Friday, September 30, 2005

leaving santa barbara

padaro beach
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Another splendid beach day yesterday and
I actually surfed on a foam boogey board
with my friend Ginger and her friend Ginny. I was hoping to capture those wonderful salt and sun filled feelings of my youth when I spent two weeks every summer at San Clemente with my family. And I did! A perfectly delightful day. This photo is of those strange homes at the end of Padaro Beach if you take the Santa Claus Lane exit off 101 South. Note how soft and clean the sand is too.

Coming home this morning, gotta run.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

padres 6, gigantes 0

Oh oh - I just clicked on MLB and I think this does it. Glad I'm not watching
that game, even though a TRUE fan would. I am a fair weather fan and I
like winning. Speaking of fair weather, it's hot down here in the coastal
resort area and I had a perfectly delightful day having coffee and walking
twice (5 mile total) on Padaro Beach. That has been my day. No meetings,
no tasks, no deciphering corporate emails and best of all no staff or
customer issues to deal with. I did go to the vets in Carpenteria because
a human stepped on the little paw of Bliss, the dachshund. (Not this human)
But she is OK and nothing is broken. And I did read more
Drop City  which
I am enjoying. There were dolphins cavorting very close to the shore on
my afternoon walk, but I couldn't get a photo, they do their pirouettes much
too quickly. But beautiful.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

and two more girlfriends

auri and bliss
Originally uploaded by the omster.
I'd forgotten how much fun it is to live with a dog, and now I have two to keep me guessing. Where are they? What is that noise? Why is she barking? What is that in her mouth and WHAT is that on the floor? So meet Auri (blonde) and Bliss the dachsund puppy. This was a full day of talk and sunshine and laughter and now I'm going to say my prayer for a Giants "W" (it's easier being away for these tense games)and hop into bed. But first a little gratitude for friendship and I'll say it again, I
am the luckiest woman in America to have so many unbelievably warm and generous and bright friends. Thanks to my SoCal group: Ginger, Joan and Michael. Two beach walks scheduled for tomorrow!

Monday, September 26, 2005

t.c. and me

What a perfectly solitary selfish day I had taking the Caltrain to San Jose and then the Amtrak bus to San Luis Obispo and another train to Goleta where my friend Michael met me and drove me to Summerland to stay here with Ginger and her doggies. Alas, Skye (the 3-legged doll lab) went to dog heaven this morning, so it's good I'm here to try to say comforting things.

Yes, I was able to nest in two seats all the way down here - surrounded by my luggage, computer and amusing pink backpack. I read old New Yorkers,
Drop City  by T.C. Boyle and a book of poetry by
Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Everything was smooth and I didn't speak to a soul which is what I needed.
Dinner tonight at Ginger's with our other college friend Joan and we laughed through a box of
Kleenex®. Three women who each remembered bits and pieces of our days at the University of Colorado and whose lives took strange and unpredictable turns. It was such a fine, fine time and I
know I'll remember this evening forever. The two remaining dogs were a little puzzled at the way
we carried on and now it's late again and we're all ready for bed. Oh, and it rained here today!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

a little night magic

It's after 11pm and that is v. late for me. We went to the Magic Theatre tonight to see the extremely fine play Family Butchers  by Edna O'Brien. It is a funny/sad play about a family in Western Ireland and centers around the youngest daughter who is a successful author. Based on Ms. O'Brien's
experiences, I'm guessing. I've been reading her short stories and novels for years and years and now she is a successful playwright too.

Tomorrow I'm on the 7am train to San Jose and then on to Santa Barbara. Of course my trusty msBook travels with me, so I'll write next from my half of Ginger's home in Summerland.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

god bless you, Mr. Vonnegut

Oh, hooray - I'm loving A Man Without A Country  by Kurt Vonnegut. New. Powerful. In this passage that I will type out, he is responding to a man in Seattle who wonders if he could ever imagine the absurdness of removing our shoes and having them x-rayed at the airport. The reader (and this blog poster) are hoping that no one ever invents explosive pants. The Great Vonnegut:

The shoe thing at the airports and the Code Orange and so on are world-class practical jokes, all right. But my all-time favorite is one the holy, anti-war clown, Abbie Hoffman (1936-1989) pulled off during the Vietnam War. He announced that the new high was banana peels taken rectally. So then FBI scientists stuffed banana peels up their asses to find out if this was true or not. Or so we hoped.

Friday, September 23, 2005

city stuff

Last night at the writing group Karen said she liked to read my blog because it's about San Francisco and she lives in NYC now. She used to live here and the piece she read to us last night was exquisite with the descriptions of her big apple life and her SF dreams. Anyway, I was thinking about her while I walked up Powell Street in the dark this morning, when only a few of the regulars were out. Some I say hello to every morning, but a few are too dangerous - one gets the feeling that they're close to snapping and when you live in a city you learn to take care of yourself, to walk by the curb and not to sit too closely to people wrapped in blankets in BART. Once in a while I remember to look around me and see the cable cars, the tourists in their Walgreen's zip front sweat shirts taking photos of Union Square with their new digital cameras. They shiver in the fog and wave at everyone riding the cable cars - all tourists because those of us who live here can't afford the $5.00 ride. We're all sick of the guy who says (in a sing song voice) "just a nickel and a smile will last a long while", but our tourists smile and give him money. I live in a very small, very pretty big city, but it ain't Manhattan.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

tiapos tonight

I have a 450 word essay to take to my writing class tonight.
It is one I actually LIKE and my friend Kristin said it was
"lovely" - a word we know they use in the UK. To excess,
but I'm not one to judge harshly.

Plus I'm taking some chocolate covered molasses chips
from See's Candies which now has an itty bitty store in Union
Square, an establishment I have to avoid at any cost.
Now how could anyone work there and not gain 50 lbs.
in 3 weeks?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

my life: e-nriched

I've written a lot about how much I love e-mails (and how I so
hate the phone) and I'm going to cut and paste a beautiful
graph from my friend Kristin who is another word bird in my
life. I don't think she appreciates her talent, plus she is so
busy being a loving mama, but I'm sure she won't mind if I share
her words with you down at the end of this post tonight.

You know they say that writers live twice, but I'm thinking
we maybe live three times because we also get to read our
work later and remind us not only of the details but how
we were feeling at a particular time in our lives.

So here is Kristin's Sunday last in Golden Gate Park with her husband
and 22 month old daughter:

Bill started feeding the pigeons and soon we were very popular (among
the pigeon population). All of a sudden they all flew up in formation and
did huge sweeps over the lake, and they actually looked pretty. The sun
caught the bottoms of their wings and they glimmered like silver leaves. I
couldn't get a picture to do it justice, but I was glad to know that even
pigeons could contribute some measure of beauty to this world.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

not my cup o' assam

So I don't like monsters, aliens or scary sci fi stuff, so of
course I disliked
Lost although the idea of 48 strangers on a
desert island would work for me. But then all the noise and
the dog and everything, plus the pilot in the tree...nope.
(Assam is a strong British tea, but you knew that)

This morning while reading my New Yorker outside the BART
station I ran into Anne from my first writing class and that
was such a fine surprise. I got to ask her how she named
her baby Lucca (aka Lucky) and YES, they named her
after our favorite deli on Valencia Street!  Lucca Camille,
isn't that a fabulous San Francisco name?  Anyway, Anne
looked even more beautiful than ever - what fun!

this pesky spam business

OK, so I missed a comment from Big Blog Martha, so now
I'm back to anonymous and I will ask that someone try
this new feature because you have to type in amtrak
backwards or something. I think this spam is electronically
generated to hit our blogs and it makes me v. irritable.
I didn't understand the team business either, some
blogger elitist thing, I guess.

Monday, September 19, 2005

getting lost

I broke down and went to Blockbuster on my walk home today
because Netflix has me on the "Wait Forever and Then Some"
Lost (Disc One). Some of my fellow workers really like
this TV program and I want to see what it's all about. I agree
that the Emmys are contrived and I just watched a little
because I wanted to see Ellen and a few other stars, but of
course I had to go to bed early because I have the opportunity
of opening the store every morning at 6am. Rough, but it
beats the closing shift. Anyway,
Lost won for best drama
series, meaning the wait from the Flix might last until Feb.
I hope I love it because I need a new addiction.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

for Doctorow fans

Here's a brief review of a new book coming out this week. The March is a fictionalized
account of Union general Sherman's march in 1864, after he burned Atlanta. Sherman
marched his 60 thousand troops east through Georgia to the sea, and then up to the Carolinas.

Almost hypnotic in its narrative drive,
The March stunningly renders the countless lives swept up in the violence of a country at war with itself. The great march in E. L. Doctorow's hands becomes something more — a floating world, a nomadic consciousness, and an unforgettable reading experience with awesome relevance to our own times.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

writing is/as work

Be sure to read my friend (and teacher) Jane's post
today in her blog
Writing Salon Mistress Muses. Funny,
I was thinking the same thing during my work day.
It's usually not a joyful experience for me to write,
I'm tired, I have nothing to say, I have no talent...
well, you all know these reasons and might even
use them yourself.

There are two reasons I write every day in my blog.
1) after 3 years in Jane's fine classes it has been
    drilled into me that writing begets writing, it is
    better to write badly than not to write at all.
2) when I first started commano, Dr J told me that he
    stopped reading his friend's blog because she
    didn't update it enough - so right then and there
    I vowed to write SOMETHING everyday. I mean,
    wouldn't you, if he stopped reading your blog?

Friday, September 16, 2005

and another goodbye

Today I want to wish my friend Bruce Almighty the very
best as he climbs the corporate ladder and transfers to
our store in Sunnyvale. He will be faced with new and
unusual challenges and my only hope is that they appreciate
him half as much as I do. The Almighty was always one
of my favorite employees because:
.he was never late
.laughed at my jokes
.teased me without surcease
.took care of yucky men's bathroom "issues"
.asked lots of questions
.took the service manager phone often and willingly
.helped me with computer problems (plug it in!)
.willingly did whatever we asked of him
.reads everything and shares NYTimes articles
.reads my blog and doesn't write enough in his
.had a gazillion good ideas and implemented them
.created all of our signs and tested me with a few
     misspelled words every now and then
So, I'll really miss you Bruce, but I'm pleased that
you have been promoted because you so richly
deserve this opportunity! Stay in touch...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

bumper sticker

I saw this one on my day off, Tuesday.


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

one day, two movies

This morning at 7am I was watching Walk on Water from
Netflix. It was filmed mostly in Israel with a few scenes in
Germany. I highly recommend this movie because it will
give you so much to think about. A story, really, of
friendship, love, forgiveness and redemption. Excellent.

Then this afternoon we went out to the Balboa to see
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress and that was
a delight. We went with Mr. and Ms. Plotnik and had a
fine time losing ourselves in the mountain region of China.
The film was almost as engaging as the book. Almost.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

small thoughts on big creations

I think I'm pretty typical in that I like quick doses instead
of long well-thought out pieces. For instance, I'm reading
(and returning, unread, I'm sure)
Shalimar The Clown by
Salman Rushdie. One of his paragraphs (or "graphs" as my
dear Martha would say) is about 1200 words, I think. It
is beautifully written, but by the time I reach the end my
mind is wandering and I'm wondering about walking to Walgreen's
for a sweet.

One of the things we all like best, I believe, about
Six Feet Under,
The Sopranos, Rescue Me, Seinfeld,
etc. is the staccato pace.
All those intertwined vignettes. Not dwelling on one character or
situation too long. I have a short attention span and I don't think
I'm alone here. Books too - short chapters and even shorter graphs.
(Except Mr. Rushdie.)

Anyway, my friend Kristin asked me about
Crash and whether it
was a downer. I didn't think so, although there are some unpleasant
scenes. I'm not a movie reviewer-type, but this reminded me of
Grand Canyon, Magnolia, Short Cuts - all movies that I really liked.
No time to get bored or press the pause button. Lots to think
about and some really interesting L.A. characters. So, yes, I
would recommend
Crash with four Mitchell's ice cream cones.
Four out of five, that is. Small cones, that is.

Monday, September 12, 2005

and Barry's b-a-c-k!

Well, isn't this fun? We thought for sure that his very
first hit was a home run - and it was close. Every
pitch was exciting (and there were 10 or more of
them in Barry's firsr at bat). Now we realize just
how much we've missed him: the excitement, the
star power, the knowledge that we are probably
watching the best baseball player ever. By the way,
Baseball As America will be at the Oakland Museum
soon. Straight from Cooperstown. More on that...
now when does Barry hit again?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

a poem from my friend will

We have been missing Will this summer because he
and Valerie are in their home in Provincetown, RI.
He is an important member of our writing group
and we eagerly await his return. He e-mailed me
this lovely poem and I will post it this Sunday, in honor
of my friend Joan whose son died a year ago
today. September is a difficult month for so many.


Will Walker

Though seldom said, it's true: the dead
release us when they die. We do not know it
for a while, we think we hear their voices,
we think they linger in the shadows of cats.
We think we become them, the way
they sneezed, the way they pruned
their roses. And yes they may be with us,
but now so far in love with the world
they watch us raise our glasses to them
and think Ah, a perfect earlobe,
Oh, the rippling sound of laughter,
the profligate perfection of fingerprints!
Then they do what the dead to best: watch a bud
grow to a leaf that lasts a green season,
then free itself in a brief, lit symphony
of flight and recreate itself as loam.
They love to watch a wave
course a thousand miles, pulse
over a whale, lift plankton near Greenland,
then build and break across
the patient sand. They breathe
in centuries. They follow dawn's
quickening birdsong around the globe
for decades. When they feel the need, they drift
into our sleep and light our dreams.
They love it that, through the years,
we realize we, too, are free.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

it's september 10th, hurry in to shop

Yesterday I put the boxed holiday cards out in our store. I will not carry on about this today, because we have a lot of time yet to talk about the happy holidays and how they turn a reasonably sane woman (who works in retail) into a complete raving maniac by Dec. 25th. My friend Irving always said, "Christmas has us by the throat again" and of course I agree. Just now I spent 1/2 hour on Flickr trying to find the perfect picture - there were more than 2000 PUBLIC photos to choose from and all look amazingly alike. Lots of chubby children and animals under the tree. I wanted something different, so I selected this one by swissmiss. I try to remember when I last really enjoyed this holiday and it would to be more than 20 years ago when we would chuck all this silliness and go to Europe. That was simply the best.

Friday, September 09, 2005

just doing his job

The first item I read in today's Chronicle is
this superb piece by Mark Morford. Read,
enjoy and send him a "thanks" email before
you send it to all of your friends...
Stop! Don't criticize Bush for doing what he was hired to do

Thursday, September 08, 2005

sometimes - a poem


Sheenagh Pugh

Sometimes things don't go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don't fail,
sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes will step back from war;
elect an honest man; decide they care
enough, that they can't leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.

Sometimes our best efforts do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen; may it  happen to you.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

getting my strength back

I'm not a "spiritual person" by any means, but once a week
I go to yoga in a beautiful old  building on Dolores Street in
San Francisco. I guess I've been doing this for 4 years now
because today I was remembering going to yoga the day after
911 and crying throughout the class. I cried some today, but
felt soothed too and it was good to stretch and chant after
all the family stuff, the airplanes and the depressing scenes
of all those poor people down on the Gulf Coast.

If you haven't tried yoga, invest in the Beginners Class and
on this web site you can find the schedules and some basic
descriptions of the classes.
Integral Yoga Institute of San Francisco
You will be doing yourself a favor.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

still more tears

Since I'm off on Tuesday, I was shampooing my hair in
the shower about 10am this morning and listening to
Ronn Owens on KGO. He played that tremendously
moving tape from the President of one of the Parishes
around New Orleans - the heartbreaking one about his
friend's mother who died in the rest home last Friday.
Waiting for help. I thought I had done all my crying
last week, but there is still more, it seems. The speaker
ends up yelling and crying because he was so, so
angry. Listen for it, if you can take it. And, read this
letter from the
New Orleans Times-Picayune in this
fine blog:
Critical Cloud

Monday, September 05, 2005

enough with the wave

Even though I said I wouldn't do this thing, even though
my heart has been broken every year since we used to
be season ticket holders at Candlestick (16 years or so)
and even though I said "NOT THIS SEPTEMBER", here I
am watching the damn Giants again and thinking the
unthinkable. Maybe, maybe we can get into the Post
Season and maybe even go on and - why am I doing this
to myself? Why am I hiding in the (dang) kitchen when that
dishonorable Jeff Kent hits what could be a double,
except that Moises Alou makes a fabulous catch...oh
can my heart take this again?

My baseball e-mail friends (Allen, Dougo, Sally and
Kristin) are starting to think Post Season too. We dare
to dream, we check the other teams and even though
Dodger Doug is anti-Giant, he will want us to suffer in
October and his insightful emails will increase in number
and intensity. I feel it, my nerves feel it. Here, late in
the season, I'm trying to figure out which are my lucky
clothes and second-guessing Felipe Alou and hoping
against hope. Those stupid L.A. fans are doing the
WAVE, of all typically SoCal ridiculous.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

right where I belong

It's early evening here in San Francisco and the sun
will set in a clear pink fog-free manner tonight.  A
lovely welcome home. Long day again on airplanes,
but this time we had the Sunday New York Times and
some impressive editorials on the ineptitude of our
federal government. In addition, I read the Malcolm
Gladwell article in the New Yorker on health insurance
(or lack thereof) for so many Americans. For a
wealthy nation, we do such a poor job and I was
in a funk of a mild depression because the rich just
collect more wealth, while so many suffer needlessly.
But it's good to be home and I'm starting to
recognize myself again after many days of frequent
smiles, family gossip, bad food, upper middle class
platitudes and long sleepless nights worrying about
those desperate souls on the Gulf Coast.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

gazebos & flags

I'm coming up with a theory here about upstate New York.
First, every small town/village/hamlet has a park with a
gazebo. "Precious", as my friend Ginger in Kansas would
say. No one sits in or under these, but today the wedding
will be in the one in Clinton, New York. So maybe they are
Ceremonial Gazebos? I know in movies people use these
gazebos, but so far, not in real life.

Next, the flags. Oh, my, this is a nest of true patriots. Why
just one flag in front of your home when 6 will work better?
And the yellow ribbons. We ALL want our troops to be safe,
we want them home. Now. Yesterday we saw one house with
no flag and a sign that said, "Another Family For Peace"...I
had a moment of hope.

It's always a shock coming from Left WingLand to this other
world of Family Values. Plus you could get a huge house and
a lot of land for around $90,000. Tempted?

Friday, September 02, 2005

middle finger lake

blue lake, ny
Originally uploaded by the omster.
No, no - I just wanted to use The Great Plotnik's line here, it's really Blue Lake and we had a fabulous drive around the
Adirondacks yesterday. There was no traffic and the roads were in fine condition and there were so many lakes that most weren't even on the map. And it isn't commercial here - no billboards, no flashing lights. In fact, few motels and fewer restaurants. We stopped in Speculator (such an odd name) for coffee and fresh fruit and ended up in downtown Utica in the afternoon where we walked and had coffee at the Marbazon Pastry Shoppe & Cafe. So it was a full day of driving and oooohing and aaahing.

The sun is already out and bright this morning and the bridal shower looms. I will spare you family details.

In the meantime, our friend Mr. Moore:
Welcome to! I'm sure you all get his emails, except maybe Dr J.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

no fresh fruit?

new hartford, NY
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Here is the view from our motel room after we arrived yesterday about 6pm. Long day on airlines and then a strange rental car with the usual button and knob problems,
then msBook was cranky and didn't want to do anything until this morning, so it wasn't a very good night. But, as usual, the morning is better and we went to iHop where I convinced Bill NOT to have the funnel cakes even though the photo looked pretty inviting. We puzzled over the fact that they had NO fresh fruit at the International House and we muttered some other food-snobby things, as is our wont. But, the coffee was weak and the waitress told us her name, so all is well. I will not discuss dinner last night because it was horrid. But today we will have AN ADVENTURE and are heading to Adirondack Park and I think my next picture will be nicer than the one I'm sending today. This is Free Day and Family Days begin tomorrow.