Friday, August 14, 2009


What does this old 1959 Ford Ranchero pickup have to do with salsa??
My new neighbors for the month, Eric and Chris next door, very nice folks and native Californians, took me and a picnic along to the lawn of the Mission for a music and dance performance last week. Between the rose garden and the venerable mission, with a full moon rising...that was quite enough for a fine evening, but Chris' cold bean salad was right up there. I asked what the secret ingredient was, since there obviously was one, and she said, salsa. When Ron, Claire and I went to Los Arroyos Mexican restaurant in town the night before they left on their long trip, we brought back a small container of one of their salsas, and was I glad we did. The whole thing disappeared the next day. Yum.
I thought that life as a whole is more vibrant when you enjoy the little "containers" of added flavor you encounter:
A gray-haired lady drove into a parking space this morning in a well-rusted 1959 Ranchero, looking completely original and still running well. She may have bought it new, and she's seemingly still running well too. I'll bet she picks up hay for a horse and big bags of feed for a few goats, and sighs over all the fence maintenance that's building up.
Parked nearby was a pristine early 70s VW Beetle, with gleaming red upholstery and a sunroof. Does that bring back memories?
A sprig of alyssum blooming in a seam between curb and sidewalk in a busy commercial area. (All the locally-owned, regional or national stores, cafes and restaurants are built in modern faux Spanish style, which a purist would object to, but it's so much easier on the eyes and the spirit than the air-conditioned nightmare of postwar cheapo box construction.) On the stone patio beside the house here, a tiny wisp of a plant with about two leaves, and one blue flower the size of this "o." The tidy round tree near a hidden creek, bejewelled with purple plums, all the same size and looking perfectly many who knows how long it would take to pick them?
An apple, an orange, an apricot picked from the trees in the back yard. Strawberries in the ground a few dozen yards from where they're sold at Lane Farms Market (the way it looks inside the breezy wood building with a gravel parking lot, it could be 1940).
It's good to see people of all ages so trim and fit (we first marvelled at this in San Diego, years ago). On the nearby bike trail, the colorful and helmeted riders speed by on sophisticated many-geared machines with tires about the circumference of spaghetti, and near the ocean and on campus the big-tired no-geared beach cruisers loaf along. Along with skateboards, they're about the only cheap, no-maintenance transportation available, although the bus system here actually works.
And there's something about flowers blooming all year 'round that gentles the soul, too.


  1. Excellent. But be careful of the smoke over the hills.

  2. There's no blue smoke on the patio! Cheech is just here to borrow a book! Honest!

    There are three fires now, only about 10% contained. The Cali and Forest Service firefighters are the best anywhere, but one area hasn't burned since 1922, and there have been almost 4 years of drought -- their job is monumental.

  3. I think the older boy may have recently dropped a seed. We encountered something that may have belonged to Nancy Botwin growing near the stepping stones at the front door. Under surveillance, I promptly eradicated it!

  4. Continuing on this theme... it seems the nearest and largest fire was started by a Mexican pot growing camp's propane stove, deep in the National Forest. Art (that is, the series "Weeds") anticipates life, once again.

    And those "medical marijuana" dispensaries are around here, but one in a trailer was just busted yesterday, since it wasn't licensed and the customers had no prescriptions! Two guys just started it up and pretended.