Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Day of the Dead Halloween Costumes to Consider

A couple of years ago, were in San Miguel Allende, Mexico for the Day of the Dead. It was a big event with every one promenading at the park to celebrate as well as to be seen.  Here some pictures which I hope will inspire some of you to come up with good Halloween costumes and makeup next week.

This site has Halloween Makeup Tutorials.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Invitation to November Literary Events with Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

You are invited to these November Literary Events:

1. Saturday, November 5, 2016, 2 p.m.
Cecilia Manguerra Brainard will be at the Skyline Hills Branch Library, 7900 Paradise Valley Road, San Diego, California.
This is part of the celebration of the new library for Skyline Hills.
Cecilia will do a Reading and Powerpoint Presentation on "The Impact of Filipino History and Culture Upon American Literature."

Contact: Glenn Risolo, Manager, Skyline Hills Branch Library, City of San Diego, CA, 1-619-527-3485

2. Saturday, November 19, 20116, 10 a.m.

Cecilia Manguerra Brainard will conduct a writing workshop on "How to Create Compelling Characters."

Interview of Cecilia Manguerra Brainard by Libay Linsangan Cantor in BOOKWATCH, NBDB Philippines

The following is an excerpt from the article "Anthologizing the Filipino Experience in America" by Libay Linsangan Cantor. It is an interview of Cecilia Manguerra Brainard by Ms. Cantor who also edited BOOKWATCH. 

You can find the article in p. 29 of BOOKWATCH Vol. 20 No. 3. BOOKWATCH is published by the National Book Development Board of the Philippines.

So what does it take to create such an anthology, and how is it possible to gather varied voices and collect them under one volume? Another anthology editor, novelist and essayist Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, shared with us her thoughts on the matter.

A California-based writer of Cebuano heritage, Brainard travels frequently to the Philippines where she still enjoys literary connections and publication deals. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Travel Italy: Rome the Eternal City

This continues my blog entries about our recent trip to Italy. Here are the earlier accounts:


  •      Because we had taken the train in Tuscany, we learned a couple of important things: first, instead of dealing with the complicated ticket machines at train stations, it's better to buy your tickets at the tabacchi (tobacco) shop for the same price but with the added benefit of having a human being help you.  Second, one needs to validate those train tickets before boarding the train. We learned this the hard way; we were penalized for not sticking our tickets into those small validating machines. Ouch -- sixty euros! (the conductor said we should have paid 120 euros, but he gave us a break.)

  • Thursday, October 13, 2016

    Philippine Literature: Writer Bienvenido N. Santos - 1988 Letter

    Here's a voice from the past! I came across this note from the famous Filipino novelist, Bienvenido N. Santos. In it, he writes:

    May 22, 1988

    Dear Cecilia,

    Thank you for the autographed copy of your book. Now I can read the complete collection.

    As a regular commuter between the R.P and the U.S. every six months each year since 1981, promoting my books and teaching, I know what you mean when you say "I am tired." Consider, too, that I'm a 77-year old man.

    But I keep busy, which to me, is a way of survival. Manila is an exciting town to visit. I was born there, but the place has changed, the people, too.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2016

    My cats Che and Tesla Join #PussiesAgainstTrump

    My cats, Che and Tesla, join #PussiesAgainstTrump !!!

    And here are some more pictures grabbed from the Internet:

    Read also

    Tags: cats, kittens, pets, trump, politics, USA, #PussiesAgainstTrump

    This is all for now,

    Saturday, October 8, 2016

    Travel Tuscany: The Blue Sky of Siena, Italy

    I fell in love with Siena the first time I visited it and my affection for this Medieval place remains high even after subsequent visits.

    Wednesday, October 5, 2016

    Travel Italy: Florence Tuscany in September

    Florence or Firenze is the capital of Tuscany, Italy, and driving there from where we stayed in Montegufoni would have been challenging. Traffic would have been bad and parking even worse. We decided to take the train. First we drove to Montelupo, a municipality fairly close to Florence, parked our car, and took the short train ride to Florence. 

    Monday, October 3, 2016

    Travel Italy: Florence American Cemetery, Volterra, and La Verna in Tuscany

    From the Castle Montegufoni where we stayed at in Tuscany, we could take trips to different places.


    One of the sites we visited was the Florence American Cemetery, where our friend's father is buried. The man in charge of the American Cemetery, an Italian, was cordial and helped us find the burial place of William Allen. There were other Americans looking for the burial sites of their relatives, and some of them had great stories. A woman spoke of her relative, a pilot whose plane had to go down, but he was able to release his passengers, while he and his co-pilot went down with the plane. Even though World War II was years ago, emotions were still palpable.

    Sunday, October 2, 2016

    Travel Italy: Chianti and San Miniato in Tuscany

    Travel: Tuscany, Italy

    One day, almost a year ago, I received an email from Great Value Vacations offering a package deal to Italy.  The package included free airfare from Los Angeles to Rome and back, a Hertz car, and ten nights in hotels in Tuscany and in Rome.  The deal was superb, and we booked it. We went there in mid-September.  

    Our first stop was the Chianti region in Tuscany, in the Castello Di Montegufoni, which dates back to the 10th or 11th century.  The castle has been beautifully restored with, not just rooms, but apartments. The grounds are just as lovely. The view from our apartment was fantastic; we could see Tuscany's rolling hills with vineyards, cypress trees, and another huge castle or villa on a ridge.

    Friday, September 23, 2016

    Travel Tuscany, Italy

    I'm unable to blog, but please check my Facebook site for updates about my current visit to Tuscany.

    As soon as I can I'll write about this visit to Italy.

    Sunday, September 18, 2016

    Beauty: Hair by DiAnn at Lighten Up, Culver City

    Wednesday, September 14, 2016

    Philippine Literature: Interview of Cecilia Manguerra Brainard by Christopher Abadilla

    The following is an Interview of Cecilia Manguerra Brainard by Christopher Abadilla for Dr. Cherry Malaque's Literature Class at the University of the Philippines, Cebu.

    Christopher Abadilla: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

    Cecilia Brainard: I discovered writing when I was nine years old, after my father died, and I used to write him letters to update him of my life. When I was in high school, my sister gave me a lock-and-key diary, which increased my love for scribbling poems and my thoughts in there. But even though I enjoyed these private scribblings and theme writing in school, I thought I wanted to be an engineer, then a film maker, even a doctor at some point.

    Tuesday, September 13, 2016

    Philippine American Literature: Stay Tuned for Benedicta Takes Wing by Veronica Montes

    I'm sharing this picture of Bay Area Filipina American writer, Veronica Montes, whose first short story collection is now in production and scheduled for release in early 2017. Stay tuned for Veronica's BENEDICTA TAKES WING, published by PALH.

    Monday, September 12, 2016

    Los Angeles: Sunday at Venice Beach, California

    Sunday, we went to Venice, California for brunch at The Terrace Cafe. We enjoyed their Eggs Benedict as usual. Afterwards visited the Pier.  It was a beautiful day and there were fishermen, bikers, swimmers, sunbathers -- the place was teeming with life.

    I was amused by the sign outside an Italian restaurant that said:

    Skinny people
    are easier to kidnap,
    Stay Safe,
    Eat Pasta

    Have great Monday everyone!

    Read also
    Bay Cities Italian Deli in Santa Monica
    Dim Sum at Ocean Seafood, Chinatown, Los Angeles
    Maui Hawaii: Mama's Fish House
    Historic Chez Jay Restaurant in Santa Monica, California
    Tags: restaurant, review, food, California, Los Angeles, Venice, Westside, beach
    This is all for now,

    Friday, September 9, 2016

    #Cats Mystery Cat Hiding Behind the Curtain

    Mystery Cat!

    Here are pictures of one of my cats hiding behind the lace curtain.  

    Mystery cat revealed - ta da!!!! It's Che!

    Read also

    My "Boys" - Che and Tesla
    My Non-Ninja Cats and this Southern California heat wave
    My literary cat reading "For Whom the Bell Tolls"
    Cats reading "To Kill a Mockingbird"

    Tags: cats, pets, kittens, animals, home, pictures, #cats

    This is all for now,

    Thursday, September 8, 2016

    Travel: Escaping to the Ranjit Svaasa in Amritsar, India

    Recent news have struck me dumb. I'm in an escapist mood and am thinking of this Heritage Hotel in Amritsar, India - the Ranjit Svaasa. Some friends and I stayed there years ago. We loved the old world charm of this 200-year old mansion.

    Stay tuned, I'll get back to blogging more often.

    Read also
          Tags: travel, India, Amritsar, Punjab
           This is all for now,


    Thursday, September 1, 2016

    Restaurant Review: Tulip Cafe, Los Angeles, California

    A couple of friends and I were at the Jewelry Mart in downtown Los Angeles and we had lunch at the Tulip Cafe, located at 628 St. Vincent Courtyard, Los Angeles, right in back of the St. Vincent's Jewelry Center. The courtyard is just a small stretch, a kind of half-alley.

    Tuesday, August 30, 2016

    Huffingnton Post: What Filipinos Think of Philippine President Duterte

    Huffington Post ran my article "What Filipinos Think of Philippine President Duterte":


    These pictures are part of the article, courtesy of Wikipedia and Cecilia Brainard.

    Read also
    Mother's Day "Death of a Carnival Queen" 
    The Kindness of the French
    Are Online Reviews Reliable? (Or Understand Astroturfing)

    Tags: Drug war, Filipinos, #Philippines

    This is all for now,

    Saturday, August 27, 2016

    Photo Linda Venis Retirement from UCLA Extension

    This photo was taken at the celebration of Linda Venis's retirement from the UCLA Extension last June.  It was a very enjoyable event, showcasing Linda's accomplishments. She will be sorely missed at the office, but I will have gained a companion for lunches and fun expeditions.

    Linda Venis is second from the left, and the writer Eve La Salle Caram is to my left.

    I have great respect for these two ladies and love them!

    Read also:

    2nd Brainard Literary Reading or Christmas Party

    Writers' Program Hosts 18th Annual Publication Party

    More re Reading at Skirball Cultural Center for UCLA Extension's Writers' Program

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

    UCLA Extension's Publication Party 2011 - Eve Caram and Cecilia Brainard

    This is all for now,

    Monday, August 22, 2016

    Garden: Sunflowers Make Me Smile!

    I bought sunflowers at a farmer's market last week, and they're still looking gorgeous. I know they won't last and have taken these pictures to capture their beauty. They look fabulous in my Mexican sunflower vase and have made me smile these past days.
    Thank you Sunflowers and Vase!

    Read also
    Piano Recital - A Memory
    Garden Update: How My Orchids and Cannibal Plants Are Doing
    Garden: Bees and My Pride of Madeira Bush
    Sphagnum Moss Almost Killed my Orchids

    Tags: plants, garden, flowers, sunflowers, home, decoration

    This is all for now,