Still the First Wednesday Post-Washington DC Trip: No Longer Cleaning the House

The house is reasonably clean.  That is, the living room doesn’t have any dog hair balls.  But now self notices that the hardwood floor is badly in need of refurbishing.  And the house plants by the window facing the street look a little peaked.

Instead of cleaning further, self will water (Later, when it cools down a bit).  And then she will do laundry.

Self did a couple of errands, which took her to Menlo Park (Guy Plumbing & Fixtures, El Camino Real; the dry-cleaner’s), then to Sequoia Station in Redwood City, where she:

  • Looked up Yasmina Reza’s novels in Barnes & Noble:  nope, they don’t carry any of them (Self knows of two)
  • Went to Safeway and bought a bag of mesquite charcoal briquets in preparation for next week’s visit of sole fruit of her loins (She also bought four huge avocados:  $5 for 4.  Self loves these, mashed with evaporated milk and drizzled with sugar.  BTW, there goes self’s diet!)

Self discovered that Safeway no longer stocks The New York Times.  This presents a small problem because now she will have to get her Times from either:  a)  Starbucks, and they only carry about five copies a day:  If self doesn’t go early enough in the morning, they are usually sold out; or  b) Whole Foods, which she has avoided like the plague since getting back from Bacolod, because the cake display is right by the entrance (!!!@@##)

Well, self does make it to Whole Foods.  She believes she deserves a pat on the back for restricting herself to buying only one small dessert (fruit tart), which she is saving for the husband.

And then she opens the Times, and in short order discovers the following:

  • The name of Michelle Obama’s initiative to counter childhood obesity is “Let’s Move.”  The whole country is very admiring of how slender the Obama girls are, and we are constantly reminded of this by Mrs. Obama’s emphasis on how unhealthy fat kids are.  Not to mention:  un-attractive.  Self speaks from personal experience because she was once a Fat Kid herself.  And she had no dates in high school.  Though that may have more to do with the “nerd” factor than with her weight.
  • The Kurds, according to an article by J. Michael Kennedy (p. A6), “are the largest ethnic group in the world without a state.”

Here are the countries featured in the rest of the “International News”:  China (missing persons; a British national dying in Chongqing under suspicious circumstances), Palestine, and Egypt.

Self is mighty interested in the case of the dead British national.  His body was cremated before post-mortem, his friends described him as a “light” drinker (even though Chinese authorities attributed his death to “excessive alcohol consumption”), and the prime suspect is a local politician’s wife, who the British national had inadvertently angered by – – – doing what, exactly?  Self reads almost to the last paragraph, and she never discovers what the British guy did to make the wife of the local Chinese official so angry, angry enough to want to murder him.

And then there is an article about the trial of the Norwegian mass murderer.  Thankfully, this doesn’t show him raising his fist in some kind of Nazi-like salute, which self finds extremely sickening.  In some photos, he is even smirking.  But she has only the utmost respect for the Norwegians, who did not “tighten up” their security restrictions in the aftermath of the tragedy, even though the number of murder victims (77) is horrifically large, particularly for a country whose entire population is only 5 million.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

1st Wednesday Post-Washington DC Trip: Cleaning the House

It is another gorgeous day.  Self’s hands are full of little cuts from pruning and re-planting a small rose bush.  The old wound, the one she got just a few days before leaving for Washington DC, is completely healed.

She wonders if she should bother getting a pedicure.  In anticipation of son and Jennie visiting next week.  And besides, with the weather warming up, it is so nice to have pretty toe-nails to show off when wearing sandals.  While self and the husband were in DC, self couldn’t help noticing that blue and yellow and lime green were popular among the women of DC.  The ones, that is, who were wearing sandals on the gorgeous last day of the trip, Sunday 15 April, when the husband and self were strolling from one museum to another.

Niece G is so excited to see son and Jennie, and so is self.  In fact, the whole world is excited, because yesterday afternoon, self started a conversation with her neighbor, Claudio, and after she told him that son and his girlfriend would be visiting next week, Claudio said to be sure they stop by to say hello.  He’ll even serve them Prosecco, and then he might ask son and Jennie to show off some fancy dance moves, because Claudio’s wife Mary loves to dance.

Anyhoo, as self just got through saying, it is a gorgeous day, and her pants are tight.  She lives in absolute horror of returning to Bacolod and hearing the laundry woman at L’Fisher Chalet say:  “Tumaba ka.” (You’ve gotten fat).  During self’s most recent Bacolod visit, the laundry woman said it, at least three times.  Then she added this final dagger in self’s heart:  “If you keep gaining weight, the next time you come, WHAT will you look like?”

The only solution is to not eat.  Not eat for days.

Self has also undertaken to poke into the backs of all her cabinet drawers, and she keeps pulling out sheets of yellowing newspaper.  One sheet is wrapped around a still-unopened package labeled:


Bulong Sa Nervios, Suloksulok, Panuko, Panlibang Kurog, Malaria Kag Bulao

Self thinks this is Ilonggo, not Tagalog.  And she is proven correct when she reads, at the bottom of the label, the words ILOILO PHILIPPINES.

In addition, she comes across a very old newspaper called Ohlone College Monitor.  She has a feeling she hung on to it for one reason only.  Again, self is proven correct, for at the bottom of p. 1 is an article titled “Filipino Writer Speaks to Class.”

Of course, it’s about herself.  The writer is Clarissa Aljentera (probably has a husband and three kids by now:  the issue is dated 1997!)

Here’s an excerpt:

She was on campus last Tuesday night to speak to the Filipino American Literature class.

She is the author of the book Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila.  This was about the time when Ferdinand Marcos was in power in the Philippines.

However, this wasn’t her first published work.  She had written “Siko” as part of the book The Forbidden Stitch.  After that anthology came out in 1989, her name started to get spread around the Filipino-American community.

Okey-dokey!  Must get back to cleaning.  Stay tuned!

Still the First Tuesday, Post-Washington DC

This was an extremely eventful day!  Sent out two stories, both long-ish:  one was 27 pages the other 19.   The longer one is set in 2007 (Silicon Valley, experiencing recession meltdown), the other in 1521.  Self even got to Marina Foods, in Hillsdale (She needs this Asian supermarket, at least once a month) and bought:

  • a pound of Tiger Shrimp ($7.99)
  • a 10-lb. bag of Thai Jasmine rice ($9.99)
  • a gallon of Kikkoman soy sauce ($4.99)
  • “Extra-lean” ground pork (2 lbs., forget what the cost per pound was)
  • Russet Potatoes
  • Five heads of garlic

and sundry other less interesting items

She wanted to get Nuri “maanghang” na sardinas (spiced Portuguese sardines), but the tins looked as if they had shrunk (like everything else!), and they were $3.99 each.  (For those of you unfamiliar with this particular item, self happened to dredge up a very good picture of it, here)

And she even hand-watered!  (11 buckets)

The day was gorgeous.  Self could not bring herself to finish The Five People You Meet in Heaven.  She lost interest about halfway through, when she encountered yet another flashback in the life of main protagonist, Eddie:  He’s in Vietnam.  Usually, self loves fiction about war (any war), but the Vietnam scenes in The Five People You . . .  struck self as rather contrived.

So now self is beginning the next book on her reading list:  Jennifer 8. Lee’s The Fortune Cookie Chronicles:  Adventures in the World of Chinese Food.

And, she also managed to pick up a book from the library:  Elaine Pagels’ Reading Judas:  The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity.  Here’s an interview conducted with Pagels.

She even got to watch a teensy bit of Judge Judy, and guffawed when the Judge yelled at a male defendant, who was refusing to pay his child’s emergency room bill:  “Stupidity is not a defense!”  Even the man who was on the receiving end of this admonition couldn’t help cracking a smile.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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