Do you have a Book Club?

It could be said, one of the rites of passage of adulthood is joining a Book Club. Amazingly, I have now been part of the BBC book club going on 16 years. We were a group of parents whose kids went to the same elementary school and many of the kids were on the Dewing Park Swim Team. Our co-founders, Allison and Janet, started discussing it on the playground while waiting for the kids to get out of school, invited friends, and, thus, in September 2004, the BBC Book Club was formed. I have never been exactly clear on the acronym for our book club, but it came about by the first book that was read: Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik. So, it is the Bon Bons Book Club, but that is too many B’s for BBC – maybe it was condensed to “bonbons” as one word. 

We are 20 members strong and usually have 12-14 people show up for our monthly discussion. A few have come and gone and we have added some new faces, but it remains always fresh and interesting. We alternate hosting, and the host gets to pick the book and provides the refreshments. You can imagine with that many women it is sometimes hard to get a word in edgewise and keep the discussion focused. We may talk about the book for a short time, or it might be a very involved discussion depending on the book. Sometimes it will get sidetracked and we catch up with each other’s personal lives or new books to read.

We now have known each other for so long that we have been there through many trials, tribulations, joys, and happiness. We’ve been together when our children going off to college and out on their own. There has been support in times of trouble and sorrow and just as many celebrations. We will occasionally do a movie book club of a book that we had read instead of meeting at a house and then going for dinner to discuss. We have had stays at a cabin, got together for a tutorial in painting by our in-house resident artist and craft guru Julie Zouzounis. And then there is our annual Christmas exchange meeting…my favorite of the year!

We usually gather at Erica’s house, because it is one of the most festive and earliest, fully decorated homes of the group. We do a themed gift exchange where everyone brings a gift worth $25-30 and puts it under the tree, wrapped of course. This year’s theme was consumable gifts, i.e. candles, honey, etc. (and then there were a few not-so-consumable things like angel teaspoons and a cutting board, but they do promote consumable items!). Once a gift is opened (we draw numbers to determine the order of opening a gift), you have the option of stealing an opened gift. It can be stolen twice before it’s frozen.

Some people really hate that concept of stealing because they don’t want to upset anyone, but I love it! There is banter and laughing and at the end of the day everyone leaves with a nice gift that was meant for them, even if it didn’t feel like it when a gift you really liked got swiped out from under your nose. ūüėČ

We have also done a few charity programs. This year, we donated diapers to the Monument Crisis Center. In the past, we have put together cards for Kids Creek Care and some have adopted families for Christmas at the Trinity Center. I think books were the initial draw, but the glue of this group is the friendships and experiences we have shared! And that is why this BBC continues to endure as a group.

Do you belong to a Book Club or would you like to start one of your own? Would love to hear your comments or questions.

Here are the names of our voted favorite books each year – we each get three votes. Some years there is a tie, so I have added them too.

2005: Kite Runner

2006: Broken For You

2007: Glass Castle

2008: Plain Truth

2009: The Help

2010: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

2011: Cutting For Stone & The Hunger Games

2012: The City of Thieves

2013: The Fault in Our Stars

2014: The Night Circus

2015: The Orphan Train

2016: Boys in the Boat

2017: Small Great Things

2018: Nine Women, One Dress & Before We Were Yours & Beneath the Scarlett Sky

2019: Where the Crawdads Sing

Won’t you be my neighbor!

I have a new listing in my own neighborhood of Parkmead! Come be my neighbor and live in a great little part of Walnut Creek. We are walking distance to downtown, top rated schools, and to Dewing Park pool. We have a small-town feel in Parkmead, where 4th of July parades, chili cook-offs and BBQ pool parties sprinkle the calendar.

This is a great family community, and the house itself reflects that. It’s a huge, flat lot with a play area in the backyard. There is a cabana, shed, and solar-heated pool. The seller is now an empty nester and is ready for her next chapter.

Inside, there is a remodeled kitchen, vaulted ceilings, fresh paint, dual pane windows and a well. Overall, it is a 4-bedroom/3-bathroom with a bonus room that can be an office. It is over 3,000 square feet and has a 2-car circular driveway. This opportunity with such a large, flat lot is rare for our neighborhood!

Come by to see the house this week: 45 Arlene Lane. I am hosting a Broker Tour today from 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., and a Twilight Wine and Cheese event on Thursday from 5-7 p.m. f you are looking to downsize in the near future, give me a call!

And if you are looking to downsize in the near future, give me a call.

Pie Party for Trinity Coat Drive – THANK YOU!

Recently, I held my annual pumpkin pie party supporting the Trinity Center and it was another success! This is my third year combining the coat drive with a pie give away which brings full circle gratitude and appreciation for my clients, referrals, neighbors and friends.  This year we had 34 pie orders, in addition, I had many people who just dropped off items for Trinity.  As you can see, I had an SUV full of coats, gloves, hats, etc. and $300 in checks!

This was by far my most successful and giving pie party to date!  You can see pictures of the pies and donations above, as well as some fun shots from the party itself below.  This year Indy, aka Daryl Choy donated his time for chair massages and for our drawing and JVM donated a couple of Hydro Flasks, the winners were picked at the end of the night with a few stragglers, picking the winning prize winners!

This is my favorite charity event of the year, as it combines food, drink, friends, and mingling! I can’t thank everyone who joined, donated, ordered pie, etc. enough. It really shows that this community is in the giving spirit this holiday season, and it means a lot to me to know that Trinity can be supported and celebrated by the people around me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

I can’t wait until next year!

Newell Pathway in Parkmead to get a face-lift

About two weeks ago, the Parkmead Community Association (PCA) convened to discuss the crumbling granite of the Newell Pathway that kids use to walk to Parkmead, Tice Creek and Las Lomas. The path has been whittled away by rain and primarily the postal truck creating large ruts.

A few years ago, the PCA was able to repair a portion between Magnolia and the Tice Creek exit, but the entire thing is still in need of updating. Since people – especially students going to and from school – use the path daily, it has become imperative that the granite be fixed.

After many meetings and a walk along the path with the country engineers, who had conversations with County Supervisor Candace Anderson, she was able to secure one-time funding to repair the entire pathway. There were about 35 people in a meeting we thought were to discuss our options, however the county representative had a very satisfactory solution. There is still a need to find a long-term solution, but we have bought time with this outcome.


Country representatives Jason Yee and Mary Halle (a resident of Parkmead), as well as Anderson Рher back is to us left side front row, were present at the meeting. Repair work will bring the water meters level, eliminate the puddles of water, and add to the surface of the decomposed granite.   Work is expected to begin sometime in April.

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Join us this Saturday for the Dewing Park Pool Party!

Parkmead neighbors: come join us for our annual pool block party at Dewing Park this Saturday! We’ll be grilling burgers and dogs from 11-3 and the pool will be open to all.

Also, Adam (one of our board members) really wanted a keg of quality beer for the adults. So, he was given a budget and tasked with ordering: he decided on a triple IPA by Knee Deep Brewery called Simtra.

You don’t want to miss out on this Parkmead Community Association block party. The burgers, dogs, sunshine, 11.25% beer music by Funky Jams from Las Lomas and cool pool will be well worth your time on a hot day, temperatures are forcasted to be 95 degrees.

Living in the neighborhood all these years, I can attest to the close-knit community that is only grown through events like this. It is a great way to get to know your neighbors and be part of your community.

Check out some fun photos from years past:

 

Fill your weekend with garage sales, art and wine

Have any plans this weekend? If not, we’re hosting our annual Parkmead Garage Sale this Saturday at 8:00 a.m.!

Neighbors all over Parkmead have cleaned out their closets, garages and attics to put items together for this awesome event. Grab a map and look for the mailbox balloons to identify which homes are participating. Lilac and Newell (west of Trader Joe’s) are entry streets to the neighborhood.

If past years are any indication, there will be plenty of outdoors equipment, kids toys and clothes, furniture, jewelry and kitchen utensils. If you’re looking to stock up or upgrade for cheap, this is the place to be in Walnut Creek on Saturday!

And as a bonus, the Walnut Creek Art & Wine Festival takes place all weekend, starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday! You can swing by the Parkmead Garage Sale, fill your arms with thrifty finds, and then wander to Heather Farms for a glass of wine in the sun.

Can’t beat that!

Don’t miss the Parkmead Garden Tour this Sunday!

My Parkmead neighborhood, in Walnut Creek, is hosting a Garden Tour this Sunday. Come by and check it out if you have a chance!

Get to know the Parkmead neighborhood and learn about the local flora and fauna that thrive in our Mediterranean climate. We have 8 gardens participating this year!

Here are the details:

  • Sun, Apr 30
  • 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
  • Maps available at 1701 Lilac Drive
    As listed above, you can pick up your Garden Tour map at 1701 Lilac Dr., anytime between 1 pm and 4 pm on Sunday, April 30th. 
We will feature a garden designed by our very own resident landscape designer, Janet Cohen and one with Admirals Choice discussing irrigation, drought resistant plants and sprinklers that can be controlled by your phone. ¬†Plus¬†the non-profit Sustainable Contra Costa, will have information on raising chickens at home and sustainable gardening tips. They will also have a “sheet mulching‚ÄĚ demonstration and composting discussion! Additionally, we will be sharing some info on beekeeping at home and composting.
For more information please visit our website:¬†http://www.parkmead.org/Home_Page.html¬†or contact¬†events@parkmead.org. Can’t wait to see you there!

P.S. We will also be accepting donations to finish the walking path that takes you to Parkmead Elementary School. It has many potholes and when it rains, many puddles. Thus students, dog walkers and neighbors divert them by walking into the street!

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The 2016 Parkmead Chili Cook-Off was a hit!

img_9381Remember my blog about the two new breweries in Walnut Creek? Farm Creek Brewery’s stout beer became the secret ingredient to my Texas chili at our 2nd annual Parkmead Neighborhood chili cook-off! I took third place overall,¬†and realize to win, I can’t have too much spice – that darn competitive nature of mine.

We moved up they time by an hour because we were worried about the rain. We had 12 people submit their chili, ranging from vegetarian to chicken chili and of course standard meat chili.

Every single one of them was delicious, and the rain held off until the very end when we got under the tent and finished off the keg!

We blocked off a small street, had a pumpkin-decorating table for the kids and plenty of food and drink. Once the rain arrived, one dad pulled out a blow up boat and the kids had a blast in the rare October rainstorm.

Parkmead is a wonderful Walnut Creek neighborhood walking distance to downtown and great schools. If you want to know more about the various Walnut Creek neighborhoods, give me a call!

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Happy Holidays, Coat Drive and Market Update

Hi everyone! If you didn’t receive a hard copy of my most recent newsletter at your door, here is the PDF to tide you over. There is still time to donate to the coat drive, as I’ll be dropping off any more donations I get at the Trinity Center as they come in. Thanks to everyone who has already contributed!

(Don’t forget to scroll at the bottom of the PDF to see page 2!)

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