Sunday, August 30, 2009

Phone Calls

Today Mona called me from Mom's apartment. "She's having another one of those days, if you know what I mean."

Me: Is she depressed?

Mona: Extremely.

Me: Do you have any ideas?

Mona: No. Maybe some antidepressants.

Me: She's taking antidepressants. And I think Dr. Z. has lined up a psych nurse to come over there; I'll call tomorrow and check on it.

Then I talked to Mom and it was hard. She begged me to get on a plane and come tonight. When Mona walked out the door, Mom pleaded, "Please don't leave me!" We talked for a half hour and she was inconsolable. When Mona came back in to lay out her pajamas, things were going so bad that I told Mom I'd call her back in half an hour. I set the timer on my phone.

The timer went off and I had an idea.

Me: Mom, I need some advice. Can you help me? I have two questions.

Mom: Yes!

Me: My first question is: Larry's birthday is tomorrow, and Tom and I have not been able to find anything for him. Will you help me think of something? Please! We're having the hardest time.

Mom: Now Larry lives next door to you, right?

Me: No, Larry's our best friend who lives in Orlando.

Mom: The first thing I always think of is a book. Does he have any special interests?

Me: A book is a great idea! Hmmm, let's see. He's interested in pocketknives, birds, photography ... The problem is, we don't know enough about the things he's interested in to make a good choice.

Mom: Can you send him something to eat?

Me: He loves chocolate. The problem is, it's so hot in Orlando right now that you can't send chocolate without it melting.

Mom: What about that candy that's hard and lasts a long time unless you eat it?

Me: Peppermint?

Mom: Yes! That's it! Peppermint!
... Is he interested in gardening?

Me: Well, he lives in a condo where that stuff is already taken care of ... but they do have a little courtyard. What were you thinking?

Mom: I was thinking of climbers. Something that might grow up the side of a wall.

Me: Like jasmine? That smells so good. Have you ever smelled it?

Mom: I don't know! Does it have little blue flowers?

Me: I'm not sure. I've seen white jasmine around here. But I guess a plant would be hard to ship.

Mom: I was thinking of a seed packet.

Me: Oh that's perfect. What else?

Mom: Maybe you could send him someone's name who he doesn't know, who he could correspond with. A mystery correspondent. Maybe he'd like to correspond with Margaret. You could send him my name!

Me: That's a great idea. I love that. Keep going ...

Mom: Does he like your drawings?

Me: Yes! I usually make wrapping paper out of them, and he likes that ... Let's see ... I could make a t-shirt for him. But I don't think he wears t-shirts. Oh! But wait! Maybe I could have a drawing silkscreened on a mug!

Mom: Oh that would be lovely! A coffee mug.

Me: Well, he doesn't drink coffee ... but he drinks tea! That's a great idea! OK, I'll probably do that. What else?

Mom: Does he like leaves? What if a little shoot is sprouting from a ... what's that called ...

Me: A trunk? You mean, send him a little tree?

Mom: Yes!

Me: That's such a good idea. But a little tree would be hard to ship, too.

Mom: What if you wrote a note that said in a separate envelope you will find a seed. You can put an acorn in a separate envelope. You can tell him you're sending him a sprig of a tree and that he can watch it develop. Send him something that will bloom within the next six months.

Me: Does it have to bloom within the next six months? How will I know it will bloom within the next six months?

Mom: You can just put a dash followed by a question mark after the sentence.

Me: Mom, you've given me some great ideas. Thank you. Now are you up for another question?

Mom: Yes.

Me: You had mentioned that Margaret and I should do a book together. (We have decided not to call Margaret "Aggles" anymore around Mom, because sometimes she thinks Margaret and Aggles are two different people.)

Mom: Oh yes!

Me: What do you think the book should be about?

Mom: Cooking.

Me: Cooking!? What kind of cooking?

Mom: Desserts. Is there any other kind?

Me: (many laughs) OK, Mom. Give me some more ideas for the book.

Mom: (switching back to the first question) Does Larry have a good reading lamp?

Me: That's such a good idea, Mom. I had actually thought of a book light. A reading lamp might be hard to ship, but at least it wouldn't melt. Maybe I could order it from somewhere and have it shipped to him.

Mom: Is he interested in a storage or a passage or a way to get around like flying?

Me: He likes to travel! What are you thinking?

Mom: Maybe a little airplane. Does he have plenty of pictures of his wife?

Me: That's a good idea, too! I have lots of pictures of Barbara that I could give him.

Mom: Does he need any clothes like socks?

Me: I thought of socks! But Tom says guys don't really like socks as presents. But I love socks, and I think he might like them too.

Mom: You could tell Tom that they can act as a cushion if he doesn't like them for other reasons. How about an umbrella? Or other rain things.

Me: Actually, I think it rains in Orlando a lot. Maybe an umbrella would be good. But what other kinds of rain things?

Mom: Overshoes, galoshes. Do they need an air conditioner? How is he for watches?

Me: Oh God, he loves watches!! He loves clocks and watches. But he already has such a great watch. We could never buy him a better one.

Mom: They would probably appreciate a letter telling them what we've done that's fun.

Me: Oh, I know they would. What would I tell them about in the letter?

Mom: One of those water places that they advertise.

Me: Waterparks?

Mom: Yes! If he likes music, maybe you could buy him a recording.

Me: He loves music. What kind of recording do you think I should choose?

Mom: I don't know. It depends on how much space they have. Maybe something like a record player that they could keep in the closet.

Me: Oh–I know they have music players. I thought you meant a piece of music. On a CD or something.

Mom: Yes!

Me: But what would the music be?

Mom: Some symphony. A short one, if there is such a thing. The artist could be from a long time ago. Woodwinds.

Me: Well, Larry plays the piano. And he does like classical music. He doesn't really care for jazz.

Mom: That's how smart he is.

Cheryl's Back!

Cheryl moved back to San Francisco from New York this month! Dorothy and Steve hosted a magical evening last night in her honor. A few highlights:

• Seeing with our own eyes that Cheryl really lives here now.
• Visiting Steve's man cave
• Chasing Ace around the house
• Eating Dorothy's home made ice cream
• Drinking Jim's wine

Friday, August 28, 2009


Katy Ledford

Subject: Picnic
To: Linda

I know you're not wild about picnics, but look who's taken up the picnic style and substance.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hip Hip Hooray

I'm almost finished with my book illustrations. I've been so apprehensive about the pictures lately, being that my new Epson printer doesn't come even close to emulating a 4-color press. And I didn't want to spend $35 per page for match proofs ($1,120).

I waited til this morning to foray out into the world for prints. My heart racing, I jumped in the rental truck and trundled down to Kinko's in the misty morning fog. I knew Kinko's has that great Xerox printer–but I'm never sure what condition I'll find it in.

Joseph grabbed the disk out of my hand and we did some test prints using different settings. He didn't charge for the tests. We zeroed right in on the proper setting.

In case you're wondering why those shoes are in the picture, he told me to go to Ross Dress for Less and to come back in 15 minutes. It took me 5 minutes walk over to Ross, 5 minutes to find the shoes and try them on ($14.99), and 5 minutes to walk back to Kinko's. The prints were ready.

I'm thrilled. Now I'll go through the prints and choose the best colors for walls, floors, sky, etc. I made the colors a bit different on every page so I'd have a range to choose from. I'll make them consistent and then finish up the details for each picture.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

On Foot

Now that we're on foot, I'm seeing all kinds of little things I would never see from the Nebulous. We had to walk to our walk again today, instead of driving to our walk. We walked by this still life on the way to the beach.

On the way back from our walk Tom stopped in at Safeway to pick up a bottle of wine. I walked straight home to turn on the oven and get out the olive oil. This, folks, is the life–Nebulous or no Nebulous.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I must have done something good

Anne and Peter went to the flower market. This afternoon the doorbell rang. There they were. Holding these flowers. And we weren't even sick!

The Nebulous, however, is ill. It had to be towed to Tha's this afternoon. The bad thing is that Tha happens to be in Thailand. But he'll be back Monday, and we're hoping he'll discover that it's something very simple.

But the flowers! It made me think I must have done something right.

Nothing comes from nothing
Nothing ever could
So somewhere in my youth or childhood
I must have done something good

Sound of Music! Now that would make an interesting double feature: Sound of Music followed by Inglourious Basterds.

Tom and I went for a walk this evening. It was too windy to walk on the beach. Usually we go to the Coastal Trail if it's too windy or the tide is high, but this time we decided to walk down the hill to the park. Lucille was right when she said you don't have to die to get into Paradise - just go to Golden Gate Park.

We walked around the little lake near 43rd Avenue twice. Then to the polo field and around it, then back by the golf course where they have the great barbecue, and past the archery field. We came out of the park at 47th and turned right on Cabrillo. We stepped into Joe's for a bag of tortilla chips to go with the fresh salsa from the farmers' market.

Walking home, I said: If we could only have seen ourselves this evening 35 years ago when we first met.

Tom: What do you mean?

Me: You know, after class, there we were, walking home and stopping at the corner market for a bag of chips, and walking home through the neighborhood with the bag of chips. Here we are 35 years later doing the same thing! Stopping in at Joe's and walking home through the neighborhood with a bag of chips. Only now the chips are exposed–we don't get a bag to put the bag of chips into.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


E-mail from Lucille:

Had a wonderful walk today - maybe while you were writing to me. I JUST HAD TO SEE the dahlias at the conservatory. It's definitely a don't miss event. And I followed up that treat by walking to and then through the rose garden. I say you don't have to die to get into Paradise - just go to Golden Gate Park.

Today was a hard day. At 6:30 Tom and I left the house. We walked on the Coastal Trail to the Eagle's Nest and back. I say you don't have to die to get into Paradise - just go for a walk on the Coastal Trail. Even on a day like today.

Mom, were your antibiotics ever delivered? Please drink some water once in a while. At least once or twice a month.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Happy Birthday, Aggles!

I knew Aggles would be spending her birthday weekend in Chattanooga. So I made sure to send a box of little gifts to Mom's for her to open. I wrapped them in paper that I had made from Facebook Graffiti creatures.

Mom had been worrying about Margaret's birthday for weeks so I had told her to expect the box, and it arrived Thursday. I sent Aggles my creatures t-shirt sample, a Japanese comic blank book, two pink moleskin notebooks, a kids' book, a candy necklace, some pens, and other silly things.

My phone rang this evening.

Aggles: I just wanted to thank you for the beautiful wrapping paper.

Me: Oh, you liked it? You already unwrapped the presents?

Aggles: No, I didn't unwrap them. But the paper is fantastic.

Me: What do you mean you didn't unwrap them?

Aggles: They were already unwrapped.

Me: Oh no! Oh God. Did Mom unwrap them?

Aggles: I don't know. All I saw was the wrapping paper with my name written all over it. You know how Mom always saves wrapping paper.

Me: Ha! ha! Did you like the presents?

Aggles: I didn't see any presents.

Me: Aggles. You have got to be kidding me.

Aggles: No! But the wrapping paper was displayed all over the apartment. I'm really hoping you didn't send anything valuable.

Me: (in shock) ... No ... but ... well, let's see .. I sent you a t-shirt with creatures on it...

Aggles: OK, I saw that hanging in Mom's closet...

I listed the other things I had sent and Aggles hadn't seen any of them.

Soon as I hung up from Aggles I called Mom.

Me: Mom! Hi! How are you? Did you and Aggles have fun today?

Mom: Oh yes. She drove me all over North Chattanooga and we saw some lovely scenery. The only thing I feel strange about is that I came to the realization today that Aggles and Margaret are the same person. I wish I had known that years ago.

Dinner with Two Goofy Guys

That's Tom and Scott. We're waiting to get in to Contigo. It's a small plates joint. Don't go. You'll order 2 or 3 plates. Then you'll order 4 more. The plates average 7 or 8 dollars. You'll order more and more and more. And then you'll need another bottle of wine. Since the plates are small you will go ahead and order 11 or 12 more.

You'll have to have coffee. It's Blue Bottle and it comes in a press. You'll order sorbet, and then you'll need the galletitas (the 6 different kinds of cookies). There's a bacon peanut butter, a caramel alfajore, a date pinwheel, a pine nut panellet, a blackberry thumbprint, and a truffle. When the plate of cookies comes, grab the pine nut panellet before anybody else does. It's the little square covered with powdered sugar.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How I Feel Tonight

From: emmy
Subject: pork tri tip
Date: August 12, 2009 4:58:48 PM PDT
To: linda

we have some pork tri tip for you. will bring it over, later. okay?
e. and j.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dogged Research

Today I had to draw a menorah, so I went straight to Google Images to do some research. Look what came up! Is it not the most beautiful object you have ever seen?

It's actually a dog toy, and you can order one here. Not only is it soft and fluffy, but it squeaks.


I e-mailed Mom one of my nonsensical Facebook Graffiti's last night on her Presto machine and this afternoon she thanked me for it.

Me: It's kind of silly though, isn't it?

Mom, enthusiastically: Anything that's truly of one's psyche and shows one's differences is really ... (here she lost her train of thought) ... What time did you say Margaret would be here?

Me: Mom, you say the best things.

Mom: They're mostly made up.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Show & Tell

We went over to Anne & Peter's last night for show and tell. Above is a tiny detail of a painting Anne just finished. You can see the Golden Gate Bridge and The Legion of Honor and the VA Hospital. That's our neighborhood over on the right.
Then we went downstairs and Tom showed a project he's working on:

Suddenly Carmen decided it was her turn to show. She ran over and threw her raccoon down on top of Tom's drawings!

After Carmen was finished we went into the computer room and I dialed up my graffiti. Finally we returned to the living room where Peter played and sang "That's All."

I can only give you love that lasts forever.
And a promise to be near each time you call.
And the only heart I own
For you and you alone
That's all, That's all...

Then we walked down a block to Vanida Thai Kitchen and ordered one of everything. Thanks for the enchanted evening, Anne and Peter.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Beach Treasures

Low tide was at 7:00 this evening and we hit the beach. I in my down jacket on the 7th day of August!

This is the loot I returned home with, including the tiny tray. When I picked it up, Tom accused me of taking some child's toy. But there wasn't a child in site! The pink tray had been abandoned. Finders keepers.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


, a movie by Miyazaki (the godfather of Japanese animation)

“Miyazaki reminds us that nothing in the world is asleep,” said Duncan Williams, chair of the Center for Japanese Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, during the Berkeley-Japan Awards ceremony. “Everything has its own life, its own history, its own animating force. [His films] are a gentle recognition of the animating force in each of our imaginations.”

In response to a comment made by Kelts on the filmmaker's tendency to feature strong female protagonists in his movies, Miyazaki pointed to his animation studio, Studio Ghibli. “We have 22 new employees that we’ve hired as animators.” He said. “Only four are men. Now we are hiring 10 more animators from a pool of 22 candidates. But out of that pool, only one man is remaining. Because there are so many strong women out there now, I may have to start making movies about men.”

Ponyo, which is about the friendship between a little boy and a goldfish, is currently Japan’s highest grossing film. The movie opens in the U.S. on August 14th in over 800 theaters around the country, a far wider release than Miyazaki’s previous films.

excerpts from Publishers Weekly, 8/4/2009 / Kai-ming Cha

Saturday, August 01, 2009

E-mail of the Day

From: Katy
Subject: jesus is watching u
Date: August 1, 2009 4:05:04 PM PDT
To: Linda

Linda, today I went looking for a church I'd taken a photo of last year,
that Faith had recently seen. She told me it was now called the Church of Tomorrow. I found it and snapped away at its new incarnation. My truck was parked to the side, on a gravel slope. The truck slipped a gear and started to coast toward the ditch just as I was paying attention to Jesus Is Watching U. I ran after the truck, cursing, but it beat me to the ditch. It rested on 3 wheels, and I couldn't get it out of the ditch. When I opened the door everything on the seat slid out onto the road. Helpless and hopeless I stood by the edge of the Ottway road, and waited for a kind stranger. I didn't wave him down, he saw my distress and shouted You OK, then back pedalled to my aid. He rocked and pushed the side, then the front, he had an expert rhythm, then I was free. I said Can I take your picture he said Sure, and then he moved to a spot he chose, saying he wanted to be in the sun. I thanked him and we waved good bye. Timmy's photo attached. I also told him he was strong. He was. He did it all by himself. He knew what he was doing.


p.s. When I asked Katy if I could post her e-mail, she said I could as long as I included Timmy's image from his head to his boots. She wondered if any of our other blogfriends had "helpful stranger" stories. Do you? Let's hear them!

Dr. Perricone Continued

Every night I e-mail Mom a Presto. I send a picture and write a line or two. Last night I decided to send her the "after" photo (see post below) of my face from Dr. Perricone's 3-Day Nutritional Facelift Diet. What do you think? I asked her in the e-mail.

This afternoon she called at 1:00.

Mom: Honey, is it morning or evening?

Me: Let's see. Your time, it's a little after 4:00 in the afternoon, so that means you have another hour til dinner, and then it will be evening.

Mom: I'm upset because I've lost about 50 papers, the ones that come through that little machine.

Me: The Prestos?

Mom: Yes! The Prestos. They've disappeared.

Me: I'm sure they'll turn up. Hey, did you get the one I sent you last night? The photo of my face after the facelift diet?

Mom: I believe I did. Let me go check and see. You won't go away? ... I don't know what to do with the receiver!

Me: Oh, just throw it down on the couch. I'll wait for you. (I hear her throw it down!)

5 minutes later: Honey? Are you still there? I found the paper. It says: Ink Low Alert. We've noticed that your Printing Mailbox is running low on ink. August first. Is today August first?

Me: Yes. Today is August 1st. So what do you think of the photo?

Mom: Well it's not a good photo.

Me: NOT A GOOD PHOTO?! What do you mean it's not a good photo?

Mom: The light is behind you instead of beside you. Your face is almost in a shadow.

Curses, foiled again!