Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: LEAVES

Love Cee’s Fun Foto Challenges!

Paris, May 2017: The Tuileries


Same day in May 2017, somewhere near L’Orangerie:


Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.



FAVORITE PLACE: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 21 March 2018

  • This week, share an image of your happy place . . .  (Cheri Lucas Rowlands, The Daily Post, 21 March 2018)

Self’s favorite place is her imagination.

It’s a place where anything can happen: where porcupines turn into lizards, where a teenager carries a woman on his back from San Francisco to Los Angeles because the Apocalypse has happened and people need to stick together, where a taciturn sea captain is the only person who can save humanity from an invasion of creatures called Longnecks who suddenly appear in the Bering Sea.


Children’s Book: Found it in son’s room, a week ago.

Self’s stories may not sound happy, but she is most happy when she is writing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Sentence of the Day: Sian Cain, The Guardian

As an antidote to the extremely respectful commentary The Economist has been according POTUS (which drives self crazy, she just might discontinue her subscription), here is The Guardian which really knows how to do satire:

The nicest thing anyone can say about US Vice President Mike Pence — a man who vigorously opposed marriage inequality and looks like an Action Man assembled from Play-Doh and cold cuts — is that he knows how to name a pet.

— from Vice-President Mike Pence disappears down the rabbit hole, by The Guardian’s Sian Cain, 20 March 2018

Tweaking the Reading List, Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Spent the day trying to stay warm and dry. It’s very cold here in Mendocino. A few minutes ago, rain started to come down.

Self tried to get into Empress of the East, had high hopes, but the first chapter, Abduction, isn’t really about how Roxelana, Slave-Girl-Turned-Empress-of-the-Ottoman-Empire, was abducted. Instead, it consists of page after page of speculation about the exact spot from where she was taken. Then, a few pages of how hard it was on captives. DUH. This is dull stuff.

Luckily, self brought the next book on her reading list to Mendocino. It’s The Book of Dust, by Philip Pullman. Opening sentence:

Three miles up the river Thames from the center of Oxford, some distance from where the great colleges of Jordan, Gabriel, Balliol, and two dozen others contended for mastery in the boat races, out where the city was only a collection of towers and spires in the distance over the misty levels of Port Meadow, there stood the Priory of Godstow, where the gentle nuns went about their holy business; and on the opposite bank from the priory there was an inn called the Trout.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

I’d Rather Be . . . In a Bookstore


Linda Nietes greeting a customer at the bookshop she owns, Philippine Expressions (Inside a 1920s building, 479 W. Sixth St., San Pedro, CA). Linda is 81 years old. She has been running bookstores all her life.

Last Saturday, 17 March, International Woman’s Day, Linda Nietes invited six Filipina authors to Philippine Expressions Bookshop in San Pedro to read from their work. The authors were: poets Angela Narciso Torres and Irene Suico Soriano, and prose writers Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, Prosy Abarquez-Delacruz, Tessie Jayme, and self. The reading was held in the beautiful lobby of a 1920s-era building on 479 W. Sixth Street:


Here’s son with Linda before the reading:


Beautiful Event. Self was honored to be a part of it.

Here’s Linda, in her own words, about why she does what she does:

  • It is a ministry, an advocacy, a labor of love, and the results cannot be counted in dollars and cents. It is fulfilling only to the person who accepts the responsibility of creating a greater awareness and a higher consciousness among members of our community. I have found the field, planted an orchard. Saplings are growing and some have already grown and are blooming and even fruiting. Lucky will be the generation that will just pick the fruits of my labor, but I do not mind that because I understand what the role of a trailblazer is! You blaze the trail so that people will find their way. I was inspired by a quote: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Worlds of Decay, Renewal Merge Unexpectedly”: Elegy for a City, San Francisco

  • Like a lot of people, I have mixed feelings about a walk in the city these days. The Sunday before, my companion and I had walked the streets of Washington, D.C. and marveled at how clean they were. On returning back home, it was clear how much of San Francisco was a mess, particularly downtown with its crowds of lost souls roaming filthy streets. — from Carl Nolte’s column, Native Son, in the San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, 18 March 2018

Don’t ever try to walk (alone) from the Asian Art Museum to Powell. Don’t. Even if it’s broad daylight, you will be accosted by xxx panhandlers, and some will be quite aggressive. Just saying. That stretch of San Francisco feels like Detroit. Or like a Third World city. The decay is absolutely heartbreaking.

Self tried it once, last year. Every few steps, someone said something to her. Like running a gauntlet. Don’t reach for your wallet, don’t hesitate. Keep your earbuds in place. Keep walking.

If that’s what it’s like in the daytime, can you imagine what it’s like at night? Downtown San Francisco is not a woman-friendly city.

(And on the streets, there are Teslas. And Jaguars)

Stay tuned.

THE MANDIBLES: A FAMILY, 2029 – 2047, p. 262

Gosh, self loves this book now. She’s going to have to up her Goodreads rating for it. She initially gave it two stars, then upped it to three. But, on the basis of what she’s read thus far, she’ll up it another star: to four.

The novel follows each member of the Mandibles family as they deal with being broke and unattractive (Being broke is a far different condition than being poor: being poor is a situation you can’t always help; being broke is absolutely the result of mis-calculation or hubris or something, and there’s a lot of blame involved) in a not-so-distant future (2029, it says so right in the title)


For the better part of the last year, Avery had taken refuge in toil: scrubbing, dishwashing, mending, chopping and laundry . . .  Swallowing her umbrage, she coached Goog on his Spanish. She only panicked when she ran out of tasks. Drudgery was therapeutic. Were she ever to start another practice, she’d have all her patients mop the floor.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Art Speaks: Mary Rose Kaczorowski


“Redwood Mary” by Mary Rose Kaczorowski, Fort Bragg, CA

Self bought this card from one of her favorite bookshops: Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino.

The art is by Fort Bragg artist Mary Rose Kaczorowski.

The sentiment speaks to the current political climate, so self wanted to share.

Remember, #NeverAgainIsNow and #MarchForOurLives #March24


I’d Rather Be . . . On a Boat

San Pedro Marina, this morning. Just behind the forest of masts, the San Pedro Naval Shipyard, the largest shipyard self has ever seen.


San Pedro Marina, the Day After a Reading at Philippine Expressions Bookshop on W. Sixth Street, San Pedro

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Also Reading: THE MANDIBLES, A FAMILY, 2029 – 2047

On March 11, five days ago, self (suffering from post-AWP Tampa exhaustion) decided not to finish reading The Mandibles: A Family. It follows the various members of a (mostly) affluent East Coast family named the Mandibles (What kind of name is that? How can she relate to any character whose last name is Mandible?)

Nevertheless, having already devoted three nights in Tampa to getting through this book, she decided to plough on. After all, it’s about how to deal when all your money is gone. There may be life lessons here, self thought.

She was correct!

Now, five days later, she’s halfway.  One member of the family is beginning to stand out, and he’s just a kid. His name is Willing, and he’s very smart. The more she reads about Willing, the more she sees parallels with the Parkland kids, David Hogg et. al., who have become thorns in the side of Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Mitch McConnell, the NRA, and Fox news pundits like Sean Hannity.

In a section on p. 203, a hapless Mandible named Lowell reflects on what he finds so irritating about his nephew, Willing:

But this Willing kid had slathered on an extra level of crapola, and unless his performance the previous evening was a one-off display to impress visiting relatives, Lowell could be throttling the little bastard within the week. The boy glowed with divine inspiration, as if he had a personal psychic hotline to the late editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal.

lol  lol  lol

Stay tuned.


Poetry Friday: San Francisco Native Son, Tony Robles

From Fingerprints of a Hunger Strike, by Tony Robles (San Francisco: Ithuriel’s Spear, 2017):

An Excerpt from Proud

City of St. Francis
I’m proud
Of being
Loved by you

And don’t worry,
I don’t hold that
Eviction against you

But it did come
As a surprise,
All wrapped in a
Gauze colored envelope

Just the way
It goes, I guess

I’d lived there
45 years, grew up
There, Mom’s died
There, at home,
Where she belonged

I got 60 days
To vacate

I’m proud
Of being loved
By you

And Mr. Fare Inspector,
I don’t got no ill feeling
Towards you for looking me
Up and down as though I
Were defective while you
Scrawled my life story on
That ticket you wrote me,
Legible only to a doctor or

I’m proud
Of being
Loved by you


Tony Robles’s Love/Hate Book About San Francisco Is Beautiful and Tragic

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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