The Good Earth Grand Opening

•February 15, 2012 • 3 Comments

the new store has parking for 20 bicycles

For about five years, the natural food store in town has been busting its seams in the turn of the century market site it had occupied for fifteen years.
The last two years, we’ve watched the tired old Lucky Market (empty about six or seven years) lie fallow, with hundreds of bikers using the parking lot as the jumping off point for rides in town. Then, for the last two years, with an impressive crescendo these last three months, builders, diggers, glaziers swarmed the site. The interior looked so inviting. After six or more years of shuttered windows and empty aisles something new was coming.

Everyone seems to have an investment in the site. Even my neighbors who don’t shop locally will probably poke their nose i, because it looks like a ‘normal store’ as opposed to the soulfood shrine of alternative good eating it had always been.

In the first store, on Bolinas Avenue, there was no room for any size of shopping cart in the aisle, and I imagine plus-size shoppers had to turn sideways like I did because even my messynger bag was too wide a load to pass freely.

Then it moved to the quasi quonset Big Bear market building, and felt huge, for about a month or two. But the front door opened right into the busiest parking lot in Fairfax.

The new new store has no  shop door/automobile interfaces–a massive improvement. And it even has two entrances, which is a first.
My immediate favorite feature is the vertical garden:

Sedum uber alles

Today, a crowd of about five hundred eager souls crowded around to hear  a couple of heartfelt speeches (with nods to Rachel Carson, whose writings inspired the store in the late 1960′s, and the Miwok who occupied the very site thousands of years ago–proof being in their rich middens unearthed during the laying of the pipes).
I saw them cut the ribbon. A cheer went up. It was very 1905.

No newspaper ads touted a sale. No sale prices inside–just about three times the room and three times the selection of impeccable edibles.  I was astonished to see Nairn’s cakes from”Scoatland”.

The crowd was all people smiling.
I nominated this woman with the studded belt and rose bouquet to be Ms. Fairfax.

Outside, people gabbed and hugged.

Even the traffic crawled past, rubbernecking. I got a shot of someone’s bloodhound viewing it all from through the sunroof of a VW bug.

dog at the wheel


I sure love my town.

I’m filling out a job application, gonna work in the kitchen.

Happy Phelantine’s Day

•February 14, 2012 • 1 Comment

Stopped by Leoland for a Valentine drop-off, and bit of  cake & coffee.

Gary and Pat Leo are the archetypical Fairfax pair, married forever, with a garden that strongly resembles Eden.

Right now, there are two dozen greedy songbirds hopping around their milkweed thistle feeders.

The air is perfumed with Daphne odora (wish it could grow over here), and the sky has changed from pink/orange-and-blue striped dawn to the clear pale winter blue we’ve seen a lot of this winter.

The town’s buzzing: our trusty health food store, the Good Earth, which began in a tiny house in 1969, has expanded (for the second time) and the first official day will be  a big fat party...

"Minimum Valentine Requirement" (= MVR, selon SeeKay)

Light-hearted Jain at rest

•January 18, 2012 • 3 Comments

me and Joan Murakami and the irrepressible Jain Light

Have it both ways

•January 1, 2012 • 1 Comment

haircut day

Last night I hit the sack with Charlie at nine, as usual.

After five days of shivering, sweating, feeling horrible and doing even less than I normally don’t do, I was gonna kick this winter sickness. Alas for Charlie, I’d passed it to him, despite my almost stellar 88%  sneeze protocol adherance.

Sneeze protocol: when the urge strikes, drop any tools, implements, and grab collar of shirt/sweater with both hands and cover face up to eyeballs, then emit a sneeze but don’t let ‘er rip because even a real JP -force sneeze laughs at mere cloth.

We’ve never gone to a New Year’s party.  I have been to ONE in Marin, about five years ago.

No, Mr Party Pooper prefers not to, and I would just “not to” right along with him, until…the millenium.  Just to be able to do something unusual on New Year’s Eve, I signed up for folk music camp (Camp Harmony).  Everyone, even the children , stay up past midnight every night  but especially on the big final night, Dec 31st.   It was such a blast, I promised myself to do this for the following year, and the one after that… on and on ..until that awful  Norovirus Year, where EVERYONE was puking and pooping, sick as dogs. 2005-6 I believe. I just never went back, and resumed the ol’ nine-to-bed, waken to all the firecrackers, mumble ‘happy new year, dear’ and roll over.

But the firecrackers were off at ten. Then again, at eleven. I kept being woken up. There was merriment going on Out There!

I remembered that one party, very near by, and wondered if it would be on again this year. “Hell, she’s only five minutes away by bicycle” I goad myself.
“Haven’t you been riding in the freezing cold to go swimming for ten weeks?” my nagging self taunted.  Five f finger-numbing minutes later, u nder a perfectly clear halfmoon starry sky, was there. Cars crammed around her little cottage. Not a lot of noise.

Inside, I can see the party has wound down, there are only fifteen or so folks, being given rattles, gongs, trumpet, noisemakers…

I picked my instrument (a kazooo) and followed everyone , led by  a child in a New Year’s Dragon head,  up and over the hill in the (usually very) quiet San Anselmo neighborhood.

What’s impressive about Linda’s annual ritual is how ready her neighbors are for this occasion.

Kids rush outside and do a jig. Their parents smile from the doorway.

One woman leaned out her window, saying “Thank you! Thank you!”

A  silhouette behind venetian blinds waved feverishly from a second -story window. Straigh out of cinema cliche, the shut-in lady.

I feel so lucky, even at the advanced age of 56, to be able to hop on a bike and scoot somewhere without much thought, even if it is “amateur night” out there (we heard lots of firecrackers and Young Men Yelling).  It’s not to be taken for granted.
My most animated conversation later, in the apres-spirit-warding-off ceremony, was with Victor Zaballa, a Mexican artist who had a lot of stories about being in his car, and having “weekend warriors” smash into him on their bikes. This, after I proudly bragged about being a bike racer. At this party, every single person (save the 9 yr old girl) is Someone Professional, and even though I’m seriously washed up, I have to uh…profess.

As I rode home at about one-thirty, I recalled with a giggle how, in 1979, at a New Year’s Party, I bragged about being a bike racer–without ever having seen a race, let alone be in one.

I plan to lie about being an author this year.

Big 5-Oh for Ken Eich

•December 17, 2011 • 1 Comment

Up at 5, but today no pool.

While the  bread pudding with prickly pear syrup warmed up, I pumped the tires of the still quite new DeSalvo 29r up nice and hard. Fingers barely functioning in the frosty dark, and owing to the strange configuration (= ‘mollification’) of the pump hose, I had to hold the nozzle on the valve with my left hand, while pumping with my right hand. My head was in the way, so it had to tlt off in a bizarre angle (reminding me of mammogramography, where the poor victim has to have body facing forward, and head, neck cranked well away in the other direction. Ow!)

Headed out with three layers of wool, ski gloves, a four-foot cashmere muffler, and my huge down jacket tied around my waist. Hot choc in my backpack, and a stencil, spray paint to put “50!” all over the mountain.

An hour’s ride, and the black sky finally reddened…

Mollified Pump

Raging racefully

•December 13, 2011 • 4 Comments

I am having a birthday week. Number fifty-six: sounds pretty advanced, eh? Well, is it ‘mature’ to relish one’s big day? I’d like to give a nod to my seemingly incurable immaturity, the secret of my spunk, while resolving for the twentieth year in a row

to put the top back on the toothpaste,

wash the dishes within half an hour,

and put things away

rather than permitting Mount Clothing to build up on the couch.

I got up on b.d. morning at 5, hustled up to Sky Oaks to see that lunar eclipse. Alice B. Totality. It was there. I had it to myself, though I could hear cars motoring up Bolinas Rd, doors slamming, and murmuring.

There is an upside down rabbit visible on the rusty-brown surface. I didn’t pack hot choc (nobody to impress). I didn’t howl. I simply sat next to my bike and stared, and was grateful for fifty six fun packed turns around the sun, nearly all of them spent hunting for moons.

Lost Martin 0019

•December 7, 2011 • 4 Comments

Reward if returned


This weekend I lost my cherished choco-colored guitar, and I’m hoping that by posting a note it will somehow find its way back to me.

It’s a mahogany instrument that has been played only a few months, although it’s over ten years old, and has new strings, a capo with my name taped to it, and all kinds of stickers on the inside with my name and address. My guitar journal, a hand bound fabric mini-book, was also in the little pick storage box. Oh and lots of Neil Young songbooks.

The thing weighed at least twelve pounds, with the heavy fur-lined case, and can’t have gone far.

Worst-case scenario: it was taken to be sold for drugs, and never gets played at all, just cycled around among the methamphetamine crowd for drug money.

Best-case scenario: the instrument finds its way back here.
In between case: someone who will take much better care of it than I did gets it, plays it, loves it.  It has an incredibly pure, rich tonality.

Even just tuning it was a thrill.


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