June 24, 2009

this is how I feel

this is how I feel

6 am: Ignoring alarm, rolling over for 5 more minutes of being Big Spoon to A’s warm, snuggly Little Spoon, wishing the day wasn’t starting.

7 am: Unpacking boxes of broccoli. Wanting to drink coffee but fearing it will make me more tired later in the day.

8 am: Washing and stacking 10-day-old locally grown, organic Red Oak Leaf Lettuce. Drinking coffee. Shaking off the aphids crawling up my wrists.

9 am: Still stacking lettuce despite Market now being open. Hoping customers don’t notice a) aphids or b) date on the box. Thinking about when I’ll take first break, and if there will be beans in any of the cafe soups today, because I love eating beans for breakfast.

10 am: Texting A. from employee bathroom. Happy coffee boost has curbed hunger.

11 am: Gobbling cafe chili out of cardboard cup in Market Breakroom on 15-minute break. (Disappointed in black bean to ground beef ratio). Reading review of Real Housewives of New York City, thinking Heather Havrilesky is only a little funny.

12 pm: Picking wrinkled organic jalapenos out of display basket, wondering if A. will be over soon to take lunch break with me.

1 pm: Full of tuna salad and garbanzo beans and warm fuzzy love feelings. Cutting watermelons and cantaloupes in half and wrapping them in saran wrap because I think the melon display looks better with some color in it. Also thinking people like to see the insides of melons before they buy them. Also thinking that even if I liked watermelons, I’d still rather buy a half of one because it’s less of a commitment.

2 pm: Replacing handmade signs in produce department with shiny new printed ones. Happy to be leaving Market in 30 minutes.

3 pm: Collapsed pantsless on bed, inwardly seething as housemate prattles on about having finished book 1 of Don Quixote in only 3 days and how she intends to read the entire Panchatantra next. Wishing I could have some peace before I go to next job.

4 pm: Still pantsless in bed, watching episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, shocked that housemate would suggest I use my invaluable 2-hour reprieve between jobs to wash the vegetables from our farmshare when I’ve spent the past 8 hours washing other people’s vegetables.

5 pm: At second job at Divey Music Venue. Cowboy Junkies doing their sound check as I’m scooping canned hot fudge into empty sour cream container to be microwaved. Getting plasticky fudge all over self, as usual.

6pm: Running up and down stairs carrying trays of beer and cocktails, trying to cheerily explain to impatient customers why 200 people can’t be seated at the same time and all expect to have their drinks delivered to them simultaneously.

7pm: Making sure everyone has enough ketchup and margaritas and napkins and alcohol to keep them happy before I can dash outside to get some fresh air, sit on a milk crate and cradle my head in my hands. Marveling at how my body continues to climb stairs when my mind is so vehemently opposed to the idea.

8 pm:  Trying not to stare as grey-haired lesbians make out soulfully at the table closest to the computer. Disturbed by the idea that I could become one of them some day. Counting down the minutes til I can start passing out the checks.

9 pm: Wiping down tables, resenting the one couple who is still lingering and hasn’t signed their credit card. Take small comfort in reminding self that the longer they take, the less time I’ll have to spend carrying tables and chairs down into the basement.

10 pm: Sweaty and exhausted, arriving at home with 1/2 pint of Jack Daniels clutched in hand, hoping to get in a cold shower before A. comes over. Considering calling Parents tomorrow to admit defeat and telling them I’ll apply to grad schools to get that whole “real career” thing going as soon as humanly possible.

11 pm: Snuggled in bed with A. watching another episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, sipping Jack Daniels on ice, feeling peaceful at last.

12 pm: Passed out. Dreaming about walking to the Island from California, whereupon we find A’s nephew swimming under the dock with fish as big as he is.


Living the dream

June 17, 2009

photo by Candace Hope

photo by Candace Hope

Spent the past weekend at the island with my woman and five of our friends. Unsupervised Island Time is, as it turns out, just as glorious as I’d imagined it could be.

We swam naked in the lake, we paddled in the canoe, we warmed our toes by the fire, we smoked cigars on the porch, we drank coffee on the dock, we did puzzles while it rained, we played poker late into the night, we cooked many fantastic meals and devoured them. The house was full of laughter and love and friends and fun and it made me realize how important it is to fill the island with people. The more people that can see, smell, experience and thrive on the island, the more worthwhile it is to have such a place.

As I ferried my friends to and fro in the rowboat and scampered around setting up shop and then closing it down again, I began to feel like I actually had started becoming One Who Takes Care of the Island. It feels so good to know that I can get myself and six other people to and from the place, host a weekend gathering and then get it all cleaned up and ready for the next round of family. I feel independent and successful and blessed. I can’t wait ’til next time.

breakfast - also by Candace Hope

breakfast - also by Candace Hope

this is what 6:30 am looks like

this is what 6:30 am looks like

Locally-grown goodies have been rolling into the Market for a few weeks now. They are a splendid sight—tender lettuce heads, vivid green spinach and crates of just-picked asparagus. So fresh, so good.

People are all about the locally grown-ness in these parts, but still, at this time of year I’d say only about 25% of the produce on the floor is actually from this area. Most of the rest of it comes from California, and I always feel a mix of pride and longing when I grab a box of something that grew up in the same little corner of the world that I did. Green beans from Fresno! Plums from Kingsburg! Carrots from Bakersfield! Melons from San Diego! Reading the labels on the boxes, its so easy for me to picture the orchards and fields the food was grown in, the people that picked it and the towns they live in.

It makes me miss home. I’m happy to now be living in a place where people are so deep into the locally-grown green movement that they’ll ride their bike to the Market every Saturday to pick up local organic lettuce compost to feed their own locally-grown organic chickens, but still. When you live in California, it seems like everything is locally grown and no one makes a fuss about it. Or else they were making a fuss and I wasn’t paying attention.

Green Beans from Fresno, you were the most perfect green beans I’ve ever seen.

 dont pack heavy things in wet lettuce boxes