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be EVERYTHING that you are

I'm a little nuts about Janelle Monae's album, The ArchAndroid, which I am listening to on repeat today. I know I'm probably so, so late to the party on this, but that Janelle is five-feet of Pure Awesome.  Check out live performance of Tightrope if you can't take my word for it.

Of course I heard about her first from my sister Martine, another five-foot force of nature, who always has whatever's hot in her tiny mitts.

What I'm so crazy about, honestly, is how the album defies genre-ification. I'm listening and thinking about Nina Hagen, Petula Clark, Prince, David Bowie, sometimes Beatles, Parliament, James Brown. There are gorgeous vocals, strings, noodly guitar solos, the funkiest horn section in Metropolis. There are rhythms that go straight inside me, into junior-high-party-me who can't stay off the dance floor, has to wiggle and jump. The record's huge. It’s ridiculous. It has so much that I love, in a combination that delights me.  It has EVERYTHING.

And of course, as with everything that I'm nuts about, it circles inevitably back to yoga. This may seem particularly ridiculous when discussing a gigantic pop album, I am aware, but that's exactly why it feels so spot-on for me.

Something I've been thinking about so much with yoga lately has been how it really facilitates a deep looking at who we really, truly are, at ALL that we are.  And what we are without exception is glorious, miraculous, amazing, inspiring, jump-around fabulous! 

In the weeklong immersion with John in February, I was so struck by one central message: that our task is to be fully ourselves, in every capacity, in all our glory 100%, no holding back, all the time. Unfold, expand, grow, shine out with everything you've got. Don't save your awesome for some other time. Give it up Right Now.

ArchAndroid works for me on the most basic pop music level, emphatically yes, but it also -- with its crazy bigness -- creates a soundtrack for what I really want my life to be and where I’m taking it this year: huge, ridiculous, dance-able, funny, awesome, EVERYTHING.  All of what I love, all the time.

So I’ve got Ms. Monae on repeat today, Snoopy-dancing through this silly work-day, til the moment I can go home and tend the bees with Joe, then rock on into the evening’s dinner at Tartine. Making every moment count, every moment big and delicious no matter where I am.



Monday's all right

The first words in my head this morning were not Om Namah Shivaya.  Nope, instead, they were eeeeeeeew, Monday.

The grumpiness actually began to set in yesterday afternoon when I realized how few free weekend hours remained.  I'd wanted to accomplish so much and yet...

This morning while reading a super-inspiring blog, Love Apple Farm, I remembered that I didn't transplant the veggies yesterday since it was too hot by the time I had time...

What better way to turn that frown upside-down than by some early Monday morning gardening?  So now there are 5 little baby basils in the ground, 8 arugulas and 11 lettuces.  The sprinklers are running, I have dirt under my fingernails and a smile on my face.



Sunchips bag: Week 1, and an unexpected trip to Wildcare

So the supposedly 100% compostable Sunchips bag has been in the compost for a week.  I turned the compost today, which became more elaborate than I intended, since I ended up screening some finished compost to make space, and combined two half piles into one big pile.

The verdict after one week:

No change.  

It's dirty, for sure, and created kind of a gross anerobic patch right above itself since it's still an impermeable layer.  If you look closely, there are two holes in it, but that's just where I caught it with the pitchfork as I was turning the pile.

The chip bag itself is incredibly noisy, super-scrunchly, which made it easier to locate.

Since for some reason, I really, really want the bag to break down completely as depicted on the package, I made a big production of placing it in the center of what is now a perfect compost pile, nicely-layered.  Ready to cook.

Like this:

Interestingly there were a lot of pine needles and big dry patches in the compost toward the bottom, probably from when Joe was up on the roof a few weeks ago to clean the skylights and cleared the gutters.  And as I was pitching forks-ful of that stuff over into the new pile, lo and behold, I found a tiny little adorable baby vole:

 We are not fans of voles generally, since they're pretty destructive.  But this one was just a baby, so I tucked him into a little spare cage (kept for just this eventuality!) and drove him down to WildCare. Where he became Patient #0733.  When I left, those good people at WildCare were re-hydrating him.  Nice!

While there, picked up the super-cool Laws Pocket Guide, and now know that this gorgeous visitor to our flowers this morning is an Anise Swallowtail.  Oh, what an amazing, beautiful, diverse and exciting place we live in!


Twenty One Years of Love

On May 26, 1989, Katherine and I went to a party hosted by an old, old friend from the French school whom I'd run into at San Francisco State where I was a graduate student in Russian Language and Literature.  Nicholas lived on Fulton, directly across from the Jefferson Airplane house, in a flat shared with other students.  I picked Katherine up after dropping off Laurent, then 1 ½, at my parents' in the Castro.  I had on a favorite black vintage dress with lace trim at the collar and hips and black Sacha London cowboy booties (still have them).

I was 26.

Katherine and I hung around at this party for a couple of hours.  I remember feeling distinctly wrong in that place, listening to complaints by some guests that their parents were late sending their rent checks.  I was keeping track of time in my head, knowing that I'd soon have to go and pick up Laurent, feeling old as hell, a mother already in a house full of spoiled, entitled kids.

We were dejectedly getting our coats when the front door opened and a group of guys came in.  From where we stood at the end of the corridor, it was as if they were travelling toward us in slow motion.

There was no longer any question of leaving.

We produced cigarettes.  They produced lighters.  We told stories, drank, laughed.  All at once in a rush, we were all standing outside on the sidewalk together in coats and hats.    I was shy and unpracticed and did nothing.  Katherine left with a phone number.

She saw Mike a couple of times following that party.  I kept thinking of the one named Joe.  Finally I did what I knew how to do: I wrote a note which I gave to Katherine which she gave to Mike which he gave to Joe.  I wish I could remember what I said.

Our first date was on June 12th.

I had never been on a date before, actually.  The boyfriends I’d had to that point were all people I knew at least a little,  that I’d gotten to know in a group setting first.  I was super nervous.  I had gone clothes shopping that afternoon, uncomfortably aware that everything I owned was shabby and old.  I had on brand-new underwear.

Joe was early to pick me up.

We had coffee in North Beach.  We walked along the Marina Green.  We window-shopped on Union Street.  We had dinner at Pasand.  We made small talk.  We kept moving.  We had a beer at a place on Haight Street that no longer exists.  Joe knocked over a bottle leaning in for the first kiss.  We laughed.  

The next morning we went to Ocean Beach and I remember looking at Joe, in that remarkable light, and asking myself how such an amazing, beautiful person could be interested in me, me with a baby, me with nothing.  It was as if Joe was from an entirely different world.  I devoured all of the details: his eyes, his clothes, his hair, his ease. 

He was 22.

I knew already at that moment that this was it, that this was huge, that my life was unrolling before me in a way I never could have imagined. 

I was completely struck by love, it was le coup de foudre as we say in French. I lived on cantaloupe and popcorn for two weeks, unable to eat, really, truly, blissfully out of my mind.

And now it’s been 21 years.  I love Joe more now than I ever have, every day the love increasing.  Absurdly we both still get a little tongue-tied and goofy when we see each other out of context, when we rendez-vous somewhere for lunch or an errand.  I am still dazzled.

People have asked me today what is the secret to this love longevity, this love-gevity.  I have theories about what worked for us, but I don't really know.   All I know for sure is that this great big lightning bolt love happened to us, and that we've managed to feed and sustain its blaze for a good long time.  I am still grateful every day for the places this love has taken us both, for the life we've made in it.

Here's to twenty-one more and beyond!  


Start your engines: 5 weeks to Bali

Five weeks from today exactly, Joe and I fly to Bali.  Oh, what great pleasure it gave me last week to mark the days on my work calendar, blocking out two weeks plus, making it visual after so much planning and dreaming and scheming to make it happen.

There was a long stretch when I thought we wouldn't make it, wouldn't be able to go.  Joe's lymphoma really screwed things up for us in the fall; the economy didn't help, either.  There was so much uncertainty about where we'd be physically and financially that I had tearfully given up on it completely.  And at that precise moment of surrender, bam, everything lined up to make it possible.  After the year we had, all that we went through in 2009, my deep and joyful reaction to going, and going together, is Fuck Yeah, we so need this!

Cancer really changed things.  Before, I wouldn't have given it a second thought that of course I was leaving on retreat to an exotic location with my teacher Laura Christensen.  That's what happened in July of 08 when I heard about her retreat to Careyes, Mexico in April 09.  I sent in my deposit, got my plane ticket, and then told Joe.  It's nothing scandalous - it's just that since we have our own stuff that we're into, me yoga, him bikes, it's just how we roll.

How we rolled, I mean.  Since the cancer, I can't imagine being away from Joe for any length of time without asking permission first.  And permission is something I never asked for before. I just Did.  It's different, but it feels good, and I'm so happy that we'll be there together this time around.

It's going to be an amazing adventure.  I'm so glad to have been asked to assist with planning and logistics, two things which I adore about traveling, but mostly so excited to be there, to see it, taste it, smell it, all in the company of my beloved and my teacher and my friends.

Here's to not having to choose between.  Here's to Bali in 5 weeks.