Cordelia, Sebastian’s Sister (Age: 10)

“You are fond of wine?”

“Very.”

“I wish I were. It is such a bond with other men. At Magdalen I tried to get drunk more than once, but I did not enjoy it. Beer and whisky I find even less appetizing. Events like this afternoon’s are a torment to me in consequence.”

“I like wine,” said Cordelia.

Tuesday Photo Challenge: SCALE

For the first time in over 10 years, self went to the supermarket and bought a bottle of vodka. In the back of her mind was something a friend had told her: that alcohol contains a natural anti-viral agent. The vodka was set out right at the end of the liquor aisle, an open invitation: Smirnoff, Ketel One, Grey Goose, Belvedere. She nearly picked up the Smirnoff then decided that if she was going to self-isolate, she deserved the best.

In the meantime, she’s cleaning out the closets in son’s room. And found a whole bunch of Lego figures. She scattered them on the floor and took pictures. VOILA! Scale!

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For contrast, a picture she took in the Antiquities gallery of the British Museum, May 2019:

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Glass, Cups, Saucers

WHAT FUN! Self loves Glass, Cups, and Saucers. Just in general. Thank you, Cee Neuner!

Good morning, Silay! Hometown of Dear Departed Food Writer Doreen G. Fernandez: Self visited in September.

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Gamboa House, Silay: September 2019

Hello, Ateneo Classmates! Reunion Dinner

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Makati, September 2019

Hello, Prague! At the Globe Bookstore/Coffeeshop. Self was in Prague with her niece, Irene.

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May 2019

What a year 2019 was!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Last Short Story in Someone Who Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory

More of the You that You Already Are

The Situation: The narrator works in a theme park called (self thinks) PresidentLand, and his job is to pretend to be Chester A. Arthur, which as we all know is not as fun as pretending to be FDR or even Jimmy Carter. Anyhoo, the narrator’s sister is also dying of cancer. And he needs to work because that is how he pays for her medical insurance. One day, his mother calls:

Your sister is going into surgery and she is very scared.

And I’m like, You want to get a job? Cause if not, who is going to pay for this surgery?

And she’s like, You know I can’t work on account of my shaky hands.

And I go, I know, Mom. Could you put Ramona on, please?

I wander into the midway and linger by the McKinley Shooting Gallery.

Ramona takes the phone and goes, I wish you were here. Mom is being so crazy.

And I go, I wish I was there too. How are you doing? Mom says you’re scared?


And right there is when self’s heart breaks into a million little pieces.

Self’s Dear Departed Dad said, before he died, I’m scared.

And self’s Dear Departed sister looked at self with such fear, and then she died (She was 34, she got streptococcal pneumonia)

And then self’s DEAREST Sister-in-Law Ying, who was more like self’s sister, got leukemia Stage IV and told self, I’m scared. And then SHE died.

SPOILER ALERT    SPOILER ALERT     SPOILER ALERT

The narrator manages to sneak out of the theme park (first stashing the head of his President, Chester A. Arthur, behind some bushes) and rushes to the hospital and he’s really upset and asks a doctor if his sister’s dead. The doctor says, “No, not dead, no! She’s just comatose.”

Self really feels for this story because when she was a lowly adjunct professor in Foothill Community College, her Dear Departed Sister-in-Law, Ying, was dying in Tel Aviv. And out of a feeling of terrible desperation, self took one week off and gave her class make-up assignments and flew to Tel Aviv. And when she returned to her class, the Dean was extremely extremely irate. And self never did recover her footing after that. Because Ying died. She died a few days after self had returned to teaching. So that was a really bad time. The worst. Also because the Dean cut her no slack. That was so long ago now that self hardly feels any anger at the Dean when she writes this.

Stay tuned.

 

From a Friend in New South Wales

Thank you for thinking of us. Most days we wake up with smoke haze, some days worse than most. There are a few bad days where visibility is less than 100 m.

My brother-in-law lives seven minutes away. He lives close to the bush. He received a text to be ready to evacuate. He asked if he could stay in our house, just in case. There were spot fires near him.

It is sad that people have lost their houses and homes, right after Christmas.

I sometimes wonder if this is the “new normal”? It is not sustainable. Definitive proof of climate change.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 77: 2019 FAVORITES

Great theme!

In 2019, self traveled the world. Her life triangulated between home in Redwood City, California, to England and Ireland, to the Philippines. Side trip to Prague with her niece, Irene!

Here goes, all the images that mattered most to self in 2019, arranged from most recent — December 2019 — to the earliest, January 2019: Starting with her home in Redwood City in early December; to London’s Blackfriar station; to Manggapuri Villa in Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental, Philippines; to Prague; to Oxford University’s Exam School for Alice Oswald’s first reading as Oxford’s first woman Poet in Residence; to Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park; to the Main House of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig; to the fire pit in Manggapuri Villas; to the Daku Balay in Bacolod City, the Philippines; to self’s bedroom; to the Blue Room in Café Paradiso in Cork, Ireland; to Fowey in Cornwall; to Courthouse Square, Redwood City; to the cover of last winter’s issue of Prairie Schooner, which included her story Things She Can Take

Stay tuned.

TUESDAY PHOTO CHALLENGE: Common

I adore this week’s Tuesday Photo Challenge.

  • Common… Whether it is the every day, common object or the things that you have in common, or crossing the town common…

There is such beauty in everyday things.

While at Philz, Looking Through Old Photos: Self with Masako Sato, Dearest Mum

Self’s Dystopian Imagination

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Lake Annagmakerrig: 4:30 a.m., 8 November 2018

Boy was the last of four. Alive just this morning. Fell through the ice chasing after a shadow that he thought was food.

What food. What a fool. There’s no food on the ice. Not on top, not under.

Hadn’t he told the boy, over and over: Watch the sky. The food will come as a drop.

I been watching, the boy said. For weeks.

— from self’s short story “Ice”

Her piece was published in Bellingham Review’s annual on-line issue, November 2017.

Read it in its entirety, here.

Stay tuned.

Tee-Hee, Rachel Kushner

The Mars Room is so in-your-face, so sassy.

It mentions Carol Doda and there is indeed a San Francisco institution called Carol Doda. In fact, on self’s first family trip to the United States (She was 13), her father was super-excited to get to San Francisco to see a Carol Doda performance. But Carol Doda was already pretty old by then, so he was vastly disappointed. In fact, when self asked her father when he got back to the hotel later that night what he thought of Carol Doda he had this look on his face and said only one word: “Old.” (Come to think of it, it is pretty wild that she, a convent girl from the Philippines, was asking her father what he thought of San Francisco’s most famous stripper. Wilder is that he thought self had asked a perfectly legitimate question because he answered in all sincerity)

Since The Mars Room is set in San Francisco, self wondered if there was an actual — ehem! — establishment. She guesses not because the only place she could find after googling was a Mars Bar and Restaurant on Brennan.

In Rachel Kushner’s novel, the manager of the Mars Room is called D’ARTAGNAN.

RUDE!

Self loves it.

Stay tuned.

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