Being at two with Nature


HAVE LAPTOP — will travel. One of the things that I love about my profession is being able to work anywhere. I’m sitting in the garden courtyard of Montclair Branch Library, totally charmed by the little brown birds sucking nectar from a bushy purple tree. Like tiny Christmas ornaments, they bob merrily on the brightly colored branches, giving life to a plant that might otherwise go unnoticed. Distracting? Yes, but I’m reminded of the wise words of Woody Allen, who said of a moment like this: “I am at two with nature”.

BEACH PROTEST: Body language isn’t always easy to read. But there’s nothing subtle about reader Brad Newsham’s impeachment message, which he’s spelled out four times on Bay Area beaches in recent months. The Beach Impeach Project was born in his Oakland kitchen after his 9-year-old daughter brought up the Web site Google Earth. “Something dinged in my head, and within two to three minutes, I had the idea for ‘Beach Impeach’ fully formed and was off and running,” he writes. Now Newsham is a celebrity, of sorts. He’s been interviewed by every network from CBS to the BBC. Not bad for a 56-year-old dad who makes his living as a cabbie in San Francisco .

E-MAIL BAG: I love it when I’m lectured on the virtues of driving a Prius, a car I helped popularize in the East Bay when I first purchased and publicized the vehicle back in 2000. But at least one reader was apparently appalled that I’d give up my hybrid for a little Scion sports coup: “I found it offensive that you felt compelled to tell your readers that your personal sense of style, or desire to be different from the crowd, was more important than reducing your use of fossil fuels,” Nancy Lane writes. “By all means, consider your individuality when you choose your clothes, your hairstylist or your next meal at a restaurant. But please reconsider publicizing — flaunting, really — a disdain for higher gas mileage purely because “everyone does it.”

On the hot topic of Montclair’s proposed stop light at Mountain and La Salle, reader Lin Barron asks: Would an “on demand” pedestrian light work instead — such as the ones on Grand Avenue and Lakeshore. She says that might quell the city’s fear of liability for pedestrian injuries.

Speaking of the Village, reader Joanne Sandstrom has figured out how to get the most bang for her buck at Montclair parking meters. Use dimes. She says an hour paid in dimes costs $1.25, compared the $1.30 it will cost if you pay with quarters or the $1.50 you’ll pay if you use nickels. The big bag of change can also be used as a weapon if you’re mugged.

CRAFTY MOVE: Montclair’s Knitting Basket has reopened with a new owner, Kelly Nayo. Nayo works for Coldwell Banker in Montclair and began an online Crochet Boutique last December when she needed extra money in the soft real estate market. But her love for the craft goes back even farther, to the first time she picked up the needles at age 7. As you can imagine, Nayo has never been accused of having idle hands. She’s an active parent at Montclair Elementary School (where she has three kids), serves on the School Site Council and is a Girl Scout Brownie troop leader. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

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