Nearly Final Thoughts on the Trip

OK, so it’s taken longer to write about the trip than it did to travel to the West Coast and return, but there was so much to see and do. Here are a few final thoughts (well, not really, I’m including some California Dreamin’ in the entry about the Ya-Yas.)

  • As I mentioned briefly, the price of gas was ridiculous. We in Connecticut bemoan the taxes we pay on the stuff, but California prices nearly rival Hawaii’s, where at least they have the excuse of high cost of transport. Other prices seemed about comparable, but I didn’t examine the bellwether – cat food.
  • Not long after I had posted the entry about my excursion to downtown Oakland to meet Ash for lunch and collect Anna from the BART station, BBC news did a funny, informative piece on Oaksterdam, so called because it reportedly has more medical marijuana dispensaries than anywhere in California. The Japanese restaurant where Ash and I ate lunch was right across from a couple of them, but it wasn’t obvious from the street. I didn’t know until I heard the BBC that there’s a university that offers courses to folks who want to become entrepreneurs. Seems like a growth industry.
  • Other than Oaksterdam and the City Council meeting, my impression of Oakland is of a vibrant city that has much more going for it than its national reputation shows. I was left with the sense of a lively cultural scene. The diversity and acceptance of all kinds of people made it far more mellow that up-tight East Coast. Sure there was poverty, but it didn’t overwhelm the place, which has a great deal of affluence as well.
  • One of my projects this weekend is to locate a frame for the poster of Irina’s work. The place where I used to shop closed and the one down the street ridiculously expensive. The size of the poster – 18 1/2 x 12 1/ 2 means I can’t just stroll into CVS and pick a frame off the shelf. Plus those places won’t have anything attractive enough to do justice to the sculpture pictured.
  • It was fascinating to find out what traits Ashley, Anna, and I share and where we diverge. We are all terrified of heights, as was my mother and Anna’s mother. Ash and I are not morning people. We both need a good jolt of caffeine and about an hour to get started. Anna, on the other hand, wakes up ready to do something besides sip coffee and stare at the wall.
  • The Bay area still has a number of independent bookstores, which warmed my heart. I know they are an endangered species everywhere, but less so there. Anna and I even passed a Jewish bookstore on our walk through Oakland. It was doing a brisk business, probably because it was the second day of Rosh Hashanah.

I will continue to marvel at the food:

  • fresh, beautiful produce we encountered. Kathryn brought home some tiny white grapes that tasted like little drops of nectar. They were one of the many varieties that she said never leave the state because they’re only available for a very short time. Even the slice of tomato on my veggie burger at Buena Vista looked to be of the heirloom variety with a dark rim around the edges and huge seed pockets. Like the grapes, it tasted of nectar and had so much juice I wished for a spoon.
  • the varieties of bread. Of course there’s the famous sourdough, but we also had simply decadent scones and as I mentioned even the croissants from Costco were better than their East Coast cousins from pretentious bakeries.
  • the fish and shellfish were fabulous. I will savor the taste of those barbecued oysters until I can eat them again. And Pacific salmon seems more flavorsome than the Atlantic variety, probably because the latter mostly comes from farms.
  • Peet’s coffee has now become my preference (sorry, D&D). It’s robust without that nasty burnt taste of Starbucks. And it is now on the shelf at Stop & Shop.

These few items took most of the morning to write because the computer decided it needed to install updates. Why, why, why does it always act up when I’m in a rush? And now I have to reboot, again. AARRGGHH!

And then when that business finished, I discovered I needed a “Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack.” I let it upload while I ran some errands. It is now 4 p.m., and the thing says it downloaded but it is nowhere to be found. Double AARRGGHHH!!!

Oh, and it’s snowing! Let’s see, that means we’ll have 15 snow storms this winter, according to prognosticators who measure from the date of the first snow. The weather map looks like some sort of weird icing decoration: a tiny spot of green, surrounded by pink, surrounded by blue, followed by more pink, with green and yellow splotches around the perimeter. It’s that pink stuff you have to watch out for.

And I’m supposed to be at the hospital at 5 for a meeting and can‘t find the letter that describes what’s going to happen.

So I’m back from the meeting, which proved to be a terrific opportunity to meet with my fellow Reiki volunteers and confer about workshops that we might want to attend. But Microsoft Word still won’t play nice. I’m giving up and waiting to fix it on the weekend.

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