Friday, September 28, 2012

I *heart* Andy Williams, I really do!

On Tuesday, September 25th, the great Andy Williams passed away.

My mother immediately phoned when she heard it on the news.

“Tricia. Oh, Tricia. (sigh). Andy Williams died.”
“I know.  I heard.” I exhaled heavily.

For me, Andy Williams is Christmas.  I think perhaps most people associate him with Moon River and Breakfast at Tiffany’s,  but I was an Andy Williams and Christmas music fan long before I ever saw that movie.

When I say I love Christmas, ( and pretty much the Holiday time from October 31 thru the New Year), what I really mean is that I am totally obsessed with it.   Ob. sessed.  
I'm up to 1,327 Christmas songs on my ipod. I can be wandering through a store in June and
think," Oh, this would be a great Holiday decoration." While many people go into a store, see the Christmas decorations in September and think,” Could we please get through Halloween first?”  I see the trees up and decorated and the holiday displays up earlier and earlier, and get a little whispy emotional, thinking, “It’s almost here……… It’s almost…….. here!”  Last weekend I walked into Kohl’s and stopped dead, there they were……the Christmas ornaments! Can it really be?!  And I got this year’s trimming ideas.  About two hours later, after examining each one, I’m ready to decorate, ignoring the fact that my storage closet is about 98% full of boxes labeled “Christmas decorations.”
( All this love does set me up for post-holiday blues from about Mid January until Easter, I won’t lie.)

Back to Andy.  When I was in….Hmmmm…..the 10th grade, my mother and I went to the Andy Williams Christmas Show in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.  If you remember watching these shows on TV, well, it was *that* show, only LIVE.      LIVE!  Can you even stand it?
How I ever lived through the happiness and pure delight, I’ll never know.  (Now, the fact that I loved doing this so much in the 10th grade gives away the fact that I did not run with the “in” crowd.  Not by a long shot.  I was a (self proclaimed) Orchestra nerd, who dressed up to go to school, my best friends were my teachers and I wanted to be a professional Violist. So not cool, but I didn’t know it at the time.) 

The Christmas show was magic.  There were horse drawn sleighs; Reindeer!!!! on stage;  they made it snow; they made the night sky twinkle with stars.  And there was the music, and my favorite Holiday song EVER:

So this year I will play my Andy Williams Christmas LP’s (MmmHmmm, LP’s people!) with a slightly heavy heart now that he is gone, but will always lovingly remember the wonderful memories he has contributed to during the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.  RIP, Mr. Williams. 

Do you need something to do this weekend?

Tonight, September 28th, is the 20th Anniversary of Critical Mass!  Starts at 6pm, Justin Herman Plaza.Critical Mass Anniversary

Fog Fest! September 29-30, 10am-6pm along Palmetto in Pacifica. Fog Fest

Polk Steet Blues Festival, September 29-30, 10am-6pm, on Polk St. between Jackson and California. Polk Street Blues Festival

2012 " La Madonna del Lume,"  Blessing of the Fishing Fleet. This is a Sicilian tradition of protecting fishermen that’s been practiced in San Francisco for over 70 years.
The 2012 blessing and fishing boat parade  is an annual procession from St. Peter and Paul’s Church in North Beach down to Fisherman’s Wharf with a blessing of the fleet and a fishing boat parade and Memorial Ceremony at sea.  Saturday, September 29, 10am-1pm, Fisherman's Chapel on the Wharf, Pier 45.  Blessing of the Fishing Fleet

Polish Harvest Festival, Sunday, Septemeber 30th, Golden Gate Park, County Fair Building ( 9th ave. and Lincoln Way) 11am-5pm.  Polish Festival

Friday, September 21, 2012

90 lb. Butter Blocks and Everything on a Stick

    I recently went back home to Minnesota for a much needed vacation and visit with family.  I love the Midwest at the end of the Summer and beginning of Fall.  The weather is lovely, -- sunny, mild and warm days, cool nights, and the mosquito population is dying down (a bit). 

Oh, but not this year. 

     The temperature hovered  near 100 most days; it was incredibly humid and I wondered if my blood was particularly sweet because every insect that could bite found me!  This, however, did not stop me from enjoying the best, best, BEST part of Minnesota’s “end of summer” ritual: The Minnesota State Fair, aka, The Great Minnesota Get-Together.
     The MN State Fair is one of the top attended fairs in the country!  And why wouldn’t it be, what with deep fried Twinkies; Dill Pickle lip balm (with spf); bacon on a stick and Garrison Keillor.  It lasts 12 days and averages 150,000 visitors per day.  This year’s attendance total was 1,788,512.  I would not kid you about that number.  (Keep in mind that the population of the entire state is a mere 5.3 million).
     The day my mother and I went was “Read and Ride” day -- present your library card when you buy your Fair ticket, and get a discount!
     This year, my first stop was at the butter sculptures.  MmmHmmm.  Butter. Sculptures.

     Young women compete to be one of the 12 princesses to come to the Fair. Girls must live or work on a dairy farm. Then, in the days just before the Fair starts, the winner is crowned Princess Kay of the Milky Way, and her likeness is carved on opening day at the fair. On the remaining days, the likenesses of the other princesses are carved into 90 pound butter blocks, in a 40 degree room (that rotates so everyone can see) in the Dairy Building.
A Princess Kay contestant
Princess Kay of the Milky Way (notice the tiara!)

Sculptor, Linda Christenson, working on a butter sculpture.

     After the butter sculptures, my favorite place to be is in the barns (yes, I do wish I had a farm).  I *love* all the barns – horses; cows; sheep; chickens; rabbits; llamas; pigs; and the birthing barn -- with the animals who will likely give birth while at the Fair. 
ADORABLE little lambs, born earlier that same day.

One-day old piglets!!

Llama! I want a Llama!

After butter, and animals, there is, of course, FOOD!
Bacon on a stick, from Big Fat Bacon
Summit Beer on a stick!
Tom Thumb Mini Donuts!! Hot! With cinnamon sugar!

The SPAM throne!

The Fairgrounds cover just over 320 acres, so the best way to see everything is the Sky-Glider!


Sky-Glider view.  Wheeee!

And there is a reason they call it "Minnesota Nice," -- the people are amazingly kind!

Lots and lots of great people! You betcha!

The end of a beautiful day!

See you next year!

Looking to make some memories this weekend??
There's a lot going on!

Sandcastle Building 101 class: Saturday, Sept. 22, 10-12 at Ocean Beach (by the Cliff House). FREE!

National Cemetery Walk, Saturday, Sept. 22, 10am, Presidio Cemetery, SF. details:  Cemetery Walk

Eat Real Street Food Festival, Jack London Square, Oakland. Sept. 21-23 Eat Real Food Festival

48th Annual Big Book Sale, Fort Mason, SF. Sept.19-23. ( All books are $1 on Sunday!)  Opens at 10am

2012 Autumn Moon Festival, Chinatown, SF. Sept. 22-23. 11am-6pm. Moon Festival and Street Fair

Taste of Russia Festival, Sept. 23, 11-6.  Holy Virgin Cathedral, 6210 Geary Blvd., SF.
            Taste of Russia

Britney Spears Flash Mob dance class! Hit me baby, one more time! Monday Sept. 24, 8pm.
             Studio Garcia, 19 Heron St., SF (SoMa).