Tuesday, February 28, 2006

three new books (libros)

When I write it down, it will be so. I'm going to Italy in
2007 with my friend Ginger and 4 other women. We are
going to Florence, Venice and Rome. This Ginger (the
Santa Barbara one, not the Ginger currently living in
Kansas) is arranging everything because she has a very
good friend who lives there. I do not yet have the travel
bag in the hall way, but I now have these three books:

The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt. It is a non-
fiction (honest!) book about Venice and the title refers
to the "Beware of Falling Angels" sign in a church that
was in the process of restoration there. "A city of
endurance and decay", it says on the dust jacket. I
never thought I'd get there, but this IS going to happen.
Buying books, telling people and writing about this
trip is part of the fun. A big part!

Italian in 10 Minutes a Day (right) ~ I have to get
disciplined about this because I don't want to sound like
the Dumb American. I've already looked at the 3 "Cs"
and that's more than I knew last week. This way they
will think of the me as the Dumb American who knows a
little (un poco) Italian.

Rick Steve's Italy 2006 was recommend by both Jen and
Michael. I've never traveled with Rick, so I look forward
to another new travel experience. Jen went to Italy last
summer and said people would stop her and want to
discuss Rick with her.

Yes, I have been to Rome once. Sometime before The
Renaissance, I think. I want to go again and this time with
a digital camera, a love of internet cafes and my smooth
Italian conversazione.

Monday, February 27, 2006

a little sunday magic

I did my daily write (uninspired) yesterday, but ignored
commano so we could go down to the Magic Theatre
at Fort Mason. We drove in the rain, but traffic was light
and we parked right in front of the theatre door. That
was a first. I was tired and wore jeans and the rain coat
that I'm so tired of. But I was comfortable in a tee shirt
and my blue vest from Goodwill. Now, didn't you want to
know what I wore to the theatre?

OK, the play ~ another one act piece entitled
& Mortality.
We both liked it although I thought it could
use a little editing as it dragged in some spots. Just 3
characters: a woman who gave birth to a baby who
died, her husband, and the doctor who was not able to
save this poor child. The woman has an affair with the
doctor and from there it gets complicated. Well, maybe
before too. Would I recommend it? Yes, indeedy.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

finally seeing the fox

Tonight we watched the documentary Outfoxed and one
of the reasons I'm glad I did was because I understand
The Colbert Report better now. I could never bear to
turn FOX News on before and of course I will never watch
it, but it is amazing that a news program can outright
lie like that. Such heinous people and I'm amazed that
so many people actually watch it. Grrrr and argh.

Friday, February 24, 2006

finding the trash can

I just discovered that I can delete an unwanted and
unwelcome comment from the blog. It's easy...just
click on the trash can by the comment!

Today I was at work at 5am, and I am extra tired now.
I just finished my daily write entitled
What a Mess!, so
I could discuss the world problems such as Iraq, the
anti-choice vote in South Dakota and this global warming
glacier-melting business. Yes, it's a mess. Scary.

Glorious weather, however ~ sunny, warm and clear.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

remembering Anita

I thought about North Country today a lot as I walked
to BART and then to Kinko's this afternoon. I believe it
will turn out to be one of those important movies for
me, because of my involvement in the women's movement
for the past hundred years or so. Since it was based on
a true story, it is an important film and I loved the quick
references to Anita Hill on TV and I wonder if she can
feel some pride that her distressing testimony during the
Clarence Thomas hearings did have an effect on a lot
of women. And some men. I remember being glued to
the TV ~ at the time I was in San Antonio for a business
meeting, but I kept taking breaks to watch this brave
woman. She had such a quiet strength that we just knew
for sure that she was telling the truth.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

charlize & sissy

Today we watched North Country ~ rented from Netflix®
who stopped their nasty practice of throttling, thank
goodness. We are frequent renters and were being
penalized for that, it appears. But no more, yeah! We do
love the Flix because it's such a great concept.

The movie is good, not great. My favorite part, of
course, was the trial. Real trials aren't nearly as
exciting as movie trials.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

loving that 3rd person

On two occasions recently I've made use of something
that I learned from Mistress Jane and her Writing Salon.
When I am stuck (often) I will start writing about myself
in the third person. It seems to give me objectivity and
I get over that hurdle of
WTF am I going to say?

At work we are moving into that hellish season where
we spend every other spare moment writing reviews.
I had to write one for myself (for my boss) and it was
impossible. So I switched pronouns and found that
indeed, "she is an excellent manager for the following
sixteen reasons." One of the other managers begged
me to help him write his, and I gave him my secret
and he jumped right into self appraisal in the third person.

Then today I wanted to write about the sad news that
the Gold Spike in North Beach is closing. Husbando and
I spent many, many happy hours there when love was
new and I was trying to recreate that feeling for my
Round Robin daily write. Again I switched from Me to
She and it flowed easily from my memory and my heart.

Monday, February 20, 2006

finally, the weekend!

First I'll clear up the Kay Ryan poetry book. It's called
Niagara River from the Grove Press Poetry Series
and it's a mere $13.00. Thanks, Ms. K for your good
suggestion. I'd link it, but that seems like a lot of
work right this moment.

Next I'll tell you about the little theatre we went to
last night. It was a sold out (imagine on a Sunday night!)
performance of
Family Alchemy: Malamud and Paley
Stories on Stage
and it was delightful.  Now I will link
the production company:
Traveling Jewish Theatre
There were two stories by Grace Paley and one by
Bernard Malamud and the four talented actors were
reading/telling the works and we had not experienced
that before. Stories instead of scripts and it all worked
beautifully. Yeah, we were home at an almost decent
hour too because the theatre is at 470 Florida Street,
about 10 minutes from our Bernal Heights working
man's Victorian (as these houses were called back then.)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

one of those weeks

This past week at work the following items were kaput:

. escalator from 1 up to 2
. escalator from 3 down to 4
. all cash registers
. most computers
. the espresso machine
. the men's toilet (clogged)
. door handle on 4th floor office

My fellow manager Kevin said to me today,
"Well, we are the experts in putting the FU in snafu."

Saturday, February 18, 2006

no poetic license

Am I in any danger from copying a poem when it says
in the front of the book not to do so? If I were a
poet, I'd be flattered if someone found my poem
and put it in her commano blog, wouldn't you?

Well, let's test it here. I discovered this poet from
my friend Ginger who currently resides in Kansas.
I sent it to Mary who is moving to Arizona, because
it made me think of her and the vast unknown new
life that beckons so strongly.

Nothing Getting Past

If life is a
thin film
between twin
of nothing,
you get the best
taste of this
out west in
the open country
where a keen
could mean the
double scrape
of nothing almost
touching nothing
or the wind
coming through
dry grass. In
either case it's
pretty close
to nothing
getting past.

Kay Ryan

Friday, February 17, 2006

rich in friendship

I'm a woman's woman, everyone knows that about me,
I think. Starting in grade school I loved being with other
little girls, although I started having crushes on boys
at a very young age.  When I became a feminist, I quickly
understood the myth that women compete for men and
don't like one another. Such hooey. There are very few
women that I don't like, even the spike heeled under
dressed teenage girls have potential, although I would
like to see them become a bit more political. Less
shallow, perhaps. But there's time and hope.

Anyway, today was a strong women friend day. Lunch
with Jen who will be giving me some tips on traveling
to Italy (more about that later), and coffee this afternoon
with Lucca and her mother, Anne. They are moving to
Oregon (see the Lucky blog on the right) and I wanted
a good-bye face-to-face. I had not met the Lucky Baby
Girl either, so it was a pleasure to meet them at Philz
(24th and Folsom) and we although I'm sad that they
are leaving SF, we will be in touch through the wonders
of the internet. I met Anne in my very first writing salon
class and she is a gifted writer and a wonderful woman.
And the Lucky Little Toddler is a delight!

So even though work was less than perfect today, my
life feels full and once again I salute friendship and
especially women. Nothing against you men, don't get
touchy and pouty now....

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

shooter sing-a-long

From my friend Mary in St. Louis...one of the two or
three right-thinking left wing people living in that
strange place.

(Sung to the tune of Irving Berlin's
"You Can't Get a Man With a  Gun.")

I'm quick with the buckshot
And you all know the upshot:
Yes, there's blood when the day is done
But here's what is scary —
I meant to hit John Kerry
Oh, you can't trust a Dick with a gun.

When I'm giving orders
Or hiding from reporters
You can bet that I'm having fun!
But when it comes to aiming,
Just call me "Auntie Maim-ing"
Oh, you can't trust a Dick with a gun.

With a gun, with a gun,
No, you can't trust a Dick with a gun.

When I was a draftee,
I thought of something crafty:
I told them I had to run.
But now that I'm grown up,
I like to see things blown up
And I may shoot a male...on the trail...like a quail
So you can't trust a Dick with a gun.

If I go out shootin',
I'm just like Vladdy Putin:
I turn red as the setting sun
But when blood starts a-spurtin',
It ain't at Halliburton
No, you can't trust Dick with a gun.

I'm tough as a marlin
With someone else's darlin'
When the war I insist be won.
But it hurts me a fair spot
To see a millionaire shot,
No, you can't trust a Dick with a gun.

With a gun, with a gun.
No you can't trust a Dick with a gun

If you seek reduction
In weps of mass destruction
I believe I can find you one.
Okay, I'm confessin':
It's my sweet Smith & Wesson
'Cause I shoot like a coot...and I start wars to boot!
No you can't trust a Dick with a gun.

dedicated to Mr. Wilson

A few years ago we sat directly behind August Wilson
Seven Guitars premiered here at ACT. That was
a thrill. Last night we thoroughly enjoyed
Gem of the
which is dedicated to the life and work of August
Wilson who died last year. I most certainly recommend
this rich piece of history because it is sad, funny and
wonderfully acted by a talented cast.

"There is a grace beyond matter. It is our way of
knowing, and accepting, the splendor of death with
its voluminous atlas. We find it when we must."
August Wilson

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

a trip to remember

oh, those gates
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Exactly one year ago today we flew on Jet Blue to NYC. Here is my daily write from the greatest city on earth.
Now don't you wish we all kept notes of our daily lives?

It was pouring rain last night when the Super Shuttle let us out at 87th
and Central Park West. We saw our first "Gate" after wiping off
the window for the 100th time on the long, steamy ride from JFK airport.
"Look!" I said to my husband, "oh, they didn't roll them up the way
I was afraid they would in the rain".

We thought our niece's apartment was on the corner of Central Park W,
and we couldn't wait to get out of that over-heated shuttle, but we
were wrong. She actually lives at the corner of Columbus and
W. 87th, so we dragged all our luggage along the broken pavement,
past all the movie-set brownstones for another block. Despite
the rain, it was wonderful to be out of enclosed spaces where the
entire world is sneezing and eager to pass on new germs to us.

After finding the apartment, Bill read me the set of instructions on
locks and keys while I cursed and fumbled - still in the rain, no
free hands for an umbrella, of course. And where was that damn
thing packed anyway?

Our heavy winter coats were completely soaked as we finally
entered Jill's basement apartment. It was small, HOT and messy and
totally, absolutely perfect for our week in NYC. We are living out
of suitcases and longing for our first NY bagel this morning.
We are here to see Christo's Gates in Central Park and just to
enjoy ourselves in this world's greatest city.

Last night we walked on Columbus and marveled at so many
people being out in the rain as late as 10pm. Stopping for soup and
a salad, we decided that folks need to leave their tiny living spaces
and join the human race and get a break from their relentless
central heating. God, I so love this city.

Monday, February 13, 2006

hooked from the very beginning

How do you like this opener from a new novel I brought
home today?

Two things always signaled that she was suffering: stage
makeup worn during the day and loudness. She'd act too
happy, like something was hiding beneath all her
giddiness, something dank and unaired way down. My
mother laughed, and sometimes she couldn't stop. Over
the summer it had gotten worse ~ the shrieking jollity,
the nonstop hardy-har-har ~ and she was always slipping
away to watch more bad news on TV, turning it off when
I wondered into the den.

Yup, it grabbed me too. The author is Martha Sherrill,
the book is The Ruins of California. It's getting some
good reviews and it takes place in the 70's and the
author grew up in Los Angeles. Hopefully before the
car chases started being televised.

but sleep won't come

One of those nights. I decided to get up and have
another cup of Sleepy Time tea and send an email to
myself at work reminding me to check an invoice and
send my glowing self-appraisal to my boss. It's warm
and beautiful tonight and I'm sitting in the back room
in the dark, looking out at the city. I haven't had one
of these toss-and-turners for a long time, and I know
that there is probably some unresolved something that
I don't want to work out, otherwise I'd be sound asleep.

And I'm thinking of Karen One Foot and Leah in NYC
in all that snow. Also that clumsy vice president shooting
his friend. What a jerk. OK, drink tea, sleep....

Sunday, February 12, 2006

yoga in the elevator

We have been visited by a virus at work and most of our
computers are crashing frequently and uploading very
slowly. But this morning was the worst because the cash
registers were dead and I spent 3 hours on and off the
phone with the technical people at the corporate office.
It was nerve wracking ~ I found myself standing in the
elevator practicing deep breathing and chanting "om
shanti om" while I waited for the call saying, "OK"!

Of course we had to open at 9am and our ten cash
registers were silent. The staff was fabulous and went
ahead to take care of customers and make change out
of the cigar box. About 20 minutes later the call came,
"You're fine, it's a go!" But it was touch and go there
for a while on this day after the Chinese New Year's
Parade. Ah, the retail life.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

the plays the thing...

I love working across the street from the half price
ticket place in Union Square, but when I checked the
web site here, it appears we can now order tickets online.
Theatre Bay Area

Anyway, with our bargain tickets we went to the 3pm
curtain today at The Playhouse on Sutter Street. It's
fun to leave work and walk a few feet to the theatre,
It's times like this that I think, "well, this is exactly the
life I wanted to live when I dreamed of moving to the
big city after college". Of course it was extra fine to
have free parking, thanks to my generous company.

We saw
The Mystery Plays today. The first one was
OK, the second one (Ghost Children) was fabulous.
The acting was terrific, by the way. Go. Enjoy.

Friday, February 10, 2006

did you say six hours?

The Flix® now has The Best of Youth and we watched
the first 3-hour disc tonight. I didn't plan to, but it was
engrossing because you know how those families are.
Trauma and tragedy and there's always one or two
oddballs to keep things interesting. It was just so damn
Italian too, beautiful and destructive in that haunting
dramatic way. Highly recommended.

This sprawling Italian drama sweeps from the '60s to the 21st century, tracking the journey of two brothers, Nicola (
Luigi Lo Cascio) and Matteo (Alessio Boni). The two take different paths: After traveling, Nicola becomes a successful psychiatrist, while Matteo becomes a policeman intent on catching criminals. Their politics diverge as well, straining the family bond. Originally aired as a miniseries on Italian television.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

it's all about writing

Tonight I have my Round Robin class, so I'll do the post
now and we'll concentrate on this web site that I have
not seen before:
Writer Advice
You can do a search under either Will Walker or
to find my friend's delightful poem here. Will will
(nice) be at Jane's tonight and he is also a member of
Tiapos, and he is extremely talented. You might
remember that he is also known as Large Pants. He
has been published often, unlike this lazy writer.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

74º in early february?

Wow, what a day. Beautiful. Walked down at the
Embarcadero after lunch at Mijita Cocina Mexicana
in the Ferry Building. Delicious and reasonable and
understandably busy.

Red Eye which is lots of scary fun, but you
do not want to watch it alone at night.

Now it's my Sunday night and I have to prepare
mentally for a week of work.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

7am ~ the earth moved

Originally uploaded by the omster.
I was out in the garden early, scooping out some compost that was ALIVE with red worms. I had almost forgotten how very rewarding it is to dig around in the earth with my bare hands. I replanted 3 tiger lilies that were crowding the rose bushes and now I just wait to make sure
they are happy in their shady new home.

Rushing out at 8am to pick up Mollie for our walk at Ocean Beach. You can see how
clear and bright it was, so good for the soul after all those rainy, grey days.

Lunch with Husbando out at The Ramp where we have been going on sunny days for years and years. Even the food tasted better than usual, but don't order the french fries.

Monday, February 06, 2006

it's back-to-school time!

Thursday night I'll be heading up to Jane's for the first
Round Robin 2006 class meeting. I'll take msBook here
and a bottle of water. The Salon Mistress will have some
good strong coffee for us and I'll be a little early so I
can try to sit by her striped cat. Then beginning Friday
I will write for 10 minutes every day, sending a copy to
Mistress Jane and to my partner. I don't even know when
this class ends, but why do I need to know that now?

When I first started writing for 10 minutes I would have
to use a timer, but now I know intuitively when the time
is up. I have 2 thick 3-ring binders filled with my daily
writes, because I like reading hard copies. They are also
here on msBook, of course. When I was young I used to
try to keep a journal, but I hated going back and reading
that dribble. For some reason, however, I enjoy many of
these pieces because they are spontaneous and once
in a while (say it) DAMN GOOD.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

no super sunday for me

Small actually. Faithful readers will remember here
that I love little theatre and today we went to a 5pm
curtain of
In On It over at The Thick House on Potrero
Hill. A clever 70 minute play with only two actors,
lots of plot twists and some snappy dialogue. This
play runs through Feb. 26th, if you're interested:
Encore Theatre Company
Afterwards, dinner at Aperto Restaurant and home
by 8pm. Of course that fits my schedule perfectly.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

our co-president

We watched "Bush's Brain" tonight ~ all about Karl
Rove, one of the scummiest of the scumbags ever.
I recommend this documentary, especially to
Republicans who might want to see Dubya's
close friend in action.

to the highest bidder

All those years we bitched about Candlestick, at least
they never changed the name every 6 months. Shit, I
have enough trouble remembering SBC and now we are
supposed to call it AT&T? Does anyone care that I
don't LIKE AT&T? The company, the letters, the very
idea of this gobble-em-up corporate phone giant.
Do the Giants have ANYTHING to say about this?
I doubt it. So it's official, I guess. Well, it could be
worse. How, you ask? Well, that poor Texas baseball
team played in Enron Stadium before they changed
into some Lemonade Place. They sure make it rough
on those of us who just love old fashioned baseball.

We do have our tickets, by the way, for Opening Day.
At AT&T Park, formerly SBC, formerly Pac Bell.
What a crock.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

did you say 2000 words?

Just returned from my most delightful writing
group and they want me (the queen of brevity)
to expand my 700 word piece to 2000.
Gulp. But it will be good experience for me
and I'll do as I'm told, because they are always
(almost always) right.

Nice to have Karen One Foot back where she
belongs, even if she didn't have anything
to read. And Chef Sarah Picklenik is off to
France soon, to nosh and nibble and do some
travel writing, I hope. Lovely (as usual) work
from Will, Mistress Jane and The Other Karen.
Now, hurry to bed ~ 4am will be too soon.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

the linkmaster does it again

Thanks to Michael for adding 3 new links over there
(here) to the right:

1) Loren's walk for breast cancer page (so much
    easier now for me to remind you to give/give/give).

2) I have mentioned Dr J before, but perhaps you
    didn't know that he is
Chock Full of Inner Demons.
Now you do.

3) Will is in my Thursday night writing group (Tiapos)
   and he is affectionately known as Large Pants.

Tomorrow night is writing group and I need to spend a
couple of hours working today. I actually have an IDEA
and a goal to send something out for rejection. More
about that later....