Monday, November 10, 2014

Books, Tattoos, Kayaks, and Pomegranates. Just Another Benicia Weekend

This weekend was warm and sunny, beautiful weather for the spring... only, it's NOVEMBER. I can tolerate sunny days during their appropriate seasons, but as soon as those school busses start to roll, I expect the air to chill. I wait for it, checking weather reports in an almost compulsive manner (almost). Unfortunately, I have not yet managed to bend the weather to my will.

Weekends in Benicia have the flavor of a Norman Rockwell painting. People walk around outside their houses, concerts are held at the city park, sidewalk sales abound, and power tools are heard in chorus. And, on a sunny springvember day in Benicia, fishing rods, paddle boards, and kayaks abound.

My Saturday began (after the usual semiconscious hobble from bed) in the green room, with a compulsory mug(s) of freshly Keurig-brewed coffee.
Situated at the front of the house, the green room is furnished with two opposing emerald green sofas and a double window view of our front potager, and the neighborhood. I love to sit in that space with the windows open, listening to the sounds of life outside. Neighborhood kids yelling out instructions for their recently imagined game, the collection of court neighbors to our left chatting and laughing full-heartedly about some inside joke that they've shared over the 20 plus years that they've shared this street, and the sweet family across the street herding their littles into the car for some fabulous Saturday adventure.

After an adequate caffeine infusion I dressed our wild son and tossed him outdoors. He grabbed his scooter and raced off to seamlessly fuse with the on-going zombie apocalypse of eight to ten-year-olds. At four years old, Elliott (our boy) is the short one in the group, which is sometimes a disadvantage, but he tends to hold his own.

With Elliott sufficiently occupied, I grabbed my gloves and hand-trowel and continued with the seemingly futile effort of pulling blades of rogue grass and stubborn patches of clover. I've heard that clover can actually be good for the soil, so I lean on that excuse when I feel the clover winning. I also clipped a few flowers to keep as trophies in the kitchen. This was an exciting weekend for me on the flower front. Months ago I planted seeds of zinnias and cosmos all around the outside of my front fence; and then I waited... and waited... with great naive anticipation of a lush floral display... and waited. Well, this weekend, the ONE cosmo plant, of the many hundreds that I planted, finally produced a single, perfect flower.

Along with the flowers I clipped the lettuce plants that were going to seed down to their bases. I read that if they have about two inches of stalk they will produce again, so, we'll see!
And, I filled a basket with pomegranates from our heavily fruited tree for the UPS man, because he asked for some, and just how cool is that? Our UPS guy knows us and is chummy enough to ask for pomegranates! If that isn't straight out of Mayberry, I don't know what.

By early afternoon the kids had all retreated to their respective homes and Elliott sulked back into ours.

Earlier, a neighbor had stopped by to tell us about the exciting book sale being held out of the Benicia Library basement. Done!

The basement was full, beckoning us with the elegant and soul-comforting scent of yellowing pages and loose bindings.

It was a sea of slightly dated books, journals, and magazines.

Just look at this beautiful little treasure that Klee spotted. The title is, "Happiness is A Warm Puppy".

All for just $5.00 a bag! 

We filled two!


Sunday followed Saturday's pattern for the first half of the day. By the afternoon we again needed to escape the preschooler-induced madness of home. Kinsey (my girl) was at the library again, this time to focus on some schoolwork. We opted for a stroll down 1st Street, Benicia's main drag.

First Street is a romantic downtown assortment of independently owned shops, restaurants,
community gardens, and businesses, many of which are house in historical buildings.
And thanks to her short, 13 month stint as state capitol, Benicia's 1st Street even has a Capitol building!

We like to meander through the various antique shops. One of our favorites is Mimi & Co., found in the Tannery building, at the end of 1st Street, down by the pier.

Four-year-olds tend to transform into the proverbial bull when perusing shops full of china and other delicate and valuable what-nots. This outing was a fine example of that. In an attempt to grab Elliott by the horns (so to speak), I gathered him up and cozied into a fabulous vintage love seat (that I covet) in the Mimi & Co. shop.

While we relaxed, shop owner, Lindsay Mitchell, chatted with us about her shop, her cats, and motherhood. She's friendly and creative, with an obvious eye for vintage treasures.

I inquired about the colorful and bohemian collage of tattoos on her arms. She proudly explained that each one is designed after a vintage piece of jewelry, and that each has been artfully applied by tattoo artist, Landon Mao, of Creations and Illustrations, also located in the Tannery building.

On such a postcard worthy day, a 1st Street stroll wouldn't have been complete without a walk down the pier.

The fishermen were congregated along the boulders lining the pier, meditating on the unusually glassy water, hoping to fill their buckets with a few of the salmon making their run.

The beach on First Street is tiny, mostly comprised of wetlands,

but there were just enough pebbles and sea glass for Elliott to add a few more "shinies" to his collection.

And then he was sit-on-the-ground-carry-me tired. We were too.

Spirits lifted from the friendliness of locals and the lightly salted air; ready to retreat back to our little Potager Cottage.

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