a few of my favorite things

Goodness, first week of school was hard. I ended up coming home very exhausted everyday. Decided to go to Chrissy Field later this afternoon to unwind. Thank God for the ocean, I soon forgot anything work-related and realized that most of the things that I really need is inside this tote:

my journal and its companion purple pen
a book of poetry, Neruda of course
peppermint-chocolate Luna bars, some water
a sweater (the fog can roll in any minute)
my little camera and a muted cellphone

Have a fabulous long weekend everyone!

of summers and open windows

When I think of open windows, I think of the sun waking me up in the morning, curtains dancing with the breeze, long drives in the country while singing to my heart's content, drive-in movies at the park - all things related to summer. So for this last week of Poetry Thursday, I wanted to share an ode to summer, which just like PT, I am not quiet ready to say goodbye yet.

* * *

Hoarding Summer

I want to chase the sun
and linger on hilltops
highlighted in gold.

I want to feel the wind
free my hair in a veil of waves
as I walk along the shore.

I want to watch bonfires
flicker with the stars while
their shadows play on the sand.

I want to keep my feet
warm on a quiet tickle
of grass, a floor of earth.

I just want to stay here
where the days are long
and I can write my stories.

* * *

Read more Thursday poets here.

on your mark

get set go!

The kids are back in school today. Lots of crying, clinging, paper-shuffling and hovering. When I say hovering, I meant the parents, we saw a lot of them peeking at the windows, standing close to classroom doors, lingering at the playground, sitting in their cars at the parking lot - I even wondered who's more nervous, student or parent.

Meanwhile, I think summer took all of my brain cells because I was so out of it today. I forgot some teachers' names and I can't remember where I placed some of my working files. I need a couple more days to get back to the routine again, thank God I don't start seeing kids until next week.

So then as I was going around the classrooms trying to figure out a schedule for my kids' OT sessions, I kept running into the kindergarteners and always, always they were standing in line, with their teacher right to the side. They were standing in line at the playground, they were standing in line in front of the principal's office, they were standing in line at the bottom of the stairs. I had no idea what they were standing in line for and don't they have to go back to their classrooms and read stories and sit in circle time?

Finally, it dawned on me - they were practicing how to stand in line! Duh. I'm so slow. I looked at them in their neat little line and for a split second I wanted to be a kindergartener again. You know, back when everything around you is still big and you stare at the world in wonder and you kept wishing for the bell to ring for recess so you can show off your new Power Rangers lunch box to your classmates. How uncomplicated life was then.

My reminiscing was cut short though when I heard a cry, followed by the sound of footsteps running down the corridor, then heavier footsteps until I saw a first grader with chubby cheeks and his teacher running after him. Apparently that was the third time that he ran away from his classroom today. Poor kid. I know that feeling. For didn't we all, at some point in our lives, wanted to run away from something that overwhelmed us?

But ready or not, school must go on, our lives must go on, no matter how many times we want to run away from it. I just wanted to give him a big hug.


My writing is kind of hit or miss lately, there are moments when I am so inspired to write and everything around me is drenched in metaphors, while there are also those times when all I could write in my journal were a few scattered, nonsensical sentences that weren't exactly going anywhere.

Today is one of those "miss" days. My mind is too full of my to-do-list now that I'm back at work again and every time I start to pick up my pen or open a word document, I got sidetracked to doing other things. Truth is, all I really wanted to do is lounge in my pajamas, browse the Internet for hours and eat ice cream for dinner - which I did, except for the ice cream part because I already made plans to meet with friends for dinner.

But the web is such a wondrous place, I found a poem by former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins and I didn't feel so bad about not being able to write anything. I figured, at least I "showed up" to write, so that still counts right? Funny thing is, after I played this video a couple of times, I've also written some "dutiful lines". They may or may not be useful later but what's important is I tried, even if I was daydreaming most of the time. Watch this lovely animated poem below and tell me if it inspires you to write:

Oh, I so want to be in a city where I have never been! Don't you?

poetry thursday

Alamo Square, taken on December 2, 2006

One thing that I've come to love about San Francisco is the fog and its cold summer evenings. I know, 58 degrees seems freezing in August, but I actually like it that way. Its perfect for meditation and long walks. That said, I wrote this one for Poetry Thursday, inspired by a prompt on first and last lines. I choose a line from one of Rilke's poems as my first line.

The sky puts on its coat of darkest blue *
coloring trees, flowers, narrow alleys

I walk past a line of tall houses, bay windows
reflecting the first light of streetlamps below

In the corner, a small park sits still, soft grass
carpet waiting for dogs to sink in their paws

Slowly a shroud of fog floats, thin white
sheets hiding oceans, faraway sleeping hills

It is evening. Soon I will turn around
to follow my shadow-steps again.

*Taken from a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke as translated by Stephen Mitchell


We didn't really know where we were going as we drove up the coast along Highway 1. Somehow we ended up on this secluded beach just in time for sunset. The golden light was blinding, the wind was buzzing, sand-dust swirled everywhere. And with my hands shaking from cold, I pointed my camera towards the light, the ocean, and the distant cliffs:

Dillon Beach, taken August 18, 2007

postcards from the bay

I was feeling a bit under the weather today. Especially when I realized that summer is almost over and I have to start working again on Monday. It seems like July and August went by so fast and I haven't done all the things that I wanted to do yet. Plus that dent on my car and some other concerns about my paperwork for immigration. All headache-inducing. Urgh.

So I did what I always do whenever I feel down - walk around. I rode the bus to the Marina and walked all the way to Crissy Field where I took pictures and watched some wind and kite surfers play with the waves. It was so beautiful out there. There really were no other words to say except thank You.

I hope that wherever you are, you will also find things to be thankful for. {See the rest of the photos on my Flickr photoset here}

from my window

Photo by taqri85 on Flickr

I've always loved looking out from an airplane window. There are defining moments in my life that I can vividly recall looking out towards a vast sky and feeling all sorts of emotions. Like that time when I was so depressed sitting in the front row of the plane with my fractured foot and I wondered if how long will it take for me to walk again and then I saw a breathtaking sunrise from the window and knew that everything was going to be alright.

Or when I left my country and my family for the first time, sitting there at the window seat of Philippine Airlines, how I felt so alone, terrified, and yet so free. I was only 23 then and didn't know what to expect about living in a different country and starting grad school. Then I caught a glimpse of Southern California, with its endless rows of twinkling lights and winding freeways and realized that my life will never be the same again.

It's almost like being in a liminal state, a sense of being not here nor there, when you look out of the window thousands of feet above sea level that makes you sigh in wonder and feel as though anything is possible. And so it was with this feeling that I wrote my first haiku(s) two days ago:

cotton candy clouds
magic carpet in the sky
take me for a ride

the sun bids adieu
a multi-colored painting
on top of the earth

* * *

Read more Thurday poets here.

a welcome home

"Ma'am, is that your car?" a guy asked me as I approached my little Civic.

It was around 11:30 last night, I had just gotten back from my trip to LA. I knew before saying "yes" that something had happened to my car. I just had this premonition even before I left, going back and forth with my decision to park it on the street close to my apartment building, and eventually deciding to go the cheaper route since I've already done it before and nothing happened to my car anyway. But the feeling that something bad was going to happen stayed with me and I even called my cousin over the weekend so he could check my car. He did and everything was fine.

That is, until yesterday. The guy, who turned out to be a fireman, told me that there was a fire in the apartment building next to mine earlier that evening and someone had backed into my car. I looked around the dark street and saw two fire trucks close to the intersection as well as charred pieces of wood scatterred at the sidewalk. I must have been really tired because I didn't even notice the smell of smoke/fire when I first got there.

"I think he left a note and his contact info on your windshield," the fireman said. I hurriedly went to grab the piece of paper on my windshield and sighed when all I read was "Bumped your left rear." Just that, no phone number. Again, I was too tired to feel anything and resigned to the fact that this is the price that I have to pay with street parking. It could have been worse.

The fireman, on the other hand, was angry and said that he could help me find out who the person was because the guy was a part of the emergency response team. He gave me a phone number for the city fire department. I thanked him and said, "I will follow up on it tommorrow", not even thinking about the dent on my car.

Later, while I unpacked my suitcase, I realized that it was exactly a year ago since I left LA to move to San Francisco. And how strange that there was also a fire then. A huge forest fire along Highway 5 which resulted to 10 hours of heavy traffic until we finally drove across the Bay Bridge right to the city. What's more, we arrived at around 11:30 p.m. too.

Isn't it amazing how life takes us to these little circles? That at the end of each journey we often find ourselves exactly in the same spot where we started? My trip to LA was in so many ways an affirmation of my decision to move here. I still miss my friends and the life that I had there, especially the clinic and working with children and their familes but that chapter in my life is already closed. And here, in this city that I now call home, another chapter continues.

Update: I went back to my car and found a business card stuck at the bottom of the windshield. I must have missed it last night because it was too dark. Wish me luck.

i'm off to sunny SoCal

Hello all. I'll be gone for a week of fun in the sun in Southern Cali, sans my laptop, so it will be a challenge to post entries from there. That, and of course, all the running around.

In the meantime, I already updated my favorite blogs on the sidebar. Check them out, they're all lovely and inspiring. And oh, if your blog is not on the list, feel free to drop me a line and I'll be more than happy to add your site.

P.S. The newly-launched Virgin America offers cheap travel deals (e.g. LAX to SFO for $44, each way) so if you haven't planned anything yet for the end of summer go,go,go! Also keep in mind that the best months to visit San Francisco is September and October when the weather is just gorgeous.

Enjoy the rest of the summer everyone! :)

over coffee

They say its not the place nor the moment. Because if you want to write, you write, it doesn't matter where you are or who you're with, etc. In this case, it was definitely the place and the moment. Friday night. A small cafe. Outside, its all misty and gray. Inside, you're warmed by a cup of coffee, red and oranged walls, and the possibility of words.

* * *

Javalencia Café

My book awaits open
patiently as though it knows
I need to take some time
to soak in the warmth of colors
dimmed lights that softened
a framed poster on the wall
one that says “Moulin Rouge”.

A young couple sat in a corner
by the window, face towards each other
lost in a conversation loud enough
for all to hear, her eyes twinkled
as she spoke, he used his arms
like a maestro conducting an
orchestra carefully making a point
as he punctuated the air.

A woman started to sip her coffee
on a table nearby and glanced
at the couple, I wondered if
she too was thinking of near-forgotten
images, dreams buried so deeply
she can barely recall their names

while a love song hummed discreetly
in the background and faint sounds
of someone washing dirty cups
and utensils chimed in harmony,
I went back to my book and reached
for a pen to write these lines.

becoming jane

I saw the movie Becoming Jane last Friday night and I really enjoyed it. Yeah, I know a lot of Jane Austen scholars are cringing at the mere thought of a heartbroken Jane writing Pride and Prejudice, but historical facts aside, the film was surprisingly good.

The cinematography is gorgeous, full of lush greens of an English countryside and its easy to imagine oneself walking out there, as Jane Austen must have. I also loved the sense of community, the costumes, and those country dances. And who doesn't enjoy grammatically correct sentences and witty conversations?

And then there's the love story. Like everyone else, I grew up having a crush on Mr. Darcy and the idea that Jane Austen had a dashing young man of her own and whom she based Mr. Darcy's character is making me feel absolutely giddy. The filmmakers may have made their romance a tad too dramatic but I really don't care. For despite it's limitations, I still went out of the theater with a smile on my lips, basking in 18th century goodness.

On a shallow note, James McAvoy is just lovely and the perfect leading man. I can't wait to watch him in the film adaptation of Ian McEwan's Atonement.

* * *

Still on the subject of love, I found this one from Liz's lovely blog (thank you Liz) and I really liked it so I'm sharing it here:

I have this theory that the more important and intimate the emotion, the fewer words are required to express it. For instance, in dating, "Will you go out with me?" Six words…"You matter to me." Four words. "I love you." Three words. "Marry me." Two words. But, what's left? What's the one most important and intimate word you can ever say to somebody? It's "good-bye." ~ Joe Straczynski, creator/writer/director of Babylon 5

I couldn't agree more. Especially goodbyes.

poetry thursday

Photo by zinkwazi on Flickr

little sister

what we have is
more than blood
more than history
or shared beginnings

so much more than this
changing time zones.

if only you are here now
I'd give you half of
my broken wings, together
we'd fly beyond our pains

you, with your paintbrush
me, with my pen.