The Presence of Her Absence

It’s been exactly nine days since Gracie passed away.  The pain of her absence is huge.  Huge.

Today, self was puttering around the garden, and she saw small piles of dried up crap spaced in decorous intervals around the wooden deck in the backyard.  Self stopped.  And looked.  Forgive self this tendency to dwell on odious subjects.  It’s just —  Gracie loved to be with self in the garden.  On Sunday, April 3, she and self were outside together, enjoying the sun.  Self was reading a book on the deck, and Gracie came right up to her and raised her head towards self, and self patted her of course.  The very next morning, the world went awry and Gracie died.

Self did some calculations:  Nine days.  That poop can’t be Gracie’s, then.  Of course :  It’s Bella’s, the older beagle, the 15-year-old, who amazes us all by continuing to live in good health.

Monday, the 4th of April, was when self awoke to find Gracie gone, or almost gone.  She was lying by one of the sofas in the living room, and there was an absolute mess of crap around her.  So self rushed Gracie to the vet, but even just on the walk from the house to the car, she felt Gracie’s bones dissolve, her neck swaying back and forth, back and forth, and so self ran, ran.

After four hours on I/V fluids, the vet came and talked to self, and self made the decision to have Gracie put down.  And son was angry.  And hubby asked, why didn’t she bring Gracie straight to the emergency room, why did she have to go to the vet, couldn’t she see, couldn’t she see how dire Gracie’s condition was, and perhaps self wasn’t thinking straight, but she knew absolutely that she made the right decision, to end the poor li’l crit’s suffering.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

The Fabulous Gold Filigree Bonnet Worn By Jane Eyre

Yesterday, self sat in Theater 12 of the Redwood City Century 20 (along with about 50 other people —  all women), being enthralled by the latest film adaptation of “Jane Eyre.”

She’s sure other people (clothesonfilm, for one) will go to town over the costumes.

But here are a few things self noticed:

Mia Wasikowska’s waist —  In her tight dresses, the waist looked absolutely tiny.  Wearing that kind of costume almost invites one to rest one’s hands on the skirt or to stand with one hand resting on the waist.  Splendid!  A built-in ledge, follows a woman wherever she goes.  And, moreover, makes Jane look powerful (Why should having a tiny waist make a woman look powerful?  Self knows not the answer to this question.  She only knows that this is the effect that Wasikowska’s wasp waist had on her)

The thing that had self go absolutely gaga, however, was the gold filigree bonnet worn by Jane Eyre in the last scene.  The movie afforded many close-ups of this bonnet.  It was like a halo —  and in fact, many shots of Jane Eyre were from below, reinforcing this impression.

The thing itself was a completely frivolous piece of headgear.  No way would it afford any protection from the sun or wind, for it was a structure of latticed strands.  But it was gorgeous.  Whenever the camera followed Jane from the back, there was nothing else self could look at but this wonderful bonnet.

Oh, wait!  There was something else self looked at:  the dress Jane Eyre was wearing.  If self’s memory serves her correctly, the dress was a pale earth-toned pink, and had a print, a tiny print.  What made the outfit memorable, at least to self, was the fact that the shawl Jane draped so artfully around herself was also a print.  Not the same print as the dress, of course (Otherwise, Jane might have looked like a society matron wearing matching everything, and we all know she is far too simple and down-to-earth for that!)  Did women of the Jane Eyre era (She forgets what era that is, and will not expose herself to ridicule by saying 17th century because it might be the 18th century.  And she won’t say 18th century because it might be the 17th century.  And, well, you get the drift) really go around in printed everything, nothing matching?  It totally works!  Self loves it.  Bring on the tiny contrasting prints!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Quote(s) of the Day: “Your Highness”

Boy, everyone is just slamming this movie! Not even the scenes where Natalie Portman appears unclad, not even the hunky presence of James Franco, not even the usually riotous Danny McBride, are enough to save it!

Here’s a quote from a blog self visits quite often, Eric Snider’s:

If you watched a lot of fantasy movies in the early 80s — “Conan the Barbarian,” “Krull,” “The Beastmaster,” and such — and got your buddies together, and got really stoned, and for some reason had access to $50 million of studio money, you would make this movie.

And, oh well, might as well give you another quote, since Eric Snider is just hilarious:

. . . goodness knows there’s nothing wrong with juvenile humor! But it has to be actual humor, you know? You have to actually make a joke. By itself, the idea of a guy dressed as a medieval knight smoking weed and dropping F-bombs is only funny for a couple seconds.

This is how Snider describes the performances: Everyone else is acting; Franco and McBride are pretending to act.


That said, self saw a fantastic movie today, Cary Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre, with Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska. What self liked about this version were: the richly saturated cinematography; the fact that Mr. Rochester is such a jerk; and the screenplay — absolutely biting in a way that self can’t remember other “Jane Eyre” adaptations being. She wonders why young Jane had such full, Angelina Jolie-type lips, when Wasikowska’s lips are rather thin: can lips actually shrink as one grows from child to woman? Self doesn’t know why she gets hung up on such trivialities, but she does.

Self loved the fact that Mr. Rochester very pointedly had to put on his trousers after the almost-burned-to-death-if-not-for-Jane scene. Such intimacy — even before a single kiss or smoldering glance is exchanged. Self knew, from that moment on, Jane was a goner. Oh! And Jamie Bell’s in this movie as well, playing Mr. St. John Rivers as not entirely being without humor: one early clue to the excellence of this movie is that Jamie Bell’s role actually had some “meat” to it. In the last scene of the movie, Michael Fassbender was thin and scraggly and was a dead ringer for Guy Pearce in the Australian outlaw movie “The Proposition.”

Five stars. Absolutely gorgeous. An experience much like watching Kabuki, where even the smallest gesture is rich with symbolic significance (Self can make such a statement because she has actually sat through five hours of Kabuki. In Tokyo). Which is not to say the film is slow-paced. Or, even if it is slow-paced, one barely notices because each scene is so fraught with tremors of alarm — like a ghost movie, only with real ghosts.

Stay tuned.

LECHE Book Launch in New York City, This Saturday

Self really really wishes she could be in New York this weekend, for the launch of Zack’s novel, Leche. It is really a beautiful book — beautifully written and moving. The launch is at Asian American Writers Workshop, this Saturday. If you are in the New York metropolitan area, this is an event you don’t want to miss.

Best of luck, Zack! So proud of you!

Here’s a link to Coffee House Press’s author events page.

Here are particulars of the New York City book launch:

Saturday, 16 April 2011
7 p.m.
Asian American Writers Workshop
16 West 32nd Street, 10th Floor
New York City

For more information: (212) 494 – 0061,

Go, dear blog readers. Do go.

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