Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Entertainment: Confessions of a Game of Thrones Addict

I'm getting ready for Season 5 of Game of Thrones, which starts on April 12, 2015.

I must admit that I'm a Game of Thrones addict. My son had introduced me to the books years ago, and I approached the reading with caution. I generally prefer literary fiction to commercial. I later realized that the writer, George R. R. Martin, created interesting characters and situations. In fact, the books are skillfully done.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Syrian War: Will the US Negotiate with Syria's Bashar Assad?

Kerry's statements regarding the US willing to negotiate with Assad are misunderstood. He's not saying the US will negotiate with Assad NOW. What he said was, "Well, we have to negotiate in the end."

"End" is the key word here.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

House and Garden the San Miguel Allende Way

I've always admired the houses and gardens in the Spanish Colonial City of San Miguel Allende in Mexico. I find them "alegre" and well... bold. We have copied some of the elements that we like, color being on top of the list.

We had our courtyard painted yellow recently, and we have rooms with colors in our house.

I'm sharing pictures showing the San Miguel Allende influence in our house and courtyard.

The courtyard is very yellow, but I expect it to fade a bit. It's brand new. Enjoy the pictures.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Restaurant Review: Fisherman's Outlet of Los Angeles, California

We had lunch at the Fisherman's Outlet at 529 So. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, California. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Philippine History: Lyman J. Carlock, First American Judge in Cebu

Judge Lyman Judy Carlock

After the Philippine American War, at the turn of the century, my great-grandfather, Mariano Albao Cuenco, was appointed Clerk of Court in Cebu by Governor Llorente. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Writing: LA California's Algonquin West of Eve La Salle Caram

 I'm in a writers workshop lead by esteemed novelist and teacher Eve La Salle Caram. There are six people in the group, informally called the Algonquin West, and we are all working on book length writing projects.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Fashion: Gray Hair is In!!!

I was at my hair dresser's last week and was surprised to see a young man of around 35 years getting his hair grayed.  Yes, gray as in GRAY.  Apparently Gray Hair is IN.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Remembering Milette Estrada - Maryknoll College, QC 1968

Milette Estrada born 5/19/50 died 12/17/14

Some graduates of Maryknoll College's Class of 1968 had a Memorial Mass for Milette Estrada on March 23, 2015 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 1015 Baker Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. 

Those who attended were: Maria and Sim Ciocon, Lorna and Raul Cruz, Marie and Pat Cruz, Tina and Andy Heiter, Lucy and Patrick McGinley, Esther and Owen Parker, Chona Preston, Milette's relatives were there: Zari de la Torre, Jinky Estrada, and Francis dela Torre. There were approximately 45 people at St. John's church for the Monday Mass, officiated by two priests who had known Milette.

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Philippines: How Tall is the Filipino Woman?

According to this 2008 study, the Filipino woman's average height is 151.8 cm. or 4' 11.8".

To have some perspective here are the heights of women from some other countries:

Sunday, March 22, 2015

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

 My husband received the UCLA Magazine, April 2015 issue, and he called my attention to an article by Samantha Dunn about the Writers Program at UCLA Extension.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Philippines: Massacre of Bud Dajo, Jolo, Sulu

My recent blog had to do with the Massacre of Balangiga in the Philippines during the Philippine American War.  I came across another massacre of Filipinos by the Americans at the turn of the century. This was was in Jolo Island, Philippines, specifically Mount Bud Dajo.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Philippine Cooking: Spam, Eggs, and Rice Breakfast

Growing up in the Philippines, canned food like Spam, Corned Beef, and Vienna Sausage were considered special. 

One of my favorite breakfast was (and is) Spam, eggs, and rice. The rice was steamed, although fried garlic rice became popular when I got older. The eggs were fried, over-easy. The Spam was also fried, but just when the pieces were almost done, we sprinkled sugar on the Spam so that each piece had a caramelized coating -- red brown, gooey, with crisp edges, absolutely heavenly. Using your spoon and fork, you got a bit of egg, Spam, and rice and popped that in your mouth --- oh, the thought makes my mouth water!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

ART: The Painter Vincent Van Gogh and Digoxin Poisoning

"I don't know anything with certainty, but seeing the stars makes me dream." ~ Vincent Van Gogh

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Super Typhoons Pam in Vanuatu and Haiyan in the Philippines

News of Cyclone Pam devastating the small Pacific island of Vanuatu reminds me of the horrific Super Typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda that hit Central Philippines in 2013. The two super typhoons are  similar in their intensity, with Haiyan's Pressure at 896 millibars, and Pam at 899 millibars. Wind speed of Pam was 165 mph; Haiyan had 190 mph.

This site compares the two devastating typhoons.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Restaurant Review: Cuenco Cousins Pictures and Reviews of London Restaurants

l-r: Cuenco Cousins: Celine Conejos, Chickie Feraren, Manny Gonzalez

My Cuenco cousins are in London! They had invited me and my husband to go with them, but we couldn't make it. Here are some pictures of them, and here too are reviews of London Restaurants by Celine Conejos. She had done these before this trip.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Travel: Picture Tea Plantation in Malaysia

I took this picture of a tea plantation in Malaysia.

Here's information from this site about growing tea in a temperate zone:

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Review of Living on One Dollar - Documentary Film by Temple and Ingrasci

Our friend, Doug Noble, was raving about the documentary film Living on One Dollar, which is about four American college students who replicate Guatamela life by living on one dollar a day in a small Guatemala village.  Doug had met the film makers, Chris Temple and Zach Ingrasci, at Claremont College where the two had shown the film and made a presentation.

We saw the film on Net Flix. It's a very good documentary. It informs viewers of the harsh realities that 1.1 billion people face who live under $1 a day. On such a tight budget, there is barely enough to eat. There is no money for medicine nor for any extraordinary expense. Children have to stop schooling to work. It's a life that's difficult for some of us to imagine, and the film helps us witness that reality.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Honey Bees in Southern California This March!

I've been keeping track of honey bees because they've been suffering from a die-off (Colony Collapse Disorder). I was happy to see countless bees on this bush. Here are a few pictures. These are wild bees, not domesticated. The wild bees are slimmer, with a waist.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Certain Strangeness - Writing Tip from Eve La Salle Caram

I had lunch with my writer friend, Eve La Salle Caram, at Caserio's in Silverlake, and as we always do, had an extended chat about writing, literature, politics, and so on.
One of the things that Eve said about writing hit me with a such a force, I must share it with you.  She talked about a John Gardner quote, which I found in the internet about "a certain strangeness" in great work:

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Taco Tuesday at Gilbert's in Santa Monica, California - #food, #restaurant

We will sometimes go to "Taco Tuesday" at Gilbert's El Indio Restaurant (2526 Pico Blvd.) in Santa Monica, California. Our son introduced us to Gilbert's many years ago because it was/is a popular hangout for surfers. Gilbert's also happens to have good Mexican food. For years, we have been going to Gilbert's generally on Friday nights, and now also Tuesday for "Taco Tuesday."  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

To Everything There Is a Season - Inday Blanco's 40th Day Memorial

It's over forty days now since Inday Blanco passed away, and following tradition, her family and friends celebrated a memorial Mass and said prayers. The Philippine belief is that on the fortieth day her soul has gone on to heaven.

Inday's passing and world events have reminded me of  the song, Turn, Turn, Turn, which uses the verses from Ecclesiastes. The words are beautiful; the song is also beautiful. Peace be with you today, dear Readers.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Santa Monica, California: Sunday with Christine Colin and Max Girerd

 Our friends, Christine Colin and Max Girerd, from Lyon, France, spent Sunday afternoon with us.
Christine owns and runs the Atelier du Griffon, where she trains wig makers the old art as it was done. The third generation wig maker in her family, Christine is one of a handful of wig makers in Europe who still knows the old art. Max is an international businessman, who loves sailing.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Philippine Cooking: Ube Halaya or Purple Yam Dessert

In the Philippines, we used to eat Purple Yam or Ube, a root with dense purple flesh. Sometimes this was boiled; sometimes this was added in other dishes. It had a distinctive pleasant taste, which I can't really describe beyond saying I could taste the forest in it.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

LBC Express Shipping and Filipino Comfort Food

Several times a year, I make a trip to LBC Express in Los Angeles to send boxes with donations to a priest whose parish is in Northern Cebu, Philippines.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Santa Monica, California: Harrison Ford Plane Crash in Penmar Golf Course

Thursday evening, we walked down to nearby Penmar Golf Course to check out the Harrison Ford Plane crash. It was around 6:30 p.m. when we got there, four hours after Ford's plane crash, but the airplane, police cars, and numerous media vans were there. Of course the lookie-loos like us were also there. The road closest to the plane was blocked off from traffic.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Philippine Cooking: Recipe for "Mochiko" Bibingka

From Carol Ojeda-Kimbrough who had shared with us her Cornbread Bibingka, here is another bibingka recipe:

Favorite 2014 Family Pictures

 Fiji, l-r: Chris, Lauren, Bryn, Cecilia

Dear Readers,
I'm working on my fourth novel, which is eating up my time, Forgive the short blog entries. My mind is in Ubec, 1910, most of the time.

Here are some favorite Family Pictures taken in 2014.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Sunset in Los Angeles, California - Michael Connelly Quote and Pictures

I took a couple of pictures from the 405 Freeway at sunset.  The black object in the sky is the Goodyear Blimp. And here's a quote by Michael Connelly about Los Angeles at sunset.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Interview of Cecilia Brainard "Good and Bad Reasons for Being a Writer"

I'm reprinting this interview that appeared in Students and Campus Bulletin in the Philippines.

Interview of Cecilia Manguerra Brainard for the Students and Campus Bulletin in the Philippines

In this interview, Ms. Brainard shares her expertise on the one subject she's passionate about: writing.

Students and Campus Bulletin (SCB): Are they any good and bad reasons for being a writer?

Cecilia Manguerra Brainard (CMB): The bad reasons are for fame, money, immortality, and revenge. The good reasons are because you have no choice but to write; for self-expression, to keep sane, to create something beautiful out of something painful or unpleasant; to educate others and ultimately to educate yourself. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Restaurant Review: Manny Gonzalez Reviews Black Sheep Restaurant, Taguig, Philippines

Some people think the Philippines is a poor country, and it is; but Metro Manila has all the amenities of a metropolis, including expensive shops, restaurants, hotels, housing, and so on.  

When I was there, I went to a couple of high end restaurants in Makati: The Black Bird, and Sala, which I critiqued briefly. Just to reiterate, The Black Bird had wonderful ambiance and service, but the meal portions were very small. Sala was fair. In balance though, these restaurants are really very expensive to those earning in Pesos.  

Our Guest Blogger, Manny Gonzalez, reviews another high end restaurant in Metro Manila, the Black Sheep RestaurantThis article first appeared in Trip Advisor and is reprinted by permission of the author. A resident of Whistler, Canada, Manny Gonzalez is a Director/shareholder at the Plantation Bay Resort and Spa in Mactan, Philippines. ~ Cecilia Brainard