Saturday, January 31, 2015

award winning and now...

...featured on my blog! All the Light We Cannot See was written by
Anthony Doerr who was with me (in book form) when we traveled to
Italy. He is a delightful and talented writer. This is the story of a young
German soldier and a 16 year old blind French girl - they haven't met
yet as the author is just giving us some fascinating back stories, but
soon they will and we only want the best for two such rich and
deserving characters. This takes place in France at the end of WWII.

Friday, January 30, 2015

scary city fire

22nd and Mission

people gather out front - residents?
The helicopters started about 8pm on Wednesday night and did not stop
until about noon yesterday. This was indeed an inferno and all because one
man was cooking and grew careless. I was a little embarrassed to go and
have a look at other peoples' tragedy yesterday, but it was like Disneyland
there. Human nature, I guess. Security is so basic and yet it can be over
in the lighting of a stove. We will send $$ to GoFundMe, Mission Fire
to help the displaced tenants.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

cross-cultural love affair

Neither of us was terribly excited to see this Tom Stoppard play
because he can be a bit too intellectual for the likes of us, but
Indian Ink at A.C. T. is mostly a romantic piece with lots of
history thrown in. This takes place in the 1920's when England
ruled India and when Ghandi begins his peaceful protests. We
both really, really enjoyed this play and, as always, the acting
is superb. It is, however, almost 3 hours longs. Hmmmmmm...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Josie joins me...

...we both had more tooth work yesterday.  But Josie (the Blogmaid's
3-legged cat) got some powerful medicine as you can tell by her eyes.
So far my dental bills are a bit higher, but Josie is rapidly catching up.
I didn't get any meds yesterday, but yes, I could have used whatever
this grey feline had.  We stay positive, when we aren't bitching that is.
(Or we try to, I should add.) Thanks for the photo, Blogmaid!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

my life of/with books

All during 2014 I would jot down the titles of books that I have loved.
I was working on my Top Ten, but now it's way more and I can't leave any
of these out. Then I was going to get the titles perfect and include the
authors' names, but that would be another month. So in NO particular
order and with a few mistakes, here are some of my faves:
  • Motherless Brooklyn
  • Shipping News
  • Billy Lynne's Long Halftime Walk
  • Gold Finch
  • Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
  • Holidays on Ice
  • Bel Canto
  • Life of Pi
  • 1000 Acres
  • Map of the World
  • Orphan Master's Son
  • Cutting the Stone
  • Elegance of the Hedgehog
  • City of Thieves
  • Season of the Witch
  • Where did you go, Bernadette?
  • Curious Case of the Dead Dog
  • Remains of the Day
  • Go Ask Alice
  • Bean Tree
  • Middlesex
  • Benediction

Monday, January 26, 2015

despite the drought

...or maybe because of it? For the first time in 20 years we have a REAL
crop of lemons. The tree is a bit bedraggled looking, but these Meyer
lemons are quite juicy and luscious. Yesterday, after a delightful coffee
and talk with Dancing Jen downtown, I came home to weed a bit in
our dank back yard. Husbando has been using our very own compost
in the soil and it has produced lots of weeds, but they are easy to pull
and the red worms have worked their magic. Sunday off, such a treat.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

is that you, Seth?

I'm having trouble understanding Seth, Ellen's husband. I can't picture him,
nor can I fathom why he would ever cheat on his wife. Teacher Karen suggested
that I google 60 year old men and I like the looks of this one, don't you? So
next I need to write about him and that will be a challenge. But interesting,
always that...

Saturday, January 24, 2015

yes, Virginia...

Last night I went to my first Novel Continuation class at the Writing Salon.
It meets once a month, but one must commit to writing. Oh, that. Karen
is my teacher again and she is one of the best. I was reminded again NOT
to revise anything at this stage - the novel is just a quilt during the first
draft. There will be many blind alleys and it will not make sense. I will
write five pages a week. Truly. Virginia Woolf only wrote one page a
day and that was music to my ears. I feel great this morning!

Friday, January 23, 2015

south of market

I think this is my favorite photo from the new exhibit at the deYoung. I
remember buying my office chair down here many, many years ago. Janet
Delaney's work is a testament to our SF past before the massive Moscone
Center was built. There are 45 color photographs from the 70's and 80's
when Ms. Delaney lived on Langton Street, a blue-collar nabe in a shared
urban environment that just wasn't "pretty" and there are those of us who
don't want the city to be glossy and ultra beautiful. Isn't that for the burbs?
I highly recommend this - through July 19th.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

togetherness time

This is touted as the first great TV program of 2015 and after two
episodes (of 8) we are hooked. Amanda Peet is the only star that I
recognize, but everyone is great fun and it's all so Southern California
with the beaches, palm trees, architecture and family squabbles.
Sunday night, of course, when everything important on TV happens...

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

the dessert, the family

OK, here is the final Napa report. Not great pix, but you get the idea. The
dessert tray included that custard with exploding rock candies on the bottom,
little round donut wholes, marshmallow on graham cracker, dipping sauces
and 40 pounds of sugar. The family from the left: Lauren, Scott, Ceci,
Nancy, Husbando and your Blogger. Morimoto's went all out for us...

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

back in SF and blue skies

Sunday - welcome home!

Monday - get table set for crab fest

Yesterday after dog feeding I walked down to Dianda's for some almond
torte dessert for tonight's gala crab fest with Nancy and family. I pre-set
the table because that's my favorite part of entertaining (other than the
guests) and because I have to work all day today. The guests will take
Husbando down to Fish Wharf this afternoon for the crabs and he will
make the sauces and the salad. Easy. (I know that Dancing Jen will
smile when she sees those espresso cups that took me five days to decide
whether to buy or not. All of 7 Euro. And yes, we are still friends!)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Napa redux

not the River Seine

Morimoto - river side of two entrances

g. dot Lauren at Red Chicken Cantina

Morimoto salad with calamari and crab legs down the way
You can see that the weather was not spectacular, but that's OK, it is winter.
One of the nicest things about Morimoto was the comfy chairs - roomy,
(with arms) and that is how we could sit for four hours eating all sorts of
strange and wonderful foods. It was a bustling atmosphere and great fun
to watch all the servers, cooks and customers. They all love g. dot Ceci
and she was in her glory. I will present the dessert tray tomorrow...

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Morimoto Napa

Sushi for six - after many, many appetizers. We had a marvelous experience and more photos tomorrow. Thanks to grand daughters for picking up the tab! This is my first iPhone post.
Home later today...

Saturday, January 17, 2015

a little grey in Napa

Herre I am back on the mini iPad, sitting in the rather nice cafe at the
Best Western. Someone requested that they turn off FOX News, so
I turned my chair back around and will watch Real News. I have my
coffee, the husband didn't sleep all that well (how do you say under-
statement in French?) and I will spend an hour or so here and let him
sleep. We had a nice yesterday - lunch at The Pear on the River Napa
and dinner at the Red Hen Mexican Restaurant, right across from this
motel. Convenient and not bad. It was misty most of the day, but not
worth an umbrella. 

Nancy isn't feeling up to snuff (cold?) but we hope she will be better
today. Her husband Scott is fine and Lauren (Ceci's sister) is a
delight and for sure we all gather for dinner at the classy restaurant
where Ceci works. We passed it yesterday and they let us snoop
around because we are the honored grand parents. 

The photo is of the Best Western cafe which we can't enjoy due to
winter weather. But pretty.

Friday, January 16, 2015

remember Ellen?

Of course, you do - she is my latte-loving heroine searching for clues
as to WHO killed her husband. Was it her sister? Relax, even the author
doesn't know. Especially the author. But, wait, there is hope. One of
my ex-teachers posted on Facebook (of all places) that we need to stop
saying how much we dislike writing, how difficult it is, etc. So now
on the top of my weekly To Do List in big letters: I LIKE TO WRITE!
And then by each day I have the word Ellen and I get to cross that off
when I have pushed this reluctant woman a bit further in her investigation.
A week from tonight I go to class again, so progress must be made!

In the meantime, Daughter Nancy and family are here and we head for
Napa in a couple of hours. G. dot Ceci is a chef up there, as you might
remember. So now after Ellen pokes around AT&T Park, I get to
pack the Paris suitcase and take Ken the Toyota for a run.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

2014 - now in print

front cover - author and her Husbando at Kokkari

back cover - Paris, but you guessed that
Really, the new year doesn't officially start until Blogspot sends my
printed blog. Sorry about the flash on the River Seine. 2014 was
a very good year and it's fun to review the whole thing in living color.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

million dollar view

for my million dollar mouth

from my dear friend Joe - to cheer me
Yes, it was 4 hours of awful, but really no pain because the novacaine drugs
are so much faster (and stronger) than they used to be. And I love that the
body and mind recover so quickly from these assaults. I'd rather have weak
teeth than a fuzzy mind, so we accept these things that we cannot change.
(But not always gracefully.) Oh, and I love clutching the iPhone and texting
Husbando and the Blogmaid during the ordeal - thanks for that!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

RR and Sabine

A girl and her dog - one could write a poem or a piece of prose and
still not quite capture this happiness and joy.

Today I am back in the dental chair at 8:30am for a lovely little
root canal. There are many worse things than BAD teeth and that
I will try to remember as I sit there using some half-ass meditation
technique as the dentist pokes and pulls and attempts to reassure me.

Monday, January 12, 2015

how late it is...

If I don't post a blog in the morning the day speeds by and I have zilch
creative juices after say, 11am. Same with writing or emails - I'm just
a morning person and that's all there is to say about that. But here is a
happy photo from yesterday when Mr. and Mrs. Blogmaid and their
puppy Sabine came to the deYoung to visit me. I took an unauthorized
break (something I'm exceedingly good at) to say howdy. So there,
I promise to have something important to say tomorrow morning EARLY.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

fanciful (and fun)

Also far-fetched, predictable and well worth seeing if you love Helen
Mirren, food, culture clash and happy endings. The Hundred-Foot
Journey also features a few Paris scenes so that certainly appeals to
some of my readers, and to me, needless to say.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

a friend named Leah

We worked together 25 or so years ago at Barnes and Noble in San Mateo.
She moved and married and lives in New Jersey and we have stayed in
touch and seeing her yesterday was so very wonderful. The sad thing is
that Leah is here saying her goodbyes to a friend with cancer, but we met
for coffee and talked of many things. She showed me her 25 year watch
because she still works for B&N in NYC and she has the SAME boss
and colleagues that she has had all these years and that says a lot about
her and the company too. The last time I saw Leah in New York she was
pregnant and those boys are now eleven! Neither of us has changed, we
both agreed, except we are smarter now. A special day for sure.

Friday, January 09, 2015

and now I'm reading...

Somehow I missed this National Book Award winning novel, but
I just downloaded it on my LindaKindle2. The Good Lord Bird is
the story of a young black man who travels as a girl and we get to
see the notorious white abolitionist John Brown and his raid on
Harper's Ferry in 1859. Henry (Henrietta) is supposed to make Huck
Finn seem tame and I look foward to some history and adventure.
Author James McBride wrote The Color of Water, an instant classic
which I have not read, but will.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

the january ritual

I spent all afternoon chopping and stirring and we have enough minestrone
in the freezer to last until summer when the fog rolls in and it will be cold
and dreary. But that's another story for another blog post. We also oiled the
oldest furnace in America and changed the filter - yes, another January
tradition here in Bernal. Now I head off to the Embarcadero for coffee with
Ginger and we will say, "je suis Charlie," and try to understand why there
is so much craziness in this world. But, Paris? Our Paris? For shame...

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

leaving work

One of the many nice memories I hope to retain when I retire is this - after
a full day inside, talking to customers and gossiping with fellow workers,
we emerge past the smelly dumpsters on the side of the Legion of Honor and I
believe every employee says "oh, my!" either aloud or as a silent benediction.
The air feels so clean, the ocean is right there and now the sun is sliding down
later and later so we are no longer in the dark at 5:30 pm. This is the time of
year when everyone in California must (or should) say, "how could I possibly
live anywhere else?"

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

one more try

We tested The Bletchley Circle before and for some reason didn't find
it as enthralling as we have this go-round. Perhaps we didn't realize
how very important these women were to the World War II efforts
when they were code breakers outside of London. But now their
lives are post-war dull, until they decide to get into the mystery
solving business. Thanks to Flix® we are streaming and appreciating.

Monday, January 05, 2015

to the East Bay!

I had a lovely time high up in the Berkeley Hills last night at an all-woman
gathering of old friends. Such warmth - the home, the guests, the food and
especially the hostess. Truly wonderful and the drive both ways was (surprise!) easy.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

are you ready?

My dear friend Will (#88) included this piece with his holiday card. I now
will give it to you to share and to think about. It's so true and besides, who
doesn't adore Hugh Laurie?

It's a terrible thing, I think, in
life to wait until you're ready.
I have this feeling now that
actually no one is ever ready to
do anything. There's almost no
such thing as ready. There is
only now. And you may as well
do it now. Generally speaking,
now is as good a time as any.


Saturday, January 03, 2015

back to the binge

Oh those Brits. Black Mirror is a series of six one hour separate
episodes that might remind you of the old Twilight Zone. Each is
very strange, dark, utopian and thoroughly enthralling. It is being
streamed on the Flix® and Husbando read about this first in the New
Yorker, so already word is out. Warning: not for the squeamish.

Friday, January 02, 2015

our day in Pumpkinville

It was the Blogmaid's birthday and we four drove down to celebrate and
then went to Spanish Town for lunch. I like this photo best because I get
to hold the dog, even though she really wanted Frank. From the left: Frank,
Neti, Sabine and Blogger, Husbando, (top) Blogmaid and her Bill. RR was
still at the sleepover, but she did go to lunch with us. It was an easy drive
and a very pleasant and happy few hours.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

it's 2015 - really?

Have a wonderful New Year - thank you for reading da blog!