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Two wild horses

Posted 17 June 2013 | By | Categories: Uncategorized | No Comments

I just had the loveliest experience with two nearly wild horses. They’re Irish thoroughbred fillies, or maybe one’s nearly a thoroughbred, I’m not sure. Two years old, relatively unhandled (= either frightened of or not interested in people).

So here’s the situation. A field in rural Ireland. Knee high grass and buttercups and weeds. The horses are grazing. When I clucked to them from outside the fence to see if they’d come over, they startled, then went back to grazing.

The goal was to get them to take a bit of cut apple. I went into the field slowly, eyes down. I paused regularly. Soon I was near enough to pique their interest, and then they came to me and sniffed at the apple and started eating.

Well, eating may be too generous of a word. They didn’t really know what to do with cut apple and so would gnaw it a bit, drop most of it in the tall grass, I’d pick it up and try again and they’d want to know if the other horse’s piece was the same and it went on like that. When they got some between their teeth, you could see them having to think about chewing, apple isn’t at all like grass.

Then the really beautiful part happened. The apples were eaten and/or lost, so I turned away and walked half a dozen steps. Then I stopped, my back to them, just to see what would happen.

The horses followed me. I would turn, praise them, give one a rub on her neck, then walk on. We did this six or eight times.

They got even more curious as we went, nosing at my hair and clothing, but gently. I’d only look at them when I’d stopped walking, and then only briefly and not directly in their eyes. They stopped exactly when I did. I remember standing between them, petting the huge brown horse right in front of me, with the other right behind me. The vast majority of my small experience is with horses that are used to people. We were all new at this.

I was aware that if they felt threatened, I could get bitten or kicked, but I also knew that they were calm and curious, and so I trusted that they would play with me. We kept this up until we’d all had enough, and they went one way and I went another. The whole experience might have taken ten minutes, but it was as if time had gone soft, stretching like taffy.

Two years ago I couldn’t touch horses. I’d get hives. I was scared of them; they’re big hairy powerful animals. Even a small horse could kill you if it was frightened or upset enough.

But some friends took the time to teach me how to be with horses. I started to learn to handle them and to ride them. Two years. I’m still very much a novice. I’m aware that I could be killed or hurt if I make the wrong mistake, and that will always be the case no matter what skills I develop.

I write this now trying to convey a feeling of awe. I had expected that learning to handle horses would be rewarding, but I didn’t realize how intense it could feel. There’s nothing like a nearly wild animal choosing to be with you.

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Cafe del Soul update

Posted 14 November 2012 | By | Categories: Uncategorized | No Comments

I was at Cafe del Soul the other day and loved their new signs, and wanted to share them. I find the photo of the staff and their families quite moving.

If you like organic food and want to support honest businesses, stop on by. They’re at 247 Shoreline Highway  Mill Valley, CA 94941.

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Cafe del Soul back open

Posted 05 November 2012 | By | Categories: Uncategorized | No Comments

The update from Cafe del Soul’s Facebook page:

CAFÉ del SOUL re-OPENS Tomorrow!!!

We will re-open tomorrow after being closed for the weekend to treat and monitor our premises to ensure that there is no roach activity and that the space we operate in presents a safe environment to run a food facility.

After meeting with all involved parties we feel we can offer that but will continue to monitor the situation closely and will let you know if anything changes.

Now we need to re-build. We are a small business and this elective closure almost cost us the business and 26 employees their jobs. And we are still very close to having to close our doors for good. We have received so much support from our customers and have been asked what they can do to help.
It’s a simple question to answer..

Eat here tomorrow and everyday after that and invite your friends to do the same!!

Other than that, please feel free ask questions, we are happy to answer your questions honestly and transparently. Speak to our manager Sandro or our Assistant Managers Aldo or Eliseo, or email us at

And please visit our facebook page and for more updates and to post comments..

From the Staff and Supporters of Café del Soul

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The price of honesty

Posted 04 November 2012 | By | Categories: Uncategorized | No Comments

Cafe del Soul, an organic cafe in Marin, might go out of business because they are honest. They have a problem with German cockroaches (which are small but still gross), and rather than hide the problem they are talking about it.

Last week they wrote an open letter to customers detailing the problem and everything they had done and were doing to fight it. The whole building, it turns out, is infested, so however many times they treat their space, they still have problems. Cafe del Soul reported themselves to the health department, which closed them for treatment and inspection. When the health department later gave them the all clear, they reopened, only to find more bugs. So they voluntarily closed themselves. They’ve been closed all weekend.

Restaurants run on a tight margin. Labor and food are expensive, and there just isn’t room in the budget to be closed for days on end. This is a small, family-owned business, with no reserves. Twenty six families depend on it.

I go to Cafe del Soul sometimes to write. I like their organic juices and wraps and salads. I like the people who work there, I’m getting to know them more, and I admire the way they are handling this problem, with total integrity and honesty.

Tomorrow I will drive by and see if they are open. If they are I will buy something. If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area and like organic fresh food, I hope you will too.

For more information, including information on when they will be open, see the Cafe del Soul Facebook page.

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You Can’t Get There from Here

Posted 20 May 2012 | By | Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

So it’s been about a year since I posted here. In that time I split up with my husband, quit my job at Locus after realizing I’d hit the glass ceiling and wanted to do other things, and moved to the UK for a while, then to Australia. I’m writing and doing freelance editing. I got my health back after a dodgy time of many headaches. My divorce was finalized and my ex emailed me saying, “High five?” I cut off my dreadlocks and have not regretted it. I picked the guitar back up (I’ve played it off and on since I was a teenager) and I found some mates to jam with, mates who are really good and say I am also really good. I turned 30 and thought, thank fuck I am done with my 20s. People have told me that the 40s are even better. And the 50s.

I was born in suburban Detroit, Michigan. If you look at a globe, you’d find that where I live now, Perth, Australia, is very nearly the exact opposite end of the world. Like, I am upside down compared to my folks. I could have spent my whole life in Michigan. I am glad I did not.

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Awareness is the first step

Posted 16 May 2011 | By | Categories: Uncategorized | No Comments

It would be a bummer if the zombies came and nobody noticed.

To make sure this won’t happen, May has been declared Zombie Awareness Month. Wear a gray ribbon.

And if you just can’t wait for the zombies to come to you, check out John Skipp’s Rose.

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On Snoop Dogg’s Hair

Posted 26 December 2010 | By | Categories: Uncategorized | No Comments

Know how Snoop Dogg does his hair in braids like a four-year-old girl? When I was in the sixth grade I read a book where the girls styled their hair in side ponytails. It seemed cool, so one day I did my hair in a side ponytail. The kids in my math class made fun of me, saying I was missing a pigtail. It didn’t occur to me to re-do my hair. I just withered, and swore off being different. Not that I’d figured out conformity, either, but that trying to be different was just too risky.

Snoop, though. You don’t see anyone making fun of his hair. And if they did — shit-talking is part of the genre — I don’t think it would seriously change the way he felt about himself.

Photo of Snoop Dogg via

I’ve done a bit of growing since the sixth grade. But I still have that same capacity to be awkward and uncomfortable, unwilling to relax into being different. I’ve always been introverted. I read a lot as a kid. Like, my mother would tell me that seven hours of reading in one day is enough, and it was time to go outside and play. The thing about reading is that it exposes you to more ways of being than you can glean from the hawkish way that you watch the popular kids. (One time in high school, two girls, I’ll call them K and L, ate a rotten orange from a trash can because they thought it might get them drunk.) There are all sorts of examples of how to live.

When I was 12, I didn’t have a good sense of who I was. What’s more, I had a rather nonexistent sense of it being OK to be whatever I was. That sense, call it self-confidence, doesn’t come from supportive parents, or understanding teachers, although I had both. Well, some of the teachers were understanding.

The thing about now is that I’m not 12 anymore. At 28, I still don’t have a good sense of who I am, but I’m starting to let go of that fear of being different. And if you’d told my 12-year-old self that I’d have bleached-blond dreadlocks, I’d have thought you were high. (Actually I probably wouldn’t have understood what “high” was, although I would have pretended I did.)

Snoop Dogg, for the record, is almost 40. Check out his video “Kush” for the hairstyle if nothing else.

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Scraper bikes and happiness

Posted 18 June 2010 | By | Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Game designer Jane McGonigal has proposed four requirements for happiness:

1. satisfying work to do
2. the experience of being good at something
3. time spent with people we like
4. the chance to be a part of something bigger

She applies these principles to game design, but in East Oakland, scraper bikes fit the bill.

“Living in Oakland, I’ve seen so much. I’ve seen homicides. I’ve seen dead bodies on the curb. I’ve seen people die in front of my own eyes, in the hood. I’m only 20 years old, I’ll be 21 in December. Oakland’s no joke. You definitely learn how to stand your ground… Scraper bikes is definitely a process, and that process is definitely for the kids, so they can get their mind off of what’s really going on in the streets, to give them that hour or two hours to fix on their bikes…. That’s what a lot of kids out here want. They want to feel like they’re a part of something.”

Video from Make Magazine.

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Visit Oakland!

Posted 17 June 2010 | By | Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

“SF hipsters are sell-outs. Like, ‘Oh, look at me, I live in the Mission!’ The East Bay is more authentic. Because Oakland is crappier than San Francisco, so it’s more ironic that we live here. Plus, we’re a lot poorer than you!”

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Nixon in my pretzels

Posted 06 June 2010 | By | Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I seem to be having problems with food lately. First, metal in my pasta sauce, and now the face of Richard Nixon, or some other screaming demon, in my pretzel bag.