Saturday, September 5, 2009

Canon G10

I have this wonderful new camera that I basically don't know how to use. Finally, I decided to pay for some, three, individual lessons and I start Tuesday. Everyday I look at photos on Flickr and love love love how people document their lives. They are so into it and I want to be into it too, but I need some skills with my newly beloved camera.

Last night (new subject) I rented and watched "L'enfant," a wonderful movie that I had rented a year ago, having to solely depend upon the English sub-titles to understand it. I wanted to see if my skill level had changed. It had. I now watched it with French sub-titles and followed it pretty well. I'm wondering where I'll be at next year at this time...

S wants to be friends with me again, having forgiven me for being me, I guess. I told him that for right now I would just like to see him at the Saturday meditation meeting, and he respects that boundary. I saw him today and it was really nice. Having boundaries is something new for me. It's the theme of my life lately -- learning to set boundaries with little S, boundaries here, boundaries there. I think this boundary thing is going to be life-changing for me -- what it does is to show me that I can take measures around how much I want to give and not rush into things. With little S, it's also about how much I want to give...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Ce soir, je regarde un film s'appelle Terre. Les éléphants sont aveuglés par le sable et sont à la recherche d'eau. Ils sont au milieu d'une tempête de poussière. Maintenant, il s'agit d'un tigre qui fait rage dans le caribou. Le chasseur et le chassé. Le cercle de la vie. Maintenant, c'est encore les éléphants. Les lions se préparent à les attaquer. Les éléphants sont gris et magnifiquement ridé et ont des yeux très petits.

Lentement, Mais Sûrement

Les dernières fois que j'ai parlé sur Skype avec mes amis français, j'ai remarqué une grande différence. Voilà, je commence à parler en phrases. Je ne pourrais pas dire tout à fait correctement, mais les mots qui sortent de ma bouche sont des phrases. Ce qui me rend si heureuse. J'ai l'impression que j'apprends lentement, mais sûrement ...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

From 600 Second Write

Write for 10 minutes on the word "anticipation..."


Tomorrow I am going to a wedding reception, my pal Peggy, 52, having gotten married this Friday. Her first marriage and it's to Jackie, who is in her forties.

I am anticipating taking tons of photos with my new Canon G10 and hopefully they will turn out ok. I would be happy happy happy if 3 or 4 of them turn out really good, or even one. It's so exciting to "find" that photograph that has been waiting to be taken, magically waiting for you to arrive with your camera.

Horrors! I do not own any good "grown-up" clothes anymore and the only fancy thing I have to wear is proper-looking black pants and accompanying sweater. Maybe I can find a cool scarf to wear that will dress it up a bit.

I'll be the roving photographer...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Journal Prompt: What was the last compliment you received?

Hmm... Good question. I am often told that I look younger than 62, and this is meant as a compliment. But the thing is, looking old at 62 is really a thing of my mom's generation. Women dress more youthful today -- I dress like a teenager half the time -- and we have a freedom and an independence that our mom's lacked.

Independence and the ability to choose what you want to do has its own collagen, its own anti-wrinkle ability. My mom was saddled down in an era where women had very little choice about their lives, careers, relationships. Now women are doing all kinds of crazy wonderful things and age is becoming younger.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Perfect Strangers

Tonight I am watching Perfect Strangers, a thriller, with Halle Berry and Bruce Willis. Some of the sub-titles are:

1. Don't betray your friends. Ne trahis pas tes amis.

2. Take the virtual tour. Fais la visite virtuelle.

3. Fais de beaux rêves. Sweet dreams.

4. You are fired. Vous êtes renvoyée.

5. Esmeralda avait raison. Esmeralda was right.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I LikeTuesdays

I like Tuesdays because it's the last day I have to myself before I watch Stefan. It's a me-day...

I tried taking some pictures when I was in Sausalito this afternoon but there was too much fog. I have a film on the TV right now w/French sub-titles but it's not very interesting...

I am trying to put a photo or two on Flickr every day. That means that I need to take enough shots to get a few that I like. Not an easy task...

I joined a Flickr group just now called Thursday self-portraits, so once a week you submit a portrait of yourself. It's the first group that I've joined. I'm excited!!

Here's some things I wrote down from today's film:

1. On l'a retrouve. -- We found him.

2. J'avais sihonte. -- I was so ashamed.

3. I will have a bonus coming in January. -- J'aurai une prime en janvier.

4. Je n'ai personne. I have no one.

5. I will call you. -- Je t'appelerai.

6. You're going to need a lot of money to raise that one-year-old kid.
Tu vas avoir besoin d'argent pour elever ton fils.

7. The pipes can never freeze. -- Les tuyaux ne gelent jamais.

8. Elles n'ont rien. -- They have nothing.

9. Par ici! -- Over here!

10. I have to go. -- Je dois y aller.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Goodbye Arthur

My 20-year old French-speaking language partner just returned to Belgium last week, so I am in the market for a new French-speaking buddy. I looked on Craig's List tonight and there is actually someone (a 28 year-old woman) who is looking for someone to do a language-exchange with....

French. Mostly what I've been doing lately in regard to learning French is renting movies at Blockbuster that have French sub-titles. That's the pre-requisite. So I am renting movies that I don't have any real interest in seeing -- like the one I'm watching tonight called Zohan with Adam Sandler with a lot of penis jokes -- but this is a great method for learning. Also, I have two Skype buddies so twice a week I have a half hour's worth of time to practice...

Frederic told me that every day he does something to facilitate his learning English, so I am trying to do something every day to help me learn French... Slowly but surely should be my middle name.

Some interesting sub-titles:

Une fliquette -- slang for female cop...

Limiers -- bloodhounds...

Renards -- foxes...

Je suis enceinte -- I am pregnant...

Tu as vu mes bottes? -- Have you seen my boots?

Quelqu'un ment -- Someone is lieing.

J'aime vos collants -- I like your tights.

Je suis un mec -- I'm a dude.

You're hiring me? -- Tu m'engages?

Playing with monkeys -- Jouer avecs les singes...

There is a package for you -- Il y a un colis pour vous.

I'm going to find you -- Je vous trouverai.

Suis-moi -- Follow me...

Salami, merguez, pommes-frites -- Salami, baloney, apple-sauce...

Are you even watching the road? -- Vous regardez la route, au moins?


I am going to email the French woman now.......

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Plus ou moins, tout va bien

Aujourd'hui, j'ai parlé avec mon amie Claudia en Suisse de midi a treize heure. Ensuite, j'ai travaillé sur mon roman. Maintenant, je fais bouillir des haricots noirs que j'ai poussé pendant quatre jours. Pour le déjeuner, j'ai mangé du riz, des choux de Bruxelles et de crevettes. Plus ou moins, tout va bien.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


A long long time ago, some 28 years ago, I was in a serious automobile accident where I was rear-ended by a drunk driver and had to subsequently have root canals on two of my front teeth, not to mention wearing braces for a second go around in order to be able to correct my bite. (To this day I hold my jaw at an angle that looks like I am posing, my attempt to line everything up right.)

The two new "teeth" in front never matched the rest of my teeth, plus they didn't really look like real teeth to me. I think of them as George Washington teeth because they look wooden, like his did.

So, when I reached the ripe wonderful age of 60 I told myself that I was going to go to a cosmetic dentist to have those two wooden-looking teeth replaced with ones that looked more like the rest of my teeth. I am 62 now so it has taken me a while to put this into motion -- going to two separate dentists to get their opinions, spending a long time decising which person to choose.... I move very slowly.

So today I had my appointment with Dr. Yang and had an ex-ray taken of those front teeth, being told that there could be complications that could prohibit fixing them. Well, there was a complication. Apparently, the teeth are too short to fix -- they are not as long as the root --and taking off the crown and replacing those crowns wouldn't be a good idea. Dr. Yang honestly said that he would advise me not to do it, that why don't I try bleaching my teeth to at least try to make them the same color...

I really wanted to make this change in my appearance. I wanted this to work. But it didn't. And in the scope of things, I know that this is a tiny problem compared to other things going on personally as well as globally.

But still...

There was one funny thing that happened in his office today. When I got the ex-ray the technician asked me if there was any chance of my being pregnant. (Was she kidding me?) I told her I was 62 and the only thing I might give birth to would be a hot flash. Actually, she kind of made my day...

Friday, July 17, 2009

10 Things That Make You Happy...

1. when you watch a French movie you haven't seen in a year and can now understand parts of what the actors are saying...

2. when your grandson tells you he has a present for you and gives you his plastic bottle of bubbles...

3. when you go out to dinner with your buddies and laugh over crab/corn soup...

4. when you take photos with your new camera and several of them turn out good...

5. when Friday rolls around...

6. when you have a good day at writing...

7. when ideas alight about what your next book might be about...

8. when Jennifer Weiner comes out with a new book...

9. when you go to the dentist and she tells you your teeth look good and you don't have any cavities...

10. when you're driving in traffic while listening to a fantastic audiotape...

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Je vais vous parler aujourd'hui d'une jeune fille qui s'appelle Amandine. Elle a à peine vingt six ans et elle habite en Californie. Elle a les cheveux châtains et les yeux bleu-clair. Elle est mince et assez petite.

Le matin, elle fait son lit (elle a un couvre-lit blanc, une couverture verte, les draps jaune et son matelas est dur). Sur le mur il y a une affiche du groupe musical 'Neimo.' Dans sa chambre il y a une cheminée est ses rideaux sont noirs.

Amandine n'aime ni le thé ni le cafe. Elle n'aime que le lait. Selon Amandine, il ne faut manger que des produits d'origine animale.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cette Apres Midi

Cette apres midi j'ai rencontre Arthur a Java Beach Cafe. J'ai practique en utiliser le mots ne...personne. Je n'ai personne. Ne...nulle part. Elle n'a va nulle part. Ne...pas encore. Je ne suis pas encore la. (C'est correcte?) ........... Learning a language takes a lot of consistent effort and it would be easier if I had more day-to-day French people in my life, but the thing about me is that I'm tenacious. Once I want something I usually go for it, even though it may be slow in coming. Gotta get off the computer. Trying to heal my back...

Je Me Suis Fait Mal Au Dos

Aujourd'hui je me sens mieux. Je me suis fait mal au dos il y a une semaine et trois jours. Ce soir, j'ai vu un film français à la télé. J'ai appris plusieurs nouveaux mots, mais parceque j'ai soixante deux ans, je ne me les souviens pas. Je suis très fatiguée. Il faut que je me lève tôt ....

Monday, May 18, 2009


1. My laptop crashes, and then uncrashes. When I turn it on, it goes to START-UP REPAIR and goes through its little ablutions for tweny minutes, says the thing is broken, then crashes. I try it again, and the second time it's like there's no problem.

2. No speaking French today. I went to meet Arthur at the Java Beach Cafe at four o'clock and he didn't show up. No phone call, no email, no nothing.

3. Before that I went to the Richmond Library, now open after being closed for three years of re-modeling. It's beautiful! I checked out eleven books... (!!)

4. The heater man is coming at 8:30 in the morning to install new heaters in all of our apartments and so I have to get up at that time. Ugh!

5. Where is my stimulus package? I am waiting for my stimulus package!

6. I am number 2,300 out of 28,000 people in San Francisco who have applied for senior housing.

7. Just finished Lisa Scottoline's book Daddy's Girl. She's so funny.

8. I talked to Eva today.

9. I am buying a new camera when my stimulus package comes...

10. A little boy about 2 years old smiled at me in the grocery store. He told his mother he liked my pink hair.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Tout d'abord, je veux dire que j'ai été très fatiguée aujourd'hui. Je me suis levé à 9h30 et a écrit pendant une heure avant j'ai parlé à Claudia à Genève. Je me sentais bien après avoir parlé avec elle, et puis j'ai mangé mon dejeuner. Dans l'apres midi, j'ai parlé au telephone longtemps. De temps en temps j'aime le faire parce que j'ai beaucoup de personnes à appeler.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Le Rock and Roll

Dans le groupe musical qui s'appelle Neimo, il y a quatre jeunes hommes qui se sont rencontrés au lycée. Ils sont français, mais ils chantent en anglais parce qu'ils pensent que le rock and roll doit être chanté en anglais.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Les Mains Qui Tremblent

Hier soir, sur, j'ai découvert le chanteur s'appelle Jéronimo qui est belge. Il chante une chanson intitulée "Les Mains Qui Tremblent" et je l'aime beaucoup.

Les Mains Qui Tremblent
My Hands Are Trembling

J'ai les mains qui tremblent
My hands are trembling

Intérieur en désordre, impossible à ranger
The interior is in disorder, impossible to neaten

L'espoir qui nous liait a fini par casser
The hope that bound us wound up breaking

En silence j'ai brûlé tes affaires excepté
In silence I burned your things except

Ca et là des cassettes tu as oubliées
Here and there some cassettes you forgot

J'ai les mains qui tremblent

Ce n'est pas la drogue; ce sont les couleurs de tes jolies robes que je n'oublie pas
It's not drugs; it is the colors of your pretty dresses that I cannot forget

Ce n'est pas l'alcool; ce sont les paillettes de tes yeux de braise qui ne s'effacent pas
It's not alcohol; it's the spark in your smoldering eyes that does not get extinguished

Extérieur Italie; décor abandonné
Exterior Italy; abandoned decor

Syracuse se refuse et le port est fermé
Syracuse denies and the port is closed

Au milieu de la nuit, on se lève, on s'accuse
In the middle of the night we get up and accuse each other

D'avoir cherché trop loin et de s'être égarés
Of having gone too far and having gotten lost...


I love the idea that what he misses about her are the colors of her lovley dresses. They have intoxicated him. Often it's a specific image that comes to mind when I miss someone. I miss their eyes. I miss their bouncy curls or their crooked grin or their black leather bomber jacket. I miss the smell of the lotion they use on their skin or I miss ....

I also love the line about having gone too far and having gotten lost. Losing yourself in someone. Falling down a well. Irretrievable.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Park

I went for a walk in the park today with Rebecca. It had rained during the night and all the eucalyptus smells were wafting about. The sky was white and at the lake all the turles were atop the big stone turtle in the water, their necks craned upward in that impossible position.

We found a bench to sit on that wasn't completely covered in bird poop and talked for awhile, then walked around the lake. It's so effortless being with her and I don't think there's too many Rebeccas in the world. She never gossips about people and is so accepting. I hardly ever see her mad.

We talked about death, and I guess this is a subject you start talking about when you get older. Like who will die first. People are dying around me lately and in the news there's always somebody dying, some celebrity who I loved as a child and who I never pictured as dying. And it makes me feel old.

Today when I later picked up Stefan at school he was so happy to see me and my new pink highlights in my hair -- Rebecca says it makes me look like an artist. He said, Ahna, it makes you look so pretty and young! I guess pink hair would make you seem young.

Young and old. Old and young.

There was a big hawk in one of the tall trees. I had never seen a hawk in the park before. A young guy came walking up to us saying that the hawk was being very aggressive with a smaller looking hawk and we tried to figure out what it had been doing. Was it a mother hawk and a baby hawk? How fascinating that he saw something like that.

On our way home we saw some clothes someone had left on the street next to the garbage can and I looked through them and found a pair of Calvin Klein jeans in my size. I picked them up and brought them home with me.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Soloist

Tonight I saw The Soloist with Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. It's a friendship movie about Downey, playing real-life journalist Jerry Lopez (was that his name?), who befriends Nathaniel Ayers, a black man/homeless person/musical prodigy. Aside from enjoying the difficult friendship between them, I enjoyed the look into Lopez' life in terms of how pretty much everything he encountered he turned over in his mind -- could this be a story, could that be a story?? He reminded me a lot of myself.

Today I sat on the 5 o'clock packed bus coming home from downtown and this kind of environment is rife with possibility in terms of material for writing. So many fascinating faces, bodies, personalities, from the bus driver who yells out "Ok people, you can either move to the back of the bus or we can just sit here -- I don't mind sitting here so it's up to you" -- he acted like he was a school teacher talking to his students, or a parent talking to their kid -- to the eighty year-old man sitting next to me -- he was so frail and tiny and I felt protective of him -- to the man standing in front of me with tattoos of birds all up and down his arms and around his neck -- and on and on...

I stare at everyone. It's hard for me not to do. I especially love looking at lips and eyes. There are so many beautiful kinds of lips on Asian people, big full pouty pillow lips, and I love looking at the mouths of down and out older folks -- how their mouths cave in and look like they can't support the rest of their face anymore -- and I love looking at bodies too. The bodies of young girls with attitude in their too-tight jeans. Or guys with all kinds of piercings and those special earrings where they stretch out their earlobes. Or big fat people with all their voluptuous folds, especially the beautiful black women who get on in the Western Addition with their shelf-bosoms and their wild hats.

I wonder what people would think of me?

Humph, look at her clothes -- she dresses like a teenager -- and what's with her big movie star sunglasses? Or, she's an interesting looking older woman... They probably aren't thinking anything. They just want to get home and eat dinner.

I was coming home from the museum. Today was the first time I ever went to a museum and couldn't find anything to like. But MOMA can be way out there. I guess the most interesting thing was the circles of ceramic black poodles looking in at the Christ child. It was pretty absurd looking, but maybe that was the point.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tonight I Was Thinking About...

Tonight I was thinking about my Benjamin Biolay CDs that I listen to and how important his music is to me. I have always been a teenager at heart, listening to the same treasured song over and over again, never getting tired of it. Right now my favored song of his is Nuits Blanches from his Negatif CD.

I'm not even sure what he is singing about because he's one of those abstract songwriters who doesn't always make a lot of sense. But his voice travels into my heart and moves me. He has a way of taking you on an emotional journey through his songs.

I wish that I hadn't accidentally put one of his CDs into the wrong slot as I was driving. I'd meant to put it in the CD player but traffic was heavy and I shoved it into the space between CD player and the dashboard instead. I've tried everything to get it out -- several different kitchen knives, an emery board, double-sided tape on a long piece of paper, etc. etc. but nothing worked...

French. For so long now I have wanted to have a friend in the city who speaks French, someone I can hang out with who wants to learn English. I know that if I keep looking on Craig's list or wherever, I will eventually find one, but I've been looking for so long… I treasure my Skype buddies but there is something about seeing a person's mouth move when they speak that helps immeasurably in learning a language.

I'm going to bed now and at night I listen to the second CD of Negatif – it’s soft and perfect for going to sleep.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pink Monkey

It was bound to happen. After hanging around Stefan for so long, making clothes for his stuffed animals, having pretend conversations where we talk about their health and discipline, their special powers and upcoming challenges, I have officially become a stuffed animal advocate, not able to go to sleep at night unless a certain pink monkey who looks curiously like the cartoon character of Curious George is on my bed, tucked under the covers with me.

Pink Monkey. I think it all started when Stefan left Pink Monkey in my car last week and K seat-belted him in the front seat when she got out, pretending he was real. I drove around for a few days making comments to him about the traffic: "Crappy traffic today, hey Pink Monkey?" or "Nice weather we're having," or "Did you see that guy cut me off!" Pink Monkey sat there nodding her head, keeping me company.

Then I thought, why not take her in the apartment with me, it would be fun....

She started out on the couch, but then ended up on the bed with me as I worked on my novel. She became a kind of mascot. And then she slowly made her way under the covers with me at night.

Pink Monkey is like having a pet and yet not having one. I don't have to clean her cat box or take her for walks. I don't have to shell out money for her food at the grocery store, nor will there be any vet bills. I don't have to spend long hours petting her.

She is my new silent companion. My always smiling new significant other. Is this what happens when we get older and live alone? Don't want the mess and fuss of a trying relationship?

My smiling monkey has cute little soft ears. A sweet little body with a tan circle for a stomach. Soft little arms and legs that flop at her sides. A little V of a nose and a piece of pink thread that stretches wide in her welcoming grin.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Good Day...

Today was a good day, the end of a day when I'm feeling pretty good about myself.

A lot of things came together for me today. For one, I was able to have the talk with S that I have wanted to for the last two weeks. I am in the role of the confidante. Stefan brings his problems to me, problems I don't think he talks to anybody else about. And these problems are huge to him, so huge that he is unable to concentrate on his homework. So I am in the position of being the liaison between my grandson and my son. It is a delicate line that I walk.

I don't want to overstep my bounds with my son. I want him to feel that I support him. At the same time, if Stefan is having a problem then I need to let S know…

Also, I wrote three e-mails tonight that were hard for me. One was to the young French woman who I met on Tuesday. Intuitively, I know that I won't be seeing her again. She hasn't answered my prior e-mail plus there were three ads on Craig's list this week by twenty-somethings looking for someone who speaks French. She is 24. I'm sure she would rather have somebody her own age to practice English with, in the same way that I long to meet someone who speaks French who I could also be friends with.

In the e-mail that I wrote to her tonight I tried to be friendly but also let her know that it was okay if she didn't want to e-mail me back, get together again. I am taking the high road, and not the low road of resentment and that feels really good to me.

The second e-mail was to J, reminding her that I had sent her two prior e-mails asking her if I could go public with the photographs I’ve taken of her. She’s just kind of dropped off the map and I don't know what's going on with her. I tried to be nice in the e-mail and let her know that I will make copies of any of the photographs she wants and that also if I don't hear from her in a couple of days then I will just assume that it's okay to go public with the photos of her.

Note: the photographs aren't as good as I wish they were but then I am just a beginner. I would like to put them on Facebook to store them there and be able to look back at the improvements I've made over time. A few of them I really like, and interestingly enough these are the ones that she doesn't like.

The third e-mail was actually just going through hundreds of my e-mails looking for a piece of information that I needed. I had been putting it off…

So, I guess what I'm saying is that I've taken care of business today and I like the way I've done it. I am trying to be friendly to people even when they ignore me.

Yeah! I received the new Erica Jong book of poetry in the mail today that I ordered from Amazon. The only problem with her books is that I have the tendency to devour them in one day. So I allowed myself to read only two poems, to leave the rest for later.

I used to be so jealous of Erica Jong that I couldn't stand it. She is someone close to my age who has had a successful career as a writer -- both as a poet and as a novelist. I wanted to be her. I wanted to have her talent and her fame. I wanted it so badly I couldn't stand it. I don't know what's gotten into me, but I just don't feel this way anymore. I don't want to be her anymore. I don't feel jealous. I admire her, but I don't feel that ugly jealousy.

I think what's happening is that I just want to be a better person, and I'm also realizing that I'm not so bad myself. I might not be a world-famous writer, but I love my writing. I love what it does for me, how it takes me away into this wonderful make-believe world where I can create things. And this is enough. I don't know why it wasn't enough before -- it just wasn't. I don't know why I'm enough now -- I just am.

I think it's all about gratitude. I'm able to feel grateful. Before I wasn't able to feel this way.

Today I went to the doctor for that friggin blister of mine. It's infected and really really itchy and my toe is swollen and red. Here's the irony. The new strappy sandals that gave me the blister cost around $100. The doctor bill for the blister is probably a couple of hundred at least. Luckily, I only had to pay the co-pay.

Stefan went to the doctors with me. He brought along two of his stuffed animals and tried to weigh them. Together they weighed 1.2 pounds. Stefan weighed 44.8 pounds. I weighed 131.5 pounds. My blood pressure was 115 over 76, or something like that. Anyway, it was very good. Maybe I have the numbers wrong.

Okay, so I'm going to go to bed soon.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Another check-in blah blah blah....

I am so tired that it feels like a sickness. How did this happen? How was this week any different than the weeks before?

I know it all has to do with helping S out with Stefan. Twice this week it was after two in the morning before S got home. I talked to him yesterday about it, telling him I need to slow down and can't be over there that late more than once a week. The problem is, I very rarely am able to sleep during the day. So if I don't get enough sleep then I can't play catch up the next day by taking a nap.

I didn't sleep very well last night, or at least it took me a long long time to get to sleep. I wish I was one of those people who when they don't get enough sleep can just recuperate once their day gets going, but I've never been like that. If I don't get my right sleep then I'm wrecked.

I had really bad pain this week, fibromyalgia pain in my legs, wrists and shoulders. It was so bad over at S’s house that I could barely get up out of a chair. I broke down and took two aspirins and they usually don't help at all, but for some reason this time they really did. Stefan and I were playing hide and seek with toy guns, hiding from each other and chasing each other all over the house. That probably didn't help any.

I know that S doesn't really appreciate all the sewing that I do with Stefan. He would prefer if I took him to the park and did boy things. But Stefan loves to sew.

On Thursday I took him to Discount Fabrics and let him pick out the material for a super-power suit for Zelda, his mint-green hippopotamus. I showed him how to choose thread that matches the material. He picked out coiled gold buttons and a yellow zipper to go with the material.

I think the writing workshop went well this morning. There were about twelve of us, which is just about the right number for a workshop. I had them do two separate writes and we shared out at the end. I know I got a lot out of it, which leads me to believe that others did too.

Cindy called and she has a bad cold so we’re not getting together tomorrow. In a way I'm glad because it will give me more time to relax.

Friday, February 27, 2009

A blah blah blah check-in....

I have wanted to write all week but I've been busy taking care of Stefan. Today I had to myself and I was so tired that I’ve stayed inside all day and I'm beginning to feel human again.

The Academy Awards. Last Sunday was one of those days when not much was going to go right. I lit out for the restaurant in the rain, and when I got to the Balboa Theater there was no place to park. I parked blocks away, discovering that I had forgotten my umbrella and had to walk to the restaurant with my coat over my head, my shoes squishing in puddles of water.

Before I got to the restaurant BB called and said she would be a couple of hours late and to just buy her a ticket. Then I get to the restaurant and K calls the restaurant saying that she has some kind of garage door problem. At this point I just accepted that the day was jinxed.

BB never made it and K was late and I sat through the Academy Awards in soaking wet shoes. Sometimes things just don't go the way you want them to go. I was happy though that Sean Penn won best actor, and happy that the movie got best screenplay.

Some good things have happened this week. A woman answered my Craig’s List ad. She's French, will be here for another two months, and sounds eager to meet me. She's studying English somewhere in Fisherman's Wharf. Hopefully we will be able to get together this week. She suggested that we each spend an hour helping each other, which sounds fine to me.

And…. Next Friday afternoon I am going to meet M, who is going to help me with my research for my novel. I'm going to read a chapter to her and she's going to tell me if this particular thing that I'm writing about sounds real to her. I'm a little nervous reading my work to someone I don't even know, but my excitement overrides my nervousness.

On Sunday Cindy is coming over and we are going to photograph each other. The word that we use with each other is “photoshoot.” We pretend that we are bigshot photographers the way we talk. It's fun! I liked the photoshoot I did of J, but I still haven't gotten her permission to go public with the the photos and so I need to wait until I talk with her.

Tomorrow I am leading a writing workshop at Unity Day and I prepared for it this evening. The only part I don't like is that I have to get up early -- well, I have to get up at nine o'clock in the morning, and that's early for me. I'm looking forward to it -- I just don't like the idea of having to go to bed early and get up early.

I got a CD from the library that I'm enjoying listening to. It's called Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypus and it's a Southern story with a 12-year-old heroine. I love Southern writing, the Southern voice, that quirky language. The heroine is really likable because she's loyal and honest and has these really good values.

Peggy came over on Tuesday night and I read her the last three chapters of my novel. She actually was crying because she was so happy for me, that I was able to bring the character's home, so to speak. It meant a lot to me that she was so emotional, and it gave me a lot of confidence. In truth, I could hardly read it to her without crying myself. The ending is just very poignant, and I feel really proud to have written it. I'm still working on editing Part Two, and it's taking me longer than Part One. I hadn't expected this. I thought it would be pretty easy. Part Five is already pretty solidly written, so after I finish Part Two then I only have Part Three and Part Four and I'm done. It's hard to believe!

It's a horrible time to try and get a book published with the economy the way it is, but you know what -- I don't even care about that. I just need to finish it. That's where my concentration is right now.

This entry feels like a catch-up entry. Looking back over it, I realize that a lot is happening in my life right now. I'm very very very very excited about the prospect of meeting this new French woman. It's something I've wanted for so long -- to actually get to talk to somebody in person. It's so hard to learn a language when there's nobody around to speak it with.

Tonight I watched an American film with French subtitles. What do I remember? I remember the words “dites-le moi” which I think means “tell me about it.” And “donnez-leur” which I think means “give them…” what else? Oh, Frederic sent me a link to a French broadcast and it's fun listening. Language is so weird. When I speak, I talk so fast and don't even realize that I'm doing it. But then when I listen to French speakers it's so amazing how quickly they talk. We both do it, speaking at lightning speed.

I have to go to bed now so I can get up early. I feel a little bit like I'm being punished. These are my favorite hours. Oh well….

Saturday, February 21, 2009

This Year's Oscars...

Okay, here are my predictions for this year's Academy Awards:

Best Picture – Slumdog Millionaire
Best Actress -- Kate Winslet
Best Actor – Mickey Rourke
Supporting Actress – Viola Davis
Supporting Actor -- Heath Ledger
Art Direction -- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Cinematography -- Slumdog Millionaire
Costume Design -- Revolutionary Road
Best Director -- Slumdog Millionaire
Film Editing -- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Make-up -- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Music -- Slumdog Millionaire
Best Song -- Slumdog Millionaire
Sound Editing -- The Dark Knight
Visual Effects -- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Writing Adapted Screenplay -- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Writing Original Screenplay -- Milk

Friday, February 20, 2009

"This Is the Hungry Poisonous Forest" -- Stefan, 6 yrs. old

Each week Stefan gets fourteen new vocabulary words and he has to write each word three times and then use the words in sentences together. This week, three of his words were hungry, forest, and poisonous. Pretty big words, I might add, for first grade.

"How does this sound, Ahna?” We were both sitting at the dining room table at my son's house and he was doing his homework. He scooted over his paper and that was when I read: This is the hungry, poisonous forest.

I felt his love for words. He is like me. He is a writer.

Earlier that day, when I picked him up from school, he had been sitting in the courtyard with the other kids and it was snack time. The kids were all eating oranges and animal cookies. "I'm drinking the orange’s blood," said my little Pablo Neruda, sucking on an orange wedge.

He says things like this all the time. Because he's a child he views things in a fresh, tilted way. He lives inside of a language box that is creative and fun.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What's in Your Purse???

What's inside of your purse? On, this was one of the questions put to female photographers. They emptied their purses and took a picture of its contents, all except for their cameras.

So here's what's inside of my purse:

1. a small black shiny cell phone
2. a beanie baby elephant that belongs to Stefan
3. a pair of overly large black sunglasses with one of the temples broken
4. small gold Post-it notes
5. Burt's Bee’s lip balm
6. loose change
7. a yellow highlighter pen
8. an article on fibromyalgia that a friend gave me
9. an estimate of how much it would cost me to get my teeth fixed
10. a letter from Social Security
11. an old envelope
12. a fortune from a fortune cookie that reads, "There is a prospect of a thrilling time ahead of you."
13. a spiderman band-aid
14. a blue pen
15. a deck of playing cards
16. a fortune from a fortune cookie that reads, "Your work interests can capture the highest status or prestige."
17. a packet of Eater's Digest herbal tea
18. old Kleenex
19. an emery board
20. eyedrops
21. a plastic bottle of vitamins
22. a package of rechargeable batteries
23. a large rubber band
24. a piece of paper with Cindy's recommendations for sunscreen written on it
25. ticket stubs
26. an Elmo band-aid
27. the words to Benjamin Biolay’s CD "Negatif”
28. an old class schedule at Alliance Francaise
29. the public library schedule
30. napkins
31. the swimming pool schedule for Rossi Pool
32. the ballot for the Oscar contest
33. the fortune from a fortune cookie that reads, "Good news will come to you from far away."
34. a broken pen
35. aspirins that have spilled from their case that has come open
36. the broken temple that belongs to my sunglasses
37. a piece of paper with a phone number on it but no name
38. my journal
39. the book, Seeking a Spiritual Life
40. a book of poetry
41. two novels
42. my black velvet makeup case with the gold roses and gold tassel, and inside of it is a lipstick called Spritz; a lipstick called Mocha Bean; a lipstick called Baby Girl; more eyedrops; eyeshadow called Gold Leaf; a lip liner brush; a lipstick called Transparent; a lipstick called Grape Purple; a lipstick called Shell...
43. my camera inside an old fuzzy blue sock
44. my gold leather wallet filled with credit cards, library card, business cards, my Muni pass, pictures of Stefan and Sasha and Raquel and Grant and Kayla, a five dollar bill and four ones, receipts from grocery stores and gas stations and restaurants, my checkbook, my check register, $.71 in change
45. a fortune from a fortune cookie that reads, "You and your wife will be happy in your life together."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

An Anthropological Look at finding a San Francisco Parking Space

Yesterday I went to see Rachel Getting Married because Anne Hathaway is nominated for a Best Actress award at the Academy Awards. BB, K and I drove down to congested Polk and California Streets with the idea that we would find street parking and not have to take out a second mortgage to pay to park in a lot.

It wasn't easy. As we drove around like vultures we recounted to each other how different cultures react to finding difficult parking spaces in the city. The one I love the most is when an entire Asian family stands in the newly found parking space, holding it captive while the driver turns around or goes around the block to jockey into position. If you want that space don't even think about it b/c you'll have the entire family, all of them stern-faced and unbudging, to contend with.

K recalled how some inner-city black folks will stand in the parking space trying to sell it to you -- and yes, this has happened to me South of Market. I asked them if they had ever had the experience in the Castro where a gay man will steal the space right out from under you, zoom right into it, get out of their car and simply shrug their shoulders like too bad. K says maybe it's because they've had to put up with so much homophobia all their lives and they are now on home turf, in the Castro, and they are doing what they want and you can't stop them. Looking at it this way, I almost want to give them my parking space...

Parking culture. One of my favorites is the driver with the huge hog of an old American car who, spying the coveted parking space, swings a slow U-turn in the middle of the block and ties up the Muni bus while they inch this way and that to get into position, the Muni driver honking and gesturing at them. Of course I make illegal U-turns too in the middle of the block, but I have a small car and can do it a lot faster....

Or the situation where you're walking down Geary at a busy restaurant time and people roll down their windows and yell at you from their cars wanting to know if you're walking to your car and can they have your space.

Or the angry older folks who get in their cars and make you wait ten minutes while they get ready to leave, power-tripping you into frustration.

Or the person who gets in their car and makes you wait ten minutes for the space, then decides they're not quite finished shopping after all....

Or the Russians in my neighborhood who double-park in the street waiting for a space to become available....

So, the three of us descended upon Polk and California Streets on a busy Valentine's Day, Saturday night, K driving, BB riding shotgun, and me the back-seat-driver:

"There's one, there's one, there's one!!" I yell at K as I spy an unlikely space in an alleyway off of Polk. "Come on come on come on!!!! Hurry hurry hurry hurry! Back up back up back up back up!!!!!"

"Shit Eliza, I can't! There's a pick-up truck behind me! He's not going to let me. Besides, it's a one-way street!"

"It doesn't matter!" I yell. "No one's coming! You can do it!"

K is afraid of the pick-up truck and doesn't risk it so I tell her to come on, circle the block, but we all start laughing. K says people become birds of prey when looking for a SF parking space, that it becomes a survival issue, and yes, I can feel it....

We finally find a space on Polk mid-way between California and Sacramento Streets but not before someone pulls up in front of us trying to steal it and we start yelling at them, except for BB who is the most positive person in the world and doesn't unleash her inner criminal....

We get out and head for Bob's Big Boy at the top of the block. K says she likes eating at Bob's b/c it's such a depressing place and nobody expects too much of you when you eat there. And it's true. They even let us play Crazy Eights while we kill time after the meal
waiting for the movie to start.

The movie. OK, so Anne Hathaway is very good but the characters are so darn unlikeable. Not her, but her sister and her mother. It's so painful watching Kym (AH) in her ninth month of sobriety, let out of rehab for the wedding (what insurance plan in the United States of America lets someone stay in rehab for nine months and counting???) and trying to manage her emotions in this highly-charged situation. Her successful sister is getting married, is pregnant, is going for her Ph.D. Their mother is a denial queen about a tragedy that's happened in the past. The father, sweet as he is, cannot reach her. You just want to get her out of there and back into rehab before she screws up her life even more. I'd give the movie a C, maybe a C+. I didn't like it.

Only one more week until the Academy awards. Only one more Saturday night before the Balboa Theatre opens its doors to televise it on the big screen...

Friday, February 13, 2009


It rained so hard last night I thought the sky had died. It went on and on and on. I love emotional weather and we rarely get that here.

I went swimming yesterday after not going for 2 or 3 months. The only way I could make myself go was to agree to meet BB there. I don't like getting up so early -- 10 a.m. -- and then rushing somewhere just to get undressed and jump into cold water. The thing is, though, I always feel sooo good afterward. So silky and tall, so long and smooth.

Today I'm going to talk to E at 2 p.m. and then meet R, M & L at Kam's at 6:30. M wants help with his computer. I have my own computer problems as I keep getting these virus alerts. But I think it may be fixed as I ran some kind of program to get rid of them.... Half the time I don't know what I'm doing.

I am so tired today from watching St for the last 3 days. Last night I was looking forward to him going to bed without taking a bath but he realllly wanted one, plus he begged me to read him 3 books while he was in the bathtub. I wished someone would read books to me while I took a bath!

I could wring his teacher's neck for telling him he is a slow reader. He really took it to heart. He always tells me how he's good in spelling and math, but he can't read very well. So I made up a lie. I told him of course reading was difficult for him. That's because he hadn't lost all four of his front teeth yet, and for boys, once they lose all 4 front teeth reading becomes easy for them.

So he lost the fourth of his front teeth on Monday. I told him okay, reading is going to be easier for you now. (Secretly I prayed I wasn't making a big mistake...) So we sat down and read and he pretty much read as usual but the thing was, he had more confidence and he was more willing to sound out words and try harder. I told him see, see how much easier it was for you, and then on Wednesday night he pretty much read "Glasses for D.W." all by himself. The thing is, he is getting better little by little. He just needs to go at his own pace without people telling him he's too slow.

Okay, I need to get up. The wheels of the day are turning. The sky is bright again. I'm looking forward to editing my novel....

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Check-in on my writing, etc. etc.

Tonight has been a lot of fun b/c I'm not laboriously editing the content of the chapter -- ie... re-writing scenes where I'm pulling my hair out, dark thoughts creeping into my mind assuring me that I'm not a novelist, I never will be blah blah blah -- but rather working on tightening up the writing. I'm using this book called Naming the World to help me and it's a collection of exercises, many of which deal with revision and all of which are fun to do.

The exercise I did tonight is from the chapter called "Hiding the I in Fiction and Non-fiction." Apparently it's not a good thing to overuse the word I in first-person fiction but rather to describe a scene, keeping the I out of it. So you go through a page and circle each time you write the word I, then try to get rid of one fourth of those dastardly I's by combining sentences or showing rather than telling. This kind of thing is right up my alley b/c I'll do almost anything to not have to think, to not have to deal with characters who refuse to show up or dull settings that won't come to life. Just let me count the I's and I'll be happy.

It's after 2 am and I need to go to bed b/c I'm talking to Frederic in the morning, although it will be evening for him in France. It is so much easier for him to talk to me in English than it is for me to speak to him in French. He's two years ahead of me in studying the language, plus he has opportunities at his work to speak English every day and the last time I did a poll of the Richmond District I didn't find any French people hanging about.

It's a brain-drain. I can't really do much of anything when I get off of Skype because my mind is so tired from translating words that I can barely remember my name. I'm in a daze for a good hour.

I've got this crazy idea that if I can just learn how to roll my R's, then French people will be able to understand me. My hairdresser speaks French and she never knows what I'm saying. I have to spell it out for her.... But then she's Thai and I don't really understand her English all that well either.

Tomorrow night I'm going over to Peggy's to write together and that's always so helpful, having her listen to whatever I'm working on. It takes a village...

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Il y a du brouillard. It is foggy. I'm not sure if I'm spelling that right. Grey sky, grey air, grey day.

Lazy day. I'm just taking a break from editing my novel. Sitting on my bed, heat blasting into my bedroom, tea by my side. I have to leave in a few hours, but for right now everything is so peaceful and serene. Coocon-like.

I haven't been thinking about last night's movie at all. Slumdog Millionnaire. That tells me that even though I thought it was a good movie, it wasn't great for me.

I am excited about doing a photo shoot of J. She doesn't see herself as a goddess the way I do. She doesn't see her luminous skin. I don't think she knows she is beautiful. And she is very very beautiful.

Today I ate some kiwi and raisins and basmati rice and salmon and organic kale. I liked the colors all together. They were color-coordinated, like an outfit. Earrings, shoes, dress, hat, gloves.

I am going to read this chapter to someone who helped me with the research. I'm hoping I don't have to change too many things.

We are moving. The Saturday meditation group is officially moving now to a church 2 blocks away. The old building needs to be earthquake proofed. The earthquake was in 1989. Things move slowly around here...

Journal Write: Write about the joyous moments of your day....

Okay, so tonite I was out to dinner with BB and K. As usual, I brought out my digital camera and started taking pictures of them, and they took pictures of me. But all my pictures turned out really bad and so did theirs. That's when we decided to only take bad pictures. We purposefully tried to look awful in our pictures. We were laughing pretty hard. The people at the table next to us seemed to be getting off on our laughter. We had silly energy.

I notice that when I'm with K I always end up laughing a lot. She's got outrageously big energy and she's irreverently funny. There's something about her that gets me in touch with my silly side. How do people do that?

Mike also has that big irreverent kind of silliness that invites people in. He's fun. Maybe it's the irreverent part. He doesn't care what anybody thinks and so I stop caring too.

I love that pure joy of laughing over stupid things, when something goes loose inside of you.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Journal Write: Write about someone who influenced your day today... (well, yesterday)

Tuesday I went to the de Young Museum with Rebecca. I am definitely not a culture vulture but now and then I end up at something cultural... It's good for me.

The main exhibit was a collection of clothing designed by Yves St. Laurent, who died in 2008. We entered a roomful of svelte, bald, styrofoam-white mannequins who were clustered together like at a cocktail party. They were dressed up in wool to taffeta, gloved, strappy-sandaled, with corniucopia-large earrings.

R and I strolled with the others through the dimly-lit rooms, taking it all in. On a placard on the wall we read that St. Laurent had been a shy man. Interesting, since his clothing designs were anything but shy.

St. Laurent. Rooms full of look-at-me hats and feather-friendly capes, of Carrie Bradshaw sandals, of sequined extroverted fabric. And the shy man, not that outgoing at all.

Monday, February 2, 2009

All women are misfits. We do not fit into this world without amputations... -- Marge Piercy

This is so true. As women we are continually expected to cut off our parts in order to fit in. In America, girls must shrink themselves down into a peanut-sized version of themselves in order to get positive attention.

One of my black male friends said he couldn't get his mind around white society, how if you were fat you were deemed unlovable, that this didn't happen with black folks. In black society you were seen as fat, but never unlovable. But in white society the fat girl is criticized and shunned.

Fat girls.

We have such an aversion to the beauty of curves, to heft, to womanliness, to abundance. We are so frightened by it. And there is nothing so sexy as a fat girl who does not apologize, a fat girl who likes her body and likes herself.

(This is one of the reasons why I love browsing on, a site that is filled with a multitude of joyously hedonistic, riotously wonderful fat girls who take photo after photo of themselves without a hint of apology. Their photographer's eye has captured their beauty, they see themselves as a work of art -- they are at once the artist and the model, the artist and the muse.)

When I was younger I felt so much pressure to be thin. But now, now that I am almost 62, that pressure has dissipated. Now my amputation is that I'm invisible.

A week ago I was waiting in line at Rite Aid when a teenaged girl cut in front of me, seemingly unaware of my presence. "Excuse me," I said to her, "but I'm in line."

She looked at me as if I'd just parachuted onto the scene. "Oh, I'm sorry," she said, "I didn't see you." The thing is, I believed her.

Amputations. I am thinking of all the diets, the uncomfortabe high heels, the foot bindings and other calls to beauty. That's why the self-loving woman is such a rare bird. She has managed her escape. She has escaped into the beauty of her simple self.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Movie "Frost / Nixon"

Today I went to see the movie Frost/Nixon about the David Frost interviews of Nixon after he was impeached. It was your classic Greek tragedy where the hubris-headed hero falls from grace, and Bush, of course, came to mind...

Megalomaniac Nixon was completely out of touch with the American people. He believed that as president he sat above the law, and had little remorse for his actions.

David Frost interviewed Nixon on four separate occasions, and it was in the last interview that he succeeded in getting get Nixon to take some responsibity, admitting that he had let the American people down. All I could think about was how lucky Nixon was to be brought to this place -- we all carry around shame -- and what a favor Frost did him in getting him to in some way say he was sorry.

Shame. Mistakes. Letting people down.

There is nothing like a public shaming when the whole wide world is watching. How do you deal with that, how can you be inside of Nixon or Bush or other fallen leaders and be shamed in front of the world?? How do you hold onto your sanity, other than by deluding yourself?

There is something magical about saying "I'm sorry. I was wrong." This is all I have wanted from people who have hurt me, and by saying I was sorry it is the only way I have been able to let go of my own shame.

In the end Nixon privately admitted to Frost that he didn't really like people all that much, and he found it odd that he ended up in a job where you needed people-skills. I always got the feeling that Bush didn't really like people, that he tolerated us because he had no other choice. Being president is a funny thing. The job-description calls for mythic qualities, but I guess we're all just human after all.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My House by poet Kelly Cherry

First, the hall.

On a wall in a room to the right,
a moon by Magritte hangs from a tree like a leaf.

Birds fly over the pillows.
Sunlight falls downstairs.

The study is small and scrumbled with revisions.
My bedroom is not quite masterful.

All night, and the books on their shelves are leaning
toward one another in search of meaning.


I am thinking of the ways that the writer/reader in me shows itself. Take my purse, for instance, which is stuffed with the books I am reading, my journal with a pen attached (I would never go anywhere without paper and pen), and a copy of the chapter of my novel I am editing, and of course my library card glowing through my wallet...

I have always been like this, sleeping with my journal next to my pillow in case I wake up and need to write something down, or writing in the dark at three a.m. because that's when things start to make sense, become more fluid. One of the things that I find so endearing about my friend Cindy is that she sleeps surrounded by all the books she is reading. So nurturing and cozy. They're right there in the morning when she wakes up.

My friends all know to ignore me if I stop mid-block while walking down the street with them, dragging out my notebook and jotting something down, some ribbon of thought that has just occurred to me that I can't let get away.

In my bedroom, on the floor next to my bed are three books on CD that I'm in the process of listening to: Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult -- I love all her sub-plots and how she gets into her character's heads, The Last Summer (of you and me) by Ann Brashares -- I love the physicality of Alice, how Brashares documents her every movement, and The Guy Not Taken, a book of short stories by Jennifer Weiner that I have listened to over and over again, probably my favorite book of hers, a book I love because of the tenderness and good-heartedness and sweetness and humor and kindness the writer shows towards her characters.

Then there's my stack of spiritual boosks that I live by with Marianne Williamson's red and gold Illuminata on top. That book has saved my ass on many occasions.... And my French workbooks and a stack of class hand-outs. And the mystery book I'm reading. And Sheri Reynolds latest novel The Sweet In-between that I haven't started yet, but loved Firefly Cloak. And The PH Balance Diet that I try to follow, but how can anybody possibly drink ten glasses of water a day?? And keep it up? And then there's the old journals and notebooks that I never got around to putting away.

There's all the little hints that a writerly readerly person inhabits my apartment. The novels in my bookshelves with notes scribbled in the margins. The poetry books left on the bathroom floor. My messy desk. My messy kitchen table. The books next to the front door waiting to be taken back to the library. I cannot imagine a life without the simple pen, lined or unlined paper, laptop, book, and most of all, time devoted....

I'm Feeling Lucky...

I'm feeling a lot of gratitude lately. There's so many things I have to be thankful for. For one, I've got these great friends, and for another, I'm feeling a lot more accepting of people in general. This makes it possible to feel closer -- when I'm not in my head being critical then I'm freed up to love.

It surprises me that I'm developing new interests in a big way. It's about a year now that I've been learning French. At first it was just me and the page, the written word. I couldn't understand much that my teacher said or what was being said in a foreign film. Lately, however, I'm noticing a change.

When I talk to my Skype buddy in France I can actually understand him sometimes -- I can get the gist of what he's saying. I'm recognizing more and more words. I've quit taking French classes but I listen to my French podcast every night. I listen to the same thing over and over and now I don't have to be looking at the words to understand what he's saying. (It also doesn't hurt that he has one of those pheromone-producing French accents). And so I'm thinking that the next learning curve will be when I start speaking more naturally, with more confidence, in French.

I was surprised to find out today that Frederic (whose name I cannot pronounce without a lot of spitting) likes the way English sounds. That's a new one... He says English is energetic and lively (at least that's what I think he said)... I tried to see this from his perspective -- English lively? energetic? I guess if you're coming from a language that is constructed in such a way where you say the house of your mother instead of your mother's house, English might seem like a lively, short-cut language....


I am grateful that Obama is president. I am grateful that we have eye-candy in the White House, the bootylicious White House. I am grateful that he has moral integrity. And that he's said no more torture in G Bay. And I'm grateful that I have a beautiful son who takes me out to dinner and pays for my cell phone and says, "Mom, do you have everything you need?" And I'm grateful that I have another beautiful son who is raising two tweeners who is so upstanding, who highlights his daughter's hair for her. I am grateful that I have a place to live.

I am grateful for the shrimp/black bean/avocado dinner I made tonight. I am grateful for the library, and my laptop, and the cool book of poetry I'm reading.I am grateful to live in San Francisco where things are liberal....

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Waking Up

This was one of those days when I woke up to a sunny blue sky. Thank you, global warming! You have turned my foggy Richmond district into a different neighborhood altogether. It used to be that ten days a year I got to see the blue sky. Now I get grouchy if it's overcast for more than a day or two....

I feel different. It's because of Obama. He's young, he's hip, he has a Blueberry (or is it a Blackberry?) and he listens to rap, I hear.... For so long now I haven't felt America-happy. I've felt America-ashamed. Suddenly I feel I'm back in the Kennedy era....

We're hero-hungry.

I was 14 when Kennedy was elected to office. It was the first time in my life that I felt "politically involved." That Kennedy family was athletic. They had us walking on a daily basis, doing sit-ups and push-ups. He instilled the idea of service -- what can we do for each other, what can we do for our country.... The country grew small and we all held hands.

It was a feeling. A lot of people had it. A lot of people have it now....

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My vote, so far, for the Academy Awards....

Every year before the Academy Awards, I take it upon myself to try and see as many movies up for awards as possible.

So far I've seen Milk with Sean Penn, the story of San Francisco gay supervisor Harvey Milk who was murdered along with Mayor George Moscone; The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with Brad Pitt; The Wrestler with Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei; and tonite with Mike and Rebecca I saw The Dark Knight which featured Heath Ledger as the Joker.

Cowabunga! This is definitely a year for outstanding performances by men. When I saw Milk I completely forgot that Sean Penn was the actor playing Harvey Milk. He was Harvey Milk! What a performance! When I went to see Benjamin Button I was blown away by Brad Pitt's performance -- what a movie, what scope, what a script, what amazing music!!! I wept non-stop during the last half hour into my wadded up kleenex. Then I saw The Wrestler, holding my hands up to my face and peeking through my fingers as heads were banged up against the ring, etc., etc.... Mickey Rourke, where have you been for the last several decades???

I ask myself -- if I was the Academy Awards and had to choose which of these three men deserved the Oscar, who would I choose? The envelope, please....

As much as I loved Sean Penn's performance, and as amazing a job that Brad Pitt did, I would have to choose Mickey Rourke. Here's why. He really got to me. I felt like I knew him, wanted to know him, could feel what he was feeling when he was standing up on the ropes, felt his heartbreaking desire to re-unite with his daughter, his up-against-the-wall dilemma of being nobody to no one except when he was in the ring. He was truly amazing!

The Dark Knight, a completely different experience. Mike and I hated it, wanted to watch something else while Rebecca hung in there for 2 1/2 hours of violence while Mike laughed at it and I played around with his new laptop for someting to do.... I couldn't stand the way Batman talked in that sore throat voice of his and did the thing have a plot??? Heath Ledger was pretty darn good as the Joker and it's fine with me if he gets a post-humous Oscar. He deserved it for Brokeback Mountain -- that was his role of a lifetime.

So Rebecca and I are going to try and see The Changeling with Angelina Jolie and I want to see Revolutionary Road but don't think I'll go see Doubt. Not my cup of tea....

I'd like to go to the Balboa Theatre on Academy Awards night, maybe even dress up this year as one of the characters and win a prize....

Onward to the movies!