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Latte, WiFi, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Paddleboarding, Mud Baths Au Naturel

The art of the barista.


I've found two super espresso/wi-fi cafes (and I mean free, fast wi-fi) in the last month. One on McDougallStreet near Washington Square in NYC, the other in the Mission district of my hometown San Francisco. I'm sitting here in a window in the morning sun with a great sticky bun and a powerful latte. It's the day after the solstice, maximum daylight, I left home about 5:30, drove along the coast as the sun came up, then across the always-stunning Golden Gate Bridge into the city, listening to a CD my son Evan gave me last week, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stadium Arcadian, an elegant album. These guys can sing!
Going back to Big Sur last week, getting another look at a place where I lived while in my '30s and now looking through my 72-year-old eyes, I was struck by how much richer everything looks now. I saw all kinds of things I'd missed in past years. My perceptions are a lot more honed in search of adventure these days. Speaking of which, practically every week I'm finding Delights in Nature, things that have always been out there, waiting to be discovered. Last night I took my paddleboard down to the nearby (salt water) lagoon. At high tide there are a series of navigable channels that I can glide through like a water skeeter. There's never a soul in sight, just me and the birds. Last night was one of those magic nights, with the 6 PM orange setting-sun light, the water glassy. I decided to get off the board and walk around on the pickleweed-covered mudflats. I saw a muddy pond, maybe 12 feet in diameter and stepped into it and sunk up to my knees in — black mud. Like black shoe polish, the texture of sticky butter. Nature's spa. Well, it was obvious what to do. Stripped down and coated myself head to toe with this amazing (sulfur-smelling) black black mud. On my head, face, neck, my back as far as I could reach. I walked around a while as the sun dried the mud, the abominable mud man. Where's a camera when I need one? Then got in the water and spent about 5 minutes getting it off. I have an outdoor solar-heated shower in the garden and I scrubbed off the residue, my skin feeling alive. Then some of Louie's home-made Zinfandel with fish and fresh corn from the farmer's market. Um-hmm.