Best Thrift Store Experience...

After Christmas, my daughter-in-law wanted to make some deductible donations, before year end, so we headed to the nearest open Goodwill Donation Center. And what to our wandering eyes should appear? The Goodwill Outlet Store. What?!

I always experience guilt free consumerism at charity thrift stores. Did you know that Goodwill Industries has been working to provide people in need with a “chance, not charity” since being founded in 1902?
This was one of our most unique buying experiences. All the product is housed in numerous big, blue bins. The early birds secured a numbered shopping cart and parked it along the building's side walls. Every few minutes we were told to clear an area and await an "all's clear" as they brought in a new, freshly supplied bin o' fun. Then it was like a shark attack. These people were looking for specific items and you didn't want to get in their way. We were a bit pensive but we'll do better next time.
After gathering our treasures, we had to put them in a basket to be weighed. We bought slightly over 11 pounds of fashion items at $1.79 a pound.
I laid them out and tried to capture the awesomeness of it all. Between the two of us, we bought 27 items (including two darling blankets and some items with impressive brand names) all for only $20.84. That breaks down to about 75¢ each piece. Awesome, right? I can have fun just about anywhere. What a unique way to end the year and do some good!

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Strolling Spring Lake...

Spring Lake Regional Park, in Santa Rosa, is one of Sonoma County's most popular parks, featuring 10 miles of trails, a campground, picnic areas, a natural history center, and a summer swimming lagoon.

It's also a great place for birdwatching or watching birders.


In the summer, it is THE place for harvesting wild blackberries. Yum.

“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—
air, mountains, trees, people. I thought,
"This is what it is to be happy.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

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Scenes of Healdsburg...

Wanting to explore a bit of the environs, we headed to the quaint town of Healdsburg.

Okay, so not the most friendliest of town mottos! There is history here. In 1857, Harmon Heald, an Ohio businessman who had been squatting on Rancho Sotoyome (1844) for seven years, purchased part of the rancho—giving the city its official founding date. In 1867, Heald’s self-named small town was incorporated.
Today's agenda was just to stroll its streets and pop into stores that intrigued us. We have been in this antique store before. It is more like a museum with so much to ogle. And it has man-tiques!

The Arts (old and new) are alive and well here.

Its 19th century town plaza is lined in the most huggable trees.

After lunch and shopping in Healdsburg, we popped by the even smaller and quainter village of Windsor.
Windsor has the awesome distinction of being the future home to Russian River's new 180 seat brewpub. In addition to featuring a more diverse menu than their Downtown Santa Rosa location (which we love), there will be year-round patio seating and a large outdoor area for hanging out with friends and family. Their tasting room will have 8-10 of our most popular beers for a quick sampling and growlers being filled quickly. And they will offer guided tours by reservation and free self-guided tours daily.
That, a big gift shop and plenty of FREE parking, we'll be there when it opens in the Fall. So dang excited!

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Russian River Brewing with Eric & Brady

On friends are on a two week road trip and happened to be in Santa Rosa, while we are. It called for a quick meet up and a Pliny.

Oh and a toast:
"I've traveled many a highway
I've walked for many a mile
Here's to the people who made my day
To the people who waved and smiled."
-Tom T. Hall

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Sebastopol Memorial Lawn Cemetery...

To get to our daughter-in-law's parents' home, we must pass through the quaint town of Sebastopol and its historic cemetery (1859).

There is history here as the town was formed in the 1850s with a Post Office and as a small trade center for the farmers in the surrounding agricultural region. As California's population swelled, after the westward migration and the Gold Rush of the 1850s, more and more settlers drifted into the fertile California valleys north of San Francisco to try their hand at farming. The name of Sebastopol first came into use in the late 1850s, reflecting empathy to Russia because of the long British siege of the Russian seaport of Sevastopol, during the then-raging Crimean War (there are quite a few Russians buried here).

The Middelton Brothers' gravestone was the oldest we found, on our brief explore (1862).

Mr. Fowler's marker was made of wood. I couldn't find more about him but there are still Robert Fowlers in town.
There are a ton of Italians interred here. The Albini family has 28 members resting here, alone.

Okay, so this had to be my favorite memorial and I thought I'd share a little about Mrs. Miller. "Georgia died in her sleep, at the age of 92. Born in Freestone in 1912, she was the daughter of George W. and Jessie Beach Lawrey. She was raised and adopted by Joseph and Gertrude Borba after the death of her mother, in 1913. It was while attending Analy High School that the gorgeous Georgie Borba, an award winning typist with a flapper hairdo, attracted the attention of a basketball player with a highly developed work ethic named Rodney Miller. They were married in 1933, two years after she graduated from high school. She used her typing and bookkeeping skills to help their business, Millers Trucking Service, survive the Great Depression and become a 45 year success". So dang sweet, right?

“I have always enjoyed cemeteries.
Altars for the living as well as resting places for the dead,
they are entryways, I think, to any town or city,
the best places to become acquainted with the tastes of the inhabitants,
both present and gone.”
― Edwidge Danticat

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Bodega Bay for the Day...

After a wonderful Christmas with all the families gathered together, Steve and I chose today to just get to the sea and be.

 “My soul is full of longing
for the secret of the sea,
and the heart of the great ocean
sends a thrilling pulse through me.”
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Yes, there is something pretty magical about being by the sea. It was the perfect day for me!!!

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