Saturday afternoon we went curtain shopping -- Jed's new condo has blinds, which work decently, but don't really block enough light for Jed sleeping. We spent way too long at Sears, trying to pick between various items that weren't quite what he wanted. But eventually I remembered that Bed, Bath and Beyond also carries curtains, and we went there and found lots of options. The ones he ended up picking are quite resplendent; a formal, sort of baroque gold pattern on black fabric (and on blue fabric for the guest room).
In the evening, we made potluck Italian and had a really nice dinner with Susan Lee, Kat Beyer, and Kam. It was a fun dinner; lots of girl talk about sex and bras and the like. Also the typical writing stuff. I was thrilled to get a preliminary archival print of Kat's rendition of me as one of her coffee people. I love it! It's entitled "Chai," and she's still tweaking the reproduction quality, but soon I should be able to point you to an image. Kat and I are talking about her possibly doing a little card or something with some of the text from "A Poet's Journey" and an illustration of hers that we can sell at WisCon. What would you guys rather see -- a greeting card or a bookmark? We'd probably charge about a buck for them, sell them at the small press dealer's table.
Yesterday was a long day. We drove to the coast, to attend a roundsing for a dying mother of one of Jed's college friends. A sad occasion, of course, but the singing was beautiful (two songs in particular, "Be Like a Bird" and "The Creation of Ea" had just gorgeous tunes) and she seemed happy to have us there; I think she enjoyed the singing. I'm glad I had a chance to meet her, if briefly. Jed says she's a special lady; I can believe that. After the singing, we went down to the beach for a while with Jed's friend and his wife and small children. It was a good complement to the roundsing -- little ones running on the beach, playing in the tidepools, getting very wet, climbing into caves. Bright sun, cool breezes, warm sand between your toes.
Dinner with them at a nearby restaurant, where I was foolish enough to order a crab melt. I knew it would have cheese, but it's been so long since I ordered a melt, that I hadn't realized the whole thing would be fried in butter. Oof. But the fresh crab with avocado and swiss was tremendously tasty; I really don't know when I learned to actively like avocado. I used to pick it off my plate when I first moved to California; I couldn't understand why they served it with everything. And now I seek it out. Very strange. (I did order fresh fruit for my side, but then I ate half Jed's curly fries. My poor diet.)
In the evening, an exhaustive trip back to Bed, Bath and Beyond, where we found all kinds of fabulous items for Jed's condo (and got the rest of the curtains). By the time we got home, close to 9:30, I was pretty exhausted and sick-feeling, so Jed kindly put me to bed. I crashed hard, and woke up refreshed and feeling much better around 6:30 this morning. I love California mornings -- sunny and crisp, even in the summer. In Chicago, once it gets warm, it's warm all the time; unrelenting. Here, you wake up and that cool breeze feels so good across your skin; you snuggle into the blankets for just a few more minutes, and it's immensely satisfying somehow.
I do miss Kevin and Chicago; I don't talk enough about how much I do enjoy the city. Even waiting for the train to the airport at Clark and Lake, in the early morning on the windy track, with masses of pigeons cooing in the hidden rafters, I felt a deep appreciation for the city that would be hard to explain to a country person. I love the complexity of it, all the tiny little nooks and crannies that are so different, so arbitrary and strange.
If it weren't for Chicago's weather -- the brutal winters and summers -- I could be entirely happy there, I think. But coming back here...it makes me homesick for my old house in Oakland all over again. For cool mornings and endless sunny days that rarely got too hot. For the bougainvillea I planted there, the row of herbs along the dining room wall, the explosion of roses, the tomatoes so delicious that lasted 'til November, my thyme garden with its little sundial. I could have some of that in Chicago, if I get a job and we can afford a bigger place with a garden. But my bougainvillea wouldn't survive there.