Friend: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 31 May 2017

Self’s favorite travel buddy: her niece! A week ago, at the Arc de Triomphe (lots of other people in the background, when self asked a stranger to snap the picture, he waited for the worst possible moment):

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Self with her niece Irene: This was our second adventure. The first was Florence, November 2015.

And here the two of us are, on the bridge between the Tuileries and the Musée de Orsay, which is Irene’s favorite Paris museum:

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Heading from the Tuileries towards the Musée d’Orsay, Irene’s favorite Paris Museum.

The last thing self expected to see in Bath, England was a teddy bear. But there it was, waiting for her in her room. Instant BFF!

Photo on 5-14-17 at 1.44 PM #2

Tasburgh House, Bath, England, May 2017

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Last Moments of the Trip With Irene: Evanescent 4

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Self with her usual gear: The book she’s reading is the novel THIS IS YOUR LIFE, HARRIET CHANCE!

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A Woman stares out into the gardens of the Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte. Woman stood there so long that self got tired of waiting for her to move and made her a part of the picture.

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Mementos of a Trip, Never To Be Forgotten: Paris, May 2017

 

Still More Evanescent: Paris Day Trip

Today self and her niece Irene went on a one-day tour to Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte and Chateau de Fontainebleau. The guide’s name was Laurence: she was great.

Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte came first. OMG, that estate is just fabulous. It’s privately owned. The main buildings are open to the public; no sign of the family that owns the place, but hey, imagine giving birthday parties there! Must be soooo fun!

At some time in its fabulous past, the estate was in the hands of the same family for eight generations. The last heir murdered his wife so he could be with his mistress, was convicted and imprisoned, and committed suicide in his cell, a year later. Payback’s a bitch!

His chef invented the praline.

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A Photo Shoot Was Happening at the 17th Century Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte! Self was so woke!

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Windows, Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte

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More Windows at Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte: Self took so many pictures there that by the time the tour arrived at Fontainebleau, her camera battery was exhausted. Ugh!!!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: BRAZILLIONAIRES

Anyone with a little bit of money can buy a Louis Vuitton handbag, of which thousands are manufactured each year. Very few people can buy the new Jeff Koons, even if they do have the tens of millions of dollars required.

Brazillionaires, p. 29

Self’s question is: Why would anyone want to buy a Jeff Koons? A Koons was in front of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence when self was there with her niece, Irene, last November. It was placed right next to a Michelangelo and it was ugly. Hope it was only a temporary installation.

(Side note: In Florence, on the road to the Santa Maria del Fiori, you will pass a McDonald’s. Which was always packed. Self just could not understand it. When all around were great, really great local restaurants. It must be the convenience.)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Moments, Florence

Self is still looking for pictures to accord with the Daily Post Photo Challenge this week, RARE.

Back in November 2015, she got a surprise invitation from her niece Irene to go on a trip to Florence.

But of course! Self has decided that she will never say NO when it comes to travel. And she’d never been to Florence.  All the pictures below are from that trip.

First, a picture taken in the Piazza Signoria. Self had spent the day at the Palazzo Vecchio, her niece had gone to the Uffizi. We met up at the square to have dinner. Self took the picture from one of the sidewalk cafés:

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Piazza Signoria, Florence’s Iconic Square: November 2015

On our first morning in Florence, self and Irene were wending our way from our hotel to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore when we passed a library. And though the library was not in any of our guidebooks, self never passed a library she didn’t wish to explore.

So here’s what was inside:

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Self’s ever-curious soul led her to this library, on a street close to the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral.

It turned out to be a library made up entirely of opera librettos. And self thought that was the most fabulous thing.

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The most rare and fabulous thing.

Stay tuned.

Narrow 2: Memories of Tuscany

When I think of a beautiful landscape, the image that usually comes to mind involves an open expanse: a mountain range, a windy meadow, the beach on a sunny (or stormy) afternoon. Every so often, though, I’m reminded of the magic of narrowness: how it forces the eye to focus on details and textures that would’ve been lost in a wide-open panorama.

— Ben Huberman, The Daily Post

Self accompanied her niece Irene on a short trip to Florence last November. Just eight days. Amazing how much you can see in eight days, especially when you’re traveling with someone as organized as Irene.

Irene found a one-day tour of Tuscan hill towns. San Gimignano, Pisa, Siena — self can’t remember the names of all the towns included in the tour.

It was great fun sorting through her picures from the trip, looking for the ones that matched this week’s photo challenge:  NARROW

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MORE CHERRY ON TOP (Meaning: Hats)

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is about:

The cherry on top.

The icing on the cake

“a desirable feature perceived as the finishing touch to something that is already very good.” (Oxford English Dictionary)

Here are three “cherry on top” pictures.

  •  Karina (The cherry on top is that she is so sweet. And likes wearing baseball caps. She lives in Calgary)
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Karina is self’s guide to all things YA. Her latest book recommendation: Sarah J. Maas’s THRONE OF GLASS (Exciting read!)

  • The Calgary Stampede is fabulous. The “cherry on top” is that everywhere you look, you see people wearing cowboy hats:
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Don’t ask self what “Beaver Balls” are. She has no idea.

Self took this picture during the Annual Redwood City Fourth of July Parade. Look at the man’s fantastic sombrero! Definitely the “cherry on top.”

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2016 Annual Redwood City Fourth of July Parade

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Breathe, Self, Breathe!

Here she is, in Calgary, and she doesn’t know what she should read next: Her niece Karina’s next book recommendation (She tore through Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas, like white on rice!), Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart (The title is pure nonsense; the book is much much better than that. There is NO girl waiting with a gun. Don’t hold your breath), or The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. Of course, she is also drinking in Everlark fan fiction like crazy. A lot of stories that languished for months and months (even, years) finally updated in the last week: it’s been a veritable bonanza of good Everlark! (Take your pick: Pride and Prejudice Everlark; ballet world Everlark; Great Expectations Everlark; or vlogging Everlark)

Today, self went to Market Mall with her niece and of course we stopped by Sephora. And there was a brand self had never seen before: Tarte. And when her niece found out self’s current mascara was over three years old, her niece told her, in no uncertain terms: Throw it out, Tita. Honestly, you should be replacing your mascara every six months. (Oh. So that’s why self’s eyes were itching like crazy yesterday)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Jack the Ripper Meets THRONE OF GLASS

It’s like Ten Little Indians, Survivor, and The Hunger Games, with a fantasy setting.

Self likes!

In Throne of Glass, by Sara J. Maas, someone is knocking off, one by one, the 24 champions who have gathered together in Adarlan’s palace for a great tournament.

Is it one of the other champions, getting a head start on eliminating the competition?

Is it our plucky heroine, the Assassin rescued from the salt mines of Endovier at the very beginning of the book?

Is it some supernatural force that has found its way through a time portal?

Is it the salacious and loathsome Duke Perrington?

Is it one of the four stone gargoyles that guard the clock tower?

SPOILER ALERT!

The Assassin, whose name is Celaena, who is blond and beautiful, plucky like Katniss, and sort of despairing as well as depressed — though what she has to be depressed about self simply cannot imagine. Unless it’s the fact that she has to be an assassin! — is taken to the scene of the latest murder.

Celaena: Those are clean cuts around his ankles. His tendons were snapped by a knife, to keep him from running . . .  Look at his fingernails . . .  The tips are cracked and shattered.”

She used her own nail to scrape out the dirt beneath the victim’s nails, and smeared it across her palm. “See?” She held out her hand for Chaol to observe. “Dust and bits of stone.” She pulled aside the arm, revealing faint lines in the stone beneath. “Fingernail marks. He was desperate to get away . . . “

As, who can blame the victim? Self, too, would be desperate to get away, if she knew something was trying to kill her.

Anyhoo, self loves having discussions with her niece Karina over:

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Karina: self’s guide to all things YA.

What is going to happen next?

Who are these two men who love Celaena?

What makes a bad-ass female assassin?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Throne of Glass: The ‘Katniss’ Affect

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Karina reads! She introduced self to The Infernal Devices, by Cassandra Clare, Spring 2015.

Niece’s latest book recommendation is Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass. It’s about a female assassin who, as the book opens, is stuck working as a slave in a salt mine.

If you’d like to know how she ended up there, read the book. She gets a surprise when, one day, she is taken to meet the Crown Prince.

Assasin’s name is Calaena. She refuses to bow, naturally. Which means someone grabs her by the back of the neck and forces her face down to the floor (Don’t worry, she’s not an egg; she won’t crack)

. . .  she’d been trained to be an assassin since the age of eight, since the day the King of the Assassins found her half-dead on the banks of a frozen river and brought her to his keep. She wouldn’t be humiliated by anything, least of all being dirty.

Throne of Glass, p. 8

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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