Monthly Archives: February 2005


purple orchid, Farmer’s Market, Canon Digital Rebel

“When we are not sure, we are alive.”
– Graham Greene

orchid oracle

spotted orchid, Farmer’s Market, Canon Digital Rebel

I left the beloved Mission this morning! and went to the Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building. This is one of the most beautiful (and expensive) farmer’s markets around, and is so full of sensory pleasures. There are landscapes of tulips and romanesque broccoli, dried kiwis and giant beets, artisan cheeses and lavender salt… it’s yummy there. We walked for hours tasting oranges and asian pears.

We also spoke to Dirk the orchid man who pointed to one of his most beautiful orchids and noted, “This one smells like rotting meat.” One of the things I love most about my friend Sasha is her curiosity. She immediately said, “Ew! can I smell?” and confirmed that it in fact smelled like salami.

And I couldn’t help but share a detail of this photo. Do you see the tiny little monk of a man with the long white beard standing at the center bud? Don’t you want to ask him the secret of life?

The orchid oracle, Farmer’s Market, Canon Digital Rebel

“Little spotted orchid man, What does it all mean?”

St. Francis Soda Fountain

St.Francis Soda Fountain, Canon Digital Rebel

The St. Francis Soda Fountain {on the corner of 24th St. and York} has been around since 1918. Here you can find burgers, sandwiches and other great food, but their specialties are ice cream and malted milkshakes. I hear that they also make homemade root beer, old fashioned egg creams, and their own hot fudge and marshmallows.

The inside looks like it hasn’t changed in all these years, complete with booths and a candy counter. You will feel transported to another time…

826 Valencia, aka. The Pirate Store

pirate supplies, Canon Digital Rebel

826 Valencia, also known as the pirate supply store is one of my favorite spots in the neighborhood. It is a writing workshop and tutorial center for youth that was started by the author Dave Eggers and is also the home of the publishing house, McSweeney’s.

In addition to offering incredible writing workshops for kids and adults, they also sell lard, eye patches, mops, shackles, and my friend Sasha’s very beautiful (and tiny) book entitled Your New Glass Eye which is now in its second {limited} edition. Go Squash!

Pirate store window, Canon Digital Rebel

and just down the street…

Ripley, Canon Digital Rebel

And this is Ripley, the hairless Sphinx. She lives at the science fiction bookstore on Valencia St. only doors away from the pirate store. Go visit her! She is very friendly and sweet despite her sinister eyebrow configuration.

I love San Francisco.

18th & Guerrero

Anna’s Danish Cookies, Canon Digital Rebel

Only days after I took this shot, the awning and everything was gone. {Even the mattress was gone! can you believe it?} Looks like the old Danish cookie parlor has seen its last days. For years there was a huge sign in the window that said, “Diabetic cookies sold here!” and I always wondered if they were laundering money in there or if people actually ate diabetic cookies.

This street is now the uber-gentrified gastronomic capital of the Mission. The most wonderful cafe/bakery called Tartine rests on the corner of 18th and Guerrero. They have gorgeous breads and french pastries and a hearth table where you can drink your cappuccino. {Strangely, my favorite thing there is the muesli and yogurt. They must put crack in it or something. I could eat it every day for the rest of my life}

The rest of the block is lined with fantastic restaurants, a wonderful cafe, and ends with the most beautiful park in the neighborhood – Dolores Park.


In other Mission news, my husband Matt built quite a beautiful web site for his desert library project and future projects. Check it out! And don’t miss The Hidden Agenda… {subterranean conference center}


corner of Guerrero and 19th St., Canon Digital Rebel

One of my favorite online newsletters is from I Used to Believe. Here are some excerpts from the most recent one:

“My uncle convinced me that the morning fog looming over the Smoky Mountains was caused by thousands of beavers making steaming cups of coffee.”
– Donnie

“Once, when I was 8, I told my Mom about this weird experience I had where the exact same thing happened to me twice. She explained that it hadn’t happened twice, but that I had deja vu. The next day at school, I told all of my friends that I had this weird French disease that made me get stuck in time and repeat things I’d already done.”
– Annie

gas station art

21st and Valencia, Canon Digital Rebel

The old Shell station on this corner has slowly but surely been completely taken over by graffiti (some of which is quite beautiful) political posters, and other various stickering and art-making.

During the fall, one artist took bright green and reddish leaves and wove them into the chain link fence around the old gas station. She created a beautiful thick pattern {a la Andy Goldsworthy} that made everyone’s jaw drop as they passed. It only lasted a few days {I somehow didn’t make it with my camera until they dried} but their skeletons are still there. Little bits of brittle leaf stuck in the metal.


buddhist temple, 21st and Capp St., Canon Digital Rebel

These are the doors of the new Buddhist Temple in the neighborhood. My friend Kim, her 2 year old son Liam, and I wandered in one day to take a peek. There were monks in orange robes all seated in meditation in front of the most enormous Buddha we had ever seen {outside of Bangkok that is}. There were offerings placed at the foot of the statue: orchids, cakes, oranges, brilliantly colored flowers. It was a beautiful sight.

Liam surprised the woman who showed us the room by saying with enormous eyes, “Big buddha!”


“The nature of the mind of beings is like a big pearl that falls into the water. The water is muddy so the pearl becomes hidden. When the water is pure, the pearl is revealed.”
– The Nirvana Sutra

The Mission

corner of Harrison and 20th St., Canon Digital Rebel

I’ve decided to do a photo series this week of my neighborhood: The Mission District in San Francisco.

The Mission is a colorful neighborhood chock full of bookstores, incredible taquerias, hipsters in funky clothes, murals lining the walls of alleys, Mexican bakeries, and restaurants with food from all over the world.

I’m happy to offer up a little window into my favorite neighborhood in SF.


grapefruit, Canon Digital Rebel

“Life is this simple: We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent
and the Divine is shining through it all the time. This is not just a nice story or a fable. It is true.”
– Thomas Merton

I have been reading some wonderful books these days:
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. {I’m also very excited about reading his newest book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking.}
– And I have been thoroughly enjoying Vendela Vida’s first novel And Now You Can Go

* I just noticed when I made this link that Amazon has a special if you order Vendela’s book and Julie Orringer’s How to Breathe Underwater. Two of my favorites!