In coffee on June 9, 2015 at 5:39 pm
many of us are personally familiar with the sloshing-over fullness and balancing act a mother & daughter relationship is. but it is not everyday we are whisked to the lincoln center in new york city and seated in the front row to experience and absorb daughter’s retelling of the day the bay bridge broke. she plays herself at the age of six; she wrote a story about the importance of stories, the bits & pieces and the intangible star flash passed on through bloodlines, and how we are able to keep going even while losing so much and so many along the way. i was prepared to feel way too much, to not just leak tears but to quietly blubber and i did. it helped that on either side of me her (extremely proud) uncle & aunt succumbed too. i was not prepared for viscerally reacting every time her character called for her mommy. it doesn’t matter how grown your girl is nor that there is an actress playing you, perhaps a little too well, cued to respond. it’s an instinctive call & response: she hollers mommy! and you yell what?
we had just two days to fit in highlights in the big apple, beginning with early morning best neighborhood coffee. we found our way back to our lodging at all hours by recognizing the roses. the sun didn’t always sparkle during our visit but daughter did.
i just read an article today discussing how our brains aren’t really wired well for decision-making. these days we are bombarded with choices all day long yet we lack a capacity to prioritize between big and small decisions. daughter shared her little corner of prospect park where turtles sun on the rocks and she rests her mind. her partner accompanied us to donut plant, where we all feel safe & contented, but because they want to avoid being hurried and pressured while in line, they scroll thru the plentiful choices on their phone during the metro approach. smart cookie.
for our last meal, we put ourselves in the competent hands of our favorite eldest nephew. he is so thoughtful, considerate, funny that he effortlessly matched himself to my splendidino cocktail. we savored assorted charcuterie and fine cheeses paired with fig, honey, and spice. he has acquired a bicycle, sometimes traveling above ground rather than in new york tunnels, perhaps in preparation for returning to the bay area. he & his girl caught daughter’s last performance the next day and he gifted her a little lightning. our giant grand children. my tear-catching hankie is completely soaked.
In after morning coffee on June 2, 2015 at 4:17 pm
i was hesitant, thinking i didn’t qualify as an emergency situation, but she said we are going. we sat in line and made friends. i was reminded that a desperate need for food doesn’t eliminate food intolerances and preferences. “i can’t be eating any white bread” she shared. “it sticks things up and goes right to my thighs.” her smile was much bigger than her thighs. we were being entertained by a young roaming gal from florida who was making sharp observations about berkeley and our other bay area towns. she pegged me as someone who probably owned a yoga mat. she wasn’t wrong. on our second visit, dapper older men were missing their turns because they were too busy socializing in line. not a real problem; everyone had each others backs.
my sister/pal is responsible for the care & upkeep of a church garden. she shares extra lettuces with me (and my tortoise) and look what i did with a beautiful white radish. makes me feel like rapunzel sneaking into her neighbor’s garden; let’s not think about all the trouble and tower imprisonment that led to. luckily i seem to not have inherited my dad’s weird stinky radish burps problem.
one church garden leads to another and at urban adamah we receive charity on all fronts. every wednesday we can have eggs, bread, and fresh farm produce while visiting with intellectuals, activists, new mothers, rainbow children, chickens and goats. when the lay abed berkeley sun is a no-show and one is shivering noticeably, hugs and blankets are provided. much appreciated, but this party-pooper leaves before any music or dancing festivities start up. i overhear friends confessing that although so deeply appreciative of the helping hands they sorta need a little shove in the rear as well to get on board with all the food preparation now required. also, sister/pal wonders why i keep getting low first-called numbers and she doesn’t. we drink replenishing herb & flower infused water, the strongest note being roadside fennel.
a limp beet from the food pantry is salvaged by pickling in raspberry vinegar, pairing with fava greens & cilantro from urban adamah, and serving over food pantry white rice which now becomes pink. a lively salad distracts from the worry of eating expired butternut squash soup. a friend passed on a green bell pepper with the stipulation that i show her what i did with it. a dented can of stewed tomatoes is the base of a whole wheat pasta dish and a wilting carrot is given a second chance in a yogurt cumin salad.
all this food rustling has made us less timid and more outgoing so this time when we get the church flyer we make a point of going to the event. to meet our neighbors and eat a hotdog for dinner. one of them tells us about the river cruise adventure just concluded; from amsterdam to hungary. he urges us to eat lots of salad. his wife is always worried people won’t eat her salad. we were glad to help.
In coffee on March 29, 2015 at 3:27 pm
she didn’t have any use for them herself and generously bequeathed them to me. so then i had a month’s worth of a food stamps equivalent for coffee dates. and i will tell you a secret: starbucks coffee, like peet’s coffee, is good. which isn’t that surprising if you know your coffee history and remember that the two used to be related. and even if you are not in the habit of frequenting starbucks because you are a peetniks they aren’t hard to find. there must be a zoning law here in town that requires a peet’s coffee drinker to be able to spot a starbucks out the window and vice versa.
sampled south berkeley’s shop first since it’s in my neighborhood. ordered a cup of coffee and a petite vanilla bean scone. the goodies selection is not particularly enticing but i wasn’t expecting much in that department. the shop is right next to a new bakery that specializes in retro desserts like twinkies and hostess cupcakes made with wholesome ingredients. partook of that fun with just my eyes since i didn’t have a voucher from my sister.
next time i came in i ordered a cappuccino and they provided a ceramic cup. the very next visit was after a run so i needed some lunch instead. i sat at the bar and chatted with the staff. i know they are instructed to be friendly, as they are at the peet’s these days too, but the smiles were genuine.
downtown starbucks has outdoor seating; especially nice these hot march days. coffee, water when i asked nice, and a free drink when i accumulated three stars. we were kinda parkling, i would say.
there is another starbucks downtown, catty corner to peet’s, with only indoor seating and a community table. a small group wandered in and then she said oh let’s go to peet’s instead they are much better and they giggled all the way out because she couldn’t believe she had made that statement so loudly in starbucks.
i met a friend for coffee up on college avenue. she wasn’t too squeamish to meet up at a starbucks. we could see a nice peet’s across the street. the shop is tucked into the brand new fancy safeway and there is a fresh artsy patio courtyard where you can enjoy your perfectly fine cup of coffee. i only have $1.82 left on my card which means i have just one more starbucks coffee date in my arsenal. looking forward to it.