miércoles, junio 18, 2008

Walking on Shoreline

I just walked two miles on the shore line. It was wonderful!

I carried my stolen stainless steel water bottle for hydration and protection. It felt pretty safe there. Not nearly as many people as the Lake (which feels very very safe) but also not as many dogs or goose shit. I was thrilled to find two water fountains on my walk, where I recharged.

I passed a pile of doggy doo and then thought about the bag in my pocket, thought about having to see it again on my way back, and then doubled back to pick it up and throw it away. I am feeling very virtuous about this--which means I am not truly virtuous, or I wouldn't have to brag about it. But still.

I was originally going to walk at the Lake, but as soon I as got into my car (which is actually a solar oven: I can't believe I've been wanting to BUY a solar oven when I already drive one) I decided it would prob'ly be too hot and maybe funky at the Lake (see goose shit above) and that it's always cooler by the ocean. So I went. I dutifully texted my husband, so that she wouldn't think I had been absconded with.

There was an oil spill recently, so the beach itself was closed but the walking path was open. There were lots of folks in "Public Works" helmets and vests around. And horses. (because horses are not affected by things like oil spills? I think not). And I saw something big in the water, I thought maybe it was seals, but it turned out to be Ginormous Pelicans. Dark ginormous pelicans, so I worry maybe they were oily. they were hanging out together and stretching their ginormous pelican necks.

I have confirmed that The Wiz (original broadway cast) is the best music for walking. "Though you know your walking might be long sometimes/ you just keep on stepping and you'll be just fine".

I've asked Nora and Jolene (not their real names) for advice about our wireless situation. I suppose I should check online to compare the range of an average apple airport with some of the other routers. They are tugging on their network of friends and family to find me some answers.

I was thinking about L*'s mother Vivian (not her real name) today. She also lives near the coast: just about six blocks away. And she enjoys her morning walk when it's not too cold. She has a neighbor, a grouchy old guy, with a new dog, I think I chocolate lab. Full of energy, fun, will come up to you with a ball to throw. (the dog, not the grouchy guy). Anyway, the guy puts his dog in the car to drive the six blocks to the ocean, to walk and play with the dog. Maybe he just doesn't do sidewalk?

I also ate a "sweet lemon" today. A sweet lemon is not actually sweet: it's just not sour. It's like somebody took all the sour away from the lemon but left the lemon there. And the bite is still there. So it's actually a little like eating a lemon peel. But my very old neighbor, don Eladio (not his real name) gave me the lemon, like it was the first time, even though he's done this like four times now, and said "Taste this! It's as sweet as sugar!" The other times I've picked a little at the lemon, but today I decided to actually eat it.

domingo, junio 15, 2008

Something I actually did fix

I'm always writing to Nora and Jolene [not their real names], asking them for directions on a project which I never actually do. Today I actually did something, though, albeit not something for which they had given me directions.

Apparently, I have been simmering in renter's resentment for three years. Three years of things that the landlord never fixes. Three years of things that you tell him about and he promptly forgets. Or responds several months later "Oh, you didn't mention it again so I thought it fixed itself."

I hear tales of people who call the landlord for every little thing, and it is immediately fixed. I growl softly, under my breath. Clearly, I mutter, they are not renting from somebody's younger brother. A mental gesture to all the men in this world who don't see what there is to be done until their older sister tells them. All the men just like me.

So now we are buying this house. We are either going to close this Friday (Please, God, let it be this Friday, as L* says) or on the first of July. One or the other. Almost for sure.

And L* has been working on her garden. Planning her future garden. We bought a book on square foot gardening and I even read it. L* built an amazing shrine today full of color and beauty and life.

And I actually did fix something. I was washing my face in the kitchen sink, because the water pressure in the bathroom is so pathetically weak, it's too frustrating to try to wash your face in there. And as I was face first in the towel, I thought about when the plumber came to fix the washing machine, and when he saw how pathetically weak our water pressure was in the kitchen sink, he borrowed one of my sewing needles and fixed it.

And then I went into the bathroom and eyed the faucet in the sink. I went and got a pair of pliers out of the pantry, and unscrewed the little thingy. I peered into it and saw teeny tiny little rocks blocking the holes. I got out a sewing needle and pried them out. Rinsed it well, and screwed the thingy right back on.

And there was flow! We are still rejoicing in the flow.

L* was very very happy when I showed her. Happier even than rejoicing in the flow. It turns out she was so happy because I saw the problem, and rather than lamenting it or resenting it, I put my noggin together with my initiative and actually fixed it.

Now I am eyeing the bathtub faucet, which does not have an handy little aerator to remove and clean out. And wondering what it would take to fix the flow. And thinking of that book that we used to have (okay, that I stole from my mom), which described 101 things to do around your house. So now I'm thinking of getting another book like that. (sans larceny) and of actually fixing something else.

viernes, junio 13, 2008

the children

I'm a the public library, where the kids are all
competing heavily in the summer read-a-thon.

For perhaps the millionth time,
I get the idea that you, me, and all our smartest friends
should get rich writing children's books.

a little munchkin has sat down at my table.
she is trying to read comic books
that are above her reading level. too cute.
"I'm going to find a magazine to read" she says.
her dad strolls by to make sure she's okay and that I have no designs on her.

this is ever so much more interesting than working on a tenure file.

a six(?) year-old boy says of the (latina) munchkin,
"wow, that's girl's small. and she knows english"

he himself knows chinese and is chinese, he announces.


a girl ran by who looks just like my friend wendy amai from forty years ago
(even though I only met wendy amai thirty-five years ago.)

the two boys sorting through the comic books announce
"I can't stop itching like a dog"

Here in Oakland, libraries provide the function of free day care.
So now that school is out, the libraries are bursting with kids,
whose parents dropped them off this morning and will be returning
for them after work.


a litter of pre-teens was escorted outside for a 15 minute time out.

the little munchkin has starting squealing
"I'm not screaming! I'm not crying!
I want some pizza!"

her (Anglo) dad calmly leads her out the door,
announcing "a little too late."

"for what," ask the librarians.

"for naptime."

"pizza! pizza! pizza!"

I'm lonely now.
I know I could fit at least a couple of these kids into my backpack.

[Nora writes to me that on no account am I to do this,
unless I plan to barbecue them. Nora takes pride
in her complete lack of maternal impulses. towards humans]


the librarian with the frizzly hair
has her own meltdown
and drives the moneylending
preteens from the marketplace.
Or the temple.
something like that.

One of the little charmers
speaks of the librarian in the third person
"she's got issues!"

fortunately, before the librarian with the frizzly hair
resorts to violence, her cheerful butch librarian friend
comes to her rescue.


only the second day of summer vacation
and already banished from the library.
a poemlet:

the children who were driven
from the house of books
mill about the entrance
eyes hungry
faces blank
surely, nothing they had done
has called down this banishment.
the powers that be
are obviously
having a bad day.