Thursday, September 30, 2010

ooooooops, Meg is in hot water

I've been reading about Meg Whitman and her housekeeper who was an
illegal immigrant. She worked for Queen Meg for 9 years. One of the
Facebook comments this morning: Hypocrisy is a GOP Family Value.

Democrats are far from perfect and constantly disorganized. They don't
vote as a block and really, it's a wonder they get elected. But, geeeeees,
at least MOST of them seem to be decent people. Sure they drink, do
drugs and screw around, but they have a fine sense of humor and often
direct it at themselves. (Joe Lieberman is a notable exception, of
course.) It's usually the right wing Republicans who go around gay
bashing and then are discovered in uncomfortable situations with
some male escort or pick-up or whatever. Remember Larry Craig
in the airport bathroom?

There is probably much joy in Jerry Brown's Oakland home this morning.
There should be. The more I hear from him the happier I am that we'll
be voting for him. I liked him on the debate Tuesday night and especially
appreciated his comment about how he's married (and way older) now
and won't hang out in the Sacramento bars the way he did when he was
the governor last time. Good stuff, off the cuff and amusing.

I really do love politics. It's so much more fun when MY candidates win,
but even during those dreary George W. Bush years there was plenty to
keep us interested, amused and angry.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

brothers, lovers and baseball players

Last night we enjoyed our first cheese sandwiches out at the bay
and then we were very impressed with the powerful The Brothers
Size at the Magic Theatre. It's a fast-moving one act play about
two brothers and the friend (and more) of one of them. It's
well worth seeing and I'm pleased to say that almost every seat
was filled.

We raced out to Ken (the car) to catch the baseball game and,
hoooooray, we won again last night.

And our heat wave is over, even though it is still sunny and
clear this morning.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

going to the REAL Paris!

One of the BEST things about working in the museums is that I get
to see people from my past. Here is Susan from The All of It over
there on the right. We (along with Ginger) used to be copywriters
at the now defunct Capwell's in Oakland. I would NOT want to have
been our boss, believe you me. Hmmmmmm, some attitudes.

The top photo is from our Mostly Mozart time up in the wine country.
I don't know the date, somewhere in the 80's, I guess. I'm not one of
those people who can pull up a day, month or decade without research.

Susan heads for Paris today. Her daughter will join her for the weekend
but the rest of the time she will wander around by herself and have
the time of her life. I urged her to stock up on Paris gifts in our store
and then not worry about that shopping stuff while getting lost and
smiling for her 10 (or so) French days. Have a great time, dear friend!

Monday, September 27, 2010

is that you, mr. sniff?

Oh, how v. special to have Bill Irwin and Geoff Hoyle reunited here
at ACT. We, of course, have followed their illustrious careers for more
than 30 years when they were the heart of the Pickle Family Circus.
Either or both of them can make us laugh (OL) ~ honestly we are so
very, very fortunate.

Last night we saw Scapin, a play adapted from the Moliere comedy.
It was terrific. Delightful. Besides these two old friends the cast
featured: Gregory Wallace, Rene Augesen, Steven Anthony Jones
and Jud Williford. Music, dancing, clowning and laughing.

And so theatre season begins for Husbando and me. Perfectly.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

we've all been on this train...

Landscape with Grief Train

Such a huge locomotive, the grief train,
panting, ugly, shiny, and black,
but it has many cars to pull
and a very long distance to travel.

Miraculously, it needs no fuel,
having the one event, or many,
to keep it going for eternity
—or however long you imagine.

Sometimes you see it at crossings.
You're headed somewhere else.
Perhaps you've been laughing a lot,
or just come from seeing a movie.

The great thing about it, of course,
is its steadiness and drive. You forget it,
and still it is going to be out there,
snaking through mountain passes,

rushing all night next to white-flecked rivers,
hooting its soundless whistle,
and sending on up toward the stars
its smoke, which is pungent and cold.

David Young

Field of Light and Shadow: Selected and New Poems
Alfred A. Knopf

Saturday, September 25, 2010

seen it a million times...

That's what I was thinking, of course, and even humming and joking
about "Starry Night Over the Rhone" by Van Gogh. Then yesterday I
saw the real thing and Lordy, what an amazing piece of work. So
rich in layered colors and honestly, it looks like it was painted last
Monday. Fresh and vibrant. The new exhibit is open and it is even
more impressive than the last one. A fascinating collection of beauty
and I urge you not to worry about the crowds, the parking or the
other inconveniences, it's well worth the trouble. Through Jan. 18th,
but it will just get more crowded, so order your tickets now.

Friday, September 24, 2010

finally, summer is over

Now that it's officially Autumn, we are going to have some real
sunshine. They say FIVE days of a long-awaited heat wave. I
need to find my 4 summer outfits and iron them post haste.
I see lunch out by the fountains in Golden Gate Park and a
prayer that we don't have those short-shorts inside the museum.
Not to sound old and staid, no not me.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

how long it's been, how long

Market Street at Bush (I think)
I had to push myself o.o. the house this afternoon after yoga. I
climbed on the 27 Bryant and then walked around to re-discover
my city that used to give me such joy. It was a beautifully sunshiny
day and I discovered that 1) there were less homeless people
2) more empty stores since I had been here before. So many,
many memories of my Big Box days.

A police officer gave a ticket to the driver of a Rolls Royce that
was parked on Market Street right under the DO NOT STOP
HERE sign and that made me v. happy. Then I visited my old
Bossman who asked me to return to work for him and I
demurred in my nicest "hell no" manner. I had a latte at
Peet's sitting on a bench in the sun and congratulated myself
for leaving our comfy Casa Verde.

Yes, I still love my city and the assorted crazies herein.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

can't you picture this place?


Winner of the 2009-2010 AWP Intro Journals Project,
selected by Lynn Powell

Stepping off the bus from Magherafelt,
I feel my ass pinched by a boy not yet
out of junior school and, deposited
all alone, am greeted by a quartet

of smells: cows, cowshit, stagnant water, peat.
Steeple-led, I stroll to the Catholic church
but don't find Heaney marked on any graves.
The roots of blackberry bushes winch

up the path; I scrape by branches clotted
with berries that are ripe but sour.
On to the street of the town. There's an inn,
a Chinese takeaway, a twenty-four-hour

eatery where once-frozen foods sizzle
in the tired deep-fryer, a pub—always
there is the pub and its patrons. I speak
to no one, am stared at, watch the gray

sky become more gray, the rain elongate
to needles on its way to the ground.
Here, the scholars must climb from hired cars,
ask, "Here?" and decide from looking around,

"God no, this can't be the place." I know
this is the place. Home of no beauty, lit
by no sun, he claimed it. And still now,
there's no beauty except what he gave it.

Michelle Hicks

Colorado Review
Summer 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

time for some silly

Husbando and I had been discussing an article on Laughing
Meditation in the New Yorker and watching this movie last
night re-enforced our belief that the very physical act of
laughing helps mind, body and spirit immeasurably. And we
did, even though more sophisticated people might find Date
Night to be a dumb movie.

Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg, James Franco star.
So this couple from New Jersey is mistaken for another
couple when they are in a fancy NYC restaurant. There is a
bunch of running around (Tina keeps her heels on!) and
some amusing lines. Really, it's fun...

Monday, September 20, 2010

atlantic city HBO style

Here's the cast:
We watched the first episode of Boardwalk Empire last night
and found it engaging and colorful. Wonderful attention to
detail of the 1920's when many benefited from Prohibition.
The costumes are especially interesting and as we get to know
the characters I'm sure this will be a highlight of our Sunday
night television watching. Next week Bored to Death resumes.
Yeah. And today? Day off!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

HT battle the blues

Like most thinking adults, I have to fight off depression from
time to time. Yesterday an older co-worker fell and broke her
hip and I'm worried about her. Michael is home and exhausted
after the chemo #3 (he has one more round to go) so he is on
my mind, as always. Mistress Jane has written an outstanding
letter to HealthNet on her Breast Cancer blog over there on
the right and I wish everyone in America could read that.

I'm tired of the right wing and their constant yammering and
ickiness. Can we not have ONE day when they don't grab every
headline? So last week when Jon Stewart and Colbert
announced their March on Washington on 10.30.10, I said
"hoooooooray, it's about time!" and/or words to the effect.
It is time for some sanity, some humor and a reminder that
we won the 2008 election and we have made progress. Not
enough, but some. I think the Consumer Protection Agency
is a big step forward and someday we will have universal
health care that works. Some day. Onward.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

why I couldn't live in the burbs...

Ideal Cities

Ideal cities are cities where the neighbors
play soul music all night long & don't care

who they bother because who doesn't like Holy Ghost
or Loose Booty? Ideal cities have at least one drunk lady

outside the liquor store mornings, who asks you to hold
her cigarette so she can lean in to touch your baby.

In ideal cities, the pharmacist knows your prescriptions
by heart. In ideal cities your neighbor sells pot to the cops

for a living, though you've never seen him do it & most days
he wears a caftan to glue rhinestones on the cement frogs

in his yard. On trash night in ideal cities your other neighbors
swap stories in the alleys. Ideal cities

have margins that aren't pretty or bleak
and are without proper representation

but have no grievances. My ideal city
has a wish list written on the back

of an envelope scrap, an ATM slip.
My ideal city is peripheral and claims

uneven sidewalks. In the ideal city
my neighbor is a taxi driver.

My neighbor is at sea.
My neighbor thinks

his house is haunted
while his wife's away

on business. My neighbor
gives a robber a glass

of Chateau Malescot St-Exupéry
and a hug. In the ideal city my neighbors

are a multi-generational
family & one guy

who puts chairs
in the street

to save a spot
for our moving truck.

Erika Meitner

Ideal Cities
Harper Perennial

Friday, September 17, 2010

nail biting time...

Oh, boy, September baseball. The Giants are in first place
today for the first time in ages. The Padres lost and the Rockies
are (like) two games behind. Last night was a v. satisfying
game, no time for frivolous things like reading, writing or
ironing. The blue scumsucking Dodgers are leaving town
with their wimpy little tails between their weak little legs.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

mum's the word

...and pansy is the semi-colon. I said goodbye to those two glorious
days of summer and planted fall mums on my last day of vaca. I can
see clearly that the back deck fence needs work.

Re-entry yesterday to the working world wasn't too bad, but it
seemed like a long day. Perhaps you've noticed that non-work days
zip by. This is the time of year that I do all the doc checks and it's
my first experience with Kaiser and I am so impressed. If this is
socialized medicine, bring it on! The doc gave me knee exercises
and I have been doing them somewhat religiously.

Freedom is one fine novel, by the way.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

mr. caine vs. the bad guys

This is not a great movie, but if you are a Michael Caine fan
it is worth renting. Harry Brown is a pensioner and he will
remind you of Clint Eastwood as an aging vigilante who
still has the steady gun hand. Too much violence, of course,
and how often do we have to say that?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

speaking of freedom

...mine is over tomorrow morning as I return to work. I still have
a l-o-n-g To Do list here, but I did have a productive 3 days at
home as well as a delightful vacation.

I bought this book by Franzen today in hardcover. Imagine. I
think Husbando will enjoy it because he too liked The Corrections
that was published several years ago. You will remember that
the author dissed Oprah and refused to appear on her program.
I believe that the bird is there because after his divorce Jonathan
became a bird watcher. He writes excellent non-fiction articles
in the New Yorker, by the way. And, he sent a personal note to
my friend Joan in Santa Barbara who is a premier bird watcher,
teacher and author. What's not to like?

I finished Little Bee, it's a wonderful story. Now I need to
garden while you think about the birds and bees.

Monday, September 13, 2010

culture shock, SF style

After almost a week in Pismo Beach, Santa Barbara and
Summerland, it was a delight to plunge back into our very
diverse city yesterday. Too white-upon-white down there.
I told Husbando that he was the only Jew in Pismo Beach
and I used to say to Michael, "I saw part of the black family
today!" when I visited Santa Barbara. Actually I think they
must have moved away because we did not see ONE person
of color. Well, lots of South of the Border people to do all
the restaurant, gardening, cleaning and hotel work, of course.

So yesterday we had a walk on Clement Street and visited
one of our favorite Chinese restaurants ~ Taiwan at 6th Ave.
and Clement. Yummy food, exceedingly low prices and
friendly service. Then we drove over to Irving to find
fresh basil at reasonable prices. Man, so many people
out shopping, eating, visiting on the streets and trying
to find parking. Almost all Asian, almost all speaking
languages other than English. This is what I have always
loved about this city ~ the pockets of interesting cultures
and, like every big city, we are a great melting pot of humanity.
Yes indeed, we appreciated being home yesterday!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

home and happy (the person)

This is the main bike/walk/muse coastal path in Santa Barbara
where I walked with Joan and Happy. It is a pleasure to be home
and in our own bed, fixing our favorite fruit breakfast and planning
our tasks for my 3 MORE vacation days. It was truly a fabulous
vacation and we are planning for next year already. Thanks to
our friends and to Ken, our trusty Toyota.

From Steinbeck in Travels with Charlie:
"A journey is a person in itself - no two are alike."

Sorry, I did screw up the Giants vs. Padres game yesterday. Argh.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

dog-filled friday

First, a walk with Joan and her dog, Happy

Josie and Rich
Bliss, Auri and Josie
Today the fog is back, but yesterday was another sunny surprise.
Ginger's friend Rich arrived with his Josie right before I went
walking with my old college friend Joan. Long, lovely walk by
the beach and then a fabulous lunch at Gianfranco's in our
favorite Carpinteria. All five of us: Rich, Husbando, Ginger,
Joan and your blogger woman. Great food ~ mark it down in
your must-do Central Coast Beach Notebook.

Back to Cottage Hospital with the McConnell milkshake in
the afternoon. Had to wear the face mask as this is the highly
infectious stage for Michael and he feels lousy. A few more
days of suffering and MAYBE he can go home next Friday.

We have the l-o-n-g drive ahead of us. Will stop often to
stretch the back and leg muscles. It will be good to be home,
but this was a delightful vacation. Wonderful, in fact.

Friday, September 10, 2010

37 acres of green, blue, pink, etc.

These are called Mother-in-law seats
Cactus, cacti, whatever...
See the lotus rise out of the muck
Bright red and green
The blue garden
Yesterday we went on a fascinating two hour tour through Lotusland
in Santa Barbara. It was founded by an opera singer (little known)
who was a little strange, it appears. She was married 6 times and
gathered a small fortune from assorted husbands and spent it on
her fabulous gardens around her home here in Santa Barbara. There
are maybe 20 very different gardens including lots of succulents, a
Japanese garden, topiary and of course the lotus. A lotus bloom
only last 3 days and I don't believe I had seen the flower before. So
beautiful. The docent was nice and knowledgeable and made all
the difference, and she lived in San Francisco for 15 years.

Then we had lunch at Piatti's in Montecito. The sun shown all
day and is doing the same today. Hooooooray!

Michael is responding the way he should to heavy chemo and
wolfed down his chocolate milkshake. He is staying very positive
as are his many friends.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

nutrition for body and soul

Cinnamon roll with whipped creme cheese
at the Fatcat in Avila
Leaving Pismo Beach ~ finally sun, go figure
Sunset walk at Padaro Beach
Yesterday morning we drove north to Avila, about 5 miles from
Pismo. The luscious cinnamon roll was our breakfast treat. It's a
very small town with only one main street and about 400 motor
homes parked right on the water. Plus a luxury golf resort and that's
about all that we could see.

We had lunch at the Padaro Grill and arrived at Ginger's about 2pm
and I scurried over to visit Michael with a chocolate milkshake in
hand. He is doing fine, heading into the worst part of the chemo
slam, but staying positive. By now he knows the entire staff and
most of the other cancer patients. He also met a 12 year leukemia
survivor as part of the hospital outreach program and you can
imagine how helpful that kind of thing is. I'll go back this afternoon,
of course.

Ginger, dogs, Husbando and I did the beach walk last night and
saw some dolphins frolicking. You will be pleased to know that
there has been fog and more fog down here too. But still, so
beautiful and peaceful.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

oh yes, I forgot to prep you...

Lunch in Salinas
Funky home in Pismo Beach
The sun sets on Pismo Beach

Sorry about that. We are at the $99 a night Edgewater Inn right here
on the beach at Pismo. Had a wonderful night's sleep and yes, we did
check the mattress and drapes for bed bugs before unpacking. It is
very clean and comfortable with a view of the ocean. We can walk
everywhere, which we needed after the drive.

What is better than an old beach town where the sandy sidewalks
lead to not-great-food-but-who-cares? Some funky cottages, some
gorgeous beach homes. The ocean is the star here, nothing else
really matters. I don't even mind the fog this morning, almost
like I'm getting used to it.

Michael has put his order in for a chocolate milkshake and I will
visit him this afternoon after checking into our ultra comfortable
home in Summerland. Eager to see Ginger, the dogs and the
platypus. Michael is back in hospital with his next-to-last chemo
treatment and he seems to be handling it much better this

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

no, no, not utica

We are in Pismo Beach ~ that family gathering wedding thing was 5
years ago (and they are still married!). Tomorrow we head for Santa
Barbara but we would like some sunshine, please.

gone fishin'

Well, maybe for seafood. I'm packing up now and we'll leave in
an hour or so. Hope to post tonight, but you know how internet
connections go. Or don't.

Work had been really rough the past 4 days and I soooooooo
need this time off. I know, I know, I just got back from the
Whidbey Island vaca. Women need lots of days off...

Monday, September 06, 2010

nerves of straw

Oh, oh ~ now it begins. The queasy stomach, nail-biting time.
Our Giants are a game behind the San Diego Padres and this
final stretch is going to be v. difficult. Like life, one can't
understand how things change so quickly. The Padres were
winning every game for months and now, bam!, they have
lost 10 in a row. Poor Padres fans, we know exactly how you
feel, but really, we would like to be in the playoffs this year.

Gird your loins, Giants faithful, it's going to be fun. Is that the
right word? Notthat, when do we get the "if we lose 6 games
and they win 3" business?

Oh, today is the last day for Orsay One...

Sunday, September 05, 2010

sabbatical over

I haven't done any REAL writing since June and yes, it is a relief
and life is easier without the additional To Do on my list. But
after reading Linda Davick and Jean Gonick's e-conversation
on Linda's wonderful blog, I decided that I need to write again.
Not for publication, not for the writing group, not for fame and
fortune (hahahahaha) but just because my mind works better
when I write.

To that end (ahem) I am studying the new class offerings at
The Writing Salon. For sure I'm a Round Robin again, but
how about more fiction? Poetry? Screen writing? Great
website, Mistress Jane!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

scary ass and stupid

Last night we left the deYoung at 11:30 pm and I am here to
tell you that Golden Gate Park is dark and horrible at night.
Beautiful during the day, fraught with awfulness when the
sun goes down. We saw a woman jogging alone in the park.
I believe in physical fitness, but I favor life more. Lordy,
how dumb can a person be? Very, it seems.

Friday, September 03, 2010

stretch, chant, groan

It had been three weeks since I had attended yoga class, so
yesterday I trudged up the stairs and gave it a try. Ouch. I
decided to start doing a few stretches every morning now and
because I can so easily talk myself out of this kind of thing,
I brought my purple yoga mat up and placed it next to the
kitchen table last night. It worked! And yes, I feel better.
Then I walked and now, perhaps, a little nap.

This is the closing weekend of Orsay and they have booked
customers later than usual. I work until 10:30 tonight and
tomorrow night ~ very Big Box like, no? Only 9:30 (so far)
on Sunday night. So you understand why I need the calming
effect of yoga. Ommmmmmmmm.

Orsay 2 opens Sept. 21st. A little break until then...

Thursday, September 02, 2010

this is it!

This is what I am e-reading currently. In fact I can't seem to get
much else done. It's ALL I'm thinking about. Little Bee is the
story of a young Nigerian woman refugee and a stylish woman
magazine editor in London. Honestly, it has been a l-o-n-g time
since I've read a book where the tension builds so slowly and
steadily. Buy or borrow, it's fabulous.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

rabbits and bears

Did you grow up knowing you need to say "RABBIT" the very first
thing on the very first day of a new month? Some sort of good
luck charm. Since I'm up first, I say it to my computer and so
far, so good. Happy September 1st, dear readers. Rabbit.

Borders, the Big Box, is going to put Build-A-Bear stores in
almost all of their locations. They have excess space now that
music has gone the way of the typewriter and carbon paper.
Big boxes put a lot of indie bookstores out of business and
now it's their turn. It's almost 2 years since I left the book-
selling business and since I spent about 16 years avoiding
the Children's Department, I can't see myself selling bear
legs and teeth, can you?

One feature of my LindaKindle that you might not have
known about. It is possible to sample an e-book before
you buy it. I see more empty space ~ maybe Build-An-
Elephant on the 4th floor, above the Bears?