Sunday, July 29, 2007

Beaches, a book, a bistro & bats

An acquaintance passed away recently and a get-together celebrating his life was held at one of our bays on Friday afternoon.

After that, i decided to go on the other side of the bay (the Pacific Ocean!) for a run on the beach called South Mission Beach, something i had not done for some time.

Here's where i started...

Lotsa these around on my run:


Plenty of this, too:

Seaweed! Dinner, anyone?

... the end. (i ran about 3 miles out and then came back.)

Leaving that beach (boo! believe me, i did not want to leave!), one passes the grand, historic and fun roller coaster called The Giant Dipper.


Not far away from the coaster on the beach (how Californian, 'eh?), the next city up the coast heading north is Pacific Beach (Vicki's old digs!), where The Vegan Zone is. Peter & i ate dinner there last Wednesday night - more on that further down.

After dinner we walked to the beach and there was this tile mural there, which i somehow had missed before:

Cool octopus! Original, touchy-feely public artwork (especially when it's the likeness of an animal) like this makes me smile.


A brilliant, witty writer and super cool gal - my friend! - Sara Bongiorni, wrote a book that came out this month: "A Year Without 'MADE IN CHINA' " It's receiving rave reviews! i'm so proud of her!

Sara's childhood home is down the street from my sister. We used to live just a few blocks from one another when we wrote at a smaller newspaper together in the San Diego area about 15 years ago. She now lives with her husband and three kids (and dog!) in Louisiana.

She was actually on "The Today Show" today... NBC flew her out to NY. So amazing!! i had Peter tape the show on VHS (how old school am i?) at his parents' house since neither of us have TVs. i haven't seen the show yet...


Sara is on a book tour and made a special appearance Saturday afternoon at the Barnes & Noble less than a mile from where her mom still resides! i had lost touch w/her and was thrilled to reconnect.


i also got to meet her mom and hear Sara read a chapter from her book. It was a trip, for realz. The book is very, very good. Funny, thought-provoking, insightful, clever. i read it in four days. My mother read it in three days! My mom brought along three ladies from her book club, all of whom bought the book and had Sara autograph it.


Sara and her mom, how cute are they?:

My mom took this photo of me & the author extraordinaire:

OK, so i took Peter to Vegan Zone - self-titled "The Exotic Vegan Bistro" - and it was good the second time around for me. Nice to have company this time, and he liked it too.


The prices were decent, our waitress attentive, the food delicious and there were plenty of choices on the menu, but there was something missing... maybe i'm just spoiled by SIPZ... It was super dark inside and just not very friendly-feeling.


Especially for being just three blocks from the beach where peeps are cool and casual, it seems a little out of place. i hope it makes it though - a vegan restaurant is always a welcome thing.


A huge painted wooden face inside The Vegan Zone:

The Vegan Zone menu cover, which is a lot cooler than the odd, quixotic menu inside:

Pretty decent crispy won ton appetizers ($4):

(My *cough* great food photography striking again...)
"Garlic Lover" ($8) for me:

"Rice baked with mushroom" ($8) for Peter:

Peter also had a glass of Thai iced tea. Refreshing! No desserts on the menu, but that was just as well. We were stuffed.

(Of course later we managed to eat some Trader Joe's Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. HA!)



What do you think of bats? i think they're fairly adorable, and very misunderstood... and unfortunately feared because of ignorance.


Peter and i are going to a "Bat Talk" tomorrow at a local library, and we're both pretty excited. i was invited as part of my job at the newspaper to attend by a woman named Cynthia Myers, who is a bat aficionado with a Web page to prove it:


Last night Cindy sent me some photos and a story about her recent trip to a place called Bracken Cave in Texas. i'll meet her in person tomorrow - and some bats as well i hope!

The cave, before the bats come out (No Adam West to be found!):


Cindy likes these bat sites:

The bats emerge:
Part of the story of her experience:

"The emergence started when we were still around the back of the property and we all rushed back around to the front of the cave. It was absolutely spectacular! (local volunteer) Fran Hutchinson said that this time of year there are about 30 million bats flying out because the pups are starting to fly out with their moms, and it takes the entire colony about 5 hours to exit the cave.
"We figured that, just while we were there, we saw at least 100,000 bats per MINUTE flying out and over our heads, on their way to eat about 200 TONS of corn earworm moths each summer night! So many little wingbeats that they created a nice breeze for us bat tourists."

And away they go!!:

Bat Conservation International:

Go Dan Piraro:

May the week ahead be healthy for everyone (well, except Michael Vick & other animal abusers).

Hard to believe August is around the corner. Just like a bat, time flies.



Theresa said...

I love bats! In NY there were a bunch of little guys that lived in my uncle's eaves that we would watch at dusk in the summer as they came flying out. Here in AU there are HUGE flying foxes. They eat fruit, and a lot of people are afraid that they may carry diseases, but they are so cute! Their faces especially are just adorable. Jeff Corwin did a show on them one time, and I fell in love (with him and them!). And they just chill out in the Palm trees at my house! Too bad so many people are freaked out by bats, because they are cool.

And that vegan place looks cool, though it's too bad it doesn't have the right vibe for a CA beach town.

bazu said...

I'm sorry about the loss of your friend. It looks like a beautiful place was picked to celebrate his life!

And I had heard a lot about the "Made in China" book- how cool that you are a friend of the author! I am definitely checking that book out.

Selina said...

We have bats all over our back yard at night. I dont mind them.... they eat bugs. :)

I can't wait until I can run on the beach! I will have to take a drive up to Lake Michigan but I'd really like to run on the Ocean.

Anonymous said...


How lucky you are to live near the beach. I think the closest for me would have to be a 6-hour drive to Maine. I wasn't able to go this year and I will truly miss it!

I'm sorry to hear about the passing of your acquaintance but I like the fact that you celebrated his life instead of mourning his passing.

Bats... well I'm just scared of any animal that flies. Birds make me nervous as well but as you say it's ignorance. But when they land on my head, it literally freaks me out!!!!!

That restaurant sounds like a cool place!

Jelly fish... eeeewwwwwwwwwwwww

Great picts of you, your friend and your mom. I always enjoy seeing my blogsphere friends. ;-) So you are friends with celebrities.. wow! It's pretty nice that you were able to get together again!

As always, I enjoyed reading what you had to share with us! Looking forward to the next....

Have a nice day, I have to go, Honey is getting a bath today.. lol

Anonymous said...

well i really dont know much about them, but when i grow up my family always talk so bad about them that i grow afraid of them, but as a adult i will love to learn more of them.

VeggieGirl said...

wow, look at those bats!! I remember when I was little, I toured a bat cave in Texas - quite scary, but at least most of the bats were dormant at the time of the tour, haha.

That vegan bistro sounds delicious - and don't worry, your food photography is great!

I'm sorry for your loss - treasure the memories. but it's nice to see the photos of you with other family and friends, sharing great experiences together :0)

Anonymous said...

My condolences for your friend who passed away. I love the idea of a life celebration instead of a funeral. I don't understand your run...did you run through the water?

That book sounds like one I would thoroughly enjoy. A couple of years ago I read Not Buying It which is about a woman's decision to not buy anything except for necessities (tp and food but not gourmet or luxury food) for an entire year. Something I cannot imagine doing but very interesting to read about. Glad you got to reconnect with an old friend.

I like bats. I think they're very cool and they eat up bugs that I'm not particularly fond of (ahem...mosquitos).

Jackie said...

Sorry to hear about your friend.

I love bats as I also like rats and mice and to me bats are just rats or mice with wings and very special. Had a great time looking at the bat sites.

Great picture of you and your author friend. Everything I pickup these days has "Made in China" on it due to our trade agreement with them :( Trouble is with so many poor people here their prices make their goods popular while putting most our textile factories into liquidation due to loss of business...very sad.

I won't even discuss the suspect fur coming in from China on toys etc....but can't just complain about them as every US clothing chain that has opened here recently is full of real fur....gggrrrr.

Anonymous Boxer said...

What a fun post to read... pictures/reviews/great ideas.

I'm sorry for the loss of your friend, also.

Tanya Kristine said...

whoa. that was cool! we were going to go on a bat hike to check out a local bridge where bats congregate. i never made it though. bats are cool...they don't bother me none. :)

those won tons looked delish!

are those jelly fish dead?

Vegan_Noodle said...

Ah, a run on the beach, so soothing for the mind, body, and soul. Yalls jellyfish look different than those I see over on Galveston.
I love bats too! There is a bat community less than a mile from where I live in the middle of the big city in Houston! There is an observation deck to watch them fly out at night. The only unfortunate part is that I run on a trail often that goes underneath their overpass....holding your breath is a must! But it's still awesome that they are here.

Tara said...

What a great post. I love all that food.

I admit, bats creep me out, I've probably seen too many bad bat movies. I'm getting over my fear of spiders, though, so maybe eventually I'll get over my fear of bats. Then again, I don't encounter bats on a daily basis. ;)

A run on the beach sounds fabulous. :)


Monika K said...

Your beach pictures are lovely! I'm clicking my heels and chanting, "I wish I was there, I wish I was there..." (-:

laura jesser said...

Your beach run sounds simply gorgeous, though running on the beach is certainly not an easy feat!

How cool that you got to connect with your old friend Sara! Her book sounds intriguing.

Bats? I love 'em. The talk sounds so interesting and I'd love to hear about it. Contrary to popular belief, bats do NOT turn into vampires! I think they're fascinating creatures, really. I would love to see a bat cave like the one you've shown there.

scott keeps running said...

what a beautiful place to run! none of that up here. :)

congrats to your friend and her book. and those bats are crazy!

Drasch23 said...


fyi I am scared of bats. I try not to be, but we had one in our house once. It was scary.

In other news, I have started yet another blog. You may find it funny.

dreamy said...

Hey.. I think the wooden face is the face of Buddha.

Why a yr without China goods? Cuz of fair trade?

I am having a craving for the wonton appetizers... :d

That pic of bats flying out is indeed spectacular! I can imagine the bats smell too hehe.. we have some bats here at night because of the govt-planted fruit trees. But it's worth enduring to take such a cool pic! :)

Tracy said...

Hey Kleo! Looks like you're having a great summer so far. I too think bats are pretty cute, and I wish I could have been there to see that "big exit!"

Celine said...

I love bats! they examine me when I go out early in the morning, I wish I could see one once!
congrats to your friend for her great and well deserved success!

pinknest said...

your little beach trip looked gorgeous! how fun. and that bat cave. o.m.g. insanity. i've read about that book, a year withotu made in china. how awesome she's your friend!i should read the book.

The Cat Realm said...

Beach and Bat and Vegan....
We do like the first two ones (one to look at, one to eat?) but even if our personal is vegetarian - we will NOT give up meat! NEVER!
Sometimes you just can't go against nature.....
Nice blog!
Karl and Anastasia

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

wow, I love the bat photos! so amazing. and another Wow on your author friend - how cool is that?! I'm going to check out her book. I'm sorry to hear about your friend, and thanks for taking us along on your jog. Before PB, I lived in MB (Island Ct) and we could hear the screams from the coaster at night!! Can't wait to eat @ Vegan Zone!

niCk (Mem Beth) said...

Awesome post. Great pics, food, beaches, bats, books.........

Condolences for your friend. "Celebrating his life" much more positive than mourning.

Mark Xander said...

As I post this, it is August in the Philippines. :)

My god, K, you look like you're 12! :) Teehee!

Veg*ns are hot!

Judith MacCaellich-Young said...

Waves frantically << Kleopatra! >> More waves...;)

How did you miss that octopus?!?

I wish I were on that beach right now, sigh.

Bats, one of my favourite creatures, we have a healthy bat population here and see them all the time :) I still love seeing them fly.

Yes, I am back, at last, and feeling much better. Thank you for your concern, it meant a lot to me, hugs!


urban vegan said...

I'm sorry to hear about your aquaintance's passing, but it looks like you chose a great place to celebratate his life. What a wonderful metaphor the ocean is.

I also adore bats (and alliteration ;)

So cool about your freind's book--I'll have to check it out. And eating at the Vegan Zone!? You pack so more living into a day than 3 people could!

Thanks as always for your positive posts. They are better for my spirit than yoga.


the pleasantly plump vegan said...

I'm sorry to hear about yr friend.

The beach pics and bat pics were amazing. The beach pics made me miss FLA a little (just a little though) . . . even though yr beaches look more rocky than in FLA.

Blessed said...

What a very interesting blog you have here!!!!

And by the way, thanx for visiting mine!

Many blessings!

veganmomma said...

Ooo, we saw those kind of jelly fish on our walk Monday. I thought they were pretty cool. My little one liked them too.

meesh said...

Wow, you are amazing! Running on the beach, finding nifty local art, hanging out with bats. Very, very cool.

I like bats too. I don't know that I would want one in my living room, but they are beautiful creatures. Without them eating lots of little creepy crawlies, we would be overrun with bugs. And their wings look so soft and touchable. :) Maybe,I would like one in my living room....Hmmmm.

Anonymous said...

i've never seen red jellyfish! they look so pretty :)

i heard a NPR piece about the book "a year without made in China" - it sounded very interesting!

it's wonderful to know that you celebrated life of your friend who passed away rather than mourning! i learned that that's what many cultures do and i think it's great!

bats are interesting creatures, and they are cute :) i haven't seen many of them, so that would be a nice scene to experience!

Veg-a-Nut said...

I think bats are so cool. We went to some caves in New Mexico and got to be up close and personal with the cute little guys. I of course, love all animals (except the dreaded cochroach)

I am sorry to hear that you had a friend pass, but it was good that everyone got together to celebrate life.

chase said...

I hate Jellyfishes especially the ones that stings people the most. I had some serious encounter with them before.

Great pictures as always and the food looks lovely!

Don't Get Mad Get Vegan! said...

You always have such a wealth of beautiful things to share. thank you for that!

i've been wanting to stock up on some new books as i seem to have read everything i own, some more than once! and am looking into book exchanges. this one, being so new, may have to be an exception! ;)

when i lived in gainesville, they built a bat house the year i began school there to accomodate the brazillian bats who frequent man made structures in our state. i can't tell you how many times i went with friends to just sit in anticipation of their amazing nightly flight out into the world.

we just started seeing bats near our home and are thrilled they are finding refuge amongst us. as a rehabber, i've had the opportunity to work with some bats and it never ceases to amaze me, how delicate and downright adorable these guys are.

much love to you and those who knew your lost acquaintance. may you remember them in every thing of beauty you see.

Vegan Yummies said...

Bats! Wow, how cool all of those look flying out of the cave area. Except I'd probably get freaked out with so many of them flying around me.

And I'll have to give vegan zone a try sometime.

Opal Tribble said...

That's too bad that the acquaintance passed away.
I love the pictures. I agree with you about the bats they are misunderstood. In the evenings my daughter and I "bat watch". It's pretty cool watching them flit around thy sky dive bombing insects every chance they get. I'm sure the insects aren't too keen about that.

Cherry said...

That sounds fun running on the beach. I absolutely love bats! In Austin, over a million bats live under the Congress Avenue bridge, and people come and sit in from of the bridge to watch them emerge in the evening. It's a really spectacular sight! And bats are so helpful too. It's a shame they get such a bad reputation that they do not deserve.

About the wheat roast- like I said, it's similar to seitan, but denser, more "meaty" in texture. I don't know where they get it from; it's not in a colorful package to displays the name of the company. It's just wrapped in plastic wrap with a sticker that tells the weight, price/pound and price. I'm not sure if you could find it where you live. I haven't seen it at Wholefoods, although I haven't looked for it there either. For some reason it was it the cheese section of the store, rather than with the fake meats or seitan.

Kate said...

Wow, what a fantatic post! It was awesome how you celebrated your friend's life.

LisaJean119 said...

Wow, your blog sure is popular.. lots of comments! I've been reading, just not commenting a lot lately, I guess I've been too lazy to type and do all that signing in

I'm sorry for the loss of your friend..

I just wanted to let you know that I've been updating my blog! It's been awhile, I
I hope you have a good day:)..

Selina said...

K - Piper did not get any Tofu. It is awfully hard to resist that face but we try not to give her too many "treats". When she is good & goes outside & does her business she gets a carrot. She loves carrots! And black Olives! :)

How are Mattie & Heidi doing?

LisaJean119 said...

Thank you for all of your comments..i appreciate that you thought to leave them... I agree on the soy.. I've been thinking that for some time..

Isil Simsek said...

so sorry about the loss of your friend..but it seems you had a great celebration for him/her. That must be a lucky guy.
Today we went to Brighton and I saw the sea after a few months. How I love the sea!

veggie barbie girl said...

I like bats too. We saw some awesome clouds of them at Carlsbad Caverns when we were in New Mexico.

I love the cartoons on your blog too! They are my favorites and I send them to my friends.

My mom has that China book. Thats cool. I don't know what it's about. She'll prolly tell me tho!

Thanks for reading Barbie's blog. She has her computer working again. So, yeah.

aTxVegn said...

I'm sorry you lost someone special to you. I hope you are comforted now. Such beautiful beach pictures. I hated leaving the beach this week. I'm convinced I belong there. I am Cancer the crab, you know!

What a special reunion with your friend! She sounds amazing.

Austin is the home of Bat Conservation International. We have lots of batty events around town. Although I appreciate bats for what they are, they still give me the creeps. I think it's the see-through wings that freak me out the most!

Carla said...

Sad about your friend's passing. Sorry.

You know the "A Year Without 'MADE IN CHINA'" author! I would like to give up Made in China, and all mass-produced plastic things, not sure if I can but I'm being more mindful.

Vegan Dogs said...

I think it's so cool that you guys don't have television. We have one, but no cable, so we can only watch movies...and even then ours is rarely used. :-)

Carrie™ said...

Love the photos of the Pacific Ocean. I've never been west to see it. I've seen the Atlantic a gazillion times, so I would like to see the opposite side. Got your message. I can't believe Maureen Mc. is 51!! Holy crap!
I would really like to check out the book about living a year without made in China. I think would be harder than I imagine.
Sad news about your friend. I'm very sorry.
BTW, how's the little lady doing?

funwithyourfood said...

hey girl
thanks for being there for me. i've decided to start blogging again- it'll be a good thing i think. just a lot to catch up on now!
hope you're well :)


Cherie said...

Great post - it's like a little piece of your life. I love teh outdoorsy pictures.

runswithdog said...

What beautiful pictures! I would love to take a run there with you but you would smoke my slow butt! LOL I appreciate bats but am always afraid they will get caught in my mess of hair :-) Slurrpy kisses to the Mattster....

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy that Mattie's doing better. I hope she's totally back to normal now.

How cool that you're friend wrote a book and got it published! What a great accomplishment.

Have a great week!

springsandwells said...

what a great post.
The book looks so interesting - how cool to know someone who has written such a great book!

and of course, I just have to chime in for bats - I love them!!! I have spent some summers living in an old farm house with bats in the attic - it's so lovely to see them swooping out in waves each evening at dusk. We used to eat our dinners outside there in the summers, and as we ate, we would watch them all flying out.

How was your bat talk??

Shananigans said...

Cool! I have a friend that loves bats, she collects bat stuff.

What a gorgeous place for a run! Sometimes I miss doing outdoor stuff in CA. There is some lovely nature here in WI, but there is no ocean and it has been so hot and humid here lately.

Dr. Melissa West, Lifestyle Coach said...

Well, I have to say I'm not the biggest fan of bats. We used to live in a house where bats would come out at night and torment me in my bedroom.

Your friend's book sounds amazing. What a great read.

I love the make love not chicken nuggets card. I need to get some funny vegan t-shirts with logos such as that one.

Geraldine said...

What a great post Kleo! So nice to hear all the news and what you've been up to. I am sorry about your friend's passing.

I am finally back to stop by when you can. Huggggs.....