#amreading THE TRESPASSER

When, a year or so ago, The New Yorker published a review of The Trespasser, by Tana French, self knew she had to read it.

Because of many, many distractions in the almost two years since, self is only getting around to reading The Trespasser now. In Paris.

Not that self thinks this is necessarily a bad choice of reading matter for Paris. It’s really cold outside, and the skies are grey. And the bathroom is enormous. The bathtub could sink a body. An entire body. The building opposite has a harp store, a beauty salon, and a wee grocery (open until 2 a.m.). To the right there is a five-star restaurant. To the left is a four-star restaurant. On one corner is a brasserie (packed to the gills with young Asian customers; self makes a note never to eat there. The only authentic brasserie, in self’s humble opinion, is one where most of the patrons look like they are locals), a block away is a pharmacy.

The last book she read before The Trespasser was also by Tana French: Broken Harbor.

Ms. French’s mysteries feature a constantly changing main narrator, but all are set in Dublin. Broken Harbor’s main protagonist was Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy. The Trespasser’s main protagonist is a woman whose name self can’t even remember, even though she’s on p. 154.

So far, one murder: a 26-year-old woman who “lived a boring life.” Nevertheless, she had “a true-crime library” and “read a lot of fan fiction. The sappy kind, not the sexy kind; my guy was sort of disappointed by that.” She didn’t even do “dating sites,” my God what is wrong with this murder victim? With a life so boring, self doesn’t know why she’s still reading. But reading she is. It’s p. 154, and all we’ve uncovered is a boring life.

Self misses the puck-ish irony of Muriel Spark, the twisted point-of-view of a Ruth Rendell.

Ms. French’s novels are dense with procedural detail. But, please. NOTHING HAS HAPPENED YET.

Yesterday (Christmas Day, lest one forget), self did absolutely nothing except watch CNN all day. The ticker tape at the bottom told of various Philippine disasters (It’s almost as if CNN knows the person watching is Filipino): flooding, a bus crash in northern Luzon, a fire in a call center that killed 38 people. Trump was at Mar-a-Lago (of course), posing for happy family pics with Melania, and trying to recover from the stress of holding public office (while being paid peanuts) by playing yet another round of golf.

On a more positive note, self was able to update one of her Gendrya. And today, she learned her story earned her six kudos. Not bad for one day.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More Merry, Merry

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4th Floor, near Charles de Gaulle. The first floor of this building is a store that sells harps. The window stays lighted at night, and she loves to look at the harps on display.

Self was planning to walk along the Champs Elysée. She’s had a big breakfast and is now back in her room, writing her novel-in-progress.

Last night, she walked a few blocks to the Arc de Triomphe and got off this moody night-time shot:

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Christmas Eve, 2017

This morning, she went down for breakfast, and eavesdropped on the other guests: they talked of reading books, falling asleep at midnight, taking a leisurely stroll.

She will spend Christmas Day writing.

(Oops, not quite. She remembers the artists in Tyrone Guthrie telling her that things do not all close down on Christmas. She looked up the Louvre. It is open today. The hotel has been asking her to let them clean her room because she’s been inside most of the last two days. So that’s what she’ll do: she’ll take the metro to the Louvre)

Stay tuned.

More Corners!

Self decided to post again on this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge, CORNERS.

Books and waffles and furniture.

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Jenny Lewis, poet, is a friend. The Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig is self’s equivalent of Paradise.

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Le Pain Quotidien, Claremont, California: July 2017

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Pasadena Moderne: July 2017

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Cups and Saucers

Self originally posted a different photo for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, but that was because she hadn’t read the prompt, only looked at the title, boo.

The prompt is supposed to be about finding Photo Ops In Your Own House.

Since self hasn’t been in her own house in years, here are the closest things to it:

  1. Her writing table at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, with her cup of coffee next to her MacBook Air. She always starts the day with a pot of coffee.
  2. A friend’s house in San Gabriel, CA

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Ephemeral Delights

Still thinking about the WordPress Photo Challenge theme ephemeral, still thinking about moments.

Here are a few that stand out from today and yesterday:

Blueberry Pancakes for Breakfast -- Yummm!

Blueberry Pancakes for Breakfast — Yummm!

Had dinner with Mary Ellen Campbell, visual artist from New York. She suggested Little River Inn:

Early Evening, Little River Inn

Early Evening, Little River Inn

Easter Wreath, Little River Inn

Easter Wreath, Little River Inn

The food was delicious. Mary Ellen had a chicken salad, and self had meatloaf with mashed potatoes and snap peas. Both servings were huge. As self eats very very slowly, she ended up having Mary Ellen eat some of the meatloaf.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Fresh: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

It has been snowing all day in New York City.

Nevertheless, self finds that she is still more than up to the challenge of posting about this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge:

FRESH

Share with us a photo that expresses something fresh.

Fresh strawberries on waffles: Nothing beats like.

Fresh Strawberries, Fresh Flowers, and Fresh Coffee:  Queenie's Road House, Elk, California

Fresh Strawberries, Fresh Flowers, and Fresh Coffee: Queenie’s Road House, Elk, California

Next: Christmas isn’t Christmas without a fresh-cut tree.

Fresh-Cut from Wegman's: December 2014

Fresh-Cut from Wegman’s: December 2014

Finally: Fresh means flowers! This picture was taken in the Huntington Botanical Gardens on Sept. 11, 2014:

Huntington Botanical Gardens: September 2014

Huntington Botanical Gardens: September 11, 2014

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Wall: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is WALL.

As the prompt on The Daily Post states:

Share an image of a wall that reveals something about a place, or a people, or you.

Here are some examples of notable walls self has taken pictures of in the recent past:

Mural, Egghead's Restaurant, Fort Bragg

A few days ago: Had breakfast in Egghead’s Restaurant, Fort Bragg, and took a picture of this wall mural.

This is Bones, a graffiti artist. He's standing in front of his latest creation, in a gallery on Laurel Street in Fort Bragg.

Karen Bowers of the Mendocino Art Center invited self to go gallery-hopping in Fort Bragg, a monthly ritual called “First Friday.” This is Bones, a graffiti artist. He’s standing in front of his latest creation, in a gallery on Laurel Street.

One other mural by graffiti artist Bones.

One other mural by graffiti artist Bones.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More Rewards in Mendocino

The WordPress Photo Challenge this week is REWARD.

The prompt, in its entirety, reads:

Reward is filthy with possibility: it could be your third grader’s beaming smile after reading her first chapter book, a steaming mug of chicken soup after a long run in the cold, a photo of your brand-new baby — your reward for patience during nine months of construction, or your extended family gathered the dinner table.

Food is its own reward. Right? Right?

First, Queenie’s Road House in Elk. Worth driving 20 miles from Mendocino for.

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Strawberry waffles rule!

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Saturday brunch: The Mendocino Café on Lansing:

Thai Hotpot at The Mendocino Café, Saturday Feb. 28

Thai Hotpot at The Mendocino Café, Saturday Feb. 28

Everything yummy.

Stay tuned.

Surrounding Oneself with Positive Images Is Very Rewarding

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is: REWARD.

Here’s a reward: being able to smell the flowers!

Beautiful Arrangement! Saw this today.

Beautiful Arrangement! Saw this today.

Wider-Angle View of Same

Wider-Angle View of Same

Self was able to cross off one of the items on her list of things to do before she leaves Mendocino: She finally experienced the excellence of breakfast at Queenie’s Road House in Elk (It closes every winter but re-opened a few weeks ago). She had strawberry waffles.

Queenie’s is definitely where the locals hang out: it was crowded. Thankfully, there was room for a solitary diner.

If your destination isn't on this signpost, change it for one of these (Seen on the side of the road in Elk, CA)

If your destination isn’t on this signpost, change it for one of these (Seen on the side of the road in Elk, CA)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Express Yourself 3: Easy When You’re With Old Friends

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is EXPRESS YOURSELF. In posting on this theme, self has focused — twice — on artistic expression.

But here are two other kinds of expression: facial expression and doggie expression!

Having breakfast outside with Connie Ignacio Genato, best friends since grade school in Manila

Having breakfast outside with Connie Ignacio Genato, best friends since grade school in Manila

Looks like Connie's Li'l Crits are hungry! Her dogs' names are Bauer (after Jack Bauer of the TV show 24), Kobe, and Macho.

Looks like Connie’s Li’l Crits are hungry! Her dogs’ names are Bauer (after Jack Bauer of the TV show 24), Kobe, and Macho.

Angela Narciso Torres's son, Matthew, is an undergrad in a Fine Arts Program in USC. Here he is holding up a watercolor he made for the title poem of Angela's first book, BLOOD ORANGE.

Angela Narciso Torres’s son, Matthew, is an undergrad in a Fine Arts Program in USC. Here he is holding up a watercolor he made for the title poem of Angela’s first book, BLOOD ORANGE.

And here is the poem:

BLOOD ORANGES

At the river’s edge —
strewn seed, vermilion
petals from blood oranges

we ate. A branch
stoops from the weight
of phantom fruit. Falling,

the leaves exhale
the spice-heavy air,
its punishing sweet.

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