Category: Animal Rescue

My Golden Gate Dream Globe

YOU GOTTA HAVE A DREAM!

“You gotta have a dream, if you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?” … Oscar Hammerstein, “South Pacific”

This is my Golden Gate Fog Globe, which I got at the deYoung Museum in San Francisco. When you give it a shake, it fills up with sparkly, magical fog. The fog settles gradually, revealing the iconic bridge in all its beauty.

Those swirling sparkles are like my dreams (although I prefer thinking of the stuff in my brain as mist, not fog). I’ve had a lot of dreams over the years, some coming true, some not. Now a big one is settling into reality: GONE DOG, my canine coming-of-age novel, has just been published.

Here’s what is obvious: to make this or any dream come true requires hard work, perseverance, luck, and the support of others. Take, for instance, my dream of getting a law degree, which I did at age 35 with three young children. Whew.

As for GONE DOG, the hard work is not over. I’m now entering the mystical marketing stage: How to spread the word about Puppins, the rescued black Labrador retriever who narrates the book. Puppins is a teen (in human years), dealing with the perennial teenage questions: Who am I, where do I belong, and what’s for dinner?

Introducing GONE DOG to the wide world of readers will be a big task. Ask any unknown, newly published author. Unless you are dishing political dirt, in which case an audience is guaranteed, it’s an uphill battle.

Of course I’ll do the usual marketing things. But here’s a dream that’s swirling around in my brain: A book tour. Not just any book tour. I’ll go on the road with a borrowed black Lab in a rented van decorated with a huge image of my book. We’ll tour the waysides like John Steinbeck did with his dog Charlie. We’ll stop at small-town libraries and animal shelters, meet kids and adults, give readings from GONE DOG, pass out dog treats, and promote animal welfare and rescue efforts. And just have fun. Maybe we’ll sell a few books!

Fanciful? Of course. But who’s to say I can’t do it?

If you don’t have a dream, how you  gonna have a dream come true?

(For more about my book, click on the GONE DOG page on this website, and on my sales page on Amazon.)

Reflections on San Rafael

Reflections is the name I’ve given to a series of photographs I’m taking of shop windows in downtown San Rafael, my current California home. Here is an example:

I love San Rafael. I’ve had a lot of “hometowns,” but San Rafael is one of the best.

This city is old. It has authentically interesting architecture. Its downtown and neighborhood streets are lined with trees. It nestles in the surrounding green hills of Marin County, across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco and a few miles up Highway 101. And if you’re standing in the right spot, you can see the peak of iconic Mount Tamalpais.

This town is not upscale, thank God. It’s not a tourist destination, like Sausalito or Tiburon. And it is more diverse than most Marin County towns, which I appreciate.

Fourth Street is San Rafael’s mile-long main drag. It’s a “walker’s paradise,” according to walkscore.com, which gives it a walkability score of 96 percent, based on the ease of walking to such everyday destinations as banks, post office, markets.

The downtown area draws pedestrians year-round  to do business and shop in its stores, many of which are family run. Like shops in Europe, they tend to specialize. On Fourth Street, you can find a shop for everything from fresh-made sourdough bread to sports cards, from comic books to lacrosse gear, from classic billiards to classic cars.

It’s a good place to walk your dog. Most of the shops have doggy water bowls in front. “Guide Dogs for the Blind” has its headquarters on Fourth Street, and trainers, clickers, and future service dogs are everywhere.

Coffee? Food? There’s a Starbucks, of course. But on Fourth Street, independent coffee shops are alive and well. So are an amazing variety of places to eat: Italian, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Chinese, Japanese, French, Korean, Thai, Burmese, Middle Eastern, Californian, down-home American. And such local favorites as House of Bagels, Johnny Donuts, Double Rainbow Ice Cream, and Pizza Orgasmica: “The Original Sin.”  Not a fast-food franchise in sight.

People actually come downtown at night, meeting friends, having dinner. Every Thursday evening, all summer long, several blocks of Fourth Street are closed to traffic and taken over by the San Rafael Farmers Market. Locally grown fruits and veggies are the big draw, along with stalls selling roast corn, fresh oysters, fried-chicken-and-waffles-on-a-stick, homemade tamales, Himalayan sandwiches and Polish “dawgs.”  Live music for the adults, pony rides and giant inflatable slides for the kids.

Of course, San Rafael has its problems. Including the homeless, more numerous here than elsewhere in Marin. Balancing their needs with those of the town’s citizenry is not easy, and the search for answers is ongoing. My little church is involved in the effort, along with other churches and organizations.

As for the Reflections series, I have certain rules: First, the window display must be interesting. Second, the reflection must show layers of neighboring buildings and the passing scene. I’ll post more of these photographs in the future.

The Reflections image at the top of this post was taken at D’Lynne’s Dancewear, which sells costumes as well as tutus and tap shoes. Reflected in D’Lynne’s window, behind Uncle Sam and the Statue of Liberty, is the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Theater, a restored Art Deco movie theater that focuses on foreign, art, classic, and documentary films. It is run by the nonprofit California Film Institute (of which I am a member).

And here’s a favorite place on Fourth Street:

Double Rainbow Ice Cream

 

 

 

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