Favorite Place 3: A Book

Self added Utopia to her reading list, just today.

She figures, any book that manages to remain in continuous print for 500 years is surely worth reading.

She took this picture in another favorite place: the Philosophy section of Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino. She’s sure Thomas More would have been tickled pink to know that a young writer named China Miéville, in the 21st century, would be introducing his book by writing about how much he influenced her.


Her reading list for spring and summer goes something like this:

  • Every Philip Pullman book written in the Dark Materials universe, starting with Volume One of his new trilogy The Book of Dust: La Belle Savauge
  • Homer’s Odyssey
  • Utopia

Yes, she is forsaking the contemporary, at least for now. Apologies about the heavy concentration on male writers. She’s on a quest to find books about islands, and she’s only just started her hunt. Women writers will appear, of course they will.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Favorite Place 2: Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is FAVORITE PLACE.

Cheri Lucas Rowlands: “This week, share an image of your happy place, a secret spot you love, or a faraway location you return to again and again.”

Regular readers of this blog already know what that place is!


No more beautiful place: Ireland in Spring


The Lawn in front of the Main House, Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig


Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Tweaking the Reading List, Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Spent the day trying to stay warm and dry. It’s very cold here in Mendocino. A few minutes ago, rain started to come down.

Self tried to get into Empress of the East, had high hopes, but the first chapter, Abduction, isn’t really about how Roxelana, Slave-Girl-Turned-Empress-of-the-Ottoman-Empire, was abducted. Instead, it consists of page after page of speculation about the exact spot from where she was taken. Then, a few pages of how hard it was on captives. DUH. This is dull stuff.

Luckily, self brought the next book on her reading list to Mendocino. It’s The Book of Dust, by Philip Pullman. Opening sentence:

Three miles up the river Thames from the center of Oxford, some distance from where the great colleges of Jordan, Gabriel, Balliol, and two dozen others contended for mastery in the boat races, out where the city was only a collection of towers and spires in the distance over the misty levels of Port Meadow, there stood the Priory of Godstow, where the gentle nuns went about their holy business; and on the opposite bank from the priory there was an inn called the Trout.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

I’d Rather Be . . . In a Bookstore


Linda Nietes greeting a customer at the bookshop she owns, Philippine Expressions (Inside a 1920s building, 479 W. Sixth St., San Pedro, CA). Linda is 81 years old. She has been running bookstores all her life.

Last Saturday, 17 March, International Woman’s Day, Linda Nietes invited six Filipina authors to Philippine Expressions Bookshop in San Pedro to read from their work. The authors were: poets Angela Narciso Torres and Irene Suico Soriano, and prose writers Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, Prosy Abarquez-Delacruz, Tessie Jayme, and self. The reading was held in the beautiful lobby of a 1920s-era building on 479 W. Sixth Street:


Here’s son with Linda before the reading:


Beautiful Event. Self was honored to be a part of it.

Here’s Linda, in her own words, about why she does what she does:

  • It is a ministry, an advocacy, a labor of love, and the results cannot be counted in dollars and cents. It is fulfilling only to the person who accepts the responsibility of creating a greater awareness and a higher consciousness among members of our community. I have found the field, planted an orchard. Saplings are growing and some have already grown and are blooming and even fruiting. Lucky will be the generation that will just pick the fruits of my labor, but I do not mind that because I understand what the role of a trailblazer is! You blaze the trail so that people will find their way. I was inspired by a quote: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Worlds of Decay, Renewal Merge Unexpectedly”: Elegy for a City, San Francisco

  • Like a lot of people, I have mixed feelings about a walk in the city these days. The Sunday before, my companion and I had walked the streets of Washington, D.C. and marveled at how clean they were. On returning back home, it was clear how much of San Francisco was a mess, particularly downtown with its crowds of lost souls roaming filthy streets. — from Carl Nolte’s column, Native Son, in the San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, 18 March 2018

Don’t ever try to walk (alone) from the Asian Art Museum to Powell. Don’t. Even if it’s broad daylight, you will be accosted by xxx panhandlers, and some will be quite aggressive. Just saying. That stretch of San Francisco feels like Detroit. Or like a Third World city. The decay is absolutely heartbreaking.

Self tried it once, last year. Every few steps, someone said something to her. Like running a gauntlet. Don’t reach for your wallet, don’t hesitate. Keep your earbuds in place. Keep walking.

If that’s what it’s like in the daytime, can you imagine what it’s like at night? Downtown San Francisco is not a woman-friendly city.

(And on the streets, there are Teslas. And Jaguars)

Stay tuned.

I’d Rather Be . . . On a Boat

San Pedro Marina, this morning. Just behind the forest of masts, the San Pedro Naval Shipyard, the largest shipyard self has ever seen.


San Pedro Marina, the Day After a Reading at Philippine Expressions Bookshop on W. Sixth Street, San Pedro

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Poetry Friday: San Francisco Native Son, Tony Robles

From Fingerprints of a Hunger Strike, by Tony Robles (San Francisco: Ithuriel’s Spear, 2017):

An Excerpt from Proud

City of St. Francis
I’m proud
Of being
Loved by you

And don’t worry,
I don’t hold that
Eviction against you

But it did come
As a surprise,
All wrapped in a
Gauze colored envelope

Just the way
It goes, I guess

I’d lived there
45 years, grew up
There, Mom’s died
There, at home,
Where she belonged

I got 60 days
To vacate

I’m proud
Of being loved
By you

And Mr. Fare Inspector,
I don’t got no ill feeling
Towards you for looking me
Up and down as though I
Were defective while you
Scrawled my life story on
That ticket you wrote me,
Legible only to a doctor or

I’m proud
Of being
Loved by you


Tony Robles’s Love/Hate Book About San Francisco Is Beautiful and Tragic

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

I’d Rather Be . . . : The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 14 March 2018



Backyard, Redwood City: 15 March 2018

About the Louvre’s Islamic Art Collection

A few weeks ago, self participated in The Daily Post’s Photo Challenge OUT OF THIS WORLD by posting pictures of the Islamic Art Collection at the Louvre, which she visited in May 2017.

Regular readers of this blog know that museums are self’s jam!



The Louvre’s Islamic Art Collection, which opened to the public in September 2012. Self visited in May 2017

The Louvre’s Islamic Art Collection is absolutely amazing.

Allan G. Smorra, whose blog self follows at Ohm Sweet Ohm left a comment. She didn’t have an answer for him (he asked who designed the space) and at the time she was too busy to look it up.

Today, freshly returned from AWP Tampa, and enjoying a few days’ rest before her next trip (to Long Beach, for a reading with other Pinay authors on Saturday, 17 March, at Philippine Expressions Bookshop in San Pedro), she decides to see if she can find out more about the Islamic Art Collection at the Louvre and found this link on the Louvre’s Official Home Page.

The space opened to the public in September 2012. The architects were Rudy Ricciotti and Mario Bellini. The videos explaining the choice are in French, so if you don’t speak French (like self), don’t get frustrated, you can see the accompanying text in English.

Browsing the page, self learns that the roof (which is the most amazing thing) “consists of a free-form lattice of steel tubes and glass” beneath “a gilded metal casing.”

Kudos, Messrs. Ricciotti and Bellini. Major kudos.

Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Sunset to Sunrise

Cee’s current Fun Foto Challenge is: Sunset to Sunrise (including any nighttime photography)

Here’s a picture I took at sunset on Main Street, Mendocino, California, February 2018:


Twilight, Mendocino: February 2018

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


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