I'm alone in my house for the first time in I don't know how long. Just me and the clanking of a sweatshirt zipper as the dryer spins 'round and 'round. This is quite a change for me, as your Nesting Ground Mistress has endured and/or enjoyed several weeks of pure lunacy. Highlights are as follows:
1) Our acacia tree tried to kill me, but it only succeeded in causing debilitating allergies that morphed into a sinus infection. For twelve days, I could not taste or smell at all (I also couldn't hear very well). Because eating held no attraction for me, I ate only to relieve that little knot that forms in my stomach when hungry. And what did I learn? I learned that I clearly overeat in my regular life because all it took to relieve said knot was four almonds, say, or half an apple. Now that my senses have returned, do you think I continue to sate my hunger with four almonds? Of course not, you silly. In fact, I just ate an It's-It.
2) Over spring break, we took a road trip to Disneyland, Santa Barbara, and Monterey. Disneyland was...Disneyland. But Santa Barbara? It was a revelation. We lived there for four or five years before we had kids, and though I thought it was lovely THEN, everything seemed to appear in technicolor this time around. There was much frolicking in the waves, there was much traipsing around the zoo, there was dinner with friends, and there was some seriously good eating (I'm so grateful that my sense of taste returned on Day 1 at Disneyland) at Jeannine's American Bakery, La Super-Rica (where I was almost brought to tears by my tamale), and even the humble hamburger joint called The Habit. Here is a picture of the charming Jeannine's (taken from their website):
3) Our trip ended in Monterey, where the spousal unit set us up with luxe accommodations at The Clement:
Pampering, though, was not the goal of our visit. The goal was to cross the threshold of the fabled Monterey Bay Aquarium, a place that none of us had ever been before (I know: losers). I was enthralled—like, ridiculously enthralled—with the jellyfish and the seahorses. I could have watched those creepy seahorses all day. I knelt down in front of one of the tanks and had the following silent, one-sided conversation with the seahorses: You are so creepy. How'd you get so creepy? Why do you all have your tails wrapped around that particular thing? You float around and float around and float around in the creepiest, creepiest way. You crazy, creepy seahorses. Like that. Anyways, here is Lea's silhouette against a tank of jellyfish:
4) Two days after we returned from our trip, my two brothers, two nephews (ages 16 and 14), and one niece (20ish) arrived to partake in a week of relaxed (hahahahahaha!) celebration in honor of my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. Translated, that means we ate a lot. One night, we stormed the doors of a restaurant and my eldest brother, my 16-year-old nephew, and the spousal unit ate this:
5) On Saturday, the I-Hotel Manilatown Center hosted a book launch for Growing Up Filipino II, and I had the pleasure of reading again with Tony Robles, Oscar Penaranda, Rashaan Alexis Meneses, and Marianne Villanueva. It was a well-attended event with a lovely vibe, and so what if a young man approached me afterwards and prefaced his question with the word, "Ma'am?" I am, indeed, a "Ma'am," and I should just get used to it.
6) Yesterday, we took the last of my family to the airport, and now I'm quite melancholy.
7) But then I learned that Philippine Speculative Fiction 5, in which I have a speculatively-told story, has just been released in the Philippines, and they are having a launch party this weekend. This makes me happy, as does the cover of the book:
You can read more about the collection at Dean Alfar's blog.