Warmth 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Oh the sun was out, and it was glorious.

Self was inspired to capture the moment with her camera.

So here is her second post on this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge:  WARMTH

Wee Bit of Sun on a Cold Winter's Day!

Wee Bit of Sun on a Cold Winter’s Day!

This next shot has something to do with the nice weather: The Man and self took a walk around downtown Redwood City yesterday afternoon, and wound up at Pamplemousse, where self bought a couple of caramel salt macarons! Heaven!

Self hearts Pamplemousse!

Self hearts Pamplemousse!

Christmas Day self truly had a burst of energy: she and The Man drove to Benicia to see some old friends, and what a treat to have such warm, glorious weather! Here’s a shot of their lemon tree:

This magnificent lemon tree grows in a friend's backyard in Benicia.

This magnificent lemon tree grows in a friend’s backyard in Benicia.


Pile of Stuff: The New York Review of Books, 26 September 2013

Oh why oh why had self mis-laid this issue. Apparently it lay discarded in self’s clothes closet for over a year. And today is a busy busy Monday (Mondays always are), but she just can’t help perusing the issue. And it turns out, there are so many interesting reviews!

Without further ado, here are a couple of books reviewed in the 26 September 2013 issue of The New York Review of Books:

  • The Girl Who Loved Camellias: The Life and Legend of Marie Duplessis, by Julie Kavanagh (Knopf, $27.95)
  • The Lady of the Camellias, by Alexandre Dumas fils, translated from the French by Liesl Schillinger (Penguin, $16.00)
  • The Force of Things: A Marriage in War and Peace, by Alexander Stille (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28.00)
  • The Orphan Master’s Son, by Adam Johnson (Random House, $15.00)
  • Calcutta: Two Years in the City, by Amit Chaudhuri (Knopf, $25.95)
  • Subtle Bodies, by Norman Rush (Knopf, $26.95)
  • Mortals, by Norman Rush
  • Whites, by Norman Rush
  • The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon: An Elusive World Wonder Traced, by Stephanie Dalley (Oxford University Press, $34.95)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Never Forget This

Self was about to start grad school at Stanford University.

Dearest Mum went with her. We did a jaunt to LA and stayed with a distant relative in Glendale.

The relative’s name was Lucy. She was living with an American guy named Bob. She drank a tall glass of green liquid every morning, she said it was good for you: pure chlorophyll.

Self tried a bit and it tasted disgusting, the consistency of mucus.

One night, Dearest Mum and self returned to Lucy’s home to find it dark, locked, nobody home. We drove around for hours, just waiting for Lucy to show up. This was the era before cell phones, so the only recourse we had were to use payphones.

Dearest Mum spied one in front of a liquor store. She said, Get in there and use the phone.

Self said, What? No! It’s a liquor store!

Nevertheless, self being a very obedient 21-year-old, she got down from the car and used the payphone that was right in front of the entrance. Dearest Mum remained in the car. When self turned around after making a series of fruitless calls to Lucy, she saw that a car had pulled up right next to Dearest Mum. Two men were inside that car, staring intently at Dearest Mum, who was clutching the steering wheel with both hands. Self would call that “a white-knuckle clutch.”

Whereupon, self jumped back into the car, Dearest Mum va-voomed out of the parking lot with screeching tires, and we drove around and around for two more hours, until we were pulled over by a policeman.

The policeman walked over to Dearest Mum’s window and shone a flashlight straight into her face.

What is it, Officer? Dearest Mum coo-ed in her sweetest, most girl-y voice.

Ma’am, we pulled you over because we thought you might be drunk.

What? Me? Drunk? Dearest Mum’s voice dripped outrage.

Well, the Officer said, I see you’re not drunk, Ma’am. But here’s the thing: me and my partner have been following you for a bit because: A) You braked on a green light; B) You switched lanes in the middle of an intersection; and C) This is the fourth time you’ve passed this corner.

BWAH. HA. HA. HAAAAA! Self had to assume her best poker face during the exchange.

Now I’ll tell you what, Ma’am, quoth the cop. You see this big intersection right here? You make a left at that intersection, and you keep going, and you keep going, and you don’t stop until you see this big hotel, and you wait in that hotel for your friend to get home.

Self doesn’t know why it never occurred to her to share this story before.

Stay tuned.

Further Scenes From Self’s Hunger Games Fan Fiction (AU, Canon-Divergent Katniss and Peeta)

So very AU, Canon-Divergent, but what the hey.


Peeta is stuck in the Capitol (several years after he became the lone Victor of his Games), entertaining degenerate Capitol denizens with a fake romance with the latest Victor, a 17-year-old beauty named Darna. Meanwhile, Katniss is a very stressed miner’s wife back in District 12.

President Snow blesses the pairing of Darna and Peeta (How do we know this? Because Snow provides Darna with the key code to Peeta’s private suite in the Capitol — DUN. DUN. DUN!)

Darna is a Victor and absolutely lethal in the Arena, but in Peeta’s suite she is nothing but a lovesick 17-year-old who loves watching Peeta cook spaghetti (Pace, Haruki Murakami!)

“Ah, melanzane,” Darna purrs.

“Sorry?” Peeta says, bemused.

“Oh, it’s an old word. My father said my grandfather used it all the time. I don’t really know what it means. But my father used to say it to my mother when she indulged him by cooking one of his favorite dishes.”

“The things you learn,” Peeta chuckles, shaking his head. He reaches for a bottle from the wine rack on the counter.

There’s a brief silence. Then Darna says, “I can’t complain. It could be so much worse. I could be like — “

Snow sees Peeta shake his head. A warning.

“I suppose,” Peeta says.

Darna nods and moves slowly back to the counter. Her beautiful face is now blank, guarded.

Peeta, Snow thinks, is an excellent teacher.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.



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