Epic Walk

Dear Liza,

We don’t like to drive much. I mean, driving is okay for bringing heavy groceries home or getting to the coast, but our adventures around town usually don’t use the car.

So yesterday, when we wanted to see the installation of the new Earl Blumenauer Pedestrian Bridge over the Banfield Freeway, we walked! It’s only a few miles north, after all.

Well, and about a mile west…. Anyway, after a wonderful stroll through the Irvington neighborhood, we found the freeway.

It was EMPTY. Not a car in sight! The city had blocked off a few miles of freeway so they could install the bridge safely. I wonder how all those thousands of cars were getting around? After we had soaked up the quiet of six lanes of silence, we walked toward the installation site.

The work was going slowly and carefully, with gantries and cranes and dozens of people. We realized it wasn’t going to be done for hours and hours.

We stared for a while. We had walked about three miles, maybe more, with weaving through neighborhoods, and we were foot sore. The search began for coffee and ‘a little something’.

We knew busy Broadway Street was just up a few blocks, so we headed in that direction. On the way, we found these plaques showing the state bird, fish, flower, insect and mammal of the state of Oregon. They were a nice decoration, making the back of a parking garage interesting and educational.

We found coffee, then pastries, then a new cone for Mouse, at shops along Broadway, and we were all feeling the milage. We charted the most direct route home and trudged along, only stopping to notice that the flamingo flock by the park is showing their support for our favorite San Francisco baseball team. Go Giants!

We got home, rested our poor feet, and drank lots of water. We had a right to be tired. We had walked 6.4 miles!

What a day!


Grandma Judy

Oh the Noise, Noise, Noise Noise!

Dear Liza,

We knew the sewer work was coming, and now it is RIGHT in front of our house. Between now and Friday, if we will need the car during the day, we need to get it out of the driveway before 7 AM, and then can’t bring it back in until after 6 PM. This, in a neighborhood where street parking is already in short supply.

Temporary invasion

We were going to get the Christmas tree today, but don’t want to get up early, park our precious Miles on the street, or carry the tree for blocks, so we will wait until next week.

This weekend is busy with a Christmas Art Pop-up, where Auntie Bridgett is showing her work at her friend Nicole Curcio’s house. That will be fun! But there are cookies that need baking to feed the art-lookers. So I will be walking down to Safeway with my backpack to pick up butter, eggs, and such to make a double batch of Oatmeal Everything cookies.

Auntie Bridgett’s silly decorations!
More Christmas goodies for sale…

Inside the house, it is very noisy and shaking from 7 to 6 everyday. Fortunately, we still have Christmas decorations and our Mouse kitten to make us smile.

Mouse and Christmas Bear, hanging out…

But all the racket can make me grouchy, I will admit. I have even been channeling Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas“:

They’ll come with the diggers, the rollers and flashers!

They’ll bring all their dump trucks and huge asphalt slashers!

I sat at the coffee table, with my tense fingers drumming,

“There must be a way to stop Construction from coming!”


Grandma Judy

Sewers Too Close to Home

Dear Liza,

Taking up the parking spaces…

Well, for weeks now we’ve seen and heard the work coming closer. Huge excavators, dump trucks, ditch witches and jack hammers have torn up (and put back together, mostly) street after street.

The work is to modernize the sewer system for our neighborhood and to install swales to help clean the street run-off water. I am glad the work is getting done. Poor Pacific Grove, down by Monterey, hasn’t done this sort of work for a hundred years, and they have sewer spills almost every month in the summer, making their lovely beaches into smelly, unhealthy messes.

Here come the new pipes

But man, is it noisy! Pounding to get through the asphalt, then scraping to get the asphalt into the dump trucks. Then comes the digging to get to the pipes, then the schreeching as the pipes are dragged into place.

Diggers and rollers

Oh, and the vibrations! Room sized piles of gravel dropped from tall trucks sound like avalanches, and the steamrollers feel like rolling earthquakes.

Coming right for us!!

It seems now that our street will be torn up just in time for Thanksgiving, and probably stay torn up until Christmas. Barring, of course, delays because of weather… snow and sleet are in the long forecast.

Cross your fingers!


Grandma Judy