january, 2006

Mon, 2 Jan 2006 22:49:32 -0800

Curled in my favorite chair (blue; the orange one being kept for me chez Delafield) with the last glass of Lillet in the bottle is probably not the most orthodox culmination to a centering, relaxing Berkeley yoga class. But said class -- complete with om-chanting and all! -- was a good culmination to a welcome three-day weekend of rebirth, renewal, and reäffirmation. Not that I've made any resolutions, per se -- the teacher at 7th Heaven this evening assumed that the new faces in the burgeoning class were here as a result of new-year-new-self vows -- but rather that I deeply enjoy engaging in activities that bring me pleasure, and have managed to construct the first few dozen hours of 2006 to reflect those pleasures.

This Sylvester (an old Germanism leaps to mind for a holiday that wants a name) was rung in with fortyish of my closest friends, neighbors, acquaintances, cooks, burners, Jews in devil horns, Debian geeks, roommates, crossword aficionados, and general conspirators, in my candle-bedecked living room in the soon-to-be-abandoned(-sniff!) Goat House. Someone counted down from an atomic clock they'd found online; twenty-five-cent IKEA champagne flutes clinked; revelry resumed. Holes torn in my white netted stockings are visible in pictures taken on my new camera post-2-AM, which must mean it was a good evening. I delegated the deployment of massive amounts of food to three lovely gentleman-cooks, who donned aprons, tossed ties over their shoulders, and prepared a feast while I changed into the ridiculous, strapless thing with gold trim, and gold shoes -- both the plunder of the Madison thrift stores over the previous week's excursion. Pranced (the articulation of which word makes me feel like my grandmother -- but really, what else can one do in lamé heels?) and shook it for hours.

I awoke to a beautiful sound: dishes being cleaned. And, after the scrubbing of all remaining 34 flutes, Dave and I re-destroyed the kitchen to turn out tofu scramble and waffles with fresh raspberry sauce.

Though I always expect I'll go crazy with the time off, it's turned out that these past few weeks have been welcomely chill. Even the two days of inter-holiday work back at the 'plex (from which we are now a half-mile estranged! sob) were uncharacteristically chill, consisting of packing, Sports-Paging, DTMV-lunching. And though my new year's was not excessive in the regretting-it-the-next-day sense, it's lovely to have time to bike across town in my Christmas-gifted bike gloves, under a low-hanging crescent moon, to a yoga studio to chant eastern syllables and align my body in pleasing ways. A reäffirmation, then, of my pleasures: the physical and the gustatorial so far. Happy 2006.

Fri, 6 Jan 2006 11:19:54 -0800

I FUCKING LOVE BAGELS. No really. It's an obsession that few outside of New Yorkers understand, and most of them look at me funny, too, because I'm from the Midwest and am not supposed to love Jewish food the way they do. But, raised eight blocks from the bagelry of a couple of ex-New-Yorkers, I can't help it. I probably test positive for opium, given the amount of poppy-seed bagels I eat daily.

My quest for bagels is the first and most important quest I undertake any time I move anywhere new (authentic bagelries in San Francisco, anyone?), and the one with the potential to be the most devastating. The Berkeley Bowl has two varieties of fresh bagels daily: one that sucks (little more than boiled bread); one that is pretty close to divine (from the Marin Bagel Co.). If I don't get my bagel fix (with my vegan bagel spread on top), I'm near catatonic -- or at least upset -- for the day.

So, even though I had my morning bagel this A.M. (blew off an optometrist's appointment today in favor of tea and ritual in my new wool hat, trying not to freeze in my chilly Berkeley dining room), to come to work and find not only more bagels than building 1300 could possibly eat and an array of cream cheeses, but also a small container of tofutti better-than-cream-cheese spread. It's almost as if it had my name on it. The new toaster even has a "bagel" setting -- only toasts on one side (the cut one). Ingenious!

That, plus a secreted-away Mighty Leaf teabag from No Name in my new, pilfered Onsite Haircuts mug, completed my morning. I could eat bagels all day.

Tue, 17 Jan 2006 01:47:49 -0800

Coming into the house tonight, ravenous and already jetlagged, I fail to notice the continuity until I open the fridge and extract the Sabra hummus I have stashed in there for emergencies like this. Biting into it on whole-wheat pita, I suddenly recall the last time I took this cross-country, almost-redeye flight direct from Dulles to Oakland, the elder McCormick dropping me off (albeit a bit more frantically, then) and the next-eldest picking me up, driving me to my new home, and leaving me to the ministrations -- hummus on vegan bread; fresh organic strawberries -- of my new roommates (from whom I'm a week away from moving out and to SF).

And this evening (morning? It's approaching five A.M. in the time zone I've almost settled into over this four-day-long MLK weekend), gustatorial parallels aside, I can't help but notice the similarities: Underdressed for the cold of DC, I'm still wearing a borrowed oversized orange shirt from Colin, and I've just come from leave-taking of friends and a fantastic weekend (suspension of time and rules do this).

Funny how, as the jasmine has come slowly back into bloom in Berkeley, I've been ducking out of my way as I cross the street to catch a whiff of it, reminding myself of last year's February though April -- Californian, and fraught with a relationship. Funny how, even much more recently, I was writing everything off completely. But there's so much chemistry between us! -- Chemistry like the molecular composition of geodes we read about, museuming, this weekend; biology, explaining my sunlight-induced sneeze on exiting the monkeyed atrium of the Sackler this afternoon; general science, as he passes me copies of the Berkeley Science Review.

But bits of science have failed to explain our interaction. Labels and articulations have, so far, escaped us; "it may be unknowable," mused Lara as we took a break from the dance inferno of Delafield last night. Time will tell. Funny how these weekends are pivotal for us.

Fri, 20 Jan 2006 11:02:08 -0800

Though it's only my penultimate night in the Goat House, it may as well be my last -- at least, it's the last night with everything still in its neatly-stashed place (well, mostly neatly); last night with the Nepali tapestry on my wall, Michelle's painting from college and Dad's photographs of trees on other surfaces, with my room as I've come to know it over this past year: purple walls; red sheets; white curtains; mad splashes of color everywhere else I can fit them.

Tomorrow, I begin to dismantle; Sunday, I move. (This dismantling, of course, will only happen after I wake up; and I plan -- as on a good Saturday -- to not set my alarm. This past week went more or less exactly according to the large-scale plan, which involved much travel, even more alcohol, less sleep than the degrees of travel plus drinking put together, seeing a million people, and good dancing; recuperating from it has been slowly going on over Thursday and Friday. Not only was MLK everything I hoped it would be (and more -- my heart falters), but damn, does my company know how to party! I think that only hit me in full around 5 AM on Wednesday night ...) Dismantling the space I've put together piece by piece -- and not just the room; the kitchen will have to be re-boxed, too (but no generous boyfriend present to help me, this time). Intentional upheavals aren't necessarily easier because they've been planned.

But with this relatively minor one, I can see no regrets looming. The heater squeals shrilly from outside my red door, so cold-blooded Sara can stay warm; the kitchen is never clean, nor the upstairs bathroom (blue and beautiful as we may have painted it). Certain things, I will not miss, and the rest -- Thai brunch; crosswords; the Berkeley Bowl -- are but a short BART ride away. I will not become an isolationist San Franciscan, never setting foot outside my neighborhood; for me to do so after a year of hopping around the Bay would be not only hypocritical but limiting. Like our Governator, I'll be back.

all this ©nori heikkinen, January 2006

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