Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sometimes, this just seems like smart shopping.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

ha ha, you said 'duty'

So, it happened. The system caught up with me. Just four short years I've been in this state and I'm headed in for jury duty.
RK and I got summoned at the same time: You call in each day, listen to a recorded message and either go in or breeze on by. RK got to breeze on by (though, he did remind me that he's served his civic duty once already while we've been here). I got called in for tomorrow morning at 8:45 am. It put me in mind of my old jury duty days in NYC. I ended up writing a little book about it, self-published, of course, with all sorts of tiny observations and quirky stories. I called it The Grand Jury Duty Diaries. Serving on the Grand Jury is totally different than regular jury duty. It's everyday for a month and there's no getting out of it. The Grand Jury is made up of a varied demographic from all walks of life, and it's the deciding factor of who does and doesn't go to trial. It was the 'varied demographic' that kept me more interested than the cases:

And then there was Kim.

Kim is one of the court clerks we get after Joe takes off for knee surgery. I liked Joe, but I prefer the "show" of Kim. She's the best dressed woman with rolls around her middle that I've ever seen.
She's like a high-powered hooker doing time in the court room.
Her shirts are beyond tight.
Her cleavage welcomes us in most days. And her pants wrap around her like painted on snake skin. She's incredible looking.
Today she's wearing a cream colored wool sleeveless dress -- painted on from her neck to her knees.

She's always in higher than high heels. I would kill myself, or at the very least, break something in those things...but she always pulls it off.
Maybe she was a back-up singer for some fabulous soul band in a former life...
She looks like she doesn't give a damn.
But damn, she looks good.

I guess, if I have to serve some time in the jury box, at least I could start a new story.

The bigger drag is that it means I don't get my final Wednesday with Jack. I was looking forward to tomorrow 'cuz we were gonna paint the Sunset (district) red one last time.
It'll have to be next time, jackalope! When you're just a smidge older, I'll regale you with stories of duty!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The New 826 Valencia Window Display is here!

My mind had a been a bit filled with the latest project: The very fabulous 826 Valencia kindly asked me to do an installation in their window. I'd done a couple of them before, so I knew I'd enjoy it, but this one was a specific request. It was to be a window honoring these four high school students who'd just won scholarships to go to college. The money for the scholarships comes from another one of my favorite San Francisco treats, City Arts and Lectures. (These are two institutions I love, so I was excited to present) It's a pretty big deal, this is the first time they've ever had a window done to present the winners, and then they have a dinner party to celebrate.

Turns out, I didn't have a lot of time and my project ideas kept changing, as well as the reality of the possible solutions...and, as the days whittled away, the stress of wanting to make something perfect kept getting in the way of the enjoyment. I brought in my good friend, Ian, who has done window installations for a living, to help me see it through.

Long story short, we did the installation today.
I feel pretty darn good about it.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A House Stroll

A few months ago I visited my friend, Jon, at his home. I'd never been there and it took me a good half hour before I could sit down and relax because I was freaking out about his fantastic, strange and wonderful taste in decorating.

Everything was so unusual and fabulous, old, once-useful-as-it's-original-something-else-pieces, re-invented as something else.

If you want to see more of Jon's rad pad, click here.
And it put me in mind of this latest find. I'm a huge peeping tom, so it fits right into my happiness. So juicy.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Library Stories

In 1895... you had to be fourteen, and a boy, to get into the Astor Library, which opened in 1854, the same year as the Boston Public Library, the country’s first publicly funded city library, where you had to be sixteen.

Between 1881 and 1917, Andrew Carnegie underwrote the construction of more than sixteen hundred public libraries in the United States, buildings from which children were routinely turned away, because they needed to be protected from morally corrupting books, especially novels.

In 1896...a list [was made] of what [was] needed [to create a children's room in a library]: tables and chairs sized for children; plants, especially ones with flowers; art work; and very good books. The kids lined up around the block.

There's an excellent article in last week's New Yorker Magazine about "the battle that reshaped children's literature." Granted, I'm a huge library fanatic (like I'm a post office fanatic) so this topic was an easy give. It starts out with the above, solid, information, which I was shocked about (you had to be a 14 year old boy?!) and turns into this fantastic, drama-filled story about E.B. White and his struggle to publish and distribute Stewart Little. A fascinating tale (perhaps made more so because I just read Stewart Little, for the first time, this past year). By the end of the article, I was just happy for living in a time where libraries are one of the few accommodations created for the greater good. Come one, come all: No one is turned away at a library today.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

And the choir sang the Stones

RK had read somewhere that they wanted to make it clear, even though it was being sponsered by Fat Tire beer, the Tour de Fat was a bike festival with beer. Not the other way around. About ten minutes later, while I was standing near Mike's Bikes fix-it booth, I heard a guy say (as he was downing a beer), 'man, this is so cool to have a beer festival with bikes!' Well, the message was bound to be misunderstood. They started serving beer at 10am.

After we did a little walk around the 'festival', I got back on my bike and rode in the 'go slow' race. You got on your bike, rode on the grass in front of the stage, and rode as sloooooow as possible. I was in the fourth heat and I think I was the first to fall off. But, while cracking up, I got back on and slowly rode to the finish line. It was an awesome start to a really fantastic, but freezing cold, day celebrating all things biking.

RK and I rode our bikes from the Mission to the end of Golden Gate Park and were greeted by bike lovers galore. I'd never done "the wiggle"--a route for bikers to get thru this hilly city to the other side--and now I realize how accessible it all is. And the beauty of riding your old bike thru this spectacular park, with trees as tall as skyscrapers, rose gardens, wild buffalo, the De Young museum looming over you with it's massive tower-- never mind the freezing cold weather, it was breathtaking.

It's times like these, I dig the spirit of this city so much.

an amazing wooden bike
there was official bike parking, but seeing as it was a party for bikers, most of 'em just gathered together and made their own group parking.
this was the prize for winning the 'go slow' race--which got much harder after the first rounds were eliminated--dang, i really wanted that belt

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Stalk much lately?

Does it make you a stalker when you randomly come across someone's blog and leave more than ten comments in ten minutes?

I'd like to say "in my defense..." but that always makes you sound even more stalker-y. But, in my defense, the blog cracks me up, his mom stories make me think of my mom stories and, last but not least, it reminds me of my stand-up days and life in, at least it's a positive-based stalk, right?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Belize It

Almost three years ago now, RK and I went to Belize. And, a few nights ago, while we were looking for our next little vacation spot, we came across the photos and videos of that trip. We were both transfixed with every single moment of memory.

What an amazing time we had for those two weeks. We never wanted it to end. And we really thought, for a long time, that we'd go back again.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


We'll miss you Ruth.

The Future is Ours

The irony was palpable, but I think all of us sitting there were too happy to notice.

We went to see WALL*E the other night at the new Kabuki Theatre. Really fantastic set-up: There is now an upstairs bar/restaurant that is attached to one main theatre. The seats are like individual couches and next to each one is a tray table with a drink holder, wide enough to hold a freshly poured, cold glass of Chimay. I'm not sure, but I think we visited heaven for a minute that night. We kicked back in our lounging, stuffed chairs, pannini and beer by our sides, while we laughed and cried at a little robot and his indestructible cockroach sidekick. That Robert Redford sure knows how to bring the first class atmosphere to town.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A New York Minute

Just last week I was in NYC again for the blink of an eye.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Practice Resurrection

Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt--marvellous error!--
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.
--Antonio Machado

Years ago, when I read Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye, I remember feeling so sick to my stomach the whole time I was reading it. What the young girl goes through was so familiar. I thought to myself, 'somebody watched a part of my childhood and here it is in indelible ink...permanently recorded'. I almost hated the book for that. In fact, I told friends, while it was a good story, I couldn't recommend it because it was so painful to read.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Anne Lamott's book, Crooked Little Heart, which I just finished reading. While Atwood can make me feel like a freak in a freaky world, Lamott makes me feel like I could curl up in her lap and she would coo to me, "Everything is gonna be alllllright. I know exactly how you feel. We've all felt the same way at some point." Of course, I don't believe we've all felt the same way at some point, but that's okay too. I'm not sure why it is, lately, that everyone who passes me on the street seems to have it so together. Like they don't have a care in the world. Like their knees don't ache or their stomach never gets in knots. Like they're not wracked with self-doubt or loathing, for that matter. Or, that they could have whatever they wanted if they just said it outloud.

"Practice resurrection" is a line from Lamott's book. I think it's a beautiful thought. It might be my next tattoo.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


Two days in New York. Two more fame sightings for the book.

Joel Grey,walking by us while we sat outside at Le Gamin.
We gave, and we got, a big smile.

David Cross, hanging out at the same 4th of July rooftop party that i was hanging out at,
on the east side.

Friday, July 4, 2008

a life from the past come to roost in the present

Sometimes I feel as if I've dreamed it all. It seems so long ago.
My sister and I are in NYC again and it seems as if I'd just been dreaming that I lived in San Francisco...

We're here for surreal reasons: creating a book that is about holding on to the beauty, if only in a glimpse, of the past. The small wonders, the small beauties, the smalls of the world. We're digging in a basement, here in NYC, of an 85 year old shop that is moving it's premises. We're digging out the past, examining it's process, lauding it for making it til now, and holding it up on a pedestal for all to see.

It's seeming to parallel my experience with my own past. Walking around this city is so powerful. It feels like home, but like I'm on an undercover mission. I expect to run into people I know at every turn. More often than not, I walk into a shop, or a restaurant or bar that held some memory and it all comes flooding back to me. My sister says she thinks I'm mourning my youth, but I feel like I'm visiting my roots. Taking strength from them again. When I return to my new life, I feel more grounded.

A wonderful lazy day, while everyone has left the city for the 4th of July weekend, we're hitting up all our old favorites and soaking up every minute of it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

'Cuz life is like that

Hanging out with my niece, Sofia, is the greatest. It's hard to describe how much fun I have with her. It's like hanging out with an old friend. Yesterday, we went to breakfast together and lamented the pain-in-the-butt that english grammar is. She's just learning all the rules now. I don't try to be the big ole grown-up around her: I happen to agree with her attitude about alot of things. She questions the injustices of the world around her and also wonders why we have to learn about independent and dependent parts of a sentence. Dang, man, do I agree!