No-Water Shollenberger is No Fun


Shollenberger Park in Petaluma is one of the best places to see shore and water birds, including a colony of feral swans, once domesticated, then abandoned here. They thrived and I usually see two or three of them in the time it takes to walk around the first pond.

Not today.

Of course, there wasn’t any pond today, either. Ninety percent of the water is gone. California is in a drought. These images forcibly reminded me of that.


There is still water in the Petaluma River and in the estuary due south of the big (former) pond, but the waterway looked like a salt flat. Most of the birds I saw were turkey vultures, circling slowly. That seemed appropriate.

I didn’t have a very pleasant walk, although I got some nice pictures. Deepening my disappointment was the rudeness of the bicyclists on the path. I don’t meant the ones in the biking suits, with helmets and water-bottles in the smalls of their backs. Those guys are pros. They know to say, “Coming up on your left,” and will even say, “Thanks,” when you step out of their path. No, I’m talking about those five other bike riders, the ones who looked like they were in office wear except for the shoes. The ones who don’t announce their presence, who ride so close to you that they brush you when you’re taking a picture, even though there is no one else on the path. You know who you are. ¬†For you people, three things:

  1. Bicycle/pedestrian etiquette isn’t that hard. Learn it.
  2. People like you give all cyclists a bad name.
  3. Grow up.


It’s still a good place to walk, but I worry what it’s going to be like for the fall migration.


I rewarded myself by heading to the LanMart complex. I stopped at my favorite comic book store, Brian’s Comics, on 4th Street, in the basement of the Mystic Building. I don’t love the location, but I do love the store. Brian did not have the next volumes of Locke and Key or Saga that I wanted, but L&K is on order and he will e-mail me when they come in. He had some wonderful things that I bought, that I can’t discuss here, because they are birthday presents for a person who sometimes reads this blog.


Has she always been there? If so, then… eeuww.

I wandered through LanMart, past the creepy statue, and went upstairs to have lunch at Old Chicago Pizza. They have the perfect lunch special; $6.75 for a mini pizza with 3 toppings, (deep dish) and a dinner salad. Their salad is not a “wow,” basically standard lettuce topped with some tomato and red onion, but everything is fresh. I ordered it with thousand island dressing, a nostalgia-hit for me because that’s what I used to order when I was a kid. Thick, tangy, ketchupy goodness. Not the kind of dressing I would want every day, but it hit the spot. The mini pizza is about five inches in diameter. I was in the mood for deep-dish because I like bread, and the fresh-yeasty dough was about half an inch thick; crusty, but chewy and moist inside, the top loaded with sauce and cheese. My only complaint is that it’s too small to eat gracefully. Mine had artichoke hearts that kept falling off so I had to pick them off and eat them with my fingers. A tragedy. Anyway, the value of this meal can’t be beaten.


A final thought. I happen to be reading Maplecroft, Cherie Priest’s new book. It’s a Lizzie Borden meets Cthulhu chiller, an atmospheric epistolary work in which the ocean, and things from the ocean, figure prominently, and not in a good way. When you are reading Maplecroft, this window display is suddenly not so charming.


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