Past Squares 3: Sepia-Toned

If you’ve never heard of The Squares Challenge, you are missing something! The Challenge is hosted by Becky at Life of B, and the theme for this month is Past Squares.

Past Squares can be either your selection from a past round of squares, or something old, historical, etc

For the month, self decided she would focus on the “historical.” In the immortal words of William Faulkner, “The past is never dead. In fact, it’s not even past.”

For today’s Past Squares post, self is going back. WAAAAAY back. Back to the time when she and Dear Departed Sister were four and five-and-a-half years old, respectively (She and her sister were only 18 months apart).

Dearest Mum dressed us alike, all the time. We had the same haircuts, the same dresses, the same shoes. Everything the same. Except for our personalities. When self frowned, her sister smiled. When her sister frowned, self smiled. This was some weird form of sibling rivalry. Nevertheless.

In one picture, self and her sister are sitting in front of a memorial to her grandfather. (Yes, there are colonnades, yes there was a bust of her grandfather. We were in the family resort, in an island in the central Philippines)

The second picture, self and her sister are with her parents. In the exact center of the picture is her grandmother, her mother’s mother. She was a force! A piano teacher from Jaro, Iloilo, her grandmother propelled Dearest Mum all the way to Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher. Self has no recordings of those days, since Dearest Mum stubbornly refused to have ANY recordings made of her music. Self doesn’t even have the countless magazine covers that her mother appeared in.

August Colors and Letters: CITRON

This is a fascinating photo challenge, hosted by citysonnet. Prompts for the entire month are either colors or letters.

The prompt for August 10 is a color: CITRON.

And self loves it.

Breakfast, Silay, Negros Occidental, Philippines

Sandy shows off her new hobby.

Favorite Reads, July 2021

Life in Colour Challenge: July, BLUE

Jude at Travel Words hosts the Life in Colour Challenge.

Here’s something on this month’s colour:

  • This month we will be looking for Blue. A primary colour that we look upon almost every day. But don’t forget about the different hues which include indigo and ultramarine, cyan and the other blue-greens such as turquoise, teal, and aquamarine.

Here are some blues from self’s archives:

  • Two friends in Manila started a jewelry business to benefit the women of Marawi, Philippines. All the jewelry is handmade by women from the island. If you would like to order from them, one of them is coming to the States in August, and can ship when she gets here. Here’s her insta page: pagari_ph. And here’s the backstory of what happened in Marawi.
  • Self took the time to drive to the central coast last month. Some of her happiest memories were of driving to the central coast to visit son, who was a student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She stopped at Avila Beach, spent a few nights at San Luis Obispo.
  • The parrots were in the Rain Forest exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences. She visited in April.

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

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.

Life in Colour, May Challenge: PURPLE

Read about the Life in Colour Photo Challenge, here.

This month’s color is PURPLE.

Purple is “a secondary colour made from red and blue, though you can find many different shades of purple. Stay clear of violet though as that will be making its own appearance. Although found in nature in shades of crocuses, lilacs, and irises, look for the bruised colours in a sunrise or sunset, an indigo sea, a full moon in an inky sky.”

Here are a gallery of self’s purples:

Some may be questionably purple, lol. Nevertheless.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

One Word Sunday Challenge: TOUCH

There are so many challenges to explore!

Travel with Intent hosts the One Word Sunday Challenge. The current theme is TOUCH.

Self’s gallery:

  1. Elevator attendant, Manuel Benavides Library, University of Santo Tomas, Manila
  2. Jollibee attendant, Manila – Self asked the driver to stop by Jollibee on her way home from the airport. First stop! It was in the pre-dawn hours. Manila is a city that never sleeps.
  3. Self, Andrew, and nephew Chris Blackett in the very long ago, at an amusement park in California
  4. Self with an umbrella in Tokyo, also in the very long ago

Stay safe, dear log readers. Stay safe.

The System

The system is broken. When you have adult children hustling parents off into “assisted living,” and giving up the home they’ve lived in for four and a half decades.

The parents give in because, at the end of life, we all become children again. We become helpless. It makes me angry.

3/4 of I’ll Be Seeing You is about what is past. The past is very pretty. The present isn’t. And the future doesn’t even bear contemplating.

Me thinking as I read: Why would anyone want to look at a bunch of total strangers and do crafts? What is so damn delightful about living in a place where you have the crafts option? Who cares about keeping busy? Why doesn’t “assisted living” have a library?

At the same time, the parents are such a burden to the author. She has meals with them, every gesture delicately described.

To me, the parents are functional. Childish, but functional. In the home, they become truly lost, not themselves. They have to adhere to meals at set times, and talking to people. Isn’t the fun of growing old the fact that you can do whatever you like? Because you’ve earned it, right?

And then the big end-of-life talk. Which comes, deadeningly, at the end. It’s so predictable, and really sad.

This is the third week that my mother has been in hospital in Manila. She got COVID. No one in the family has seen her. No one can visit because COVID is raging through the Philippines. She has a trach.

But she is a fighter to the very core. She is somehow hanging on, and a few days ago they transferred her out of the “critical” section of COVID patients. What I think I am trying to say is: Don’t count the very old out. Never, ever count them out. Give them that last shred of dignity, and don’t count them out.

I am nearly through with this book. On p. 171, author states she hopes her 90-year-old father “will find a friend.” His “assisted living” place offers the author a partial schedule of the father’s daily activities:

  • current events
  • exercise
  • lunch

The children auction off of all their parents’ precious things: “the auctioneer arrives promptly” and offers them five hundred dollars.

I am outraged by the author’s nostalgia for all the events that happened in her parents’ house. How dare she indulge in touchy-feely emotions while her parents aren’t allowed to have them. She expects them to be “objective,” to accept that what is happening is inevitable.

REALLY?????

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge (CFFC): TEXTURES

Self loves whenever she can participate in one of Cee’s Fun Foto Challenges.

This week’s topic is TEXTURES. The first thing self thought of was a native mat (called a banig), that she brought all the way from the Philippines. It’s now on the floor of her bedroom.

Then there’s her collection of woven handbags, also from the Philippines.

This post also applies to today’s BRIGHT SQUARES, hosted byThe Life of B.

Challenge Your Camera # 11: Still Life

Discovered another Photo Challenge! This one’s from Buddha Walks Into a Wine Bar, and it’s called Challenge Your Camera.

This week’s Challenge Your Camera (# 11) is STILL LIFE.

Here are a few pointers for the Challenge:

  • What is a Still Life? A still life is a work of art that focuses on inanimate objects. Usually commonplace objects which can include both man made objects (vases, items of clothing, and consumer products) and natural objects (plants, food, rocks, shells) as examples.

So, here are self’s still lifes, all of which she pulled from her archives. They’re mostly food-related.

Still Life # 1: Self loves farmers markets. The ones in her area are held on Sundays. She bought these mushrooms at the Menlo Park Farmers Market. This picture’s from a few weeks ago. The farmers markets stayed open throughout the pandemic, and self went regularly (of course masked). Her last COVID test was ten days ago, and that was negative.

Still Life # 2: Shoreditch, East London, November 2019. She doesn’t think she’ll be able to get back to London until late 2022, at the very soonest. In the meantime, she has a huge trove of photographs from her last visit. Someone with a sense of humor left this on a window ledge.

Still Life # 3: Her last visit home was September 2019. She spent her time in Dear Departed Dad’s hometown of Bacolod, and spent a few nights in a city close by: Silay. And ate herself into a food coma. All the variety of food made from rice! These are just two examples, and they’re from the public market.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Sentence of the Day: Doreen G. Fernandez

Every year for the last seven years or so, I have written one piece in March or April — the beginning of its traditional season — on the mango, feeling that it is one of the best fruits in the world, and that all of the folklore, songs, sarswelas and recipes do not even begin to do it justice.

— from Fruits of Memory, the Introduction to Fruits of the Philippines, by Doreen G. Fernandez

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