of the oakland hills


just about a week ago i drove my beloved lola nine hours straight into oakland. lola happens to be my car, an elderly lady of some repute. toned a silvery grey, sensibly elegant, sunroof open and all four side windows down. so, she is an enchanting, this pronounced like they do in brooklyn, a virtual, a better than any some other convertible. a mercedes, older than most of you out there. at twenty six miles to the gallon we stopped off only once, midway in the town of weed, the other half of six hundred fifty miles were painless, not too hot, even through the horrors of redding.
oh, but the hills of oakland. them's alpine. lola did suffer. barely got up to the top, even in low gear. must be gentle with my lady, though lola ain't hardly a name evoking sweet trifles. 
stephanie rented a lovely cottage for us, to have a vacation from work for her and for me getting away from this here portland. yes, it was also a most delightful and generous birthday present. i'll be seventy some of these days. the cat had a sitter, the garden's on drip, it is summer and a very good time it was to get away. now, let me tell you about this place. better still show you some pictures i took during that week. incredible might be the word, better still in my suabian: oh-meglich schee. but you tell me. the garden, if you can call it that, was an agglomeration of plants the likes sissinghurst castle would do proud. not as orderly mind you, in fact quite a bit of a mess, a medley of plants ridiculous to behold in their coterie. and fountains of enormous splatter, hummingbirds jetting about, and where ever there was, in a nook or a cranny, in a wall or under foot, some small room to barely hide a treasure, in the shape of a hare or a dwarf, a shell or a face, a canon ball or a saucer, in other words where ever you looked, there wasn't a place left of some surprise or the other.


the same must be said about plants. roses in between succulents, spider flowers next to lilies, peculiar no name trees hiding a table set with various china resembling a mad hatter's tea party. in fact the whole thing could easily be viewed down the rabbit hole and much like a thoroughly joyous mess. rambunctious bamboo, and can you believe it, there was a giant duck, a topiary, looking down over the house below. frogs blowing their croaky trumpets, night and day, day and night, and not not à la cole porter. they hadn't as yet heard from the gay divorce. gofers did a survey, of a luscious lawn, squinting on account of bright daylight out of the end of a newly dug tunnel. a napoleonic rooster high up on his column, surveyed the lot as that king might have acknowledged his troops. but look at the pictures. i've left them helter-skelter, as in a whirly gig, as i've found them on my many a roundabout walks. the usual: one image like a kabillion words. oh, and incidentally, click on an image you like, to see each set as a large, full frame on your screen.


the cottage was as in a dream. a giant bed, a love making sofa, a small kitchen, a shower and that facility much in use at the end of the day.
what else could you want? the room fully surrounded by windows, these


kept hostage by vines, french doors opening to patios left and right. 't was a midnight full moon, check it out, august thirteen, eleven fifty eight, pm. what a dream, a thorough surprise, i'll never know how my love managed to find so exhilarating a place.


easy to drive down to betty's, the very breakfast diner on fourth street, or for a burger at cafe rouge, the venue where once we courted some by now long time ago. and teance next door, that tea house from which stephanie plucked me from folk unwilling to take note of the monkey-picked. up to gourmet gulch, to the cheese board for goat brie and acme for bread, and on to san francisco, across the bridge where a pillar towers, has a peel-off sticker says made in china, eventually stringing the new span of the bridge. a visit to the dry cleaner, the asian arts museum, a small walk bay side along breezy crissy field. and in the evening a dinner party at marie and nico, champagne, the one with the j, luscious food prepared by marie, ridiculously silly subjects discussed and adjourned, giggles and laughter, political statements of peculiar content, like the view that corporations are good, what for, i wondered. a gracious host, though i don't get it: why is a lovely goat brie an appetizer and not a mellow dish serving the end of the meal? it was a wonderful evening at that, with friends now from long ago. and then, back up the hill we went.


the way a week can be at times endlessly long, all went by so very fast,   way too fast, i regret having gone home, ought to have stayed another week. at least that. missing my stephanie, dear me, you'll never know by how much.