Saturday, May 31, 2008

je voudrais voir une email

The Blogmaid is in Paris right now and I am waiting for her "all
is well" email. I have brought the dictionary and useless phrase
book up here by msBook, preparing to translate her flawless
French. She is with her husband, two daughters and some women
friends ~ lots of fodder for commano en juin! There is supposed
to be a computer in their apartment, but we've all traveled
enough to know how things don't always work out perfectly,
and in the end, that's so much a part of the grand adventure.

Friday, May 30, 2008

getting smart in frisco

No, this isn't our car, but we are seeing these ALL over lately!
I remember the first time we saw the Smart Car in London and
then last year in Italy. I love the idea and will so miss those
400 ton SUVs and pick-up trucks that will be rusting away
soon. I inspected a Smart Car last night on Sanchez Street,
bright yellow with warm red-tone seats. It looked like there
was enough leg room for tall people, but only two of those,
of course. A space for groceries or suitcases behind the seats
and that was that. The car of the future...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

belated celebration

No gifts, please ~ your comments are all I need. Commano is
3 years old this month, the actual May 11th date was the first
awkward post. No photos then and a lot of time spent on the
technological stuff, although looking back, I wrote in a more
uplifting manner; inspirational quotes and pretty poems to
keep us all in merry moods. That lasted about 3 weeks.

When did I decide to write everyday? Was that wise? No,
probably not. But now this damn thing is like another person,
following me around and asking to be fed everyday. I no
longer inspire and many days I just type after stealing a
photo from my iPhoto file or from the internet.

I like blogs that are more personal than mine, the nitty
gritty heart-wrenching Big Issues. But no, I write about
MY city, other cities, my friends and Husbando. Books and
movies and the big box ~ nothing exciting for sure. Of
course what all bloggers love are the comments, that
means people are reading this and that makes it all
worthwhile. Thanks, readers...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

yes, adventure in alameda!

This is the "new concept" Alameda store ~ the customers can download
music and burn CDs at these computers. The big box employee told us
that they are usually busy, but not so on a Tuesday morning. We loved
the store, so clean and tidy with a little balcony area off the cafe ~ tables
and chairs and a view of the bay.
You can see that not one cup of coffee has yet been spilled on the new
carpet. Impressive fixtures, innovative design. Our new web site is
almost ready to go too, that should be exciting and we are all eager
to test it in and out of the stores. We are now Amazon-free.
Alameda is delightful! Pretty old houses and lots of tall trees. We
found this restaurant on Park Street, an old fashioned tea and
coffee shoppe called Julie's. My kind of place.
We had salads and quiche outside in the sunny patio while an
old white cat watched us between naps. Alas, I didn't get an
outside photo, too busy eating. Such a pleasant way to start
the work day ~ no phone calls, no scam artists, no worries...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

adventure ahead!

This morning I'm going on a little field trip to the new big box in
Alameda ~ do you recognize this Posey Tube? I'm driving with a
friend from work and she has a coming up, so we'll have
lunch after our oooohs and ahhhs and "is that broken already?"
late morning romp. Now I'm checking maps and web sites because
I have not been to Alameda in ages/decades and the East Bay can
be a bit of a puzzle to me. Good to get out of the routine, however.

Monday, May 26, 2008

memorial day monday

With a heavy fog/cloud cover this morning. Maybe it will burn
off ~ about 5pm again? I close the big unruly box tonight, so
this morning I will do housey things and then read and nap.

We watched this movie last night. Steve is a reporter and Sienna
a fluff-brain actress ~ or is she? Actually it was pretty good and
I enjoyed the give-and-take between these two. Also Interview
is a very short movie, about 85 minutes. Taut.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

working the holiday weekend

I don't mind, really I don't. But, man, the streets and cable cars are
incredibly packed with tourists this weekend. Yesterday at one time
everyone on our 4th floor was speaking French (except me), so that
was fun...and yes, they are spending money. At least we had sunshine
today and no difficult customers to speak of. I am seeing a lot of dogs
inside stores lately and when I dare to suggest that they shouldn't be
in our cafe, the owner maintains that he is handicapped and has a
special license for the dog. Today at Macy's a woman had a big dog
OFF LEASH ~ that was a first for me. I don't really have a problem
with pets inside stores or restaurants, it's just a change worth noting.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

feel free to miss this movie...

Maybe that's because the book (by Ian McEwan) was just too
enticing. We did watch Atonement the other night and although it
wasn't awful, by any means, it did not measure up to the book. So
commano says: read book, skip movie. You're welcome.

Friday, May 23, 2008

in the nick of time!

My friend Dancing Jen sent me this link, so now I have
my official daily post finished, thanks to her. I really
like Rick Steves and this trip to Iran is particularly
interesting. Of course he has a blog, but I didn't know
that before today.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

don't be deceived

It looks gorgeous, but actually it was v. windy and unpleasant at Ocean
Beach this morning. Those brown spots on the sand are for bonfires
(I think), in anticipation of the long holiday weekend. Mollie goes back
to Portland tomorrow, so we both needed a walk and some chit chat.
With that wind we had to yell and all that fresh air makes me think that
a nap might be approaching rapidly and momentarily. Yawn...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

it's a zoo in this city

Hurry to dinner! At 2:30 today each penguin at the SF Zoo got one fish
stuffed down its throat after marching up to the human with the bucket.
Then he/she would hop back into the water and swim away, diving and
rolling around ~ performing for the audience.

Too bad RR is in the shade here, and I should have taken a photo of
her dress, because she carefully planned her attire to match these very
pretty flamingos. We had a wonderful few hours at the zoo, despite a
rather ferocious wind and some lethargic lions, tigers and lemurs.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

nice guy celebrity

I was only one out of five people in America, it appears, who didn't
know who Mario Lopez is. Apparently he dances with stars and it's
not easy finding a photo of him with a shirt on. In any event, he came
to the big box last night to sign his new workout book, and the store
was packed with his fans. Mario is terrific ~ friendly and patient ~
even though some in the line were, shall we say, "odd"? I don't do
well with crowds, so I ran around the rest of the store, but the event
was a huge success and now all 5 of us know who Mario is.

Monday, May 19, 2008

i love a mystery

Way back in '88 or so, I read Elizabeth George's first book
A Great Deliverance. I expected a fun escape, a little adventure
perhaps. Instead I was moved to tears (I know, I know ~ no
"lordy she cries so easily" comments, please) and I have not
only read every book she writes the moment it is published,
I actually buy it in hard cover. After I'm finished I send the
book on to my step, Nancy, who is also a fan. Last year Ms. George
came into our big box to sign her books ~ a drop-in visit and
I dropped everything (I was in an IMPORTANT meeting) to
visit with her. She is more beautiful than in her photo and
exceedingly gentle and devoid of that ego me-first business
that so many authors exhibit when they come to visit and
sign their books...usually demanding that they all be in the
front window, or at least on the first floor. Anyway, this is
Elizabeth George's 14th psychological suspense novel and after
24 pages I am already deep in Cornwall, England. Lovely.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

do you know tom?

We met Mollie last night for dinner out on Geary Street at Tom Kiang's
(between 21st and 22nd Avenues). We also met the returning fog head-
on and, as predicted, it felt like a welcome old friend. There are about
a million Chinese restaurants in SF and most of them not particularly
memorable, but we like Tom's even if the service can be a bit snippy.
I always have the roast duck, Mollie the Singapore noodle shrimp and
Husbando some cod and bean concoction. It seemed like all the
restaurants out there in "the avenues" were packed, maybe because
their prices are still reasonable and quantities more than substantial.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

heat wave in frisco

Actually I took this photo in July of 2006, in Portland, Oregon. Our
heat waves here in SF are rather mild, lasting no more than 4 days max.
It is so unusual to walk to/fro BART without a jacket and of course,
I love it, but I hear lots of complaining from fellow travelers. The fog
will probably roll in tonight, but until then it feels delightful to sleep
with the windows open, bbq on the back deck and appreciate this
annual mid-May treat before the potato soup fog of June/July/August.

Friday, May 16, 2008

more oil than blood

I've neglected movies and their subsequent reviews here for a few
days. This was another good surprise because I thought the film
would be too violent for me, but it was not. Of course Daniel Day-
Lewis was superb, but we also appreciated the film itself and it's
one of those that floats around in the mind for a long time afterwards.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

she loves coffee and solid foods

No the sun isn't setting for me after the procedure, but I am still a little
groggy and a lot relieved. Nothing a good high fiber diet won't fix. And,
yes, the coffee is tasting superb, as is the apple. I am so very delighted
that it's all over and am now going to nap and recover some more.
We had one of those oh-my-god sunsets last night. This is from our
back room and although beautiful, no where as spectacular as the
real thing. Thanks to Notthat for his detailed colonoscopty account last
Monday, I knew exactly what to expect yesterday and this morning.
And I have five years before the next one.

The nurses and doctor refer to the slam-bam sedative as "take a little
nap" and "are you feeling sleepy?" instead of bong! you're out of it
completely in two seconds. Mood? Proud, relaxed, mellow...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

undernourished & churlish

It's an all-clear-liquid-only day today and I miss my coffee and freshly
squeezed orange juice way too much. I have That Procedure that people
over 50 get every five to ten years tomorrow morning. I should always
mention that only people with money and/or insurance get this and I
believe that is the reason that colon cancer is the #3 killer in our
country. It's a very expensive deal and don't get me started on the
whole issue of health care again, not without my coffee. No way.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

my glamorous life

Argh. I didn't get home until 2am after having our carpets cleaned
last night. Two men who worked quickly, but there is a lot of nasty
spots of spilled coffee, and worse, in the big box with 4 floors. So
I'm a little groggy today and have a couple of interviews to conduct
the moment I arrive. Then a manager meeting and finally home...

Monday, May 12, 2008

splish splash

I don't know if the highlight of my rare Sunday off was the French
toast at Pasta Pomodoro or this riveting play Octopus at Magic
Theatre at Fort Mason (free parking). My initial thought was,
"oh no, not another gay-based play", but how wrong was I? Very.
This is about 4 young men who have group sex one night and
the many repercussions afterwards ~ so rich with emotion and
all kinds of love and jealousy. It's one act (70 minutes) and well
worth your time ~ we both feel that it was the best Magic play
of the entire season. Some terrific and exhausting acting too,
including Liam Vincent who was in the Dead Mother at the
Traveling Jewish Theatre earlier this year. Excellence.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

to thine own self be true

I have not a maternal bone in my body, really. I never wanted children
and was wise enough to realize this at a young age. Yes, it's odd and
probably "unnatural", but given the choice of holding a baby or a book,
I'd take the latter any day of the week. So how come I get these glorious
roses for Mother's Day? Because I lucked out with step children and
three of the four have called and the girl child sent these beauties.

Real mothers work so hard! I love hearing about RR's daily growth and
development from the Blogmaid. There is so much love and humor ~
it's better than most TV programs and I look forward to my daily email
filled with the joys and fears of parenting. We laugh about my weekly
babysitting on Wednesday night, which has not happened yet because
of logistics, of course.

On an amusing note. I had an eye doctor once who thought I'd love to
hear about his grandchildren. I'm paying for THIS, I thought? So as
gently as possible I informed him that although I might look like a
person who is interested in his grand kids, I wasn't. He retired shortly
thereafter. See, and you thought I was a nicer person than I am....

This book by Michael Gruber is fabulous! The Book of Air & Shadows.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

wind power ~ here to stay!

We drove home via Stockton this morning and were shocked to see
how many wind turbines there are now at the Altamont Pass area in
Livermore. I checked online when I was home and sure that Husbando
was getting the laundry going, and there are 6,000. Isn't that amazing?
Only two nights away and I feel like we have been gone for weeks. One
of the many benefits of mini-vacations, and I have tomorrow off too.

Friday, May 09, 2008

"drive", she said

Most of our morning was spent driving ~ starting here at Mokey Hill
(I'm a native now) and then on to Angel's Camp which seemed too
civilized and filled with shopping centers for the likes of us. So back
we went on a l-o-n-g drive to Volcano. It is beautiful country though,
with the rolling hills covered with some sort of grass stuff that was
almost purple in color. A light lavender maybe? Unusually pretty.
A perfectly delightful lunch above at the Union Hotel in Volcano. I had
a burning desire to eat outside and so few of the places here have
porches or patios...I think maybe it's just too hot most of the year?
After lunch we had coffee and coconut (!) pie at the Humble Pie. Yum.

Dinner last night at the Caffe del Oro (get it?) in Sutter Creek, pretty
fine food despite just a little too much balsamic on the salad and in
the bread dip. But honest, that was our only pickyness.

I am living part of my life now in NYC with The Book of Air and Shadows
which I recommend highly. Great writing and many engaging plots. So
to get back to my book we found a much faster route from Volcano to
Jackson and I sat out on the back lawn here at the motel all by myself
and my book for several perfect hours. Vaca time rocks.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

historic road trip

Even though Husbando goes to the AAA office about once a week, the
map we have of California is from the 1940's (it seems) and so of
course we got lost several times along the way. They've put in a few new
freeways in the last 60 years. But no major marital spats and we are
here at the Holiday Inn Express in Jackson. The photo above is of the
historic Main Street in Jackson and we had lunch at Magdaleno's and
it was good! Fresh and tasty. But Jackson is sort of dismal with lots of
FOR LEASE and CLOSED signs ~ very sad.

This is a little side street in historic Jackson. I liked the two steeples.
After lunch we went to the Indian Casino about 3 miles away, thinking
we might go there for dinner. Oh, awfulness and no way and gag. All
that smoke and very sad senior citizens in sweat suits, gambling away
their social security checks. I know, it's their money, but it depressed
us both because the place was so busy on a Thursday afternoon.
We felt a lot better when we went to historic Sutter Creek and found a
total of 4 nice looking restaurants to choose from tonight. And it was
a happy little town with beautiful bed and breakfasts and no FOR LEASE
signs and we felt better about our trip and life in general. The promise
of food will do that for us...
This historic tree was in a back yard in historic Sutter Creek and I don't
know what it is, but I do love it, don't you?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

the bag in the hallway (again)

Yes, a few days off and tomorrow we'll be heading east to the
Gold Country ~ Jackson and Volcano specifically. We are getting
stale and I'm feeling snappish and nothing cures that for us like
a change of scenery. Even though I love my city, I'm tired of the
traffic and homeless, the worry about work and making Plan,
whether or not to call the paramedics and who left this suitcase
in the cafe and should we notify the bomb squad?

Today will be yoga and errands and maybe a nap. Of course I will
take msBook with me and isn't amusing that now the first thing I
look for in a motel is Wi Fi. Noise? Pool? Comfy bed? Who cares,
I need a speedy internet connection.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

pretty city, dumb movie

I actually bought this silly movie (with my big box employee
discount) for several reasons:
1) the first half of the film takes place in Florence, Italy and
even includes the Old Pharmacy
2) we both read a book entitled The Monster of Florence and
it refers often to Ridley Scott and this movie
3) I have more money than brains
The book hasn't been published yet, but I'm sending them both
to Ginger in Santa Barbara and then they'll be available for the
Great Italian Reunion in August.

But the movie is horrid, except for the scenes of Florence. I
have problems with women FBI agents who find themselves
in difficult situations outdoors, still with their 6" high heels on.
Or am I just too picky?

Monday, May 05, 2008

obviously a strike!

The Blogmaid and family are in Maryland visiting their older daughter
who is a pitcher for the Towson University team. It is her final year
and the team is doing very well indeed. I love this photo because it
shows the intensity and strength that baseball requires for women
as well as men. Let's all now toast Title Nine and equality...

Sunday, May 04, 2008

we should discuss books, no?

I'm finally reading this book and I really do recommend it, although
I don't find it to be beautiful writing in any way/shape/form. But
Hosseini knows how to spin a tale and I really need to know more
about this area of the world (it takes place in Afghanistan), so this
is easier than the newspapers and history books, for me. Yes, it
will get harsh and difficult, but my reward when I'm finished will be...
One of my favorite women at work said she honestly could NOT
put this down. The back cover says "energetic writing, compel-
lingly flawed characters, an intricately crafted thriller that twists,
shocks and surprises". And it's in trade paperback so I actually
bought it. 1000 Suns is a loan from the big box.

And please don't worry, the 6th email of the Fevered Brain did
get through. Who knows about these e-mysteries?

Saturday, May 03, 2008

hope springs eternal

I'm so used to the tables with the books and the "Stress Tests"
of the Scientologists on Powell Street that I barely give them
my usual sneer anymore. They always have customers and
sometimes people line up and wait patiently. Argh. Often
they are inside the BART station too, do they pay rent? I
really would like to know since it's such a prime location.

Words cannot describe how delighted I was yesterday when I
walked down into the BART station at Market and Powell.
There were people lined up on both sides of the entrance
(before the lobby area) and each one was wearing a mask.
Some surgical type masks along with a few bandanas. I guess
there must have been about 20 of them, 10 on each side.
They were all young (under 30), assorted colors/races, and
each held a sign. Some said:

and my favorite:

And yes, the tables were still doing a brisk business, but at
least there is now (finally) some visible opposition.

Friday, May 02, 2008

we talk of bugs and barbecues

Here from the Blogmaid earlier this week:

Did I tell you about the ladybugs? Maybe briefly? At RR's school, one
of the teachers brought a container of ladybugs and let the kids release
them in the garden. Ryan wanted to do it at our house, and so when
Bill said he was going to the hardware store, she asked him to get a
container of ladybugs. According to the label on the container, it
contained 1500 bugs. Here is one of them.

I checked online and discovered the these women bugs are actually
beetles and they will eat the aphids in our gardens. But I never knew
that one could buy them. The things we learn in pre-school!

The highlight yesterday was a delightful OUTDOOR bbq lunch over
at TGP's. Quite wonderful ~ sausages with grilled peppers and
onions, avocado/tomato salad, ice cream and biscotti for dessert.
This, we all decided, has been the prettiest Spring ever in SF.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

from J to Z to $$$$

I took the J car to/fro yesterday and had a v. expensive hamburger here
with my friend Gini. It's been a few years since I've been to Zuni and the
food is still wonderful, but pricey/pricey. With coffee, lemonade and
one dessert split, it came to $30 each, including tip. Seems like a lot for
a burger lunch, doesn't it? But some things have changed for the better ~
the service is a lot friendlier and at least I've grown out of the need to
drive everywhere, so I didn't have to pay for parking. As with most
restaurants in SF now, they add the 4% for healthcare for their staff,
as per our city requirements. I'm OK with that, it's a small price to pay.

Beautiful weather ~ I'm off for a walk now and a latte along the way.
Do NOT let me post about how much that costs, please.