Towse: views from the hill

April 26, 2006

The date is set

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 6:36 pm

The sibs have agreed on the date for the memorial service and are now finalizing place and time.

The date is far enough out that people can make plans, and so can we.

The San Jose Mercury News profile was in yesterday’s paper. SJMN photodesk used a cropped photo like the one I used here, which doesn’t show up in the online version.

Some of the information in the profile wasn’t quite right. They misspelt my mother’s name at one point — probably because they’d run a quick spell-check and “Towse” became “Townsend.” My dad did not run marathons. He ran 5Ks and 10Ks. There were a few other errors, but the profile captured the spirit of the man, the zest with which he lived his life.

We’re heading out for a few days on a trip to Illinois that we arranged what seems like a century ago now — a visit with the newest grandchild (born last December) and his family.

April 24, 2006

My brain hurts

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 9:15 pm

We’re trying to settle on a date for the memorial service and have been sorting through who’s where, when.

The first date we picked that worked for the three living sibs turned out to be a weekend that the Civil Air Patrol was having a weekend exercise and none of Dad’s CAP buddies would’ve been able to make it. Couldn’t have that.

His nibs and I are out of town for three trips (two short, one not-so) during the next seven weeks. The younger nib wants to be at the memorial, but only has one weekend he’ll be in the state while we are between now and October and that weekend is, yes, you guessed it, the weekend that the Civil Air Patrol is having its weekend exercise.

Once the date is settled, we will look for a venue that works with the date.

Indoors or outdoors? Down at the airport? Mom had a preference for outdoors.

“How about Vasona?” one sib said. “That’s a pretty place and you can reserve a space with tables and shelter, in case the weather turns on you.”

“Yes, that’s a pretty place,” all the sibs agreed.

We checked availability at Vasona for the tentative date to see whether that would work if that date is the date.

Turns out there is no reservable space available at Vasona until July …

“But if we include Sundays as well as Saturdays …”
“Mom doesn’t want a Sunday.”


April 21, 2006

Donald Frederick Towse

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 8:31 pm

I’ve been writing this week — not things I wanted to be writing, though.
Names of the living and their spouses and places they reside elided.


Posted by Picasa Donald Frederick Towse

Don Towse died April 16, 2006, while snorkeling off the San Blas Islands, Panama. Born Dec. 1924 in Somerville, MA, he was a local resident since 1960. A Ph.D. geologist (MIT) with a world-spanning career with Kaiser and the Lawrence Livermore National Lab, he was also actively involved with Civil Air Patrol for 45 years and with the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. As was his spirit, Don tandem-jumped at 10,000 feet “from a perfectly good airplane” to celebrate his 80th birthday in 2004.

He will be dearly missed by his wife of sixty-one years, and his three surviving children. Three of his six children died as adults. Grandpa to nine, Don is also survived by his twin brother and three of his four younger brothers.

Memorial services are pending.

Update: (Sun 24 Apr 2006) Don Towse Web site

Update: (Sat 23 Apr 2006) Talked with the Merc tonight. They think Dad deserves a “news” obit in addition to our paid death notice.

Oh … long story there. …

I’d thought I’d arranged for the paid obit (not cheap!) to run SA-SU-MO.

Got a call today from someone who was not the someone I was dealing with yesterday: “Do you still want to run the notice?”


“Do you know how much this is going to cost? Do you still want to do it?”


Yes, I know how much you charge. Just run the notice.


Well, now that I’ve said, “Just run the notice.” they’ll run it SU-MO-TU.


The person who called from the “news” obituary desk was … amazing … I would not want her job. She asked good questions. She was soothing. She’s working until midnight tonight on the obit desk.

“Could I ask? Why are you the one who’s contacting the newspaper, organizing the obituary?”

“Because the family thinks I’m ‘the writer’ and they think this is what I’m good at doing.”

(Ghod know they know I’m hopeless with phones and why they thought I should be the one to call up the Merc and say, you know? I think my dad deserves a real “news” obit…)

I sent the photodesk the professional photo Dad commissioned to commemorate my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary in 2005. Told them they could crop it, which is what I’ve done here. We’ll see what comes of it.

April 15, 2006

Best taste of the week from Trader Joe’s

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 3:11 am

If you don’t live near a Trader Joe’s, skip this post.

Trader Giotto’s Gnocchi al Gorgonzola.
[frozen] $2.89.
Product of Italy, imported by TJ’s.

Keep frozen until prep.

Heat one tablespoon of oil [olive] in skillet on medium heat. Pour in frozen Gnocchi with cheese and cook over high heat for 7 minutes, stirring gently.

Or microwave.

The gnocchi are fluffy. The cheese comes as disk-like objects that melt with the heat. The results are really and truly amazing.

Tasty. There are, honestly, few places in North Beach that could beat this gnocchi dish. Congrats to TJ’s.

$2.89 for four servings. I imagine they were thinking four servings as a side dish.

230cal/serving. 100cal/from fat. Ooops.

Well, we split a bag (460cal/serving. 200cal/from fat) for dinner and served the gnocchi with a green salad with balsamic dressing — that totally offsets the fat in the cheesy gnocchi, doesn’t it?

I cut up fresh basil from our water-logged deck garden and sprinkled it on top of the cheesy gnocchi along with some fresh-grated pecorino cheese.

Yummies all around. Delish.

Go forth and do thee likewise.

[Warning label: Made on shared equipment with eggs, soy, treenuts, fish and shellfish)

[URL] Dictionaraoke: the Singing Dictionary

Filed under: URL — Towse @ 2:54 am

Tom Jobim rolls over in his grave.

Listen up!

Be sure to listen all the way through. (cough. um. cough) Well, Vinicius de Moraes is rolling too.

from Dictionaraoke: the Singing Dictionary.

Don’t miss
Manilow’s Copa. Copacaban … aaaah.

April 14, 2006

What do scents say about you?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 7:39 pm

Off in another community, during a discussion of Easter food that segued into a discussion of Tabu, Emeraude, and other scents from our youth, someone asked what scent(s) I currently wore.

I answered, [his nibs] doesn’t much like perfume or other “stinky stuff,” as he calls it. He doesn’t willing walk into a store that sells soaps and bath salts. I don’t burn incense while he’s home.

That said, these are in my perfume bin:

  • Tea Rose Perfume by Perfumers Workshop
  • 4711 eau de toilette
  • lavender essence from Abbaye de Senanque
  • assorted hippie-dippie scents from the local scent shop: redwood, eucalyptus, ylang-ylang, parijata, white ginger.

Looking back at that list, I realized, that all the scents were basically unmixed essences: rose, lavender, white ginger, &c. The closest thing to a mixed perfume is 4711, an old-fashioned (first brewed in 1772) cologne.

What does it say of me that I don’t wear Tabu or Chanel No.5 or (heaven help me) Britney perfume? Why am I drawn to redwood, eucalyptus, and ginger, if I wear any scent at all?

What scents do you wear, and why?

Google Calendar

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 6:11 pm

His nibs and I have been playing around with the beta version of Google Calendar.

Previously, we’d tried synching calendars with Outlook, but that was a no-go. We didn’t have a network, so the synch’ing wasn’t as easy as it is in a work environment. Problems with the klugey synch-up we had meant his nibs overwrote any changes I’d made to my calendar when his nibs’ calendar fed into mine. In lieu of the klugey synch-up, we’d try to remember once a week to synch our calendars manually by sitting down at our computers and reading through the entries each of us had on our calendar and adding/deleting events.

His nibs is enamored of synch’d calendars. He uses one at work to keep track of when he’s doing what and when his staffers are available for meetings. I, on the other hand, am more an old-fashioned write-it-out-in-colored-pens sort of person and sorely missed the 2′x3′ write-able calendar I’d had affixed to the wall near the kitchen. Because I checked the calendar at least once a day, I could visualize it when someone asked, “What are you doing a week from Saturday at 4 p.m.?”

Alas, with the move from dale to hill we had no proper spot to hang a calendar that size. Sure, we could’ve hung it some place like the powder room, but what good would that have done? Out of sight, out of mind.

His nibs would say to me, “We’re going to the Simon Winchester lecture at lunchtime on the 17th.”

“Oh, and we have the THD dinner next week.”
“SFMOMA Members Day is next Saturday.”
“… and Francis Cooks is Sunday.”

Ask me how my schedule looked for the coming week and I had no clue. I didn’t like the feeling.

His nibs started setting up his Google calendar on Wednesday. Yesterday he imported the events from his Outlook program and we synch’d up. Easy peasy. His events show up on mine — in a different color — and mine on his.

I’m still feeling my way around to see what features I want to take advantage of and which I don’t. I can set up multiple calendars, share some, keep others personal, feed some into my master calendar, not feed others. The app has a “search my calendars” option that looks a lot like the Gmail “search mail” feature. There’s an Evite-like feature and more.

I’ve added a calendar button on my tool bar. Once I get in the habit of checking the calendar and keeping my events up-to-date, I should be good to go.

Whether Google will be trying to push Simon Winchester’s books to me in ads connected to a mention of Winchester’s name on my calendar at some future point in time is a question.

For now, the calendar is ad-free and easy to use. I have a master calendar again and fewer excuses for forgetting to do things I intended to.

Internet Resources for Writers is one of Writer’s Digest’s 101 Best Websites for Writers

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 3:49 pm

Internet Resources for Writers named one of Writer’s Digest’s 101 Best Websites for Writers for 2006. … nice thing to discover before breakfast on a sunny day.

Update: The day’s clouding over and rain’s anticipated either today or tomorrow, but … nothing can rain on my parade.

April 13, 2006

[WRITING] Taddle Creek Magazine Submission Guidelines

Filed under: writing,writing-market — Towse @ 2:11 am

The Taddle Creek Magazine Submission Guidelines

If you don’t live in Toronto, they don’t want your writings, but you might like to check out their guidelines, nonetheless.

7. Taddle Creek accepts stuff it likes. Yes, it’s just that simple. The magazine prefers submissions that are humorous or show a sense of humour about their subject. The magazine does not restrict itself to this type of submission however, and often accepts “serious” submissions, provided they are entertaining. However, please note:

7-1. If you have/have had problems with your parents (what the magazine calls “daddy issues”) and feel the need to express them in the form of prose or poetry in a way that is weepy or heavy-handed, there are many magazines that will accept your work. Taddle Creek is not one of them. If you can express your problems in a funny or entertaining way however, do send your work along.

7-2. The magazine is fully aware of the absurdity of organized religion. If you have religion issues and can present them in a way you feel the magazine’s readers would enjoy, by all means do so. Earnest religious works will not be accepted.

7-3. The magazine does not care to read any more stories written from the point of view of unborn foetuses.

7-4. Three words: no shaped poetry.

7-5. Most importantly: Under no circumstances leave two spaces after terminal periods. There is absolutely no reason to do this, despite the fact it is still, bizarrely, taught in school. Any work submitted with two spaces after the period will be sent back to have the extra spaces removed before it is even read. Authors may then sit at the grown-up table.

April 12, 2006

[FOOD] Giordano Bros. All-In-One Sandwiches (North Beach)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 7:41 pm

Giordano Bros.
303 Columbus (at Broadway)
SF (North Beach)
(415) 397-2707

“This is why,” his nibs said, “we live here and not Pittsburgh.”

The Giordano Bros. specialty is a Pittsburgh-style all-in-one sandwich: sliced french bread layered with meat (sausage, cheesesteak, turkey, pastrami, hot coppa, &c …), provolone, fries and an olive oil and vinegar (not mayo) coleslaw. Interesting concept. An all-in-one meal.

The results were … a sandwich that was relatively cheap and filling but not delicious, not memory making. Nothing to drool or die over. The sandwich did nothing for this girl, who grew up in East San Jose, but the bar/sandwich shop has a great fan base, so they won’t miss me.

If you’re from Pittsburgh, it might taste like home. Homesick Steelers fans should note that there are plenty of screens for sports watching.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress