This is today’s BRIGHT SQUARE. Thanks to Becky at The Life of B for the challenge!

A few days ago, self met her friend Caroline at the de Young in Golden Gate Park. What a BRIGHT BRIGHT DAY. Museums are open again!

Lots of squares in the lines of the building, and on the pavement. The ferris wheel is a new thing. Wasn’t here last year! She likes it.


Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Things About Sandman Slim

Things that are cool about Sandman Slim:

  • He is Nephilim.
  • He has a flaming sword called Gladius (like a light saber, but cooler).
  • He has PTSD from being in Hell.
  • He can go anywhere, anywhere in the world, as long as he can find a shadow.
  • His ride is called the Hellion Hog.
  • While in Hell, he developed a taste for Malediction cigarettes.

Things that are not cool about Sandman Slim:

  • Janet
  • Janet
  • Janet again
  • Just, in general, Janet and their lack of ambition. She works in a donut shop. (This does not seem like a “transitional” phase.) She explained to Sandman Slim that she is against binary pronouns — he/she. He must always refer to them as “they” or whatever.
  • Janet is tiresome. They are the type of woman who likes their men to rescue them. Notice I have to submit to calling Janet “they/them” because that is how they want Sandman Slim to refer to them. And they are mixed up. Did self say already how weird they are?
  • They belong to a club where people find sexy ways to commit suicide, such as rushing straight across a freeway during rush hour traffic. To get into this club, Sandman Slim must show how adventurous he is by killing a vampire. He does it handily because of supernatural ability. Also because of flaming sword. Mostly he just does it to impress Janet. Which is lame, boring. Because they are boring.

Anyhoo, self is reading fast now and hopefully will get to her next book, a memoir by Elizabeth Berg, about aging and how we all must go through it, blah blah blah. Hopefully it will NOT be depressing, because nothing’s worse than reading a book about aging and being depressed. Also, it’s about a real-life couple who have a great love, and sometimes it’s depressing to read about that.

But oh, it’s such a gorgeous day. And oh btw, she edited a story and sent it out. Her story’s about exploration, and discovery, and about how a one’s character can pretty much dictate the arc of one’s life, and when you get to the end, do you say, What’s next? Or do you say, What was that all about? Or do you say nothing.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Flower of the Day (FOTD), 28 March: TULIPS

Linking this to Cee Neuner’s Flower of the Day (FOTD) Challenge.

This afternoon, met a friend at the Gamble Garden in Palo Alto. It was a beautiful day. Didn’t expect to see so many people. The areas closest to the house were roped off.

The tulip beds were gorgeous.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Flower of the Day: Iberis

Posting this for Cee Neuner’s Flower of the Day (FOTD) Challenge.

Took the picture this morning in the backyard.

Spring is their season. Not as profuse this year as they were last year. And my cistus and abutilon aren’t blooming at all. Hmmm.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

ELEMENTAL: Challenge Your Camera # 12

The host for this challenge is Buddha Walks Into a Wine Bar:

Today, another guest theme from Marie at Hops Skips and Jumps, a challenge with some choices. Marie’s theme Elemental is based on the 4 classical elements from Ancient Greece in which it was believed that the universe was made up of Earth, Air, Fire and Water.

So, make your choice, choose one element and post any number of photos, or decide on all elements and post one photo of each. Try to be creative with your camera, close up or distant, creative with the image the element alone or combined with other elements.

Self’s gallery is made up of pictures taken in: her backyard; one in Filoli Garden in Woodside; one in Annaghmakerrig, Ireland; and one in New Mexico. They contain all the four elements, even fire. The picture of a murky sun was taken on the day the San Mateo Complex Fires came close, close enough for smoky ash to fill the air, and for self to smell burning. The firefighters saved us, again, as they do every year.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Cee’s Black & White Challenge (CBWC): Triangles, Diamonds, or Squares

Thanks again to Cee Neuner for the always-interesting photo challenges.

  • Be creative if you feel like it, and fun with this challenge this week. Remember your photos needs to be black and white, desaturated, sepia (brown tones) or selective color.  I’m looking forward to seeing what you all come up with.

Self went through her archives. These are pictures that weren’t intentionally black and white, they just became that way because of the conditions of the light. They all date from 2019, the last year that self was traveling.


Cork, Ireland: hallway to apartment above Café Paradiso

Bottom Row, L to R:

Kepler’s Books, Menlo Park, California; driving from Santa Fe to Albuquerque, New Mexico, three days after Christmas 2019, with son and his in-laws

The squares in the New Mexico pictures are at the very bottom: the road signs. Or the highway leading to a vanishing point: a triangle?

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Sunday Stills Photography Challenge: Your Best Black and White

Love discovering new photo challenges.

This one was particularly intriguing: the Sunday Stills Photography Challenge. Your Best Black-and-White Photos.

Self went searching through her archives and found a few that were not intentionally “black-and-white” but became so because of the shooting conditions — in most cases, gloomy weather.

Two of the pictures were taken on Caltrain headed north to San Francisco, one was taken on the train from London to Manchester, and the last picture was taken inside her cottage at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, Ireland.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

A Photo a Week Challenge: TAKE A NEW PHOTO

Today was cold. So cold that self actually had to turn on a space heater, for the first time since . . . forever.

Today’s Photo a Week Challenge, from Nancy Merrill, is TAKE A NEW PHOTO. There is a backstory to this challenge.

  • Today was a bit of a banner day. My husband and I got our first dose of the Covid vaccine. Wahoo. Now I just have to get over the sore arm (and the possible symptoms in three weeks when we get our second dose). To celebrate, we hit one of our favorite burger places, Crown Burger. If you haven’t been to Utah and experienced crown burger, I highly suggest a visit just for the pastrami burger.

Read the rest of the story here.

In the meantime, over here in the San Francisco Bay Area, the sun finally came out mid-afternoon. And self threw open her French doors. Here’s her picture:

Oh, that sun feels good!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Grimdark: Thoughts on Joe Abercrombie’s A LITTLE HATRED (with Digressions)

Self has no idea why it’s taken her to p. 222 to quote from her current read, A Little Hatred: Book One of the Age of Madness (which is great; her first introduction to the work of Joe Abercrombie) It’s a little unsettling, how fast the days unspool. Can you believe it’s already the end of February? Anyhoo, the weather’s been very fine, it’s not like she has to dig herself out of a snowdrift, and it’s not even like taxes are due (not for another month, anyway), and it’s not like she’s attending AWP. But now that her county’s been bumped down to the red tier, everything feels busy, the sidewalks are full of people, the traffic’s bad, there’s no parking, and she has suddenly remembered things like doctor’s visits.

Tomorrow, for instance, she has a doctor’s appointment at 1:30. She forgot all about the doctor’s appointment until she got a text. And the text said, Feb. 28. She didn’t even know it was possible to get a visual doctor’s appointment on a Sunday. Apparently, you can. It’s an “intake” appointment. Because she signed up for Kaiser.

The last rain of the supposedly “rainy season” happened a week ago, and she’s going to have to water water water the rest of the year, and that puts a serious dent on her time. She’s tried like heck not to buy anything (cause then she has to worry about keeping it alive during the summer and fall), but she went with a friend to a plant nursery, and bought a rose (her friend, whose idea it was to go in the first place, didn’t buy anything, and didn’t even seem all that interested in the plants once we got there). Then self had to buy a trellis because the rose is a climbing rose. Then she had to get someone to help her put in the trellis. And many many hours later, here she is. Meanwhile, her friend who isn’t really interested in gardening has signed up for — of all things, a gardening class! Because she wants to meet people! And people who like plants are good people! Can’t argue with that reasoning!

The rose self bought has a very cool name:

Let’s see, what was self going to post about? Oh yes. A Little Hatred.

There are almost a hundred characters in this book. And many warring factions. At first, self was constantly having to match character with faction by looking up the helpful index at the back of the book, but that was taking away from her enjoyment of the act of reading. The minute she started really getting into this world was when she stopped referring to the index. And, just like that, characters swam effortlessly to the front of her consciousness. Characters like Rikke, who has what is called The Long Eye (meaning, the gift of sight, though all she’s seen so far is a war between a wolf and a lion), and The Young Lion Leo van Brock (Ooh, Rikke’s prediction of a war! The wolf wins, but the Lion is the victor. Try making sense of that!), and a spoiled prince named Orso, and the prince’s (secret) lover Savine, who is the richest businesswoman in Angland, the Union, the Protectorate etc etc, and a traitorous character named Vick whose sidekick is a very gauche (but maybe not as gauche as Vick thinks) young man named Tallow.

Clearly there is no point in using that quote because it will not make sense now. So she will say just one thing she learned from p. 222: The lady with the sword is the one you want to follow.

The aforementioned has been cornered by two men in a dead-end alley, but she runs through one man with a sword (Her fencing teacher would approve!), and she runs through a second while he is in the act of running away. She doesn’t kill him outright, which is a problem, because she can’t pull her sword out of his back properly, the man keeps up such a damn wriggling.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Moving On

The days will grow longer. Then the front yard will die, as it does every summer. Self has never mowed her yard, not once in three years. The grass is a bright green, and all the different things she’s planted are green and lush and it’s beginning to look like an ecosystem. Like a balanced ecosystem. Which is what she wanted to do in the first place, though a year and a half ago, she had only a vague idea.


She has briskly dispatched The Butterfly Effect. She skimmed the later chapters, which had a lot to do with industry and man’s ingenuity and how man depends on insects for manufacturing product, yada yada yada. She also skipped the chapter on eating bugs because, while surely fascinating, she doesn’t feel the slightest inclination to experiment in that direction.

She has three library books currently. Two of the books begin in high summer, and the third is about a polar bear in the Arctic. So she’s reading Ice Walker, because it’s cold here in her house. It’s probably best to read about polar bears when it is actually cold.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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