Saturday, September 30, 2006

bits and pieces (to fill)

You will be happy to learn that the new Bob Woodward
book is flying off the shelves! I'm going to sink into a
novel by Mark Haddon entitled
A Spot of Bother. For
movies? Tonight we Flix'd
Lucky #Slevin which was OK,
not fabulous, and extremely violent. But worth seeing,
I guess, just because the plot was so convoluted. So
I probably won't read this hot book, but I'm glad it's selling:
Powell's Books - State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III by Bob Woodward

Friday, September 29, 2006

the hype, the mall, the dome

the dome returns
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Of course if I lived in Peoria or Wichita, there's no way in hell I'd visit a new mall, but in SF it's all dressed up as nostalgia and design and elegance. I scampered over there today on my lunch hour and yes, it's just another mall, but my oh my, it is impressive. I didn't get to Bloomie's, but I checked out the new and beautiful Borders (4th Floor) and walked around just a bit before my time was up. I had an interview and had to rush back to my store. I kept looking down at the enticing food court and will return there on my next trip. Yes, it was very busy, but not too crowded to enjoy the whole spectacle. I heard the sound of cash to many ears.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

almost 3 hours of clever!

Wowza ~ I had exchanged our tix due to my Santa Barbara
vaca last week, so we sat in the 2nd row last night. Better
to hear every single perfect word and watch some superior
acting by our old friend Geoff Hoyle (Pickle Family Circus)
and Ren
é Augesen, as well as Gregory Wallace, and more.
Travesties by Tom Stoppard is way better than I expected
and so I recommend it to everyone who loves words and
history...not to mention the colorful costumes and sly,
sweet movement of eight fabulous actors.
What a treat!
Click Here: Check out "American Conservatory Theater - ACT San Francisco"

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

chocolate in between the slices

dessert ~ fried
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Does this look like The Great Plotnik's blog? Today I work 8am to 5pm and then we have ACT tonight, so I wanted to do my daily post early as it will be late tonight, if we stay for all the innings....

southern mission hospitality

dinner on 29th St.
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Our little nabe has lots of wonderful new little restaurants ~ Al and Tipper Gore even ate here a couple of weeks ago! We really enjoyed ourselves at The Front Porch on 29th Street off Mission. You can see (below) that the prices are reasonable and there are some dishes you can't find amongst the all too typical 6 entres in most restaurants. Husbando had the fried chicken and I enjoyed crab in a corn and porridge dish. Freshest green salad ($4) possible and a fried dessert that we did not need.

reasonable prices, unusual food!

Click Here: Check out "the front porch • san francisco"

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

my kind of challenge (maybe)

Karen from my writing group emails us that the Washington
Post will pay $100 for 100 words. We know that I specialize
in brevity, but when working on this today (between a solo
walk in the Mish and a stroll on Fillmore Street with Husbando),
I discover that it's hardly any words at all! Sheeeesh. Hello.
Good-bye. No time for foreplay...
The guidelines: find a way to give insight into your life in
under 100 words.
(At least I'll have something to bring to Tiapos Thursday night.)

Monday, September 25, 2006

sam shepard's newest play

Yesterday afternoon I left work early and we saw The God
of Hell
which is all about the most dangerous plutonium pit
in Colorado, Rocky Flats Plant. I didn't realize that it only
takes inhaling a few missed particles of plutonium to cause
cancer, so of course this is still a huge concern, especially
to landowners surrounding Rocky Flats. It's one of those
hush hush government messes and Shepard's one act play
manages to be scary and amusing at the same time. We
both really enjoyed the tight script and of course the acting
is superb, especially from Anne Darragh and Michael Santo.
The latter plays "the government guy" with just enough
Pres. Bush in him to be almost as frightening as the actual
plutonium. It is a short, intense play ~ go.

Click Here: Check out "Magic Theatre - San Francisco's home for New Plays"

Sunday, September 24, 2006

saving you some time...

Click Here: Check out "Think Progress » FULL TRANSCRIPT: Clinton Takes On Fox News"

This Wallace is the son of Mike, by the way. Smarmy...

renew orleans

blues festival
Originally uploaded by the omster.
This 34th annual Blues Festival was a tribute to New Orleans, so lots of people were wearing beads and feathers ~ when we were standing in line to enter, the woman with the bullhorn announced, "no guns, no knives, but alcohol and marijuana are OK". The music began before the scheduled 11am and lasted until 6pm, of course we left earlier than that. You can see that our seats were pretty close to the stage. It goes on for another full day today and if you love blues and people-watching, it's the place to be. But I return to work today, still relaxed from my wonderful vaca. Until I read about the 3rd email, I suspect...

great meadow at fort mason

very sf setting
Originally uploaded by the omster.
You couldn't dream up a better location for the SF Blues Festival. The booths have all sorts of fabulous food: BBQ pork, jambalaya, corn bread ~ the smokey food smells add to the overall ambience and thanks for the glorious weather!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

grass, kids, dogs

grill @ padaro
Originally uploaded by the omster.
To the right is another huge expanse of lawn and a big sand box filled with buckets and toys for the kids. Lots more tables with none too close together. Good food too, although I'm not an expert (yet).

my favorite new restaurant

lunch on tuesday
Originally uploaded by the omster.
This will be my final vaca blog because today we have the SF Blues Festival and that will really get me back into city life.

Friday, September 22, 2006

a snooze in the sun

bliss & auri
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Dogs add so much to daily life, they also require a lot of time and attention and I was able to give them both, with pleasure. This is on Ginger's big patio, surrounded by orange trees. She would squeeze fresh OJ for me every morning. Heaven.

yurt @ cachuma

yurt @ cachuma
Originally uploaded by the omster.
I had never heard of this huge Cahuma Lake before ~ it's about 20 minutes from downtown Santa Barbara and there were hardly any campers. Each yurt has bunk beds (we peeked) and one electrical outlet. BBQ is on the other side. They rent for $65 a night, but of course you need to book about a year in advance. Since that day I have seen or heard the here-to-fore unknown word "yurt" about 6 times. Life is odd...

one of life's great pleasure

south 101 9.18
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Driving at dawn ~ this was last Monday. I was already singing and happy as a dog in the sunshine (photo to follow).

Thursday, September 21, 2006

rich widows with small dogs

That's how my friend Joan described one of the parks near her
home in Montecito. I told her that it would be a great name for
a short story.

Another great women-filled day. Nothing exciting, which is just
fine with me. The 3 of us had coffee this morning at the Cafe Luna
(which used to be the French Bulldog) and that's where this new
chapter with friend from college started two years ago.

Then we 3 women with 3 dogs walked again at Padaro Beach
and today the tide was low so we could walk a lot further than
we have in the past. No stars (Dennis Miller also lives here)
and very few walkers or surfers. It was so nice just to talk and
walk and feel close ~ interesting that there is very little stuff about
the college days (daze) because we are so active in our current
lives and looking forward to the future. Lots to laugh about, too.

Tonight? Burgers at home and maybe even on the patio because
Ginger hosed off all those ashes this morning. Yes, I did a little
work too, I know that will surprise everyone.

I return home tomorrow ~ get ready for photos galore.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

they don't sell carpets

OK, before someone else corrects me. The name of the
little beach town where I spent the day only thinking of
ME/Me/me is Carpinteria. So sorry.

self indulgence in carp

So this is how that other 1/2 lives! Today we went for a private
workout with machines and yoga and all sorts of soothing
movements...for two fabulous hours. Then a quick lunch at
the Cajun Kitchen in Carpeteria, then an hour long massage.
All this took place in this quaint little town called Carp, by
the natives. I then walked down to the beach while G. had
her massage and now I am in a liquid state, drinking an
espresso before I hit the bubble bath.

Tonight is dinner with our friend Joan ~ the 3 of us were
college buddies, as everyone knows by now. Early dinner
and early to bed. Weather? Gorgeous. Mood? Muy mellow.

Still no cafes advertising Wi Fi, so when I come home on
Friday I'll be posting photos instead of words.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

time out on tuesday

Today was almost too lazy to discuss. My friend Ginger had lots
of dental work and (honest!) I did offer to go with her, but she
said "no", so I put my feet up, looked out at the ocean and read
my old New Yorkers until lunch time. I did take the dogs out for
a walk and since I'm not currently a dog owner I forgot to bring
PLASTIC BAGS, so I had to ask another true dog walker if I
could borrow a couple of hers...and just in time.

We had an outdoor lunch at the Grill at Padaro Beach and that
was so unusual. Huge grassy area with picnic tables and a big
sand-box for the kids to play in. Dogs are allowed, but we left
our girls at home. Food was excellent too. Then back to my
lounge chair until about 4pm when we took a 4 mile beach
walk and now it's dinner time and some more relaxing. I love
having the time to really read the New Yorkers ~ I still think
it's the best magazine ever published.

Weather? Started out with fog this morning, but that was good
for the wild fire situation (there are ashes here) and then warm
and sunny this afternoon. Perfect.

Monday, September 18, 2006

yurts rock!

I'm using my friend's computer tonight because she doesn't
have Wi Fi and I couldn't piggyback down here in Summerland.
So this will be short, but I wanted to report in that I did have
a totally delightful day. Photos to follow...

Started driving the moment the sun came up and it was
smooth and beautiful. Reached Michael's in Goleta about
10am and after coffee and some chat, he drove me to Cachuma
Lake where they have yurts! These are tent like structures on
raised wooden decking right next to the lap lap of the lake.
Very peaceful and serene. Photos to follow...

Then I drove to Ginger's here in Summerland and we took a
fine beach walk with her two dogs. Kevin Costner was out on
his deck, but he didn't wave at me, so I didn't acknowledge
him. It is fabulous weather, warm still tonight with stars galore
in the clear sky. Then Ginger fixed a tasty chicken dinner for
Michael and myself and we listened to the new Bob Dylan
CD which is excellent. Photos to follow...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

leave it to king city

Well, wouldn't you know ~ this has the easiest and fastest
Wi Fi of anyplace I've been yet (except home, of course)?
I'm staying in a semi-seedy motel and just had a rather
dreadful supper at Maggie's Diner, but I'm relaxed and
delighted to be here. The drive was easy and I listened to
Len Tillum, that NY lawyer-guy on KGO. I'll be up early for
my drive to Santa Barbara ~ Ken (our Toyota) requires
tapes, not CDs, so I bought a whole bunch of those for
driving and singing tomorrow morning. I'm tired tonight,
early to bed in King City...

Saturday, September 16, 2006

dispelling the big bad mood

It's strange. Yesterday I was ready to resign in a huff
(which I'd never do, but it's nice to visualize it) and
today I had a relatively OK day at work. A minor issue
(we never say "problem" in the business world) with a
man who was drunk and belligerent, but then he tried
to take the up escalator down and I felt vindicated.
Anyway, somewhere along the way my attitude
switched from mean witch-bitch to warm and loving
(for me) and I'm SO much better that I had to try to
figure out why the change?

I decided it's because I started writing about my friend
Irving who died last week. Not beautiful writing like my
Tiapos friends, just "I want to remember this about him:
the bad, the unusual and the wonderful". And I think
this is helping me immensely. I have a bunch of letters
here from him and I will include some of his words in my
essay. And I will blow up a photo from two years ago, he
is wearing a red knit was only 98º out that day.

Writing eases pain, but we all know that...

Friday, September 15, 2006

two more days

I am seriously packed up for my annual trip to Santa
Barbara. This year I am
not taking the train (see July
travel notes), so I am driving and I will stay Sunday
night in glamorous King City, then head south in the
early Monday morning hours. It's a wonderful test for
me ~ being on my own, visiting with friends and
catching up on my reading. Santa Barbara is extremely
mellow compared to my life here in SF and that's just
what I need about now. I'm a bit tired of work and right
on the edge of saying something snappish to show how ultra
smart and clever I am. That's always dangerous....

Thursday, September 14, 2006

the fucking reaper

I heard that an old friend of mine died yesterday. I've
known him for almost 20 years and I miss him already.
He was 87, lived a good life ~ blah, blah. But I still won't
hear from him anymore or laugh at his jokes nor listen
to his wise counsel. He moved to Florida about 4 years
ago and I did my grieving then because I knew I wouldn't
really ever see him again. He didn't have email and his
phone skills were almost as bad as mine. When I wrote a
mutual friend, the above headline was his response. Fitting.

Then today, Ann Richards. Very sad. What a woman. It's
an emptier place on earth today.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

why I love frisco (reason #445)

new paint
Originally uploaded by the omster.
This was a nondescript apartment building at Alabama and Cesar Chavez. Instead of painting it beige or grey, we now have this delightful mixture of bright colors. Now I ask you, would you see this in Wichita? Now I answer you, nope. I've decided that even if I'm not always 100% in favor of the color choices, I'm just so pleased that we have this visual feast. And speaking of our city, the Blogmaid took her daughter to swimming lessons in SF yesterday and she wrote me a wonderful description of the two gay dads playing in the pool with their child. Now I ask you, would that happen in Wichita? (Well, maybe, I hope so anyway.)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

the robins at rest for now

Yesterday was the last time I had to do the daily 10 minute
write for the Round Robin class. It is a great relief now because
I was running out of steam, words and patience. I get into
that, "who do I think I'm kidding?" kind of mood and pretty
much dislike everything that I type. And I mean type, not
write. Anyway, I'll be skipping the next round because I want
to take an Italian class in October.

What happens, however, is that I start missing the prompts,
the partners and the routine. Probably next week I'll be
feeling less creative, sort of wishy washy and empty. Of
course I don't push myself to write when I don't have to.
Let me remind you that my friend Jane's classes are about
the best you'll ever find if you want to write. The Round
Robin is mostly online, a marvelous invention of the Salon
Mistress, but there are many classes to chose from:
The Writing Salon :: Welcome

Monday, September 11, 2006

everything perfect, except the game...

how could we forget?
Originally uploaded by the omster.
We had a terrific time last night at the Jewell. Isn't this a tasteful 9/11 memorial? The names of the victims are printed on those big sheets of many colors. It was quiet there by the Willie Mayes statue as people gathered to meet their friends and locate their tickets. Beautiful weather and yummy polish suasage dogs ~ too bad the game itself wasn't very enjoyable. Our seats were in Row 21 very near 3rd base. (My favorite place to sit since our old Candlestick days.) I was impressed that Barry played so long and so hard and there's a new rookie pinch hitting named Freddy Lewis and he is impressive indeed. I learned to love baseball at The Stick, so the Jewell still seems a little crowded and small to me, but I know I'm in the minority. And good grief ~ about 433 more logos than the last time we attended a home game, or so it seems. But we had a wonderful evening, especially with the free good karma parking space on 4th Street and the expensive seats that TGP gave us. Thanks again!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

short shrift sunday

I'm in a rush because the most generous Great Plotnik
has given us tickets for tonight's Giants vs. Padres game
at the Jewell. It's a 5pm start so that means it must be
an ESPN game and it also means that I need to rush about
a bit right now and when I get home from work at 3pm.
These Giants might be taking us into heartbreak territory,
but who can resist? Climb on board, wear the orange and
stock-up on Kleenex®....

Saturday, September 09, 2006

not worth a thousand words

pesto perfection
Originally uploaded by the omster.
This isn't such an attractive photo, but many people are eager to hear how the "maybe too much garlic" pesto turned out. It was THE BEST! We sprinkled lots of parmesan and pine nuts on the individual servings and then had about 6 servings left over to freeze. I'm not sure about that because I wasn't in the kitchen much last night. I did make sleepy time tea after the baseball game (we won!) and now I pack my lunch and head downtown. I might breathe some garlic on customers who get too close...

Friday, September 08, 2006

the link to maj Reviews for The Laughing Policeman (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard): Books: Maj Sjowall,Per Wahloo

there will be no escape

My friend Mary in Bisbee,AZ, sent me this long and wonderful quote from Maj Sjowall.
I have been doing a lot of writing and complaining lately about the approaching holidays. Our mutual friend Irving always said, "Christmas has me by the throat".
I'm not there yet, but Costco did have lots of holiday shit out on Wednesday, Sept. 6th. I am not kidding. I don't know this author, but I will link him later ~ this passage describes Christmas in Sweden.

"Even the spate of useless tips from the general public has begun to dry up.
The consumer society and its harrassed citizens had other things to think of. Although it was over a month to Christmas, the advertising orgy had begun and the buying hysteria spread as ruthlessly as the Black Death along the festooned shopping streets. The epidemic swept all before it and there was no escape. It ate its way into houses and apartments, poisoning and breaking down everything and everyone in its path. Children were already howling from exhaustion and fathers of families were plunged into debt until their next vacation. The gigantic legalized confidence trick claimed victims everywhere. The hospitals already had a boom in cardiac infarctions, nervous breakdowns and burst stomach ulcers.
The police station downtown had frequent visits from the outriders of the great family festival, in the shape of Santa Clauses who were dragged blind drunk out of doorways and public urinals. At Mariatorget, two exhausted patrolmen dropped a drunken Father Christmas in the gutter when they tried to get him into a taxi. During the ensuing uproar the two policemen were hard pressed by screaming children and foul-mouthed boozers."

Thursday, September 07, 2006

green gold

basil = pesto!
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Husbando and I used to make a batch of pesto every August, but in recent years we started buying it at Trader Joe's. It isn't nearly as tasty, so today while we were walking out on foggy Clement, we found some in a little grocery store and bought 8 bunches, along with some parsely and garlic. We worked together (rare because we are both control freaks in the kitchen) and produced 6 servings. We might have put in a wee bit too much garlic, but that will keep the evil spirits away. If you plan to make a batch yourself, add lots of olive oil to the basil, parsely and garlic while you mush it up in your Cuisinart®. The hardest part of the operation is cleaning the basil, but these bunches were unusually clean and only $1.39 per. We'll test it tomorrow night for dinner.

We started the day at "The Monet" and breezed through since we don't do water lillies. It was a pleasure to see some of those paintings without 300 people in front of us.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

always looking for answers...

A friend sent me this to help me keep things in perspective.'s one of the best.
Dance, Monkeys, Dance - Flash animation

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

world weary

A 3-day holiday weekend in retail is about 3 days too many.
But it's over and I have two days off to relax and catch
my breath. The good news is that the tourists have spent
all their vacation money and then some, so we can now
actually walk up and down Powell Street without being
forced off the sidewalk. I love the ones who walk 4 in a
row, especially if they are the hefty types from Germany
or the Midwest. The sun is shining and Husbando plans
to BBQ hamburgers and I'm going to Santa Barbara in
a couple of weeks so everything is hunky dory. Dorry?

Monday, September 04, 2006

brief reviews from a tired worker blogger

Thank goodness I'm reading so much again. Sometimes I'll
go for what seems like a long time without getting lost
in a book.  I finished
The Poe Shadow (okay, not great)
Water for Elephants (excellent!) and today I brought
home this novel that has had so many magnificent reviews.
Powell's Books - Suite Francaise: A Novel by Irene Nemirovsky
This is the work by the woman who died in Auschwitz ~ 64
years later her daughters published this "singularly piercing
evocation...of life and death in occupied France."

Sunday, September 03, 2006

an american tragedy (not over)

We finally finished watching the Spike Lee movie and I
feel wiped out and wretched. Of course I forgot that the
Insurance companies would be spending all their energy
trying to figure out how NOT to pay all those claims.
If our government doesn't finish you off, big business
will ~ except for the damn human spirit and the truly
inspirational music. I loved that part. I've been having
nightmares since we started watching this, but I live
in paradise and a few bad dreams are nothing. Oh,
yes, now the speculators and developers have arrived
and gentrification has begun in the 9th Ward. Very sad.
HBO: When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts

Saturday, September 02, 2006

O silent majority

Speak Out
And a vast paranoia sweeps across the land
And America turns the attack on its Twin Towers
Into the beginning of the Third World War
The war with the Third World

And the terrorists in Washington
Are drafting all the young men

And no one speaks

And they are rousting out
All the ones with turbans
And they are flushing out
All the strange immigrants

And they are shipping all the young men
To the killing fields again

And no one speaks

And when they come to round up
All the great writers and poets and painters
The National Endowment of the Arts of Complacency
Will not speak

While all the young men
Will be killing all the young men
In the killing fields again

So now is the time for you to speak
All you lovers of liberty
All you lovers of the pursuit of happiness
All you lovers and sleepers
Deep in your private dreams

Now is the time for you to speak
O silent majority
Before they come for you

-- Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Poets Against War

This poem is hanging in my messy office here at home.
I snipped it from the Chronny when the war first began
and here we are, STILL in Iraq. What have I done to stop
this insanity? Nothing. Maybe a few pathetic words in
the blog, but that's about it. Shame on me.

Friday, September 01, 2006

thank you molly ivins!

This is Molly Ivins ~ isn't she wonderful? From yesterday's Chronny...

AUSTIN -- I know it's bad form to brag, but I am now a "graduate" of Texas A&M University, and you can't stop Aggie pride. I became a diplomee of the great institution in College Station after successfully completing the three-day short course in beef cattle this summer. I specialized in forage management and graduated Quel fromage!, meaning avec distinction.

The most amazing part of cow college was meeting the cow whisperer.

Think of everything you know about moving cattle from one place to another -- for shots, round-up or loading into trucks for market, just physically moving a lot of cattle. GEE, GIT ON, GO DOGIE, whistle, whip crack, move 'em out, chase 'em down. Turns out that all these years we've been doing it wrong.

What happens when you scare a cow by making a lot of noise and chasing it down and forcing it to move where it doesn't want to go is that the cow responds by relieving itself. And since a cow has several stomachs, it can unload up to 20 percent of its total weight at one go -- the last thing you want just before you take it to market to sell.

So the latest thing in cattle handling is cow whispering. (I'm not making this up -- this is straight from A&M.) Either on foot or horseback, you just kind of sidle around your herd without upsetting them, talk to them gently and suggest they might like to go that way for a while, and then perhaps a tour along the pen line, and then perhaps some consideration of the gate and another little tour of the pen line.

But all of this is done without loud noise, sudden movements or eruptions of testosterone. It's such a revolutionary development of an American macho tradition that it's a little like watching NFL teams come onto the field in tutus. But it also works a lot better on the cows.

I bring this up because I recently attended a women's peace movement meeting, sponsored by the Code Pink group founded by Medea Benjamin, Jodie Evans and Diane Wilson. The female peacemakers also included Cindy Sheehan, writer Anne Lamott and Col. Ann Wright, who served 29 years in the Army and more than 15 years in the Foreign Service before resigning in protest over President Bush's drive to war in Iraq.

I must say, they were a lot more emphatic than the cow whisperer. In fact, as I left, they were saddling up to ride down to Bush at his ranch with a people's posse peace warrant. Lots of whooping about it.

Female peace activists, as a rule, have totally solved the gnarly old dilemma: What do you do about hating the haters? If you're a female peace activist, this is Step 101 -- you spill love and calm and reassurance and, well, peace all over them.

For those of us who have not mastered this advanced technique, a Revolution in Favor of Kindness and Libraries seems like a nice idea.

Lamott, one of the funniest people in America, has developed a scenario for a Revolution With Good Manners, in which we are all extremely Nice to one another. Good manners never hurt anything. "Our Revolution decrees that we will fight tooth and nail for these things, politely."

War is about rounding up people with Shock and Awe and really loud noises, and about thinking you can herd them by hurting and killing them. Politics is what you do if you're not so stupid that you walk into an unnecessary and unprovoked war.

I'm founding Cow Whisperers Against the War.