RELAX: Daily Post Photo Challenge, 2 December 2016

This week’s Photo Challenge — RELAX — is perfect, just perfect!

We all need to relaaaaaax. Especially after the kind of elections we just had.

Three relaxing things self got to enjoy in 2016 (Can you believe it’s almost 2017? Time flies!)

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Relaxed in Capitola, CA

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Relaxed in Ferrycarrig, County Wexford, Ireland

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Old Blind Dogs Performing in Fort Bragg, CA in March 2016

It’s Not This Time Of Year Without

Dropping by a mall: Sorry, self is shallow.

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T-Shirt Resolution: H & M, Black Friday

Dropping by a beach:

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Capitola, CA

Walking around the house in the snuggly-est slippers one can find:

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Self found these in Chinatown.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Fantasy, Set in the Philippines: Self’s “Isa”

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Hinoba-an, Negros Occidental, the Philippines: December 2010

A few weeks ago, when self was attending a reading in USF, Barbara Jane Reyes, poet and teacher, told self she was teaching “Isa” in her class this fall.

YEEEESSSSS!!!!

Five families lived on Isa. At first, there was a way to walk on the ground between the houses. But gradually the water rose and that was when we began to use the rope bridges.

In self’s story the water keeps rising and rising and rising, until gradually all the other islands get submerged. And there is only one left.

The families on Isa send out an expedition to see how far the water reaches. The journey takes them far away, and they realize that they’ve long passed the edges of their known world.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Magic 3: Oh, the Places Self Has Been in 2016

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San Francisco’s Sutro Tower: Iconic

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Gallery of Assyrian Art, British Museum, Earlier This Year

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Twilight, Mendocino: Earlier This Year

Magic: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 18 November 2016

  • For this week’s challenge, find some magic and charm us with it.

— Jen H., The Daily Post

Quite Easily Done!

Art is magic.

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2nd Floor, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

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Keith Haring, Outside the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park

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Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

WIT’S END: A Novel About a Novelist and Her At-Loose-Ends Niece

Self is on pp. 172 – 173 of Karen Joy Fowler’s Wit’s End.

She has been enjoying it, not least because the characters are Democrats (They wear their political affiliations on their sleeve. But of course they do: they live in Santa Cruz, CA).

A character owns a pair of dogs named Stanford and Berkeley. Self almost dropped the book because of that but she’s so glad she didn’t.

Anyhoo, the book makes her all sorts of nostalgic for Santa Cruz, CA. For its wooden roller coaster and its Boardwalk and its blue and pink cotton candy and the Ripley Believe It Or Not hall of funhouse mirrors.

Sample dinner conversation between a famous mystery writer and her niece, Rima:

“I remember once when you were about four years old. We went out to eat and you told the waitress you wanted a petite filet mignon. She just about dropped her pencil.”

“I was always saying something cute after you left. Hardly a day went by.”

“This puts the Democrats in very good shape for 2008.”

“There’s even corn in the toothpaste now. Did I mention that?”

Something wet landed on Rima’s ankle. Stanford was drooling; it brought her back to the moment.

Regarding that petite filet mignon: when self still lived in Manila, Dearest Mum’s youngest brother married a nineteen-year-old. The first time self met the prospective bride was at dinner in San Mig Pub in Greenbelt Park. And the teen-ager ordered — steak tartare. Dearest Mum was so impressed she couldn’t stop talking about it.

Until that moment, self had never laid eyes on a steak tartare. And she’s never had a yen to order it, either. That means self will probably end her days without ever tasting this singular delight, boo.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

A Sweet Affair, in the Depot Building, Fort Bragg

The first three months of this year, self spent in Mendocino and Fort Bragg.

Below, a window display in the Fort Bragg bakery A Sweet Affair, in the Depot Building. Their cakes and pastries are exquisite, real works of art. Plus, not to mention, yummmy!

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Self wishes she were there. Right now.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Voting, San Francisco Edition

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November 8, 2016

There are many, many problems facing the City of San Francisco.

One of these is not the system of voting.

In this presidential election year, self registered as a resident of the city, for the first time. A thick pamphlet came in the mail shortly after. Self felt like she was preparing for a grad school exam.

On the morning itself, when self turned on her cell, three text messages came up in quick succession:  Your polling place is HERE. VOTE TODAY. HERE IS A MAP.

And lo and behold, she followed the map and stumbled into — serenity. At 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8, a polling place was the most serene part of the city.

It was soooo quiet! There were no lines! Self pored over her choices! There was an envelope to stick the ballot in! She couldn’t close the envelope, the ballot was five extra-long pages! She took her ballot to a volunteer, the volunteer casually flipped it over and told self, you didn’t fill in the back.

What? There was a back? For each page?

Never mind. Self did the important thing: she voted for President/Vice President, U.S. Senator, U.S. Congressman, Board of Supervisors, and some very important propositions.

After, she had to stick in her sealed ballot into a huge red box. Which was already full.

The next day, a message came in on e-mail, telling her: “There has been a change in the list of your selected representatives.” The e-mail went on to list each and every one of the elected representatives, starting of course with the POTUS. Though that was painful, she saw most of her other choices prevail.

Happiness!

Stay tuned.

More Tiny in San Francisco

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art: Tiny passageway

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San Francisco Museum of Modern Art: Stunning

Art boxes by local artist Carlos Pillado on the Altar of Old Saint Mary’s in Chinatown:

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Old Saint Mary’s, Pine and California, San Francisco

Kitsch in San Francisco Pizzeria:

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Godzilla! Above the Pizza Oven in Uncle Vito’s, Bush and Powell St., San Francisco

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Karen Joy Fowler: WIT’S END

This novel was published seven years ago, but it’s about a 2006 mid-term election.

That shows you how long self hangs on to reviews of books she’s adding to her reading list. She will go to a bookstore, armed with her file of New York Times Book Review clippings, she will first search the shelves and then end up asking for help from a bookstore staff person, and that person will look at self’s clipping, then his/her eyes will wander down to the date at the bottom of the page, and they will say (which has happened on at least three separate occasions), in a very offended tone: “Ma’am, this review is dated 2010.” Subtext: Are you freaking nuts?

The last novel she inquired about was Sara Gruen’s Ape House.

What can she say? She’s been living la vida loca for a very, very long time. So long that hyperactivity seems to be the norm.

In an incredible stroke of luck, self is reading Fowler’s Wit’s End the week after the elections. It would seem that, in 2009, there was the same kind of zeitgeist roiling around northern California. Because while reading Wit’s End, it could be 2016. She doesn’t even have to change a single word in a few passages, it reads like 2016:

  • Well, Ohio hadn’t delivered the complete Democratic rout that had been predicted.

A few pages later:

  • “How about that election,” the sushi chef said.

It’s been really hot in San Francisco (Ha, ha, ha — she’ll never complain about San Francisco coolness again! It’s sweltering hot. Like Global Warming with a capital G. W.) Self went to the Ferry Building to cool off. And overheard a woman say: “I’m still traumatized over those election results.”

And then, a few steps further, a vendor was calling out “Sea Salt! Sea Salt!” He beckoned to a young couple passing by and said: “Young lovers, this might be your last shot at happiness! Have a taste!”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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