Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The End...for now...

Well, i am very sad to say, but current Life is getting in the way of writing so i will not be able to keep this blog up along with all the other ones as well (i have three more).  I am, like so many out there, stressing over the possibility of being without an income and am spending all my time hunting down the slightest lead to a cash-paying job. 

I will continue to write for my other main blog, If It Were Real, and will occasionally post local events on that site.  This site will remain, however, i have removed the link from the former page to this site.  It's possible i will re-start it once things have stopped spinning out-of-control. 

I am sad - it was great fun roaming all over the greater Sacramento region and reporting the events.  Can't say that i've had much time - and certainly no money - to attend anything lately.

It's raining right now.  And that fits my mood...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Vesak - Sacramento Buddha Day

May 28th & 29th

What is Vesak? Well, that’s a bit hard to answer. In a nutshell, it's a celebration of the Buddha's birth, enlightenment, and death. The dates of Vesak vary as it's based on a lunar calendar, but generally it falls on a full moon in May or the beginning of June. For me it’s a day to reflect and celebrate with other spiritual seekers the wisdom of the Dharma. Whether you are Buddhist or not, there are some serious lessons within the Dharma on something we all want for ourselves and our loved ones – how to be happy. For that reason, if no other, celebrating Vesak (or Buddha Day) is a wonderful excuse to join this festival and see what all the fuss is about.

The celebration begins on Saturday night with a candlelight prayer for peace. Everyone is welcome to join. The main festivities though are on Sunday beginning as early as 8 am and going till 6 pm. There will be International dances, foods, speakers, and multiple activities throughout the day – so something for everyone! I am so looking forward to this!  And it's FREE!!!

The festivities will be held at Kim Quang Temple, 3119 Alta Arden Expressway, Sacramento 95825.

Visit the home site here:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Earth Day Sacramento 2011

Photo by Vera Kratochivil

Friday is officially Earth Day though the whole week, from the 16th – 23rd, is centered on Earth awareness. And really, every day is Earth Day. I mean, how could it not be? There are a lot of activities going on all over the Sacramento area, the largest probably being the event on Saturday at Southside Park located on 6th Street between X and W Streets from 12:30 PM – 5 PM. With it also being Easter weekend, there’s sure to be ample opportunities for things to do. I’ve listed several links below with details of different events happening all over town. But i really don’t want to talk about the events – though i’m posting this on the Slice of Sacramento, a blog supposedly dedicated to “what’s happening.” What i really want to talk about is what we need to do to make a positive change for we little human beings who live on this beautiful planet. Give up plastic for a week. (This is a futile, but an eye-opening experience.) Recycle not just paper, bottles, and cans but clothes, tires, and other household goods. Check out solar or wind power. Buy organic. Buy local. Use one eco-friendly household cleaning product instead of the plethora you currently have under the kitchen sink. Conserve water. Don’t have so many babies! (Seriously!) If we use that wonderful thing we call a brain, we can come up with all sorts of creative ways to help clean-up and make the World a better place to live.

The photos are of wind turbines from all over the world. There are pros and cons to wind turbines. But there is no con as far as i’m concerned with their overall beauty. There’s something very serene and calming about looking at a horizon filled with the graceful silhouettes of wind turbines. And sitting on the edge of the fields and listening to the whoosh-whoosh of the blades is a magical sound.

Enjoy the Earth. Enjoy Her beauty. Be thankful for what we have. Work hard and with pride to keep this a place we can live in for generations to come.


Events from the Sacramento Press  -

From Sacramento News and Review -

Picnic for the Planet by Nature Conservancy -

Photo from

Photo by Chuck Coker

More info about wind energy (and some impressive photos) -

Friday, April 15, 2011

Doggies, Orchids, Maidu, and Kites! What a Spring!

The nicer the weather, the more the events. Which is a good thing if you’re looking for something to do this weekend. And there is no shortage of fun stuff – take a look –
(Please note – exact dates, time, event locations, directions, and other details are located on each link.)

A Doggie Easter - April 16th & 17th (different events)

Ah this just has fun written all over it! Doggie Easter egg hunts – yah for the doggies! Now, i am a cat person. I’ve had cats all my life.  People tease me that i will become a weird cat lady when i get old. I can neither confirm nor deny that accusation but i will confirm that public, social events with dogs can be doggone fun. Nobody has a better time than a dog surrounded by other dogs surrounded by proud owners who smother the dogs with treats and affection. Add to this, the happy enthusiasm that only a dog can give when set on a task – like hunting Easter eggs – and you’ve got one ecstatic puppy!

Easter Egg Hunt & Bonnet Contest for Dogs- A benefit for A Chance For Bliss, Citrus Heights – Saturday, April 16th
Spring Hill Easter Egg Hunt for Dogs – Sunday, April 17th

 Orchid Show - April 16th & 17th
So maybe dogs aren’t your thing. What about flowers? Spring is definitely the time for showing off the magnificence of Nature. And one of Nature’s finest examples of flowers is the elegant orchid. Despite the fact that the only orchid most people know are the ones that show up at the grocer’s or florist every spring, there are over 22,000 known orchid species and they are the second largest family of flowering plants. The Sacramento Orchid Society is holding a show over Saturday and Sunday at the Scottish Rite Temple across from Sac State University.

Maidu - April 17th
One of the Native American tribes who lived in the Sacramento region is the Maidu. They have a fascinating culture and we are very fortunate to have them here to celebrating spring in traditional style. The Maidu Museum in Roseville is holding a Yomen – a Maidu celebration of the leafing out of trees and flowers – spring! It’s an all-day event with crafts, demos, traditional Maidu dancing, games, storytelling, and much more so please come out and enjoy the museum and support the Maidu people!

 Make A Kite! - April 16th
This Saturday is the last day to get the chance to make a kite for a good cause. The Fountains in Roseville are sponsoring kite making with the proceeds going to the Make A Wish Foundation. Once you make your kite, it will be displayed until the following Saturday, April 23rd, when the Fountains will hold a kite flying contest. And who doesn’t love the simplicity of flying a kite? OK – well – it was never simple for me as i seem to have the unique ability of tangling a line just by looking at it! Anyway – come out and make the best, most awesome kite every made! Fun for the whole family!

Photograph by Rona Proudfoot - ronnie44052 on Flickr

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Yomen - A Leafing Out!

I volunteer as a docent at the Maidu Museum and Historic Site in Roseville. It’s an awesome experience working at the museum and i wouldn’t trade it for the world. I get to learn cool stuff about nature, how the Maidu lived and how they celebrate their culture today, then i get to pass that knowledge on to enthusiastic 3rd and 4th graders. I’m never quite sure who’s more excited – me – or them.

A Maidu Festival
This Sunday, April 17th, we will be celebrating Yomen – a Maidu festival celebrating the leafing out of the trees and flowers – spring. I’m super excited and can hardly wait for the event. It’s going to be fantastic! We’ll get a chance to watch traditional Maidu dancers – something you don’t see very often. There will be trail tours going on all day, demos of traditional crafts, a special section for hands-on activities for the kids, music, vendors selling beautifully made hand-crafted items, Native storytelling and poetry, and (one of my favs) Indian tacos. And if you haven’t been to the museum lately – well definitely come check it out. We have a new, and very beautiful, museum – just one year old!

To top it off, this is a free event! There will be no entrance fee to enter the museum or the event. Nice. That said, i strongly suggest to bring some cash – you don’t want to miss out on Indian tacos and there will certainly be crafts there you won’t find anywhere else. Perfect opportunity to pick up gifts for someone special. The festival will be going on all day, from 10 am. till 3 pm. Come early for good parking. For more details and directions to the park, click here.

Address: 1970 Johnson Ranch Drive, Roseville  95661
Phone: 916-774-5934

Monday, April 11, 2011

It's Film Festival Time!

I’m a little late on this and many of you may already know – but there is a plethora of films and theatre being shown in our lovely town of Sacramento. Going on right now is the Sacramento Film Festival with films, workshops, parties, awards and just a great overall smorgasbord of celluloid-speak and delicacies for film aficionados. Many of the events are taking place at the Artisan, 1901 Del Paso Blvd – between Arden and El Camino just west of I-80 – but check the local schedule of events to get current information on locations and times.

For the young ones who have their hearts in theatre, check out Sutter Street Theatre in Folsom. They have two plays showing right now, 13 – the Musical and The Noodle Doodle Box. They also run workshops for all ages. Final showings of Cinderella by Buck Busfield will finish up its run this week at B Street Theatre with a last show on Sunday, April 17th.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Team In Training - Team Ostroff

I am always moved by people who walk the talk. Those who get off their duff and DO – to support what they believe in. And so it is with Pat Ostroff. Pat and i are both volunteers at the Maidu Museum in Roseville. That said, we don’t see each other that often and honestly, i don’t really know her. But today i heard her speak as she passed out a handful of purple cards and i immediately heard in her voice the sound of courage and determination that only a person who is fighting for something they love could make. You see, Pat is training for a marathon. And she’s running that marathon to raise money for her mother-in-law who has lymphoma – a cancer that starts in the lymphatic system and often spreads to other parts of the body. Pat has lost 5 people in the last four years to cancer. The look in her eyes is that of a battle worn captain. A captain who has walked the trenches of the hospital halls supporting those in pain. I understand. Some of you may know that my own father has had lung cancer; he’s never smoked a day in his life. One day maybe i can talk about it. But not now.

Right now i want to help Pat and her family by raising awareness and raising funds. Every little bit helps. Please take a moment and look at what this family is doing to help their own and to help others. If you can give – bless you and thank you! – and please pass this on. If you cannot give – bless you and thank you for reading this! – and please pass this on.

In Peace and Love…

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society - Team In Training

Friday, April 1, 2011

Magpies, Poppies, and Butterflies

Isn’t California beautiful? Just take a good look around. What don’t we have? And what a great spring this is starting out to be! Flowers everywhere, trees are super-saturated green. Just lovely. What a fantastic season! But over the past few years, a subtle list of oddities has accumulated in the dark recesses of my brain – something is missing amidst this garden utopia we call California. Something missing like – magpies.

Back when i lived in a house and not an apartment, i used to be visited by a flock of the gregarious, chatty birds every morning. I loved their black and white suits and bright yellow-orange beaks, and their social antics made me laugh. When i moved to an apartment several years ago, i saw less of them. They’re not too keen on crowded buildings and prefer spacious yards and open grass fields to hunt for insects. They nest high-up in large oaks in open savannah – definitely not the apartment dweller type. So even though i had moved, i still saw them around neighbors’ houses and all across the countryside. But over the last five or six years, i’ve hardly seen a magpie – anywhere. It’s been a long time since i’ve heard their distinctive and expressive vocabulary of whistles, grackling, and chirping – and it makes me sad. What happened? Where did they go?

The Yellow-billed magpie is special; they are endemic to California. And not even all of California. Their range is limited to the central valley and coastal ranges of the state. To find out where my little tuxedo friends had gone, i spoke to a ranger at Effie Yeaw about their disappearance. She told me the magpies were hard hit by the West Nile virus which started sometime around 2004. They’re not wiped out, but have been seriously reduced in numbers – enough that Audubon has placed them on a “WatchList.” I also discovered through several on-line bird watching sites that the Yellow-billed magpie, previous to the West Nile virus, was already on a decline due to loss of habitat and pesticides. After hearing all this, i was quite depressed. I really do love the birds. But one day, i was driving in West Sac close to the river and had just turned down a small street when there they were. Four little magpies, skipping and hopping along the side of the road. I pulled over and watched them for a long time. They reminded me of best friends, playing good-naturedly and teasing one another. I have since seen the occasional magpie and i always whisper a prayer that they will hang tough and continue their antics for a very long time.

Here is another site by UC Davis on the Yellow-billed magpie and the West Nile Virus:

Carpet California in Golden Poppies

Another thing i’ve noticed – where the heck is the State flower – the ever-cheerful poppy? While there are some well-known parks that advertise their abundance, why don’t we see them all over the state? I would think they’d be everywhere. One place you can see them is anywhere D.O.T. has been – they’re like the Johnny Appleseed of poppies. I called D.O.T. and spoke with several, very pleasant, and informed gentlemen in the landscape and maintenance divisions. D.O.T., as well as Cal Trans, seeds and plants poppies in areas of new construction, which account for all the poppies along freeways. But why nowhere else? That took a little more digging. It seems that poppies prefer disturbed land over established and they love poor, sandy, dry soils and lots of sunshine. Ah! So you’re not going to see them around the heavily treed and lush lawn suburbs of Sacramento. Too much water, too much mulch, and too much shade. So why don’t they cover the countryside then? No one had a ready answer for me on that – the only thing this countryside doesn’t have on the wanted list for poppies is “disturbed soil.” If someone knows the answer to this, please let me know!  I'm stumped! 

April 6th each year is California Poppy Day!  Celebrate the poppy!

Here’s a link to CA State Parks, Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve

Top 10 places in CA to see poppies:

Amazing Butterfly

The absence of the third of my trio is more well-known but i still listed it because, well, i know with the right education and planning, we could bring them back – the monarch butterfly. A lot has been said about the loss of one of the most beautiful, and at one time, most plentiful of butterflies. Like the magpie, pesticides, habitat loss, and the destruction of their food supply, the milkweed, is the culprit for the increasingly smaller numbers that visit our lands. And though the coast is famous for the nesting grounds of these amazing butterflies, they migrate yearly across the valley in search of milkweeds. Plant more milkweed!

If i had a house with property, i would have huge valley oaks with lots of savannah grasses for the magpies, i would plant hundreds of golden poppies, and have loads of milkweeds in my garden in hopes the beautiful monarch would appear. Then i would sit at my window, sipping tea, and enjoy the beauty of California.

Happy Spring Everyone!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Blimey! I Think I Saw A Leprechaun!

Happy St. Paddy’s Day! Well, by the number of green shirts i’ve seen today, i don’t think i need to encourage the celebration of Ireland’s best known holiday. Despite that it’s Thursday – there’s a party atmosphere in the air – maybe it’s the sunshine. So let’s get down to business – where are the festivities? Every Irish bar, and the English ones too, are pulling out the green and offering specials on beers and music festivals and anything remotely Irish. Downtown Sacramento has the best variety of venues and choices of entertainment and beer specials. But Elk Grove, Folsom, and Roseville are celebrating the green tonight too. De Veres downtown is having a block party that started this morning and will go till 10pm – featuring live music, dancers, bagpipes, and food vendors. Proceeds benefit Mary House, a service that provides shelter and help for the homeless and struggling families. Another live music venue is at the Boxing Donkey in Roseville. The Streets of London, while not Irish (but neither am i), will be celebrating in big style in all three locations (Sac, Folsom, and West Sac). Elk Grove has the Elk Grove Brewery & Restaurant which will be serving up some tasty treats and brews this St. Patrick’s.

While you’re out enjoying the celebration, look for these favorite Irish drinks. I’m going to skip Guinness; i think everyone is familiar with that famous stout. For beer, try Beamish, Murphy’s, Smithwick’s, or Sam Adams Irish Red. For whiskey (and my personal favorite), look for one of these pleasers, Jameson, Bushmills, Midleton, Brennans, and Tullamore Dew. I put the last on the list, not because you will find it (if you do, for freak’s sake – please let me know!), but because it’s one of my favs from when i lived in the UK.

If you’re completely broke (like me) or can’t go out due to work obligations the following day – here’s a recipe for St. Paddy’s fun. Put on a CD of Dropkick Murphy’s and play it obnoxiously loud – sing along whether you know the words or not. Drink your favorite Irish brew or whiskey. Have a Rueben sandwich. Watch the DVD Boondock Saints (the first one please, and no – they’re not actually Irish but it’s a great flick nonetheless). Read some James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, or William Butler Yeats – top it off with a whiskey night cap and Oi! You’re Irish for the night!

Erin go braugh!

Since whiskey is my drink of choice, i have to push this nice little guide to Irish whiskey here:

And please - if you drink and are out on the town, don't drive! Have a designated driver!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Time Well Spent - Volunteer!

On this blog i’ve talked about what we can do to enjoy our lives. To see and experience things we haven’t tried before or maybe not for a long time. But now i’d like to suggest something near and dear to my heart – volunteering. If you rolled your eyes when you read this, don’t worry; i did too for most of my life. I had in my head that volunteering was boring. Stuffy. Like filing books at the library or stamp collecting. It just didn’t have that zing that i thought i was looking for. Ha! I love it when i can surprise myself.

Sometimes it seems we’re already stretched to our limits with lists of “things to do,” many of which are never finished. You never feel there’s enough time. Or maybe you wonder why you should give away what precious little time you have – for free – to someone else; let some other sucker give it away. Even the most open of hearts can feel this way sometimes. We are pulled and pushed in so many different directions that just the idea of one more thing to do will send us over the edge. Yet we will make enough time to chat on Facebook or Twitter for hours. Or mindlessly watch whatever happens to be on TV for most of the evening.

Enrich Your Life
Despite what some might think, volunteering is not altogether an altruistic act. At least not completely. When you volunteer, you suddenly have a whole world of information open up that was previously not accessible. If you like learning new things, volunteering can be a great way to re-discover your inner-child. Like a great teacher it offers intellectual and hands-on learning. The best of both worlds.

I’ve found another benefit to volunteering. Camaraderie. This, even more than learning, is a huge factor in the warm and fuzzy feeling i get about volunteering. Humans are such social creatures. Being with other like-minded people is such a boost to our need for community. The time spent together working on a project connects us heart and soul to what is best in the human spirit.

Obviously, many of us like the idea of volunteering because we truly like helping others. The opportunity to help and contribute to the community in a positive way makes us feel good about ourselves. It gives us a place to belong and a reason to be a better person. And that’s addicting. One of the few addictions that won’t cause weight-gain, isn’t illegal, and you won’t be embarrassed about telling others.

The other great thing about volunteering – you make your schedule. Do as much as you want. Organizations that rely on volunteers are overjoyed with whatever you can give. So there really isn’t a downside to being a volunteer. It’s all good. If there’s something you like or are interested in, there’s probably a volunteer job out there that will fit the bill. Whether you want to work with animals, medical & disaster preparedness, museums, environmental, schools, sports, the homeless, or children’s services, there is a niche you can fill.

Where To Go To Volunteer
There are many, many centers over the greater Sacramento area that take volunteers. Most cities have a volunteer page on their websites but almost all organizations have listings on Volunteer Sacramento – an all-in-one site of information. There is also the Volunteer Center of Sacramento and Hands on Sacramento that have excellent suggestions and contacts for volunteering. So take a moment and ask yourself, “What do i have a passion for?” Now get out there and volunteer!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bok Kai Festival!


Everyone Loves a Parade!
March 5 &6, 2011 - Marysville, CA
The festivities of March start off with the spectacular and colorful Bok Kai parade in Chinatown, Marysville. This will be the 131st year of the Bok Kai festival which celebrates the Chinese New Year and honors Bok Kai, a Chinese water deity believed to keep Marysville safe from flooding. The Saturday parade is a huge affair, with marching bands, equestrian riders, dancers, martial artists, singers, and various performances. But the big treat that everyone waits for are the lion dancers and the Bok Kai Dragon! So colorful, so energetic! The Dragon coils and uncoils and weaves its sinewy body along the parade route. The best show is, of course, in front of the Bok Kai Temple where the Dragon and lion dancers converge to honor Bok Kai. Two-story long firecrackers are set alight and the scene is filled with celebration! I have performed in many a Chinese New Year parade – but Marysville has more firecrackers than any place i have been – including the parade in San Francisco! It’s fantastic!

Bombs Away!
The following day, March 6th, is “Bomb Day” where special “bombs” are made and set off at 4 PM. Both days offer tours through the Chinese American History Museum of Northern California and the Local History Archives.

Parade Details
The parade is on Saturday the 5th and starts at 11 AM on the corner of 6th and D Street and lasts approximately one hour. Come early, bring chairs and get a good seat. Immediately following the parade are performances which are held on 2nd Street between C and D Streets. There will also be vendors selling food and drinks all throughout this area.

Click for a calendar of events!

Map of Marysville

Friday, February 25, 2011

Celebrate Beer!

Photofile from Wend Magazine

It’s still dark, wet, and cold. What better way to pass the last of winter’s chill than with good friends sharing a golden pint of ale? Beer is not for everyone’s palate. But there are now so many breweries across the country, just about every taste bud can find a happy flavor that makes them go mmmmm. And lucky us, we have the perfect opportunity to find that perfect beer with the Sacramento Beer Festival. Valentines Day may bring out the wine and chocolate, but March and upcoming St. Patrick’s Day brings out the golden nectar of the gods – beer!

10 Days of Beer
Starting today, Feb. 25th through March 6th, there will be an abundant flowing of tasty beers. So many brewers, so few nights. And just about everyone is getting into the act. Nugget Markets are offering beer tasting on certain dates.  Capital Garage downtown is having a Stouts and Chocolate night. Bonn Lair is hosting the Sacramento Women’s Brewers Association. Come on guys – women who can make a fine beer. How great is that? The list of beer and fun events goes on and on. Bike shops promoting a race and environmental responsibility – with green beer, of course. A ping pong tournament. Old School Happy Hour at the Monkey Bar with $1 beers. A free Bluegrass concert at Hoppy Brewing. A scavenger hunt. Pizza and beer. Music and beer. Classes on beer making. There is something going on every night all over the Sacramento area. And i checked – many of these events are pretty inexpensive considering all the beer you get to sample.

The Stranger the Name, the Tastier the Beer
OK – that may not be true, but like a really cool record label or book cover, quirkiness and creativity get our attention. A great name for a beer is like the top SEO hit of blog advertising. And the stranger, more creative, and funnier the name, the more we want to try it. Especially if there’s a really good – and highly unlikely – tall tale to go with it. Here’s a list of names i came across that i would love to sample: Moose Drool Brown Ale, Double Bastard Ale, Portsmouth Kate the Great, The Perfect Storm/The Mother of All Storms (the name has been changed to protect the innocent – or trademark infringement), Supplication, La Fin du Monde, and i certainly have to try a beer with the name “Darkness” – by Surly Brewing Company no less. With so many jaunty names and saucy labels, it may take the rest of my life to sample them. I should start tonight.

Party with a Responsible Friend
All this partying though must be tempered with one thought – getting home safely. Before you go out, find a responsible friend – yes, i know you have one, we all do – and give them a healthy gas tip so they don’t feel quite so bad about ferrying all of us inebriated people home.  Whatever you do, DON'T DRIVE DRUNK!


For the home of all things brewing...Sacramento Beer Festival...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Inspiration - Tibetan Monks...

If you are interested in the Tibetan monks and their stay in Roseville, see my main page, "If It Were Real" or hit the "back to home" button at the top of this page.  Their visit was an inspiration to all and i want to share with all my readers and not just we lucky Sacramento folk!  I will be adding another post shortly in the next day - so stay tuned!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Chocolate Festival this Saturday the 12th!

This Saturday, Feb. 12th

OK, OK, OK...  I know.  I said that the New Year's resolution for this blog was to be skinny and frugal.  Well, gosh, i just can't help myself.  I saw this and i had to post.  But come on!  It's CHOCOLATE we're talking about here!  And it IS free to go.  And there's nothing saying that you have to buy anything.  Or eat anything.  Right.  Lame.  OK - how about - it's Valentine's weekend?  Does that work of you?  Does for me!  Yes - everyone has a weakness and chocolate is mine.  At least i'm not alone.

Here's the venue - Whole Foods in Roseville is hosting a Chocolate Festival complete with a band and various vendors - henna tattoos, aromatherapy and more.  Starts at 4 pm.  Be there or be square.  ;-)

Whole Foods Market
1001 Galleria Blvd, Roseville 95678

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tibetan Monks in Roseville!

Photo courtesy of the American Foundation for Tibetan Cultural Preservation.

I seem to be on a roll – the Universe must be talking to me. I should listen. The last two posts have been about places and things relaxing and meditative, and then today i came across this flyer presented by the Center of Wellness. Tibetan Monks are here in Roseville creating a sand mandala at the Children’s Art Center. This actually started last weekend but runs through this Sunday. I’m super excited to visit with the monks and watch them create this extraordinary piece of art. It isn’t free. But it’s well worth it, many times over. I plan on attending at least one event, possibly more, and i will post on this event.

To Peace, Compassion, Clarity, and Kindness – i hope all of you find your way to this place!

Here is a link to the flyer with all events and details:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Rivers Run Mighty

We are so fortunate to live in the vastly varied and magnificently marvelous state of California. And having a day like today – with the weather near perfect while all the rest of the country is buried in snow – i’m beginning to think that this is God’s country. Well, at least until the earthquakes and floods take us.

Today was most amazing. And not because it was the Super Bowl. I took a stroll with a dear friend along some of the most beautiful and inspiring part of the American River as you could dream – The American River Confluence. It’s a spectacular area where the north and middle fork of the American Rivers meet and lies just south of Auburn at the intersection of Hwy 49 and Old Forest Hill Road. Right now the rivers are clear as a bell and roaring. In a few more months, when the snows melt, they will get muddy and violently turbulent for a short while. So this is a great time to explore and enjoy. I’ve been here before, many times in fact. But there was something in the air – a kind of soft, electric energy that was both relaxing and restorative at the same time. Just breathing made me feel giddy. I had this sudden vision of me leaping along the rocks wearing a tie-dye shirt and head band singing, “Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now…” It was just that kind of day.

Everyone needs a day like this. Like defragging the hard drive and plugging into a recharger – cleansing and rejuvenating. So now’s your chance to get that energy back that you lost over the holidays. And it’s completely free. Totally fun. Involves no consumption of calories and in fact will burn a few more than just sitting on the couch. All my New Year’s Resolutions for this site have been met and exceeded. Now go out and celebrate your own inner hippie! I’m already planning my next trip…

Some notes if you go:

Saturday afternoon can get crowded, especially in the summer, and tends to get a bit rowdy though the Park Rangers try to keep a tight lid on things. I suggest getting out of bed early and hitting the site by 10 am.

Bring water – but please do not leave the bottles behind except in proper trash bins.

Please be kind and bring a plastic bag with you to pick up any trash. This is part of the State Park system and, once again, the Park Rangers work at keeping it a clean place. But they shouldn’t have to pick up after our lazy selves! I always bring a bag to carry out any trash i see. Share the beauty!

Wear sturdy shoes. There are no paved paths and some of the trails can be steep and crumbly. Take care where you step.

Paths on both sides of the Rivers are shared by hikers and bikers alike and the trails tend to be narrow. There are horse trails too. Check out this map before you go and keep alert while on the trail.

I have to mention PARC because they have so much great information and do so much to keep our rivers beautiful.  PARC is a grass-roots operation based out of Auburn whose prime purpose is to protect the north and middle forks of the American Rivers.  They have a festival once a year, organize river clean-ups, and provide educational presentations.  Check out their site and join!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Quiet Contemplation

There are times in your life when you just need to wind down. Need to find some little corner to be alone and think. Or maybe you’re not even sure what it is you need, but you just feel in a funk. And nothing you have tried – family, food, or friends – has helped.

I found myself in such a state recently. Restless. Listless. Fidgety. Dull. Spastic boredom. Twitchy tiredness. I could go on but i think you get my meaning. I needed the energy of quietness, somewhere close by, that i could both step away and step inside. Step away from the confusing clutter of my life and just – breathe. I like breathing. ;-) Aside from the obvious, it’s such a pure way to de-stress and let go of baggage. And step inside – into that quiet place in your heart. That wellspring of glowing light. Peace.

And so it was that a friend of mine introduced me to the Garden of the Saints. A place of quietness and simplicity. It isn’t a formal garden of exacting design, but a workman’s garden of rambling delight. It is Winter now and much is leafless – but not lifeless. For there are buds swelling with pale green energy. And here and there are tiny snow drops peeking out from the brown mold of January. So many different plants and trees have been planted here, such diversity. It’s an old garden. Olive trunks are twisted, knotted, and gnarled into shapes that remind me of old men’s faces. Lovely strawberry trees are heavy with bright fruit and delicate white blossoms that bend the evergreen boughs earthward. Naked fig. Blossoming camellia. Pine and fir. And the beautiful ginkgo, its thick buds lined up like monks along a path. The Garden has a good, clean smell. I walked the grounds and felt the loveliness of this place rejuvenate me.

I like this time of year, though others may think it barren and dead. There is a lot going on that demands sensitive observation. Everything is still and quiet on the surface. But if you listen closely, you can hear the Earth. You can sense the pulse. Feel the pregnancy of plant and planet alike. A wave in the Ocean gathering, gathering, gathering itself to suddenly release its power on the unsuspecting shore. Here i walked for hours and meditated in peace. And that kind of joy cannot be described with words.

If you find yourself in need of some quiet space, some reflective time, visit the Garden of the Saints. It is completely free and open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from 6 AM till 8:30 PM or dusk. I have not described nearly in full all the delights of this place, i leave that for you to discover, but i do ask that if you go – go in humility and tranquility. Be respectful. Be quiet. Be at Peace.

The Garden of the Saints is owned by the Vedanta Society of Sacramento. Click here for the address and directions. If you wish to know more about the society, click here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


It has been more difficult to find basement bargains and free events than i thought.  And Life has been, well, interesting.  Which means i haven't been able to do as much writing as i like.  So - my apologies.  But fear not, i have some projects that will hopefully be out by the end of the week or at least by the weekend. 


Monday, January 3, 2011

Bulging Waists and Skinny Wallets

Well here we are in a new year – 2011 – let the resolutions commence! Making it through the holidays, from Thanksgiving to the New Year’s, is a bit like waking up from a month and a half long party. You probably had a wonderfully good time, though the details are a bit sketchy, but you realize that you are now left with clothes two sizes too small and a zero balance in your checking account (or worse). Like waking to a massive hangover that has no end in sight.

Rest assured – i hear you. And i’m right there with you. So to help us both out, my New Year’s resolution for this blog is to give you some great tips for fun without depleting your money or adding inches to your waist. I’ll post free events, offer ideas for cheap entertainment, suggest budget-conscious opportunities for under $10, and promote ways to work off that extra piece of pumpkin pie. That is not to say i won’t post anything at all about food. Hey – we have to eat! But the focus for the first of the year is on what Sacramento area has to offer to ease the stress on our over-burdened finances, give us healthy choices, and have fun while doing it! Not too much to ask is it?

So here’s to skinny waists and fat wallets!