Mellow Happy Days

10 March 2001

I had a really good rant started. I swear I did. But then I've had so many nice things in the last day or so that I just couldn't keep it up.

Last night was Mark's and my date night. We went to La Maison in Castro Valley (the suburb just north of us). Cheesy name, but the food was amazing and the prices pretty reasonable -- they gave us everything, included in the price of the entree. Pureed vegetable soup (very savory), green salad (including the good French greens and avoiding the bad ones -- quite a trick!), au gratin potatoes that made me understand why people bother with au gratin potatoes, perfectly spiced veggies, and boneless trout in caper sauce. Followed by poached pears with vanilla ice cream. Mmmmmmm. We will be returning to that place. It was almost empty the whole time we were there, too. That's what I love about California: if you want to eat before 6:00, you can get in just about anywhere. Everybody eats late here! Except for us poor unfashionable Midwesterners. We beat the crowds.

Then we came home and watched "The Name of the Rose" and talked to Timprov. I had seen the movie before, but that was for one of my J-term classes, Politics and Patronage In Western Art, and it was very hard to concentrate when my classmates wouldn't shut up. Despite the presence of Christian Slater in the movie, I enjoyed it.

And then, after a leisurely and altogether pleasant morning, including many diverse conversations with some of my favorite people, Mark and I went walking up in the hills here in Hayward. We climbed up the second row of hills, high enough that we could see over the first row of hills, down into the Bay, across to San Francisco, and down to the beginnings of San Jose. We couldn't make out any of the details of the Peninsula, but it was still gorgeous. Garin Regional Park is definitely where it's at. They've got a pond, a kite field, a different field, cows, frogs, cute small children, horseback riding trails...and rusted out farm machinery.

It's extremely hard to impress a Nebraska girl with your rusted out farm machinery. It may be "historical" and "quaint" out here. At home, it just means that you didn't take care of your farm. And we see plenty of farms like that. I'm not sure why it lines the parking lot. It's definitely on display, not just sitting there randomly. I have a hard time with this.

But Mark took me away from the rusted out farm machinery to get a chocolate malt, so that was nice, too. Many pleasant things. And now I'm going to read this month's issue of F&SF, which will be all the nicer for not having anything to do with immigrants. And for not being The Closing of the American Mind, by Allan Bloom. I picked that one up at the library. It purports to be an exposition of how liberal arts education has failed America. This is a subject of great interest to me (more upon which in a later entry, possibly even tomorrow).

Well, I'm about 150 pages in, and so far Dr. Bloom is just detailing what's wrong with the present, as opposed to the past. But he's writing in the Eighties, so some of the stuff is amusing. It's been fascinating to me, though, to hear exactly how much of my lifestyle this guy disapproves of. There were lots of things that are so normal these days that it didn't even occur to me that someone would want them to be different -- stuff that was commonplace to my parents, like young people having groups of friends that consisted of both males and females, not all of whom are dating within the group. This is new? This is part of What's Wrong With Our Society? Evidently it is for Dr. Bloom. He'd better start talking about the liberal arts soon, or I'll quit. It's a library book. I can do that with no guilt at all.

I know I said no rants. I lied, and I'm sorry. It's just that I'm a little peeved with the U.N. right now. Their response to the Taliban is the problem. I'm upset about the destruction of the Buddha statues, as I believe I mentioned in this entry. But has the Secretary General gone after the Taliban personally for, oh, I don't know, failing to allow women health care? Or something minor like that? I feel like this is an elaborate set-up for a tasteless joke. (I even have one in mind, it's just that it's a Dale Joke, and Dale Jokes are too tasteless to even paraphrase. Dale was just Like That. He wrote a haiku that managed to be obscene and sacrilegious simultaneously, and that's a lot for seventeen syllables.) The statues are historically important, and I don't mean to downplay that. But the women are currently important. The other groups oppressed by the Taliban are currently important. It seems like the UN is saying that things are more important than people right now. Should I be surprised? Probably not. Should I be angry? Hell yes. And I am.

I don't spend that much time angry, as a percentage. I'm pretty happy right now, actually. It'd be better if Mark didn't have to make sudden business trips to Washington, DC, and if Timprov could get over his nasty cold, but my little world is doing pretty well. It's just that I maintain a low-level background anger towards organizations like the Taliban, and then I read articles or have them read to me, and it just comes bubbling up for your consumption. Aren't you lucky.

Tomorrow's Morphism may be later than they have been. It's a busy day. Mark and I are going to church, coming home, wolfing down our lunches, presumably picking up Timprov so that I have company in dealing with the airport, and throwing Mark on his plane. Then we'll dash home to see Tim and the theoretically lovely Megan. I'm looking forward to meeting the TLM. (Sorry. Will not call you that, nor the DLF, for that matter.) In addition to her own theoretical loveliness, I'm looking forward to having someone who is potentially on my side. She has already joined forces with me in the Battle of Mustard Is Not A Vegetable. I need all the help I can get some days.

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