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My heart skipped a beat — I know this hill well.

This is a view looking down Filbert Street in North Beach section of San Francisco (Coit Tower is behind the photographer in this shot).

The church is St. Peter and Paul — beautiful interior that smells like Myrrh. My family attended weddings or funerals here nearly every weekend when I was growing up. The receptions were ALWAYS held at the Italian Athletic Club which is off to the left…above the trees that are Washington Square Park.

On the north side of the street (across from Mama’s) on the corner, is  the Liguria Bakery a little shop that sells the best fresh focaccia ANYWHERE — but go early they sell out by noon.

Two doors up, at 1708 Stockton, was my grandparent’s apartment - the place my Mom grew up. She learned to ride her bike on this hill and her name is carved on a telephone pole here.

If you looked just off to the right before my grandfather died in 2003 you could probably see the tomatoes and pot plants he grew on the roof :)

Gino, Frank and Chris - my grandfather (left) and his brothers. Three of a set of four boys who when their father remarried, piled into a car and drove from Mississippi to San Francisco, where they remained. T-R-O-U-B-L-E in all caps and generally whispered about in polite company.

Three of the four married women named Mary.

Three of the four fought in WWII.

Three of the four did very well for themselves and left a legacy behind.

I loved these men for the rawness of who they were and that they never put on airs.

They were joyful and cantankerous. At least one of them grew pot on their roofs, and strolled the steets of San Francisco smoking a fat joint. One also made beer and ‘torpedo juice’ out of fermented pineapple that had to be opened into a bucket.

They were sinners not saints. They could talk you and drink you under the table any day of the week and twice [after Confession and doughnuts] on Sunday.

I wish you’d all gotten to know them.

Our diabetic dog

Vaca eats better than most people - 8 oz chicken breast, 7 oz brown rice and 8 oz veggies…but we found that by making her food we can help stabilize her sugar levels. It’s worked for two years…

So, I’m off to the store to buy 14 pounds of chicken for this week which is admittedly INSANE - we BBQ the chicken (the grill is faster and hold more than the oven) and spend every Monday evening packaging meals for her.

I had opted for cremation for her, but Kevin insisted we could do this and we have…much of her care falls to me as I work at home and initially that was a big time drain but now it’s just what we do. We do monitor her sugar using a glucose meter and have had good success in keeping her alive and kicking.

Occasionally when we have nothing to eat in the house, I’ll have one of her meals and Kev will have a FIT. Once he admonished me loudly in a grocery store to “Stop eating the dog’s food!” You can imagine the looks…. :)

BBQ Chicken Nights - every Monday at our place should you choose to stop by.

Diabetic dog care is our Specialty


I love my pencils by Roberto Papa

My dad ran an advertising agency in San Francisco until I was 13. He had EVERY color of Prismacolor pencil, every color of marker — so, in turn my sister’s and I never lacked for art supplies. I loved the names of the colors - Apple Bice, Peacock Blue, Scarlet Rose. We spent literally hours a day drawing, following my eldest sister’s lead and creating Elizabethan Ball Gowns and adding drawn fabric/lace swatches at the side. I don’t know where she learned to do this, or why we followed her, but nothing brings me back to that time faster than the smell of newly sharpened Prismacolor pencils.

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