Thursday, April 28, 2005

Travels

I can truly say I had a fantastic vacation; I reconnected with people I haven't seen in a long time, I had moments of ultimate relaxation, I spent time by myself, I threw a dinner party, I attended inspiring events. I ate really well. Really, REALLY well.

Saturday, I was awake for most of 24 hours as I left New York at around 3 am, arrived in SF around noon, entertained myself in the downtown area for a few hours, fell in love with a dress at BCBG (if only someone I know would have a summer wedding...), and then met an old friend for dinner and a poetry slam. OK, not a poetry slam, THE poetry slam. It was the two of us, a few dozen other grown-up educator-types, and about 3000 teenage poets. Although it was technically a competition (and, technically, the team from NYC won!) the spirit of the evening was celebratory. The poems were very good. I've been to a lot of slams, and I have to say the quality has never been so consistently high as at this one. The future could look like this: diverse, appreciative of differences, politically-charged, optimistic, creative. By the time the slam ended, I was toast, but it was worth staying up for.

I spent Sunday with one of my best friends, who came up from LA to visit. We walked up Twin Peaks, talked about what we want and what our friends want in relationships, how to date casually, how to want something more serious without joining the women marching down the yellow-brick-road-to-marriage. Then we shopped at Rainbow, the worker-owned-co-op grocery store, and returned home to prepare a feast. Several friends (and my brother) came, everyone pitched in on the cooking or table-setting, and we ate ourselves silly. We also started talking about feet and how one friend's yoga class spent an entire hour working on lifting the outer arches of their feet and the next thing you know, we had all pushed back our chairs, slipped out of our shoes, and were comparing our arch-lifting abilities. From there, we moved on to sitting properly versus sitting the way it was done in Elizabethan times, straight-backed, with more experimentation. And then we had dessert, strawberry-rhubarb pie, almond torte, fresh strawberries, whipped cream. Oh my gosh. I am STILL full from that meal.

Monday, I lay in the grass in my friend's backyard garden and read an entire book (albeit a small one) and dozed. Then I roused myself and we went to Osento, a little women's spa on Valencia St. which uses a sliding scale so as not to turn anyone away. So for $15 we soaked in the hot tub, sunbathed in their backyard, dipped in the cold pool, and sweated in the sauna. Oh fabulous. If I lived there I would like to do that every week. Later I met this gal and we swapped stories about school, relationships, and the horrors of education grad school classes. Oh, and ate the most incredible three-layer mousse cake: passion fruit, mango, and papaya. I am STILL full from that meal, too!

Tuesday, I was planning to take the train down to Stanford to see my brother for a bit longer but the timing wasn't working so well, so instead I went to SFMOMA for the day. I got there so early that I had the place to myself, nearly. I tagged along with a tour guide who was introducing a group of high school students to the art. She was really good, no nonsense, sense of humor, kept things moving, asked them what they saw in the art and what it might mean. When they went up to the next floor, I took things more slowly. I am fond of their permanent collection and they always have fascinating exhibits. Nothing I looked at felt decorative, though much of it was beautiful; they managed to feature art that was both visually appealing and meaningful. I think this is one of my favorite museums. The architecture of the building itself is beautiful, the light inside is beautiful, the objects are placed so that they draw you forward, and you can see everything in a few hours and not feel wiped out.

I spent the rest of the afternoon in the little cafe outside the museum, thinking and reading about this project. If I blog significantly less for the month of May, it might be due to another writing project. Their official month is November but there's really no time like the present. Then again, I might chicken out.

I had dinner with another friend, a science teacher who is moving to Ecuador to work in an international school there next year. And then it was time for the Izzies/Bay Area Dance Awards, an event which my friend produced. I had heard about - and seen firsthand - all the hard work and stress that went into the production, so it was gratifying to be there and to know that the evening was a success. Of course, it was also a bit like going to the Oscars without having seen a single movie all year, given that I had no idea who most of the dancers or companies were. Luckily there were three performances throughout the evening, flamenco, ballet, and hip-hop, which helped keep things interesting.

And yesterday I returned home. I have a lot of grading and laundry to do.

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