Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Holidays past

This photo was taken in 1991, at a thanksgiving (or christmas?) dinner that we held in San Francisco, when we were living in Noe Valley (a neighborhood misnomer in our case, since our home was atop a very steep hill, above said valley). I think that apartment was the last one we lived in where we had enough room to host such a large holiday dinner. On the right, there is Danilo. Danilo has since passed away, but my memory of his sweet smile, his soft skin and his compassionate values keep him alive. Dan next, sporting much more hair and fewer bulging muscles than he does today, but just as energetic. I am next, with my original haircolor (long since gone) and almost the same 'do that I have now. Maybe it's time to update! Then comes our dear Charlie, who was less than a year from his death at this time. Charlie was a visionary who designed his own way of dancing through the world. Next to him is Liz, who we have lost touch with. She married a Turkish man and had a baby, and that was the last we heard. I hope it all worked out for her. Barb is there. People always say they are surprised at how young she looks. She really looked young then! My brother John, looking a bit grim for this photo. Usually he has such a nice smile. Fran is sporting the flash's reflection above her head - have you ever seen those websites where they post "proof" of ghosts, by showing pictures with this kind of light? Maybe we are seeing her aura. April looks fresh out of a Madonna video, with that big belt. Very foxy!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Cherry blossoms

This photo was taken in 1979, when I lived in Hamamatsu, Japan for a few years. Yo-chan took me to this town to sightsee - there was a castle and lots of cherry blossoms. Mostly we were looking at each other, I guess - look how young I was, and he was young, too, though much older than I. We met in a class - I was teaching conversational English to a bunch of men who worked for Yamaha & Suzuki Motor companies. They would take me out to drink beer and eat sushi, after class.

I also remember that the shirt I was wearing was sent to me by my mom, who had to send clothes to me, as I couldn't find my size in Japan. It was pure polyster, but at least it fit. I also liked it because it was slightly boyish. Before I left for Japan, I already knew I was a lesbian, although I had promised my parents I would try to change. Yo-chan was my attempt, and a pretty good one it was.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Falling notes

the days shorten
the leaves aglow
the autumn bird sings his song
twee -eeee -eeoo
a major full step down and then
the final -ee moving into a minor third
with the -oo end of the last note dropping out of key
rendering it melancholy and somewhat mysterious
but the bird himself is brown and ordinary
no special marks
no crest or lines
but his beak opens
and the notes fall again and again and again

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Kitchen Fabrics

When we started choosing colors for our kitchen's tile backsplash,walls, and so forth, we were a bit overwhelmed at all the choices out there. My friend, Jan, suggested that we find a piece of fabric that combined our style and color preferences, and then match the kitchen colors to the fabric. We knew that we wanted to have a 40s "feel", so I started looking around at vintage kitchen fabrics. None of these really ended up serving as our palette, but they are so fun and full of energy, that I am still trying to figure out a way to use them in the kitchen, once it's all built.

I love this one because of the Jell-O molds and the aprons. I grew up in the town where Jell-O was invented (LeRoy, N.Y.), and have a certain fondness for it. However, I can't remember the last time I actually MADE Jell-O! The fabrics from the 40s all bring to mind the aprons that moms wore when I was growing up.

This one has the right combination of colors: red, green, yellow, with black accents. However, the red is more of a true red than we ended up choosing for the countertops - ours is more of a wine red. I love the combination of odd things that somehow say "kitchen", but are not the obvious choices - like a cuckoo clock? and a dustbin, and clothes pins.

This last one I include because of the chickens! I love the iconic representation of a chicken. They can be drawn so many ways, and I often have to hold myself back from purchasing cheesy chicken things that go in one's kitchen. When I see them in the store, those hen-and-chick salt 'n' pepper shakers, or roosters on a chalk board, I think - "oh, this would look great in my kitchen!" Then, I come to my senses and realize that I don't want a chicken theme. When my brother John visited last year, he picked up a chicken statue for me at a second hand store. He didn't know why he got it for me, it just called out to him. We happened to be talking about how much I had to hold myself back from buying chickens, and then he presented me with it! So my new kitchen will have just one chicken in it, as a placemarker for all the rest...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Food for thought

Today, I got an email from one of my yoga teachers, recommending that we make this recipe of a "curing broth" and drink it for four weeks, to prevent catching the flu or the usual colds that start infecting people at the this time of year.

Curing Broth

2 quarts of organic broth, chicken or vegetable
1 tablespoon of whole cloves
3-4 drops of cinnamon oil, or 1 stick of cinnamon (canela)
6-10 thin slices of fresh ginger
2 heads of fresh garlic, separated, peeled and rough chopped (yes, two whole heads)
2-3 hot peppers (serrano, habanero, thai dragon) quartered, seeds in
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

Put all ingredients into a large saucepan and let steep for two to four hours. When ready, strain into a mug, add the juice of 1/2 lemon or lime, and drink like tea. Drink every two or three hours. When the liquid gets low, add more broth and continue steeping--there is still plenty of life in the ingredients.

It sure sounds hot! Do you really think that hot foods can strengthen your immune system? Perhaps the smell will keep germy people at bay!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Rainy day

Another rainstorm came through today, a much stronger one with real downpours and splashy puddles. The house is snug but the patio is drafty, and we had our coffee in the living room this morning. I tried to pull the cat into the house, and he was there til Barb went out to get the paper, and then he bolted. Rudy is not fond of being inside, especially when sharing the space with Lola, our pooch. I think Rudy has been in hiding under the house since then.

We saw the movie "49 up" last night, which is a documentary that follows the lives of some people, re-visiting them every seven years. The focus of this part of the series (there is a 7up, 14up, 21up, 28up and so forth) was how the subjects' lives had been affected by the film maker coming back at the 7 year intervals. I thought about how much people can do when they are held accountable. I wonder what will happen to us in the next seven years, and how would I answer the filmmaker's question - do you have a goal?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Multi tasking

This week, I've been juggling work and remodeling decisions with trying to spend as much time as possible watching the Sweet Adelines competition that's going on in Calgary. All sessions are being broadcast in video and audio this year, which has been great, but of course it's nothing like being there. I miss being in Canada, my favorite (other) country!

We are re-creating the experience of whispering things to each other during the performance in a much more polite way - we are instant messaging to each other things like "gee I love that song" or "what an ugly costume!". Last night some of my friends in chorus put together a webcast party where we watched our friends compete, projecting the scene up on a wall.

In the meantime, appliances are being installed, doggie door put in, counters measured for, lighting chosen, and so forth. It rained on Tuesday night, and I had a nightmare that workmen came in and were going to demolish the whole house.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Penny for your thoughts

Sometimes it's hard to come up with something to blog about. Luckily, there is the internet, and various RSS feeds, that present to me the world in all its complexity. Like this guy, who paints a tiny picture on any penny that he happens to pick up.. a picture of the place where he found the penny!

I would like to have the discipline to make time in my day for creating some kind of art. Once the remodel is done, I'll have my "craft" room, which I am hoping will give me the physical space to open up the creative space. I want to do collages, to scan photos and old slides, print them out and mash them together. I'd like to try my hand at other things, maybe sculpting in clay or painting on canvas or who knows what else?

Monday, October 08, 2007

Film delight

We've been immersed in film-going lately, perhaps to escape the dust and detritus of our home remodel. What wonderful films we've seen in the last few days! It started out with a bang when we finally got to the theater to see "Across the Universe". This film immediately rose right to the top level of my "most loved movies" list (I simply can't put those titles into preferential order - they are all equally beloved. Some of them are Close Encounters, Field of Dreams, West Side Story, Amelie, Moulin Rouge...)

Across the Universe tells a story of the 60s. The bones of the film make up a love story, but there is so much more woven into the plot. Julie Taymor's brilliant visual talent makes this film shine. The costumes, the sets, the colors .. everything takes you on a time trip and puts you into the era. The Beatles music, sung by the cast, is placed so intelligently into the story. Each song's lyrics are used to amplify the story, in a way that you may not have thought of before. The songs are sometimes sung in a different key, or with some chords changed to minor from major, or in a different rhythm - just enough change to keep it interesting, just enough the same to flood you with the feelings you had when you first heard the song.

We also have tickets to some films at the Mill Valley Film Festival. The first one we saw was a documentary about Anita O'Day - the Life of a Jazz Singer. Great stuff! She was a pistol until she died last year at 86.

Last night, we saw Todd Haynes' "I'm Not There", which is a very different kind of film - kind of a mash-up of stories based on the life of Bob Dylan. This film is going to get a lot of press, because there were some amazing performances by the actors involved. I got a bit overwhelmed by it, because of the intercut visuals, the music, and the stories - by the end of two hours, I was just over-stimulated! But it's another take on the 60s.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Art is alive

Last week, my sister and I viewed some Art Cars in the Presidio, and we were captivated by one in particular that was covered with rubber lobsters and fish. The seafood moved and sang, as those silly Billy Bass fish are likely to do. Today I found the car's website, run by a group called the Sashimi Tabernacle Choir. Enjoy the videos, to get the full effect.

Another site I ran across today was a story about a fascinating restaurant in Riverside, California, where the owner has gone all out to make the most fabulous mosaics (for lack of a better word) out of bottles, Barbie Dolls and more! It's not often that we find ourselves in that part of the state, but it looks like this is worth a special trip.

If you are feeling crafty, you may want to pick up the crochet hook and make some vegetable monsters!

It's art like this that makes me glad to be alive.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Over and out

I gave blood today, which I do as regularly as possible. They have a procedure these days called the "double red", which is just about as science fiction-esque as you can imagine. Your blood comes out the tube, then it goes into some machine where they take out the red blood cells, and then the blood pressure cuff releases and the tube turns white, and the now-all-white blood fluids are returned to your body. Then the pump starts up again and starts taking red out of the arm again. It's really amazing, and allows them to get twice as much bang for the buck.

I enjoy thinking about the lives I may be saving when I give blood. I try to imagine all the pleasant walks on the beach, the loving families and the exciting adventures experienced by those people who happened to need my blood.

As I lay in the trailer, watching these imaginary people do their thing in my mind's eye, supersonic jets passed overhead in real life. It's Fleet Week, which means that the Blue Angels are here to zip and zoom around the Golden Gate in preparation for a big airshow this weekend. It's amazing to see, but the noise is quite frightening. Instead of those happy people walking on the beach after receiving a transfusion of my blood, I start to imagine soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, lying on a foreign street, the victims of our imperialistic greed, with the sounds of fighter jets ringing in their ears.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A cuteness of dogs

We tried to get all the dogs at the picnic to line up nicely for a photo. How many women do you think it might take to get all those dogs to face in the same direction at any one given split second? (thanks to our neighbor Scott for the photos!)

And, additionally, the cuteness that is King Henry.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

John, Bodee and Lola

This shot was taken at Barb's birthday picnic. Bodee was especially popular among the guests (not to say that John was unpopular) several people tried to kidnap Bodee and take him home with them. He is a very interesting dog, part Chihuahua, part Corgie, perhaps? and despite only being a couple years old, he was said to "look like an old soul". I saw Michael taking a close-up of Bodee from all angles, presumably so he won't forget what kind of dog is the "perfect" one, as he & Fred search for another one like him. Will another exist?

Monday, October 01, 2007


November is national blog posting month, and I'm going to attempt to blog every day. (I jumped the gun by thinking that today was the first day of November... but maybe I'll just get in practice by starting in October.)

Why? because it might be fun. It also might be impossible. But they say it's good to have a creative habit.

Yesterday we celebrated Barb's 48th in style, with a picnic at McInnis Park. Many friends, family and dogs took part.

Today at the home remodel site, the cabinets were delivered! so the next phase is to piece together all the various parts of the room, cabinets, sink, appliances, island, lighting, etc etc! wow, can't wait to see it come together.