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[whitespace] Best Place to Shrink Your Head, Not Your Wallet

Dedicated for the last 11 years to providing therapy to individuals, couples, and families, the staff at Santa Rosa's Lomi Clinic are firmly convinced that you shouldn't separate the mind from the body. They are also firmly convinced that you shouldn't separate a troubled person from the contents of his or her bank account. Offering sliding scale rates ranging from $17 to $60 per session, the Lomi Clinic was established as an active training ground for its 30-year-old therapeutic school, seeing as many as 600 clients per year and employing somatic techniques designed to unite the physical with the spiritual and the mental. "People want to get out of their heads and fully experience their lives," says Lomi Clinic co-founder and director Thomas Pope, whose staff numbers five licensed therapists and 12 supervised interns. "But many people are dissociated." When asked what he means, Pope expounds more fully. "I think that it's a major problem in our society. This world is so fast and there's so much pressure that I think that we really have to split off from ourselves in order to work. And that," he says, laughing shortly, "is not a very satisfying lifestyle." Lomi Clinic, 600 B St., Santa Rosa; 579-0465.
--G.G.


Best Place to Weather Y2K

The human mind rebels against the Y2K brouhaha, vacillating between anger and denial with occasional pit stops at pure panic. The truth is that no one knows exactly what will happen when the computers of the world roll over from 12/31/99 to 01/01/00. But many experts suggest that distribution systems for food, power, and other essentials will falter for at least a few days, maybe longer. Self-sufficiency pioneers like the folks out at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center should be in good shape, though: They've been experimenting with solar power, organic permaculture gardening, and other sustainable living skills for years. The good news for the rest of us is that they're willing, nay, eager, to share what they know. This spring's schedule includes such diverse disciplines as beekeeping, blacksmithing, and natural building techniques. The OAEC also offers courses on social activism and community building, which might come in right handy when the old world order disintegrates. Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, 15290 Coleman Valley Road. See the center's website at www.oaec.org, or call 874-1557 for a catalog of courses and programs.
--M.W.


Best Place to Introduce Your Kid to the Tools of Modern Warfare

You'll find a bit of everything on the crowded shelves of the Toy Trader: Dukes of Hazard lunch boxes, vintage games and action figures, Star Wars collectibles, surplus Army jackets, parachutes, expended ammo belts from an M-60 machine gun, deactivated grenades, and--until it sold a couple of weeks ago--a real but non-functional bazooka in the front window. "It's an odd mix," admits owner Dena Mayes, who has run her store for more than three years. But the combination of collectible toys and military surplus seems to be working. Customers come all the way from San Francisco to find Incredible Hulk figurines, buy an Army jacket (right over there by the girls' dresses), or simply savor the unique ambiance of a room dominated by a large American flag and a life-sized cardboard cutout of Princess Leia. And don't worry--Mayes hopes to soon have another bazooka in the window. Toy Trader, 609 Fifth St., Santa Rosa; 544-4493.
--P.S.


Best Place to Buy B&D Equipment Cheap and on the Sly

You know it's a special place the moment you see the helpful sign out front: "If we don't have it, you don't need it." But how special we didn't know until we recently spotted a pair of unusual shoppers at a major local hardware store who knew precisely what they needed and exactly where to find it. The two 20-somethings were giggling cheerfully as they wrapped lengths of two-inch steel chain around each other's wrists, checking for fit and comfort, and then strolled over to the next aisle to carefully select nuts and bolts to toss into their crowded cart. And, hey, it makes sense: Sure, you could go to those dark little adult specialty shops for that high-priced bondage gear, but the hardware store is closer, cheaper, and, best of all, well lit so you can see what the heck you're getting yourself into.
--P.S.


Best Place to Get Stuck on Stickers of All Sorts

Word problem: If a sticker factory has 150 employees, working 20 hours a day, producing 450 different lines of stickers in a 50,000-square-foot production facility, how many miles of stickers will they produce in a year? Answer: 15,000 miles of stickers. Extra credit: Who is the county's largest purveyor of the iconic little adhesives? Why, Petaluma-based Mrs. Grossman's Paper Co., of course. "Andrea Grossman started this business 20 years ago on her dining-room table with one sticker --the red heart," Jeff Shaw, the company's marketing manager, tells us. "We think of stickers as a craft. Kids use them, of course--that's how it started back in the '80s--but it has definitely transcended that. We're doing a lot more stickers for adults--stickers for every season." Mrs. Grossman's stickers sell in nearly every conceivable retail outlet, including the recently opened Sonoma store. Mrs. Grossman's, 3810 Cypress Drive, Petaluma; 763-1700. Also, 450 First St. E., Sonoma; 935-8383.
--D.H.


Best Urban Shrine

Not of this World looks kind of funny sitting in downtown Santa Rosa between a piano store and a financial services office. The storefront, used to years of indifferent or bemused passersby on Mendocino Avenue, seems reluctant to display its racks of devotional cards, brochures, icons, and other paraphernalia peculiar and essential to the Eastern Orthodox tradition. But the place has plenty of traffic from the several Orthodox establishments that call Sonoma County home and offers regular weekly lectures on various personages and themes of the old Christian faiths. And a recent early-morning moment seemed to make the location worthwhile. In the pale predawn the eternal flame (actually a light bulb) burned bright in the side window, and the weary Slavic eyes of Jesus and all the saints glowed violet and amber as they gazed down on a small heap, set deliberately at the door: a pair of crutches, a dehumidifier, and a box with miscellaneous Ace bandages. Hallelujah.
--M.W.


Best Reason to Go Slow on Highway 12

Who needs one, right? Highway 12 between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol is a hazardous place, between the errant golf balls hurtling from the Golf Center and the Zen-like egrets that emerge suddenly into view two feet from the road. So as long as you're driving the speed limit, glance ever so casually over at the north side of the blacktop, where Llano Road meets up with the highway. Looks like a bunch of junk leaning up against the fence there. Ten dollars for old doors? you sniff. For rusty pipes? But then, as the traffic continues to crawl, you catch a glimpse of that perfect piece of furniture that you've been thinking about for months: perhaps a file cabinet, a wine rack, an old-fashioned, or an all-metal desk. Owner Tim Barrett picks up his wares through his work cleaning out apartments--this is stuff, in other words, that somebody has left behind. These items are rusty, warped shadows of the things you could find in the store. But every so often there is something there, something you need and that actually is in OK shape, or could be made OK. Pull over immediately and pull out your cash. Because there are always going to be people leaving stuff behind, and there are always going to be people ahead of you looking for the same thing.
--M.W.

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From the March 25-31, 1999 issue of the Sonoma County Independent.

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