Monthly Archives: February 2014

The Good Life

sf_topothemark_sf-lgMy husband and I and our two grown daughters who call San Francisco home had climbed the heights of Nob Hill and ridden the elevator to the 19th floor of the Mark Hopkins Hotel for cocktail hour at Top of the Mark. Panoramic views of the city and the water and the bridges at sunset. A splendid site, the kind you write home about.

The last place in the world where you would expect to get into a little disagreement.

I am trying to recall it all. The signature martini menu, dance floor, and lounge atmosphere. Everyone dressed to the nine’s. A trip back in time and civility, expecting to see Tony Bennett take the mic in his easy stride and wide smile at any moment.

And that was what I was noting–in fact he was singing to me–when one of my daughters mentioned pointedly, “Mom, you can put that notebook away now.”

I don’t need to back up and inform you that we had had this discussion before concerning cell phones and texting in restaurants. But paper and pen? I always thought that the indisputable right of writers through the ages, and I was simply exercising my right.

But to the girls, it’s the same thing. Rude.

I’ve thought so much about this, I don’t know what I think anymore. A dilemma for all time, apparently.

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Blind Love

Passerbys are starting to look like people I know lately. Either we have all passed each other before, or life is running out of templates.

Everyone is aging except those I know and love. Billy Crystal, Kelly McGuiness, I hardly recognize you. Give me a minute when you step on stage, as I have to time-travel to catch up with today. When David Letterman lost all that weight for his late night talk show, he didn’t anticipate that he would look like the little old man who just lumbered across the sound stage to kiss the hand of Lauren Hill. A man I used to fantasize about dating, every night.

But visiting my parents in the third residence we have set up in their retirement, my mother bounces about her new apartment like the leading lady in an episode out of “Barefoot in the Park.” And if daddy only knew how young he looks, when not stressed and when feeling well.

Again, everyone ages but those we love. I continually give my husband this pass. If you were to ask me in a crowded room which one is Paul, I might  describe a tall man with dark hair—and you’d never find him.

My friends and I are on the verge of thinking we should either continue to climb all the stairs we possibly can every day, or consider eliminating them and look into one-floor living. Not for now, of course, but the future. The future being that cloaked stalker waiting right around the corner.

We need to have each other’s backs, as we are all lined up like dominoes. And love is the only pass I know.

I can’t remember whether Paul and I had married yet when I first brought him East to meet my grandparents. Being the gentleman he was, Grandpa rose to the occasion and took to Paul right away, giving him a tour of his home and sharing secrets I had never known. Like where the family safe was kept. I mean, who even knew there was one?

The two men then moved on from that location to the front parlor, and standing before my grandparents’ wedding picture—which the family had enlarged and mounted to poster size on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary—Grandpa gazed at it and noted fondly, “Mary hasn’t changed a bit.”

While Mary, my grandmother, so small and frail, sat confined to her chair in another room, unable to walk or to talk having suffered yet another stroke.

Love is blind and you’ve got to love it.

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At the Intersection of Art & Sports

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Painting by Nikhil Misra

 I am not a football fan. When a game is on in my house, I look at it as reading time and disappear into a quiet quarter with a good book. Or go for a nice long walk. If any spectator sport calls my name, that would have to be baseball. But this week I feel surprisingly inspired to write about football.

It isn’t everyday you win a Super Bowl. On Sunday, February 2nd Seattle did just that with the Seahawks, a first in the franchise history. This was new ground.

Even I was feeling it. Waking that morning before the game with a sudden desire for a flag in my window box or a banner hanging on my house, I went into town for some Seahawk memorabilia. But everything was sold out, all the scarves, the beads, the shirts…. everyone way ahead of me, by weeks. Then I remembered my stationery store where they inflated a bunch of bright blue and green balloons, making my day. Like a turned-around parade, I marched home on the sidewalk carrying the balloon bouquet as drivers honked and waved.

Now I could get down to the game, and you know how well that went.

Later that evening we found ourselves at the Hilltop Ale House in Queen Anne. Warmer than ever with a packed crowd, joyous cheers and hearty applause broke out for every “12th man” who walked through the door. Every one of us.

All the problems in the world, all the sadness. But for one glorious moment, we forgot. Together we forgot it all.

And to think I might have missed this.

note: As I write, the Seahawks are preparing to parade through downtown and “hundreds of thousands” are expected to attend. I can believe it, as my neighborhood is pouring out, every man, woman and child dressed in the colors. I wasn’t going to go that far. I’m just trying to attend the Northwest Flower & Garden Show at the Convention Center, and wondering how to get around the mob.

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