I am completely charmed by the elegance of this rare glazed and speckled brick. Colors: sand with black and not a glossy glaze but a matter, so subtle I almost didn't recognize them as glazed. Complimented with a rosy Tiny Pebble mortar.

Guess where these bricks are located and win a prize.
Hint: Not TGS/H.


The damn lab called with the results: Negative.



I googled my Doctor's name yesterday looking for her phone number and inadvertently discovered she had made a 2,000 donation to G. W. Bush's campaign fund a few years ago.

I was all set to like her.

Two weeks later and no biopsy results? TWO WEEKS?

Then there's the matter of her receptionist who is not only rude but stupid.
Why are you here today?
I have an appointment to have stitches removed and another excision.
For today?
Uh, yeah.
We don't have you on the books.

I yanked the appointment card out of my wallet and handed it over.
OK, have a seat.

I will never be dismissed and will never have a seat. I remained standing, clutching the counter with my finger nails while brewing escalating blood pressure. I've attitude coming off me like torpedoes and can turn into a crew of wet bitches within five seconds.

I want to know the results of the biopsy and I want you to either call the lab or give me the number so I can call.

Within 30 seconds I was escorted to a room, heard apologies about the lab running behind (oh give me a freaking break) and watched as the tech cut and pulled nylon cord out of my breast.

Then Doc made her appearance wielding a knife and needle and told me I was just getting a local. Oh goodie, we can chat.

What's up with this donation to Bush
, I asked.
She paled. How do you know about that?
I explained the google info and she confided her former husband must have made the donation. Sure.

Besides, she said, What does politics have to do with medicine?

I waited and when she didn't join my laughter, I guffawed.

She looked peeved.
You're joking, right? Have you seen SICKO?
She quickly changed the subject when I made a comment about the rude and stupid receptionist, Miss Personality.
I'm firing her soon, she said, she just isn't nice.

That sort of made up for no lab report but then she said:
The lab may have found something and they want to do more stains.

Guess who else is getting fired?

Here's the two week old incision. Red arrows indicate my allergy to adhesive which is always insult to injury. Latex free bandages make no difference. Add to: allergies to narcotic pain pills (most distressing) and all known antibiotics.

I exit to the hallway where I spot an ironic EXIT sign.

I'm relived I don't find signs in the Doc's bathroom portentous.

On the way back I marveled at the rosy dusk settling in TG Park.
HOME. All better.


I've partnered with Christopher Thiemet http://saintlouiscity.com/mls.html to raise funds and create a lasting memorial garden for our friend, Marti Frumhoff who died suddenly last May. Marti was a community activists' activist.

You can see the plans for the garden here http://www.martifrumhoffmemorial.org/

The site is also set up to accept doations via pay pal and has information about where to send a check.

Need some gifts for the holidays? Here's my online fundraiser for the Marti Frumhoff memorial garden. http://gems4agarden.blogspot.com/

And here's some photos of what you'll see on the site:



Check out the cats on this vintage psychedelic blouse I'm selling on Ebay. Sinister grin, cartoon cats tripping across the blouse on acid. From an era when women weren't afraid to wear outrageous clothing.

Now mass marketed fashion is about blending in and wearing beige and khaki military camo neutrals from the Gap.

That's what happens when Republicans are in office.



When I was five years old, I thought that the mica flecks in sidewalks was god and no one else could see it. I became mesmerized in its dazzling presence. Sometimes tethered to my Mom's hand, I would refuse to budge. I'd clap my hands to express delight with the light bouncing beneath my feet. It inspired me to take up tap dancing, hopscotch, and smoking.

I still feel this way. Except for the god part.
By age twelve I was an atheist and refused to attend mass at Holy Family.

I put my foot down and refused to budge.

This led to a brief conversation with my father.
Why aren't you going to church?
I don't believe that stuff.
How do you think you got here?
I suppose you had something to do with that!

I took this pix of the sparkling ramp a few nights ago on Juniata and Bent. While smoking a cigarette, I managed a soft shoe shuffle and clapped my hands in delight.



I heard about the hole in the wall from neighbors, forgot about it until I drove by today and WHOA! The report was a purple Saturn had plowed into the wall.

I meandered over to talk to the two hilarious guy working on it and quickly realized I'd met one of them before: Mark, a stone mason and one extraordinary character.

He told me about talking with the woman who lived in the apartment above the hole. She heard a car revving loudly (it was heading west on 38 Wyoming) with foot to the pedal and flying. By the time she got out of bed and looked out the window it was in the process of flying across Gustine and into her building. Talk about stroke material!

My conclusion: suicide attempt. (UPDATE: An email from 3rd District Capt Hoobs said that the driver lost control of the car and survived the impact).
Haven't heard a word about the driver but the car had to be towed out.


The building was hit so hard that foundation stones flew over nine feet into the basement.

I've heard that the foundations of our homes were two feet thick. I measured. They are.

See those strings running over the hole in the wall? That is the only way to lay brick or rebuild a stone wall to make it flush.

There was a point in the conversation with Mark that he took a closer look at me and asked if I was a stone mason also.

I've never been more flattered.


Every color in antique face bricks resonate with nature.
Look to the Autumn trees (including the bark)and the sky for the rare blue glazed brick.

For my sister Efficient who lives in Tampa and doesn't experience autumn.


Ah, but I love Caryn Dugan!
She's such a delightfully talented woman.
Here's the card she made to celebrate the completion of the rehab of their home on Wyoming. Snowflakes in the sky and BLUE BRICK!


Calla lily, my garden.


Hartford and Bent, TGS


Knock, knock!
Who's there?
Mary who?
Mary me and I'll love you forever!

41xx Humphrey and that's all you're getting out of me.



While I've never done any masonry I've looked at pointing, brick and mortar for decades. (I've even tasted the stuff, bricks too.) I'm a huge fan of the old mortar blends with the tiny pebbles. I do my research on sidewalks, in the streets and hang with some stone masons (I'm some kind of brick groupie to these guys who kindly tolerate my excitement with amused and bewildered expressions. No one's ever asked me these questions before, said Simon). These are my qualifications.

Loosely speaking, pointing is the mortar between bricks. A more accurate definition is that it's the visible edge of the mortar-joint. There are styles of pointing which include flush, tuck, bucket handle and recessed pointing.

The photo below shows the repointing debacle on the Capistrano building on Utah and Gustine.

I'm betting the original pointing on the Capistrano's exterior walls was recessed. That is, the brick presented about 1/4" of an inch further out than the pointing.

I realize (without never having done it) drag face brick is a bitch to repoint. I've documented enough of it and seriously, I sympathize. (I also know that old mortar had a higher lime content -hence the term lime-mortar- than the newer replacement mortar. The Portland cement content of new mortar can damage old walls beyond repair.) Repointing brick like this requires expertise, patience and proper tools. None of these were on the truck the day it pulled up to The Capistrano.

The mortar mix used does not begin to match the original and it will eventually pop out.

In the upper left hand corner you can see that the repointing was finger tooled. Finger tooled! No, NO, NO!

Click on the photo to enlarge it and you'll see cracks already forming in the mortar. No cracks present in the brick though!

And now, feast your eyes on the details of this one astonishing brick.

More finger tooling and resulting fissures.

Stretcher Bond:

NEVER sandblast old brick! Sandblasting can damage the hard surface of fired brick and open the bricks up to water damage. Not to mention that fact that it can turn beautifully rubbed facing brick into dented, pitted clinkers, and can blast out softened mortar joints. Sandblasting will kill your building.

There are alternatives to sandblasting that could be used if the brick is heavily soiled or stained. Some other options include rice-hulls, styrofoam balls, nutshells, etc. All of these options are easier on brick, although still risky. They require far less pressure, and may be safer. Still, the only surface really suited to sandblasting is metalwork.

NEVER paint brick!




Spotted on the 4000 block of Wyoming on a weekend walk with Beau. I've never seen this style of brick, never ever! From the sidewalk I couldn't believe my eyes ... my glasses that is. I became aware of having a goofy smile on my face while spying on it.

OK, check this out:

This is some seriously cool brick, my friends.

Repointing this kind of brick has to be a bitch.

BTW, The Brick Institute of America encourages the use of these definitions.

Point - to place plastic mortar into joints to correct defects or to completely fill joints in newly laid masonry.
Repoint - to place plastic mortar into cut or raked joints to correct defective mortar joints in masonry.
Tuckpoint - (1) to point masonry with a flush mortar joint that approximates the color of the masonry units and a mortar of contrasting color that is shaped into a thin strip. (2) see repoint.



Excision, stage left

I've been off pain medication for four weeks, I was complaining to Charlene on the phone last week. It shows, she said, you're very crabby and you've lost your sense of humor.

OK, that was mean. I'm always funny.

I've been off pain meds due to having surgery today, Doctor H didn't want me to bleed out and not clot when cut.

Surgery: A 'suspicious' mole on my left breast. I drove to Clayton and rode up the elevator.

Office hallways are creepy:

So is a table that looks similar to a GYN's table. Dross!

There's the needle waiting for me on the counter! Nice size, it didn't even impress my needle phobia.

Doctor H and her tech yakked quite a bit about personal matters while cutting on me. Doc H's brother-in-law is 51, was recently diagnosed with tonsil cancer and is stage three. He's also a physician and father of three kids.
I was treated to his prognosis (not good) while avoiding looking over what's left of my chest. Cancer is rampant in Doc H's family (and extended family). It's terribly trendy these days.

I waited for a pause in the conversation and asked the tech to take this photo. That red outline is blood.

I scolded Doc H for talking over my open skin. If you have Hep C, it would be instant transmission! And what about that superbug?

Results in a week.
I am crossing my fingers, legs and eyes.


What a hunk of beauty. Blue coral, slightly larger than a man's baseball glove. Silly me, I thought it had been dyed so I bleached it. Nothing happened so I googled blue coral and sure enough, it's the real thing.

Things like this make me happy for days.