Tuesday, January 31, 2006

grizzly man

I'm currently watching Bush and feeling irritable
and if I were to take my blood pressure now, I
would probably have to call an ambulance. The
State of this Union is not so great, in my humble
opinion. Oh, my, he is such a jerk. There is a huge
white sign on our Bernal Hill that reads:

But then what, Cheney?

This morning I watched and thoroughly enjoyed
Grizzly Man. Some beautiful photography, some
unnerving moments when Timothy loses his cool
and becomes paranoid ~ about people, not bears.
Even though he dies in the end, it was not the
violent movie that I was afraid it would be.

Monday, January 30, 2006

appreciation day

I could talk about tomorrow night's State of the
Union address, or the constant horrible news from
Iraq. Instead, I'll relate what I heard on the radio.
Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day 2006
Yes, it's today. Remember when Larry David was
hiding upstairs from someone who was hoping to
hurt him and Larry couldn't keep from popping the
bubble wrap? A dead giveaway, but who could
resist? Anyway, it's sort of fun to noodle around
in this website because some people create the
oddest things (clothing, for instance) with this
peculiar product.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

for jane, loren and all women

Two things changed and improved my life dramatically
four years ago when I started taking classes at the
Writing Salon with Jane the Salon Mistress. The first
was a monumental email from Jane telling me how
much she loved my work. Imagine! I glowed, grinned
and at that moment decided that I would keep on
writing forever, no matter what. And I have.

Then, out of the blue, one of the students asked me
if she could PUBLISH my Halloween piece. Publish?
Loren Rhoads produces the highly unusual
Curiosity magazine ~ I subsequently did a couple
of readings for her and she has always supported
me and my work and now I'm going to do the same
for her. So, here's the sales pitch:

Loren is walking, 39 miles worth of walking, for Jane
and for all the women who are fighting breast cancer.
She is starting her training now because Loren is not
a jock, she is a writer and a mother. When you check
out her Avon page, you'll see that we need to get
hopping to raise money so she can do this thing. I
know she will be inspired to walk a few more miles
every week if she knows we are with her here.
The web page is easy to maneuver, just have your
little credit card when you sit down to fill out the
form. And please know that I am going to be relent-
less here...let's send Loren on that BIG WALK.

Click Here: Check out "Avon Walk for Breast Cancer:"

I thank you in advance!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

a tale of two karens

Today I went to a poetry reading for Karen One Foot
(see her blog link to the right ~
One Foot Out the Door)
at a cool little art gallery on Sutter Street near
Presidio. Of course I parked easily because that's my
reward for trying to be a good person most of the
time. I enjoyed myself thoroughly and I always love
any two words that Ms. Foot puts together. One of
her poems made me well up in public...when she tells
of sitting in North Beach with her much-loved Tom.

I enjoyed chatting with Jeff and Jane and Kerry,
then had a moment with my other Karen writing
friend and remembered that she asked me once if I'd
tell ALL (ahem) my readers about her book website.
There is some fine writing in this book, and the best
piece is by Karen Myers who put this all together.
Check it out! 
My Body Of Knowledge

Friday, January 27, 2006

kenny boy

Just a quick note tonight because I want to recom-
mend the movie
Enron: The Smartest Boys in the
The lies, greed and total disregard for others
proves once again how important it is that we
regulate corporations. If I owned a small business
in SF, I probably wouldn't appreciate the high
minimum wage law here in our city, but since I
don't, I applaud the fact that the voters of San
Francisco approved an (almost) living minimum wage.
Our staff all received a 25ç an hour raise this
January and morale is high as a result. (The Enron
movie is out on DVD ~ unbelievable avarice.)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

completely wire-free

That's it, I am totally 100% wireless. It wasn't easy,
but nothing ever is for me on this computer. Yes,
it was and is worth the extra money and all the time
I spent on this damn thing. Last night I brought
msBook to bed and wrote a couple of emails to
friends ~ bragging, showing off, begging for praise.

Now here is something I snagged from the obits in
yesterday's Chron:

...he died with more questions than answers.

I have a "thing" for curiosity and for people who
posses this trait. When my brother-in-law was in
the hospital, in and out of it, he would ask for his
glasses and the newspaper whenever he woke up.
He knew he was dying, but he wanted to know
what was going on in the world. I love that.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

nothing changes, everything changes

city lights
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Yesterday we had lunch outdoors in the sun at Cafe DeLucchi in North Beach. When Love was New we spent many happy hours here and some of our old favorite hangouts (Gold Spike, Vesuvio, Mario's Cigar Store, City Lights, Cafe Trieste and the Wash Bag) remain. To me North
Beach is really the heart of SF, even though I love the Union Square area and the Mission District too.

I prayed to Our Lady of Asphalt and found a good/free parking space and we walked before and after lunch. There were two old women speaking Italian, a few tourists, delicious smells of garlic and coffee and some interesting new stores to worry about. There doesn't seem to be much foot traffic, so maybe they depend on weekend business.

Oh, I left the Savoy Tivoli out of my memory list above. It's still there, I wonder if/who goes and do they love it as much as I did? Could anyone?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


That's the word I was searching for yesterday while
discussing the Baccarat Buddha.

Today is my Saturday and I'm sitting in front of the
fire writing emails and wishing The Great Plotnik a
marvelous trip to Guatemala. And One Foot arrives
in her most elegant and fine fashion tomorrow. The
salon mistress returns from Chicago and I want to
hear all about her trip. Everything is different this
week, I'm thinking. Ginger in Kansas is in Texas,
avoiding President Scumsucker Spymaster Bush who
was in Top Form in Manhattan, Kansas yesterday.
I'd leave town too.
(Of course he avoids SF entirely.)

An article in the Chronny this morning talks about
SF having more Wi-Fi spots than any other city.
Thanks to my dear friend Michael, my good old
browser has returned and it was such a highly
technical and complicated operation that I dare
not discuss it publicly. Only Steve Jobs and maybe
Bill Gates would understand how I fixed msBook
yesterday afternoon and I am one happy woman
as a result.

Monday, January 23, 2006

give me the simple life

Agog. I don't use that word very often, but that is what I was
this morning when I passed the Baccarat store on Powell
Street. There was a small display for the Chinese New Year
and the centerpiece was a crystal Buddha. I would guess that
he's about 18" tall and surrounded by little glass animals.
The pig is particularly cute, but I couldn't take my eyes off
the Buddha. It seems so contrary to the concept of serenity
and simplicity ~ a Baccarat crystal Buddha! There was no
discreet price tag, thank goodness, but I think we know
that this clear glass fellow is worth his weight in gold.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

back to equality

What a delightful surprise today. I was helping a customer
find "With Liberty and Justice for All" by Kate Michelman
and we got into an agreeable discussion about feminism.
Not many women call themselves feminists now days, it's
too scary. But I am one, and so was this small woman
with an engaging smile and bright red hair. We agreed
that this book about pro-choice should be on the first
floor and after we parted and I put the books out I noticed
the author's photo on the front cover. I had been talking
to Kate Michelman!

I dashed to the cashier line and asked her how come she
didn't want to announce herself and sign her books.
She replied that she was embarrassed to do that, which
was sweet, I thought. She said she was in town to speak
to the Commonwealth Club and I thanked her for all her
work on behalf of women everywhere. Then I said I was
going to rush home and email all my feminists friends.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


There were 125 new emails to plow through this morning
at work. I left a couple of them that smelled like DANGER
until right before I left, but everything turned out just
fine and I worried needlessly.

Tonight dinner with friends at Umbria, then to see the
Lamplighters perform The Pirates of Penzance at Yuerba
Buena Center. Tomorrow night The Great Plotnik joins us
for bagels and lox from Zabar's in NYC. Very social!

Friday, January 20, 2006


Oh, hooray ~ thanks to the help of RR's father, I can now
connect to the wireless and thank you to my writing group
friends for supporting me last night and assuring me that
they have all the same problems and frustrations. I was
able to relax after that and today was a breeze after
Kristin and Bill called. I think I finally understand a few
things about computers that I didn't quite GET before.

Also I was able to purchase two SRO tix for Opening
Day ~ navigated online! I assured Husbando
that we won't have to stand for the entire game, we
will just look pathetic and people will offer us a seat
from time to time. It is my experience that a lot of fans
get drunk early that day and we can sit when they go
home after the 2nd inning to pass out.

Back to work tomorrow after four fabulous and very
productive days off.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

sure looks like memphis

Last night we watched Hustle & Flow...an excellent film
about a pimp who wants to be a rap musician. Doesn't
sound like much, does it? Well, it's well worth buying
or renting, because everything works: the story, the dialog
and especially the acting.

There was a time in our lives when we'd have to go to
Memphis about 4 times a year. After about 5 minutes
into the movie I said to my husband, "God, that looks
just like Memphis". It was. There's something about those
areas of America where there are no building codes or
concern with how things look. It's not just the poverty
and desperation, it's more ~ worse somehow, because
nobody seems to care.

On the positive side, you could get baskets of shrimp
(peel 'em & eat 'em) for about $2.00 a quart. The
BBQ ribs were overrated, but shrimp and beer make
Memphis tolerable. And the rap music, of course.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

integral to my well-being

Fwd: yoga center
Originally uploaded by the omster.
There are probably a million or so yoga places in San Francisco, but I lucked out and found this place on Dolores Street. I started yoga about 5 years ago to help reduce stress. At first I just wanted the stretching and poses, but now I actually chant and do the circle thing with my thumb and first finger.
I will admit that I snooze a bit during meditation, but I don't snore.

The rooms all feature thick, soft pastel carpets with tons of pillows. Everything has a light incense smell and I guarantee your blood pressure will drop by 10 points the moment you walk in the door. I've had maybe 10 different teachers, all as gentle and sweet as newborn kittens. I remember the day after 911 and I cried for the entire one and 1/2 hour class ~ it was the best therapy I could have asked for.

Take one introductory class at the Integral Yoga Center and you'll be hooked.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

from paris to mexico city

Fwd: 10am farmers market
Originally uploaded by the omster.
This was one of those, "I'm so glad I don't live in Duluth" kind of days. My husband and I took BART to the Embarcadero to see the Will & Willie radio program at the Hotel Vitale. There were only about 6 of us in the audience and we enjoyed the humor for about an hour. Will Durst and one of the technicians thanked us for coming ~ it was a very relaxed setting with folks working on their computers, reading the newspaper and one other person (besides me) taking notes for his blog.

Then we went to the Farmer's Market which really did remind me of Paris, with the chefs starting to prepare their lunch meals. We decided not to have the caviar sampler for $54.00, but accepted free fresh strawberries in balsamic vinegar, of all things. After ordering coffee at Peet's we sat on a bench outside and watched the ships on the bay. It was a little chilly, but there was just enough sun and no wind at all.

Back to BART, getting off at 16th and Mission and walking down to 25th Street for burritos at our favorite La Taqueria. Everyone we know has a different "best burrito" restaurant, but this really is the greatest because they don't use rice as a filler.
Fresh pinapple drink is also highly recommended.

There is a new drug store at the corner of 20th and Mish and they don't even pretend to want our business. Every sign is in Spanish. How can anyone not love this city?

Coffee at XO this afternoon with the Great Plotnik and home to watch "Junebug". Strange movie, I'm still thinking about it.

Monday, January 16, 2006

4 days, 2 books

Yes, thanks to Loren for mentioning "interesting", she
is right on the button. Another tediously over used word
is "super", as in "he's a super good looking man".
All sorts of glossy magazine ads feature Super, too.

But back to me. I have four days off this week, comp
for the horrid holidays. So I brought home two new

The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster
Gentlemen & Players by Joanne Harris

Now I'm going to watch The Golden Globe Awards!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

nothing just "is" anymore

This graph is going to sound like Andy Rooney, I know
that from the start.

I just opened my AirPort Card box from Apple. I bought
it last week, but I didn't want to get discouraged and
snarly until my days off this week. Anyway, it isn't
simply an airport card, it is an AirPort Extreme Card.
So now Extreme has joined ranks with Awesome.
God should forbid that products or movies or sports
events or fashion are considered average ~ they have
to be over the top, excessive: awesome and extreme.
It's odd to think of a 10 minute work break as being
"totally awesome", yet that's how it's been described
on the walkie talkie.

An Extreme CD software installation is included with
the Extreme Card and I will probably have an
Extreme Meltdown before I truly become wireless.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

searching for forgiveness

There is a nifty search feature to this blog and I used
it to see if I hadn't posted this poem before. No!
It's a little long, and of course Dr. J has already
moved on to another blog, but I do love this and
my more poetic friends will say stuff like "hoorah
and wowza" in their lovely comments. This poet,
c.k. williams, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize,
back in 2000, I think.

Invisible Mending

Three women, old as angels,
bent as ancient apple trees,
who, in a storefront window,
with magnifying glasses,
needles fine as hair, and shining
scissors, parted woof from warp
and pruned what would in
human tissue have been sick.

Abrasions, rents and frays,
slits and chars and acid
splashes, filaments that gave
way of their own accord
from the stress of spanning
tiny, trifling gaps, but which
in a wounded psyche
make a murderous maze.

Their hands as hard as horn,
their eyes as keen as steel,
the threads they worked with
must have seemed as thick
as ropes on ships, as cables
on a crane, but still their heads
would lower, their teeth bare
to nip away the raveled ends.

Only sometimes would they
lift their eyes to yours to show
how much lovelier than these twists
of silk and serge garments
of the mind are, yet how much
more benign their implements
than mind?s procedures
of forgiveness and repair.

And in your loneliness you?d notice
how really very gently they?d take
the fabric to its last, with what
solicitude gather up worn edges
to be bound, with what severe
but kind detachment wield
their amputating shears:
forgiveness and repair.

c.k. williams

Friday, January 13, 2006

he lies, she lies

Today, a little after 8am, a man walked into our store and demanded that
we send all the copies of "A Million Little Pieces" back to the
On the looney scale, he was only about a 5 of 10, compared to the
Genuine Ten who arrived promptly at 9am. But we'll save that story...

I managed to mollify the customer, but I have been thinking a lot
about the authors who have been in the news recently. I did watch
Larry King when James Frey was on and listened to Oprah defend
him and even though I realize we all embellish just a tad when we
write about our past experiences, I assume we don't out-and-out lie.
I really don't know what to make of J.T. LeRoy, but it is peculiar
that these two authors are not what/who they say they are. We
live in an age where there are no secrets and there never will
be in the future.

The Half Looney told me that a lot of drug addicts and alcoholics
had started using again when they found out that Frey was
lying in his book. Then he said that it should be shelved in
Fiction and I told him that's where we kept the book...and now
who's lying?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

an observation

This is not a theory. Only men over 50 have theories. (My
friend Mary pointed that out to me last year.)

Since the homeless people are no longer allowed to sit in
doorways or sprawl on the curbs in Union Square, there
has been a proliferation of wheel chairs. There must be
3 or 4 per block now and we have rather narrow sidewalks,
so it is not easy to maneuver around them.

I only give money to one homeless guy (Jim) and then I
send a nice check to Glide. I so admire the work they do
and I remember reading how Rev. Williams has to make
his side of the bed every morning and his wife makes
her side. Viva women's rights!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

will & willie

On my days off I enjoy listening to the left leaning Air America
radio station 960 AM "The Quake". Al Franken comes on at 10am,
but before that there is a brand new program with Will Durst and
Willie Brown that starts at 7am. These guys are good together
and obviously they are enjoying themselves immensely. I think
next week we'll go down to the Hotel Vitale to give them a
little support and then cross the street and go to the Farmer's
Market for a late breakfast or early lunch.

I've always appreciated Willie Brown and when he was the
Mayor I spent an inordinate amount of time defending him.
Now there's a man who appreciates life...

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

perversity and perservering

Today was spent messing around installing DSL and then
deciding that I really want wireless. In the meantime I
lost and found AOL and my sense of well being. I'm
not good at this, but I persevere and finally GET IT after
calling the help line more times than I'll ever admit.
And now I am using an unfamiliar browser and feel all out
of focus and out of sorts, if you must know.

Anyway, this evening was much better because we
went to see Sexual Perversity in Chicago by David
Mamet, at ACT. This was Mamet's first play from the
70's and it is terrific. Highly recommended, a comedy
with some biting truths. Directed by Peter Riegert.

Monday, January 09, 2006

of feathers and fish

Today was one of those strange days when I spent
most of my time handling "issues" and trying to
de-ruffle feathers. I took a break at lunch and went
to a Starbux to have a nonfat latte and read the
free Examiner, which isn't such a bad paper anymore.

People were taking pictures of the cable cars and
Union Square and I thought once again, "how lucky I
am to live in a city that is loved by so many". There
were Business Men in suits outside the St. Francis,
lots of them (maybe 50) and I swear to God that
each one of them had a flip. I noticed that most of
them kept the phone to the left ear and they all
looked VERY IMPORTANT. I believe the gathering had
something to do with property/real estate, but I was
too busy checking the phone/to left or right ear ratio
to study their name tags.

Back to more strangeness at the store, but at least
I was in harmony with my fellow managers. Plus one of
the best things my wise husband taught me was that
we don't have to make snap decisions. It's perfectly all
right to say, "let me get back to you on that", which
I did say about three different times today. Usually when
people pressure us for immediate Action, there is a
fennel fish involved. Fennel fish are fishier than say,
salmon or halibut.

I need a day off.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

it's a long way off

...but I've been thinking about baseball again. We
haven't been to Opening Day in a couple of years and
I've missed the excitement, the bunting, the hot dogs
and the garlic fries. I miss hearing Jon Miller and his
partners on the radio and I want to see the not so
sane Giant fans in all their orange and black splendor.
The "baseball group" emails will start up on a daily
basis in March with Allen and Dougo keeping Sally,
Kristin and me informed. I need Opening Day!

To that end (I like using that term in business emails) I
have requested April 6 and 7 off and I have already
started searching craigslist for tickets. We will be
playing the so-called Braves from Atlanta and I will
take my flip and call Kristin and RR. Along with my
attractive Giantswear, I'll be carrying about a million
memories from our baseball days at Candlestick.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

el crimen perfecto

Last night we rented The Perfect Crime, a fun little
Spanish film that some of you might enjoy. Here is a
handy link (because I'm not as lazy as I was yesterday):
Netflix: The Perfect Crime
It mostly takes place inside a big department store,
so that part was especially interesting to me. At one
time I worked in both Capwell's and The Emporium
(in the advertising department), and I've ridden enough
escalators and heard enough in-store gossip to fill a
few issues of Vanity Fair. This movie is outlandish,
but that's okay by me during post-holiday recovery.

Friday, January 06, 2006

okay, it's here

I didn't want to do it, I was sure it would depress me,
but Call Me Lucca's mama pushed me into action and
I brought home
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan
Didion. (By the way, don't miss Lucky's blog on death,
it's a keeper. I'm lazy now so I won't link it, but you
can click over there on the right.)

Anyway, I thought I'd take a little look at it on my
BART trip home, so I pulled it out of my elegant pink
backpack and came very close to missing my stop.
All of a sudden I'm there with the author, feeling her
shock and pain when her husband dies. It's every
woman, every person, and yet uniquely Joan Didion ~
her life and her sorrow. Glorious.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

just south of san francisco

half moose bay
Originally uploaded by the omster.
I had a splendid SUNNY day yesterday! My
friend N. and I went to Half Moon Bay to visit RR, her mother and her sister. I'm
not naming names here, sort of Anais Nin-like, we'll see how this works. I think we bloggers are torn my who (whom?) we should identify and/or not.

We had lunch OUTSIDE with half of Half Moon Bay, everyone delighted to be in the sun after days and days of grey rain. Then we walked to this Feed Store where this creature holds court. RR (age 2) likes to ride (well, sit) on a pony
statue in here and the rest of us checked out the bunnies,chickens and
cowgirl hats.

For this city woman, it was a treat to be in a small town ~ for a couple of hours. I enjoyed myself immensely. The memory kept me centered during a less than perfect day at work.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

walking and reading

I discover new books while I walk them down to the
customer "hold" section on the first floor. Some folks
don't care for browsing amongst the books, so they call
or e-mail their requests in. They are missing one of the
joys of a bookstore, but maybe they are just busy/busy.
I judge so harshly sometimes.

The Smoking Diaries was such a holiday hold and by
the time I had carried it from Drama to the first floor,
I was hooked. The author is
Simon Gray and he has
written more than 30 plays and lives in London.
Here is part of the graph in the chapter FEEDING
THE ROT from this turbulent diary:

I've just raked my pen across my yellow page, and
jabbed it down and down and ripped it across. An
attempt to write a primal scream. After all, I'm a
writer and should be able to express everything, but
here, once again, I've failed ~ who, on looking at
these marks, would think they represented a primal
scream without my having to say so ~ the need to
do something savage was because I've been sitting
with my head in my hands, running my fingers
through my hair and thinking how I really couldn't
put down another word, I really couldn't....

Been there?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

sitting high and dry

There was a fascinating article in the New Yorker about
a year ago that talked about how Manhattan (NY) was the
best place in America for conservation! Meaning ~ fewer
automobiles and less energy per person because of the
tall buildings and wall-to-wall condos and apartments.
The author himself moved from NYC to a suburb and
bought two SUVs, spent 4 times as much money on his
utility bills and stopped walking to the grocery or shoe
repair shop. Our search for space and privacy is costly.

So, here's my theory. People in the Bay Area escape the
difficulties of city life (and there are many) to find
peace in the suburbs. But wise old Mama Nature says,
"not so fast, Kiddo". The rains come, the hills fall
down and the floods are overwhelming. Again.

We city folks who endure BART delays, Muni muggings,
expensive parking tickets, crime, too narrow side walks
downtown, an entire summer of fog, listening to our
neighbors' fights, parties and TV, sad homeless people,
in-your-face homeless people and let's not forget the
Friday night bicycle boys and girls who have irritated so
many and done so much for San Francisco (note all the
neat new bike lanes). Our daily, real life existence.

We take it on the chin everyday, not from nature,
from ourselves. The poor folks in Napa, Guerneville,
Sonoma, Lodi, etc. are being knocked out completely
by these storms. What a mess. They'll be OK, but
I wonder if some will return to the safety of the city.

Monday, January 02, 2006

who'll stop the rain?

My dearest Ginger (currently living in Kansas) wrote
me that she was dancing in her kitchen in her heavy
snow boots to the sounds of John Fogerty, so of
course I had to buy his new CD
The Long Road Home
based solely on her recommendation.
John Fogerty | Home
Lot's of old favorites including:
Bad Moon Rising
Lookin' Out My Back Door
(my husband's favorite baseball song
and he joins in with "Put me in Coach!" in his own
gentle, phlegmatic out-of-tune way)
Green River

It's like Déjà Vu all over again.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

one resolution

I woke up with only this thought for 2006: I must write
more. It is difficult for me, I struggle mightily. It never
turns out the way I think it will when I start on a
project. It's just plain work and the rewards are few.
But oddly enough, I'm happier when I'm writing. I
figure things out while I'm typing away and I reach
a deeper, more interesting place.

So I e-mailed my most wonderful teacher, Jane, the
moment I hit my computer and said, "sign me up".
Here is her web site, linked perfectly due to my
fabulous technological skills.

The Writing Salon :: Welcome