Saturday, April 30, 2011

information, please...

Yesterday afternoon I went for a long walk. This is from one of my
favorite view spots because you can see the streets running up the
hill like white ribbons. I walked over there by Mission Street, I
think it's Rutledge Street, by name. Glorious sunny day.

So I decided to stop by the Verizon® store which was actually
very far out of the way. I wanted to gather some information
on the iPhone® because I plan to purchase one in the next
few months. The joint was jumping and the usual polite and
knowledgeable young man pointed out how much money I
would save on the beauty that you see below. It was, of course,
on sale and all in all, was less than a traffic ticket which I
haven't received in a long time. It's so wonderful how my
little mind can rationalize anything, isn't it?

The Blogmaid said that Linda helped her and I will be
reaching out today asking dumb questions because the
iPhone manual is tiny. There is information online, but
I prefer talking to friends so I can hear their stories.

In the meantime, who couldn't love this? (oooops, I
forgot to straighten the photo, forgive me)

Feel free to send me helpful hints!

Friday, April 29, 2011


I wanted to discuss the Royal Wedding which occurred while we
slept. Perhaps you heard about it? This is the certificate and
ring that the Blogmaid received. She wore the ring for St. Pat's
dinner and it is actually beautiful and she looked regal, as always.

But instead, I have to do the blogger's mea culpa. I hate those...

Thanks to Mr. Z we learn that my yesterday's post was one of
those embarrassing "gotcha" moments. I have warned my fact
checkers that if this continues to happen their jobs are in
jeopardy. In the meantime, dear Kris responds:
Thanks MA, yeah I learned that after sending it. However,
what's a hoax is that it didn't come from Johns Hopkins,
it came from a group of holistic medicine folks that wanted
to get people to read it so they made up the part about
Johns Hopkins.

So back to drinking water from plastic in the frig.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

read this thoroughly...

I met another new friend who was a huge help to Michael
at the end of his life. This is from Kris, who went to high
school with Michael. He is a
delight and was a constant
source of comfort to Michael and his friends.


Cancer Update from Johns Hopkins:

1. Every person has
cancer cells in the body. These cancer
do not show up in the standard tests until they have
multiplied to a few billion. When doctors tell cancer patients
that there are no
more cancer cells in their bodies after
treatment, it just means the tests are unable to detect the
cancer cells because they have not reached the detectable

2. Cancer cells occur between 6 to more than 10 times in a
person's lifetime.

3. When the person's immune system is strong the
will be destroyed and prevented from multiplying and
forming tumors.

4. When a person has cancer it indicates the person has
nutritional deficiencies. These could be due to genetic,
but also to environmental, food and lifestyle factors.

5. To overcome the multiple nutritional deficiencies, changing
diet to eat more adequately and healthy, 4-5 times/day

and by including supplements will strengthen the immune system.

Chemotherapy involves poisoning the rapidly-growing
cancer cells and also destroys rapidly-growing healthy cells
in the bone marrow, gastrointestinal tract etc, and can
cause organ damage, like liver, kidneys, heart, lungs etc.

7.. Radiation while destroying cancer cells also burns, scars
and damages healthy cells, tissues and organs.

8. Initial treatment with chemotherapy and radiation will often
reduce tumor size. However prolonged use of
chemotherapy and radiation do not result in more tumor

9. When the body has too much toxic burden from
chemotherapy and radiation the immune system is either
compromised or destroyed, hence the person can succumb
to various kinds of infections and complications.

10. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause cancer cells to
mutate and become resistant and difficult to destroy.
Surgery can also cause cancer cells to spread to other

11. An effective way to battle cancer is to starve the
by not feeding it with the foods it needs to multiply.


Sugar substitutes like NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc are made
with Aspartame and it is harmful
. A better natural substitute
would be Manuka honey or molasses, but only in very small
Table salt has a chemical added to make it white in
color Better alternative is Bragg's aminos or sea salt.

b. Milk causes the body to produce mucus, especially in the
gastro-intestinal tract. Cancer feeds on mucus. By cutting
off milk and substituting with unsweetened
soy milk cancer
cells are being starved.

c. Cancer cells thrive in an acid environment.
A meat-based
is acidic and it is best to eat fish, and a little other meat,
like chicken. Meat also contains livestock
growth hormones and parasites, which are all
harmful, especially to people with cancer.

d. A diet made of 80% fresh vegetables and juice,
, seeds, nuts and a little fruits help put the body into
an alkaline environment. About 20% can be from cooked
food including beans.
Fresh vegetable juices provide live
enzymes that are easily absorbed and reach down to
cellular levels within 15 minutes to nourish and enhance
growth of healthy cells. To obtain live enzymes for building
healthy cells try and drink fresh
vegetable juice (most
vegetables including bean sprouts) and eat some raw
vegetables 2 or 3 times a day. Enzymes are destroyed at
temperatures of 104 degrees F (40 degrees C)..

e. Avoid coffee, tea, and chocolate, which have high
Green tea is a better alternative and has cancer
fighting properties. Water-best to drink purified water, or
filtered, to avoid known toxins and heavy metals in tap
Distilled water is acidic, avoid it.

12. Meat protein is difficult to digest and requires a lot of
digestive enzymes. Undigested meat remaining in the
intestines becomes putrefied and leads to more toxic

Cancer cell walls have a tough protein covering. By
refraining from or eating less meat it frees more enzymes
to attack the protein walls of cancer cells and allows the
body's killer cells to destroy the cancer cells.

14. Some supplements build up the immune system
(IP6, Flor-ssence, Essiac, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals,
EFAs etc.) to enable the bodies own killer cells to destroy
cancer cells.. Other supplements like vitamin E are known
to cause apoptosis, or
programmed cell death, the body's
normal method of disposing of damaged, unwanted, or
unneeded cells.

15. Cancer is a disease of the mind, body, and spirit.
A proactive and positive spirit will help the cancer warrior
be a survivor. Anger, un-forgiveness and bitterness put
the body into a stressful and acidic environment. Learn to
have a loving and forgiving spirit. Learn to relax and enjoy

16. Cancer cells cannot thrive in an oxygenated
environment. Exercising daily, and deep breathing help to
get more oxygen down to the cellular level.
is another means employed to destroy cancer

No plastic containers in micro.

No water bottles in freezer.

No plastic wrap in microwave..

Johns Hopkins has recently sent this out in its newsletters. This information is being circulated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center as well. Dioxin chemicals cause cancer, especially
breast cancer. Dioxins are highly poisonous to the cells of our bodies. Don't freeze your plastic bottles with water in them as this releases dioxins from the plastic. Recently, Dr Edward Fujimoto, Wellness Program Manager at Castle Hospital , was on a TV program to explain this health hazard. He talked about dioxins and how bad they are for us. He said that we should not be heating our food in the microwave using plastic containers. This especially applies to foods that contain fat He said that the combination of fat, high heat, and plastics releases dioxin into the food and ultimately into the cells of the body. Instead, he recommends using glass, such as Corning Ware, Pyrex or ceramic containers for heating food You get the same results, only without the dioxin.

So such things as
TV dinners, instant ramen and soups, etc., should be removed from the container and heated in something else. Paper isn't bad but you don't know what is in the paper. It's just safer to use tempered glass, Corning Ware, etc. He reminded us that a while ago some of the fast food restaurants moved away from the foam containers to paper The dioxin problem is one of the reasons.

Also, he pointed out that plastic wrap, such as Saran, is just as dangerous when placed over foods to be cooked in the microwave. As the food is nuked, the high heat causes poisonous toxins to actually melt out of the plastic wrap and drip into the food. Cover food with a paper towel instead.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

before reality TV

...there was reality TV in the form of An American Family. Back in
the 70's PBS sent a newly married couple to live with and film the
Loud family, a typically happy father, mother and assorted children.
Hmmmmm, surprise, turns out there were a few problems in
that beautiful home in sunny Santa Barbara.

And now HBO gives us a fabulous 90 minutes of Cinema Verté, a
look back at this ground-breaking series. The producer is played
by James Gandolfini and that's Diane Lane and Tim Robbins
as Mr. And Mrs. American Dream. This is well worth seeing and
we get to catch-up with the real Loud family too. At the end of
the program I said to Husbando, "what WOULD we do without
HBO?" We watched it last Saturday night, but it will be repeated
often, another benefit of modern television.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

as Poetry Month draws to a close...

Today's James Merrill poem is from The Yellow Pages, a lesser known volume from 1974, published by the Temple Bar Bookshop rather than his regular publisher. This small grouping brought together, as he explained, "verses that gave blood to others and were thrust aside for their pains; others no less that went a flighty route their maker chose not to call his own; neither kind was apt to 'go' in the collection then being put together. Where did they go? Yellowed, brittle with reproach, these of mine are felt, this rainy weekend, to have deserved more than the pauper's ditch of a bottom drawer or dispersal in the pages of twenty magazines." Thus he offered this interim gathering to friends and fans. (The poems can now be found in Collected Poems, along with many other pieces not available in Merrill's individual collections or in the more recent and judicious Selected Poems.)

The Candid Decorator

I thought I would do over
All of it. I was tired
Of scars and stains, of bleared
Panes, tinge of the liver.
The fuchsia in the center
Looked positively weird
I felt it—dry as paper.
I called a decorator.
In next to no time such
A nice young man appeared.
What had I in mind?
Oh, lots and lots of things—
Fresh colors, pinks and whites
That one would want to touch;
The windows redesigned;
The plant thrown out in favor,
Say, of a small tree,
An orange or a pear . . .
He listened dreamily.
Combing his golden hair
He measured with one glance
The distance I had come
To reach this point. And then
He put away his comb
He said: "Extravagance!
Suppose it could be done.
You'd have to give me carte
Blanche and an untold sum.
But to be frank, my dear,
Living here quite alone
(Oh I have seen it, true,
But me you needn't fear)
You've one thing to the good:
While not exactly smart,
Your wee place, on the whole
It couldn't be more 'you.'
Still, if you like—" I could
Not speak. He had seen my soul,
Had said what I dreaded to hear.
Ending the interview
I rose, blindly. I swept
To show him to the door,
And knelt, when he had left,
By my Grand Rapids chair,
And wept until I laughed
And laughed until I wept.

Monday, April 25, 2011

walk, she said (they said) and I did

Leki walking poles ~ a gift from Husbando last year.
Everything I learned about them I learned from Mr. and Mrs. Notthat.
Our Bernal Heights Hill ~ Twin Peaks to the left.
Note all the new solar activity ~ what a surprise to me!
Back down from the hill at our local park.
The biggest bouncy tiger imaginable. Church sponsored event.

On Saturday I took Anna's email to heart, grabbed the walking sticks
and marched up Alabama to the top of the hill. I don't normally use
them for nabe walks because I like to walk only with two keys and a
Kleenex®, but my knees have been barking again due to increased
retail activity and these sticks really, really help ~ especially for the
steep hills. I knew they would take the pressure off going uphill, but
I am amazed at how much they help going downhill too.

Despite the grey weather it was a fabulous walk and I felt the earth
coming back onto its axis and I found my little place in it all over
again. There are things you can only see and feel when you walk
and I needed to be reminded of that. And so in a little while today,
I'll go out walking again.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

easter memories

It's already been four years since the Great Italian Trip. Our Easter
brunch at this fabulous restaurant in Panzano. I'm reading my
journal this morning and wishing that I had written more. That's
always the case after a trip, isn't it? More details, more thoughts.
I don't care now that I had such sleep problems, no need to fill
precious space with that. I want to know what color the tulips
were in the Tuscany hills and did I have lamb or beef, how did
they make the pasta so very special? Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

may I introduce you to Anna?

This is the wonderful Anna, cousin of Michael, my dear friend
who died last November. In his way he introduced us, but we
never connected until his death, via Facebook, of all ironic
things. Anna sends delightful emails filled with the details
of her life as the mother of two and wife of a sheep farmer.
She is a reader, thinker, teacher, walker and today I'll celebrate
our friendship with a long walk ~ oh, she shares Michael's
talent for writing too. He sure loved words, I sure miss him.

Hi Mary Ann,
Here are some quotes my friend passed to me and I thought you might like them too.

It is all solved by walking. Saint Augustine

Do not loose your desire to walk: everyday I walk myself into a state of well being and walk away from every illness; I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it...but by sitting still, and the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill...Thus if one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right. Soren Kierkegaard

The miracle is not to walk on water but to walk on earth
. Thich Nhat Hanh

You cannot travel on the path before you become the path itself.
Gautama Buddha

Love, Anna

Friday, April 22, 2011

an unusual subject

I'm about half way through Moloka'i, a book loaned to me by
a friend at work. This is fiction, but I'm sure it was extremely
well-researched, based on the leper colony back in 1891. Perhaps
his writing isn't the best, but I love the main character, Rachel,
and all the other characters who inhabit this beautiful island
inhabited by disease and death. Compelling...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

this one pulls a punch

The Fighter was much better than I expected. All the family
drama and hysteria saved it from being just another hit-him-
in-the-face fight movie. Christian Bale and Melissa Leo (again)
were especially impressive. So go ahead and rent this one,
it's worth a few flying teeth and ever-present bandaids.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

the best medicine

I watched this video yesterday before work and laughing
out loud helped me have a really pleasant day. I don't sincerely
laugh much when watching TV or movies, even though I am
amused. Two things make me really LOL ~ bloopers and
this kind of candid camera stuff. Enjoy!

Sorry, I couldn't get this to up/download, but here is
the link. You might have to do a cut and paste or
whatever, as we young 'uns say.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

another sweet seder

We gathered again at The Great Plotniks' home last night to
celebrate the Jews escape from Egypt. Interesting how since
last year it takes on a whole new meaning with the many
people and countries struggling for their own freedom.
There was lots of laughter and waaaaaaaaay too much
delicious food and it was great seeing the guests from the
past 6 or so years. The message is always welcome and
here is a poem about freedom that I think you'll enjoy.

Julia Hartwig, born in Poland in 1921.

Yet We Desire It above All

Freedom does not mean happiness right away
the free world hides more traps than tyranny
mastiffs let loose from chains passions exceeding the horizon
steps entangled in the ropes of old bonds
that try to pull tight again

Freedom both for scoundrels and those
who sacrificed themselves for it
freedom for those who feel as pure as a diamond
and want to cut deeply surrendering passionately
to a new slavery—of hatred
from which the earth cracks like under dynamite
changing the course of rivers

Monday, April 18, 2011

virtual hell

We didn't expect to, but we were exceedingly impressed with Sartre's
No Exit last night at ACT. This is a Canadian production about the
three people who end up in Hotel Hell because of the choices they
made while they were living. Powerful stuff. It's only 80 minutes,
but they are intense. This production uses video cameras and each
hotel "guest" not only has his/her own chair, they face their own
camera. After the play we were invited up on stage to see how it
was all filmed behind the closed door. We recommend the play and
the backstage tour.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

radical ideas & action

The year was 1968, and these women at a Ford plant in England
had the audacity to go on strike to demand equal pay with men.
We both really, really liked this film with Sally Hawkins, Bob
Hoskins and Miranda Richardson. Made in Dagenham reminds
us all of how far we've come and allows us to applaud the brave
women (and men) who have pushed, sacrificed and ultimately
made life better for all of us.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

pop-ups and food trucks

The Wise Sons - open only on Saturday
Off the Grid ~ food trucks galore

Unexpected floral treasure

We are a city of foodies, everyone knows that. But lately some
innovative chefs are doing battle with high rents. Wise Sons is
a true Jewish Deli, open for a short time once a week in Jackie's
Cafe at Valencia and McCoppin. Husbando was yearning for a
pastrami sandwich (I had a vegan reuben ~ mushrooms and
sauerkraut) so we stood in line for a little while for our lunch
which we took across the street to the Off the Grid truck place
to sit in the sun and do some serious people watching. Fun!

Food trucks are happening all over the country, I think. Mostly
ethnic and usually inexpensive and always interesting. SF has
a bunch and they move from spot to spot and text their
customers where they'll be on a certain day at a given time.

Our never-easy, always-changing city is good for the soul,
mine anyway.

Friday, April 15, 2011

not so good after all

This movie was inspired by the real life disappearance of a
young wife back in 1982. Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst and
Frank Langella star in All Good Things and it beats watching
basketball or Nascar stuff, but it really isn't all that great. I
am drawn to any movie with Mr. Gosling because I think
he's so talented and the nuances of his body movements
and facial expressions are just plain fabulous. So for that
reason alone, it was worth watching.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

my writing life

an old Chinese proverb

Round Robin begins again on Sunday and I, of course, have
not written a thing since the last session. I hate to be one of
those people who must pay a fee in order to write, but I do
need the structure, the daily prompt and the push from my
partner and from Mistress Jane. In the meantime I have
enjoyed NOT writing ~ the precious mornings seem a little
longer and I can read all the baseball details in the chronny
as I linger over freshly squeezed oj and blueberries which
lately resemble bbgun pellets. At the very least I make sure
to write here everyday, for better or for worse.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

dept. of corrections

I know in the scheme of things (Libya, Iraq, Iran, parking, new
restaurants, theater, books, gas prices) this isn't all that important.
However, here is the official Giants World Series flag, not the ugly
one I gave you last week. The trophy is squished over there on
the left side. And just in case you didn't know, we won last night.
All's right with the world again for a few brief moments.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

hitting the hills

There is a hot new restaurant on Potrero Hill named Plow, but it
was closed yesterday, so we returned to Aperto, our old favorite.
That is OUR table over in the corner and it was free, so we knew
we were in the right place. We devoured the special pasta of the
day which included fava beans and shrimp. Fabulous. We
walked a bit and I thought of Karen H. because Farley's was
bustling and hasn't changed a bit in decades, or so it seems.

The Great Plotnik and I walked Olivia, the official Writing
Salon dog in the afternoon. Another hill, this one Bernal by
name. Many dogs to meet as the humans chatted and did
some catch-up. Mistress Jane looks beautiful, but is not
feeling too hot ~ it was so good to see her again.

Today I work early and come home early and that always
makes life a bit easier, don't you agree?

Monday, April 11, 2011

playing catch-up

I'm getting a little behind here with movie reviews, so I'll start
with the most recent first. Four of my fave actors are in this
one: Hilary Swank, Melissa Leo, Minnie Driver and Juliette
Lewis. Conviction is based on the true story of a woman who
becomes a lawyer so she can help her brother who was unjustly
convicted and jailed for murder. It's not a GREAT film, but
we both did tiny little thumbs up in that annoying way one
sees people doing on TV.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

letter from Emily

During National Poetry Month Knopf sends me a daily email.

Though Emily Dickinson spent much of her adult life in familial seclusion, almost never leaving her father's house, a new Pocket Poets edition of her letters, edited by the poet Emily Fragos, reminds us of the way in which Dickinson remained involved in events and people outside her famous second story room. As Fragos writes, she "never forsook human relationships...daily participating in a busy household and sending herself out into the world through her passionate, witty, mournful, and celebratory letters." This one, written on the occasion of her mother's death, is perfect Dickinson: individual phrases are so alive ("cultivated to tenderness by persistent sorrow"!) one must stop to read them several times.

To Louise and Frances Norcross, November, 1882

Dear Cousins,
I hoped to write you before, but mother's dying almost

stunned my spirit. I have answered a few inquiries of

love, but written little intuitively. She was scarcely the

aunt you knew. The great mission of pain had been

ratified—cultivated to tenderness by persistent sorrow,

so that a larger mother died than had she died before.

There was no earthly parting. She slipped from our fingers

like a flake gathered by the wind, and is now part of the

drift called "the infinite." We don't know where she is,

though so many tell us. I believe we shall in some manner

be cherished by our Maker—that the One who gave us this

remarkable earth has the power to surprise that which He

has caused. Beyond that all is silence...

Mother was very beautiful when she had died. Seraphs

are solemn artists. The illumination that comes but once

paused upon her features, and it seemed like hiding a

picture to lay her in the grave; but the grass that received

my father will suffice his guest, the one he asked at the

altar to visit him all his life. I cannot tell how Eternity seems.

It sweeps around me like a sea...Thank you for remembering

me. Remembrance—mighty word.

"Though gavest it to me from the foundation of the world."


Saturday, April 09, 2011

is this the flag?

I haven't watched yesterday's game yet, but if this is The Flag it
isn't exactly a work of art, is it? In any event, I listened off and on
to the game yesterday (12 innings and we finally win) and am
thinking, "oh no, here we go again ~ argh" with my transistor
radio and the back room computer and 14,000 chances to win
in all those innings. Husbando taped it all for me and I do want
to see the Opening Ceremonies with Jon Miller in his tuxedo
and all the pomp and glory and happy pre-game fans. But I
can't devote 6 or 7 hours a day to the Giants, not to mention
the high (and low) emotional investment. So, take that as a
warning, team-o-mine.

Friday, April 08, 2011

tiapos ~ good, but not great

This is a generic empty chair, not ours. Our writing group met
last night at our house, but our founder and dear friend, Jane,
was not feeling up to snuff due to rough pain from medication
that she is taking for her breast cancer battle. As you may
remember, Tiapos stands for This is a Piece of Shit and saying
that before we read our work keeps us from yammering away
about how awful our writing is, how tired we are, blah-blah, etc.

I was telling someone at work yesterday about how totally
and completely thrilled I was when Jane asked me to join
Tiapos. Me? There with the Real Writers? I couldn't believe
my good fortune and I still can't. We had a fine meeting, as
usual, but Lordy, do we miss our Mistress Jane. Our love
and positive thoughts surround you, dear friend.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

remembering Scooter & his pals

Fair Game is based on the whole nasty and unscrupulous Bush
era when CIA agent Valerie Plame was outed by Cheney, Rove
and good old "I'll take the fall" Scooter Libby. She is married to
Joe Wilson who wrote a column in the NYTimes warning that
our invasion of Iraq was not justified because there were no
weapons of mass destruction there. The GOP does revenge, as
we see so clearly, even now, on a daily basis.

Sean Penn and Naomi Watts play the lead roles and then a
nice surprise with Sam Shepard as Valerie's papa. Worth
watching if only to appreciate our current Prez...

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

a million and one

I know, I keep posting similar GG Bridge photos from the Crissy
Field walk. But each time is different and yesterday was especially
wonderful because the air was so fresh and it felt good to be with
Ginger for girl talk at the Warming Hut over lattes and a scone.
Husbando did his own walk and read a few newspapers and then
we three old friends had too much lunch at our current favorite
Chinese Restaurant ~ Taiwan at 5th and Clement. My parking
karma is intact, I'm pleased to report. The day sped by as days
off tend to do. Back to the deYoung today, the early shift.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

it's closing time...

This sign is from a Borders store in Chicago and it's very amusing.
The whole "where's your bathroom?" thing was agony at both
Borders and Barnes & Noble. Messy, messy people. We longed to
just close the restrooms, but since we had cafes and because so
many people carry guns, we never did.

MY old store #57 is closing this week and my thoughts are with
the employees ~ as they always were and will be. I remember all
the past CEO's and CFO's and COO's with hatred ~ those golden
send-offs were only for the privileged few and screw the workers.

On the bright side, it's another beautiful day here and we'll be
walking at Crissy Field in a little while. Photos tomorrow.

Monday, April 04, 2011

we love a mystery

Thanks to my friend with the Fevered Brain in Mexico, we caught
the first two episodes of The Killing on AMC last night. And, hooray,
there are 11 more to go! Here we have Mireille Enos as the detective
and her partner played by Joel Kinnaman. And our old friend Michelle
Forbes is here too. The story? Simple and yet so, so complicated. A
teenage girl is killed in Seattle ~ grey and rainy, of course. Last
night we met the parents and a few friends and Detective Sarah
misses a date with the man she is going to marry and her young
son is unhappy and ooooooooh, what a terrific series based on a
popular Danish series. Thanks for the info. email, Susan, sorry
you are missing this one right now!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

who better?

Let's celebrate National Poetry Month while we go walking with
everyman (and everywoman's) poet, Billy Collins.

The Flâneur

He considers the boulevards ideal for thinking,
so he takes the air on a weekday evening
to best appreciate the crisis of modern life.

I thought I would try this for a while,
but instead of being in Paris, I was in Florida,
so the time-honored sights were not available to me
despite my regimen of aimless strolling—

no kiosks or glass-roofed arcades,
no beggar with a kerchief covering her hair,
no woman holding her hat down as she crossed a street,
no Victor Hugo look-alike scowling in a greatcoat,

no girls selling fruit or sweets from a cart,
no prostitutes circled under a streetlamp,
no solitude of the moving crowd
where I could find the dream of refuge.

I did notice a man looking at his watch
and I reflected briefly on the passage of time,

then I saw two ladies dressed in lime-green and pink
and I pondered the fate of the sister arts,
as they stepped into the street arm in arm.

Who needs Europe? I muttered into my scarf
as a boy flew by on a skateboard
and I fell into a reverie on the folly of youth
and the tender, distressing estrangement of my life.

Billy Collins

Saturday, April 02, 2011

photo by the Blogmaid!

Back in the day, in the sunshine at The Stick. I've written a lot about
how important baseball was to us, how it sort of saved our lives
during difficult financial times. The Giants had so many specials
and deals going on because they were desperate for customers and
we were desperate for a diversion. It was an easy drive and park
situation and we could always "slime down" to great seats because
the ushers knew us. We'd take our lunch, seat cushions and always
a blanket. Going early we could sit down right above the Giants'
dugout to watch batting practice and eat our garlic fries while
drinking our free Coke®. I remember the first time I heard one
of the late-arriving regulars say, "who sang the National Anthem?"
never realizing that we'd turn into two of those kind of insane fans.

Often the Blogmaid would join us. Opening Day was a celebration
and she would shower us with gifts. We had our own nicknames
for the players who were already layered with nicknames. On
some nights there would only be about 5,000 fans, but the hot
chocolate tasted extra sweet and rich and we'd get another Croix
de Candlestick pin just for being there, in the extreme cold.

Of course we love the no-longer-new-what-phone-company-now?
Giants ballpark, the Jewel. Beautiful. And we know that our
team will win some games even though we just lost two to the
Blue Scumsucking Dodgers. Baseball is still the best sport
ever and a ton of fun and success breeds success. But those
days at The Stick were very, very special. OK, time for a
Win, Giants.

Friday, April 01, 2011

not so much

I can imagine the emails from the Macy's big guns. You know
the ones: we must cut expenses for the Flower Show by 20% (it
could be 30%, who knows?) and we will start in 2011. No more
over-the-top elaborate windows, do they help sales? Forget the
ultra clever themes, let's go with Towers of Flowers, that could
cover everything. In any event, I was used to being knocked over
by the smells and sights of the annual Macy's Flower Show, but
such was not the case this year. Pretty, certainly, there aren't
many ugly flowers, are there? And it's always fun for me to be
downtown (except I have to dash by Borders, still closing), but
no need to rush into Macy's Union Square immediately because
this goes on through April 10th. I do wonder if the NYC store cut
back this year too...