Friday, February 29, 2008

burgers and photos

Ay, yai yai or however that is spelled. What a yesterday ~ note the
blue sky. We had salad and burgers at Mo's in Yerba Buena Center
where I took this photo of our destination. Then we marched across
the street to see the Lee Friedlander photograhy exhibit at Moma.
For folks not fortunate enough to live in SF, our museum is that
brown building topped with the circle, being dwarfed by commerce
as this city continues to grow and choke us and bow to the money
interests and aren't they all?

The whole Moma 4th floor is photography currently ~ 400 of those
by Friedlander, who traveled extensively and somehow captured the
unusual with his black and white photos. Well worth seeing, but
allow lots of time or plan to return for follow-up visits.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

princess nicotine

When James Gandolfini bursts into song, we knew we would
enjoy this DVD produced by the Coen brothers. It also stars
Susan Sarandon, Mary Louise Parker, Elaine Stritch and
everyone in John Turturro's family, as he directed this romantic
comedy about a man who smokes too much and cheats on
his wife with Kate Winslet (above). Commano says, "rent it"!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

you found me just in time

I was up wandering the Streets of Stressville last night and even though
I've been there plenty of times before, I still get hopelessly lost. So
then I opened some photos of the Blogmaid's 4 year old RR, taken
yesterday when the sun was out and life was good. Switcheroo, back to
sleep and the knowledge that "this too shall pass" ~ we are all a lot
stronger and more resilient than we think we are. Now to yoga and
more work on this crazy mind and less-than-perfect body. Thanks, Blogmaid!

P.S. and special thanks to the Link Maker from Goleta ~ check out the
two new websites over there on our right.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

my favorite (and only) magazine

I started reading the New Yorker during my many dental visits for
braces back in high school. Of course it was over my head, and I
will confess that sometimes Husbando and I write question marks
by some of the cartoons. After college, I subscribed and here,
decades later, I still love the New Yorker. My computer consultant
friend in Goleta sent me this very cool website. Be sure to read
all the comments. Oh, I love the fiction and poetry first, then the
jokes and then the inside bits. When we go to NYC (not often enough)
we clip all the reviews for plays and museums.

It's the only magazine I read on a fairly consistent basis and I try to
pass what I consider great fiction on to the Blogmaid or Dancing Jen.

Monday, February 25, 2008

i am a dunce (continued)

That's a typical email subject line in my work world, from me.
I used to use mea culpa, but by now I've grown to love my
own little dunce world.

So this morning I'm trying to add a couple of new links to
my blog and also get rid of the stupid Adsense. Success
on the latter! I never earned a penny from those ads that
seemed to have been generated by an automated moron.

I also succeeded in rearranging the links, but not adding
to them, so I will leave it alone and ask for help from Dakota
in Goleta. I had no desire to change the layout, needless
to say. I feel tension rising, so I will stop.

The two links I need to share with you:
1) SF Theaterblog by the Great Plotnik ~ I really think
he's better than the reviewers in the chronny. Take a look!
2) WHERE-TO-GUIDE by my friend Bev Dubrin. She's
just starting online after years of printed newsletters
and I think you'll enjoy her writing and information.

Someday we'll see them in the column on the right, which
by the way I use ALL the time for handy linking. But now
to send a "help me" email...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

one of the very best...

It was well worth battling the traffic and weather yesterday to
enjoy this delightful play The Scene, written by Theresa Rebeck
and directed by Amy Glazer. Very sharp and funny dialog with
lines such as, "I don't know, water just isn't very festive", when
someone isn't drinking. The four actors are superb.

We discovered this little theatre several years ago when the
artistic director used to pass out flyers in Union Square at
the 1/2 off ticket place. Then he would come into the big box
and drop more off on every floor. His hard word has paid
off and the SF Playhouse is a success. Yeah!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

oh no, it's cny again...

Today is the dreaded Chinese New Year Parade in downtown San
Francisco. It starts at 6pm, but the entire world wants to line up at
our windows and use our bathrooms beginning about 4 o'clock. It's
a mess, trust me here. Business in the cafe will be strong, but the
rest of the store will suffer and I expect a few call-outs from those
big boxers who have been though this in previous years.

And poor planning. Husbando and I have downtown theatre at 3pm,
so when we head home we will be in the heart of the worst traffic.
But yes, it is a pretty parade if you like dragons and children wearing
red. I'm not wild about either, frankly.

Friday, February 22, 2008

stop the right brain

These are the notebooks filled with my 6 years worth of writing. Of
course everything is still on the computer, but I am one of those people
who likes to read words on the actual page. I think now that I'm more
secure with this blog, I'll go back and do a little cutting and pasting and
fill a post or two with some old daily writes. Permission granted...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

screw the left brain

I have been writing just about every day for almost 6 years. Isn't that
amazing? The is one of the handouts Mistress Jane gave us on our
first day of class at The Writing Salon. I took the Personal Essay
class because at that time it fit into my schedule and I keep taking
classes. I usually write a shitty first draft, but you can see that I have
been given sacred permission to do that, so what's to lose?

Here's more of my home office bulletin board featuring Barry Bonds
catching an amazing almost-home run at The Stick, the ill fated Equal
Rights Amendment up there on the left (too radical giving equality
to...gulp...women!) and some affirmations (I am a warm and loving
person) right under the Permission sign. The exclamation point is a
warning from Planned Parenthood that George W. Bush is anti-choice.
I'll be able to take that one down soon.

Recently two friends mentioned to me that they wish they would start
writing on a consistent basis. "There is no time", they say. "Yes there
is", I respond. More on this tomorrow...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

it's that time of year!

The Giants were on the local news last night and I wish that I had been
blogging ten (!) years ago when we went to Scottsdale for Spring
Training. The Blogmaid joined us there, so maybe she'll remember
details that I've forgotten. We stayed at the Phoenix Inn and it was
expensive, plus the breakfast was less than mediocre. My memory of
Phoenix is that it was crowded with obvious signs of too much money,
lots of glitzy shopping centers filled with things no one needs.

The games, however, were delightful and we had a terrific time. I do
remember our favorite spot was Jacqueline's Cafe in Old Town,
Scottsdale. I hope it's still there. We had dinner at Don & Charlie's
where ballplayers hang out and we saw quite a few including Rob
Nen and Oral Hershiser.

I keep files on places where I want to return ~ Scottsdale during
Spring Training is definitely in that category.

From notes in my Spring Training file I see that the hot dogs
and lemonade were both expensive and delicious at all ball parks.
I emphatically state that even though the hotel workers were
nice, do not ask them for directions.

"Good job!" my dentist Right Wing Wong said to me this morning
re brushing and that tedious flossing. I think that's the first time
he's ever said that to me. We learn so late, or like that...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

a day just for me, me, me...

I called in "sick" this morning ~ it's only the 2nd time in 8 years,
so I won't allow myself to feel too guily. Last night was a rough
close and I shelved magazines and rang the register for 4 hours
straight, while keeping track of assorted scam artists and people
who like sleeping in big box bookstores. I myself did not sleep
well last night, so I'll make up for that here shortly.

This morning I watched this delightful girly movie (Husbando fled)
and even though I'm not a Jane Austen fan, it was perfect. The
weather has turned grey and rainy again ~ books, the New Yorker
and maybe another movie ~ a good old fashioned mental health day.

Monday, February 18, 2008

well, good morning...

I used to work at another big box bookstore and there was rewarded
with some more lifelong friends. I hated that company and still do,
but a few people made it all worthwhile. My friend Evie was my fellow
manager there, and we endured some horrible agony together. She sent
me this photo taken somewhere in Minnesota. Sweet.

Yesterday was crazy busy with work, but then we spent a quiet hour
at the Jazz Vespers at the Noe Valley Ministry with the Great Plotniks.
Clairdee is a hauntingly beautiful singer and it was such a nice break
before going back to the big box for an employee party. Good dinner
too at the Pescheria on Church Street, unusual low prices and one
fine Sunday evening with special friends. We shared our "don't
preach to me ever" feelings about organized religion...

The Kansas City airport was closed for 6 hours (snow), so Ginger
did not have an easy trip home. I miss her already.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

another active day!

We went to the Legion of Honor to see the Jewish Antiquities. Bottles
and relics 5,000 years old, including a fascinating fragment of the Sea
Scrolls. Above is a photo at Land's End ~ GG bridge is in the distance.
I don't have to tell you that the weather was fabulous again.
Then we went to the Presidio (not shown) and had lunch at the Bowling
Alley (not shown) and visited an exhibit there at the old Officers' Club.
Chris Harden on Perspective. He used a lot of mirrors, no smoke. Ginger
used to sit and stare here on the Maritime Museum steps when she
lived in SF. I never knew that and now I think I'll do the same when I
think of it...great people watching.
Dinner last night at Pauline's Pizza on Valencia. No GREAT pizza in
Kansas, so we all ate too much. This is the sorbet dessert because I
didn't get the camera out in time for a pesto pizza photo. Ginger
asks if this is Blog City Diner. Clever woman, dear friend.

She goes home today, I go back to work. We are all sad.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

ginger & mary ann, gilbert & george

We started out here yesterday morning, at Crissy Field...
One needs a pastry and latte at Cafe Rulli on Chestnut Street after a
brisk walk. Note the sunshine at our outdoor table.

In the afternoon we headed to the de Young and were the first on our
block (and probably the last) to see the Gilbert & George exhibit here
from the Tate. Yikes ~ something to offend everyone, as the chronny
says this morning.

Dinner last night at The Front Porch ~ fried chicken and a burger
and just a little too much noise. But great food, as always. Now it's
back to Crissy Field and another full day. I like this no work on

Friday, February 15, 2008

women eat, walk and (always) talk

We rushed from the airport to the Roosevelt Tamale Parlor ~ here is
Husbando's paella. Ginger and I had the best chili rellenos in the world.
Because of the special day, Hubando treated his two sweethearts.
We dropped Husbando off at home and dashed down to Ocean Beach to
walk a few miles and cover a million subjects. Very special indeed...
I had to slap a few hands to get a photo of Husbando's garlic crab ~ it
was a full bowl until I walked 2 steps to get the camera. One day soon
I will publish his recipe, but now I must dress for Crissy Field and
another full day in the sun.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

sunrise from her bedroom

Our friend Ginger will be on board now. It is probably 17ยบ or so in
Kansas City with that nasty midwestern grey, some gushy snow and a
forecast for colder tomorrow. I hope her sunrise here will be just as
beautiful as it was this morning. Pink and gold, so clear you can see
all the way to Alaska...
This is our neighbor's plum tree ~ ours isn't quite this full yet. Of
course it's a faux spring and the rains will eventually come and
wash away all of this glory. But until then, we appreciate and take
gobs of photos. We sat outside for lunch yesterday at Pasta Pomodoro
on 24th Street...everyone had their faces to the sun. Lucky us...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

brotherly love

I can't give this play a good review because I was too tired
to appreciate it last night and we left at half time. I loved
"Master Harold" ...and the Boys, but Blood Knot seemed
a little dull (it's 50 years old) and the set was so bleak and
dreary and whine, whine, whine. As you may know, Athol
Fugard is a white South African playwright and this play
is about two brothers ~ one black and one who could
pass for white. I am sure that the play is much better
than I thought it was and "real" reviewers will probably
rave about it. An ACT production.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

july in february

By now everyone knows that I put up with a lot of bathroom
ugliness and crazy customer big box nonsense because I love the
book loan program. I can bring home any book and test read it
and it costs me not one cent. It's a fine employee benefit because
we do talk to customers about the books we read. Perhaps I
won't tell them about the horrid ending to The Appeal, but I
do hand sell the books that I love. Over and over again.

Miranda July is a multi-talented performance artist and writer.
I already love the first graph of this book and I see by reading
some of the July interviews that these stories are semen-filled
and quite personal. Yeah to both. Surprise, she's from Berkeley!

Monday, February 11, 2008

oh how I love jewish humor!

I always have, and god knows I didn't grow up with it in my basic
Presbyterian Pasadena home. Last night was two hours of intense
family drama at the Traveling Jewish Theatre on Florida Street.
The little theater was packed to the gills because this play has
had some fabulous (well-deserved) reviews.

Dead Mother or Shirley Not All In Vain is about two brothers.
One dresses up as his dead mother and it takes off from there.
I don't have ANY idea how these fabulous actors remember all
those long and hilarious monologues, but they are obviously
having the time of their lives. So did we ~ see it!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

another sunny day?

Yesterday was clear, warm and totally beautiful. Not good for
retail, but we have to look at the big picture.

Don't bother with Grisham's The Appeal. It started out OK,
but he rushed the end and got all tripped up on too many
subplots. Back to Saturday, I guess.

The house sparkles and without animals it should stay that
way all week. The reader can easily see that today I'm just
filling the blog, but a commitment is a promise...

Tomorrow you'll be agog.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

a virgo comes to visit!

My House Husbando is cleaning extra thoroughly this week
because a dear friend is coming to stay with us for 3 nights.
We are both tidy people, but you know how you look at your
house differently when someone shares your space. I
have a few of my own tasks (coffee mugs, new shower curtain,
etc.) and I get to take two extra days off for long walks and
talks at Crissy Field. Anticipation!

Friday, February 08, 2008

"tell me about tiapos"

Several people have recently asked me about our writing group and I
promised I would answer them here. Tiapos = This Is A Piece of Shit,
keeps us from nattering on and on about how horrible whatever we
brought is. I guess all writers are like this ~ confidence isn't our strong
suit. But I digress.

I was invited to join this group about 5 years ago and I couldn't believe
my luck. Sometimes I still can't. At that time there were about 8 of us
and now we are down to about 5 or 6. Mistress Jane is one of the founders
and at the time she said to me, "you must commit ~ be here when we
meet or else", and I have pretty much done that.

We meet every other week at 7pm. I'm the one who pushes us to get
going because we all like to stand around Jane's kitchen and admire her
dog, Livvy B. Everyone brings something to read ~ usually. Once in a
great while a person will say, "I just want to listen tonight", and that
is OK. Our writing is often very personal and I would venture to guess
that we know each other better in some ways than many of our friends
and family do. Now we are very close friends ~ we laugh and cry
over each others pieces. We support and offer suggestions and push
each other to SEND IT OUT. Each one of us is quirky in a different way.
I have the least talent, but I'm bossier, so that counts for a lot.

I would not know how to set up a writing group, but this works for us.
The key is to put The Group way up in the most important things in
your life. If it works the way it should, it will end up there anyway.

Readers who belong to writing groups might want to add their 2¢ here!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

my nose is in a book

One of my dirty little secrets is that I LOVE John Grisham's legal
thrillers and this newest one is no exception. The Appeal has
everything ~ good vs. evil, small southern town vs. NYC wealth
and always a character or two who drinks too much and makes
big mistakes. One of my dirty little stereotypes is that I believe
southerners and Jewish people are the best damn storytellers in
the world. After all, what's a great plot? Just a story with a few
unexpected twists and some colorful characters ~ but try to
create one yourself. Yikes, that's another thing altogether.

My yesterday was spent in yoga and Some Small Town, Mississippi.
I can hear my mother now. "Where's Sister? Oh, she's sitting on the
sofa again with her nose in a book!"
From Leah Garchik's column in yesterday's chronny:

"You know the so-called Pharaoh Akhenaton? He had no genemalia. He was impudent."

Woman on cell phone with "Waltzing Matilda" ring tone, overheard in the history section of Borders on Union Square by Mark Westlund

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

my daily write (my fun job)

We have an arrangement in our store. I handle the problems in the
women's bathroom and the male managers take the men's chamber
of horrors. It usually works to my benefit because the ratio is just
naturally that men in public bathrooms are more disgusting than
females. Yesterday was an exception.

I have tried to kick this customer (I use that term loosely) out in the past.
She will sit in the cafe for hours writing in her notebooks. She has a very
strong pee smell and she is, needless to say, not only homeless but
severely disturbed. And, lordy, she is mean as a snake.

Yesterday she locked herself in one of the stalls for an hour. Finally
we called the police because she refused to answer us. I kept knocking
on the door and saying, "are you OK?" and "you have to leave now!".

Two cops showed up and she remained silent. One bravely reached
under the door and pulled out her backpack and threw it outside the
bathroom. Well, that did it ~ she started cursing and yelling and
finally emerged. "She's the same one who locked herself in the
bathroom at John's Grill last week", one of the cops noted.

I ushered her out and told her that she was banned from our store
forever. "Give me your name and title", she said, I did so and she
carefully wrote it all down in one of her 45 notebooks...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

super tuesday ~ daughters of freedom

I voted for HRC because I really think this country needs a woman
president. Not any woman, of course, but this woman who has so much
to offer. She is brilliant, first of all, and sincerely concerned about the
rights of all of our citizens. And she listens...women are so good at that.

The following was in Sunday's chronny ~ I was impressed:

Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis is president of AKT Development Corp. and an active philanthropist in the Bay Area.

My dad was national chair of Greek Americans for Bill Clinton in 1992 and again in 1996. After the new president took office, a group of Greek American leaders, including my dad, scheduled a White House appointment to talk about issues important to the community. The day before they were set to visit, a call came from the president's staff, "Are at least four of the 12 people in the leadership group women?"

Well, none of them were women. The response from the White House: "At least four women, or no meeting."

Suddenly, I found myself part of the Greek American leadership. I later learned that this shift in West Wing policy was the work of first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton through her commitment to diversity.

One of the most important issues to Greek Americans - and to me personally - is religious freedom. The Ecumenical Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church resides in Istanbul. My husband and I were married at the historic, but rarely visited, Patriarchate cathedral.

When Hillary Clinton was first lady, she convened a religious freedom conference in Istanbul. As part of her visit, she declared that she would visit the Patriarchate.

There was a huge outcry against such a visit, one that went on for days. When the government was finally convinced that the first lady would not be deterred, they paved the crumbling street in front of the beleaguered Patriarchate.

I'm for Hillary Clinton, because she has spent a lifetime fighting for and forcing change.

Monday, February 04, 2008

what's this? a football game in commano?

Well, that was fun, and I say if you have to watch one football game a
year, it should have been this one. The Salon Mistress and J. Pie had
yummy veggie chili and big ass TVs, so we could actually see who maybe
had the football. And I remembered why those first downs are important
and was hoping that the underdogs would win just in time, so it was a
fine time indeed. So now, off to an early start at the big box,

Sunday, February 03, 2008

they don't love paris

Well, this was a strange one ~ I emailed the Blogmaid to skip it
before she goes to France with her friends and family this Spring.
Every straight male I know has a "thing" for Julie Delpy who is
indeed amazing in everything she does. She wrote and directed
2 Days in Paris and of course plays the starring role. I guess I can
recommend it, if just for more Paris scenes and a few amusing incidents,
especially with Julie's parents who (for instance) serve the NYC boyfriend
rabbit for lunch. It's called a "romantic comedy". No Kleenex®.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

a fitting book review on saturday

I'm reading Saturday currently. Interesting that the author's
name is bigger than the title, no? I find it a bit ponderous, but
I'll give it another few pages. The so-called hero seems filled
with himself at this point, but maybe that will change. This novel
is on every "Best of 2007" list, but I've disagreed many times
with the experts ~ and they with me.

John Waters was in the big box yesterday, but I was tucked
away doing the banking. We have a TON of film buffs working
for us, so they were in 7th heaven.

Friday, February 01, 2008

who put this on my flix® list?

We watched Loggerheads last night and it was a short and OK movie
that was filmed on the coast of North Carolina. These turtles are so
named because their heads are quite large. Neither of us knew why
this was in the queue, some esoteric mention somewhere I imagine.

The soup and sleep did the trick and I am feeling like I can conquer
the retail world today. Well, at least I can wade through all those emails
and delete 85% of them before wandering around the store saying,
"what the?", as I usually do on my Mondays.