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.

Memories of Christmases Past

Self will surely finish A Promised Land today. She’s on p. 609 (only 100 more pages to go). It’s been by far the longest book she’s read this year:

The holiday season also meant we hosted parties practically every afternoon and evening for three and a half weeks straight. These were big, festive affairs, with three to four hundred guests at a time, laughing and chomping on lamb chops and crab cakes and drinking eggnog and wine while members of the United States Marine band, spiffy in their red coats, played all the holiday standards. For me and Michelle, the holiday parties were easy — we just dropped by for a few minutes to wish everyone well from behind a rope line.

A Promised Land, p. 609

Kung Hei Fat Choi! Welcome, Year of the Ox!

So what if Donald Trump got acquitted AGAIN, and Mitch gave the most self-serving speech in the history of self-serving speeches (It’s all Donald’s fault, see? Don’t blame ANY of this on me or the Republican Party!) It’s the beginning of a new Lunar Calendar!

People born in the Year of the Ox are “honest and sincere and don’t want to be the centre of attention nor look for praise. Their recognition comes from their diligent, hard work. They are logical thinkers, too, and so make great world leaders, just what the world needs right now!” (Thank you, Atlantis Bookshop in London for this description!)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Favorite Photos 2020

So Good at Pretending It’s Not Christmas

Chapter 9 of 12 Years a Slave follows Chapter 8, when all hell broke loose. Below, self’s abbreviated summary of 8:

  • Solomon Northup, in his first year of slavery, was acquired by a good man who then sold him to a bad man, whose foreman took an extreme dislike to Northup and tried to beat him to death (even though this is stupid, as you lose your financial investment). Northup would not allow himself to be beaten to death, he fought back, for which he was condemned to hang, and had his hands bound and a noose placed around his neck, when his former master — having been informed of the impending death of his former slave — came galloping up just in the nick of time, and this former master (who btw was a preacher, and after Trump self didn’t think she could think kindly of preachers, ever again, but anyhoo) rode like lightning and made it in time to rescue his former slave, and himself walked up to Northup and cut the noose from around his neck. Afterwards, this former master was in danger from other planters and the bad foreman, who were always whispering aspersions and giving him side-eye, to the point where self is almost sure Chapter 9 (which she is just beginning) will end with the death of Northup’s former master.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Caroline Kim, Very Much on Self’s Mind

Dear blog readers, are you in for a treat.

Caroline Kim, winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, and currently on the Long List for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection, has agreed to share with self her process for writing a short story.

The story we’ll be parsing is Mr. Oh, the first story in the collection. Among other things, self will be asking her why this story came first. Or, put another way, how does she decide the order in which to put her stories?

Caroline’s answers to self’s questions will be posted next week. But read her story first. Read her collection, the entire collection. If you think of any questions, you can leave comments here, and self will pass on to Caroline.

So excited! SQUEEEE!!!


Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 128: And Here Comes the Holiday Season

  • I know many creative plans are being made to make these celebrations work – somehow and anyway. This last LAPC challenge, of the strange year 2020, is all about your Holiday Season. So what will your holidays look like? What are your plans and/or memories? Will you create new traditions or will you just ”survive” this one, looking forward to a ”normalized” celebrating next year? Leya

Self did not expect 2020. Neither did any of us. Right?

Nevertheless, today self was checking out viveka’s blog, my guilty pleasures, and she had the most stunning array of Christmas photos. Inspired, self came up with a few Christmas photos of her own.

Here’s a picture from the night of Dec. 15, when Amazon Prime dropped the first 3 episodes of Season 5 of The Expanse! So exciting! Each succeeding episode is on Wednesday, that means the next ‘drop’ is Wednesday, 23 December. And that is the nicest Christmas present she could have asked for.

She did buy a wreath from Trader Joe’s for $10.99, and fastened a few multi-colored Christmas balls to dress it up a little.

And she put out her lighted angel, that she puts out every year. And brought out a tin angel that was made in the Philippines.

So, very simple decorations this year. Not even half of her usual lay-out. Usually, she gets a big, fresh-cut fir, and hangs about 100 ornaments on it. And she scatters greenery on every available surface. Last year, her neighbor Wendy dropped by, and the first thing she said when she crossed the threshhold was: WOW.

But, Christmas is in her heart, even though this year was a very hard one.

Shout-out to Restless Jo for her great Christmas gallery, to don’t hold your breath’s Four Views of Panchgani, and to Bend Branches’s lovely Christmas ornaments.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

August in the Bay of Palermo

All over the water in the Bay of Palermo are hundreds of boats: gozzi, caiques, feluccas, each festooned with its array of lights, each with its seating for the nobility and places for the oarsmen. The sea is calm, the moon hidden behind small ragged clouds edged with violet, the boundaries between sky and water invisible in the dense blackness of a calm, still August night.

Soon the firework scaffold that rises imposingly on the shore will explode with Catherine wheels, rockets and fountains of light that will rain down over the sea. In the background Porta Felice seems like a Christmas crib all strewn with oil lights. To the right the Cassaro Morto, the dark outline of the Vicaria, the low houses of the Kalsa, the massive facade of the Steri Palace, the grey domes of Santa Maria della Catena, the square wall of the Castello by the sea, the long stark building of San Giovanni de’ Leprosi. Suddenly from a maze of dark crooked lanes thousands of people are pouring out towards the sea.

The Silent Duchess, by Dacia Maraini, pp. 118-119

Here To Report

Halloween has NOT been canceled.

Woo hoo!!!!

Self got trick or treaters.

A miracle. Good thing she found time to dash to Target for candy this morning. And do kids looooove Butterfingers!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Lens Artists Challenge # 117: A Photo Walk (with Follow-Up Walk The Next Day)

You are invited to share your photo walk, whether park, beach or street. As always, we are looking forward to seeing your creative responses. The World Is a Book

Self’s walk: just down the block.

Self knows, this is not much of a walk. And she wishes she could have taken more pictures. But even taking these three were hard. At one house, she heard a kid say, “Mommy, why is that woman taking pictures of our house?” She skedaddled!

This neighborhood is BIG on Halloween decorations, self will try taking pictures of the more elaborately decorated houses tomorrow.

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