PEZ Pole in Sunnyvale with a sign that reads: Das PEZler

Safari in the Neighborhood – Sunnyvale PEZ Pole

Close up of multiple PEZ dispensers.

Not only PEZ dispensers are displayed on the front lawn at 298 Leota Ave in Sunnyvale, there are all sorts of toys and little trinkets. The PEZ Pole is the description you get from Google maps, the sign on the pole says: Das PEZLER – a German collection? PEZ dispensers are pinned to a power pole. A lot of Santas from different time periods it seems, but also favorite Disney characters, snowmen and bunnies. The PEZ lunchbox knows: “PEZ makes you smile!”

Plastic dinosaur looking at a succulent.

The other things that made me smile are the dinosaurs fighting plastic soldiers – not the fighting, just the ingenious re-use of plastic toys! The dinosaurs are next to succulents which makes them excellent objects for a photo safari! But behold the giraffes assembled across from them! If you enjoy statues this place has you covered too! Buddhas sit together with Madonnas, angels, a menorah, and a dreamcatcher – a peaceful sight indeed. 

Overall it is a great place to explore and discover. If you are tired of walking around in your neighborhood I suggest stopping by this place and let your kids count the PEZ Santas, or photograph other objects. 

Peace figures in the front lawn in Sunnyvale.

Thank you whoever put out the effort to entertain us in such an amusing way! You can email them at flowerpowercorner at gmail.com if you have any comments, ideas, or suggestions.

Where do you go on a photo-neighborhood-safari?

By the way, to all the PEZ aficionados, the PEZ museum in Burlingame is permanently closed. To see what it was like check out my blog post: Sweeten your Museum Visit


Shirley Temple Black, 1928 - 2014

Locate Shirley Temple Black’s Final Resting Place

Shirley Temple Black - 1928 - 2014
Beloved wife and mother
Grandmother
Great-Grandmother

While looking for a hiking outing I stumbled across Shirley Temple’s grave. Not literally! A Google reviewer posted this as a landmark. I did not know that the famous child actress used to live in Woodside. I also did not know that she used to have quite the political career, most notably the ambassador of Ghana and Czechoslovakia.

Her gravesite is in the Alta Mesa Memorial Park in Palo Alto. According to the website Find a Grave the Mausoleum is called: Adobe Creek Mausoleum, Building #3, Redwood Grove Section, Tier 2. Thanks to the reviewer who posted this as a tourist location on Google maps, I knew to look for it in the back of the mausoleum. I did not see any building names or numbers, but all mausoleums are located just past the funeral home. 

Sculpture in the hidden park at the Alta Mesa Memorial Park, Palo Alto.

Alta Mesa Memorial Park is not a hiking destination, but in my search I found a beautiful garden area behind the mausoleums that, although not very large, is a nice place to explore more inhabitants of the non-denominational burial ground.

Other notable burials include Terman and Shokley, both considered the fathers of Silicon Valley, David Packard, co-founder of HP, and Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc.

Sign for the Alta Mesa Memorial Park
Visiting Hours
Daily 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Have you been to a graveyard lately?

Visiting hours for the Alta Mesa Memorial Park are from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

If you like cemeteries you might want to check out Colma – a town where the ratio of alive to dead is 1:1000. Be alive in Colma!

Sign for Foothills Park at the park's entrance.

Hike a Freed Park – Foothills Park in Palo Alto

After 51 years Palo Alto lost an ACLU case and now has to open its Foothills Park to the public. Previously this gem was only open for Palo Alto residents and their guests. 

Kind of a city wide country club if you will. As a holiday gift to the neighboring people this 1,400-acre park with multiple levels of hiking trails, picnic areas, a lake, and a campground has been open since December 17th 2020. See a PDF park map here.

Fishing pier at Boranda Lake.

The campground, Towle Camp, is open from May to October and you can make reservations online. Fishing is allowed with a licence if you are 16 and older. Boronda Lake prohibits swimming, but non-motorized boats are allowed. Canoes are available for rent, weather permitting, weekends and holidays from May to October. Dogs are only permitted during the week on leash. 

Sign for Woodrat Trail at Foothills Park, Palo Alto.

Of course they have COVID restrictions in place, like social distancing and masks, but the restrooms, except in the Nature Center, are open. Some hiking trails are one-way, but they have trail maps posted everywhere. 

Pole at Panorama Trail with the direction of San Francisco.

I drove up to Panorama Trail first. Taking in the beautiful view. To make it more interesting they put out poles with points of interest to see through pipes . Some of the locations you might spot are Oakland, San Francisco, Mt Diablo, and San Jose. 

Boranda Lake

The hiking trail around the lake was somewhat muddy and I regretted not having switched into my hiking boots. From the main entrance I took the Tayon trail into the Woodrat trail and looped back to my car for a 1.5 mile hike. 

There is a lot to explore here and people were happy to do so. Watch out for bikers on Page Mill Rd!

“Starting Saturday, January 9, every weekend and holiday the entrance to Foothills Park will be closed between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. ” Please check the City of Palo Alto website before you go: https://www.cityofpaloalto.org/…/foothills/default.asp

Have you been to the Foothills Park?

If you like to explore some more of Palo Alto you can check out my page for 50 things to do in Palo Alto, or 50 things to do in Stanford.

Boardwalk of the Neary Lagoon in Santa Cruz

Relax at the Lagoon – Neary Lagoon, Santa Cruz

Information sign of the Pollinator Garden.

At the beginning to enter the Neary Lagoon in Santa Cruz, we used the public entrance at the corner of Bay St and California, you walk by the playgrounds and the Pollinator Garden.

Information sign for the Wastewater Treatment.

They don’t hide the fact that the Water Treatment is right next door. An information sign on how a water treatment plant works can be found.

The path to the lagoon slopes downward, but except for a few muddy puddles is wheelchair and stroller friendly. 

Just one muddy puddle on the one mile path of the Neary Lagoon.

The floating boardwalks are a surprise and the serenity of the place is absolutely breathtaking. Ducks come and greet you, and the signs advise about all the other wildlife in this refuge. The walk around the lagoon is about 1 mile. Some benches to relax are throughout. 

Floating boardwalk of the Neary Lagoon in Santa Cruz.

The  boardwalk was wide enough for socially distancing, but we hardly encountered anyone. Due to COVID-19 restrictions the restrooms have been replaced with a porta potty. Parking was very limited on California & Bay. Since it is a wildlife refuge there are no dogs allowed.

Have you been to the Neary Lagoon?

Other relaxing places in Santa Cruz are the Monarchs walk at the National Bridges State Beach Park and the Botanical Garden of UC Santa Cruz.

Happy New Year! Goodbye 2020

Recap 2020

What a year this was! 

Goodbye 2020.

Never have I been happier to see a year go.

Grab & Go
Holds Pick up
Physical Distancing Required
Enter from Prarking Lot

I’m thankful for all the hard workers that risk their life daily. I hope you will be vaccinated soon! Sad for all who lost loved ones this year, pandemic related or not.

2020 taught me a lot: 

  • gratitude for modern technology that allows me to stay in contact with friends and family 
  • it opened my eyes wider for the privileged life I live
  • I enjoyed discussions about racism and reflected on my own white fragility
  • It made me realize that we are all social ‘animals’ and we need each other. I’m looking forward to gatherings small and large again when this is over!

I also kept busy while being confined to a shelter in place order for most of the year.

I am happy to share with you my YouTube channel.

My lists on where to go exploring keeps getting longer. Wanderlust for local spots will always be my passion.  To document this I started putting this in a book. Yes, this is as much a teaser as it is a motivation for me to finish 😀 

Highlights of 2020

Anyway, in this COVID ridden year there were a few highlights, or at least hope for something better to come. 

Justice for George Floyd. Art by Oree Originol.

After the killing of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor  people took to the streets in mass protests for BLM. Here again is my list on how you can make sure that Black Lives Matter: Support Black Lives.

VTA essential trip?

Do you want to contribute to record the history we are currently living, please check out my post Share your COVID-19 Experiences.

And let’s not forget about people that lost so much this year. While wildfires raged through most of the Bay Area and people lost their houses (Help the Fire Victims), the pandemic was the reason a lot of people lost their jobs and are in need of food relief programs (Feed People in Need).

Exit with error pointing.

Welcome 2021!

I wish you all a great start into the New Year and hope everyone will have a happier life.

Keep on fighting the good fight.

Peace, Justice, and Joy!

Until Suburbia! 

Shine Bright Cupertino 2020

See the Lights – The Shine Bright Cupertino Light Tour

2020 is almost over, all we have to do is sit and wait. For another sit-in-your-car-adventure, I recommend going on the Shine Bright Cupertino light tour. Cupertino’s neighbors signed on to have their house decorations viewed as you drive by (or walk with your mask on). You can download the map of participating houses as a PDF on the City of Cupertino website.

Shine Bright Cupertino lights tour 2020.

If you liked last week’s post about Robertsville and their lightshow with music you might be delighted at number 21 on the map, 7733 Oak Meadow Court. Tune your radio to 92.9 FM while in the court and be entertained by the music accompanying the lights. You can watch a short version of this on my YouTube channel

I was serenaded by the Muppets!

The best time to view the lights is early nighttime. Most lights get turned off at 10 pm.

Please be careful while driving and if you pull over, respect the homeowners and neighbors. Watch out for pedestrians.

Thank you Cupertino and all participating neighbors!

How do you brighten the season?

Do you have neighborhood lights you like?

Robertsville Lights in San Jose

Drive by Christmas – Robertsville in San Jose

Robertsville Lights in San Jose

Whether you celebrate Christmas or have different traditions for the end of the year, I think it is always nice to walk or drive around and admire the colorful lights and blow-up figurines. I am thankful for the people who enjoy decorating their houses. One of these is a San Jose resident and maker of the Robertsville Lights display. Here more than 6000 tiny bulbs are showing off their sparkle from 5 to 10 pm. And what is Christmas without the tunes we all humm starting Thanksgiving clean-up? This enthusiast has you covered! Tune in your car radio to 101.7 FM while driving by. 

The song list includes classics like ‘Little Drummer Boy’, little people pleasers like ‘Into the Unknown’ from the Frozen soundtrack, but will also surprise you with the ‘Star Wars Medley’.

I made a short YouTube video (1 minute) with Simple Plan – Christmas Every Day, Frozen 2 Soundtrack – Into the Unknown, Selena Gomez – Winter Wonderland. The music titles are usually around 3 minutes long.

Robertsville Lights in San Jose

There used to be an option for the walking crowd but with the current COVID-19 conditions they disabled the outside speaker for now. Enjoy from the comfort of your car and be considerate of the neighbors. If you can’t drive by there you still have the virtual option via YouTube videos on their website.

The lights are up until December 31st.

Address: 4233 Briarglen Drive, San Jose, CA 95118

I also enjoyed the page of Behind the Scene where they talk about how they made the trees. Thank you Robertsville Lights for brightening this season!

Stay healthy and enjoy the season.

What is your favorite holiday display?

Former light display suggestions*:

Admire the lights on Eucalyptus Street

Get in the Christmas spirit

*since we are in a lockdown it might not be possible to walk these streets.

Trees at McClellan Creek Trail

Climb Around Trees at McClellan Creek Trail

McClellan Ranch in Cupertino is an educational ranch with a science center and also hosts the 4H of Cupertino.

Entrance to the McClellan Creek Trail in Cupertino, CA.

If you score a parking spot at the ranch, the Creek Trail starts away from the buildings near the bee station. A narrow dirt path goes right next to the Stevens Creek. I was surprised to find that here it carries water; it must come from the Stevens Creek Reservoir. In Mountain View, Stevens Creek usually only has water from the Bay when it rains, as an overflow protection.

Anyway, it is quite pretty to walk by the trees, some of them even have signs to identify them. Deeper and deeper into the trail the trees grow more freely and make for interesting roadblocks and climbing opportunities, a nice way to say you can’t use a wheelchair or stroller on this path. 

Trees at McClellan Creek Trail, Cupertino, CA.

After a gathering point with tree benches, the trees are more and more unmanaged.

I end with a few more cautions:

  • Be careful of ticks, snakes and mountain lions
  • Don’t go into the water
  • Watch for Poison Oak

Where do you climb on trees?

Fork on an empty plate

Feed People in Need

I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving! The number of people relying on food help every day has doubled since the pandemic began. In Silicon Valley 1 of 10 people receive assistance from Second Harvest, one of the largest food banks in the nation. Second Harvest feeds nearly 500,000 people each month.

Feeding America found that due to the coronavirus 50 million Americans may face food insecurity in 2020, including 17 million children. 

How you can help:

Donate to your local food bank

Monetary donations are always welcome. 

Due to COVID-19 there might be restrictions for food donations, please check with your local food bank. Our CSA, for example, doesn’t allow for self harvested fruits anymore, but might allow for Village Harvest to harvest for you. Rules change quickly these days. In our neighborhood people started to sell their fruit and donate the proceeds to CSA.

People sorting apples for Village Harvest.

Volunteer

If you can help out in person I am certain your help will be highly appreciated. Make sure to check requirements, for example volunteers over 65 or people in a risk group might not be allowed to perform certain tasks. Nonetheless there might also be virtual options to help out. To find opportunities check out VolunteerMatch, Idealist, AllForGood, or HandsOnBayArea.

Fundraise

The holidays are coming, do you want to gift something special this year? Consider setting up your own fundraiser: https://www.feedingamerica.org/ways-to-give/fundraise-for-feeding-america

Do you have ideas on how to feed people in need?

You might also be interested in my post about Village Harvest: Harvest some Community Fruit.

Inside the SJMade store.

Gift Something Unique from Local Artists – SJ Made

I don’t want to increase your stress level, but the Holidays are almost here. Every year I try to come up with some local gift ideas or stores, for example the Homeless Garden Project in Santa Cruz.

Window into SJMade store showing off their shopping totes.

A hodgepodge of ideas is the SJ Made pop-up store in downtown San Jose. Due to COVID-19 they offer you a chance to pick-up items that you purchased from their website. The sheer vastness of ideas, over 1200 products and counting, will make sure you’ll find gifts for everyone on your list.

Entrance to SJMade with opening hours.

These artists not only do pictures and postcards. There are flowers, cosmetics, jewelry, clothing and accessories, ceramics, and food gifts. And, apparently stickers and pins are a thing again.

It is great to see local artists get together and open these collective stores. It reminded me of Asheville or Portland. SJ Made is one of four micro-retail storefronts in the Moment mall. Next door are also The Source Zero, Aulala Design and BlackSheepMade to check out while you are on your shopping spree.

Moment mural in the parking garage for SJMade.

SJ Made
60 N. San Pedro St., San Jose

Monday, Wednesday, Sunday 12 to 4
Thursday 12 to 6
Friday, Saturday 10 to 6
Tuesday CLOSED

Do you give local gifts?