Monthly Archives: June 2014

Days 177, 178 & 179: Smoked Trout, PB Cookie & Hypnosis

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It is harder than you might imagine to find something new every day while working at the fair. In the mornings I’m scrambling not to become scrambled: I try to spend time with my bees, to meditate, to write or to coach or be coached around my online course. I drive people back and forth all afternoon and into the evening, I usually wander for an hour or so after I get off my shift, then I go home and get back to the computer. I love it, but I don’t have a lot of time to go and do something new and different, and I don’t seem to have a lot of brain space for it these days, either. Thursday, day 177, I had it all set in my mind: I was going to try lobster fries at the fair. It sounds horrible to me, but someone had raved about them, so why not?

When I got off my shift I went more or less directly to the stand that sells them, stopping for a quick hello with Sion, who works with the hypnotist. They are two of my new favorite people. When I got to the fries place, I asked, as has become my habit, if there was any gluten in the lobster fries. I thought not, because it’s just fries topped with lobster topped with a sauce. Maybe in the sauce? Nope. The girl wasn’t absolutely sure, though, so she checked. Guess what – they put flour on the french fries! Bummer, but I was so glad I’d asked. 

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Also bummer because here it was, well into the evening, and I didn’t have a new thing. I was all stressing out about it until I remembered what I’d had for lunch. I’ve been feeling the need for lots of protein since I started this gig, so I planned to just open a can of salmon before work. But when I reached for it, I saw a different can first: Trader Joe’s canned smoked trout. Never had that before! But I wasn’t thinking of One New Thing at the time, I was just thinking quick good protein GO! It worked out well, though. And it was really delicious, too, so much so that I had no qualms about racing back to Trader Joe’s after work to get two more cans of it to photograph for the blog. I believe that’s what they call, “All’s well that ends well.”



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On Friday, day 178, Sion from the hypnotist’s booth came to my One New Thing rescue. She has a mad passion for cooking; for days she’d been driving me wild, showing me pictures of meals she’s made and describing them – in mouth-watering detail. She had baked gluten-free peanut butter cookies, and she was delighted to share. Just a cup of peanut butter, a cup of sugar, and an egg. Weird. But you know, it kinda tasted like, hmmm, let me see. . . oh yeah! It tasted like a peanut butter cookie! A little drier and crumblier than what I’m used to, but yummy nonetheless. Thank you, Sion! (By the way, for those who need to know these sorts of things, Sion is pronounced Shawn.)



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Our hypnotist, James Kellogg Jr., is a handsome and charming man, plus he’s fun and funny to boot (he’s much better looking than he looks in this picture). However, he really wants to get me up on stage during his show. Not happening. There are two major sticking points for this. One, I was raised to believe that if you’re hypnotized, your healthy and natural spiritual defense mechanisms are set aside and so, while no one’s guarding the door, so to speak, demons can rush in and take over. Now, I no longer believe that. However the power of that belief is still present in my gut, and it keeps me from being at all comfortable with the idea of being hynotized.

And beyond that, it’s a simple control issue. I don’t want to risk anyone or anything else controlling my behavior for even a moment (the main reason I’m at virtually zero risk for drug abuse). And no no NO WAY am I going to take that risk while up on stage in front of an audience. However, I am very intrigued by the concept. I would try to try it in a private setting if I had someone with me whom I trust, who could be a guard for me while I might be missing, so to speak. My internal guards may be too strong for me to succumb to hypnosis anyway; my dad’s are. Plus, it’s entirely possible that I really don’t understand hypnosis accurately, and I’m just making stuff up and scaring myself. I am totally capable of that.

So I decided to compromise. On Saturday, day 179, a coworker and I sat quietly in the back during James’ show, and I did my utmost to relax into the process and see what might happen. My coworker had promised to stop me from doing anything stupid. I did become very, v-e-r-y relaxed. When he talked about 1000 helium balloons being tied to my wrist, I did feel lighter. However, I truly was unable to let go of my inhibitions enough to fully experience any kind of deep hypnosis. But I tried, oh, I tried! And who knows, maybe a private session is in my future. After all, I’ve got a lot of One New Things ahead of me.



Have you done something new today?

Days 175 & 176: Pig Races & French Horn Fix

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Tuesday, Day 175, I just had to take a break from driving my golf cart to watch the pig races. I grew up in Ohio, went to the fair every year, but I don’t remember ever once watching pig races. I must admit, I pictured something much more noisy and dramatic. But then, I didn’t know the contestants were baby pigs. The announcer used a big announcer voice, the audience was all screams, but the racers themselves? They knew there was food around that little road next to the trailer, and they were aimin’ to get there as fast as possible without expending any extra energy for things like grunting and squealing. And oh, my, those piglets sure were cute! I laughed and cheered and hollered with the best of them – um, the audience, not the pigs!

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Days 173 & 174: Fixing my Visor, Making Vanilla

PictureWhat the heck! I went out to my car Sunday, and my visor was hanging down right into my line of vision! Try as I might, not only could I not get it to stay up, I couldn’t even get the little corner connector dealie snug into the hole it came out of! Our Man About the House was gone already, and I had to run errands and get to work. Dang! Tell you what, holding that thing up while I drove around got old in about seven seconds, so I ended up hunkering over to drive. So not fun!

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Days 171 & 172: Petting a Cow & Straightening Comb

PictureOkay, I’ve started my intensive “get over my phobias” program. Two days ago it was dealing with a clown. My One New Thing for Friday was petting a cow (newcomers to the blog can look here to see how bad this whole cow thing was). I’d heard the cows were coming in that day so I went to work early in hopes of tracking down one I could pet. I figured they’d be everywhere and I could just stay safely behind a barrier and kinda tickle one when she wasn’t looking. But I only found a few, and only one who was anywhere close enough that I might maybe could reach her. And she was looking right at me. Oh, well, no sweat, I can do it. Except Bessie wasn’t cooperating. She didn’t look real happy about life in general, and she definitely wasn’t impressed with me. She was not moving one step closer, and I couldn’t reach her. What to do, what to do? I saw a guy in the middle of a big open pen, and motioned him over.

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Days 169 & 170: Alameda County Fair

PictureDay 169. My first day working at the Alameda County Fair. OH MY GOSH! SO MUCH FUN!!! I’m on the ground shuttle crew, which means I spend my time driving vendors and talent around on a golf cart. I meet new people constantly, spend ten minutes with them, and on to the next. I love it! One of the other drivers does double duty – he’s also the clown Tadpole. You know how I feel about clowns. But I am determined: by the time this fair is over, I will have completely beat both my fear of clowns and my fear of cows. So this very first day, as soon as Tadpole showed up for his ride into the fair, I jumped up. “I’m terrified of clowns! Let me take him!” What is it with clowns? They’re already aggressive enough. But tell a clown you’re scared of clowns, and look what happens! That look on my face? That’s me saying, “GET IT OFF ME!!!”

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Days 166, 167 & 168: Exploring, Driving a Golf Cart & Hop Tech

For some reason I was having a heckuva tough day Sunday. For starters, I wanted to go to a place called the Water Temple for my One New Thing. We’d driven past it way out in the country, but I’d only learned what it was in the past few days, and I wanted to go check it out. But according to the website, they were closed on Sundays. What’s to close? It just looks like a wide open Greek temple out in the middle of nowhere. Beth and I decided to take our chances.
The directions are very simple, but let me just say that makes no difference whatsoever sometimes. To make a long and annoying story brief, I ended up driving in all kinds of crazy wrong directions trying to find this place, and Beth tried to help and that was a big mistake. I’ve had a short temper lately; I don’t know why, and I really hate it. But that short little temper burnt right up on that drive, and poor Beth had to listen to me letting off steam in a very ugly way. Bless her heart, she handled it much better than I did. And we did finally find the place. There it was, set way back from the road. And right up close to the road was a big, bad, locked gate. Oh. I never noticed the gate before. When those people say closed on Sundays, they really mean closed on Sundays. 
Now I was in a bind; I needed One New Thing. And it seemed as though no matter where I drove, I just couldn’t find some new place to go. Anything that looked interesting was gated and locked, or I’d driven that road before. Rgh! Beth suggested that driving back and forth all over the place could be it, but if I hadn’t been driving I would have stared at her in astonishment. What!? Driving around together like two lost chickens a new thing? Dude! We do that all that time!
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Finally, finally we see a new and different road that isn’t gated or locked down. RrrrrrrrrrK – tires squeal as I whip to the left (okay, maybe a slight exaggeration). We are now on Welch Creek Road, and no indeed, I have never been on this road before in my life. This road has some lovely attributes: it twists and turns in increasingly tight and narrow bends up towards the heavens. We are praying to those same heavens that no one is twisting and turning down that one lane road as we are twisting and turning up it.
We pass a sign that says “Must have permit to park.” We ignore it and keep going. There are a few breathless moments when I wish we were in Beth’s Vibe instead of my van, but we don’t actually get squished. After a bit we decide to park and take a stroll, and that’s when I discover that the exhaustion that’s been dogging me lately has taken up residence in my legs. Oh, well, I ignore it and we forge our way upward. We are in a beautiful place.
We have a lovely and uneventful walk. It is quiet. We don’t talk much. And by the time we have returned to our van and headed back to civilization, I’m a bit more civilized my own self.

Day 167. Yesterday I headed over to the fairgrounds to learn what I could about this job I’m starting tomorrow. There seems to be a certain amount of, um, disorganization. I have questions such as: what am I supposed to do? When am I supposed to do it? Will I have a chance to drive a golf cart before I’m actually supposed to be driving a golf cart full of people? It seems that the most important attribute for someone in my position is a relaxed attitude. Okay, fine, I can have a relaxed attitude. My questions were more or less answered. Plus I got two bright red Alameda County Fair T-shirts (I love bright red!) and a navy blue Alameda County Fair ball cap (I love navy blue!) And, yes, I did get to drive a golf cart for the very first time. Oh, yeah, this is gonna be fun!

Day 168. Today I went back to the beer supply store that was closed last week when I was preparing for our aborted honey harvest. And guess what: it was open! For my attempt to save the T’ej (Ethiopian honey wine), I need some little gizmos called airlocks for the bottle stoppers. They let air out but not in, which is necessary for fermenting beverages. Also I needed larger bottle stoppers than I had, since I have two old half-gallon glass milk bottles that I’ll be pouring the T’ej into once I’m satisfied with the bubbling. You may not think this is a big deal, but for me to walk right on in to an unfamiliar store in an unfamiliar place and ask about things I know nothing about… well, in the past that was something it could take me days or even weeks to work up to. Or maybe I would just never do it, and the project would never be completed. That has happened a lot. But not anymore. I’m new. I do scary things like this all the time now. And I survive.

Have you done something new today?

Days 165: REI Garage Sale & Hangin’ With Sue

Last Friday night I thought I was just going to Oakland to watch Flamenco with Sue, and then coming home again. My mistake! Sue had other plans for me, which she informed me of after I met up with her (why oh why don’t I keep fresh panties in my van?). She was so excited: Saturday was REI’s garage sale! Okay, I know REI – a truly great sports equipment store. What I did not know is that once a month they have a “garage sale,” where they sell – cheap – all the things that were returned the previous month.
And Saturday, Day 165, was the day. Sue was firm: the garage sale was to be my One New Thing. Okay then. We had a short night’s sleep, and had to be at the Berkeley REI no later than 7:30 to get our tickets. See, this is how it works: the store doesn’t open until 10, but starting at 7:30, they give out tickets on a first come, first serve basis. Then, beginning at 8am, every twenty minutes they let twenty people into the back room, where all the returns are roughly displayed. Once in, you have twenty minutes to grab everything you think you might want. It is madness and mayhem! When the twenty minutes are up, they clear the room, and you haul your take out to the store where you check it out at your leisure. Anything you don’t want, please return to the staff guarding (yes – guarding) the door of the back room. Anything you want, you buy, at a very significant discount, final sale.
Sue, her man and I got to the store at 7:15, and already the line was all the way across the parking lot, around the corner and heading down the street. Our time slot wasn’t till 11:00. We tucked the tickets safely away, and went to breakfast.

Of course, we went to a new-to-me breakfast place: Meal Ticket. This is a true Mom & Pop hole-in-the-wall, relaxed and friendly. They open at 8am, you get your own coffee, and they have a down-home delicious menu. 

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I ordered the Creole Scramble: shrimp, sausage, chipotle and eggs: delicious! I don’t remember what Sue and her honey got, but trust me, I heard no complaints. We had plenty of time to kick back and relax. Nice. 

Eventually it was time to get back to REI. I’d been madly texting with Beth to see if she wanted anything. What was I thinking? Of course she did! Now I had to shop for her in my twenty minutes! I admit, this whole thing was a bit overwhelming for me, but I did okay. I came out of there with a backpack and a pair of hiking shoes for Beth, and a dress and a purse I can use as a cold-bag for me. Not too bad. Oh, except that I accidentally stole the purse. It was Sue’s fault! I had so many things in my hands that I put the purse strap over my shoulder, but I told her to help me remember it! We paid for our stuff, walked out to the car, and OH NO! There it was, still unpaid for and slung over my shoulder. EEEK! I hustled right on back in and remedied the situation. Honestly, I think I was much more traumatized than the REI guy was.

After REI, Sue’s man left us and we followed signs to two pottery studios. Lucky me, Saturday was Open Studios day in Berkeley, and I do love pottery. The first place wasn’t very impressive, but the second place showcased the work of about six potters. Their styles were all very different, but all really nice work. We stayed there for quite awhile; some of the work was truly gorgeous. My favorite mug had broken just the day before . Now I have a new one: even better! And when we were robbed last summer, I lost several little square plates that I kept jewelry on. Now I have two beautiful replacements. 
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By this time it was 2:00 and breakfast was a hazy memory. What I really wanted was a big, fat, juicy hamburger. Sue knew just the place (naturally!): the Chop Bar. And yes, that was one big, fat juicy burger; it was excellent! We were there for quite awhile, shootin’ the breeze with a guy who sat next to us and who had almost as many good stories as Sue. Sadly, by this time my phone, which had videoed a ton of Flamenco and then missed its normal nighttime recharge, was no longer up to taking pictures. 
It’s really too bad, because Sue was not done with me yet. After the Chop Bar, she wanted a new view and a beer, so we headed to a new beer place, the Dock at Linden Street. Happily, this beer joint also serves my favorite California ginger beer, so I could still have a treat while Sue enjoyed a beer (even if I wasn’t gluten-free, I still don’t like beer). They also served super yummy peanuts, all greasy and spicy and garlicky, in little tiny cast iron skillets. This place shares space with a restaurant, but we didn’t go in that side. Also, Sue called her man while we were there, and he came out to join us. But oh, gee, darn, he hadn’t eaten yet. So after he had a beer, we were on to my next One New Thing: Forge Pizza at Jack London Square. This is another great place that makes a lot of its own mixers, including – yes! – ginger beer. Here they keep it as a syrup, and when you order a glass, they mix it with seltzer water (or whatever fizzy water-type stuff comes out of the bar sprayer thingy). They added too much of the water for my taste. Somebody in the kitchen knew Sue’s man, and bought us a round of drinks. So I told our extremely fun and nice bartender Kassandra exactly how I wanted her to make my new favorite, a Kentucky Mule: ginger beer, light on the fizzy water, and bourbon, with a slice of lime. Made like that, it was just about perfect! And their fat boy pizza is fantastic, even if I did just scrape off the toppings and leave the crust. 
My evening of drinks and a show with Sue turned into 26 hours, five restaurants, two pottery studios and bargain hunting at REI. I packed in enough New Things for a whole week! In fact, they were poised to take me to yet another new place, but I begged them to please, please save some. After all, I’ve got 200 days to go!
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Have you done something new today?

Days 163 & 164: T’ej Fix and Flamenco

Thursday June 12: Day 163. I’ve just come off the semi-disastrous honey harvest, and I’ve got big plans for Friday, so today I revisit a fail from the middle of April, when I started T’ej – Ethiopian Honey Wine. It was only supposed to take a few days to start, and as soon as it bubbled I was to move on to step 2. Problem was, it never bubbled. Like the Kombucha I made, it didn’t seem to pick up any wild yeast from our house that it could start reproducing. Then, again like the Kombucha, it started growing mold instead. What to do??
I threw in a piece of honeycomb from one of our hives, hoping that might help. Apparently not. And what with one thing and another (besides being totally clueless), I pretty much just ignored the thing for almost two months. But when I was talking about it to my beer-making buddy the other day, he said, “Whatever you do, don’t throw it out! Just clean off the mold, which has actually been protecting it, get a piece – any piece, though organic would be best – of fruit, and toss that in. That should provide enough yeast to get things going. And if that doesn’t work, get yourself some yeast from a beer-making shop and use that. One way or another, you can still make yourself some great wine.” Well, okay, he’s the expert. I did as he said, adding one little apricot from our abundant harvest. He told me I didn’t even need to cut it, so I didn’t. We’ll see what happens.

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First things first – a drink and a snack. She took me to the Plum Bar. This place is another winner. Great atmosphere, and really good food and drinks. Plus they’re the bar for the restaurant next door. See that little dark thing in the picture that looks like a microwave? That’s actually a little window.  ——->>>
That’s where they pass the drinks through to the restaurant. That didn’t actually affect us in any way, but it was kinda cool.
Day 164. Since the moment I heard about this event at the Sound Room, I’ve been looking forward to this Friday’s One New Thing: Flamenco! This is traditional Spanish music and dance (it’s the dance part I’m most interested in), and though I’ve seen bits in movies, I’ve sure never seen it up close and personal. So I headed to Oakland, all excited. However, I was meeting up with Sue again, so naturally, this was bound to be a bit of an adventure. 
The Plum Bar also makes a lot of its own liquors, not to mention an extremely tasty non-alcoholic ginger beer. Our wonderful server, Kristin, gave us a taste of the ginger beer, as well as tastes of their homemade Charred Cedar Apple Brandy, Honey Liquor, and Chartreuse. Yum! I wanted a drink with the ginger beer but I wanted something different from my much-loved Moscow Mule. Kristen suggested a Kentucky Mule, which switches out the vodka for bourbon. Wow! Okay, ladies and gentlemen, Sarah has a new favorite drink! For our snack we decided on smoked paprika fries. Oh, yeah, this place is worth a re-visit!
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<<—- Plum Bar’s homemade liquors
decorating the back wall.
Okay, this is great, but I’m ready for FLAMENCO! Or at least I thought I was. Holy Kamoley, this performance was fantastic! It’s got to be one of the most exciting dance forms I’ve ever watched. I admit I don’t actually like the music; the singing is abrasive and fairly tuneless to my ear. The dancing more than compensated. It is so incredibly exciting! Two different times, as the dancers really got wound up, the energy was so high that I just burst out laughing with the sheer joy and exultation of it. It is powerful! The disadvantages to sitting at the back of the room are that we couldn’t see the footwork, and my videos aren’t as tight as I’d like. However, the foot-stamping is as loud as old-fashioned fireworks, so if I’d been right up close, I imagine I’d have had a ringing headache and been half deaf by the end of this extraordinary performance.
Our performers were Clara Rodrigues, from AguaClara Flamenco, David McLean, Fanny Ara and Nina Menendez (the singer). Fanny is dancing in the pictures above. In the videos below, Clara is wearing blue.

Days 161 & 162: First Honey Harvest – sort of!

Days 161 and 162 are all about our first honey harvest. Generally you don’t want to harvest honey the first season. You want to let the bees make enough to get them through that first winter. However, that usually isn’t too much of a problem here in California since we have flowers and pollen year round (at least that’s our current understanding), and besides, our big hive is jam-packed with bees and comb, so we wanted to give them more room, hoping to discourage swarming. So we invited a second year top bar hive beekeeper to come help us. Somehow Beth and I had a total communication breakdown, and when she mentioned on Tuesday morning that we’d be harvesting honey on Wednesday morning, I was completely caught off guard. 
I had to get my act together. First off I had to change the appointment I had set for Wednesday morning at exactly the same time our guest beekeeper was scheduled to arrive. Then I had to get hustling and get all the paraphernalia that we would need: buckets and strainers and taps and all sorts of things that we didn’t have. And to make it extra fun, we really didn’t know what all we actually did need. We’ve watched the YouTube videos. We’ve talked to beekeepers. But here’s the thing: ask five beekeepers a question, and you’ll get at least ten answers. On that they all agree.
Here’s where six months of One New Thing paid off. I went to restaurants and talked to managers, trying to get food-grade 5 gallon buckets. When that failed, I googled on my phone. I GPS-ed on my phone. I went to new and scary stores. I talked to strangers at these new and scary stores. I got it done. I went to a restaurant supply store on a street I’d never heard of. I went to a brewing supply company! Unfortunately, they were randomly closed that day, so I called my friend who makes beer, and he came to the rescue with buckets and also some other random stuff I needed to (hopefully) fix a wine-making experiment gone wrong. I consulted with a guy in a hardware store. I was irritated and frustrated, but I was on fire, and I did what needed to be done. And that night, with the big honey harvest on for the next morning, I slept the sleep of the righteous.
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Wednesday morning I got up, fixed my coffee and went out to sit with the bees. I’ve been doing this every morning, and it fills me with peace and joy (sometimes the peace and joy lasts even after I leave the bees and get on with my day). I told them that we’d be coming in a little while to harvest some of their honey. I tried to explain that, even though we’d be stealing from them, we loved them and meant them no harm. I asked them to be gentle with us, and promised that we would do our best not to hurt them. Then I went inside to get ready.
Here’s the thing about bees. They don’t always do things the way you want them to, especially when they have the freedom that a top bar hive provides. In a standard Langstroth hive, the hive boxes one typically sees, the bees have no choice about how they make their comb; there are forms they have to follow. Not so in a top bar hive, as we have discovered to our dismay. Our bees do not, I repeat do not, believe in straight lines. They don’t see any reason to put only one comb per bar. In short, from the bees’ point of view, they are making gorgeous, perfect comb. But from the view of a beekeeper, we have a disaster on our hands.
If one is a skilled beekeeper and the conditions are right, the problems we have can be repaired. However neither of those were the case for us. It might kindly be called a debacle. We had comb breaking off the bars and falling into the hive. The sun was beating down on the hive and the comb was so soft it just wouldn’t cooperate. Before we had too much of a disaster, we cleaned up our mess as much as possible and closed up the hive. We will try to find an experienced beekeeper to help us fix what’s going on in there. And we’ll do it when it is cooler and the hive is shaded. It has to happen, but when and how? I have no idea.
We were right in there, and they remained sweet tempered throughout. 
And I do want to mention that our bees were true ladies during this madness. Our guest beekeeper got stung twice, but neither Beth nor I was stung. Only once did the bees show some temper – when a large chunk of comb fell right into the hive – but I heard the change in their buzzing and said, “Step back.” We did so, and in just a few moments, the tempo of their buzzing returned to normal, and we went on with the job. 
We did get a little bit of honey. That’s it, down at the bottom of our food-grade five gallon bucket.
And here we are, Beth and I, processing it as we were instructed.
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Tomorrow we’ll put this contraption outside in the sun. In theory, the sun will heat up the jar of wax and honey, melting the wax and causing it to rise while allowing the honey to trickle through the scrap of sanitized paint-strainer into the jar below. And there we’ll have it: the results of our first honey  harvest. We survived this day, and so did our bees. But we’ve got a big job ahead of us. Anybody want to sign on as photographer for our next big bee adventure?
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Have you done something new today?

Days 159 & 160: Cal Shakes and Job Orientation

Sunday my “sophisticated friend” took me to Cal Shakes – California Shakespeare Theater – to watch A Raisin in the Sun. I’ve never been to Cal Shakes before (truth be told, I’ve never heard of Cal Shakes before), I’ve never seen professional theater performed in an outdoor theater before, and I’ve never seen A Raisin in the Sun before. This was a great experience! It was a blistering hot day, and we were carting in two coolers and lots of layers, since it could easily get cold as soon as the sun started easing into the west. Thankfully, chairs and blankets are rentable there, so we didn’t have to haul them.
We hiked from the parking lot up a steep incline to Will Call, where we got our tickets and, since it was too hot to hike, boarded a bus. I had to laugh, though, because the theater was so close it seemed ridiculous that we’d bussed it. I didn’t know how close it was, though, till we got there. As soon as I saw the theater, I knew this was going to be fabulous. The theater looked so cool, and nestled as it was into the hills. . . . Wow!
We sat in the back row, right beside the sound board and with plenty of leg room, not to mention room for our coolers. How fun, watching a great play while drinking good wine and eating cheese and sausage and grapes and pistachios and smoked salmon and red peppers and carrots and chocolate-caramel popcorn. . . Spoiled-R-Us! It never did get chilly, either. And after the excellent and very thought provoking performance, all the actors came out on stage for a question and answer period. 
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I really don’t have the words to describe what a fun experience this was. Everything was just about perfect: the setting, the performance, the food and wine, and of course my dear friend who once again has provided me with a wonderful One New Thing. And let me just add this: if you ever get a chance to go to Cal Shakes – take it! They’ve got some more great plays this summer: The Comedy of Errors, Pygmalion and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Monday, Day 160, was orientation day for my new job. Three hours were scheduled. I think we were only there about one. (“We” is me and our Man about the House, Joel, who got me the gig and is also on the Alameda County Fair’s ground shuttle crew with me.) First time I’ve ever seen the fairgrounds empty. It was another wicked hot day. I sure hope it isn’t this hot during the fair!  I’ve also not been in a group orientation before. It’s pretty interesting to see the different people who will be working with me. One lady has been doing the fair
for twenty five years now, and from there you can count down all the way to newbies like me. And, sadly, that’s about the most interesting thing I can say about the orientation. It wasn’t actually real compelling. We filled out some paperwork, arranged how our pay would be handled, and had our pictures taken for our ID badges. I thought we’d find out specifics concerning our actual job, but no. Maybe we’ll have another meeting for that, but so far I haven’t heard anything about such a meeting. Ah, the excitement of uncertainty!
As we were headed away from the orientation, I found a tree to love. Is anybody surprised?
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A little further on, and I saw something on the ground that puzzled me immensely. It looked as though someone had thrown down a pile of rubies and garnets, and they’d been walked on and tracked around. Crystals and crushed crystals on the pavement blazed in the sunlight. What the heck? Looking closer, I saw that the crystals were coming from a tree, like it was bleeding jewels! Apparently, it sort of was. The tree was wounded, and this was its sap, flowing down the trunk and crystallizing as it went. I never saw anything like that before! Joel, who knows about such things, said the tree is an ironbark eucalyptus. Fascinating!

Have you done something new today?