Day 105: Good Dads

Today is Day 105 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge!

As I started my walk, I came across a Dad who was teaching his two young children (who were riding bicycles) how to cross a very busy street.  He was so patient as he explained why they needed to wait until all of the cars went by, and then look to the left, the right, and the left again before they crossed.

Half a mile later a father and teenage son were taking turns shooting a ball through a basketball hoop. They were having so much fun encouraging each other and celebrating every dunk with a high five.

On my way home I spotted a man cleaning out an older model economy car. As I got closer, I noticed fast food wrappers, empty crushed Red Bull cans, sports equipment, a water shoe, a binder, a backpack, and other garbage and paraphernalia. When I was directly in front of the driveway, the man turned to me and said apologetically, “This is my son’s car. Unbelievable!”

I said, “I thought so, the empty Red Bull cans were a give-away. It reminds me of the stuff in my son’s car.”

“Well, it’s such a mess I thought I’d help him out,” he explained.

“Aw, what a good dad,” I exclaimed.

“That’s what they tell me,” he said.

I continued walking and thought about his last remark.  That father knew he was appreciated by his family because they take the time to let him know what a good dad he is.  Every father should be so lucky.


Days 103 & 104: Stained Glass Window Walks

Yesterday and Today were Days 103 & 104 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge!Stanford Stained Glass

Yesterday and today I took invigorating but uneventful walks around my neighborhood. IStanford Stained Glass 2 noticed a home with pretty stained glass window panels on each side of their front door. It reminded me of the beautiful stained glass windows I had seen at the Stanford Memorial Church.

If you read this blog regularly, you’ll recall that I walked through the Stanford University campus on Monday with my friend Debbi.  When we saw the chapel we decided to peek inside. We spent the next 20 minutes reading plaques to learn about the history of the chapel, and admiring the architecture and the beauty of the stained glass windows that surround the church. Debbi took the photos you see on this page. Enjoy!


Day 102: A Walk in The Rodin Sculpture Garden

Today is Day 102 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge!

Rodin Burghers of Calais

Today, my friend Debbi and I decided to walk through the Stanford University campus. As we approached Memorial Court at the entrance to the Main Quad, we were greeted by The Burghers of Calais, bronze sculptures by Auguste Rodin that are displayed in the Rodin Sculpture Garden.

These bronze sculptures were created by Rodin as a monument to an occurrence during the Hundred Years’ War. In 1347, Calais (an important French port on the English Channel) was under siege by the English.  The Burghers of Calais were influential residents of Calais who volunteered to give their lives in order to save the city and its citizens. Rodin created the memorial as a testament to their bravery and conviction

Debbi took the photo of the sculptures with her iPhone. If you want to learn more about the Burghers of Calais, CLICK HERE to download a terrific lesson with activities – for free!



Day 101: All the Leaves Are Brown…

Today is Day 101 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge!   sycamore

It was cool, sunny, and breezy on my walk today. About half way through my regular route, I entered a block lined with sycamore trees.  The first thought that popped into my head was, “All the leaves are brown.”

It’s as if the trees got the memo that Autumn arrived and the chlorophyll (green pigment) receded from the leaves and back into the stems and branches of the tree on cue. (Click here to learn more about why fall leaves change color.)

Of course, my thought that, “All the leaves are brown,” triggered my memory of the song, “California Dreamin’ by the Mamas and the Papas – and now I can’t get the song out of my head!


Day 100: A Coastal Celebration!

Today is Day 100 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge!  

I can’t believe I’ve completed 100 consecutive days of walking in honor of Papa! This called for a celebration, so I half moon bay, Sept. 23headed to the coast to walk with my bestie, Jackie. We’ve been friends since we met in first grade when we were six years old. Jackie knew and loved Papa, too.

We walked north along the Pacific Coast Trail with stunning vista views of the ocean. Jackie took the photo on this page with her iPhone. The salt-and-seaweed-scented-air was invigorating.

We saw lots of wildlife including human bikers, bladers, and surfers. We also saw a flock of ducks flying in a straight line above the shore. There was a stink bug that crossed our path, and dozens of pill bugs.

Then we spotted two baby hares playing in the brush. Too cute!  A little further on we saw a large hare standing motionless in a field. I joked that the hawks must be full from breakfast for that rabbit to be sitting so still in an open field. Right on cue, a red-tailed hawk flew over the meadow and landed in a tree nearby as the hare darted for cover under some bushes. It’s all about survival…

…and I’m proud to say, I’ve survived 100 days of the Papa’s Walk Challenge. Only 265 more days to go!

Day 99: Grass Walk!

Yesterday was Day 99 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge.

I am amazed by the ornamental garden grasses that are displaying tufts and plumes right now. They look so soft, I can’t help but reach out and let the feathery plumes slip through my fingers as I walk by them. There are a wide varietpurple fountain grassy blooming right now. Here are a few I saw on my walk yesterday:

By far, the most popular grass in our neighborhood is Pennisetum or Purple Fountain Grass. The pinkish-purple plumes dominate the landscape right now.

Miscanthus is another popular grass with pinkish plumes that I see regularly on my walks.

Pampas Grass is blooming right now, and kids can’t seem to resist cattailpicking the giant, white-plumed spears and staging play battles with them. Unfortunately, Pampa Grass in an invasive species that threaten native California plants. Waving the plumes around may be fun (I did it myself as a kid), but it spreads the seeds which is undesirable. (Bummer.)

When I walked by some marshes and estuaries near the ocean last week I saw lots of Cattails in bloom. Did you know they are edible? Click here to learn more.



Day 98: Walking in the Rain

Today is Day 98 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge.

rain 2Tomorrow is the autumnal equinox in the northern hemisphere of our planet. To welcome fall, we had the first rain of the season today. It was overcast when I left for my walk, but the skies quickly darkened and poured down rain. I was glad that I wore a raincoat with a hood. I kept my head down to avoid getting rain in my eyes.

Because I was looking down at the sidewalk, I dodged a number of earthworms and snails that were enjoying the rain shower. I might have stepped on them if I’d been looking ahead. I rarely write poetry, but for some weird reason a haiku came to mind:

Walking in the rain

Worms and snails make sidewalk trails

Raincoat keeps me dry

What does walking in the rain inspire you to do?


Days 96 & 97: Squirrels!

Yesterday and Today were Days 96 and 97 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge.

squirrel-eating-nutFor the past couple of days I’ve been entertained by squirrels on my walks. They are very busy at this time of year, scurrying across sidewalks and streets, up and down trees and utility poles, across utility wires  – and almost always with an acorn in their mouth.  I’ve watched them burying nuts in gardens, raiding bird feeders, and even saw one remove the head of a sunflower and scamper away with it!

Yesterday,  I took a walk with my friend, Suzanne and her dog. The dog walked along intensely sniffing tree trunks, planter boxes, and fire hydrants – and then got totally distracted and tried to chase every squirrel that darted across her path.  It reminded me of the “Squirrel!” scenes from the Pixar movie, “Up!”  Watch this clip for a laugh. 🙂


Day 95: Autumn Moon Festival Walk!

Yesterday was Day 95 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge

At 10:00 PM last night, my husband and I went for a walk by the light of the full Harvest Moon.

We live in an area where there aren’t many street lights. The light from the moon was so bright, it was like having a big celestial flashlight to illuminate the way. During our walk,  I understood how farmers were able to use the harvest moonlight to pick crops after the sun went down.  It’s really that bright.

This also happens to be the time of the Chinese Moon Festival. Chinese Moon Cake

Traditionally, “moon cakes” are eaten during the celebration. Moon cakes are little round cakes made with red bean paste that have a golden duck egg yolk in the center. Moon cakes have historical importance. According to legend, Mongolia had invaded China and ruled with a cruel regime. The Chinese people planned a rebellion on the night of the full moon. To get the word out without being detected, they passed messages inside of moon cakes. On the night of the Autumn Moon Festival, the rebels successfully overthrew the rule of the foreign invaders and established the Ming dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644). Moon cakes are eaten to commemorate this legend.


Day 94: Don’t Miss the “Harvest Moon Walk” Tomorrow!

Today is Day 94 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge.

Except for a strong breeze, all was quiet on my walk today.  When I got home, I had an email waiting from NASA Science News – a notice to watch out for the Harvest Moon starting tomorrow night (September 18th).  As explained in the newsletter:

The Harvest Moon is the full Moon that falls closest to the autumnal equinox, the beginning of northern autumn.  In 2013 the Moon is full on Sept. 19th (the night of Sept. 18-19 in North America)  while the equinox follows close behind on Sept. 22nd.  The coincidence sets the stage for a nice display of harvest moonlight.”

NASA  was kind enough to supply the following resources. Just click on the links to learn more…

I plan to take night walks  on September 18th  and  September 19th and soak up some of that harvest moonlight.