I’LL BE SEEING YOU: A Memoir

The author persuades her aged parents to go into assisted living. She tells them to try it, they can always move back home if they don’t like it.

Self will never. Ever. Especially after the past year.

You set foot in a certain kind of river and you know that as soon as you do, the current will have you.

I’ll Be Seeing You, p. 30

Flower of the Day (FOTD) 13 March 2021: Clematis montana

Self is following another Cee Neuner Photo Challenge, Flower of the Day. Fun!

She was lucky to find a wee Clematis montana ‘White Surprise’ in Wegman’s last week. To tell you the truth, she is a bit obsessed with clematis. Ever since her aunt in Montauk sent her, through the mail, a sprig of white clematis henryii. It was so beautiful, with big white, dinner-plate size flowers that eventually covered one entire fence. Then our neighbor decided to replace the fence. He cut all the clematis twigs, and it never grew back. Self mourns the loss even now, 20 years later.

Last year, self decided to experiment with a mail-order service. She ordered a ‘native’ variety called Saucy Alice from a nursery on the east coast. Never grew, eventually died.

This year, self was in her local nursery when she saw a white clematis montana, which reminded her of the clematis montana rubens that every spring bursts into glorious flower on her front porch trellis. It was in a wee pot, and she snagged it.

The clematis montana don’t have flowers as big as henryii, but self doesn’t care. It will be lovely.

Since arriving on self’s porch, it’s been behaving really well:

The white blooms should be ready for another close-up in a few days!

Here’s what my clematis montana rubens looked like, March 2020:

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Getting Through It

It’s been almost a year since the world stopped, plans got thrown out the window, and nothing will ever be the same.

Self thought she’d take a moment to celebrate the things that got her through the past year:

Of course, gardening. Her garden has never looked so great. Every day she watches the oxalis in her backyard get higher and higher. And she just loves it.

Second, books, and her fantastic local library and their curbside pick-up system. She’s been using it since June (Before that, she ordered many books from Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino, which is equally fantastic). Also, self would like to thank the AUTHORS of these wonderful books. When self needed to be transported to another place and time, these authors delivered:

Self would also like to thank FREE CONCERTS. The week after everything shut down, St. Bride’s in London began streaming everything. And so did St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco, which used to hold free noontime concerts every Tuesday.

She would also like to thank Cal Shakes, whose summertime Shakespeare was a high point of her summer, as long as she was home in the San Francisco Bay Area. (Her first Cal Shakes was Romeo and Juliet. ADAM SCOTT PLAYED ROMEO. Sold!!!) A few days ago, she got a message that they would mount ONE live production this summer (Dates to be announced), with appropriate social distancing, of course: Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale.

Also, FaceTime. Self has actually learned to FaceTime with Dearest Mum. It’s been so great.

And The Economist, which managed to come every week (every two weeks lately, since DeJoy destroyed the USPS)

Finally, she’d like to thank her favorite TV shows, because she’d never have gotten through without them: The Expanse (closing with Season 6), Peaky Blinders (closing with Season 6), The Crown.

A big hand also for Trader Joe’s, for being most sanitary of all the different supermarkets she’s shopped in.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Dear Departed Dad Would Have Loved This

Dear Departed Dad and self had two things in common: He loved movies (he saw one almost every week, his entire life), and he loved books. Especially, adventure books. As a young boy, he idolized Rafael Sabatini and imagined himself as the swashbuckling hero of countless tales.

Now, self has stumbled on Joe “Master of Grimdark” Abercrombie’s A Little Hatred: Book One of the Age of Madness. (Thanks for the recommendation, Locus Magazine!) Dear Departed Dad would have lapped it up! (For balance, he looooved John Updike and read and re-read all the Rabbit Angstrom books)

Leo smashed Freckles on the top of the head with the rim of his shield, gave his horse the spurs and trampled him into the mud.

A Little Hatred, by Joe Abercrombie, Part I

This is Action with a capital A, and it’s only p. 12.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

High Body Count: Eddie’s Boy, p. 29

Self loves this book! From the opening scene — the hero’s having a meltdown in a Bentley because he had to kill, it enraged him, can’t people just behave so he doesn’t have to kill them? — she’s been having a fine time!

There are four corpses (already) in that Bentley, and that’s just in the first paragraph!

Plus self loved learning about the excellence of the double-barreled Purdey & Sons rifle (100,000 GBP each, thank you very much!)

Anyhoo, the first four would-be assassins attempted a break-in at the hero’s re-modeled 1650s Yorkshire mansion (technically, the property of his wife, she’s a member of the English nobility). Our hero drives the Bentley to the Manchester airport, where he leaves it (and the four bodies) in the parking lot and waits for a shuttle to the terminal. Unfortunately, a new set of goons try to kill him before he can get on the shuttle. Since it is only p. 29, we can assume the hero survives, which means these assassins must be off-ed, as well.

A few pages later, our hero faces an existential crisis: how can he get rid of the blood spatter on his clothes before entering the plane (to Sydney)?

Digressing a bit: Self has a book to pick up from the library this afternoon. Then, FaceTime with Dearest Mum in Manila. Tomorrow morning, bright and early (4 p.m. London time), she’s registered for a talk by the woman who writes obituaries for The Economist (such elegant examples of the form, she’s even taught them in creative nonfiction classes). There’s another zoom event tomorrow afternoon, fortunately it’s Central time, not such a big time difference as Manila or London: poets Denise Duhamel and Nin Andrews, hosted by Rain Taxi, and free!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Alcina: To Replace a Murdered Priest

From A History of the Bisayan People of the Philippine Islands, by Francisco Alcina, S.J.

De La Lengua Bisaya; Si Es, Acaso, Alguna de las 72 Primitivas y de la Primera Confusion; de su Elegancia, Abundancia, Propiedad Y Calidades Particulares

(Concerning the Bisayan Language; whether perhaps it is one of the seventy-two original ones after the confusion of tongues; about its elegance, richness, propriety and special characteristics)

When Alcina was sent to the central Philippines, he was very young. He was sent to replace a murdered priest. How he came to write a multi-volume work on the Bisayan people (in addition to finding ways to keep himself alive, and founding a mission, and harvesting souls) self has no idea.

They have Alcina’s seminal work (published 1668?) in Stanford’s Green Library, but the library’s been closed most of the year. A Stanford librarian looked it up and said the text was available on-line and gave self the link.

What’s truly amazing about Alcina is that the Bisayan (Hiligaynon — there’s more than one Bisayan language but Alcina studied the one that’s used in Dear Departed Dad’s home province) words are ones she knows: words for ugly, beautiful; hot and cold; brother and sister. The language stayed intact, uncorrupted, even after three centuries of Spanish colonization. Or perhaps it was the translator who chose the modern equivalents of early Bisayan language? At any rate the language is in full use today: all self’s relatives speak it and literature is still being written in that language.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

New Orleans, 1814

Life of a Klansman: A Family History in White Supremacy, p. 37:

  • Edward Ball’s forebear, Yves Le Corgne, washes up in “New Orleans, a town ninety years old.” Compared with his city of origin, Brest, “rocky, cold, and strict, with a military hardness — New Orleans is new, ramshackle, and steaming. The city counts about twenty-thousand, half of them white, half of them people of color.”

Riding Through London in a Mercedes: Dan and His Father-in-Law

The Snakes, p. 321 (making great progress, hope to finish by tomorrow): SPOILER-FREE

“Where are we going?” asked Dan.

“Wait and see.”

It was quiet in the car, and Dan didn’t notice the traffic. They drove through Camden Town and past the British Museum, then crossed the river at Waterloo, Elephant and Castle, the Old Kent Road, and gradually, the streets became familiar.

 

Self has done this walk, on foot.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

More Writing in a Pandemic

Further in self’s novel about the World War II occupation of the city of Bacolod in the central Philippines (72k words so far):

Don Geronimo entered Honorato’s room just as his eldest son was about to get dressed. It was eight o’clock.

“The Japanese are here,” he said.

Honorato said nothing.

There was a group of them, some in uniform, some in civilian clothing. They had told Don Geronimo they were there to put the Daku Balay under the protection of the Imperial Japanese Army. “We are forbidden to leave the premises without permission. Go through the kitchen. Moses is waiting for you by the side gate.”

20190908_170235

The Daku Balay, Burgos Street, Bacolod City: It was used by the Japanese High Command during World War II. Self’s grandfather sent her uncle to the mountains. Her father, only 12 at the time, stayed home.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: HATS

Bless Cee Neuner for keeping Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge so FUN!

For this week’s Fun Foto Challenge, HATS, self found a couple of pictures from her archives.

Self’s baseball-cap wearing niece, Angela, an undergrad at the University of Michigan, spent a summer as an intern at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park. Self had a lot of fun hanging with her:

DSCN0190

The Martian is son’s favorite novel (after the Dune novels; son is an avid science fiction reader). He met the cap-wearing author at SDCC 2018:

output-2

Finally, one of Magritte’s most iconic images, the man in the bowler hat, at an exhibit in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, July 2018:

DSCN0015

Other hats:

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

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