Posts Tagged ‘Oakland’

The Pink One Cometh (October Challenge: Day 10)

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

Fallen behind a bit on the October Challenge, but I’m picking it up and running with it this morning. Here we go!

Pinky flew in on Thursday evening for her extended visit to the Hartmann household. Usually, she comes for short, quick trips to see us, catch the sites and give Ryan a few smooches. But this time, she’s here for a whole month – and we couldn’t be more excited! You see, Dan heads in for knee surgery tomorrow, and Pinky is the army of one we’ve enlisted to help hold everything together while Dan is in the hospital and recovering for a few weeks.

So, as you can imagine, it’s been busy here at THL for the last week or so. Lots going on – mental and psychological preparations for surgery. It always takes Ryan some time to get used to new people -particularly when it seems like they are going to stick around and sleep on the couch. Being the highly-trained kid person and grandmother extraordinaire that she is, Pinky rolls with it all really well. She even babysat while we had a date night last night! Date night?! What a concept!

Here are a couple of pics from her August visit that capture The Pink One in action. Warming up the kiddo and taking it all in stride.

Playing peek-a-boo in the otter habitat at the zoo.


Raise a glass to Pinky! Three cheers for The Pink One!

We’re off to the hospital tomorrow morning. I may manage another post in the meantime, but I’m not promising anything. Please send Dan all your get-well wishes and healing vibes! We’ll take all the positive energy we can get.

~ Susan


Back from the Blackout (October Challenge: Day 3)

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Slowly. slowly I’m emerging from a self-imposed two month news blackout. A professional policy wonk and amateur news junkie, this blackout has been a challenge. But a necessary one. I started waking up at night unable to fall back to sleep, ruminating on the state of the economy, and the tenor of national political discourse. Sleep deprivation and stress – not a great mix. Especially since there isn’t much I can do about it.

So, for the last two months I have actively avoided the news. And I have to say that life has been a lot more pleasant! I highly recommend it. If only for short periods here and there.

But now, I’m starting to check back in. Time to see what’s going on in the world, you know?  So, what do you think I should make of this?

"Pick a subject. Make an offer. Get a poem."


A sluggish economy and economic woes notwithstanding – I applaud her creativity.  Who says there’s no innovation in the liberal arts and humanities??

Things will improve at some point, won’t they?



Where the Wild Things Are

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Not only was last weekend a fabulously long three days, but it was absolutely GORGEOUS here in the Bay Area. Sorry, east coasters, but it’s hard to beat 70 degrees in January… (Nevermind that it’s 58 degrees and foggy all summer. But I digress…)

Anywho, we decided to join the masses and head to the Oakland Zoo for a fine afternoon of visiting with the big animals. It was a lot of fun, and we feel lucky that: a) it’s only 5 minutes from our house; and b) Pinky and Dick gave us an annual membership for Christmas. Woo Hoo! We’re gonna be regulars!

We actually hadn’t been there before, and Ryan really enjoyed herself. Here are a few highlights of the day. Enjoy!

A big kitty, to say the least! Very Beautiful

Giraffes are incredibly cool. But do they make noise? If you know of a giraffe noise, let me know. It always stumps me when I try to add sound effects to Ryan's books.

Checking out the elephants with Mommy.

African elephants are HUGE and very cool. Much bigger than the Asian elephants I hung out with in Thailand.

Strolling in the afternoon sun. Glorious.

Hope you are having a spectacular winter wherever you may be!


Swinging into the New Year

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Hello 2011! We here at the Hartmann household are ready to take on another year. 2010 was particularly difficult, and we are delighted to see it end. We are looking forward to a clean slate and some new adventures (not to mention an end to the recession *fingers crossed*). While we have resolutions* and goals for the year, I thought it’d be appropriate to post about how we greeted the first morning of the New Year.

We woke up this morning, threw on our clothes and headed to Lake Merritt to take advantage of a break between rain showers. The weather was chilly and gray, but we bundled up and made the best of it. Our adventure started with a stop at Coffee with a Beat, a neighborhood cafe that was hopping at 9am. While I ordered coffee, I couldn’t help noticing how quintessentially “Oakland” the place was. As I waited for my coffee, I heard an East African dude with dreads speaking Amharic animatedly to his friends.  I chatted to the Scottish guy (clad in a Scottish national football jersey) about the milk and sugar station set up. I swapped New Year’s Eve tales with the barista who was sporting a Mad Hatter hat and greeting everyone who came in. The cafe was packed with all sorts of folks just reading the paper and enjoying the neighborhood. It was awesome. What I love most about Oakland is that this vignette is not a rare occurrence or something generally worth noting – it’s just how it is here. It’s not the perfect city by any stretch of the imagination, but it has so much life and character that it gets under your skin and you end up a devotee.

Fortified with coffee, we strolled down to the playground where we had the place pretty much to ourselves. It was great. A bit wet from the overnight rains, but otherwise fun all around. We grabbed a swing, climbed the climber and played in the sand. Outstanding.

Just swinging and watching the world go by…

Then, we headed over to the Lake to watch the ducks, geese, gulls and other birds relaxing and taking in the morning. (A little known fact is that Oakland’s Lake Merritt was the first wildlife refuge in the U.S. back in 1870. Cool, huh?) There isn’t much more relaxing these days than watching the ducks swim around. It’s becoming one of our favorite pursuits.

Chilling and watching the ducks do their thing.

After watching the ducks swim for a while, we headed over to an area where they do birding programs. Ryan particularly liked watching the ducks scramble for lettuce leaves and preen themselves. There are a lot of very cool ducks with beaks, feet and feathers of all colors. It’s fun to count all the different types, the males and females and their different markings. Every now and again we see a pelican, an egret or a heron, but this morning was all about the ducks.

Mystery duck. Any birders out there know what the heck this thing is? Seriously, I’ve never seen a duck like this. Ever. Maybe it’s a goose?

We call him Jim.

And so we greeted 2011 in Oakland! We headed home for a nap before the rains started up and settled into a fabulous Saturday. I hope that you rang in the New Year with excitement and joy! We wish you all the best for a safe, happy, healthy and joyous year ahead.


* Resolution details forthcoming.