Discoveries, First Saturday of September (2014)

Yesterday, while standing at the check-out line in Whole Foods on Jefferson, self saw a CD by Ed Sheeran. She was curious, as apparently he is a great favorite of the writers on fanfiction.net  So she bought his CD and listened to it at home and, you know, it reminds her of old rock. But it’s pleasant. Something new to listen to while driving!

Today was peaceful. She mostly watered.

She’s very much enjoying Dark Star, by Alan Furst. He writes ridiculously well, for someone who writes spy thrillers.

SPOILER ALERT!!!

On p. 52, the hero of the story, Szara, lands in Berlin (after a particularly nasty encounter with some hired assassins — he escapes by the skin of hist teeth). This is what he sees of the city from his hotel room:

Szara stared out a high window, watching umbrellas moving down the street like phantoms. It seemed to him the city’s very own, private weather, for Berliners lived deep inside themselves — it could be felt — where they nourished old insults and humiliated ambitions of every sort, all of it locked up within a courtesy like forged metal and an acid wit that never seemed meant to hurt — it just, apparently by accident, left a little bruise.

Lovely writing, isn’t it?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Inside 7: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Wow, self continues to be madly inspired by the WordPress Photo Challenge this week:  INSIDE.

Heartfelt thanks to The Daily Post for the fantastic prompts!

Here’s a picture of one of self’s Stanford chums, Penny Jackson, as she emulates a Yoga pose in front of the Asian Art Museum. Her arms are pressed together above her head, she is INSIDE the pose.  Get it?

It is always a lot of fun hanging around with Penny.  She is so spontaneous, pure Nitro.

It is always a lot of fun hanging around with Penny. She is so spontaneous, pure Nitro.

Self has always had an enduring fascination with snow globes.  Here’s one she bought about 30 years ago.

Christmas is a great excuse for nostalgia . . .

Christmas is a great excuse for nostalgia . . .

2013 was a special year:  Manila Noir, a collection of “dark” stories about the city of Manila, and edited by Jessica Hagedorn, was published.  Self has a story in this anthology:  The story is called “Desire.”

She’s not a big name, like the others in the collection, so her name didn’t get listed on either book cover.  But, still.  Open to the Table of Contents, her name is there.  She is INSIDE the book.

Manila Noir (Akashic Books, 2013): The covers of the U.S. and Philippine editions

Manila Noir (Akashic Books, 2013): The covers of the U.S. and Philippine editions

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Treasure 3: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Let’s talk about how sweet it is to have a really, really good nail salon in the neighborhood.

Self decided to get a mani/pedi yesterday afternoon, at 5 p.m. (As parking fees don’t apply after 6 p.m., she ends up paying only 50 cents, for 1 hour)  When she walked in, the entire row of humongous massaging chairs was full, but she only had to wait a little while before they called self to a chair.

One of the women there is taking classes from a San Jose community college, and she and self began gabbing about our favorite books.  A few weeks ago, self dropped off a copy of her Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila.  Today, the woman gave her a copy of her favorite book, pictured below.  Which she will consider (Ta-ra!)

TREASURE # 3.1

Self's First Book Exchange: with a young woman from her favorite nail salon, Belle Nail Salon in her hometown Redwood City

Self’s First Book Exchange: with a young woman from her favorite nail salon, Belle Nail Salon in her hometown Redwood City

TREASURE # 3.2:  Memories of her last trip to visit son and Jennie in Claremont

Son and Jennie have a wee backyard. It was so sunny, her last day in Claremont, a week ago.

Son and Jennie have a backyard! It was so sunny, her last day in Claremont, a week ago.

TREASURE # 3.3:  Ocean Beach and The Great Highway.  No matter what the weather, there’s always something to see . . .  And the San Francisco Zoo’s right alongside.

We always take the Great Highway when we visit the Legion of Honor.

We always take the Great Highway when we visit the Legion of Honor.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Weekend Workshop For Women (L.A. Area)

Rising UP in Your Life:  Liberating Your Authentic Voice
A Transformational Weekend Workshop for Women
March 21 – 23, 2014

Facilitated by Michelle Bauman, M.A., J.D. and Carolyn Freyer-Jones, M.A.

Over the past five years, the two have coached hundreds of women. Interesting, loving, creative women with extraordinary ideas, hopes, and dreams. Women who love their families and are deeply committed to their mothering. Women in action.

The weekend includes opportunities for:

  • Identifying the patterns that prevent you from experiencing greater fulfillment . . . and discovering new ways to dissolve them.
  • Revolutionizing your decision making process in service to more heartfelt choices and
  • Strengthening your ability to take other people’s discomfort and challenges (partners/husbands, bosses, children, parents) without collapsing into people-pleasing, people, and fixing and Self-Abandonment
    Learning to speak on your own behalf without anger and againstness, experiencing greater grace and confidence.
  • Locating your “taking risks” muscle . . .  and learning how to strengthen it in service to authentic empowerment and living your heartfelt dreams.
  • Deepening your ability to nurture and support your Self in times of challenge.

Intrigued?  Go here.

Stay tuned.

Claremont, Day 2: Plan for the Day

The plan for today is to visit the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum.  Self is so glad that son and Jennie were down for that, as she’s been wanting to visit the museum for a while, ever since she read a write-up about it in the Wall Street Journal.  The article focused on a new exhibit called “Becoming Los Angeles.”

The exhibit, which covers “14,000 square feet of gallery space . . . tells the city’s history primarily through a display of 250 objects and images, from canoe carvings of the Gabreleño-Tongya people to a Stratocaster guitar (As the first museum in the city, this one became the repository for family heirlooms, keepsakes and homely artifacts that might otherwise have been lost to history — and in that catch-all function alone broadened, from the outset, the definition of a natural history museum.”

There are “six major sections” that comprise “key moments in the Los Angeles story.”  There are “artifacts from the Indians who cruised the islands off Los Angeles in sewn boats and first greeted Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542,” and “a series of paintings” of the first “Spanish missions in California . . . by the British landscape artist Edwin Deakin.”

There’s more, lots more, but self has to check on her on-line writing class students.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Reading for the Day: DARING GREATLY

Jennie invited self to attend a Women in Business Workshop yesterday on the Claremont campus (Self doesn’t know why, but she never noticed before how beautiful the campus is!  Especially Scripps).  Here’s Jennie looking oh-so-prepped in black jacket, purple top, grey tailored pants, and pumps.

Jennie, Yesterday:  Scripps College

Jennie, Yesterday: Scripps College

Anyhoo, the workshop was so very, very interesting.  Every participant got to take home a free book.  There were stacks of choices.  Self picked Doing Greatly:  How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, by Brené Brown.

The Introduction talks about the value of living “wholeheartedly.”  There’s a list of 10 Guideposts for living “wholeheartedly”:

  1. Cultivating Authenticity:  Letting Go of What People Think
  2. Cultivating Compassion:  Letting Go of Perfectionism
  3. Cultivating a Resilient Spirit:  Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness
  4. Cultivating Gratitude and Joy:  Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark
  5. Cultivation Intuition and Trusting Faith:  Letting Go of the Need for Certainty
  6. Cultivating Creativity:  Letting Go of Comparison
  7. Cultivating Play and Rest:  Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth
  8. Cultivating Calm and Stillness:  Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle
  9. Cultivating Meaningful Work:  Letting Go Self-Doubt and “Supposed to”
  10. Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance:  Letting Go of Being Cool and “Always in Control

One of the great things about visiting son is that, since he and Jennie are psychology grad students, there is no dearth of reading materials that address various subjects having to do with self, the psyche, etc.  The speaker yesterday, Michelle Bauman, is a Personal/Business Coach.  She talked about how most people’s mindsets lie on a continuum between “fixed” and “growth,” and how the proportion between one or the other changes as we learn from experience.

They served lunch.  Ohh, the mango and coconut mousse was so great.

Seated next to self was a striking woman who introduced herself as “Music Watson.”  Self couldn’t resist asking her where she got her first name.  Her response:  “My parents were hippies.” Self asked if that meant they liked Carole King and James Taylor.  She said, “More like The Doors.”

Yesterday, in the milling around between panels, a student named Yael, who self guessed (correctly) was from Tel Aviv, and was a grad student in Information Systems, came over and introduced herself.  Then another student came up.  Self thinks this is because they assumed she was a Claremont professor.  Self was wearing black pants, a black jacket, grey pumps, black stockings, and a beige top.  I guess no one could be blamed for thinking she was a professor!  She bought the clothes special for the trip, when Jennie told her the attire for the Women in Business event was “business casual.”  A saleswoman in Anne Taylor Loft on Santana Row brought out the grey pumps, on sale for $19.95!  Self used her own black jacket, but she did buy the black pants which —  she didn’t notice until yesterday — had zippers down the calfs.  Cool!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

An Unusual POV 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The vaporetto stop on Ca' San Toma, early morning

The vaporetto stop on Ca’ San Toma, early morning, May 2013

San Marco Cathedral, early morning.  Self was waiting for the rest of her tour group to arrive.

San Marco Cathedral, early morning. Self was waiting for the rest of her tour group to arrive.

The Lion of Venice in San Marco Square, April 2013

The Lion of Venice in San Marco Square, April 2013 (That appears to be a pigeon resting on the lion’s head.  Self just noticed it a few minutes ago!)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea 2

What kind of emotions does the sea or ocean make you feel?  Do you remember the first time you went in the water?

— The Daily Post Photo Challenge Prompt for the Week

*    *     *     *

When self posted her first set of pictures on the theme of “Sea,” she forgot to address what emotions she felt while at the shore.  Because for sure she felt many intense emotions — the sea always conjures them.

She explained to someone who left a comment on her first “Sea” post that the archipelago she referred to in the post was the Philippines, which is said to have 7,100 islands.

The sea or the idea of it permeates all of self’s writings.  For instance, here’s an excerpt from her “Don Alfredo & Jose Rizal,” which she first began to write almost 10 years ago, and which Sou’wester published in 2007:

George Dewey.  I would always think of him in connection with the man who had invented the Dewey decimal system, but this was not that man.  This Dewey was an Admiral, an adventurer with dreams of empire, who entered Manila Bay on 1898 on a great American battleship, guns pointing at the crumbling embankment of Manila’s old city, Intramuros.

I suddenly pictured the blue water of the bay, the panic of the few Spanish soldiers watching on the gray stone battlements.

The residents of the city would be sleeping, peaceful.  Their breath rising in stagnant clouds over their heads as they slept beneath the mosquito nets draped over their mahogany four-posters.  The dogs would be sniffing in the lanes, the pigs rooting in the backyards.  Roosters would be crowing from various parts of the slumbering city.

Six o’clock in the morning but already the day would be hot, the sun’s heat falling like shards on the still-empty streets.

And now, back to the WordPress Photo Challenge.

A private piece of the wonder that is the island of Siquijor

A private piece of the wonder that is the island of Siquijor

Self has said it before, and she'll say it again now:  Nothing is as beautiful as a Philippine sea.

Self has said it before, and she’ll say it again now: Nothing is as beautiful as a Philippine sea.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

 

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: In the Background 4

Venice, April 2013:  A mysterious courtyard

Venice, April 2013: A mysterious courtyard

Not sure if this photograph qualifies for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge Theme:  In the Background.

You decide, dear blog readers.

Here’s the WordPress prompt :

In the Background

The places that we pass through day after day, or even once in a lifetime, leave in their small way, echoes and traces of themselves upon us.  But so often when taking self portraits or pictures of friends, the places themselves become a soft blurred mush of indistinct semi-nothingness, the limelight stolen by our smiling faces.  In today’s challenge, let’s turn the tables.  Take a picture of yourself or someone else as a shadow, a reflection, or a lesser part of a scene, making the background or . . .  the foreground the center of attention.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Possibly A Site For Future Wanderings

Half of the time —  no, make that 75 % of the time —  self lives in the future.

That future is not always a bright and rosy picture.

But, self reflects, it is better to have a future, any future, rather than the alternative.  Isn’t that so, dear blog readers?

This morning, self is in a reflective mood, having capped off a wonderful weekend of movies:  three from CAAMFest and one in Palo Alto’s Aquarius (“Emperor” —  five stars!  And what a performance by Matthew Fox!)

For some reason, one of the things she took away from the festival was a mention of a bed-and-breakfast in Vigan.

Self has never been to Vigan, never.  Not even once.  Though she knows her sister’s kids were taken there, one summer several years ago.

She decides she might as well try going on her own.  She looks up the inn, and came up with this.

What is the meaning, self wonders, of the houses in garish blue and yellow paint?  Perhaps blue and yellow signify good luck?  Or perhaps those are the province’s national colors?  Or perhaps people just think blue and yellow are cool?

Which reminds self of the time the Colonel took her from Bir to Amritsar.  The car played only Elvis music because Pratibha, the Colonel’s wife, is a great aficionado of Elvis songs.  So we entered Punjab (to the tune of “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree”) and there, for the first time in India, self saw turbans.  Many, many turbans.  It was amazing, there was no warning that we had left Himachal Pradesh.  There were simply, suddenly, everywhere, men in turbans.  And not just any turbans.  Turbans in all colors of the rainbow:  pink, yellow, green, you name it.  And some of these turbans had printed designs, like flowers and stripes.  Self asked the Colonel whether the colors had any significance, and the Colonel replied, “It is a matter of personal taste.  Some people like the color yellow, others like the color pink, and so on.”

!!!!!

How fabulous!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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