Joan McGavin, Jenny Lewis, Stonehenge, and Lord Burton’s Collection of Trophy Skulls in the Royal College of Surgeons, London

Self was going through some folders in her closet (Every time she returns from a trip, she puts her trip mementos in its own folder in her closet).  In one folder, she discovered an index card on which was printed:  ROYAL COLLEGE OF SURGEONS, LONDON (BURTON’S COLLECTION OF TROPHY SKULLS)

!!!!

Is she ever glad she decided to go through her folders today!  Or she would completely have missed this index card.  And she would never have thought to include the Royal College of Surgeons on her list of London Must-See Museums!

She’s read nearly all of Burton’s books.  He was quite a writer, though of course very much of his age regards racial distinctions and manifest destiny and so forth. But since she has read his books, what a pity if she left London without even taking a glimpse at his trophy skulls!

She can’t help being a little bit giddy at the thought that she will soon be in the UK.

She decided to sign up for a tour of Stonehenge, the day after she arrives.  The tour starts from Salisbury.  Self doesn’t even know the train schedules, but she is determined she will get to Stonehenge, no matter what.

She’s meeting up with two former Hawthornden residents:  Joan McGavin and Jennie Lewis.

Jenny has a new poetry collection out, Taking Mesopotamia.  There’s a reading at the British Museum on April 27.  She and Joan are going.

Then self is spending a few days with Joan, who teaches at Winchester University.

Another writer whose work, incidentally, self loves, is Morag Joss (Self can never get over her Half-Broke Things.  Still one of her favorite mysteries).  Two years ago, at Hawthornden, Joan informed self that Ms. Joss teaches at Winchester University.  Self’s heart is thudding in excitement, just thinking about this.  She starts daydreaming about bumping unobtrusively into Morag, perhaps in the teachers’ lounge.  That is, if English university professors hang out in teachers’ lounges.

Then, Dublin and the Tyrone Guthrie Center.

Penny, too, will be in Dublin, the second week of May.  She wrote a play, and it’s being staged there.

After she’s done with her stay at Tyrone Guthrie, she’s taking the train to Cork and staying in a country home.

And –  GAAH, self is so excited.  She’s packing very light:  all jeans and sweaters and mebbe one pair of ballet flats.  She’s bought The Man gift certificates to Biancini’s and Trader Joe’s, and lavished presents from See’s and what-not. (Just think, she told The Man, if any of her applications for visiting writer positions become successful, she’ll be spending far longer than a month in another place:  most visiting writer residencies are for a year!  Subtext:  So quit griping!)

She’s decided to bring only two copies of her collections.  Because the point of this trip, she keeps telling herself, is more discovery than self-promotion.  (Although, perhaps self would do well to devote a little more time to marketing herself, as look where she is now:  agent-less and still joining literary contests in the vain hope that she can get a book contract by winning one of those)

Self and The Man watched Muppets: Most Wanted last Saturday, and aside from being the most gloriously FUN movie self has seen in a long while, she very much appreciated the fact that a bank heist involved the Irish National Bank and was to go down, supposedly, in Dublin.  Is that synchronicity, or what?  Because self, too, will be in Dublin, in a very short while!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Reflections 3: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

L'Fisher Chalet, Dear Departed Dad's Hometown of Bacolod

L’Fisher Chalet, Dear Departed Dad’s Hometown of Bacolod

Museum, Abe's Farm, Magalang, Pampanga

The E. Aguilar Cruz Museum, Abe’s Farm, Magalang, Pampanga

Self's birthday last year: she celebrated with Niece G in San Francisco restaurant SPQR.

Self’s birthday last year: she celebrated with Niece G in San Francisco restaurant SPQR.

 

Inside 7: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Wow, self continues to be madly inspired by the WordPress Photo Challenge this week:  INSIDE.

Heartfelt thanks to The Daily Post for the fantastic prompts!

Here’s a picture of one of self’s Stanford chums, Penny Jackson, as she emulates a Yoga pose in front of the Asian Art Museum. Her arms are pressed together above her head, she is INSIDE the pose.  Get it?

It is always a lot of fun hanging around with Penny.  She is so spontaneous, pure Nitro.

It is always a lot of fun hanging around with Penny. She is so spontaneous, pure Nitro.

Self has always had an enduring fascination with snow globes.  Here’s one she bought about 30 years ago.

Christmas is a great excuse for nostalgia . . .

Christmas is a great excuse for nostalgia . . .

2013 was a special year:  Manila Noir, a collection of “dark” stories about the city of Manila, and edited by Jessica Hagedorn, was published.  Self has a story in this anthology:  The story is called “Desire.”

She’s not a big name, like the others in the collection, so her name didn’t get listed on either book cover.  But, still.  Open to the Table of Contents, her name is there.  She is INSIDE the book.

Manila Noir (Akashic Books, 2013): The covers of the U.S. and Philippine editions

Manila Noir (Akashic Books, 2013): The covers of the U.S. and Philippine editions

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Claremont, Day 2: Plan for the Day

The plan for today is to visit the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum.  Self is so glad that son and Jennie were down for that, as she’s been wanting to visit the museum for a while, ever since she read a write-up about it in the Wall Street Journal.  The article focused on a new exhibit called “Becoming Los Angeles.”

The exhibit, which covers “14,000 square feet of gallery space . . . tells the city’s history primarily through a display of 250 objects and images, from canoe carvings of the Gabreleño-Tongya people to a Stratocaster guitar (As the first museum in the city, this one became the repository for family heirlooms, keepsakes and homely artifacts that might otherwise have been lost to history — and in that catch-all function alone broadened, from the outset, the definition of a natural history museum.”

There are “six major sections” that comprise “key moments in the Los Angeles story.”  There are “artifacts from the Indians who cruised the islands off Los Angeles in sewn boats and first greeted Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542,” and “a series of paintings” of the first “Spanish missions in California . . . by the British landscape artist Edwin Deakin.”

There’s more, lots more, but self has to check on her on-line writing class students.

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.

Juxtaposition 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2013:  It won't open again for another two years.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2013: It won’t open again for another two years.

Café Uma, Lacson St., Bacolod City:  Cassava with home-made ice cream

Café Uma, Lacson St., Bacolod City: Cassava with home-made ice cream

The name of this outdoor installation was "Apple." It was just outside the de Young Museum, in Golden Gate Park, early 2012

The name of this outdoor installation was “Apple.” It was just outside the de Young Museum, in Golden Gate Park, early 2012

From the WordPress Daily Post:  A juxtaposition is “the act of placing things side by side, especially for the purpose of comparison or contrast.”  So, in picture # 1, the juxtaposition of the static painting with the viewer’s ghostly legs.  In picture # 2, the side-by-side ceramic thingamajigs.  In picture # 3, the giant apples of an art installation contrasted with the small trees and the passers-by.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

Blog vs. Facebook, That Is the Question

It’s no contest.

Definitely, the blog.

Today self was blithely churning her way through Facebook, making many witty, exceedingly witty remarks, even to an old friend of her sister’s who accused her of being in denial about her age (Everyone‘s in denial about their age, are you kidding?  This is America!  No, this is California!  Self sees 80-year-old women skateboarding!), and when self checked her blog stats, they were miserable, and that was when self realized that — she really can’t juggle Twitter/Tumbler (yes, she has an account there, too)/ Facebook and blog, not to mention everything else that’s going on in her life, not to mention sending stuff out etc etc, so she decided she’ll experimentally ditch Facebook.  Facebook is such a construct anyway, it’s exhausting.

So, to the current post.

Self was browsing through the Dec. 22 – 28 San Francisco Chronicle Datebook, and had cause to be reminded that the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is closed FOR THE NEXT THREE YEARS.

Who does that?  Who closes a museum for three years?  What are modern art aficionados expected to do in the meantime?

Because self was really getting fond of the trifecta of activities that were happening in and around the SFMOMA.  For one, there was the Metreon, with its IMAX movie theaters and its fabulous Fastfood Court; and the galleries and auditoriums of the Yerba Buena Art Center with its surrounding park, its fountain and rooftop restaurants.  There’s even, for heaven’s sake, Beard Papa.

Images from some past excursions to the area:

There was a tree in front of one of the Yerba Buena Art Center buildings; she doesn't know what kind.

A tree in front of one of the Yerba Buena Art Center buildings; she doesn’t know what kind

Yerba Buena Gardens This Afternoon

Yerba Buena Gardens One Afternoon

Food Booth at Pistahan, August 2011, Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco

Food Booth at Pistahan, August 2011, Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco

Anyhoo, self learned from reading the Datebook (of last week) that the SFMOMA is keeping its presence felt via so-called “loan exhibitions”, one of which is Flesh and Metal: Body and Machine in Early 20th Century Art, which is currently at Stanford’s Cantor Art Center (through March 16), and Matisse at SFMOMA, currently at the Legion of Honor (through Sept. 7, 2014).

Self is quite close to Stanford, so she could conceivably — in spite of a bad cough — see the Flesh and Metal exhibit as early as tomorrow.

YAY!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Let There Be Light! 2

June 2012:  Bus From Edinburgh to Bonnyrigg, stopped at a light.

Rain, June 2012: Bus From Edinburgh to Bonnyrigg, stopped at a light.

"The Nest" -- Self's room in "the Castle" (Hawthornden, Midlothian, Scotland)

“The Nest” — Self’s room in “the Castle” (Hawthornden, Midlothian, Scotland, June 2012)

Cool Electric Art! Hirshhorn Museum, Washington DC, April 2012

Cool Electric Art! Hirshhorn Museum, Washington DC, April 2012

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Unexpected 3: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

More unexpected occurrences!

When self first read the WordPress Photo Challenge prompt, last Friday, she thought it was a difficult one. But, after she posted once, it became easier. Now she can’t seem to stop posting on the totally Unexpected things she experienced during her recent trip to Miami.

A bracelet made out of safety pins! Found it in the gift shop of the Lowe Art Museum on the University of Miami campus.

A bracelet made out of safety pins! Found it in the gift shop of the Lowe Art Museum on the University of Miami campus.

Nandini Dhar was a student in self's Essential Beginnings class in the UCLA Extension Writers Program. When she found out (from Facebook!) that self was traveling to Miami, she arranged to meet.  She and her partner Dennis moved to Miami from Texas, just two months ago!

Nandini Dhar was a student in self’s Essential Beginnings class in the UCLA Extension Writers Program. When she found out (from Facebook!) that self was traveling to Miami, she arranged to meet. She and her partner Dennis moved to Miami from Texas, just two months ago!

Make Way for Ducklings!  This mother and her adorable brood were on the lawn directly in front of the Lowe Art Museum, on the University of Miami campus.

Make Way for Ducklings! This mother and her adorable brood were on the lawn directly in front of the Lowe Art Museum, on the University of Miami campus.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Miami, FL: Visual Over-Stimulation

Miami is a visual city. Almost everywhere self looks, she sees sharp edges, interesting skyscrapers, flora and fauna, clouds.

There’s a brazen-ness about its architectural image — something like Chicago, only with a de Chirico blankness.

Today, self and The Man checked out the Lowe Art Museum, on the University of Miami campus.  There, in the Myrna & Sheldon Palley Gallery for Contemporary Glass & Studio Arts, self saw the most amazing, breathtaking glass sculptures by greats like William Morris.  Oh, she wanted to fall on her knees.

The museum guard told her, “If you like this gallery, you should see what they have in the special exhibit.”

The current exhibit is “Beauty Beyond Nature: The Glass Art of Paul Stankard.”  Self had never heard of Stankard before — clearly a sign that, in spite of her restlessness and curiosity, there is much that she still needs to discover.  Because she never wanted to leave that gallery.  Honestly.  The glass there was so beautiful, it totally eclipsed anything she saw in Venice or the island of Murano.

In front of the Lowe Art Museum, on the verdant campus of the University of Miami campus

In front of the Lowe Art Museum, on the verdant campus of the University of Miami campus

After a lingering two hours (the rest of the museum was also packed with exceedingly interesting art.  Wow, self thought, the museum endowment must be huge!), self and The Man wandered out into the bright heat of mid-day, and the first thing we saw, moving across a field of vivid green, was a large brood of ducklings, being shepherded vigilantly along by the mother.  Self was reminded of a book she read about 30x to Sole Fruit of Her Loins:  Make Way for Ducklings.  Are they not adorable, dear blog readers?

DSCN3060 DSCN3062Stay tuned.

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