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NaPoWriMo 2013: Poem for 04.14.13

20 Apr

We’re at the halfway mark for NaPoWriMo, and my writing desk is a mass of stacked papers, books, doodads and paperclips right now. I always like to keep a poetry book or two nearby, so I can flip through their pages and find inspiration when I’m flagging and staring too long at a blank screen.

On top of the stack this week is Sean Nevin‘s Oblivio Gate. This is an amazing book, about family, loss, redemption and especially Alzheimer’s. The cover says it all.


The loss of one’s memory, one’s mind, I would argue, one’s self is a terrifying thing to think about, and it’s something we think about in my family because my grandfather suffered through it. Continue reading


Endorsement Monday: Your Local Aquarium

27 Nov

CityBoy and I were recently up in the San Francisco Bay area for Thanksgiving, spending time with his side of the family. We had a lovely three days with brothers, aunties, nieces and in-laws, some of which was spent at the Aquarium of the Bay ( in downtown San Francisco.

I’ve poo-poo’d aquarium visiting in the past to CityBoy. They seem clammy and creepily nocturnal at best, crowded with screaming sticky children at worst. But this time, I was enchanted, by the exhibits (including a multi-room water tunnel thing, through which you walk and the animals soar (ehem, swim) overhead), the staff (kudos to the very pleasant women working the photo booth and elevators, and the delight of the children, as they gallop from exhibit to exhibit, shouting, “Look!” “Wow!” “Come on!”

We were a family of 10, with a four and two year old, and we had a gay old time. The Aquarium of the Bay is fairly small (and maybe a bit overpriced – I don’t know, our hosts paid for our tickets), but its size works in its favor, I think. Just enough to see and touch and experience without getting overwhelmed and cranky (or at least for me – luckily there was a Bloody Mary in my future).

So as you’re considering gift options this Holiday Season, why not consider your local aquarium? Or pop in yourself for an amazing hour or two. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Family Heirlooms: A Life in Jewelry

21 Jul

I am an accessories whore. Plain and simple. In college, I would happily skip lunch so I could buy a new pair of shoes or a cool ring. Heck, I sometimes still do that now. So imagine my delight when my lovely mother-in-law told me she had a big store of jewelry she wanted me to go through from CityBoy’s grandmother’s collection.

gorgeous, no?

But first, a little backstory on the fabulous Mrs. B, CityBoy’s grandmother who passed away in December 2011, as feisty and riled-up as I imagined her to be when she first came into this world in 1913. She was a tried and true Manhattanite, a real city girl, who grew up in the Lower East Side and moved back into the city from the suburbs practically the very second her sons were grown and out of the house. Continue reading

Flashback: Jho at Age 3

15 Jan

One of my aunts has recently started culling her impressive photo collection and gave my siblings and I each a packet of family photos for Christmas. They range from true oldies, like the one you’ll see below, to almost recent ones to flashbacks from the glorious 1980s and 1990s, when bold prints, big hair, and truly ginormous glasses reigned supreme.

As the last of our extended family to leave the Philippines, my aunt has a treasure trove of old photos that most of us have never even seen. Even my mom was stumped by this photo, taken on the occasion of my third birthday.

I’m the one standing. My littler sister is in the straw hammock that served as our crib. I’m guessing that my father took this photo. He owned a photo shop in the Philippines and I can always detect a certain craftsmanship in his early photos, a delicate framing of the subject and background, that gives the photo a little more drama and tension than all the bad, too far away, or too blurry, or just blah photographs we’ve taken at family gatherings. Continue reading