Wednesday, February 29, 2012

our glass wonder

The Conservatory of Flowers had to be restored after the last
earthquake and it seemed to take forever and I missed it. After
that, I was determined to visit more often, so yesterday after 4
hours of work at the deYoung I went to pay my respect.

There is a sweet low tech exhibit called Playland at the Beach
showing currently and that's the original sign in the second photo.
Playland was demolished in 1972 so more condos and a Safeway
could be built down there, right across from the ocean. They
play the old music in the exhibit ~ you'll see Laughing Sal too.
So pleasant, especially since it was cold out and it's always
too warm and moist inside, and I like to wander about and
check out the happy plants thriving inside the glass dome.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

scenes from my morning walk

This was a walk I took last week. I was thinking about the 60 min.
piece on depression and how the same results occurred with
placebo pills, diet change and exercise as with pills that battle
mild depression. How walking makes everything so much better
for me ~ and no, I wasn't depressed, just pensive.

The only way to see my neighborhood is to walk around and
in it with a camera. I was also thinking about how many mistakes
I've made in life, but how the big right one was insisting on
living here in San Francisco. No place else would do, except
maybe London, but there even the natives have to carry maps.
And you can also see why walking sticks are so helpful here.

Monday, February 27, 2012

ah, now we get it

It was well worth missing the tepid Oscar program last night to catch
this fascinating play featuring David Strathairn at ACT. Scorched
is basically a search for identity and the plot is really amazing, as is
the acting. The second act is so surprisingly powerful that I had to
take several very deep breaths to calm myself. Most of the play takes
place in some nameless war torn Middle Eastern country and that's
part of the drama here ~ it could be so many places.

We had dinner with Ginger and the Great Plotniks before the show
and his review will be much better written than mine. In fact I'm
going to read it right now...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

imported from Canada

We are certainly enjoying Slings & Arrows ~ it's a Canadian TV
series that tells the story of a group of Shakespearean actors
who are trying to reinvigorate this overly commercial Theatre
Festival as they bicker amongst themselves and sometimes
bring up the not-so-pretty past. From the Flix®, with thanks.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


On my Pathetica post this week I mentioned that I was slowly getting
used to NOT working 40 hours (plus) a week. It's a big change for me
and for Husbando too, of course.

Now I work 12 to 15, sometimes 20 hours a week. See? I said it was a
change. Someone on the blog inferred that I was bored. Oh no, not once
have I been bored since last October when I decided to go part-time.
There is always some place to walk, someone to have coffee or lunch
with, some writing that needs to be done or a few household tasks
that call out to me. Plus, living in San Francisco means that there is
more to see and do daily than probably anywhere on earth ~ except
maybe New York, London or Paris.

No, it's just getting used to change. To not getting up and rushing through
breakfast, standing around at a job facing ennui for 8 hours straight. I am
slowly getting used to freedom, I guess that's the thing. I still get up early,
still make daily and weekly lists, but I have hardly any "must do's" to
contend with. Would I go back to full-time work? Oh, God no, never!

Time is a luxury that I never had before and I'm just learning how to
appreciate it. The simple fact that I can walk every single day or take a
bus downtown just for the heck of it, or visit any museum is beyond
belief. And am I writing? Not as much as I hoped to, but more than
I did in the past and that's a huge step in the right direction. Oh, yes,
and I am way, way more content than I have ever been in my life.

And don't forget all the books I get to read!

Friday, February 24, 2012

repeat of a favorite

I first shared this poem by Adrienne Rich on commano back in
2005, and since I have some new readers and some who may
have forgotten it, I will gift you again. It remains the poem I
love more than any other, or at least I think so this sunny morning.

From an Atlas of the Difficult World


I know you are reading this poem
late, before leaving your office
of the one intense yellow lamp-spot and the darkening window
in the lassitude of a building faded to quiet
long after rush-hour. I know you are reading this poem
standing up in a bookstore far from the ocean
on a grey day of early spring, faint flakes driven
across the plains' enormous spaces around you.
I know you are reading this poem
in a room where too much has happened for you to bear
where the bedclothes lie in stagnant coils on the bed
and the open valise speaks of flight
but you cannot leave yet. I know you are reading this poem
as the underground train loses momentum and before running
up the stairs
toward a new kind of love
your life has never allowed.
I know you are reading this poem by the light
of the television screen where soundless images jerk and slide
while you wait for the newscast from the intifada.
I know you are reading this poem in a waiting-room
of eyes met and unmeeting, of identity with strangers.
I know you are reading this poem by fluorescent light
in the boredom and fatigue of the young who are counted out,
count themselves out, at too early an age. I know
you are reading this poem through your failing sight, the thick
lens enlarging these letters beyond all meaning yet you read on
because even the alphabet is precious.
I know you are reading this poem as you pace beside the stove
warming milk, a crying child on your shoulder, a book in your hand
because life is short and you too are thirsty.
I know you are reading this poem which is not in your language
guessing at some words while others keep you reading
and I want to know which words they are.
I know you are reading this poem listening for something, torn
between bitterness and hope
turning back once again to the task you cannot refuse.
I know you are reading this poem because there is nothing else
left to read
there where you have landed, stripped as you are.

-Adrienne Rich

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I'm starting to get it...

Honestly, I've had a little problem adjusting to not working 5 days
a week. It was no fun at the end, but it was structure, if you know
what I mean. Of course I still have an active To Do list, but some
(if not all) of the tasks can be put off for a day, or a week or...

Then yesterday a surprise email from Ginger ~ "Can I come over and
play?" We ended up having burritos with Husbando at the Taqueria
on Mission and then the two walking women drove down to Pathetica
for a hike and then most welcome lattes at the now famous Chit Chat
Cafe at the end of the pier. Gorgeous weather, glorious waves and
always lots to talk about as we walked.

I need to be a little more spontaneous and relaxed now that I'm a
full-time person and yesterday helped. Plus, I always feel a tad
guilty that we live so close to the ocean and don't take advantage
of it more. It's one of the reasons we love living here, after all.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

step away from the screen

I bought this yesterday at the deYoung bookstore. It's not that I don't
have a huge assortment of HOW TO write, create and live well books,
but this called out to me and for $10.95, I answered. Here is one
quote from chapter #9 "Be Boring" ~ there are 10 steps to unlock creativity:

Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be
violent and original in your work.
Gustave Flaubert

But I think my favorite is chapter #4 entitled "Use your Hands."
Austin Kleon suggests setting up a designated space to work away
from the computer. Hey, that's unusual these days. I got to thinking
that maybe I could map out a plot for poor old Ellen using a big old
fashioned pad or graph or even a bulletin board. Maybe do the index
card thing like we used to do before computers.

And the title of this little black and white book? As Picasso said,
Art is Theft. Copy. Copy. Copy.

What is originality? Undetected plagiarism.
William Ralph Inge

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

it's about time...

Somehow along the way I missed this novel. My Plot (not nik)
teacher sang its praises so I picked this Vintage Press edition
up at Books, Inc. on Market @ Castro for $8. And, I was able to
have some chisme time with Ken, the person. Of course when I
got home Husbando pointed out 3 hardcover Dickens classics
here in our bookshelves (covered by the ugly, huge TV), including
Great Expectations, but that's OK, I now have his other work here
for those long summer days sitting in the fog on the back deck.

Back in the day, the Blogmaid had an adorable white (male)
cat named Miss Havisham. Hav was adored by all.

Monday, February 20, 2012

why I (still) like my job

Here I was all by myself (illegally shooting two photos) at the
brand new Cult of Beauty exhibit at the Legion of Honor. It was
9am, before the crowds arrived and yes, it did seem like a little
slice of heaven. Here you'll find the likes of: Whistler, Rossetti,
Burne-Jones, Leighton and a lot of other artists from the years
1860 to 1900. This is also known as the British Aesthetic
Movement, something I had never heard of before. It ends
June 17th, and I bet it will be crowded everyday ~ it should be.
Don't miss the two galleries upstairs ~ they are part of the
downstairs exhibit and yet easy to bypass despite our tasteful signs.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

closing today

There were some good moments, but this was NOT the best play
of the season, by any means. Jesus in India had a few good lines
and the plot could have been reworked maybe, and some of the music
was OK, but really l-o-u-d and you know I'm very sensitive to
noise. Only about 35 of us in the audience which means that word
has gotten out because on closing weekend usually a play is packed.
The five actors did a terrific job and I do want to salute them here.
Win some, lose some in life and theater.

A friend tried to get tix to Becky Shaw at the SF Playhouse and it is
sold out. No surprise there and sorry if you missed it.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

controversial movie ~ my vote

I went alone to see Hugo yesterday and loved it, despite the divided
opinions at my work place and beyond. The two kids pictured above
are delightful and I especially enjoyed when she said, "I need an
adventure," because I've heard myself say that for a few decades,
usually before a big or little trip. And Paris is exquisite ~ surprised?

Friday, February 17, 2012

next ~ Rachmaninoff & more

Another treat from Jennie yesterday afternoon to the tune of the 2pm
matinee symphony featuring both Rachmaninoff and Saint-Saens.
The latter (Symphony #3) showcased our magnificent organ and
the full orchestra. And yes, I stayed wide awake again. Good job, Stein!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

touring our ballpark

'tis true...

Our guide was knowledgeable and funny ~ not afraid to make
fun of his customers either. We are in the press room here.
We are getting new grass. Note how beautiful the day was.
The uniforms from our World Series team of 2010.
The pitching cage ~ all business.
The visitors' locker room, my favorite part of the tour.
Did you know we add little extras like the opposing
team's logo clock and other details to make them
feel at home? Nice little kitchen and an
office for the manager.

Willie rules our roost.

Honestly, this is the best deal in town. Only $15 ($12 for seniors)
for 1.5 hours to see the Jewel as you never have before. Ginger and
I went yesterday and we were the only natives in our group of 16.
There was tons of memorabilia on all the floors that one can't
usually see because of all the fans milling around. We were in
Shorenstein's box, inside the pitching cage, all around the fancy
Club Level and then down in the bowels of the park where the
players go. I'm thinking of going back with the next out-of-town
visitors. Oh, you can get your tickets online ~ definitely a must-do.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

next door, then underground

This is a strange little only-in-SF-documentary that we watched
one night while Nancy was here. In 1987, two young guys moved
to Lower Haight from the midwest and their next door neighbors
were two horrid drunks (Raymond and Peter) who screamed at
each other so loudly that the guys could record their nightly squabbles.
Hundreds of tapes became an underground cult thing and the drunks
didn't seem to care about the big microphone outside their window.
It is not pleasant to see or hear, but somehow fascinating. (I don't know
why that is.) Shut Up Little Man is dark and bizarre and definitely not
for everyone, but available from the Flix®.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

notthat's never wrong

The solo walk yesterday ~ what's a little rain? We are
adapting nicely to our old routine and the empty nest.

A surprise Valentine gift this's a long
story, but I had my heart set on this bowl when Nancy
and I explored Community Thrift last Thursday.
Behold ~ it's here and it's ours.
Can't you just picture it filled with lemons or
garlic mashed potatoes?
Thank you Husbando and Nancy!

Monday, February 13, 2012

the garlic family

penne pasta with mussels

Nancy treated us to dinner last night at Caffe Sport on Green Street
down in North Beach. We three had last been here about 30 or so
years ago, but who's counting? It was still delicious: salad, cioppinno,
scampi and pasta with tasty mussels. Lucky street parking ~ just to
prove that the stars are still aligned.

I worked at the deYoung yesterday, the final closing day of Masterworks
of Venice, not my favorite exhibit due to my lack of art knowledge and
appreciation. But two great ones are coming soon ~ Cult of Beauty at
the Legion of Honor and the exciting designer Gaultier at the DY.

Today we take Nancy to the airport, the house will seem somewhat empty!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

a food centered Saturday

Buy me!
Sand dabs and petrale sole...

Another nice day in SF with Nancy. First for a thorough tour of
the Farmers' Market at Ferry Plaza and then to meet Ginger for
lunch at Tadich. It all worked smoothly on BART and we spent
the evening at the Chinese New Year's Day parade ~ on TV, of
course. With another big salad only for dinner, including some
of the pretty green cauliflower that I bought for $1.oo.

Today we grieve the death of Whitney Houston. So much
talent, so many problems.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

another full Nancy day

The restaurant RN74 looks somewhat like a French train station.
It was packed with people...this is a stock photo.
Chinatown was almost empty ~ the day before the New Year. Were
people home preparing big meals? Only a few tourists, too...

We had never even heard of the restaurant John selected for our
lunch yesterday. RN74 was terrific and obviously the recession must
be almost over because with $16 burgers and $12 for the cheapest
glass of wine, there were people waiting for tables. We had a lovely
catch-up family time and the boy picked up the check because he
is a generous soul indeed.

Then Nancy and I hoofed over to Chinatown for some up and down
Grant Avenue and in/out of maybe 74 shops. Husbando would have
no patience for this sort of poke-around shopping, so we took our
time and stopped for tea and each bought a few inexpensive items.
I had forgotten what fun it can be to have time and a $20 bill and
a sweet step daughter to talk over each silly yet colorful purchase.

Nancy is re-learning the bus system and today we'll work on her
BART knowledge as we head down to the Ferry Building and then
on to Tadich's for lunch. Tomorrow I work ~ what is that?

Friday, February 10, 2012

walking with Nancy

Glorious sunshine yesterday! Probably 70ยบ ~ can you believe it?
We picked Nancy up at 11:30 and went for Chinese food because
her husband doesn't like it and you know how that works. I'll
review that restaurant later because we'll be back.

Then for a great walk and talk from Casa Verde to Valencia and
15th Street or so, and back. L-o-n-g walk with coffee at the
busy Borderlands coffee shop. We poked in and out of assorted
stores including Paxton Gate, 826 Valencia, Serendipity and
of course Community Thrift.

I was up early yesterday morning and made lentil soup, the
perfect winter soup for a summer day. So that, with hunks of
bread, was quite perfect. Then a movie which I'll review later,
maybe with Chinese leftovers.

Downtown today to meet Nancy's brother John for lunch!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

buddha said...

Buddha in Sunlight

Our old dog lies on the front porch in sunlight.
He moves as the sun moves, follows it
along the porch, rising slowly, never

going further than is necessary
to stay within the warm curve of worship.
He yawns, scratches, sheer minimalist,

conservation of energy. This morning
a rabbit hopped into the yard,
nibbling clover.

He lifted his head, eyed it for a moment,
then lowered his head,
closed his eyes.

This is what Buddha taught:
take no interest
in the arising of thought.

The sun moves off the porch;
he descends delicately the way
a nude descends from her bath, and

he finds a place in the grass.
The rabbit nibbles away,

Let it be, Buddha said;
it will settle

Red Hawk

Tampa Review

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

ah, Becky, you are a puzzle...

Last night we were mesmerized by a play entitled Becky Shaw at
the SF Playhouse ~ it's a must-see if you love complex characters,
biting dialogue and a deep exploration of 5 human beings. Above we
have Lauren English as Becky and Brian Robert Burns as Max, who
struggle with their own demons as they get to know each other. Then
they grapple with the other characters' demons. There are plenty
of laughs along the way, so don't be discouraged by my demon talk.
Gina Gionfriddo is the playwright and kudos to her! This ends
March 10th and there are many sold out performances, so do hurry...

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

ruby monday

Remember the baby shower here at Casa Verde? Ruby Marie is
now 3 weeks old and yesterday I went walking with her and her
mama and we covered lots of ground, ending up with coffee
at Glen Park. RM didn't utter a sound the entire trip, but I was
reminded once again how much STUFF is needed for babyhood.
At Borders one day, a new mother told me that she had never been
inside so many elevators in her life. For unencumbered me, it
was a delightful walk and talk.

We had a nice call yesterday ~ daughter Nancy Claire is coming
out for a quick visit on Thursday. Some plans need to be re-arranged,
but that's an easy fix. Can't wait to see her again. Hooray!

Monday, February 06, 2012

February is an odd one...

The Blogmaid transports RR and classmates to
the Asian Arts Museum last Friday
The back deck view
The "let's borrow this from Google" view

The Super Bowl was yesterday, February, and very late in the season,
or so it seems to me. A better game than we expected, and I especially
enjoyed the sit down backward touch down. Of course now baseball
has been extended to November or so, but that's different.

But earlier and earlier ~ plum trees blossoming and depending on
where the sun hits, some are in full bloom and some just with delicate
little blossoms. But it sure does feel like Spring around here. Now the
first really pelting rain will wash these pink beauties away, so we
enjoy while we can.

Right on time. The Chinese New Year's parade is next Saturday night
and it's a big one this year because of the Dragon Year and all. And
we here in San Francisco have our first Chinese Mayor (Ed Lee) and
honestly, we think he's the best mayor we've had in decades. A good
and thoughtful man who seems to be above politics, if that is possible.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

baseball is B-A-C-K

Double dogs all suited up
Fans with cameras checking out our dugout.
Who cares about that silly Super Bowl?
Ginger and I went to our first and last Fanfest yesterday. We met
at 8am and stood in line for almost two hours for tickets to 4 games.
Man, that latte tasted good after the long wait. Thousands of other
fans were there and they were more fun to watch than the ballplayers
whom we couldn't really see or recognize. But what the hey, support
the Giants and all that ~ beautiful spring-like weather and a chance
for two friends to catch up on their lives, thoughts, feelings, etc.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

and a glove named Zero

What a perfect time for me to start this novel that has collected
so many outstanding reviews. The Art of Fielding is about a
young, too small, very talented shortstop who is learning all
about baseball and life. Today I'm meeting Ginger down at The
Jewel and we're getting our Giants' tickets for the season ~ day
games only, please. Will garlic fries be available early today? It's
definitely time to talk about important things ~ like when DO
pitchers and catchers report? How is Buster Posey's leg?