On Alias Grace, on Netflix

A novel by Margaret Atwood

“One must be wary of the pretty face telling stories…as they are easier to believe.”

There is a danger in not knowing boundaries, of course.

I thought about the preceding line while I was watching the Margaret Atwood on Netflix. Grace was an Irish girl, young and fetching, despite the fact that she was accused of being a “murderess” as a teenager, and had been in jail until fifteen years later, a society decided to send an emissary to her town so that she could be tested to see if she was really innocent.

The story started with an introduction to Grace as an inmate in a women’s correctional facility where she was detained for the past 15 years, surviving on the good graces of the judge, who also allowed her to work during the day at his large house. Grace felt like a fixture, a topic of conversation for the guests at the house. She could not tell whether they were drawn by the macabre nature of her alleged crime, or whether they just wanted her around to poke at, with their multitude of questions.

Presently comes Dr. Jordan, a psychiatrist who was drawn to her story…which eventually led to his carnal attraction towards the young lady. As the course of her tragic young life unfolded by way of her riveting storytelling skills, and flashbacks, we find him drawn in deeper than was obviously professional.

Of special note was how he handled his dealings with her, and how deftly she seemed to weave her story like Scheherazade… as a way to survive. Seeing how adept she was at manipulating emotions, and how correspondingly inept he seemed in seeing this dynamic unfold, I am all at once both annoyed and amused.

Truly, one must be trained to see one’s blind spots, as this young psychiatrist was the victim of his own lack of propriety and boundaries. I do not want to preempt the story for your own pleasurable viewing, but I would just like to share the necessity of being on self-aware. Being as objective as possible, disencumbers us so we can help our patients become better.

Alias Grace is a short 6 episode run on Netflix, directed by Mary Harrington and starring Sarah Gadon. It was based on the 1996 novel by Margaret Atwood and was adapted by Sarah Polley, and ran in September to October 2017.

On taking time off, and the paradox of silence

 I feel most productive working in crowded areas lately. I find silence while working to be (paradoxically) deafening and thus I relish the hubbub of normal human activity to be quite conducive to focus.

To be perfectly honest, I love the relative anonymity in my slightly darkened corner, relishing my savory basic food groups, as it is a welcome break from a week of focused attention.😊

Presently, an aunt came by with her brood and spied me in my corner and in a good-natured way, asked why I was alone. I could only grin and tell her that I was waiting for my cousins (which I was, actually), however, I left out the part about enjoying my solitude and just being at peace. It is quite calming to just be in someone’s (or some people’s) presence while they do what they do, no photos, no talk, just basking in their presence in the same room brings equal joy. 😊(They might not get it, though. ☺️)

Note: The snapshot is a beloved godson’s, a souvenir from his christening party, as I normally like to stick little doodads on my journals. That’s a stub nib Pilot Metropolitan (my favorite nib), inked with Sailor Jentle Ink, color varied by the lighting). (April 14, 2018, Dumaguete City) .I

Ninety Three or “Grandmothers are God’s Perfect Mothers” :-)

My grandmother recently celebrated her third year as a nonagenarian.

We usually gather as a family during this momentous occasion, because we just want to celebrate every milestone we possibly can with her.

It was a very lively, energetic night. We had the restaurant booked for the private event, and we spent the hours talking, laughing and just sharing stories to catch up. These celebrations are absolutely a joy, and wherever we are, it almost always seems to feel like we are at my grandparents’ house’ living room, talking in our loud voices and boisterous laughter everywhere.

Good times, definitely. 🙂

My Lola has a birthday wish (which is also applicable for any day), and it is always on the lines of her winning the lotto, so she could bring everybody over for another big reunion. Haha.

🙂 Cheers!

“Flipped Classroom” time

Teaching part-time has been a very rewarding experience, but it has not without its challenges.

I love getting to that “Aha!” moment of realization in my students and I sometimes think that in order to really get people’s attention, one must really “invest” a whole lot, because although they can’t help it, these tired and stressed population DO NEED their beauty sleep.

So, I’m interested in trying out the #Flipped #Classroom approach tomorrow.

Will see how it goes. 🙂

Flipped Classroom

Created by Knewton 


Liam Rafael, November 9, 2017

I was recently in Manila for the birth of my BFF’s second son, Liam Rafael (or “Baby Rafa”), as he is known. I’m pretty much present for Ivy’s baby deliveries…only a day late for both.  Her son, Sebastian, was born on September 10, 2015, and I arrived, true to form, one day later. 🙂

She is about as much a family member as a friend can get, and I always feel welcome at their house in Makati. Embarrassingly enough, I am a seemingly permanent fixture at their place, and her mom (and sisters) treat me like family as well.

Quite a lovely feeling, of course. 🙂

Here he is, barely a day old, and already making eyes at the camera. 🙂 
“Another photo, Auntie Stephanie?” – Rafa
Try this angle… 🙂
Ok, off with you now, I’m tired. :-p


Anyway, I found my old Xanga blog, and it has been quite a fun find. I hadn’t thought about it in years, ever since I saw that Xanga had closed down, but lo and behold, it was back again.

Although I have changed, and don’t necessarily have all the same sentiments as when I had when I was in my early twenties, it was a pretty significant time, and while in medical school, it was pretty much a chronicle of the non-medical things that I thought about. #


All Saints Day

Traditions last as long as families and significant others keep things going…

November 1 is such a day for Filipinos. In remembrance of their dearly departed, they give their annual dues, in the form of flowers, candles, and prayers. There is that Catholic belief that the souls of the dear departed are in Purgatory, and they cannot pray for themselves, thus they would need their loved ones on Earth to pray for them. By mentioning their names and praying out loud, the dead will have a better chance for getting into heaven.

In these areas, columbariums are still non-existent, and thus the townspeople visit their dead in the cemetery, where the tombs are stacked impossibly high next to each other, OR, that tiny graves are dug in between plots.

No, there is no actual planning and landscaping, and thus, it can get pretty crowded. The following photos are a glimpse of how All Souls Day is commemorated here in the locality (and pretty much for every other provincial town here in the Philippines…)