Friday, March 27, 2020

What to talk about?

I can't bring myself to finish the puzzle I set up in the front room last week. I pooped out on putting the darn thing together after getting its edges and then some in place. Maybe next week will bring a renewed enthusiasm? I doubt it. It's a shame really as I switched all the furniture around to suit this puzzle-solving endeavor. Nearly all of the living room furniture was moved into the dining room in order to put the dining room table with puzzle by the front window in the living room. The light is better in the living room thereby making it easier for me to see what in the heck I am doing. Now I don't want to do it.

Living room furniture in dining room--I think I prefer it this way!

Dining table in living room

Lately, I've been watching cat videos on Youtube posted by a guy who claimed he was 'not a cat person', then stated a few minutes later that he'd made a 'cat house' (not that kind) for his 'little kitty'--a stray he'd started feeding the year prior. Yeah, ok, buddy.

Megxit part Deux

Megs (do we call her that?) and Harry have apparently decamped to Los Angeles. We've got them now, world! At least Canada doesn't have to be concerned about their well-being anymore. Frankly, I would have stayed in lovely B.C. were I them, but that's just me.

The below pic was taken slightly before our settle in place order was enacted. I just really love how the clouds looked that day.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Beach walks

I may have taken my last beach walk for the duration yesterday as there were new signs put up in the parking area stating that one should consider staying home. (We are not on lock-down here.) Although there were very few people on the shore, making staying socially distant quite easy, I now feel uneasy about being there because of the signage. 

This guy wins a trophy for being 'most socially distant', wouldn't you say?

Photo credit: Costa Panagopoulos

As you can in the above photo, people are still practicing 'social clustering' here in SF. I imagine it's the same, sadly, in most places around the globe. I'd heard reports of heavy car traffic on routes out to the more scenic and sought after bits of the California coastline over the past weekend. I wish it were a national holiday, but now ain't the time to be clogging up the beaches with picnics and Frisbee games. 

I will leave you with a few snaps taken at my hometown beach yesterday--

Turban snails and solitary anemones uncovered at low-tide.

Hermit crabs in shallow water.

Mussel cluster. The sandy bits are actually colony anemones.

Lone orange starfish amid a mass of colony anemones & wee turban snail clusters.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Monday the 16th

This picture sort of typifies how it is to do a shop currently. Folk are buying in bulk as much as possible. I only bought a paper and sparkling water--the non-essentials. The front of the paper showed a story about two women in Wuhan who were struck with the virus. I watched as the checker, also from China, slowly eyed the headlines and photos after ringing up the newspaper. 

Current guidelines are that one should stay home for the duration, eschewing all non-essential activities. It's only been a couple of days, but I already sort of miss going out to cafes. Fortunately, I have a 'home cafe' set-up. 

At water aerobics class last Thursday, we were talking about how all public pools in SF city and county would probably be closed this week. And they are. The lido I frequent in the neighboring county is also closed. I had naively thought that an open air pool would, perhaps, remain open for use and drove over yesterday to check the scene. There was a sign posted on the entrance that read that the Brisbane lido would be closed 'until further notice'. Of course, lifeguards probably can't effectively 'socially distance' themselves from one another when working, so closing the lido makes sense. Selfishly, I'm a bit bummed as swimming has been my one rigorous, physical activity since incurring a foot injury a year and a half ago. 

Yesterday, I tried following along with an instructional yoga video that was billed as being 'good for beginners' and nearly toppled over into the coffee table after attempting a particularly strenuous move. I may revisit the yoga video today or tomorrow, but not without first moving the coffee table! 

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Say it 5 times fast---

Nifty image rendered by a former Toy Boat employee. (-missing an apostrophe, but who's complaining?)

I had a hankering for something sweet, so I swung by Toy Boat Dessert Cafe today. I worked at Toy Boat exactly thirty years ago when I was a student at San Francisco State University. Going to Toy Boat is like stepping into a time machine. The place looks nearly the same as it did when I scooped ice-cream there back in 1990. Sure, the prices are higher, they've non-dairy milks for espresso drinks and some gluten-free treats on the menu, but the vibe of the joint is the same.  

Toys, desserts and mechanical horsey...oh, my!

The mechanical horsey ride for 25 cents (maybe it costs more now?) is still a centerpiece for younger visitors. The image of the postcard above illustrates that Toy Boat has had a problem with 'big kids' (read: straight up adults) trying to ride the horse and breaking the darn thing. Toy Boat has gone through a few different mechanical horse rides since I've left their employ. 

Inviting exterior.

My old boss, Jesse, came in just as I was leaving. We had a short, friendly exchange. I caught up on how some of my former co-workers are doing. Jesse's in touch with many of them. He's the same gregarious, super friendly sort. I think it's wonderful that after all these years (Toy Boat opened in '85) that not only is Toy Boat still thriving, but that Jesse is still at the helm and still warm and welcoming. We did a weird elbow bump as greeting (thanks, Covid-19!), but took leave of one another with a hug. It'll be fine, right? 

Thursday, March 5, 2020

I'm a winner. ;)

I nearly finished the crossword today, a Wednesday gem--couldn't answer three--and still felt like a friggin' champ. Simple pleasures. Then, I went to the Brisbane lido for lap swim. Afterwards, I had a quick chat with the 22-year-old lifeguard on duty about swimmer's physique and how she was never keen to obtain one as she doesn't like the look of a triangular upper-body. I said I wouldn't mind at least building a bit more upper-body strength, but that as a fifty-year-old* woman I feel pretty good about how I look save for the nearly inevitable cellulite cluster on the back of the legs. Her response: YOU'RE FIFTY?!? I was both chuffed and embarrassed at the outburst. I wondered if the only people she knew in my age range seemed very much older than I do and that's what caused her reaction. I mean, I don't really care. I felt complimented. 

Stanford Women's Swim Team looking very fit.

Speaking of the Brisbane pool, it had been closed for two weeks for maintenance and just re-opened this week. We came back to renovated shower stalls and a new stain on the old, wooden benches in the ladies' change room. I saw one of the pool cats today looking, I thought, a little thinner than usual and asked who had fed the kitties during the pool closure. I was told that some staff were onsite during the maintenance period, so the kitties had had enough kibble. That's good as I couldn't really see them slinking down to the post office trying to mooch for grub.

*I'm actually forty-nine and three quarters. Close enough!

Monday, March 2, 2020


-picked up this record at a second-hand shop recently for four bucks. I don't much care about the Lennon-Ono love story, but I do like a deal and I like Lennon's singing and song-writing. Double Fantasy was Lennon's first musical release after coming off of 'paternity leave' in 1980. The album's tracks alternate between Lennon and Ono songs. I recognized all of the Lennon tracks, but none of Yoko's. Hers weren't played on local radio stations, from what I recall. I found these new-to-me tracks to be less like toe-tappers and more like individual art pieces. This is not terribly surprising as art is Ono's background. 

There was one Ono track that had quite a bit of warbling on it and my husband remarked that it reminded him of the B-52's Rock Lobster. The hubs was on to something as the B-52s have said that that was a semi-tribute to Yoko's work. 

The photo on the back of the album cover shows the two of them in Manhattan presumably standing across the street from Central Park. They look so darn young. One does wonder what music Lennon had left in him after this collaboration. 

Friday, February 28, 2020

Bar book

My original bar notebook was pretty thrashed--pages stained and torn from years of use behind the bar. The above one is a replacement booklet I started using a couple of years before hanging up my bar towel.

In the bar book, I kept a record of new-to-me drink recipes that customers would bring in to have be made, drinks I and other 'tenders made up that were both good and tended to sell, and alternate names/recipes for standard drinks often ordered. Looking through the bar book now, I see that I wrote recipes down usually in some sort of short form. Not every recipe has amounts listed, nor does every recipe specify what glassware is to be used. The recipe for a 'Dumb Bunny', is written only like this:

Dumb Bunny

1/2 lemon

I'm assuming I meant Absolut Kurant as flavored Absolut vodka was a call-level favorite during my tenure. -don't know if it still is. And given that Dumb Bunny is a 3-ingredient drink that sort of mimics a Collins, then it's assumed that the drink would be served on ice and probably in a chimney glass. As Kurant is the only booze in the recipe, then it's also assumed that that would be a shot's worth. There is no industry-wide shot standard*, but shots generally tend to be hovering around just over an ounce here in the states. In the majority of bars where I worked, 1.25 ounces was the standard shot. 

At the first bar I ever worked in, we, generally, free poured. This means that in lieu of using a measure or jigger, one counted the shot in one's head: 1-2-3-hup! At the 'hup', the tipped bottle neck would be brought back upright and the pour would stop. Free pouring, like any skill, took some practice in order to be good at doing. 

All of us at that joint individually trained to free pour with a booze bottle filled with water placed in the well (where the cheap booze 'lives' in front of the ice well). We'd each go through a series of pulling the bottle up from the well and pouring its contents into a jigger until the booze bottle was emptied. We'd repeat the process until our 1-2-3 count matched a complete jigger pour with no effort or error. 

Here's a page from the bar book with counts (1-2-3-hup!) instead of ounces representing amounts. The Otter Pop recipe shown below lists equal parts of all the booze components. So that's a one count or 1-hup! (said in one's head) on the Chamb(ord)CuraƧao, and raspberry vodka poured into a chimney glass before adding 7-Up to fill. 

Converting to metric, when moving abroad, wasn't terribly challenging. The conversion is: 1.0 US fl oz. = 30 ml.

Here's a bar book snippet from when I worked at Hix in Selfridge's in London. (Note: There was no free pouring at Hix.)

In case anyone is inclined to reproduce this classic at home, the daiquiri recipe's last ingredient and directions are: 3 bar spoons of caster sugar, shake and strain into a cocktail glass and serve with lime wedge.

*Utah has a state-wide shot standard of one ounce. 

What to talk about?

I can't bring myself to finish the puzzle I set up in the front room last week. I pooped out on putting the darn thing together after ge...