Sunday, June 28, 2009

Already a Scorcher

…and it's not quite 11:00 a.m. yet. Summer, she has arrived. I had to take the dog for a walk at 8:00 a.m. I don't think it will be cool enough to take him again til nightfall.

Last week was a good one, if busy. I got home from San Jose just as the last of the sunlight was oozing from the sky on Wednesday evening. Very glad to be back, and very grateful that it was just one night away from home. As I pulled into the driveway that night, I heard a strange sound--had I left a hose running? No, but fluid was pouring from my engine, a sign that I could no longer procrastinate on taking the monster mobile to the repair shop.

Thursday morning was a bit of a nail-biter at work--a very important webcast that my team and I had worked on for quite some time, and all the pieces came together literally in the last few minutes before it began. And I was very pleased to observe that I wasn't freaking out or feeling at a loss for judgment during that tense situation. Which is not to say that I handled it perfectly, I don't think that I did. Rather that I was confident that it was going to turn out fine, and sure enough it did. A nice side-effect was that the other accomplishments of the day felt like gravy.

Thursday was also our fourth anniversary, maybe another reason for me to be calm and positive that day. It felt like the first time we'd ever been able to celebrate, since M had been in school for the first few, and of course last year he was deep into the throes of Bar exam prep. I left work early to have a little lie-down before our evening in the City, and he came home a little early too. M was very chivalrous--since the Cadillac was in such bad shape, we had to take his truck, and he spent some time cleaning it up before we left.

We got down to the California Academy of Sciences around 7:00 o'clock, and it was just starting to hop. I admit to feeling a little out of place, somewhat overdressed (I had broken out the false eyelashes as well as the bejeweled gown and sequined sandals, what the hell) and over-aged, but that wore off as the night went on and the space crowded with the kinds of personalities you might expect at a gathering in San Francisco. I loved how the Academy had laid out the space, places to cross over water and look down at sealife, an albino alligator, and the crowds observing he aquariums in the lower floor while in other places, look up to the skeletons of a whale, T. Rex, and a three-story sphere of rainforest (closed, sadly, for maintenance that night). It was a little sparser on the exhibits than I expected. I was also surprised to see the traditional taxidermied dioramas in the Africa wing, equally surprised to see staff behind a wall of glass working on a flock of expired birds. It was a Nightlife event, so bars were scattered about, and a transvestite DJ was pumping out the house music while nice ladies in lab coats pushed around carts of mammal penis bones (who knew?) and discussed the ins and outs of boa reproduction. Our favorite spot was the living roof, undulating waves of purple flowers studded with porthole skylights, with views of the City and across the park to the de Young museum.

We left the Academy without restaurant destination or even type of cuisine firmly in mind. This is a dangerous situation for us, usually resulting in tempers flaring as the blood sugar drops, but it couldn't have worked out better. We did drive around for a bit, but admiring the neighborhoods kept us preoccupied, and just as I was started to get a little worried, it appeared on the corner as if in a vision: Dosa. I had been to the other location and loved it, and M was up for Indian. Then the other challenge became apparent: parking. But as if it were meant to be, we were only halfway down the block when someone pulled out, leaving us a great spot! The homeless guy had to help us fend off the sporty little car that tried to sneak in behind us--that seems to be the "occupation" these day, homeless men "directing" people to parking rather than cleaning windshields, which is a better trend.

Dosa was crowded, but another potential snag in our evening melted away as there were two seats waiting for us at the long table in the bar area. True, it wasn't a very intimate dining experience, but I like the communal style. Good service, nice people--the male half of drunken young couple next to us (I'm positing work colleagues getting up the courage to make his wife a cuckquean) was Indian and invited M to think of him as his brother, plying him with samples of their food. I think it was the freshest-tasting Indian food I've ever had--particularly the best sambar and chutneys. M had the four-course tasting meal, I had a dosa with paneer and peas, punctuated with bites of channa bhatura and the enormous poori courtesy of our neighbors--heaven on a plate! Looking over their cocktail menu just now, I wish I'd ordered one, but something to look forward to when we go back.

Friday I took the car into the shop for the radiator work. The whole think had to be replaced, as well as all four brakes done. I wasn't surprised, but it's still a pain in the pocketbook. Not to mention my patience. I like my mechanic very much--I think he's fair and does a good job--but man, that guy can talk the hind legs off a donkey. After the longwinded tale of the recalcitrant bolt in the Lincoln navigator while in the shop, we spent half an hour in my driveway as he recounted in excruciating detail, much emphasized by repetition, the life changing inspiration that was his new "network marketing" opportunity, aka pyramid scheme: Zija, some sort of miracle drink along the lines of Vitameatavegamin. I was genuinely interested at first, but as the story droned along, that waned to politeness then to downright distress. I had to get to work--and didn't he? People, I had the car door open and my foot on the concrete and *still* he droned on. When I picked up the car the next day, I declined samples of the amazing Zija that I had said I would try. I felt kind of bad about that, he seemed genuinely crestfallen, but there was no way I could face the follow-up conversations that would inevitably take place.

Speaking of long-winded, this is the final paragraph, I promise: In preparation for the next round of our home improvements, I cleaned out the hall closet yesterday (we're planning to rent one of those portable storage units and move most of the furniture into it to make the painting and floor replacement faster, so figured I'd get a jump on the sorting of the crap). There were a few "I forgot we had *that*!" moments, and another moment, as I gazed at all of the wool-lined boxes I'd been hoarding for years that represented gifts of jewelry, of realizing how lucky I am to have so many generous people in my life. Oh, and I found my favorite NYU "Torch" fountain pen! There was also the requisite wistful moment--I seem to be having a lot of those lately. The great pile of camera stuff in the giveaway pile did make me kind of sad. I can't bear to part with my Canon T-60, though I haven't touched it since I got the digital. But my very first Pentax that I've had since high school, through whose workhorse's viewfinder I focused much of my youthful creativity, is off to the glue factory of the Goodwill. I hope someone will be inspired by it and love it as much as I did. Well, upon reflection, I have a friend at work who may be interested in adopting it…

Well, off to do the TV room closet…


At 4:20 PM, June 28, 2009, Blogger Kamala! said...

OK, great post! A couple of questions. Penis bones-is that for real? How weird! And the word "cuckquean" in refernce to the Indian couple at the restaurant. What does that mean? Also, reminder to self-buy false eyelashes. They look terrific. I used to be able to apply them in a moving car when I was dancing, 30 years (!) ago. Also (OK, this as long as your blog). We have had the least sunshine since 1903-today top temp was 67. My tan is actually fading.

At 9:53 PM, June 28, 2009, Anonymous M said...

Raccoon penis bones are lucky...likes rabbit's feet.

At 6:35 AM, June 29, 2009, Blogger K2 said...

M, that person EATS racoon road kill.


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