mamculuna: (Default)
( Jun. 17th, 2006 10:14 am)
Not hard to find ways to have a pleasant time here. And the weather for the last few days has been blessedly warm--I know it seems hot to the people who're here all the time, but to me hot doesn't start until 95F.

There's a wonderful yoga studio near my son's house (Yoga Kula, if you know the area or Anusara) where Sianna Sherman teaches. I couldn't go to her class this week, but did go to a very fine class taught by a young man, Kenny. He brought a harmonium for the opening and closing chants--it was delightful.

A friend of my son T's has a knit shop, so I also indulged there--just for starters, a lace mohair scarf (very open--tiny yarn and size 10 needles). The pattern isn't hard but the yarn is very slippery. I may yet rip out what I've done--too many mistakes. My plan is to do a big and better shawl-type thing, but haven't yet found a pattern, or yarn I can afford for a project that big (love the bamboo yarn, but it's a little heavy for that and costs $26 for 50g!). I also went with T's partner, D, to a knit night, a gathering of some very nice very interesting excellent knitters, the people who teach the classes. It was fun to work with them, but also a joy to see what they were making.

We also went over to Angel Island, off Marin, to a sort of combined camping trip-birthday celebration--a friend of D's was camping all weekend and we went over for the afternoon, bringing lunch. Weirdly, they were having a Civil War re-enactment, involving cannons and passing ships (no real gunfire or cannon balls of course), but the battle had never really taken place. The island is beautiful, and I always love ferry rides, even though that day was a bit cool.

I am getting a little writing done, but still lots, lots more to do.

Also many walks, much good eating, including a sample of some lychee mousse that another friend who's a professional caterer had made. Oh yum.
mamculuna: (Default)
( Oct. 8th, 2005 01:44 pm)
Still living and eating well in California--Thursday night at Gombei in Menlo Park with [ profile] oyceter and [ profile] masqthephlsphr and [ profile] fannishly. It's a very good Japanese restaurant (intended to save some of the excellent unagi to bring home to D (my son's partner and my host here), but sigh, no will power when it come to good food). Many thanks to Masq for excellent driving under trying circumstances, and to all three for a pleasant evening.

Friday, went with D's stepmother to work on restoring the gardens at Alcatraz. She works with historical gardening, so it's a real delight to spend time with her and to learn about the plants and the history of the place. You can see some tiny picture and read just a bit at:

From some angles, Alcatraz looks like a Greek Island, with old white ruins, high cliffs, and the sea straight down. It had no soil originally, and space had to be blasted and soil hauled in by the soldiers who were quartered there (originally to defend against Confederate invaders!) Then inmates later on worked with guards, but also had their own gardens.

Then my younger son and I went to the new Museum of Asian Art in SF. It's such a well-done museum, with such rich detail, that I can never see more than one section at a time--this time it was China, esp. the very old, pre-Buddhist section, and the wonderful jade. But the Chinese Buddhist section is fascinating, too. I'd already done the South Asian part--am saving the Himalayas for a later time, as well as Korea and Japan.

We ate lunch at a wonderful Vietnamese place called Tu Lan on 7th street (I think)--great spicy beef soop and spring rolls, yummy.

Trying to complete the baby sweater and hat by tonight to give to the mom to be before I leave (she's my friend's daughter, the one who got married in Italy last year). Baby may get here first!

T and D's new cats (or kittens, I think) have names: Ronin and Bandito. I will try posting a picture in a bit, if my camera works for once. The plan is to let them explore the whole house this weekend, after a week in the bedroom. The room's so much bigger than the cage they were in at the Humane Society that they seem quite happy, but interested in seeing even more.

I'm loving it here so much, the lovely bright sun (although foggy on Alcatraz!), the good walking and strenuous climb back home, getting my leg muscles back in shape, the fun stores, restaurants, street fairs, and new kittens--and the quiet good times with D while his partner T (my son) is working in LA. PRaise to D! This has been the equivalent of having his mother-in-law visit for two weeks, but he's been the soul of graciousness and good humor, happily including me in things, never showing that he felt cramped by my presence. I was never that great with my mother-in-law, though I loved her dearly. I spent weeks in her house, but always chafed at the differences. Maybe there's less conflict with different genders, or maybe D is just nicer than me! Not hard.

But will be glad to get back to fall in the South too--still not too late for one last swim if the weather's good; the leaves will be changing, and I miss my friends, my own yoga teacher, my Buddhist group, my house, my car, my part-time cat.
mamculuna: (Default)
( Sep. 28th, 2005 08:12 am)
Last night I was walking from my yoga class back to my son's house in Berkeley. When I turned the corner to his street (kind of hillish, but definitely still in the middle of town, with many houses and even small apt. complexes) I saw what I thought was a very big dog nosing at a garbage can. Surprised to see an unleashed dog in this very conscientious town, I looked a little closer. It turned out to have horns--sure enough, a deer, standing on the sidewalk. He saw me and was totally confused, with a parked car on one side, a wall on the other, and me getting closer. You could see his brain working--"Run this way! No,that way! No, help, I'm trapped!" I took pity and walked out in the street and made a wide circle around him--but apparently it still never occurred to him to run back up the other direction into the hills he came from.

Also, I had acupuncture for the first time yesterday--mostly just to see what it's like, since my son is studying to become an acupuncturist, but also for a sore place in my back. This particular guy used electricity on the needles, which was weird. But I sure felt fine afterwards.
mamculuna: (Default)
( Sep. 24th, 2005 01:36 pm)
I'd forgotten how much I love Berkeley. I used to live here a long time ago--I got married here the first time, my older son was born here, and a lot of my self was formed here, including some parts I think I've shut away since then. Over the last years I've paid many visits to the Bay Area, mostly in SF or Oakland, which aren't too different, but there's a kind of smaller town feeling here. I like walking most places, even though a certain amount of it is almost vertical, and I like being to see the bay from the front deck. I love the Farmer's Market with the incredible wealth of organic plums and heirloom tomatoes, piled up under white tents. And I love going places that I went long ago, and remembering those times.

I also haven't been to California in early fall since then--at first I came back in summer, but for the last 20 years I've been coming in late fall-winter-early spring. I'd forgotten the wonderful clear beautiful days, when the whole world is 3-D and Technicolor, every flower glowing as if to light up the whole universe on its own, the golden grass soft on the hills. How lucky you are, people who live here all the time!

How much I wish I could split my self and live in two places at once.

I think I've posted this poem before, but here it is again:

California Hills in August

by Dana Gioia

I can imagine someone who found
these fields unbearable, who climbed
the hillside in the heat, cursing the dust,
cracking the brittle weeds underfoot,
wishing a few more trees for shade.

An Easterner especially, who would scorn
the meagerness of summer, the dry
twisted shapes of black elm,
scrub oak, and chaparral, a landscape
August has already drained of green.

One who would hurry over the clinging
thistle, foxtail, golden poppy,
knowing everything was just a weed,
unable to conceive that these trees
and sparse brown bushes were alive.

And hate the bright stillness of the noon
without wind, without motion,
the only other living thing
a hawk, hungry for prey, suspended
in the blinding, sunlit blue.

And yet how gentle it seems to someone
raised in a landscape short of rain –
the skyline of a hill broken by no more
trees than one can count, the grass,
the empty sky, the wish for water.



mamculuna: (Default)


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