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Jerry, Sir Paul & Jerrie: Part Two

SAM_1053

Hope y’all enjoyed the exciting first installment of my August blog. Now, all you lovely, fabulous fans – I want you to keep on reading my monthly mess, so I am totally jazzed to recap a few of the highlights of Part One: Well, Jerry Day was absolutely awesome & awesome. I mean, Jerry’s birthday bash can’t possibly get any better next year, can it? Dunno…but I wouldn’t bet against it. Remember that trippy, tie-dyed couple from the Haight/Ashbury Street Fair that told us they would see the hubby and I at Jerry Day? (There are quite a few photos of this South Bay duo on my June post.) We did not see them anywhere while we partied in McLaren Park, and I supposed they may have been hangin’ amidst some Deadhead-loaded tree branches?

However, I’m thinkin’ they may have been in attendance after all.

Noooo, I didn’t spot either of them in any near-by trees. Although numerous trees were packed with Deadheads, their outrageous tie-dye colors likely would have given them away- no matter how high in the tree they happened to be. (Ahem… I bet they could have been very high while hangin’ in a tree branch). But as I again looked at my hubby’s photos from the bash, I believe I may have found them, although I’d probably refuse to testify in court.

If you look closely at the photo of the two skeleton Deadheads “relaxing” in the oh so groovy psychedelic motorcycle (I’m standing next to this bad boy bike), you may draw the conclusion that this jolly well is them! There is a slight resemblance, no? However, they were awfully quiet, unlike the pair from the Fair. But oh my gawsh, hope I’m mistaken, though if they arrived at Jerry Day far ahead of time and were unable to find their way out of the park, who knows what may have happened??

Or, perhaps they fell from some tree branches into the motorcycle while looking for a primo view spot. Oh, like that couldn’t have happened.

Dunno, but really hope to see them next year at the Haight/Ashbury Street Fair.

(Note to exhibitionist in my video near the amazing dancing diva: Dude, put on your clothes, puleeeze! At the very least have the decency to get out of camera range if you are there in 2015, and try getting some serious sun exposure before the show, ok? Believe me, your wanna be vampire hipster look just doesn’t cut it.)

Of course, seeing Sir Paul was one of the most awesome experiences ever, man. Ok, so I said that Jerry Garcia Day was awesome & awesome. And it was. But being present at Candlestick Park to see the magical Paul McCartney close-out the rapidly deteriorating stadium was beyond AWESOME!! I can’t emphasize it enough. I hope that you Googled Kathleen Bender, Paul McCartney. I just can’t emphasize it enough. It’s all very groovy, I say. Also Google Henry Bender, Paul McCartney and keep my old man happy.

I’ll never forget my trip to the Southwest to visit my dear friend and her “children” (two “Westies” & a kitty cat). We had some wonderful adventures in the Four Corners area of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado & Utah. Heck, we even had culinary adventures involving green chilis & Margaritas. It doesn’t get any better than that. Or does it?

After we sadly said goodbye to Jerrie & family, we drove for an eternity (it seemed like 4evah) through a Navaho rez (reservation) on our way to the Grand Canyon. (Come on, it was way over 200+ miles and hotter than Hades. Yeah, I’m exaggerating a wee bit, but not much, folks.) Talk about living an isolated life; I guess these tribal members would not have it any other way. We didn’t see very much traffic, either. We tried to follow the exact route the new GPS gave us. But not all the time while on vacay. I thinking the chick who guided us didn’t like me at all as she mispronounced every Irish street or road name.

The Grand Canyon ought to be experienced by all Americans if possible. The park was filled with foreign tourists who were filled with awe by what they were seeing. I wasn’t even sure we would even arrive before it turned dark. We had stopped along the way at a Grand Canyon overlook (views from outside the park) complete with a Native American “pop-up” jewelry stand. I still had some souvenirs to purchase and I was desperate to use a porta-loo.
You have NO idea just how desperate I was! It was quite a hike to the “loo,” and I nearly had an accident when I read the sign on the side of the lone outhouse. Let me attempt to paraphrase: “Warning! Cats & Rats & Elephants are known to attack occupents.” Ok, so no rats or elephants, but SOME kind of cats, maybe coyotes/bears, mountain lions & (this is the one that scared me) snakes! You can’t imagine what was running thru my mind at the time. Besides, I thought the porta-loo might go over the side of the cliff it was perilously perched on. And I would have had that “accident” if my hubby wasn’t ready to ride shotgun for me. I just wanted to get the hell out of Dodge and back to civilization, wherever the heck that was.
But we were able to view the awesome sunset and were then trapped in a ginormous traffic jam getting out of the Grand Canyon National Park What fun!

We made our way to our evening lodging outside of Sedona, Arizona. An awesome (there’s that word again!) place to visit. I would have liked to spend more time there as it appears to be an ideal setting to refresh your soul. The natural beauty is absolutely breathtaking. But our destination was Las Vegas, baby!

Las Vegas is not my cuppa tea, but the hubby had already purchased tickets for the two of us to see the Cirque Du Soleil’s Beatles, LOVE show at the Mirage Hotel. Thank goodness it wasn’t a mirage but the real deal. I LOVED IT! If you are a Beatles fan or not – get yourself to see this spectacular show. You will not be disappointed. You will renew your Beatles love and great affection for the Fab Four. And the sizable cast is amazingly talented. I got to spend time in the Beatles shop (the hubby got to spend his money) and my old man bought me some groovy Beatles goodies. I even got a Beatles 50th anniversary shirt, luv. How awesome is that?

We spent the night at the Mirage Hotel in a chichi suite and drove thru the Mojave Desert upon returning to California. Several hundred miles later (1a.m.) we turned onto a street close to our house. Yeah, it’s not Irish, but “she” mispronounced that too!

What a month filled with laughter, humor & joy. I enjoyed friends, fun and a Beatles trifecta to fondly remember. I shall 4evah refer to this month as Awegust.

 

Stay groovy my friends.

Peace, love, joy & Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

Kathleen

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Jerry, Sir Paul, Jerrie: Part One

JERRY

I jolly well need two posts to adequately cover the month of August. This most awesome-ever month began with Jerry Garcia’s birthday on August the first as it always does. Then two days later, we made our way to Jerry Garcia Day in San Francisco’s McLaren Park to celebrate the man’s 72nd birthday with a proper Deadhead bash. Finding a parking space was NO problem at all even though a gazillion cars were strewn everywhere. (Om my gosh: Thank you parking gods and goddesses – You rock!) SAM_0987s

The hubby decided to go ahead of me to score us ample space in the bleachers, while I valiantly plodded down the winding sand-filled path to the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater. The path seems to be growing longer every year. Or maybe it’s just moi? I dunno. Another lone woman passing from behind asked if she could take my photo. You know I said yes. It was the first of many “snapped” that day. Yow! I could not believe that my old man was seated next to the mother and son we usually sit next to. Last year, they were too late to even find a seat in the stands, while we eventually found seats in the front row reserved for people with mobility challenges. I can see why they are so labeled: As the crowd grows in size your toesies are stomped on so much, you’ll likely need a doctor for your injuries hence the possible need for permanent mobility seating. It’s a vicious cycle, I tell ya! Get there real early next year.

Every year I think that the crowd couldn’t possibly get any larger, and every year it just keeps expanding, man. People were literally hanging from tree branches. And if there were any way to install rafters outdoors, people would be hangin’ from them, too!

The best thing is that the music just keeps getting better, if that’s even possible. I guess it’s because the bands -on- hand play Grateful Dead tunes pretty much non-stop throughout the year. And play it with wild abandon, obviously.

My terrapin hat-topped hubby and I posed for SO many photos just like we did at the Haight-Ashbury Street Fair. In fact, I was asked to pose for a photo with a gentleman from Rock Med, a Deadicated group of health professionals who aid ailing fans at rock concerts. They have a booth at the Fair every year and I was recognized by one happy hippie healer.

We had a great time, we saw a lot of wonderful people we’ve met previously (see photo of Deadhead friend in pink Grateful Dead Bear costume –she’s amazing!), and shared our joy with fellow attendees. A few folks remembered seeing us on Haight Street, and said our colorful attire helped make their day. Thank you for that. There was also a major fan of Jerry’s who added a hefty dose of style to the festivities with her magical movement. This lovely woman elegantly twirled a beautifully decorated fan as she grooved to the music. (Please view her video.)

All in all, a groovy time was had by all in attendance. Alas, the tie-dyed couple we met at the Haight Fair was nowhere in sight. Unless the two were somehow hangin’ there amongst some tree branches?
I dunno, you never know.

 


SIR PAUL
It looked as though my dream of seeing Sir Paul McCartney at Candlestick Park –the site of The Beatles last concert ever – was not going to happen. Like, no way, Jose. It wasn’t that I had not attended any of his previous concerts in the San Francisco Bay Area. The hubby and I saw him in Berkeley with his late wife Linda & then band Wings, at Cal’s football stadium; we nearly slid down a rain-muddied hill at Shoreline Amphitheater (It was my birthday, man) to see him perform with the newly hip-again crooner Tony Bennett and other rock biggies. We even made the trek to San Francisco to see him perform with his current band of talented musicians at AT & T Park several years ago. I mean, it’s not like this might possibly be the last opportunity to see him, or that this place is considered sacred ground for many a fan of the Fab Four, or that they plan to demolish the stadium soon? SAM_1060ps

Na-a-a-ah. But the idea that I would not be present was becoming too much to bear. After all, I did see the Beatles in Chicago prior to their last performance at the Stick. I was even in the fourth row, baby, indoors where your hearing could be shattered. (Did you say something? I can’t quite hear you.) This fan remembers it well, even though it was long ago in ##!!Oops, oops, Mayday! Mayday!!## (Oh, you know when it was, don’t you?) I guess my carefully rehearsed gloom & doom routine worked on my old man: He got the tickets, I say. Yeah, we have no culinary choices but the cheapest eats probably for infinity, but all that lost gold bullion got us into Candlestick! It was totally worth it.

We arrived more than four hours before the concert was set to begin. Heck, I wanted to be at Candlestick even earlier. (I was all Beatled-up since early morn.) It was being held on Thursday evening and with thousands of people expected, it was prudent to avoid both the evening commute and concert traffic hell. (We did, however, thousands of fans were caught in a nightmarish traffic jam & never reached the concert.) For once the hubby reluctantly took my word, and we arrived at Candlestick practically stress-free –yeah, right.

Somehow I believed that nearly everyone would be attired in their best Beatles attire. Sort of like I imagine that everyone in attendance at the Haight-Ashbury Street Fair will dress like the hubby and I. Ha! Not that many make an effort. After all, this was a major celebration for Sir Paul & Beatles fans alike. How come people don’t even try to look festive, huh?   Why? Why? Why don’t they try just a teensy bit?

Well, your FUNcillitator and her old man always make an effort. It’s just who we are, I guess. Of course, the hubby did NOT put on all the attire I set-out for him. Bummer. What can ya do about it? I began to put a groovy outfit together from the moment I knew we had the tickets! That’s how much this event meant to me.

Apparently, the local & not-so local paparazzi took notice of moi & hubby. I dunno, it could be that the press was watching when the infamous wind at the Stick blew the back of my tie-dye skirt way-up in the air! I must have caused a stir at the Stick, because it then seemed like newspaper columnists and photographers appeared out of nowhere. I found myself peppered (these reporters were obviously well-seasoned) with questions about my Beatles cred, my age (classified information), and what seemed like a gazillion more things they thought they needed to know. Peter Fimrite, a reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle started the (at-least) twenty questions & his story was featured in the paper the next morning. I’m in it, baby!  Please Google Kathleen Bender, Paul McCartney and prepare to be amazed. Try Henry Bender, Paul McCartney for a photo of my old man which was printed in the SF Examiner next day.
A reporter/photographer from the Sacramento Bee newspaper took a special interest in yours truly. He was nearly on the ground taking photos of the hubby and I as we made our way to the stadium entrance hours before the show was to take place. He got a very close, close up of my chest. He obviously wanted to focus on the myriad Beatle buttons pinned to my Union Jack scarf. (He could have been looking up my skirt from the angle he used in still another shot.) The parking lot was swarming with paparazzi (now I have a taste of what Hollywood celebs endure) wanting to take our picture. And the photographer from the Associated Press did, assuring that his photo would be on news sites world-wide. We were in the London Daily Mail, I say. Can’t do better than that, as we are not (yet!) rock royalty.
The concert and Sir Paul can only be described as magical. I sang along with the majority of the many awesome songs, although I wasn’t certain that I would survive our little snack from the Stick: The hubby returned with extra garlic, garlic fries and an Irish coffee for me to drink. It’s odd that I didn’t spot any Leprechauns after such a concoction. But the magic in the Park was so thick, I didn’t need them. Lots of great photos for y’all, however, but there is not even one video to view. None, nada. Yeah, the hubby “accidentally” erased some absolutely fab footage of Paul – complete with fireworks – in order to take more pictures on our vacay to the Southwest. You’ll probably enjoy them, but at what cost?

 

I let him live, only because he bought the tickets for the most amazing show EVER held at Candlestick Park…except, maybe for the final concert the Beatles EVER did in ##!!Oops, oops, Mayday! Mayday!! ##.
So glad I made it to THIS one!

 

JERRIE
My dear friend Jerrie was so up to having us visit her. After all, we had not been together in many a moon. OK, she does live in the Four Corners area of the country, a place where the four states of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona intersect, and her home is located in Aztec, New Mexico. That’s over 1,000 miles from Hayward, California. Jerrie has been dealt a heavy hand in life with many health challenges to her body/mind/psyche/spirit, yet remains an inspiration to all. This gal has mucho courage & a massive amount of spunk. We had to see her. Visiting with her pets was an added bonus. She has two adorable Scottish “Westies,” and an 18 year old kitty cat. She refers to these special animals as her “children,” and they are living the good life.SAM_1220js
They get complementary doggie-sized cones at the local ice cream shop. In fact, I had my very first green-chili ice cream sundae at this shop. Yes, green chilies? Uh-huh. With lotza nuts on top. I had recently heard of the Hatch Green Chile which is roasted over a hot fire in a rotating basket, and I felt compelled to try & eat some. Aye! Aye! Aye! I sampled green chili quesadillas, green chilies with an American Indian Taco, and a green chili burrito. Yum. Some people like eating the red chili as well, but my ancestry is Irish so naturally I wanted green.
Speaking of Irish, I found out about an unusual eating and drinking place in nearby Farmington, N.M. It’s a fun spot that my friend has been to many times: Clancy’s Irish Cantina & Sushi Bar, so you know I had to go! They have food fancied by Native Americans (many in the house that evening), Mexican & Irish dishes besides the sushi. It was kind of fun, not to mention tasty, to eat Fish ‘n’ Chips (Irish cut potatoes) and quaff a refreshing Margarita along with it. Still wasn’t seeing any Leprechauns, but maybe they don’t like living in the Southwest. The heat, you know. Google Clancy’s and enjoy the lilting Irish bagpipe music on their website.
We visited the Four Corners Monument on a nearby Navajo reservation, which I highly recommend. Our GPS had a crosshair on it showing we were at the intersection of four states. We stood in the medallion that puts YOU in four states at once! (Actually, five as you will likely be in an altered state as well.) Then you can shop for native crafts or eat a Navajo taco or try some frybread. We viewed “Shiprock” from our automobile. This rock formation is aptly named. We also soaked up ancestral spirits at the Aztec Ruins. This national monument is a Heritage Site that dates to 1100 A.D. The tribes who once lived there were Pueblo Indians, not Aztec. Somebody goofed.
We had an awesome time with our dear friend and her “children.” Her home is one of the oldest in Aztec, built in the 1870’s and filled with her creativity and charm. Oh, and can she ever cook. She lovingly prepared a most delicious dinner for us one evening. The hubby insisted we treat her to meals at local eateries. It was a joy & laugh-filled vacay with her. It’s just a frickin’ long drive, man. But we will want to do it again, right, Henry?

 

Peace, love, abundant joy & lots & lots of laughter,
Kathleen

 

STAY TUNED FOR PART TWO!

(July got off to a rockin’ start this Independence Day, with a festive celebratory meal served by our Italian epicure neighbor, Al Fresco, on the Bender patio. “Rosie Colleen” was so eager to celebrate the 4th she donned her patriotic pooch finery. Until she heard some illegal fireworks, that is. Our doggie diva had been struttin’ her stuff & beggin’ for bones, but the raucous racket removed the stars & stripes right-off of her fur. She went howling into hiding for days, man. She is still somewhat spooked but recovering. She hopes you dig the photo that her daddy took.)

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On Joyly 9th we ventured into San Francisco to see the newly restored “A Hard Day’s Night” at the historic Castro Theatre. That would be the first Beatles movie filmed by “the boys” in 1964. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah” I was attired in my fab, groovy Beatles gear, unlike most of the audience, who veered heavily on the male side. I wondered if any “girl” Beatlemaniacs were there. I enthusiastically sang along with every Beatles tune in the movie, beause I recalled them all. Heck, I even seriously considered dancing in the aisle & belting out “I Should Have Known Better.” But I knew I better not when it suddenly dawned one me why there were so many male couples in the theatre: Helloooo, The Castro. It’s the gay mecca of SF! (Come to think about it, they likely would have loved it…next time, ok?)

As we exited the theatre I was still in a celebratory mood. Not ready to return home, and fancying a Shandy & some English pub grub, we found a British-style restaurant pub not far from downtown. I heard a Paul McCartney song playing in an Italian pizza place on a busy corner as we strolled by. The hubby said “Do you want to go in?” and I just continued schlepping to the Pub across the street, happy that I heard yet another Beatles tune! “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah” So my hubby had Fish ‘n’ Chips and I was served a right tasty Shepherd’s Pie (non lamb, man) with my thirst-quenching Shandy. And when the Beatles “Can’t Buy Me Love” came over the pub’s speakers, I headed to the restroom to belt it out because the hubby said the loo had fabulous acoustics. Jolly good time, we had.

But the biggest event of Joyly, I mean zee BIG event, was seeing Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band in San Jose. The last time I saw Ringo was in the summer of !!??##??!!. I told you my fingers would be total ring bling and they were! (See photo) Unfortunately, the hubby used a different camera and his “photos” were mostly unusable video recordings. Bummer. But hey, it happens. The old man did take a photo of me in my new Ringo “Peace & Love Tour” tee-shirt after we returned home.
Ringo is NO old man, even if he did just turn 74. This former Beatle is so full of energy and is lookin’ so good. He’s a talented chap, he is. A man in the audience yelled out, ”Ringo, my wife loves you!” Ringo yelled back, “My wife loves me too!” (Ringo is married to Hollywood actress Barbara Bach.) It was so great hearing him do some of his old Beatles hits. However, I wanted to hear them all.

Although I wanted way more Beatles music, Ringo’s All-Starr Band is jam-packed with some very talented musicians in their own right: Singers and guitarists from 70’s & 80’s bands such as Santana, Toto, Mister Mr. (or is that the other way around?), including a second drummer (he drums while Ringo is singin’ & dancin’) were surprisingly delightful to many a Beatle fan, myself included. Yeah, I was in another celebratory mood and this time I had a Margarita. The last time I saw Ringo all I could order was a Shirley Temple!! I don’t usually order an over-priced Margarita, but when I do, I like to have a Margarita moment. I was thirsty, my friends.
After the concert, it was a bit of a trek to the car park as they refer to it in the U.K. San Jose’s downtown district is close to the city airport –perhaps a bit too close. These Jets were on a flight path right over a main blvd, big hotels on each side of the street. They were flying so low it was scary. People were waving out the planes windows at us & smiling! It must have been because I was wearing so much bling, baby! Even Ringo smiled at me. Winked too, he did.

The hubby knew his way to San Jose, but he had some trouble finding his way out of town. Our neighbor –not Al Fresco – asked Henri if we were going to be gone for a couple of days, and now I know why: San Jose is like the L.A. of Northern California. We returned home in time to go to downtown Hayward for the annual Grateful Dead Movie Meet-up Night. Nice to be with Deadheads again. They really know how to have fun.

Joyly is almost over and some pretty serious stuff is happening in the world. But last Saturday in Berkeley someone was trying real hard to put a smile on your face. A young guy was standing in the street on Telegraph Avenue as we drove by. He was holding a cardboard sign that said “SMILE.”

I was happy to smile & flashed a peace sign. As Ringo says,“Peace & love, man, Peace & love.”

How could I argue with that?
Gnome Update:
And you thought they were so over, huh? So did I. But these dudes don’t exactly ride into the sunset: Recently, I had an email from Etsy.com that featured mini decorated “mushrooms” for your garden. Somehow, I found there were gnomes galore to place with the ‘shrooms. Etsy has more than 5,000 gnome items! You can buy everything from custom, combat, funny, rude or fairy gnomes. Oh, it’s pretty scary, folks. There are petite gnome homes, a crawling zombie gnome, mooning gnomes, a gnome riding a Dachshund, and even a Zen Gnome described as a Buddha Gnome meditating.
My fave is a sign that extols,”Keep Calm and Go Gnome.” Keep Calm? Are you crazy? No, but I will be if these rude dudes won’t go away. The problem is that I want one of those 5,000 gnomes! Stay tuned to The Laugh Laundry to see how this all works out, ok?

Peace, love, Joyly & laughter,
Kathleen

Feeling Groovy at the Haight/Ashbury Street Fair 2014

(Hard to believe that June is almost over, ‘cause this month just sped by SO fast, man. Sometimes it seems like we just got-off the Magic Bus….sooo groovy. Obviously a vehicle of some fun-loving cosmic gods & goddesses (complete with its very own bubbles!), the bus “floated” wannabe hippie tripsters down Haight Street and grooved about the Haight /Ashbury district. (379 amazing people have now read my late May TripAdvisor review as of 6/26. Thank you!) I’m still having “flashbacks” of our tribal guide Gaia. She’s totally beautiful and far-out. Then Father’s Day arrived but seemed like a mere cosmic blip it passed by so quickly.)June1

I had my FABULOUS tie-dye attire ready for weeks before the biggest hippie event of the season. I also assembled an awesome stash of groovy goodies for the old man to consider wearing for the BIG DAY. You know what I’m talking about, right? The 2014 Haight/Ashbury Street Fair, of course!! I mean, what else could it be? (Ringo is NEXT month and I’m countin’ the days.) Every June I hold a dress rehearsal to make sure that I’ve assembled trippy hippie attire that will stop fairgoers in their Birkenstocks, flip-flops or whatever.
I pulled-out all the stops, man, and could hardly wait to party-on- down Haight Street.

Good karma was with us as we easily found a parking space for the Mini Cooper. Apparently, just having the wind-up parking angel in my purse was enough to guarantee us a primo parking spot – we parked very close to this location the previous year. You know what they say: “location, location, location.” (No, I’m NOT gonna provide even a wee hint of this location. The parking angel could be fickle.) The hubby and I walked a couple of blocks to Haight Street and found ourselves closest to Stanyan Street at the edge of Golden Gate Park. A temporary performance stage was situated there and also at the other end of the festivities at Haight and Masonic Avenue.

The music was pumping, and after a necessary visit to the “portaloo” we began to seriously strut our stuff. Then from out of the not-so-colorfully dressed crowd (again!) appeared what I first thought was a mirage. (It was another strange, sunny, HOT day in San Francisco.) But far-out, these two were NOT a mirage at all! I mean, these were two hippie types that appeared to have doused themselves in vats of tie-dye colors before they came to the Fair. Good job I was wearing groovy shades that cut down the glare from the neon colors.

The duo quickly spotted us, waved excitedly, and we soon resembled a scene straight out of a low-budget b-movie where Kumbaya folks race to embrace each other in a state of absolute, utter bliss. (A wee bit over the top, huh? This IS the Laugh Laundry, people!) Then it happened: The sun hit us with full force and the four of us literally created (gasp) a tie-dye tsunami. (Never heard of this phenomenon before, huh?) As we walked together in total tie-dye harmony down a very crowded Haight Street, we mysteriously “sucked” the color right off many a fairgoers tie-dye shirt. I know we were as surprised as you are.

Our newly -found, funky couple was making their very first visit to the Haight/Ashbury Street Fair. About time they traveled up from the South Bay to make an appearance! The hubby and I have been carrying the tie-dye torch for years now. We can’t continue to be the only photo op. Time for another couple to step-up and act as International Hippie Ambassadors, and pose for the endless round of photos. I guess my old man and I are rather famous: This couple told us that fair visitors thought they were us! Observant fairgoers would have noted that this guy was not wearing the turtle hat that my hubby always has perched on his head!

Speaking of photo ops, it felt like the Fair was peppered with paparazzi: Frenzied fairgoers swirled around us with a gazillion cameras clicking. We could not move an inch without excited people asking if they could take our photo. We were used to this –if you can get used to this, that is. But the newbies from the South Bay were obviously feeling the pressure. YOU try smiling for a gazillion photo-devise wielding folks and see how you do. When we spotted our Deadhead friend Annie on the opposite side of the street we parted company saying we would meet again later. When we last saw Annie she was selling her hand-crafted earrings to get some bread (money) for her upcoming trip to England. She would soon be on her way to a Rolling Stones concert in London and to immerse herself in the English culture of her British born grandmother.

She had a jolly good time and proudly posed in a smashing jacket she bought on her holiday. We saw some interesting folks like Captain Rainbow, Interstellar Superhero (his card identifies him as “Neptunius”: 512-415-6619. His Facebook page is also Neptunius. He handed me some rainbow stickers, man. We even had an encounter with a handsome fellow who told us he was Merlin! I don’t know, could be. He sure looked the part. He willingly posed for photos with me and the old man.

We willingly posed for a gazillion more photos with visitors from across the globe. I mean, the tourists looked so happy to see us we were quite pleased to oblige. A man from Madrid, Spain asked me “How do you do it?” I replied, “How do I do what?” He wanted to know how I put outfits together that brought people such joy. What a complement! And that is exactly why I do what I do.

After a blissful repeat visit to “The Love of Ganesha,” we stopped for a light lunch as we slowly made our way back to where we first entered the Fair. (Oh, and I heard some fab music I thought was being played from a loudspeaker Not! They were live. I knew the music was from “It’s a Beautiful Day.” This was a famous San Francisco 60’s band who recorded the amazing song “White Bird.”) Leaning against a fence were the newbies from the South Bay. It was sooo exhausting for them to smile almost non-stop for camera toting tourists, they had to stop and “relax” in a couple of Haight Street watering holes.

They were well-watered by the time we arrived and feeling groovy. The couple had not seen their 20 year old son in over 2 ½ hours. What… They had a son? Oh yeah, he was tall, blond and wearing a Viking horns hat.
Uh-huh. It was time for us to go home to Hayward. They might see us at Jerry Day in August. Uh-huh. Hope they got their kid back. See you next year at the Haight/Ashbury Street Fair.

Peace, love, joy, laughter & feeling groovy,
Kathleen

A Month Made for Magic

Do you remember the 1968 tune “Magic Bus” by the British group The Who? Although it only reached #26 on the Billboard 100, it remains eternally popular with many fans of the band. It also has wide appeal to many with an interest in the psychedelic era, especially the groovy hippie music. That’s where I come in: As a lover of the happy hippie times and especially colorful tie-dye, I had some prior knowledge of a “Magic Bus Experience” in San Francisco, but it was “flying” well under my radar, so to speak. It began in 2008, where was I?

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By now, it must be pretty obvious to long-time readers of this wee bit ‘o’ humor that I compile every month, that the hubby and I enjoy attending, ahem, hippie events. We totally enjoy (maybe, not my old man so much) dressing in tie-dye gear at these street fairs, concerts, and other events. But we had yet to hop on the bus, Gus…oops, that’s another vintage record by Paul Simon!!
It was time for some magic, man.

Various offers for local deals flood my inbox on a regular basis. But I pretty much ignore them. Just not “stuff” that I’m that interested in. But several months ago, one of the “deals” included a “trip” on the Magic Bus. Hellooo, it was two for the price of one. Come on. You know that I was gonna be on this bus, man. Had to do this; It seemed like, some real good karma, and I was not going to miss it.
The whole experience was also good fun, and I’m so glad we went. It’s really a “trippy” theatrical experience created by the folks from Antenna Theater and performed by some very talented artists. Everyone on the Bus (there were German & British tourists on board) is encouraged to participate along with the “Flower-Child” guide du jour. Our “Child” was Gaia, and she trance-ported us back to 1967. Far-out. We got word via email that we were to dress in our grooviest hippie threads. This was hardly a problem for me or the hubby. We so looked the part. I was singing along with the divine Gaia as I knew most of the lyrics to the music from the “Summer of Love.” Groovy, baby!

I don’t want to provide too much detail of this magical experience. Please visit www.MagicBusSF.com for more info. Also, to see my (solicited by Tree Flower) review of the Magic Bus Experience, I ask you to visit:

 

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60713-d1881663-Reviews-Magic_Bus-San_Francisco_California.html

 

I’ve had some 50 folks read my review in only 7 days! Enjoy.

A week or so later we were off to Berkeley for the annual Himalayan Fair. It has to be the most anticipated event in this university town. It certainly is the most colorful. I was disappointed to learn that the folks behind “For the Love of Ganesha” would not have a booth this year: they wanted to see a favorite Indian musician perform on the festival stage. It was a huge bummer, for me, but I understood. However, I was fortunate to visit their glorious shop on Haight Street after we returned from our trip on the Magic Bus. We just wanted to keep the magic flowing that day.

 

The magic was really flowing at the Himalayan Fair. They had over 200 vendors showing a pleasing plethora of Himalayan crafts, while exotic aromas from the numerous food booths permeated the air. We brought our own lunch, but succumbed to the temptation of Indian Gulab Jamun, an especially tasty dessert. We kept our spending down and still had an enjoyable time. My British tie-dye friend was on hand for the fair. She has said “Aloha” (I say Alo-ha-ha-ha) to the Bay Area and now resides in Hawaii. Yes, she still has someone operating her tie-dye booth on Telegraph Avenue, as her groovy goodies are now shipped here directly from Paradise.

Everyone at the fair seemed to act pretty mellow, but it could be because we were in Berkeley, or because Tibetan monks appeared to be everywhere and nobody wanted to mess-up their own personal karma. Or maybe we were just too darn hot. (The pooches in attendance looked so serene. Devotees of the Doggy Lama? ) Who knew the sun-drenched weather was going to require some serious SPF sunblock. I never even put on my sweater. Climate change is pretty obvious to most Bay Area residents, I’d say. We have a severe drought in California. Even the monks seemed surprised at what they likely thought would be chilly weather. The Tibetan prayer flags usually are flapping in a strong breeze later in the afternoon. Not this year.

The only problem for moi was the topography at the fair, as magical as the setting was & still is. The public portaloos were located at the very top of the hilly park, and the vendors were arranged in rows all the way down to the bottom of the hill where the festival stage was erected. The problem is it’s a long way down (and a long climb back-up) and there aren’t any facilities to be found at the bottom anymore. Some neighbors object to the “aromatherapy.” Smells kind of fishy to me.

May really was a month made for magic. Hope you had some of your very own. Wishing everyone a wee bit of magic in their lives.

 

Peace, love, joy, laughter & hoppin’ on your own magic bus,

Kathleen

 

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Hip, Hippity-Hoppin’

A tisket, a tasket
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I want my Easter basket

Filled with nothin’ funny

Just a whole lot ‘o’ spendin’ money

A chocolate rabbit would also be nice

So puleeze make sure you heed my advice

But my nothin’ wasn’t funny

To that grumpy Easter Bunny

So he high-tailed it out of the town

A stand-in bunny cannot be found

 

Then, from far-out, out of nowhere, a hippie hen appears

Rockin’ rainbow curls, some groovy beads & rented rabbit ears

“Why I’ll be happy to bring those Easter treats

I’ll just hip, hippity-hop down your city streets”

A tisket, a tasket

I forgot that rascally rabbit

‘Cause an egg-laying bunny

Just isn’t funny!

 

April has been a great, groovy month. Why there was Earth Day/Mirth Day and a new Easter bonnet for me. (Our Easter weather was just perfect.) We entertained two out-of-town visitors at the awesome Muir Woods National Monument in marvelous Marin County. This peaceful place is like nature’s cathedral. We had a tasty lunch in the hamlet of Muir Beach at a 16th Century Elizabethan English inn (a reproduction, obviously). After a brief visit to the scenic village of Stinson Beach on the beautiful Pacific, and a fog-filled drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, we stopped at a hipster Mission café to sample some hand-crafted desserts created by the pastry chef/owner of one of our visiting friends. All I can say is yum, yum, yum! What a day. I hope April has been great and groovy for all of you.

 

Peace, love, laughter & (colorful) organic, hard-boiled free-range eggs,

Kathleen

 

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Get Your Green On

It was St. Patrick’s Day and my “hippie” home was awash in green. I had covered nearly every visible nook ‘n cranny with as much Gaelic- themed decor as I could muster. Celtic colors decorated most of the house, while a newly set-up photo display honoring my departed ancestors was a true Irish blessing. The living room windows were festooned with a colorful Irish banner, assorted festive decorations, and a plug-in shimmering shamrock flashed far-out patterns in groovy green.
Oh, and don’t even think I would forget to install an Irish-theme flag to fly in front of my house.
rossiesp

Did I mention that I was feeling (and looking) rather green, myself? (I’m not saying it’s a curse or anything like that, but the same thing happened to me LAST St. Paddy’s Day! Where was my “Luck of the Irish,” anyhoo?) Too run-down –and likely too contagious – to travel to our fave Irish pub in Berkeley, all I could do was wait for the old man to bring our St. Pat’s feast home.

As I sat waiting with my dog, Rosie Colleen, I thought I heard a feeble tap on the front door, but I wasn’t sure. Dunno, I might have been feverish or something. The tapping intensified so I went to investigate: SOMETHING was happening, but what? There were wee taps occurring all along the lower half of the screen door! And I had yet to drink even ONE Guinness! I wasn’t going to open that door. No way.
“Kathleen, it’s us, open the door!”

“Say what?” “Kathleen, look down it’s US!” Well, US had this thick Irish brogue, so I asked who US was. “We’re the leprechauns. You asked us to be ready for you this year, remember?” Oops, NOW I did. In 2013 I pleaded, “Leprechauns, puleeze be ready for next year, ok?” I needed their help in finding a parking space a couple of years ago, but not tonight. (Dang, I guess they spotted my Irish Snoopy flag with its pot ‘o gold and they just had to stop.) What would I do?

I hated to send them on their way, but what else could I do? “Howzabout returning next year, OK? I’ll have an entire year to recuperate and get ready for the 2015 ‘Wearing of the Green.’”
After hearing a rather loud “Groaning of the Green,” I suggested they give me bro, Billy Danny, a phone call. .”You guys are way cute and I know how much you want to get your green on. I’m convinced that Billy Danny is from a long-lost leprechaun branch of the family. He’d be up for some silly shenanigans, I bet.” Just call him –puleeeze!!
(Rumor has it they’re still partying. They’ve gotta be pretty darn green by now!)

Wishing you peace, love, joy & all the love and luck of the Irish!
Kathleen

Michael O' Bender's Concord Car Stereo
Michael O’ Bender’s Concord Car Stereo

 

 

 
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stpat

Fifty Years of FABruary!

What a month for celebration! Although I usually don’t watch the annual, over-the-top salute to those who make the music industry far more wealthier than anyone has the right to be – aka The Grammy’s- this year I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. This show now gives-out more awards than I have channels on my TV satellite box. There are so few awards given that I actually care about that I usually tune-out most of the program. However, it was “now time for something completely different,” as was often warbled on the far-out Monty Python’s Flying Circus*. beatles

This year, my beloved Beatles were to be honored for their fab, gear and totally groovy contribution to the American rock music scene. I’ve been a devoted Beatlemaniac since I was a…um…?/&!$$$%%!!!? year -old! (Some kind of computer malfunction must have occurred.) Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Sir Paul McCartney won a Grammy, baby! The Beatles drummer Ringo Starr was also present at the Grammy Awards, looking quite smashing, baby! (Oh, sure, they both brought their wives, but who paid any attention to them?) I just wish that John Lennon and George Harrison were still on the planet. We’ll never forget them. Sir Paul & Ringo performed individually, and they really out-shone the majority of the music “biggies” who performed. (Fuggedaboud rap and hip-hop, cause these English chaps don’t need it!)

The city of New York decided to devote an entire week of celebrating the Fab Four. The airport in NYC even recreated their arrival in the USA, and then dedicated a plaque to commemorate their initial visit to the city. On February 9th, the actual day that the British Beatles first appeared on the “Ed Sullivan Show,” a rock-star tribute to the Boys filmed in L.A. a day post Grammys was shown on CBS. This was the same network that featured the fab foursome 50 years ago.

(FIFTY years? THAT CAN”T be right!!)

Unfortunately, most of the music performed was by Grammy award winners who appeared to be doing their own renditions of Fab Four tunes. Most of them weren’t even around when the Boys were creating their awesome classics. It was absolutely wonderful to see George’s son, Dhani Harrison, a guitar rocker just like his late father perform on live television. The “kid” looks just like George! While John Lennon’s son Sean was in the audience with mother, Yoko Ono, he did not perform. Sean’s older half-brother Julian was off helping needy people in Africa, which John would certainly praise. I want to praise the far-out showmanship of Sir Paul & Ringo: Well-done I say.

And then I had the DREAM:
“Peace & love, Kathleen…Peace & love,” said the ravishing Ringo as he boogied on down to me exhibiting his signature peace sign. “It’s been awhile, hasn’t it love? Didn’t you and your sister last see the Beatles in ??!!oops-oops-mayday-mayday!!??” (Contact tech support? Naaaaah). “Are you going to see my show in July? It’s going to be far-out and groovy, baby. You need to be there. You just must know the way to San Jose.” Then suddenly, far-out of nowhere, my old man appeared, and I belted-out a Beatles tune I needed him to hear:

Henry you can drive my car (a Mini Cooper!),
Please let me see Ringo Starr
Cause Henry if you drive my car
I’ll try not to bug you!
Don’t be cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap, yeah!!

Ringo grew excited like many a Beatles fan back in the day, screaming: “Wow, such talent. You rock, Kathleen. PLEEZE join my band!!”

My old man objected. “But he believes in peace & love & ME –and he gives peace signs JUST LIKE ME!! And I’ve always wanted to be in a band!!

I awakened from my dream surprised to find myself dressed in ab/fab Beatlemaniac attire. Nothing dead grotty for moi, baby. Surrounded by my many Beatle books, albums, and a plethora of fan paraphernalia, I was even making my signature peace sign, with all my fingers covered in bling rings, ala Ringo Starr!! Where did those rings come from? That was one magical mystery dream, man.

Just before St. Valentines Day the old man came through: I’m gonna see Ringo and his band, baby!! I probably won’t be joining his gigs with the band, however. A real bummer. But please look for me flashing my signature peace sign in his direction. I’ll be wearing complete Beatle Bling to this event, so you’ll have NO trouble recognizing me. Peace & love, man, peace & love.

What a month for celebration! The Beatles, Valentines Day, the festive Lunar New Year & a visit by the Dalai Lama to the Bay Area. “All you need is love, love is all you need, love is all you need, oh, yeah!”

Peace, love, laughter & yeah! yeah! yeah!,
Kathleen

* The British “Monty Python Flying Circus” troupe is celebrating 50 years of making outrageous comedy together. Google them and get a giggle.
valentine

rosie02

Happy New Year! Well, we’re off and running…or not. (2014 isn’t a race, even if it feels like it!) The husband and I spent New Year’s Eve with the Deadheads, just not as many as usual. And not even at the Bill Graham as we have for several years now. We did go to San Francisco, however, and were surprised at how light the traffic was. No doubt in my mind: NO FURTHUR CONCERT, man.
joy
(The “boys” have decided to stay off the concert tour circuit for an entire year! I know, it’s a real bummer for Deadheads in the SF Bay Area. We have been privileged with so much access to Phil & Bobby’s shows. We even have Mickey Hart come on down fairly regularly to perform. And Bill Kreutzmann will soon be well enough to drum again.)

This year – we wanted to get our “Grateful Dead” fix – the hubby and I went to see Stu Allen & Mars Hotel, a DEADicated cover band. The venue was quite small, but the owners somehow packed-‘em in, I say. The joint was jumpin’ and sold-out, too. This band was SO worth the modest price of admission. These talented musicians headline at Jerry Day every year and are truly amazing. Stu sounds just like Jerry Garcia. Although I missed all the color and hippie pizzazz of the Bill Graham, especially the Midnight festivities, I had fun nonetheless. It was a groovy way to begin a new year.
PS: We even found some fun & funky friends from Jerry Day, and chatted with a woman we recognized from the Furthur show in Berkeley!!

Bunnies AND Bears in Berkeley?

We never know what to expect when we visit Berkeley. I’ve told my hubby to always bring his camera with him, lest we miss a good photo op –they’re everywhere! On two separate occasions we’ve encountered a woman who carries a gorgeous bunny rabbit! (Alas, he forgot the camera.) I mean, this is one cuddly wabbit. She told me that being a Berkeley bunny, he attends protests & holds his paw up in solidarity, man. A peace bunny living in Berkeley? Really? Hey, why not? The only “real” bears in Berkeley are the Cal Bear players, but I had the hubby take photos of some pretty life-like bears that might just put a smile on your face. I can find joy any month of the year in this fascinating town.
bbear

lbear

The San Francisco Bay Area has been experiencing balmy January weather joy, albeit with a modicum of guilt. Yeah, I know that vast areas of the USA are inundated with snow, ice & cold temps. My “baby” lives in Watertown, New York, where they experienced the coldest mornings in America last week. Wednesday it was 37 degrees BELOW ZERO, and on Friday morn it was 30 below!! (My son told me he was SURE that he spotted some Eskimos in town. I dunno…Could be.)

Meanwhile, whether layin’ back on a sun-drenched beach, or hangin’at a backyard barbeque, or by merely hummin’ an ice-cream van’s musical tune as it slowly rolls down your street, a Californian knows it’s supposed to be RAINING!! A priest in Berkeley even asked the congregation to please pray for some snow & rain. (Heavy snow falls in the Sierra Nevada Mountains to fill local reservoirs with much-needed water as it melts.)
Heavy precipitation is what we need. We don’t need no steenkin’ drought.
I’m gonna enjoy this unseasonable warmth while it lasts.
Hey, is that an ice-cream van playing a Grateful Dead tune, or did I just imagine it? I dunno…Could be.

There is so much stress among the populace, but apparently not with the popular Pope Francis. He is always smiling & has a great sense of humor. In fact, comedian Stephen Colbert (the host of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central) was having a bit of fun with the Prelate: Stephen called him a “hippie” and showed a photo of Francis wearing total tie-dye! Far-out. I loved it! My husband, official photographer of The Laugh Laundry, took a picture off the TV set & it is totally groovy. However, I could not find a way to contact Mr. Colbert or anyone involved with his show to get permission to use it. What a bummer. So I guess you’ll just have to visit the Colbert website if you want to see it. Sorry.

To help you deal with stress I contacted Father Al Moser, C.S.P. for his permission to use something from a Sunday bulletin he authored several months ago. Fuggedaboud Stephen Colbert cause Fr. Al is the real deal. He ought to know something about stress reduction after teaching relaxation exercises for SIXTY years! The wise and wonderful Father Al is 90 years young. Get some joy from Fr. Al’s
“Amusing Stress Reduction Maxims:”

“If you can’t be kind, at least have decency to be vague.”

“Since it’s the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.”

“The second mouse gets the cheese.”

“Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.”

“When everything’s coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.”

“A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.”

“Accept that some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue.”

Amen to that. Now let’s give thanks to Father Al.

I began this post with Happy New Year, and I’m ending with it: This time it’s Happy Chinese New Year, or Gung Hay Fat Choy. Tis time to honor the Horse in the Chinese Zodiac.
Wonder if I’ll be seeing any horses in Berkeley? I dunno…Could be!
buddha

Peace, love, JOY & laughter,
Kathleen

Rosie Colleen’s Letter to Santa

Oh, please, please, Dear Santa Paws,

Give me a lip- smacking doggie bone that I’ll adore
& I won’t mess -up Mom & Dad’s home anymore.P1110450

I really need something extra yummy to chew
Mommy won’t let me lick her designer new shoe.

A tiara or two would also be nice
But a princess pet bed would likely suffice.

If you get me a collar, please make it chichi
Diva Dogs always howl when they look at me.

And please bring dad a new wide-screen TV.
We recline together while he cuddles with me.

R-u-u-u-ve you, Rosie
PeeS: Mommy hopes you had a Merry Crimble (John Lennon) & wants you to have a very Hippie New Year!

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