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I just watched Whip It, Drew Barrymore's movie about roller derby, starring Ellen Page (Juno). It was an okay film. But, wow, do I miss Oakland now. It featured much of what I rolled my eyes at and what I loved about living in Oakland/Bay Area. I loved the DIY sass of the East Bay. I went to the Bay Area roller derby not too long after they started up. It was fab! I loved it. ....and then I got married and then pregnant.

Or burlesque. I would have loved to do that too.

The movie made me wish I was 5 years younger and starting over again in the Bay Area. I would totally join roller derby. I think it'd be a good outlet for my bitchiness and my love of hitting people. I want to be a badass. I want to be the sort of girl who wears lots of eyeliner and has tats and doesn't give a fuck. Ya know, Alternative. Except I don't want to live in shitty apartment in West Oakland (hipster but sketchy), working at Mama's Royal (or other waitressing gigs at dingy cafes), dating skinny emo guys in bands, drinking PBR, and being poor.

Instead I'm poor, drinking crap wine, living in a cold concrete bungalow, married to an awesome guy who sings along to the Number and Play cd with our son, in rural Wales.

*Mary Contrary?
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Adam is a little annoyed with me. Not really annoyed, but I get his point. While living in California I kept meaning to learn Spanish. Adam speaks fluent conversational Spanish, nothing sophisticated, but he's quite competent. Bennett now responds equally to Spanish and English. I've always liked Spanish, preferring Central American Spanish. Don't know why. I know it's considered 'low class' or something. But I find it musical, fun and more than a little sexy. I have just enough Spanish vocabulary under my belt to follow along with Adam (he speaks slower, thank god, than a native speaker), but I can't really say anything. After learning to read French and Latin (and forgetting it all) it seems to me that the parts of the brain that comprehend language are different from the parts that formulate and speak.

Anyway, I never did learn Spanish. Adam and I didn't make much effort. It's odd because California is a bilingual state..... unofficially. It's like there's a whole world under the surface, white world. Whole neighborhoods that like a foreign country. All the food service workers are Central Americans. But I was a white, educated, middle class woman, not working in food service, and so.... I let it pass me by.

Here, Welsh is everywhere. Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world (after Mandarin and ahead of English). Welsh has something like 600,000 speakers in the world. Did you know that are several thousand Welsh speakers in a region of Argentina? Here, it's truly bilingual. In fact, my eyes are still getting used to making meaning out of forms and signs. I sometimes think it might be easier if everything was just in Welsh. I mostly hear older people speaking Welsh on the streets or in the shops, but families and children speak it too. It seems easier, more accessible and useful to learn Welsh while I'm here. Plus, there is something neat about learning an obscure language. I kind of like the idea that Bennett and I could hold a conversation in the US that no one would be able to understand! And, he's going to be bilingual if we stay here for any length of time, so I may as well learn to count and spell and recognize the colors with him!

I'd like to actually get conversationally competent in at least one other language. My classical voice training has given me a vocabulary in about 9 languages, but a lot of good that does me! My French and Latin have withered away to nothing. My Spanish is about as good as Bennett's.

On top of all of that, there is something about wanting to bolster the world's tiny languages. I saw this article on the BBC this morning. Languages like, people groups and animals, also evolve and go extinct, so I don't think we necessarily need to save every single language - especially if that people group no longer exists. However, I do think that as languages die, ways of thinking and expressing and relating to the world die, and that is sad.

Maybe I'll learn Spanish to get around the rest of the world and I'll learn Welsh to learn something of an older smaller culture.

[livejournal.com profile] hrafntinna, my obscure linguist, what do you think?
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Today was a good California day. And an overall positive day in general.

At first, I was afraid it was going to be awful. I've been stressed out about the staff retreat I've been planning, which met today and finishes up tomorrow. I haven't felt focused and I feared that it would be a meandering waste of everyone's time. Bennett was off his usual schedule last night so I didn't get much sleep. To top it off, I had very weird, not happy dreams.

But it all worked out. Our retreat is happening at the UC Berkeley Faculty Club. It's a beautiful Mission? art deco? style building. (My architectural knowledge is next to non-existent) Wood paneling and vaulted ceilings. It's surrounded by trees, with little groves and fountains. Students pass near by. It's nice.

The retreat itself has been incredibly productive and the time flew by. I felt focused and got a lot more fired up for my job and participation in this organization. I like feeling important, productive and part of something innovative and respected.

During a break, walking around the grounds with Bennett (who was a freaking rock star today - he too sat through the retreat! Only two minor fusses, each alleviated with boob!), I thought about how beautiful it was today, how much I felt part of a team, how grateful I am that I'm growing professionally. I also thought about what I needed to keep living here.

I need to live in trees. I need to live in a greener, leafier part of the Bay (which means big money). I've got to get away from such busy, loud, smelly streets and find neighbors nearby. I want to be able to see people, know families, go over to people's houses for dinner on a whim or something. I think it's possible around here.... maybe?

I also know that I can't work at this organization forever. For one thing, I can only grow so much at this place. I am not Jewish nor a Jewish educator. I can only ever be the Director of Admin. Not that I necessarily want to run this particular organization, but after three years I've already maxed out. I take great pride in working for the Jewish community here, but it is not *my* community and I want to work for something I am more passionate about.

I don't think I can conceivably leave my job until the spring of 2010. I also don't want to put B in daycare, but I just don't see a way around that. Not yet anyway.

And I still don't know what to do about my degree or school.

But, for half an hour, I felt hopeful that maybe I could be happy here more often on a more permanent basis.

Weather

May. 16th, 2008 09:37 am
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Some days I have moments where I get confused about where I am. For a brief second the scent of eucalyptus, the light and weight of the sun, the sight of bottle brush trees, confuses the memory part of my brain. I get confused and think I'm in Australia. Sometimes the jacaranda trees also confuse me. Jacarandas aren't native to Australia, but that's where I first saw them and see them the most. The land and climate here, from southern Northern California to northern Southern California reminds me A LOT of New South Wales - and parts of interior CA also remind me of interior parts of NSW and Victoria.

When it gets hot here, like it's been (I know 90 isn't hot for many, but it is for me, especially now that I'm pregnant), I just remind myself that it's like being in Australia. Dress for the heat, expect it, lots of washing the hands and neck in cool water, move slow and expect to be a little sweaty. If only the Bay Area would acknowledge that it DOES get hot here sometimes -and sometimes cold, too- and have fans or air conditioning or heat available. Such denial around these parts!
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Yesterday's headline in the San Fransisco Chronicle was something like "East Bay faces water rations." Right on the heels of my "I might be very happy here for a long time" musing, the reality of living in a place not equipped for millions of inhabitants sets in. I live car free, recycle, try not topurchase too much, etc., but I'm still one more person, bringing another person into the world, living in a place that can't healthfully sustain the millions of people that live here. I have year round "allergies" to the air pollution and water comes from the mountains quite a ways away. It's not LA or San Diego, but it's not sustainable either.

Of course, Juneau isn't perfectly sustainable. All the food, save seafood, gets shipped in from Outside. And recently Juneau's been facing a massive energy crisis (check out the New York Times article). But this glitch will get fixed and they'll go back to clean, sustainable hydro-electric power. All that rain and water is good for something!

Still. Now I wonder if I can justify living in a major urban area. It seems a bit selfish and not that wise. I want my boy to be able to play outside! To have a relationship with nature beyond zoos, the Discovery Channel, and field trips. I don't want him developing asthma or other allergies.

Here I go, waffling about place again. As if I am even in a position to move.
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Things are looking up. I, physically, am looking bigger and bigger - but that's a good sign really. I feel great, but when I catch a glimpse of myself I think I must have a gravitational pull!

Ahem.

Things are work are settled. Improvement are right around the bend and I am relieved. It helps that I decided this weekend to cut off the energy suck - I decided that I'd done my best in the situation and I would let it all go. Made coming to work a much better experience. In addition to the staffing situation improving, the general state of the non-profit is looking fabulous and it kinda makes me excited.

It's been the sort of day where I wouldn't mind hanging out in the East Bay for several more years. There are some exciting pagan nonprofits in the works, one that I might be a part of at some point down the road. It's amazing to me that my administrative skills are so useful! It feels good to be professionally employable.

It also feels good to know wonderful people, people doing The Work - of the world, of the self, of the Divine, for the world, for themselves, for the Greater Good. That also is invigorating.

Of course, my staying very long in the Bay Area requires a couple of things that are non-negotiable: a larger place to live that is quiet, green and safe enough for our kid/s to play outside, and enough money and flexibility that I can go more often, for longer periods of time to Alaska.

We'll see what happens. But today it feels possible.

Vacation

May. 5th, 2008 10:01 pm
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Ok. We did it. I'm still not sure how we're paying for it, but that is inconsequential right at this moment. Adam and I just bit the bullet and decided to go here for three nights. We booked the Chapel Suite, of course. It's gonna be great. We love Sonoma, the trip is about relaxing and enjoying each other.... god, so why do I sound like I'm talking myself into this?? I have five weeks to sink into the reality of the trip.

I SUCK AT VACATIONS.
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Not very articulate today. I am TOTALLY procrastinating working on some staffing reports. Argh, staffing. Bane of my existence these days.

My weekend yoga retreat was wonderful. Only 12 of us, 13 if you count lil' Bennett-in-the-belly, and many people were quite kind to him! One lady (hot, so hot. Do I ever miss the ladies sometimes!) even knitted him a beautiful green hat one night! The yoga was great. I feel better than I've felt in months - my hips feel normal, I'm not waddling. Just amazing. It was also great to hear birds and bugs. I saw toads and hawks, and heard wild pigs and horses. AND, I saw the biggest butterfly I've ever seen! It was horribly incredible. Body the size of both my thumbs together plus some and wings the size of my hand. I really miss nature.

Thoughts on yoga and pregnancy )

But, I had to come home. What did I do? I immediately went to the movies with Adam and [livejournal.com profile] alizarin71, and concurrently with [livejournal.com profile] hrafntinna. We saw Iron Man. So fun! Totally not a feminist movie, but what the hell. Robert Downey Jr was everything I'd hoped he be, by which I mean fabulous. Gwyneth Paltrow played her part well and I loved the chemistry between her and RD Jr. My only criticism was that after wonderfully detailed and engrossing first and second acts, the third act felt like the director all of a sudden realized he was running long and had a Holy Shit! moment, cutting out stuff and speeding things along to the rather anticlimactic Fight Scene. I would have happily hung around for another 20 minutes for a more cohesive third act. But still. Good fun. Recommended for a good summer flick.

Okay, that's it for now.
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I'm going here. Does anyone have some extra thousands lying around?

I'm scouring places for our vacation. The requirements are:
*less than a day's drive from Oakland
*possible spa
*comfy room
*good food nearby
*green
*other activities nearby (for example, wineries, maybe golf, etc)
*money is a consideration - we neither have loads to spend, but we don't want to be cheap. We often use budget as an excuse to not have a vacation at all.

You'd think a master planner such as myself would find this a delightful task, but no.
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The lame parts of my weekend:
*being cranky
*fighting with Adam - we started to fight about an hour of the Bay Area. I got so mad at him that I did not speak to him for the rest of the trip to LA, or the next morning for the trip down to San Diego. Not the most mature I've ever been, but it was either not talk or yell.
*getting lost in LA traffic, while having to pee
*not getting to eat Mexican food in SD
*not spending nearly enough time with [livejournal.com profile] goddessofmercy and [livejournal.com profile] howilearned
*seeing myself mostly naked in a full length mirror for the first time in months = my youth is shot. Holy pregnancy backside, folks

The good parts of my weekend:
*seeing Goddessofmercy and Howilearned, eating some sushi (unagi, thus cooked), and laughing a lot
*being safe on the roads
*playing Mexican train dominoes with Adam's fam
*buying maternity jeans - so comfortable!
*making up with Adam, realizing that we can be spitting mad at each other and still civil and kind toward one another
*seeing SoCal during the rains - it's pretty and green there sometimes!
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.... are the worst I've ever encountered. I have been told that India and Israel are far worse, but I've not been to either place.

Adam and I routinely lament the selfish, aggressive driving here. Defensive driving is one thing, being unsafe is entirely another. There seems to be a mentality of scarcity surrounding driving here. Like, if they don't GO RIGHT NOW they'll never go. Ever. Which is impatient and incorrect.

Examples: people routinely turn left in intersections after the light has turned red, thereby preventing others from effectively getting through their lights. This is frustrating, but not as unsafe as many other manoevers. In the last two days, Adam and I have had daily reminders of such problems. I shall detail them, in my frustration, from least unsafe to most unsafe:

*Coming home from work today, at the Claremont/Telegraph intersection, an SUV decided that it MUST get through the intersection to the other side, even though the lane ahead was full and he was now blocking half the intersection. Cars had to go around him and we could not turn left. This happens a lot, as people will not wait for the lanes ahead to clear out. It's frustrating, but not the most unsafe.

*Going to work this morning, 42nd and Telegraph, a lighted intersection with almost no traffic heading along 42nd. However, a car going that way decided not bother with the red light and literally just ran right through.... this was not a stale red. It just ran straight through as we were headed along Telegraph on green. The police car on the street decided to ignore it.

*Going to work, yesterday. We navigate a slow series of 3 and 4 way stop signs to get to our little nonprofit. It's tedious, filled with loads of pedestrians and cars on a small two lane road. Many people routinely pull into intersections in an effort to "get through them" only to block traffic in the opposite direction. Annoying but not ultimately unsafe. However, at the last intersection, a 3 way stop (Piedmont and Bancroft), Adam and I (in the passenger seat) were set to turn left. Every car takes its turn, right? The car opposite us takes its turn, we start turning left and the next car opposite us decides it doesn't need to wait its turn but can follow the first car through. Except we're in the way. I was 20 ft from being t-boned. By Robert fucking Alter. Adam recognized him - he's a world renowned Biblical translator and literary criticism guy who teaches at UCBerkeley (and does some work for our nonprofit too). And he drives a little red Miata, just so you can watch out for him. I am so glad he hit the brakes, but it shook me up.

I am just amazed at people's self-importance and carelessness. As if our appointments are REALLY so important that other people's safety is inconsequential. At some point I am going to have to just accept that people around here SUCK at driving, so as to save myself the daily frustration and "oh my god, did you SEE that?!"

Ai yi yi.
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Yesterday I went to Mountainview Cemetery for the afternoon. It's huge, gorgeous park/cemetery near where I live and where I go to get peace and trees and refreshed. It's seriously beautiful, designed by the same guy who designed Central Park in New York. There are so man different kinds of trees: pine, redwood, oak, eucalyptus, palm and many others I don't recognize. There are flowers, not just on the graves, but little tiny purple ones growing as a floor covering between stands of trees or growing wild in the bushes or cultivated in sitting areas. On the edge of the cemetery, up high on the hill, in the dry beige scrub there were bright pink trumpet/lily shaped flowers growing with abandon! It took me by surprise as I rounded the bend - like stumbling upon a prom in the middle of a forgotten industrial complex. It made me smile. And the birds and the butterflies and dragonflies..... so much life.

I realized this week that I consider cemeteries to be about life, not death. A friend of mine told me that cemeteries make her think of ghosts and make her nervous. I'm not afraid of death, not that I want to die anytime soon, and I don't know anything about ghosts. But cemeteries, like cathedrals and other sacred sites, give me a peaceful, supported feeling. When I was living in Ireland I attended Christ Church Cathedral, the base of which had been laid in the 900s. I find it powerful and humbling and comforting to think about all the people over the centuries who had sat there worshiping as I was, or doubting, or repentent, or hopeful, or bored - just like me. My doubts and desires are not so monumental when I think that way. And like sacred spaces, cemeteries (also sacred spaces in their own way) remind me that I'm not alone. All of those people had lives and loves. It's hard to imagine what 2075 will be like (I'll be 100) and I'm sure that the people whose graves were erected in 1816 had no idea about what the future held either. I feel very much in the embrace of humanity when I'm in a graveyard. Comforted. Curious. More alive in the here and now.

During my walking I was reminded of some thoughts I had when I was camping in the Santa Cruz mountains last weekend. While wandering around a field and sitting amongst the redwoods I realized that California, it's land and nature, is welcoming, friendly, down right inviting. The open forest floors and fields, the colorful plants and flowers, the climate, all of these things are inviting. The land welcomes new friends and asks to be known. It's no wonder that people flock here. California is beautiful and easy to love. Unlike south east Alaska, which though grand and beautiful, is quite imposing and not easy to know or maybe even love. Aloof, foreboding, dark, dense, wet - the forests and fjords and mountains and climate make it hard to know. Unlike California, which is inviting (that word keeps coming to m mind), SE Alaska is a reluctant, demanding, difficult lover. It is an interesting comparison.
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I hope everyone had a tasty Thanksgiving. It's such a strange holiday. How everyone cooks the same meal. I've always thought that odd. Thankfully this was year number three celebrating with a vegan so I feel like the same-old same-old at least gets a new twist. This year the food was amped up a notch of excitement as Adam deep-fried the turkey. Yes, ladies and gentleman - you've heard the rumor that it can be done! And Adam and I have tasted the proof! [livejournal.com profile] fictional_emily also saw the miracle of turkey with her own two eyes, but as she is the aforementioned vegan, none of it passed her lips. Let me just say that it was the best turkey I've ever had in my life. Highly recommended.

After dinner it was off to Sonoma County with Adam's parents. A fine trip and if I wasn't strapped for uninterrupted time I'd go into more details. Here's the dirty run-down:
*I love Sonoma and want to move there. We went walking/hiking at the Jack London State Historic Park. Very pretty. I miss trees.
*We saw the new Bond film. So good! Daniel Craig is magnificent as the new Bond. And, holy hot damn to boot! Plus, the "Bond girl" phenomenon was kept to a very respectable minimum. The main girl character was also very smart. Yay!
*We found the new mecca of wine tasting: Locals Wine Tasting. Mildly pretentious website, but a very nice place to taste wine and the wines are definitely some of the yummiest in the Sonoma valley - and some of the most affordable. Very exciting. Plus, the town is so small there isn't a stop light to be seen. Love it.
*I scored the new Nigel Slater cookbook The Kitchen Diaries.
*Lastly, we saw the Da Vinci Code movie. Adam's parents had it on DVD. I couldn't help but laugh out loud at some of the pontificating. Two caveats: Tom Hanks played down the main characters overwhelming arrogance and Sir Ian McKellen can act anyone under the table.

This concludes another boring list of what I've been up to.
theatokos: (witchy.woman)
I have had a jam-packed two weeks. I am delirously tired from it all. I wanted to post last week about the long weekend. Our SoCal blitz- our 6 city tour. Southern California is beautiful. In my mind it is what vacation looks like. That amount of sun, palm trees, tank tops, ocean breeze, and beach would make it impossible for me to work. I'd keep thinking "Where's my margarita?" Either that or I'd develop an eating disorder, a taste for homogeneity and fake nails, and a truck/fancy car fetish.

Upon arriving back in NorCal I had a staff retreat and then my mother arrived. I have mentioned that I love my co-workers and the retreat cemented it. I also love my mother. She attended Feast Bay and even joined in on some of the discussion. She also took me to Chez Panisse Cafe for lunch on my birthday. It was incredible. I want to be able to afford that kind of dining whenever I want. Service that was attentive but not oppressive (no one wrote their name on our table, tried to become our best friend or inquired if it was a Special Day). Food that was so fresh and flavorful it tasted alive, yet the meals were unpretentious. The dining room was art & crafts with modernist touches [I think, I do not really know what I'm taking about] and the hosts clearly had no intention of seating every table in the place so we were not squished in.

This is all the post I can muster right now. I must away to vote in California's primary election.
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It is deathly slow at work. I want to read the Economist online, but it keeps freezing up my internet for some reason. I'm waiting on something to come in the mail. Pandora isn't doing it for me today. Everything just seems to be slow. But this just might be that I am so excited to get out of town this weekend.

The itinerary:
Friday - Leaving in the AM, having lunch with [livejournal.com profile] howilearned and possible [livejournal.com profile] goddessofmercy in Santa Barbara - someplace I've never to before! I love going to new places. Then onto LA to stay with the friend(s) we lunched with.

Saturday - Hopefully brunch at the most amazing brunch place ever in LA. Then down to Santee (east county San Diego). Time with the almost in-laws and [livejournal.com profile] erinya.

Sunday - Wedding in the afternoon on some lovely coastal bit of San Diego.

Monday - Leave for lunch with other friends in Irvine. Then back up to Oakland!

I'm looking forward to a road trip. Yes indeed.

xdgklhads?

Feb. 13th, 2006 02:38 pm
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Bleary head. Got to sleep at 3 am after driving back from LA. A great trip. Can't focus much today. LA is fun. Good friends, good food (we found the Mecca of Brunch yesterday), and good museum exhibits on comics. Other key wrods of the weekend: fast food, 90 year old grandma, Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 6, unintimidated, sleep deprived, Baba, breakfast cheese brick, inspiration.

On Thursday I leave for Anchorage to see my sis and neices. My one and only trip to Anchorage: age 12 for a swimming meet.

Whew

Jun. 14th, 2005 10:19 pm
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Oh my god. I am crazy in love with my intended.
What an incredible person. What inspiration. What hope. What challenge.

I remember flying into the Bay Area for not quite the first time, but the first time as an adult, knowing that my life was about to include California, include this new maze of concrete and dry brown hills. I remember flying into Oakland for a visit to PSR, the visit to see what I was going to be getting myself into, not knowing at all what California was about, what graduate school was about, what this adventure was going to be about. I remember staring out the window on the flight north thinking to myself as I watched the land move from city to hill to flat that California had a lot to teach me. So far it has not been so much the landscape that has surprised me, but the people I have met here that have challenged, surprised and educated me. I often miss the amazing people from Juneau, the DIY spirit of the theatre and music and politics there. I miss the enthusiasm and generosity of the people there. Much of their passion revolves around a profound love of Alaska, a love of place that frankly is absent, at best thinly considered, elsewhere. To my great joy and surprise I have found people here as passionate, vibrant, challenging, and creative as any I could have hoped for. There is no central theme of place, but rather a rag-tag group of people committed to authenticity. (NB the famous key word)

California has pushed me, called me out. Adam, who to me has redeemed any image of this state I have ever held, epitomizes my time here. I cannot image my time in California without him. I always carry Alaska with me where ever I go; now in addition I travel with California by my side. My view of the world is now seen through a double lens- no, a triple lens! Mine and his and ours.

----
In another realm of my life, though not so distantly related, I have pulled out an Italian art song, a good ol' freshman in opera major art song. Boy, does it feel good to sing - really sing - again, even if I'm rusted 10 years.

Libations

Jun. 8th, 2005 11:30 pm
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It has been a week of drinking. So many celebrations, so few reasons to be up early in the morning. Last Saturday was a glorious vacation; Adam and I spent the day in Sonoma. We had use of Bro's car and off we went. Small town life, not suburbial, is so much nearer than I had realized. I had read that Sonoma is the less chi-chi of the wine areas in Northern California, much less trendy and yuppified than Napa; however, the yuppie imprint was everywhere. Yet. Small town life, I love you so. The town has a large park in the middle. When we were there the high school jazz band was playing. Couples and mothers pushing strollers, joggers and bikers in ridiculous biking attire, slouching teens and polished girls wandered the streets. Adam and I started the day with brunch at the girl & the fig. The food and the service were incredible. We got a complimentary cheese plate (the pierre robert), with apple slices, fig, and bread. Of course Adam went for the burger (Neiman Ranch beef, naturally), but what is it with fancy restaurants that they have to do matchstick fries? I don't get it. I had the omelet special: goat cheese, spinach, and duck confit. Outrageous. And a big strong mug of coffee. I want to eat this omelet again.

Our first winery was Gundlach-Bundschu, one of the oldest in the area. I think this was my favorite place and wine overall. Perhaps I am swayed by how I spent my time post-imbibing. There was a small hill with a trail to backside for picnicking. Most people didn't make it to the backside (slackers), but it worked in my favor. The day was hot but I sat out a table while Adam wandered off. I surveyed the area, hill behind, vineyards before, and realized: I could not see another human being, nor car, nor road, nor building in 360 degrees. The sound of the freeway in my ears? Just my assumption; it was only the wind in the trees. This realization overwhelmed me with refreshment and also made me want to cry. This slice of pastoral paradise lasted all of 20 minutes. I packed the aching away and then it was time to move on.

Our next stop was the Schug Winery. A small operation. Pleasant, but not all that interesting. Our last stop was Ravenswood, home of the reliable zinfandel. This place is much more commercial than the others, very touristy, but the wines are good, much better than the standard Vintners Blend zin that we always seemed to drink when last I was living in Alaska. The Sonoma Zin was my favorite. And our server/pourer was a fantastically cute recent transplant from NY.

Quite tipsy (no driving for me!), we made our way to a bar to catch game 6 of the Eastern Conference NBA semi-finals. Go Pistons.

It was an incredibly rejuvenating day. The next day also included copious amounts of wine, though that was not my plan when I woke up in the morning. It was my birthday. My thirtieth. I worked all day at the bookstore and upon arriving home in the evening I had friends in the living room surprising me with chocolate, cheese, strawberries, guac, wine and beer. I had a drink in my hand continuously for 6 hours. I've had musings on this milestone - turning 30 - but perhaps they should wait for later. I have been especially thoughtful about this birthday since I came across a dumb Oil of Olay ad essentially saying that we should claim to be 29 as long as possible. Huh.

***
In my book world, I skimmed through Ishiguro's latest "Never Let Me Go." Didn't really like it, though my boss thinks it's going to be up for all kinds of awards. I wouldn't be surprised if it got nominated for the ManBooker Prize, but I would be surprised if it won. The writing is crisp, the plot is sort of interesting, but the voice is really irritating. However, when Adam is not reading it, I am stealing chunks of a collection of essays on masculinity Rebecca Walker has compiled in "What Makes a Man." This is a great collection. If you have a progressive dad I would recommend this for father's day. Or for your brother, or boyfriend, or brother-in-law, or gender-progressive friend.
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Everyone is moving away. Which is nice, because I'm tired of living in close proximity to everyone I know here. I read the many posts of [livejournal.com profile] donkeyfly this morning, these make me unbearably homesick without fail. Why am I still in California? I ask myself this several times a day.

For a change of scenery and an excuse to find reasons to talk myself into loving Berkeley, I left to go see the Retro Redhead, who was swing dancing in Sproul Plaza, the main square on the UC Berkeley campus. It's a lovely sunny day, things are in bloom, there's a strong breeze keeping the heat to a minimum. Most of the undergrads are gone and the town doesn't seem too crowded, frenetic, or overrun with cutesy 19 year olds (says the old fogey who looks 19 herself). The Retro Redhead was sad too; she found out today that the guy she's been crushing on for months is seeing someone. Where, she asks me, is she going to find another cool vegan who likes to swing dance? She and I danced a little and then walked down Telegraph to check out the new American Apparel store that just opened. I want some nice new t-shirts - no ethical quandries here (not counting their lame advertising). However, I still have no job, and since the undergrads are gone, business is slow and hours are getting shortened at the bookstore. Sigh. No new clothes for me. I had 5$ noodles for lunch.

More sad news upon coming home. My bestest friend did not get the job she's been pursuing for months, which puts her in an awkward position. And, the apartment Adam and I really really wanted has been rented out from under us. Back to the drawing board.

I am going to go crawl into bed for a while. Then I will put on the nicest outfit I own, a black strapless cotton dress with heels, the same thing I wore last weekend for graduation, and head into the city for another graduation party. My very good friend's father, who has recently come into Google money, has a fancy new house and is hosting the party, complete with copious hors doeuvre and valet parking. I'm sure my spirits will be better by the end of the night.

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theatokos

October 2010

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