Dirty mural; fine gardens; cool new cure


I put up my Halloween decorations today. Something in the air told me it’s time. Maybe it was my neighbor’s Japanese maple, suddenly ablaze with color. Or the aspens at Lake Tahoe, throwing gold and silver casts from their shimmering leaves.

In Half Moon Bay and Brentwood, the pumpkins are getting round and ripe on their winding green vines, and you can smell the apple crisp in the local cafes. Fall is in the air, and I’m ready for the change. Break out the flannel jammies and bring on the comfort foods!

Park graffiti

Let’s scribble gang signs and graffiti all over Montclair Park. That’s the message we’re sending to taggers every day we wait to clean up the side of the restrooms near the park’s ballfield. It’s been several weeks since the building was vandalized with spray paint — covering what was left of the duck mural painted by local artist Dan Fontes.

Therein lies the problem. Fontes is suing the city over the last graffiti cleanup, a botched job where workers completely painted over his beloved mural. This time the offending scribble is much worse — and word is there’ll be no clean-up until the suit is settled.

Healing with music

Everyone has his or her own way of coping with the memories of last Sept. 11. At Corpus Christi School on Park Boulevard, there’ll be a special morning mass with school ending early at 12:30 p.m.

Another prominent East Bay church, the one with the big cross on the hill in Castro Valley, is hosting an evening of music. That’s where I’ll be — listening to songs that were written to lift the spirit and soothe the soul. The concert, “An American Requiem,” starts at 8 p.m. at the Neighborhood Church, 20600 John Drive. For directions and information, call 510-537-4690.

Grand gardens

Californians love a good garden, and eight exceptional gardens are being featured in Redwood Heights at the end of the month. Reader Jim Hodgkins says this neighborhood of interesting homes, built from the 1920s through the 50s, has the oldest voluntary homeowner’s association in Oakland. The proceeds from the garden tour go toward neighborhood improvements; for more information, call Jim at 510-637-0356.

Ah, the spa

This gives a whole new meaning to the term “getting stoned.” Hot and cold rock massages are the trendy new spa treatment these days, and you don’t have to travel far to get one.

The Lafayette Park Hotel opens its new spa this month with La Stone Therapy, one of just 100 resorts worldwide with this treatment. Not only do you get a deeper massage with stones, the hot and cold gives pure pleasure to your aching muscles. If you ask me, it beats the traditional massage — hands down!

Skin deep

Stranger than any science fiction film, the IMAX film “The Human Body” at Chabot Space and Science Center is simply amazing. For 43 minutes, you take one strange ride through your inner organs in stunning and graphic detail. See the sludge of a morning breakfast plop into a human stomach and go through digestion. Follow the 100-mile odyssey of a red blood cell through a tangled network of veins, arteries and capillaries. Every school kid should see this film. Even if the reaction is “Oooooh, that’s nasty!” (At least you know they’re paying attention.)

Strange sleepover

A parking lot pajama party didn’t have many takers at Montclair’s Albertsons last week. It was a radio station promotion offering a free Rolling Stones concert ticket to anyone who spent the night in the grocery store’s upper lot. The faithful few like Julie Miller and Rosalie Masada had a great time bedding down with some rather strange bedfellows, I’m sure. And a broken night’s sleep is a small price to pay for a Rolling Stones ticket. But the rest of us boomers? We were busy trying to get the kids to sleep, on the eve of the second day of school in Oakland.

Hot stuff

From the “Thanks for the Warning” file comes this tidbit: A sign warning walkers near the Chabot Space and Science Center that there are meadow muffins on the trail. Editor J. Levaux almost stepped in the pile of fresh horse manure marked only by a sign that said “hot.”

License plate sighting

D. Withers recently spotted these plates on a car in Montclair: QN MRY. No, the car was not one of those big “boats” that seniors sometimes drive but, rather, a lovely sea green Saturn — registered, he guesses, to a driver named Mary.

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