beginning to look a lot like

Saturday, December 1: San Francisco Center for the Book Holiday Fair, Arion Press (San Francisco) Open House

Saturday, December 1 and Sunday December 2: Handmade Holiday Crafts Fair and Luther Burbank Home and Gardens Holiday Open House (both Santa Rosa)

Saturday, December 8: Dickens Holiday Celebration at the International Printing Museum (SoCal)

Sunday, December 9: Northbay Letterpress Arts Holiday Open House (Sebastopol)

Saturday, December 8 and Sunday, December 9: Occidental Holiday Crafts Faire

Sunday, December 16: Holiday Crafterino (Petaluma)

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Angel Island Immigration Station Museum

Although I’d been to Angel Island before, I’d not been to the Immigration Station Museum (current State Parks’ site, also more info at this page from the 150th anniversary of the California State Parks in 2014.) Housed in the detention barracks of the station, the museum tells the story of the site’s 30 years as the West Coast’s Ellis Island. Those years: 1910 – 1940 featured many policies which were actually focused on excluding immigrants from Pacific Rim countries, and Angel Island was a point of enforcement.

The site was also used as a detainment center during WWII, but then abandoned and fell into disrepair, eventually being slated for demolition in 1970. Fortunately, before this occurred, Chinese poetry was rediscovered – carved into the walls of the barracks by the immigrant occupants, leading to renewed interest in the site and its preservation. Bay Area Asian Americans banded together and created the Angel Island Immigration Station Historical Advisory Committee (AIISHAC) to facilitate historical preservation and interpretation.

Due to these efforts, the California state legislature designated the site as a state monument in 1976, and appropriated $250,000 for restoration. The barracks opened to the public in 1983, and members of AIISHAC created the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation (AIISF) to continue preservation and educational efforts. In addition to preserving the poems, the AIISF has collected oral histories of immigrants who came through the station and developed educational resources. Their history page includes a number of the poems and translations. The Station was declared a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service in 1997. The AIISF has spearheaded addition fundraising for a major restoration of the barracks (2004 – February 2009) and the hospital, which is slated to open as the Pacific Coast Immigration Center in 2020, along with other site enhancements.

The Museum is well done, and I found the rooms with bunks and belongings particularly evocative of the experience the immigrants had. Seeing the carved poetry, and reading about how it would get filled in by the authorities and new poems would be carved was also very moving. Although I cannot read Chinese, the characters seem to reach across the years. It’s wonderful that this site has been preserved as a historical resource, and well worth a visit.

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National Steinbeck Center

The National Steinbeck Center opened in 1998, and I’d heard good things about it, but had not been. Although I pass by Salinas, where the Center is located, on a semi-regular basis, I’m always on my way somewhere else and don’t make the time to stop. So, for this year I chose Salinas as the destination for Sisters’ Weekend.

The Center is at the end of Main Street in downtown Oldtown. We had a bit of time before the Center opened, and I had found a walking map of Steinbeck related sites on the Center’s website. Since it wasn’t far, I figured we ought to at least go by the Steinbeck House. I’d found out too late that it wasn’t open we on Sundays, but we could at least see the outside. Which we did, and then a volunteer who was there doing some yard work was kind enough to let us in to see the inside! That was a real treat, they’ve done an excellent job restoring and preserving the home.

The Center is also very well done. The exhibits give information on Salinas and the Salinas Valley, on Steinbeck’s life, and all of his books. Very interesting and nicely presented. I hadn’t known that he had spent time in Europe as a war correspondent during WWII, or that he spent time in Mexico, spoke Spanish, and wrote a film about Zapata. It was cool to see the variety and number of other languages his works have been translated to.

It’s not huge – in a couple of hours it seemed like I’d seen pretty much all there was to see, and it felt complete but not overwhelming. So it might not be worth a trip to Salinas just for that, but if you were passing by or making a weekend with other activities in the area I would definitely recommend checking it out.

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CA burning

As the one year anniversary of the terrible fires in Sonoma County passed, I was thinking it was probably time to unpin the post about ways to donate toward rebuilding the affected communities. And then the sky was full of smoke again. What now?! The town of Paradise. Gone. A new most destructive fire for the state of California, the (really? who names these things) Camp Fire. It’s not a record your area wants to have, but at the same time you don’t really want it broken either.

I’m not familiar with the area, and don’t directly know anyone who lived in Paradise, but this seems like a good general resource, and a rando friend’s mother and sister have GoFundMe pages, as well as a taiko friend’s cousin (who also turns out to be a cyclist.)

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East Wind Bakery

Another one of Those Places that I wanted to check out, but it closes before I’m back during the week, and one thing and another on weekends only just got to the East Wind Bakery recently. Wait, it’s been over three years since I first heard about it?! Anyhoo… It’s in a newish live-work development that doesn’t quite seem like a neighborhood, although many of the people who came in while we were there did seem to be regulars.

There was SO MUCH to choose from, and it all looked good, but I had to get a baonut (yes, donutized (deep-fried) bao) – pretty sure that’s not something I’m going to get just anywhere. Even that was a difficult choice, but I went with the Peanut Butter Maple Bacon. Super tasty. There were also savory choices, like Pork Belly Kimchi, and cross-cultural mash-ups like a Churro Bao. The croissants were a likewise variety of sweets and savories – we tried the Walnut Pear Goat Cheese and the Spam – both delicious. I was somewhat surprised to see mochi! And blue mochi at that! Bonus! Which was filled with ube (purple yam). There was pink mochi that was filled with red bean. Both of those were quite tasty as well.

I’m glad I finally made it, although it probably is just as well it doesn’t have more convenient to me hours! That you are what you eat thing, I’d be a baonut! That is to say – definitely worth a stop if you are in the area.

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Shone Farm CSA

Sadly – for me anyway – First Light Farm, my previous source of Veggie Box of Awesome, had a change of ownership and reorganization which included consolidating their delivery area. Which I can totally understand, both from an economic point of view and being more local/reducing the carbon footprint. Fortunately, the woman who let me know I was now outside the delivery area suggested I try the Santa Rosa Junior College Shone Farm CSA. Ding ding ding! Tell her what she wins

I decided to take the plunge and signed up for the whole season, and I’ve been super happy. The produce is super high quality and amazingly tasty, and it’s not just Veggies! There has also been a variety of fruit, including berries, apples, Asian and European pears, and watermelon. Perhaps due to the size and longevity of the farm, and the educational programs run there, there also is a larger variety in the fresh veggies, and some “beyond” items like dried beans and wheat berries.

In addition, there is a great e-newsletter, that has information about what’s in the week’s box, with general usage tips and how to store items – which has been super informative and helpful – along with specific recipes. I haven’t made it yet, but they also have events at the Farm, where you can U-Pick, and buy other items such as olive oil and wine.

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IONTW – October 7, 2018

King’s Hawaiian Bakery! I’m fascinated by the pictures of the production line. Here’s cool video of cookie cutters being made. and there’s a King’s Restaurant!!! Who’s in for a road trip to SoCal?

Instant Noodle Warriors

Squirrel!

Nerd alert: What Did Ada Lovelace’s Program Actually Do? An argument for difficult tech tools. and, The Mother of All Demos (which, how did I go through a CS program and never hear of this? or is it just my faulty memory that I did actually hear about it but don’t recall…) When Women Stopped Coding

Mesmerizing visualization of wind over the Earth’s surface.

Tomorrow, Monday October 8, 2018 there will be a Ceremony to Observe One-Year Anniversary of Wildfires, hosted by City of Santa Rosa, California and County of Sonoma, in Courthouse Square, downtown Santa Rosa. Additional events throughout the county are listed here.

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