Wednesday, December 31, 2014

such a pleasant day

lunch at American Chow

latte on 24th Street
Well, I did do a little work. I wrote (!) and removed xmas, which took about
three minutes. Then son John the Good arrived to take us to lunch and then
I walked and sat here in the window and just thought about how lucky we
are to live here where we now have three bookstores and lots of other little
independent shops and restaurants. It's colorful, peaceful and active - all
at the same time. It's been cold and windy, but clear/clear/clear.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

the important things

To hell with xmas lights and gifts, currently Lila is on my LindaKindle2
and if you read Gilead and Home by Marilynne Robinson, you know
what to expect. The author is heavy on bible quotes and religion, but
in a relatively easy "what's the purpose of it all?" kind of way. We are
back in the small town of Gilead with the preacher and his flock. Very
well written, but I could use a few less bible verses.

All year I've been working on my Ten Favorite Books list - I hope to
publish that here before 2019. Stay tuned...

Monday, December 29, 2014

the best binge watching

We just finished 10 glorious episodes of Mozart in the Jungle, a new series
from Amazon Studios. What fun - all about the New York Symphony and
the quirky conductors, musicians and donors. Fiction, or not? Anyway, a
delight starring Bernadette Peters, Malcolm McDowell, Gael Garcia Bernal
and it even opens with Joshua Bell on the violin. Sometimes we have to sit
back and just appreciate this whole new world of streaming on our TVs.
So mark this Mozart as a much-watch, you'll thank me for the push.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

celebrate with Emmy!

a new location on Mission

the house specialty
We had a happy wedding anniversary last night at Emmy's Spaghetti Shack
which has moved to the old Pupusa place on Mission, almost next door to
the Blue Note. It's bigger and even friendlier and we were treated like the
royalty that we are. I had to work until 5:30, so we wanted to stay in the
nabe and we had a really nice time. I actually had the flatiron steak and I
recommend that and the cesar salad. Yum!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

as promised, with memories

Tanya and Ruby in Jan. 2012
In February, 2012
Ruby in 2014
Well, still with those big blue eyes. I so miss Tanya and our rides home from
the deYoung, our walks and coffee in the nabe, and all the long and sometimes
teary talks about life, love, work, people. It's amazing how we connect so
deeply with some people, isn't it? But Tanya, Scott and Ruby are very happy
in San Diego - surrounded by family and experiencing new adventures. And
so I too am delighted for them and appreciate Tanya for staying in touch. I
will see them in 2015 and that's a promise!

Friday, December 26, 2014

quite the quiet christmas

only blue in color, not in mood

view from the back deck - clear and cold

g. dot checks out family cards and calendar
Sorry her eyes are closed here! We let her sit for a moment before Ceci
started cooking for us. She made luscious tacos with guacamole, chopped
tomatoes, lots of onion and garlic in the ground beef. It is such fun watching
a real chef - she just chops, stirs, tastes, adds, mixes and all without a
recipe. Fast and yet thorough. Husbando and I follow recipes to a T,
double checking every ingredient and still making mistakes. A walk in
the nabe after dinner because it was such a pretty day and because, of
course, we ate too much. Perfection and gratitude.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

merry christmas

new tree - undecorated

with decor
I loved being off yesterday! First I met Ginger at the Embarcadero for some
coffee and a sweet, then we walked/talked and on the way home I shopped
for a few much needed items for today's holiday dinner. In the afternoon,
in the middle of a heavy rainstorm (of course) I decided that we needed a
tree, so I drove to Dandelion on Potrero and found the above beauty. It
is a pleasure to shop in this store because the owners have great taste and
their big old dog who rumbles around nudging people and product. Plus
it smells so very good and they serve coffee and mulled wine.

This morning I have some lovely emails and maybe a Ruby holiday photo
to share with you soon. Enjoy your day, dear readers.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

flora studies frisco

Flora and Lucybelle in Bernal

Flora in Evansville
My dear friend Lucybelle moved back to Indiana (where is THAT?) with
her new family. In the top photo we were having a farewell lunch up at
Progressive on Cortland. And today here is Flora remembering her home
town and the famous Golden Gate Bridge.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

what's a Jew pup?

I was taken aback...

we get updates that warm all of our hearts  

Turns out that the naming of the stray mom and five pups occurred during
Hanukkah, so her name is Dreidl and the little ones all have Jewish names.
They are too young to visit, but when I walked by the mama barked and
I said, "funny, she doesn't sound Jewish."

The paid staff and all the volunteers make a big deal out of these emails
that are sent by the grateful owners. When animals find their forever homes
we all rejoice and study the photos and read every single word about the
dogs and cats formerly known as Timmy, Odin, Autumn, etc.

Monday, December 22, 2014

two reasons to love the holidays

Wonderful customers out at the Legion of Honor yesterday. They said that
I was the first person to ask if I could take their picture and I find that
hard to believe...others didn't ask, I betcha.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

we BOTH liked this!

Of course Husbando didn't really want to see any damn movie about
marital problems and therapy, but Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee
Jones are so perfect in Hope Springs that it was a hit for sure.
Steve Carell is an excellent therapist, too. Oh, and it is funny, in
some places - especially Tommy Lee being so typically male.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

perfect prizes

Here we have my Cracker Jack rewards from Tiapos on Thursday night.
A tiny notebook with a special holiday inscription and a pen to help
me take important notes for Ellen and her sleuthing. Thank you Santa
Linda and your special Elf Tom.

Friday, December 19, 2014

our annual Tiapos party

Cracker Jacks and prizes from Linda and Tom

Lots of food and lots of work for the Great Plotniks

Writers and their partners (Doug is on camera here)
We had a wonderful time last night. We sorely missed Jane and Jack so it
just was not quite as special as it should have been. The food: pozole, duck
casserole, lamb meatballs, salad, KFC, yummy carrots, Chinese broccoli, pies
and treats I've forgotten already. The rants: TVs and their remote controls,
family, docents, rabbis and religion, parklets, Delta Smelts, hashtag talk.
So clever, my writing friends. Many sincere thanks to Doug and Barb for
hosting and for all the mess we left them with late (for us) in the evening.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

feeling (like) smug

Last night I went to the final Novel Writing Class at Karen's. It was
my turn to submit and I'm amazed to tell you that I have almost
10,000 words (goal is 80,000 or so) done. Ellen continues to search
for the killer of her husband Seth and even though I wasn't "feeling
it" for the last several weeks, my fellow students and teacher were
so very complimentary that I'm gung ho once again.

I have never accumulated so many words and I have learned so much.
They all loved my To Do List in the story which helped me propel
through some scenes when I was stuck. Here from my teacher:
"I love Ellen's voice so much. I think I'd read very far into her story
with very little happening, just to listen in on her thoughts and

On January 23rd I begin another Novel Writing class - this one
through the Writing Salon. And who is the teacher? Karen!
Oh, yes, you'll want to know that Ellen is resuming her blog -
it will lead to some clues and will focus on Seth and their
long and less than perfect marriage.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

my hectic work life

cold and wet outside the Legion of Honor

inside = warm

inside = warmer with books
It was v. quiet yesterday, but I enjoyed the solitude and I got to catch up on
some reading and list making. These are the rare days when I don't contemplate
retirement and of course Husbando loves his solo time at home. Dinner is
waiting when I return from the battlefield and I do so love that.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

merry holidays, blogger!

I splurged on this yesterday and am saving it for a non-holiday
rainy day. It is obviously not gluten-free so I need to stop and
get some peppermint bark to help me through the wheat fields
(or whatever that scratchy stuff is) while I indulge in baseball
in December. Thank you, Mad Bum.

Monday, December 15, 2014

best holiday photo

Here we have Derby and RR at their horse ranch. We can barely see the
red and white blanket under the saddle, but it's there. It's Monday and the
rain is here again - I need to feed some dogs at the SPCA and then attack
my holiday cards. I've been dawdling this year...

Sunday, December 14, 2014

santa saturday

fake grass over subway construction site

santas watch the ice skaters

a sea of santas
I needed to pick-up a couple of items in actual brick and mortar stores, so I
hit the downtown and had a delightful time. This Santa tradition is mostly
a pub crawl, but it was early and they were all gathering and milling about.
Then I walked down the newly remodeled Market Street to Valencia Street
(Valensha Tanya) and kept walking almost all the way home until I hopped
on a Muni for the last lap. The rains start again tomorrow, so I wanted to
walk while I still could. Oh, I saw a bunch of drunk santas inside a bar on
Mission Street in the afternoon, so all was as it should be. I love SF.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

a pigeon poem?

Coastal Java Shack

I decide to clock out,
stop at this waterfront bistro
I've driven past dozens of times,
carry a steaming dark roast
to the window,

"Chronic Blues"
on the house speakers,
keeping me
from the lockbox of thought.

I sink into the soft swallow
of an armchair
at the edge of a room
quiet with people
staring at laptops,

and stare at a sailboat
on its low-tide side
but what makes me focus
are two pigeons
that land on the dock planks
a few feet away—
flying rats,
or shit birds,
some people call them,
but a bird
that can roll a 360
to escape the plunge
of a peregrine.

With every step,
they cock their heads,
better to see.
Pinkish red feet,
orange eyes
with a black dot at the center,
their necks
a shiny iridescence.

In bird books
they're "rock doves,"
and I'm seeing
the two homers,
Penny and Phil,
I kept as a kid
in a loft atop our garage.

I released them once
at my grandfather's farm.
They circled, then flew
the twenty-five miles,
making it home
before we did
in my father's new Ford.

I'm there and here
at the same time,
clocked out,
just watching the pigeons.

Peter Makuck

The Sewanee Review
Fall 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

safe and soggy

our rain-drenched back deck (poor bunny)

our grey and cold city - more rain, please

Thursday, December 11, 2014

how's THE storm?

Yesterday the natives came up to the deYoung tower to check on this storm
that is getting more publicity than it probably deserves. There was a little
activity over towards the Bay, but no real rain until now at 7:00am on
Thursday. I am staying in today to face down the holidays and watch a
lot of junk TV. More of the latter, I suspect - popcorn anyone?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

18th and Castro Streets

 From my Monday walk. Often the changes here in SF are difficult
to accept, but these crosswalks in the heart of The Castro are a delight
because, yes, we celebrate diversity and the rainbow brings great joy.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

talkin' San Diego

Of course you remember Ruby (and today is Tuesday) and Tanya, her
mother and my dear and greatly missed friend. Well, Tanya is now
working here, at the San Diego Public Library. Cool, no? And, even
more exciting, plans are afoot for an April trip down there to see our
Giants! Ginger and I are in the emailing "let's plan" stage and I haven't
even warned Tanya. But let's see if she still reads this blog...

Monday, December 08, 2014

let's head back, OK?

I was afraid that I'd be disappointed in the Orsay Museum because the de
Young had those two Impressionist exhibits a couple of years ago while their
home here in Paris was getting a makeover. I'd visited time and time again
and enjoyed the art thoroughly. So why see it all again? Oh my, because the
Musee d'Orsay is so special - the light, the grandeur and who can ever tire of
Cezanne, Van Gogh, Manet, Renoir, Monet, Gaugin, Millet? This is one
of the memories I treasure most, it was a glorious few hours.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

55 acres of garden

It's hard to believe that I've worked at the deYoung for six years and have
not been to the SF Botanical Gardens right across the street in this
magnificent Golden Gate Park. Shame on me, but I did go yesterday and
of course it's free to SF residents and the perfect place to nibble on a
meat loaf sandwich and read for awhile. But also great people watching
and of course lots of unusual grasses, bushes and plants. I'll be back!

Saturday, December 06, 2014

it's starting

Husbando gets out of this holiday business because of the Jewish Factor,
but my understanding is that it's woman's work always and forever, no
matter who has or doesn't have religion. But at least I've cut waaaaaay back
and concentrate on my sanity and not dipping into my Travel Account. So,
first the red lights in the kitchen, next the wreath on the front door and then
just a few presents for the kids on our list. That might do it this year, we'll see...

Friday, December 05, 2014

probably THE BEST

The Great Plotniks know that there is nothing I love more than a good
burger and this was a great one here at Marlowe. Our first time, but
we will be back! It was my happy belated and Husbando and I
were in 7th Heaven. Yes, that's bacon and cheese on the Marlowe Burger
and the medium rare was cooked to perfection.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

and now, for the play

I've mentioned the theater in a couple of blog posts, so here is the
review of Promises, Promises which we enjoyed last Sunday. It's
a 1960's kind of romp, based on the Billy Wilder movie we all loved
(The Apartment), so the plot was a no-brainer from the beginning.
But this play has music and dancing and the sets were much like
the TV show Mad Men and we both thought this was very well
done and the two main stars (Monique Hafen and Jeffrey Brian
Adams) were absolutely terrific. And so delightful to be downtown
this time of year with the lights and the silver bells and all.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

how much is that doggie?

I spent a couple of pleasant hours collecting money in front of Macy's
last Monday afternoon. Downtown SF is a trip - a man was tapping
on the window (under the sign in the first photo) trying to get the
attention of that stuffed toy dog. No luck. People are always generous
and sometimes the biggest bills come from the folks who look like
they have the least.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

SF at its worst

From the Black Friday night protests - all 79 people arrested were NOT
residents of our city and the cops did their peaceful best. Here is the Crate &
Barrel right across the street from the Macy's SPCA window and yes, you will
get those photos soon. I missed the heavy (and most welcome) rains.