Flower of the Day (FOTD) 13 March 2021: Clematis montana

Self is following another Cee Neuner Photo Challenge, Flower of the Day. Fun!

She was lucky to find a wee Clematis montana ‘White Surprise’ in Wegman’s last week. To tell you the truth, she is a bit obsessed with clematis. Ever since her aunt in Montauk sent her, through the mail, a sprig of white clematis henryii. It was so beautiful, with big white, dinner-plate size flowers that eventually covered one entire fence. Then our neighbor decided to replace the fence. He cut all the clematis twigs, and it never grew back. Self mourns the loss even now, 20 years later.

Last year, self decided to experiment with a mail-order service. She ordered a ‘native’ variety called Saucy Alice from a nursery on the east coast. Never grew, eventually died.

This year, self was in her local nursery when she saw a white clematis montana, which reminded her of the clematis montana rubens that every spring bursts into glorious flower on her front porch trellis. It was in a wee pot, and she snagged it.

The clematis montana don’t have flowers as big as henryii, but self doesn’t care. It will be lovely.

Since arriving on self’s porch, it’s been behaving really well:

The white blooms should be ready for another close-up in a few days!

Here’s what my clematis montana rubens looked like, March 2020:

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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.

SMILE 3: Palo Alto Farmers Market, 8 April 2018

Such a gorgeous day! Sun is shining, everything’s beautiful.

Went to the Palo Alto Farmers Market. Smiles everywhere. The dimsum at this market is just heavenly:


Sunday, 8 April 2018: Haven’t been to the Palo Alto Farmers Market in at least a year. It was a great day for it.

Bought a hanging basket of pink ivy geraniums from this vendor:


You can see the basket of pink geraniums in the center of the picture below:


She hung the basket on the porch, soon as she got home.

Here are other WordPress SMILES:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


9/11: Chelsea District, New York City

This city holds a special place in self’s memories:

  • Dearest Mum began her piano career here, at Carnegie Hall.
  • Self worked here for a year, before entering the Stanford Creative Writing Program.
  • Her sister was married here, 1982.
  • Her sister gave birth to three children here, one of whom was married here, two days ago.
  • Her sister died here, December 19, 1991.

Because self is at the moment staying in Chelsea, here’s a view of this amazing city, on 9/11:


New York City: 9/11/2017

Here are pictures of the children who were, respectively, six, five and six months old when self’s sister passed away:


William and Christopher Blackett, 9 September 2017


Georgina Isabella: 9 September 2017

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.



#amreading: Kristin Dimitrova

Self has read this collection before: it’s in the Blue Room of Café Pardiso.

An Old Mesopotamian Legend About Gilgamesh, King of Uruk, Who Wanted to Become Immortal

— by Kristin Dimitrova

Wanted to;
could not.

— from Dimitrova’s collection A Visit to the Clockmaker (Southward Editions, 2005), translated from the Bulgarian by Gregory O’Donoghue

Tonight: “1000 Ways to Die”

Self, it’s taken you so long, so many decades of your life, but you have finally discovered the way to get on the good side of Dearest Mum:

Never, ever say no.

Last night, self and niece G and Dearest Mum and all the relatives within 50 miles were in Lobster Shack.  Self splurged on a $30 bottle of Wild Horse Central Coast Chardonnay recommended by the waitress.  Considering that self and niece had already had two beers apiece before dinner, by the end of the night we were both flyyying high!  Telling stories about McCain, Tea Parties, niece’s dad, her roommates, you name it!

Today, self wondered whether she should give Dearest Mum a call.  But no!  She decided instead she would go to the Stanford Shopping Center and buy herself some Estee Lauder night cream!  Then she decided to get an extra jar for Dearest Mum.  Then, she just had time to drive home, and wrap up the cream in loads of gold tissue paper, before one of self’s aunts called (Dearest Mum has her own cell phone but she never, of course, deigns to use it, so it is always one of self’s aunts who calls and then passes on the phone to Dearest Mum)

Whacha doing, aunt inquires.

Self:  Nothing.

Aunt:  Oh, ’cause your Mom wants to see you.

Self:  Fine!  I am doing absolutely nothing.

Aunt:  So it’s OK for us to drop by?

Self:  Of course!  Anytime!  I am absolutely available!

After aunt hung up, self went flap-flap-flap all over the house, sweeping, washing counter-tops, dumping buckets of water on plants, feeding li’l crits, combing her hair, changing into decent clothing, hiding the ugly sneakers she uses around the house, spritzing air freshener into all the bathrooms, etc etc etc

Self was just wrapping up watering the front lawn when aunt pulled up with Dearest Mum.  Then we went inside.

“Want water?” self inquired.  Turns out Dearest Mum had just treated all to the most humongous lunch of:  grilled pompano; lumpia; fried rice; pinakbet; and so many other dishes that self could not remember them all.  Where oh where was this fabulous repast?  Self could not get an answer out of her aunt, her uncle, or Dearest Mum.

Anyhoo, Dearest Mum had bought self about 20 blouses from Nordstrom’s Rack, in the most fabulous colors:  lime green, orange, yellow etc etc  (Oh Dearest Mum, if you had dressed self before her reading last February, that blogger would not have said self looked like a “grandma”!!!).  Normally, self would have resisted such clothing.  Today, she finally applied her hard-won wisdom:  Yes!  Yes!  More lime green!  More orange!  More yellow!  More!

After Dearest Mum left, self tried to get back to her usual routine, but after a whirlwind like that (Self also just learned that on their first night in New York, she and Dearest Mum are attending a wedding reception —  in Grand Central Station.  What?  Self never heard of a wedding reception in Grand Central before!  Dearest Mum inquired:  Do you have anything to wear?  Self mumbled, Ah, a dress?  Dearest Mum thought for a minute:  “I seem to remember you have a pantsuit,” she remarked.  “Yes … ” self replied.  “In black?”  Dearest Mum asked.  “Yeeees,” self replied.  “Good.  Wear that.”  Okey-dokey!)

Good thing, after hubby gets home, he starts watching something on the History Channel about snipers.  Self watches while the Marines send two men to hunt and kill a vicous Viet Cong squad leader (a woman, it turns out), with code name “Apache.”  Okay, after watching how the Marines hunt and kill this woman, hubby next turns to that edifice of tasteful programming, Spike TV.  And here we are on a show called “1000 Ways to Die.”

Want to know what a Spanish Donkey is?  It’s a method of torture devised in the Inquisition, which involves putting cannonballs on the victim’s feet (up to 400 lbs. worth of cannonball), and positioning the victim over a sharp wooden platform.

Ever heard of anyone being killed by a pigeon?  After watching the show, you will say yes.

Ever known what happens when you drink denture cleaner?

Ever known what happens when you give mouth-to-mouth to a dead raccoon?

Dear blog readers, it has been such an entertaining day.  Self believes she will land in New York bananas, absolutely bananas.

Stay tuned.

More Irrelevant Thoughts

There was only one possible way for “Lost” the series to end, Letterman said.  And that was with someone tapping Matthew Fox on the shoulder and saying, “Sir, we’ve arrived.  Wake up.”  But–  the producers found another way!  Which actually made sense!  Self confesses that she never had the patience to sit through a whole episode (except, she liked the fact that a lot of nerd-y looking guys had parts on the show:  the guys who were not Sawyer or the doctor or the Indian hunk or the Korean hunk), but last night she watched intermittently and hubby watched till the end and then self found the ending rather sad.

“MacGruber” is not a bad movie, dear blog readers.  At least, it kept self chuckling (And Ryan Philippe:  who knew he had the makings of such a stellar straight man?  And when did Val Kilmer get so faaat?)

Self has the best house-cleaner in the world.  And his name is Mauricio.  Yes, you guessed right:  he was here again today.

Son is planning a fab four-night vacation in Las  Vegas with seven or eight other friends.  They are staying at Caesar’s.  On some other parents’ dime.  How self Read the rest of this entry »

Ah, Home, Sweet Home

Ah, home at last. Home to the lovely smell of a house fairly reeking with cigarette smoke. Dearest Mum pulled away so quickly from the curb after dumping self on the sidewalk that she missed self’s toes by inches. Last self heard from Dearest Mum was this hurried admonition: “Call your Tita and tell her I’m coming! I’m cooooming!”

Tita called Dearest Mum at least 10 times today, simply aching with longing for Dearest Mum’s return. Dearest Mum abruptly declared that she had to return forthwith to the Bay Area. Son must have heaved a huge sigh of relief at the news. The last 50 or 60 miles, Dearest Mum was simply beside herself, constantly urging self: “Can’t you step on it?”

“Why, where are you going?” self asked.

“Tita can’t have dinner until I get there. Can’t you step on it?”

Anyhoo, after self dragged herself in her front door, Gracie was in absolute paroxysms of delight. Hubby was shocked, shocked, at self’s too-sudden return. He was on the internet, and was also watching a football game on TV. Self dumped everything by the front door and collapsed in the bedroom. On second thought, she’s glad she went to San Luis Obispo. Thank you, hubby, for reminding self that if she hadn’t gone away with Dearest Mum, even though it was only for one night, that’s one night less that she had to inhale the stale odor of your cigarettes.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Already, Confusion

Self has still to embark on this road trip with Dearest Mum (scheduled for today, right now in fact), but already she is non-plussed.

After spending the early morning hours packing, responding to student e-mails, and tidying up in the kitchen, self sits down to await Dearest Mum. It occurs to her that Dearest Mum went out last night with niece G, and may still be resting up. Self wishes that she had remembered to ask Dearest Mum what time she wanted to leave for San Luis Obispo. Usually, Dearest Mum calls very early in the morning — like yesterday, when she called to let self know that she should reserve half of the sweaters she received from Dearest Mum just a few days ago, to give to niece G. That call clocked in at 6:52 a.m. But today, for whatever reason, the phone is silent.

Finally, at 9:23 a.m., self decides to call. Aunt answers the phone (apparently chewing her breakfast).

“Do you want to talk to your Mom?” Aunt asks. Read the rest of this entry »

“W” the Movie

It was a gorgeous day, dear blog readers.  Hubby’s starting to water.  Earlier, we walked the dogs.  Funny, we noticed that if Bella lags too far behind, as lately she does more and more, her arthritic legs becoming less and less able to carry her, Gracie waits until Bella and hubby come within sight before she will proceed.  So the walks become longer and longer.  But that’s all right, because self loves October, and it is so much fun to see the neighbors’ Halloween decorations:  the headstones on the lawn, the scarecrows, the pumpkins, the cobwebs draped across fences and porches.

Self planted a thunbergia gregorii.  She said a prayer:  Grow.

Hubby’s younger brother returned to New York.  Dearest Mum comes on Tuesday.  Aunt e-mailed Dear Bro:  “I’m sorry for your loss.  But you are a survivor.  Could you send me Ying’s death certificate so I can get a free airline ticket for your mom?”

That is the kind of e-mail that is only possible in Filipino families.  Ying would not have minded, self is sure of it.  She would be happy to know that she could still do something to help Dearest Mum, or any member of the family.

Dearest Ying!  Sometimes self will remember the time, four years ago, when we visited Angkor Wat.  She remembers their faithful driver, who they hired for four days.  If self were to return now, by herself, and looked him up, how shocked he would be to learn that the beautiful girl who he drove around four years ago has died.  And so would the people who own the little guest house where self and Ying stayed, sharing rooms and meals with a couple from Paris.

Hubby and self watched “W” in the downtown Redwood City cinema.  It was long:  We caught the 1:30 showing and were out a little past 4.  The day was starting to fade.  The movie kept self riveted for almost its entire length.  There was only one portion where self started to nod off, and that was when the key planners of the Iraq War were holding a strategy session.

Thandie Newton/Condoleeza did not have much to do in this movie except nod and deliver demurely downcast and yet strange grimaces.  She was such a hoot!  Self could not take her eyes off her, whenever she was on-screen.  How did this normally beautiful woman achieve such a transformation?

Rob Corddry played Ari Fleischer.  It was a very small role, mostly involving flitting in and out of rooms or trailing worriedly after W as he left a press conference.  The actor who played Paul Wolfowitz did in fact look like Paul Wolfowitz, but self doesn’t know the actor’s name.  And, hey, what an accolade for Tony Blair:  he got to be played by Welsh hottie Ioan Gruffudd.

Jeffrey Wright played Colin Powell and was very good.  Toby Jones played Karl Rove!

The whole movie, in fact, was such a hoot.  And afterwards, you did see W as a human being, albeit a tragically flawed one.  If self closed her eyes and just listened to Josh Brolin’s voice, she could have sworn she was listening to the genuine article, so well did Brolin capture Bush II’s every inflection, his Texas home-boy twang.  And, too, it was so nice to see Ellen Burstyn again, playing a very pretty version of Barbara Bush.  And that actor who played the farmer in “Babe”, James Cromwell, who’s parlayed that movie into a very long career playing (usually) bad guys, here plays Bush I as the epitome of the disappointed father.

Self thinks it is Oliver Stone’s best movie in over a decade.  The theatre was almost full, which self hadn’t seen since watching “Blood Diamond”, almost two years ago, and that had Leo.  The audience rarely laughed, but when self looked around, everyone was riveted, absolutely riveted.  A young woman to self’s left sat on the edge of her seat the whole time.  Presumably she, and the rest of the audience, were Democrats.

A very old couple created quite a stir because they could barely walk, and were hard of hearing besides, and kept stumbling on their way up the steps.  People helped them find seats and get seated.  Afterwards, they held up everyone because they could barely walk.  Self thought about how badly they must have wanted to see this movie.

Self also saw previews for “Milk” (Sean Penn absolutely riveting, in every frame of the preview, and there’s Josh Brolin again in his latest transformation, this time playing Dan White, and convincingly too), and Ron Howard’s latest, “Frost/Nixon”, which she definitely wants to see.  There was also a preview for a thriller starring Clive Owen and, in what looked to be a very bit role, Naomi Watts.  Why cannot this woman ever get the kind of role she deserves?  She can really act, can’t Hollywood see that?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

« Older entries

Cath's Camera

life through my lens

The life of B

Mainly through the lens of a Nikon


welcome to my past, present and future mixed with whatever pops up right now

Iain Kelly

Fiction Writing

John's Space .....

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through style and inspiration.

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery


Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.


fiction, short story, writing, creative content

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog

lita doolan productions

Any old world uncovered by new writing

unbolt me

the literary asylum

CSP Archives

Archive of the CSP