Archive for December 7th, 2010

MidMo FUN Raiser Killed It!

Saturday night’s FUN Raiser (for the Mustard Seed School for disadvantaged kids) at Phono Select was a GAS!

Thanks go out to Luigi’s and Masullo (both of whom supplied mountains of pizza), Raku Sushi, and Kobasic’s Candies for loading us up with snacks, and to Knock Knock and Rhodes Island for playing rocking sets.  The party kicked off  right at 6- we’d filled one toy box in ten minutes and you kept the donations coming all night.  In the end we collected a truckload of toys and everyone seemed to have a good time.  THANKS!

Rhodes Island!

Did we mention it was all ages?

Nich shoots the band

Rebecca shoots the display

Dane found a High Life

Local celebutantes Tony King and Tim Matranga

Yudt on the go

Knock Knock

The littlest music critic

SOME of the toys

Editor’s Letter

I got up early on January 3, 2009.  I had some magazine work to do and I rushed off in the morning to meet someone about an article, or take an Out and About photo, or… or something. I don’t actually remember.

What I do remember is that I rushed out of the house, right past a string of slightly deflated helium-filled balloons that had gotten tangled in the jasmine bush in our front yard and which were now bobbing near the sidewalk.  Whatever I was doing that morning was important enough that I ignored the balloons, figuring I’d clean them up when I got back later.  By the time I got back, the balloons were gone.

Lucky for me, Liv had found them.  Lucky, because attached to those balloons was a plastic bag containing a one hundred dollar bill.

Along with the money was a short note:

“I have been very lucky this year, and I am thankful.  I have a healthy family, a job and my needs are covered.  I hope whoever finds this needs it more than I do.  Happy New Year!  Good Luck!”

We did need it.  Running MidMo through the bucking bronco that was 2008 had depleted our checking and savings accounts, and only a judicious balancing of credit card payments kept the wheels spinning that year.  $100 could not have come at a better time.

There was also an email address, and though we initially felt awkward about writing, we did eventually write to thank our benefactor(s?) for their generosity.  We never heard back.  I thought about those balloons a lot over the following year.  What was the person –or family- like who sent them?  Were they still OK?  What if the balloons had landed in a field or a river, and had been lost or destroyed?

What if?

The act was still the same. The balloons reminded me that the act of giving is much more important than what happens afterward. The balloons reminded me to think about others, and to share with others, and most importantly, not to put too much value on what, after all, is only money.

Yes, money is important, but other things, like friends, and family, and living your life, are more important.  Whatever it was that sent me rushing out of the house that morning seemed very important at the time; now I can’t even remember what it was.   There’s a lesson there.

Last year, Liv and I decided to make ‘The Balloons’ an annual New Years Day tradition. At the end of December we picked up a couple of helium-filled balloons at the Safeway on 19th Street and let them sit on the ceiling as 2010 approached.  New Year’s Eve came and went.  On New Year’s night we each wrote a ‘good luck’ note for the finder on a ziplock bag.  We couldn’t afford $100, but we put what we could in our bags, hole-punched the corners and tied each bag to the ribbon attached to a balloon.

They sank to the floor.  We learned a valuable lesson: helium balloons can lose their buoyancy fairly quickly.  They had been much more buoyant when we had bought them.  We tied the two balloons together with just one of the bags; the balloons lazily floated toward the ceiling.

Just before midnight we went out to our back porch for the launch.   We followed the second hand on my watch, and released the ribbon at exactly 12 O’Clock. The balloons climbed slowly into the sky, silently carrying their payload of good fortune.  They drifted west, over our house, over the trees and soon disappeared in the darkness.

We’ll be setting our balloons aloft again this year.  This time we know to buy the balloons the same day so they actually go up instead of down, and finding a bit of cash to go in the bags will be a bit easier than it was last year.  Some of our friends have said that they too are going to add The Balloons to their family’s New Years Day festivities.

I like the idea.  I like that for one day a year we stop worrying about money and think instead of how to send it away to someone we don’t even know.  It’s not like sending help to Haiti, or donating at church or giving to the panhandler on the street.  The Balloons are simply a celebration of the act of giving away.

The Balloons don’t really make any sense.  They don’t really do any good.  But I don’t care.  I like them anyway.


Down on the Boulevard

By Becky Grunewald  Photos by Scott Duncan

At various points along its length, Franklin Boulevard can be charming (think Gunther’s neon ice cream scooper), charitable (as with St. Patrick’s Thrift Store and Home for Children), industrial (the stark Campbell’s soup factory), and on many stretches, somewhat desolate and desperate.  Franklin can’t boast a city council-designated ethnic area a la “Little Saigon” on Stockton Boulevard, but shopping and eating there can sometimes feel more like being in Mexico than in the US. Read more »

Precious Mettle

By RQ Bella

Pamela Tuohy-Novinsky is a jewelry designer who, along with her husband, artist Edward Thomas Novinsky, produces a line of artisanal quality jewelry.  Incorporating original artwork framed in handcrafted settings featuring period antiques, reclaimed precious metals and ethically-sourced stones, Pamela & Edward’s jewelry line, 2ETN, is a stand-out in a sea of same. Read more »

Psych Out

By Tim Foster

The Central Valley Turns On: Psychedelic Poster Art, 1965-1975, the new exhibit at the California History Museum spans the heyday of the rock era, and consists of over 80 artifacts, ranging from handbills and posters to vintage musical equipment Read more »

Wine Picks, December 2010

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