based on their neighborhood. [The other reason given was that they wanted to be able to arrange last minute meetings, a reason I summarily dismiss since the Mission is temporally closer to Glen Park than… much of Glen Park.]

I can think of a few possible real explanations: 1) the current group members don’t understand San Francisco’s school assignment system, or 2) they just don’t like people who live in the Mission. A friend (whose kids are older than mine) confirmed the latter: “You don't want to join the GP parents group,” She said. “I live here. Believe me. It is competitive parenting to the 100th degree. And yes, it is being snobby about the Mission- a lot of kids in the neighborhood schools are from the Mission.”

OK, this is a bit of a reach, but bear with me. When the Nazis rose to power in Europe in the 1930s, the Christian public’s hatred of the Jews grew in part as a response to dire economic conditions. After all, hardship is much easier to bear if you have someone(s) to blame for it. So, I’m wondering, is having a family in San Francisco so difficult that people feel compelled vilify adjacent neighborhoods?

If that’s too much for you, OK. I’ll just quote my Glen Park pal again: “parenting can be isolating enough without that crap.” I don’t feel especially isolated in my vibrant urban neighborhood, but I do feel like these Glen Park MILFs may have had a traumatic experience in 7th grade that gave them arrested development. I’ve outgrown being 12, thank heavens, and will continue to seek out and meet urban SF mamas elsewhere. I certainly want to teach my daughter by example to befriend and embrace people of all races, religions, sexual preferences, gender identifications, abilities and neighborhoods. So, my group is open to anyone who wants to meet mamas who live in the Mission (or elsewhere – doesn’t matter). Join us.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

radical vertical greening

Now that I'm off my bikes until my daughter is a year old (and her neck is strong enough to join me), I've been more aware of small efforts to green the urban landscape. Like development, greening can be horizontal or vertical. I recently noticed 2 seemingly independent instillation of greening the front of buildings.

The first is at an obvious high-pedestrian area, 16th Street near Valencia, on a hip storefront.

The second seemed a bit more radical, by a SOMA freeway onramp. I wonder if the cars see it? It must make some impact on highly-local air quality... or at least its perception.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

high art

my friend Gwen is a fashion designer in Paris. The video below is from a Warsaw performance of his work.