Jackie Link's Blog

- A blog for no good reason

Monday, December 29, 2008


This has been one of those magical winter days, as you can see above. Judy and I walked the crumbling cliffs just south of Ft. Funston. We ran into old hang glider facilities that disappeared when these cliffs fell in 1982, or at least that's what I figured from an old sign we came across.

There were horseback riders from the nearby stables.

It was shirtsleeve weather and a truly gorgeous day.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Small world story, small part of

There are too many convolutions to the small-world stories I could tell about the people I had lunch with today. In fact, it makes me dizzy trying to put them all into writing, and so I'll just save them for the retelling when we meet.

And inside this photo I took yesterday I discovered a surprising addition to the stories (the ones I won't bore you with): the blonde in high heels is the daughter of my house guest; she was on the way to her sister's wedding atop Ft. Point, right under the bridge. We nearly crossed paths when I was out for a ride on my usual route around the waterfront - and I wouldn't have known it was her in this photo except I was looking at the wedding pictures this morning. (How many people would be wearing spike heels on that road?!)

That surf was getting people wet, but it was an otherwise windless, clear, crisp and perfect day for a wedding atop the fort.

(Judy and I ran into the groom cycling across the GG Bridge some months ago, part of the longer small-world stories I won't bore you with, revolving around Ruthy and Japan and Mike's Bikes and Velo Girls and Bike Fridays and Tikits.)

After I finished the above I started checking out the blogs I read and, speaking of Bike Fridays, ya gotta read this: B.L.O.G.: damage control. Oh, and don't miss Lauren's Christmas story, either!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Missed window of opportunity

Sibyl totally ignored the super seagull I bought in Chinatown yesterday. The only light for this picture came from my computer monitor, making those sinister shadows. If only she'd done her Maltese Falcon impersonation!

After a night of gale-force winds and rain the sun actually came out and stayed out most of this Christmas day. I was going to go for a bike ride, but it was time for lunch. Can't ride on an empty tank. And then you can't ride on a full tank, either. By the time the tank was just right the wind had come up again and more rain is now on the way (and it's cold out there!).

My friend and neighbor, Barbara, always surprises me with gifts. She knows I don't "do" holidays, but she loves going to flea markets and yard sales and she always saves a turtle or two to give me. This year she gave me the Good Life Grocery's calendar with excellent photos by folks here on Potrero Hill (and on Bernal, where they have a second store), and this gorgeous turtle mug. I'm very pleased with them, neither of which came from a flea market or yard sale, I'm sure. Rory & Raven, her two giant dogs, helped her deliver the package this morning.

I scanned a few old b&w prints I made thirty years ago, but I really need to scan from the negatives; the prints have seen better days.

And so, one holiday down, one to go, and then it's on to Jury Duty on the 5th. They nail me every two years, like clockwork.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Burnt coffee & other non-news

My coffee is bitter this morning; how can I have burnt my coffee? It's like opening a bottle of bad wine: do I get used to it and just drink it anyway, or do I pour it out and start over? (I'm drinking it anyway.) (Yech!)

Elizabeth, visiting from the snowy east coast, and I walked in & out of trinket shops in Chinatown yesterday and ate in one of the old restaurants right on Grant Ave.; it had huge ancient chandeliers and old wooden booths, a dark, rich interior, and I had Mongolian beef and rice, which was very good, or at least tasty.

Also yesterday, I made the huge mistake of changing Sib's food dishes in her big cage with her in it and she ran over and sliced my right thumb before I could get my hand out. Not her fault. I am not allowed to touch her pellets and I know that, it triggers that little brain to attack. It wouldn't quit bleeding so now I have a big pressure bandage on it and have to tape a latex finger (cut from a glove) over it to do anything wet. Seems to work OK for typing.

I think I will have to start a stretching regimen or take up yoga because I have become increasingly stiff in the morning and after sitting too long. My hips and thighs hurt, except when I'm riding my bike or just sitting here. It started two months ago after a cold and just won't go away. There. Now I've said it out loud, I've admitted I'm a mere mortal. Damn!

It's 09:00, and Sibyl is still in her sleep cage, probably preening quietly. It's dark and gloomy with rain expected. Not sure what I'll do today, though tackling more Photoshop tutorials would be in order; I've avoided them long enough. That means sitting here for long periods of time and then I'll be stiff when I get up.

Ah, holidays - my quiet time.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Got chalk?

The ants were back with the first rains and cold weather. First, a scout here and there and then a steady stream in both the kitchen and the bathroom. They seem to go for the sinks.

Last August, while visiting Dianna in Vancouver we went to Chinatown looking for Miraculous Insecticide Chalk, but, like here, it wasn't evident on the store shelves. Finally, at one all-purpose store I asked a young woman at the cash register for "ant chalk." She reached under the counter and pulled out a box.

Apparently, it's illegal in Canada, too.

Dianna talked me into buying ten boxes. They're small boxes.

I was taking a bus to Seattle and would have to go through Customs with all those little boxes. I worried about it, hoped one look at my gray hair would forestall any closer look in my small bag. And then I flew from Seattle home, again worrying that someone would catch me smuggling contraband, but we made it home without being caught.

So now I have a superabundance of very effective poison. I drew a small X in the ants' path last week and they voluntarily removed themselves from my house, taking their dead scouts away with them.

When I worked in the ER I called Poison Control and was told it was only pyrethrum and a child would have to ingest the whole piece of chalk to be ill from it. I'm careful to use very little and wash my hands. Ten years ago I could find it in the back of kitchen supply stores on Clement Street, but then they started hiding it. It cost 59 cents. It was one dollar in Vancouver.

At the end of the Directions For Use: "KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN AND OLD MAN." But even better, it's made in China by a cosmetics company.

Need chalk?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Missing beep

There was no discernible reason why three different clock radios misbehaved for almost two weeks, but this morning my bedroom was beep-free, with no discernible reason why the 06:00-beeping finally stopped, either.

All I did today was end of year bookkeeping. Blah, blah, blah.

Sibyl has been less wonderful, whining, not content to be ignored. So I stuck the little camera in her face, set on Macro, no flash, but it sends out a reading beam of light which is still annoying to birds, and probably to people too.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Trip to the Academy

I got up really early and took two buses to the California Academy of Science for my first visit. I was meeting Kinji and Diego for Free Day. Because I didn't want to work up a sweat, nor wear cleated shoes all day, I didn't ride a bike, sort of a first. And it was really cold with frost in the grass in Golden Gate Park. I got there 20 minutes early and there was already a long, long line, and it was really hard to stand around in the cold. Once it opened at 9:30, the line moved inside very quickly. My first task was to get the tickets for the planetarium - that took nearly an hour, and then, using our cell phones to locate each other, I met my friends.

We dutifully went to most exhibits, though most were difficult to see beyond the many visitors. We didn't even try for the rain forests or the insects upstairs. We had a nice lunch in the cafe. The planetarium show was O.K., but I miss the old city silhouetted skyline and the cranky old machine; it was so warm and cozy, and this one is very cold (wear a coat).

Diego had me snap this photo of him alongside Homo neanderthalensis.

Claude, the albino alligator, appears to have been in a fight, either with his lady friend or the alligator snapping turtle sharing their swamp.

We were glad we went on free day, though, because we all felt the much ballyhooed new building to be unfortunate and I probably won't pay to go back. Just the usual new hyper-annotations with none of the old, richly textured ambience. Yeah, I know the old Academy was funky, sometimes even smelly, and had to be replaced for a lot of reasons. It seemed ten times bigger, no, a hundred times bigger, with so much more to see - and you didn't have to read signs, it was just cool visually, anywhere you looked. But this new one. I've seen better Safeway's.

It's like the de Young: I really, really wanted to like both these new buildings but neither one works for me. I know this makes me sound set in my old ways. So be it.

The living roof was nice.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Beeping ghost in my bedroom?

Leaning tower in Bologna Italy
For over a week I have been awakened between 06:00 and 06:01 by an odd loud beeping - not the alarm - of a clock radio. Nothing I do to the radio will stop it; it finally stops by itself, first escalating the speed of the beeps: beep . . beep . . beep . .beep . beep. beep .beep.beep.beepbeepbeepbeep.

After the first few mornings I unplugged the old radio and bought a new one. That was on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning the new radio did the exact same thing at the exact same time!

I'd go back to sleep each morning and have odd dreams, getting stiff from too long in bed. No wonder I got grumpy.

The little radio over my kitchen sink is also a clock radio and so I tried it in the bedroom the next night. Yep. Beep . . beep . . beep . .beep . beep. beep .beep.beep.beepbeepbeepbeep.

Last night I moved it to the electrical outlet by the bedroom door, thinking it could be the location near my bed, but it got me up again at 06:00 this morning from across the room. This radio has batteries in it for back up and so tonight I will leave it unplugged, see what happens, see if it can beep on battery power alone.

Beep . . beep . . beep . .beep . beep. beep .beep.beep.beepbeepbeepbeep.

And now there's a fourth radio on trial. I had yet another old radio in the basement, not a clock radio. I've plugged it in next to my bed, maybe I'll leave it on all night, just for the company. I wonder if it will, or even can, beep in the morning?

What d'ya think, is Scottie trying to beam me up?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hard to stay grumpy

When you have help like this changing the sheets it's hard to stay grumpy for long.

I'm happily purging old books and ancient maps, cleaning behind things, getting ready to tackle the pantry and a year or two of accumulated this 'n that. It's easy for this tiny cottage to become one big jumble drawer and once it gets to a certain point one can't find anything anymore. Way overdue.

And I'm glad it's sunny and warm, even if we do need the rain.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Waiting for the poppies

First, we need some rain, and then the California poppies will bloom in my yard.

I've been busy with this and that, nothing to write home about. Went to a movie, a holiday party, shopping, a dinner or two with friends and a lecture, a symphony, did some bookkeeping, some cleaning and cooking, lots of old image processing and not enough riding.

I'm grumpy. I'm always grumpy this time of year. I don't have any travel plans and I know they're going to repaint inside my cottage in January and that means I have to do a lot of rearranging, and deep cleaning and purging (a good thing) of years and years worth of crap. Seems like I'm always trying to get rid of things and somehow I still have too much.