WIT’S END: A Novel About a Novelist and Her At-Loose-Ends Niece

Self is on pp. 172 – 173 of Karen Joy Fowler’s Wit’s End.

She has been enjoying it, not least because the characters are Democrats (They wear their political affiliations on their sleeve. But of course they do: they live in Santa Cruz, CA).

A character owns a pair of dogs named Stanford and Berkeley. Self almost dropped the book because of that but she’s so glad she didn’t.

Anyhoo, the book makes her all sorts of nostalgic for Santa Cruz, CA. For its wooden roller coaster and its Boardwalk and its blue and pink cotton candy and the Ripley Believe It Or Not hall of funhouse mirrors.

Sample dinner conversation between a famous mystery writer and her niece, Rima:

“I remember once when you were about four years old. We went out to eat and you told the waitress you wanted a petite filet mignon. She just about dropped her pencil.”

“I was always saying something cute after you left. Hardly a day went by.”

“This puts the Democrats in very good shape for 2008.”

“There’s even corn in the toothpaste now. Did I mention that?”

Something wet landed on Rima’s ankle. Stanford was drooling; it brought her back to the moment.

Regarding that petite filet mignon: when self still lived in Manila, Dearest Mum’s youngest brother married a nineteen-year-old. The first time self met the prospective bride was at dinner in San Mig Pub in Greenbelt Park. And the teen-ager ordered — steak tartare. Dearest Mum was so impressed she couldn’t stop talking about it.

Until that moment, self had never laid eyes on a steak tartare. And she’s never had a yen to order it, either. That means self will probably end her days without ever tasting this singular delight, boo.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

‘Chaos’ Photo Challenge: Other Views

These blogs captured self’s attention this morning:

Stay tuned.

More Nostalgia for Venice

More from the watershed trip self took with Margarita Donnelly (founder and managing editor of Calyx Press) in April/May 2013, less than two years before she succumbed to cancer. We rented a small two-bedroom apartment in Ca’ San Toma, Venice. Margarita’s adventurous spirit far exceeded self’s.

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The Bridge of Sighs, April 2013: View From the Doge’s Palace

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San Marco Square on a Rainy April Day

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Self on the Rialto Bridge, April 2013: Margarita must have taken the picture. Even though self’s face isn’t visible, she really likes this picture for the mysterious red umbrella.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Nostalgia of Others

Of course, nostalgia is something that affects everyone differently. We’d love to know what kinds of experiences you’ve had that stir these emotions for the past in you.

— Jeff Golenski, The Daily Post

Here are some WordPress blogs whose takes on this week’s photo challenge, NOSTALGIA, intrigued self:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Nostalgia: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 30 September 2016

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is NOSTALGIA:

  • What kinds of experiences stir emotions for the past within you?

The Philippines, specifically Bacolod City, where her father grew up, is the locus of all of self’s nostalgia. And of course, Dearest Mum, who met self’s Dear Departed Dad when she was a young pianist in New York City, and Dear Departed Dad was in Georgetown Law School.

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The Daku Balay, Burgos Street, Negros Occidental: The Philippines. Self’s grandfather built this house, at the time the tallest structure in Bacolod City. Self’s father was born in this house.

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Dearest Mum, in Her Early 30s

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Bacolod City, Negros Occidental: June 2012

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

That’s What He Said

He: What’s the matter? You sound really, really sad.

He, 10 years later: You’re the only one responsible for the shit you’re feeling.

Stay tuned.

Still More Edges: Harvesting Sugarcane, Negros Occidental (Home/the Philippines)

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Edge of Family’s Fields: Negros Occidental, the Philippines

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Path cleared for a tractor.

And one more:

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Hinoba-an, Negros Occidental

Check out a few more WordPress bloggers who posted on EDGE:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

BRAZILLIONAIRES, Further Thoughts

Reading about Brazil is a lot like reading about the Philippines. A lot.

It’s not just the income disparity (Can you believe the Philippine president called POTUS a name — a pretty potent term that you only reserve for your worst enemy! Blush blush!), it’s the chaos.

Yesterday, there was a message from Dearest Mum on self’s cell phone.

She didn’t think anything of it but today she returned Dearest Mum’s call and how self knows that this is real: the maid, someone self has never met, asked who was calling, and when self said BATCHOY (Childhood nickname. Means FATSO. Even her college professors at the Ateneo called her this. Funny, when it’s self’s birthday on Facebook, her Filipino friends greet her saying BATCHOY and then her American friends scratch their heads and say, Mind explaining who BATCHOY is? LOL), the maid said, Oh, yes! Your mother has been waiting for your call! 

Which made self all kinds of guilty.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Frame: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 26 August 2016

Another interesting Photo Challenge from The Daily Post!

Self was inspired by fellow bloggers Cerita Riyanti and  Serendipity.

So many beautiful examples of framing.

Here are a couple of self’s:

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The Huntington Gardens, Pasadena, California

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Window Seat, Unit # 1, Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig, Ireland

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Self received a small ceramic lamp (Shaped like a cottage, with one wall cut away, the lamp is about eight inches tall) as a present from her parents when she was about three or four. Made in Japan. Who knows why this tableaux from Little Red Riding Hood was made the subject. Decades later, self is a writer whose love of fairy tales continues unabated to this day.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

SWIMMING STUDIES: About Pools

Maybe because self is reading Swimming Studies, she starts looking up information on Land’s End and the Sutro Baths.

The magnate who developed Sutro Baths was named Sutro (Duh, but of course!).

Sutro Baths was the centerpiece of a resort bordering the Pacific. San Franciscans could get there by paying 5 cents for a trolley ride.

In a way, self understands what Sutro was aiming for, because her very own grandfather built a resort, right in the middle of sugar cane fields in Barangay Granada in Negros Occidental in the Philippines.

Self’s grandfather, like Sutro, was a populist. The most loyal patrons of Santa Fe Resort are workers. The entrance fee is still ridiculously low because self’s family understands the demographic: the patrons come from the surrounding fields, workers wanting a break. It was called Santa Fe because her grandfather loved American westerns. In addition, he had a huge crush on the American swimmer/film star Esther Williams, so there’s a statue of her in Santa Fe, in Barangay Granada.

Self’s grandfather built an Olympic-size pool which remains a major draw to this day: It was the first, and possibly still the only, Olympic-size pool in the Philippines.

Who does that? Who has such a crush on Esther Williams that he builds an Olympic-size pool in the middle of an island. Not only in the middle of an island, in the middle of sugar cane fields.

When journalists come to write about self’s island, they never mention Santa Fe Resort. It’s such an eccentric thing, the location. The fact is, it’s nowhere near a beach. Consequently, there is no tourist traffic. There are no Chinese, Japanese, South Korean, American or Europeans. In Santa Fe Resort, you will encounter Filipinos. Just Filipinos.

It is a resort built by a man who only got a high school education. A resort for the people who live within a few kilometers, who are from that place.

Self spent every summer of her childhood there.

Sometimes she wonders if those summers were the reason she is a writer now. Because, her grandfather showed her: you can do anything, if you use your imagination.

It is a terrible thing is to have no imagination, to have your dreams stay small.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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