Name That Drink! and get a free one every time you visit Fairchilds Public House for a year… True story.Read More
Today, Google is making a $50 million investment in Housing Trust Silicon Valley’s TECH Fund. Google’s investment is the largest investment in the fund to date.
Housing Trust Silicon Valley launched the TECH (Tech + Equity + Community + Housing) Fund in March 2017 to provide affordable housing developers the flexible financing needed to compete for sites on the open market – a key barrier to building affordable housing. Google’s investment will enable Housing Trust Silicon Valley to continue helping create and preserve affordable housing units across the Bay Area. This investment follows closely on Google’s $1 billion commitment to invest in housing and the production of at least 20,000 homes in the Bay Area. It is the company’s first investment from its $250 million affordable housing fund.
The investments in TECH Fund tend to be deployed quickly, which is a main reason why the initiative has already helped bring online 2,255 homes across 20 developments in Silicon Valley. This includes the purchase of land, construction of new homes, and preservation of existing homes for affordable housing that is close to job centers and transit options in San Jose, Mountain View, and other cities and towns in the region.
Over half of the homes TECH Fund has helped secure are designated for families, a third for the homeless and/or permanent supportive housing, and one-in-five for seniors. Most homes are aimed at those earning 60 percent of the area median income or less.
“As part of our $1 billon housing commitment, we’ve been looking for ways to address the affordable housing crisis in the Bay Area,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google. “Housing Trust Silicon Valley provided us with the perfect opportunity to do that through their TECH fund, which uses critical capital to break down barriers to building affordable housing. We are proud to be the fund’s largest investor to date and look forward to working together to create housing for those who need it most.”
“I welcome this announcement from the Housing Trust signaling forward momentum from Google about its commitment to help provide needed affordable housing options in our community,” said Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, CA-19.
“Google’s significant investment continues the momentum TECH Fund was designed to create,” said Kevin Zwick, CEO of Housing Trust Silicon Valley. “Stepping forward in a way that makes a difference and inspiring your neighbor to step forward and do the same. Not only will Google’s investment make a real impact, but it sends the intentional message that we’re not done and we can all do more when it comes to affordable housing.”
ABOUT HOUSING TRUST SILICON VALLEY
Housing Trust Silicon Valley (Housing Trust) is a nonprofit community loan fund based in San Jose that works to improve quality of life for low-income people in the greater Bay Area by increasing affordable housing opportunities. Since 2000, Housing Trust has invested over $257 million in programs that help everyone from those experiencing homelessness to renters to first-time homebuyers – creating nearly 19,000 affordable housing opportunities serving over 34,000 of our neighbors. It is the first nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) to receive a Standard & Poor’s rating, AA- because of its strong capacity to meet financial commitments. For more information visit www.housingtrustsv.org
ABOUT TECH FUND
TECH Fund (Tech + Equity + Community + Housing) is an initiative created by Housing Trust Silicon Valley to create opportunities for philanthropists and large Bay Area employers to provide resources to be part of the affordable housing solution. The fund began in March 2017 with an initial investment from the Cisco Foundation that has since been followed by investments from Google, Grove Foundation, LinkedIn, NetApp, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Pure Storage and Sobrato Family Foundation. Housing Trust to date has raised $112 million for the TECH Fund to be revolved over the course of a ten-year investment period – at the end of which TECH Fund investors receive a modest return on their investments in addition to the original investment being repaid and, most importantly, having created more than 10,000 affordable housing opportunities during that time. For more information visit www.housingtrustsv.org/tech-fund/
I love Mountain View!
Hyatt Centric Mountain View is a gorgeous new hotel that is expected to open later this month. It is at 409 San Antonio Road. It’s a few doors down from Icon Movie Theater, across the street from We Work/Facebook, and overlooks a park, public art and a popular dog park. They invited me to go on a tour this week, even though everything wasn’t quite ready for photos, I did manage to take some. It’s so chic and I love it.
It’ll have 3 restaurants. The first floor restaurant and bar, Fairchilds Public House, has a patio and dogs are welcome. The chef specializes in casual, West Coast cuisine. It has plenty of outdoor comfy seating, couches, and a cool fire pit. The indoor seating includes a big “community table” with power outlets all the way around. There’s a private room that would be perfect for a rehearsal dinner or employee party.
Can I just take a second here to mention the seating… This hotel has the most comfortable seating ever. There are interesting, colorful, stylish chairs tucked everyplace you look, chairs of every imaginable shape and style. I predict lots of instagrammable moments will be happening. Whoever picked out seating for this new Hyatt Centric Hotel did a fabulous job.
The hotel has 167 guest rooms. I looked inside some of them and the view of the Santa Cruz mountains and the sunset was spectacular. Of course I had to take pictures of the dog park while I was out on the balcony. All of the rooms have refrigerators and HD Smart TVs.
I really enjoyed looking at the artwork and there will eventually be an Art Guide created. Much of the art pays homage to Silicon Valley.
The hotel has lots event space. The main Cloud Ballroom features floor to ceiling glass and it can be opened on 2 sides. The round banquet tables are so pretty that they don’t need table cloths. Trust me, I’ve seen a lot of banquet tables around here. There are other event areas, both indoor and outdoor, for seated or cocktail style functions, and they all seemed so glamorous and inviting.
The building is LEED Silver certified. And it also has a fitness center, pool, hot tub, business center, game room.
Hyatt Centric is right in the center of one of the best parts of our city. Have you heard the conversation about Mountain View eventually having 3 downtowns? It’s true, Castro Street, the San Antonio area, and the one that Google is building in North Bayshore. Hyatt Centric is in the heart of all the action in San Antonio area.
You’ll find about 20 restaurants within walking distance. I like Veggie Grill and The Counter. Safeway, just a few doors down, is open 24 hours. Whole Foods, Trader Joes and Sprouts are all very close, as are Walmart, Target and Kohl’s.
This place is going to do very well and we desperately needed more hotel rooms in our community. Welcome to Mountain View Hyatt Centric. You’re going to love it here!
I went to a FuEL SV (Future Emerging Leaders of Silicon Valley) at BESV and had the best time. If you don’t know about FuEL SV, it’s a young professionals group that is a partnership between the Los Altos, Mountain View & Sunnyvale Chambers of Commerce. The Mountain View Chamber manages it. You can find out about their events via Meetup.
It feels different from regular Chamber events. First of all, there’s Jenga and Cornhole. And at this particular event, since it was at a Mountain View company that makes ebikes, everyone was test riding the different styles of bikes. I’ve been to plenty of Chamber events, and this one was one of my favorites.
BESV will be at Technology Showcase with their bikes, so you can test ride them too. Technology Showcase is on July 16. It’s a lunch time event, so bring your colleagues. It’s on the plaza in front of Mountain View city hall. About 50 local tech companies will be showing their latest inventions and gadgets to the community, everything from missions to space, delivery robotics, 3D printing, VR gaming, ebikes and much more. You’ll see product demos and meet the decision-makers. There will be children's activities and a Food Court (Bean Scene, HeyO! Eats, and Oren's Hummus).
This is the 5th Technology Showcase that Mountain View has had and it gets better every year. It’s really the only time that members of the community get to meet the people who are working on inventions that are changing our community (and the entire world), unless you actually know someone who works at one of those companies. The public can’t just walk in the door and start asking questions. Tech Showcase is your chance to ask away. And it’s free!
These are the participants that you can expect: BESV, NASA Ames Research Center, Nova, Nuro, Redlines, Respond, Spot On, Starship, Waymo, Blue Jeans, Blue Otter, Darfon, Facebook (Oculus Quest), LinkedIn, Hitachi Chemical, Intuit, Spartan Robotics, Jinxbot 3D Printing, Pomodoro Architects, Picture Lab, Techcode, KMVT, Mountain View Chamber of Commerce, City of Mountain View, and Mountain View Police Department.
That’s a pretty impressive group of vendors.
So here’s your homework if you want to get more involved in our community: Put Technology Showcase on your calendar, and connect with FuEL SV on Meetup. Tech Showcase is July 16th, from 11:30-3:00.
I love Mountain View.
What do you do when the Mayor invites you to a pickleball tournament? You go. Lisa Matichak told me about the new pickleball court that recently opened at Rengstorff Park. They were having an unofficial tournament and she wanted to know if I was interested in checking it out. The new court is at the far end of the park, right next to the parking lot of the Senior Center.
The official opening of the court was last weekend. Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the United States. NBC just published this story, Pickleball: The Fastest Growing Sport you’ve never heard of. Oh good, it sounds like I wasn’t the only person who didn’t really know anything about it.
Everyone was so friendly and I think I might give it a try. One woman, Monica, seemed like she was the Pickleball Ambassador, and then I looked up the sport online and I see that she really is. Mercury News wrote this article “Pickleball Goddess on a mission to get more courts” and it looks like she might have accomplished her mission and got one here in Mountain View. Good job Monica!
The location of the new court in Rengstorff Park is perfect for playing in the morning. It’s shady early in the day. There’s plenty of parking at the back end of the Senior Center.
I was thinking about stopping by Swetka’s to see if they have pickleball rackets. Sure, I could just go to Amazon, but the pros that work at Swetka’s would be able to give me good advice and I would much rather support a local small business.
I watched a few youtube videos on pickleball before I went to the tournament and it seems like it’s a combination of tennis, ping pong and racketball. The court is one quarter the size of a tennis court, so the game is less strenuous than tennis. Oh, speaking of tennis… I walked past the tennis courts as I was leaving Rengstorff Park.
The game of tennis seems so serious, compared to pickleball. I could hear the one of the tennis players grunting as they hit the ball, no real laughing or chit chat. I guess that’s because their court is much larger and the game is more physically demanding. I really couldn’t help but think how social and friendly those pickleballers were. They were enthusiastic about greeting me and I felt welcome, even though I had zero experience. They totally seem like the kind of people I would want to hang out with. If you want to get involved, stop by the new court on Tuesday or Thursday at 10:00 am.
I went to Yin Yoga at the new Community Center. My first yoga class ever was years ago (decades really), right here at the Mountain View Community Center, when I first moved to the Bay Area, so it was fun to come full circle and see how much has changed.
First of all, that new, improved Community Center is unbelievably gorgeous. I’ve already been there for several different events, and it is so well designed, every detail is perfect, and I think they went above and beyond what was required, so now we must have the best Community Center in the state.
The lower level of the Community Center is one big room, with a mirrored wall, new laminate wood floor, and lights that can be dimmed, perfect for yoga class. There are about a dozen people in the class, but the room has room for more, and I’m going to sign up, so there will be at least 13 people.
Yin Yoga is a very gentle, relaxing form of yoga. It focuses on the body’s fascia, or connective tissue. It stretches, lengthens and revitalizes the body at a deeper level. When you walk out the door, you’ll feel taller, really you will. I did.
Yin Yoga creates straighter posture and more flexibility, while it releases tension from the body and mind, tension that you might not even realize was there. It’s so awesome, that you’ll wish the class was 2 or 3 hours long.
Bring a yoga mat, a blanket, and a pair of those foam yoga blocks. And wear socks.
The instructor is Kate Griffin. She’s been teaching yoga for years. I’ve taken private lessons from her and I was thrilled to see that she was teaching for the city. Her voice is soothing and she is so good at describing the poses, that you could even take her class with your eyes closed, just by listening to her description of each position, and you would be able to do it correctly. She watches everyone to make sure they understood the position, and explains to the class how to adjust yourself, so you get the maximum benefit and stretch. Listening to her as she describes how she wants you to relax, and breathe, go deeper into each pose, is like listening to poetry. Oh my gosh… I didn’t want it to end.
I took a photo of Kate before class started, but, you know, it’s not cool to take pictures during a yoga class, so just that one.
Here’s a link to the City of Mountain View Recreation Guide for Spring and Summer Classes. Yin Yoga class is on page 62. It super affordable, especially compared to joining one of the yoga studios in town. Here’s a link to sign up for the Recreation Dept newsletter.
So now that the new Community Center is complete, and classes are up and running again, now is the perfect time to sign up for something fun. I suggest Yin Yoga, but there are dozens of other options and I’m sure you’ll find something perfect for you.
I love Mountain View.
If you've ever noshed on the sumptuous bao of Hong Kong Bakery or slurped down pho from Pho To Chau, you have walked past Odd Fellows Lodge #244 Maybe you and your kids have seen inside this historic 1909 building during the Odd Fellows' annual Spring Mad Hatters Tea Party, Treasure Hunt, or Haunted House. Maybe you visit the lodge every Wednesday night for the Odd Writers' League, one on 2nd and 4th Sundays as a genderqueer member of the Oddizens DnD group. Maybe you're a foster child whose Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is using the Odd Fellows' kitchen to teach you how to cook. Maybe the Odd Fellows gave you a book scholarship for college or your grandfather was an Odd Fellow. Maybe you come to their monthly Muslim immigrant women's dinner group to cook, dance, and sing in a private and welcoming space.
But if you're not one of the dozens of residents who fill the space with life every week, you might not have any idea what an Odd Fellows Lodge is or why there is one in downtown Mountain View.
Let's start from the outside-in. The building is at 823 Villa, on the corner of Castro and Villa, housed in the old First National bank (built in 1909). The Odd Fellows have owned the building since 1970, when they bought it from a Christian Science reading room. Some members suspect there is beautiful earth 20th century crown-moulding hidden behind the '70s-tastic drywall ceiling with its embedded florescent lights. They're deciding if they want to find out or keep it a mystery for the next generation. It's not a beautiful space when it's empty, but if you've seen it teeming with children during the Haunted House or filled with laughter during the weekly writing group, you know that looks aren't everything.
Now, who are the Odd Fellows? And what's with the name? The Odd Fellows are a fraternal order, like the Eagles whose Aerie is across Castro street. Think of it like a union or a social club. There are bi-monthly business meetings that use Roberts Rules of Order; there are century-old rituals, regular dinner parties, and lifelong friends.
Applications are open to anyone of any gender. The current head of the lodge -- called the Noble Grand -- is a 30-year-old East Palo Alto and San José native and queer woman, Jessica Dickinson Goodman. One of the other members, whose average age is in the 60s, let her know she is the youngest woman ever elected to be the Noble Grand of a Silicon Valley Odd Fellows lodge. The woman serving as Vice Grand this year, Jackie Brown, has played a major role in keeping the Odd Fellows Lodge alive in Mountain View for the past 30 years. These kind of intergenerational groups are a vital part of a healthy community where we may not always agree, but we can find ways to work together.
There are dozens of Odd Fellows lodges in the Bay Area -- Saratoga, Cupertino, Redwood City, San José, San Francisco all have a lodge or six. But the Mountain View Odd Fellows is unique in how they share their space, for free, with anyone who is furthering their mission.
Much of their mission uses archaic language that speaks to their 170-year history. But it boils down to: members of Mountain View Odd Fellows are working for a world with more truth, more friendship, and more love. To them, that looks like providing their space for free to groups supporting people in our community who are not always welcomed. To them, that looks like donating nearly $10,000 a year to groups like the Community Services Agency or RAICES. If you've like to use their space, you can fill out this application; expect to wait a few weeks for a confirmation of the schedule. If you'd like to join the lodge, come by during any one of the public events, or reach out to their Noble Grand -- Jessica Dickinson Goodman, Jessica.firstname.lastname@example.org, 650-804-9044. If you're interested in joining a different lodge in the area, she is happy to help connect you to her fellow Nobles Grand.
What does it take to be a member? All members have to believe in a higher power, broadly defined. They have to pass an interview with 3 current members. Once the lodge votes to approve them, the lodge welcomes new members through an initiation ceremony every 5th Monday (about once a quarter). The next initiation is April 29th. Annual dues are $45, and have gone down since 1923, when they were $50/year. Once you're a member, you can apply for $1000 a year in scholarships, can use the space for the own events with the consent of the lodge, among a range of other benefits. The lodge has a comfortable budget from years of wise/lucky investing and is glad to be in a position to support its members without having to fundraise.
But you don't have to be a member to use the space. So if you've dreamed of teaching a dance class or running a pop-up gallery*, if you have a book club that's overflowing your living room or a birthday party and you don't mind '70s-tastic decor, reach out.
Here are a list of their public events this year:
Friday - Sunday, May 3 - 5, 11-5pm, Rebekah's Crafts Fair, benefitting Rebekah Childrens' Services
Sunday, June 16th, 7.5th Annual Mad Hatter's Tea Party, 10 - 2pm
Thursday July 11th (Thursday Night Live), the Odd Fellows will be transformed into a pop-up ceramics gallery hosting local artists from 5-9pm. RSVP here or just come by during Thursday Night Live.
Friday - Sunday, September 6 - 8, Rebekah's Crafts Fair, benefitting Rebekah Childrens' Services
Thursday, October 31, Halloween Night Haunted House ($1/child, $5/adult, no one is turned away for ability to pay, all proceeds go to benefit Community Services Agency)
Friday - Sunday, November 22 - 24, Rebekah's Crafts Fair, benefitting Rebekah Childrens' Services
Regular public events:
Every Wednesday: 6:30-9pm, Odd Writers' League
2nd and 4th Sundays: 10 - 7 pm, Oddizens's gender diverse and queer-friendly Pathfinder (DnD) game
1st and 3rd Thursday nights: 8-9pm, Odd Fellows Lodge #244 business meetings
Generally, the Odd Fellows host groups who don't have a budget (genderqueer board gaming groups and writing clubs are probably never going to be 501(c)3s). But if your group is charging for an event or class and fits their mission, the Lodge asks that at least 10% of proceeds be donated to a community group. You can indicate which one in your application.
So the next time you're getting bao or pho, the next time you're sipping coffee at Red Rock or enjoying a taco at Agave and wonder about that building with the blinds drawn, now you know it might be full of writers drafting their next poems or a foster child learning to bake her first cake -- or maybe it's empty, just waiting to host your next big idea to benefit your community.
Let’s just pretend that you were in charge of setting up a first-class meeting or event for your employer. Are you pretending with me? Would you know where to go to find a venue that would be perfect for all those important people, who are depending on you. The future of Silicon Valley could be depending on the success of your meeting. Location, location, location, right? Okay, maybe that’s over doing it, or maybe not. Whatever the situation, it’s not easy to find event space/meeting rooms in Mountain View.
And remember that I work at the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce, and my desk recently moved from the backroom to the front office area, so I hear the questions now. There are some very interesting questions, to say the least. I’ll share them with you in the future, I promise. But the question about where to have a meeting or event comes up all the time, at least three times a week. So here’s a list of meeting/event rooms to keep handy. Please share.
They’re listed in no particular order. Please let me know if I missed anything.
Mountain View Chamber Boardroom
580 Castro Street
650-968-8378 Capacity-25 people.
Mountain View Community Center
201 S. Rengstorff Avenue
I love it now that the remodel is complete. All of the photos in this article were taken there. Click on photos to details.
Computer History Museum (Event Space)
1401 N. Shoreline Boulevard
This place is massive and right in the middle of everything.
Ristorante Don Giovanni (Restaurant)
235 Castro Street
The Adobe Building (Event Space)
157 Moffett Boulevard
Mountain View Center for Performing Arts (Event Space)
500 Castro Street
1 Amphitheatre Parkway
I.F.E.S Society (Event Space)
432 Stierlin Road
Michaels at Shoreline (Restaurant)
2960 Shoreline Boulevard
OPAL Nightclub (Event Space)
251 Castro Street
Love this place.
3070 N. Shoreline Blvd
It’s so perfect for an outdoor wedding.
Hilton Garden Inn Mountain View
840 E. El Camino Real
Quality Inn & Suites at Nasa Ames
5 Fairchild Drive
1085 E. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale
3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto
Total Wine & More
1010 N. Rengstorff Avenue
Can you believe it— a beautiful meeting space in a wine store!
Masonic Lodge #194
890 Church Street
Hyatt Centric Mountain View
409 San Antonio Road
Opening very soon and I hear it’s going to be fabulous.
Community School of Music and Arts
230 San Antonio Circle
940 Commercial Street, Palo Alto
Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley at East Palo Alto
2050 University Avenue, Palo Alto
Gorgeous, as you would expect.
I’m also linking to this info on the Chamber website, so you can see this list as it gets updated. And here’s another cool way to find available venues and open office space in our area, and beyond, Liquid Space.
Celebration of Leaders was last week at Computer History Museum, and I want to tell you why this event is different than all of the other fancy galas that you may have gone to in the past. Understanding this one detail about our community is definitely worth your time.
The Mountain View Chamber of Commerce does something that many other cities don’t. They allow local nonprofits to be part of the event, and to celebrate one of their own volunteers. Small local nonprofits wouldn’t normally be able to hold an event this large, and invite local dignitaries, and have it catered, with champagne, photographers, in a ballroom at the Computer History Museum. It just doesn’t happen because most small, local nonprofits are operating on a bare-bones-budget.
By inviting all of them to come together, in one big, glamorous event, the Chamber of Commerce gets to have a much larger event than if it were just Chamber members, and everyone in attendance gets to learn about the mission of all the nonprofits that participated. The nonprofits get to more exposure, more access to potential sponsors and supporters, and the Chamber of Commerce is truly connecting business, to nonprofits, to community members.
I thought it would be helpful if I shared who all of the nonprofits are (the ones that were part of Celebration of Leaders this year) and what each of them does for our community, if you don’t already know…
Community Services Agency: They’re the social services safety net for our community, because hardship can come at any time and knows no age limit. CSA honored Cathy Lazarus as their volunteer of the year.
Community School of Music and Arts: They are our region’s preeminent art and music education center, where people of all ages and abilities can discover, develop, and nurture their creativity. CSMA honored Mike Couch as their volunteer of the year.
Friends of Stevens Creek Trail: They promote community pride and involvement in the completion, enhancement, and enjoyment of the Stevens Creek and Permanente Creek Trails and Wildlife Corridors. They honored their founder, Rhonda Farrar, as their volunteer of the year.
KMVT 15 Silicon Valley Media and Television: Our local television station and they provide training in video production, media literacy, and a voice for hundreds of thousands of San Francisco Bay area residents. They honored Dave Kocharhook as their volunteer of the year.
Leadership Mountain View: It’s a 9-month community-based leadership program that is designed to connect Mountain View community members, enhance their leadership skills and inspire them to be active and informed community leaders. They honored Lynne Hansen as their volunteer of the year.
Mountain View Firefighters Random Acts: They assist victims of fire and others in need in our community, those impacted by the emergencies that the Fire Department responds to every day. They honored Mike Quan as their volunteer of the year.
Mountain View Public Safety Foundation: They support the Mountain View Police and Fire Departments, as well as the Mountain View Police Activities League (MVPAL) with the ultimate goal of making the City of Mountain View a better and safer place in which to live and work.
Women of Silicon Valley/WomenSV: They help domestic abuse survivors in middle-to-upper income areas to address the risks and challenges of being trapped in a relationship with a powerful, wealthy abuser. They honored their founder, Ruth Patrick.
Celebration of Leaders was a gorgeous event and I was thrilled to attend and do the social media coverage for the Chamber of Commerce. I love Mountain View and I’m proud to be part of this community.
I watched this story on NBCBayArea and learned about Google hosting a build-a-thon in Mountain View last week. They created LipSync and it’s going to change a lot of lives.
Google employees volunteered their time, and made LipSync. It’s a mouth operated sip-and-puff smart device controller that allows people with disabilities to access the internet. It is designed to mount to all types of wheelchairs. At the build-a-thon, Googlers and employees from Santa Clara Valley Medical Center volunteered to assemble 20 new LipSyncs . The devices enable those with limited or no use of their hands to use a touchscreen device through a mouth operated joystick. At the end of the day the completed LipSyncs were donated to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, where they will help patients increase their independence through access to technology.
The build-a-thon is an extension of a $800k Google.org grant to the Neil Squire Society, an accessibility focused non-profit, to create an open source design manual that allows anyone with access to a 3D printer, soldering iron, circuit board, and a few other common electronics to build and customize assistive technology based upon their needs. Building your own LipSync device should cost around $300.
People with disabilities will have easier, more affordable access to the internet. They’re more likely to find the services and products they need and connect with the community. This story is so awesome and it makes me proud of my community. I’m looking forward to following the news on this and hearing about the users and the people who follow the design manual and make their own LipSync device. Thank you Google!
Have you heard what Google is doing to help combat the opioid crisis?
In advance of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day this Saturday, they’re partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration on an online locator tool that uses the Google Maps API to surface over 5K locations where people can discard unused or expired prescription drugs. They introduced the tool with DEA in April of this year, and it was used by over 50K users at that time. They’re promoting the tool on the Google.com homepage for all US users today [Friday], in advance of Saturday’s Take Back Day.
Next month, they’ll be launching an effort to promote year-round disposal options in Google Maps, with location data from several states and from Walgreens, who operates over 1000 disposal kiosks in their stores nationwide. They announced the Walgreens partnership at the opioid bill signing event at the White House on Wednesday.
Finally, they’re continuing to support families and communities coping with opioid addiction. Earlier this year, Google announced a matching grant to support a multi-year expansion of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids’ Parent Helpline. So far, that matching grant has driven over $1M of impact, enabling the helpline to double capacity and help an additional 30,000 families. Google and YouTube also committed $5M in in-kind ads to the Ad Council and White House opioid addiction advertising campaign that began earlier this year.
You can find more about their recently announced efforts to help combat the opioid epidemic in a Google blog post. This really makes me proud. I love Mountain View.
I just finished reading A Sense of Something Greater: Zen and the Search for Balance in Silicon Valley and the author, Les Kaye, took me on a tour of the Kannon Do Zen Meditation Center in Mountain View.
His book was just released this week. A Sense of Something Greater goes deeper than the current mindfulness trend, into the heart of Zen practice. For Les Kaye, Zen is a window to our inherent wisdom and to a dimension beyond material progress. Kaye’s teachings are paired with interviews of Zen practitioners who live and work in Silicon Valley, conducted by journalist Teresa Bouza, that emphasize the relevance of Zen practice to the challenges of twenty-first century life.
I’ve already highlighted areas in the book that really connected with me and I felt like I knew so much more about the Kannon Do Zen Meditation Center because the book is about people who attend and are experienced practioners of Zen.
In his 1996 book, Zen at Work, Les illustrates his vision of how Zen practice can be expressed, not only in the workplace but in any activity of daily life. Twenty-two years ago, it was a radical concept for the western world where spirituality – religion - is thought to be an activity apart from everyday concerns, reserved for specific times and holidays. Since then, the idea has gradually gained acceptance, as individuals in the twenty first century are increasingly asking, “How can I express my spirituality and my practice in daily life?” This is the theme explored by A Sense of Something Greater.
The mindfulness movement of the past decade can bring relief to emotional and physical concerns conditioned by the anxieties of daily life. However, the stress-reduction mindfulness practiced in workplace classrooms, hospitals, gyms, or at home is much like a technique used to address a problem or a medicine to relieve a headache or stomach upset. When the discomfort is gone, the technique is set aside, the medicine stored away. By contrast, the spiritually-oriented meditation of Zen practice is holistic, universal in scope, accompanied by a commitment - inspired by a sense of morality - on the part of the practitioner. As the cover of the book explains:
A Sense of Something Greater goes deeper than the current mindfulness trend, into the heart of Zen practice. For Les Kaye, Zen is more than awareness—it’s also “the continued determination to be authentic in relationships, to create meaningful, intimate, intentional bonds with people, things, and the environment.”
I’m so over hearing people glamorize how “busy” they are. The Kannon Do Zen Mediation Center, along with A Sense of Something Greater seem like a wonderful place to start for anyone who also feels that way. I wanted to help spread the message. There is a ton of information on the Kannon Do website, everything from getting started, to retreats and events (for the beginner too), FAQs, and a beautiful intro video.
Zen is not something to get excited about. Just continue in your calm, ordinary practice and your character will be built up. — Suzuki Roshi
Maybe I’ll see you at Kannon Do. I love Mountain View.
An estimated 250K service members transition out of the military every year. They have important and valuable skills; but it can be challenging for them to translate those skills into civilian language when looking for jobs. There are also over 690K military spouses who struggle with job security due to frequent moves. That’s why, this week, Google announced new tools and resources for service members, veterans, and military spouses to help them learn new skills, find civilian jobs and help their business succeed.
First, they are making searching for jobs on Google easier for veterans and military service members. Vets can now enter their Military Occupation Specialty Code (MOS, AFSC, NEC) and "jobs for veterans" directly into Google Search to see relevant civilian jobs available near them. They’ll also make this capability available to any employer or job board to use on their own property through our API, Cloud Talent Solution.
Google also wants to make sure that the almost 9% of all U.S. businesses that are veteran led, are able to leverage the power of the web. They are offering a designation on Google Maps (that is so cool!) and Search mobile listings for veterans to identify their businesses as veteran owned or led, making it easier for all of us to proactively support these businesses.
Finally, through Google.org, they are granting $2.5M to the United Service Organizations (USO). The USO is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits assisting military service members and their families. This grant will provide scholarships for 1,000 transitioning service members and military spouses to complete the Google IT Support Professional Certificate which provides a pathway to careers in the growing field of IT support. They will also receive additional instructional and wraparound support while they complete the program.
These efforts are part of our Grow with Google initiative to help create economic opportunities for more Americans. Google said "We are grateful to service members and their families for their sacrifices, and we hope that these tools will assist them as they transition to civilian lives."
Please share this with someone who could benefit. Here's a great article about a Program Manager at Google, who served in the Air Force as a civil engineer, and now he's on the team that worked to create these new tools and resources for vets and their families. Thank you Google!
I just registered for a few classes, Tai Chi and an embroidery class. I’ve been interested in Tai Chi for years, and from inside the Chamber of Commerce I can watch people doing it in Pioneer Park. That’s my goal. I want to be one of those people doing it in the park, after I figure out how to do it.
The classes are very affordable, especially considering how expensive everything is in Mountain View.
I’ve taken art classes through MVLA Adult School and always enjoyed the experience. I love getting to know the other students, who are mostly Mountain View residents. I’ve taken their ceramics class many times and that class is full of lots of friendly people that want to talk while they’re working on their projects. You’ll end up having lots of new friends, in addition to a few coffee mugs and pencil holders.
The classes take place at 11 different locations in our community, not just at the school on Moffett.
A few points worth mentioning from the MVLA Adult Ed website: Who is eligible to register: Classes are open to residents and non-residents 18 years and older. (more details here) Refund Policy: Please choose classes carefully. Because the fees collected pay teachers’ salaries, the refund policy is limited. (more details here)
So if you think you might be interested in anything from career technical classes, to business, to dance and music, to parenting or physical fitness, check out this school that is right in the middle of Mountain View. Back-to-school season is for adults too!
I stopped by Heritage Park to visit the Soil & Water Garden this week. What a gorgeous little garden, set back from the street, full of butterflies and bees and seasonal veggies. It’s a community garden, but not like the other two in our city, where people maintain their own little plot. Soil and Water asks the volunteers to show up on Wednesday or Saturday mornings, for just two hours or so, and help with whatever tasks need to be done, and then everyone gets to take home a portion of the harvest of the day. If there’s extra, they donate it.
There were 7 or 8 volunteers the day I was there, and the volunteer garden manager, Shree, showed people how to do different tasks and everyone jumped right in. Some of the projects that they did on Wednesday included cutting down the corn stalks that the squirrels had devoured, made and sprayed an organic bug repellant (dish soap, baking soda and water) on some squash plants that had “dusty mildew,” picked 14 pounds of produce, pulled weeds, watered, and cut-up anything large that was going to be added to the compost bins. I watched them saving some yellow lady beans (seeds) to go to the Silicon Valley Seed Bank.
Although I brought my garden gloves, and planned on working, I end up taking photos and talking to everyone instead. But just look at those pictures; this place is gorgeous!
I really liked that all of the volunteers chimed-in when they were trying to decide how to prevent the squirrels from feasting on the sunflowers, but still allow the bees to have access to them. It’s a group effort and all the volunteers worked on the solution together. Personally, I think that the squirrels are going to win this battle.
You can volunteer as much or as little as you like at the Heritage Park garden. Children are welcome. Wear something that can get dirty, and your sun-hat and bring a bottle of water.
Soil and Water is a group of greater Mountain View residents with a shared interest in gardening, fresh food, and cooking. They believe strongly in building community where they live and volunteer their time to help create a new shared, volunteer garden space.
It’s the perfect way to get to know some of your neighbors and to learn about organic gardening. You don’t need any experience, although experienced gardeners would be enthusiastically welcomed, I’m sure. Keep an eye on their calendar and Facebook page, as they have kid’s events and cooking demos scheduled.
I’m pretty good at growing things in my yard, but I tend to stick to the plants that I think are easy. It’s time to branch out. I’m excited to have discovered these nice Soil and Water people and I’m hoping that I can learn a few things from them and contribute to their mission of creating a “community space that gives back to the community by connecting people through gardening.” I love Mountain View.
The Chamber of Commerce just purchased several awards from Eagle Awards for some of our board members. I picked up the awards and it was the first time I had ever been to their store at 2259 Old Middlefield Road.
It’s tiny and packed with sample awards, trophies, and anything you could imagine having engraved. There were awards for local nonprofits, lots of major tech companies, sport teams, and plenty of one-of-a-kind samples. For example, you can have a bottle of Jack Daniels, or Orange Crush turned into an award. Now that I know this, I can think of all kinds of new ways to honor loved ones.
While I was there, a customer came in and asked about having name plates made for office doors. I made a mental note of that request and started thinking of all the outrageous office names that I've seen at local tech companies.
There were some engraved pet urns and plaques, lots of acrylic and shiny traditional trophies, some fancy sterling silver, wood in different shapes and sizes, and some really interesting custom elements that customers brought in. You can get lots of ideas about what’s possible by looking at the display items and it seems to me that anything is possible.
My office purchased 3 crystal rectangular awards. Two of them are engraved and the 3rd one is 3D and the words are on the inside of the glass. They look sleek and traditional, and anyone would be pleased to have one on their desk. I think we played it safe, now that I saw at a room full of possibilities!
Eagle Awards is woman owned and operated, which is very cool, and they’ve been in Mountain View since 2009. Dianne is the owner and Grace works with her. It’s just the two of them, and a ton of creativity. They do most of the work in house.
If you need anything engraved or etched or created from scratch, you should definitely stop by and look at their samples. These two talented ladies can do anything. I’m sure of it.
“Where can I volunteer?” is a common question for people who just moved to Mountain View. If you were actively involved in your previous community, you probably will want to do the same thing again.
If you want to volunteer on a regular basis, in a permanent position, El Camino Hospital’s Auxiliary is the place for you. I met with the El Camino Hospital Auxiliary Administrative and Placement Staff this week to find out more. I met 10 volunteers and I briefly shadowed one of them. There are approximately 600 volunteers at the hospital, including 250 junior volunteers (high school students).
There are plenty of volunteer (click on the word “volunteer” to see the list on their website) services available and, although the list changes constantly, some of the openings that were most needed most this week were Escorts, Golf Cart Drivers, Drivers for Roadrunners, Baristas for the Coffee Cart, and people to work at the Information Desk at the main entrance of the hospital.
Escorts are the volunteers who bring wheelchairs and carts wherever they’re needed, and bring x-rays, specimens, and flowers to various places in the hospital. They’re very active. They know the hospital well, even better than some of the hospital staff. Their particular group is rather social and it was fun to see them chatting and having fun in their office, which is located in the center of the hospital. Many of the escorts are good friends, have worked together for years, and choose to work on the same days as each other. That’s understandable. I will definitely request to be part of this group when I decide that I have time to volunteer.
Some volunteer positions interact directly with patients and others don’t. Volunteers can request positions and tasks that fit their personality.
Get started by filling out the Volunteer Application. You’ll have a Placement Interview and you’ll be trained for your new job. Training is normally three days. In addition to those three days, everyone who works weekdays will spend the first two weeks as an Escort so they get to know the hospital.
All of the volunteers that I spoke with told me how rewarding the job is and that they feel appreciated when they interact with hospital staff and patients. The hospital puts on a formal luncheon for the volunteers every year and they look forward to the event.
Several things to keep in mind before you apply as a volunteer at El Camino Hospital:
• Be willing to commit to a minimum of 6 months as a volunteer.
• Be willing to volunteer a minimum of 3 hours per week.
• You’ll find purpose, connect with the community, feel involved, get the chance to explore new areas of interest, meet lots of new people, and feel great.
While flipping channels last weekend, I stopped on a previously aired episode of Shark Tank. Turns out the entrepreneurs talking to the Sharks had just emailed me and invited me to experience Glace Cryotherapy of Mountain View. It was so fun to see them on TV before I got to meet them in person. Here’s a short clip of the Shark Tank episode that I watched.
I did it, I went to Glace Cryotherapy yesterday. They’re inside City Sport Club on Grant. No, you don’t have to be a member of the gym to go in. Just walk right in and tell them you want to try it out for free. You don’t need an appointment, and they can fit you in because it only takes 3 minutes. Even if you have to wait, it’ll just be a few minutes.
I filled out their questionnaire, so they would know who I was and that I’m in good health. Skyler and Britteny are the owners and they’ll be the ones helping you. You’ll step into a fitting room and change into a robe, socks and gloves. Then you step into the cryogenics tank and they close the door. You take the robe off and hand it over to the person helping you. Skyler was there to take my robe and start the session. The temperature will go down below -200 degrees. Think of it as the modern day version of an ice bath for athletes.
No, you don’t have to be an athlete to do it. They have lots of members who just like how it makes them feel, but not necessarily to recover from muscle soreness due to a hard workout.
It was simply chilly at first, then it got very cold and by 1 minute and 15 seconds, my teeth were chattering. The maximum amount of time that you can stay in is three minutes. I stayed in for two and hope to soon work my way up to three.
As soon as the session ends, it’s a relief to get back in the fitting room and get dressed. I felt invigorated and proud that I could handle it for 2 minutes. According to their website, the health benefits include reducing inflammation, faster recovery from workouts, and reduced muscle soreness. I felt great, very energetic for the next 4 or 5 hours and went to my boxing class at Title Boxing across the street and kicked ass.
After the cryo session, I tried out the Normatec Recovery System, compression therapy. Omg, it felt fabulous. Owners, Brittany and Skyler, had no idea how popular the compression therapy would be, and it turns out, Mountain View loves it just as much as they like getting in the cryosauna. It felt great and I could have easily stayed there for an hour.
Glace Cryotherapy is independently owned and operated and is not affiliated in any way with City Sports Club. Cryotherapy services are open to non members of City Sports Club. Glace is located at the front of the club, just inside the front door.
The owners were incredibly friendly and helpful. I particularly liked that they had the goal of opening their business in Mountain View. They knew that the demographics of our area would be a perfect fit for their company because we’re interested in health and well-being and we like tech gadgets. That’s true—we do. I love Mountain View.
There are some spectacular campgrounds within an hour of Mountain View and anytime from June through November is good camping weather. November? Really? Yes. We usually have warm weather, all the way into Autumn in the Bay Area. If you can plan a camping trip during the week, you’ll increase your chances of finding a nice campsite.
Mitch Harnett of Mountain View Working Scholars assisted me with this list of camping destinations. These photos are from his ride at Monte Bello this week.
Monte Bello Open Space Preserve is home to the Black Mountain Backpack Camp, the only site on District lands where visitors can spend the night under the stars. Reservations are required, and visitors must apply in advance for a permit online. You really need to plan ahead, but it’s well worth it. Along with your reservation, you have access to a gated parking lot, for overnight parking. The parking lot is a short walk, about 1.5 miles, from the campsites. The views are spectacular!
Big Basin Redwoods State Park is the oldest State Park in California. It was acquired in 1902. The park has miles of trails, which serves hikers and equestrians, links Big Basin to Castle Rock State Park and the eastern reach of the Santa Cruz range. They have a fully stocked store, and hot food. and lots of waterfalls.
Francis Beach in Half Moon Bay has a campground with 52 individual sites, some suitable for tent camping, others for trailers or recreational vehicles. Some campsites have electrical hookups.
China Camp State Park was once a Chinese shrimp-fishing village, that thrived until the 1880s. Nearly 500 people, originally from Canton, China, lived in the village. In its heyday, there were three general stores, a marine supply store and a barber shop. I love this area and hearing about the history of the Chinese immigrants that lived here.
Castle Rock State Park is a land of sculpted sandstone, lush forests, and sweeping vistas. From one of the highest ridges in the Santa Cruz Mountains, park visitors enjoy hiking, backpacking, horseback riding and 20 campsites that are first-come-first-served. Rock climbers explore the park's caverns and rocks, including the namesake Castle Rock.
You can hike from Castle Rock campground to Big Basin campground, and all the way to the coast on a trail called Skyline to the Sea. It is about 35 miles long and an excellent weekend trip if you're up for it. Castle Rock also has a loop trail that is about 4.5 miles long and has beautiful look-outs over the Santa Cruz Mountains. Depending on the weather, you may be able to see the ocean. On the weekends, the parking lot can get pretty crazy, so be patient.
Kirby Cove is just on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. They have a famous rope swing that may or may not be hanging, but apparently, it’s very popular. You’ll find a “pristine coarse-sand beach with spectacular views - when it's not foggy - of the Golden Gate Bridge and northern San Francisco, including the historic Presidio.”
Sanborn County Park in Saratoga offers a wooded park of 3,453 acres, and is nestled in the Santa Cruz Mountains between Saratoga and Skyline Boulevard. This mountain park of redwoods and tan bark oak, offers hiking, camping, RV camping and picnicking opportunities year-round. Dogs are allowed. Sanborn Park is home to one of Mitch’s favorite beginner trails for cyclists. He likes to take people on this trail when they are first being introduced to trail riding. It is call the "John Nicholas Trail" and is about 5 miles long, perfect for both cyclists and pedestrians.
I found this interesting article: How To Camp For Free in Big Sur. Sounds like it might require a rugged 4 wheel drive, but lots less people will be there!
If you need camping supplies, REI is here in Mountain View, and also Mountain View Surplus. I love both of those stores. I also see lots of post on Next Door about people wanting to borrow camping supplies from their neighbors. I wouldn’t be willing to do that, but lots of people are.
Wherever you go, please let me know how it went. It’s nice to get outdoors and sleep under the stars in this beautiful California weather.
I took a boxing class on Sunday at Title Boxing Club Mountain View. I can’t believe I just wrote those words. It was the first time I had ever put on a pair of boxing gloves and it certainly won’t be the last. The owner of the club, Adrienne Rush, met with me before the class got started, showed me around and wrapped my hands. The class had about 18 people in it, 10 women and 8 men. The trainer, Armand, showed me how to position my feet as I punched the bag, how to twist my body and not just use my arms, and how to turn my hands so I didn’t injure my wrists. There was a silly grin on my face the whole time because I was having so much fun. My entire body was sore for a few days, which tells me it was a good workout, and that I need more of it.
The class involved warm-up cardio activities and stretches, then everyone put their gloves on for 8 three-minute rounds, with a 1 minute “active rest” in between each round. Armand walked around to all the students during the class and coached each person before moving on to the next. He shows everyone what to do during each round and then checks to see if you’re doing it correctly. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t doing anything correctly, but it didn’t matter. I was having a great time. After the 8 rounds, everyone grabs a floor mat and does some core exercises with a medicine ball. Oh, guess what… I had never even touched a medicine ball in my life before that. They’re heavy, in case you didn’t know. The toughest workout I had ever done before last Sunday was at Curves, so this part about actually punching stuff and sweating was new to me.
I felt very comfortable, even though I had no idea how to do the boxing part. There wasn’t any pressure on me to go faster, or harder than what I was capable of. And it wasn’t a fashion show. You know what I mean, everyone was totally focused on hitting the bag and working up a sweat.
I brought one of my Chamber of Commerce colleagues, Jennifer. And it turns out she throws a mean punch, just as I assumed she would, since she already owns a pair of fancy boxing gloves. It’s always more fun to workout with a friend, so take someone with you when you visit Title Boxing Club Mountain View.
Title Boxing Club is a nationwide company, but there are only 5 in California and the Mountain View location is the only one in the Bay Area. It’s the newest thing in cool-places-to-workout. The location is perfect for people who commute, because it is centrally located between 85 and 237. Adrienne (who lives in Mountain View) told me that she has members that live over an hour away. They prefer taking a boxing or kickboxing class in the evening as opposed to sitting in traffic. Some members work at large tech companies, but those companies don’t offer boxing classes, so they joined Title Boxing instead of exercising at their gym at work.
The address is157 E El Camino Real, Mountain View, California. One last detail that I love about the location of Title Boxing Club Mountain View is that it’s right next door to Nijiya Market, in the same shopping center as a Starbucks and a Walgreens. How convenient is that? Here’s a link to their class schedule. I love Mountain View.
Update: I joined Title Boxing and I love it even more now than when I wrote this story a few months ago.