Eye Spy 3: Gorgeous Orbs, Intense Gazes

# 1: Artur, whose acquaintance self made in Florence, early November:

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Self encountered Artur on the loggia in front of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, early November.

# 2: Joan Crawford’s eyes. Self-explanatory, really:

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The Intensity of Her Gaze!

# 3: Friend Annabelle Udo-O’Malley has the most gorgeous eyes. Took this pic in San Francisco, last year:

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Annabelle! It’s been so long! Time for more dress shopping!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Ornate 5: Siena’s Duomo; the Loggia of the Uffizi Gallery

Self’s niece was so organized that we got to see three small towns around Florence, all on the same day: Siena, San Gimignano, and Pisa.

Self’s favorite was Siena.

The beautiful Gothic cathedral has a magnificent interior (striped columns! Who would have thought!) but it’s the exterior self will focus on for further examples of the “ornate.”

For instance, all kinds of creatures proliferate, including a roaring lion sticking out of a buttress in the front:

Stone lion on the front of the Cathedral in Siena, built in the fourteenth century

Stone lion on the front of the Cathedral in Siena, built in the fourteenth century. The lion represents one of Siena’s 17 districts.

Here is the facade of the Cathedral, or as the Italians refer to it, the Duomo:

The Duomo of Siena is decorated with animals representing each of the city's 17 districts, which compete twice a year in horse races called the Palio.

The Duomo of Siena is decorated with animals representing each of the city’s 17 districts, which compete twice a year in horse races called the Palio.

For the third picture, self goes back to her archive of Florence photos. This is a shot of the loggia of the Uffizi Gallery. On Sunday afternoons, the stone benches are lined with people.

The Loggia of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence: a great spot to people-watch!

The Loggia of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence: a great spot to people-watch!

The last shot isn’t related to the Photo Challenge but is one of self’s favorite pictures from her trip.

On self’s last afternoon in Florence (a Sunday), she took a picture of this adorable creature, whose owners kept calling him “R2” which self thought was a kind of homage to R2D2 of Star Wars, until a young man told her that the dog’s name was “Artur.” Oh. How adorbs!

Artur, who self met on the stone benches in the loggia of the Uffizi Gallery

Artur, who self met on the stone benches in the loggia of the Uffizi Gallery

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.

Express Yourself 3: Easy When You’re With Old Friends

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is EXPRESS YOURSELF. In posting on this theme, self has focused — twice — on artistic expression.

But here are two other kinds of expression: facial expression and doggie expression!

Having breakfast outside with Connie Ignacio Genato, best friends since grade school in Manila

Having breakfast outside with Connie Ignacio Genato, best friends since grade school in Manila

Looks like Connie's Li'l Crits are hungry! Her dogs' names are Bauer (after Jack Bauer of the TV show 24), Kobe, and Macho.

Looks like Connie’s Li’l Crits are hungry! Her dogs’ names are Bauer (after Jack Bauer of the TV show 24), Kobe, and Macho.

Angela Narciso Torres's son, Matthew, is an undergrad in a Fine Arts Program in USC. Here he is holding up a watercolor he made for the title poem of Angela's first book, BLOOD ORANGE.

Angela Narciso Torres’s son, Matthew, is an undergrad in a Fine Arts Program in USC. Here he is holding up a watercolor he made for the title poem of Angela’s first book, BLOOD ORANGE.

And here is the poem:

BLOOD ORANGES

At the river’s edge —
strewn seed, vermilion
petals from blood oranges

we ate. A branch
stoops from the weight
of phantom fruit. Falling,

the leaves exhale
the spice-heavy air,
its punishing sweet.

Gone But Not Forgotten 3: Courthouse Square, Redwood City, Saturday Dec. 6

Yesterday, December 6, was Redwood City’s annual Hometown Holidays event. The children loved the petting zoo!

Petting Zoo in Courthouse Square: Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014

Petting Zoo in Redwood City’s Courthouse Square: Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014

Son’s first pets were goldfish and guppies. Next, love birds. Third, rabbits.

He had a black-and-white rabbit named Spot that a friend gave us. It was a huge jackrabbit. When it peed, the spray was phenomenal.

We gave Spot away when we acquired Bella, our first beagle.

Yesterday, we ogled the animals in the petting zoo in Redwood City's Courthouse Square. There were pony rides!

Yesterday, we ogled the animals in the petting zoo in Redwood City’s Courthouse Square. There were pony rides!

The pony rides were also very popular.  If son were small, he would flip over the pony rides!

Children were enjoying a section with real snow!

Children were enjoying a section with real snow! Who wouldn’t enjoy getting into a snowball fight?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Gone But Not Forgotten 2: This Week’s WordPress Photo Challenge

For this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, we’re asked to commemorate what’s “gone but not forgotten.”

Straw Angels: They were a present from Ying, who passed away Sept. 11, 2008.

Straw Angels: They were a present from Ying, who passed away Sept. 11, 2008.

Self has a lot of doggie tree ornaments. Once upon a time, she had two beagles.

Self has a lot of doggie tree ornaments. That’s because, once upon a time, she had two beagles.

This last photo shows a bench next to Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. Self has passed that particular bench so many times. She only noticed the sign on the bench a month or so ago.

Memorial Bench, Stowe Lake, Golden Gate Park

Memorial Bench, Stowe Lake, Golden Gate Park

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Endurance: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is ENDURANCE.

Show us what endurance means to you. Is it that high-school diploma, beads of sweat earned on a long run, a treasured family heirloom, or something else entirely?

Street Vendor, South Super Highway, Manila: That smile. Wonder how much money he makes selling from car to car when the traffic stalls. Warrant ya, NOT MUCH.

Street Vendor, South Super Highway, Manila: That smile. Wonder how much money he makes selling from car to car when the traffic stalls. Warrant ya, NOT MUCH. Still, he endures.

Gracie dozes -- Self missed spending time with her when she started traveling. Adopted at 1 yr. old, she passed away three years ago from complications of diabetes. But she had the biggest, bravest heart.

Gracie dozes — Self missed spending time with her when she started traveling. Adopted at 1 yr. old, she passed away three years ago from complications of diabetes. But she had the biggest, bravest heart. She endured self’s long absences.

Mount Kanlaon: Still active, after thousands of years. It's in the center of Dear Departed Dad's home island of Negros, in the central Philippines.

Mount Kanlaon: Still active, after thousands of years. It’s in the center of Dear Departed Dad’s home island of Negros, in the central Philippines. Its mystery only seems to grow, with each of self’s succeeding visits to Negros. It endures.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Dialogue 4: Stairs

The WordPress Photo Challenge this week is DIALOGUE: We’re to consider our photos’ subject matter and graphic attributes and choose those that resonate with each other.

Today’s dialogue will be with stairs (But then, that makes “dialogue” just seem like a fancy way to say “theme.” Oh well)

Cottage # 4, Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig, County Monaghan, Ireland:  May 2014

One month in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig, County Monaghan, Ireland:  May 2014. Self wrote an amazing amount.

Montmartre, July 2014: Steps to Sacre Couer

One week in Paris, staying at a friend’s place in Montmartre, July 2012:  It was self’s first time in Paris. She’d wanted to go for so many years.

Bella goes slowly, painfully up the steps to the kitchen.  The blur in the photograph is her.

Bella goes slowly, painfully up the steps to the kitchen. The blur in the photograph is her. She passed away October 13, 2013. She was 17 years old.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Contrasts 4: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Today, to illustrate this week’s Photo Challenge Theme (“Contrasts”), self decided to focus on PAIRS.

Self and The Man, a Year or Two After They Were Married, a Year Before Son Was Born

Self and The Man, a Year or Two After They Were Married, a Year Before Son Was Born

Once upon a time. self had two little beagles, and their names were Bella and Gracie:  Gracie, the younger, died first, in 2011.  Bell reached the great old age of 17 dog years, and died last October.

Once upon a time. self had two little beagles, and their names were Bella and Gracie: Gracie, the younger, died first, in 2011. Bell reached the great old age of 17 dog years, and died last October.

Classic:  The Man took this picture of Self at the San Diego Zoo.  She was 22 or 23.

Classic: The Man took this picture of Self at the San Diego Zoo. She was 22 or 23.

Family 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme this week is FAMILY.

The prompt on The Daily Post site asks:

What is family?  For some, family is defined by genetics.  For others, it is simply those with whom you share a bond of love.

Son and his best friend, Kramer. Kramer's doing a PhD in UC Davis; he used to be in Harvey Mudd.

Son and his best friend, Kramer. Kramer’s doing a PhD in UC Davis; he did his undergraduate work in Harvey Mudd. Photo was taken at Buck’s in Woodside.

Calyx Press, based in Corvallis, OR, published self's first book, Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila. The editors are my second family.

Calyx Press, based in Corvallis, OR, published self’s first book, Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila. The editors became self’s second family.

Gracie being chased by Scots Terrier w/ pee fetish. She passed away in April 2011.

Gracie being chased by Scots Terrier. She passed away in April 2011.

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