Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Flowers do the trick

I always used to give Annetta grief when she prompted me to buy her or someone else flowers.  "Please, please, my dear, please: put the crowbar away.  I don't need the reminder, thank you very much", is what I would say and then either act on the request or non-confront it.  About 50/50.

Over time I got better at heeding the requests, either subtle or direct, and found that flowers, candy and attention did get the job done & make my life better.

So last week I had 2 inspired moments, and flowers sealed the deal with both.

I left my fanny pack in a woman's car a week & 1/2 ago during a morning "casual commuting" ride into San Francisco from Oakland.  Lucky for me I had a bunch of my business cards in the pack, and when the wonderful woman (thank you Kiko!) noticed my fanny pack, she immediately called me up.  Her office is just a few blocks away from mine and the next day I met her at lunchtime to pick it up.  When she called the night before I offered to take her out to lunch, but she demurred.  Well, I know I'll come up with some good idea, I thought, and slept on it.  The next noon en route to her office I passed by a sidewalk florist: tulips!  A beautiful bunch of tulips indeed.  So when I met her, I greeted her, thanked her for returning my pack and whipped this bouquet of flowers from behind my back.  She blushed, smiled and my day was made.

Last Saturday I had another chance to thank someone for her good suggestions and directions and was certain that flowers would do the trick.  Nicole, my optomotrist, is very friendly, kind and quite humble.  She recently had suggested I visit an opthomamologist to check my field of vision and I followed her suggestions.  The results proved negative - the distortions in my field of vision are hereditary, not caused by some nerve damage - and I was really happy both for the reassuring results and the strong suggestion Nicole made for me to visit this doctor.  So I visited her store on Saturday and was able to see her before she had any appointments.  This time I had two bouquets of tulips.  After I greeted and thanked her for her great recommendation, I handed her the flowers.  She was at a loss for words.  She profusely thanked me and gave me a great hug.  I'm her's for life.

Yes, my dear, flowers do the trick.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

me and music

Takes all kinds of music to get me happy.

Music from New Orleans makes me feel happy, Hawaiian music makes me wanna jump on a plane, and Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings makes me want to curl  up into a ball and cry.  Sometimes I listen to a Bob Dylan tune - like "Tangled up in Blue"  or "Shelter from the Storm" and think I'm the protaganist: I'm Dylan on the road, heading to another joint.  Listening to the Dead makes me remember, no long for, friends we never see anymore, or rarely.  My nostalgia is fleeting, though, not manic.  Listening to Eric Satie makes me want to time travel back 100 years to Paris. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cafe at Chez Panisse

The Cafe at Chez Panisse has always held memories for me: it was the place where I took my wife-to-be on our first date on the afternoon of December 31, 1985; it was the place where I heard Fritz Streif, the cafe's host in the 80's, regale myself and others with tales of just having flown over the still smoldering Mount St. Helens in May of 81, barely a month after the cafe opened; in its former days, pre-renovation in 1981, it was also known as the cafe, but didn't have its own kitchen, pizza oven - it was just a wet bar & service area with a number of tables for overflow from the restaurant, as well as for lunch & drink throughout the day & night.  Most of all, I remember the after hours parties in the "cabinet particulier", a six seat private dining room off the east side of the room about where the host is found in the current cafe.

But little does this past history matter now.  The people I drank and caroused around with at that time now have different entertainments, as do I.  But every now and again I have the desire to eat at Chez Panisse.  Usually we go there in December near or on my birthday for a Monday night dinner downstairs. Or occasionally for an anniversary lunch if we're around at the end of the year.  But last Saturday I took my wife and two friends who had never been to Chez Panisse for lunch and was incredibly impressed. 

I've only photographed my entree and dessert, but these pictures should tell the story:

 Halibut with buerre blanc et legumes

Then dessert: a bittersweet mousse au chocolat

The appetizers were great; the Acme upstairs bread was super; the wine exquisite; the service and timing were perfect, and the company great.  It was like falling in love all over again.  Again.