Thursday, May 24, 2012

Earth Angels Alive at Earth House

Oakland, CA -- Hope abounds for healthy, just, and sustainable communities through education—the mission of Earth House, spearheaded by Harvard grad Dr. Margaret Paloma Pavel and resident Zeus Carl Anthony.  My friend Steve Blackwell who just received his Master’s degree from Holy Names University invited me to a celebration of his internship completion at Earth House.  I was delighted to be part of this special event heavy on ceremony and accolades including a certificate of completion and a medal with a green and white ribbon.  This reverence for the whole person—both private and public renewed my faith in building a healthy community, one person at a time.  Congratulations Steve, you’re officially an Earth House Earth Angel. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mill Valley Fundraiser: The Fourth Messenger

Mill Valley, CA -- What if the Buddha were a woman and she was alive today? How would the world view her life and teachings differently? The Fourth Messenger is a new musical that asks these questions.  Playwright Tanya Shaffer held a fundraiser to promote her upcoming production on a spring afternoon at Hillside Gardens, a sweet spot in ├╝ber-hip Mill Valley.  I joined about 80 people, most of whom were wearing wide-brim hats for this joyful outdoor event celebrating music, great food catered by Savory Thymes and the life of Buddha—who was both enlightened and flawed.  Tanya’s a pillar of dedication—she’s been working on this production for almost 13 years.  When I asked what kept her inspired she said, “It’s like raising your children, you don’t have a choice.”   Awe shucks Tanya, we all have a choice...right?   Still, I salute your unwavering dedication to following your dream.  We are the lucky ones.  Namaste.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Heyday Books: It's An Ohlone Thing

San Francisco, CA -- Heyday Books held their second annual New California Writing 2012 event at the California Historical Society headquarters.  It was a true gift to hear California writers read from their published stories that appear in the 2012 anthology.  But, I was there on a mission: to shake the hand of Malcolm Margolin, founder and owner of Heyday Books who wrote my favorite book on the California Indian The Ohlone Way: Indian Life in the San Francisco–Monterey Bay Area published over 25 years ago and still relevant today.  There were plenty of people in line to say hello to Malcolm and when I got my turn, I babbled on about how much the book meant to me and that the view from my apartment at Basecamp overlooks the Emeryville Shell Mound and before I got a chance to tell him that sometimes I pretend that I am an Ohlone Indian wearing a deer skin coat, and grind acorns with the other women while singing songs someone else swooped Malcolm away, which was probably a good thing for him.  I raise my glass to a man who’s made a huge difference in California literature.  Here's to you Malcolm!

San Francisco: Ghirardelli Square

San Francisco, CA -- The history of Ghirardelli chocolate goes together with the City of San Francisco--both were founded at about the same time.  I went to Ghirardelli Square and discovered a hidden treasure: musican Kevin Toqe.  He plays a lush, melodic guitar and his songs lifted my already high spirits with words of encouragement and hope.  The combination of live music and chocolate was the perfect recipe for a great afternoon.   Thank you Kevin.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day 2012: Kissed By Two Angels

Davis, CA -- The original plan for Mother's Day was to go swimming at U.C. Davis' "rec" pool with my two children now 21 and 22.  The forecast was for a 90 degree day.  When we got to Davis from Basecamp, it was overcast and windy, not a good day for lounging poolside.  Jordan said he had a surprise for me. "Let's go to the Whole Earth Festival, there's a bunch of hippies there, you'll love it." He was right, I did love it...what's not to like?  Live music, great food, interesting vendors, all in one cool place.  The highlight of the event was when Haley said, "let's give mom a kiss," and they each went on one side of me and held the kiss while someone snapped the picture.   Sigh.  Why can't everyday be Mother's Day?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Humboldt State: It's A Cosmic Journey

Arcata, CA -- If you're looking to deepen your relationship with nature and are open to using both your left and right brain hemisphere, I recommend you attend the Cosmic Vision Workshop at Humboldt State University.  Not only is this the best deal in town at $15 for 15 hours of lecture by ridiculously energetic and uber-intelligent Professor Stone Brusca, it's downright entertaining.  The photographic images of galaxies, atoms and Gaia he shows cosmicians are worth the price of admission, alone.  Be prepared to have your mind blown open.  Me and my twin, who lives in a parallel universe, both loved the class.  It's a cosmic journey.

Arcata: Holly Yashi Jewelry

Arcata, CA -- My favorite jewelry in the world is made in Arcata—the company is called Holly Yashi. Their signature metal is a lightweight material called niobium like titanium but much rarer.  When niobium is dipped in an electrically-charged bath, the refractory metal turns into a rich rainbow color, resulting in one-of-a-kind necklaces and earrings.  

            The story of how owners Holly Hosterman and Paul “Yashi” Lubitz began their company goes back to 1981, when they were searching for creative ways to use their degrees. Holly, who majored in studio art with an emphasis in jewelry-making, and Paul, who graduated with a double degree in industrial technology and music, knew they wanted to work together. Combining their talents to lay the foundation for what would quickly become a successful jewelry business they transformed their one-car garage into a design studio and started their lifelong career with Holly Yashi.  They just celebrated 30 years in business. 

            If you’re looking for a Mother’s Day gift that will wow your mom, I recommend Holly Yashi.  Tell them the Humboldt Honey sent you. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

El Portal: Rafting the Merced River

El Portal, CA --  The Merced River picks up at the West Entrance to Yosemite in mid-spring alongside  Highway 140, five miles from El Portal.  The snow melt is only a few hours old—low 40’s and ready to give Class III and Class IV rafters the ride of a lifetime.  If you're looking for adventure and appreciate a tremendous landscape, I recommend you explore the Merced River with the Zephyr Whitewater Expeditions.  Tell them Operation Goldfish sent you.

Mariposa: Gold Rush Town

Mariposa, CA --  If you were near the small Gold Rush town of Mariposa in 1849, you would have seen over 3,000 gold seekers from around the world, peering at every pebble in Mariposa Creek.   Mariposa was the southernmost mine during the Gold Rush.  The first gold was mined near where it was found—the American River.  Mythical stories of picking up gold nuggets while walking near the water’s edge are epic.  Here, the operation wasn’t placer, but rather subterranean—deep shafts tunneled into the Earth to depths of 200 feet.   On display at the California State Mining and Mineral Museum a few miles out of town near the Fairgrounds is the Fricot “Nugget,” a rare and beautiful specimen of crystallized gold discovered in the American River in 1864 weighing almost 14 pounds. This specimen is the largest remaining intact mass of crystalline gold from the 19th century.  The value? Two million dollars.  Go west young man, go west.