Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve

I had a great gurls' lunch at the Presidio Social Club, but nonetheless. Yesterday was extremely hard.

Last night I woke up at 1:30 a.m., and couldn't go back to sleep for an hour. I had an old sick feeling about work that I hadn't had in a long time, and a low-down feeling about other things, too.

But then! I woke up again at 5:00 a.m. I felt totally refreshed and healed. I had just had a dream about being at a beach–not our real beach here–but a beach I seemed to remember from other dreams. It's kind of a crowded beach with a long boardwalk and lots of people, but when I walk out over the dunes I find sea glass by the handfuls. In the dream last night it was mostly light violet glass. Sea glass, and big light violet pieces of rock.

Crazy! All I can say is that when I woke up the second time, I felt that I had experienced that kind of sleep that knits up the raveled sleeve of care. (As my mom and Shakespeare used to say.)

It's the best New Year's Eve. It's cold and rainy. I ran down to the beach anyway this afternoon and found a little bit of glass. As I was looking, I thought, "This is nutty–I'm trying to recreate my dream."

I'm staying home tonight and reading The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing. I'm on my second can of Sofia. I can see the fire through the glass door.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Facebook Facelift

You know those five photos at the top of your new Facebook profile page? They can be controlled after all. I've missed having Graffiti on my home page and had all but given up on Facebook because of it.

Every time I'd write something in response to a friend's update and hit the "comment" button, I would realize too late that I hadn't said at all what I meant to say. I'm better with pictures.

The new format offered a glimmer of hope for my social skills. When I googled Control! Help! Desperate! How to manage those 5 new facebook photos, the first article that came up was from my old hometown newspaper in Knoxville. The pictures at the top are the result. They're much more telling than any bio I could write, and they say exactly what I mean to say.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Merry Christmas from Limestone, TN

From: Katy
Subject: merry christmas
Date: December 25, 2010 2:05:52 PM PST
To: Linda

... We've got snow here, and knew we would have it, so we did Christmas dinner at mother's house yesterday, in case the roads were bad. There's even snow on the barbed wire! The photo from earlier today shows evidence of it.

Your Noel photo reminded me of the music I've been listening to---Noel Coward. He's a good change from too much radio. He's a walk on the beach, refreshing.

Wishing you good food and naps, warmth and ease.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Coastal Trail, December 26, 2010

I have to post with haste this evening because Tom is falling asleep and he brought home 2 movies especially for me.

One is Temple Grandin and one is Eat, Pray, Love. Which one should we watch?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

True Grit: Caen and Coen

Items are my game. Items are stories boiled down down to the bone. Some are pseudo-stories, the shorter the better. Somebody said something to somebody that sounded funny at the time.

San Francisco, a small, well-crafted item, rare, expensive, sparkling, depressing. A city you can wear on your charm bracelet or around your neck. A pet of a city that will turn on you without warning. Housebroken but not tamed ...

Life is a bad item, short but pointless. You stand at the bar and play liar's dice with fate. It's the San Francisco way. You might win, and even if you lose, the scenery's great and the weather isn't too bad.
-Herb Caen, November 26, 1989

My Herb Caen book begged to be taken to Christmas brunch along with my fake furry vest and rubber bracelets. Tom came too!

In the evening Tom wanted to go see the Coen Brothers' new movie, True Grit. I like the Coens a lot but just couldn't get excited about going to a cowboy movie. It wasn't so bad. In fact, I enjoyed it. Seeing a movie on the big screen is a totally different experience for me than seeing it on the computer. The popcorn was B minus–but the scenery was great.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Found December 24

But wait til you see the little things I found. It was too dark to photograph them when I got home. Soon as the sun comes up tomorrow, I'll shoot them either under the tree or beside the coffee maker.

Tom wasn't able to get outside this evening. When it started getting dark and I had just passed the Beach Chalet on my way back, my phone rang. It was Tom: "Will you be home for Christmas?"

(Next day:  The sun never came up at all, but I shot the things I found by the light of the fog.)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dear Diary

Saturday: I loved the idea for this party: an exhibit of art inspired by music, and lots of music to go along with the art. That's Anne's piece, Coloratura, behind her.

The Tubes (below).

Monday: Cheryl! I love this person.

Monday evening late: Aggles told me there would be a total eclipse of the moon. Tom woke me up and we went out on the back deck. It was clear and it was happening!

Me: I've got to go find my camera. I want to take a picture!

Tom: You're not going to be able to take a picture.
Well, you might be able to if you use your flash.

My photo of the eclipse is below. Canon point n' shoot

Larry sent us this photo (below) the next day. His looks better only because he lives in Florida, where the sun and moon are closer and that makes it really easy. He didn't even have to use a flash.

Tuesday afternoon: Last Thursday I wrote wistfully about crescent cookies, and guess what came Express Mail today from Aggles? Be careful what you wish for.

Tuesday evening: Peter and I had both been blue. He came over with his guitar and played some tunes. Then we went to dinner to celebrate the Solstice. I'm not sure why or how it works, but music worked wonders.

Wednesday: Never buy pants without pockets. This evening I went for a walk. It was freezing and windy.  I was wearing pants without pockets. I didn't want to find anything interesting, because I had no place to stash it. I ended up having to take off my right hand glove and stuff it with sea glass. My right hand is still frozen and if there are any typos in this post, that's the reason.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Peace and Love Revisited

I pulled this sweatshirt out of the back of the closet and have been wearing it recently. I bought a couple of them two years ago–one for Mom and one for me. Unfathomable: It was our last Christmas together. Mom, Aggles, and I spent it in great style at Clare's lakeside cabin in TN. No romance about it, though: it was extremely difficult and I can cry now thinking about it.

Today I wore the sweatshirt out on some errands and everybody was extremely nice to me. The guy at the post office wanted to put my boxes together and tape them up for me and give me used bubble wrap from the back if I needed any. The woman clerk who's usually sour didn't wheedle and sigh.

At Safeway the Express Lane cashier motioned me over even though I had more than 15 items and proceeded to tell me all about the trip to Tahoe he and his family were planning over Christmas. They would be leaving on the 23rd–Wait, was that a Thursday, he asked?–and then returning on Monday. He was keeping his fingers crossed that the storm would go around them.

I'm happy to not be going anywhere this month and my sister is, too. But I'll miss Aggles (and her cooking). And we'll think about Mom and Dad and Operation Moon Base and the Robert Shaw Chorale and ribbon candy and crescent cookies.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Calling on Mary

Remember that beautiful song by Aimee Mann? I thought of it this evening when I saw this tree someone had stuck in the sand and decorated with broken sand dollars.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sad x 3

Last Sunday was one of the happiest days of my life. Today is a sad one.

1. Joyce Carol Oates' story in the New Yorker about the last week of her long marriage. It made me think: there's simply no way you can avoid the last week of a relationship with somebody you love. One or the other of you will get sick. One or the other of you will die. And chances are you won't realize the last week is going by until the week is over.

2. The Walmart ad on the back of today's Parade magazine. It reads "Gifting made easy" and shows 5 quality gifts you can buy for $10 and under. There's a Gillette Gift Set, an Oil of Olay Indulgence Pack, and an Old Spice gift pack. Some day when I'm really old someone will probably give me the Oil of Olay Indulgence Pack and I'll be delighted to receive it.

3. Cindy sent me this flashmob event. It made everyone else happy, but me teary.

This just in from Jamie:

from Berlin: Linda I'm back in Berlin for the holidays. And I just read your message on your blog about the Walmart ad. And Old Spice, etc. So rather than joining in with the other contributors on your site (and risking a prolonged back-and-forth debate) I wanted to tell you that I in fact love Old Spice! And just before I finished my last job at Seventeen (did you know that? special, so-called "Prom" issue?) I stole an entire gift basket off the giveaway table of-- you guessed it-- Old Spice. I love love love the "Fiji" scented body spray. I spray it eveywhere, liberally. Daily. Sometimes thrice daily, or even more! Linda I've had amazing results from these smells! And do you know why I think that is? Because it's been marketed since the year 2000 or so as ( yes I know previously it had a grandfather-ish appeal) the smell of youth.

Hugs from here.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I found these things (Isn't the December Anthropologie catalog cover gorgeous?)

He found a starfish.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

We had tickets for the 6:30 show at the de Young this evening (Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the Musée d' Orsay).

It was raining outside and the museum smelled musty down on the first floor where paintings were. There was a maze of roped-off aisles like at airport security to get into the show. Since most of the 6:30 group were already inside, the maze was kind of silly. Along with another couple we didn't know we walked up and back and back and forth and up and back trying to get to the entrance. Finally the woman and I looked at each other and took off running down the center, limbo-ing underneath the ropes.

I had had two glasses of Prosecco before we left for the show. It's Norma's 90th birthday and we'd been talking to her on the phone and I wanted to celebrate. If I can be like Norma at 90 when I'm 60, I'll be happy.

To give you an idea of what she's like, it was 13 degrees outside in Fall Branch and she was getting ready to go pick up Tom's dad at at a meeting in her jeep; and was planning to accompany her granddaughter to the hospital tomorrow morning at 7:00, where her granddaughter was scheduled for heart surgery.

So it may have been because of the Prosecco, or maybe the musty smell, but I didn't feel much until I entered the room with the Van Goghs. Starry Night over the Rhone (above) woke me up.

When I was 2/3's of the way through the show Tom walked up and asked if I had found a favorite yet. I took him back into the Van Gogh room and we stood in fromt of the Starry Night painting. There's a man and woman at the bottom of the painting. I said, "That's you and me at the Outer Banks."

I asked him what he had found and followed him to a room that had 2 Rousseaus. The one below, called The Snake Charmer, was positively haunting. I could imagine the museum people at the de Young opening the crate it came in and all kinds of charms and spirits seeping out into the air.

The funny thing is that I'm reading Steve Martin's book, An Object of Beauty. I wouldn't be reading it at all if there hadn't been such a big deal made of his talk at the Y last week–so maybe that debacle will turn out to be a good thing for him.

In his book there's a mischievous girl named Lacey who works at Sotheby's. I'm not a quarter of the way through the book yet, and I'm getting the feeling she may turn out to be more than mischievous.

But I read a most wonderful piece of the book when I got back from the show:

...Lacey crawled into her apartment at ten p.m., still lugging the picture. Her tired body longed for a Scotch, which she poured over ice. She lay back on her bed. Light from the street lamps, diffused by summer leaves, gave her room movement. The idea of the Scotch hit her even before the alcohol did, so she was relaxed at just the taste. Her window was cracked open enough to let in the light summer breeze, and her eyes meandered around the dim room, moving slowly, high and low, from a vase of flowers, across her half kitchen, to a photograph, to a lamp. Her eyes drifted toward a closet door and the Avery that leaned against it. It's here, she thought. Why not hang it?

She unwrapped the Avery with care, more care, she felt, than was given it at the National Gallery, and hung it on the wall. She took a lamp off her chest of drawers and put it on a low stool in front of the Avery, so that light was thrown upward on the picture from below. Then she lay back again. Without looking, she reached out and her hand landed perfectly on the glass of Scotch.

Would Leonardo's Annunciation be as beautiful hanging crooked in a messy college dorm at a party school in Florida? No, not as beautiful as it is in the Uffizi, framed, lit, and protected as the prize it is, while two thousand years of history flow by in the Arno outside. Context matters, but in Lacey's apartment, where nothing exquisite had ever been, where just the two of them looked back at each other, the Avery was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. This moment was a secret among the Avery, the Scotch, and Lacey, and she saw clearly something that had eluded her in her two years in the art business. In a few minutes of unexpected communion, she understood why people wanted to own these things.

She rescanned the room. Where before she saw a photograph, a kitchen, a vase, she now added an adjective: she saw a student's photograph, a student's kitchen, a student's vase. The painting was an adult object, by and for people with grown-up eyes. This apartment, these things, were instantly in Lacey's past. They were on the way out, ready to be sold or boxed. The Avery had dipped her in an elixer. She wanted fine things, beautiful things, like the Avery. She wanted to grow up, no longer to live like a student. Lacey knew that what she needed was an amount of money that could support her rapidly evolving taste. This need repainted moral issues that were formerly black-and-white into a vague gray, and a dark idea that she had formed in her head as hypothesis now had to become actual....

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Monday, December 06, 2010

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Prompt: Fur

Yesterday Tom had to go look at a job that's down the street from Ross Dress for Less. So he said, "Hey, I could drop you off at Ross while I'm looking at this job–it should only take 5 minutes–and then we can go on to Cole Valley Hardware and pick out our Christmas tree."

It was a work day but I couldn't resist. I crossed Geary and rode up the escalator to Ross. I looked at socks and tights (none), watches (a great big orange one), shoes (none, except in the men's department). I wandered over to the closeout rack. A big fake furry vest jumped out at me. It was light yellow-brown. It wasn't just furry, it was kind of matted-furry. $20. I grabbed it and found a mirror. I took off my coat and put the matted fur vest on over my black long sleeve t-shirt. It seemed a little shapeless. I found two hooks in front and fastened them, but I wasn't sure.

There was only one vest. I put it back thinking I would come back and give it a second look. I wandered over to the kitchen area (nothing) and the exercise equipment/yoga mat area. Did you know a yoga mat can make a great kitchen rug in front of the sink to cover up where your wooden floor needs to be refinished?

Then my phone rang. It was Tom. I ran down the escalator and met him at the car and we went to pick out a Christmas tree.

I told him about the matted-fur vest. He offered to go look at it with me on our way home. But it was freezing and way past my lunch time so we came home.

I thought about the vest. It might be the perfect thing to wear to the rock and roll art party for old rock and rollers. It's big and shapeless, but maybe that's a good thing if it's worn over a black dress that is suddenly too tight. I could dye the vest aqua and maybe it would become even more matted.

This afternoon Tom was having a football nap. I went for a walk on the beach a little after 4:00. When I got there I realized I had left my cell phone and camera at home. I had been trying to be very quiet so I wouldn't wake Tom. I had been concentrating on finding my driver's license and credit card just in case I decided to stop at Safeway on the way home and get some spinach. But really, in the very back of my mind I was thinking about stopping by Ross to buy the matted fur vest.

But since I didn't have my phone, I couldn't do those things. Tom would worry if he couldn't call me. I had been out a long time and it was already dark.

Maybe I'll go tomorrow and wear the dress so I can try the matted furry vest on on top of it. If the matted furry vest is gone I'll be disappointed. But if it is still there, will that mean it's a poor purchase choice–that nobody even would consider buying it except for me?

Friday, December 03, 2010

My Gallery Purchase

made by Miyuki Tsurukawa

My Favorite Gallery

Creativity Explored is my favorite art gallery. Tonight they had an opening and it was spectacular. Cheryl, wasn't it one of the best evenings ever? It was so good seeing you. And dinner afterwards at Picaro. Patatas Aioli!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Coming Soon

Winter will be here soon. What that means for those of us who live in northern California is: Time to mow the lawn. And this afternoon that's what Tom did. The rain is supposed to start in earnest tomorrow.

Whenever I see Tom mowing the lawn I'm alarmed. "Is company coming?" I ask. Whenever Tom sees me vacuuming, his reaction is the same.

The DVD above will be available soon from Whistlefritz. The cover, animation and backgrounds are by me, myself and I.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Green and Blue

Today Larry called about something. When I asked what Barbara was doing, he said she was getting a hairdo. I said, "That's weird! I'm getting a hairdo tonight!" I asked him to ask Barbara to send me a photo of her new hair. She sent me the one on the right. She had blue hair!

So I decided I should have green hair. When I got home I took this photo in the kitchen with my new camera.*

*a little blurry, but still, so much nicer than having to use a flash

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday Evening

Anne Lamott at the JCC

Work in progress

Both pictures were taken this evening in very low light situations without a flash. My new point n' shoot has an f/2.0 lens which apparently means something good.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sad Glad

Wearing my new bracelets on Thanksgiving made me so happy that today I went out in the rain and bought more. Lots more. My thinking was that if I had enough of them I might never be sad again. It didn't exactly work, but...

Do you want to see if it might work for you? If so, you can buy them here for 95¢ apiece. I found out today that they're not really made from recycled Ocean Beach flip flops–they're made by a women's co-operative in South Africa.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Birthday, Emmy!

A little about Emmy: When I tell her about losing my purse (again), she gently removes it from the back of my chair and wraps the strap of my purse around her own purse. Then she deposits both on a shelf behind her. When it's time to go, she unwraps my purse and hands it to me along with my scarf and my camera. She teaches kindergarten so looking out after me comes naturally to her.

p.s. Emmy, do you happen to know anything about the mysterious chocolate turkey found on our front porch yesterday?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks For:

• Nice people (like our waiter Ian, who found my lost purse)
• Movies (we watched Please Give)
• Fine jewelry (I'm wearing my new recycled-flip-flop bracelets)
• Gloria Ferrer sparkling wine (in my glass)
• Books (I'm reading This Is Where I Leave You)
• My digital camera
• My electric space heater
• Ocean Beach (walking there while recovering)
• Shooting stars (I saw one tonight)
• Alka-Seltzer

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Smart Sister

Here she is, showing me where to place my handful of leaves.

Me: Look what Tom found yesterday in the basement! (Large photo). He was going through boxes that we hadn't opened since we moved 11 years ago.

Aggles: Oh I love that picture! Is Tom opening boxes w/ the intent to throw away or is he just bored?

Me: The basement is one of the top things–actually the top thing–that bothers me right now. (Of course there are wars and world hunger, etc). But it's like, as Jung says–well, he says something to this effect: having your basement in a state of chaos = your subconscious in a state of chaos. I mean, our basement is unbelieveable. It makes the house Mom lived in seem like the most orderly place in the universe.

Aggles: Bachelard (Poetics of Space) says that your basement is your subconscious. It is just good mental hygiene to keep your basement and closets clean and tidy. Oh! And never use that space under your bed as storage! "Take care of the hidden and the seen will take care of itself!"

Me: I agree with Bachelard on that. I don't have anything under the bed except the scale. Do you? That is such a good quote, too.

Aggles:  Oh thanks! I made up that quote. Barchelard is too old 'n French to say anything like that.

Here I am, racing out the door to Fed Ex to ship this to Aggles for Christmas.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


the perfect card for me, published by Chronicle Books and illustrated by Peagreen

Is there a particular time of day when you are grouchy? Of course not. I can't imagine that you would ever be grouchy.

But for me that time is right now. Seven o'clock, and especially if we've been out for a jog/walk in the cold and wind. I get home and I have a little temper problem. I'm starving.

I'll run in the door, throw my shoes down, empty my pockets of camera, phone, keys, and anything collected on the beach. Race to the bathroom. Wash my face and maybe change my shirt. Then head for the fridge.

Tom will be near. He'll say, "Take it easy. We'll be eating dinner soon," like I'm a 5-year-old. He's the one who prepares meals and I'm the clean-up crew.

I'll lose all patience. I can't take it easy. I'll find the bar-b-qued potato chips (baked, not fried), have a few, then get out the maple sugar-covered almonds. Almonds are very healthy. I'll have a handful. I'll pour a glass of wine. But cheese is what I need. I'll get out the jalapeno jack and four whole wheat crackers (the low sodium kind). I'll break them in half and make 8 little open face cheese sandwiches. I see a jar of peanut butter on door as I'm putting the cheese back. I get a knife and dip into the jar for a healthy scoop. In case you're planning to come over to my house for a peanut butter sandwich, don't worry. I don't double dip. I'll get a new knife in order to dip again. And then a third knife and a fourth.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

"Dog" by Emily Dickinson

Because Tom could not walk with me,
This guy kindly did;
The whole beach held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

He trotted fast, he would not slow,
I had to put away
Desire to look for beach glass,
Desire to look for stone.

We passed the pier where children flew
Their kites against the clouds;
We passed the dunes of handsome grass,
We passed the setting sun.

Or rather, he passed us;
The wind grew blustery and chill,
For only poly fleece my coat,
My ear muffs only buds.

We paused before a wave that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The sky was scarcely visible,
We heard a crashing sound.

Since then 'tis hours, and yet still
I can't forget the place
I first surmised the eyes of god
Were in this pooch's face.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Wind Was Blowing

I always love it when we manage to sneak a walk in between storms. About ten minutes before we got home it started pouring down rain.

It was so dark at 4:30 that I had to turn on all the lights in order to photograph the treasures I had found. Then there was so much thunder and lightning that I had to turn off my computer. Tom made Dinner in a Bucket and we read books at the table. I'm reading Beth Lisick; he's reading the latest Elmore Leonard.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Who Needs Donuts?

Is it immoral to buy a present for a baby and then decide you'd like to keep the present for yourself?

Another baby came into the world! Her name is Adelle. I guess I'll go ahead and mail these donuts (they're actually rattles) to her.

I saw them at the de Young Museum. No, they're not part of the Post-Impressionist show. I found them in the gift shop. You know, the one where Mary Ann works. They're made by Yellow Label Kids. (Pizza and cupcakes are also available on the site.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Happy Birthday, Anne

Lots of talking and lots of wine. Bread and butter! Cheeses and chard ravioli and sorbets. I've given up trying to take photos at night, so I'll use a detail of your painting to illustrate our meeting place. You looked beautiful. Thank you for dinner and for the armloads of flowers. I felt like it was my birthday on your birthday.