Friday, November 7, 2008

Pheasant Feathers and Orchids

DSC02988 autumn centerpiece

A couple of weeks ago, Dakota Angel told me that she and her husband were hosting a dinner party for twelve in a week. I was thrilled that she asked me to help with the flowers because I was looking for a way to thank her for the Tina Turner concert and I was incredibly honored that she trusted me with a business dinner. She showed me her green tablecloth and orange runner and she liked this inspiration picture from the October 2008 issue of Florists’ Review:

Off to the San Francisco Flower Mart I go and this is what I came up with:

DSC02991 - autumn centerpiece


DSC03025 - autumn centerpiece

Materials used: Oncidium orchid, pheasant feathers, cat tails, cymbidium orchids, pincushion protea (Leucospermum), dahlia, rose, lotus pods, strawberry bush, peppers, eucalyptus seeds, reindeer moss, black-bearded wheat, snowball verbena leaves

It wasn't exactly following the inspiration picture, but fortunately Dakota Angel was happy. More photos here.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

California Academy of Science

During our weekend in San Francisco, we also visited the California Academy of Science. There was a long line for tickets, though the membership line was considerably shorter. It is possible to make reservations on-line and I understand there is a kiosk available where you can pick up your ticket using your credit card.

We didn’t get much time to wander around the building because The Academy was scheduled to close at three for a Halloween event and we had reservations for lunch at the Moss Room. In our group, food trumps most other events.

The building was designed by Renzo Piano using all the latest green technology to create sustainable architecture. Piano has a resume as long as a keyboard including the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

The California Academy of Science has a lovely light hi-tech feeling with opportunities for sensory overload in every direction.

The lines for the rainforest and Morrison Planetarium were impossible, but we did meet Claude the 13-year-old alligator.

I was thrilled to see that the seahorse railing surrounding the Alligator Swamp was saved from the original building:

The penguin habitat is a big hit with everyone because they are just so darned cute to watch. Did you know that penguins mate for life? If you want to know all about their mates and more, they have their own blog and no less than three penguincams devoted to them!

We did get a brief glimpse of some the beautiful displays of the Steinhart Aquarium:

This giant sea bass at least 70 years old and weighs 165 pounds. He can live up to 100.

I've come up with a couple of captions. Do you have some captions to suggest for the photos in this post?
"Just on my way tangobaby to pick a shade of lipstick":

"Is he still following me?":

Last, but not least, we had just enough time to visit the Living Roof. The 2 ½ acre roof blends in beautifully into the environment of the park. Architect Piano said the roof design “is like lifting up a piece of the park and putting a building under it.” It serves as great natural cooling system, keeping the building ten degrees cooler inside.


In the spring, the roof’s native plantings should be in full bloom:

The De Young Museum as seen from the Living Roof:

All in all, the Academy of Science is a very exciting and inspiring place that I look forward to visiting again and again.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Defining Moment in History

Oh what a night!

The ever-gracious Mor Mor Kris hosted the historic election night in her beautiful home. We ate gourmet cheeses, delicious chili, and Obama cookies:

We shared our voting stories. One guest drove a colleague to her precinct in East Palo Alto yesterday. The precinct worker told the colleage that she could not vote because she did not speak enough English. Fortunately, our friend was able to reach an attorney on his cell phone and within a half hour, the colleague was able to vote and the precinct worker was ejected. YES! Obama’s campaign had a pool of 5,000 lawyers available for all voters. Evidence of another stone that was not left unturned in Obama’s amazing campaign!

It was a long, hard campaign, but now victory was ours, fair and square. There were tears of joy, shouts of triumph, clenched fists of victory, and lots of champagne!

I am thrilled that I can travel abroad now without having to apologize for our administration. I wish Barack Obama wisdom and strength as he embarks on this historic journey.

Speaking of the future, I am honored to be nominated to run alongside tangobaby in her administration of 2012. I am looking forward to making lots of patriotic arrangements and bouquets and readying the compost bin ;-)

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Seed of Inspiration

Relyn posed a great question. What inspires you? Inspiration is a huge word isn't it?

Nature gives me great inspiration. Untouched nature cannot be improved upon. Like a gorgeous landscape:

or a creature in the wild:

Love, of course:

But a perfect painting can also make my heart do cartwheels.

or a great Olympic performance:

or a perfectly prepared dish:

One knows immediately when all the heart and soul has gone into an effort, and that’s when it’s inspirational.

Girl with a Pearl Earring -
Michael Phelps - flickr thaines
French Laundry dish - flickr carendt242

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fall Back


We gained an extra hour today. I lingered in bed an extra long time and read another couple of chapters of “The Maltese Falcon”. I might take an extra long walk today, maybe take the camera along. I usually like to spend that extra hour five times over, doing things for me. Maybe we should always pretend we have an extra hour so that we will do more things for ourselves.

How are you spending your extra hour?

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