Tuesday, March 31, 2009

pink tongue, pink tail

Thanks to Dancing Jen for this enchanting photo!

My day off yesterday was delightful and included a trip to Target and
a nabe walk to meet my friend Terri for coffee. It is time to garden
and that dead mouse I found out there for Husbando was "more"
if you get my meaning. Funny, Terri and I had been talking about
how many rats there are in SF just an hour or so before ~ if we had
a cat or two this would NEVER happen.

Monday, March 30, 2009

books and thoughts

This was the 2nd book I picked up at MY library in Noe Valley.
How could I resist it with a title like this? And we remember
Ms. Atkinson from Case Histories, a very fine mystery novel.
One of my co-workers told me that I made a great choice and
Behind the Scenes at the Museum is a remarkable novel.
I'll keep you posted.

I finished Out Stealing Horses while having lunch overlooking
the ocean yesterday on a bench outside the Legion of Honor
where I worked all day. Here is something to think about from
this special book:
I see how each movement through the landscape took colour
from what came afterwards and cannot be separated from it.
And when someone says that the past is a foreign country,
that they do things differently there, then I have probably
felt that way for most of my life because I have been obliged
to, but I am not anymore.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

a touch of fiction on Sunday

Here is one of my Round Robin daily writes from the last class:

INTENTLY (the prompt)

Vivian listened intently to the man on the #33 Stanyan bus. Was he
wearing a bluetooth thingie in his ear or was he talking to himself?
He seemed sane from the waist up. He had on a sport coat, blue
dress shirt and a red and blue checked tie. But surprise, he was
wearing a pair of Jockey® shorts, the abbreviated kind, not the
boxers. It didn't seem like this could
be an oversight, and yet he
certainly didn't appear to be a homeless man.

He had brown dress shoes and black socks that almost reached his
knees and he carried an expensive leather briefcase. He stood for
part of the trip, talking about the stock market, using terms that the
average person only glances at in the newspaper. Then he sat
down and the woman next to him immediately got up, preferring
to stand. The seat remained vacant next to Mr. Pantless and finally
Vivian ascertained that there was no bluetooth device attached to
the bus rider. So, just another crazy person in our crazy city.

It was fun watching the reactions of the other bus riders. We think we
have seen everything, Vivian mused, and then this passenger appears
and causes all sorts of consternation. She thought back to the time the
man brought in a chicken and when the driver said he couldn't bring
live animals on the bus, the guy snapped the poor thing's neck and
problem solved.

Vivian read somewhere that there is a blog by a Muni rider who writes
about his or her bus riding experiences everyday. It's tempting to bury
one's nose in a book, but think of all these tidbits a writer might miss
along the route.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

inside Africa via email

Our friend Ginger in Santa Barbara writes about her recent trip. Enjoy:

Each day was filled with anticipation - where will we go; what will we see; what new knowledge will we learn; and most of the days ended with with joy and fulfillment. That first morning in our first campsite we awoke to the sounds of crickets and birds and nothing else as we watch the baboons playing in front of us until we hear the obviously concerned call,"Simba, simba!!" We needed no Swahili lessons to understand the meaning of those words! Not exactly fear but great excitement as we were herded into the dining tent while trying to snap pictures at the same time A more primal fear rose slowly within my half asleep body the next morning when I heard the powerful,loud, long, deep, and very close roar of a lion as he walked by the outside of our tent. For a few seconds we became early man surviving at the whim of the king of the jungle as we shared his space. An unbelievable sound I will never forget. Every evening after we had showered the safari dust away and our throats were unconstricted by our preferred drinks served on a silver tray, we sat around the fire sharing our most memorable experiences with each other - animals we had seen, new birds we discovered, terrain challenges we faced and as the days passed our personal lives . Dinner cooked on three small burners and a brick oven was always fresh, delicious, and at times very entertaining as Israel led the staff singing and dancing around the table as we clapped and laughed. Safari days were dreamlike as if we truly had been transported to the land of Peter Pan and Wendy. On to Rwanda where we shared the horrors of the genocide museum in Kigali and the equally horrifying story of our driver, Johnson, who lost his father and two brothers. We learned too in those few short hours the forgiveness and redemption of the human spirit and how the people of Rwanda are committed to building a new country from the ashes of the past where freedom and tolerance for all are the guiding principles. And the next day - THE GORILLAS! Dreams originate sometimes from unlikely sources; this one for me was more predictable. Once I saw Sigourney Weaver in Gorillas in the Mist , I knew I wanted to feel the awe of that intimacy with nature. And it was awe putting down the camera and just observing my first family of gorillas; I was thrilled, very thankful to be there and contemplating The Power of Now! Acrobatic babies swinging from tree branches and wrestling among themselves while the females groomed each other and relaxed under the ever watchful eyes of Dad, the huge silverback. We were close but not till the second day were we VERY close. Again we were standing in awe watching these giant beasts go about their daily routine - mostly eating, some grooming, and always playing. We were fascinated by the huge silverback who seemed to be sitting at a "bar" (actually a fallen tree limb) enjoying his morning cocktail of bamboo shoots. Suddenly without warning he got up charged, and I happened to be in the way ! "Down!" I hear from Francoise, our guide. In a second I went down on my knees as he zipped by me VERY CLOSE! My heart was in my throat. It was scary. For a few seconds I did feel deep fear inside me as I recognized my total vulnerability with a five hundred pound animal that close. In retrospect he was only being a vegetarian eating gorilla upset that a younger male behind me, which we didn't see, had moved into his cafeteria, and he wanted him out of there. Whew! Somehow the perfect ending to a dream come true. The next day there are tears as our adventure has ended; Betsy and I on to Entebbe and the rest returning home. And a repeat of emotions - anticipation, then relief when we see Robbie in the airport to pick us up. Sharing life with a good friend and watching his happiness with his family was a hoped for joy. Another novel experience happened when Bets and I took a ferry on Lake Victoria for two nights at a resort which we shared with about 70 Ugandans on an IRS retreat and one wonderful peace corps couple. We four were the only mizungoos (white people) on the island. People were very kind, open, and curious about us. We shared many friendly moments with people from a different culture, enjoyed eating a whole Nile tilapia for lunch, and understood much more about the peace corps work from our young friends.

Friday, March 27, 2009

okay, okay

Well, I am late today and I really thought about NOT posting, but
that would be cause for even more commano comments, so of
course I will type away. This French movie I've Loved You So Long
is lovely and touching and filled with some unusually tender scenes.
Kristin Scott Thomas is so far above her English Patient role. If
you always wanted a sister (as I have), or if you have one, this movie
will mean even more to you. There is a lot of sadness, so do sit
near your Kleenex® box. Take heart, the ending is positive...

Our writing group met last night ~ all 7 of us. It was a particularly
fun evening and everyone brought something to read. I didn't get
home until way late and then was up early walking with my friend
Ginger before a yummy lunch at Limon, our favorite Peruvian
restaurant on Van Ness Avenue. Now a nap calls out to me.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

what am I reading?

This is one of the books from my library adventure. At first I didn't
think I would like it, but I remembered that Dancing Jen recommended
it and she is seldom wrong. Happy b. day today, dear Jen.

Out Stealing Horses is a novel set in Norway and though the writing
is by no means flowery, it is haunting and thought provoking. Lots
of fascinating subplots and characters to hold our interest.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

not your typical bridal movie

I can't seem to divorce (ahem) myself from Rachel Getting Married
and I give it my highest 5 Kleenex® rating. So great to see Debra
Winger again and by now everyone knows that Anne Hathaway
is outstanding. Available at the Flix®, of course.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

scenes from pumpkinville

The blogmaid and I walked by her ocean. Way out there at the rocks is the famous Maverick surfing area.

I was able to see all 3 cats, but Dorffie photographed best.

After coffee and more women-talk, we picked up RR at preschool.

RR slides down the stairs, head first.

And once again for the camera. I had a fine time indeed, thanks blogmaid!

Monday, March 23, 2009

out of the park, into the city

This is Farmer Brown's Soul Food Restaurant down at Mason and
Market. It was so nice being with Dancing Jen and Jon G. again,
even though the food wasn't spectacular. I'm not a big fan of warm
food in big containers (or brunch in general), but I loved chatting
and giggling with my friends. And what a treat to be downtown again,
I didn't realize how much I missed all that energy. Union Square
was busy yesterday, but the big box felt sad and empty. I seem to
be having trouble letting go...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

look to the sky

Blackbirds resting in their tree (the before)
I love Mary's emails from Arizona and I always learn something, as
will you today:

Down in the grasslands that surround the San Pedro, huge flocks of female blackbirds are wintering. They fly in flocks of hundreds and weave in and out among themselves across the sky. Their wings make a sound like ocean waves. It is quite breathtaking. An old gentleman birdwatcher told me that it is a mystery why they fly in these huge flocks and how they keep from running into each other - there seems to be no discernible pattern. I love mysteries of nature that no one can discern. It is one of my great pleasures this winter to watch them flying early in the morning.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

photos at an exhibition

Music, food, flowers ~ a very busy Friday night at the deYoung.

Wilsey Court with huge floral arrangement above and without thousands of people.

Dog made out of pussy willows in front of my fave Joan Brown painting.

Notice how this piece matches the art to the left...

A simple tea pot and cups with Shasta Daisies ~ now why didn't I think of that?

Friday, March 20, 2009

our tax dollars at work

It's good to be a library customer again and Husbando says it's the
final break for me with the big box. I spent a satisfying hour or so
at the Noe Valley Public Library yesterday and came home with
two books and lots of gratitude for the fact that this branch has a
big and busy Children's Department. But wisely, the adorable
little ones are all sealed away behind glass where I can see them
and say, "it's great that those kids are reading", and yet it is
soothingly quiet on the adult side of the book world. Yes, it was
a lovely day off ~ but it flew by, as usual.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

another job perk

Yesterday they closed the museum from 5:15 to 6:00 pm and we were
able to tour and enjoy all the beautiful flowers without the crowds.
This is in the photography section in an exhibit entitled "Cities" and
of course this bike reminded me of Dublin or Paris ~ any European
city where bikes are so important. What a treat to be able to oooooh
and aaaaaaah in these fabulous (and empty) rooms. Lucky me.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

please pass the white sauce

The Great Plotniks joined us last night for corned beef and cabbage
and some important catch-up conversation. I didn't have the heart
for our traditional big gathering because this is such a frantic week
at the deYoung and I knew (correctly) that I'd be tired. Husbando did
all the cooking and TGPs brought dessert, so it was easy and exceedingly
pleasant and so nice to have our friends back in SF where they belong.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

first, a stop in the bathroom

It was an easy night at work and I did get a few good photos. This is
for my big box friends with all those horrid memories of cleaning the
public bathrooms there. There are always flowers in the women's rest
rooms at the deYoung, but they cleverly used the Warhol theme this
week. I asked a fellow worker if there are flowers in the men's room
and he said, "I never noticed". Sigh.

Happy St. Pat's ~ it's been downsized this year, but I'll report maƱana.

Monday, March 16, 2009

flowers and hours galore

Tonight kicks off Bouquets to Art at the deYoung ~ this is the biggest
fund raising event of the year with 150 floral exhibitions and all
sorts of lunches, teas and cocktail parties. My small glimpse into
this world convinces me that they do things up RIGHT at the
museum and we will be busy, busy, busy. I'm working the coveted
full-time hours for this one week and am (at this point) happy
about that. I'll be at the opening night gala party tonight and I
will take my camera. But can I use it?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

today's daily write

My daily assignment for the Round Robin class:


This one block on Mullen Avenue in Bernal Heights is a microcosm for
the city of San Francisco. It's diverse, energetic, annoying and
constantly changing. Currently we are pissed off about the lack
of parking ~ the
house next door is under heavy remodel and
there are workers' trucks and constant noise, even on weekends.

On the other side of us there are two apartments with an ever changing
cast of characters. The only stable one seems to be Max who is prone
to temper tantrums and who has covered the sidewalk with all sorts
of strange plants in barrels and buckets. We are not sure this is legal.
Thankfully we have known Ben the landlord for many years, and we
do our best to ignore his tenants and not get into any arguments with
any of them. It is annoying that each person seems to need two large
cars, but I don't want to sound like a broken record here.

All ages and colors live on our block and that's what we love the most.
Some young families have moved in to balance out those of us who
have lived here for 30 or more years. We have some nicknames for
some of our neighbors: the car washer's family, the JWs, the
international house of women, the activist, that crazy guy who never ages, etc.

Compared to the burbs, in my opinion, we really don't have any
problems with our neighbors. No lawns to worry about, no barking dogs
or loud parties. We are all surface-friendly, but I have absolutely no
interest in getting to know any of our block mates on a deeper level.
It's one of the things I love most about city living ~ anonymity.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

patchy morning fog

I don't have to leave for work until noonish today, so I can do a few
little housey tasks and get my daily write out of the way too. It was a
pleasant evening at da de Young and one thing I appreciate is having
a huge staff of guards and janitors to take care of all those unpleasant
situations that I used to have to handle at the big box.

Yesterday morning I SHOULD have gone to yoga, but instead I plunked
the Kleenex® down next to me and watched WALL-E. Very sweet and
of course it had to be 345 times better on the big screen.

Friday, March 13, 2009

OK, scooter is indeed a verb

Here is our pre-Spring official photo of RR down in Pumpkinville.
There was a little Facebook discussion about scooter being a
verb, but now I have changed my mind and "let's scooter!" is
perfectly acceptable. I was wrong and that is rare.

Tiapos last night was a delight. How nice to have almost everyone
together around Mistress J's table ~ searching for the missing
verb (it's verb day!) in Plotnik's beautiful piece about L.A. where
they paved over our youths with parking lots and malls.

I work at da deYoung tonight, tomorrow night and Monday night,
but it ain't like the agony at le big box and I"ll be home way
before 10pm.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

there is some there in Oakland

Pardon my flash ~ this is a gorgeous jade pagoda at the Oakland Museum.
A new church (Catholic, I think) on the shore of Lake Merritt.
The Coffee Mill and Bakery on Grand Avenue ~ excellent and necessary.
I think of these old building as old East Coast style and there are a lot of
them in Oakland. One can trip back in time to an age where living on
Lake Merritt was only for the wealthy. Ginger and I had a l-o-n-g and
delightful walk and gab-fest yesterday. The lake looked clean and there
were a lot of runners, walkers, skaters and bikers to accompany us.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

heading east today

I have an early Right Wing Wong dental appointment this morning,
then I'm meeting Ginger (who used to live in Kansas) here at the
Oakland Museum. It is under renovation, so we will probably only
see one exhibit before discussing coffee or lunch. Then most likely
a walk around Lake Merritt and another coffee and lots of lively
conversation. Sounds like fun, no ~ except for the dentist, of course.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

another world

This looks like some SoCal lido doesn't it? It's Foster City, some place
I wouldn't want to live, but it is pretty for a special lunch. We
celebrated the new low mortgage and the fact that husbando can wear
matching shoes now. And I no longer have to tape 3 bags to his foot
and leg when he clumps into the shower. I had steamed clams and
mussels and he the red snapper ~ all covered and dipped in butter,
but of course this was a special event so there was no cholesterol worry.

I guess I need to mention that we got lost here in the Foster City maze
AGAIN and not to be snobbish (never me), but every damn car down
here is some horrid SUV and I guess it must be all the mountain
roads and snow or whatever. These big cars (trucks) make me cranky.

Monday, March 09, 2009

shall I wear the blue raincoat?

Leonard Cohen's World Tour is coming to the Paramount Theatre
and I am going with Dancing Jen. She worked and clicked and
secured two fabulous tickets for the first night, April 13th. It sold
out in hours and they scheduled the next night which also sold
out at once. And in this economy, imagine. I have been playing
his music constantly lately and my, he is indeed the poet. Lucky
me and thanks again, dear Jen!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

celebrating women

Today is International Women's Day and it is especially fitting this year
because President Obama signed the Equal Pay act. See, I have this
theory that what the right wingers REALLY want is for women to go
back into the home and let men rule the world. Like they are so good
at it. I love reading about Hillary's travels and once again commend
Obama for appointing her to that exceedingly difficult position, one
that she is handling with aplomb, of course. Special shout-outs to all
my wonderful women friends today, and to the men who also support
(dare I say it?) Feminism. We have indeed come a long way, and
miles to go before we sleep...

Saturday, March 07, 2009

once again with feeling

No such thing as too many "I love my city" photos, right? I took a little
solo walk up/around the Coastal Trail yesterday, down at Lands End.
Someday I'll walk the entire stretch, but it's difficult not to stop every
few minutes to say the OMG thing about these splendid views. And the
air after all that rain is so clean and refreshing. Another blue sky day
today and I'm heading out to discuss fashion with YSL and his fans.

Friday, March 06, 2009

the bus, the big box, the world

I'm in a bit of a rush this morning, but I did want to report that
I LOVED the #33 for going to work. It meanders from 25th
and Hampshire (about 4 blocks from Casa Verde) to GGP
by winding up through Ashbury Heights, down famous old
Haight Street and, of all things, it passes right by the
wonderful Samovar Tea Lounge on 18th and Castro. It
takes longer than the #44, but it's so relaxing in the morning
and none of those dreadful school children on their cell
phones. Two certifiable crazy people, but that's about average.

Yesterday the big box let about 679 people go. Managers and
supervisors and without a shadow of a doubt, I know that I would
have been one of them. Bless the deYoung for hiring me. We
all know how rough it is interviewing for a new job when one's
ego is all smashed up, even though it is no fault of anyone who
works on the front lines in retail. The corporate Top Dogs made
some serious mistakes a few years ago and everyone is paying
now. Plus the bad economy equals tough times for too many.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

snap, plug, adjust, admire...

Big thanks to Linda, Susan and Mountain Mary for their help with my
camera-to-new Mac installation. It was easy as pie and I did not have
to use that camera CD or anything. I took this photo late yesterday
afternoon to show you our lovely cloud formations, right before some
more rain. It seems like it rained ALL night, but I see some blue sky
again this morning. All good.

Yesterday we went to a REAL movie theater to see Milk the way it
should be seen. Fabulous. I brought the Kleenex® out in the beginning
when Di Fi spoke to us all once again and I did some dabbing throughout
as the memories came rushing back. It made me v. proud of my
City, but I usually am, and you already knew that.

Today I'm testing a new bus (the #33) to the deYoung. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

getting back to the books

I have finished reading the four Cazalet Chronicle books (thanks for
those, Blogmaid) by Elizabeth Jane Howard and I was feeling a tad
bereft and missing that big, unruly British family. So I picked up
this Special Topics In Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl that has
been recommended to me several times. I bought it at a low bargain
price at the big box and it has been waiting for me. It's a clever novel
about a young woman named Blue who travels back and forth in
America with her unusual (understatement) professor father ~ he
collects women, theories and scientific knowledge. Here's a sample:

Dad picked up women the way certain wool pants can't help but
pick up lint.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

what happened yesterday?

Last night we Flixed® this What Just Happened? and it really is well
worth watching. De Niro is the producer, trying to manage Bruce
Willis (on the left) and Stanley Tucci (on the right). Sean Penn, Robin
Wright Penn and Catherine Keener also star in this funny/sad study
of the movie industry.

My day was busy and the best part was the SFMoma where I admired
the new atrium art and headed up to the 3rd Floor for the "Faces"
photography exhibit. The big box was dismal and the few remaining
employees greeted me warmly, but there were hardly any customers
and absolutely no joy. I was depressed when I left.

Husbando was thrilled with Commano2.0, thanks again Mr. Z.

Monday, March 02, 2009

buswoman's holiday

I haven't been to the Moma since I started working at the deYoung,
so today I will rectify that. I miss being downtown lately ~ all my
Borders homeless friends don't visit me at either museum. I will
drop into the big box and spread a little gossip, pick-up my blog
at Kinko's and then buy a March (eeeeeeeek) fast pass for my
no-longer fun nor interesting Muni bus life. Then to Moma and
maybe coffee with my friend Ginger. Busy day-off and all this
after a trip to Costco.

Linda, thanks for the camera-attach graph, I'll work on that,
although you make it sound like no-work at all!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

yet another hurdle

Ha, Linda over there on the right once again identified a pesky
ISSUE that I am mulling over in my pea brain. I need to connect
my camera (not shown above) with my new laptop. I have a
vague memory of hi-tech agony the last time I attempted this,
but since "they" have made everything so much easier, or maybe
I'm just numb by now, it probably won't be too bad. Next week...

Today I finally get to work in the Warhol shop at the deYoung.
Come visit and say "howdy" and buy something cool.