On August 6th, 2009 I am grateful for:
• Friends that make appointments to hang out – I don’t know what it says about society that it is sometimes necessary to plan 90 min. of hang out time 3 weeks in advance, but I feel valued and honored that if that is what it takes, that we make it happen.
• Lemon Grass – I don’t know where I would go in town to buy fresh lemon grass. I am abundantly grateful that I have some growing in my backyard. The nuance of fresh lemon grass buts the “Thai” in Thai curry.
• Possum Parade – Every night about 10 pm, the opossums come out from their hiding places and walk along our fence line. From the way they step, they are obviously trying to be stealthy. They aren’t. I don’t know where they are all going… out in the street to play I suppose. I love that the middle of an urban city can support wild mammals like opossums.
• Palm Theater – San Luis Obispo has had a small independent theater since I was in High School. It has been a constant delight my entire adult life. It has introduced me to cinematic culture I would have had no means of experiencing if the Palm (previously the Rainbow) Theater did not exist.
• Terrace hill – San Luis has a lovely little open space a quarter mile from my house. It isn’t quite wild, but it isn’t a “park” either. It is a just-right rise to get a better view of the city. A place to remember that there is more to life than our computer screens and our to-do lists.
I am headed off on a road trip so there won’t be any updates for a few days… much to be grateful for on my return!
On Aug 4th 2009, I am grateful for:
• Couchsurfing – Last night I had deep and lengthy conversation with a charming couple I had never met before. In many ways the depth of our sharing exceeded that of some life-long friends? Why is that? Regardless, we wouldn’t have had the opportunity without couchsurfing.com
• Salmetti – Quality food is hard to find these days. Even Trader Joe’s has cheapened the quality of many of their products (especially cheeses) in the past 10 years. I am so thankful that it is possible to get good salami from Molinari and Sons. Monterey wines and Muzio’s carry it, but I like to get strings of it from the factory in San Francisco.
• Mocking birds – They do the craziest shit. They have learned the beep of my alarm clock and mimic it at 2 am. Same with the kitchen timer. They chase every bird in the neighborhood. Today they were pestering a kite (the bird). With out their squawking I would never have notices the kite in our tree.
• Marzipan Crescents – I love making desserts. I especially love desserts that involve almond paste. I adore marzipan rolled in sliced almonds and baked to chewy nougaty golden goodness. Dipped in dark chocolate for good measure.
• Tablesaws – Essential tool for living
On Aug 3rd, 2009 I am grateful for
• The Pacific Ocean – I live 5 miles from the ocean. So do 100,000 other people in my county. I see less than half a percent of them on the water or at the beach. How can this be? I am so grateful to be able to visit frequently and to be able to spend 4 or 5 days at a time living on the water amidst plentiful and abundant sea life.
• Auto pilots – Sailing is cool. Steering is fun. Steering for 12 hours in the hot sun is not fun. I am so grateful for autopilots that I carry 2 spares.
• Dolphins – Pacific White Sided Dolphins. Dolphins in the bow wave so close you can touch them. Dolphins that swim on their sides so they can see you watching them. I love dolphins
• Relaxed unhurried conversations with old friends – In today’s hurried mobile world, conversations of a couple hours are a rarity, friends of 17 years also rare (unfortunately on both counts).
• Basil – In my backyard there is not just a basil plant, there is a basil hedge. 3’ x 3’ x 4’. Pesto abundanza!!
Today on Saturday July 25, 2009, I am grateful for:
• Back yard fresh eggs. Nothing beats the freshness of an egg still warm from the chicken’s butt. The yolks are so brilliantly yellow from all the greens they eat when they forage. I have a hard time eating store-bought eggs after 12 years of this. Thank you hens!
•Early morning fog. I was talking with a couple of friends this morning that live out of the area. The first one is from the central valley. It has been 90° when the sun rises in the morning and it climbs to over 112° by mid afternoon. The other lives in SF and the fog has been so thick that it is dripping. Here in San Luis, the fog rolls in overnight, cooling things off. It burns off by 9 am revealing bright blue skies. Temps top out about 75-80°. Thank you fog. Thanks for coming at night, thanks for leaving!!
•Freedom of time. My time is largely my own. I spend it doing what feeds me. Largely this is about growth and being of service. Life is good
• Used bookstores. This town used to have about 12 bookstores, half of which had used books. Now we are down to one. Where else can you get a pile of hardbacks for $1 each?
• Coffee. ‘nuff said
On Friday June 24th, I am grateful for:
• Jacaranda trees in full cerulean bloom
• Teenager scrub jays and they theatrics they go through to beg food from their parents
• Not getting a speeding ticket, even though I was pulled over, even though I should have.
• Time with relations. Even if we don’t connect. Even if we are from different planets.
• Homemade cheesecake. Even if I had to make it myself. You just can’t buy cheesecake this good.
Today I am grateful for:
shallots. We make a lovely meal for dinner each night and always from fresh ingredients. One of the hardest items to always have on hand is green onions. You never know when you will need them and they go slimey so quickly in the fridge. In the summer we grow chives in the garden, but they die back in the winter. This year we discovered that shallots produce an excellent green onion top and have exactly the opposite season from chives. A never ending supply.
my morning coffee. This is a deep one. Yeah, coffee is wonderful and we all like it, but truly great coffee is divine. I know just what I am looking for in a great cup of drip coffee. It should be potent and dark without being acidic or bitter. It should have a bit of half and half in it and the result should taste like chocolate. That is a lot harder to achieve than you might think. I first experienced it about 24 years ago when there was a small roaster up in Monterey with these small beans that just roasted up so nicely. Then they went out of business and the hunt was on. 3 years later our local roaster started roasting what they called “Guatemalan Pea Berry.” Again, very small beans and very oily when French roasted. Bliss lasted about 8 years until they stopped using that bean. A long dry spell ensued until a friend turned us on to Café Mam. They are a coffee roasting cooperative in Oregon and they use fairly traded shade grown beans from Chiapas. It turns out that these were probably the beans we had been drinking all along. The shade growing makes a smaller bean and it more intensely flavored with heavy oils. The crazy thing is that the prices are great and if you get some friends to pool their orders, the shipping is very reasonable (we usually order 50 lbs. at a time). Great cup of coffee.
our dinner china. We eat dinner on my wife’s family china every night. It is something her grandmother brought back from England when she was on holiday. My wife rembers it being in the china cabinet when she was a child and only once remembers using it. We use it every day. We have picked up a few more pieces on e-bay to handle large crowds of guests, but the interesting thing is that we have never broken a single piece. I love the way it makes dinner seem like a celebration.
the killing pole. This is a telephone pole that is on the route I drive to get to my boat each day. For some reason hawks like to lurk at the top of this pole and often they are up there tearing apart their lunch. Just today I saw a Red Tail, a Red Shouldered, and an American Kestrel. I feel honored that they choose to go about their hawk business where I can so easily watch them and I am grateful that it is a place I pass frequently so that I am reminded what a splendored world this is that we live in.
the narcissus that grow in my office. They are stellar. They are bulbs that I planted in stones in a glass vase last December. They are 3 feet tall and blooming up a storm! The thing that I can’t figure out is if I take bulbs from the same package and plant them outside, they only grow to 6” and put out a piddly effort at blooming. Deprive them of light and nutrients in the house and they shine. Go figure. I love having them near by while they last.
After noticing that most all the people I subscribe to have this as one of their goals, I just had to join in. Plus it seems that every entry here gets a comment and a cheer from JulieJordanScott. How could I resist! :)
I also like the transition of viewpoint that acknowledging gratitude provides. I remember when I was a sophomore in highschool, I went on a backpacking trip. It was the first time backpacking that I had lugged around a camera. I spent the whole trip looking for things of “beauty” to photograph. I ended up having a remarkably different experience from previous trips and a remarkably different experience from the folks who were with me. I was looking for something of beauty and I found somehing of beauty. I expect the same thing here.
Today I am grateful:
1. that my truck runs. I suppose that I am always grateful that there is ready transportation available, but I am especially grateful as my truck has not been running since Monday. It was one of those wierd things where you go to start it and although it cranks, it just won’t light up. I am very mechanically adept and over the course of some hours spread over several days was able to determine that it was because the fuel pump was not being powered and that was because the computer was confused. I searched all over the web for the location of the computer reset button on my truck. No dice. Then in a flash it occurred to me last night: “disconnect the battery.” I did; now it starts just fine. I should also mention that I am eternally grateful that this glitch occurred in my own driveway and not on some distant backroad at 3 am.
2. that the weather is warming up. It has been unseasonably cold in this part of California and would not be worth complaining about except that I am working on my boat outside and doing tasks that
a) can’t be heated
b) require fine dexterity (no gloves)
c) need the patience of Job
A little warmth to the day makes it so much easier.
3. it is Heron season. At this time of year the Great white Herons stilt along in the fields hunting gophers. If you spend even just 15 minutes watching you can usually see them catch something.
4. for 20/20 vision. I went to the eye doctor the other day as I had not been in sometime and I am likely to lose my vision insurance soon. It seemed prudent to get a check-up and a new prescription while it was still free. Surprise of surprises, my eyes are perfect. no correction needed (it wasn’t that much previously anyways). No wonder I haven’t felt the need to wear my glasses for many years.
5. for Contra Dancing. Our local dance community recently hosted the Contra Carnivale dance weekend. It was stupendous and the connection I felt with people was just over the top. A dance caller friend of mine once described Contra Dancing as “the opportunity to fall in love with the person in your arms and in the next moment, fall in love with the next person in the line.” It was just like that. It is so rare to have a venue in this society for deep and lengthy eye contact. I love it. I want more.