Wall Street Journal Weekend Edition (Saturday/Sunday, Dec. 15 & 16, 2012)

Today self is peaceful and content.  Which means she is happy.

She managed to get a mani/pedi from Belle Nail Spa on Broadway.  She left before fingernails and toenails were quite dry, but she wanted to collect The Man and make it to the first screening of “Silver Linings Playbook” (Only $7 per ticket).  Despite all the hectic running around, she somehow managed to avoid getting the slightest nick on any of her fingers or toes.  Quelle magnifique!

Second, she really liked that movie.  Even though it only got a wan endorsement from Eric B. Snider.  And even though, OK, she’ll concede this point:  the odds are pretty slim that two people that good-looking, both emotionally damaged, live in that close proximity to each other . . .  OK!  So what!  Self knows this movie is totally in the land of make-believe!  She’d rather see Jennifer Lawrence end up with someone who looks like Bradley Cooper than with someone who looks like, like —  John C. Reilly?  Even though chances are the right man for her would look just like John C. Reilly? (Not to knock John C. Reilly —  self thinks he is a WONDERFUL WONDERFUL actor.  But given the choice between John C. Reilly and Bradley Cooper —  oh, NEVAH MIND!)

Jennifer Lawrence is a wonder.  This is the first movie where self actually believed in a Bradley Cooper character.  But, back to Jennifer Lawrence:  Self cried at the end!  She actually cried!  Something she hasn’t done in a movie theater since watching Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams in treacly The Time Traveler’s Wife!

And then, when she and The Man got home from the movie, she got to peruse the Wall Street Journal weekend edition and —  Holy Cow!  —  it’s the one where they list Books of the Year!

But it’s not Books of the Year that self wants to post about —  Ixnay!  (BTW, it took self almost an hour to speed-read the entire books section.  But more about that later)

They interviewed all kinds of celebrities to get their lists of favorite books of 2012.  Self found a few choices enlightening.  Also, she was surprised at WHOSE choices she liked the most.  And here’s the list of people whose book choices self found the most intriguing:

  • Judd Apatow, Director and creator of the phenomenon that is Seth Rogen:  He said he wanted to read Henry Wiencek’s book about Thomas Jefferson and his slaves, Master of the Mountains.  He also recommended Dave Eggers’s latest novel, Hologram for the King.
  • Craig Brown, British, writer of satirical columns:  He recommended Robert Caro’s latest installment of his life of Lyndon Johnson, The Passage of Power (like almost every other person interviewed by the Wall Street Journal), and Mimi Alford’s tale of having sex with JFK when she was a White House intern, Once Upon a Secret.
  • Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking:  She recommended a first novel, The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller, and Jack Kennedy:  Elusive Hero, by Chris Matthews.
  • Joseph Epstein, essayist and cultural commentator:  He recommended a novel, Only Yesterday, by S. Y. Agnon, and Once Upon a Secret (also recommended by Craig Brown, see above)
  • Gary Giddins, author of Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams: He recommended Robert Caro’s book on LBJ, The Passage of Power; John Keats, a biography of the Romantic poet by Nicholas Roe; several classic westerns:  Saint Johnson and Goodbye to the Past, both by W. R. Burnett; a novel about telephone linemen, Slim, by William Wister Haines; That Winter, by Merle Miller, a “pre-Kerouacian group portrait of the disaffected generation of the postwar 1940s”; Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth and The Innocent; and Louise Erdrich’s The Round House.
  • Robert Harris, bestselling novelist:  He recommended Soldaten, a book by Sonke Neitzel and Harald Welzer, “based on secretly recorded tapes of German prisoners of war held in Allied camps during World War II.”
  • Thomas Keller, chef:  He recommended Killing Kennedy, by Bill O’Reilley and Martin Dugard, which “is not about a conspiracy.  It’s about how a presidential assassination can be at once a tragedy and a human-interest story.”
  • Ted Leonsis, Founder and Chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment:  He recommended The End of Illness, by David Agus, “a smart look at how to extend a life of vigor by playing offense with life.”
  • Joe Maddon, Manager of the Tampa Bay Rays:  He recommended Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth (Self has been meaning to get to these books, for quite a while), and the first two books of Follett’s Century trilogy, Fall of Giants and Winter of the World.
  • Hilary Mantel, Booker Prize-winning novelist:  She recommended The Yellow Birds, a first novel by Kevin Powers, an Iraq war veteran; and The Lifeboat, a first novel by Charlotte Rogan, “set in the summer of 1914” and centering “on a shipwreck in the Atlantic.”
  • Karl Marlantes, author of What It Is Like to Go to War:  He recommended The Snake Eaters, by Owen West; Blackhorse Riders, by Philip Keith; Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails, by Anthony Swofford; and Westmoreland, by Lewis Sorley.
  • Sylvia Nasar, author of Grand Pursuit:  The Story of Economic Genius:  She recommended Gulag, by Anne Applebaum, a book which “takes readers back to the events that triggered the half-century long standoff between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.”
  • Arthur Phillips, author of The Tragedy of Arthur:  He recommended The Vanishers, by Heidi Julavits, The Sugar Frosted Nutsack, by Mark Leyner, Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, and A Partial History of Lost Causes, by Jennifer DuBois.
  • Marcus Samuelsson, chef:  He recommended This Is How You Lose Her, by Junot Diaz, and The Click Moment, by Frans Johansson.
  • Colm Toibin, novelist:  He recommended Edmund Spenser:  A Life, by Andrew Hadfield and Robert Caro’s The Passage of Power.
  • Jim Webb, senator from Virginia:  He recommended The Last Lion, by Paul Reid (the last installment of a trilogy begun by William Manchester, on the life of Winston Churchill), and Stilwell and the American Experience in China, by Barbara W. Tuchman.

Self is pretty sure she can get to these books in about five years.

Self was going to make a count of the men who recommended women writers, but, alas, today self is very — and she does mean VERY — short of time!  She thinks Jim Webb did.  Yup, he most definitely did.  And Arthur Phillips.  Yes, most definitely Arthur Phillips.  In fact, the good man recommended three books by women writers.  Good for you, Arthur! And Gary Giddins recommended Louise Erdrich.

(She won’t single out women who recommended women writers because — hey, just because!  Let’s get on with it, or self will never get free of this post!)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Self’s Reading Year (2011)

Best Nonfiction:

  • Cleopatra’s Nose: 39 Varieties of Desire by Judith Thurman
  • Legacy of Ashes:  The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner

Best Memoirs:

  • Body of Work:  Meditations on Mortality From the Human Anatomy Lab by Christine Montrose
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

Best Mystery:

  • The Indian Bride by Karin Fossum

Best Novels:

  • Mr. Pip by Lloyd Jones
  • Sepharad by Antonio Muñoz Molina
  • The Assault by Harry Mulisch
  • Fire in the Blood by Irene Nemirovsky
  • The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
  • The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (Self cried buckets at the ending)

Best Travel Books:

  • Marco Polo:  From Venice to Xanadu by Laurence Bergreen
  • A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor (who died this year)
  • The White Nile by Alan Moorehead

Absolutely Bursting With Lists Today (2nd Friday of October 2011)

Today the weather was gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous.  Warm, for October.  The only person wearing a sweater was self.

And, for the second time in less than a week, a black Pilot Precise V-7 Rolling Ball pen has flaked out on her.  First, one blew up all over her fingers while she was writing, and today another one dried up, just like that, even though she’d barely begun using it.

What on earth is going on ???

Today, self passed on the Occupy Wall Street excitement in San Mateo and instead buried herself in the Stanford library stacks.  Surprisingly, for such a gorgeous day, the stacks were full of students.  One blonde young man (dressed all in black) interrupted self to ask for directions about using the reference catalogue, apparently mistaking self for a librarian (Okey dokey, that is the last time self wears an all-brown outfit.  It may do wonders for Luisa Igloria, but for self it’s another matter entirely.  If dear blog readers are unable to fully grasp self’s import, please refer to Facebook Chat of a few days ago, regarding outfits worn by Mz. Luisa to the recently concluded Old Dominion U Literary Festival.)

Self doesn’t know what made her get up and go to the Library.  Was it the weather?  Was it because she was tired of sitting at home and having Bella the beagle fart in her face?  Was she in need of some exercise (though reading a book in the Stanford stacks does not, technically, qualify as exercise)?  Was it because, hours earlier, she had just watched a real weeper (not in a bad way):  “50/50”?

This movie was notable for

  • Featuring the first Seth Rogen performance self has liked since “Forty-Year-Old Virgin.”  He actually seemed to be playing a character, as opposed to just being Seth Rogen.
  • Being the first movie of 2011 that caused self to cry at the end.

Honestly, self didn’t shed a single tear at the end of “The Debt,” even though the ending was so unutterably sad, and here she was at the end of “50/50”, weeping like she can’t remember doing at any movie since watching Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams in “The Time Traveler’s Wife.”  And this movie wasn’t even a rom-com.

Self thinks that Joseph Gordon Levitt is an amazing actor who has really pulled off a serious career.  One had no right to expect anything like this of him after “Third Rock.”  Because he was so good in that sit-com, self means.  But, in a surprising career turn, he did a small indie film called “Mysterious Skin,” and she’s just about fallen in love with every character he’s played since then (with the exception of that Batman movie).

There is one scene in “50/50,” close to the beginning, where he breaks the news about his cancer to Seth Rogen, and Seth Rogen blurts out the most thoughtlessly appalling things, and Gordon-Levitt just looks at him, simply looks at him.  And he doesn’t blink or say anything or even have to move a muscle.  The camera stays on his face, stays on his face, and we’re there.  We’re so there.  We’re in that awful situation where you are you (the victim, the cancer-sufferer) and everyone else is Seth Rogen:  thoughtless, tactless, and also bursting with vigor and, most unbearable of all,  cancer-free.

Anyhoo, perhaps as a result of watching this movie, self was in a very “Gather-ye-rosebuds-while-ye-may” mood, which translated to — HA HA HA —  going to the Stanford Library Stacks.

As she was leaving the stacks in a state of intellectual stupefaction, she noticed how many young people were about.  These were not tour groups of blasé high schoolers being herded about by a Stanford undergrad —  no, these were people who were presumably already ensconced in the hallowed halls of Wilbur (exclusively for freshmen) or Mirrielees or one of the row houses.  They were uniformly clad in jeans, and the girls were laughing, and some bikers stopped very courteously so that self could cross the street without having to run and dodge, and she thought:  What nice young people! Also, self had this secondary thought:  Stanford students are certainly improving in the looks department! Yes, dear blog readers, there was a time when Stanford was known for its dearth of good-looking students (though Jennifer Connelly did graduate from here, with a degree in English), and if son had a choice today between Stanford or UCLA or any other school, implementing his yardstick of “school of choice” (which was:  Which campus has the prettiest girls?), honestly he would never have picked Stanford.  But that’s neither here nor there.

When self got home, she immediately began to water and then she turned on the TV, and then she saw that the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrators in New York had had some kind of tussle with police (And, dear blog readers, take it from self:  One never wants to tussle with a New York City policeman.  Because they are about three times the size of Redwood City policemen.  Not only that, their stares could freeze your blood.  One almost hit Dearest Mum and self when we were crossing the street near the UN, because unbeknownst to us Ahmadinajab had just entered the vicinity to deliver an address.  Really, unless there were signs posted, saying:  No one is allowed to cross First Avenue while Ahmadinajab is in the UN,  she doesn’t see why the man in the police car almost ran down Dearest Mum and self.  Self feels sure that if Penny had been with us, she would have yelled at the policeman, the way only a New Yorker can yell.)

Anyhoo, there was quite a to-do in New York, and thankfully a policeman was only caught slugging one person (Self thinks it was a woman dressed in a green T-shirt).

OMG, self almost forgot!  Self caught a preview of a new Sam Worthington movie, “Man on a Ledge,” which was noteworthy because:

  • It proves that Sam Worthington, even with longer, 70s-style locks, is still cute.
  • It confirms that Dear Sam has more facial expressions than anyone thought he was capable of:  at least, there were at least three or four different ones on display in this preview.
  • Jamie Bell is also in this movie.  Now, whenever self sees Jamie Bell in a movie, no matter what, self says to herself:  This is a movie I’ve simply got to see!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Most Scintillating Quote (of Yesterday): Mick LaSalle, SF Chronicle

The past is always romantic because it’s gone, just as the future is always frightening because you‘re gone.

—  Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle movie critic, in a review of Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris”

Self read this sentence last night, but she only got around to quoting it today —  apologies, dear blog readers.  Self has had such a stimulating day:  Hubby was a veritable dynamo of energy, and took her to new dim sum place on site of erstwhile Joy Luck, on 4th Street in downtown San Mateo, where he had her get a succulent dish of crackling self-knows-not-what kind of animal deep-fried skin and self, never one to turn down crackling animal skin of any kind, accepted, whereupon the dish turned out to be “suckling pig,” and cost $16.95 for eight slices.

Nevertheless, we did not allow such a small thing to de-rail our good humor.  Following the most expensive dim sum meal self has ever ingested in at least 10 years, we went to Marina Mart in Foster City and bought a 25-lb. sack of long grain rice, which according to self’s rough calculations should last about six months — that is, unless son visits and invites his friends over for barbecue or for steak fondue, in which case the 25-lb. sack of rice will last about a month, but that is a small price to pay for the pleasure of son’s company.

Then hubby took self to the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos (There is a very interesting air show on June 17 -19, the “Vertical Challenge Helicopter Air Show”).

Then we passed by for some fro-yo at Harmony Frozen Yogurt on Laurel Street in San Carlos (which just happened to be having a sale:  small blueberry frozen yogurt with one topping, $1.95)

Anyhoo, self was still on some kind of high after watching Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris,” so she let her restless fingers wander over to Rotten Tomatoes, where she saw the film had a 92% freshness rating (Well deserved:  EVERYONE in the Menlo Park Guild was laughing, pretty much from the first to the last scene.  Self hasn’t enjoyed a movie performance as much as she enjoyed Owen Wilson’s, not in a long, long time  —  perhaps not since watching Zach Quinto in the “Star Trek” re-boot, and as dear blog readers are painfully aware, that movie was in a galaxy a long time ago and far far away …  J. J. Abrams, quit with the “Mission Impossible” sequels already and just make another Star Trek!)

While self is on the subject of movies, she thinks she’ll just go ahead and post a list of her favorite movies so far in 2011 (She doesn’t think the summer crop of movies will seriously impact this list of faves —  after all, summer = popcorn fare):

  1. “Biutiful” (Javier Bardem stars as a man trying heroically to be a good father and a good husband, in spite of having cancer.  In spite of having a drug-addicted wife who sleeps with his brother.  Need one say more?  Weeper, to the max)
  2. “The Lincoln Lawyer” (Starring the Matthew McConaughey mane, still perfect after 15 years!  With riveting cameo by one of self’s favorite actors, Michael Peña)
  3. “Win Win” (Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Melanie Lynskey as the most fresh-faced drug addict in the entire world, and a newcomer named Alex Shaffer)
  4. “Jane Eyre” (Michael Fassbender/Rochester + Mia Wasikowska/Jane Eyre who has the tiniest, teensiest waist in the whole world + Director Cary Fukunaga = instant Gothic Romance Classic)
  5. “Fast Five” (Paul Walker and his Converse sneakers; Vin Diesel and his cartoon-ish biceps; Jordana Brewster and her indeterminate ethnic beauty; hot young Asian American on the Fast Five team —  sorry, self does not have time to look up his actual name right at this moment = pure escapist fun)
  6. “Midnight in Paris” (See it for the performances:  Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Marion Cotillard, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, and of course Owen Wilson!)

Self will close with yet another quote from aforementioned critic, Mick La Salle:

Tom Hiddleston is too tall for Scott Fitzgerald, who was just a little bigger than Woody Allen.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Saw “Biutiful,” Cried Buckets

See, it doesn’t work if Javier Bardem plays a hunk.  No!  He has to play a long-suffering sort, someone who is mystifyingly attached to a woman with an ugly nose, who mis-treats him in every possible way.  That is the Javier Bardem we all know and love!  (And, also, it helps to see him in a movie with sub-titles, as one can forget about his voice and simply focus on that physique; and those hooded eyes; and that shambling air.  And you, too, like self, can ask:  why why why does no woman around him seem to notice his hot-ness?  Well, that is what you call “suspension of disbelief.”  A really gigantic suspension of disbelief!)

Self is quite the Iñarritu newbie, as she can’t remember the last movie she’s seen him direct (might have been over a decade ago).  By the last half hour, though, self was simultaneously appalled and grieving, and she kept clutching her hair, and wiping her cheeks, and trying not to sob in such an obvious manner, which caused her to make audible gulps …  Woman seated next to self was also weeping, self could tell because of the way she kept making surreptitious movements with her hands across her cheeks.  As if self hasn’t seen this sort of behavior enacted hundreds of times in her long, long movie-going life!

Oh, Americans!  No use pretending our tear ducts are not getting a full work-out in this movie!

Self also thought she would faint when she saw the people on the ceiling.

Then, self was suddenly seized with a mad impulse to return to Tel Aviv, city of Dear Departed Ying’s last couple of months.  She was an angel, self saw her when she was five months from dying.  In April she still had energy and vitality.  But at the end of a long day, she waited for self with hungry eyes and listened avidly as self made up hilarious tales of her mis-adventures all around the city. (But self’s attachment to Tel Aviv, and to Ying, was no joke.  She loved the city from the start, from the first moment.  And she also loved Ying and still misses her terribly.  She said as much to Dearest Mum, on her last night in Manila, only a few weeks ago)

And in fact, as self left the theater — walking rather quickly, because there was a sign posted by the ticket clerk’s station saying that movie-goers should not park in the slots reserved for xxxx law firm, and that the tow warning was in effect 24/7 (Self wishes she had seen the warning before she parked, but of course that was impossible, as she would have had to go all the way inside the theater lobby before she saw it.  And after she saw the sign, she proceeded to watch the movie, thinking she might run out and check on her car from time to time.  But after the movie began, self didn’t feel like missing even a few minutes of this two-hour and forty-five minute weep-athon:  yes, even with the threat of having her car towed hanging like the Sword of Damocles over her head!) —  she began to formulate a wild plan.

Even before she’d arrived at her car, self had grabbed her cell phone and begun text-ing niece G:  “Want to come with me to Tel Aviv?”  Then she stopped.  Self, are you forgetting that you promised hubby, you crossed your heart and said you hoped to die, but you would only leave the country one more time this year, and that wouldn’t be until a long time from now, possibly just before Christmas?  Since when have you turned into such a dissembler ??!!

And by the way, what makes you think niece G would enjoy going to Tel Aviv with you ???  As opposed to someone her own age, with loads more energy?

After self arrived home, she blithely informed hubby (She was so blithe, when only a short while earlier, anyone looking at her would have thought she was in the depths of despair) that he was “lucky” he hadn’t accompanied her to see the movie:  it was “so depressing,” Javier Bardem’s character had cancer, etc etc etc.

Which brings self once again to the topic of Javier Bardem’s appeal:  In “The Sea Inside,” he played a man who was completely paralyzed, but whose inner life was absolutely rich and compelling.  This was a movie that really mined, to the fullest extent possible, the contrast between Bardem’s hunky inert body and the true hunkiness of his inner spirit, and, and —

The phone rings and —  my Lord!  It is son!  It’s been so long, self almost forgot what his voice sounded like!

Her first question:  When is Amanda’s birthday?

March 26, he says.  Great!  Thankfully, it is ahead and not before, and self already knows just what to get Amanda:  In fact, she saw it just yesterday afternoon, in the Emily Joubert store in Woodside.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Calling Borders (University Avenue, Downtown Palo Alto)

Late last night, self placed a call to Borders, the one on University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto.

She learned Wednesday, from a special edition of Publisher’s Lunch, that Borders had declared bankruptcy.  There was also a list, somewhere in the same missive, of Borders creditors.

Right after self read the news, she called Borders.  It was almost midnight, so of course self didn’t expect anyone to pick up.  She was wondering if she’d get a message machine with some kind of announcement, but the phone rang endlessly and self could just picture the sound in that cavernous space …

This morning, around 7:30 a.m., she tried again, and lo and behold, a man answered.

“Ahh, ahhh,” self said.  “Was just wondering what time you open today?”

“9 a.m.,” the man said.

So, around 9:20 a.m., self called again, and a friendly staff member helped her locate a book by James Barron, something she’d been looking for, for a long time:  Piano:  The Making of a Steinway Concert Grand.

Why this particular book?

Because self grew up with two Steinways in her house in Manila, that’s why!

Because Dearest Mum is a classically trained pianist!

Because self always knew that anything less than a Steinway was simply not to be taken seriously!

(Well, maybe a Bosendorfer is acceptable)

Certainly not anything as pedestrian as a Kawai!

This is just information she knew from about the age of 3!

And even though she should not be all that concerned about the fate of Borders (not as concerned, anyway, as she should be about the news that Powell’s has been laying off staff), she knows she will actually grieve if the Borders in downtown Palo Alto closes.  Because this is her idea of a perfect afternoon:

  • movie at Aquarius (an indie movie, something like the Argentine weepie “The Secret in Their Eyes” or British weepie “Never Let Me Go”.  OK, let’s just put it this way:  anything that will make her eyes swell to the size of golf balls, that will give her tear ducts a truly cathartic cleansing and ensure that everything is still in good working order)
  • an enormous serving of green tea and lychee gelato from Gelato Classico, across the street from Aquarius
  • strolling down University Avenue to Borders, there to lose herself in the fiction stacks for an hour or so

Anyhoo, it looks like self will not have to revise this picture of a perfect Palo Alto afternoon.  Not in the immediate future, at any rate.

Stay tuned.

Exhaustion, and a Movie

Dear blog readers, take note: Since no one read last night’s post, “Nostalgia Post I: A Brother’s (Short-Lived) Restaurant,” it has now vanished into blog-world ether, though self must hasten to assure readers that it still lives (somewhere in self’s brain)

Thursday night, self got maybe two hours sleep. Perhaps it was all the excitement of the week: the start of spring quarter and meeting a new class of students — a number of whom were apparently eager and willing to discuss André Dubus’ short story “Killings,” and it was only the first assignment of the quarter (!!!) — and the Wednesday night reading at Book Passage in the Ferry Building (The store’s setting is to-die-for, not to mention there is a really good gelato place in the Ferry Building where self treated herself to a mango/lychee/banana smoothie)

In addition, hubby stayed up until 3 AM. Since self was so consumed by curiosity about hubby’s web habits, she herself could not sleep, even after hubby shut the light (His laptop remained on, a blue cube glowing in the darkness)

So, self resumed reading E. L. Doctorow’s Welcome to Hard Times. And, since she was liking it so much more than Billy Bathgate, she decided to read all the way to the end. And, wouldn’t you know, the ending was the most violent, horrific set-piece self has read in any novel in decades. And, after finishing it, self was so angry at its lame-brain protagonist that she wanted to throw the book against a wall (Only, it was a library book, so she had to restrain herself). And, scenes of mayhem and violence kept re-playing in self’s head every time she laid her head down on the pillow. Which meant that self could not sleep at all.

Still, yesterday was not bad. First of all, it was hot. To self’s way of thinking, any day that recalls heat of self’s beloved home country is already halfway good.

Then, self got to check out another book from the library: Jane Smiley’s novella and short stories, The Age of Grief (Upon reading the purchase date, stamped on the inside front cover, self had to do a double-take: 1977??? Jane Smiley is a lot older than self thought!)

Then to the real highlight of the day: During a brief stop at the Redwood City Nursery, self splurged on a two-gallon ‘Pieris Flaming Silver,’ the mere sight of whose reddish leaves set her insides to glowing. Self carted it to the side yard and then went all over the back and front yards, watering. (Her roses are getting enormous! That is, most of them are way taller than self! And the red freesias under the loquat are blooming!)

Late last night, after hubby returned from the office, we watched “Check, Please! Bay Area” and saw ourselves. That is, the backs of our heads. For the camera was really more interested in cuz Maitoni and her son Enrique. And we were very tickled to hear the restaurant critics say how good the food at New Kapadokia was, and how lovely the Redwood City downtown area is (as if self needed to be told — !!)

Then, hubby went on webcam to converse with his Mum, and self overheard him telling her about self’s recent trip to Tel Aviv, upon which self came out of the bedroom and handed him her (crap Nikon digital) camera, and hubby did a slide show of the pictures and described them for his Mum.

Then self fell asleep. And she awoke five hours later (at 3:40 AM or thereabouts). And she immediately checked her blog stats. And her e-mail. Cuz Maitoni says she bawled like a baby while watching old Redford flick, “The Way We Were.” In fact, cuz informs self, she bawled so hard — she was all alone in the house — that her blind dog Flora grew quite agitated.

Self tells Maitoni that if she likes weepers, she should watch “Once,” which self had to force herself to return to Netflix yesterday (otherwise, she would watch it a third time this weekend, and she has no time, as she still has to send back her contract to the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference. And take Gracie for her annual physical. And hubby and she have a concert to watch in Davies tonight).

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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