Familiarity

It’s so nice, and comforting, to be with familiar people who you’ve known a long time. They may be very different from when you knew them in other phases of your life but it’s a good feeling.

I was just saying to yatima today that I’m glad we have known each other in this time of our lives through our 40s raising children. Thinking about that a bunch tonight, in general (also because I was thinking about this kind of thing, and long relationships, knowing people for a long time, for the APAzine I am part of). I have had a very lucky time in life in general.

Today I worked more on my sidewalk tree and repotting some plants, wrote a little bit, checked up on work, went to Oakland, met up with a nice writing group, came back to Danny making a whole lot of nice food for the week. Ada came back from Eastover with abomination bunnies (melted and weirded up chocolate rabbits with like, 6 eyes and 2 heads) and Danny and I watched Game of Thrones. Fittingly for my train of thought they were all having meaningful buddy conversations. (In Winterfell just before the Enormous Horrible Battle with the Dead.)

Beach day

Spent a late afternoon at Aquatic Park lying in the sand. It was gorgeously warm, and then a thin river of fog started pouring past the Golden Gate Bridge. Perfectly sunny in our little sheltered cove while the fog river got thicker & streamed in further, cargo ships blaring their horns as they emerged from the mist — I also watched them on the Marine Traffic app.

Best trick – brought a stretchy skirt to put on over my jeans. Then took off the jeans. Instant beach readiness. I also had on my new sandals (with socks in my bag for evening) so I could admire the little flower and jewel on my super glam copper painted toenails in the sun.

liz in sunglasses

I love watching people get into position to take photos of their day with loved ones & friends. It’s specially beautiful.

A little girl spent about half an hour running up and down the beach after seagulls, waving a stick, screaming “Please be my pet! PLEASE be my pet! Maybe YOU want to be my pet!” She didn’t give up hope! I love her!

Many people don’t know how to be at a beach with small children. Please, stop yelling at them not to get dirty or wet! Just take off their shoes, socks, and pants and let them run around. OMFG. Yes – I’m judging! Then brush them off and put their clothes back on, problem solved. Nobody cares if they see your 5 year old’s underpants at the beach!!!!! (To be fair I basically grew up on a beach so…. maybe it just doesn’t occur to them.)

One mom who did exactly this was in the “brushing off the toddler and his older sister” phase. Having spent really too long cleaning the smaller one, she focused on the sister while the drooling toddler flung himself face down back into the sand right next to me. Total sandface. I was lying with my face in the sand myself and as the mom gasped in horror I demonstrated to the baby that I too had sand all over, and we stuck out tongues at each other. Best mom . . . as she didn’t yell at her children … and didn’t mind my exchanging saucy facial expressions with the baby.

Later at home I realized i had gotten sand everywhere and I could magically hear my grandmother’s voice in my head from 40 years ago. “Ugh!!!! SAND!!!!” I’d be thinking, you have 2 kids in your beach house… at a beach. Duh, there is sand. It’s amazing how you can hear someone’s voice in your head, even when they are long gone. Sometimes when I’m lying in the sand I also think of my Aunt Gilda who would take us with her to the fancier part of Town Beach (Canonchet) where she had a cabana to change in (oh, so fancy!) She seemed so old to me, and probably was (she was my grandma’s aunt, really, so my great-great aunt) but she looked super glamorous in her beach chair, very tan, huge floppy hat and sunglasses, chain-smoking.

At my other grandparent’s beach house which they bought when they moved back to the U.S. there was an outdoor shower which sprayed onto a huge rock with a distinctive shape, sort of flat and good to stand on but with an unevenness in the middle, and I would stand on it thinking that it was from a glacier, so if I were able to travel in time I would be actually inside the glacier and then in very slow motion would sink down, down, while the glacier melted around me. There were similar rocks in Wesquage Pond just across the street where my uncle and cousin and sister and I would play a game where we each owned a rock for our home base. To go on someone else’s rock you had to pay a certain number of reeds. I wonder if these rocks are underwater now or if you can still hop from rock to rock… (inside a glacier of course.) The outdoor shower was much better than my other grandma’s house where you had to get brutally hosed off on the lawn before going inside. (Really, so much sand. And, while I’m complaining, I’d like to give a special mention to the way that even little kids bathing suits had a sort of pocket in the crotch (why???) which would collect FISTFULS of sand.)

Well, anyway, Danny came to meet me after work & we wandered around – ended up having fish & chips at a pretty nice place – and a giant mai tai.

Notably, I am feeling a lot better! Better enough to go off on an expedition in the afternoon (hour long bus ride) and stay out in the evening a little! Much improved.

Another pleasant day

No earthshattering thoughts here. I’m up to 1917 in the Morland Dynasty books, I did a ridiculous amount of bug triage, then took a friend to late lunch and got my toenails painted (copper colored with black and gold flowers on the big toes). Also worked on the sidewalk tree garden but not too hard – I did half of it and left the other half for tomorrow.

Early to bed with my book – that’s the plan – I feel a little boring today! But nice!

Cautious swim and gardening

I went for a very short swim today, 15-20 minutes of slow coasting and walking back and forth in the little pool without lap lanes. Trying to keep it super low key to not re-injure myself. Somehow, I lost the waterproof ipod shuffle! ARRGH! But, meanwhile, I have a new swim cap which is just great – I thought of them as horrible but the silicone kind are very comfortable & this one keeps the water out of my ears which is unexpectedly nice.

Meanwhile, more boring news!

I’m planting some little things in the garden – Luckily I did all the weeding and cleaning out last month so it was super easy. I have some seeds planted & seedlings in pots which will get transplanted in a week or two. The container plants (mostly succulents and herbs but some flowers) are maybe 1/4 cleaned up so there is a lot of work still left to do for the spring!

Garden is roughly as follows,

Part shade but bright noon sun at side of house, long narrow strips – Vinca and violets are doing well. Mint and rosemary also not so bad. I tore out most of the nasturtiums but have some of them going up to the front porch. The african daisies that are too big for that spot are mostly gone but I’ve kept 3 of them. Considering even more drastic pruning to get them to grow very tall and narrow.

Back patio – containers are a mess but the worm bin is newly tidy and has a new batch of worms. I’m thinking about consolidating various pots of different colored aeoniums into one or two huge pots. One of them is about to have an enormous spikey flower. Parsley and oregano is going strong. Avocado trees are a bit neglected – I’m considering repotting them into the wooden barrels.

Front porch – mostly succuents. Flowers: lobelia, bachelors button seedlings, one of those solid black pansys, geraniums seem to be gathering strength. I have a tall fuschia at the bottom of the steps that maybe doesn’t get enough sun to flower so I’m thinking of moving it to the back yard.

Sidewalk tree – It has a janky assortment of salvias, a jade plant, some tiny ice plant, sickly nasturiums. Planning to clean out the leaves and trash from under there, dump in some more dirt and mulch, and maybe put hardier things there (more jade plants and aeonium, I guess). Hard to keep it watered all summer!

I wish I had a consistently sunny spot and a fruit tree, but I do love my weird random assortment of experimental plants!

No regrets

A post about pain and its relative absence. Warning: boring! The last month or so have been an amazing window into the world of Much Less Pain. I would describe my last…. well since 2012 or so… since the ankle blow out and recovery year. several years of having this daily rhythm:

    * waking up: Pain about 7, move around and slowly unstiffen. slept 5 hours if lucky
    * morning: coffee! pain at 5 or 6. functioning! or maybe even sharp!
    * late afternoon: starting to wane. pain getting worse and I feel fuzzy
    * evening: Oh fuck this where are the pain meds… OR…. Kinda OK still at 5 or 6
    * bedtime: Oh fuck this where are the pain meds omfg. All the pain meds in the world. Pain at 7 or 8.

Last few months, increasingly so since last year’s surgery,

    * waking up: Just feelin’ ok! I slept 7-8 hours even! Pain like, 4 ish
    * morning: coffee! Woo hoo! Full speed ahead! Keen-minded! doing some tai chi! house work in between working! Pain at maybe 3-4, fabulous
    afternoon: Some more activity. I feel like I can go up and down the stairs for things. I can go out and do an errand. I can do something frivolous like take BART all the way to some remote station and work from another town’s library! Not to mention, swimming laps! Swimming like 400-900 yards at a time! gardening! feeling the healthy glow of exercise!
    * evening: I’m still able to maybe cook some food or do things or even go out
    * bedtime: OK the pain is back to a 6 or 7 and I’m smearing voltaren on myself and smoking a little dope but really it’s manageable.

As usual I am posting this because I was in the 2nd happy state for a good long while, maybe since January? But for the last week, I’m in a little more of a “flare up” state where I can’t go swim laps, I’m thinking hard about going up and down stairs to do laundry or go out for errands, Sitting up tires me out, my joints are burning, in the morning, just walking all the way across the (tiny) house seems like a lot. Ankles burning and stiff. Neck and arm on my bad side giving me trouble. Waking up in the night with pain. Work has to be my priority, then housework and doing very easy PT. Scaling back everything.

Sucks….

Perhaps I just overdid things because I felt so good. Or maybe it’s just chance. But, I’m bouncing back and determined to keep doing all my PT and strengthening exercises.

Goal, tomorrow go to the pool and don’t try to swim laps, just gently float around in the shallow end.

I feel super hopeful and not too upset about it – because I feel just *stronger* all around for all the exercise and activity.

Saul, again

I went to see Saul again tonight this time with Danny who is very jetlagged. Amazingly he lasted for the entire concert though I was prepared to leave early. it was absolutely splendid & i felt like the whole room was kind of stunned at the virtuosity all around. I am still impressed with Yulia Van Doren’s gorgeous pure voice – especially good on “Author of peace” (again) – and got shivers at the countertenor’s song to Saul all over again. Everything was just perfect – I admired the conductor’s perfect modulation of everything going on as I tried to stretch my mind to hear everything at once. Whenever things got super complex I wanted that to keep going forever – all too short!

During intermission i was reading some of the exhibits about WWI when a lady gorgeously dressed in purple with silver hair came up to me. “Excuse me… could I ask you a question?” This happens to me a lot and I turned to her, fixing my face to politeness, prepared to discuss wheelchair technology or purple hair dye (and hoping not to have to deal with some sort of weirder question).

“It’s my birthday….” (beaming smile)

I nod.

“And my friend bought me this big glass of champagne, but I can’t drink it. Can you drink champagne? And would you like it?”

I cracked up laughing. Sometimes!!! The things that happen to me! I just love it!

“WHY YES!”

I accepted the large glass of nice champagne.

Happy birthday and many happy returns, nice opera lady!!!!!! This just made my day! So sweet and so amusing! I feel honored!

My mind is still internally playing bits of Handel but it is mixing up in an unholy way with bits of Purcell and also, the wrong Handel.

I bought me & danny tickets to see Orlando in June for my birthday – the countertenor from tonight, Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, is going to be in it.

Still reading those Morland books!

I’m on about book 26 or so. World War I is about to start, a bunch of damn Morlands just got onto the Titanic, and one of them is getting arrested at protests for women’s suffrage and force-fed in jail. Fairly intense!

Again… if you read these I recommend just skipping the U.S. Civil War one as it’s a hot racist mess. Go right back to England where this series belongs….. whew! Though, well, not like she doesn’t also manage to somehow have the Boer Wars be lily white as well (how?)

I had 2 days of conference-going after an active weekend of concert-going and I’m now having just a bit of a flare up feeling in various joints so I spent the day in bed. Sucks but I hope to be up and around quickly! But I don’t feel much like writing. Tired and achy.

Supporting SFWAR at the Walk Against Rape

After many years of planning to go and missing out, I finally made it to SF Women Against Rape‘s annual Walk Against Rape. It was very sweet – we had pastries, and made posters, I saw a few people I knew, we listened to poetry ( missed the poet’s name), speeches, and Susana y su Orquestra Adelante, then assembled in the street for a 2 mile march from the Women’s Building down to 16th and Mission, to 24th and Mission, then down 24th a few blocks & back again.

Before the march started I took it on myself to block off the side street where cars were still coming through – taking with me some handy folks including a large, kindly man obsessed with talking about his motorcycle who I felt would answer my call of punk sisterhood and several charming Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence one of whom I turned out to know. We turned back some cars and after a while a motorcycle cop showed up to do the honors. Back to the gathering march – I got up front with the banner holders. It is easier for me to be at the front or the back, so why not the front where I can represent for my wheely fellow survivors. I chanted the chants and waved at people and held up part of the banner for a while. The band (who reminded me of the stanford marching band – goofy awesome outfits) was great. Nothing like a marching band!!!! I love them!

Unpleasant aspects of the march: we were herded into one lane of the street by cops and they were just unpleasantly close to us much of the time. And, the kinda creepy dude with the nose ring and the replacements hoodie who followed the march the entire way filming it. I have actually had this same guy in my face before at the dyke march and I have a feeling I kind of know him like he is a friend of a friend (or an acquaintance). It takes a special kind of tacky to be a guy filming a march of mostly young women in this way. Not as a comrade, not in support, but for what? Stock photos? Weird fetish? Thinks he’s the documentarian of the revolution? Dunno. I ran him off a couple of times by staring him down and filming him back and one of the march organizers also got him to quit going right smack in front of us (though he just came right back). There was also a young man, high school or early college, who i thought maybe was doing an actual photojournalism assignment and he was not very good at whatever he was trying to do but at least he didn’t give off the massive creepster vibes of Mr. Descendents Hoodie.

So I spent a lot of the march with a huge crowd of mostly women at my back, staring down the cameraman and staring at some cop’s ass, gun, taser, and well worn nightstick. Typical….

The nice bits other than the people marching with, my friend Z showed up and handed out adorable “take no bullshit” stickers was one good thing; another was that many many people come out to see the march, to wave, honk in support, or just fall in and join us. That’s a really nice feeling.

SFWAR is a great organization that does good work, please donate to support them! Or, donate to an anti-rape or anti-domestic violence nonprofit near you — pick a small local one that supports your own community!!!

Two concerts

Too tired to write much but I’ll note that I saw Handel’s Saul last night (Philharmonic Baroque) and then today, the all Bach concert at the Legion of Honor. Saul was great. I loved the music, (weird box of squirrels carillion! solemn and stately trombones! bassoons!) the choir was just brilliant, countertenor’s amazing voice gave me shivers, and I got an instant crush on the soprano singing Merab. Then as she was walking off stage and past my seat, all I can think is I must have been gazing at her adoringly or with a giant goofy grin, because quick as lightning she pulled a hilarious face and stuck her tongue out at me and then was all normal again. Sometimes it is the little things in life that are the most delightful!

The Wikipedia article on Saul quotes a letter describing a fabulous new instrument (the sackbut aka trombone):

He has also introduced the sackbut, a kind of trumpet,with more variety of notes,& it is 7 or 8-foot long,& draws in like a perspective glass, so may be shortened to 3-foot as the player chuses, or thrown out to its full length; despise not this description for I write from his own words.

Bits that I marked with a little star in the program: the opening hallelujah stuff, the duet between David and Michal, Merab in act 2 scene 9 singing “Author of peace, who canst control” and then the chorus “Oh fatal consequence” at the end of act 2. After that I stopped marking althought I certainly waggled my eyebrows thoughtfully when David sings “Great was the pleasure I enjoy’d in thee, and more than women’s love thy wondrous love to me!”

We must also note the excellence of the Witch of Endor’s vampirish cape.

I don’t have the right vocabulary to describe it, but there were glorious moments where the men of the chorus would start a sort of descending … cascade or something… in a minor key. Like in the end of act 1 where the chorus sings 2 lines for a few minutes. “Preserved him for the glory of thy name, thy people’s safety and the heathen’s shame” – I wished it would go on forever – I went into a complete trance. So great & complicated all at once.

It is sort of a libretto about toxic masculinity, like, at first i wanted it to be a bit more of a mirror for princes – don’t let paranoia drive you as a ruler, don’t attack the strongest allies you have out of fear or jealousy – But then pondering how even our paragons of rationality and control are mostly admired for their ability to deal out death, including gory details of how their swords reek from the entrails of the slain and their arrows always drink the blood of their victims, etc. Gross!

The Bach program today was pleasant and I liked the Coffee Cantata – very silly and adorable – the soprano was good, Shawnette Sulker. Afterwards wandered around the museum a little bit with Lisa but she had to leave. (But we did get to just stand around in front of The Russian Bride’s Attire. It’s really something! It would be amazing to cosplay with a big group. I call being the chick in the corner with the trash can hat!) I stayed a little longer and went to the Rubens exhibit by myself.

Why is it so damn hard to get over to that part of town on the bus? It took nearly 2 hours. The 38 Geary is hella slow.

Got some groceries & then crossed the street to get flowers from the woman who sets up in front of the abandoned liquor store. As always, I tried to choose flowers myself, but failed.

Flower lady: When you come to me you can get whatever you like, just tell me which ones…
Me: Um, some of these roses and these purple things and the purple thistles.
Flower lady: Don’t touch them, I will pick. It will ruin them.
Me: OK.
Flower lady: The thistles don’t go. You need this one. And some greens. Some leafs.
Me: Just the flowers is ok.
Guy with a chihuahua and groceries: You want to buy it?
Flower lady: But I don’t know if it works. No batteries.
(Lengthy conversation in Spanish, the guy is trying to sell her a floodlight)
Me: you need to sell stuff but people want to sell you stuff!
Flower lady: Tell me about it! Every day! Well, It’s good to buy from the little people. Like me. Because you can get what you like. Whatever you like! You choose!
Me: So…. Just the flowers then. Great thanks. I love them. (My back is hurting… i want to leave….)
Flower lady: I will choose for you. The greens will invigorate. Then something to make it pop. Here (stripping leaves brutally off the stems) I will arrange for you.
Me (resigned): Ok… you’re the expert! Lovely! Yes! Great! Thanks! Looks great!

*** A MILLION YEARS PASS WHILE SHE ARRANGES THE FLOWERS ***

Me: The thing is I have a pretty tall vase.
Flower lady: (does incomprehensible things)
Me: Very symmetrical! The yellow and orange roses look like flames in the middle!
Flower lady (giving me bay leaves): Put these leaves in the bath. Good for you.
Me: Thanks, I love bay leaves
Flower lady: And like this. (it starts to look super fancy!!!)
Me: Wow. OK!
Random white guy: I want one like that.
Me: Right? It’s nice.
Guy: I have bay leaves on my ranch and I like to just crush one and have it in my pocket.
Flower lady: I will make one for you.
Guy: Something something, guatemala.
Flower lady: Oh so! You are from Guatemala!
Guy (in spanish) No I just have a 2nd house there
Flower lady (in spanish): And a second woman and some extra children who look like you.
Me: *cracks up*
Guy (super uncomfortable): No! oh, no! My girlfriend is in the grocery store across the street!
Me: You better get her flowers, man!
Flower lady: Don’t let her know about the other wife in Guatemala. Where is your girlfriend? She can pick!
Me: She’s in the grocery store, he’s gonna surprise her.
Flower lady: I will give you this extra rose, for your bedside. The rose is INVIGORATING. It gives energy. You will keep it by the BED.
Me: Oh thanks. I actually have a little vase by my bed so , perfect
Flower lady: *starts to arrange more things with the extra rose*

*** NINETEEN MILLION HOURS LATER ***

I have a giant armful of flowers and am trying to balance it as I zoom down Cortland at like 15 miles an hour on my travelscoot driving it one-handed with a bag of groceries between my feet.