I knew this day would come,…

…when you and I would finally meet, and I would fall hard for you.

My skinny bike frame was no match for your strong, shiny and sleek rails. I tried to avoid your charms, keeping my distance from you whenever I saw you, rushing past you when I could. Finally today I couldn’t dodge you anymore, and you knocked me off my feet.

Fortunately, I’ve been around long enough to know how much you might hurt me. So, I built up my defenses, and I rolled when you brought me down. As Gloria Gaynor sang, I will survive…thanks to my puffy jacket, strong body, and helmet…well, something like that.

 

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I hear Charlotte, NC is a nice place to visit

It’s not totally clear at this point what this week’s port shutdown accomplished, except for obvious facts, such as workers lost a day’s wages,  businesses received shipments a day late, and more money was sucked from a city that already can’t afford to keep up some of its city services.  I am not downplaying this in any way, but I wonder how the focus of protests here in Oakland helps the cause other than more publicity. And to what end?

I suggest if the movement wants to make some real noise, it’s time to start massing everyone where some of the largest financial institutions are located in Charlotte, NC–something like the Million Man March.  Just a thought.

But in the meantime, one tangible thing everyone can do to help bridge that gap between the 99% and 1% is to donate to their favorite charities or causes.  No, it won’t fill the immense gulf, but it won’t hurt to bring a cash infusion to people and organizations who can really use it. You might even ask your friends or family to skip buying that book or scarf for you for Christmas, and instead make a donation to charity in your name.

The lost art of a neighborly hello

The last time you walked down the street in your neighborhood, to how many people did you greet? Sure, it’s hard if you don’t live in a residential area. If you are passing 50 people on  street in a big city, it’s kind of impossible to say hello to everyone, unless you’re like Buddy in the movie Elf.

But if you encounter just a couple of people on the street, is it so hard to say a simple hello?  It’s not that I think that you need to talk to everyone, but when you pass by someone and he or she is not engaged in conversation, it seems strange that you wouldn’t acknowledge another human being, if not out of kindness, at least out of respect. Isn’t that what manners essentially are, a show of respect for other human beings?

Magnificent Mendocino

If there’s one pattern you might notice emerging in my posts is that I like my dog, wine, and the ocean. It’s even better when I can combine all three (no, not the dog drinking wine by the ocean, but I wouldn’t put it past her).

Sunset from the room at the Inn at Schoolhouse Creek

So Mendocino County has become a regular destination for my birthdays in the past few years as it offers not only the trifecta above, but also peace and solitude–something sorely lacking in the bustling Bay Area. And there are a number of fido-friendly hotels, wineries, and restaurants–meaning no guilt for leaving the mutt at home, nor a need to budget in the cost for dog boarding.

One of the many gorgeous views seen from the two mile path that circles the town of Mendocino.

If you’ve been, you know how gorgeous it is, but if you’ve never been, I highly recommended it.  Just a few hours from San Francisco by car, it’s a great place for wine tasting, especially in the Anderson Valley (think Sonoma without the crowds and tasting fees), hiking and camping in parks like Van Damme State Park (no, not named after “The Muscles from Brussels”, but instead the son of Belgian settlers who came to the area in the 1800s), kayaking or paddle-boarding on the Big River or whale-watching from MacKerricher State Park. Also, it doesn’t really matter what time of year you visit–if the weather is bad, you can always snuggle inside by a cozy fire.

Lastly, I want to call out the brand new Wild Fish restaurant in Little River.  This place is but a week old and the menu short, but choices like duck, sole and gumbo should please most. In addition, the Albion River Inn offers free happy hour appetizers along with the purchase of one of their wine and well drink specials. It’s a great place to nosh and watch the sunset before dinner. Otherwise, the old fashioned beach picnic is always a good option.