Monday, July 28, 2008

Garlic Ice Cream, Anyone?

The 30th Gilroy Garlic Festival was a hit again this year. The empty Green Lot, one of many giant parking fields, filled up in minutes. If you build it, they will come...

It was a food fest of mega-proportions! 10 tons of beef, 4 tons of pasta, 2 ½ tons of garlic...

...4 tons of calamari, 2 tons of scampi...

...Pollo y mas pollo…

Garlic ice cream, anyone?

Pyro chefs at the cook fest...

Siesta time!

Shop until you drop! How 'bout some garlic haberdashery?

Garlic head!

What’s a California fair without the tie dye?

And what about a tat?

It’s not just the garlic roasting… at temperatures nearing triple digits, we need rain!

That's it! Time to call it a day...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Woman Unbecoming

I went to a plant nursery recently with one of my girlfriends who knows nothing about gardening, and cares even less about homemaking. She sat in the car and blasted the radio while I went in to shop, aisle by aisle, looking for aquatic horsetail, drought-tolerant groundcover, and bamboo.

While I was looking around, a tall, fairly good-looking, athletic guy in tan jeans and faded t-shirt came over and asked, “Are you finding everything alright?”

“Yes,” I answered, adding enthusiastically, “I love your selection! Are you the manager?”

“No, I’m the owner.”

“Wow! You’re so lucky! I’ve always fantasized about having my own nursery!”

“No!” he protested good-naturedly. “This isn’t luck! I work damn hard,” he declared with pride.

“Oh, I know. But luck comes to those who work hard,” I said in a tone meant to honor his hard work.

“Luck comes to people in casinos. This is pure hard work,” he said with a tone oozing with pride and a palpable passion for plants.

“I’m so jealous of you! This is the kind of hard work I wouldn’t mind doing.”

We talked as we walked, and as we did so, he stroked the leaves of his plants fondly and called out their names – Australian Tree Fern, Canna, Coleus, Hosta, Pennisetum…

Finally, he asked, “Can I help you find something in particular?”

I told him I was looking for horsetail for my little pond area, bamboo for my Zen garden, and some sedum with variegated leaves. He pointed me over to the area where they were and said, “Well, I’ll leave you alone. I’m sure you don’t want to be bothered.”

“Oh, you can bother me. I like people who know their stuff.”

He followed close behind me, poking the back of my upper arm with his finger. When I turned around with a quizzical look, he said, “I’m bothering you. That’s what children do when they want to bother you. They poke you with a finger non-stop.”

When he mentioned the word “children”, I thought of my girlfriend in the car and I lit up with the thought, “Oh, my God! I should introduce them!” My girlfriend -- let’s call her Lakisha -- loves kids. I decided to play cupid.

“Come with me,” I said waving him forcefully to the front of the nursery. “I want you to meet my girlfriend. She’s in my car.”

Surprisingly, and without hesitation, he followed me to the curb and headed straight towards my girlfriend, who was singing along with Stevie Wonder on the cranked up radio. He started poking her shoulder with his finger through the open passenger window.

I was a few feet away and could see them laughing together. They looked good together, like a cute couple with sparks flying. They exchanged a few words and then he excused himself to attend to a new customer.

I walked over to my girlfriend and before I could say anything, she said, ‘Girl, who’s the brotha? I been lookin’ at him since you pulled up to the store. He’s damn fine!”

I told her he was the owner, and she said, “What’s his name?” When I shrugged she quickly ordered me to “Go back in there and find out my future husband’s name!”

The nursery manager was busy with another customer so I picked up my selection, paid up, and we left. As we were pulling out of the parking lot, Lakisha called out in a flirty fashion, “Heh-hey,” making it sound like a two-syllabic word. “B’bye! Peace!”

The nursery manager smiled and waved us off.

I was as excited for Lakisha as I was for myself. This could work out, I thought. Of course I had no idea if he was married or not, but Lakisha wasn’t worried. She found him hot, he knew where he spent his time seven days a week, and she thought he was good “husband material.” She joked that she wouldn’t mind being a Valle-ho’.

“Well, Lakisha!” I chirped happily. “He might just turn you on to gardening! It’s tru-ly ve-ry soul-satisfying to put something in the ground and watch it grow!”

“Yeah, yeah. I’m sure it is…” Lakisha agreed.

“It’s a very creative activity…”

“Did you find out his name?”

“We can go back tomorrow and pretend I need more plants. You can come in to the store with me, and you can tell him we’re looking for a specimen plant, like a cotinus coggygria…”

“Say what?”
Lakisha exclaimed. “No, sistah, I’ll say to him, ‘Um, what do you call that thing you stick in the ground… ummm… the thing with roots… and it’s green…?”

I glanced at Lakisha to see if she was teasing me like she usually does.

She caught my eye and said, “Men like women who play dumb, you know. They like it when they know more than you.”

I jammed my foot on the brake and snarked, "Oh, really, Lakisha?”

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

-- Marianne Williamson

*Painting of "Women In Red" by Wolfredo Alicdan

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Woman Being

Dear Jun,

Mayita came to visit me this past spring and stayed for a couple of months. While she was here we reminisced and relived old times. One night we listened to the songs Papa and Mommy used to play on the “hi-fi” and 8-track cassette. Such technological dinosaurs! One of the songs we both remembered as background music during our childhood was “Sabor A Mi.” We looked for it in youtube and played it over and over. I just pulled it up again and you entered my mind.

I find it amazing that you’re still such an important and vivid figure in my life’s continuing, unfolding story. Maybe it’s because our relationship is tinged with such bittersweet memories that I find it hard to delete you completely. Every now and then you pop up and I’m compelled to say hello.

Hello, Jun.

Sabor a mi.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Woman Thinking

Ergo sum"
-- Rene Descartes

Western Philosophy bored me. I couldn’t get the point of all the speculating, cogitating, reflecting, wondering, debating and philosophizing about existing and being. I existed, and was sure I existed, so I didn’t think I didn’t exist. I daydreamed during class.

Growing up I used to look up at the clouds and imagine Jupiter with his characteristic beard lording it over us mortals here on earth. I imagined Jason with the Golden Fleece slung over his shoulder. Just last night, on the flight down to Newport Beach from Oakland, the marine fog was so thick I imagined it was peppermint cotton candy ready for picking, pulling apart, and melting on my tongue. When a mountain high enough poked through the clouds I imagined it was the hump of Nessie the Monster breaking through the frozen waters of Loch Ness.

It takes very little to spin me off into daydream land. When I read a profound and pithy quote my mind starts to scramble the words to make up my own. When I want creative inspiration all I have to do is open a page in a picture book or magazine and it would immediately spark my own creative juices flowing.

My favorite thing is to stare into space and let the ideas just start flowing. Then when I stare into space long enough, I realize it isn’t me doing the thinking anymore, some “thing” else is thinking for me.

Eckhart Tolle, in The Power of Now, states quite strongly that the greatest fallacy in western thought is Descartes’ assertion of “I think, therefore I am.” Tolle gives an example of a crazy person walking down the street talking to himself. That crazy person would be just like any one of us, with a mind constantly chattering, except that the crazy person is thinking out loud.

And yet, the crazy person’s thoughts do not make him who he is. With or without those crazy thoughts, his essence is still pure Spirit.

I got an email from a girlfriend recently who was in the midst of a psychotic break. Her email was a meaningless inedible word salad of a call to revolt and threats to kill politicians, sprinkled generously with crackling cuss words. Her psychosis does not make her who she is. I know who she is. She is pure in Spirit.

I’m thinking… and so am I.

I am.


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Woman Doing

In My Garden of Infinite Possibilities

Spread out remaining lava rock around existing plantings
Divide Mexican sage and plant around existing plantings
Divide society garlic and plant around existing plantings
Create garden vignettes around existing plantings ala freestanding container plantings
Order 1 cu. yd. planting mix/topsoil

Around Phlomis fruticosa:

Burgundy coral bells
lime green heather or ipomea or variegated sedum
society garlic

Around Lavatera:
Around Sarsaparilla:
Society garlic

In Garden of Gratitude

Plant iris on base of roses
Dig up umbrella plant and transplant behind bench
Transfer fan palm to large clay pot for loggia
Transfer fan palm to red glazed Asian pot for dining room

Create Garden of Well-Being

Plant Japanese blood grass around edge of water feature
Divide calla lilies and plant around water feature
Plant sago palm
Buy horsetail plant
Buy Irish moss groundcover

In Zen Garden

Cover ground with landscape fabric
Put up reed fencing
Cover ground with pea gravel
(Order 1 cu. yd. of pea gravel)
Plant bamboo along fence
Create burbling fountain in oriental pot


Paint clay pots talavera style
Start mosaic projects (mosaic bird bath)
Give Arnold a bath
Pack for travel
Take before and after photos
Pick up prescription
Get dresser and chest of drawers from storage
Order tray of lumpia for Sunday brunch
Cycle 2 of Weight Loss for Idiots
Do expense report