Monday, February 28, 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Round Robin and a Taco To Go

Sometimes Jane will come up with a prompt for our daily write that is downright inspiring. Take today, for instance ...

TORTILLAS AND CHEESE (the prompt! and then my 10 min. write)

If I had to say, I think my favorite Mexican spot is Joe's Taco Lounge in Mill Valley. I know what you're thinking. How could it be a real Mexican place if it's in Mill Valley.

If you go, try the tofu tostada. I know what you're thinking. How could I even begin to think of ordering a tofu dish at a Mexican restaurant? Well, for one thing there are a lot of other things mixed in--things that taste good–and the tofu is deep-fried, so that's a big thing in its favor.

You can order a Sangria and of course they bring a basket of chips and lots of salsa (but never enough salsa–I usually have to ask for more, and they bring it right away, no delay).

The other nice thing about the taco lounge is that a great shoe store just opened up right next door called Soles 384. Last time we went to Joe's, I raced into the shoe store because there was a big sign in the window that said "WOMEN'S BOOTS ON SALE."

I tore back out in a pair of motorcycle boots, ready for a cheese tortilla. When the money runs out I know of a place in the Mission that will always serve you free tacos if you get a tattoo (a permanent tattoo) of the restaurant's logo. What is the name of it? Oh! Just found it. It's Casa Sanchez and you can read about it here if you don't believe me.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Animals of Pt. Reyes

Free Range Cow

Free Range Sea Lions

Tule Elk

Linda Davick with bread pudding and warm caramel sauce

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Limantour Beach in the Rain

Taking a Little Break

We found a great place in Pt. Reyes to stay for a couple of nights. It's raining but we don't care. The fire is going. The fridge is stocked. For me the most luxurious thing: the tile on the floor of the bathroom is heated.

I found a big hardback copy of Lynda Barry's new book Picture This on the sale table at Pt. Reyes books this morning.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Note from Nina

Hi, Linda!

I took Anne to the bookstore during my lunch break, and she took a curious liking to one particular book. After tossing aside a couple others, she settled on this delightful
Easter book and read it the whole time we were there!


Monday, February 21, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Letter from Ja-lene

I got the best letter from Ja-lene yesterday. A real letter that landed in our mail basket in the basement.

Here's part of it:

... I also think of you and your mom often. I miss her so much sometimes–I haven't gotten to spend time with someone quite as vibrant and joyous since!

I wanted to share something funny I remembered about your mom ... After she got the wheelchair, I used to push her almost everywhere (she tired out very quickly walking). She would fuss at me constantly because she wanted a turn pushing me in the wheelchair. She would say that all the people around were staring at her, thinking it was wrong of her to ride while I pushed! One day I thought I would show her that she couldn't push my weight. We were on a level, paved walkway in the Tennessee Riverpark, and she was asking again for me to let her push for a while. I helped her get up and get behind the chair, and then I sat down. I thought she wouldn't be able to move the chair at all, but to my astonishment she got it (and me) moving right along! I let her push for about ten feet, and then I couldn't stand it and got up. Needless to say, she still kept bugging me to let her push the chair on every trip after that ....

Friday, February 18, 2011

How To

(The prompt for today's 10-12 minute piece of writing was Describe a process.)

• • • • • •
Here is my new process for both finding the best sea glass, and also for getting a 3 1/2 mi. walk in:

First of all, you can always walk easily on the beach if the tide is below 4.2 ft. So you'll want to have a tide log, or to consult the weather page in the Chronicle. If the tide is below 4.2, you'll have enough sand that is "hard" to walk or jog on.

I always like to work as late as I can before the sun starts setting. Say the sun sets at 5:52. (Your tide chart will give sun-setting info., too.) So if the sun sets at 5:52, you'll want to be at your starting point by around 5:00. This will give you plenty of time, because it usually doesn't get really dark until 45 minutes after sunset.

Make sure you have pants with pockets. Let's back up here. Never buy pants without pockets. Pants without pockets should be against the law. Put on pants with pockets and grab your dirty beat-up lightweight down jacket and your baseball cap. Put your iPhone in your right hand pocket and your Canon camera in your left hand pocket.

If it's just freezing out on the beach and you have to wear those wool pants WITHOUT POCKETS, you'll have to add yet another encumbrance--a little shoulder bag with a zipper for beach finds.

Then put on your huge sunglasses that wrap practically all the way around your head to cut the glare from the sun as it sets.

Grab your shoe bag and get in the car. But instead of starting up at your end of the beach near the Cliff House, drive down the Great Highway to Pacheco and park down by the stop sign. If you pull over about 100 feet before the stop sign, you can open your car door without scraping the bottom of it, because the curb's lower there.

Then put on your dirty, sandy shoes, plug in your earbuds in order to the block the wind as much as for music--but go ahead and set Pandora to Cassandra Wilson--and walk up the bank and across the upper Great Highway, and down the steps to the dunes. (Always a thrill.)

The best rocks and glass and shells are usually at this end of the beach--not at our end. Starting at this end is the "new" process I was referring to in the first paragraph. The reason why it's much better to start at this end is because:

1. You can find great stuff while there's still light.

2. You'll be walking with the sun a little behind you, instead of walking into the sun. If you time it right, you'll be able to look for sea glass down near Pacheco, then walk up the beach to Balboa (where we used to start), and when you turn around to walk back, the sun will have set and you will have the most gorgeous walk back you can ever imagine, without the sun in your eyes.

Another nice thing: Java Beach is on your way home.

I'm so excited about this new process that I've gone a little over 12 minutes.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bye, Bye! See You in 9 Months

I sent out the art for Janet's and my book last night. From this point it takes almost nine months for the book to be produced, so I won't see it for a long time. Here are some of my favorite bits. Janet, I'm so mad that you never got to see it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Valentine for You

Stumbled upon yesterday afternoon

Friday, February 11, 2011


Today I found out that Janet Schulman had died. She wrote the book I'm currently illustrating. In fact, I was working on the last spread (the title page, which I always save for last) when I got the email from her daughter Nicole letting Janet's friends know that she had passed away this afternoon.

I hadn't heard from Janet in a while. I had FedEx'd her a Valentine present Tuesday. It was a poster made from the endpapers of the book (100 different Valentines drawn by the 10 kids in the book). I knew it had arrived, and in the back of my mind I kept waiting to hear from her.

Then this afternoon I got a message from her email account. I was happy for a split second--until I read the subject line: Sad News. It was the sad announcement from her daughter, and she was using Janet's account to send the news to everyone in Janet's address book.

I was stunned even though I had had a feeling this afternoon right after lunch. And I guess the fact that I hadn't heard from her in three weeks should have given me a big clue.

She was a mover and a shaker. One example: Back in 1974 she and her whole staff at Macmillan were given an hour to clear out their offices and leave the building. Publishers Weekly did a piece on it called "The 1974 Macmillan Massacre," and showed a photo of her out in the street leading other women carrying signs. The article quotes her:

I had always suspected (correctly) that I was being paid far less than male vice-presidents or male marketing managers. The final straw was my discovery, after I had a baby, that maternity medical benefits that were denied me were given to the wives of male Macmillan employees. I joined the Macmillan women’s group and was subsequently elected co-chairperson.

I was so impressed to find out that this was the person who had written the first book I'd illustrated for Random House that I emailed her and asked her if I could interview her for my blog.

The two things I remember most about the interview were her responses to these questions:

What is your favorite piece of jewelry?

Not worth answering. Do you really ask this question to others for your blog???

And the other, which I deleted: What is your favorite pair of shoes?

Another stupid question.

Needless to say, lover of plastic jewelry that I am–and lover of shoes that I am–I was a little shaken up. I emailed her right back, told her I loved the interview and asked her if I could publish it. And the rest is history.

My last email from her was dated January 21:

Hi Linda,

Just a quick note. Wed. chemo went ok. Just hope it works. A birthday book might be a good idea. Maybe call it 10 BIRTHDAY WISHES. It would be a birthday party for one of the 10 kids. Each kid would add a candle to the cake and have a wish and maybe a present for the birthday boy/girl. Sorry I can't get off the counting game, but I actually think it would be a good idea. I can't think of any birthday books that include counting concepts and are therefore geared to the younger preschoolers. This just might work. But don't hold your breath waiting for me to write it!


Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

A Stick, A Stone

I called Anne today to see if I could drop her poster by and pick up my lost earring. Peter answered and I was overjoyed to discover that he was back home.

He's been in Portland for the past three weeks taking care of his best friend, Ali, who was very ill. Ali died on Sunday.

It took a while for it to sink in that Peter was really back and I'm afraid I acted gloriously happy. So much for my powers of empathy.

Walking on the beach this evening I heard this song: The Waters of March.

Have you ever heard it? It's mysterious and haunting and sad but somehow joy is right there, too. I just downloaded two versions, one by Holly Cole and one by Cassandra Wilson. The words were written by Antonio Carlos Jobim:

a stick, a stone
it's the end of the road
it's the rest of the stump
it's a little alone
it's a sliver of glass
it is life, it's the sun
it is night, it is death
it's a trap, it's a gun
the oak when it blooms
a fox in the brush
the knot of the wood
the song of the thrush
the word of the wind
the cliff, a fall
a scratch, a lump
it is nothing at all
it's the wind blowing free
it's the end of a slope
it's a beam, it's a void
it's a hunch, it's a hope

and the riverbank talks
of the waters of march
it's the end of the strain
it's the joy in your heart

the foot, the ground
the flesh and the bone
the beat of the road
a slingshot stone
a truckload of bricks
in the soft morning light
the shot of the gun
in the dead of the night
a mile, a must
a thrust, a bump
it's a girl, it's a rhyme
it's a cold, it's the mumps
the plan of the house
the body in bed
and the car that got stuck
it's the mud, it's the mud
a float, a drift
a flight, a wing
a cock, a quail
oh, the promise of spring

and the riverbank talks
of the waters of march
it's the promise of life
it's the joy in your heart
a point, a grain
a bee, a bite
a blink, a buzzard
a sudden stroke of night
a pin, a needle
a sting, a pain
a snail, a riddle
a wasp, a stain
a snake, a stick
it is john, it is joe
a fish, a flash
a silvery glow
the bed of the well
the end of the line
the dismay on the face
it's a loss, it's a find
a spear, a spike
a point, a nail
a drip, a drop
the end of the day

and the river bank talks
of the waters of march
it's the promise of life
it's the joy in your heart
the end of the road
a little alone
a sliver of glass
a life, the sun
a night, a death
the end of the run

and the river bank talks
of the waters of march
it's the promise of life
it's the joy in your heart

Monday, February 07, 2011

Orange Bridge

How many photos of this orange bridge have I posted on this blog? Seven hundred?

It was too windy on the beach this evening so we hit the Coastal Trail. Walking back, the lights on the bridge came on.

Sunday, February 06, 2011


It isn't a suitcase full, but it's a platter full!

This really moved me. A woman so crazy about kayaking that she makes a graven image of a kayak (and paddle) while waiting for her kayaking buddy.

Later, takeout Chinese with Anne and Carmen from Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant. We got to see the record that Anne made for Vinyl Transformations, An Art Exhibition Benefiting North Beach Citizens. It's the best piece she's ever done.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

What I found yesterday (on the beach and in the mail).

That's Anne's Year of the Hare drawing. And the 2 dollar bill she and Peter put in little red envelopes every year. 

Friday, February 04, 2011

Super Sad True Beach Story

Can you believe the beach this evening? Again, it was so frustrating because we didn't get out there until almost 5:30 and only had a little time before PLUNK! the sun set. I only spent about 5 minutes picking up glass because I desperately needed to jog a little.

But look! LOOK!!! I had never seen the beach so absolutely covered with shells and rocks and debris. It was heaven. I'm going to try to get out there tomorrow around 4:30 with a giant suitcase.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Close Call

Can you believe I almost threw away the box my packing tape came in, without discovering the free bonus stickers that Andy had stuck inside? There were four of them ... wish I still had room on my laptop. Not very much beach glass to be found yesterday.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Glass and Leaves

Jane lives in the middle of the city, so when she goes outside she shoots pictures of leaves on the street. I live on the very edge of the city and there are hardly any trees around at all so I pick up glass and stones and shoot pictures of those things.

Anyway, Jane and I made a trade and I came away with the photo on the right. It's actually a photo of a photo, and still it retains its beautiful integrity.

Jane said that when her boyfriend saw the photo he said, "If you could get rid of all that junk in the middle it would make a nice photograph."

I found the treasures on the left yesterday. I don't usually pick up stones but it was so strange–most of the stones that washed up yesterday were very flat–almost wafer-thin. I can't fathom why it is that not only different kinds of things, but also different shapes of things, wash up from day to day. It's one of the mysterious things I love about our city beach.

You can see more of Jane's photos here. I always thought that photos in general looked best on a backlit screen, but hers gain a whole new dimension when they're printed.