3rd Thursday of April 2014: Tired (But Not Depressed)

Hey, hey, people, it’s been a long day, and self is sitting in front of her computer, tired.

One thing she is so happy about, this year, is that her garden is so — fecund.  That’s the only way she can think to describe it.  Plants that haven’t thrown off a bloom in years — like her Sheila’s Perfume — suddenly have big, fat flowers.  Her oldest clematis, a montana rubens, suddenly has growth lower down on its gnarled, woody stem.  And the wisteria she thought she’d killed is luscious, winding over the falling-down trellis, almost choking off the old wood.

Self checked out a site called Grey Magazine, and loves it.  It seems to be a magazine about Italy, which is probably why she bookmarked it.  But as she scrolls to the bottom of the page, she sees other things, like an article about the Reykjavik Fashion Festival (There’s one country — Iceland — she’d love to visit one day) and a review of a production of Bohéme.  And there’s a fabulous, absolutely fabulous picture of the actress Charlotte Rampling (still a knockout).

Well, all this musing started because she sat down at her desk, read a new piece of fanfiction, thought of something, wrote it down, finished it — bam, bam, bam.  It’s just one page, but self thinks it is fabulous.

Self thinks all her pieces are fabulous.  That is, she thinks they are fabulous right after she finishes, or thinks she has finished.  The feeling doesn’t last long, so she might as well enjoy the right now.

This new one-page flash fiction takes place in a future universe.  It’s called “Memories of Trees” and is so angst-y and self loves it.

She remembered that when she spoke to Zack’s class last Monday, one of the students remarked that her story “Mayor of the Roses” and her story “Thing” — one set in a small town in Laguna and the other set in a dystopian future universe (Self swore she would never use the word dystopian again, especially after gazillions of reviewers used it when reviewing Hunger Games:  Catching Fire, but she is forced to admit that it certainly is a very effective word, and anyway her fiction really is DYSTOPIAN, she’s not trying to be clever or anything, just really really honest) — seemed to have similar themes.  Self’s first reaction was to go:  Oh no!  Because she hates thinking of herself as being so transparent and predictable.  Which was not a useful line of thought:  no one who’s predictable can be fabulous.

After much perusing of the newly re-designed Daily Post,self finally realized that it still has the links to other people’s blogs, a feature she thought had been lost.  With the old layout, she would click on “Post a Comment,” and all the people who had posted on the week’s photo challenge would then appear on a list of links.  Self would methodically move down this list, looking at each blog.

With the re-design, self couldn’t find a button for “Post a Comment.”  Only today did she realize that the links still exist, although in a very different form.  All self had to do was scroll down to the very bottom of the page, where there is a gallery of squares.  Clicking on one of these squares immediately brings one to a blog post on the week’s photo challenge.  In other words, the links are so much more visual now.

OK, so here’s what self has lined up for next week:  She will board a plane for London.  She will arrive in London.  She signed up for a tour of Stonehenge, which takes place the day after her arrival.  Jennie Lewis’s new poetry collection, Taking Mesopotamia, is having a reading at the British Museum on April 27, and self has tickets for that.  Then, she’s the guest of Joan McGavin for a few days.  Then she flies to Dublin.  Then she sees FATHER HASLAM, who she hasn’t seen in 20 years.  Father Haslam has asked a fellow priest, Father McCabe, to drive her to the Tyrone Guthrie Center.  She will then be in a self-catering cottage in the Tyrone Guthrie Center.  There is wi-fi, so she will really have to wean herself off Facebook.  Then Penny arrives in Dublin.  Then self clears out of her self-catering cottage and takes a long train trip to Cork, where she’s booked into a magnificent Irish country home that serves four-course dinners every night. Then she loses her passport so she can’t go home and will have to stay another couple of weeks until she gets a new passport.  She’ll live off Irish ale and get fat.  She won’t be able to squeeze into an Economy airplane seat, so she’ll just have to be bumped up to First Class.  She will live happily ever after.

THE END.

Reflections 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Reflection: to lose oneself in thought.

Self has lost herself in thought in a couple of different places. Here are three:

Holocaust Memorial, South Beach, Miami

Holocaust Memorial, South Beach, Miami

Self's Garden in Fall

Self’s Garden in Fall

The Café at the de Young Museum, Golden Gate Park

The Café at the de Young Museum, Golden Gate Park

Inside 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The San Mateo County Historical Museum is located in Courthouse Square, downtown Redwood City.

San Mateo County Historical Museum, Courthouse Square, Redwood City

San Mateo County Historical Museum, Courthouse Square, Redwood City

This gallery was just off the main lobby of the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.

This gallery was just off the main lobby of the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.

The Inside of Self's Helleborus "Courage."

The Inside of Self’s Helleborus “Courage.” For some reason, the plant didn’t bloom at all this year.  The picture above was taken last year.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

The Reading List Goes a Wee Bit Bonkers

Self has been reading The Hunger Games trilogy at night — an hour before bedtime, she selects a section of about 50 pages or so. She’s read each book about 10 times since the Catching Fire movie.

She made a wee bit of headway in Divergent.

She also trotted around with her, to coffee bars, the issue of One Story with B. J. Novak’s story (Yes, it’s that B. J. Novak, the one who co-wrote The Office with Mindy Kaling)

This morning, she began reading a new One Story story, Laura Spence-Ash’s “The Remains.”

She had minimal contact with the neighbors.  She waved once to John.  One of his boys — they’ve gotten so tall! — was pushing a lawn mower around their front yard.

She saw that all her clematis were still alive.  The one that used to be against John’s fence, until he replaced the fence and hacked it down, is still alive.  But struggling.  It probably won’t survive the year.  Now, it’s nothing but a clump of dead brown twigs, with small green shoots at the bottom.  It used to cover almost half the fence, and every spring for a dozen years it put forth the most magnificent, white flowers.  If it dies, self doesn’t think she’ll have either the time or the patience to grow another clematis to that size.

Let’s see, what else did she do this weekend?  She returned Black Lamb and Grey Falcon to the library (took nearly a month of her life) and began a new book, The Hemingses of Monticello:  An American Family, by Annette Gordon-Reed.

She scanned one of her bookshelves and pulled out a wee pocketbook called Envy.  It’s a dictionary.  Inside are definitions for:

  • acidity (Noun): The measure of bite or acidity in one’s tone
  • acidulous (Adjective):  A way of speaking that sounds bitter or sharp
  • adulation (Noun):  Extreme praise, admiration, or flattery, especially of a servile nature
  • allege (Verb):  To accuse someone of something — usually wrongdoing — without proof.

There’s a quote from Bertrand Russell:

Envy consists in seeing things never in themselves, but only in their relations.  If you desire glory, you may envy Napoleon, but Napoleon envied Caesar, Caesar envied Alexander, and Alexander, I daresay, envied Hercules, who never existed.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Object 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Various objects — er, emblems — from self’s recent past:

Gamboling Lizards!  Found these in the gift shop of the Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.

Gamboling Lizards! Found these in the gift shop of the Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.

Petit-Fours were provided by Jessika and Pepe.  Thanks a bunch, guys! We were celebrating self's birthday by watching Cal Shakes' "Romeo and Juliet," July 2013

Picnic, July 2013:  Petit-Fours were provided by Jessika and Pepe. Thanks a bunch, guys! We were celebrating self’s birthday by watching Cal Shakes’ “Romeo and Juliet.” Jessika accompanied self to Cal Shakes one more time last summer: to watch Oscar Wilde’s “Lady Windrmere’s Fan.”  She and Pepe are expecting their first child this June.

Raincoat, Edinburgh, June 2012:  Self was spending the month at the Hawthornden Writers Retreat.

Raincoat, Edinburgh, June 2012: Self was spending the month at the Hawthornden Writers Retreat.

Object: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The first thing you see as you approach the Holocaust Memorial in Miami’s South Beach is the gigantic hand, fingers extended to the sky. As you get close, you pass through a covered walkway, one side of which has names etched into stone. Then you come out to a sort of circular space, and see a column made up entirely of writhing bodies. Around the column are human figures. The one self found most moving was this small one, set off to one side, all by istelf. Mute horror, that’s about all self can say to describe her emotions at the sight.

The Miami Beach Holocaust Memorial.  There is only one word for it:  OVERWHELMING

The Miami Beach Holocaust Memorial. There is only one word for it: OVERWHELMING

*          *          *          *

This is a table that has been in self’s possession for almost as many years as she’s been married. It is an extremely heavy object; it was shipped to California from Manila, via container.

The hollowed trunk of a Philippine tree . . . had it shipped from the Philippines

The hollowed trunk of a Philippine tree . . . had it shipped from the Philippines.

*          *          *          *

Bacolod City in the province of Negros Occidental, Philippines was Dear Departed Dad’s hometown.  From him, self inherited so many things:  her love of John Updike.  Her love of movies, all kinds of movies.  And his idealism.

Coffee Pot, L'Fisher Chalet, Bacolod.  There was a typhoon signal alert outside.

Coffee Pot, L’Fisher Chalet, Bacolod. There was a typhoon signal alert outside.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Third Tuesday of January (2014)

DSCN3816

The father of a good friend passed away.  Self scans her FB page and realizes that her friend’s mother passed away only about a year ago.  That’s harsh.

California is experiencing a drought.  A severe drought.

At least, it was warm out.  Self took pictures of birds at the feeder.

DSCN3815

Self is racing through the rest of In the Shadow of Man. Gaaah, the way Goodall writes about a poliomyelitis breakout in her community of chimpanzees is so heartbreaking and tragic!  Self never knew that illnesses could jump between apes and man.  But why not?  Didn’t the bird flu virus start with chickens?

Anyhoo, one of the chimps has an enormous growth in his neck that looks exactly like a goiter.  Interestingly enough, that region has many people afflicted with same.

In one brilliantly written chapter, we follow the excruciating death of a grand, old chimpanzee named Mr. McGregor.  This mighty and stolid creature was felled by the loss of function of both his legs.  He crawled back to the camp, and the scientists had to do a mercy killing.  Goodall sums up the last 10 days of Mr. McGregor! Gah!  Nightmarish.  They fed him breakfast first, and while he was jubilantly examining two hard-boiled eggs, they delivered him unto oblivion.  At least he died happy.

Self’s rate of reading picked up with Goodall’s book.  Let’s just hope she can keep this up, for the next book on her reading list is — as self has remarked on before — the 1,000-page Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, Rebecca West’s account of her tour of the Balkans.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Oh, Fall

The reddest of berries: front yard

The reddest of berries: front yard

Maple trees: front yard

Maple trees: front yard

Tableaux, Backyard.  Goodbye for a while, Garden.

Tableaux, Backyard. Goodbye for a while, Garden.  The taller lantern is made in India.  Self found it in World Market, corner Jefferson and Middlefield, downtown Redwood City.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Dreaming of Gardens

Last Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle Datebook had several pieces on Golden Gate Park and the people who garden in it. Self was absolutely fascinated. The Park has been part of her best memories about living in the Bay Area.

These are what Golden Gate Park has meant to her, over the years: serenity, beauty, stillness, rest, happiness.

Today, self spent a lot of time in her garden.  She planted a Spanish lavender (even though it is getting harder and harder for her to dig holes:  every single bush in the garden, she has planted by herself.  There will come a time when she won’t be able to do it anymore.  This makes her feel sad.)

"Regal Josephine" Clematis

“Regal Josephine” Clematis:  Self bought it only six months ago.

A Private Garden (Self discovered this when she followed some people walking into an office building, and saw the garden through a back door.  The door had a key situated in the lock:  As dear blog readers well know, when self encounters a key in a lock, she ALWAYS opens it)

A Private Garden in Venice (Self discovered this when she followed some people walking into an office building, and saw the garden through a back door. The door had a key situated in the lock: As dear blog readers well know, when self encounters a key in a lock, she ALWAYS opens it)

The Grounds of Hawthornden, southern Scotland

The Grounds of Hawthornden, southern Scotland

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Habit 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Things self does every day:

1. Read (This is a cover detail of one of the best books she read this year:  The Leopard, by Giuseppe di Lampedusa. It’s about the decline of the Italian nobility, with a focus on the island of Sicily.)

More of That Cover for THE LEOPARD, self's favorite read (so far) of 2013

More of That Cover for THE LEOPARD, self’s favorite read (so far) of 2013

2.  Watch birds.

She regularly spends time in her backyard, where she has two bird feeders.

She regularly spends time in her backyard, where she has two bird feeders.

3.  Water geraniums.  Self loves them because they are so easy to grow.  She almost never has one die on her.

On the Backyard Deck

On the Backyard Deck

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

« Older entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 495 other followers