Not a Fluke!

I wanted to see if my 12 minute miles were flukes brought about by all the downhill areas in my neighborhood. Unfortunately I didn’t want to run in a circle on the flat places over and over. The next best thing? Drive out to the Hayward Shoreline and jog along the flat gravely paths there next to the bay. The picture at the top of my blog was taken there a few years ago.

No music, just me holding my phone with my car keys tied inside my pants. I passed (and was passed by) a few people. All were of retirement age, most were on bicycles. I got to listen to the birds chirp, a squirrel chirp (who knew?), the planes pass high overhead, and my breathing. Somewhere in there some geese chased me for a bit. They also flew up and attacked a hawk!

I kept thinking “Man, 3 miles is a lot longer than I remember” and “Keep going. You can walk when you get to _____.” When I got home and checked my route on the park map, I found that I’d gone 4 miles! No wonder it felt longer! So, with that in mind, it looks like my 12 minute miles weren’t flukes. Even with the walking that I did, I still managed a little over 12 minutes. I guess I’m going faster than I think. This is definitely making me happy – I’ll be prepared for my next 5k on April 17th.

Hayward Zucchini Festival

Today I stopped by my mom’s house to find my annual mailer from the South Hayward Lions Club about the Zucchini Festival.  Normally it’s a great reminder that the festival is coming up and there’s usually an opportunity to purchase advance tickets or ticket packages.  This year, it was a bit different.

In addition to the normal information with dates, times, and performer listings, there was a letter from Rich Essi, the General Manager and President of the South Hayward Lions Club.  It read:

“Friends of The Hayward Zucchinni [sic] Festival,

“The Mayor and The Hayward City Council in its infinite wisdom has decided to reallocate the funding for the South Hayward Lions Club to the Hayward Arts Council. The Mayor and the Council also decided to award The Zucchini Festival thirteen hundred dollars, it takes sixty eight thousand dollars to put on the festival. We need donations to help continue the Hayward Zucchini Festival and The 4th of July Celebration.

Rich Essi
General Manager
President of South Hayward Lions Club
Lion’s Tax ID #237095321”

I can feel the anger and frustration that Mr. Essi experienced as he wrote this letter.  Although I may disagree with many of the decisions that the City’s leaders make, I do not believe that Mr. Essi wrote a letter that was appropriate to the situation.  His letter was negative, inflammatory, and only really made me think “Sucks to be them.”  Also, looking at it from a Council Member’s point of view, I might wonder why we’re even giving them any money if they’re going to be rude about accepting it.

I understand that the Lions are a service organization that can do good things in a community while the Arts Council exists to educate about and promote art in the community.  However, in a time when the City’s budget shortfalls have forced furloughs and reduced operating hours for city services, I find it difficult to justify spending even $1,300 of my tax dollars on a fundraiser (aka glorified party) let alone the $68,000 Mr. Essi claims this thing requires.  I want to know what other options Mr. Essi has pursued for funding.

Has he attempted any sort of partnership with the Southland Mall?  Their parking lot is empty for a large part of the year.  The Festival could be used to draw customers over to the mall.

He could also choose a smaller location and scale the Festival back a bit.  Smaller area means fewer people, which will require fewer cops to police the crowd.

How did he come up with his pricing structure for the Zucchini Festival’s tickets?  What about raising the price of the tickets from $5 to $8 but if you buy a $10 ticket it comes with a coupon book that can be used within the Festival?  Or a ticket that includes pre-paid food and non-alcoholic beverages?

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I might have been inclined to donate money to save the Zucchini Festival, but the letter put a bad taste in my mouth.  If you’re going to ask for money from people who may not have much to give, you have to be welcoming, positive and informative.  Mr. Essi needs a lesson in schmoozing the public if he wants the Festival to continue, because his letter made me want to run in the opposite direction.

Week 5 – Chef’s Experience

Yesterday, my BFF and I ate lunch at Chef’s Experience in downtown Hayward.  I’d heard good things about it from people at work, and she’d heard good things about it from her friends, so off we went.

Parking is in the rear of the building and so is the entrance.  It was a bit odd entering the building at the end of the hallway that is also the restroom access but when in Rome…  My friend’s 16 month old was enthralled with the fish tank, so they sat us right next to it.  That definitely helped keep the toddler calm.  Along the walls is bench seating, which everyone by now knows I really dislike.  Since we were at the tail end of the lunch hour we were pretty private so it wasn’t much of an issue.  We were also near the bar.  If it were dinner time, I might have ordered a drink but it didn’t seem right at lunch.

We ordered two lunch entrees (Walnut Shrimp, and Basil Shrimp and Chicken) and the Crab wonton appetizer.  We also had jasmine tea.

The tea was fragrant.  It didn’t get bitter like some teas do after a while.  They kept the teapot and our water glasses full the entire time.

The crab wontons were tasty.  The wrapper was a beautiful, crispy golden brown.  The filling was creamy.  A great blend of textures and flavors.

The walnut shrimp was a little soggy but not overly sweet.  In spite of the sogginess I really liked it.  The 16 month old liked it too… so much that she shoved half a prawn in her mouth and almost choked!  Normally she’s good about biting things instead of shoving the whole thing in, but not this time!

The basil shrimp and chicken was very tasty.  It included green beans, onions, and bell peppers.  The basil flavor wasn’t overwhelming.

I’d definitely eat here again.  There were lots of things on the menu I wanted to try, but just didn’t have the stomach space for.  Just as a warning: the food is a bit pricey and it’s definitely Americanized.  But still – try it out!

Week 4 – Crepes de Art

I’ve been driving past Crepes de Art in Hayward twice a day since they opened and had yet to give it a try.  Then on Tuesday I got to leave work early so I decided to stop in and have a taste.

I liked that there were lots of different choices on the menu, but it was a bit difficult to read.  The words kind of ran together on the chalkboard.  After deliberating for a few minutes, my hunny ordered the salmon crepe, and I ordered the turkey mushroom one, without the mushrooms.  We also ordered a mocha.

Even though we were the only people in the restaurant, it took quite a bit of time for our order to come up.  Both crepes were tasty, but mine was better.  The mocha was pretty good too.

I’d go back again to try the sweet crepes, and maybe some of the other savory ones.  Although the people working there were very nice and outgoing, they do need to work on getting the food out faster.

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