Friday, November 30, 2007

boosting my immune system

I have a slight cold, but am doing all the right things and it should
be completely gone in a few days. What could me more boring than me
writing about a cold? Maybe watching me use 245 Kleenex® in one day?
So I'll go to work, but I think it's too late to spread more germs.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

musical nuttiness

A friend of a friend of a friend...was raising her little boy to be
anatomically correct and she taught him to say "seed sacks" instead
of the usual "nuts" or "balls". I'm sure this lasted until his first
day of school, but in the meantime, my friend and I got some warm
chuckles out of this unusual expression, as you might imagine.

But this year we took it to a new low and forever more the annual
symphonic production will be known as The Seed Sack Cracker. Isn't
that a kick in the...errrrrr?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

it's come to this...

My all-time favorite Curb Your Enthusiasm episode is the one
where Larry's wife (Cheryl) is having a little party for three
of her women friends. They are going to watch the Oscar ceremony,
starting early, of course, with all the red carpet silliness.
Larry calls in the Remote Control Specialist (do they have these?)
to make sure all 6 of their remotes are functioning properly. I
thought of this yesterday because Husbando bought a Surround Sound
System and added yet another device to our media happy home. And
yes, we have our own guy (Gene's Sound Service) who came in to
set-up this thing and he left us easy-to-understand (hahahaha) hand-
written instructions. The only thing I remember Husbando saying
before I fell asleep was, "we need to use all 4 every time". Lordy.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

that friday feeling

Closing the big box gets worse as we climb towards the actual
Happy Holiday, but I'm lucky with a good closing crew who do
not resent my occasional expletive of the F variety. I will
steal Mr. Z's blog thunder and tell you the highest compliment
that came from a woman "customer" last night:
She said to him, "I love the big box because other bookstores
won't let me in".

Seemingly, the jails and hospitals release all the scam artists and
shop lifters this time of year (not that we are free from them
the other 10 months) and they are out in droves. Elaborate
steal-and-return schemes and a myriad of complicated plots and
ploys that always seem to involve dying mothers. The goal is
always "cash back" to fly home for the funeral or whatever.

Oh, well, it's all part of the game. At least I smothered the
phone with a pillow when I got home last night and if the alarm
company called (as they did the night before, twice) I didn't
hear it. No perky until January, that only lasted a day or two
and it was phony anyway. Jingle.

Monday, November 26, 2007

back to the UK telly

After reading that this series The Street won the British version of
the Emmys on Nov. 20th, I lucked out with the Flix® and got the
first of two discs. Each episode involves one family on this typical
little street somewhere in northern England. Some of our favorite actors:
Jane Horrocks, Jim Broadbent and Timothy Spall. The stories intertwine
and yes, I did need a Kleenex® or two already. Nice escape for after
too much jingle belling...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

the trenches ~ my report

OK, I know you are curious. It hasn't been too bad, mostly
because the 21 temps we hired have been working out nicely.
Well, today there were 4 call-outs, but we're still covered
and business is slowing down, finally.

Our big box is blowing both Plan and Comp (last year) out
of the water, or over the mountain, or whatever. We were
14.7% over Pl and a whopping 21% over LY. I sniff a bonus
on the horizon and that does smell good.

The customers have been pleasant, honestly. They don't start
getting testy until closer to xmas when we are running out
of that book or DVD they saw last July on the 3rd floor.
We have seen a few customers who swore they would never return
and the usual number of crazies and thieves.

I am pacing myself this year and that means office time and
not letting the paperwork get behind making January catch-up
impossible. The gigantic tree in Union Square looks more
festive than ever and this year PG&E is one of the sponsors
and they are using energy-saving lights. I swear it gets more
beautiful every year. Come visit!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

the lookout is worth seeing

Joseph Gordon-Levitt was that cute kid on 3rd Rock from the Sun
and he's all grown up now and we thought he did a great job in
this thriller from Flix® that also stars Jeff Daniels. It's called
The Lookout and the only complaint I have is that there were a
few too many flashbacks (we get it, OK?). But the ending was very
satisfying and I thought Jeff Daniels did a great job playing a blind
man ~ not an easy role to play realistically, I'm guessing.

Friday, November 23, 2007

rosy thursday, black friday

Here's the aftermath. How long was that potholder on the table?
Also note that I forgot to put out dessert forks, so everyone
ate their pie with spoons. The tea box is also attractive. It was
another truly wonderful Thanksgiving and our dishes are done and
I will put them away now before I trudge off to the big box.

We used to have cocktail napkins that we would distribute with
coffee. They said, "Please Go Home, It's Past Our Bedtime". Now
our friends are so well-trained (and old) that they leave before
we start squirming.

Today won't be too crazy at work, our busiest time is the week
before xmas. The malls get all the traffic today, but we will be
busy enough, that's for sure.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

the squish is "in"

I emailed Neti to see if she would mind sitting together with Frank
(as above) because we don't have quite enough room at the table
(Husbando and I will be very close at the other end) and she said
that she read in the NYTimes Style Section that this is di rigour
(sp?) so that's good news indeed.

Please note the little turkey place card holders that we found at the
Community Thrift Store on Valencia Street ~ 10 for $3.

The pecan pie is baked and soon we will make the stuffing and cook
the bird who has been sitting in a pot of brine all night. Everyone
brings "sides", so it really isn't much work at all. I love this day.
We will go around the room and everyone will give an "I'm thankful for.."
and I will say, "the no call list and Costco". The hostess gets two.

Happy Thanksgiving ~ aren't we all just so fortunate?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

first day of school!

Here is our darling RR at pre-school yesterday ~ both she and the
Blogmaid handled this momentous occasion with grace and not one
Kleenex® was needed. Way to go! On Friday Ryan will be 4, no longer
a baby girl, officially, but few of us will forget the long-awaited
day she came into this world and changed all of our lives for the better.
Happy Birthday and please have some cake with shredded cauliflower
and eggplant, a la that deceptive Jessica Seinfeld.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

almost ready for the brine

There was already a line outside Drewes this morning at 10am
when we went to pick up Mr. Willie Bird, the 17 lb. lad who
will spend part of Thanksgiving with us. But wow, some great
organization here with coffee, cookies and pies on a table outside
this favorite Noe Valley butcher shop on Church Street. Husbando
is not wonderful about standing in lines, but this one moved
quickly and there was some great people-watching, this being San
Francisco and all, if you get my drift.

Then I hopped back on the J train and met my old friend Ken for
lunch down on Castro Street. Ears from the past were burning...

How many people for Thanksgiving you ask? Ten. When can you
see the table? Maybe tomorrow ~ the camera batteries need re-
charging and I need to fuss around, as is my wont. Candles,
flowers, place know the drill.

Monday, November 19, 2007

smashing avocados

Yesterday Dancing Jen and Jon G. treated me to a delightful lunch
at Colibri, a Mexican Bistro (ahem) at 438 Geary, about 2 doors
West of Quizno's®, where I usually go for Sunday lunch. It's my new
favorite downtown restaurant and even though my friends are ex-big
boxers, we managed to gossip quite a bit about all of our friends
and enemies. (Funny how relaxed non-retail folks can be this time of year.)

They make the guacamole right there at the table and it is yummy.
I had been to Colibri once before for a business lunch, but of course
I had to mind my tongue ~ not so yesterday. We had glorious chiliquiles,
chile relleƱo and desayuno something. I enjoyed it so much that I
already reserved it for my next social event with Amy on the 30th
of November. Lunch out of the big box is always a special treat!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

it's been a long time, tim

Well, here's a strange movie ~ I don't know HOW it got on my Flix®
list, but it did and yes, it is worth seeing. The Secret Life of Words
stars Tim Robbins and Sarah Pollen (or like that). Most of it takes
place on an oil rig, if you can imagine. Tim is a burn victim and
Sarah is a nurse who appears to lack any sort of personality. Later
we will discover why, of course. It's one of those movies I thought
about a lot afterwards. Only 1/2 Kleenex®. Strange to see Tim with
grey hair, on an oil rig. Oh, Julie Christie again too. Yes, I do
recommend this unusual movie.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

"good morning, fair lady"

Our phone rang this morning around 4:15am or so, while I was
reading emails and deciding whether to have 1/2 a banana with
my blueberries, or not. There is never any GOOD news when the
phone rings before 9 in the morning, is there?

It was ADT, our alarm company, and there was a problem at the big
box, "on the first floor". I wasn't worried or scared, but I did
have to hurry a bit and wasn't able to take the 75 or so vitamins
that keep me healthy. ADT always calls the police and they like us
to meet them there, so while I was standing outside, one of the
street people greeted me with the above salutation. Very nice.

The two cops were friendly and checked out every floor and the
offices too. We all agreed that the big window cleaning truck over
at Saks had probably tripped the alarm. It could be worse, in fact
one Thanksgiving day there was someone in our store ~ that was fun.

Friday, November 16, 2007

front row bench seats, please

We hopped on the J train yesterday for a quick visit to the Farmer's
Market on the Embarcadero. Check out our best seats in the house.
Lunch (pork sandwiches and Vietnamese iced coffee) from Out The Door,
part of the Slanted Door family. Yum. Even on a non-market day, the
joint was jumpin' and we vowed once again to get down there more
often. It's so easy if one doesn't have to fuss with a car, parking, etc.

This morning I'm up too early, starting to think about work. I did
a fabulous job NOT thinking about it over my 3 days ~ for some of us it
takes a long time to learn how to live sanely in an insane world.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

it's all about me today

This, my favorite photo, was taken several years ago by my
friend Ginger who resides in Kansas...her home, her computer.
Since then I have a lot more grey and more delightful age spots,
none of which are "troublesome", just ugly. We can handle ugly.

So today I take this Ginger's advice and not worry about the
wrapping paper, only the inside gift. I'm sitting here on the
sofa which is no longer the same color as the DMV walls (we had
a small Marital Discussion about this piece of furniture) and
I'm looking up and out at Bernal Hill ~ people and dogs, enjoying
this glorious sunny morning. From our back room at sunrise, three
downtown buildings were glowing a genuine pink ~ too wonderful.
Music? An extremely clever CD from the Blogmaid with 22 (!) songs
about Mary Ann ~ Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Burl Ives and 19 others.
Very, very special, thank you, Blogmaid w/o a Blog.

The dinner, courtesy of Husbando, last night at Lupa's was
memorable and I think we all agreed that the food was delicious.
I felt all warm and surrounded by love and fine humor. No nasty
age jokes, thank goodness.

Today is mine, so I need some alone time and a quiet lunch and
dinner with Husbando, a long solo walk sometime to appreciate
my life in my city. Once again I wish I had some sort of religion
so I could thank Someone for all these blessings of health and
all sorts of indescribable happiness and perfect friends. Oh,
and screw the age spots and grey hairs....

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

this is not a food blog!

But I will say that I have been eating extremely well
these past two days.
.Lox and bagels from Zabar's in NYC (a gift from my
friend Ginger who resides in Kansas) for breakfast(s)
.Lunch yesterday at The Beach Chalet ~ thanks to the
Plotniks for that perfect time and great burger!
.Latte at XO today with my yoga friend, LoriB
.Lunch Lite (sandwiches, scones and tea) with Gini at
Lovejoy's on Church Street this afternoon
.Dinner Heavy tonight at Lupa's Trattoria on 24th Street ~
a small gathering of wonderful friends. Lucky me!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

lord love a lemur

A lot of celebrities shop at the big box. It's always fun
for the staff and the other customers.
Here are a few:
.President Clinton (twice)
.Robin Williams
.Woody Allen
.Randy Johnson
.Joe Montana
.Debra Winger
.Tony Bennett
.Whoopi Goldberg
Yesterday I rang up John Cleese who is taller than I
imagined (usually they are shorter ~ camera stuff) and he
was as nice as could be. I was tongue-tied, but did stammer
about how much I enjoyed his lemur DVD (like that's his
only film ~ sheeeesh) and he admitted that he liked those
little guys, or something like that. He bought mostly
history books, lots of them. One of the guys at work
keeps an autograph book in his locker ~ that's sort of cool
and he's collected a bunch of signatures.

I'm enjoying 3 days off! Late night because of carpet cleaning
last night, so I'm a bit groggy today. An excellent walk with
my friend Jane and her dog, Livvy B., then a glorious lunch
with The Great Plotniks down at the Beach Chalet. I just
awoke from a late nap, but I still think it will be an
early-to-bed. Beautiful sunny day, life is good.

Monday, November 12, 2007

brand new play about an old topic

Director Amy Glazer and playwright Rebecca Gilman have collaborated
on several productions at the Magic and The Crowd You're In With is
especially profound and meaningful to me. Through the years it would
have been more acceptable if I had said, "so sad, I could never have
children", instead of the truth, "didn't want any". Well, actually
what I usually muttered was, "oh, my husband has four, that's more than
enough", and that worked.

Now we have this new one act play set at a backyard BBQ. The older
couple (in their 50s) never wanted children and the two younger marrieds
think they do, in fact one woman is pregnant. I really loved it all ~
the dialogue, the plot and the even the unexpected ending. One of our
favorite local actresses (Lorri Holt) plays the happily childless woman
and I neglected to mention this great almost-slacker single guy who
adds so much to this realistic little July 4th celebration.

This play is neither pro nor anti-parenthood, and yes, it is funny.
There are no villains here, just lots to think about.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

not your traditional teacher

Time for some inspiration! We both enjoyed Freedom Writers Diary
last night with Hilary Swank as the teacher who reaches these
tough teenagers in Long Beach. I found just a few minor irritations
(her smile, her pearls) here, but in most ways I thought it was an
honest portrayal of a true story because it shows once again how
the written word can solve all sorts of internal and external problems
in some surprising ways. Kleenex®? Oh, yes indeed.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

of birds and bibles

Last week's oil "spill" is disgusting. How many thousands of
gallons? More than a spill, folks. The only thing that keeps me
encouraged here is that hundreds of people have volunteered to
help clean up the beaches, birds and sea life. They need special
training because this muck is so filled with chemicals. Bless them.

Today I spent a good (bad) 20 minutes talking to a customer about
a bible. I won't go into details because he might be reading my
blog (hahahaha), but I will say that I'm always amazed at how
these strong Christians seem to forget the message and this guy
was just plain mean. What Would Jesus Say?

Friday, November 09, 2007

join me in a graph?

Here is a snippet from The Gathering by Anne Enright:

There is something wonderful about a death, how everything
shuts down, and all the ways you thought you were vital are
not even vaguely important. Your husband can feed the kids,
he can work the new oven, he can find the sausages in the
fridge after all. And his important meeting was not important,
not in the slightest. And the girls will be picked up from
school, and dropped off again in the morning. Your eldest
daughter can remember her inhaler, and your youngest will
take her gym kit with her, and it is just as you suspected ~
most of the stuff you do is stupid, really stupid...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

the flix® starts my day...

I don't know about you, but I always feel that there's something
sinful about watching movies in the morning, but here I was on this
gloomy Thursday with Black Book, directed by Paul Verhoeven. It's
a film about the underground resistance in the Netherlands at the end
of WW II. Based on a true story, very difficult to watch, of course.
Rachel (Jewish) becomes the blond lover of a Gestapo big wig and
there is so much double-crossing and intrigue that it's almost
unbelievable. Greed, survival, heroism ~ bring Kleenex®.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

blogging woman talks books

We've been waiting and waiting for The Gathering by
Anne Enright to arrive in the big box. It was this year's
winner of the Man Booker Prize and believe me, of all the
book awards, this one is THE ONLY ONE that really counts
for me. As you probably know, the Man Booker goes to authors
in the British Commonwealth and Ireland ~ for contemporary
fiction that, in my opinion (never humble) really resonates.

Here is a wonderful resource if you want to catch up on
your reading. Past Man Booker winners. All in handy trade
paperback, by the way.

Although today is an official day off, I am going to get
gussied up to attend a Retail Job Search Panel this morning and
will hope to steal the creme for our store.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

so sorry about that

Here's the link to Regret The Error that Jon Carroll wrote about
in yesterday's column. As you've noticed, there are more and
more mistakes in the newspapers ~ due to cut-backs and lack of
fact checking, etc. So this clever person has them all on his
web site. I don't know why the type is so light, but it's fun
to read nonetheless.

Husbando was reading the local Potrero Hill paper yesterday and
said to me, "how to you spell noisy?" When I did so he said,
"why did they put an e in there?"

So there, that's my filler today. I'm tired from closing the
big box. The new temps are a huge help and so far only one walk-away.

Monday, November 05, 2007

off to Paris we go!

Yesterday afternoon Doctor J flew to Paris, so last night we
watched My Best Friend with Dany Boon and the unmistakable
Daniel Auteuil. The latter has to find a "best friend" in ten
days or else he loses a bet. I found it to be a rather touching
movie, mainly because the subject of male friendship is a topic
amongst many of my women friends when we sit around in the
beauty salon. Kidding about the locale. It's so easy for women
to make friends, so rewarding and such an important part of
our lives. Not so with many of the men folk. Some GREAT shots
of Paris here...enjoy your first (of many) trips to Paris, Doctor!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

a snapshot from Bisbee

My friend Mary (you remember her from the desert cat story)
is one of my favorite writers. She moved from bustling SF
to Bisbee, Arizona when she retired. Here is a graph from
her email last week ~ enjoy...

Of course, down here in the mountains of SE Arizona, there are lots of crazy single old ladies, wearing torn straw hats and accompanied by an army of ragged, crippled dogs adorned in a startling and spectacular array of ornaments. They, I believe, don't count as far as mainstream America goes. At least, I think that the Bisbee elderly, male and female, are a bit more 'eccentric' than the average elderly in America. I've never seen anything like them even in SF! The sight of them fills me with joy!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

the worst time of the year

Our holiday blackout begins in 12 days, meaning no more days
off (approved days off) until January. Seasoned employees
take their vacations now, leaving us very short staffed. Plus
there are the usual call-outs on top of all the vacationing,
so life is rough in the big box and I am stressed.

I was immensely cheered, however, by this gift of a 16 month
calendar from two of the guys in the store. It's called a
Demotivator® calendar from Despair, Inc. It features the
usual beautiful inspirational photos, but the written words
are THE BEST. My kind of humor.
Example ~ photo of an eagle soaring over snow clad mountains.

Let's hope you can read November...

Friday, November 02, 2007

our whitewashed glass beauty

We had a good time at the Conservatory of Flowers yesterday, isn't it
the most wonderful building? It has 16,800 window panes and is the
oldest wood and glass Victorian-style conservatory in North America.
When it was closed for reconstruction I missed it, and yet we have
not been back since it reopened in 2003. For shame.

I didn't see any geckoes which they use to control pests, but we
did see every SF school child and I will say they were well-behaved.
(As were we.) The Conservatory has more than 17,000 plants, but I
liked the water lily room the best. The children liked the "Chomp"
exhibit with carniverous plants.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

carrot in cheek daily write

CARROTS (the prompt)

"You'd better hide that bowl of baby carrots chilling in water in the back
of the refrigerator", I tell my husband from time to time. I just can't
keep my hands out of there and even though carrots are not all that bad
for me, it's just seems mean to eat them all at one sitting. I don't want
my hands to turn orange and it isn't nice to deprive Husbando of this
delectable crunchy treat.

No chocolate or potato chips for me thanks, I'm saving those calories
for carrots. Yes, I'll try just one spoonful of the pumpkin ice cream from
Mitchell's, but then as a reward I'll have two baby carrots. And OK,
maybe a bite of that blueberry muffin, but mostly I want the berries,
not the pastry part. May I have a celery stick if I eat 1/2 of this tiny
slice of cheese cake?

Some people are able to go from mainlining carrots to forcing down
a half of a carrot cake. I'll try this one day soon.

There was an article in the Chronny recently giving us 6 not-so-easy
steps on how to control our carrot and celery addictions. I guess there are
many other people just like me, who can't stop eating fresh vegetables
and fruits, too. Bless our hearts, we're only human.
1) postpone that first carrot as long as you possibly can
2) instead of taking 10 carrots and 8 celery sticks, try 5 of each
3) substitute a few Peanut Butter Cups for 3 carrots ~ try it!
4) don't watch others when they are eating fresh veggies
5) stay away from vegetable gardens and Farmer's Markets
6) throw a baby carrot in the garbage disposal or composter ~ this is
way too radical for some addicts, but you can work up to it

I'm not going to wait until January 1st to start cutting back on carrots.
Today is the first day of the rest of my life. I can do this thing, I am
Woman, I am Strong....