Fresh 4: Fresh Buns and Fresh Snow

Last week, self was in New Hampshire, Boston, New York City, and New Bedford, MA. Here are some pictures she took during the trip, that she thinks connect to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: FRESH.

Sunrise Bakery, New Bedford, Massachussetts

Sunrise Bakery, New Bedford, Massachussetts

View From a Train: New York to Providence, RI

View From a Train: New York to Providence, RI

Central Park, New York City: 2nd Day of Spring, 2015

Central Park, New York City: 2nd Day of Spring, 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Symmetry 6: Elk, California

Elk, California

Elk, California

Clinic, Village of Mendocino

Clinic, Village of Mendocino

Morning has come: Mendocino, CA

Morning has come: Mendocino, CA

Depth: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is DEPTH.

As self understands the prompt, it’s to post pictures that project a sense of volume, or space. Since self is in Mendocino, here are three pictures she took during her daily peregrinations around town. Hopefully, all three imply the existence of a larger space.

Self taking a shot of the outside of the Textile Artists Studio at the MAC

Self taking a shot of the outside of the Textile Artists Studio at the MAC

View of the Mendocino Headlands from Main Street

View of the Mendocino Headlands from Main Street

The Mendocino Hotel's Front Parlor

The Mendocino Hotel’s Front Parlor

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Stories About Magic and Science Fiction

Why is self so attracted to stories about magic?

Don’t really know.

Self’s first experience with angst came from fairy tales. She fell in love with Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling and The Little Mermaid. She always cried at the end of The Little Mermaid.

Then, she read Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris while she was a grad student at Stanford. She found the idea of a sentient planet mind-blowing! Positively transcendent! The movie with George Clooney was terrible!

On to her reading of the afternoon:  the Preface by Maria Tatar to her The Annotated Brothers Grimm (Self has been reading it and stopping every other sentence. This is a problem. Possibly, she won’t finish it in this lifetime. Oh! She also downloaded the episode of Face/Off with Josh Hutcherson as a guest judge. The guy is just too adorable. Too. Too. Too!)

Back to Maria Tatar! Here’s a passage she just finished reading:

Danger lurks in every corner of the world, and the encounter with it has a fierce inevitability that becomes a rule of the genre. Villainy: this was the . . . function that fuels the plots of fairy tales.

It just occurs to self that she has a long list of horror stories she’s written. She’ll see if she can append them to this post — when she has a little more time. But, right off the top of her head, here are a few: Seeing in PANK 9.5, The Departure in Philippine Genre Stories. Ghosts really get to her. Ghosts and the Apocalypse.

The writers she met at Hawthornden (June 2012), Joan McGavin and Jenny Lewis, told the most excellent ghost stories. They fueled her imagination and sent it roaring out of the gate. We’d talk about everything from Dolly the Sheep (whose likeness is in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh) to ghost children (Self recalls Jenny saying, “The worst ghosts are ghost children.” Wheeee! Couldn’t sleep after that because she kept thinking there was a ghost child lurking somewhere in her room).

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Pile of Stuff, Pile of Stuff, When Will You End?

When self’s inspiration for her fan fiction dries up, she has a very convenient pile of unread magazines very close by.

This pile reached previously unheard-of heights during Year 2014, because self was so often traveling (by choice: All of self’s trips are self-imposed)

Now to The Economist of June 14 – 20, 2014.

There is a humongous article titled What Is the Deadliest Sin?

Answers are given by seven intellectuals, ranging from a “former Bishop of Edinburgh” to a “conservative MP.”

Self finds the answer of Camila Batmanghelidjh, Founder of Kids Company (a support organization for vulnerable children) most interesting. She picked SLOTH as the Deadliest Sin (After reading her answer, self is inclined to agree)

She states: “The sin of sloth is not caring, not noticing, not doing.”

Her explanation begins:

We all suffer from moments of duvet apathy, when we can’t get it together to lift ourselves out of bed. In small doses, sloth is survivable. But on a national scale it can be lethal. Perhaps the contemporary word for sloth would be “complacency” : the condition in which we don’t aspire to greather things. I’m not talking about material enhancement, but an inner lack of ambition or responsibility for yourself and for others — a lethargy of the spirit.

Self is reminded of her good friend Margarita Donnelly, who passed away just before Christmas.

She founded Calyx, the oldest women’s press in America (Self would dearly love to say she started it with a credit card, but she’s afraid her memory might be faulty on this point)

Margarita was the Anti-Sloth. She was that strong voice that was never afraid to take on someone or something if she thought the cause was justified. And self got the full-on exposure to the Margarita Anti-Sloth when she spent time with her in Venice, in 2013.

Self must admit that a 24/7 exposure to such a dynamo did sometimes make her feel like hiding under a rock. Alas, Margarita would not brook self hiding under a rock. Self just had to face Margarita (and Venice) the hard way. Full-on, eyes wide open, muscles flexed in readiness.

Because, self is a product of an island culture, and if given the choice she would willingly spend whole days in the lobby of the Danieli (packed to the gills with YOUNG Asian tourists who arrived with matching Louis Vuitton luggage) sipping Pernod.

But instead she was with Margarita in a small apartment in Ca’ San Toma, and she got lost every single day. And every single street had a bridge with steps going up (as well as steps going down, let’s be reasonable, but the steps going up were extremely challenging, especially when self had no idea where she was going). And when the heavens opened up and it poured rain, self was never within sight of an awning. Never.

Which is why she just had to take off for Trieste one day. Assured Margarita she’d be back, and then lost herself in a very nice B & B next to a restaurant in a convento rustica/rustico, where little red mopeds could be rented by the day, and self was never lost because she hardly moved from the quay. Trieste will always be, in self’s mind, that cocoon where complacency trumped everything else. She can just see herself fleeing there when she’s ready to have a nervous breakdown.

You know, this is turning out to be quite a funny post (as well as a very long one) and self figures that must be a good thing.

She almost made it to Oregon to catch Margarita on her very last day on this earth, but she missed her and instead got to speak to Margarita’s daughter, Angelique, who told her there would be no funeral, Margarita had a “celebration of life” in November, right after Thanksgiving. And self now recalls that Margarita herself called to tell her about this celebration of life, but because self was in that moment in a state of high-functioning complacency, she got her ticket for AFTER the holidays. And totally missed the boat.

But, you know, Venice. She did get to tell Margarita this astounding thing: “I think I will go back to Venice. Want to come with?”

Made Margarita laugh. The week before she passed away.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

New: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge


This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is, fittingly enough, NEW.

Hence this post is about 1) New Books 2) New Experiences and 3) A New Play

New additions to self’s personal bookshelf. The Neruda she bought in Venice Beach. By the Book was a Christmas present.

New Books for the New Year

New Books for the New Year

First Time to Visit Chicago in the Fall:

Downtown Chicago: October 2014

Downtown Chicago: October 2014

Caught the U.S. premiere of Abbie Spillane’s new play, the scorching Strandline, at Chicago’s A Red Orchid Theatre:

This Chicago theatre was founded 25 years ago by actor Michael Shannon.

This Chicago theatre was founded 25 years ago by actor Michael Shannon. It’s an intimate (not to say wee) space. The night self saw it was the first night of previews and most of the people in the audience were actors and actresses.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.


Donna Leon’s ABOUT FACE, p.237

Here the main character, Inspector Brunetti, meets a mysterious woman with a face carved-up from the effects of a bad plastic surgery. They meet in Campo Sant Magherita, one of these little neighborhoods in Venice with its own plaza, it’s own coffee shops, its own wine bars, its own sunken artesian wells, its own pigeons, its own newspaper stands, its own gelato places, its own churches.

Self was always getting lost in campos, and wandering around in circles. She may have been in this particular campo.

Inspector Brunetti asks his companion, “Do you come here often?”

She replies: “In the summer I do. We live quite close. I love ice-cream, she said. She glanced out of the large plate glass window. “And I love this campo. It’s so — I don’t know the right word — so full of life; there are always so many people here.” She glanced at him and said, I suppose this is the way it was years ago, a place where ordinary people lived.”

Yes, this is definitely light years away from Death & Judgment. By this, her 18th book, Donna Leon feels more at home in her adopted city, and her characters speak more about their surroundings.

Highly recommended.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.   Stay tuned.

Christmas Eve 2014: Remembering That Time Self Went to Tonle Sap Lake

Self is looking at all the books she acquired in 2014 (Quite a lot, even though she’s got hardly any bookshelf space left). One of them is Colin Poole’s Tonle Sap.

“Tonle Sap” means The Heart of the World. That’s a very fitting name for this large lake, bordered by four countries: Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand.

The reason self brings this up now is: She was there, 10 years ago, with Ying.

Ying, who died in 2008, in Tel Aviv.

She remembers Ying telling one of her dear bros that the trip was “girls only.”

So it ended up just being the two of us: Bangkok first, then Siem Reap. In Siem Reap, we hired a car and driver and he took us to Tonle Sap.

Self remembers Ying telling her: “You are far more adventurous than any of your brothers.”

Self thought that trip to Angkor Wat and Tonle Sap would only be the first of many, many trips. But Ying got leukemia. She didn’t even last a year from the date of her diagnosis.

Life just isn’t fair.

Twinkle 3: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

For this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, The Daily Post provides a couple of suggestions:

  • the sparkle of an ornament
  • the look “in the eyes of a loved one”
  • “the millions of twinkles in the waves of a body of water”

Here’s a new set of photos self pulled out of her archives today. They’re all from the trip of a lifetime: Ireland, May-June 2014:

Almost home! Arriving in San Francisco after a trip to ireland

Almost home! Arriving in San Francisco after a trip to Ireland

Ceiling Light, The Red Room in Café Paradiso, Cork, Ireland

Ceiling Light, The Red Room in Café Paradiso, Cork, Ireland

Table Lamp, The Red Room in Café Paradiso, Cork, Ireland

Table Lamp, The Red Room in Café Paradiso, Cork, Ireland

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Converge 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, Week of Nov. 28 (2014)

2014 was absolutely packed with occurrences, dear blog readers.

Since CONVERGE is the theme of this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, self is having a lot of fun looking back at the pictures she took this year.

Keeping in mind that the focus has to be on “geometrically-rich photos,” self chose: a painting, a picture taken during Redwood City’s Annual Fourth of July Parade, and Dublin’s Connolly Station (Self was en route to Sligo on what turned out to be William Butler Yeats Day; Yeats was born in Sligo)

Rauschenberg? At the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Rauschenberg? At the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Spectators at Redwood City's annual Fourth of July Parade: July 2014

Spectators at Redwood City’s annual Fourth of July Parade: July 2014

Irish Rail: Out of Dublin's Connolly Station, Train to Sligo: June 2014

Irish Rail: Train to Sligo Pulling Out of Dublin’s Connolly Station, June 2014 (Self was experimenting with the “soft” setting on her camera so yes, that blurring is deliberate)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

« Older entries


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,239 other followers