COLUMNS

What’s Up This Week in The Bloom – 9.30.22

This week we say goodbye to September and hello to October and a plethora of things going on all month long. The Falling Leaves Quilt Show is this weekend at the Fairgrounds. It’s a great way to start your day because the Lakeport Harvest Festival is also happening downtown. I can’t think of a more festive way to start the season! And for those who haven’t seen the new local country band, Breaker One-9, they’re playing at Twin Pine Casino on Friday and Saturday nights. The band has talent, and I know they would love to see you there. Last but not least, our local wineries have their own festivals and benefit concerts. There. That’s my list of things I would be doing this weekend if I hadn’t caught a cold. Rather, a cold caught me. The good news is, it’s not Covid. The bad news is unless a miracle happens in the next twenty-four hours, I will be thinking of all of you having fun, making memories, and showing your amazing support to our local community while I rest and discover what’s new on Netflix. So it goes. I’m sure I’ll make up for my loss in the weeks to come. In the meantime, this week, we finish up our series about our trip to smalltown Kelseyville. Plus, Kathleen Scavone talks about Playing. Yes, playing. So whether you’re getting over a cold or doing all the things I wish I were doing, have a great weekend, Lake County, and stay well!

A Weekend Away in Kelseyville, Part 2

It’s a bright sunny morning at Suites on Main in Kelseyville, and the day is full of possibilities. And yes, our goal is still not to leave Main Street. So here’s how we do it. First, start the day with a great cup of coffee. There’s something to be said about consistency, especially when it comes to the morning’s consciousness.

Play with Purpose

How seriously should we take play? Recent studies show that play, brain breaks, and creating by using one’s imagination are vital for children’s mental and physical health. The American Academy of Pediatrics discusses what may occur in children if they are not encouraged to actively play outdoors in nature or to engage their playful imaginations. Without plenty of playtime, children may experience attention problems and have difficulty developing emotionally or socially. But wait a minute, it turns out that play is beneficial for adults as well. A New York Times article lists the benefits of play in adults as comparable to that of meditation since it aids in allowing our minds to focus and delivers a mood lift.

What’s Up This Week – 9.23.22

The weather is playing tricks on me. Two weeks ago, we were in the triple digits. This week, we’ve had our first winter storm of the season, and it’s only September. To top it off, I’m already entering Christmas events into The Bloom’s calendars. How is it all possible? Now, I’m all for planning ahead and looking forward to the holiday season. In fact, I’m usually the first to start listening to holiday music on a rainy day long before it’s appropriate. But, I’m thankful that fall is only just beginning. We have the Pear Festival this Saturday as well as the pumpkin patch and corn maze at ‘That Ranch’ starting up this weekend and every weekend in October. The forecast says we’re going back to 80-degree weather. Thankfully, all is well and it’s still a long way off before we begin wishing each other Happy New Year! So before the other busy season begins, let’s make the most of fall and enjoy the little things Lake County has to offer that make this time of year so special. In light of that, we’re excited to share with your our most recent Lake County adventure in Kelseyville. Whether you are local or not, it’s easy to get away from it all, have everything to do, and never leave Kelseyville. In addition to that, we also have a thoughtful piece by Lori Armstong and this week’s poem by Kim Schuck. I hope to see you at the Pear Festival! Have a great weekend Lake County.

When I Realized My Childhood Anxiety was More Than Just Being Shy – And How to Know the Difference

Social Anxiety is not as common as shyness. An individual suffering from social anxiety exhibits a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms that can either deliver mild distress or leave one feeling momentarily debilitated. It’s never too late to know the difference and make changes in our lives. If powerful negative thoughts are controlling your life, get help and talk with a professional or confidant. We have one life. Don’t let years pass by without being the best version of you.

Repurpose With a Purpose at the House of Throckmorton Jones

Lisa Jones greets me from the back room as her cheerful assistant, Kathy, leads me down the long hallway to a large room oozing with creativity. The professional and sturdy sewing machines are strategically placed throughout the room. These are not your grandmother’s Singers as these immense and elaborate seamstress tools display a more professional presence. I introduce you to Throckmorton Jones…What is Throckmorton Jones? Founding designer Lisa Jones will tell you it is a boutique, gallery, and atelier offering unique custom clothing and accessories for both men and women.

Night Thoughts

It is heartening on many levels to watch the world tentatively open with the pandemic slowing its fated frenzy just a bit. One such tentative opening is our very own Taylor Observatory. It pays huge dividends to keep an eye on their facebook and website pages, Friends of Taylor Observatory (foto), because they hosted a Welcome Back Star Party in late June after two years of being closed to the public. The foto sites are a treasure trove of space information in which both space nerds and neophytes can learn something new and exciting.

What’s Up This Week – 9.9.22

Well, folks, I gotta say, there’s hot, and then there is holy hot. I don’t know what comes after holy hot, but I think we may have crossed over into that just a bit. It always takes me a little time to adapt to summer temperatures, but I don’t think anything could prepare us for this heat wave. There. I said my peace, and now I can move on. We may be on the other side of Labor Day, but the fun hasn’t slowed down. The circus is in town in Clearlake. And if you haven’t bought tickets to Driving Miss Daisy at the Soper Reese Theatre, I believe some are still available. And let’s not forget about the Big Valley Small Farms tour also happening this weekend. If you haven’t been, this is another must-do in Lake County. If that isn’t enough, there’s live music going on all over the place. Check out the Big Calendar for details. We might be glad when Monday rolls around to recover from all the fun! This week we conclude our Blackberry Cobbler Festival series. I have no idea how Cobb can do better next year, but I’ll be there to find out. We also have a column on aging by Lori Armstrong. I love her perspective. It made my day reading it. We may be closer to home now that it’s fall, but some of the year’s best memories are just around the corner. I’m beyond grateful for the weekend and cooler temperatures so we can all venture outside again. Whatever your plans are, I hope you have a great weekend Lake County!

2nd Annual Blackberry Cobbler Festival: A Huge Success

A bright Saturday morning shines across Cobb Mountain and down to the grassy fairways of Mountain Meadows, host of the Second Annual Blackberry Cobbler Festival. A steady line of cars streams in, winding down the blackberry-bush-lined road to the golf course, where local artisan arts and craft vendors welcome guests.

Why Your Age is an Asset & Not a Liability

Our lives are a beautiful set of stages, and no two stages or journeys are identical. Happiness is seen through a different lens for us all. If we are wise enough to embrace our failures as we age, we learn these mistakes are merely stepping stones to a better place. Keep learning. Keep moving forward. Never limit yourself.

What’s Up This Week – 9.2.22

Whether we like it or not, this weekend marks the end of summer and the start of fall. I always have mixed feelings when Labor Day rolls around. I love summer and all of its distractions. It’s always a fun challenge to see how much fun we can fit into those summer months. But, I also love transitioning into cooler weather and all things pumpkins and autumn. What I love most about September in Northern California is the chance to fit in the extra summer things. Whether it’s a BBQ with friends, a quick trip to the ocean, more time at the pool, or kayaking and bird watching, the weather is more than accommodating. How lucky we are. This week we’re excited to announce the winners of our Second Annual Poetry of the Outliers Competition! Be sure to read the winning poem below. Also, we can’t wait to tell you about the first Blackberry Harvest  Dinner. The plan was to include the Festival all in one article, but that dinner was too special not to have its own feature article. If you couldn’t make it this year, mark your calendar for the last Friday in August, and you’ll be glad you did. Next week, we’ll wrap things up with a piece on the Festival. Lake County has a lot going on this weekend! I hope you have time for the Fair. Be sure to check out the Big Calendar to see what’s going on each day. There’s live music all weekend long, and let’s not forget about the boat races–you’re missing out if you haven’t seen them. And Saturday, the Lakeport Auto Movies celebrate National Cinema Day with $3 everything. How fun is that? Enjoy your holiday weekend Lake County!

Dining Under the Pines: The Blackberry Harvest Dinner

A curious stillness rests between the shadows and light filtering through the pine and oak trees in the heart of Whispering Pines Resort. Just beyond the banner reading “Blackberry Harvest Dinner,” rest two set rows of tables set with linen tablecloths with fresh flowers from Bell Haven Flower Farm perched on them. Pine and oak branches stretch across the open spaces on this breezeless night. Lights reach between them, setting the evening’s delicate mood. The fading day reflects the last effervescent hues of sunlight. It’s almost a fairytale image: pixies could emerge from the surrounding forest any minute. It’s a magical night worth celebrating. Tomorrow marks the Second Annual Blackberry Cobbler Festival, postponed for two years due to Covid. The anticipation is overwhelmingly joyful in the faces of tonight’s guests. 

Our Golden Neighbor

One of the many benefits of getting out and about in our wild county is, you can take a walk in the same locality but have a different experience each time. Each season in any of our parks and wild lands paints a new color palette, from the new green growth after the rains to the Technicolor birds and blooms that are set upon Lake County’s stage in spring and summer months. I can’t count how many inspiring hikes I’ve taken at Anderson Marsh State Historic Park, but I’ve only been privy to sighting the majestic golden eagle a couple of times so far.

Small Town Partying: Kelseyville’s Kickin’ It in the Country

It’s a hot August evening in Kelseyville. The lingering summer’s heat is settling in. Off in the distance, Mt. Konocti stands tall, long evening shadows reaching toward it. But this isn’t your typical Thursday night in this small town. A barricade crosses Main Street, temporarily closing through traffic between 2nd and 3rd Street. But this closed block is far from empty. At Main and 2nd, a large stage is set for tonight’s Kickin’ it in the Country, a monthly Kelseyville tradition from June to September every summer. Lawn chairs sit in the shady spots on the street where cars typically park. Kids run across the yellow painted lines, reveling in their freedom. Nearer to the stage, a growing crowd sways to Dave Broida and the Blues Farm, tonight’s opening act. But that isn’t for a while, so there’s still plenty of time to grab a bite to eat before the party gets started.

Ants In My Pants

As I toiled under the shade of the obliging oak and manzanita trees weeding invasive broom, I inadvertently disturbed a thriving, boiling ant colony. The earth beneath the leaf litter appeared to ramp up into hyper-mode with seemingly thousands of critters swarming, scurrying, and crawling on my boots, pants, and shirt! Needless to say, this, in turn caused me to go into my own hyper-mode as I unlaced my boots, flung my shirt aside and swatted the swarm making its way up and into my pants! I was grateful the alarmed ants didn’t bite, and that there are plenty of creatures for birds and other so-inclined wildlife to consume. As the frenzied ants were swarming, it seemed as though all 12,000 species in the world were intent on inhabiting my clothing.

Window on Lake County: Making Fire Risk Reduction a Priority

Evidence of long ago wildfires sweeping the Artic left behind a charcoal soil layer documenting events of three million years ago; give or take a few. Temperatures might have been 20F higher than today and thick forests spread further to the North. It looks like we’re in for a repeat, as this past year, Arctic fires burned in Greenland. This was not uncommon as 50,000 acres were burned in Alaska and 708,000 acres of forest blackened in Northern Russian forests. Of course, today we don’t have the mammoths, camels and giant sloths from that earlier period. But that’s another story.  

Camping in Lake County, Part 3: Boondocking

We unpacked like camping pros and settled in for the afternoon. We had spectacular views, friendly neighbors, the chirping of birds, and all the sunshine we could possibly want. In fact, we had more sunshine than we wanted. Turns out, our perfect campsite came with full sun exposure, and we were sweating ourselves silly. Never mind. We can handle this, we praised ourselves as we shuffled our chairs down to the beach to find some shade. Then the unmistakable sound of a hum filled my ears. Our neighbors had a generator! It would seem we had once again not thought of every contingency. Why didn’t we bring ours? Across the way, fellow campers had their own 10×10 pop-up tent and a small pool to cool their feet in. Camping envy rose again. It would seem, no matter how prepared we were, we’d never think of every contingency.

The Science of Awe

Who would have guessed that the feeling of awe is now analyzed by scientists and can stem from such disparate events or activities such as a mind-blowing experience to a fine work of art, an idea raised in a great speech or nature’s grandeur? It really isn’t too difficult to find something to become awe-struck by in Lake County, whether it is the striking glitter of a hummingbird’s feathers or the gleam of a gopher snake as it slithers into the sunlight for warmth.

Shakespeare at the Lake This Weekend!

Shakespeare at the Lake is back, and it’s better than ever! I’m not a Shakespeare kinda gal. I’m always up for a musical, but Shakespeare…not so much. I have to tell you, I absolutely loved this year’s show “12th Night.”  And, of all the Shakespeare at the Lake productions I’ve seen, I found it to be the best one yet.

Camping in Lake County, Part 2: Pine Acres Blue Lakes Resort

After two trips to Clear Lake Campgrounds and with the help of multiple Amazon orders and a trip to Costco, we felt more than prepared for our next camping trip. Dare I say, we felt even a bit cocky when we pulled into Pine Acres Resort at Blue Lakes. David hooked us up with all our new gadgets. We had the water filter, the surge protector, and the blocks for leveling the trailer. He even packed a level to make sure we were precisely level. No more sink water draining off the counter, and the cabinets will stay open! Next came the color-coordinated rug (gray and white just like our trailer), the appropriate camping chairs, and a tablecloth. Yes, I forgot to mention I forgot a tablecloth on our two previous camping trips. We had to endure nature and all of its droppings as we dined. Sure we cleaned it, but there’s nothing like the psychological battle in your mind of what was there before. But not this time! There was nothing we had forgotten. With towels in hand, we eagerly made our way toward the beach. It was the perfect afternoon on the lake. A warm breeze blew off the water, reminding us that we were still in the heat of the day, making the sapphire lake all the more inviting. That’s when our confidence suddenly waned.

Window on Lake County: Clear Lake’s Incremental Impacts

We’re all aware of the changes in life that go unnoticeable from day to day but can be detected over time. Changes from getting older always come to mind, also wear and tear on the high mileage family car. Something familiar to add to the list is the changes that occur with increasing population leading to increased infrastructure building such as roads, new agriculture, increased well drilling, town development, or the off-road vehicle boom. In the not-so-familiar or obvious category are the unnoticed changes to ecosystems caused by landscape alterations. These incremental changes are often small when they occur but can be considerable when they accumulate. Species becoming endangered is the most notable result.

The Deer Whisperer of Anderson Springs

Mitsy….standing there with her dark blue wide-brimmed hat shielding her from the sun, impenetrable sunglasses which make it hard to truly connect with her, is talking to me? Speaking with me? Talking at me? I would say it is a conversation, except that there are not many spaces to make a full reply. There are moments of pause, silence just enough to get in a funny agreeable remark or two. Still, it is fully enjoyable on my end, if not like being part of a movie scene in which I am faintly a part of but mostly watching.

Camping in Lake County, Part 1: Clear Lake Campground

So we caved and bought a travel trailer like everyone else. Oh, the excitement and expectations that come with such a purchase. We bought enough things to fill a house for this tiny home on wheels. Then we took it out for its maiden voyage at Clear Lake Campground. Lisa Wilson, the second-generation owner of the campground, was celebrating her birthday, and anyone with an RV was invited to stay the night. We had all the confidence in the world that we were more than ready for this trip. Our friends eagerly greeted us when we arrived. David backed that trailer up like a pro as if he’d been doing this all his life. But, unfortunately, that’s when our confidence ended.

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