“How To Train Your Dragon 2″

Today, self was where she usually is in the summer:  watching a movie!

Her face is so familiar to all the concession stand people at the downtown Redwood City Century 20 that she regularly gets asked:  “So what movie are we seeing today?” And then she gets to hear what they think, if they’ve seen the movie already.

Today she saw “How To Train Your Dragon 2.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Contrasts 8: Fillmore Jazz Festival, San Francisco

It was an absolutely gorgeous day in the City.  Self was there to have dinner with friends at Roam Artisan Burgers on Fillmore Street.  It just so happened to be the last day of the annual Fillmore Jazz Festival.

Since the theme for this week’s Photo Challenge is the same as last week’s — CONTRASTS — self chose shots where the contrast between light and shadow, or the contrast between two different colors, was most dramatic.

The perfect place to watch the Fillmore Jazz Festival:  Roam Artisan Burgers, 1923 Fillmore Street.

The perfect place to watch the Fillmore Jazz Festival: Roam Artisan Burgers, 1923 Fillmore Street.

Most of Fillmore Street was closed for the annual Fillmore Jazz Festival.

Most of Fillmore Street was closed for the annual Fillmore Jazz Festival.

The colors of this poster are so vibrant -- like the jazz festival itself.

The colors of this poster are so vibrant — like the jazz festival itself.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Because July 4, 2014 Is Just Around the Corner

The Fourth of July is one of self’s faaaaavorite holidays, for many reasons:  the red, white and blue!  The parades!  The picnics!  The fireworks!  The summer heat (if a parade takes place in less than scorching weather, it’s not really a parade, in self’s humble opinion)! The crowds! The mood!  The retro rock music!

In honor of this year’s holiday (which falls on a Friday, thus making the weekend a three-day, which means everyone — those getting away as well those doing staycations — is in a mellow mood), the Wall Street Journal asked six Americans — a potter; a world-champion swimmer; a novelist; a fashion designer; a CEO; and a performance artist for their own particular takes on the concept of “Independence.”

Here’s what the novelist, Richard Ford, has to say:

Independence contains the seeds of drama — the very thing a novelist is looking for — because it always implies independence away from something.  It also confers consequence on a person and a complex sense of interiority, which are also things that novelists are interested in.  But does it confer strength or powerlessness?  That question is part of the American narrative.  A month before my novel Independence Day was published, I threw out the ending and wrote a new one, which we used, in which my protagonist, Frank, is standing beside a Fourth of July parade as it marches down the street and feeling the urge to join in.  Whether or not I knew it before I started the book, I knew then for certain that the real virtue of independence was the degree to which it allows you to join the human race, rather than stand apart.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Between 4: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s photo challenge is “Between.”

Here are two shots self took today, because she was thinking of the challenge:

Claremont, CA:  Downtown Farmer's Market

Claremont, CA: Downtown Farmer’s Market

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Self loves the apple cider and always gets some every time she visits son.

She’s also bought things from the spice vendor.  And Jennie gets hummus and other salads from a Mediterranean food vendor.

Self decided to throw in a picture from when she was doing a residency in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, in May.  She was looking for shots of “between” that represented actual spatial demarcations:  between stalls at a farmers market or between walls or between earth and sky.  She looked through a whole lot of her Ireland pictures before settling on this one.  She was going to say it was an example of “between earth and sky.”  But now she thinks, not really.  It’s more of the way sunlight breaks through the clouds on a typical Irish spring day.

From a Farmyard Cottage in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig, County Monaghan, Ireland

From a Farmyard Cottage in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig, County Monaghan, Ireland

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Extra Extra 6: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Self really loves this week’s Photo Challenge, it has been so much fun analyzing which pictures have that something “extra.”  Not to mention how much fun it is to look at the way other bloggers’ have interpreted the theme.

A beautiful photo is one thing, but a photo with an unexpected detail has personality and pop. — WordPress Daily Post prompt for this week’s Photo Challenge, EXTRA EXTRA

Self met this mother-daughter duo on the Hop On- Hop Off Bus Around Dublin. They hail from DALY CITY, California.  Francesca wants to be an opera singer.

Self met this mother-daughter duo on the Hop On- Hop Off Bus Around Dublin. They hail from DALY CITY, California — practically in self’s backyard! Francesca wants to be an opera singer.  The “Extra” in the shot:  The fact that instead of looking at the tourist sites the bus was passing, self spent most of her time gabbing to K and F.  Their smiles are beautiful, don’cha think?  Their next stop was Berlin.

It was an unbelievably sunny day in Dublin.  The "Extra" is the clear blue sky.

It was an unbelievably sunny day in Dublin. The “Extra” is the clear blue sky.

Lincoln's Inn, Dublin:  Self rarely drinks. But she was persuaded by a genial waitress to have white wine with her Irish bacon and cabbage. It was a fabulous idea.

Lincoln’s Inn, Dublin: Self rarely drinks. But she was persuaded by a genial waitress to have white wine with her Irish bacon and cabbage. It was a fabulous idea.  The “Extra” in the shot is the glass of wine. Self drained the glass to the last drop.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

First Saturday in June (2014): Reading The Guardian On the Train From Cork

The Guardian really likes Tom Cruise.  Self remembers reading rave reviews for some movie he did two years ago (“Oblivion”?), and now they’ve given “Edge of Tomorrow” (a kind of “Groundhog Day”/ science fiction mash-up) a positive review. OK, mebbe self is confusing The Guardian with CinemaBlend.com?  Here, anyway, is the link to The Guardian review.

Self is back in Dublin.  The train trip from Cork was very long.

Yes, she’s just been taking lightning trips all over Ireland.

Today was a beautiful day.  Not even the smallest cloud in the sky.

She met a Read the rest of this entry »

Leaving Ballyvolane (Boo)

It is fitting that, this morning, it is pouring rain.

She had a huge Irish breakfast:  yogurt, lashings of cream, whole milk, rich coffee, stewed pears and prunes, huge nutty Irish bread, soft butter, fresh orange juice, poached egg — yes, amazing how all of that could fit into self’s not-so-teensy anymore tummy.

There are some really fantastic books here, so self inquired whether there was a bookstore roundabouts, and she was told there is one in the nearby town of Fermoy.  Here’s one she enjoyed browsing through:

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Self has never heard of Darina Allen, but learns she is the founder of the Ballymolae Cooking School.

Where can self sign up?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Random in Ireland

It is a beautiful, beautiful day here in County Cork.

Self added a few names to the list of Irish places she needs to check out (if possible, all within the next week — bwah ha haaaa):

  • Skibbereen
  • Kenmare
  • the Dingle Peninsula

She’s also adding two more names to the list of Irish poets she wants to read:

  • Ciaran Carson
  • Michael Longley

Finally, a series of random observations:

A young woman at the dinner table last night had a tattoo on her forearm that said:

Living is easier with your eyes closed.

It’s from the Beatles song “Strawberry Fields.”  Self loves it.  She thinks she will make that her life motto.

In her B & B in Inchicore, self heard this song playing on the radio one day:

City girls just seem to find out early . . .  You can’t hide your lying eyes. And your smile is a thin disguise.  I thought by now you’d realize.  There ain’t no way to hide your lying eyes . . . 

It’s an old Eagles song, who would have thought she’d encounter it again in Dublin?

Tomorrow, self is moving on:  to Café Paradiso in the city of Cork, which until recently was just a restaurant until the proprietors decided to add a handful of guest rooms to the upper floor.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.   Stay tuned.

 

 

Split-Second Story Seven: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

It is raining cats and dogs here in Dublin. Why oh why did it have to start POURING when self landed in Dublin Airport?

Anyhoo, self is absolutely drenched. The thing that really had her going almost raving mad was worrying about her laptop, because it’s in a plain vinyl case, and even though the case was zipped shut (of course), rain did seep in. Aaargh! But laptop still appears to be operational as of this very moment.

This MacBook Air has been with her through thick and thin.  It would be a Tragedy of Shakesperean Proportions were it ever to go ka-blooey.

The week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Split-Second Story:

“Tell a Story by documenting a moment in time . . . “

Last night, self had agreed to meet her friend Jenny at a pub/restaurant called The Punter.  She decided to walk.  It was a gorgeous English evening.  This was the view from her starting point on Abingdon Road.  There’s a particular green to English grass.  For that matter, there’s a particular green to Irish grass, as well.

The green looks like this:

A meadow along Abingdon Road, Oxford

A meadow along Abingdon Road, Oxford

Self made a left on Whitehouse Road, and followed a winding road which led to a most verdant park:

The park on the way to The Punter, in Oxford

The park on the way to The Punter, in Oxford

DSCN5691

Beautiful, isn’t it?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Split-Second Story: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Split-Second Story :

Capture an image that tells a full story.

First, a picture that always brings a smile to self’s face when she sees it, because it calls up all the joys of summer:  barbecues, being outdoors, evening concerts in Stafford Park, ease:

Summer 2013:  The Wednesday evening concerts in Stafford Park, just two blocks from self's house, are absolutely a delight.

Summer 2013: The Wednesday evening concerts in Stafford Park, just two blocks from self’s house, are absolutely a delight.  They are generally packed with people.  The concerts range from Motown to Country to Classic Rock.

Then, feet heading towards downtown Redwood City for the annual Fourth of July Parade.

Fourth of July, Redwood City, 2013

Fourth of July, Redwood City, 2013

Summer in San Francisco is sometimes more like winter:

Andrew and Jennie, at the Palace of the Legion of Honor.  June 2013.  Typical San Francisco summer weather:  They could be in Ireland.

Andrew and Jennie, at the Palace of the Legion of Honor. June 2013. Typical San Francisco summer weather: They could be in Ireland.

Oh does that longing for good ol’ Americana ever hit home — yes, despite the fact that self’s current trip has been a never-ending series of spectacular adventures.

For instance, she can’t wait to see a movie (Watching “Eastenders” is her only guilty passion.  That and reading fan fiction).  The X5 from Cambridge passed a movie theater showing “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”  Self practically salivated.  She also badly wants to see that new Emily Blunt movie, the one where she puts on her action-hero mojo.  Anyone who saw Blunt chop wood in that time-travel movie with Joseph Gordon-Levitt knows this woman can certainly pack it.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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