Saturday, January 31, 2009

he keeps on thinking...

Last night I dreamed I was late to my first day working at the Legion
of Honor. That is so preposterous, but the panicky feeling stays with
me. I'm pretty much over "the museum butterflies" of last December,
thankfully. Today will be fun and not very busy at the Legion, so I
can learn all the ins and outs, nooks and crannies, merchandise and
where's the break room? And of course the ocean is right outside to
be enjoyed on my lunch hour. I am one fortunate woman...

Friday, January 30, 2009

oooooooh and ouch

White swan on placid lake...
It's a 10 mile path ~ we only walked 3.5 yesterday.
Who knew? I hopped on BART at 9am yesterday and my friend Ginger
met me for a walk around Lake Chabot in Castro Valley. She walks
fast (!) almost every day and I had to push to keep up with her. It was
so very beautiful, but I am stiff and sore today. Yes, it was worth it
because we solved all of the world's problems and then had lunch
with a lemon cake dessert that we richly deserved.

Writer's group (Tiapos) last night ~ a full house and everyone brought
something to share and giggle about: elephants, dolphins, pesos in
trees, King Kong diner in Iowa (I think), wannabe stilleto heels and
growing older/up. I read a couple of big box pieces and am wondering
if/when to write "that book". Husbando says that it will come to me
when it's ready. Good advice.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

accepting change

As usual, Mistress J is correct. It's taken me a few weeks to get
used to sleeping in past 5am and realizing that I have an almost
normal schedule. No midnight shifts, no 6am store openings.
Very little chaos and no major decisions to make in my work
life. Less money, but that's OK, at least I feel secure in my
museum job and am no longer gulping Imodium@ and Ambian®
the way I did for about a year before I stepped down from the
glamor of managing that unmanageable big box situation.

To that end I have enrolled in another Round Robin writing
class because I also realize that I need a push. Having the time
to write doesn't mean that I am writing. At least I know this
much about myself...

Thanks to TGP for lunch at Old Jerusalem yesterday. It
was so delicious and so filling that we ended up having only
brussel sprouts (grilled in olive oil with garlic and lemon)
and ice cream for dinner last night.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

hello, neighbor

First, this isn't MY photo, yesterday was clear and sunny. There are
always l-o-n-g lines at the Academy of Sciences right across the music
concourse from me and I have never stepped inside the door until
yesterday. I gave Husbando a membership for xmas, and we went
yesterday at 8:30am for a child-free experience and it was really
quite wonderful. The albino crocodile (Claude) is in hospital, but
we saw the dark one enjoying their rock all by himself. I had to
scamper off to work, but we will return on Tuesday mornings to
have the place almost to ourselves.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

use it or lose it

First, apologies for that big mother dollar sign in yesterday's
post. How off-putting.

I need to report and brag a bit about working on the floor of
the big box for the past two days. What I find interesting and
encouraging, is that my book knowledge has mysteriously
returned and I can remember authors and titles in a flash and
take the customer to the right section without checking in
the computer. When I was part of the exalted management
team there, I didn't work on the floor too much and I was quite
stressed much of the time; my memory was the shits. Now
I am my old book-loving fact-spouting self again. Fun stuff.

Alas, the big box does not have some of the books we
absolutely need to sell, so I'm hoping that will improve in
the new fiscal year. Fingers crossed.

Oh, I'm still reading The Cazalet Chronicles, thanks to
our blogmaid.

Monday, January 26, 2009

recessions I have known

I've been trying to be optimistic here and recall past recessions and
how we all got through them. However last time I didn't lose $$$
in the stock market and the banks all felt safe and secure. Being
downtown yesterday was a shock ~ closed stores, no traffic. Of
course January is always slow, but this is way worse. So much for
my sunny, optimistic self, right?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

may I have those 2 hours back?

Here is Steve Coogan in Hamlet 2, which we watched last night. There
were a few worthwhile scenes, such as Elizabeth Shue always showing
up in her nurse's uniform, plus a student named Epiphany, but it was
a predictable story of a run-down teacher producing a must-see hit
play and saving all drama departments in all high schools in America.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

meet mr. bucket

I've been on some sort of strange 3-day cleaning spree here and
have scrubbed down 8 high-up shelves and washed every item
along the way. I discovered that the phone only rings while going
up the step stool and of course relearned that it's often easier
to give stuff to the Salvation Army than to wash it. Why we keep
certain things always puzzles me, but I've collected 5 bags for
donation and I'm feeling productive and liking our minimalist
shelves. Oh, and my socks are now sorted by color and organized
in see-through bags. How long will that last?

Today I work in the YSL shoppe and maybe we'll see this tee
shirt again on a customer: APATHY ~ I can take it or leave it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

meet mr. gibbs

How long has it been since I watched political news all day? Frankly,
everything I know about the role of the Press Secretary I learned on
West Wing. How can these press people handle all the silly (and astute)
questions from the media? I would lose my temper or stomp out or
trip all over my words. Robert Gibbs did a great job yesterday, but
any thoughts that the press corps is going to go easy on President
Obama were quickly put to rest. And I loved watching Hillary Clinton
take over the State Department ~ imagine, me, interested in our
government again. Amazing times...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

the geoff hoyle fan club

We have been fans of Geoff Hoyle since his Pickle Family Circus
days and last night we thoroughly enjoyed his work-in-progress
entitled Geezer at The Marsh. Of course it was SRO, one night
only and at age 62, Hoyle seems as limber and agile as he was
in his youth. He mentioned that people ask him if it hurts to
fall down now (he will always be a clown) and he looked at us
all and very quietly, yet emphatically, said, "yes". A bonus was
our after-theatre walk with The Great Plotniks and as TGP said
correctly, "we are the only people in SF who can't find a coffee
shop". For some reason the grim subjects of aging and death
seem easier to swallow when shared with a genius like Hoyle
and a bunch of people heading for Geezerland and trying to
avoid The Grim Reaper as long as possible.
(The photo above is from Geoff's famous 3-legged dance. A truly
hysterical performance ~ see it if you ever can!)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

many celebrations this week!

Check out this wonderful cake from Mrs.TGP for President Obama and
Husbando, whose birthday it is today. It's a coffee cake shaped like our
very own castle here on Mullen Avenue. And it is yummy indeed.
We had a fine dinner party for Husbando on Monday night ~ I
know you've missed our table pictures. Check out the tulips in January...
When we pulled out the table slats and pads on Monday, Husbando
said, "hundreds of dinner parties have been celebrated on this table
throughout the years". Very sweet. Here is the after-party, a mess
equals a good time, doesn't it?

And today? I'm up early watching yesterday. Many Kleenex® being
destroyed. These are glorious times and I want to watch this
again and again. When will the DVD be out?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

a very, very special day

Our hearts are in Washington, DC this morning and I am lapping up
the early TV coverage. Alas I have to work at the de Young, but I'll
catch up on everything this evening. We have so much to celebrate today.

Monday, January 19, 2009

a little R and F, please

Last night we both enjoyed ACT's Rich and Famous by John
Guare. Gregory Wallace (left) and Brooks Ashmanskas above,
are two of the four talented actors who sing, dance and cavort
for an hour and 40 minutes in this nonstop salute to fame, glory
and oops, what then? This was written in 1974 and recently
reworked by the playwright for this production. My favorite
scene was when our hero visits his parents who have invested
everything in their son ~ and let him know it. Funny stuff.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

winter flix®

What fun the cast must have had making this great Coen Brothers
movie! Brad Pitt is absolutely terrific and I loved seeing John
Malkovich again. (He spends almost the entire time in his jockey
shorts and bathrobe.) Burn After Reading makes fun of the
physical fitness mania, online dating, the Washington, DC scene
and movies about the above. Of course Frances McDormand,
George Clooney and Tilda Swinton are excellent too. Lots of
applause from commano ~ rent it now.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

winter tee vee

It's great to have Damages back again and after two episodes we
can say that it's just as intriguing as Season One. We have some
new characters including William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden and
Timothy Olyphant, who used to be the sheriff in Deadwood.

Then Sunday night we are back to Utah for Big Love. Do we get
a new wife #4? There's always room for one more...

Friday, January 16, 2009

all aboard and all admire

Yesterday before work we visited the Conservatory of Flowers. Note
Claude the albino alligator who lives at the Academy of Sciences. Also
admire the blue sky, especially if you live in say, Chicago.
This is the model train exhibit and it's great fun indeed. Our Am Trak
to/fro Portland in '06 did not work as well as this one.
The bridge and the Port of SF ~ not to scale, as you may have noticed.
All buildings are made from recycled materials. Transamerica is
entirely constructed of computer keyboard letter keys.

Cable cars too ~ and not in traditional places. Artistic license.
Mah jong tiles and some inside-computer part thingies make up this
lovely gate to Chinatown.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

a special horse tale

Here is RR (age 5) with a couple of her horses on Christmas Day.
Now we have 4 horses having dinner last weekend in Rancho Cordova ~ so civilized, no?
The above photo shows Mr. blogmaid and Grandpa blogmaid
bringing the horses to their overnight home.
I have always liked getting up in the morning, but now that I
receive a daily email from the blogmaid, my wake-ups are extra
special. I'm thankful that she doesn't have a blog, although she
needs one with her stories and writing talent. So I borrow...

Hi Mary Om-
I don't think I mentioned that RR wanted to bring her three big horses and
one foal to RC with us. To do so, Bill had to construct a ramp for the car,
so she could lead them up into and then down out of the Honda. He did a
good job with some cardboard which we could fold up and transport with
us. Once at our destination, the horses required a lot of care, and it takes
her a good 15 minutes at bedtime to get them all ready for the night,
brushed, blanketed, and secured in their stalls.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

our january sunshine

We decided to get o-u-t of the house and enjoy this beautiful and clear
warm weather. This is from the look-out at the Presidio.
Our goal was to see Andy Goldsworthy's Spire. His goal is for the
new growth trees to eventually hide his piece created from old trees.
Here you can see the base a little better. There was no one here ~ odd
that you can just walk-up and see something like this with no guards
or barricades. There is a Goldsworthy exhibit at the Presidio, but it
was closed yesterday, so we'll come back.

To see this, use the Arguello Gate entrance and turn right. It's directly
across from the look-out.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

three in a row

I'm back at the big box this morning to finish a project that I have
been working on. That's enough of that place until next Sunday.

Yesterday after work I met Michael at this chi chi coffee shop
and restaurant at 14th and Guerrero. I've driven by the Mission
Beach Cafe a million or so times and it always looks inviting.
They feature Blue Bottle coffee (whatever that is), so when I
asked for a splash after my latte there was some gourmet talk
that meant "no, we don't mix and match". "Whatever", as we teen
agers say. It's still a comfortable spot and close to the 16th and
Mission BART station, so I shall return.

Monday, January 12, 2009

marital discord

Husbando left the room during Lars and the REAL Girl, but I enjoyed
it, and even used a Kleenex® or two at the end.

It's strange being back at the big box as I was yesterday (and today).
Most of my energy and enthusiasm are currently museum-related and
when did that start? From Day #1? I'm not really part of the drama of
bookstore life anymore. Weird, but acceptable, because we need the
$$$$ and I have those work-hard-damn-it genes wherever I am. So
for now I live with my split personality.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

lost in london and sussex

Who of you know the Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane
Howard? The blogmaid loaned all 4 books to me and now half
my head and heart are with this family and their household
help. I'm only on the first volume (above) which takes place
in 1937, and is rich in detail and exceedingly well written.
Looking online it appears that these books are used in college
to study the growth of "modern England" and that certainly
makes sense to me.

From The Light Years ~
Those summer holidays when she had been Polly's age ~ at
Hastings, had it been? (Nostalgia was comforting, but slippery
as an old elderdown.)

Thanks, blogmaid!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

golden gardens and groves

One of my goals in 2009 is to get to know Golden Gate Park better.
Tourists come from faraway places and seem to memorize all the
streets, paths, nooks, crannies and yet I still get lost, especially
when driving. So I have had a love/hate relationship with GGP
since I moved to SF many years ago.

Yesterday morning before work I finally walked to the Aids
Memorial Grove behind the Academy of Sciences; beautiful and
serene and I will return. We are next door to the Japanese Tea
Garden and I plan to visit there soon. There is a miniature train
exhibit at the Conservatory and that is also on my to-see list.

In the misty mornings I like to watch the gardeners at work and
the folks who do their tai chi there in the music concourse between
my museum and the academy. This is also my lunch spot and it
always reminds me of Paris. Lucky, lucky me...

Friday, January 09, 2009

ooooooh, cute as can be

The blogmaid has a new camera and this is a fabulous photo
using her telephoto lens, or so I hope. I have decided to accept
her wildlife life and not lecture her about these raccoons on
her back deck, where I hoped to sip lemonade one sunny day.

My friend Michael from Santa Barbara is in town and we had
dinner at Pasta Pomodoro on 24th Street last night. Despite
this recession, most of the restaurants in Noe Valley were
doing a brisk business. Hooray!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

such a country

Even this jaded, left-wing, opinionated (note use of commas) woman
was impressed with the luncheon meeting of the 5 living presidents
that took place yesterday. I guess it was Obama's idea, it sounds like
his style of leadership.

On a less important note (to the country, not to me), we had a long
lunch with East Bay Ginger at Samovar on 18th Street, lots of fine
food and conversation.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

ultra culture on tuesday

Perhaps this wasn't the best ever SF Playhouse production, but
we enjoyed Abraham Lincoln's Big Gay Dance Party last night.
Yes, it was 3 (!) acts, however everything moved so quickly that
we didn't fidget nor discuss sneaking home at half time. A special
salute to Velina Brown, we've seen her many times with the San
Francisco Mime Troupe and she is captivating in this Abe play.

The blogmaid and I toured MY museum in the morning, then
celebrated her with egg benedicts down at the Cliff
House. Today is yoga, lunch with Ginger and of course we all
know that gray weather = nap weather.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

more from Ms. Gordon

I'll check out her other books, thanks Fevered Brain. I like
her views on the semicolon:
...your writing does not clamor for semicolons. Most of the time
commas and periods will take care of linking and separating.
Semicolons are for separating only:
Not only were we naked, crazed, and starving (and far from our
warm little homes); we were without any good books as well.

Yeah, I'm off today. Docent tour with the blogmaid, then lunch
and perhaps a nap. But why, when I slept for 8 hours last night?
Imagine. Me. Ms. Insomniac. If that doesn't justify my drop from
the glorious heights of retail management, what will?

Monday, January 05, 2009

back to our origins

My Tiapos writing friend, Will, loaned me a great little book.
I'm always asking his help about these pesky commas and
other irritating grammatical markings. I especially enjoy
the author's examples. Here from The New Well-Tempered
Sentence by Karen Elizabeth Gordon:

A comma comes before and after an adverbial phrase or
clause occurring in the middle of a sentence between the
subject and verb.
Mitzi, in a manner that surprised everyone present,
broke into a hefty aria and then proceeded to swallow
a sword.
The comma is often omitted after short introductory adverbial
At breakfast we consumed a reprehensible smorgasbord
of assorted Nordic things.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

avoid this dentist

Much as we love Ricky Gervais, this is a dumb movie about seeing
dead people and somehow we expected better. I guess the only
saving grace of Ghost Town is once again being in NYC, and even
that wasn't enough.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

yves and me

Yesterday I met Dancing Jen an hour before work and I put on my
docent hat, which I enjoy. My learned comments usually consist
of, "let's go here before it gets crowded" and "I really like this
piece". We have been quite busy, so that feels good and familiar
to me. Our most popular exhibit is the YSL show and I also enjoy
working in the little store up there on the second floor because
everyone loves this elegant presentation, even straight men!

On Tuesday I will take the Blogmaid around the de Young as her
special birthday treat. Then we will have a fine lunch and lots of
girl talk. It's my day off and I'm looking forward to my bus woman's
holiday in Golden Gate Park.

Friday, January 02, 2009

current book review

By now we all know that I love a mystery. This one takes place
in a posh country manor someplace outside of London. A woman
dies after facial plastic surgery and there are more suspects than
sutures here in The Private Patient. Great fun for P.D. James' fans.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

ending '08 with food and friends

Well, I can see this roast beef needed a little parsley, or confetti ~ it
tasted better than it looks here. We wisely decided to share the wealth
and invited The Great Plotniks for dinner last night. It was a very
lovely evening and we did watch the ball fall in NYC even though none
of us are really devoted fans of Kathy Griffin.

We celebrated our wedding anniversary too (we were married on
Dec. 27th, actually) with lunch at Limon, the terrific Peruvian
Restaurant on South Van Ness and (20th?). They were on Valencia
and have moved and not updated their web site, so I won't link
it here. I suggest the chicken if you go to Limon ~ yum.

Happy 2009 ~ it will be an interesting year indeed.