Sunday, June 16, 2013

Naps for All

Alley napping on a comfy paper bag

I come from a family of nappers. My mother could fall asleep at the drop of a hat, likewise my sister,  my cat is a well documented napper and I am no exception. My friend Andrew claims that Winston Churchill maintained his edge in WWII by daily napping. Naps are delicious. And now our penchant for dozing is encouraged by none other than the authoritative Dr. Andrew Weil, a world-renowned leader and pioner in the field of integrative medicine. I receive Dr Weil's "Daily Tips" via email and rarely is there a post that is not informative and fascinating. Even though his daily emails clog my inbox and I resist, I can't skip a day. My husband Dean saves the tips in a Dr.Weil folder because all the information seems too important to erase. Most articles like "Five reasons to eat raspberries" or "Wondering how to use witch hazel?" can be relegated to the  the Dr. Weil folder, but some posts like "The warning signs of heart attack or stroke for women, I keep on my desktop... Anyway, yesterday he addressed the question "Is napping healthy?" and to my delight, here is what he said:

"Studies on sleep and the opinions of sleep experts are convincing: napping has value. People who nap generally enjoy better mental health and mental efficiency than people who do not. The quality of their nighttime sleep tends to be better as well. Unfortunately, finding opportunities to rest during daylight hours in our society is not so easy - the North American culture is actively opposed to the whole concept, bombarding us with stimulation in more and more places and times.

If you want to embrace the concept of napping - as many cultures worldwide do - consider the following:
  1. Accept napping as a positive thing. Remind yourself frequently that napping can make a day more productive - it is actually the opposite of being lazy.
  2. Do not fight the body's desire to nap. This will result in unpleasant or unproductive naps.
  3. Take naps when you can. If your schedule does not permit a nap every day, consider taking productive naps as a passenger in cars, trains, and airplanes.
  4. Consider time and duration. Napping for too long, too often, or at the wrong time of day can be counterproductive. See what length and schedule works best for you.
  5. Napping can mean just taking a break. Lying on a hammock or just staring into space is the essence of rest - it is not doing that refreshes you in body and mind."
           "I catnap now and then, but I think while I nap, so it's not a waste of time"–Martha Stewart
                       Dr . Weil, my cat and my grandnephew Jonah view napping quite differently:

Take naps when you can, in cars, trains, planes and-----boxes

Accept napping as a positive thing, it's the opposite of being lazy

Take naps with a friend

Monday, June 10, 2013

Farewell Scharffen Berger Store

Sadly, the Scharffen Berger Chocolate store closed it's doors in the Ferry Building on Sunday, June 9th.

Watercolor by Raymond Martinez

The brand will continue, the bars will be available at other locations, but the only Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker store in existence has sold it's last bar of exquisite chocolate. The long-time staff, myself included, who worked in the cozy space for 4, 7, 8 or even 10 years, will scatter, and the local  products that were made for that store, i.e. truffles, the best selling  sea-salt bark, mint and almond bark, chocolate-dipped figs, ginger and orange peel, may disappear forever, along with our famous ultra-thin chocolate chunk cookies and fudgy bittersweet brownies. Some customers have been warned of the closure, but many others will visit with anticipation, only to find another vendor occupying space 14 across from Golden Gate Meat and Acme Bread. Many will be disappointed, having made the trip primarily to indulge in some of the world's finest chocolate and chat with the friendly staff.

The Scharffen Berger shop was among the first to rent space in the renovated Ferry Building when it opened ten years ago in 2003. The reasons for the closure are still unclear. but it's a fact that the store no longer exists. In memoriam, I want to share some photos of my colleagues and myself taken in happier times in our beloved space in the Ferry Building.

Approaching the Ferry Building as we did each workday---a glorious sight!

Main table in front of store featuring variety boxes ribboned by the staff

Full view of the interior space with Jenny hamming it up for the camera
Our store photographed from the corridor by Cy, our manager. 

Allison, Taya, Andrew and Jenny on Halloween 2010

Taya, Jenny and Andrew

Andrew and Jenny in (extra)bitter shirts standing in front of ( bitter)sweet, (semi)sweet & ( extra)bitter T-shirt shelves

More Halloween fun with Hali, Jenny and Andrew the Scot
Jenny ribboning a gift with me, taken by an appreciative customer

Dick Berendt visiting the store  taken by Ricki Pollycove 

Annual "Food from the Heart" poster  and event,  held Valentine's  weekend at the Ferry Building. I have this framed poster hanging at home to remind me of many sweet Valentine's
Days spent here.