Saturday, December 31, 2011

You and Me and the Bottle Makes Three Tonight

Well, at the end of 2010, I promised myself I would blog more and I have.  And now it's the end of 2011 and I am not sure what I will promise myself in the new year.

This time, last year, I was getting ready to go to a party in Berkeley.  This year, I am laid up on the couch with a cold, at a friend's house, cat sitting for her while she is out of town.

No big plans, just:

You and..

Me and...

The Bottle Makes Three Tonight!

Alright, 2012, BE AWESOME!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tales From The Couch

I just came down with a nasty cold that has rendered me somewhat motionless, but not entirely.

For the past couple of months I had been taking Wellness Formula Herbal Resistance Liquid along with some Emergen-C packets, thinking I had beaten this chronic ailment that has been going around, from what I read on Facebook.

But now, it has gotten me.

So, here I sit, almost immovable, grateful for an internet connection, a couch, and cable.  This combination, along with a daily dose of Theraflu and other drugs, oughta get me through this week.

I guess it's time for me to play catch up- writing wise.


1. Coming off the news that Kim Jong IL died, I reveled in the spike in interest of North Korea.  For a day or two, more people paid attention to just how repressive that country's regime is.  What else can we do to raise awareness and get people MAD? 

2. I waited until December 23rd to start Christmas shopping.  I did alright.  I only had to buy for my teen nieces who live in the suburbs.  I was determined to get them gifts that did not come from a mall. Mission accomplished.

3. I lost my wallet in da club.  That's right, I went clubbin last Friday night and  now I could add another line to  the Katy Perry song, "Last Friday Night"

"I went clubbin after dark, and I never saw a park, lost my wallet on a lark....Last Friday Night.."

Pure poetry in pop music.

I didn't realize I had lost my wallet til the next morning. I stumbled out of bed around 11am and was getting ready to go to Starbucks and my purse seemed lighter.  My heart sank. I had so much fun the night before, and now it was ruined cuz someone took my wallet?

I checked my bank statement online and there was no unusual activity on my ATM card or my gas card, so I am thinking either someone turned my wallet in OR it's still sitting on the dance floor between the couch and the speakers inside da club.  The club doesn't re-open today until 4pm and they don't have a phone, so I guess I get to go in there with this nasty cold and find out what's up. *Praying it's still there*

In the meantime, I had to race out to the bank, and tell Darnell, the banker, about my situation. The conversation went something like this:

Me: I lost my wallet. I need to cancel my ATM card.

Darnell: Where do you think you left it at?

Me: In da club

Darnell: You wuz in da club?

Me: (putting my head down on his desk), I was in da club.

Darnell: What club?

Me: Somar.

Darnell: That place is always packed!


So that's how I spent Christmas Eve, running around trying to cancel whatever was left in my wallet that night.  But I still think it's on the floor inside da club.

4. Christmas Day I picked up my 87- year- old grandmother in San Leandro and we high-tailed through the Caldecott tunnel, upon a few different freeways, and into suburbia to spend with my family.  Total number of freeways and highways driven on Christmas Day: 7.  My right foot went numb.

5. The Day After Christmas, I slept like a baby. I felt brand new. I was rested and peaceful. I finally had a chance to clean the apartment I have been cat-sitting at.  Then I raced out to da club to see if it was open. It wasn't.  Then I got my nails done with my friend Peggy, aka, Pegeisha.  Then I went over to my hip hop teacher's, Tati's house for some milk and cookies. Okay, we had meat and potatoes, but it's all comfort food. And then we played word games.  Around 9:30pm, my throat started hurting and last night, as I tried to sleep, I could not swallow without excruciating pain, even though I took Nyquil before I went to bed.

And I lay.  Grateful for a couch, a kitty, internet and cable.

Happy New Years!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

It Has Been a Bizarre Last 48 Hours

I was looking through my "journal" today, hoping to come up with some sort of "2011 Life in Review" post, but I noticed I didn't journal much this past year, hence the quotation marks.  How did THAT happen?

Probably because I was blogging instead.  In the meantime, this past weekend has jarred me emotionally with news about friends and relatives being very ill.  As I have been processing all of this,  I just found out Kim Jong Il died, which doesn't make me sad of course- but it adds to the wierdness of my weekend.

If I could send people to just one website about North Korea, I would direct them to One Free Korea

All of the North Korea junkies go there, so it's a great place to start if you are looking for information about all things North Korea.

Okay, back to processing all the bizarreness of this weekend. Is that a word?

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Alternative Christmas Traditions in the San Francisco Bay Area

My mom was always very good about getting up early, turning holiday music on, and cleaning on those weekends that lead up to Christmas.  Today I was reminding myself of my mother.

I wiped down counters, dusted shelves, windexed mirrors and sang along to the radio station 92.1's non-stop holiday music mix.  With a Christmas Tree scented candle perfuming my apartment, a whisk of childhood memories came flooding up.
I only know Christmas how the Donahoe clan celebrates it.  As I would get older, I would see that other families from other areas had their own unique traditions and experiments.   I can only write about my own.
Donahoe rule #1:
"Santa are your parents, okay? Now what do you want for Christmas?"
That's right, the Donahoe children never believed in Santa Claus and don't feel sorry for us because we got stuff anyway.  When I asked my mother later on about why we never did the Santa thing, she replied, "it was the 70's and you didn't lie to your children."
I remember my dad opening up a department store catalog and telling me, "circle what you want."   Now, I didn't get everything that I circled, but I knew that at least my wants would be heard. Who has time to write a list when you can just circle the picture?  I want two magic sets please! Abracadabra!
Donahoe Rule #2:
"You don't always have to wrap the presents."
One year, my parents, who were raising four children, decided they would just number the presents instead of wrapping them.  I believe I was "number four" for fourth-born.  On Christmas morning, they made us kids stay away from the tree until all the gifts were numbered.  Then we simply grabbed the boxes that had our numbers on them and opened them.  Oh, who has time to wrap presents when you have four kids?
Donahoe Rule #3:
"Christmas trees come in all shapes and sizes."
One year my mother decided she didn't want to get a big tree, so she bought a small Charlie Brown type tree and put it on this shelf that was to the left of the entry way as you entered our house.  I gotta tell you, that truly bummed me out.  Our presents were put under this tiny tree.  I preferred the traditional 6 footer that my sister and I could crawl under and stare up at the lights.  You know, the kind of tree the cat could get its claws on and knock down all the ornaments.  Those are the best.  Fortunately, there was only one year we had a small tree.
Donahoe Rule #4:
"Do you really want presents? Wouldn't you prefer money instead?"
As we got older, and became four teens who were difficult to shop for, my parents started having "Money Trees". They would put money in envelopes with our names on them, and then hang them on the tree.   We all got the same amount once our loot was collected.  All I could think about was heading for the mall the next day so I could buy a brand new pair of Jordache jeans.  Oh, I was so cool.
Donahoe Rule #5
"Once you turn 18, you are knocked off the "You-automatically-get-presents" list."
Yup, now that we are all grown ups, we only give presents to the kids, which means my two younger nieces. My oldest niece is now 20 and she got kicked off the list two years ago.  She's fine.  She knew it was coming.
So now I get to shop for two teen girls this Christmas.  What should I get them? Should I just cut them a check and call it a day?
Happy Holidays.  What are your family's quirky holiday traditions?

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Life of a Writer

"As a writer, I need an enormous amount of time alone.  Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials.  It's a matter of doing everything you can to avoid writing, until it is about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write.  Having anybody watching that or attempting to share it with me would be grisly."  - Paul Rudnick

I have friends who, in their spare time, love to bake, create things, and decorate their walls with lots of art.  As I type this, I look around my apartment and I have bare walls and nothing is baking (I have never turned the oven on in this place since I moved in 2007).

And if I have any spare time at all, I prefer to spend it writing or watching a documentary.  In the meanwhile, my apartment stays cluttered.

It's a matter of priorities I guess. If I have any sort of creative energy at all, I prefer to write it down.  It's a messy process though.

"I type in one place, but I write all over the house." - Toni Morrison

I have always loved to write.  My first memory of writing stories was in the fourth grade when I wrote about things such as, "Stanley, My Pet Basketball" and "As The Curtain Rises" (about acting on stage).  My teacher told me she loved my stories.

I had quite the imagination then, as most children do. I kind of wonder where it went, since I tend to write more autobiographically these days.  I also prefer to read non-fiction over fantasy as well.  I have never read or watched anything remotely having to do with Harry Potter and the like.

If I am going to sit still and read a book, I want to learn something.  I prefer true stories about lessons learned because that is what inspires me.  Most of the books in my apartment are only half-read though, with dusty book marks in them.  I can pretty much put any book down, which is sad, really, since that is considered illegal by most writer's standards.  Writers are supposed to be reading all the time.  I, however, prefer to people watch.  I blame it on my self diagnosed A.D.D. 

I would like to be more well rounded and have a burning desire to make Christmas cookies, knit quilts and paint abstract art.  But unless someone reminds me to do these things over and over again, being crafty does not enter my mind most days.

It's just been in the past couple of years I have felt compelled to start sharing my true stories.  For awhile, my love for acting, with a side of dance, took the forefront in my life.  But now, it's time to write.

I just hope I don't end up being some crazy cat lady buried behind a keyboard, hair unkept, wearing a bathrobe all day, a la Carrie Fisher in Season 2 of the television show, 30 Rock:

Save me Carrie Fisher, you're my only hope.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Occupy Oakland- Week 8: Re-Occupy The Plaza

Well, they're back.  Occupiers could not stay away from Frank Ogawa Plaza and even though they are not allowed to set up camp there, they can have a 24/7 Vigil instead.

I think this is the smart thing to do, personally.  You want to protest in a central location, but also, it's closer to my work, so I can take pictures. Kinda glad the whole West Oakland location thing didn't work out.

I am not sure what 24/7 Vigil entails.  I think it means they can chill, light candles, have meetings, as long as they don't sleep there or pitch a tent.

But how about a Tepee?

That's right. Nobody said nuttin bout a tepee!

So the Occupiers got a 3 day permit to allow their tepee, but they have to take it down every night at 10pm.  Along with the InterFaith Tent:

In the meantime, I took more pictures of signs and stuff...

But not matter what happens to the crowd at Frank Ogawa Plaza, we can always rely on these guys to hold it down come Summer, Winter, Spring or Fall..

Two men live in that tree.  Running Wolf and another guy.  I think the other guy goes by "Anonymous".

When the crowds thin out, these guys are here no matter what.

Alright, as of Tuesday night, OccupyLA is really supposed to get raided for real this time.  Two nights ago was a practice I guess.  Gonna see if I can watch via live stream....


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Occupy Oakland- End of Week 7

So at the beginning of Week 7, Occupy Oakland had decided to occupy some private property in West Oakland and said they had permission from the owner.  But by the end of the week, the space at 18th and Linden was abandoned.  Perhaps there had been some miscommunication.

The Entrace on Monday, November 21st:

That Same Entrance on Saturday, November 26th:

On November 21st:

On Saturday, November 26th:

On November 21st:

On November 26th:

On November 21st:

On November 26th:

Now there is talk of Occupy Oakland becoming a "pop up" occupation - meaning, they will pop up wherever and whenever, I guess.  In the meantime, as I type this, alot of Occupiers from Oakland and San Francisco have headed South to OccupyLA to support them, due to the impending threat of their camp being raided at 12:01am on Monday, November 28th.  Rumor has it there are over 2,000 cops waiting to remove the 1,000 Occupiers.

I can't take pictures of LA from here. I guess I will just have to watch and see how it unfolds on Twitter....

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving In The San Francisco Bay Area

Around 10 years ago, when I was cat-sitting for a previous employer in an Oakland neighborhood not far from where I live now, I noticed a Bay Area phonemenon on Thanksgiving day that I had not seen before.


There was plenty of street parking. I was giddy, as if I had all the streets to myself. I felt a sense of ease as I looked around a comparitively desolate neighborhood that one Thursday morning.  It was peaceful.

Through the years I have become grateful for other things during Thanksgiving:

1. Parking (okay, I just said that)
2. Starbucks is open until 4pm.
3. Sleeping in (I don't have small children and I don't have to catch a flight anywhere)
4. Waking up and watching the Macy's Parade in bed (I find traditions comforting)
5. Egg nog
6. My heater
7. And I get the feeling that I am grateful that I don't have to drive in the snow anywhere.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Occupy Oakland West

So this morning, while on my way to work, I got off on my normal freeway exit, but made a right, instead of a left on 18th Street and drove to the latest Occupy Oakland camp at 18th Street and Linden.

I parked my car and hurredly crossed the street to snap a few photos.  I had heard that the Occupiers were being more choosy about who they were letting into their space because they were now using private property enclosed by a fence.  I prayed they would let me in.

I came to their entrance (a torn part of the fence) and saw that they wouldn't let another woman in with a nice professional looking camera because they were not allowing press yet.  I insisted I wasn't press, just a girl with a pink camera phone, and that I wouldn't take pictures of anyone's faces- "just tents and signs" is my motto.  They let me in.

I quickly snapped away.  Here's a few shots:

I heard it was more like $350,000 after taxes, but who knows...

The entrance

You are here


Later on at home, I read on Twitter that a bunch of cops had showed up and told the Occupiers they had 30 minutes to vacate.  So the Occupiers sent out a warning via text to others to come out and support.  It appeared to work because the cops ended up leaving as I watched on a livestream.  Not sure what their strategy is, but if it's a repeated pattern from before, I bet you the police will come back around 4:30am and kick em out while the Occupiers sleep.

In the meantime - they dance in the streets of West Oakland. I wish I had a pic of that. I read about on Twitter.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Accidental Tourist at Occupy San Francisco

Friday, November 11, 2011  (aka 11-11-11)

On my Facebook page I had posted that if I had money, I would travel to all the Occupy camps in the world, take photos and blog about them.

I normally take pictures of Occupy Oakland because it's a stone's throw away from my work, but today I had Veteran's Day off, so I headed to San Francisco to check out their camp.


And My Favorite:

This last sign seems to be indicative of whats happening at many Occupy Camps around the nation.  Other causes are hijacking the original message.  If only I knew what the original message was....

As I exited the Embarcadero Bart Station, dark clouds threatened rain. I didn't have much time to snap pictures, but at least OccupySF was within super close walking distance.

I noticed an immediate difference between the OccupySF camp and the Occupy Oakland camp.

1. OccupySF is somewhat bigger

2. OccupySF has less signs

3. OccupySF has way more white people.

A folksy reggae band that was performing at the encampment was like a shock to my system.  Most of the entertainment over at the Oakland camp have been hip hop artists.

There was also less anger in the air as I snapped away pictures.  No one shoo'd me away and I didn't hear any grumbling from mentally ill people about how they didn't want to go back to jail from inside their tents.

So, in some ways, it felt safer to walk through their encampment than in Oakland, but in other ways, it didn't feel like a protest. It just felt like a street fair with tents.  Granted their next march wasn't scheduled till the next day- I would be missing out on the action.

Across the Bay in Oakland, protesters marched in the rain and got amped up as they were delivered another eviction notice.  It could be any day now for round 3 with the riot cops. Third time's a charm? 

It's so beautiful in San Francisco, it makes me wonder...maybe it's too hard for the protesters to stay mad there.  How will they keep their resolve against those beautiful sunsets over looking the Bay?

Tomorrow is a march in Solidarity with Egypt in both San Francisco and Oakland.  As for me, unless Oakland decides to march through my neighborhood again, it will be a picture-free day.

Unless there's a raid.  Then I am all about the "aftermath" photos.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Occupy Crime - Happy 1 Month Anniversary Occupy Oakland!

Events of November 10, 2011

And I thought I wasn't going to have anything to write about tonight.

Today at work was like any other day in Downtown Oakland.

-I crawled into the office due to lack of sleep from the night before. ( I was up late last night watching a live stream of the Occupy Cal Berkeley protests going on- thousands of protesters filled Sproul Plaza and of course mainstream news was off the air).

-I ate a very bland lunch because I had dance class later on tonight and didn't want to burp up spicy sauce.

-And I took pictures of the Occupy Oakland encampment around 2pm.


Occupy Kitty!

 Women's Tent
This is where women can just chill- The Red Tent. Symbolic of ancient cultures that provided a place for women to bare children and have other womenly adventures in private.  I think I should put a Red Tent in my cubicle at work and crawl in it when I have cramps.

The Whole Funk and Nothin but The Funk

As the afternoon wore on, my boss left our office around 3:45pm to head for Sacramento.  Having Veteran's Day off tomorrow, today was our Friday.  At this point, it was just me and one other co-worker in the office.

Around 5pm, I begin to hear helicopters and didn't think much of it.  Then I heard sirens, but I hear sirens everyday in Oakland, so I continued to work.  The only event that was happening tonight in the plaza was Occupy Oakland's One Month Anniversary Party.  They were going to have music and dancing and asked everyone to bring cake.  Surely the helicopters weren't looming above for just a party.

But all the noise just kept getting louder so I checked Twitter, and sure enough, there had been a shooting right outside Tully's coffee shop and right out side the Occupy Oakland encampment.

"Wonderful," I just thought.

Right when I heard it was by Tully's, my gut reaction was that it wasn't related to the Occupiers. For the most part, they stay inside their campgrounds- well at least the hardcore ones do.

But I had to see to for myself.

I know, I know, I don't generally take pictures at night, but I figured with all the cops there and the shooter gone, it would be a pretty safe place to be. Lightning doesn't ever strike twice in the same place, does it?

I walked over to the plaza and the crime scene had been roped off and news cameras were everywhere.

The man in this last photo was talking about how the lights needed to be turned back on in the plaza. They had been out for a few days and the water had been turned off.  Some occupiers suspected that City Hall was trying to slowly kick them out by using these tactics.  With daylight savings time being over and the lights not on at night-it gets dark in the plaza pretty quickly.

At first the occupiers insisted that the shooting was not connected to their movement, but then I started reading tweets that said the victim and his cousin shared a tent together inside the camp.  But then others insisted that information wasn't verified, so who knows.

In any event, Mayor Quan said the shooting underscored the need for the encampment to leave whether it was related to Occupy Oakland or not. I am not sure why she thinks that, because if anything, there has probably been less crime since the campers took over.  Murder usually happens in dark isolated places and not with a hundred eyes watching.

As of 11:45pm, tweets were flying around the camp, wondering if they are going to be raided by the cops again tonight.  If they are, it would be the second time a raid has happened after an anniversary party.  The last raid was after their Two-Week Celebration.

Tomorrow, I head off to Occupy SF! I am excited! I haven't had a chance to get over there yet and take pictures.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What's The Difference Between Oakland and Berkeley?

What's the difference between someone from Oakland and someone from Berkeley?

People from Oakland don't ask, "what are all the helicopters for?"

After another day of working in Downtown Oakland and taking pictures of the latest changes to the Occupy Oakland camp, I headed out to Berkeley for my usual Wednesday night dance class.

I had read on Twitter that about 2000 students had occupied Sproul Plaza- the epicenter of all things Cal, and now the cops were coming in to take down their tents.

As I entered Berkeley City limits around 5pm, I started laughing because I saw three helicopters just looming over campus up ahead. It's been the soundtrack to my work day lately.

I got to my gym and was changing my clothes in the locker room when I overheard a woman ask:

"What are all the helicopters for?"

I don't think I have ever heard that question asked in Oakland, because...well... there's always something going on in Oakland.

I informed this woman that Occupy protests were happening at the University, then finished changing my clothes and went to dance class.

Now, I know ALOT of people in the world are watching the Occupy protests, but, maybe not the WHOLE world as some posted banners and signs that have suggested.

Quotes from some friends of mine regarding the Occupy Movement (paraphrasing):

"I don't know much about it, I don't have cable."

"Why are they mad? Because other people make money?"

"I know very little about it."

So if occupiers want the WHOLE WORLD to watch them, they might have to step up their efforts a bit and I have no idea what that would look like.

In the meantime, I take pictures...


The tents just keep getting flashier and flashier...

Pagan Porta-Potties!

Occupy Fashionista

After I left my dance class I did a drive-by over at Sproul Plaza, parked my car, and walked over to the demonstration. 


Those last two pics made the top 3, because most of the Cal Berkeley protesters look more like this:

"Mic check!"

I said, "Mic check!"

While Oakland Occupiers look more like this:

Okay, so I guess, THAT'S the difference between Oakland and Berkeley.

As I finish typing this blog, according to Twitter, Sproul Plaza now has thousands of protesters standing off with police in riot gear and they are, apparently, stepping it up.

But I'm going to bed.


Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Favorite Pics on Day 30 of Occupy Oakland

This is my daily effort to not over-blog on the weekend: by writing shorter blogs in the work week.

Every day at lunch time I stroll over to Frank Ogawa Plaza and take pics of sights, signs and scenes that I have not seen before at the Occupy Oakland camp.

My top three pics for Tuesday, November 8, 2011:

Are living conditions so bad, that even the "occupotties" are outta order?

A man sitting on a bench blowing bubbles
You see, they are not all just a bunch of tough guys who throw fire extinguishers filled with paint at the police.  They have a soft side too.

And finally my favorite....

What Would Jesus Occupy?

That's all for now. Tune in tomorrow when "Occupy Cal" hits Berkeley campus.  Okay, I won't be there, but I am sure it will be a fun time had by all.

And on Friday, November 11th, there is going to be an Occupy march in San Francisco.  Something to do with Egypt. I just so happen to have that day off because it's Veteran's Day.  I hope I get some cool shots without freezing my butt off. It supposed to rain.  Ugh.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Day 29 of Occupy Oakland!

So I read on Twitter this morning that the Oakland City Council was tossing some ideas around about where to relocate the occupiers who have been camped out on the lawn in front of City Hall for 29 days now.

There were about 6 different locations being suggested and one of them was under a freeway overpass just a stone's throw away from where I live. 

I had to admit, I was giddy.

I know I should be concerned or nervous or whatever, but I just loooove taking pictures and being where the action is long as it's light out. Because my camera phone's flash isn't that great and also, because, well, you know, it's Oakland.

But I highly doubt the occupiers will be willing to relocate and they haven't been evicted yet, so for now, they stay.

At lunchtime I took my usual stroll into Frank Ogawa Plaza to snap the latest changes to the camp.

I met a guy named Zachari, who lives in this tent. He let me know that the next local march is on

Love This:

This man said he has been camping here since Day 1.

A Man Getting Treatment

When I took this last photo, a couple of protesters asked that I not do so out of respect. I assured them that I was not taking a picture of his face.  The picture I was trying to get was the back of the coat of  the woman bending over that said, "FIRE DEPT."  I thought it was cool how fast they got to the camp after the man fell ill.  I don't know what was wrong with him, but the woman said they were taking good care of him.

And last but not least...

Tonight on Twitter, it was said that Occupy Wallstreet is going to transfer money to Occupy Oakland for funds to bail out protesters via a Wells Fargo Account.


Discuss amongst yourselves.