Keeping a City at Bay

The Presidio in San Francisco was established as a fortified base by the Spanish in 1776 as El Presidio Real de San Francisco or The Royal Fortress of Saint Francis. It was the northernmost outpost of a Spanish empire in decline. We were there recently with a friend, in the Presidio’s current life as a…

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The Taste of Contrition

I have no excuse for myself. I normally shun flavored coffees and teas. You won’t find me ordering a tiramisu latte or chocolate banana black tea. Coffee MateĀ® creamer flavored like Girl Scout cookies? I’m not judging, but…thank you, no. I grew up in San Francisco, mostly, and back before the mad coffee house movement…

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Butterfly House

There’s a new building going up in San Francisco, just a block or so from where I used to live when I was right out of college. It’s got all the bells and whistles of the kind of green, sustainable, fashionable and expensive development one might expect from that city, up to and including the…

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Retreat and Renewal

I spent some time recently in the vast playground of my youngest childhood, Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Founded in 1870 as an urban oasis back when the city was a much smaller place, the park never fails to dazzle with its beauty and design. This time, though, among the 25,000 trees that grace…

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Northern Parakeets

I was walking in Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, yesterday when I finally saw what I’d only heard about and seen in this documentary: The wild parakeets of Telegraph Hill. Two bright flashes of green and red, a loud bird yell, and there they were. Not at all native, part of a flock of feral…

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