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There is not much hope you can hold out for a full, happy, productive day when you wake up after eight hours of sleep with the worst headache you’ve had in a long time. I’ve already skipped my dance class but I have to go to campus for my other class at twelve-thirty, so if I don’t feel better in fifteen minutes I’m taking a couple of Tylenol and hoping they work.

(Yes, Erik, the first thing I did when I got up was drink a huge glass of water. And now I’m drinking another one. Erik says non-migraine headaches are often caused by dehydration.)

I do have some photos for you all, though. I spent Saturday at the Festival of Books with Erik and Huy. We heard and saw Aztec dancing and taiko drumming, and some very loud bluegrass, and we bought bagfuls of books and got some free stuff, and when we got a little tired we sat around campus and ate muffins and enjoyed the day. Thankfully we’d brought our own food and water, since even lemonade was going for $4 a cup. Oh, and we went to a dinosaur show for kids, and touched fossilized dinosaur poop. We could have touched a cockroach, too, but we preferred not to. I bought a coffee-table book for $19 that was originally $60, and four fiction books for $5 apiece. I just finished one of them, Pip Granger’s Not All Tarts Are Apple, last night, and I loved it. I’ll have to post a review soon. [review pasted at bottom of post]

The festival was enormous. It’s really more than one can see even in two days. We were there for just over five hours, and that was about right. It was just too much. Maybe if we’d gone to some panels and sat for a couple of hours, we might have been less overwhelmed by all the booths, but we couldn’t get in to any of them. Next year I’ll find out who’s speaking ahead of time and get tickets.

We went back to my apartment and rested for a while. Then we drove out to China Islamic and feasted, and when we were done we sat back and contemplated the restaurant. Erik observed that the ambient noise sounded particularly happy and festive, and we thought it might be the mix of different generations and languages all combined in conversation. Huy and I noted the good use of mirrors, and the shape of the space, and wondered if it had extra-good feng shui. I think it does. That restaurant makes me very happy. The waiters are so nice, even though the place is always packed, and I feel like the food gets better every time.

After dinner we drove Huy back home, and he took us the mall near his house for gelato.

I was exhausted by the time we got home. We’d had a day, as Erik and I say, but it had been a good one.

Here are the photos. Before we left the festival, we sat in the sculpture garden and took some pics of ourselves, and then Erik took some of me that I like. Click on the images to enlarge.






Forgot to mention two things.

Yesterday, while I was driving down Sunset, out of the corner of my eye I spotted someone quickly step out the door of a restaurant, stick out his arm and release a huge bunch of red, white and pink balloons. They floated up in the breeze toward the clouds. This all happened in a second as I drove by the restaurant. It was incredibly randomly beautiful and very environmentally unconscious.

I’ve made a cat friend. His name is Emmitt and when I see him he trots toward me and is pettable. Over the weekend, while Erik was here, he was curious about my apartment and came in and investigated. Today I gave him many pats and he followed me down the street as I went to my car. He’s a cutie and he looks more or less like this [link broken], only with very bright blue eyes.

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at Below is my review of Not All Tarts Are Apple.]

This is the adult book I have been looking for ever since I “outgrew” children’s books (haven’t, but they’re a little less satisfying when I can read two in an hour). The book is set in London, in 1953, and it tells the story of a seven-year-old named Rosie and the colorful residents of her neighborhood: her guardians, who own a café, her alcoholic mother, the fortune-teller who lives next door, and many others. It’s an adventure story that holds its own with any others, with the fun addition of being told from a child’s point of view.

Granger is a good storyteller, and her tale is rich with wonderful details. I bought the book because I spied the words “tart” and “apple” on a crowded shelf, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint in terms of food. I craved fish and chips for days afterward. The sketchy-neighborhood setting really comes to life, and the characters are all enjoyable. The book is engrossing and mind-transporting in the way of our childhood favorites: Dahl, CS Lewis, and now JK Rowling.

My classification: Read and enjoy–I’ll bet you haven’t read a book like this in a while!