Monday, June 30, 2008

back home in the blue tent

Here's the Blogmaid's 4.5 year old RR with Josie, the grey and white
trimmed furball. Things are getting back to normal in Pumpkinville
and that's the way it should be.

In the meantime, congrats to Loren on the sale of her book to
Scribner's. If everything works the way it should, even I might have
a piece in this anthology. I've been using my Morbid Curiosity
coffee mug every morning to help the sales process, and of course
that was essential. (Actually I only use that cup on work days
because on weekends I have coffee in the Nothing Runs Like a
Deere tractor mug that my friend Ginger in Kansas gave me.)
But of course I digress. The book will come out in the Fall of
2009, and I already told (errrrrr, asked) Bossman about the new
release party and book signing at the big box and I expect every
one of you loyal readers to attend. He said "you betcha!" or
words to that effect.

My non-news. I close tonight AND tomorrow night this week
and we are having lots of fix-it work done on our house. I don't
handle mess and disorder very well, but it's about time I accept
this and go-with-the-flow. Does anyone really care if the dirty
power saw, rags, wooden boards, paint cans, cords, ladders
and assorted tool boxes make me irritable? I think not...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

meet ann randolph

Based on The Great Plotnik's SF Theater Blog review, we knew
we would thoroughly enjoy Squeeze Box at the Marsh where it
was SRO for this terrific performer. Ann Randolph worked for
10 years in a women's homeless shelter and her play is sad and
funny at the same time. What touched me is that she is still
so moved by her characters that I could see her well-up from
time to time, even after performing this play countless times.

We went to the 5pm performance and were home in time to
watch the v. tense Giants/A's game ~ love those one run until
the 9th inning dramas.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

how do you say WTF in French?

The Blogmaid snapped this photo on her recent trip. The best I
can come up with is that maybe this is some sort of meeting
place for confused tourists. Ideas?

Also, Ms. Maid gently corrected me this morning. The Fevered Brain
is actually in The Tonsil War blog over there on the right. A good
blogger would link it, but I need to get moving here...

Work stuff. We no longer accept returns without a receipt in our
big box. Now WHAT are the scam artists going to do? You know,
the ones who neglect to pay for a book and then want to return
it for store credit and spend that down to $9.99 so they can get cash
back for god knows what. So far, all quiet on the scam front.

Friday, June 27, 2008

a full and fulfilling thursday

Yesterday my friend Susan trained down from her home in Davis
and we DID the Frida exhibit and the de Young. Since we hadn't
seen each other in about 25 years, we had a lot of catch-up to do.
She is one of those lucky women who has not changed one iota,
except for the one stray grey hair ~ I would have recognized her
anywhere, and that's the truth. We reconnected because of our
blogs (she's The Fevered Brain over there on the right) and the
power of e-mail. What fun! Lunch at Cafe de la Presse, outside
where it was not too chilly.

I truly enjoyed going back to Frida and Chihuly and saw things
that I missed the first time. We discovered that Susan's camera
has a "museum setting" and mine doesn't, so I had to (ahem)
borrow the above photo from the internet. Anti-Mass is the
name of this wood sculpture and it is made from a burned Baptist
church somewhere in the South. Cornelia Parker is the artist.
Extremely dramatic and moving, as you can imagine. "You can
almost smell it", Susan murmured.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

our lavish lunch

I have no idea what Goza-Goza means, but we have noticed this truck
at the always-busy soccer field at 25th and Harrison for many weeks.
So we walked up and back from Chez Slug on Tuesday.
Yes, it was fresh & delightful. We munched on our Cuban sandwiches
and split a bottle of Coke®, not the can, mind you, cans are for gringos.
Very reasonable, of course. (San Francisco is known for fine food.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

no, it wasn't just a hobby

Four women artists are now on exhibit at the Legion of Honor: Berthe
Morisot, Mary Cassett, Eva Gonzalez and Marie Bracquemond. These
were all painted from 1865 to 1895 by the 3 Parisians and 1 American.
Pretty much the subject matter is other women, children and the
occasional animal. Why? Well, silly, because what man would sit for
a WOMAN artist then? Also, women were not allowed in the fun and
lively cafes of Paris. Of course I loved the feminist slant of the exhibit
and I'm highlighting A Loge in the Theatre des Italiens (1874) by Eva
Gonzalez because her husband made her stop painting. The cur.

While you're there, don't miss the three Chihuly pieces on display.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

my daily french treasures

The Blogmaid sends me a photo with every email and these are
two favorites. Here you see Mr. Blogmaid, RR and that tower.
Is there a greater pleasure than pouring the first cup of coffee
and opening our emails? And now a photo too...heaven.
Of course I should be standing here right now with a map in one hand
and my camera in the other. But this is second best.

Monday, June 23, 2008

my sunday at the big box

For some reason, people mention that they enjoy my everyday stories
of retail life in downtown SF. Here was yesterday:

Mr. Whitaker spent some time reading in our store and of course with
our walkie talkies, word spreads quickly. He also purchased book(s) and
when he left he smiled and nodded to everyone, including me. Debra
Winger was in last week, but I missed her. Celebrities are usually v.
friendly and pleasant to deal with. I think I've mentioned that when the
baseball players come in they usually head to the Sports magazine
section. Surprised? As a rule, the movie stars are shorter than we
expect and baseball players are taller. Randy Johnson is easy to spot.
(Some of the booksellers keep autograph books in their lockers.)

Then there was the woman who wanted our cashier to check every
quarter in her register for the one from Wyoming. The checkout line
grew and the mind boggled...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

third time ~ still a charm

Wonderful Weeds, Season 3. Just as quirky and crazy as ever. We
read somewhere that it's a huge hit in Britain, whereas they must
think most of our TV shows are ridiculous. Mary Louise Parker
is fabulous, as always. From Flix®, but you already knew that.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

shame on me

I've never read ANY books by Mr. Rushdie, so I will start here
with his newest. The Fevered Brain recommends Midnight
Children, but I like the feeling of a hardcover and I happen
to know and love Florence, so this seems like a good start.
And it's a free book loan dealio from the big box. I'll let you know.

Friday, June 20, 2008

a morning at the de Young

The new Science Academy will open in September, the penguins have
already moved into their new home. This is the view from the 9th floor
View Tower at the de Young. One of my favorite city spots...
You can see the top of the GG Bridge here and the ocean and our
fabulous summer weather of yesterday.
A new addition to the de Young ~ it's glass of course. I hope it's
permanent. Dale Chihuly is the artist, but you already knew that.
You do NOT want to miss the Chihuly exhibit here at the de Young.
The two boats were my favorite, but wait until you see the wall
and the ceiling and then stop, sit and breathe and then go back
around one more time.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

let's go out to the garden

Do you ever have that feeling that bloggers write about their gardens
when they don't want or can't write about "something else"? Well,
of course that's not true for me. Here is our Meyer Lemon tree ~ it's
about #8 in our lemon tree tryouts and finally, SUCCESS. The secret
seems to be to stop fussing with it so much.
In the past we have planted San Francisco Fog tomatoes, for obvious
reasons. This Spring we read that the best for our climate is Early Girl
and wowza, no salmonella here! These little lovelies are still green, but
this is the best tomato crop ever.
And we buy our basil plants at Trader Joe's. For some reason they
are bigger and healthier than the ones from the nursery. I threw in
the 3-leaf clover so that everyone has a lucky day today. And to remind
me to get out and weed a bit. We have a tiny garden, but it still seems
like a lot of work to this woman.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

more wedding bells!

This makes me v. proud and I so enjoy looking at all the photos
of the newly marrieds flocking to our City Hall. Mayor Newsom
is less-than-perfect, but he deserves a lot of credit for getting
this whole thing rolling four years ago. Then I remember that
Obama wouldn't have his photo taken with our Mayor, and I
remember why I still have some doubts about him. And yes,
I am voting for Senator Obama, but no more phone calls, please.
Women get snappish...

Lots of $$$$ rolling into San Francisco (and California) as
couples come from all over to tie the knot. Even if it gets voted
down in November, these marriages are legal forever. Cool.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

still traveling this morning

My friend Ken took 900 plus photos when he went to London a
few weeks ago. When I mentioned that I'd like to walk the
Millenium Bridge everyday, he said he'd walk with me today.
He and I decided that if we have to go underground, our secret
password will be "black tulips" ~ have you seen those in the
beautiful parks in London? In any event, you may join us on our
walk to/fro the Tate today.

Last night a tourist from Ireland (with 3 sons) was complaining
to me about our weather here in SF and it was v. cold and nasty
last night. I said that I spent 2 weeks in Ireland one summer and
he laughed and said, "I know, I know ~ but we didn't want Irish
weather on our vacation". More tourists than EVER this year and
many from Russia...that's a first. I love working with tourists,
they are just so damn happy and love spending money.

The Blogmaid is home and already sending me her own special
and excellent emails. I have missed her greatly. Welcome home,
dear friend.

And yes, Linda and Tough Bird, writing every single day is a most
useful way to stay sane. I will "publish" one or two in commano,
one day very soon. Stay with me...

Monday, June 16, 2008

why a good monday? three reasons...

1) the Blogmaid and family return from France today!
2) I'm off tomorrow after closing the big box tonight.
3) this is the final Round Robin daily write ~ there is one more major
assignment, but I'm looking forward to NOT writing for ten minutes
each morning. even though I'll miss my partners' pieces (with a
couple of exceptions). We've all been writing since April 26th, every
single day ~ fog or sun, internal joy or sorrow, extenuating cir-
cumstances be damned. Just write and once in a rare while maybe
a tiny dull pearl will emerge and I can polish it up later. Or not...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

take one well-dressed man...

OK, you can add this to your Flix® queue. The Walker is a neat,
not too bloody-yet-tense thriller that takes place in Washington,
DC. Woody Harrelson is a precise and polite gay escort to wealthy
wives: Lily Tomlin, Lauren Bacall and Kristin Scott Thomas. He
does a fabulous job with this unusual role. Also in the cast: Ned
Beatty and William Dafoe. It's a good little movie, trust me.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

our fine friday lunch

Yesterday we lunched here with The Great Plotniks and it was
especially nice because they had never been to the Delancey Street
Restaurant here on the Embarcadero. It's not the best food, nor
the finest service, but this residential training and treatment
center does so much good (and without tax payer help!) that we
come here often and are never disappointed. It's very reasonable,
except for the meter parking, but we didn't get a ticket and it was
a pleasure to sit on the patio and catch up with the lives of our dear
friends. I'm back to work today after four relaxing, productive
days off. Can't wait to read all those work emails...

Friday, June 13, 2008

frida kahlo comes to frisco

Yes, we were the first on our block to visit the SF Moma 4th floor
yesterday ~ a thrilling close-up look at these famous paintings, plus
a whole bunch of photographs of Frida's family and life, from her own
collection. André Breton wrote, "the art of Frida a ribbon
around a bomb." We will be going back often to see this beautiful
and moving exhibit which ends Sept. 28th.

We had lunch at Tu Lan (6th and Market), always an experience ~
in fact just getting there is something to think about. It has been
HOT here, but I see fog this morning which rolled in over/under the
bridge last night. A welcome sight for the firefighters, I'm sure.

And finally, 3 emails from the Blogmaid in Erquy, France! They
will be home on Monday and everything has been smooth, fun and
filled with adventure and pricey French surprises.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

reliving the disgrace

I finally watched HBO's Recount last night and was filled with "what ifs"
and restless Al Gore dreams while I slept. Above is Laura Dern, so fine
as the strange Florida Secretary of State, Katherine Harris. The big
cast also included Tom Wilkinson, Denis Leary and Kevin Spacey. I
know it is a biased film, but so am I, and that's A-OK with me. Yes,
see this when you can, it's history at it's best/worst.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

the best of bonfire

We enjoyed this play at ACT last night because the setting was stunning
and a young cellist named Bonfire Madigan Shive pretty much stole the
show. (I remarked to Husbando that he could have named at least one
of his 4 children Bonfire, but no, he and the mother had to go with
John, Nancy, Rob, etc.) Anyway, I look forward to The Great Plotnik's
professional review, but until then, here is my half-assed one.

'Tis a Pity was written back in 1629, and it's another violent one, although
we can see what's going to happen early on. Two hours and 40 minutes,
one 15 minute intermission. John Ford was the playwright. There, the
basics. I guess the best review I can give is that neither of us wanted to
leave during the 7th inning stretch and we both loved René Augesen,
Michael Hayden, Gregory Wallace and Jack Willis in the big cast. It is
definitely anticlerical and shocking in many ways. As the director, Carey
Perloff, states in the program, "it's one of those big meaty classics that
are disappearing from the stages of American theater..." Reason enough
to go, in my opinion.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

the occasional summer movie

We don't watch many movies or TV when the weather's nice, it
just doesn't seem right ~ no foggy, gloomy afternoons to hide
away and not have to apologize or explain to anyone why the
curtains are drawn and the Kleenex® box is at my side. But we
did both enjoy Charlie Wilson's War ~ is there anything Philip
Seymour Hoffman (in sunglasses above) can't do perfectly?

Other topics:
The event last night was successful and the author easy-going
and polite. Our Blogmaid sent a quickie from Erquy that indeed
there is no easy internet there, so cross that off the list of 4
places I never want to visit. I mean, what to people do?

Monday, June 09, 2008

tonight at the big box

I don't normally read or like Sci Fi, so how did I come to read
Pattern Recognition by William Gibson? I can't remember, but
I loved it and the shero (so much better than saying heroine
which sounds drug-related) is so strong, capable and still VERY
human, that I do heartily recommend this book. Mr. Gibson will
be signing tonight at 7pm and I hope to shyly tell him that
even though I dislike his genre, I loved this book. I picked up his
latest, Spook Country. and I have a feeling that it might be
coming home to Chez Slug at some point and time very soon.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

ou est erquy?

Yesterday the Blogmaid, et. al. trained for two hours from Paris to
Erquy and I confess I had to research it on the internet here for a
bit, as I was clueless. I borrowed this photo because the red and
white lighthouse shows up in all the ads and articles about this
small coastal town. They will stay here until next Sunday, a chance to
relax after all those crepes, cemeteries and museums of Paris. I just
hope there is a computer available, I need my French fix!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

currently reading...

When You Are Engulfed in Flames is the 6th book of essays
from Mr. Sedaris. The title comes from one of those funny
signs he saw in Japan, poorly translated into English. I read
the first chapter last night and it was OK, not great. I do
know he stops smoking in this book, and about time, I say.
I'm sure it will get better as I keep reading. My all-time fave
from David is Holiday on Ice, his first.

Friday, June 06, 2008

fizzy water over ice, please

We always go to Lulu's (4th and Folsom) when niece Jill is in town. By
now it's tradition and we spend the first 15 minutes trying to figure out
when we saw each other last. Jill lives in Paris and she reports that the
non-smoking law is working there, except now all those folks congregate
in the outdoor cafes, making them a little less delightful than before.
One of our favorite Paris stories is when Jill had to ask the people who
work at her gym not to smoke so close to where she was working out.

Lulu's is busy without being too noisy. We enjoyed our usual grilled
mussels and the thin crust pizza and caught up with family talk ("did
they get divorced or not?" ~ you know how that goes) and gasping
over how old some in the younger generation are already. Nice time,
but I missed my writer friends...

Thursday, June 05, 2008

an embarrassment of riches

Our 3 major museums are providing us with a summer of glory and
I'll give you the details now. Above is Dale Chihuly's glasswork and the
only reason I know of to go to Las Vegas, where he has that fabulous
ceiling in some big glitzy hotel. I first saw his work at a small gallery
in Charlotte, North Carolina, then of course at the V&A in London.

Chihuly at the de Young ~ June 14 through September 28.

Frida Kahlo at SFMOMA ~ June 14 through September 28.

Women Impressionists at the Legion of Honor ~ June 21 through September 21

If I didn't live here, I'd move to SF for the summer.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

om shanti burger

This year Husbando and I decided to bbq our lunches on these rare
days when it's warm and NOT breezy on our back deck. There is almost
always a near cyclone-like wind starting at 4pm or so, and that takes
the joy out of the whole experience for Husbando, who likes to share
his displeasure with his oh-so patient wife. So, years later this fine
solution of the daytime barbecue. We listen to the radio or read in
the sunshine and it is my idea of heaven in Frisco.

During meditation this morning at yoga I tried to visualize world
peace, but this lunch image got in the way.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

from the blogmaid in paris...

We were met by Phillipe and his nice Mercedes-Benz SUV. He drove us to our flat, which is about 10 minutes' walking distance from the Eiffel Tower. This flat was listed as "luxury," but it is pretty much what I was willing to put up with as a college student. Still, it's fine for our needs, and as I type Sally is making us tortellini for dinner, a nice perk since eating out is really expensive.

After napping from noon to 6 on Saturday, we walked over to the Eiffel Tower and took a boat cruise down the Seine. The next day we toured some major hot spots via open top bus, which gave us a better feel for the city. After doing the 2-hour loop, we got off at the Notre Dame stop and walked down to the Luxumbourg Gardens which were on many of the top-10 Paris to-do lists. Ryan enjoyed the playground, and the gardens were pretty, but I'd bump it down a spot to at least number 11.

Monday, June 02, 2008

arrange noodles on platter

I brought this home yesterday (book loan, not theft or purchase)
because we were curious. It's a $30 cookbook with pretty full-color
photos ~ most of the "recipes" just call for adding frozen peas
to gnocchi, or fruit and whipping cream to the Gourmet Frozen
Pie Crust. Typical prep time ~ 5 minutes. I guess this is mostly
a Trader Joe's® sales tool. Probably the "recipes" are to be
found on the packages and even though we LOVE all things TJs,
this seems to be a one cookbook we can live without.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

creepy, crawly and fascinating

...but difficult to watch because it is SO well done. Bug won the
2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and it is indeed a thriller. I had
to hide my eyes often in the 2nd act, yikes! The acting is always
outstanding at the Playhouse and when I think of how the character
Peter (Gabriel Marin) changes from meek to very sure-of-himself
(an understatement), I have to applaud all over again. There
are some scary surprises at the end. Good job SF Playhouse!
For a thorough and professional review, please read this fine
theater blog.