Okay, now I’m really…

Okay, now I'm really back. :-) I'm going to skip over the Yosemite trip for now, because I'm hoping to scan some of the photos and do up a proper page on it; will note that in the journal when it's ready.

As for the days since...well, it was really wonderful spending a week with Alex. I was finally winding down from the end of school, and to do it in the company of a dear friend was as much as I could ask. We got back from Yosemite Friday night, quite exhausted. Saturday is mostly a blur; we took back the rental car, dealt with scheduling his departure (delayed be cause of Memorial Day reservation difficulties, which we ended up both being grateful for :-), reserving hotel and rental car in Las Vegas (he's going to drive from there to Moab, Utah, where Susan (from our Clarion) lives, hiking and camping along the way in various national parks.

I'm honestly not sure what we did after that...that might have been the day we took public transit up to Berkeley and had a lovely lunch out in the sunlight at Jupiter's, remembering a similar lunch on his birthday at Clarion. We were both feeling quite tired and slightly melancholic, but it was pleasant nonetheless. Then stopped at Games of Berkeley, Other Change of Hobbit (where I bought several books, of course), and Comic Relief (where I picked up a Sandman graphic novel (I'm slowly collecting the whole set), a Books of Magic graphic novel (ditto) and some XXXenophile playing cards for Lydia's birthday present (she loved them).

We had thought about going over to Telegraph and getting dinner at The Blue Nile, but I was really wiped, and so we headed home instead. Stopped and picked up groceries instead, and made pasta with chicken, broccoli and sundried tomatoes. Yum. Ellie and Ian joined us, and we had a fun dinner by lamplight. Ian *likes* lighting our lamps... :-)

Pasta with Chicken, Broccoli, Sundried Tomatoes

2 red onions, sliced thinly
1/2 pound chicken breast, cut in small strips
4 cloves garlic, sliced
2 heads broccoli florets
1 c. sundried tomatoes in oil
1 c. parmesan
1 lb. pasta, ideally multicolored spirals

1. Start boiling a lot of water for pasta
2. Saute onions in a little olive oil with Italian herbs, a generous shake or two of pepper, and 1 t. salt
3. Add chicken and saute until cooked
4. Put pasta in boiling water and cook 5 minutes
5. Add broccoli to boiling pasta water and cook 3-4 more minutes
6. Drain pasta/broccoli and transfer to large bowl. Add chicken/onion, sundried tomatoes and parmesan.
7. Stir well and serve hot, ideally with toasted French bread, herbed olive oil for dipping and red wine. A light sorbet for dessert, or perhaps some tiramisu, prepared in advance.

Sunday we took Lydia and her daughter Kaylie and ran around S.F. Lunch at a nice Chinese restaurant and then wandered through the Haight. Then we all trooped off to the poetry slam, where we met up with David and Heather. Very interesting; I was terrified while waiting to perform (the numbers are chosen randomly). I went last, as it turned out, which is a great placement for scoring purposes but difficult on my churning stomach and pounding heart. :-) The audience liked my piece, but I went over time and so didn't win. I must be more careful about time in the future -- I read the "Confessions of a 26-yr-old Female Porn Writer", which I'd timed at home to be exaclty the right length of time, but it definitely takes longer up there, what with audience response and all. I feel like I'm learning something about performance doing these, but I still have a ways to go. I'm going to keep going.

I did manage to just barely qualify for the semifinals, so I'll be there again on this coming Sunday, 5:00, if any of you are interested. Admission is $5, and I think it'll be a lot of fun. Cafe du Nord, 2170 Market, S.F.

Monday was another fairly mellow day. I had wanted to take Alex and Kaylie sailing, but although the weather was just about perfect for it, the place was closed. :( We wandered through Lake Merritt park instead, feeding the birds at the bird sanctuary and eating ice cream. Was a nice afternoon. In the evening Alex went off to dinner with Ceej and I went dancing up at Starry Plough. Utterly exhausted myself but had a very good time. Came back just before Alex returned, as it turned out. Had a very good conversation with him that night; got a bit weepy over imminent departure, but recovered.

Oof. Almost caught up.

Tuesday. Alex and I had a late breakfast at Brewberry's, and then walked down to BART (long walk! He's much more of a walker than I am!). On the way, stopped and bought mango slices from a street vendor, who asked me if I wanted chili. Immediately flashed back to one of Rick's stories from Clarion, a beautiful tale, "From Here You Can See the Sunquists", which has as a central moment one character showing another how to eat mangoes with chili and salt and lime. Missed Rick tremendously for an intense moment. Said yes to the vendor, though somewhat trepidatiously. Mangoes were delicious.

BART to S.F., walked around some, eventually had lunch at a Japanese place Alex had found. He had noodle soup (reminding me of the other Alex, Russian Alex, who also loves noodle soup) and I had sushi. Spicy tuna, which I hadn't had before and really liked, and unagi, which I adore. Hurrah for David, who introduced me to sushi. Walked to SF MOMA (museum of modern art), where I pestered him for explanations (his mum's an artist) and he insisted that there was no need for explanations, that I should just see what the art made me feel. Long discussion/argument about that, over various pieces of art. I think art should work on at least two levels; the immediate, visceral, and the educated, considered. Not sure he'd actually disagree with me there, now that I think about it...I think I was being more hard-line (and he was) during the actual conversation.

We had quite a few rousing debates, about philosophy and ethics and how we'd run the world if it were in our power. More than anyone else I know, Alex shares my desire to change the world -- and determination to do so. Our approaches are *very* different...it'll be interesting to see how much impact we both have, in the end. Not that it'll be all that easy to measure it, of course...well, unless Alex has his way and makes the kind of revolutionary changes he wants to, which I'm a bit dubious about. More than a bit, actually. Though if anyone can do it...

Came back and finished packing, then David drove us to the airport. Mushy goodbyes. Will miss Alex tremendously. Do.

Dinner with David and then much sleeping. Started catching up on missed sleep; bad allergy attacks from mosquito bites. Hopefully Benadryl will let me sleep through the night tonight. Finally catching up with e-mail as well...

Oh, in all that chaos, did send Maiden Voyage off to Marti, finally. Need to give her a call and make sure she received it...

Lots of things to do; light work today, and tomorrow I dive in whole-heartedly. Good to have a break; good to be back. :-) Didja miss me? :-)

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