April 8 BRIGHT SQUARES

Today’s Bright Squares are two pictures self took from her porch a few minutes ago: both of her clematis montana (“white surprise” and “rubens”) are profusely blooming!

Join the Bright Squares challenge hosted by The Life of B here.

Spring is truly the season for clematis montana!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

April 5, BRIGHT SQUARES

Every day in April, self will post a pair of squares. She usually looks for something “squar-ish” within the photograph, as well as bright colors.

The host of The Squares Challenge is The Life of B. See her gallery here.

Today, self chose these two photos:

  • a living wall at the Apple Store in Union Square, downtown San Francisco
  • a tulip bed in the Gamble Garden, Palo Alto. If you live anywhere within driving distance of Gamble Garden, this is a great time to visit: the tulips and daffodils are simply spectacular! If you happen to miss them at peak bloom, a lot of the roses looked ready to burst!

Spring has definitely sprung!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

ELEMENTAL: Challenge Your Camera # 12

The host for this challenge is Buddha Walks Into a Wine Bar:

Today, another guest theme from Marie at Hops Skips and Jumps, a challenge with some choices. Marie’s theme Elemental is based on the 4 classical elements from Ancient Greece in which it was believed that the universe was made up of Earth, Air, Fire and Water.

So, make your choice, choose one element and post any number of photos, or decide on all elements and post one photo of each. Try to be creative with your camera, close up or distant, creative with the image the element alone or combined with other elements.

Self’s gallery is made up of pictures taken in: her backyard; one in Filoli Garden in Woodside; one in Annaghmakerrig, Ireland; and one in New Mexico. They contain all the four elements, even fire. The picture of a murky sun was taken on the day the San Mateo Complex Fires came close, close enough for smoky ash to fill the air, and for self to smell burning. The firefighters saved us, again, as they do every year.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Flower of the Day (FOTD) 13 March 2021: Clematis montana

Self is following another Cee Neuner Photo Challenge, Flower of the Day. Fun!

She was lucky to find a wee Clematis montana ‘White Surprise’ in Wegman’s last week. To tell you the truth, she is a bit obsessed with clematis. Ever since her aunt in Montauk sent her, through the mail, a sprig of white clematis henryii. It was so beautiful, with big white, dinner-plate size flowers that eventually covered one entire fence. Then our neighbor decided to replace the fence. He cut all the clematis twigs, and it never grew back. Self mourns the loss even now, 20 years later.

Last year, self decided to experiment with a mail-order service. She ordered a ‘native’ variety called Saucy Alice from a nursery on the east coast. Never grew, eventually died.

This year, self was in her local nursery when she saw a white clematis montana, which reminded her of the clematis montana rubens that every spring bursts into glorious flower on her front porch trellis. It was in a wee pot, and she snagged it.

The clematis montana don’t have flowers as big as henryii, but self doesn’t care. It will be lovely.

Since arriving on self’s porch, it’s been behaving really well:

The white blooms should be ready for another close-up in a few days!

Here’s what my clematis montana rubens looked like, March 2020:

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The A. V. Club: The One Great Thing Abt Tonight’s Presidential Debate (Other than the Mute Button)

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Allison Shoemaker, What’s On Tonight, The A.V. Club

. . . there is one certainty which brings us joy, and which may do the same for you: Unless something really wild happens, this will be, win or lose, Donald Trump’s final presidential debate, ever.

Stay hydrated, maybe pour yourself a nice bourbon or pop an edible, and just imagine never having to see that motherfucker behind a presidential seal ever again.

Can you binge it? We’re all bingeing it, all the time. We cannot avoid it. It is our existence.

wowowowowowowowowowowow

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Citizenship and Its Discontents

Anomaly is an international journal of literature and the arts that provides a platform for works of art that challenge conventions of form and format, of voice and genre.

Deadline for the special issue on Citizenship and Its Discontents:

30 September 2020

Guest Editor: Grace Loh Prasad

Email: citizenshipfolio@gmail.com

Twitter: @GraceLP

Quote of the Day: Beast Inside, The Daily Beast Friday Digest

Hello,

At some point in the next few days, the U.S. will pass that horrific milestone: 200,000 dead from COVID-19. Michael Tomasky has a terrific column on this terrible moment in which he recalls how he gasped last weekend when he saw that Taiwan had just reported its seventh death—that’s seven total since the start of the pandemic. He got out his calculator and figured out how many Americans would have died if the U.S. death rate was as low as Taiwan’s, or as low as a bunch of other countries that President Trump would probably describe as shitholes. The numbers, Tomasky notes, give lie to what may be Trump’s biggest whopper: “Nothing more could have been done.” He writes: “In a democracy worthy of the name, Trump would be impeached simply for speaking those words.”

— Tracy Connor, Executive Editor, The Daily Beast

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 113: A Labor of Love

Inspired by viveka, whose adventures on my guilty pleasures self has been following for years! Though forced to spend 2020 sheltering at home, viveka’s posts make self incredibly thirsty!

Here’s the reason behind the week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge:

  • People all over the world honor their workers in a variety of ways. In the U.S., we honor those who labor by setting aside the first Monday of September as Labor Day. But world-wide, people pour themselves into their work — paid or unpaid — with commitment, ingenuity, and a sincere desire to make a difference. For them, work has become more than just work. It has become a labor of love.

Here are a few of self’s own Labors of Love.

Self grew tomatoes, and planted more flowers.

The California fires are still blazing.

Take care of yourselves, fire fighters! Hope you have big pitchers of ice-cold beer waiting at the end of your shifts!

Stay safe.

Just For Fun, 10 Latest Bookmarks

my guilty pleasures: Bicycles

Self was supposed to watch a Curtis Choy movie on eventbrite, which started at 5 p.m., but was having difficulty because she couldn’t remember the password to the email account linked to the event, and she didn’t feel like thinking up a new password because she’s had that same password pre-populated on all her different accounts for about 10 years, and if she changes one, it means she’ll have to change everything, and that would suck. Can’cha just tell self is such a whiz at all these different on-line events she signs up for? Also, she doesn’t feel like creating a new account for just one event, as that’s how she ends up with a gazillion new accounts all over the place, that she continually forgets the password for, and that is how things get out of hand.

Instead, self will reminisce about a crazy adventure she had in 2012, when she agreed to meet an old friend and her two daughters in Amsterdam.

The trip down memory lane was triggered by viveka’s blog, my guilty pleasures, one of self’s absolute faves. Her most recent post is on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: BICYCLES. viveka starts off her post by citing some statistics about bikes in the Netherlands.

In 2012, self was wrapping up a residency at a writer’s retreat in Scotland. Her friend was renting a house in Amsterdam for a few weeks and invited self to join them. Self didn’t know until she arrived that she’d be expected to bike all over, and she hadn’t gotten on a bike in 30 years (because California suburbs are bike deserts). So the first thing that happened to self was: she pretended like she had no problem biking, and immediately fell down. And she kept falling down. The last straw was when she crashed into a car at a traffic light. The man got out of his car and self wanted to die of shame. Have you ever seen a Dutch person angry? Neither had self, until that moment.

After that wonderful experience, the rest of the day continued, but self was “out of it.” That is, she was on automatic pilot, falling in between cars, falling on the sidewalk, etc. The worst part was, it was only her first time in Amsterdam in 40 years. So she didn’t recognize anything. Come to think of it, she didn’t even know why she agreed to bike in the first place. She would have gotten anywhere she wanted to go, much faster, if she had just walked. But her friend had gone to all this trouble of renting a bike for her (before self arrived). So it would have seemed really mean and petty if self didn’t at least try to show her appreciation. By biking and falling down. Biking and falling down.

Then we boarded a ferry to a distant island, and it was expected that the whole group would bike the circumference of the island. Self wondered why no one asked themselves: is this woman capable of biking the circumference of an island, after that display she gave of falling down 20 times on her way to the ferry? Apparently that was not a question that occurred to anyone. End of story.

Self has no memory of the island at all, even what it was called, and she has no memories of Amsterdam except a wee canal, and afterwards encountering a young man who was blissfully enjoying the sun, and who offered her a joint. NICE! The time to have enjoyed that joint was before she got on a bike, but let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth!

Self will post pictures with bicycles, shortly.

In the meantime, stay safe, all!

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