Last Sunday in London

Self is in her room, reading a copy of The Guardian.

The trial of the “man who drove his car into a crowd of activists who  had been protesting against a white nationalist rally, leaving one woman dead and several injured,” has begun in Charlottesville, Virginia.

This morning, self returned to the Royal Academy of Art for a repeat viewing of the Oceania Exhibit.

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Royal Academy of Art: Sunday, 2 December 2018

She liked it even more, the second time around. She stayed watching the video for nearly an hour.

The little handout that accompanies the exhibit starts with:

Two-hundred and fifty years ago, in August 1768, four months before George III founded the Royal Academy of Arts, Lieutenant (later Captain) James Cook left Plymouth in command of the HMS Endeavour.

She remembers reading a book by Tony Horwitz: Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before and, well, that book must have made quite an impression because it fixed Captain Cook’s voyage forever in her memory and now, 15 years later, here she is, in London, having seen the Oceania exhibit twice!

As she left the Royal Academy (still in a daze of cultural overload), she happened to notice that there was a store across the street called FORTNUM & MASON. And the display windows were so Christmas-y! She decided to check it out:

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Fortnum & Mason: Sunday, 2 December 2018

Self entered through a revolving door and promptly found herself in the middle of a mob scene the like of which she has never experienced in London. What she means: people were grabbing blue boxes of chocolates off shelves directly in front of her, and pushing them into shopping carts. Yes, dear blog readers. English people were pushing shopping carts around a store, the contents consisting entirely of chocolate. There were boxes of dark chocolate, boxes of milk chocolate, boxes of assorted chocolate, boxes of chocolate with nuts, boxes of chocolate with creamy centers — you name it.

Self decided then and there that she would not leave the store without sampling some of this delightful chocolate. A shopgirl told her to take a number. She was # 19. She then asked the shopgirl what were the most popular chocolate purchases, and the girl replied, without any hesitation: TRUFFLES. Caramel Salt.

OMGGGGGGG

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Chocolate Counter, Fortnum & Mason: Sunday, 2 December 2018

She wanted to buy a box of chocolates for son and daughter-in-law, but didn’t know what kind they liked: milk chocolate or not? And this is when self bitterly regretted that her Verizon phone does not work. Has not worked for two months. In fact, Verizon just e-mailed self that she would not be able to avail of their international services. Thank you, Verizon, FOR TELLING SELF WHAT SHE ALREADY KNOWS.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

It’s Not This Time Of Year Without

Dropping by a mall: Sorry, self is shallow.

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T-Shirt Resolution: H & M, Black Friday

Dropping by a beach:

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Capitola, CA

Walking around the house in the snuggly-est slippers one can find:

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Self found these in Chinatown.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Breathe, Self, Breathe!

Here she is, in Calgary, and she doesn’t know what she should read next: Her niece Karina’s next book recommendation (She tore through Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas, like white on rice!), Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart (The title is pure nonsense; the book is much much better than that. There is NO girl waiting with a gun. Don’t hold your breath), or The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. Of course, she is also drinking in Everlark fan fiction like crazy. A lot of stories that languished for months and months (even, years) finally updated in the last week: it’s been a veritable bonanza of good Everlark! (Take your pick: Pride and Prejudice Everlark; ballet world Everlark; Great Expectations Everlark; or vlogging Everlark)

Today, self went to Market Mall with her niece and of course we stopped by Sephora. And there was a brand self had never seen before: Tarte. And when her niece found out self’s current mascara was over three years old, her niece told her, in no uncertain terms: Throw it out, Tita. Honestly, you should be replacing your mascara every six months. (Oh. So that’s why self’s eyes were itching like crazy yesterday)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Ornate 4: Extravagance, Indulgence

Self’s niece, Irene, treated her to a day trip to Venice. We got off at Ferravia, opposite the beautiful Santa Lucia church, took a vaporetto to San Marco Square, and spent the rest of the day exploring adjacent shops. Mama mia, the luxury! The Asian women throwing their money around!

Self and her niece were often mistaken for Chinese. Which earned us A+ service in all the stores, including Prada, Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Bottega Veneta, etc.

Handbag Detail: Either Gucci or Prada, Venice

Handbag Detail: Either Gucci or Prada. The handbag costs a measly $1,500, a real bargain!

Mannequin's Hand: Prada or Gucci or Ferragamo, Not Sure Which

Mannequin’s Hand: Prada or Gucci or Ferragamo, Not Sure Which

And then we had late lunch at Café Florian on the square. What an opulent dining room, self is sure dear blog readers will agree:

Café Florian, San Marco Square

Café Florian, San Marco Square

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Ornate 2: High Extravagance in Venice

Today, self happened to be in Venice. The area immediately adjacent to San Marco Square is awash in luxury name brand stores: Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Bottega Veneta, Tod’s, Burberry, Dior, Chanel, Prada, Louis Vuitton (BTW, the Louis Vuitton store was absolutely clogged with Chinese shoppers), Miu Miu, Versace.

With this week’s Photo Challenge — ORNATE — firmly in mind, self decided to take pictures of the most extravagant-looking footwear on display in the store windows. There were so many candidates. Here are her top three:

These extravagant SNEAKERS certainly make a statement!

These extravagant SNEAKERS certainly make a statement!

Fabulous!

Fabulous! Gold shoes are the BEST!

And, lastly, this killer pair!

Don't dare be rude when I'm wearing these shoes! They were made for kicking butt!

Don’t dare be rude when I’m wearing these shoes! They were made for kicking butt!

Ah, Venezia. So extravagant, so passionate, so impractical and defiant.

Self will leave dear blog readers with the picture of a couple she watched surreptitiously (Venice always brings out her voyeuristic side!) in San Marcos Square this afternoon:

Saturday Afternoon: A Couple in San Marco Square

Saturday Afternoon: A Couple in San Marco Square

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Beneath Your Feet: Weekly WordPress Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is BENEATH YOUR FEET.

  • Today, look down and document the world beneath your feet.
This grave in the cemetery next to the parsonage where the Brontes were raised: the deceased was 38 years old.

This grave in the cemetery next to the parsonage where the Brontes were raised: the deceased was 38 years old.

And here’s another one of self’s favorite subjects:  Pigeons enjoying a bath in leafy Russell Square, London:

Self-explanatory: Pigeons, London, July 2015

Self-explanatory: Pigeons, London, July 2015

These shoes were made for walking. Self dedicates this pic to the City of London. She bought this pair of sneakers in Sole Desire, on Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park. She wears them almost every day.

Self's Go-To Pair, Her Best Shoe Investment EVER EVER EVER

Self’s Go-To Pair, Her Best Shoe Investment EVER EVER EVER

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Twist 5: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

It was the first sunny day in Dublin in almost a month.

And what does self decide to do?  She catches the Luas from Black Horse Station, gets off at Abbey Road, walks around a little bit, then decides to pop into Clerys, where she ends up spending almost the entire afternoon shopping for “dress-up” clothes (She didn’t think to bring any from home because, you know, she was on a residency. One’s mind is supposed to be completely focused on work)

The first saleslady self approached was a young woman who wasn’t really enthusiastic about her job but showed self an array of floaty chiffon tops and thin cardigans.  The problem is, the mediums looked baggy, and the smalls were too tight.  And she hated the peek-a-boo necklines.

She moved on to another section of the department store, where an older lady showed her an array of simple black skirts and black and beige tops.

She ended up buying a flesh-colored top and a simple, black, pencil skirt that had a kind of weave pattern:

Black Pencil Skirt Self Bought From Clery's Today

Black Pencil Skirt Self Bought From Clerys Today

Top From Clery's:  It reminded self of the Filipino patadyong.

Top From Clerys: It reminded self of the Filipino patadyong.

Finally, since we are on the subject of “twists,” here is self’s go-to cardigan of the moment.  Ironically, it came from Baguio, and she’s owned it for about 20 years:

One of self's favorite items of clothing is this heavy cardigan, knit in Baguio.  She's owned it for at least 20 years.

One of self’s favorite items of clothing is this heavy cardigan, knit in Baguio. It’s gotten very hard use here in Ireland.

Tomorrow, 8 a.m., self takes the ferry to Hollyhood, Wales.  She asked someone what the ferry ride was like.  The answer:  “Depends on the weather.  I’ve been on rides so bad the water was pitching over the bow. I’ve had others where the water is as smooth as a plane of glass.”  Ah, the Irish have such a way with words, don’t they? The ferry ride is 3 1/2 hours.  Self prays the water is not “pitching over the bow.”

Must be why she began yet another short story last night.  She was up until the wee hours, writing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

Seattle 2014 Part 2: Glass Blowing

Seattle is Dale Chihuly’s hometown. Funny, after Venice, she was convinced Chihuly was Venetian. That’s because she saw at least two of his enormous public artwork on Murano. Then she arrived in Seattle and found out that there is a Chihuly Museum here.  Which means: he’s from Seattle.  Oh self, you are such a glib storyteller.

She was headed to the Chihuly Museum today, but at the last minute she decided to drop by a glass studio on Occidental Avenue instead.  And she was so glad she did.

All she can say is:  walking along Occidental and going in and out of galleries was waaaay more relaxing — and more fun —  than walking around Murano last spring.  For one thing, there were no tourists.  And the gallery people patiently answered all of her questions.  They talked informatively about the work of their featured artists:  Chris Hawthorn (a discovery of Chihuly’s, the gallery person told her), Robert E. Marx, Richard Kiehl, Ben Butler.

Oh, man.  She wanted to buy something, so badly.  A collage.  A painting.  A glass vase.  A glass lamp.  Or paperweight.  A glass anything.

She kept walking.

She snapped a picture of the window display of Glasshouse Studio, 311 Occidental, billed as “Seattle’s oldest glassblowing studio.”

Glass Deer, Gallery on Occidental

Window Display, Glasshouse Studio, Occidental Ave., Seattle

At the back of Glasshouse, an artist was displaying his glass-blowing technique to some interested on-lookers.  Self watched him extract a glowing nub of orange from a furnace and twirl it, letting the colors bloom.

A Glass-Blowing Studio (Same One with the Deer Window Display)

The artist was making a series of those glass pieces that have flowers inside.

The young man allowed self to take his picture.  She asked his name so she could publish it here:  Michael Cozza.

She never encountered such amiability in Murano, let her tell ya!

Michael Cozza, Glass Blower

Michael Cozza, Glass Blower

Continuing with her peregrinations, self landed in a Discount Clothing Store called The Clothing Company (87 Yesler Way)

There were racks of Joe’s Jeans, Paige, Rich & Skinny, 7 For All Mankind . . . at a third of the department store prices.

Still, she steeled herself . . .

Self, you are in Seattle for AWP!  Which means your focus should be on books!  Books, books, books!

One thing, though:  Seattle is cold.

Next year’s AWP is in Minnesota, which means it will be even colder.

Stay tuned.

First Post-Venice Costco Run

Ah, Costco.  It is such a crucial part of self’s life.  Even though she has a wee family, which at the moment consists only of The Man and self, she insists on her right to make Coscto runs and purchase those huge packages of paper towels and bath tissue.  Today, she ended up buying a lot of foodstuff, in addition, of course, to her trusty Benadryl (Incidentally, why did Costco stop carrying the 148-pill bottles of Benadryl?  It is so inconvenient for self to have to cut up all those pills from the foil backing.  It takes her so much time, time which would have been better spent reading her book!).  She bought chicken thighs and a 25-lb. bag of Blue Ribbon long grain rice, and headless Tiger Prawns.

Speaking of Costco chicken, the chicken tenderloins she cooked today had absolutely no taste, and self had to drench in Ponzu sauce.  What kind of chicken has NO TASTE?  Even after being marinated?

Self is still reading Little Heathens:  High Spirits and Hard Times on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression.  Even though this is a very short book (just under 300 pages), and self began reading it almost a week ago, she is still only a third of the way through.

Self is on a chapter called “Medicine.”  In this chapter, we learn that living on an Iowa farm exposes one to injuries of all types, injuries such as:

cuts from axes and knives

stone bruises caused by bare feet on rocks

oozing scrapes

splinters

blood poisoning

pinkeye/ chicken pox/ measles/ mumps

warts

And, here, the author, Mildred Armstrong Kalish, describes a remedy for cuts:

We just went to the barn or the corncrib, found a spiderweb, and wrapped the stretchy filament around the wound.  It stopped the bleeding and the pain, and was thought to have antiseptic qualities.  Generally, healing occurred without further attention.

The only thing that self doesn’t like about this book is that she has no idea how much time is passing —  how old is the narrator when she applies her first spiderweb remedy?  How often did she or her family have to resort to the Vaseline, lard, baking soda, boric acid, salt, camphor, and other homespun remedies for mishaps such as stepping on a nail or on some broken glass?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Made in America

Self is made in America.

Her writing self got its start with Doreen, but she was honed by Stanford.  And by what she read here, in America.

Pardon these discursive thoughts, dear blog readers.

It is raining.

Yesterday, self made it from her house all the way down to Courthouse Square.  My, the walk felt good!  It was a beautiful day.

Today, she got only as far as the Whole Foods Store on El Camino, at the corner of Jefferson Ave.  She had a hummus and green salad lunch, and read the Chronicle (Stanford’s men’s basketball team, alas, is performing very poorly)  After lunch, she walked back home and continued planting.  She opened a huge box that came from Santa Rosa Gardens (There was a sale for Fine Gardening subscribers:  20% off!)  Self ordered five hostas.  She didn’t expect such a huge box.  Also, the box contained a “Nematode Certificate of Inspection for Shipping Nursery Stock to California.”  The certificate went:

This is to certify that the nursery stock or plant material in this shipment meets the requirements of California quarantines (C.A.C. Section 3252, 3263, 3264, 3271, 282).

Self discovered that her hostas originated in Florida!  How very interesting.

When it began to rain, self decided to quit (though she has been known to garden in pouring rain).  Back at her desk, she began to browse a site she discovered earlier today:  http://www.gardenartisans.com

She loved looking at the photographs of miniature gardens (Apparently, more people in the United States are getting into miniature gardens.  Self would like to use the expression “spreading like wildfire” but in the absence of actual statistics, self must tone down her observations).

There is a section called “Made in America.”  It’s our patriotic duty, dear blog readers, as citizens of a country laid low by recession and by an imbalance of trade relationships:  We manufacture our goods overseas so that we can buy back these goods at higher prices —  Bwah ha ha!  Meanwhile, so many of us are out of work.

Well, enough of the handwringing.  All self is saying is:  It would be a good idea, before plunking down money, to determine where the item or items being purchased were made (Self will bet 90.99% will say “Made in China.”  No need to feel sorry for the Chinese because they are at the moment kicking our butts — economically)

Self loves the metal signs that express such sentiments as “Life is Good” ($49.99), and the “Star Gazing Bunny” ($64) and the sandstone planters and the graceful wooden bird houses.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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