The legislative branch of the federal government has been dawdling and spinning its wheels in the sands of time; fulminating over impeachment since the last presidential inauguration. At the same time, the California legislature has been churning out “quality-of-life” laws that will make our state a virtual utopia. However, do not let your expectations get the best of your optimism. Always remember that expectation is the first step on the highway to disappointment.

Every once in a while, a catch phrase takes off and starts to live a life of its own. Recently, I have been hearing a lot of two different phrases. 

The first, “vibrant transit-oriented neighborhood” is apparently intended to conjure up a bustling neighborhood, with happy people out on streets lined with interesting little shops. Unfortunately, this image is not present-day reality. Retail is struggling. People are not going to stores and buying things. If you live in a tiny apartment, how much do you need? 

In Alameda Restaurant Week is so good, it takes place over 10 days — Thursday, Jan. 16, to Sunday, Jan. 26. At the week’s kickoff event, Jan. 16, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., representatives from seven local bars will compete for the title of Alameda’s Master Mixologist 2020! Proceeds from each ticket go to the Alameda Food Bank.

Local bartenders will showcase their talent creating craft cocktails with local and selected spirits. Guests — adults older than 21, of course — will sample each of the cocktails and cast their votes for Master Mixologist 2020. Tickets cost $20 to $25.

Communities all over the world have love and pride for where they live and Californians are no different. There are places here for everyone: mountains and coastlines, grasslands and forests, even a backyard garden or a city park. No matter the landscape one connects with, we can all direct our love and thanks to the same thing: the soil. 

The Alameda Island Poets’ first meeting of 2020, Wednesday, Jan. 8, from 7 to 9 p.m., will feature Charles Curtis Blackwell reading from Past Fascination: Cut to the Bone Real Love Poems and Alamedan Mary Loughran reading from her newly published first book, Scone Mix in a Brown Paper Bag: the Early Years. The group’s monthly events are hosted by Nanette Deetz and Alameda Poet Laureate Cathy Dana. 

Note: the poets usually gather on the first Wednesday of the month, but this month’s reading was changed due to New Year’s Day.