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


Today, I'm baking.

It's the 8th anniversary of my move to San Francisco, and I have this weird chunk of a few empty hours -- a phenomenon that has become so unusual of late, I feel quite sure that I'm really supposed to be somewhere, and so keep finding one ear cocked, ready for the phone to ring.

It's quiet. And lovely. I had forgotten what it felt like to just stop and be in one place for a bit.

It's so nice.

So now there's a red velvet fudge truffle cake in the oven, fifteen minutes to spare. En route to making that happen, I cut an appropriate swath through the neighborhood, traversing a few well-trod paths that have become familiar over those eight years. I stopped by the ghetto grocery (soon to be a new and improved Trader Joe's) for the basics; I meandered down Pine St. to the liquor store on the corner to visit the mysterious man-of-yet-to-be-determined-ethnicity and picked up a weenie little Chambord from his wall o' miniature alcoholic delights; and finally, I popped my head in to the old Chinese florist on California St., resisting temptation from the lilacs and the orchids, and walked out instead with an armful of deep blue and white hydrangeas.

Sweetness. Can't think of a better, more perfectly low-key way to mark the occasion.

(The cake will go to a few dear folks who are celebrating some anniversaries of their own.)

So here's to the years. Those past, and those to come. We take a few steps, we climb a few hills, we gain a few lines, we lose a few fears. And all the while, the fog, that old reliable August fog, rolls in.

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