Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Adieu to '08

It is with great satisfaction we bid adieu to 2008.

We have had an interesting year here in kittycity. Speaking of kitty- with the territory of responsibilities of stewardship I offer a few collected from the local litter box. The catnip comes next year.

Measure D petition; Fight over CUP permit for Miles Avenue; LG welcomes facebook junkie Greg Larson as new Town Manager;new digs for the police; Battle over proposed glass-IM Pey looking outbuildings at 151 N. Santa Cruz Ave (Travese)remains as an elegant historic property; Mark Achilli,R.I.P; New library planned;CreditCard & ATM Numbers stolen from already overpriced Lunardi’s Supermarket; 200 K in Computer gear/routers stolen from LG school district. Geez, and it only took three years to verify it was missing; Big Dough triumphs over Good Intentions. The Friends of the Hillsides form with over 500 community members strong to fight for smart hillside development.;Ross Creek wins CEQA suit; Ugly Mailers arrive in mailboxes to smear local town council candidates. J. Crew gets the high sign. Another nail in the retail coffin of local small business;TCBY yogurt melts away; The anointed one as The new town council person who paid handsomely for the opportunity to "serve"the people. Let's hope his attendance record is an improvement over his planning commission tenure.

Last task at hand is to shake out the last shameful nuggets from the national litter box. A years' worth of warrantless wiretapping; Valerie Plame; Scooter Libby's sentence commuted; Bush believes Rafael Palmeiro is innocent; soldiers face neglect at Walter Reed; signing statements; the Kyoto treaty ripped up; loyalty oaths;the fake turkey; a staged teleconference with troops; staged FEMA press conference, extraordinary rendition, support for junk science; endorsement of neo-creationist "intelligent design"; inaction against global warming; record oil prices; record budget deficits; record trade deficit; record number of Americans without health insurance; two recessions; no-bid contracts; bin Laden still at large; the Federal Marriage Amendment; stem cell research vetoed; waterboarding ban vetoed; "Last throes"; "Old Europe"; "It's hard work"; "Bring it on"; "Yo, Blair!"; "I'm the decider"; "I'm the commander guy"; "I'm a war president"; "This is the guy who tried to kill my dad"; "So?"; "Let the Eagle Soar"; John Bolton; Kenny Boy; Harriet Miers; John Roberts; Sam Alito; Blair talks Bush out of bombing al-Jazeera; Cheney shoots some guy in the face; the Military Commissions Act; Jose Padilla arrested and held without charge or access to counsel; endless tax cuts for the rich; let's waste a shitload of money by sending people to Mars and let's hire some Heritage Foundation staffers to rebuild Iraq.

Yes. I know there's a few missing from the list. Always is.

Feels good to get all of that behind us.

Now go on enjoy New Year's and whatever "catnip" you partake in this eve.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sociological Study vs Cruel Torture

The mystique of air travel is dead.
Okay- Why do so many people insist upon looking like they have just rolled out of bed, thankfully not my bed but there they are in the airport security line. So how do you suppose these fellow travelers dress when not traveling, or embarking upon a special outing or adventure?
Ms.Bedhead just in front of me is holding up the security line. From the looks of her conveyor belt bin she has brought enough snacks for the entire plane, security made her leave behind the mountain dew...eww. Points should be awarded for sharing this holiday season ala the third grade birthday mantra of if you can't bring enough to share with the class then leave your goodies at home.
Lucky us- five hours of hydrogenated corn chips... Hope they have many many of those baby gin bottles to wash em down with. Gonna be a loooong flight. I dunno know, seems like if ever there was a time to brush the bed from your head that moment may be now... or at least before you forgot to brush your teeth...why pack then? I have empirically derived too much time people watching while awaiting a flight with a gin and tonic in my hand at any airport bar from Bangkok to Tel Aviv noticing that travelers sporting the largest and most loudly colored pull along (u know the ones, the size of a magenta hippo on wheels) always seem to be the worst dressed. So why pack the hippo sized luggage if you only sport sweats and trainers? Do you save the nice outfits for your evenings at outback steak house? Lucky us, we missed that photo op.
No mile high club for u my friend.

Nestled into my seat with fifty dollars of magazines, with a sweating glass sporting a twist in hand, maybe holiday travel needs to be viewed as more of a sociological study vs an exercise in cruel torture.
Off to the latitude of choice, 37 degrees.. choice of today that is, next month not so sure.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Back To The World Of Snore

Back to the world of the suburban snore. As if my sojourn to the state of the hanging' chad was a wet dream ala the Greenwich village (with corned beef on the side and a big slap of sunscreen.)
The most painful of this snoozy beach's the corporate food scene ala chili's, Chevy's,TGI friday's, did I miss anyone? Cocoa Beach was sweet, drivin' down the A1A rocks my world, with it's fabulous funky surf scene. The buff surfer scene over whelmed by the rat a tat tat crowd (the town council should hold a moratorium on ink). Although these tattoo shops are everywhere and seem to be recession proof.

I didn't realize people still smoke and sun bathe... simultaneously. ouch.

The concept of returning to the land of blow dry & botox scares me at first, but then I remember the small fish bowl in which we to return and stir the pot....or be bored to tears.

Since most of the pulse of my tony zip code are involved in tennis matches or rehab. Sucks to be me- since I don't belong to either social group...yet. Sorry my tiara is in the toy box, shall I dust it off for new years eve???

Good-By, We'll Miss U

A funny email from a friend yesterday who described the year with the Glass as not half empty or full, but where's the glass?

To mourn the greatness of those who are no longer with us, gave me a moment of pause. William F. Buckley, Robert Mondavi, Sydney Pollack, Bo Diddley, Isaac Hayes, George Carlin, Studs Turkel, Aurthur C. Clarke, Chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer, Bettie Page, Sir Edmund Hillary, Paul Newman, Tim Russert, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Eartha Kitt, Michael Crichton, William Gibson, Peter Camejo.
Locally, our community was directly impacted by the loss of former mayor Patrick O'Laughlin, Mark Achilli, Ben Goldman, Michael Halpin and Misti Frederick, the friendly School Secretary at R. J. Fisher Middle School.

The loss represents an amazing amount of brain power, philanthropic might, and artists that made our world a more beautiful place to be.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Viagra: The New Bling

Among the world's intelligence agencies, there's a long tradition of using sex as a motivator. A quote from my crush du jour Robert Baer, a retired CIA officer and author of several books on intelligence, noted that the Soviet spy service was notorious for using attractive women as bait when seeking to turn foreign diplomats into informants. So why should we be surprised that the natural extension of such efforts fall to Taliban and Afghanistan hot spots? Want more details? Sorry, that's classified.

It's safe to say methods used in clandestine operations are certainly creative. One senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the Central Intelligence Agency's work in Afghanistan said the clandestine teams were trained to be "resourceful and agile."

"If you give an asset $1,000, he'll go out and buy the shiniest junk he can find, and it will be apparent that he has suddenly come into a lot of money from someone," said Jamie Smith, a veteran of CIA covert operations in Afghanistan and now chief executive of SCG International, a private security and intelligence company. "Even if he doesn't get killed, he becomes ineffective as an informant because everyone knows where he got it." We consider viagra the new bling.

The key, Smith said, is to find a way to meet the informant's personal needs in a way that keeps him firmly on your side but leaves little or no visible trace.

So the question looms " Is that a rocket in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?"

Friday, December 26, 2008

Swindlers List

The website of Bernard Madoff has a big blurb about deadlines for filing
claims for what is heralded as the largest Ponzi scheme ever.
Makes Enron look small and uncreative.
Equal opportunity swindling: from large non-profits to his own
social circle in Palm Beach.

Mr. Madoff could be the Mark Spitz of shell game Olympics.

So Mr. Madoff is under house arrest, along with personal security detail.
Have you wondered how he might be spending his sequestered time?
Padding 'round the penthouse in bunny slippers and cashmere socks perhaps.
My theory: iphone games. There is a B.Madoff currently logged into ichess.

He takes his own sweet time plotting and planning his next move.
You can almost imagine him peeking out the window from his Manhattan
Penthouse, returning with hot cocoa in hand to his next move.
This is a time tested guy. It was the unbelievably steady returns Madoff delivered
that attracted everyone. By most accounts, Madoff consistently delivered around
10% a year, even in bad times.
Apparently, Madoff was wise enough to avoid excessive returns so that even our
erstwhile regulators at the Securities and Exchange Commission were duped into thinking everything was fine. Well, no surprise there. The most amazing thing about this tale is how
the alleged $17.1 billion Madoff managed turned into a potential $50 billion loss for so many
banks, funds and individuals. Hey, what about audits? Accounting checks and balances..nope..nada. New York is one of six states not requiring a peer convenient.

Does anyone still doubt that the global banking and investing industry is full
of greedy s.o.b.'s?

A track record clearly too good to be true, but greed makes a sucker out of even the smartest people. Foundations folding, and non-profits swindled, shameful on so many fronts. Maybe playing him in ichess is aiding and abetting.

Time to log off of ichess.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Ho Ho Ho, I got my toes in the sand, a drink in my hand it
must be Christmas.
I hope you were on the nice list this year...but those of you
on the naughty list- and you know who you are enjoy that
lump of coal. They make attractive paper weights...or if you live in the
North East you can heat your home with it. xxoo.

P.S A special thank you to all of you un secured wi-fi networks along
Jupiter Island. Turkeycoop, JCboathouse, sandybeach..
Only in a republican enclave do I find such pedestrian names foropen
networks but they allowed me to update this blog.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Who's Behind The Manger?

The Caganer, in Catalan, is literally "the one who poos".
His squatting figure(now sometimes in the form of a
famous or infamous personage)is placed alongside Jesus,
Mary and Joseph in the nativity scene. Traditionally
the caganer is hidden behind a tree,as is appropriate
for one doing his business in the presence of divinity.

So why represent the crassest of bodily functions on the
holiest of Christian holidays, you might ask. Is it sheer
irreverence? Catalonia is know to obsess about this and
keeping the local language of catalan alive. This quirky
little holiday tradition also helps the bottom line of
many market vendors who sell a hundred different
varieties and style of the Cagner. Some sport a Santa hat
some are dressed as gypsies,others look professional in
mini Armani suits.

Why did this odd tradition become so beloved? The explanation
can be found in Catalunya's agrarian roots:specifically, the caganer
symbolizes the return to the earth of everything that comes from
the earth; his impressive heap is a symbol of fertility.
This I was told by the vendor where I shopped daily while I lived
in the Barceloneta neighborhood of Barcelona.

Now how's that for a twist on holiday tradition?
Never gonna look at that nativity scene in the same way.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Catalan Uncle Visits for Christmas

Caga Tio lives with us, but appears only at christmas.
The Caga Tió, or pooping uncle. A literal log that
drops figurative ones in the form of Christmas
presents.Specifically,the caga tió is a round piece
of tree trunk with a painted face and a traditional
red hat.On Christmas Eve, in lieu of leaving
milk and cookies out for Santa Claus, eager Catalan children
tap the caga tió with a stick and ask it to defecate gifts.

The children sing a song that, loosely translated, goes a
little something like this: Caga tió, hazelnuts and turrones,
don't caca herring, which are too salty, caca turrones which
are are more tasty. Thus encouraged, the caga tió performs much to
the wide-eyed delight of the child.For some reason the Catalans get
into the whole “going to the bathroom” thing at Christmas-time.
Caga Tio at Casa Currie likes only banana's, and in return leaves
peanut M& M's. How's that for Amercianizing a Catalan holiday custom?

This is as close as I get to experiencing our life in Barcelona
a holiday blast from the past.

Monday, December 22, 2008

It Stays!

It was announced without much fanfare that lucky Los Gatos keeps it's community hospital with a new owner.
El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, a nonprofit organization has agreed to buy the real estate and other assets to be determined from Community Hospital of Los Gatos from HCP Inc., a Long Beach-based health care real estate investment firm.
The new owner will pay HCP $45 million for the real estate.

Earlier this year it was announced that the Hospital would shut it's doors. Weirdly enough no outcry came forth from the community.
About this time last year my Leadership Los Gatos class attended a day of class hosted by the Community Hospital. We had an opportunity to talk about the role the hospital played within the community. The most memorable quote from this Q &A session was the CEO telling us the type of client sought by the hospital. It was wrapped in the pretext of where advertising dollars were spent. When asked why the ad budget was so highly targeted we were told "because we don't want "those" people from our community and the surrounding areas of San Jose at our hospital. " Nice community spirit. Inclusive, oops I mean exclusive. What I found so offensive was a lack of apology to the class from a so called community leader.

The great news is we keep an important community service within arms' reach for 911 events like the time my son thought swallowing quarters was a replacement for a piggy bank.

Let's applaud the decision of El Camino Hospital. You might be the one who seeks out service and will be relieved to have the option so close at hand and available to all who need it.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rip-off the Band-Aid

The ah-ha moment of the week, President Bush announced Friday that the federal government will provide up to $17.4 billion in loans to GM and Chrysler, which warned that, without aid, they might go out of business by the end of the month. So the band-aid to aid two of the big three stops what exactly? My question: why prolong the inevitable?

The biggest offender being Chrysler which is private equity backed.

Criminal. When will the next line up of private based companies leave the private jets at home and come looking for a band-aid.

"In the midst of a financial crisis and a recession, allowing the U.S. auto industry to collapse is not a responsible course of action," Bush said. Spoken like someone in the know. Not.

Does this mean GM and Chrysler have avoided bankruptcy? Hardly. The administration's plan essentially allows the automakers to tread water until March 31 while they construct drastic restructuring plans for long-term viability. If they cannot do this, "the loans will provide time for companies to make the legal and financial preparations necessary for an orderly Chapter 11 process," Bush said. No accountability of course.. No czar or czarina.

Under the terms of the deal penned Friday GM and Chrysler will immediately receive $4 billion each from the Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program, the administration's war chest to alleviate the so called "credit crunch" GM--far larger than Chrysler--is eligible for an additional $5.4 billion on Jan. 16. With Congressional approval in February, the companies can tap into an additional $4 billion in TARP money. The good news? T-Minus 30 days until the new administration takes the helm. Let's keep our fingers crossed someone has the good sense to rip off the band-aid and end subsidising the big dinosaurs of the motorcity.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Short list of 2008

List of lists for 2008- a partial list of memorable
Books for the political junkie: a top ten list of 2008

What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's
Culture of Deception. by Scott McClellan
Yes We Can: Barack Obama's History-Making Presidential Campaign by Scout Tufankjian
Goodnight Bush: A Parody by Gan Golan
Eats, Shoots and Leaves. by Lynne Truss
Alpha Dogs: The Americans Who Turned Political Spin into a Gobal Business. by James Harding
Netroots Rising: How a Citizen Army of Bloggers and Online Activists
Is Changing American Politics. by Nate Wilcox
Gaming the Vote: Why Elections Aren't Fair (and What We Can Do About It) by William Poundston
In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. by Michael Pollan
The Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers, and the
Great Credit Crash. By Charles R. Morris.
The Devil We Know:Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower. by Robert Baer
Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions. By Dan Ariely
(okay, top 12 list since I could not weed them out.)
Top CD's of 08
Momofuku- Elvis Costello
Matchbox Twenty- Exile on Main St.
Keep It Simple- Van Morrison ( A sober van sounds very different)
Continuum- John Mayer
Black Ice- AC/DC
Collective Soul- Youth
Radiohead- In Rainbows
The Fray- How to save a life
Jack Johnson-Sleep Thru The Static
Death Cab for Cutie- Plans
Kings of Leon- Only By Night
Herbie Hancock- The Joni Letters
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss- Raising Sand
Counting Crows- Saturday Nights
Top ten songs of '08 for the fun and frivolity of subjectivity:
Bubbly- By Colbie Caillat
Sly- By Cat Empire
That's not my name- By The Ting Tings
Love Remains the Same By Gavin Rossdale ( aka Mr. Gwen Stefani)
Into the wild- By Eddie Vedder
Sex on Fire- By The Kings Of Leon
Mercy- By Duffy
The Beast -By Hurricane
1234- By Feist
Killing The Blues- By Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

Friday, December 19, 2008

Make Mine XL

The hanging chad, home to that loaf of a rat, warm weather, and snow birds squeezed into shorts. It must be FLA.
After paying soo much for such a horrific day I am thinking about trading my masochistic tendencies for something a bit more sadomasochistic.
After a day at WDW- I can't even say it let alone type it, so yes that place in Orlando with the hip Monorail. A single thought in my brain running like a loop- no more corn syrup for any of you. The lot of you are cut off.... no more soda. Since that is all that is to be found here in the land of the corporate rat, lots of soda or if you prefer midwestern "pop."
Whatever it's called my svelte LG neighbors, it's causing obscene obesity.
The mental morsel that I have learned during my day at the magic kingdom- being a
"key" demographic is to arrive with one's own wheels. This means you are either the stroller crowd (in the stroller) or the motorized wheel chair crowd...cutting the crowds like a butter knife. With wheels the world of Disney is your oyster...many people outside of those two demographics also sported wheels, but this was more of a morbid obesity issue.
btw- adult strollers all sported drink holders, XL size.

Last time I had a disney experience it was Euro.... with a metro stop outside the gates and great Bordeaux by the glass served with a great grilled cheese (sorry my French friends I meant Croque Monsouires.)

Of all the insular places on the planet, you would think with the compound style living that is WDW, Sans vehicles, public transportation everywhere- but what can't be found here? A simple glass of vino. This is masochistic. A just reward for such a martyr-model of parent hood not available and it's not because I didn't seek it out.

So why the sour grapes? I fell asleep in the cab this eve and forgot my phone in the back seat.
So between the self pity and stupidity I have a terabyte of anger to work thru. Hence my post.
Should I ever return to WDW I will sport the motorized wheels, and in the cup holder a nice Rose'

Happy Holidays! Not.

p.s. should you find my phone, enjoy the pictures!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Karmic Bliss

What's the best thing about having good babysitting karma? Monday eve with a holiday cocktail in hand, and fun smart witty girlfriends to chat with.... Nirvana. Chatting with these girls is like an imaginary eraser wiping away all that inane vision of a day spent picking up cherrios.

Yes it's a gift to spend time with my family. Yes it's a treasure to work on a few small film projects take photos and occasionally get paid for them.. but all in all life with the 6 and under camp remains a boot-camp experience.

So when you have an "om" moment and find yourself at The Black Watch with darts in one hand a cocktail in the other please remember that you have left the mommy hat at home.
The gurrl posse wants to talk about things outside of the kid/school umbrella.
Consider a few options if you are grasping for straws:
-Can you believe Pelosi and her coddling the big three?
-Obamas' choice for the secretary of education. Smart choice?
-Bernanke in over his head?
-Larry Summers the controversial former World Bank chief economist, former Treasury secretary and former Harvard president, now named as director of the National Economic Council can u believe it?
-The farcical story du-jour of Illinois Governor with the bad hair piece-
(that's gonna make him a hit in the big house.)
Any of these are fine cocktail fodder in my guesstimation..
Ladies.. Polish off the fine knack of conversation. It's merely misplaced not lost.
Way back when my guys were toddlers, I hosted Political Salons on Sundays in our artist loft in downtown SF. Parents would pontificate on John Kerry or John McCain(back when he really was a maverick) kids would ride tricycles 'round and 'round the Steinway in concentric circles leaving perfect tire tracks upon the black cement floor (sans helmets, something the suburban set would find shocking.) This is a fond memory of mine and the baby set.
We all would enjoy an afternoon of discussing the worlds' political problems while toddlers parallel played sans micro management.

Mimosas and afternoon naps for everyone!

Now I find that time with a toddler mom invariably discussions go south quickly, and not about fun stuff like the best bikini wax in town. Were talking right off the deep end- what preschool is best? which one is gonna teach my 3 year old to read and critique Tolstoy by summer break. Sometimes as these discussions drone on I imagine placing my head in the oven ala Sylvia Plath style. Just put me outta my misery..not another potty training story.

My own standards must have been similar not that long ago.. remembering I just wanted the crayons my toddlers were coloring/eating to be non toxic, preferably an organic non toxic non china brand.
No one ever wants to admit it. The deep dark secret of running screaming from the house, immortalizing my favorite Martin Luther King Quote "Free at last, free at last, thank god I am free at last." No?
I know it's tough to switch gears so maybe envision your psyche as a tiptronic transmission ala hubbies' Porsche- a smooth shift to the brianiac part that's a bit rusty and leave the domestic goddess at home next time. Unless of course it's the potty talk of the adult variety- then I seek you out no matter how lousy your dart game.

C'mon throw some darts, and enjoy the good karma cause you deserve it!

btw-I am on east coast time...not really 4 am in my time zone

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Art That Will Rock Your World

The museums of Los Gatos have knocked the proverbial ball outta the
park with this one. The Painterly Paintings exhibit is about amazing
as ever offered. Never been to the Art Museum on Tait and Main?
Sucks to be you...this is a gem of a spot that is a true historical
building here in town the first firehouse to be precise with a
professional team - curator extraordinare Catherine Politopolos
and from Montalvo Executive Director Elke Groves.

The quality of the exhibits? It took well over a year to piece this
show together said Curator Catherine Politopolos, much like herding
cats. But the results are nothing short of extraordinary.
Thank you Catherine your herding skills have paid off.

Look no further for a gift giving idea: pick up the exhibit catalog, add
membership and wrap with a bow- tahdah...instant hit and a boon to the
local art scene. The kind of Karma we all need right now.

The Got Art Gallery will only grace our presence downtown for
two more short months...If you have yet to stroll through, now is a great
time to see local art at it's finest and most affordable. The
popularity of a handful of local artists make nice portfolio
pieces...those of you heavily vested in underwater stock? Real estate
portfolios dropping in value like a rock.... this could be the perfect
time to diversify but I digress from the true message today: go see
the Painterly Paintings exhibit. The hours and background can be found

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What The Locals Need: New Sunglasses

As I sit with my coffee this a.m. and stare out across the street from the LGRC, the corner of Main St sports the wrapping of brown paper on the windows of our old antique store .

The newest addition to our retail pool: sunglasses.

Well we all know how I feel about the faux pas of this past seasons' fashion disaster of the white sun glass look. Perhaps these folks with the brown papered windows took note of the Channel bug-eyed and wanted to stage an intervention for those fashion victims or maybe just the leaseholders have a big trust fund. Weirdly not open at T-Minus nine days till Christmas? A time when over 40% of mom and pop businesses make up for any revenue speed bumps part and parcel to the holiday shopper. Why not capture the shopping highlight of the year?? Open sooner rather than later?? Plan for the uglier than expected 1st quarter woes that all the talking heads are predicting.

Why ask why? Well, inquiring minds wanna know about this cozy corner real estate that I had envisioned as well, maybe another cool antique store. Vintage clothing? Would keep me from spending my money over at my fave vintage store 23 skidoo in Campbell.. but alas no hip vintage retail here in the 'hood. But we may have many new bespectacled 95030'ers.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Find Me In the Batcave

The pic is of the roof of the Camden Library, in Camden Maine

With the cold and wet weather upon us we typically take to the cozy confines of the library, but alas it seems like the rest of the town has the same idea. We need a new library. Desperately.

In October 2007, the Town Council gave the go-ahead to begin planning for a new library to be built adjacent to Town Hall. The Town's existing 14,000 square foot library was built in the 1960s when Los Gatos' population was about 9,000. With a population today of about 30,000 and the high levels of usage (over 200,000 visits per year and growing), the current library is under-serving the community.
Actually, the interest in building a new library dates back to the early 1980s when the Town Council discussed the space needs of the Library and the Police Department, as well as the possibilities for obtaining a site to build a new library.

Those naysayers who say it's too expensive, or unnecessary obviously don't patronize our dismal bat cave of a library space.

When I had a summer house in Camden Maine, the selling point for me was not the world class sailing, or amazing nature, or even the lobsta: it was the library. Beautiful and modern, built underground of the original two hundred year old library; the addition sports skylights and a multi-purpose room that hosts author events, and local special interest almost always booked solid. Different community perhaps, with Pulitzer Prize winning author Richard Russo as a neighbor. My analogy of swinging a cat without hitting a literary figure was in full force.

Different values I suppose.

The only thing I can think is that the vocal minority of those against the new building must not be readers, or users of the library system which includes Cds, DVDs, periodicals, and a social spot to do homework and study. The new RDIF technology for check out is uber easy and gives one the ability to access materials without wasting much time (if you so choose.)

The original plan was for no new taxes to be levied to pay for the new library; rather, Redevelopment Agency funds and existing reserves are the financing sources. Any body know how the "take back" of Redevelopment Agency funds could potentially impact this project??
The new library will be a two-story building of about 30,000 sq. ft., similar to other communities of Los Gatos' size. The building will provide adequate room for the library collections, as well as a technology room, group study areas, quiet reading areas, an expanded children's section,
designated space for teens, a storytelling area, and protected wall cases for the Town's history collection.
So as we wait out the weirdly east coast weather of thunder & lightning, I will reminisce about
my old library in Camden Maine while squirreled away in our own dark over crowded library.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Get a Leash for That Monkey on Your Back

A cocktail party discussion about the current state of local government got me thinking
about why more people don't get involved.
The last election was ugly on so many fronts. Personal attracts from vengeful individuals did more than taint the process of involvement. The discussion that prompted this post was simply questioning the who, what and why of the back biting and how intimidating it was for those not indoctrinated into the local muck.
Love of community simply isn't enough to quote the conversation.
Many local business owners ended up taking the heat as well. Dumb.

If those with a grudge can't move on and move out then it's really going to narrow
the scope and quality of those getting involved.

The tiny world of our myopic political world can't expect new blood if it scares away, intimidates, or just plain turns off those wondering and willing to serve.

The answer? I don't have's the conversation that was the catalyst to make the argument that if we don't get more people involved then the smear tactic's work and we all suffer the consequences.

Currently there is a planning commission seat open. The political maneuvering and smear work was heard loud and clear when Michael Kane wasn't re appointed. The short answer: No one stepped up. Could be the scrutiny has disgusted those within the community.

I don't have a magic 8 ball, crystal ball or even a voodoo doll (which would resemble a certain sunburned local politician: or is that high blood pressure?) so no easy answers, epiphanies or rants.

For those petty individuals that can't let go of the past or keep their egos in check a perfect Christmas gift: a leash for that monkey on your back...
not good to walk around with that kinda angst.

Lots of possibilities to get involved. Many of you emailed ideas on getting
the town to embrace recycling...all good ideas but we gotta get involved.

Ideas are just that without someone to execute them.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It's an Al Green kinda day

Yesterday, my day of non news was a mixed bag. So I found solace in Al Green, Marvin Gaye, and the late great James Brown.

The result?

It made me think about all the things that were good this year... and there was a lot of good. Good and green.

So the lip service to green this year seems to have made a wee bit of traction. The weird shaped light bulbs, photo voltaic with rebates for consumers, H20 Heaters offer up on demand (we like) and recycling taken seriously (at least by those within my social circle.)
I see people consciously bringing bags into grocery stores..
LED lights now grace many homes and lawns, including our own fabulous Christmas tree downtown. So where can we bolster our efforts?

The local Westvalley Greenleaf is a year old. Looking through my old notes
during a well needed year-end weed of my studio I found notes about all things accomplished green: a speakers series, the green fair and finally a quasi government committee after much bitching and sharp elbows.
But without a true leadership position from local government and the school system it remains toothless. A simple search on the town website brings up a paltry list of three items. Even the Sustainability Committee that I fought for lacks a web mention under town committees. It does however plug a composting class.... but you gotta dig though the site to find it. Our local poster girl of compost (other than yours truly) is Diane Rose of Crimson restaurant.
Diane Rose can be summoned up in one sentence: Visionary meets culinary..She makes that OTHER local celeb chef look like a rookie.

So this new year, a moment of pause to think how you might make your own world a bit greener. Did I forget to mention the zen of digging in the dirt once you've embraced composting...maybe best left for another blog post. Need to crawl before digging around a worm bin.

One area of improvement on the green front? Our local schools. I know from visits to Blossom Hill Elementary, big recycling bins loom larger than the average third grader. It's all good... because it's a visual reminder of how important it is to be consistent to create good habits.

My kids attend Daves Ave. Not a recycling bin to be seen other that the ones hidden behind the clubhouse parking lot.
Those bins are indeed marked recycling but what goes into them makes one question the reading ability of those attending and care taking the school.

If our own local government can walk the walk than we might see even more of the community making an effort to be green but without the guidance and precedence set from local government and the school district it's going to take longer.

Local efforts to be applauded: Our "green" Mayor last year. Barbara Spector put the green issue front in center during her tenure, and is the one who really got the ball rolling. Paul Dubois spearheaded the LED light charge to change the town Christmas tree this year.. Anyone willing to creatively capture the same spirit and momentum ? A few ideas like maybe a solar trash compactor much like the ones found in Capitola and Santa Cruz. This would be a great addition downtown in the town square? Ever been around on a Sunday morning and noticed the bins overflowing with pizza boxes? Recycling downtown alone would be a huge step in the right direction, but I hate to put on my dominatrix mantra and not have anyone to whip :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

No News IS Good News

Even the gorgeous full moon last night couldn't lift my spirits after watching the markets tank yesterday. More than 200 points lost again this morning .....The rally this week on zero interest T-bills was nothing less than amazing.

So who would lend and get nothing in return? Apparently a lot of people. Treasury reports said demand could not be met, four times the inventory of four week treasury bills COULD have been sold. So people are parking their money- making: Nada. zip. zilch.

Just can't wrap my brain around this. My mantra today- no news IS good news. So cold turkey tactics are in order for me. No more CNBC, BBC, AP - maybe no news is the way to go for a news junkie. I'll keep you posted on how well this works...Anyone have any other tactics short of rehab or Guantanamo Bay?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Friends Don't Let Friends

Today as a memorial top ten list, I offer you the local list of Bad Taste 2008 ala Los Gatos:

10. Driving a Yukon XL
9. Velour track suits
8. Actually wearing a blutooth outside the privacy of your vehicle
7. Ugg Boots
6. tee shirts with logos
5. Using plastic bags from the store
4. Using paper bags from the store
3. Drinking Non-local wines
2. Talking on your phone incessantly (take it to the car blutooth
head) and OUT of Trader Joes'
1. Wearing White sun glasses

The local look that needs to be deep sixed in '08?

It's the MILF sporting the velour track suit and uggs with the blutooth headset
sitting in the school car pick up line
in her Yukon XL, while sporting white sunglasses.

Only in our zip code. Sorry to throw stones, but friends shouldn't let
friends /spouses/ girlfriends sport this look.

The good news... the economy needs a little stimulation, so go shop.
Just make it local. And please, don't add to the current local "look" by purchasing any of the above mentioned items. In doubt holiday gift givers and secret santas??? email me and I will be your idea bank.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

'Zat You Santa Claus?

In the late eighties and early nineties, as an advertising exec in Detroit I remember a fair amount of my creative energy going into cultivating the auto biz when I represented WJR radio and the Detroit Tigers. The funny thing is, not much has changed. Yes, last week the shirts were whining about leaving the corporate jets at home and driving to ask for hand outs.. Not much has changed from my days of advertising expense accounts buying lap dances for the big three just over the river in Windsor, or as it read on the expense report "Windsor Ballet".... ahhh the good old days. When it was politically correct to expense such expenditures and have a ton of fun to boot.

But this expense account item is a taxpayer, government sponsored lap dance. What happens when the band-aid of 15B goes up in smoke and the cry babies are back looking for even a larger lifeline by second quarter? Will the so called czar or czarina have the cojones to call the note? While the draft-bill would give GM and Chrysler $14 billion -- with an extra $1 billion if conditions worsen -- the automakers say they need to survive through March 31, it also sets the terms for Ford Motor Co., which has said it will not take a loan but will ask for a $9-billion credit line. GM and Chrysler would have to grant the government stock or warrants that could give it a majority stake in either company, and also restrict executive pay and end corporate jet travel. boo-hooo.... So this government lifeline thrown to the faltering Detroit auto industry will require the auto giants, their workers and creditors to quickly negotiate a plan to achieve profitability or face the prospect of bankruptcy. Yeah- the dinosaur set in Detroit has always been fast afoot when it comes to change.

My favorite quote from yesterday: GM admitted on Monday that it had "disappointed" American consumers by letting "our quality fall below industry standards and our designs became lacklustre."

Is disappointed really the best adjective to describe this colossus mess ?

For the first time in my life, those non sexy republicans have a point. This is a really bad idea. I don't believe that I have ever agreed with any republican. But the stance on this one just stinks.

‘ Zat you Santa Claus…Christmas comes early to the Motorcity, I just read on the AP that the deal has been approved…

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

If It Walks Like A Duck.....

Wikapedia describes a mid life crisis along the lines of blah blah blah and buying the obligatory sports car so just as the world collapse of financial markets, bailouts that look socialist,and housing values falling like a rock a little mid life crisis seems befitting. A crisis of epic proportions can take a garden variety depression and dress it up as something different.

Thank goodness I like the drama.

The malaise that has gripped me is from simple suburban blandness of such epic proportions it seems eclipsed only by the lack of decent ethnic food. Thank god for a dock in Alameda as a home away from home with a rockin' foodie scene.

A good question to throw out of course, but no: some girls just wanna have fun and fun is a commodity not really found in this area code without some creative spin on what's edgy and off color.

So can't think of something off color to think, write or say, well don't sit next to me at the next council meeting.

Life is just to friggin short . Perhaps a little holiday cheer could put a band aid on how the external barometer of life effects my less than sunny attitude but this too will pass. Impulsiveness takes on a whole new meaning- don't forget to do your Christmas shop lifting early!

Speaking of edgy, IF i were to purchase a midlife crisis car it would be a tesla..

Monday, December 8, 2008

Live a Little

Sloth like today way too much holiday cheer last night or perhaps the weekend in general. The morning was spent in San Francisco, my 'ole stomping in true holiday fashion
and dressed in festive black I spent the morning at Tartine, catching up with my oldest and dearest friends. The aftermath of ingesting copious amounts of alcohol can only be truly fixed with an equal part of butter which is why Tartine comes into play.. and although I no longer live in the 'hood it's always a cozy reprieve from the world.

As much as I love our suburban oasis it is nice to have a change of scenery from the his and her Bentley crowd of the wonder bread zip code. This refreshing change was cemented by the Muni rides around town and the train ride home to pick up my car.

The juxtaposition from sleepy sloth to throwing down 'tini's, dancing on the table, and generally being obnoxious - all things di rigour for a eve in the city, not so well tolerated here in the burbs
should be a requirement for those of us in the "large mortgage/kids/furniture " subset if only to revive the memory of life before all that responsibility was heaped upon our heads.

So for a to-do list of all things adult, make a a mental note: Start out with cocktails @The Elbow Room, or Bar Tartine, a bite to eat anywhere within the block on Valencia is a sure score, shopping trip for toys of the adult variety from Good Vibrations, live music at Slims and a night cap of table dancing with an entirely different crowd at The Stud. Dream a little dream- have fun because life is way to short to be so suburban white bread 365 days of the year.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Drop for Drop More Expensive Than Local Pinot Noir

Sunday mornings bring large puddles of maple syrup to plates of waffles, or typically in the past. Grinch like tendencies have gripped me as the price of maple syrup has tripled in the last year.
Were not talking Bordeaux futures here, just distilled maple sugar. The cost of the real thing has eclipsed even our finest local grown pinot noir grapes. Not that sugar maples are a true native to northern California: so like a nice bottle of Bordeaux, maple syrup is typically imported from such far flung places as Quebec. Right now drop for drop french Bordeaux is a better value.

"The day of the $50-a-gallon maple syrup is upon us," said Tom McCrumm, coordinator of the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association, which represents the state of Mass maple business and generated $2 million in sales last year. In the case of maple syrup, prices have tripled since May to $6 a pound—up from $2 a pound a year ago.

What's going on? Is there a shadowy syrup cartel manipulating prices? Has someone figured out how to turn maple sap into fuel? Not quite. Unfavorable weather in Quebec—the source of 80% of the world's maple syrup—have depressed output to a 10-year low. At the same time, demand for maple syrup, which is slightly lower in calories than cane sugar and corn syrup, has been growing in recent years, as more Americans seek alternatives to processed and artificial sweeteners. All of this comes at a time of growing appetite for the sweet, sticky stuff—not just in North America but also in Asia. Anne-Marie Granger Godbout, joint secretary of the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, an industry group in Longueuil, Que., credits a global marketing campaign the group launched in 2004. Since then the value of exports to Japan has doubled, to $20.5 million last year.

And I thought it was just for breakfast.

Another bad year for the Canadians and there will be major shortages, prices will go through the roof. So instead of hoarding boutique Zinfandel's and Clarets the time has come to shift gears and lay down something much more valuable and sticky. Reminds me of a certain Rolling Stones album.
The good news? My dinner parties could be surpassed only by the Sunday waffle scene.
Brunch anyone?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Where Have All The Leaves Gone?

Of all the burbs here in the s'bay, we must be the most leaf free of all the ritzy enclaves. I like the look and feel of fall. Including the leaves on the ground, but for some odd reason the homeowners within the 95030-32 zips have an aversion to leaf litter. Walking around as of late should be a multi sensual experience of brisk air with warm sunshine and crunching leaves underfoot-but any given day of the week "gardeners" can be found blowing the leaves from one side on the street on Monday, only to be re blown Tuesday to the other side of the street. As the week progresses, the patchwork of blown areas resembles a Red State without a single Democrat. No grass blade is left untrimmed, neat and tidy is the look embraced. It's the Brazilian bikini wax of yard work for the Smith & Hawken crowd.
On the bright side all of these compulsive disorders help keep property values high (oh, that was last week.)

While on the subject of compulsive disorders, I bit the bullet last week and hired a new cleaning person. The last non-cleaning cleaning person I had for a little more than a year. She was a sweet woman who moved things around to give the allusion of clean. The new house cleaner did an uber amazing job the first two visits. It was a breath of fresh air-literally...But this week she returned sporting magnificently manicured digits. Not any kind of manicure mind you, but the full on acrylic nail/dragon lady look.. Yes, I too asked the same mental question of how in the world does one clean-really clean with talons. So the moral of the story: should you wish to hire a new housekeeper note to self, ask about future cleaning plans or perhaps party plans of the hired help. I felt like I had the duty to ask the new hire just how she expected to do the agreed upon work without breaking an expensive nail. No guts no glory I bit my tongue and imagined the conversation I would indeed have. Shoulda coulda woulda had. Guess there's always next week.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Out Source

The holiday season is molesting my sense of what's within the parameter of normal... Baking cookies for a neighborhood cookie decorating party seemed like a good idea. 200 cookie cut outs later I should have could have farmed the job out to India but the turn around time was not sufficient for tomorrow eve's soiree here at Casa Currie as 20 neighborhood kids descend to decorate cookies with 30adults in tow to have a few glasses of holiday cheer after the lighting of the tree.
But the fact that many people are out sourcing so many things got me thinking...
what could I out source in NAFTA'esc holiday spirit? Scheduling, volunteer work, maybe a few meetings that could be tele-conferenced.

Never before have I been spread so thin.. but then again never before have I had the phone ring with so many return phone calls from painters, contractors or you name it-job to be-done..

Could be the big R word bantered around...but IT is uncanny how much is getting done around my own household as never before. The list of projects has not gotten smaller over the last year or two-until recently. Being apathetic became the vibe of the day, month, year because I would set up appointments and either workers would not show, or even return a phone call to cancel an appointment. Even with a quote in hand my list remained unchanged so I figured it was hopeless unless I was willing to sport a tool belt. I need to draw the line somewhere, and although I can work wonders with a staple gun there's only so much you can do with staples.

Magically, things have gotten tackled on the list just within the last few weeks. So I say, bring on the R word. If it's enabling me to whittle down my list of project and stimulate the local economy then bring it on. If however the work can't be done locally there's always outsourcing.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Top Ten

After a pretty crappy day, I needed to make a list of  local things to be jazzed about. Local items just for the fun of enjoying the moment. Not a big cash outlay- just thinking about them makes the world a little brighter.
10.  Cheese Fondue from The Wine Cellar enjoyed outside
9.    A glass of  Testarossa Pinot Noir
8.   Buying free trade coffee beans from the Los Gatos Roasting Company
7.    The Martini at Valeriano's
6.    The Martini  at The Carter's on Wednesday evenings Los Gatos Social Club
5.     Reading The Los Gatos Weekly
4.     A walk through the Got Art? gallery
3.    Tabbouleh and hummus plate from Cafe De Flore
2.   Matinee Movie at  The Los Gatos Cinema
1.    Hot Chocolate from Fleur de Cocoa

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's Official....

As if we did not already know that the last year of financial turmoil or "term oil" as in the last eight years being about that mess in Iraq, and yes it has meant something much more ominous, today it was announced that we have been in a recession for the last year. Duh. Who is the savant that gets chosen to utter these "official" words? Stocks got hammered today, as investors bailed out following confirmation that the U.S. is mired in a recession and indications that it's likely to continue for some time. Double Duh...

So when the Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) loses 680 points, its fourth-biggest single-session decline on a point basis ever, the R word is pulled out.The decline was 7.7% in percentage terms - the 12th worst percentage one-day decline ever. Year-to-date, the Dow is down 38.6% and has lost 42.5% from its record close of 14164.53 hit on Oct. 9, 2007. The question looms where are we going and why are we in this handbasket? With a financial bail out that pays dividends, Citibank gets more cash than it needs, and all economic indicators are pointing to gloom and doom there IS one bright spot. One bright guy I should say. Peter Schiff. Peter Schiff, the president of Euro Pacific Capital and frequent TV commentator spent the past few years telling anyone who'd listen that America was heading for a recession. Now Peter Schiff tells us what he expects next. NPR has a new podcast, and it's excellent. The Money Podcast nails it, well produced and articulate- a rare combination.

Peter Schiff, has taken the heat for the past few years because of his doom and gloom stance or as I like to refer to it as realistic observation . I have a little crush on Mr. Schiff, so I am a bit biased at the moment but don't let that get in the way of his brainiac refreshing!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Blast from the Past

A blast from the past arrived on my doorstep Friday. Mary Durham, long lost past owner of my house: Mary, who was dubbed the mayor of Broadway delivered two huge bags of historical photos, news clippings and other random artifacts for me to caretake.
Seems like weird timing as I just put my house on Zillow's make me move list... but in my lap this all landed. The historical maps, notes and random dinner party notes seemed like a page from the day in the life year 2008. The neighborhood is still tight, enjoying cocktail parties and bbq's at a moment's notice. Petitions were a biggie here on my street, ranging from neighborhood zoning and preservation, historical guidelines to be followed and re paving the street all from 1920-1985...sorry to say I was not the inventor of such left wing intentions. Many things political seemed to emanate from my current address. The thought of political stick- to-itiveness carrying through put a smile on my face. I know that I am not the first nor will I be the last to carry the torch du jour of what-ever- in- the-moment needs to be addressed. It's just so close to home, in a linear lineage.

Sure feels nice to share a karmic moment in memory with whoever lived in my house long before I even knew Los Gatos existed.

My street was also know for parties. Lots of parties. This also seems befitting. We like to party, and having fun is a big part of my 'hood. As keeper of the summer Friday cocktail party email list, Broadway is also the street that spawned Los Gatos Social Club. Lucky mucky us. So this holiday season, as the world digs deep into it's debt ridden pockets it's nice to have a big file of old dog eared newspaper clippings of local rants and raves. Makes what I have experienced here in the last year or two pale in comparison. To those in the know, please email any special memories you may have of my street. I will make a digital copy of all these amazing historical snippets and pass on to Peggy Conway at the Library. Just remember, when you look around at how amazing our town is, realize it did not happen by accident. Let's toast to those who had the vision, and keep our fingers crossed that those currently at the helm don't f@#k it up.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Shop Local

You know that things must be pretty horrible in the local small business world when restaurants are posted for sale on Craigslist. Case in point the space next to the apple store fought a contentious fight for a conditional use permit to change the use from retail to food, the windows covered with paper for months. Then last week the place was listed for sale with lease hold improvements in a craigslist posting. Reason given for the sale: staffing. Seems like a given that a fine dining establishment have staffing problems if the place is closed for over six surprises there.

The local businesses are struggling with the lack of credit lines. I have spoken with a few long time merchants, and it's not a pretty picture painted with personal credit cards maxed and credit lines dried up.

A Gallup poll earlier this month found consumers are going to spend $150 less this Christmas than last year. The $616 per person was the lowest amount since the research company began asking the question a decade ago. The time to support downtown business is now. Even if its just a percentage of your holiday shopping. I hate to sound like Henny Penny but the proverbial financial world is falling and our local expenditures will make the difference between life and death for the local merchants.

Next Friday the Town Christmas tree will be lit with new LED lights ( Thank you Paul Dubois and all those who took the helm on this important change.) Please join in on the festivities, then shop, dine, enjoy the carriage rides but most importantly please consider buying whatever you can locally- dinner, coffee beans, the amazing Syrah available from Flemming Jenkins just to throw out a few ideas..You know what's on your list so just a more careful and creative approach can be a huge life line for the merchants we all love but most likely take for granted they will always be there for us. If the present financial environment has taught us anything the last few months, it's to expect things to change. Irrevocably perhaps, so we can all be the life line and feel good about it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Share what you give thanks for

Perfect timing. kizmet. Momento perfecto. Whatever name you choose
the meaning is the same and describes the book that arrived on my
doorstep on Friday, Stopping at every lemonade stand by James
My good friend and neighbor Maria inscribed it with: You're the one
who stops at my kids lemonade stand. Although you already live these
ideals- enjoy!

Enjoy I did...and you will too. The reason why? Well as the
financial world continues to spin like a whirling dervish.. it's nice
to have a distraction that feels good in a holiday-spirit of giving
kinda way. The theme of the book is community. Transforming our
unstable, disconnected culture into one with meaning and sense of
caring. The positive spin this book gives to community makes me wanna
throw my prozac away. I digress... it does offer a really sweet boost of
energy and spirit we could all use to connect with those who need it
the most: children and teens in our community.
A commitment to those at risk, to those
without a true voice should be first and foremost on the
communal to-do list. To accomplish these monumental tasks takes
only a moment. Examples of this include simply saying hello to people
as you walk down the street. Too smug for that? okay, smile, cause
you gotta start somewhere. Make a connection. Get off the cell phone,
put down your latte and make the effort- we all benefit from it and
you'll feel great. If you don't look me up at LGRC and I'll buy you a
cuppa coffee and you can rant.

Why the soap box this week? Well, it is Thanksgiving.. and it's been a
tough year for many here in the hamlet of the cats. More than a few
lives loss to senseless crime, a contentious local election, misguided
landuse issues, and the normal drama-rama of day -in- the- life means
we all have something to give thanks for..

I am thankful for my health, my husband (who rocks my world) and my
kids. I am also thankful for the gifts this community gives me each
and everyday, the neighbors who leave books on my doorstep, take
my kids on playdates, and just say hi to me while standing in line at
the post office. I am thankful for Center Hardware, and Terri Hope. I
am thankful for The Los Gatos Social Club and it's shadow government
which is not only photogenic but fun.
I am thankful for those of you who read my blog, and send emails
thanking me for my commitment to our town.
I am thankful for the Yelp! app on my iphone..

Now.. what are you thankful for?? Please share, inquiring minds wanna is fine but in person is always better.

Now go on, list...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Big Retail + Small Town=?

I must recommend a great book. Big-Box Swindle: The true cost of Mega-
Retailers and the fight for America's Independent Business by Stacey
Mitchell. Don't be put off by the long name of this short, quick read of a book.
The stories are inspiring and gut wrenching as Ms. Mitchell examines
what happens to local business when big box stores are allowed to move in.

Cut to our local scene... Notice the amazing amount of detail
and lease hold improvement going into the commercial property behind
the Wa-mu at the corner of Highway 9 and Santa Cruz Ave? Think all
that fluff is being added to attract the local mom and pop retailers
think again. I was told Bev MO was "contemplating" a spot here in LG.

All of this and a goldfish. The yearly St.Mary's County Fair is a
favorite of my kids. Anxious anticipation of the "barfing bears" (they
spin round n round till all the 8 year get the idea..)
and the ring toss/win a goldfish. But both of these crowd pleasers
ended up as no shows this year. The bears were on hiatus, and the local
purveyor of the free, finned gift to the ring toss gamer also
gone! OMG, my 6 year old was so upset.. So I got the real scoop on
the fish from someone in the know. Apparently in years past, the
goldfish were donated from the local pet store Critter Corner.
St. Mary's Fair graciously accepted the donation of the ring toss
goldfish, and in turn the lucky winners of said fish headed back to
Critter Corner to purchase all the necessary swag for the new finned family member.
I will cut to the chase, local merchant is happy about making the donation, after
selling $30.00 worth of tank, fish food and pirate ship decoy-decor to
the lucky recipient, the local economy is better off, and the kids have a new hobby until
the fish expires (amazingly around the time of next years' fair) and
the circle starts all over again..the hitch this year with Critter Corner out of biz
Petco was approached for donation of the goldfish. Petco told the
St. Mary's Fair that it was against company policy to donate.

No ring toss means no local kids yanking their parents into the pet store to
plop down the thirty bucks for the new finned family member.
Funny how this micro-economic dilemma comes to bite our town in it's tony behind.

The next time another J Crew, BevMo, Jos E Banks Clothiers or Big-box
of the moment comes knocking on our door, you can almost be sure the
powers that be never won a goldfish from St. Mary's fair. Otherwise
they would realize just how unfair and uninterested corporate stores are
in supporting local organizations no matter what the donation amount.
Our town planners and council should take into account the local
economy of the ring-toss fish, and the ripple effect it has upon the much larger economic pond.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Last year local teens were given a survey, asking about issues important to the junior high demographic. Not surprisingly the answers reflected the following: Town teens feel disconnected and under valued. I can't say I blame them.. The most recent youth commission meeting minutes posted at the town website show a date of april 15,08...eight months old... not a top priority??? Items on the agenda included a skate board park sub committee with short discussion on funding a less expensive park. Earlier this month about three dozen teenagers attended the recent LG council debate held at The Venue and spoke about issues affecting youth. The recent General Plan Committee Meeting on November 1st had a few teens in attendance. One young woman from LGHS voiced her concern of shopping downtown being out of reach to most kids.. Her exact quote was about not wanting to spend $500 for a pair of jeans. YSI is in grave danger of dissolving due to lack of funding... So if the town talks about the importance of youth services, then why is our community so poorly served?

If any time was a 911 call it seems to be now. When important projects like YSI are scrambling to keep the doors open, literally scrambling to scrape together 300K before they will close the doors two weeks from today. The Venue, as mentioned previously serves more kids in this community, doing more to keep them safe, off the street, and occupied then any other service club or organization and then the red herring of the wish list a potential skate park, go begging for money only to come up short of both cash and interest.

How can we create a culture of civic responsibility? A culture of caring -if we as adults can't seem to set a precedence and pony up the support necessary for these important programs.

I have a couple of ideas: we could set up a" skip-your latte" fund and help the under served in our community with the collection. What about a "hire a teen" service to pitch in with the over 50 crowd that can't seem to check a comcast account without tech support, or configure the AARP demographic ipods to listen to prairie home companion..certainly would be a step in the right direction.

With what looks to be very little help forth coming I think it's fair to say the message sent to our community's children: we don't think it's important to fund or furnish extracurricular.

The many civic minded individuals in this town who give and give of themselves and open checkbooks are to be applauded. How can we create a culture of civic responsibility ? The campaign to save YSI needs our attention NOW.. please consider writing a check.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Community Triage in the face of Tragedy

This week Los Gatos morns the tragic death of a teenager. My heart goes out to the parents.

A wake up call too late.. But perhaps as a community we should have or could have offered a safety net. In the face of this tragedy, the immediate triage should be this: talk to your kids about what's a safe, sensible alternative to anger and hurt. Have you hugged your kid today? Well, do it more often because as parents we all forget the importance and besides being free, hugs feel nice and offer a moment to connect.

We owe our kids more than just lip service on caring, more than buying a new ipod or xbox game. A wake up call to us all is the 2008 County score card available at the website and the pdf's available can be found here at the buzz on the sidebar. A wake up call to all of us, and not just those of us picking up the Cheerios and driving to soccer practice but the entire community needs to get behind our youth and offer support and praise. Being a kid in today's world has gotta be tough. The numbers from the county score card support that sentiment. An example: In Santa Clara county fewer parents read to their children compared to the other surrounding counties. Middle school children report feeling disconnected from adults, and undervalued as community members. Pretty grim don't you think? We live in an affluent community, we suffer from a strong case of "affluenza" or throwing money at our kids in the form of new iphones, bmw's and ski holidays. The place for teens or "The Venue" as it's referred to is an amazing resource here in Los Gatos. It's a model for other towns and municipalities who frequently visit, come to learn how to recreate the same magic within their own communities. The director of the Venue, Mike Loya deserves sainthood in my guesstimation. This guy is just about the most even keel, caring, and loyal guy you would ever meet. The 300+kids who frequent the Venue in any given day "get" how key this place is. So why does this amazing community service that provides SO much, receive so little?? That is a great question that I rode hard as a Community Services Commissioner..wish I hand the answer but I have alluded to what part of that funding quandary might be in an earlier post.

Today is a bright new day for all of us: enjoy the beauty of the fall foliage, and contemplate getting involved with a few great programs like The venue, or project cornerstone.
Let's all enjoy the extra hugs were gonna give our kids today, and perhaps we can help prevent a tragic loss like we have experienced this week. This investment will benefit us all.
The websites for the venue (which NEEDS board members-) and the project cornerstone site are listed in the side bar.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hey Neighbor...I mean Mr. Mayor

I am so delighted with my neighborhood. Love my neighbors, love the proximity of the downtown to my abode.. so it goes without saying I am jazzed about my neighbor Mike, filling the shoes of Los Gatos Mayor.  There is a reason why our new mayor is the role model for public service.

I know a little bit about giving to my community, but to build a true resume of public service requires an unwavering commitment to community. This sort of volunteering is a true work of inspiration.  And inspiring IS a word that comes to mind when I think of my neighbor Mike Wasserman.

Inspiring but also grateful. Can't say that being on the firing line with the current complexity
of the economy and all that handbasket holds would be where anybody would wanna be BUT for someone like Mike, it makes perfect sense. Lucky Los Gatans  should be giving thanks
with Thanksgiving just around the corner I can't thank my local volunteer/neighbor/mayor
enough for stepping up and making it happen.  The cornerstone of a vibrant community is a true sense of giving of ones' self for the sake of making a difference and we have that in spades with our new Mayor.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Study of Contrasts: Esalen.

My world went full circle this past weekend. A study of contrasts. It all began at the Stanford Shopping Center and ended in Big Sur at the Esalen Institute. The afternoon in Palo Alto aka "shallow-alto" was unseasonably warm and beautiful.
The shoppers in Bloomingdale's looking particularly well coiffed. The thing that I noticed though, was the sheer number of dogs on leash as the dog owner tried on shoes or sampled a new lip stick shade. Don't get me wrong: I like dogs. Perhaps I just don't get out much into the land of retail therapy but this was such an alarmingly weird experience that I needed to off load. Even the French have the good sense to leave dogs at home while shopping in larger department stores. Just from a sheer number guesstimate I gotta believe "accidents" happen..Eeww. The thought of trying on shoes while tip toeing around small fur balls on rhinestone leashes gave me paws or pause I should say to contemplate my reason for shopping. So much for stimulating the economy, I grabbed a cuppa tea to go and found my way back south..

Highway 1 Big Sur was made for my mini cooper. Tight go cart turns and vistas clear and fog free lead to Nepenthe and twenty minuets later to Esalen. As a newbie to the institute the overwhelming sense of scale of the place hits you over the head like a visceral postcard. As left wingy as I am nothing prepared me for the sheer airy fariyness of the place. Imagine if you will a far left version of Marin and then keep going left.
I suppose what I liked best was the feeling of being the odd ball. It must be what the republicans feel like right now.....

I could not or would not sign up for the Friday evening Anything-but-clothing-party: and I have a reputation to uphold as the moth to the flame when it comes to adventure but this venture into the wild seemed too bohemian, even for me. The natural hot spring baths (also clothing optional) were the high light…under an inky blue sky with the pacific crashing on the rocks below. This experience is worth the trek south, fyi.

As much as I love our small enclave of 95030, it was a slap to my senses to be pulled out of our Truman Show existence, only to experience another version of a reality show.. Makes me not miss owning a television. It also makes sailing to New Zealand seem normal in the whole scheme of things.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Why Ask Why

Town Government has a Constitution of sorts, The General Plan. This is the document that supposedly leads the way for open and transparent government. Think of it as a handbook of sorts for those in local office to know the rules and apply such with integrity and sense of purpose.

Why the soliloquy on local civics?

I had etched out some time out of my day to attend a scheduled general plan meeting .
Sure add it to the list of "knowing how to have fun" but it is an important document and as such an important committee to sit in on, listen to and be a part of as a concerned community member.
The catch is that the meeting was canceled. No biggie in the grand scheme of things but this General Plan committee has not met since June 25th... and even then it was a joint meeting with the town Parks Commission.

Why ask why this is important? Just how important is the general plan if the committee appointed to discuss it can't seem to find items to discuss ( the pdf I downloaded states lack of items..)
The last eight General Plan Committee meetings have been cancelled for lack of items. Certainly not lack of interest at least from my nerdy perspective. If you too find this to be unacceptable would you be so kind to email them and ask why?? The town planners can be reached at 408.354-6874 or email them: if you too care to question.

The town website talks a great game about the importance of the upcoming General Plan update, but perhaps it's just that.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

$7.25 a Vote

So this might be my last snarly post..I can only look to the bright side this evening: a full moon,
my Mac powerbook, a glass of local should seem, well, brighter. I had to go down to the town office this afternoon to take a peek at the 460 paperwork of election accounting the local candidates all must file post election. I know what you're thinking: man does she know how to have fun, but that's for another blog site.

The returns are in, the numbers sketch an interesting picture of who bought what. Those fabulously slick trifold brochures mailed by the candidate-elect: $13,700.00.  Web design: $3,000. Fancy pants fundraiser hosted for afore mentioned candidate: $5,000.  Results: priceless....You can see where I am going with the rational..Total expenditures came to $49,380.00.  If one has enough cash to throw at a local town council race it's easy to see how well it works. Back of the envelope tally is $ 7.25  per vote.

Not sure how many people will be in a position to run a fair future race if this is the price precedent of future elections. 

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Local Grant Giving Needs Overhaul

Feeling a bit guilty this week, do I dare share? The community services commission that I serve on met this week and I feigned an excuse not too attend.
It's a bit of a dysfunctional commission to say the least. Completely without teeth and without any clear leadership. The big goals of this group include community grant dollars doled out to a deserving but small group of non-profits. The current calculation of who receives what and why should and could be a well thought out reward system for hard working non profits to realize goals and offer services. Instead the current consideration of how these funds are divvy ed
up is this: Who received what last year? The kitty is then allocated according to that well thought out rational. Yes, I know what your thinking, why f@#%ing bother!

So If a committee sets an agenda item, holds hours worth of discussions on executing the agenda item, sends out the "applications" for the grants, collects the grant application filled out by over-worked under paid non profit executive directors only to make the same decision? Wait, it gets better...the non profits are then all called to a meeting to plead worthiness and to discuss current programs highlighting the theme of how this grant money will help achieve goals, provide services, enabling them to work the magic they do on an obscenely small budget. The meeting usually lasts an hour and a half, and typically 40 people show up on a Thursday evening at 5:00pm to speak on behalf of pet projects. All are worthy; all are doing important work in the community and greater Santa Clara Valley. But amid the emotional pleas for consideration unbeknown st to the applicants the decision was made long before anyone sat down in the room.

So why the dog and pony show you ask? I would love to give you an answer. I asked of course in my always non-tactful idiot savant way- blunt Midwestern to the point cut to the chase sort of approach only to be told it's always done this way. Oh, okay. Then why are we here? Why offer people a glimmer of fairness when the system is rigged??
Apparently the sub committee met this summer while I was on holiday in Maine. The notes and discussion points of how to improve a non-functioning decision-making process never appeared in the form of minuets so I can only assume the process shall remain the same.

Applications are available to those of you in need of funding, just be aware. If you would like to help watch dog this important process please sit in on the next Community Services Commission meeting in The Neighborhood Center on N. Main st. on the first Thursday of the month 5 p.m. I would join you, but my tenure is up. The commission could be a vital part of the process but needs local input from those willing to question the current commission and it's ineffective mode of operation.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The writing on the wall

The dust has settled in the hamlet of the cats. As we approach a new regime in local political circles the question lingers: Is this the community that I want to pour my heart and soul into?

The kids, furniture, big mortgage demographic ponders this question right along with me. Perhaps I should preface this group by adding yet another adjective to that demographic: well traveled/big picture. The group I refer to is my social group of parents that share a proclivity for urbane humor, well-read minds , traveled and "experience of the world " mantras.
This matters because???
It matters because the value that levels the playing field for this age demographic is how we choose to actively engage in our community. The end result distilled down to a community that represents who we are, what we value, and the stewardship of these items. If the people at the helm bear little resemblance to my core community values and group than the question begs: "why hang around?"

I have been blessed with an ability to create community where ever I go. The equation is simple, not top secret and easily adapted to individuals who can grasp and execute on the following:

1. Put yourself out there. Care and show concern in a proactive manner.
People who "get it" will get you.
2. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Curiosity is the cornerstone to a creative life.
Question anything that seems off, odd, staid or just plain stupid.
3. Invite people to dinner. Yes, even if you are not the most adept at entertaining remember that practice makes perfect , and people genuinely appreciate the effort.
4. Conversation is a lost art...knowing my neighbors has helped me cement my current views, helped form new opinions, was a ton of fun along the way.. Great local Pinot Noirs haven't hurt the conversation piece either.
5. The idea of putting down roots is like re potting a plant. If you don't like what you experience, you can always re=plant and try again.
6. Be brave. The world has become exceedingly complex. So be brave- or stay home in your pj's.

The beta test for me was this recent election. If my social demographic can't embrace the stewardship and ideals of preservation coexisting with careful development than perhaps it's time to seek out a new community. One less white, less wealthy, and less insular.
I know this is broad brush statement but it is a factor.
Sometimes being curious and a conversationalist with a cause hurts. Sure beats whinging about how things never change.

Thanks for the catalyst Los Gatos. It was just what I needed. Change is just what I need.