Reflections 3: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

L'Fisher Chalet, Dear Departed Dad's Hometown of Bacolod

L’Fisher Chalet, Dear Departed Dad’s Hometown of Bacolod

Museum, Abe's Farm, Magalang, Pampanga

The E. Aguilar Cruz Museum, Abe’s Farm, Magalang, Pampanga

Self's birthday last year: she celebrated with Niece G in San Francisco restaurant SPQR.

Self’s birthday last year: she celebrated with Niece G in San Francisco restaurant SPQR.

 

Thus Far, 2014

  • There are times when self feels fanfiction may just save her life.
  • The Hunger Games cannot be called a rip-off of Japanese movie Battle Royale because the Japanese movie didn’t have a boy who bakes.
  • In late February, self attended her first AWP Conference since 2009.  It was really excellent, discovering the Pioneer Square area:  Davidson Galleries, Glass House, Grand Central Bakery, Occidental Park and chess board, the Globe bookstore.  She has got to return to Seattle.
  • The AWP Book Fair is the coolest thing to have happened to her so far this year
  • She loves the soundtrack of Frozen and has been listening to it over and over in her car.
  • Listening to Angela Narciso Torres read always makes self feel like crying.
  • The Man can still make a mean callos.
  • Her most visited local farmers market is the one in Belmont.  She loves Heidi’s Pies (in business for 47 years: the bakery’s on El Camino in San Mateo)
  • The members of her writing group are the most unheralded fabulous writers in the whole US of A.
  • The service in Ling Nam (South San Francisco) is still terrible.  But The Man adores their goto with tokwa’t baboy. And who can blame him.
The Goto (which The Man always orders with Tokwa't Baboy) from Ling Nam, South San Francisco

The Goto (which The Man always orders with Tokwa’t Baboy) from Ling Nam, South San Francisco

  • She sweats.  A lot.  Self is beginning to worry that the yoga is responsible for unleashing something unspeakable and mystifying.
  • She can’t stay up past 10 p.m. anymore.  That’s why she hasn’t posted about Justified and Saturday Night Live for so long.  But, if she gets to sleep by 10 p.m., she doesn’t suffer from insomnia.
  • The new Bay Bridge is soooo beautiful.
  • She can’t read anymore.  It is terrible.  She’s only on her third book –  The Hemingses of Monticello, by Annette Gordon-Reed — since the start of the year.  The other two she started this year were In the Shadow of Man, by Jane Goodall, and Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, by Rebecca West.  Strange, she used to be able to tear through at least 60 books a year.  At this rate, by the end of 2014, she’ll be lucky to finish 12.
  • Her 1998 Altima may be ready to give up the ghost.  After spending 1K at the mechanic, the engine sounds worse, and it has so far failed three smog tests.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

EATING CULTURES Call for Submissions/Bellingham Review’s Annual Contest

The EATING CULTURES submission deadline is coming up very soon (this Sunday, Mar. 9!); self only found out about it today, via an e-mail from Karen Llagas. Thanks much, Karen!

The Asian American Women Writers Association (aawaa.net) is accepting submissions for a multidisciplinary arts exhibition exploring Asian Pacific American (APA) food and foodways (See deadline above)

Artists are invited to submit works that examine the idea, literally and metaphorically, of food and feeding (or the lack thereof) in creating and negotiating personal, gender and cultural representations in both the APA community and U.S. mainstream culture.

Eligibility:  Artists working in literary and visual arts, film & video, sculpture, installation and multimedia arts of Asian Pacific American descent

Venue:  SOMArts Cultural Center, Main Gallery, San Francisco

Juror:  Dr. Margo L. Machida, Professor of Art History and Asian American Studies at University of Connecticut

For more information, e-mail:  exhibitions.aawaa@gmail.com or call:  (212) 433-0229

The deadline for Bellingham Review’s Annual Literary Contest is approaching:  BEFORE Mar. 15, 2014.  Here’s some additional information:

Three $1,000 prizes and publication in Bellingham Review are awarded for works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.  Finalists will be considered for publication.  The 49th Parallel Poetry Award is given for poetry; Kathleen Flenniken will judge.  The Tobias Wolff Award for Fiction is given for a short story; Shawn Wong will judge.  The Annie Dillard Award for Creative Nonfiction is given for an essay; Joy Castro will judge.  Before Mar. 15, 2014, submit prose up to 6,000 words or up to three poems with a $20 entry fee ($10 for each additional entry); this includes a subscription.  Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Abandoned: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Cactus Hall, in Santa Fe Resort, Barangay Granada, Bacolod

Cactus Hall, in Santa Fe Resort, Barangay Granada, Bacolod

Self’s grandfather, Generoso Villanueva, built Santa Fe Resort in the 1930s.  It was the first resort ever built in the central Philippines.  It is still operational today.

The English Cemetery, Just Outside Dharamsala.  The graves are mostly those of soldiers who lost their lives in battles and skirmishes and quelling uprisings.

The English Cemetery, Just Outside Dharamsala. The graves are mostly those of soldiers who lost their lives in battles and skirmishes and quelling uprisings.

Self went to India in January 2012.  She wasn’t prepared: physically, emotionally, spiritually.  It was an exhausting trip.  But this English cemetery just outside Dharamsala reminded her that time is fleeting, everything melts away.

The Old Bacolod Airport:  Abandoned for a newer one in Silay

The Old Bacolod Airport: Abandoned for a newer one in Silay

Coming home to Bacolod was a special experience:  vendors sold kalamayhati, self’s favorite childhood treat.  One time, when she’d been gone for a couple of years, she heard a porter mumble under his breath:  “Si Inday Batchoy.”  (“It’s Ma’am Batchoy”) — “Batchoy” is self’s nickname.  Everyone, even her college professors in the Ateneo, referred to her by that name.  Only here in America is she called “Marianne.”

Batchoy is the name of a famous Visayan soup.  It could also be a short version of the Tagalog word “tabachoy” meaning fat, chubby.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Seattle 2014

The minute she gets back to the Bay Area, she’s going to have her MacBook Air’s keyboard fixed.

During one sleepless night last year, she spilled strawberry jam on her keyboard.  She was trying to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but the knife slipped out of the jam jar, and fell on her keyboard.  Ever since, the keyboard’s stuck.  She can just manage to get some keys to register, but only if she presses with all her might.

It is a beautiful day.  The last time self was in Seattle was 2007.  She was hosted, so she was picked up from the airport, and she was a guest in the home of Maria Batayola.

This is a completely different kind of trip.  She’s staying in a hotel.

The people on the plane were none too friendly.  Everyone was absorbed in reading the papers or reading their iPads.  They also looked very, very white.  And healthy, in that quintessential American way. Great hair, great teeth.  Neat clothing.  The woman seated next to self, who never cracked a smile in her direction, had a Bally tote.

Seattle’s edges are hard and bright.  The streets are surprisingly empty.  Puget Sound, though, is huge:  about 10x the width of San Francisco Bay.  The ferry boats are enormous, they remind her of cruise ships.  The snow-capped mountains glint in the sun.  Just looking at them makes self feel cold.  Self wonders how much a ferry ride costs.  She’d love to explore Bainbridge Island, which she heard has cute little art galleries and coffee shops.

During what was left of today, self decided to walk.  She wound up in Pioneer Square.  The streets were really, really empty, except for a park with a giant chessboard where a young woman was trying to move the chess pieces and some old men were teasing her in a lighthearted way.  Birds flew among the trees.  There were Indian totems off to the side.

She walked some more.  She found a bookstore:

The Globe, a bookstore near Pioneer Park

The Globe, a bookstore near Pioneer Square

In the bookstore loft, self found a very cozy reading nook.

In the bookstore loft, self found a very cozy reading nook.

She also found a bustling bakery near a park:

Grand Central Baking Company, next to Occidental Park

Grand Central Baking Company, next to Occidental Park

Triple-Chocolate Cookie from Grand Central Baking Company:  $1.95, and worth every penny

Triple-Chocolate Cookie from Grand Central Baking Company: $1.95, and worth every penny

That triple-chocolate cookie was just about the best cookie she’s ever tasted.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

www.treehugger.com

Self wrote a short short of speculative fiction called “The Forest” and has been getting some nice rejections, like one from The Chattahoochee Review that said they liked the voice.

That’s something.  It’s a strange story.  About twin boys who keep lobbing tennis balls into the narrator’s backyard.  One day he decides to talk to them so . . .

Self decided to do some research on saving the huge stands of trees that once grew all over the California coast.  Believe it or not, dear blog readers, this is connected to the story.  Thank God for Google.

On treehugger.com, she found a list called:  5 FOODS YOU SHOULDN’T EAT IF YOU CARE ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT

And the first thing on the list is self’s own favorite food to ingest:  COFFEE.

But, it’s OK to ingest “shade-grown, organic coffee.”  Coffee is really a shade plant, and self knows this because, in the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, self saw a coffee plant.  In fact, here’s a picture:

Arabica Coffee Plant, San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park

Arabica Coffee Plant, San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park

But according to treehugger.com, “many farmers now grow it in full sunlight, with a heavy dependence on pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fertilizers.  They also chop down rainforests, destroying bird habitats.”

Next on the list of BAD-FOR-THE-ENVIRONMENT FOOD is:  FACTORY-FARMED BEEF.

“Cheap burgers are environmental assassins,” says Logan Strenchock (What a name.  Almost as bad as Plutarch Heavensbee), “Central European University’s sustainability officer.” And self has super-high cholesterol so she really shouldn’t be eating beef anyway.

Third on the list of BAD-FOR-THE-ENVIRONMENT FOOD IS:  PALM OIL.

According to the article, which by the way was written by Katherine Martinko and posted on the day before Valentine’s Day, “Palm oil is used in half of all packaged food sold in the U.S., particularly cookies, crackers, and soups.  Palm oil is the largest cause of rainforest destruction, resulting in huge swaths of Indonesian and Malaysian rainforests being bulldozed in order to plant palm oil trees.”

Fourth on the list of BAD-FOR-THE-ENVIRONMENT FOOD IS:  BLUE-FIN TUNA.

“Bluefin is a popular choice at high-end sushi restaurants, but their numbers in the oceans are dropping fast.”  There’s a link to an article on Japan’s insistence that the fish isn’t endangered.

The final item on the list of BAD-FOR-THE-ENVIRONMENT FOOD IS:  GENETICALLY MODIFIED CORN.

“It kills bees, reduces biodiversity, drives heirloom crops to extinction, and requires excessive processing to transform it into high-fructose corn syrup, another ingredient found in processed foods (which should be avoided anyway because they contain palm oil).

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Claremont, Day 4: Gorgeous

Mood:  Relaxed

Weather: Gorgeous

State of Mind: Happy

Breakfast:  Some Crust Bakery

One word to describe self’s life right now:  Fulness

Claremont, Day 4

Some Crust Bakery, Claremont Village

DSCN3970 DSCN3973

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

The RWS of the Day from BLGF: “Split I”

On the Croatians of Split, a city on the Adriatic coast:

“. . .  better laugh at yourself before anybody else has time to do it . . .  I suppose it comes of being watched all the time by people who thought they were better than you . . . people here are not rich, but they have considerable elegance.” (Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, pp. 141 – 142)

Coming next:  Chapters on Split II, Salonae, and Split III.

*          *          *          *          *

Last night, since it is The Man’s birthday in a few days, self treated him to dinner at Van’s, the throwback restaurant of all throwback restaurants, where they still serve 2-lb. steaks, ridiculously good garlic mashed potatoes, prime rib, rack of lamb, pork chops, calf liver and other gustatory delights of the bygone 40s or 50s.  In times past, we have manfully partaken of the 2-lb. porterhouse, but last night The Man, who is trying to watch his weight, settled for an under-a-lb. cut of New York steak.  Despite the more manageable portion, The Man still looked quite green by the end of the night.  Self can honestly say she has never seen The Man look that way before.  She knows he was feeling “off” because he actually consented to have her drive.  But that could have been the martini combined with the glass of red wine.  He parked at a steep angle (Van’s is up the side of a hill in Belmont) and when self tried to back out, the car instead went forward.  Directly ahead (and below) was a motel sign saying, Goodbye and Goodnight. At that point, self decided she’d rather have The Man assume the responsibility for crashing, at least it would be something she could throw in his face, and not vice versa.  So we changed places, and self closed her eyes, and after a jolt forward and a mighty shudder, the car did indeed move away from the precipice, and we were able to at last make it home, though she did wonder why The Man zoomed ahead on all the yellow lights.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Juxtaposition 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2013:  It won't open again for another two years.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2013: It won’t open again for another two years.

Café Uma, Lacson St., Bacolod City:  Cassava with home-made ice cream

Café Uma, Lacson St., Bacolod City: Cassava with home-made ice cream

The name of this outdoor installation was "Apple." It was just outside the de Young Museum, in Golden Gate Park, early 2012

The name of this outdoor installation was “Apple.” It was just outside the de Young Museum, in Golden Gate Park, early 2012

From the WordPress Daily Post:  A juxtaposition is “the act of placing things side by side, especially for the purpose of comparison or contrast.”  So, in picture # 1, the juxtaposition of the static painting with the viewer’s ghostly legs.  In picture # 2, the side-by-side ceramic thingamajigs.  In picture # 3, the giant apples of an art installation contrasted with the small trees and the passers-by.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

Family 4: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

FROM THE DAILY POST AT WORDPRESS:
This week, in a post created specifically for this challenge, share a photo showing family.

QED, WordPress!

El Ideal bakery, Silay:  Cousins Manong Freddie and Manang Marilou and their son Jeric

El Ideal bakery, Silay: Cousins Manong Freddie and Manang Marilou and their son Jeric

Son.  Took this picture at one of his favorite restaurants:  Juban in Menlo Park.

Son. Took this picture at one of his favorite restaurants: Juban in Menlo Park.

DSCN0118

Claremont University, May 2013: Son gets his masters degree in Psychology. WOOT HOOT!!!

All the photos with family are happy.

BTW, self tried cracking BLGF again this morning, to give it one more shot, but no.  She’s definitely moving on.

Good thing Divergent is beginning to reveal more about those factions that everyone in Chicago (in some dystopian future) gets to join.  The five are:  Abnegation, Candor, Erudite, Amity, or Dauntless.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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