Friday, August 27, 2010

Dinnies and Lions and Insomnia, oh my!

It's a little disappointing but undeniable: insomnia's back.  Learning to sleep is so on my 2010 List, and I thought I'd kicked the habit of habitual sleeplessness, but the year clearly ain't over yet.  And maybe I'm just going to have to accept that this is how I operate -- periods of being a nocturnal mammal, shuffling around my den in the middle of the night.

Actually, I'm a little happy about it this morning.  I made myself wait until 4 to get out of bed, since drinking coffee any earlier than that seems wrong somehow.  The Kid slept elsewhere so I can be in the common living space freely, lights on, typing with impunity.  If I'm honest, it does feel like a little bit of a treat, like I'm getting such a head-start on the day, enough time to write this post and get some reading in, and stand in the garden and stare, and walk Jasper in the woods and still leave for my Mammalogy field trip unharried.

The Type-A me loves the insomnia, in the same way I love jetlag -- because I'm in my very own time-zone, making my lists, getting clear about what's important, making my preparations for the day to come in the quiet of a still room.  And today I get to take everything I've been thinking about since 1am when my eyes opened for good and dump it all right here.

Dinner at Picco
Joe's lovely parents, Jim and Donna, took us out belatedly for Joe's birthday last night, to the delicious Picco in Larkspur.  I've been wanting to eat there for some time, but it took some planning -- not the kind of place you can just necessarily walk in and get a table or get a reservation for the next night.  It was worth the wait.

I love small plates, first of all -- I think there's something so special about ordering a selection of dishes and sharing them, everyone eating the same food.  Makes for such a very nice shared experience.  And the physical plates themselves -- Heath -- I also loved.  Somehow just makes everything better, more substantial and complex when it's set on lovely earth-tone ceramic.  

I arrived early and the dining room was still relatively empty and quiet.  I had a moment to sit at the table by myself, note some ideas I had in the car, and relax before everyone arrived.  

Without listing every ingrediment, I can tell you that dinner consisted of;

- Baby arugula salad with strawberries, marcona almonds, fiscalini cheddar: super-winning combination
- Ahi tartare on utterly delectable little rice cakes
- Grilled calamari (pictured above) in a cucumber gazpacho with fennel, fregola, oh so tasty
- Risotto, served fresh on the half-hour, good not mindblowing
- Grass-fed beef mini-burgers, not my favorite
- French fries with aioli, utterly freaking perfect

The service was excellent and the company so sweet.  And dessert?  We tried three: banana bread pudding, warm chocolate madeleines with raspberry milkshake shooters, farmer's market pie.  I thought the madeleine was my favorite, until I tried the pie -- crust made with crushed almonds to remember for some time to come!

And their press-pot decaf coffee was delicious.  All in all, a great meal.  I look forward to trying other items on the menu as soon as I plan ahead enough to reserve a table!

I have so far been unable to watch the following video clip without tears coursing down my face. I'm not sure it's important to watch it without crying, by the way, but it just about takes me apart every time I see it.  

Part of the Pride: My Life Among the Big Cats of AfricaBecause of the video, which someone sent me on Facebook, I did a little Googling and learned more about Kevin Richardson, the Lion Whisperer.  And ordered the book.  And started reading it last night after we got home from above delicious dinner.  And went to sleep hoping to dream of lions, rolling about with them on the ground, pressing my forehead to one of their giant maned heads.  
No such luck.  But being awake at 1 gave me 1 1/2 more hours of reading time, so I had lions while awake.  Not quite the same, but will have to do.

Kevin's story is pretty amazing.  He's no David Attenborough -- meaning he's not in my personal Pantheon with Attenborough and my other heroes -- but damn it, what an amazing relationship he has to some extraordinary beasts.  I would give almost anything to know what that feels like -- having lions as friends.  

So, the insomnia.  I thought I had it licked, but since we came back from Bali, I've definitely been unsettled in my sleep, just haven't found a rhythm.  And to be honest, it probably has a lot to do with the shock of returning to work, and my boss coming back from her three-month sabbatical, and just generally realizing how much I have on my plate, how much I want and love to do.  And probably in this specific instance, I am definitely excited about this morning's field trip to the Academy of Sciences with my Mammalogy class, so that buzz is adding to the noise-level in my over-active head and keeping sleep at bay.

I know this noise is significant and that I am going to have to pay attention, sort it out.  And I'm definitely going to crash at about 2 this afternoon.  But in the meantime, I'm sleep-deprived but happy: well-fed, inspired and ready to go.

1 comment:

RunWithKate said...

I didn't know there was a video! I saw the pictures in an email last week. They are so beautiful!