Staircases serve a purpose. They get us from one level to another in our homes; from one floor to another in a building. They can be short or long, curved or straight, steep or gradual. Some of us use then by choice, some of us head straight for an elevator if its available. I have a love/hate relationship with stairs. I am not a fan of uphill climbing :o) The strenuous monotony that comes with putting one foot in front of the other on a steep set of stairs doesn’t typically appeal to me. However, the nostalgic notion of hidden outdoor staircases tucked in our cities hillsides, leftover from a time of streetcar suburbia, was enough motivation to get me in the car early in the morning on the President’s Day holiday. The combination of the beautiful weather, the sights, smells and sounds of spring, and the lovely hillside setting was enough to keep me moving. It was even enough to turn me around at the bottom to head back to the top.
Continuing my romantic and nostalgic tribute to Mother’s Cookies today with a sweet filled trip down memory lane to recreate my favorite types of Mother’s Cookies in my own kitchen. My floor is specked with rainbow sprinkles, my counters are a bit sticky with white icing, and my shoulders are a bit tight. As I mentioned in Part 1 of my Mother’s Cookies love story, I have a hard time letting things go. I was determined to try my hand at these iconic favorites. So, when my daughter went down for her nap today I got to work and brought them to life, in my own way.
Those that know me well, know that when I lock onto something, good luck getting me to let go. It can be a blessing and a curse. I hem and haw over the littlest of things, search high and low for that perfect “something”, and often spend too much time, energy, and stress trying to bring something to fruition. Last month, when I joined the Oakland Urban Paths walk in the area of Oakland once known as the town of Brooklyn, we stopped at the old Mother’s Cookies factory. When I saw her smiling face on the iron sign now marking the live/work lofts that exist in the old brick building, I was instantly brought back to iced oatmeals and rainbow speckled circus animals. I hadn’t thought of them in years, since my childhood. I knew I had to do something to honor this local company’s history, I just didn’t know that not one, but two love stories would fall into my lap. So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, let me tell you a story…
I was born and raised in Oakland. I am the daughter of a retired 4th grade teacher who taught California History. For these reasons, I am ashamed that it has taken me this long to visit the Oakland Museum of California as an adult. I am not someone who frequently attends museums, visits have been reserved for notable ones that I have been lucky to experience on a vacation here and there. When taking time for myself locally, a great meal or some time spent outdoors are typically what I strive for. However, last Friday I was able to bring all three together in one lovely afternoon.
On a recent cold & drizzly Saturday morning I checked off my first goal on my “Things To Do In Oakland in 2016” list. I attended a walk hosted by Oakland Urban Paths through the streets of what was once a town that sat next door to Oakland, named Brooklyn. As our city has moved to the forefront of the national stage recently, there have been numerous comparisons to New York City’s neighboring borough, Brooklyn. I am going to bow out of the “my town is cooler” debate and find humor in the irony that the 2 town names once sat side-by-side on a map.
El Nino is here. Our days are filled with clouds, rain, and an occasional punctuation of sun. We can’t complain, it’s what we need. So lets focus on ways to enjoy these dreary days. A bookstore and a warm, indulgent sandwich were the ways my sister and I chose to spend a recent cold & cloudy Friday. I was in need of a new book to read, so a trip downtown provided the opportunity to pop into Laurel Bookstore’s new home in the historical Lionel J. Wilson Building. A stroll through the neighborhood then took us to Stags Lunchette; a cozy little spot serving up oozy deliciousness in sandwich form.
Happy New Year! 2016…Holy Cow.
It is always interesting to turn our heads and hearts towards a new year. A new year offers you a chance to reflect on where you are in life; it is an opportune time to consider any “course corrections” that may be in order. 2015 was a mixed bag for me. It was full of challenging times as I continued to learn how to navigate being a mom to not just one, but two. It was a successful year for me with my own eating and exercise hurdles. It was the year that this website was born.
When it came time to take a family picture for our holiday card this year, I had the thought to pop up the hill and visit the unassuming white house that sits right alongside Joaquin Miller Road. For the longest time I would glance over at the house on my way up or down, unsure of what it was. It wasn’t until recently that I learned that the house was in fact Joaquin Millers home, known as “The Abbey”. Residing in the cottage from 1886 until his death in 1913, the house was built on the large 100-acre estate he purchased in the Oakland Hills, called “The Hights”. Over time Joaquin Miller planted over 75,000 trees over the deforested land. He also built eccentric monuments dedicated to Moses, John C Fremont, and the poets Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.