27 July 2010

i kind of miss the city

we trundle ardently
through the dilly-dally circus
pacific valley is populated
by people who
just like to talk
just like that
highlights at the summit
include a three-hundred-and-sixty-degree panorama
and wildflowers
i don't want to find out
if i am allergic to bees

the body is an ecosystem
sipping last night's merlot
(letting the red
slide to the rear of my palate
to uncover the meaning of bitter)
i feel its effects
after half a glass
is it just me
or does it taste like fruit flies?
i remove my glasses
to draw better

lying on my stomach in the midday sun
waiting for august
- no lawn
just gravel and boulders and succulents -
my mutt chases a hen
onto my back
where she claws and flaps, upset
and caws her way
back to her eggs
thank goodness
i am not allergic to chickens

24 July 2010


i finally got some film developed. i didn't realize i was shooting black and white all along, and my yashica electro 35 apparently has a propensity for overexposure - you can't control the shutter speed on the rangefinder, only the aperture - but i am more than pleased with the results.

these are some of my favorites of people and places in europe

and in california.

there's hardly room for nostalgia when your life is a trajectory on a continuum of liminal space. i swear i live hardest in the transitions.

i am delighting in this song (letting biggie rap me through a morning of painting). it is probably the best thing i've heard since i heard the xx's "vcr" for the first time - it was winter, then, and so long ago already. damn right i love the life i live.

23 July 2010

cone peak

it’s good to come inside after a full day in the sun spent climbing a peak in shorts and a bikini top and plucking public plums. when i get home i step inside barefoot, followed by the big black and white cat. he doesn’t care so much that i am back as he wants any attention he can get, and when i sit down to my greens and dinnertime magazine he rubs the dirt off my ankles with his soft coat. the rug is soft and familiar on my bare toes, a welcome break after trundling barefoot through gravel all afternoon.

we hiked three miles up a mile-high mountain today. is that even possible? it seems unreasonable that humans should be able to stand up straight so high above sea level. at that altitude it looks like you can walk out onto the marine layer, before it burns off. we try to avoid walking during midday but relish, nonetheless, the sun's effects on our skin. did you hear about the thirteen-year-old who climbed mount everest? it was an american boy. of course it was a boy. on the balcony of the cone peak lookout we look hard. if you look hard enough you can see the waves breaking in big sur, just north of kirk creek. if you focus you can follow the highway's winding path. somewhere out there is a sailboat headed god knows where. it's a strange season for that kind of distance travel; we bet they have a motor.

this is the view. it is gigantic and mind-bogglingly real. you know when you get somewhere and you're like, why am i not here all the time? it's like that, except the walk to the ocean is far too long for my tastes. but still, the pacific is there - eternal - beneath that protective cloud cover.

i try to imagine what it would have been like to be a salinas indian: to have survived off of acorn mash and venison and i don't even know what all, way back when. aloe is for treating sunburns; it grows wild, though we invariably admire the yucca more: its blossoms are not only beautiful but also aromatic.

the last of the monkeyflowers are wilting and dying and the poison oak is everywhere but it hasn't turned crimson yet. summer elapses fast; big sur is famous for a reason.

21 July 2010

all over the world

parks are where it's at.

and when you're in the city and it's blustery and the sun is hiding behind all those clouds, there's not much better than a good bookshop like dog eared books.

i love san francisco. i love my friends who live in the area and visiting and playing with them. i especially like the mission: taquerias, corner stores, thrift shops, the old guys who spend the morning hanging out by the newspaper stands eating ice cream. dolores park and dollar stores, backyard gardens and side yards.


i'm inspired by the place. nowhere else is there such a high probability of things happening by chance.

19 July 2010

some weeks in eats

it's already been a while since i updated, oops! and i'm not meaning for this to turn into a food blog, but it seems like much of what is interesting that i take pictures of is edible. most of my days are pretty similar (sun read  eat read sun water eat read sun read sleep and so on) and often indistinguishable except for their meals and some such rare events as baseball games, my birthday, park time, bookstore-browsing, riding shotgun in various vehicles and such the like. every night i sleep and i do it so well and in the morning i wake up early and do it again. and in between i gnosh, most often excellently and in grand company.

huevos rancheros - corn tortillas, eggs, beans, salsa, and a bowl of fresh fruit for good measure - at a favorite cafe in town.

sushi - i'd missed this while abroad - with lovely ladies (whom i'd also missed).

dessert: bubble gum that ended up as all gum should: in bubble gum alley.

i did not eat those nachos, but i did drink that beer - my first legal drink in the united states. it was the first baseball game i'd ever been to, and the oakland A's won by a landslide in a game that included two successive home runs and a grand slam. happy twenty-first to me!

a post-birthday breakfast of some of my favorite things: salmon, asparagus, dolmas, broccoli, guacamole & salsa, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, fresh feta, fruit, and hummus.

starting the day in the city (san francisco, that is) off right with wholesome oats and banana chez becky dearest.

meeting up with some old friends who didn't know each other, we decided to try something new

and settled on ethiopian food, a sublime experience in the north oakland afternoon. one of those times when i am overjoyed not to be vegan. as much as i love lentils and vegetables (mmmm), there is nothing like well-seasoned lamb. wash it down with honey wine and you're good as gold.

in chinatown in oakland i got this fantastic husk filled with sticky rice and sweet bean curd. it was kind of like a pudding that you could eat out of one hand and it amused me for probably the better part of half an hour.

06 July 2010

la super-rica taqueria

the line to the hole-in-the-wall goes out the door, around the corner, and down the street - and we think it's early for lunchtime. there are more tourists than locals today as evidenced by the amount of antsy leg-twitching, santa barbara homes-browsing, and the speed (or lack thereof) of the line. at the counter they only have one window open and this contributes to the slowness. but i've waited over a year to eat at this place. i think i can last another forty-five minutes.

and this is what we wait for.

a woman in the kitchen pounds out corn tortillas on the same grill as the peppers, pork, and everything else.

the fresh salsa tides us over until our food is ready.

and, at last, at a communal table, we dig in to tacos de rajas, tamales, guacamole, and those steaming tortillas.

05 July 2010

going coastal

independence day in my hometown is nuts. the normal population of the town - 2,500 - swells to around 20,000, and it's a party all day long. i guess it's comparable to new year's. i hadn't been here for the fourth of july in a few years and had nearly forgotten about all the small things that ostensibly draw the thousands of tourists, like

the sandcastle contest (in which i have to admit, some entries were less than impressive: blame the recession)

the street fair (where i was almost tempted by æbleskiver)

and the parade (in which my stepdad played in a surf band).

but what draws us out from our hilltop home and down to the beach and into town, besides the sun, is the surf. this year there was a serendipitous south swell and i spent a good part of my afternoon in the water, chasing waves and dolphins while getting sunburnt everywhere that wasn't covered in neoprene, namely my hands and face. it was glassy all afternoon and i was so stoked after a few really fun waves that actually gave me some speed on my longboard. i can't think of any better way to celebrate anything.

02 July 2010

on riding a bike in rural california

the bike lane doubles as the emergency lane, which isn't even wide enough for a car to pull over in. for the first time in twelve months i am coasting kilometer after kilometer downhill, not even having to pedal as i hurtle into the wind, towards the ocean. it takes me a second to remember my handbrakes when i begin to pedal backwards without any mechanics to stop my forward motion.

the road is tumultuous and the cars that pass me glide between the double-yellow and my white line without regard for the speed limit. it is a summer afternoon and apparently i am the only one who's not in a hurry.

i'm wearing a leather jacket and a hot pink helmet - it matches my schwinn - when i leave the house. my cousin remarks that it is a brave way to head into town and i tell him i will see him later. it feels strange to be wearing closed-toed shoes on the coast but i don't want thistles to get between my toes as i hug the hillsides. it's the middle of the day and the sun is high overhead so i don't have to think about deer or mountain lions. what i hear besides the wind playing on my ears is the conversation of swallows and the occasional cry of a hawk. a stationary black cow stares at me pumping the pedals as she chews.

i signal a right turn, vaguely wondering if people do that here.