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Archive for the ‘Place’ Category

The Hand Fan Museum of Healdsburg

hand fan hand fan museumI was in downtown Healdsburg, CA and spotted in a shop window a beautiful butterfly shaped hand fan. I wandered inside a small fantastical space that was filled with art. I had no idea that The Hand Fan Museum was there! In fact, it’s the first museum in the United States dedicated solely to hand fans and displays a permanent collection in addition to having a rotating exhibit.

The builder/owner of Hotel Healdsburg, Pamela Sher, has been a fan collector for over 30 years and is a member of Fan Association of North America. Open since 2002 and now a part of the h2hotel, this museum is a physical example of Sher’s desire to educate the public about the cultural significance of the hand fan as fans are snippets of our world culture and artistic representations of time.

The director, Liz Keeley was lovely to talk with about the beauty of what I was seeing as well as helping me understand the differences between periods and designs. Even though the space is small, about 1000 sq ft, the impact of these functional pieces of art is not lost on the visitor. Though the inexpensive but colorful folding fans brought me in, the displays of history took my breath away. Many are for show, some are for sale, the gift table is where I spent my money. With lots of options for the casual buyer, I bought a $1 fan for my little one and a more expensive Japanese inspired fan for myself. See my Flickr set of photos.

If you have the chance, drop by this free museum (non profit 501c3), learn a little and support their art programs for students. Or simply cool yourself off.

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My Stay at the Famous Painted Lady in San Francisco

Shannon Kavanaugh HouseThe Shannon Kavanaugh house is the anchor home of the most famous Painted Ladies in the world. Painted Ladies exist elsewhere and it describes brightly painted Victorian and Edwardian homes. Michael Shannon bought the anchor house at the corner of Steiner and Grove Streets in San Francisco in 1965. The Shannon Kavanaugh house (built 1892) was the personal residence of the builder, Matthew Kavanaugh, who owned all the adjacent lots to the south. When he finished his home, which is different from all the rest, he built three more on spec and finished them in 1896.

See my photo set on Flickr.

This ornate Queen Anne Victorian with Italianate touches sits across from Alamo Square and is well known for being featured in the opening credits of the TV sitcom “Full House”. Though the show never specifically references which home is supposedly theirs, if you were to say to someone “the Full House house” they’ll know what you mean. Featured in many other films, tourists are across the street and on the near sidewalk taking photos of the location all day, every day.

Author Alice Walker lived next door and offered to sell it to the owner about 1995. He regrets not buying it as the price increased dramatically by the next sale.

Postcard Row | Painted Ladies

The Shannon Kavanaugh is 1000 sq ft larger than the rest and has four bedroom, 3.5 baths. It has a garden au pair apartment and gas lamps. I stayed in a private suite which featured a king size bed, two sitting areas, a walk in closet, a large tiled bathroom with full tub, steam room shower and ornate finishing. Even the entertainment system was amazing with every attachment you could want.

I was blown away by the wallpaper details, the molding, fine furniture, and the amazing pictures in the bathroom. I just sat there staring at everything around me, feeling luxurious and spoiled by decadence. The experience was like staying in a hotel with all the creature comforts but also stepping back in time. Staying in a landmark that is upgraded for beauty and function spoils me for staying in a regular “box” hotel. They even gave me a balloon and sparkling wine to celebrate my birthday just days later.

Bathtub | Painted Lady

I met the marketing coordinator for the property in a social media class and we’ve worked together on multiple projects. He asked for my assistance in building a social media plan for the owners and partners in the property. My stay was trade for my services. But you can stay there too! It’s available on AirBnB, check it out.

This blog is normally about Sonoma County but we are so lucky to be just an hour away from some of the most amazing sites in the world! Occasionally I’m going to write about places that are within driving distance.

Here are some links to learn more about this house and it’s history:

Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Painted_ladies

SF Gate http://www.sfgate.com/realestate/article/Largest-of-S-F-s-Painted-Ladies-up-for-sale-3198728.php

See my photoset on Flickr.

The Living Room Center

The Living Room NeedsI recently met a woman that volunteers at The Living Room Center where they provide day services for women and children who are homeless. I told her that I had been wanting to donate some of my time to teach the ladies how to use LinkedIn to help in job searches. I was warmly welcomed and took a tour yesterday.

It’s located on Cherry Street in Santa Rosa and was quite active. It felt like a living room. Lots of chatter, activity, visiting, computer time, checking in with the volunteers, food, and support. Not all of the women are homeless but all need help in one way or another. LR gave referrals to community resources, including shelters, housing, food programs,  employment counseling, health and mental health programs and more.

I am so excited to have something of value to offer these ladies in the form of digital literacy, job search assistance, communications, computer skills, and personal confidence. I will be teaching small classes once per month and I can’t wait to get started. I had a tough period in my life, that if I’d chosen a slightly different path, I’d be in a completely different place in my life. I survived and am doing well so I want to help.

If you would like to help, check out this page Urgent Program Needs that shows ways they need help such as personal items for the women and needs for the children they love. They also need volunteers.

The Mission of The Living Room is to ease adversity and promote stability, dignity and self-reliance for woman and children who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, in Sonoma County.

 

Walking a Labyrinth

I am a seeker. I’m looking for understanding and awareness of the universe around me. I’m also a big reader.  A few years ago, I devoured at least 10 metaphysical books in a row and one of them featured the concept of mindful walking, a practice that can be more accessible than meditation with similar results. It also talked about the mindful walking of labyrinths. This blew my mind. The title of the book escapes me now but it mentioned a famous design right in my hometown at the Center for Spiritual Living in Santa Rosa! I followed the source link in the book and it took me to the Santa Rosa Labyrinth Foundation. I read about the designer Dr. Lea Goode-Harris and her most famous design, the Santa Rosa Labyrinth*. (Learn more about what labyrinths are and their mysterious place in history.)

Yew Hedge Maze

Yew Hedge Maze by Ayla87 on stock.xchng

I had no idea that labyrinths can be flat to the ground. When I hear the word labyrinth, I think of tall hedges and mazes. I think of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and the movie Labyrinth with David Bowie. Ever since I read the book, I’d been meaning to take that mindful walk but had never gotten around to it. Santa Rosa Labyrinth’s office is in the center of town and often, when I have a meeting closeby, I’d see the door to the office and it would remind me of my desire to take that walk.

A friend of mine invited me to attend a service at the Center of Spiritual Living one recent Sunday. As I waited for her outside the front door, my eyes sought out the pattern on the ground (the labyrinth outside is not designed by Dr. Goode-Harris). Once I saw it, I thought, “Should I walk it now?” I decided I wanted to be alone with my thoughts, unrushed during my exploration. Not 48 hours later, labyrinths found me.

I’m a social media trainer by trade and just two days later I taught a Pinterest class for the City of Santa Rosa Recreation and Parks Department. The next day I received an email from Dr. Lea Goode-Harris. She had attended my class the night before and had questions about my services. When I saw the web link at the bottom of her email, I knew immediately who she was. I told her how I’d been thinking about her design for years and had spotted another labyrinth just days before. We both marveled at the way the world works. She even invited me to walk the pattern at her own home. I’m excited about that as I imagine the conversation she and I will have before and after.

Santa Rosa Labryinth Center of Spiritual Living

A Labyrinth at the Center of Spiritual Living

In case you are wondering, I walked a labyrinth for the first time just days later. I’ve walked it several times since and I invite you to slow down and experience the journey.

Center of the Santa Rosa Labyrinth

My journey to the center of a labyrinth

*The Santa Rosa Labyrinth has now been made throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, Australia, and travels through Wales on canvas. Major installations with the Santa Rosa design include a reclaimed hazardous waste site at Standing Bear Native American Park, in Ponca City, OK (Installation by Marty Kermeen), Minitab Statistical Software Company in State College, PA, and the American Psycholigical Association eco-friendly green roof top garden in Washington, DC.

Beignets at the Farmers Market

I have one word – Beignets!

There’s a booth that serves them at the Redwood Empire Farmers Market at the Veteran’s Building. I would have taken a picture of the ones I got but you know the story, I ate ’em the second I got ’em. Next time, I’ll get a good shot. Yea, right.

IMG_0393 IMG_0395

Peace and Tranquility at Osmosis Day Spa

I have heard a lot about Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary but I’m a workaholic and I’d never made the time to go. It’s located in Freestone, CA which is just 20 minutes from where I live. The marketing manager, Melena Moore, and I have been running into each other at a variety of events for years but it wasn’t until a few months ago when she invited my friend and I to come out and have a cedar enzyme bath that I actually made it there. I can’t believe it took me this long. [See my Flickr photoset of the day.]

There was no cell reception! Score one for relaxation. Once you walk in, you see the resemblance to a Japanese tea garden, quiet and peaceful, with wood lined walls. We checked in for our enzyme baths and were brought into a ladies locker room. Clothes off, robes on, we had our own private tea garden to enjoy. We were served tea that helped digestion while we marveled at the beauty of the outdoor surroundings. I wandered out to enjoy myself and look around while we waited for our bath to be prepared.

The bath chamber was a rectangular box filled with wet cedar chips. There were two places scooped out for my friend and I to lay back in. The two of us were in the same box, which aren’t the easiest to get into, with a view out a big window. The room was steamy and humid. The enzyme chips felt and looked like soggy raisin bran. Imagine being folded into it like a bowl of ingredients, tucked in as if with a warm blanket. There is a moment of claustophobia but when you realize you can pull your arms and legs in and out as you see fit, it passes quickly. We giggled at the odd sensation but ultimately truly enjoyed the 20 minutes of humid warmth. The bath attendant regularly returns to wipe your face with cool cloths and hold a cup and straw up to your lips for drinking. When they help you out of the box, you brush your body free of wood chips with a large brush. The chips get everywhere. This visit I wore a bathing suit, next time I’ll go without. Outside there is a shower to rinse away the wood. I did a pretty thorough job, my friend struggled to get clean.

Next we were brought up to a relaxation room. Laying on pads, we put on headphones to listen to Metamusic® which helped us to further relax and balanced brain wave activity. I wanted to stay in that room all day. The word “peaceful” simply doesn’t do it justice.

We only had the one service so we donned our clothes and headed out onto the grounds to visit the Japanese mediation garden. If you’ve seen Osmosis, you really need to go all the way in because the front doesn’t tell the whole story. From hanging hammocks to the garden itself, the farther you walk, the more removed you become from your stressful life. I found out they have Dharma Morning Meditation where you bring your own cushion and join others in meditation (free of charge).

This peaceful location and the quiet that permeates the grounds was exactly the antidote to the stressful and fast paced life that I live. I want to thank Melena and owner Michael Stusser for hosting me and a friend to come enjoy this experience. In order for me to stay whole and healthy, I do believe that Osmosis may play a large part in it. [See another experience I had at Osmosis just a couple weeks later here.]

Agriculture Day for Leadership Santa Rosa Class 27

I’m involved in this great program called Leadership Santa Rosa run by the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce. All chambers have leadership programs but we are going into our 28th year, which I understand is the longest running of it’s kind in the U.S. I was in Class 26 and am the incoming President for the Alumni Association. There are many theme days: government, business, green issues, health & human services, media & marketing, justice, education, hospitality & tourism (watch for a blog on that one), and the most popular is agriculture. I was on the committee to produce Class 27’s Agriculture Day on 5/19/11. See my blog from last year’s Ag Day.

We visited the Rancho Laguna Dairy and heard from Art Lafranchi about the dairy business. What is amazing about this day is that it starts so early in the morning yet we are halfway through their workday by the time we arrive at the dairy. Last year when I went through the program compared to today were very different experiences. Since earlier this year, I have been flitting between being a vegan and a vegetarian. Those cows looked a lot different, let me tell you.

Flickr Photo Album

Tierra Vegetables is this wonderful CSA farm in Santa Rosa. Community supported agriculture, or CSA, is basically a membership to a farm. You pay a monthly cost to get a set amount of veggies either delivered for you or available for pickup. Evie & Wayne James gave us a lovely tour and the thing I noticed the most, next to the beautiful vegetation, was the fact that Wayne walked his land barefoot. I was blown away at the thought that he knew how his land felt through his entire body. Sounds silly but it’s a grounding concept. If you know of anyone that is stealing their produce, they’d greatly like it to stop.

There is a secret in Sonoma County. The Gourmet Mushroom Farm is this enclave of amazing foodstuffs in the form of fungi. The GMF doesn’t open their doors for anyone really. That’s the beauty of LSR. We get to go places no one else could get close to. Bob Engel gives us a tour every year and the idea that mushrooms can grow on wood always blows people away.

Most of the people traveling on that day were by bus, I drove my car because I had to leave early. This day is even more special because of the bonding that occurs on the bus.

On to Shone Farm, the botanical educational laboratory for the JC agriculture, viticulture, and culinary courses. Leonard Diggs is a farmer through and through. The beauty here is striking. The students that get to learn about animals, farming, vineyard work, winemaking, the culinary arts, as well as having a location for large events within the horse arena in the Dutton Pavilion. Last year we were there during tomato season and got to taste some 🙂

We had a great panel of speakers to speak on Emerging Trends & Challenges of Agriculture. They were: Lex McCorvey, Sonoma County Farm Bureau; Dave Whitmer, Napa County Agriculture Commission & Interim Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner; Joe Pozzi, Pozzi Ranch Lamb; and Clark Wolf, Clark Wolf Company.

The day ended at DeLoach Vineyards with a panel on the Sonoma County Wine Industry with Brian Maloney of DeLoach Vineyards; Rhonda Smith of UC Cooperative Extension; and Nick Frey of Sonoma Winegrape Commission. There was a tasting but I’m sad to have missed that part of the day. The gardens, bees, vineyards, guesthouse, and pool were phenomenal.

Thanks to all the great hosts, speakers, and locations that are made available to this amazing program. We couldn’t do it without all of you!

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