2020: The Race

So far, five Democrats have declared their candidacy:

  • Of the five, four are women. FOUR.
  • One mayor, Julian Castro, from San Antonio, TX, a state that is greatly impacted by the issues of the border wall. This Stanford grad delivered part of his speech in Spanish.

It is clear which groups are most angered by Trump.

We are outraged by the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, and by the male posturing of the President and his enablers: Senators McConnell and Graham. By the hypocrisy of Senator Susan Collins.

Also clear: Democracy won’t die with Trump.

Stay tuned.

Visualizing Anna Karenina

Self saw the Joe Wright movie and felt it was ludicrous, especially the scene with the dueling tongues. None of which is Keira Knightley’s fault.

Here’s a photo of actress Vivien Leigh, who more closely resembles the image of Anna that self has in her mind:


Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Dolly (Darya Alexandrovna), the Wife of Stiva, Reflects

Anna Karenina, p. 555:

“And in general,” thought Darya Alexandrovna, having surveyed her entire life in these fifteen years of marriage, “the pregnancy, the nausea, the dullness of mind, the indifference to everything, and above all, the ugliness. Kitty, youthful, pretty Kitty, even she has lost her looks, and me, when I’m pregnant, I become ugly, I know. The birth, the sufferings, the outrageous sufferings, the final minute . . . then the feeding, those sleepless nights, those terrible pains . . . “

Darya Alexandrovna shuddered at the mere memory of the pain of cracked nipples, which she had suffered with nearly every child. “Then the children’s illnesses, the perpetual fear, then their upbringing, their vile tendencies (she recalled little Masha’s crime in the raspberries), the lessons, the Latin — it’s all so mysterious and difficult.

Self really feels for Dolly. An argument with Stiva about his infidelity is the opening scene of this novel. The two have been married nine years and have five (or is it six?) children. And now, over 500 pages later, she is still his wife, and he is still having affairs.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Work-in-Progress: Speculative Fiction

Self found this unfinished story in one of her old computer files.

An angel is roomies with a struggling college student. “He” is the angel.

He sat down and picked up an apple from a bowl on the kitchen table. “I’m hungry. Feed me.”

“You took an apple,” I said.

“Not enough,” he said. “A gammon joint. With apple and whiskey sauce.”

This is a very demanding angel!




Stay tuned.


Seryozha: ANNA KARENINA, p. 479

At this point of the novel, 3/4 of the way in, Karenin is still looked upon with ridicule, he still can’t bring himself to stop caring completely about Anna Karenina, but a philanthropic and very religious lady named Countess Lydia Ivanovna has fallen in love with him and has taken over the managing of Karenin’s household. Anna writes to the Countess to ask if she might be permitted to see her son, Seryozha, but the Countess refuses. She then gets Karenin to agree to tell Seryozha that his mother has died

Time jump: several years later, on Seryozha’s name day.

Apparently, one cannot be excused from one’s lessons, even on one’s name day.

  • After his teacher was the lesson with his father. Before his father came, Seryozha sat down at his desk, playing with his penknife, and started thinking. Among Seryozha’s favorite activities was searching for his mother during his walk. He did not believe in death in general and in her death in particular, in spite of what Lydia Ivanovna had told him, and his father had confirmed, and so even after they told him she had died, he kept looking for her during his walk. Any full-figured, graceful woman with dark hair was his mother.

Self finds everything that happens after Anna’s pregnancy fascinating. Each character has to make a choice after that, and Karenin seems most self-aware: His choices — despite his anger, despite his shame — are fundamentally humane. Anna merely continues with Vronsky, while Vronsky’s career stalls entirely and he loses all ambition. Kitty and Levine are happy.

Then the Seryozha section. It is so heartbreaking to read: “He did not believe that the people he loved could die . . . ” What is going to happen to this poor boy after his absent mother becomes truly DEAD?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: PAIRS

Self is always happy when she can participate in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge!


Rose Bowl Parade, 1 January 2019


Straw Angels, December 2018


Reading, December 2018

Stay tuned, dear blog reader. Stay tuned.

True Russian Spirit: ANNA KARENINA, p. 326

This is a Vronsky chapter. (Self has been skipping all the Anna chapters; she can’t believe how suddenly and decisively Anna has fallen, from being a calm and exemplary wife to being a mewling, desperate and unhappy mistress. Is such a drastic change even realistic? Maybe such things do happen in real life — perhaps Vronsky truly was that charming — but that’s no excuse to make them happen in fiction, lol)

A foreign prince visits Russia:

In Turkey he had been in a harem, in India he had ridden an elephant, and now in Russia he wished to sample all the special Russian pleasures.

Vronsky, who was with him as a kind of master of ceremonies, took great pains to apportion all the Russian pleasures offered the prince by various individuals. There were trotters, bliny, bear hunts, troikas, Gypsies, and drinking bouts with Russian plate smashing. The prince assimilated the Russian spirit with extraordinary ease, smashed trays of plates, sat a Gypsy woman on his knee, and seemed to ask, Isn’t there something else, or does the Russian spirit consist merely of this?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Self’s Favorite Character in ANNA KARENINA

A young doctor has examined Kitty and prescribed for her a period of travel abroad. After he delivers this news to Prince Alexander Dmitrievich and his wife, Kitty’s parents, the old prince pats Kitty’s hair and says:

  • “These idiotic chignons! You can’t get to your real daughter, you’re petting the hair of dead peasants.”


Stay tuned.


Anna Karenina As She Was, P. 68 of ANNA KARENINA

Anna Karenina goes to the Oblonskys to play peacekeeper between Stiva and his wife Dolly. Which, in light of what happens later, is extremely ironic. Her message to Dolly: Forgive him! Because he loves you!

After dinner, when Dolly retires to her bedroom, Anna goes to her brother, “who was lighting a cigar.”

“Stiva . . . go and may God help you.”

When Stepan Arkadyevich (Stiva) left, she returned to the sofa, where she sat surrounded by the children. Whether it was because the children saw that their mother loved this aunt, or because they themselves sensed the special charm in her, the older two, and the younger ones in their wake, as often happens with children, had latched onto their new aunt before dinner and would not be separated from her, and between them something like a game was invented that consisted in sitting as close to their aunt as possible, touching her, holding her little hand, kissing it, and playing with her ring, or at least touching the flounce on her dress.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Levin Again: ANNA KARENINA, p. 35

Levin lunching with his old friend Stepan Arkadyevich aka Stiva, whose wife Dolly has just discovered his affair:

Levin: You can’t imagine how it is for me, a country dweller, all this is as savage as the fingernails of the gentlemen I saw in your office.

Stiva (laughing): Yes, I saw how intrigued you were by poor Grinevich’s nails.

Levin: I can’t help it . . . Just imagine you’re me and take a country dweller’s point of view. In the country, we try to keep our hands in a state that makes them handy to work with; so we trim our nails and sometimes roll up our sleeves. But here people let their fingernails grow as long as they can stand it on purpose, and they wear cuff links like saucers so that they can’t do anything with their hands.

Stiva (smiling): Yes, it’s a sign that he doesn’t need to do rough labor. His mind does the work.

Self is fascinated by this glimpse into the foppish fashion of Muscovites.

Stiva seems like a good guy, a good friend to Levin. Ugh, but he’s really so entitled.

Stay tuned.

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