Wednesday, June 30, 2010

we was wrong

There was much groaning and bitching at Casa Verde Mocha
Tornado when we received the announcement that the SF
Playhouse was going to produce The Fantasticks as their
final play of this season. When love was new Husbando and
I went to see this huge hit and found it way too syrupy and
of course we left at half time. But that was 40 or so years
ago and at that time we were so sophisticated and worldly.

The Great Plotnik, Ducknik and our friend Ginger in P-Town
convinced us to give it another try and to our amazement,
the show has improved! We had a great time last night,
especially loving Ray Reinhardt, Joan Mankin and Louis
Parnell. The young woman star, Sepideh Moafi, has a
beautiful voice, I'm sure she was trained for opera.

See, you can drag old horses to old theater ~ yippee. This
is playing through Sept. 4th ~ commano says "GO."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

how to escape

There is nothing like a great mystery to take me away from the
painters (yes, it is their last day), the Giants losing to the
Dodgers, tedious work issues and worrying about Michael
who is still in hospital in Santa Barbara.

I read everything that Elizabeth George writes, but I'm es-
pecially fond of her series featuring Tommy Lynley who is
a British Lord and a police officer. I have been known to cry
real tears while reading her work. As you might know, it is
NOT easy to weep and read at the same time. I've almost
finished This Body of Death, meaning that I'll have to face
reality again at some point soon. Drat.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Isn't this how we all feel after a glorious day like yesterday? Even
in Pumpkinville, as evidenced by this happy RR seaside dance. I
had to work, but at least I could go outside on my breaks and lunch.
Today is beginning beautifully too...but alas, it's Inventory Day.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

bridges at his best

After watching soccer and baseball yesterday it was pleasant to
enter the world of hard-drinking country music. The soccer
game was interesting because the announcers kept selling us
on how fabulous soccer is, and for sure I'll watch another World
Cup one day. Baseball does not need sales people to gather fans.

Crazy Heart is a compelling film with a simple storyline and
some fabulous acting. Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhall, Colin
Farrell and Robert Duvall are all outstanding. Rent it!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

nooks, cracks and crannies

We slept here in the back room for two awful nights. Husbando on
the floor, bless him. This sort of looks like a Mondrian print, doesn't it?
Now where are my black shoes?
Our home has survived a few earthquakes, but there were some
blemishes in almost every room as a result. "Workingman Victorian"
was a cookie cutter design here in the city 80 or so years ago and
we see many homes like ours throughout the city. But man, they
are solidly built. In any event, the painting and fix-up continues
and the painters insist on two coats on the walls and the miles of
detailed trim. It is starting to come together now and we slept in
our own bed last night, what a relief.

We should be able to say "thanks and goodbye" to the painters
on Monday. They are working today. I'll wait until it's a done
deal before you see the finished product. Now to watch soccer,
of all things. Go USA!

Friday, June 25, 2010

move these to the top...

You'll be very wise to order these two BBC discs from the
Flix® before you come to the deYoung to see the masterpieces
from the d'Orsay this summer. The Impressionists tells the
true stories of Manet, Monet, Renoir, Degas and Balzille ~
what a struggle they had facing poverty and derision from
the art establishment. Beautiful. beguiling and so interesting.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

meet us at Rosalie's!

What a wonderful break we had on Monday when we left Casa
Tornado and the 57 painters to meet The Great Plotnik and
Ducknik at Rosalie's. We've driven by it a million times because
it's at 14th and South Van Ness, but we never made it inside
until now. The verdict? Fabulous Mexican food and great
prices ~ soccer on the TV, of course. I had yummy rancho eggs
and Husbando gobbled up mole enchiladas ~ it was the
highlight of the week and maybe next week's too. Thanks
for the great idea, Plottie!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

predictable, but worthwhile

Invictus is based on real-life events ~ when Nelson Mandela
came into power at the end of apartheid. He used the 1995
World Cup rugby match to unify South Africans. Matt Damon
plays the captain of the mostly white team. We both enjoyed
this movie and felt that Morgan Freeman was a creditable
Mandela. From the Flix®, of course.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

walking & lunching last sunday

A short cut through the Rose Garden in Golden Gate Park starts my day.
The roads are closed to cars ~ so peaceful on Saturday and Sunday.
This band-in-the-shell has been a summer tradition for about 100 years
and the same people appear in the audience with their lunches,
strollers, dogs and peculiar fashions. I always bring something to
read, but end up just enjoying the whole scene while I munch on my
sandwich and carrots. There was a fine young singer here, but what
I love the most are the red uniforms and enthusiasm of the band.
I'm not wild about the music (76 Trombones gives me hives), but I
try to remember that it's not designed for my listening pleasure and I
relax in the sun (or fog) for my hour outside and away from retail.

Monday, June 21, 2010

summer 2010 starts today

And what better way to celebrate than with colorful photos of
our 6.5 year old girl? RR is a delight through sunshine and the
occasional bit of fog, aka Bay Area marine layer. Pony camp
starts today ~ more photos to come!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

day #6, week #2

Husbando spent yesterday dusting and vacuuming in preparation
for tomorrow when the living room gets painted. It's still a mess,
but so much cleaner than all of last week and I could walk down
the hallway in bare feet without dust clouds last night.

Meanwhile I was in the midst of the Orsay shoppe. Congestion.
Good business and mostly nice customers, but still a woman gets
tired of being nice. Know what I mean?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

the perfect cup o' tea

I've had this beautiful book here now for a few weeks and I've been
afraid to write about it because I so want to do it justice and encourage
my readers to buy their own copy. Even though I'm a coffee drinker,
Husbando and I enjoy green tea in the afternoon and some sleepy tea
(chamomile) before bed. And we lap it up at Asian restaurants, of course.

Tea Culture is written by my friend (and fellow blogger) Beverly
Dubrin and she has included some wonderful photographs and
illustrations as well as recipes for hot and cold tea drinks and a lot
of delicious snacks for tea parties. I'm going to make Marion's Dream
Bars on page 130 as soon as life gets back to normal here at Casa Tornado.

Beverly includes information on the health benefits of tea and there
is an interesting chapter on infusions and tisanes. These are the
so-called "herbal teas" that are so popular now. I loved the section
on tea rituals and ceremonies around the world ~ exceedingly

Tea Culture: History, Traditions, Celebrations, Recipes & More
is only $18.95 Hardcover. Buy it at your favorite bookstore.

Exquisite book ~ great job, Beverly!

Friday, June 18, 2010

day #4 and more!

This is the garage, so don't worry. The dining room is finished and
"we" are moving into the living room today. Lots of plaster work
going on in the hallway. Dust all over. No fun. Another week or so,
we think. They start at 8:15am and leave around 6pm. Hard workers.

And this is a first. We watched 5 minutes of the USA and Slovenia
World Cup thing this morning. A tie. Colorful costumes in the stands.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

it was just a question...

Husbando reads the New Yorker before I do and makes little
marks and comments. "Read this!" he'll write on some article.
Here on this cartoon he wrote his name down on the sofa. The
guy-in-therapy's line is somewhat difficult to read despite my
best computer efforts:
"And then she said, "You're wearing that to the psychiatrist?"

I have a tendency to help my husband coordinate his fashion
ensembles. Can I help it if I hate ratty sweatshirts? Besides,
isn't this part of my job description?

Painting Day #3 continues. Slowly. Update tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

topeka taupe

Paint Day #2. We selected this beige (eeeeeeeek) color because our
carpets are such bright colors. These guys are really working and
I will be happy to get to my job outside Casa Grande Mess today.
Husbando asked if we could have Dust Bowl Salad last night. Yes.
(Topeka Taupe isn't the real name of the paint, but it will do.)

Then I went to lunch at Liverpool Lil's with a special friend from
my work place and that was exceedingly pleasant indeed.

We are mentally counting the days until we get our house back. "OK,
two days for the hall and stairway, the living room is larger than
the dining room, so that's a day and a half, the bedroom will need
at least one day." You've all been there. Lordy.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

the agony and the sweet peas

The dining room this morning.

We are having the hall, living room, dining room and soon the
bedroom painted this week (and next and next?) and by now you
realize that I get a bit irritable when things aren't right in the exact
place where they belong. So far Husbando and I aren't at the
talking-through-clenched-teeth stage, but of course I spent yesterday
and dinner time away from Casa Tornado ~ we'll see what today
brings. The painters are perfectionists, which is what we want.
I'm reminding myself of that by writing it here...

Yesterday I escaped via BART to Pleasanton for a wonderful walk
and talk with my friend Ginger. The flowers are from her nabe at
the community garden. She is concentrating on tomatoes, basil,
artichoke and zucchini (I was nice about that, the world is
overrun with squash during summer) as she battles with the
gophers and birds. She loves it!

Last night was a little work-related dinner and today I'm ready
to get out of here. Either that or I'll have to clean up this office
of mine. Pile by pile...

Monday, June 14, 2010

dancing through SF history

Last night we enjoyed 90 minutes of music, dance and very few words.
The Tosca Project is one of those "only in San Francisco" extravaganzas
that (in my opinion) shouldn't be missed. It celebrates the Tosca Cafe
and the city and all the heart and craziness that is SF. One scene
stands out in my mind this morning: being inside the bar and watching
the world go by in the rain ~ umbrellas and raincoats and steamy
front windows. And always the jukebox as the center of it all. That
and the big copper cappuccino machine, which we did remember from
our nights in North Beach eons ago. Thank you ACT, ballet dancers,
sailors, beats, poets, musicians, yuppies and Tosca herself...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

the power of prejudice

The Girl on the Train is (obviously) a French flick based on a
true story. A young woman claims to have been the target of
a hate crime on a train and of course the media frenzy is so
very like ours would be. Her mother is played by Catherine
Deneuve and she is as lovely as ever. It's so wonderfully French
that you should rent it ~ we both enjoyed it immensely.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

it's World Cup time!

I saw a very funny video on Keith Olberman's show and if I had the
time I'd track it down for you. About 6 penguins in soccer shirts
(two colors, authentic) just standing around staring at the ball.
Once in awhile one would sort of push the ball about 2 inches,
but mostly they didn't move at all. It looked like the real thing
to me. So there, enjoy the World Cup and keep talking about
how SOME day this boring sport will be big in the USA.

Friday, June 11, 2010

every other thursday night

I borrowed this photo from the Great Plotnik. Here is our Tiapos
Writing Group without Chef Sarah and Susie. From the left: Karen,
Eric, Will, Mistress Jane and Plotnik himself. Check out the new
wallpaper ~ the oh so talented Jane and her Jackie Pie.

Last night I asked for help for some locations for Ellen in her
search for sister Laurel. Just what I needed, a bunch! Of course
the Writing Salon on York will be included. Maybe my mystery
novel will get a jump start after this input. Thanks, Tiaposonians...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

back to the Legion of Honor

Both of our museums are unbelievable this summer. I just skimmed
the surface of Impressionist Paris: City of Light on Tuesday, but
of course it is really quite wonderful with more than 100 pieces,
including photographs and documents. When you enter, take the
second door to the right, not the first ~ wowza. There is no extra
charge for this exhibit out at the Legion and if you go early you
will have the place to yourself. Through Sept. 26th, don't miss it!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

listing with craig

It's been some time since I've tried to sell anything on Craigslist, but
today I put our old family piano on there. A few more hoops and secret
passwords and phone codes, but it's now officially for sale. I tried to
give it to a friend, but he declined the kind offer. We are asking $650
and that seems reasonable. It's in excellent condition because it
only gets played every 5 years or so, the main reason for this sale.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

trip planning again

Our friend Richard is celebrating his 60th birthday in August, and I'm
going to fly to Seattle to join him and some other friends for 4 nights
on Whidbey Island. The above photo (West End on Whidbey) was
included in one of his recent emails. So I just booked a nonstop (oh,
heaven!) flight on Delta for less money (and way less time) than
my recent trip to Santa Barbara. I was expecting the worst and it
ended up being convenient and affordable. Yeah, blog fodder!

Monday, June 07, 2010

something borrowed, something spilled

I don't really "do" Facebook anymore, but this morning I was
able to steal this ironic photo from a friend of a friend. It's
just your basic British Petroleum gas station with a tsk-tsk sign.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

feelin' good in memphis

Blind Side is corny and contrived and Ms. Bullock did not really
earn Best Actress, in my opinion. But of course I knew I'd love this
movie despite it all. I'm a sucker for feel-good, let's do the right
thing, love conquers all and hand me another Kleenex®, please
movies ~ even if they involve football and mansions in Memphis.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

can you eat that jello?

Life gets down to the real basics in the chemo wing of a cancer
hospital. I'm here to report that things are really looking up and
I was there when the doctor said, "there is a good chance that the
bad cancer cells have been obliterated." Obliterated. Now one of
my new favorite words. Unbelievable. Michael was 3 days away from
death (again from the doctor) when he was admitted to Cottage
Hospital in Santa Barbara on May 21st with Leukemia.

They gave him one massive dose of chemo that almost took out
his liver, but that too is almost back to what passes for normal.
If necessary, he can withstand more chemo, but maybe that won't
be needed. Waiting for more test results. He stays in the hospital
for two more weeks, letting the good blood cells build.
And I was reminded that I need to donate blood as I watched
bag after bag arrive each day.

When I left Wed. morning I needed "a sign" ~ you know how
that is during times of despair. This was in Leah Garchik's col.
in the chronny. From Emily Dickinson:
Hope is the thing with feathers.
That perches in the soul.
That carried me on the Delta flight in and out of Salt Lake
City and down to SB.

Ginger has two new additions: these wonderful bird feeders
and a HOT tub where I soothed my stiff body after sitting/
dozing in the hospital for two days. And bless her for getting
me around and for feeding me Thursday night. The dogs?
Cuddly and soothing, just the way dogs should be.

I can't tell you how pleased I am that I went to see for myself
and to help in any little way I could. Also thanks to dear
Husbando who understands that my friends are my family
and when they need me, I go. And vice versa...

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

my be-back post...

Thanks for all your good wishes which I am packing up and
taking to Michael tomorrow. Ginger (dogs, platypuses) is
meeting my plane and we'll take it from there. I'm already
indebted to her BIG TIME and to Michael for helping me
find her at the French Bulldog Coffee Place (now defunct)
in Summerland a few years ago.

Today out at the quiet (thank God) Legion of Honor.
Yesterday was ridiculously chaotic at the deYoung, but
hey, it's only retail and we all know that lies in the realm
of necessary, but not the life/death kind of situation.

I'll report back in Saturday morning.