Between 7: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Today, self spent the day in Irvine. She was there to visit son, who has a summer job with Blizzard Entertainment.

For lunch, she dropped by Tender Greens at Irvine’s Spectrum Mall.

Oooh-la-la! She had a steak salad and polished that off with an apricot cobbler, which was so creamy-delicious that . . .

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Between first to last bite took her less than five minutes.

What a good job self did polishing off this fabulous dessert!

What a good job self did polishing off this fabulous dessert!

She took a whole series of pictures at each stage of the process, with the thought that she could post them as examples of “between bites.”  No kidding, she took at least six shots of the dessert, about every other bite.  The people around her must have thought she was nuts.  She only did it because she was obsessed with showing the “between,” the stages of the eating.

But she decided to use just the first and last shots instead.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Between 6: Stonehenge

Self has been fascinated by Stonehenge for a very long time.  Finally, in April this year, she got to make the trek to the site.

From the English Heritage Guidebook in the visitor centre, self learns about the alignment of the stones.

“Stonehenge has an axis — an alignment that runs north-east to south-west.” This axis is closely tied to “the way the sun moves through the sky during the course of the year; the sunset at the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, occurs on exactly the opposite side of the horizon from the midsummer sunrise.”

“So the alignment of Stonehenge works for both the summer solstice and for the one that happens in winter. But there is increasing evidence from other Neolithic sites such as Newgrange in Ireland and Maes Howe in Orkney, as well as closer by at Durrington Wells, that the winter was the more significant.  At Durrington, there is evidence for feasting and celebration at just this time of year.”

Stonehenge, April 2014:  What you see between the stones is of equal importance as the stones themselves.

Stonehenge, April 2014: What you see between the stones is of equal importance as the stones themselves.

Pat Shelley, who led the Stonehenge tour self took, standing between the stones to give a lecture on the significance of the stones and their positions.

Pat Shelley, who led the Stonehenge tour self took, standing between the stones to give a lecture on the significance of the stones and their positions.

Fascinating to think that the stones were positioned to control what one sees BETWEEN them.

Fascinating to think that the stones were positioned to control what one sees BETWEEN them.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

“Thick”

Self must be a little thick (or maybe not just a little).  She started reading a Peggy Noonan essay in last weekend’s edition of The Wall Street Journal.  The essay, in the Op-Ed section, is called “What America Thinks About Iraq,” and though self doesn’t regularly read Ms. Noonan, she does recognize that Noonan knows how to turn a phrase.  In other words, self has to admit: Ms. Noonan is an above-average — maybe even a far above-average — writer.

Her essay begins with a fabulous quote:

The past is never dead.  It’s not even past.

Self truly loves that quote.

In fact, it’s probably the main reason she read to the very end of the article.

Anyhoo, Noonan throws out a number of bon mots such as:

They assumed good luck, a terrible, ignorant thing to assume in a war.

But why was it so irrational to assume “good luck,” Ms. N?  Anyone going into a war assumes “good luck” — isn’t that what happened when the Allies went into D-Day?  All wars are catastrophic enterprises, they are a kind of desperate last act.  With consequences too far-reaching to predict with any accuracy.

Just because World War II turned out swell for the Allies doesn’t mean the planners didn’t know that D-Day involved tremendous risk.  It was a gamble.  All wars are gambles.

Ms. Noonan closes without ever identifying who said “The past is never dead . . . “

And that, you know, makes self feel stupid.

The quote, it turns out, is from Faulkner’s Requiem for a Nun (1950).  A work self never heard of, until today.  She is no Faulkner devotee.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Between 5: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

At Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena, there were many, many inspirational and self-help books that addressed such subjects as emotional stress, attaining inner peace, etc.  Self would estimate that almost half the store consisted of books aimed at people who wanted to be in a better place —  emotionally, spiritually, mentally, even financially.

And why not?  A majority of the people in the world are trying to get to a better place.  We are all “between,” we are all transitioning.

Here are a few titles from Vroman’s that caught self’s fancy (She wouldn’t have taken pictures of these books if not for this week’s Photo Challenge, so thank you WordPress Daily Post and the Broken Light Collective, who were responsible for coming up with this week’s photo challenge):

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BTW, Vroman’s is a truly great bookstore.

Because not only do they carry books, they carry bling!  Like these house slippers self bought, for $14.99:

"Ballerina Bling" fleece-lined house slippers to prove you're not in Kansas anymore.  $14.99/pair at Vroman's.

“Ballerina Bling” fleece-lined house slippers to prove you’re not in Kansas anymore. $14.99/pair at Vroman’s.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Between 4: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s photo challenge is “Between.”

Here are two shots self took today, because she was thinking of the challenge:

Claremont, CA:  Downtown Farmer's Market

Claremont, CA: Downtown Farmer’s Market

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Self loves the apple cider and always gets some every time she visits son.

She’s also bought things from the spice vendor.  And Jennie gets hummus and other salads from a Mediterranean food vendor.

Self decided to throw in a picture from when she was doing a residency in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, in May.  She was looking for shots of “between” that represented actual spatial demarcations:  between stalls at a farmers market or between walls or between earth and sky.  She looked through a whole lot of her Ireland pictures before settling on this one.  She was going to say it was an example of “between earth and sky.”  But now she thinks, not really.  It’s more of the way sunlight breaks through the clouds on a typical Irish spring day.

From a Farmyard Cottage in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig, County Monaghan, Ireland

From a Farmyard Cottage in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig, County Monaghan, Ireland

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Between 3: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Today, self is choosing to interpret the week’s Photo Challenge, BETWEEN, as a choice between this or that.

21 Choices in Claremont: So hard to choose between Golden Nugget or Oreo Mudslide! Self finally decided on # 19: Golden Nugget

21 Choices in Claremont: So hard to choose between Golden Nugget or Oreo Mudslide! Self finally decided on # 19: Golden Nugget

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Unrelated to food but still related to the theme of BETWEEN, here is some brotherly advice offered by Hamlet to a distraught Ophelia.

You’d be surprised how many people still say this to women nowadays, especially women who seem to be on the verge of . . . something.

Hamlet's advice to Ophelia

Hamlet’s advice to Ophelia

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Between 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

BETWEEN is a very interesting photo challenge.

Thank you, Broken Light Collective, for coming up with the theme.

Below, three takes:

The Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig:  the hallway leading to the music studio on the top floor of the main house

The Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig: the hallway leading to the music studio on the top floor of the main house: Narrow Space Between Walls

The Pedestrian Walkway Spanning the Thames Just Behind the Globe Theatre in London's South End

Between Two Riverbanks:  The Pedestrian Walkway Spanning the Thames Just Behind the Globe Theatre in London’s South End

Extreme Close-up of a page of a story about an American Soldier in Iraq in the New Yorker

Between Two People:  Letter to a member of the Armed Forces serving in Iraq (Luke), showing what happens when it is almost 100% redacted (Letter was in a New Yorker short story)

More Reading From the Personal Bookshelf: VOICES OF WAR, A Library of Congress Veterans History Project

Self bought this book for The Man last year, but ended up reading it herself.  It’s made up of a lot of little remembrances, interviews with various former members of the armed forces, some of whom enlisted for reasons ranging from “I was kicked out of school and didn’t know what to do with myself” to “I was the fourth generation to serve in the United States Army.”

Here’s a memoir from Rod Hirsch, who served in the Army during the Vietnam War:

I heard the strains of Reveille.  I was very dismayed to find out that it was recorded.  I had always thought there was some guy standing out in front of the barracks, blowing Reveille on a bugle.  And that made me very disappointed.

You’re eighteen years old, you just got out of high school, and you go into a situation where you’re going to be disciplined heavily.  There’s going to be a lot expected of you, and this is something that most of us had not experienced.  And so we’re all confused, we all feel stupid, we all feel like we have left feet, we don’t do anything right.  It’s a traumatic experience.

Whoo!  What a lot of posts self has written on just one day!  She’s enjoyed herself thoroughly.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

K. M. Kaung’s BLACK RICE: Further Reading

So intense this year has been.  Self is just now picking up the threads of the various novels/novellas she began to read as long as a year ago.

Here’s an excerpt from Kyi May Kaung’s novella Black Rice.

She was a storyteller too, my mother, just like Uncle Kong and Aunt Anouk.  So I always knew that after her tenth failure at the Dufferin Hospital, she was so sad, she turned her face towards the wall, wishing she were dead, tears streaming from her eyes.  Even the jokes of my inebriated father, already tipsy at the afternoon visiting hour, could not make her smile.  Her tenth pregnancy had not ended in a miscarriage but in a live birth.  To keep the pregnancy, she lay in bed almost all the eight months, hardly moving.  On the advice of her doctor, she gave up sex with her husband.  She was so proud of carrying to term and of having a live birth.  And it was a boy, too, she told me.  She said his eyes and nose, and ears that stuck out, were just like mine.  Just like my father’s ears.

Kyi “has been writing fiction since she was a teenager in Rangoon, Burma, and her play Shaman was praised by Edward Albee.  She has won a Fulbright fellowship, a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Award, the William Carlos Williams Award of the Academy of American Poets, and was a Pew Finalist in Fiction twice.  K. M. Kaung’s fiction has appeared in the Wild River Review, the Northern Virginia Review, the Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday Magazine, and  in Himal Southasia.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Growing Up on Park Avenue (During the Depression)

The following passage is from Diane Arbus: A Chronology, 1923 – 1971.

Self stumbled across this book in April, after attending an Arbus exhibit at the Fraenkel Art Gallery, in downtown San Francisco.

In the summer of 1929, just before the stock market crash, Arbus’s family moved into 1185 Park Avenue.

This is from a radio interview conducted by Studs Terkel in 1968, for his book Hard Times:  An Oral History of the Great Depression.

The family fortune always seemed to me humiliating.  When I had to go into that store . . . I would come on somebody’s arm or holding somebody’s hand at what must have been a fairly young age and it was like being a princess in some loathsome movie of some kind of Transylvanian obscure middle European country and the kingdom was so humiliating.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

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