Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 ends with a pheasant

Work is getting back to what passes for normal there. I
was actually able to sit at my desk and work on a few
projects and overdue reports yesterday. It even looks
like I can get to the museum one day next week ~ I feel
guilty when I talk to customers from L.A. who fly up
here just to go to our museums.

Tonight Husbando is fixing pheasant for New Year's Eve.
His daughter sent it to us (I wrote the thank you note)
and I believe he will also serve risotto. I work tomorrow
so we won't be flying to Paris, France or Paris, Texas
today to celebrate the New Year.

I counseled one of my supervisors to use that French
Seven with the line across it in all her hand written
work next year. It is my duty to train the young. I also
taught her to go to Walgreen's on company time and
not to schedule me for Floor Manager the moment I
arrive in Retail Wonderland. She is a fast learner. She
already quickly learned to laugh at my little jokes....

Saturday, December 30, 2006

and the cat box is in the corner

yesterday a customer asked me:

Do you have restrooms for people?

Friday, December 29, 2006

more on xmas, more about women

Thanks to the Blogmaid for this wonderful quote in her
email this morning:

And this from Anna Quindlen's column in the January 1, 2007
Newsweek: "In
1874 a British actress named Fanny Kemble wrote
'Christmas is a season of
such infinite labour, as well as expense
in the shopping and present-making
line, that almost every woman
l know is good for nothing in purse or person
for a month afterwards'."

Odd, only yesterday I told Husbando not to even concern his
pretty little head about writing thank you notes to HIS children
this year, as I was going to take care of that task. He has never
had to worry about this holiday (and
not because he's Jewish)
because it is still, despite some gains in Women's Rights, a very
women-do-it-or-it-doesn't-get-done kind of "holiday". Grrrrrrr.

Yesterday we went to Target and the shelves were BARE. I saw
3 clerks gossiping in the back of the store, pretending to
resticker merchandise, and I refrained from suggesting that
they might want to pick up the pace a bit. Then one suggested
a break and I knew that all was well again in their Retail World.
(Not mine, never mine.)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

a quiet table for two

levi plaza & coit
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Alas, not a great shot from Levi Plaza with Coit Tower in the background, but I wanted you to know that we do venture out of the Mish from time to time. Last night we had a Basque dinner at the extremely warm and charming Piperade restaurant down on Battery Street. Every time we go here (not often enough) Husbando has to go inside the yuppie workout club and ask directions. By now they know him. It was brisk out making for a bracing "where the hell is it?" kind of walk. He had that thinly sliced salty ham and then a fish stew and I the garlic fat shrimps and duck. I told Husbando what is going on at work, not that I really know, and he listened and was once again my Business Advisor. Fortunate woman (me).

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

goodbyes: Ford and big tree

From this morning's email bag ~ a friend writes:

I've just been reading one of the Gerald Ford obituaries
on At the risk of sounding morbid, I do like
Presidential funerals. We don't have many of those kinds of
formal ceremonies in this country, particularly ones
that simply ooze history.

One of the things I think is so eye-opening about Ford is
that he and President Carter (who defeated him in 1976)
were very close. That says so much about both men,
doesn't it? Character transcends politics every once in
a while. And Betty Ford probably did more for women than
previous First Ladies ~ breast cancer and addiction ~ and
she was always so open about her less than perfect life.

Now I need to remove this huge xmas tree and get my life
back to what, for me, is normal.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

dogs don't know from xmas

Originally uploaded by the omster.
Here is our famous bridge yesterday (10am ish) ~ the walk settled my soul and every dog in SF was out here, or so it seemed. I saw a Livvy B. look-alike, an 11 week old Irish Setter pup, 14 golden retrievers and the woman we used to sit next to at the symphony (Mrs. Sphinx). I remembered to breathe and after the walk I came home to read and nap. First, of course, we listened to Jersey Boys (thanks, Dr. J!) and I tucked the Euros from the darling and generous Dancing Jen into my multi-colored striped "Italy Box". Traffic to the East Bay was easy and we were home before 8pm. My kind of holiday.

Monday, December 25, 2006

a day off = glad tidings

Made it! The fireplace is roaring and retail xmas '06 will
soon be just a memory. Yesterday wasn't as busy as the
day before and because we closed early, we had enough
coverage and I didn't have to strap myself to a register
all day long. It was almost a pleasant day.

Our roast beef extravaganza dinner was a huge success
and then we settled in to finish watching "Prime Suspect"
with the always impressive Helen Mirren. Excellent and well
worth watching again because we missed a few lines due
to those pesky British accents.

Today to Crissy Field for a walk and now I stop eating so
many sweets and start taking better care of myself. We
head for Kennsington this afternoon for our traditional
Christmas dinner with the middle son and his wife. I'm
delighted to have made it through another holiday season
with my sanity intact ~ well, that might be an exaggeration.

Enjoy the Holiday, dear readers.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

crabs, roasts, employees, customers

...and not in that order.

Say, just try to picture, that you are a person who waits
until two days before the actual Christmas holiday to do
your shopping. Perhaps you have a long list of specific
books that you would like to buy. Would you become
snarly if a big box mortar bookstore just happened to be
out of one or two of those best-selling books? Of course not.

One cashier was in Sacramento when I called her for her
morning shift yesterday and one cafe worker emailed me
his resignation. Effective immediately. I love retail.

Neti bought scratch-scratch all the way home alive crabs
and steamed them to perfection for our dinner last night.
Husbando probably ate two all by himself. I was able to
nap for about an hour before we drove to Twin Peaks,
oooohing and aaahing at all the good Christian bright lights.

But tonight, in a few short hours ~ a standing rib roast! A
simple yet extravagant celebration dinner and once again I
will say to Husbando, "thank god it's over and I do appreciate
coming home to a clean home and a good meal after work."
Then he will remind me that he also does the laundry and
the shopping, etc. (House husbands rock.)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

two more to go...

Yesterday was brutal, except for lunch with my old friend
the very talented OfficeMate.2001 (Peter), who has his
second book out. He, like so many, hated retail management
and oddly enough, was one of the best at this job. Mostly
managing is something we all learn by observing managers
we admire, but there are a few (Flamface was another) who
are naturals, born to lead. I don't exactly know what that is,
nor do I care. Honestly, all I want is Monday off.

Tonight is the traditional cracked crab at Neti and Frank's ~
we both look forward to this evening and maybe I can stay
up until 9pm. Maybe not...

Please explain to me why people put off shopping until the
very last moment and then get pissy when they have to
stand in line. Any chance one could put down the cell phone
when one finally reaches the poor cashier?

Friday, December 22, 2006

grilled mussels to start

Lunch at Lulu's Restaurant LuLu was just as perfect as we
planned. Husbando had the thin crust pizza and I had a
lamb wich. Warm gingerbread cake for dessert, salad with
baby greens and that scrumptious Acme wheat-like bread.
Parked FREE on Folsom Street and walked a few blocks in
the rain. The staff is always so friendly and professional.
That's one thing you miss when outside of NYC or SF, have
you ever noticed? The worst service we ever experienced
was in Memphis. It's like no one had even bothered to train
a waiter or busboy. Maybe it's different now...maybe not.

Came home to read and nap and I skipped supper and chose
to eat 6 lbs. of Karen's peanut brittle at my writing group.
There were only 4 of us, but it was (as always) a very
pleasant evening.

Driving up and over the Bernal Hill I had to wonder why some
folks want their home to look like the Las Vegas Strip. I can
see one string of lights and a tree, but good god, they do go
overboard. Is it like an addiction or are they making up for
some sort of lack of some inner holiday glow?

Postscript: pardon the glaring Google ad, I will move it down
when I can figure out how. This is an experiment. Following
in One Foot's footsteps. I'd like commano to pay her way
because that was not a free lunch yesterday.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

east of potrero, west of the ramp

"I want fried chicken!", Husbando said yesterday. I checked
out this fabulous review:
"Hard Knox Cafe in San Francisco, CA - AOL City Guide"
and we headed over to 3rd Street. Lunch out on my days
off are BFDs to Husbando and myself. A chance to get
out of our own little workingwoman's Victorian and explore
other nabes and restaurants. And we actually talk about
things other than "how come this faucet is leaking again?" or
"why did that motorcycle out front take up two parking
places?". MundaneLand.

The Hard Knox is the kind of small, inexpensive cafe that
we like. Obviously most of the customers come there
every day and there is a friendly feel about the place,
highlighted by a Dusty Baker signed '01 Giants jersey!

I had 1/2 burger (great) and Husbando pronounced the
fried chicken, "almost as good as the Front Porch". My
cup of coffee had a slight hint of chicory, excellent.
The woman owner said the restaurant was cold because
they loaned the heater to a customer. I love SF.

Here, read this:
The Story of Dogpatch. Husbando (who
reads every local publication ever printed) told me that
22nd Street is becoming the "new Cortland". So we
walked and snooped around and had a very nice time in
Dogpatch. As the fine AOL reviewer points out, the
whole area will change drastically when the long-awaited
3rd Street light rail system gets going. And it looks like
that will be very soon.

Today is a fancy, romantic dress-up holiday lunch at
Lulu's, so tomorrow's post will be quite different.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

marital money talk

I've written extensively about the unusual financial
arrangements that Husbando and I have worked out over
the years. Basically, we have separate and private
bank accounts and savings, then a mutual "vaca fund"
and when times aren't so tight, a "house fund" for
repairs and maintenance of la casa antiqua.

Since I bring home the bacon these days, I write the mister
a check and he pays the mortgage, PG&E, groceries etc. He
bills me for some unusual stuff and yes, it does get petty
sometimes with the "you owe me $2.21 for Wonderbread®
for your work party", kind of silliness. It works for us, however,
because when love was new we tested sharing one bank account
for a full week. My God ~ how DO people do that?

One of the benefits of not sharing our money is that one of us
will take the other out to lunch or dinner, or a weekend away,
or buy little surprises (he loves flowers!) and you get the

Here is our impressive high level financial discussion from
Husbando: do I get a raise in 2007?
Me: a raise? (looking appropriately horrified)
      Why a raise?
Husbando: my expenses have gone up
Me: shit

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

a day of sunshine

It's cold here in the City of Too Many People. We workers
in the big box mortar bookstore face another 40% off any
DVD box set and the assorted people who print 10 coupons
or forget them or want to special order something from
1933 or blah blah.

Yesterday I made the mistake of going down to the big
urban mall to see our sister store 0605 and that was very
stupid indeed. I did find Mr. Black giving some false info
to a customer and he was gleeful as he pointed another
person out the door to the restroom OUTSIDE of the store.
What's a day without a clogged toilet or other unspeakable
messes, I wondered to myself...

But today. Sunshine. The movie. Rent or buy it. Cute little
girl, but it's not a movie for children or sensitive adults.
That would not be you, dear readers.

Click Here: Check out "Little Miss Sunshine"

Monday, December 18, 2006

divine intervention

Originally uploaded by the omster.
I'm treating my faithful (and some faithless) readers to a rare people-photo because it's just so damn cute. I also promise that it is the final and forever last TREE photo of 2006. We had a lovely time last night with this little angel as our star. She decorated the tree (bottom third) with just a little help from her parents and Mr./Ms. Plotnik. TGP played the piano (RR wanted to hear Jingle Bells more than the adults did, I think) and Hubando's pozole with fresh tortillas was a huge hit. Even the picky (not in a gourmet way) eaters in the group enjoyed this rather exotic holiday dish. It was an early evening due to more retail wonderland work today for the hostess, but it was a special evening.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

pre-party, pre-retail

I was exhausted after work (so this is new?) and went to
bed at an embarrassingly early hour with a little 1/2 magic
pill, and am feeling calm and fresh this morning.

The table is set with care and I heard that our 3 year old
guest (RR) dyed Easter Eggs last night, so that will be
very special table decor indeed. I'll get a photo tonight,
depending on the battery situation, of course. I am
looking forward to our celebration.

Sundays are usually gruesome at work. Saturday night
fever and all, so it will be delightful to come home and
be with people we enjoy so much. Bring on the balls and

Saturday, December 16, 2006

as predicted...

I was a little irritable last night after work. If only I could get
my boss (and his boss) and all the staff and customers to
do exactly as I'd like them to do, everyone's life would be
so much easier. But no, it isn't working like that.

The folks under 30 get "food poisoning" and call in "sick"
with gay abandon. (Gay in the old fashioned sense.) I am
a bitch on wheels about this and give them the 3rd degree.
Here are my results after 6 years of questioning the fresh
faced little darlings:
1) Thai food ~ by far the #1 source
2) Mexican
3) Chinese (a distant 3rd)
Oddly enough, they never mention how much they drank or
smoked or partied...always that damn food poisoning. And
my, it's rampant this time of year.

Need I mention that they HATE calling in to me? So of course
everyone gives me their phone ins. Tee hee.....

Friday, December 15, 2006

sick of this tree yet?

with lights!
Originally uploaded by the omster.
I did put these damn lights on this morning and opened the curtains so the poor people driving and walking to work can maybe be cheered for a few seconds. I know I am when I head out in the dark. Of course we know why this time was chosen for the Winter dreary out there. Now I have to make my lunch, dress and fly off to work. I'll be too irritable to post tonight, I betcha...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

big bare ass tree

Originally uploaded by the omster.
Here it is! Husbando is complaining that it's too big, so I trimmed it a little after this photo was taken. It sure smells divine. Now I can't wait for the Tree Lighting Ceremony and Dinner Party on Sunday night. TGP will sing and play the piano and RR will decorate the tree. I asked Husbando if he didn't think it was a guy thing to put the lights on the tree and he replied, "I'm Jewish". Like I didn't know that. So I will "do" the lights when I am morning-fresh. This has been a busy weekend what with baking cookies, lunch at the Moonlight Cafe up on Cortland, this tree, reading and writing emails and going to Costco today for basics. I selected my xmas gift there (a light blue sweat suit) because Husbando is Jewish and this holiday allows him to practice avoidance. We were able to do a little bickering over where to park twice (!) today, so all is well in the Land o' Marriage.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

bouncing off TGP's blog

Well, I wasn't going to get tix to "Jersey Boys" because I
don't really love musicals (walked out of "The Fantasticks"
and that one with the insipid and dreary little French girl,
"Les Miserables"), but after this review I think I'll splurge.
Who can resist?

The Doctor, whose goal in life is to drive me crazy at work,
also reports that the sound track on CD is selling like my
homemade cornbread ~  much better than pancakes at that
overrated Sears Restaurant in downtown SF.
Click Here: Check out "The Great Plotnik"

I'm a sucker for lists...

These are from Publisher's Weekly and include a valuable
description of each book.
Check out "PW's Best Books of the Year

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

tuesday post substitute

I wrote something before work this morning and emailed it, but it didn't "take" and now I'm home and too tired to even write a complete sentence. It was a hard day at the big box bookstore and I did mutter swear words from time to time. The lines were long and the questions even more esoteric than usual. On my lunch hour I walked to Rite Aid, talk about fun. I did check out the cats and dogs in the Macy's windows ~ they are always worth a look-see.

Monday, December 11, 2006

big tree at union square

tree v. pretty, alma too
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Here we are during the day. I try to have my brown bag lunch at one of the little tables in the square, but it usually starts raining as I head out the door. We are very busy and all our time is spent in close customer contact. Nothin' but fun. Two more weekends to go...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

all is calm

before work
Originally uploaded by the omster.
I took this a little before 6am yesterday. I think the downtown lights are more beautiful than ever this year and after the rain the streets were finally clean. Our best selling book in the store is the Iraq Study Group Report and I find that just slightly ironic this time of year. I believe that our customers are better read than our President. Today I will probably strap myself to a cash register again and mutter a few yoga chants to stay sane.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

how could this happen?

Sometimes when we lose a book or a DVD, the clever
and extremely annoyed customer will say in a loud voice
(as if to alert the rest of the world that he is dealing with
a total incompetent and they'd be wise to take their
business elsewhere),
I have learned to stand up straight, look him right in the
eye and say,
"People make mistakes."
...and that usually works. Usually.
officially Be Nice to All Retail Clerks Everywhere time.)

Friday, December 08, 2006

adapting to Italy

Yes! I had several people suggest an adaptor ~ thank you.
So simple. Even Walgreen's has them, or so I was told today.
Once less thing to worry about for my trip.

something borrowed

Originally uploaded by crews.
Here is the Community Thrift Store ~ a photo I think Crews would want me to use. I found it on Flickr and I can never figure out what photos I shouldn't be using...guess I"ll find out someday. My camera had battery problems yesterday so I came home and emailed Olympus and asked them what should I do when I go to Italy? I can't do the recharge thing because of the electricity is so Italian. Do I carry 4000 batteries from Costco?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

treasures on valencia street

Today we had an early and scrumptious lunch at Bodhi
About Us, 211 Valencia Street. This used to be Windows,
and we can't understand why they left because they were
always busy at lunch, not so for dinner. But to our surprise,
Bodhi is just as good and reasonable too, except for the
Vietnamese iced coffee ($3.50). I had the garlic noodles
with shrimp (thankfully not the little cardboard kind) and
Husbando some sort of rice dish. Everyone knows that I
dislike rice, or at least I hope they do. Oh, the iced coffee
was excellent, just expensive. (Bodhi means wisdom and is
the tree that Buddha sat under, or one of them, presumably.)
I just google-gained that knowledge, in case you wondered.

Next we visited the Community Thrift Store at 623 Valencia.
The best of all thrift stores for dishes, etc. Not so great for
clothes, in my opinion. When I was young I was a snob and
would never set foot in a second hand store. Now I find that
almost all of my shop-and-spend needs can be fulfilled for
under $20.00, while I help recycle and reuse.

Today we bought: 12 Pottery Barn turkey place card holders
($6), one butter dish with a festive poinsettia design ($4.50),
a coffee server thermos ($4). I am proud and content after
these sterling acquisitions, even though Husbando doesn't
understand why we can't use the place card holders for the
upcoming Tree Lighting Ceremony and Dinner.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

easy money, easy cornbread

Last night after work I went to a focus group and earned
a cool $100 for less than 2 hours of showing up. Seven of
us talked about a new internet service while we drank coffee,
ate sandwiches and chocolate covered cookies. I enjoyed
walking around downtown looking in store windows and
seeing all the merry lights and listening to the holiday
music. Of course I loathe that same music in my very
own store, but this all seemed fresh and new and just right.

I woke up this morning with a rare (very rare) thought. I
want to cook! So after yoga I made a huge salad for our
lunch and now I am making minestrone soup (using my new
Cuisinart®) and after this I'll make some cornbread. Here
is the recipe that I found in Lucky's blog ~ the best!

Lucca's Grandfather's Cornbread

Two 8.5 oz. packages Jiffy cornbread mix
1 can (14 oz.) cream style corn
Two eggs
1 cup sour cream
(melted butter is optional ~ up to 1/4 cup)

Beat it all together quickly and pour into a lined dish.
(Makes it easier to get bread out and cleanup.)

Bake at 400 degrees at least 20 to 25 minutes.
Our oven takes 40 minutes...why? The bread has to
firm up as opposed to that quivery business.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

you had me hooked

I hate to judge a book by its first page, and yet I tend to do
that. Maybe because I spend so much time wandering around
the big box retail store straightening books, noticing which
authors have been in to sign their work and flipping open the
front cover to read just a graph or two before I'm inundated
with a quick question, or a broken escalator, or an overflowing
toilet. But let's stay positive this morning, shall we?

Ms. Messud was in to sign this book and here is one of the
reasons I brought it home.

"Come in, darlings, come in." Lucy moved behind them and
herded the trio toward the party. The Leveretts' living room
was painted a deep purple - aubergine, in local parlance - and
its windows were draped with velvet. From the ceiling hung a
brutal wrought iron chandelier, like something salvaged from a
medieval castle.

Click Here: Check out "Random House Academic Resources | The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud"

Monday, December 04, 2006

here they are ~ the top 100 books

I was just bemoaning the fact that I haven't been reading
enough to a co-worker today, and now we can all feel extra
guilty.  So I brought home
The Emperor's Children by Claire
Messud. Already I know it's a winner.
Click Here: Check out "100 Notable Books of the Year - The New York Times Book Review - New York Times"

sorry, no such thing...

When the big block box mortar chain bookstore is packed
with people, an anxious customer will often tug at my sleeve
and say, "I have just a quick question." There is no quick
answer in a bookstore, except maybe, "the cafe is on 2 and
the bathrooms on 3." But they persist. I try to explain that
I am helping another customer and have one waiting on the
phone, yet they are persistent. The difference between our
business on Friday (we could manage) and Saturday (we
managed, but ooooooooh-eeeeeee) was phenomenal. And
yesterday they were wall-to-wall from the moment we
opened the door. The good news is that 3 weeks from this
very day I will be walking at Crissy Field after opening a few
low key presents under our merry little smell-good tree.

One time when Husbando and I were young and poor we
bought a damaged tree and our friend John called it the
"Jesus Tree" because only He could love it. That remains the
tree we remember best...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Saturday, December 02, 2006

3 weeks and counting

not rudolph
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Thanks to our blogmaid for this nice reindeer photo ~ see them at the SF Zoo! My own particular zoo is getting busier, but we are all holding up just fine. I have finished hiring now and I guess I've interviewed, checked references and hired about 30 temps since the first of November.

Friday, December 01, 2006

the theme was love

Last night in our writing group, we all wrote about
various aspects of LUV. Without planning too, as so often
happens. It was a glorious evening. Such talent, tears
and laughter.

Karen ~ on finding love through
Jane ~ a lover from the past (so sensuous)
Will ~ remembering a prep school teacher
Sarah ~ her mother and their relationship
Doug ~ his new granddaughter (pure beauty)
Me ~ San Francisco

We force each other to keep on writing, I need that.
A rare meeting when everyone wrote on my piece, "it's
perfect, send it!" And so I shall. (With love.)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

thank you again, adair

As so often happens in this life, one of those strange and
wonderful coincidences occurred yesterday. (My friend
Michael calls this "shrimp", but I can't remember why.)
Anyway, on Tuesday, I was going through my old notebooks
looking for inspiration and came upon an old SF Chronny
column by Adair Lara. Title:
Women Have Rights; Ladies
Have Privileges

I don't have the date on this photocopy, but I would guess
this was in the early 1990s. "
Someone calls me a lady, and
I feel as if I'm standing in a flowered dress and a hat with a
veil presiding over a jumble sale in Leeds, England, or that
I've been promoted to the English gentry."

Then yesterday when I was referred to as a "lady" way too
often, I decided to use Ms. Lara here to catapult me into
my piece for Tiapos tonight. This is my favorite graph of
this particular column:
"BUT WOMEN. Women smell of oil and
sweat and musk and baby powder and sour milk and blood.
They read the Wall Street Journal, pornography, poetry,
novels, chemistry texts and the scribblings on bathroom
walls. They buy tools, iguanas, Harley-Davidsons and drum
sets. They drive tanks and pilot planes and take their chances
at being killed along with the boys, on the wild supposition
that women are no more innately precious than men."

This is a big and important subject to me and I already know
that I can't possibly do it justice in my feeble writing attempt
for tonight. But I'll try. (Come back, Adair.)
Click Here: Check out " :: author, columnist, teacher"

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

do you call that WORK?

Today I worked an offsite at a fancy downtown hotel. We
sold 100 books and the charity made lots of money and
we got to look at 800 socialite-type women. I saw seven
different Diane Von Furstenburgs, lots of big diamonds and
pearls, boots with heals, blonde hair with dark roots (that's
in now), one African American and one Asian woman. Most
of the women were from the suburbs (we think) and many
were sipping white wine at 10am. I loved being out of the
store, of course, it was like a day off for me.

"How you doing, Ladies?" quite a few of the organizers
asked us. I guess they don't know that I hate that Lady
business. Woman is a perfectly fine word, so now I know
what I'll write about tomorrow for my writing group.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

early tuesday morning warmth

tuesday morning
Originally uploaded by the omster.
It's cold here, but who cares with this welcoming fire? When we bought our tiny home many years ago I had two requirements: a view of the city and a fireplace. Now, of course, I'd probably request a decent-sized bathroom with actual shelf space, but we have to make choices in this life. Thanks for the thoughts both on the blog and via email. I will buy a tree and ask K. and RR to help me decorate. That makes it all worthwhile, doesn't it? At 8am we will watch Jon Stewart and then I'm having lunch with my old friend Ken. Perhaps a nap and a movie this afternoon, a solo walk and some reflection.

Monday, November 27, 2006

the yearly green decision

It's time for the annual Should We Get A Tree or Not?
thought process. Husbando couldn't care less because he
didn't grow up with this tradition, and I am torn because it
is a lot of work and always a mess to clean up afterwards.
So I'll go through the pros and cons these next 10 days
and reach some sort of conclusion.

Frankly I get enough of the Great American Excess from
working downtown and hearing Christmas carols 8 hours
a day. I feel bad for people who are forced to buy presents
when they don't have the money and in the past 10 years
we have cut waaaaaaaaaay back on how much we spend and
whom we give to. As the 25th approaches, the irritability
factor increases and I hear parents snapping at their offspring
when they should be holding hands and singing jingle bells.

But there is an empty feeling in la hacienda without a tree
and that's a fact. I love all the lights, too, and of course
we need that glorious green smell. Maybe I can find a can
of evergreen smell encased in little twinkly multicolored lights...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

recommended for your queue

Husbando and I enjoyed this Christmas movie which is
based on a true event during World War I. Very sweet.
Joyeux Noel

Saturday, November 25, 2006

feeling reckless?

Craig Lucas is an outstanding playwright ~ his work
The Dying Gaul and The Secret Lives of Dentists.
Now through Dec. 30th we have his Reckless playing
on Sutter Street and it's a fabulous holiday journey filled
with humor and pain (as in champagne). We loved it
and now I'll encourage The Great Plotnik to go see it
and we all anxiously await his review. In the meantime,
it's truly a treat. Go!

SF Playhouse: The Power of Live Theatre

Friday, November 24, 2006

where's the nonfiction?

We started this morning shopping (!) at Macy's at 6am.
The first time we've ever done this crazy thing, but we
wanted to get a Cuisinart® for $80. It was actually
fun because I used my generous company's parking
space and Husbando (an ex-retailer) wanted to see
what the traffic was like. Macy's was as busy as it is
any noon time ~ one woman bought 6 electric panini
makers and our Cuisinart was selling briskly too.

Then I went to my own little retail wonderland to face
customers, some who don't go to bookstores any other
time of year. I did get my first where's-the-nonfiction-
section question of the season, so that's how I know
that the happy holidays are here.

But so far no frayed nerves or signs of irritability from the
customers. That won't last forever, alas...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

pristine indeed

table before
Originally uploaded by the omster.
...our table before the first guest sat down. I love setting the stage...

after party disarray

table after
Originally uploaded by the omster.
...we had a fabulous time, much laughter. Of course we were all trencherpeople.

such a day!

It's clear, sunny and beautiful today after days of grey.
I love this holiday and I have been puttering and cleaning
since about 6am. Three hopeful phone calls to make us
thankful for our friends.

We are nine today. The "good china" serves 8, so I will
use the "cementware" (as my friend N. calls our everyday
stuff) but my happiness today is being with these people ~
watching everyone enjoy themself and ALL the food.
(I would be happy with a Melmac® plate on Thanksgiving.)

After dinner and dishes I will send the before/after dinner
table photos to amuse you.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

willie is obscene

I took two photos of our 16 lb. Willie Bird soaking in his Chez
Panisse (Husbando approved) brine, but I think I would either
be arrested, or my readership would have a brief spike from
the porn lovers. So no picture, sorry.

Today at yoga my instructor mentioned a class especially for
people with sleep difficulties, so I might go to that next Wed.
night. She said that lying on one's back with feet up against
the wall is especially good for insomnia. Better than those pills
they advertise on tv every 20 minutes, I bet.

Huge spicy lunch at Pakwan on 16th Street and Guerrero. I
could just nibble on the onion nan and be more than content,
but had some chicken dish too. Husbando had the lamb and
we discussed how all this plus a tip could be under $20.00.

Working in the garden and getting ready for our 4pm dinner
tomorrow night is such a pleasant way to spend my day off.
I will bake a pecan pie in the morning, after email hour.

crazy folk circle the square

I'm trying to get out every day with my sandwich instead
of working at my desk. So I head for the square where they
are putting the lights on the big Christmas tree and there
were extra seats and tables available for a change. I like
Union Square, by the's a true gathering spot in the
European tradition. No, it's not a park, it's a square.

So I'm sitting there peacefully watching people and pigeons
and a man comes and sits directly across from me. There
were many other places available for him, of course. He
stares at me and then takes his electric razor out of his
pocket and starts shaving, all the while looking straight at
me. It could have been worse, but I did finish my egg
sandwich in a hurry, then crossed the street to visit my
friends at Macy's.

Monday, November 20, 2006

a shock of color!

dragon face
Originally uploaded by the omster.
For a year (it seems) one woman in overalls has been on her hands and knees putting tiny tiles on this most delightful dragon. On a whim I took my camera for my solo walk today and was rewarded by this surprise. This little park on 24th Street (Bryant) is open and it couldn't be more enticing. I always love walking on 24th, with the smell of Mexican food, the south of the border music piped from stores and passing cars, and now we have a place for the neighborhood families. It's right across the street from the Roosevelt Tamale Parlor, so head there after the park visit. Aren't we lucky to live here?

the kids love it!

24th & bryant (tail)
Originally uploaded by the omster.
This is the tail of the dragon and there are small spurts of water where those yellow spots are. Just enough to get everyone wet on a grey winter day.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

my busy sunday

I won't have time to write later. I'm 6 to noonish at work,
then a party (!) to celebrate the upcoming 3rd of
the fabulous RR. Then an all-store meeting from 8:30pm
to maybe midnight.

Of course the party is the highlight, down in Pumpkinville
with some special women that I haven't seen in a long
time. I don't socialize much from now until mid-January,
because the holidays in retail are rather exhausting, to
say the least. So I look forward to today, plus I actually
slept well. The meeting tonight will be (errrrrrrr) not
exactly to my liking, but it will be quite an experiment to
be up that late at night.

Last night I made scalloped potatoes for the party.
4 cups sliced, cooked and peeled potatoes
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup celery
2 sprigs parsley
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups milk
3 T. flour
lots of shredded cheddar cheese
sprinkle w/ paprika

Place potatoes in greased 1 qt. baking dish.
Cuisinart® onion, celery, parsley, flour, butter, milk.
Pour over taters, sprinkle w/ salt and pepper.
Cover w/ cheese and a little paprika.
Bake at 350º for about 50 minutes. Serves 6.
Leave dishes for Husbando.
Who was Tom?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

someday ~ beware

I have not yet written here about being a feminist. I am,
and often a strident and irritating one. I guess I'm afraid to
unleash all of that in commano, but I will one day.

"No male writer has written primarily or even largely
for women, or with the sense of women's criticism as a
consideration when he chooses his materials, his theme,
his language. But to a lesser or greater extent, every woman
writer has written for men even when, like Virginia Woolf,
she was supposed to be addressing women."
Adrienne Rich

Dancing Jen and Jon G. treated me to a lavish dinner at
Kuleto's last night after work. Of course there was a little
work-gossip and lots of laughter ~ excellent food, and I then
rode home on BART with a little box of redolent penne
pasta for Husbando and a nice warm glow for me.

The above quote is from the signed (!) book that Jen
gave me, which I am devouring before breakfast this
morning. Remember when Ms. Rich refused the National
Medal for the Arts in 1997? I've always admired her.
Arts of the Possible: Essays and Conversations by Adrienne Cecile Rich

Friday, November 17, 2006

timely update from Bisbee

Woman found guilty

Herald/Review BISBEE — A Mexican woman accused of trying to smuggle one million dollars worth of narcotics into the U.S. under the spiritual guidance of a scythe-bearing skeletal saint known as Santa Muerte was convicted in Superior Court on Thursday.

A jury deliberated for three hours before finding Guadalupe Vega Galaviz, 33, of Cananea, Sonora, guilty of one count of transporting cocaine for sale and one count of transporting methamphetamine for sale. The convictions carry a possible combined sentence of five to 10 years in state prison.

saint of the disenfranchised

I have done a lot of private writing about how difficult it is
to live in SF and watch people move away. Mostly it hurts,
but there is the upside of learning about other parts of the
country. This is from a recent email from Mary, who moved
to Arizona, Bisbee, to be exact. I keep telling her to start
a blog, but until she does, I am going to steal her material:

The latest revelations from the Border. 

There is a woman on trial at the Bisbee courthouse for smuggling large amounts of drugs from Mexico.  She is evidently a devotee of Santa Muerte - who - it is reported - has a large following among smugglers of drugs and people  and also the poor in the border areas.  People get tatoos - there are evidently shrines established for her along certain trails and  roads.  I googled her and found not only photos and websites but  even a report that was commissioned by the military down here on her - all very official looking (see attached).  Why hadn't I heard about this before?  Life is an education.  Hmmm.

Santa Muerte photo - Yoann Gauthier-Manuel photos at

The Death Cult of the Drug Lords Mexico’s Patron Saint of Crime, Criminals, and the Dispossessed
Thanks, Mary!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

nice rib rack!

ribs at roadside
Originally uploaded by the omster.
I refuse to retype the post below, even though I have a typo. That alone will let my readers know that I am human. Here is my lunch yesterday from the Roadside BBQ ~ delicious. Next time I'll try the brisket sandwich.

let's start with dessert

dessert foreign cinema
Originally uploaded by the omster.
This is a meringue (sp?) cookies with strawberries ~ a little awkward to eat, so I just picked up the cookie quarters and dipped them in the sauce.

a food-filled day in frisco

I have two colorful photos from yesterday, but Flickr® is not communicating with Commano and I'm getting frustrated. So I'll just write now and send pictures later.
Started the day at Costco ~ I know some people hate it, but not me. Husbando said, "she only likes two stores: Costco and Macy's" and he's probably right. Anyway, then we had an unusual lunch out on Geary and 2nd Avenue at the Roadside BBQ. The Plotniks treated us and he will be writing a glowing (I hope) review giving the place a 5 fresh-baked corn muffin rating. Really, it was terrific and I had to get rid of all that cholesterol, so I came home and napped for two hours.

Dinner at the Foreign Cinema on Mission at 22nd. We've been there now maybe four times and are still impressed. It can get cold outside, so we sat in near the fireplace last night. I had lamb chops and Husbando the chicken. So many interesting (ahem) people to watch and it's terrific that 4 or 5 new restaurants have opened in that less than elegant neighborhood. You will need a reservation here: 648-7600. Photos to follow...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

jon carroll in new york

I'm sure our local columnist would want me to quote him
here. His columns on NYC this week are extra special. This
from 11/13 is a keeper:

A minute in the park: The writer John Gregory Dunne, who was my cousin and a friend, died three years ago next month. His daughter, Quintana Roo, died last year. His wife, Joan Didion, wrote a memoir of John's death and Quintana's illness called "The Year of Magical Thinking," which is now being made into a one-woman play starring Vanessa Redgrave.
The real estate agent who sold Quintana's apartment after she died did not feel right about taking a commission, so she used the money to dedicate a bench in Central Park to Quintana and John's memory. It's on the right, five or six benches in from the 69th Street entrance off Fifth Avenue.
It was a windy fall day, and the orange leaves were eddying on the walkways, and kids were walking by in Halloween costumes, and we sat on the bench and stared south, and thought about things that sometimes don't come with words attached. And then we continued our walk, the same but different.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

work hellos and goodbyes

You'd think I would be used to people moving on and changing
jobs in my big box chain mortar bookstore, but not so. I have
been madly hiring 3 temps every week and so far that is working
out just fine. But I continually miss the people who have left:
Jen, Jon G, Mr. Black and now #88 with his vast book knowledge
is but a warm memory on the walkie talkie:

"88, are you here this morning?"
"Yes, #1, at your service."
"Good, I can relax now."
"Roger and out."

(Please don't be confused, I am not #1 in mind, heart or deed.)

One time I left a message on the employee bulletin board for
#88 and some concerned young person accused us nasty
management folk of treating people like numbers. Don't
you love it?

Monday, November 13, 2006

baseball in november with bob

I was up with some "issues" last night, so I finally listened
to the freebie CD with Bob Dylan and 17 snippets including
"Joltin' Joe Dimaggio" and "Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit
That Ball?" The learned notthat called it an
Odd CD and he
is so right ~ Mr. Dylan is the complete monotone background
for all this baseball emotion. But listening to this at 2am took
me back to our wonderful days at The Stick and soothed my
restless mind. Pitchers and catchers report in ______ days.
Below is one of my favorites from the CD (I'm afraid my
browser and the blog might write this differently than Mr.
Ferlinghetti did ~ apologies):
Baseball Canto
  Watching baseball, sitting in the sun, eating popcorn,
reading Ezra Pound,
and wishing that Juan Marichal would hit a hole right through the
Anglo-Saxon tradition in the first Canto
and demolish the barbarian invaders.
When the San Francisco Giants take the field
and everybody stands up for the National Anthem,
with some Irish tenor's voice piped over the loudspeakers,
with all the players struck dead in their places
and the white umpires like Irish cops in their black suits and little
black caps pressed over their hearts,
Standing straight and still like at some funeral of a blarney bartender,
and all facing east,
as if expecting some Great White Hope or the Founding Fathers to
appear on the horizon like 1066 or 1776.
But Willie Mays appears instead,
in the bottom of the first,
and a roar goes up as he clouts the first one into the sun and takes
off, like a footrunner from Thebes.
The ball is lost in the sun and maidens wail after him
as he keeps running through the Anglo-Saxon epic.
And Tito Fuentes comes up looking like a bullfighter
in his tight pants and small pointy shoes.
And the right field bleechers go made with Chicanos and blacks
and Brooklyn beer-drinkers,
"Tito! Sock it to him, sweet Tito!"
And sweet Tito puts his foot in the bucket
and smacks one that don't come back at all,
and flees around the bases
like he's escaping from the United Fruit Company.
As the gringo dollar beats out the pound.
And sweet Tito beats it out like he's beating out usury,
not to mention fascism and anti-semitism.
And Juan Marichal comes up,
and the Chicano bleechers go loco again,
as Juan belts the first ball out of sight,
and rounds first and keeps going
and rounds second and rounds third,
and keeps going and hits paydirt
to the roars of the grungy populace.
As some nut presses the backstage panic button
for the tape-recorded National Anthem again,
to save the situation.

But it don't stop nobody this time,
in their revolution round the loaded white bases,
in this last of the great Anglo-Saxon epics,
in the territorio libre of Baseball.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Sunday, November 12, 2006

why we work retail...

One of the major benefits of working for a big box chain
bookstore is the discount for employees. Normally it's 25%
(33% for part timers) and full time people receive a $30
gift card every month. I'm one of the weirdoes who save
my cards, so today I bought a big bunch of books and
mostly used the old monthly cards. We have a few days
here when employees can buy books and CDs for 40% off, so
I make a list throughout the year (mostly children's books
and one CD) and I did splurge on one great DVD (
for 20% off. I brought home two giant bags filled with
books and that felt like Christmas to me...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

the poet from Topeka, Kansas

NO MATTER HOW BIG YOU MAKE A TOY, a child will find a
way to put it in his mouth. There is scarcely a piece of
playground equipment that has not been inside a child's
mouth. However, the object responsible for the greatest
number of choking deaths, for adults as well as children,
is the red balloon. Last year alone, every American choked
to death on a red balloon.

Ben Lerner
Angle of Yaw

Click Here: Check out "Writing Instructor Ben Lerner a National Book Award Finalist - California College of the Arts"

Friday, November 10, 2006

is it christmas weeK?

Today at lunch I walked down to the new Westfield Center
and the streets were jam packed with people ~ inside
the new mall all the escalators had one person per moving
stair. Honest to God, it was a zoo.

Our store wasn't too crazy, thank goodness, and the elevator
is working again, so my day was better than expected. I'm
still interviewing and hiring temps and I had to wade through
127 tedious emails because I had the nerve to be gone for
three whole days. Here is what the emails covered:
1) sickies ~ who called out, who wandered off the job
2) plumbing problems in the women's chamber of horror
3) the all-store meeting on 11/19 (oh joy)
4) gift wrapping for the holidays (we use fund-raising groups
     who make tons of money)
5) people stretching 10 minute breaks into 30 minutes
and so on and on.......

H20 link

Click Here: Check out "Netflix: Water"

Thursday, November 09, 2006

blogs and bloggers battle fatigue?

For some reason the email to blog feature is "down" and
I don't like writing to the formal dashboard block, so I
struggle to get some words posted because I said I would
write everyday, and I'm a rough taskmistress when facing
semi-strict promises to myself. I know that isn't healthy,
but that's not the point right now. See, a whole graph already.
(Also, I don't know how to link on the dashboard, but it's so
easy with the email feature. Sigh.)

I'm sorry Ed Bradley died ~ I've admired him for years. Tough
yet gentle. A rare combination for a newsman. I liked the
earring and the sparkle in his eye when interviewing someone
like, for instance, Bob Dylan.

Tonight Tiapos (our writing group) will be small because
Dougo is in L.A. with his new grandchild and Chef P. has
been working too hard in GourmetLand up north. Spotty
West is teaching at a new school and he warned us that
he'd be under too much stress to read and write with us
this Fall. So only four of us? I'll take something old,
something borrowed...maybe something blue.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

celebrating the thumping

Well, I didn't dare to dream that the democrats would
take the senate too. What a fine day this is and I feel
better about this country than I have in years. Good
job everyone, especially Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi and
of course the brilliant Bill Clinton.

We watched CNN on and off all day with some breaks
for yoga this morning and lunch with a friend. Then
this afternoon we finally settled in to watch "Water",a
film about an 8 year old girl who is forced to join an
ashram of other widows when her 50 year old husband
dies. It is an extremely beautiful and moving story and
my favorite line is when the little girl innocently asks,
"Where do the men widows have to live?" Yes, I'd give
this movie 1 1/2 Kleenex®.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

friends and dems = much happiness

Yes, the Pet Shop Boys were a huge draw and the store was
filled with (ummmmmm) excitement all day. And still no
elevator. But that was then...and now I have 3 days off!

Today I was happy to have a few moments with Kristin and
RR outside the swimming pool at the Janet Pomeroy Center
down on Skyline ~ the thick fog was just burning off and
the rest of the day was clear and warm. Little Ryan takes
her swimming lesson there and was most anxious to get
into the pool, but it still was nice to see them both and to
get Kristin's thesis on Lillian Hellman and give a few books
on Thanksgiving to Ryan, her horse Erin GoBraugh (sp?) and
Carol the rider who always travel with our favorite 3 year old.

I stopped to visit Dancing Jen at her bookstore on West
Portal and we had a good and gossipy chat. I surely miss
her at my big chain bookstore, but everyone knows that.

Husbando and I headed to the SF Symphony to buy a gift
certificate for our friend Frank, then walked around the
Hayes Street area, ending up sitting in the sun and enjoying
a light lunch at some small nameless cafe. I forgot to
bring my camera ~ don't let me do that again.

I love election night the way some folks love the holidays.
I mean I LOVE it ~ every beautiful blue win. So I took a two
hour nap because I want to stay up as long as possible. Of
course there have been years when I've gone to bed in
disgust, but this won't be one of them. We switch stations
and listen to some half baked theories and smirk when
Santorum's family looks all teary eyed. What fun...

Our thoughts are with The Plotniks (The Great Ones) who
are in L.A. waiting to become grandparents.

Monday, November 06, 2006

chris and neil - our 6pm event

Thanks to Ms. K who inspired me to do my homework here
in anticipation of my day of great sales and horrendous chaos.
No wonder the phone has been ringing with so many questions
in so many different languages, some even a little demanding.
I know, that's a surprise, isn't it?

These two sound like winners to me, so I feel better about
today. I will say "brilliant" and "lovely" a lot and they will know
that I've been to London. I will offer to carry them up all those
stairs on my back because of course they need a green room
and that will either be in or next door to my office.

Click Here: Check out "Pet Shop Boys Song-by-Song Commentary"

Sunday, November 05, 2006

could it get any better?

First Foley, now the preacher man in Colorado. Oh how I
love the hypocrites with their Family Values. Really, if
one wrote a movie script about the current political
events, it would be tossed out as being ridiculously far
too dramatic and unbelievable. 

Yes, the elevator was still out today. I walked up and down
those stairs with nary a complaint. Talked to a customer
who said that people who work in bookstores tend to have
"an edge" about them. I glared at him and he said, "oh, I
meant that in a good way". Right.

Tomorrow will be a mess. The Pet Shop Boys will be in at
6pm. I've been calling them the Petco Guys. I will report
in tomorrow night. Send nice thoughts my way, please....

Saturday, November 04, 2006

sorry for the inconvenience

Stairs - Vatican Museum
Originally uploaded by kohvitass.
Our elevator is broken and won't be fixed until Monday. Of course we have escalators, but getting from my office to the first floor is no easy task, especially with carts of books or boxes of DVDs. I didn't bring my camera to work, so I used a photo from Flickr® that pretty much resembles our stairs at work. I hope you feel sorry for me, I certainly do.

Friday, November 03, 2006

the two californias

When I worked in a big box chain bookstore in Berkeley,
Ishmael Reed used to come in all the time. That was one
of the few good memories from that particular experience.

Here is one of his poems from a just published book,
New and Collected Poems,1964 - 2006.


When California is split in two
The Northern part will be called
The Republic of Jambalaya
The Southern part will be called
Summer Camp

Ismael Reed

Thursday, November 02, 2006

media day with won tons

Grey and rainy so I spent most of the day indoors and
Husbando termed it Media Day since we started out this
morning watching Jon Stewart at 8am, then moved to
The World's Fastest Indian, an inspirational true story
starring Anthony Hopkins. Oh, I did vote this morning
before I started on my computer ~ it took me one hour
and the entire kitchen table. Tonight I think we'll watch
Water - A Deepa Mehta Film, but it sounds a little
depressing. Submitted a short piece for rejection, but
at least I can file it away forever.

Lunch? Out to 34th and Balboa for won ton soup and
steamed buns at
the Shanghai Dumpling Shop. Can
you think of a better rainy day? 

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

they spoil the vines & tender grapes

We both loved The Little Foxes at ACT last night, but
first I want to talk about the amazing discovery that there
were TONS of kids in costumes in the heart of downtown!
And better yet, it seems like those little grocery and liquor
stores give out candy by the fistful. It was so touching
to watch the little ones of multi multi ethnicities, some
with parents and some without, carrying their huge bags
of candies. And there were some unusual costumes and
even a few children in wheelchairs. Because I'm such a
city woman, I loved this about 400 times more than I
would those bland burbs with expensive decorations and
formula Halloweeniness.

But now to the vines. Here is where Ms. Hellman found
the title ~ from Song of Solomon (2:15):
Take us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines for
our vines have tender grapes.
(alluding to the rich capitalists who crush their own history
and all the people who happen to be in their way, but you
already knew that - pardon my preach)

You will not be disappointed in this play! The set for one
thing ~ rich red and dramatic with a long winding staircase
begging for emotional speeches. Glorious costumes and
some fine acting. But, as always, it's the writing...the
words and the characters that kept me wide awake after
a full day of work and a big sandwich from
Lefty O’Doul’s - San Francisco Restaurant Review

American Conservatory Theater - ACT San Francisco

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

pre-work halloween post

I have a very sane 9 to 6 work schedule today, then we are
going to ACT to see
Little Foxes, so it will be too late to
write tonight when I get home. I usually dress down for the
holiday (jeans, at least), but I'll have to be somewhat
professional today due to after work theatre. I will wear the
pumpkin earrings that K. gave me a few years ago.

Checked Flickr® for a ghost photo, but couldn't figure out
how to steal one for my blog. They have 99,313 of those
and I started getting lost browsing, so figured I had just better
get to the writing. Our prompt for Round Robin today was
Ghosts, so I wrote about ex-employees coming in and me
not knowing their names and not particularly caring about
them either, to be perfectly honest.

I have been substituting for the Round Robin and am better
for it these past 8 days. Thanks, Mistress Jane!

Monday, October 30, 2006

i love a mystery

I am thoroughly enjoying this new novel about a 16 year old
girl who disappears for a few weeks. The reader never knows
what is true and what is fantasy. I don't know why it's titled
the same as Bettelheim's book about fairy tales, but I'm
quite sure it wasn't an accident.

Click Here: Check out "Powell's Books - The Uses of Enchantment: A Novel by Heidi Julavits

On the way home tonight on BART a young Asian woman
was completely engrossed in Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina",
I enjoyed watching her read, I hope she didn't miss her stop,
I've done that from time to time.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

how do you say dysfunctional in spanish?

Last night we watched Only Human ~ and I would rate it
two out-loud giggles. It is a Spanish movie about a young
Jewish woman (a tv reporter) who brings home her new
college professor boyfriend, who just happens to be
Palestinian. Her family is quite crazy even before this,
sort of a
Meet the Fockers de España. Don't read too
many reviews because the pivotal plot element is more
fun if you don't know in advance that it's going to happen.
(It's only about 90 minutes, so you aren't investing too
much of your shrinking leisure time here.)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

now how much? by the pound?

pumpkins 2006
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Every year I buy our pumpkins from the Mexican guys on a truck (two trucks this year!) on Harrison, around 22nd Street or so, I guess. I think I pay twice as much as I would at Safeway, but they are always so nice and help me drag the pumpkins to my car. I wanted 7 this year, but Husbando pointed out that they take FOREVER to compost, even with very active worms, plus we all know that I don't like to see pumpkins in December, so they have a limited shelf life at our house. So I only bought 4 this year, but they are big mothers and beautiful in their own orange way.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Sunday, Oct. 29th - meet Eric (and Jane)

Don't miss this unusual author event for the book I
discovered last week. I'll be there to have my copies
signed ~ excellent holiday gifts for those creative types
on your gift list who just happen to love/live in our City.

Click Here: Check out "The Writing Salon :: Events"

Thursday, October 26, 2006

we'd rather eat than write

the day ends
Originally uploaded by the omster.
...and lame ageist jokes are always good this time of year.

pink and gold and filled with calories

the day starts
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Sunrise from our back deck ~ the most perfect time of year. Busy day off including a flu shot at the Public Health Department (so organized) and then an unusual lunch at Original Joe's in the Tenderloin with The Great Plotniks. Like going back in time before we worried about cholesterol and our blood pressure. Or how to decorate a restaurant, for that matter. We enjoyed ourselves immensely, as we always do with TGPs. Then tonight at Tiapos (my writing group) we celebrated two birthdays and discussed why so many writers are Scorpios. TGP said he is a Scorpio with Clueless rising...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

photos and recipes

Two things I can never seem to throw away. I have a pork
chop recipe here from Susan when I was at the Univ.
of Colorado about 200 years ago. It's awful, too. Photos
I can understand, but what's this attachment to old
recipes? It's not as though I cook more than twice a year.

So last night Husbando asked me if I could make some
waffles for dinner tonight. Turns out that we are both too
full from lunch at Boulevard today, so I'll make them
another time. When I looked for the recipe, however, I
had to think about the source. Frank was the ex-husband
of Pat. Pat died about 18 or so years ago. We never
met Frank, but these waffles are delicious ~ unusually
light and tasty.  I'll photograph them, maybe, when we
do have them. That's something for you to look forward to.

Frank's Waffles
Sift together:
one cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Mix together carefully (?):
1 lb. sour cream
4 egg yolks
the flour mix from above

Beat the 4 egg whites with a
little salt (make sure no yolk is
in there (why?)

Fold mixture into beaten whites slowly.

That's it folks, get out your waffle irons.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Paul, Eric, Jane and shellfish

I picked up this book at work because I so love the illustrator
(Paul Madonna), but then I noticed that the author used to
teach at Jane's Writing Salon
The Writing Salon :: Welcome
so I brought it home and now I will buy it because it's truly
wonderful. Oh, the author is Eric Maisel, and I probably met
him at one of Jane's soirees. Anyway, here is a quote from
this little gem of a book:

San Francisco and Paris are sister cities. They are not
connected by architecture, class structure, or climate.
They are not connected by their shellfish preferences (in
San Francisco it is crab, in Paris it is mussels), their history
(Wild West provincial versus urbane royal), or their
They are connected by being two of the world's very few
bohemian meccas. Each is an important, well-marked stop
on the bohemian international highway. A Writer's San Francisco: A Guided Journey for the Creative Soul: Books: Eric Maisel,Paul Madonna

Monday, October 23, 2006

where else?

fort mason
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Sometimes I get jaded and have to remind myself that not everyone going to the theatre gets to walk a few extra steps to see something as exquisite as this...

a little more magic

Yesterday when we went to the Magic Theatre out at Fort
Mason, I asked Husbando if he thought Elaine May might be
in the audience and he said, "Yes". Even better than that,
she was introduced before the production of
Moving Right
and that was such a treat as I have admired her
for a long, long time.

Three one act plays, not easy to do because of the set
changes and other technical obstacles, but these all work
because of some fabulous acting (Marlo Thomas and Mark
Rydell in particular) and May's excellent writing. The last
one ("George is Dead") was my favorite, but all 3 are
well worth the price of the ticket.

Magic Theatre - San Francisco's home for New Plays

And we found free parking, so my karma has returned...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

getting ready to run

from our cafe
Originally uploaded by the omster.
For some reason taking photos from inside our cafe didn't work very well, but at least you'll get an idea of our great view. Post and Powell streets were wall-to-wall happy women. The race began a little after 6:30am. I love working downtown, but you know that.

thousands of women runners at 6am

nike marathon
Originally uploaded by the omster.
This year I brought my camera and the good Doctor J went up to the roof to get this photo. A lot of streets were closed off this morning for the Nike® event, so I ended up parking in the company parking space. When I walked to work it felt like the middle of the day as the streets were filled with women of all colors and ages in their shorts and tank tops and baseball caps. There was so muich electricity in the air and when we watched them all from the cafe on the 2nd floor, they were jumping up and down with excitement. It was a perfectly warm morning for a good run. It's a whole new running world with the addition of cameras and cell phones now! Despite the inconvenience, I love having this happen right under our noses so early in the morning.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

and I'll take one of those, and those, and those...

italian bakery
Originally uploaded by the omster.
This is often my destination when I take an afternoon walk. Perhaps that is why I don't lose the final 5 lbs. Everything here is exquisite, but we are partial to the almond torte, cookies, napoleans and cakes. It's on Mission at 26th, if you've never been there.

Friday, October 20, 2006

my single day off

So far I've sent 3 reminder emails to me at work, so this
is why I need two days in a row, which I'll have next week.

And file this under ~ HAS SHE BEEN IN RETAIL TOO LONG?
Within the past year, I have had these experiences while
shopping/standing in line at other stores:
1) Walgreen's ~ I was waiting for the photo clerk and
     someone asked me where the toothpaste was.
2) Williams-Sonoma ~ at the counter and ready to pay,
     and a customer requests that I help her find the
     ramekin dishes advertised in the catalogue.
3) Last Monday at the post office. A line of 10 people,
    I am in the middle. A man zooms over, selects me
    from all the rest and says, "Where are the green forms?"
    Not feeling helpful, I respond, "sorry, not my responsibility".
    "I know that", he says gruffly. I relent and point them out
    and do not say, "under the Forms sign".

Beautiful clear and sunny day today ~ I will get a long solo
walk and think non-retail thoughts for a couple of hours.