Turkey Day!!

Thanksgiving was a busy day in household kitchens around Petaluma. Given the overwhelming public response to the plea for Turkey donations (See Petaluma Fills The COTS Turkey Gap!), I decided to slip out early to visit the staff and volunteers at the Petaluma Kitchen to see how they were doing.

At 8:30 a.m. they were more than busy–preparing to serve 180 complete turkey dinners with all the trimmings, plus pie.  COTS Food Service Coordinator, Don Louvier advised that the Mary Isaak Center was also preparing to serve 100 turkey dinners.

I managed to squeeze in and get a few photos without disturbing (I hope) their efforts…


Petaluma Fills The COTS Turkey Gap!

This is the time of the year when I go into “Holiday Mode” and more or less tune everything out.  The world, however, has its own schedule.

On November 18, I checked e-mail around 10:00 p.m. and found a message from Meloni Courtway (A Mouse in the Pantry) alerting recipients to the fact that Petaluma’s COTS (Committee on the Shelterless) was in dire need of turkey donations to fill their food boxes on Saturday, November 21. 

Meloni’s e-mail moved like a tsunami through the Internet in Petaluma. Facebook pages lit up. Petalumans were preparing to take action.

On November 19, Frances Rivetti  posted an article on her site– Trot over to the Petaluma Kitchen with a Turkey Donation Today 

And trot they did! 

  • By noon on Friday, November 20, Elizabeth Hale, Director of Food Programs for COTS reported: “Since the email request went out, we’ve received 226 turkeys and they’re still coming! Petaluma is an awesome community!”
  • John Records of COTS advised  later in the day that they received 60 additional turkeys, bringing the total donations, at that time, to 286….
  • Records commented: “The run on the stores was so profound that one of my Facebook buddies reported that the clerk at Safeway guessed why she was buying the turkey.”

But the best news came at 2:22 pm Saturday in an e-mail from Elizabeth Hale…

Whew!  What an amazing day!  We were able to supply turkeys for all 230 food boxes and send 35 turkeys to low income seniors at Vintage Chateau.

And I just heard from my manager, Judy Hess, that Sunrise Rotary has delivered another 50 turkeys with a stated goal of another 50!

We emptied our freezer this morning and it’s filling up again!  This means not only will we have plenty of turkey to serve for our Thanksgiving meals at the Kitchen and the Mary Isaak Center, we will have enough for all the families who pick up their boxes during the week.

Many, many thanks to all who took their time, money, and energy to purchase and deliver turkeys to the Kitchen for those less fortunate.  You are the heart of what makes Petaluma a special place to live. 

Happy Thanksgiving,
Elizabeth elizabethh@cots-homeless.org

Thanksgiving Harvest…Petaluma’s Vino Instituto

It has been a busy harvest time at Petaluma’s Internationale Instituto De Vino Wino!

Instituto Thanksgiving

The staff and officers worked around the clock to harvest the grapes from the solo vine. Afterwards, they had a little celebration–which, unfortunately, is still going on as this article is being written.

Celebration highlights…

  • Many of the celebrants (including their parole officers) joined in singing several choruses of the Instituto’s official vino song: We drink to make other people interesting.
  • Restaurant Manager, Al Fresco and Food Director, Sushi Tira-Misu engaged in a serious debate (fueled by some of the Instituto’s product) about the need to create an organic and exhaustive vision of the complexity of reality, born of philosophical and scientific studies, and translated into a narrative structure…with footnotes.
  • A strenuous argument erupted when Treasurer, Minnie Da Moocher and Sumo Cum Laude “Big Fish” Sashimi (our bouncer) got into a heated discussion over…

…Se non e‘ vero e‘ ben trovato…


…Se non è puoi vero è essenzialmente vero…

  • Meanwhile, in the wine cellar, a Claret Kitty and friends had a party of their own…Apr08#01a                                             

                                                                                          (Graphic By Barbara Simpson)

  • Jerry Attrick (Senior Citizen Wine Consultant) took a swing at Frank, the Chief Wino & Solo Vine Manager (not to mention, author of this blog) who was talking about Old Vines with Enchy Latta, Director of Catering. Jerry apparently thought Frank was talking about his legs.
  • Frank left the party early, muttering something about the need to drink a real Petaluma wine instead of the fictional vino being consumed by the fictional wackos at the Instituto. He was observed carrying a bottle of Que Syra, a Petaluma Gap Artisan Syrah from the Rivetti Family Estate Vineyard…Que Syra                                                              (Graphic courtesy of Frances Rivetti)

Upon advice of counsel, the rest of the event is better left unreported. I am authorized, however, to pass on the following…

Happy Thanksgiving from the officers & staff of the Internationale Instituto De Vino Wino–La Centre de l’Experience du Vin de Petaluma!

And, in case we don’t recover in time… 

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 

Chief Wino &  Solo Vine Manager (We have only one vine)–Frank
First Secretary-Vinnie Parducci
Second Secretary- Guido Marcucci
Third Secretary-Gustav Von Da Vee
Treasurer-Minnie Da Moocher
Counsel–Horace Rumpole of Chateau Fleet Street Claret
Vat & Barrel Manager-Jay Gaulo
Restaurant Manager-Al Fresco
Food Director–Sushi Tira-Misu
Director, Financial Planning-Two Fingers (as in “a-one-a,” “a-two-a”) Sabastiani
Director of Protocol & Arbiter of Taste–Marthe Stuarda
Tour Director-Expresso Camino Freeway
Movie & Video Critic-Francois Fjord
Bouncer–Sumo Cum Laude “Big Fish” Sashimi
Chats du Vin Extraordinaire—Hannah Sue & Gracie Mae (The Claret Kitties)
Tristan E. Isolde-Director of Cheap & Trashy Personal Counseling
Enchy Latta—Director of Catering
Jerry Attrick–Senior Citizen Wine Consultant

“God in his greatness sent the grape to cheer both great and small. Little fools will drink too much and big fools none at all.” 


Petaluma’s Remarkable Water Conservation

All the sturm & drang at the November 2, 2009 Petaluma City Council Meeting precluded press coverage of a remarkable presentation by Mike Ban and David Iribarne of the Department of Water Resources and Conservation. 

As your Resident Mulch Correspondent, I will correct this media oversight!

The Ban/Iribarne Council update regarding the lawn transformation project at City Hall included a striking chart of facts and figures regarding overall water usage and conservation in Petaluma. To say it is dramatic is an understatement…

Water Slide 1

These figures reflect the cumulative effects of people using more efficient fixtures and appliances as well as replacing their lawns with low water landscaping. For example…

  • The report mentioned that one residential household reduced its landscaping water requirement by 42% or 37,000 gallons.
  • Friedman Brothers  Hardware Distribution Center on Lakeville Highway cuts its usage by 30% or 692,000 gallons by replacing 35,000 sq. ft. of turf with low water landscaping.

Clearly, the efforts of individuals, businesses, and the City of Petaluma are bearing fruit.  Going forward, the numbers will improve even further if homeowners and businesses continue their efforts.  In addition to properties already converted, the City is planning to sheet mulch or convert the turf areas at the Police Station, Fire Station 3, the Library, and Wiseman park.

According to David Iribarne, to date the City has already transformed 103,000 sq. ft. of turf on City properties, saving 5 million gallons of water annually.

For a copy of the complete presentation to the City Council, click on Petaluma Water Conservation Report

Petaluma Holiday Craft Fairs!

There are several Holiday craft shows and fairs coming up on the calendar. This article will focus on two of them..

  • November 14–The Project Linus Craft Bazaar
  • November 29–The Petaluma Downtown Craft Mart Holiday Craft Fair Benefiting COTS 

The Project Linus Craft Bazaar

Santa Rosa may be the home of the Charles M. Schulz Museum. Petaluma, however, is the home of the North Bay Chapter of Project Linus

Acording to Jenny Giacomini, Chapter Coordinator…

Our mission is simple: to provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need. We do this by giving them gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created for Project Linus by volunteer “blanketeers.” The Blanketeers are part of our mission, as well: to provide a rewarding and fun service opportunity for interested individuals and groups in local communities, for the benefit of children.

Project Linus Tag

As of June 30, 2009, the North Bay Chapter made 4,914 blankets and donated 4,832. Nationally, as of March 31, 2009, the 405 chapters of Project Linus have delivered 3.005,937 blankets…

To raise funds in support of their efforts, the North Bay Chapter is hosting a Holiday Craft Bazaar…

Project Linus 

WHEN–November 14th from 10 till 2.

WHERE–304 Maria Dr., Petaluma

(Across the street from Learning to Learn Pre School, Maria & Professional Drive)

  • Handmade items for sale at low prices!
  • Baked goods
  • Beautiful quilts
  • Quilted coasters
  • Beaded bracelets
  • Christmas ornaments
  • Toys, hats, scarves, and pillows.

A quilt raffle will be held, and we even have some fabric and quilt magazines for sale! 



Petaluma Downtown Craft Mart Holiday Craft Fair 

 (To benefit COTS)   


When: Sunday, November 29th from noon-5pm

Where: At the historic Hotel Petaluma located at 205 Kentucky Street, Petaluma, CA 

Admission: $1 donation

Free Parking

ATMs across the street at Bank of America 

This event will bring “… together the best in Indie crafts, featuring traditional and edgy styles created by bold designers and artisans from Sonoma County and the Bay Area.”

In addition to an opportunity to show off local talent, all profits and proceeds will go to COTS (Committee on the Shelterless). COTS offers help and hope to the homeless in Sonoma County by providing safe shelter and housing, helping people develop steady incomes and helping them get back under a roof of their own.  

Petaluma Downtown Craft Mart is the brain child of Melissa Abercrombie of Blue Ribbon Salvage, Carrie Caudle of Moonpath Designs, Elaine Elwick-Barr of Rock n Roll Crafts, Nicole Vasbinder of StitchCraft, and Kristine McFarland of Sinkitty Designs…(Below, L to R)

Downtown Craft Mart 

 “We felt that in this economy there are so many Sonoma County residents who are in need and are seeking help and we wanted to do our part to help our community by raising funds for such an important resource,” said event co-planner Nicole Vasbinder. 

Attendees will be able to peruse the craft market, which will showcase 30+ crafters selling everything from jewelry and bath products to clothing and purses, all with a unique twist. The first 50 attendees will receive a fabulous gift bag, which includes “schwag” from local artists and shops and coupons from Petaluma restaurants and merchants. 

  • Attendees will also have the opportunity to enter a raffle for more incredible prizes and gifts generously donated by Chronicle Books and local businesses. 
  • Everyone is welcome to stop by TAPS for a relaxing break and to taste their amazing variety of specialty craft beers; which will feature a special for Craft Mart attendees. 
  • There will even be a gift wrapping table by Mary Collins School at Cherry Valley and a baked goods table hosted by Valley Vista Elementary School.

Sponsors include Craftzine.com, Bazaar Bizarre San Francisco, Petaluma Downtown Association, Chronicle Books, Stencil 1, Mrs. Grossman’s, Earlywork Toy Station, StitchCraft.  

For further information or to become a sponsor or donate, please contact: PetalumaDowntownCraftMart@gmail.com or visit their Website