Wednesday, October 30, 2013

David Hockney Diet Plan

There's a David Hockney poster in last Sunday's Chronicle. Pull it out. Tape it onto the cabinet that holds all your chips and cookies and chocolate. The poster is big, so you'll have to tape it over both doors.

In order to get to a piece of dark chocolate with cherries and almonds, you'll have to untape one side of the poster with your right hand and hold the poster up with that same hand while you open one of the cabinet doors with the other hand. Then you'll have to open the tin box with your left hand, extract your treat, and close the box, close the door, and re-tape the poster. You can't do this too many times because if you do, being only newsprint, the poster will start to tear where you keep taping and untaping it.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Field Trip

My Pal Foot-Foot by Jud Bergeron  (This Foot-Foot pile is about 4 feet high.)

more by Jud Bergeron
I took a field trip to the Mark Wolfe Contemporary Art Gallery. Here's my review: Jud Bergeron and Scott Patt are great. Jud gave a presentation for kids last Saturday afternoon but I didn't get to go.

It's Better Than OK by Scott Patt  I love this guy's work.

The World's Greatest Everything by Scott Patt

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013


TIAPOS is the name of my awe-inspiring writing group. TIAPOS stands for This Is A Piece Of Shit. You're not allowed to make disparaging comments about your work before you read, although you can say "tiapos" quickly if you'd like.

Tonight there were only seven of us. Sarah was cooking, Doug was eating, Randy was sick. (We missed you.)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Katie just got back from a 5-day meditation retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh. She came over this afternoon for tea.

She told about how this 87-year old man would lead them on walks in the morning. They would begin around 5:45 when it was still dark. The stars would still be out.

Get this: One thousand people showed up for the retreat, and one thousand people would follow this man up the hill. While they were walking the sun would come up and by the time they returned to the center, it was light.

I told Tom all this later, as he and I were walking on the beach. "Katie said Thich Nhat Hanh is known for his walking meditations," I explained. "He says to walk as if you're kissing the Earth with your feet."

"But 5:45 … before breakfast? I'd be meditating on breakfast throughout the whole walk!"

"Me too," I admitted. "But I'm sure soon as they got back, he would cook breakfast for everybody."

"Bacon and eggs!"

That's Tom for you. But back to Katie: Relaxed and beautiful. In the photo she's showing me a photo of the hill where they walked.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Shiny Jacket

Spotted in the NEW BOOKS section today: Somehow a book seems more real when it's wearing a shiny library jacket.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Jane Hirshfield's fizzy water.

Jane Hirshfield and Kay Ryan both were reading poetry at this Litquake event: Poetry and Science: A Shared Exploration. It's not easy navigating to the UCSF Mission Bay Campus from the Outer Richmond, especially if you were born with no sense of direction. But it was so worth it!

By the time I got there they wouldn't let me in. They said the fire marshall would only allow 150 people in the auditorium. I was the 151st. So my name went to the top of a waiting list.

I stood behind the velvet rope and watched the first 150 people help themselves to wine and cheese crackers. Needless to say I was absolutely starving. Thirsty, too.

After 30 tense minutes they let 50 more of us into the auditorium if we promised to sit up front on the floor, and up the sides against the wall--and if we made sure to leave space for people to exit swiftly in case of an emergency. So I sprinted right past the food table and raced down to the front row and sat on a step by a chair on the aisle. JANE HIRSHFIELD said to me, "Sit here!" She removed her bags and briefcase from the chair on the aisle.

I said, "Are you ... Are you sure?" She said, "Yes, I'm sitting HERE," and pointed across the aisle where oh my god all the other poets were slouching against the wall. There were men poets, too, but I don't remember their names.

Halfway through the program, the woman sitting next to me said, "Are you good friends with Jane Hirshfield?" I said, "Pardon?" She said "Are you and Jane Hirshfield good friends?" I said, "No! Not at all!"

I thought Jane looked a tiny bit like Janis Joplin. The whole thing did feel kind of like a rock concert. Kay, on the other hand, looked like my Uncle Joe. Jane was the epitome of kind and Kay was the epitome of cool (and fun).

Once the program started Jane sat up on the stage, as did the other poets and scientists. She had left a bottle of fizzy lime-flavored water by my chair, so I took it home. I'm going to take it to my writing group next Thursday and pass it around. We'll each take a sip from it and then write a poem.

Jane Hirshfield and Kay Ryan

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Purple Crayon

Beach glass from this week

Never in a thousand years did I dream I'd be giving a beauty tip in this blog. But here goes:

Whenever I put anything on my face it turns orange. Makeup, blush, lipstick--no matter what color it is, it turns orange. If you're like me, read on.

It's Clinique "free" Beauty Bonus time. Who can resist picking one up, especially when it includes a crayon? (A lip crayon, that is.)

You can choose between a "nudes" Beauty Bonus kit or a "violets" Beauty Bonus kit. I went rogue and chose the violets.

This Beauty Bonus purple crayon is perfect. It's actually a lip balm, so very little color comes through. But the color that does come through is the exact opposite of orange. So all it really does is make your lips shiny, a bit darker, AND NOT ORANGE!

And what a feeling to be carrying around a purple crayon.

What did I buy in order to get this "free" purple lip crayon? A bar of soap and a full-size lip crayon in Bountiful Blush (which turned out to be orange).

p.s. If anyone would like the purple eye shadow kit, let me know and I'll bring it to lunch.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Buddhist Nose

Last night I decided to go to a Litquake event: a special night featuring Buddhist writers who will share their truths about life, death, joy, and belief. Led by humorist and author Wes 'Scoop' Nisker, the panel will include readings by Buddhist teachers and spiritual leaders Sylvia Boorstein, Patricia Y. Ikeda Mushim, and Mark Coleman--with a discussion about the spreading of Dharma via writing. Audience Q&A to follow.

This was the small print at the bottom of the announcement:

Please attend this event fragrance-free, including aromatherapy and naturally scented products.“How to be fragrance free” and a list of personal products can be found online here.

Taken aback and a little bit frightened, I clicked on the link and read:


Important things do:
  • Wear clothes laundered in fragrance-free laundry detergent
  • Avoid laundry softeners such as “Bounce.”
  • Use fragrance-free soap, shampoo and hair products
  • Use fragrance-free lotion
  • Avoid cologne, aftershave lotion, and perfume
  • Read the ingredient labels on all products used on your body or clothing
  • Test each product with your nose or ask a friend with a good sense of smell. Many products are mistakenly marked “unscented” or “fragrance-free” (but actually contain masking scents that can be very harmful).
  • Don’t be afraid to trust your naturally occurring pheromones rather than using added-on scents!
Honestly, I was scared to death! Who would dare attend this event? I tried to remember what kind of soap I had used that morning: a bar of Small Bees goat milk and honey that Gina had given me. Would I be kicked out for that? The lotion I had used had a very slight scent. Let's see. At 7 o'clock it would be about 10 hours since I'd used it… maybe the smell would have worn off. Should I go scrub my body with steel wool just to be sure?

And if we're to trust our naturally occurring pheromones rather than using added-on scents ---does "added-on scents" mean deodorant? Would no one there be wearing deodorant? Would the joint smell like a high school gymnasium? 

I decided to take a chance. As I parked out front I noticed the speakers lined up outside the door in what looked like a reception line. "So nice!" I thought-- until I jumped in line to meet them and realized they were acting as bouncers--smelling each attendee to make sure they were fragrance free.

Sylvia Boorstein sniffed everyone's wrists. She rolled her eyes when she smelled mine. I had sprayed on some cheap Gap HEAVEN the day before--could it have still been evident? But she waved me on to Wes Nisker, who was sniffing everyone's whiskers. Hair, too.

He stuck his nose in my tresses and muttered "Herbal Essence." Crazy! I hadn't used Herbal Essence since high school. But he said if I promised to sit in the back row I could proceed on to Patricia.

Patricia Y. Ikeda Mushim took a whiff of my clothing. She began with my jacket ("Tide" she stated), and then my jeans. I knew my jeans had been jumped on, slobbered upon and pawed over by a German shepherd on the beach earlier, and damn if Patricia didn't wink at me and go "WOOF!"

Finally, Mark Coleman took me aside to sniff my pheromones. It's hard to explain what happened next--though eventually I did find myself in a back row aisle seat.
But seriously: Everyone on the panel had written books. However, they all agreed that many different kinds of writing can be considered "Buddhist literature." Writing that opens the heart, writing that reflects on the changing nature of things, writing that promotes connectivity, writing that's tender (though it doesn't have to be), writing that takes one out of oneself. The Brothers Karamozov, the poetry of Mary Oliver, Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech--all those might be considered "Buddhist literature"--and the list goes on.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

Lucy in Real Life

I met a woman through Nextdoor who writes children's books. Specifically, she writes middle grade fiction. And guess where she lives? Directly across the street from me in the apartment under Rosalie.

Her name is Deb Perry. In the photo she's holding the e-book she just published. It's called Lucy in Real Life.

It's a wondrous story involving friendship, family, bullies, dragons (the Asian kind), and quirky characters. On top of that, Lucy has a fashion sense that rivals Tavi. Some of my favorite parts describe the clothes Lucy's created for herself. There are many examples, but here are three of my favorites:

... She wore a pleated skirt she'd made out of magazine pages one rainy day last winter. Using as many yellow and blue pictures as possible, it reminded her of a flag waving in a sunny sky. Plus it made a fun crinkling noise when she walked. She topped it off with a simple white tank top and went to go help Noni make the cinnamon rolls ...

...Saturday morning dawned bright blue and white with spacious skies ... In the back of her closet she found what she was looking for--her sail skirt. It was made from an actual sail that they'd found in the garage during last year's big clean out.

Papi had had a lot of hobbies. There was nothing he hadn't tried once and nothing he'd done twice so there was no end to the interesting old junk in Noni's garage. Holding the skirt in her hand, looking at the thick hand-stitched seam that Noni had to help her sew, Lucy sat down on the floor of her closet. She'd been living in a fashion tomb, but the skirt felt almost alive. What had she been thinking? Trying to fit in wasn't even working. And here she had a closet full of life and untold stories.

She rubbed the nubs of her fingers over the thick stitches. They had to buy special needles to work the thick canvas. It was so stiff that the skirt stuck out at the sides like a strange architectural tutu. She wore it over red shorts and a crisp blue t-shirt and felt ready for anything. Which was good, because today there was a feeling in the air that something was about to change...

Noni was in the garden cutting back old branches from the giant sage bush that the hummingbirds loved. Hundreds of little bright red flowers covered he ground around her, giving Lucy the most beautiful idea.

Lucy knelt and took her time gathering them up into a garden pail, examining their long, slender forms, thinking, dreaming, picturing.

"I see you dreaming up a dress Lucia."

Lucy nodded, humming while she worked. She carried in the pail and emptied it out on the dining room table. Then she threaded a needle and began experimenting. The flowers were delicate, but Lucy used a light touch to thread them and sew them in rows spiraling around the hips of a polyester dress with a poufy red bell skirt. As magic flowed from her fingertips she forgot herself, time, even her impossible dragon friend until Noni called her for dinner. She was exhausted, but it was worth it. She had made a thing of great beauty and she knew it...

Oh, and guess where this Lucy lives. Right here in the Outer Richmond.

Do you know any girls 8-12? It's a great time to download this book because as of now it's available free on iBooks, or for 99 cents on Amazon.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Monday, October 07, 2013

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Baby Cakes

One for John (thank you for the salmon yesterday!) and one for Anne & Peter.

"Where's my cake? I'm waiting."   (Anne in her Ocean Beach t-shirt.)

"Why such a small piece? I want MORE."

Friday, October 04, 2013

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Fine Tableware

Moomin plate from Karikter on Sutter St. ($5 on sale!), tiny bowls from Egg in Cole Valley
There's nothing like the feeling you get when you have new dishes. Or even one new dish.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Not much beach glass this week. (A page from the mysterious book I bought at Kinokuniya Mon.)

There he goes again.  7:00 p.m.  COLD!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

6:30 p.m.

6:32 p.m.