Monday, August 31, 2009

we love lil's

One of our favorite hamburger places is Liverpool Lil's out at Lyon
and Lombard, across from the Presidio. Today we had lunch there
to celebrate Ginger's and catch-up on some news and gossip.
Then we walked a bit on colorful Divisadero Street and, behold, it's
starting to feel like nap time. Such a pleasant day off, but aren't
they all?

(A note of condolence to dear Susan who lost her sister, Vicky, last
night. I'm so sorry for you and for her family.)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

deep (borrowed) thoughts on a sunday

from The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery:

In the split second while I saw the stem and the bud drop to the counter I intuited the essence of Beauty. Yes, here I am, a little twelve-and-a-half-year-old brat, and I have been incredibly lucky because this morning all the conditions were ripe: an empty mind, a calm house lovely roses, a rosebud dropping. And that is why I thought of Ronsard's poem, though I didn't really understand it at first: because he talks about time, and roses. Because beauty consists of its own passing, just as we reach for it. It's the ephemeral configuration of things in the moment, when you can see their beauty and their death.

Oh my gosh, I thought, does this mean that this is how we must live our lives? Constantly poised between beauty and death, between movement and its disappearance?

Maybe that's what being alive is all about: so we can track down those moments that are dying.
ROSES (the poem)

I send you here a wreath of blossoms blown,
And woven flowers at sunset gathered,
Another dawn had seen them ruined, and shed
Loose leaves upon the grass at random strown.
By this, their sure example, be it known,
That all your beauties,
now in perfect flower,
Shall fade as these, and wither in an hour,
Flowerlike, and brief of days, as the flower sown.

Ah, time is flying, lady - time is flying;
Nay, ’tis not time that flies but we that go,
Who in short space shall be in churchyard lying,
And of our loving parley none shall know,
Nor any man consider what we were;
Be therefore kind, my love, whiles thou art fair.

Pierre Ronsard

Saturday, August 29, 2009

schedule switch

I opted to close the deYoung tonight, instead of working the 10 to
6 pm shift, which I hate. At least this way I can get a few household
tasks out of the way and we were able to watch Ted Kennedy's
impressive funeral on TV this morning. Not a perfect man, but
such a fine senator ~ now let's pass the health care reform to
honor him. Please.

It is HOT here and SF does not do well in the heat since we have
no AC. Well, the museums have great temperature control, so
that's one more pleasant thing about this job. I remember at the big
box the AC would break down just when we needed it most and
the customers would complain to us, as though we hadn't
noticed that it was 120ยบ in the store.

Friday, August 28, 2009

thanks, fevered brain!

I bought The Lost Painting out at the Legion of Honor, based
solely on my friend Susan's recommendation in her All Of It
blog. I got hooked from page one, maybe because right now
the author is in Rome, but also the writing is just so terrific.
It reads like a novel, like a fine novel. Muni-worthy, for sure,
and I have 3 straight days of buses due to some outlandishly
large concert out at Golden Gate Park. Starting today.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

from Will the Poet

(This is from an email that my Tiapos friend Will sent
yesterday. He knows that I get all sort of insane
about baseball, especially this time of year.)


Look at those sad sacks harvesting splinters
in their asses at the end of the bench,
the pinch hitters and utility infielders,
the ones with the gawky body language
that says Holy Shit, how’d I end up
in the Bigs, where the fifth starter
throws fastballs in the 90s

and you feel fucking naked in front of the world
if you whiff or even shy away
from an inside fastball, even though
it’s hissing by your earlobe
like an adder sent to deliver
the kiss of death.

They were all stars in the minors,
so many days when they ripped the cover
off the ball, stole second standing up,
turned double plays so graceful
they were known as artists.

But this is their dream, to walk
in a dugout with the stars, to drink
at the same water cooler,
to leap to their feet
when this year’s Sultan swats one
deep, deep into the cheap seats
and they feel, down in their splinter-
punctured asses, that he’s rounding
the impossibly white, immaculate
bases just for them.

Forget the popcorn-littered masses
ginning up the soundtrack.
They only wish they could get that far,
sitting at the end of the bench,
suited up, waiting for their moment
to slap their slugger on the back
and look up at the scoreboard
towards the crooked numbers
that spell We win again.

Will Walker

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I could do this!

Alain de Botton

, author of "How Proust Can Change Your Life" and "The Art of Travel," was Heathrow Airport's so-called writer in residence for the week. As reported in the New York Times, de Botton parked himself at a desk in a terminal at the London airport; as he typed away on a laptop, his words appeared on a screen behind him for passers-by to read. De Botton's reflections will be published in a short book, "A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary," 10,000 copies of which will be given free to Heathrow travelers.

(from the Book Section in last Sunday's Chronicle)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

remembering reflections

I loved this piece by Jackie Pansari entitled "Reflection on Japan".
There are little Japanese newspaper cut-outs at the bottom of each
glass piece. I simply fell in love and can't give any rational reasons,
so be it. This was at the Burchfield Penney Art Center and yes, I
did buy a couple of items in the gift shoppe.

My inner clock is goofy today, but I'm enjoying the peaceful early
morning hours before I head out to the Legion for a good work day.

Monday, August 24, 2009

buffalo ~ street hockey sunday

The StepRob and I had a few hours to explore downtown Buffalo and there was a big hockey event here with ex-stars and young players and bales of smelly hay and lots of fun, it looked like.
This is Ani DiFranco's Church of Revolutionary Music Babes (or whatever), but it's right downtown and is a big deal. Lots of churches and temples in Buffalo. The downtown is sort of dead, alas, like so many cities across the country.
A wonderful brunch at Betty's on Virginia Street. Even better than Bob Evans!
And then, the great surprise. Rob loves museums. Who knew? This is a
tapestry at the new Burchfield Penney Art Center and we found some
other wonderful art here too. I'll write about another piece tomorrow,
but I wanted to cover the very nice day I had with "the boy". We don't
have a chance to just hang out together and I think it was special for
both of us. Then dinner with Rob and his delightful wife, Sarah, and
early to bed for my 6am flight to SF.

Smooth JetBlue home and a slow de-packing afternoon and a few
little house tasks. I'm so glad I made this family-heavy trip, it was
cause for some trepidation beforehand, but well worth it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

a full day of family, food, beauty

We started the yesterday with a big family breakfast gathering at Bob Evans, a block away from the Red Roof. As of this morning I've had 4 meals here. Who was Bob Evans?
The granddaughter was fabulous and the bat mitzvah was fun and inspirational. There were two rabbis (one female, one male) and both stayed on topic (the g. dot Lindsay) and I thought the ceremony was extremely interesting. It was my first.
After lox and bagels, etc., five of us headed for Niagara Falls. Some rain, some sun and ALL outstanding. We just stayed on the American side, but what views.
I have been to Niagara Falls twice before, but never walked around the
park up here to see so many falls and vistas. We all needed to stretch
our legs and have some time to appreciate this wonder. My step, Nancy,
and I needed some moments for private chats and catch-up and we
found it yesterday, as we strolled and ooooohed and ahhhhhed. Lovely day indeed.

Last night was the party at the country club. Not too many photos, alas,
but there were about 50 young girls all dressed up in delightful finery.
They had their special room and music, glow-stuff, balloons, photo
booth ~ they roamed in groups of 10 or so, and when one of us would
venture into their dance area, they would all leave. It was great to
watch them and know that the would have this night and day
of special memories with her family and friends.

This morning ~ back to Bob Evans and then some quiet time before I
see Rob and family later. Many goodbye hugs and wet eyes as the rest
of them head for Pittsburgh, Chicago, Utica.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

day one in clarence, ny

Rob and I started with coffee, of course. He knows
everyone in town AND their children.
Willow tree in Rob's front yard.
The front yard. No sprinkler system ~ nature does it!
One tends to forget how green the rest of the world is, even in summer.
We had a busy day of running around on errands, but I did get a nap
in before the rest of the family arrived yesterday afternoon. We were
almost late to temple in Buffalo and you know that makes me tense,
but there were a lot of people to organize in assorted "big" SUV-type
cars. The g. dots here are very sweet and fun. Today is Lindsay's Bat
Mitzvah followed by a Kiddush Luncheon and then a party at the
Country Club tonight. Wonderful sleep last night!

Friday, August 21, 2009

more coffee, honey?

It's 8:45am here in Buffalo and I just finished a large breakfast
at Bob Evans down the road. A typical not-SF-like coffee shop
with perky waitresses on the good side of 50 (or 60)? In any
event, my cell rang during the sunnyside up part and it was JetBlue
telling me they would be delivering the "mishandled" bag before
10am today. Oh, double hooray!

I did sleep a bit, after taking inventory of every single item that
might have been lost in the bag. Then I expanded to a shopping
trip to find something to wear to all these family events and it's
amazing that I slept at all. Oh, the mind, the mind.

The youngest stepson, Rob, picked me up at midnight and he really
is a joy. I almost killed him during his teen years, so seeing him
now with the grey hair is a shock. But that same delightful humor
that kept him alive when he was young, was most appreciated
after consecutive hours on planes.

I have experienced lost luggage so many times that I now travel
with a photo and I include the dimensions of my bag. It was a
huge help. And I stay calm. Talk about a nasty job, dealing with
folks with lost luggage.

Weather? A warm almost-drizzle. Real summer.
OK, I need to unpack.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

it's all in my mind

I know, I've read the articles. This stuff doesn't work and what do
school teachers know about the immune system? But I do know that
I used to always get sick after being on an airplane, and since I've
been using this, I don't. Those planes are filled with germy people
and Airborne® works for me every time.

Yes, I'll write from Buffalo tomorrow. Thanks, everyone!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

just like the old days

I was up this morning at 4am to do some much-needed projects:
online banking, overdue emails, thank you notes, etc. It felt
great to have some time to myself, but of course I'll be yawning
after lunch and beyond.

The JetBlue flight(s) leave tomorrow morning and I'll get into
Buffalo around midnight. The youngest stepson has kindly
offered to do the airport pick-up thing, which is very sweet.
I'm bringing MsBook, so of course I'll be in communication.

One more day of work. I can do it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

learning from tourists

Last night I talked to a family from Florida. On this trip to SF they
had been concentrating on Diego Rivera. The above is from his mural
at City College of SF and they also spoke of another Rivera mural
on Sansome St.. It's bad enough that we haven't been to Alcatraz, but
now that I'm in the art biz, I really need to see these and be able to
recommend them. So we'll have an adventure or two after Buffalo...

Monday, August 17, 2009

don't bother

Midsomer Murders is boring and convoluted. Don't even rent it,
and that's an order. I guess the lesson is that even if everyone has
interesting British accents, the series is not necessarily well
written. Thankfully I was warned beforehand not to get my
hopes up.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

lost in paris

As predicted, I am LOVING The Elegance of the Hedgehog by
Muriel Barbery. There are two enchanting main characters:
a 12 year old girl and a concierge in her fifties. They both live
at 7, rue de Grenelle, and at this point they haven't really had
a conversation, but they will. It is one of those books that I
need to read slowly and with care, I should probably even be
taking notes. Occasionally I will read a passage to Husbando,
the ultimate sign of the best-of-best ever books.

I meant to save this novel for the trip to Buffalo next week, but
now I'll have to go book-shopping at the airport.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

a week filled with pony love

RR spent a week with Cheyenne at Pony Camp
Thanks, blogmaid, I woke up and thought, "I have nothing/nothing to
post this morning" and here were your photos! RR and a few of her
lifelong (a little joke we adults banter about) girl friends attended this
fun camp and not only did they ride a lot, they learned to do all the
horse-work that is necessary when animals with big brown eyes are
involved. The blogmaid herself even braided a horse tail and of course
was delighted with that task. One of the little girls (not our RR) cried
and cried because she had to leave her horse. Kindergarten starts on
September 8th, so this was a little end-of-summer vacation treat.

Friday, August 14, 2009

guilt free zone

A perfect day off. First Dr. Wong actually complimented me on
recent tooth and gum care! Then Ginger and I thoroughly enjoyed
the Squeak Carnwath exhibit at the Oakland Museum. I had been
perusing a book about her while working at the DeYoung, so I
was prepared for her wonderful paintings. One for instance,
was a large white canvas with her handwritten words, "I am sorry.
I am very sorry. I am sorry" scribbled about a million times on
the work. She is also big on circles with the words "guilt free
zone" and is there a woman (person?) alive who couldn't use
that? Alas, the Oakland Museum closes for re-mo on August 23,
so if you want to see Squeak, you need to scamper.

Then Ginger and I had a wonderful lunch at a Vietnamese
Restaurant at 10th and Harrison and talked/talked/talked
until almost dinner time. I am rich with friends.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

new readers, new friends

I'm off to see my dentist, Right Wing Wong, in Oakland this morning.
Then I'm meeting my oldest friend, Ginger, for a Museum (!) visit
and lunch. Maybe a short walk. We have so much to catch up on...

But I want to say one thing about work. I've met some amazing new
friends there and what's wonderful is that I still am in contact with
my Borders friends too. Just think, if I were incredibly wealthy and
didn't have to work, I'd never know these amazing/fun/bright
folks and it would be MY loss. On the other hand, did I need a
cash register freeze when closing last night at the Legion? No,
but I learned a little more about "the system", or lack thereof.

The Trader Joe's bag is in the hallway because a week from today
is the trip to Buffalo, NY, for the's baht mitzvah. When I
don't travel I get anxious about travel. Solution? Travel more!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

lunch with friends

The highlight of my day off yesterday was lunch with Husbando, The
Great Plotnik and Ducknik at Aperto on Potrero Hill. (Yes, Karen, your
name came up often, and with love.) Today is Barb's and we
enjoyed catching up with our lives, because we haven't seen our friends
enough lately. Full-time work takes its toll, no?

When Husbando and I had our own business (the Great American Dream)
back a few decades ago, we had an office down on Connecticut Street
and lunch out was our salvation, and business write-offs, of course. We
know all these restaurants and shops and still love The Hill. There is
a special table for two at Aperto that we still consider "our table".

Owning your own business is the toughest job in the world. Ours was
Fantastic Sam's, haircare. We were franchisors and franchisees and we
took it in the chin and lived through the whole thing. When Mistress
Jane talks about her long days and nights of running her business,
the memories are as sharp as pin pricks all over my skin.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

my next book

"A high wire performance", says the L.A. Times about The
Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. Next I'll put
it on Facebook to see if there are a few less dramatic
comments, perhaps.

Monday, August 10, 2009

but you aren't making any sense

The Soloist is an amazing movie. Jamie Foxx becomes this
completely disoriented homeless musician, and Robert Downey,
Jr. and Catherine Keener are also excellent. I was shocked at
the scenes of downtown L.A. with their population of 90,000
homeless. Imagine. This is a true story by the L.A. Times reporter
Steve Lopez and I strongly recommend that you Flix® it.

I dealt with a lot of unbalanced homeless people when I worked
at the big box in downtown SF. They can be scary. As I result, no
matter how broke I am, I always/always send money to Glide
because they do their best to feed and house the men and women
whom we are all responsible for, in my opinion. I liked when one
of the case workers told Lopez to stop analyzing and trying to
label his friend. Oh, yes, about 3 Kleenex® were destroyed while
watching this film, but well worth it. Now where's my checkbook?

Sunday, August 09, 2009

penguin to penguin

Today is another Sunday No Car day. From the Academy of
Sciences in Golden Gate Park to the Zoo. Thankfully I'm
working out at the Legion of Honor, so I won't have to
face road closures this morning. These have been very
successful, and I'm sure we'll see more Car Free Sundays
in SF next year.

I'm tired after closing the De Young stores last night.
But it's always about 4 million times easier than the
horror of closing the big box and getting home at midnight
or later. How did I do that? I'm shocked that I didn't get
more customer complaints than I did at Borders because
I can get down right snippy when the store is closing and
folks are loitering. Errrrrrr, shopping.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

the pink paper is important

I'm a woman of few words, except when it comes to parking in SF.
Last week notthat over there had a post about the clunker parked
in front of his home and how it took up two spaces. Yes, I know,
the space in front of Casa Verde isn't really OUR exclusive parking
place, but sheeeeez, could we park there every once in a while?

I have three pet peeves:
1) people who only use their garages for storage and then park their
car(s) on the street. Get rid of your excess stuff. Donate.
2) families that have more than 2 cars ~ really irritating.
3) I hate the big monster SUVs. Hate them. Ban them.

So, SF has a web site now and we can print out our warnings!
This one reminds the driver that there is a 72 hour limit or they
could face a $75 fine. Much better than my old hand-written
"are you EVER going to move this huge, ugly SUV?" signs and
probably more effective.

(The link isn't working here today. Use Safari and

Friday, August 07, 2009


To Sonia Sotomayor, our newest Supreme Court Justice. She is
by no means a radical leftie (drat), but we know she will make
an impact. Here's to more women and minorities in positions
of power. (Hello, is this a recording?)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

enough with the racist stuff

We watched Gran Torino the other night and I need to write it
down here as this blog is also my Dear Diary. It was violent, but
what bothered me most was all the racist name-calling. Yes,
I know it is a time and place thing, but I think they overdid
that a bit. There was, thankfully, less blood-and-bullets than
I expected and I did like the plot line and the next door neighbors.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

how late it is...

I had to scurry this morning for an early meeting and my inner clock
isn't as "good" as it was when I worked for the big box. I like to post
in the morning, but I didn't even have time to open the MsBook
cover before I made my lunch (deviled ham wich), gobbled my
blueberries and picked up a fellow worker at 7:20 am.

OK, the photo here is from yesterday. One of the best things about
living in SF is that there always seems to be something to discover.
When I work up in the 9th floor Tower at the deYoung, customers
point to a nearby green hill and ask what it is. Our cheat sheet says
it's the Grand View Park and you can see that it is well named. If
you want to explore, it's 14th Avenue and Moraga Street. We
lucked out with a clear view and could see forever and beyond...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

catching up with the kidlets

Here we have Neti and Frank's grand twins ~ Sam and Ben at 2 days old.
The adorable Kingston, Dancing Jen's nephew extraordinaire.
RR went to Disneyland last week and had a dinosaur painted on her face.

Monday, August 03, 2009

back to the fifties

I'm enjoying The Story of a Marriage by Andrew Sean Greer who
also wrote The Confessions of Max Tivoli. The setting is the
Sunset District here in San Francisco and we have an innocent
and dutiful housewife and a mysterious husband. Then a
stranger...but I'm not there yet. Yes, it's in paperback now.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

more fun from Great Britain

The Invisibles ~ two aging thieves retire to a fishing village, but find
that they miss the money and excitement of their former occupation.
From the Flix®, of course. Perfect after a busy day of retail. This was
a TV program so we have 3 discs to enjoy.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

a city of foodies

There is a hot new restaurant in town and we joined the line last night
at 5:30 pm for dinner. Name? Flour + Water, so perhaps you can guess
that pasta and pizza are their main dinner choices. We did get a good
table for four (with Neti and Frank) and we were not disappointed.
We have watched this restaurant being built for (it seems) years at
20th and Harrison, across from Gratitude (which we don't care for).
Call us ingrates.

Flour + Water features a beautiful warm wooden interior with tables
not too close together and a high ceiling so we could actually hear
one another speak. Husbando and Frank started with sardines
which they loved, and I enjoyed my pear salad. Then I had pizza
and the others ordered different pastas and no one was even
a smidgen disappointed. We shared one pistachio dessert and
excellent coffee. The place was packed, but we didn't feel rushed
or crowded. We'll be back!