Sunday, July 31, 2005

Moonrise Mosaic

Moonrise Mosaic
Originally uploaded by 2005tigarn.
I am currently enamored of the
moon and found this on Flickr.
I wish I knew where it was
taken. Soon this very blog
will have a moon chart thingie
and it will change as...oh,
never mind, we'll see it soon
enough. But it's quite special.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

how to enjoy a poem


Today I pass the time reading
a favorite haiku,
saying the few words over and over.

It feels like eating
the same small, perfect grape
again and again.

I walk through the house reciting it
and leave its letters falling
through the air of every room.

I stand by the big silence of the piano and say it.
I say it in front of a painting of the sea.
I tap out its rhythm on an empty shelf.

I listen to myself saying it,
then I say it without listening,
then I hear it without saying it.

And when the dog looks up at me,
I kneel down on the floor
and whisper it into each of his long white ears.

It’s the one about the one-ton
temple bell
with the moth sleeping on its surface,

and every time I say it, I feel the excruciating
pressure of the moth
on the surface of the iron bell.

When I say it at the window,
the bell is the world
and I am the moth resting there.

When I say it into the mirror,
I am the heavy bell
and the moth is life with its peppery wings.

And later, when I say it to you in the dark,
you are the bell,
and I am the tongue of the bell, ringing for you,

and the moth has flown
from its line
and moves like a hinge in the air above our bed.

Billy Collins

Friday, July 29, 2005

museum lite

One of my favorite activities during the work day is
to visit the SF Museum of Modern Art - on 3rd Street,
about 10 minutes away from my work place.  It's
easy with a membership because I don't have to wait
in line and I don't feel guilty if I only spend 1/2 hour
(or even less) at each exhibit.

Yesterday I went specifically to see the photographs from
the Paul Sack collection. These are arranged (as best I
could tell) by dates and places/people, but I will be
going back before the exhibit ends in early September.
At that time I hope to give you a little more information.
Paul Sack, by the way, is one of the city's "good" developers.

There are more than 250 photographs - the earliest from
the 1850's and they include all the best: Steiglitz, Diane

Arbus, Weston, Walker Evans, etc.  There is a spectacular

1878 panorama of SF (by Muybridge) that covers an entire
wall, but there were too many people in front of it, so I'll
return when the museum is less crowded.

I checked out the Tuttle exhibit, but I don't get too
excited about pieces of colored card paper attached to the
walls, so I hurrrumphed and left.  Oh, don't miss the wall of
individual wires that were neither pretty nor interesting.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

all's well today!

Msbook was mended for a mere $78 and I'm feeling
secure and complete now. I had to use my old msMac
and she is slow and tired, plus I don't have blogs and
important information at my fingertips when I compute
with her.  (Work horse that she was for many years.)

Tonight is Tiapos, my writing group, and I always look
forward to that.  I dug out two old daily writes to take
with me - both are vaguely amusing because I've been
writing too much heavy stuff for the past few months
and I'm tired of that right now. 

The first piece is about selling cats to unsuspecting
people and including many rolls of paper towels for
the little cat messes, also a 4 ft. high mousy bank so
the owner can start saving for future vet bills.
The second one is entitled
The Last Time I Told a
and, surprisingly, it is about one of the times I
lied to a customer.  I had forgotten about that
incident, so this is yet another good reason to keep
a written record.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

on the DL

Poor msBook is at hospital and we don't know
when she will return. Maybe a day or two. I took
her to the highly recommended Total Mac on
Geary Street (originally recommended by the
Salon Mistress) and I trust them and their
work - reasonable, too. My first quote (from
another repair shop) was $500, but Total Mac
will patch her up for under $100. So I'm on the
slowest iMac ever created and asking Michael to
put this on my blog today. Back soon!

Monday, July 25, 2005

su doku

On the cutting edge, pushing the envelope...
that's me through and through. Well, it's
most certainly not, but there is a peculiar
new number-placing puzzle that recently
appeared in the Chronny, right below our
friend Bizarro.  Then today our corporate
office wrote about some new
Su Doku books
that will be arriving, and a few of us at work
have been playing around with this intriguing
puzzle that is a BIG DEAL in Japan and NY.
Yes, it is addictive...

Sunday, July 24, 2005

kansas sunset

kansas sunset
Originally uploaded by the omster.
This was last night
right after our salads
and before the gigantic
bowls of ice cream.
I'm happy to be home,
but I'm missing my
friend - I had a most
wonderful time!


Originally uploaded by the omster.
This is a store in a
depressing (yet busy)
mall in Topeka.
I don't know what
else to say about
this whole public
Christianity thing,
except I think it's

the little apple

the little apple
Originally uploaded by the omster.
cristo in kansas?
We saw this on our
Saturday morning
walk in Ginger's
neighborhood in
Manhattan, KS.


That town with Best Buy yesterday was Topeka,
not Wichita.  Sheeeesh, how could I make that
error?  Up early and getting ready for the drive
to Kansas City this morning for Midwest Airlines.
Looks like hot weather in SF, too. Hooray!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

cameras & penguins

Record heat all day today, but that didn't stop
us from a 6am walk and then a busy day going
to Best Buy in Wichita for Ginger's camera.
That place is mostly shopping malls, it seems,
so it didn't appeal to me one bit.  However,
the camera was purchased and we'll work on
it tonight.  A knowledgeable sales person helped.

Next we drove to Lawrence which is a totally
delightful little college town with a long street
(Massachusetts) with tons of cute shops
and colorful flowers and shade trees. We had
lunch there, then went to see
The March of
the Penguins
movie which we both loved.

Going home tomorrow and I'll miss the peace
and quiet here, but mostly I'll be sad to say
goodbye to my dear/dear friend.  Now let's
see if I can get a Kansas sunset photo to
end these little trip notes.

Friday, July 22, 2005

serene spot

Originally uploaded by the omster.
apple tree
pear tree
buddha statue
wind chimes
bird feeders
bright red cardinals
many other birds
ice cream

full color kansas

I'm sitting in G's backyard this morning wondering
how all those people in TV commercials work on
their laptops outdoors, because it is very hard to
see the screen.  But too soon it will be too hot out
here and I need to be outside in this lovely, quiet
place. It's about 9am now and heating up quickly.

"The fascism of beige", G said to me yesterday as
we drove around this area. In SF the homes (and
businesses) are all painted in every color possible
and I had forgotten this beige and brick world. I
think of BeigeLand more in the terms of SoCal
(Azusa, La Burba, Glendale, etc.) and now I am
guessing that most of America is safely beige.

"If you let them, they'll embroider the whole world
the color of goose shit" - Jacques Brel...misquoted,
probably. But germane.

Despite the lackluster surroundings, we had a most
delightful day yesterday - mostly talking and then
some more talking.  On our 2nd trip to the small
off-white airport, my luggage had arrived! The poor
clerk was so excited and relieved that he didn't have
to face my wrath, that Ginger and I burst into yet
more laughter. He jumped out from behind the desk,
ignoring other customers, to bring me the black
suitcase with the little red bow.  Just shows what a
few un-Kansaslike words can do from time to time.

"It's a sign of respect", G translated to me after the
43rd person said, "yes, Ma'm" to one of us.  We, of
course, know where they can tuck that respect.

In the afternoon Ginger took me out to see Tuttle
Creek Dam (and lake) and it is a beautiful spot.
Almost deserted, but on weekends they have concerts
and picnics and I could easily picture that. It is lush
and green here, one forgets.

So after a delightful full night of sleep I am having
some coffee and taking the cowboy walk again.
G was off to work early, but she'll be home around
noon for lunch - we don't want to miss any calories
on this trip.  So far, so good.

I am extremely content - a fortunate woman am I.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

sunrise in kansas

sunrise in kansas
Originally uploaded by the omster.
It was already getting hot
at 6am this morning.

from the heartland

My goal today is to get a close-up photo of a bright red cardinal (bird,
not baseball) and see how many lattes I can drink before noon.
Ginger and I stayed up late talking and were up early for a
walk before it gets too warm.  I'm sitting on her back deck
now, looking out over her huge back yard and listening to the
birds chirp-chirp.  It seems so much closer to nature here
than it does in SF.  Probably because it is.

"Luggage is for amateurs" my friend Michael in Goleta tells me, so
I'm not worried that my suitcase didn't arrive in that way
too small 19 seat noisy little plane from KC to Manhattan
last night. The airport in KC was dead, but Ginger assures
me that no one in their right mind comes to KC in July. Oh.

One of the best things about being stuck on an airplane is
having time to read articles that I won't read otherwise:
elephants in Africa with stumpy trunks, Gertrude Stein's
affair with May Somethingorother (infuriating Alice B. so
much that she made Gertrude cross out any "may" word
in her writing, forcing her to use "could" instead) and
then losing myself in the Phillipa Gregory
Other Boleyn Girl
book which is a little hard to believe, but it IS fiction and
I do tend to judge too harshly sometimes.

I think today we'll get Ginger a digital camera and set that
up.  Then we'll talk some more about everything under the
hot midwestern summer sun and maybe head for a large
bookstore so I can cast my critical eye once again.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

plugs & gadgets

I've been packing for my trip to Manhattan, Kansas
off and on today and thinking a bit of how the world
has changed so much in just the past ten years.
For instance, now I can't travel without my trusty
laptop (msBook) or my camera and all the many
accessories that go with them. The camera gobbles
batteries, so I need to include extras and a battery
charger, too. Of course the cell phone needs its
recharger and all these quasi-tech items take up
blocks of space.  I barely have room for the pound
of Peet's coffee and seldom-worn sleeveless tee
shirts and shorts. It's going to be so sweet to be in
real summer weather - hot nights, fireflies, locusts
humming as soon as the sun goes down, and no
fog as thick as cookie dough the way it is here today.

Monday, July 18, 2005

jodie foster!

Imagine my surprise to see her in the delightful French
A Very Long Engagement which we watched
tonight. I enjoyed the movie because it was filled
with mystery and sorrow and the strange quiet
beauty of the French countryside. Alas, the World
War I war scenes were almost as horrific as real
war, or so I imagine. Four plus stars.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

mary oliver

City Arts & Lectures is bringing Ms. Oliver here in
November and I hope to get tickets.  Here is one
of her poems that makes me feel like I know her
just a bit.


If I envy anyone it must be
My grandmother in a long ago
Green summer, who hurried
Between kitchen and orchard on small
Uneducated feet, and took easily
All shining fruits into her eager hands.

That summer I hurried too, wakened
To books and music and circling philosophies.
I sat in the kitchen sorting through volumes of answers
That could not solve the mystery of the trees.

My grandmother stood among her kettles and ladles.
Smiling, in faulty grammar,
She praised my fortune and urged my lofty career.
So to please her I studied - but I will remember always
How she poured confusion out, how she cooled and labeled
All the wild sauces of the brimming year.

Saturday, July 16, 2005


Originally uploaded by the omster.
(My friend Kristin calls me The Omster
because I go to yoga.) But back to
these wonderful trees and the fact
that I can actually post this photo
myself. What a major sense of pride
and accomplishment I have today!
The trees are on 25th Street near
Harrison in the Mission District
of San Francisco.

Friday, July 15, 2005

the mac addict

Bruce Almighty showed me this article in the August issue of
MacAddict about blogging and isn't this something:
Some estimates claim that there are 60 million blogs on the
Web these days....(blah blog stuff) and about half a million
new blog posts appear daily.
I was particularly interested in a little graph on Photo Hosting
because I am frustrated that I can't send a picture every
now and then from iPhoto.  For instance, did you not want
to see the jacaranda trees on 26th Street?  They only grow
in the Mission district of San Francisco, not out in those
cold avenues or downtown. But I can't send it, so there.
Anyway, the author recommends Flickr (
so I'll check that out sometime after my trip to Kansas
next week when I'll be rejuvenated and can face technical stuff.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

celebrate bastille day!

I happen to love the French citizens, however I
thought you might enjoy this quote from the
American writer, P.J. ORourke:
The French are sawed-off sissies who eat snails
and slugs and cheese that smells like people's
feet. Utter cowards who force their own children
to drink wine, they gibber like baboons even when
you try to speak to them in their own
wimpy language.
I will add that they still smoke which is totally
obnoxious and rude. In my humble opinion...

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

the birds of SoCal

I'm proud to announce that my friend Joan has a
brand new book coming out.  She has put a lot of
work into this and deserves all the glowing praise.
Joan is a dear newly rediscovered friend - we went
to the University of Colorado together and then
lost track of each other for a few decades.  I'm
thrilled to have her back in my life.  Check out
the book and congratulations to her.
Introduction to Birds of the Southern California Coast

getting impersonal

I've been thinking about this passage from A Long Way
by Nick Hornby.  First, and least important, it
appears that young Brits say "Der" instead of "Duh".

Anyone who knows me understands that small town
living doesn't appeal to me ("you'd be lynched", my
husband tells me). Bucolic is out. I don't want anyone
knowing what I do or say, even if I don't do or say one
thing particularly interesting.  I love the anonymity of a
big city, the big bookstore, a busy Starbucks, etc.
I never, however, considered this to have to do with
confidence.  So this drew my attention...
From the musings of Jess, a teenage girl in London:

I like to know that there are big places without windows
where no one gives a shit. You need confidence to go
into small places with regular customers - small book-
shops and small music shops and small restaurants
and cafes.  I'm happiest in the Virgin Megastore and
Borders and Starbucks and PizzaExpress, where no one
gives a shit, and no one knows who you are. My mum and
dad are always going on about how soulless those places
are, and I'm like, Der.  That's the point.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Actually, creating a book list is right up my alley because,
if nothing else, I am a list maker.  For some reason,
after we started with Netflix back in 04/04, I have
kept track of every movie we have rented.  I could count
them now, but that would not interest all my readers,
would it?  Suffice it to say that the first movie was
Under the Sand and the most recent Intimate Strangers.

We are the reason the movie theaters suffer.  We used
to spend about $40 a week on one movie, two popcorns,
coke. Now it's $20 a month for the Flix and we average
about 8 to 10 movies a month.  (My husband and I could
never successfully share a box of popcorn, so that means
we paid more than normal couples.)  I think Netflix is
a brilliant concept and I made some $$$$ once saying
nothing much at a focus group they had at their corporate
headquarters down in Los Gatos.  So I'm extra loyal.

Monday, July 11, 2005

and he writes every day

OK, I've started a folder here on my desk top and I will
be listing my all-time favorite books.  What a challenging
project, thanks Salon Mistress! Give me a few weeks, here.

Now I want to talk about Stephen King because he is such
an accomplished writer.  I don't particularly like his horror
stories, but once in a while the New Yorker will publish one
of his short stories - and it will be outstanding.  And I
truly appreciated
The Shawshank Redemption and   
The Green Mile.                              

His book
On Writing is, of course, nonfiction and he is
painfully honest about his addiction to drugs and alcohol,
but he also has some terrific writing tips.  For instance
King talks about how important it is to have a special
place, even if its very small, just for writing. He covers
the basics too: verbs, nouns, dialogue, plot, narration,
description, etc.  And he emphasizes that all writers
need to read and then read some more.  Well, that
part I got right.

Then, at the end of
On Writing, Stephen King lists his
favorite books.  A few too many in the horror genre,
but I've read and loved these that aren't:
.Smilla's Sense of Snow
.The Poisonwood Bible
.Enduring Love
.Into Thin Air
.To Kill a Mockingbird
.The Secret History
But now I need to work a bit on My List.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

appreciation day

Today all of us workers get 40% off, so I bought five books
and a cassette of
1776, unabridged, of course. The one
poetry book is Adrienne Rich's
An Atlas of the Difficult
because it has that poem that everyone loves
("the bookstore poem") which begins "I know you are
reading this poem..." I need to devour more of her work.
The other books:
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  (The Salon Mistress recommended this)
.The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
  (because our women customers sing her praises)
The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan
  (who can write no wrong - also this book is on
   Stephen King's "list of 100 best" which I hope  
   to conquer within the next 5 years)
I'm sort of like a kitten with a new sockful of
catnip tonight and ready for a boring plane trip.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

3 o'clock curtain

I love intense theatre in a small setting, so going to
ART this afternoon was a delight.  I also prefer
one act plays with lots of conversation - half price
tickets, too.  I highly recommend this 85 minute play.
The San Francisco Playhouse is about 1/2 block from
work, upstairs at 536 Sutter.  As you've probably
read, the story is about a piece of "modern" art, but
it is really about friendship and change.  One quote
I remember, "no true friendship ever begins because
of rational thought", or like that. Meaning, I think, that
friendship is based more on emotion and feeling than
rationality. The actors, as it turns out, are all regular
customers in our store - that made
ART even better.
It runs through July 30th.

Friday, July 08, 2005

lunch with willie

I had to walk back and forth to Kinko's twice today
because they keep screwing up our projects, but I
was cheered on the final walk to see our ex-mayor
Willie Brown and his friends Harry deWildt and
Wilkes Bashford having their traditional Friday
lunch at Le Central on Sutter.  I've always liked
Willie, but I have had to defend him often. He is
so very San Francisco, even if he's from Texas.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

back to CNN

I hate these times when we have to turn on CNN. They
do the best job with the writing, reporting and photography.
We've been to most of those places in London and Bill's
counsin lives in Edgeware so we're waiting for an email
from him.  The look of shock on the faces of the Brits is
too much. When I got up this morning I thought, "today
is 07/07 - a lucky day".  Wrong again.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

slightly sinful

One of the best things about foggy summer days is being
able to watch movies in the afternoon without feeling
too guilty.  Today, however, there was some sunshine,
but we watched movies anyway.  First
Rescue Me that
Bill taped last night and next
Enduring Love based on the
book by McEwen.  That book has the best opening scene
I've ever read (that I can remember) and the movie
captures it pretty well. Samantha Morton was excellent
in the lead.  Now I have
True Romance that Dr J loaned
me about a month ago. Tarantino directs, so it
should be a good one.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

thoughts on friendship

I was going to write a little bit about how very lucky
I have been in my life because I have such truly fine
friends.  Then I thought, sheeeeesh, I've also been
lucky with love.  Final thought: is there a connection?
Right now I'm not going to discuss the first phase
passion-glorious stage of love (which has been written
about by people far more talented than I), but about
the everyday "I'm glad to see you - let me tell you
about the neighbor with the blue SUV" give-and-take
how-was-your-day kind of love. I'm wondering
if that's why some relationships just don't seem to
work - the friendship factor somehow goes awry and
bickering enters to fill the void and becomes a habit.

All leading up to my thoughts on going to Kansas in
two weeks to see my oldest friend, Ginger.  We have
been friends for more than 30 years and that makes
both of us extremely proud.  If you're like me, you've
lost a few friends along the way, and even though they
may appear in our thoughts and dreams, the closeness
is definitely gone forever. 

I don't think there is one thing that Ginger doesn't know
about me. We have been through the muck and mud
together and we have laughed and cried too many times
to count.  How many miles have we walked? She has
taught me more than my mother ever did and through
her I have actually begun to realize my full potential.

So those are my disjointed thoughts on friendship and
love for now.  I'm guessing that people who make good
friends would make for good partners too - but of
course there are always exceptions, aren't there?

Monday, July 04, 2005

a patriotic act

For the 4th of July, I am going to offer you this blog site
that is doing the job that newspapers are supposed to
be doing, and aren't.  It was created by Mr. and Ms. Fesmire
of Sunnyvale, Calif.  who are outraged by the war in Iraq. 
Oh, sorry, make that the invasion of Iraq. Their goal is
to "awaken the mainstream media" to the series of eight
leaked Blair administration memos that were almost
ignored.  The blog has had more than 700,000 hits
since it started on May 13 of this year.
The Downing Street Memos :: The Blog

Sunday, July 03, 2005

truth in poetry


by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice --

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

“Mend my life!”

each voice cried.

But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do --

determined to save

the only life that you could save.

agnostic prayers

We are all worried about whether the BART employees will
strike next week.  It is a less than perfect system, but those
of us who take those trains have little patience with smelly
and crowded Muni buses.  We will know on Wednesday if
the strike is on of off.  Settle, folks.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

gloria & self esteem

Self-esteem isn't everything; it's just that there's
nothing without it.
Gloria Steinhem

I was and still am a huge fan of Gloria Steinhem.  The
last time I saw her was on Actor's Studio when Jayne
Fonda was the guest star - several months ago when
Jayne's autobiography was published. Even though
Gloria was bold and strident during the hey dey of the
women's movement, she was able to deflect anger
because of her warmth, beauty and very sharp sense
of humor.  We wouldn't have come so far without her.

I am proud to be a feminist and I call myself a woman
with pride.  I do not want to be a girl or a lady.  For some
reason many women don't like to be called women, I guess
it's some sort of fear of aging thing.  Men don't mind being
called men.  But here's another quote, this one by Rebecca
West, an English novelist:
I myself have never been able to find our precisely what
feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist
whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from
a doormat.

a long way down

Today I'm going to bring home Nick Hornby's new novel
and here is an extremely interesting interview with him:
Powells Books - Nick Hornby

Friday, July 01, 2005

the missing link

Here we are - my friend Jane. The blog is under
remodel currently, so pardon our dust.
Writing Salon Mistress Muses

3 excellent years

I didn't start writing until 3 years ago when I joined Jane's most
wonderful class at the Writing Salon in Bernal Heights.  I selected
the Personal Essay class because it worked with my schedule,
even though I knew that I had absolutely nothing to say.  Since
that magical night I have produced three full notebooks because I
have written almost every day.  I followed the first class with a
few more classes and then participated in 4 (count them - four) of the  
Round Robins wherein we are assigned prompts and partners and
write every day for five or so weeks.  Wowza.

My work is on my computer and also in the notebooks and I really
need to do some organizing and make some decisions about what
to do with all this material.  When one writes this much, certain
themes emerge and I will write about these at a later date.  Suffice
it to say that when Jane complimented me I would glow for days
and email her comments to my friends who would respond with,
"way to go, Girl", because I have been blessed with supportive
friends who would like me to quit my day job and write all day long.

But tonight, I just want to celebrate the Writing Salon and urge
anyone who wants to join a community of warm and loving people
and stretch some of your muscles, take some chances, have some
laughs and tears, to click on
Salon Mistress Muses (and God knows
where those links are floating around now) and change your life
for the better - as I did.  Thank you, Jane.