Tweaking the Reading List, Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Spent the day trying to stay warm and dry. It’s very cold here in Mendocino. A few minutes ago, rain started to come down.

Self tried to get into Empress of the East, had high hopes, but the first chapter, Abduction, isn’t really about how Roxelana, Slave-Girl-Turned-Empress-of-the-Ottoman-Empire, was abducted. Instead, it consists of page after page of speculation about the exact spot from where she was taken. Then, a few pages of how hard it was on captives. DUH. This is dull stuff.

Luckily, self brought the next book on her reading list to Mendocino. It’s The Book of Dust, by Philip Pullman. Opening sentence:

Three miles up the river Thames from the center of Oxford, some distance from where the great colleges of Jordan, Gabriel, Balliol, and two dozen others contended for mastery in the boat races, out where the city was only a collection of towers and spires in the distance over the misty levels of Port Meadow, there stood the Priory of Godstow, where the gentle nuns went about their holy business; and on the opposite bank from the priory there was an inn called the Trout.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: THE ROMANOVS, 1613 – 1918, p. 86

Self is now on p. 86. There have been many great individual sentences.

Nevertheless, she must get a move on.

It is extremely cold here in the San Francisco Bay Area, and she needs to exit the house tonight, to pick up someone from SFO. Lacking a parka, she must layer. Not only must she layer, she must wear her UGG boots, which Marie Claire told her years ago was only suitable for under 30s. She hopes she doesn’t encounter people with rheumy coughs, as she did yesterday at Walmart. She wanted to run screaming out of the store, but she was stuck in line and had no choice but to stiff-upper-lip it.

Here’s the Sentence of the Day:

The Jolly Company were toasting the trip at Lefort’s palace when, as General Gordon wrote, a “merry night” was ruined by “the accident of discovering treason against His Majesty.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Needs to Start Or End With Y

Self’s word for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge is WINTRY.

Here’s her shot: a ferris wheel in Paris, last week of December 2017


Paris, Late December, 2017: Because self wanted to say that, for once in her life, she spent the holidays in Paris.

Paris was colder than Ireland.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Still More 2017 Favorites

Self spent the last day of 2017 in London, a city dear to her heart.

She took an iconic walk. It was a cloudy day.


The Millenium Bridge, London: Dec. 31, 2017


More Millenium Bridge: Dec. 31, 2017


The Crouching Man in Front of the British Library: Dec. 31, 2017

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Colors That Start With the Letter S

Self’s color: SLATE

The sky, the ground, the glass pyramid: all slate colored.

This picture was taken outside the Louvre, a few days ago.


Outside the Louvre, a Few Days Before Christmas 2017

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Self is in the City of Light. Just a block from the Arc de Triomphe, which has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ON IT: No wreaths, no technicolor strobe lights, nothing.


She took a long walk this morning, in light rain. No umbrella because it would be just one more thing weighing her down.

She took the metro to the Tuileries. Then, crossed the Seine on a bridge near the Musée d’Orsay. Big Bus Tour buses and Day Tour buses stopped every couple of minutes in front of the museum. They seemed to be almost empty. But, whenever she was within steps of getting on, the buses would pull away from the curb. She decided to turn it into a little game: Let’s see if they’ll  pull away if I actually have my hand on the door handle. But those bus drivers were too suave to play. They’d see her lumbering slowly across the sidewalk, pupose in her gaze. She’d even raise a hand, catch the glance of the driver, but stoically — even, scornfully — they’d pull away, maintaining eye contact with her the whole time. A guide on a passing river barge says, over loudspeaker: “And here to your right is the famous Musée d’Orsay, which was a former railroad station.”

She was walking down the entire length of the building to get to the entrance (The French never make it easy) when she saw a taxi rank with one cab. Like it was waiting just for her. In less than 10 minutes, the taxi dropped her off at her hotel.



The Tuileries, 24 December 2017

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Recommended Reading: Women Writing (Comics, Nonfiction, Novellas)


Skinning the Rabbit, by Jane Eaton Hamilton (The Sun, July 2017)

The Cone of Uncertainty: Parenting on the Edge of Climate Change, by Sarah Grey (Salvage Quarterly, 28 November 2017)

On Yoga, Diversity Lite, and the Empire of American Wellness, by Namrata Poddar (CounterPunch, 3 November 2017)

The New Bad Girls of Contemporary Literature, by Myriam Gurba (Literary Hub, 1 December 2017)

Why are America’s farmers killing themselves in record numbers? by Debbie Weingarten (The Guardian, 6 December 2017)


DC New Talent Showcase 2017


In Search of Lost Butter Chicken, by Sukhada Tatke (National Geographic Traveler: India, June 2017)


Day of All Saints, by Patricia Grace King (Miami University Press, November 2017)

I Don’t Think of You (Until I Do), by Tatiana Ryckman (Future Tense Books, September 2017)



Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: 2 Ms Anywhere In the Word

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenges are really that: Fun.

Her series, Alphabet With a Twist, is now on the Letter M: To complicate things, you have to have 2 Ms, anywhere in the word.

It took self some assiduous looking, but she finally came up with these two pictures of the Prince Albert Memorial in Hyde Park, from her most recent visit to London, a few weeks ago:


The Prince Albert Memorial on a Beautiful Day in Hyde Park, London, Late October 2017


Closer View of The Prince Albert Memorial

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Temporary 2: Weather in Dublin, Around Noon

Self loves that the Photo Challenge this week is TEMPORARY.

Since she is in Ireland, the country where, according to a Dublin cab driver, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes,” she decides that this week she will just keep chronicling the weather.

She took these pictures in Dublin, earlier today:


A Pedestrian Bridge Across the Liffey: Friday, 10 November 2017


Dublin: Friday, 10 November 2017

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.



Temporary: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 8 November 2017

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is TEMPORARY.

What could be more “temporary” than the weather?

Last night, Dublin was cold and rainy.

Today, just look at the difference!

Self took the Luas from Blackhorse (name of a saloon on the corner; sadly, appears to be closed) to Jervis. One of the stops on the way was Fatima. Only in Dublin!


Dublin, Thursday, 9 November 2017: By the Ha’penny Bridge

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


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