Tag Archives: holidays

Valentine’s Day

When I a little girl I LOVED Valentine’s Day; not because I dreamt of a knight-in-shining-armor or had a hope chest (neither of these are true), but because it is a totally mundane Hallmark holiday that my gifted and generous mother made magical by infusing it with the appropriate amount of paganism and Victorian tradition.  

Valentine’s Day morning meant a special breakfast.  It usually consisted of Swedish pancakes (my mother didn’t make any other kind) with powdered sugar and lingonberry jam.  There was always beautiful fresh fruit too, often strawberries and whipped cream (by hand, not something that comes out of a nozzle).  The table was specially set and varied from year to year.  Lace table cloths would have been removed from linen drawers the night before and ironed.  White and gold china was used.  Perhaps there was red silk underneath the antique lace one year.  Each place setting had a handmade Valentine (sometimes more than one if we had spent the preceding week crafting together).  And this was all usually around six AM, before we had to put on our uniforms (with a red sweater, or maybe a pink bow in my hair to denote the holiday) and go to school. 

With all the hullabaloo around Valentine’s day from the couples (he better get the right reservation!) and singles (damn all the coupled people!) I miss the good old days of sugary breakfasts and familial love.  It was romantic, just not in a sexy way.  To celebrate Valentine’s Day here are some gorgeous images of antique and vintage Valentines and some tips for making your own sugary breakfast. Enjoy!


While I wasn’t one for knight-in-shining-armor I did have a thing for a nice, big pink sash.  Love it! Source

valentine2The sailboat! The garlands of forget-me-nots!  Source




Unbelievable.  So gorgeous.  Really worth clicking on the link to see more details.  The ribbon alone! Source


The gesturing hand is so Victorian. And the dove with the envelope! The purple and white lilacs really put me over the top on this one.  Source

The Swedish pancake mix that was always on hand in our pantry:


Lunds and lingonberry jam can be found at specialty grocers or online here.

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What’s Up With Black History Month

I’ve been thinking about BHM, and wanted to say something about it on ARL, so I did a little digging.  The first thing I came up with was Cynthia Tucker’s article that was published locally in the Chronicle on 2/9/09.  I think Tucker did a brilliant job elucidating the issues around keeping up the tradition, while simultaneously looking forward to better days.  I hope to share this with my students.  Let’s hear your thoughts.  

Black history is the nation’s history by Cynthia Tucker via the San Francisco Chronicle



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The Christmas Tree

We’re almost finished decorating the Christmas tree.  The scavaged and gilded leaves turned out exceedingly well.  We even found some magnolia leaves!  Here are photographs of the end result:





Lit Christmas trees are very difficult to photograph but I did my best.  We are all especially enamored with the long narrow seed pods that we glittered (the embossing glitter from Paper Source is excellent for this purpose).  I brought the garlands up from Rockridge.  They are gilded paper, available at Tail of the Yak in Berkeley for approximately $10.  I believe we only used 2 for our eight foot tree. 


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Last Minute Christmas Shopping

I was so relieved that my family finally decided to do Secret Santa this year.  I’m not a fan of Christmas shopping, and although I was blessed with a lot of toys and fabulous gifts as a child, I come from a religious Christian family where the focus actually was more on the Advent Wreath than counting down the shopping days.  

For the third year in a row I’ve considered banning myself from buying ANY Christmas presents, sort of in an anti-materialist protest.  But there’s a catch: I have a large family of in-laws who get me tons of gifts.  I haven’t figured out how to navigate this yet, all I know is that not getting them anything makes me feel like a giant schmuck. 

Ergo, last minute Christmas shopping.  Oy ve.  

Determined not to be oppressed by big box stores and the like, I’m grabbing some reusable bags and heading up to College Avenue (I know, I sound so effing Oaklandish right now).  I’ll be finding little trinkets from my local businesses and business owners.  We Rockridgers just can’t get enough of mom and pop and small business.  Call us crazy.  

If you’re interested in following suit, I recommend checking this website if you are unfamiliar with the area.

I’ll be checking out: Market Hall and Pasta Shop, Maison D’etre, Bloomies Flowers, Bella Vita, Pendragon Books, Rockridge Home, The Alta Bates Showcase Thrift Shop, Diesel Books, Atomic Garden, Pretty Penny, Body Time, Crossroads Vintage, and Recapture.  Find more info on these shops here.

I might also cruise Telegraph (the “Temescal” district) for Scout Home Hardware and Sagrada Sacred Arts.

Ho ho ho.


Diesel Books really soothes me. 


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For the Love of Low Heels

Finals stress+holiday stress=window shopping on e-commerce sites!

Bear in mind Saddleshoos will never purchase any of these glitzy concoctions in reality, but isn’t that what the Internet is for?  An escape from…?

Behold these hot Italian puppies:


“Eileen Shields” is not a designer name that elicits drool on its own, but I give ole’ Eileen-y props for these.  Mmm!  I can really see Saddleshoos ripping up a dance floor in those!

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“What I’m doing for Thanksgiving…”

By one of my 6th grade students…

I hope you have a great thanksgiving.  What I’m doing for Thankgiving is I’m going to my dad’s house and eat turkey, pupkin pie (yum!!!), Apple pie, mashed potatoes ETC. I’m going to have a party and invite my friends over to have dinner with us.  At the party I’m going to chit-chat, text on my cell phone, and eat a lot of food.  Well that’s my Thanksgiving what’s yours???


Txxx Mxxx

Txxx starts everyday by walking down the hallway and saying “[Saddleshoos] I have something to tell you!” I say: “What?” and Txxx says “HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!”

Txxx is a fun kid with highly developed adult-like social skills (chit-chat and texting at dinner, sound familiar?).  I’m proud of Txxx because he is learning to put his glasses on when he comes to class.  You don’t understand the significance of the battle of the glasses with middle schoolers.  Children you must see in order to learn!

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An Elmwood Halloween: Abuzz for Obama

Saddleshoos and crew made our way to “Abuzz for Obama” in the Elmwood section of Berkeley on Friday night.  “Abuzz for Obama” was this year’s theme for an annual shrine to candy corn at the home of a prominent academic/artist/activist couple.  

As we walked up to the house we were greeted by an extravaganza of candycorn lights, and the whirring of a genny.  It was a sight to be seen.  I was so caught up taking pictures that I actually walked right by a guy standing in the shadows, waved hi, and said, “we’ll be right in!” before realizing that it was a cardboard cut out of Obama.  Everyone got a big kick out of that one.

Squint to read the name on the mailbox:

Everyone who is anyone in Berkeley was there.  Guests all received gift bags with various candycorn accessories, obama pins, and a handheld fan with an LED message programmed to read: OBAMA 2008, BERKELEY IS FOR OBAMA 2008, ABUZZ FOR OBAMA, etc. with alternating messages:


The grand finale was the Obama cake, which measured in a conservative estimate at least 3 feet in diameter.  Check it out below. 

There were some aliens from Uranus there who led us all in a big long prayer for Obama.  Many present left the following morning for Nevada to let the people there know what’s up.  On this election eve, may all of our prayers be with Obama and all of us who support him.  Yes we can.  

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Here’s to Halloween

Obviously we here at A Rockridge Life love all things Refinery29 and Vena Cava, and therefore Lisa Mayock.

Lisa gives a mini-view about Halloween costumes past and present to Refinery29’s blog, “The Pipeline.”  She is shown wearing Bodega, c. 2007.

It reminds me of someone at a certain Los Angeles area high school who came dressed as a movie theater floor one year back in the 1990’s.  She had on all black, same as Mayock, with various candies, syrups, popcorn and stepped on paper coke cups attached to her.  Totally gross, but very effective.  Mayock takes it up a notch.  Apparently she had a soundtrack she carried with her.

ALERT: There is a size four Vena Cava dress on sale from the Fall 2007 season at Crossroads Rockridge.  It’s beautiful and apparently happiness and marriage go together with poundage, hence I will not be purchasing the dress.  It’s a steal at somewhere around $80-$100 if memory serves.  RUN!

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Just in time for Rosh Hashanah

My mother’s pomegranates have matured.

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