Sunday, January 31, 2010

what recession?

I ventured outside my own little world last night. After a BUSY
day at the deYoung (only 2 more months of the Sun King) I
went out to dinner at the Dragon Well with some work friends.
It's a small Chinese restaurant on Chestnut Street, in the
heart of the Marina. Good lord, every restaurant and bar and
coffee shop there was packed and the energy of all those
happy people revived me. The duck, mu shu pork and garlic
laden egg plant were all scrumptious, but it was a long day
and I didn't get home & hosed until almost 10pm. Saturday
night excitement is rare, as you may have noticed.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

and the prompt is...

It feels good to start my day by writing for 10 minutes. I won't say that
in a few weeks, of course, but for now it's A-OK. The above is the first
photo prompt of this Round Robin class and here is the result from
my keyboard:

I usually walk in the Mission District on my days off. Often I will
go to the Nervous Dog for a latte, maybe to Big Lot's for a bargain
or two, and once in awhile on up to Cortland to Nevada St. and
back home. One or two hours just for me. I've been a walker for
years, before that I was a runner and I
have the knees to prove it.

Everything one could want is here in our little world: shoe repair,
dry cleaners, Cole Hardware, Safeway, Walgreen's, restaurants,
coffee shops, post office and as I mentioned Big Lot's where I
recently bought 144 tea candles for $6.00. When we moved here
more than 30 years ago, the last thing we cared about was
shopping locally. We
drove everywhere and even had two cars. Shameful.

Now we buy a Muni Pass every month and also take BART.
I drive Ken the Toyota to work five days a week and Bill plans
his life around that and doesn't grumble for a moment. I don't
like driving, even though it is half the time that the buses
would take. I miss being part of humanity
. (I'm saying that
in a genteel manner) on the bus and some of my most

colorful writing derives from the journal I carry. I write down what I
see and hear on the bus and use it later. I do not need to enhance or
exaggerate when I write about the characters in San Francisco, they
are MORE than 3-dimensional, if that's possible.

Friday, January 29, 2010

more borrowing from friends

from Michael in Santa Barbara...

One of the few interesting useless facts I've found on the Useless Facts app on my Droid. Is it actually true - who knows?

There is more real lemon juice in Lemon Pledge furniture polish than in Country Time Lemonade.

Another useless fact.
Courtesy of Qorona

Thursday, January 28, 2010

public service announcement

This was an email from my friend Patrice. At first I thought it
was one of those urban legend jokey things, but I checked the
web site and it looks legit. It wasn't her son, but a friend-
of-a-friend kind of story.

I wanted to let my friends know about the CA move over law.
My son got a ticket on Pleasant Hill coming back from Wal-Mart.
A police car (turned out it was 2 police cars) was on the side of
the road giving a ticket to someone else. My son slowed
down to pass but did not move into the other lane. The
second police car immediately pulled him over and gave him a ticket.
My son and I had never heard of the law. It is a fairly
new law that states if any emergency vehicle is on the side
of the road, if you are able, you are to move into the far lane.
The cost of the ticket was $754, with 3 points on your license
and a mandatory court appearance.
Please let everyone you know that drives about this new law.

Except for two states, all the other U.S. states (even
Canada ) enacted similar kind of law.

Hooray, Mistress Jane is home! I'm on my way over to
walk her dog and see if I can be of any help. The Great
Plotnik is meeting me, if he has the date and time correct...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

today is Jane's day

My friend, my inspiration, and the reason I consider myself a
writer is having surgery today. Mistress Jane means the
world to me and to many others and if collective prayers
help, she surely has them. These are the times that I do not
like being an agnostic, but I'm thinking the most positive
and loving thoughts, so surely that helps.

If you need a little lift right about now, check out Jane's
blog and her to-do list before the surgery. And send a
prayer, I know you will.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

reading, watching, writing

In the Loop was NOT the funniest film of the year, even if it
says it is. But it's worthwhile. A political comedy about American
and British operatives trying to stop a dash to a certain war in
the Middle East.

My Round Robin writing class started yesterday and that's a
good thing because I haven't really been writing. Three of us
are helping out in class while Mistress Jane recuperates from
her surgery tomorrow. She is in my heart and mind now, all
of the time.

More rainy weather ~ perfect for reading, napping, writing
and worrying. But back to work this morning.

Monday, January 25, 2010

overwrought indeed

At first I thought poor Phedre's dress was falling apart, but
no, this was stylish back in the days of Greek gods and monsters.
Husbando really enjoyed this one act Racine play at ACT, but
it wasn't my cup of anguish. I will say that the acting was
superb and the audience showed their appreciation at the
end. But oh my, the back-of-hand-to-forehead sorrow heaped
upon guilt and despair was too much for this woman. And
yes, there were some chuckles from the audience in
inappropriate places. Thankfully TGPlotnik had prepared
me for Phedre in his theater blog and face-to-face.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

pho and files

We were uppity snobs back in the 70's and didn't have TV and we
were proud of it! Look at us now. The Flix® has all the Rockford
Files and we watched the first 3 episodes over my long weekend.
Great fun, LA without traffic, big long cars that don't explode and
very good writing, in my opinion. Dated, in a good way. I like his
relationship with his attorney girlfriend and she does not fawn
over him. Good stuff and many more episodes because I think
this ran for (like) 6 or 8 seasons.

Still cold yesterday so we tried the pho up at Le Aux Delicies on
Potrero, very near to Casa Verde. They are doing a big re-mo at
General Hospital and there are signs all over the neighboring
streets that read, "contractors and construction workers please
not to park in our neighborhood." We need those signs all over
the city. Oh yes, the pho was delicious and we'll be back.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

this salmon didn't swim

We had a delightful time at our gathering last night. Friends brought
the food and there was much laughter and little work for me. Thanks
to my crew for serving/cleaning up too ~ very nice indeed. The above
Plot dish will never be forgotten, part of the Steinlore now.
Neti brought this pasta with chicken and peas. Excellent.
Here is the table before.
And after.

Friday, January 22, 2010

this is a foodie post

On Wednesday Plot and Duck treated us to lunch at the Hard Knox
Cafe. Bill loves the fried chicken here and my burger was excellent.
We ate too much and had a splendid time. Friends are the BEST!
"Anyplace he wants to go," our friend Ginger said yesterday and
Husbando selected Sotto del Mere on Green Street. She had the sand
dabs and we both had pasta: mine with clams, his with everything
under the ocean. We each had a big cup of chowder to start. Yum.
It was raining (of course) and we parked at a meter across the street
and fed it quarters. This is Big News! Great food, a wonderful time.

It seems we like restaurants with lots of stuff on the walls that
wasn't put there by a highly paid decorator. We do, but mostly
we just love being in SF with our generous friends ~ rain or shine.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

sex after sixty

Last night we went to see A Round-Heeled Woman at the Z Space on
Florida Street, a few blocks from Casa Verde. That's Sharon Gless
playing Jane Juska, the 66 y.o. woman who advertised for sex in the
NYTimes Book Review. A few adventures, some disappointment,
but all pleasant and positive in the end. We both enjoyed the play
and do recommend it to you, even the young-uns in the audience
seemed to appreciate the humor.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

brightness in the gloom

A friend sent us orchids for our anniversary and so far we have not
destroyed them. It's still raining, but since I don't have to worry
about work, I'm feeling cheerful and almost mellow. True mellow
usually starts on Day #3. (By the way, that is the flash reflection
above, not some amazing moon or sun apparition.)

Today we are having lunch with The Great Plotniks and tonight
we hit the theater. In between ~ library, banks, errands, etc. Oh,
maybe a nap. Just maybe...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

a true rain storm

With loud thunder, bright lightening and lots of rain. Floods today,
that's for sure. This is my last work day of the week and then I'm
taking 4 (four, IV, 3 plus one) off for some catch-up me-time and to
celebrate the of Husbando. I'm in that tired-of-work stage and
felt short-tempered and snappish with customers and fellow workers
yesterday. I'm paid to inspire others, not to snap at them. We had
technical cash register problems in the morning at the DY and that's
no way to work retail, trust me on this one. "No, I'm sorry you can't
use your credit card right now, do you have cash or can you write
a check?" Hmmmmm, I don't think so.

Take care with this weather if you are on the road. I'm planning on
an hour to go from Bernal Heights to the Legion of Honor this
morning. Easy does it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

well, that was fun...

Bless Ricky Gervais and his humor, especially when he threw such a low
flying insult at Mel Gibson. I couldn't have enjoyed it more. Of course
it means that we probably should go out and put on those 3-D glasses
to see Avatar and now I really need to rearrange the Flix® list in
order to guarantee that we see some of these Golden Globe winners
before 2020.

My day off was sooooooooo relaxing and I'm ready for work today.
And maybe even tomorrow, we'll see about that.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

not your usual love story

Ever since 3rd Rock we've been fans of Joseph Gordon-Levitt
and he's been making us proud again. (500) Days of Summer
is all about young love, but not in that icky-sweet cloying way.
It's frothy, but pleasant for a cool winter's night.

Today is a Sunday off for me! Hoooooray. I'll start with yoga
and we'll take it from there.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

ooooooh, another mystery!

Garnethill is a suburb of Glasgow and a young woman awakes
to find her lover in her living room. Alas, he has been tied up
and his throat has been slit. So messy. Did she do this in a
blackout? No, she is way too lovable (to me), so we are all
trying to find the killer. Garnethill is a loan from a friend at
the deYoung and a new and glorious author for me. Hoooooray.

Friday, January 15, 2010

kid catch-up

Santa brought RR a scooter (and a few other gifts, actually)
Ben and Sam (or vice versa) ~ Neti and Frank's grandchildren
Dancing Jen's 8 month old nephew, Kingston. Oh, those eyes.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

getting my priorities straight

It's hard to feel sorry for myself because I can't seem to get a
ticket for Wicked for under $200 on my rare next Sunday off.
Oh, poor me.

Instead, we both sent checks for Haiti to:
American Red Cross
Bay Area Chapter
85 Second St.
SF 94105

Or Unicef, Save the Children, your choice...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

who killed Miles?

We are certainly enjoying our BIG television and last night we
watched The Maltese Falcon. It's been a few decades since
last we chuckled along with Sidney Greenstreet and Peter
Loirre. I was hoping for more scenes of SF in the old days,
but most of it was filmed indoors, alas. Of course we know
that the Falcon is in a glass case up on the second floor of
John's Grill on Ellis Street. Fun stuff.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

time for the important things of life

Baseball. Last night we watched Sugar and I do recommend it,
even for people who don't follow the only sport worth watching.
It's a story (probably true) about a pitcher recruited from the
Dominican Republic to play in the minor leagues. He ends
up in the midwest and that can be a culture shock for many
of us. Excellent film ~ 5 spoons (or cups). Rent it!

Monday, January 11, 2010

coffee, candle, flame

How's this for a delightful 6am start to my day off? My goal was to
do some writing, but I seem to be experiencing some sort of writer's
block currently. In any event, after 3 in a row non-burn days, I
desperately needed to stare at the fireplace while I read emails and
played around on MsBook. I will take a long solo walk this afternoon
and maybe have a latte before a lavish shopping experience at
Big Lot's.

OK, the coffee mug. It was a gift from Ginger when she lived in
Kansas and reads, "Nothing Runs Like a Deere" ~ I only use it for
days off. Of course.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

no, this is the poem!

Mingus at the Showplace

By William Matthews

I was miserable, of course, for I was seventeen,
and so I swung into action and wrote a poem,

and it was miserable, for that was how I thought
poetry worked: you digested experience and shat

literature. It was 1960 at The Showplace, long since
defunct, on West 4th St., and I sat at the bar,

casting beer money from a thin reel of ones,
the kid in the city, big ears like a puppy.

And I knew Mingus was a genius. I knew two
other things, but they were wrong, as it happened.

So I made him look at the poem.
“There’s a lot of that going around,” he said,

and Sweet Baby Jesus he was right. He laughed
amiably. He didn’t look as if he thought

bad poems were dangerous, the way some poets do.
If they were baseball executives they’d plot

to destroy sandlots everywhere so that the game
could be saved from children. Of course later

that night he fired his pianist in mid-number
and flurried him from the stand.

“We’ve suffered a diminuendo in personnel,”
he explained, and the band played on.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

is this the poem?

Last Thursday night our Tiapos friend Will said that a specific
poem influenced him to become a poet when he was in college.
I'm enjoying the search so much that I will publish this first
for you (and me) and then write to ask him.

The Day Lady Died
by Frank O'Hara

It is 12:20 in New York a Friday
three days after Bastille day, yes
it is 1959 and I go get a shoeshine
because I will get off the 4:19 in Easthampton
at 7:15 and then go straight to dinner
and I don't know the people who will feed me

I walk up the muggy street beginning to sun
and have a hamburger and a malted and buy
an ugly NEW WORLD WRITING to see what the poets
in Ghana are doing these days
I go on to the bank
and Miss Stillwagon (first name Linda I once heard)
doesn't even look up my balance for once in her life
and in the GOLDEN GRIFFIN I get a little Verlaine
for Patsy with drawings by Bonnard although I do
think of Hesiod, trans. Richmond Lattimore or
Brendan Behan's new play or Le Balcon or Les Nègres
of Genet, but I don't, I stick with Verlaine
after practically going to sleep with quandariness

and for Mike I just stroll into the PARK LANE
Liquor Store and ask for a bottle of Strega and
then I go back where I came from to 6th Avenue
and the tobacconist in the Ziegfeld Theatre and
casually ask for a carton of Gauloises and a carton
of Picayunes, and a NEW YORK POST with her face on it

and I am sweating a lot by now and thinking of
leaning on the john door in the 5 SPOT
while she whispered a song along the keyboard
to Mal Waldron and everyone and I stopped breathing

Friday, January 08, 2010

it's early, but that's OK

I had a great time with my writing friends at Tiapos last night.
Humor and pathos, the usual. There were 6 of us and everyone
brought something to share. Chef P. is off to France and The
Plotniks to South America, so it was lovely that most of us could
make it last night.

This morning I open the deYoung stores at 8:15-ish. I'm trying
to order tix for A Round Heeled Woman and the computer
is acting up and I'm getting (like) irritable. That won't do
at all. I might have to use (horrors) the phone.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

it's 6:10 am!

Well, I certainly solved the title dilemma, didn't I? We both
enjoyed Julie & Julia last night. Wonderful scenes of Paris and
New York, great acting by Ms. Streep (who became Julia) and
I especially appreciated the blogging side story. Mr. Z in
Cleveland is now doing the technical thing so I can send this
blog to Kinko's for the printed hard copy. That means 3 years
of writing almost every day. Well, not deep, important writing,
but it's fingers-to-keyboard and to me that's quite an accom-
plishment. So add cooking intricate recipes to a daily blog and
my god, how did she do it?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

it's 5:22 pm!

Once again, the age old question. How come days off fly by at break
neck speed and the work day often tick tocks along so very slowly?
(Until it's over and then I think ~ what happened to this day?)

The fireplace is burning already and I'm wide awake after a sweet
nap. Because I started the day with yoga, I'm feeling calm and
accepting of life and all the hurtles. Husbando is fixing some
shrimp dish for dinner, we have a great Flix® awaiting us and
now I'll light some candles and think about doing some writing
for Tiapos tomorrow night. I said I'd THINK about it and we
all know that counts.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

where did this come from?

Neither of us would take credit for putting this on the Flix®
list, but The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard was amusing and
a nice break from the heavy the-world-is-ending stuff that
is on TV lately. Jeremy Piven and crew are hired to save an auto
dealership in some small town in California. Early to bed and
now I'm ready for Free Day at the Legion of Honor.

Monday, January 04, 2010

bleak big box news

-- Publishers Weekly, 1/4/2010 8:37:00 AM

In a financial analysis prepared in late December by the law firm of Lowenstein Sandler, the challenges facing Borders are laid out in a synopsis of the report. The “highlights” of the report are the retailer’s declining revenue and profit margins; a short-term liquidity crunch; a highly leveraged capital structure; and a challenging operating environment. The report draws no conclusions on what is likely to happen to the nation’s second largest bookstore chain.

The report notes that as of October 31, 2009, Borders had $32.8 million in cash and equivalents and an available current borrowing capacity of $215.0 million under its revolving credit facility, which expires in July 2011. With $674.2 million of short-term obligations, the report says, Borders is likely to face a short-term liquidity crunch if it is not able to refinance its debt or generate sufficient cash from operations.

As the report noted, Borders’ revenue have been on the decline since fiscal 2007 and went down 14.1% in the third quarter. Operating and net margins have also been on a downtrend since fiscal 2006 and declined again in the most recent period. In addition, Borders’ capital structure is highly leveraged with total assets of $1,741.9 million and a total debt of $407.8 million. It has a debt to equity ratio of 4.1x and a total debt to asset ratio of 0.2x as of the third quarter. Peers’s average debt to equity ratio and total debt to asset ratio for the quarter was 0.2x and 0.05x, respectively.

Borders’s operating environment, “has become increasingly competitive, technology-driven and price-sensitive,” the report noted. “Rising online book sales, e-books and a growing online user population is changing the dimension of a bleak environment for the U.S. book retailers.

Today I almost bought a trade paperback for $9 at Costco,
but I can't do that. I support all bookstores including the
big boxes. Costco is not a bookstore, however they do have
really fresh fruit at great prices. So when I got home here
was my daily email from Publisher's Weekly. It makes me
very sad ~ I spent 8 years complaining about Borders when
I worked there, but we need them.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

so much for sleep

I usually fall right asleep after my 2:33am wake-up when I turn
on my itty bitty radio stuffed under the pillow, so I don't disturb
Husbando. Yes, I am a Very Good Wife. (The baseball replay is
best for insomina-killing, but I'll have to wait for that.)

But I digress. Last night Ray McGovern was on KGO. He is a
retired CIA guy and for the first time the assassination of JFK
made sense in a political context. So scary. I'm not a conspiracy
theory person, but this is too logical to ignore. I'll let you read
up on him and his beliefs, but the worst thing is that there are
still Allen Dulles followers in the CIA and our Pres. is very
aware of them. Of course they controlled the former admin-
istration and we know that Blackwater is like an arm of the
CIA and sheeeeeeeeeesh. Intrigue. It would make a great
movie, but it's too awful of a plot. Beware of Yemen. Argh...

Saturday, January 02, 2010

giving up the ghost

I put down Her Fearful Symmetry because it was really a silly
ghost story. The plot would have been fine without this one
overwhelming ghost who became a major character. Life is
mysterious enough without inventing otherworldly folk. But
hey, that's just my opinion.

So today I'll start Spooner by Pete Dexter. Of course you will
remember his masterpiece Paris Trout and I also liked The
Paperboy. Let's hope for something rich and filling here.

Friday, January 01, 2010

indulge thyselves

A rare treat!
Standing rib roast & garlic mashed potatoes...
First, happy birthday to our blogmaid today! You add so much to
our lives. I will send you my morning email when I finish here...

Somewhere along the way, Husbando and I decided to treat ourselves
to wonderful (expensive) roast beef on New Year's Eve. Of course we
don't eat much red meat these days, so you can imagine how very
special this is. I didn't photograph the salad, but we did get some
greens, so don't be all tsk-tsk. We were in bed by 10pm and I was
awake at 5am and our neighbors are still up. I can hear the
thump-thump of their background music and that tell tale a little
too loud and precise conversational sound of too many drinks.
No problem, we have always been lucky with our city neighbors.
I turned on our back deck lights to help them celebrate.

And I wrote a couple of thank you notes. I like writing 01/01/10,
so I'll do a few more. Happy, happy New Year and thanks for
reading my blog.

Today I work at the deYoung ~ I haven't been there for a long
time, it seems, due to the Cartier gig at the Legion of Honor.