Or kitty love. Or acknowledge that this February, our real sweethearts are our pets. In my house, it’s all cats, all the time – with the exception of an oversized Labradoodle that behaves like a cat and, in past times, a terrier who could care less if you were a cat, a dog, a fish, or a pesky human. Our family adventure with cats started about eight years ago, when our oldest son was just a little stressed about school – until we took him to the adoption day at the local PetSmart. This kid was entranced! Not only that, but the cats loved him. We got a beautiful senior cat named Pepperjack (we never changed his shelter name), and he was all purrs and cuddles.

We brought Pepperjack with us when we moved to Santa Rosa, but sadly, he passed a year later. The boys couldn’t be without another cat, so we adopted a kitten from the shelter. Jester wasn’t my favorite (and still isn’t), but I am SORELY outvoted. Jester and I have reached an impasse: he’ll let me work if I don’t kick home off the couch while he’s taking a cat nap. The kids – and my husband – are thrilled to come home and give Jester all the petting and fancy cat food, and Jester will reciprocate with all the purring they can take. I get hissed at. Still, it’s worth it to see the love my boys give this cat…pretty sure he’s the one getting flowers (catnip) this Valentine’s day!

Now, let’s look at what’s good downtown in February!

What’s good for kids in February?

I am 100% good with getting my kids outside to learn, especially after the lockdown and online classes. While not technically downtown, Pepperwood preserve always has beautiful hikes and knowledgeable guides. In February, they’re hosting a hike called “Exploring the Landscape through an Indigenous Perspective,” led by Clint McKay, Pepperwood’s Indigenous Education Coordinator. As the land sits within the traditional homeland of the Wappo people, Mr. McKay will share traditional ecological knowledge and explore the flora, fauna, and natural phenomena encountered during the hike. He is a descendant of several important local culture bearers, including the late Laura Fish Somersal and Mabel McKay. He is a native speaker of the Wappo language, speaks some Pomo, and is a culture bearer with extensive Native historical knowledge of Pepperwood and the entire region. This is a wonderful opportunity for anyone (not just the kiddos!) to get a new look at trails they may have hiked before.

What: Exploring the Landscape through an Indigenous Perspective. This event includes a slow-paced hike of moderate difficulty, covering 1-3 miles on varied terrain. It will go on in light rain, though heavy storms will cancel.

When: Saturday, February 11, 2023, 1:00 – 3:30 pm.

Location: Pepperwood Preserve, 2130 Pepperwood Preserve Rd, Santa Rosa

Price: $35 per person ($30 for Friends of Pepperwood)

Ages 12 and up are welcome. (Sorry, leave the toddlers at home.)

What’s good for the adults in February?

Get pierced. No, I’m not even kidding. Much like tattooing has become something that doesn’t even shock any longer (did I tell you about the last time I got tattooed? A grandmother, mother, and granddaughter came in the get MATCHING TATTOOS. Grandma was still dressed for church…), I’m going to 100% suggest if there’s been a piercing you’ve kinda thought about getting, but then never did, and now you’re like ‘oh, that’s for the kids these days…’ just do it. I went for a piercing I last had OVER 20 YEARS AGO, but I kinda missed it, and I’m now of the age where – seriously – no one cares what I look like. For the record, I got a Monroe piercing (It’s a lip piercing, technically, that looks like Marilyn Monroe’s beauty mark. Some shops would say it’s a Madonna, but really it’s $40 plus the jewelry.) Plus, I got to meet the kindest, most professional piercer, Marvel, and I’d 11/10 recommend.

There are two things to note about the experience, the first is the studio is in a head shop called the Dungeon, so it did feel like a teenage kind of outing (I had to browse band shirts, knives, and incense while waiting. Didn’t even get to the smoke shop part of the store.) The second was no matter how adorable I thought my new little opal piercing was, not a single person noticed. Not my sons, co-workers, and, wait for it, not even my father the last time I saw him.

So go ahead, be a rebel for the day. If you regret it, you can always take it out.

The deets:

What: Take a chance and get a hole poked in you…

Location: The Dungeon. 452 B St, Santa Rosa

Times: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily except Sunday, when it’s 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Cost: Depending on what you get pierced, and where. Prices vary from $35 to $70, plus the jewelry price.

Make an appointment online: https://thedungeon452b.setmore.com/

What should I get to eat?

We’re hiking on Indigenous land, so let’s get some traditional eats … fry bread! Fry bread is a flatbread fried in oil, shortening or lard, and most Navajo-inspired fry breads are made with flour, water, and salt and don’t contain any yeast. While calling it traditional is up for debate, finding a downtown restaurant with it on the menu was fantastic.

Place: ZamZam

Address: 501 W 9th St, Santa Rosa

Phone: (707) 273-1155


Saturday 10 am–11 p.m.

Sunday 10 am–11 p.m.

Monday 10 am–11 p.m.

Tuesday 10 am–11 p.m.

Wednesday 10 a.m.–11 p.m.

Thursday 10 a.m.–11 p.m.

Friday 10 a.m.–1:30 p.m.

2:30 p.m. – 11 p.m.

Be safe and make sure to boil your water or consider buying a water filtration system like the AquaOx Water Filter.

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