Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Raw, adjective: 6. ignorant, inexperienced, or untrained: a raw recruit.

Feeling creaky, and sore, and blasé? Read this piece on 92-year-old rockstar yogini Tao Porchon-Lynch, and then try to tell me you don't just desperately wanna be her.

It's women like Lynch that give me a vision for what I want my life to be someday. My big sis and I remember so fondly a certain dance teacher of ours, Nevorah Adams, who at sixty-something - back in the early 80s - would rock her high-heeled tap shoes and long sexy legs and dance her ass off there in the wooden studio on the second floor of that dusty old prairie building in Brookings. I can't hear the Beach Boys' California Girls without remembering tap-tap-tapping away to it with that incredible woman in front of the big long mirror as what - a four, five year old?

Point being, I remember saying to myself as that young kid, even then: I wanna be her. I wanna be able to kick my nose when I'm 63. I wanna be able to rock the fishnets and the boa when I'm a sexagenarian (though I guarantee I didn't say "sexagenarian" at the time). And that drive's stayed with me all these years since, all because of one remarkable teacher, and her memory motivates me on days when I'd rather just say "meh." So thanks to Lynch, with her Indra Devi legacy and her Duke Ellington name-dropping (!!), and thanks to Nevorah, for planting a seed in the first place.

It takes just one powerful teacher. Just one. And then, well, life - it just unfolds.

For yoga master at 92, there is only the dance (Yahoo)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Raw, adjective: 11. unprocessed or unevaluated: raw data.

While a person dies every day during the eight or more hours in which he or she functions as a commodity, individuals come to life afterward in their spiritual creations. But this remedy bears the germs of the same sickness: that of a solitary being seeking harmony with the world.

~ Che Guevara

Raw, adjective: 11. unprocessed or unevaluated: raw data.

Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

May all beings be happy and free.
Peace. Peace. Peace.


Try starting your day with this mantra. It's amazing how your focus will shift. It's not about the frazzled commute. It's not about your spilled coffee. May all beings be happy and free, with lightness in their feet and rhythm in their bones. And may their peace begin with yours.

Raw, adjective: 2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture

Who owns yoga?

Hinduism? Patanjali? Your mom?
Hindu group stirs a debate over yoga's soul (NYT)

And after you read that, dig into this gem from the WaPo:
On Faith: The Theft of Yoga

Well done, smarty.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Raw, adjective: 2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture

Please, oh please, sit down with your Advent-blue clad self and listen to my main woman Ella Fitz scat her badass way through this incredible version of Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies." It's always been one of my favorite tunes, this, in spite of the way it veers dangerously toward the perky; the melody's perfect for humming while walking down the street by your lonesome, especially here in SF where we sidewalk-singers don't even merit a second glance from passerby accustomed to all things bizarre.

Pay attention; really listen, I mean, really listen. Throw yourself into a headstand, maybe, for the full duration of these fabulous 3:47 minutes, or a shoulderstand, if you're wanting to get a little more yin on. And notice, just notice, the yoga going on here: the in-the-moment improv, the fluid flexibility, the fearless sense of play. It's all yoga, baby. No mat necessary. You really can find it everywhere - especially in music like this - if you just open your eyes.

Ella Fitzgerald sings "Blue Skies" (YouTube)

Raw, adjective: 9. disagreeably damp and chilly, as the weather or air: a raw, foggy day at the beach.

That would be me. Advent me.

Purple-bluesy, snapped-in-the-moment, sweaty-after-yoga me. I dig that pic. It feels true. November-true, at least; wintry. The days here in SF have been nippy of late, the nights even moreso; the ice skating rink's set up per usual down in the shadow of Saks in Union Square, and there's this heavy dark atmospheric quiet that makes me want to lose everything to cab franc and cowl-neck sweaters and red lipstick and books and words. Winter, fer sure.

Today's the first Sunday in Advent. Did you forget, too? I sat down at my desk this afternoon and looked at the calendar, realizing this, and suddenly it all made sense: why I've been swimming in Krishna blue of late, why I can't get enough deep violets and murky plums and periwinkles, why this season that feels like so much darkness and chill always comes to me so wrapped in deep lush lilac hues.

So it's Advent, that old familiar liturgical season that means the first of four Sundays anticipating the Main Event, the big shebang, that huge Christmas Eve service when the church lights up in and of its own accord, simply by the grace of the flickering candles throwing light on midnight-massed faces.

[Tears come on writing this, interesting, yes.]

As a kid, growing up a PK, this was a big deal. The long post-Pentecostal stretch was over, and the thrill of the holidays really began when we dug out the dusty Advent wreath with its four blue candles and unrolled my mother's quilted Advent calendar and hung it on the wall. It was inevitably cold and frozen there on the Great Plains; I can remember the blizzard winds howling around the corners of the house in South Dakota like a train, an angry, unpredictable, threatening meteorological force. The warmth of the candlelit liturgical season combined with the hope for the holiday to counter that barren month of cold, capped off by an unusually lazy Christmas Day itself, which was the rare day we actually got to skip church. Since Pops was a campus pastor and his students were always out of session over winter break, he got a sweet day off - which also meant that for one precious Christmas Eve service a year, all six of us got to sit together in the same pew. Pretty rad, even before you consider the Barbie convertibles and Little House on the Prairie boxsets to be found under the Christmas tree the next morning.

SO anyway - here we are again, Advent, shivering, lighting that first candle on the wreath, and I spent the morning at the yoga studio instead of in the back pew as I would've two decades ago, and that felt right, though perhaps I haven't strayed as far from the institutional church as I'd first thought: I unknowingly (subconsciously?) threw on monochromatic purple this morning on barrelling out of the house, late, highly-caffeinated, half-asleep: purple yoga skirt, purple tank, purple long-sleeved shirt. So the Advent colors were there, embodied, this first Sunday, without my even realizing it; and as we look toward Christmas and the unfurling month to come, the December that flies by so quickly as we grow older (do you remember how it used to creep when we were kids, waiting, hoping, anticipating that big Christmas morning under the tree?), I'm graced by the sense of quiet, the yin, the darkness, that's part and parcel of this liturgical season.

It's no coincidence, you know, that the purple-blue hues of Advent mirror the same violets of Lent. Both liturgical seasons are laden with urges toward reflection, mindfulness, stillness, peace. We celebrate peace now, as North and South Korea threaten one another; we cultivate stillness, in the heavy winter evenings that roll in earlier and earlier with each day, until the solstice finally curls us into that shortest day of the year; we sit in the quiet, in the yin, in the blue silent moments, and come back to the breath, and become aware of the suffering, and donate our coats or our canned goods or our time or our labor so that others' suffering might be eased even in the least; we reflect on the year that has been, the year that will so soon draw to a close, the creeping lines on our faces, the aching joints in our bodies; we remember where we were one Advent ago, and ten Advents ago, and twenty, and give thanks for the ongoing presence, for the fact that we can even celebrate one more; and we hope for warmth and nourishment and compassion and care there in the midst of that violet-colored December chill.

So roll around in your purple, get your monochromatic lilacs on, light your life with blues and periwinkles and lavenders and royals, and let that bluesy-ness draw you more deeply into reflection, stillness, presence, gratitude, peace. Whether it's the Krishna blue of Hinduism or the deep violet of Protestant Christianity, the color can be a much-needed muse for finding the kind of grace and peace promised in the mindfulness of the season.

It'll be over before you know it.

Take a deep breath, light a candle, and let your light so shine, preferably while getting your jam on to this chestnut of a Europop tune from the turn of the millennium. (This puppy flashes me straight back to a dark dance club in South Philly circa 2000, several Long Island iced teas in. We're well past the Long Island iced tea days now, but refill your red wine glass instead, and bust a move, please, there in your cowlneck and your thick socks. It's cold in here.)

The Christian Season of Advent
Eiffel 65 ~ Blue (Da Ba Dee) (YouTube)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.

If the only prayer you said in your whole life
was "thank you," that would suffice.

~ 13th c. Christian mystic
Meister Eckhart

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Raw, adjective: 2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture

Adbusters takes culture jamming to a whole new level this year with Carnivalesque Rebellion Week. Let this lead-up to the main event - Buy Nothing Day, on Friday the 26th - fuel you, fire you, stoke a burning in your belly.

So instead of just sitting around stuffing your face with overcooked turkey and rubbery cranberry sauce, shake things up. Question the establishment. Challenge the usual, whether that's by skipping the malls on Black Friday or chanting in public parks or spending your Thanksgiving cleaning sidewalks or cooking for someone who could use a little more to be thankful for.

In the words of the ever-fiery, ever-inspiring gang over at Adbusters, it might look like a little like this:

A few people start breaking their old patterns, embracing what they love (and in the process discovering what they hate), daydreaming, questioning, rebelling. What happens naturally then, according to the revolutionary past, is a groundswell of support for this new way of being, with more and more people empowered to perform new gestures unencumbered by history.

Think of it as an adventure, as therapy – a week of pieing and pranks, of talking back at your profs and speaking truth to power. Some of us will put up posters in our schools and neighborhoods and just break our daily routines for a week. Others will chant, spark mayhem in big box stores and provoke mass cognitive dissonance. Others still will engage in the most visceral kind of civil disobedience. And on November 26 from sunrise to sunset we will abstain en masse – not only from holiday shopping, but from all the temptations of our five-planet lifestyles.

Get it on.

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.

You're an artist.

Yes, you.

Stop thinking you're not. It's in your handwriting - yes - and your breath and your voice and the way you move. All of it.

So do it already. What are you waiting for?

Raw, adjective: 2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture

It's aparigraha week here at Raw Rach, and as such, the perfect time to revisit this excellent article from Tricycle Magazine. "Shopping the Dharma" asks how we reconcile our roles as consumers with our spiritual selves; it takes a ruthlessly self-aware look at the ways in which our consumer mindsets, ingrained as they are in our very being after swimming in the waters of an acquisitive culture all our lives, inform the way we practice as spiritual seekers:
Consumer culture is modeled on instant gratification. We say we want a close relationship with a spiritual mentor, but when that mentor’s guidance challenges our desires or pushes our ego’s buttons too much, we stop seeking it. At the beginning of our practice, we profess to be earnest spiritual seekers, aiming for enlightenment. But after the practice has remedied our immediate problem—the emotional fallout of a divorce, grief at the loss of a loved one, or life’s myriad setbacks—our spiritual interest fades, and we once again seek happiness in possessions, romantic relationships, technology, and career.
So what does it mean, then, to stay? What does it look like to stop shopping, to cease searching, to sit with and watch that urge to continually upgrade, move on, get a bigger and better model? Most of us see examples of this in and amongst one another: the wealthy businessman who constantly trades up for a younger and more surgically-enhanced trophy wife; the young kid who works three jobs to pay for a tricked-out car he doesn't need, because he thinks it'll bring him happiness and social status; the yoga student who constantly bounces from studio to studio, just when her practice hits a plateau and the revelations stop coming so effortlessly.

I always think of David Loy at this time of year; he of the Buddhist scholarship on Lack and American consumerism, he of the brilliant observation that capitalism is in fact our primary contemporary religion, he who challenges us to shift from seeking sustenance, meaning, joy, fulfillment in the shopping mall, the car lot, the McMansion, the football game to a sense of already-present abundance, to give in to a wild sense of affluence, the outlaw certainty of having, being, abandoning that source of suffering that is the desire for more, bigger, better.

That's the practice for us here, now, always, of course, but especially now.

So challenge yourselves to uncover the ways in which the consumer mentality functions in your own spiritual practice. It's there, as much as we'd like to pretend spirituality is free of acquisitiveness and craving:
We must become aware of how the consumer mentality functions in us and in our spiritual communities and institutions. We need to revive appreciation for the traditional model of a practitioner who lives a life of simplicity and humility, sincerity and endeavor, kindness and compassion. We must choose teachers with these qualities, cultivate these qualities in ourselves, and guide our students in developing them. We must remember that the purpose of a spiritual institution is not to preserve itself, but to facilitate the teaching and practice of a spiritual tradition. We should have only as much institutional structure as needed to do that, no more. This is essential to maintain the vitality of our spiritual traditions and to prevent them from becoming empty shells.
Yes, yes, and yes.

Shopping the Dharma (Tricycle)

Raw, adjective: 11. unprocessed or unevaluated: raw data.

You already have everything you need.

How does your life change
when you see it that way?

Raw, adjective: 8. brutally harsh or unfair: a raw deal; receiving raw treatment from his friends.

Moved, touched, inspired by the beautiful "one story, many voices" narrative coming out of the It Gets Better Project. If you're not familiar with this powerful grassroots movement inspired by Dan Savage's initial "It Gets Better" video, created in the wake of media coverage of widespread bullying and gay teen suicides, you owe it to yourselves to sit quietly for a few minutes and take it all in.

The postmodern narrative here - lifting up truth rooted in experience, in the multifaceted spoken testimony of what it feels like to be alive in an outlaw's body in the early 21st century - is so incredibly powerful. It's a rich reminder of our shared humanity, of the universality of loneliness and uncertainty, and of the potential power for connection in simply speaking the unspoken.

Over the last month, I've had the particular pleasure of watching my fantastic friend Kate produce Pixar Animation's contribution to this narrative. Sit down, take a deep breath and spend a few minutes listening to Pixar employees' stories of what it feels like to be the Other. And then remember that we're all the Other at one point or another, and that the compassion that can unfurl out of that kind of empathetic awareness can fuel the kind of care and connection that prevents cruel tragedies like the one we witnessed at Rutgers earlier this fall.

It gets better. This is true, whether it's because people eventually learn to tell the establishment to fuck off, or because the establishment finally realizes that much of the great art of our world comes from the visionaries outside of the mainstream. May the outliers, the renegades, the misfits remind us that the coolest thing, the richest thing, the best thing you can be is a freak. Because it's the freaks who gift us with creativity and vision, spirit and passion. Who wants to be cool? Who wants to be acceptable? Isn't it ever so much more alive to be subversive and spirited and your own?

So be your own. Belong to yourself. It gets better. Pixar employees will vouch for that below. And they'll probably have you crying, as well.

It Gets Better
It Gets Better ~ Love, Pixar (YouTube)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Raw, adjective: 5. crude in quality or character; not tempered or refined by art or taste: raw humor

Please spend the next two minutes of your morning with this bizarrely fabulous old gem of a film clip featuring none other than The King himself getting a little yoga on at the hands of a strange old lady wearing an ugly caftan. 1967's Easy Come, Easy Go featured our boy Elvis rocking the beatnik black and twisting it up pretzel-style with a bunch of orange-tights-wearing lady yoginis.

Beyond the kitsch value and well, the utter absurdity of the whole thing, you've gotta give props to anyone who can rhyme a sing-song "serious" with "posterious." That's most definitely not a word, but we'll give skinny little yogi Elvis a break for being surprisingly flexible and charming in that monochromatic black. It's just a shame he didn't stick with the yoga in lieu of those peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Things might've turned out differently.

Yoga is as Yoga Does (YouTube)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.

Craving a dose of sparely-lilting, doe-eyed hipster melancholy, with some mid-1960s mod aesthetics thrown in? Yeah, me too.

Meet Inara George.

She of the big eyes, the twee pixie 'do, the legit musical pedigree, and the clear pure perfectly simple soprano has been haunting my melodies of late. Check out one of my favorite songs below (Fools Work), read George's interview on NPR's All Things Considered from a few years back, and waste some time Googling up a little of The Bird and The Bee, George's collaborative indie-rock duo with Greg Kursten (aka the Bee).

Love everything about their music, their aesthetic, their iconoclasm, their deceptive simplicity. And not gonna lie; kinda wanna be her. Go.

Inara George ~ Fools Work (YouTube)
Inara George extends 'An Invitation' (NPR)
The Bird and the Bee: Unusual and Irresistible (NPR)

Raw, adjective: 11. unprocessed or unevaluated: raw data.

Sthira-sukham asanam (YS II:46):
The connection to the earth should be
steady and joyful.

sthira = steady, stable, motionless
sukham = comfortable, easy, "sweet space"
asanam = meditation posture (from the root ~as, which means "to sit")

Find a comfortable seat, ground yourself, soften, breathe, release your jaw. Spend five minutes in that comfortable seat reading Sogyal Rinpoche's beautiful piece on The Stability of Ease, from the ever awake-in-the-world Tricycle Magazine.

Ahhh. Much better.

Raw, adjective: 5. crude in quality or character; not tempered or refined by art or taste: raw humor

Crazy about this new site. You should really wander over and check it out.

RecoveringYogi.com calls itself "a refuge for the spiritually disenfranchised," which means, in fancier words, a place where people somewhat burned by yoga can say it like it is. Calling out the hypocrisy in the yoga scene, punching holes in loosey-goosey New Age malarkey, and speaking truth to the fact that yes, in spite of how we all aspire to this gorgeous radiant love-filled light-bearing yogic existence, the yoga world is in fact as full of ego, doublespeak and propaganda as is the "real" world.

I love the frankness, the irreverence, the scandalous truths - in spite of, or perhaps because of, the fact that I am so very much entrenched in this scene. Believe it or not, there's a name for this kind of thing in the ancient yoga sutras; it's called svadhyaya, or self-study. Self-awareness. Breaking it down, cutting the crap, getting rid of what no longer serves us (to use an oft-maligned vaguely New Agey yoga phrase). We take ourselves far too seriously so much of the time. What a great opportunity to see ourselves as we are, warts and all, mucking around in the realness, the no-bullshit lingo, the propensity for swearing.

Check it out. I expect big things. And namaste, mother%$#ckers.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Raw, noun: 13. unrefined sugar, oil, etc.

Autumn's my favorite baking season: we've got honeycrisp apples and squash and pumpkin and cinnamon and nutmeg and cloves coming out of our ears, and gingerbread and sugar plum cakes are just around the corner.

Meet a few of my recent babies:

Pumpkin spice with raisins, toasted walnuts and buttercream frosting, to celebrate the Giants' big World Series win. I've got no doubt that the bundt played a role in securing the victory. We toasted the win against the Phillies on the road to the World Series with a Chocolate Grand Marnier confection - orange and black, naturally, with a Grand Marnier fudge frosting. I'm already missing the baseball bundts and the many opportunities for making bad punny bunt/bundt jokes. Next year, my friends.


Vegan chocolate raspberry with a raspberry fudge frosting. This is one of my favorite recipes - gleaned from my Yoga Journal article last December, actually - because you can play with it so much. Add coconut; add pomegranate juice and fresh pom seeds for a little crunch; add kahlua to make it a little more dangerous, or espresso powder for a stronger Mocha feel. Whichever way you take it, it's always good. And healthy-ish. And, best of all: ahimsa-rich.

Both recipes can be found in my blog archives. Have a little wander around there; you'll find several other excellent seasonal recipes to get you in the mood for a hot toddy or three.

Now bring on the gingered pear, already!

Pumpkin Spice recipe
Chocolate Grand Marnier recipe (modified; sub out the vanilla ingredients for chocolate, and you're good to go)
Vegan Chocolate Raspberry recipe

Raw, idiom, 14a: in the natural, uncultivated, or unrefined state: nature in the raw.

My Zen boyfriend Gary Snyder's on the telly as I write. In case you've missed it, check out the trailer below for a preview of the fantastic new documentary highlighting the work of this beloved Beat writer, Zen scholar and poet laureate of deep ecology.

The Gary love's been well-documented here; his embrace of the wild, his incredible poetry, his Buddhist-infused teachings all make my heart beat fast. I just want more. Watch the trailer; follow the official Facebook page for updates on national showings, and find an excuse to revisit Snyder's incredible writing in his 1990 The Practice of the Wild, after which the documentary is named. He's one of our great national treasures, right up there with Yosemite and North Beach and bourbon whiskey.

Here's a blurb from San Simeon films, followed by the trailer itself:
'The Practice of the Wild' is a film profile of the poet and Pulitzer Prize winner Gary Snyder. Snyder has been a creative force in all the major cultural changes that have created the modern world. Along with Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, he was a central figure of the Beat generation. He helped bring Zen Buddhism into the America scene, was an active participant in the anti-war movement and an inspiration for the quest for human potential. All along he was a founding intellect, essayist and leader of the new environmental awareness that supports legislation and preservation without losing sight of direct wild experience -- local people, animals, plants, watersheds and food sources.

This film, borrowing its name from one of Snyder's most eloquent non-fiction books, revolves around a life-long conversation between Snyder and his fellow poet and novelist Jim Harrison. These two old friends and venerated men of American letters converse while taking a wilderness trek along the central California coast in an area that has been untouched for centuries. They debate the pros and cons of everything from Google to Zen koans. The discussions are punctuated by archival materials and commentaries from Snyder friends, observers, and intimates who take us through the 'Beat' years, the years of Zen study in Japan up to the present -- where Snyder continues to be a powerful spokesperson for ecological sanity and bio-regionalism.
Beautiful. Now watch.

"The Practice of the Wild" trailer (YouTube)
The Practice of the Wild book review (EcoBooks)
"The Practice of the Wild" film review (SFGate)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.

Asteya. Offering back everything that you've been given. It's the opposite of feeling entitled to things. It's the sense that nothing is yours. Everything is on loan -- even your body, even your mind.

~ Ruth Lauer, Sweeping the Dust

Monday, November 8, 2010

Raw, noun: 13. unrefined sugar, oil, etc.

On a Monday morning that may or
may not feel sluggish, slow, difficult,
too-early, hard-to-get-up-for, or
just neverendingly long...

...wouldn't you say it's a
good tactic?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Raw, adjective: 9. disagreeably damp and chilly, as the weather or air: a raw, foggy day at the beach.

Tonight we set our clocks back an hour, and the shadows lengthen. There's no hiding from November once the sun begins to set at five o'clock. Spend your extra hour of darkness tomorrow with the beautiful Scott Blossom, whose season-appropriate, dosha-balancing Shadow Yoga sequence will ease you into late autumn's Yin.

Can't get enough? I, too, find the beauty of Shadow Yoga entrancing, in its own nourishing, quieting, calming, fabulously rich, dark-deep-dank kind of way. So if you want a little more of the philosophy behind what Scott does, head over to his excellent Shunyata Yoga website. Read up on the Buddhist and Ayurvedic theory behind it, skim through a few of the excellent articles in Scott's archive, and expand your practice a bit in conjunction with the seasons.

Finally, head over to the Chronicle's coverage from last winter's Yoga Journal conference here in SF, where Scott Blossom taught an excellent Shadow Yoga class. I love Blossom's emphasis on Shadow Yoga's lack of commercialization. A breath of fresh air, indeed, at a time when so much in the yoga world is about marketing and industry.

Yoga Home Practice ~ Season Finale (YJ)
Shunyata Yoga
Shadow Yoga offers a fresh twist (SFGate)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.

Our lives are at once ordinary and mythical. We live, we die, age beautifully or full of wrinkles. We wake in the morning, buy yellow cheese, and hope we have enough money to pay for it. At the same instant we have magnificent hearts that pump through all sorrow and all winters we are alive on this earth. We are important and our lives are important.

~ Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones

Raw, adjective: 10. not diluted, as alcoholic spirits: raw whiskey.

Magical morning here in SF, basking as we are in the afterglow of one of my favorite nights, ever, here in the City by the Bay. Just when I thought I couldn't possibly love this place any more, the Giants go and win the World Series, and the people erupt.

There were flashes last night, here and there between slinging drinks like a ninja and keeping one eye on the ballgame and high-fiving happily-tipsy bar regulars, when I thought to myself: This is the kind of moment you remember, always, even (especially?) when you're 80 and decrepit and probably can no longer shake a martini with any kind of acuity. But you remember the rush, and the feeling so alive, and the community, and the people, and the bodies, and the spirit, and the vibe in the air, and the door wide open onto the bay across the street, and Edgar Renteria whacking one into the stands to ensuing jubilant celebration, and Rick the Golden Retriever running into the bar and up to the sinks in search of a martini or three, and the local news anchor and her sportswriter friend drinking at your bar, and the former mayor - Da Mayor, yes, that one - sitting there calmly, serenely, taking it all in, just a few steps away, and the foghorns blowing when Nelson Cruz swung for a final out, and Brian Wilson turning and screaming with that mouth-wide-open glee, and the pitching and the post-game round-ups and the champagne-soaked Matt Cain and the Cheshire Cat-grin on Cody Ross and the really truly unchecked joy, and the sense of belonging, and the being really truly in the center of all that heaving life, and the coming home hours later, late into the night, with horns still honking and people still driving along the Embarcadero popping up out of their sunroofs, and Coit Tower lit up like an enormous orange phallus there on Telegraph Hill,

and making it all even the sweeter is the fact that these guys were a bunch of misfits, the ones nobody wanted, washed up, too young, out of shape, you name it; but they did it, and the City's been a constant whirl of orange-and-black for the duration of this charmed post-season run, and now we have a parade and sunshine and celebration tomorrow to look forward to, and in the meantime it's Election Day and we've got a new governor on the way, and the morning is fresh and breezy and my garden's lush in spite of what the calendar says, and that's the charm of living in this blessed Bay Area climate of ours, and so you sit and take a minute and drink some black coffee and breathe it all in for a flash before the moment passes and you go on with your day and attend to the errands and the teaching and the usual routine, but it feels different today, on this day, of all, and the cable cars' windows are painted orange and black, and you ride them with a different sense of pride and marvel at the bizarre fact that this is your life, this is your home, this is your team of scrappy misfits, and you give such thanks for living here, now, enough, and the wild santosha kind of overwhelms, on a Tuesday in November, Election Day, post-World Series win, in the 94109.

I left my heart. For real. Big mad love to my blue-skied SF, and to Peggy Lee, whose earthy-sexy-perfectly-slinkily-trumpeted rendition of Black Coffee accompanied my own on this morning of mornings. To celebration.

Peggy Lee ~ "Black Coffee"