Happy Mother’s Day, Dearest Mum!

To self’s mother, who at fourteen became the first Filipino artist to win the New York Times International Piano Competition, who returned to the Philippines with Dear Departed Dad and had five children, who this year beat covid, pneumonia, a minor stroke and being in the Makati Medical covid ward for weeks (during the worst of Manila’s second covid surge) and is now back home. Self greeted her yesterday, but wanted to do this today.

Here she is as a young pianist:

Love you always. Visiting next year, for sure.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

amreading The Economist, 2 May 2020

A multitude of drops

Private citizens are valiantly trying to compensate for federal failures

Before the pandemic, John-Paul Kaminski was a retired cross-country coach and middle-school technology teacher in Dobbs Ferry, a village about 15 miles (24 km) up the Hudson River from Manhattan, who liked to tinker with his 3D printer at home. He used it to make key chains, jewellery boxes, maze games and the occasional carved pumpkin. These days, he and other tech teachers he knows from university use their printers — 60 in all — to make head- and chinstraps that hold plastic face-shields in place. A college student nearby uses a laser cutter to stamp out the shields himself. Using materials bought out-of-pocket and through donations, they have given away more than 3,000 face shields to hospitals and nursing homes in four counties.

Across America, makers of all ages and skill levels have thrown themselves into helping to alleviate the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). Some, like Mr. Kaminski, are making masks, shields and gowns. Others are collaborating on designs, and making those designs public. Still others are trying to figure out how to get PPE to those who need it most as quickly as possible. These charitable tinkerers provide ground for both a deeply American kind of hope — strangers doing as much as they can, for the good of their neighbours — and despair, at the colossal federal failure that inspired them.

Happy Mother’s Day, and STAY SAFE dear blog readers!


WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting

Day Before Mother’s Day. A package in the mailbox. Return Address: Southern California. Contents: Fabulousness

Arrived in the Mail, the Day Before Mother's Day 2013

Arrived in the Mail, the Day Before Mother’s Day 2013


Thanks much, Sole Fruit of Her Loins!

Ate the entire box in just two days.

Here are more Yumm Moments:

Café Uma, Bacolod City:  The cassava cake is to die for!

Café Uma, Bacolod City: The cassava cake is to die for!

Stay tuned.

The Connectedness of Everything

It is nearing the end of Mother’s Day.  It was a beautiful Sunday.  Bella came in, out, in, out.  And the Iceberg rose that self planted in the front yard a couple of years ago chose today to go into sudden and spectacular bloom.  Perhaps if self has more time tomorrow, she will post a picture.

She is reading these three things simultaneously:

  • The AWP Writer’s Chronicle
  • The Women’s Review of Books  (She just renewed her yearly subscription)
  • The Economist

The husband put the TV on to the J. J. Abrams “Star Trek,” and then left the vicinity.  Declared he needed to water.  When self peeked out to see what he was doing in the backyard, he was having a smoke.  A glass of red wine was next to him.  Of course, he also had the sprinkler going.  Good one, husband!  He announced that the watering would take at least “an hour.”  Self went ahead and fed Bella, and then herself.

Self knows she has enough material for a fourth collection of stories.  But how to approach it?  Should she be joining contests?  She doesn’t think she’ll ever win, her stories are too strange, too hard to categorize.  She nearly got published by Grove/Black Cat.  That is, she spoke to an editor twice.  But all came to naught.

Perhaps she should be applying to more residencies.  The very last one she applied for (Hawthornden) is coming, and after that she has nothing for 2013 and 2014.  She deliberately stopped applying because she felt she had work to do in Bacolod.  She still feels she has work to do in Bacolod, but she also needs to get another book published.  What to do, what to do?

Mark Zuckerberg is turning 28.  28!  And Facebook is going public.  But self decides not to buy the stock.

She almost bought Apple stock, she is such a believer.  She still has her 1995 Apple laptop, which she had with her in Mojacar, Spain.  Though it weighs a ton, it is still running!

As of this moment, self has three working laptops, all Apple.  She worships at the Apple Store, yes.  Even though, when she was in DC last month, one of the trio of gals she got to know said, as they passed a bar:  “All white!  Looks like an Apple Store!”

When Steve Jobs passed away, she went right away to the Mother Ship, on University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto, and the plate glass windows were covered with post-it notes, in all colors of the rainbow.

Now, self hears that Eduardo Saverin, who was portrayed in “The Social Network” by a riveting Andrew Garfield (the new Spiderman), is renouncing his U.S. citizenship.  Purportedly, “for tax purposes.”  But self feels this news is connected to Facebook’s going public, in some way.  And perhaps also to Zuckerberg becoming a billionaire before he even turned 28.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Happy Mother’s Day, All!

Jennie gave self these when she was up visiting with son, a few weeks ago.  Self put them into a larger pot, just today.  She snapped these photographs in the kitchen.  Even though her camera is Jurassic (circa 2005) and very much prone to dying unexpectedly, self clings to it.  It can still amaze her sometimes, with pictures like these.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Good Morning!

It is Mother’s Day.  Self’s first thoughts upon rising to consciousness this morning (while trying not to let whiney dogs hear her get up  —  some mornings, their ears are so sharp that self barely even has time to crack open a book before they start pestering her) were about yesterday’s “Star Trek” movie.  Zach Quinto/Spock, Leonard Nimoy as Old Spock, Chris Pine as new-and-improved James T. Kirk, Zoe Saldana as hot new Lieutenant Uhura, John Cho as sword-flashing Zulu, and so forth and so on.

And then she realized that she had an on-line class that she begins teaching on the morrow.  Which then led to two hours of frantic up-loading of course materials and drawing up of “Welcome” announcements (Self never uses canned ones —  something about “keeping it fresh”).

Then she read e-mail from someone in New York, which confirms that she will indeed be returning there next month.

Then she picked up latest issue of Poets & Writers (to clear her head), and found, on p. 19, an item about sending your words up to space on the KEO Satellite (projected launch date:  2010 or 2011), and then read this:

What sort of enlightened perspective might the planet’s progeny form after processing the seventy-two issues of Calyx (www.calyxpress.org), the thirty-three-year-old journal of women’s writing based in Corvallis, Oregon?  The biannual was the first —  or one of the first, anyway —  to publish the work of Julia Alvarez, Chitra Divakaruni, Linda Hogan, Molly Gloss, Natalie Goldberg, Barbara Kingsolver, and Sharon Olds.

Calyx published self’s first book, Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila (It amuses self to remember now:  son was a mere five-year-old).  And they published, one year when they were so broke that all they could publish was one book, the anthology of Filipino women’s writings that self and Virginia Cerenio co-edited, Going Home to a Landscape (and saved self’s life, for that was a time when self was having trouble even thinking of herself as a writer, much less an editor).

Happy Mother’s Day, Calyx, for you birthed self and so many many other women artists, who pay obeisance to you now, with gratitude and love.

Mother’s Day Thoughts (From an Un-Daughterly Daughter)

Today, self tried calling Dearest Mum. If she doesn’t time her call just right, Dearest Mum will have left the house for the day, and self will never be able to find her. Some days, she’ll get the number of one of Dearest Mum’s friends, and she’ll call there, and they’ll tell her Dearest Mum has just left for the house of another friend. So self will get that number, and Dearest Mum will again just have left.

Today, though, someone answered the phone, and that was Mildred. Mildred has been our family’s lavandera for over 30 years. She left to have her three children, but a couple of years ago, when she had her first grandchild, she started working for us again.

So, Mildred answered the phone, and self was glad. Because even though she missed Dearest Mum, the call was not completely wasted. And self asked Mildred if she could make sure that Dearest Mum, when she arrives in three weeks (a visit which hubby is uncommonly nervous about, self is not sure why), brings self some tuyo! (Would you believe, dear blog readers, self has been so careful with the bottles of tuyo she brought with her from Manila in January, that she still has three slivers left in the last bottle? And, boy, is she dying to eat those last three, but she’s waiting for a super-duper special occasion, such as winning the Lotto). And Mildred tells self that Dearest Mum is all in a tizzy about an old address book that contains all the names and contact information for all her friends in the States, and no one has seen this address book since Holy Week, when Dearest Mum took it with her to Hong Kong. But, Mildred says, she and Dearest Mum have together practically torn the house apart, looking and looking and looking. And it’s naturally driving Dearest Mum crazy.

And self prays, prays, that when Dearest Mum comes, she can still write. Because there have been times when, after Dearest Mum visits, self is reduced to such a state that she can’t write for a couple of months. And that was OK when self was 30, but now she can’t afford to be like that. And the only way is to really get a grip, get a grip, get a grip. And it’s not easy because, sometimes, Dearest Mum will say the craziest things, or she’ll want so much to see niece G that she’ll chance renting a car just to go up to Stanford, and self can’t always accompany her on these trips, and then Dearest Mum will get lost, and she’ll call self, sometimes when self is in the middle of teaching a class, and self’s anxiety will spike up really really high, and she’ll tell Dearest Mum to stay put, she’ll come for her, but Dearest Mum can never stay put, and self’s students can always tell when self’s mind has flown out the window. These are the things self can look forward to, in the next few weeks.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Another Meditation on Mother’s Day

Self’s ex-Assumption classmate, Lourdes Valeriano, is a writer for Business Week.

Check out her great column on “Mother’s Day 2008,” here.

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