Sunday, March 31, 2019

everybody out

The sidewalk cafes were packed with happy natives who endured the rough winter. We spent two marvelous hours at the Barnes and that was such a treat. I showed Carlini the ins and outs and bathrooms so he could return. All that art can cause a brain to explode. We walked down to Chinatown to the Dim Sum Garden - very reasonable and popular with great food and service. 
I had never heard of the Reading Terminal Market but now I will never forget. A huge space teeming with customers - a bit claustrophobic for me but an unbelievable hodgepodge of butchers, bakers, ice cream shops, fresh vegetables, crafts, candy - all under the train station. Wow.
We called it a night while the sun was still out both needing some solo time I believe. I head back to his place on Rittrnhouse Square after I finish my coffee here at this excellent hotel.
My Annabelle is doing fine I’m happy to report.
Home tomorrow already!

Saturday, March 30, 2019

very full Friday

I walked and walked yesterday and enjoyed myself every moment. Visited the tiny home of Betsy Ross and continued on down to South Street area for lunch at the Fitzwater Cafe a local spot I could tell. Then after a Starbucks break I thoroughly enjoyed the Magic Gardens created by an artist (now 80) from strange objects he found on the streets. Of course I have tons of pictures for later because I can’t figure out how to post them with the new iPad.
     Dinner with Carlini at Tintos last night - fabulous. Then we missed the concert because  we were late but that’s ok as I would have dozed and he was tired from work. So coffee and dessert and then we  called it a night. 
       Sunshine today and more walking and we
have tickets to the Barnes when it opens today at 11am. Like SF this is a young person’s city or maybe they all are? Vibrant, easy to navigate, filled with unexpected delights just around the next corner. This trip was such a great idea! 

Friday, March 29, 2019

Almost like Europe

Missing cat and laptop but everything else is quite wonderful and I had a lovely dinner at Parc with Carlini last night. Free day now to figure out blog stuff then go sightseeing and weather is okay = dry. Staying at Morris House Hotel with a fireplace in every room. 

Thursday, March 28, 2019

cats galore

The Black Cat
John Kemp's wife was in Disneyland with some grands so he invited me
to the Black Cat to hear some jazz. I got the best deal, even though I don't
have an ear for music. We had dinner and early music and left at 8pm
and it was fun, something sort of out of the 50's.

I'm up early and ready to go to Philadelphia. Carlini writes that it is still
chilly but they are expecting a sunny weekend. My cat Annabelle is
sensing that her world will change and that the young women next door
will be coming in to feed her. She is pesky and loving this morning.

Expect brief iPad-only updates from Philly. Excited.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Fair's my brother

A secret language develops when people live together for eons. We
picked up an expression (from someone we disliked) that went like this:
Spouse #1 ~ "That is not Fair"
Spouse #2 ~ "Fair's my Brother"
I know it makes no sense.
Anyway, for years Bill worked to get our lemon tree to produce. He
would even take a leaf to the garden store where they would say
either too much water or not enough water. He added vitamins
and proteins to the soil There was a celebration when a lemon appeared.
Now look at this year and the beauties I just picked.
This is simply NOT Fair, brother or no.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

way to go!

From the Blogmaid's email this morning:
RR is taking apart her PC because it’s not working and she looked up 
how to fix it online and she’s just going for it. I had to help unscrew a 
few of the tighter screws, but her bravery and problem-solving are inspiring.

I use YouTube now too to help me with major projects. For instance,
if you hammer a thumb tack into the top of a bottle cap it will dismantle
the impossible-to-open child safety feature which I have grown to hate
so very much.

Next I'll be fixing my computer. Not. But I so love that Ryan is doing this.

Monday, March 25, 2019

our poetic Sunday with party

Poet Will Walker

Poet Karen Hildebrand


Poetry books from my friends

What a fine day we had. The poetry reading was at the book-stuffed Bird
and Beckett bookstore on Chenery Avenue in Glen Park. I love that little
neighborhood. Then folks gathered at my home which sparkled due to
intense cleaning and I provided pizza, Chef Sarah brought green treats,
Blaze and her stuffed eggs and Suzy with the cake to honor Karen who
is here from NY. The poetry was delightful and Will dedicated a poem to
my Bill Stein who always loved his work. Sweet.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

through the glass brightly

Annabelle is still in training and if allowed in the dining room there
would be chaos and unwanted drama. She loves flowers in vases,
but thinks they should be on the floor, not the table. So we work
around this by tricking her as I prepare for my writer friends to
gather this afternoon after a poetry reading. Pizza will be delivered
and guests will bring side dishes, wine, etc. And no rain so far today...

Saturday, March 23, 2019

who said it was easy?

Marriage, that is. The final season #4 of Catastrophe included a
tasteful funeral for Carrie Fisher who played Rob's mother in
this British comedy. Then a surprise appearance by Chris Noth
and many wonderful and touching scenes. I'm sorry Husbando
missed the ending of this series which we had enjoyed heretofore.

Friday, March 22, 2019

a hush all over the City

I found this old newspaper amongst Bill's memories. Here is the
poem and the why/when/where at the end. So beautiful. Thank you,
Mr. Ferlinghetti:

An Elegy to Dispel Gloom

Let us not sit upon the ground and talk
of the death of sanity.
That two sweet men are dead
is all that need be said.
Two so sentient beings
two humans made of flesh
are meshed in death
and no more need be said.
It is pure vanity to think that all humanity
is bathed in red
because one young mad man
one so bad man
lost his head.
The force that thru the red fuze
drove the bullet
does not drive everyone
thru the City of Saint Francis
where there’s a breathless hush
in the air today
a hush at City Hall
and a hush at the Hall of Justice
a hush in Saint Francis Wood
where no bird sings
nor tries his wings
a hush on the Great Highway
and in the great harbor
on the great ships
and on the Embarcadero
from the Eagle Cafe
to the Mission Rock Resort
a hush on the 
great red bridge
and on the great gray bridge
a hush in the Mission
and at Hunters Point
a hush at a hot potato stand on Pier 39
and a hush at the Peoples Temple
where no bird sings
a hush and a weeping 
at the Convent of the Sacred Heart
on Upper Broadway
a hush upon the fleshpots 
of Lower Broadway
a hush in the punk rock
at Mabuhay Gardens
and among the cafes and bookstores
of old North Beach
a hush upon the landscape
of the still Wild West
where two sweet dudes are dead
and no more need be said.
Do not sit upon the ground and talk
of the death of things beyond
these sad sad happenings.
Such men as these do rise above
our worst imaginings.

~ Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Published in the San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 1978.
after Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk were murdered

by Supervisor Dan White. 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

inspiration from a stranger

Wayne from Maine

Kimono inspired fashion

Yesterday I met Ginger at the Asian Art Museum so we could take in the
Kimono Exhibit which was different than I expected because the emphasis
was on how European and American designers were influenced by the
Japanese kimono fashion. Fabulous, really. While having coffee we were
joined by Wayne who is traveling across the country by train, stopping in
all the cities he hadn't visited before. His wife does not like to travel, so
he is doing this alone (for sixty days!) and having a great time. We are
now Facebook friends because he posts everyday and has 500 plus
followers ~ many of us are people he has met along the way. Wayne
was an HR director before he retired and he is a stained glass artist
and man, he really has a zest for life.

Last night I took pizza up to Neti's and we chatted about life and
death and she got through the nasty one year anniversary of Frank's
passing. She has helped me so much, friends are the BEST.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

oh, what a year

Our dear Frank died one year ago today. This will be a rough one for Neti
and I hope to see her tonight. When Pat called with the bad news last
year Bill and I clung to each other, both crying. We four had been friends
FOREVER and Frank used to pop over and trim our trees and he and Bill
would go to ball games sometimes and what a gentle man he was. And
greatly missed so very much. Sweet memories. RIP dear friend.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

more from Lawrence

The Changing Light

The changing light
                 at San Francisco
       is none of your East Coast light
                none of your
                            pearly light of Paris
The light of San Francisco
                        is a sea light
                                       an island light
And the light of fog
                   blanketing the hills
          drifting in at night
                      through the Golden Gate
                                       to lie on the city at dawn
And then the halcyon late mornings
       after the fog burns off
            and the sun paints white houses
                                    with the sea light of Greece
                 with sharp clean shadows 
                       making the town look like
                                it had just been painted

But the wind comes up at four o'clock
                                     sweeping the hills

And then the veil of light of early evening

And then another scrim
                  when the new night fog
                                        floats in
And in that vale of light
                      the city drifts
                                    anchorless upon the ocean

~ Lawrence Ferlinghetti 2000

Monday, March 18, 2019

poetry and a platterfull

poet, artist, publisher and founder of City Lights

Neti's kitchen

My plate ~ delicious

SF poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti will be 100 years old. One of the reasons
I love this city is because it was SRO yesterday at the Main Library
auditorium as poets gathered to read their work and tell their favorite
Ferlinghetti stories. It was a delightful two hour event as we all
soaked in the words. As I clean out Bill's office I run into poems he
saved including a few from Lawrence. I will post some in the future.
This poet so loves our city too despite the fact that people nowadays are
"arriving with bags of money and no manners."

Then to Neti's for St. Pat's corned beef and cabbage prepared by
another Pat, another widow. Excellent. I made Bill's white sauce and
brought a mint ice cream cake from Mitchell's. A fine evening on
this holiday that Husbando loved ~ for the food, of course.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

get thee to the swamp

I'm liking this bestseller, Where the Crawdads Sing which is set
in North Carolina and is an easy, almost predictable story of a
girl who loves her rough surroundings and also a boy or two.
She traveled with me on my LindaKindle4 during my city walk
yesterday. The weather is finally gorgeous here. Hooray.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

back to Lovejoy's

tea and more tea

Yesterday Jennie and I had a fine lunch of sandwiches
and scones. We had the window table, very nice.

Friday, March 15, 2019

with sliced cucumbers

I realize this looks like a seedy Florida-type Trump kind of spa, but
inside it is spotlessly clean and features two pools and three different
saunas. Imperial is a Korean establishment and the 1.5 hour massage was
probably the best I've ever had, but of course it has been a few years.
The masseuse even shampooed my hair and covered my face with freshly
sliced cucumbers and milk. A wonderful experience at a reasonable
price and it is already in my calendar for a visit in May.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

rays on the bay

Ferry Plaza ~ interior

Ferry Plaza ~ exterior

Farmshop stock photo ~ it was packed yesterday

All six women met for Book Club yesterday at Farmshop Restaurant in
Larkspur Landing. Two of us needed the sunshine and fresh air so we
took the ferry to/fro. Such a treat after so many rainy days here. We
sat outside and talked of many things, including books. Bill loved
walking along the Embarcadero and sitting in the sun for lunch and
he was in my heart yesterday. Not unusual, that.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

back to Monday

I accepted a spontaneous dinner invitation to The Great Plotnik's on
Monday night ~ was that not generous of me? Check out their garden
after all the rain. Those are daffodils. I have weeds in my little back
yard and moss on the concrete. Roast pork carnitas with all the trimmings
including just right warm, soft tortillas and even pomegranate seeds.
But always the best part is being with loving friends and catching up on our
sometimes less than perfect lives. A wonderful evening, apu.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

back to Sunday

I met Dancing Jen and Jon at Star (where Jen is royalty) for lunch. First I
checked out Portsmouth Square ~ this amazing always-packed park is a haven
for the many Chinese residents who live (I understand) in tiny, crowded nearby
apartments. This was the first public park in SF.  Older men and women
gather in separate groups to play various games. Above the men are setting
up cardboard boxes which have been left all stacked and neatly folded (by
whom?) around the square. Resourceful residents without electronic devices.

Monday, March 11, 2019

rainbow man

Here is the wonderful Mr. Blogmaid down at his front yard (the ocean)
in Half Moon Bay. I remember when Bill and I first met him and we
were happy and impressed with our Blogmaid's partner selection. He
loves animals too and together they own: three cats, one dog, two
horses. Oh, yes, they are doing a superior job raising the very special
RR who will be 16 in November. How did that happen? With love,
of course ~ and patience, humor, open communication, etc.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

baby widow steps

I have to learn how to entertain as a single person. We had some great
dinner parties and I miss the sound of laughter and chatter around the
fireplace and dinner table. So last night we three not-so-merry widows
(Neti included) gathered here to celebrate Pat's belated birthday. I
loved getting the house all clean and setting a pretty table with the
GOOD stuff. I confess I did not cook a thing. Grub Hub delivered
dinner from the Green Papaya and Pat brought gelato and I had a
small chocolate cake from Safeway. I missed my partner but I still
had a wonderful time and so did my friends. I think the key for me
is not to stress about gourmet cuisine and just to enjoy my home
and my guests. Annabelle had a lovely evening too and we both slept
in peace until 6am this morning, which is so civilized compared to
the usual 5am cat wake-up alarm. The dishes are being done now,
in between writing-fireplace-time. Life is good, trust me here.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

she's a good wife

Much better than I ever was, that's for sure. The Wife is for rent
on Amazon Prime and of course I loved it even though I found
some things really unbelievable during these times when women
are allowed to be so outspoken. Or human, I guess I mean. Glenn
Close is fabulous, but you already know that.

Friday, March 08, 2019

road tripping

Heath Ceramics

Yesterday Marsha and I and her two dogs drove to Novato on a small
errand and some women-talk time. Novato is simply too boring to snap
one photo, even the Starbucks lattes were dreary. But really nice to
get out of SF and no rain. The hills are lush and green all around the
Bay and that was such a treat.

When we returned to civilization I introduced Marsha and the dogs
to the Heath Ceramics factory on 20th Street ~ they had not been
here before. This was a nice day indeed and Annabelle was all ears
and appetite when I returned home to tell her everything.

Today is International Women's Day. Very special.

Thursday, March 07, 2019


Yesterday's daily writing exercise.

HYGGE (the prompt)

Hahahahaha. The prompt-creator Linda D. and I use CALM the 
meditation app or application, if you will. A daily way to help reduce 
stress and to stay quiet for ten (sometimes long) minutes. This was 
one of Tamara’s daily subjects and as you might know by now it 
refers to comfort and that wonderful feeling of being in the exact 
right place at the right time. This is a Danish word.

I call her Tammy sometimes, this woman who speaks to me everyday and
tells me to breathe and stay in the moment. I’m pretty good most days
and she has even spoken to me when a glorious nap is needed. She
lives in snow country and has an unfortunate way of ending some words
in a stronG G. Then I’m thinkinG, but I am no longer meditatinG. 
Is she Canadian?

Bill and I had our word for that wonderful feeling of well-being and 
experiencing extreme comfort with the one you love. Hoganward started 
for us forty years ago when we couldn’t complete some fucking crossword 
puzzle and just filled in the word. I have a vivid memory of driving around 
the lakes in upper New York state with Bill. “Hoganward.” we agreed.

You will be amused to learn that occasionally I walk away from Tammy
and my iPad while she is talkinG and breathinG. Fuck this ~ not a
Danish expression as far as I know. 


Wednesday, March 06, 2019

never forgotten

It's been three years since my teacher and dear friend Jane Underwood
died. While cleaning out my office I find I can't throw some things
away. Her comments on my work, of course, she is the reason that
I call myself a writer today. And more, I find a poem that Linda D.
and I both love that isn't in the book ~ here for you:

I Was Wrong

Sunlight bakes my thinning hair,
and through the open window
wafts a wig of balmy air.

Sixty years gone by, plus two. You'd
think I'd never felt the sun,
you'd think no other kiss or whisper
ever skimmed this skin.

A mockingbird takes on the dawn.
Repeat, repeat, he sings his stolen songs.
Repeat, repeat, from early morning on.

Timeless and alone at five a.m.,
he starts to sing himself to
us, the world, the universe.
He does this from atop
a barren pole.
Burst of sun, trill and chirp, another
day gone by. Things I thought
could never be enough, but are.

~ Jane Underwood

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

just us girls

Scott's stomach was acting up last night so Nancy and I had dinner
over at the Blue Plate. We were going to walk, but of course it was
still raining. Bill helped us find a great parking place and she said,
"Thanks, Dad." She is the best step daughter in the world and next
I will see her in June at another Wedding of the Century in Elgin,
Illinois. First I will "do" Chicago and relive more sweet memories.

Monday, March 04, 2019

today from Wordsmith



noun: A word or phrase resulting from mishearing a word or phrase, 
especially in song lyrics.

Example: “The girl with colitis goes by” for “The girl with kaleidoscope 
eyes” (in the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”).

ETYMOLOGY: coined by author Sylvia Wright when she misinterpreted
the line "laid him on the green” as “Lady Mondegreen” in the Scottish 
ballad “The Bonny Earl of Murray”. Earliest documented use: 1954.

“Sometimes in musical announcements, words lose their meaning, 
or are misheard, resulting in a delightful mondegreen. ... The audience 
thought Walter Love had said: ‘We are beginning tonight with Howard 
Ferguson’s overture ‘Fornication’.’” (instead of “Overture for an Occasion”).
Paul Clements; An Irishman’s Diary; Irish Times (Dublin); Oct 5, 2016.

“[Tim Minchin’s] elocution is so exquisite there’s not a mondegreen in earshot.”
Suzanne Simonot; Tim and Tom Show a HOTA Opening Act; The Gold 
Coast Bulletin (Southport, Australia); Mar 19, 2018. 

Sunday, March 03, 2019

friends in matching vests

The Blogmaid and I coordinated our plaids yesterday and met at the movie
theater to see The Favourite because we both adore Olivia Coleman and
Ms. Maid is a huge fan of ANYTHING royal. This film did not get great
reviews but I thought it was delightful and fun and of course the costumes
are outstanding. And lots of rabbits to oooh and ahhhh over too.

Saturday, March 02, 2019

well, why not?

We bought Waterford crystal back in the 80's on our trip to Ireland. I
still love the look and feel of it. I decided to start using it for everyday
orange juice, freshly squeezed, of course. (I often think of my friend
Susan who starts her Sundays with oj.) Little by little changes are being
made here in our home and I no longer feel disloyal. I do, however,
find that it helps to include outside eyes, such as my step Nancy saying,
"You have room in the pantry for this and you are going to need to clean
off the counters anyway for the re-mo." Got it, done. Thanks...

Friday, March 01, 2019

back to the kitchen

We returned to Home Depot to finalize the project and that felt really
great. So happy to have Nancy and Scott (and Clarice) working on
this. In about a month the project will probably be finished. In the
meantime, I've been re-organizing the kitchen and getting stuff OFF
the counter. My friend Linda D. writes that I needn't cook just because
I have a sparkling new counter top. Whoosh.

Nancy and Scott left to visit Ceci up north and I sat down (in the kitchen)
and did the taxes. This is our 8th year with Turbotax and it was pretty easy,
all in all. It's good to lead a simple life with very few cover-ups or collusions.