Horizon: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Magalang, Pampanga, September 2013: It's more like a city than a town.

Magalang, Pampanga, September 2013: It’s more like a city than a town.

Returning to Ca' San Toma on the vaporetto (from an outing to Burano and Torcello):  April 2013

Returning to Ca’ San Toma on the vaporetto (from an outing to Burano and Torcello): April 2013

Above Sutro Baths.  Do you see how lovely the San Francisco weather can be in June?

Above Sutro Baths. Do you see how lovely the San Francisco weather can be in June?

 

 

 

Cadence: Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo’s “The Painting”

With any luck, self will finally get to the last story of The Best Philippine Short Stories of the Twentieth Century, edited by Isagani Cruz, which she began reading — oh, let’s see — about a decade ago.

The story self is reading at the moment is a marvel of unreliable narration.  The fact that the narrator is a young priest (from an illustrious family — even better!) makes the story feel very “slippery.”

The story begins with the priest telling the story of his family’s connection to the national hero (and there is only one, so if you are Filipino then you know who that hero is).

We proceed to the sacred mountain, and to the cult that venerates Jose Rizal as a minor deity.  And to the native priestesses — call them babaylan, if you wish.

I wonder if any of you have ever seen these priestesses.  They are impressive individuals.  All have a commanding presence, and some are strikingly beautiful.  This one was very tall and very fair, with strongly chiseled features in an ageless face; large, penetrating eyes, and long hair drawn back in a bun.  She had changed from her vestments into a loose white robe and was sitting in one of the wooden benches to one side of the chapel, where she always received people who wished to consult with her.

The Suprema was speaking with someone whose appearance was a striking contrast to hers — a woman in her late forties or early fifties, perhaps, of medium height, plain-looking, and a little on the stout side, her hair cut short, as though she did not wish to be bothered with it.  She wore thick glasses and a simple dress of some unfashionable color — I believe it was purple.  One of her shoes had fallen off, and she was swinging a bare foot to and fro as she talked.  They appeared to be having a good time, for their conversation was punctuated by laughter.

Dear blog readers, self can hardly wait to see where this story is going!

Stay tuned.

Inspired by Stephen King Interview in Vanity Fair, October 2013

Today, self lugged around the huge September 2013 issue of Vanity Fair, the one with Kate Upton and her magnificent, hydraulic chest on the cover.  She had to remind herself to turn it over so that it wouldn’t cause anyone to do a double-take.

The Proust Questionnaire is with Stephen King, one of her absolute faves.  One of the questions was:

Who are your favorite writers?

King responded:  Cormac McCarthy, John Le Carré, John Sandford, Margaret Atwood, Michael Connolly, Lee Child, Ruth Rendell, Patricia Highsmith, Larry McMurtry . . .

The list causes self to think back.  Specifically, to the books she read in 2012.  Which ones stood out in her memory?

  • Caesar:  Life of a Colossus, by Adrian Goldsworthy
  • Atonement, by Ian McEwan
  • The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food, by Jennifer 8. Lee
  • Human Smoke, by Nicholson Baker
  • The Mezzanine, by Nicholson Baker
  • How Doctors Think, by Jerome Groopman, M.D.
  • The Beautiful and The Damned, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Finder, by Colin Harrison (This one she read in, of all places, PARIS)
  • I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Essays About Being a Woman, by Nora Ephron
  • The Last Empress, by Anchee Min
  • A Voyage Long and Strange:  Rediscovering the New World, by Tony Horwitz
  • Dreams From My Father, by Barack Obama
  • Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, by Rhoda Janzen
  • Loot:  The Battle Over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World, by Sharon Waxman

So far this year, the most memorable books self has read are:

  • The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin
  • Fiasco:  The American Military Adventure in Iraq, by Thomas E. Ricks
  • La’s Orchestra Saves the World, by Alexander McCall Smith
  • A Passage to India, by E. M. Forster
  • Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel
  • The Quiet American, by Graham Greene
  • The Leopard, by Giuseppe di Lampedusa
  • Sister Carrie, by Theodore Dreiser
  • Little Heathens:  Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression, by Mildred Armstrong Kalish
  • Out Stealing Horses, by Per Petterson
  • Don Quijote, by Miguel de Cervantes, in a translation by Burton Raffel
  • Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
  • The Human Factor, by Graham Greene
  • In Praise of Messy Lives, by Katie Roiphe

Perusing the two lists, the authors self might describe as her favorites are:  Nicholson Baker, Jerome Groopman, Anchee Min, Tony Horwitz, Gretchen Rubin, E. M. Forster, Hilary Mantel, Graham Greene, Giuseppe di Lampedusa, Theodore Dreiser, Miguel de Cervantes, Leo Tolstoy, and Katie Roiphe.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

The Hue of You 4: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Manggoes so sweet and fresh (take self home) . . .

Fresh Mango for Breakfast at Abe's Farm, Magalang, Pampanga

Fresh Mango for Breakfast at Abe’s Farm, Magalang, Pampanga:  September 2013

The colors of the walls in the restaurant were so striking:

With Alawi Canlas at Kabigting's, famous for its halo-halo:  September 2013

With Alawi Canlas at Kabigting’s, famous for its halo-halo: September 2013

The streets of any Asian city are so full of the hum and noise of traffic.  The streets are visual feasts as well.

Streets of Manila:  September 2013

Streets of Manila: September 2013

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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