A Dream

Oh Lord, it is soooo hot.

Self was driving madly around LA just a few days ago, and now she is home.

But it is just as hot as it was in LA. With the added bother that much of her garden looks ready to expire and it is hard to water because it is so hot. Not to mention that there is a drought so one should really NOT be watering.

Self has not found time to search for more photographs on this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge:  FRAY. She commonly writes four or five posts on the week’s theme, but so far this week she’s only written one.

She peruses other bloggers’ sites and found this series of pictures of lightning (which frays the sky? She guesses that must have been what the blogger was thinking) which were interesting.

Oh Lord, her arm hurts. Is practically stiff from all the commenting on student pieces.

Last night she dreamt (or was it really happening?) that she was experiencing a terrific pain in her chest. Then her Altima plunged off a pier and straight into some water, and very slowly disappeared. With herself in it. So that means she died. End of story! The dream continued, though. She was inexplicably able to move through space as if she were alive. What does that mean? It was all confusing as heck.

Then she went to Barnes & Noble, where it was very airconditioned, and she couldn’t find any books by Shusako Endo or Jim Crace or Sarah Shun-lien Bynum. She took so long searching the book aisles that by the time she returned home, The Man was home. He always parks so snugly, almost blocking her access to the only driveway. Seems almost like a challenge, the way he parks. She’s tried to figure out the motivation, but so far it has eluded her. Couldn’t he move forward, even just a foot. It would seem so much more polite. Self thinks: if Nicky Loomis were here, she would certainly make of this a story.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

The Most Gorgeous Weekend (So Far) in 2011

The weather continued unseasonably cool for March.  It rained, but not copiously.

Self braved the Millbrae BART station to pick up niece G and Steven, then treated them to lunch at The Counter in Palo Alto.  Hubby stayed home to watch the NCAA games.

It took us over half an hour to get a table at The Counter.  Self tried the “Signature Burger.”  It was OK.  She wished they hadn’t put so much of the red, spicy sauce on top.  What she really loved was sharing a peanut butter milkshake with niece!  And of course, the sweet potato fries.  Yum-yum!

“The Lincoln Lawyer” was a fun movie.  Matthew McConaughey is still the same Matthew McConaughey, still fine-looking.  Even his hairstyle hasn’t changed a bit from “A  Time to Kill,”  where he also played a lawyer.  Five stars.

Self is sad that Geraldine Ferraro, vice-presidential running mate of Walter Mondale, passed away.

Saturday was Amanda’s birthday:  self called and was able to greet her in person.

The book she is reading, Joseph Finder’s Power Play, has picked up its pace.  She loves the scene when the hero waits impatiently for an old iMac to boot up, and describes the powering-up as sounding like a “Beethoven sympathy.”  Naturally, there are armed thugs just outside the office door, threatening to kill anyone at the slightest provocation.

Self cooked chicken and pork adobo for the first time in ages.

She ate two whole bags of chicharon on the same day.

She mis-placed her car keys and the spare key she had would not allow her to unlock her car doors, so she had to call a Triple-A locksmith to meet her at Woodside Plaza.  She waited an hour and a half.

Self observed that Gracie, instead of rushing to the backyard immediately after her evening meal, instead waits patiently by self’s feet, waiting for her daily Humulin injection.  It is not that the li’l crit enjoys these injections so very much.  Sometimes, if self happens to hit the wrong spot, she even flinches.  But, there she waits.  Here is a prime illustration of the Pavlovian theory of “conditioning.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

The Man in the Post Office/ “The Pacific”, Disc 2/ Jacob Pitt (A Very Digressive Post)

This morning, self braved the hail, the gusty winds, the rain etc etc and went to the Main Post Office on Broadway in Redwood City to mail a copy of The Lost Language to Reena Peña (friend of a friend, who self met in Bacolod in January).

Dearest Mum suggested a restaurant for our first meeting:  Baybay, which Dearest Mum said was somewhere in the Bacolod Reclamation Area.  So Reena came to fetch self at L’Fisher Chalet, and she had her driver take us all over the Reclamation Area while we looked for this restaurant, and it was nowhere to be found.  Later, Reena asked around and found out that the restaurant had closed —  years and years ago. “So I guess,” Reena told self, “Baybay went Bye Bye!” 🙂

Anyhoo, self mailed her book to Rina today.  There was a long line at the post office.  That was OK, self loves to let her mind wander when she is standing in line.  Plus it was raining so hard outside.  Self was in no hurry to leave the post office.

The problem was that a man came in, and it was non-stop explosive sneezing.  Self looked at the man:  a middle-aged Chinese gent, with a very red face, obviously sick.  Self put a scarf up to her nose.  ACHOO!  ACHOO!  ACHOO! went the man, about 20 times.

When self reached the clerk, she practically threw her money at her and didn’t wait for the receipt.  “I have to go.  Oh my God,” self burst out.  “I just have to get out of here.”

The clerk looked at self with the most bewildered expression and asked, “Why?”

The explosively sneezing man walked right up to the clerk and self took off, practically running.

Granted, a cold virus is not as bad as nuclear radiation (unless, of course, it is SARS).  In fact, it’s a very very mild irritant, just one more inescapable facet of daily, tedious life.  But self still remembers how, flying Delta out of Narita in February, half the people who got on in Tokyo donned surgical masks as soon as they were seated in the plane cabin.  (Are those sensitive souls still in Tokyo, self wonders?  Given the current levels of radiation in vicinity?)

And she also remembers how, her first three weeks back in California, she had the most awful cough.  It kept her up every night.

No, she would not like to have that experience repeated.

When self arrived home, she discovered that UCLA and Florida were in a very tight game, and UCLA was trailing.


To calm herself, self began roaming the web, and saw something that made her think she wanted to add the Kate Winslet movie “Revolutionary Road” to her Netflix queue.  But upon logging on to Netflix, she found that she had exceeded the number of movies she can rent for the duration.

She’s been watching “The Pacific” with hubby.  There are six discs in total.  Yesterday, self found out that Disc 2 is extremely, extremely slow (at least, compared to the heroics on Disc 1, which focused on Guadalcanal).  The soldiers are on furlough in Melbourne.  There are many scenes of hooking up with comely Australian lasses.  And one of the main characters gets sent to another island for treatment of a mysterious ailment called “eneuresis”  which seems to involve much bedwetting.  But there are hardly any of those rousing scenes of battle that self was led to expect from Disc 1.  (“Why are there no Asian American soldiers?” self found herself whining to hubby.  Hubby’s immediate response:  “They were all assigned to Europe.  They wouldn’t send them to the Pacific Theater:  they might get mistaken for the Japanese!”  Oh.)

There are more scenes, however, involving Jacob Pitt, who, though far from being one of the main characters, is simply magnetic —  especially the more haggard and scrawny he gets.  This actor first came to self’s attention on “Justified,” where he impressed self with his sardonic delivery.  On “Justified” Season 2, he is becoming —  seriously —  hot.

And since self has started on the subject of “Justified,” let’s just say she loves that there is less emphasis on Raylan shooting people (During Season 1, he just about killed one man per episode), but there are some very dark characters emerging.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Filipino American Literary Symposium This Saturday, 26 February 2011

How is a Symposium different from a Conference?  Self isn’t sure.

All she knows is:  it is FREEZING in self’s house here in Redwood City, probably a result of the 70-year-old floor heater (Self learned from the real estate agent who helped with the purchase that this house was built in 1939.  A certified antique!  Just like self!) having given up the ghost.  Self knows just what hubby will say:  We have no money!  Double up on your sweaters! Okey-dokey!

Here’s about the symposium, which Karen Llagas and Edwin Lozada helped organize.  Karen, aside from being a fab poet, has energy to the nth power.  If only self could bottle a little of that, for the days when she is shivering at her computer.  Edwin teaches at Woodside High School, apart from writing poetry and organizing and doing a gazillion other community-related work!


Saturday, 26 February 2011, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Jack Adams Hall in the Cesar Chavez Union Center, San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco

Workshops open to all.

Costs for the whole day (sliding scale):

Students:  $25 – $30
General:  $35 – $40

Writing Workshops will be led by the following:

  • Randall Mann, Poetry
  • Barbara Jane Reyes, Poetry
  • Tony Robles, Short Story
  • Oscar Peñaranda, Short Story
  • Anthem Salgado, Blogging
  • Janet Mendoza Stickmon, Memoir
  • Allan Manalo, Playwriting

For more information and to register visit: http://www.pawainc.com/workshop.html or email:
Edwin Lozada: edlozada@carayanpress.com

Reading for the Day: The Economist on Saving the Web

Emma Watson was on the Today Show! Oh my goodness, with her new pixie haircut and her skin-tight-yet-demure-grey-knit dress with little Peter Pan collar she looked adorable, simply adorable! (Her hair was shorter than Carey Mulligan’s, last year’s Existential Pixie)

And Prince William is marrying his long-term girlfriend! (Doesn’t it seem to dear blog readers that the Prince seems to be prematurely balding? To think that all these years, his fair coloring had self lulled into thinking that his genes came mostly from the Spencers!)

It is such a beautiful day! Self planted the narcissus “Sugar Cup” she bought on Sunday from the Menlo Park Farmers Market (The bulbs are enormous! Simply enormous! She paid $10 for 10)

Reading for the day is an article from the Oct. 23 -29 Economist, about an organization called the IIPC, short for the International Internet Preservation Consortium.

Here’s an excerpt:

. . . although search engines such as Google index the web, they do not archive it. Many websites just disappear when their owner runs out of money or interest. Adam Farquhar, in charge of digital projects for the British Library, points out that the world has in some ways a better record of the beginning of the 20th century than of the beginning of the 21st.

In 1996 Brewster Kahle, a computer scientist and internet entrepreneur, founded the Internet Archive, a non-profit organisation dedicated to preserving websites. He also began gently harassing national libraries to worry about preserving the web. They started to pay attention when several elections produced interesting material that never touched paper.

In 2003 eleven national libraries and the Internet Archive launched a project to preserve “born-digital” information: the kind that has never existed as anything but digitally. Called the International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC), it now includes 39 large institutional libraries. But the task is impossible. One reason is the sheer amount of data on the web.

Naturally, self has to leave off at the cliffhanger. Did dear blog readers know that self has a distressing tendency to end posts abruptly (much in the same way that she ends her short stories?)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: Rick Gekoski

Oh, it is so dreary today!  Absolutely dreary.

Which, self has to say, is doing wonders for her blogging energy.

During a lull in the rainclouds, self ventured to the backyard for an inspection of her plants.  She’d no sooner set garden clog on soggy earth than the heavens re-opened.

Is this self’s fourth post of the day?

Must be.

Here’s something self stumbled upon in the Spectator Book Club, a quote from Rick Gekoski by Selina Hastings, in her review of Gekoski’s 2009 book, Outside of a Dog:  A Bibliomemoir

Every reading experience vibrates subtly across the jelly of being.

Isn’t that such a wonderful sentence?  Doesn’t it capture so exactly the wonder of reading?  How it can transform your life, your everyday mundane dull otherwise un-exciting life?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Rainy, First Sunday of November 2010

It is raining today.  Feels like it has been raining for hours.  Time moved backwards, so that the clock says 6:53 even though she expected it to say 7:53.  Out in the living room, she hears the beagles jumping and clattering all over the hardwood floor, trying their darndest (Beagles are so dumb) to wake her up.  Well, she is up.  But, unless they can hear her typing, she will pretend she is still asleep.

This morning, still reading Joshua Ferris, she comes to a section of his novel where a character named Lynn, recently diagnosed with breast cancer, thinks of the time she drove a lousy car around Lake Michigan.

Self too had a lousy car.  Several of them, in fact.  She wrote about one of them in a story called “The Lost Language,” one of those hybrid stories that are part essay and part fiction, that is told in segments.  And it was published in Isotope, whose fabulous editor was Chris Cokinos, but now no one in America (or anywhere else in the world) will ever read it, because two years ago, Isotope ceased to be.

“The Lost Language” is the title story of the collection that was published last year in Manila by Anvil.  Maybe people in Manila will read it.  Maybe a dozen people?

And then this year she finished a novel called “Leaving.”  It was about a Filipino maid.  Then Mona Simpson came out with her big novel about a Filipino maid.  Then self watches on YouTube as Mona Simpson reads from the section of her novel that has to do with a Filipino maid.  The maid is called “Lola.”  She is far more competent with children than Mona Simpson is.  Oh.  Wasn’t that Dear Departed Sister’s maid?  The one self just encountered in New York, this last trip with Dearest Mum?  Her sister’s maid was getting paid so much money, self wished she were a maid and not a writer.  Seriously.

Self, where is this going?

Rainy thoughts, rainy thoughts.

Brrr, Brrr, Brrrr: TIME FOR TEXAS BBQ !!

It is stinging cold.  Self is going to return the Netflix movie she’s hung on to for two months:  “Serenity” —  BWAH HA HA.  That last shot of Sean Maher is priceless —   so that she can get “Clash of the Titans.”  (What has happened to Sam Worthington, whose name was last year on everyone’s tongue?  Today self heard that James Cameron’s next two movies will be “Avatar 2” and “Avatar 3.”  Just now, self looks up “Clash of the Titans” Tomato-meter ranking.  Uh-oh.)

Self has been sticking close to home, filled with anticipation for the first game of the World Series, at AT & T Park.  Called son to tell him to watch, but he said he didn’t have time, Boo.

The latest issue of Sports Illustrated (Hubby’s been a faithful subscriber for years and years) has a feature article on Rangers pitcher Cliff Lee.  SI’s writer (Tom Verducci) really goes over-the-top for this one, writing, among other things:

  • Cliff Lee wears forbearance like the wisp of whiskers below his lower lip.
  • …  Lee has the cool, understated mien of someone handed the answers to a test the night before the exam.
  • The lefthander is more than the central character of this Series:  He looms above it like the Sun above the Earth.

Ehem!  The Sun above the Earth!  That has got to be the most florid sports writing self has ever encountered in the pages of Sports Illustrated!  Clearly, SI expects the Rangers to win the Series (But, perhaps as a sop to the Giants, says the Rangers will win in seven)

*   *     *     *

Top of the 4th, Lincecum had a muy shaky start, but he’s settled down.  Game is tied:  2-2.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Lunch in Hillsborough in the Company of Dearest Mum

Lunch was at the Burlingame Country Club, as guests of a friend of Dearest Mum’s.

In attendance, aside from self and Dearest Mum and her friend, two of self’s aunts.

When we arrived, were greeted by various very thin blonde ladies, all looking as if they’d just returned from the beach (meaning:  deeply tanned).

White-jacketed waiters were all Filipino.  Self felt she was back in the Manila Polo Club.

A waiter explained that the power was out.  So there was no airconditioning.  Not only that, the only food available was a salad buffet.  There was no iced tea, but we could have Diet Pepsi.

Self was wearing this ridiculous, tight, Emilio Pucci blouse that Dearest Mum had given her.  Upon catching a glimpse of herself in the mirror directly over the buffet (That is exceedingly bad placement for a mirror, in self’s humble opinion.  If one looks even slightly overweight, one’s desire to eat is completely extinguished), self thought:  “Methinks I will sign up for the next season of The Biggest Loser.”

In the course of the lunch, self discovered that aunt is completely blown away by the re-tooled “Hawaii Five-O” (Self caught a re-play of the pilot while she was cooling her heels in The Fairmont, last Saturday), and especially by Scott Caan, who self promptly pronounced “ugly.”  The only reason to watch that show, in self’s humble opinion, is Daniel Dae Kim.  And possibly Grace Park.  Who has quite an enviable surfer tan.

And then self learned that the same aunt cannot wait to see “The Social Network” (which self also looks forward to watching, though hubby professes to have no interest)

Let’s see, what else?  Self learned that an aunt who recently passed away was the daughter of a Thomasite, one of the first boatloads of American teachers to come to the Philippines.

Then self heard all talk of what a wicked bridge player Dearest Mum used to be (She used to represent the Philippines in international bridge tournaments, dear blog readers.  Dearest Mum is truly a Renaissance woman)

Then all the aunts flashed pictures of their beautiful grandchildren.  Dearest Mum showed pictures of Ying’s daughter, Anita.  And, seeing how beautiful and how much like Ying she looked, self’s heart gave a lurch.

And that is about all self feels able to write now, dear blog readers.  As she is melting, and the garden is parched, and it is time to water.

Reading The Malahat Review, on the Hottest Day of 2010


That is all the energy self can summon up, today.

Why have we had three successive days of the hottest weather of the year?

Where is fall?

Why is Redwood City 20 degrees hotter than New York?

Can self summon up the energy to re-enter her (boiling) car, and watch another movie?

Yesterday, right after getting back from teaching a Writing Lab, self barely made it to the 3:30 screening of “Cairo Time,” at the Menlo Park Guild.

Which was excellent.  Not only that, the characters were constantly remarking on the heat.  Ninety degrees in November, or something to that effect.  If only self had a figure like Patricia Clarkson’s.  From the back, she looks like a teen-ager —  yes, her waist is that slim.  And her blonde hair is wonderfully voluminous and feminine.  And she has hips, people!  Not fat, pear-shaped hips, but slender hips!  And the guy who played her escort (Not in that way, just a friendly escort around Cairo, to keep Patricia from the unwanted attentions of roving males) had gorgeous, Omar Sharif eyes.  And the background piano music was just gorgeous.

But, today, self had nothing as exciting on her plate.  And it was just as hot.  Or even hotter.

After hubby took himself off to his dreary office, which is causing him to smoke excessively, and therefore polluting not only his lungs but self’s, self had to water.  Water, water, water.

Then she had to mail something to the Vermont Studio Center.  Due October 1, and since the Vermont Studio Center is in some remote area called Johnson, Vermont (354 miles directly north of New York City!), she had to mail the stuff today, and the FedEx rate was $29.01.

Then she went to Barnes and Noble, and hunkered down in the Mysteries section.  And found two more mystery writers she had never read before:  Christopher Fowler (a mystery called White Corridor), and Louise Penny.

And then she proceeded to Safeway, to replenish her stock of Minute Maid Lemonade.  And she decided to replenish the two cartons of lemonade with a six-pack of Shiner Bock.  And some whole wheat bread.

And after getting home, she watered some more.  And when she had reached the point of almost total exhaustion and resentment (Gods!  Why inflict this punishing heat on a woman who cannot afford a regular gardener?  And whose husband doesn’t believe in automatic sprinklers?), she decided to read The Malahat Review.  And the first piece her eyes landed on was a poem called

“The Sad Truth About Engineers”


which happened to be written by a woman named Karen Schindler, described in the “Notes on Contributors” as having herself been a former “chemical engineer.”  But Ms. Schindler has apparently escaped that sad existence, for she is described as “director of the Poetry London Reading Series in London, Ontario.”

The poem begins:

His bed propped up by a stack of textbooks,

twist of sheets at your feet.  Outside the window,


Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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