Sometimes You Just Gotta Have That Chocolate Milkshake

Have dear blog readers ever tasted a lukewarm chocolate milkshake?

(Self knows, right?)

It is a hot day in Oxford, UK. Everyone strolling around, including three tourists who are attracting attention for a (fake) loud quarrel — self is pretty clued-in now to what’s fake and what’s real. All you have to do, really, is look at the person’s face. The woman who is allegedly being wronged by her two male companions has a huge, shit-eating grin on her face. She has cropped, dyed-platinum-blonde hair. She has deep brown, leathery skin. She’s wearing blue jeans and a white tank top. This makes her stand out because most of the women self sees around Oxford are of two, maybe three types: young Asian women who are extremely thin, very stylish, and very low-key; young white women who wear sneakers, cigarette jeans, and muted sweaters; older white women who dress a bit eccentrically, in floppy hats, or voluminous, bright sweaters. The strange woman keeps screaming, at the top of her voice, ruining a pleasant afternoon: LEAVE ME ALONE! ASSHOLE!

Really, self hates the drama. This is on a tiny street, where everyone’s so quiet, they all jerk their heads up and look alarmed. If self were to be truly cynical about it, which she isn’t, she might hug her purse closer to her body, just in case there is a point to this loud altercation.

Demonstrative fake quarrel aside, today self got to:

  • see a couple of Shakespeare folios
  • see the Harry Potter dining room
  • see an annotated map of Tolkien’s Middle Earth
  • check out Blackwell’s Crime & Thriller section, where she jotted down the titles of a couple of mysteries she wants to add to her reading list.
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An Amazing, Almost-Summer Day in Oxford, UK

Really, if a lukewarm chocolate milkshake is the worst part of self’s day, she’s had a pretty good day.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lunch: Chéz Mamie

They’re doing massive construction work on Hanway Street: a tall building’s going up. Self asked what that building was going to be and was told: an expanded Primark and luxury condos.

Oh gosh. That means Hanway Place will be awash in posh types. How’s that going to change Chez Mamie? Self probably won’t be able to get a seat there any longer! It’s such a wee restaurant! Maybe because of the noise of construction, the place was rather empty. Self loves their salads, though. Absolutely loves them.

And, just like that, self got the idea for a story and started scribbling like mad into her notebook:

Maxine had impressed her parents into gift-ing her a trip to London by getting an A on a paper about the Thirty Years War (“1618 to 1648,” Maxine told her mother Cici, who blushed with maternal pride).

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Faces 4: Women Celebrate

First: Women Celebrate in Oxford, UK. Jenny Lewis raises a toast in Jericho Tavern, 2014 Saboteur Awards

Second: Women Celebrate in Cork, Ireland. Geraldine O’Toole rocks red in front of the Café Paradiso, Lancaster Quay, Cork.

Third: Women Celebrate in Minneapolis, 2015 AWP Book Fair. Charlotte Pence is the Poetry Editor of Bluestem. The journal published self’s dystopian future story, “The Freeze.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Paradiso Art Books

A book about Fenton Gallery was on the coffee table in her room when she arrived yesterday. Self looooves art books. Where is this gallery? Must get to!

She nested today: just browsing.

There’s a page on William Crozier:

Love his vibrant colors!

I am overwhelmed sometimes with grief, in a world that is vanishing almost too quickly to even do a drawing of it.

— William Crozier

Fan-ta-ma-TAS-tic!

Stay tuned.

Admiration 4: A List (Far From Complete)

OH NO! SELF ACCIDENTALLY DELETED HER OWN POST.

It happened while she was trying to expand on her reasons for assembling this particular mosaic of images to represent the week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge: ADMIRATION.

And she couldn’t find a previous saved version. Gaaaah! And in re-selecting images, she decided to stop at six instead of the eight she originally had. And she also substituted some images. Sorry for the confusion!

  1. Lady in Red: Ger, chef of Cork’s pre-eminent restaurant, Café Paradiso. Such a great chef, and also very direct and witty! Self loves Ger.
  2. Katniss Everdeen: Self-explanatory, really.
  3. Allison Joseph, co-editor with Jon Tribble of Crab Orchard Review. Fabulousness.
  4. The mother-daughter team who cook and manage Chez Mamie, 22 Hanway Street, London. They make London feel like home.
  5. SeaCity Museum, Southampton, England: Thank you to Joan McGavin, who took her here last year. What a great exhibit on the Titanic. While other cities lay claim to having the best exhibits on the tragedy, Southampton’s is so poignant because it focuses on the crew, most of whom were from this city. And therefore, the focus of the displays is on working-class people. Which makes this a much more layered story. In one gallery, there’s a map on the floor with red dots representing the houses of each of the victims. The dots are clustered around the poorer sections of the city.
  6. Last but not least: Nutschell Ann Windsor, Program Administrator for UCLA Extension’s on-line Writers Program. She is the best. She not only handles all requests with Zen calmness, she is a writer herself. And an editor. She’s holding an anthology she edited.

And now self will post before she accidentally deletes something again.

Stay tuned.

Admiration 3: Fort Bragg, CA

Self discovered Fort Bragg, California this year.

She stayed for a few weeks, and discovered:

  1. An excellent bakery, in the Depot Building. Just look at that sweet, blue nest confection!
  2. An excellent used bookstore called, in typical Fort Bragg self-deprecating manner, The Bookstore. The second floor had a wonderful seating area. And the day self visited, there was a hardbound copy of Cyrano de Bergerac, which she has fond memories of her Dear Departed Dad reciting to her at mealtimes (He was a frustrated actor. Played Hamlet in high school at the Ateneo)
  3. Writers, writers, writers abound in Fort Bragg. Self began reading Norma Watkins, whose beautiful memoir, The Last Resort: Taking the Mississippi Cure, was just published by University of Mississippi Press.

Sylvain Landry Week 40 Photo Challenge: Panorama

The Sylvain Landry Photo Challenge this week is PANORAMA.

Here is one from London, a few weeks ago:

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The Portrait Café, British National Portrait Gallery

Joan met self the day she arrived in London! We had lunch at St. Martin’s in the Crypt (Yes, really a crypt), then went to the British National Portrait Gallery.

This was the day before her camera became half-broke, so as you can see, no black slashes across the image.

Hallelujah! So one can really appreciate the view.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Dinnertime # 1

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is DINNERTIME:

Share a meal with us.

Here are three memorable meals (Sorry, the shutter on self’s camera doesn’t open all the way, hence the dark bars across all the pictures she takes now).

The first is the reunion of Emily and self, at Chez Mamie on 22 Hanway Street in London. We had been longing for a dinner at our favorite place for almost a year. Self went back to the States, Emily stayed behind to help her daughter, who was filming a big studio picture. (Self’s lips are sealed). She couldn’t believe it when, a few months ago, she got an e-mail from Emily asking if she had any plans of returning to London. She thought Emily had gone home months ago, since she knows the movie wrapped. But, what joy when self sat at a back table of Chéz Mamie, and heard the young woman say: “Your friend’s in the back.” Self went forward to Emily and we hugged, such was our joy at seeing each other again, in the same place where we had met last year.

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Eating with Emily at Fabulous Chéz Mamie, 22 Hanway Place, London. We waited for this meal: it was a promise we made to each other when self left London last July.

Next, a picture self took at La Traviata in the Mission, where she and a member of her Squaw Valley Workshop 6 (We were so tight, people! Many of us are still e-mailng each other, almost two years later) met for dinner last December (Her camera wasn’t yet on the blink, hence the picture was normal)

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La Traviata in the Mission: The walls are lined with photos of famous opera singers.

Finally, from a visit to Mendocino by Joel Tan and his partner Bunny. We ate at The Mendocino Café on Lansing Street. Food was divine:

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Salad with Hummus and Radishes: YUMM

The Future Is

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is FUTURE.

  • Share an image that represents the potential of things to come.

Self’s Nikon Coolpix decided to have a nervous breakdown. All of her pictures now have a top and bottom stripe. Nevertheless, here is a picture of a delightful meal that will soon be consumed:

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Nikon Coolpix Having a Breakdown: At Chez Mamie, Hanway Street

A book about to be published: Ooligan Press’s collaboration with Calyx, Memories Flow In Our Veins: 40 Years of Women’s Writings From Calyx:

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Hayley Wilson, Project Manager of the Calyx 40th Anniversary Anthology forthcoming from Ooligan Press: MEMORIES FLOW IN OUR VEINS

Finally, a photo of a young reader spotted at The Last Bookstore in downtown Los Angeles: Reading a book is an investment in the future:

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Time spent reading a book is never time wasted.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

New York: Highline and Chelsea

Still looking for landscapes.

Here are pictures self took during a memorable walk on New York City’s Highline, December 2015:

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Near the Start of the Highline, on a cold December Day

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Still Near the Start of the Highline

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Near the Start of the Highline, on a cold December Day

And here are things she loved about New York during her Fall 2015 sojourn:

  • The Asian American Writers Workshop
  • The Whitney
  • The Highline
  • Therese Raquin with Keira Knightley
  • Seeing Penny
  • Seeing Luis and Midori
  • Seeing the Picasso exhibit in the MOMA
  • Catching a concert of Trio Solisti at Carnegie Hall
  • Watching Mamie Gummer’s scorching performan in Ugly to the Bone
  • Seeing nephew Chris Blackett and watching movies with him and reading his novel-in-progress
  • Eating Cuban in Hoboken, New Jersey
  • Walking around Central Park
  • Mockingjay 2 in the Lincoln Center Cinema
  • Losing self’s wallet twice and having it returned to her twice — nothing missing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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