Sunday, February 28, 2010

better than his first!

I took the rare Saturday off yesterday specifically so we could
go to this 5pm show at the Marsh. This is Dan Hoyle, son of
the clever and wonderful Bay Area performer Geoff Hoyle
and his The Real Americans is based on his 3 month trip
to small-towns down South and in the Midwest. Dan becomes
the people he meets, men and women who are angry and
disillusioned, not thrilled with our President or Congress.
We both actually liked this better than 'Tings Dey Happen
which ended up in New York. We predict the same for this
90-minute play, but we hope it stays here longer so more
people can see it. It is supposed to close March 6th...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

that parade again

I have memories of working at the big box on the Saturday of the
Chinese New Year's Day parade. Oh hell, oh agony. Thankfully
I never had to close, but the "customers" would start lining up
at the windows early on in the day. They would find chairs from
God-knows-where and drag out our books and magazines and
their own food as they sat patiently waiting for the festivities.
Now, that I don't have to worry about my job there, I can tell
you that I had many visions of dropping huge stacks of books
on their heads as I walked behind them, suggesting that they
might want to put their shoes back on and pleading with them
to pick up their trash. And the bathrooms? Don't ask.

I do like tigers, however, and am still grieving for the one that
was shot down at the SF Zoo. Like the animal did anything
wrong ~ RIP Tatiana.

Friday, February 26, 2010

more street art

(thanks to Patrice for this fun stuff!)

Great Crevase Edgar Mueller. Hard work: Together with up
to five assistants, Mueller painted all day long from sunrise
to sunset. The picture appeared on the East Pier in Dun
Laoghaire, Ireland, as part of the town's Festival of World Cultures

He spent five days, working 12 hours a day, to create the 250 square metre image of the crevasse, which, viewed from the correct angle, appears to be 3D. He then persuaded passers-by to complete the illusion by pretending the gaping hole was real. 'I wanted to play with positives and negatives to encourage people to think twice about everything they see,' he said. 'It was a very scary scene, but when people saw it they had great fun playing on it and pretending to fall into the earth. '
I like to think that later, when they returned home, they might reflect more on what a frightening scenario it was and say, "Wow, that was actually pretty scary"...'

Mueller, who has previously painted a giant waterfall in Canada, said he was inspired by the British 'Pavement Picasso' Julian Beever, whose dramatic but more gentle 3D street images have featured in the Daily Mail.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

not gone, not forgotten

I still write about Ellen 2 or 3 times a week in Round Robin.
Here is one from last week:


If Ellen was going to find her sister, she needed to consider
a disguise. She knew she'd be sitting a long time in the car,
And, no coffee that day! She didn't want to be distracted by
the need to pee. That would be the first hurdle, a day
without coffee.

First the car. Something innocuous like maybe a black Honda
would work, but she knew she couldn't stand something on her
head for more than 20 minutes. Maybe a basic sun hat, could
she tolerate that? Dark color, floppy over her eyes which
would be covered with big sunglasses. Did she need a new
camera? A smaller one? Probably.

Then she remembered her old Radio Shack tape recorder. That
would certainly work, better and easier than taking notes if
she was drivingand following Keith or Laurel or Aaron or
that damn white van ~ whoever or whatever needed her sleuthing
on any given day.

For the umpteenth time Ellen was glad that she took Keith's $500,000
check which allowed her to rent the car and feed her big orange cat,
Salmon. And she had used the money to pay off all of her outstanding
bills and put some in her Orange Savings Account for emergencies.
She still had lots of money to work with. She was determined to find
her sister and for that she could wear a hat for 8 hours at a time,
if necessary.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

pins and kneedles

Acupuncture used to be considered exotic in Western medicine, but
now it seems commonplace. Nonetheless, I had never tried it. On
Monday I went for my first treatment for my knees and they already
feel better. It took about 1/2 hour with a needle in each elbow (a
little ouch here that goes away quickly) and 4 (I think) in each knee,
these did not hurt at all, but I couldn't bring myself to look at any
of them. Squeamish? Oh, yes. About 15 minutes later a Chinese
herb was warmed and held over each knee ~ it smells rich and
musty and felt so soothing. The acupuncturist warned that my
knees might feel worse for a day, but in fact they felt better at
once. Part of the joy was Jamie's no nonsense attitude and total
belief that my knee pain would be gone after a few sessions.

On Monday afternoon I walked some hills with my terrier girl
friend Olivia and, believe it or not, NO knee pain! I'm a believer
already ~ why did I wait so long?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

climbing, climbing

For his 70th, our friend Philipp wanted to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro
and his wife didn't. He took their two kids, both in their twenties. To
prepare he started long city walks, including an 8 hour trek once a
week. He was never particularly physical before, but for the last year
or so he has concentrated on this incomparable mountain in Tanzania.
We watched a special on TV last week about the mountain and how it
is changing and how maybe the glaciers will be gone in 5 years.

On Sunday I had this great e-mail from his wife Gini:

Philipp and Peter and Victoria have just climbed down the mountain
and Ph will be home next weekend. They all made it to the top.
He just told me "you said I was crazy,well, you were right." !!!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

way far from Japantown

It's a hot new Japanese Restaurant at 21st and Mission, of all
places. Last night 12 of us from work gathered to say sayonara
to a young woman who is now a waitress at Nombe. We had
such fabulous food ~ things I never would have ordered:
pork belly, butternut squash tempura, calamari, blood
orange salad, chicken wings with honey, rice cakes, salted
salmon and more. So good that I'll be taking Husbando
back one of these nights. Easy, free street parking, too.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

loving the big apple

New York, I Love You is a companion film to Paris, je t'aime
which was so wonderful. Not every story is fabulous, but most
of them are so delightful that it gets the coveted RENT IT NOW
Commano approval. Included in the great cast: Julie Christie,
James Caan, Ethan Hawke, Chris Cooper and many more. My
favorite vignette featured Christina Ricci, you'll see...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

visit Valparaiso with Doug and Barb!

The Great Plotniks have traveled from Santiago to Valparaiso, Chile
this past week. His blog is terrific and I love seeing things that I
wouldn't proabably ever have a chance to know about. I direct my
readers to his wonderful travel adventures now: Plotniks.

Friday, February 19, 2010

identity theft, deafness, words

I bought Talk Talk yesterday as a reward for finally getting the
H1N1 shot and because we had just read a short story by T.C.
Boyle in the New Yorker. He's a fine writer and the blurbs on
the back cover were intriguing. Plus, I'm so ready for a new read...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

tear out his eyes

Oedipus el Rey at the Magic Theatre tells the son-loves-mother story
once again, but this time it takes place in the barrio, maybe just a few
blocks away in the Mission District. The Greek Chorus (coro) are four
hip hoppin' Chicanos and the main character is a young man named
Joshua Torrez from Chicago and he really IS the play. Fabulous
acting and dancing and the stage set is one of those where they do
so much with so little. Very clever. It's a 90 minute one act play and
you'll stay wide awake the entire time. Lovely guitar music too.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

our newest writer

This delightful paragraph was in my yesterday's morning email
from our blogmaid:
One of the things I gave RR for Valentine's Day was a
little notebook with a
kitty on the front -- from that
Japanese store I went to with Linda. She put
it under
her pillow last night, along with a flashlight and pen,
and told me
that when I left the room she was going to
write in it. She fell asleep
before I left, so I moved
the items over to her bedside shelf, but in the

middle of the night (3 am) I heard sounds coming
from the monitor, and I
went in to check on her and
she was sitting up in bed, writing in her

notebook with the flashlight. It was beyond cute.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

a restaurant with many lives

Last night Bill treated me to Valentine's dinner here at Beretta on
23rd and Valencia. It's been many different restaurants over the
years, but this is an Italian theme with variations. Great food and
service, but a little noisy and we felt out of it because we weren't
checking our iPhones and texting throughout dinner. You get my
drift. He had oso bucco risotto and brussel sprouts, a salad and
thinly sliced multi-salami for me. A very nice waiter who admired
our tiny bright Fine Arts Museum flashlights that we needed in
order to read the menu. A lovely evening, too much food = not
such great sleep.

King Tut was sold out yesterday at the deYoung. It was a rough
day because we were short staffed and I rushed around covering
breaks and lunches and that was it. No tasks got done, too bad.

Monday, February 15, 2010

ever been to Nepenthe?

It's this glorious restaurant in Big Sur that overlooks the ocean,
the mountains and the world. We spent a lot of time there in the
seventies and the granddaughter of the owner wrote a memoir/
cookbook and I gave it to Husbando for Valentine's Day. The
photos are fabulous and recipes, though very basic, will certainly
be usable from time to time. But really, the memories are the
best and one picture features "our chairs" where we used to sit
and talk, eat and drink and just be. So lovely.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

valentine's day 2005 & 2010

It's been five years ago today since we went to NYC, and here I thought
it was last Thursday. We had such a fabulous time despite the rain and
snow and tiny apartment with that uncomfortable bed and dicey shower.
A fabulous trip and we both loved New York even more after that. The
Central Park Christo Extravaganza was unforgettable, what a thrill!

Husbando gives me a long (for him) love note on V. Day and this one
included an invitation to dinner Monday night. He isn't up yet, but
I have decided to accept his offer. Like most women with significant
others I like Valentine's Day, but I understand how single people
think it's a crock of shit. But love in any form beats anything else
that I can think of today. Even retail.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

thanks, Mr. Z

This will be Husbando's Valentine gift tomorrow. Mr. Z in Cleveland
managed to get it into print form again and I sent it to Kinko's and
now we have 2009 all wrapped up and ready for the hearts & flowers
Sunday. It's thinner than the two previous years which probably means
that I am becoming even MORE succinct, if possible.

My Round Robin writing partner this week is Chef P who is also in our
Tiapos group. We know so much about each other now and I find my
writing freer and more personal than it usually is. Today I wrote about
my mother who was born in February and died in February. From age
12 on I could never remember her birthday, and now I can't remember
her exact death date either. We punished each other, yes we did. On
the other hand, I know the exact dates of my dear father's birth and
death. Ah, something to cause me a little stress today? I think not...

Friday, February 12, 2010

did you say Argentina?

Thud. It's tomorrow that The Great Plotniks leave for a l-o-n-g
trip to Chile and Argentina. So soon they'll be gone for more
than a month. Already SF seems like a larger and lonelier
place. We expect the daily post in his blog, but if not, lots of
emails and I will post them here, there and everywhere. Have
a fabulous trip and we'll see you in March. Adios, amigos!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

backing up in style

Cute as a button, no? It's my new OWC Mercury thingie and
The Total Mac man already installed it and backed up all the
very, very important stuff here on my newish computer.
I have never used the Time Machine feature, but he showed
me how and, of course, like everything Apple, it is easy as
pie. This looks big and imposing, but it's actually much smaller
than a 2-slice toaster and I'm greatly relieved that I have it.
I appreciate notthat's gentle nudge and Mistress Jane recently
wrote about how it saved her life when her computer crashed.
This hard drive cost $150.00, by the way, and I'm feeling smug.

Andrew also cleaned up msMacBook and the problem seemed
to be some silly thing that I downloaded that I do NOT need.
Things are copacetic technology-wise here at Casa Verde.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

poetry in february

I used to include more poems in commano than I have lately.
Not just for "fill", but because it's wonderful when writers
can say so much in a few very well-chosen words. These are
from the Dec. 8th Panorama Book Review which I'm still
reading and enjoying.


Past time, I threw the flowers out,
washed out the cloudy vase.
How easily the old clearness
leapt, like a practiced tiger, back inside it.
-Jane Hirshfield


I walked past a house
I walked past a house I heard weeping
I walked past my father's house I heard weeping
It sounded like a roomless door, a piano's 89th key
-Jane Hirshfield

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

today's animation

Waltz with Bashir is the story of director Ari Folman trying
to recapture some memories of his service in the Israeli army
back in the 80's during the Lebanese war. I thought, "well,
it's only a cartoon, it won't really bother me." Wrong again.
It is vivid and upsetting and brutal. I wish I hadn't watched
it before bed, but I'm glad I saw it.

(Msbook2 is still in hospital, but msBook1 here is doing an
adequate job, except for things like downloading, etc. I'm
buying the back-up thingie that notthat recommended and
doing so before I lock the horse out of the closet. Yeah!)

Monday, February 08, 2010

a breeding ground

It's called The Marsh because it's a breeding ground for new
performers and it's one of our favorite little theaters nearby on
Valencia and 22nd in our nabe, where a cup of coffee still costs
$1.00. Last night we missed the end of the Superbowl Game to
see Ann Randolph's LOVELAND ~ a 70 minute one woman show
about her mother, her mother's death, life and the kindness of
strangers. It's funny and sad at the same time ~ the man next to
me brought out his clean white hanky. I loved that, of course.
Imagine ~ it was sold out last night and her show has been
extended until April. Ann is one v. talented writer and actress.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

sunday's round robin write


Oh, I do love the lists. I usually don't title them. I always have one
running in the kitchen in "my basket" which also contains: one small
notebook, Ginger in Santa Barbara's address and phone number on
that silly puppy note paper, one ruler, 3 red pens and one black, a
Writing Salon postcard, some actual physical notes from people
that I need to respond get the picture. It's a mess, but
it's mine, all mine.

I actually have two of those small yellow lined notepads in the basket.
I put everything on the list:
Monday - yoga
Go to post office
Call acupuncturist
Write Mollie
E-mail Sarah
Find out about insurance
Send check to Richard
Buy Valentine cards
Walgreen's for hand lotion
When I have filled the page and crossed most stuff off, I transfer it to
the clean notepad directly behind it. Like most list keepers, I revel in the
crossing off. I have been known to write something on the list that I forgot
to note and immediately cross it off because, damn it, I did it and I need
credit for my accomplishments. I have also gone into the trash to
retrieve a crumpled list and scratch out something I have done and
toss it out again. That makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

Saturday, February 06, 2010

saturday's round robin write


I only woke up once and worried about msBook last night. She froze about
8pm while I was downloading some dumb program that I don't need and
will never use. But really, I just wanted to restart her. So off I will go to
The Total Mac, out on Geary. Since I'm working at the Legion of Honor
I can go there on my lunch hour. We all pray that Andrew will be open.

Currently I'm typing away on my iBook G4 (msBook #1) that I thought was
dead and gone. I have not plugged it in for almost one year, and yet,
here she is. I know I'm on limited life support here, so I feel pressured
to finish this piece and send it to Marnee and Mistress Jane.

And here I was going to get back to Ellen and have her run the red
No Left Turn sign. First I'd have to go back and find out what she's
driving, I think it's a red Smart Car like my friend Susan in
Sacramento drives. This is no way to write a mystery novel. I
should have stacks of files and then I need to get a huge bulletin
board and fill it with the main plot and many interesting sub plots.
I need to build a few characters other than Ellen and her orange
cat, Salmon. Daunting.

Even thinking about writing fiction makes me appreciate the
people who actually do it. My God, it's difficult. I could, of
course, buy yet another book on How To Write Fictioin. That'll do the trick.

Friday, February 05, 2010

welcome to the Mish!

Rosamunde Sausage Grill has a big new space on Mission Street right
next to the 24th Street BART station. The Great Plotniks introduced us
to these fabulous sausages at the tiny little kitchen on Haight Street,
so it's a delightful surprise to have their second restaurant here. It
has plenty of seating, happy wait people (ahem) and the best so far
was my Mission all beef burger with bacon. Husbando's Italian was
a little too spicy, but don't worry, we'll both be back. Great fries too.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

today, tonight, Tiapos

Imagine, Jane is going to host our writing group tonight. An
amazing recovery after her mastectomy on the 27th of Jan.
Alas, I'm scheduled to work at the deYoung where we are
devoting lots of extra hours to King Tut before he prepares
to toddle off to Times Square in New York.

Our Boy King and his accessories will be here until March 28th.
I urge everyone to see the exhibit and what is amazing is how
much the children love all the pharaoh history and pomp.
It's fun. Honest. So purchase your tickets ~ the weekends are
crowded, but even then everything is timed and well-organized
and you will be impressed. Trust me.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

we can't unfold our mistakes

I rushed from the Legion of Honor to meet Husbando last
night for the 7pm curtain of Animals out of Paper. Another
terrific play with Lorri Holt (whom we've "known" for 3
decades), David Deblinger and Aly Mawji. The world of
origami was the 4th main character ~ folds leave scars, the
paper must forget that it was ever flat, and lots more
interesting insights. Well worth seeing and we loved The
Great Plotnik's review last week.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

food first, culture second

Yesterday we met son John down at the Embarcadero and
had way too much to eat at Perry's in the Hotel Triton. We
have a friend in St. Louis who still talks about Perry's on
Union Street, which has been there for 40 years. They serve
basic American food, but I do recommend the grilled
artichoke, thinly sliced onion rings and huge salads. The
prices are reasonable, the service friendly.

Then we went to SFMoma to check out one floor of the
75 year celebration. There is a wonderful wall of SF Views
from 1935 to 2009. Photos, drawings, etc. ~ check it out.
Lots to see, so we'll be back for another floor soon. Somehow
it seems like a REAL day off when I get downtown. Know
what I mean?

Monday, February 01, 2010

one of the best

I've always enjoyed hearing about the brave immigrants who
settle here and try to balance their new and old lives. Jhumpa
Lahiri is a fabulous writer and these stories in Unaccustomed
Earth are unforgettable. She also wrote Namesake and
Interpreter of Maladies, if you are looking for inspirational
fiction. And the title? Perfect:

Human nature will not flourish, any more than a
potato, if it be planted and replanted, for too long
a series of generations, in the same worn-out soil.
My children have had other birthplaces, and, so far
as their fortunes may be within my control, shall
strike their roots into unaccustomed earth.
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Custom House"