By Carol Pearlman
Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.
HaHaHaHaHaHa HaHaHaHaHaHa HaHaHaHaHaHa HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa
Where have I been, you ask? Sick.
Meanwhile, here’s what I’ve been thinking about:
Yay! Fiber Optics is coming to town. But the ganja is leaving, which I think is a wrong move. Tell me, please, why do our city fathers and mothers need a fleet of limos to move them around the metropolis? I don’t see much difference between the Republicans who wrote that letter to Iran, and the School Board Members who voted to hire a publicist, when we need teachers in the classrooms. I’ve seen the Mayor & we agree that Independence Park needs to be fixed. He told me, “We will do it,” and I believe him.
There’s nothing like local politics. If anyone wants to experience how it feels to take part in the making of history, I suggest they attend the General Plan meetings going on all around town. These workshops, led by qualified professional city planners, who’ve done their homework, are planning the Vallejo of the future. My neighbors & I were asked for ideas & we said: good grocery stores, trees and a meridian on Tennessee Street, arches at the entrances of the city, and beautiful parks along the river, among many other wonderful things.
I’m going to stop complaining about Vallejo being a wasteland where I can’t get anything I want, which it is, incidentally, because I’ve finally given in to the cruel reality of life in the suburbs: this is it: if I want something I must get in the car, hop on the freeway, and drive.
Last week I discovered the Oxbow Market in Napa, where I sat down for a plate of fresh oysters and little neck clams, tasted a variety of tender local cheeses, and purchased a Tuscan pastry to nibble on while admiring aged steaks, exotic spices, and premium olive oils. Pricy, of course. It reminded me of the Ferry Building in downtown San Francisco – and only 16 miles away.
Vallejo has its goodies too, little unexpected pleasures I’ve come to enjoy on occasions: a sunset Bloody Mary at Vic’s Wheelhouse, an apple-pie cupcake at the Humming-bird Bakery; a Cajun prawn Po Boy lunch at the Sardine Can, dinner at Pasta Pomodoro, and my latest discovery: breakfast at The Joy of Eating.
Am I adapting?
I try to heed the Mayor’s advice and patronize local businesses, to the degree I can, and have encountered some far-out helpful shopkeepers whom I wish to honor. Lipsey’s Garage figured out why my car phone charger stopped working, replaced the fuse in the cigar-lighter thingy and wouldn’t take money for their time, or the fuse. When a few leaves of my gardenia plant started turning yellow, the friendly owner of North Bay Hydroponics pronounced my gardenia plant HEALTHY from a photograph. I enjoy the patient ladies at the dollar Tree who always say hello & welcome when I enter the shop, the guys who clean & scale the fish I purchase at Seafood City, and so many more… Vallejo is a friendly town if you know how to stay out of trouble.
On the advice of a reader I went to Food4Less, off Blvd. 29 toward American Canyon. Found two walls full of fresh organic produce, beautiful market-stands brimming with colorful spices, & grass fed organic beef bones — to make broth I (used to) simmer in my cauldron for two days & two nights. The accommodating butcher there made me feel like a special customer. They also carry organic air-chilled (as opposed to water-logged) chicken, which if you’ve never tried, I urge you to do so.
My sisters came from Florida to visit their sick sister. I suggested they bring ear-plugs to block out the traffic noise I no longer hear in my home, and bullet-proof vests in case my neighbors at 201 Main Street start acting up – which they did.
I had to laugh when I read about the closure of the golf course in Vallejo & the supervisor’s reaction to the proposal of putting a paintball operation in its place.
“I’m a little concerned about … a paintball operation,” said Supervisor John Vasquez. “…
Certainly I don’t think we want to (support) an operation that shows people running around shooting at each other. I think Vallejo already has enough of that.”
Until I moved to Vallejo I never used words such as Section 8 housing, or thought about parolees living in our midst, or participatory budgeting. Vallejo has expanded my horizons in so many wonderful ways.
Okay, I didn’t get elected to the Board of Beautification & Design, but the fellow who did was so well-qualified I would have voted for him myself. Meanwhile, I like attending meetings at city hall, love how accessible our city government is, as an observer, and participator, and have become an ardent activist for my Independence Park.
I presented my petition to beautify the park to the Mayor, the members of the City council, and the whole city staff, showed them the seven hundred signatures, told them this is a grass roots initiative, and the citizens of Vallejo have spoken. I said I’d have gotten seven thousand but I got tired. They listened and liked it; told me it was enough; I’d made my point. The Mayor asked me for the petition & told me to come & see him. I’ve got a couple of ideas up my sleeve, which I believe he might find hard to refuse. I won’t give up until I get it done.
My sisters loved the city. I took them to my favorite places: Seafood City, Eco Thrift, Moschetti’s, The Farmer’s Market, the brilliant production of To Kill A Mockingbird at the Maritime Museum, a night of hilarious Gong Show fun at the Empress, and introduced them to the good friends I’ve made since I moved here last July. We walked along the river. They understand why I love Vallejo.
My doctor calls it “end stage” emphysema. Pretty bad, & now my house is filled with noisy machines & tubes & tanks & I’m attached by the nose to oxygen 24/7 — not a pretty sight, nor easy to deal with. A few weeks ago, I got yet another “exacerbation” that sent me to the ER for the day. Another night my oxygen machine mal-functioned & I had to call 911.
I’ve never been sick before and all this is new & scary. Friends & neighbors have come forward to help me & I consider myself lucky to live in Vallejo, with good & kind supportive people. I’ve had a great life & continue to enjoy what I can, given my challenges. They tell me I’m feistier than ever, but I say it’s because of my meds. Nasty stuff.
At least I haven’t lost my appetite, nor my ability to cook for myself (no oxygen near the gas stove!), and continue to enjoy many good things in life. It’s not over. I’m still here.