Stuffed Weekend

Quite the weekend it’s been I think. Friday after work I met up with Cassie and our dear friends Alex & Jason at Bar 355 in downtown Oakland. It’s become the Friday joint of choice for us, because we always seem to be able to nab the nice table near the door, the cocktails and beers are good, and the barman looks like John Stamos and fancies Cassie. After a couple of drinks and a good letting off of the weeks steam there, Cassie and I went to eat at the wonderful Shan Dong a few blocks away in Oakland’s Chinatown. It was just as busy, steamy, and formica-y as ever. We ended up (as usual) over-ordering and brings some boxes home.

Saturday I rose early, took G out for his walk and, grabbed some cereal, and then went out to be all community spirited and help out on the Montclair Railroad Trail. There’s a regular work day one Saturday a month, and seeing as I walk Gordon on this trail every day, I felt that I should help out. I thought it would be a few people grabbing a rake and weeding here and there, but it’s much more structured. There’s an ongoing effort to eliminate non-native grasses, which apparently are the reason California is so brown – the native stuff is much more able to handle the heat. The European stuff came along, took over, and then died when the sun came out.

To get rid of it, we laid down sheets of cardboard (donated by various stores in the village, especially Wheels of Justice Cyclery – they have the big flat boxes that bikes come in) then raked mulch over the top. The mulch was donated by a private tree maintenance company. Normally the city would provide it, but budget cuts mean that the city’s trees aren’t getting the maintenance they need. Basically the work consisted of filling wheelbarrows with the mulch, then wheeling it over a tipping it over the cardboard, where the others raked it into a 6″ deep layer. It will stifle the grass, and then replanting can take place. There’s a long term plan in place, I guess.

It was pretty hot. As the morning wore on, When one co-worker asked why I wasn’t wearing a hat, I replied, “Because I don’t think ahead.” I didn’t mean it as a joke, but he seemed to think it was pretty funny, and went on to say something about mad dogs and Englishmen. I think I need a hat.

Once we’d done our stint, I went home for a long cool shower and some lunch. As it was so nice out, we took Gordon to Point Isabel for a walk by the bay. He had a great time trotting along, yelling hello at the other dogs, and although there isn’t much access to it, he managed to get into the water. He likes to get in, get wet, but as soon as he is splashed by a wave or another dog he decides he’s had enough and sits up on the rocks and sulks.

He needed a bath after that (he was a bit stinky anyway) so we took him to Mudpuppy’s, where we put him in for a service wash. They scrubbed and dried him, while we had an Iced Latte, and I had an It’s It ice cream sandwich, which is apparently a San Francisco institution. Very nice too. We looked in on Gordon while he was being done – he doesn’t like baths, but he doesn’t try to escape. He just stands and looks sad.

While we were resting and drinking our coffee, I noticed a dog looking very intently at a hole in the ground. I soon saw why. A gopher (I think) kept poking its head out of the hole, and the dog just stood there and watched it. I think it was just old, or maybe it couldn’t be bothered. See it here in glorious 90-degree-o-vision.

In the evening, we went to Speisekammer in Alameda, which is a nice German restaurant. Over beer and delicious sauerbraten and schnitzel (seriously!) we talked about what was next. What was next was to drive into San Francisco and get in on the guest list to a charity event to raise money for prostate cancer research. Knowing Taylor has its advantages, but some of these events we go to are a little unexpected. Still, it was fun. Quite the busy Saturday all told.

Today we had a great (and filling) brunch with our friend Teena at La Note in Berkeley, which is a French restaurant very popular among the brunch crowd, especially on (Father’s Day, it would appear). We did the usual coffee, OJ and egg dishes, with some nice pastries on top, just in case we weren’t totally stuffed.

That was basically the theme of the weekend, really.