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There’s a quiet in Davis that used to unnerve me.  At night it settles in, leaving only the faint ocean roar of the 80 in the distance.  All those people hurrying to San Francisco, or Tahoe, or who knows where blend into a white noise as subtle and compressed as the Tule fog.  No planes overhead, no dogs barking, no BART, no beats or bass lines from cruising cars.  No yelling, no shopping carts, no bangs, booms, shots, or sirens.  It used to be so disarming, coming up from Oakland for a night, to have night settle in and dampen all but this ribbon of freeway.  I don’t appreciate the quiet now, though it no longer makes my ears strain for hints of auditory mischief.

Despite living in what counts, for the west coast at least, as the middle of nowhere, Davis is indisputably on edge of the urban fabric.  The freeway is a constant reminder that we’re a stones throw from the crossroads of everything.  San Francisco pulls like a magnet in our conceptual field.  Sacramento is like a neighborhood everyone just forgets to visit.  Tahoe is our back yard disguised as a country club.  Half the cities you’ve ever heard of in California are a stones throw away.  Davis is tangled in the roots of Northern California’s transportation bindweed.

This irreconcilability is part of what erodes away the impression of inapproachableness I used to feel about Davis.  That this town was a proud, staid, calm, settled place.  It is those things, but it’s also full of undergraduates finding their place in life.  It has local produce and Co-op supporting hippies and keggers and midterms and pool parties.  It has a tight core Davisite community, but also a population that supports more pizza places and bars per capita than seems possible.  In the end, it’s just a town.  A funny, slightly quirky town – the sort that orders brand new low-emissions double-decker busses and whose major town event involves a parade of home-made bikes and antique farm equipment – but a town nonetheless.  For every boycotter of Israeli-made products picketing outside the Co-op, we have a handful traffic scofflaws parading around Davis like it’s their private property.

For all of this, Davis is great.  Approachable, amusing, and immensely livable.  I’m happy to be here, making memories and building a life surrounded by such warm and likable people.  But there’s this part of me that seems to be as strong as ever, this sense of home burned into my being, that won’t ever let me feel at peace here, or anywhere.  I can be on the winning team, but I’ll never have the home-court advantage.  I accept this as reality, as something I do not strive to change, but I can acknowledge that a piece of me believes in something I can no longer grasp.  There are all these memories built up already, of places, and sounds, and smells, and feelings which belong so wholly to another time and another land that they may as well belong to a different life, surfacing like deja vu from some past existence.

Today, this spiritual hallucination is the ocean.  My ocean is different than the one we have here.  It has sand which is perpetually cold, and so very hard.   Stinking banks of seaweed are scarce, but driftwood stacks in huge piles at the high water line.  There are no seals or dolphins to speak of, but tide pools enough to fill even the longest days.  Buckets of sand dollars are waiting to be found; an infinity of small rocks hide an unimaginable number of even smaller crabs.  The beach is pierced again and again with clear, very cold streams running into the Pacific.  If you look long enough, you may see a deer or raccoon on the margins, where forest abruptly gives way to sand.  There are no bed-and-breakfasts, no hotels with outdoor pools, no steakhouses.  Just a cold, steady wind threatening to give you windburn, water so cold you don’t dare put more than your toes in, and misty, rainy silence so deafening you can’t help but know yourself in that moment.  You’re not on the path from metropolis to metropolis, from urban sprawl to urban center.  You’re hours away from everything.  So far from any kind of civilized life that no one even really lives here.  It’s just you, this pavement disguised as sand, and the crushing, life affirming solitude that is the coast as its meant to be.


Blog, blog, blog.

It’s spring break!  I’m not doing a very good job blogging.  I got all my papers turned in, and I think all is well.  I’m attemping to not think about school, though I had to go to campus today to drop off the graded finals for the class I read for.

Sadly, I’m going to have to go to campus tomorrow too, boo.  Though this should be a good trip, I guess, as I’ve got an appointment with a doctor to talk about these heart palpitations, and the notted mess I’ve made my neck.  I seriously need to find a way to destress this next quarter, because I spent way too much of this one feeling crap.  Plus I’m sure it’s just not good for me, and feeling unwell stresses me out double.  Urgh.  Anyway, I’m pretty nervous about tomorrow, but I’m hoping that by lunch I’ll be full of relief at finding out that as usual I’m worrying about a mountain when faced with a molehill.   Yup.  Sigh.

Spent today running errands of many types around town, which was great.  Had a lovely lunch at Kathmandu, and picked up some tasty goods at the Co-op.  It’s so nice to be around town without any particular aim and with no time constraints.  Lovely day.  Capped it off by daydreaming through what I wanted to do with the front yard and garden, and hammered out some semi-concrete plans with Lewis.  I’m rather looking forward to some yard work, maybe tomorrow, and I hope the weather warms up a little, it’s been really breezy.


This is the most social day I’ve had in ages!  I may wax poetic about the two wonderful groups of people we saw today… but I don’t think words really capture the feeling of comradrie and fulfillment I’m left with.  In short, we got up early to go to Berkeley and have Thai brunch for our old co-worker’s birthday.  The whole team was there, and it was so wonderful to be with the work group.  That’s a truly special group of people, and I’m really hoping we can make good on the plan to do another Afghan food / Bollywood night with them while we’re on spring break.  We definitely need to spend more time with them.  Thai brunch was a little strange this morning, because it turns out it was the 100th day of mourning for the death of the founder of the temple, so they were having a big funeral next door to the brunch-having, and the place was crawling with monks (it’s a temple, so it should be, but these were out-of-town-type monks all congregating to show their regards) and the usual Berkeley crowd as well.  They weren’t charging for brunch today since it was sort of a special day, they were just asking for donations instead in remembrance of their departed abbot.  We paid what we would have normally, but it was still a nice gesture.

After a lovely brunch, we headed back up to Davis and squeezed in a little work (and made some chocolate chip cookies!) before going over to our friend Ben’s place for his birthday.  This was another really great crowd –  old school Davis folks of the Ben’s family and family friends varieties, as well as a few Ben-friends I’ve come to know and enjoy.  It’s funny, I think of Ben as one of the most social, connected people in town, and yet I’m at his birthday party and I know almost everyone there through one event or another by now… from other parties, from the brunch club, from cribbage nights, people who were at my wedding I didn’t even realize I knew… The longer I’m in Davis, and the longer Lewis and I are together, the more old-worn-shoe all these parties get.  It’s a really gratifying feeling.  I’ve done so much moving around in my life, lived in so many houses and places and cities, and had so many different groups of friends… so on nights like tonight, it starts to feel like maybe I’m settled, and maybe there’s joy and comfort to be had in maintaining a loose network like this for decades.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve been at a Davis house party, dreading that I don’t know anyone but Lewis well enough to feel like I could chat them up, feeling like the out-of-town novelty with no intrinsic value.  This doesn’t happen so much any more.  There are no new “scary” people left to meet!  Just lots of nice people doing interesting things with their lives that I’m happy to talk with.

So we’ll call this a rousing success of a day, in a time when both Lewis and I should probably have been home working.  But I think we’re both better off for having had a chance, even in the busiest of times, to connect with our roots and get our heads out of our books.   Yay!


It’s been almost 20 days since post-the-last. Egad! I’m not sure I’m going to spend much time recapping those days. Let it suffice to say that there was a mad rush at packing, a furniture move sooner than planned, several box-gathering trips, several cleaning adventures, and a long, long series of unpacking and fidgeting days. In the last few days we’ve managed to get the last of the big boxes out of the way and have worked up to hanging pictures and arranging rooms. Woot!

We had a really productive day yesterday, hitting up the Co-op (my new love!), the Village Bakery, the Artery for a belated anniversary present (and a sweet calligraphy pen!), and The Paint Chip for framing. We must have spent at least an hour trying to figure out how to frame two sets of three odd-sized works of art. The girl there was so cooperative and indulged our sense of cheapness and eventually helped us figure out how to strike the perfect balance of cheap and decent looking. Ended up getting cheap ready-to-use type frames (with glass and all) and having them cut custom mats for them, and then float-mounting them ourselves. I can’t believe how well it all turned out! First art up in the new house!

Oo, we also had a very excellent party last night at Dylan’s house. I may have drank most of a bottle of wine by myself. I hardly ever drink, but apparently I was in the mood last night, and I must say it turned out to be a really great night. Good company, good drinks, all that. I’m also surprisingly completely not hung over this morning. I don’t know if it was the banana and peanuts and water Lewis fed me when we got home, or if I didn’t drink as much as I thought, or what… but woke up (rather late) this morning and all was well! Only amusing thing to note (other than there being a guy at the party last night who was the perfect combination of Sean Nelson and Scott Greider…) was that Lewis and I took a route through UCD campus to get home last night and definitely ended up riding through a sprinkler. Very surprising at 2 am. Oh, and we had to do a drunken tire patching job before we could take off. Great success!

We’ve also got next weekend to look forward to — we’re having a housewarming / hushed birthday party for Lewis on Saturday. Think lots of folks will be showing up, which is most excellent. We’re leaving for Seattle a few days after that, which is making everything feel like it’s coming up really quickly. Stupidly I put off ordering Lewis’ present till just today and now I’m sure it’ll arrive while we’re in Seattle… which totally sucks. We’ve been awful with presents this year for some reason, and I’m usually so good with them. Booooooooo. I do have a few other ideas up my sleeve, so I think I’ll at least pull of a half-yer-presents-now, half-yer-presents-later sort of thing. Sigh. Suboptimal!

Tomorrow is a trip down to Berkl to have dinner with Armandka and welcome him back to California. I’m so excited we’re finally on the same coast of the same continent. It’s been ages! I’m not sure how the whole train thing is going to work. I’m feeling a bit like maybe borrowing one of the Lawyers’ cars so we can hop in and out whenever. Not to mention the 75 bucks per train trip (two tickets, round trip) is a bit off-putting. But I guess we’ll see. I suspect Lewis is pretty adverse to asking to borrow a car for a thing we could do by ourselves, and I too am a little wary of driving when we could be taking public transit. It’s odd to be up against that money-vs-idealism wall again and it’ll be interesting to see how it all falls out. 75 bucks richer and come-as-we-please, but yuckily driving and parking? Or 75-bucks poorer, somewhat time-pressed, but more relaxed transit and more environmental?


We had intended on being in Davis fairly early this morning to meet people for lunch, but after my lack of sleep last night, we ended up sleeping in pretty late. By the time we were up, showered, breakfasted, and on our way to Amtrak it was past noon already, and it takes a bit of time to get out to Davis. Anyway, we got in about two, which was the perfect time for a hot dog with Francie, Emily and Andrew. We had seen a Food Network show which featured Pinks the night before, so I just couldn’t resist getting a spicy Polish with chili… mmm. The taste of LA.

Didn’t do much besides hang out in Davis today. We toodled over to our place to unload a few boxes to bring back home today, and met one of our neighbors in the process! Seems like a friendly lady, if a bit obvious about her concerns for keeping the neighborhood a quiet place. Anyway, we got to admire her garden and talk about the neighborhood kids (our neighbors across the street have year-old triplets.. egad!) and it generally left me with a warm fuzzy feeling about our new folks. We also decided to move to Davis sooner than later, as in moving our furniture before our junk instead of the opposite, which had been the plan heretofore.

So we’ve rented a U-Haul for Wednesday, and that will be the first night we all sleep in Davis. How wonderful! Only three more nights here! It’s a little sad how much I’m looking forward to getting out of El Cerrito, but the last month or two (perhaps since Memorial Day?) has been rather trying and I just have never really recovered the sense of safety and happiness my apartment had before that. I don’t want to lay all the blame on the neighbors downstairs, but their childish fighting certainly has a lot to do with it. I don’t know how our old neighbors were so quiet, but I never heard a peep out of them except the usual working-on-the-car noises, and the time they accidentally broke the window below us in the middle of the night (trying to let the cat in..). Sigh. It’s as if the new people do everything twice as loud and are half as nice. Davis. Three more nights!

I did freak out a little when we changed our plans, for fear that it’s going to be really hard to get that done. I think it’s more panic about moving so soon (or rather, at all) than anything else. I’m so tired today it felt like I barely got myself to Davis intact, let alone moved a whole apartment’s worth of furniture in one go. But I do want to be up there so bad, and I do think it’s going to be fairly simple to do so. As Lewis pointed out, it will be a lot easier to clean in here with the major items gone, and it will certainly be less messy in the new house if we move all our junk *after* our junk-storage has been placed and put up.

So tomorrow I think we’ll do some of the regular-type chores we need to do, like laundry, and going to the bank, and the dry-cleaners. Then we’ll drive a load of moving stuff up to Davis, and hopefully we can be back early enough to start packing the next load and breaking down bookshelves and junk. We’ll only have Tuesday thereafter to do so, and I’d rather like to have a head start on it before then. I should remind myself, though, that even if we have to do all that on Tuesday, it shouldn’t be impossible. We don’t have all that much furniture to break down. And I’ve already made a list!

Despite the noise downstairs (I think it’s mostly TV?), I think it’s time to capitalize on my level of sleepiness and nod off. It’s going to be a big week.

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