When Your Hometown Is Suddenly Discovered as a Destination

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Sacramento is the City of Trees even if some boosters are trying to make it the “Farm to Fork” capital. Tree lined streets make our city more livable in the height of 100+ degree summer days.

I’ve lived in Sacramento most of my life. For the first 25 years everyone was content with being the Capitol and a rapidly growing suburban county. As Sacramento-native Joan Didion called it, people had a more mid-western sensibility about their wealth and well-being. Our problems were either hidden or denied. The community was segregated with waves of white flight out of South Sacramento to the burgeoning suburbs.

Our claim to fame was that we were “close to everything.” It was a great place to stop if you were on your way to Tahoe, or Napa, or San Francisco or Yosemite. Sacramento is at the confluence of two great rivers–the Sacramento and American–and a gateway to the Delta, but it’s attraction for the longest time was it was at the confluence of two great highways–Interstate Highways 5 and 80.

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Sacramento has long enjoyed a vibrant artists community. Every year more murals are added in Midtown and Downtown. 

People in the community liked that it was a less expensive, quieter place to raise children. People would complain about “the traffic” that wouldn’t register on the Los Angeles traffic meter. We also don’t have to worry about earthquakes and our floods appear to be managed for now.

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Local artists Suzanne Adan and Michael Stevens created Kit & Kaboodle, an exhibit for kids at the Crocker Art Museum. The Crocker is very kid friendly, and has a great cafe for adults.

The developers who ran local politics began to beat the drum for putting Sacramento on the map and making it a world class city. In the mid-eighties they had a lot of new houses to sell in Natomas, so land speculators and builders began the dubious proposition of making Sacramento famous by bringing a professional sports team to town. The Kansas City Kings basketball team arrived in 1985 to great fanfare and a new stadium in Natomas. It did raise Sacramento’s profile but it also gave other cities opportunity to mock us for being a Cowtown.

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My neighbor created this on her fence and I love it!

Periodically ever since, someone–a mayor or other city booster–declares Sacramento a destination. Self-declaration doesn’t count. In the travel world you have to be anointed a destination by the Conde Nast magazines. Or the New York Times travel editor. Preferably both.

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Sunset Magazine and other publications don’t mention the cemetery, but the Old City Cemetery of Sacramento is beautiful and fascinating. Docents offer a wide range of tours.

At last, thanks in large part to the spotlight that Sacramento-native Greta Gerwig shone on our fair city, Sacramento is getting the attention that some would say is long overdue. The New York Times recently released “36 Hours in Sacramento“!  It is so weird to read about the places you eat or shop regularly as destinations. Lovely too.

Once in my first professional job after grad school, the National Geographic hired our little think tank at UC Davis to review an article they were doing on the Great Central Valley. We looked at their map and shook our heads. They had Gilroy on the west side of the Valley. There were other errors as well and they didn’t correct all of the mistakes we identified for them. It made me skeptically at National Geographic maps ever since.

I love the 36 Hours series, but now having read the writer’s suggestions that would have you crisscrossing all over Sactown, I am going to refer to the 36 Hour recommendations but take the schedules with a grain of salt.  Thanks for the shout outs for local favorite restaurants and shopping destinations. We have always had a vibrant arts community and now more people are taking notice.

Sacramento has also been in the news lately because of the police shooting of an unarmed black man. Stephon Clark’s death has tested our community and revealed some problems many would rather ignore. We also have a serious homelessness problem. It appears the city council and county supervisors may finally be ready to deal with the issue. Hopefully we will begin to reform the inequities so we can truly achieve “great” status.

 

Chalk It Up! in Sacramento

This weekend was the 28th annual Chalk It Up! at Fremont Park in Sacramento. Each Labor Day weekend, hundreds of artists invest a lot of chalk, sweat and creativity into a square on the sidewalk. Most of the mini murals have various sponsors. One artist drawing cartoon characters on the sidewalk also signed up for a double square for a dental group. He was going to draw Austin Powers with his goofy teeth before and after dental work.

People create art with a message or just for the beauty of it. There is also food, crafts and other vendors along the middle walkways. There are also many restaurants within a block of the park including Starbucks, Hot Italian, Magpie Cafe, and others. It can be a challenge to find parking, so consider riding one of the region’s red Jump bikes or walking to 15th and P from anywhere downtown.

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There is a kids zone for them to draw with chalk., plus a playground in the park.

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Chalk It Up promotes and supports Youth Arts by offering small grants to K-12 classrooms, and youth arts organizations throughout the Sacramento region. We do this in large part with our annual Chalk It Up! Festival which encourages artistic expression of all kinds through a three day celebration of chalk art, live music, and regional food and craft vendors.

Happy Local Yarn Shop Day!

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My closest store: Rumpelstiltskin on R Street in Sacramento

I am very fortunate as there are several stores that specialize in knit/crochet supplies. Babetta’s is my other go-to if I am in the burbs. Rumpelstiltskin is my closest shop and the one I bonded with when I began knitting 30 years ago. It recently changed ownership and the new management is bringing a fresh enthusiasm to knit, crochet and weaving.

Today is “support your local yarn store day” and Rumpelstiltskin was offering lots of exciting extras. I bought the store t-shirt for just $5 with my purchase. I bought the yarn to make the spring challenge and got the drea renee knits “The Shift” pattern for free! I also discovered a new zine called Making.

I love supporting a local business and getting new inspiration and projects. It is a complete bonus when the store is close enough to bicycle to on a beautiful spring day! My basket was full of cotton yarn on the way home. Love.

Not Every Adventure Needs to Be Big

 

b61eeea5-c8d5-4e6c-80c7-689460b67ea6At least once a week I go on an adventure with my grandson Calvin who is 16 months old. He reminds me of the joy and wonder of noticing the things we adults often overlook. Like the inlaid wood and carving at the Crocker Museum. Or the joy of going to the nursery in springtime.

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Looking for Gramma J

Today we went to the Plant Foundry in Oak Park, Sacramento, California.

72d1407c-f0af-4696-9082-14ab161b3a94The challenge is getting plants whilst enjoying it from a wee man’s perspective. So glad my daughter was along to help out this time.

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In a recently published book, 1001 Things to Do with Kids in Sacramento by Sabrina Nishijima, there are many ideas for kids of all ages. I have been looking for more ideas so I plonked down my debit card to buy this from Time Tested Books on 21st Street near K. Just remember, sometimes you can keep it simple and have a great adventure, like the time we never made it into the Railroad Museum because the wooden sidewalks and rocky paths were so fascinating.

Personal note: for a variety of reasons I’ve fallen behind on posting my travels. I am going to catch up but my sharing may be out of order to the timeline I traveled, so hang on!

Marching and Penguins

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Today was the Women’s March. Around the world men, women and children gathered to march for women’s rights. Oh and dogs came too. I found the excitement of being with people who all held out hope for better days energizing. Last year I was in Washington, DC and this year I marched in my hometown Sacramento. Sacramento has the advantage of not having so many people that you cannot move like last year on the Capitol Mall.

As always the signs were creative and sometimes outrageous. We walked to the state Capitol where there was a rally. I had loaded my bike Gidget with flowers to take to the Women’s Empowerment booth. The best part of marching in my hometown was seeing so many people I know: Al, Patricia, Chantay and others.

Today is also Penguin Awareness Day. They don’t usually overlap like this. Along with my Auntie J’s birthday! Now I am going to go on YouTube and look for penguin videos.

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Penguins at the Boston aquarium

#MarchforScience on Earth Day 2017

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My Mom and I marched for science in Sacramento on Saturday. We were happy to  support science with several thousand fellow truthseekers. Mom is 81 and not as ambulatory as she once was. In my youth I had to learn to keep up with her long stride. Now we triangulated the march route to figure out the best place to park to save steps. We’d fortified ourselves with brunch at Easy on I and made sure to use the bathroom before we left!

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My favorite sign of the day: Edward Tufte would approve!

There were clever signs, some of which we weren’t nerdy enough to figure out on our own (thanks Google!). I realize some people are critical of marches as just theater and making no real difference. Except that it really boosts morale of those who participate. We are most definitely not alone in valuing science.

The next day was Earth Sunday at St. John’s Lutheran Church. I participated in a forum where we discussed our vocation and the role of science and faith. My thoughts are here.

Every day is universe day whether we recognize it or not. We can pursue our lives and concerns without acknowledging the much larger worlds around us, but it keeps swirling on according to the dynamics that are as immutable as they are mysterious. We’ve only just begun to understand it and learning about our world is the greatest adventure.

 

Happy Pi(e) Day! Yum!

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New Roma Bakery apple pi(e)

Yum rhymes with sums so it is fitting that we eat pie on Pi Day! (hint: 3/14 if you are wondering).

I have celebrated Pi Day in Seattle or Los Angeles. Today I am home but busy with projects so I didn’t bake. Instead I walked with Lulu the Adventure Dog 3.14 blocks to New Roma Bakery.

You can also focus more on mathematics and celebrate the Greek letter and more.

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C+ pie. Crust overworked and not flaky, filling too goopy.