This morning I woke with a head full of big ideas. Plans for production, plans to go out and grab this sunny California day by its golden balls and squeeze them until they were screaming for mercy! My mental morning list went something like this: Get coffee, write, go to yoga, join gym, pump iron, run around the lake, walk to Trader Joe’s and purchase groceries to create exciting and delicious meals for Miss deJong, unload car, put stuff away, make fabulous meals for Miss deJong, and then maybe ride the BART into”the city” to visit friends. It was at about this point in my list making that I became so excited, I bounced out of bed and dressed myself in clothes fit for exercise, I brushed my pearls, washed my porcelain, combed my silk, and then headed out the door, ready to seize me some big, golden, California balls!
My day got off to a hopeful start, I was savouring a strong cup of coffee at Peet’s, watching a caramel pit bull and a black pound puppy playfully wrestle on the sidewalk through the window, when a young girl and her NCLEX ( RN licensure test) study guide sat down next to me. I commented on her book, letting her know that I was a nurse, and we became fast friends. Kylie was visiting from Detroit, she was here with a friend who was auditioning for American Idol, Kylie told me she hadn’t heard her friend sing an entire song yet, but that she thought she would soon. I asked if she was any good, and she looked a bit unsure, but smiled and said, “I think so.” I felt like I was meeting a parallel self as she told me of her plans to move here. This was her first trip to California, and she couldn’t believe how alive she felt, how excited she was to just be here, she was planning to save her money and move to California in a year, she didn’t know a soul, (just me), and something about the twinkle in her eye made me believe that she would do just that. Her twenty-two year old spirit was inspiring, and invited my own twenty-two year old spirit to come out and play. I confessed I knew just how she felt, the sensation of intense aliveness and the longing to keep it; to live in it. I shared my story of longing, and we exchanged emails promising to keep in touch. I had finished my coffee, and those golden balls were still full of juice aching to be squeezed, so off I went, grocery bags and empty backpack in hand to Trader Joe’s to stock up on delicious nutrition for the week.
Please note: The rest of this post was written post red wine consumption; feeling very Bukowski 🙂
My purchases came to 82 dollars and some change. I bought: hummus, whole grain milk, vanilla soy milk, organic half and half, french roast coffee beans which I ground there after googling the proper grind( coarse) for a french press on my Iphone (insert hearts, we are going through a good phase 🙂 ) , eggs, spinach, feta, roma tomatoes, sugar snap peas, black olives, organic garbanzo beans, organic kidney beans, brown rice, brown rice bread, almond butter, bananas, organic flax seed cereal, organic tofu, organic baby carrots, agave nectar, greek yogurt, organic strawberries, garlic, ginger, onions ( the trinity roots), and I can’t remember what the hell else, but my bags were so flipping heavy, the walk home felt like punishment for some crime I don’t remember committing. SERIOUSLY. I smiled, grinning and bearing it, watching all the burden free people running around the lake, dogs being walked, children being pushed on swings and in strollers by caregivers not caring at all about the woman with the heavy ass bags grunting down the happy street. I made it up two flights of stairs and made a lunch of exotic salad and soup, hummus and toasted brown rice bread. Trust me, it was exotic. Unusual. I put agave nectar in the olive oil and lemon juice dressing. I’m always exotic. I pride myself on my exotic nature. Have you seen me toss a salad? Very exotic indeed.
Gray and I sat in front of the bay windows to eat, I said some elaborate grace, and we ate mouthfuls of goodness while watching joggers and birds compete for center stage. Gray, AKA Shannon, lives on Lake Merritt in Oakland. Right across from the 3 mile loop of an always changing canvas of water, lights, birds, dogs, people, and so many other things. It is a real rock star experience living here.
And then I got tired. Really tired. Bone tired. But wait! There is still juice left in the golden balls! But I had to sleep, rest, read Cold Tangerines, a lovely little book full of sweet stories written by a sweet woman who translates sweet truths from her heart into words. And I cried, and I cried some more. Stories about families, teenagers being inspirations, husbands becoming best friends, simple stuff, the stuff that matters kinda stuff. So I slept a bit, woke up, ate some cereal, looked at the lake, sent some text messages, read some more, cried some more, and slept some more. I called one dear friend and he lit my heart on fire with his words of love and support. I marinated in his words for a good long time while lying in supta badha konasana over a bolster before I heard Gray’s voice beckoning me from outside the open bay window. She had been at the gym doing a body sculpting class that I had opted out of on account of my energy deficit. ” Oh dear Kate, please show yourself!”, I popped up and put half of myself out the window to greet my beloved sweaty friend, we shared a Rapunzel like exchange, and met our neighbor Laura in the whole silly process.
I made dinner while sipping an Australian blend of Cabernet and Shiraz and dancing and singing to classic rock. We had eggplant stir fry, sautéed swiss chard, brown rice ( I put raw butter and ground cloves in the grain, I’ve never done that before. It’s California Kate!) and greek yogurt with pepper sauce. Gray said grace, a grace that included thanks for The Rolling Stones, as well as for our full plates and overflowing hearts.
It was a good day. My first day in the Bay. I didn’t fulfill my list of to do’s, and the golden balls still dangle before me , big and full, and well…..BIG and FULL. But there’s always tomorrow….and the next day, and the next, and so on. Today was a slow day. A day to settle into my California self. She may be slower. Calmer. I’m not promising anything, but she puts butter and cloves in brown rice, sleeps, cries, reads and writes a day away, and Phoenix Kate wouldn’t have dreamed of doing that….. and, I’m looking forward to getting to her better. 🙂