Tuesday, June 30, 2009

where is the real Mary Ann?

I'm heading off to yoga to find my "center" (eeeeeeek) and to
cleanse my heart and mind. To stretch and chant and doze
a bit during deep meditation. My full-time job is great, except
that it's still retail and it's full-time stressful. But that's my
problem and yoga will help me solve that one again.

See that little round window up on top? That's the Temple
where our class will be, I hope. They have many softly
carpeted class rooms, but I like the top room the best.

Monday, June 29, 2009

lost in sf (again)

A young writer moves to San Francisco, he doesn't have any
money and now he's going to find a job and write a spectacular
novel. Hmmmm, I know it's not a new plot line, but I'm liking
Going to See the Elephant after about 30 pages or so. I have
a rule that if I'm not hooked after 44 pages, the book goes
back to the library or I sell it to Green Apple. You have my
thumbs up here, but it's still in hard cover.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

report from opening day

Despite a pompous and negative review from our local art critic
in the chronny (who also bashed the Chihuly exhibit), the museum
was busy and it felt so good to be running around solving (and
causing, I'm sure) problems in our many stores. The lines were
orderly, the customers happy and the retail workers tired by the
end of the day. It was nothing like the holiday season in the big
box in days of yore, thankfully.

I liked reading the comments on SFGate.com from the readers
who disagreed with the art critic and I especially appreciated the
person who mentioned all the jobs and tourist business created
by this exhibit. Sure there is a lot of hype, but lots and lots of
folks see and appreciate our museum for the first time and we
know they will be back. Now to get ready for Day #2...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

but does it work?

I'm going to photocopy and snail mail an article in the New
Yorker (6/8) to Mistress Jane at the Writing Salon. Louis
Menand (writer and professor) has some interesting thoughts
about Creative Writing courses and the proliferation of
writing groups. Now, my thoughts.

In a life filled with happy memories, one of my outstanding ones
was to receive Jane's email inviting me to join Tiapos, a small
group of writers who met in her cottage in Bernal Heights. Me.
This was in 2003, February, as I remember. I was thrilled
beyond thrilled. We meet every other Thursday night, except
when too many of us are crazed by everyday life, and we all
try to bring a piece of our work. My writing friends give me
great pleasure ~ laughter, tears and lots to think about. I am
"high" when I come home from Tiapos, a good high.

Here, from Mr. Menand:
...presenting a story in a writing workshop is a little like
making a business presentation in a corporate workplace.
Such a presentation is, on some level, a "presentation of
individual excellence", a means by which we observe and
test ourselves. It helps us measure how we are doing in
the human race.

So true.

Friday, June 26, 2009

pumpkinville graduation day

Here is RR back in Nov. 2007, Day #1 of pre-school.
RR's final week of pre-school ~ note subtle growing-up changes.
A special hairstyle (requested by RR) for one of the many days of celebration.

It is my duty (and distinct pleasure) to record RR's triumphs here
on commano. In September she starts kindergarten and that will
bring new fun and adventure for all of us. The last time I was in
Pumpkinville, the blogmaid drove me over to her new school and
I pronounced it "beautiful". I guess that counts as a blessing?
Happy Graduation Day, dear RR!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

an early preview

Tuesday was my day off, but I went in for a special employee walk-
through so I can better discuss the Boy King with our customers.
I'm not one of those people with boundless knowledge (or interest)
in ancient Egypt, so the more I learn the better.

Yes, it's worth the hype. It is an amazing collection from that tomb
that was discovered back in 1922. The signs are easy to read, unlike
at the Asian Art Museum where one has to bend way down, and
the lighting is excellent. There are 10 rooms filled with tomb toys,
although I missed the final room due to a Fire Alarm. I'm thinking
it was a fire drill for all the new employees, but I don't know that
for sure. In any event, I can honestly say now that the exhibit is
worth the money and time you will invest at the de Young.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

we are all animals

We love the early 7pm curtain time at A.C.T. on Sunday nights,
and this was special because we souped first with the dear
Plotniks across the street at Thai Noodle (or whatever). I
do think Edward Albee is one of the best playwrights ever
and we even enjoyed The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? Of
course we were all looking forward to going to The Zoo.

Albee wrote the first act of At Home At The Zoo recently
and I, for one, think it is perfect. The woman behind me
didn't like it, preferring the second act which was written
back in 1958. (I glared at her.) Ann and Peter have one
of those "marital discussions" before Peter heads to the
park where he meets Jerry. I will now direct you to the
fabulous Plotnik review for more and better reflections.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

back to those trees

There is a v. good blog that I found by someone who lives around
Civic Center and I borrowed this photo and it is linked. There
is the usual SF ultra-eco worry that this is bad for the trees, but
the artist should know a bit about Sycamores and how much art
they can handle. The artist is Patrick Dougherty.

Yesterday I spent several fine hours sanding the back deck. It was
about a year ago that our endless house painting project began
and the next door neighbors are now working (loudly) on their home.
Thankfully they are exceedingly nice people, so we forgive. I'll
get photos one day of all their ladders and tools.

Today I tour Tut.

Monday, June 22, 2009

make mine a museum

Notice the tree sculpture above.
African American celebration at Civic Center ~ can you smell the BBQ?
The Asian Art Museum, this used to be the Public Library.
One of the many benefits of my job is that we get free admission to
other museums. Yesterday we thought we'd be early to the Lords of
the Samurai exhibit at the Asian Art Museum, but the joint was
already jumping. Lots of families enjoying the warrior costumes,
swords, paintings and pottery from the Hosokawa family ~ a 600
year old lineage (with lots of storage space, it appears). I highly
recommend this exhibit which will be here until Sept. 20th.

We also poked around at the Juneteenth festival and then across
the street and the Farmer's Market. On any given Sunday there is
more to do in San Francisco than seems possible, and yet every
venue is packed. Of course the sunshine helps everything.

I will report on the fabulous Edward Albee play tomorrow, after
I can steal some phrases from The Great Plotnik.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

a first (twice)

Meet my father, David Russell Williams. I have never scanned for
commano before, but my almost-perfect new Epson allows me to
do this. I have no idea who he is handing this lemon/egg/ball to,
could even be my brother, but the kid looks far too nice for that
to be the case.

My father died when I was in college. My writing group points
out that I never write about him. Could this possibly still be
too painful? Yes, I fear it is. I adored him. I write about Mother
Dear often ~ we had problems galore. Maybe I'll dig up a photo
of her someday too.

Anyway, happy Father's Day. I'm cooking lunch for Husbando
and taking him out for duck noodle soup tonight before ACT.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

new blog on the block

I would like to introduce Claire, step daughter of our blogmaid
and loving step sister of the adorable RR. One of these days
I'll link her over there on the right, in the meantime, enjoy
her wonderful blog. She is spending the summer in Switzerland
and she writes often, so you'll be busy reading about her
incredible, happy life as a softball pitcher, tourist, friend and
lucky, lucky twenty-something. Thanks for so many great
postings, Claire, and keep writing!

Friday, June 19, 2009

send me a postcard!

I've always bought postcards at museums. It's such an inexpensive way
to remember the visit, or send to a friend. The photo above is not OUR
postcard collection, but we do sell many, many every day, at $1.00.
Yesterday my job was to move the big back stock of postcards, organize
and physically lug them to another storage place to make room for
more Tut. I had some deep thoughts during this move ~ artists who
name their works "Still Life" or "Untitled" aren't trying hard enough,
and we truly have enough ocean scenes to choke all horses everywhere.
Today to the Legion where life is always easier...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

more on the outdated vacation

like daughter, like father

I really love this photo of RR and her papa. They are watching Scooby
Doo, according to the blogmaid. Yesterday Jon Carroll had a column
in the chronny arguing that school should be longer everyday and all
summer too. I'm sure the teachers hate that idea, but it certainly makes
sense in this day and age. President Obama has mentioned this before
as a way to get the kids better educated than they are currently, at
least compared to other countries.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

fog riddled day off

Happily I worked 6 in a row and today is so relaxing that I'm not
even giving commano a "hello" until now, 1 pm. Weeds Season 4
arrived from my close Flix® friends. There is no sunshine and
that means afternoon movies are legal here in Casa Verde. But
first I'd better walk over to Big Lot's and check out the fashions
and some of the strange 4th of July decorations that we can't
live without. I heart Big Lot's...

Monday, June 15, 2009

a little reminder

When I Googled this book (Abide with Me) that I am about to
read, I was amazed at the amount of Christianity that permeates
the internet. Nonbelievers who live in San Francisco tend to
forget how the rest of the USA operates. Lordy. You will
remember that the ultra-talented Elizabeth Strout also wrote
Olive Kitteridge.

Cell phone update. Husbando called the number yesterday
and reported that it sounded "all official and governmenty",
so perhaps this is NOT yet another suburban hoax?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

leave us alone

(Thanks to Ginger in Pleasanton for this PSA.)

REMEMBER: Cell Phone Numbers Go Public next month.
REMINDER.... all cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sales calls.


To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone:

It is the National DO NOT CALL list. It will only take a minute of your time. It blocks your number for five (5) years. You must call from the cell phone number you want to have blocked. You cannot call from a different phone number.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

orientation includes humor!

Yesterday they played this delightful old Steve Martin-as-King Tut
video for the 100 or so new hires. What fun. I'm sure we'll see it
again on Monday during the actual King Tut orientation. After a
lot of questions/answers/presentations, we took a two hour tour
and I needed that. The museum is constantly changing and the mind
forgets some of the many, many wonders. Plus I saw something new
in the sculpture garden that I will report on later. New to me, not
to the garden, that is...

Friday, June 12, 2009

she keeps writing

One of the most important things I've learned over the years
at the Writing Salon is that I can always, always find something
to write about. Today I have nothing, the well is dry, but I
will write anyway.

Dinner at the Cliff House ~ a Fixed Price ($34) special. Neti
and I had chicken, Husbando the salmon and Frank a pasta.
Probably the latter was the best choice. Superb salad and
dessert included. Exquisite bread, but that's to be expected
in SF where we DO bread.

A feeling of excitement at the deYoung as they set up the
Tut exhibit and the store. I'm impressed with the organization
from The Top which didn't really exist at the Big Box. Of
course they have to plan these things years in advance and
there are many, many details. Today? Orientation for the
100 new hires and I will attend too, an all day event.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

celebration dinner

This is the fabulous Cliff House. One of those rare places where
the food is excellent and the view The Best. Even if it's cloudy
and grey elsewhere in the city, there will probably be a remarkable
sunset here. And last night it was busy as we celebrated Neti and
Frank's wedding anniversary. I forgot my camera, so I borrowed
this photo from the internet and there are a bunch more there
of assorted gorgeous sunsets.

My first day of FT work was very nice because I got to help set-up
the new Egypt store. I do enjoy merchandising even though I need
a LOT of guidance. The day sped by.

I not only wear the Italian jacket often (truly), I've reached the
stage wear I wad it up and put it under my seat at the theater
or scrunch it into my locker at work. Oh, "that old thing".
Thanks for asking. I do still really love it, by the way.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

off to work we go

Today is the first day of my new full-time job. This is not my briefcase
because I prefer a canvas bag and a little lunch box. I read in the
chronny that it's TRENDY to take one's lunch to work now ~ I think
I started this trend about 20 years ago. I'm not even nervous, just
ready to learn a few new things and maybe help increase sales some.

It was perfect having four days off in a row before I start this adventure.
I did some cleaning, organizing, reading, writing, walking and napping.

There is a light rain this morning, beats the hell out of forest fires.
Now where is my newly fashionable Thermos®?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

that's MY stamp

A young woman inherits a stamp collection from her mother,
but her sister says it's hers. Throw in three more untrustworthy
characters and we have a fine mystery/comedy at the Magic
Theatre. Mauritius was written by Theresa Rebeck and it
is very, very good. See it!

Monday, June 08, 2009

i have seen the future

...and there are no cars.
Dancers and drummers, though.
Lots of bikes and free bike rentals.
Old fashioned low tech family fun.

These Sunday Streets (no cars from 10am to 2pm) events in SF are a
huge success and yesterday's was the first one that we were able to
attend. It was mostly on Valencia and 24th Street, so of course we could
walk from home. You can see that it was a really nice day and such a
pleasure not to have to contend with cars. So many bikers, skaters,
walkers and even people sitting out on chairs, watching the colorful
activities. I envision more permanent no-car streets and Sunday
events like these.

Where the residents parked remains a mystery ~ this is an area with
lots of autos. But, it can be done, and should.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

poppy in london

Sally Hawkins plays Poppy, a school teacher who is always in a
good mood, almost annoyingly so, in my opinion. Still this Mike
Leigh comedy Happy-Go-Lucky is worth seeing because there
are some great and touching moments. I do wonder, however,
how the streets can be so empty when Poppy is taking her
driving lessons. I don't remember London being like that...

Saturday, June 06, 2009

deserves another

This is the author of Case Histories and also the woman that the
Writing Salon Mistress J mentioned earlier this week. Kate
Atkinson does not enjoy the publishing/promoting part of
writing, even though she is extremely successful. I would guess
she cashes those hefty checks easily, however. I started One Good
Turn last night and am loving it.

I gave up on Angels & Demons ~ such trite and tedious writing.
Not to sound like a snob, not me...

Friday, June 05, 2009

breathe deeply

View of The Great Highway from Sutro Park.
Sutro Bath ruins and our magnificent ocean.
This reminded me of Mendocino.

I never knew about this tunnel until yesterday. It's very cool, but I
wouldn't try it during high tide. Ginger and I had a good walk and
talk and solved most of the world's problems in a couple of hours
yesterday. Mr. Sutro had a huge mansion up at the top of His park
and he could look out over his vast Bath empire, as well as the
Pacific Ocean. This is one of the prettiest walks in the city and it
always amazes me how we can find such quiet spots so close to
the hustle and bustle of city life. Lovely.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

ellen gets dressed

Chapter 3 ~ it's slow going here, readers.
Thanks for your patience.

"I can't handle this stranger-in-my-garden situation without coffee",
Ellen muttered to herself as she hurried to the kitchen. She filled the
teapot with water, put a filter in the old Melitta® coffee maker and
ground some dark French roast beans before spooning them into the
cone, At that moment her big orange cat wandered in with a light
genteel meow."What good are you, Salmon? There's a man out
there and you are supposed to be my watch cat. You flunked that
test". But she scratched him behind his ears to let him know that she had already forgiven him.

Ellen put her favorite blue Mermaid mug on the counter and raced to
her bedroom to throw on her jeans and a red sweatshirt. She brushed
her hair and tied it back in a severe bun, removed her furry bunny
slippers and put on her best sneakers. "I may have to run like hell
soon", she thought to herself, "those flip flops won't do".

The teapot was beginning its shrill whistle and as Ellen poured the
boiling water into the coffee maker she realized that this was the
first time she had moved around so quickly since her husband had
died. "What a slug I've become", she thought, "it feels good to pick
up the pace here". As always, the smell of the coffee was pure
heaven. As an afterthought she set out the black deYoung coffee
cup and filled it almost to the top. "I wonder if Keith likes cream or
sugar in his coffee?" Then Ellen quietly opened the back door
to her garden...

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

prounced lard-waz, of course

Our table.
We met Neti and Frank here on Noe and Henry Streets for a
delightful dinner. It was like stepping into a small Parisian
Restaurant only no cigarette fumes and way less money. It
was packed, too, imagine that, in this economy. You will need
reservations at L'Ardoise (the chalkboard) Bistro and a big
appetite. We recommend the butter lettuce salad and either
fish or steak ~ and always pomme frittes. I'll include my parking
karma with this post, but that's good for a one-time-only dealio.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

a civilized inventory

The big box inventory horror show was always an overnighter and
just for that reason alone it was agony because we had to use so
much staff. That left the whole week without adequate coverage
and it was pretty nasty all the way around.

Yesterday at the deYoung it was a pleasure because we were so
well prepared. Maybe 2 "sku checks" total and I was home by
3pm. Lots of bagels, donuts, coffee and pizza too. Viva la
differance (sp?)...

Blogmaid ~ yes, Angels and Demons revolves around the
CERN. You might want to reserve this illustrated book from
your very own Pumpkinville Library. I didn't know about
Maureen, wowza.

Monday, June 01, 2009

a little after the fact

I promised Santa Barbara Ginger that I would read Angels & Demons
when we were wandering around Rome. That would be two years
ago (plus). I ordered the illustrated copy from the library and it is
a lot of fun. Terrible typical Dan Brown writing, but he can surely
hold my interest with his fast-paced plot and the visuals are terrific.

Other than that on my Sunday off, we met our friends Ron and Judy
for dinner at Ristorante Milano on Pacific. They took OUR parking
place, but I forgave them and we had a lovely evening.

Today is inventory day at the museum. Jeans and comfortable shoes!