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06/01 Direct Link
From Max’s mailbox: LAWN MOWER SETTLEMENT. If You Purchased a Lawn Mower with a Gas Engine up to 30 Horsepower  between January 1,1994 and April 12, 2010 You Could Receive Benefits from Class Action Settlements. The lawsuit claims that the Defendants misrepresented and overstated the horsepower of their lawn mowers and lawn mower engines. The lawsuit does not concern the safety of the lawn mowers. Well, its just like winning the lotto, isn’t it? I may be eligible for a variety of benefits, including cash payments (up to $35). No more worries. Economy be damned. French Riviera here I come.
06/02 Direct Link
Rather than look in the paper or the internet, Mary walked looking for an apt. She stopped at signs proclaiming For Rent and Se Renta alike – it was the very apt she was interested in. The neighborhood, the bldg, the neighbors she could handle all that, but the very space in which she was going to live seemed awfully important. On the 3rd day, high atop Russian Hill, she saw the place- there wasn’t even a sign out, but she knew this was where she was to be, at least for while, at least for her journey in the City.
06/03 Direct Link
Game #2, Max is listening to mine A’s on the radio. The magic number is 161. Its no easy feat finding the A’s on the radio. Here in N California its all Giants all the time. And yet, since they made the wagon train ride out here from NYC, number championships? Naught. Really, I think I like the Athletics because as a little leaguer we’d go to a MLB game each year and we saw the A’s. Likely because it was closer and didn’t to cross the bridge. UPDATE: the Green and Gold shellacs the Orange 3-0 sweep thank you.
06/04 Direct Link

Mary stops to take off her shoes and roll up her jeans a bit. She steps on to the wet sand at Baker Beach – it is much colder than she thought. Then, the water comes up and over her toes: ice cold. She stays for a moment, thinking she'll get used to it, but her toes surrender and go numb. She walks along making way for dogs and toddlers. There are 3 soon-to-be married wedding couples getting photos with the Bridge in the background. After passing them, Mary halts, then takes a deep breath and walks quicker up the beach.

06/05 Direct Link
PDX. At first Max doesn’t notice, seemingly more interested in SW Tenn Central v. Big Valley Mtn State. She’s back soon and he picks one of the many beers made right here in this very bldg – that’s when Max notices. Petite, blonde. Hmm. I’ll try this one next, he says looking up – he sees her dark brown eyes, watches her walk away, leering really. Just a moment ago he’s looking through this brick warehouse turned brewhouse, but now he’s fixated on another waitress. She’s compact, like a gymnast, he says. And by golly, Blue Heron is crisp, fresh, light goodness.  
06/06 Direct Link

Since she’d been only looking out to the water and the Bridge, Marydidn't notice the men until she was at the rocks: the end of the beach.Grey haired men with big beards and bellies: this is what Santa Claus looks like naked, she thought. Back up against the cliff, away from the wind and water, naked folks were all about. So this is a nude beach? In San Francisco? There were a few women she noticed, but didn’t want to appear so obvious. She walked away, looking back out to the Gate and beyond. Could I come here?

06/07 Direct Link
PDX. Max is called fat. My best buddy calls me fat. Surely this is only to hurt my feelings. I like beer, ok? A lot. I know bikini season is just around the corner, but it almost snowed at my house 5 days ago and I can’t think that far ahead. Yes, we run from the hotel, along the river, then across the bridge. Along the other side, then back across another bridge. At least nothing up top is jiggling, that is a most unpleasant recognition. We see some guys out in a boat proudly holding up a small sturgeon.
06/08 Direct Link
Mary’s new apt is just what she’s dreamed: a 3-room flat on the 3rd floor of a Victorian. She likes the curved windows of the front room to the street, the gaslight fixtures and gigantic walk-in closet in the middle room, and the windows to the alley and the grapefruit tree that reaches up to her bedroom. The bathroom and kitchen don’t interest her much: a clawfoot tub with a fixed showerhead, but a cute ironing board built-in, an ice chute. Moving in, of course, was a pain - up 3 floors. I will be happy here, she says aloud.
06/09 Direct Link
She told Max she met a girlfriend for an after work drink. Soon, her friend had to leave, but she stayed on: I noticed a guy looking at me, I gave him that come hither smile. After a while, I said: Y’know, I live within walking distance from here. He spent the night, she tells me. Of course, he did, Max is thinking. She’s going to tell me every sweaty a.m. detail. I just hung up, he says. I didn’t yell, slam the phone down. I don’t want to talk with her again. Do you think that’s unreasonable? he asks.
06/10 Direct Link
Mary sings along to the radio while she unpacks. Heart: Mary knows the chorus, sings aloud: Heartless, Heart-less! - not worrying about the neighbors, it is midday Tues, everybody’s at work. The kitchen is easy: Table for 1, pls. Unpacking the kettle, she makes a cup of tea. Mary leans against the kitchen window slowly dunking the tea bag into the water. The fog is spilling across the Bridge now, its only 3 – so much for afternoon sun. Once down at the Marina, Mary saw the sunset – jeez how many cars swerved off the road to watch the last moment.
06/11 Direct Link
Max. I’ve always known I was socially retarded, but now it seems to be getting worse. I try to relax, go about my own business in a peaceful, easy way. Y’know I haven’t been able to make eye contact with any girls for a long while. The bank, market, gas station. And yet I’m afraid I am just as likely to start yelling at them because in that moment of waiting in line I’ve run an entire relationship through my head and she’s just another girl who has broken my heart, stomped on my kindness. Just like all the rest.
06/12 Direct Link
At the café on the corner, Mary always saw the same two women: one short, dark, the other big, blonde -  sitting in the bay window seat – where she wanted to sit. This seat had both sun from the east and a view to the west. Yet these women snaked her everytime. So she’d get her tea, sit a few tables away – under the fluorescent light – and try her hardest to give them stink eye. After the fourth day, she realized how foolish it all was. She even asked to join them one day, but the short one barked No!
06/13 Direct Link
Max: In the suburban reaches near me, I think I have discovered prostitutes. A blonde with short shorts at the bowling alley bar, there is a motel next door. Then, I am getting gas and there is another girl, blonde too, standing by the Chevron sign. I watched her for several minutes, if I could witness her being picked-up. But I guess Tues just after 5 is not prime pro/john meeting time. Or maybe it is, heck I don’t know. I’m tempted to ask her how much, but fear Dateline is in a van across the street ready to pounce.
06/14 Direct Link
Student. Writer. Waitress. Hippie. I’m a small girl from a small town learning to have not-so-small thoughts! Mary considers this line, hesitating over the Subscribe tab. Though it had only been 5 weeks, things had not turned out as she had so hopefully expected. And it was cold. Funny, she had looked forward to escaping the valley heat, but now wondered if she’d ever shed her ever-present heavy sweater, one of the two she rotates daily. Looking out from her kitchen, standing on a chair, she can just see the tops of the Bridge, the orange peeking through the grey.
06/15 Direct Link
In the 630 am blue light a sleepy-eyed Max slowly rolls the truck down the mtn, down into the office park and his beige cubicle. So, I’m driving down the road, waiting for car to warm up, to crank up the heater, and I see a beer can off in the ditch – And I wonder if its mine ?!? Its regular Coors, don’t see that often. The hillbilly kids, and their parents, drink Natural Ice. Would I toss a can out the window, let alone near my own house? God, I hope not – not even in my most drunken moment.
06/16 Direct Link
At the 18th min of the PBS Northern Italy travel program, the host takes Max’s breath away. On a too warm Sunday afternoon, after a long morning run and property chores and just another beer or two away from a nap, he is snapped awake. He puts down the gold can to rewind. And rewind again. Blonde with brown eyes, dusting of freckles across her nose. He watches the scene and then, she looks right into the camera, both her eyes and mouth smiling. Right at me, he hopelessly thinks – its good. Such small pleasures up here on the mountain.
06/17 Direct Link
After a few weeks, Mary meets Mike: We spent the day working together, then later we shared a bottle of wine and a kiss. A few days later we continued in bed. I feel comfort and calm. I am free to explore. His body is good and interesting in a way that I haven’t seen. Or was unable to see before. He is quite different and that makes it work. I’m looking for human touch, in that way we simply help each other. Of course this is not something lasting, but it is a very nice welcome to the City.
06/18 Direct Link
Mary doesn’t know if the beer and tobacco on his breath is a turn-off or a turn-on. He had called outta the blue, then arrived 10 mins later. She had just enough time to pick-up the apt a bit, pull on some clothes, look at herself in the bathroom mirror.   Wait, didn’t he say he ran for 2 hrs on Mt Tam this morning? – it doesn’t make sense. But she is liking the physical contact, her first in months, her first since arriving in the city, and she feels herself easing back into the couch pushed down by his weight.
06/19 Direct Link

Max: So I went to the Owl Bar tonite: to see that cute girl, to see a bit of the draft Well she was there, but must've been havin' a low day - there was no sparkle in her eyes, in her smile Sure, her boobs looked good, but artificial material don't got no emotion. After 1 beer, I got Depressed - cause this girl will never be interested in me and I really wanna see those boobs. So, I tipped generously, went to the gas station next door, bought a tall boy for the drive home up the hill.  

06/20 Direct Link
Mary puts down the urban farming book and dreams of chickens. The book was written by a girl living right across the bridge in Oakland. She sees in her mind a small coop made-up of old fence boards, the chickens excited at her arrival each dewy morning with grain. She’ll hold the still-warm eggs like precious gems. Down 3 floors, she spies the small area before the alley and conspires to make it happen. She did have chickens when she was younger, along with goats, sheep, and big veg gardens: but that was back home in the boring, hot Valley.
06/21 Direct Link

Max is upset, listening to the bartender. This place sucks, he thinks, then says it aloud. Y'know, he actually points a finger across the bar, I come here to drink beer and watch the game – its close to my house. No more. I know all these girls think I'm a creep, I don't care. They’re all half my age, no college, and live in some crappy duplex right around the corner from the house they grew up in. And now you accuse me of walking out on my tab. I've been coming in here for what, 3 years? Too long.

06/22 Direct Link
Mary dreams of a farm, some property on which she can have giant flower, herb, and veg gardens. To raise chickens, but then wonders if she could really…do it. Does a chicken really run with its head cut off? The draining of the blood- you put the chicken upside down in a funnel really. Next: hot water bath to pluck all the feathers – this smells cause the chicken is kinda sorta cooking. Get those clippers you use for the roses: no more feet, no more wings. Guts, the dogs come around. The baking, the grace: Thanks, her name was Sadie.
06/23 Direct Link
Its Friday Nite!! Max feels trapped. Its 8, its still light, yeah I’ve had tgif beers, but now I wanna take a shower, pull on some clean jeans, brand-new flip-flops and go out. Cops. Darkness. Meth-head Rednecks. What are you looking for? Remember: local girls really REALLY don’t dig you, voices in my head. Max has a coupla more beers – Tecates! Its summer – darkness comes on and the whole idea of movement has passed. With an 89 cent can of chili, Max settles into one of the VHS tapes he just picked up at the Friends of the Library sale.
06/24 Direct Link
Mary is ashamed to admit it to herself, but at night lying in bed she can’t not think about it. What a sudden thrill it was this afternoon walking past the African restaurant down in the Mission. The music, the spices, the smoke, the men. Never had she seen Africans in person: skin so dark, the old men their eyes yellow. Mary didn’t stop, in fact she may have quickened her pace, the rest of the day was lost – she only thought of that place. Now, wrestling with sleep, she allows it all to wash over her mind and body.
06/25 Direct Link
Max takes his place at the bar. His head falls forward, he sinks into the barstool. Today the sun is angry. He soaks in the cool dark room. When the girl comes round, he notices: the place is full, the only woman is behind the counter, and Creedence is on the juke box. An icy mug appears, immediately half is gone. He glances around the room for a moment, before digging into his bag to grab a thrift store pb. Another beer. Neon signs for light. Do you read a lot?,she asks. Only when there’s no one to talk to.
06/26 Direct Link
It was only after one of her girlfriends commented - Who is that?! - Mary realized he was in the gallery. It was a week ago they had chatted at the Ferry Bldg farmers mkt, over lettuce mix if you must know. Only now did she remember that she had mentioned the show. She had actually seen him some weeks before when her neighbors band was playing at the bar down the street. She bit her lip then, was biting it more now as he was looking at her paintings – specifically the self-portrait of her naked with a chimpanzee head.
06/27 Direct Link
It’s a Chevy longbed circa 1965: a sun-faded blue, with white cab – the little visor lip leaning out over the windshield.  Max is keen to get a pick-em-up truck. And while a 4x4 is a necessity up on the mtn, he can’t help but dream of rolling home in this very pick-up with AM radio and a tall between his legs. Blame it on Hud, the Paul Newman movie - though he thinks that might’ve been a Dodge. Too, The Last Picture Show. McMurtry sure is fine. Can you imagine rolling along barbed wired fields on a big bench seat…
06/28 Direct Link
Mary hears the words come out of her mouth: I grew up in the Valley and from a young age I knew I had to get outta there. I guess its nice and all, but there’s not a lot to do and nobody seems that interesting. Yeah, I did 4-H when I was little, then FFA in high school, but I was wanted more – y’know? She takes another gulp of her wine, the guy listening leans back a bit more, quiet, wide-eyed. I mean, I know everything comes from there: all food, all the water, but I’m just over it.
06/29 Direct Link
Fri 9:22pm Max notices the spaces available in the beer box. See, rather than the usual cans, he has purchased a big box containing 18 glass bottles. Each bottles has its own place within the box. And so Max notices that there are only six spaces available – and that means…shit! A quick check of the clock: Eight Oh Five – that’s bad. Its Fri nite!! Here’s when its most tough up on the mtn, cause it takes 10 min to get to the market and it’s a twisty road, then right before the mkt is where the cops gas up. Jeez.
06/30 Direct Link
Mary seems to be spontaneously crying today. It seems to be an ordinary Thurs: a day filled with compiling reports from field offices so her Supv can forward them on to Chicago. And while she’s working, she is also wetting her notes with drops from her eyes. It’s not really crying, just a welling up in the eyes. It started this morning in the shower – just a burst of bawling, like some bad Sat afternoon movie. On the bus, she had to keep her head down and pretend she was wiping her nose. Moving away was supposed to stop this.