Luna Moore, Met at AWP 2016 Los Angeles, at 40th Anniversary Calyx Reading

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Luz Delgado and Her Daughter Luna Moore, at the Calyx Press 40th Anniversary Reading at AWP 2016, Los Angeles, April 2

Every time self meets a new young person, she always asks for a book recommendation.

Her curiosity always pays off in spades. Hello, Infernal Devices, Cassandra Clare’s steampunk trilogy, recommended by Calgary niece Karina!

So, at the recently concluded AWP  Conference, held in Los Angeles, self met a wonderful girl named Luna Moore.

And Luna recommended:

  • Jane Eyre
  • The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
  • the Harry Potter series

Turns out Title # 2, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, is by Aimee Bender. Which means it probably isn’t YA. Luna is quite a sophisticated reader!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

One Love: Daily Post Photo Challenge

. . . the universe is constantly whispering words of love: expressions of pure joy, respect, loyalty and sacrifice for someone other than ourselves, letting go and focusing on what is most important in this world.

Below, a collection of lovely moments.

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At a Chinese Take-Out in Inchicore, Dublin

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Words From a Kind Soul: This note was given to self in Banff, Canada.

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The Niece That Started It All: Karina introduced self to Victorian Steampunk (The Infernal Devices Trilogy): Self has never looked back.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Today, Pondering Joan Didion

Mulling over a list of attitudes that can be considered “magical thinking.”

Remember the book that Joan Didion wrote, several years back, called The Year of Magical Thinking? Ying was reading it in the apartment in Tel Aviv when self visited her, just a few months before she succumbed, at 37, to leukemia. Ying told self it was a very good book.

Honestly, self does not know how Ying managed to read a book like that when she herself was struggling for her life. But that’s how Ying was. She was compassionate and loving, but also remarkably clear-eyed and unsentimental. She was brave. The last thing Ying told self, shortly before she left Tel Aviv was, “I don’t think I’m going to make it.”

Today, self flipped open one of her journals and the first thing her eyes landed on was this list:

EXAMPLES OF MAGICAL THINKING:

  • My “stuff” will save me.
  • My writing will save me.
  • Being good will save me.
  • My degrees will save me.
  • My 260-thread-count bed linens will save me.
  • Other people will save me.

Denial is the most dangerous form of coping mechanism.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

Optimistic: 2016 WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge # 4

This week, the WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge is OPTIMISTIC.

“How do you fuel the fires of optimism?”

Self’s answer is: by traveling. Because traveling makes self rely on a very specific skill set: adventurousness, curiosity, and determination.

And every time she goes on a trip, she has reason to confirm that she still possesses each of those qualities, in spades.

Here, a picture from a recent trip self and her niece, Irene, took to Italy.

The entire trip was Irene’s idea. Self cannot thank her enough. We used Florence as home base and explored outward.

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San Marco Square, Venice: November 2015

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Irene and Self! San Gimidgiano, Italy, November 2015

It never rained, not once. The weather was perfect: sunny and warm. Almost T-shirt weather!

Irene is a woman of great energy and positive drive. A great traveling companion.

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Oh what a perfect time was had by all! Florence, Italy, November 2015

That trip was surely one of self’s best trips, ever!

Stay tuned.

 

Circle 2: 1st 2016 WordPress Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is CIRCLE.

Here are a few circles self encountered in the latter half of Year 2015:

Thanks to Niece Irene L, who invited self to come along on a trip to Florence in early November!

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The Cathedral at Siena: November 2015

Self had a wisdom tooth pulled in October; a friend made her this malted milk drink for after:

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When self had a wisdom tooth pulled in October, she couldn’t have solid food for a day. A friend made this malted milk drink for her.

Self collects buttons; she pins them on her jackets and blazers. Here’s one she bought in the new Whitney Museum on Gansevoort Street, Chelsea, New York City:

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Button Humor!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Transition 2: One Day in Venice

The whole of 2015 has been about travel, travel, travel.

Writing, too.

But here are pics from the day self and her niece Irene went to Venice, early this month. Venice is only two hours away from Florence by fast train. Self and niece are such adventurers!

The train pulled into the Ferrovia Train Station, across from the very old church of Santa Lucia. From Ferrovia, we took the vaporetto to San Marco Square, where we shared a dessert at one of the outdoor cafés.

2nd post on this week’s WordPress Daily Post theme: TRANSITION

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Niece and self shared a sundae at an outdoor café on San Marco Square, early November: The weather was beautiful, like fall in California!

Self took these pictures from the vaporetto on the way back to Ferrovia (which lurched so much: hence, these blurred pictures), late afternoon:

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On the Vaporetto to Ferrovia from San Marco: early November

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Another From the Same Vaporetto Ride

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Still More Trios! Florence

More from the trip to Florence, more on this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge, TRIO.

While self and her niece were in Florence, niece booked us on a tour to the surrounding towns of Siena, San Gimidgiano, and Pisa.

The church (or Duomo, the word Italians use to refer to a cathedral) at Siena was beautiful. The front of the church has three entrances:

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The Duomo at Siena: So beautiful!

And here’s another museum, whose name completely escapes self, but anyhoo: It’s in Florence, which has 62 museums.

Each wall facing a central courtyard has three arches:

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A museum. Somewhere in Florence.

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Three figures above a door to one of the smaller chapels next to Santa Maria del Fiore

Deepest apologies for being so lame about specific museums and what-not. Self is in New York City, and she still hasn’t fully unpacked from her last trip (to San Francisco). Will fill in the names when she gets a breather!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

More Trios in Florence

Lovely, lovely Florence.

Self encountered the city for the first time, early this month.

Today, self is browsing through her photo archives to find pictures that fit this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge: TRIO.

The first picture is the display window of a bakery that faces out onto Piazza della Repubblica. Look at the piles of pastry on the three plates! In Florence, self was able to indulge her sweet tooth to the max!

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Florentine Bakery Near the Piazza della Repubblica

According to the tourist brochures, Florence has 62 museums. Niece got the idea of purchasing a 3-day Firenze card, which lets you into any of the museums, free of charge, for 72 hours (Be advised: They calculate down to the very last minute: say, you purchase the card at 10:56 a.m., it will expire at exactly 10:56 a.m., three days later.)

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Three columns in some museum or other (Self will add the name as soon as she has a little more time to browse through her notes from the trip)

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Approaching the Uffizi Gallery on the Piazza della Signoria: The front loggia boasts three arches!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Self Is Learning New Things Every Day! Today, at the Palazzo Vecchio

Self has seen a lot of museums in just three short days in Florence.

This morning, she found her way to the Palazzo Vecchio. Well, it’s not as if she had any actual destination in mind this morning. She simply pointed her steps toward the Dome of the Santa Maria del Fiore and, armed with her Firenze Card (Irene’s idea, of course. Thank God for Irene!), she stopped at:

  • the Cathedral of San Lorenzo (the oldest church in Florence, consecrated by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, in 393)
  • the Palazzo Vecchio

She paid 5 euros for an audio tour at the Palazzo, and boy, was it ever worth it.

Before entering the Museum proper, she wandered around in the lobby, noticed posters for a conference celebrating the 10th anniversary of the death of Monsignor Luigi Giussani and, out of sheer nosiness, asked a woman wearing a name tag who Monsignor Giussani was. The woman told self that the Monsignor was a highly respected teacher and member of the Church, whose writings were very influential.

She also gave self a brochure about the man.

Self began to read the brochure, and she found the man’s teachings exceedingly interesting. Here’s an excerpt from a section called LIVE REALITY INTENSELY.

“There is an experience, hidden yet implied, of that arcane, mysterious presence to be found within the opening of the eye, within the attraction reawakened by things, within the beauty of things, within an amazement, full of gratitude, comfort, and hope — how can this complex, yet simple, this enormously rich experience of the human heart — which is the heart of the human person — how can it become vivid? How can it become powerful?”

Self loves that he used the word “vivid” to describe the intense experience of reality.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

First Sentence, New Story/ And Self’s Discovery of a New Fantasy Book Series

  • Let me tell you about wind.
Self was going to take a picture for this week's WordPress Photo Challenge, instead she got distracted by bars of light . . .

Self was going to take a picture for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, instead she got distracted by bars of light . . .

It is a red-letter day. Self started a new series by Christopher Paolini. The first book of the series, Eragon.

Over the years, she has had much cause to thank various nieces, nephews, sons of friends who tell her, “Read this! You won’t regret it!” She thought it would be fun to compile a list of series she started because niece/nephew/children of friends brought them to her attention. Here goes:

MASSIVE SPOILER-Y ALERT:

  • The Hunger Games: Thank you to Niece G, who saw self reading Twilight and told her: “You should read The Hunger Games.” Self put off finishing Book 1 (the last 50 pages) because she thought Peeta was going to die. Until, one fine day, she spilled her angst to Niece G and Niece G said, “Peeta makes it.” Then self had to rush back home because she needed to finish the last 50 pages she’d put off reading. For three years. Two books later, self was a goner. How deep into this stuff is self? She even entertained the notion of meeting up in Dallas for a convening of Everlark fan fiction writers)
  • Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief:  Thank you to son of Gayo A.
  • The Infernal Devices: Thank you to niece in Calgary, Karina Villanueva.
Karina in Calgary: So Adorbs!

Karina in Calgary: So Adorbs!

  • Eragon: Thank you to Isaac S. At first self thought she would never get over The Infernal Devices — the angst! The Victorian Steampunk! London and York! — but Isaac thought she just might like this new series, so anyhoo, she gave it a shot. Hoooooly Smoke !!!! The Prologue was — mind-blowing.

Also just began reading Kass Morgan’s The 100 (which she heard is very different from the CW TV series). The plot goes something like this: 100 juvenile delinquents get sent to Earth to re-populate it. YAY!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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