Sunday, July 31, 2005

I am sitting here with The Yogini and Ms. Highlights. There was a dress fitting earlier. Then a smoking. Then a snacking. Then some crappy tv viewing. The Yogini just alerted me that she will bake some homemade cookies. Today's recipe will be semi-sweet not savory. Semi-sweet chocolate chips, nuts and the other basic ingredients for your classic cookie. Not vegan. Not beefy. Not fruity. Just cookie. The Y and Ms. H are jibber jabbering, and I figured they would give me some good material for today's post. I may have overestimated. They keep repeating the same things, "namaste" "maroon" "middle-aged aryan swede" and "heehahahaheeheeehaha."

Perhaps I should try to come up with something myself. Updates are easy. We went to the garden this morning to check on our transplants. The night blooming jasmine looks excellent. I suspect it will thrive in the wide open dirt. The lavender looks small. The red poppy has a companion! Now there are two big red flowers looming tall in the middle of our dirt patch. Smaller pile of garbage to clear. I'll keep an eye on that and let you know.

This seems like too big a reach. Trying to stay steady on my old ibook, but, like they say, it's the quality not the quantity, right? I'm going to try to remember that when the cookies come out of the oven. Heading up north to Pomo Canyon tomorrow, so I should have something interesting to say on Tuesday. The combination of beautiful scenery and my beautiful companions (The Yogini (surprise), Red and The Pagan) should make for a noteworthy adventure. If not, I'll make something up. When you're in Texas look behind you.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

A couple of things. I'm making that pizza today. Homemade dough with rosemary potatoes, my spinach walnut pesto, goat cheese and fresh basil. I'm making another one too, because one of my friends coming over is about to burst with baby, and I'm not 100% sure she can eat goat cheese. The other one will have a basil red sauce with fresh mozz, fake sausage, grilled onions, garlic and red peppers. Maybe I should put a recipe or a meal up here each time I write. It would make sense. I cook most every day, and don't those pizzas sound yummy?

I went to a memorial last night for the friend I mentioned earlier in the week. I hadn't seen him in years. Guess I sort of mentioned that, too. It was at the bar where I knew him most of the time. I sat in the back at a table where we would gather after locking the doors and sending the drunks on their way. Most of the drunks, anyway. We were still there. There was a song he would always play for me, and I can't quite remember it now. There was a line it - fine fine super fine. The Yogini would try to play The Stones and he would counter with Todd Rungren. It was a messy, ongoing dispute. We'd smoke a bowl and laugh and then do them both over and over again. I found our last email exchange this morning. I sent him a good luck totem and he replied that he didn't quite get it, but that since it was from me it was sure to bring luck anyway. He said he hoped I'd get a month off sometime so I could make the long journey to the bar. About two miles from the rooftop. He said if I needed a sherpa he was available. I'm pretty sure the offer would still stand if he was, so I'm hoping I can use his services down the road some in another more distant place.

That's a couple things I guess. What else? There have been breezes lately, and the cats are staying cool. Saw a place up north for rent and it has a pool. Realized recently that I'm good at school. Like the deck better without the big wooden spool. The blister on the callous is healing since I've stayed away from the weed chopping tool. And. Woke up this morning with a face full of drool.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Death schmeath. I've been digging in The Yogini's garden lately. Got a blister on a callous, so I know it's working. Today we brought some plants from the rooftop to transplant in the great outdoors. They had been growing up here for several years, but never really growing too big. We decided it was time to lets their roots roam, so we walked over to the Bernal garden with two night blooming jasmines and a pot of lavender. I went right to work digging up the remaining big weeds and plants that had to go. Some of these were potato plants, and when I started in with the hoe, one after another potato rolled into view. By the time I got the whole area turned and smoothed, I had about 15 medium sized white potatoes. There's some rosemary growing in the garden, so we got a few branches and I'm planning to make a pizza with rosemary potatoes, basil, pesto and goat cheese. I do not have a goat. Yet. There's a beautiful red poppy growing near the front of the plot, right in the center. There are a bunch of "sacks" that will bloom soon, I think. I sturdied up the base of the plant with some rocks that I'd turned up in the soil. I did the same thing with the tomato plants we decided to keep. They say tomatoes don't grow well in San Francisco because it never gets hot enough. Someone should tell the plants in our garden. Other than that, there's a little patch of mint that we're keeping for now and that's about it. The Yogini plans to keep working the soil this week, add some nutrients and then start growing for real.

I keep cleaning up trash that people dump in and around the main garden - they can't get into the individual plots because of the lovely wooden fence around them, but they manage to toss in chip bags and bottle caps and other junk. On the steps and by the sidewalk, some people dump what looks like bags of trash. I can't quite figure it out. I mean, I know they are thoughtless slobs. But it almost seems like they bring their garbage bags down and dump them out. Anyway, it's icky, so I've been sweeping it out and weeding between the sidewalk cracks. I do believe that when things are clean, they have a greater chance of staying that way. If folks see garbage and they have garbage, they are just more likely to join up and build the trash heap. This theory can apply in one's home or workspace. And it cannot, too. Guess it just depends.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

If I told you what I was going to write about, you might stop reading. Because you're not supposed to talk about it. But it's on my mind, so I'm going there. Death. Not why or yikes or sob sob sob. Just thinking about dealing with it and not dealing with it and things of that nature. Of course, this isn't random. It struck again in my world. Not up close, but that's kind of what got me thinking on these terms. I did a recap of the deaths in my life, and I realized that by the time most of the folks in my life have died, it hasn't been up close. Or better said, I haven't been up close. Maybe even so far away, that I'm afraid I've forgotten one or two, and that strikes me as a bit wrong. Or a lot wrong. Like the most wrong thing you can do when someone dies is to forget about them. Or not think of them every day. And here's the real kicker,what if they're still alive and you're not thinking of them? That seems to be the case for me quite often. Or, if I'm still thinking of them, I'm a few thousand miles away. Or it seems that way. And I've been doing this for 20 years. Now, I'm not trying to say I'm all evil or bad or ungood or anything. Maybe this is a normal way to deal with the fact that folks are going bye-bye. But except for 3 people (and most of my animals) the people I've known who have died have been far too young according to modern life spans and what would make me happy. So, though I know for sure we're all going to die, and I really think I'm okay with the concept, I'm having some trouble making sure everything is right prior to the big events. I'm not on a karma search or a heaven quest. I'm a Jew at heart. It's just that when I get the call, I'd like it if my first thought wasn't that I wish I'd stopped by one of those times when I thought about. Or that I should have seen it coming. Or that I could have gone to Alaska. Or that if I hadn't been so damn high, I could have been a better friend. Now, on one score, I think I'm doing alright. I do tell people that I love them, and not just at the end of phone calls. But how long is something like that going to last if I haven't seen you in a year or two or seven? I'm not really looking for an answer - though I do love to hear what others think - I guess I just want to put this out there so that maybe I do a better job next time. I'm not sure what that entails. I've known many many people. And I've loved a bunch of them. And people move on and away and that's real. I'm not suggesting that the answer is to call and write everyone I know weekly so that I'll feel better about myself. Stamps are really expensive, especially if you get the breast cancer ones. And I'm pretty sure if I started a crusade like that, the one person I forgot would keel over first and screw the whole thing up. And you can't always be thinking about death, especially as a motivation for life. Or at least I can't. I'm just pretty sure that more and more people I dig are going to die while the world keeps turning and I keep showing up. And I'd like it if the next time I get a call my first thought is a smile or a chuckle remembering our last silly moment. Is that too much to ask?

Saturday, July 23, 2005

I said it was sunny yesterday. Today is HOT. Very few clothes on the rooftop and the cat, the big one, has been melting into the hard wood floor. There's not much we can do for her now. I clipped off a bunch of her fur just last week - maybe I sensed it would get this way. But I don't think it was enough. This isn't a weather report, though, is it? And I'm certainly not a meteorologist. Yet.
The Yogini (my most constant companion) and I took a bike ride this morning. To the ferry building for some organic veggies. And fruits. When we arrived, there weren't many people there yet. I really do get up early. So it started out nice. Chatting with the farmers, or, as I suspect, the pretend farmers. Actors maybe. If they were really farmers wouldn't they be farming? I'm not saying this is bad or wrong. I get it. You gotta do what you gotta do for sales, if that's your business. So they get sinewy acting folk, spray on some tan and soil, and put them out there. The tourists dig it, but I think the locals need the make-believe more. It's kind of like when they help out at the shelter on Thanksgiving. Getting real. Almost. Anyway, The Yogini had her coffee and I had a peach. Not as ripe as the taster they connived me with, but sweet as honeysuckle on the vine. Or a peach. One depressed looking tot pushed a stroller in circles while his aunt kept asking if he wanted to push it all the way to his uncle. He never even faced that direction, and like I said, he was going in circles. I suspect any kid in this situation would look just as dour. At the same time, a slightly older tyke put her Barbie bag on the ground and proceeded to fold herself into it. I wonder when was the last time I knew I could fit in a bag? While I sat, the crowd had grown, so it was definitely time to get what we'd come for and get out. I am not fond of crowds. Mostly it's the people. We filled up our bags with basil and green onions, beets and beans, strawberries and peaches. And red butter lettuce. And dried apricots. We were on our bikes, remember, and I didn't really have a recipe in mind. Then we weaved and bumped out of the snug bustle (dance craze or ladies undergarment, you decide) and rode off into the sunset. Not really. It was nine in the morning and we were headed to...The Mission.

Friday, July 22, 2005

The Yogini just told me that if I don't want to have kids, I should not put a baby book on our altar. I suggested that book or no book, that's one accident that is not likely to happen here. A sunny day is hitting the deck hard this afternoon. Which has absolutely nothing to do with the kid thing. All the curtains are pulled so that even the super strong rays can't find their way in. I hope. They're sneaky little bastards. Grinning. I love the sun, but one room on a rooftop filled with an afternoon summer scorch can get to a girl. Even this one, who would be happiest right now or tomorrow or last week or any day that starts with a morning, to be laying on a sunshiny patch of sand beside giant water. I get up early enough to see the dark turn light, and since I'm not usually on that sunny beach, there is not much that makes me more joyous than the first rays catching my grin by the fountain during our earliest chat. I don't wear sunglasses. They make me dizzy. But even if they didn't, I think I wouldn't. Unless I really, really had to. I love the sun on my face. I think that picture is clear now, so I'll try to move on. Remember how I said I am pretty good at figuring out who wants a hello and who prefers an hola? Pretty much set myself up on that one. Walked this morning, which I'll tell you more about in a second. A few blocks from home, deep in the heart of the Mission, I passed a little immigration shop with an old dude sitting out front and I was sure I had it all locked up when he smacked me with a fresh hello in the crispest of ingles. Just when I thought I had it all figured out.... The walk this morning was steep. Up the mountain that is Bernal hill. Everyone we pass has a dog or two, so just to fit in better, I started calling out to mine, who must have run off somewhere. The Yogini was a little embarassed by my antics, but I think it worked, and now they don't think we're a couple of weirdos walking up hill just because. Maybe. The Yogini gets coffee. I have yogurt. We sit and check out wherever we are. This morning we had a surprise visit from a friend I haven't seen in a couple of years. She was wearing all pink, and it was working for her. We talked we laughed we caught up and then she mentioned that her father and her grandmother both died a few weeks ago. "Aside from that devestation," she started her next sentence. Whoa. She is clearly dealing with a ton, and yet there she was, all good and everything. I wonder if that is a feature of aging. She's a year younger than me, by the way, so I'm not gazing into the future. And that seems to be about as random a point as any at which to stop writing.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Mission has a bad rap. It smells. This is true. There are a lot of odors most of the time. I live three stories above most of them, so at home I am fine. When I reach the street there is no telling what will assault me. Nose or otherwise. But. Actually...BUT, in general the people are friendly. One might say neighborly. I might be that one. Sure, it's what you put out there. Aging in the ghetto has mellowed my harsh. I want to be a neighbor. I want to know some of their names. I haven't gotten that far yet. Except for Tommy. He's a guy who walks in circles around the block most of the day. He lives in a "home" a few doors down and I suspect a lithium concoction informs his pace. Or drag. With head hung off to the right. I bumped him with the garage door yesterday. Did I mention he's silent? Not always. If you speak to him his head pops up and he apparently has a lot to say. I found this out a few weeks ago. I figured after ten years of quietly passing one another it was up to me to get things started. I wasn't sure if he'd ever actually seen me - head down and all. I had to decide if it was a hello or an hola. After 10 years I'm pretty good at this. It was definitely a hello. I took the leap and up came the head and the eyes were open and surprisingly alert and off he went. Hi, hi. I know you. I see you. Are you Italian? I get asked this almost as often as I am asked if The Yogini is my twin. No to both. So, this is mostly to say that I wander the Mission a few times a day. And in the last few years (yes, I'm slow - I'm a Capricorn) I've taken the time to smile at passersby. Greet and assist when it seems right or helpful or I have the time, which is most of the time. And in the Mission, almost everyone smiles back and has a kind word. Sometimes two. Tommy had at least fifty-three that day. Not so many when I smacked him with the garage. But generally there is a good exchange. A feeling that we are lucky to have what we've got. That we get more sunshine than the rest of the city. But I can't limit my wandering to the Mission. I haven't aged that much. So I slip into the surrounding districts and then I slip back and hardly anyone notices. Especially in Noe Valley. Sounds pretty, right? They say it "no-we", so it's sing songy. Every December people add an "L" to the street signs and they are always shopping and strolling with newborns and drinking coffee and coming back from a workout. They actually have stuff. Houses and condos and fancy family cars and new clothes and investments and retirement plans and ski passes and nannies and JOBS. And they are well-paid. And I'm sure I don't need to tell you that they have great health plans that include chiropractic and acupuncture and 4 weeks in the tropics. And in the Mission most of the people I pass have shoes. And in Noe Valley this morning I am sure that I passed 50 people on the street and the only one who almost said something (I think he would have if he wasn't so surprised) was a city worker holding a wire while another guy was being hoisted up a pole. Not so much as a smirk from any one of these poor bastards who, boo hoo, had their lattes and were headed off to their, why me, desk jobs where they were going to have to do some work for a few minutes each hour between solitaire and travel searches on the internet. Yeah, the Mission smells pretty bad most of the time. But you can get a good taco and Mr. Thanasi at the corner store will wave to you from across the street.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I could start out talking about how new I am to this scene. How I just got my first cellphone...ever. Don't have cable or call waiting or a microwave or an i-anything. How the only computers I've ever had were given to me by friends who were concerned I might fall into the past. If I did that it would seem appropriate to follow up with a profound philosophical explanation for my technical retardation. Which is why I won't, because today I don't have one handy. I have a cat on a roof. Two actually. Will that do? I'll try to come at this more prepared or inspired next time. Things are happening here. Here is North America. California. San Francisco. A rooftop.

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