its true what they say

On a clear sunny day, it's hard not to fall in love with this city.

Taken from my phone while walking along Crissy Field.

and she glows with snow sprinkles in her hair...

Photo from Flickr via sfgirlbybay

When I was growing up, I secretly wanted to have red hair. I never told anyone because the rest of the girls in my class dreamed of having blonde hair and blue eyes and let's face it most of us wanted to conform to the majority when we were young. I think my wish to be a redhead must have something to do with Anne of Green Gables, who was my heroine/alter-ego in elementary school, until I "met" Elizabeth Bennet, and well you know how it goes with magical thinking...

Needless to say, the picture above reminded me of my girlish dreams. I love the undone-ness of her hair and the way its color pops out of the picture. And of course, love the snow dusts.

How about you, who were your fictional hero/heroines? And how did they influence your childhood? I know most of you are bookworms and writers so I'm just curious.

And oh, happy, happy Friday! I hope its finally sunny where you are.

"love means you breathe in two countries"

There are times, especially on late sunny afternoons when the light is soft as a feather, that I wish I could be in two places at the same time. I love it here and I love the life that I've created for myself here, but at the same time, I also really, really miss my country and my family. It's been more than a year since the last time I was home.

My mom and my sister Poi

*Title taken from the poem Two Countries, one of my favorites by Naomi Shihab Nye

confession tuesday

I will keep this short because I'm sick today. I think I caught one of the bugs that's been going around at my schools. Boo.

* * *
So we went hiking last Sunday. But really, it was more 75% climbing up and down stairway walks in Diamond Heights. And now I'm paying for it, my calf muscles are so sore that I can barely walk downstairs.

* * *
I had a near-meltdown last Saturday night. Something to do with friends taking advantage of my inability to say 'no'. If you know me, my life is generally drama-free and I avoid confrontations as much as I can, but I've reached a point when I really had to put my foot down, which I didn't and I was so mad at myself.

* * *
I think I will give NaPoWriMo a shot this year and try to write a poem a day. Yes, everyday.

* * *
Listening to Belle and Sebastian just fills me with joy. This song is on constant repeat on my playlist: Wrapped Up In Books. I la la la love it so and I hope you will too!

a beginning of something (i hope)

Parked on a Hill in South San Francisco

Rain starts to fall in dots
on my windshield, little circles
that lie still for a moment
before sliding down the glassy slope

some faster than others
while a few take their time
moving leisurely
in a way
that only water could.

I envy these little drops.
Even the ones that come
and disappear all at once.

* * *
Process: This was "written" on my Blackberry notepad last Saturday night. I was feeling pretty down, berating myself for my indecision, and just overall under the weather. Staring at my rain-dotted windshield distracted me from my depressing thoughts and I knew I had to write a poem about it. This is the first draft (as are all of my poems these days) but I wanted to share it here.

urban hiking

This morning my friend C and I went hiking around Diamond Heights and Noe Valley. Up and down stairways, up and over hills, in and out narrow pathways. We got lost once, my thighs were actually shaking climbing up those stairways (and I thought I was in shape, ha) - but it was so worth it because the views were so beautiful all around. The picture above was taken from my cellphone, not too bad huh?

How about you guys, how was your weekend? And oh, did the sun finally come out where you are?

confession tuesday

I'm inspired by Deb's one-sentence confessions so I'm doing the same.

I have a fieldwork student shadowing me for a week and being with her makes me feel nostalgic about grad school and all the idealism that goes with it.

Sometimes I feel like my online friends understand me more than my friends in real life, then I feel guilty for even thinking this way.

I think I have a seasonal affective disorder, my mood really does change when I see the sun.

I *tried* giving up shopping for Lent and I don't think its gonna happen.

Now I'm obsessed with buying a pair of boots which does not even make sense because I won't be using it for the next couple of months anyway.

Talking to my family on the phone (especially my mom) makes me want to cry.

Someone asked me if this is autobiographical and the answer is yes.

* * *
How about you, anything you want to share? Don't forget to visit The Confessional at Poet Mom's.

hello spring!

Go on, go out there and celebrate the goddess in you!

My sisters and I, taken at Maribago Bluewaters, Philippines

there's something in the air

Photo via {frolic}

I had the most wonderful time at the Women on Writing (WoW) Conference today! I don't even know where to begin, its all too a good way. Maybe after I've calmed down and re-centered, I'll be able to reflect on the experience and share them with all of you here. In the meantime, here are bits and pieces:

I've never been to a writing conference or a writer's workshop but I've been in a rut lately and desperately needed inspiration so I decided to go to this one. I almost cringed at the fee but luckily I remembered to tell them that I work for the school district and they gave me a discount!

The conference was held in Skyline College, just west off of Skyline Boulevard and its breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.

Standing in line to get breakfast, a lady next to me asked if I am a writer. I was surprised at how quickly and confidently I said "yes". Am I finally embracing my "writer self"? I hope so.

Julia Whitty, the keynote speaker, was so eloquent and inspiring that there were moments in her speech that I felt like I was being punched in the gut. She talked about writing as if you are tiptoeing on the precipice, standing on the edge between solid ground and empty air, knowing that the edge is an unsettling place to be but at the same time it is the only place that you'd rather be -- doesn't this describe perfectly how utterly exhilarating and scary writing is?

I attended Susan Wooldridge's (author of Poemcrazy) poetry workshop and again, was blown away by the realization that I was there, listening to this woman speak, when 10 years ago I was just standing at a bookstore in the Philippines flipping through the pages of her book because I was drawn by its cover and the phrase freeing your life with words. Back then, my days were filled memorizing names of bones and muscles, studying neuroanatomy, and dissecting cadavers. Never in a million years did I imagine that I'd be writing poetry, or in fact, that I'd be writing at all.

Susan gave us "word tickets" as writing prompts and three of the words that I got were falling, unfold, flight. These are some of my favorite words and I thought it was serendipitous that I got them.

During the workshops, I wrote a poem and an essay that I feel rather excited about. They're still very drafty but I might share them here later.

Finally, its hard to explain how much the experience moved me, the closest thing that I could think of are these words from Annie Dillard: Right now, you are flying. Right now, your job is to hold your breath.

confession tuesday

Its that day of the week again, time to confess. What have you been up to? Care to share something new/embarassing/wicked? Do tell.

* * *
I've been almost late for everything lately. Its so nerve-racking, especially if its something important, like giving a case presentation in front of 50 or so therapists. I was so rattled and so hungry that I literally grabbed the first food in sight - a pack of raisins from a co-worker, who was "lucky" enough to sit next to me. I don't think I even asked if I could eat her raisins.

* * *
Not having internet access at home for more than 3 days really threw me off. Boy was I glad when it was finally fixed and I can get online again. In fact, I think this is the reason why I've been late for my appointments. I spend too much time catching up on my favorite blogs and checking Facebook because I felt like I missed so much already.

* * *
Aside from being tardy, I've also been slacking off in my fitness routine. Case in point: Today I was all ready to go to my yoga class, I even made it as far as my car, then all of a sudden I felt really tired and could barely keep my eyes open, so I turned around and walked back to my apartment instead. And guess what I did afterwards - eat ice cream. I'm blaming the rain. Ha.

* * *
I made a promise of always keeping fresh flowers in my apartment this year. So far, I've only missed a week. But I have to confess that I really have no clue when it comes to flower arrangement. I tried to read some basic tips online and the best tip that I found was this: let the flowers teach you. So I'm taking the flowers' lead this time, there is something very soothing about it.

* * *
Speaking of flowers, I can't wait for spring. Or is it spring already? It sure doesn't feel like it here because its been raining nonstop and the sky is always grey.

* * *
Lastly, I must confess that I've watched this video for about a hundred times already. It has so many of the things that I love: summery clothes, Scrabble, vintage bicycles, stripes and plaids, a guitar-strumming boy, this French song... ah, it just makes me happy.

by its cover

Just when I was about to give up spending on "non-essential items" for Lent, I saw this Penguin books collection (via Angela's blog) and my heart skipped a beat. The cover designs are too lovely for a book-hoarder like me. I can picture these classics displayed on my countertop here. But do I really need them? How many copies of Pride and Prejudice or Jane Eyre do I need? Ah, I can rationalize this for hours on end, but the bottom line is I really don't need to be spending money on books that I already have right now. But then again, isn't this cover design just beautiful? Maybe I can buy just one...(Clearly, I need a support group. Haha.) Cover designs by Coralie Bickford-Smith for Penguin Books. See more at The Penguin Blog.

journal excerpt

3.1.09. It's a dreary Sunday, rain is coming in gentle waves, while we are safely cocooned inside a coffee shop eating french toast topped with strawberries and cream. Belle and Sebastian is playing in the background, singing words that make me swoon, words like: lying here asleep on a sunbeam, I wonder if you realise you fascinate me so. For once, my fingers are moving without hesitation and I'm starting to think that I might just have another shot at this writing life after all.