Friday, October 26, 2007

What I've been doing...

I've not been very good about writing in my blog/journal this month. We were in San Francisco, then catching up, then there has been major teaching! And Coalition events! And the social action committee is giving the platform at Ethical Culture!

I'm teaching Beginning Your Novels on Mondays at the Norman Thomas High school on East 33rd Street, part of NYU's extended empire, then Advanced Novel at the big library on WAshington Square on Mondays. I'm also working on scheduling school visits starting in January. I'm out at Playwright's Theatre teaching an adult Prose Narrative class on Thursdays, and most Thursdays either have Writers Group in New York in the evening or the Coalition's monthly Trustee meeting. Many nights there are executive committee meetings or other events (this Tuesday we have a Parent Advocacy Workshop). I'm not going to the demonstration in the city tomorrow because I have to prepare my part in a panel on health care issues and the presidential candidates on Sunday. Meanwhile, my garden needs fall cleanup and is still producing greens, and I've got a one day class next week end called Jump Start your novel plus a fancy celebration Saturday night for the Coalition-- and on Friday, Eagle Brosi's play.

I shouldn't have started listing. It makes me tired, and yet I'm having fun, and working on Safe Houses most mornings. I've chosen almost all of these things I do.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Bird Behind

Earlier today Andy was about to go out on a bike ride, and he was all dressed in his biking clothes with a helmet and a fanny pack (the little waist pack you strap on and slide around behind you). We were in the kitchen and Taxicab was at liberty. I suddenly realized I couldn't see the bird anywhere, and Andy couldn't either. We heard him-- it sounded like he was out in the hall or maybe had fallen behind the microwave-- but he didn't sound alarmed, just chirping cheerfully. It was totally weird--we looked behind the cookbooks and on the floor, and finally Andy turned toward the cabinets-- and I saw the bird.

He was on Andy's fanny pack happily singing to the zipper and kissing it. We laughed a long time about that.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Shaggy Trees

MSW in the Pacific

Back in shaggy-treed New Jersey, which is what I’m mostly noticing when I'm out: the untidy ground and street, the variety of trees, dense down very low. Of course we were in a city in California, so there was generally more pavement than vegetation, but even out in the country, there was less grass, and the trees mostly evergreen. The shaggy here comes from deciduousness, too, and while we are still mostly green, leaves are beginning to drift down, brown and yellow and burnt oranges, a slight crunchiness underfoot.

Back to putting up lawn signs for the Coalition’s Report to the Community. Back to getting the DSL back online, which took a long time and a lot of crawling under the table while talking to some lady in India.

Some pictures of us in San Francisco on the snapshot page.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Last Day in San Francisco

We’re still in the hotel room, but will pack and leave soon– Golden Gate park in the plans today, checked out, plane tonight. Yesterday Andy and I walked up up up to the Cable Car Museum and then up up some really steep hills to Coit Tower, which I liked for the Depression era works administration socialist realism murals– quite good ones, really, and the woman who gave the money for the tower had been a little girl in 1906 and cheered the fire fighters and was named their mascot.

From there, with the usual wash of brilliant light and lovely if slightly smoggy views, we took a bus down to Fisherman’s Wharf, which was super touristy with people selling tours and boats coming in and out and long lines for the ladies’ room. But we got Boudin sourdought bread bowls of good chowder, clam for Andy, crab and corn fo me, and then went to the submarine you can visit. I was only going along for Andy, but it was actually a very worthwhile even moving half hour– the audio tour had voices of guys who had been on this ship or others, old world war II American guy voices, those slightly thin Midwestern to movie tough guy from the west or Brooklyn voices, touching, especially the story of how they rescued a lot of British and Australian prisoners of war floating in the ocean after they had blown up the Japanese ship the prisoners were being transported on. As for the gray paint and compressed quarters– a claustrophobe’s nightmare. I kept imagining I smelled the eighty plus men with rare showers and too much heat with too little air.

From there, we made our way very slowly by cable car and muni subway over to Joel’s office on Mission and First Street, saw the office, which I had pictured, seven or eight guys with big computers, but also a “machine room” full of enormous computing power and air conditioners, and then a whole other office suite where they play “fish pong,” their own team sport based on ping pong, competitiveness, and group esprit..

Back to the hotel for a swim (me) and a shower, Joel joined us, we joined Sarah on the BART for a ride to La Taqueria in the Mission District, followed by a lot more walking in that rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, tons of restaurants and bars, more attractive bookstores, one with wonderful pages taped to the window of Memorials of people in the arts and politics by an artist that I really liked (see her page at . Many murals, which I liked a lot, especially on the Women Building that Sarah took us to. The next time I come out, I’m going to get a mural tour of the city, or maybe just the one a nonprofit called Pacita Eyes (?) gives of local Mission District stuff. Then back to the hotel, exhausted and sad again over Joel growing up and leaving. He’s a great host, but he doesn’t live with us anymore.

And now we've got a lot day ahead with a visit to Golden Gate park, museum, airplane.

Monday, October 08, 2007

San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge after we'd biked over-- photo by Andy Weinberger

October 7, 2007

It's Andy's birthday and we're in San Francisco visiting with Joel and Sarah. They are being just super with giving us time and attention. If anything, Joel seems disappointed when we want to take a break-- right now it's five thirty p.m. here, and we went out this morning and rented bikes and biked along the Bay to the Golden Gate Bridge which we biked over! A perfectly doable bike ride, not really challenging enough for Joel and Andy, but I had a great time, got tired, was stunned by the beauty of the bay, the sailboats, the birds. The bridge itself is such a familiar image that I was struck, as we rode along the bay, by how in the near distance was a flat grassy field, part of the park, and then on the other side the red hills with gray greenscrub--as if at that moment the bridge had nothing to do with water at all. We also had cable car adventures and lunch in Sausalito, ferry back to San Francisco-- and it was Fleet Week! The crazy Blue Devils or is it Angels doing tricks in the sky making us cover our ears while we rode the ferry, waited for the cable car.

Yesterday it was Mission Dolores, South Bay! Pacific Ocean! I waded in the ocean with some squealing little girls in bathing suits at a big golf resort with fancy condos where they permit the public access to the beach by law no doubt not the kindness of the capitalist heart. I loved the Mission, began to read a little about strange California History. Sarah and Joel so loving and fine.