Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Oh dear. Some of my thoughts on current political issues.

Here is the situation.... do I think that Barack Obama is the best President we have ever had? NO, but I do think he is a good solid man, that with the true backing of our government and the American people, can be a great president.

Thoughts on Romney after watching the debates and my thoughts on stuff that is important to me.

Self deportation? WTH? Here was my take. He thinks that we should strip illegals of every service so that they will simply leave of their own accord. There was a mediocre film made called A Day Without Mexicans about what the US would look like if all illegal residents of this country were gone... I don't even have to see a movie to know what that would look like. This country would come to a screeching halt.

Visas for foreigners with college degrees: He then said that, (again my take) people with college degrees from other countries should get automatic visas to come to the US. Does he realize that people from this country with college degrees cannot get jobs? This country's success does not rely solely on white collar jobs. Blue collar jobs are no less integral, they are simply less appreciated and less compensated. This country was truly great when we were actually making things here, instead of outsourcing everything. I say that we should give everyone who is "working" illegally a chance to be legal. 

Does he think that American citizens and legal residents are going to all of a sudden occupy the jobs that illegals currently occupy? No siree Mitt, they are not. Cus many "legal" Americans want to do as little as possible for as much money as possible. See US Postal Service as an example. No offense to hard working postal workers, there are many of you out there, but c'mon... I have never seen a less efficient and less customer service oriented organization in my life. Don't get me started on the DMV and local government.

Education: Perhaps I have a simplistic view of all of this, but how about really investing in k-12 education? Sure, make getting a teaching job harder and have truly high standards, but let's pay teachers a ton more money, like 6 digits? Teachers are responsible for shaping our children and preparing them for college or whatever future that they choose. How come shopping malls are more comfortable, modern and clean that public schools? 

I was an illegal immigrant in this country. Fortunately, my family didn't get deported and I am now a citizen and a contributing member of society. I was a non-English speaking immigrant who didn't grow up with much, but I am now living on the same block as one percenters and I know for a fact that most only care about their own kids. When it comes time for people to pony up taxes for education, the super rich feel like it should be every man for themselves. That is not what this country was built on. I am not currently earning over $250k a year, but I am certainly striving for that and I can't wait to be able to pay a ton of taxes that will contribute to education in my state. If I can afford an extra pool, tennis court or weekend home, I can afford to help education.

I don't need to say anything in depth about the middle class. They are simply getting screwed.

It seems like,  ideally, government should not tax the rich for the education of all, however, if it wasn't the case, the super rich would contribute privately only to their district as they actually do now and all other districts get screwed. Again, I love to simplify, but letting people choose whether they contribute to education and expecting it to come out fairly is like giving a chocolate cake to a 10 year old and expecting him to give an equal share to his 5 year old sibling. It aint gonna happen. Yes, we are family because education affects our entire country's well being.

Planned Parenthood: This one just boils my blood. Where do conservatives think their little darlings are getting their birth control? Or having that strange rash checked out because their parents never had a real conversation about about what really happens in high school and college? Instead, they poured themselves a nice single malt Scotch after Sunday services and simply hoped for the best.

I had a high grade pre-cancer of the cervix when in my 20's. I didn't go to PP persay, but I did go to a government subsidized women's clinic. Thank goodness current policies on screening were not in place or I would be dead. I was a freelance designer who could not afford insurance, so I relied 100% on Women's healthcare services. I did make cash donations to the clinic when I could and even donated design services because I felt so indebted for the services I was receiving. I became very good friends with the woman who performed Cryo and Leep on me and essentially saved my life. She was in SF last year at a conference where she discussed the need for early screening of abnormal paps. The way it works now is that a pap has to be a much higher grade of abnormal in order for a clinic to perform leep and cryo. Many young women have died as a direct result of this.

Women's clinics do far more than distribute birth control and perform abortions. They make women healthier through regular paps, birth control education, std screening and education, mammograms and much more. This ends up saving the country lots of money on healthcare in the long run. Health Insurance is through the roof in this country. We cannot just think of the needs of the wealthy.

Welfare.  I know that there are 1000's of people who abuse the welfare system and they are of every color, not just black and brown. See Texas and New Mexico. When I was 16, my mother and I were living in NY and she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer... I was in school full time and working full time to support the two of us. We paid a visit to the welfare office and after seeing many people who we both agreed probably should not have been there, we walked out. 

In hind sight, maybe we should have taken the help so that I could have focused 100% on finishing the school year and she could have convalesced without worrying that her 16 year old daughter was working full time and taking subways at 1 am from Manhattan to Queens. 

Many of you are probably saying, "Well, her mom should have had savings and money to support the two of them." You might be right. My father died when I was 9 and my mother was a house wife before then. I am not going to judge whether or not she did her best, but looking back, I think we might have been justified in accepting help. My mother did receive Medicaid. She had exhausted all of her savings going to doctors and trying to figure out what was wrong with her and that money ran out. It is thanks to Medicaid that she was able to obtain great care from Dr. Shemen and Dr. Rosenburg who saved my mother's life. She had surgery at St. Vincent's hospital and received radiation at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Thank God for Medicaid, wait no, thanks voters. 

That is so gay: To say that I am pro equal rights for gays because I have several gay best friends, well, you know what that sounds like... I simply say, gay and hetero and everything in-between, and trust me, there are many in-betweens, well, denying "gay" is like denying weather. Why don't we ban rain? That makes just as much sense as banning gay marriage. Do you know how many gay men are married to women because of how society treats gays? That is just not cool. These poor ladies are thinking that the fact that their husbands uses more hair and skin products than they do is normal? I am not talking "metro", although, most metro is just gay as gay can be. I love when people say that being gay is a choice. Oh yes, who would choose to grow up being called, homo, fag, fruitcake, sissy and butch and dike by all? That sounds like fun.

I am not perfect.  I do a lot of "good" things in my life that I don't need to list here, but I am human. I love wine. If I could spend several months a year in the Meditteranean of Spain or a white sandy tropical beach getting my toes massaged, I would.That being said, I would want said toe massager to be paid a fair wage and have full medical benefits. I read US weekly, well, I just look at it, but I actually pay for it instead of just looking at it at the nail salon. I buy mostly organic food when I can and I snob most reality tv. I am kind of a yuppy in many senses of the word, except for I am probably too old. I own an iphone, MacBook Pro and an IPad.  I grew up wanting to be on the Tonight show with Johnny Carson and still fantasize about chilling with Ellen Degeneres and convincing her that being vegan is not that answer. I can be shallow, but all of this aside, I cannot close my eyes at the disaster that electing Mitt Romney would be for this country. Sandy would seem like light showers.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012


There is something wonderful about being 40, well, with regards to making new friends anyway. I feel like when I was younger, making new female friends was like walking into a mine field.

Many women in their 20's and early 30's tend to view each other as competition, but it isn't something we have any control over. Biologically, we are in prime baby making time and our hormones are simply making sure that Sheila don't take our man or that Sheila don't get more attention than me at the bar just in case the guy with the good sperm and Volvo happens to be near by. Don't roll your eyes. Biology has a whole lot to do with human behavior. It is happening under the surface while we aren't looking.  I took an evolutionary psych class in college and it ruined night clubs for me forever. All I see when I walk into an oontz oontz place is a whole lotta mating rituals. You may see hot guys buying expensive drinks and sexy girls sporting teensy mini skirts, but I see big colorful roosters puffing their feathers and little white chickens sticking their asses in the air and spreading pheromones. We are all pawns in procreation's big plan.

I digress. In the past coupla years, I have met some extraordinary women and when I have, I love the  friendship butterflies. It sort of reminds me of elementary school when you discover that Sally doesn't only love purple, but her mom sends fried chicken to school every day in her lunch box that Sally in turn gives to you because she is sick of fried chicken, but doesn't realize that it is your childhood crack. As grownups, it is like that except for Sally doesn't dump you after a few weeks for Caitlynn, who has a barbie dreamhouse. Well, sometimes she does.

As grown ups, we have more than two spots in our lives for incredible friends and we realize that not every friend needs to fulfill every friendship need. Some friends are the ones you drink one too many drinks with, while others are the ones you call when you want to shoot your husband and then there are the ones who make you do yoga. It is difficult to find the jack of all trades in friendship and I think you are better off diversifying your investments so if drinking buddy moves to Alaska, you don't lose yoga buddy and bitch-session buddy as well.

I became inspired to write this piece because I had a lunch date today with a new friend named Lisa. She is a ray of sunshine and I don't think it is drug induced. She is only 32. I never ever ever thought I would write "only 32", but when you are 40, 32 is ya know, 8 years younger! Anyway, Lisa is 32, but exudes peace, wisdom, intelligence and kindness. I really look forward to sharing barbies and trading peanut butter and jelly for fried chicken with her.

I feel really lucky that I have a few friends that I have known for almost 20 years. We made it through the minefield. I am also thrilled with the super solid group of women who I have been lucky enough to meet in the past few years. I want to thank all of them for the friendship butterflies. You may have your solid group of friends from childhood, college or cubicles, but I recommend that you tell the girl in the grocery line that you love her purse or reach out to that chick you met at that dinner party who you promised you would connect with. We are all busy and who has time for more friends right? I do.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My White Buddha Lady

Michelle is in town for a few days. We met many moons ago in the admissions office at Loyola Marymount University. She was wearing a lavender leotard and high waisted jeans and looked gorgeous. Only Michelle could get away with a lavender leotard. I was wearing my standard short sleeved gap t-shirt and a little silk scarf tied snugly around my neck. She confessed years later that before meeting me, she thought I was hiding a tracheotomy or severe hickeys.

We are all grown up now, at least physically. She is just as beautiful as ever, if not more.  She is happily married and lives in Huntington Beach, California with her hilarious and dapper husband Bill. They are blessed with two stunningly beautiful and sassy little girls, Genevieve and Isla. Bill calls me little buddy and I dig it. I live in San Francisco with my lovely husband Bob of one year and my fluffy little dog Frieda. Did I mention I just turned 40? Frieda turns 70 in October.

Michelle made it a special point to come up and see "moi" for a few days before meeting her "other" friends for a girl trip. I have never been a part of the "other" group, the ones she goes on yearly crazy girl trips with to Miami and New York. Michelle and my "thing" always involved a thick slice of duck truffle pate from Trader Joe's and a bottle of $8 red wine. Our "thing" was also sprinkled with  tearful midnight phone calls over the years when "fill in the blank" had said or done something terrible. We took turns being the criers, but we were always there.

This trip was different. I felt more like one of the other girls. We dined out at fabulous places, ate oysters in the middle of the afternoon and got pedis afterward. These were entirely new activities for Michelle and I and I wondered why we had never attempted them together before. It was effortless. She will probably say it was because I was always frugal or broke.

After our afternoon of oysters, wine and mani pedis, we indulged in the best steak frites I have ever had at a "fabulous" place called 25 Lusk. I was surprised that my guilt gremlin had not yet reared it's ugly head. I took full advantage of his absence and suggested that we get massages the next morning at the Kabuki hots springs and partake in a little Japanese communal bath action. That is where the needle made the scratching sound. Michelle asked, "all nude?" and I said, "yes, but you can wear a swim suit, I wear bottoms". She was really excited about the massage part, but not super enthusiastic about the naked ladies. Michelle is the ultimate dichotomy. She has an incredibly edgy and crass sense of humor and then she hits you with not liking stranger nudity. Go figure.

We went in for our massages. I won't say anything about mine because "if you can't say something nice...", but Michelle got Xavier, pronounce Za-Vee-Ay. Well, Za Vee Ay is French and apparently played Michelle's achey muscles like a expert violinist. I will stop there. Anyhoo, my lackluster massage had come to an end and it was time for my favorite part, the $20 unlimited Japanese communal bath part. (insert comment about my frugality) I love the expansive hot sauna and the delicious steam room with complimentary lemon and cucumber slices. I have been known to consider them snacks.

My first stop was the big sauna. I took my place at one of the two Adirondack chairs situated facing each other on each side of the room. To the left and facing the entrance are 3 levels where one can choose to lay down, sit up or in some cases, do strange yoga poses and display a lack of attention to grooming. One tries not to look around much, although the curiosity kills me. I am fascinated by naked people and all of the variations that they come in. I especially love how natural everyone is at this place. No one seems to care about cellulite or droopy boobs. In fact, it was at the Kabuki that I saw a pair of cross eyed boobs on a little Japanese lady. I will make a painting one day. I digress.

In a moment of weakness, I glanced over to my left and spotted an older woman that appeared to be in her late 50's. She had really short salt and pepper hair and a very droopy belly despite her lean physique. The belly drooped over her situation completely. Her eyes were closed and she wore an expression of pure contentment. She was missing one breast. I know that this is the age of breast cancer, but I had never seen someone with a missing breast before. The breast that remained was healthy and happy and didn't reflect the woman's age.

I met Michelle in the steam room. I was careful not to talk too much. They gong you for talking and I was no stranger to the Kabuki gong hall of fame. We decided to make the hot tub our last stop. I sat in the hot and slightly oily water, looked up and noticed that the older woman with one breast was being escorted towards the hot tub by a younger woman. She entered the hot tub and sat peacefully with the same expression she had on in the sauna. She was blind.

A few hours later, Michelle and I wrapped up our adventure. Her friends were soon to arrive at SFO from Southern Cal and it was time for our debauchery to end and theirs to begin. I realized how much I loved and missed my friend and said good bye.

The next morning, I woke up at 6:50 am and went for a run. It was Saturday and if you know me, you know that I don't wake up before 8:30 on a weekday, but I sprung up, strapped on my shoes and my music and headed out the door feeling like Rocky Balboa. I always feel like Rocky when I run, even if it is just across the street. About half way through my run, my white Buddha lady from the Kabuki popped into my head. I began to bawl. I bawled and I ran for about 4 blocks until I was literally out of tears. Call it hormones or whatever you want, but I don't recall the last time I "experienced" gratitude to the point of crying.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I got up this morning at 7. This is early for me.

I had a very important meeting with a start-up lawyer who I would hope to convince to take on my start-up and defer costs even though at the moment I have no "live" product and no partners. Hope springs eternal.

I met Joshua C. at a place in SF called The Summit... it is a quasi-cyber cafe meets incubation headquarters for start-ups. If you don't live in SF then you are probably saying, wth?

That was fancy for "it is a cafe full of 25-35 years old nerds with coffee, hopes, dreams and macs". Just above us nerds in an open second floor lives what they describe as:

"I/O Ventures incubation space, The Summit is home to 40+ telecommuters and 4 startups, which receive mentorship and funding from leaders in the tech industry. I/O Ventures is backed by the founders of seminal tech companies: MySpace, BitTorrent, and YouTube. The Summit is their public living room"

Not sure how relevant it is to my story, but I figured it might help paint a picture.

I walked into the place and spotted my lawyer. Picture a really tall and uncomfortably good looking guy fresh out of a Burberry catalog. So now, not only was I super nervous to show this guy my start-up wares, but I had to worry about whether I had croissant in my tooth. It doesn't matter that I am very happily engaged to be married and that he is happily recently married. Gorgeous guy = goofiness. I told my fiance that Joshua was sickeningly attractive and he said, "well, I guess we won't be working with him."

I presented to Joshua and to make matters worse, he is super nice. Needless to say, I did not eat my croissant. I slurped up my potent Blue Bottle Macchiato and could feel my eyeballs beginning to buldge. We ended the meeting and I wondered what would be? I guess we will see.

I decided to stick around the Summit and chill when I realized that I needed to feed the meter. I looked toward the end of the long and expensive oddly shaped table and found my neighbors to be engrossed in conversation and no matter how long I stared at them, they did not budge. Finally, I saw a really old guy walking towards me with a cup a joe and I said, in my caffeine high voice, "um, would you mind watching my computer"? and then I joked that he could take it if he wanted… he looked at me quizzically and said, "I don't know what to do with that, but ok."

I ran to the car and put 12 more minutes in the meter. When I returned, the old gentleman put his hand out and said, "I'm frank" and I said, "I'm Claudia" thank you for watching my stuff. He then explained that he has nothing to do with computers. I smiled across the table with one butt cheek off the edge of the stool and my purse still over my shoulder, ready to pack it up and go. I had 12 minutes.

Frank proceeded to tell me that he is a native of San Francisco, a rare specimen, and that he now he lives in Las Vegas. He explained that he was in town because he had written some memoirs and was getting some help from a local guy to put them together. I told him that this was exciting news and he replied by telling me that he wasn't really a writer. He was only compiling these stories for his family, for posterity. I then said someone was most likely going to be upset or at the very least surprised when they read them. His eyes opened up huge and he smiled. He said, how did you know that? and I said, well, I know that if I wrote my memoirs and shared them with my family that shock and anger might ensue. He said, well actually, my sister is a nun and I had an affair with a friend of hers years ago. We are both still friends with this woman. He seemed embarrassed and stated that he probably should not have said the word "affair”. He said that in the book he mentions that if you are ever walking in Golden Gate park that you would have been lucky to have this lovely young woman as a companion. I guess this is what he and his "lover" used to do. I can't wait to hear what the nun says about that!

I decided to put both butt checks on the stool and hang out with Frank. If I got a $55 ticket, I figure Frank was probably worth it. Afterall, he must be an expert on a few things. He is 87. Consultants cost way more than that.

Frank had lived in the Basque country in Spain where he coached basketball. He said he had traveled all over the world and that he loved the Spanish language. I told him I was Colombian and he said that his wife was Peruvian. I also told him that I was engaged. He smiled and said, oh, I thought that you and the good looking fellow were together to which I responded, yes, he was good looking, wasn't he? and thank you for the compliment. We both agreed that he was sort of "crazy good looking" Joshua, if you are reading this, A. I am embarrassed B. tell your wife I mean no harm and C. I hope you are my lawyer at this point, which knowing me, might be a day after writing this, so that might be a lofty goal. Digression over.

Back to Frank.

So Frank says to me, I want to tell you something, I'll make it short. "next week I will be traveling to Las Vegas with my 13 year old grandson who I met three months ago." He said that he had a daughter who died. He said she was beautiful, but that she had emotional issues and major problems with drugs. She had a son who had been in foster care all this time, but nobody knew. Someone got a hold of Frank in Las Vegas and frank’s 50 year old son in Gilroy 3 months back to tell them about Mark. I told him what a blessing that must be and that I could see how happy he was. He said that he took Mark out the other day to have coffee, which is what Frank likes to do.

Mark brought his Labrador with him to coffee. A little girl walked up with her dad to pet the dog and asked if he was friendly. Frank then introduced Mark as his grandson. On the way home from coffee Mark turned to Frank and said, I was really proud when you said I was your grandson. So here I am holding Frank’s hand across the table, both of our eyes, welled up with tears and connecting to a perfect stranger.

I had mentioned earlier in the conversation that I really wanted to read his memoirs. Just after our sappy moment, Frank said that he was going to get me a copy of his memoirs, but that he wasn’t sure how. I suggested that he ask the guy who was transcribing to make me a pdf. He said, no, I am not sending my book through the machine. I will send you a real copy.

I told Frank that I had to split. He got up and walked me to the door. He looked at me and said, I live my life in short moments. I am old and I could die walking out that door. I said, DON’T DIE! And smiled. He said, the point is, that if I do die, the last 15 minutes of my life would have been amazing.

I didn’t get a parking ticket.

Monday, February 01, 2010


There was a knock at my door at around 11 and as expected, Frieda barked as if she sniffed Satan.

I swiped her up into my arms fearing that this would be the one time in 8 years she decides to bite someone. Weighing in at a hefty 9 lbs, comprised of mostly hair and a collar, she wouldn’t make much of a dent anyway, but one needs to be cautious.

When I opened the door I discovered a short brown and hairy fellow. Don’t let me forget, dirty. It was the plumbing guy that was here to fix the heater. The heat stopped working yesterday only to coincide with the one time in two years that my body decides to cough and have a fever. I bitched internally about how cold it was and how untimely this malfunction was as I gazed outside the full length windows of my apartment overlooking the San Francisco Bay. Woe is me.

My internal bitching quickly transformed into internal guilt over bitching. Afterall, not too far from comfy Pac Heights there are people in the Tenderloin suffering far worse ailments and with zero shelter. Thank Goodness for residual Catholic guilt.

Back to the brown guy. He began his work steadfastly and without much interaction with me. He spoke English to me when he arrived and I assumed he was Mexican. After a few minutes of wondering whether he really knew what he was doing, I asked him if he wanted some tea, coffee or water. He answered that he would like some tea, which honestly took me by surprise. I offered herbal, black or chai and he said chai to which I deduced that he was Indian. The stereotypes were in full bloom.

He took his tea with only honey. I was dieing to put milk in it. Chai with no milk? Guess he's not Indian.

He thanked me for the tea and I watched him attempt to repair the heater. He wore very large shorts that were 3 inches short of being full length jeans. In the upper hemisphere, he wore a grey turtleneck covered by a white t-shirt. It has been very chilly in SF lately. His feet wore very worn leather boots which led me to believe he had been working in plumbing and heating for a while. Inexperienced laborers usually wear sneakers.

I sat on the arm of the couch and continued to watch when he asked me if I spoke Spanish, to which I replied, “si”. We spoke for a few minutes and then got into figuring out where each one of us swam over from. He asked me what ethnicity I thought he was. I guessed Mexico. He said, no keep guessing. I guessed Nicaragua and El Salvador. I was wrong, but they are all the same right? Wink. He is from Guatemala. When I told him that I was from Colombia, he said that he wanted to visit Colombia and that he felt that Colombians were intelligent and that unlike his country, Colombians actually invented things. It was nice to have someone recognize Colombia for more than the usual American pastimes, pot and cocaine. Ok, that wasn’t nice. He said that he loved his country, but that people weren't innovative and didn’t teach their kids how to acquire wealth. I rebutted that Guatemala was rich in folkloric culture and amazing art and textiles, but I knew what he meant.

I am not sure how we got off of the subject of our countries, but we began to talk about this country and the state of the economy. He is hopeful that things are looking up. He said that this is truly the land of opportunity, but that things were out of balance. He didn’t say, the rich are getting richer etc. He said, too many people were living beyond their means and buying homes they couldn’t afford and that a few people were getting paid too much for their jobs.

After a while I forgot that he was the repair man who was here to change my heater and was enjoying a nice chat with a smart man. We talked about relationships and children. We talked about business. I told him I was working on launching an internet start up for people who love food. His eyes lit up and he said, “you can do it”. I needed to hear that. I asked him what his plan was and whether he intended to go back to Guatamala. He had not returned to his country for 5 years. He said that he had three businesses in Guatemala, a liquor store, a boutique and a small grocery store. He started all of them with money he makes here and he employs 5 people that are not family. He also said that any money he makes he re-invests into his businesses and has never taken a loan. This mans stock was pretty high by this point. Mine was dropping.

I told him that I was really impressed and that I hoped I could be successful too. I asked him who taught him about life and business. He said his parents told him that they didn’t want him to inherit their poverty. They told him to work hard and learn and create something for himself. I had never heard of someone referring to poverty as something you “inherit”. I guess there are a lot of things you can inherit from your parents that don’t involve wealth. His parents gave him the desire to want more and the determination to make it happen.

He asked my name and told me his name was Celsio. I asked him to spell it. It was a peculiar name for a latin american male. He said that his father was Celsio as well as his grandfather and great grandfather. Celsio, the fourth.

Celsio plans to return to Guatemala in a year or so and re-join his family. He will take his 6 year old half African American son with him and I am sure he will continue to be successful there. I only hope that I can make my business a success and buy my mother a home like Celsio did for his mother.

This was the most enlightening sick day I have had in a while. Thank you Celsio.

Monday, September 24, 2007


So today Marcy invited me to be her guest at the YMCA. I am renting a room from Marcy while I find an amazing place to live. So Marcy asks if I would like to join her for Pilates. My memories of the last Pilates class that I took were that it was boring and boring so I decided that I would do some swimming. I love me some pool time.

So we arrived at the Y… changed in the locker room in the company of female wrinkles, ripples and nobby knees, not to mention a very intersting array of saggy boobies and wild pubic hair. Marcy took off to her Pilates class and I ventured into the showers where I ran into the above mentioned features, now covered in soap and water.

Next. I finished showering, with my suit on… I stepped through one set of doors into a tiny and wet space to find another door that leads to the pool. This is a safety feature so that any little boys that might be walking by the entrance to the ladies locker room don’t catch glimpse of something that might make them decide to become gay.

Okidoke. Pool time. Alright, so the pool is chock full of skinny, fat, short, tall wrinkled and hairy versions of older ladies. I would say that the average age was about 90. Outside of the pool stood a blonde woman, late thirties with a micro phone and pit stains. She was teaching some type of water aerobicsy type of class. So. After being informed that the class would last for at least another 25 mintues I decided that I would join in.

Stretching. The instructor asked us to carefully put a leg out and stretch our toe up. We then followed suit with the other leg. Then we were asked to stretch our arms over our heads. When we were instructed to walk forward to back in the pool, one or more of the swimming cap clad ladies would inevitably step right into me. So it was interesing to be in this very large indoor pool surrounded by ladies that would more thank likely be dead in the next five years. The instructor was probably wondering what the hell I was doing there. So, I wondered when the aerobics part would begin and the stretching would end when mrs. Blonde instructor lady says, “thanks ladies!... good job”

So most of the bouyant raisins scattered for drier territory and I decided some laps would be nice. So I dodged a few swim caps and ended my wet and wrinkly adventure with a dip in the jacuzzi. The water was very hot and next to the little steps was a strange tube like contraption that gargled water and spit up occasionally, like something out of MASH.

There I sat, now accompanied by the male version of sagging boobs, wrinkled skin and knobby knees. He had bright blue eyes and tan skin. One of the ladies looked a little like me… a nutter butter with legs. I watched everyone carefully and occasionally closed my eyes and breathed in the chlorinated air. You probably wouldn’t guess by my descriptions that I love old people, but I really do. These particular folks inspire me. They could be at home in the barka lounger complaining about their hip replacement, but instead they schlep over the the Y, strap on their spandex and dive into life because they know it is short.

I think I will go back this week for senior water tai chi.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A tribute to my senses.

Today is one of those days that makes being here worth it.

Woke up this morning just like any other morning. Telling myself how to get rid of that anxiety that I wake up with every day by saying that I will make today better than yesterday.

Well, today, unlike most days, I actually did it and it is only 12:47.

So I got up and took a business call. Was anxious, but it went way better than expected. I didn’t meditate as I had intended, but instead decided to go forage in the kitchen.

I pulled out the package of bacon and fried it up in a pan. Decided that toast with strawberry preserves sounded delightful, only to find out that the vehicle for the jam was growing penicillin. Then I remembered that in one of my more anal homemaker moments, I had frozen baguettes in little serving sizes precisely for moments like this. So I chucked a freezer-burned baguette in my favorite gadget, the toaster oven, and proceeded to flip the bacon and boil the water for my coffee.

I made the entire package of bacon because I thought that it might lure my room mate out of her room. Things have been kind of tense around the house since we had our first blow out a few days back. I began to smell the wonderful crispy bacony goodness when I heard a girly voice say, “bacon?” so it worked. She came into the kitchen and picked up a piece, exchanged a few words, and just like that, over a strip of charred pork fat, the feud was over.

I finished the wonderful breakfast and appreciated the sweet silkyness of the strawberry jam. Strawberries cooked up with some sugar and pectin. So simple. Yum. Then I decided to be bold and ask the room mate through IM if she would hit some balls with me. She graciously turned me down and I didn’t take it personally.

So I decided to schlep over to Golden Gate park and hit some balls by myself. It is a beautiful day to be out. So I don’t know how I am going to pay my rent next month or anything else for that matter. I don’t care. I was happy to be outside. I arrive the court arrange my stuff and start to hit balls. I blamed the cheap balls for my poor performance, but didn’t let it stop me. After hitting about 20 balls outside of the court and into the vastness of the park, I decided to change sides where there were less holes in the fence for my balls to fly through.

I had been hitting poorly when a 90 year old guy entered the court from the left holding a ball that I had hit over the fence. He brought it to me and then proceeded to pull out his own racket and balls and set up ball-hitting-shop right next to me. On MY wall.

Ok, this new zoning development would force me to hit the ball in a limited area, which required more skill than I thought I had. I began to hit and to my very fat surprise, not that I am fat, just the surprise, I began to hit with a beautiful stroke. The stroke that my friend has been trying so hard to teach me. Yes, siree, I was hitting every ball with Federer precision and I hoped that everyone in the neighboring courts was catching a glimpse at my beautiful form. I am sure I didn’t look as good as I thought I looked.

Meanwhile, to my right, stood the really old guy who hit one ball to my 10. I wondered if he had been a huge tennis star in his youth. So he hit and I hit and I looked over at him occasionally and felt so grateful to be outside on a beautiful day like today and next to a really old guy who could just as well be on an IV in some convalescent home.

So it was time to go. I walked up to him and yelled..
"hi, do you come here on Tuesdays?", And he said that he was there all the time, but that he couldn’t play tennis anymore because he had a balance problem. I asked if he could hit with me sometime and in his red baseball cap and brown polyester shirt and pants said, “if you see me then come up and we can play.” His name was Mac.

So me and my sweaty pony tail decided to high-tail it out of there, but not before I made a pit stop at the Conservatory of Flowers. Today was the first Tuesday of the month, so it was free. The scene was out of a movie. Blue skies, people on bicycles. A cool wind blowing through the wet hair above my neck. An old asian couple doing Tai Chi in the park. The smell of trees, grass and of my own sweat. Not gross, just real.