Friday, May 18, 2018

Where were you in '62?


This weekend is Petaluma's salute to American Graffiti, which was filmed, in part, right here in Petaluma.


(click image to enlarge)
Map from Cruisin' the Boulevard Inc. 
This afternoon the celebration kicked off in the parking lot of the shopping center next door to the apartments, with a speech by the mayor and viewing of classic cars which would, tomorrow morning, be cruising through downtown Petaluma.

Of course I meandered over to take a look.  Many of the classic cars were from years after 1962, including some really nice Mustangs and some Camaros (I favor the former over the latter) and some reproductions (including the police car) and some of the actual cars and props from the movie.

the mayor kicks things off, and announces scholarship winners

this year's t-shirts and other memorabilia for sale


line from the movie, written and signed by Candy Clark, who played "Debbie"

"That's almost a motorcycle, and I just LOVE motorcycles!"

There is simply no way for me to have photographed all the cars.  In addition to those in the reserved spaces, there were many classic cars scattered throughout the parking lot.  Apparently, this was the biggest Petaluma's Salute to American Graffiti yet.

Here's a taste:

these cars were actually outside the main area, there were way more cars than reserve spaces!


inside the reserve area, you can see the booths in the background.



and there was one vehicle... obviously NOT a classic, which took advantage of a spot in front of three grocery stores... advertising ANOTHER grocery store:


There were also silent auctions and other fundraisers going on during this, some to buy AEDs (emergency defibrillators), and some to support the Petaluma High School auto shop program.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mothers (to)Day

When I was a young mother, holidays and birthdays were planned far in advance, and celebrated to the fullest.  I doubt that when my daughter was 2 that she understood that spending $2000 on Christmas presents and clothing and food and the tree was an outrageous amount for the 1980s.  I'm not sure my son understood that the ponies I'd rented for his birthday one year didn't arrive because of the wet weather.  I've hired clowns, baked for days and sometimes weeks before holidays, made my own Easter Chocolate Rabbits (and painted them in detail with dyed white chocolate) and no matter how poor we were (there was a year I cut up my towels to make teddy bears, cut up my clothing to make dolls, and bought a dowel to make a hobby horse) that every effort was made to make that day special, to make my kids aware that they were the center of my attention, and that this was all for THEM.

By the time they became teens, a lot of that fell by the wayside, and I would step aside and let them celebrate with their friends more.  They weren't as interested in spending the time with mom, and I was disappointed in some regards, but in others, happy, because this was the kind of independence that healthy kids develop:  they start to fledge.

I think that's where Mother's Day comes in, because the mom is left back at the nest, in most cases, when the youngsters fledge.  Her work isn't done until they leave the nest for good.  So she's still sticking around to support her babies until she knows they can handle it on their own.  Now with birds, they take off one day and there's no looking back. With humans, that varies to some degree.

I am not so old yet as to be feeble, but I'm not a young chick anymore. I think my kids still picture me as that fighting single mom who managed to buy them a house, who drove them cross country with few possessions to start a new life, who always managed somehow.  Oh, they know on a rational level that there's nothing superhuman about me, but they still expect, on some level, superhuman results.  I think they think I'm out here, a thousand miles away, adventuring.  And yeah, to some degree I do that... I mean, I keep LIVING, not merely surviving, the best I can.  But on most days I have to deal with chronic pain,  I have to wonder "is this new tumor cancer this time around?", I have to struggle with keeping food on the table and a roof over my head.  Life isn't all whale-watching boats and hikes in National Parks.

I am not Super Mom.

So on days like today, when I haven't seen any of my kids in about two years, when it's a day celebrating motherhood, I try to make that day as special for me as I made holidays for them.  Today I'd planned special meals for myself from breakfast to my evening treat of dipped strawberries and red wine.  I planned on making it a housework-free day.  I planned to just spend the day celebrating motherhood.

But to be honest, I'm just not feeling it.

My apartment is in the front of the building, near guest parking.  Today I'll have a front row seat to the same events that played out at Easter, only magnified:  cars rolling up and unloading men and women with flower and balloon arrangements to see their parents, some with grandchildren in tow.  Elderly (a little older than me) women in their Sunday best being lead out to cars by their grown sons for a Mothers Day Brunch.  This place is a hive of activity on holidays.  Then there are a few of us, the women like me, who remain behind, alone.  And while being alone is tough on a day to day basis, on birthdays and holidays it can feel like a gut-punch.

Maybe I expect too much.  I don't expect ponies and clowns.  And I can't say exactly what it is I want, what I need from today.  I just didn't want it to be something more than the little joy of knowing the laundry machines would be open for use because everyone else was out celebrating.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Oh, Sonoma!

There is a bit of backstory to today's trip, part of which involves getting lost coming home from Vacaville a week ago, and part of which involves a medical appointment. But I'm going to skip the details today, and go right to the photos, mostly because I'm tired and anemic and I have a whole lot to say about the General, about the Bear Flag Revolt, and about living history museums and amazing rangers and docents, which I just don't have the energy to get into right now. So, do what I'm doing. Enjoy just a few of the 6 dozen photos I took today:


a corner of the rose garden in the town square.  It also holds a seating area. The square has a number of fountains, two ponds, a playground, an amphitheater, and the city hall, and every inch of it is amazingly beautiful.  Unlike many town squares, this one was very much in use, families playing, tourists taking photos with the flowers and fountains, and elderly people sitting and just enjoying the afternoon weather. 

The Bear Flag Monument in the town square. You can make out the playground and the amphitheater behind it.  California was it's own nation for 25 days as a result of the Bear Flag Revolt. 

The barracks.  This is on the property of General Vellejo, who owned the rancho which is now Petaluma Adobe State Park.  The general lived in Sonoma, and retired to a newer house in the "back" of the park (I didn't get there today) and the day to day operation of the rancho in Petaluma was left to his hirelings.

a caretta in the courtyard.  I pretty much end up photographing every caretta I see.  I haven't figured out why.

a very old reproduction of the original Bear Flag.  The one intact original flag known (story goes there were four made) was sent to San Francisco to the museum for safe keeping decades ago, where it subsequently was destroyed in a fire as a result of the Great Earthquake.

The Mission.  The LAST mission on the mission trail, and the only one to be built under Mexican (as opposed to Spanish) rule, and an important barrier to the southward spread of the Russian Orthodox Church, which had been working it's way down from what is now Alaska.

Across the street from the mission is the old gold-rush era saloon. It's closed and used for storage.  The building belongs to the park system, but since it hasn't been retrofitted to meet earthquake standards, it can't be opened to the public.

The mission chapel.  The chapel itself has been reworked a number of times, and contains elements from Spanish, Mexican, Miwok design.

California wild poppies. They're EVERYWHERE.  These are in front of the mission.

I'm guessing this is where the Bear Flag was actually raised.  There's a huge timber flag poll a couple feet from this marker, which sits across the street from the barracks. 

I hope, at some point, to revisit some of this and tell some of the history and describe better some of the points of interest in Sonoma.  I look forward to visiting there again.