I had the pleasure of meeting real food blogger Alice Chan for tea this week. More proof that Petaluma is one of the best little cities on earth in which to live and write (drink tea, wine, beer & eat!) - Alice has made her way up to Sonoma County to settle her family in bucolic Petaluma after many years of a more urban city life, in San Francisco.
It's all about the quality of local food and the connection to our farms and small producers in the area that draws this fellow British born writer to adventure out along the back roads and restaurant rows of the region, photographing and posting her tastiest discoveries.
I'm looking forward to sharing some more of our Southern Sonoma County secrets with Alice as we get to know one another, just as much as I expect to learn a lot from the intrepid and delightful Alice, in turn.
OK, another technological learning curve, admittedly and I've somehow managed to clip the start of my opening sentence, but I'm pretty stoked to say I've somehow figured out all on my ownesome, too, how to bring you a new audio option in selected posts.
What better a place to start than with an overnight to Nick's Cove? Click on the audio under the first photo collage to listen to my dulcet tones. I haven't quite got the timing down with such a long post, I haven't started dabbling with the editing tools, as yet.
What a busy week. Made it back from snowy England on Sunday night and hit the ground running on Monday morning with my new daily About Town column at Petaluma.Patch.com. Also busy wearing my publicist hat, snapping photos and video around several city schools as Petaluma Educational Foundation board members played Santa in the delivery of Major Impact Grant checks.
It's always great to witness innovative programming in schools actually succeed in getting funded. There are lots of great stories surrounding each and every one of these grants. I will be writing feature articles on each in the New Year.
As the recipients don't know they are receiving the grants until the presentations are made at staff meetings, I can't let the cat out of the bag as to those still awaiting presentation over the next couple of weeks. All will be revealed in due course.
This weekend promises a string of festive goings-on here in Southern Sonoma County. Should be plentiful material in the making for Southern Sonoma Country Life, my About Town Petaluma.Patch column and my South County Notebook column that appears in print only every other week in the Argus Courier Newspaper.
If you have a story for me, be sure to let me know. Due to an overwhelming amount of requests to promote events ahead of time, I'm not always able to include listing-style plugs. Give me the human-interest, newsy angle to your event and you're much more likely to get me to cover it.
One day my house will be neat and tidy and fully decorated for Christmas by the second week in December, until then, thanks to the uber-organized, super-decorator Debbie M, here's a shot of last night's book broad's festive dinner table.
Hundreds of pots of of tea, scores of stove top espresso shots and barrels of home made vino have gone into the making of this milestone 1,000th post on Southern Sonoma Country Life since I launched the site almost three years ago, on December 2nd, 2007.
It's a celebration of sorts - a body of work that has built, one post at a time, building a sense of place and a record of the sort of life we live in California's lesser known corner of wine country.
I'd like to take a moment to thank my lovely and loyal, regular readers for sticking around, many of you since the beginning and even before that, on earlier blogging platforms. I hope that my posts have come to represent a welcomed ping in your email inbox, rather like a note from a friend, posted through the letterbox of old.
Thanks also to my circle of writer pal conspirators in online publishing shenanigans, it wouldn't have been half so much fun without filling one another's comment boxes with both moral support as well as the occasional ribbing.
As for my family, well, without the many men in my life, how would I ever have discovered the immeasurable mental health benefits of cultivating a therapeutic, daily blogging habit? Love you x.
Here's to the next 1,000. Wonder what the next three years have in store?
p.s special mention to Karen Brockman for this week's delicious 2010 Que Syra Pumpkin Cake (pictured above) and Mr.Frank Simpson (Petaluma Spectator) for his outstanding camera work (featured in this collage) during last weekend's harvest.
Hard to imagine the frenetic political energy that has been bombarding cyberspace beyond this peaceful scene above riverfront city, Petaluma, CA in an electric run up to yesterday's mid term elections.
Facebook and the Twittersphere were relatively tame today, in the aftermath of last night's late tallying of city and county election results. Streams of congratulations and condolences to various candidates, successful and otherwise, but little immediate feedback from the politicians themselves, the majority of whom are no doubt taking a well earned personal day.
Scanning social media during the election result roll-out, one has to wonder how much of an impact it has had on the various candidates who have embraced it as an outreach tool.
Newly elected 2nd District Sonoma County Supervisor, David Rabbitt has been a prolific social media communicator during the past six months or more. Though his opponent, Petaluma Mayor Pamela Torliatt has not been any less of an avid Tweeter, Rabbitt motivated the community troops and took the seat with 54.2% of the votes compared to Torliatt's 45.3%.
"Thank you friends and supporters who voted," wrote Rabbitt on Facebook Wednesday afternoon. "This achievement could not have been possible without your support. Thank you to all of the volunteers and friends that have supported me and my family along this journey. I have enjoyed this past year and met so many people of this great community. I look forward to serving you and District 2 as Sonoma County Supervisor."
First time candidate for city council, Ray Johnson was one of the few Petaluma would-be-politicians, defeated, yet promptly out and about on cyberspace via Facebook. "The clock strikes 1:15, the election draws to a close. My congratulations go to Mike Harris, Teresa Barrett and Chris Albertson, but the truth is I am a winner. I became acquainted with the greatest bunch of people I have ever met, the citizens of Petaluma. I saw a group of people that cared, that were dedicated and that listened. As I re-enter a fabulous retirement, the memories will last forever. Thank you Petaluma."
From thwarted city council candidate, Karen Nau to her Facebook friends and supporters: "Thank you for the outpouring of love and support today. We have so much to be thankful for with the outcome of the election, I am thinking positive," wrote Nau.
Birthday boy, Mike Harris didn't have to say too much. The numbers said it all. Can it be a coincidence that Harris experienced a landslide win for maintaining his political hot seat given that his social media friends and supporters weigh in somewhere around the two and a half thousand mark? Most candidates vying for local electoral positions share a more modest five to six hundred social media supporters. Harris (who was named as one of NorthBay Biz Magazine's 40 most powerful under 40s here in SoCo) posted Sonoma County's Registrar of Voters figures for Petaluma City Council seats on his Facebook page today:
When former Saint Vincent de Paul High School sweethearts Mena and Ben Trott met as teens right here in Petaluma, Sonoma County, who knew it would lead to an internationally renowned creative partnership that would reshape significant social media markets?
In an open letter to their decade-old Six Apart Typepad blog customers located all around the world, the San Francisco based entrepreneurial couple have announced the formation of a new, modern media company collaboration with VideoEgg, now called SAY Media.
What does this mean for hyper local content sites such as Southern Sonoma Country Life and similar Typepad-based blogs and news sites that you, the loyal reader may have come to know and love?
Ideally, the massive shake-up in how we all choose to read our news and share our views will soon gradually start to take shape in a sustainable way so that content producers are able to make ends meet and improve our multi-media experiences at the same time.
And as a reminder to support your local media in print and online, here's a snippet of a clipping from Summer 2008 issue of our favorite local glossy, the Petaluma Magazine, featuring the Trotts:
Southern Sonoma Country Life subscriber and dear friend, Lori made the most of her extended stay in the beautiful, bucolic Bath countryside surrounds whilst stranded in the volcanic-ash cloaked UK this Spring.
Catching up on her reading and getting acquainted with the local butcher, baker and book seller, Lori's international, home-from-home locavore lifestyle extended to taking in tips from transcontinental trend setters such as the lovely Gwyneth Paltrow.
Back in the Bay Area, Lori has shared the wealth of what's currently in vogue in an increasingly green British lifestyle.
Check out Paltrow's original and engaging web site, Gloop for all kinds of cool suggestions for perking up the kids' packed lunches, looking after healthy hair and my top pick amongst recent posts, the growing trend of Meat Free Mondays both sides of the pond.
Of course you don't have to be a vegetarian to embrace the concept of Meatless Mondays. My Italian in-laws have eaten this way all of their lives. Who needs a chicken dinner the day after a Sunday roast? Southern Europeans have long since practiced the art of balancing, distributing and rotating the weekly food pyramid around a seven day meal plan.
Soup or salad on a Monday. Pasta prima vera, anyone? Beans on toast or scrambled eggs sounds like a tasty, back-to-school day supper to me, though the Italian husband might suggest a simple bean soup.
With consumer demand from the livestock industry at an all-time-high, greenhouse gas emissions (according to the United Nations) from this one sector cause more havoc in the environment than infamously troublesome transportation.
Here in Sonoma County we do tend to rave about our biodynamic and organic livestock farmers and in no way would suggest a meat-free diet for all. But think about the long term benefits of trimming our collective meat consumption by one seventh and the savings in water usage alone in just one region would be significant.
I like what Gwyneth is doing. And if this influential actor, transcontinental mom and rocker-wife really does pack her kids' school lunches herself, all the more power to her!
Don't miss out on the first Social Media Conference to be held in the North Bay,
SocialBiz 2010, taking place this Friday, April 30th, 2010 at the Sheraton
Hotel & Marina in Petaluma, California, 30 minutes north of San
Everyone is a twitter about Twitter and Facebook and all sorts of fast-paced, powerful social media network tools for businesses, institutions and organizations to successfully spread the word of good work, yet for many this bottomless pool of opportunity has tended to overwhelm.
Now you have absolutely no more excuses not to jump on board the social media rocket ship and position your biz at the top of the market.
As a special, last-minute offer to Southern Sonoma Country Life readers, a one-time deep discount of a substantial $90 savings is available if you make a reservation before Friday.
Don't wait any longer to make your move, there are only a handful of spaces left at the all-day extravaganza of all things social media related. With seminar attendees flying in from as far away as the East Coast, North-Bay and Bay Area readers can't afford to miss out on this inspirational event taking place right here on our doorstep in Sonoma County.
Panel discussions, hands-on workshops, round tables, continental breakfast and lunch, wine tasting and appetizers and a business networking reception offer a one-stop opportunity to teach you how to create an online marketing campaign that helps achieve your strategic business goals.
Southern Sonoma Country Life readers' special $90 discount code is RMSPEC90
Go to: http://socialbiz2010.eventbrite.com
Enter the discount code (there’s a link right below the ticket pricing): RMSPEC90
Click Apply Discount -the pricing will update to reflect the discount on the General Attendee ticket price.