Sunday, November 29, 2009

Field Trip

Today we went on a field trip. We drove across the Golden Gate Bridge, then walked across the swinging footbridge to the Point Bonita Lighthouse. The rangers were excited because they saw a bird they had never seen before down on the rocks. They let us use their binoculars. The bird had a bright orange beak and orange feet (not webbed), and its body was solid dark gray. What was it, Barbara?

Then we drove back across the bridge and downtown to the Metreon to see Robert Cameron's huge photos. He just died (age 98)–and 3 months before his death he was up in a helicopter shooting photos with his Pentax. Besides taking photos, he wrote The Drinking Man's Diet. The diet is "a work of staggering brilliance" according to Forbes, and I have to agree.

One of my favorite views of the city is when you walk out of the Metreon into Yerba Buena Gardens and look across toward the SF Museum of Modern Art. (That's the museum in the very middle with the round roof.)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

New Beach

Late this afternoon we found ourselves at the end of Sloat, so we parked and walked out on the beach there. The terrain was completely different from our beach! I think I had gotten tired of the rocks on our stretch of sand. These were different–bigger and smoother.

And it happened again. I set the camera on macro, and when I'd push the shutter halfway in order to focus, suddenly I'd see all these magnificent details that were invisible to the normal eye. It was enchanting. At the same time, the tide was coming in–so I had to be on the lookout. Very exciting.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Leftovers for Wayne Thiebaud

Tom's Pie

This pie has no wheat in the crust. I've made some terrible-tasting gluten-free pie crusts. This one isn't bad. Especially if you pile ice cream on top. Here's the recipe in case you really like someone a whole lot who's allergic to wheat.

p.s. I didn't have tapioca flour or potato starch flour or margarine or butter-flavored Crisco or sweet rice flour, or Guar gum. So I improvised using gluten-free all purpose baking flour, butter, regular Crisco, organic brown rice flour, and Xanthan gum.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Birthday, Emmy! ...

and Happy Thanksgiving, too, to you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Long Shadows

Presentiment is that long shadow on the lawn
Indicative that suns go down;
The notice to the startled grass
That darkness is about to pass.
–Emily Dickinson

That poem came to my mind when I took the picture. I googled the poem so I'd be sure to get it right and stumbled upon two things I didn't realize. The first is kind of nice, the second is unfortunate:

1. Look at the first line of the poem; don't think about meaning. What do you notice about the way it looks? It's considerably longer than the other three lines in the poem; Dickinson's duplicating the length of a shadow in the length of her line.

2. Emily Dickinson died when she was 55.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I Won. I WON!

illustration © Lisa Horstman

From Oh, my lard.:
What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than to present the winner of The Squawking Matilda Centre Halloween Story Contest with her very own puppet illustration of her wonderful story? Linda, your artwork print, signed copy of Squawking Matilda, and Annie Oakely Action Figure are on their way to you in San Francisco!

p.s. That's me in the illustration above. I'm cutting my sister's hair. Yes, on top of winning a signed copy of Squawking Matilda and the Annie Oaklely Action Figure (which I might send to Sally), Lisa created my very own puppet illustration to go with the story. Go here to see how Lisa creates one of these illustrations. But don't expect her to make one for you too. Oh yes, and you can read my prize-winning first place story here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday School Lesson

A friend asked me if I thought life had meaning. I said yes. He wasn't sure. So I asked another friend. She said no.

This morning Elizabeth e-mailed me from her phone and attached the photo above: Can u believe that someone would sell this magnificent frog pitcher–or that I would be so lucky as to buy it?!!

I ask you: Can you look at this object, marked down to $10, and doubt that life has meaning?

note to Elizabeth: I hope you weren't at the flea market instead of being in church.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mari Made a Cookie

Photo by Aasulv Wolf Austad

from one of my pictures.

p.s. And right before Mari made the cookie, Mari had a baby.
A little girl named Mimi!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Feeling Dullsville

Isn't it funny how when you're feeling a certain way and you muster up the energy to maneuver yourself outside–out into nature even–in order to dodge the feeling, often you find yourself face to face with that feeling?

All the rocks on the sand were dull and I realized that the new Mark Knopfler CD I sent Katy for her birthday was dull, and ... but I did see a little girl wearing a tutu and tights under her down jacket! But I was too sluggish to take a photo before she ran away.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Special Delivery

Tom was driving up our street. He passed a bicycle with flowers sticking out the back saddle bag.

It was Anne underneath the helmet, riding her new bike. The flowers were being delivered to us! And on Friday the 13th! Thank you, Anne & Peter.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Aggles is giving National Novel Writing Month a test run this year.

Today she e-mailed me: I’m loving reading the NaNo forum to see what the serious and not so serious writers are saying. This is my favorite thing that I’ve found so far today:

I am not a writer. Last year I found NaNo and decided to give it a try. I found it hilarious to think that the writers kept saying the characters were being bad and not sticking to the story. I was like "umm, you're writing them." Then mine rebelled. Turns out those writers weren't lying after all. The characters really do just use your body to get their story onto the page. -jennmomto4

Do the figures in your drawings do that? Do they rebel and want to be a different color or to be surrounded by different objects than you first conceive?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Big Fun at Tiny

Anne at Studio Gallery! The two watercolors above her head are hers.

tiny is a show that opened this evening. All pieces are 7" x 7" or smaller, and all are priced under $400. The effect of hundreds of pieces hung side by side by hundreds of different artists is mesmerizing and lots of fun.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Good Guests

My cuz and her huz (Elizabeth and Bob) are in town! They were coming over for dinner tonight. Tom went to the farmers' market. I decided to clean up the joint and to make a flourless chocolate birthday cake.

Some interesting things happened during cleaning.

When I was clearing out the refrigerator to make room for the farmers' market haul, I noticed a box of wine taking up a lot of space. It was practically empty! I decided it had to go, but I couldn't imagine pouring it down the sink. So I poured it into a large glass.

In a little while I thought, "Why has it taken me this long to figure out that drinking wine while cleaning house really helps? Why do they not teach you this in Home Ec. class? Even if it's right after breakfast, it really helps."

While swiffering the floor, I found a rock and an old receipt under the dining room table. Not a piece of gravel, not a pebble–a rock. Instead of getting upset, I just smiled and took a photo to document it.

A little later it occurred to me why finishing off a box of wine while cleaning might not be such a great idea. I had planned to do some work in the back yard so we could actually open up the blinds on the back wall. Instead, I noticed I was lying with my eyes closed on the couch with my feet propped up on a pile of pillows.

When it was time for the doorbell to ring, the phone rang instead. It was Elizabeth: "Help! We don't know where we are!"

They had decided to do some sightseeing on the way. A half hour earlier they had gotten off the bus at the east end of the park. They had then decided to amble the rest of the way through the park to our house. Tom figured out approximately where they were, so we jumped in the Nebulous and found them.

"Wow, I'm impressed that you thought you could walk 3 1/2 miles to our house in a half hour!"

They showed us the map from the hotel that they were using to navigate. We looked at it and died laughing. Everything west of Pacific Heights had been compressed down to zilch. At the top of the map it said in tiny letters: Compressed Area–4.5 miles. Those 4.5 miles appeared to be a half mile; they had seen no problem in walking what looked like a quarter mile across the park to our house. It was clear that the hotel considered everything west of Pacific Heights completely irrelevant.

Later Elizabeth and Bob were exclaiming over the fact that we had a back yard. They were trying to peek through the blinds. I assured them that there was no need to look outside. Elizabeth persevered, and said–this is the hallmark of a good guest–"Oh but it's charming. It looks rustic."

Friday, November 06, 2009


Mary Ann, I finally got to hear you read your story, Halloween Hell, tonight at Books, Inc. It was so much fun. When you signed your story, you noticed that I had underlined in the book and I felt a little sheepish about it. Tom will never underline in a book or fold back the page to mark his place.

I only underlined the parts that made me laugh the loudest, some of which begin:

1. "Who will be installing these registers?" I innocently asked.

2. In October, the lid came off the coffin ...

3. I stopped sleeping completely about October 15.

It cracks me up when I think about how we met. You had arranged for Don Asmussen to come to Borders. Remember how I cornered you and begged to use your phone when it was over? I think I was the only one without a cell phone and I had no idea how I was going to get home–but I didn't care because I got to see the Bad Reporter in person. (And I met you. But I didn't realize it at the time.) That was three years ago!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Was It You?

These flowers were on my front porch this evening. They came in a box, along with a glass vase. Flower food, too. But the card was left out! Will whoever sent them please raise your hand? They are gorgeous and I will take another photo tomorrow so you can inspect them by the light of day.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

How I Am

When the tide's low in the evening it's our habit to walk almost two miles south, then back. Since I returned from Chattanooga the first couple of times we hit the beach I experienced the strangest sensation. I would start out jogging but I could only go about 10 steps, then I'd have to walk. Then once I turned around and headed back towards home, I felt like my being wasn't rooted firmly in my body. I thought I might be on the verge of fainting (I've never fainted) and I actually wondered if I'd make it back. I had to go very slowly and it felt like I was slogging through a dream. And I was starving!

The third time we hit the beach, I didn't even try to jog. I just took it easy, then went home and ate seconds and thirds of everything at dinner. The whole first week back I wanted to sleep ten or eleven hours a night and eat everything in the refrigerator during the day.

This evening I jogged. Pandora helped; and the biscotti (two kinds: chocolate almond and orange) John passed over the fence right before we left probably gave me some sugary energy.

Talking on the phone is hard. I love my friends. It feels surreal to not be planning a trip to Tennessee for Thanksgiving or Christmas!