19 November 2009


Just stopped in to show you what I've been catching lately. We had buds in town, and you know, I have plenty of excuses for what's been keeping me from updating lately, but I think that mostly I haven't been around because I've had to adjust my sensibilities a bit since working. As someone who generally gets excited about meeting new strangers and wandering around cities and bright colors and particularly well formed sticks, the office where I work is painfully drab. Furniture and plants and wall colors that are all variations on taupe and forest green, on the seventh floor inside a high rise, inside an office park, AND headsets. I still can't believe I've infiltrated and acclimated to such a scene.

My point is, it's hard to find nice details in the cubicle setting. I can sort of get into the whole office-culture-is-hilarious-thing, with the mini-drama and the abuse of power and the procedure, but it certainly requires a bit of suspended disbelief.

Lately, though, there's been a little light, in the form of the view we have out over the bay. Since clocks rolled back, the sun sets here around 4:50 and every day, I get to see this mini-blind framed sunset.

Some things are breathtaking no matter how you find them.

07 November 2009

Remember Summer?

Last night after a rainy afternoon and the glow of our soccer game wore off, I felt the first chill of fall settle in. I'm fairly ready for it. November is a great month, in my book. I feel more focused, more motivated, well-rested. And Thanksgiving at the end? November is a dream.

But I do miss the light of summer, the lazy dusk that stretches itself across hours, dinners out of doors and the surprising brightness of an overcast day. These prints, all taken June through September, were nice reminders of that so very summer quality of life. Nothing like the familiar warmth in a stack of photos to soften this chill.

01 November 2009

The Bake Shop

Happily over Halloween, we woke up this morning to an extra hour, which gave us time to go for a sweet bite at Neldam's before heading out of the neighborhood. This little neighborhood bakery specializes in Danish pastry, allegedly the oldest scratch bakery in all of Oakland. It's pretty charming, with a genuine DMV style numbering system and generically festive decorations strung all around and classic cakes that can be ordered ahead and customized with things like "Happy Retirement" or "It's a Boy!" This morning a young couple sat in the bakery's classic lawn chairs looking through a three ring binder to pick out their wedding cake.

Every time I've been there, no matter the day of the week, someone is picking up one of these cakes, which leads me to believe that a Neldam's cake is a sort of tradition in lots of Oakland families. This morning a woman who looked to have stopped by on her way home from church, dutifully took a number ticket though she was the only person in line and said, "It should be under Tina." No bother mentioning what should be under Tina, of course. The lady behind the counter produced the box and opened it so she could look over the script. "Oh yes," she granted, "That'll be fine."

It reminds me so much of Gene's Bake Shop, the downtown bakery located conveniently next door to my parents' store when I was a kid. I used to eat their seventy-five cent eclairs or M&M cookies while my parents were working and they were the go-to Saturday morning donut destination when friends slept over. Gene's was a scratch bakery too and everything was made fresh at the bakery, every single morning. When I was in junior high it went out of business after a fire and never reopened, but it was certainly around long enough to make an impression. It's no wonder I'm such a floozy when it comes to the smell of frosted cake.

Neldam's doesn't do eclairs or donuts, but I can highly recommend the bear claw: in this case, a chocolate almond croissant with course sugar dusted on top. And someday, I'm going to invent a special occasion for one of those cakes.