* ... PLASTIC BAGS: Count me among those who are not unhappy with the new law banning single-use plastic bags. Most stores have already gotten rid of them, forcing folks to pay extra for a new, thicker plastic bag that can be used multiple times. But what happens if we treat the new bags the same way we did the thinner versions? I liked this thought from a Los Angeles Times editorial: "The better solution is for consumers to eschew these thicker lookalikes and invest in bags made of materials such as canvas, cotton, nylon fiber or even woven plastic. They cost more upfront, but can last for years with the proper care and cleaning. Transitioning away from the 'paper or plastic?' days may seem like an inconvenience, but it’s the right thing to do for the environment. Make it count by embracing the spirit of the plastic ban, and not just swapping one plastic bag for another." My new favorite bag are those from Target: sturdy and capable of easily hauling weighty purchases. (photo courtesy of The Los Angeles Times)
* ... CAT NAP: If you have a cat, as I do, this may come as no surprise: but did you know the average cat sleeps 15 hours a day and many sleep up to 20 hours a day? And if you are like me and you awaken to a gray tabby nudging you for food or staring you in the face, you won't be surprised to know they are most active at dusk and dawn. According to the website PetMD, cats "either doze in a light sleep or sleep very deeply. When your cat dozes (which lasts about fifteen minutes to a half hour), he will position his body so that he can spring up and into action at a moment’s notice.
During deep sleep, cats experience rapid (or quick) brain movement. Deep sleep tends to last about five minutes, after which the cat goes back to dozing. This dozing-deep sleep pattern goes on until the cat wakes up."
* ... FOOD NETWORK: If you are a fan of the Food Network, chances are you might have seen a local celebrity on its Christmas Cookie Challenge episode. Mai Gifford, a former pastry chef at The Padre Hotel and now the owner of De Coeur Bake Shop behind the downtown Post Office, was featured on an episode where she made soft ginger cookies with eggnog and a cream filling, as well as gluten free honey-cherry pistachio cookie. (photo courtesy of Gifford's Facebook page)
* ... SICK BAY: I dropped by Memorial Hospital the other day to visit Jason Barnes, the local businessman who took a really bad spill on his bicycle while going 28 mph on the bike path near Enos Lane. After eight days in the hospital with five broken ribs and a fractured clavicle, Barnes was anxious to spend a night in his own bed and he finally got his wish. Doctors say his prognosis is good, and knowing Jason I expect to see him back on his bike after the first of the year.
* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "If my kids don't give me the answers I want to hear I just start annoyingly tapping their foreheads and swiping like on a touch screen."
* ... ACHIEVER: Here's a big shout out to Brooke Fries, a Centennial High and Bakersfield College graduate who went on to UC Santa Barbara. In May she graduated from the McGeorge School of Law (25th in her class) and she recently passed her California State Bar exam. Her mother, Natalie Dunn Fries, is a three-time world champion (figure roller skating) and Bob Elias Hall of Fame inductee while her father, Dan Lloyd, is a 38-year administrator at the Kern High School District.
* ... MEMORIES: Here is a question for some of you old timers out there: a reader asks if anyone remembers the years of operation for the old Thunderbird Drive-In. If you happen to know, drop me an email.