Sunday, December 27, 2009

House for Sale

There is a beautiful house for sale on a street I used to live on right down from Alamo Square in the City. Two guys bought it a few years ago and restored it to more than its former glory. In the article was the story of the house. Built in 1895 for John Dowling, designed by architects Havens and Toepke. It now sports marble countertops and recycled railroad ties for floors. The back yard was redesigned by a famous landscape architect. But there is so much more of a story to this house and I only know a little tiny bit. I hope somebody else knows more.

When I moved to Fulton Street years ago I would walk by this house every day hoping that someone would buy it and restore it to what I imagined its former glory must have been. It was pretty run down and was being used as a rooming house at this point. This house was owned by a little old lady who happened to be the sister of the woman who owned the house one house down the street from mine. The house directly next to me was still owned by the womans sister's family. I became acquainted with the father of the family next door when he began to appreciate that I swept the sidewalk and picked up trash on the street. He told me a very interesting story about his family, the house he lived in and the house two doors up from me.

His house had been purchased by his mother. She had been the owner of a jazz club in the Fillmore. She became quite well off and was the first black person to purchase a home in Pacific Heights. According to my new friend, this is when her trouble started. She also had her hand in some not quite legal operations and was not welcomed in her new neighborhood, not because of what she did for a living, but for the color of her skin. From the story her son told me, she was approached by the IRS and told that if she sold out of Pacific Heights, they would “overlook” her illegal monetary gains. So being the smart woman she must have been, she moved her family from Pacific Heights to what they all called The Barn on Fulton Street. Now The Barn was not a little place. It had a ballroom with a glass ceiling (since covered over), what I was told were Tiffany stained glass windows (some still there) a wall to wall fireplace and wall to wall china cabinet (stained glass that had been painted over) on the other side of the dining room. This is where she entertained the likes of Joe Lewis and Nat King Cole, I was told.

This woman had a sister who bought the house three doors up the street. I don't know much about the sister other than what I was told. She was a jealous woman and always tried to one up her sister down the street. There seemed to be quite a bit of bad family history between the two woman, but man could they pick a house. The house that is currently for sale once had a beautiful front door knob, it was in the shape of a fish, you pushed on the tail to open the door. Wonder if it is still there, might have to go to the open house to find out.

Flying the friendly skies

Reading the paper this morning and was wondering about an article. It seems that on Friday a man whose name was on a terrorist list boarded a plane headed for Detroit. All was well until the last hour of the flight when he tried to blow up the plane with an explosive device located in his pants. He was stopped by other passengers, thankfully.

Due to this incident new rules have been put into effect for travel. On international flights coming into the US you will not be able to leave your seat and will not be allowed to have any personal items on your lap during the last hour of a flight. Does this mean no kindle? No magazines? No music devices? You are only going to be allowed one carry on item on overseas flights as well. And they are saying security lines will be longer and slower now.

I don't really have a problem with any of this, ok I do have a problem with the idea of not being able to read my kindle for the last hour of a flight, I currently have a problem having to turn it off for take off and landings, especially since I found out the pilots crack open their laptops in the cockpit to check out their new work schedules and overfly an airport all while they are supposed to be getting us safely to our destinations.

But it makes me wonder. Why only the last hour of a flight? Is that when all the bad people do their evil deeds? What is to stop the bad people from detonating an explosive device right after take off or maybe after the movie or as we are being given orange juice after an over night flight?

What will come next? Will we someday get on a plane with no carry on at all, get strapped into our seats with catheters hooked up so we don't need to get up to pee? Little foot rests that will move our legs up and down so we don't die of a blood clot while not being able to move?

How about this?

The security personnel that won't let me thru security without patting me down because of an underwire bra, catch the evil doers with names on the do not fly list and with fucking explosives taped inside their pants before they get on the plane. Now that's a concept.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

I spoke with my friend Mona today. She lives in Rhode Island, right on the coast. Where she tells me they got about 16 inches of snow. I read facebook a little latter during the day and saw another friend talking about her husband out snow-blowing their driveway near Boston, her father was stuck in Rhode Island where he said that they had two to three feet of the white stuff.

And from the comfort of a California winter I thought how lovely that must be. I picture sitting in a comfy chair, with my kindle reading a good book, next to a roaring fire with a cup of something warm to drink and looking at the snow falling in big flakes outside of your double paned perfectly caulked windows. The quiet bliss right after a snow fall is wonderful.

The reality is that you do have to go to work or school or the store. You have to shovel the white stuff and just when you have finished blowing the snow out of your driveway the damn snow plow comes by and leaves a big pile of it at the end of the driveway that you need a jack hammer to get through. Then the power goes out, you can't charge your kindle, the wood is all gone and what is outside is frozen solid and the wind is blowing the curtains of your not so perfectly caulked windows and you have run out of the warm drink.

And that, is why I live here now.


I recall Tevye singing Tradition! Tradition! How many times does something have to happen to make it a tradition? What constitutes a tradition? What makes it a tradition?

About the only holiday tradition that my beloved and I have is a dinner with friends. A group of friends get together and go out to dinner sometimes before Christmas and sometimes after, but around the holidays.

Last year we went to Fleur-de-Lys in San Francisco. It was like dining inside a bedouin tent, or at least what I think a bedouin tent would look like. I half expected Lawrence of Arabia to walk in and shake sand out of his boots. It was the most fantastic meal I have ever had.

Last night we went to Greens. While another fantastic San Francisco restaurant, it is not the inside of a bedouin tent. It is in an old building at Fort Mason and looks out over the Golden Gate Bridge. You walk in and are greeted by a huge piece of petrified wood (I think) it just kind of sits there next to the hostess stand. We sat in the back room, you could see Christmas lights on some of the boats in the marina, the lights of the bridge, the darkness of the night outside. Inside the service was wonderful, the food great and the company delightful.

The only thing missing was Door Dyke and Spouse A, who have moved across the country and while not there in person, they are still part of our tradition. It makes me think that tradition does not perhaps mean the same action every year, but the same thought behind the action that creates the tradition. And the thought behind this dinner is love and that does not change no matter how far away you move.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

High School, Middle School....

Around Halloween there was a gang rape at a high school in Richmond, California. Lots of young men beat and raped a young girl. Lots more stood around and watched it happen and did nothing. I thought that was awful, then this week a 14 year old boy raped a 12 year old girl in the stairway of their MIDDLE SCHOOL while at least two other students looked on.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph my mother might say. I say WHAT THE FUCK????

14 years old! 14. I repeat 14 years old. If he is raping at 14, what the hell is he going to be doing in a few years. Will he be tried as an adult? If so, think about what he is going to learn in prison.

Where do we learn that this is alright? How young will this go? What's next grammar school rapes?

How do people let their children go out? You send them to school thinking they are going to safe, what happens when school is no longer safe?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Baby Baptism

Chief Matron Mare-son and I are sitting in the living room with the fire roaring and watching it rain outside. She was telling me about a friend of her's that has a baby. The friend is not married to the baby's father and is not a practicing Catholic. The baby's father is from Italy and they are taking the baby to Italy to meet family and be baptized. Well the church in Italy won't baptize the little boy unless they have certification from their local parish in the states. And, guess what? The local church won't give it because the parents are not married.

Just another thing I don't understand. The Catholic church won't baptize a little baby because it's parent's are not married? But they will forfeit that little tiny soul? It is a good thing that they changed their stance on what happens to unbaptized babies then. In 2007 the Pope changed his stance on limbo and little babies born of original sin might just get to go to heaven. I say might, because they really aren't sure. They are not saying they go to hell, they are not saying the positively go to heaven, so aren't we just back at being in limbo. Did anything really change?

I always wondered about what limbo was according to the article it is an eternal state of perfect natural happiness, but without being in communion with God. I always pictured little unbaptized babies floating around on clouds, being fat and happy.

Perhaps I have them confused with cherubs?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A New Toy

My beloved and her sister bought me a little tiny Toshiba web book. It is cute and I LIKE it. It weighs about nothing and I can take it everywhere in my pocketbook. I can slide it in right next to my kindle, which is right next to my iphone. And I can read my books on any of the three. Do I have too much technology? I don't think so, I like the way my technology fits in one bag.

Thank you beloved and beloved's sister.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Kindred Spirits

Sometimes you go thru your day and see nothing. This evening on my way home from work I passed a kindred spirit. I came up behind a car with the following license plate.


As I drove I sounded it out a couple of different ways and finally came up with what it meant.

Le Marais - an area of Paris. Oh be still my heart.

I passed them and hoped they read my plate and felt the same way.