Paris, 1823

The Thursday Murder Club was so lovely. Self finished reading it yesterday. The ending was bittersweet. But her favorite characters are still alive. So, conceivably, there might be a follow-up.

What she appreciated most of all about TTMC was its tone. The slyness, the wry detachment with which human failings and affairs of the heart were viewed. Oh, of course there was heartache. But there was no angst.

Now, she is reading a book about the English aristocracy in the first half of the nineteenth century. This was the class that produced the officers who ordered the disastrous Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava, in the Crimea. Hence, the title of the book (taken from the Alfred, Lord Tennsyon poem about the battle): The Reason Why. Of course, we must get to know all about this class. One of the major players was James, the Seventh Earl of Cardigan.

Young, handsome, prevented from joining the Army because he was his parents’ only male heir, he

had taken to spending a considerable amount of time in Paris. The pleasures which Paris offers, her elegance, the refinement of her luxury, had never been in sharper contrast to London than in 1823. Paris had invented the restaurant, and in place of the rough, bawling, steamy eating-houses of London were novel resorts with wood fires, thick carpets, snowy table-cloths. In place of the gargantuan excesses of the Regency, tables groaning under a mass of food, diners pouring bottle after bottle down their throats until they slid under the table, eating and drinking were raised to a delicate art. The city itself was still intricate, fantastic, and medieval.

The Reason Why, by Cecil Woodham-Smith, pp. 10-11

Question of the Day

How do the pensioners in The Thursday Murder Club know about the Dark Web when self only heard about it a month ago?

She’s on p. 181.

Also, it turns out, the DCI likes Oasis. OASIS.

Normally, she would just barrel through to the end (especially as it’s getting pretty exciting), but today has had all sorts of appointments, and she’s meeting someone for dinner — DINNER! — at the Beach Chalet. Her cousin from Manila, who’s only here for a few days.

Stay cool (it’s hard, that sun’s like a laser), dear blog readers. Stay cool.

One Word Sunday Challenge: TOUCH

There are so many challenges to explore!

Travel with Intent hosts the One Word Sunday Challenge. The current theme is TOUCH.

Self’s gallery:

  1. Elevator attendant, Manuel Benavides Library, University of Santo Tomas, Manila
  2. Jollibee attendant, Manila – Self asked the driver to stop by Jollibee on her way home from the airport. First stop! It was in the pre-dawn hours. Manila is a city that never sleeps.
  3. Self, Andrew, and nephew Chris Blackett in the very long ago, at an amusement park in California
  4. Self with an umbrella in Tokyo, also in the very long ago

Stay safe, dear log readers. Stay safe.

Just One Person from Around the World: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Thank you to ThatTravelLadyInHerShoes for hosting the Just One Person from Around the World challenge.

Over the 2019 holidays, self joined son and daughter-in-law in New Mexico. She’d only been once before, for son’s wedding. Oh what fun. For the first time in a decade, self was together with son for Christmas and New Year’s.

In Albuquerque, we stayed with his in-laws, and they took us all over the city. One of the stops was at this small place that sold super-duper tamales and enchiladas. This young woman was so sweet.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Apr. 24 BRIGHT SQUARES: Views from a Car Window

Becky’s post today for the April Bright Squares challenge is “the view from my desk.”

Inspired by Becky’s “the view from” idea, self is posting the last pictures she took of Horn BBQ as she prepared to drive away.

Her first time to try this great eatery! The spare ribs were melting off the bone, the beef brisket was mouthwateringly juicy. Plus the bread pudding was to die for! Highly recommend!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

April 22 BRIGHT SQUARES

April is proving to be quite the month.

April is Bright Squares month. The host of this photo challenge is Becky of The Life of B. And today is her birthday! So let’s all give her a big Hip Hip Hooooray!

Today, the theme of self’s Bright Squares is Bright Smiles! Just look at these people who began lining up in front of Horn Barbecue in Oakland about half an hour before opening (11 a.m.) It was rather chilly, but no one complained. Because Horn, which opened just before the pandemic, is definitely a success story. The best melt-off-the-bone spare ribs, the tenderest brisket, the BEST mac’n cheese, the BEST bread pudding.

Before you go, diet for a week. You order by the pound. Self’s friend Nikki is one of the assistant cooks (and she is a fabulous cook). There she is, standing beneath the sign. It’s a very industrial area of Oakland, with huge warehouses and also homeless encampments. But there are also cheerful corner juice stands, and other intrepid food trailblazers like June’s Pizza, just a few blocks away.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

A Bit Early: April 19 BRIGHT SQUARES

Becky’s post on BRIGHT SQUARES (She’s the host of this challenge, which is truly a lot of fun) is something really BRIGHT and really SPARKLY and it’s something Becky saw in the British Museum. Feel free to gape.

Self spent the weekend in Sacramento. It’s a city she’s always felt at home in, not sure why. Sometimes it feels like Bacolod (in the central Philippines), sometimes it feels like San Luis Obispo. Kids come whizzing down the street on skateboards, and they all go to the same boba place, which as luck would have it is on the same block as her Airbnb.

Her host acquired this 1920s building that used to be a FAMILY LAUNDRY and the neon sign is protected by the City as a historical landmark (though only the bottom half is lit).

Across the street is a Mexican restaurant (the street is otherwise mostly Asian) that’s open 24 hours. Sorry for the blur, self didn’t have a place to rest her elbow for the shot, which took long exposure. Next to the Mexican restaurant is a martial arts school.

Sacramento is an old city, but in the neighborhood she’s in, everyone is young. Not like back home, where you’re either old or pushing a stroller. Or driving a humongous SUV.

Her car is parked directly across the street. A handful of times in the last few hours, someone’s car alarm has been going off. At first, self wondered if it was her car. But it wasn’t.

Back home, she’s just started seeing, around the library, the teens wearing all-black: black T-s, black baggy pants. They were a regular sight before. Then, the library shut down and these teens seemed to disappear. A sure sign that we’re opening again is that self spotted a pair of these black-wearing teens, walking along Middlefield. What did they do with themselves when everything was shut down? Here they are again; feels like old times.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: ATE or EIGHT

Cee Neuner thinks of the most inventive prompts.

This week’s Fun Foto Challenge asks us to photograph something we ATE or something with the number EIGHT.

Since food is constantly on self’s mind, she decided to do a gallery of recent fare. Clockwise:

  • Fondue with a friend in Left Bank, Menlo Park (outdoor dining is absolutely packed, all the time).
  • Steamed pork buns from the Belmont Farmers Market
  • Self loves mushrooms and pasta. The mushrooms were from the Menlo Park Farmers Market.
  • Last night’s dinner: broccoli, pineapple, and orange chicken, which self’s friends tell her is just gross (but which self found dee-lish!).
  • Self just discovered this ice cream (the maker is a family in Santa Cruz, just south of here) and LOOOVES it.

NOTE: Self is always masked, always. And whenever she returns from “outside,” she spends a good long time washing her hands.

Thanks ever so much for doing such a Fun Foto Challenge, Cee!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Just For Fun, 10 Latest Bookmarks

Sentence of the Day: Doreen G. Fernandez

  • The drive from Dumaguete through Bais and Mabinay to Kabankalan, Negros Occidental is an excellent road, past hills and valleys, even a zig-zag portion, through fields and towns, and hardly a billboard.

Self has driven this route. Ten years ago.

Doreen G. Fernandez (self’s second mother) had made an appointment to visit Vicente Lobaton, kinilaw artist. Kinilaw is the Filipino version of sushi. And it’s rather a specialty in the Visayan Islands, in the central Philippines. The number one requirement is that the seafood be freshly caught. And in a country with over 7000 islands, there’s no excuse not to have seafood that is freshly caught. Kinilaw is served with a “dressing” called sawsawan. Want to know more? It’s all in Doreen’s book, Kinilaw (1991) She goes on to describe the meal, which involved kinilaw crab, fish, and shrimp. (SO hungry right now)

Doreen was from the self-same island that Dear Departed Dad was from. It has a very non-PC name: Negros. That’s right, the island is named Negros because its people were dark. It has been named that since the 16th century. It is divided into two provinces: Negros Occidental (where self’s Dear Departed Dad, and Doreen, were from) and Negros Oriental. Negros Oriental has this really cool city called Dumaguete, which became the title for one of self’s short stories (It’s in MsAligned 3, published earlier this year)

Vicente, who goes by Enting, has two restaurants on Negros. One is Enting’s Manukan in Sagay; the other is Enting’s Lechonan on 17th St. near Lacson in downtown Bacolod, the capitol of Negros Occidental.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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