Sunday, May 31, 2009

sister aloysius & father flynn

This was our Saturday night movie date and of course it is one
of those films that stays in the mind and heart. Doubt is so
intense and the acting is so spectacular, that I recommend it
to everyone. The perfect DVD after a long day of retail and muni.

Thanks for the Ellen encouragement. I'll go back to her soon, but
as I said, fiction is an uphill battle for me.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

back to ellen and keith

I'm forcing myself to get back to the Ellen story. This kind of
writing is not natural to me. I love reading fiction, but writing it...argh.
(The prompt for today's Round Robin is FINALLY)

Finally Ellen stirred from behind the curtain. Keith had been standing
there for what seemed like 20 minutes, but it probably wasn't even 3
minutes as the clock flies. She slid open the window from the bottom ~
damn ~ why hadn't she had the painter unstick it before he was paid?
Finally she was able to pry it open a bit and she bent down to say as
loudly as her shaky voice would carry, "who are you and why are you
in my garden?"

"You need to do a better job with the marigolds, Ellen", the Keith-like
man responded. "But I'm actually here to give you this check for
$500,000." He smiled in a beguiling way, but Ellen was reminded
of the proverbial used car salesman with his unctuous manner.

"What's the check for and why didn't you just mail it to me?"

"I need your signature and I will explain more when you come
outside and talk to me, or maybe you will invite me in for coffee?"

Even though it was noon, Ellen was still in her flannel pajamas,
suffering from the almost daily depression after the death of her
husband. She had not even made coffee or had her blueberries yet.

"I'm going to get dressed now, why don't you continue with the
marigolds and move on to the daisies? It won't take me more than a few minutes."

Friday, May 29, 2009

the big box and the little king

We are gearing up for the King Tut exhibit at the de Young,
opening June 27th. He's the reason I was promoted and
yup, I owe him.

This is rather amazing. I had an email from my ex bossman
last night and I will do a little quality cut and paste here:

Borders will be named the exclusive bookseller for this exhibit and will be included on all collateral and advertising (where sponsors are permitted)

Borders stores will receive promotional material to display and distribute.

Borders will support with an instore endcap with Tut or Egypt related product, also utilizing bookmarks on the display.

Borders Rewards customers will receive a 20% discount on ticket purchases through Ticketmaster. Non BR customers receive a 10% discount

Thursday, May 28, 2009

behind the curtain

This is one of Mistress Jane's lovely photo prompts.
For reasons unknown, I felt like dabbling in fiction yesterday.

Ellen stood behind the curtain and stared out at her garden. Who was
that man out there and why was he dead-heading the marigolds? He
was dressed in a 3 piece suit, an expensive black and white suit with
small stripes. His shirt was white and his tie was pink, he looked a
little like Keith Olbermann, as a matter of fact. His grey hair still had a
touch of dark and it was definitely a $200 haircut ~ no Supercuts for him.

As he nipped off the brown buds he placed them carefully in a Trader
Joe's paper bag. Ellen didn't know what to do. Should she go out and
talk to him? Call the police? Suddenly he straightened up and rubbed
his back. He was a tall man and he had a long way to bend down to
work in her garden. Of course he couldn't kneel in that gorgeous suit.

He turned around and looked right at her behind the curtain. She
stood very still knowing and hoping that he couldn't see her. When
her husband was alive he used to stand right where she was now
and watch her work in the garden. She could never see him, so she
felt certain that Keith couldn't see her. And yet he kept staring.

Ellen didn't move a muscle, but then she started shaking because
the man slowly reached into the inner pocket of his suit and pulled
out a white envelope. He waved it at her and a slight smile appeared
on his handsome face as he walked toward her. "I see you, Ellen",
he said loudly as he approached the window. "I have some great
news for you here, but you'll need to come outside to get it."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

a tree falls in p-town

The window to Ginger's bedroom.
Well, a tree branch. This is the condo of our friend Ginger who lives
in Pleasanton. Hers was the only residence that was hit Sunday night
with the crashing tree. Luckily no hole in the roof, just minor damage
to the rain gutters. But shocking nonetheless.

Odd because we had just been talking about falling trees in Atlanta
where The Great Plotniks' sister lives. The trees look perfectly healthy
but their roots are shriveled because of past droughts. Scary stuff.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

new rooftop garden at SFMoma

Here is the space ~ a few sculptures, not much garden yet.
I neglected to get the name of this piece and it didn't warm my heart.
But this did, by Kiki Smith ~ very nice.
SFMoma from the park across the street. Note blue sky!
This museum is now open at 10am (not 11am, as in the winter) and
we parked easily (free too!) a block away yesterday. Not only is the
new rooftop worth a trip, but the whole 5th floor is now open and
filled with wondrous pieces. We also enjoyed the William Kentridge
exhibition and Robert Frank's "The Americans" photo exhibit. The
only small disappointment was that there is no real view from the
sculpture garden, however the walk bridge features some new and
unusual city scenes. Well worth a trip here, that's for sure.

We walked for awhile in the sunshine downtown before coming
home. Last night we joined The Great Plotniks at the Noe Valley
Presbyterian Church to see a movie about one of my favorite
feminist writers, Tillie Olsen. Excellent ~ filled with history
and humor. If you haven't read her, start with Tell Me A Riddle.

Monday, May 25, 2009

yours for $14.00 plus tax

This won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and it is fabulous. I'm
only on page 22 of Olive Kitteridge, but I know that it's one
of those books I'll recommend time and time again. Go ahead,
treat yourself and help the book business.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

movies in the fog

Well, one good thing about winter weather on Memorial Day
start-of-summer weekend, is that we can watch movies during
the day and not feel that we have to be outside in picnic or
exercise mode. So we enjoyed The Reader a lot, even
though I thought the book was more powerful. Our new
32" TV is already much-loved here in Casa Verde.

We had French toast at Pasta Pomodoro in the morning,
did some household tasks until movie time and then watched
our Giants last night. Nice and lazy day off.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

in praise of cities

Here is a Round Robin piece I wrote on Thursday...the photo,
by Mistress J, was the prompt.

Some strange people don't like busy cities, I know this because they are
always eager to tell me how much they hate San Francisco. "It's dirty,
there are too many homeless, the sidewalks are crowded", etc.
When I worked downtown I would get tired of Frisco from time to time
too, especially during the holiday season when I couldn't walk on the
sidewalk on Powell Street because of the crowds.

But I still love going and being downtown, even though I no longer work
there. Now I'm out in the quiet of Golden Gate Park and I take the #5
Fulton into town. There is still an excitement for me about city life,
always so much to see and it is always changing, growing. San Fran-
cisco is a very young city, I'd say half the population is under 30, or at
least it seems like it, especially on Bay to Breakers Sunday.

I grew up in small and boring Pasadena. When I was in high school I
discovered that I could take the bus into Los Angeles and even though it
was scary, it was a colorful escape for me. I think this is one of the
reasons that I love cities ~ so vibrant, so exciting. And the best part
is the anonymity that big cities offer. I love the fact that I can sit
outside and have coffee in Union Square for hours on end and not
see anyone know. That would never happen in a small town.

My favorite big city is probably New York. Easy to walk, good subway
system and lots to see. Probably even more crazies than we have here
in San Francisco, or maybe it just seems that way because I'm not
used to East Coast crazies.

Friday, May 22, 2009

but when can he dance?

I assume that the "D" on the blanket is for Dancing Jen, the proud aunt
of Kingston, born last week to her wonderful sister (aka Sissy Poo).
Since Jen doesn't have a blog (sigh) and isn't on Facebook (double sigh),
I feel it's my duty to introduce Kingston to everyone here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

little theater, big rewards

By now you know how much we love The SF Playhouse down on
Sutter Street. On Tuesday night (7:00 pm show ~ how civilized)
we enjoyed Dead Man's Cell Phone by Sarah Ruhl. When a man
dies in a cafe, his phone keeps ringing and a stranger picks up
the cell (after she has called 911, of course) and gets very involved
in the dead man's convoluted life. The first act was better than the
second, but it's still worth seeing because of the great acting and
some very clever and funny scenes.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

a day of fog and sunshine

The famous clock tower in the fog.
I had a Peet's latte and watched the ferry boats arrive.
It was nice to warm up inside the gorgeous building.
Pork sandwich from Out The Door.
The best seat in the house ~ a bench outside.

Well, after all my bitching, the sun did come out yesterday. I had about
an hour all to myself, drinking coffee and looking out on the bay. Then
Ginger arrived and we walked on the Embarcadero, then Husbando
appeared and we 3 devoured luscious sandwiches and iced Vietnamese
coffee and told ourselves once again how lucky we are to live in the
beautiful Bay Area. I meant to get a crowd photo too ~ lots of folks out.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

say it isn't so...

Seems awfully early for the so-called summer weather pattern, doesn't
it? But I just checked and we had the same thing one year ago, so maybe
there is some hope for more clear skies. I know lots of people who love
the fog, but I'm not one of them. I will say that after one of our 3 or 4
day heat waves, we look out the back window and see the fog rolling
in over the Golden Gate Bridge and we rejoice.

Today I'm meeting my friend Ginger down at the Embarcadero. She
lives in the East Bay and I sent her a quick email reminding her that
she needs to bring a coat, hat, scarf, gloves ~ it's Frisco.

I borrowed the great photo for this post. One day I'll take an artistic
fog shot from our back window. Not today.

Monday, May 18, 2009

more drama outside the theater

Argh. What a mess getting around the city by public transportation
yesterday. The Bay to Breakers adds masses to the streets and ties
up Muni beyond belief all day long. We were able to see some
runners in GGPark before work, but going from there to downtown
on the #5 Fulton was all but impossible last night. Two buses
wouldn't even open their doors, so I walked all the way up to
Masonic and finally caught a crowded bus to meet Husbando at
Lefty O'Doul's. I was a little testy, I know, that's a surprise.

Boleros for the Disenchanted
is about José Rivera's parents who
met in Puerto Rico and came to the U.S. with their dreams back
in the 50's. The first act was a little long, in my opinion, but
maybe I was still on edge. The second act takes place in Alabama
in the 1990's, and that was touching as the father (played
beautifully by Robert Beltran ~ the Indian casino guy on Big
Love) is sick and we all review their less-than-perfect married
life and admire the wife's devotion. This was not my favorite
play this season, but the acting was terrific.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

scooby and daisy

We need to check-in with RR and her new horse, Daisy. That's a lot
of horse, isn't it? RR starts real school in September, such a milestone.
I'm glad the blogmaid has provided us with so many photos and
memories, but still, the time she flies. And these Crocs® are pretty
cute, even though we all know I hate these shoes on principle.

It's hot here and today is the Bay to Breakers, making life intolerable
for those of us who need to work and for people living near the end
of the race after the parties are over. There will be lots of faintings
and x-rated costumes today and the headlines tomorrow won't be
all positive. But, have fun runners, and be careful.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

it's the least I can do

I used to donate every six to eight weeks, then for some reason
I became anemic and got tired of being rejected at the blood
bank. But yesterday I returned to Irwin (Masonic and Turk)
and my blood was rich and flowed freely. This is not an
entirely unselfish act because the banks give a mini-physical
and when it's all over they force me to eat a chocolate donut.
It was also an excuse to have a lazy afternoon and to once
again appreciate having such good health.

Friday, May 15, 2009

how DO they do it?

I knew we'd love Slumdog Millionaire, from my good friends at
Netflix® ~ don't turn it off too soon because the closing credits
are quite wonderful also. It always puzzles me how people who
grow up in such unspeakable poverty (and all that entails) can
end up turning into adults with strong moral values and the
unwavering integrity that we'd love to see in our politicians.
But I digress, see the movie!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

landing upright again

Last December things became intolerable at the big box ~ change
in upper management, business losses, cut backs on top of cut
backs ~ you know the story. I resigned my manager job there and
took a part-time position at the museum, wondering if I would
ever feel comfortable there. At first all I did was go through the
motions and I really missed my old job. It was a leap of faith, fully
supported by Husbando and my friends. But tough.

In addition we had lost of ton of money in our retirement account,
again the same old story. 2008 was not a great year, was it?

So I applied for a coveted full-time position at the museum and on
Tuesday I learned that I would be a "lead" ~ a supervisor, really.
Many qualified people applied for this, and we all had to go through
a long resume/cover letter/interview/cross-fingers process. The
job is temporary, through the King Tut exhibit next March, but
exactly what we need at this time. Good pay, benefits, 401(k) and
a guaranteed 35 hours a week. I still have a lot to learn, but I have
made new friends at the museum and they will help me every step
of the way. I am so fortunate!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

warning! food blog!

Fish and chips and no ketchup (really).
Slightly obscene looking mussels.

Husbando took me out to lunch today and I will discuss why in a
future post ~ maybe tomorrow? We have talked about Nettie's Crab
Shack many times, so today that was my choice since I was being
feted. He had the fish and chips and pronounced them "delicious"
and I had mussels with little bits of chorizo, garlic, more. It was
sunny and we sat OUTSIDE and found easy (free) parking for this
special day. Nettie's is on Union Street between Buchanan and
Webster and you can make reservations or not. Five napkin rings.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

new book, SF locale

I met Laurie King a few years ago when I worked out at B&N in
Colma. I actually sent her a fan letter (!) and asked her to come
and speak. She lives down in Aptos, I think. She must love our
city because many of her stories take place here. I originally
loved her mysteries, which included Sherlock Holmes, because
I missed him so much, but now I read anything she writes.

The Art of Detection features Detective Kate Martinelli and
although I've only read a few pages, it will keep me engaged
and I can escape to the lighthearted world of murder and
mayhem for a few days. Ms. King was a delight, by the way.

Monday, May 11, 2009

turn, turn, turn

We watched most of the Pete Seeger documentary last night
and celebrated this man's 90th too. He is still chopping
wood, singing, speaking out and enjoying his life. Just thinking
about him makes me smile.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

happy mother's day

My sweet step dot (Nancy) sent me roses again. I will take a moment
to remember my own less-than-perfect mother and realize that she had
a tough job and did the best she could. Think of all the therapists (some
of them mine) who make a decent living because of our parents. On
that charming note I'll prepare for the Legion where it's Free Day and
we will be busy indeed.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

the sun's out and so were we

Ginger was intrigued by this house on Sloat Blvd. Not just the color, the mouse too.
Many of the penguins were inside their condos, watching TV and sitting on eggs. The zoo keepers had to hand feed them. Spoiled.
This is the baby giraffe ~ born in January. Sweet.
Here is a teenager, enjoying the sun.
Fun day yesterday with our friend Ginger. First coffee and errands on
24th Street, then a visit to the Community Thrift Store on Valencia and
some BBQ'd hot dogs and lunch outside on our back deck. The two
women spent the afternoon at the zoo, talking and getting lost and
saying "oh, look!" every other minute. Usually it's cold and windy
there, but the people and animals were all loving the sunshine and
very gentle ocean breezes. And more sunshine today ~ hooray, even
if I have to work I can go outside for my lunch.

Friday, May 08, 2009

taking a moment to smell...

the roses
I purposefully went to work early yesterday morning so I could sit in
the sun at the Rose Garden in Golden Gate Park. I poured coffee from
my Thermos® and watched the gardeners snip and prune. A woman
runner stopped to sniff and a man sat on another bench and took off
his shoes to bask in the glorious sunshine. I had my book with me,
but I was really there for the roses, and they for me.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

is this the reason?

By now you know that I am a sun worshiper and I think maybe it's
because of my youth spent on the SoCal beaches every summer. This
is not my photo, but it makes me happy. We have sunshine this
morning here in SF, it has been approximately 10 long grey days
since that occurred. Yeah, sunshine, stay awhile!

My yesterday off was spent at yoga, lunch with my friend Gini and
I watched Frost/Nixon from start to finish. One great movie. I work
today and am off tomorrow again and life is good. Very good, in fact.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

back to my book shelf

I used the handy "reserve for me" feature of the SF Public Library
and The Piano Teacher arrived for pick-up after about a 6 week wait.
This story takes place in Hong Kong in the 40's and 50's. I love
learning history through fiction and had no idea that the Japanese
swarmed into Hong Kong towards the end of WW II. And yes, I
was a history major. There are two intriguing plots intertwined
and I highly recommend this novel by Janice Y. K. Lee.

As an aside, I'm starting to use the Facebook WeRead feature,
listing many of the books I've read and enjoyed. Thankfully I
started jotting the titles and authors down back in '04 and wish
I had done that a long time ago.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

friends, poetry and san francisco

Karen Hildebrand reads her exquisite poetry at the Gallery Cafe.
A small slice of the intense Tiapos audience.
Last night was one of those evenings that I thought would happen
twice a week or so, when I first moved to SF when I was in my twenties.
That didn't occur, making last night even more special. The fog and
mist, cable cars clanging up at Mason and Washington, strong coffee
and freshly baked cookies. Karen, here for a week from NYC, is a
fabulous poet, working hard on her writing and making a dramatic
impact in poetic circles on the East Coast. Her delivery was perfect
and her poems aim for the heart. I especially enjoyed "Women Like
Us" and the final one she read about the dining room table. Wowza.
Come back, Karen, we miss you.

Monday, May 04, 2009

rebirth at age 60

We both thoroughly enjoyed American Hwangap at the Magic Theatre
last night. It's the story of a father who left home for 15 years and
returns to his wife and 3 bitter and confused children. Hwangap, is the
60th b. day celebration in Korean, but this is a universal family story,
aren't they all? (The father, above, was the Pig Farmer in Deadwood,
one of our favorite characters in that fine HBO series.) This is a comedy,
by the way, but you might want to drop a Kleenex® in your purse and/or pocket.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

nixon making nice

I was exhausted and fell asleep during this Frost/Nixon movie
last night, but what I saw was terrific, and I will watch it when
I'm not so tired. It was a really busy day at da deYoung, plus
a touch of insomnia the night before ~ not a great combo for me.

The joke of yesterday is because there is ALWAYS a gift shoppe
after every museum exhibit, or at least that's my experience.
Today I'm out at the Legion, always a pleasure and I am not
being sarcastic.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

onward, ever onward

So much for the photos, you'll have to check The Great Plotnik's
great blog for those from our fabulous Tiapos gathering.

I worked a full shift at da deYoung yesterday and we were busy!
It's a special 20% off sale for museum members and people are
still spending, I'm happy to say. The Warhol exhibit closes on
May 17th, so hurry in if you haven't seen it yet. Plus a lot of
the Warhol merchandise is on sale in the little gift shoppe at
the end of the exhibit. You can't miss it (joke).

The rains are here, sometimes heavy. Our garden is happy and
so, I presume, are the forests all over Northern California. And
I too am in a good mood ~ hooray.

Friday, May 01, 2009

and there I sat with my chili & baklava

I forgot my camera last night, so I'll poach a few from some
others and post them tomorrow, or the next day. We had a
glorious Tiapos (This Is A Piece Of Shit) writing group, dinner
and reunion last night over at The Great Plotnik's. He and
Ms. Plottie provided scrumptious chili, cornbread and
beverages and we writers brought the accouterments. When
I dragged in from work Husbando had made the salad dressing
and set up all the ingredients so I could make MY salad. He
is a find indeed. As a reward TGP sent me home with some
yummy chili for him.

The reason for the reunion is the return of Karen H. from NYC.
She is a magazine editor and in the past 6 years has become a
professional poet. Such talent. And Martha joined us, she lives
in Danville and that is indeed a drive. Rachel was there too.
In fact we were almost complete except for Eric and Chef P.,
neither of whom have the swine flu, to our knowledge. Oh, and
Suzie Parker is out of town, alas.

These gatherings are too wonderful to describe, but there is
so much laughter that none dare wear mascara or sit down
without a Kleenex® to dab the eyes. I figure that all viruses
will leave the system when uncontrollable laughing enters.
This is a medical fact. Oh, what a night...