Wanna Be There Now

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Today I ate lunch in a small cafe and sat at a table looking out the window into an open air mall. As I slurped soup, the rain began again, in earnest. The large drops plopped and the people outside scattered.

It’s been doing this for the last ten days, almost non-stop.

Opening the weather app on my iPhone, it became clear that this rain, rain isn’t going away anytime soon.

Here’s the weather where I am, now:

Drippy, drippy, drippy.

Two ladies chatted loudly behind me. One was complaining about how her daughter is misbehaving and that her acting up is disrupting the whole home.

She said “To be honest, this bad weather has got us all in a bad place.”

With a deep sigh, I took another slurp of broccoli soup.

After sixteen days in jolly yet rainy ol’ England, I get to go home tomorrow.

I am so ready.

So I flipped the pages in my weather app.

Here’s how it is where, if all goes well, I will be tomorrow:

Those little yellow disks, all in a row. That looks really nice.

Plus there is The Good Man at home. And a cranky Feline. And an elderly fish. And my life.

I’ve loved living here for just over two weeks but now it’s time to get back to the business of living my beautiful, wonderful, magical, messed up but all mine life.

From The Top


And the cycle starts again.

Where is my passport? Which suitcase should I use? Will I be able to sleep on the plane? Ten hours in flight, really? How many snacks should I bring? How many movies can I cram on my iPad? Ohmuhgawdinheaven I’m really doing this again?


I’m really doing this again.

A plane ride is nigh. My third international trip in three months.

April = Singapore
May = Costa Rica

And that must mean it is June and time for travel to the UK.

A new beginning. A new trip. An old country that’s brand new to me.

Ever since I was a small child I’ve wanted to go to London. I’ve always felt a yearning to be there. Can’t explain why, but it calls to me. I’ve even blogged about my rampant anglophilia. My fave of those posts is here

When my fabulous cousin made one of his many trips, I’d read his travel journals with a mixture of envy and “I gotta get there too”.

And so I finally get to go, but it’s with less excitement and a little more pondering that I face this trip.

I think when I was a kid and fantasized about being in London, it was all double decker buses and tea and crumpets and Big Ben. Never in those dreams did I image myself trapped in a conference room for hours and hours belaboring even the smallest of points with a far too large and much too arrogant telecom company.

Beggars can’t be choosers. My company is footing the bill for airfare and a serviceable hotel for me. I will stay for two weeks in a town located about an hour outside of London. I will work my butt off on this trip, to be sure. But I also have two weekends to myself to explore.

I’m actually overwhelmed. How does one see London in just a few days! London Bridge and Parliament and 10 Downing Street and the London Eye and Piccadilly Circus and more and more and more!


I’m nervous and daunted but underneath it all I’m also pretty happy to finally fulfill a dream!

And so as I walk around my office today making plans and wrapping up details, I hum quietly to myself a favorite Roger Miller tune:

England swings like a pendulum do,
Bobbies on bicycles, two by two,
Westminster Abbey the tower of Big Ben,
The rosy red cheeks of the little children.

Hang on! Put on your seatbelt. Keep all limbs inside the vehicle.

And awaaaaay we goooooo!

Image found at World Tourist Place.

Today’s Theme Thursday is: a new beginning

My drug of choice


So pretty. So solid. So….dreamy.

The elegance of the sucrose molecule.

Mmmm sweet Mother Sugar.

Here in the holiday season, her deliciousness is impacting my life in glorious ways.

Cookies, cakes, fudge, peppermint bark, egg nog, See’s candy, candy canes. All of it. WANT!

The trouble with my little predilection for sugar, however, is the more I eat it, the more I want it.

And then I become something much like a frenzying wildebeest.

So not cute.

I foresee a painful but necessary detox in the month of January.

But for now? Oooohm nom nom nom nom nom!!

And I’ll pretend I didn’t read this article.

This little foray into my favorite addiction is brought you by Theme Thursday and this week’s theme: Sweet

Article link from a December 8th post by NewMexiKen

Image from Wikipedia and used under the terms of a Creative Commons license.

Reporting from the Front Lines


There is a battle being waged. A mighty, vicious, chirpy battle. Take no prisoners. Victory is secured only by chasing the enemy away.

Nothing but full retreat shall be accepted.

Here is a photo of the front lines. Ground zero for the nastiest battle I’ve ever had to witness.

That’s right. It’s a fig tree. In the corner of my front yard.

The birds (mostly snotty jays) fight birds. The squirrels (generally snotty) fight the other squirrels. Then the birds join forces with other birds and the squirrels join forces with other squirrels and it’s full on species on species battle. It’s vicious! And loud.

The menagerie will squawk and chirp and flap wings and shake tails and go nuts at each other.

“Come at me, bro!!”

Yes, I’ve actually seen the birds and squirrels get into a physical tussle.

This is the prize in the all out war:

Figs. Lovely, sweet, squishy figs.

As you can see, our tree is heavy with fruit this year.

The figs on the sunny side of the tree have already ripened to brownish perfection. Tasty sugary carbs. Good energy for the wild animals.

The shady side of the tree still has a ways to go.

Which means this battle will rage on for a while.

My home studio is at this corner of the house and looks out over the fig tree. It’s rather disconcerting to be peacefully writing or painting and hear this angry battle going on right outside my window.

I look forward to the persimmon tree coming on with fruit. It’s in the back of the house and the battle will move there, away from my view and out of hearing range.

Oh, I almost forgot, the deer are in on this battle too. They eat the leaves on the low branches and like to leave their calling card for me under the tree.

(Congratulations long time readers, that’s the second time I’ve treated you to a photo of deer poop. Just keeping it classy here at Oh Fair New Mexico.)

Then the feline gets in the window and chatters at them all. Good gato mighty, it’s a cacophony over here.

Heaven help the human who simply tries to pick a few fresh figs for her morning cereal. The squawking, the strafing, the nasty chirps. Geez!

I’ll tell you, these were hard won. But oh so very tasty.

What Makes San Francisco Fun


Had to smile when I read this bit today in the SFGate, the San Francisco Chronicle’s online home:


From Leah Garchik’s column:

“On Upper Grant one recent Saturday, Mal Sharpe and his Big Money in Jazz Band were playing at the Savoy Tivoli, which has windows open to the street. When Sharpe sang out to a group of passing German tourists, reports Lucy Johns, no one responded. But their tour guide, Tara, said she was not only a guide, she was a singer. This spurred the crowd to demand a song. She sang ‘All of Me,’ and ‘we all swooned,’ said Johns. ‘Then she tromped off down the street with her bullhorn, leading the Germans to City Lights,’ said Sharpe.”


I love the visuals on this bit of North Beach storytelling. I adore Mal Sharpe, he’s a SF Bay Area legend, and one of The Good Man’s favorite jazz musicians. When you see a Mal show, you are completely engaged by his charm. So this story, inviting a passerby to come up and sing (and she knocks it out of the park), comes as no surprise to me.

It’s one of the many reasons why I love North Beach.

These kind of things just happen every day in San Francisco. It’s just how we do things…especially in North Beach.

Here’s another example. One night I was sitting at my favorite family-owned Italian restaurant called Sodini’s (it’s a North Beach icon). The restaurant was crammed and I was alone, so I manged to squeeze into a nice seat at the bar next to an older gentleman.

He and I got to talking when he offered to buy me another glass of Chianti. The man turned out to be Leo Riegler, current owner of Vesuvios, the world-known bar next door to the City Lights Bookshop where the Beat Generation used to drink and write and fight.

Leo has owned quite a few businesses in North Beach through the years. That night he told me about the coffeehouse he once owned (on the site that is now the Lost and Found saloon). I asked him about the bands that used to play there, as that coffeehouse was well known to host Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, and more. He told me a long and involved story, the punchline of which was…

He used to pay Janis Joplin $20 a night to play his stage.

I mean. Wow.

All this over a simple plate of ravioli and a glass a wine. Leo is a walking musical history lesson.

That’s just how it goes in North Beach. That scruffy guy in the corner of Caffe Trieste who looks like he just dragged in off the street? Probably a world famous poet laureate. That run down guy who looks like he’s about to pass out on the bar at The Saloon? Likely a multi-millionaire musician.

And then sometimes you just meet a random German tourist who can’t believe that his tour guide stepped in off the street, did a set with a local band, wowed the crowd, then kept going.

How beautifully inspiring. The Muse always does a little dance inside of me when we walk together up Grant street. It’s her fault I moved here, after all…..

Stockton Street, looking toward the tunnel, 2:51 a.m.

Photo by my North Beach friend, Scott Palmer.