Saturday, July 31, 2010

my new travel worry

Now really, isn't it bad enough that I have to fret about plane
crashes? I have heard and read horror stories about bed bugs
which is an epidemic here and across the world. The best site
to pre-check hotels seems to be and my first
hotel in Seattle seems to be OK. But oh, the horror stories about
luxury hotels at Disneyland, Las Vegas, etc. It's not just a poor
people problem any more. One traveler advises everyone to
toss everything out when they get home. Oh, swell.

Friday, July 30, 2010

welcome back, old friends

Curt sketched these delightful people in Paris.

From Curt and Neti ~ plus my great grandparents' wedding certificate.
"Shutters" (1984) by our friend Curtis Fields, who died several years ago.
Neti's flowers will be perfect here.

We've been living without art work for a few weeks. Partly to
admire our walls and the fact that we actually decided on a great
color without benefit of marital discord. And, we wanted to
review our collection and decide which are our favorites.
These (and a few others) made the final cut. There is another
Neti oil of me back in 1906 or so with our first kitty Fanny,
but I don't need to look at that everyday, so it's on hold.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

modern poetry (check out the blue notes)

Pillow Talk

As an insomniac compulsively flips a pillow
to cool the cheek, I turn you over again & again
& again in my mind when I need the cold side
of the said affair to rail against
"the ruinous work of nostalgia."
If life imitates art, then each stillborn
has its own mucus-bright Blue Period.
Sharks keep moving to prevent dying.
People keep moving too, unwittingly staving off
the comfort of stasis, the virility of expiration, blah, blah ...
But Death, the great highlighter, makes us all shine
a bit more dearly. I'm a widowchild who needs sunblock
against your blinding legacy. I used to get my cardio up
by just sleeping next to you. In a sane world,
I'd be bumped off to warn the others of a sky
so blue at the end of the working business day
if your veins hadn't stolen the purest
Pearl Paint blue first. A broken thoroughbred—
I need a passport & vertigo pills to reach you.
Godspeed, galloping into your Misty Blue
OMG I miss you.

Jeni Olin

Hold Tight: The Truck Darling Poems
Hanging Loose Press

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

because I promised myself...

Today I have nothing to borrow and not an original thought to
share with you. I haven't been writing and, as we all know, not
writing leads to a blank slate on screen, paper and mind. So
I read some emails, checked out Facebook, listened to NPR
and wondered why, oh why, I made the promise to post in
commano every day.

The Giants, as you may have noticed, are doing GREAT and
notthat wonders if we should root for the Padres or those blue
scumsucking Dodgers in their series.

Work is fine, nothing to report from there. Michael suffers
at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara and even though he
knew this would be the worst week, it's still very hard to
endure. Rough days currently, but a little easier than the
first Chemo go-round.

There was some sunshine yesterday ~ I'll keep that at the
front of my mind for now. There, post done. Good job,
M.A. Go have breakfast.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

i am a geek (not)

For the first time, I'm actually considering an e-book. Me. The
great book and book-only woman ex-bookseller. It seems
ideal for travel and to/fro work and I know that the Duck
Plotnik loves hers and I am seeing them more and more,
especially on BART. I still don't like deep-reading on the
computer, so I will need to think of my e-book as a book,
not a computer. But I won't rush into this decision...

Then in January I will finally get an iPhone when Steve lets
Verizon be one of the carriers. That should offer a few
challenges and frustrations.

Monday, July 26, 2010

feet, skates and parking

Good sleuthing on the toe shoes from yesterday ~ I hope they
work, Ms. Brain. I have seen them on Frisco people and stared.

Now let's get this over quickly. It cost me $24.50 to park at
the museum yesterday. I have never done that before and I
will never do it again, but it was a mess out there and I caved.
Husbando surprised me by guessing $30.00 and then treating
it lightly. Anyone who knows him will be shocked.

We watched Whip It last night. That's Juliette Lewis (left)
and Ellen Page in green. It's far-fetched, but I'm a sucker for
strong women movies and I really enjoyed this. Husbando,
not so much. Marcia Gay Harden was the mama. As you
know, it's all about the Roller Derby in Austin, Tx. Fun.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

but what about ME?

Have you seen these five toe glove shoes on people? Weird.
In any event, today is the SF Marathon and getting from our
house to the deYoung will not be easy. I might even have
to pay for parking, which I have not done since I began
working there. I should have requested the day off so I
could enjoy the fog with the rest of the citizens of Frisco.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

remember the strawberry


Bad things are going to happen. 

Your tomatoes will grow a fungus

and your cat will get run over.

Someone will leave the bag with the ice cream 

melting in the car and throw 

your blue cashmere sweater in the drier. 

Your husband will sleep 

with a girl your daughter's age, her breasts spilling 

out of her blouse. Or your wife

will remember she's a lesbian

and leave you for the woman next door. The other cat—

the one you never really liked—will contract a disease

that requires you to pry open its feverish mouth

every four hours, for a month.

Your parents will die.

No matter how many vitamins you take, 

how much Pilates, you'll lose your keys,

your hair and your memory. If your daughter 

doesn't plug her heart

into every live socket she passes, 

you'll come home to find your son has emptied

your refrigerator, dragged it to the curb,

and called the used appliance store for a pick up—drug money. 

There's a Buddhist story of a woman chased by a tiger.

When she comes to a cliff, she sees a sturdy vine 

and climbs halfway down. But there's also a tiger below. 

And two mice—one white, one black—scurry out

and begin to gnaw at the vine. At this point

she notices a wild strawberry growing from a crevice. 

She looks up, down, at the mice. 

Then she eats the strawberry.
So here's the view, the breeze, the pulse

in your throat. Your wallet will be stolen, you'll get fat,

slip on the bathroom tiles of a foreign hotel 

and crack your hip. You'll be lonely.

Oh taste how sweet and tart 

the red juice is, how the tiny seeds

crunch between your teeth.

Ellen Bass
American Poetry Review 
July / August 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

back to the Oakland Museum

They are growing vegetables in the courtyard. Very cool.

And here's a sampling ~ I was loathe to take photos inside because
I can't mute my flash. But, trust me, there are some totally wonderful
pieces in here to appreciate. Arneson, David Parks, about four Joan
Browns (I love her work) and lots of Thiebauds. Nice to be able to
move around easily, not that I don't love the blockbuster exhibits,
of course. Such a nice day and thanks to our dear docent, Ginger.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

we'll always have Oakland

What's this? Blue sky? Cat basking in the sun? Oh, I see, we have
to head East and out of the thick fog every once in awhile in summer.
This shot is right across the street from the Oakland Museum where
we met our friend Ginger today. Since it doesn't open until 11am, we
had some time to sit on the front steps and catch up on our lives.

We had a great time at the newly re-done museum and then enjoyed
a huge lunch at the Joy Luck restaurant down on 8th Street. Too
much food for not much money.

Tomorrow you'll see photos from inside the Oakland Museum.
Should you go? Yes indeedy ~ take BART and get off at the Lake
Merritt Station. Walk less than two blocks and you are there!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

wednesday is kid day

Alphabet bath time for Kingston, Dancing Jen's nephew with the
dancing dark eyes.
RR and the blogmaid are safely back from Nebraska where
they learned (as we all do) that sunshine does not always
equal the beautiful summer days of our youth. Hot, hot
and more hot. They will be over for Husbando's famous
grilled cheese sandwiches today around noon. Hoooooray!

The twin boys are a year old now and I don't have a current
photo, but will bug the grandma Neti for one or two (hahahaha).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

an insipiring day

Access Day yesterday was a huge success and gratifying for
those of us working. The wheelchair people were delighted
not to have standing people in front of them and there were
more blind customers than I expected. The blind enjoyed
the docent tour, the atmosphere and even bought art prints.

The customers were happy and appreciative to have this
special day for them and it was a reward for their friends,
family and care givers. Happiness all around.

Monday, July 19, 2010

appreciation day

Today is Access Day at the deYoung. It's a special day for people
with disabilities and only four of us will be working in the Orsay
store. We have a ton of customers in wheel chairs normally,
but today the museum is providing extra blue parking places,
lots more chairs, special docent tours, etc. It makes me very
proud to work someplace that cares so much.

My mother was in a wheelchair for a few months before she
died and I quickly learned to appreciate how difficult life
can be when life takes a bad turn. The smallest ridge on the
floor can turn into an unexpected challenge for someone
in a wheelchair.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

a glum start to Sunday

I'm listening to NPR this morning ~ is there some truth to the
notion that Jeb Bush might run for President? Will we ever be
rid of these rich and evil people?

Note to self: pick-up Family of Secrets for airplane reading.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

steady as a bell...

This is the Poem of the Day and it reminds me of
the above-mentioned Will's work. It makes me
smile and happy to be alive this morning.

Nice long email from Michael who is handling things
beautifully this go-round at Cottage Hospital.

Practicing to Walk Like a Heron

My wife is at the computer. The cat
is sleeping across the soft gold cushion

of my chair. Last night there was a frost.
I am practicing to walk like a heron.

It's the walk of solemn monks
progressing to prayer on stilts,

the deliberate cadence of a waltz
in water. I lift my right leg within

the stillness, within the languid
quiet of a creek, slowly, slowly,

slowly set my foot on the dog-haired
carpet, pause, hold a half note, lift

the left, head steady as a bell before
the ringer tugs the rope. On I walk,

the heron's mute way, across the
room, past my wife who glances

up, holds her slender hands
above the keys until I pass.

Jack Ridl

Friday, July 16, 2010

where oh where?

The blogmaid and RR are in Nebraska (of all places) visiting a bunch
of cousins. Communication is difficult, so I won't be getting my chatty
daily morning emails. I don't like that. And Michael is back in the
hospital for another round of chemo and of course we all hate this.
This was part of the plan from the first, so it's not as though the nasty
leukemia has returned.

I have a 40 page trip write-up here from Will in our writing group.
I need to print it for Husbando, but I'm not sure my cheapo Epson
can handle it. I will mull this over for a day or two.

Tonight I'm closing again at the deYoung. It's how I spend my
Friday nights and I'm more than OK with that. Tonight is a Free
Night, sponsored by Target, so the joint will be jumping.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

every now and then...

We are really, really good about fruits, veggies, salad every single
damn day and very little red meat. But today, for reasons unknown,
we were both hankering for a greasy burger, fries and a chocolate
milk shake. So out we go to Bill's Place on Clement around 24th or
so. Since there was sunshine (!) we sat in the patio and enjoyed
every bite, except that icky lettuce over there on the left. As you can
see, when I said "rare," they took me at my word. Often the chef will
think I meant "medium," which I never mean, except maybe for
lamb. Hmmmmmm, that was quite the treat. Now I'd better walk
it off before the arteries clog. Then, for sure, a nap.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

the prince of small potatoes


Vallejo wrote that with God we are all orphans.
I send $22 a month to a kid in Ecuador
so starvation keeps moving on its bony burro
past his door—no cars, computers,
basketball shoes—not a bottle cap
of hope for the life ahead . . . just enough
to keep hunger shuffling by in a low cloud
of flies. It's the least I can do,
and so I do it.
I have followed the dry length
of Mission Creek to the sea and forgotten to pray
for the creosote, the blue salvia, let alone
for pork bellies, soy bean futures.
There are 900 thousand Avon Ladies in Brazil.
Billions are spent each year on beauty products
world-wide—28 billion on hair care, 14 on skin
conditioners, despite children digging on the dumps,
selling their kidneys, anything that is briefly theirs.
9 billion a month for war in Iraq, a chicken bone
for foreign aid.
I am the prince of small potatoes,
I deny them nothing who come to me beseeching
the crusts I have to give. I have no grounds for complaint,
though deep down, where it's anyone's guess,
I covet everything that goes along with the illustrious—
creased pants as I stroll down the glittering boulevard,
a little aperitif beneath Italian pines. But who cares
what I wear, or drink? The rain? No, the rain is something
we share—it devours the beginning and the end.
The old stars tumble out of their bleak rooms like dice—
Box Cars, Snake Eyes, And-The-Horse-You-Rode-In-On . . .
not one metaphorical bread crumb in tow.
Not a single Saludo! from the patronizers
of the working class—Pharaoh Oil, Congress,
or The Commissioner of Baseball—all who will eventually
take the same trolley car to hell, or a slag heap
on the outskirts of Cleveland.
I have an ATM card,
AAA Plus card. I can get cash from machines, be towed
20 miles to a service station. Where do I get off penciling in
disillusionment? My bones are as worthless as the next guy's
against the stars, against the time it takes light to expend
its currency across the cosmic vault. I have what everyone has—
the over-drawn statement of the air, my blood newly rich
with oxygen before the inescapable proscenium of the dark,
my breath going out equally with any atom of weariness
or joy, each one of which is closer to God than I.

Christopher Buckley

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

how about this library?

As you well remember, I'm going to Seattle and Whidbey Island
next month. I've heard from various friends about this spectacular
library and, as luck would have it, it's very close to my downtown
hotel. My friend Rich has also organized an underground tour
for us in Seattle, before we boat over to Whidbey. I'm starting to
get excited and even bought a new swimsuit yesterday and we
know that takes courage.

Monday, July 12, 2010

silence those vuvuzelas!

Or, however one spells that horrid horn noise from the soccer games.
Yesterday was Sunday Streets (car-free) day in the Mission, but at
11:30am all the bars and restaurants were packed and the streets
relatively empty. A few bikers and skaters trying to hit the walkers,
but nothing like last year. Maybe it was the lack of sunshine in SF,
but in any event, it was good to be out and about for a little while.

We did enjoy the l-o-n-g soccer game and the exceptional baseball
game ~ the Giants have been hitting (what?) lately. This week is
All Star time, down at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. We hate the
Angels, but that's a long ago story that should be put to rest by now.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

let's travel with Claire!

The blogmaid's step daughter (and RR's half sister) is once
again spending the summer in Switzerland. I urge you to
read her pony tail blog and to view her award-winning
video here. Claire has a wonderful way with words and
has about 4000 friends across the globe. I probably won't
ever get to visit this beautiful country filled with lakes
and mountains, so I look forward to my daily visits with
Claire as she plays soft ball, swims, bikes, parties and
learns various languages. Thank you for this delightful
journal, dear Claire!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

return to Glasgow

I am currently reading Denise Mina's second crime novel and
of course I'm hooked. The first was Garnethill and this one is
entitled Exile. It features the same flawed Maureen O'Donnell
and her friend Leslie, as they try to track down a killer of
their friend Ann. Yes, it's dark, but intriguing.

Ms. Mina has studied and taught criminal law and certainly
knows the city of Glasgow. Good stuff. Oh, and there will be
one more book, Resolution.

Friday, July 09, 2010

nobody does it better

As you know by now, we love most British detective series and
Murphy's Law is no exception. Tommy Murphy (James Nesbitt)
is an undercover officer in London ~ he's intense and fun and
never afraid of nothin'. Murphy is actually Irish, but so far the
accents are not too heavy and we can understand all the clever
typically British conversations. From the Flix®, of course.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

searching, searching...

What did we do before the search engine? Go to the library,
I suspect. In any event, I've spent several hours tracking down
a quote that I appreciated at the Maira Kalman exhibit at
the Jewish Museum. I don't know why it hit me, but it did.
All I wrote down was "Flaubert" and "as if the fullness of
the soul" and finally, this is what I have found. From our
gal, Madame Bovary:

As if the fullness of the soul did not sometimes overflow
in the emptiest metaphors, since no one can give an
exact measure of his needs, or his thoughts or his sorrows.

So there, it was worth it, no?

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

medical update

I'm happy to report that my friend Michael (aka The Seahorse)
is home and his blood work yesterday was up/up/up. Good
news all around from Santa Barbara. He will need more chemo
for the leukemia, most likely, but for now he is concentrating
on gaining weight and will probably start going to yoga at
the hospital where he spent so much time. His spirits are
better and he is enjoying the basics: beach walks, friends
and good food. His girl friend, Pam, is a huge help and she
is terrific about sending emails to all of us who care so much
about this fine man.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

it could have been a disaster

One in the dining room.
Bad photo of living room (above) ~ but you can see the nabes!
Bedroom below.

This interior re-mo all started because we needed new windows
"and we might as well get the walls painted," etc. You know how
it goes. We decided to use Costco because our friend Ginger in
Santa Barbara sings their praises for house projects.

Costco teams up with American Home Renewal and although
there was a wait from measuring to delivery, we are thrilled
with the results. They are busy because you remember that
there is a tax deduction for better insulation.

Yesterday 3 guys arrived at 8:30am and installed these 7
windows pictured above and they were out of here
by 3:30pm. They didn't stop and our new windows are
exquisite. Our friend Neti came over and approved of the
new walls and windows ~ hooooray!

Next? Window "treatments" also via Costco.

Now I had better get to work.

Monday, July 05, 2010

once a leftie, always...

It's such a treat to gather with the other aging hippie commie viva-
la-revolution-all-power-to-the-people folks on July 4th at Dolores
Park. And yesterday was sunny and warm, the hisses and hoorahs
were exquisite ~ it was an added treat because our friend Ginger
from P-town joined The Great Plotniks and their young friend
Molly for the afternoon and later, a delicious dinner by Plottie
and The Great Ducknik. Lots of laughter while Husbando
begged for more cornbread.

The play? Posibilidad or Death of the Worker, a new show
with an old theme ~ greed, capitalism, profit, bah. This was the
first of the 2010 summer season for the Mime Troupe and we
already predicted that next year will be about Big Oil.

Then home to barely see the fireworks because the fog had
rolled in once again for the event. Another very special day
off for this retail worker,

Today was yoga to calm me because (ta dum) the window
guys are here. The report for tomorrow should be interesting...

Sunday, July 04, 2010

such a day

Does my headline sound a little Jewish? While enjoying the Maira
Kalman exhibit yesterday at the Jewish Museum I mentioned to
Husbando that her work reminded me of Linda Davick, a friend and
blogmate over there on the right. Well, guess what? Linda was there
yesterday too, and to celebrate I borrowed the above photo from her
blog. Do not miss this fabulous exhibit and I mean it! You know Maira
from the New Yorker Magazine and a bunch of kids' books. (Thanks
for the photo and the coincidence, Linda...)
This is the Jewish Museum, but you already know that.
We also visited two floors of the new Fisher collection at the Moma.
George Segal's sculpture was inviting ~ I felt right at home with
the two One Way signs and the somewhat gloomy people. After
these two museums Husbando went home to wash Ken (the car)
and I visited my old friend Terri at chronny books (the store).
I finally had lunch at the E&O Trading Company on Sutter with dear
Dancing Jen. We had a lot to catch up on and the food was excellent.
I had walked by this place hundreds of times when I worked at
Borders, but I was a little intimidated and thought maybe it was
too fancy for my blood. But no, it's great for downtown dining ~
grilled Asian delights and not too expensive.

So culture, friends, food, Husbando, Muni, BART and more. Perfecto!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

early saturday morning

Well, I thought it was early (7:30), but the Farmers' Market down
on Alemany was already jam and fruit-packed with people and
produce. This is only open on Saturday, and since I'm rarely off
I was looking forward to a quiet browse. Most of the vendors and
customers are Asian or Mexican, so it's a colorful scene with lots
of bargaining in assorted languages. Parking is impossible, but
I was OK due to the karma thing. You can see it's going to be
beautiful weather and I'm off for 3 in a row. Hooooooray!

Next to a couple of museums for bus a woman's holiday.

Friday, July 02, 2010

polvo rosa rocks

Here is the living room all finished and waiting for us to hang some
artwork. Husbando vacuums everyday because there is still a LOT
of dust and dirt. Our paint is #1010 Rose Dust by Benjamin Moore,
emphasis on the second word of the name at this point.

On Monday we are getting new windows in the bedroom (see below)
and living room. Then some fresh blinds or curtains and then,
finally, the end and we get back to what passes for normal in our
small, much-loved home here in Bernal Heights.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

desk clean-up

From an old Leah Garchik column in the chronny:

Andrea Dew Steele, founder of Emerge, which trains women considering running for Democratic office, has left that group to become development and outreach director of Northern California Human Rights Watch. Her role at Emerge was celebrated last week at an event featuring Arianna Huffington, a woman who knows how to stir up passion and turn any gathering into a revival meeting.

The financial disaster wouldn't have struck, she said, if Lehman Brothers had been Lehman Brothers and Sisters. Women are called ruthless, she said, if they put you on hold. The rallying cry of the evening: "If you are not at the table, you are on the menu." Bon appetit.