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Too Much Thanksgiving

Listen –up, Sisters! I know that you know there are thirty days in November-
That’s thirty days to cook, clean, decorate and remember
that there are THIRTY-ONE days to do it all over again in the merry month of December!!
(Only like turbocharged)

Now let’s review my past month of endeavor: I cooked (sculpted a turkey from sort of fresh tofu), prepared amazing veggie side-dishes with fresh-picked produce plucked from nearby neighbors backyards. (I had to hop, skip & jump away from snarling dogs and desperate neighbors yelling at me to puleeeze take their overgrown zucchinis home with me instead. “Just bake some bread or some fried zuke chips or steam some of it, fer goodness sake!!”) OMG.
Too much vegetal abundance and so little time to waste: I tossed the zukes into sacks and left them on the front porches of other neighbors. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do. And, oh yeah, I had to clean the house, the dog house, the bird house, the outhouse & the new neighbor’s house. Just one: She who hates zucchini and is slightly allergic as well. Who knew?

The decorating was fun, fun, fun. I don’t seem to know when I’ve done enough of the stuff. Some grouchy neighbors have asked me to back off. Stick with decorating my own abode, they say. They’ll remove the holiday decorating restraining order after Christmas–or so I’ve heard. Probably fans of the Grinch. Probably would turn up their noses at my tofu turkey, too.

We had warmer weather than is usual for this time of year. The beaches here in the Bay Area were full of sun worshippers eager to catch the last lingering rays of the departing season. (The ice cream truck drivers have been having a blast with an extended season as well.) Not the kind of weather we expect when we go Christmas tree hunting, either. (It seems like a “hunt”: All those folks walking around armed with six foot saws.) We were prepared for both summer/winter conditions. I knew it would still be warm when we arrived at the Christmas tree farm in the Santa Cruz Mountains. But I knew by the time we feasted on our picnic lunch and found a tree to cut it would be getting cold and dark. (Blame it on the old man, because this is his M.O. I prefer an OM, myself.)
You have no idea of the thrill/chill you experience as your tired hubby drives down the long, winding mountain road in the DARK, baby, with a YUGE Yule tree loosely tied to the minivan roof! (We even have to cross a LONG bridge over San Francisco Bay.) And I hope you never will.

We have to keep zee C tree watered until it makes its grand entrance several weeks from now. (Currently there is no rain predicted for at least the next two weeks/or if we decide to attend an outdoor holiday craft fair. THEN it’s guaranteed to rain cats & dogs, man.

Meanwhile, back in the hood, I keep my festive Fall/Thanksgiving decorations up until December 1st. I love the colors of fall & beholding the joy of the décor. It’s kind of a bummer removing all that collection of stuff. There is more décor every year, even though I’ve tried really hard to resist….really. Too much Thanksging.
However, some folks in the hood have been decorating for December 25 since the 24th ….of November, man. Gaudy flashing lights adorn a residence (Noooo! I suppose Walmart may have muscled their way-into the block) well within my view. Then the guy across the street put a tree –obviously phonay- in his picture window. As of yesterday his new set of colored lights were draped across the front of his house and garage.

My neighborhood is in a state of total chaos now with dueling decorating going down. Elves have been spotted roaming the streets searching for stray pumpkins, black cats and assorted fall décor. Pilgrims have been caught mixing it up with an elf or two. As long as Christmas tunes are left un-played, I’ll be OK. Oh, wait, they have been rolling holiday tunes since before Thanksgiving on TWO radio stations here in the SF Bay Area.
Next year they’re planning for Christmas in July. Oh JOY!

Peace, love, joy, laughter, & all the tofu turkey you want: And you know you do,

Kathleen

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Always look on the Bright Side of Life

“Always look on the bright side of life.” (I do believe that is a title of a silly ditty from some famous British comedians. Python peeps will know what I’m on about.) I do my best to do just that. I also make a special effort to live on the LAUGH side of life!! And that’s not always easy.

October was really challenging for all of the above. Everyday seemed to bring news of global/ local impending doom, gloom, or yet another major disaster on the horizon. A real bummer, I must say. I did have the birthday of the late, great John Lennon to celebrate. And that helped a wee bit. Had some lovely Guinness with my celebratory meal wishing it came in an oversized keg as I was really parched. I listened to John Lennon singing “Imagine” over & over. A lot of fans love him to this day. Count me as one of them.
“Give Peace a Chance” Yeah!!

Then the horrible fires started and began to spread across the California Wine Country: Sonoma & Napa Counties were severely devastated by deadly fires that devoured trees, homes, cars, trucks, innocent animals and unfortunate people who were unable to escape its path. Other areas up in the North Country were harmed as well. Even Santa Cruz County experienced a destructive fire. There was nothing on the television but death and destruction. The newspapers & Internet contained more of the same. Out of state friends & family were concerned for our well-being and phoned/emailed.

The smoke from the intensity of all those fires began to spread across the San Francisco Bay Area. The sky looked a dark grey outside my house. On my wedding anniversary, you could not open the door/window without inhaling smoke. I had a sore throat & a bit of a headache for days. Because of this we did not travel to Berkeley for dinner. The old man picked up a pizza & we drank a little vino (I needed a VAT) to commemorate the occasion.
(Think Paul Simon’s “Still crazy after all these years!”) How many years? I’m not sayin’.

The fires continued to burn for weeks into October, but life & laughs go on. Many courageous folks found humor helped them cope with overwhelming loss & suffering. They are truly amazing people. If they could find a reason to laugh, so could I!

And I did. I needed all the laughter I could find in order to celebrate my, like totally unbelievable, !!## Oops, oops, mayday! mayday! birthday. (NOT a birthday bash, folks; I felt like I had been bashed!!) We did go to Berkeley, although I considered going to Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael. No performers playing that I had even heard of, and as San Rafael is located fairly close to the Wine Country, I heard the air quality really sucked.

We arrived at our fave Tibetan restaurant on University Ave. My birthday was on a Monday so I knew I could expect a very delish veggie entrée. I’m big on Paul McCartney’s “Meatless Mondays.” I’m semi-veg as it is. No problem ordering vegetarian, however, our fave chocolate dessert was not available. Ohhhhh Noooo!! (The owner did bring us a complementary traditional Tibetan dessert to share. Namaste, I say.)

“Don’t tell me that you’re out of the Tibetan Rice wine?” She was. But she emerged from the kitchen to ask how many glasses did I want, one or two? She was willing to make some for ME. After all, it was my!!## Oops, oops, mayday! mayday! birthday. As she set the full glass of wine down on the table she said to be careful, that it was very strong. I thought I might crawl out the front door, but I found myself break dancing while the Dalai Lama waved & giggled at me as I exited.
I could have had a second glass.

The hubby and moi shared a giant chocolate cupcake we purchased after dinner at a grocery store in Berkeley. The only candle I could find to put on the cake was from a box of colorful Hanukkah candles I bought on clearance. We’re not Jewish, but, hey, whatevah works. We celebrated his birthday three days later at a Mexican restaurant owned by guitar legend Carlos Santana. The birthday guest gets a free dessert garnished with lit sparklers. They gave me one too! Aye! Aye! Aye! And it was yum, yum, yummy.

I did have some fun decorating for Halloween. So did the folks at the big, big house on Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland. The owner must have some connections or moo-la or something. Their holiday décor is looking more and more professional. Think Walt Disneyesque. Henri took some groovy photos. He also took a FABULOUS photo of our Doggie Diva Rosie Colleen. And even one of moi. I forgot to remove my reading glasses, however. Mon Dieu.

Sorry that I’m so far behind with my posting. Please remember to laugh. Put a little giggle in your wiggle. Y’all need it. Because the times they are deranging. (Think Bob Dylan)

Peace, love, joy, healing laughter & don’t forget the wine & chocolate, man,
Kathleen
“Always look on the Bright Side of Life.” (As much as you can, man)

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Where Did My “Summer of Love” Go, Man?

A fifty year celebration for the “Summer of Love” sped into town and drove away just as quickly. (in a psychedelic VW Bus, perhaps?) Where did it go, man? S of L, I hardly found the time to try and remember you. Oh, that’s right: If I remember you, it means I wasn’t there! Or so they say. I’ll never tell.

I do know that the summer of 1967 will never really go away, as it lives on in our hearts and spirits. (And in the trippie hippie decorating I had so much fun with, I never wanted to take any of it down. Fall calls,y’all.) But the “celebrations” were not what they could
have been. All because of the Man, man.

The original hippie residents of the Haight/Ashbury were pretty much left out of the partay with the cancelation of the SF Summer of Love Festival scheduled for Golden Gate Park. It would have been way groovy. However, the powers that be in SF shut it down for their own gig. It had its moments, mainly the joy-inducing tunes from 60’s artists who performed in a very compact area on a black topped road in GG Park. The Man wants to reign us in. Uh-oh, there were thousands of people packed like sardines
In to a teeny-tiny space-what fun!

Later, I learned from a young hygienist at my dentist’s office that the so-called hippie images projected on the wall of the historic Conservatory of Flowers were designed by techies! Explains why her little daughter became so excited watching images the techies designed swirl by. ”Look Mommy,” she shouted, “Fidget Spinners!”

Blame it on The Man, man. Read my Haight St. Fair post to see how the Man has made it too expensive for most crafters to peddle their wares at this event. I wonder if the Man is responsible for the cancellation of Berkeley’s “Shakedown Street” which was supposed to happen in September. It was a real bummer for many Deadheads, man. It’s the fab tunes that provide heaps of healing joy. We really need it.

And now back to the rest of September!
My darling diva Rosie Colleen said she wanted to have her photo appear in this post. Yeah, right. She fought with her Daddy & moi while we struggled to dress her in fabulous canine threads while plying her with doggy treats. Oh, and she insisted on organic top- shelf gourmet treats, she did. What to do? What to do? Whatever Rosie wants Rosie gets.

She says you bettah like, um, love her photo. She demanded that her Dad post her fave of the dozens of pictures he took. Whew.

Just when I thought that September was the month of meh, I received an unbelievable email from my bro. The subject said “Give Peace a Chance” which surprised me. I was already surprised to learn that he now fancied brown rice, in fact, he ASKS for it. I thought that nothing he could do would surprise me anymore. But was I ever wrong. My bro obviously had quaffed more than a wee nip of an adult beverage. His fave is the margarita. Is it evah. I have NO idea what else he may favor, however, something strange was going on. And who would have encouraged such behavior? He could have been partying with leapin’ leprechauns or surrounded by a bunch of craaaazy gnomes or maybe elves. He swears there was no alcohol imbibed.

Take a look at this totally far-out photo. He looks to be wearing a green shrub on top of his head, along with nature- themed glasses. He resembles a tripped-out Green Man/Father Earth done-up all hippie. Mother Earth could be so lucky! Billy told me it is not real. Like, it’s Snapchat. I’ve heard the name, but this photo looks real to moi. Like real wild, man. Brown rice, peace signs & then he looks like a full- on nature hippie? No alcohol? Nothing at all?

I just don’t believe it. The “Summer of Love” lives on.

Peace, love, joy, laughter & whatevah my bro was drinking…….
Kathleen

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Some Call It FOGust

August 1st would have been the 75th birthday for the late Jerry Garcia. If only he could still be here. His passing was more than just a bummer, man. After all, the man was like a spiritual leader for scores of Deadheads. A number of fans even were convinced that they saw his face in the clouds over the Grateful Dead reunion concert held at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara. I was present on that day, dunno. A number of famous rock n rollers departed the planet way too soon. Sadly, they’re also missing out on the continuing 50th anniversary of The Summer of Love. Unfortunately I celebrated Jerry’s’ birthday sans Henri. His good old (literally) card-playing buds demanded he be there, man. I also shopped ahead of Jerry’s b-day for goodies I was certain that Jerry would approve of. And I lovingly decorated my dining table as any DEADicated devotee would do. Hello, Flower Power cupcake & Cherry Garcia ice cream. The flavors were divine. OMG


(Puleeeezze take a look at the fab photo I took of my festive Jerry table, ok?)

Off we went on August 6th to the Jerry Garcia Amphitheatre in San Francisco’s McLaren Park. It didn’t look like there was any fog swirling over the top of the park peaks. It wasn’t supposed to be that warm of a day, either. But the sun was sparkling (could have been glittered), and I figured that later in the afternoon the fog would arrive. (The chilly fog that typically occurs during the 8th month of the year is known as FOGust. Actually, practically every month of the year can be fog intense in San Francisco! ) However, I was sunburned for several days. Who knew? Sunburn in San Francisco? I guess.

Up the hill we went and were blessed with a primo space to park. Thank you to the parking gods/goddesses! However, despite the fact that the long & winding road (Props to The Beatles!) which leads to the JGA was no longer a sand trap, our seat-saving friends were absent. One of the two is a S.F. school teacher: Next year she better bring me her absentee note to sign!! The same note applies to the over-the-top tie-dye couple last seen at the Haight St. Fair. They said they would be there this year. For the second time, they did. You can’t always believe faux hippies it seems.  

In the expensive Bay Area with ever-diminishing opportunities for rock fans to hear free or low cost music, Jerry Day is like the crème de la crème with an extra scoop of Cherry Garcia. Like yum. It doesn’t get any bettah than this. And it does not help, not one bit, the fact that this festive party grows in popularity every year. You can’t blame folks for staking out a great spot for the show, but….really, camping there for the entire year? (I’ve heard) Yeesh. Some of us can’t do that! 

We hope that our friends were unable to find a parking space and will be there next year, because the grandstands were so jammed with Deadheads we could only find seats that sucked. These are the seats where people crowd in front of you and block the stage or step all over your feet. Next year I’m gonna get me some tie-dye combat boots. Some other folks were on the missing list; hope they were not on the moving list. These are some very groovy people, folks.

But enough of the festive folks we are accustomed to seeing at fairs and other events were present and accounted for. Cindy from Sacramento (Sacamenna) looked totally groovy as ever, and was featured on the local TV evening news. Girl, you rock! So do the hippie couple we see at many events. Man, can the hubby ever dance. He has appeared on many newscasts over the years. Nice people. There were loads of very grooveily- dressed folks in attendance. I’d like to believe that I was one of them! Oh, and I want to give credit to all the colorful hippie kids & even hippie pets in the crowd. I love their bright spirits. Plus, little Deadheads are very appealing. Where do their moms find those far-out threads? I mean, the pet moms. My doggy diva Rosie Colleen needs to know – like yesterday.
The music was awesome as usual, although the frenetic energy of the music cannot be described, it has to be experienced. But do not attempt to come to Jerry Day next year. Improve your karma and kindly leave the music and divine dancing to us locals –PULEEEZZE. The trees were bending from all the Deadheads who could not score seats or ground space. Hug a tree, don’t hurt them. Ouch. And don’t stomp on me feet, either. Karma baby, karma. And not the good kind, either.

Before I go, let me tell you about International Lefthanders Day celebrated in August, foggy or not. I’m a proud leftie, as was my dad, even though the Nuns forced him to learn to write with his right hand. By the time I arrived in the same school that my parents (aunts, uncles & cousins on both sides of the family) attended the Nuns must have decided NOT to force lefties to “change.” My father still used his left hand for everything important, however. He even had a set of left-handed golf clubs. I did have a guitar with the strings reversed, however –I still have it!- and I NEVER did learned how to play it.

But seeing as this is the 50th anniversary of The Summer of Love let me tell you about some very famous guitar players who were/are left-handers: the amazing Jimi Hendrix & Sir Paul McCartney, who is now considered rock royalty. I consider Mr. Hendrix to be as equally royal. Guess what? I recently discovered that the dashing Ringo Starr is also a leftie! Like my father, he was forced to “change” as a youngster. HE does everything with his left hand, too.  

I love being a left-handed person. Check out all the celebrities who are of the same persuasion such as moi. The only bummer is that nearly everything must conform for the “righties”? Ask Ringo. And please note that the hubby has gifted you guys with musical videos from Jerry Day. And I’m in one of them: Check me out and enjoy all the photos from the birthday bash. The day and the event were totally hot.

Some call it FOGust.
Peace, love, joy, laughter & world peas,

Kathleen

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Ka-boom!! Ka-boom! It’s GOTTA Be JULY

The 4th of July is supposed to be the day America celebrates its independence. It’s a day when fireworks brighten the evening sky, when those “bombs bursting in air” go ka-boom, ka-boom! It’s a day, folks, only a day. Midnight or so it is all supposed to end until the ear-splitting torture begins….the very next day? (Enough of this rocket racket on the fourth. The crazy canine chorus in the hood at last stopped their howling so I finally could get some sleep…about three in the morning) Our trembling doggy Rosie hid beneath her “daddy’s recliner footrest for at least three weeks – count ‘em – after the 4th.
Rosie Colleen refused to leave her safety zone under the blanket- covered footrest until we bribed her with goodies. She demanded canine caviar. I know. Fuggedabout about any phony bologna sausage, she wailed. What’s a pet parent to do? (Who’s a good doggy diva? Who’s a good doggy diva?)

A few days later it was time to celebrate Beatle Ringo Starr’s 77th birthday. OMG, how can that be? I know that I say that every July, but OMG!! Since I’m on Ringo’s email list I get a heads-up on what is up with this still sexy drummer. Ringo makes only one request for his birthday: He wants everyone at Noon their local time to shout “Peace and love, Peace and love!” (Dontcha think we need it now more than evah?) Of course I was happy/hippie to do so. Shouted out my front door first, I did, adding a very “Happy Birthday, Ringo!! Even though the squirrels in our towering palm tree tossed their discarded nut shells down on me, I persisted. (Have a familiar ring??)
I danced on down to the rear sliding door sporting my Ringo buttons & other paraphernalia to receive a standing ovation from some real cool cats (literally) while I shouted “peace and love” far out into the backyard. Me-o-o-o-o-w!

July weather felt like the hot and humid weather I grew up with back in the windy city and ‘burbs of Chicago. Man, was it ever hot and steamy. And no, I’m not talking about lingering in a hot tub (in a bathtub where I come from It got so crowded in that there tub. It seems like there is a heckuva lot more space in a hot tub!). I don’t know where all the heat and humidity came from, but I sure hope it makes a speedy return to wherever it came from, y’all.

For some bizarre reason I expected the weather in San Francisco to be as I remembered it: cold and foggy. Yeah, right. Climate change has reached the beach! The fog never rolled in. And fuggedabout any chills. The weather could only be described as balmy. The hubby and moi had ducats to go to the United Irish Cultural Center at the edge of our old hood. On the corner was the second location of Java Beach, an Irish-owned coffee house/surfer joint where we had a bite to eat before we went to be entertained by a Catholic priest from Ireland. {There is a giant “dog” head attached to a pole on the median strip outside J. Beach. It’s all that remains from the former “Doggie Diner.” My boys used to go there to munch hot dogs & fries.)

Father Ray Kelly is known as “The Singing Priest.” He became a You Tube sensation when he burst into song while performing a wedding at St. Bridget’s Church in Oldcastle, County Meath. He soon began getting phone calls from parishioners who told him he was on You Tube. “What’s a You Tube?” he asked. Fr. Kelly soon found out. Kelly had performed the late Canadian singer/songwriter Lenard Cohen’s hit, “Hallelujah.” Well, holy moley said Cohen’s record company. You can’t do that. Eventually he was given permission to change some of the lyrics for use in wedding ceremonies. The company even gave him permission to record an album, which he did.

Father Ray is on a promotional tour here in the U.S. and I felt so blessed to see him. It felt like an oven inside the UICC, however. Even downing an entire bottle of Magner’s Irish Cider failed to cool me down though. The charming man is a “lefty” like me! Said he was a left-hander “me whole life.” He is donating his record profits to his parish and to aid low-income people in his native Ireland. Please Google Father Ray Kelly. He has a great set of Irish “pipes.”

I only wish that the good Father could have performed a traffic-parting miracle for us when we struggled to leave San Francisco! Oh, we got lucky finding a parking space. I think it was those leapin’ leprechauns accompanying Fr. Kelly who found us our amazing parking space. Or perhaps, I only imagined seeing those leps after downing an entire bottle of hard cider? Slainte.

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

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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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