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    This one made me weepy this morning. Girl finds out her bestfriend and roommate -- a 160-lb English Mastiff has terminal bone cancer and only has a few months to live. So armed with a bucket list of adventures she would like to share with her dog, they go off on canoe rides, road trips, visits to both busy spots and quiet spaces and, finally, spend a last day together by the ocean in Maine, where she finally finds peace and acceptance. This is real love, people.


    I still keep a journal despite having a blog. No matter how spill-all-my-guts-out open I may seem, there are many things I do and think that I'll just never tell. I've always thought it kept me sane to be able to express myself without fear of being censored or criticized. Whenever I pick up an old journal, even one from my 13-year-old self I realize that as much as I've changed so much is still the same. I just know how to dodge bullets faster and better. From: HUFFPOST Healthy Living, 01/20/15


    Which is why I've decided to keep this blog around, at least for a little while longer. I've always picked up a pen (or sat in front of a keyboard) any time I needed to make sense of my world; writing allows me to get into my head and get all my thoughts out without having to worry about how ridiculous I sound (that's where the editing comes in). From: The New York Times, 01/19/15
    This was lovely. The post is by a novelist who was asked how to encourage a young writer. It sounds eerily like the story of my life -- now all I need is to keep reading and keep writing (and, okay, start submitting). From: M Molly Backes' blog, 07/12/11


    Every day at work I see all kinds of female bodies: athletic, boyish, curvy, voluptuous, natural, enhanced, preteen, post-baby, postmenopausal -- thousands of different bodies I've seen up close and personal in my lifetime. This infographic shows that the description of the ideal female body changes every decade or so, going back hundreds of years. I hope that soon we define the "perfect" body as one that is simply healthy and functioning; that what matters is that we're comfortable in our own skin. From: Greatist, 01/15/15



    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
    The Normal Bar: Where Does Your Relationship Fall?
    All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost
    Gun Dealers' Daughter: A Novel: A Novel
    Crazy Rich Asians
    The Undomestic Goddess
    The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World

    Gigi's favorite books »
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August 23, 2005



Hey lucky you! Got here in time for the magnificent weather!


Thanks for this post. It's the first time that I realized that having small ears can be a problem.

But I guess having Dumbo ears is just way worse than your problem. I even know of someone who had to resort to surgery to solve her Dumbo issues.

BatJay, Ang Elvis ng Quiapo

i didn't even know that showing ears would be a requirement for a passport photo. hehehe. interesting.


Aha, so you're here! Do you have time to get together for lunch, dinner, breakfast, whatever? A snack at a conveniently-located vending machine?

What your relatives apparently don't know is that you can get your passport updated over the phone. You just call 'em--the number's 737-1000--and they'll pick it up and deliver it back to you.


Hi Cathy - Everyone kept telling me how wonderful the weather was (because it was no longer raining, but not as hot as summer was daw). Still, I kept sweating so much, I tried not to move in my attempt to keep cool. I have to apologize to the Filipino people -- I was an enemy in the current energy-saving movement GMA's been promoting lately. No aircon? No freakin' way!

Hello Kulotski - thanks for dropping by! BTW I have something in common with your wife (and it's not about both of us having such wonderful husbands either :) ). My sister took me on my first MRT ride a few years ago, and I LOVED it! No traffic -- and we got from Shangri La mall to Shoemart in practically no time at all. Now that's what I call speed shopping!

Hello BatJay! I don't remember reading that on the form. But the dude at the one-hour photo, as well as my sister (who's in HR and takes care of such matters apparently) swears it's a requirement.

Hi Nikki - Oh man, I'm now back here in CA! Honestly, I wanted to invite you and Dean out for something (yes, even a vending machine snack if that's all you guys had time for, given your current deadlines) -- but I didn't want to impose. So: if you're ever here, and/or when I go back next year in early September (or maybe even in January, if I manage to get that time off from work) -- let's meet up, OK? I'd LOVE to finally meet you guys in person.

PS: I wanted to use a service, but was told since I needed express service, I had to apply for my passport in person. Or was I misinformed? Drats.


Hey Gigi, sad that you left so soon but nice to have to back (at my computer). Was happy to see you (twice!) Re: big ears... well. I WAS called Dumbo when I was 6. I wonder what they'd call big-eared kids nowadays... kids don't know Dumbo anymore. so, no problem with ID pics. Just that it's the one feature in my face I didn't want exposed! so I wouldn't look too stupid, I exposed only one ear for my last passport shot and that was good enough for them (ala Jasmine Trias - kulang nalang flower!).


Where did you have your photos taken?

sistah #1

i believe criminals need to have their ears showing in mug shots :)

so what kind of trouble did you get yourself into while you were in manila???


Hi Chiqs - What? one ear was good enough? See, it's probably best I decided to take my chances here after all.

Hello Paul - I had my passport pictures taken (and retaken) at the one-hour photo place in Magallanes Village (the one underneath Dencio's :) ).

Hi sistah - Me? trouble? I only get myself in messes I can't talk about in public. :)


hmmmm, didn't know about showing the ears as requirement for passport pics...


Hi Isay - Everyone here seems to be surprised about the two-ear requirement. I'm beginning to think it was a vicious rumor someone started that got passed on until lots of folks believed it. I didn't read anything about ears on the passport application anyway!


Welcome back, Gi! Hey, I first had the photo ear experience when applying for my green card. I wonder if people have unique ears similar to thumbprints. Do you know? I never realized you had small ears... Guess I'll just have to look closely next time I see you. Gi, call me when you decide to go to PCGLA, ok? Sounds like you had a wonderful time in Manila, as expected. I'm happy for you! Me next, hopefully.

sistah #1

check this out:

according to some immigration law website:

but according to another website:
"Green card style" photos with the head slightly turned to show the ear will no longer be accepted by Immigration. All photos for applications and forms must be in the standard passport style (full front view of head and shoulders). The old style photo will be accepted until 01 September 2004.

and as far as u.s. passport photo requirements go:
The applicant must face the camera directly, with both ears visible.

there you have it. maybe if you wear big earrings, you can simulate the appearance of ears :)

it's odd how since i DON'T have big hair nor small ears, i've never had to think about what's showing and what's not on my passport pictures. are you sure we're sisters???


Hi Yey -- I haven't phoned because I haven't been able to mumble one coherent sentence (jet lag), but I think I'm OK now. If OK means waking up at 5 am starving. Yes -- I need help with the PCGLA thing!

Hi Sistah - I checked out US passport requirements and didn't see the two-ear rule. I still don't know if we're really sisters -- you and #2 had me traumatized early on in life by insisting I was adopted, remember? :)


So now you don't have an excuse not to call. I'll wait for your call so we can talk more freely.


Will do -- although I'll be out and about this weekend (birthday on Sunday and I'll be busy dealing with heavy denial :) ).

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  • LISTEN: "Pluto" by Chamsom


    I don't have to understand Korean to love this song, although I think it's about a person who was in a rocky relationship that ended but still feels deeply for her former lover and is feeling lonely tonight. "You're like a little star that's far away from me and keeps disappearing." I suppose the title -- Pluto used to be known as the ninth planet from the sun but now isn't even considered one -- might provide a bit more context to the song's meaning. Spotify


    Immortal Perfumes is a Seattle-based micro-perfumery specializing in historically inspired, handmade perfumes. All perfume blends are original recipes made from a mix of jojoba, essential and fragrance oils. None of the oils used in this shop are derived from animals. Every bottle is handmade by JT Siems in her Seattle studio. I'm already in love with the fragrance inspired and named after Duchess Georgiana Cavendish. Notes: Black Tea, Lavender, Jasmine, Amber, Bergamot. Read her story here. #6mosnoshopping