Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving Day Family Pictures 2015

Here are some Thanksgiving Pictures.

Happy holidays!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Diet Strategies for the Holidays #diet #holidays

The holiday season is coming up and along with that comes a lot of socializing, eating, and drinking. My husband's family is already planning our Thanksgiving meal, which will include turkey, ham, lamb, all the trimmings, plus all sort of desserts. One Thanksgiving, one of my sons counted the calories one could consume at such a celebration, and it was around 1,500 calories.

My friend, Maria Ciocon, and I were discussing a plan to keep from gaining weight over the holidays. Here are my suggestions:

Avoid drinking sodas and alcoholic drinks because they're loaded with calories;

Be careful of rich appetizers, trimmings, and desserts. I'm talking about chips and dip, mashed potatoes, gravy, butter, pies, cakes, bread and other carbs, and so on;

Think about what you pop into your mouth! Do you really want more dressing with gravy? Do you really want another slice of pie? Have that slice of pumpkin pie, but not two, and avoid eating it with whipped cream.

By all means eat at these gatherings, but do so sensibly.

Don't think you're "dieting" because you'll feel deprived; think instead that you're choosing to be "healthy" and taking care of yourself.  You'll feel better and lighter if you choose salads, vegetables, lean turkey meat, instead of piling your plate high with mashed potatoes, gravy, and other buttery creamy food.

Don't castigate yourself if you do eat too much. Just make up for it by eating salads and taking more walks in the days after.

At these gatherings, focus not so much in indulging in food and drink, but in talking to your loved ones.

Weigh yourself regularly so that you can correct yourself right away in case you gain a pound or two. It's easier to get rid of 1 or 2 pounds rather than 5 or more.

Here are some tips I picked up in the internet:

Healthy eating for the holidays

Top 10 Holiday Diet Tips of all time

Tags: #holiday, #diet, health, Thanksgiving, food

This is all for now,

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing all a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Read also

Roasting Leg of Lamb
Thanksgiving Day 2014
Diet Strategies for the Holidays

Tags: Thanksgiving, holidays, #thanksgiving, family, picture

This is all for now,

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Belgium: Chagritte Led Me to the Surrealist Rene Magritte #art

You can run.
But you cannot hide.
Chagritte will get you. 
~ grabbed from #BrusselsLockDown Tweets on cats

One of the cat pictures tweeted in #BrusselsLockdown is this one, with a cool and collected cat sitting in a bowler hat.  It took me a while to catch the nuance that this was a takeoff on the work of the Belgian surrealist artist, Rene Magritte.  The name "Chagritte" is derived from "chat" (meaning cat), and Magritte. 

Some commentators pointed out how the Belgian tweets of cats, in response to the police request not to post their location, was surreal. Indeed the spontaneous and vigorous postings of cats had whimsy and humor. It was unexpected and somewhat strange given this was a fearful time for the Belgians. It was a wonderful response, a way of countering the negative energy created by the "dark side."

Monday, November 23, 2015

Belgium Uses Cat Power against Terrorists - #BrusselsLockdown #catpics

May the force be with us

On Brussels' third day of a lockdown, Sunday, the Belgian law enforcement asked their citizens not to post information about their operations on social media. The Belgians and others responded by posting funny cat pictures. This went viral and not only lightened the tension but also flooded the social media with memes that made it difficult for terrorists to track police activities.

Here are some of my favorite Twitter postings, followed by the thank-you from the law enforcement.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Review: Keith & Margo's Murder Mystery Dinner #losangeles #entertainment

Cecilia, Andrew, Lauren, Swapna

We went to Keith and Margo's Murder Mystery Dinner at Matteo's in Westwood, Los Angeles.

I've read about such murder mystery dinners but had never attended one; this was my first one.

What happened at the dinner?

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Cebu, Philippines: Hit-and-run Driver in Mabolo left Victim Bleeding and Unconscious

Laertes Del Rosario Ocampo

Laertes Del Rosario Ocampo, a resident of Cebu City, Philippines, was hit by a vehicle with License plate Number GDA434, at around 4:10 a.m., November 21, 2015. This happened in the vicinity of Mabolo, Cebu City.

The driver/owner of a vehicle left Laertes unconscious by the sidewalk where he lay bleeding profusely.

The driver should contact authorities immediately. 

Tags: Cebu, Sugbo, Cebu City, Visayas, car accident, hit-and-run, Mabolo

Petition to Preserve Syrian Refugee Progam in US

Zaatari Camp for Syrian Refugees, Jordan

When hundreds of thousands of people have lost everything and have nothing left but the shirts on their backs, we should not turn our backs on these refugees escaping violence in the Middle East.” ~ Bernie Sanders

Email your US Legislators to Preserve Syrian Refugee Program in the US. 

Write your legislators to support continuing the refugee program that promises refuge to 10,000 Syrians, mostly women and children who are escaping violence in their home country.


Know that all refugee applicants to the US will be vetted very, very carefully.

Remember that 10,000 refugees is a drop in the bucket given millions of them have been driven from their homes.

Middle East Refugees "Flight to Egypt"
Read also

Friday, November 20, 2015

Pictures: Autumn in Venice, Southern California

This is how Venice Beach is looking today.

We tried the Eggs Benedict at the Terrace in Venice Beach, California, and it's pretty good, but they serve this until 2 p.m. only.

Read also
Long Beach, California: Beauty Queens, Parkers' Lighthouse, Queen Mary, MOLAA
The Pinata District of Los Angeles, California - Ole!
Los Angeles, California: The Fairfax District and Canter's Deli
California: Night Tour of Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica, California: Mural on Steward Street "Pico Neighborhood"

Tags: Venice, California, Southern California, pictures, photos, Westside, Santa Monica

This is all for now,

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Westside Pavilion: The Lull Before Thanksgiving Day

It's a week before Thanksgiving!

Here's what the Westside Pavilion looks like now, before the mad Christmas rush. On Black Friday the place will be hopping with shoppers looking for bargains.

Read also
Pictures Thanksgiving 2014
Roast Leg of Lamb for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Day - A Time to Catch Our Breath
Diet Strategies for the Holidays

Tags: holidays, Thanksgiving, shopping, family

This is all for now,

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Che and Tesla on a Cat Tree #pets #cats

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Syrian Passport Found at the Paris Attacks #Paris #parisattacks

I grabbed this image from the Syrilution Creative Arts

The picture ridicules the imperishable Syrian passport found near the body of one of the Paris suicide bombers at the Stade de France. Other similar cartoons raise the question of how a suicide bomber could even think to bring his passport with him. The thinking is that the presence of the passport was deliberate.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Paris Attacks: Did Facebook Favor Paris Over Beirut? #Paris #ParisAttacks

Drawing courtesy of Micha Khalil

During the Paris Attacks, Facebook initiated the Safety Check tool, which allowed residents in Paris (or their friends) to mark themselves "Safe." Facebook also allowed Facebook users the ability to turn their profile picture into the French flag to show solidarity with the people of Paris.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Syrilution Creative Arts: Art for Healing

The art in this site, Syrilution Creative Arts, is healing. The site is dedicated to promote creative arts related to the events in Syria. Some beautiful work in there.

Read also
Review Salam Neighbor
Our European Cruise: Low Water Level of the Danube and Refugee Crisis

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Prayer for World Peace #parisattacks

Prayer for World Peace
by Sister Joan Chittester, OSB

Great God, who has told us
"Vengeance is mine,"
save us from ourselves,
save us from the vengeance in our hearts
and the acid in our souls.

Save us from our desire to hurt as we have been hurt,
to punish as we have been punished,
to terrorize as we have been terrorized.

Give us the strength it takes
to listen rather than to judge,
to trust rather than to fear,
to try again and again
to make peace even when peace eludes us.

We ask, O God, for the grace
to be our best selves.
We ask for the vision
to be builders of the human community
rather than its destroyers.
We ask for the humility as a people
to understand the fears and hopes of other peoples.

We ask for the love it takes
to bequeath to the children of the world to come
more than the failures of our own making.
We ask for the heart it takes
to care for all the peoples
of Afghanistan and Iraq, of Palestine and Israel
as well as for ourselves.

Read also
Some Prayers for Peace and Serenity
Prayers for Peace in Syria, Iraq, the Middle East
Tags: Middle East, Paris, #parisattacks, Syria, Iraq, terrorism, ISIL
This is all for now,

Friday, November 13, 2015

Paris, I Am Very Sorry! #parisattacks

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Indian Festival of Lights or Diwali

From comes this retelling of the story behind Diwali:

Once upon a time there was a great warrior, Prince Rama, who had a beautiful wife named Sita.
There was also a terrible demon king, Ravana. He had twenty arms and ten heads, and was feared throughout the land. He wanted to make Sita his wife, and one day he kidnapped her and took her away in his chariot. Clever Sita left a trail of her jewellery for Rama to follow.
Rama followed the trail of glittering jewellery until he met the monkey king, Hanuman, who became his friend and agreed to help find Sita. Messages were sent to all the monkeys in the world, and through them to all the bears, who set out to find Sita.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Book Review of Brainard's Contemporary Fiction by Filipinos in America, by Harold Augenbraum

I'm reprinting Harold Augenbraum's fine review of "Contemporary Fiction by Filipinos in America" ed Cecilia Brainard - the book has been in print since 1997 but remains relevant and is still available from Anvil Publishing in the Philippines and Philippine Expressions in the US, email lindaatphilbooksdotus


Edited by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard
Anvil Publishing, 1997, 254 pages

MANOA, Vol. 13, No., 1, Silence to Light: Japan and the Shadows of War (Summer, 2001) pp. 201-203
by Harold Augenbraum
Contemporary Fiction by Filipinos in America.Edited by Cecilia
Manguerra Brainard. Pasig City, Philippines: Anvil Publishing, 1997.
254 pages, paper $22.95.

A couple of years ago, I asked a colleague of mine who was preparing a comprehensive
anthology of world literature which Filipino writers he was going to
include.He wasn't aware of any, he replied, adding that they probably hadn't been
translated yet.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Antique Vintage Filipina Dresses #Philippines #sayas

I'm featuring antique/vintage dresses worn by my Cuenco relatives. These antique Filipina gowns and clothes are now gone. My aunt, Teresita Cuenco Gonzalez, told me that during World War II in Cebu, they cut up the old gowns to make into other dresses to sell, to help them survive.

Take the time to study these antique/vintage dresses. They come from a time that is no more.

The top picture is my mother, Concepcion Cuenco. My mother is the one in the middle of the children's picture.

Concepcion Cuenco

Monday, November 9, 2015

Cartoons Jokes - Then and Now

Here are some cartoons floating around in the internet.

Have a great week!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Vintage Philippine Wedding Pictures & Superstitions #philippines

Teresita Cuenco Gonzalez, photo courtesy of Manny Gonzalez

Here are some pictures of Philippine brides and grooms.  (That's my aunt up there! I don't know the others but they all look very charming.)

The Philippines has wedding superstitions including the follow:

  • It is bad luck for siblings to get married within the same year;
  • It is bad luck to give married couples sharp and pointed objects as these could lead to a broken marriage;
  • The groom should be be at the church before the bride to avoid bad luck;
  • The couple should not see each other the night before their wedding;
  • Rain during a wedding day means good luck

Friday, November 6, 2015

Poem: Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep by Mary Elizabeth Frye

In 2002, my friend and teacher, Rachelle Benveniste, who passed away recently, sent me this poem to comfort me after my mother died. I am sharing it with my readers. ~ Cecilia

Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep
by Mary Elizabeth Frye

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there.  I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you wake in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there.  I did not die.

(poem courtesy of Rachelle Benveniste)

Read also
      Tags: writing, writers, authors, literature, Rachelle Benveniste, poet, writer, writing teacher
      This is all for now,

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Rachelle Benveniste's "Writing from the Inner Self" #writing

To honor my friend and teacher, Rachelle Benveniste, who passed away recently, I am reprinting one of her numerous publications. 

She was a fine writer, teacher and friend. Rest in peace, Rachelle.

Writing from the Inner Self
Rachelle Benveniste
Reprinted from Contemplative Journal

Take a gentle deep breath, and as you exhale, relax, letting go of the activities and concerns previous to this moment so we may relax in the present moment, the only moment that is.  You might want to take another gentle deep breath, and as you exhale, relax even more. Now, we will rest in the stillness, for just a moment or two, and if thoughts intrude, as they often do, don’t scold yourself, just allow them without becoming engaged in them. Just let them drift on by, like drifting clouds, and come back to your breath, breathing you. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Review: Salam Neighbor, Documentary on Syrian Refugees #refugeecrisis, #syriawar

l-r: Cecilia, Lauren Brainard, Zach Ingrasci

We saw the premier Los Angeles showing of Salam Neighbor, a documentary film by Zach Ingrasci and Chris Temple. 

Zach and Chris had done the award-winning film, Living on One Dollar a Day, which documents the resourcefulness of people in rural Guatemala who lived on a dollar a day.  In Salam Neighbor, the two young filmmakers went to Jordan's Za'atari refugee camp and lived with 85,000 displaced Syrian refugees for a month. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Our European Cruise: Low Water Level of the Danube and Refugee Crisis #travel

Nuremberg, Germany

We have just returned from a "Romantic Danube" Viking river cruise, which encompassed Germany, Austria, and Hungary.  The cruise began in Nuremberg, Germany and ended in Budapest, Hungary, with stops in Regensburg and Kelheim, Passau, Melk, and Vienna. Before taking the cruise, we had spent six days travelling on our own to Nuremberg, Munich, and Salzburg. 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Halloween decorations up; candies are ready for the trick or treaters, although in recent years we've been getting fewer trick or treaters. I do love seeing the children in their costumes. 

I hope we get some kids tonight!

     This is all for now,

Travel: Blogging Soon about Our Trip to Germany, Austria, and Hungary

I'll be blogging about our trip to Germany, Austria, and Hungary, including my thoughts about our Viking cruise and the Refugee Crisis in Europe.

Wi-fi was terribly slow in the cruise ship and simply couldn't post.  Here are a few pictures I was able to post in Facebook - from top to bottom the Royal Palace in Budapest, Hungary; the Marriage of Figaro Performance in Vienna; Klimt at the Belvedere in Vienna.

Stay tuned!

   This is all for now,