Monday, February 28, 2011

finances and lunch

We went to see our financial guy today. He is so wonderful and was
recommended by The Great Plotniks, so you know he's good. He
checked our Turbo Tax® and applauded our work. His office is
conveniently located near about 500 restaurants and that's always
a plus. In case you are confused, this is NOT our financial guy above.

Il Cane Rosso is in the Ferry Building ~ it's a casual rotisserie and
sandwich shop with a menu that changes daily. We had one beef
and one slow cooked pork sandwich and traded halves and ooohed
and ahhhhhhed and drooled and now we heartily recommend
this delightful place to you. Acme bread, of course.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

another daily write

Writing is like getting married. One should never commit
oneself until one is amazed at one's luck.
Iris Murdoch

Let's go with the luck angle this morning. I found Mistress Jane
and her little cottage in Bernal Heights about 10 (is that
possible?) years ago. It was a personal essay class on a Sunday.
Yes, I was between retail jobs and actually had free Sundays.
I believe it was an 8 week class ~ talk about commitment.

The first class was horrible for me, but not for the real writers.
We were supposed to describe the surroundings in this unusually
funky and colorful living room Words left me. I wrote the tritest
of all trite paragraphs and it was agonizing to read out loud.
The real writers had selected some elegant pearls and diamonds
from their velvet covered jewelry boxes. I came up with: pretty,
bright, nice ~ you get the picture.

But I kept coming back. Jane encouraged me and said all the
right things and I started writing. Really writing. I saved all of
Jane's comments and I still do. Writing has become such an
important part of my life that I feel empty and sort of glum
when I'm not writing. I want to assure you that negative
emotions pop up a lot of the time when I am writing, but
there is more true joy in my life now that I can call myself
A Writer.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

round robin & a quesadilla

Sometimes Mistress Jane has such unusual prompts for our daily
write. Take today, for instance...

TORTILLAS AND CHEESE (the prompt! and then my 10 min. write)

A walk up Mission Street was just what Ellen needed the next
day ~ there
would be no sleuthing today, she just wanted
to walk and enjoy all
the color and energy of the Latino
community. Maybe she'd stop at
the fabulous La Taqueria for
her favorite rice-free burrito along with the
cholesterol-laden cheese quesadilla.
Fresh pineapple juice
on the side, of course. Already she pictured
herself sitting in
the sun at one of the outdoor tables, watching

drivers jockeying for valuable parking places while families
strolled and shopped.

No backpack today, but she did tuck her camera into her purse
as she wished Salmon a full-day of napping. He purred
in a sunny spot on her bed. "Stay off the bed,"
she ordered,
and wondered briefly if he appreciated her
so-called humor.

"I'll walk up to 16th St. first, then cross the street and head
back to 25th, maybe stopping for fresh fruit and vegetables."
Ellen loved the murals in the Mission District and enjoyed
hearing everyone speak Spanish. Once in awhile she even
understood a conversation. It was just like being in a foreign
country, a little day trip away from herself.

Friday, February 25, 2011

two really nice people

Sweet, innocent Jack and Connie meet and fall in love. But
of course it isn't all that easy. This film appeals more to women
(I think) and it stars: NYC, Philip Seymour, Amy Ryan, John
Ortiz and the fiery Daphne Rubin-Vega. No Kleenex®, alas...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

take a quiz!

Thanks to my friend Patrice for this test about the Middle East.
I didn't get it all filled in as quickly as I should have. How
did you do? Oh, it is fun, too ~ pass it on...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

family weirdness

One strange film, but we are both glad that we watched it. John
C. Reilly is a divorced man who finds the delightful Marisa Tomei
who has this strange big son Jonah Hill who does not want John C.
in the family. Cyrus is worth renting.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

all around the town

Yesterday we headed out, taking Ken (the car) to downtown. Yes,
no bus stories today. So sorry. Parked almost in front of SFMoma
and jumped in to see the rooms filled with photography. That's
it, about an hour of museum time before lunch.

Parking used to be free on holidays, but no longer. Still easier
than on a work day. We next parked on Columbus, right before
Broadway and walked to Yuet Lee on Stockton Street. This is
one of the best Chinese Seafood Restaurants in the city, so
I had a half of roast duck. Go figure. Husbando had a luscious
clams in black bean sauce (spicy) and we both ate way too
much. What are holidays for?

Yuet Lee used to have a restaurant (a few blocks from our
home) here in the Mission. Husbando and the owner
reminisced about the good old days. The owner has
aged but miraculously we haven't.

Still nice weather when we came home, so I walked up to
Cortland to meet a friend for coffee. Everyone was out and
about enjoying the fine rain-free day. Yes, yes, I know we
need the rain, but this was such a relief.

Monday, February 21, 2011

a rare sunday treat

I usually work on Sundays and have for years, so I enjoy these
special days off more than most people, I think. I hopped on the
#27 Muni and was way too early for Macy's and the other stores
to open at 11am, but I ran into a couple of ex-Borders workers
and we exchanged the "well, I heard..." as we stood in the sun
and worried about all the people we know who are losing their jobs.

Then I met Dancing Jen at noon at Amber on Yerba Buena Lane
for a delicious buffet lunch, which I can recommend heartily to
everyone who loves Indian food. We didn't go back for seconds
because we were too full the first go-round, but that would be
the best thing to do in the future. It was my first time there and
I enjoyed myself thoroughly, especially being with Jen and
catching up on our lives. She too worked with me at Borders.

I went to the Jewish Museum after lunch and wasn't too
impressed with anything, other than the Torah Project and
everyone of these has to be handwritten, every word said
aloud before it is written. I told Husbando about it when I
came home and he opined that it's time they updated the
whole process. And he's Jewish. Harumph.....

Sunday, February 20, 2011

she talks, she dances, she juggles

The Great Plotnik Theater Critic encouraged us to leave
our snug, warm home to face the rainy world last night
in order see Sara Felder at the Marsh. And yes, we are
so glad we did. It's an 80 minute performance that is
funny, touching and dramatic. It has been extended
through March, so see Sara if you possible can.

After the show we were treated to saltimbocca (!) with
all the trimmings at The Great Plotnik's. So lovely.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I heart Jonathan

One of my all-time favorite books was Motherless Brooklyn and
I'm enjoying Chronic City a lot too. Jonathan Lethem has this
wild imagination and even though the humor is dark, it appeals
to me. Plus he loves NYC and because I struggle so with The
Plot when I write, I appreciate his. In this case our hero Chase
is engaged to an astronaut who is permanently stuck in space.
His role? To attend Upper East Side dinner parties and talk
about their famous and heart-breaking plight.

It's a good rainy day to get back into bed and read, don't you
think? Now if only there was a sunny Spring Training
baseball game to listen to at the same time.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Retired Extremely Dangerous

RED is great fun and totally unrealistic. All of our favorites:
Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, Mary-Louise
Parker and Bruce Willis as the retired CIA operative. It really
is a stupid movie and we give it a big thumbs up. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

1994 - 2011 RIP Borders

God, I used to be so proud to work here. Four floors stuffed
with books, music, DVDs, a cafe and always lots of customers.
Busy from the moment we opened until we kicked the last drunk
out at midnight. "You old bitch of a battleship," one of my FBook
friends calls it. Probably more than half of my FB friends are
people I worked with at this store in the heart of SF.

There was never any "down" time at store #57 where the
average slow day was $40,000. We were an intense bunch of
people who loved books and tried to help the customers and
stay sane. Scams galore including returns from god knows
where and shoplifters of all sizes and shapes including wheel
chairs and baby strollers. My current job at the museum
has been a stroll in Golden Gate Park compared to this.

And now it will close, along with 200 other Borders across
the country. I worked here from 2000 until 2008 and I
am surprised at how sad this makes me, and I feel for the
many, many people who will now be unemployed. Thanks
for the memories everyone, it was quite a ride.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

the women's issue updated

We both loved this play. Eliza is a talented architect who is feared
by her men bosses. There is another woman architect who is a
team player and isn't one woman enough? Funny, sad and subtle ~
the battle continues even though the rules and the playing field
have changed and (mostly) improved over the years. Through
March 6th at the Magic.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I promised you purple

The back deck posies are enjoying the light rain and the rest
of the tiny yard is in serious need of weeding. What a mess!
Maybe next week. Actually I'd like to hire a gardener to
plant things that produce actual flowers for our table, but
that takes a discussion with Husbando and we are about
all talked out after Turbo Taxing for two days straight.

Yesterday I returned to the blood bank to be turned down
yet again. I did get from 12.0 to 12.4, but they require 12.5.
I will keep on eating spinach and raisins, but it was so
disappointing after I concentrated on iron food for an
entire week. Drat.

Today is work. I've forgotten what that is like.

Monday, February 14, 2011

always at Crissy Field

Most of the ashes I had of Michael's are up there on the green
hill next to Fort Point where we walked so often. I deposited
and watered them yesterday and when I returned to check
them out they had already become part of the hillside there
under the bridge and I couldn't really see them. I think that's
the way it's supposed to be, don't you?

I had a long contemplative walk and tried to remember the
many things we talked about. I saw 4 Golden Retrievers,
7 little white fluff ball dogs in a group, 458 children and
the usual walkers, runners and bikers. It's still the best walk
in San Francisco and I'm glad I did this before the rains
returned today.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

a somewhat taxing day

As a first time user of Turbo Tax®, I'm here to tell you that they
make it very, very easy. But it still takes many hours of paper
shuffling and entering the correct numbers and there were a
few WTF? does this mean along the way. We finished the Federal
part yesterday and it looks like we'll get a nice refund. Today
we will attack the State section and then we will have our
financial guy (Ira 2) check it over for us before we send it
all in. Next year will be a lot easier, I can see that already.

Nice long walk after lunch to clear my head. This glorious
weather will probably be over tomorrow. We have been
spoiled, but we deserve it. And no, we don't miss The
in case you have been wondering. Tee hee.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

sit next to your kleenex®

Melissa Leo and James Gandolfini are grieving for their daughter
who died 8 years ago. They meet a prostitute in New Orleans and
take her under their parental wings and no, it is not all smooth
and wonderful. Kristen Stewart is amazing as the teen runaway
and of course we know and love the parents and so commano
gives this a "click here now" on the Flix.

Friday, February 11, 2011

lunch, walk, sprinkle and purchase

Yesterday Ginger treated Husbando and me to his belated
lunch at American Chow on Church Street. Then we two women
hopped on the J car and had a fine walk along the Embarcadero,
ending up here at The Jewel (AT & T Park) where I placed some
of Michael's ashes down in the soil of a palm tree at the feet
of the great Willie Mays. Next we purchased our baseball
tickets and enjoyed Starbuck's lattes out in the sunshine.
Please note the blue/blue sky in the background. I hopped
on the #10 bus to return home to prepare for Tiapos last night.
The writing group was excellent and we discussed many things
and enjoyed each other's company as we critiqued our work.
Please bottle this entire day for me to remember at a later date.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

sunshine and friendship

Imagine sitting in the sun (basking isn't too strong a word) here in
the beginning of February. It's amazing weather this year, making
up for that gloomy summer we had last year, I guess. In any event,
Ken took me to the Cafe Flore on Market Street for my belated and some good strong chisme on toast. Very wonderful.

I met Ken back in March of 1992 ~ we trained together for retail
management positions at Barnes and Noble. Everyday we would
drive to Concord together to read our manuals and work on the
floor. The drive home consisted of criticizing that boss for his
endless hours smoking on the receiving dock. We bonded.

Then we worked together in San Mateo. We hired sales people
for that new store and far too much time was spent trying NOT
to laugh right in the face of the applicants. Lordy we had
some fun. At one point I worked for Ken at the Fish Wharf
B&N and he remains one of my Top Five fave bosses still.
That was not an easy store to manage, but we persevered.

We both moved on to Borders and beyond. I treasure Ken's
friendship. We have both been through our fair share of
shit (work and personal stuff) but we are still supportive
and caring friends. So nice being with you again, and
thanks to you, my wonderful Ken (the person) friend.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

not the best, and yet...

Last night we went to the SF Playhouse on Sutter Street
to see Harper Regan, a play about a woman on a journey.
Yes, we've seen this plot before. We found the first
act to be a little tedious, but then the second act was a
lot more interesting as Harper makes some discoveries
about herself and her family. Susi Damilano and Monique
Hafen were both excellent and all in all, looking back this
morning, it was certainly worth seeing. The English
accents were a little disturbing because they appeared
and fell away depending on the scene and the actor.
Through March 5th, cheap seats usually available.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

I will do this thing!

My iron level was 12.0 yesterday and I need 12.5 in order to
donate blood. I've had this problem before, but this time I
am determined (!) to continue with the raisins, spinach,
garbanzos, beets, etc. Being with Michael in the hospital
made me appreciate how much patients need our blood
and platelets. Especially the leukemia victims, of course.

Ginger rang in at 14.0 so I sat with her for over an hour as
she did the Apheresis Donation. It was boring, but they
provide you with TV and movies, etc. It's hard to read as
one arm is tied down. Her platelets will help two people
and of course the donor is treated like royalty. I'll
try for next Monday. Any more iron hints? The tech
told me to try Cream of Wheat, of all things.

Monday, February 07, 2011

organization ~ finally

Does anyone need a list of the Barnes and Noble Northern California
stores in 1998? My friend, Ken (the person). is listed there along
with my current boss, Dennis. Why I hang onto things for so
long will always be a mystery to me. But this feels good ~ reading,
tossing, separating, labeling, snickering, piling and sorting. I
already have a new pile "to be filed" and that is a little scary,
isn't it? I'm gearing up for Turbo Taxing very soon since dear
Husbando has done all the hard work of listing and calculating.

The weather remains unbelievably warm and clear. I spent a
productive few hours outside planting some pretties and no
doubt you'll have the purple flower photo very soon.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

don't bother

I guess we just aren't French enough. We thought this looked
like a great little mystery film, but Inspector Bellamy is a
bore. Depardieu has a magnificent face but he has bulked
out so much that I found myself carefully watching every
thing he ate and drank and wanting him to get on a tread
mill or at least walk around the block.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

it's only a paper dress

An amazing new exhibit awaits you out at the Legion of Honor. Who
expected such stunning artwork? The artist is Isabelle de Borchgrave
who lives in Belgium and creates absolutely stunning paper masterpieces.
She has been out talking to the customers the past two nights and
she is not only ultra talented, but charming too. Honestly, I thought
this show would be a sleeper, but I was wrong/wrong/wrong. My
favorite is the blue and white striped dress, check it out!

Friday, February 04, 2011

beware of the food post!

Old fashioned ski lodge type of decor
My liver, bacon and mashed potatoes
The Duck had brick chicken
Husbando loves ribs and slaw

We had a hefty belated lunch for Husbando yesterday at the
Buckeye Roadhouse in Mill Valley. The Great Plotniks treated us
(like royalty) and we all ate too much, but that was hard not to do
since everything was so exquisite. It's hard to find GOOD liver on
any menu, so I chose that. It's probably been more than ten years
since we have been there and it did not disappoint. Do not be
deceived by the empty dining room pictured above, the joint
was jumping with happy diners including our happy foursome.

Then last night I worked out at the Legion of Honor. A new
exhibit that I'll tell you about at some later date. And no, I did
not have any dinner. Thanks again Plot and Duck!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

yoga, the dawg and so. africa

It had been too long since I stretched and chanted, so yesterday's
yoga was most welcome. After a salad lunch I walked to Big Lot's
and then met a v. fine friend at the Nervous Dog on Mission
Street. We had coffee and a sweet and some nice chit chat. My
these non-work days do speed by, but I try to get one or two
things done from The List everyday.

Last night after the news about Egypt, we watched White
Wedding which is filmed in South Africa. It's all about young
love and marriage and friendship. Worth seeing, not great,
but some beautiful scenery and people.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

boy oh boy oh boy

ACT has outdone themselves this time. This is an amazing play and
I'm still a little overwhelmed by the whole thing. The first act takes
place in 1959 and the second in 2009. The play by Bruce Norris is
so well written and the direction by Jonathan Moscone (yes, his papa
would have been proud!) is superb. Of course our ACT actors are
better than ever. Outstanding. SRO!

Here in a nutshell. In 1959, a white couple sells their home right
outside Chicago to a black couple. The nabe becomes black and
then in 2009, a white couple starts the gentrification process.
Clybourne Park is a fictional neighborhood, but it could be any
place in the USA. This is a comedy and although we smiled and
chuckled often, it is really a tragedy too. Deep sorrow underscores
everything and the play is so rich and nuanced that we almost
needed two cups each of Sleepy Tea when we got home.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

always the local angle

I was happy to hear from our friend Elizabeth who is building the
Bed and Breakfast in Aswan. Thankfully she is here in SF.

Some of you are curious about what I know which isn't much but I finally talked to Tamer today . He is an agronomist and teacher who works part time at the Hotel (I've stayed there for 12 years) to make ends meet. There were 2 small demonstrations (revolt was his word) against the government Thursday and Friday and no police interference. Believe me this is a big deal because Aswanese are easily frightened and I would never of thought anyone would publically challenge the government. The city is very quiet because people are afraid to come out, therefore nothing is open and no one is working. The hotel is very busy with tourists that were sent out of Cairo, there is a group of American women staying and Tamer says they are just like me which made him laugh. He says no one knows what is going to happen and the word on the street is that the military, which is out in full force in Cairo, has no orders to protect buildings or people, they are just there to intimidate. He said Luxor was quiet because the military is patrolling the streets but there is no curfew in Aswan or Luxor. He believes that until Mobarak is on a plane out of Egypt things will not settle down.
On a selfish note, Tamer said that work has stopped on my house and he doesn't know when people will feel safe enough to leave their homes and go back to work. Told him that I don't care about that but I wish I was there and he said "I know you do, you would be out on the street with the other revolutionaries".
FYI Aswan population is only about 2 million and Luxor may be a little less.
Salam Elizabeth