Friday, April 30, 2021

Auld Lang Nine --- Day 9/365

Walk: Presidio

Distance: 4 miles, Yoga

Goodbye 9.

Today is the last one CIWT readers will see 9/___ in the headline.  Like the eight years before it, CIWT 9 was an interesting year.  But 9 was certainly the most unexpected and unpredictable.

Yesterday Ciwt saw her first "Leased" sign on a vacant neighborhood shop, and the streets were busy with neighbors of all ages eating outside at our new parklets.  So, it looks and feels like some of the most anxious and erratic 9 energy is beginning to fade out and new space is being created for CIWT Year 10.  

We'll see tomorrow.  Meanwhile, Namaste CIWT 9.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

It's Midweek!! --- Days 9/363 and 364

Walk: 1. Presidio  2. Office Depot to laminate Vaccine and Medicare cards

Distance: 1. 5.6 miles, Yoga  2. 4.5 miles, Yoga

Everywhere Ciwt looks, it's politics.  Since CIWT is not where you go for those (because they aren't here), she wishes you happy midweek days.  



Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Go West (Portal), Young Man --- Day 9/362

Walk: Cute West Portal

Distance: 1.5 miles, small stretch

Remember neighborhoods that had a bookstore and a small movie theater along with flower shops, hardware stores, groceries and other practical, friendly offerings their people really need?  And no Starbucks (maybe).  Well, there's still at least one in San Francisco: cute, cozy, user friendly West Portal.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Oscar Endnotes --- Day 9/361

Walk: Monday Hood errands

Distance: 4 miles, Yoga

1. Usually it is about gowns, but in the many hours of last night's Oscars Ciwt began to obsess about the tuxedos.  She found the gold, pink and blue/yellow ones fetching; they draped nicely and were well fitting. 

Leslie Odom, Jr.


Colman Domingo
Martin Desmond Roe and Trevon Free

2. But then there were the black tuxes.  They looked good on Alan S. Kim, the young son in the movie Minari.  

But that same little boy cut kept showing up on adult male stars, like Harrison Ford 

The boxy jackets were hip length at most and their single button was somewhere just below the breastbone. They came across to Ciwt's eye as a size too small when the men were standing still, and when they raised their arms or even just moved, the jackets would open and ride up and the shirts and ties would pop out. Sloppy cute on boys, but not so much on older men.


3.  Ciwt's winner for Best Gown and Most Stylish Couple went hands down to 

Viola Davis and husband, Julius Tennon

4.  Ciwt's Award for Breath of Fresh Air goes to Best Supporting Actress, Minari's Yuh-Jung Youn
who made Ciwt (and many others) laugh out loud when she fauned over her presenter, Brad Pitt.

"Mr. Brad Pitt, finally. It's nice to meet you. Where were you when we were filming?"  
 Then the utterly charming statement "I don't believe in competition. How can you win over Glenn Close?"  And later when she lifted her Oscar and said to her two boys "who made me go out and work," "Beloved sons, this is the result because Mommy worked so hard."  So much is in her delivery which you can enjoy here.


Sunday, April 25, 2021

Ciwt's 40th Oscars (at least) --- Day 360

Walk: Short one, rainπŸ‘

Distance: 1.5 miles, Oscar watching yoga

Colman Domingo

Apparently some stars have already started arriving at the Red Carpet, so Ciwt is off to watch as she has done faithfully for decades.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

World Book & Indie Booksellers Days --- Day 9/359

Walk: Browser Books and Books Inc.

Distance: 3.9 miles, stretches

So today Ciwt participated in a personal dual celebration: belated World Book Day (yesterday, April 23) and today's Independent Booksellers Day (last Saturday in April).  She did it by walking (of course) to her favorite indies.  

At Browser Books she bought Barack Obama's Promised Land.  (Maybe she should say invested in; quite the price tag).  

Then it was on to Books Inc. where she  where she bought a novel by Jenny Offill, whose writing Ciwt likes a lot.  This time it was a paperback.

A good walk and a nice time to consider the significant part of our daily lives books have played since ancient times.  Ciwt was the kid who spent hours in her room with the door closed reading or walking around with her face in a book when her intensely social parents insisted she come out of her room.  Like many, she can't imagine her childhood without books and without all the things she learned about life from them, including how magnificent Collie dogs are and how they can break your heart. 

The great dog story writer, Albert Payson Terhune, "in conference" with his collies

 All this remains true, except now she can stay in her room and read for as long as she pleases.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Blowing in the Wind --- Day 9/358

Walk: Another cold, blowy trek through the Presidio 😢

Distance: 3.9 miles, yoga

So Ciwt always thought languishing was a Southern thing. Only characters in Tennessee Williams' playslanguished in faded chintz* and withered linen around their deteriorating properties.

But, no, now it is Ciwt up here in cold blowy San Francisco where there's never a need for linen.  And many of us all over our covid-haunted planet these days.  

Adam Grant does a pretty good (languish term for excellent) job describing it here

* Some of Ciwt's chintz is not only faded but has little tears from cat claws.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

A Rather Blustery Day --- Day 9/357

Walk: Hood in cold, grey wind

Distance: 3 miles, yoga

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Walk Right In, Sit Right Down, Immerse Yourself --- Days 9/355 & 356

 Walk: 1. Union Square for back check up (2 more weeks for healing)   2. Immersive Van Gogh

Distance: 1. 3 miles, yoga  2. 6 miles, yoga

From this 

To this

So, Ciwt took a quick trip to the small northern French town of Auvers-sur-Oise and immersed herself
in Van Gogh's gorgeous colors and luscious brushwork to the accompaniment of moving music.  It was 
all part of a sound and light show that originated in Paris and is exhibiting in various venues across the U.S. in the next few months.*   If you live one of them, Ciwt highly recommends the experience.  Very professionally done and transporting.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Guardian Lions --- Day 9/354

Walk: Presidio

Distance: 3.5 miles, small yoga

A wee bit like Patience and Fortitude* who have been guarding the Main Branch of  the New York Public Library since it opened in 1911

*These two majestic, male lions were originally named Leo Aster and Leo Lenox after two major NYPL benefactors, John Jacob Astor and James Lenox. But during the Great Depression Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia renamed them Patience and Fortitude because he felt these were the qualities New Yorkers need to survive the brutally harsh economic times.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Happy At Last --- Days 9/352 & 353

Walk: 1. No (cat nail trim 😱 and catching up with streams)  2. Presidio

Distance: 1. small yoga  2. 3.5 miles

So Ciwt has been using her back healing time to catch up with all the art and author talks, and streaming movies she signed up (and sometimes paid) for.  Well, the ones she remembered to watch before they expired anyway πŸ˜•.

With our local SF Film Festival and theater, the upcoming Oscars, various PBS docs, and the burdgeoning number of museum on line events, this has not been easy.  Or particularly uplifting.  Lots of dark history, biography, and general subject matter and stories punctuated by a three truly stellar, must-watch performances.  All of these three have already been recognized by multiple pre-Oscars awards ceremonies but are worth mentioning in case you missed them.  

1. Above all, the late Chadwick Boseman as Levee in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.  One director called Levee "a monster role," and Boseman takes it to a level no future actor may ever reach.  If you admire superior acting, go to Netflix and watch this tour de force.

2. If you do go there, you will also see the formidable performance by Viola Davis as Ma Rainey.  Davis is always memorable in her roles, and she's particularly impressive standing toe-to-toe with Boseman. Any other actor might have been overshadowed by the ferocious, mercurial, soulful Levee, but not Davis's Ma Rainey.

3. Daniel Kaluuya is a thoroughly British actor, but you'd never guess it as he plays the thoroughly American 60's activist, Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah

After those and other trips through challenging history with Hemingway, Picasso, an Australian Outback community during a drought (The Dry), an unraveling New York City prosecutor (Naked Singularity), Ciwt was finally uplifted by Cuban Dancer, a documentary that follows Alexis Valdes, an aspiring teen dancer, through five years that include star status with his friends and large family in Cuba, and staggeringly difficult, character building adjustments necesitated by the family's move to America. The pure dedication, hard work (to put it mildly), steadfastness, love and mutual support by Valdez and his family are even more heartwarming and exhilarating than Valdez's dancing.  

Friday, April 16, 2021

Tulips!!!! --- Day 9/351

Walk: Hood

Distance: 5.5 miles, small yoga

We're experiencing Tulip Heaven here in Ciwt's neighborhood. πŸ’“

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Not Sitting There Pushing Computer Keys --- Days 9/349 & 350

Walk: 1. Hood  2. Hood

Distance: 1. 3 miles, yoga  2. 2.5 miles,  yoga

Viola Davis

Viola Davis as Ma Rainey

So, yesterday Ciwt learned somethings about Special Effects Oscars.  Those are the ones that have their own awards ceremony with the winners names announced at the Academy Awards.  

Probably like many people Ciwt vaguely assumed the competition in all the technical categories - eg, sound design, visual effects, hair simulation, miniature microphones, and more - was among technical wizards sitting alone at their computers.  Geeks not artists.  

No, even the most tech sounding innovations involve maybe 80% or more artistry.  For instance if mouth movement must be altered or added to the film version of a character (animated or live) the 'technician' must visualize and reposition at least the entire head, chin, shoulder area because they all change with the mouth.  And this must be done word for word, for many exacting hours.

Even the categories Ciwt thought she understood are much more artistically complex than she assumed. For example, see that wavy 20's style wig Viola Davis is wearing above in Ma Raineys Black Bottom? It is made from horsehair - French horsehair - because wigs in that era were.  And wigs in this era aren't - many are synthetic if not human hair.  So the wig designer had to locate the hair from French suppliers, then wash and comb the dust, tangles and, yes, manure out of it before hand-creating the wig single strand by single strand.  That took 80 hours and was just a small part of turning the delicately beautiful Ms. Davis into the 300+ pound, raunchy, sweaty Ma Rainey.   Maybe the artists involved in all the parts of that transformation would have welcomed a computer where they could just push buttons.  

No, the ones Ciwt saw and heard are true artists - taking enormous pride in their painstakingly artful solutions and accomplishments

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

They Rock --- Day 9/348

Walk: Presidio

Distance: 4.3 miles, small yoga

Right by the Blue tree is this small rock garden some little person (Ciwt thinks it's a girl) is creating one by one..

Monday, April 12, 2021

Not Easy Being Blue --- Day 9/347

Walk: Presidio

Distance: 4 miles, small yoga (with no twists)


There has come into bloom a small tree with the prettiest, softest, most delicately scented blossoms that stuns Ciwt every time she passes it on the way to Presidio pickleball.  It came alive about a month ago, and makes her stop and look every time.

The magnet is that blue color.  There are just so few blue flowers and shrubs she encounters - which she thought might be unique to Northern California.  But it turns out there are very few blue flowers or shrubs anywhere in the world.  According to biological scientists it's a color that is 'infrequent in nature' with less that 10 percent of all species of flowering plants producing blue flowers.

Why? Ciwt wondered.  Again a biologist was there to answer: There is no true blue pigment in plants, so plants don't have a direct way of making a blue color.  In order to do so a few species of flowering plants and trees have 'figured out' (Ciwt's non-tech term) how to go through complicated alterations, and one of these is Ciwt's spectacular tree, the Ceanothus Pacific Blue, which should be capturing her heart for another month or so.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Very Excitable* --- Day 9/346

Walk: No, Sunday rest and finishing documentary stream

Distance: n/a

We know early on (or before if we are Hemingway followers) that the clean writing and macho pictures belied the intense mental and physical turmoil that ransacked Hemingway's life.  So, for Ciwt four of the six hours or two of the three episodes of  PBS's Hemingway documentary were just downers.  Excellently researched and filmed by the superb documentary team of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, but still downers for Ciwt.

By the end of Episode One - which she definitely recomments -  we know where Hemingway got his writing style, that he came home from his hellish WW I experiences physically and mentally broken and began both his macho posturing and alcoholic drinking.  We know about his years in Paris, his behavior patterns with his serial wives, his lying and that he was already the most famous and best writer of the early and perhaps mid-twentieth century.  He had 'rearranged the furniture of writing' as the great writer himself, Tobias Wolff, put it.  We know he had had three serious concussions, couldn't be alone,was a daily drunk, was narcissistc and obsessed with death, was brutal and unreliable in and out of  marriage - and was internationally famous.

Learning all that with old clips of the people and places of  his childhood and handsome young adulthood along with those of Paris in the Twenties is stimulating, fascinating, visually alive.  But by Episode Two, Hemingway is in his thirties and the effects of his mental and physical illnesses - including alcoholism - have gained on him and keep growing.   And from then on we learn nothing new really.  It's Hemingway being brutal here and challenging someone to a boxing match there, and roughing up his wives, and going to bullfights and aimlessly, drunkenly carousing, savaging his friends and people who had helped him in print.  Getting more concussions, killing animals and deep sea fish.  A huge macho display captured around the world in magazines and news reels.  And producing mostly great literature. 

By Episode Three, there he is again but worse, just a shell.  Now the abuse is physical with the wives, the looks and health are gone, the writing is a grind some of it not so good, one of it - The Old Man and the Sea - outstanding.  But what are we viewers gaining from watching this empty, highly publicized, predictable tragedy?  It's just terribly sad, depressing, the man is very very sick and has been for decades.  Too much for Ciwt; she had difficulty shaking the glumness of it all.

* In the early twenties and before Hemingway had a publisher for his first novel, The Sun Also Rises, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote Maxwell Perkins a letter introducing Hemingway and recommending his writing.  Among other things, Fitzgerald wrote: “He’s very excitable, and I can’t promise he’ll know his own mind next month.”

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Cat Guys --- Days 9/343, 344 & 345

 Walk: 1. Fillmore for lunch with friend (imagine that)  2. Hood errands 3. Hood 

Distance: 1. 2 miles   2. 4.5 miles  3. 3.5 miles, random stretches and slight yoga poses daily

So, the 1920's, 30's, 40's  and Paris are alive and well in Ciwt's cultural considerations.  The Calder-Picasso  Show at our de Young Museum has now been joined by Ken Burns' PBS documentary on Hemingway.  And Ciwt is busy taking that in.  Stay tuned for her thoughts, but for now who knew Hemingway was a cat person?   Not Ciwt.

He's in good company 🐈




And many more........................................


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Don't Twist Either --- Day 9/342

Walk: Golden Gate Park

Distance: 3.8 miles

While her back heals, Ciwt isn't allowed to do any twisting.

So guess she'll just have to stick with these straight ahead movements for a while.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Don't Smile! --- Days 9/340 & 341

Walk: 1. Hood  2. Union Square Chiropractor

Distance: 1. 4 miles  2. 1.5 miles

So, the verdict on Ciwt's back pain is in: iliolumbar ligament tear requring at least a month of detoxing from pickleball.  And of the many interesting things she has been doing with her excess energy (like filling out and paying her taxes), Ciwt renewed her passport.  And that meant renewing her passport photo.  

Ten years ago when Ciwt was way too limber for any back tear, she was allowed to smile and look likeable for her photo.  But now, when she is ten years older, no smiling allowed according the nice young Walgreens counter worker/photographer.  Oh dear, whoever has to look at it might be in for a fright.  Then again, maybe that will be nobody, because she only used her old one for one trip to Paris in ten years.  

But! She has been watching Rick Steves before Jeopardy every evening during this covid year, so she considers herself quite the international woman at this point.  

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Street Easter --- Day 9/339

Walk: Hood

Distance: 4 miles, a little stretching (which hopefully will help - unlike yesterday's stretches 😒)

Their house

Across the Street from their house

Ciwt walked over their way this Easter, and yes!  No matter what the holiday, these San Francisco fellow travelers provide a two-part festive celebration for the delight of all passersby.  Happy Easter.