Sunday, December 30, 2007

Mississippi Cactus

On my last night in town, I got to see Mississippi Cactus put on a great show in Sheboygan, about an hour away from Milwaukee. The boys all were in fine form. For more on the band, check out their My Space page:

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Winter Wonderland


It's one of those really pretty snowstorms. Giant, fluffy flakes that make everything look like the inside of a snow globe. Mike and I went for a walk today in the woods along the Milwaukee River.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Early Christmas

Shaelin spent the weekend at Grandma and Grandpa's. The timing was lucky for Auntie Kim who got lots of quality time with him.

While Grandma and Grandpa were at church, we made chocolate chip pancakes and hot cocoa for breakfast _ his, not mine.

After Daddy and Uncle Brian arrived, Shaelin opened presents. It was VERY exciting!!


Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Estate

Mike picked me up last night at Milwaukee's swanky, new downtown train station (the train was ON TIME!) and took me to dinner at a yummy Italian restaurant. I had gnocchi with asparagus, spinach and mushrooms _ even more wonderful after three days of train food.

Coincidentally, Brian had a solo acoustic show last night at a jazz bar called the Estate. He played Morrissey, Radiohead, Coldplay and a bunch of other stuff. Mike helped him out on harmonica and backup vocals. A grand time was had by all.



The California Zephyr

The Zephyr is a train that runs every day from Emeryville, Calif. to Chicago. The ride takes three days and two nights. With a bit of extra time on my hands, I decided to embark on the $127 (with my AAA discount) adventure. I met interesting people, ate really bad food and saw some of the most spectacular scenery. A Japanese tourist who I met on the trip said it best: "I took the train because I wanted to see how big America really is."


The Sierra Nevadas in Northern California.


The Rockies in Colorado.

Even Iowa looked gorgeous from the train.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Still Fall?


I know in many places it's winter, but in San Francisco, it feels like fall. Crisp, clear, sunny days and chilly nights. This is one of the few trees around that changes color. I think it's a gingko. Why don't we have fall here? Hmm.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Nightmare

Last night I dreamed I got badly burned in a car wreck. I was going too fast on a freeway ramp and I slammed on the brakes, but it was too late. I careened off the ramp and flipped over. Some stranger pulled me out of the car. I was screaming and burning. I wonder what this means.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sin

I love this card! I think it goes well with my new boots.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Made for Walkin'?


These are my ohmigosh-I-can't-believe-I-quit-my-job boots. I love them!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Last Day

Yesterday was my last day at work. It began with the media circus of Barry Bonds in federal court. Terry was right when he said it was a last day I'd never forget.

I didn't want to have a party, but my co-workers insisted.

I'm really, really glad they did.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Fennel

Last night I made Potato-Fennel soup. Fennel is a wonderful thing. I used to be intimidated by it, but no longer. This soup is really yummy, easy to make and extremely healthy.

Potato Fennel Soup with Browned Onions

1 tbsp butter or oil
4 cups thinly sliced onions
2 tsp salt
4 medium potatoes, sliced into thin pieces 1 to 2 inches long (don't bother peeling!)
1 cup freshly minced fennel bulb
4 cups water
white pepper to taste

Melt butter (or heat oil) in large pot. Add onions and 1 tsp salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are very very soft, and lightly browned (15 - 20 minutes).add potatoes, another 1/2 tsp salt and minced fennel. Sauté over medium heat for another 5 minutes, then add water. Partially cover, and simmer until potatoes are tender (10 - 15 minutes.) Taste for seasoning, and adjust if required.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Flesh and the Devil


Is that not the greatest movie title ever? Greta Garbo was BEAUTIFUL! Didn't I know this? Linda took me to see this silent film courtesy of Tod and it was really, really good. Of course, the organist at the Castro made a huge difference. It's pretty amazing that a film made in 1926 is still good today.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Hugh

Whenever I see Hugh's art in public, I feel famous by association. My brother, Mike, saw one of his Black Crowes Fillmore posters for sale on eBay for $125. Woo hoo! See more of Hugh at http://www.hughillustration.com/

Friday, November 30, 2007

My Birthday

It's always my favorite day of the year, but this year it really sneaked up on me. I did, however, manage to gather a few folks at Hobson's Choice on Haight Street for rum punch and salmon skewers.

Here's the early crowd.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Jose

I went to see Jose Gonzalez perform at Bimbo's last night. It was a spur of the moment thing and I'm glad I went. Bimbo's is an old-fashioned place with lots of black leather and red velvet and it's a great place to see a show. Jose was very good. If he had a bit of stage presence or chatted with the audience a little, he could be great.
He closed his set with an incredible version of Mezzanine's "Teardrop." See one that someone else recorded here:

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday

I'm in the mood today for a list, so here are some of my favorite Sunday things:

1. Yoga at 11 a.m. http://yogatreesf.com/
2. KFOG's Acoustic Sunrise. Five hours of mellow, Sunday morning music. http://www.kfog.com/shows/acoustic.asp
3. A nonfat, decaf latte at my favorite coffee shop on Hayes Street.
4. The New York Times. Yes, the WHOLE thing.
5. A walk with Gin in the Panhandle.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Grateful

This year I enjoyed a yummy, home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner with Margaret, B.Z. and Margaret's mom and Dad. Max amused himself most of the afternoon while Aiden napped.


I am thankful this year for many things _ my irreplaceable family, my intelligent, generous and kind friends and my health - which I lost for a time and got back again.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

One of those days


Sunny. Clear. Good for raising the spirits. Dangerous for tourists who decide they want to stay.
I went for a run this morning _ my first run outside since spraining my ankle. Treadmills suck.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Brother Brian

I just HAD to share this adorable photograph of Brian at work. As part of his program at Milwaukee Area Technical College, he works at the PBS television station. This was taken in front of the "green screen" at a recent open house.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Spa


I splurged on a 50-minute massage yesterday. It goes without saying that it was heavenly! The Kabuki spa in Japantown remains one of the most peaceful places _ and one of the best deals _ in the city. http://kabukisprings.com. I left feeling like a wet noodle.

In the evening, Tod and Linda hosted a welcome home potluck. It was fantastic to see so many friends at once.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Home


I came home yesterday to the kind of day that makes people want to move to San Francisco _ sunny, clear, 70 degrees. Perfect.
Georgia and I went to my favorite Mexican place in the Mission. I really missed avocadoes!
I stayed awake until 8 p.m. and then slept 12 hours. Arthur and I snuggled ... although I don't think he's quite sure about who I am and Gin and I took a nice walk this morning. It's nice to be home.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sinead


It's no secret to most of you that I'm a Sinead O'Connor fanatic. What you may not know is that I had to give up fifth row center tickets to see her at a small and beautiful venue in SF. Back in September, I had to be in London on a Monday and she performed on a Saturday. I was brokenhearted, to say the least. Serendipity intervened, however, and she performed here in London last night. Jean bought tickets in the balcony (the best seats left!) and I managed to talk my way to the eighth row. My brother, Mike, would've been proud of my schmoozing.

Today, I've been wallowing in Sinead _ watching YouTube clips and reading interviews. Here's the review of last night's show: http://sineadoconnor.com/review_london.htm


And a photo from last month's show in Boston. She wore a similarly mannish outfit last night.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Yoga

Every Sunday evening, Jean's apartment gets transformed into a yoga studio. I was lucky enough to be here this week. Kim's class was fantastic and reminded me how much I miss yoga. Check her out at http://www.kimmu.com/yoga.


The class was followed by an Asian-themed potluck dinner.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Autumn

In the two months since I last passed through London, the weather has gone from Indian summer to fall. It's crisp and cold, but really nice to be back in such an orderly place. Egypt seems even more chaotic in comparison.





We rode bicycles to Chapel Market and indulged in a fantastic bratwurst with sauerkraut and mustard. Yum!



I later got in touch with my inner Wisconsinite and admired the freshly made cheese.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

New Friends

Meeting new friends ... especially when traveling in a country where many simple things quickly become a hassle ... is a REALLY good thing.

Ingrid is a nurse from Holland and Kate is a doctor from England. They met in the Sudan while working with Doctors Without Borders. A grand time was had by all!

Leaving Dahab


It's my last morning here in Dahab. It's felt like weeks since I arrived. I guess doing absolutely nothing is good that way.


Here's my room at the Nesima Resort, which has been a wonderful stay and I would much recommend it to anyone venturing out to this part of the world.



Here's my breakfast ...



... and my breakfast companion.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Sun. Sun. And more sun.

Dahab is a diver's paradise. Snorkeling seems to be its poor stepchild. If you do neither, you are an absolute reject. That would be me. Remember the story about the time I got seasick and threw up WHILE snorkeling? True story.


Here's the pool where I've been spending most of my days.


When I get tired of the pool, I head to the beach.


And in case you were wondering, no camels are allowed on the beach.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Dahab

On to Dahab ... I'm breathing a big sigh of relief. It's MUCH better here. More my style. Slower. Prettier. Definitely less touristy.



Here's this town's main "promenade," if you could call it that.



Here's me at one of the way cool bar/restaurants along the water. And, yes, I have become a complete mezzah addict _ hummus, baba ganoush and all my other favorite unpronouncables. The bread here is most like it was in Iraq. Yummy!



I HAD to include this one. There are tons of stray cats here (and some adorable dogs, as well) and I've never seen a cat go fishing before. That's exactly what was happening while I ate. Crazy.