Motion 2: Royal Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum, Drumheller, Alberta

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is MOTION:

Some situations lend themselves to “action” photography: sports, dance, the wind gusting through trees on a stormy evening, but anything that can move is a candidate for these types of shots.

Today, her cousins took her to the Royal Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum in Drumheller, a fascinating museum.

Soft-shell

Soft-shell “Pancake” Turtle at The Royal Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum. This was a live specimen, not a fossil, and it moved pretty fast across its tank. Self tried at least 10 pictures before she gave up trying to get a clear shot.

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Excuse the blur. Self resolutely refuses to use flash.

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Early Bird 3: Good Morning, Calgary

It is self’s first time to be in this Canadian city. She’s on her way to the Writer’s Studio at Banff. By chance, she has Bacolod cousins here. Amazing synchronicity! She’s spending a few days with them.

A Prairie Subdivision

A Prairie Subdivision

It is huge. A prairie city.

Self still posting on the theme EARLY BIRD:

This week, I encourage you to set your alarm for the early hours, grab your first (several) cups of coffee, and challenge yourself to capture an outstanding photograph in the early morning light.

Without further ado, Early Bird, Calgary edition:

Good morning, Calgary!

Good morning, Calgary!

First stop of the day, a nearly deserted Calgary Olympic Park:

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The Olympic Flame, Calgary Olympic Park

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Afloat 3: St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin; A Pet Turtle in Bacolod

More on the WordPress Photo Challenge, AFLOAT.

Self took the first two pictures when she was in Dublin, May 2014. It was her first time ever to Ireland. She walked along Grafton Street, met author Catherine Dunne for lunch at Bewley’s, then walked around St. Stephen’s Green.

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The water in the lake had a sort of mineral quality that self has never seen anywhere else.

And this is a picture of Manong Freddie’s pet turtle in Bacolod. Turtles bring good luck:

Manong Freddie's pet turtle

Manong Freddie’s pet turtle

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Blur 4: Self’s Head Is Still in Winter

It had been decades since self had ridden on Amtrak. But when she lived in New York City, and her sister was still taking her MBA in Wharton, she used to take trains all the time.

Last month, she visited one of her sister’s closest friends, Kathleen Burkhalter, who is now Mrs. David Bell and lives in New Bedford, Massachusetts. It was officially spring, but the landscape was still snowy.

View From the Train Heading from New York (Penn Station) to Providence, RI

View From the Train Heading from New York (Penn Station) to Providence, RI

When self lived in New York, she started out sharing the basement of a house in Flushing, then moved to a sublet on 8th and First. She loved New York with a passion.

Returning last month, she saw her first heavy snowfall in decades. The snow coated the sidewalks, the streets, the trees in Central Park.

Trees, Central Park, March 2015

Trees, Central Park, March 2015

Finally, Bjork’s Swan Dress.

Self managed to catch the Bjork retrospective at the NY Museum of Modern Art.

What.A.Fascinating.Exhibit.

Self took many pictures of the dress. But since this week’s Photo Challenge theme is BLUR, she picked one of the blurry ones:

The Infamous Swan Dress, the Bjork Retrospective at the New York Museum of Modern Art, March 2015

The Infamous Swan Dress, the Bjork Retrospective at the New York Museum of Modern Art, March 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Story “Rufino” (from MAYOR OF THE ROSES, Self’s 2nd Collection)

Towards the end, he couldn’t wear any clothes. They had to cover him in banana leaves.

It was in July he died — I couldn’t believe it. A voice on the phone told me.

“Rufino died na.” It was my mother speaking. Naturally, she had to be the one to break the news.

I was staying in a friend’s house in the Santa Cruz Mountains. In the mornings, fog blanketed the hills. We heard the mournful mooing of invisible cows. One or another of us would look east, toward where we heard Neil Young had his ranch, wondering whether we’d catch a glimpse of his pink Cadillac that day.

*     *     *     *     *

Mayor of the Roses was published by Miami University Press in 2005. The press was known as publishers of the American Poetry Series. Self’s collection was the first book of fiction that Miami University Press ever published.

Heartfelt thanks to Brian Ascalon Roley for bringing the manuscript to the attention of the press and Keith Tuma.

The collection’s been taught at Bates College (Maine), Pampanga Agricultural College (Magalang, Philippines), Skyline College, and Stanford University.

One story, “Lenox Hill, December 1991,” was in the syllabus of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, in a course on Ethics and Medicine.

Never Forget This

Self was about to start grad school at Stanford University.

Dearest Mum went with her. We did a jaunt to LA and stayed with a distant relative in Glendale.

The relative’s name was Lucy. She was living with an American guy named Bob. She drank a tall glass of green liquid every morning, she said it was good for you: pure chlorophyll.

Self tried a bit and it tasted disgusting, the consistency of mucus.

One night, Dearest Mum and self returned to Lucy’s home to find it dark, locked, nobody home. We drove around for hours, just waiting for Lucy to show up. This was the era before cell phones, so the only recourse we had were to use payphones.

Dearest Mum spied one in front of a liquor store. She said, Get in there and use the phone.

Self said, What? No! It’s a liquor store!

Nevertheless, self being a very obedient 21-year-old, she got down from the car and used the payphone that was right in front of the entrance. Dearest Mum remained in the car. When self turned around after making a series of fruitless calls to Lucy, she saw that a car had pulled up right next to Dearest Mum. Two men were inside that car, staring intently at Dearest Mum, who was clutching the steering wheel with both hands. Self would call that “a white-knuckle clutch.”

Whereupon, self jumped back into the car, Dearest Mum va-voomed out of the parking lot with screeching tires, and we drove around and around for two more hours, until we were pulled over by a policeman.

The policeman walked over to Dearest Mum’s window and shone a flashlight straight into her face.

What is it, Officer? Dearest Mum coo-ed in her sweetest, most girl-y voice.

Ma’am, we pulled you over because we thought you might be drunk.

What? Me? Drunk? Dearest Mum’s voice dripped outrage.

Well, the Officer said, I see you’re not drunk, Ma’am. But here’s the thing: me and my partner have been following you for a bit because: A) You braked on a green light; B) You switched lanes in the middle of an intersection; and C) This is the fourth time you’ve passed this corner.

BWAH. HA. HA. HAAAAA! Self had to assume her best poker face during the exchange.

Now I’ll tell you what, Ma’am, quoth the cop. You see this big intersection right here? You make a left at that intersection, and you keep going, and you keep going, and you don’t stop until you see this big hotel, and you wait in that hotel for your friend to get home.

Self doesn’t know why it never occurred to her to share this story before.

Stay tuned.

Yellow 4: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Visiting friends in Benicia (good friends of The Man from his college days in the Ateneo).

And their garden is beautiful! So fecund!

And the sun was out today! The sky is so blue!

Here are the spots of yellow self saw today:

Zoe, 9, got this sewing kit for Christmas! And it has yellow fabric that Zoe is preparing to make into a dress!

Zoe, 9, got this sewing kit for Christmas! And it has yellow fabric that Zoe is preparing to make into a dress!

Afternoon was fading, the light against the side of the house was sort of yellow:

Mona and Randy's house, as seen from the backyard, in late afternoon, Christmas Day 2014

Mona and Randy’s house, as seen from the backyard, in late afternoon, Christmas Day 2014

The lemon tree in the backyard has the biggest, fattest lemons, almost the size of grapefruit!

The lemon tree in the backyard has the biggest, fattest lemons, almost the size of grapefruit!

It’s a very, very beautiful, yellow afternoon, today in Benicia.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

Christmas Eve 2014: Remembering That Time Self Went to Tonle Sap Lake

Self is looking at all the books she acquired in 2014 (Quite a lot, even though she’s got hardly any bookshelf space left). One of them is Colin Poole’s Tonle Sap.

“Tonle Sap” means The Heart of the World. That’s a very fitting name for this large lake, bordered by four countries: Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand.

The reason self brings this up now is: She was there, 10 years ago, with Ying.

Ying, who died in 2008, in Tel Aviv.

She remembers Ying telling one of her dear bros that the trip was “girls only.”

So it ended up just being the two of us: Bangkok first, then Siem Reap. In Siem Reap, we hired a car and driver and he took us to Tonle Sap.

Self remembers Ying telling her: “You are far more adventurous than any of your brothers.”

Self thought that trip to Angkor Wat and Tonle Sap would only be the first of many, many trips. But Ying got leukemia. She didn’t even last a year from the date of her diagnosis.

Life just isn’t fair.

How Did Self Get Here?

She took a summer course in Creative Writing from John L’Heureux. He told her he thought she should apply to the Creative Writing Program. Because she was out of ideas about what to do with her life (Her ideas only carried her as far as six months into the future), she dutifully applied. She got in. She had no idea she’d spend the next two years sitting around a table with 11 other people, talking about each other’s writing as if it married. No idea that writing, at least in America, was considered very hard work. She didn’t know why her fellow fellows spent so much time in Antonio’s Nut House on California Avenue.

She didn’t know that the tall skinny lad with the piercing green eyes who was called Read the rest of this entry »

Gone But Not Forgotten 4

To self’s way of thinking, this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN, is about impermanence and nostalgia. With that in mind, she chose these three photographs: a drawing her son made when he was five; an ice sculpture from the Hometown Holidays event in downtown Redwood City, last weekend; and a Christmas tree ornament (part of an already large collection that just keeps getting bigger and bigger every year)

About the tree ornament: last year, self got a puny little tree (4 feet). It looked, after self had succeeded in hanging about half her stash of tree ornaments, like it was miserable. Self means, the tree looked miserable.

This year, none of these small, puny Christmas trees for self! She went for the six-foot.  And, in the unlikeliest development ever, self succeeded in man-handling that gorgeous tree from her car to the living room, completely unaided. Now, bliss.

A Crayon Drawing Son Made When He was About Five

A Crayon Drawing Son Made When He was About Five

Hometown Holidays, Saturday, Dec. 6, Downtown Redwood City

Hometown Holidays, Saturday, Dec. 6, Downtown Redwood City

Tree Ornament: I bought a set of these last year at the Filoli Holiday Bazaaar. Missed the one this year, boo.

Tree Ornament: Self bought a set of these last year at the Filoli Holiday Bazaaar. Missed the one this year, boo.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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