Saturday, June 30, 2007

baseball at Tiffany's

We are getting ALL gussied up here for the All Star game.
The first thing I noticed yesterday was a table outside
the Powell Street BART station with a line of people. They
were signing up volunteers to clean up our city. God knows it
needs it, but I guess we are expecting folks from places
that don't know we have a little dirt problem here.

I tried to take a photo of the ultra cool windows at Tiffany's,
but all I got was my reflection (ack!). However, by then I had
come up with today's headline, so it stays...

Already this seems like a busier tourist summer than usual.
Note the lines at the cable car turn around in the photo
here. Of course the weather helps too ~ and the restaurants,
theatres, hills, bay, people, cable cars.

The homeless are being unusually creative in their money
raising efforts, I notice. Thankfully, after all these years
they mostly ignore me. I will try to get down to the ball
park (the jewel), just to soak up some ambiance next week.

Friday, June 29, 2007

who can resist a cat story on a foggy day?

Tonight I'm going to tell you the honest to God true story of Mickey and
June's orange cat. This was about 25 years ago, but I have always loved
this memory and when we visited our friends last summer (they now live
in Bend, OR) we laughed about it again.

Let's say the orange cat's name was Marmalade, or something orangey
like that. One day this very sweet furball disappeared. He wasn't the
sort of cat who wandered off, so after a few days, June went to the
SPCA to search for him. Well, there he was, all bandaged up. He
had been in an accident or a cat fight or something and it cost our
friends close to $500 for all the medical work. But Mickey and June
were so relieved to find him, that they paid the bill, even though
money was a little tight at that time in their lives.

Marmalade was thrilled to be home and settled down for a long nap.
June was able to take the bandages off after a few days and she thought
their cat looked a little pale. "He probably lost a lot of blood", Mickey
said. Well, you know where this is going by now...

The real Marmalade strolled in through the back door and he was not
happy to find a new cat eating out of his dishes, napping on his sofa
and getting all sorts of attention from his owners. Of course Mickey and
June couldn't take Marmalade Two back to the SPCA because they
had already invested so much money in him. Eventually the two orange
boys became friends, but that took quite awhile.

(This is one of the short pieces that I read last Wednesday night.
The photo isn't really Marmalade, but that sort of fits too,
doesn't it?)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

"oh, look...fava beans!"

We had just finished watching last night's taped episode
of Rescue Me and I was picking up a few
of the vital vegetables for tonight's salad at the little
fruit and vegetable shoppe at 30th and Church. I do not believe
that I have ever been in there when there were not at least two
guys from the SFFD. Today there were three and one hunk of a
firefighter was exclaiming over the fava beans. Gourmet meals are
a San Francisco FD tradition and at one time they even produced
an excellent cookbook that sold quite well. It just amuses me,
in a good way.

Also that email that originated god knows where, but sent to me
by an earnest friend, is probably Urban Legend #4667. Do not
worry about the cell phone DO NOT CALL LIST, it seems to be a
fake. And here I was going to actually to turn my flip on and use it...

We met Mollie for lunch today out at Tom Kiang's on Geary and 22nd.
Good food, magic parking on Anza after quick prayer to Our Lady of
the Cement. Saw a bumper sticker on Cole Street that read, VISUALIZE PARKING.

I'm taking something borrowed to share at our writer's group tonight.
Chef P and Eric will be there ~ yeah!

Weekend over, and o-u-t.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

no tomatoes, no zucchini ~ one ripley

What a delightful evening ~ thanks to Dancing Jen, Sarah, Karen M,
Susie, Neti, TGP and Husbando for attending and applauding in all
the right places. I'm pretty sure that Loren made her $$$ goal
and I know I was especially touched when Jane read her 2005 pieces
about her breast cancer. The very least we can do is support the
women who are walking for the women who have/had breast cancer.

Ripley, the hairless cat spent time in various laps and he is (err)
something, as you can see from the above photo.

We went out for a drink after the reading and yelled at each other
because the music was so loud. It was a great time, I feel thankful
for my friends and my life. Thank you Loren, for organizing this.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

remember, I'm a performer...

Tomorrow night is the benefit and I need to spend some
time rehearsing my two very short pieces. When I read
my "stuff" I think about Wally telling TGP (who told
me) that when we read our work, we need to think of
ourselves as performers, not writers. Husbando will be
there giving me "slow down" hand signals (very subtle)
and I'll have lots of support from friends in the
audience. We only need to raise about $500, less than
the event last year, so this should be a snap.

Wednesday night, June 27
Borderlands Books
866 Valencia (between 19th and 20th)

Gees, I hope the hairless cat Ripley still lives at
Borderlands. If so, a great photo for Thursday!

Monday, June 25, 2007

say it isn't so...

Only 26 more days until HP #7. We are having a Friday midnight party
which I get to miss because I will be opening on Sat. July 21.
You might think that I am excited and delighted, but having been
through this 6 other times, I will tell you that to me the whole
thing is pure agony. Pushy children of all ages and never enough
books to last the weekend. I did read the first Harry Potter, but
couldn't get interested in the next ones ~ and yes, I know I'm in the
minority here. Harry F---kin' Potter.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

RIP Shooter

Those were the days, my friends. Two, three games a week at horrid
Candlestick with the Blogmaid blaming US for getting her hooked on
baseball and ruining her life. Rod Beck so much a part of those fine
memories ~ when he would stroll to the mound looking disheveled
and mean, let his one arm hang down and swing and 1-2-3, close out
the game for us, just like that Rod Beck, dead at 38 or 39. Cause
of death not announced leaving us suspicious.

You can read about his life in the minor leagues, at the end of his
career. Thanks for the ESPN article, Blogmaid. Thanks for the memories...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

busy, colorful weekend

Several years ago a straight male friend of mine moved to what some
might consider a more civilized and smaller city. You know, one of
those odd places where you can find parking easily and maybe even
afford a one bedroom house. Anyway, after living there for awhile,
he said that one of the unexpected discoveries he made was that he
realized how much the gays and lesbians contribute to San Francisco
and he missed them. I concur. I'm proud to have the Pride Weekend
here and this city is jumpin'!

Friday, June 22, 2007

one to go, please

I'm going to try to take this image with me today when I return
to the big box for my Monday with 85 plus emails, 433 issues and 3
or 4 "he said WHATs?" It was so beautiful yesterday down at Ocean
Beach ~ unusual to see sail boats out this far, isn't it? We were
hoping for some pelicans, but I understand from Linda that they arrive
later in the day. Drat. Nice to have Mollie back in town, she gets
me to drive the long drive down Geary to the other end of the world
and it is always more than worth it.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

a treasure found in messy office

See, it was worth it after all (not that I was able to clean off
more than an 8" space yesterday). Here is a delicious recipe from the
memorable Seder dinner when Husbando wore the Giants baseball cap
backwards because all the yamakahs (sp?) had been pre-grabbed.


makes about 2 dozen

3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch o' salt

Preheat oven to 350º F.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with a rubber
spatula (or use your hands).

Use a non-stick baking sheet, or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Wet your hands and make small piles of the mixture, each 1 to 2 tablespoons
about an inch apart.

Bake until light brown, about 15 minutes

Remove the baking sheet and cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before

These keep well in a covered container for up to 3 days.

(note ~ no butter, no cream and no egg yolks! And still quite wonderful...)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

when in doubt, keep it for another decade...

Here is a photo of my office this morning. I opened the window and
ZOUNDS, look what happened. I have a small rustic room of my own in
the basement, right next to Husbando's washer and dryer. I don't use
it as much as I used to because I have msBook, the trusty laptop.
My office has become a catchall and for many months (since January?) I
have written CLEAN OFFICE! on my weekly To Do List.

But today I started. One of the problems, as some of you might have
experienced, is that I get lost in the past down here. I mean who can
throw away a birthday card from 1985, or photos from Rochester, New
York? I have stacks and boxes of cards and letters from people I can
barely remember. I usually try to live completely in the present, but
when I go on this archaeological dig, I become a different woman ~
indecisive, sentimental, lost.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

four nomads in frisco

Just returned from an exotic dinner with The Great
Plotniks at a restaurant none of us had ever been to.
That in itself is amazing. Mesopotamian/California
Style and a wonderful evening it was. I will let TGP
describe it all because he is the restaurant writer
and I am but a tired excuse of a retail worker. My
three dinner companions were kind enough to let me
blather on about work. How tiresome can that be?

Anyway, check it out. (Reasonable too!)
Yaya at 2424 Van Ness ~ I give it 4 cups of Turkish
coffee...sweet and strong.

It's my Friday night. TGIT.

Monday, June 18, 2007

we're heading back to the black hills

Here goes my language again! I bought the 3rd and final season of
Deadwood and also this very cool book. This completes our collection
now of one of our favorite TV shows ever. I've never watched this
3rd season, although Husbando did and of course he loved it.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

a poem for father's day today

Here is a little tribute to fathers. I was very close to
mine which probably explains why I get along so well with
men, despite their many obvious imperfections.


I eat these
wild red raspberries
still warm from the sun
and smelling faintly of jewelweed
in memory of my father

tucking the napkin
under his chin and bending
over an ironstone bowl
of the bright drupelets
awash in cream

my father
with the sigh of a man
who has seen all and been redeemed
said time after time
as he lifted his spoon

men kill for this.

Maxine Kumin
The Long Approach

Saturday, June 16, 2007

a kitten named agatha

From page 66 of Armistead Maupin's new book Michael Tolliver

...I stayed at home to wash the truck and curl up in the window
seat with a glass of chocolate soymilk and the latest issue of
American Bungalow magazine. There was an article on Bisbee,
Arizona, and its funky little bungalow neighborhoods, and I
wondered if that would make a good destination for us; we'd
loved our recent road trip through the Southwest and had talked
of retuning...

My friend Mary retired and moved to Bisbee last year. Quite a
change from SF, but she is adapting well and has time to work
on her writing ~ very talented, very. Here are two emails from
her ~ they are quite beautiful. And yes, I did ask her permission
to use them in commano. Even Husbando, who dislikes cats, was
impressed by the story, but more by the writing, I believe.

june 5

I just took a kitten from the Border Rescue pound - she was picked up out in the flats - Hector - the pound guy said that the rest of her litter were either eaten by coyotes or hawks or died out there. I have had her one day. At first she was terribly hand shy - although she wanted to be in my lap all the time once she had sat there. He said that was from hiding under things and fearing 'death from above'.
I've had to feed her through a syringe. They gave me kitty formula, etc out at the Cochise County Animal clinic - where I went once I realized that she wasn't eatting or drinking water (a coyote came looping by as I was talking to the vet tech) But at least I got her drinking water (she looked at it like she had never seen water before). And she had gotten used to litter from her three days in the pound so she is using that once I showed her where it is. We made it through the night with out too much drama - she slept well at the foot of my bed. I'm taking her out to the clinic this morning to get check out and tested. She seems perky enough - except she doesn't eat.
She keeps jumping on the keyboard and messing things up.
She's black with white chin, throat and paws and is not the most beautiful girl at the dance.
I've named her 'Agatha' for no reason that I can think of. . .. . . ..
Why I did this I don't know. I just hope the poor little thing lives.
Your stupid, secretly soft hearted friend,

june 12

Dear M.A.:
I have not known how I was going to talk about Agatha.
She really lived only two days with me but I felt at the end like I had known her for years. I knew in my heart when I saw her at the pound that she was not healthy - but I have pulled sick cats through before and once I had seen her I couldn't just walk away and leave her in that tiny metal cage at the pound. So, I took her home with me and for some reason called her Agatha right away - a name she responded to, by the way.
I held her in my arms until she started purring and looking up at me. Then I showed her around the house. She was rail thin and unable to drink water. I rushed out to the vets that afternoon (they kindly stayed open for me). I was told that she probably had kidney failure - being so young and lasting an unknown time out in the desert. I was given feeding syringes, kitten formula, etc. She and I had a good two days. I never left her alone, carried her with me all over the house, except when she wanted to get down and explore a little. We sat together in the yard and watched the butterflies, wasps, and bees forage among my flowers. IN the evening, we watched t.v. I'd look down sometimes and she'd be looking solemnly up at me and purring and rub her head against my hand. The cat box stayed clean, although she would climb in it and try to go. Everything came back up - even the water I fed her. The last day she was too weak to walk - but still not fussing and still purring as I carried her around. She would drape across my shoulder while I was cooking or making coffee, watching carefully everything I was doing.
The day I took her back to the vet and she sat quietly in the waiting room on my lap. Strangely enough - any dogs that came in ignored her and she ignored them.
The vet told me that she had kidney failure and her whole digestive tract was atrophied with no possibility of healing - dried up and closed shut. She was just too young to stand what she had been through. We discussed it and decided it was best to let her go while she was still happy and not in pain. She was still purring when they put her to sleep.
I was very upset. I got up the next morning at sunup and drove down to the San Pedro and walked for hours until I ran out of water and was sunburned and had to go back. Life is harsh.
And that's the story of this little kitty that was thrown into the desert, survived the coyotes and birds of prey, picked up out of the desert on a Friday, put in a 4X4 metal cage where she spent all weekend alone (they can't afford attendants at the pound on the weekends) and was discovered on Monday and taken home by this woman who carried her around in her arms, talked to her, watched the sunset with her, slept with her and then put her to sleep.

Friday, June 15, 2007

reading with a purpose

Mark your calendars ~ the Salon Mistress and I will both
be reading to help Loren raise money for her Avon walk
to fight breast cancer. She really doesn't have too much
more $$$$ to go here.

June 27
Borderlands Books
866 Valencia
San Francisco

It will be a short, fun evening. Please try to attend and
help Loren and all the breast cancer victims and survivors.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

speak up all women everywhere

If you can't read the placard, it says Silencio = Muerte. This
is from my very own camera (not Flickr®, not Google® Image) and it's
one of many murals in my nabe that I want to share with you. Usually,
however, I forget the camera or the batteries have died ~ you've heard
it before, haven't you? But not today...success!

This is the side of the Women's Building on 18th Street between Valencia
and Guerrero ~ it's been here forever, I'm proud to report. There are
walking tours of all these murals and once again many of the tourists know
more about SF than we natives do. Of course I love the colors, who wouldn't?

And yes, dear readers from outside the Bay Area ~ another day of warm sunshine. We are doing something right, it appears.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

a not-so funny French comedy at ACT

The program notes for The Imaginary Invalid are perhaps more
interesting than the play itself:
...Moliere instinctively understood that the flip side of
hypochondria is an excessive love of life.
That works for
the hypochondriacs in my life...

Moliere wrote this play when he was quite ill and actually
died the night after his 4th performance (he starred in the
title role). Perhaps you can tell from his photo above that he
was a bit of an odd ball, but maybe that was just the style back
in 1670. It is supposed to be a "hysterical comedy"'s not.
But we stayed for the whole 2 hours, and not only because many of
our favorite ACTors were in it (René Augesen, Gregory Wallace,
Steven Anthony Jones), but because we wanted to see the predictable

And in case you care, Moliere died of tuberculosis at the age of 51.

P.S. It's a clear and sunny day again here in Frisco!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

it's almost a wrap

We are on our final week of Round Robin #13! I can always
tell when class is almost over because it seems that my ideas
and clever words have gone someplace else. I appreciate the
discipline of writing every single damn day for 10 minutes,
I enjoy having a partner and I love that the Salon Mistress
spends so much time reading all this stuff from her 20 plus
students, but enough already. If I need a break I can only
imagine how much Jane needs a few weeks of a relatively empty
email inbox.

Tonight we have ACT (preceded by our usual wich at Lefty
O'Doul's), so I wanted to write here before work. And, yes,
I already did the Round Robin piece too ~ so many worms for
us early birds. Off to wormland now...

Monday, June 11, 2007

as the family gathers for onion rings...

From the NY Times. Thanks to the Blogmaid for sending this to
me. Mostly this is all we discussed at work today. I was quite
happy with the ending and I never for one moment thought that
there was anything wrong with our TV. My favorite line was when
Carmela said matter-of-factly, "there's always a lot of FBI at
these funerals".

By Mike Nizza

Tags: culture, television
Solving the Sopranos

In one of the articles covering online betting on the final episode of “The Sopranos,” the network offered some advice that may or may not have been based on insider information. David Chase, the show’s director, “defies all theories of probability,” said an HBO spokesman.

He was right, of course. Although Tony Soprano technically survived, there was no way to bet that the show would end in profoundly ambiguous fashion.

Indeed, the final scene preyed on that assassination expectation as several possibly threatening individuals lurked around him at a family restaurant before the screen abruptly flipped - not faded - to black. (A cable outage was the obvious culprit for many fans who sprinted to alternate TV sets before realizing that they’d been had.)

And then they sprinted to the Web for theories (which will have no effect on the fortunes of online gamblers; a bet on death was the better payout).

What happened when the screen went black? Here’s the “Tony is dead” theory, as posted on Digg:

watch the last scene again (I have several times). everytime someone comes into the door you hear the bell then the camera view shows tony, then switches to his point of view to show who is entering the restaurant. this pattern happens 3 times (first with curly haired lady who looks like janice, then trucker dude with USA cap, then carmela, then hitman followed by AJ, then meadow)

When meadow enters the restaurant you hear the bell, see tony and then it is black. The view from his perspective is black - he is dead.

Or maybe life crept on at its petty pace, as a boss known as Johnny Sack told Tony in a stunning soliloquy that fans counted as another echo of Macbeth. A reader sums that one up:

The mood of foreboding shows us the peril Tony lives with every day, and the unresolved conclusion could as easily mean that his life ends abruptly as that his life goes on.

Another commenter saw the beauty in never actually knowing the truth.

I personally think the ending was far from a joke on the viewers. The ambiguity allows each of us to make whatever we want of the ending.

That may be exactly what the director himself might have been going for, if a 2001 quote cited by a reader is any guide. Here’s the quote from David Chase.

I don’t think art should give answers. I think art should only pose questions. And art should not fill in blanks for people, or I think that’s what’s called propaganda. I think art should only raise questions, a lot of which may be even dissonant and you don’t even know you’re being asked a question, but that it creates some kind of tension inside you.

By the looks of comments around the Web, many viewers either don’t appreciate “art” as much as Mr. Chase would like; were really uncomfortable with their inner “tension” over the show; or both.

And who better to speak for those people than the man who played a neurotic mafia soldier whose big foray into the art world was the salvaging of a painting of Tony sitting on a thoroughbred, Napoleon-style?

Pauli Gualtieri aka Paulie Walnuts put his cigar-like index finger on the director’s ultimate goal in dropping another plot line that will dangle forever: the fate of a Russian mobster who escaped a whacking.

“He wanted the audience just to suffer,” he said.

UPDATE, 11:31 AM ET Another interesting theory on a blog called The House Next Door and this post’s comments.

Did Tony get whacked? Maybe. But you definitely did:

The audience got whacked! We never saw it coming, just like Tony always said about a hit. Cut to black…no sound…we’re dead. Brilliant ending.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

where is gump's?

We are all concierges at the big box. Probably half of our
customers are tourists and I will admit that I am much friendlier
and helpful to them since we traveled to Italy. They hand me gobs of
American money, just as we do in foreign lands, and they have this
trusting and quizzical look on their faces. I think one of the
reasons that my store is so much easier than the other big boxes I
have worked in is because the tourist, though confused and exhausted,
is in a happy state of mind. Vacations will do that to you.
Here are some typical tourist-type questions:
1) do you carry The Swedish Daily News? (no)
2) how much is the cable car? ($5 ~ egads)
3) can we walk to Chinatown? (yes)
4) is the food at Sears good? (5th Amendment)
5) do you have a bathroom? (3rd floor)
6) what time does the Disney Store open? (10am)
7) do you sell stamps? (no, basement at Macy's)
8) why is it so cold in June/July/August? (god's will)
9) did I leave my camera/wallet/passport/sunglasses here? (yes)
10)how come parking is so expensive? (take public transportation)

Saturday, June 09, 2007

a not so good german

One would think this would be an excellent movie ~ I mean
we have George Clooney and Cate Blanchett and all sorts of
intrigue in post-World War II Berlin. But it's confusing and
every room that anyone enters is too dark to see who is swinging
what blunt object at whom. So I am giving up.

My schedule this week is back to my original 6am to 3pm every
day and my sleep, as always, suffers. Tomorrow night will be
especially rough, but I must stay up and say goodbye to Tony
and Carmella, AJ and Meadow. I feel the same way as I did when
"6 Ft. Under" was over...oh no, say it isn't so. Too soon, no
matter how long the series ran.

Friday, June 08, 2007

our ground time here will be brief

That's the title of one of my favorite poetry books by
Maxine Kumin. Clever, no? She lives on a farm in New
Hampshire, so many of her poems are about nature. But
the ones I love even more are about family and friends.
Love and death, you know, the simple stuff.

The Presence

Something went crabwise
across the snow this morning.
Something went hard and slow
over our hayfield.
It could have been a raccoon
lugging a knapsack,
it could have been a porcupine
carrying a tennis racket,
it could have been something
supple as a red fox
dragging the squawk and spatter
of a crippled woodcock.
Ten knuckles underground
those bones are seeds now
pure as baby teeth
lined up in the burrow.

I cross on snowshoes
cunningly woven from
the skin and sinews of
something else that went before.

Maxine Kumin
Our Ground Time Here Will Be Brief

Thursday, June 07, 2007

marigolds and impatiens join the bunny and the royal purple murgatroid

I was VERY late with the gardening projects this year due to the
trip to Italy, so this was mostly a working weekend. How fortunate
was I to have sunshine for two days in a row? I had planned to weed
and plant no matter what, but as you all know (probably), gardening is
a pain in bad weather and a complete pleasure when it's toasty warm.

Yesterday we had a Burmese lunch at the Mandalay Restaurant out on
California near 7th Avenue. It is quite similar to Thai food, in my
opinion, and very tasty. Excellent service, reasonable prices.
Then we drove on down to Sloat Garden to spend a small fortune on plants.
All in all, a very satisfying weekend.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

snakes, sighs and sorrows

From an early morning email that I received today:
What's to say? The Giants lost another one-run game on a walk-off
home run. Technically, they are not in last place - an issue they are
sure to correct soon (maybe not today since Morris the Stud is

The Dodgers lost yesterday too (1-0 to San Diego - Jason Schmidt gave
up 1 hit in 6 innings, and IF he stays healthy, could make the
Dodgers scary). If you look at the standings this morning, you see
that the Dodgers are in third, right above the Giants. I predict this
is the last time they will be this close together. (I don't care if
it is just June - the Giants are swooning and are done. Bonds is now
in third place for the All Star game outfield, and that won't last
unless he gets hot soon. But shin splints hurt.)

On a positive note, I didn't mention basketball once.

I'm sure this writer won't mind if I cut and paste his thoughts that
are shared by so many this morning. There are five of us in a strange
little email baseball group ~ one odd Dodger fan who will be showing
us his brandy soaked blue shrine in another month or so. What's hard to
understand is that we actually miss this stupid sport during non-baseball
months. (Those dreary winter days of football, basketball and soccer,
whatever that is.)

And I will close with a quote sent to me by the Tonsil Warrior. It
seems particularly appropriate today, doesn't it?

A baseball game is simply a nervous breakdown divided into nine innings. -Earl Wilson

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

ian presents edward and florence

I've been waiting for On Chesil Beach to be released ever
since reading the first chapter in the New Yorker. Ian McEwan
is so gifted and this little novel (203 pages) will be a perfect
weekend treat.

Publisher Comments
A novel of remarkable depth and poignancy from one of the most acclaimed writers of our time.

It is July 1962. Florence is a talented musician who dreams of a career on the concert stage and of the perfect life she will create with Edward, an earnest young history student at University College of London, who unexpectedly wooed and won her heart. Newly married that morning, both virgins, Edward and Florence arrive at a hotel on the Dorset coast. At dinner in their rooms they struggle to suppress their worries about the wedding night to come. Edward, eager for rapture, frets over Florence's response to his advances and nurses a private fear of failure, while Florence's anxieties run deeper: she is overcome by sheer disgust at the idea of physical contact, but dreads disappointing her husband when they finally lie down together in the honeymoon suite.

Ian McEwan has caught with understanding and compassion the innocence of Edward and Florence at a time when marriage was presumed to be the outward sign of maturity and independence. On Chesil Beach is another masterwork from McEwan — a story of lives transformed by a gesture not made or a word not spoken.

Monday, June 04, 2007

some balsamic propolis. please

My friend Loren asked me to read at a benefit on June 27th, and
of course I'm extremely flattered and pleased to be able to help
her raise money for her Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I'll discuss
this more later, never fear.

Loren is the one who sent us to the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica
di Santa Maria Novella in Firenze and as I look at their "menu"
here (which I will give to Loren) I see that balsamic propolis is good
for the throat. You can get just a taste of how beautiful this old
Farmaceutica is from the photos ~ it was founded within a Dominican
monastery in 1221 to prepare herbal medicines for the monks. In 1612
the monks decided to open the shop to the public.

Isn't it nice to be back in Italy on this gloomy Monday?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

speaking of coffee

About the best part of my work day yesterday was exchanging
emails with Paul Madonna and pre-planning a
book signing with him. He is so talented! His new book is an
absolute delight and is titled the same as his work in the
Chronicle, All Over Coffee.

The rest of my work day was difficult, but then I remember that
I'm doing this for the money, not just because I love being at
work at either 6am or midnight. Too bad that when we delete a
bunch of pesky emails from our computers we can't erase them
from our minds too. Or am I missing some basic secret to a happy
life here? So I'm up too early this morning ~ stewing and drinking
all hours coffee.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

encounters of the woolly kind

We decided to drive down Highway 1 yesterday and yes, it took
forever, especially with this pile of sheep that had escaped from
god knows where. The woman sheriff smiled at us and shook her head
in an exasperated manner because there really wasn't too much that
she or anyone else could do. At one point some were leaping on top
of the backs of the other sheep. You don't see this everyday...

Stopped for coffee and stretches at Sea Ranch Lodge and Point Reyes.
The trip extended our mini-vacation, and it was, as always, good
to be home. I open the big box at 6am, gotta get moving.

Friday, June 01, 2007

how lazy can two people be?

Another lovely lazy day with much walking, reading, napping and
casual marital chatter. We skipped lunch, but had a hearty dinner
here at the Mendocino Cafe. This town is filled with peace symbols
in every size, shape and color.

I've neglected to mention the ocean because, like Venice, it's just
too beautiful for me to describe. I hope you can see the vast grey
expanse in this one shot, then how it gently turns to turquoise when
the surf splashes on the rocks. And the air? Invigorating and relaxing
at the same time ~ and always with the smell of the wood burning fire
places in the little homes and hotels. I know, I carry on about the
way Mendocino smells, but I can't help it.

We will head home in about an hour. Totally refreshed and planning
our next getaway. Carmel? Yosemite? Husbando has a TON of laundry
to do, but I refuse to worry about that right now.

P.S. Farewell Armando, it's nice to read good baseball news for a change!