Jackie Link's Blog

- A blog for no good reason

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Riding in the sun, for a change!

Karena, Sherry & Me
Yesterday's ride from the Presidio to Pt. Reyes Stn. and back was terrific - especially since I only rode to Fairfax where Sherry, who has been sick, had driven my car so she could do part of the ride with us and also sag should anyone need it, and she suggested I ride in the car with her to Nicasio so she'd have someone to ride with for the Pt. Reyes/Olema loop. I'd originally planned to turn around at Nicasio, but there were no other 60-mile riders, so I'd have been alone for the ride back to the city; this was a much better plan. My cyclo-computer still doesn't work all the time, but I think that made for a 50-mile ride. And it was spectacular the whole way. Great day.

By writing this I'm avoiding all the work I have to do for a while longer. My house is a torn up mess and I have to take apart and pack the Bike Friday and set up a turtles' tank at Jill's house and get groceries. . .

Friday, April 27, 2007

Museums in town

I think I've done most of the major museums in this town at least once each over the past week or so.

Of them all, SFMOMA's Mario Botta building (above) is my favorite, both inside and out, followed by the refurbished Palace of the Legion of Honor (especially with its glamorous history).

(This Rodin is in Paris - note patina which our version lacks)

The new de Young Museum just doesn't work for me, either inside or out, and I really wanted to like it. Maybe it will improve as its copper skin ages, turns green. Or maybe it will just look like it has dripping pigeon poop all over it. (That odd image at the bottom of "41 Hours," below, is of that skin.)

O.K., finished my coffee - time to get stuff done around this house.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

White balance

I love the new cameras that let you change "film speed" and expose for any sort of light conditions, mid-roll, so to speak.

Do I miss film? Nope. But I do forget to change settings sometimes and end up with surprises. I like surprises.

(Some mistakes are correctable in RAW, like changing the white balance.)

And sometimes I just don't know what kind of light I'm in, like today at SFMOMA, where there's a huge skylight letting in the sun, and also incandescent lighting. So, I tried using both settings.

Not sure which I prefer, but the blue version used the tungsten setting and is probably closer to the way it looked.

Oh, and my lunch with Dianna and Amy was wonderful; and the Picasso &
American Art exhibit was very, very good. The de Koonings, alone, were worth the price of admission. I really get lost in a de Kooning of any vintage. When we were done there I went across the street to the R. Crumb show in the Yerba Buena Center. Not as interesting, but I needed to see it or regret missing it later.

I have this album, but no turntable to play it on. It's in the basement. I also have a cookbook he illustrated. Maybe a few comix, which I don't think I read.

Have I moved far enough away from yesterday now? Can I just go watch t.v. and forget it?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

41 hours

At 5:15 on Monday, I saw a large red area on my left breast, sore and hot to touch. I said, Uh oh, this isn't right, and called my doc's office. My call back didn't come until the next morning - Tuesday - while I was just starting three loads of wash at the laundromat; and because I thought maybe it's just a big spider bite and not to worry (but I knew it wasn't), I didn't rush right in.

They set me up with a surgeon and X-rays and ultrasounds, all to be done right away - and, Oh boy, then I knew: now I have to worry.

You've been there: On the one hand you think, No, it'll be O.K.; on the other, you're putting your affairs in order. You just know your luck has finally run out; it's your turn.

So, by the time I'd finished today my boob had been squeezed by six pairs of hands, X-rayed and ultrasounded and finally, unequivocally, deemed clear of serious disease.

There is no explanation for why this happened. I'll take antibiotics for seven days; it may or may not recur.

Between appointments I went looking for color - and it was a very gray day on the west side of the city. I ended up at the de Young where I found these of interest. (Note: the blown glass fruit is HUGE. That big ugly sculpture reminds me of Reagan. Click to enlarge - back arrow to return.)

Two days.

I'm still so, so lucky.

And I never forget it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Color needed here

I need to lighten this blog up a little.

In between appointments tomorrow I'm going to go out with my camera and catch some more color, not sure where.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Titrating shampoo

Many years of traveling by bicycle have left me with a zillion small bottles (most left over from the E.R.) and I've always been able to take the smallest amount of any given item for any given amount of time, titrating my shampoo and soaps and cosmetics for just the exact, least number of ounces I'd need for 1 week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks and even a month on the road.

You probably have a zillion left over little bottles from hotels; same thing.

So yesterday, instead of riding in the sunshine, I stayed at home pouring shampoo into what I hope will be the right amount for this next trip. I don't really have to worry about weight since I'm not traveling by bicycle; but I won't have much space, so the big bottles those things come in are just too bulky.

Odd way to spend a day.

(O.K., I did some other stuff, too.)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Riding in the rain

(Route topo - my ride climbed a lot more and went many miles further)

Our Velo Girls' Wine Country Century training ride sure put the "E" in Endurance yesterday, at least it did for me when I missed the turn on Mt. Tam and ended up riding into the wind and rain to Hwy 1 at Bolinas.

Twelve of us started in the Presidio to ride the Alpine Dam loop. We stayed together for the usual Northern Exposure ride to Fairfax, where we had a nice bakery stop, and then with me riding sweep ('cause that's as fast as I go up hill) we embarked on the major climbs over Mt. Tamalpais.

After stopping at Alpine Dam for another snack, we again began climbing - Oh, but the down hill runs were really sweet and the views spectacular through the redwoods, even though it did begin to rain as we got higher. I'd rather do that climb in the rain than the heat, any day!

The only wildlife out in the weather: one flattened orange salamander road kill.

I never saw a single intersection in the fog and rain and missed the turn on Ridgecrest. When I saw the view over Bolinas Lagoon out to the Pacific I thought, hmmm, I didn't know we got this close to the coast. And then, finally, an intersection - but it was Hwy 1. Bummer.

There was nothing to do but head south and endure.

Fortunately, in Fairfax, I'd told the group not to chill down waiting for me because I never saw anyone again.

Mind you, neither my cell phone nor my cyclo-computer was working, the one because it apparently eats your battery when you're out of cell range as it keeps trying to connect, the other from two weekends of riding in the rain. I finally stopped at the Pelican Inn to call my co-leaders and could only leave a message, hoping they weren't out looking for me.

And so, for me, it was a rather longer adventure, up and up and up, and over too many climbs to count, pedaling many more miles than expected, but if it hadn't been for worrying that others would be worrying, I rather enjoyed it. Makes an otherwise routine, albeit difficult, ride edgy and memorable.

. . .and then after a quick shower and pizza I went to the Jazz Festival, no worse for the wear.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

More on hair

Got another haircut because having longish hair didn't work at all. Judy sent me to Sara and now I have wisps. It might be a good cut, probably it is a good cut, but I'm depressed about my looks.

This is so, so wrong - worrying about hair - and I should know better. So much else is much more important, right?

Actually, my real issue is that I am what I am and what I am is a woman past a certain age. And I haven't learned how to live with that yet.

...the end. No more on hair. I promise.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A case of the blahs

It must be time to sit home and do nothing because I'm still tired, maybe coming down with something, and, of course, there are too many things I need or want to do this week: interesting classes; a long training ride over Mt.Tam; jazz festival concerts; and my house is a huge jumble-drawer in need of attention. Blah, blah, blah.

So, I'm taking a mini-vacation to the Galapagos.

(Click to enlarge photos - back arrow to return)

I was a passenger on this small sailboat, the Sulidae, sailing from island to island in the Galapagos. (I'm rereading Melville's The Encantatas for class, reminding me of that time.) It was a Garden of Eden, and it changed my life, but that's another story.

When onshore I was often by myself, surrounded, and sometimes sat upon, by the fearless fauna: a hawk landing on my head; marine iguanas on my legs as I sat by the sea; a land iguana rubbing the spines off its prickly pear on my thigh; blue footed boobies refusing to let me pass and me not allowed to leave the trail, a dilemma. It's the kind of place where you can know the name of everything there, and where a huge bird may look you in the eye.

I haven't used Photoshop trickery here; those webbed feet are so intensely, improbably blue that they look plastic - and in courtship they hold them up, one at a time, waving slowly, sky-pointing and honking. I never noticed birds much before this trip.

But I'm still tired and it's time for bed and a good night's sleep.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Rain & culture

I'm more tired than usual after a late night and an early morning start, and then riding in the rain with a few other crazy Velo Girls today. We only rode 35 of the 60 planned miles since we were all pretty darn cold.

This week I've been to 3 museums, 1 play, 1 symphony, a school open house, dinners & lunches with friends, and tomorrow, the topper: Dave Brubeck at the Masonic.

But I'm tired.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Mother always said

(Click to enlarge - see the rainbow reflections near the dropouts? Back arrow to return.)

My mother said I should remove the labels on my magazines before I give them to hospital waiting rooms; she never said why. But to this day I remove my name and address before putting things out into the world. Seems like a good idea; I don't know why.

When I was a kid we had to put our car registration into a holder that fit around the steering column and have it turned just so, so the police could see it through the car window. And then they realized the bad guys went around airport parking lots collecting addresses of houses to rob because they'd know you weren't home. They're probably the same guys who read obituaries so they can hit the widow's house while she's at the funeral.

And so I haven't usually written about my travels until I get back home, because the bad guys reading blogs would know when to rob me.

Of course, the only time I was burgled I could have just been at the corner store - they were obviously in and out in probably ten minutes, finding the little stuff that was easily sold in a flea market, leaving the big, expensive things. (I don't even miss all my jewelry or all my 35mm film camera gear.)

(I was just sitting at Crissy Field, eating my yogurt, when I looked at this shadow and saw the little tiny rainbows. )

Note to bad guys: I have nothing left to steal and if I do get anything worth stealing you can bet your sweet bootie it will not be here in this house when I go out!

So there.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Robot and theatre

Last night I met Theresa for dinner before going to see the A.C.T production of After the War, and this time I scored a great parking place on Bush at Mason. I was too early so I sat there listening to the radio.

A young woman walked by with her two pugs; a young man carried his Yorkie; and then, a graceful slender robot came walking towards me shining in the late afternoon sun, the most perfect robot I've ever seen - a cross between the crash test dummy and an artist's articulated wooden model, but all stainless-steel silvery, bending fluidly, with a non-face just like Gort's, but not awkward or stiff at all.

There were many people on the sidewalk and driving by and no one else seemed to notice.

As the robot walked by I could see how the tubular leg sections were suspended and held in place by stocking elastics, hinting at a robot garter belt hidden underneath somewhere.

Dinner at Colibri was great; the play would have been a good read, but it didn't work for me onstage.

I definitely prefer street theatre in this town.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

That bow & arrow, again

Lunch on The Embarcadero:

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Sibyl's treats

I was out all day and Sibyl, my pionus parrot, prefers company while dining.

And usually, as soon as I get home I soak her sprouts and veggies in hot water (they’ve been in the frig), and usually, while waiting for them to warm up, she gets her (I say this over and over, emphatically) “trEEEEt?.” Her treat is one Nutri-berry, usually about 4:00.

Today she got her fresh foods, her pellets, but somehow I forgot about the treeeet Right now, as I write this, it’s way past her roost-time. We were sitting in the chair where she gets her daily head rub and instead of the rub, she started acting like she would bite me. It took a few, “Hey, can’t you tell what’s missing?” jabs until I saw the light and said, “Treeeet???” She nodded, squealed with enthusiasm, and is happily enjoying her treat.

She can now go to roost, satisfied.

If parrots can talk, why doesn’t she just ask?

Friday, April 06, 2007

Hair issues

I have hair issues.

When your best friend, trying to be tactful, says, "I like it short better," you know it's pretty bad.

What to do. I can now have the world's smallest ponytail. And I can't find my old hair dryer to "give it some body." Not cute. If it gets really long I'll probably have the world's smallest bun on the back of my old-lady neck. Where did my hair go? None falls out - but it's definitely thinner. O, this getting old is no fun, no fun.

The last time I tried letting it grow longer didn't work out, either.

(But the cast is cute, I think. That was the year of the crushed knee. After that I took up cycling, which I never would have done otherwise, so it turned out to be one of those blessings in disguise.)

Yeah, I know: I'm such a girl.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

More from the garden

I like this white Iceland poppy the more I look into it (click to enlarge).

Mixed bag

So, it was all going so good: great rides, photos to work on, good friends to do things with . . .

. . . and then my car was towed.

After my scouting ride up Nob Hill yesterday, I decided to drive back just before 4:00, take advantage of the neighborhood 2-hour parking limit which ends at 6:00, wander around with my camera as the sun gets low and shadows long, and meet Judy and Theresa at the Nob Hill Cafe for dinner before the Al Gore lecture at Masonic Auditorium.

At 3:50, a minor miracle of a parking place on Sacramento at Jones opened up. The neighborhood was chock full of cars, including every other place on that street.

And off I went, traipsing down the hill to Chinatown with two hours to kill, camera in hand, but no idea of what I would do - my best mode these days.

I acted like a tourist, taking pictures when and where I wanted; I went into a store or two and looked at trashy tourist souvenirs; I bought a cheap but pretty scarf/shawl; I got change to take the bus back up the hill (my feet prefer to pedal, not walk) and just as I was photographing yet more balls, my cell rang: Judy asked, "Where did you park, did you know about the tow-aways during commute hours?"

Yep, that's right where I'd parked.

I was probably taking one of these pictures while my car was being towed.

As Theresa said, if it can be solved with money (even if you don't have much), it isn't really a problem.

It's like paying a tax - parking tickets, towing fees - my small part to pay for city government, 'cause they sure don't get much from me any other way.

Al Gore definitely put it all into perspective.

Afterwards, Theresa drove me to ransom my car from where it was impounded across the street from the city jail.

It's only money.

And then this afternoon I discovered Delta had issued me two tickets to France, and then that the Air France-operated flights I'm actually on don't have me listed, and then I spent the rest of today on HOLD.

But I think I've fixed that one, and for sure I got a credit for the extra ticket and hopefully I'll really have a seat on the plane to and from Paris. I can check on-line tomorrow to see if their respective computers have talked to each other and given me my seats.

It's only time and money.

(Loire Valley grapes.)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Stockton Street

I went riding up Nob Hill (the easiest way I could find, up Pacific from Polk) and sat in the park across from Grace Cathedral, pondering photo ops and was fairly uninterested in that scene, visually, though it's a nice place to sit in the sun and watch T'ai Chi practitioners and children at play; my purpose was to scout a restaurant for Judy, Theresa and I to have dinner before going to hear Al Gore tonight; and because it was just a good thing to do on this, yet another, beautiful spring day.

But, it's all down hill from there and as I passed across Stockton Street I stopped to look at these gorgeous eggplants.

Getting home along the Embarcadero was interesting, too: today is opening day at the ballpark; lots of happy fans going to the game.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Captive tulips

Once again it was noon by the time I got to the windmill and tulip garden, the harshest possible light - too much contrast for the subject.

While waiting for the light to be where I wanted it, I got to talking with one of the artists; he said they're the Monday group of watercolorists.

(Click photos to enlarge - back arrow to return)

(I take so many more photos than I can put on the blog, but if you're interested, click on the link to My Photos and run a slideshow of Around Town to see more.)

I spent more than an hour in the garden, trying different viewpoints and settings; I even used my close-up lens, but the most fun was watching the people taking pictures or enjoying a picnic on the lawn.

And then it was off to bag the painted Victorian at Paige and Ashbury - this time without overhead lines, and hopefully with a cyclist in the right place.

Well, I got the lines out of my shot, but nearly missed the cyclist. I really wanted to have him (or her) on my side of the street, but after waiting and waiting I finally put the camera away - and immediately, a whole bunch of cyclists went by.

Wow! More balls...

Ball atop cruise ship along Embarcadero

I left the house on my old bike with the newest camera in my slingpack, hoping to nail the captive tulips and the Painted Lady today.

But first I had to ride around the waterfront - and what should I see but more balls. Cement balls, metal balls, glass balls and today: hairy balls. I don't mean to offend, but once you open your eyes, balls are everywhere you look.

Poppy buds, paired (I rest my case)