29 October, 2012  |   11 Comments

Throw a parade!

Question: Are you sick enough to have to stay home from preschool but not quite sick enough to have to stay in bed?

Answer: A parade

A St. Helena Parade!

Parades are not sexy.
There’s no drama.
Just marching down the street
in a costume,
banging on an instrument.

Wait, it’s not a costume.
in our parades, it’s a get up.

A St. Helena Parade!

So we put on our get ups,
and we celebrate being human
(alive, awake, alive, awake.)
We’re not that sick anymore, and it’s 11:00am.

A St. Helena Parade!

an accordion and a
jingle stick are our
instruments of choice.

Mama brings her big purse,
to hold what gets too heavy.

Onlookers are optional.
No one needs to bear witness,
this is about us,
feeling seen,
having fun.

Now that I think about it,
why don’t you have a parade right now?

A parade of you!

Not celebrating your sexy or your strength, but
your humanity.
You’re human.

You, there, at your desk,
hold your head up,
bend your elbows,
swing your arms and
pull your knees up high on
that walk to the restroom,
as you hum the paradiest tune you can muster.

(Throw candy if you’re feeling generous.)

A St. Helena Parade!

We paraded down the sidewalk
to the trail,
past the office buildings,
down main street
until a princess got trapped in the evil bike jail.

A St. Helena Parade!

Working together to save each other.
As we do.

A St. Helena Parade!

After the parade there is always a treat.
This parade ended at Model Bakery with Giants’ (yay Giants!) cookies and a spinning contest.


We’re paradable.
We’re worth celebrating.
Let’s feel seen.
Let’s be seen.

27 August, 2012  |   5 Comments

Harvest Stomp!

We hired a babysitter, secured transportation, and, thanks to the generosity of Trinchero Family Estates, James and I attended the 2012 Harvest Stomp party at Trefethen Vineyards.


Although, lately, I’ve been writing all my moony internet-thinks here, I really do love parties. Even better, I like to squeeze what I can from professional events for entertaining people at my house (win! no babysitter fees!).

Party homework.

It started at the drop-off when horse-pulled wagons delivered us from our vehicle to the front gate. Ratcheting up the anticipation, the wagons helped us mingle with other partygoers.

Learning: Make the welcome memorable. Put your guests at ease.

On the ride in

Cleared out under a giant walnut tree in the vineyard, it was so refreshing to see all of the tables adorably mismatched. Of course it was on purpose, styled and laid out by professionals, but it helped add to a homey feel.

Learning: I don’t need to freak out about everything matching. If I like it, it probably goes together.


Liz poured her family’s tasty Marston Family Cabernet and Sauvignon Blanc.

Learning: The most enjoyable wines come with a good story (preferably from good people). Maximize that investment by learning something interesting about your wine.

Laughing Liz

The biggest Paella pan I ever did see served up some tasty Paella.

Learning: I’ve never made Paella. I need to get on that. Maybe we’ll try it for next week’s porch party?

Big old Paella


Learning: Oysters are almost always a good idea (really, does there need to be another learning?). Also, Hog Island’s shuckers were devoted indeed. Injured shuckers!

Devoted Shucker

I ate an Octopus Taco and it was delicious.

Learning: Pickled veggies can take my taco to a new place. Unusual proteins also improve the taco bar significantly. Ground beef who? I’m tackling seafoods and beans next.

Octopus taco

Amazing shirts and western wear were everywhere at this party, giving people easy conversational starters.

Learning: Dress themes can help your guests mingle. Bonus points if it’s general enough for interpretation.

Fave shirt

Oh hey! It’s my favorite birthday wine, Arrow and Branch poured by their lovely proprietress Seanne Contursi.

Learning: I should probably moisturize more thoroughly.

Arrow and Branch

Tony was our host for the evening, he took care of our transportation, a special wine for the table and all practical decisions.

Learning: When it comes to friends, I can always increase my level of generosity. Really.

North end

Food trucks rallied to make all the food for the event — all was distributed on several buffet tables. Lamb, chicken, greens, it all came together for some hearty belly-filling food for the auction ahead.

Learning: Buying pre-made foods isn’t cheating. It’s efficiency.


Thanks Tony for an amazing evening — we’re lucky to have a friend like you.

4 June, 2012  |   6 Comments

Cash Mob. Main St. Books.

I want THAT one

Local mom and book enthusiast Brooke Casey sent an email to neighbors in our small town.  She proposed a simple, straightforward idea to help out our struggling used bookstore.

Shopping, shoppersFrom Brooke’s email, “To demonstrate our support for this amazing, historic small town business and its kindhearted shopkeepers, we are planning a special event called a “cash mob

The basic premise is that a critical mass of people comes together to give a much-needed influx of income to a struggling independent small business…”

Cash Mobs, the Anti-Groupon, Are Coming to a Store Near You – Business – GOOD

The word spread and spread,
thanks to friends like Malcolm,
thanks to a tight community,
thanks to people who care about maintaining a thriving local economy.

Malcolm got the word out

Nora Lea and I took cash in hand to join our neighbors Saturday morning. I picked up a copy of Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild” (seemed fitting), presents for James and the girls as well as some gift certificates for end of year gifts for their preschool teachers.

Used books, the finest two words I think there are

My favorite outcome of the weekend’s cash mob was hearing neighbors say, “We’d forgotten this store was even here.”

Yes the store was hot and crowded.
(Duh, it’s a tiny used book store.)

But more important was that palpable feeling of camaraderie, neighbors coming together to prioritize something important. We showed our local bookstore that they matter.

Because they do.