Saturday, April 29, 2006

Happy Birthday, Elsa

© Linda Davick, cat scientist

Friday, April 28, 2006

Dinner Date

If I look happy, it's because I fell in love with Spots on the beach two years ago, and it's taken me this long to get her to come over for dinner. She brought her friend Tipper (background).

Spots taking a break between courses

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

My Dinner With Carol and Robin

This is my cousin, Carol. She's in town for a conference. She's staying at the Omni, so we met for dinner tonight at Gaylord, across from the movie theatre at the Embarcadero. I'm usually wary of anybody from my family tree, but we had lots of fun. She's a live wire, and doesn't she look young?

She brought her pal Robin along. We made Carol choose a couple bottles of wine, and then we made Carol pay. We laughed a lot.

I asked them if I had to download one song tonight or fall into the abyss, what song they would recommend. Right away, Carol, 55, mentioned Jack Johnson. Then Robin, 35, said, "Yes! Download Bubble Toes by Jack Johnson." Then Carol discreetly got out her cell phone and called her daughter Ava, 15, at home in Atlanta. She handed the phone to me, and I asked Ava the same question. Here's the weird thing. Ava suggested Banana Pancakes by Jack Johnson. So now I'm happy to have Bubble Toes and Banana Pancakes in my library.

As we were leaving, I was getting ready to shoot portraits of Carol and Robin. I pulled out my camera, and on the screen was this little sun symbol. This means the camera is ready to shoot in broad daylight. But it was dark, and I couldn't make the sun symbol go away. (See the portrait of Robin, bottom left). Then Robin said, "Hey, I have this same camera. I can make the little sun go away." I don't know what she did, but when she handed the camera back to me I was able to shoot the professional portrait of her on the right, and the excellent one of my cousin (top left).
p.s. Just in case you're wondering why my cousin looks 40 when in reality she's 55 . . . She just called me, and I asked her that question. First she reminded me that I drank quite a bit of wine last night. "But even before the wine!" I insisted. So she divulged her secret. She uses these great skin care products by MD Formulations that she gets from her sister-in-law.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Not Your Mother's Bookclub

Sarah Dessen writes books for jr. high and high school kids. She spoke this evening at a meeting of Not Your Mother's Bookclub, whose slogan is: content may not be suitable for parents. It was held at Cafe Lo Cubano. Tons of snacks were served, along with a fluorescent red beverage. The club members, some of whom are shown above, were inspiring. Smart and very articulate.

The shoe below was my favorite of the evening. The owner removed one to show me the hidden storage coffin inside the sole. I asked her what she kept in there. She said when she goes to concerts or shows, sometimes she puts her rings inside the coffin.

Sarah read a little from her new book Just Listen. I asked her if she ever showed her writing to anyone as she was writing. She said, "Never. Not until I'm finished with the story. I've tried showing it, but little comments people make will sometimes get me way off track. They'll say something like, 'That flower doesn't bloom in June!' and I'll be thrown completely off. So I wait until the book is completely finished to show it. As I'm writing it, it's like my own secret."

Monday, April 24, 2006

Amazing iTunes Discovery

After using iTunes to burn cd's for Leslie and Barbara, I made a sensational discovery.

If you go to file at the top of your screen, and then down to print, iTunes will compose a label for the cd you just made. Not only will the songs on your cd be listed, but iTunes will gather album cover art from songs on your list and create a mosaic from it. This takes all of three seconds. Then all you do is print it out, and use the trim marks to cut it out. You fold it, then slide it into your CD case. Phenomenal.

Probably you already knew this! But I didn't, working as I do in a vacuum.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Friends with Money

Last night Tom and I actually went out on a date to a real movie in a real theatre. We took 2 little water bottles and poured wine into them. (See photo). The little bottles fit easily into a medium bag, along with your glasses and lipstick. By the way, pictured is the lipstick that makes your lips puff up–it's called Lip Injection. I wore it along with my cowboy boots. I had a medium popcorn; Tom had a large.

I felt cheated when the movie ended. Later I realized it was because I liked it so much that I didn't want it to end. Joan Cusack! Catherine Keener. Frances McDormand! Jennifer Aniston was good, too. It's a very human movie about some human beings who have money.

A nice note from Roger:
You know that picture of your house and the wine and those colorful towels -- is everything in your place so attractive?
No. I just put out the towels in order to style the photo shoot. And I tried to wipe off the counter. But if you & Jose come back up, I'll put the towels out and clean off the counter again.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Leftover Easter Candy

Just because I didn't buy the chocolate eggs on sale for 10 cents apiece, doesn't mean I didn't buy other leftover Easter candy that was on sale. I bought all these Peeps Bunnies for $1.20. I'm trying to learn to use the macro setting, and I bought them strictly to photograph. I did drool on them while I was trying to focus the camera, but I don't think it shows up.

From Sal:
did I send you this recipe?

Friday, April 21, 2006


This is the way I feel today. It's always a comfort to get outside and find your mood reflected in nature.

When I feel this way, I try to think of 3 things that happened during the day that I'm thankful for. OK. Ready?

1. Yellow curry from King of Thai Noodle for lunch.
2. Today was the deadline for final mechanicals, and I actually got them FTP'd. At first my art director called saying she couldn't find them on the FTP site. She asked, "Did you use Fetch?" I assured her that I had, but I could tell she didn't believe me, because she said, "Did you see that little dog running on the screen?" "YES!" I insisted. Then suddenly, as we were talking, the files appeared on her computer.
3. At Walgreen's they had all the leftover chocolate Easter Eggs on sale for 10 cents apiece: chocolate-covered pecan caramel, chocolate-covered brownie, chocolate-covered coconut, and chocolate-covered truffle. I grabbed a cart and set a whole cardboard display of eggs inside it. $4.00 for a whole flat! I told myself that Evie would really like to get a flat of chocolate eggs as a study treat. But then I took them back out. I knew down deep inside that Evie wouldn't eat them; I would. I'm thankful I didn't buy the eggs. But if I had, I would have gotten half pecan caramel and half coconut.

Licensed psychotherapists say that when you feel bad, you're really not supposed to think of things that make you happy. They say it helps if you stay with the negative feeling–slither on down into the slime.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Anne Lamott

And then, guess who was at A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books tonight? Anne Lamott. Absolutely one of my favorite writers. She wrote Bird by Bird. Tonight she was reading from her newest book, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. As I was taking her portrait (above), she happened to say, "My shoes are great. They are so comfortable." I asked her what kind they were. She said, "SAS. They're size 8–do you want to try one on?" So I did, and I took the picture below just to prove it. I told her mine were really comfortable, too, but she didn't jump at the chance to try on my blue shoe.

Though Anne has written a couple of books specifically about faith and her relationship to God, Christian bookstores refuse to carry her books.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Dwell Magazine

This is Lara Deam. She started Dwell magazine, and spoke at the Apple store this evening. Because I have fear of leaving the house, I'm often a late arrival at things like this. I ended up having to sit on the floor, which made it easy for me to shoot this picture of Lara. She wore these shoes while standing upright for an hour, talking and answering questions. She would pace from one side of the room to the other, and sometimes even stand on one foot. I also was impressed by her good nature and by the fact that she used no notes for her talk.

This is my dream house. I like Dwell because they believe in a future for nice prefabricated homes. They don't believe that mass production and beauty have to be mutually exclusive.

But back to shoes for a moment. Today I got an envelope in the mail from Butler Shine Stern & Partners. I ripped it open and was taken aback to learn that my entry in the Converse sneaker competition had not won the $10,000 grand prize. But I did win a free pair of Chuck Taylors. I can choose either hightops or lo's, from a wide range of colors.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


From Evie:
How are you managing without your car? Do you miss it much?

It's funny what you see when you have a new camera, and no car. This house is half a block away, on Balboa Street. I had never noticed these windows before. When I had my own personal car, I always drove three blocks to the beach (so I could jog three miles on the beach.) Now I have to WALK three blocks to the beach in order to jog three miles on the beach. Not only that, but I have to walk three blocks back. It's a new experience–actually kind of nice.

p.s. Well, I think I'm jogging on the beach. To other people it appears that I'm just walking. Once when I thought I was jogging, this guy stopped me and shoved a camera at me. He said, "Will you take a picture of me and my girlfriend? We've been waiting forever for someone to walk by."

Monday, April 17, 2006

Cash Register

After all this talk about money, can you believe that I would find an old cash register on the beach today? It was too heavy for me to carry, so I had to come back to get the car. After dinner we'll go get it. Once we haul it home, we'll break it open and pour all the money out. Then I'll be able to pay you all the money I owe you–but probably not until then.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Saturday, April 15, 2006


Since March 1st it's rained 36 days in San Francisco, breaking a 102-year-old record. All I'm doing is working anyway. But I'm going to go outside soon to see what washed up on the beach today.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Money from a Teenager's Perspective

I mean, when I grow up, I'm certainly not going to hesitate to spend my money in ways I want. I don't believe in "saving" money just to "save" it. What is money? If I get sick, they'll take care of me. And if they don't, I'll die. We have to live in the present. Don't save anything for a rainy day.

from my journal when I was 16. My only question now is, who the heck is "they"?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

More Cats

Money and My Mom

When my mom moved into the assisted living apartment, we needed to sell her car. I emailed Susan, another pal from jr. high, to ask her if she knew anyone who might be interested in buying it. She said her daughter Marie might be interested. I drove over with all the paperwork, and Our Franklin, Marie's dad, went over the car with a fine-toothed comb. Marie drove it and decided that she was interested in buying it. I asked her to think about it, and to make me an offer. She thought about it for a day or two, and called me back.

"How does $900 sound?" she asked. "That sounds fine," I said. Then I remembered that I should probably check with my mom, since it was her car after all. I told mom that Marie had offered $900 for the car. My mom said, "Oh. I never expected to get THAT much for it." "What would you like me to sell it for?" "$700 would be fine." So I had to call Marie back and ask if she would still be interested at the new price.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Money and Hair

Flying back to San Francisco, I saw at least 20 newpapers in people's laps with Donald Trump's photo in view. He had been paid $1.5 million the night before to give a one-hour speech.

If you could choose, would you rather have the hair you have now (or the hair you don't have now), along with the amount of money you have now–or would you rather have the amount of money he has, the only stipulation being that for as long as you had the money, you would have to wear your hair exactly like his?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Tennessee Radio

Chattanooga has a great radio station: WUTC 88.1. Every time I'm there driving my rental car, I discover a fantastic song. Have you heard "Postcard from Mexico" by Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch & Fats Kaplin? Download it right away and you'll have lots of fun for 99 cents.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Money Spent! Happiness!

I made it to a Target and bought a camera. When I learn how to focus it, I'll be in business.

This is my mom. She's 85. When she was a kid, she had a dog named Ling. She's holding a ceramic picture she made of him.

She made these bracelets and necklaces in crafts class.

p.s. I had a great time seeing Gwen, my pal from jr. high, last night. But she refused to see Basic Instinct 2 with me. I know she's just paying me back for last year when we were trying to decide what movie to see, and I graciously let her decide. When she suggested Phantom of the Opera, I insisted, "Anything OTHER than Phantom of the Opera."

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Ordering Chinese Food

Last night I went by our favorite Chinese restaurant in Chattanooga, which is owned by Germans. I ordered the Peking shrimp for my mom, and chicken with snow peas for my sister. I was craving black bean sauce. It wasn't on the menu, but I asked if there was any way they could make tofu with black bean sauce. They said they were sorry, but that dish wasn't available.

I said, "Oh, OK. Just thought I'd ask."

I really wanted a big bowl of tofu with black bean sauce. After looking over the menu for another minute or two, I was a pest. I said, "Oh God. Are you sure you can't put together a black bean tofu dish for me?"

"No. We can't do that. Not unless we make the chicken with black bean sauce and leave out the chicken. And SUBSTITUTE tofu."

"That would be great."

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Is the Dalai Lama Fat?

My mom lives in an assisted living complex, and every Friday a guy comes to teach a Tai Chi class to all the people who live there. If I happen to be here, I go with her to the class. Yesterday the teacher brought in a CD of the Dalai Lama chanting, and the last ten minutes of class were spent doing movements to his chants. He started out with something like "OMMMMMMMMM"...

The class stays seated, but still, it was amazing to see this circle of elderly people moving so gracefully to the chanting.

After it was over, one suspicious woman demanded: "Was that REALLY the Dalai Lama? Where did you GET that."

Another woman: "But what was he trying to SAY?"

Then the woman sitting across from me asked: "Is the Dalai Lama fat?"

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Vending Machine Jewelry

I'm in Chattanooga, Tennessee, visiting my mom. Sunday I'll get to see my best friend from junior high, Gwen. I might get to see Susan, too.

from Gwen:
O.K. let me know what time you want to come over. do you watch TOP CHEF?
you know its set in S.F.

to Gwen:
Oh! I don't know what that is. Is it good? Would you rather go out to dinner and see Basic Instinct 2? It's set in S.F. too. I know that Tom would never go with me; and you know how interested I am in psychiatrists.

I took my mom to her psychiatrist, Dr Kim, today and actually went
in the room with her and sat through her app't with her so I could observe him. Later at Bi-Lo, I ran into Dr. Kim as he was coming out. I jumped up and down and waved and shouted, "HI DOCTOR KIM!" He whispered "eh." It might have been "ugh."

I raced into TJ Maxx just now and found some great bargains. Lipstick that makes your lips puff way up (we can wear it Sunday). A red beaded book for you. Did I tell you that recently I'm making an effort to buy girls' clothes AND shoes other than tennis shoes--but never can quite get it right. I bought a pair of patent leather loafers for $20. (A $90 value). When I got back to my room and put them on, then put my foot up on the dresser so I could see them in the mirror, they looked like pimp shoes.

Which reminds me–I saw a vending machine in the entrance to
Bi-Lo after I accosted Dr. Kim, that for 2 quarters would dispense a plastic egg with jewelry inside. The best ones were gold necklaces with huge dollar signs dangling from them, encrusted with rhinestones. Suddenly I wanted one so bad! I shoved 2 quarters in the slot, but the egg that popped out was a disappointment. It held a thin chain with an almost tastefully embossed dollar sign on a tiny golden disk. I didn't have any more quarters or I would have tried for a bigger gaudier one that looked like a hood ornament. My sister and I have an app't with my mom's financial advisor tomorrow at 10:00. Maybe we can stop at Bi-Lo on the way and try again. It would be great to be able to wear it to the meeting. Then later I can wear it to the symphony.

A Little Color

This weblog needs a little color. I haven't had a camera for a week and a half. First Tom was out of town, and took his camera with him. Now I'm out of town, and Tom kept his camera with him. He thinks he's the boss of everything, including his own camera. As soon as I can make it to a Target, I'm going to buy a little camera.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Money Trying Hard to Buy Happiness

On the plane from San Francisco to Chicago, there were 3 boys back from our war, wearing small purple hearts on their warrior jackets. One boy had one leg; two had no legs. Two had head injuries. The one sitting in front of me had half a skull, though short dark hair covered the indention. His mom sat across the aisle from him and helped him with his metal leg. He covered his head with a blanket to sleep. His body shook.

His mom gave him money for headphones for the movie. He gave money to the flight attendant; the flight attendant took it, then thought better of it, and handed it back. Another flight attendant came by selling boxes of snacks and foisted one on him and one on his mom. Right after he finished the snack box, another flight attendant rushed up to him and cheerfully asked: "Do you want some pancakes from the front of the plane?" The boys looked too young to be offered drinks.