The Funeral Fiesta

I’m kind of surprised by how upset I am over losing the original of this post. I had a hard time putting it back together. And it’s not as good as the original.

Also, since I had internet problems when I was up there last week, I got out of the habit of writing nearly every day. I find the more I write, the more I write. If I take a few days off, I have a hard time getting back in stride. Go figure.

Here’s the reconstituted post. Sigh.

Rose’s funeral fiesta was amazing. It was held at her former house, which will soon be my house. Dozens and dozens of people were there; kids ran around the garden and played on the trampoline. It turns out that I also have a swing, seen here being modeled by Jessica:


There was a buffet, and a bar with red and white wine, water, lemonade, and of course margaritas. Overhead, there were beautiful hand-cut banners with images traditional for Mexican Dia de los Muertos* (Day of the Dead) celebrations. Here you can see skeletons bearing a coffin, with lit candles on either side:

There were little shrines all over the garden, with flowers, candles, little sculptures, shells, and some of Rose’s work (she was a gifted potter and artist). I love the saw repurposed as art in the last photo:


There was an altar for Rose, covered with photos from every stage of her life. My favorite was one of her sitting happily in a hammock, beaming with joy.


All over the garden, there were notes and letters to Rose and her family pinned to the trees. We also wrote messages in a little book. I have to admit that I was as proud as a mother when I saw Jessica write “I miss you Rosemarie. Love, Jessica” in the book. She signed her name in cursive writing, a new accomplishment.


A mariachi band had come all the way from Santa Rosa, and serenaded us as we ate, drank, and talked. Erica set up a tip jar for the band before setting to work carving a watermelon to look like a flower.

Mark, who was Rose’s son-in-law, announced the last song the mariachis would play. It is a traditional farewell song, and sounded to my untutored ears like “Los Galindos”. Mark says the title means something like “Little Birds”. It was a lovely and moving song. As the artists took their leave (and their tip jar), we moved our chairs to the part of the garden where Rose’s altar was.

A microphone was set up, and people got up and spoke about Rose, including her granddaughters and, remarkably, their friends, all of whom were less than 10 years old; the woman who had introduced James and Rose many years ago in Baja; and James’s cousin. There were laughter and tears, and many shared memories. Rose’s daughter Citlali recited a poem, and played a tape of Rose’s brother Axel, who couldn’t be there, singing Charlie Chaplin’s Smile.

As the sun began to set, Mark set a large chunk of clay beside Rose’s altar and invited everyone to take a piece and make a bead, which would be fired in Rose’s kiln. I patterned mine with little dots in spirals, and Erica made hers look like a little face. Here are some of the beads on Rose’s altar:


The celebration went on long into the night, with impromptu music provided by the guests, playing guitar, harmonica, and conga drums. Candles were lit and flickered in the moonlight. As Mark hugged me good-bye, he gestured around the garden and said, “She is everywhere here.”


*It’s on November 1. My new landlords have offered to celebrate with us, so we can do something special for our parents. It’s the day after Halloween, when I will be the newest member of Jessica’s trick-or-treating entourage. Last year’s numbered six.


I was nearly finished with a post about Rose’s service, when the internet stopped working. It refused to save my changes, so now I have to try and restore the post to its former glory. You know how it is – it’s never as good on the second try. And this was really heartfelt. Sigh.

While I work on it and try and remember what I did last week, here’s a great Covet.

It’s a well-known fact that it doesn’t get cooler than Frank Sinatra. Now you can try on his Palm Springs lifestyle for size. Just $7,800 buys you three nights at his Twin Palms estate. Extra nights are a mere $2,600 each.

Dream big, baby.

Big River, Little River

Today I’m coming to you from Moodys, where there is WiFi access in Mendocino. Megan is walking Schatzi on the headlands, so I have a little time today. This is the post I wrote on Tuesday, which got preempted by the quickie house post yesterday. A girl has her priorities.

Rose’s service is at 4:00 today. I’m not sure what to expect, but I’m glad I can be there. I missed James’s when I was at that stupid conference in Florida, so it’s really important to me to be there today.


We never did get to the fair. It was too hot in Boonville that day. Anderson Valley is where you flip on the A/C and leave it on until you reach the Coast (going north) or the Bay (going south). Since my goal was heat avoidance, I decided not to go this year, but there’s always next year. And the year after that…

In keeping with the goal, Meg and I took Schatzi to the beach at Big River*. It’s an estuary, where the ocean meets the river, and the river stays salty for several miles inland. Megan has canoed up the river with L, my haybale hair stylist, and says it’s amazing, very peaceful and lots of wildlife. One of these days we’ll have to do that.

Even though it was a warm day, country warm is not the same as city warm. There’s always a breeze here, and when you go inside, the house is cool, being shaded by redwoods. Also I think the heat bouncing off all the sidewalks and roads and cars in the city makes things hotter, but this is just one of my theories. At the beach, there was a cool sea breeze, which was very refreshing.

You can see below why the rocky Mendocino coast is often the body double for the rocky New England coast:

Schatzi waded happily in the water, and when she came out, immediately rolled around in the sand. It was caked all over her nose, and she looked hilarious. I tried to get a picture, but she shook it off too quickly – all over us. Fortunately, she dries almost instantly.

We stopped at the Little River deli to get frozen strawberry lemonade for us and turkey jerky for Schatzi. Treats all round! The cashier recognized Megan from the fire last year, when she and Jonathan responded to the 911 call. This is a frequent occurrence, even when she’s out of uniform. My favorite is when she met a guy at the Albion store and said, “Nice to see you upright!” as she passed him in the aisle.

*Fun fact: Big River was named for the size of the trees on its shores, not for its breadth.

The Quickie House Post

I’m coming to you from the Company Store in Fort Bragg (the big town, where they keep the DMV, Safeway, etc.). I only have a couple of minutes because Megan will be back any second and we’re due to go and see the puppies. I have a post about the beach, but I know you’d rather see pictures of my new house, so I’ll post and run.

The internet hasn’t been working at the house, but I don’t want to bug the landlords because tomorrow is the funeral fiesta for Rose, and they have other things on their mind than my lack of internet access.

Keep in mind that there’s still a lot of work to do. Be nice!


Back view from the secret path between my house and Megan’s.


Front view. The area to the left will have a floor and siding to house The Boxes!


View from living room looking up to sleeping loft.

Kitchen – the stove will be put back and the hole in the wall is for the microwave. All the furniture, etc., will be cleaned out.


In the sleeping loft, looking out to the balcony (the railings still have to be put up).

The Philosophic Barbecue

Schatzi lounges precariously on the back porch*

The Doc kindly upgraded my WordPress while I was busy fleeing from the city and doing important things like having a barbecue at my brother’s place to celebrate our brother-in-law’s birthday. When the sun had made its final farewell bow, a single bat appeared on the horizon, zipping and dipping crazily through the pale pink sky. It was feasting on the plague of termites. Being a city girl, I had no idea that termites flew. Apparently, they have about two weeks of flying around on their four wings, which they then shed before they get down to the serious business of eating your house. The ground will be littered with their iridescent cast-offs.

As we sat around the fire, I thought of what an ancient human instinct it is to do so. I bet we’ve been doing it since the first fire discovery, and no matter how advanced we get with technology, people still want to gather around the fire, even if it’s symbolic, like people hanging out in the kitchen when you have a party.

The sky was awash with stars, and the Milky Way was so dense that it looked foggy in the clear, dark sky. It was amazing to think that we’re part of it.

When the boys started arguing about whether the universe was finite (Rob) or infinite (Jonathan), Megan and I packed up Schatzi and a few leftovers and went home to drink wine in the garden and talk about how infinitely silly boys are. 

Up next: a day at the beach!

*This is one of her eccentricities, along with eating only one particular bamboo plant in the garden. Even though the lower step is about twice the size of the one she’s lying on, she always chooses the smaller step to perch on.

Coming and Going

I’m coming to you from my new house, where I am checking my email (there’s wireless internet here!) and doing some work of my own while work goes on around me. My new landlords and their posse have been working hard on the house. It still looks like a construction site, so I’m afraid that if I post pictures, you’ll be scared. It’s going to be amazing when it’s finished.

Friday was hellacious, and apparently it was only a preview of coming attractions (and, sadly, nothing like the one Grace Kelly gave Jimmy Stewart in “Rear Window”). Forecast highs in Oakland are 94 today, 99 tomorrow, and 95 on Wednesday. Dear God. I decided to sneak out and see “Julie and Julia” in air conditioned bliss, but the traffic was so bad that I turned around and came back. It was only 1:30 in the afternoon! I did get to enjoy blasting the air conditioner in the car, though, and when I got home, I sat sadly in the seat for a moment, debating whether I could run it just a little longer, or if it would still be all “Sabrina”, even in the open air.

Friday was also my brother-in-law’s birthday. Another nice thing about moving up north is that I will finally get to celebrate my sibs’ birthdays with them.

The problem is that Megan’s birthday is located on Memorial Day (First long weekend of the summer!) and Jonathan’s birthday is located on Labor Day (Last long weekend of the summer!), so traffic is insane going both ways.

I learned this the hard way a long time ago, when I’d gone up for Meg’s birthday when I still had my convertible. I sat in unmoving traffic on the Waldo Grade for 45 minutes in the blazing sun. To paraphrase A.A. Milne, I could see the city, I could smell the city, but I couldn’t quite reach the city. I was so sunburned and cranky by the time I got home, I was immediately declared a disaster area by then-Mayor Willie Brown. Rescue crews treated me with wine and aloe vera and then backed away slowly.

Never again, I swore.

My birthday is nine days after Megan’s, and Erica’s is the day after mine, so we can have a partypalooza with no traffic punishment at the end of it.

Also, we are going to have an excellent Thanksgiving this year.

Move date looks like October 22!

The Great Escape

Well, the blistering heat is making a return engagement. It’s like a Barbra Streisand farewell tour. How can we miss you when you won’t go away?

This sequel is bigger and badder than ever. It’s supposed to be over 90 from Sunday through Thursday, which is positively inhuman(e) as far as I’m concerned. It was time to get out of the kitchen, since I definitely can’t take the heat.

I’m fleeing the scene and heading for my sister’s little house in the big woods. I can bring some things up for my new house, have a chat with my new landlords and square away all the moving details, and stay there for Rosemarie’s service next Saturday. The kitties will be taken care of by a friend. They’ll hardly miss me.

When I called Megan to invite myself up, she mentioned that the County Fair happens to be this weekend, so I can attend the sheep dog trials again this year. Yay!

She also said that my new landlord Mark has been slaving away at my roof and balcony with several of his friends. I thought they were just going to replace the railings, but they’re replacing the whole thing. I promise to take pictures this time, but you’ll have to be forgiving if there are piles of lumber and other detritus. Just imagine…

Champagne Commute

So I ended up taking BART in to the city after all. The mysteries of the new Bay Bridge will have to wait for another occasion. On the train into the City, a clutch of cops collapsed into the seats around me, complaining about how much their feet hurt. I couldn’t help noticing how worn and dented their clubs were. Hmmm.

It’s a good thing I decided to take the train, because the best thing about the software soirée was the open bar. When you signed in, there were two tall gentlemen holding trays full of glasses of champagne. Now, that’s a good way to welcome people! There were also jars of candy and two bars. I think someone called ahead and told them I was coming.

The idea was to sell their various software packages. None of them were exactly what we’d need, but it was interesting to drift around and check them out, glass in hand. I have to wonder if this isn’t a very successful sales ploy: give buyers a few drinks, and they’ll be far more amenable.

On the downside, they did have guards posted to make sure no-one sneaked out to see the Avedon exhibit instead of the software.

After the presentation (and another glass of champagne), I floated out to the BART station, glad that it was still light out. The train was packed, though. In addition to raising fares, BART in its infinite wisdom has also reduced the number of cars on the trains, so instead of having, say, a nine car train, it’s five or six, so everyone’s jammed in there like the LIRR. I can see why so many people prefer to drive, despite the bridge toll and the insane cost of parking and parking tickets in the city.

When I got home, all I wanted to do was get in my PJs and watch the last two episodes* of the latest season of Rescue Me. But someone called about the bookshelves on Craigslist and wanted to come over right away, so I had to deal with that first. Even though I wanted to sell them, along with a few other things, I was perversely sad to see them go. There’s no pleasing me, is there?

*I wait until a season is finished, then download it and watch it. That way, I don’t have to wait a week to see the next show. This habit will probably have to change after I move, since the internet download speed and capacity will be severely reduced. Sigh.

A Peek Inside

Some people – mostly of the boy persuasion – think that we girls carry around lots and lots of totally unnecessary things and stuff in our handbags. Of course, they also think that we have a totally unnecessary number of handbags. Also shoes.

At a staff meeting in a former job, a woman had just come back from her Italian honeymoon. She told the story that she had bought several pairs of gorgeous shoes in Florence, and showed them to her new husband. He looked at them in bemusement and said, “But, honey – you already have black shoes.”

The women laughed uproariously. The men just sat there.

They’ll never get it.

While I do have more than one pair of black shoes, and a handbag collection that is a national treasure (especially if you include my Marimekko luggage), I don’t carry a lot of junk in my handbag. Here’s what’s in it today, for example:

  • The latest “New Yorker”. The Style Issue! Yay. For reading on BART.
  • Wallet. Inside: BART ticket, ID card (I remembered! I remembered!), no money, and a note from Dad.
  • Work keys (flower keychain). House keys (Louis Vuitton Monogram Groom).
  • Cute purple cell phone. If only it never rang.
  • Flower pen, in case I need to sign autographs or checks.
  • Lip gloss, in case I need to kiss and touch up.
  • Business card case. Essential for impersonating a grown-up.
  • Chico bag, for impulse purchases.
  • Tiny pot of Potion solid perfume. It’s magic.

All of it completely necessary.

Changing Chores

Yesterday was almost entirely occupied with moving-related tasks. I cleaned out the freezer, feeding the mysterious, the aged, and the unrecognizable items to my enormous green bin, increasing my plastic dish supply by about 200%. Most of the plastic dishes hail from the fabulous Dhaba and always-reliable Swiss Chalet*, back in the halcyon days when I could get great food delivered. It’s amazing that they have endured repeated use, including microwaving, for years and still are as good as new.

The future really did turn out to be plastics, didn’t it?

I also emailed everyone I could think of to tell them that my email address is changing. Once I move, I’ll have to use satellite internet, so I’ll have to change my email address along with it. Not surprisingly for a dinosaur like me, I still have my original email address, so I’ve never had to do this before. Also not surprisingly for a tech tard like me, I couldn’t figure out how to do those mailing lists where you can’t see everyone’s email addresses, so I had to do them individually.

If I missed you, my new (though not necessarily improved) email address is sjpeakall at gmail dot com. Don’t forget the J! I was amazed that speakall wasn’t available. There are so few Peakalls in the world, I figure it must be someone who likes the speak all thing. Or else is impersonating me.

I also posted a bunch of furniture for sale on Craigslist, but so far, not a nibble. If I don’t get any takers, I’ll have to schedule a big garbage pick up. Sigh.

This afternoon, I’m heading into the City for some meetings. I’m driving in, so I can try out the new (though not necessarily improved) Bay Bridge, which now apparently has a wide curve near Yerba Buena Island and a lower speed limit. Ha.

I have a some kind of something this evening at SFMOMA, which is why I’m driving. That, and because I’m planning to get Victor’s pizza after the thing, whatever it is. My boss asked me to go to it, and when I called to RSVP, they said they’d email me an agenda. When I got the agenda, all it said was the place and time. Hmmm. I asked Boss about it, and he said it was some kind of software thing, so we’ll see.

I’m already wondering if I can sneak out and check out the Avedon exhibit. And whether they’ll validate my parking.

*Their slogan (“Try it once, love it forever”) turned out to be entirely true in my case. My friend K took me there for the first time, and I loved it. I wonder why they haven’t expanded into the US?

Wake Up Call

Well, this is getting to be a bad habit.

This morning, I was eating a bagel and watching “Bewitched” before getting down to work. One of my landlords suddenly appeared in the doorway, as if Samantha (or one of her mischievous relatives) had twitched her there. I had a feeling of déjà vu, wondering why she always turned up while I was eating, and why she never felt the need to call first. The one time she did actually email me to tell me they were coming was the one time they didn’t show up.

I figured there was no point in pointing out that the law says landlords have to give 24 hours’ notice before showing up, but I have to wonder if the next tenant will also be subject to these surprise attacks. And how hard it will be to rent out the house now that the house next door, which is nearly the same, is also for rent.

At least it gave me a chance to talk to her about the move. I had expected her to contact me after getting my note, but I hadn’t heard anything, and in the back of my mind, I wondered if something might go wrong, like having to pay an extra month’s rent, if she said she didn’t receive the note, or it wasn’t proper notification or something.

I talked to my brother today, and he’s going to check his schedule since he’s the dedicated truck driver. He said it would probably be Wednesday or Thursday, but he’ll let me know. I consulted the calendar, and the last Wednesday in October is the 28th. That would make sure that I won’t be paying rent on two places at once. I might even be able to go trick or treating with Jessica!


I slept in until 10:00 yesterday! And when I finally woke up, it was raining. Ever so lightly, but rain nonetheless.

I posted about my excitement on Facebook, and everyone seemed to think I’m a big fan of the precipitation. It wasn’t the rain per se that had me all excited, it was the surprise of the rain (it rarely, if ever, rains between April and October or November) and the fact that we hadn’t had any for more than five months. That, and the release from the hideous heat. Believe me, I’ll almost certainly switch my heat complaining for rain complaining once I move up north.

I dashed outside to check on Henry. His bed was a little damp, and his food was wet, so I took care of that while he milled around under my feet. He hasn’t been eating that much lately, which does concern me a bit. I need to catch him and get him checked out at the vet’s before he officially joins the family. Another item for my ever-lengthening To Do list.

I can’t tell you how blissful it was to be able to cook (corn soufflé, using up leftovers) make the bed (lavender and blue eucalyptus scented sheets), and just walk around without sweating. I could even sit still without sweating, and the air was completely breathable, instead of stifling. I didn’t have to put a fan on all day. And I had all the blinds open, letting in the pale, pearly light, instead of living in hot gloom with the blinds closed against the sun’s glare.

It was thrilling.

All day, I luxuriated in the blessed, blessed coolth*, and in the evening, I watched Laura, one of my favorite movies, admiring Gene Tierney’s breathtaking loveliness while sipping a nice Sonoma County sauvignon blanc. Life is good.

*From the inimitable Edward Eager’s “Magic By the Lake”. I can’t wait to introduce Jessica to his books. And E. Nesbit’s.


It is a truth universally acknowledged that no job has less accountability than that of weatherman (weatherperson?). If the predicted snow fails to fall, or the sky is resolutely sunny rather than partly cloudy, s/he doesn’t get fired. Angry mobs don’t descend on the station waving pitchforks and demanding forecasting reliability. No-one stands on a soapbox at Market and Powell declaiming, “Give me accuracy or give me death!”

No, we just get on with our lives, wishing we’d brought an umbrella or hadn’t lost that last pair of sunglasses, reflecting that Robin Williams’ method of weather forecasting in “Good Morning, Vietnam!” (“You got a window? Open it!”) has much to be said for it.

Weather predicting in the Bay Area should be less challenging than it is in places with real weather. There are no blizzards, tornadoes, or hurricanes. There’s rain only in the winter. There’s a little more fog in the summer months. That’s about it.

But the one area in which local weather oracles seem to have a disturbing level of accuracy is heat waves. Every single time a heat wave is predicted, we get it, and it’s usually hotter than advertised. Not once have I heard the weather people say, “We never did get that forecast heat wave. In fact, temperatures are about fifteen degrees cooler than we thought!”

We on the wrong side of the Bay are in the throes of a third day of 90 degree heat. If you’re unfortunate enough to live even further inland, you’re suffering through 100+ degrees, but you probably have air conditioning.

My house is performing its magic trick of being hot and stifling long after the outside air has cooled off to a humane level. In the great Bay Area tradition, my house also has microclimates. As I write, in the early afternoon, my bedroom is unbearable (and will stay that way until about 11 tonight, in spite of window fan and floor fan), the bathroom is oddly cool (June is sprawled on the floor in there), and the living room is the least overheated.

It’s supposed to cool off tomorrow, but don’t bet on it.

Happy Anniversary

A dear couple I know are celebrating their forty-ninth anniversary today. This remarkable occasion – and the discovery of my mother’s parents’ wedding announcement the other day – reminded me that both sets of my grandparents were married for more than half a century, and that they were devoted to each other. Indeed, my mother’s parents (known to us as Nana and Hoho*) asked to buried the same way they stood in front of the minister on their wedding day, she on the right and he on the left.

I was lucky enough to spend the last summers of my grandparents’ lives with them. I was always interested in the past, and loved to hear about when they were young, in the early 1900s. During my visit with Nana and Hoho, I was looking through a box of photos that dated back to my grandparents’ high school days, and found one of an unknown brunette. I asked my grandmother who it was. She took one look at it and grabbed it from me, tearing it up and throwing it away, to my surprise.

My grandmother was the kind of woman whose shoes always matched her handbag, and who made sure to be wearing nice undergarments when she left the house, “just in case anything happened”. Her nickname in the small town where she and my grandfather spent their married lives was The Lady. So her behavior was a little unusual.

My grandfather looked up from his paper, and Nana said to him, “Katie Shaw! I saw her at the church picnic, and she was fat, Ernest! She was fat!” Bustling off to the kitchen, she added, “You and your Katies and your Violets!” Apparently I had unearthed a photo of the now portly Katie Shaw, along with memories of girlfriends past.

Hoho just giggled and winked at me.

The summer I spent with my Dad’s parents (Grammie** and Daddy’s Daddy*), my grandmother gave me a book on decorative handwriting, which I also came across during my recent book purge. After giving it to me, she asked Daddy’s Daddy if he knew where she had gotten it, with what I can only describe as a flirtatious look.

He guessed a couple of names, which have now escaped me, one of whom he’d “seen looking at you in church”, and another who apparently tried to cut Daddy’s Daddy out by waking out of church with Grammie. Clearly, churches and their picnics are dangerous places (and/or hotbeds of romance – you decide). He never did guess the right name, to her great amusement.

Grammie, true to her Victorian upbringing, set aside one day a week to do laundry, and another to bake. On baking days, Daddy’s Daddy would bring his armchair (the one no-one else was allowed to sit in) into the tiny kitchen to watch her. He couldn’t bear to be away from her the whole day. And if we were late coming home from the shops – Grammie didn’t have a refrigerator, so shopping was a nearly daily event – he’d be hovering in the front garden, looking anxiously for his beloved wife.

It was wonderful to be in the presence of such long-lived love and devotion, and it’s a gift I have treasured ever since. Here’s to another happy couple on their very special day, and wishing them many, many more.

*Hoho because of his laugh, and he laughed a lot. And Daddy’s Daddy because we were so amazed that our Daddy had a Daddy of his own.
**Just last night, I was thinking how much I’d love to hear her call me “my pet” again.

Labor Day, Recycling Day

Audrey supervises

Well, I spent my Labor Day laboring. I went through my boxes of books yet again and ruthlessly culled the herd. I emptied no fewer than eight boxes, though there are still plenty left. Now I just have to decide what to do with the rejects.

The problem is that book stores have become much more selective about what books they’ll buy these days, and they give you hardly anything for them. The worst part is enduring their disdain for the books they don’t want. They make you feel like you have absolutely no taste in literature, and that you have offended their delicate sensibilities by exposing them to your tastelessness.

I’d probably get $20 for all of them, not to mention the gas to go to Berkeley, where they keep all the used book stores, and the cost of parking. I think I’ll just give them to the library and be done with it.

I did make a couple of fabulous discoveries, though. One was my maternal grandparents’ wedding announcement, and the other was my maternal grandfather’s drill handbook from World War I.

I also brought six garbage bags of clothing to the Goodwill box at the nearest of the three gas stations. You know how girls look in their closet and say, “I have nothing to wear!” and their guys roll their eyes and point out the dozens of garments right in front of them? Guys, here’s what girls mean when they say this:

  • That doesn’t fit now, but I’m hoping to lose five pounds so it will.
  • That’s too big, but I like it too much to throw it out.
  • It might come back into style.
  • My grandmother gave it to me.
  • A guy in a bar once said I was beautiful when I was wearing that.
  • It looked good in the store – it might look good again.
  • It just needs hemming/alteration/repairs. I’ll do it/bring it to the tailor’s soon Not today, though.
  • It doesn’t make me feel cute when I wear it now, but it might one of these days.
  • I hate that color.
  • Too dressy.
  • Not dressy enough.

Once you eliminate all these things, you have nothing to wear.

When I was in college, some girlfriends and I used to get together from time to time with all our clothes from the above categories, and swap them. Suddenly, you had a whole new wardrobe! I’m hoping whoever gets mine feels the same way.


Chanel’s new rain boots. Clearly a necessity for a girl just starting out on country life. A mere $350!

I wonder if there’s a matching umbrella.

Come to think of it, no-one up there seems to use an umbrella. They just wear hats or put up their hoodies. When I’ve used an umbrella up there, I look and feel like a tourist. Maybe I’d better cancel the umbrella and just go with the boots for now.

In other news, the house next door rents for $1,700! Any takers?


Clearly, it’s been a while since I’ve been to the city.  The BART fare to my office has gone up 40 cents, though it’s not notably faster or more fun.  It is, however, more crowded, since the Bay Bridge is closed for the next week for a complicated maneuver relating to its ongoing and expensive face-lift.  So it’s BART, the ferry, or a convoluted combination of highways and other bridges, or stay on the wrong side of the bay until the operation is complete.

I may be imagining it, but there seemed to be less traffic downtown than usual.  It made me wonder how much of the traffic in San Francisco is caused by suburbanites like Self.

When I boarded the train to the city yesterday morning, each empty seat held the flyer shown above. It breaks my heart to think that those were the last words Oscar Grant heard on this earth, and that no-one at BART has been held accountable.

Emily Post-It

Well, a sign has appeared next door, but it says “For Rent” rather than “For Sale”. If/when there are flyers in the little box, I’ll let you in on how much rent they’re asking for the former Casa di Yappers. Enquiring minds want to know.

I felt kind of bad about breaking up with my landlords on a Post-It, the way Berger dumped Carrie on “Sex and the City*”, but I doubt they’ll be equally upset. I wonder if there’s etiquette for this: “The renter should hand-write the letter on his or her best stationery, and be clear and concise. A Montblanc pen is an excellent choice. Personal delivery is not required, but can be a thoughtful touch.”

A couple of days after I sent off my informal missive (it was a nice Post-It, though), my sister called and said, “I guess I’d better tell Mark you’re taking the place.” I burst out laughing. I had already told my current landlords I was moving out, but had neglected the minor detail of telling the new ones I ‘m moving in. And when. Good thing I’ll have Megan around to be the token grown-up, even though I’m nine years older than she is.

It’s a funny thing: she’s the baby of the family, yet she holds it all together.

*The sequel to the movie has just started filming in New York! Yay!

Crazy Cat

Hmm, what else can I do to drive the Girl crazy?

Audrey can find trouble in the most unexpected places.

I had a lampshade on a table, awaiting my brother-in-law’s repair of the matching lamp. Audrey decided to investigate, peering inside, then pushing her head further and further in, until she was wearing the lampshade like someone who had rung in the new year not wisely, but too well. Instead of being happy like the reveler, though, she was horrified to realize she was stuck inside her latest accessory.

She shook her head to try and dislodge the lampshade, which made her fall off the table. She scrabbled around while I tried to help, and finally extracted herself and ran away in horror. Then she sat in the corner and had an emergency bath, which is cat for “I made a total fool of myself and now I’m pretending it didn’t happen.”

Despite the return of the heat from hell the past couple of days (92 yesterday; normal high is 73), she’s been bonkers, racing around the house and breaking glasses, clawing madly at The Boxes to try and make enough space so she can get into the fireplace, and making a run for it when B brought over the tomatoes. Fortunately, she is easier to catch than June, being considerably less smart and sneaky than her sister.

Her newest annoying habit is pawing at the clacky metal blinds when I’m outside, and meowing at the top of her voice. Her voice is much more Ethel Merman than you’d expect from her Twiggy body, and I can hear it all the way to the sidewalk, where I pace around when I’m on the phone (one of my annoying habits). When I come back in, she mills around and meows for a while. I wonder what she’s trying to tell me? And do they make ritalin for cats?

I hope that when I move, she’ll use up her crazy energy playing outside, and will be calmer when she’s inside. Maybe I can actually have a vase of flowers without her eating them or smashing the vase!