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The first day of the month of June was “Pepper Day.” Whaaat? Am I talking red pepper, yellow pepper, purple pepper or an orange pepper? Or possibly salt and pepper? No, I’m talking ‘bout Sgt. Pepper, as in “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Yes, the 50th – OMG- anniversary of an extremely groovy album that is still widely played today. And I was fortunate that I saw a full-page ad in a local free paper that announced the newly-mixed album would be played in its entirety at a major theatre complex in San Francisco –for free, man! Pepper Power! Like far out.

You likely remember Beatles producer George Martin who produced “Sgt. Pepper’s LHCB.” Well, although he has passed on to his reward (likely producing some awesome heavenly celestial concerts), his son Giles Martin is “mixing” music with newer technical skills. If you have yet to hear Dolby Atmos, prepare to be blown away! I had to hold on to my seat as I felt the magical moving audio that Martin exclaims, “fills the cinema and flows all around you.” Excuuuse me! My entire body was filled with these never-felt- before vibrations. It can only be described as totally hippie trippy, man. I was SO lucky to score my free tickets for Bender and moi. And even luckier to score our two comfy, plush, padded seats as a ticket did not guarantee entry.
I had to be there, and I was!

Next stop in San Francisco was for the 40th anniversary of the “Haight/Ashbury Street Fair on the 11th of June. Now you know that’s usually a totally hippie trip and a half. This year was a total mob scene. I don’t know if it was because so many more folks have moved to the City (where DO they all park their cars???), or they assumed there would be a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of “The Summer of Love.” Dunno. There were rumors of a “50th” flavor at the 2017 fair, but it was mainly the shopkeepers who were promoting the SOL vibe.
But a large number of the festival attendees grooved with the hippie dress code for a change. Many folks were adorned in fun and funky threads this year, including yours truly. Mission accomplished: I have to dress for my peeps.

Posed with people from everywhere –or so it seemed. Zee hubby even took a photo of a darling dog sporting sunglasses! (There are lots of pics from the HASF, because the old man forgot to bring his camera to another MAJOR event held in Golden Gate Park. I don’t know that I’ll try to find a way to forgive him for that summer bummer. Heck, I don’t even know that YOU will, either! But I don’t want to mess with my karma, and you probably feel the same about your own!)

Per usual, nearly everyone had a photo-taking devise of some kind. And mucho pictures were being taken of the old man & moi in droves. And then we encountered our tie-dye buds from the South Bay: We were an awesome color- drenched tie-dyed tsunami, man. Waves of glittery color lit the street as we fabulously flowed down Haight Street. In a state of bliss? We were as blissed as the fairgoers looked to be.
Helloooo cameras!

Our tie-dye friends made a promise to appear at this year’s “Jerry Day” in San Francisco’s McLaren Park. I’ll believe it when pigs can fly. Although when all those Deadheads get together, pigs just may fly! I’ll let you know which happens first. OK?

It was a fun and exhausting day. I believe we brought a great deal of joy to the fair attendees, if their smiles were any indication. Just wish that music from the Summer of Love was played by the entertainers at each end of Haight St. The “stuff” I heard seemed out of place for an annual event on such a storied street that is the epicenter for the Haight/Ashbury experience. Next year, why not get down with Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, and others? I promise to get down , but will I get up?? Dunno.

Father’s day was spent at a restaurant owned by another hippie star from the Summer of Love: Carlos Santana. He has more than one location so I doubt that he ever visits his restaurants like the Dead’s Phil Lesh, who has his one awesome place in San Rafael. Phil’s place is also a music venue unlike Santana’s. That’s a bit of a bummer coz Santana is one mean guitar player. His menu is Mexican –hello! – and my hubby was thrilled with his South –of- the Border- style, rack ‘o ribs.

Our last biggie hippie event for June was on the Summer Solstice. A genuine hippie who has held all the previous “Summer of Love” celebrations in Golden Gate Park was denied a permit to hold his own hippie happening in the park. Hey, it’s hard for a genuine hippie to catch a break in the money- centric society we live in these days. It’s such a hassle to come up with the bread the man wants, man.
The city really wanted to hold their own smaller event for the people, but mainly to please San Francisco’s wealthy elite. You know how that rolls.

They were going to keep the numbers small, like just over 4,000 or so, but too many people wanted in so they said that anyone could come. And did they ever come. Supposedly, around 20 to 25,000 folks swarmed the space we were confined in.
Again, lots of color, lots of tourists from all ovah zee place. My face has a permanent smile in place, and my fingers are frozen in a peace sign. Tons of photos were snapped of moi & none, nada snapped by the hubby. I must remember that my karma counts, huh?

The music was circa 1967, however. There were members of bands present and sound-a –likes to warble fab tunes from dearly departed rockers from the past. I was blessed to hear Janis tunes & a talented singer who filled-in for the departed (only from the band!) Grace Slick, vocalizing her “White Rabbit” & “Somebody to Love” tunes. Anyone remember Norman Greenbaum? He performed the hypnotic “Spirit in the Sky.” Just may have been his only hit. Dunno. If you are able to Google the Chambers Brothers, please do. Their psychedelic hit “Time” will rock your world.

The highlight of the evening was a projected colored light art installation that illuminated the 19th century Conservatory of Flowers. There were flower power and assorted hippie images drifting across the Victorian beauty in patterned coordination with tunes from the Summer of Love. (The Beatles, oh, yeah) This extravaganza was known as the “Surrealistic Summer Solstice Jam.” The real surrealistic jam was everyone leaving town at 10:30 at night. What a trip.
What a totally hippie June.

Peace, love, joy, laughter & groovy hippies, man,
Kathleen

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MAY: Moms & Momos

Mother’s Day was SO much better than I could have imagined the day would be. Honestly, I was having difficulty finding a restaurant that would be extra special for moi, Henri and our older son. And (especially on Mother’s Day) it is always a bummer that my “baby” son resides so far away in way upstate New York But at least I did get to spend some quality Mom Time ™ with him last October. I was even there for my #@%**!! birthday celebration. I had a lovely celebratory meal at an Irish pub in Gananoque, Ontario, Canada.

If I had not travelled to New York State, the plan was to celebrate my birthday brunch at the trippy Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, California, Henri and Moi dined there on our wedding anniversary several years ago, where we were treated to a free…that’s free, baby!… music concert by owner Phil Lesh from the Grateful Dead! The Terrapin Family Band that rocked with him included his talented son, Graeme. I had such a blast I looked forward to a repeat performance. After all, you don’t turn #@%**!! each and everyday. Like gasp.

Since my dining opportunities were small in number (picky son) I thought of Terrapin Crossroads. I was so gonna go there by golly! Son and Old Man both found it acceptable. (Henri got to wear his Terrapin Topper.) The only thing that didn’t exactly cooperate was Mother Nature, which was a bit of a surprise with her being a Mother and all. She must have been a wee bit chilly, man. I did not think I would get to see Phil because we were going there for dinner, but he played his bass guitar along with his cute son who has now formed his own rock band. I only got to hear one Grateful Dead tune, but that was OK because Phil’s son Graeme played groovy tunes of his own.

The food was yummy, my dessert was awesome and chocolate- I did say it was OMG CHOCOLATE?, but that was not the most awesome experience that occurred.
While Henry and I were at Berkeley’s Summer of Love Telegraph Ave. Festival, the hubby wandered into a bookstore and found books by The Grateful Dead and various rock musicians from the 60’s on display. We were talking deep discounts for these books, folks. As any serious Deadheads would do, we purchased all three. (Such a deal, dude.)

After the Mother’s Day reservation was booked, it suddenly hit me! One of the books bought was authored by Phil Lesh. And maybe he would autograph it for moi. Yeah, right. I spotted him in front of the bar chatting with fans and sent my hubby over to ask for his autograph. He kindly signed it for me!! And he even added a personal message, yet. Oh, did I mention it was also a used book that was published twelve –count em – years ago!!
I had a magical time even if I shivered amidst the swaying palm trees lining the wonderful, waterside patio. I didn’t even have to walk back to the car as a whirling wind blew me back across the parking lot! Thanks, Phil!

Now I’m talking about Momos. Say what? Well, May is also the month for the annual Himalayan Fair in the Mysterious East Bay city of Berkeley. This happens to be one of my most fave events of the year. I mean, it has everything you could want in a festival that celebrates the culture and spiritual traditions of Himalayan countries formerly considered to be exotic (not in the SF bay Area, however). India, Tibet, Nepal, etc, were among those proudly presented. The Momos are a Tibetan-style dumpling and are quite delish. Berkeley has a significant Tibetan population. I saw a number of Tibetan monks amongst the fairgoers. They always are smiling and look so peaceful. They exemplify a meaningful way to live life, I say.

As usual the entire park had been transformed into a truly magical setting that made my soul sing, although I wasn’t asked to “jam” with any of the musical performers. Perhaps next year somebody will ring their temple bell for me. Or perhaps someone heard my chanted OMs & thought OM no! Dunno. Also dunno who was responsible for listing the performers online. Karma Moffet performs at the event every year, and his Tibetan bowls, bells, and tingsha playing are world-renown. When he blows that precious Tibetan Long Horn the city of Berkeley really vibrates with a sound heard ‘round the town. Although this musician/artist performs a magnificent healing ceremony for the benefit of all beings, this year he was listed as Karma Muffet. OMG! Get it right, people. Now THAT has gotta be some bad karma, man.
Because Karma is such a gentle man, and is a Tibetan Buddhist, I’m pretty sure he forgave the person who goofed. (Little Miss Muffet?) But I don’t know about the person/s who printed the mistake. Stay tuned.

My English tie-dye friend stayed in Hawaii this time around and left a desolate void at the event. Well, her booth which was always a riot of vibrant color DID have another way, way– less colorful exhibitor, but my friend’s totally rocked! I did encounter the amazing astrologer Andrea, where my friend once sold her wares, and she found herself equally bummed. She used to do her tee shirt shopping at this woman’s booth. To me, this woman ought to be addressed as “She Who Has the Most beautiful Hair.” If you need an astrological consultation (or maybe some hairstyle advice?) and you know you do, why not give Andrea a ring. No, not actual bling, baby. Call her phone number: 510-874-4911. E-mail her; andrea@virgoinservice.com Also Google her web address: http://www.virgoinservice.com And may the stars align just for you. Or it could be the Force?
Dunno.

I did try to keep my spending at a minimum this year, however. The Himalayan Fair is a great place to get fab gifts for friends at fair –haha- prices. Certainly beats the mall. Ouch! I would NEVAH do something like that. I do care about my karma, even Karma Moffet/Muffet’s.

Peace, love, joy, laughter,
Kathleen

 

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Bunnies, Mirth, Earth, Berkeley

The Earth Laughs in Flowers

April was a month for Easter bunnies and brunch (hard-boiled eggs & Hot Cross Buns = yum!), mirth (there is an official day for mirth??), Earth Day (take bettah care of yo Mama Earth), and for groovy times to be had in Buzzerkeley (far-out, man). There were just too many events to keep up with, man. No wonder I’m again late with this blog. Perhaps I’ll be on time for the Merry Month of May? Stay tuned.

Easter was early at one abode on Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland: This homes owner/s (me- thinks there is a new one) didn’t need any particular incentive to festoon the house front or yard with as much over-the-top décor they could lay their hands on. You’ve seen the photos previously. Months passed by without any hint of decoration. Several weeks before Easter Sunday, however, bunnies were everywhere! Not real rabbits, of course, but the fakes looked as if they had merrily multiplied like the real deal- SO many! NO GNOMES were spotted on the porch, though.

Easter Sunday was pretty darn chilly, wet and windy, so there are no pics of moi in my spring finery this year. A real bummer, I know. You are all probably tired of seeing my fireplace mantel jazzed-up for every holiday. (I’m tired of seeing my fireplace in need of some serious updating. Helllooo, Henry.) I do believe that my mantel decorating for April is quite a sight to see, however. And, I so wouldn’t wish to deprive anyone of the chance to see what a red-hot serial (not cereal) decorator such as moi “concocts.” Is that enough blarney for you? Well, I have LOTS more where that came from. Let me know, Okay?

Earth day was up next on my crowded April calendar. I dress like a green tree every year and walk thru the hood waving to my neighbors. No one has called an arborist to complain about my leaf-shedding –yet! (I had to give-up my infamous Lady Godiva horseback ride, however. My long brown hair wouldn’t or couldn’t grow long enough to cover my…essentials. Yeah, and the local P.D. uttered a resounding NO!! to my parade permit request. Waaz up with that? I just wanted to honor my Mom Earth. Yeesh.)

An Earth Day bonus for me occurred when Henry “raved” about the dressed green salad I fashioned from all my fallen leaves; I caught those leaves before they fell to the street. It was like, totally organic or something. Perhaps Henry was raving instead? Dunno.

In preparation for the Haight-Ashbury Fair which is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the “Summer of Love,” the old man and I attended the “Telegraph Berkeley Summer of Love 50th Anniversary.” That’s Telegraph Avenue, folks. We are rather well known for our colorful accessorizing at various events on the Avenue, and we arrived ready to strut garbed in our most festive hippie stuff. I mean, the actual “Summer of Love” reverberated throughout the entire San Francisco Bay Area in 1967, and the 50th commemoration required some extra glitz and glam. More events still to come, man.

As at the Haight/Ashbury Fair, we just stepped out on the street when Berkley fairgoers excitedly approached bearing cameras, and you know, a variety of picture taking devices unavailable in 1967. I did not expect that. Some folks asked if we wanted them to take a photo with our camera which we appreciated. Lots of colorful Berkeley people were in attendance. Astrologer Andrea was resplendent in a groovy tie-dye shirt, and a wonderful wizard of storytelling was there in the shirt, tie & hat he decorated with vivid paint that morning. His name is Steve if you ever encounter him. He rocks! There were some very fab craft people selling their wares at the event. I gifted the old man with a hand -painted turtle shirt. He was wearing his terrapin/turtle hat, of course.

The only thing missing were the food and beverage booths that line the avenue during Berkeley Street Fairs. This was a real bummer, as I was famished and ate a light breakfast in anticipation of the culinary goodies that I was sure would be available. I was later informed by a Berkeley hotshot that there were like 84 places to eat and drink within a four block radius. Yeah, but they failed to notify the attendees about this. I guess they wanted us to believe it really was 1967! Some H2O would have been a nice touch as it was a very warm day for the end of April.

The music was pretty mellow, man. Country Joe McDonald performed with his band and there were a couple of bands doing 60’s tunes from Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin & Jimi Hendrix. Like far-out. The weather was a wee bit craycray, but the month was pretty fabulous. In honor of Mirth/Earth Day I discovered an amazing quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: According to RWE, “The Earth Laughs in Flowers.” The hubby took a special photo of the California Golden Poppies that are obviously engaged in heartwarming laughter in our front yard. Enjoy.

Hoping to be on time for the May blog.. Wishing y’all peace, love, joy, laughter & flower power, Kathleen

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“Dude, Where’s My Laugh Laundry?”

I know the pressing question on your minds must be, “Dude (the feminine is Dudette), where’s my Laugh Laundry??” The short month of February had way too many celebrations with overlapping decorations…. I know yada, yada, yada. There was Saint Valentine’s Day, then the red hot feast of St. Blaize (me late parents anniversary), the late, great Beatle George Harrison’s 74th birthday (OMG!), and all the usual Mardi Gras madness. At least March will be on time as I’m doing double duty with two months for the price of one. Wait, there is no price? My bad.

Rosie Rocks Irish Mardi Gras!

Without further ado, I’d like to publicly announce the wiener, er, winner of the “Name That Gnome” contest: Congrats to my neighbor Creesh. She really wanted to win this folks. She kept making suggestions –even her hubby chimed in with a few of his own. (Oh, and she totally tried to bribe me with an incredible gnome calendar purchased on her recent vacation.) Since she already lives in my hood she has received her “generous” prize package. Yeah, right.

But it was her wee poetic endeavor that really sealed the deal for me:

The gnome with no name, it’s such a shame,
With his purpley hat above
Thus, I dub thee Sir Gnomeo the Romeo,
Dedicated to the Summer of Love!

Thank you to all the gnome-naming entrants who emailed or phoned me. Bettah luck next time!

Does anyone remember the poetry I concocted for Valentine’s Day five years ago? (Best to forget so that this year’s won’t sting as much) Here is the 2017 version:

Not so long ago in a galaxy not that far away-
(probably Berkeley)

I told my hubby what I’d like for Valentine’s Day-
“I need some zing & I need some bling,”
“Howzabout you buy me a glammed-up ring?”

I heard my hubby holler, “Ka-ching!” “Ka-ching!”
But baby he gave me that pricey ring.

This year he avoided the Mother of Minor Kerfluffles-
Cupid arrived with a TRUNK brimming with chocolate French truffles!-

If deep down in my heart he wishes to remain-
Next year I’ll get chocolates with a VAT of French champagne!!

(Our Doggy Diva desired some bling of her own. Like a be-jeweled canine collar, she did. Daddy was both cheap and sorry, Rosie Colleen. But her lovely lips began to pucker as her daddy handed her that bargain-rate Peanut Butter Puppy Sucker.)

Mardi Gras was gone in a flash, then came the feast day where they cover your forehead with ash, St Patrick arrived with a wee gang of leprechauns, then my fave radio station in Berkeley had a 12 hour Grateful Dead Marathon. Like far out. My brother Billy Danny attended a St. Paddy’s festival in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Lots of Irish live in that city. They brew a whole lot o’ beer in that town. And it’s NOT green either, although many feel a wee bit green after drinkin’ this festive brewski . A photo of Billy Danny features a naughty-looking leprechaun leaning on his shoulder. He thinks that lep advised him to have a wee too many Irish refreshments. Methinks that stinks. Me bro is lookin’ good, I say. Laugh Laundry Sneak Peek: Next year ladies, he’s going to wear his manly kilt!

March still has a few days remaining, however, while zee Easter bunnies are parading all over the place. (Rosie Colleen is hoping-hopping for a Cadbury Bunny commercial try-out.) Be careful out there if you don’t wish to multiply. There was yet another birthday in March that was so worth celebrating: Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead is now 77. OMG, how can that be? Birthdays are hopefully gonna happen, but remember that you are NEVAH too old to rock & roll. Right, Henry?

**Peace, joy & the love & laughter of the Irish,
Kathleen* *

A January FantaSEA

– I went for a walk on a bright, sunny day –

– I strolled down the street in my usual way –

– The birds were all singing, the clouds seemed at play –

– I connected with the earth in an unusual way –

– Roots shot out of the soles of my feet –

– I thought to myself “Whoa, this is really neat!”  –

– My fingers and toes started to blossom and sprout –

– I WAS one with nature there could be no doubt –

– By the time I reached home it was SO easy to see –

– That I was a tree, and a tree was in ME!
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(I wrote the above while still an undergrad. A PG (pretty groovy) rated drawing of moi as a tree accompanied this poem. But obviously this could NOT have occurred in January,  at least not this past month, man.)

January offered few bright, sunny days for walks or other fun activities outdoors.  California endured years of damaging drought and Mother Nature began to unleash all the rain and snow she must have been storing somewhere.  But Mom Nature got a wee bit carried away with all that wet stuff, however. She became like a Mother Nature on steroids or something because the rain kept a coming.  Swollen streams & rivers overflowed, while massive umbrella collisions became regular reports on the local evening news.  (Be careful where you point those puppies, people.)

It was if ducks were taking over the neighborhoods there were so many of the feathered flocks. They LOVED the rain! There was a whole lotta quackin’ going on, and some of it even came from the newly empowered duck community. There were several rubber duckies floating around town. (Um, perhaps hot tubs overflowed?)  Not to mention gaggles of geese swimming by. It looked as though everyone wanted in on the party.

It was quite chilly as well. The ducks were sporting heavy raincoats, man.  Even the dog was demanding we preheat her blankets. Brrrrrrrr…most of the local weather people were threatening to move to the Mojave dessert. Don’t know what sort of TV reception there is with all that hot, blowing sand, however. I’ll gladly wave bye-bye to them; they hardly ever get the weather right!

I wanted to create a whimsical poem that reflects the wacky Northern California weather scene. I needed a “January FantaSEA”:

– I stepped into a boat on a wet, windy day –

– I paddled down the street (flooded) toward the San Francisco Bay –

– The birds were in hiding, the sky was dark gray –

– Like far-out, like OMG!, Cal’s rowing team rowed –up SO close to me! –

– Our boats gently touched, and it was right then that I knew-

– That I could both canoe and canoodle too! –

– As I paddled back home (bummer) it was SO easy to see/sea –

– Why those bad boys from Cal were now following ME!

We did get a brief spell of warm weather in January.  Rosie blissfully laid flat on her furry back to soak-up some sun in the backyard. I think she forgot what the sun was. I actually saw some clouds that obviously were at play: Dragons one day, puppies the next, and yeah, I realize I probably have too much time on my hands.  I also knew the local citizenry may have been confused about what month we were in: An ice cream truck drove slowly thru the hood, its musical jingle slightly out ‘o tune. Look out, Mister!  Toss me a chocolate float over that there boat in the moat.  (It’s going to be a loooonnnggg winter, man.)

This is the Chinese New Year of the Rooster, folks. Now, since I already decorate my humble home with roosters and chickens –NOT REAL ONES – I was SO ready to celebrate.  I have a couple of photos the hubby took for you to enjoy. There is also a FAB picture of my precious Rosie Coleen, all glammed-up in pink, but dog-tired after she participated in our local Doggie Diva March for female pup protection.  Rosie wanted to be in solidarity with her sister dogs, man.  There was a whole lotta sniffin’ going on amongst the “giirrllls” that day. You had to be there.

 

NAME THAT GNOME update:

I’m extending the time for the name the gnomie in my homie an extra month…or more. Who knows?  My friend in England is anxiously awaiting the winner of “Name That Gnome.”
I have had several folks suggest a name. However, somebody – you know who you are – confused the elf next to the purple hat gnome seated next to the larger holiday elf. Whew. (And about that elf: I ‘m pretty darn sure that her pointed-toe shoes are growing longer and even pointier every year!) So read about the gnome naming in my previous posts, and PULEEZE Name That Gnome!  Email your suggestions to moi at Hbender1961@aol.com

 

Peace, love, joy, laughter & warm, dry days, man,
Kathleen

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Ho- Ho- Holidaze

Martha Stewart wouldn’t hold a candle to me when it comes to decorating, or fancy shmancy dessert making skills. She would very likely hold a bejeweled or dough- encrusted candelabra over me, though.  She knows her elite place.  But I know who rocks & (Christmas) socks the holidaze*, and no way is it Martha, man. And please just forget about that Santa dude. Come on. Ho, Ho, Ho is from another century. sam_0159

It’s moi man!  Yeah, it’s me baby. I totally rock, sock & even roll my Yuletide holidaze all up with a big red, green, purple, orange, blue, yellow bow…um, that’s a tie-dye bow, man. I’m a wee bit famous for going over zee top with my decorating, and Christmas is my time to shine really bright. And I’m not talkin’ about battery –operated candles or assorted multicolored light strings on the tree or the house. (Although my hubby did a much bettah job festooning the tree and the outside of the Bender casa this year,)  I’m talking about the bright light created from the sheer joy that comes from decorating in December. However, I may have gone slightly overboard with our letter carrier:

I usually gift her a box of French chocolate truffles in the Bender mailbox right before the Big Day. I mean, she does have to deal with my Rosie Colleen’s heavy-duty barking on a daily basis, so I’m more than happy to raise the red flag and surprise her. But I wanted more this year; I wanted to decorate her.  I’m a serial decorator, remember?

My letter carrier went positively postal yelling all the way back to her undecorated (such a waste) mail cart. A good chunk of my tossed tinsel clung festively to her puffed jacket. I just wanted to provide her with a little bit of holiday spirit, OK?  NO cause for alarm I explained to a grumpy gendarme. Ho, Ho, Ho.

December is also the time when the hubby and I high tail it off to the annual Telegraph Avenue Holiday Fair for a little shopping therapy.  The first day was a bit of a washout. Yeah, it so rained. The second day was a Sunday and our fave tie-dye purveyor from Marin was there with her glorious handmade wares.  We made a return trip to Berkeley the following weekend to purchase additional gifts.  It’s great because we buy local and avoid the mall.  People always appear to enjoy themselves –they also enjoy the hubby and moi- (photo ops!) as there are so many wonderful arts and crafts to peruse as well.  I posed with a hippie who was wearing a very groovy velvet tie-dye coat he saved for and purchased on Haight St. in San Francisco.  People do love it when you make the effort to dress festively and tie-dye usually brings a smile to their faces. So, why don’t more folks make the effort?  It’s FUN. Come on and give it a try.  (You realize we’re going to have a genuine need to smile/ laugh in 2017, dontcha?)

 

Christmas Day was rather chilly, however, but we warmed ourselves with my homemade Guinness Gingerbread.  I may have guzzled a wee bit too much Guinness while creating the recipe. (Is that even possible?) But did I EVER feel festive!  There were even a dozen or more (burp) leprechauns who showed-up at my front door. And they weren’t there to sing Christmas carols either. They wished to “sample” me gingerbread. They were in need of some Guinness aromatherapy, they said.  I told them to go sniff my Christmas tree instead.  Might remind them of the forest I demanded they return to.  Never knew that leprechauns could turn such a deep, dark shade of green, though.

 

We have a new canine neighbor whose backyard fence we both share. Her name is Lexie. She’s sooo cute, but that princess pooch is one little yapper. Rosie is extra nuts when she hears Lexie barking, which I did not even believe was possible. The hubby took a photo of the pretty princess in her pink canine couture. Now Rosie Colleen wants her own pink onesie –glittered and with a fluffy hot pink boa to accessorize. What’s a doggy mom to do?

*Gnome Update*: In Gnomevember I asked that anyone who wanted to help me name my new gnome email their suggestion to moi. My bro Billy Danny wanted to know why I did not include a photo of my unnamed gnome.  I thought a colorful description was sufficient –wrong!  The bro suggested a name as did my son in New York. Howzabout you give it a go! Henri took a photo of the gnomie in my homie, so let’s see what YOU can come up with.  Send your email to moi at Hbender1961@aol.com

 

Till next we meet, peace, love, joy, laughter & PULEEEZE name that gnome!
Kathleen

 

*Holidaze* *All the craycray, daze and overload caused by too much stuff to do, too much celebrating, too much partaying, etc., just TOO DARN much, OK? **

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Gnomevember

Just two days after enjoying a very satisfying Thanksgiving repast, I awoke to a cacophony emanating from my living room. I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter (uh-oh, I must be channeling some Christmas spirit), and could hardly believe my eyes! Glaring, snarling, hissing and resisting were my new gnomie (purchased at a New York State rest stop while we shuffled off to Buffalo HOW do you shuffle off to Buffalo, anyhoo?), as well as three (obviously) psychotic elves. It was a craaaazy scene, man. And they were all being chased by our Rockin’ Rosie Colleen, a Doggy Diva Supreme.

It just seemed best to remain still in the hallway a-way from the living room fray (ya think?), in order to remain on the safe side, of course. My Hayward home had somehow morphed into one wacky zoo. It soon appeared that shelves of elves bells (that’s bells) were flying off their pointy hats and equally pointy shoes, thrown at both zee gnomie and my leetle Rosie!
It was quite the kerfuffle.

Finally, they all had to take a breath and sit down, fall down, or perhaps get smushed down. I waited for the explanation which I knew would not be reasonable. How could it be? I mean, my living room drapes were tattered and torn to shreds by elves which clearly had nothing to do with Walt Disney. The little living room gnome resided in an upstate New York rest stop gift shop surrounded by gnomes and shrooms: That is until he persuaded me to take him off the shelf and bring him back to California. Oh, he was all like so cute and wearing a plush purple hat. That hat, by the way, looks a whole lot like an elf’s hat!!
I was so seduced. Remember? Gnomes used to stalk me, and OMG (oh my gnome) now I was bringing one home. I should have known bettah. ( uh-oh, I may be channeling again.)

Now about those elves: The day after Thanksgiving the hubby and I drag our overstuffed bodies up to the Santa Cruz Mountains to find the always “perfect” Christmas tree. Henri and moi like a certain Christmas tree farm way up the main drag in the hills. (Methinks the drive gets longer every year. Some day the tree farm may be closer to L.A. than here, man.) We discovered a lush green, six-footer before another group of tree-hunters did. The forest was packed with festive people sporting hand-held saws. It looks as though more and more folks are in search of a more natural Christmas tree as evidenced by the crush of real tree lovers -and cars- clogging the highway. (I don’t do pho-nay, man. My Dad held off on buying a fake tree until I married Henri.)

The tree farm was such a beehive of activity (bees, really??), we failed to notice that these three foraging elves managed to climb on top of our mini-van and cleverly hide themselves amidst our tree’s fragrant branches. (Perhaps I guzzled a wee bit too much California Cranberry vino?) It was dark when we returned to our Hayward home, so they must have snuck in unnoticed. At least that’s what they told me on Saturday morning.

They then told me what the kerfuffle was really about: It’s about the battle for their holiday. The gnome is down with Thanksgiving/Halloween, while the elves are totally down with Christmas. They insist the décor be changed, No more pumpkins or fall gourds, they request. Hey, although the imps arrived with a Christmas tree which will remain outside until it’s finally ready to decorate, it is still November. Or Gnomevember as my purple pal insists the month shall now be called.

And what’s up with Rosie Colleen? Why did she get chased by all them varmints ‘round her living room? Those elves must have thought she was a tasty yet seasonal pumpkin dessert, and they wanted her out of Christmastown. (My Rosie Colleen fancied her Turkey Day Doggy Divawear so much she continues to wear it.) The elves also might have wondered why a pumpkin dessert would have a long furry tail and a full set of teeth; Rosie wondered why her people wouldn’t give her some leftover pumpkin roll, and showed her obvious displeasure in the photo Henri snapped. What a bummer.
Just don’t mess with a Doggy Diva Supreme, I guess.

**Don’t worry…I haven’t lost my mind… say what?
Peace, love, joy, laughter & OMG (Oh My Gnomie) **
Kathleen

(If you’d like to name that gnomie please send your suggestion to moi at Hbender1961@aol.com
All reasonable names will be considered. NOT! OK, most. NAME THAT GNOME! )

October Had It All

October 2016 was one wild, wet, (hello rain) and crazy month. Oh, yeah. October has always been a BIG month for partays, with my late mom’s birthday only 5 days before mine (I was expected to make my grand entrance on mom’s birthday, but oops I waited!), which meant there was lots of yummy cake and ice cream to be eaten. And when Beatle John Lennon entered my personal teen-age orbit, well, there was another October birthday to celebrate. ( yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!) Same deal when I married the hubby as our b-days are only three days apart. Now, however, I try not to eat so much cake. (I just apply it to my hips.) I love my ice cream, oh boy, and refuse to give-up my dark chocolates, man.
There is also an anniversary in October which means, yes, even more delish cake. Or not.

The hubby and moi traipsed (OK, we took the Mini) to Berkeley for the annual “Indigenous Peoples Day Pow Wow.” (You probably think of it as Columbus Day, but this is Berkeley. They do things differently .in Berkeley, man.) It was way hot and sunny and dry. We had a blast and enjoyed the Berkeley vibe as always. Lots of color was on hand, and for sale. It brings me great joy to attend Native American events. There are attendees from many tribes who honor Mother Earth in a sacred way. Not to mention the colorful tribal regalia that all the dancers wear. All those exceptional native crafts to peruse, and let’s not forget the yummy Indian tacos. Hey, it’s essentially the only fried food I cannot resist. You try and say no way to Indian fry bread, man.

Several days later we trekked to Berkeley again for our anniversary. I tried something very different instead of my “usual” order and was so not disappointed: Nirvana on a plate. However, the absent Tibetan owner and baker extraordinaire had not baked even a crumb for her cafe that day! She was at a prayer service for peace so I had to forgive her. I didn’t want the bad karma either. What I did want was her divine chocolate rum tart. I broke into tears in front of my hot Tibetan waiter who appeared wearing a Guinness t-shirt. (Om my gosh, he owned that shirt.) Where else could I have been but in Berkeley, man??

It took us several more days to pack our suitcases for a long-anticipated trip to visit our son in upstate New York. I really tried to pack light. It wasn’t easy trying to find the right tie-dye ensembles to wear for a 10 day trip, know what I’m saying? The husband always packs way too much. I could not believe all the steamer trunks that crowded our living room the morning we were scheduled to leave. We weren’t even taking a steamer ship, man. We were flying to Chicago and then on to Buffalo, New York.

What I should have packed were enough food provisions to ward off starvation on an airline that has drastically reduced the size of their “snacks.” I’ll give you a few clues to deduce this airlines name: North, South, East, or West. You’ll only need two, folks. The flight was delayed in Oakland because of heavy rain in Seattle, and then turbulence kept us in our seats for so long I think we were close to Chicago before the pilot allowed passengers to get up from their teeny, tiny seats. With hardly any time to get to our gate to our continuing flight to Buffalo, there wasn’t any time to get any food. Bummer. I decided on the flight to Buffalo that possibly a Margarita would make me feel a wee bit better. We ordered one, but then the pilot ordered the flight attendants to stay in their seats because of turbulence so NOBODY got a drink or snack at all.
Yeah, I know, boohoo.

The next day we drove to Watertown where the son lives. Guess what? Rain again. Man, we left a drought in California to arrive in rain-soaked upstate New York. Fortunately, we were able to take Uncle Sam’s Boat Tour out onto the Saint Laurence River to again see the sights in the scenic Thousand Islands area of New York and Canada. There are over 1800 of these Islands, folks and they are not to be missed. This was our first time visiting so late in the season, and we were delighted to find the area bathed in a riot of glorious fall colors.
Not delighted with the rainy weather so much. The folks in Watertown didn’t let the rain stop them from decorating their homes for Halloween, however. Very festive.

Spent some time in the village where my old man’s grandmother was born: Sackets Harbor. Historic little place with a great deal of history to soak in. And we nearly did get soaked with the rainy weather! Ancient houses and a funky ice cream shop that remained open till Halloween. They’re frozen custard causes me to moan, man. Saw a couple of unexpected guys sitting on a bench next to the road and they were happy to pose for the hubby. They seemed out of place in such a sophisticated town, but I was so glad they were there. Also glad that most of the boats were still in the harbor. It’s the time of year to get them all out of the water and swathe them in white plastic wrap. It does get cold in those parts.

Made a quick side trip to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, eh! Only 120 miles drive from Watertown it was. I think from the amount of rain that was falling that they might consider changing the name to Otterwa. We spent the night across the river and found ourselves in Gatineau, Quebec. Who knew? Henri asked me if I wanted to stay at the Ritz and I was so up for that. However, he neglected to inform me that the Ritz was NOT the hotel but an aging motel. Oh, and most of the television stations were French language.
Never thought I would be watching the Cubs play in the World Series while the announcer would only be speaking French! Mon Dieu.

From what I could see through the rain, Ottawa looked lovely. Except for all the cranes at construction sights where skyscrapers are being built. They looked so unbalanced amongst the spirals of the magnificent Canadian Parliament buildings. But where was Prime Minister Trudeau? He’s one hot P.M. He shudda, cudda been out and about amongst the tourists holding onto their brollys (umbrellas) for dear life.

We did enjoy the Byward Public Markets where we found an Irish Pub with scrumptious food and drink. On the return trip to Watertown it rained even more. It looked like ducks were partying all along the roadside.
So you can imagine my surprise when I awoke on a Sunday morning and wondered what that bright light was outside the bedroom window. Why it was sun, sun I say. And the sun was out for the entire day, which also happened to be my birthday. After a return trip across the bridge to Canada, we had a lovely lunch in yet another Irish Pub in the village of Gananoque. Yeah, I sure I don’t know how to mangle the pronunciation any better than you do!

On the way back to Buffalo we stopped at Terrapin Station, which is total Deadhead nirvana. Or like a tie-dyed Disneyland for those who dig all things Grateful Dead. Way fun, but we had to return home. Rosie Colleen was a waiting.

Short flight but rain, rain at Chicago again! Rush, rush to get to the gate, and I ate light in Buffalo to nosh at the airport. It did not happen again. Finally up in the air and ordered another Margarita. I got it! However, the piece of lime should not be that wee. And they did not ask if I wanted salt on the edge of my plastic cup. You would request it too, I’d bet? But, hey you guys, I know how to get things done! I just rubbed one or two of the teeny, tiny salted “snack” crackers around the rim of the cup. (Hey, give it a try on your next flight!)
I needed that Marg. Time really flies when you’re having fun.
Oh yeah, October had it all.

**Peace, love, joy & salted lime Margaritas,
Kathleen **

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Unexpected September Surprise

Now, some people believe that April is the cruelest month of the year. Why you may ask? For some the reason is April 15, and I get why some people may feel disdain for the U.S. tax day. And there are some folks who don’t care for the drizzly April showers that bring the May flowers. (Most Californians will welcome rain any month of the year: Heard about our severe drought, baby?) And some furry folks actually believe it’s the Cruella -as in DeVille- month of the year. (I’ve heard she has at least 101 Dalmatians with massive overbite.) Perhaps it’s the annual spring cleaning they don’t want to deal with. Who knows? Who does it?
Rosie

 

However, I just don’t get why April is considered the cruelest month: Helloooo, spring! Far-out flowers for my hair, flowers everywhere! Even with the drought! Warm weather is also on the horizon, discounting a thick San Francisco fog. Just take your heavy sweater, man. (Don’t leave home without it, OK?)  The weather can be sort of, kind of cruel, yet not quite Yule.

But to my mind, September is the cruelest month of the year. Why you may ask?   The long school year begins again for many students, and summer fun, fun, fun officially ends.  What kind of “Welcome to September” is that? I’m so out of school now and on a kind of unofficial vaycay. (Yay, no homework…just housework) None the less, my inner child endures some serious childhood pangs every September. Summer childhood memories MUST be encoded in our DNA. Oh, and even the days get shorter which means less daylight to enjoy sweeping up all the leaves that have fallen from the neighbor’s trees onto your lawn. (Believe that and I’ll make up another one.)  I can’t even afford to purchase a new fall wardrobe to ward off the cooler temps for my doggy diva and moi.
Waaaaz up with that?

Somehow, I managed to experience a totally unexpected September surprise. Whoa, did I ever! The grooviest thing was that it was a BEATLES surprise! Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah! Heard of Ron Howard? This former child actor is the big-time Hollywood film producer behind the new Beatles documentary “Eight Days a Week, The Touring Years.” OMG,  that’s OM my gosh, if George Harrison, a Hindu devotee, was still on the planet, he might have been preferred a Bollywood production. Well, whatever. I fortunately saw a spot on telly advertising this not-to-be missed documentary and I told the hubby I HAD to be there or else! Come on, he could not refuse.

Off we went to a Friday matinee in sunny San Francisco –limited showings for this flick- and that was a way bad idea.  The Parking Angel is useless in traffic jams. It’s not her job.  I’m talking about a Friday afternoon jam that was unbelievable, folks. It was a real bummer. I arrived at the theatre rather frazzled but totally glammed in my Beatles attire. Thankfully, our seats were reserved, and in no time at all I began singing along with these English lads just like it was still the 60’s. My hubby could not believe I knew the words to all of their songs. But like I said before, our fab and groovy memories of youth MUST be encoded in our DNA. Everything has gotta be SOMEWHERE.

(They’re probably in there with all those old fat calories I thought I let go of!! SO many vats of luscious lasagna with extra grated cheese still reside there, I bet.)

The very next day we were off to a now annual event in beautiful Downtown Berkeley: I’m talkin’ bout a groovy gathering for Deadheads known as “Shakedown Street.”  It’s a 2 day event, but we like to go on the first day of this fab Festival. The crowds-and parking- are far easier to navigate.  We have a go-to parking space…um, the hubby refuses to disclose this primo place. He will not reveal it, even if you make a fuss over his Terrapin Topper. Oh, and people do.

Speaking of Primo we found him dancing (what else?) in a primo location at the event. His partner Margie was not in attendance, but other expected Deadheads were also missing-in-action. And missing THE action! Lots of colorful attendees were present and feeling the pure joy of being at a free, that’s a free rock event, which is something of a rarity in the Bay Area these days. And its TWO days, man. Can you dig it? I certainly did. It looked and sounded like everyone was having some big fun. As I’ve said before, Deadheads know how to celebrate, man.

To the folks we did not get to see: bummer. Hope we see ya soon. We did get to see trippin’ Robert and Charmaine, talented partners in tie-dye. Google Psychedelic Clothesline. Fun folks they are. They do some amazing tie-dyes, and you would be a total scene-stealer while adorned in their funky threads. We also came upon –like you could miss her- a fun woman dressed as a pink clown and doing creative balloon sculptures for kids of all ages. I get her name confused as I usually only see her at the Telegraph Avenue Holiday Street Fair.  Look for her at this event. You won’t miss her either.

Rosie Colleen wants you to know that she is considering opening her Doggie Diva tail-wagging cleaning service next April! All you folks who refused to do your   spring cleaning rejoice. She will even entertain all offers for possible franchises. But you must promise to throw her lots of bones. T-bones are preferred.  You can throw me some tofu for the service I supply every month, OK?  That’s CHOCOLATE –covered tofu. Yuck, forget the tofu and toss me bars of chocolate, man.

Peace, love, Beatles joy, laughter & everything Grateful Dead, man,
Kathleen

Jerry Jammin’ & Beatles Bliss

Did you remember that the late Jerry Garcia’s birthday is the very first day of the awesome month of August? It’s OK if you didn’t as I nearly forgot myself! Wondering how that could happen to a Deadhead like me? Well, I’m gonna blame it on GDSO. I think of it as Grateful Dead Sensory Overload. That’s a Dead post concert phenomenon where you experience the cumulative effects of all that far-out music, magic, flashing lights and some groovy dancing bears. (Dancing bears? Well, I saw them, so there!) So I was just plain (no, tie-dyed) exhausted for the next couple of days, people. But my neighbor sent my hubby home with some of her home-baked lemon cake after Henri dropped off a wee gift bag for her and the hubby. Maybe there is such a thing as good karma: Not only did I get an unsolicited reminder for Jerry’s b.d., I got some yummy birthday cake to boot! The hubby bought “Cherry Garcia” ice cream in Berkeley to have with zee cake. Delish, man. Hippie Birthday to Jerry!

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Jerry Day, known as a Hippie High Holy Day for Jerry Garcia fans is celebrated on the first Sunday of August. However, this year it was held on August 14. Oh, boy, nothing beats having to wait nearly two weeks without an explanation. (We don’t get many reasonable explanations these days, do we, huh?) We had to miss the 50th anniversary of the Festival of the Chariots in Golden Gate Park because of the changed date, but we are well-known at Jerry Day and could not miss this groovy birthday bash.

(You just know that my old man was so looking forward to the free vegetarian feast at the Golden Gate Park Hindu festival. Yeah, right.)
We brought our own “feast” to nosh at McLaren Park, however. But the real feast was the one we had for our senses. I don’t even bother to take the Parking Angel with moi to this event. Why bother? She would not function under such trying circumstances. (She told me she needed some rest after the trauma of the Haight/Ashbury Street Fair.) After all, word about the primo (free!) event always gets around to everyone who is a devotee of the departed bandleader. It’s announced in myriad publications because Deadheads still love print, as well as the Internet, TV and radio waves. The news may even travel on the Ethernet waves, man. And don’t forget to ask a psychic; they probably know, too!

I did mention the feast for our senses, didn’t I? I’m pretty darn certain that all the tie-dye colors worn by fans have increased at least ten-fold since we first began going to Jerry Day. OK, my math isn’t that great so I may be a few folds off in one direction or the other. But the intensity of so many colorful costumes is noticeable. People were complementing moi on my festival attire. I plan well in advance, although I’m game for groovy updates, folks. Hey, it’s a partay!

 

It was awesome to see so many familiar faces, including folks from the recent show in Mountain View. The fab diva from Australia was there. And when I gave her my business card she commented on my name. Turns out we are both named Kathleen. Pretty groovy, huh? Tie-dye Bob, he who has the busted toe from a skateboard mishap, is still trying to get around on his cumbersome contraption. He told us he has had worse injuries than that one! I did not ask what they were. Nice guy, though. A true devotee Primo was there, too. Man, can this dude dance. We have been seeing him for many years doing his thing. He gets shown on the TV news a lot because of his “primo” dance moves at every Jerry Day. We even saw a young couple we thought had missed at last year’s bash. Don’t know how we could have missed them with only a few thousand fans covering nearly every inch of the Jerry Garcia Amphitheatre. I’m sorry, but EVERY inch appeared to be covered this year, so don’t even think about going. Please save this totally fab, groovy and freeee concert for me, man. Puleeeze remember, my old man loves free! We even have the fabulous folks named Wendy and Odin save us free seats every year. Odin even takes our photo. It doesn’t get any bettah than this. Well, maybe the music keeps getting bettah every year. How is that possible? Must be magic, I guess. Special props to the awesome Jessica, and to a super Deadhead Cindy from Saccamenna.

To summarize Jerry Day I quote our tie-dye purveyor friend, JB:
“One of the best days of our year. Seriously, our community comes out in force, showing their colors, and loving one another. What’s not to love?”

 

Indeed. Does anyone remember the post where I included a link to the famous Beatles Abbey Road crossing? Well, why not? I told my readers that I was photographed crossing this very road, but had lost track of the photos (my English friend was kind enough to be my photog.). I found them! Enjoy. It’s no wonder that London drivers wish that intersection would go away. I watch folks jumping into traffic all the time. I didn’t jump into traffic, but I was oblivious to the stopped cars you will see in my pics. Oh, and notice I am giddily smiling as I risk their patience. One of them is a cab and they are always in a rush. Check out http://www.onabbeyroad.com/cam.htm and take a look at moi. Thanks.

Road1 Road2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today is a historical day in Beatlemania: The final Beatles concert took place in 1966 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. I was not there for the final Beatles concert, but I was there for the final concert at Candlestick which featured Sir Paul McCartney! Candlestick Park was leveled so the land could be turned into some sort of corporate colossus. It’s sad, man. Some say the haunted strains of Beatles tunes can be heard when the vibes are just right. “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!”

As a dedicated fan of the Fab Four, I put on a Beatles tee, tie-dye socks and my Union Jack sunglasses. I fixed an amazing English dinner and downed some Shandy. All the hubby had to say was, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!!”

*Peace, love, joy & laughter, Kathleen *

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