Berkeley Life & Destructo V.3

The 1920's apartment is slowly being transformed into our "home" though we don't have many plants yet, nor art on the walls ... in fact it's rather spartan, save the new bookshelf we assembled last weekend and the small floral luxuries acquired at the nursery. Spartan seems to have become our modus operandi, thanks to the years in Canada where we trained ourselves to exist (with guests) entirely within 600 square feet from wall to wall. Looking upon our living room free of lounges, rugs, chairs & moving boxes ... I consider it "finished" and enjoy the space created, but we've had guests of late so have moved somewhat closer to completion in an effort to provide some creature comforts for our visitors.
A pair of planter boxes by the window in the "guest room" have sated our greenthumbs and with fresh soil & sun our seeds have germinated producing juvenile arugula lettuce, Italian basil and flat-leaf parsley to complement the robust seedlings of oregano, sage, curly parsley, rosemary and a (hopefully) killer-hot chilli plant. Like its Canadian counterpart the dwarf chilli has brought with it an entourage of aphids so again we've scoured the neighbourhood for hungry ladybeetles (destructobugs) and put them to work decimating the parasitic population (while observing with morbid fascination as each plump green aphid is sucked dry & munched by our spotted red friends).
Matt & Colleen came to stay with us in Berkeley on their way back to Canada from Australia. The occasion?: World premiere screening & party for the Disney movie that consumed the four of us in Toronto during 2003-2004. True to our own hearts, they brought a few special bottles from Oz and in exemplary style the pair even travel with riedel glasses in their cabin baggage. As is customary in their company, we indulged more than in a little during the week and rounded the week out with a stunning Hill of Grace before sending them on their way & getting ready for the next round of visitors from Oz.
Former filmic colleagues Bryan and Paul have landed in San Francisco from Oz to help finish Pirates II with George Lucas' vfx company Industrial Light & Magic. We look forward to a couple of months of hanging out with them on weekends & did our best to break their jet-lag on arrival by taking the boys around the city this weekend past ... soft shell crispy style tacos from La Taqueria and then an overdose of seafood (& great beer) down on the coast. And in keeping with the rightful initiation for all good Lucas-bots, we toured them around the Presidio to pay homage to the bronze Yoda (and their new workplace) ...all great stuff, and a welcome excuse to go exploring the city as we rarely find ourselves on that side of the bay.
Added to this glut of great friends, the Nielsens (of pinchgut opera fame) recently dropped in to San Francisco for a couple of days & we were lucky enough to share a wonderful evening at a funky downtown restaurant called Winterland for a decent catchup with both of them on their way around the globe. Liz and Ken are currently "opera hopping" around the US, touching base with directors and conductors of past & future productions, keeping up to date with the haut niche culture which mirrors their own creation back in Sydney. Pinchgut are presenting Mozart's Idomeneo this December, which promises to be an extraordinary "re-incarnation" of the master's operatic vision & a worthy excuse for Z & I to start thinking about our next rendezvous in Australia.
I'm riding the deadly treadly (to borrow a phrase of Matthew's) to & from work far more often now that the remnants of spring rain have departed for good. This bike transit affords a welcome boost to my heart-rate covering ~80km/week which is a significant step up from the sedentary waddle we undertook daily in Toronto where the "office-to-fridge" distance was detrimentally minute. Instead I feign resistance to the gourmet goodies Zoe smuggles back from lunch at the Ranch; pickled carrots, roast duck and all manner of naughty fatty foodstuffs.
Recently a box of diverse goodies arrived by sea from Australia (thanks Siew). Packed with wine paraphernalia, clothes & (much to the customs agent's surprise) fencing blades! Our motorbike leathers & lids weren't present though so we've little excuse to head out & indulge in some motorised two-wheeled fun now that the Northern Californian sun makes more than a cameo apperance in our weekends.