What’s Up This Week – 2.23.24

Have you ever self-diagnosed? I was sure I had allergies until I saw a pulmonologist who said I had a treatable case of asthma leftover from Covid. Then, I found myself with an ENT because my ears were bothering me. After she searched, probed, and explored every orifice on my head, I found out I have a complete blockage of my sinuses, which can be easily fixed. But before I could address that issue, my doctor sent me to see a cardiologist (yes, another doctor) because I have a non-threatening heart murmur. After a jovial conversation with her, she sent me to get an echocardiogram and a stress test for my heart. I wanted to decline the offer but decided to go ahead with it because doctors so love their tests. Fun Fact: Did you know that when you are getting an echocardiogram, and the clinician says to squeeze your stomach, they don’t mean with your hand? Yes, I’ll keep that thought just between us. Here’s another Fun Fact: Did you know that when you do a stress test, you wear nothing but your birthday suit from the waist up? Yes, I wore a gown, but I don’t count a barely tied-together open-in-the-front hospital gown as an article of clothing. It makes sense when you consider the number of bells and whistles connected to me. 

As I ping-pong between my doctor’s appointments and they review each other’s tests, you should see the satisfaction on their faces, marveling at each other’s handiwork on me, their guinea pig. The good news is other than my sinuses, I am healthy and well, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel after nearly a year of tests, tests, and more tests. Soon, I will go back to just annual check-ups. That is if I don’t self-diagnose again!

This week, I continue my Blue Zones journey with you, and Kathleen tells us all about Lakeport’s newest park! Then we have a lovely short story in the Our Voice column, the Music Guide, some good news, and of course, more local history. Have a great weekend, Lake County, and stay safe and healthy!

Power Nine: Part 1 – Food

Well, I thought we’d get the “diet” out of the way when I tell you about my two-year Blue Zone journey with food–one of the Power of 9 principles. Two things that I love about the Blue Zones are that it’s carb-friendly and loves wine. Whew, that was a close one! First of all, this is a lifestyle, not a diet. Instead of forcing you to remove carbs or drink shakes, Blue Zones encourages increasing your plant-based foods while eating smaller portions of meat and dairy. I realized I had to live with the changes I made forever, not just for a short time like I would on “diets.” That took some real thought. And here are some tricks I’ve learned so far.

Preserving Heritage, Embracing Nature: Exploring Xabatin Community Park

I took the opportunity while visiting Lakeport to check out its newest park, Xabatin Community Park with some friends not long after its grand opening. We had some time before attending a performance at the wonderful Soper Reese Theater. As we strolled the park’s grounds, we noted that the park was well-attended with people who spanned the spectrum of age. There were kids having a blast riding their skateboards in the dedicated skate park, folks enjoying the lake view from a cozy park bench, dog walkers promenading with their leashed pooches, picnic areas, a basketball court, and more!

Evie & Will: a meet-cute

Evie Macomber watched as a big rig truck, then a massive, articulated tractor, and a few cars passed, going either north or south on Main Street. A girl born and raised on the edge of town in a single-wide mobile home, Evie seldom ventured far from home by herself, never farther than her school.

What’s Up This Week – 2.16.24

This week, life has gone back to normal in our home: meaning, life with Wifi and electricity, of all things. And although the weather is telling us we are still in the middle of winter, I noticed the calling and “tweet tweet” of our birds’ return and the first bit of green from our tulips. Spring is in the air. For those of you who commute to Mendocino, Napa, and Sonoma, you are already seeing wildflowers! And one more thing I’ve seen this year: so much color in gray. I know how weird that sounds, but with enough visibility, rolling hills bring layers and colors of gray that have captured my attention. It is sheer beauty. There is no doubt that this rain will bring a spectacular spring!

This week I am happy to tell you about a new restaurant. Well, it’s new to me, not to Lake County. Then we’ll catch up on the recent Pay It Forward article, a poem in the Our Voice column, and all the usuals. And for those of you who are small business owners, The Bloom is offering special ad rates just for you! Contact The Bloom for details. We would love to help your business grow. Have a great weekend, Lake County.

Hidden Valley’s Culinary Gem: Exploring Alvarez Restaurant’s Irresistible Mexican Seafood Delights

Tucked away in a shopping complex behind Hardester’s in Hidden Valley Lake, you’ll find some of Lake County’s best Mexican seafood. You’ll have to look for it; it’s in the Coyote Valley Plaza, situated between a salon and a doctor’s office. But once you find it, you won’t be disappointed. It has food that’s fresh, bright, and overwhelmingly tasty.

Pay it Forward: Saucy Bowls and Juice

I am happy to present to you our twenty-sixth local business spotlighted in the Pay it Forward feature – Saucy Bowls and Juice.

Our recent Lake County business featured was Middletown Antiques and owner, Laren MacPherson, shared her 5 star antique and vintage shop with us all.

The catch is that I will not choose the next business to interview, but the current spotlighted business will choose who I will interview next. Local businesses will Pay it Forward.


The interplay of land and fog,

Multiple micro-systems

Display dissimilar versions of vapor.

In places it floats, or rolls, billows or mists.

Energy captured and released in slow motion,

Vaporous kaleidoscope of muted winter colors:

Tan, brown, beige and grey.

Fog descends, deep penetrating cold,

Infiltrates my lungs, clings to clothes.

Drive Soda Bay Road for snapshots

Of a cotton-covered lake,

Panoramic Mt. Konocti framed by fog,

Wild nature sound of coots muted

As they disappear in a wet cloud.

Fog fades, a lone kayaker materializes from the mist,

Fog filters, sifts the past into the present,

Nature’s timeline.

What’s Up This Week – 2.9.24

Well, Cobb got its first snow day of the season. Unfortunately, it also brought damaging rain and a windstorm along with it. The devastation is unspeakable. We were lucky; only an oak branch broke and fell on our roof, hanging over our electrical wires. Thanks to PG&E and a local arborist, we have a plan to get it removed without causing more damage. 

Others did not fare so well. Trees blocked roads, preventing people from leaving their homes, and numerous homes had trees fall on them. In areas where so many trees fell, it looked like matchsticks blown over, leaving massive power outages and no internet for days. That’s the bad news. The good news is the stories of neighbors helping neighbors and everyone coming together to do what they can to help. And in record time, considering the massive damage, PG&E and our county have been tirelessly working to restore power, clear roadways, set up a warming shelter, give away food bags, provide showers, and so much more. And so, as this week comes to an end, I can’t help but feel grateful. So many lives threatened have been spared. Sure, there’s a lot of damage, but that can be fixed. Sometimes, we are reminded that every day is a gift, and today is no exception. So, I will continue to be grateful for life and the community I live in and thankful for all who have lent a helping hand this week.

With a whole lot of distractions and days without power and internet, I’m going to keep things short and simple this week and let Kathleen take the lead when she tells us all about feathers. How calming and wonderful is that! Then we’re going jump right to the Music Guide, a little bit of good news and some local history. I’m going to take more than a minute to focus on gratitude as things slip back into the ordinary and life resumes its normal rhythm and routine. I hope you do, too. And whatever your plans are for the weekend, be safe, Lake County.

Fine Feathers

A feather is a teacher. Finding a single feather along a trail is a lovely gift from nature. Changing seasons can bring about a transition in the life of a bird. Birds molt or drop feathers as their plumage breaks down, typically in spring or summer, however some, such as tree swallows drop some of their feathers prior to winter migration, then miraculously resume their molt as they reach their desired destinations.

What’s Up This Week – 2.2.24

I was emailing a friend this week that I am still thankful for the rain. But I can honestly say at some point, my thankfulness might move to complaining. But since I’m still thankful, I have a small confession to make. I did it. I’m doing something I promised myself I’d never do. I’m telling you about one of our family’s best-kept secrets in Lake County. It’s truly an experience to be shared, or so I’m telling myself. And for the record, it’s not actually a secret. It is on the map and talked about, so to speak. I’m just finally now telling you about it. I’ll leave it at that. 

On a less controversial topic, I’m happy to see our most recent Pay It Forward article feature one of my favorite small businesses that I discovered only a few months ago: Middletown Antiques. Be sure to check it out. Then, take a minute to read this week’s Our Voice column, especially if you are a music lover. And talking about music, the Music Guide is full of great live music choices happening in and around Lake County. And last but not least, we have plenty of good news and local history. 

For those of you brave enough to go out and about, I salute you. As for me, I’m hunkering down for the possibility of snow on Cobb. How fun would it be to have a snow day on the weekend instead of on a weekday! Wherever you are and whatever your plans are for the weekend, have fun and be safe out there, Lake County.

Experiencing Boggs Lake Ecological Reserve and Project of the Nature Conservancy

Lake County is far from boring, even in the winter months. Between the rain storms, the sun always returns and graces us with winter’s cooler temperatures, making it quite possibly the most comfortable time of year for hikes of all abilities. And winter may be the perfect time to experience the wonders of Boggs Lake Preserve. This forty-six-acre mountainous lake echoes times past when water slapped the tree-edged shoreline, providing a scenic place for hunting and fishing for its first caretakers, the Native Americans. Its natural habitat still attracts waterfowl and animals of all kinds. 

Pay It Forward – Middletown Antiques

Middletown Antiques is a locally owned and operated 5-star-rated antique and vintage shop with a wide variety of treasures. They offer upcycled, recycled and resale home décor and gifts – everything from unique patio sets to shabby chic furniture to spectacular patinated pieces!

Time Has Come: Revelations of a Mississippi Hippie

Some of you experts on new directions in Black music might be familiar with Betty Davis, née Mabry, the second wife of trumpet icon Miles Davis. Regarded largely as the Queen of Funk, Ms. Davis enjoyed a brilliant, genre-defying, standard-setting career and blew out her own flame, seemingly prematurely.

What’s Up This Week – 1.26.24

Well, we are well on our way into the new year, and we have so much to be grateful for. Take the rain, for example–it won’t stop! Our lake isn’t full, but it promises to be, and the drought is another year behind us. The other thing that comes to mind is that Lake County doesn’t sit still for long. Oh, we tend to relax a bit in January, and then we start planning all kinds of community events. Our annual crab feeds and auctions are just around the corner. Isn’t it great that we get to get together, have a whole lot of fun, and give money away to worthy causes all at the same time? I mean, does it really get better than that? I hope you are planning on fitting these events into your calendar!
This week, I’m excited to launch my personal Blue Zones journey with you. I want to introduce to you the Power of 9 Principles. I promise it’s not a diet and not boring, and you can’t fail at it, trust me. I’ve got more personal stories to share about it in the future months. Then join Kathleen Scavone as she talks about our relationship with the weather, and boy, are we experiencing that right now. Also, be sure to sit back and enjoy a recipe for you foodies out there in the “Our Voice” column. The Our Voice column showcases all the things you, our readers, love. So if you’ve got a story, recipe, poem, song, joke, or idea, be sure to send it to us here. Remember, We’re always looking for new ideas and submissions. Then check out the music scene in the Music Guide, some good news, and local history. Have a great weekend, Lake County!

The Power of 9: The Key to a Full and Happy Life

Well, it’s that time of year again. We’re either still fully committed to our New Year’s resolutions, we get to them when we think about it, or we just don’t get to it at all (We can live with the guilt just fine, thank you.) Or maybe you’re the one who is already living out your fullest potential! Wherever you are in the spectrum, have hope; this isn’t a diet article! The Bloom has partnered with the Blue Zones Project – Lake County because it’s all about living the fullest and happiest life possible. That doesn’t mean focusing on clothes size but rather considering all aspects of our lives, including our mental and emotional well-being.

For the next few months, I’ll be exploring the Blue Zone’s Power 9 principles. And did I mention it’s not a diet? Well, I’m saying it again. Rather, it’s a total well-being process. Look at the nine principles and see for yourself.

Coffee Cake to Impress

Nothing says comfort food more than what comes out of the oven, right? One of our family’s favorite breakfasts starts with a Betty Crocker-inspired Sour Cream Coffee Cake. With the help of a bundt pan and a little glaze, it becomes nothing short of decadence not only to the eye but, most importantly the tastebuds. 

Under the Weather

After so many extreme drought years, I find it exhilarating to be under the weather. No, not that kind, but under my rain umbrella with my rain boots on, exploring shiny wet surfaces of manzanita limbs, water drops as they create spherical worlds on leaves, and the mesmerizing ripples of drops on a puddle! We are all under the weather.

Pay It Forward: Koontz Mercantile

Koontz Mercantile is a locally owned and operated general store with a unique twist. They offer spectacular custom and upcycled home décor and gifts – everything from unique gourmet foods to lightweight backpack wear to one-of-a-kind, custom furniture, handmade goods, and so much more!

Deep Heart’s Core 

Two days into her retirement from the elementary school where she’d taught fifth grade for 30 years, Pam called her brother, Alan. Alan lived on the opposite side of the county in a small, Craftsman-style home on Clear Lake.  “I’m taking you up on your offer to hang out for a day or two.”

Coyote Tales

How lucky can a person be? I happened to look up at the right time early one morning and watched as a shaggy blonde coyote trotted under the bay trees toward the creek. A closer look would reveal that the coyote’s coat was actually a mixture of tans, grays, and browns. Had I looked up a moment later, or sooner, for that matter, I would have missed it!

Pay it Forward: Stellar Homes Staging + Design

I am happy to present to you our twenty-third local business spotlighted in the Pay it Forward feature – Stellar Homes Staging + Design.

Our recent Lake County business featured was Life at Two Oak Photography and owner, Tristesse “TC” Peterson, chose to Pay it Forward to Whitney Brand, owner of Stellar Homes Staging + Design.

The catch is that I will not choose the next business to interview, but the current spotlighted business will choose who I will interview next. Local businesses will Pay it Forward.

Five More Minutes!

Our daughter has become an expert at prolonging her playtime. “Five more minutes!” is a phrase she says to us when it is time to wrap up whatever she is doing – having fun with her toys, playing outside, or making splashes in the bathtub. It is a clever tactic of hers to increase her playtime. If you have a young kid, I am quite sure you can relate to it. Your child might tell you “five more minutes” when you tell them that their playtime is over or almost over.

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