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Why I Wake Early


Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields…

Watch, now, how I start the day
 in happiness, in kindness.

- Mary Oliver

 

I am sure one of my favorite authors Mary Oliver would not mind if I borrow the title of her poem. I often blog about her and how I enjoy reading her writings, simply worded and yet they have deep meanings that touch the heart and the soul.

The sun is up and I could feel its warmth on my face although at the moment it is playing hide and seek with the clouds. We are still experiencing southwest monsoon and there is another storm coming but at least we could enjoy the weekend without worrying about flash flood and heave downpour.

Yesterday, I finally finished cleaning our bookshelves, sorting books  and arranging them according to authors. The books  Nissa, Josef and I  have collected over the years  are all placed on the higher shelves  along with the lovely ones (craft books, Calvin and Hobbes comic books which my son collects, mythology and some non-fiction).  Every time I do some dusting here, I always read a few titles and remember the times my kids and I bought them. Some are gifts from close friends who know of our penchant for reading. I can’t  resist  re-reading  the boxed set of Nick Bantock’s The Griffin & Sabine Trilogy. IMG_6174Years ago ( I don’t remember now), my sister-in-law sent me this set as a birthday gift and it is one of the treasures that I have in my book collection. IMG_6176IMG_6175 The three books are actually my introduction to an epistolary novel, work of fiction written through letters but what makes it so lovely to read is that, the letters are  actually written on real stationeries with attached envelopes to boot.  It makes me smile reading these lovely letters again.  The Griffin and Sabine story is an extraordinary tale of love, beauty and art.

Believe me when I say that I again found duplicate copies of some books from authors that I collect. It’s a good thing they are just mass-produced paperbacks. For a while, I enjoyed reading e-books, but there is nothing like holding a good book in your hands, lovingly turning the pages and exploring  another world in another time.

Do you love reading? Do you also collect certain authors in your bookshelf?


Good Morning

Have a happy and blessed Thursday everyone!

Finding Hidden Treasures


There is nothing much to do in this rainy Wednesday morning.  Sometimes, you just get bored with so much time in your hands. Waking up early really has its advantage because you get to finish daily household chores early too. This morning, I decided to tackle the contents of Nissa’s cabinet  which was left as it was since she got married November of 2011. We have floor-to-ceiling cabinets in our bedrooms so you can just imagine the amount of things left there most of which are old clothes which she didn’t bring with her, personal effects, stationeries,  arts and crafts kits, and various  toiletries some of which were not opened yet. I disposed all of the facial creams, lotions, shampoo bottles and some used make-up which she left behind.  Despite all these junks I found some treasures though while cleaning. IMG_6162

One is  a cellphone holder still in its original box in purple color. I always call Nissa a purple girl since it is her favorite color. When she got married, all her accessories were done in three shades of purple.  Now I have a nice holder for my cellphones. I am sure she would just smile when she sees this. She is a hoarder of sentimental things like I am. Would you believe that I still have two shoe boxes of letters from friends from way back?  I am digressing again. To make the story short, I found another item that I’ve been looking for since  typhoon Ondoy and that was four years ago.  It’s a candle thermometer which my brother sent me when I was into candle-making.

This candle book is a gift from Josef and I learned so much from it.

This candle book is a gift from Josef and I learned so much from it.

When I left the bank (I availed of an early optional retirement) fourteen years ago, I was in a quandary on what to do. I had so much time in my hands so I enrolled in some arts and crafts course  including candle-making. I sourced raw materials from as far as Divisoria market and bought lots of shut glasses for my jelly candle.  Back in those days,  you can make  candles in any scent you want. I was thrilled to try chocolate, bubblegum, vanilla  and peppermint scents to name a few. I  ended up giving them as gifts to friends and relatives. Nissa’s art kit consists of several crimping scissors, paper-cutter, stamp pads for designing stationeries, beads in different colors (for making bracelets, earrings, rosaries etc.), cutters, beading wires, pens in different colors,  and ribbons. She said she misses doing crafts and she has no time now.

I remember those cross-stitches  I did  before but was not able to have them framed.  I am into rosary-making now and give them as gifts to friends. Maybe one of these days,  I will try candle-making again. It would be nice to prime wicks, find lovely molders and wax fragrance and wax dyes too.  Maybe when I’m done with my fascination for baking cookies, bars and simple cakes, when I am done reading all those books on my TBR list, I will try other crafts.

How’s your morning? Is it also rainy in your area?

Go Away Henry


Despite the cold weather here, I woke up at an ungodly hour of 3:18am.  It’s nice to just enjoy the early morning in peace and quiet but the steady patter of raindrops brings that fear again of flash flood.  PAGASA said tropical storm Henry (yes, it is a he this time) won’t make a landfall but it would intensify habagat (southwest monsoon) to the rest of the country. The storm is northbound this time.

Josef brought home two large loaves of Gardenia bread from their team building the other night and I told him, we should consume it first instead of cooking breakfast and since it is his rest day, it’s a go. Mind you, I even googled a bit on the many ways to cook eggs. We usually have them scrambled, soft-boiled, sunny side-up and omelet. But what’s perfect for slices of warm toasted bread?  He likes it cooked with lots of white onions and fresh tomatoes so instead of mixing them together, I cooked the tomatoes in a little butter, granulated garlic and black pepper.

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It turned out so yummy, he had four slices of panini pressed bread.  We usually have fried rice for breakfast with longganisa(native sausage) or dried fish or a week-old adobo flakes. Speaking of adobo, the longer you keep them in the ref, the tastier and more yummy  it gets. It is a Filipino dish that never goes wrong with any meal, be it an ordinary breakfast fare or something special mixed with coconut cream.

I miss messing around in my garden and this rain makes it hard for us to trim the grass  and our Fukien tea plants. I miss taking shots of my garden blooms but all I have now are my Hoya, some new buds of Mokara orchids and my ever patient Crossandra flowers. Maybe when the rain stops, I’ll take photos of the water droplets clinging to the leaves of  the taro plants. Maybe in a while, the sun will show its face and I’ll be able to go out and explore.  I guess this is also a perfect time to finish that book of Ken Follett.

Go away Henry and let me see the sun.

Remnants Of A Life


A pair of bright orange shoes protruding from the rubble

Red, brown and yellow toy teddy bears abandoned by their owners

Luggage thrown in midair

Blackened remains turned back to dust

Remnants of a life probably at its prime,

Broken dreams

Treasured messages before take off

Anticipation of a reunion gone kaput

It hurts to see them all.

I was watching CNN early this morning (our time) and I could not bear to look at the remains of the MH-17 plane burned to the ground.  Three of  those passengers are fellow Filipinos and the whole family was wiped out including the husband who used to work at Malaysia Airlines and an Indonesian. I  watched the members of the family back home being interviewed on TV. They were looking forward to a yearly family reunion this coming Saturday. Their sister was the breadwinner of the family, making her siblings’ life easier than an average Filipino family, sending her nieces and nephews to school.

Life snapped in a moment, in a heartbeat. I offered a prayer that you’ll have peace in your souls and the loved ones left behind would be able to bear your loss. Life is precious, every minute, every hour.

 

Bye, Bye Glenda


And good riddance to you.

I know, I know it is not  such a problem if we would compare it to typhoon Yolanda a year ago. The typhoon survivors in those areas affected by it still have no homes to come back to. They have lost their livelihood to the devastating typhoon that was Yolanda. Typhoon Glenda wreaked havoc to power lines causing massive brownouts all over our country until now. I think I am guilty of this, finding discomfort without power for two straight days and just  relying on a transistor radio to get news. I have to get rid of some veggies stored in our ref, cook what was left in our freezer all at the same time so they won’t spoil, can’t check my e-mails because there was no internet. These are just minor problems compared to those who have just lost their homes to typhoon Glenda. Such a nice name for a typhoon but so deadly. I think of the devastation it caused us and  I just shake my head.  There is another tropical storm coming and anytime within the next few days, it will enter the Philippine area of responsibility. I am praying it would not make a landfall and won’t bring so much rain. You can never know with typhoons these days, one morning they are just ordinary low pressure areas and before you know it, they have evolved into strong typhoons. We are visited by more than twenty weather disturbances in a year and although it is inevitable, I still feel so much afraid and insecure every time there is a typhoon coming. Lost lives can never be replaced and destroyed properties are hard to replace.

My garden is a mess.

My poor Gardenia shrub. It was partly uprooted during the typhoon and my flowering orchids got the brunt of  Glenda. It is a wonder though that my Hoya orchids are again showing off lovely buds of pink almost in all tips of the hanging plants. Right after the winds and the rains stopped, Josef and I cleaned the yard of debris – fallen leaves from a neighbor’s mango tree, upturned flower pots, small branches of trees that I cannot identify, and some plastic wrappers blown by the strong winds. Our small pond still needs cleaning. What a mess! I remember the time when we still had our avocado tree and around the months of July and August, some fruits are ready for harvesting. Just imagine gathering a sackful of avocados right after a storm.

I am saddened by what happened to the Malaysian Airline flight MH-17 and the deaths of all 298 aboard the aircraft.  Where is this world coming to? I was talking to my brother earlier today  on Viber and I told him, “we are not safe on land but it is even more dangerous when you’re out there because you have no way of defending yourself to such disasters”. “So true”, he said. When you’re on land, you can run or hide or do something to save your life. And I remember what I read on the news about VP Joe Biden saying, It was “not an accident, it was blown out of the sky.”  Who is responsible for this? Let us all pray for the  innocent victims and the families they left behind, that they find justice amidst this terrible tragedy.

Can life just be reduced to something like this?

 


We are all on the alert. Every time there is a storm signal here in Metro Manila, I feel so insecure. There was a time when I used to appreciate the rain when it gently pours and makes the green countryside even greener and fresher. Our experience with typhoon Ondoy almost five years ago changed all that.  Glenda is the seventh storm signal this year. Most of the provinces in Luzon are affected by this latest weather disturbance, we are under storm signal number 2. I am praying it won’t bring so much rain that would cause flash flood in Metro Manila.

There is this quote that I’ve often read and pondered about  for a long time now and it was even made into a lot of internet meme. It’s from Vivian Green (sorry, I don’t know  much about her except through this quote)  and it says:

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

Yesterday, I celebrated my 5th year in remission.  It’s really one good reason to celebrate and to offer it in thanksgiving . I thank God for all the blessings and graces. As I’ve always said in my previous blog posts, this blog exists because I wanted to share my journey as a cancer patient/survivor. The first two years of this blog were almost about my everyday experiences going to and from the hospital, weekly lab tests and the pain and anguish of having to undergo chemotherapy every three weeks. Miracles do happen in our everyday life and it is always a blessing to wake up each morning seeing the sun and the day’s unfolding. We are richly blessed by the love and care of family and friends, just sometimes, we forget to appreciate what we have and take everything for granted. I am always of the thought that life is one lovely journey despite the odds and the pain it brings us now and then. I am looking forward to a new day despite the storm.  I love this beautiful quote from the late Maya Angelou.

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