NORCAL FIRE RELIEF: A ROUNDUP

Ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a disaster. We in wine country have been battling (or, in my case, fleeing) fires all week. I am safe and well, but my neighbors, friends, and colleagues need your help.

The following organizations assisting fire victims are either personally recommended by me or by friends/colleagues here in wine country. This list is by no means comprehensive. These organizations are primarily asking for money, not goods.

By and large, the list focuses on Sonoma County, as that’s where my resources lie. Feel free to add your own preferred charities (in any affected county) and I will update accordingly. Correct me where needed… It takes a village.

Thank you!

 

GENERAL FUNDS

Sonoma Resilience Fund
http://www.sonomacf.org/sonoma-county-resilience-fund/

Sonoma County Recovery
https://sonomacounty.recovers.org/

Napa and Sonoma County Fire Relief
https://www.gofundme.com/napa-sonoma-fires

Napa Valley Community Foundation
First launched by Napa Valley Vintners after the 2014 earthquake.
http://www.napavalleycf.org/fire-donation-page/

Disaster Relief Mendocino
http://www.communityfound.org/…/disaster-fund-for-mendocin…/

Choose from any GoFundMe here. https://www.gofundme.com/raise-funds/CAfirerelief

 

FOOD
Redwood Empire Food Bank
http://refb.org/

FISH (Friends in Sonoma Helping), food bank
http://www.friendsinsonomahelping.org/

Search for the food pantry of your choice: https://www.foodpantries.org

 

GOODS

Here is a centralized Google Doc that so many of us here in wine country have used to help one another this week. Before you collect or ship goods, please check this document and make sure you are addressing a specific, current need.

https://docs.google.com/…/14ZhXDNaL260p5OempaFb…/mobilebasic

 

IMMIGRANT NEEDS

Latino Community Foundation
https://latino-community-foundation.networkforgood.com/…/38…

OLE Health
Providing health care for immigrant community
http://www.olehealth.org/

Graton Day Labor Center
This organization is setting up a fund to help victims of the fire who are undocumented. Send a check to their offices and mark it “UNDOCU-FUND”
http://www.gratondaylabor.org/

 

WINE

Sonoma Vintners & Growers have set up a program for vintners to help other vintners by offering resources such as tanks, storage space, skilled labor, housing etc. Winery folks, use this form to list your offerings, and they will be shared appropriately and privately:
https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLSdzXi-INnZOEshQqP…/viewform

Buying any Northern California wine will help.

Buying from Cellar Angels will help extra. Proceeds go to support California Wildfire Relief: https://www.cellarangels.com/cha…/california-wildfire-relief

Storm-Chasing & Peace-Seeking

My migration across the country fifteen years ago was a pivotal point in my life. It constituted a great leap toward dreams I’d held since I was a little girl–and the beginning of my Cavalier Career.

For all the gifts of that move (and they have been countless) it also brought chaos. This week, my essay “Dock of the Bay” reflects on the ongoing quest for peace amid unrest, and the lessons of a life in motion. Thanks to Misadventures magazine for the publication.

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Just Don’t Call it “Glamping”

“I can, with one eye squinted, take it all as a blessing.”

~Flannery O’Connor

“But the world, in its present state, is no place for princesses.”

~Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog

I’m here to explore what kind of work and lifestyle choices can help me to wrestle this beast of an economy to the ground. It ain’t always pretty.

For the past six months, I have been living in a borrowed  RV trailer on a two-acre plot of Old Vine Zinfandel vines in Sonoma. It’s not the first trailer that I’ve lived in, and who knows? It might not be the last. This is a means to an end–a strategy intended to buck the heinous Recession Era rental system, and help me squirrel away cash in hopes of someday owning my own place.

Until that happens, I am living in a gypsy wagon–and if you call it “glamping”, I might sock you.

    

Glen Ellen, California. Site of my fabled gypsy wagon.

I am familiar with the term, however: Five years ago, I moved into in a sleek little silver bullet of a trailer on several scenic, manicured acres  in West Sonoma County. With a marriage on the rocks and struggling freelance business Continue reading

Spanish Shock Therapy

 

 

“She wants to hear
wine pouring.
She wants to taste
change.”

Rita Dove

For all the value I’d placed on travel in earlier posts, I confess that prior to this excursion to Spain, I’d failed to see the true power of a good trip. Sure, I understood that travel afforded loads of perspective, adventure, and relaxation. But I didn’t know how vital and transformative that could all be—because I’d never needed it as desperately as when I boarded the plane last week.

I had never been depressed before, which I suppose is pretty damned lucky after 32 years. But 3 months in the ‘burbs of Atlanta—with its14-lane highways and looming McMansions—slowed me down to an utter standstill. Every cell in my body huddled drearily in my skin, organs, teeth and bones until my body felt like some kind of shelter for the weak and weary. Believe it or not, I was hesitant to even take the trip at all. I was certain I’d lost any trace of a sharp, agile mind (which every traveller needs) to the seemingly endless logistics of my recent relocation.

But as the plane sped up and lifted off last Tuesday, I was physically shocked into a whole new mindset.

“Look, honey,” my partner pointed to the gargantuan strip mall where we’d inevitably been doing our shopping. He knew I hated the place, but was trying to raise my ire. “Camp Creek Parkway!”

I did not look back. Instead, I vowed that I would never set foot on that patch of asphalt again. In fact, I didn’t (and still don’t) know what I’d do when I landed again, but there would be no more life as usual. If I go back to Atlanta, it won’t be for long.

Landing in Barcelona, even my walk through the airport was electrifying. I was jolted into light, sound, and motion. God, I love motion. When we came upon the medieval streets of Barri Gotic, we stopped to sip our first café con leche—the first coffee drink I’d purchased in months that did not come from a corporate chain, thanks to Atlanta’s severe lack of independent coffeehouses. Hours later we were cocking our heads up at the wild spires of the famous cathedral, then feasting on cuttlefish and jamon, then sipping cava (with free refills, mind you) at a dark bar.

But it wasn’t the hedonistic indulgences that rocked me out of paralysis and back into my own true self. Lord knows I enjoyed our sunny day on the ancient ruins on La Costa Brava, and crashing at the quaint farmhouse in the Catalonian countryside. But it was simply the experience of that flight—the dramatic separation from the humdrum of everyday life—that made me feel the power of travel, the shift in perspective that I so needed. The rest has been gravy (… or should I say salsa).

That I’d harboured such deep doubts about this trip reminded me that sometimes closing my eyes and leaping is not such a bad idea. I suppose that sometimes that can lead to disaster—it certainly has before—but more often than not, it leads to new eschalons of opportunity and wonder.

On the surface, travel is a temporary escape that can squander loads of moolah and jack up your carbon output. But luckily, there’s more to life than what’s on the surface.