Thursday, May 31, 2007

mornings at six

Glorious solo walk along the bluffs early this morning ~ with camera
and without makeup. I love that.

The Mendocino Travelers Guide (note lack of any apostrophe!) has an article entitled Pet Friendly Travel Comes
To Mendocino which I'm bringing home to Livvy B. Goode.

You already know that Mendo is famous for these water towers, but
another photo never hurts. Here is our MacCallum House which does
resemble the dreaded B&B, but you'll be happy to learn that the
only person we've talked to was a guest who thought I was the
hostess at breakfast this morning. She knows better now. We had
dinner here last night in front of a roaring fire and then tried
to walk off all that heavy food. Slept well!

The ocean was quiet this morning, too beautiful. Moody's is open
at 6am for an excellent latte. The other photo is from the
bluffs, looking back at the quaint town. Husbando has yet to
set foot inside any of these little stores, except the bookstore,
of course. I'm not much better except when we are with Ginger
(Kansas variety) who tends to hiss "Precious!" in my ear when
the two of us venture into one of these shoppes.

Our goal today? The Mendocino Arts Center and a few more walks.
Ken the Toyota will rest all day.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

all around beauty in Mendocino!

I just want to quickly check in because some folks might
have worried about my S-L-O-W driving, but everything is
perfect and there was an amusing moment when someone actually
pulled over for ME on one of the winding roads to Philo. We
stopped for an outdoor wich in Booneville and were amazed to
see that this whole area (Highway 128) is mostly chi chi little
wineries now. What the?

They upgraded our room here at the McCallum (photo a domani) ~
but that was before they saw us lugging in all the Trader Joe's
"luggage". It is a little grey, but not cold and very, very quiet.
I will send more news with photos of the bluffs, the ocean and
this absolutely perfect little town. Already visited the bookstore
and complimented the owner on her displays, etc.

This photo is of an amazing private garden here and there is a bench
outside with a sign saying, "please don't sit here and talk on your cell phone".

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

and they went to sea in a sieve

This is the book that the big box loaned me for Husbando to
take to Mendocino tomorrow. The Yiddish Policemen's Union has had some great reviews and I read that 600 people
attended a book signing that Chabon had in a rival big box in NYC.
Isn't the cover terrific? It's about a detective in Sitka whose
life is a mess due to divorce and drink ~ all written in a 1940s
noir style. I ordered a freebie copy from the publisher, so others
will also be able to read it. (Yes, TGP, that means YOU.)

Today is a lazy day of one doc appointment for Husbando, one long
nap for me and some catch-up tasks which include weeding the garden
some more and watching last night's episode of The Riches. Very
smooth closing of my own after-holiday messy big box 4-story store last night.

Today's headline quote is by Edward Lear and appears on the preface
page of the Yiddish cop book. Great, no?

Monday, May 28, 2007

goodbye two stupid whales

Originally uploaded by pikester
I found this photo on flickr® and it illustrates my daily write of yesterday when I bitched about how this non-event has captured the headlines (local and national) for the past several weeks. How many dollars, how many hours of people power did we spend on these big gray wayward blobs? I mean I love animals and fish and every weed in my garden, but shouldn't we be concentrating a little more of those poor-whale brain cells on how to extricate ourselves from the Bush Mess in Iraq/Iran/You Name It?

As it turns out, the whales will return to sea (today, I hope) when they are good and ready. Sort of like nature intended. I like what the guy on radio said, "let's face it ~ bad things happen to good whales". But the whole episode did cause some amusement because instead of "good morning" or "what time did you get up this morning?", Husbando greets me each day with, "what about the whales?" It's nice that I had the good sense to marry someone as cynical as I am.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

geishas & tsunamis, music & lyrics

Originally uploaded by the omster
This is the book I am currently reading and will take with me on our trip. It is about the growing women's movement in Japan. Odd, one of the countries that needed it most is one of the last to be revolutionized. Interesting to note too, that the author is a black woman, a journalist who lived in Tokyo at one time in her life.

Last night we enjoyed "Music & Lyrics" ~ fun froth and always so great to be back in NYC.

I will also travel with some light fiction and don't forget a book of poetry. Or two.

My Saturday work day was actually quite pleasant. For our out-of-town readers I will use the Blogmaid's clever description (she who staged the black jacket photo!) that "we were hit by a fog tsunami". I feel sorry for all the folks with 3-day weekends, but at least the tourists can go home with stories about how cold and grey it is in Frisco in May.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

black jacket on red sofa

OK, here it is. What's amazing about this jacket (other than
the price) is that it is completely and 100% reversible. A
very sleek leather on one side, and the softer than a Stowe Lake
duckling on the other. The leather feels like I have owned it
forever, you know the way an old flannel shirt feels? I will
admit that I am exceedingly pleased with myself when I wear
this. Bordering on smug, actually.

Friday, May 25, 2007

another shopping bag in our hallway!

Originally uploaded by Adam R. Paul
Next Wednesday we are taking a quick 2-nighter and we will head up to the most perfect spot on earth. I get an extra personal day for working Memorial Day (closing again) and it has been way too long since we have been to Mendocino.

THE VISIT was a huge success yesterday and everyone should be happy until the next one. Then we scramble again.

Yes, I am taking my camera and msBook to Mendo. I borrowed this photo from a generous person on flickr®. (So far the only thing in the Trader Joe's bag in the hallway is my blue sweatsuit ~ since we are driving, it will be one of many.)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

baby ducks, baby geese, big Icees®

There were several families of baby ducks (one with two
fathers ~ so San Francisco!) yesterday at Stowe Lake in
Golden Gate Park. One family of geese and lots of young
and old folks walking, sitting and enjoying the sunshine.
It was an extremely pleasant outing and always a joy to be
with the Blogmaid and RR, pictured here with their Icees.
(Yes, I had one too ~ a very sweet concoction). Neti is
always a happy addition and she would not appreciate a photo
of herself, so I left that out. Husbando fixed us cheese wiches
for lunch and the Blogmaid helped me with an OK photo of the
expensive black leather jacket, so hold your Euros, I will show
that to you over the weekend when I'm too tired to write anything
of substance.

Speaking of substance, the game last night was a good one,
despite too many shots of Condoleezza Rice. I did remark to
Husbando that she probably was a decent person who hooked up
with the wrong band of evil doers. What do you think she and
Willie Mays talked about for so long?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

truncated weekend

Here we have Ginger and Boise drinking their $40 (each) gin and
tonics along the Grand Canal. What a wonderful day that was.
I have emails here from both of them ~ yeah! I'll answer today.

I am using the T word above (in the headline) because Husbando
accuses me of using it too often and I have to rinse my mouth
out with green tea when I slip and say it at home. I just can't
seem to help myself...

Tomorrow some corporate hot shots arrive to walk around the big
box with their hands behind their backs. It cuts right into the
heart of my weekend, but do you hear me complaining?

Today will be delightful however. First yoga, then cheese wiches
here with the Blogmaid and RR (on her 3.5!) and then we
are meeting Neti at Stowe Lake in GGPark to see the fluffy new duckies
and walk off our cares and woes. Tonight ~ catch up with The Riches
and a little baseball before Jon Stewart.

It is a spectacular sunrise. I tried to take a photo, but you
know they never really show the intense beauty of the moment.
Today will be clear and warm and unFrisco-like.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

credit card bills finally arrive!

OK, I do believe that I saved enough money to pay them BOTH
off this month. The process would be easier if it hadn't been
for that unphotographed jacket, but what the hey.

I only work 10 to 5 today because I get to go back in on Thursday
afternoon for a fun little corporate visit. The closing was smooth.

Aren't these gondolas pretty? I miss Italy, but you know that.

Monday, May 21, 2007

they used to say this about women bus drivers

I'm indebted again to the 7 Week Warrior for this article from the NYTimes. And no, we did not see this brave woman.

VENICE — For more than a thousand years, Venice has had gondolas but never a female gondolier. But now there is Alexandra Hai.

As Alexandra Hai plies the canals, many people shout encouragement. She won the right to run a hotel gondola but not to be called a gondolier.

After a decade of struggle, Ms. Hai has won the right to be a gondolier — sort of. A court recently allowed her to paddle around the canals of Venice, but only for the residents of one of the city’s hotels.

“Brava Gondoliera! Brava!” a man shouted from his third-story balcony on the Rio de la Veste canal as Ms. Hai paddled by on a recent day, shepherding a couple from Utah on their honeymoon. The man on the balcony, clenching a glass of Champagne, beckoned his friends to take a look as Ms. Hai’s boat and passengers slipped by.

“What elegance!” a woman shouted moments later. Wherever she paddles, eyes and cameras follow.

What does not flow in her wake is popularity among the 425 gondoliers of Venice, who practice a traditional, all-male craft, and who often hand down their jobs from father to son. In fact, the gondoliers are just a little fed up with her.

Roberto Luppi, president of the gondoliers’ association here, said that Ms. Hai, a 40-year-old of German and Algerian descent, had been proven incapable of the complicated duties of handling a 35-foot-long gondola, having failed four tests, and that she used the fact that she is a woman to whip up interest in the news media.

When asked about Ms. Hai’s accusations that gondoliers had physically threatened her, he reacted with scorn. “After a person accuses gondoliers of being racists and sexists, what does she expect?” he said. “That they are supposed to give her kisses?”

The dispute is playing out in a graceful, decaying, threatened city that resists change and survives on tourism.

In the past half-century, Venice has experienced an exodus of residents. Its population, which stood at 184,000 in 1950, is now a third of that. Recurring flooding and rising tides have left many palazzos decrepit and uninhabitable. At night parts of the historical center are as deserted as an abandoned movie set.

“Venice is an incredible, fragile city,” said Anna Somers Cocks, the chairwoman of the Venice in Peril Fund, a British organization dedicated to protecting Venice from flooding. In her experience, she said, the city hews to the preservation of its cultural past at the expense of adaptation and rational city planning. “It matters terribly if you can’t introduce a new idea to help run the city,” she said.

A pioneering forerunner to Ms. Hai was Ljubica Gunj, who eight years ago became the first woman permitted to wait on customers at tables on St. Mark’s Square. “I think it is chauvinism,” she said of the opposition to Ms. Hai.

While Ms. Gunj tends tables at the Aurora Café, the Florian Café next door — in business since 1720 — lets women wait on tables only indoors, not on the piazza.

Ms. Hai is the center of a story that includes charges of sexism, reverse sexism, mastery of the waterways and bias against foreigners.

She contends that she has clearly been discriminated against. She says that the city of Venice and the gondoliers rigged the last three of the four failed tests against her. She says that she has been the target of insults and threats and that her boat has been repeatedly vandalized.

She also contends that the gondoliers’ association, despite warm overtures at the outset, never wanted a woman or a foreigner among their ranks. (She holds a German passport and has been here for 11 years.)

Ms. Hai rattled off her suspicions, which are provocative but unproven: that in one test, she was forced to use an oar that was as “light as a cigarette” and that in another, her route was littered by an unusually high number of moored motorboats. After the Locanda Art Deco hotel hired her privately, she was regularly pulled over by the police to make sure her passengers were from that hotel, she said.

She blames both the gondoliers’ association and city hall. “It is all connected in one way or another,” she said. Mr. Luppi sees it differently, saying, “She needs to look in the mirror and accept that she cannot drive.”

“We gave her two chances to pass the test every time,” he said. “We can no longer accept that she hides behind the fact that she is a woman and a foreigner.” The gondoliers note that many people fail the test each year.

To gondoliers, the job is fit only for a man, since it involves strength, ability to navigate currents and paddle in reverse, and even the aesthetics of the gondoliers of yore in their black-and-white striped shirts.

Mauro Morozini, a gondolier who is 48, said it is a question of skill and not her sex. “Let’s leave just one tradition intact,” he said. “Being a gondolier is a tradition and it is very difficult work.”

Ms. Hai is not much bothered by the thought that the gondoliers and city hall might appeal the court ruling allowing her to steer her gondola, Pegasus, down the city’s canals. “They can go to the pope,” she said. “I won’t stop them.”

Despite her marathon to win acceptance from the gondoliers, Ms. Hai says she is not exactly a fierce warrior. Indeed, she finds herself miscast for the role.

“There is nothing worse than to do something like this,” she said in a chat at a cafe in the Piazza St. Angelo, describing the decade she spent pressing for limited acceptance. “It is sad to waste my entire life like this. I would have preferred to do something more useful in life, like helping save the rain forests.”

Sunday, May 20, 2007

depressing losing streak ends today!

Thanks to the 7 Week Tonsil Warrior for providing me
with SOMETHING for the blog tonight: two more right-on
baseball truisms that you can read below. And apologies
to the Salon Mistress who doesn't know a damn thing
about any sport. Bear with me, I'll tell you some more
retail stories in the privacy of your own cottage.

I was able to listen to the game on the drive home from
work today and THE GIANTS WON! I know, 'tis a shocker.

From Mary McGrory, that most civilized of journalists
at the Washington Post:
Football is what we have become; baseball is who we were.

From Bill Veeck:
Baseball is almost the only orderly thing in a very
unorderly world. If you get three strikes, even the
best lawyer in the world can't get you off.

Always worth quoting, Yogi Berra:
Ninety percent of baseball is half mental.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

well, you have the tickets!

Tonight we are going over to Neti and Frank's for
dinner and even though there will be others there,
Frank will, at some point, turn on the baseball
game. Neti will not be pleased, but we fans will
convince her that "we just want to check the score"

Neti is so NOT a fan that once when the Giants
didn't go to the World Series (1997) and we had tickets,
(now framed and hanging in our hallway) she actually
thought we could go to Florida and see the Marlins
(who won) because we already had the tickets.

And yes, the Giants reluctantly returned our money.
Baseball comes with built-in disappointment and sorrow.

Friday, May 18, 2007

where did I toss that grocery list?

I discovered this book today and it made me smile. Lots of fun
misspellings on these lists found in the garbage. Of course
there is also a web site: Grocery Lists

Thursday, May 17, 2007

relax and get centered on thursday

Originally uploaded by the omster.
I met Dr. Maisel at the Writing Salon (my second home) and bought several copies of "A Writer"s San Francisco" which I wrote about here before. Beautiful little book that continues to be one of our best sellers at the big box. He is the one who came up with the breaking of the egg to get our creativity juices flowing, remember?

Eric is a prolific writer and I enjoy his weekly newsletter and we are having him back for yet another book signing at the big box on August 21st. Mark your calendars! (7pm)

He came up with this fabulous marketing tool to sell his "Ten Zen Seconds" book ~ a blog tour! So far about 30 people have signed up and most of them use an interview with Dr. Maisel, but of course I have to rebel and do it MY way. Think about it, if each blog has from 8 to 12 to 20 daily readers, wowza!

But back to this 10 Zen book. Eric provides a nice blend of Eastern and Western thought using 12 Incantations:
1) I Am Completely Stopping
2) I Expect Nothing
3) I Am Doing My Work
4) Trust My Resources
and more, including my fave: I Am Free of the Past

Sort of reminds me of the one I use when the work situation gets to be too much: SHOW UP, TELL THE TRUTH AND TRUST THE OUTCOME.

Anyway you can meet Dr. Maisel and buy his book:
It's a powerful book for only $12.95. Sourcebooks, Inc.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

we are all photographers now

palace from the air
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Well, that's my reasoning for "borrowing" this wonderful photo that I found online. It has very little to do with our day, but it is San Francisco and we do live here.

After my yoga class we parked free (of course) on McAllister and had healthy chopped salads at Calif. Pizza Kitchen, then went over to Veterans Building (401 Van Ness) to see the hungry i exhibition. Among the memories and surprises was an ad for Maya Angelou who used to be a performer (singer dancer!) back in the 50's. I didn't know that. Lots of Lenny Bruce, of course, as well as Nina Simone, Prof. Irwin Correy, Mort Sahl and, of course, Enrico Banducci. It's free and well worth seeing!

Then on the first floor at the SFAC (Arts Commission Gallery), the Breakthrough Amateur Photography show and the whole revolution of digital photography. Not just all of us taking photos, but the miraculous way we share them on Flickr® and through our blogs, etc. One especially wonderful photo of a dog climbing out of a swimming pool! So that is my rationale for using this photo that I found while searching for something about the hungry i. Don't ask...

(I forgot to mention that I saw one of our heroes, Sen. John Burton at lunch ~ I did not take his picture.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

reliving italy through netflix®

I'm too tired to type this morning after closing the big
box last night, so I need to mainline some coffee and try
to look professional for one more day of work.

Here is my easy way out of an actual post. Buy or rent
these movies about Venice:
. Death in Venice
. Wings of a Dove
. Dangerous Beauty
. Casanova
(the new one)

And Adriana said that Hannibal is worth seeing just for
the scenes of Florence, including the morbid mama's
glorious old pharmacy!

Other suggestions will be most welcome! Grazie. (yawn)

Monday, May 14, 2007

with fear in my heart

You have to see some of these photos, but I will admit that
I'm having trouble finding the words, any words, to describe
this completely magical city of Venice. So I won't try yet,
I'll just sputter and send you a photo every now and then.
I must go back ~ alone or with almost anyone. Here we see
just some canal with bridges...the city does not accommodate
baby strollers or people with any sort of disability. There
are no escalators (except in the Coin Dept. stores)and that is
one reason the population here is shrinking.

The other reasons? A lot of outside money comes into Venice for
the purpose of maintaining the crumbling buildings. That means
rules and regulations ~ stiff ones. It is a burden to own a
home here, we were led to understand. And the "high water" a
few times a year, that HAS to get old quickly. The first floors
of these buildings are mostly empty and when the Tonsil Warrior
was there in the winter, people were wearing garbage bags on
their feet. When a city (even ours) depends on the tourist
dollar, there is a payoff. Yes, lots of money comes in, but
there is congestion and facilities wear out quickly. Here, for
instance, the natives rarely pay the $5.00 cable car price.
In Venice, almost everything is exceedingly expensive, so
look for non-tourist spots when you visit...they do exist.

But, but ~ I want to tell you how beautiful it is and how v.
nice and warm the people are! So this is a start, not good
enough, but at least we are back in Venezia!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

citizen josh in progress

We first saw Josh Kornbluth back in the late 80's at a
tiny coffee house in the Mission. He was doing the open
mike thing, talking about being a secretarial temp in
a law firm ~ he was miserable and we loved him! Now
of course he has achieved fame with his monologues which
include Haiku Tunnel, Red Diaper Baby, Unplugged.

It was good to catch up with him today at the Magic with
his new show Citizen Josh. He is now married, has a son and lives in (where else?) Berkeley. I recommend
this if you are a fan, but the show could use a little editing
and it wasn't as funny as some of his other work. Maybe
because he isn't unhappy anymore? Or maybe because here he
talks about American Democracy...or what's left of it.
In fairness, this was only the 2nd time he has performed
this and I'm sure it will get better and better.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

nerds, jocks, bullies and guns

Every play we've seen this year at the SF Playhouse
just seems to be better than the previous one. This
afternoon was the powerful First Person Shooter
by Aaron Loeb. It doesn't sound inviting because it's
about a shooting in a high school and the video game (not
guns) is considered to be the culprit. The playwright is
actually a COO of one of San Francisco's fastest growing
video game developers. A cast of six fabulous actors and
some really interesting dramatic movement of chairs and tables.
We both loved this play and recommend it highly. Come back TGP
and do a professional review!

Friday, May 11, 2007

one toe in the Grand Canal

We just stepped outside of the train station here ~ our
first glimpse of Venice. I've remembered it a million
times in my mind's eye, but I'm so glad I have this photo.
Luminous, isn't it?

I've heard that the best time to arrive in Venice is at
night and the most exotic way is by boat, floating right
into the city. However, after about 3 hours on a train,
to stretch our legs and breathe the fresh air and see
THIS was quite the moment for me.

It might surprise you to learn that we teased our Ginger
without surcease because she has traveled to Italy many,
many time. I believe this was her 4th trip to Venice.
She would mention seeing something before and one of us
gentlewomen would say, "was that the time with Ernie?
or your mother? or Sheila?" I'm happy to report that she
was a good sport, did she have a choice?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

a life of luxury on Lido

Our Angel Adriana got us GREAT rates at this huge Westin
Hotel on Lido, about 20 minutes by boat from Venice. This
Island was not developed until 1905, when the Excelsior
Palace was built and it later became a hotel for the rich
and famous and us. ("Death in Venice" takes place down the
way at the Hotel Des Bains.) I'm glad we stayed here because
otherwise I never would have known about it, but when I
return to Venice, I want to be in the heart of the magical
city of no cars and many restaurants and shops and Venetians.

By the way, I am avoiding writing about Venice ~ it haunts
me with its beauty and I already know I won't do it justice,
even though I have some v. nice photos to share with you.

Ironically, one of our best dinners of the trip was here
on Lido at Valentino ~ sitting outside in the warm night
air ~ liver, grilled fish (no gram business) and, of
course, artichokes. Wonderful.

So let's talk about these bath huts here in front of the
hotel. They appear in all the old photos and they are
plain wood, about 6' by 11'. Our guide Corine and her
family rent one every summer. Guess the price. Between
$3,000 and $6,000 Euro a month! The most expensive huts are
the front row ones, of course. Families often rent them
with other families and they store all their beach stuff
inside and of we can visualize what a crowded, happy
social scene it becomes during the very hot summers in Venice.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

lost between the covers

I had great plans today to write lots of emails and
in my v. small mind I have outlined a graph or two
about the Isle of Lido. Instead I am engrossed in
this very funny mystery by Lisa Lutz. The Spellman
takes place in San Francisco
and our heroine (named Isabelle after The Great
Plotnik's grand dot)is a PI who used to be a petty
criminal when she was a rebellious teen. Here with her
friend Petra:
Our staple activity was what we called "the drive-by".
When lack of inspiration limited our nightly activities,
garbage night provided a backup plan. It was simple,
really: We'd sneak out of homes after midnight. Petra
would pick me up in her mom's 1978 Dodge Dart (which
Petra had stolen), and we'd sideswipe trash cans left
out for the garbage truck. It wasn't so much the rush
of destruction that appealed to me and Petra, but more
the narrow escapes.

We had a Special Knees class this morning in yoga. Two
of us bitch and moan about our sore knees so the teacher
avoided the squats and concentrated on other poses. I
felt like a million bucks (or Euros) after class.

A domani we'll discuss Lido.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

we love lucinda, we love words

My "other Ginger", who currently resides in Kansas,
gave me the CD Car Wheels On A Gravel Road a few years ago,
and I have been a Lucinda Williams fan ever since.
So of course I bought her newest West
the moment it came out. This particular song is
Michael's favorite, so I'll post it today. Her
father is a poet, she is a poet too.

I would rather suffer in sweet silent solitude
Deathly defiant from drowning out
Filthy sounds stumbling ugly and crude
Between the lips of your beautiful mouth

Deep down within me words move in phrases
Frozen and still ‘til they decide
To melt and drip over the pagers
Until that moment they live inside

My words enjoy the feel of the paper
Better than mingling with your consonants
Once they get going they never waver
And they slip in between your if, ands, and buts

When my words are hiding between the lines
Then I’m afraid they won’t hear me call
What if they fail me without a sign
What if they hardly surface at all

Screaming and throwing your weight around
My words choose knowledge over politics
You can’t kill my words, they know no bounds
My words are strong and they don’t make me sick

They still remain my only companion
Loyal and true to the very end
They’ll never ever completely abandon
Ever give up the paper and the pen

Album Lyrics: West [2007]

Williams Lucinda

Monday, May 07, 2007

len-see-come, the sopranos, the one suitcase

Well, the new pitcher had some good moments, but we
lost the game. Joe Morgan had trouble pronouncing
his name ~ too bad Notthat wasn't there to help him
as he helped me in yesterday's blog.

Oh, such a powerful and disturbing episode of those
Sopranos last night. I so enjoy not working on Monday
morning so I can stay up and watch, but then I have
nightmares, yet it is still worth it. I used to hate
going to work on Mondays when I hadn't watched and
everyone was discussing the plot and trying not to
tell me TOO much. Or throwing me off with made up
storyline twists. Grrrrrrrr.

A reader writes and suggests that I note what did
and didn't work in my much discussed packing list
for Italy. Turns out I did this on the l-o-n-g
flight home, so here are my notes:
.3 zip-lock bags of trail mix...excellent
.bring even more Euros (ha! $1000 won't do?)
.2 long scarves ~ perfect
.ugly pink backpack becomes 2nd suitcase for return
.threw in flip-flops at the last moment ~ yeah!
.blog was a good idea, but a pain
.walking sandals and New Balance®...enough
.3 pants (includes 2 jeans)...a-OK
.3 casual tops (2 black, one pinkish) worked
.4 camisoles just right
.lightweight sweat suit for in-room wear ~ yes
.one "dressy" top was more than enough
.adapter/converter/battery charger kept camera
in excellent working condition daily
.take more Sleepy Tea and more magic sleeping pills
.lightweight vest covers many sins
.lightweight black sweater ditto
.black tights a fine choice for breakfast in hotel
.4 pair of socks were enough
.laundry things (pins & rope & soap) essential
.used all the handi-wipes

Of course I would have preferred one of those huge
steamer trunks and someone to lug it for me. I did
observe an ugly American family of 4 in that posh
resort on Lido talking about their 27 suitcases.
Yes, I glared at them, never fear.
(good thing I don't have to use commas here because
I think this last graph needed a few)

Sunday, May 06, 2007

the queen tops off an okay day

Dancing Jen took me to lunch yesterday and even though
we were a bit rushed due to my big box obligations,
it was v. pleasant and she said it was a down payment
for the black leather jacket. I accepted graciously.

Then last night we finally watched Helen Mirren here
from the Flix®. I loved every tiny moment of this
film, even the stag business, and I actually welled
up once or twice. Now THAT'S when you know it's a
worthwhile movie! The costume people must have had
a lot of fun with the hats and purses too...

Tonight our Giants are the 5pm ESPN game o' the
week ~ probably with the new pitcher whose name I
can't pronounce. One of the employees yesterday asked
me if I could locate a ticket to the All Star Game
and I had to guffaw...

Saturday, May 05, 2007

40 bakeries, 30 brothels, 130 bars & more

This is (as I remember) the Forum, the center of religious and political
life in Pompeii. Trite as it sounds, visiting this ancient city was a dream
come true for me ~ from the first time I read about it, I wanted to see
this amazing place. As I wrote before, it is larger in size than I had
imagined, and even more thrilling to walk around and visualize how
people lived in this wealthy trading city and resort. We could see the
ocean as well as that troublesome mountain and it was a another
beautiful and sunny day for us. We drove in a big van ~ it's about 2
hours from Rome, a little south of Naples (where we had lunch).
Pompeii was a bustling city of 20,000 people before Vesuvius blew in
79 AD. Today they are still excavating and finding treasures. Note the
shelves (this is just a small sample) of pots, dishes, statues.
It's so easy to picture how people lived here, especially if you watched
the HBO Rome series. Quite a few beautiful mosaics remain along with
walls, columns, frescoes and courtyards. A v. special day for me!

Friday, May 04, 2007

cows in Panzano on Easter?

OK, we'll head back to Italy today. Here is a little bit of our "pinch me"
Easter in the hillside towns around Firenze. Adriana had made the
reservation, so of course we had the best table in the house. Before
this we had stopped at Michelangelo Point to see all of Firenze from
high up. After lunch Adri drove us to Greve where we walked around
the square and had an espresso. Then to the famous walled city of
Montefioralle ~ such a marvelous experience.
This guy is across from the butcher shop and much loved by the kids!
This is one of the famous butchers in Italy ~ his wife serves red wine and
snacks, opera plays in the background. Adriana bought yummy lard spread
and truffle cream and pate. (Ginger calls pate "liverworst". We cringe.)
Don't miss this butcher shop the next time you are in Panzano!
You may enjoy this view of the Tuscany Hills from our Easter table. The
restaurant, one of Adriana's favorites (and she of the owner and staff)
is Oltre il Giardino and of course we never would have found it without
our beautiful hostess angel. We started with hard boiled eggs that had
been blessed in the local church early in the morning.
This is the view from inside the restaurant. Lovely, but we were lucky
enough to eat outside on Easter.

Back to the most expensive black leather jacket in the world ~ it will
not photograph well, but I will try. My Tiapos writing group friends did
get to admire it last night and I even let them touch it. I basked in
their admiration yet NOT ONE offered a Euro to keep it from being
repossessed next month.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

my city ~ from waaaaaay up high

Yesterday I worked an event on the 52nd Floor of the B of A. I enjoyed
the view, the woman I worked with and the lunches that the thoughtful
waiters brought us. The author was John Stossel and we sold maybe 40
or so of his books. After Italy, I'm making it a point to pay more attention
to our very own art & architecture, so in tomorrow's blog I will discuss the
12 unusual sculptures on the building at 580 California, across from the
B of A. (In the photo above you can just barely see the Golden Gate Bridge.)
It's really something, isn't it? This city of beauty and crazies ~ the best
and maybe the worst of humankind. Note the size of that cruise ship to
the right of Coit Tower, also the hill over there in the right hand corner
which slid down in the last not-really-that-heavy rain storm.

I love to check out the roof top gardens, the occasional swimming pool
and/or gym and the minuscule ant people walking down below.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

fooled you, Blackbird...

Ha! You thought I was living in the past. No so. Last
night we went to the theater. First the usual sandwiches
at Lefty O'Doul's (packed with folks watching the
Warriors Game), then on down the street to ACT to
see >Blackbird, a little
85 minute one act gem that won Great Britain's Olivier
Award. A touchy subject matter (12 year old girl and
40 year old guy), but somehow it was handled so very well
that we weren't offended.

I wore the new leather jacket from Florence and it
felt wonderful and I wore it with all those memories
of that fun day. Yes, you're right, I'm sooooo glad
I bought it. No Visa bill yet, thankfully.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

okay, you win

Here's the famous dome from inside the Pantheon. Let's all
remember that they didn't have cranes or any fancy
electronic scaffolding back then. Amazing. Awesome,
in the old fashioned sense of the word...

typical tourist photos, plus one

They say that travel is a new way of seeing. Yes, and also
another way of feeling. Here at the Colosseum, for instance,
I could picture the "ladies" up on the top row and the lions
and gladiators down on the floor. Even if we've seen this
structure hundreds of times, just being there makes all the
difference. And it's BIG, this 2000 year old structure...

OK, next is the view down from the Spanish Steps. Glorious Roma.

A native Italian corrected us when we asked where the Tiber
River was, but we found it with his help. I'm always happy to
be near water and it certainly helps with the lost/found
aspects of travel, doesn't it? (It is called Tibere in Roma.)

Next we have the Pantheon with the inside portico called
"Rome's umbrella" because when it rains or snows there is no
cover and it falls on the floor or the people or both. It
is amazing to hear how this dome was built back in 125 AD.
I didn't get a v. good shot of the dome, but I might include
it in the post a domani.

My favorite non-tourist shot is this fuzzy photo of young
priests hearing about the Pantheon and (I assume) getting
used to their new black robes.

For reasons too hi tech for me, the blog won't let me write
in between the photos. I think they want to move on to Venice,
but I'm not ready yet.

I had to close the big box last night. There was "an incident"
outside with our garbage cans. I love big city living...