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 b.day 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.

Amazon.com: 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.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

heavenly hurt it gave me

Thank you, Mary, for suggesting this poem when I was doing
battle with the blues a few days ago.  Emily knew...

There's A Certain Slant Of Light

There's a certain slant of light,
On winter afternoons
That oppresses, like the weight
Of cathedral tunes.

Heavenly hurt it gives us;
We can find no scar,
But internal difference
Where the meanings, are.

None may teach it anything,
'T is the seal, despair,
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the air.

When it comes, the landscape listens,
Shadows hold their breath;
When it goes, 't is like the distance
On the look of death.

Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

a rewarding little lunch break

Yesterday I hopped down to 49 Geary Street to check out
the Richard Avedon photo collection at the Fraenkel
Gallery. A small group of some impressive photographs by
Diane Arbus, Irving Penn and Henri Cartier-Bresson. It's
times like this when I really appreciate working downtown
and I vow to venture out and away from my desk more
often. And NOT just into another retail store! (I had
trouble opening this web site, but maybe that's because
it is so early for the rest of the world.)
Click Here: Check out "Fraenkel Gallery"

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

ah yes, the hills...

fog burns off!
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Here is the view from the 7th floor of our reknowned General Hospital. I know enough that it doesn't help the poor patients in the psych. ward here, but at least the staff members and visitors get to enjoy this visual treat. The fog on land and in my mind/heart burned off yesterday before noon and I feel calm this morning. Vigorous walking often does the trick and I need to remember that.

Monday, October 16, 2006

fighting with fire

Winter is upon us. Time passes too quickly and we are
bogged down in our idiotic work worlds and there is gloomy
sadness in the air. "Depression attaches itself to whatever
is handy", a shrink friend told me. This morning, when I
should be sleeping in, I am doing my best to wrestle the
demons ~ here are a few of my time tested methods:

1) purple and blue flowers on the dining room table
2) fresh, hot, dark, deep French Roast coffee
3) big/fat pumpkin spiced candle burning next to me
4) a roaring fire in the fireplace ~ the first of the season!
5) some Verdi playing loudly later in the day
6) a walk to General Hospital to give the psych ward 2 bags
    of fresh magazines, 1/2 in Spanish ~ freebies to us from
    when we had the business 12 years ago. Tenacious.
7) stop for a nonfat latte and watch people & their electronics
8) I will read some poetry - maybe CK Williams or Maxine Kumin
9) writing friends and emphasizing the positive: good health,
    enough money, feeling safe and close to a few individuals.
    I have so much more than most people on this earth...but
    I'll be honest too re the melancholia of this mid-October.

These split days off don't work for me ~ some like them, but
I can't really relax and get back to being me until the second
day. Only another week of this.

Thanks for listening, I feel better already.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

she likes us!

Just published ~ Amy Sedaris has a hot new book.
I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence and it's
going to be a very big seller. She will be on Jon
Stewart's program this week, according to the web site.
The book appears to be a legitimate how-to-entertain book,
with all sorts of whacky Amy comments, some
unusual recipes and wonderful art work.

Click Here: Check out "Amy Sedaris Rocks"

for your convenience...

Click Here: Check out "Brian Gross Fine Art: Artists: Robert Arneson"

Saturday, October 14, 2006

the genius of robert arneson

minuteman 1983
Originally uploaded by the omster.
We both admire Robert Arneson ~ remember when he did the Moscone piece? So much controversy. If you look closely you can see the missile embedded in the charred cross. The horribly disfigured head speaks to the atrocities of war, it is not easy to look at, but beautiful in its way. This is new (to us) in the sculpture garden behind the de Young.

Friday, October 13, 2006

three links for the post below

Click Here: Check out "de Young Exhibitions"
(Chicano Exhibit)

The Quilts of Gees Bend


a multi-cultural kind of day

two great exhibits
Originally uploaded by the omster.
We started out at Costco and ended up in Gee's Bend. My friend #88 works at the de Young and he said that a customer asked him where the Bee Gee quilts were, so of course I kept wanting to say that (and not to be cute), it's just all I could think about, you know how that goes. Anyway, let's skip Costco, except to say that the blueberry season is over. Drat. This fabulous Chicano exhibit is over in a few days so please do yourself a favor and see it! The bold, no apology colors simply blew me away and I remembered when my friend Ginger first moved to S.F. and she would drive up and down Mission Street (no easy task even 20 years ago) just so she could enjoy the experience. This is so much better than I expected, and I had heard only good things about the many paintings owned by Cheech Marin and others. It's a 15 city (I think) tour and we are so lucky that it's here. I loved the whole Gee's Bend exhibit, but Husbando has low quilt tolerance, so I'll go back by myself one day soon, I hope. The de Young is now a year old ~ I don't know when Costco came to our city.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

is this a first?

I'm going to our writing group tonight without anything
to read. Usually I can pull something out of msBook, but
I decided that I'm just going to listen and enjoy the
work of my fellow writers. This has been a strange week,
off on Wednesday and Friday and then next week on
Monday and Friday. I'm the sort of woman who needs a
little more order (it calms, as we learned from the Amish)
and of course I need two days off in a row. But since I
preach the gospel of adaptation to the staff, I'd better
practice it myself here for a couple of weeks. Will do.

However I sent a begging little email to Bossman saying
I need 3 days in a row before the happy holidays. I'd like
to take Husbando to Mendocino...my favorite spot on earth.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

the bad reporter = very good time

asmussen @ borders
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Here is the promised photo and a few more details. First, the staff at Borders helped me (as always) to set up the pesky movie screen, locate and plug in assorted cords and plugs and talk up the event to customers. We couldn't turn off the overhead lights, but that all seemed to work out just fine and wasn't worth all my excess worry. Don answered many questions after the delightfully funny slide show and customers stopped me afterwards to thank us for hosting him. I forgot to have him sign the remaining books, so I'll email him tomorrow and ask him to do so. He admits that he gets many emails after one of his strips ~ not all of them complimentary. Surprise. Even I, worried host, enjoyed myself totally. So buy his "Dog vs. Cat" book ($10.95), it's full of little treasures.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I'll add a photo in the morning, but suffice it to say that
Don was terrific and we had a great turnout (maybe 50
people) and sold some books, too. So that was a relief,
because one never knows with these events. We could
have had 3 or 300. I was grateful to see my Tiapos friends
there to support me and have a laugh or two. One woman
said she read my blog after typing in "Asmussen"...she
complimented me on commano, so of course I liked her

Monday, October 09, 2006

grown-up comedy

Tonight we Flixd® Thank You For Smoking and I would
give it 2, maybe 3 butts. It wasn't laugh out loud funny,
to me, but certainly worth your time, especially between
baseball games these next two weeks.
Thank You for Smoking (2005)

Tomorrow night is the Don Asmussen event and I'm just
a little nervous. 7pm Borders Union Square. Should be fun!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

plain and simple

About 10 years ago someone gave me this little journal
by Sue Bender. It features colorful quilts along with very soft
and gentle 3 to 4 lines of verse to contemplate quietly.
Ms. Bender lived with the Amish to learn about their quilts,
but of course there she found the courage to change her
busy life and leave room for the unexpected. Her book
is 151 pages and took her 5 years to write.
Plain and
is the title of both her book and my still empty
journal. I turn to it during times of unrest. My work life is
ruling my real life lately, and I don't like that one bit.

Here, from the journal ~ and just in time:

Sometimes we confuse what we do with who we are.

Lists engulf us ~ creating the illusion that our lives are full.

To simplify we have to say no.

The ordinary can be extraordinary.

Order calms.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

two wives = double trouble

After work we went to the San Francisco Playhouse up
on Sutter to see Miller's
The Ride Down Mount Morgan
which was first produced in London in 1991, and even
though it is a comedy, it is still Arthur Miller, so there
is plenty of top notch drama here. There was some
fussing around with the seats and first-afternoon type
pre-play confusion, but after the lights went out, the
audience quickly settled down and enjoyed the performance.

The hero neglects to divorce his first wife who is surprised
to meet his other wife after he endures a nasty car accident.
(Yes, it's been done before, but it's still effective as a plot,
probably not as a way of life.)

My ever generous company provides me with free downtown
parking on Saturday, so we like to take advantage of this
treat whenever we can. We have season tickets to the SF
Playhouse this year ~ very reasonable, by the way!

(The Great Plotnik will also review this play because he and
his Ducknik also enjoyed this play earlier in week.)

The Playhouse Theatre

Friday, October 06, 2006

taking the J train

I explored a little tonight on the way home ~ took the F
street car, then the J car up to Cesar Chavez. Stopped
to talk with my friend Ken at Books, Inc. on Market
Street. But, get to the point. Riding along up Church Street
there is this magnificent view of the City. There were
some tourists from Great Britain on the car and the
woman tapped her husband on the shoulder and said
"Look mate!" as they both admired our glorious city,
which wasn't at her best what with the grey weather.
Everyone near them on the J car smiled and forgot their
promblems for just a moment there...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

three kleenex®

OK, I know it's predictable and definitely a feel-good kind
of movie, but I loved Akeelah. I even shushed Husbando when
he tried to make "guess what's going to happen next?" kind
of comments which usually elicit like responses from me. The
little girl is terrific. To my surprise it was produced by Starbux,
the coffee company ~ perhaps you've heard of them?
Interesting tid bit here: the sound track is a relatively top
seller at our store.
(Nice to see so many plays and movies about words recently!)
Click Here: Check out "Netflix: Akeelah and the Bee"

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

a little space, a little freedom

Like a bird on the wire,
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.

I have worn out the Leonard Cohen CD that Dancing Jen
gave me a few years back. I am a devoted Cohen fan. I
remember a Tiapos meeting in Sausalito when The Great
Plotnik spotted a bird on a wire ~ he had memorized this
entire poem/song! And he's a Dodger fan, imagine.

But I have a point here. Or I'll try to build one. I was
working in my home office this morning and listening to
Leonard. I know this makes me sound shallow and self
absorbed, but one of the happiest times in my life was when
we decided to build me a little room all of my own in our
garage. We know I crave alone time and privacy and this
5' x 7' (approx.) office has served me well over the years.

So I was noodling around down there today, listening to
Leonard, using my old msMac instead of msBook, thinking
about freedom and how I still love my office. I remember
when our big clown of an Irish Setter would wind himself
around my feet, pulling out various plugs before he finally
sighed and settled down. The cats too considered this
cluttered space a little slice of heaven, mostly because it
was forbidden due to car tires and instant death fears.
Cats love keyboards with moving fingers on them...

Realistically, there isn't a lot of freedom for people who
have to work for the man. It's not like we can take off
and travel or write for 12 hours a day (yikes, who could?)
and when someone has been married for eons, we tend to
think in "we" terms. Nothing wrong with that, but it can
be a struggle sometimes to find the space and time to
think in the "me" way.

I have tried in my way to be free. (Jane would suggest that
I lose this corny last line, and she would be right as usual)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

back under the dome

I wasn't going to write tonight, but I had an email from my
friend Mary saying that she reads commano every day, so
I thought, "oh, what the heck", just keep typing.

Today I met Husbando at the new mall and we had lunch
down in the basement. It was early (11am) and by noon
every table was in use! We just had Korean noodle soup
and of course we could have walked about 5 blocks further
for better food at less money. And no free water, I hate that!

He had walked around before we met and pronounced the
whole thing "too L.A." and in truth there are many stores
catering to the very thin 18 year olds with lots of strange
ruffles and layers ~ the clothes, not the girls. So when we
parted he said he was going to Mitchell's to get a gallon of
pumpkin ice cream and, in fact, I'm going to serve it now.

Two days off coming up ~ I'm more than ready for them.

Monday, October 02, 2006

want to meet the big bad reporter?

I'm too tired to write tonight, so I will try to encourage
you to attend a fun event I'm hosting next Tuesday night,
October 10th. About 10 years ago I worked with Don's wife,
so I felt comfortable inviting him to the store.

Bad Reporter - Friday, September 29, 2006

Tuesday, Oct. 10
Borders Union Square
Don Asmussen
to discuss and sign his new book
Dog Vs. Cat

I understand that he has a hilarious slide show
presentation and I'm look forward to this event.
Join us!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

see you at spring training!

OK, let's talk baseball for a moment. You can sashay on
out of here Mistress NoPlot.com.

The Snowglobe queen (Sal) emails us that it's only 138 days
until the pitchers and catchers report. Husbando always
compares baseball to life: you can plan ahead, do everything
right, practice until your body explodes and then something
unexpected happens and kaboom! you lose the game. The
best example of course is Steve Bartman (poor guy) and the
Chicago Cubs. And yet, despite all of this, there is always
hope. Again, pretty much like life. So we say good-bye to the
Giants until Spring and look forward to the playoffs which
to me are a lot easier to watch without investing all of my
emotions in the home team.

Because of The Great Plotnik and his shrine, I'm hoping that
the Dodgers can at least beat the Mets. I understand this
all starts on Wednesday and maybe I'll even wear something
blue for a few days to show my support for Dodger Doug.
I hope the A's do well too, but I'm not a fan of the American
League with their sissy pitchers who can't hit, it's pretty
boring until the final game when they play the National League.