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March Madness: Leprechauns vs. Bunnies

Have you ever heard the saying “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb”? Well at MY house it was more like March comes in like a laughing leprechaun and goes (far) out chased by a bunch of bunnies with a loony lamb.  I kid you not (not!). March was one chaotic month, man.

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      Rosie Colleen McShepherd

(You probably know by now that I could be labeled a serial decorator. I don’t decorate with cereal – I eat it. But who knows the decorating potential inherent in an entire boxful of colorful Fruity Loops. Or perhaps a lovely untouched bowl of crispy flakes?  A wee bit over the top? Yes! But I will give it future consideration.)

A laughing leprechaun reminded me that Saint Patrick’s Day was nearly over the rainbow and I’d better be decorating for the big day. Since this particular day is also the passing of me dear dad (15 years), I wanted to do him proud. Enough of this blarney: I wanted to decorate for myself and for all my Irish ancestors that came – and decorated -before me. I hope all of you like the photos you see. March is the month that really brings out the green in me.  My doggie diva, “Rosie Colleen” loves St. Paddy’s almost as much as moi. You can tell by looking at her glam photo. (OK, we did have to bribe her with leftover corned beef. She was even willing to dance an Irish Jig for an entire chunk with cabbage.)
“Rosie Colleen, you back away from that Irish coffee!!!  And don’t slurp me Guinness again either!”

The past couple of years I always seemed to be down with a heavy-duty cold or some unwanted virus, and found myself unable to celebrate in our fave Irish pub. You may recall that in previous years we “hired” a leprechaun who was willing to find the hubby and moi a parking space. Parking spaces in Berkeley are becoming more difficult to find what with population growth and a lot more (or so it seems) thirsty Cal students. Although I was running a little ragged I was dressed to shamrock ‘n roll in 2016 and nothing was going to stop me.
The traffic was madness per usual, and I can’t believe how craycray traffic has become in the East Bay. But the Luck ‘o the Irish was working for me that evening: Even without a leprechaun or the Parking Angel I forgot at home, we pulled the Mini into the best, I mean primo parking spot EVER.  A group of departing revelers newly left a space for us practically in front of the  pub’s door. We did have to claw our way through a crowd of costumed Irish dancers waiting on the sidewalk before their pub performance, however. It was so worth it.  We also had to claw our way inside the pub as well. It was that packed, it was. People of all ages from happy hippies to many wee ones, and all having a grand time it seemed.

We were so very pleased to hear the band “Driving with Fergus” after our brief interruption of going to the pub.  Their enlivening Irish melodies were in harmony with the aromatherapy of long- simmering corned-beef and the co-mingling of Guinness guzzlers. Come on. We’re talking Berkeley here, people!  P.S. We were recognized by Tom Murphy, esteemed host of the annual Jerry Day birthday celebration in San Francisco! He appreciated the fact that we are festively- dressed regulars at this most high holy day for Deadheads. We wouldn’t have it any other way, would we Henry?

A few days later I was visited by the creeping crud, even though I thought I had held it back this year. (I did feel rather ragged on St. Pat’s, remember?)  But I had to decorate for Easter ‘cause it was less than a week away. Now, the leprechauns (two) did not want to make way for any wascally wabbits. And they sure as heck weren’t gonna leave to make room for any Easter bunnies. Or so they said. (I did NOT touch a drop of any leftover Guinness.)

The leprechaun from me mantle said they better leave his pot ‘o gold alone.  They both loved the flashing shamrock lights hanging in the living room window. As I unbundled the bunnies the “leps” got a wee bit testy and were ready to pull out their “hares.” Tee hee.  Rosie Colleen began to chase the “leps” and the “hares,” and then leapt with the lamb which quickly went into hiding. “Silly lamb,” said Rosie. (I may have been feverish, folks.)

After St. Paddy’s reluctant departure for greener pastures, and soon after the leprechauns high-tailed it out of town, my Easter décor was finished in time for the neighbors to admire. The hubby and I had a fab Easter brunch, a wonderful restaurant dinner with family, and I wore a groovy red hat that me bro Billy Danny sent from Chicago. A stylin’ friend of his admired photos of hats that I have worn and personally embellished a beauty for moi!  Such a lucky an gracious gift, I’m pleased to say.

I had one crazy month of March Madness where I devoured both gobs of Irish Soda bread and Hot Cross Buns less than two weeks apart. ( whole lotta raisins going on)  I went from St. Patrick’s Day attire to Easter attire in the same timeframe. And somehow I managed to keep my decorating cred intact without missing a beat.

Peace, love, joy, laughter & yer very own Luck ‘o the Irish,
Kathleen  **

Leap, Tweet, Love

Did you remember that 2016 is a leap year? That means that the month of February has a bonus extra day. Yeah, you likely also know that February is the shortest month of the year even with an extra day added to the calendar. Even an extra day isn’t nearly enough with SO many celebrations packed into just twenty-nine, twenty-four hour days, man.

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(There was also that leeetle accident that smushed me fingers in the door of the family sedan (*#$%! ouch, ouch!!); the black & bruising left me unable to do much in the way of typing until now.)

Because of this celebratory overload I found myself leapin’ from one holiday to the next. I could barely keep up with the massive amount of decorating I had to contend with. First there was the Irish Feast of St. Bridget, for which (with great shame) I did NOT do any Celtic décor this year at all. Puleeeeze forgive me! My departed mother would not forgive me if I did not commemorate her & me dad’s wedding anniversary on the Feast of St. Blaize which soon followed. I put a battery-operated candle in the living room window for her big day, so I should be OK.

If you recall, that’s the scary feast day (for me!) where an enthusiastic priest blesses your throat with two crossed candles. I’m not sure if they still do this, ahem, slightly bizarre ceremony anymore. I was a child then and things have since changed a wee bit in the Church. (Although the candles were unlit, I was always afraid the priest remembered me from confession- I went once a week- and would be temped to choke me with those suckers.)

Things really began to really get rollin’ with so many different Asian Lunar New Year cultures celebrating practically at the same time. One thing that Chinese, Vietnamese, and Tibetans had in common this time around was the animal that symbolizes prosperity and luck in the coming year for their people. This year they share in the cute, cuddly and curious Fire Monkey. Man of man, did I try to festoon my home with items from all three cultures: I don’t know that I even pulled it off. It seems that as soon as I got one culture done it was time to move on to the next. From hanging Buddhist bells to flinging New Orleans beads, I just enjoy decorating. “Rosie Colleen” however, was not down with the beads I festooned her neck with. Such a doggy diva, she is.

On to Mardi Gras: Let the good times roll. It could have all been in my imagination. A margarita or two will do that to you. Or so I’ve heard. I was leapin over the remnants of celebrations left and right. Or was it right and left? Dunno. Totally tripped right over those flung beads, I did. Of course, there was President’s Day, but sadly, that is pretty much an excuse to spend a Monday holiday shopping at the mall. I don’t even know if most folks know which two presidents the official holiday is named for! I know that Lincoln’s birthday is February 12 and George Washington’s comes on the 22nd. (It was because we got cherry pie for dessert, that’s why I know that.) Don’t know if they have ever done anything special for old Abe Lincoln. And that’s the pits.

Valentine’s Day had me tweeting like a bird. Ya know, like Tweety Bird, flyin’ on the flagpole outside my front door. No rain drops at all fell on this flag during February because love was in the air. And it was SO dry. Warm, too. An ice cream truck played an addictive little tune as it drove past my house on at least three days (count ‘em) during a beautifully balmy week. I did NOT ask him to stop. No, I resisted because it was soooo close to dinnertime. (At least that’s what I tell myself.)
Howzabout THAT, Saint Bridget?!

February pretty much came to an end with the 73rd birthday of the late George Harrison, the quiet Beatle. Of course I had to prepare a celebratory dinner, I really did. Fish and Chips, mushy peas (it’s an English thing), Cotswold Cheese, and a grand finale of Devon Custard topped with authentic clotted cream with a touch of grated chocolate for glamor. Smashing!
When George passed he was a vegetarian. He USED to eat fish with his “chippies,”
he did. As for me, I’m an aquatofuvegankaletarian (organic, fair trade) with a definite weakness for cappafrappalattemochachinos, heavily whipped. But I had a beer to drink with my dinner for George.

I love to discuss my long-lasting love for everything Beatles, so I want to inform my readers that there is a 24 hour webcam in London that covers the famous crosswalk on Abbey Road that once featured a zany walk by the Fab Four. Their groovy Beatles crossing photo graced the cover of their “Abbey Road” album from the late 60’s. I walked cross this very intersection myself, my camera-toting British friend taking my photo. Nearly was run-over by speeding drivers. The photos are now missing, but when I find one you will get to view it!
(See hubby’s photo of a supersized crosswalk in Berkeley, CA; they have several British style roundabouts as well in town.)
I feel a little bit of a voyeur sitting at my computer half a world away and watching all the people milling about as well as all the crazy traffic. The weekends are especially fun as you see many Beatle fans trying to recreate the Fab Four photo. I saw a man who was dressed exactly like John Lennon in the original photo shoot. He was wearing a white suit and had long dark hair as did John. No, I don’t believe it was him!
If you would like to take a look at this webcam yourself, please go to
http://www.onabbeyroad.com/cam.htm It’s jolly good fun.

Next month I’ll likely be leaping over leprechauns and bunnies. Until then…
peace, love, joy & laughter,
Kathleen

P2010268aA week or so into January, after all the Christmas décor had been boxed and hidden away, I developed my annual case of the post-holiday blues. After all, there isn’t much at all to celebrate during the long first month of the brand new year. I apologize if your birthday falls during the month. Have at it: At least you have a reason to celebrate. But what am I to do? I’m a habitual holiday celebrator/ decorator. I’ve got it so bad that there isn’t much of anything in my home that I won’t festoon for a holiday high. (It’s OK “Rosie”… you can come out of hiding.)

Oh, like you don’t know what I’m talking about. Take Santa and his elves off the shelf now. Tell them to return to the North Pole immediately. (But do it nicely, OK?) There is w-a-a-a-y too much time between Christmas/New Year and St. Valentine’s Day. Oh, yeah. I tried reading “The Joy of Quinoa Cookery” (I hope that’s not an actual title!), and found no joy in it…nothing I would want to cook or eat at all. My husband cried and laughed with relief. At least he found some joy in not having any quinoa recipes to eat. Then again, he should not have bought that puffer coat for me as a Christmas gift.

My post- holiday “condition” even caused me to misread some emails: One of them discussed ways to “Stop the torture of sleep depravation.” I read it as sheep depravation. Obviously, I am feeling deprived. I’m totally deprived of the joy of celebrating and decorating, man. It makes me feel so alive. The hubby doesn’t share my affinity for holiday decorating OR celebrating. He’s hibernating (HIDEernating) in his man cave until Valentines Day and Easter and who knows what else have passed! (He knows I’ll make him come out at least for Valentine’s Day. Puleeeze buy me some bling with a little extra zing, alright?)

This January has also been burning up my email server with a plethora of political pleas. Everyone enJOYed begging for much moula. Hellooo, I’m not rolling in dough, you really ought ta know. And please don’t get me started on the wacky Northern California weather scene! Actually, DO get me started on the weather. It’s been crazy train. We’ve had everything from meh to marvelous. Yesterday we had warm sun, rain, wild wind, hail –I saw it! – including a dusting of snow on Bay Area mountains. All this occurred in the space of one day. Amazing how the temp dropped. A few of the tourists here ahead of the Super Bowl dropped from the shock of this crazy weather phenomenon, too. Or so I’ve heard. Some had just unpacked their swimsuits in anticipation of a refreshing swim in the Pacific Ocean. Hang ten, tourist. Remember that Tourist Boards tend to exaggerate a wee bit. They are also seeking joy in January.

“Rosie Coleen” is all psyched for the coming Super Bowl partay. I found her dressed in football finery this morning. She put a groovy ensemble together, dontcha think? She would have worn matching socks, but she chewed the other socks to bits in her furried football frenzy.

According to Rosie: This morning I put on my football bling –
Just doing my doggy diva thing –
My mommy told me, just so you know-
That I could get dolled-up for this great big Bowl-
I’m ready to play, so ready to roll-
You think I’m too old for the Puppy Bowl??

Stay tuned for February, because I’m so ready to rock…Rosie too! Peace, love, JOY& laughter, Kathleen

Keep Calm and Christmas On

What’s up with The Twelve Days of Christmas? Isn’t December 25th enough already? Who needs an additional twelve days of cleaning, cooking, Christmas cookie baking (I’ve padlocked the door to the kitchen, kids), and decorating for all those extra days?? Come on.

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Think you could acquire the items on that list? Can you afford even one golden ring, let alone five? Hello, are you a Kardashian? Didn’t think so. Fuggedaboud Six Geese a-Laying. I would probably go with six geezers. I know my old man would volunteer to lie around. Seven Swans a-swimming? Are you crazy? After four years of drought? And if (as if) I could manage to find ten of them, tell me why I would even allow Ten Lords a-Leaping in Castle Bender? I shudder to think of the damage they would do.

An emergency call to Martha Stewart just might work though….yeah, sure.

Still, I did my best to KCACO, despite the fact that Mom Nature just forgot to cooperate. Holiday shopping was put on the back burner next to the Hot Toddies. (I like me holiday libations.) The weekend weather sucked. Well, actually, it was rather cold & drizzly which made it difficult to shop at the annual Telegraph Ave. Holiday Street Fair. Not all of my fave crafters were in evidence when we attended. However, we were photographed by a fab & friendly chap who was kind enough to email our pics. We did look groovy, baby. I also discovered a photo of the hubby and moi on this hipster’s website: Click on the “glasses” category for a groovy view of us two:
http://www.memorybanque.com
Hope you were able to Keep Calm and Christmas On:

It’s only once a year

A fabulous day for spiked eggnog and slurping suds o’ beer

A day to celebrate much peace and joy
(Even though my inner child didn’t get a toy, oh boy)

(Did I mention it only comes once a year?)

Relax, you still have over 300 shopping days left, I hear

So Keep Calm and Christmas on and on and on…

Let’s cheer this season, there’s really nuttin’ to fear!

Henri and moi spent the last evening of 2015 at former Grateful Dead member Phil Lesh’s entertainment and drinking/dining venue located in San Rafael, California: Terrapin Crossroads. It’s far-out. Phil himself was performing in New York State as PL and Friends, his long-time side band. Giving their NYE best while performing in The Grate Room at Terrapin were Stu Allen and Mars Hotel. Band leader Stu is a well-loved performer at Terrapin Crossroads and other Bay Area concert venues that feature Dead cover bands. He covers them well, man. Rock on! (Hubby could not record a decent video as we were too close to the bands massive speakers…bummer.)

Fun evening and a wild and crazy month. 2015 ended with a Champagne toast and free grilled cheese sammies. Not too shabby (chic). See you in January (late).

Peace, love, joy & laughter,
Kathleen

 

A final note: Thank you Henry for returning that over-sized puffer coat you gave me for Xmas. I so don’t want to look like The Michelan Tire Man!!

 

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Talking Turkey

Not long ago on a Thanksgiving Day

In an unknown galaxy like, so far away

I dreamed there flew a pumpkin pie (oh, my!)

adorned with whipped cream, soaring high in the sky

I seriously wondered how a turkey would taste

all roasted and basted up there in outer space

I imagined a feast with a scrumptious aroma

enough to induce a fast-food coma

Then I woke-up, what else could I do

My mom served me “turkey” made of sculpted TOFU!!

Never, ever let this happen to YOU.

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Is everyone recovered from their thanksgiving feast?
You may have detected a wee bit of a science-fiction theme in my Thanksgiving fantasy. A certain popular movie is making a return after many, many years. The merchandising is over-the-moon, shall we say. So much stuff they would like you to buy, oh, my! And with so many retailers pushing the over-priced goods, be ready for “Store Wars.” Meanwhile, the sky is likely to be jammed with drone camera “toys” for boys of all ages. This could lead to “Soar Wars.” Just hope that the predicted holiday marshmallow shortage (made that up) doesn’t result in “S’more Wars.” Stay tuned.

Peace, love, the joy in living, giving, & forgiving

Kathleen (Don’t forget the laughter, man.)

October Means Celebrations!

The San Francisco Giants were absent from the National League Playoffs this October, and although they are no longer the 2015 World Series Champions (next year, baby!) that doesn’t mean I had nothing to celebrate. (OK, the Bay Area –especially Oakland and the entire East Bay- did have the Golden State Warriors win the big trophy and basketball championship for their long-suffering fans just a few months back. There was even a joyous par-tay with a fantastic parade to celebrate their AWESOME win. You rock, Steph Curry!!).

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October meant a lot of birthday and anniversary cakes. (I did NOT worry about the calories as I applied them directly to my hips. Back off Rosie!! Stop licking your chops. The leftover cakes have left the building, and no essence remains on my hips!) The first to celebrate would have been the 75th birthday of the late John Lennon. Seventy-five! How can that be? His signature saying, “Give Peace a Chance” continues to resonate with all peace loving people. John’s “Imagine” is an anthem to many. So I had to honor the day of his birth in a meaningful way.
With an English-style dinner, I say.

I festooned the dinner table with assorted Lennon related memorabilia (see the photo of the smashing shrine I created in the living room). I then slaved in me kitchen to make a proper English meal, I did. Quaffed some bottled Shandy, and finished with a sumptuous dessert which you will recall I applied to my hippie hips-so no calories, man. John Lennon music was played (loudly) for hours. John, I miss you. There will be more on this Beatles legend in my December post, so stay tuned. No, you don’t have to visit a guitar shop to do that. “Yeah,yeah,yeah,yeah.”

The hubby and I celebrated a wedding anniversary this month. Don’t ask how many years, OK? Let’s just say that there have been a few. This year the big day was also a national holiday, so let’s just say that two of the dining establishments I fancied were closed for the day and evening. What a bummer. Even a restaurant coupon at a chichi French place in Berkeley was void on national holidays. What was I (the hubby likes coupons cause he’s like cheap), um, I mean, what were we going to do? I wanted to dine close to the Bay. HE likes to catch his dinner in the Bay; I told you he was cheap. We decided on an old family favorite located on the Oakland Estuary situated in a beautifully restored 19th Century lighthouse. It’s very picturesque place with huge windows that can be slid wide open on warm days.

Henry soon discovered his fishing rod wasn’t long enough to drop down into the swirling water. We had to order from the regular menu.

As an unexpected bonus, some University of California rowing teams were training in the open waters of the Estuary. (I wish I had had binoculars so I could better see … their oars, man, just their oars.) There was even a man on a surfboard with a paddle who looked like he may have been in the middle of his evening commute. Could be, I dunno. I finished my elegant meal with a rather sexy dessert: Crème Brulee. Bon Appetite!

For my birthday I fancied a proper British high tea. I’ve enjoyed afternoon and cream teas in England, Ireland, upstate New York, San Francisco and Marin County, California. All were lovely. Because I had an urge to take tea close to the sea, my hubby made a reservation at Lovey’s Tea Shoppe in Pacifica, California. Never go driving with a man who believes the female voice in the GPS is telling the truth. She was wrong –again! We were driving around in circles and I was getting dizzy. The chick giving directions was just plain ditsy.

 

Unfortunately we were a wee bit late, but no one had been seated at our “Reserved for the Queen” table. I felt like royalty at this quaint tea cottage. The décor was fun and funky, while the wait staff was friendly and warm. The owner brought me a complementary petit four iced with purple frosting and topped with a candle. She wanted to match the icing with the color of my ensemble. (That’s a fancy pants word for whatever I decided to wear that day.) Whatever, the food, the tea, and sweet treats were smashing. After doing a wee bit of birthday shopping both in and outside the Shoppe, this Queen Kathleen had a jolly good time. Rockaway Beach on the Pacific Ocean is just around the corner. Be sure to make a visit there. Catch some surfers, seagulls galore, and people fishing or catching some sun rays. Pacifica is well worth visiting…again and again.

More cake on my old man’s b-day three days later. By then I had applied so many cakes to my hips I was beginning to waddle. I needed a Margarita. In fact, I needed to drink two. I was trying to forget about my hips. Aye, aye, aye. Finally, the October celebrations came to an end with Halloween. Rosie Colleen decked herself up in a FABULOUS canine costume. Veerry witchy, she was. She insists you like her photos- or else. I insist you like my fall decorating – or else. I was born at the witching hour. Witching all of you a FABULOUS fall.
Peace, love, joy & laughter, Kathleen

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A Sizizling September

September was a month for sizizling. Northern California either had days upon days of intense heat with uncharacteristic humididity (Ya mean you never experienced this, huh?) and such extreme dryness that I convinced myself I’d been transported to the Mojave Desert. Maybe even to the Sahara. It was that hot. Yeah, I know we’ve been enduring drought conditions for far too long, but I know rolling tumbleweeds when I see them. Perhaps that dead lawn a neighbor replaced with assorted colorful cacti is merely a mirage. Dunno.

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(Howzabout we replace some actual dry desert with moist, yummy dessert? With something, anything containing chocolate! NOT as crazy as it sounds.)

(The excess temps and bone dry conditions (not the bones that dogs chew) affected my doggie diva Rosie’s talented tail. We are talking a tail that was way too bushy and stiff as a porcupine. No way to gather any dust with that. My pooch wants me to furget about opening any Rosie’s Doggie Diva Dusting ™ franchises until the drought is so over. She hopes y’all understand. Go get a Dust Bunny.)

You may recall our visit to San Francisco last month. Yeah, another sizizling day that is becoming the new norm in the Bay Area. We headed out to revisit the old neighborhood where we once lived with our two boys. The main drag in the hood reminded me of a mini Malibu Beach. There were palm trees galore, while parked at the end of the avenue is a new traffic circle festooned with some very groovy mosaic-tiled surfboards (that’s what they looked like to moi). Unfortunately for me, the historical remodeled bathrooms were locked! Not good for my bladder (The hubby and I enjoyed an over-sized Iced Café Mocha (including whipped cream topping heavy on the chocolate sprinkles – yes, yes, yes!) minutes earlier from a local coffee place. Now I had to sprinkle.

We discovered newer, still open restrooms a bit up the road at a surfer community hot spot. After blessed relief (amen to that) , we doubled back to drive past our former residence. It looked exactly the same in an established neighborhood that is undergoing significant change. I’m totally jazzed with the hip beachfront village vibe.
Just puleeeze keep the facilities open, man!

This September we attended the second annual Berkeley Shakedown Street Festival. It’s now been expanded to two days! Far -out. Last year it was held in the middle of October and the temp was sizzling. This year’s festival was on the 12th and 13th of the month, but this time the whole vibe was absolutely sizizling. (OK, I made that up.) We only went to the Saturday event ‘cause we are still recovering from all that intense Grateful Dead exposure to our bods and pocketbooks.

But man, it was so worth it. Remember our Deadhead friend Annie? We thought she might have moved as so many folks have had to do. She was nowhere to be seen at the Haight St. Fair this past June. We missed seeing her. She didn’t move! Yay! For some reason she experienced a severe shortage of her unique crafted wares, but plans on attending next year. We could not miss seeing her at Shakedown Street, with her bright red locks and amazing tie-dye colors. Lots of familiar faces on hand, and lots of funky, fun booths to visit. I didn’t spend a lot cause I didn’t have a lot to spend. Probably just as well, huh? I did purchase a vibrant tie-dye scarf from the fun folks at Psychedelic Clothesline. Say what? We saw them at the Haight St. Fair and I told Charmaine (Robert and Charmaine) I would make a purchase in Berkeley. I bought a sale item, OK? The dynamic duo is chock full of fun and possess an abundance of creativity. Their finished work is truly one of a kind. Robert even has his own tie-dye school: It’s called Tie Dye Youniversity, man. (www.Facebook.com/PsychedelicClothesline and www.Etsy.com/shop/PsychedelicTieDyes

The festival attendees were a diverse bunch. Not only were the (un)usual suspects of wacky, colorful Deadheads present, but the festival also had an international flavor. We met visitors from several foreign locales including a young French woman who sounded a wee bit British; she now lives in London, I say. Bender and I were told we could be ambassadors for the City of Berkeley by an out-of-state couple. We did look pretty groovy. Posed for lots of photos, even with some vendors! Take a peak at the website for “Very Fairy Events.” They do festivals, private parties, community events & “Fairy Bombs!” What that is I cannot say. (www.facebook.com/veryfairyevents) Their face painting really rocks!

The music was groovy enough to warm a hippie heart. Henry recorded a small amount of Grateful Dead tune. He was very close to the stage, and you will see who was really getting down as he filmed. This Dead tune was one performed by the Scott Guberman Band. Enjoy. Several young fans selling gorgeous flower power headbands added their particular style of hippie magic to the scene. They sell groovy embellished umbrellas as well. They seemed quite jazzed to pose for photos with us. Be sure to see their photo on my June post as well as September. They smiled and enthusiastically waved to us when we reluctantly left the festival. I’m so ready for next year. Et tu, Henry?

A little extra gift for youse readers: Stephen Colbert is back, baby! Not on the Colbert Report, but on the CBS Late Show. If you have always wanted a doctorate of your very own, but don’t have the time or moola to obtain this valuable sheepskin, Stephen wants to help. I now have an absolutely legit doctoral degree courtesy of the Late Show and Stephen Colbert! You can print them directly from the Late Show website. I’m presenting a couple of examples. Just print, baby.
Peace, love, joy, Grateful Dead & total tie-dye, baby,

Kathleen

 

*

August began with the birthday of the late Jerry Garcia. It always does, man. Only this year is the 20th anniversary of his untimely passing. Hard to believe it’s been twenty years. Unfortunately time doesn’t only fly when you’re having fun. (I’m still waiting for calories to fly right outta my body when I’m really having fun: Like eating vats of luscious lasagna (Veggie is OK, right?), chucking down entire chocolate cheesecakes, and wasting away –including my waistline – in Margaritaville.) NOT like this could ever happen, huh?

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But we ALWAYS have fun at Jerry Day! It’s just that word of this free event seems to have gone viral, or global, or maybe even cosmic! (I did see some funky folks who looked like they may have come from a galaxy, far, far, away.) There were so many people packed in the park. I tried to tell the hubby that we needed to get to McLaren Park post-haste, but he did not listen. The recent Grateful Dead concerts in Santa Clara and Chicago only held so many fans, after all. And a lot of Deadheads were not as fortunate as the old man and moi in getting concert tix. (The old man does not feel all that fortunate, however, just broke.)

The old man thinks we will always get a primo parking spot if only we go in my Mini Cooper. He’s been correct-o every year since we first flew the Cooper over the San Mateo Bridge, and up into McLaren Park. This year, however, I’ve never seen so many decorated cars, tripped-out hippie vans and marvelous motorbikes parked like some kind of crazy quilt. Somehow hubby managed to guide the Mini into a too small space. If you even wondered about the Parking Angel, she decided to stay home, so our vehicle must have been protected by some way groovy Rock gods, man.
They say the music never dies, and I do believe in the Rock gods, too. Huh, Jerry?

I’ve said before that my hubby is quite the rock photographer. When he remembers to charge his camera, he is, that is. Jerry Day was a bummer in the summer for photos. He did manage to snap a few and let’s hope y’all enjoy them. He took a photo of the mother and son duo that are kind enough to save us seats in the bleachers. They made it to Santa Clara for a final show. Yay! Although people may not get the word about donning colorful threads to the Haight-St. Fair, Deadheads are down with color: helloooo, tie-dye! Next year I will personally see to it that the camera is over-charged if I have to, dagnabbit. The music was grand, and Jerry’s older brother Tiff was groovin’ in the stands. Although there was so much sand covering the winding path to and from the amphitheatre it could all have just been a mirage, man.

Because of the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Grateful Dead, the band members were on hand for the annual Dead night at AT&T Park in San Fran. The last time we attended the ballgame we nearly became Eskimos because it was so cold. (We spotted some real Eskimos who looked quite content.) Now, with climate change going on, we talked to some Canadians who were confused by our now balmy weather. Join the club, eh? The Giants won! Lately, not so much. I was so busy eating garlic fries and a sensuous chocolate ice cream sundae. (I may have moaned a wee bit. What garlic-chocoholic wouldn’t?) I wouldn’t have noticed. And, no, garlic fries with a chocolate sundae –with whipped cream, nuts, and a big red cherry on top to boot is so not weird. This time the old man had a charged camera on hand. Unfortunately for you guys he was so enamored by the scenic views that he hardly got any photos of groovy Deadheads.
Luckily, for him, that is, he managed to get some FAB-U-LOUS pictures of moi!

If you are a fan of the great crooner Tony Bennett, you will be very happy when the Giants win home games, because his famous tune, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” reverberates through the ballpark Well, it’s the record, of course. Ya can’t expect Le Tony to be present for every home game, now can you? The man is busy, baby.
It was time to leave, but my old man was busy photographing seagulls who had patiently waited for their nightly fan leftovers buffet. Don’t buy what you can’t eat, folks. Some of the gulls were so big they might be eating baseball fans. I wanted to avoid that.
It was so groovy seeing Hunter Pence and Buster Posey. Yeah, seeing the Grateful Dead is always groovy.

It had been many years since we last made the trek to Sharon Meadow in Golden Gate Park for The Festival of the Chariots. It’s a colorful Hindu event, run by the devotees at the Temple for Krishna Consciousness in Berkeley. I thought it was high time we made a return visit. And the hubby was up for the free vegetarian feast. Totally yummy. It was another warm, humid day in San Francisco, which is a pretty strange thing to say, especially if you have ever lived there. And I have, so we made a journey out to the old hood while we were in town. Lots of wonderful, happy people were in attendance. Everyone was wishing each other “Hare Krishna.” My late mom and dad went all Indian festival while they were visiting us. I had a way of talking my father into doing stuff that was, ahem, rather outside his field of vision.

My mom really went deep into the spirit of the day, chanting “Hare Krishna” with enthusiasm. I mean, you really get into the energetic joy of the chanting which becomes increasingly hypnotic with numerous repetitions.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare

I think of Beatle George Harrison every time I hear that chant. Loved him. And I remembered just how much fun I had with my mom and dad at the Festival of the Chariots. Tell you about my old hood next post, ok? Did I tell you that I would discuss my doggy diva cleaning service this post? Well, I do mean well, but sometimes you just hafta wait. I love you guys!

Peace, love, joy, garlic chocolate & lotsa laughs,
Kathleen

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Jammin’ in July

The month of July is pretty darn famous for celebrating American Independence Day.   Our 4th of July is a unique celebration of all that is Red, White and Blue. Fireworks brighten up the evening sky, while the ubiquitous grilling of jumbo hotdogs and over-sized burgers adds aromatherapy to backyards across the US of A.
(You did remember the ice cream, right? Festooned it with extra whipped cream, nuts and a big red cherry? Of course you did.  The Nation’s b-day party demands dessert.)

This year we decided to add a little more “fireworks” to our holiday menu. Helllooo, we went with the Pay-Per-View telecasts of the Grateful Dead final concerts from Soldier Field in Chicago –yeah, my home town. The old man and I were shutout of the shows by people with faster Internet connections and/or bettah luck. (Pulleeze don’t say they had much bettah karma than moi, OK? I did get to see them in Santa Clara, man.)

The hubby brought home a feast to go from a nearby barbeque joint. My house smelled like the Old South. And, oh yeah, I never pass on ice cream on a major holiday. Believe it.

We were SO ready to partay.

 

What surprised us was when our doggy diva Rosie pranced into the family room wearing her canine hippie gear. She obviously thought we were going to view the Grateful Dogs on TV.  She must have spotted (NOT the fabric) my Grateful Dogs tie-dye shirt, replete in tap-dancing dogs, instead of the usual dancing bears. (Are you following this?)  She even had her love beads around her neck. HOW did she get them over that furry head?!
Our poor girl: She howled when there were no Grateful Dogs, and then she howled late into the night along with the fireworks.SAM_2248a

(Next year she needs to have a couple Margaritas with her dinner. I’m just sayin’.)

Next celebration was for the Dalai Lama’s big Eight-oh.  Hard to believe, but I wanted even more ice cream plus a birthday cake to celebrate this auspicious day. His Holiness could award my husband some extra good karma for getting a single layer cake decorated with “Happy Birthday, Dalai Lama.”  I divinely decorated my dining table for this special Tibetan occasion. OM yes I can!

Next day was Ringo Starr’s 75th birthday. I know, how did this happen?  He was in his twenties one day, the next thing I know he’s turning seventy-five.  All Ringo requested for his big 75 was for everyone on the planet to stop where they were at Noon, open the door and shout “Peace and love, peace and love!”  You probably know I love Ringo, and you must know that I love peace and love, so I was more than happy to oblige.
Although some neighbors may have been thinking it’s just that crazy hippie-chick again, the red squirrel community rattled the higher fronds on our palm tree –in appreciation, I’m thinking. We ate “Dalai Lama” off the bottom of this yummy cake the previous evening, so we eagerly dug into the “Happy Birthday” half for Ringo. I decorated the table for him as well.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!

Next up was the 20th anniversary (no more cake, man) of the last Grateful Dead concert performed with the entire band in Chicago. I decorated my table for that, too. My hubby said I have way too much time on my hands.  But it provides me with creative opportunity and brings me joy. Joy in July. So I go for it!

 

I’m gonna tell y’all about ONE other groovy celebration we had in July: We headed to the town of Benicia to visit an old friend. You must cross the Carquinez Strait, which means there’s a bridge involved. As we were getting close to the bridge we noticed a small car ahead festooned with bright metallic paint and glitter. It was a glamorous sight to see. Totally groovy, it was.  The car suddenly swerved to avoid an inattentive driver in the next lane. The negligent driver failed to give a signal and the FAB car swerved sharply to the right. Gasp. As we approached this auto we could not help but notice some words on the rear window: “Headed to Section ONE D.” Then on the side windows were two large heart shapes with the name “Harry” glittered inside one of them, and “Louis” inside the other.

 

It was now obvious that these young ladies were returning home from the previous evening’s “One Direction” concert in Santa Clara. These ladies obviously have good car-ma!  You think? The highlight of the long day for me was seeing a contented herd of goats happily munching at a hillside buffet just outside the neighborhood where we were headed.
Although my Rosie did not get to see any grateful dogs, I was so blessed to view some groovy goats.
.

(NO photos as the hubby forgot his camera. Bummer.)
Peace, love, laughter & joyful jammin’ in July,
Kathleen

 

OMGG, HASF, OMGD!

SAM_2211a
You may be wondering what all those clueless letters above could actually mean. You may think that I’ve totally lost my mind. But you would be SO wrong. I’ve really had my mind blown. Remember last post where I promised to reveal the event that the hubby and I attended involving glitz and bling? It was just the beginning of one verrrry long, strange trip.
Now everyone get ready, steady, stay calm and & let’s party on!
OMGG

Oh My GaGa! Could I mean the FABULOUS Lady GaGa and Tony Bennett performance held near the end of May in the San Francisco Bay Area? Oh yeah. The venue for this awesome concert was the Concord Pavilion in (where else?) beautiful Concord, California. It was our first visit (hubby surprised me with the tickets) to this magical setting high in the golden, parched hills above the suburban city of Concord. Tony Bennett is one hip dude. In fact, this swinging, singing sensation will soon reach the age of ninety. His singing pipes haven’t “rusted” at all. The man’s stamina is amazing. He’s on a World tour with Lady GaGa: How does he do it? All those ooh, la, la costumes GaGa slips on may be recharging his spark plugs!
Whether good karma or not, he remains an Italian stallion.

We previously saw Tony maybe 10 years ago on my birthday. It was another outdoor venue in Mountain View, California, the scene of many a “Dead” concert. This was an annual benefit for the school that singer Neal Young’s son attended. It’s an all-acoustic gig. Tony was there with Paul McCartney among the cast of performers, and he and Sir Paul sang together. How exciting was that?

There was a wee problem at this show: We could not score any seats and had to settle for lawn “seating.” Yeah, they usually will rent you a low chair for the event, for an extra fee of course. However, the ground was saturated from two days of rain (no drought then), and it was way too muddy for chairs. So the hubby and I sat on black plastic bags provided by the couple next to us.
And you know what happened next?
As the concert progressed, rain began to steadily fall and we soon began to slide down the hill! (I was hoping that I would “slide” into Paul McCartney’s arms, but no such luck.) We were “saved” by somebody who stepped on the bags, man.
But I needed more Tony, so was happy to see him perform again.

No way could I compete with Lady GaGa in the glamour, glitz and bling department. She has the hot bod and the bucks to dress to impress. I just wanted to look somewhat festive and wasn’t sure if my outfit was GaGa-ish or kinda Katy Perry. I just bought some new shades to complete my ensemble (hahaha). The concert was awesome. Man, can the two of then sing. Who would have believed that Tony & the Lady would be so groovy together?

HASF
In early June we made our annual trek to Mecca- (heh heh, I mean San Francisco) for the Haight/Ashbury Street Fair. Fairgoers look forward to seeing us every year. (I wanna believe that, I really DO.) Car parking is becoming scarce as more people with megamoola move into the increasingly expensive City-by-the Bay. A lot of less affluent people are crowding into tiny apartments and even tinier spots to park their cars. Saw quite a few “smart” cars on the roads. Don’t even think about getting an over-sized vehicle or (God forbid, and I bet the Almighty does) buying a Hummer. You will NEVER be able to find a space for it. If you do happen upon one, and it happens to be free, puleeeze give me a call. We have a mini van we use when we have visitors, and they wanna see the City, man.

I pleaded with my Parking Angel to guide the Mini Cooper into a heavenly space. She did. Amen to that, my wind-up winged friend. Yeah, I sought her help for our annual pilgrimage to Haight Street, where we like to celebrate what remains of the Summer of Love. A genuine hippie or two can still be spotted…at least when I’m in town!

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I may not have worn the most glam threads to the concert in Concord, but I believe I looked way groovy for the Fair. At least many people said I did. You didn’t lie, did you? You don’t want any bad karma, do you? My terrapin-topped hubby and I didn’t see the trippy, tie-dye couple from last year when we arrived, didn’t see our Deadhead friend Annie, either. (A lot of people have left the Bay Area because of high rents and lowered paychecks and I hope Annie isn’t one of them.)

We did get there pretty early (for Henry, it was really early), and no-one had asked to take our photo for quite some time. Then it happened: We were asked to pose for a photo and then the pepperrazzi (like Sgt. Pepper, man) swarmed around us with a plethora of photo devises- some even looked like cameras. Imagine that.

Well, I thought I might be imagining the tie-dye tornado that nearly knocked us off our feet while we posed for fan photos next to a local food charity booth. (We really act as international ambassadors for the City of San Francisco, although they don’t know it. We happily chatted with visitors from London/Birmingham, England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, Canada (eh?), South Africa, Brazil and Germany, just to name a few!) The tie-dyers recognized us, how could they not? They also upped their game from last year. They also go in their quasi hippie get-up to the “How Weird Fair” in S.F. every year. I don’t think that dressing in tie-dye is weird, however. Wearing glorious color is just who I am, man.

Finally we knew they were NOT the hippie skeletons seated in the totally groovy motorbike/cycle parked at Jerry Day last August. Whew! The old man and I were relieved. They also looked relieved. Who will be “seated” there this year, huh? Stay tuned to the LaughLaundry for the latest info. They were excited to see us. I asked about their son and he now teaches scuba diving in Cancun, Mexico. Sounds like a dream scene for a 21 year old male. We tried to navigate the street which was now filling- in with people who obviously didn’t have a parking angel of their own. I feel so blessed. Good luck finding yourself a parking space without divine intervention, you guys. We parted company from the tie-dye duo, while we noticed the distinct lack of colorful attire on the majority of fairgoers strolling down Haight Street. There were numerous vendors of tie-dye and hippie-type fashion, so there is no excuse for not wearing hippie clothing next year. Ya hear?

There was a lot of excited talk on the Street among fair going Deadheads about the coming shows commemorating the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Grateful Dead. It’s another year of celebration, folks. OMG, are you ready for…
OMGD

That’s Oh My Grateful Dead, in case you didn’t know. Why didn’t you know? We went to hippie nirvana on Saturday, the 27th. Nirvana has become very pricey these days, just so you know. We went to the new home of the 49ers in Santa Clara for a major celebration for fans of the Grateful Dead and all their individual bands. (They are still referred to as the San Francisco 49ers despite being 40 miles from the City.) This is it for concerts with the surviving members of the band. They haven’t found –they can’t find – anyone who could replace Jerry Garcia, their spiritual leader. So they’re 2 nights performing in Santa Clara and 3 over the 4th of July weekend in Chicago. They say that’s it. The fans at the show were not ready for the music to end. I was jazzed to be part of the scene, but I don’t want the magic to stop.

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A lot of people came in tie-dye for this event. I mean, my very first Dead show looked like a tie-dye convention. Of course, there are a lot of fans who refuse to grow-up and dress in fun attire for anything. It was a PARTY fer cryin’ out loud. The food wasn’t too bad. I had a vegan dog (I hope it didn’t contain any actual vegans ‘cause that would just be wrong, man.) The garlic fries are derigueur cuisine in the Bay Area, but I think they tasted better at Sir Paul’s show at Candlestick Park. No big deal. I doubt I’ll be back to the Levi Stadium. It’s expensive, yet I found it rather soulless. Thank goodness it’s now flowing with the joy and vibrancy of Deadhead energy.

There was a rainbow that appeared over the stadium after maybe 10 minutes of light rain, and many fans think it was a sign of love from Jerry Garcia. I’ve told you how magical the Dead are. Earlier an airplane attempted a peace sign in the sky above. Peace and love, man. We all left sporting neck braces.

My hubby took some fun photos, we were gifted with free roses –tie-dye included, and he recorded a video which will take you on that long, strange trip. It’s far-out, man. Don’t miss the photo of the young hippie girls with the floral headbands. They came from London just to see the show. They never saw one before. Way too young and far away. Glad they got to see a show. Glad I got to see the show. Thanks, Henry!

Peace, love, joy, laughter, with the continuing magic of the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia,
Kathleen

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