Brain Cloud, Friday, 18 May: Evelina, Son, Neck, Geraniums, Travolta and Sedgwick

Brrr, brrr, brrr. Stiff wind. Gimpy neck.

First to Draeger’s for lamb chops. Then, Cold Stone Creamery: Oreo Overload. Walking up Santa Cruz Avenue, cell phone rings. It’s Evelina calling from the airport: self can hear the announcement for first class passengers to board. Evelina goes, It’s OK, we can keep talking, I’m not first class!

She says she’s sorry we didn’t get together. Self tells her, it’s OK, I’m sure we’ll bump into each other sometime. She says, YOU can do so much. You can talk. It’s easy!

I tell her, I’m better at writing. It’s true. I’ll try.

Last night at Manilatown Heritage Center, 12 people showed. The night before, at Brava, I don’t even want to ask.

Listen, we have to get signatures by Tuesday, Evelina says. There’s a chance it will pass! We have to call everyone. By Tuesday!

I say again, I’ll try.

Then, find myself standing in front of a store I haven’t seen before: Tibetan handicrafts. Deep-hued scarves in the windows. Lamps, rugs. I suddenly want to call son.

Hey, I tell him. I’m on Santa Cruz Avenue, and I thought of you. Are you having lunch?

He says he passed the smog test, which is fantastic — his little Honda has 200,000 miles. I ask him, well, what do you think? Think you want to watch the Richard III at Cal Shakes? He says he can’t come up until after his job ends, June 17.

Then self babbles on: That’s OK, the play doesn’t end its run until June 24. Course, that will mean you’ll have to give up a whole afternoon, because we’ll have lunch first, and then the play runs two hours . . .

“Mom, can I tell you later?” son says. “I have tons of things on my mind right now, and the play isn’t exactly on top of my list of priorities.”

“Oh!” I say, “Sure!”

Feel guilty for hounding him. Drive home. Not without passing Roger Reynolds. A leaf from my Clematis Henryii is in my hand. A small leaf, brown at the edges. A woman in a Roger Reynolds T-shirt passes by, dragging a cart full of gorgeous white geraniums. “Excuse me,” I say. “Can you tell me what is wrong with my clematis?” I show her the leaf. “Probably over-watering,” she says.

Go home. Crash on the couch. God! My neck is terrible! I want a chiropractor!

On TV, there’s a movie with John Travolta. He has a brain tumor and it turns him smart. Also, gives him telekinesis. I’m crashed on the couch and I am watching John Travolta spin pencils and sunglasses in circles with a point of a finger. How. Fascinating. Seriously.

I watch to the end of the movie, it’s very sad, and I cry when Kyra Sedgwick cries. I remember that Kyra Sedgwick is married to Kevin Bacon, and that they live in New York. In fact, friend Penny says their kids study at the private school where she teaches.

And John Travolta is married to Kelly Lynch and they live somewhere on the East Coast but not in New York, somewhere “country”, since self saw a fab spread on their house in an Architectural Digest some years ago.

(Why, why is self’s brain so full of such trivia?)

Phone rings: ring, ring, ring! Wow! It really is a day for calls! Earlier, while self was in Cold Stone Creamery, deciding on which ice cream delight to order, Strawberry Blonde or Orea Overload, Fave Tita called, which she hasn’t done in almost two years.

See that the caller is son. Perhaps feeling guilty for having to rush off earlier? Now, he says, “You know, next weekend is the Strawberry Festival.” Yes, I remember. Hubby and I were there last year. It was so much fun.

“Well,” son says, “I was thinking, why don’t you and dad come down? It would be fun!”

Ahhh. It would be fun. Thanks, son.

Get off the phone with son, call hubby. He’s busy, as usual. But when self suggests going to SLO next weekend, he pauses. Naturally, at this moment, self suddenly realizes: Who will water damn roses? Who will take care of the dogs? Can we even find a space in the Peninsula Pet Resort??? And, isn’t Mr. King’s funeral that weekend? Mr. King, who was so kind when self was a foreign student at Stanford, who passed away a few weeks ago??? Self cannot think, must lie down, place wet towel on forehead. Brain cloud over for the rest of the day.

Friday Morning Status Report

Isn’t this weekend of the Bay to Breakers? I think it is!

Likewise, Asian Heritage Street Celebration in San Francisco, with that fab Filipino DJ and assorted Asian performing groups? Yeah!

And the Mountain View “A La Carte and Art” Festival? Yeah!

And the Sunset Magazine Open House? More yeah! Yeah all over the place!

Neck status: Very bad. Much. Incapacitating. Pain.

But, self must soldier on! Must grade papers (loads and loads!).

Quit complaining, self! Yesterday, did you not spend a blissful afternoon wandering around San Carlos Farmers Market, where you bought four pieces of cod for $12.50 which you then fried with garlic and butter to make delicious dinner which you then served to hubby when he arrived from the office at 8:45 PM?

Did you not, also, this week, watch Vacancy, thereby determining for yourself that Economist reviewer was wrong, this was not the most brilliant movie to come out so far this year, Director Nimrod Antal is not genius, and you would rather not see a movie where Luke Wilson gets stabbed in the stomach???

Did you not get a fab idea for a story yesterday (lifted from your blog, but who cares?), which hopefully you can add to, a little at a time, until you reach VCCA in August, at which time you can just let it rip?

Are you not, at this very moment, enjoying a snack of smoked trout with dill, even though you are 115 lbs. and have moreover just spent the last 10 minutes sobbing on the couch after having watched a very sad documentary about the World Trade Center? Speak up, self! You know it’s true!

OK, OK, life is not all bad. New avenues await to be explored (such as Draeger’s: lamb chops, yummy! And Roger Reynolds Nursery). Day is chilly, true, but at least self will not be tempted to drop by Cold Stone Creamery or Dairy Queen or Yumi Yogurt.

Will check in later, dear blog reader. Stay tuned.

Further Reading From William Henry Scott’s DISCOVERY OF THE IGOROTS

The King of Spain sends a message to his loyal vassals the Archbishop of Manila, the Bishop of Nueva Segovia, the Provincials of the Augustinian and Dominican orders, and the Governor-General in Manila:

With your experience in the Islands, you well know the importance of their preservation not only for the cause of the Christian religion, which is the principal reason, but also for the condition of the Royal Estate which is well known to you, and the great amount I have spent from my Royal Patrimony in them, since it has already reached more than seven million, and that nothing whatsoever has been received from there; all of which has been been the more onerous for being in times when the common enemy, the heretics, and other powers, have sought to diminish my Royal Estate, and although silver and money was wanting or scarce . . . those expenses out there were nonetheless met; but what has been done and expended in the past will not be possible in the future because of urgent needs here.

Finally, a year later, the King’s message wends its way into the hands of the intended recipients in the Philippines (hard to imagine a time when letters had to go by ship — !). Governor General Fajardo, a realistic man, worries about the “moral justification of” initiating a war against the Igorots. He therefore calls a meeting of the most eminent prelates and asks them whether “it is possible to wage a just war against the Igorots.”

Here is how Scott describes the discussion:

The different orders could not agree on the King’s right to ownership of the Igorot gold mines in the first place, nor, indeed, present any rational justification for it, but they were in total and complete agreement on the definition of a just war and its applicability to the present case: “A just war is wont to be described as one that avenges wrongs, when a nation or state has to be punished, for refusing to make amends for the wrongs inflicted by its subjects, or to restore what it has seized unjustly.”

Because the Igorots “prevented other Filipinos from becoming Christians, kidnapped baptized children to be raised as pagans . . . and, worst of all . . . prevented innocent passage to Spanish vassals from one area under Spanish jurisdiction to another,” all were agreed that the Igorots were “sufficiently culpable for punitive invasion.” (Scott, Discovery of the Igorots, p. 26)

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