Vampire Lore: Self Learns New Things Every Day

“Sprinkling mustard seeds over a floor or roof keeps the creature too busy counting to go further.”

— Sherlock Holmes to Mary Russell in Castle Shade, p. 22


Husband and wife discuss:

“What awaits us in Bucharest, anyway?”

“Not Bucharest.”


“A village near the town of Brasov, in Transylvania.”

“Transyl. Good God.” I stared at him. If Roumania was a realm of dragons, then the province of Transylvania would be the creature’s lair: dark, mysterious, and potentially deadly. There was a reason why Bram Stoker chose it as the home of his ancient vampire — a novel that has given me nightmares even before I knew I was going there.

“It is actually quite a pleasant piece of countryside, Holmes insisted. “Mineral resources, rich agricultural valleys, the Carpathians for defense. A fascinating source of folkloric traditions and superstitions.”

“One assumes their farmers grow plenty of garlic.”

Castle Shade, Chapter Two

Quote of the Day: 2nd Sunday of 2022

  • With few exceptions, the men who are running the government are of a mentality that you and I cannot understand. Some of them are psychopathic cases and would ordinarily be receiving treatment somewhere. — Berlin US Consul General George Messersmith, describing Hitler to a colleague at the White House in 1933

Drumbeats of alarm. Don’t let it happen here.

The Berlin Night School for Adults

God bless Mildred Harnack. Fired (without explanation) from her part-time teaching job at the University of Berlin, she doesn’t waste time in second-guessing. She immediately finds another teaching job, this time at the Berliner Stadtisches Abendgymnasium fur Erwachsene — the Berlin Night School for Adults — “nicknamed the BAG.”

There, she’ll come into contact with a fresh crop of German students, and she’s energized by the possibilities. They will be different from the students she taught at the University of Berlin — poorer, predominantly working-class, mostly unemployed. Precisely the type of person the Nazi Party has been relentlessly targeting with propaganda.

All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days, p. 34

Today: Alta Mesa Center for the Arts Kicks Off Reading Series 2022

Featured Readers:

  • Lillian Howan
  • Maw Shein Win
  • Dawn Angelica Barcelona

Sunday, Jan. 9, 4 p.m. ON ZOOM.
Register here.

Fathers and Sons

Stretched out on the hotel bed, Harun is absorbed in the photographs he has taken today, so that his laptop is constantly in danger of falling off the edge of the bed onto the floor. That’s how it always is with him, something is always threatening to nose-dive off the edge of something . . .

My Heart: a novel, p.64

#bloganuary Day 2: Write About the Last Time You Left Your Comfort Zone

Ha! Self found where the prompts were going. She has now rescued her #bloganuary (She missed yesterday; wonder where THAT prompt went)

She will henceforth make a sincere attempt to post daily through January.

Self spent Christmas in Mendocino. This is actually not that much of a stretch (though driving around up there, during a storm, is a flat-out EXPERIENCE). She turned down invitations to be with people, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (scared of omicron), then the day after Christmas, drove back to the Bay Area, found a walk-up testing site close to her, and the very next day lined up, in bitter cold, for three hours. Now, THAT WAS A STRETCH. She can’t remember ever lining up for that long a time, in winter cold (not even for TKTS, that year she lived in New York.)

The tests ran out, but not until mid-afternoon. By then, there were only about five people ahead of her in line. Then she had two days of anxiety, waiting for the test results. And they came back NEGATIVE.


So, the storm, the lining up for three hours in the cold for the test, all took her out of her comfort zone. But she was happy with the results.

Self’s Other Current Read: MY HEART, by Semezdin Mehmedinovic

Because, face it, self just cannot bring herself to think verse, all day long. And it’s a good thing the other book she’s reading has very supple, poetic language (even though it is prose). It is a lamentation by a Bosnian immigrant who immigrated to the US twenty years earlier. At fifty he gets his first heart attack, which triggers a journey of remembrance.

He flies to Phoenix, his first US home, introduces himself to the current occupants of his old apartment, but senses that something terrible has happened there because the man who answers the door says immediately, “No pictures” and seem wary and suspicious.

He reflects on the reason for his visit:

  • Didn’t I come here to confront myself, convinced that we don’t in fact ever entirely leave the places where we’ve lived, some trace of us remains, our enduring presence, the way hotel mirrors retain the faces of all the people who have passed through the room? But it’s never like that. We remember the places we once lived, but it doesn’t remember us.

I’m Joining Bloganuary 2022

via Cee Neuner:

  • For those of you who need some inspiration for your blog, WordPress is giving us a prompt every day in January. I’m planning to join along.

Follow the link to join.

Didn’t get a prompt today, but others did and already posted. Umm, sorry, I don’t know what I did wrong. Good luck to the others!

One Word Sunday Challenge: Rush

There is a photo challenge for every mood.

Travel with Intent’s One Word Sunday Challenge is RUSH.

There was a time when self was quite focused on taking pictures of birds at her bird feeder. They would sense her coming and take off. It was hard to get off a good shot. Self has lots of blurred pictures of birds flying away!

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