Friday, May 16, 2008

Playing in Davis

When I started putting this post together in my head, I thought it was going to be a mopey one. I decided (discovered?) this week that I can't go to my cousin's wedding in June, and I can't go to my five-year Wellesley reunion. It's the money as much as it is the time: I can't afford the airfare (Prices are ridiculous this summer!!) and I can't afford to miss classes (I'm planning to take a biology and a physics course in June and July.). I'm really disappointed to be missing these events. It makes me feel a little stranded out here, very far from family and friends. I find myself wishing I lived in Minnesota, so I could visit my family, and the cabin, and Lake Superior, more often.

However, taking classes rather than earning money is my choice, and I'm convinced it's the right one right now. And I'm definitely enjoying California these days - I have great friends, and tons of great stuff to do.

Playing the Violin
Yoko and I met for a second time last weekend, and played through a handful of duets. The Bach Double went more smoothly then last time (and it still gives me chills, it's so beautiful), and we tried our hands at some classics (Pachabel's Canon) and some Suzuki pieces (the Two Grenadiers, for instance). We played Mozart's Table Music, which is a brilliant composition - one person plays it right side up, and the other plays it upside-down, and the result is a nifty duet!

Playing with Kittens
Last week was my first "Kitty Kindergarten" class, designed to help new kitten owners train and socialize their feline companions. Happily, the instructor provided kittens from a local shelter for the pour kittenless souls in the class, so I got to spend an hour holding a 6-week-old tabby, hardly bigger than my hand, acclimating it to the way a vet might hold it. I can't wait for next Sunday!

Playing Outside
Last weekend was the Whole Earth Festival at UC Davis - a fantastic food, shopping and entertainment extravaganza that was very sustainable, granola, hippie, etc. There was organic tie-dyed cotton and flowing hemp clothing as far as the eye could see. All of the food vendors sold vegetarian fare (much of it vegan and organic), and it was served on reusable dishes. All of the trash cans were converted into compost bins, and there were two big dish washing stations set up - very cool. There were two drum circles and four solar-powered stages for different kinds of music and dance. Lots of wonderful social non-conformity, and of course all kinds of peace and love. I loved it.

On the days when there's not a gigantic hippie festival going on, I've taken to spending my afternoons reading in the park. Yesterday was exceptional - it was the hottest it's been all year (around 100°F), so I chose a shady bench on the downwind side of the fountain. I got a refreshing little spray every time the wind gusted, and I got to watch all kinds of people playing in the water. Most were toddlers, wearing nothing but their Crocs, but a few mothers were in there getting drenched too. A college kid came by, dropped his bike, wet his shirt, and rode off. A professional woman in a blouse and skirt looped through the spray a couple of times, getting delicately refreshed. It's a great spot to hang out.

Playing with Pots and Pans
I've been very much enjoying my new cookbooks. As promised in the last post, I made "Zucchini Slippers" - zucchinis stuffed with an egg and cheese mixture - that turned out to be both cute and tasty. I overcooked the lamb shank a little, but it still made a tasty meal, and the resulting lamb stock went into a very good red lentil and apricot soup, as well as a lovely avocado soup.

Strawberries are in season, so I'm hoping to make strawberry shortcake this weekend. We also have a bunch of very ripe bananas, so Marbled-Chocolate Banana Bread is on the horizon. And I've been thinking this whole wheat, flax-riddled zucchini bread looks like a good way to use up some aging zucchinis...

Playing Frisbee
I officially made the ultimate team I tried out for, Night Train, and it's wonderful. I love the exercise - we have two 2-hour practices a week, plus a track practice. I wouldn't do the track workouts on my own, but they're really good for me, so I'm glad for the group motivation. And I love being part of an Ultimate team - there's something so great about the culture of this sport. After practice on Wednesday, our captains invited us to their apartment for poolside beer and watermelon. I love my friends from Scott's department, but it's really nice to hang out with people whose common denominator (and most common topic of conversation) is frisbee and not economics.

Also on the frisbee front, I just bought tickets to Potlatch, a super fun tournament in Seattle, so I'll get to spend Fourth of July weekend playing Ultimate with some of my favorite people from DC! Our team name is "Chiquita," and already the banana-related jokes are filling my email. I can't wait.

Playing Dress-Up and Make-Believe
I bought my first wedding magazine today! I feel a little cheesy looking at something so... cheesy, but I decided to treat myself to a grown-up version of make-believe. And two of my friends have agreed to meet me for coffee and giggling over the pictures, I don't feel quite so embarrassed about being excited about these glossy, girly, consumerist magazines - there are other smart, independent women who like looking at them too!

Tonight, we're meeting friends at a fancy-ish bar for a little engagement party! Lisa, who organized it, and I decided we should wear cocktail attire, so I'm excited to play dress-up tonight. I used to own this fantastic black straw fedora, and I'm kicking myself for not bringing it along with me to California. It was a great hat and would have been perfect tonight.

Now, I'm off the to thrift store. I think I need to make a Chiquita Banana Lady costume for myself to wear to Potlatch.

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