Announcing: Launch of the Anthology NEW CALIFORNIA WRITING 2013

Just heard about this from the fabulous Donna Miscolta.  Self is going, for sure!

Come to the launch for the 3rd of the Heyday series on New California Writing, edited by Gayle Wattawa and Kirk Glaser:  New California Writing 2013:  Shifts and Rifts.

When:  Thursday, Apr. 11, 6 to 8:30 pm

Where:  California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco

Tickets:  $5 general admission, $20 book + admission

6 p.m. reception will have free tacos, beer and wine!

Readings begin at 6:30.  Featured readers:  Jodi Angel, Michael Jaime-Becerra, Elizabeth Creely, Chieun “Gloria” Kim, David Mas Masumoto, Zara Raab, Greg Sarris, Stephen Gutierrez, Robert Hass, Kevin Hearle, Sylvia Linsteadt, Donna Miscolta, Juan Velasco Moreno, Keenan Norris

The official announcement is here.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Mendocino Coast Writers Conference

Self was a guest faculty in the 2007 Mendocino Coast Writers Conference and would highly recommend it to aspiring writers.  The conference emphasizes “encouragement, expertise, and inspiration.”

In conjunction with the conference, a writing contest for registered participants offers $200 in prizes in the following categories:  novel excerpt, short fiction, nonfictin, and poetry.  Deadline for entries is May 15.

In addition, the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference makes available five full scholarships in a new program, Five Under-Twenty-Five Program.  All scholarship applications are due by May 1.

Check it out, dear blog readers!

The Cherry Tree

The cherry tree in the backyard started blooming a few days ago.

Started blooming this weekend

Self is preparing for a busy week gardening!

Other beginnings:  Put aside The Black Count without finishing.  Began devouring Anna Karenina.  Took advantage of HBO’s $10/month enrollment offer, just in time to watch the premiere episode of the BBC adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s World War I trilogy, Parade’s End (this Tuesday, 9 p.m. — just before Justified).

Tuesdays will be self’s Red Letter Day for the next five weeks!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

2nd Most Gorgeous Day of 2013

It is such a bee-yoo-ti-ful day!

Self spent all morning in the garden.  She snuck up to her neighbor’s fence and took a picture of his singing parakeets.  He houses them in a shed right next to self’s fence.  When it’s warm, he brings the cages outside.  They are trilling away.  If self could understand parakeet language, they might be saying:  Spring is Coming!  Oh How Good it is to be a Parakeet!  In Northern California!

Stone Bunny on the Deck, Soaking Up the Sun

Stone Bunny on the Deck, Soaking Up the Sun

Her neighbor breeds parakeets like this lovely yellow-orange specimen.

Her neighbor breeds parakeets like this lovely yellow-orange specimen.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Sunday: Walking Around the Neighborhood

The sun is shining here in southern California.  It is such a beautiful day!

After breakfast, Niece Irene and Irene’s husband Zia walked with her around the neighborhood.

The neighbor across the street from Irene and Zia.  Aren't the mountains beautiful?

The neighbor across the street from Irene and Zia. Aren’t the mountains beautiful?

Are these "kangaroo paws"?  Self is so fascinated by other people's gardens.

Are these “kangaroo paws”? Self is so fascinated by other people’s gardens.

At the entrance to Brand Park, where the fantastic library is undergoing some extensive renovation.

At the entrance to Brand Park, where the fantastic library is undergoing some extensive renovation.  Self looked up the location:  the mountains behind are called the Verdugo Mountains.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Last Wednesday of November (2012): The Philippine Consulate, 447 Sutter Street, San Francisco

There was a purported storm!  Supposed to hit the San Francisco Bay Area with a powerhouse punch!  It was all over the news yesterday and this morning, but when self drove to the City, the weather was practically balmy.

Self had occasion to thank her lucky stars that she lives in California!  A sentiment with which Niece G was in wholehearted agreement, having just come from spending Thanksgiving in New York, which according to her was a frigid 38 degrees.

Tonight, niece and self spent the evening in the cheery confines of the San Francisco Consulate at 447 Sutter.  This is a nondescript building, with some very fab posters of Philippine beaches adorning the various antiseptic hallways.

Who knew such fun was to be had in that consular place?  It was a reading for Lysley Tenorio, whose book of short stories, Monstress, has just been published (and, dare self say, blurbed by some very A-list writers).  It was a surprising evening in many ways, not least because Lysley was rocking a blue paisley shirt!  He read so well, he earned the undying adulation of Niece G, self, and all the consular officials!

Rashaan Alexis Meneses (soon to be in Hawthornden) was there, too, rocking a sort of hip Filipino look, with an embroidered top she said she bought from H & M, and a ‘do that was vaguely 20s Flapper!  And intricate patterned black tights!  And boots!  Self wondered why she can’t dream up outfits similar to Rashaan’s.  Must be because she is hopeless at shopping.  She definitely has inherited none of Dearest Mum’s genes in this regard.  Maybe Rashaan can accompany her some day, as a sort of fashion consultant?

And the story Lysley read was about a faith healer named Papa Felix.  Papa Felix’s performance hinged on procuring chicken livers from Chinatown!  And the story was just so ha-ha-ha funny!  But poignant, too!  How’d Lysley pull that off ???

Afterwards, Niece and self lined up to have our copies of Monstress signed, like a couple of bloomin’ acolytes, and we started to run off at the mouth a little, and you know what?  Lysley is very nice!  He even pronounced self’s name correctly!  That is, he said:  MAH-REE-YA-NEH!  Pronouncing, or should self say enunciating, with all the syllables so phonetically clear and crisp!

Not to mention, self got a copy of Barbara’s latest book!  She can’t wait to read it!  Barb was looking very hip in all black!  You can only get away with all black if you are a true celebrity!  Like Barbara!

The final cap to the excellent evening was that self got a pound of whole beans from Philz Coffee on 24th and Folsom.  They don’t list the coffee blends on a board, one is expected to have 20/20 eyesight and be able to read the labels on the bins behind the sales counter.  Self asked the salesperson to recommend a dark roast, and he recommended “Ether.”  It is so nice to know that, nestled in self’s freezer at the moment (She always freezes her whole beans), is a lb. of this fabulous Ether.  She has to wait until she finishes her current Ethiopian coffee supply, she is a firm believer in the pleasure of delayed gratification.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Front Porch: Greenery

Oh, what gorgeous weather we in California have been enjoying, this Thanksgiving weekend!

For which self offers up fervent thanks.

In the summer, self decided to fill her empty terra cotta pots with plants (Some of these have been sitting empty for YEARS!)  She bought a wee cell-pack of “King” Coleus from Home Depot. Just look at them now! 

There are years when — out of sheer laziness — self keeps the pumpkins on the front porch until January!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

In the Garden: 3rd Tuesday of November (2012)

There is a weak sun.

The Bird Feeder in the Cherry Tree.  Self filled it with cracked corn.  The squirrels don’t seem to like the corn as much.

The Birdbath Today: No wonder it attracts no birds!

In other news:  Marylee, one of the writers self met in Hawthornden in June, is here!  Is here!  Is here!

Self will be seeing her in just two days.  Yippeeee!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Early Morning: The View From the Kitchen Window

Kitchen Window, Redwood City, Fall 2012

The oil and vinegar cruets are from Nerja, Spain (Self was there in ’96).  The small white statue of the Blessed Virgin was a gift from an aunt who’d just returned from Lourdes.  It contains holy water.

Stay tuned, dear blog reader.  Stay tuned.

Glory Be! Self Has Finally Seen “Skyfall”!

The screen is from Cebu. Self found it in the Redwood City World Market.

Self is back in the suburban anomie of Redwood City, California.  The city where, despite the name, there are no redwoods.  Where teen-agers in scruffy jeans slouch through Sequoia Station.  Where the local See’s store knows just exactly how many peanut butter patties self limits herself to buying per week.  Where every day self is reminded that she does not know how to cook a turkey.  Where there are movies galore!

Oh San Francisco Bay Area, the nights have never seemed so cold, especially when juxtaposed against the velvety heat of Bacolod City.

Here are a few of the momentous decisions self must make within the week:

  • Will she renew her membership to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco for next year?
  • Will she give anyone a gift subscription to the New York Review of Books?
  • Will she agree to teach two back-to-back quarters for UCLA Extension’s Writers Program?
  • Can she finish her novel in time to submit to various contests?
  • Is Argo a lock for Best Picture and Best Director Oscar nominations?
  • Will she have time to see The Late Quartet this week?
  • Should she get take-out from Su Hong?
  • When does Justified Season 4 start?
  • Who did she leave off her Christmas card list last year?

Self saw “Skyfall.”  It was amazing.  The fight sequences were so beautiful, especially one near the end where you forget it’s Daniel Craig and just think Bond!  Bond!  Bond!  He and his opponent appear in silhouette against a background of the most planchent midnight blue.  Adele sings the theme song.  “Q” is played by a wonderful, skinny whippet of an actor with geek glasses, finely sculpted cheek bones, an air of great chagrin, and dark, muppet hair.  SPOILER ALERT:  Judi Dench’s M floats serenely out of the scene, but not before she gets to say, “To hell with dignity!” Self will miss the sardonic twist Daniel Craig gave to the response, “Yes, mum.”  Dench’s place is taken by Ralph Fiennes’ Mallory.  There is a new regular, a woman with a superb bod, whose name just happens to be Eve Moneypenny.  And oh, what can self say about Javier Bardem?  When he has bad hair, he is just the most cheeky kind of villain!  Self thinks the scene where he prissily approaches Bond, as if on tiptoe, as if disregarding completely the fact that Bond is roped to a chair, as if he is addressing an equal, is such a madcap, funny/poignant/scary scene.  Bardem in the flesh (like in those tabloid pics with Penelope Cruz) is very handsome, but when he has bad hair (and not only is his hair bad here, it also happens to be blonde), his eyes bug out accordingly, and he looks like a goldfish.  A malevolent goldfish.  With rotting teeth.  In one scene, self swears one can practically smell the rot.  At the end, the packed moviehouse (Century 20, downtown Redwood City) clapped.  For once, self joined in the accolades.  She has never clapped before, not even at the end of Inception, when the audience engaged in similar effusions of praise.  Self must admit, she didn’t like Sam Mendes when Kate Winslet left him because of allegations he had fallen in love with Rebecca Hall.  But with this movie, he has redeemed himself.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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