24 August 2009

Adventures, of late

I've been withholding a minor detail of my state of mind from you people. I have what you might call an elephant in every room right now. He's really terribly enormous and invasive and he seems to whisper, always, the things I should be working on. Drawings, research, letters of recommendation. It being August, it is the beginning of application season, for those of us who dare to apply for graduate school. And this year, of course, that means me.

But last week Miriam had the good idea to take a bike ride out to the furthest point west, in the East Bay, to the port of Oakland for some exploring. It was a great way to ease my mind against its tendency to become overwhelmed and subsequently useless, but also a good time to just pedal and think and formulate. It had been too long since I'd visited a place unknown and it made me want to hop in the car and just drive somewhere new. Maybe with my next visitor, I'll enforce this plan.

Here are some of the parts of our journey that were best suited for a quick picture:

I'm a kid in a candy store, when it comes to industrial landscapes, because they offer such intense contrasts in color and texture. I wish I had a nicer camera, for times like this more than ever, because some of the lines get a little muddy with further distance. The scale is harder to convey, but in case you were wondering, those white cranes behind the shipping containers are bigger than anything with moving parts you've probably ever seen.

22 August 2009

Full of Beans

Check out the texture on these beans that Bert brought us. He's learning lots in the way of roasting coffee, and shared a miniature batch of French roast with us last week. Grinding them up for brewing in the French press, they dissolved into papery, oily little flakes before my eyes; like some precious metal, they actually sparkled a little. The whole pot felt very ceremonious, delivered in that hand stamped tiny bag. It was a nice treat, a step above our usual fare.

I've been feeling like an especially lucky person recently. Bert brought us coffee and gave us a really amazing old Indian cookbook. Miriam gave us surplus heirloom tomatoes and quince jam. And Karrie gave me recently TWO lovely bottles of bitters out of the goodness of her heart. Whatever I did to have such generous friends, I do not know, but I'd like to become that sort of friend myself one of these days.

Today though, I'm happy to count these blessings and put off repayment until tomorrow.

14 August 2009


I know, I know, I pretty much owe you one. Honestly, August has hit me a bit across the face over here. For one, my tomatoes are still green. Do you know how wrong that is? That's entirely-opposite-on-the-color-wheel wrong. And have we talked about August? How August marks one year since we moved here? One year not quite as I'd planned and one year worth of California sinking into my skin.

One whole year! Especially this year, I really can hardly say how I managed to fill up 365 days, it feels like we only just parked the car in front of Miriam's house and said to each other, Well, Here We Are. But then there are little things that mark time's passing: growth in the garden, most prominently but also, the way the Berkeley Bowl feels old hat and the fact that I no longer include We Just Moved Here in my personal introduction. I suppose it was all the tiniest of things packed together, end to end, that propelled me through this year. It makes it hard to explain what I've been doing when anyone asks, but I know I must have been doing something.

So this California Anniversary it makes me want to write lists of things, just to keep in a little stack, to reference from time to time as way of collecting all the small things and maybe making them feel bigger. I haven't been on any fancy trips this year, I haven't bought a house, I'm certainly not getting married and professionally speaking, well, I haven't done much in that department either. But I did bake at least 5 pies. Made 10 or so jars of pickles. I made Marianne a dress. And took several picnics. And biked to Sonoma. And made some friends. I would really like to have a list of my friends to put on the wall, old fashioned style. Just so that I can remember, if ever that knowledge seems distant. Maybe this, a shorter version can suffice for now:

The goal is every day. A list every day. And the only rule? No TO DO lists allowed.


05 August 2009

A Yeti For Everyone

I've been holding back on a wholly self-indulgent purchase I made at Renegade a few weeks ago, because honestly it's just so silly a present to myself, it must be a sign that the financial drought in our house is over and the rains have come. But when I saw this puppet, I just really wanted it. To have around, to lord over unsuspecting scenarios and wreak some harmless havoc on any days that look to be aiming at regular.

Without further ado, may I present this Yeti, with his silent snarl and moving arms:

The puppets are a little light duty, unfortunately as mine's mobility has decreased somewhat since the purchase, but no regrets, even if it looms statuesque from now on.

04 August 2009


What will cure the ailing heat-lover her suffering the blustery summers of northern coastal California? One cocktail of whiskey and lavender syrup, with just a splash of soda.

Soothing, refreshing, and best of all, packs some heat.

03 August 2009

Slow Motion

I loved this series that Roxanne caught at dinner, the three of us wearing sweaters in shades of popsicle and laughing like crying.