mysticonnie's blog

Megalomania continues...
Cheese Diaries
a Conspiracy of 2
Muffin Top

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

This evening, I rode BART home as usual with my friend, Wanda. Usually, we browse a magazine together, or gossip about work. Shortly after we sat down, a mother sat across from us with her two children. They were young, about the same age as my goddaughter and her little brother. They were adorable - they smiled at us, and tugged at each other. Without a word, the tears started to roll down both our eyes. She asked me, plaintively, desparately, "haven't you got anything to read?" I rummaged through my bag furiously, before giving up. I put my arm around her, and whispered, "I know," and she squeezed my arm back.

I spent most of the day calling mutual friends, bearing the bad news and relaying information about events to come. It gets harder every time I have to break the news. I keep thinking that this isn't real, this isn't happening. This isn't supposed to happen.

I didn't sleep at all last night, thinking of her. I remember all the visits, all the times I was at their house playing with her and her brother. I remember feeling that I didn't spend enough time with her as I should, but it would be okay, since she had many years of childhood ahead of her. I remember looking forward to her future, and watching her grow up, and wondering what she would be like.

Those hopes are gone now. I have yet to really feel their loss. I get the sense that I will be feeling them for years to come.

This weekend is going to be so hard.

Monday, June 28, 2004

on grieving and loss

Last year was tough. Not so much for me, but for many close to me. When 2003 came to an end, I was ready to kiss it goodbye, and welcome the new year. But 2004 hasn't been any better. I daresay it's even worse. I haven't made it a secret that times have been tough for me recently. And many that I care about are going through struggles of their own, with illness, family, or even within themselves. But I just learned that last night, one dear to me is going though the worst pain imagineable, the worst that any human can endure. The loss of a child, my goddaughter, through a terrible accidental drowning.

I can't even begin to relate, or fathom it. I know it hasn't hit me yet, and once again, the mantra, "I'm in shock" comes up. Nobody could have foreseen it - she was barely two and a half - we were with her last week. We were at a friend's house for a barbeque, and she was shy and scared (of the dogs) at first, but gradually, she warmed up. She wanted me to hold her, so I did. I spun her around and turned her upside down before handing her back to her mother. By the end, she was singing and dancing for the guests, and she didn't want to leave. When we left, she gave me a hug and a kiss goodbye. I had no idea it would be the last time I would see her alive.

Her parents are, of course, devasted. Her father is in denial. Her mother blames herself. I've known her mother to be strong and sassy, and but right now, she can barely speak. I know that she's been through some pretty tough shit, but I truly believe that this is the worst thing that could possibly happen to anyone. What do I say? What do I do? What do I tell her? Nothing will make the situation go away or get better. All I can do is wait, worry and weep. In the meantime, I hold those I care about closer to my heart. It is my wish that those who are also going through tough times take whatever comfort they can in their friends and family. Life is short, precious and unpredictable.

Friday, June 18, 2004

I have just learned that one of my oldest and dearest friends from childhood has stage 3 breast cancer.

She is 28 years old.

I'm in shock. I never considered that anyone in my age group would get it so young. I mean, I thought the likelihood was higher for women over 35 who haven't had children. But she's two weeks younger than me, has an eight month old baby boy and graduated from medical school two weeks ago.

My high school reunion is in two months. I'm undecided on whether or not I'll go. There are people I definitely don't want to see, and I'm somewhat ashamed of my lack of success in life, at least in comparison to my peers. But there are old friends that I have lost touch with that I'd like to see. And I can't help but wonder if there are any others that have been stricken with illness, or worse.

So I cross my fingers, and hope for the best. I hold the friendships that do remain, old or new, closer to my heart more than ever.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Note to self: One should note flit about the office gloating and nibbling away at an especially juicy Frog Hollow peach while wearing a ruched and shirred long sleeved sheer silk Catherine Malandrino blouse. That is all.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Why oh why, Marie Claire?

Why do you dangle Jude Law, in a shared cover with Gwyneth Paltrow, in front of us like the grapes in front of Tantulus? I snatched the periodical from the rack at my gym, and eagerly turned the pages in order to learn the "first time [Jude] ever..." to discover that only Gwyneth's firsts were listed. Imagine my dismay. As if I care. I even counted the pages to make sure that no overzealous gym bunny Jude Law fanatic had ripped out his pages. But alas, all the pages of the magazine were intact. The only blurbs about Jude Law were Gwyneth's "five things I love about Jude Law." Hell, *I* could list five things I love about Jude Law.

1. He's hot!
2. He's very hot!
3. He's really hot!
4. He's soooooo hot!
5. He's fucking hot!

I guess it shouldn't surprise me that a Hearst publication would resort to such underhanded tactics.

Monday, June 07, 2004

I've been obsessed with peaches lately. Tacos, too, but I'll leave that for another post. It began about a week and a half ago, on Memorial Day weekend, when I heard that Frog Hollow's first harvest had started arriving at local farmers' markets. I called the Frog Hollow stall at the Ferry Plaza immediately. The shop clerk told me, "god willing," that the peaches would be arriving from Brentwood in a few hours. Could I wait till the weekday when I would be working downtown to get my hands on them? Hell, no. I convinced Zack to jump on BART with me immediately. Of course, when we arrived, no peaches were to be had thusfar. We browsed the shops, treating ourselves to Recchuiti chocolates and inspecting the produce to kill time. Once we were finished with each stall, we returned. No dice. I purchased a meager peach galette to tide me over. We strolled about some more, enjoying the sun and ocean. I was growing impatient, so we headed back. Under the guise of purchasing a cappucino, I beseeched the counter folks again. Any peaches yet? Nope. They were on their way. I pressed my face up against the window, hoping to find a buried crate of peaches. No such luck. But I did catch the glare of the barista. By now, a crowd was lingering outside the stall, furtively shooting glances to the back of the store and whispering to one another. We sat down to sip the coffee and chat. Time passed. The capuccino was making me even more jittery and impatient. Also, I had to use the restroom. Coincidentally, it was located next to the Frog Hollow store. As I walked up, I saw that the crowd had grown even larger. And people were leaving. With bags of golden treasure! Their unmistakable ambrosial scent wafted through the air. My bladder forgotten, I darted to the crates immediately, elbowing aside old ladies, soccer moms and strollers, and greedily shoveled Queencrest peaches into my bag. Eureka! At last.

Now this may seem like extreme behavior for an adult 28 year old woman. But have you ever tasted a perfectly ripe Frog Hollow peach? Its luscious flesh has a buttery melt-in-you mouth succulence that is perfumed with an almost indescribable distinct flowery aroma. When I bit into my first peach of the season, its fragrance and nectar burst forth on my palate into a riot of mouthwateringly honeyed summery sweetness, delicately balanced with the perfect touch of acid. It was so juicy, it dribbled off my chin and dripped down my wrist to my elbow. I had to run over to the sink and finish it there. I had half a mind to place a bowl under my elbow to catch the juices. I wound up licking my arm.

I've been back to the Frog Hollow stalls (in Berkeley and in San Francisco) three times since. Yesterday, I broke out my homemade leaf lard made a pie with the remaining peaches (Spring Lady and Gold Dust). Once I realized the fruit I had weighed out wouldn't be enough filling for the pie (Okay, I confess - I snacked on some of the slices), and partially inspired by Christine, I threw in some fresh blueberries. Now, it may seem like a bit of a travesty to bake my treasured spheres of heaven into a pastry, but I worried that they would go bad before I could finish them. And I had been wondering how the peaches would cook. Anne and I shared a warm slice with some Strauss Family cream as soon as the pie came out of the oven. Need I say that they were delicious? Once it cooled a little more, it got even better. The peaches remained juicy, but not didn't release too much water, so the crust remained tender, flaky and crisp. The fruit grew more succulent, but not mushy. And most miraculously, the heat actually seemed to intensify their sweetness, although I didn't add much sugar. But now I have no more peaches! And the Frog Hollow stall won't be getting any until tomorrow after noon. Monterey Market carries them, but they close at 7. What's a girl to do?

Thursday, June 03, 2004

In the past month or so, I've seen about four pretty decent sized shows (rock concerts). I've been meaning to write about them, but circumstance has prevented me from doing so. So, without any further adieu, here goes...

Early last month, Mark took us to see Air at the Paramount. A rather bizarre art rock band called the Mosquitos opened. They were okay. Now, I like Air, but my friend, Brian used to make fun of Air show goers. "What are they gonna do? It's just keyboards. Are they gonna have the chick who sings 'Sexy Boy' come out and sing?" Turned out, he was right, but it wasn't a chick that sang Sexy Boy... it was Nicolas. Now I don't want to say that they're bad musicians or anything like that - they didn't play a note wrong. I just like my rock shows to well, rock out. Show emotion, be imperfect, make the audience feel your passion. I mean, almost no one (except for the guy who thought he *was* Sexy Boy) got up and danced, and I don't think it was because the audience was too high or lazy (although given the light show, I'm sure more than a few were frying). When your most rocking song is "Kelly Watch the Stars", you know it's not going to be a high energy rockout session.

The next night, we saw Ben Kweller and Death Cab for Cutie at the Fillmore. This was more of what I had in mind. People packed together, singing along, jumping up and down and generally getting excited (although you don't have much of a choice in whether to sit or stand). I hadn't heard any of Kweller's material before, but that boy is extremely talented. Give him an album or two, and he will be fucking awesome. Death Cab for Cutie, or course, totally rocked. I simply adore Benjamin Gibbard's voice. They played for over two hours, and did all my favorite Death Cab songs including Kaleidoscope, Blacking Out the Friction, 405, Expo 86, and ended with a cover of "All is Full of Love". You could also tell that the band really loved played together - they ere all singing along, at the top of their lungs, even though they weren't miked up. Could a girl ask for more? I think not. I have to say, Gibberd is the stockiest vegan I've ever seen (not that he's fat or anything, just not anoxerically thin)

This past Tuesday night, we saw the Shins at the Warfield. A jazz pianist called Azita (I didn't care for her) and the Fiery Furnaces (they were okay) opened. But the Shins were quite awesome. James Mercer's voice is another that I adore. I can't wait til they release more albums. He was kind of shy, though, and seemed a little nervous at first. When he first took the stage at the mike (they didn't seem to have any roadies) he stated, "Wow. This is a really huge venue" and hardly spoke throughout the rest of show, letting the keyboardist (I swear to God, he's Chris Parnell's doppelganger) emcee. Parnell (okay, I know that's not his name, but he's Parnell to me) was pretty jovial and witty, giggling at panties tossed on stage, and monkeying around on the keyboards with the rest of the band after repeated "Street Beats!!!" and "Morrissey!!!" demands. I used to like their second album more than the first, but now that I've heard some of their earlier stuff live, I think "Oh Inverted World" will be on my playlist more often. We tried to catch Dealership and Hawaiian Getaway at the Hotel Utah afterwards, but we arrived an hour too late.

And last night, I got to see Prince at the HP Center. He was amazing. A nine-piece band played, and they were all fantastic musicians. It's easy for me to forget how good they are, since I know one of the musicians (he's married to a close friend), and he couldn't be a nicer guy. When I see him, he's always really down-to-earth, kind, considerate and humble. So to me, his talent (and this is saying A LOT) isn't his best attribute. Zack says it's weird to see John onstage and on tv banging away at the skins, having gone to his house for BBQS and family gatherings. Anyways, I got to hang out with the band, and go backstage and all that stuff yesterday. It was really nice to catch up with my friends, and oh yeah, catch Prince in concert. Although he's like, 4 foot 9 and a total megalomaniacal diva, the man is a musical genius. I just can't say it enough. And damn hot. I swear to God, he can do anything. R&B, funk, hip-hop, motown, jazz, blues, classic scorcher guitar solos - you name it, he'll master it, and bring the house down. And he's finally playing all the hits! In the middle of the show, he stopped to play a 40 minute solo acoustic set of approximately 10 of his 80s song including Cream, Little Red Corvette, Thieves in the Temple, Seven, Raspberry Beret, Alphabet Street, I Wanna be Your Lover, Take Me With U, etc. and the crowd went nuts. The band was tight (although they were apparently late in rejoining him, except for John) but the acoustic session really highlighted what a great performer and musician he truly is. Oh, and he did some covers, including (I Like) The Way You Move, Soul Man, Whole Lotta Love and riffs of Crazy in Love, the Sanford and Son theme song and Jailhouse Rock. The only thing I didn't like is that he didn't do any of the really dirty stuff - Erotic City, Gett Off, Peach, Darling Nikki, Scarlet Pussy - but that's cause of the whole Jehovah's Witness conversion. Damn Kingdome Hall cult. But despite that, it totally rocked.