a decision; our neighbourhood

Not that we’re going to get a dog, but if we ever do, we thought of the perfect name: Kitty.

Another busy and complicated weekend. Up at horrendous o’clock on Saturday, chivvying poor Jamey, Rowan, Gilbert and Claire to Moscone Elementary for a Parents for Public School Meeting. The first item of business: to create a collage showing our vision for our childrens’ school. We looked at each other in consternation, and walked out. I’m not sure what the exercise was supposed to achieve, and I’m sorely disappointed, because the last PPS meeting I went to was truly excellent.

Claire and I ran errands instead. Took a bunch of old clothes to Buffalo Exchange, which bought exactly one pair of jeans for a store credit of $6.75.

“We can only sell things that are trendy,” explained the worker kindly.

Saturday night Jeremy, because he is of all men the most excellent, made a lasagne with some lamb mince we had in the freezer. He used Julia Child’s bechemal recipe, then layered the noodles and bechemal with a lamb mince, onion, tomato paste, garlic and herb sauce. It was ridiculously good; so was the spinach and pine nut salad he made to go with it.

Sunday I ran and saw the owl, brilliantly camouflaged in the pines. Artolog mentions that the dead owl was a male, so presumably the survivor is a female? Will she stay, find another mate, nest? I can’t believe the California poppies are already done; all the other wildflowers are out now, but it’s those splashes of emergency orange that really spell spring for me.

This reminds me that I was chatting to Dad on Saturday night and he asked about Bernal Heights. It’s the great green barrow tomb that marks the southern boundary of the Mission District, an outcropping of red chert bedrock and thus one of the safest places in the city in case of earthquake. The lower slopes of the hill were settled for this reason after the quake and fire of 1906 (my so-called Victorian dates to 1907), but the grassland on top remained goat paddocks well into living memory and only became a park in the 1970s. It’s maybe the best example of unspoiled native San Francisco habitat within city limits.

I used to look wistfully at the hill from our flat in Alabama Street; then we moved to its lower slopes; now I run around it three times a week and consider it my own personal fiefdom, as do all my neighbours. Red tracks in the chert wind up through the flower-sown grass. As I run I can survey a pretty large swathe of the San Francisco Bay Area, from the San Bruno hills in the south to Twin Peaks in the west to Mount Tamalpais in the north to Mount Diablo in the east. What it is, is heaven.

After my run we all walked to Salome’s house for breakfast, then I dragged Salome over the hill to Glen Park for pastries from Destination, and we shopped ferociously at a garage sale given by a woman of superb taste on the way. Then Salome and I fought the crowds at Ikea. She solved a pressing clothing-storage emergency and I bought Claire a small high-efficiency reading lamp. She’s been reading under the bedcovers at night with a torch, just as I used to do albeit when I was twice her age. Dinner was an outrageously good frittata at the Ramsay-Gormans, with Medjool dates and Rainbow’s cave-aged Swiss gruyere for dessert.

And so to bed.

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