Monday, December 31, 2007

Sky in Our Window

I saw the sky reflected in our window, and zoomed down to the beach to take a picture. Then I drove to Walgreen's for our New Year's Eve supplies: Kleenex, vitamin C, miso soup, and a movie. Tom got a cold today.

Luckily just this I minute got an e-mail from Dr. Mercola, who asks: Can Alcohol Really Help You Beat a Cold? I hit the link and here's what the doctor said: Brandy, whiskey and other alcoholic beverages have long been recommended as “just the thing” to treat a cold. That's as much as I needed to read. I'm opening a bottle of champagne now. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Some Presents I Like

Aggles made
this purse.

Susan made
this hat.

Pete tied
this fly.

Sally posted this story.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bye-Bye, Pacific Sky

Off to TN to visit Mom for 7 days.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Merry Christmas to Me

It came! It came!
Step over here. You still have 12 days to get one for yourself.
Banana for scale only.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Everyday Life

This picture is a non-photo, snapped this morning just to make sure my camera was still working.
Page 1, today's San Francisco Chronicle:
Moments pass in silence. As the sunset deepens, she turns to the window, gazing out. "You know, I miss shopping, and cooking, and eating, and cleaning up," she pauses. "And shopping again."

–Diane Middlebrook at Cal. Pacific Medical Center two weeks before she died of cancer, in an interview with Heidi Benson. Diane Middlebrook wrote Anne Sexton: A Biography and Her Husband: Hughes and Plath, a Marriage.

I'm lucky for sure, but I like my everyday life so much more than holiday life or travel life or lots of times even vacation life. I understood what Middlebrook meant when she listed the things she missed. Those things really touched me, even though I usually will do anything to get out of shopping, cooking, and cleaning up. Not anytime soon I hope–but the things I'll miss will be making coffee, watching photos as they download one by one, going for a jog, putting on my new boots that are soft and warm. What about you?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Juno / Sundance / Boots

This evening I decided I had to try out the Sundance Kabuki Cinema. Its grand opening was last night. I chose to see Juno. To get the full experience, I ordered my ticket and reserved my seat online. (Single aisle seat off by itself–typical–last row.) Being that there were only 57 seats in this particular theater, it turned out to be a great seat. With its own little table.

There's a bar in the theater (above photo). You can order drinks–and dinner, too, if you'd like–and sit up in the balcony to watch your movie. From my photo it looks like I ordered a number of drinks, but actually I didn't even have one. I already had my doubts about ever relocating the Ford Nebulous after the movie.

The desserts sound wonderful, but since I'm drawn to salt and fats even more than sugar, I thought I would share the cheese plate menu with you:

MOUNT TAM, Cowgirl Creamery – smooth, elegant, organic triple cream
RED HAWK, Cowgirl Creamery – fully flavored triple cream aged 6 weeks
CROCODILE TIER, Prather Farm – deep and tangy goat cheese
HARD CHÈVRE, Harley Farms – fresh, tangy, bright lemony notes, earthy finish
POINT REYES BLUE, Point Reyes Farmstead – classic California handcrafted blue
MANCHEGO, Spain – sheep milk cheese aged 6 months
MONTGOMERY’S CHEDDAR, England – sharp and fruity hard cheese aged 14 months
GORGONZOLA DOLCE, Italy – rich, spicy, cave aged 3 months

I recommend the movie. It's engaging and refreshing and loving, with fun music throughout.

Last but not least: Imagine how I felt walking into the Sundance Theater wearing my new boots.

A Successful Psychotherapy

I've mentioned a couple of times the fact that I have a wise therapist. Yesterday we had one of our most productive sessions ever.

My therapist keeps an electric heater by the couch. I usually ask if I can turn it on. Halfway through the session, he usually asks if I would mind turning it down a little.

Yesterday I happened to mention a pair of fake UGG's. I had thrown them into the shopping cart at Nordstrom Rack. But then I regressed, returning them to the shoe counter instead of proceeding up to the cash register with them.

Me: I don't know ... UGG's were all the rage a couple years ago. I didn't like them. But I tried this pair on yesterday, and they were so warm.

nods encouragingly.

: Would you wear them?

: Me? No. But I think they'd be fine for you.
(Glances at the heater, which is glowing red.)

: OK, good. One more question. You and I both know that light tan is really the correct color for these boots. But I like the black ones. What do you think?

: Black is a good color.

: I mean, I know those boots look clunky. But they're so warm. So you think I should buy them?

: Yes. Would you mind turning down the heater a little?

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I don't even know why I'm telling you this, because you're not going to believe it. First of all, by now I'm sure the news is out that I won the prestigious Name the Squab Contest. Out of 96 entries, I came up with the winning name: James Brown. My prize, which arrived parcel post, is the beautiful hand-painted chicken wearing a bathrobe pictured above. I immediately named him James Brown, Jr. and set him on my desk.

With his right arm permanently extended like that, it looked as if he might be bestowing a blessing. This morning I had an idea. I set my broken camera beneath his right arm. I thought I would try one more time to download my photos before I wrapped up my camera and sent it off to:
Canon Factory Service
1440 Chase Ave.
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

For the 14th time I plugged the Canon USB cable into my computer. I removed my camera from beneath James Brown Jr.'s blesséd hand and connected it to the other end of the cable. There was no hesitation. iPhoto opened right up, and all 67 images from Monday downloaded like a dream.

I thought: This is a miracle. But how could I ever prove that James Brown Jr. cured my camera? My sister's camera hasn't arrived yet; I had told her to send it slow boat FedEx. I was dying to take a photo of my camera under James Brown Jr.'s hand to show you how he blessed it, but how could I? I would need a second camera. And that would prove nothing. So this evening I decided to take a photo (with my cured camera) showing James Brown Jr. bestowing a blessing on today's paper, with the date to prove that it is indeed December 13th.

Another interesting thing I read in the manual while trying to fix the camera myself over the past two days, without James Brown Jr.'s help: Caution: Do not sit with the camera in a back pocket as it may cause the camera to malfunction or damage the LCD monitor. No one had ever told me I couldn't sit on my camera before! This evening I took it out of my back pocket before I sat down in the car.

From: aggles
Subject: James Brown, Jr. redux
Date: December 15, 2007 7:57:16 AM PST
To: linda
Have you tried putting your credit card under JB's blessing arm? Maybe he would heal your credit card balance.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Aggles to the Rescue

From: margaretm
Subject: Camera
Date: December 11, 2007 5:44:44 AM PST
To: linda

How ‘bout I send you my camera? I never use it. I musta just bought it knowing that you’d crash yours to the ground. I can FedEx it tomorrow.

Aggles is my sister. When my parents first brought her home from the hospital and I thought they weren't looking, I casually tried to pull her fingers off. And now she's sending me her camera! She's an angle. (That's how I used to spell "angel.")

Monday, December 10, 2007


I came back from my jog. I was happy. I'm going to put up our blue Christmas lights! I announced.

I slammed the bag with my running shoes down by the front door like I always do. The only problem was, I forgot that my camera was in the same hand. It crashed to the floor.

It doesn't work anymore. I can't download the photos I took this evening. So this is an old gray photo from the past. Does anyone have a camera I can borrow?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Beach Bird

Spotted at 5:19 on Ocean Beach

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Friday, December 07, 2007

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Hungry Santa

Tom walks by my computer: That Santa looks depraved.
Me: I know. He's scary.
Tom: Where is he?
Me: On Fillmore. Every year he shows up. But this is the first year I've seen him with a pizza.
Is he ... too depraved?

Tom: Too depraved for what?
Me: My blog.
Tom: Nothing's too depraved for your blog. And you can quote me on that.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Under the Table with Carmen

Three months ago I posted a sad question:
Say you had a beloved dog and that you had lived with your dog for fourteen years. You walked with your dog for an hour or two every day, you worked with your dog lying beside you, you cooked nice things for your dog sometimes, you slept near your dog. Then your dog died. What's the best thing a friend could do to bring you comfort? Would it be possible for a friend to bring you comfort?

Three weeks ago my friend adopted another dog. This dog had just had puppies and basically had been abandoned when her owner's mortgage was foreclosed on. Carmen and her new parents came over for dinner last night. Carmen's gained about 15 pounds since we saw her a couple of weeks ago. Anne, on the other hand, was wearing a new pair of jeans, size 0. (zero.)

Everyone was happy.

Carmen's puppies found new homes too, and so did her boyfriend.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Coastal Trail

A brief but magical walk this evening.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dressing For Dinner

Last night was Emmy's 60th birthday. Every time I go next door, we sit in front of her new iMac and snap a photo with Photo Booth. This was our photo from last night. You can't tell from the photo, but I dressed up for the occasion. I wore black pants that weren't jeans. I wore shoes that weren't tennis shoes.

When it was time to move into the dining room, Tom stood up and one of my favorite socks fell off the back of his pants. Yesterday he told me to turn around and look. This evening I should have told him to turn around and look (in the mirror).

Footnotes: Emmy is the woman who beat me in every 5-k we ran together. She's still running them–not me!

John cooked an incredible dinner: first of all, icy cold Sauvignon blanc, garlic pretzels, cashews. Then, broiled salmon, baked potato wedges, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, bread with all kinds of seeds on it, butter, butter, butter, shrimp salad, and pear crisp with whipped cream and coffee. I even ate the Brussels sprouts.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Standing Backwards

I was shooting pictures of the ocean. Tom said, "Turn around and look behind you." Nice! Though normally I don't advocate turning your back to the ocean. We live on the side of that little hill behind the green hill. The green hill is Sutro Park.

Friday, November 23, 2007

History Repeats Itself

I forgot to make a pie yesterday! Even after Barbara e-mailed me the photo (below) of the desserts she had made. Even after reading about Sally's pie-baking adventures. To me the whole idea of pie-making is kind of a fairy tale. I was thrilled to be able to spend the day at my computer working on cartoons. But yesterday evening after our walk, it suddenly occurred to me: Oh my god! It's Thanksgiving and I forgot to bake anything! I decided to make Tom a cherry pie.

We ran into Safeway and bought King Arthur flour (that's the secret ingredient), cherries, butter and sugar. The thing that's a little sad is that exactly the same thing happened last year.
We haven't cut this year's pie yet. But as you can see above, we have our fine china and our ice cream scoop at the ready.

Barbara's bourbon-pecan tart with chocolate drizzle. The little tarts are pear-cranberry.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Thanksgiving walk

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Silly is in!

Scooping up the mail in our dark basement this afternoon I was thrilled to find this card proclaiming that Silly is in! Finally. Silly is in.

I bounded up the stairs singing:
I'm in with the in crowd, I go where the in crowd goes
I'm in with the in crowd and I know what the in crowd knows

... only to discover when exposed to the light of day, that the card said SILKY is in.
Have a good evening.
I remain, as always, out with the in crowd.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Namowal, Choose Your Prize

1. Large, vintage-style dog house charms in assorted colors.
2. 6" Mirror Rainbow Mystic Yard Ornament
3. Lawn Flamingo Ornament with Turf & Christmas Lights.
4. Gingerbread House Kit: Preassembled and ready to decorate.

The winning entry

With his new shades, dental veneer and hair treetment, wally was keen to impress the model home across the street...

Damnitall Namowal, How does anyone else have a chance when you play?

Hint: An Old Song By The Doors

The Kindle comes out this Wednesday. (Can you guess the title of this post?)

It's a portable reading device with the ability to wirelessly download books, blogs, magazines, and newspapers. Thanks to electronic paper, a revolutionary new display technology, its screen is as sharp and natural as reading ink on paper—and nothing like the strain and glare of a computer screen. You can read it outside in bright sunlight. You control size of type. (Every book can be a large print book.) Wireless. No PC and no syncing needed. Using the same network as advanced cell phones, content is delivered using Amazon's wireless system, Whispernet. Unlike WiFi, you don't have to find a hotspot. No service plans, yearly contracts, or monthly wireless bills. Holds 200 books. All books are $9.99. Displays jpegs and gifs. It costs $399.

I'm sure if I owned one of these, I'd start reading again. How about you?

A beautiful article about the Kindle.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Visiting Mom: The Lighter Side

The last time Mom and I had our dinner and symphony night out, it was a fight to the finish. It took hours to get ready to go. Then with my bad sense of direction, it took me awhile to find the Choo-Choo, her favorite restaurant. We ended up in our seats at the Tivoli Theatre one second before the music started. So last night we made a resolution to stick to a meticulous schedule. We decided to start getting ready to go at 3:30.

At exactly 3:30, Mom's psych nurse knocked on the door. It was time for Mom's weekly session. (News to me.) But I was so glad to get the opportunity to meet her that I decided it was worth another fight to the finish. I asked if it was OK if I stayed. Marian said it was up to Mom, and Mom said yes.

Mom had forgotten who Marian was, and thought she had come to look at her arm, which was in a brace.

Psych Nurse: I'm not your physical therapist. I'm your mental therapist.
Mom: Can you do anything for my brain?
Psych Nurse: The question is, can you do anything for your brain. I see you get the newspaper.
Mom: Yes.
Psych Nurse: Do you get it every day?
Mom: Yes.
Psych Nurse: Do you do the crossword puzzle? Remember I told you to do crossword puzzles?
Mom, sheepishly: No. Would that really help?
Psych Nurse: Anything you do to exercise your brain will help your brain.
Mom: But I've just never been a crossword puzzle person. I like to read the paper. Does that count?
Psych Nurse: You read the paper? Marian looks at me. Does she retain ideas about articles she reads? Does she discuss what she's read on the phone with you?
I nod affirmatively, suddenly nervous that my ignorance of current events is about to be revealed.
Psych Nurse: What have you read about recently?
Mom: Stem .... stem ...oh, what are those little tiny things called.
And before I know what's happened, Mom and Marian are having a fight about the use of stem cells.
Mom: I'm for it! Our President isn't and I think he's making a mistake.
Marian: He isn't against it! He's just against using aborted fetuses! He's not against it.
Mom: He is against it. And why not use aborted fetuses? I think we should recycle anything that can be reused for the good of mankind, don't you?
Marian: He is not against it. You can't believe everything you read in the press.

Later, during intermission at the symphony having heard Peter Schickele's Unbegun Symphony and Piazzolla's The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires

Me: Mom? Are you ready to go?
Mom: Are you?
Me: I really enjoyed the first half! I'd feel fine leaving now.
long silence
Me: Did you enjoy the first half?
Mom: No I didn't.
Me: Why?
Mom: I couldn't tell when anyone was making a mistake.
We stayed on for Haydn's Symphony 104, which she really enjoyed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Caption Contest

© Laurence F. Taylor

Pioneer Woman had a great idea. She held a caption contest and awarded a $350 Williams Sonoma gift card to the lucky winner. So I decided to copy her and have my own caption contest.

My friend Larry the architectural photographer shot this picture last week. The person who comes up with the best caption for it will win a magnificent prize. It won't be a $350 Williams Sonoma gift card. Good God: $350 is how much my new wedding ring cost. But rest assured, the prize will be marvelous.

The deadline is midnight Saturday, November 17. Leave your caption as a comment. The entries will be judged on Sunday. On Monday I'll announce the winner–and reveal the prize.

p.s. Just in from Georgia: a wonderful blog called Faces in Places.

p.p.s. Just arrived from Barbara Taylor! A necklace made by Laurence F. Taylor Architectural Photographer for me. After making one for every woman in the universe he finally made one for me.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Buy One Get One Free ($399)

"The mission of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is to empower the children of developing countries to learn by providing one connected laptop to every school-age child. In order to accomplish our goal, we need people who believe in what we’re doing and want to help make education for the world’s children a priority, not a privilege. Between November 12 and November 26, OLPC is offering a Give One Get One program in the United States and Canada. During this time, you can donate the revolutionary XO laptop to a child in a developing nation, and also receive one for the child in your life in recognition of your contribution ..."

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Carrot on a Stick

Has it been worth it? All those trips to the farmers' market? This morning made 5 Saturdays in a row, and it was even raining. On our way back home, we stopped by Velvet da Vinci to pick up the ring Tom had bought me.

Me, placing my hand against the steering wheel to examine the ring, then on the gear shift, then against the upholstery, then on Tom's jeans, then waving it to a woman walking a beagle: What does this ring mean?

Tom: It's kind of like renewing a warranty. The old one was good for 30 years. This one will be good for another 30.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Migration Patterns of Laundry

Last year around this time I posted an image celebrating the migration habits of birds. This year, as the days grow shorter, my attention turns to the migration patterns of our laundry pile.

The pile begins and ends each day in the same spot. In the morning it wakes up on the little bar in the kitchen and moves into the living room, so Tom can find a place for his cereal bowl. Soon I get up. I'm shocked to find the pile in the living room–in plain view to anyone walking down the street, so the pile migrates into the bedroom. In the evening when it's time for bed, the pile settles itself back onto the little bar in the kitchen for the night. Exactly the same migration pattern takes place day after day. Sometimes the pile gets heavier and sometimes the pile gets lighter. Sometimes the pile changes color. But it always follows the same path.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Body Parts

Want to watch the parts wiggle? Step over here. Until I can put together a new illustration site, I'm going to begin using Blogger. Trying to add this section to my html site was preposterous. I ended up slapping it on top of the home page instead of gracefully integrating it.

I'll do the new site in Flash. I have someone in mind who I can ask for help. Fortunately it's someone with no business sense–none.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Eggplant is Fussy

I wanted to try making Eggplant Crisps, a recipe that Sally made up. I thought if I could make her recipe successfully that maybe I could make cartoons like hers. It's the way my mind works. In case you want to try this in your own home, Sally's notes are in black and mine are in blue.

Slice an eggplant thinly, maybe 1/3" and put garlic salt on both sides. Place between paper towels with something heavy over it for 1/2 hour at least. This pulls out the moisture. Have something standing by as a backup in case things don't work out (bag of cattle corn, upper right).

Preheat oven to 350. In blender make a paste of Parmesan, olive oil, a clove of garlic, some of those tasty small tomatoes that aren't cherry tomatoes, and chives or basil.

Don't forget to put the lid on the blender before you turn it on.

If the paste tastes good smeared on a cracker, it's good. I knew this would be my favorite part, and it was. Not only did the paste tasted good on crackers–it tasted great on tortillas and potato chips.

Lightly oil a cookie sheet right before cooking. Place slices on the sheet. Huh-oh. By the time I finish off the box of crackers spread with paste, it's gotten dark.

Place a thin layer of the topping on the slices. Don't do this in advance or the eggplant will soak up the oil and get soggy. Eggplant is fussy. Cook for about a half hour, should be bubbly on top but not burned, and if you're lucky they'll be crispy. They cooked for a half hour. They cooked for another half hour. Then they cooked some more. My paste never bubbled. Maybe I put too many tomatoes in. Maybe our oven is broken! Luckily we had leftover pizza in the refrigerator as well as the cattle corn.