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Worth celebrating: STORY Philippines, Issue No. 3

STORY Philippines, Issue # 3

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Saturday Afternoon: Reading Poetry, and a Fire

We were going to see The Lookout, new movie with Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who self liked so much in Brick), and Jeff Daniels (who self likes in everything), but realized would not be able to do everything needed by Monday, the first day of class for spring quarter, and tomorrow we have been invited to Easter barbecue with assorted relatives, and since we rarely get invitations of that sort, we have decided to accept. On the way to cousin’s house in San Jose, are stopping by Santa Clara U to pick up nephew Miguel, as his mom in Virginia wants us to bring him to the barbecue. Have no clue yet whether niece at Stanford will want to come, she seems to have OD’d on family get-togethers for the time being.

Think it is such a bad idea to have the quarter start the day after Easter, as who wants to spend Easter Sunday devising course schedules and finalizing syllabi? Only a mutant. Self is hoping to get everything done by today, though have yet one more thing to do at 4:30, a run to the City, from which will not return until it is late, and full dark.

At noon we decided to pick up the requisite Easter ham — which meant taking our places in a huge line at the Belmont Honeybaked Ham store. Line was out the door, cars were narrowly missing each other as drivers backed into tight spaces. Nevertheless, both hubby and I enjoyed sampling different chutneys and mustards from food cart and time seemed to pass quickly. Saw flyer advertising new, “deep-glazed” ham and decided to give it a try. Also picked up two kinds of mustard (sweet garlic and champagne) and raspberry and walnut chutney.

Smoke was billowing across 101 from East Redwood City. As we got closer, we were nervous to think the old cinema might be on fire, but then we realized the smoke was coming from the scrap yard, about two miles further. Almost at the same instant, an announcement came over the car radio addressed to residents of our area : advisable to stay indoors today, fumes “potentially harmful.”

Hubby stayed home only long enough to grab a pair of binoculars, said he wanted to take a look at conflagration from the top of the hill at Cañada College. Alas, self could not go, as would have meant yet another distraction, yet another delay in finalizing syllabi, first day of class handouts, etc.

* * * * *

Now, home alone, there’s disorder in my head: to post or not to post; to delete or not to delete; to keep writing encouragement to students or to say, enough. Who knows?

The poetry I’m reading is published in the Winter 2007 issue of Calyx Journal. I read :

shedding their chunkiness, their attachment
to ground, today the subtle snipes quicken,
leaping one another like overgrown hummingbirds

I google the word “snipes” and come up with many entries on the actor Wesley Snipes, and a query: Did you mean snopes?

I also read poetry by a writer I am meeting for the first time this afternoon:

Maybe prison bars are made of irony,
the way I am made small by a poem.

* * * * *

The plants were dry, dry, dry. Spent over an hour yesterday dragging around buckets of water. Incredible as it seems, we do not have an automatic sprinkler system. Once got a quote from someone who said his lowest estimate was $2000, and even then he couldn’t be sure the system would work properly; our water pressure, he said, was very low. And we know this: when someone is washing his/ her hands at a sink in the kitchen, no one can take a shower. Or when someone is using the toilet, we cannot run the dishwasher or strange black effluences bubble up through the kitchen sink drain or the bathtub. Our house does not work. But it has sheltered us for 14 years.

So, the plants: clematis leaves were on the verge of yellowing, but large buds are appearing all over the twining tendrils. Apple tree has begun to bloom. Peach tree has more leaves. Columbine and heuchera, azalea and iberis sempervirens, irises and yellow beach daisies are blooming. Betty Boop and Rabble Rouser roses are absolutely covered with tight little buds. Fourth of July that self was ready to “shovel prune” last year has won a stay of execution — think I see new flower sprays forming.

It’s blessedly quiet, quiet, quiet.

Friday Report

Well, self is back. And plants are a little wilted but in general OK. Self is tired, but not too tired to read. Finished Charles D’Ambrosio story. It has one of those endings that leave you scratching your head — the druggie couple drive off after having a delicious dinner cooked for them by farm couple; the female half of the couple is clairvoyant and sees the farm couple’s dead daughter in the corn fields (this part I like); the boyfriend fills the back of the car with heaps of corn. AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHY! Mr. D’Ambrosio says in the Contributor’s Notes that he worked through various drafts with The New Yorker. I had absolutely no idea that esteemed New Yorker could help an author revise a story. Just goes to show what they’ll do for writers they like!

Hubby started watching Master & Commander, and self watched along with him. Self is very appreciative of the acting of Russell Crow, Paul Bettany, and all the extras, in particular the actor who played little Lord Blakeney.

Went to Costco, there bought: Listerine; a case of Coke, and a humongous bag of lemons (which self has no idea — as of yet — how to make use of them before they spoil).

Return call from Anderson Center: decline offer of residency for July, but so honored to be considered, etc. etc.

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