2nd Weekend of February (2012)

This morning was chilly and overcast (although, after experiencing the frigid nights of Dharamsala in January, self thinks she will never complain about her unheated house, ever again), but now the sun’s come out.  It is Friday!  Oh happy happy joy joy.

The Grammys are this weekend, though self is not as excited as she was for the Golden Globes.  Adele will clean up, that’s all she knows.  Maybe Lady Gaga will delight with a particularly outré outfit.

They caught Madonna’s stalker.  Apparently, he was an escaped inmate from a mental asylum — ?

No rejections yet today (though she hasn’t checked all of her e-mail).

The husband thinks the Ancient One is on her last legs.  Self sees the deterioration.  Her pet doesn’t even react to a piece of bacon put right under her nose.  It seemed to have gotten worse while self was in India.  One more stretch of not seeing self, and Bella will keel over.  Self prays it doesn’t happen when she is home.  One dog’s expiring (April 2011, Gracie) was awful enough.  Perhaps the husband can do death duties this time.

One thing that always made self curious was why “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy” was nowhere in evidence in the last Golden Globes.  She thought Gary Oldman’s and Tom Hardy’s performances were very fine.  Did the omission have something to do with cut-off dates?

The Denzel Washington/ Ryan Reynolds thriller opened today.  Self still wants to see Liam Neeson punch out wolves in “The Grey.”

Want to know something?  Self is really, really, disproportionately happy today.  She has decided to finish The Best Philippine Short Stories of the Twentieth Century (in English), which she started reading years —  this is truly pathetic —  ago.  Currently, she is on p. 448, which means she is right in the middle of the Cirilo F. Bautista story, “Ritual” (Nice title, that!).  Here’s a short excerpt:

There was a knock on the door followed by the entrance of a dark-skinned man carrying several books.  His white trousers and white shirt were spotless; the electric bulb was reflected on his shoes.

“Carlos Dayleg, in charge of the fourth class,” Father Van Noort said to me by way of introducing the newcomer.

“I think we’ve already met,” Dayleg said, extending his hand.  It was only then that I realized he was the man I asked directions from a few hours ago.  He must have noticed my surprise.  “Yes, we met this morning.  In this place it is not uncommon for natives to change to more civilized attire.  As for me, I do it only on special occasions.”

Here are a few thoughts that occurred to self while she was reading the above:

  • It is very hard to keep a white shirt and white trousers clean, especially in the tropics.  But that’s what characters always seem to wear in the tropics, even the ones in Somerset Maugham.
  • Self has already completely forgotten where this story is supposed to be taking place (though the name “Dayleg” sounds vaguely Igorot — ?)
  • The presence of the word “native” is excusable because the “native” is calling himself “the native.”

Here’s yet another passage, from several pages later:

Three school terms I had worked with him but I knew nothing about him, except his preference for canned food, his indifference to women, his love for the rice terraces.  Not that he was reserved or aloof —  he was sociable — but his sociability revealed merely the outer encumbrances of his personality, much as the sphinx revealed merely the outer characteristics of its animalism, but the mystery that shrouded it amidst the burning desert sands few could untangle.  Perhaps the metaphor was far-fetched; perhaps he was enigmatic, not because I could not understand him, but because I was analyzing him from an irrelevant angle.  Luisa had told me that I was always inclined to be poetic.

Last night self attempted to inveigh sole fruit of her loins to visit Bacolod with his girlfriend.  An idea which son does not seem to find particularly attractive, self knows not why.  But one cannot have everything, in this world!  One can simply live, as best as one knows how to.  Back to her reading.

Stay tuned.

“Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus” + Himalayan “Stress Tea” = Fabulous

This evening, in loving tribute to the husband’s forebearance in allowing self to gallivant all over the Eastern hemisphere the past year, self cooked dinner:  baked chicken (50 minutes in oven at 350 degrees) + microwaved broccoli spears (3 minutes in microwave on high).

Showing on SyFy this evening:  “Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus,” execrable show.  Ah, how low SyFy has fallen, from the stellar highs of “Battlestar Galactica.”

To relax self’s overworked (Read:  tired) muscles, self decides to try a box of tea she purchased from Dharamsala.  The tea is called Himalayan Stress Tea.  Self has fond memories of wandering the streets of Dharamsala, inn-keeper/ guide Max at her side to run interference from aggressive vendors (Actually, not necessary:  all vendors in Dharamsala were extremely courteous, at least when self was in front of them)

The box of tea was surprisingly intact, not even one bent corner, after being in self’s suitcase and being banged around by baggage handlers in four different airports:  Amritsar, Delhi, Mumbai, and Newark.  Not to mention the ones at San Francisco.  Truly, self reflects, her voyage home (earlier in the week) was one of epic proportions.

Inside the box of tea is a helpful insert that proclaims:

Stress is exhausting.  It can also cause headaches, irritability, and nervousness.  Unwind over a cup of Himalayan Stress Tea.  It relieves physical and mental fatigue, rejuvenates body and mind, fortifies the immune system and improves your resistance to stress.  After all, life has its easy moments too.

Hoooly mind-blowing wisdom!

(Self also bought, from the same store, “Eye Refreshening Natural Kohl,” so impressed was she by the cat’s eyes most of the women she saw around her in India were sporting)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Two Most Interesting Books (From Women’s Review of Books, January/February 2012)

This morning, self decided to bite the bullet and discontinue her decades-long subscription to the New York Times Book Review.  Why?  Because she plans to do a whole lot of traveling from now on, and she won’t have time to properly appreciate the weekly mailings.

Of all the regular contributors to NYTBR, self thinks she will miss Liesl Schillinger the most.  Here’s a link to her website, wordbirds.

Since they charged her in December 2011 for a full year, her subscription doesn’t actually end until December 2012.  In the meantime, she can ponder her decision a bit more.  It’s entirely possible that self will relent and call them back to re-instate her.

This morning, self perused the latest issue of the Women’s Review of Books.  Self absolutely loves this publication. Here are two books whose reviews led her to want to read them.  Both are nonfiction:

  • Reimagining Equality:  Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home, by Anita Hill (Beacon Press), reviewed by Renée Loth, former editorial page editor at the Boston Globe

“Hill writes movingly of the messy, complicated reality of her family’s history, which included violence, unplanned pregnancies, illiteracy, and debt.  Hill’s grandparents were prominent members of their Arkansas community, founders of the area’s Baptist church, and in 1895, proud owners of an eighty-acre farm.  But they lost the property to a series of bad loans and then fled to Oklahoma, their three-year-old daughter —  Hill’s mother —  in tow, to escape a threatened lynching.”

  • The Female King of Colonial Nigeria:  Ahebi Ugbabe, by Nwanda Achebe (Indiana University Press), reviewed by E. Frances White, who teaches in NYU’s Department of History and Cultural Studies

” …  Ahebi helped the British infiltrate the northern Igbo heartland by guiding them through roadways established for regional trade.  As part of imposing colonial rule on the Igbo, the British removed the traditional rulers …  who governed much of Igboland, and replaced them with warrant chiefs —  that is, chiefs who were given a warrant to rule for the British.  In recognition of Ahebi’s loyalty, and sexual connections she established for them, the British made her a warrant chief —  an unusual appointment for a woman.  She eventually became king of Nsukka …  Achebe narrates this story without making value judgments.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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