Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Entertainment: Confessions of a Game of Thrones Addict



I'm getting ready for Season 5 of Game of Thrones, which starts on April 12, 2015.

I must admit that I'm a Game of Thrones addict. My son had introduced me to the books years ago, and I approached the reading with caution. I generally prefer literary fiction to commercial. I later realized that the writer, George R. R. Martin, created interesting characters and situations. In fact, the books are skillfully done.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Syrian War: Will the US Negotiate with Syria's Bashar Assad?





Kerry's statements regarding the US willing to negotiate with Assad are misunderstood. He's not saying the US will negotiate with Assad NOW. What he said was, "Well, we have to negotiate in the end."

"End" is the key word here.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

House and Garden the San Miguel Allende Way




I've always admired the houses and gardens in the Spanish Colonial City of San Miguel Allende in Mexico. I find them "alegre" and well... bold. We have copied some of the elements that we like, color being on top of the list.

We had our courtyard painted yellow recently, and we have rooms with colors in our house.

I'm sharing pictures showing the San Miguel Allende influence in our house and courtyard.

The courtyard is very yellow, but I expect it to fade a bit. It's brand new. Enjoy the pictures.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Review: Fisherman's Outlet of Los Angeles, California

We had lunch at the Fisherman's Outlet at 529 So. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, California. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Philippines: Manny Pacquiao Others Want Balangiga Bells Returned



I just wrote about the Bells of Balangiga which the Americans took as war booty in 1901 during the Philippine American War.

There is a campaign to bring the bells back to Eastern Samar, Philippines. Boxing Champion and Congressman, Manny Pacquiao,  is the Honorary Committee Chairman of the group working for the bells' return.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Philippines: Lyman J. Carlock, First American Judge in Cebu



Judge Lyman Judy Carlock

After the Philippine American War, at the turn of the century, my great-grandfather, Mariano Albao Cuenco, was appointed Clerk of Court in Cebu by Governor Llorente. 

In his autobiography, my granduncle, Archbishop Jose Cuenco, writes that Mariano Albao "became the Adviser to Judge Layman (sic) Carlock who wishing to win over the sympathies of the Filipinos to the American cause, studied Spanish and Visayan under my father and would take part in all social and political activities of the Cebuanos. Before his appointment as member of the Supreme Court of the Philippines he was struck with cholera. He was only 32 years and one of the most brilliant American judges in the Philippines. After his death, the widow of the judge and his children returned to America. In one of my visits to America, I met them and was entertained by them."

Mariano Albao Cuenco and his family

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Writing: LA California's Algonquin West of Eve La Salle Caram



 I'm in a writers workshop lead by esteemed novelist and teacher Eve La Salle Caram. There are six people in the group, informally called the Algonquin West, and we are all working on book length writing projects.

A workshop allows me to focus on my novel-in-progress and "forces" me to produces pages. It gives me the structure. Some writers will take time off to go on a Writer's Retreat to do some writing. I've never had that luxury because I have a family and am very busy. Workshops help me get pages done. I look at writing workshops as my "Writer's Retreat.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Fashion: Gray Hair is In!!!


I was at my hair dresser's last week and was surprised to see a young man of around 35 years getting his hair grayed.  Yes, gray as in GRAY.  Apparently Gray Hair is IN.

I think though that along with gray hair, one should have nice thick hair and great skin to be able to pull Gray off, but I'm throwing this out there so my forty plus readers know Gray Hair is now the trend.

The pictures are grabbed from Pinterest and are from Etsy. 

Tuesday is Writing Workshop Day, so this is all for now, dear Readers.






Read also

Tags: fashion, hair, grayhair, beauty 

This is all for now,


Monday, March 23, 2015

Remembering Milette Estrada - Maryknoll College, QC 1968



Milette Estrada born 5/19/50 died 12/17/14


Some graduates of Maryknoll College's Class of 1968 had a Memorial Mass for Milette Estrada on March 23, 2015 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 1015 Baker Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. 

Those who attended were: Maria and Sim Ciocon, Lorna and Raul Cruz, Marie and Pat Cruz, Tina and Andy Heiter, Lucy and Patrick McGinley, Esther and Owen Parker, Chona Preston, Milette's relatives were there: Zari de la Torre, Jinky Estrada, and Francis dela Torre. There were approximately 45 people at St. John's church for the Monday Mass, officiated by two priests who had known Milette.

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Philippines: How Tall is the Filipino Woman?




According to this 2008 study, the Filipino woman's average height is 151.8 cm. or 4' 11.8".

To have some perspective here are the heights of women from some other countries:

Canada - 161.0 cm. or 5' 3.4"

China - 158.6 cm or 5' 2.5"

Czech Republic - 167.3 cm or 5' 6"

France - 161.9 cm or 5' 3.7"

Germany - 165 cm or 5' 4.9"

Guatemala (Mayan) - 142.2 cm or 4'6"

Indonesia - 147 cm or 4'10"

East Indonesia (Bali) - 151.3 cm or 4'11.5"

S. Korea - 162.56 cm or 5' 4"

US - 164.1 cm or 5' 4.6"


You can check a more comprehensive site here, but you can see that Filipino women are among the shorter women in the world, at least in 2008. Clearly the statuesque beauty queens the Philippines sends to pageants are not of the norm.

Picture of Ariella Hernanez Arida, 2013 Miss Universe-Philippines holder and third runner-up in the Miss University contest, is courtesy of Wikipedia

Read also

Images of the Filipina in Literature

Descriptions of the Philippines Woman in Literature

Miss Philippines Crowned Miss World 2013

Tags: Philippines, Filipino, Filipina, Beauty Queens, women  #Philippines

This is all for now,
Cecilia



Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sam Dunn Article and Family Tree of the Writers Program, UCLA Extension




 My husband received the UCLA Magazine, April 2015 issue, and he called my attention to an article by Samantha Dunn about the Writers Program at UCLA Extension.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Philippines: Massacre of Bud Dajo, Jolo, Sulu




My recent blog had to do with the Massacre of Balangiga in the Philippines during the Philippine American War.  I came across another massacre of Filipinos by the Americans at the turn of the century. This was was in Jolo Island, Philippines, specifically Mount Bud Dajo.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Philippines: What and Where Are the Bells of Balangiga?

The Bells of Balangiga were the bells of a church in the town of Balangiga, Samar, Philippines. During the Philippine American War, in 1901, Filipinos ambushed and killed 48 members of the US 9th infantry.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Philippine Cooking: Spam, Eggs, and Rice Breakfast



Growing up in the Philippines, canned food like Spam, Corned Beef, and Vienna Sausage were considered special. 

One of my favorite breakfast was (and is) Spam, eggs, and rice. The rice was steamed, although fried garlic rice became popular when I got older. The eggs were fried, over-easy. The Spam was also fried, but just when the pieces were almost done, we sprinkled sugar on the Spam so that each piece had a caramelized coating -- red brown, gooey, with crisp edges, absolutely heavenly. Using your spoon and fork, you got a bit of egg, Spam, and rice and popped that in your mouth --- oh, the thought makes my mouth water!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

ART: The Painter Vincent Van Gogh and Digoxin Poisoning



"I don't know anything with certainty, but seeing the stars makes me dream." ~ Vincent Van Gogh

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Super Typhoons Pam in Vanuatu and Haiyan in the Philippines



News of Cyclone Pam devastating the small Pacific island of Vanuatu reminds me of the horrific Super Typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda that hit Central Philippines in 2013. The two super typhoons are  similar in their intensity, with Haiyan's Pressure at 896 millibars, and Pam at 899 millibars. Wind speed of Pam was 165 mph; Haiyan had 190 mph.

This site compares the two devastating typhoons.

Monday, March 16, 2015

London, UK: Cuenco Cousins Pictures and Reviews of London Restaurants


l-r: Cuenco Cousins: Celine Conejos, Chickie Feraren, Manny Gonzalez

My Cuenco cousins are in London! They had invited me and my husband to go with them, but we couldn't make it. Here are some pictures of them, and here too are reviews of London Restaurants by Celine Conejos. She had done these before this trip.





Sunday, March 15, 2015

Picture Tea Plantation in Malaysia



I took this picture of a tea plantation in Malaysia.

Here's information from this site about growing tea in a temperate zone:

Buying the Right Variety
If you want to grow your own tea, stick with a Chinese Camellia variety, says Ruhren. In Latin terms, that's Camellia sinensis var. sinensis, not to be confused with Camellia sinensis var. assamica, which is an Indian tea; Indian tea plants are less tolerant of the cold. "These are really easy plants to grow if winters are warm," he adds, "and I think most people would have an easy time growing them." Tea bushes grow best in zone 7 climates (mostly Southeastern states), which could be why the only domestic tea plantation in the U.S. is located just outside Charleston, South Carolina. But you can grow them just about anywhere as long as you keep them indoors or in a greenhouse in the winter, says Ruhren.
The plants also aren't very picky about soil. "They're acid-loving to the extent that most of our common garden plants are acid-loving," Ruhren says, noting that you can usually grow them in the same type of soil you would a vegetable garden. They grow as well in full sun as they do in shade, but "if your plants are competing with trees that are thirsty, they won't grow as strongly," he says. And regarding water, camellia bushes are drought-tolerant and usually survive dry summers better than your average vegetable garden. Tea bushes can succumb to mites, scales, aphids, and caterpillars, but Ruhren says most pest problems can be solved with horticultural oil, a mechanical (not chemical) pesticide that kills pests by suffocating them, without harming birds or other insects.
This is all for now, dear Readers. 
Read Also
Tags: tea, growing, plantation, Malaysia, India, agriculture
Writing today, this is all for now,

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Review of Living on One Dollar - Documentary Film by Temple and Ingrasci






Our friend, Doug Noble, was raving about the documentary film Living on One Dollar, which is about four American college students who replicate Guatamela life by living on one dollar a day in a small Guatemala village.  Doug had met the film makers, Chris Temple and Zach Ingrasci, at Claremont College where the two had shown the film and made a presentation.

We saw the film on Net Flix. It's a very good documentary. It informs viewers of the harsh realities that 1.1 billion people face who live under $1 a day. On such a tight budget, there is barely enough to eat. There is no money for medicine nor for any extraordinary expense. Children have to stop schooling to work. It's a life that's difficult for some of us to imagine, and the film helps us witness that reality.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Honey Bees in Southern California This March!



I've been keeping track of honey bees because they've been suffering from a die-off (Colony Collapse Disorder). I was happy to see countless bees on this bush. Here are a few pictures. These are wild bees, not domesticated. The wild bees are slimmer, with a waist.



Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Certain Strangeness - Writing Tip from Eve La Salle Caram


I had lunch with my writer friend, Eve La Salle Caram, at Caserio's in Silverlake, and as we always do, had an extended chat about writing, literature, politics, and so on.
One of the things that Eve said about writing hit me with a such a force, I must share it with you.  She talked about a John Gardner quote, which I found in the internet about "a certain strangeness" in great work:

"There can be no great art, according to the poet Coleridge, without a certain strangeness. Most readers will recognize at once that he's right. There come moments in every great novel when we are startled by some development that is at once perfectly fitting and completely unexpected [...], or those moments we experience in many novels when the ordinary and the extraordinary briefly interpenetrate, or things common suddenly show, if only for an instant, a different face. One has to be just a little crazy to write a great novel. One has to be capable of allowing the darkest, most ancient and shrewd parts of one's being to take over the work from time to time. Or be capable of cracking the door now and then to the deep craziness of life itself ..." ~ quote from John Gardner's On Becoming a Novelist.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Taco Tuesday at Gilbert's in Santa Monica, California - #food, #restaurant


We will sometimes go to "Taco Tuesday" at Gilbert's El Indio Restaurant (2526 Pico Blvd.) in Santa Monica, California. Our son introduced us to Gilbert's many years ago because it was/is a popular hangout for surfers. Gilbert's also happens to have good Mexican food. For years, we have been going to Gilbert's generally on Friday nights, and now also Tuesday for "Taco Tuesday."  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

To Everything There Is a Season - Inday Blanco's 40th Day Memorial


It's over forty days now since Inday Blanco passed away, and following tradition, her family and friends celebrated a memorial Mass and said prayers. The Philippine belief is that on the fortieth day her soul has gone on to heaven.

Inday's passing and world events have reminded me of  the song, Turn, Turn, Turn, which uses the verses from Ecclesiastes. The words are beautiful; the song is also beautiful. Peace be with you today, dear Readers.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Santa Monica, California: Sunday with Christine Colin and Max Girerd




 Our friends, Christine Colin and Max Girerd, from Lyon, France, spent Sunday afternoon with us.
Christine owns and runs the Atelier du Griffon, where she trains wig makers the old art as it was done. The third generation wig maker in her family, Christine is one of a handful of wig makers in Europe who still knows the old art. Max is an international businessman, who loves sailing.


They visit California regularly, and we have spent time we them here and in France. Sunday, we walked through Santa Monica Promenade and down to Palisades Park where some snakes and macaws were on display. For a few bucks, you could have your picture taken with a python around your neck.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Philippine Cooking: Ube Halaya or Purple Yam Dessert





In the Philippines, we used to eat Purple Yam or Ube, a root with dense purple flesh. Sometimes this was boiled; sometimes this was added in other dishes. It had a distinctive pleasant taste, which I can't really describe beyond saying I could taste the forest in it.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

LBC Express Shipping and Filipino Comfort Food



Several times a year, I make a trip to LBC Express in Los Angeles to send boxes with donations to a priest whose parish is in Northern Cebu, Philippines.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Santa Monica, California: Harrison Ford Plane Crash in Penmar Golf Course



Thursday evening, we walked down to nearby Penmar Golf Course to check out the Harrison Ford Plane crash. It was around 6:30 p.m. when we got there, four hours after Ford's plane crash, but the airplane, police cars, and numerous media vans were there. Of course the lookie-loos like us were also there. The road closest to the plane was blocked off from traffic.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Philppine Cooking: Recipe for "Mochiko" Bibingka



From Carol Ojeda-Kimbrough who had shared with us her Cornbread Bibingka, here is another bibingka recipe:


Favorite 2014 Family Pictures

 Fiji, l-r: Chris, Lauren, Bryn, Cecilia


Dear Readers,
I'm working on my fourth novel, which is eating up my time, Forgive the short blog entries. My mind is in Ubec, 1910, most of the time.

Here are some favorite Family Pictures taken in 2014.

Thanksgiving l-r: Juana, Alex, Lauren, Cecilia, Dylan, Swapna, Drew, Stephanie, Bryn, Chris

Christmas morning Seated l-r: Alex, Juana, Robert, Dylan, Swapna, Drew.
Standing l-r: Luke, Chris

Thanksgiving l-r: Lauren, Cecilia


Read also

  • Sphagnum Almost Killed My Orchids
  • Typhoon Haiyan: Jews in the Philippines - 1940 & 2013
  • Post-War Cebu Life - More Memorabilia Photos of Cecilia Brainard
  • Creative Writing: The Importance of Sensual Writing
  • Syrian Revolutionary Poem & Destruction of Khalid bin Walid Mosque


  • Creative Writing: Journal Writing and my Pink Lock and Key Diary



  • Tags: family, pictures, photos, Cecilia Brainard

    This is all for now,