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Village Chat: 10/15/2019

Village Chat for Oct. 15, 2019

Well, it's been an interesting couple of days. Power went out at our house in Kenwood at 12:50 a.m. on Wednesday, and as of this writing Friday morning, Oct. 11, we're still in the dark there, although the Kenwood shopping center, where our office is, is up and running. That means our local entrepreneurs lost two days of business, so be sure to go out and support them in the coming days.

With our new generator we were able to power our refrigerator, a few lights, and our computers. But without Comcast we had no Internet or phone service. If these “Public Safety Power Shutoffs” continue to happen, Comcast is going to have to figure out a way to keep their services up and running.

We set up a jigsaw puzzle on the dining room table and spent the evenings there listening to the radio, and it was actually very pleasant. I forgot how addicting jigsaw puzzles are. When the kids were young, I would get so absorbed in them that I would joke that Mommy needed an intervention!

Anyway, back to the real world…

kids cleaning up the creek
Dana Richards and her children, Maverick (left) and Brooklyn, clean up Sonoma Creek at Maxwell Farms Regional Park.
On Sept. 20, kids in Kenwood School's Ocean Guardians, under the supervision of teacher Mike Terwilliger, participated in Coastal Cleanup Day. They cleaned up a stretch of Sonoma Creek that runs through Maxwell Farms Regional Park, and pulled out around 70 pounds of trash and 10 pounds of recyclable materials. They were led by high school EnviroLeaders from the Sonoma Ecology Center. Tony Passatino from the Ecology Center organized the event.

weighing the giant pumpkins
David Clausen (left) and Jim Geib haul giant pumpkins over to Kunde Family Winery.
David Clausen is carrying on the tradition started by his grandfather, Carl Lawson (of Lawson's Corner at Melita Road and Highway 12), growing giant pumpkins. This year, he grew them on the Geib Ranch in Kenwood, and last week he and Jim Geib delivered the gourds to Kunde Family Winery for display. The average weight of the nine pumpkins is about 675 pounds!

group shot after finishing swim
From left: Josh Beirne, Ingo Rencken, Eleanor Trent and Raymond Willmers after swimming the length of the Golden Gate Bridge. Note that Raymond is holding the SAME paper from 10 years earlier!
Ten years ago, when he turned 60, Raymond Willmers swam from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco, along with fellow Kenwoodian Eleanor Trent. In fact, Raymond won our photo context with a picture of him holding the KP in his wetsuit at Aquatic Park! Fast forward to last year. Raymond ran into Eleanor at a party and casually mentioned that he'd like to swim from San Francisco to Marin under the Golden Gate Bridge. Raymond said, “On New Years Day 2019, I get a text from Eleanor, 'Golden Gate 2019 ?!' I was very apprehensive because the fire had sucked the life out of me and I had a panic attack the last time I was in the bay. Eleanor was persistent and supportive because [she] knew this swim was on my 'bucket list.' Long story longer, we agreed to do the swim September 22, 2019.”

They were joined by Ingo Rencken, who works out with Eleanor, and Josh Beirne, a gastroenterologist who also swims with them. Like Raymond, he lost his home in the fire, so the two of them bonded over that. Raymond wrote in an email, “The three of them are real swimmers... I'm more of a plodder with tenacity. My goal was to finish and not be last...mission accomplished.”

It was pre-dawn and foggy when they started. The way you do this swim is to boat out to the south end of the bridge on the ocean side when there's a flood tide, jump in, and as you swim north you drift toward the bridge, eventually touching Singer Rock on the north end. The channel there is dredged to allow container ships in, and the depth is 340 feet, so sometimes you get an effect like being in a washing machine agitator, but Raymond said they didn't experience too much of that. [I can't even imagine doing this!]

A statue in Oslo’s Vigeland Park.
A statue in Oslo’s Vigeland Park.
In August Denise and Joe Benguerel took a Baltic cruise, traveling to four countries in Scandinavia (Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden) plus Germany, Estonia and the city of St. Petersburg in Russia. Denise wrote, “We visited so many wonderful museums and other sights and had mostly perfect weather along the way.” Highlights included the ballet (Swan Lake) and Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, and a maritime museum in Stockholm, on the island of Djurgården. The museum displays the only almost fully intact 17th century ship that has ever been salvaged, the 64-gun warship Vasa that sank on her maiden voyage in 1628. They sent us a picture from Oslo's Vigeland Park, the largest sculpture park in the world by a single artist, with over 200 pieces by Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland. The Daily Mail dubbed them “The Weirdest Statues in the World.” It includes everything from a woman embracing a giant lizard to a naked man fighting flying babies. And that interesting one below (page 23)…

Elys on Mt. Constitution, Orcas Island
George Ely and Kathy Hillback-Ely on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands.
Other people have also been traveling lately. Kathy Hillback-Ely and George Ely sent this photo taken on Mt. Constitution, Orcas Island, the highest point in the San Juan Islands. They were there in mid-September.

From left: Trish Jamison, Karen Palmiotti and Gordon Freedman in Boston.
From left: Trish Jamison, Karen Palmiotti and Gordon Freedman in Boston.
And Gordon Freedman and Karen Palmiotti, were joined by former Oakmonter Trish Jamison at Quincy Market in Boston.

Thanks, everyone!

That's all for now. Thank you to everyone who sent in their news and photos for Village Chat. You can do it, too! Just email, or call 833-5155 and chat me up! - AQP.


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