may, 2007

Mon, 7 May 2007 22:21:52 -0700

Summer squash is the reason I got a CSA box. Some time last year, at the Google farmer's market, I picked up a loaf of brown bread, some basil, and an assortment of yellow, sea-urchin-like sunburst squashes, and went home and tossed the latter two into a pasta dish, seasoned only with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Realized that the whole secret of California (as if the Berkeley Bowl hadn't taught me this already!) is not so much nouveau cuisine, but the abundance of amazing produce. Subscribed to the CSA box of the farm of my friend Matt that evening.

And tonight, I came home from a day of the crappy pager having gone off in short bursts -- this model appears to collect pages for anywhere between 30 minutes and two hours, and then dump all of them on you at an interval of about 10 seconds, which is just short enough to guarantee that you can't ACK them all, which means that your secondary just turns theirs off, and the people sitting near you (Groups, Writely) in your open-floor-plan arrangement start to shoot you dirty looks -- just wanting dinner, and a glass of wine. Took the K/L/M to Church & Market instead of waiting for the to-my-door N, so I could crutch by the little corner store for a bottle of pre-chilled Sauvignon Blanc. Somehow stuffed it in my bag and made my way -- slowly, building triceps and deltoids, and exhaustion -- up Church with the bottle stuffed in my Timbuk2 next to my little pink Sigg thermos and reading-glasses case, up the stairs, into my kitchen, where Ojan's rolly office chair awaited me. On it, I can zoom all over the tiled surface of my kitchen: one knee on the chair, the good foot pushing off and stopping. It apparently looks ridiculous to everyone but Erica (who sees me do it every day) at this point -- Malcolm, over before Erica's dessert party a couple of weekends ago, snickered for a minute solid as he watched me roll from countertop to countertop on one knee -- but hey, it's the only space in which I'm truly mobile these days. I've even started taking the elevator upstairs to the second floor of Build 47 (where Google Apps now lives), not only for Jason's supply of Barefoot espresso, but the rolly chairs in the conference rooms abutting the kitchen.

But, back to tonight. Not having a clear idea of dinner, knowing only that the Scotch that Ken had poured into my orange demitasse as I was working to fix server errors this evening had made me crave carbohydrates, I put on whole-wheat pasta to boil. And then realized that what I wanted was summer squash.

So I rolled up and down the length of my kitchen, chopping zucchini and yellow squash, and sautéeing it in the minimum necessary: olive oil, salt, and pepper. Announced loudly to Erica that she was not seeing the ice cube I put in my glass of white wine (decently crisp; no crap New Zealand fruity one!) -- because, after all, it had been in the mid-eighties today, and the open window next to the kitchen table was admitting only so much breeze -- declared I didn't want to touch my computer for the rest of the evening, and sat down to a bowl of pasta and lightly-cooked-and-seasoned squash with my book. (Of course, this brief blogging interlude doesn't count.)

So, three cheers for California and its local farmers. Three cheers for the mix of Goldfrapp, Zero 7, and Verve Remixed that Erica's playing. And three cheers for my pager staying silent tonight. (/me crosses fingers ...)

Sun, 13 May 2007 22:24:19 -0700

I've needed a chill weekend for a while. Last weekend -- eight hours on Sunday, as dictated by primary pager, of fixing servers -- was not it. But this: begun at the Alembic with Adam, then plus Jaime & Tam, then yet more; to yoga the next morning, where Justin I think struggled more through the intense class than even I, who was one-footed and hung over; to a meeting of the Goat Et Al. Book Club (topic of discussion: Gary Shteyngart: culturally incisive, or completely insane?); acquisitive extravaganza downtown (victories: jeans; Clinique); online crossword with Dan; today, the Sunday Times; laundry!; Beethoven duets with Luke, easier and more pleasant than the Mozart we'd been trying to tackle a few weeks ago; pedicure (okay, yes, I'm a girl -- but I like what they do to my cuticles!); a dinner of summer squash and whole wheat pasta; revisiting the book I had thought, until our discussion yesterday, I would abandon.

And, the best part: I can walk. Well, kind of. I'm booted, in this velcro orthopedic thing I've been in before (post-fracture, senior year; this same damn thing, last year), correspondent to a timeline set up by my podiatrist (who I've decided is a moron, for having failed to properly diagnose this for a year): six weeks on crutches, then on to a boot + crutch; two on the boot, then shoes. Since pain is no indicator, it's hard to tell if I'm actually fixed (next step: second opinion!), but until reality sets in and I need to again face the possibility of not being fully healed, fuck, am I glad to be able to walk again! I still mostly stayed off it in yoga, doing all the bipedal things with just one foot (and let me tell you, a one-footed push-up is harder than a two-), but trying out a cautious urdhva dhanurasana backbend -- a posture I've found, through lots of trying, is just kind of impossible to attain using just one leg -- with both feet happily on the floor. But today, my big accomplishment was laundry -- I happily fed the greedy washing machines all my hard-garnered quarters, let the shy, smiling, Spanish-speaking boy in the laundromat press the START button on the dryer for me, folded it all before it even cooled. This has been one of the crappiest things to have to rely on others for. Yes, carrying my own espresso cup is awesome, but washing one's own underwear is even better. For real. I just hope I get to keep my foot.

And maybe it's having my foot back again (well, or at least not having to use the palms of my hands and my triceps and deltoids to walk), or maybe it's just monthly giddiness, but I'm having another bout of holy-crap-I-love-San-Francisco. Waiting for Justin and his car after yoga, I commented on fellow-aspirant-yogi Ari's sticker on the back of his motorcycle, which read "VEGETARIANS / NONVIOLENCE" around a peace symbol; after a delicious tofu scramble at Pomelo, Justin and I drove back up Church, gaping at the view from the southwest corner of Dolores Park. Sara commented Saturday night, after she, Jaime and I had done shopping and I'd described this to her, that, while she likes SF, she doesn't seem to be as smitten as I am. Luke and Rebecca over coffee this afternoon, post-Beethoven, stated their life plans to hang out for a few years in Never-Never Land, then move back to the Real World and procreate. Um, not me. I mean, procreation's not out of the question, a good ten years hence (though, as I said to the lovebird-y Karina and Andrea yesterday, I could sooner see myself as a DINK (Double Income; No Kids) -- with a husband, and shared library and bottle of Scotch -- than with a toddler and a dog, as seems to be so rampant around my bobo neighborhood), but as for leaving this peninsular magic land, I'll give you one big HELL NO.

Maybe reality will catch up with me one day. But I hope not.

Thu, 24 May 2007 19:40:32 -0700

It feels good to walk again, even though I'm not sure my foot is better. Like, at all. After two months of being more or less off it (more: crutches; less: boot), it no longer knows what normal walking feels like, and I'm having to make a conscious effort to not list to the side of my foot, which in turn makes that and my knee hurt, or to stay too far back on my heel. I probably should have just listened to N8 a couple of months ago when he said that, were it him, he'd just do surgery up front, and not run the risk of having to crutch around and have it not fix anything.

I'm so damn sick of this. I've made some half-hearted calls to recommended orthopods to get a second opinion (old, stupid podiatrist -- guy who misdiagnosed this thing initially -- doesn't seem interested in doing another MRI), but I need to follow up on that tomorrow. The more yoga I do (a class with Blake on Tuesday night in Palo Alto didn't feel that intense at first, but has caused me to need more water and sleep for the rest of the week), the more I realize that my left leg is perceptibly stronger than the right, that my right hip is perceptibly more open than the left. I would like to be symmetrical again, please. How about now? How about actually being able to run Bay To Breakers next year, instead of sitting on the sidelines for the second year in a row? (This year, I wasn't even going to go, favoring sleep over voyeurism, but then my pager woke me up at 6:30 anyhow, and so I trooped the half mile up Fillmore to Rina's apartment to drink mimosas on her porch while half the fucking city ran, trotted, walked, and got pushed in shopping carts (respectively) up the Hayes Street hill. I saw the salmon, the ones that "swim" "upstream"!) How about being fully bipedal by Burning Man at the end of the summer? Think we could swing that, doc?

But in the meantime, even if this ordeal isn't over, I've got cute new sandals, and blue-polished toenails to show off with them. My yet-unhemmed new jeans no longer have to be rolled down over a huge boot. I can dash down the stairs to get to a MUNI -- not that, any time before about 9:30 AM, it's worth it. In trying to get to work earlier these days, I'm reminded that any commute between 7:30 and 10ish will just suck. May as well get the extra sleep and take the later shuttle in.

And I'm valuing sleep more, these days -- with the exception of Saturday-night parties, I'm starting to resent plans even I make. No, I don't want to agree to have brunch with you on Sunday, because that means I'll have to either set an alarm (which I'm unwilling to do on the one day a week I get to sleep in on) or to sleep too late and keep you waiting, and feel guilty about it. Much better is to call someone -- Mike, last Saturday -- after yoga, and, if they happen to be free, troop down to The Weird Fish for vegan pancakes, a tofu scramble, and a three-dollar mimosa as big as your head; then over to Ritual for a beautiful soy latte and a pound of espresso roast to take to work (highlight of my afternoon: 25-second shot of Ritual in my orange demitasse with a square or 4 of Greg D.'s single-origin dark chocolate. Oh my). I'm almost to the point where I'm considering turning people down when they ask me to do things on the weekend, just because I want my time to be unplanned. Or maybe that's a bit too extreme -- baby; bathwater?

Maybe I'll catch up on sleep this Memorial Day weekend. Or at least, stop feeling so vaguely bitter.

Wed, 30 May 2007 19:52:11 -0700

Here in the Bay Area -- specifically in foggy, temperamental San Francisco, which lies back under layers of clouds rolling in off the Pacific on the best summer day; which rains in the winter; whose Dolores Park (to the top, southwest corner of which I walked Arpy Sunday afternoon, telling him not to look back across the panorama until we'd reached the vertex) can be sunny and hipsterful one weekend, and grey and abandoned by all but the hardiest and headstrong sunbathers the next -- seasons aren't as apparent as they were when I was growing up Wisconsin, or even on what I then disparaged as having no weather, Philadelphia and DC of the east coast. Snow, even when it's there, keeps to the Sierras to the east; though I have yet to figure out what season jasmine doesn't bloom in, I can't remember the last time I saw a crocus. The cover of the New York Times in extreme months feels like a dispatch from a foreign country -- buried in cold white in the winter; kids in oversized bathing suits playing in fire hydrants in the summer -- as we put on long sleeves or switch to sandals, at the most.

So it is that I appreciate the signs of spring all the more, and learn to recognize both new indicators and perennial constants. It's a good thing I like asparagus, since that's all that's been coming in our CSA box for a month or so. Strawberries and cherries have appeared; the leeks have subsided. English peas and fava beans, shelled. Summer squash. At the bodega yesterday, in my quick sweep in before 8 o'clock, I grabbed baby artichokes, more zucchini, and yet more asparagus.

The other sign of spring showed up half an hour later, his long dreadlocks grown to double the length I remembered the from the last time I'd seen him, my senior year. I put him to work stemming spinach, culling leaves from a bouquet of basil. Erica retreated to her room with a stemless glass, a corkscrew, and a bottle of her GSM; he put his arms around my waist as I faced my granite countertops, measuring out Sauvignon Blanc, garlic, chopping the tips off fresh, green asparagus for him to grill. So comfortable, despite the fact we'd barely overlapped in college. Commonalities of a linguistics major, a penchant for coffee, and prodigious nerdiness. And so we reäcquainted -- acquainted, really -- over a beer in Potrero Hill after Emily's party Saturday night; as I dealt with production server errors Sunday morning; over chocolate cherry pancakes for brunch and Ritual to counteract the mimosas; cooking dinner last night. My blue-eyed mini-boyfriend.

(Spring turned into almost summer as Jaime, Mike and I drove up to Sonoma on Memorial Day, Monday, Mike off bicycling while Jaime and I sipped rosé on the lawn of Bella, listening to a guitarist sing, and eating fistfuls of breadsticks.)

These things don't come around very often. And while you can't pretend that they're more than they are, nor can you pretend that they're less.

all this Šnori heikkinen, May 2007

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