Thursday, December 31, 2015

Prayer for the New Year

Prayer for the New Year
Lord, at the beginning of this New Year, I offer you my life. Come take my voice, may the words I speak be filled with encouragement and goodness. Come take my hands, may the work they create be generous and giving. Come take my feet, may the journeys I walk be led by your Spirit within. Come take my life Lord, for I love your goodness, your kindness and your leading. Amen

Read also
Tags: New Year, prayer, religious
Happy New Year!
Cecilia and Family

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Las Vegas: Dolphins and Lions and Tigers, Oh My!

We recently visited the Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat in Las Vegas.The zoolike sanctuary at the Mirage has lions, leopards, a variety of tigers including baby tigers, and quite a number of bottlenose dolphins.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Brainard Pictures Christmas 2015

Here are some Christmas pictures.
Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Pictures of Bethlehem where Christ Was Born

I took these pictures of Bethlehem in 2008.

The top pictures show the Church of the Nativity.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Pictures: Cecilia Brainard and Maryknoll and St. Theresa's Friends

Here are pictures of my St. Theresa's and Maryknoll chums. I see Nina Yuson, Marily Ysip, Brenda Nuval, Joy Uytioco, Maribel Paraz, Mila Santillan, Chona Preston, Tina Borja Heiter, Edith Alcantara, Precy Florentino, Lyn Enriquez, Meldee Perez, among others.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Brainard Pictures Friends and Family 1997

This was our Christmas card in 1997.

The collage below shows friends I saw that year:

I see Resil Mojares, John Silva, Isagani Cruz, Danton Remoto, Krip Yuson, the American USIS representative Bernie Lovejoy, teachers and workshop participants of a USIS program.

Happy holidays!

Read also

Brainard Christmas Pictures 1993
Brainard Christmas Photos 1994
Brainard Christmas Photo 1995
Brainard Pictures Friends 1996
Tags: Christmas, holidays, #christmas, friends, family, pictures, Maryknoll, Philippines, St. Theresa's College, Philippine

This is all for now,
Cecilia and family

Monday, December 21, 2015

Refugees and No Room At the Inn

I'm thinking of the millions of displaced people, refugees, who have "NO ROOM AT THE INN":

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Our Christmas Tree Before and After Decorating

We finally got our Christmas tree up!  Here are some before-and-after-decorating pictures.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Brainard Christmas Greeting 1996

This was the Brainard Christmas card in 1996.

I have been posting these past Brainard Christmas greetings and hope you have been enjoying watching us grow up and a-a-age.  Here are the others:

Brainard Christmas Pictures 1993
Brainard Christmas Photos 1994
Brainard Pictures Friends and Family 1995
Brainard Pictures Friends and Family 1997

Stay tuned for a few more of these Brainard Christmas pictures!

Read also

Tags:  #Christmas, #holiday, family, pictures, Cecilia Brainard, writer, Philippines
This is all for now,
Cecilia and Family

A Syrian Refugee Poem by Dr. Marwan

Medecins Sans Frontieres has a touching story of a Syrian doctor who had to flee Raqqa and is now a refugee in Europe.  I am posting his poem and link to his first person account:

Friday, December 18, 2015

Brainard Pictures Friends and Family 1995

The top picture was the Brainard Christmas card in 1995.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

2016 Power of Pen: How to Turn Your Love for Food into Essays & Reviews #food

I'm part of this February 13, 2016 Power of Pen Food Writing Workshop in Metro Manila, Philippines. 

I'll be talking about "How to Turn Your Love for Food into Essays and Review." We'll be doing some writing. 

The other speakers are:

Felice Sta. Maria - "Using Historical Facts for Food Writing"
Gene Gonzalez - "Beyond the Toque, The Che & His Pen"'
Bryan Koh -  "Regional Cuisine: Field Interview Experiences, Research, Publishing and the Many Challenges of a Foreign Writer"
Amy Uy and Jenny Orillos - "How to Bake a Book: The Colaborative Writing of Panaderia"

Organizer Tetta Arroyo Tirona writes: "This Christmas, give the Gift of Love and make someone truly happy by buying them the Power of Pen Gift Certificate! "

To Register: Email or
Or Call Stram, Inc: 927-7208/927-6206

Read also
Interview for Mellon: re A La Carte Food & Fiction
Re A La Carte Food & Fiction, edited by Cecilia Brainard and Marily Orosa
A La Carte mentioned in Philippine Daily Inquirer
A La Carte mentioned in Business Mirror
Food Pictures: Eating Black Bugs from Vietnam and More

Tags: food, gourmet, workshop, food writing, foodie, Power of Pen, essays, #food #foodie

This is all for now,

Brainard Christmas Photos - 1994

This was the Christmas Greeting of the Brainards in 1994.

The children received the Sacrament of Confirmation in Cebu, Philippines, a kind of fast track deal since the US had so many requirements. They were in the Archbishop's Palace, confirmed with their cousins.  The "dress-up photos" were for a wedding anniversary. There was a graduation too.

Stay tuned for more Brainard Christmas Pictures!

Read also

Tags:  #Christmas, #holiday, family, pictures, Cecilia Brainard, writer, Philippines
This is all for now,
Cecilia and Family

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Support #ParisWeLoveYou #Paris

It's fun and easy to support the #ParisWeLoveYou project.

Tweet your favorite Paris pictures and add your profile picture in

Here are some of my favorite Paris pictures:

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Brainard Christmas Pictures - 1993

I used to make collages like this one to greet family and friends during Christmas. I found some of them and will be posting these this holiday season.

I didn't have an accompanying newsletter. I always found those boasting newsletters awful, but now I wish I had included some narrative with the pictures. 

Let's see if I remember what went on: 

Top left - I gave a talk in the Philippines as part of a USIS Lecture Tour;
Top right - Two of my sons and I were in Hong Kong;
Mid left - We think that was taken in Mexico;
Mid right - Lauren and two sons in front of Cal Plaza Building, LA
Bottom left - Graduation of a son; he's with his two grandmothers and his Dad;
Bottom right - Our sons with cousins in the Philippines

Stay tuned for more Brainard Christmas Pictures!

Read also

Tags:  #Christmas, #holiday, family, pictures, Cecilia Brainard, writer, Philippines
This is all for now,
Cecilia and Family

Monday, December 14, 2015

LA Writer Rachelle Benveniste's Poem "The Moth"

Some friends of the writer, Rachelle Benveniste, have been trying to gather her writings. I came across her poem published in the Spring of 1992 in UCLA extension's MindscapeS, which I'm sharing here:

The Moth
by Rachelle Benveniste
published Spring 1992, MindscapeS

It must have been there
all night
lodged at the center of my brain
like a moth
stuck to the hot darkness
not able to lift
and drift away
through my consciousness
but clinging
as to some screen door
hard as a bullet.

It must have been waiting
with its wings held tight
against its center,
thick and dusty,
harboring its flight,
racking up some energy
in that deep black space,

For at that fierce gleam
in your eye,
it flew wildly into the room,
ramming itself
against window, lamp, clock,
searching for a place
to quiet its flight,
then hurling itself
in desperation
against the blank wall
of your mind.

Read also
     Tags: poem, literature, poetry, writings, Rachelle Benveniste, LA poet, LA writer, #poetry

     This is all for now,

Sunday, December 13, 2015

After #SanBernardino A Song for Hope "We Will Rise Again"

The San Bernardino Terrorist Shooting knocked the wind of me.

There are many thoughts roiling in my head, and feelings too --- anger, frustration, fear, sadness. Peace on this poor battered earth seems illusive, but it cannot be so.

Here's a hymn sang in church yesterday that I find comforting and hope you find comfort in it too.


Here are the lyrics:

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Termite Treatment of Our Home

For decades we avoided getting our house tented for termites. We dreaded getting this done because: the gas is poisonous, our roof is made of breakable Spanish tile, we would have to prepare the house for the treatment, and we (and our cats) would be displaced for a couple of days. For a long time, we had "spot treatments" for termite control, but over the summer the termites swarmed. Reluctantly we arranged with Borite to have our house treated.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Cat Pictures: View from the Top #catpics

Here's the view as I look down at my work desk.

Sometimes there are two cats. They have helped me through my third novel, Dead Priest in the Creek and are here for me for my fourth novel.

Thank you Che and Tesla!

Read also
Pet Therapy: The Healing and Creative Powers of Cat Purring
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, kittens, pets, family, cat pictures, cat pics, pictures, photos

This is all for now,

Monday, December 7, 2015

World War II Fiction - Excerpt, Cecilia Brainard's When the Rainbow Goddess Wept

Ten hours after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Manila.  

I'm posting the first chapter of my novel, When the Rainbow Goddess Wept, which is about the coming of age of a young girl in the Philippines during World War II. The World War II pictures are courtesy of Wikipedia.

 Rumblings of War
Excerpt from Cecilia Brainard's When the Rainbow Goddess Wept:

Mother Ignacia, fourth-grade teacher at Santa Teresa's School, made us pray for peace, and she kept our souls clean by taking us to weekly confession and communion.
“If war should catch you with mortal sins in your souls, you will end up condemned, with chains, and you will roam the earth for all eternity,” she warned.
It was a scary thought: I, Yvonne Macaraig, entangled with heavy chains, barred from heaven, barred even from purgatory, destined only to drag myself and the chains, and scare people away. There was a condemned soul who frightened the people in the house down the street from where we lived. He had borrowed fifty pesos and never paid it back, that's why his soul was not at peace.
To prepare us for the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Mother Ignacia talked about the Virgin Mary. “She did not have a speck of venial sin,” Mother Ignacia said. “She was spotless, perfect. She did not commit concupiscence. Does anyone here know the meaning of the word concupiscence?

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Pictures: Philippine Literature Critic Dr. Leonard Casper

These pictures of Dr. Leonard Casper are from the author Linda Ty-Casper

From Syracuse University Libraries where Leonard Casper's papers are stored, I quote:

Leonard R. Casper (dates unknown) is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison and emeritus professor of English from Boston College where he taught for 45 years. He is the author or editor of numerous books on Philippine literature, as well as several pieces of fiction and two volumes on the works of Robert Penn Warren. Casper taught in the Philippines on five separate occasions, twice as senior Fulbright lecturer, and was contributing editor to Solidarity (Manila) and Pilipinas (Kansas; Arizona State). His wife Linda Ty Casper is a noted Filpino novelist.

The Leonard Casper Papers consists of correspondence, notes, manuscripts, drafts, published books and printed material.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Review: Chiles en Nogada a Dish with History at Mexicano Restaurant, Los Angeles

Chiles en Nogada is one of my favorite Mexican dishes. Surprisingly, despite the great number of Mexican restaurants in Los Angeles, this dish is not easy to find.  In fact, until last night, I haven't eaten this in LA, but only in Mexico City and San Miguel Allende in Mexico.

Last night, however, I had Chiles en Nogada at Mexicano Restaurant in Baldwin Hills Mall in Crenshaw, and it was pretty good.  The walnut sauce was warm and tasty, the chile stuffed with pork was very good. It was, in fact, one of the best Chiles en Nogada that I've had.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet #religion

There is so much violence and distress in this world, I invite all to say the Divine Mercy Chaplet daily if you can:

The Chaplet of Mercy is recited using ordinary rosary beads of five decades. The Chaplet is preceded by two opening prayers from the Diary of Saint Faustina and followed by a closing prayer.

1. Make the Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

2. Optional Opening Prayers

You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.

(Repeat three times)
O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Spotted: #Actress Katee Sackhoff in Bay Cities Italian Deli in Santa Monica #tvseries

Guess whom I saw at Bay Cities Italian Deli in Santa Monica?

The actress, Katee Sackhoff who plays Vic Moretti (Deputy Sheriff) in the TV series Longmire, which we enjoy. 

Thanks for the photo Katee Sackhoff!

Read also
Restaurant Review: Bay Cities Italian Deli in Santa Monica
NBA Star Anderson Varejao in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro
Salman Rushdie pictures
    Tags: pictures, Katee Sackhoff, Longmire, entertainment, Santa Monica, #actress #tvseries

    This is all for now,

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Cat pictures: Che and Tesla This Chilly Morning #catpics #cats

Monday, November 30, 2015

World War II and the novel When the Rainbow Goddess Wept #warnovels #wwii

On December 7, 1941 (December 8, Asian Time Zones), Japanese fighter planes attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu.  Ten hours later, Japan launched an attack on the Philippines. 

My novel, When the Rainbow Goddess, chronicles the coming-of-age of  nine-year-old Yvonne during wartime in the Philippines. The novel garnered excellent book reviews from Booklist, Publishers' Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Kirkus Review, the Associated Press, and many others.

I'm reprinting the review by Associated Press, dated December 18, 1994: (you can see what a sorry state my copy is!):

Associated Press
Capsule Reviews:

When the Rainbow Goddess Wept by Cecilia Brainard is the tearful, seldom-told story of the Japanese invasion of the Philippines during World War II as seen through the eyes of a young Filipino girl. The many hardships that 9-year-old Yvonne Macaraig and her family are faced with teach her the value of hope and endurance.