I just returned from a night out in Albion, which was excellent. Today in general, in fact, was excellent.

I woke up at around 10 to discover that it was sunny and warm, so I ate fruit from the farmers’ market and read The Last Madam on the deck while drinking orange pekoe tea. I settled down to work for a few hours and then Baxt came over. I made Michael’s awesome goat cheese pasta* for lunch, and we ambled over to the coffeehouse, where I saw a cluster of old friends, some of whom are visiting from far away. I also ran into my father, who rarely ventures into the Headlands, so that was awesome. We played several brisk rounds of ratfuck, a Coffeehouse tradition, before ambling down the street to the new Japanese place for dinner.

I will say this…the service was indifferent, the decor was awful, and the food was extremely slow to come out of the kitchen, but my spicy tuna roll was awesome. I actually ordered an eel roll, not a spicy tuna roll, but it’s cool. It turned out to be delicious, and made with really choice tuna. I don’t think I’ll make a regular habit of going there, but I have a sense that I will be eating there again, which is more than I can say for some other places around town. Probably will be ordering to go in the future. But that tuna roll, oh yes, it was good. I also saw Dr. Jordan there, but he looked like he was eating out with Dr. Dowd, so I didn’t bother them.

Replete with dinner, we ambled out to Albion, where we invented a new kind of double solitaire and I kicked ass at Spades (final score: 600/120/0). We waited for the hot tub to warm and talked about nothing in particular, and I felt rather happy to be alive, so replete and joyous in the moment, just being. Once it got nice and toasty, we all piled into the wood fired hot tub under the stars, and sat in companionable silence, sometimes muttering things. A few shooting stars streaked across the heavens while we sat. It was…amazing. I had missed nature, the dark, rows of trees standing dark and menacing against a sky so filled with stars that it almost hurt. I can see why Juliet wanted to cut Romeo up into little stars, looking at a night sky like that. I could see the Milky Way winding its way between crisp constellations, and I marveled at the size of the universe.

“So many stars,” K said. “We don’t have those back in Pittsburgh.”

“Well, I suppose you do,” I said, “but you couldn’t see them. San Francisco was like that. I had forgotten what the night sky really looked like.”

I remembered going to the Eastern side of the Island, where it was marginally darker, to watch for shooting stars one night with Cap’n Boysenberry. The Bay was inky dark, slapping lightly against the rocks, and we sat and watched until we felt cold and cramped. I thought about how much I missed Albion, clear dark night and hot tub and friends, and I wanted to hug everyone suddenly, but I was too lazy to move.

Back in the house, we lounged in towels with the music on low and talked about the meaning of life, and I was happy to bask in the meaning of my own life, friendship, happiness, love. I know I say this every day, but it never gets any less true: I am so happy to be home.

*Michael’s Awesome Goat Cheese Pasta:

Boil water for pasta. I made rice pasta, because Laurel is gluten intolerant. You can make any kind you want, though.

Slice up a portobello mushroom, and saute in plenty of olive oil and butter. Take the mushroom out, and throw a sliced leek into the pan, along with garlic. Let the leek and garlic start to caramelize, and then add zuccini, sliced bell pepper, and any other veggies that seem appropriate. Also add a pinch of chopped fresh dill, along with red pepper flakes. Cook until soft, before adding a small amount of sherry to deglaze the pan, along with vegetable or meat stock, and toss the mushroom back in. Simmer while the pasta cooks. At the last minute, add an obscene amount of goat cheese and blend, creating a runny cheese sauce with yummy veggies in it. Add more finely chopped dill. Drain pasta. Toss pasta with olive oil and butter. Add goat cheese/veggie combo, along with more olive oil and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Toss to coat, serve individually, allow diners to salt and pepper to taste. It will taste like spring exploding in your mouth. Mmm. Spring. Did I mentioned I got peas at the farmers’ market again? Well, I did, and I am eating some right now, and they are awesome.