la luna(tic)

today i went on an epic morning walk with fern. she’s really into the bjorn right now, and loves to face out (much to my dismay since i really love the babyhawk, in which she can only face in). she’s pretty content unless she gets in the mood for a booble snooze, and then it’s “wee wee wee all the way home”.

i was wishing for mountains and meadows and the first wildflowers and mud, and so was feeling particularly unappreciative of the city noise, the trains, the cars cars cars. i want fern’s scenery and the rhythm of her life to be so absolutely different than what it is. yet…it is what it is (for now?) so the best i can do is model a glad heart and calm spirit.

i headed down towards valencia and 15th, to a store that used to be “vintage by the pound” and is now “clothes contact”. all of their eclectic vintage clothes are sorted by category (“70’s sexy secretary”, “80’s cocktail dress”, “70’s hoedown” etc.) which makes shopping with a baby much easier. except i can’t really try anything on, so i have to know what i’m looking for, and what size i want.

we got there 1/2 hour before they opened (i’m always “off” with my timing these days, since i wake up like, 4 hours earlier than the rest of the world now. well…than the rest of the world without babies.). so i had some time to kill, a baby starting to whine, a dog who was getting grumpy and resistant, in a neighborhood with the largest concentration of crazies outside of the tenderloin. as fern upped the anty with her complaining, i became desperate for somewhere, ANYwhere to breast feed her. anyone who knows that neighborhood, knows that i was particularly S.O.L. in the “peaceful nook” department. so i settled for a bench outside of a bagel shop. and man, if i ever thought i was a freak magnet, it was nothing compared to the peak levels i experienced this morning. if there was an annoying, douchey, skeevy, unsavory character within 10 miles, i must have put out a beacon the minute i whipped out the baby snack. i was being discreet, which must have made me even more tantalizing. and then fern falls asleep, and i want to let her snooze just for a bit, knowing that it would extend the pleasantness of our walk considerably. so then i had a sleeping babe, a fuzzy dog and a crowd of creepy bystanders. awesome.

when i couldn’t take it anymore, and i knew the store was open, i woke up fern, pulled us back together (tie blouse closed, wiggle back into the bjorn, get purse and bag on shoulder, get dog leash all while juggling squirmy baby) and walked back over to clothes contact. i was specifically on the hunt for an apron. in this Year of Dresses that i am in until my body shape once again fits into jeans, i have decided that The Farm Kitchen Look is what i am going for. plus, aprons are just an unappreciated item of clothing that i feel determined to pull back from obscurity. The Apron: Not Just for Baking Anymore. like so much of my life, i seem to believe that i can make all the details add up to the big picture and then i will have an orchard with apples to put in my apron, chickens with eggs that need gathering, and wild birds that will come to my window for the bread scraps in my pockets.

however, the store did not have aprons. so fern and i tried on hats. too small for me + too big for her = high entertainment value.

i turned back towards home, thinking maybe a stop at four barrels coffee would provide me with a warm cuppa to keep me company on the hike back. there was a line at the coffee shop, but i had passed a store window right before, and i followed the siren song back. “accident and artifact” seemed to be a curiousity shop. inside it looked and felt like a living room, with a smell of warm resin, and things that would all score as your #1 flea market find. one little table had at least 10 antique books on mushroom indentification. this book caught my eye:

and i realized that it was a book i had been looking for, for a long time. i read a little quote from it years ago in another book i have, but it seems to have been in and out of print, and is very expensive on amazon. in 1921, jaime de angulo lived with the achumawi and pit river tribes of northeastern california and tried to study their incredibly complex language. the book is rich with the characters and stories that he witnessed while experiencing their way of life. the pit river is where “my” special hot springs are; hot springs that were/are part of achumawi mythology and shamanic practices. part of me cringes that although i have spent so much time up there, growing up in the area and encountering many native people, that i still have to rely on books, rather than conversations, to learn the history of a place so important to me. as a white person, the door to tribal culture is just not open to me, and without formal introduction that door will probably remain closed. still, with how homesick i am these days, finding the book felt like the land reached out and whispered “hello.”.

the hot springs at kosk creek

(both photos at

on the way back i found a large book of vintage opera records on the street, all in italian and obscure and quite old and  i have no record player but i took it anyway. again…it’s that details and big picture thing.

it was feeling a little like a magical full moon morning and i had a skip in my step as i neared church and market. this must have sent out another beacon because as i passed the J Church Muni line tunnel, a woman standing in the middle of the tracks latched on to me and began to get in my daughter’s face, “oh hello angel, won’t you give me a smile? please give me a smile beautiful angel, please give me a smile, please give me a smile…”. now, i have always had to deal with this type of attention…girl with purple hair and tattoos and a fuzzy dog. and now i have The Daughter with the Blueberry Eyes. the three of us creates a walking tourist attraction. but this woman would not let up, even after i started shouting expletives and telling her to back off. she followed me FOR FIVE BLOCKS, until i was almost running away, contemplating calling the cops which i never, ever do. finally i wound up at the cafe near my home, and ran into a friend. she asked me how i was. “i’m ok, but this crazy lady has been following me for 5 blocks, but i think i finally ditched….” at which point she emerged from around the corner like a slimey shadow. again with the in-my-face-oh-hello-angel-can-i-kiss-you…and my mother bear instinct kicked in, i locked in on her with a bulldog ferocity and was about to get physical. my friend stepped between us, shoving the woman out of the way saying loudly “OH HOW GOOD IT IS TO SEE YOU WHY DON’T WE GO IN AND HAVE SOME TEA.”

so thank goodness for neighborhoods where everyone knows me, and how thankful i am for surprise finds that brighten my day, and how lovely it is to spend a morning with my daughter who is delighted by it all and do please remind me to avoid going on walks by myself on full moon mornings.

the fool moon last month (taken from our front steps).

my two lunatics, taken last weekend in sebastopol

have a good weekend!


6 thoughts on “la luna(tic)

  1. This almost made me cry. That would be very stressful – the situation with the 5 Block Stalker. Thank goodness for neighbors. Phew! Every full moon means a class full of 30 fools for me. It gets very interesting and I truly believe she has her affect on the kiddos!!

  2. Mary! That is so scary. I hope she didn’t follow you home. The pix are precious, I’ve downloaded them to my pic file. Thank you@

  3. Sounds like a really scary encounter, some people have no sense of tact whatsoever.
    However, I do have to say that I truly admire your way with words, I love reading your blog. You seem to be one of the few people who have a positive outlook on life and manage to find beauty in the little everyday things.

  4. Kristen: no doubt it has an effect on your students! i’d love to hear about the antics. you should try living across from the projects on a full moon eve…oy vey.

    Mom: don’t worry, she didn’t follow me. she was more cuckoo than dangerous.

    Walter: definitely thank goodness for my friend. she used to work in a bar, so she’s good at diffusing.

    Twwly: we have yet to try her on our backs…she feels so little still, and i love having her all snuggly in front. but i have a hunch she might really like piggy back. thanks for the tip.

    Moira: thank you so much for your kind words…they made my morning.

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