Friday, June 30, 2006

Hers and His

Dorothy's friend is getting a divorce not because she doesn't like her husband, but because they can't live together. Of course they can't live together! Who can bear to live with another human? This may not have been true for mb:
I miss my sweet Dave... too short a life & such a beautiful man!!! I love him & miss him BIG TIME! Saw a couple yesterday when I was sitting @ dealership waiting for my ride & tho I couldn't hear anything they said, I saw them talk & kiss & talk & kiss & then they parted... just like "us"... mb

When Tom and I go to Barbara's Fish Trap or Parkside Cafe for an intimate dinner, we have a great time. But if mb saw us, she would see two people reading library books while waiting for their clam chowder.

I met my husband in Whitney Leland's art class. I always thought the perfect living arrangement would be for Tom and me to have a duplex. When you walk in the front door, a painting by Whitney Leland would be centered on the wall. Then, my door would be on the left, and Tom's door would be on the right.

My cousin Barry and his wife Beth live across the street from one another. They see each other for dinner, and get together on weekends. This kind of living arrangement isn't possible for us in San Francisco, so I have to make allowances.

When you walk in the front door, a painting by Whitney Leland would be centered on the wall.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Better Day

Janet, I feel like I had lunch in heaven. Thank you so much. Unbelievable food & beauty. All the different birds that live there! Please don't tell Jim that I drank all the wine.

I didn't get my computer back!! Can you believe it? Two of the function keys still weren't working . . . Dorothy was a really good sport about all the driving.

I need to go lie down now and think about how the chicken and potatoes tasted with that wine. Do you have any leftover biscotti?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Hairdo School

Today I went to hairdo school. Why? Because you can take the N-Judah if you haven't reserved the family car, and because you can get a cut and color for half price. It was a disaster, from start to finish. Because I have fear of leaving the house, I was late to the train. Then the train itself was late. When I finally ran in the door, I found out the person I had made my appointment with had decided to play hooky.

Three hours later, my hair was an astonishing snowy hue–only the Eskimos would know the precise word for this color. Not only that, but it was way past lunch time. The teacher came over and helped my stylist redo the color. By the time my hair was ready to cut, I couldn't have cared less what it looked like. All I could think of was a huge chile poblano relleno.

I hit the sidewalk about four o'clock. Reeling with hunger, I couldn't remember exactly where I had come up from the train station.

When the train got to 24th Avenue, I called Tom and asked him to meet me at the end of the line. I said I'd start walking home if he wasn't there. I was almost home when I saw him breeze by in the Ford. He said he hadn't recognized me in my summer coat! (I had just changed from my black down jacket to my white one on June 21st). Since I was in possession of the family cell phone, I ended up walking all the way back to the train station to fetch him and the Ford.

Barbara asked me to take a picture of my hair, and said she would give me an honest opinion. What do you think, Barbara?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Pillow Talk

3:47 a.m.

me: I heard you talking on the phone to Billy Earl and saying you would order the Alan Furst book from Amazon. If you do, be sure to tell me,
OK? Because I can add a book to the order and if we bring the total to $25, we'll get free shipping.

Tom: OK.

me: If Strangers With Candy and The Devil Wears Prada both open this Friday, which one do you want to see first?

Tom: Linda, can we please have this discussion in the morning?

me: Of course. If you're too busy.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Special Occasion

Every time we lift a finger, our friend Scott gives us a bottle of wine. He gave us one each for carrying the platter of food from Ali Baba's. But every time I'm ready to open a bottle, Tom thinks we should wait for a special occasion. When will the special occasion ever come? Tonight! Why? Because it's foggy outside.

I set my new flip-flop in the shot to add some color, and to prove that I am capable of buying an elegant girls' shoe.

From megnut's site
David Lebovitz has a good post about food that's too good to use. I have a similar philosophy that I call "use the good stuff." . . . Anyway, I'd keep bottles of wine and treasure jars of jam for so long they'd be no good once I got around to using them. I decided life was too short and that it was important to use the good stuff. And now I do, mostly. I saved a beautiful birthday gift of 1989 Laurent-Perrier Champagne too long (no situation ever seemed good enough to justify its drinking) and when I opened it, it was passed and I was so sad. It was just the kick in the pants I needed to remember to use the good stuff.

Meg Hourihan is a "food enthusiast." In a past life she was an internet entrepreneuer and co-founder of Pyra Labs, the company that produced Blogger.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


I'll cut to the chase. The miracle is that you can read this phenomenal story I'm talking about online, in LARGE TYPE, for free. But it's not light or humorous. I think the only way I was able to read it was a bit at a time every day as I was drying my hair.

Dear Roger,
The funniest thing happened--I read this story in the New Yorker called
Dimension by Alice Munro. I just looked it up online so I could tell you what issue it was in. (June 6). It was an incredible story–the kind that is so mysterious you can't figure out how it was ever written by a human being. Like that story by George Saunders called Sea Oak. I threw the magazine away but then I kept thinking about it.

A couple of weeks went by before it dawned on me that the book you had mailed me called
Runaway was by Alice Munro. For some reason I had thought Alice Munro = modern Zora Neale Hurston.

Hi, Linda:
I MUST read that Munro story. I tried to begin it on the plane, but that illustration that accompanied it was pretty frightening -- not something you want to see at 50,000 feet.

I hope you guys are eating well!!!

But back to the miracle. You'll be relieved to know that I googled Alice Munro and discovered that she wasn't Alice Walker. Then, when I went to her bibliography page, I discovered 13 whole short stories you can click on and read on your screen, or print out and read while you're drying your hair. People, do you read me? Is this not miraculous?

I just googled "sea oak george" because I wasn't sure how to spell "Saunders," and look what I found. Try to tell me that God does not dwell within your computer.

Beach Find of the Day

Friday, June 23, 2006

I Want My eBook Reader

It's Friday evening and we just got back from the library. I got a book by Alexander McCall Smith called 44 Scotland Street that I just can't wait to begin. It's from a daily serial he wrote for his newspaper in Scotland. He got the idea on a trip to San Francisco, when he met Armistead Maupin at a party, and they talked about how Maupin's Tales of the City came about.

But back to the matter at hand. Here's why you and I want an eBook reader:

1. You can carry hundreds of books with you when you travel, and they will weigh no more than 9 ounces (if you have the reader shown here).

2. You know how when you lie on your side in bed, and try to read your book sideways? When you're resting one side of the book on the bed, it's easy. But when you're reading the facing page, you have to balance the book on its edge and grasp the opposite pages with your elbow in the air, so it doesn't shut on itself? All you have to do with your eBook reader is turn it sideways and lean it against a pillow.

3. I've always loved large type, even before reading glasses. When I go to the library and look in the large type section, the pickings are slim. Tonight I counted. There were a total of 43 large type books. You're out of luck if you happen to be in the mood for something other than How to Live With Rheumatoid Arthritis or Danielle Steele. With an eBook reader, you can adjust the type size so it's as large or small as you'd like.

4. If you sleep with another mammal and want to read in bed, you know how he will plead with you to please use the book light, and then after a minute even the book light is too bright? If your eBook reader has a backlit screen, problem solved.

5. This eBook reader looks like a little Etch-a-Sketch if Sony will make it in red. (I manipulated the gray to demonstrate this fact to Sony).

6. Have you moved into a different apartment in the last five or ten years? When we moved, we had 60 boxes of books. It's depressing to me to be surrounded by such mass and volume. Dust and mildew spring out of nowhere. Imagine what your place would look like with 100 extra square feet of space.

7. Don't tell me you're one of those people who just loves to feel the texture of paper in her hands. Then buy a small pad of paper to fondle as you read your eBook!

e-mail from Aggles: I like books w/ real pages that you don’t need batteries to operate. Can you imagine being very, very close to the end of an exciting “who-dunnit” when your batteries give out?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Mood Ring

I heard from my friend who I thought I had lost. I went for a jog; I was light with happiness. I saw the painting below on the back of the bathroom across from Beach Java. I stopped to photograph it because the woman in the painting looks like my friend. Only my friend doesn't have a mustache or keep a fish under her hat.

I was so elated that I created a special dessert:
Mélange à noix Maniaque-Dépressif

Mix 1 part semi-sweet chocolate chips with 3 parts lightly salted peanuts. If you already finished off bottle of wine from dinner, find thermos of leftover coffee from breakfast and pour into cup. Wash down melange with cold coffee.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

First Day of Summer

For Mother's Day, I received a cashmere sweater from Land's End. It was OK–a little boxy. I decided to keep it, but recycled the catalog that came with it immediately, knowing I would never order anything from Land's End again.

On Thursday evenings I buy the New York Times so I can read David Pogue's column. The style section is fun, too. On the Thursday after my Mother's Day present came, there was an astonishing story in the style section about swim suits from Land's End. The writer, Ruth La Ferla, was out of her mind with enthusiasm: women who had never been able to wear bathing suits in their lives were now wearing Land's End suits with ease and grace. I marched right down into the basement and dug down through the recycling bin until I found the Land's End catalog.

Tom chose a suit for me and I called Land's End first thing the next day. I had no idea what size to order, so I ordered 2 sizes. Too bad: that particular suit was back-ordered until mid-June. I decided to wait, because I wasn't going to the beach until July 15. (Not our beach, but a beach on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where people wear swim suits instead of down jackets.)

Today one of the suits came–the larger size. The smaller size was still back-ordered. I tried it on. It fit like a glove. I have never in my life had a suit that fit. I was a little out of sorts that it was the larger size. But having a suit that not only fit, but made me look better than in real life more than made up for the fact that it was the larger size.

So I thought I'd take it down to the beach this evening and photograph it for you. And if you want to see how it looks when it's wet, see below. But then . . .

when I pulled out the catalog again in order to compare myself with the model, I happened to read the copy at the top of the page. Humiliating but true, Tom had chosen a Slender Suit for me! "Slender Suits make swimmers look slimmer. They shape your middle to build your confidence. Amazing slimming power. Fits your top, bottom, and bottom line." I thought the suit had felt a little weird when I took it out of the box–I guess it was the architecture involved.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Happy Birthday, David

David Goldman is my illustration agent. I read an article about him eight years ago, after he was named Artists' Rep of the Year by the Washington D.C. Art Directors' Club. The article mentioned that he was a musician, a vegetarian, a yogi. That sounded unusual to me. I thought all New Yorkers ate pastrami 24 hours a day, and were too busy to exercise.

I stashed the article in a shoebox and began pestering him. Two years ago I finally wore him down, and he took me on as one of his illustrators. The only day off he had this year was when his pet bird got sick and needed a ride to the hospital.

He's in a band called the Nightmares (above). They played last Saturday night at his neighborhood club.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

My Sweet Neighborhood

Tom asked if I wanted to go to the library. I said, "YES!" but at the last minute I asked him to drop me off at the beach. I thought a walk would help. The beach was crowded. And it was high tide, which made walking difficult because the sand was so soft. When I got to the end of the dunes, I decided to leave the beach and walk back home on the path that goes by the Great Highway. I had always wanted to take a picture of this apartment building, and the light was perfect.

e-mail from Aggles:
Oh I just saw Friday’s & Sunday’s blog -- I hope you’re feeling better! At times like this I always visit cuteoverload. Can’t recommend it highly enough. And maybe that cupcake website.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Jon Carroll's Workshop

photo by Terry Lorant

Jon Carroll taught a writing workshop at Book Passage in Corte Madera last Saturday. Some things I remember:

- Jon wore a colored t-shirt under an unbuttoned corduroy shirt, and he didn't tuck anything in.

- The worst enemy a writer can have is perfectionism. Deal with it and conquer it. Perfectionism is the illusion of control. You aren't going to make it perfect, so write it and let it go. The Nigerian phrase for "wise woman" is "she who has broken many pots."

- You should be a little scared when you're writing.

- Somebody raised her hand and said that she had taken all these writing classes that focused on the importance of the epiphany in writing–where it should fall within the piece, how it should be approached. Jon thought that all the importance placed on epiphanies can be a bunch of baloney. That life by itself is rich and wonderful–it doesn't always have to "mean" something.

- It's OK to buy a big croissant with powdered sugar and only eat a couple of bites. Then you can turn it back in or throw it away. Hearing that was an epiphany for me. Like when Anne Lamott said that it was OK to use lots paper when you're writing. Print your story out and read it and throw it away, and print it out and read it and throw it away again. If you're that concerned about wasting paper, contribute to the Sierra Club.

- It was a nice, clean feeling to be in Corte Madera. Most of the people at this outdoor mall smelled good and had tailored clothes on. During lunch I was walking though the courtyard, and noticed this bum in a short-sleeved Hawaiian shirt going the other way. I didn't make eye-contact. When I got back to class, there he was! It was Jon Carroll. Apparently he had brought along a short-sleeved shirt to change into in case it got too hot.

-It can be a good sign for what you're writing if you find yourself crying. It can be a good sign if you find yourself laughing out loud.

- The bookstore itself was lots of fun. Aside from books, they also sold these velvet zippered purses in orange, green and purple. Also, these triangular black bags that you can sling over your shoulder. When you registered for the class, you received a 10% off coupon that you could use in the store. But you had to buy books with it–you couldn't use it on the orange velvet purse. So I bought the book below in order to save as much money as I could in one day.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Thursday morning I drove my husband to the airport. When I got back home, I took off my wedding ring. I hung it on the bulletin board in the kitchen. It had been on my finger continuously since September 4, 1974–almost 32 years. It was just an experiment to see what would happen if I went barehanded for the weekend.

e-mail from Aggles: So w/ tom out of town–how will you eat? Doesn't he do all the cooking? I'm afraid you'll waste away to nothing!
e-mail to Aggles:
I bought two frozen California Pizzas at Safeway yesterday. (Sausage, pepperoni, and mushroom). Don't worry–I can pull the mushrooms off.

What Happened Thursday

Exotic Cooking for One:
1. Arachides sous le Parapluie Vert: Pour salted peanuts into bowl. Add spinach leaf for vitamin C, vitamin E, and folic acid.
2. Doigts Oranges de Bébé: Rip open bag. No washing or trimming necessary, as when purchased from farmers' market.
3. Medicación Ligera: Place 2 beers in bed along with opener, knife, lime, and foam koolie. Don't forget reading glasses and newspaper.
4. Crostini Doppio Ganache: Arrange saltines on platter. To make ganache, spread with peanut butter and top with chocolate chips. Microwave for 30 seconds–or flambe'.

What Happened Friday

Tired of working. Tired of exotic cooking. For dinner, I decided to see a movie at Opera Plaza called The Puffy Chair and to eat fluffy popcorn. Fun! But if you decide to try this by yourself, you have to remember that you're the one responsible for remembering where the car is parked. Was it Turk or McCallister?

What Happened Saturday

What Happened Sunday

How To Eat a Pizza for Three if You're Only One Person:

The pizza last night was divine, though I was nauseous for hours afterward. Tonight I was successful in finding a way to eat the second one without suffering the same ill effects:
1. Look at this. This is supposed to be three servings. Remove plastic. Remove cardboard circle underneath pizza. Place pizza in hot oven for 20 minutes–yes, an eternity–but worth it.
2. Watching your weight? Pull off mushrooms and discard.
3. Important: After eating the entire first half–but before swallowing toppings from the 2nd half–throw remaining crust from the 2nd half into the garbage. You'll want to retrieve it later for a bedtime snack. To avoid this, Spray Mount it now.
4. Spray Mount: Familiarize yourself with this product.


I've suffered extreme heartburn without my ring. I'm putting it back on before dinner tomorrow night.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

My Heart Is Here

On our last vacation trip to Northern California, we were driving back across the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco. When we were right in the middle of the bridge, John Lee Hooker came on the radio. He was singing:

I got the blues for San Francisco
Yes, yes, yes, yes

My heart is there, high, on the hill,
right down by, the Golden Gate, 'cross the bay,
that's where I wanna be
I left my heart right there, in San Francisco
with the mornin' fog and the cool, cool night, the cable cars, on the hill
That's where I wanna be people,
my heart is there, my heart is there, in San Francisco

I got teary-eyed. On our next trip, we met with two realtors; and on our next trip, we moved here. Believe it or not (I can't–but it's true), we see some great views of the bridge when we walk on the Coastal Trail. This is what it looked like this evening.

John Lee Hooker passed away peacefully in his sleep in the morning of June 21, 2001 at his home in the San Francisco Bay area, at the age of 83.

Monday, June 05, 2006

I Am Here

When we thought about moving from Tennessee to San Francisco, we envisioned ourselves living in a condo in Russian Hill. Very funny! We ended up in the Outer Richmond: a colorful, unpredictable, extremely mixed neighborhood. Very different from our old established neighborhood in the South. The other day I heard a loud grunting sound. I looked out the window and saw a woman in high heels coming up our street. She was talking on the phone and walking a huge pig on a leash. The pig was wearing a scarf, and honking loudly–clearly annoyed at being made to climb the steep hill.

It took me five years to feel at home here. My reward for persevering is that I love living here more than I've ever loved living anywhere in my life.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

International Arts & Crafts: A Review

Today we visited the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. The special exhibit there is International Arts & Crafts: William Morris to Frank Lloyd Wright. Skip it! It is completely brown and beige. Plus you have to pay an extra $5.00 to see it, on top of your ticket price. Save your five for a cappuccino in the cafe.
top photo is from
There are plenty of other inspiring things to see:

The bathrooms are delightful. And currently there are two exhibits of art made by children. Paper mache animals, cloth animals. The giant poodle (below) is my favorite. Chris Colbert made the ceramic cup with the tree sprouting from it. "My Reeses Cup" is by Melissa Lau. The piece on the bottom right is too amazing to be true. A kimono with all kinds of yarn and cardboard and toys and beads and strange buttons and plastic things sewn on the front.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Best Hair at Ocean Beach

I thought I was being very discreet today when I photographed this girl's hair. Tom stood to the side so I could pretend to be photographing him. But when her family left the beach a minute later, she turned around and waved goodbye to me.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Thanks for Treating Me to Lunch

Some people get a kick out of knowing what kind of underwear their friends have on. But I get a kick out of knowing what my friends have for lunch. Since today is my birthday, will you indulge me and tell me what you had for lunch?

Larry: Annie's downtown has been around for nearly twenty years, I think. When we remember to go not too late, cause they tend to run out, we go (like today) and I got a falafel sandwich, it's on pita naturally, and I always eat as much of Barbara's food as possible, so I also got several spoonfuls of hummus from her plate. Also, I had fresh-squeezed unsweet ice tea. They have just about the best falafel south of Knoxville and great tea also. But that's all I had even though I didn't eat any breakfast this morning; it is verry filling. Annie's is run by the guy, who we think is the owner, and his wife, and two smaller older people who we think must be a Mom and Dad. It's cafeteria style, and naturally, Annie takes the money, and he serves, and the small older people run in and out behind the serving line bringing new things to eat out of a secret place in the back. It's cavernous and darkish, right beside the downtown Mini dealer, and has a band deck on one side and a bar on the other, so they must have drinks and music at night, but we've never been there at night, because I get indigestion if I eat falafels while I'm listening to rock music. Besides that, they run out of falafels by 1:10pm or so. But the other food is also good, sort of Greek, like lemon soup and chicken kababs (I've resorted to those and they're really delicious). For dessert they have ice cream and pastries.

Sal: I had a zillion pistachios just before and after lunch. I had a veggie burger with spinach and soy cheese and dijon mustard on multi-grain bread. Water to drink. But you know me; I kind of just graze all day. Apples and an orange and raw veggies await for the afternoon. Mid-morning there was half a cinnamon raisin bagel. I just can't pack enough food in my lunchpail.... have to munch while I'm working on the computer....

Susan L: Today was the last day of school for the year so the principal had our lunch catered from a hamburger place. I ate:
hamburger with lettuce, pickle, mustard, cheese slice and onion on white bun.
baked beans that were just out of the can.
lay's potato chips..the thin kind.
1 can of pepsi
peach cobbler, which was the best thing about the whole meal.
I would have indulged in my usual after lunch snack...York Peppermint Patties but a mouse got into my stash and I had to throw it away.

Barbara: I had a falafel platter, 2 falafels, lettuce and chopped tomatoes and sauce on it, grilled vegetables ( broccoli , cauliflower and carrots, delish!) and hummos and pita (pita was not grilled), but I am on a diet - gaining weight just by looking at food, menopause.... - so I ate only 1 small piece of pita. Plain water with ice. Larry had part of my hummos. (I did go the the gym this morning).

Ken: I had a half of a pimento cheese sandwich, homemade (by me) with white cheddar cheese, on Pepperidge Farm Soft Oatmeal bread (one slice). This is the most perfect bread, by the way. Three slices of overripe cantaloupe and homemade iced tea with a squirt of lemon. And I ate at my desk, in front of the friggin’ computer. Sounds sort of healthy, doesn’t it (except the computer part)?

Our Franklin: Lunch I purchased at my favorite (only favorite) spot in East Lake, J&C's Quick Stop--open from 5:30 am till 2:30 pm.--a convenience store sans petroleum. For $4.78 I had a roast beef sandwich (hot) on toast with lettuce tomato and mayo with a V8 Splash (Strawberry Kiwi). I bought it on the run coming back from Howard High School where I had just dropped off some case files for new 9th graders. I consumed the lunch in the school psychologist's office as we brainstormed the missing report from one of my case files.

J&C's is a throw back to some other time warp...a bunch of middle age ladies with high school or less education cook the best quick breakfast & lunch menu in chattanooga. This is the star of my otherwise cloudy year in this community. Lots of hard-hat types frequent the place along with bros from the hood.

Cheryl: Lunch ok...that's easy, I just finished having it at 2:30 in NYC:)

I made it myself...A sweet vidalia onion sautéed in a wee bit of olive oil with an orange bell pepper, mushrooms, Trader Joe's Italian Sweet Chicken Sausage cut on the bias til carmelized. I added tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, basil, kalamata olive tapanade and a splash of some red wine cooked in; Ca del Solo- Big House Red- California 2003, from Santa Cruz. (I bought it at the Trader Joe's down the street on 14th St in NYC:) I'm happy it's here, it reminds me of shopping there in SF).

I had this over whole wheat couscous with added trail mix and spices, I doll up my couscous when I make it. Had this instead of pasta cuz I ain't got no pasta right now:)

Had a two cups of french press Arabica Bean Dark Roast coffee with Equal and 2% milk.

I'm buzzed, full and happy:)

The sauce will be even better tomorrow as leftovers:)

Janet: In honor of your birthday, I had a small glass of Tropicana Grovestand (lots of pulp) orange juice and two slices of Oroweat Honey Wheat Berry bread (no trans fats) with Jif crunchy peanut butter (reduced fat). That was at 10:30 am so we may be having another communal lunch soon!

Roger: Today I had a hot dog for lunch, but not a regular American hot dog, a Parisian hot dog. See, my boyfriend and I were on the Champs-Elysees, and I was so hungry. Here's what makes French hot dogs super special: They -- "they," those French people -- they take a baguette, cut it in half, then stick it over a thin metal rod. This super special French technique smooshes all the bread against the sides of the interior. (You have to admit that this sounds sexy, as all French things do and should.) After a minute or so, while the French hot dog seller is sitting there thinking something like, "We were so right not to join the U.S. in the invasion of Iraq," his arms folded smugly, he removes the hot dog from a pot of water, sexily. He then removes the baguette, now metamorphosed into the "bun," squirts mustard and/or ketchup into the bun, and finally gently slides the hot dog into the bun. I have no idea what this action resembles, but my hot dog lunch, a double (that's two hot dogs squeezed into that baguette, a tight fit), was delicious, consumed beneath the cloudy, regal skies of Paris.

Dorothy: I slept right through lunch today. Got up and had breakfast and worked for a couple of hours and then went back to bed because my cold was bad. Next thing I know, it's 4:00 pm!

Georgia: For lunch I had: a Healthy Choice Salmon w/ broccoli meal and some chocolate chip cookie dough that I made. The best part of the meal was an ice cold Thomas Kemper Rootbeer.

John: Chicken on whole wheat with baked garlic chips.....oh well

Deb: Okay, it was a work day. I had a slice of a leftover quesadilla with an added piece of roast turkey stuck in for good measure, a sliced carrot (it was very yummy) and a cup of bengal spice tea. That was it. However, later I had a hershey's carmel center whatever those things are called and a tiny mounds bar (bite size)...........We talked about work, Virginia wines (apparently its the fifth largest wine producing state?), and the Inn at Little Washington. That was it. In the lunch room at work cause no time for the picnic tables (down five flights and a little walk). Going down for the Red Sox.

[[TvD]]: I must admit that while Elaine was working, I napped through our birthday luncheon date. So when Elaine finally came home we had an early supper [neither of us had any lunch]. Since I was too tired from napping and Elaine was too tired from working, we decided to make it easy on ourselves and have a Dutch smoked mackerel on toasted NeoTuscan bread, with unsalted butter and a sprinkle of French sea salt; each a navel orange, quartered into 8 sections, rind left on. I had a diet Mountain Dew over crushed ice and elaine had water to wash away the nice, fat smoked fish taste, so this fish could swim a little longer. To complete the "meal" we had a piece of rhubarb and raspberry pie, homemade including flaky, sweet pastry that the man of the house made, and was left over from the holiday weekend, saving the last pieces in celebration of your birthday! The location of our dining experience was held at the counter of a gourmet kitchen overlooking the stormy waters of Watts Bar and Thief Neck Island in Roane County, Tennessee.

I've enclosed some pictures of the process. Photo 101, first we removed the head and tail (what a tale this is...) and look inside its belly. Photo 106, removing all the bones and skin, but making sure that the green fat stays behind. Photo 110, the meal is ready: Dew, fish, orange, butter, toast.

What more could a Dutch person want?? (Chocolate, licorice??) Photo 112, ready to go after the gentle touch of salt from a salty old woman. Photo 117, all that to make a salty old man happy. Care for a bite? Yum, yum!! Photo 124, with the spoils in the background, the left-over homemade rhubarb pie.

Well, Linda, I hope you enjoyed it. Later tonight I will light a candle in your honor while we indulge in elaine's homemade cinnamon-vanilla bean ice cream. Yum, yum!! No wonder we put on the pounds.

Em: i bring my lunch to work from home, unless there is a special occasion. today, i had a chicken sandwich with all the trimmings (lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo) on wheat bread. i had a pear, and a banana, a bottle of water, two bulls eyes, and a chocolate/peanut butter candy. oh, and a butter cookie from a co-worker.

Tom: I had the same thing that you had only not as much.

Susan E: I ate lunch at 1:00 at SEA in Petaluma. Its a Thai restaurant. I had salad, "holy basil" with chicken and rice. Very spicy vegetables. iced tea with equal. It was hotter than i really wanted, even though I asked for spicy. It made me want some chocolate afterwards, which i had at around 2:00. the garlic on my breath bothered me all day.

Lynn: Why couldn't you have asked me on a day where I really ate an actual lunch!? Damn. My friend wanted me to help her rearrange her furniture so really all I ate in the middle of the day was slices of goat brie cheese that I squished inside of an Austrian bread roll. And water to drink. And two Toffifay candies. Not very exotic!!! I'm sorry! :(
What did YOU have for lunch?

Me: What did I have? I had half a container of Chinese Peanut Noodle Salad from Greens take-out, and one stuffed grape leaf from Trader Joe's. Some cherries. I drank 1 part Country Peach Passion Celestial Seasonings Tea, 1 part Trader Joe's Gravenstein Apple Juice, 1 part h2O. I had to eat fast because I was late for criminal court.

Caroline: My lunch was a hard-boiled egg with Trader Joe Organic Mayonnaise (the best!) and a little round pitta bread from same vendor. Wish it had been eaten with you in person. Hard-boiled eggs are a favorite – and I guess I eat them about twice a month or so. Not that often.

Aggles: Well, for lunch on the day of your birth I was taken to Copelands and had half an oyster po’ boy and a little Caesar salad w/ water to drink.

Lee: I had a traveling lunch for your birthday:
At home, standing at the counter, telling Alexander to hurry up and get his shoes on so we wouldn’t be late for school:
A bowl of soupy pinto beans (cooked with garlic) and rice
Half an ear of corn was on my plate, but I didn’t eat it
In the car:
A delicious, juicy, sweet and tart nectarine
Walking down the street:
A perfect almond biscotti that could have been no other than a Semifreddi’s
A 16-oz. single-shot decaf vanilla latte

For dinner I cooked:
Teriyaki chicken (delicious! ok, I bought it prepared, ready to cook)
Spinach (mediocre; I made that all by myself)
Basmati rice (perfect; it ought to be because I make it 3-4 times a week)
Fruit salad of strawberries, nectarines, cherries, and blueberries (oh, oh, oh; summer’s here!)

Spots & Scott: As for the lunch question, that is easy for me–I don't eat lunch. Granola & yogurt for breakfast and whatever for supper. Haven't made a practice of eating lunch for so long I can't remember when I did. Spots is pretty much in the same boat.

Gwen: On the 31st I don't think I had lunch. That was my last day at work and we were off at 10:00 and I ran around doing errands like picking up my new lenses. I can at last see!!!

friends continue treating me to lunch:

Me: Cheryl, thank you so much for your GREAT reply. (and the other nice things you said) It's funny how many people mentioned Trader Joe's. We buy Big House Red! But we actually drink it instead of using it to cook. We've been to their winery--Bonny Doon in Santa Cruz. All their wines have a great sense of humor. When will you be back this way? Janet and I miss you.

Cheryl: When I started reading your blog about lunches it made me hungry so I had to have a Lemon Ginger cookie from of course Trader Joes! The Big House Red was pretty good! Cool that you visited the winery! I added the leftover wine I had to my sauce, yumm! I have some BV Coastal Merlot I'm gonna have tomorrow night with dinner.

Today I had chicken curry for lunch:) I made it last night and it is all yumm good from marinating overnight. I learned to cook it when I was dating a guy from Trinidad 10 years ago, I can thank him for inspiring me to learn how to cook Caribbean food:) Curry, calliou, peas and rice, jerk chicken and the island's deelish version of mac and cheese! Now I cook it for myself and I'm happy I have a recipe and NOT a relationship with Mr. Trinidad!

I haven't seen "Insatiable" by Gael Greene but I will check it out! I love reading travelogues with food details like Under The Tuscan Sun! It made me want so bad to visit there! I wanted to go to Italy for my 50th birthday on August 18th! Instead, I'm having a bacchanal up in Harlem, bringing Italy to me! Wanna come?

Roger: Jose and I made it safe and sound to Barcelona, Jose's favorite city. (I'm serious: He would probably sell an organ -- one of the less vital ones, something vestigial, an appendix, say -- to make our annual pilgrimage.) Sunny, sunny skies, people walking everywhere. We just had a delicious lunch at the Boqueria, a huge market off the Ramblas. Here is a picture (not taken by me).

We had a torta de patata (an omelette-quiche-fritata thingie, very delicious), freshly squeezed orange juice, coconut juice, a squid (or was it octopus?) omelette with a fried egg and garlic, and, for me, a beer. We're having some of our clothes washed now; I'm at the Internet cafe (obviously; I LOVE these places), Jose has wandered off and is probably window shopping, looking at jewelry.

Jean: (forgot lunch on my birthday, so she wrote what she had on her birthday, a few days later) I didn't have lunch on my B-day because I had breakfast with a good friend and then, after a long nap, dinner with a different good friend.
But the breakfast was crab cakes benedict (yes, very slimming!) and the dinner was risotto with artichokes and shrimp, also sauteed sand dabs with tomato and the odd black olive--shared.
no cake or candle or crowd of any sort.
which is how i like it.

Milton: Hope you are doing well and happy birthday. Sorry I was not in the office on your birthday, but today I had dim-sum and tea in Chinatown. I guess that is my belated birthday lunch.

Roger: It's early morning in Prague, chilly and grey. Yesterday Jose and I had lunch at McDonald's (yuck!) and dinner there too (!). I'm actually embarrassed to admit this, but you must understand: Nothing here is in English. We went to see "Carmen" at a beautiful theater, and when the opera let out, nothing was open, except McDonald's. You have to pay for catsup there, and mayo, too! (But they give you free water.) We sat next to a man who had diamond earrings in his ears, jewelry on his fingers and around his neck. He got up every so often and took some thrown-away food from other tables, returned to his seat, and ate it (usually fries). Jose said to me, "This guy is creepy. Let's get out of here." So I got up quickly and headed for the door. Some change fell from pocket, and the bejewelled garbage eater snatched them up with his paws. Prague!

Leslie: And happy belated birthday!!!! I fear my lunch that day was most uninspired. It was a pick-up lunch from Target. Yep...the old standard....a vanilla yogurt power bar and a lukewarm bottle of water, digested in the romantic setting of my Saturn, somewhere on Rt. 411.

Roger: One of the most pleasurable lunches Jose and I had was during a trip to Sitges, a beach town about 30 minutes south of Barcelona by train. Slowly you depart Barcelona Sants station in an upper car, waiting for the moment when you can see the turquoise blue water of the Costa Brava (the "Brave Coast"). After a visit to the nude beach (no photo link, there, missus!), we walked around the winding little streets, looking for something to snack on. We found this little tapas place and took our places at the bar. In front of you are several glass cases, with three sections: top, middle, and bottom. On all three sections are plates of snacks, usually meat or vegetables on small pieces of bread: a bit of sausage with some sauce on it, or anchovies and peppers. My favorite was the jamon serrano, some dried ham, with a bit of manchego cheese. A small toothpick holds the tapas to the bread; you take out the toothpick to eat the tapas, leave the toothpick on your plate, and the barman counts the number of toothpicks to find out how much you have to pay. I've heard that they're called tapas because people used to put them on the top of a beer glass to keep the flies out of their beer, but I'm not sure if this is true or not. By the way, most of the tapas are salty -- the better to quench your thirst with a beer (I had 2!!). If you want to see tapas, here is a link.