Tuesday, October 27, 2009


The 2008-09 Round-Up

It has been a ridiculously long time since I updated this blog. Reason #1 is right here in the picture.

This is my daughter Adele. She was born last April, in what was for me 16 hours of patient spectating while my body worked its evolutionarily determined magic. I have become one of those wacky people who walks around rhapsodizing about the incredible joy of natural childbirth to anyone who will listen. I think I am still high from the experience. Since then, I have accumulated a running list of all the parenthood clichés that have turned out to be true… about how childbirth was so transformative an experience that my whole life is now divided into Life Before Adele and Life After Adele… about how I didn’t really understand love to the fullest until I met Adele and experienced a shared love for her and our family with Michael… about how I am standing by ready to eviscerate anyone who breathes on her wrong. It has been a strange, intense hormonal trip-out.

Nothing like having a baby to remind you that you are an animal.

But don’t worry. I will spare you my clog-wearing California mommy musings on cloth diapers and the joys of lactation. Rather, I bring this up by way of explanation. It’s been almost a year (!) since I last updated this blog, and during that time, my coffee habits just haven’t been what they once were. I did drink coffee during my pregnancy, although I definitely cut back quite a bit. And I am continuing to drink coffee while nursing, although, again, I am trying to take it easy on the caffeine. And on top of that, given how clumsy I am and how frequently I am carrying Adele in what I think of as Baby-As-Napkin position, I have switched to drinking A LOT of iced coffee. (which I drip on her pretty regularly, alas; people think I put hats on her because they are cute. But my little secret is that hats protect her from getting cookie crumbs and iced coffee drips in her precious few strands of hair.) Also, the last year saw me relocate to Oakland – a fascinating city full of a great diversity of humans and all kinds of surprises, one of which, unfortunately, is a total dearth of decent espresso. So in spite of the fact that I live in lovely Rockridge, walking distance from butchers, bakers, produce markets, a slew of incredible restaurants and a kick-ass weekly farmers market, the coffee around here, in a word, BLOWS. I mean, it has been hard times. There’s so much good coffee in the bay area, but most of it has somehow skipped over Oakland and Berkeley. So what was there to write about, other than my dissatisfaction, which you can read about in plenty of other places?

However, I recently stumbled across a brand spanking new, not-even-really-open-yet coffee place here in Oakland that is actually very good. And it got me thinking about this blog and how long it has been since I have gotten all excited about a new coffee joint. So I’ve started stealing bits of Adele’s nap time to work on this blog and will be reporting on the new place in Oakland very soon. In the meantime, I figured it might be worth running down the list of highlights of the last year…

September 2008: While in Kansas City for a screening of my film at the Kansas International Film Festival, I had the good fortune to get a cappuccino at Espresso Dell’Anatra. Holy God. It was simply amazing. It was rich and delicious and overwhelmingly chocolate-y for a drink with no actual chocolate in it. It was easily the best cappuccino I had all year, made all the more tasty by the fact that it was improbably located in a strip mall across from a Target and an IHOP.

November 2008: I took a quick trip to Houston to screen my film as part of Real Films, an ongoing documentary screening series there. A referral from Mike McKim of Cuvee Coffee led me to Catalina Coffee, a (then) newly opened shop in Houston. The guys from Catalina came out the screening, made some kick-ass cappuccinos for the crowd and participated in one of the best post-screening discussions I have ever been a part of. The next day I went back to Catalina with my cousin Derek to try another one of their cappuccinos. Yup. Still good.

February 2009: I went to Reno for a community screening at The River School, a community event space and sustainability study center on the Truckee River. This event was a lot like the one in Houston, only this time the coffee was served by the folks from Walden’s Coffee House (which serves Barefoot Coffee). Again, the discussion after the screening was among the best I’ve ever been a part of. Most of the time when you make a movie, you have some vague ideas about wanting to stimulate discussion with it, but it’s so rare that you actually get to be a part of it. The Reno screening was one of those rare times when the movie was just the starting point for a much larger conversation about consumption, sustainability (environmental and financial) and aesthetics. I felt lucky to be there.

March 2009: While in San Luis Obispo for the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, we did a couple of additional screenings at Joe Momma’s in Avila Beach. It was great to get to know Micheal and Mary Kay Kidd a little better, and the audiences at both Joe Momma’s screenings were terrific.

OK, that’s the wrap-up for the year. (Ha!) Hopefully I will have plenty more to report soon… it would be nice to NOT be able to count the good cappuccinos I’ve had in the past year on one hand.

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