new day a-dawning

Did you see the full moon last night? So yellow and warm — despite the cold wind. Where does that come from, anyway — Alaska? Siberia? Canada? Yikes. The sun is just peeking up; I can see it turning the port cranes and trucks pinkish. I love that early morning aura.

Got fan mail from a non-fan who tells me to stop practicing my “dark arts.” Um, hello? As if, when running a newspaper, starting up a retail business and shepherding a family around the Island and the planet, I have time to meddle in the dark arts? As if I have time to even scrub the grout in my bathroom? Hmm. If I did practice the dark arts, it would be to get someone to floss my teeth for me, or have them floss themselves, perhaps. My kids would all have perfect teeth and perfect grades and perfect attendance. I would never have cold feet again, and the odd eyebrow hair that wants to grow the wrong way would go away forever. So would the cowlick that prevents me from having a middle part. And it would rain chocolate on Thursdays.

If I practiced the dark arts, believe you me, friends, you would know it.

Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, Mr Husband and I are preparing for our grand adventure to fabulous Manhattan, to which I’ve been a number of times but Husband has been just once, and because of business, didn’t have the opportunity to see the sights. So we’re gonna see them all. Can’t wait. I don’t know if I’ll have access to an Internet cafe, but if I do, I will post. Otherwise, I’ll be gone for a few days and will catch up afterward, next week.

We’re looking forward to watching Mia graduate and also sing in a cabaret revue; touring Yankee Stadium, breakfasting with his sister, nights on the town, and hitting the fun iconic places like strolling up Fifth Ave and Wall Street and the like. Bringing back tchotchkes and T-shirts for the kids. Bloomingdale’s and the Statue of Liberty and drinking a Manhattan in Manhattan. The Village. The Met. The subway. The 42nd Street Theater, where The Phantom continues its run, is where we’ll see Mia do her thing on Thursday. says it will be warmish — not rainy or snow — in NY. Here it’s supposed to rain. So I hope my veggies will prosper and grow in my absence and not wilt away. Last year, if you were reading along, when Ana and I went to NY and Jersey in April, we got stuck in the snow, rained on mercilessly and occasionally the sun did shine. And it was warm here, of course! We’re hoping for fairer weather this time. But ready for anything.

Like the Scouts say: Be prepared.

Blessed Monday, brethren.

Earth Day

Every day should be Earth Day. Check us out…(captions below)

2. 3.

4. 5. 6.
7. 8. 9.

10. 11.

Who’s who?
1. Wide view of the tiny beach, with our “ready Fleet” far behind us. Also the USS Hornet aircraft carrier behind us (from which Apollos were rescued and the Doolittle Raid took off).

2. Close-up of the plastic stuff embedded in the driftwood. It was a big fat sifting job that ended when the wind blew it back into our eyes.

3. Linda Tubbs, whose husband is a Coast Guard intelligence guy, lives in our neighborhood, and her hubby got the tides right for us (or told us — he can’t actually change the tides…)

4. Eric K (my biz partner) and Peter, Carrie’s husband, sorting/sifting junk from between the boulders.

5. Carrie, doing same.

6. Fabulous self in grubby gear (note rubber boots — for wading after plastic in the lagoon) (note spectacular SF skyline behind me. We hardly notice it anymore…).

7. Max Tubbs, doing same as everyone else.

8. The Boy and the Husband, being cool.

9. The Boy’s job was to bury all the dead birds we found — a total of 12. He gave them all burials and a few solemn words. And a marker. Not sure what happens when the tide comes in — they go back to God…this is the dead bird graveyard.

10. A pile of the junk we hauled out — tons of plastic, plywood, an old mattress (which weighed more than 4 men could carry — they had to tear it apart to move it. Turns out it was full of wet sand, ugh). The yellow thing had a logo from an environmental firm — a boom for containing oil in the Cosco Busan spill we had last fall.

11. More junk.

12. Still more junk.

Boy, are my wings tired…

Mr Husband organized this neighborhood beach cleanup about a half mile from our house. You can see lots of abandoned buildings around us. About eight of us got our gloves and boots on and picked up a bajillion bits of plastic from this tiny beach-head. This is known as the Seaplane Lagoon, where sea planes formerly landed. It also has a nickname, as mentioned before: the Navy’s Toilet. The wind coming across the Bay was vicious, blowing increasingly from nothing to about 30 mph, and while it started out warmish, ended up very cold.

We gathered about a Dumpster full of stuff, but had no Dumpster. We brought it all home and are gonna run to the dump later in the week. We are SOOOOOO tired right now.

Notable Quotes from the day:

Linda: “Wow, I’m really gonna have to think about taking Tupperware from now on. Plastic is so evil!”

Peter: “I’ve decided to look for primary colors. Anything red, yellow, blue or green should not be on this beach.”

It’s all true. Plastic is evil. Try taking Tupperware, or wrap your sandwich in a dishtowel. If you had any inkling of how much plastic we picked up, you would stop using it at all.

Most intriguing/interesting finds:

Toothbrush, one child’s slipper, one disposable flip-flop from a nail parlor (for after pedicure), yellow army guy with no head pushing a wheelbarrow — he became our mascot for the day (he was about 2 inches tall — not a real Army guy with no head); comb; a daisy barrette, and a Hello Kitty barrette; one ear plug; a hard hat; a perfectly usable scrubby sponge; plastic flower pot; many returnable bottles worth money; lots of plastic rope; a float for a fishing net or boat.

What else? Hardly any glass. Way too much styrofoam, packing peanuts, tampon applicators, cigar mouthpieces (plastic), and fishing net. And way too many bottle caps, pens, lighters, straws and 6-pack rings. I thought we knew better than that.

For what it’s worth, none of the birds had plastic rings around their necks. That may not be what killed them.

(rant alert…)
But for heaven’s sake, people. Throw your garbage in the garbage, and recycle as much as you can. Stop using disposable products. There is no such thing as “away” when you throw something “away.” It goes somewhere. Use paper over plastic, and use reusable (even feminine products can be reused if you buy the right sort). Use matches, not a lighter. Take a fork, then take it home and wash it. Switch to cloth over paper, and start line-drying. Stop taking the ketchup and hot sauce packets from your fast food pitstops; you already have enough. You must. I know we do. Take what you need. Or stop going at all. Haven’t you seen Supersize Me? That stuff will kill you.

Start saving and get clean and green. If you haven’t done a beach cleanup lately, get out there and do it. If the ocean is the planet’s lungs, friends, we are in very serious trouble. We’re killing ourselves. It just isn’t OK anymore.

Rant over. Go kiss your kids.

news of the world

Cat on the lap and it must be blogging time. I guess my sitting here with an open, available lap is nothing but an invitation. *I* think it means I’m working. Clearly I am mistaken.

The Governator came to town yesterday and messed with our production schedule. We held the paper back by two hours in order to hear his speech — in which he attempted to blame others for the budget crisis, because it’s always someone else’s fault, isn’t it? Getting the stories done, the paper proofed and sent took longer and the press was so mad and we were actually an hour later than all that, but we made it. There were also two fires the previous night, drama, adventure, you name it. It’s all there. Check it out in the Sun, today.

It’s Earth Day this weekend, at least here in Alameda, and we’ve got an event planned. It’s the Man’s idea: we’re gonna have a neighborhood cleanup of our little filthy beach here at the Point. It’s right on the edge of Seaplane Lagoon, which sounds so pretty, unless you consider the nickname for the place: The Navy’s Toilet. There are signs warning of toxins in the fish. Don’t eat it! Apparently there is airplane and ship fuel, probably fun stuff like dioxins and PCBs and mercury — all just waiting for us. However, there is also a lot of broken glass, plastic, an old mattress and more, so we’ll do our best to clean those things up and see how it looks afterward. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little stretch of beach that was not covered in trash? That we could sit on and smell the mercury once in a while? I think so. Kudos to Mr. Husband for thinking it up. We made a flyer and passed it to all the nay-bors and we’re all set to clean up, then potluck afterward here, on Saturday. Join us, if you’re free. Wear gloves.

I had the Tiger Cub Scouts in the newspaper yesterday afternoon, working on a merit badge, and they were so cute — but um, energetic. Very much so. I was thinking they’d be older and was unprepared for six very high-strung 7 year olds. But they were all very eager to know more and so I did my best to show them what we do and how we do it. Later I took their photo (getting them to sit still was a challenge). I told Mr. Husband that it was like dropping a jar full of marbles, trying to keep the “lesson” going. Crash, rattle, roll…but that’s how it is. Fun stuff. Look for their photo in next week’s paper. Very cute boys.

I posted a call for interns on Craigslist, sent the flyer to UC Berkeley, SF State, CSU East Bay, College of Alameda, Ohlone and I think a few other places. Laney, too. I hope to get a couple of good candidates to come onboard for the summer. I also have an eager high school intern who wants to learn the ropes. It will really help me a lot to have some interns. I just can’t keep all the plates spinning these days. I expect to spend the next few weeks interviewing and figuring out who is right for us.

Last night Ana and I baked a cake from scratch — she wanted to surprise her boyfriend for passing the proficiency exam. Good for him — yay, Vinny! I realized how easy it is to bake a cake from scratch — literally just five more minutes than baking from a mix, and the flavor is so much better that it is hardly worth it to get that nasty chemical taste and extra sugar — for five minutes’ saving? Yuk. I can’t wait to taste this one. The batter was delicious. Ten times better, no, twenty, than a box mix. A good lesson: The old ways are often the best ways.

On the list today is a meeting with a freelancer, a couple of calls to women friends from my group, continuing to clean up in prep for the Saturday Earth Day potluck, planning what I’ll prepare for that (probably a couple of salads, maybe a cake — from scratch!); water the veggies outside, and in the front, all the potted plants (they look wilty). A load of laundry, perhaps. Husband says we have to go to the gym tonight. Ugh. We just got a membership to the Bladium in trade for advertising — so it’s “free” — so I guess I’d better go (creak, moan, groan…) I guess that’s why I NEED to go, huh? To stop the creaking?

Dinner tonight: Vegetarian feast. That means salad. One daughter is sick. It’s a quiet few days at the White House (La Casa Blanca), out here at the Point. Potluck this weekend.

Next week: New York.

wind and its effects

Very windy out here, and so cold. How could it have been so sunny and warm over the weekend and then so chilly for a few days? Hard to keep up. Wear shorts? Wear parkas? Wear both and hope it evens out? One never knows.

The gardeners are watering the lawns outside, because that is what they do on a Tuesday in spring through fall. But the wind is howling. So how much lawn is getting watered? Not much. But at least the cars and houses and streets are getting washed…! Pour some more water down the drains, friends…This seems to me a classic example of bad management — because it’s Tuesday, it must be meatloaf. Or Rome. When it windy, can’t we pull weeds or aerate the lawn or mow something? Trim the hedge? Must we waste copious amounts of (precious fresh) water and still not get the job done? The lawns go thirsty (that we even have lawns is a whole different topic and another bad management issue, but we’ll leave that for another day). But tick it off the list. Tuesday, watering. Done! Regardless of actual results achieved.

Who’s got her crabbypants on? Um. Hmm.

Good news: the lawn tix (lawn!!!) for Jimmy Buffett in October at the Shoreline have been purchased. Want to join us? Buy them now, online, today. They’ll go fast. Parrotheads don’t waste any time. We’ll have a pre-party in the parking lot or nearby hotel room, most likely. Wear your beach gear, and hope it’s warm. Shoreline in October? Not likely. OK, so wear your parka over your grass skirt and coconut bra.

The kittens caught a mouse yesterday. All three of them together. Teamwork! They all took turns licking it, tossing it and losing it to the others. We were so disgusted, watching from the window. Good for them. It’s what comes naturally. But I can’t watch — yuk. Later, they were huddled around my seed basket, which I keep on the patio with all the various veggie seeds and flower seeds, garden gloves, etc, to keep them handy. Something was up. I put on gloves and started pulling items out of the basket. Until EEK. There at the bottom was their little dead mouse friend.

“Bad kitties! Bad! Don’t put your dead mousie in Mommy’s garden basket!” I took the basket out onto the empty space behind the house and tossed the mousie far away. Eeeeew. Yuk. It made my skin crawl. Poor mouse. It wasn’t its fault it was a mouse or in the wrong place at the wrong time, or that the kittens buried it in my basket. But still. It made me squeal. Dead or alive, I’m not a big mouse fan. They can go live happily over there. But stay away from me, and my food.

I’m having trouble typing with a kitten (Norma Jean) on my lap (it was two, but Ophelia got mad and stalked away). Now I’m being licked. Makes me wonder about the mouse germs. Ack.

We are set to cover the Governator Wednesday, and today we’ll kick booty and get the rest of the paper done. My women’s group meets tonight in Hayward; I am begging a ride because (a) it saves gas, (b) it’s smart to carpool, and (c) I had a flat tire yesterday from a nail I apparently drove over, and AAA put on the donut tire, so I don’t want to drive to Hayward til I buy a new tire. So there you go.

Happy Tuesday, all.