when it rains, it pours

And it pours hard. I can't even begin to tell you my series of not-so-fortunate events, its just one of those days when nothing seems to go right. There's the stomach bug that's been going on with the kids at school, there's my lost debit card, there's the nagging pain on my right knee, there's the temperamental cellphone who turns itself off just when you have an important call, and oh, there's the parking tickets (yes, that's plural - 2 to be exact, at $50 each - OUCH!).

But you know what, one can either wallow in his or her misfortune or start taking a deep breath and move on from there. I decided to do the latter and focus on the things that I can do instead. Its amazing how just the act of "doing" can turn your mood around altogether. And realizing that, despite everything, I still have a lot of things to be thankful for.

* * *
Today I also mailed this parcel for Sofia's autumn swap:


I can't tell you who I'm sending it to, its a surprise. But basically, the idea of an autumn swap is centered around the theme of "comfort", little things that will make the recipient feel warm and cozy in this autumn season. Here are some of the things in the package (sorry for the blurry pictures, I was in a rush this morning, had to take them by the window where there's some light):



My swap partner is an artist, I've been reading her blog for the past couple of days and thought that she might like the following: a journal for her creative ideas, a book set in Paris, a small letterpress card from a local artist, some underwater-themed buttons by illustrator Jaime Zollars, and a Batik-inspired coin purse. And along with my favorite Ghirardelli chocolates and some green tea, my parcel was ready to go!

Here's more of the autumn swap here.

small stone

Yesterday, my small stone was published over at A Handful of Stones (Thanks, Fiona).
Here is the drafty, unedited version, journal entry 9.19.08:

Soft rain on a Friday night -
People wear their loneliness like a shield
without an umbrella or coat,
shoulders hunched, hands in pockets
while around them the moist pavement
glistens, cars move as if they are learning
to crawl for the first time

* * *
Find out more about writing a small stone and how to submit them here.

details in the fabric



Right now, I'm loving: the colors of fall, even the muted shades of gray and brown ~ watching a movie whilst huddling under a cozy blanket ~ banana nutella crepes ~ dear, dear Jason whose concert I'm gonna see this Sunday at the Greek Theater in Berkeley ~ this song (do listen closely to the lyrics, I find the message so fitting for these trying times):

half moon bay




One of my favorite places to be in the Bay area. We often drive down the Pacific coast on Highway 1 to get here but this time we took Route 92 and the drive is equally breathtaking.

Happy, happy Friday. I'm proud to say that I survived a crazy work week, with a few minor headaches here and there. I should be back to my usual blogging on Monday. Have a wonderful, sunny weekend!

dreaming of the mountains

Dear Mary Oliver, I think I know how you must have felt when you wrote this poem:

The Old Poets of China

Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe
that I do not want it. Now I understand
why the old poets of China went so far and high
into the mountain, then crept into the pale mist.

* * *
P.S. I decided to take a little blogging break. Its our parent-teacher conference week and eventhough I'm not a teacher, I also have a lot of progress reports and testing to do. In fact, my list is getting longer every minute. I'll be back next week, hopefully with new poems and pictures to share. Take care everyone!

mask

In Japantown a lady behind
the skincare counter gave me
samples of a facial mask.

Very good she said, her voice
almost a whisper, as if she was
guarding an ancient secret
to youthful skin.

That night, mask firmly in place,
I stared at my chalky white face
in the mirror, imagined

I was a geisha
and the night wind sent
a rain of cherry blossoms
outside my window.

sunlit



ferry ride to Larkspur --
lovers and sun
see eye to eye.

confession tuesday

Not a lot of things to confess this week aside from eating tons of junk food and ice cream. Though I always have "the PMS excuse", to which my cousin Bill often replies, "It's seems like you're PMSing every week". Hee. At least I'm not irritable and prone to mood swings.

* * *
I've been writing. A lot. I finally finished a poem that I've started about a year ago though I'm not sure if I'm ready to share it here (or anywhere else) yet. Have you ever had one of those written pieces that you just want to keep for yourself? To date, I think I have 2 poems and a couple of personal essays that I haven't shown anyone yet. Often, they're the ones that took every ounce of courage that I have to write that when I'm finally done writing them, I feel as though I just went through a very personal, very intense battle, and all I could do is sit down and stare in wonder at how I came out there alive. That's exactly how I felt at 3 a.m. yesterday after the poem finally assembled itself together.

* * *
As promised, here is a photo of my new hair. I also included a "before" picture taken 4 weeks ago, with my friend Rhanee at her Bachelorette's Party. My hair is naturally wavy and has a mine of its own, so its never the same everyday. Growing up in a tropical country, which can get very humid at times, and with almost everyone having stick-straight black hair, I used to hate my crazy-wavy hair with much passion. I even had it chemically straightened when I was in college. Ah, the things you do to conform to society. Nowadays, I really do love my hair, even if it can get 'unruly' at times.

Before


After

almost a love story

Imagine a crowded bar, venue for a poetry reading, dim, noisy, hardly any room to stand. Everyone is anxiously waiting for the poets to read. Luckily, my friend C and her friends T and R came early and was able to secure a small table, one of the 3 tables in the place. Fifteen minutes before the readings started, C and T went out for a smoke. I was left talking to R. Then -

"Is this yours?", a guy-in-black-trenchcoat came up to me, pointing to a small paperback that was laying on our table. I didn't even notice the book until he came over.

"No", I said, shaking my head at the same time.

"The owner actually went outside for a smoke", R added.

"Oh, did she? I'd like to meet her", said guy-in-black-trenchcoat.

"Ah, its actually a he," replied R, hint of mischief in his eyes.

"Ugh, too bad! I would've married her even if she looks like this" *proceeds to blow air on both cheeks and open his arms wide*.

The book, by the way, is Nadja by the French author André Breton. And yes, T, owner of said book, is indeed a he. Guy-in-black-trenchcoat and him finally had the chance to meet after the reading, sharing their love for Nadja.

Much later, over coffee, my friend C said, "Hmmm, wouldn't it be nice to meet someone that way? You know, through a book that you love and majority of the world hasn't even heard of?"

"Yeah, that would be ideal," I answered, mentally scanning my bookshelves for the book.

* * *
So hypothetically, if you were to pick any book as a way to meet "the love of your life", which one would it be? And why?

Mine will probably be Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet. Just 'cause I love it so.

sunday morning


I'm having breakfast in bed, sitting cross-legged with my bowl of oatmeal and tea on the side. I cook my oats the old-fashioned way, sprinkled with a spoonful of Ghirardelli cocoa mix (chocolate hazelnut is my fave), one of the best ways to enjoy oatmeal in my humble opinion.

Every now and then, I check the Chicago Marathon site, tracking (read: stalking) my friend Neeha and my cousin Ken as they run their way all over Chicago. I am equally excited for them as last year's marathon was somewhat of a downer. By that I mean, they were forced to slow down, walk or stop because the weather was too hot for anyone to run. Right now they've passed the 30K marker, Neeha with 3:02:31 and Kenny with 3:08:30 - yay! Don't you just love the internet?

So I went to the "one and only" Lit Crawl last night and spent 3 hours walking up and down the Mission, in and out of cafes and bars, listening to writers read. Some readings were great, some not-so-much, but what amazes me is how every year, again and again, I feel exactly the same way. Something akin to this. Its good to be reminded of why I write and how much I love the written word.

I'm still undecided on what to do after my breakfast - go to Bernal Heights Park (pictured above) or drive up north across the bridge and spend a quiet time in Marin? The good news is, I have the entire day to figure it out.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone!

get your poem on

Read Write Poem has a swanky new look and I'm inspired to write a poem. This week's prompt is about dinosaurs. Here's my contribution, dedicated to J and all the kids that I work with:

At the Doctor's Office

They watch him line up
toys and stare at wheels
of plastic cars as they go
'round and 'round

They shake their heads
as he rocks his body gently
back and forth, making sounds
like an old, clamoring train

They noted how he doesn't
respond when you call his name
or look at you in the eye

They say he lives in a world
all his own, a world that doesn't
allow him to make friends
or say a word or two --

They will never know how
he loves to swing so high
and pretend his feet
can touch the sky

Or how his face opens
in a smile when he sees
pictures of dinosaurs.

forgive this pseudo-fangirl

louis garrel for hedi slimane

louis007471vn1

I just about swooned when I saw these photos of Louis Garrel. Can you say scorching? Between these and this clip of him from the movie Les Chansons d'Amour, I'm definitely smitten. *sigh*

Notes after A Sacred and Profane Poetry Reading*

I just got back from a reading at the Grace Cathedral and my head is still swimming with words. Not to mention, I'm also nursing a cold and terribly tired from a long day at work. But for some reason, certain words and phrases from the reading are stuck in my head, and so now I can't even go to sleep. Hence the scribbles. These will probably not make sense tommorrow (or ever), so consider yourself warned.

October. How I long for a break between seasons,
Or is it just transitions that I am wary of?
The slow quivering of this autumn night forces me to go forward
Though my mind keeps going back to the summer, and the summers
before that -- backfloating on a sea of turquoise glass,
the sure sting of salt on my tongue ---


*This poetry reading is a part of Litquake, San Francisco's annual week-long literary festival. You can see the full schedule here.

confession tuesday


Photo by Lisa Barber via {frolic}


Right this moment, I'm wishing for just a little more days where I can sit under the sun and enjoy a picnic with friends. Indian summer, please stay awhile. I'm not ready for autumn yet.

The sudden chill in the air + kids at work getting sick makes me feel a bit under the weather. I'm definitely stacking up on my Vitamin Cs because I tend to get sick during the months of October-December.

These shorter days are forcing me to "go inside" more, literally and figuratively. Its during these months that I get a lot of writing done. Walking amongst the fallen leaves will definitely inspire some introspection.

On the upside, my camera is back from traipsing all over India for two weeks (my cousin borrowed it) and I can't even tell you how happy I am! And um, also a little jealous that my camera got to see the Taj Mahal and I didn't.

Which reminds me, I meant to share that I had a haircut a couple of days ago and it is short. The shortest that I've had since grade school. It was just one of those random things that I decided right after work, I passed by this salon and said "Why not?" It was long overdue. They had cut 6 or 7 inches off and I think I look exactly the same like I did in 5th grade, its surreal. Or maybe I'm just not used to it yet. I'll take pictures of my new hair now that my camera is back and post them later.

How about you, any confessions and new things to share?

best friends

(for k.b.)

inside a bookstore,
she sits on a stool
skimming a book.

outside the window,
he waits on a bench
playing with his dog.

why i love rilke

Moving Forward

The deep parts of my life pour onward,
as if the river shores were opening out.
It seems that things are more like me now,
That I can see farther into paintings.
I feel closer to what language can't reach.
With my senses, as with birds, I climb
into the windy heaven, out of the oak,
in the ponds broken off from the sky
my falling sinks, as if standing on fishes.

--R.M. Rilke, translated by Robert Bly

* * *
One of my favorites of his. When the busy world tends to overwhelm me and I am groping for words, I read this poem and I am filled with so much hope. And the last line - oh, the last line is pure beauty!