Saturday, December 31, 2005


Last Thursday between rainstorms, I treated myself to a day of my kind of shopping. I was enjoying my first week off in over and year and a half and had slept late that morning.

This trip involved first driving over the Bay Bridge and into downtown San Francisco, and then moving through the city and over the Golden Gate Bridge into the Marin suburbs. The sky was clear and dazzling and washed clean by the rain the day before. There were sailboats on the Bay and light traffic for once.

During this wettest time of the year, the land is rich lush green, and remind me of other, greener places: Oregon, Washington, Northern UK and Scotland, Ireland.

In SF at Reruns at Sixth and Howard, I bought 15 items of clothing for $1 apiece. Every thing in this amazing clothing thrift store is $1. It takes a lot of looking, as it does finding anything decent at Ross. But of these 15 items, I scored woolen or cotton tunics and sweaters I can wear to work after I carefully wash and brush them. I also scored a fabulous pink cotton cableknit, a Margaret O'Leary merino sweater which I'll frog for yarn. I got a few other things that didn't work out, but I feel fine about donating them to Goodwill. They were only $1, after all.

Then I drove north to San Rafael. I make a pilgrimage to Dharma Trading Company every six months or so to stock up on white 100% cotton shirts and onesies for my grandkids and sometimes myself. At Dharma, these same basic cotton items are half the price of trendy Rockridge or Albany kids' shops. It's getting harder and harder to find all cotton or woolen clothing in our polyester culture. The trick with Dharma is that their items are all white, but dying is fun too.

It was a fabulous day. Previous and later days of my vacation were spent on sleeping, rearranging furniture, errands and family business that was long overdue during regular work weeks. These days were busy but I loved seeing daytime life on the street again. A young mother in a cafe called to her toddler in Farsi: "Biya inja." I remembered that means"Come over here." I remembered that from a lifetime ago.

Another day, when I stopped at East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, I noticed a classy Jaguar parked out in front. I'm accustomed to the Berkeley and Oakland "types" and love the incongruous people/place situtations over here. In San Francisco, I'm always reminded of the edgier, more intense level of existence and people.

My job requires me to sit in front of a computer screen with about six programs up at the same time, wearing a phone headset and talking all day. Hard work for an introvert. I also usually work several hours overtime for the money and to attempt to keep up with the increasing tasks assigned to us due to a city hiring freeze. There is little time for shopping.

I'm a magpie. I hate going shopping in malls, but love hitting the recycling centers and thrift stores, saving good quality or turning it into something else.

I once felted a bunch of woolen sweaters from my $1 store and cut and pieced together a couch throw. Lots of washing, cutting, sewing, and it ended up looking something like a horse blanket. But it's the real thing, all wool, and very snug and warm.