The Good Effects of Goofing Off (But Beware of Zombies)

I was tooling back to the ranch from lunch with girlfriends in Los Olivos the other day  and thought while I was goofing off I may as well stop in at my friend Jefferson Woeste’s shop J. Woeste, which is a great place to goof off, and there is always something there to make you smile. Here’s what I mean:

J Woeste man with pumpkin/succulents
Cast stone man with ceramic pumpkin and succulents in a pot.

Jefferson wasn’t there. I think he was off somewhere goofing off, too. There is scientific evidence that goofing off is good for you. But don’t take my word for it, try it yourself. Capitalize it.

J Woeste houses with plants
J Woeste houses, animals and plants

Goofing-Off’s first cousin is Playing, which is also good and the only possible explanation for these charming potted arrangements of plants, miniature houses and figures, and the odd owl or arachnid.

If it makes you smile it is not technically considered Goofing Off or Playing. It is considered Therapy.

J Woeste owl with succulents

Ditto if it brings to mind the immortal words of Mammy in Gone With the Wind: “An’ you be settin’ there waitin’ fo’ him… jes like a spidah!”

J Woeste spiders

Or if it reminds you of the Dalai Lama dressed in his frog costume for Halloween.

J Woeste ceramic frog

Or if it is just plain cute. She looks kind of like our Stella.

J Woeste cast stone puppy dog with succulents

Of if it involves birdhouses in any way, shape or form.

J Woeste birdhouses
J Woeste birdhouses, miniature houses and other things you didn't know you needed but suddenly do.
J Woeste birdhouses
J Woeste birdhouses
J Woeste birdhouse
J Woeste birdhouse

Or bouquets of handmade ceramic flowers.

J Woeste ceramic flowers and things
J Woeste ceramic flowers and things

And then just when you think it’s safe to go into the street again…

"Thriller" Parade of the Zombies in Los Olivos, Ca.
The annual Thriller Zombie Parade in Los Olivos, California. Is that Betsy Johnson? Photo by John Fitzpatrick.

Everybody dresses up and goes in the street and does the whole dance thing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” He used to live around here if you recall, in fact Neverland is just a few miles from Rancho La Zaca.

"Thriller" Parade of the Zombies in Los Olivos, Ca.
Thriller Zombie Parade in Los Olivos, California. Photo by John Fitzpatrick.

Doesn’t every town have a Thriller Zombie Parade?  My friends in Tarboro and maybe New York too (which knows from a parade), are going to see this and think, enough of this Goofing Off in California. Frances needs to GET HOME NOW.

Boston and Valentine Zombie, Los Olivos, California
My friends Boston (left) and Valentine Zombie, Los Olivos, California. Photo by John Fitzpatrick.

You can’t be too careful these days. I know you were hoping for a happy ending. Sorry…

Thriller Zombie Parade, Los Olivos, California
Thriller Zombie Parade, Los Olivos, California, comes to a tragic end. Photo by John Fitzpatrick.

But maybe not… they are Zombies after all… Meanwhile…

J Woeste Happy Halloween
J Woeste Happy Halloween

You can link to  J. Woeste here, or say Boo at (805) 693-1951. And I’d like to add that no pumpkins or zombies were harmed in the making of this post.


  1. Happy Halloween to Rancho La Zaca- we ran into Boston & Valentine Zombie at the Haunted House in Solvang last night- FANTASTIC TIME HAD BY ALL!

  2. Frances, This made me giggle, chuckle, and guffaw! Thanks so much; I needed a good guffaw today!! We are still steeping in the great time we had at your wedding. Thank you for an extra special week-end!!! Much love your way.

  3. I am really enjoying “goofing off” today after a gruelling day of painting class yesterday. It is the perfect day for it in Savannah. Halloween and blue sky and temp in the 60’s. I loved this post! Made me smile 🙂

    1. Yes Lissy, (me too), and retail therapy is often prescribed in these situations, but you can also get it over the counter, which is convenient.:) … Oh and let me post here on behalf of one of my little zombie moms, who happens to be the famous Rancho La Zaca Chef Stephanie Valentine Zombie, about the Thriller Zombie Parade:

      From Stephanie: The thriller thing is actually not just here- it is an annual worldwide simultaneous dance to Thriller:). The real dance is on Saturday, and then the groups go around on Sunday also just for fun! Each group of zombies also raises money for a charity… Soooo, basically what I am getting at is that you and Tom will be able to do it next year:).

      His Grace will be very happy to hear that. Thank you Stephanie.

  4. Goofing Off, Playing and Therapy, excellent antidotes to Being Serious, Acting Grown-Up and Dealing With the World. Lovely post and photos, thank you for the giggles. I want those birdhouses!

  5. Hi there! Thanks for the fun pics; Halloween in the Triangle went off w/out a hitch.

    Hope all is well w/ Bee Cottage. NC escaped the brunt of “Sandy”, and we’re keeping all of our friends and families and folks up North in out thoughts and prayers. It does take a village (or a community), doesn’t it?


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