Monday, February 29, 2016

the Z Space

Yesterday we met Ginger on Florida Street for a Word for Word
performance about two writers. The first, by Emma Donoghue, is
called "Night Vision" about a blind Irish poet and the second, by
Colm Toibin, was "Silence" about Lady Gregory. Based on real
Irish women writers and how they struggled to get their voices heard.
To my surprise, I liked the Toibin sketch best, but they were both
excellent. Through April 3rd and recommended highly.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

my daily dose of happiness

Sabine and Josie
Every single day lately I receive a text photo of "the landing" in Pumpkinville.
Sometimes the Blogmaid takes the picture, often it is via the iPhone of
Mr. Blogmaid or RR. But always welcome. These fortunate  residents switch
beds ~ the one on the right is favored and when that animal gets up to
stretch her legs, the other one quickly hops right in to the prime location.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

from Norway and Netflix

Let's say Norway stops producing oil for ecco reasons. Russia does not
like this and "steps in" to help them get production going again. Great
acting and a believable story ~ and we think OUR country is divided.
Ten mind boggling episodes, wowza. Do not miss this one...

Friday, February 26, 2016

there's nothing like North Beach



Well, maybe somewhere in Italy, but here we have the sights and definitely the
smells of garlic, fish, wine and all things happy. Not many tourists
yesterday, but lots of sun, so we sat outside at Sotto Mare. Husbando
and I had the cioppino and Ginger the petrale sole. Yum!
Then coffee at Caffe Trieste, filled with memories and not too
many people. We parked right across from the restaurant on
Green Street. How about that? (note odd formatting here today)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

dinner for 12 (including Jane)

Last night we met at Suzy's home in Oakland for our first Tiapos since
Jane died, but she was there, laughing and crying with us. We had such
a wonderful time ~ lots of delicious food and so much warmth. Mostly
we read and talked about Jane and it was good to meet her BFF Toby
and see Karen H. from NYC again.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

it's a first

garage door on Alabama Street in the nabe
I am using the new MacBook Air ~ downloading the photo from my
iPhone and posting on da blog for the first time. I want to be prepared
to take my new toy to Ashland. So far, so good.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Life itself

We finally watched this life-affirming film about the movie critic
Roger Ebert who died of a difficult cancer a few years ago. But he
wrote up until his final moments and he found love late in life
with his adored Chaz. There was a time when no one would miss
the Siskel ~ Ebert movie reviews on TV, and their rivalry and
friendship is an essential part of this movie, available on the Flix®.

Monday, February 22, 2016

goodbye, Marcia

Ours was not an easy friendship. She thought I was difficult and I found
her to be so too. But we knew each other since college and we tried to
stay in touch and not argue when we saw each other. I'm glad I went to
Denver to visit her a couple of years ago and we exchanged a few emails
after that and then I read on Facebook (!) that she died of cancer this
past week. Would I have gone to her had I known? Probably, but life
and death are not predictable. I spent yesterday remembering the good
times that we did have throughout the years. She was one-of-a-kind. RIP.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

more tears for Jane

her photography books

pictures from Jane's life on the TV

Jack makes Jane proud
It was a wonderful memorial yesterday at the Kezar Restaurant. SRO
because Jane was loved by so many. Lots of poetry, admiration, sorrow
and soothing words and hugs. Exhausting, in a good way.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

joy x 8

Ginger and I have our baseball tickets for this season. We are going to
eight games and the first one is Thursday, April 21st. All day games and
isn't wonderful to read REAL news in the Chronny Green Section again?
We already like the new members of our team.

Friday, February 19, 2016

animals = happy

Here's a lovely photo (thanks, Blogmaid) of RR and Derby. We
live in the b-e-s-t place on earth and I am surrounded by friends
and beauty and this first cup of coffee is EXTRA strong and good.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

the equal time doctrine

Yesterday I hopped on BART to visit my friend Meriel in San Leandro.
She also loves the black/white combo and here are her doggies. They
each have black spots above their white tails, but they wouldn't sit still
long enough for me to get the backside photo. Still, very cute, no?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

to cheer us

Here are my friend Pamela's cats. We can see why she and Richard
decided to adopt the new little kitten. I, like you, have a busy day ahead
so it's best I start mine with the Important Things.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

February in the city

most of the plum trees made it through the drought (not ours, alas)

the deYoung window ~ celebrating Chinese New Year

Monday, February 15, 2016

our valentine's day

Every year Turbo Tax makes it easier and since our lives are nice
and simple, we finished our taxes yesterday and our refunds are
on the way. Next year I will use MsAir because MsMac is a little
slow and reluctant, but I didn't want to be learning and being a
good citizen at the same time.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

now at the Legion of Honor

You don't want to miss this Pierre Bonnard exhibit which is on until
May 15th. There are 75 impressive works filled with color and
imagination. I saw only two rooms yesterday because Dancing Jen
arrived and it was even better having a latte with her. I'll go back
again and again to see Mr. Bonnard ~ the crowds are back!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

back to That War

Hitler wanted an atomic bomb and "heavy water" was needed. The
Germans took over a plant in Norway that produced this strange by-
product and a secret force of Norwegians and allied soldiers were
hell bent on stopping the operation. Fascinating. Yesterday in the
Tower I talked to a Norwegian couple and they said, "Yes, it's all
true." We've watched two of the six episodes on the Flix® and
I recommend it with enthusiasm.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Ms. Air arrives

Behold the new MacBook Air, 13" inches worth of sleek. I ordered
a  book from Amazon (also a carry case) because I still depend on
the written word to learn new technical things. I like to underline
and use post-its and have the book handy when I have an "issue".
There will be issues. The Blogmaid ordered this for me with
extra memory and I thank her and all of you for your help and
valuable suggestions. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

kindness, the poem

Jane's friends have been sending poems and thoughts this week
to honor her and to help us grieve. This, from Jeff:

By Naomi Shihab Nye, 1952

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. 
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

life stories

I snapped this photo last week at the Columbarium. We can tell a lot
about this man, can't we? One day I'll go back and take a few more
pictures and ponder life and death. Maybe...

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

when Robins write

Suzy Parker is doing a fabulous job running the Robin program this time.
She asked me to be a substitute and here is my contribution for today:

INSTANTLY (the prompt)

It's 5:50 am and the breakfast prep is finished, the coffee extra good and
strong. I feel powerful and capable and I have a full work shift today. The
classical music radio station is on here, next to my dictionary, Thesaurus
and recharging iPhone. I'm looking forward to my Round Robin writing
for the first time since last October's class when I was also a substitute.

Now I start crying again. I have cried every morning since Jane died last
Friday. I have always written for Jane. I want to make her smile, I need
her to send a reply. Yes, I want her approval and I always have. Friends
have always liked my writing, but when I met Jane everything changed.
She became the writing teacher put on this earth just to admire my talent.
I became a writer in 2001, when I first met Jane.

Two years or so ago she hosted a gathering of some her students at the
Progressive Cafe on Bryant Street. The topic was Food and she selected 

three of my old robin food-related pieces for me to read.

"Sure," I said. "Let me clean these up, edit and perfect them and I'll be there."

"No," Jane responded. "I like your writing just the way it is. Do not change
one word, your voice is so unique and clear when you do your ten minute

You're the boss, Jane. I'll always write to you and for you. Often with tears.
Always with gratitude.

Monday, February 08, 2016

The Columbarium

This is a San Francisco treasure, owned by the Neptune Society. A
non-religious spot to place our ashes and memories. I had never been
before Friday, when I went to a memorial for a woman I didn't know
very well, but I was close to her husband and son at one time. The
Columbarium is right off Geary between Arguello and Stanyan. It
is a beautiful building with lots of little glass cases, peoples' photos,
names and dates. (An amazing number of the dead keep their dog
and cat photos by their sides.) But anyway, the memorial service was
sweet/sad, crowded and full or joy and sorrow. I was able to weep openly
and publicly for Jane and no one knew the difference.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

you gotta have friends

Thanks to everyone who sent loving messages about loss, friendship and
how come life is so difficult? When I arrived home from a day of "work"
(reading my iPhone, the New Yorker and a book) these beautiful flowers
from our Blogmaid were waiting for me, saying so much and I am so
very grateful to all of you. And I've been writing, Jane would want me to.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Jane died yesterday

Here she is on her 50th birthday, with her beloved Jack, who has been
so devoted to her throughout this difficult battle. I can't write much
about Jane yet, but she changed my life ~ made me a writer. Opened
door after door, introduced me to amazing new people. I met her
in 2001 ~ I remember crying during her Personal Essay class when
she highlighted my work. MY writing. Imagine! I still have her email
here on my bulletin board ~ Feb. 13, 2003. My first Tiapos meeting
in her cottage on Moultrie. What an honor it was and still is. Friend,
poet, leader, teacher, creator ~ RIP, Jane, you will never be forgotten.
Heartfelt thanks from your grateful student and friend, MsMush.

Friday, February 05, 2016

the home of Hedi

Last night our Tiapos writing group met in a delightful new location.
Hedi lives about two blocks away from Jane, so we are all familiar
with the neighborhood. Everything inside was warm and wonderful
and we had a fine meeting with coffee, tea and too many sweets. Some
very fine writing, needless to say.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

I keep trying...

I really want to love this book, The Little Paris Bookshop, but I
don't. It's a little overwrought and flowery and must we speak of
LOVE quite so often? On the other hand, it is about Paris and
bookselling, so I will keep on reading and enjoying some of it.
Maybe it will get better? On my LindaJudyKindle2.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

an unlikely hero

Oh, this made me so happy first shot while reading the Chronny this
morning. Here is the man who is eligible for the $140,000 reward from
Orange County for spotting the two escaped criminals. He is homeless
and he first spotted the white van (we mystery writers know that bad
guys use white vans) in the Whole Foods Parking Lot on Stanyan. Our
hero is a news junkie, not a druggie or addict, and he lives in Golden
Gate Park. Finally, one for the down trodden!

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

welcome to The Ritz

Yesterday morning one of the volunteers couldn't park in the last remaining
space because of these two boxes. She went to move them and "Woof!"
Three adult dogs and six (6!) adorable puppies. The SPCA isn't supposed
to accept "drop-offs" because they usually go first to Animal Care and
Control, next door. But they all looked so very well cared for, good coats
and collars, wanted to be hugged and loved and the mama dog so eager
to see her pups that all rules were broken. AC&C does a wonderful job,
but the SPCA will provide them with The Best. It was a cold night, but
they all kept each other warm and we think that they will be adopted
quickly. The volunteer who discovered them got "naming rights" and
it was an extra fun Monday morning at 16th and Alabama.

Monday, February 01, 2016

the nether world

This is a play about virtual reality when the internet becomes really
advanced. The Nether is 80 minutes of brilliance and I could not
wait until it was over because it was so disturbing. The main character
has created a safe world where his most horrid fantasies can be played
out and it provided no hope, no answers ~ very distressing and not
worth battling the football fans crowding into MY city. Harumphhhhh.
At the SF Playhouse, if you are interested, through March 5th.