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Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Summer" Doldrums

It's been 60 degrees inside our house mornings this week. Esther is not pleased. She likes to be wrapped up in this fleece blanket like a big burrito for her morning nap. "Why are you bugging me, mom? I'm chilly!" I've been breaking down and turning the furnace on.

We went to the Festival of Sail on Sunday to check out the Eagle, a sailing barque that my brother is going to meet up with in Panama City and sail through the Panama Canal and back up to their homeport of New London, CT. I told one of the crewmen (they are so young, they look like babies to me) that my brother was excited about joining them and he said that the Panama Canal is "interesting for about the first 15 minutes."

It' a very impressive tall ship. It looks even cooler under sail. There is a video of it coming in under the Golden Gate Bridge last week.

I snapped one shot of the cooks in the galley below dishing up some lunch. Looks like meatball sandwiches, mac and cheese and broccoli that had seen better days.

I didn't get to see the parade of ships coming in under the Golden Gate Bridge because I was doing my civic duty of being a juror for a criminal trial last week. I was even the foreperson of the jury! Nobody else was stepping up, and I wanted to move things along, so I decided, "What the heck?"

Real criminal trials are nothing like what you see in the movies or on tv. The courtrooms on even the most low budget shows look plush compared to the courtrooms in the SF Hall of Justice, which have seen better days. This was a gun possession case. This guy was stopped by the CHP in downtown San Francisco for not having a front license plate. They smelled alcohol on his breath so they asked him to step out of the vehicle and were doing a routine patdown and the guy told them he had a gun in his back pocket. Turns out it was loaded.

I thought it was difficult to decide the case because of the guy's story that he had just taken the gun from a 13 year old son of a friend of his in the projects and was on his way to dispose of it, which is an exemption from our concealed weapon law. There's no Judge Judy there to scream at him, "WHY didn't you put the gun in the trunk?" You're left with a lot of unanswered questions at the end because of so many things that are inadmissible or hearsay evidence. Standing back now, and reading what I just wrote, the story seems flimsy. But in the moment, I guess I get caught up in feeling bad about sending someone to jail and messing up their future, unless I feel certain that they really did something wrong.

On the bright side, I was lucky NOT to get picked for the jury for this trial, which was getting chosen the same week I was booked for jury duty. The Ramos case is about an illegal alien gang member who shot a father and his two sons and killed them for cutting him off in their car.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I've had this on my "to do" list for after returning from Surtex. Now, almost two months later, I finally can check it off. I wanted to make a necklace with some of the silver beads I worked on patterns for with Nina Designs.

I made some earrings to match too.

I purchased the lampwork glass beads for this necklace from Heather Davis. I think they are just gorgeous. The center pendant's text is a sonnet titled Love's Growth by John Donne.

The smaller beads came from a shop in Noe Valley called Forbeadin. My friend Fiona works there. She helped me design and finish these pieces. Thanks, Fiona!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Ya snooze, ya lose...

I was waiting for this one beautiful tomato to reach the peak of ripeness before picking and enjoying it. Guess I waited a little bit too long. Someone beat me to it.

Do you think this guy is the culprit? I wouldn't be at all surprised. Here he is demonstrating his "hanging by the feet" method of poaching black oil sunflower seeds from the bird feeder. You can see how just well those plastic baffles work to deter squirrels.

I did manage to harvest this Sweet 100 cherry tomato before it fell into enemy hands. Steve says, "Where's the other 99?"

I enjoyed it on top of my healthy lunch.

One of my surviving sunflowers has started flowering. I have high hopes for the other 5.

The sweet peas have blossomed out again. I picked a few bouquets a couple of weeks ago, and the plants were bare for awhile there.

So, you might be wondering where I have been lately and imagining me on summer vacation, lying on the beach soaking up rays and sipping a pina colada. HA! Not exactly. I have been jamming on presentations and getting picked for jury duty for criminal court.

The jury duty part is not too bad. It's for a misdemeanor trial that starts Monday afternoon. It's supposed to wrap up Tuesday, and then to to "the jury"...hey, that includes me. I want to get done Tuesday, because the Parade of Sails Tall Ships are coming into SF Bay on Wednesday at noon. The ships will sail in under the Golden Gate Bridge and sail over to the Bay Bridge. My brother is going to be sailing on the Eagle through the Panama Canal and up to Connecticut. (He is way cooler than me and an excellent sailor.)

I can't tell anyone about the trial until it is over. The judge even told us, "Don't BLOG about it."

I can show you a couple of my new designs I've been working on.

This is a design for a Christmas plate.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Christmas in July

Christmas in July is the title of a Preston Sturges comedy. It was the film that we saw on our first date. We took the bus to City College to watch a free screening. (I should have had a clue at that point, wouldn't ya think?) Anyhow, we've been having a mini Preston Sturges film festival at our house this week. We love The Lady Eve and were laughing out loud. Last night we watched The Palm Beach Story.

You can't even see halfway down our block this morning, it's so foggy. It's a dripping fog. They say that Eskimos have 100 different words for snow, well, we have a lot of descriptive words for fog here. One of our favorites is "VBF", which stands for "Visible Blowing Fog" that's when you can look out and see puffs of fog blowing by. So, although tomorrow is 4th of July, we are donning fleece vests instead of tank tops. And here I am working on Christmas images. Seems like a lot of the manufacturers we met at Surtex will be reviewing images for Christmas 2009 in the next couple of months. I was thinking of digging out the Bing Crosby Christmas albums to listen to for inspiration, so I can have "visions of sugarplums" dancing through my head. But wait, I don't even have any idea what a sugarplum looks like, do you? Apparently, this is what they look like.

A morning check on the garden came up with both good news and bad news. The good news is: 1.)The sweet peas are blooming.

2.)One of the tomatoes is ripening. This is a Sungold cherry tomato, and it's turning yellow, despite adverse growing conditions.

Ok, now the bad news:

I'm pretty sure this is a gopher mound in my tiny patch of lawn that I struggle to maintain. Well, it's not as bad as our previous rodent problem of 7 dead mice under the floorboards of our shed during a heat wave while Steve was out of town. It's all relative.