Jackie Link's Blog

- A blog for no good reason

Friday, December 30, 2005

I live in the middle of pavement and concrete on a steep city street. The other night as I pulled into a parking space I saw something walking up the hill on the sidewalk in front of my house: a big, fat racoon, slowly waddled by.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Enough of boring

On my way home from Sharon's on Monday, after eating and drinking for many hours, I was driving at the speed limit, minding my own business, when the dreaded flashing lights came up on my tail. I signalled and pulled off on the shoulder with the CHP right behind me. I was not upset, not even nervous; I knew I'd not done anything bad, but, still, why didn't I feel anything at all?

The patrolman came to my passenger side; I leaned over to roll down the window but he pointed at the door-lock so I lifted the button and he opened the door. "Were you just smoking a cigarette?" he asked. "No, I don't smoke," I answered. He sniffed. And then he apologized, said someone, probably the car in front of me, had tossed out a burning cigarette which had hit his windshield.

And that was that. But why wasn't I anxious, why didn't I care?

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Quiet Time

I see it's been a month since my last boring post, which is why I gave it a rest. Not much is going on in this house other than taking it easy, reading a lot, watching the rain fall, laying around either being sick or recovering from first, a cold, and then a stomach virus. Yep. I'm still boring myself so I'll quit. Better luck next year.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Shopping = Back Pain

It suddenly dawned on me that I won't be able to go into a store between now and New Years - I hunker down and wait for the madness to end - so I took my long list and went to my favorite discount stores (Drug Barn, Target, Radio Shack, etc.) and ticked off every item, plus some fun extras! And now my back hurts.

I bought three fancy scarves at the Coat Factory so I can gussie-up my basic black outfits. And to top it off, at Trader Joe's, I bought an Iowa-raised steak for dinner.

I don't acknowledge holidays and look forward to many days of just reading, riding my bikes and fixing up my nest.

This picture was taken on one of my recent bike rides.

Sitting Still

School is out until January and I have very few demands on my time. I have a long To Do list and each day I whittle away at the edges - yesterday I wrote a Craig's List ad to sell my beloved Brompton - but mostly I'm trying to sit still, feel my life around me, be patient and see what gets revealed.

I'll probably clean out my closet and shelves, take old clothes to the thrift store and free up space for new things. Then I get to shop.


Monday, November 07, 2005

Hercules, my yard box turtle, was sitting out in the overcast day and he looked so cold that I brought him in the house. He hasn't eaten anything I've provided for two months, just drinks from his tiny pond on warm days. It isn't cold enough here for a true hibernation. I worry every year that he will starve during the winter and every year he comes out of hiding just fine. He wandered around inside my house for awhile but I decided he wasn't going to like it in here one bit so I put him back into his cold, cold world.

He's really a very funny little guy. My neighbor's puppy barks at him and he comes over to the fence and rears up like he was going to bite that pup's nose. You go! Herc!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

No More Comments

The spammers have discovered blogs so from now on no more comments will be allowed by hitting a Comment option - you can e-mail me directly if you're a real person.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Sitting and listening

Ever been on a jury? It's a full-time job. Every morning I ride my oldest bicycle to the jailhouse, double-lock it out front, get in a long line to go through security, then sit and listen to witnesses all day. I can't discuss it, of course. I can say it hasn't been at all boring so far. I take meticulous notes, watch faces and hands, make no conscious judgments if I can help it. And when I leave for the day I leave it behind.

The trial is expected to go into December.

At lunch hour I ride to the waterfront. The weather has turned gloomy this week and very cold. Today I think I'll eat in a nearby restaurant instead.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Property values

This ad is in my local newspaper; this tiny shack, this ugly so-called cottage is a few doors up my street. Is that not enough to make you throw up?!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Rolling food

Last week I dropped an onion from my grocery bag and watched it roll irretrievably down my hillside street. Bye bye, onion. Then on Sunday morning, what should appear but a cantaloupe sitting against my front wheel. I had to laugh.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Fog in the city

This image is mural-sized and very beautiful, as were all the photographs in this show.
Before going to Film in the Fog I walked over to the Presidio Officer’s Club to see the Robert Cameron, “From Above,” photography retrospective for the second time (it closed Sunday) and he was sitting at the entrance, talking with visitors and signing books. He’s in his 90s, though I wouldn’t have guessed it. Too bad if you missed this show, it was terrific.

Theresa met me to watch “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” and as it got dark it got much colder – the fog had indeed come in – but that film holds up and I found myself being terrified by Gort once again. Before the film they had a newsreel from 1952 and a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

I'm beginning to see parallels between the atom bomb-induced terror of the 50s with what's happening today - and there are at least three new television series based on the old sci-fi notion of extraterrestrial invasions or mutated dangers to Life on Earth! (not to mention the psychic-spiritual-religious threats).

Life goes on, though probably not as we've come to know it, and Aye, there's the rub.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Way too much fun

Oh boy,

Symphony, opera, new season of sitcoms, film festivals, classes, meetings, friends, jury duty, entertaining, cooking, cleaning, shopping, readying the house for winter, museums and galleries, and best of all, today I’ll take my low beach chair, a blanket and a picnic dinner to the Presidio for Film in the Fog, “The Day the Earth Stood Still.”

I'm so excited.

Friday, September 30, 2005

On (not) being an artist

During the Scorsese film about Bob Dylan, Bobby Neuwirth, talking about what it was like in the 60s, said art wasn’t dollar-driven like it is today, but was judged by what the artist had to say – and it hit me all over again that because at age 19, I had nothing to say - and knew it - I let that stop me. (There was also mention of having a command of your material, genius being the combination of both.)

Actually, I think it was more complicated, but the central tenet, that I had to have a message, was a show-stopper.

I remember my then husband’s dream about his old roommate telling him to just “keep painting.” And he did - sometimes on my canvases.

Now that I'm older, I could if I wish return to it, but for many years I’ve not really cared. It’s only when I see works done by my old classmates and teachers from the Art Institute that I wonder what might have been had I kept painting. I once asked Joan Brown, who was also a wife and mother, how she kept working and she said she went to the studio every day just as if it was a job, whether she felt like it or not, and just kept painting.

That was another, not happy, life. I'm actually really, really happy now and don't want to mess with that; it's not as if I've mastered my medium with years of practice and I still have nothing much to say - which is painfully obvious, isn't it?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Back from SLO

Friday, Judy and I drove to San Luis Obispo in my newly painted Mazda, carrying our road bikes on back, to ride in the Lighthouse Metric Century on Saturday. We got up early, had breakfast at Denney's (not bad, especially for the money, though the coffee wasn't very good), and were on the road, Highway 1, by 8:00. The route was a simple out and back, our furthest north point was just above Cambria. We know that road well. It couldn't have been a prettier day: lots of sun, pelicans, no big wind, nice pavement and great, really great food. That club sure knows how to feed a crowd.
Aside from a terrific ride on Saturday, when we got there on Friday we walked around downtown SLO, checking out the creekside walk, and ended up having a nice dinner alongside the creek. Saturday evening we just watched a movie on our Motel 6 T.V., "Selena," and had vending machine chips and candy for dinner (didn't even need that after the plentiful food from the ride).
Nice weekend.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Hugged your turtle today?

I once had a sweet pond turtle named Cleo. She got to be the size of a dinner plate and weighed over six pounds. Cleo actually liked people and would behave much more like a dog than a turtle. And she was pretty smart, too, unlike the Freds I have now who are really, really dumb; there are lots of Cleo stories I could tell. Sadly, Cleo died several years ago. She was over 30 years old.

Within a very long, complicated dream this morning about working in the Gulf Coast rescue, Cleo came walking up to me from underneath some bus seats. I picked her up and - this is the amazing part - she had a strange deformation on one side of her face; she'd had a stroke. Her horny mouth was drooping and caved in on one side. One eye was low. Her face would morph back to normal, then droop again. The doctors I was with were all very interested and between us we decided she should be taken to the hospital in Davis.

I was still on my way with her when I finally, grudgingly, got up this morning.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Another week

Last Monday I put Sibyl in her travel cage, bungied to the table in the camper, and we took off for a trip up the coast. We stopped for lunch at Julia's in Sebastopol and then set up camp at Bodega Dunes.

Sibyl really likes her picture window.

Once we're there I have to switch gears from getting-there mode. I look around. And sit. And sit some more. And "wonder where it is I've really got. "

But I do love just hanging out inside the camper, doing nothing much. I read. I cook dinner and eat. I write a bit and I read some more. Then we pack up the next morning and drive a short way to our next campground and do it again. Nice.

After visiting Ft. Ross we stopped the second night at Manchester State Beach where we were nearly alone. Quiet. I left Sib in her cage and went for a long walk on the beach at sunset. There wasn't a cloud in the sky.

It was a very short drive from there to Mendocino so I went on to Ft. Bragg and the Headlands Cafe for a waffle and latte breakfast. When I got to Barb & Larry's in Mendocino, Barb had gone to San Francisco to try and buy a table from a closing business, so I visited with Larry and did some more reading.

I was out of touch with the world for several days so it wasn't until late in the week that I knew about the horrendous events on the Gulf coast. I've wept a lot since then, knowing what I long suspected was true: we are no better than anyone else in dealing with massive chaos; we have finally seen we are not exempt.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Gloomy August

I love this photo from the San Francisco Chronicle, taken last week.

I don't know about you, but I'm getting tired of these overcast, gloomy mornings. Some days we don't see the sun for more than a few hours, even here on Potrero Hill. On the other hand, I've actually cleaned most of my house, even washed the unused dishes on the open shelves. Today I'm going to find a new entry carpet, something industrial. Better get to it. . .

Monday, August 15, 2005

Dead ants

I got home from a terrific day out riding to find my kitchen overrun by ants, a two-inch wide column from the back of my cottage, through my office, into my garbage pail, and into my sink. Oh boy.

Because I spend so much time on a bicycle out on city streets and busy highways I try to never kill even a single ant or spider. I gently lift them out of my house, thinking to myself my life could just as easily end in a sudden squish from a cosmic finger.

On the other hand, a column of thousands of invading ants is War. All is fair in love and war, right?

Bring on the Miraculous Ant Chalk. One small line across the invaders’ path and within minutes the ENTIRE column, in both directions, is dead in its tracks. Miraculous, indeed.

You have to go to the back of a kitchen store on Clement Street and know just where to look to find this chalk; it isn’t legal. Costs about 59 cents.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Night out

Last night I went with an old friend to hear music at a club in the Mission and by some miracle we scored a parking place right on the corner. We walked up to my favorite taqueria, El Toro, had a great dinner and then walked back to see the Heather Lauren group; we both had a great time, slowly swilling our one glass of Sangria, listening to the music.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


I was walking with a pregnant friend some time ago when she saw a man pushing a stroller she liked and instead of writing down its name she used her cell phone to take a photo of the label. I laughed, then I realized this was one of those telling moments when you realize the world is changing in some very fundamental ways and you can either enjoy the changes and go with the flow, or become a curmudgeon. The cell phone, even more than the PC, is definitely a watershed.

This weeks junk mail had an offer for a camera phone. I'm tempted.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

I hate housework!

I hate housework. It takes me the entire day to wash and wax my kitchen and bathroom floors. It shouldn’t take all day. First I have to move stuff out of the way; that takes the first hour or so. Next I wander around with some weird thing that needs to either be tossed or find a home where I’m likely to find it the next time I want it. Then I start reading an almost-finished article so I can toss the magazine. You get the picture: I’m probably the most inefficient house cleaner on the planet. I stand in awe of people who whip through chores and have a clean, clean, clean home. My cottage borders on a pigsty. See the shine on that hamburger-motif buckled linoleum? I give it a week to look just as bad as it did before my semi-annual ordeal. (What? You wash your floor more than twice a year?)

A whole lot'a books

I spent yesterday putting hundreds of books back into my office, this time onto shelves in front of the useless back door (the back porch rotted away years ago). I've been picking up travel narratives from the Community Thrift Store for years---about fifty are still unread---and it took most of the day to sort them because I'd start reading.

This entire week was spent getting this room redone. Kinji was here for three days and I just sat in the other room while he worked.

Now I can do something else.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Paint Day

My office is a 7' x 9' afterthought, tacked onto this tiny cottage at some point in its 100+ years, and a few years ago its flat-top roof began to leak. A new roof, from the rafters out, was put on last fall but not before the many layers of paint had buckled and popped off of the old surface. It took me several days to move the contents of a 4-drawer filing cabinet and all the other odds and ends I've accumulated in my nearly 32 years here. Kinji is doing the heavy work of scraping and painting and it will be finished tomorrow. Here's another opportunity to make it better, to use the space more effectively. I'll probably just throw everything back where it was....otherwise I won't ever find anything again!

Friday, July 29, 2005


Yesterday I went to watch the square-rigged ships come in from the fishing pier at Aquatic Park. It took an hour from the time I could see the first one outside the gate until it finally went by me. I then rode to Pier 30 where the two largest were docked and watched as the sailors threw their monkey's paws back and forth and secured the lines. Then I went aboard. Fun.

And in the meantime I'd planned to get a bridge Fastrak transponder from the Caltrans office on The Embarcadero but they needed my car's license number so I rode my bike back home after first getting lunch at Red's. I did a quick turn-around at home, filled out the form, got back to the office and discovered I'd left the form on the kitchen table! Doofus. But I had brought my little address book with the license numbers in it so I was able to get my transponder after all. I don't go over a bridge very often but when I do it will be worth the price to slide through in the Fastrak lane.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Tall Ships & Kites

What a great week in the Bay Area: today there's a parade of square-rigged ships and over the weekend there's a major kite festival in the Berkeley Marina. I do love living here!

Every once in a while I miss sailing on the bay; we had some very good times. This photo was taken at the Master Mariners' Race in 1981, in the fog, as usual.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Blah, blah, blah

Tomorrow morning I'm going to bike to the Golden Gate Bridge to watch the square-rigged sailboats arrive in a big parade. The last time I went to watch a ship arrival I got up before sunrise. I don't remember why.

Finally, bit by bit, I've begun the arduous breakdown of this back room, getting it ready to paint. Today I'll be taking lots of old stuff to the thrift store; the garbage can is full.

Yesterday I backed into an immovable object (which remained unharmed) and heard a crunch. My driver's side fender was shoved in and now obstructs the door. I have to spend part of today getting that fixed.

Last night on KQED I watched an amazing story about RNAi, the thing responsible for turning off the expression of a gene. It's already been used to reverse macular degeneration, successfully restoring sight in one woman, and may be used to reverse nearly every ailment known to man. Too good to be true?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Zorba the Greek

In lieu of watching reruns on T.V. I've been checking out old videos from the library. Last night I watched "Zorba the Greek" again and I'm really stunned that the film was ever made. It depicts life and death in a backward village on Crete, probably sometime between the World Wars, in a less than flattering way. The film holds up, it's still terrific. Very intense. With lives like that, one really must dance or go mad.

Monday, July 25, 2005

One-sided conversations

Three people might read what I have to say, but basically this is a one-sided conversation. I'm thinking of all the 8-year olds out there who've already mastered picture phones and game players and any number of new technological devises while this old lady struggles to learn a bit of HTML. I'm not sure I'll bother to continue this, but what the heck, it's free and it's fun for now (anything to avoid housework!).

Note the turtle on the woman's chest in this detail from Hieronymous Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The end of the ride

I'm having my morning coffee, checking the news to be sure Lance finishes his last ride safely. Every year at the finish of le Tour I remember when Barb and I pulled our bikes out of the airport bus at the Arc de Triomphe, hooked on our panniers and rode the Champs-Elysees, our own little triumph. That was almost 20 years ago.

Then there was the year Greg LeMond won by a nose, truly one of the most exciting finishes ever.

Soon I'll be out there with some Velo Girls, riding across the bridge into Marin and around the Tiburon loop, something I do every Sunday I'm in town.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

My Blog For No Good Reason

I'm trying this format out, have nothing much to say today except it's terribly hot and both my parrot and I are tired of sitting in front of a computer so I'll let this first entry dribble away, saying nothing.