On Monday I visited a very dear friend in El Granada, just north of Half Moon Bay. She was my professor of Improvisation for Theater (which perhaps should have been called Improvisation for Life, because its principles taught me so much about how to live well and get out of my own way) — was it really seventeen years ago? — and she’s now retired and living with her husband, cat, and several koi fish in a gorgeous dream home overlooking eucalpytus trees and the Pacific Ocean.
(The bus ride over the mountains to get to Half Moon Bay was an event in itself. Since I’d arrived in Palo Alto I’d been watching the fog crowning the hills, and soon enough the bus nosed its way into that fog, and it felt like floating through the forest primeval. So lovely and otherworldly.)
We’re good enough friends that just chatting, preparing meals together, watching a video about a Buddhist nun / chef in South Korea, or just both being on Facebook in the same sunny room is all the thrill we need. 🙂 On July 4th she had a neighborhood patio party next to the koi pond, and I chatted with several interesting people, many of them from foreign countries who had made the US their home.
I got a ride back to Palo Alto just in time for a very tough yoga class at the intentional community where I was staying (also several good friends there, and so wonderful to see them), and the teacher (and friend) worked us so hard it took me a while the next day to realize it wasn’t the progesterone shot that had made my glutes ache, it was the workout. (So far I’ve had very little pain, bleeding, or soreness with the shots.)
Wednesday my little sister picked me up and drove me to the new school where she’s going to work next year, the Robert Louis Stevenson School in Pebble Beach. It’s absolutely gorgeous there, like a movie set, and she’s excited to be a “dorm mom” there and have zero rent and zero commute. The faculty and staff have also been very supportive, and they’re thinking of revamping their entire science curriculum soon, which is right up my sister’s alley. She actually tried to revamp the science curriculum at her former school (based on a tremendous amount of learning and research), and it ticked off certain people-of-wealth-and-power, so she’s glad to be moving on to a place where evidence-based innovation is appreciated.
We walked along the posh Pebble Beach shops and then did a bit of 17 Mile Drive before heading back to the intentional community for a delicious vegetarian dinner, and the two people on either side of me (my sister and an Italian computer science post-doc) had both been to Antarctica. It’s not often that, by chance, you’re sitting betwen two people who’ve visited Earth’s seventh continent!
It was funny, though, because my sister went to the actual South Pole (this is much rarer), and when she said she’d been at the South Pole, the Italian guy asked, “Where?”
Val was like… “The South Pole.” There are few places on earth whose locations are so precisely determined.
“Um… The Pole? The South one?”
Apparently when she said “South Pole,” he thought she meant Antarctica in general, and it took a while to clear up the confusion 😉
Thursday I took a leisurely bus / BART / Amtrak train trip back up to Sacramento (only took four hours) and had a fancy dinner at an Italian place called Lucca, known for its farm-to-fork food (as are several places around here). I had duck confit with arugula salad and truffle fries. I got a barely-sweet pear flower cocktail as well and finished with olive oil and lemon cake with cherry compote and goat cheese mousse.
Hard to argue with a meal like that.
Then I walked around the gorgeous park around California’s state capitol building, and a fat waxing gibbous moon followed me around everywhere I went.
Today I found a family-owned soup place called Muntean’s Soup that had about 12 types of soup that they were not shy about letting us sample. The chicken polenta soup was so good I almost cried. Had that with half an egg salad sandwich.
I did get a call from CC today and almost had a heart attack when I saw their number on my phone. Calls usually aren’t good news. But they were just asking to move my transfer back by an hour, to 2:30 instead of 1:30, which is perfectly fine with me. It’s an easy 10 minute bus ride to the clinic, and I’m in no particular hurry. Glad to have another hour to digest lunch.
On my way to the bus station yesterday, I stopped to smell a particularly lovely fuchsia rose in someone’s garden, reveling in the feeling of being alone in my body for one more day. Believe me, I want to share this body with one or two other beings, and soon, but there’s also beauty in it just being you in here — just you that you’re responsible for, at least within your own skin.
I feel a kind of peace I haven’t felt in a long time. Not like, “Oh, this will definitely work!”
But like, “It will be OK either way. It really will.”
But… of course… here’s hoping 🙂