Camila, Anselmo, Lothario and the Bold Servant-Girl Leonela (A Fable from DON QUIJOTE, by Miguel Cervantes)

Self is currently on Volume 1, Chapter 34 of Don Quijote (the translation by Burton Raffel):

It so happened that a very stupid man named Anselmo wanted to test his wife Camila’s modesty and virtue by asking his friend (Lothario) to woo her and see if she would submit to temptation.

So Lothario did woo Camila, and she did fall in love with him, and then she had second thoughts, wondering if perhaps she hadn’t submitted too quickly, but her maid Leonela hastens to assure Her Ladyship:

” . . .  don’t let all these misgivings and finicky notions trouble your mind, but be confident that Lothario values you as you value him, and be happy and well satisfied that, having been caught in love’s noose, it’s one distinctly worthy of having snared you.  Not only do you have the four S’s that all good lovers are supposed to have (solo, solicito, sabio, secreto:  “unattached, attentive, sensible, secret”), but you have a whole alphabet:  just listen, and you’ll see how I can recite it by heart.  Your lover —  as far as I can tell — is

Grateful (Agadecido)
Good (Bueno)
A Gentleman (Caballero)
Generous (Dadivoso)
In Love (Enamorado)
Steadfast (Firme)
Gallant (Gallardo)
Honest (Honrado)
Distinguished (Ilustre)
Loyal (Leal)
Young (Mozo)
Noble (Noble)
Modest (Onesto)
Renowned (Principal)
Solid (Quantioso)
Rich (Rico)
— and all the S’s I’ve said already — and then
Close-mouthed (Tacito)
True (Verdadero)
— and X isn’t right for him, because it’s a harsh letter —
— and we’ve already said Y (that is, I)
and Z, Zealous for your honor (Zelador)

What a very astute servant girl Leonela is! Knows just the right words to calm her Mistress’s fears. And so learned: look how quickly she came up with that Abecedario (ABC)!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More Irises!

Self ordered about 15 iris bulbs from Dutch Gardens last year.  A dozen were Powder-Blue Crested Irises, and three were “Purple Rain” irises.

She started to think the bulbs were a dud, but suddenly about half a dozen blue irises popped up in the side yard, where self forgot she planted them!

Powder Blue Crested Iris, suddenly presenting in backyard!

Powder Blue Crested Iris, suddenly presenting in backyard!

(Behind, on the fence, is a wooden angel)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Hilarious: Pham Thi Hoa’s “Nine Down Makes Ten,” in a Translation by Peter Zimoman

Self is reading — in between her regular reading, that is —  Another Kind of Paradise:  Short Stories from the New Asia-Pacific, edited by Trevor Carolan (Cheng & Tsui, 2010).  At the present time, self is reading about five different books simultaneously.

The first two short stories in Another Kind of Paradise were by Japanese writers.  The third story, “Nine Down Makes Ten,” is by the Vietnamese writer Pham Thi Hoai.  It is simply hilarious.

The paragraphs are very, very long — if not quite as long as a Jose Saramago paragraph.  The unnamed narrator proceeds to dissect the personalities of all her various lovers.  The woman is absolutely merciless.  What keeps the narrative from being out-and-out funny is the fact that the reader becomes acutely aware of how much time the narrator has sacrificed to be with each man, and how futile all her effort turns out to be.  Another thing that occurs to self is:  what kind of parents did these men have, and how did they manage to get away with cultivating this array of eccentric — even bizarre —  behavior?

Here’s the passage about Lover # 2:

The second man was frivolous and merry, an urban child who had yet to go through the period of spiritual crisis characteristic of civilized society.  He was crazy about music, from Beethoven to the Beatles, and possessed a good singing voice, but couldn’t bear to practice.  He also loved soccer and had a decent kicking foot but no concentration for workouts.  Generally speaking, he had no concentration for anything, not even love.  It’s difficult to trust such a man, since it’s never clear where the vectors of his personality are going.  He seemed on first impression someone tremendously frivolous, one who possessed rare and peculiar notions of life, often puzzling to those who met him.  His face was so natural it provoked suspicion, and I believed that under that wonderful skin lay hidden an extraordinary nature.  How else to explain the perfect harmony existing between him and his environment, a final symbol of his capacity to live so deeply and so freely?  But after only three sentences had been uttered from his lovely, smiling mouth, this first impression quickly evaporated.  He was one of a countless number of fortunate young men who live an unexamined life, not because of some conscious principle, but simply owing to circumstance — frivolity as a habit, as a way of life.  He was frivolous in all details, and only details concerned him.  His frivolity manifested itself in the care he took in striking a relaxed pose, and in the attention he devoted to celebrations, to feasting and to appearing knowledgeable; this all in the context of a larger existence that was not at all frivolous, but serious and substantial.  At a certain age, those as extroverted and unaffected as he sink into the cloudy chaos of life’s problems . . .

Do you see what self means, dear blog readers?  She’s only halfway into the story:  there is much more hilarity to come!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Last Friday of March (2013): The Garry Winogrand Exhibit at SFMOMA

Ever since Stella K told self about the Garry Winogrand exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, self has ached to go.

She was about to go yesterday, but then she got hung up with gardening.

She went today, though.  What a gorgeous day it was in the City!

On 101, about to take 4th Street exit

On 101, approaching the Seventh Street exit (The exit for SFMOMA is the one following, on Fourth Street)

It will be clear from the above snapshot that self was doing the dangerous thing again:  snapping photos while driving.  But she just couldn’t give up the chance to document the day, the excellent weather, the freeway signs, the San Francisco skyline, and of course the traffic!

The Garry Winogrand exhibit was fascinating.  Thank you for telling self about it, Stella K!  She was fascinated by Winogrand, his “anti-journalistic” stance, his perceptivity about crowds, his alive-ness to facial expressions of people he passed on the street.  On the audio tour, his son is quoted as saying that when Winogrand would take his children on outings, he was constantly taking pictures of people they passed, and so it took a very very long time to get from Point A to Point B.  But Winogrand’s son said that he was so accustomed to his father’s behavior that he regarded it as entirely normal.

As self was leaving the 4th floor, where the Winogrand exhibit was, she decided to snap a picture of the stairs:

Stairs, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Woman Ascending the Stairs in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Afterwards, as self was walking back to the 5th and Mission Garage, she decided to walk through the Metreon.  She would have made it out without damage if she hadn’t been attracted by a colorful sign saying Cako.  When she went up close to investigate, she saw tubs of ice cream!  And she decided to try the vanilla salt with caramel swirls.  She brought her ice cream outside, to the Yerba Buena gardens, and luxuriated in the sunshine and the pigeons. It was such a gorgeous day!  Self reflected that she is so lucky to be alive, and living where she does, with pretty easy access to the gorgeousness of San Francisco.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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