Sunday, March 31, 2013

Wailing Wall, Jerusalem, photo by Cecilia Brainard

Wailing Wall, Jerusalem, photo by Cecilia Brainard

tags: travel, Israel, Jerusalem, Jews, Hebrews, King David, Wall

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Mount of Olives, Jerusalem, photo by Cecilia Brainard

Mount of Olives, Jerusalem, photo by Cecilia Brainard

tags: travel, Israel, Jerusalem, Christ, Passion, Gethsemane, Crucifixion, Mount of Olives

Cochin, India, photo by Cecilia Brainard

Random photo from my Album, Cochin, India, by Cecilia Brainard

tags: travel, pictures, photo, India, Cochin

Friday, March 29, 2013

Just for Laughs - Nuns on Barstools

This image was floating around the internet a while back.

Cecilia is on Twitter

Also in Facebook

tags: humor, religious, Catholic jokes

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Crucifixion, Ireland, photo by Cecilia Brainard

Crucifixion by side of Road, Ireland, photo by Cecilia Brainard

Prayer to Jesus on the Cross
O Jesus, for how many ages have You been on the Cross and yet people pass by in utter disregard of You except to pierce once again Your Sacred Heart. How often have I passed You by, heedless of Your overwhelming sorrow, Your countless wounds, Your infinite love. How often have I stood before You, not to comfort and console You, but to offend You by my conduct or neglect of You, to scorn Your love. You have stretched out Your Hands to comfort me, and I have seized those Hands - that might have consigned me to hell - and have bent them back upon the Cross, nailing them rigid and helpless to it. Yet I have only succeeded in imprinting my name on Your palms forever. You have loved me with an infinite love and I have taken advantage of that love to sin all the more against You. Yet my ingratitude has only succeeded in piercing Your Sacred Heart and causing Your Precious Blood to flow forth upon me.
O Jesus, let Your Blood be upon me, not for a curse, but for a blessing.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world. Have mercy on me. Amen.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Favorite Cat Jokes

Favorite Cat Jokes - click on link

tags: pets, cats, jokes, kittens, cat, animals

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

COOKING with Cecilia Brainard - QUICHE

This is the recipe I use for Quiche. I got this many years ago from a fellow I worked with in Meals for Millions Freedom from Hunger, a non-profit organization.  The Quiche recipe is a favorite:


2- 9 in pie pans, frozen or make (I buy Marie Callendar's deep dish frozen)
3 eggs, large
1 pint half-half (which is 2 cups)
1 white onion, large, chopped
bacon bits or sliced ham bits
10 oz Swiss cheese, grated (To simplify, I buy from Costco pre-grated cheese, sharp if possible, yellow and white cheese mixed)
dash each: salt, nutmeg, and cayenne (this is in the recipe but I just put in salt and pepper)

optional: 1 box frozen chopped spinach; you could also add mushrooms if you like; I sometimes use sausage instead of ham or bacon bits

Sprinkle bacon or ham bits on pie crust; if you're adding spinach, this goes on top of the ham or bacon bits.  You need to thaw, and drain the spinach; I even squeeze out the liquid because this can make your quiche runny);
Spread uncooked onions; spread cheese, Mix eggs, milk, and seasoning, pour this over cheese. Press cheese as it gets wet.

Bake 350 for around 50-60 min.  It's cooked when knife pulls out clean.

This freezes well, in case you want to make a bunch and freeze some for later use.

Read also:
Cooking with Cecilia - Pancit Bihon Guisado, Filipino rice noodle dish
Cooking with Cecilia Brainard - Quiche
Cooking with Cecilia Brainard - Linguine with Clams
Cooking Lengua Estofada
Food Essay - Fried Chicken Caribbean-style
How I Learned to Make Leche Flan (or How I Met my Husband)
Cooking with Cecilia - Leche Flan (Vietnamese Style) 
Recipe for Balbacua Cebuana from Louie Nacorda
Easy Filipino Recipes from Maryknollers 
Cooking with Cecilia - Beef Bourguignon 
Cooking with Cecilia - Chicken Soup for my Bad Cold
Cooking with Cecilia - Short Bread Cookies and Friar Tuck in my Kitchen!
tags: cooking, recipes, food, French, breakfast recipe, brunch

This is all for now,

Monday, March 25, 2013

Lunch with Maryknoll College friends, Tina Hieter and Lucy McGinley

Lunch with Maryknoll College friends

Andy and Tina Heiter (nee Tina Borja), and Patrick and Lucy McGinley (nee Lucy Adao) had brunch in our Santa Monica home today. Tina, Lucy, and I attended Maryknoll College in Quezon City.

Tina and Andy are "Snow Birds" leaving their home in Switzerland in the winter to enjoy the warm weather in their Palm Dessert home. Tina, by the way, is an accomplished artist who exhibits regularly in Zurich.

Here is her website:

Here are other links about Tina's work:

Here are pictures of the group:

Top, seated l-r: Patrick McGinley, Lauren Brainard; standing, l-r: Tina Reiter, Andy Heiter, Lucy McGinley
Next: Standing l-r:  Cecilia Brainard, Tina Heiter, Lucy McGinley; seated - it's still Patrick and Lauren
Next:  Standing l-r: Cecilia Brainard, Tina Heiter, Lucy McGinley
Well, by now you know who's who...
tags: friends, Maryknoll College, Tina Heiter, Cecilia Brainard

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Sound of Music at the Candlelight Pavilion Theater

The Sound of Music at the Candlelight Pavilion Theater, Claremont

We had dinner and enjoyed the musicale The Sound of Music at the Candlelight Pavilion in Claremont, click below to get to their site. Our friend, Kim Holmquist, also known as Kim Blake, played the Mother Superior and did an excellent rendition of Climb Ev'ry Mountain and other songs.

The pictures that follow show:
top - Kim Blake
next l-r: Kim Blake, Patrick Culbertson, Doug Noble, Hilary Walling
next l-r - Merwyn Bergquist, Cecilia Brainard, Lauren Brainard
next l-r - Lauren Brainard, Mike Ross, Linda Ross, Kim Blake

We had a lovely dinner before the show, and we had dessert during the intermission.  The food was great; the performance was top notch. I highly recommend it - act soon because it's been running and ends on 3/30/13.  Here's their official writeup:

THE SOUND OF MUSIC The Sound of Music
Show Dates: 2/8/2013 - 3/30/2013
The Candlelight Pavilion is proud to bring back what is undoubtedly the most beloved musical of all time, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music. The story is a timeless one: Maria joins the von Trapp family as a governess, only to find that Captain von Trapp’s militaristic ways have left his seven children sorely lacking in warmth and love. While Maria teaches the children to sing and play, she begins to become the mother they were so sorely lacking, and the Captain begins to see her in an entirely different light. Based on the memoir of Maria von Trapp, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, many songs from the musical have become standards, such as “Edelweiss,” “My Favorite Things,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “Do-Re-Mi,” and the title song, “The Sound of Music.” “…strangely gentle charm that is wonderfully endearing. The Sound of Music strives for nothing in the way of smash effects, substituting instead a kind of gracious and unpretentious simplicity.” The New York Post
tags: theater, The Sound of Music, Kim Blake, Candlelight Pavilion, musicale

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Long Neck Karen, Burma, photo by Cecilia Brainard

Long Neck Karen, Burma, photo by Cecilia Brainard

Here's a reprint of my article on Burma that appeared in Zee Lifestyles

Friday, March 22, 2013

Belly Dancer and Outfits, photos taken in Istanbul, Turkey, but Cecilia Brainard

Belly Dancer and  Outfits, photos taken in Istanbul, Turkey, by Cecilia Brainard

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Jesuit Jokes on the Event of the New Jesuit Pope

 This was floating around the internet -- better appreciated by Catholics.

Jesuit jokes on the event of the new Jesuit pope

A Vision
A Jesuit, a Dominican, and a Franciscan were walking along an old road, debating the greatness of their orders. Suddenly, an apparition of the Holy Family appeared in front of them, with Jesus in a manger and Mary and Joseph praying over him. The Franciscan fell on his face, overcome with awe at the sight of God born in such poverty. The Dominican fell to his knees, adoring the beautiful reflection of the Trinity and the Holy Family. The Jesuit walked up to Joseph, put his arm around his shoulder, and said, “So, have you thought about where to send him to school?”

A Franciscan gets a haircut, and then asks how much he owes. The barber says he never charges clergy. The Franciscan thanks the barber and goes home. The next morning the barber finds a big basket of fresh bread from the Franciscans’ kitchens.
An Augustinian gets his hair cut by the same barber. The barber also tells him than he never charges clergy. The next day the barber receives a nice bottle of wine from the Augustinians’ wine cellar.
A Jesuit gets his haircut, and the barber again says that he never charges clergy. The next day, when the barber opens his shop, there are twelve other Jesuits already waiting for him.

The right question
A Franciscan and a Jesuit were friends. They were both smokers who found it difficult to pray for a long period of time without having a cigarette. They decided to go to their superiors and ask permission to smoke.
When they met again, the Franciscan was downcast. “I asked my superior if I could smoke while I pray and he said ‘no,’” he said.
The Jesuit smiled. “I asked I could pray while I smoke. He said ‘of course.’”

Final Wish
A Dominican, a Franciscan, and a Jesuit were in the same hospice, and all were near death. One evening, the Angel of Death appeared before them and informed them that it was their time and that each could have a final request before accompanying him from this world. The Dominican asked to gaze upon the face of his Savior. In an instant, the face of Christ appeared before him. He was satisfied and felt he could die with no regrets. The Franciscan asked to touch the wounds in the hands and feet of Jesus before he died; Christ appeared and invited him, like Thomas, to examine his wounds. The dying priest touched Christ’s hands and feet and wept with joy, peace, and contentment. Finally, the Angel of Death asked the Jesuit for his final request. Without hesitation the Jesuit replied, “I’d like a second opinion.”

A vocation
A mother went to her pastor and explained that her son seemed very interested in becoming a priest. She asked what this would require.
The priest began to explain. “If he wants to become a diocesan priest, he’ll have to study for eight years. If he wants to become a Franciscan, he’ll have to study for ten years. If he wants to become a Jesuit, he’ll have to study for fourteen years.”
The mother listened carefully, and as the priest concluded, her eyes brightened. “Sign him up for that last one, Father. He’s a little slow!”

The Blind Golfers
A Franciscan, a Dominican, and a Jesuit were out playing golf one day. They were moving along the course quite well until they got stuck behind a group of golfers who were taking quite a long time and weren’t letting anyone else play through. Feeling irritated, the three priests went to the club manager to complain. The manager told them that the slow golfers were blind. “It takes them more time,” he said. “Please be patient.”
The Franciscan was mortified. He got down on his knees and begged God’s forgiveness for his anger. The Dominican was also chagrined. He repented of his impatience, and vowed to do more to help the poor and disabled.
However, the Jesuit wasn’t impressed. He asked the manager, “why don’t you make them play at night?”

Who’s the Greatest?
A Franciscan and a Dominican were debating whose order was the greater. After months of arguing, they decided to ask God for an answer when they died. Years later, they met in heaven and went to God’s throne to resolve their old disagreement. God seemed a bit puzzled about the question and told them he would reply in writing a few days later. After much deliberation, God sent the following letter:
My sons,
Please stop bickering about such trivial matters. Both orders are equally great and good in my eyes.
God, SJ

Power Failure
A Franciscan, a Dominican, and a Jesuit were sitting in a room when the lights went out. The Franciscan said, “My brothers, let us take this opportunity to consider the debt we owe to our sister, the light.” The Dominican said, “Yes, but let us also take this opportunity to contemplate the difference between light and dark.” Meanwhile, the Jesuit went to the basement, found the fuse box, and reset the breaker.


A Jesuit and a Franciscan sat down to dinner, after which pie was served. There were two pieces of pie, one small and the other large. The Jesuit reached over and took the larger piece for himself. The Franciscan remonstrated, “St. Francis always taught us to take the meaner piece.” The Jesuit replied, “And so you have it.”
The Benedictine, well aware of the soothing power of music, went to the prow of the boat and began to sing the Benedicite from the Liturgy of the Hours. Just as he got to the line, “O ye Whales, and all that move in the Waters, bless ye the Lord” a huge shark jumped out of the water, seized the Benedictine in his monstrous jaws and gulped him down.
The Dominican rushed to the spot and with a profoundly theological sermon began to convict the sharks of the error of their ways and call them to conversion. In the middle of his most convincing argument another huge shark jumped out of the water, seized the Dominican in his monstrous jaws and gulped him down.
The Franciscan knew it was love not logic that moves the spheres and so, since the boat was by now very low in the water, he too stepped into the prow of the boat and addressed the swimmers, “Brother Sharks, we are your brothers and fellow creatures who love you dearly”. At those words a third huge shark jumped out of the water, seized the Franciscan in his monstrous jaws and gulped him down.
By this time the boat had finally sunk, and the Jesuit had no choice but to begin to swim for shore. The sharks closed in quickly and began to circle the Jesuit. Round and round they went, escorting him to the beach, and they did not leave him until he finally walked ashore safe and sound. The crowd on the shore was amazed and asked why the sharks behaved in such a manner. “Oh, that,” the Jesuit replied, “professional courtesy.”


I've worked with Dr. Linda Venis for years; she, in fact, hired me to teach at the Writers Program at UCLA Extension. I'm happy to inform my readers that she has edited a how-to-write book on Television writing, information below.  The book is expected to be a best seller.  The release date isn't until August, but one can order it now from

If you have ever dreamed of writing for television, this is a must-read!


Click on link:

About the Author:
Over the past two decades, Linda Venis has guided the growth of the UCLA Extension Writers Program into the nation’s largest creative writing and screenwriting program. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband and daughter.
Accomplished writers from the renowned UCLA Extension Writers’ Program provide an invaluable how-to book for aspiring television writers
What does it take to go from being a TV fan to a professional TV writer?  Television writers whose many produced credits include The Simpsons; Mad Men; Frasier; X-Files; Battlestar Gallactica; CSI: Miami; Law and Order; and House, M.D.; take aspiring writers through the process of writing their first spec script for an on-air series, creating one-hour drama and sitcom pilots that break out from the pack, and revising their scripts to meet pro standards. They also learn how to launch and sustain a writing career and get a rare look inside the process of creating, selling, and getting a TV show made. Edited by Linda Venis, Director of the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, Inside the Room is an unmatched resource for everything readers need to know to write their way into the Writers Guild of America.
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham (August 6, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592408117
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592408115

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

F. Sionil Jose in Solidaridad Bookstore, photo by Cecilia Brainard

A cool photo of F. F Sionil Jose, taken in Solidaridad, Ermita, by Cecilia Brainard

From Wikipedia - F. Sionil José or in full Francisco Sionil José (born December 3, 1924) is one of the most widely-read Filipino writers in the English language. His novels and short stories depict the social underpinnings of class struggles and colonialism in Filipino society. José's works - written in English - have been translated into 22 languages, including Korean, Indonesian, Russian, Latvian, Ukrainian and Dutch

For more information about F. Sionil Jose, click on this link:

tags: Philippine, Filipino, Literature, authors, writers, novelist, fiction, National Artist, Dusk, Don  Vicente, The Samsons

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Market in Guatemala - photo by Cecilia Brainard

Random Picture from Cecilia Brainard's Album - I believe I took this in Guatemala

tags:  travel, Central America, Guatemala, market

Monday, March 18, 2013

Elephant Sea Lions of Cambria - photo by Cecilia Brainard

Elephant Sea Lions of Cambria, Central Coast California - Random photo from my album, photos by  Cecilia Brainard

These Elephant Sea Lions weren't always residents in the Central Coast area near Hearts Castle; they appeared around 8 years ago and have made sections of this coast their homes. They come and go, depending on the season.

Click on Wiki link for additional information.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day
photo taken in Ireland, by Cecilia Brainard

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Truth About Novel Writing

The truth about novel writing

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Four Writers Plotting Something in Secret Makati Meeting

These four writers are plotting something!
These four writers met secretly in Makati and started planning something.
What could it be?
What could these four lovely ladies be capable of doing?

Stay tuned, dear Readers, stay tuned, so you'll find out ....

l-r: Melissa Ramos, Nadine Sarreal, Susan Evangelista, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

tags: Philippines, Philippines, Filipino, Filipino American, literature, authors, writers, writing

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

An Interview by Luis Diores - "Cecilia Manguerra Brainard - Fiction is Organic to Me"

Dr. Hope S. Yu gave me copies of the anthology, KULAKABILDO: DIALOGUES WITH CEBUANO WRITERS during my recent visit to Cebu.
The anthology is described as follows:

" Composed with talented style and sincerity, each of the interview of the twenty-four very different Cebuano writers in this collection has the power to impress and surprise the reader. Taken together, they form an assemblage of some of the Cebuano strongest lyrical and imaginative voices. Directly connecting the lives and works of these extra-ordinary writers, the interviews enrich our appreciation of their contributions to literature and popular culture.

Dr. Hope S. Yu is Associate Professor at the Department of Languages and Literature at the University of San Carlos"

 "Cecilia Manguerra Brainard - Fiction is Organic to Me"
An Interview by Luis Diores

From the anthology "Kulokabildo: Dialogues with Cebuano Writers" (ISBN: 978-971-539-014-9; University of San Carlos  Cebuano Studies Center), p. 125

          Being a Filipino writer in America, what would you say is the biggest hindrance or obstacle in writing about our rapidly evolving culture?
The biggest hindrance or obstacle is that it’s difficult to publish. It's difficult for all writers, but if you are a Filipino writer in the United States there is a more limited market and so it is harder to find a publisher in the U.S.  It is probably easier for a Filipino writer to find a publisher in the Philippines because the readership would be wider.   
         Who are major influences in your writing?
The Cebuana writer, Lina Espina Moore, who was my mentor and who became a friend, influenced my writing a lot. When I started writing I had difficulty with the Filipino voice. I had read so much Euro-centric material, beginning with Dick and Jane in Kindergarten and so on. Lina wrote about Cebuano topics in both Cebuano and English.  I'd read her novels and short stories and studied how she was able to express Cebuano culture and Filipino culture using English. She was able to give me encouragement and ideas about how to write in English about our Filipino culture.  She used to say, "Write like you talk."  Writing is not exactly like that, but I understood what she meant.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cecilia and Masai Warrior - Cecilia Brainard photo taken in Kenya

Random photo from my albums - Cecilia and Masai Warrior - photo taken in Kenya

tags: travel, Kenya, Africa, Cecilia Brainard, Masai

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Recommended Travel Reading - Literature About the Philippines

Recommended Travel Reading - Literature about the Philippines (listed also in Fodors, Lonely Planet, and TripAdvisor):

LITERATURE SET IN THE PHILIPPINES: (author's name in alphabetical order) - all available from

1) When the Rainbow Goddess Wept by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard
2) Magdalena (a novel) by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard
3) The Last Time Saw Mother by Arlene Chai
4) The Tesseract by Alex Garland
5) Dogeaters by Jessica Hagedorn
6) Dusk by F. Sionil Jose
7) Don Vicente by F. Sionil Jose
8) Ghosts of Manila by James Hamilton Patterson
9) Noli Mi Tangere by Jose Rizal
10) Awaiting Trespass by Linda Ty-Casper
11) Wings of Stone by Linda Ty-Casper
12) A Small Party in the Garden by Linda Ty-Casper

tags: Philippines, Philippine, travel, books, reading, literature, novels, fiction,writing, stories, historical fiction, Cebu, F. Sionil Jose, Frankie Jose, Linda Casper, Linda Ty Casper, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, Cecilia Brainard

Baboons Growing - Photo by Cecilia Brainard

Random photo from my Albums - "Baboons Grooming" - photo by Cecilia Brainard

tags: picture, primates, travel, animals, Africa, Kenya

Saturday, March 9, 2013

House San Miguel Allende, photo by Cecilia Brainard

From my Photo Album - Detail of House in San Miguel Allende, Mexico, photo by Cecilia Brainard

tags:  picture, Travel, Mexico, San Miguel Allende, houses, gardens

Friday, March 8, 2013

Pond at Antonio's in Tagaytay, Philippines, photo by Cecilia Brainard

Random Picture from my Albums - Pond at Antonio's in Tagaytay, Philippines, photo by Cecilia Brainard

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cecilia Brainard teaching The Essential Beginnings, Introductory Creative Writing Workshop, UCLA Extension's Writers Program

Hello, I'll be teaching: The Essential Beginnings: An Introductory Creative Writing Workshop, at UCLA Extension's Writers Program, for 6 weeks, starting Wednesday April 3, 2013-May 8, 2013. The workshop sessions meet in 1010Westwood Center, in Westwood, LA, CA.

This is a great beginning class that gives workshop participants the basics about creative writing. I like to conduct my workshops in a supportive and safe environment. For our textbook, we use "Fundamentals of Creative Writing" by Cecilia Brainard, Anvil.

Please tell your friends, thank you!

Please call Katy Flaherty, 310-206-0951 for more information.

Here's the Course Description:

The Essential Beginnings: An Introductory Creative Writing Workshop
  Many aspire to write creatively, but few know how to get started. A supportive workshop for those who wish to write for personal or professional satisfaction, this course provides many fundamental techniques geared to motivate and cultivate the beginning creative writer. Topics include writing from observation and experience, creating dynamic characters, writing dialogue, and how to write from different points of view. The course goal is to have in hand a series of short sketches or a draft of a story.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Family on Motorcycle - India, photo by Cecilia Brainard

Random Picture from my albums; this one was taken in India - note the lack of helmets and the mother holding the baby!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Bedroom in Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, photo by Cecilia Brainard

Sharing another random photo from my albums; this one taken in the Giraffe Manor in Nairobi. I love this room! Good night!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Random Pictures - "The Kiss" by Rodin, Paris, photo by Cecilia Brainard


Random Picture from my Album, photo taken by Cecilia Brainard in Paris - I believe it's The Kiss by Rodin