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Occidental Oriented - May 2015


Occidental Oriented - May 2015

My grandmother, Mary, used to write the Occidental column for the Sebastopol Times. When I began writing this incarnation of the Occidental column, she gave me several of her old columns, clipped from the papers they were printed on. The paper was soft and smelled of ink and years past. The first one I read told about an adventure in her family regarding my mother’s older brother’s show pig. Another surveyed her friends about their New Year’s resolutions. In it, I heard my mother as a teenager, bored and tired, humoring her mother. It was strange to read things written about my own mother, written by someone else who loves her. Of course, I have read other things written by my grandmother-- lots of short stories, and a poem named after me in a book called Jasmine Nights and Monkey Pluck. This is the poem I read at three in the morning. This poem is wonderful.  It ends with the line “For him, she does not have to be beautiful or gifted, just being is enough.” The she is me. That line sends the warm fuzzies through my body and reminds me that I am loved-- that my family will always be there for me… that no matter what, there is love. 

Love is the glue that holds us all together. Even in the most chaotic of times, I have always felt that I could find a quiet, still place in the arms of my mother, my father, my grandmother, my uncles, or my aunt. The love that we all share is a beautiful thing, and every day I am grateful to live so close to so much of my family. With grandma up the hill approximately one and a quarter mile away and my uncles less than fifteen minutes down the road I am surrounded by the most loving family in the world. And I know it’s cheesy, but I truly do love this family of mine more than anything. 

I am so lucky to live with the people I do, in the place that I do. Even if I sometimes complain about there being nothing to do in this town, I really do like it here.  My spring break was a few weeks ago, and not only did I get to go to Mexico, but I also got to spend a week here at home. (I have a two week spring break!) It was the first time in a while that I had really spent any time in Occidental. Given that it is right below my mom’s office I was bound to notice—Laurence’s Glass Works has moved in to Verdigris’ old location. The new store looks beautiful, and now has much more visibility. Other exciting things include a new mural for the old Harmony campus in the works, and an abundance of sandwich board signs cluttering up the sidewalks. If you have a sign up there and it isn’t necessary—do us all a favor and move it. It’s cluttering up the intersection and making our quaint little town less cute. 

A new innovative is attempt to keep Joy Road wire free and beautiful, while providing high-speed internet and nationwide phone services to the area. Its underground fiber optic cables that they are looking to install—but to do so they need at least 250 households to sign up. The eligible area is from the top of Willow Creek all the way down to Bodega. This area includes Joy Road, Willow Creek Road in Occidental, Taylor Lane, Jennifer Drive, Lauri Lane, Joy Ridge Road, Owl Road, Burl Lane, Joy Woods Way, Deer Meadow Lane, Doc’s Ranch Road, and Fitzpatrick Lane in Occidental, and all of the private roads and driveways off of these roads. If you are interested in these services visit  for more information.  

With your new high-speed internet, be sure to email me anything you think I should include in next month’s column. I’m happy to include what you deem important. Have a lovely month!