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,
Cecilia

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.






































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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,
      Cecilia


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,

      Cecilia


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,
Cecilia

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: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/06/2016-donald-trump-paul-manafort-ferinand-marcos-philippines-1980s-213952#ixzz4GPVJfUeJ 

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.

Creepy.

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
       Cecilia

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,
     Cecilia



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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZNWYqDU948

And here is the transcript of her speech: http://www.vox.com/2016/7/25/12282760/transcript-michelle-obama-dnc-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,
Cecilia





Saturday, July 23, 2016

More Wedding Pictures of Andrew and Swapna #AndrewLovesSwapna





I have earlier postings of pictures of the wedding in the family, but here are more.  To see the other pictures, click on the sites below:


Friday, July 22, 2016

Doing Lunch with Man's Best Friend #dogpics


That is a dog in the man's arms. 

We were having brunch at The Terrace in Venice and was surprised and amused at this very limp dog in the man's arms. I remembered the pampered dogs in France that are seen in restaurants.  

I looked it up and learned that as of January 1, 2015, some California restaurants with outdoor seating allow dogs.





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: dogs, cats, pets, animals, #dogpics

This is all for now,
Cecilia

Thursday, July 21, 2016

News Articles that Warn About Donald Trump



Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." ~ John Stuart Mills


Please read these articles about Donald Trump. I will continue to add to this list, so check back:

Republican National Security Experts Warn "Fundamentally Dishonest Donald Trump Would Make America Less Safe"

Meet the Republicans Speaking Out Against Trump

Where Republicans Stand on Donald Trump: A Cheat Sheet

See List of 99 Republicans Who Refuse to Back Trump

Charles Koch's Warning

Tony Schwartz who ghostwrited Trump's book, The Art of the Deal, reveals his great trepidation about the man whose myth he helped create

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has nothing to apologize for in her criticism of Donald Trump 

Brexit Should Be a Warning About Donald Trump

Tech Leaders Warn Against a Trump Presidency

Donald Trump's Mental Disorder Makes the Billionaire Dangerous World Leader, warns Psychologists

Donald Trump's Most Outrageous Quotes

Donald Trump's Most Offensive and Outrageous Quotes

50 Outrageous Donald Trump Quotes

Trump Gets Bipartisan Condemnation for NATO Comments


BE SURE AND VOTE!

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Read also
     Tags: Donald Trump, politics, Republicans, warning, #DonaldTrump

     This is all for now,


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Visiting the Jewelry District of Los Angeles, California



Some friends and I visited the Jewelry District of Los Angeles, California, which is reportedly the largest jewelry district in the United States.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

#CatPics Exercising with Che and Tesla


Here are some pictures of my cats, Che and Tesla, watching me exercising on the floor. 

Note Che lying on my flip-flops.






 Che also does some stretching.


My cats make me laugh every day!!!

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, pet therapy, creativity, purring, healing, Ernest Hemingway, holistic, alternative medicine

This is all for now,
Cecilia


Monday, July 18, 2016

RIP Qandeel Baloch, Pakistani Murdered in Honor Killing


I've been following the news about Qandeel Baloch, a Pakistani woman who was murdered by her brother in an honor killing.

She was a social media star, a Kim Kardashian type, a free spirit who did her thing, made a living from it, made enough in fact to support her family, including the brother who strangled her.

I am sorry, Qandeel Baloch. Hopefully your death will bring about changes in Pakistan and other places in the world that continue to maltreat their women.


Read also
Images of the Filipina in Literature
Descriptions of the Philippine Woman in Literature
Sexual Violence Against Women During War
The Rape of Women and the War in Syria

Photo of Qandeel Baloch from her Facebook page.

Tags: #women #feminist #qandeelbaloch #Pakistan
This is all for now.
Cecilia


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Pictures: The Visit to #Turkey in 2009



I'm glad we saw Turkey when we did in 2009!


Saturday, July 16, 2016

An Attempt to Explain the World's Violence



Artists and writers like to talk about "energy" as in the energy of the room was not good, or the energy of the situation shifted, or her/his energy wasn't good.  In this case, energy is something undefinable, something felt, discerned, generally not quantifiable.

I'm going to be talking about "energy" in this sense, specifically to the energy of the world and the pitch of violence that surrounds us. The shootings, bombings, incredible destruction and suffering occur not just in war torn countries but in our own communities -- note the recent events in Orlando, Dallas, and Nice.

I've been trying to make sense out of all the violence.  I've wondered if some religions do encourage violence, but my common-sense says bonafide religions teach people how to live better. I've wondered if the fact that the world's wealth is concentrated in some people's hands and not in others could be a factor, and my mind says yes, this possible.

Here's another theory that I've considered. I have to take you back to before the year 2000 when New Age discussions were popular. My psychic friends said the Age of Pisces was giving way to the Age of Aquarius. They explained how the earth passes into a new Zodiac sign every 2,000 years or so.

(There was another flurry of concern over December 21, 2012, because the Mayan Calendar was ending and starting a Long Cycle on that day.)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Travel: Remembering Egypt



I'm remembering Egypt 
and wondering 
if it's ancient sites have become quiet, 
the hordes of tourists gone. 
But to the thousand-year old structures, 
this bit of silence is a blink of an eye. 
They will be there long after we are gone.












I took these pictures in 2008, during a visit to Egypt.

Read also
Grand Tour of Egypt 1
Grand Tour of Egypt #2
Grand Tour of Egypt #3 

Tags: travel, vacation, Egypt, holiday

This is all for now,
Cecilia