Skip to content

Sonoma County reflections, May 2-8, 2022

Editor’s note: The Press Democrat publishes a short essay nearly every day from one of our staff writers about life in the North Bay, along with a photo submitted by our readers. We compile them Sundays on

Want your image in the paper and on our website? Submit a photo describing who, what, where, when, author of the photo and where they live. Email JPEGs to Low resolution images or photos without the information requested will not be selected.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

OK, so no one wants this bacon?

It was a rare free Sunday, so I decided to drive west to the Sonoma Coast. On my way to Dillon Beach, I stopped at a roadside, outdoor cafe and ordered a grilled chicken sandwich without looking too closely at its description.

When it arrived, I found between slices of chicken and cheese were two thick cuts of bacon—a food I avoided, more out of Jewish mother-induced guilt than religious persuasion. A dog sat panting next to a couple seated at the table beside me. I ripped off a tiny piece of the bacon and asked if I could give their pooch a treat. They kindly shook their heads, telling me their dog was on a diet.

I couldn’t help imagining she only ate raw, paleo, farm-to-table, because even the dogs here eat bougier than me.

— Emily Wilder, The Press Democrat

Friday, May 6, 2022

Food adventures are the best adventures

The weekends are a chance to explore my new community since arriving in Santa Rosa a month ago from Phoenix. One of the best ways to get to know a new place – though my wallet and waistline would disagree – is through food and, boy, have I eaten my way through Sonoma County already.

I braved the cold and strong ocean breeze for clam chowder in Bodega Bay, ate traditional Nepali dishes in Windsor, a delicious salmon pizza in Healdsburg and tried locally-made cider in Sebastopol. Here in Santa Rosa, one of my favorite spots is the taco truck park on Sebastopol Road.

I’ve loved every bite.

—Paulina Pineda

Thursday, May 5, 2022

The tiny queen of clean

My 1½-year-old has a surprising habit: She loves cleaning.

After a meal, she’ll point at the table from her high chair with a wordless yell. But instead of wanting more food, she’s after the napkins.

When handed one, she starts scrubbing at her tray with intense concentration, pushing leftover food into the cup holder. Afterward, she walks around looking for fallen crumbs or Cheerios and picks them up one by one.

Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, since the highlight of her week is when the Recology truck picks up our cans. Once when the operator waved at her, she screeched with pure delight.

— Jillian Arnold, The Press Democrat

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Good vibes at a surprise location

I had the occasion recently to be in a bathroom at West County High School. But that’s not the story.

The story is that this bathroom was filled with colorful pieces of paper, most cut into whimsical shapes — stars, hearts and the like — and each had a message written on it.

One, in the shape of a sun, said “You don’t have to fit in with anybody’s standards. Be you!” Another, written on a red heart and stuck next to the mirror, said “You look very pretty.”

It brought to mind the wonderful PepToc campaign of positivity created by the students at West Side Elementary School in Healdsburg this school year. Good vibes are contagious.

— Kerry Benefield, The Press Democrat

Monday, May 2, 2022

heartfelt roadside memorial for cyclists

From the wooden chicken holding a standing bow pose outside Yoga Hell on Petaluma Boulevard to the blink-and-you-missed it passage through Penngrove to that medieval-looking water tower a few miles north, I’m all smiles during my e-bike commute to Santa Rosa.

Until the ghost bikes. On my route are two such memorials to cyclists killed by motorists. Bryan Cacy was hit by a drunk driver on the 101 overpass of Corona Road in 2020, 10 months after Joseph Converse died on Petaluma Hill Road. So sorry, man, I tell them, silently. Hope you’re at peace. I hope motorists see those stark white bikes and get the hell off their phones.

—Austin Murphy, The Press Democrat

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.