30 March 2007


In honor of TYWWBTBFSTT, I am leaving my job. My last day will be June 30th. I’ve been working with the Admin Director to time my leaving with the interests of the organization, least impact – most benefit, and I’m developing some objectives to complete between now and then given we’re firm on the timeframe now. Admittedly I feel both thrilled and nauseous about the impending change.

For those who know me best, this is a change that been some time in the making. The organization has been slowly de-prioritizing my area of expertise/emphasis and simultaneously I’ve seen the writing on the wall and preparing myself for the separation.

(It’s no secret, I’ve encouraged them to consider shutting down. While I contend it is the best thing for them to do – an elegant and brilliant end to part of a movement that has shifted and changed these past twenty-some years – it’s not something anyone is willing to hear or consider. In the past people have said, you should listen to Zuzu, however unpopular her opinions, she’s almost always right. But those same people won’t listen to this. While their ears are closed to it, I believe in my heart it is the right answer – and not a self-serving bone in my body speaks it. I don’t think it’s my job/role to convince them of this or keep them from pursuing other option, no matter how big a mistake I believe it is for them to do what they are doing. It’s best, in that light, that I go.)

Being anywhere sixteen years – being in any type of relationship like that – it’s hard to let go and I have all those mixed emotions that accompany letting go. Of course the people remain and those I care for most as friends will be in my life in those capacities and I’ll likely continue to support the organization in ways that make sense to me. In that way there’s not the grief of letting go and it’s not like a relationship is ending, it’s merely changing – in a good way. Change can still be challenging.. thus the nausea blended in with the excitement.

Because sometimes there’s supposed to be mountains to climb, I just got off the phone with Ed. He’s on his way home in the middle of the day because he was fired. I’ve just completed transferring my health care benefits to his coverage and initiated new relationships with a new team of doctors. (Fortunately, I’d just completed a physical and series of consults and all is good with this body, so it’s not a bad time to be without insurance I suppose… although that invariably sucks, it just sucks a little less than maybe it might otherwise.)

So the nausea I have been feeling over the change in my job is now expanded to embrace his unemployment. I can’t remember where I read it, but recently I read some Zen proverb that goes something like, If there’s nothing you can do about it, don’t worry. If there’s something you can do about it, don’t worry. Despite how messed up this looks, I’ve strangely got a good feeling about things. They’re going to work out – it’s just not clear how – but somehow when all the dust settles things are going to be even better. Call me Pollyanna…

24 March 2007


I was absolutely thrilled when I spied a store in San Francisco dedicated solely to the making of cream puffs, only to taste said puff to find it filled with CUSTARD. They should be shot for false advertising. If they want to sell some errant invention called Custard Puffs, let ‘em have it. But they lie and they are wrong, all wrong!

I went to The City today (Saturday) for the MOMA exhibit on Picasso and American Art. It was interesting to see the original Picassos side-by-side with the American artists/art they inspired. It was a small but fun exhibit, thanks to LB (whose place of employment offers their employees free MOMA membership – we all got in free, Gail, LB and I!) There was time to rush through floors two and three as well (before LB had to be back in our cozy town for a dinner engagement.)

The SF MOMA (originally on Van Ness, now in its new location near Yerba Buena Park in the shopping district in Soma) was one of the first museums to recognize photography as a fine art form. It’s thus always had a great photo collection since 1936 - that I invariably draw inspiration from. I spied a great collection of framed real estate photographs that I do believe are going to inspire a fabulous little copy-cat installation of my own. If I get it off the ground, I’ll post the images.

17 March 2007

Outside In

I did rise at the crack of dawn and made it to Saturday morning yoga. I’ve missed my contortionist feat for several weeks running and have been less limber for the oversight. This morning I have the heat of stretching this muscle, greasing that joint, bending this way and asana-ing that. During yoga, I invariably feel nauseous. Afterwards, I feel great.

Today is the opening of Yellow Legged Frog Docenting season at Carson Falls and Peter and I have the afternoon shift. It’s our job to protect the egg masses. (I’m contemplating starting a new game called “chuck the newt” – although the rangers don’t advocate harming one species to protect another, those blasted newts are eating the egg masses – no doubt eating endangered plants as a starter and moving on to threatened egg mass as the main course to their sinister lives.) I have ceased looking forward to our docenting adventure because it’s too darn hot and the hike is hard.

To gear up for the Carson Falls trek, Ms G and I hiked from Alpine dam up the Cataract Trail, which follows along and criss-crosses a mountain waterfall. There are large deep pools along the way that hikers will splash in that some folks have been occasioned to swim in. I’ve since learned that these falls are another location for the threatened yellow-legged frogs and their egg masses. Unlike the other two locations (little and big Carson Falls) the only explanation for the decrease in population density in this area is due to hikers and swimmers disturbing the egg masses – which has driven their population to near extinction there. I do think if they posted some signs in the particular pools of most concern that the educational effort would indeed dissuade people from puddling about in the standing pools. Be that as it may…

My front yard is a blaze of color - waves of orange poppies wafting in the light breezes. Everything is beginning to flower. I’ve planted pansies and violas as border flowers in the side yards and am sitting quietly with the new lemon tree and Moro blood orange tree to see where they’d like to be planted. I’ve been digging up daisy bushes (which I loathe) and am working on ousting a few oleanders and trying to see what comes together with the front yard. I want to try my hand at more substantial vegetable patch (patch as opposed to garden) this year – but I haven’t really the space so I continue to think on it. I’ve got two blueberry bushes that a neighbor gave me that really must go in the ground by tomorrow as well. I love this time of year. My lilacs are bursting into flower as I write – a fragrant delicate bouquet to hang in the air and catch a breeze!

I just seem to not be able to be outside enough.

12 March 2007

My Beautiful Launderette

Last night we went to The French laundry in Yountville. I’d like to leave it at just a big amazing WOW but somehow that doesn’t seem quite enough. It was spectacular. I wish I had the menu in front of me and could just wax poetic on each culinary stanza of this gastronomic orchestra.

This was a really lovely way to kick start my vacation week. (I did have to work for a few hours on Saturday – so in the world of me – the full face vacation commenced on Sunday.) I spent Sunday morning in my yard, gardening. The poppies are starting to bloom and there’ll be a point, likely even by the week’s end, where the front yard will be ablaze of bright orange – an explosion of color. Sometimes I catch people standing at my fence, looking at the dancing color catching wind and bouncing under the sunlight, smiling. It’s a great thing – such a little package of poppy seeds.. who knew they’d spread like wildfire. That’s the thing about natives – they flourish in what other’s may deem to be a hostile environment. It’s what they know. It’s the conditions they thrive best in. Who are we to judge?

Ironically, a neighbor has planted two too many blueberry bushes and he’s told me I can have them. I’ll have to condition the soil with acid to coax the things into fruiting – those things that grow wild in the woods outside of Bemidji. The blueberry bushes were never in the plan… but who can say no to a blueberry bush?

So last night we were all transported to a very decadent land of the most amazing food on the planet. I’ve never had food like this before in my life. When it comes to food – it was truly one of those defining moments. Oh, yes. I see! Now, for the first time in my life, I’ve tasted what it can be. And I admit, it was a very decadent thing to do and I’m honestly not wholly clear if I should boast about the experience (which I’d like to do, because I’m caught up in the excitement like a child who has just discovered the state fair for the first time) or if I should be a bit shameful (because likely the price of the meal could feed an entire family in a developing nation for over a year…. Maybe two… families.. and years… and I wonder if any singular event like that can ever be justified.) I think it might be okay to at once be tremendously grateful and apologetic – so that is it – both things.

There are maybe a little over fifty restaurants in the world that receive a Michelin three star rating (on a scale of one to three – where most of the world’s restaurants don’t even rate a one.) Of those, a mere five are in the United States (I think the country boasting the most three star restaurants is France.) Of those five, only one is in California – and that would be The French Laundry. The master chef (Tom Keller) has opened another restaurant in New York, which is one of the other three star restaurants in the United States. It’s really, obviously, all about the chef. Restaurants are mere brick and mortar to their movable feasts. And you know, I’ve just always wanted to taste three star food because I’m certainly no three start cook (or two star cook… and really likely not even a one star cook.) In comparison, I’m cooking cardboard. Because it’s mycardboard, I’m occasionally proud of it – but it’s cardboard nonetheless.

11 March 2007

Something To Look Forward To

It’s another stunning day in the Northland.

I’ve been quiet of late, not terribly inspired to write. I don’t know why. Work stuff is work stuff – no new news to report on that front. I’m trying to breathe deeply and trust that moving on is good and right and remember that almost anyone leaving any work situation after many years is likely riddled with mixed emotions about it – both good and bad. Especially the bad shouldn’t be given too much weight. Looking back I know I’ll remember this career fondly, be proud of what I’ve accomplished and know I stayed just a few years too long despite my better judgment. It will be my lesson to listen and act in a more timely manner to the dictates of my conscience and heart. Yes, I remain a little nervous about it all. But somehow I know that’s how it’s supposed to be.

Tonight we’re all about royal decadence. I have reservations at The French Laundry. In the realm of Things To Do Before I Die, The French Laundry has been one of the things on the list. I’m totally stoked. One possible down side is that my reservations are for five and the original additional three all backed out (that’s another story.) We’re bringing one of Ed’s coworkers and his coworker’s wife and brother.