Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 90: DISTANCE

This week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge is DISTANCE.

These days, everyone’s talking about and hopefully practicing “Social Distancing”. Since it’s something we should all be doing, we thought a challenge focused on DISTANCE might be an appropriate reminder of its importance.

Self visited New Mexico over the holidays. The place still fascinates.

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Cranes in a field near Albuquerque, New Mexico: Late December 2019

Self loves London’s bridges. She loves the view, she loves the bustling river traffic.

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London, November 2019

Finally, self was fascinated by Cornwall, which she visited for the first time last May, to attend the Fowey Festival of the Arts (Traditionally held in May, the festival’s been postponed to late September),

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Sailboat near Fowey, Cornwall: May 2019

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Tuesday Photo Challenge: HOPE

  • As we continue to connect around the globe, and Spring has started in the Northern hemisphere, I thought it might be time for a fresh outlook. That’s why I thought it might be good to set this week’s them to that of Hope! With the new season and lengthening daylight, each of us can feel a bit more hopeful about what lies ahead. Your challenge is to capture Hope in a manner that speaks to you in your posts and to spread as much hope as possible across this globe of ours! — Tuesday Photo Challenge, 31 March 2020

This, too, shall pass.

Self knows.

Just look at all the plants in her garden, starting to come back, starting to put out blooms. The maples, the roses, and the clematis looked like sticks all winter.

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Japanese Maples are leafing out.

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Clematis montana rubens is starting to bloom.

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This cistus (rock rose) was the first of her plants to bloom.

Stay tuned, stay safe, and stay hopeful!

For Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month. These are the women (prose) authors on self’s 2020 Reading List:

  • Liane Moriarty
  • Diane Gabaldon
  • Edwidge Danticat
  • Mathangi Subramanian
  • Jacqueline Woodson
  • Jung Chang
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Sally Rooney
  • Peg Alford Pursell
  • Oyinkan Braithwaite
  • Dacia Maraini
  • Shahrnush Parsipoor
  • E. R. Ramzipoor
  • Elizabeth Tallent
  • Sadie Jones

Also: Caroline Kim-Brown’s short story collection, which won the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, coming this fall: The Prince of Mournful Thoughts. You can read the title story now, in Ms.Aligned Vol. 3.

Women self has read so far 2020:

  • Dodie Smith
  • Katherine Addison
  • Jia Tolentino
  • Kathryn Ferguson

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Pick A Topic From This Photo

Cee Neuner: Pick a topic from this photo.

Possible topics: black and white, tree, sky, road, vanishing point, landscape, horizon, clouds, weather, country side, early morning, or come up with your own topic.

Self picked SKY.

All from her first visit to Santa Fe, New Mexico, late December 2019

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Museum Hill, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 28 December 2019

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On the I-25 from Santa Fe to Albuquerque, 28 December 2019

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Still on the I-25, Still 28 December 2019

Check out these other takes:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Tuesday Photo Challenge: CONNECT

The Challenge:

What the world needs now… No, I’m not breaking out into a Hal David and Burt Bacharach pop tune! During this time of social distance, it is more important than ever that we connect with one another. I thought the theme of Connect might make a lot of sense. So, your challenge is to capture anything that either connects or with which you feel connected. 

Self deliberately searched for pictures that show connection despite absence of people,  as a way to honor Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “shelter in place” order for California, her home state.

We will get through this!

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A London Bridge

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This copy of David Copperfield was read over 60 nights in a cave during Captain Scott’s expedition to the Antarctic: On exhibit in the Charles Dickens Museum, London

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Fowey Hall, Cornwall, May 2019

Stay tuned.

“Spores” Part 2

Context: K and R are paired up in a lab (They sort. What do they sort? Something). They don’t get to leave the lab until they’ve met their quota. K has a crush on the boss, who’s Earthstar. She and R are Common (not supposed to look at Earthstar). R (the narrator) told the boss “We be needing foxes” and got punched in the face for his impudence. That’s why K keeps offering him remedies. But he rebuffs her.

Self wrote this in Dublin. You can tell.


“Here,” she says finally, pulling something yellow, bell-shaped, out of her pocket.

I shake my head.

“You sure?” she says. “I got these fresh.”

Hours go by. Then K says, “He’s a stump, that one. Jesus.”

Me standing up straight, trying to forget the pain in my right cheek. “I don’t think we’re at liberty to discuss,” I say.

K’s eyes well up. Copious.

“Shut it,” I say. I don’t want to hear another word. Sighs and pity, I don’t need. Especially her sighs and pity. “I won’t ever look as good as I do now.”

K begins to laugh. Then she sees my face. Her right hand claps over her mouth. “Oh.” I want to cuff her.

“You might be wanting a piss soon,” she says. “Then, if blood comes out of you…”

“You’ll be wanting to feel my fist,” I say.

“Oh,” she says again. But this time, she looks sad. She says, strange-voiced, “I’ll bring oak milk tomorrow. Might help.”


When my friend Summer lay under the beechwood seems a lifetime ago, puking insides, puking until her stomach was a strange convex shape, what happened was, I heard a whooshing noise, and then from the other side of the trees came a Sand Spirit. Drum-beat Ta-ra! It came down from the sky, propellers whirring, dredging hay and thistles. Then snapped her right up.

As they used to say in Marble Arch, when some play was on: The Lady Exits.

For a long time after, I stayed under the beech, whispering Summer, whatya reckon to all this and watching two yella bitterns wing from branch to branch to branch. Until the shadows chased me home.

In P-1, the teachers tell, Heaven is up a winding stair. Hell is like falling off the Whitecliffs—down and down and down and down. Limbo is—somewhere between. Those lessons always gave me the frights.


Part 3 posted here.

Self’s Dystopia

From First Life (Juked, July 2015)

Ku Ling’s Rule: First Life began in the Dome.

Nervous? Her asked.

I nodded. Ever since they moved our colony from Tonle Sap to the Philippines, my mind hasn’t been the same.

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Tuesday Photo Challenge: SCALE

For the first time in over 10 years, self went to the supermarket and bought a bottle of vodka. In the back of her mind was something a friend had told her: that alcohol contains a natural anti-viral agent. The vodka was set out right at the end of the liquor aisle, an open invitation: Smirnoff, Ketel One, Grey Goose, Belvedere. She nearly picked up the Smirnoff then decided that if she was going to self-isolate, she deserved the best.

In the meantime, she’s cleaning out the closets in son’s room. And found a whole bunch of Lego figures. She scattered them on the floor and took pictures. VOILA! Scale!

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For contrast, a picture she took in the Antiquities gallery of the British Museum, May 2019:

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Telegraph: Boost Your Immune System Now!

Here’s the link The Telegraph sent out: Anna Magee’s Guide to Boosting Your Immune System.

Ignore POTUS speeches also. You’ll just end up more confused.

Look at flowers. Think Peace. Feel Love.

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Backyard, Redwood City, 7 a.m.

Stay tuned.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 87 – REFLECTIONS

Miriam Hurdle: “I am fascinated by the reflection photographs in the lakes, the rivers, the building windows, the sunglasses, the mirrors, and the puddles.”

Self is, too!

Here are three from her archives:

  • Two snapshots of the London Eye,  taken from the next bridge over, November 2019
  • Lily Pond in Front of Christ Church, Oxford, UK, 11 November 2019 (Armistice Day)

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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