Saturday, November 29, 2008

Napa, CA: Crapulence and Loooove

The last of my family has caught a taxi for SFO - I am sad to see them go. Waah!

It was a wonderful visit full of delicious dinners and drinks. I brought my mom, dad, and sister to restaurants that represent my San Francisco for different reasons: Sunday to Cafe Zoetrope, the eatery of my spirit building before schleping around North Beach; Monday to Spork with cousin Nick, a Mission staple for me and Phillip (also because other neighborhood favorites Universal, Range, Lolo, and Maverick were booked or closed); Tuesday to Chez Panisse, a joy for any epicurean plus a peek into Berkeley's awfully named "Gourmet Ghetto." We drove up to Napa on Wednesday and ate at Bouchon, the brasserie of French Laundry's Thomas Keller (mom's pick). We spent Thankgiving at FARM at the Carneros Inn for a delicious feast - though the decor was more pre-"revival" Meatpacking District than pastoral (which frankly fits us better). We topped off the visit with drinks at the Redwood Room Bar at the Clift Hotel and Burbon+Branch on the eve of the departure. I highly recommend any of the above locations for a tasty meal, with emphasis given to C.P. and Bouchon.

Yet!! There was not only eating but also visits to the de Young, Alcatraz, collage tours for sister, street tours, and long walks through the vineyards. We also nailed down our Christmas card picture after about a zillion takes.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


No posts these days. My family is visiting me for the first time since I moved here (it's about damn time!) so I am busy stuffing my fat face with delicious expensive dinners and trying to weasel my mom into buying me stuff (so far only semi-successful). Today we are off to Napa. Also my kid sister is staying with me. I bet she feels lucky to have a sister with a closet full of props for which to use in an impromptu photo shoot!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thanks + Giving

The holiday season is rolling around again and in reviewing my finances for the season's upcoming expenses I've tallied a list of all of the donations I have made over the past year. My family has a strong tradition of philanthropy (albeit mostly modest!) - especially at this time of year. I am proud to be at a point in my life where I can support myself and also pony up for organizations/causes/groups who are doing work I believe in. Perhaps you will be inspired to throw some change at them too!

Jobs with Justice
ACORN International
Fund for Union Democracy - UHW
Young Communist League
KQED National Public Radio (disclosure: my monthly donation was truncated after I bounced their check -zoiks!)
Rural&Migrant Ministry Summer Camp for the Children of Farmworkers
AIDS Walk SF for J. Purcell
Susan G. Koman for G. Ritchie
Convent of the Sacred Heart - even tony private schools in Manhattan need $!
John Edwards Campaign for President
Cornell University ILR School

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hey Look! The Weed Brownie Guy from Dolores on TV!

PS - North Beach is the Tenderloin? What??

Monday, November 17, 2008

Palo Colorado Canyon, Carmel, CA: King of Cabins

We packed up Coco and headed down to Monterrey on Friday night. The girls (Laura, Erin, Katie, Rube) met the boys and girl (Peter, Chris, Chris, Ariel) at a cabin graciously loaned to us by Peter's family friends - the Kings - in Palo Colorado Canyon. King Cabin sits in a beautiful strip of littoral Red Woods just north of Big Sur. The canyon was formerly owned by a Fresno woman who divided the land among her friends to build a colony of homes along the singular road that winds through the canyon. The properties have largely remained with the original families, creating a strong a sense of community - even to a visitor on a deserted November night.

Coco pulled up to the unmarked house around eleven. Without word from the other car we unpacked and started with the drinks and pizza baking. We were getting worried (by worried I mean curious!) that we had broken into another family's cabin but eventually the others arrived. Laura built a fire and we sat around it for the rest of the night telling jokes and taste testing Ariel's homemade Petaluma apple hooch (it was delicious!).

We woke up the next morning, made an epic egg breakfast, met Maddy and mom, and eventually headed south on Highway 1 to Andew Molera State Park in Big Sur. Ariel and the boys went surfing while the rest of set up shop on the beach. We were fortunate enough to find an abandoned civilization built of rocks+drift wood and garnished with dried seaweed squiggles. It was the perfect site to dress and act like loons. All was going swimmingly until the day dragged into night over a three hour stretch that I can only describe as a traumatic apocalyptic death march back to Coco. We had no choice but to stay another night snuggled up next to the fire in King Cabin. Everyone hit the hay early and we departed before dawn, in time to make it to the morning shift at Philz.

I forgot to meet up with Sarah before leaving to borrow her company's GPS tool to make a grand map of our trip. Next time, fair King!

Strapping surf board to Coco; making dinner/drinks

pizza; behold the Beet Corridor

Hooch taste test (Ariel's homemade apple beer vs Trade Joe's pear booze - the winner: ARIEL!)


King of the bogo; from the tippy top of the canyon over looking the Pacific

Buena vista

Breakfast at King Cabin; packing for the beach

Scouting the waves

Surfer dudes and dudettes; trek to the Sea

We found an abandoned civilization

Retreating into Nature to be weirdos


Ariel, Hawaiian mountain girl; Chris

Ariel and Chris; Chris and Peter

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The President on the Picket Line

Pretty much every labor activist I know has marched at least once (I've done it twice!) on the HERE Local 1 picket line outside of the Congress Hotel in Chicago. Obama, while campaigning in his home state, has marched with the workers on two occasions and even promised to end the strike should Americans elect him as their president. Now that Obama is on his way to the White House the picketers have started circulating a solidarity pledge via their site the President on the Picket Line to encourage him to keep his word.

The below clip is from a campaign appearance in Youngstown, OH (a large post-industrial steel town) - one of several that underscore his message to the picketers. It's hardly socialist but it gives us something to work with when we push him to move EFCA this year.

Columbus, OH: V-I-C-T-O-R-Y!

At last photos from the Obama victory parties in Columbus: first, the pandemonium at the 1199 headquarters when we won Ohio; then to the fancy DNC party at the Renaissance ballroom in downtown Columbus; then to a nearby bar with Rosie, Talia, and all of the haggard campaign staffkids. I didn't party too hard because I was exhausted and had to drive all over town. Most people let loose the next night after a solid night's sleep but at that point I was on my way to Albuquerque.