Thursday, January 31, 2008

variation on the chicken soup theme

I have had this nasty nasal/bronchial thing going on here for weeks, so
finally Husbando offered to bring home some chicken won ton noodle
soup for our lunch yesterday. It was yummy and HIS TREAT (you know
we have the separate bank accounts) and when I asked him which of the
many Chinese Restaurants in our nabe he went to, he said, "the Salvation
Army Chinese Restaurant" and I knew exactly, even though neither one
of us knows it's so-called Christian name. (It is, as you've guessed, right
behind the Salvation Army facility on 25th Street.) I'm much better, but
still not 100%. Another lazy home day I predict.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

the wedding party

I skipped ahead to read this one. Six friends from a high
school in NY had promised each other that they would
all run the steps together one day. The last one to get
married fell in love with a woman from Philly and he
arranged this surprise for his groomsmen. After the
wedding, the black limo dropped them off at the museum.
A white limo with the women waited at the base of the
stairs. You can see the surprise and delight on the faces
of the men in black. Then they all headed off to the reception
after this euphoric sprint. You gotta love this...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

i'm a sucker for the inspirational

Will, in our writing group, brought this book for Karen the last time we
met. My friend Gini (like Karen) grew up in Philly, so I bought this for
her, but of course I'm reading all the very moving stories about people
who run these famous museum steps. I'm only on the third chapter and
already I had to find the Kleenex® box ~ but in a good way!

Monday, January 28, 2008

seven miles from mexico

I wish my friend Mary had her own blog, but until she does, I get to cut
and paste from her emails. She bought a darling little home very close
to Bisbee down there in the high desert of Arizona, which she loves. It's
a whole different way of life and she uses puzzling acronyms and worries
about her two cats: Black Jack and Sami. This is an answer to my Q,
what's this UDA business?

About UDAs. Down here they call 'illegal aliens' 'Undocumented Aliens' -

thus - UDAs. This edge of the Warren Valley is only 7 miles from the

Mexican border (and the wildness area stretches all the way between

the border towns of Naco and Douglas). Therefore lots of folks try to

walk across to here. They are sometimes picked up by trucks. They then

shed their water bottles, hats, jackets, backpacks, and even sometimes

shoes. I'm not sure why. The locals then throw the water bottles away,

and hang the hats, backpacks, jackets, etc. on the fence across the road.

Again, I'm not sure why - it's just a tradition. Sometimes people of

'limited means' come by and take them for their own use.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

a surprisingly huge victory

Obama's win yesterday in South Carolina was impressive indeed!
I don't discuss politics in commano, but Husbando and I are both
strong lefty-type Democrats, as you might have guessed. I have
dreamed about a woman president for decades, and I will probably
vote for HRC in the 2/5 primary, but oh my, this guy inspires me.
I can see him in the oval office in less than a year, can't you?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

a must-read soon book

We are expecting a big turnout for this author and it's during
one of my closing shifts, so that's a good thing. But we'll be
short staffed due to inventory the night before, so that's a
bad thing. I have not read any of his books. The specifics:
Monday, February 4th
7 pm
Michael Pollan
Borders Union Squre
Post & Powell Streets

Friday, January 25, 2008

today i scurry back to work

But first, the rat movie. Very clever and colorful. I especially liked the
female chef who had to work twice as hard as the men to get and keep
her position. Once a feminist...

Probably my favorite scenes in Ratatouille were the times the Little
Chef stopped to appreciate his city. Who wouldn't love this movie?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

stretching, napping, cooking, eating

I made this salad last night for dinner. You who think I don't cook! The
reason we only had this is because we went here (below) for lunch~
TGP and TG Ducknik treated us to fried chicken, burger (with cheese),
gumbo, corn muffins here at the Hard Knox. Oh, yum! (You can tell
that I borrowed the photo from the internet, because we have not had
blue sky around here for many months.) The rain, the cold continue...
I brought the camera, but was too busy eating and oh mying to use it.

It was good to stretch at yoga in the morning and to lay around and
complain about the weather between naps the rest of the day. We did
watch the rat movie last night, but I'll review that for you during one
of those days when I have nothing to say. Today I need to hop on the
To Do List and actually get something DONE.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

it's only ten minutes...

No, sorry, it's not a sign that Spring has arrived, even though we all
know that pitchers and catchers report in 21 days. This means that
my 16th (!) class of the Round Robin Daily Writing and Teeth Gnashing
begins today. It's all done via email and eventually we will each have
a writing partner, but for the first 3 days all 26 students send each other
their 10 minute writes. I call this stage the Robin Cluster Fuck, but don't
tell my teacher that.

I'm happy to be forced to write everyday. I say that now because I
have not even begun. The first prompt is RIGHT UNDER MY NOSE.
Funny, here I am dragging my feet with absolutely nothing to write
about. Welcome back to the daily discipline...nada under this nose.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

it must have been the squash

What a delightful time we had last night at Ristorante Milano!
Just a couple of food photos to irk the Blogmaid. That's my salmon and
here are lamb chops (sorry Fevered Brain) and The Great Plotnik's veal
chop and you can see polenta and squash which caused heated discussions
because all 9 of us agree on politics and religion, or lack thereof. The
service, food and conversation certainly sparkled and we once again
thanked our lucky stars as we fell asleep last night, because we indeed
have the finest friends in all of North America.

It was Free Day all day yesterday, no tasks for either of us. Husbando
LOVED his commano-in-print and I already warned him that the author
does not accept belated "'scuse me, I think you're wrong here" comments,
which I understand afflict other bloggers with loyal spouses who read
their daily word droppings.

Today is the opposite of Free Day. Housey tasks galore. That's OK,
we're game. Did I mention that I have four days off in a row? Sweet!

Monday, January 21, 2008

the and the printed page

Today is Husbando's birthday and there is a gaily wrapped package
awaiting him on the kitchen table. It's this blog, all printed out,
fat (364 pages) and full of my often boring little thoughts and our
activities since I started posting here on May 11, 2005. He doesn't
"do" computers, and even if he did, this was a great excuse to get
all this stuff in print. August 26, 2007 is the last post here.

Mr. Z. did a tremendous amount of work here, transferring this
(I lack the technical terms, sorry) to a file so I could send it to
Kinko's® for printing and binding. They made two copies and I
am thrilled beyond words with the results. Thank you, Joe, and
I'm sorry this was so frustrating for you so often. Oh, it even has
a table of contents!

I showed it to my writing group last Thursday night and we were
all amazed by how much a little writing every day can produce.
Thanks, too, to Michael in Goleta for his endless technical help,
especially in the beginning when nothing made sense.

Then finally, thanks to my readers. It seems like each time I
wanted NOT to write, someone would comment and I'd feel like
a million bucks and I'd come back the next day to post something.

One last thought that I've already shared with some of you. I've
always kept journals, probably since high school. I HATE reading
them and I really should probably just burn them now so they
don't fall into the wrong hands when I pass through this veil of
tears (what's that expression?). Anyway, I don't feel that way about
commano-in-print. I like it ~ not great writing, but sheesh, it's fun
to read what I was doing and thinking these past many months.

Tomorrow I'll report on the reaction. Tonight is a special
dinner with close and treasured friends. Happy Birthday to dear
Husbando, this will show up for you in Commano the Sequel...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

tripping into the past

We helped ourselves to some nostalgia from Flix® last night and
enjoyed seeing Mort Sahl, Professor Irwin Corey, The Limeliters,
Kingston Trio, Jonathan Winters and even Maya Angelou. Some
folks certainly change over the years, but it's amazing to me that
many of the voices stay strong and sweet. Enrico Banducci was so
important to so many performers and to SF back in the day. I do
recommend this documentary ~ it's short and very upbeat.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

it's about acceptance

Not much to say this morning, so I'll report that we watched this
lackluster DVD the other night. I'm a HUGE Robin Williams fan
(he comes into the big box sometimes) and I also read the book
when it first came out. The story is intriguing ~ a mysterious
14 year old boy, or is he? But I can't really recommend the movie
because it simply isn't all that great.

Lots of changes at the big box and since they involve me and the
future, my mind is in a bit of a whirl. I need to constantly remind
myself that there are many things (most?) over which I have
absolutely no control. Let it go, Woman. Breathe. Cough.

Friday, January 18, 2008

bitch slaps in a brick building

The Writing Salon has a glamorous new home at 720 York Street and
last night our Tiapos writing group met here to inaugurate it.
Isn't it elegant and professional ~ warm and cozy too? There is also a
kitchen and a bathroom with a door that closes! Congrats to Mistress
Jane for the two months of work getting moved. How did you do it?

We were almost complete last night, a rarity considering that Chef P
drives down from Napa and Eric has to battle the Bay Bridge. Only The
Great Plotnik was MIA. As usual, we had fascinating tangential dis-
cussions including the correct definition of the term "bitch slap" which
Will used in his piece on driving around and through Pittsburgh, PA.
Eric read the memorial to his grandmother and Chef P wrote about
her mother who died last September. Karen had a zen experience in
her '92 Prius while Jane and I listened and made insightful comments.
It was a delightful meeting ~ I am so, so fortunate to have these talented
people to enrich my life. We laugh, we cry, we question and praise.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

baseball in utah in the forties

The shame of the Japanese internment camps during World War II
is tempered here in American Pastime by seeing how stoic and
adaptable the prisoners are. They only had 10 days to pack up their
belongings and climb on buses to the camps after the bombing of
Pearl Harbor. And of course then we have some fun baseball games,
a little mixed-race romance and an almost believable epiphany.
One Kleenex® for me, but in a good way.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

sloth triumphs again!

I decided to skip yoga this morning because
I have this nasty cough and I promised Husbando
that I would call the doc. I don't really have a doc
because mine all retire at approximately age 45,
but I called the office anyway to appease him.
For too long I was a walking cigarette and although
I haven't smoked for decades, all little bugs end
up lodged in my lungs. Thanks for listening...

So I'm cleaning out my office ~ see 01/01/08. Remember when we thought we might have a paperless society?
This isn't really my office, but I do collect a lot of paper.
Among other things, I decided I could toss The Great Plotnik's trip to Turkey and when we go there he can just provide us with the highlights. Ditto many notes and cards from friends near and far, some in fact now departed. Those I keep.

Truthfully, I didn't really toss much. I did reorganize and am trying to get
stacks off the floor. Mine looks like a lawyer's office without the fat
salary. The nice big difference is now I "file" using those plastic
Costco salad boxes rather than icky shoe boxes ~ and no one knows
that I have big feet. It's a mess, but I still love having a room of my own...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

we speak of glass and fog

I am finally reading The Glass Castle, a memoir by
Jeannette Walls that has been on my night stand
forever. It remains one of our top selling books and
I can understand why. Such a rough and strange
childhood and yet she continues to love her parents
and isn't bitter at all. First chapter ~ the author is
in a taxi and sees her mom digging through garbage
on a NYC street. Tough stuff.

It's v. foggy outdoors this morning and my inner spirit reflects this,
especially since I didn't get enough sleep after closing the big box
last night. It wasn't busy, but there were a few difficult people and
one young drunk with whom I spent far too much time trying to usher
out of the store. He kept apologizing and wanting to hug me and
I said, "I don't hug customers". We did call the police, but I didn't
want to have him arrested, so I kept walking him down Powell
Street until he finally disappeared. The cops were busy with far
more difficult people (I assume), so he was gone when they arrived.

Monday, January 14, 2008

warning ~ rough territories ahead

I had some comp time yesterday, so we had lunch at Fresca
out on Fillmore ~ great mussels, adequate calamari and a
"breakfast sandwich". But so nice to be out and about on
Sunday which is indeed different from the rest of the week.
Every restaurant on Fillmore was packed and some happy
people were sitting outside enjoying the rare January sun.

Do people eat breakfast sandwiches at home?

Then we went to the 2:30pm Magic Theatre world premiere
of Territories by a local Palestinian-American playwright. I
thought it would be right up my alley: invisible woman impacts
the entire world and we never even know her name. The 3 actors
did a fine job and we both really wanted to recommend this,
but no go. Husbando remarked that it was like a high school
play and I noted that it was a good thing that there was no
intermission or everyone would have left. Many slept despite
lots of noise on the stage. Maybe there will be a re-write and
I await the professional reviews. But the next Magic play is my
fave Edna O'Brien in Land of Youth and that will be terrific.

(I do like this program note: Alfredo Narciso, like many New
York actors, has predictably, appeared on Law & Order.)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

333 geary street

We had an all female lunch here yesterday (the Blogmaid and RR,
my ex-boss Jeanmarie and her daughter Sophie Pie) and it was
early enough (before some silly football game) to have lots of space
for the 4 and 5 years olds to play crawl-cat and princess games and
we could chatter away while we pushed our food around. Lefty
O'Doul's is not gourmet cuisine, by any means, but it certainly is a
bargain and great for kids who mostly play with the mashed potatoes
and macaroni. Alas, no chocolate available. There are only two or
maybe three hof brau type restaurants left in SF, due to the fact that
we Northern Californians now insist on bbq'd carrots, etc.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

today's the day!

It's Maverick's down at Half Moon Bay. I can't even write Pumpkinville
because this is a completely different side of that small town ~ and don't
call it a burb! Here I am last year and I don't know whether to wear the
red wet suit again (like my scarf, it matches my ~ oh, never mind) or
the bright yellow one that I know will look fabulous in the photos too.
Good luck to my fellow surfers. See you on the tonightly news!

Friday, January 11, 2008

slugs need noodles, naps & friends

We slithered out of the house for hot noodle soup at noon. SF has 433 noodle restaurants, but we love Mifune in Japantown. Usually we walk on Fillmore after lunch here, but it was just too
wet and dreary, so we rushed back home to be lazy. Sluggo helps not one bit, just in case you were wondering if it's some kind of grey day miracle druggo.
Then dinner over at The Great Plotniks! Here he is BBQing carrots in the rain. It was a truly fine evening and we felt alive-o just being with friends and talking about everything including politics. TGP kept wanting to take Iraq off the table and we wouldn't let him.
Home made pasta! Here is their machine which the Plotniks bought in Little Italy a few decades ago when they lived in NYC.
I had to crop this BBQ lamb chop photo too fuzzy-close because I had gnawed away at the other chop and the picture was most unattractive. Cooked perfectly and delicious, I hope you can see that. Then strong coffee and the Great Ducknik's fabulous sour cream lemon pie. It was a perfect evening and so nice to get out of Slug Haven and actually talk to smart, nice people!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

thoughts from a frisco slug

I was going to use a photo of one of these creatures, but it made me feel even worse about my non-day Wednesday. The highlight was the trip to Costco and finding blueberries for an extremely reasonable price. Then I napped and read and looked out at the grey almost-rain
and checked my camera to see that the batteries are STILL WORKING. Yes, I know how to make the best of a day off.

Last night we watched this movie which takes place eight years before Russian Dolls. The same cast, only this time they are students in an apartment in Barcelona (where we've been, so that part was really nice). It was light hearted and I appreciated Dr. J telling me about it when we discussed the sequel, which I didn't know was a sequel at the time. The title means Spanish Apartment, but of course you knew that.

Now I'm either going to have another cup of coffee or a glass of Sluggo in the hopes that I can accomplish a little something or other today.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

...and the shipfitter blues!

Ever since Husbando gave me a gloriously soft and luxurious red scarf for xmas, I've had this really stupid song floating around in my pathetic head. When someone says, "pretty scarf" and I say "it matches my eyes", they look at me with that look, you know the one ~ sort of tolerant and poor thingy. My friend Ginger (Kansas) used to sing this when the world was young, but no less complicated, I assure you. So I Googled the damn thing when I dragged home from the big box last night and here we go:

The song you are looking for was a one-hit-wonder by flash-in-the-pan artist Guy Marks. It was released in 1978:

(Words and Music by Guy Marks)





Tuesday, January 08, 2008

testy times in the land of plenty

Is it my imagination, or are many of us a little on edge these days? A wise friend suggested that all the real and imagined emotions/memories/activities of the holidays are just now taking their toll and hyper sensitivity is the direct result. For instance:
Male customer: "do you have Such and Such A Book?"
Female manager: "I don't know" (getting ready to say, but I'll look it up)
MC: "do you work here or not?"
FM: wanting to say, no, I just wear the badge and walkie talkie as fetching accessories, but
instead muttering in a pissy manner, "I only wish I knew every book in the store, Sir!"

On a positive note, it is so nice having the city and the big box getting back to normal. Closing last night was pretty easy (with a few exceptions), compared to holiday hell and I could walk down Powell Street without getting pushed around, or vice versa. But I feel the tension and it seems like several of my friends are not displaying their typical glacial calm these past few days. This too shall pass...

Thanks to the internet for the storm clouds gathering photo, I'll return it tomorrow.

Monday, January 07, 2008

david mamet bites the hand that fed him

We both enjoyed this one act (!) Mamet play last night at ACT ~ it's fast-paced and witty and only drags a little in the second scene when "the secretary" enthusiastically carries on about making a movie of an exceedingly boring book. The title, I gather from my close friends at Google, refers to some biblical reference about good luck and let's get down to work. The play skewers Hollywood and movie executives and the whole art vs. business argument in a rather original way, especially since Mamet was the screenwriter for several successful movies including The Postman Always Rings Twice and The Untouchables. The best part was definitely the dialogue between the two (male) movie executives ~ friends for 11 years. Commano says, "go!" to Speed-The-Plow.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

still escaping abroad

Neither one of us could remember why Russian Dolls was on the Flix® list and we both thought it would be one of those 1/2 hour and goodnight movies, but it was really lots of fun and of course you recognize the delightful Audrey Tautou in the still shot above. The cute guy 30ish hero up there takes us from Paris to London to St. Petersburg while he ponders his complicated and messy love life. It's almost like a travelogue with some casual sex and a little angst thrown in. No Kleenex® and a few honest chuckles ~ delightful scenes of three of the most interesting cities in the world.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

wind, rain, inconvenience

Our electricity was off yesterday at home for several hours and then during the night and I am up too early again worrying that I might be late for work. At the big box we kept getting scary flickers, so we made sure every floor and desk had flashlights and we all reviewed what to do if the electricity fails. Quite a few trees are down, but as usual the burbs seem to suffer more than the actual city. It seems calm this morning. We are spoiled by normally nice weather here, so not many of us accept these Mother Nature is a Mother occurrences with a smile and a wave of the hand. Lots of callouts yesterday, but since we had more staff than customers, no harm was done. In fact, I almost cheered when someone phoned to say, "I can't come in today". And that, as you may have guessed, is not the normal me...

Friday, January 04, 2008

as the rain descends today...

(a friend sent this via email ~ often I'm the last to get these, so if you've seen it before, just move on, as Notthat would say...)

Hello and thank you for calling The State Mental Hospital.

Please select from the following options menu:

If you are obsessive-compulsive, press 1 repeatedly.

If you are co-dependent, please ask someone to press 2 for you.

If you have multiple personalities, press 3, 4, 5 and 6.

If you are paranoid, we know who you are and what you want, stay on the line so we can trace your call.

If you are delusional, press 7 and your call will be forwarded to the Mother Ship.

If you are schizophrenic, listen carefully and a little voice will tell you which number to press.

If you are manic-depressive, it doesn't matter which number you press, nothing will make you happy anyway.

If you are dyslexic, press 9696969696969696.

If you are bipolar, please leave a message after the beep or before the beep or after the beep. Please wait for the beep.

If you have short-term memory loss, press 9. If you have short-term memory loss, press 9. If you have short-term memory loss, press 9.

If you have low self-esteem, please hang up our operators are too busy to talk with you.

If you are menopausal, put the gun down, hang up, turn on the fan, lie down and cry. You won't be crazy forever.

If you are blonde, don't press any buttons, you'll just mess it up.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

to nurture our souls on a grey day

So far this graph in The Diving Bell and The Butterfly is my favorite. Remember the author is completely paralyzed except for the one working eye:

I receive remarkable letters. They are opened for me, unfolded, and spread out before my eyes in a daily ritual that gives the arrival of the mail the character of a hushed and holy ceremony. I carefully read each letter myself. Some of them are serious in tone, discussing the meaning of life, invoking the supremacy of the soul, the mystery of every existence. And by a curious reversal, the people who focus most closely on these fundamental questions tend to be people I had known only superficially. Their small talk had masked hidden depths. Had I been blind and deaf, or does it take the harsh light of disaster to show a person's true character?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

paris on my mind...

This film is exceptional ~ little vignettes that everyone who has ever been to Paris, or thought about going (or not) will enjoy. 1/2 Kleenex® at the end, the happy kind...

I've had this book for years and never had the courage to read it, but now that the movie is coming out, I am doing so. As you probably know, it was written by a French man who was totally paralyzed at age 43. He communicates his thoughts by blinking his left eye. The human spirit keeps it from being depressing, even though Bauby died just days after publication.

Today ~ no smoking in bars, restaurants, cafes, etc. in France! Who ever thought that would happen? Our niece lives in Paris, and used to complain about the jerks who smoked at her gym. I bet she breathes easier today. Congratulations ~ makes one want to leap on a plane, grab 600,000 Euros and order (awkwardly) a fresh croissant with coffee in a bistro no longer filled with smoke. Then maybe a stroll by the river, over a bridge ~ get lost, get found...

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

i hereby resolve...

Happy New Year, dear friends! Yes, we were able to close the store at 6pm last night, it helped having 3 people voicing constant overhead announcements and making odd little watch tapping and pushing motions to all the customers who don't speak English. Then of course waking the folks who sleep is always fun. Oooooops, didn't mean to kick you...

I came home to a grilled cheese sandwich and Trader Joe potato chips. I meant to take a photo of such elegance, but I forgot. Even though the batteries are still working (ahem). Anyway, I was happy to be home ~ the downtown was packed with folks who would never see the midnight hour, and I've always loved those hats that sparkle.

A few resolutions ~ just because it's fun to read other people's plans for the New Year:
  1. push myself to try different kinds of writing ~ to that end I have signed up for a one day poetry class in February (we love The Writing Salon)
  2. keep with the Round Robin daily writes ~ starting Jan. 22nd and already paid for!
  3. big fix-up of our house ~ saving money frantically, as it will cost a bundle
  4. clean up my home office (didn't I just do this? what happened?)
  5. clean up my work office
  6. read more books ~ the big box book loan program is one reason I am working there, did I forget that?
  7. stay cool at work, remember the 401(k) goal and keep my head when all about me...
  8. buy iPhone knockoff from Verizon® when prices go down
  9. always do what's right, it's just so damn much easier
  10. breathe
Happy, happy birthdays to the Blogmaid, Leah and Nicole today!