It’s Friday morning, raining again. “Ireland’s a bog,” someone told her yesterday.
Two years ago, when she was preparing to do an artists residency at Hawthornden, someone told her, “Scotland is rainy and wet.” No one said the slightest thing to her about Ireland. And guess what. It’s even colder and wetter in Ireland than it is in Scotland!
Self has been dutifully posting pictures of flowers for the current WordPress Photo Challenge, SPRING.
She’s also been browsing other WordPress blogs and the flower pictures have been simply breathtaking.
This is self’s very own floribunda, a Fourth of July:
Because of all the rain, the Irish countryside is lush and lovely.
Is it or is it not coincidence that this morning, self is reading John Millington Synge?
Mary: (Lying back sleepily) Don’t mind him, Sarah Casey. Sit down now, and I’ll be telling you a story would be fit to tell a woman the like of you in the springtime of the year.
Dubliners are amazingly kind. The taxi drivers refuse a too-large tip. When has this ever happened to self? They actually hand her back her change, and when she explains it’s all right, she really meant to tip that much, they say: No.
The people at the tram stop (next to the Black Horse Saloon — bwah ha haaa!) worry about self getting lost, so they pass her along. The first person self spoke to this morning (other than the person who tidied up the dining room after breakfast) was a woman jogging by with a frisky German Shepherd. She didn’t know for sure how to direct self to where self needed to go, so she handed self over to a young man pushing a toddler in a stroller. Bless his heart: the young man, whose name was Bruno, got on the tram, went off at self’s stop, and actually walked with her all the way to Bewley’s on Grafton Street. In the meantime, his curly-headed child kept staring at self, thoroughly bemused/confused. Self wanted to buy something for the man and his child, but he waved her off and walked casually on.
Here’s a picture that hints at the week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: spring.
Spring as motion, or jumping, as this sculpture of a little girl depicts. She took the photo last April. She and Margarita D were in Venice, and self decided to make the day trip to Vicenza because she had read somewhere that Vicenza was the birthplace of Antonio de Pigafetta, the man who chronicled Magellan’s journey and who self used as the narrator of her short story, Magellan’s Mirror (published in J Journal)
Here’s a more conventional take on SPRING. As in: spring flowers.
These flower pictures are from last year. But they are the same flowers that were in full and glorious bloom, just before she left last week.
“This week, show us a photo of whatever you like, but make sure it’s saturated. It can be black and white, a single color, a few hues, or a complete rainbow riot; just make sure it’s rich and powerful.”
Self’s climbing Don Juan rose blooms only once a year, around April. During the summer (now), it shrivels away to nearly bare twigs, because of where self planted it: it gets intense afternoon heat from noon to seven p.m. Self planted several things in front of it to help absorb the glare, but those other things remain slender saplings and barely cast any shadow. Live and learn.
The Fourth of July rose bush has started blooming again.
That is no fluke: It is the result of self’s tremendous fussing, and her determination. Since returning from her Hawthornden residency, she must have hauled 20 buckets of water to her front and backyard, every day.
The husband has no idea; he complains about turning on the sprinklers, which anyway don’t work: they spray the sidewalk instead of the lawn or the borders, and he says he doesn’t know how to adjust them. For that matter, neither does self. Strangely, self now finds the physical labor, the notion of being out in the blazing heat, tremendously calming (Soon, she tells herself — soon, she’ll (more…)
Today was hot, but this evening is cooler than yesterday.
The warm weather set all of self’s flowers to blooming.
Early this morning, self noticed one gorgeous bloom on her Sunflare. Finally, in the late afternoon, she went for her camera and took this picture:
Changing gears here: self is currently reading Jennifer 8. Lee’s The Fortune Cookie Chronicles. So far, Lee has written about: a) a dynamo who revolutionized the restaurant industry when she introduced Chinese food delivery in New York City; and b) the history of the fortune cookie. Self is finding the subject difficult to get into. Lee is witty and all that, but perhaps self wants to read a really dark, wrenching memoir, and not a light, frothy essay on the misconceptions that surround the origin of the Chinese fortune cookie. The next book on her list is Nicholson Baker’s first foray into nonfiction, Human Smoke: The Origins of World War II, the End of Civilization and it has created quite a rift among Amazon readers, some calling it “muddled” and “a hodgepodge.”
Self has read two short books by Mr. Baker, both novels. She liked them both, especially A Box of Matches. It’s interesting to her that when Mr. Baker tackled nonfiction, he wrote a book that was about five times as long as his novels. (She does commend him for his very intriguing title. Self wishes she had written a book called Human Smoke. Lately, all her story titles have been bad: “Sleuth,” “The Cooking Lesson,” “Emergency” — yucch, yucch, yucch)
Switching gears yet again: today, self went to the Menlo Park Farmers Market, could not pass up the baklava. Then she went to Pampelmousse in downtown Redwood City and purchased four caramel salt macaroons. Finally, because she feels so sorry for the husband because he is an engineer and not something cool like a writer, she went with him to the Dairy Queen on Woodside Road and even though she was not at all desirous of having a sundae, she went ahead and had a caramel sundae. L’Fisher Chalet laundrywoman, the next time self is in your presence, she already knows what you are going to say: You are sooo fat!