Monday, October 31, 2011


RR is going to be 8 years old next month and here she is in
all her striped glory ~ at the SF Zoo yesterday for Boo Zoo Day
and then back in her own backyard as the only zebra (I bet) in
Pumpkinville. Have fun collecting cavities tonight (like I should
talk here) and yes, you are a beauty with or w/o stripes.

In the meantime, we folks in our everyday costumes, are
preparing for NaNoWriMo which begins tomorrow. Also
poking around and cleaning up the house because in one week
I'm hosting my first ever Baby Shower! See the trouble I can
get into when I don't work full-time? More about this later...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

part of the K Street gang

Kevin Spacey does his usual excellent acting job here in Casino Jack,
as the disgraced lobbyist who scammed Native American Indian tribes
and gave money to our trusted public servants. I believe that Jack
Abramoff is writing his own book about this huge scandal and of
course he'll name names instead of pleading the Fifth as he did at
his trial. It sure all fits in with the Occupy Wall Street, SF, Oakland,
Santa Rosa, Cleveland, Sacramento, Chicago, L.A., Portland, Seattle,
etc. etc. I like that sign that reads, "I believe in the separation of
corporations and government."

Saturday, October 29, 2011

applause, applause

Now that I'm a part-timer and have more time and less money, I am
going to become a full-time library patron again. Growing up in Pasadena,
one of the highlights of my childhood was walking into the library,
especially on a hot day in the summer. It was so cool and quiet, away
from family drama and I could escape into the world of books. I'd
browse the shelves and come home with 6 or so treasures and my
mother would sigh heavily knowing I'd be unavailable for household
chores or conversation for a couple of days. My salvation.

We have two libraries close by and last week I went to the Cortland
branch. All the computers were being used by people over 60 (school
was still in session) and I thought this interesting. San Francisco is
revamping all its libraries and that's how it should be. I also like the
Noe Valley branch where they have a glassed-in kids' section. And
now that we can order books online it's so much more convenient,
especially since we can return any book to any library in the city.

I love bookstores too, of course, but I just won't have the disposable
income and I can't remember ever walking out without a book, so
bless all libraries and librarians. One of the many benefits of our tax dollars...

Friday, October 28, 2011

game six ~ superb!

What an incredible game. We not only had to switch chairs last
night, we changed rooms because the Cards vs. Rangers game was
just too long and intense to sit for very long in one spot. I really like
the coach of the Texas team and Husbando is from St. Louis, so we
have a v. gentle rivalry going on. But, man, talk about excitement.
All those costly errors for both teams, using up both bull pens, the
many comebacks and always, just like in life, luck has so much to
do with it. Last year the Giants had it, this year it bounces back and
forth from dugout to dugout. And tonight, the first Game 7 in nine
years and it's why we love this damn game. Wowza.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

occupy desk

I've spent some time preparing for the Month of Writing. The candle
helps me focus because I have a tendency to jump up and do many
other important things when I'm supposed to be writing. Lots of
people listen to music when they write, but that isn't me. I like quiet.

Probably the most important thing that I've done is to cut and paste
all the Ellen droppings into a MS Word doc and to my great and
total amazement I have 8,000 plus words. They are every which
way and lots need to be deleted, but it was a revelation. And what
else? I've been reading about writing and (here's the surprise!)
actually banging out a few words and ideas to keep our reluctant
heroine on the move.

As usual, my productive time is morning and I need to set aside
an hour or two (oh hahahahaha) to make sure this really happens.
Already I've decided that 1,000 words a day is MORE than enough,
and I have learned over the years to forgive myself my failings.
But at least the whole experience so far finds me in a good place.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

our eclectic taste

This is a fascinating documentary about the news biz in general and
the NY Times in particular. How are we going to pay for great
reporting? Without advertising revenues the print media struggles
and most of us don't want to pay for online news, which we think
should be free. You'll meet the writers, editors and have much to
think about after watching Page One.
Bridesmaids gets a little slap-stickish from time to time, but I
love that it was written by women and there are some terrific
lines and scenes. Women's friendships are complicated,
especially, when we were young, and even more so when our
friends insist on getting married and "leaving us." Rent it!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

ooooooh, the spices...

I'm sure The Great Plotnik and Ducknik were somewhat apprehensive
before his lunch yesterday at Mission Chinese Food. It is located
in a dicey area that is becoming gentrified (slowly) and of course we
were the first customers. By the time we left almost every table was
full and so were we ~ green beans and green pepper, mussels and
green pepper, mystery soup/stew, pastrami and a strange pasta and/or
vegetable, fried rice with salt cod (what?), pork belly. The table was
covered with plates, bowls, utensils, chop sticks, extra much-needed
napkins and we chugged down lots of water. The dishes are fiery, but
so damn good that I couldn't resist another bite even when I knew
it would cause a slight (ahem) burning sensation. But really, it's the
best way to clear the sinuses and so nice to be with our friends who
have been gone for a long time, or so it seems to us.

Happy, happy tomorrow dear Dougo ~ how fortunate we are
to have a friend like you!

Monday, October 24, 2011

come out to the LOH

There are 3 terrific exhibits currently out at the Legion (34th and
Golf Course). The above is entitled (I think) View from my house
at Liberty and Church by Gutmann. This is in a small exhibit room
with maybe 30 prints and paintings, all of SF. Worth the price of
admission right there. Then you have The Mourners (previously
reviewed here) and Pissarro's People is the big draw currently.
I just tested this yesterday, the way I've learned to do: one painting
or two at a time, then the whole room and another walk-through
and many returns to my favorites in the future. Working for the
museums has many benefits, but always the art is #1 on the list.
Plan your visit, but both are museums are closed on Mondays.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

touristy stuff ends

Kris played golf at Harding (and saw a family of raccoons!) while
Pam and I went to the glorious Farmers' Market down at the
Ferry Building. She bought tons of Acme bread and then we had
a delightful breakfast at the Market Bar, sitting outside in the
sunshine. That place was packed by 9am and I love that whole
families still come here with huge shopping carts. It will be great
to have Saturdays off in the future and Husbando and I can join
the happy shoppers. God, the smells ~ yummy!

When I returned home we mulched in our garden some more
and I took a much needed nap. Being a tourist can be exhausting,
even if I do have great parking karma and some knowledge of
short cuts and must-sees.

Today I work, imagine that. Out at the Legion...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

my city at its best

Yesterday was one of those oh-so-rare SF days and my SoCal friends
took me sightseeing. Kris drove (hooray) and Pam has never been to
SF, so we had lots to see and talk about. We started at Coit Tower,
then hit Lombard Street, Ghiardelli Square, Crissy Field and the
Wave Organ, the Legion of Honor, Baker Beach and finally lunch
at the Cliff House.

Last night Pam and I had dinner at the Far East Cafe in Chinatown
while Kris visited his Pleasant Hill hometown. They are staying at
the Handlery and I do recommend it from their experiences. And
it is certainly convenient. This morning Kris plays golf and Pam
and I will hit the Farmer's Market, that should be fun. Then they
fly back home this afternoon.

Friday, October 21, 2011

we lit the night!

It was such a wonderful evening and LLS raised $405,000. I want
to thank everyone, especially the friends who joined me last night:
Neti, Blogmaid, Linda, Pam, Kris, Ginger, Amy, Helen and Hank.
You'll see them in this bunch of photos. We lucked out with the
weather and it was magical indeed with the lights, balloons,
music, bad burgers and mostly, all that Love. Many of the photos
are courtesy of the Blogmaid and Linda with more thanks...

Some special memories ~ the Remembrance Room, the kids who
wore Survivor tee shirts, trying to find the VIP champagne reception
room on Floor 12 of the St. Francis, Kris carrying the banner
during the walk, the police on motorcycles who blocked traffic,
the many volunteers who cheered us on the walk and ALL the people
who gave so much of their time and money to make the event
so successful. Very, very special indeed. Gratitude envelops me
this morning...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

tonight's the night

Our Team is going to consist of between five and ten people. The
cell phones will be busy with "where are you?" and "the traffic is
a mess," but it will all work out, I keep telling myself that.

We meet at 5:15 pm for a special VIP party on the 12th Floor of the
St. Francis. We are VIP because we actually raised $5,000 plus.
Just imagine that (I still can't). About 6 weeks ago I sincerely wished
that I hadn't committed to this, but now I'm so pleased that we have
done so well. It's such a tribute to friendship and hope, isn't it?

Pam and Kris arrive from SoCal this morning and I will meet them
and we'll have lunch and plan our time. The walk tonight begins at
7pm and is under two miles. Tomorrow I will choke you with photos.
Thank you, thank you to everyone!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

prep work

OK, yes I could get a head start on the novel, but I'm very busy
reading some of my How To Write books. I read somewhere that
this category of books is one of the top sellers in our country.
Maybe after Ellen fully emerges I'll write my own How To Write
book, in less than 30 days. The center book was published in
2004, and I've held on to it since then, thinking maybe that I
would do this crazy thing one day.

I've been reading on the bus where I've spent a lot of time lately,
working on character study. Lordy, does this city have the
characters. Perhaps you've noticed? A barefoot, yelling woman
chased me down 16th Street and I almost dashed into the
SPCA for safety, but I was afraid I'd emerge with two cats,
so I hid successfully in the bus shelter. Quite the dilemma.

Great news yesterday. I dropped in at the Blood Bank center
on Bush Street and to my amazement my iron count had
mysteriously risen from the 12.5 to 14.3. Of course I donated
and ate a donut (glazed). The Leukemia walk is tomorrow
night, so that felt extra special to me.

Early morning meeting at the deYoung today. Gala museum
store dinner at Beppo's last night.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"let's walk," she said...

Seeing ECSTASY after lunch ~ wowza!
View from Randall Jr. Museum

Stairs down to Market Street and lattes!

Ecstasy up close. Did the artists know that birds would
love to weave in and out of her gorgeous wire body?

Yesterday I met Ginger at Castro and Market and we marched up
hill and dale. Our goal was Corona Heights, but we went a lot
further than that. We took those difficult steps back down from the
Junior Museum to Market Street where we stopped for coffee at
Peet's. Then we continued walking and to my amazement my always-
walking friend had not been to Hayes Valley since the Great Re-Mo
after the earthquake.

We walked up Octavia and admired all the shops and restaurants and
community gardens around Hayes, Grove, Fulton. Man, that little
neck of the woods was bustling. We had the $11 pasta special lunch
at Stelline's on Gough Street and then, after admiring Ms. Ecstasy,
walked on over to Van Ness to Books, Inc. so I could say "howdy,"
to my friend Corriander. From there we took separate modes of
public transportation home.

Perfect weather for walking and always ideal to spend time covering
the world and all our friends and family therein. Oh, and we usually
start with, "god, I so love this city!"

Monday, October 17, 2011

what kind of fool am I?

November is National Novel Writing Month. I signed up for it
yesterday and committed to 50,000 words by 11/30/11.
That's about 1,600 words a day. That's impossible. Maybe it's all
my Round Robin experience, or maybe it's because I get so
restless when I sit down to write, but my usual output is about
250 (500 tops) words per day. When I'm not too "busy" in the
garden, having lunch or planning my next walk, that is.

So, I drop everything we know about Ellen and start all over again.
She'll still be an aging hippie living in SF and probably the unknown
missing sister Laurel will appear. I will flush out Ellen more and
I'll just keep writing. I even came up with a working title ~
Ellen At Last. (Get the irony?)

NaNoWriMo began back in 1999. I've known quite a few writers
who have done this and I so admire them. For years I've kept
a copy of No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty who conceived
this strange concept. His theory is that most writers need a
deadline and that is what is provided. I need a lot more than that,
so hang on to your hats and prepare to forgive me (and Ellen) if
it doesn't work out exactly as planned. It's the old Nothing
Ventured, Nothing Gained notion operating today.

I still have 14 days of freedom, so I'm walking with my friend
Ginger this morning.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

somethings don't translate

We enjoyed this trip to Russia with Everyone Loves Raymond
creator Phil Rosenthal. He's trying to sell his hit comedy to a
very different culture and it works in unusual ways. My favorite
part was trying to find the right actors and seeing some scenes from
the original show and then the new Russian brand. It did become
the #1 TV show there, despite all odds and differences.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

view from the 9th floor

I tried to capture the "sparkle streets" up in the Sunset District,
but instead the interesting roof design dominates this pic

You can just barely see the GG Bridge up in the right
hand corner. This was Wednesday, after the rainy Monday.

We have a v. small store up in the Observation Tower and I enjoy working
there, talking to tourists and natives about my city. It's always free so we
are on the list for a lot of out-of-town guests, including ours. Even if we
are fogged in, it's still a pleasure to be up away from the craziness of
the rest of the world.

Friday, October 14, 2011

a rare day of sunshine, time and books

Yesterday I met Ken (the person) for lunch at American Chow
and that was pleasant to catch up with him before we headed to
his Books Inc. where I purchased the Kate Atkinson book.
When I returned home (all by public transportation, always an
adventure) I actually sat on our back deck and finished the
great Fang Family book with the sun on my back. Heaven.

It's been months and months since I've been to yoga, but today
I return. Easy does it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

one week from today!

Never in a million years did I expect our team to show up for the second

straight week in a row amongst the top fundraisers in the Light the

Night Walk happening a week from tonight. The wise Blogmaid

suggested that I up our Team Goal from $2,000 to $4,000 and she was,

as always, right on the money (so to speak). We are going to do it!

I can tell you now that I worried a lot about doing this thing, but the

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society are dedicated and helpful, and I

should have known that we have the most generous friends in the world.

Congratulations to this week's Top Fundraisers!
Company Teams
SF Giants-Love for Landers - $50,491 - $15,988
Marsh Risk & Insurance - $10,136
Friends & Family Teams
Team Jericho - $7,243
Team Robert - $3,885
Missing Selhorst - $3,615 (we now have $3,900)
Top Individuals
Chase Roberts - $1,300
Steve Egelman - $1,155
Seerat Bhatia- $925

Thank you again and again.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

bought and sold

Of course I would prefer the protests to be a little more focused, but
this one isn't sponsored by the Koch Brothers or Faux News, so Occupy
seems ragtag and disorganized. That's OK, I tell myself. Head over to
the Great Plotnik's blog ~ he went to the heart of it in NYC and I loved
all the photos and his levelheaded, well-written thoughts.

We all know that corporations rule this country. I love the photo on
Facebook of the congressperson covered with labels like a Nascar
racer: Exxon, BofA, Citigroup, Blue Cross, etc. At least be upfront
and honest about who is sponsoring you. Lordy.

I will mention two specifics of why I consider myself part of the 99%.
First was all the $$$$$ we lost in our 401(k) in 2008. I was paying (!)
Fidelity a monthly fee to manage this account. Of course it sounds
simplistic, but when you think of ALL the money that so many of us
lost 3 years ago, you have to ask yourself if any of the overpaid corporate
leaders took a sizable hit too. My answer, your answer, will be "no."

Then, a friend of mine tried to re-negotiate a bad mortgage with his bank
and they wouldn't budge. This story has been told and re-told a
thousand times across our country with people and their homes. As
the real estate values fell, the banks dug in their heels and foreclosed.
So what that you lived there, your kids went to school in that
neighborhood and that your mortgage was obfuscated back when you
signed on the dotted line. All that our citizens ask for is a fair shake,
not a handout.

OK, I'll clarify my thoughts more as the protests continue. Thanks for

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

drippy, but not gloomy


I'm not a fan of rain because my umbrella always seems to be the
wrong height and now some people (mostly men) carry these way
over-sized brollies and there is no room for the average walker to
weave in and out and not puncture anyone's eyeball. That said,
yesterday's rain was delightful because there was little or no
wind and god knows the city always needs cleaning.

The Ferry Building was packed with people, but Dancing Jen and
I had a fine lunch at the Slanted Door and we covered all the news
from here, there and yonder. She promised me a Halloween photo
of her niece and nephew, so we have that to look forward to soon.
I clearly remember when they did the re-mo on that glorious
building and my hope then was that it would be successful. Wish
granted, that's for sure.

It will be a quiet time at the de Young today. Picasso is gone and
artists from Venice will be arriving soon. I have lots of days off in
the future and am feeling A-OK about work today and tomorrow.

Monday, October 10, 2011

yup, fall is here

RR will probably hate pumpkins when she hits 20 or so. I was
raised in Pasadena and the whole Rose Parade Thing makes me
wince and to this day I avoid the event, even on TV. But I'm
sure growing up in Pumpkinville will mean only happy memories
for RR, as she bakes pumpkin pies and covers her front porch
with assorted members of the colorful squash family. Of course
she will remove them by December 18th, it's a federal law (or
should be.)

Today is a light rain and I was going to meet Dancing Jen at
Crissy Field, but we decided to hit the Ferry Building instead.
I am officially a part-time worker with a full-time life now.
Funny, I don't feel any different...

Sunday, October 09, 2011

inspiration on a bike

Bill Cunningham lives simply and photographs fashion for the
New York Times. He resided in a tiny space inside Carnegie Hall
for most of his life (he's 80 plus now) and his world is the streets
of NYC. We both loved this joyful documentary because Bill
is one of those characters that one can never forget. Of course
he's a talented photographer with that great eye for detail, but
when the film is over it's his smile and the way he hops on his
bike and weaves in and out of horrendous traffic that I'll
remember. From the Flix®, of course.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

more, please

Here is my friend Karen, talented and beautiful poet. I met
her in Tiapos, our erstwhile writing group that should be
meeting more. I enjoyed every moment of this poetry reading
at a warm and comfy space at 21st and Valencia. How nice to
sit for 2 hours and just listen ~ no iPhones (except for photos)
or computers or ear buds. Plus I got to see Susie QP and
Eric R., more writing group pals.

So this goes on my list for after full-time: MORE literary events,
the city is filled with them. Take advantage, Ms. Stein!

Friday, October 07, 2011

busy days and nights

The eldest stepson and his wife came to the de Young yesterday and
then toured SF with Husbando while I worked like a dawg (not really).
Knowing that they would want authentic Mexican food because
they live in Pittsburgh, PA, we all ate way too much at the Roosevelt
Tamale Parlor last night. They have a new menu since last we ate
there, but the tamales, tacos, tortillas and refried beans were all
absolutely delicious and the prices ultra affordable.

Tonight I attend a poetry reading for my friend Karen out here
from Brooklyn, NY. I'll report on that tomorrow.

Three more days of full-time work, I can do it!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

our mutual loss

Almost everyone I know is an Apple fan. When my stepson
arrived yesterday he came into our kitchen and plunked down
his iPad, iMac and iPhone. My MsBook and iPhone were in
the living room. When someone buys anything other than an
Apple product, I know that they will eventually replace it with
the best, and that's because of this man who died waaaaay too
young yesterday.

I'd like to join my friends who work and thrive at Apple today ~
the Infinite Loop seems finite, doesn't it? I send virtual
flowers and my heartfelt sympathy for your extreme loss.

Thank you, Steve, for expanding my life these past 20 years.
I have grown, changed, started writing, made friends, made
enemies, tore out my hair, laughed uproariously, cried buckets
of tears and learned to look inward and outward and all over
the world because of your great and innovative mind.

RIP. You did good.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

despair and hope

This is an intense and very difficult play to watch, but well
worth it. It revolves around the strange concept of ethnic
cleansing in Bosnia back in the 90's. Two Serbs, two Muslims ~
enemies and yet connected. Of course it shows how insane
wars are. When will we ever learn?

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

public service announcement

Yesterday morning I hit Kaiser for the flu shot. Long line that moved
quickly, so now I'm set. Get yours, dear readers. I took a "new" bus
home, the 22 Fillmore, because in my semi-retirement I want to
be more of a public transit aficionado.

We actually prayed for rain yesterday afternoon, proving once again
that agnostic prayers sometimes work. It's difficult to justify a day
in front of the TV, or reading a book, or napping when the sun (or
even the fog) is out, but when we wallow in laziness during drizzles,
it feels like a REAL day off and truly, a little slice of agnostic heaven.

Today is Free Tuesday at the museums. Argh. Payback for yesterday?