Local 3: Favorites, San Francisco Bay Area

” . . . who is local — the people and places we know by heart.”

— Jen H., The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 13 October 2016

The people and places we return to, again and again, cannot be dislodged from the heart!

Below, three of self’s favorite local places:


Señor Sisig: A Filipino Fusion Food Truck. Today’s sighting was in the Financial District.


Patrons at the Legion of Honor, Looking at a Vintage Poster of Sutro Baths


Half Moon Bay, CA

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Local 2: Street Art, San Francisco

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is LOCAL.


4th St., San Francisco, This Morning

Hundreds of people passed by this sign, probably. How many noticed the art?


So whimsical! A closer look at the art.

Only in San Francisco. So random. Who was the artist?

This was on 4th and King, across the street from the Safeway.


Self doesn’t know why, this made her think of Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “It is only with the heart that one can see wisely.”

Oh, San Francisco. Crazy city. Crazy people. Art is everywhere.

Stay tuned.


More H2O: From Self and Others

For this week’s challenge, share a photo that features H2O: the element of water.

Lingnum Draco for The Daily Post (7 October 2016)

Below, two WordPress blogs whose shots of H2O were inspiring:

Here are self’s own shots of H2O:

The first two shots are of the Thames near Oxford.


Spring 2016: the Thames in Oxford


Riverboat on the Thames: Don’t leave Oxford without going on one of these!

Here’s a view of the Slaney Estuary in County Wexford, Ireland:


Slaney Estuary, County Wexford, Ireland: May 2016

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Big Picture: Slowly Coming Together

Self has spent the last eight years working intermittently on a World War II novel. She would occasionally make forays into the Hoover Archives and spend the day there, reading memoirs.

Once, she requested an item, some memorabilia an American soldier stationed in the Philippines had taken back to the States with him. She was amazed when a librarian actually came out to talk to her. “We can’t bring the box out here to the reading room. But we can let you take a look at the contents if you follow me.”

So of course she followed the librarian. And he took her a level below. And there were people in an office staring at her. And someone asked, “Is this she?” And the librarian said yes. Then they took out a box and stood back while self looked in it. And, damn. Samurai swords. What?

She was the first person ever to request that particular item, and she’d done it simply on a hunch. Because the man was an American soldier, a survivor of Bataan and Corregidor.

Self never knows where her curiosity will lead her. It sure does lead her to some interesting places.

She knows what happened on Bataan and Corregidor. Of course. She is from the Philippines. She’s been to Corregidor, looked at the American gun emplacements, seen the flag of Japan flying alongside the flag of the Philippines on the quay. She’s walked the maw of Malinta Tunnel, which is said to be haunted.

She read the transcripts of the trial of General Yamashita, responsible for the overall defense of the Philippines, who the Americans convicted of war crimes and hanged in Los Baños (Yamashita’s lawyer was a very young and inexperienced American who knew the only reason he’d been assigned the defense of the general was because he was not expected to win. At the death sentence, the lawyer cried)

But, damn. Hampton Sides. Thank you for laying it all out so vividly. In command of the Japanese Imperial Army was Lieutenant General Masaharu Homma.

Ghost Soldiers, pp. 56 – 57:

There was little point in occupying the Philippines if the Japanese Navy or merchant marine could not freely use the docks and wharves of Manila Bay, the finest natural harbor in Asia. Yet one could not control Manila Bay without controlling Corregidor. Fixed with cannons that could fire twenty miles, honeycombed with deep tunnels and lateral shafts, Corregidor was stuck like a steel bit in the mouth of Manila Bay. The island was shaped like a tadpole, its squirmy tail pointing off toward Manila, its bulbous head aimed at Bataan.

There was only one way for Homma to take Corregidor, and that was for him to move his forces into southern Bataan, array his artillery pieces high along the southern flanks of Mount Mariveles, and rain unmerciful fire down upon the island, softening it up until an amphibious assault could be reasonably undertaken.

It is an axiom of Euclidean geometry that two points cannot occupy the same space, and therein lay Homma’s problem. Before he could move his forces into southern Bataan, the surrendered Americans and Filipinos (80,000 men, approximately) would have to be moved out . . . the Bataan prisoners would have to be hastily cleared away — swept off the stage, in effect, so the next act could begin.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

H2O: Self’s

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is H20:

  • . . . share a photo that features . . . the element of water. Water comes in many different states and guises. From a foggy morning to your favorite watercolor painting, how will you show H2O in a photograph?

— Lingnum Draco, The Daily Post

For this post, self will focus exclusively on fountains:


Music Concourse, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco


Closer View of the Golden Gate Park’s Music Concourse

Different Fountain: Russell Square, London


Russell Square, London, June 2016

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Interpretations, H20: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 7 October 2016

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge — H20 — is interesting. Self actually spent a good part of the day snapping pictures that she thought fit the theme, but in the end none of the pictures she took were particularly noteworthy.

Luckily, there are so many gorgeous posts from other WordPress bloggers. Here are a few:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Visionary Art in Umm Al-Kheir

Self recognizes that she’s moving soooo slowly through The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine. But she is absolutely fascinated by its intimate glimpses of men and women, settlers and Palestinians.

In the chapter on the village of Umm al-Kheir, we meet a man named Eid Suleiman al-Hathalin. Self swears: every time she quotes from Ehrenreich’s book, she has to double-check the spelling of everything at least three times. But she really really wants to get Eid’s name right. He is a true original: a vegan in Palestine (“I love animals, but it’s not that. Meat is very heavy.”), and also a found-art sculptor.

His sculptures, gleaming and immaculate, filled five metal shelves beside the door. There were two bulldozers — one with wheels and one with treads — plus a dump truck and an excavator, all of them Caterpillars and painted a deep, glossy yellow. There was the old Black Hawk I had seen before, plus a white Volvo 420 big rig, and a green John Deere tractor hauling a trailer. Each piece was about two feet long and built to scale with an astonishing degree of perfectionism.

Eid proudly shows Ehrenreich the excavator:

He showed me how the machine’s body detached from the treads, and the cab from the body. The cab was only slightly larger than his fist. “I didn’t forget any details,” he said, “even the ladder here that the operator can use.” It had perfect little side mirrors too, and radio antennae, and its door opened on a tiny hinge and there was a seat inside for the driver, a gearshift in the floor, a tiny control panel panel complete with tiny dials. Eid had carved the chair from a bottle of shampoo and the windows from plastic soda bottles. The mirrors and lights he made from CDs and the reflective panel on the back of the machine was cut from a cast-off license plate. The whole thing was fully functional — the excavator swiveled on its treads, and its arm extended and bent at three joints.

Amazing. Simply amazing.

Eid’s dream is “to have one of his pieces added to the permanent collection of the Caterpillar museum at the corporation’s headquarters in Peoria, Illinois.”

Stay tuned.

THE WAY TO THE SPRING: Herding Goats in Umm al-Kheir

With a stick, Suleiman traced a circle in the dirt to represent the route we had just trekked. He drew a straight line across it to indicate the far shorter path we could have taken, the one he had used for years before the settlement’s expansion. “Where will we go?” he asked. He pointed up to the sun and sky, as if he might find pasture there, or as if God might have an answer. We walked on along a slender strip of dirt between two fields of wheat. On top of the hill to our left sprawled five aluminum-sided barns ringed by barbed wire — a dairy farm owned by settlers. If we got too close, Hassan said, they would come down or send the police. So we zigzagged on across the dry, hard land, avoiding one obstacle here, another there. The goats were sneezing dirt.

The Way to the Spring, Chapter 9, pp. 300 – 301

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.


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


San Marco Square on a Rainy April Day


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.

More From The Way to the Spring: Near Ramallah

Qalandia Checkpoint, Ramallah, West Bank (The Way to the Spring, p. 251)

  • Technically, Qalandia fell within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, but when the wall was built, it became a border crossing between Israel and the West Bank. It developed its own ecosystem, as borders do. You could buy cigarettes without leaving your car, or Spongebob bedspreads, or plastic jugs of purple pickled eggplant. Men sold coffee and kebabs from carts. Women sold produce or stood begging with their infants in their arms.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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