The Five-Year Happiness Project

Found, in the Huntington Gardens Gift Shop, on 9/11

Found, in the Huntington Gardens Gift Shop, on 9/11

Self read Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project last year. It took her ages to finish, because she found herself poring over practically every page.

Last week, at the Huntington Gardens, she found a small blue journal in the gift shop.  It’s a one-sentence journal, with months marked on the top of each page, and five spaces below, each space marked:  20__, 20__, 20___

Self began the journal on Sept. 11, she filled in the date 2014.

It’s now Sept. 15, and she’s managed to fill in NOTHING since then. But she might today, because she’s heading to Frasier Park, where a friend has a house.

There’s a quote on each page of the journal. Today, Sept. 15, the quote is:

One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Dialogue 3: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The WordPress Photo Challenge this week is DIALOGUE. The prompt says, “make pictures talk to each other.”

Here are two photographs of a couple of chairs in self’s backyard, some on the deck, one on the grass.

Do these pictures engage in dialogue?

2 Chairs, Backyard

2 Chairs, Backyard

DSCN0257

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Silhouette 4: 2014 Fillmore Jazz Festival, San Francisco and an Irish Book on Surfing

Fraiche, on Fillmore Street. The Fillmore Jazz Festival was happening just outside.

Fraiche, on Fillmore Street. The Fillmore Jazz Festival was happening just outside.

Poster for the 2014 Fillmore Jazz Festival

Poster for the 2014 Fillmore Jazz Festival

And here’s yet another of the thousands and thousands of pictures self took when she was in Ireland, earlier this year.  Self had gone to Sligo to attend a friend’s gallery opening.  The gallery had a very cute restaurant next door, which sold, in addition to tea and locally made chocolates and other gastronomic delights, coffee table books about surfing.  Sligo, self discovered, is at the heart of a surfing culture in Ireland. Who would have thought? (That day in Sligo also just happened to be William Butler Yeats Day).

A Book on Cooking AND Surfing; from a Coffee Shop in Sligo, Ireland

A Book on Cooking AND Surfing; from a Coffee Shop in Sligo, Ireland

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Silhouette 3: Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The Daily Post prompt says:  “Photography is all about experimenting with light, and then positioning yourself (or your subject) in the right spot to achieve a certain effect.”

To honor the theme of this week’s Photo Challenge, SILHOUETTE, self decided to take this photo of a Pieta from the side, so that we don’t see the grieving mother’s face (She forgot to note the name of the artist. But the other pieces in the gallery ranged from the 15th to the 17th century)

Pieta: European Art Collection, LACMA

Pieta: European Art Collection, LACMA

Across the street From the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, a onstruction zone was demarcated with a green plastic wall. Through it, you could see the silhouette of palm trees.

Across the street From the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, a onstruction zone was demarcated with a green plastic wall. Through it, you could see the silhouette of palm trees.

Palm Trees in Front of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Palm Trees in Front of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Shared By a Student Who Adores Ferlinghetti: “I Am Waiting”

I Am Waiting

by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

(An excerpt)

I am waiting for my case to come up
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting for someone
to really discover America
and wail
and I am waiting
for the discovery
of a new symbolic western frontier
and I am waiting
for the American Eagle
to really spread its wings
and straighten up and fly right
and I am waiting
for the Age of Anxiety
to drop dead
and I am waiting
for the war to be fought
which will make the world safe
for anarchy
and I am waiting
for the final withering away
of all governments
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder

Thank you to self’s UCLA Extension student Cyndy for sharing this poem!

You can read the rest of it here, at the Poetry Foundation website.

Stay tuned.

Texture: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is TEXTURE. It’s about “the designs created by the water and sand,” about “layers,” and “strata.”

Here’s self’s first take:  Ripples on the sea (Amsterdam);  feathery ferns (Scotland); a designer hat (by Jean-Paul Gaultier)

The Sea, on a Cloudy Day (Amsterdam, July 2012)

The Sea, on a Cloudy Day (Amsterdam, July 2012)

Ferns and Grass:  Hawthornden, June 2012

Ferns and Grass: Hawthornden, June 2012

Textured Hat, Jean-Paul Gaultier (de Young Museum, April 2012)

Textured Hat, Jean-Paul Gaultier (de Young Museum, April 2012)

Self Got The Full-On Star Treatment From TAYO Magazine!

Oh the FEEELZ!

TAYO Magazine posted an interview with self.

Check it out.

The banner they used for self’s interview was a picture she took in The Red Room of Café Paradiso in Cork.  That is in fact the ceiling light. Love Ger and her cooking and her warmth and all her fun group of friends who invited self to share their champagne.

Self’s author pic was taken (years ago, cancha tell) by none other than the fabulous Stella Kalaw.

(It’s very funny because self thought all she was doing was having dinner — in Karilagan restaurant, just hailing distance from Max’s in South San Francisco — with Melissa Sipin-Gabon, fiction writer and editor of TAYO, and it turns out what she was actually doing was giving an interview. BWAH HA HA HAAAA!  If only self had an Effie Trinket around to prep for her propo! Any gaffes are entirely her own)

Stay tuned.

 

Poem for the First Monday of August (2014): Maiana Minahal

where is my country?

    by maiana minahal (Scroll to the bottom for a link to Maiana Minahal reading)

right now
in this country
someone wants me to answer
not here
just like last night
in this country
someone invited us to his party
with everyone else
but gave us the wrong directions
just like today
in this country
someone’s wife
hiding behind lacy white curtains
watches me and my brothers
certain that we want to break into her house

right now
someone’s crooked math
calculates how my foreign birth
proves my american roots shallow
twenty years long shallow
just like yesterday
someone’s denying eye
turned the page past my forefather’s obituary
the deceased american life
of another perpetual foreigner
just like last week
someone’s high school history book
forgets my filipino ancestors
started settling this country
in 1885
this history that
for one hundred years
for over one century
refused to see
their american births and deaths

right now
someone wants to take the words from my mouth
someone wants me to close my eyes
and stop listening

right now
i keep writing poems
my sisters and brothers and i
keep writing poems
for our brothers and sisters
for our children and grandchildren
in our country
my country
this country

The poem is from Maiana Minahal’s collection Sitting Inside Wonder (San Francisco:  Monkey Book Press, 2003).

Here’s Maiana, reading an excerpt from her poetry.  She was one of the contributors to the Filipino women’s anthology self co-edited with Virginia Cerenio, Going Home to a Landscape (Calyx Press, 2003).

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Condé Nast Traveler August 2014: The “Cruise Issue”

There is still time, dear blog readers.  There is still time to fantasize about taking a cruise this year.  One does not need to go all pity party and woe it sucks to be stuck at a desk job for the remainder of 2014.

According to Condé Nast Traveler, 49% of the magazine’s readers are planning to take a weeklong cruise in the next year (Rest assured, self is taking immediate steps to become a part of this demographic)

And here are several cruise recommendations, broken down by category:

For the Gourmand:

  • Celebrity Cruises’ “Top Chef at Sea”
  • Crystal Cruises’ “Microbrew Cruise”
  • MSC’s “Virtual Winery at Sea”

For the Workout Warriors:

  • Holland America’s “Great Alaskan Marathon Cruise”
  • Yoga Cruises’ Bend and stretch on the yachts Admiral and Atlantis
  • Crystal Cruises’ Golf cruises

For Music Lovers:

  • MSC’s “Holy Ship! Electronic Dance Music
  • Holland America’s “Country Music Cruise” on the Eurodam
  • Norwegian Cruise Lines’ “Grammy Festival at Sea: Women Who Rock!”

Some Really Specialty Niches:

For lovers of Steampunk:  Royal Caribbean

For lovers of Magic Shows:  Crystal Cruises

For indefatigable knitters (Caroline Kim-Brown, this one’s for you!): Ama Waterways

For Hobbit fandoms:  Royal Caribbean

For Nudists: Celebrity Cruise Lines

Stay tuned.

 

Tagged! Virtual Blog Tour

Self has a lot of catching up to do with regards to honoring the lovely Rashaan Alexis-Meneses’ tagging of Kanlaon for the Virtual Blog Tour.

She was tagged two weeks ago, but summer is always a blur.  In the summer, self’s brain seems to work at half-time.  Not. Kidding.

Nevertheless, she is now at full attention and ready to participate!

First things first:

THANKS MUCH, MZ RASHAAN:

“. . .  in your blog you acknowledge the people who invited you, answer four given questions about your work and your process, then invite three other people to participate.”

For this post only, self will drop the 3rd person arch-ness and go for first person SINCERE.

My responses are only slightly tongue-in-cheek.

What are you currently working on?

A series of speculative fiction stories, most of them flash, all of them intriguing. LOL LOL LOL

One of them, “The Elephant,” will appear in the next issue of Your Impossible Voice.

“The Secret Room” is already up, on Café Irreal.

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

I don’t “do” narratives of identity.

I write narratives of deformity.

We’re all monsters.  In one way or another.  Inside.

I dig deep to find that which makes us wretched.

Why do you write/ create what you do?

Because I can’t help myself.  And because writing, frankly, is the only thing I’m REALLY good at.

Honestly, if someone had told me, way back when, “Your life will be spent mostly in an empty room (empty of people, that is), writing stories of deep despondency, for which you will be paid nada,” I would promptly have said, “You’re crazy!” or, “You’re dreaming!” or, “Do you think I’m some kind of martyr?” Turns out I am all of those things:  crazy/demented dreamer/ martyr.  Maybe ALL writers are all of these things. Ugh. Welcome to my Pity Party.

How does your writing/ creating process work?

The angrier I am, the better I write.  So I try to stay angry.

I like to think of my process as SLASH AND BURN.

P. S.  It’s really fun to “do” anger in flash fiction.

*     *     *     *     *

Spreading the love to:  Stella Kalaw; Luisa Igloria; Kathleen Burkhalter

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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