Another Year Flies By

Burlingame, CA
August 2008 

Last August, I stared out my office window across the San Francisco bay and saw infinity, a future full of endless possibilities.  What I wanted was attainable, or so I thought.

This year, the office belongs to a different company, the future is hazy at best.  And what I want ... well ... what do I want?  Whatever it is, it lurks, just beyond sight, beyond my grasp.

Somewhere in the past year or two, I forgot more than once that what I desire is not as important as the path I take.  As I finish out this year, two things weigh on my mind:  whether I made the right decisions; and whether I will be able to find my way again, or if it will just become easier to compromise.

In this final week of 2009, I want to take the opportunity to wish all my friends and family a happy, healthy 2010.


It never rains in Southern California

A Mother's Hands

Long Beach, December 2009
Or so they say.  But the dark grey sky over Long Beach turned into a giant, cold, shower stall Saturday morning, as I arrived at my destination.  Walking into the building, I saw people filing into a room at the end of the hall.  I signed the guest book, turned to follow the others.  She was at the door, hugging everyone as they entered.  And then it was my turn.

"I'm glad you made it."

"There is no way I would miss this.  I love you."

"I love you, too."

Long Day for Grandma
Long Beach, December 2009

Similar stops with her husband, sister, mother, in-laws, before taking a seat.  Her mother walked to the front, put a hand on the tiny creme-coloured box, not much larger than a shoe box, closed her eyes, and put her head down.  They say there is nothing more difficult than having to bury your own child.  In that moment, I could see that burying a grandchild is just as painful.  This particular grandchild never had the opportunity to breathe even the smoggy Southern California air.  And this particular grandmother came within a hair of losing one of her children at the same time.  In delivering her stillborn child, an infection traveled up the umbilical cord, sending her into septic shock, and she battled for her life for almost a week before the doctors finally cleared her to return home, 40 years to the day that she had been born herself.

The moisture absorbed by our clothes and hair in the 30 seconds it took us to get from the building to the car was enough to fog up the windows, even with the defroster running full blast.  Large drops continued to fall.  At the cemetery, we ran for the shelter of the canopy set up for us, huddling with the others.  The burial service began, and suddenly, the rain stopped.  Above us, a small slit appeared between the clouds.  A slender shaft of light reached down.  As we said farewell to Genevieve, we all imagined that particular ray of sunshine had come for her, to carry her to her next destination.


A Hiatus

I have just received some sad news and need to disappear for a bit.  I will catch up with everyone when I return.

Je viens d'avoir des nouvelles tristes.  Je visiterai tout le monde quand je reviens.



Scarred by a Yard of Chard

Chard in the Yard
December 2009
Ten years ago, I scattered half a packet of Swiss Chard seeds in my vegetable garden.  Long after the other fruits and vegetables had given up and died off, and I had tired of eating anything green or tending the garden, the chard was still growing.  And then it bolted (sent out seed heads)!

Lazy gardener that I am, the stuff reseeded every year.  This year, almost the entire 50 x 50 foot plot was choked with chard, hollyhocks, grasses and weeds.  During spring and summer, my housemate chopped everything down.  He cultivated a patch, built a fence around it, and planted beets, turnips and garlic (too late in the season for anything else).  A few weeks later, he noticed some beets had sprouted in places he hadn't sown seeds.  That's when he discovered that beet and chard seedlings look a lot alike.

I picked some today and sautéed them with onion, julienned ginger and red pepper, then added sesame seeds and a dash of maple syrup toward the end of cooking.  Served with udon noodles with butter and curry, it made a simple, light dinner.

So ... what's on your dinner table?