Category: Miscellaneous


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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Advertisements

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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? **

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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 **

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

The Summer Solstice

Can you imagine my surprise upon awakening the morning after the Haight/Ashbury Street Fair, seeing my right arm up in the air flashing a peace sign? (Oh, like it couldn’t happen.)  What’s more, I was shouting “Peace and love!” “Peace and love!” (Ringo Starr would have been so proud, man.)  According to my old man I was one chaotic mess.  He considered calling for emergency assistance, but he knew I wouldn’t want to be seen in  over-sized tie-dye footed jammies in such a frazzled condition. Not to mention that my hair was a total mess, man.  My hubby really did not want to explain HIS terrapin tie-dyed pajamas to any First Responders either.

They wouldn’t understand “Flower Power” anyway.
Despite this unbelievable morning after, the 39th annual Haight/Ashbury Street Fair was like a total trip, man.  I began dressing myself at three in the morning….alright, maybe it was more like four or five or maybe even six a.m. (Not!) It was very early, however. It takes me a loooong time to achieve that groovy glam look for this particular hippie event, but the old man, not so much. With a final touch of glitter I was hippie haut monde, monsieur.

I nearly forgot to bring the Parking Angel with me. At the last minute I received divine intervention and popped her into a clean cloth bag.  Good job, my winged friend.  She found a primo space for our Mini Cooper. The Coop was newly sporting a “Give Peace a Chance” stick-on. John Lennon would have been so proud, man. How could we not get a great spot for the car?

It was still fairly early when we arrived on the street, so I was able to visit the facilities before any cameras were aimed at us. Yay! We saw our ultimate Deadhead pal, JB, who was there mainly for the musical entertainment. Rock ‘n’ Roll, baby! Our colorful red-headed friend Annie was out and about as well.  We eventually were joined by the color-crazed couple we met at the Fair several years ago. Although partners for a looong time, they decided to make it legal last November and are acting like newlyweds.
(happy hippies, huh?)

The number of photo devises has reached epidemic levels; everyone has one, or so it seems.  It’s a wonder my lips weren’t locked into a permanent smile the next morning because it seemed like I smiled non-stop.  We posed for tourists from all over. There were visitors from London (pre Brexit vote), France, Holland, Finland, Austria, Australia, and Canada (eh?), The World visits the Haight/Ashbury.

Speaking of the World, along with the tie-dyed newlyweds we were filmed by a Brazilian Television crew here for the Copa America Soccer (Football) championship held at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara. Guess they wanted to get some far-out film for their local station.  The announcer was quite a hottie, although I don’t even know or understand a word of Portuguese. The four of us whooped it up, flashing peace signs and shouting “Peace and Love!” Imagine being featured on foreign TV thousands of miles away!
We were that groovy.

Last year we four were “volunteered” (the new wife offered our service) to pose for paid photos at the San Francisco Food Bank booth. It was supposed to be for one hour, but although it was way fun, it was exhausting. After all, I’d already posed for so many pictures I was becoming dizzy. (I felt a little like a carnival barker, trying to lure people in to take a photo (many posed with us), and give a donation to a worthy cause.) The food bank staff was very helpful and we hope they raised a ton of cash. I think we’ve been volunteered for next year, too.

We managed a wee visit to “The Love of Ganesha” shop. The folks there are so kind and loving; No longer selling at the Himalayan Fair in Berkeley as they have become a shopping mecca since they moved to a much larger location on Haight Street.  It’s so worth a visit.  We visited with folks a bit too long. I was feeling a bit puckish as the English like to say. Henry was practically drooling over some meat kabobs, but I thought a plate of garlic noodles would fill me up. Oh, yeah, it did. The noodles were piled so high, and came with a tiny fork that was about useless. I just seemed to be eating and getting nowhere!  I could not take anymore of those suckers, garlic or not! Remember the Beatles film, “Magical Mystery Tour”?  In that flick John Lennon “feeds” this woman spaghetti from a vat –with a shovel!  I didn’t have a shovel, but I sure could have used one!  I did try some Indian style Spinach Tikka pizza. It rocked.

Also rocking were some of the hippie vendors on the street. A couple of them were Grateful Dead booths.  Decorated ALL Dead they were. (See photos). My fave vendors are the real deal hippie kids who sell under the name GypsyHalos.  They are a fun, creative young couple full of love, gorgeous smiles and a beautiful hippie spirit to boot. They have a variety of handicrafts that any hippie would love to have. They truly live the free-spirited life. They were at the Shakedown Street Festival in Berkeley last September and I lost their business card.  Please visit them at www.gypsyhalos.com  Then Google them: They have lots of websites. You will not be sorry, man.

We also spent a great deal of time (missed some major music, but had a blast) with Charmaine & Robert. Robert is a real trip, a wild and playful creative spirit.  He has long been known as The Tie-Dye Kid. He and partner Charmaine do amazing, colorful work. It’s obvious they put their heart and soul into each and every one of their projects. They are really nice people who could use your business. Google Psychedelic Clothesline or see the info on them from last September’s post. Puleeeze.

Hope you all got to see the full moon on the awesome Summer Solstice. The hubby took a photo. He also took a photo of moi and our pal Sharon from the Berkeley Bowl grocery store. She thoroughly decorates a hat each time she visits the store. She’s one creative woman, an asset to the funky city of Berkeley.  If you’re wondering if this post is ever going to end, just read the next paragraph and it will be so over!

You may remember how I seemed to attract gnomes everywhere I roamed. Well, something has happened, folks. Now its elves!  I “earned” a Bachelor of Elf Spotting from HBO’s Last Week Tonight signed by John Oliver, Dean of Elfery. I already had a shirt “Discover Your Inner Elf.” But it’s ME who has been discovered!  I wondered does an elf take an “elfie”?  Then I was watching Bill Maher and he stole the idea from moi! Or perhaps he channels me.  I dunno.  Today I almost lost my breakfast after seeing a cartoon that showed a guy riding in the back seat of an auto which was captioned (you really have to look closely to see him) “Elf Driving Car.”  Noooooo!! It can’t be!!  An elf was supposed to spot gnomes for ME!

It’s the revenge of the gnomes, man. Help me please. But don’t recommend a self elf group.
Peace, love, joy, laughter,
Kathleen

*(Note to readers: Google “dyethesky to see tie-dye from JB’s company. Lots of groovy Grateful Dead & hippie rock star merchandise to peruse. From a company located in Maine)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Sizizling September

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kathleen

 

*