A Dream

Oh Lord, it is soooo hot.

Self was driving madly around LA just a few days ago, and now she is home.

But it is just as hot as it was in LA. With the added bother that much of her garden looks ready to expire and it is hard to water because it is so hot. Not to mention that there is a drought so one should really NOT be watering.

Self has not found time to search for more photographs on this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge:  FRAY. She commonly writes four or five posts on the week’s theme, but so far this week she’s only written one.

She peruses other bloggers’ sites and found this series of pictures of lightning (which frays the sky? She guesses that must have been what the blogger was thinking) which were interesting.

Oh Lord, her arm hurts. Is practically stiff from all the commenting on student pieces.

Last night she dreamt (or was it really happening?) that she was experiencing a terrific pain in her chest. Then her Altima plunged off a pier and straight into some water, and very slowly disappeared. With herself in it. So that means she died. End of story! The dream continued, though. She was inexplicably able to move through space as if she were alive. What does that mean? It was all confusing as heck.

Then she went to Barnes & Noble, where it was very airconditioned, and she couldn’t find any books by Shusako Endo or Jim Crace or Sarah Shun-lien Bynum. She took so long searching the book aisles that by the time she returned home, The Man was home. He always parks so snugly, almost blocking her access to the only driveway. Seems almost like a challenge, the way he parks. She’s tried to figure out the motivation, but so far it has eluded her. Couldn’t he move forward, even just a foot. It would seem so much more polite. Self thinks: if Nicky Loomis were here, she would certainly make of this a story.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

California Highway 1: The Lure

Self is headed back to southern California pretty soon.  She loves, loves, loves it.  Just the feeling of driving, never mind that the freeways feel bigger and everything’s so much farther apart than in the San Francisco Bay Area. (No, self likes that places are farther apart!  She can take longer to get there!)

Condé Nast Traveler’s July 2014 issue has a letter from the editor about what California’s Highway 1 means to her.

Well, it means something to self as well.  When self was 13 and her Dear Departed Sis 14, our parents took the whole family for a driving vacation in the States.  We lived in Manila, but Dearest Mum’s parents and younger brother and sister lived in San Francisco. Dear Departed Dad always had this dream of taking us on a cross-country road trip — in an RV. This was a sort of specious dream, since self’s Dear Departed Dad had no idea how to change a flat tire or how to hook an RV into one of those things that drains waste. And he’d also never driven anything bigger than a club wagon, and we all know that an RV is a completely different animal from a club wagon.

Anyhoo, we did make that driving trip, borrowing a car from self’s maternal grandparents, and we snaked down Highway 1 all the way from San Francisco to San Diego, then snaked east towards Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. And Dear Departed Dad allowed self to choose the stations we listened to, and self fell in love with America’s “Horse With No Name.”

Son attended Cal Poly/San Luis Obispo, but only once did we ever venture farther north than San Simeon on Highway 1. And oh man. We got stuck in a humongous traffic jam, that took hours to sort itself out.  And son swore that would be the last time — ever — he would take Highway 1 to the Bay Area. Self felt rather demoralized by the incident, to tell you the truth.

The last time self was on Highway 1 was just recently.  She was lost.  She was coming from Skyline College, took a wrong turn somewhere, found herself on Highway 1, then just kept driving south.  The views got more and more spectacular, and self was all excited, wondering if she’d actually make it as far as Big Sur.  But she didn’t.  Anxiety began to creep in, and self doubled back and went home.

Here’s what Pilar Guzman, Editor-in-Chief of Condé Nast Traveler, has to say about her memories of Highway 1:

There is something about a road trip in one’s home state with a sibling or childhood friend that makes you feel like you’re 17 again.  We packed a cooler, sang along to Adele’s “Someone Like You” over and over, and analyzed our parents for the umpteenth time, telling the defining stories of our childhood to each other as though for the first time.  It always strikes me that no matter how many digital memory-keeping advances we make, a family’s mythology only really evolves in an oral tradition.

After the Squaw Valley Writers Conference, self was on an absolute high.  The last day of the conference was on her birthday. She drove down with another conference participant, Heather Lee.  Heather just sent self a CD where she put all the songs we listened to on the drive from Squaw Valley.  It includes songs by Pherrell Williams, Johnny Legend, Coldplay.  Self likes to think of that CD as her “Happy” CD. She’s just decided she’ll bring it along with her to southern California this time.

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

DSCN6227

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.

Back to Reading THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

Self is back in Redwood City, California.

Which can only mean two things:

She is back to watching all the episodes she missed of Game of Thrones Season 4 — which she missed because, you know, Ireland.

She is back to perusing The 48 Laws of Power, by brilliant (because-from-Harvard) Professor Robert Greene.

Here, for example, is Law # 14:

Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy

In the realm of power, your goal is a degree of control over future events.  Part of the problem you face, then, is that people won’t tell you all their thoughts, emotions, and plans.  Controlling what they say, they often keep the most critical parts of their character hidden — their weaknesses, ulterior motives, obsessions.  The result is that you cannot predict their moves, and are constantly in the dark.  The trick is to find a way to probe them, to find out their secrets and hidden intentions, without letting them know what you are up to.  (p. 103)

On p. 104, there’s a quote from Arthur Schopenhauer:

If you have reason to suspect that a person is telling you a lie, look as though you believed every word he said.  This will give him courage to go on; he will become more vehement in his assertions, and in the end betray himself.  Again, if you perceive that a person is trying to conceal something from you, but with only partial success, look as though you did not believe him.  The opposition on your part will provoke him into leading out his reserve of truth and bringing the whole force of it to bear upon your incredulity.

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.

Work of Art 4: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Can you believe it will be summer soon? Summer is absolutely self’s FAVORITE time of the year!

A time to celebrate heat and being outdoors! In fact, summer would be absolutely perfect if she didn’t have to water!

Now to the WordPress Photo Challenge this weeek:  WORK OF ART.

A vintage car can be a work of art.  At least, it is treated as such by people in self’s corner of the world:

Annual Redwood City Fourth of July Extravaganza always includes an exhibit of vintage cars!

Annual Redwood City Fourth of July Extravaganza always includes an exhibit of vintage cars!

Last year, self spent a few weeks in Venice with Margarita Donnelly, long-time publisher of Calyx Press. She loved taking the vaporetto to the various outlying islands of the Venetian lagoon.  She visited Murano one evening, after all the tourists were gone.

Near the Vaporetto Stop in Murano

Near the Vaporetto Stop in Murano

Another example of outdoor art on Murano. This may be a Chihuly.

Another example of outdoor art on Murano. This may be a Chihuly.

Work of Art 3: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Crossing the new San Francisco Bay Bridge:  Twilight, Spring 2014

Crossing the new San Francisco Bay Bridge: Twilight, Spring 2014.  Though the bridge has ALREADY been plagued with structural problems, self thinks it is a thing of singular beauty.

The signature of Dale Chihuly, Renowned Glass Sculptor, was on every print in self's Seattle hotel room:  February 2014

The signature of Dale Chihuly, Renowned Glass Sculptor, was on every print in self’s hotel in Seattle: AWP Conference, February 2014

The Charles Parsons Gallery in the San Mateo County Museum in Redwood City is full of the model ships Parsons made himself.  Self knows virtually nothing about the man.

The Charles Parsons Gallery in the San Mateo County Museum in Redwood City has 24 model ships by local resident Charles Parsons.  They are a marvel.  Self knows virtually nothing about the man.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Doors, Entrances: Thresholds 4, WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

One more door beyond this is the door to the backyard.

One more door beyond this is the door to the backyard.

Filoli, early December 2013.

Entering Filoli, early December 2013.

Invitation to Enter Self's Humble Abode

Invitation to Enter Self’s Humble Abode

For those dear blog readers who’ve never heard of Filoli before, here’s a link to the historic estate and gardens (just a mile or so from self’s humble abode).  Every December, the place gets decorated to the nines for the Holiday Bazaar, and it is just glorious.

Stay tuned.

Threes: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The prompt this week from the WordPress Daily Post is THREES.

Threes meaning: “three-picture stories.” Meaning, narrative.

QED, self thinks. After all, self has often thought that most of her pictures function better as a sequence.  Each photo like a still of a silent film.

But when she finally sat down this afternoon to select her three-picture sequence, she ended up choosing three pictures she took of a site (the Bruns Amphitheater in Orinda) that don’t seem to tell much of a story. Shrug. Self will keep posting. Even when she’s in Seattle, attending the AWP annual conference for the first time in something like six years.

Below are pictures she took last summer, when she indulged in two Cal Shakes performancesRomeo and Juliet, on her birthday, with son and The Man and Jessika and Pepe and a small group of son’s high school classmates (Self still finds it hard to believe that Margarita Donnelly, who ended up publishing self’s first book, Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila, was a graduate of that same school, Sacred Heart in Atherton, CA.  Back when it used to be an all-girls school!)

She saw another Cal Shakes production in August, this time with just one other person, Jessika Remolona (who’s expecting a baby this June! Woot Woot!): Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan. Jessika and self brought enough bottles of wine to carry us through almost three hours (They let you take the wine inside the theater. You can actually drink during the performance. Which makes self feel like she is in the Golden Globes or something)

Bruns Amphitheater, Orinda, July 2013

Bruns Amphitheater, Orinda, Summer 2013

Close-up of the Theater Lights

Close-up of the Theater Lights

The grounds outside the amphitheater have very unexpected artwork.  Part of the fun of the whole Cal Shakes experience is having a picnic just before the start of the performance.

The grounds outside the amphitheater have very unexpected artwork. Part of the fun of the whole Cal Shakes experience is having a picnic just before the start of the performance.

Self loves Shakespeare.  She loves Shakespeare outside.

After she saw her first Cal Shakes play (Romeo and Juliet with Adam Scott playing Romeo.  Adam Scott) she could never watch Shakespeare in any other guise than outdoors.  In the summer.  With a bottle of wine.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Let There Be Light 3: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The Photo Challenge this week is “Let there be light.”  Here’s an excerpt from the prompt on The Daily Post site:

We’re entering a truly light-filled season.  Christmas trees, Hanukkah menorahs, and Kwanzaa kinarahs are spreading their glow in homes the world over (or are just about to), while main streets and public buildings are being prepared for the winter holidays with an explosion of bright decorations.

Take a look around you.  Choose one of the light sources you see, and make it the focus of your challenge entry.

So here are the light sources in this post:

  1. The taillights of passing cars, freeway signs, billboards — all on Highway 101, heading south towards San Jose
  2. The San Francisco War Memorial Opera House chandelier.  Self and The Man were there to watch the San Francisco Ballet.
  3. Boardwalk, Santa Monica.  Son and Jennie and self had watched a Cirque du Soleil show.  Afterwards, we had dinner at one of the restaurants on the pier.
101, 10:30 p.m., Saturday Night, May 2013

Heading home after attending a concert by the San Francisco Symphony:  Highway 101, 10:30 p.m., Saturday Night, May 2013

The Chandelier:  War Memorial Opera House

The Chandelier: War Memorial Opera House, April 2013 (Attending the ballet)

Santa Monica Wharf, after the Cirque du Soleil Show

Santa Monica Wharf, after the Cirque du Soleil Show, with Son and Jennie, February 2011

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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