Thursday, June 28, 2007

Just Peachy!

I have lately sworn off produce from outside California (or maybe Washington State) for environmental reasons, which means no bananas and no Gala apples from Chile. Until now, I have just eaten apples all year round, regardless of quality and provenance.

Now that I am noticing where items come from and sticking with what’s from nearby, I have made a wonderful discovery: seasonal local fruit! Plums! Peaches! Nectarines! I bought some pieces of fruit lately at Rainbow that I thought at first were plums, but they turned out to be nectarines with purple skin and pale flesh. Their flavor is exquisite.

(I also bought about a cup of bulk peanut butter for what proved to be $16! Then I saw that my sales slip said “almond butter.” I double-checked the numerical code, and they had used the one I specified. So then I went and looked at the actual stuff in my cupboard: almond butter. Rats. Almond butter just doesn’t make a very good peanut butter sandwich.)

This past weekend David, Lisa, Tom and I had dinner at Chef Jia’s and went to see Colma: The Musical, which is a movie, about a town just south of San Francisco which has many cemeteries and is fog-ridden. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the movie, though you might want to go tour the cemeteries in the actual town; Lisa took the three of us on such an outing once and it was interesting.

However, I was extremely impressed to learn that the whole budget for the movie was $15K. One fellow wrote it, directed it, and acted in it. This was obviously his project, and he is obviously the type of person who decides to make a movie and then makes a movie, instead of sitting around saying, “I wish I could make a movie.”

I was going to finish Guns, Germs, and Steel while I was in Ann Arbor, but finally realized it wasn’t going to happen even if I went on vacation for a year. I think I got the gist of it, though: Places where the land lies on an east-west axis have more opportunities to domesticate plants and animals, whereas land that lies north-south has different weather in different areas and so doesn’t as well support having lots of a given plant or animal. Once you can stop hunting and gathering, not everyone has to be involved in food-related activities, and then you can have warriors and politicians and go help yourself to other people’s resources.

I went on to We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda, by Philip Gourevitch, about the 1994 genocide in which about a million people were killed, many hacked to bits by their own machete-wielding neighbors, and many betrayed by their own clergymen, police officers and doctors. A person might have his hands and feet chopped off and be left to die in agony on the ground while his killers laughed and taunted him.

Gourevitch’s writing is very clear and this book is recommended if you want to understand the causes of these horrifying events.

I slept over at Tom’s this past Saturday night to test his mattress, which is firmer than mine. The next day I woke up with my back feeling quite fine and decided I would go to Sleep Train and buy a (cheap!) firm mattress and put it next to the McRoskey for a time, eventually selling the also-ran, probably the McRoskey.

But then I slept the next night on the McRoskey and woke up with my back feeling perfect. I’ve been sleeping on it for only about eight weeks, so maybe I am still getting used to it.

My teeth have seemingly been getting more sensitive by the day. I began to wonder if vinegar was the culprit. It is, according to Mrs. Internet. When I was asking my dentist about lemon juice, which he said was terrible for the teeth, I forgot to ask about vinegar. Accordingly, I’ve stopped eating salads and am just having the veggies on their own: sliced tomatoes, carrot sticks, avocado halves. I suppose it’s possible to have a salad that isn’t thoroughly drenched in oil and vinegar, but why?

From the bean and grain cookbook, I made Spicy Slow-Baked Barbecued Beans, which are yummy and spicy (if you double the chipotle en adobo) but rather too sweet. Next time I’ll put in a bit less brown sugar.

Lisa C. and I had our monthly lunch yesterday, at Osha. It’s nice to chat about work and our efforts to fit all of our desired activities into each week.

Unfortunately, the trumpet is gathering dust again, after I noticed the sinking feeling I get when I say “I’ll stay up later than optimum and do …” and the relieved feeling I get when I say, “I’m going to sleep at 10:30.”

Now my weekday nights are very leisurely and simple and peaceful: Meditate, eat, wash dishes, stretch, shower. I miss playing the trumpet, but I love the relaxed feel of the evenings.

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