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,

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Piano Recital - A Memory

 A Sunday afternoon piano recital of Robert and Jeffrey, students of Steven Fuller, reminded me of my own piano recital years ago when I was around seven years old.

My rendition included Skating on the Lake and Volga Boat Song -- and why I remember this, I'll never know.

My sister and I had piano lessons from a man who could play music with his toes. One day I walked into his studio and caught him reclining on a sofa with his toes running on the piano keys.

I was not very good at piano and eventually dropped out.

At their recital Robert and Jeffrey played music by Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Stevie Wonder, Woody Guthrie, William Hanna, John Williams, and Richard Rodgers. They are much better than I had been. They will continue studying piano with Steven Fuller, a man who seems to love music and teaching.

The parrot in the last picture was part of the piano recital afternoon. Very cultured, he spoke to us in Spanish and English -- Hola, Hi -- and eyed us very carefully.  I showed him his picture on my Smartphone, and he turned away.

Read also

Friday, August 19, 2016

Travel: Definition of Jetlag

It's 3:43 a.m. and here's a definition of jetlag:  extreme tiredness and other physical effects felt by a person after a long flight across several time zones.

That describes what I'm feeling this early morning.

Give me some time and I should be back to blogging and doing normal stuff.

Read also

     Tags: travel, journey, jetlag

     This is all for now,

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Philippine Writers: Visiting F. Sionil Jose, Tessie Jose, Melissa Ramos, Nadine Sarreal

As I wind down my trip to the Philippines, I'd like to share these pictues with people dear to me. The photo above shows Philippine National Artist, F. Sionil Jose and his wife Tessie Jose. They had invited me to dinner but because I another engagement, we had a lovely merienda at their iconic bookshop. La Solidaridad. We always have lively discussions and this time we talked about Duterte and Trump among other topics!  We are also planning a book launching at their bookshop in January to celebrate the forthcoming release of two of my books,. Being a bit superstitious, at this point, I will not reveal the titles. Stay tuned to find out what books these are!

On another occasion I had a long lunch with Nadine Sarreal (left) and Melissa Ramos at the Manila Pen. I've had great fun with these women. One time we had a writer's retreat in Tagaytay and on another occasion, a retreat in Palawan. Susan Evangelista, who is part of this small writers group was unfortunately absent. We missed her.

Note the orchid on the table, it plus two other vases were used to surround and insure that our table only had happy creative vibes.

This is all for now, dear Readers. Perhaps the next time you hear from me will be when I'm back at my desk in Santa Monica. Oh, I miss those two cats of mine that hang around me as I work. More, then, God willing ....

Read also
      Tags: Philippine writers, authors, Philippine National Artisst, F. Sionil Jose, Melissa Ramos, Nadine Sarreal, womwn, literature, Filipino

      This is all for now,


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Lunch at the Tapenade In Makati

I had a lovely leisurely lunch with friends Tillic Lorayes and Guia Lim at the new posh Tapenade.

We had their buffet which included delicious fresh oysters, tapas, salads, etc. I enjoyed it.

It's raining hard in Manila as I write.

This is all for now,

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Trump Aide Paul Manafort worked for Philipine Marcos and other Dictators

Donald Trump's top advisor PAUL MANAFORT worked for Philippine dictator Ferdinand MARCOS (and pro-Russian Viktor YANUKOVYCH) --- please read the article. I quote the first paragraph below"

"When Paul Manafort met Ferdinand Marcos in the 1980s, each had something the other wanted.
Marcos, then in his third decade as leader of the Philippines, had developed a reputation in Washington as a stalwart ally in the fight against communism. But he was facing rising concerns about rampant corruption, plundering of public resources and human rights violations under his increasingly despotic leadership, during which Amnesty International now estimates 34,000 people were tortured and 3,240 killed. Meanwhile, Marcos amassed a fortune estimated at $10 billion, spending big on paintings by Pissarro and Manet, a fleet of private planes and helicopters and Mercedes-Benzes.

Read more: 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Russians Visiting My Blog?!

I am wondering why there are 977 hits from Russia to my  Blog in the last 24 hours.


I've had Russian Bot visits, but with the Russians hacking the Democrats, this increased rate of Russian visits makes me wonder.

Read also
       Tags: Blogspot, Russians, internet, hacking, blogs

       This is all for now

Travel: Visiting the Philippines

Hello dear Readers,
I'm in the Philippines and unable to blog regularly. Please visit my Facebook account for postings. 

 This picture shows l-r: Chona Bernad, Cecilia Brainard, Louie Nacorda, Terry Manguerra. 

Read also

       Tags: travel, family, friends. Cebu, Philippines, Cecilia Brainard

     This is all for now,

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Historic Convention Speech of Michelle Obama

Dear Readers,

I will confess that the politics in the US has been wearing me down, but the speech that First Lady Michelle Obama gave at the democratic convention lifted my spirit, gave me hope, made me proud.

What Michelle said is true: the US is  a great country.

As an immigrant who showed up a student in California decades ago, I have always said, "America is a generous country."  I point to myself who appeared with two suitcases and vague dreams, and how I have become part of the fabric of America, how this country afforded me opportunities to be a writer, and how I and my family have, with work and luck, managed to lead productive lives.

I am sharing links to Michelle Obama's speech that will be remembered for all ages. It is the best I have ever heard or read. How refreshing it is to listen to someone with grace and class and who pulls out the best of what man/woman can offer, as opposed to those who inspire hatred and violence.

She is correct when she says, "When crisis hits, we don't turn against each other, we listen to each other. We lean on each other. We are always stronger together."

And she is right on when she says: "Don't let anyone ever tell you that this country is not great. That somehow we need to make it great again. Because this right now is the greatest country on Earth."

Watch and read her:

And here is the transcript of her speech:

The photo of Michelle Obama is courtesy of Wikipedia.

Read also
More Wedding Pictures of Andrew and Swapna #Andrew...
Doing Lunch with Man's Best Friend #dogpics
News Articles that Warn About Donald Trump
Visiting the Jewelry District of Los Angeles, Cali...

Tags; politics, #Michlle Obama #DonaldTrump #HillaryClinton #FLOTUS #DNC

This is all for now,