on the gad

Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page


In coffee on June 24, 2011 at 5:48 pm

so i did not see michelle obama when she came through berkeley recently. she was staying at the claremont hotel and i was loitering across the street at peet’s, which you’ll remember is part of my exercise program (uphill climb). no michelle sightings though because they were serving her blue bottle coffee in the hotel. my superstar daughter is moving to new york in a minute and at first i thought i wouldn’t be able to visit her there because there are no peet’s coffee shops in new york. i have since learned they do have blue bottle coffee in ny so i will be able to visit. i have enjoyed excellent blue bottle coffees at both MOMA and my derby street farmers’ market.

this afternoon, i was up the hill buying peet’s french roast coffee for my mother and encountered philip seymour hoffman. there is no good way to behave around celebrities so of course i just ignored him. i averted my eyes and tried to act like i wasn’t thoroughly excited. which is hard to do when you’re drinking a healthy sized cup of peet’s and eating chocolate rum cookies from nabalom. then i remembered that’s what cell phones are for. so you can look all busy and stuff. i texted my daughter. she replied wondering if i was going to say hello. she forgets what it’s like to be a mere mortal. i can’t say hi to a star! besides how would i address him? would i have to use all three of his names? instead, i finally worked up enough nerve to flirt with the cute man who i often see there meeting his parents for high tea and sunshine. i don’t think i made too much of an ass of myself. time will tell.

tomorrow will be my third saturday volunteering at the friends of the library bookstore. it is only a few hours once a week, but it feels so good to be useful once again. and i get to tidy, organize, and glare at small children. i always wanted to be a librarian when i grew up. i am hoping that at the very least this weekly task will lead to something more just by the simple momentum of working with others again. besides, one can’t stay home doing sudoku forever.



In coffee on June 3, 2011 at 2:57 pm

you would think that i would remember, having grown up here, that just because a day starts out grey and hopeless doesn’t mean that there isn’t a chance for full on sunshine by and by. unlike up north where grey beginnings meant a total crap day and one could only try to maintain some hopefulness for the next day. since i am still in the habit of worshiping every ray of sunshine, and have no employment to interfere with soaking up said sun, you can imagine how bronzed my shoulders have become. while in switzerland very recently, my niece tried to catch up to my browness (she’s mexican, for god’s sake!) but only managed to get a vicious sunburn. she got me back by forcing me to hike in froofy sandals for an hour and a half to a nearby castle which gave me a crippling blister. and then this sad pair had the herculean task of assisting big brother clean out my father’s house.

it was brutal. both physically and emotionally. but wonderful too. and all the lovely moments of our trip are rising to the surface now as the weeks pass. we filled two dumpsters, sorted through and set aside enough good stuff to fill another, and came away with one large suitcase full of goodies to take home, and four parcels of photos, slides, etc. my brother estimates that we kept about one percent of dad’s stuff. countless trips up and down two sets of stairs, allergies, multiple car loads of now empty boxes driven away, way too many rubberbands, and so much crying. for my dad, myself, and i took turns grieving for every family member he left behind. we tried to remember to drink fluids and we forgot to eat lunches. and we got the job done in a mere three days! we are super.

in the swiss countryside small towns run into each other all in a row. we stayed at a fabulous bed & breakfast, the gasthof schloessli. i am a lousy traveler as i lack intestinal fortitude but i felt so at home there. grand breakfasts on the sunny patio, gourmet dinners at the end of our work days, and the church bells a block away to tell time by. dad rests now in the church yard. we added a wooden toy train to his site. when the bells aren’t ringing, birds are chirping and cow bells make music. the sun shines and the mountains loom. i can’t think of a nicer place to rest. i miss our dad. i miss switzerland. especially during a heat wave. i miss being part of a work crew, sharing quality time with brother & niece, finding a fresh noir chocolate stash, and bells. back here in berkeley, i have discovered the tibetan gongs at the end of a yoga to the people class come close to evoking the same feelings as swiss church bells. and, yes, i weep. but that’s okay. it’s yoga. and i always carry a hankie.