Wednesday, September 30, 2009

tres chic and yummy too

We had an outstanding dinner with The Great Plotniks here at
Le P'tit Laurent at Chenery and Diamond in Glen Park. It's been
a while since we've been out for a grown-up style dinner and
this was a delightful evening. Excellent in every way, many thanks
and nice to catch-up on all the news from near and far.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

how smart they were (back then)

I know so little about the National Parks and Monuments, so
watching the new Ken Burns' series is eye-opening. They had
great foresight in Teddy Roosevelt's day, to save these
magnificent places from creeping/stomping commercialism
and the endless hunting and poaching from individuals and
organized groups. Makes me think that a trip to nearby
Muir Woods (above, poached from the internet) should
be planned soon.

Monday, September 28, 2009

larry, larry, larry

Last night was the second episode of the new Curb Your Enthusiasm
featuring Larry David (here with his roommate Smoove). I do believe
that there is such a thing as "Jewish Humor" and that probably
explains why a few perfectly nice people don't like this show. In
one hilarious scene, Larry is trying to remove one of those sturdy
(ahem) plastic casings on a new GPS device and as his frustration
and irritation grow, he uses knives, scissors, maybe a hammer.
Larry doesn't handle this situation well, as is his wont. It was a
very funny episode that should be shown in every product
marketing company in the world. Ban those plastic clam shells!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

one quick review about...

Thirteen Conversations. We liked it. Thanks to the Fevered Brain
for recommending it. Alan Arkin (again), John Tuturo, Matthew
McConaughey and Clea DuVall. The "one thing" they discuss is
Happiness ~ allusive and puzzling, perhaps you've noticed?
I like this inter-connecting vignette kind of film, with a nice
strong ending. No Kleenex®, alas.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

another Ellen moment

PHOTO #18 ~ Bernal Heights hill (the prompt and the photo, courtesy of
Jane Underwood, the Writing Salon Mistress.)

"I can do this", Ellen said as she trudged up the steep hill in Bernal Heights. She was meeting her professor for their second date after the awkward coffee and carrot cake at the Moonlight Cafe last week. After all, Ellen mused, I've climbed so many hills in my life, including this one. It was right here, near that scrubby tree, that Ellen had found and adopted Frooter, her beautiful grey kitty. How many years ago was that? Good grief, it had to be 20 years ago, it was right after the BIG earthquake and there was nothing to do the day after except walk. All businesses were closed, so she walked down Mission Street to 16th Street, then back up Folsom to the top of this very hill. For a moment she was lost in reverie ~ remembering how one little store would be perfectly undamaged and the shop right next door, demolished. How could that possibly be two decades ago? She remembered carrying Frooter home inside her red cashmere sweater and how he had scratched and clawed, ruining the garment and, for awhile, her life.

(Frooter, alas, had committed feline suicide, but that's a memory for another day, Ellen decided, as she continued her upward journey.)

Aaron was already standing at the top of the brown hill. Standing calmly
beside him, nose and tail in the air, was a gorgeous red Irish Setter with long ears and flowing feathers. "Oh, oh", Ellen murmured, "I'm doomed".

Friday, September 25, 2009

two in a row

It's rare for me to have two days off in a row, and that's OK, but
when I do ~ such a treat! Yesterday was a little medical stuff
(all is well) and then Husbando treated me to lunch to celebrate
the fact that all is well. We went to Schmidt's Deli at 20th and
Folsom. This area is becoming very foodie, in a good way, except
for Cafe Gratitude, which I written about enough times to bore
even my staunchest reader.

Schmidt's features authentic German sausages with sauerkraut
(good) and potato salad (not great). It's a rather stark new
restaurant with reasonable prices ~ only $8 per plate. I had
the duck sausage and Husbando enjoyed the bratwurst. Mine
was the best, FYI. Cash only, in case you have a hankering for
superior hot dogs.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

available now, by special order

I picked up a Morbid copy Tuesday evening at Books, Inc. in
the Castro. When I took it to work yesterday, people oooohed
and awed and said nice things about the piece. I work with
a guy who also used to work for the Halloween CHAIN, so we
had lots of horror stories to tell each other. The very best
part was opening the book to page 152 and seeing my name
in print. I love that feeling.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

sisters in albuquerque

This was a sweet movie about Rose and Norah who open a
business specializing in cleaning up after crime scenes. I even
liked the boy child in Sunshine Cleaning. Amy Adams, Emily
Blunt and Alan Arkin, as their father. Good clean fun and one
almost-Kleenex®. (From the Flix®, of course.)

Monday, September 21, 2009

mad about the play

Everyone has been raving about Brief Encounter at ACT and we join
the chorus of appreciation and awe. This is v. British and extremely
well acted ~ an adaptation of Noel Coward's 1945 movie. By now
you know it's the age old story of married love, alas Laura and Alec
are not married to each other. It's sweet and romantic and sad and
funny...and it's been extended until Oct. 11th. See it!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

cribbage anyone?

Yesterday on part of my lunch hour, I toured the Inuit Art exhibit at
the de Young. There are only 80 pieces, but they are incredible. I loved
the adorable animals and ingenious carvings, especially the cribbage
boards. I imagine that there was is a lot of cribbage playing during those
long cold Arctic nights because there were about 5 different boards on
display. I believe I yawned when I first heard about this exhibit ~
wrong again!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

jen, ken, buffy, stieg, mitchell, more!

That was one fine day off! First to Costco for a little shopping and
marital bickering, then on Muni (deodorant is so passé) to meet
Dancing Jen for lunch. I swear, that one block on Jackson between
Kearny and Grant is like being in China. About 20 little restaurants
and all of them busy. Busier even than Tam's in Pathetica. We
had a lovely lunch and discussed many important things.

I drove over to the Noe Valley Library for my reserved copy of
The Girl Who Played With Fire and since it was HOT, I stopped
for a small serving of luscious Mitchell's coconut ice cream.
Some days a woman has no choice.

Then to Books, Inc. for coffee with Ken. When I mentioned Morbid
Curiosity to the sales associate he said, "we're having an event
here!". I love that knowledge and promotion. So, Nov. 6th, at the
Castro and Market location. The book is actually available, at the
Laurel Heights Books, Inc, but I didn't have time to drive there and
pick it up. Next week. So Ken and I had coffee and mostly talked
about his recent trip to Berlin.

It was one fine day off indeed. Now to the deYoung for some sincere
customer contact.

Friday, September 18, 2009

heading downtown today

I do miss the mess and excitement of downtown SF, even though
I was getting a little tired of the sidewalks crowded with loud
18 year olds and the homeless asking me for help every half
block. So today I'll head down early for some smart shopping
(as the Fevered Brain would say) and then zig zag to Chinatown
for lunch with Dancing Jen. I'm looking forward to the day
because I'm still a city woman, even though I have grass stains
from being in Golden Gate Park. And I haven't seen Jen in an
age, so that will be a delight.

Destination is Z&Y on Jackson Street and although I have not
been here, the food is always better in Chinatown than in the
neighborhoods. There, that is my blanket statement for today
that I'll end up denying later, as per usual.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

theater season begins

I just glanced at the Chronicle's "little man" who is falling out of
his seat with happiness for ACT's Brief Encounter. We will
be going Sunday night, and though there will be some driving,
Muni, parking, hurry-hurry issues, it's always exciting to start
our season of live theater. This year ACT offered $10 tickets
for all the previews (seats in the second balcony) and that
smart move was a huge success. We need young blood in the
audience and maybe this will help.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

who has the blues? (not me!)

OK, it's time to tell you about Loren's book entitled Morbid Curiosity
Cures The Blues. What a lot of work she has done, and I only know
the half of it. One of the first pieces I ever wrote (when I started at
the Writing Salon) is in the book ~ it's entitled Halloween Hell and
it tells the sad/funny story of when I managed one of those temporary
Halloween stores in 2000, in the heart of crazy San Francisco. It
was one of the WORST jobs I've ever had, and baby, I've had some.
But at least I knew that this one would be over on October 31st.

The book comes out September 29th, and Loren will be doing a lot
of book signings. Smart woman, that's the only way to get a book
to sell ~ in the first 3 months when there is some buzz. So check
out this very cool link for the dates, I'll be at the noon event at
Borders (the big box!) on Saturday, October 17th.

Oh, and this is as good a time as any to thank Loren sincerely for
including me in this book. Her support for me and my writing
during the past 8 or so years is one of the main reasons that I'm
taking the fiction course. It's all very exciting. Very.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

more fiction practice

I am a Round Robin substitute again this week. I'm thankful to Mistress
Jane for this opportunity and for the prompt above. I never know where
I'm going with these interesting photo prompts, and yes, it's great fun.

Photo #17 (moonlight cafe in the rain)

Ellen was meeting the man she met online at the Moonlight Cafe on
Cortland Avenue in Bernal Heights. It was one of those strange heavy
misty nights in San Francisco and she was unprepared for this, not
wanting to put her raincoat on in September. Everyone knows that it
doesn't rain between May 15 and October 15 in the City, and yet
here she was driving with her windshield wipers on, looking out at
the folks with their umbrellas. It was a warm and cleansing rain,
just what this dirty city needed.

Aaron Goldberg would be interesting, she hoped. It was her first
internet date and although she had heard horror stories about these
arrangements, she also knew of a few couples who had hooked
up via computers. "I'm better in email", Ellen thought to herself,
"especially the first time I meet someone".

Oh, it looked so inviting, the Moonlight Cafe, almost like a bistro
in Paris. And she could smell the coffee as she emerged from her
little red Smart Car. There weren't many customers and she could
quickly scan them to see if she could see a single older man
wearing a beret.

There he was seated against the wall. A tweedy type of guy
with a black beret who was reading the New York Times."Oh,
oh, he's too smart for me", Ellen thought, but then remembered
her promise of no more negative Ellen-thinking. "I'm OK just the
way I am", she muttered under her breath as she opened the door
and smiled over at Professor Goldberg.

Monday, September 14, 2009

sunday revisited

It could have been a gloomy day out at the Legion, but museum
goers want to see art on grey and almost-rainy days, so we were
busy and productive.

Then last night we watched State of Play with Russell Crowe,
Ben Affleck and Helen Mirren. You remember we saw the original
BBC series, but this was Americanized and we both enjoyed it.
Of course we seem to need MORE unnecessary violence, but
the writing and acting held it all together. Yes, rent it!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

dejected giants (and fans)

There were too many joyful (and drunk) Dodger fans last night. It
was a rough night even for The Great Plotnik who loves those blue
scumsuckers. I enjoyed being with my friends and catching up on
all things not-baseball, and thanks to the blogmaid for getting us
these very expensive seats when she complained to the usher about
our loud blue neighbors who were spilling beer and being totally
obnoxious. Of course the garlic fries were excellent too.

Next year I'm resolving to go to more games, but I'll avoid the
Dodger games. Unless they are on a losing streak, of course.

Oh, thanks for the ride home (and the city parking experience,
ahem) last night Mr. and Ms. blogmaid.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

baseball tonight

About the only good thing about last night's game was the little
girl with the panda bear on TV. For you non-baseball readers,
Panda is the nickname for Pablo Sandoval, an infield Giant
who sometimes actually hits the ball with the bat.

After work I'll meet the baseball e-mail group at the Jewel:
Mr. and Ms. Blogmaid, notthat, Dodger Doug and we hope to
see Sally too. Show me the Polish dog and garlic fries.

This morning there is thunder and lightening! It happens every
September, yet I'm always surprised. Then the rain?

Friday, September 11, 2009

mid-book review

Yes, I'm really enjoying Netherland by Joseph O'Neill.
Here is an example of his fine writing:

We were standing next to a painting of a horse's face, the very memory of which makes me want to go back and study it once again, for this horse's face, with its pale, dolorous nose set against darkness, seemed to promise to the person who studied it long enough some transcendental revelation. "You ever groomed a horse?" the ginger-bearded fellow asked, whereupon he was moved to recall his boyhood in Colorado, when he had spent more than one summer working on a dude ranch. He told me you brushed a horse with a variety of brushes, and that the coat of a horse will release small clouds of dirt, and that he used a special mane comb to comb the manes, but very gently, because hairs in a mane break so easily. My eyes were all the while directed at the painted horse, and only when my friend stopped speaking did I turn and see him stroking a tear from his eye.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

the french touch

We play a lot of French music out at the Legion. Sometimes the
tourists will start singing along in their beautiful language.
Yesterday a dapper man wanted to take a photo of the CD
"I Love Paris" that we were playing. He said he was having
a great time in San Francisco and when I wished him 8 more
days of happiness here he said, "I'm working on it". He
found that very-American phrase to be amusing. So I taught
him, "whatever". Then about 10 minutes later he came back
and wanted to take MY picture and of course I said "yes",
figuring he is a fellow-blogger.

"Yeah, I'm going to France!", I said.
"Mai oui", he responded.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

baseball this week

I'm beginning to obsess about the Giants and I don't know if I
need this in my life right now. I've been there before ~ the
sleep issues, cursing the bullpen, the if-onlys, the I-can't-watch-
this-from-here-I'll-go-outside and the "isn't this suppposed
to be fun?" kind of thoughts. Argh.

I read somewhere that the fans suffer these losses more than
the players do. I hope not, I want them to hurt too. Not that
we all don't make mistakes, but please, just do your job and
do it right.

We are going to a game on Saturday. Dodgers vs. Giants.
Could we possibly just win every game until the end of the
season? That's really all I ask.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

first day of kindergarten!

Here she is ~ RR goes to school, Sea Crest Elementary. Lots of new adventures for everyone. The blogmaid knew I was waiting for commano material, so here you go. Thanks, what fun...

Answer to Jason: yes, I finished Hedgehog and loved it! Did you?

Monday, September 07, 2009

nose in new book

"She has her nose in another book", my mother used to say
with disdain. I don't think she realized how much pleasure
reading would give me as I grew up and beyond. Mostly she
read The Pasadena Star News and that says so much, too much.

Netherland by Joseph O'Neill has had some great reviews
and right from the get-go I'm liking it a lot. Love will come
later, I betcha.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

end of summer

There's always something poignant about the Labor Day weekend, even
more so to me than January 1st. Here we have this beautiful old fig
tree in the park in San Mateo. Underneath you can almost see RR and
one of her livelong friends playing raccoon ~ gathering and organizing
nuts and leaves, etc. Thanks to the blogmaid for sending me this
pre-straightened photo to cheer me as summer moves into fall. Of
course NOW we get our nice, sunny weather here in Frisco. That's OK.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

ellen, keith, et. al.

I'm feeling proud of myself this morning. I just signed up for a
10-week Introduction to Fiction Writing class at the distinguished
Writing Salon. It's a huge commitment of time and energy, but
I figure, if not now WHEN? Thanks to the museums I have the
money and thanks to you, my readers, I have the encouragement.
Your response to the times I fiddled around with Keith in Ellen's
garden were very rewarding to me, so belated heartfelt thanks.

It all starts in October (Monday nights) and I'm already excited.

Friday, September 04, 2009

needing a day off

I always want an entire day to myself after our writing group
meets as it did last night. Will's new poetry book is sitting
on our small square coffee table and the bright orange title
Wednesday After Lunch looks so inviting on the blue
background with the orange staircase in the center. I need
to sit and read and think today...

Any meeting with Suzy Parker is a treat and her piece last
night about her brother was magnificent. Then Mistress Jane's
biography and thoughts about photography and creativity,
Doug's haunting song about an immigrant from Mexico who
lives now in L.A., and Will's summer trip cancellation. But
really, this morning, Eric's thoughts about teaching first grade
fill my head. If we all really knew how teachers spend their
days and how much time they spend preparing and worrying,
maybe they would start to earn what they are worth. Good
stuff, great group, wonderful writers.

My paltry piece was about Cafe Gratitude ~ I don't care
for that place. Oddly enough, everyone had heard of the
restaurant, so that part was fun. OK, get ready for work!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

ah yes, those accents

The Last Detective is yet another mystery series from Great
Britain. We saw the first one last night, after watching our
new Good Penny pitcher serve up a Giants' win in Philadelphia.
Dangerous Davies is a gentle copper who seems to get all the
bad assignments, because he is so nice. Of course he does more
than expected and has solved a cold case along with his guy
friend and this delightful big dog of his. Like the Fevered Brain,
we have trouble understanding some of the lines, but it seems
as the story rolls along, we decipher what they are saying with
ease. Well, maybe not all of it, but enough. Yes, rent it!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

the first tuesday

Yesterday I worked out at the Legion of Honor for "free Tuesday"
and I prefer that to the deYoung on the first Tuesday of the month.
I saw 3 people from my old big box days, what a happy surprise!
The Legion is a quiet, classical museum ~ beautiful in that old
world style and I've had French tourists tell me that it is one of
the best and prettiest museums in the world. I am a big fan of
free days, especially when whole families come in to appreciate
the building and the art. Plus, yesterday there was sun. Imagine.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

trouble in the burbs

This movie was about 359 times better than I expected. I thought
it was about a bad marriage in the 50's, but in fact it was about
a one-time great relationship with two v. bright people stuck in
suburban Connecticut. The acting was fabulous ~ Kate Winslett
and Leonardo DiCaprio and he is so much more than just a
pretty face these days. A potential Kleenex® film, but I was
too transfixed to cry, I guess. Rent Revolutionary Road now!