Friday, December 30, 2011

What are you doing New Year's Eve?

How did it happen? We're here already, and again, I don't know what I'm going to wear!
2011 was rough on a lot of folks that I know, and so I hope you are able to wind up this year, put a bow on it and awaken Sunday to start over with a whole new style of 2012!
Happy New Years Eve::::Good-Bye to 2011!
...and Happy New Year! Here's to all things wonderful in 2012! Cheers!

Need some ideas for the weekend?

In Marin:
Rickeys:  Doc Kraft Band   
George's:  Petty Theft & The 85s
Rancho Nicasio:  Zydeco Flames
Presidio Y.C.:  The Lonestar Retrobates
In SF 
Icon Ultra Lounge:  Champagne Wishes 2012
NYE Fireworks Show @ 11:59pm:  Embarcadero waterfront
Grace Cathedral: New Year's Eve silent movie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame 
Here's a link for a website with more great ideas for your New Year's fun: 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Porcupines: the new hedgehog?

I stumbled upon a couple of videos yesterday that I have to share with you.
I have to share them because they are ridiculously cute, and I am all about the cute, especially when it involves animals; also I can not seem to collect my thoughts this week to create a more involved post.  I blame the full moon on the 10th for my lack on concentration.

These two videos are of Teddy Bear, the adorable porcupine who is a part of Zooniversity,   a teaching zoo in Texas that takes animals "on the road" for educational purposes.
I've never seen a porcupine up close.  Occasionally I have seen them while hiking, but they quickly scurry away.  All I know is that they are so cute, and the way this one makes it's little "talking" noises makes me laugh.

First, Teddy eats corn on the cob, just like we do!

Everyone should have dessert!

....and I have to say, don't his little squeaky noises remind you of Cousin Itt from the Adams Family? ( Cousin Itt starts "talking" at :58 )

Have some fun this weekend! There is so much going on all around the Bay::

If I could do anything I wanted to this weekend, I would go to the Erykah Badu concert, which is tonight at the Warfield in San Francisco. Details here:

If you have not had the salted caramel hot chocolate at Ghiradelli Square, you are missing out on a treasure.  Go in the evening, it's less crowded, plus you can check out the beautiful Christmas Tree

SFMade Holiday Gift Fair at Fort Mason

Holiday Gifty Art Sale and Open House at the Crucible in Oakland

Berkeley Artisan Open Studios

Home for the Holidays free Open House at the Marin Mammel Center

Friday, December 2, 2011


Sometimes things just don’t go as we planned, do they?

Sorry for not writing anything for you last week. My plan was to write to you from the great state of Minnesota ( hopefully amidst a blizzard ) while visiting my family for Thanksgiving.  Two days before departure, I got sick.  Really, really, really sick.  The kind of sick where you start calling your friends at 4am to ask them to drive you to the ER......and then realize everyone turns off their phones at night! 
So I couldn’t go home to Minnesota.  Or eat.  Or stand up.  Or think.  All I could do was sit or lay down and not move.  Saltines and ginger ale were my food groups.  When I was daring, I tried a graham cracker.  Ever so slowly, I started to get better and then….Avalon got sick.  Really sick.

Avalon is my rabbit.  I will probably talk about her a lot, so you may as well get to know her.  Want to see a picture?  Of course you do!
I know.  She's totally cute, right? 

I’m convinced if everyone could meet her, there would be world peace. I digress......

So just as I am able to kind of get around, she becomes seriously ill; needs to be hand fed (syringe feed); Sub Q fluids each day, medications, possible impending surgery, etc. etc.
So, let’s just say…..I am bummed out.  Worn out. Tired out. Exhausted. I have the blues. I am frowning. Frowning. Frowning. Frowning.
I know it will all get better.  I know it could be much worse. I know.  But right now….

And so I am reminded these days of one of my favorite poems and poets.  
I used to practically stalk (in the nicest way) Galway Kinnell in college.  And after college.   He was often speaking someplace in the Midwest, be it Minneapolis or Chicago or Madison; all places that were easily traveled to in a few hours. And then when I moved to Berkeley he was at Cal pretty often for their brown bag lunch poetry readings. 
I have been thinking of this particular poem the last few days:


Crying only a little bit
Is no use.  You must cry
Until your pillow is soaked!
Then you can get up and laugh.
Then you can jump in the shower
And splash-splash-splash!
Then you can throw open your window
And, “Ha ha! Ha ha!”
And if people say, “ Hey,
What’s going on up there?”
“Ha ha!” sing back, “ Happiness
Was hiding in the last tear!
I wept it! Ha ha!

(from Mortal Acts Mortal Words, Galway Kinnell)

Are you well enough to go out and have fun this weekend? Then do it!

One of my all time favorite events is The Dickens Faire, happening weekends only through December 18th.  Sometimes there is a coupon for a small discount in the Pacific Sun or in the SF Weekly newspapers.

Ice Skating!!! Yes! Ice Skating!!  There are seasonal holiday rinks at the Embarcadero Center and Union Square.  It's especially wonderful at night with all the twinkly lights.  Put on your hat and mittens and go!

Personally, I love walking through Christmas tree lots.  I never buy anything, but it smells so wonderful, and they have music playing, often times.  My favorite lot is in San Francisco in the Marina, in the Marina Middle School parking lot.  It's my favorite because this is the lot where a lot of the fancy hotels get their huge trees, so it feels particularly magical with giant trees towering over you.  I go and get a big hot chocolate from a coffee shop and walk through at night, with all the lights glowing, and just.....unwind and relax and enjoy.  (plus, except for the cocoa, it's free).

Holiday Open Studios at Mark Drive Studios
December 3-4, from 11-5.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Lean on Me

"I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, old and new."
-- Will Carleton

I've been thinking a lot about my friends the last few weeks and how this life would be impossible without them. The MCFL staff recently lost a treasured colleague, ( please see Miss Kitty's blog post ) and for me, I lost a dear friend. Fran and I laughed until it hurt. Laughed until we cried. She offered advice without lecture. We shared a love of music.  I enjoyed everything about her.

I am left wondering if she knew the impact she had on me. I hope I expressed that to her. I hope she knew how much I liked her being in my life.  I began to wonder if I tell people often enough how important they are to me.  I hope the friends in my life do not wonder if I could do without them.....because I couldn't. They are our chosen family.

We are (already!) coming upon Thanksgiving. It's a good time to tell the special people in your life what they mean to you, so you never have to wonder if they know.

The following video gets to me every time I see it. It may be two Great Danes; but it is the story of friendship. We lean on each other. We take the lead when the other cannot see -- see that things will get better; see that there is hope and love and goodness. We guide. We wait. We stand by their side until they can walk more freely on their own. And sometimes we are just there, at a silent distance, holding them in our hearts.

((Update: Lily and Maddison have been adopted together by a loving family))

I would like to dedicate this to the friends in my life who guide me when I can not see.

“What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?”
-- George Eliot

Go out with your friends out this weekend!

The great Bel Marin Keys Holiday Warehouse and Studio Sale!

The San Francisco Hip Hop Dance Fest at the Palace of Fine Arts

A nice walk in the Marin Headlands

...with breakfast at the Dipsea Cafe in Mill Valley afterward (( I highly recommend the waffle! ))

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Blog is Born

I had been sick for days last February.  Coughing. Coughing. Coughing.   I was armed with two bags of Halls cherry cough drops in my jacket pocket and several handfuls of Kleenex.  When I tried to talk, only squeaky whispers of words could be heard.  Despite this virus and against the advice of my accountant (well, if I had an accountant), I was  standing on a rain-soaked BART platform in Oakland when I struck up a conversation with the stranger beside me.  We were standing among hundreds of people who had just left the last of three Prince concerts that week at the Oracle Arena. (Yes, Prince.  Just keep reading, please.)  We were glowing with huge smiles, happy hearts…and empty wallets.  We didn’t care that it was raining or that we had just missed the train and had to stand in the cool night and wait.  We would be happy for days to come.
“Wasn’t this the best show you’ve ever been to?” he asks.
“It was the best one of the week!  By Far! There are no words.  I cannot believe I got to dance on stage. You know, all I could think was, Hey, Prince, I’m from Minnesota!! I’m your people!.......of course then I dropped a bunch of Halls on the stage!” I laugh and then sigh heavily,” I can live off of this for 6 months, I think.  I really can’t afford to be here……and yet I couldn’t afford not to, you know?”
“I know what you mean,” he says. ,"'s easy to start to go through life on autopilot….to feel almost dead inside, unexcited by doing the same thing, the same work, the same routines, the same people day in and day out.  We forget why we do what we do. This is like pushing the reset button.  Getting back to who you are and what makes you happy.  I have to do it to my computer all the time,” he laughs,” push the reset button when it freezes up, seems logical I should need to do it to myself from time to time!" 
 "That’s exactly what I mean!” I said.
And a blog idea was born.
I am the Julie McCoy of my group of friends (for those not inherently linked to the 80's, she was the Cruise Director on the Love Boat TV show  This has been true most of my life. Even as a kid I wore my mom out always wanting to, in her words," Go, go, go and do, do, do."   I am always looking for fun, different, perhaps quirky things to experience.  Always looking for little resets.   To create wonderful memories.  Sometimes all it takes is coffee with friends, a movie, a walk, a run, a swim.  Looking at the Golden Gate Bridge.  The ocean.  And sometimes it takes Prince.   Life is challenging and sometimes hectic and unfriendly and it's easy to get wrapped into all the things we see that are wrong, or at least not-quite-right with life and the world.  But as I recently heard from a friend, ‘you may be in the storm, but don't let the storm get in you’. 

Now I've made you want to see Purple Rain again, right?  We have it right here!   I highly recommend the extras.  Maybe a little music?   The Hits, 1: or maybe Sign 'O the Times: or a little Musicology

If you're in need of a little Reset this weekend, here are a few ideas:
The Rip Curl surfing competition continues at Ocean Beach in San Francisco through November 12.  and if you can't make it there, you can watch live online.
Friday night, November 11, Mary J. Blige will be at the Fox Theatre in Oakland and Ledisi will be there on November 12

Marin Open Garden Project Veggie Exchange on November 12th.  More information here:

Take a stroll through the recently reopened Palace Of Fine Arts and then wander on over through Crissy Field to the warming hut for hot chocolate!

Enjoy everything you get to do no matter what it is!