The Amazing-ness of George Eliot

This novel gets self every page. Every single page.

Middlemarch, p. 707:

“I think we must not set down people’s bad actions to their religion,” said falcon-faced Mrs. Plymdale.


Transition: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is TRANSITION.

Some examples from The Daily Post:

  • a photo of your little one’s first steps
  • a sunset scene, as your world passes from day to night
  • waves kissing a shoreline, the space between land and sea

Self took this picture during a stopover at the Zurich airport, early this month:


Sunset: Zurich International Airport, early November

And here’s a picture self took from a cab as it crossed a bridge over the Arno River in Florence:


Crossing the Arno River, early November

The leaves in Florence were turning, when self and her niece were there in early November:


Park, Florence: Early November

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


The Final Post on TRIOS: the New Whitney Museum, Cork, the Lake at Annaghmakerrig

It is the day after Thanksgiving. Snap out of your food comas, everyone!

Self must say, this year’s Thanksgiving was brilliant. Self ate more than she’s ever eaten in her life. Her friend was up at 6 a.m. because she and her daughter are going to the mall. But self has an on-line class to get caught up on, so she chose to stay behind.

Before delving into her student pieces, however, self peruses her archives so that she can make one last post on WordPress Photo Challenge this week:  TRIO.

Self took the first picture in a museum she considers one of the best in the entire world: The new Whitney Museum. On exhibit right now: a retrospective on Frank Stella.


On the 6th Floor of the New Whitney Museum (Didn’t take down the name of the artist, boo)

The second picture is from one of self’s happy places: Café Paradiso in Cork, Ireland.


From a Book on Dublin-born Artist Sean Scully, which was in Self’s Room in Café Paradiso, Cork

And finally, a picture of the Mother of All Happy Places, a place that signifies peace, happiness, mindfulness, inspiration: the lake in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig.


3 Metal Bars Sticking out of the Lake in Annaghmakerrig, Ireland

Trio: WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is TRIO.

The image posted by Cheri Lucas Rowlands on The Daily Post is a picture of three buttes jutting out of the arid landscape of Monument Valley. Magnificent!

Here are some of self’s takes on TRIO:


New York City MOMA Sculpture Garden: There are three painted figures in this art installation. (Possibly, there are more, but from this angle, only three were visible. Which is great because she could then include the photograph in this post!)

Regular readers of this blog know that, in early November, self went to Florence with her niece. The weather was amazing, barely any rain.


View of Florence from the Palazzo Vecchio’s Arnulfo Tower: See the three structures towering over the city’s rooftops?


One morning, while self and her niece were walking towards the Uffizi Gallery, we passed a Biblioteca and decided to explore. The Biblioteca turned out to house hundreds and hundreds of opera librettos.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

That Fateful Moment When It All Comes Crashing Down: MIDDLEMARCH, p. 72

The old dotard Casaubon (HOW, self asks, how does one pronounce that simply ridiculous name?) has taken his future bride, Dorothea, to his rather meager estate (Remember Dorothea turned down a proposal from a young and attractive baronet, Sir James Chattam, in order to assert her preference for the much older and much sillier Casaubon). In the distance, they espy a figure, that of a young man lost in thought, wandering around with a sketchbook.

Dear blog readers, when a young man appears, attached to the estate of the much older man, and this older man is a silly and benighted person, who is bringing his young future bride for a first glimpse of his new home, there is only one way this can go down: Think Tennessee Williams. Faster than self can say “Desire Under the Elms,” Dorothea and her betrothed approach (What really clinches the deal is that the young man is toting around a sketchbook. Artists are crrrrazy. Crrrrazy attractive. Just ask the Bronte sisters)

Here is what transpires:

The young man had laid down his sketch-book and risen. His bushy light-brown curls (Think of Samson in the Old Testament! The appeal of the hair!), as well as his youthfulness, identified him at once . . .

“Dorothea, let me introduce to you my cousin, Mr. Ladislaw. Will, this is Miss Brooke.” (And what person can withstand a young man named Will? Certainly not self, who just this year fell in love with Will Herondale from Cassandra Clare’s Victorian Steampunk trilogy, The Infernal Devices!)

The cousin was so close now that, when he lifted his hat, Dorothea could see a pair of gray eyes rather near together, a delicate irregular nose (like Tom Hiddleston’s? The guy who plays Loki in those Thor movies?) with a little ripple in it (like Owen Wilson’s?), and hair falling backward . . . Young Ladislaw did not think it necessary to smile, as if he were charmed to this introduction to his future second cousin and her relatives, but wore rather a pouting air of discontent. (Heathcliff! Oh where art thou, Heathcliff!)

“You are an artist, I see . . . “

And self will pause here. Right here. So she can drive dear blog readers crazy with anticipation.

Stay tuned.

Victory: WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge

From Krista on The Daily Post:

  • . . . I got the chance to test myself, and this time, I won.
  • In your photo this week, focus on the win, the victory — that moment of glory and pride you’ll remember forever.

Wow, what a grrrreat theme!

Looking back on 2015, here are three pictures that represent self’s small victories:

Self was in Florence! As 2015 began, she could never have imagined she’d end the year going there. And having tremendous fun. And loving the city. Here’s a picture of her, on the last night of her trip:

You did it, self! You did it! You accepted your niece's invitation, decided you did have the energy for just one more trip, and ended up falling in love with the city and its people!

You did it, self! You did it! You accepted your niece’s invitation, decided you did have the energy for just one more trip, and ended up falling in love with the city and its people!

Self never imagined, either, that she’d be back in Venice. But here she and her niece were, getting off at the train station in Ferrovia, and waiting for a vaporetto to take them to San Marco Square:

Ferrovia, Venice: All trains to Venice stop here. The last time self was in Venice was spring 2013, with Margarita Donnelly, her friend and mentor at Calyx Press. Margarita passed away December 2014.

Ferrovia, Venice: All trains to Venice stop here. The last time self was in Venice was spring 2013, with Margarita Donnelly, her friend and mentor at Calyx Press. Margarita passed away December 2014.

The one day she and her niece spent in Venice (Only two hours by fast train from Florence), the sun was shining, and San Marco Square was thronged with people. What grace! What a blessing! To be there again, and happy!

San Marco Square, Venice, Saturday Afternoon, November 2015

San Marco Square, Venice, Saturday Afternoon, November 2015

Of course she has to go back. Of course she will go back. She didn’t love Venice when she left in 2013. Or maybe she loved it but she didn’t know it yet.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

State of Self’s Novel-in-Progress

Self spent most of this year working on a novel about an 18th century priest who gets sent to a Philippine island to fight demons. It’s at 185 pages and she was extremely discouraged yesterday, thinking she probably had twice that many pages to write before she really knew what it was she wanted to say.

Then she went into one of her bookmarked food blogs, Kahakai Kitchen. And there is a review there of a novel called Water on the Moon, which is 244 pages. Hmmm, self thought: 244 pages seems do-able, at least it does to self. It would mean she only has to get 60 more pages in, and then she can review what her manuscript feels like.

Here’s the synopsis of Water on the Moon (Publisher: She Writes Press):

When her husband comes out as gay and an airplane crash inexplicably destroys her home, the mother of teenage twin daughters must rethink everything she knows.

In her debut novel, Water on the Moon, Jean P. Moore introduces readers to Lidia Raven, whose life begins taking seemingly endless wrong turns. Lidia and her girls miraculously survive the plane crash that destroys their home and are taken in by Lidia’s friend Polly, a neighbor with a robust collection of first-edition books who lives alone on a sprawling estate.

Struggling to cope with each of these life-changing events, Lidia discovers a connection between herself and Tina Calderara, the pilot who crashed into their home. In the months that follow, Lidia plunges into a mystery that upends every aspect of her life.

Dun Dun Dun! Sounds pretty interesting!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Ornate: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The WordPress Photo Challenge this week is ORNATE.

As the prompt on The Daily Post says:

Forget about subdued and restrained. This week, let’s embrace the breathtakingly extravagant.

It so happens that self is in Italy. Which gives her many examples of the ornate, like this church and fountain in the city of Pisa:

The Duomo of Pisa

Pisa: Cathedral and Fountain

The tour guide says this is an example of Romanesque architecture. Therefore, ornate.

The Duomo of Pisa: It IS pretty.

The Duomo of Pisa: It IS pretty.

Interior, the Duomo of Siena. According to the tour booklet, “this Gothic cathedral was one of Italy’s first.” Self was particularly taken by the striped columns. How very geometric and unexpectedly modern!

Interior, the Duomo of Siena: Breathtaking

Interior, the Duomo of Siena: Breathtaking

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Halloween-Themed Everlark! Miss Honeywell: “First We Feast”

Gale, Madge (Gale’s pregnant wife) and Katniss are off on a quest to find District Twelve, a mysterious place that doesn’t appear on any map. They are there because Katniss wants to scatter her parents’ ashes at the place where they were married: Twelve Souls Chapel, 508 Nightlock Road, District Twelve. Scouring the internet for information, Katniss learns that there is a very good roadside diner in Twelve, famous for its “delicious baked pastries” LOL!

Along the way, they pass an eerily deserted landscape, with only one gas station for miles and miles. Faster than one can say Holy Texas Chainsaw Massacre, an attendant appears, whose name just happens to be Haymitch. He makes various dolorous pronouncements (Such as: “Careful touching the merchandise, you might get tetanus.”). The very last thing he says to the trio is: STAY ALIVE.

Back in the car, the following conversation ensues:

Katniss:  Have you seen a single police station or car in the entire time we’ve been on this trip?

Gale (stubborn, per usual):  911 exists for a reason.

Katniss (mimicking a caller):  Hello, 911? There was a grumpy old man at a gas station that hurt my feelings.

As dear blog readers well know, everyone in fan fiction has an alias. But they are very real people, of course. One happens to live right in Hoboken, New Jersey. How does self know? Because Katniss Everdeen, Demonhunter, is set in Hoboken, New Jersey, LOL!

And after reading First We Feast, self knows for a fact that Miss Honeywell is English. How does self know this? Because only an English writer would have a sentence like this: “Sussing out where exactly the township of District Twelve was located hadn’t been easy.”

Self needs to warn dear blog readers that this is a very cheesy story, with double intendrés sprinkled all over the text like white on rice (Exhibit A: Peeta to Katniss, Do you want me to help you fill up. Actually he said something else, but self cannot for the life of her quote the actual line without cracking up)

And just as Katniss and Peeta (who met only minutes earlier, in the aforementioned diner with everyone’s favorite baker the sole occupant) kiss, they suddenly hear:


Then Katniss makes the very dumb decision to go with the stranger into the woods but, hey, what can self say, this is Peeta we’re talking about here!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Alone: Sylvain Landry – SL 16

Self enjoys Sylvain Landry’s photo challenges.

He’s got a GREAT picture up this week, for SL-16: ALONE. Check it out.

In the meantime, here’s her photo of ALONE:

2014 Codex International Book Fair in Benicia, CA: And Self Takes Pictures of Solitary Seagulls

2015 Codex International Book Fair in Benicia, CA: And Self Takes Pictures of Solitary Seagulls

Stay tuned.

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