Friday, July 31, 2009

adoption in the old days

Yesterday a new friend at work asked me about being adopted
because she reads da blog here. I found this old daily write and
will add/subtract a word or two before publishing. This is from
2004, and after I wrote this piece the blogmaid tracked down
the book from E-bay (e-Bay?). How sweet is that?

My favorite book as a little girl was "The Chosen Baby". My parents used
to read it to me and then when I could read I still loved that book best.
It told me how I was so special because I was selected, whereas other
poor parents had to take whatever child popped out. My brother was
also adopted, but he never seemed interested in The Book.

Adopted children live in a fantasy world, I think, of finding their Real
Parents and living happily ever after. Mine lived in a villa in rural
France and spoke English, of course. They didn't give me away,
because I was way too lovable, but someone stole me out of that
regal nursery and took me to Baltimore, Md Then my adopted
aunt took me on a train to (of all places) Pasadena, Ca. This fantasy
nourished me throughout childhood. I understand that children with
Real Parents also harbor these make-believe parents, but mine
were more possible because I was a Chosen Baby.

After mother died, I did try to search for my birth parents. It was
before the internet, so the search came to a dead end. I did discover
that my mother's name was Catherine Carter, and for some reason,
that was enough for me. Doesn't sound very French, does it?

I wish I had some medical knowledge, but other than that I sort of like
the idea that I was adopted. There is a certain mystery. Today the
process is all very open and civilized with couples taking care of the
birth mother and staying in contact throughout life. No French villas,
no dramatic homecomings for little girls who had been abducted
when they were a week old

Thursday, July 30, 2009

and now who's crazy?

For some reason I'm having trouble uploading a photo this morning
and I need to scamper, so I'll be all talk and no image. Pardon.

We went to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest on Tuesday night
and loved it! Of course it had been decades since we saw the movie
and had never seen the play before, so this was a treat. Instead of
Jack Nicholson as McMurphy, we had Hansford Prince, a black
actor who was fabulous and Susi Damilano was Nurse Ratched
(Rat Shit) ~ she was excellent too.

Some things don't change too much since this was set in 1958.
A friend of mine was talking about someone she knows who has
to undergo electro-shock therapy. And of course society still
doesn't trust people who are "different" and we still fight "the
man", or at least we think about doing so when we have the

Great job, SF Playhouse. I urge you readers to attend, all though
I'm happy to report that it was sold out the night we went.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

motion and emotion

There was hardly anyone in the exhibit rooms for the Richard Avedon
show at SF Moma yesterday morning at 10am. You'll want to see
this one! More than 200 photographs from his remarkable career,
including some of our old favorites: Marilyn Monroe, the guy with
bees all over him, fashion shots with elephants, etc. The crowds
seemed to be with Georgia O'Keefe and Ansel Adams and I did
pop in there, but this (in my opinion) is the exhibit to behold.
Through Nov. 29th, but don't dawdle.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

summertime (elsewhere)

The blogmaid and family are down in Southern California, a place we
sophisticated SF citizens make fun of, yet I have to admit this pool
play looks delightful to me. I believe that purple swim toy is a Croc®.
Is it not? RR spent hours in this pool yesterday. Yeah!

Last night was a closing of the museum stores for me and by the time
I left, the fog here was so heavy that Ken and I had to use the wipers.
But today I'm off and we'll bundle up and go downtown to another
museum. The Richard Avedon exhibit at SF Moma is supposed to
be terrific.

Monday, July 27, 2009

talk about rumpled

The Fevered Brain convinced me to give Wallander a try again on PBS.
And yes, she's right, it gets better and better. I could almost smell
Kenneth Branagh who hadn't eaten, slept or bathed in days as he
tracked down the ruthless killer. Sunday nights...tune in.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

who could ask for a better wedding?

On the path from the parking lot to the "chapel"

Before the ceremony

We all had a wonderful time yesterday down at The Family Farm, a
private oasis in Portola Valley. Perfect, perfect weather ~ not too warm
and no wind. The bride and groom stood at the altar as the sun
filtered through those amazing redwood trees. (We didn't get lost
on the way down and only once on the way home.)

There was a long cocktail hour and we enjoyed chatting with new and
old friends. Dinner for 150 people is usually not too exciting, but our
steaks were really quite good and we sat with some v. interesting
and charming people. Husbando remembered how to knot his tie
and of course we all said and received, "you haven't changed at all",
to people we hadn't seen in 20 or so years.

The bride and groom are absolutely delightful people and will be
moving here from NYC in the fall. Congratulations to Jessica and John!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

big wedding weekend

Jessica, the daughter of our friends (John and Mary) is getting
married today and last night was a cocktail party here at the
Fairmont Hotel. Even in the fog the city was stunning and of
course we found a parking spot on California Street, a half block
from this glorious old hotel on Mason. I love old hotels.

In one of those cruel twists of fate, Mary's mother died yesterday
morning, so her family's side was easily identified by their red eyes
and stunned looks. The Circle of Life and all of that, but still a
rough time during a beautiful weekend. I'll take the camera today
and be another unofficial photographer. The wedding is in Portola
Valley and people in the know say it will be sunny there today.

Friday, July 24, 2009

herding cats

Over the years at Tiapos (our writing group ~ This is a Piece of Shit),
I have become the "let's get going" bossy broad who gets the folks
to finally sit down and start the reading/commenting process. It
used to be because I had to be at the big box (where I no longer get
a discount) at 6am, but now it's like they are all waiting for me to
do a little not-so-gentle pushing to get everyone to sit down.

It was one fine evening with everyone in attendance and we even
enjoyed the company of Suzy Parker. All the pieces and songs
were terrific (as usual), but I have a touch of SF irony here. My
piece was about my street here in Bernal Heights and how the only
real negative is the parking situation. A short daily write that I
will fill-in with 3 more sentences per sentence (I promise) for
the next meeting in two weeks.

I got home about 10:30pm and there was a car parked across
our driveway. I called Husbando (who knows all cars, even
their brand names!) and he said it belonged to one of the
neighbors next door in The International House of Women.
I climbed up their stairs and rang the doorbell. The woman
who answered (and thank God for that) was hugely sorry and
asked me how her car got there. WTF? But she moved it
quickly and I calmed down over tea and my novel before
sleep. It ain't easy, this city life.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

nothing plus nothing = nada

Today is one of those days when I have the time, the reason and
even the prompt (Success!) to write. Tonight is our delightful
writing group, for heaven's sake, and we even have a full house.
But I can't think of a thing to say, I've said IT ALL and not very
well, in my own valuable opinion.

I went to yoga and I feel calm. I was agitated earlier because of
the stupid Blue Dog Democrats and that horrible feeling that
we might miss our One Chance to reform this miserable health
care system in the USA. I sent DiFi an email and she didn't
respond. The nerve.

OK, the page is no longer blank. I will do my Round Robin
daily write and I will remember that my job is to put fingers
to keyboard and stop the whining. Write, woman, write...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

shop and bleach

Yesterday I went to Stonestown (an icky SF mall) to buy some work
slacks that are on sale at Nordie's. Success. Then I wandered around
the mall to see what is new and right there, in front of God and the
whole world, was a tooth whitening kiosk. A circle unit with 4 chairs,
each with a TV. Young men in white were helping customers and I
succumbed. I have been tempted to have my teeth whitened over
the years, but could never bring myself to spend $500 or invest in
the time it takes. But what the hey, this cost me $75 and I was out
of there in 1/2 hour, with a coupon for a free follow-up bleach in a
month or so. It's called the Wowsmilexpress.

They make a mold and fill it with bleach and you watch TV for 10
minutes with an infrared (I think) device on your mouth. There was
a tingle afterward, but this morning my teeth and gums feel fine
as I drink my forbidden, problem-causing, delicious coffee.

Do I have the whitest teeth in America? No, but I do think that they
are maybe a shade or two whiter and I'm glad I did this impulsive
thing, which is so unlike me, as you may have deduced through
this blog.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

day off with fog & kids

Once again, just from this pose, we can see into the future.
RR and her friend Pablo don't even realize that it's
45ยบ below zero down at the beach.
And here is Dancing Jen's nephew, Kingston. She reports that he's even
better looking than this photo ~ yes, that's hard to imagine.

We're still waiting for the boy twin pictures to arrive.

The closing was semi-smooth last night. One register was $40
over, but someone will find out what happened in the cool,
clean light of today, I'm sure.

Monday, July 20, 2009

a night in the park

I figure that some photographer wanted me to highlight her/his lovely
photo of Golden Gate Park at night. Thank you Flickr®. Tonight is my
first official "close" at the DeYoung. I've opened and closed the Legion,
opened the DY and tonight will be a bit more difficult with additional
cash register balancing, closing reports, etc. But not to worry, there are
lots of guards around and I won't have to deal with shoeless people
carrying wounded sparrows or talking to imaginary friends and enemies.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

you called, mother?

Here is the imposing matriarch, Isabella Adena Hunter Williams.
This photo actually has a date. May, 1959. Dressed for church, of
course. You remember that Daddy's photo was also from back
here by the garage. I guess it was deemed "good light" or some such
thing. Mother (and Daddy) hailed from McKeesport, PA and they
loved Pasadena, California the way I love SF.

She was always Mother. Never mama or mommy. She came from
money and married a man who worked in the steel mills. Starting
to get the picture? Women didn't work outside the home in those
days, but she could have run several big companies. Instead she
had three people to over-worry about: my father with his bad
heart and the two adopted children. There were many screaming
scenes with the mother vs. bad boy brother and I would run and
hide in my bedroom with a pillow over my head. Of course today
I crave quiet and solitude the way others seek the social life.

Isabella and I did "make peace" (and thanks for the soothing
comment about the bro, Cute and Creepy) before she died. Not a
smooth and perfect peace, but a few "I love yous". Here was a
woman with more energy than almost anyone I've ever met,
she could not sit still (nor stop talking) until she slept, fitfully,
of course. The irony of this ultra active woman dying paralyzed
from ALS was a bit too cruel, don't you agree?

But wait. The good news. After my father died Isabella married
a sweet man (family friend) and she was HAPPY. A new woman
emerged. She laughed, we talked on the phone every Sunday
morning, she stopped worrying about us for a few unbelievable
years. Oh, and I should mention that she too loved my Husbando,
even though she had only met one other Jew before. She died
in 1976, and they had the audacity to show me a red/white/blue
Bicentennial casket. And yes, she was a conservative Republican.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

let's stock up on books!

I stopped by my new bookstore (Books, Inc. on Market) to say
howdy to my friend Ken, and to buy some new QPs. Quality
Paperbacks, but you knew that. The blogmaid, Boise and I
will love this one because it's all about plural marriages, the
Mormon faith and Big L-U-V. I think it's highly Muni-worthy.
The 19th Wife is a novel by David Ebershoff, "as chilling as
it is entertaining", says the NY Daily News.

Friday, July 17, 2009

the car, the movie, the lazy one

The sun is out, The Fevered Brain has her new Smart Car (red)
and here I sit in slug mode, fooling around on the computer.
Time to move, woman!

We feature this DVD out at the Legion often and I have trouble
paying attention to customers when it is playing. The Rape of
Europa is a documentary about the Nazis stealing thousands
of pieces of art from Poland, France and Italy. It is another
shocking visual description of that horrible war. Then towards
the end (of the war and the movie) my beloved Florence is
seen after the Nazis left ~ they bombed the beautiful bridges
and monuments, leaving rubble and destruction. I borrowed
the DVD from a fellow worker so Husbando and I could watch
it from beginning to end. It should be shown in every high
school art and history class, less we ever forget...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

huuuuumus anyone?

Michael often mentions that there is no falafel to be found in
either Santa Barbara or Whittier, where he usually hangs out, so
last night I introduced him to TGP's discovery, The Old Jerusalem.
It was the first time I'd been there for dinner and they were
busy (!) and since Michael has lived in many foreign lands, I
asked him to order for me. Yum. Lentil soup, salad, gooey dips
with pita bread, chicken and more.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

welcome, boys!

No photos yet, but Neti and Frank's grandtwins were born in
Sacramento yesterday. Ben and Sam are a little underweight,
so they'll be in hospital for a few days longer than usual.
The mothers (Nicole and Gwen) are doing fine ~ happy and
relieved, as are the grandparents. Double congrats to
everyone, all very exciting!

I know, you need pictures. Soon.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

a true summer day

Bad photo of cute dog playing in the sprinklers in Precita Park.
Heat wave! The museums were both closed yesterday, so everyone had
a day off while they cleaned and painted, freshened and straightened.
Husbando and I walked to lunch in the nabe and spent 10 minutes
watching this adorable black dog play in the sprinklers. Of course I
couldn't get a good photo, but he had a great time and was soaking
wet when his owner finally convinced him that it was time to go home.

We both had burgers (stuffed with blue cheese and scallions) at the
BBQ place. And yes, we recommend the restaurant and will try the
ribs next time. So nice to see so much sun.

My friend Michael is here from Santa Barbara, so we had (iced)
coffee and talked for a couple of hours, catching-up on this/that.

Monday, July 13, 2009

back to memory lane

Here we have my brother, Evan Hunter Williams. I guess this was
maybe the late Fifties, and we can see the James Dean influence. I
guess Evan was hiding the cigarette somewhere, hoping to escape
mother's lecture. We were never close, perhaps because we were
both adopted, but in my heart I know there was more to it than that.

Evan died in 1998, from bladder cancer. He refused to have a simple
operation when it was diagnosed, and like most of us he died as he
lived. Stubborn.

He was a year older than I am and about the only thing we had in
common was that we both loved to read. His wife said that when he
was dying he re-read the books I had sent him over the years. Evan
was a great and devoted father to his three children ~ one of my
big regrets is that we never "made peace" before he died.

This family history stuff exhausts me. I wonder why...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

sunset over my city

It was one of those red and gold evenings.
I took these photos from our back deck and of course they don't
really show you how truly spectacular the sunset was. In the
bottom photo you can barely see Twin Peaks, the fog was much
redder than shown in the picture.

Yesterday was another Saturday off (not like the big box!) and
after yoga I didn't do too much of anything. Today is work, but
I am raring to go after so much pleasant relaxing. The Giants
are on quite a roll ~ could this be another exciting year for them
and for us? So unexpected.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

where were you?

When Jonathan Sanchez pitched the rare no-hitter last night?
Why watching Blue Murder (Set 1 of 3), a superior British
TV crime series from our friends at Flix®. Somehow the Brits
do these strong-women DCI dramas waaaaaay better then
the Americans. In any event, sorry about missing the game,
but we highty recommend this DVD with Caroline Quentin as
the pregnant single mother of 3 shero. Gritty, as they say.

Friday, July 10, 2009

my work world, with photos

Here is the glamorous employee entrance.
Everyday the ocean shimmers in a different way.
After being inside all day, my lungs
crave the indescribably wonderful salty sea air.
How DO people live away from an ocean?
Lucky, lucky us.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

my days at the palace

Actually, I go in the employee side door out by the many dumpsters,
so I forget how beautiful it is here. Our back office is old and messy
and right now we aren't very busy. There were only two of us working
yesterday and I have my sandwich inside, so I can be there if needed.
But then when it's quitting time and I go out past security, past the
trash bins ~ the Pacific Ocean and the cool breezes practically knock
me over with the beauty, the light, the cool clean air. Even though I'm
in a hurry to get home, I stop for a moment to breathe deeply and
admire this glorious location. Now it's time for me to tour the art
again, too, I tend to forget about that...

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

thirty years later

The deYoung put on a party for the employees last night and we
were impressed, even those of us who didn't expect to be. Each
employee was given 4 tickets and I lucked out with the 6pm
time slot, so we had lots of time and space to enjoy all the
treasures. Then they served excellent Middle Eastern food and
provided music up in Wilsey Court. (My camera was at home. Sigh.)

Our friends Neti and Frank joined us because we had gone to
the first Tut exhibit together back in 1979. It seemed only right
to repeat the process since we all have different memories of
that first ever museum blockbuster event. I've talked to so
many customers who enjoyed both exhibits ~ lucky me!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

it's from 1980 and it's fun!

My friend Susan in Sacramento/Mexico recommended this DVD
from Flix® and I'm so happy that she did. Hopscotch is one of
those fast-moving, trick-the-CIA movies and it's guaranteed to
cure minor blues, if you should ever experience those. We have
Walter Matthau and Glenda Jackson dashing all over the world.
I learn so much from the blogs of others. Check out my friend
with the Fevered Brain on her excellent blog. Thanks, Susan.

Monday, July 06, 2009

small town parades

We were talking about these at TGP's BBQ. I tend to make fun
of small towns and their parades because I am a big city sophisticate,
but some day I may just have to go to Pumpkinville and admire
the color and creativity that I've seen in the blogmaid's photos
over the past 5 or so years. Here is our RR with her hat, jewels,
sunglasses and lollipop ~ and I believe there was sunshine, too.
(Of course that was a joke up there, I'm about as sophisticated
as Ms. Sarah Palin, but I don't shoot animals. Oh and I'm
ultra left-wing, but you already knew that.)

Sunday, July 05, 2009

a perfect 4th of July

An unusually large crowd for the Mime Troupe this year.
Lots of dogs, children and old radicals. The theme was Greed (corporate and individual) and I just wish I had a photo of the "shark dress". It's great fun to watch the audience.
Then to TGPs ~ here Doug and Ira are gathering raspberries.
BBQ'd wild salmon and potatoes. I wish I also had a photo of the luscious blueberry pie. A truly wonderful evening with our friends. Once again, world problems analyzed and solved.
Back to TutWorld today, I'm feeling happy.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

and another Opening Day!

Today at 2pm, Dolores Park ~ the San Francisco Mime Toupe.
A dash of sunshine would be nice, but there is still a touch
of fog over our city. Happy 4th everyone, be safe. We'll work
on sanity later...

Friday, July 03, 2009

what's new at the Legion?

Yesterday and today I'm working out at the Legion of Honor and
it is such a wonderful place to spend a day. Quiet, respectful and
very much like a day-off, if truth be told. Next week the John
Baldessari exhibit opens and we will have a special gift shop, so
we are setting that up. (No, we are not selling the colorful dots,
you'll have to go to Office Max for those.) The above is entitled
Studio, 1988 and is a photo offset lithograph with color screenprint.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

good, bad or merely obsessive?

It's weird. This is the first job I've ever had where I can read work
emails from home. I do like starting my day without any surprises,
and I can check the daily sales every morning. On the other hand,
I worry that this is becoming the 24/7 work world that we all preach
to others to avoid at all costs.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

to market street with love

It's one of those wonderful coincidences. Yesterday in Linda's blog,
she just happened to mention the light in our city.In a follow-up
email, she said she thought maybe it was out of place, but S.F.
Worship is always right where it should be. Everywhere. So then I
read the following in the Fishburne book.

From "Going to See the Elephant"

It was four o'clock in the afternoon and Market Street
was bathed in a peculiar end-of-world light known only
to San Francisco. All up and down the boulevard
the afternoon sun fell in heavy angled columns that cast
the buildings in a bronze glow and caused the trolley rails
to shine like silver tears.

Anyone who has been in San Francisco for longer than a
day recognizes the light is different. Some think it's because
she is a north-facing city, and some think it's because of the
salt mist in the air, which clings to everything,even the light,
and gives it a texture, and some more mystical minds think

the light is different because the city itself is straddling two
worlds: the visible world of stars and sun, water and edges,
and the invisible world which can only be felt. The light from
these two spheres mixes in San Francisco, they say, the way
an eddy in a great river mixes not only water, but also fish.

(The photo above happens to be in the early morning. I loved
this when I opened the big box at 6am. I'd try to remember to
stop and look when I was up on the 4th floor, putting the drawers
in the cash registers. Not a bad start to the day.)