Saturday, December 31, 2011
right off the top of my head I have to highlight friends, family, food
and the amazing fund-raising for Light the Night. Oh, and the views
and wonder of our less-than-perfect city.
Now I order the blog for the year and I will show you which photo I
selected for the cover tomorrow, in 2012. Happy New Year to all my
dear and devoted (ahem) readers.
Friday, December 30, 2011
to say about The Tree of Life and the reaction was as mixed as in
our own home. Husbando wandered away to read (harumph) and
I was transfixed, wishing I had seen it on the big screen. Of course
the photography is glorious, but to my mind it was one of the
best films ever about the confusions, joys and terrors of childhood.
Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain star in this Terrence
Mallick story of life in Waco, Texas in the 1950's. A warm and
loving mother, a stern and loving father ~ go ahead, give it a go...
Thursday, December 29, 2011
always had a problem just sitting and perusing books during the
day. I'm GREAT about reading in bed or on vacation, but the very
idea of reading at home when the sun is up, has caused me fits
and starts throughout my long and mostly happy life.
But now that I'm a full-time person I want to read. I am changing
my approach and the only way to do this is to put Read! on my
daily To Do List. It helps to go to a coffee shop, but I need to break
the at-home habit. Slowly I am, and this Look At Me novel by
Jennifer Egan is helping a lot. The plot revolves around a fashion
model who was in an automobile accident and has to really study
herself and her new life as a virtual stranger to her shallow friends.
I found this book at my new Alley Cats bookstore on 24th Street. It's
a new remainder priced at $5.98. Cheaper than an e-book!
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
royalty that we are. Love was new, money flowed and we went to
expensive restaurants on a weekly basis. All those memories came
flooding back Sunday night at Tommy Toy's. Ah, luxury. Too many
wait people, too much food and may we get you anything your
little hearts might desire? And what fun to watch, listen to and
analyze our fellow diners. In most respects life is better now ~ we
appreciate the moments, hours and quiet days more. A trip to
Costco is actually fun and lets hit a museum and some cheap
Thai food tomorrow. Did the Netflix arrive?
By the way, the food was excellent, not superb. Worth all that
money, however, because it was such a memorable evening.
The after-glow remains today, Wednesday.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
and helpful, even if it means doing dishes WITHOUT a dishwasher.
We had a much-needed relaxing yesterday. Husbando cleaned house
and I walked and napped ~ this division of labor works well, don't you
think? Dinner last night at Regalito was fabulous ~ the place was
almost empty and really, we had the best service possible. Tamales
after two servings of guacamole and chips. Rob and Sarah loved the
food because you can't find really great Mexican food on the East
Coast. Everyone knows that...
Today they are off to Sarah's family reunion in Pacific Grove and
I work out at the Legion. We will miss the Buffalo Four, it's been
so wonderful having them here for the holiday.
Monday, December 26, 2011
in detail later. This was after a full day of constant food and family and
friends. Now we are cleaning up this messy house and I am not eating
because yesterday was really too much. I need a walk. Tonight is
Regalito, so I want to be very hungry for that fabulous food.
Sunday, December 25, 2011
This was taken late last night after coffee and pie. Yesterday I baked
a pecan and pumpkin pie, walked, read and noodled around and
the kids came by for dessert and a little laughter. Example:
Samantha to Husbando ~ are you 100% Jewish?
S - were you born in Israel?
In case you are interested, the g.pa was born in St. Louis and before
we turned in last night we lamented again the fact that we only get
really interested in our parents' history later in life. Husbando doesn't
know how or where his parents met, somewhere in London. And my
mother bored me to tears with her stories of traveling by car from
Pittsburgh to Pasadena way back when, and now I have a million
questions for her.
Ah well, the present and presents await. We are having a big Jewish
brunch at noon today. More photos tomorrow. Merry Christmas and
Happy Hanukkah to you and yours. It's clear, cold and beautiful here
in SF today, for my out-of-town readers. Enjoy this day as we will.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
yummy crab and panettone last night and had an enjoyable family night
getting our memory banks all in order. The children and grandchildren
were all blessed with GREAT appetites, none of this "she's a picky
eater" stuff in this family. Rob and family traveled all day from
Buffalo yesterday, but they were lively last night and we had a great
time. Even better than our usual movie and Chinese dinner, but
do stay tuned...
Friday, December 23, 2011
fresh cracked crab tonight. They will be tired after flying in from
Buffalo, so we won't be whooping it up too late this evening.
The two teenage g.dots have never been to SF, so we know
they will have a fine time on cable cars, etc. We are looking
forward to this family holiday time and will save our traditional
Christmas movie until after the fact.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
photograph until this is half eaten. Ooooops.
for me because it's so easy to walk right by this hole-in-the-wall on
Mission Street (2823 Mission, between 24th and 25th). Manny, the
owner chef, was busy, friendly and informative as he cooked our Arepas.
This is a Venezuelan/Colombian street sandwich and we had our choice
of chicken, lamb or beef. It was tender and juicy inside, filled with
unusual flavors. Open for lunch and dinner. Cash only. No reserves.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Precita Park Cafe yesterday to answer some important questions.
The coffee? Sightglass, some chi chi local blend I suppose. The
latte? Excellent and served in a real cup which is important to
me for table sitting. Quite a few customers with lap tops; working
on their novels or playing Bejeweled or checking Facebook.
Notice that the colors inside the cafe will be approved by my
artist friend Linda, and the kids menu ($4.95 pb&j) means that
maybe RR will come to visit one day. They serve breakfast all
day and pizzas after 5pm. I'll try a Cobb salad one day ($8.95)
and I know Husbando will love the short rib sandwich ($9.50).
So much to see and eat, bloggers never rest.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
down the block from us at Alabama and Precita ~ same owners
as the always busy Dolores Park Cafe. Yesterday I went in to
check the menu and it agrees with me. It's already busy and
the outdoor tables are usually in the sunshine. I will report
back when we actually go in to spend some money. Husbando's
first question when I gave my report yesterday was, "what
kind of coffee do they serve?" Imagine, I didn't know. And
you call me a San Franciscan? Open every day at 7:30am.
Monday, December 19, 2011
to tell you that there are three brand new Absolutely Fabulous episodes
filmed and ready to be seen this holiday season. Hooray. I've already
been giggling at a couple of the clips this morning. Now finding them
On Demand might be more of a challenge, but we will persevere.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
found it on the often-puzzling On Demand feature on one of our 17 remote
controls. It is a series of 10 episodes that takes place in London during
the 1950's. Superior plot to Mad Men, which probably inspired this, but
as usual, the Brits made it sizzle with a plot that already includes a
murder (or two?) and the joy of watching women turn from secretaries
to executives. Just like real life!
The Hour refers to the BBC 6pm news hour and how that evolved from
the dim witted debutante reporting to real hard biting NEWS. The
costumes and settings are fabulous. Really, it's such a treat, especially
for those of us who love London, mystery, strong women and exceedingly
handsome men. Just what Santa ordered...
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Last night we had our annual Tiapos holiday party and the theme
was Ranting, something we all did quite well. Cathartic. There were
11 of us and what was amusing is that we all are SF foodies yet
Eric brought KFC and we woofed (wolfed?) it down. There was
also (not in any particular order) barbequed chicken, deviled eggs,
salmon spread, pasta (just the middle part for god's sake), carrots,
potatoes, rice, coleslaw, persimmon pudding, almond torte, wine,
coffee and cookies. It was after midnight when I got home. Imagine.
We had a blast, laughter galore. I brought home every one's work
for Husbando and now I'll give you a sample. Alas I have to clean
it up in case any grandchildren read my blog. As if.
Karen was fluffing her aura down at the ocean and a geezer in a
pick-up truck parked next to her and turned up the right wing
radio station wherein a bunch of morons praise Karl Rove.
Chef P is hosting an elegant dinner party for 24 and being a
perfectionist she (ahem) bristled when someone wanted to bring
a teenage kid to throw off the count and that wasn't going to work.
Will gave us two fabulous poems and here are the opening lines:
I hate the living.
Freezing to death by a deserted country road
while coyotes circle hopefully: too harsh, really,
and apt to inspire pity in a kindhearted stranger
who might mourn his half-eaten corpse
Doug ~ a very sweet trip down memory lane with some insights
along the way. Fun to hear wife Barb's retorts between sentences.
Sometimes we remember the glow of the holidays and that can
lead to resentments as we grow and change. Or like that...
Jane issued a 5 page Rant-O-Rama. Here is the beautiful final
graph which Doug is going to cut and paste on his holiday cards:
Give thanks. Say prayers. Do good. Take care. Be giving. Keep
going even when you don't want to and your rhythm sucks and
your voice is murky, and your mind is too, and your spirit is not
soaring like a bird. Ramble and whine and wallow in your grief
and wine. Go nowhere, do nothing. Know that you are already
somewhere. Here. Let it be enough. Stop trying to be so tough.
Take the hand that has been offered. Let yourself be helped, let
your heart be cradled. Take the hand of the Universe. Hold on.
Have faith. Skip along. Make a wish. Take your time.
Susie read a post card and a letter from a would-be cousin in
(we hope) a mental institution. Very, very strange stuff and no
Eric wrote about the California delta smelt that our ex-gov Arnold
dismissed so cavalierly. Here's a sample:
I'm just a fishy little SMELT.
Go ahead forget me. You've got Shamu and Coco
and your cute little Ling-ling.
Me ~ all about my blog, this very blog. It all began because of my
Tiapos group back in 2005. I have logged 2,508 posts and people
actually read this crap and there are many benefits and joys to both
blogging and belonging to this less-than-sane group of writers.
Thank you all for another fabulous Tiapos party. Now I need to nap...
Friday, December 16, 2011
we always enjoy the one you wrote) and bake some overly sweet
things for those adorable grandkids, which you'll end up eating
yourself before you see them. What surprises me this year is that
I used to do all of this while working full-time. Actually at Borders
it was more than full-time, it was 24/7 chaos and exhaustion.
I sort of miss it. Don't tell anyone...
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Anyway, I did do some writing, some cooking (a huge pot of
minestrone) and then I went for a walk in the afternoon. I was
going to get the holiday tree, but I didn't feel like battling the traffic.
I looked up the Cesar Chavez project online and it's going to
take two years because it's also a sewer replacement undertaking.
Two years? Argh, I'm all for infrastructure repair, but NIMBY.
Today I'm out and about ~ yoga, acupuncture, maybe a tree.
It is a grey and drizzly day here in Frisco, that's OK.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
strings of lights and to use their nice clean bathrooms
Ginger met us at 10 am in front of Pier 24, a huge warehouse devoted
to photography. Although I warned you previously to get make your
reservations, I'm happy to report that they have extended the show,
so go and enjoy. It's free. We all wandered about on our own, stopping
to sit from time to time in front of Bullitt (the movie) and those very
scary race scenes, one of which is in our very own nabe. Lots of famous
and not-so photographers and really, it was an outstanding almost two
hours of pleasure. Be sure to pick up a guide at the front counter because
there are no labels next to the photos.
Then we hit the Ferry Building where Husbando stocked up on his
favorite rye at Acme Bakery. Next to lunch at the Red Dog and more
walking after that. Another full day so today I'm pretty much going
to stay home to write and make minestrone. Or vice versa....
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
A bunch of nerds with Santa hats did this using about 7 computers.
I think. Just a guess, but worth seeing!
some stuff that one can only find in the little specialty stores that
I know from my many years at the now defunct Borders at Post
and Powell. I will try to get one more trip in before the actual
holiday. My lunch of a latte and a crumble cake made me ask the
usual weekday question. "Doesn't anyone work anymore?" Every
coffee shop was packed with people and computers.
Another question I ponder is how could I spend 5 hours just
putzing around downtown? Hmmmmmm, easy.
Monday, December 12, 2011
thing when I reached my teens and started thinking a bit for myself,
was to get on the bus and go to Los Angeles. I'd go with a girlfriend
and we'd walk around, get lost, buy stuff, walk some more, have
fries and a cherry Coke®, walk some more and bus back to the
burbs. At some point my parents let me go by myself and that was
even more exciting. I guess that's how city-love started for me.
Yesterday at work a woman was talking about going into a mall
the day before. Honestly, my stomach sort of did a little heave ho.
Yikes, the horror of the malls. The crowds, the noise, the greedy
shoppers, the canned music, the grumpy sales clerks (and who
can blame them?). A mall would be one of those Dante rings of
purgatory for me, especially during the holidays.
Today I'm getting on a bus or BART and heading downtown.
I feel a sense of anticipation, almost like the Pasadena to L.A.
experience, but now I know what REAL cities are like and I
yearn to see the ice skaters, the pets in Macy's windows, the
cable cars decorated with greenery and bells. I'll walk and stop
at Starbucks® for a nutritious lunch, buy some silly stuff,
walk some more, people watch, maybe take a photo. But mostly
I'll just appreciate living in this glorious city where no one in
their right mind could EVER get bored.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
to catch this parade and photograph it through the dirty bus window.
Another reason I love my iPhone, it's always there for me. Yesterday
was also the day of a million Santas who gather in cities across the
world. Next year maybe I'll catch that for commano.
But yesterday's parade was a surprise and I'm glad I wasn't in a
hurry because Mission Street was a mess of dancers, floats, police
and these horses. I would guess it was saint-related and as always,
very colorful with costumes and music. After the last horse there
was a large wheelbarrow and 3 guys with shovels. Civic minded or
part of the permit process? My city, never a dull moment (and today
I mean that in a good way.)
Saturday, December 10, 2011
from Amazon, even though it would be free on my LindaKindle®.
Sounds like fun, in that British upper class sort of way, which I love.
"I had the general symptoms, the chief among them being a disinclination to work of any kind."
So begin the hilarious misadventures of a merry, but scandalously lazy band of well-to-do young men-and a plucky and rather world-weary fox terrier named Montmorency-on an idyllic cruise along the River Thames. Feeling seedy, muses one of them dreamily, "What we want is rest." What they find instead is one hapless catastrophe after another. Soggy weather, humiliating dunkings, the irritating behavior of small boats and the "contrariness of teakettles" are just a few of the barbarisms our genteel heroes are forced to endure. But which a delighted reader can only sing, Hooray!
First published in 1889, Three Men in a Boat was an instant success, and Jerome has been compared to comic master P.G. Wodehouse.
Friday, December 09, 2011
the hazy memories of Pasadena. Not only as a child, but after
I moved here to the Bay Area and I would take those hurried
3 day trips home. I could never be myself and the family gatherings
were not without snide remarks and sadness. I so wanted the
loving scene pictured in magazines or on TV. My guess is that
shrinks are extra busy this time of year. Shrinks and dark bars...
Those visits home, the way the young
come back and still follow you around
or find you on the bed reading
or writing, to lie down at an angle or
sit cross-legged. No secret between you,
not even trouble quite though
it isn't ordinary, the way the world unravels
through them: what he said, what she
never, who traveled where, that things—
how exactly—splinter and break
and cut. It trails off then. Both of you,
which one to speak but thinking
better of it. And the book is just a prop,
what you were writing perfectly weightless
in this silence. Child, oh fully no longer,
out there tangling, untangling
The Book of Hours
Copper Canyon Press
Thursday, December 08, 2011
Ewan McGregor, Melanie Laurent and this cute doggie that was
integral to every scene. You know the true story, I betcha. The
dad comes out of the closet to his son at age 75 and embraces the
gay life. Really, it's a beautiful film and it gives the viewer a lot
to think about. Love, all kinds of love, and not without a bit of
complication along the way. From the Flix®, rent it!
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
of Army Street. One sees signs in windows "It's still Army Street!" and
more discreet nicely engraved house plaques such as "3824 Army Street"
but we have accepted the inevitable. It's Cesar Chavez and it's a mess.
(One time a taxi driver corrected the way I pronounced Chavez. "Just
get me home for Christ sake," I thought to myself.)
Anyway, Cesar Chavez is a major thoroughfare in the city and it has
always been ugly and a blight, no matter what you call it. This is a long
overdue project and they are adding some greenery in the center and
much-needed bike lanes. We are all for this improvement, but of course
we would like it to happen overnight. Not the case. They started way
down at the freeway entrance months ago and it's still blocked and
awful. What we are hoping for, of course, is that traffic will be diverted
to other freeway feed streets and never come back. NIMBY rules.
So I have a sign in Ken (the car) warning us to take Harrison or Folsom
because we'll zip down Alabama as usual and see the dead end along
with 50 other drivers all trying to turn around. City life.
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
meeting place and there is always lots of parking
except here is impossible to comprehend. So clear and beautiful,
just a tad cold, just enough. I met the Blogmaid here in Pacifica and
we walked up to Bunny Hill and breathed deeply. We talked of
many things: holiday parties, family, work, teeth (I had a dental
appointment in the morning) and even cars. We are indeed two
well-rounded women. A glorious seaside walk, thanks, Blogmaid.
Monday, December 05, 2011
By Chad Harbach. Little, Brown & Company, $25.99.
At a small college on the Wisconsin side of Lake Michigan, the baseball team sees its fortunes rise and then rise some more with the arrival of a supremely gifted shortstop. Harbach’s expansive, allusive first novel combines the pleasures of an old-fashioned baseball story with a stately, self-reflective meditation on talent and the limits of ambition, played out on a field where every hesitation is amplified and every error judged by an exacting, bloodthirsty audience.
By Stephen King. Scribner, $35.
Throughout his career, King has explored fresh ways to blend the ordinary and the supernatural. His new novel imagines a time portal in a Maine diner that lets an English teacher go back to 1958 in an effort to stop Lee Harvey Oswald and — rewardingly for readers — also allows King to reflect on questions of memory, fate and free will as he richly evokes midcentury America. The past guards its secrets, this novel reminds us, and the horror behind the quotidian is time itself.
By Karen Russell. Alfred A. Knopf, cloth, $24.95; Vintage Contemporaries, paper, $14.95.
An alligator theme park, a ghost lover, a Styx-like journey through an Everglades mangrove jungle: Russell’s first novel, about a girl’s bold effort to preserve her grieving family’s way of life, is suffused with humor and gothic whimsy. But the real wonders here are the author’s exuberantly inventive language and her vivid portrait of a heroine who is wise beyond her years.
By Eleanor Henderson. Ecco/HarperCollins Publishers, $26.99.
Henderson’s fierce, elegiac novel, her first, follows a group of friends, lovers, parents and children through the straight-edge music scene and the early days of the AIDS epidemic. By delving deeply into the lives of her characters, tracing their long relationships not only to one another but also to various substances, Henderson catches something of the dark, apocalyptic quality of the ’80s.
By Téa Obreht. Random House, cloth, $25; paper, $15.
As war returns to the Balkans, a young doctor inflects her grandfather’s folk tales with stories of her own coming of age, creating a vibrant collage of historical testimony that has neither date nor dateline. Obreht, who was born in Belgrade in 1985 but left at the age of 7, has recreated, with startling immediacy and presence, a conflict she herself did not experience.
By Christopher Hitchens. Twelve, $30.
Our intellectual omnivore’s latest collection could be his last (he’s dying of esophageal cancer). The book is almost 800 pages, contains more than 100 essays and addresses a ridiculously wide range of topics, including Afghanistan, Harry Potter, Thomas Jefferson, waterboarding, Henry VIII, Saul Bellow and the Ten Commandments, which Hitchens helpfully revises.
A Father’s Journey to Understand His Extraordinary Son.
By Ian Brown. St. Martin’s Press, $24.99.
A feature writer at The Globe and Mail in Toronto, Brown combines a reporter’s curiosity with a novelist’s instinctive feel for the unknowable in this exquisite book, an account — at once tender, pained and unexpectedly funny — of his son, Walker, who was born with a rare genetic mutation that has deprived him of even the most rudimentary capacities.
A Life of Reinvention.
By Manning Marable. Viking, $30.
From petty criminal to drug user to prisoner to minister to separatist to humanist to martyr. Marable, who worked for more than a decade on the book and died earlier this year, offers a more complete and unvarnished portrait of Malcolm X than the one found in his autobiography. The story remains inspiring.
By Daniel Kahneman. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $30.
We overestimate the importance of whatever it is we’re thinking about. We misremember the past and misjudge what will make us happy. In this comprehensive presentation of a life’s work, the world’s most influential psychologist demonstrates that irrationality is in our bones, and we are not necessarily the worse for it.
Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War.
By Amanda Foreman. Random House, $35.
Which side would Great Britain support during the Civil War? Foreman gives us an enormous cast of characters and a wealth of vivid description in her lavish examination of a second battle between North and South, the trans-Atlantic one waged for British hearts and minds.
Sunday, December 04, 2011
I'm thinking about getting a big fat jigsaw puzzle for when the
grand girls visit us at Christmas. One of those 1,000 piece ones.
Do they bring back sweet memories for you too? I know the
Blogmaid and family enjoy this non-tech activity in front of the fire
and just for your information, when I stopped smoking eons ago
I worked puzzle after puzzle to keep my fingers and mind busy.
Our museum stores sell a bunch of puzzles, especially right before
Thanksgiving, a family tradition for some.
By Dorianne Laux
We put the puzzle together piece
by piece, loving how one curved
notch fits so sweetly with another.
A yellow smudge becomes
the brush of a broom, and two blue arms
fill in the last of the sky.
We patch together porch swings and autumn
trees, matching gold to gold. We hold
the eyes of deer in our palms, a pair
of brown shoes. We do this as the child
circles her room, impatient
with her blossoming, tired
of the neat house, the made bed,
the good food. We let her brood
as we shuffle through the pieces,
setting each one into place with a satisfied
tap, our backs turned for a few hours
to a world that is crumbling, a sky
that is falling, the pieces
we are required to return to.
Saturday, December 03, 2011
is building the B&B on the Nile:
will be voting for the first time. The country has been divided into 3
sections and each votes 2 weeks apart...1st day was 11/28...this seems to
be a security measure due to protests and killings 2 weeks ago. Aswan
votes for 2 days starting 12/14. Some tourist have returned but I'd say only
%25 of normal. Also the temperature has been pretty cool. It should be
mid to upper 80's with mid 60's low but it hasn't been above 78 and is mid
50's at night. So no Nile swimming so far.
by the time I leave. I spent 8 hours scraping nasty masking tape off the
windows and doors they painted and am now using acetone and steel
wool to remove the adhesive, the workers here never truly finish the job,
always leave something for the next guy to clean up. I'm contemplating
selling for a few reasons. The air is becoming polluted with the increase
in cars (without catalytic converters) and in the villages cheap chinese
3 wheel motorcycle bench carts driven by 14 to 18 yr olds whizzing
around transporting people who used to walk to the main road. Also
they are still burning plastic bags and bottles, which are in use everywhere
now. A few years ago the only veiled women were tourists from iran/ Saudi
now I'd estimate 20% of the local women are veiled. The shops in the bazaar
play no music but the constant drone of the imam. The loudspeakers
broadcasting from the mosques are everywhere and not only the call to
prayer is broadcast but the whole 2 hour friday service and it is LOUD.
The worst change was the sale of land near my house to a rich man who
built a large villa. In order to build the villa he had to cut down a huge
gov't now so he went ahead and cut it. This changes the feeling of the
village since up until now the rich have stayed out of the nubian villages.
I'm hoping to hook up with a guy from England who runs a fishing business
on nearby Lake Nasser and is looking to buy, just trying to get a feel of
whether anyone would be interested. But I really love the house it is
peaceful and quite pretty and I enjoy my egyptian friends.
Friday, December 02, 2011
poked around the grounds, soaking in history. I took my Mrs.
Notthat-inspired walking sticks and was glad to have them because
there were some hills involved. It was a windy day, probably not the
best time to walk under trees, but only small branches were falling
on our heads. Here, again, is the Andy Goldsworthy spire that
remains untouched by graffiti despite the fact that it is completely
out in the open and unguarded. Either vandals respect it or don't
know about it. Andy will be working on another installation here
soon. We love that he returns to our fair (imperfect) city.
Then lunch at Liverpool Lil's ~ yummy burger and fries. A great day!