Books for the Reading List: A Look at Niece G’s Stash

When Niece G left San Francisco to work in New York, and then moved again, this time to Manila, she left a Big. Fat. Hole. In. Self’s. Life.

Almost as big as the one son left.

Four years at Stanford, then four years teaching in San Francisco — that was a transitional time for both her and self.

Son started college in Cal Poly / San Luis Obispo.  It almost seemed like she and son switched places:  son moved away, Niece G arrived in the San Francisco Bay Area.

When Niece G was clearing out her San Francisco apartment, last year, she had to leave behind some books.  Self looks at these books now.

Amazing synchronicity!  Just the thing to illuminate current events!  Presumably, these books were required reading for her classes at Stanford:

Two from Niece G's Stash

Two from Niece G’s Stash

A Further Two from Niece G's Stash

A Further Two from Niece G’s Stash

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Summer Lovin’ : WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge — Summer Lovin’ — is a super-fun (and easy) one for self.  Summer is her faaaavorite time of year.  She has lots, LOTS, of Summer Lovin’ pictures!

Summer is when Cancer, self’s sign (also son’s), rules!  Both self and son are July babies.

Another reason self likes summer so much is that colors really pop.  Bright colors seem even brighter, and there’s a sharper contrast between sunlight and shade.  Which all adds up to:  MORE VISUAL DRAMA.

Stafford Park, Wednesday evening:  There are free concerts every week throughout the summer.

Stafford Park, Redwood City, Wednesday evening: There are free concerts every week throughout the summer.

Chalk Drawing is a big part of the Palo Alto Arts & Crafts Festival, held every August.

Chalk Drawing is a big part of the Palo Alto Arts & Crafts Festival, held every August.

Clasico Gelato, Emerson Street, downtown Palo Alto. Every time she's in downtown Palo Alto, she stops by for gelato.

Clasico Gelato, Emerson Street, downtown Palo Alto. Every time self is in downtown Palo Alto, she stops by for gelato.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Kanlaon Was Nominated for a Liebster Award!

Self learned of the nomination a month ago, but she was in the midst of returning from Ireland and then setting off for southern California and then setting off for the Squaw Valley Writers Conference.

Nevertheless, here she is now, expressing her appreciation!

Self blogs a lot while traveling.  Because she firmly believes that one of the greatest pleasures of travel is being able to share one’s experiences afterwards.  It’s like re-living the moment, only better because you know you’ve survived the whatever.

So, THANKS THANKS MUCH to the blog Unexpected Wanderlust for the nomination.  Self deeply appreciates the honor.

And here are self’s answers to the questions posed by UW:

What is the most foolish thing you’ve ever done while traveling?

Wow.  This entailed so much reflection because self has done many, many foolish things while traveling.  Two years ago, she decided to join her friends on a bike ride around one of Amsterdam’s outlying islands, even though she hadn’t ridden a bike in almost 20 years.  That day almost killed her.  What’s worse, it made her lose her temper.  And we all know that when one is traveling, losing one’s temper is almost the kiss of death.  Because one should never, ever lose one’s temper in a foreign country.  Self’s just saying.

Who is the person you’ve met while traveling that you wish you could see again?

Another hard one.  OK, this:  the two German girls who accompanied self on the bus ride from the Marco Polo airport in Venice, all the way to the vaporetto in the Rialto.  Self bumped into them again outside the Frari church in Ca’ San Toma.  We had dinner.  Self lost the little notebook where she’d written down the girls’ addresses and e-mails.  She’s pretty sure she’ll never hear from them again.  But she thinks of them pretty often.

Where are you planning on traveling next?

Southern California.

If you had to settle down in one place and never leave it again, where would it be?

Oh gosh, why are all of these questions so hard?  San Luis Obispo, California.  Cambridge, United Kingdom.  Now if self could only find a way to support herself while living in these places . . .

How would you describe the perfect travel companion?

No question:  Son.  He was great.  Always.  Even when self was dragging him through the back alleys of Boracay in a pouring rain, and visibility was just a little above zero, and the water was sloshing up to our knees, and strange unmentionable objects were floating in said water.  He did express disgust (occasionally), but he never once lost his temper.

If you could be fluent in a language other than your mother tongue, which would it be?

Cantonese so that self could bargain in the Hong Kong night markets.  Gaelic because she was just in Ireland.  Spanish because she could read all the archives pertaining to Spain’s colonization of the Philippines.

What is your best travel tip?

Always travel light.  Plan on picking up things you’ll need along the way.  And never tote around more than two books at a time.

Have you ever felt more at home in a place that is away from your actual home?  If so, where?

Yes:  Bacolod City, Negros Occidental (Dear Departed Dad’s hometown)

Where have you had the best meal of your life?

  • The home of Irene Lacson and Zia Islam in Glendale, CA:  a Villanueva reunion in December 2012
  • Tender Greens, Spectrum Centre, Irvine, CA.
  • Van’s, Belmont, CA last January, to celebrate The Man’s birthday

What is the one piece of technology that you can’t live without during your travels?

No question:  Self’s MacBook Air

She’ll list her nominations in a separate post.  Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Containers: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is CONTAINERS.

And, as luck would have it, self stumbled across a series of shots she took in Glendale, December 2012, where one of her Villanueva nieces hosted a reunion of the Villanueva clan.  The day was an all-day eating marathon, a veritable cornucopia of gustatory delights.  People from Bacolod (Dear Departed Dad’s hometown) know how to live!

You’ll find a variety of containers below:

Brazo de Mercedes:  a butter and egg yolk filling is encased in an outer shell of light meringue.  Yummm!

Container # 1:  Brazo de Mercedes , in which a butter and egg yolk filling is encased in an outer shell of light meringue. Yummm! To spell it out:  self considers the meringue layer  the “container.”

Someone made individual portions chicken a la king -- using a muffin baking dish.

Containers # 2:  The muffin baking dish someone used to make individual servings of chicken a la king. Quelle ingeniousness!  Naturally, half the servings disappeared almost the minute the baking tray was pulled from the oven.

No one throws a feast like the Villanuevas!  Everyone at the party was either a cousin, a niece, or a nephew.

Containers # 3:  food serving trays.  No one throws a feast like the Villanuevas! Everyone at the party was either a cousin, a niece, or a nephew, or the partner of a cousin, a niece, or a nephew.  Southern California seems to be the Villanueva destination of choice!

Self so wishes there were a Reunion Part 2.  Or Part 3.

Hear that, Dear Niece Irene?  Time to start organizing another banquet!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

Contrasts 4: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Today, to illustrate this week’s Photo Challenge Theme (“Contrasts”), self decided to focus on PAIRS.

Self and The Man, a Year or Two After They Were Married, a Year Before Son Was Born

Self and The Man, a Year or Two After They Were Married, a Year Before Son Was Born

Once upon a time. self had two little beagles, and their names were Bella and Gracie:  Gracie, the younger, died first, in 2011.  Bell reached the great old age of 17 dog years, and died last October.

Once upon a time. self had two little beagles, and their names were Bella and Gracie: Gracie, the younger, died first, in 2011. Bell reached the great old age of 17 dog years, and died last October.

Classic:  The Man took this picture of Self at the San Diego Zoo.  She was 22 or 23.

Classic: The Man took this picture of Self at the San Diego Zoo. She was 22 or 23.

Contrasts 3: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Contrasts:  Light and Dark . . .

2nd floor, Farmyard Cottage, Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig

2nd floor, Farmyard Cottage, Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig, May 2014

Son's Room. The painting was done for $20 by an artist in Great America, Santa Clara. Son was six or seven.

Son’s Room. The painting was done for $20 by an artist in Great America, Santa Clara. Son was six or seven.  He’s wearing a San Francisco Giants cap.

Contrasts:  Youth and Age . . .

A Bookshelf in the Main House at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig, Ireland

A Bookshelf in the Main House at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig, Ireland

The people in the photograph must long have passed away, but their image endures (Love the crease in the photograph itself:  makes the photograph seem very fragile).

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

Current Fan Fiction Fave’s Everlark Ship Still Not Yet Ready to Sail, in the Meantime at the Cineplex . . .

Oh, fan fiction.  You have self on pins and needles all the time.  All the time.

The Fourth of July weekend is coming up. On the Monday following (July 7), self sails off to Squaw Valley for the Writers Conference.  She just arranged to share a ride with someone from Benicia.  Excited!

This afternoon, self casts a very cursory look over the summer movie offerings.  She still wants to see “22 Jump Street”, though The Man saw it while she was in Los Angeles and declared it not good at all.

She still wants to see “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” as she loved the first one.

She’s seen “Edge of Tomorrow.”  Oh, that was good!  Emily Blunt is packin’.  It is so great when an actress with proven dramatic chops switches gears.  Blunt’s Full Metal Bitch deserves a place on the pantheon of Female Action Stars — maybe not quite on the level of Femme Nikita or Ripley, but definitely equal to Scarjo’s Black Widow.

She still wants to see “The Fault in Our Stars.”  Son and Jennie saw it and liked it, though Jennie maintained that the book was better.

She saw “Maleficent” down in Pasadena, with Son and Jennie.  3 1/2 out of 4 stars.  Self found Jolie’s razor-sharp cheekbones a tad distracting.  So was her lightning-fast change into leather pants in the movie’s climactic confrontation.

“X-Men:  Days of Future Past” — four out of four stars!  Magnificent!  Love the Vietnamese-talking Mystique!  Love J-Law/Mystique in 70s bo-ho hippie attire!  Love unrequited angst between J-Law/Mystique and McAvoy/Xavier and also with Hoult/Beast, and the jealous macho-ness of Fassbender/Magneto!  Not to mention, Ellen Page is one darn cute actress!  She hasn’t been this cute since “Juno”!

Finally, self still wants to see “Godzilla.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

Between 7: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Today, self spent the day in Irvine. She was there to visit son, who has a summer job with Blizzard Entertainment.

For lunch, she dropped by Tender Greens at Irvine’s Spectrum Mall.

Oooh-la-la! She had a steak salad and polished that off with an apricot cobbler, which was so creamy-delicious that . . .

DSCN6273

Between first to last bite took her less than five minutes.

What a good job self did polishing off this fabulous dessert!

What a good job self did polishing off this fabulous dessert!

She took a whole series of pictures at each stage of the process, with the thought that she could post them as examples of “between bites.”  No kidding, she took at least six shots of the dessert, about every other bite.  The people around her must have thought she was nuts.  She only did it because she was obsessed with showing the “between,” the stages of the eating.

But she decided to use just the first and last shots instead.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Between 4: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s photo challenge is “Between.”

Here are two shots self took today, because she was thinking of the challenge:

Claremont, CA:  Downtown Farmer's Market

Claremont, CA: Downtown Farmer’s Market

DSCN6227

Self loves the apple cider and always gets some every time she visits son.

She’s also bought things from the spice vendor.  And Jennie gets hummus and other salads from a Mediterranean food vendor.

Self decided to throw in a picture from when she was doing a residency in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, in May.  She was looking for shots of “between” that represented actual spatial demarcations:  between stalls at a farmers market or between walls or between earth and sky.  She looked through a whole lot of her Ireland pictures before settling on this one.  She was going to say it was an example of “between earth and sky.”  But now she thinks, not really.  It’s more of the way sunlight breaks through the clouds on a typical Irish spring day.

From a Farmyard Cottage in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig, County Monaghan, Ireland

From a Farmyard Cottage in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig, County Monaghan, Ireland

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Split-Second Story 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

CAPTURE AN IMAGE THAT TELLS A FULL STORY IN A SINGLE FRAME.

Quite challenging, the week’s Photo Challenge theme is, yeah?

Graduation Reception, Claremont Graduate School, May 2013

Graduation Reception, Claremont Graduate School, May 2013

Doggie Love, Trieste:  May 2013

Doggie Love, Trieste: May 2013.  Trieste was a spectacular city.  Self was there two nights in the first week of May.  When oh when can she return?

Love endures:  Graffiti scrawled on a pillar on the portico next to the Doge's Palace, April 2013

Love endures: Graffiti scrawled on a pillar on the portico next to the Doge’s Palace, April 2013

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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