Preparing for the ‘big one,’ Christmas comes to GE and a nasty cold
The folks of Glen Ellen
Poet, lady journalists find SYZYGY at smorgasbord
Jim Berkland, our local geologist, earthquake predictor and poet, stopped by Creekbottom House last week to share his latest SYZYGY, an earthquake newsletter. He looked spritely and jaunty, with a blazing blue plaid shirt matched by the cheerily angled beret he sported.
All in all, a fine looking fellow dressed for a luncheon with two lady journalists (Jim’s description) who were quizzing him about current predictions.
Having finished his lunch, not at the Garden Court as they’d planned; but since it was closed, at what Jim calls the Smorgasbord, a good Scandinavian name for the hot and cold food trays that bless the back aisles of the Glen Ellen Village Market. At certain times of the day, the tiny back eating room can be filled with tourists. Yet, at other times, it makes a mellow meeting place for just us folks. For Jim and his admirers, it turned out just fine, with ample good fare for all.
12-12-12 portends cubic foot of trouble
As for the latest newsletter, Jim warns of his 2009 dramatic dream of 12-12-12, noting that tomorrow will be “a day of perigee, the second closet approach of the moon in almost two years … “with the highest tides at the Golden Gate in over four years.” Jim admits that he learned long ago from Dr. Fergus Wood, “that such conditions not only could lead to coastal flooding, but under certain conditions, could trigger earthquakes.”
Thanks, Jim, for the “heads up” (or better yet, heads safely protected under tables and doorways). We’ll see how that all pans out, how it all falls out or how it all goes down tomorrow, on that delightful duodecimal, triple header of a day. I’m not much worried, be it predictions by Aztecs or other experts. Whatever will be, will be.
Jim does deserve praise today for the longevity of his newsletters. This December issue marks #276 and closes out the 23rd year of consecutive monthly issues of SYZYGY. Wonder about that title? Jim says, “linked by a common need and interest.” While Carl Jung preferred, “a union of opposites.”
Afflicting the comfortable
In last week’s column, I sang the praises of the Labesque’s luscious late summer harvest honey little knowing that within a few days it would become my dear medicinal companion.
The raging virus – simply a good old-fashioned fierce cold – that has been working its way up Valley finally arrived in Glen Ellen. Weeks ago, I heard that my friends Sheana Davis and Kathleen Hill were thus afflicted, one after the other. I prided my immunity on good health. Hubris is never the answer.
I came down the a dreadful ague last week, complete with sore throat, runny nose, swollen sinuses and all over ugly aches. While I don’t really suppose it was a gift from either of those aforementioned friends, nor was it an offering shared by my Glen Ellen neighbor Ann Peden, who showed those same symptoms only hours before it struck me, it was fearsome in its onslaught and duration. Meanwhile, my Sweetie awaits his turn while waiting on me.
Comforting the afflicted
Sweetie’s duties have entailed homemade chicken soup, offerings of tea and refusal to keyboard this column. Hence, my wandering mind has had to accept this task with hopes that these very words will somehow make sense. Or not. Which can sometimes be just as entertaining.
Since this illness seems to be sweeping the Valley, I offer here a few remedies, provided mostly by my friend Stephanie Sugars who guided me to a Pinterest site for home cures. This is where the Labesque honey plays a prominent role. The disease: wretched, and exhausting. The cure: lemons fresh from a friend’s bountiful tree (organic, of course), many rhizomes of ginger root, fresh also, and bucketfuls of Labesque honey.
Cover the bottom of a medium size kettle with peeled and sliced ginger, squeeze enough lemons over the ginger to completely cover them, add sufficient water and boil. While that stews, peel the skin surface of the lemons and slice into thin strips. While it’s still boiling, hold your head over the pot, with a tent of thick towel sheltering you. Breathe in the pungent vapor. When you’ve inhaled all you can that way, remove the pot from the heat, pour it through a sieve into your favorite tall mug and finally, add a little of that dark, viscous honey that Cheryl and Serge Labesque and their pet bees have perfected. Then off to rest. Repeat until your taste buds’ discretion returns enough to reject the concoction.
As I got better, I added only a bit of my friend Brenda McNeill’s favorite Numi tea, green jasmine.
Meanwhile, I fully intend to be ready and rolling come Monday morning, wishing the same quick blessings of recovery (from whatever ails you) to you.
Indefatigable is a word I love, if not a concept I embrace. Especially not now with this virulent virus inhabiting my body, babbling my brain. However, the “now” as I keyboard, is actually last week to you. And this week, yes even beginning with yesterday’s Monday, I hope to be back to my usual self. Indefatigable? Well, not preciously, even in good health. However, more alive than I feel now as I keyboard, tissue in hand. As my friend Stephanie pointed out, viruses are a sort of blessing, “they have a beginning, a middle and an end – an almost-known arc of symptoms and restrictions,” for which I am most grateful.
Valley hero decks halls
Susan Bellach is a Valley hero. Yep, it’s true. Through her amazing talents and energetic efforts, our favorite town theater, the venerable Sebastiani, takes on a manor of holiday cheer like no other place on earth. Simply for the price of a ticket you can enter the theater where the lobby will transport you to holiday excess that you’ll experience no where else but in childhood memories. Susan is a genius and a tireless worker. We applaud her and love what she adds to all Christmas shows in Sonoma. Thanks to this Kenwood decorator for making our holidays bright.
Ashland elves deck bridge
Last Friday night as Sweetie and I returned home from some Sonoma event or another (they pile so fast, one upon the other that I tend to forget where and when) I caught a glimpse of the Christmas elves hard at work decorating our bridge. But wait, these were not the elves I had previously advertised as being our bridge decorators. As a handsome young gent emerged from behind the southwest corner of the bridge railing just as I sped by homeward bound, I was puzzled. Surely, this was not any of the Guerrazzi girls. As a second, equally tall gentleman joined the first, I had to ask Mary Guerrazzi who that was. A quick email cleared up my question. The extra helpers were Mary’s two nephews; yes indeed, six footers, able to sling swags and wreaths with aplomb. The young men, from Ashland, Ore., are Zakh and Duke Arapoff. We send our special thanks to them way up north for their neighborly help.
White water rafters ride with Santa?
So boys, we hear you’re pretty fine white water rafters. While Sonoma and Calabasas Creeks aren’t quite up to the Klamath, they do show their strength during winter storms. We hope you stick around long enough to ride Neil’s wagon with Santa and crew.
You know, your Aunti Mary Guerrazzi has been arranging those wagon rides for 10 years now. Bridge decorating by Mary and friends (and apparently relatives, too) has been a holiday feature in our town for nine years. We appreciate her mightily, so give her a big hug from the folks in her hometown.
This coming weekend, Dec. 15, Saturday beginning at 6 p.m. and cycling along until there are no new visitors, our tiny church in the vale presents its annual live nativity. Brian Ness brings Sahara the Camel along with sheep, goats and a donkey so that the folks at the church can act out the Christmas story in fine fashion. Dave Ginter is the orator of note (with a boomingly pleasant baritone that can even wake angels). Other members of the congregation appear in costume as shepherds and wise men and of course, the Baby Jesus and family. In between the telling of the story, everyone is invited to sing Christmas carols, enjoy some hot apple cider and cookies. Children of the congregation will share their talents with assembled visitors, all in all, creating a lovely and blessed Christmas outing.
Christmas Eve candle lighting
On Monday, Dec. 24, at 4:30 p.m., the church holds a Family Old-Fashioned Christmas Eve Candle Lighting Service. Gathering in the church sanctuary the Christmas story is once again shared. Later, everyone sings familiar carols, and the service ends with the lighting of candles while “Silent Night” is sung. It is a very warm and special service, where people come together to celebrate the birth of Christ. This is an early evening ceremony so that families spend the rest of their evening at home. Jim and Brenda Hill of that charming historic church are warm and welcoming folks who encourage visitors to join them in this holy celebration.
Santa rides again with angelic Lauren leading the way
Meanwhile, a little more news on those wagon rides with Neil Shepard, Kevin Stang, Bob Gossett and Santa Claus. Of course, Neil’s friend and another swamper Lauren Johannessen is often up front too, as competent as Neil with the reigns. Having misplaced her last name, I left her out of the column last week. I have ways of finding out such things and now she’s up and front in the column, with apologies and blessings from me.
The confirmed date for the Glen Ellen Christmas wagon rides is Saturday, Dec. 22, from noon to 2 p.m. Linda Richards of the Jack London Lodge supplies hot cocoa and cookies inside the saloon (yes, kiddos are welcome), while Don and Dale, Sherry and Carol make sure Santa has enough candy canes to keep the riders happy.
Our own Glen Ellen Volunteer Firefighters provide an escort as always. For some kids, being on the wagon and so close to the fire truck doubles the fun. I agree. See you there.
Firefighters on the web
In my last column, when I invited you to donate to our Volunteer Fire Department, I barely mentioned their website in passing. It’s one of my favorites. The photos of all the personnel, volunteers, board members and auxiliary are worth perusing, a chance to get to know a whole lot of your good neighbors in this village. We also love the galleries of the water fights (our team is champion, of course), the Village Fair and more. It takes a while to download the photos, but it gives a nice view of down home Glen Ellen. While you’re waiting for the photos to load, check out the other headings. I especially like the history section. Find the site at glenellenfire.org.
We hope this year that busy volunteer Ann Zollinger will have a chance to snap a few photos of Neil, his helpers (including Sonny and Willy) and his wagon #409, a tribute to the Girl Scouts of Glen Ellen.
Painting goodness knows where
Some years ago, firefighter Edmond Joseph’s sweetie, that would be Teresa Joseph, told me that the Fresh Choice restaurant in Santa Rosa sported a print of Archie Horton’s O’Donnell Lane Bridge painting as part of their décor. I never got around to seeing it and now, the restaurant’s gone, closed doors, out of business. I hope that the liquidators consider bringing that precious print (of my house, after all) back to its hometown of Glen Ellen. It’s a keeper and shouldn’t just end up in a warehouse at goodness-knows-where Fresh Choice headquarters.
Amazing experience, addled brain, apologies
In my last column, I promised to share a story about my recent Vietnam experience. This week, with a raging cold and, consequently, an addled brain, I have decided to save that tale for telling later. My apologies for setting you up, then disappointing you. Believe me, it’s worth the wait, if I can only bring forth the words worthy of sharing this amazing experience.
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Share your good news with friends and neighbors in Glen Ellen. Call or write me at 996-5995 or P.O. Box 518, GE 95442. Or email me at Creekbottom@earthlink.net. Glen Ellen chatter rarely requires timeliness; however, if your news does, please be sure to contact me at least three weeks before the run date.