Sunday, May 3 at The Digital Sala

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 91: SIMPLICITY

Love this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge!

P. A. Moed:

This week . . . we’re getting back to basics.  Show us what simplicity means to you. 

Is it stepping back to a time when luxuries were scarce and people were content with less?

In these times of self-isolation, self turns back to the comforting presence of her old books:

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There’s a date in self’s handwriting on the flyleaf: February 1984

And she’s planting tomatoes:

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And she vows that as soon as she can travel to London again, she will visit Chez Mamie on Hanway Place, the place where she’s spent so many hours, enjoying Julie’s fabulous cooking:

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Chez Nous (Formerly Chez Mamie), 22 Hanway Place, London: Self has been eating here since 2014.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Poetry Saturday: Ernest Hemingway

We ate well and
cheaply and drank
well and cheaply
and slept well and
warm together and
loved each other

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

Donald McNeil, New York Times Health Reporter

“If it were possible to wave a magic wand and make all Americans freeze in place for 14 days while sitting six feet apart, epidemiologists say, the whole epidemic would sputter to a halt.”

Still Poetry Saturday: Helen Ivory

SLEEP

from Helen Ivory’s The Breakfast Machine (Bloodaxe Books: Northumberland, 2010)

In this house, everything sleeps.
Even the walls have relaxed
and the roof is too tired
to hold up the weight of the sky.

It is so long since the front door
has opened, the skin has grown over.
The postman has given up
looking for the letter-box

The girl in the room upstairs
Is a woman now. In waking moments,
she sleepwalks to the mirror,
takes a brush to the long silk of her hair.

Before she lies down again, she’ll notice
the bird skulls on the windowsill,
how cobwebs have laced them together.
how her face has grown sharp as a knife.


Helen Ivory was born in Lutton in 1969, and lives in Norwich. She has worked in shops, behind bars, and on building sites with several-thousand free-range hens. She has studied painting and photography and has a Degree from Nowrich School of Art. In 1999 she won an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Others;

UCLA Extension Writers Program: Essential Beginnings in Nonfiction

Class begins Wednesday, but students will be able to access the course materials tomorrow.

Self has always loved teaching this particular class.

It’s short: only five weeks. And it’s on-line. Something about the on-line format makes this class feel very safe. She will not be sharing material from this class (or any class), but she just wants to say: if the thought of being in workshop with 14 other people who will possibly hate your work makes you tremble with anxiety, you can take this on-line class and you will still tremble in anxiety (Her deadlines are firm; your grades will suffer. Yes, she grades) but at least no one can actually see you tremble or break out in a sweat, because you’re on-line! So you can clutch your blankie or whatever as you read your classmates’ comments on your work. You can even have a breakdown. It will all feel so intimate. But the on-line format gives you an extra layer of security. No one will hear your voice squeak when you get emotional, no one will see your changing facial expressions, and no one can tell if you’re posting in your pajamas.

But the students pull something out of her. And she can pull something new out of them. Every single time.

Some (if not all) have day jobs. Some take the class from New York City, others from Beijing and Tokyo. She’s had students take the class from South Korea and from a US Army base in Berlin, even from a tent in Guatemala. It is pretty interesting to read the introductory bios:  I’m a swimmer. I’m a journalist. I write screenplays. I’m a retired Army General. I’m a stay-at-home Mom. I’m a lawyer.

She took a year off from teaching, so this is her first time to be with students since . . . well, since last year. She has really missed teaching this.

Stay tuned.

Stanford Spokes: A Summer 2020 Learning Project

One Summer. 6 Students. 6 Bikes. 10 States.

This summer, six Stanford students will spend three months biking from San Francisco to D.C., teaching hands-on educational workshops to local middle school and high school students along the way.

Read all about the project here.

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Stay tuned.

THOTMB, p. 7

There are some jobs I can’t make myself do. An eight to five is deadly; I need to fill more than my stomach. I can’t work in the mines, can’t work at Walmart, and can’t be a Border Patrol agent. For those jobs, you’d have to wear a hairnet or some ridiculous rectangular uniform, or be there for hours on end, like being in a cage. That would be impossible.

Covered California is a Scam

Every day, self gets a message in her in-box: You have until Dec. 15 to sign up for mandatory health insurance.

Then: GET HELP PICKING A PLAN BEFORE DECEMBER 15.

Then, a glorious array of plans starting at $871/month, and going up all the way to $3,000/month.

Then,

PLEASE CONTACT US. WE MAY CONNECT YOU TO A MARKETPLACE-REGISTERED AGENT OR BROER WHO WILL CONTACT YOU TO HELP YOU ENROLL, THROUGH A SERVICE WE’VE PARTNERED WITH, HELP ON-DEMAND. AGENTS AND BROKERS ARE TRAINED BY THE MARKETPLACE AND LICENSED IN THEIR RESPECTIVE STATE. THEY ARE USUALLY PAID BY THE INSURANCE COMPANIES WHOSE PLANS THEY SELL.

The above message is giving self all kinds of trills of alarm: “They are USUALLY PAID BY THE INSURANCE COMPANIES WHOSE PLANS THEY SELL.”

These ‘brokers of health’ will get all your vital information, and end up telling you the same thing you know already: Health insurance is mandatory, here are the plans: $871/month, $918/month, $1,001/month, $1,300/month.

When the IRS penalty is $700, doesn’t it make better financial sense to pay the penalty, which is less than even just one month’s premium?

Even on a plan, annual deductible is $6300, so you would be paying roughly $12,000 year and some, FOR ROUTINE CARE.

Self tried yesterday to enroll in a national health insurance plan. As soon as the rep learned self was a California resident, she said, “Sorry, can’t help you. You have to choose a plan from Covered California.”

The system of health care in the United States is in the hands of snake-oil salesmen.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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