Tuesday, November 15, 2005


I called my mother today to wish her a happy birthday. She thanked me and mentioned in a by the way fashion that one way of becoming a millionaire would be to set aside money otherwise spent on lattes at Starbucks. I did not correct her misconception as to where I purchase my lattes.

But I did change my coffee source for the day, moving from the Electric Earth CafĂ© to Joe’s, to avoid EE’s long wait, as most before you in line order sandwiches and other foods requiring great thought and deliberation.

At Joe’s, not only did I spend $2.95 + $.35 tip, but I put the latte into the new gizmo I attached to Mr. B so that I could transport the cup and myself safely back to the loft each day. Juggling a steaming latte in my hand while crossing the railroad tracks and making sharp turns proved tricky, so I plunked down some bucks on a nifty yellow wire thing. No, of course it is not intended to hold down your latte, though I noted with some satisfaction that is was made in Italy. Fitting, considering Mr.B’s own Italian heritage.

Madison Nov 05 250

You might pick up from the photo that Mr. B is wet. I had neglected to take an umbrella in the morning and so I had my first taste of thirties temps, with rain and puddles throwing water against the black tights and the striped skirt number I chose to wear to work today, it being a heavy teaching day and this particular getup being my most ancient and resilient dress-up outfit, suitable for a November bike ride.

My mother did not mention the blog in the course of our talk. This was wise of her. Last time she noted it, in a letter to me, it was in a troubling context. I’m not sure she is entirely on board with the whole blogging phenomenon (an understatement, truly a whopper understatement) and most certainly she is not on board with her daughter blogging away as if there was no tomorrow.

Instead she talked about prescription drugs and Berkeley weather. She mentions California weather with frequency in winter months and especially when Madison’s weather is as it is today – cold, wet, dismally gray.

But in fact, I do not mind today’s rain. I have skylights at the loft and the rain against the roof here makes such a racket that a friend remarked recently that there must be no insulation up there. We looked up and indeed, it appears as if there are boards and then roof and then, well, sky.

Rain is not much of a factor in daily suburban life. When my daughters were little, they had slickers that were cuter than cute – with yellow ducks and blue polka dots. Their grandmother bought them the slickers and I took many photos so that their cuteness is forever recorded and future generations will maybe see the albums and say things like – wow, they wore cute slickers in those days.

But the fact is, they never wore them. Because slickers make sense only if you walk or bike in the rain. They do not make sense if you get in and out of cars and take a few steps through the parking lot to reach your destination.

I notice rain now, as I notice most everything about each day with an added twist of a sharper focus. I notice which sidewalks have cracks and which corners gather water in big puddles. I notice the color of the sky and I fully expect to go out and smell the wetness after the rain stops. I also notice when I am being snappish and when I am being calm and reasonable – as for example when talking to my mother in Berkeley today.

It’s too bad I did not notice the chestnuts in the oven last night before I fell asleep. FYI, chestnuts do not need 4 hours at 400 degrees to roast to a proper eating consistency.