|Greenland from the window of the plane.|
|Hotel window view. It’s a foggy, rainy day in Reykjavik.|
The hotel has wireless access. Maybe not the ship, which we
board this afternoon.
Blog post © 2021 mae sander.
|The National Geographic Explorer|
In these uncertain times, our family motto remains "You're never there until you're there." We are aware of a number of issues, especially bureaucratic, that can arise in the next 24 hours. But we have hope that we'll be there and that the trip will be a success!
We may be without internet access some or all of the time, so there may not be many blog posts until some time in August. I won't be visiting other blogs or leaving comments, and I won't be linking to other bloggers after today. If you see nothing here, there's a good chance that we were lucky! (I have one post about another subject scheduled to appear while we are gone.) But you'll hear from me again next month. I wish you all lots of summer fun and good health, and no problems with bureaucracy!
Blog post © 2021 mae sander.
|My birthday cake!|
|Driving through Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, on the way to Fairfax today we noticed this mural.|
We are at the beginning of a long trip — Fairfax is our first destination.
The topic of hunger and how it affects people around the world is of great concern to me. A recently published report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has a very detailed study of this topic on a global scale, including possible ways to address the issues. This study is 236 pages long, published online here.
I do not have the stamina to read the entire report, or even much of it, but here is a summary, from the foreword, of the unimaginable scale of the problem:
"This year, this report estimates that between 720 and 811 million people in the world faced hunger in 2020 – as many as 161 million more than in 2019. Nearly 2.37 billion people did not have access to adequate food in 2020 – an increase of 320 million people in just one year. No region of the world has been spared. The high cost of healthy diets and persistently high levels of poverty and income inequality continue to keep healthy diets out of reach for around 3 billion people in every region of the world. Moreover, new analysis in this report shows that the increase in the unaffordability of healthy diets is associated with higher levels of moderate or severe food insecurity." (p. 6)
I learned about this here: https://www.foodpolitics.com/2021/07/world-hunger-2021-version/
|Another find from my attic. Other than rearranging my shelves, I doubt if I have touched these since the 1970s.|
"To blur the boundaries of life and fiction, as Nin did, has gone beyond being an acceptable tactic of experimental writers, and is now practiced by reality-television producers and popular novelists alike. Similarly, for a woman to write about her sex life hasn’t been shocking since the invention of Blogspot. Self-publication, too, has lost nearly all of its stigma, thanks to the fact that 'real' writers and civilians alike are expected to do it.
"Her polarizing personality, too, would have been at home in 2015: Nin was once called a 'narcissist' for gadding about in eye-catching thrift-shop costumes and dramatic makeup. Nowadays, that’s the day-to-day work of celebrities. The close personal connection Nin sought with her fans – toward the end of her life, she abandoned writing so that she could answer every one of her thousands of fan letters – is now the entire purpose of social media....
"The rehabilitation of Nin is taking place not because her work has changed, but because the world has changed to make room for her work. Like many great and 'mercilessly pretentious' experimentalists, she wrote for a world that did not yet exist, and so helped to bring it into being."
In the ongoing July event at Tamara's blog, there have been very few mentions of Nin and her many works about Paris, though she would be a wonderful source for this event, so I thought I would share these few thoughts of mine.
Blog post © 2021 mae sander.
André Kertesz, 1925, Le Café du Dôme, Paris.
"Well, we'll meet again shan't we? Of course we shall. It would be a pity not to meet again, wouldn't it? Will I meet them at the Pékin tomorrow for lunch? I have an idea that I shan't be feeling much like Chinese food at half-past twelve tomorrow. We arrange to meet at the Dôme at four o'clock." (Jean Rhys, Good Morning, Midnight, p. 42)What was the Dôme? Founded at the turn of the 20th century, this was the café most popular with the artists, writers, and intellectuals of the inter-war period -- Ernest Hemingway, Robert Capa, Pablo Picasso, Anaïs Nin, Man Ray, Henry Miller, Gertrude Stein, Walter Benjamin, and so on. Also there: hangers-on who wanted to see the famous people.
"I'm not going to any beastly little bar tonight. No, tonight I'm going somewhere where there's music; somewhere where I can be with a lot of people; somewhere where there's dancing. But where? By myself, where can I go? I'll have one more drink first and then think it out.
"Not the Dôme, I'll avoid the damn Dôme. And of course it's the Dôme I go to.
"The terrace is crowded, but there are not many people inside." (p. 65)
And later, she begins to talk to a man sitting at a table opposite to hers at the Dôme. She points out to him: "You want somebody very rich and very chick." He says "Yes, that's what would just suit me. And beautiful." And she answers: "But my dear, you're not going to find that at the Dôme." (p. 72)
Good Morning Midnight makes reference to many other cafés and small restaurants in Paris, both in the narrator's 1930's frame story and in her flashbacks to her life in the 1920s. She mentions the Ritz Hotel (but never goes there), the Deux Magots. the Closerie de Lilas, the Select... many more. But somehow, she always comes back to the Dôme. (For a list of famous cafés during this era see: "The Lost Generation: Cafés in Paris.)
|Eugene Atget, Café du Dôme, 1925.|
|Len and I ate breakfast at the Dôme a few years ago, when staying nearby.
Although the location and the decor are kept the same, the Dôme is now a very
high-priced seafood restaurant, not at all a meeting place for intellectuals.
"I start thinking about food. Choucroute, for instance -- you ought to be able to get choucroute garnie here. Lovely sausage, lovely potato, lovely, lovely cabbage.... My mouth starts watering violently. I drink half the glass of Pernod in order to swallow convenablement." (p. 81)
"We go next door to a place called La Napolitaine and eat ravioli. Warming me. Eat slowly, make it last a long time... I've never been so happy in my life. I'm alive, eating ravioli and drinking wine. I've escaped. A door has opened and let me out into the sun. What more do I want. Anything might happen." (p. 118)
|Bicycles are on my mind because of the Tour de France.|
|The fountain by Carl Milles was a welcome sight. Last year they never removed the winter covering,|
thanks to the pandemic. Now it's back to normal.
|The fountain and the iconic campus Bell Tower.|
|Artist Ray Kenyatta|
|This year's poster.|
The 2021 Audubon Photography Awards have just been announced this week. I've been looking at these images, and I'm especially impressed by how many common North American birds are in the winning photos.
If you love to look at birds and bird photos, you'll enjoy the following two articles:
|Golden-fronted Woodpecker by Danny Hancock, Palo Duro Canyon State Park, TX|
|From my attic bookshelves…|
"Lois said in a high, excited voice that she was bored to death with Montparnasse.
"'I'm bored, bored, bored! Look here. Let's go to a music-hall, .... Something canaille, what?'
"Two naked girls were dancing before a background of blue and mauve which was like a picture by Marie Laurencin." (Quartet, p. 85-86)
"August was a hot, oppressive month, the sun beating down on sleepy streets, the cafés and restaurants nearly empty, the staircase and passages of the Hôtel du Bosphore and its fellows pervaded by an extraordinary mixture of smells. Drains, face powder, scent, garlic, drains. Above all, drains." (Quartet, p. 127)
Reading these books about Paris, I experienced a feeling of strange juxtaposition between things that have stayed the same and things that have changed. Songs the characters play for dancing include "Yes, We Have No Bananas" and "If You Knew Susie" -- that is, the songs of the twenties. In a country town, the characters get a ride from the train station to their hotel in a horse-drawn cab. But so much of the atmosphere is totally familiar, like images in a dream: even the disapproving hotel maids and supercilious waiters; even the smell of drains. Sometimes while reading I wondered momentarily if the details were anachronistic -- but that's impossible, because the books were written at the time, not recently. And because Jean Rhys's biography includes Paris experiences very much like the story of her characters.
Do you want to read about romantic Paris adventures in a beautiful, welcoming city? Do you want to read about unexpectedly great meals in amazing little bistros? Do you love to learn of likable and idealistic characters succeeding despite some not-too-terrible obstacles? If that's what you want, don't read these books!Finally, I want to thank Nadia, the blogger at "A Bookish Way of Life," for reminding me about the work of Jean Rhys, and thank Tamara of "Thyme for Tea" for hosting the blog event Paris in July.
|Yellow things in the park: a goldfinch near the railroad tracks.|
|A yellow lane marker for little boats.|
|A yellow skull at practice.|
|A yellow flower with a fuzzy bee.|
|Drone’s eye view of the Huron River.|
|Spider in my backyard.|
|In the Arboretum: pink flowers|
|The Huron River also flows through the Arb, a favorite Ann Arbor spot.|
|The owners said this white dog doesn’t like to be muddy.|
It was drinking from the river in quite a dainty way.