Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Birthday Cake

But back to my mom's birthday cake for a moment. When she was telling me about it, she said, "It was such an interesting color."

I thought: Huh-oh. There's that word again: "Interesting..."

...I should have insisted that Paul make a chocolate cake with chocolate icing.

But I hadn't wanted to be too bossy.

-What color was it?

-It was a yellow cake. The frosting was orange. With a pink border.
I thought: Whoa!

Then today I happened to drive by this house on 39th Avenue. I squealed to a stop. There was something familiar about it. Then it came to me. This is what the cake must have looked like! Not bad at all.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Crack the Code

I came up with what I thought would be a great New Year's gift idea. All our friends, and everyone in Tom's and my family would get a t-shirt with this design on it.

In order to win a special prize:
1. Crack the code (hint at bottom) and list the seven wishes.
2. Tell me why I was advised that it was not a family-suitable design.

You have until midnight, January 31 to e-mail me with the answers ( Contest winners announced Thursday morning, February 1.

© Linda Davick

Monday, January 29, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mom

Linda Davick
I hadn't been outside for seven days except to walk to and from the car. This evening I escaped. I'm happy to report that the ocean was still there, and I took this photo to prove it. The sky was pink for Mom's birthday.

Paul, the chef at the Terrace, made a big cake and wrote Happy Birthday Mom on top. He told me he was going to take it to Happy Hour. I said, "I'm sorry to say that Mom doesn't go to Happy Hour!" He insisted that all her friends from the Happy Table went to Happy Hour, and that they would get her down there one way or another. I talked to Mom on the phone later and asked if she had gone to Happy Hour.

-Yes, I didn't want to miss my own cake.
-I told Paul that you didn't go, but he really wanted to have the cake then and there.
-Oh yes. Our chef is very strict.
-What do you mean?
-For example. You know we have these monthly food committee meetings. Sometimes people ask for desserts without sugar. He insists that a dessert is not a dessert without sugar. What day is this? Monday?
-I'm happy for every moment of clarity.
-Me, too, Mom!

Sunday, January 28, 2007


¡Hola! ¡Hola Amigos! Muy bien? ¿Sí?

This has been a week that wouldn't stop. But I have one good thing to report. I was losing faith in movies. And last night we watched an excellent movie: Quinceañera. I'm not even going to write about what I drank and ate as I watched it–because I drank nothing. I ate nothing. I just watched and drank the movie in. Quinceañera means a girl's 15th birthday coming-of-age celebration. You can rent it! And you'll be glad you did.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Guest Writer

The E-mail of the Week Award goes to Luci, who is preparing to go to Denmark with her husband Lars and their son Christer to visit Lars' parents.

From: luci
Subject: a bushel and a peck
Date: January 26, 2007 3:59:50 PM PST
Dear Linda,
May all is well with you and your part of the world. How I miss writing to you. Life has been moving in a different spin with a faster speed, and I have been caught in its momentum. Funny how I always fancy myself as a flexible person, I think it is a misconception. Moving to the new rhythm was dizzying and once everything is settling down to its former beat, I am still disoriented and unable to synchronize myself to its tempo.

It will be a while before I find my bearing and re-adjust myself to my own self. What a riddle-like statement! No wonder I walk through life mostly confused and dazed.

By the way, inquisitive me want to know whether you and Tom are the very Linda and Tom that Ole were talking about? You mentioned about Norway as the country you furthest traveled. I read something about iPod being considered as illegal in Norway. Just in case you are thinking to travel there again, make sure you check whether you can bring your iPod or not.

We are planning to go to Denmark sometime this year. Since I don't own an iPod, I don't have to worry about such thing. But, I do have to worry about Christer's manner. Lars thinks that Christer is a bad mannered child, and that's what his parents would think too. When he first told me, I jokingly responded that his parents might ask us to stay at the nearby motel, he surprised me by saying yes they might do that if they couldn't stand Christer. Wow.

When I asked him what made Christer ill mannered in his eyes. This was the answer:
-he couldn't sit still for 2 minutes
-he couldn't listen without interrupting
-when told to do something, he didn't do it right away (especially when he deemed it “unreasonable” then he would ask why/argue/bargain first).

So, it is our most important project at the moment: to instill good manner on Christer. I personally do not think that he is a boorish child although he can be quite a pill some times. He is just like any typical 8 year old: he has selective hearing and testing how far can he go with his limits. I don't know whether because he is home schooled or it is his personality, but we cannot really intimidate him with dire consequences or stern authoritative admonishments. Sigh. I did that and ended up taking away most of his toys, and the imp found pleasures in sticks, stones, and bottle caps ... did not miss his toys at all! ...

It's true that the boy observes everything, argues like a seasoned lawyer, and knows which button to push. So, we have quite a task ahead of us to make him want to be obedient and more accommodating for our trip since his Bedstemor and Bedstefar don't have high opinion for a highly opinionated child.

Let me confess: I think we need to save more money for this trip ... for the motel.

Okay, I'm going to send this e-mail now and go down stairs to check whether Christer made the avocado pie or not. If not I'll use the avocado for my salad or sandwich

Take care, Linda, and have a wonderful evening!
From: linda
Subject: Re: a bushel and a pickle
Date: January 26, 2007 7:01:08 PM PS

Luci, this is a priceless e-mail. Can I put it on my blog?

From: luci
Subject: the valiant one replies
Date: January 26, 2007 7:47:48 PM PST
I just ate Phad See Eww, so my tummy is filled and I am in a happy mood. Sure you may put the e-mail in your blog... eating Phad See Eww certainly can make a person very brave and ever so bold.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Guest Photographer

Tom Davick

Excellent! Excellent! I had to turn my camera over to a guest photographer this afternoon. I told him to try not to use too much film.
Aren't you glad those days are over? I wouldn't be taking photographs at all if I had to drive to Walgreen's, drop off the film, then return the next day to pick up the pictures. And then, to add insult to injury, have to pay for new film in order to take more photos.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Under $10 A Bottle: Review #4 and #5

Fratelli Ponte Barbera D'Asti 2004
Overtones of Corrugated Metal (I liked this one). It made me remember things like playing Fort or Hobo as a kid.

Chateau Lestrile Capmartin Bordeaux Superieur 2003
This is my favorite wine so far from the Under $10 A Bottle Case. Giving up for the night on our takeout pizza quest, Tom bought a couple of cornmeal crusts at Andronico's, and made a delicious pizza in our own kitchen. Tangy tomato sauce, red onions, black olives, and pesto. A little grated parmesan.

The Chateau Lestrile imparted a subtle sense of humor when it hit the tongue. It was fun to drink by itself while dinner was being prepared. It tasted good with the pizza, good with the spinach, good with the Thai Lime & Chile peanuts from Trader Joe's, good with the 70% Cocoa dark chocolate. It went well with Paolo Conte. One final sip was a treat while doing dishes.

Through Windows

Walking in downtown San Francisco at night can be like visiting a great art gallery.

Friday, January 19, 2007

$7 Reading Glasses

© Linda Davick
Do you need 7 pairs of reading glasses to get through the day? My pal Sal sent me a link to some fantastic reading glasses for 7 bucks a pair. For $49 you can get:
1. A pair for your car
2. A pair for your bag
3. A pair for your computer
4. A pair for your bedside
5. A pair for your table
6. A pair for your bathroom
7. A pair to sit on
Here's a picture of the ones she had. She let us all try them on and we were able to see everything on the menu.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Pizza Fixation

© Linda Davick

I had pizza last night. Pizza for breakfast. For lunch I met Janet and Dorothy at Restaurant Lulu. When I first walked in I was greeted by the smell of wood smoke. There were two open fires. Can you guess why? In order to cook pizza! Yes, apparently they had ordered enough dough to keep two separate fires going. And not only that, they allowed me to leave the building with leftovers. I couldn't believe my luck. I happily carried half my pizza all over town, then onto the n-Judah and home. Guess what I'm having for breakfast tomorrow with a big thermos of coffee? Yay!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Gaspare's Pizza

Emmy's birthday at Gaspare's Pizza. Little juke boxes at every table. Pizza dough tossed into the air. A good time had by all. They even allowed us to take the leftovers home.

Monday, January 15, 2007


© Linda Davick
I was nervous going out for my jog this evening. My sister had taken Mom to the neurosurgeon this afternoon and I hadn't heard from them. I had my phone with me, but wanted to get outside and escape for an hour.

As it turns out, they waited all afternoon at his office because her x-rays had been lost. When the film turned up, the doctor told Mom that she had a small growth–but that he didn't want to operate. She would come back in six weeks for another MRI, and they would keep an eye on things.

We've known that Mom's been needing more care. Today Robin called and said that she had found somebody really good. A person named Rose. If Mom and Rose take to each other, Rose might end up being Mom's assistant. The first thing I asked was: "Does Rose have a car?" When I was told that she did, I was thrilled.

When Mom moved into the Terrace, we made her stop driving. One of the hardest things for her aside from the move itself, has been feeling stuck. Why didn't any of us think of finding a "driver" before? I think when Rose meets Mom for the first time, she should say: "OK, let's go! Where to?" and gradually move into helping her dress, bathe, do laundry, take medicine.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Pizzetta 211

Tonight is a special night for Tom and me. I wanted to get something for dinner that I knew he would really like. Suddenly it came to me: Pizzetta pizza! We had given up on Pizzetta, but just enough time had gone by to brave it again. After all, their pizza is fantastic.

It was only 5:00, so I decided to call and see if they were taking phone orders. (Their menu changes weekly, and often they don't want to have to go over it with you on the phone.) I was told that they weren't taking phone orders. I decided that for tonight it was worth it to get in the car and drive over to Pizzetta, which is at 211 23rd Avenue, San Francisco, CA. I would order it in person, go for a walk, and come back and pick it up.

At the counter I told the woman I wanted to place an order to go. It was sweet: She went over the menu with me and told me what she thought was really good–a pizza with fennel and sheep's cheese. I placed an order for 2 pizzas. She wrote down my name and said, "OK! That'll be ten minutes or so." As I turned to walk out, a tall guy with dark hair walked up behind her, nudged her and whispered something. The woman called me back, and said,
"I'm so sorry! We don't make to-go orders on weekends!"
My heart sank.
"We don't make to-go orders on weekends."
I looked around. There was a total of four people in the restaurant.
"Why? We've gotten take out on weekends before."
"It's just a rule that we can't break."
"But I just spoke with somebody on the phone; he said you don't take orders on the phone. And I understand that it's hard to go over the menu on the phone. So I drove over."
"I'm so sorry. It's just a rule that we cannot break."
I was so flabbergasted that I said something silly like, "But, but–This is a really special night for me and my husband, and this is his favorite pizza!"
"I'm really sorry. It's a rule we have. If you come back during the week, we can make you an order to go."
"Okay. What if I sit down at a table, and you bring it to me on a plate. Then I'll pay for the pizza and the plate, so I can take it home."
"Buy the plate? No, we don't sell plates."
"Is your manager here?"
The tall guy with dark hair walked back up. "It was me you talked to on the phone. And I told you that we didn't do to-go orders on the weekend."
"But I understood you to say you didn't take to-go orders over the phone on the weekend."
"It's a rule. We can't break it. We don't make any to-go orders on the weekends any more."
"I don't know how you guys stay in business."
"If you don't like our pizza, go some place else!" (The tall guy with dark hair speaking.)
"I LOVE your pizza! It's the best!" I'm desperate. I look around. The place is virtually empty. "Look, no one will even notice!"
"That doesn't matter. It's a rule."
I'm stunned. "You should really put something up on your web site regarding this."
"We don't have a web site," says the woman.
"Yes we do!" insists the tall guy with dark hair. "We do have a web site–it just hasn't been touched in years."
I stand there staring; I'm in shock. The tall guy with dark hair continues: "OK. To tell you the truth, it's because we only have a certain amount of dough. If we make to-go orders on the weekends, we run out of dough. Then if a customer comes in later and wants to eat here, we have to tell him that we have no more dough. But there's plenty of dough to go around during the week."
"I'm really disappointed," I say.
"It's a rule. And if we break the rule for one person, we'll have to start breaking the rule for everybody."
It's not the first time I've been astonished by Pizzetta's inconsistent approach in dealing with orders over the phone or to go. But I know it will be my last time.

This isn't so much a complaint as a plea for suggestions. If you know of a place near the Richmond District that serves great pizza and offers reasonable service as well, please let me know.

I'm a person who needs pizza. And people who need pizza are the luckiest people in the world (except for tonight).

© Linda Davick

e-mail from Scott on MLK Jr. Day: The pizza restaurant episode, quite amusing, reminds me of me. You have a choice: run your business to please your customers, or run your business to please yourself. I much prefer the latter, which drives my partner Ksiel crazy. But it works for me (so to speak), thus: just this morning we spoke and he allowed that it was a holiday and was planning to take off; what about me? I'd scheduled a meeting w/an inquiring prospect for 11 AM. We discussed that while this lady (a choclatier), suggested she would need a good deal of time in the kitchen (thus more $ for us potentially), she sounded like a problem customer over the phone. Needs a temp-controlled environment, has her own v. expensive equipment that requires 3 phase power; very pleasant, seemingly very together, but fussy/picky, &c. I'd advised her that it seemed unlikely that she would find our facility suitable for her operation, but was happy to show her around.

Ksiel immediately suggested it would be better for him to meet w/her, as he would encourage her, while I would likely do the opposite. So, he is going in to work and I'm getting the day off instead. Thus, my approach once again yields an immediate benefit! This is, of course, an intangible benefit, in the sense that it yields no financial gain. My approach to business yields primarily such intangible benefits.

The guy at the pizza place is definitely my soul brother. The important thing about disappointed take-out customers vs. disappointed sit-down customers isn't that, either way, they are disappointed customers. The important thing is that they ARE disappointed!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Close Up

Linda Davick

On the beach this afternoon.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Our Pal Sal

Sal's in town for the Macworld Conference. Having a cappuccino with her at the Clift Hotel last night, I thought: This is exactly how it must feel to hang around with Eloise at the Plaza Hotel.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Les Miserables Awards

Congratulations, Miserables Tude! For your award, you may choose one of the four prizes shown above. Free shipping is included. If not claimed within 48 hours, prize will go to Nina, who came in right behind you. Note: When you squish the shark's stomach, his mouth lights up in red.

The Devil And His Wife

This afternoon, Tom and I zoomed over to the Legion Of Honor. I had been dying to see the Howard Finster show. This was my favorite piece in it, called The Devil And His Wife. But Sal, I don't know if you should try to see it or not. It was a tiny show in a dark, tiny room.

One of the best things about the Legion Of Honor is the view.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Les Miserables

© Linda Davick

Be the first to find the bad-tempered character among all the happy creatures, and win a wretched prize.

I was googling Les Miserables to make sure I spelled it correctly, and ran across this quote by Victor Hugo. It made me think of the psychic:

"Algebra applies to the clouds; the radiance of the star benefits the rose; no thinker would dare to say that the perfume of the hawthorn is useless to the constellations. Who could ever calculate the path of a molecule? How do we know that the creations of worlds are not determined by falling grains of sand? Who can understand the reciprocal ebb and flow of the infinitely great and the infinitely small, the echoing of causes in the abyss of being and the avalanches of creation? A mite has value; the small is great, the great is small, all is balanced in necessity; frightening vision for the mind. There are marvelous relations between beings and things; in this inexhaustible whole, from sun to grub, there is no scorn; each needs the other."

Sunday, January 07, 2007

No Clouds

Linda Davick
This evening I tried out my new running shoes. I jogged 3 miles and walked 1/2 mile, and my knees feel fine. I forgot to stretch beforehand, though.

At the same time I was jogging, I thought about doing what the psychic had suggested: to take note of how the ocean moved and how the clouds moved. But there were no clouds. Brother. This sounds like some kind of Yoko Ono song.

Who has seen the wind
Neither you nor I
But when the trees bow down their heads
The wind is passing by.

from Aggles: Honey, if it wasn’t me it’s gonna be another one of your blog readers. The “Who has seen the wind” poem is by Christina Rossetti.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Podiatrist vs Psychic

© Linda Davick

Today I went to On The Run on 9th Avenue. I needed some new running shoes. I've been having slight knee and heel problems–nothing serious. But I wanted to make sure I got the right kind of shoes, as opposed to buying the inexpensive stylish-looking ones at Nordstrom Rack. A podiatrist, Dr. Kemp, comes to the store every other Saturday. You can call and sign up for a time to talk to her, so I went in today at 11:10. I spent about an hour there, and came out wearing a dreary-looking pair of expensive running shoes along with Stable Spur inserts.

Dr. Kemp told me to stretch before jogging as well as after jogging, and to use ice after jogging. (No way.) She also said that if my heel is hurting right now, to rest it today. I said, "You mean, don't walk or jog today?" She said, "Yes. And maybe longer." (No way.)

As I was walking back to the car, I noticed a sign:

San Francisco Psychic Fair

Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Drop by for a free healing and/or a reading. Readings are on various topics ranging from relationships, spirit guides, money, family, career, pets, spiritual path etc. Readings are $12 each or $30 for 3.

Location: Golden Gate Park at the Hall of Flowers

The Hall of Flowers was right across Lincoln! I had never been to a fortune teller or a palm reader. And for once I had a roll of quarters. So I loaded up the meter, and walked across the street to the Psychic Fair.

First I had a free aura healing. I sat with my new running shoes flat on the floor, and hands unclasped. My healer said that I might feel a tingling sensation, or heat or cold or even anger. I did feel a tingling sensation in my hands, but I think it might have been because they were freezing. She stood to the side, then in front, and then in back, and kind of smoothed down my aura.

When I asked her what color my aura was, and she said that all healers would experience a different color, so it would depend on who I was asking. She seemed to be avoiding the question; I'm not sure she liked my aura. I noticed a guy set up in the corner who would photograph your aura, but it cost $12; and I had decided to spend my $12 ticket on a reading.

I walked over to a guide, who matched me up with a reader. Her name was Janet. I told Janet I wondered what she had to say about my relationships. She closed her eyes. She talked. She had lots of teeth. She opened her eyes about halfway through, and they were flashing blue. She said things that were true, and things that I didn't want to hear, and things that I loved hearing. She was very focused. There was a little boy who wouldn't quit slamming a toy metal car down on the floor over and over, and she simply ignored the noise.

The one thing I didn't like was that the guide who matched me up with the reader kept hanging around right outside the booth. There wasn't a door. I wanted to ask the reader things that I didn't want the guide to overhear. So when the guide would drift away, I would pipe up.

After my reading was through, Janet said,
"Now would you like me to leave you with a next step?"
"Yes!" I love it when people leave me with a next step.
"Your color now seems to be a blue. A bluish ... green. Does the ocean mean a lot to you?"
"Take a long walk by the ocean today and notice the way the clouds move and notice how the water moves."

Now I'm conflicted. The podiatrist says not to walk. The psychic says to take a long walk. What should I do? I think I'll listen to my stomach and have a hamburger.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Your Own Personal Beach Bar

Linda Davick
It was freezing this evening. This guy was just sitting there in shorts as the tide came in around him. There was also a little makeshift table that you can't see by his stool. A great place to have a glass of champagne as the sun goes down, but bring a couple of blankets and some waders.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Aye Carumba: Under $10 Bottles #2 & #3

Matt Groening
Charamba (#2): A couple of nights ago we opened this Portuguese wine. If Margaret had been out front, she would have heard me exclaiming over and over, "Aye Caramba! Aye Caramba!"* Tom considered it a hearty wine. One that went well with the spicy tomato/portobello mushroom pasta he had prepared. Even though I love the smell of newly paved asphalt, I didn't appreciate the overtones of it in this wine.

If you don't always drink a whole bottle of wine at once, you might have a vacu-vin pump. If so, the rubber stopper won't fit this bottle. If you try to force it, the bottle will fly across the counter and the remaining wine will spill down in the crack between your stove and the cabinets right up against your stove.

*(pronounced [ˈaj | ka.ˈɾ] ; from Spanish ¡ay! (interjection denoting surprise, but also used instead of "ouch") Ay, caramba! were the first words spoken by Bart on The Simpsons.

e-mail from Scott: Linda- I think you should advert that the Charumba is not a good wine under $10, but rather a good wine under $5- an increasingly rare and endangered species! Think I'll be back to buying Charumba by the case (I probably have consumed several hundred bottles of that wine in various vintages since first trying it 6-8 years ago, when the '94 was $2.99).

Vitiano 2004 Falesco (#3): We opened this bottle last night. It went well with dirty carrot ginger soup. To make dirty carrot ginger soup, pour 1 cup Trader Joe's carrot ginger soup into a bowl. Add one half cup of leftover tomato pasta with portobello mushroom bits. Microwave for 2 minutes. It will look dirty, but that's OK. It's only the mushroom bits and you can pick them out. I'm drinking a glass of Vitiano as I type, straining to taste subtle hints of anything, but to no avail. It's an unobtrusive wine. Not unpleasant. Certainly better than no wine at all.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Lucky Starfish

Linda Davick

This evening I found a starfish! It was dark and foggy–I used my flash.

When I got home I had an e-mail from Georgia: I'm having a good one here - I was told today that I am a cancer survivor. I am free and clear of that disease. Hooray! I went out and celebrated with 1 sister and 1 sister in law/caretakers afterwards and had a wonderful lunch.

I e-mailed right back. I had to get straight to the heart of the matter: Where did you go for lunch and what did you have????

Her reply: We went to Restaurant Lulu on 4th and Folsom. We shared a pear, carmelized onion and cheese pizza, a chicken, delicata squash, mashed potato's and gnocchi. The waitress asked what we were celebrating and the restaurant ended up giving us free desserts. Yum. We rolled out of there.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Sun Also Rises

© Linda Davick
When we first moved here, Jamie and Vincent came to babysit Mabel for a week while Tom and I went to visit our parents over Christmas. When we returned, Jamie said: "Every morning we watched the sun rise over your backyard. It was beautiful."

I looked at him like he was crazy. "The sun rise? What do you mean?" I knew the sun set every day, but I had never gotten up early enough to see it rise until seven years later (today).

Monday, January 01, 2007

Under $10 A Bottle: Review #1

We uncorked the first bottle last night from Tom's recent case-of-wine splurge. It was the Cristalino sparkling wine from Spain. Have you ever opened a drawer full of old pencil erasers that hasn't seen the light of day in years? I found it evocative of that experience. Redolent of the horse barn at the polo field, it also brought to mind old rain boots. Subtle undertones of windshield wiper fluid. All in all, a truly delightful accompaniment to corn meal crust pizza, arugula, blue cheese, and olives.