Afloat 5: Flags, Kites, Ferries

Self took this picture from the steps of the Metropolitan Museum on Fifth Avenue. She was waiting for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

DSCN8935

Flag, New York City, St. Patrick’s Day

And she took this one her first week in Mendocino, in January.

Kite, Mendocino

Kite, Mendocino

And she took this final photo while she was in Seattle, last year, for the AWP writing conference.

Ferry Crossing Puget Sound, Seattle

Ferry Crossing Puget Sound, Seattle

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Blur 3: Memories, Spring 2015

Easter Tulips

Easter Tulips

New Bedford, Massachusetts, March 2015

New Bedford, Massachusetts, March 2015

Seen From the Train, Heading to Providence, Rhode Island: March 2015

Seen From the Train Heading to Providence, Rhode Island from New York: March 2015

Self is contemplating past, present, and future. To help her along, this from Henry David Thoreau:

In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Mejihren’s Bleakly Beautiful Hunger Games AU “East of the Sun and West of the Moon”

One of the most bleakly beautiful Hunger Games AU fan fiction stories self has ever read is mejhiren’s “East of the Sun, West of the Moon.”

Mejhiren is a fan fiction writer who bases each of her stories on a fairy tale. Sigh. The writing is so luscious, on every level.

In this story, a woman dreams constantly of a white bear. Then, a man clad in a white bearskin comes to take her to live with him in a house by a lake. She doesn’t know what is expected of her. Her every need is tended to by a servant with no tongue whose name is Lavinia (Titus Andronicus redux!)

Little does she know, but the woman has just landed the equivalent of the Lotto jackpot, because the man in a white bearskin is named Peeta, and he is an excellent cook. So, about 1/2 of the narration is taken up with detailed descriptions of the food he prepares for the woman (whose name is of course Katniss).

Every night, “when the candle is blown out,” she feels the other side of her mattress dip and feels a presence. But she’s too scared to turn around and look, so she keeps quiet until she falls asleep. The next morning, the bed is made and there’s no sign of the mysterious “other.”

Things go on like this for a month, by which time the young woman is almost driven crazy with curiosity.

(See, this is what’s so crazy-making about fairy tales in general: it would be so easy for the woman to just turn around and look at her silent companion, thereby solving the mystery. But she never, ever does. That would be violating the rules of the fairy tale, in which people act out some non-rational desire for order and simplicity, and exhibit the most acute psychological reticence — which is just self’s fancy way of saying that the people in fairy tales behave as if under a spell. Which they kinda are, as they’re operating in a universe where almost all agency is suspended in favor of — magic?)

Back to mejhiren and her “East of the Sun, West of the Moon.” This multi-chapter story is simply one long tease. At first, self longed (acutely) for the woman to discover the identity of her mysterious sleeping companion. But as the story proceeded, self began to want the opposite. That is, she began to dread a “solution.” She realized that the tension in the story is the absence of explanation (Why doesn’t that presence — if indeed it is a human presence — simply reach out and grab Katniss? Who made the apparent rule that these two must sleep side by side every night, without touching?), and that she looks forward to being tantalized, over and over again, with each succeeding chapter. In other words, self wants the mystery to last forever.

Here’s the beginning of Chapter Ten: “The Moon is a Huntress”

I wake in darkness, exquisitely warm and peculiarly happy. I dreamt something last night, something long and elaborate and wonderful, but at the moment, all I can recall of it are strange, beautiful flashes. Snow. Fur. Baked pumpkin and roasted nuts; the most delicious things I’d ever eaten. A boy’s hand filled with breadcrumbs. Soft yellow curls. My body, small and — feathered? — resonating with another’s heartbeat. Two speckled eggs in a nest lined with dandelion petals and willow catkins.

How many Hunger Games references are woven into that one paragraph? There are many.

Sheer bliss.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Warmth 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Oh the sun was out, and it was glorious.

Self was inspired to capture the moment with her camera.

So here is her second post on this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge:  WARMTH

Wee Bit of Sun on a Cold Winter's Day!

Wee Bit of Sun on a Cold Winter’s Day!

This next shot has something to do with the nice weather: The Man and self took a walk around downtown Redwood City yesterday afternoon, and wound up at Pamplemousse, where self bought a couple of caramel salt macarons! Heaven!

Self hearts Pamplemousse!

Self hearts Pamplemousse!

Christmas Day self truly had a burst of energy: she and The Man drove to Benicia to see some old friends, and what a treat to have such warm, glorious weather! Here’s a shot of their lemon tree:

This magnificent lemon tree grows in a friend's backyard in Benicia.

This magnificent lemon tree grows in a friend’s backyard in Benicia.

 

Eavesdropping: Downtown Redwood City Century 20, Christmas Day

WOMAN:  “I saw The Interview yesterday.”

MAN:  “Did you?”

WOMAN: “And that was the stupidest, most asinine . . .  The idea that North Korea was threatened by it . . . ” (eye-roll)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  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.

 

To Help Medicins Sans Frontieres/ Doctors Without Borders

In this season of giving, where every delivery of mail brings requests for donations, naturally self feels she has to be rather sparing about her charity (First of all, her 1998 Nissan Altima broke down again). But here’s one organization that self feels absolutely no doubt about supporting:  Doctors Without Borders.

Doctors Without Borders — Her first December in Bacolod, 2010, they occupied a whole floor of L’Fisher Chalet.

Self saw these doctors (whom she mistook for tourists) on the rooftop restaurant of the hotel and was casting all sorts of nasty aspersions on their motives for being in Bacolod.

Then she found out from one of the L’Fisher Chalet staff that the people she had assumed were tourists were actually doctors. In fact, the staff assumed self was a doctor, too. She also found out that Doctors Without Borders comes every year, that the doctors stay for a month, that they go out into the poorest villages and provide free medical care. And they’ve been doing this for a while.

They were in west Africa to deal with the Ebola crisis (and more than one did end up contracting Ebola themselves).

They were in the Philippines during Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, bringing their inflatable hospitals to reach typhoon survivors in the most isolated, hard-hit regions.

87.4% of donations goes towards medical programs.

They were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999.

www.doctorswithoutborders.org

Twinkle 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge this week urges us to “share with us your photos of twinkling light.”

Here goes:

One of Hundreds of Christmas Ornaments Self Has Collected Over the Years

One of Hundreds of Christmas Ornaments Self Has Collected Over the Years

Another From Self's Collection of Tree Ornaments (None of them Match)

Another From Self’s Collection of Tree Ornaments (None of them Match)

And here’s a picture self took when she visited Chicago in October. It’s the interior of Mooh Dulce (2602 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago), an art gallery which is also the site for America’s oldest Filipino American Theater Company (founded earlier even than Michael Shannon’s The Red Orchid Theater!), Circa Pintig. Much thanks to poet Angela Narciso Torres for hosting self in Chicago and taking her to see Conrad A. Panganiban’s collection of linked one-acts, Apat.

Waiting for Circa Pintig's Apat to begin: Chicago, Mooh Dulce Art Gallery, October 2014

Waiting for Circa Pintig’s Apat to begin: Mooh Dulce Art Gallery, Chicago, October 2014

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Twinkle: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge (Dec. 12, 2014)

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is TWINKLE (“We love the light.”)

Self took the first two photos at the home of Mary Ann Robbiano in Menlo Park. When self was a very new graduate student at Stanford, she rented a room from Mrs. Robbiano (The rent was $100/month. Yup, you read that right) and biked to Stanford every day, about a 20-minute bike ride each way. Her legs got strrrong!

This evening, Mrs. Robbiano invited self to have dinner with her and a few of her gang at the Palo Alto Elks Club. Though self had been to the Elks Club in Manila (a long time ago), she’d never been to an Elks Club in the States. Which is strange come to think of it, because this is where the Elks Club originated after all.

On the menu: Salmon Creek Chardonnay and hamburger with garlic fries. Dinner was followed by bingo. It was a very retro evening. Self loves Mrs. Robbiano.

Mary Ann Robbiano's Christmas Tree

Mary Ann Robbiano’s Christmas Tree

More of the same Christmas Tree

More of the same Christmas Tree

This last photo is of self’s own Christmas tree. She bought the bird ornament at Filoli, during last year’s Holiday Bazaar. Not sure if this photo fits in with the photo challenge, but there’s definitely light shining through the bird, and the gold is from a long piece of tinsel that self wound around and around her tree.

It doesn’t take much, really, to put self in the Christmas spirit. A tree on which to hang her treasured ornaments, though, is a definite must.

Bird Ornament on Self's Own Christmas Tree  (bought at Filoli last year)

Bird Ornament on Self’s Own Christmas Tree (bought at Filoli last year)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

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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