April 21 BRIGHT SQUARES: Kahlo and Calder at the de Young Museum

Want to join in the fun?

Every month, Becky at The Life of B announces a new Squares Challenge. The challenge for April is BRIGHT.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

pp. 86 – 87 SHUGGIE BAIN!!!! (Do Not Read Unless You Want to Know EXACTLY What Happens)

SPOILER ALERT * SPOILER ALERT

The way Agnes leaves:

She rouses her sleepy children, gets them dressed (in their Sunday best), flicks on the light in the bedroom where her husband is fast asleep. He wakes, mouth slack, and stares at the apparition of his wife and his two children staring at him from the foot of the bed. She’s wearing a mink, something he gave her in the hope it “would make her happy and hold her at peace from want, if just for a while.”

She: “Right. Thanks for everything, then. I’m away.”

This is really solid, over-the-top, a-hair-short-of-melodramatic writing.

A chapter or so ago, Agnes’s daddy gave her a solid thrashing. Self rather enjoyed how he did it, with a minimum of fuss. He waited until she was 39 and an outright lush, why couldn’t he have taken action sooner!

There have been other jaw-dropping scenes.

It may surprise dear blog readers to know that despite the rough scenes, highlighting the injustices of the world, self is finding this book enormously entertaining.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Agnes: SHUGGIE BAIN, p. 85

Toted this novel to the de Young! Cannot put it down.

It’s Joyce-an. Should have been called Agnes Bain.

  • She went to the mirror in the hall and ran her fingers through her hair; the black curls bounced and folded back on themselves tightly. She ran a line of fresh red lipstick across her mouth. Not bad for twenty-six, she thought. Twenty-six years of sleep.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Agnes in SHUGGIE BAIN (Spoiler Alert)

Self hungrily read almost all the Shuggie Bain reviews because she hates to become vested in a character only to have it end with that character committing suicide.

She’s just past p. 50 and it almost seems as if Agnes is dead. She sets fire to her room when she hears her husband come home. Then she holds Shuggie in her arms and pretends like it’s a game. Shuggie, who has to be the most dysfunctional mama’s boy in the long line of literary mama’s boys, lies passively (but observantly!) in his mother’s arms as the room gets smokier and smokier.

The husband comes in when he smells the smoke, doesn’t say a word, rips the burning curtains off the rods and tosses them out the window. Self thought Agnes was dead until the very last line of the chapter.

Next chapter, point of view switch to Catherine, Shuggie’s older sister. Catherine’s almost home when she sees a pile of scorched curtains on the ground and “recognized them to be the same as her mother’s, burnt and still smoking.” Catherine being a very smart girl, she puts two and two together and thinks to herself: This is not a good sign.

Self doesn’t know what the hoo-ha is about Thatcher in the reviews. Mebbe Thatcher is responsible for this family’s dysfunction, but it’s boring to think that way. She’d rather read a book about family dysfunction without having to blame the dysfunction on politicians. Self’s enjoyment of angst depends entirely on whether she believes a family has agency in its own self-destruction.

So far, the Thatcher references have been minimal. Thank the Lord!

Posting Early Again! April 20 BRIGHT SQUARES

Tomorrow morning, early, self is headed to the de Young to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit. Finally, finally.

Because she’ll probably be out the whole day, she’s posting tomorrow’s Bright Square early. Thank you to Becky at The Life of B for hosting this challenge!

More pictures from the Crocker Museum in Sacramento! The huge painting is Landscape with an Archer, by David Ligare (American, born 1945)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Friday Fun Challenge: Colours

The host of the Friday Fun Challenge is aroused. Her theme for the week is COLOURS.

Self’s gallery are mostly reds, and one blue:

  • 2 from London (a Beltane van and a close-up of the London Eye, May 2019)
  • 2 from Sacramento (the camera and the street sign)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

A Bit Early: April 19 BRIGHT SQUARES

Becky’s post on BRIGHT SQUARES (She’s the host of this challenge, which is truly a lot of fun) is something really BRIGHT and really SPARKLY and it’s something Becky saw in the British Museum. Feel free to gape.

Self spent the weekend in Sacramento. It’s a city she’s always felt at home in, not sure why. Sometimes it feels like Bacolod (in the central Philippines), sometimes it feels like San Luis Obispo. Kids come whizzing down the street on skateboards, and they all go to the same boba place, which as luck would have it is on the same block as her Airbnb.

Her host acquired this 1920s building that used to be a FAMILY LAUNDRY and the neon sign is protected by the City as a historical landmark (though only the bottom half is lit).

Across the street is a Mexican restaurant (the street is otherwise mostly Asian) that’s open 24 hours. Sorry for the blur, self didn’t have a place to rest her elbow for the shot, which took long exposure. Next to the Mexican restaurant is a martial arts school.

Sacramento is an old city, but in the neighborhood she’s in, everyone is young. Not like back home, where you’re either old or pushing a stroller. Or driving a humongous SUV.

Her car is parked directly across the street. A handful of times in the last few hours, someone’s car alarm has been going off. At first, self wondered if it was her car. But it wasn’t.

Back home, she’s just started seeing, around the library, the teens wearing all-black: black T-s, black baggy pants. They were a regular sight before. Then, the library shut down and these teens seemed to disappear. A sure sign that we’re opening again is that self spotted a pair of these black-wearing teens, walking along Middlefield. What did they do with themselves when everything was shut down? Here they are again; feels like old times.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

April 18 BRIGHT SQUARES

For today’s BRIGHT SQUARES Challenge, self took pictures at the Crocker Museum of Art in Sacramento! Which is just as fabulous as she remembered it being, all those years ago (Then, she was lucky enough to catch a Norman Rockwell retrospective)

(Left to Right):

  • Dale Chihuly (almost identical to the one that hangs in the lobby of London’s V & A)
  • Portrait of the playwright, screenwriter and diarist Christopher Isherwood, by Don Bachardy, American (born 1934). Isherwood wrote the 1964 novel A Simple Man; the movie adaptation won Colin Firth an Oscar.
  • Pacific Ocean, a painting by Jennifer Bartlett, American (born 1941)

What a great museum. Self is so happy she returned to Sacramento for this brief visit. If only the café had been open, she’d happily have lingered the whole day.

For lunch, she stopped at this small pop-up on 16th. The metal chairs had been baking in the sun, which she did not think mattered until she actually sat down. A lady who was sitting at the same table smirked and said, “That’s why I avoided sitting on those.” I took a chair that was sitting in the shade, a bit closer to the lady, and she immediately said, “I’ve had my two shots, don’t worry.”

The lady also told self that there was a “Chinse supermarket” not half a block from where we were sitting, and self got very excited at the thought of loading up on goodies for back home.

In addition to tacos, the pop-up also sold, somewhat improbably, mac’n cheese, and since it’s been forever since she’s had mac’n cheese, she decided to try it. It was good!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Just One Person from Around the World: San Mateo Farmers Market

The Just One Person from Around the World Photo Challenge is hosted by ThatTravelLadyInHerShoes. Read more about the challenge, think about participating, and look at the wonderful contributions.

During the California primaries, early last year, self campaigned for Elizabeth Warren. While she was tabling for Warren at the San Mateo Farmers Market, a young girl stopped by the table to chat. She was carrying a book, one of self’s favorites. Self just had to take her picture.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Sentence of the Day: Shuggie Bain

  • She got her teeth from her daddy’s side and the Cambpell teeth had always been weak, they were a reason for humility in an otherwise handsome face.

Even though she’s just starting, self can see why this novel won the 2020 Booker Prize. It’s the voice.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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