Flowers II

Sign of the times: Employees of Oakland’s medical marijuana facilities are attempting to unionize. California is in such bad shape there is a serious possibility that the voters will approve legislation to legalize the drug for recreational use just to produce a new source of revenue.

After coffee on Friday morning I registered for the conference and then after looking at the hotel’s breakfast menu, I wandered across the street to a small takeout shop for a bagel that cost $2, as opposed to the Hyatt’s $21. The place advertised Vietnamese sandwiches, most of them with pork and one with head cheese, but also a vegetarian version with veggie “ham” and tofu.

Following my breakfast foray, I wrote the blog, then met Diane to plan our conference session. She’s got so many letters and clippings about my mother. I am so happy to be paying tribute to her. After we finished, Diane and I wandered through the book exhibit and looked at some of the literature.

First impression of the conference: Vampires are in vogue this year, and they’re surfacing in works by Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, as well as in a bunch of children’s books.

And copies of my book are for sale through The Scholar’s Choice. I autographed one of each so whoever buys the display copies will have a nice surprise.

Then I went for a walk from Embarcadero Center down to the beginning of the seriously congested tourist area. Gorgeous and bright, windy and bright. Most others were business folk out for lunch and a handful of joggers, bikers and walkers. On the return I went to takeout shop and discovered a new taste sensation. Served on a baguette, the veggie Vietnamese sandwich has onion, carrots, jalapeño, and cilantro with a spicy sauce. Yum! A couple of too-large spears of cucumber were the only drawbacks.

Before the Ann Petry session, I dropped in a panel on Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop which benefitted greatly from the recent publication of more of their correspondence. Motivated me to go back to their poetry. The conference went well, though at the beginning we only had one audience member. People gradually wandered in so that at the end there were 5, plus Ash, Kathryn and Skylar. Will find out how well it went when Ash sends a copy of the CD.

After that we traded offspring – Skylar went back to U.C. Santa Cruz as he’s completing his final two weeks. Julian arrived and drove us to dinner at Beach Chalet, which is at the west end of Golden Gate Park, with a fabulous view of the sun floating down into the Pacific. Besides spectacular views of the wind-swept waves, the paragliders, the bonfires, the marsh-mallows and beach pines, the Beach Chalet offers excellent salads, calamari better than any I’ve ever had (sorry, Cypress), and a novel take on salad Niçoise with six large prawns in place of the tuna. Kathryn had a crab Louis salad, which subbed butter lettuce for the iceberg but otherwise seemed to follow the traditional recipe.

Ash and Julian had various forms of beef, accompanied by garlic fries, which Kathryn swore were smothered in butter. We all munched on terrific sourdough bread.

We were treated to a vision of a couple of hundred bicyclists pulling up on the beach, followed by an equal number of motorcyclists roaring past on the way to who knows where. Following a quick look at the fresco by Lucien Laboudt on the first floor I returned happily to the hotel and fell asleep at what my body thought was two a.m.

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