landscape paintings :: the murals of clarion and balmy alley ways

Last week we spent a day in San Francisco, and between birthday activities we had an hour or so to spare and headed to the alleys. I know the city has awesome shopping and dining (and we did have some fine nettle and bacon pizza later that night), but my first stop is always the murals in the Mission. I suspected Clarion Alley would have had a few changes since out last visit, and I was expecting even more political statements. And I had never visited Balmy Alley, which I heard had more Latin American inspired political art. I was right, Clarion Alley was more political this time (which I say every time I visit), though it was about housing rights instead of the election. The other change I noticed was that the alley felt a little more ragged, both the walls and the people…which I suspect is also a sign of the times. As always, it was a reminder that the world is different outside my door, voices need to be heard, and art raises us up. And you know, I am never sure if things around me have changed, or if I am just seeing them differently.

Clarion Alley Mural Project

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Clarion Alley is between Mission and Valencia, 18th and 19th Streets.

Balmy Alley

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Balmy Alley is between 24th and 25th.

All photos by Kim Tackett.

between the storms

I spent Sunday morning with a House of Cards hangover. Steve and I managed to watch all 13 episodes of Season 4 over two nights, and I’m still working on clearing my brain of the evil debris that Frank and Claire represent. Yikes. That’s all I have to say…yikes (well, I have more to say, but I’ll give you time to catch up first).

We had a huge rain storm Saturday night and I had hoped for blue skies and left over almond blossoms on Sunday. I found neither, but I did find this and it seemed a fine antidote for people behaving badly, fictional and real.

Ah nature, I sure do admire you, even…and perhaps especially, between the storms.

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number 36

I am still amazed how we knew, when we were only 21 and 23, that we should be married under an oak tree in the park, with our family and friends. But somehow we believed that our future was together. And we were right.




happy birthday, mama

You know how people always say we’re exactly alike? I think they’re right. I love you, and am proud to be just like you. Except for the swimming in the ocean thing, the cloning experiment definitely took. Happy Birthday, and enjoy your time at the beach. Don’t get into too much trouble, ’cause I am following right behind you. Also, I know I don’t call you mama, but it seemed right for today. XO



for the love of holding hands :: jan and bill’s 60th wedding anniversary

“Have you ever really held the hand of someone you love? Not just in passing, a loose link between you – but truly clasped, with the pulses of your wrists beating together and your fingers mapping the knuckles and nails like a cartographer learning a country by heart?” Jodi Picoult, Salem Falls


My parents have been married for 60 years today. Sixty years of living and loving, and working with and around each other. Of building careers, raising a family, loving on grandchildren, saying goodbye to their own parents and a beloved brother, welcoming son and daughter-in-laws (and soon to be grandson-in-law). Of nurturing gardens and churches and friends and dreams. Of being there for each other, for better and for worse, in sickness and in health.


Through house remodels, camping trips, teaching assignments, hospital stays, world adventures, fishing expeditions, quilt making, family tree and slide shows-to-end-all-slide-show producing. Of sharing, of listening, of cleaning up other people’s messes (including mine), of showing us all how marriages work.

And holding hands. Holding hands through all of it.

I’ve struggled with how to write about their marriage, as I really believe no one knows what goes on inside anyone’s relationship. Even the good ones have some complications. I think I know my parents well, but still…it’s their story, not mine.

Except it is mine. Their marriage is how I learned to be married. It’s how I am still learning (and it still puzzles me that after 35+ years, I have not mastered this…shouldn’t I be better at it by now?). My parents and my in-laws, Vince and Adeline, have 122 years of marriage between them. That is something spectacular. And special. And rare.

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Last year there was an “event” that required me to spend a night in a hospital emergency room with my mom and dad. Dad was in the bed, annoyed, but behaving. She sat next to him, holding his hand.

I sat across from them, trying to take it all in. Watching them. Holding hands.

I recalled all of the times, in the midst of family activities, when I would see them reach for each other’s hand. If I paid attention, I could see one of them squeeze…and then watch them look at each other. This is a special moment. Sometimes he reaches for her. Sometimes she’s reaching out for him. But there is always the squeeze. The moment where they both know this is to be cherished.


They are the first to admit they are older. Slowing down. Mom calls this their “reflective period.” They are in their last chapters, and they are enjoying every moment of their time together. Almost every day includes some patio time, reading, service to others, a little exercise, gardening, card writing, maybe a BBQ, and wine.


This is marriage. Holding hands. May we all have someone to love and to hold. And…squeeze.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad.