How can you not be romantic about baseball?

That’s a great line from an okay movie based on a spectacular book called Moneyball. Maybe you’ve heard of it? If you’ve only seen the movie and never read the book, that’s cool. You are probably just not that into baseball. The history, mythology, and traditions of baseball. There is no Brad Pitt in the book, sorry. But the real story of Billy Beane and Paul DePodesta examining the stats work of Bill James and his “sabermetrics” is super fascinating, at least to this nerd. OKAY, I ADMIT IT. I am a super duper baseball nerd.

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Can I rattle off stats or tell you the line-ups from every season of my favorite team? Nope. I also don’t record stats at the games on a scorecard, but I’d probably love to once I learned the art, which I should do. But I remember the times and the players who got me in my guts like no time has gone by. I still remember the smell of old popcorn in the outfield grandstands at the Coliseum back in the 70s, and the announcers on the radio when I was a kid, particularly Bill King and his famous, “HOLY TOLEDO!” I don’t know why I’ve always been drawn to the game, but I have. I have always been a fan of the Oakland Athletics, and secondarily the SF Giants (Bay Area love only), but I wasn’t even allowed to play baseball as a kid, because ONLY SOFTBALL FOR GURLS. Lame!!

It’s the feeling I get when I arrive at my seat with a beer in my hand, and sit down and just take in my surroundings. Every game has the possibility to be historic, and in those peaceful moments before the teams are announced and the anthem is sung, my imagination can take over and my memories make me feel like they’ve wrapped me me up in the fluffiest of comfy blankets. Anything can happen, and for the next 3 hours or more, we fans wait with confidence that magic awaits us.

The view from my seat this season

The view from my seat this season

I think being an Oakland A’s fan and the atmosphere at the Coliseum is special. I’m sure all fans feel that way about their team, but I’ve been to other parks. Meh. Other than in Boston, I don’t know if anyone loves their team more. I also laugh out loud multiple times a game, like yesterday when we were down 8-1 and one of the amazing Coliseum hot dog vendors was walking through the plaza infield waving a ketchup bottle madly and hollering, “Let’s CATCH UP! Let’s CATCH UP!” Stomper, the elephant mascot with mad dance skills, the Hall of Fame Big Heads (seen above), and the vast array of instrumentalists throughout the park, particularly the percussionists, provide endless entertainment even if what’s happening on the field isn’t. Stupid things get me giggling every time, like the Judge Wopner People’s Court theme they play with the umps review a play, or when it’s obvious that the organ player had a little too much coffee that morning. I also love how salty other teams can get about our crazy fans.

Poor babies. The replies from A’s fans were fire.

Poor babies. The replies from A’s fans were fire.

Thing is, it’s not the easiest to hear terms like “poverty franchise” about your team, or to be ignored by MLB publicity forums and all-star votes, but A’s fans believe in our team no matter what. We have had a remarkable 50+ year run at the Coliseum with 4 World Series wins and tons of playoff appearances, despite our budgetary constraints. We have an incredible skipper in Bob Melvin (swoon) and players who are clocking extraordinary stats, even if no one else is noticing. And other people can trash talk all they want, cause we DGAF.

***clap clap clapclapclap LET’S GO OAKLAND! clap clap clapclapclap***

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My favorite uncle Merv and I were tight. He was a salty ol’ shit-slinger with a crazy sense of humor and zero filter, so we were peas in a pod. His brain was powerful, even after age 90, and until the year before he died, he walked 4 miles through Berkeley every day carrying a lead pipe (“in case some prick tries to mess with me”) and did his calisthenics on the porch every morning. He stood a straight 6’2” even in old age, and loved opera, Vanna White, and his family. Oh yeah, and baseball. He played a little. This is Merv.

In 1990, Jerome Holtzman wrote an article for the Chicago Tribune about Comiskey Park called “From Connors to Condon”, a touching ode from someone who clearly gets the romance.

“The best way, I suppose, is to begin at the beginning. I grew up on the Southwest Side, a White Sox fan, and one my earliest recollections of the Sox was in 1938, when Merv Connors hit three home runs in his first three at-bats. I was 11, already keeping a scorecard, and listening to the game on the radio, an old Philco. Bob Elson was the announcer.

The fourth time up, Connors was aiming for posterity. Four home runs in one game, then as now, was the major-league record. Connors came close. He doubled. Four or five feet higher and it would have cleared. The ball struck one of the red lights on the inning-by-inning scoreboard fastened just below the top of the left-field brick wall.”

Imagine if that last hit had been a homer, damn. He would’ve joined a very small and elite club, which at that time had only 2 members, including Lou Gehrig. But his accomplishments in baseball were still very impressive. Along with his two seasons in the majors, he played in the minors for 18 seasons. That’s kind of crazy. He hit 400 homers in his career, no more, no less, including 30 in 1935 alone. That number coupled with his 1,629 RBIs give him some of the highest numbers in baseball history. The only time he wasn’t playing pro ball between ages 20 and 39 was when he went to Europe in 1944 to help win a little war. He was a decorated veteran of the Army 1st Battalion, 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment, and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. (The 517th is fascinating to read about, if you’re into that kind of thing.) Aannnnnnd he got some medals, came back, and put the glove back on.

Merv didn’t talk about any of his fascinating life much, especially the war. He would talk more about his favorite restaurants in certain cities he played for, or other memories of his travels outside of the diamond. But until his death in 2006 just before his 92nd birthday, he got constant requests in the mail for his autograph on 3x5 cards from the big fans and collectors. Since he would rather listen to a record or watch ol’ hot legs Vanna on Wheel in his later years, he would let me work through the piles of mail he would throw on the sofa and ignore, and I would just give him the stacks of cards to sign and stuff the return envelopes for him. I absolutely loved reading the fan mail; I learned so much about him, because he never EVER bragged about anything. God, I miss him. He could be mean as a snake when he wanted to be, but he loved the crap outta me, and he made me laugh like no one has since. And he got the last laugh, putting in his requests for his funeral service that we all sing “Take Me out to the Ballgame” as he was lowered into the ground. That ol’ mutha!

Well, I guess I’m done. I love baseball. Stories like Merv’s, all of them. That’s the romance.

Thanks for reading.

Woooodawg! It's about to get random in here!

Heeeeeeyyyy, y’all! Greetings from the sunny East Bay! Since I rarely post much lately because I’m too lazy and dumb to think of a theme for a blog post (still suffering from grad school PTSD), here is just a smattering of the things gettin’ their boogie on in my head. In no particular order. (Order is exhausting.)

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I recently decided to stop eating red meat. No, this isn’t “Oh, the Californian is gonna eat sprouts and support animal rights” thing. I’m very comfortable with my position on the food chain, and I love a good rib-eye like WHOA. The thing is…….

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I mean, maybe. My body keeps giving me signs that middle age is a FUCKING DICK, and that maaaaaybe I wanna make some decisions that might be good for my health for a change. I kinda feel like garbage after every time I have a steak, sadly. So rather than give up the 5 pounds of sugar/carbs I eat/drink in a week, the cow has got to go.

Thing is, I can probably survive the steak withdrawal alright. I don’t eat them very often. But BURGERS?? Lawd, I love a good burger, now. I remember when eating some kinda deep-fried burger at a spot in Memphis was akin to a religious experience for me. In fact, it’s rare that I straight up give the thumbs down to a burger, because even the dry, sad ones can be okay if you doctor them up properly.

I’ve heard all kinds of people talking about these new plant-based burgers that are pink in the middle and actually juicy. I was skeptical, to say the least. I tried a Boca burger in the past and would have probably preferred to feast on a urinal cake than that shit. But I decided to be open-minded, and I tried one of the Safeway organic brand’s vegan burgers that I found in the meat section. (hahaha, they’re always in the meat section, like, “Sorry, loser. You gotta look at all the good-tasting actual meat while you pick up your flower burger, ya hippie.”) Y’all, that shit was nasty. I made it as directed, and had my favorite buns and fixins, but I kept chewing and chewing and chewing. There were these nasty chewy chunks in the whole thing, and it tasted like….well, nasty chewy chunks. The second one in the package went in the garbage. I tried an Impossible Burger, and I’ll tell you what’s impossible. That people actually think this is good, that people think this is an acceptable substitute for a real burger, that people don’t hurl their plates at their servers in disgust. That’s what. So on a couple friends’ recommendations, I bought Beyond Burgers at Whole Paycheck today, expecting to be cranky and foot-stompy again. But!!!!

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I mean, is it as good as a meat burger? Nope. But I didn’t expect it to be. It was, however, juicy, a little crispy and charred on the outside, and had a texture like a real burger. NO CHEWY MYSTERY CHUNKS. I ate the whole thing, and actually look forward to eating the second one soon. So if you’re in the market for sad, non-burgers, I recommend Beyond Burger. They have a sausage, too, and you know I’ll be trying that shit!

Let’s see, what else. Been loving being back in the Coliseum on a regular basis for A’s baseball. All those painful years of never seeing games or paying out my ass for a subscription to watch them on my laptop are thankfully over now, one of the best parts of being back in the Bay. I feel so alive when I’m at a game, it’s romantic and sentimental and magical. Their new season ticket “Access” thingy is super awesome, too - mainly for the beer and food at 50% off! Every time I get a micro-brew draft for $5, it feels like my birthday! So I’m having lots of birthdays lately, is what I’m saying.

Here’s the thing, though. I go to the games alone, mostly. My subscription is for one. I can add tickets for 25% off, and I have, but it makes me sad that I don’t have any friends or family who are as nuts for this team as I am. This isn’t a new thing, but it’s much more noticeable now! I have sat by some cool people and had the time of my life, but I’ve also sat by geezers who talk about mutual funds throughout the whole game, and one of these cranky douches even dropped his dang CANE on my head. No. Fuck no.

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I gotta get new friends, obvs. It’s funny (not) that the two biggest A’s fans I know live in Memphis now. GAAAAHHHH. Even though I’ve been on a single-and-loving-it kick for a few years now, I’d almost consider having a boyfriend again. If he was a huge A’s fan, of course.

Maybe.

It’s cool, though. Even if I roll through the whole game without anyone talking to me but my favorite beer lady, it’s still the happiest place on earth. If you ask me. :)

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Oh yeah! And can someone tell me when the hell turkeys took over the Bay Area? And why they’re so fucking AGGRO???

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These big bitches are EVERYWHERE. I’ve seen ‘em out in CoCo County all over the place, got chased by a gobbling pack of them hiking in the Oakland hills, and saw a gaggle of them at the Berkeley Marina yesterday, for fuck’s sake. Like, where are they coming from??! They stand in the middle of the street, and you can be rolling straight at them at 40 mpg and they look at you like “IDGAF, try me.” If we do hit one, are we allowed to eat it? I don’t know the rules here. I know plenty of people back in Memphis that are already putting on the forest camo as they read this, hahahaaaa!!! I swear to god I never saw one turkey in the first 25 years of my life living here. Did a plane drop them? Did a turkey farmer go rogue and randomly place them in various streets? I really, really wanna know, y’all.

REALLY. Wanna know.

Anyway, I’m done now. Have a turkey-free, A’s-loaded, real big beefy burger day, lovelies.

Gardening: My new crack!

Two things I’m wondering……is it weird that I have never had a houseplant, let alone a garden, at 48 years old? And also, is it weird how TOTALLY ENTHRALLED AND ADDICTED I AM after mere weeks of dipping my toes into the endless possibilities of this hobby?

I’m not exaggerating, I am like a crackhead right now. As with any endeavor, I want to be successful at it, so I armed myself with internet research and YouTube videos about how to actually do any of it. If I hadn’t done that, I would’ve left the little plants I bought in the containers they came in, watered them some, and probably cried when they never grew and died on me. I had no idea you had to replant all of this stuff when you got it home, nor did I realize the requirements for successful plants, and how much chemistry and other science-y things are involved. I’m happy to live in a good climate now with lots of sun and two balconies, so I decided to give it a try. I did grow up with my grandfather having a stunning garden full of food every year, and my mother has always had pretty flowers and success at vegetable gardening, so I was hoping some of their know-how and successes had seeped into my being by osmosis or something.

I knew I wanted to grow edibles that I regularly cook with, like tomatoes, peppers and basil, and that I wanted some pretty flowers for the balcony I regularly hang out on. I went to Homey D first, and was immediately attracted to a pot with big two-color purple flowers called a clematis. It wasn’t expensive, so I picked it up, as well as a little seed greenhouse thing, and some seeds, just to try it out from scratch. I found out later that the clematis is a vine grower and can be trained upwards easily, so then I had to buy some stakes for that sucker.

How pretty is this thing??

How pretty is this thing??

Not for nothing, but I have been tending to this dang plant like it’s a new born baby. And it has grown and made new buds in the few weeks I’ve owned it, and that is so exciting to me! I stare at it like it’s a mountain of gold coins or something. Is this weird?

I got some seeds as party favors at a wedding reception, so I planted them in the little peat squares greenhouse thing I bought, which just looked like a 13x9 pan with a plastic lid. I also planted some zinnias, which I’ve always loved, and some basil, just to see what would happen. When after only 6 days little green shoots were coming out of the soil, I LOST MY DAMN MIND! I felt so powerful! I put dry little shit in dirt, applied water, and voila! Magical, I tell you. After 2 weeks, this is what I have.

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I have no idea how long this stuff usually takes, but this seems crazy! They already have little green leaves! And I re-potted just the strong-looking peat squares in this cute pot because the 13x9 pan was not cute and cheap AF. Who knows where these will go, but you better believe I am checking on them probably way too much. Because I AM OBSESSED.

We’ve had some rain and cold days, so I waited to get the little vegetable plants I wanted. UNTIL TODAY! OH FRABJOUS DAY! CALLOOH CALLAY! I now have a vegetable garden in grow bags on my second balcony. Two varieties each of peppers, tomatoes, and basil, all which are supposed to do well in containers.

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The thought of being able to make my pasta sauce with items from my own garden is almost too much! I don’t want to get my hopes up too high, but I am super excited at the prospect of growing things I can eat. I feel like I am crazy for never realizing that I had this desire before. Having indoor cats (and pure laziness) has kept me from having any houseplants, and as a die-hard renter who has been in low-light or bad climate or no outdoor space-land for far too long, I guess there really was no good time before.

Wish me and my new pals good luck!

New twister purple verbena friend for my clematis, who seemed lonely.

New twister purple verbena friend for my clematis, who seemed lonely.

Catharsis

Many of us have never experienced the perfect “nuclear family” situation with two strong parental figures who are in it from the beginning and stick around til the end. I dare say MOST people born after the 50s have not had that experience. Divorce and the prevalence of blended families has become a norm, and so many family situations are painful and confusing for children. It’s true that we can’t choose our families any more than we could prevent the decisions our parents had to make when we were children, and sometimes kids get the real short end of the proverbial stick. The experiences we have through these complicated family dynamics and the people who influence our young lives make us who we are as adults. I am lucky to have a family that I like to think I would’ve chosen, with the exception of one. My biological father.

Because it is hard to accept that a parent is fundamentally flawed and toxic to one’s existence, and because having these kinds of feelings can cause rough emotions like guilt and regret to take hold, I wanted to share my story with others who may have had or are having a similar experience to let them know that it’s okay to feel that way. It’s okay to say goodbye, and t’s okay to protect yourself and your feelings no matter what. It isn’t your fault that your parent disappoints or hurts you, it is not a reflection of your importance on this planet. Parents are held to high expectations and seen as god-like beings when we are young, until we can finally accept that they are human beings with difficulties and flaws of their own, flaws we do not have to carry on in our own lives. It takes so much work and self-love to let go of the idea that things will ever get better, because oftentimes, they just won’t. And life can go on and be beautiful anyway, it really can. Even if my story doesn’t help someone else feel understood or validated, at the very least it will allow me to close a long and painful chapter of my life.

My father passed away last month at age 70. I hadn’t seen him in nearly 15 years, and hadn’t been talking to him at all for 12. I made a choice to shut him out of my life completely in 2007 with no regrets. It had been a long time coming, and when he told me yet another of hundreds of lies one day in 2007, I shut down and shut him out. The moment it happened was empowering, frustrating, and shockingly easy. I was resolute, and never looked back. I had taken too much shit to have any second doubts at that point. I didn’t even tell him at the time. I acted like I believed him, and calmly ended our phone call with no reaction at all. But I knew the second I replaced the receiver that I. Was. Done.

When I learned of his death, I was surprised by the level of my initial grief. I had spent many years and countless thoughts confirming with myself that I would not feel guilty when he died because I had turned my back on him. Thankfully, I guess, guilt was not the emotion I was having when I got the news. It was just a profound sadness. Sadness that this man who really did have some great qualities and a scorching intellect could die in the state that he did, and without ever truly getting it right. Nothing about his life was ever easy, and he never took responsibility for that, which I’m sure is why things never improved for him. if you don’t truly own it, you can’t fix it. He preferred to play the victim, and alienate himself from others with bad behavior, lies, and self-obsessed tall stories. I was profoundly sad that the man half responsible for my life was gone, and that I would never hear that he had changed, really changed. The 4-year-old who worshipped her daddy cried tears of deep and powerful grief rattling though a 47-year-old body. Grief for potential that was lost forever.

He was a man capable of giving and expressing great love. He was musically talented and fiercely intelligent, and could write better than anyone I know. He went to college, served his country in Vietnam, and fell in love with my amazing mother, who he still loved til the day he died. When his heart was in it, he worked incredibly hard, and physically was like a cockroach, in that absolutely nothing could kill him, even when doctors were sure he was a goner. He had a great belly laugh, cried when he was sad with no shame, and was an amazing cook. He had a lot to offer the world.

Unfortunately, he was a terrible father. Not initially, when he was physically around. But after the divorce when I was around 3 or 4, he moved back to Texas, and the long and painful legacy between us began. I was lucky to have a strong and committed man come into my life as a father figure when I was 4, and he became and still is my dad. But my father held on, and held on in a way that only hurt me and my parents. He would promise to come visit, and never show. He would say he had mailed me a surprise, and it would never arrive. He would blame the post office every time. I had to hear my grandfather say negative things about him all the time, but he would never do anything to actually prove him wrong. For years, I kept believing him. Because he was my daddy and he loved me. And for years, he kept disappointing me. I went years and years without seeing him at all, and just when I would be ready to give up on him, he would resurface, raise my hopes again, and promptly destroy me all over again.

He never, ever came through with any promise he made, plain and simple. To this day, I have a hard time believing that others will come through when I have expectations of them. This may sound like a sob story, like it’s not really that bad, and I realize that. I was never physically abused, nor did I have to tolerate the countless horrifying things a child can endure with a parent. But it has negatively impacted every relationship I’ve ever had, because it is so hard for me to trust that someone really loves me and will really come through for me. Gratefully, this has improved with age, but wow. Talk about damaged goods.

At 17, I had some circumstances in my life that caused me to move to Connecticut and live with the father I hadn’t lived with or seen more than three times since I was 4. He was on wife number 3 or 4 at the time, and in a pretty stable and financially secure situation, so it was hopefully going to be a good time for us to mend fences and get to know each other again, and hopefully fix the hurt. But I had serious anger towards him, and even in therapy, he was incapable of understanding my position, preferring instead to blame me, blame my parents, blame everyone and anything else but himself. It was another time of complete turmoil for me. I wanted to believe that he cared about me. He was paying for school, paying for therapy and participating, and outwardly seemed committed to helping me, but would lie to the therapist about his absentee parenting, claiming much more involvement than he ever came close to, and blaming my stepfather for keeping us apart, which was a blatant lie. My anger and depression built and built, and I went down a very dangerous spiral that I thankfully lived through. And even though my intellect understood that this person was not good for me, my heart could not accept that my father was not worth my effort. I blamed myself for what I was feeling, and was convinced that I was just royally fucked up in the head and a really bad person. Things were not good for me.

Bopped around for several years after that, from Connecticut to New York to California, and then went to live with him again in Austin, TX in the early 90s when he was getting divorced again and having health issues. That was probably the best time between us as adults, mainly because it was just us and there was no woman 7 years older than me trying to play mom, and because he was traveling so much for work, which kept us apart a lot. Because the anger was still high, very very high. I was doing my best to be sympathetic and try to enjoy a relationship with him, but I still had this nagging feeling that he was never going to be honest with himself, and therefore could never be honest with me. He lied so much, and about everything, even the stupidest of things. You could catch him red-handed in a lie and he would tell ten more to try and cover his ass. I just got to a point where I realized that I fundamentally did not like this man, my father. But I STILL didn’t want to hurt him.

I moved back to California for a while, then to Tulsa for a decade, then Memphis, and we kept in touch and saw each other fairly regularly through those years, no more than once a year. But I admit I did whatever I could to avoid seeing him, because a molten crater of anger lava was always in my gut when we were together, and he just kept up the stupid lying. It wasn’t until he told me that whopper in 2007 that I finally snapped. The adult finally beat the 4-year-old into submission, and not for nothing, but my emotional stability suddenly improved ten-fold, and continued to improve as every year without him went by.

He didn’t just accept my decision, oh no. He kept writing and trying to call, and would not honor my wishes. Some of his emails were harsh and hurtful, so I finally blocked him in every way I could. But he kept on. He would just start a new email address, or show up to a show I was calling, even when I refused to see him. I never read an email again, and when it still didn’t stop, I finally wrote my own harsh email. It stopped the contact attempts for a while, but they started up again when he tried to use his poor health to manipulate me into restoring contact.

Contact was never restored, and now it never will be. And I am at peace with that. The week of his death was hard for many reasons, but none that made me be hard on myself. I can finally have peace now that he is at peace, and I do hope that for him. Despite his issues, I know he loved me. He just didn’t know how.

It is age, experience, and perspective that have carried me though to this place of acceptance and gratitude. I value every relationship I have even more as each year goes by, and realize how truly fortunate I am every moment. My family is amazing, and I couldn’t love them more. And the older I get, the more I believe in others. It’s a gift that this ability was not completely unattainable for me, and I am so grateful. Life is worth every ounce of the tough parts. They make the good parts truly mean something that I’ll never take for granted.

And with that, this 48 year chapter is closed.

All is quiet on New Year's Day (unless you're in my car)

Wow, it’s been a blazillion days since I wrote something on here. Feels good to be back! And if you’re reading this, Happy New Year!! Let’s all try not to fuck it up, cuz it could be a really good one.

So I got my Master’s degree a few weeks ago, packed up, and moved back to California. I have not started working yet, so I’ve been spending my time trying to wrap my head around the reality of actually living in my home state. For the last 20+ times I’ve come here, I left again within a week or two, so my brain keeps waiting for the trip to the airport that isn’t coming. Nothing seems real. I’m in a nice condo, fully unpacked and set up, and yet it has seemed like an Air BNB or something. Temporary.

Today seemed to change that. As cliche as it sounds, it being New Year’s Day and all, something transformed in me today. It’s super hard to explain or describe, but I knew it the minute it happened. And it felt absolutely incredible, y’all. My heart surged up and my brain followed, and I laughed out loud like a total idiot, with happy tears brimming my eyes.

But let’s not go there yet, I wanna tell you about my beautiful morning.

I managed to stay up until midnight last night so I could say Happy New Year to my cats. Yeah, I didn’t go anywhere, I rarely do on amateur night. Had a fun day with my brothers and soon-to-be sister-in-law, so I was good. Woke up ridiculously early, and unlike most mornings lately, where I stay in bed hoping beyond all hope to go back to sleep, I popped right up and got dressed. It was gonna be clear and sunny, and I was heading to the beach to wake up with the sun.

There was no traffic at all, I had a nice mix of 80s punk and power pop on the stereo, I paid the brand-spanking new $7 Bay Bridge toll (barf), and was absolutely thrilled with how crystal clear and shiny the city and the bridge looked as the rising sun hit all of its steel and glass perfectly, making it look like it wasn’t even real. I arrived to the beach just as the sun had risen high enough to let me follow my shadow down to the water.

The Pacific Ocean has always given me life. I’ve seen a lot of oceans, and it’s still my favorite. I went to Stinson earlier this week, which is a good beach, but something about Ocean Beach in the city has always gotten me in the feels. It never fails to put my senses in a good place, to allow me to focus on nothing but the rolling waves, the exquisite smell of the water, and the sound the tide makes as it chases me up the beach. I love watching the little fat sandpipers running around like lost children, hearing surfers waxing the crap outta their boards, trying to figure out what or whom has made some of the bizarre prints in the sand, and like when I was a kid, still can’t resist looking for a perfect sand dollar.

An absolutely perfect San Francisco morning on the beach

An absolutely perfect San Francisco morning on the beach

After much roaming and gazing, I headed north on the Great Highway and went to the next beach on my list, a Bayside beach. Again, easy parking, no traffic through the city, it was magical. Holidays rule! When I got to Crissy Field, I sat on a bench for a while, just watching doggies play in the bay waves and looking at my favorite ginger bridge.

I love this old broad so much

I love this old broad so much

As I was about to mosey down the beach toward the bridge, an old Chinese man came over to the bench I was on and straight BEAMED at me. He had some big shiny white choppers, too. He said, “Good morning to you! Happy New Year to you!” and it was so cute and ridiculous, I almost died. I said “Happy New Year to you, too!” and tried to beam back with equal sparkle, but there was no way. I smiled all the way down to the bridge and back, thanks to that little old man.

Even a crusty old prison on a rock looks pretty on a day like today

Even a crusty old prison on a rock looks pretty on a day like today

I finally decided I needed to head home because I had been out for hours and hadn’t eaten a thing. As I turned on Battery off of the Embarcadero, Jock-O-Rama by the Dead Kennedys came on. I was flying through downtown San Francisco with no other cars, listening to one of my favorite SF bands, everything was perfect and beautiful, and BLAM. Like, buh-BLAM. I started laughing. My heart and head were spinning with the happy. My eyes welled up because of it. I WAS HOME AGAIN.

And all is right with my world.

Happy New Year, you beautiful things.