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Another Rainy Night


What does one write about on a rainy evening like this? My mind gets stalled not by lack of what to say but how I am going to say something interesting enough to merit even just one reader’s eyes.

On a night like this, I take momentary pleasures dwelling in a world of remembering the not so distant past. At least that would provide a change to the inane and inconsequential things one thinks about on almost any night but a rainy one.

I just enjoyed browsing three filled notebooks of previous writings and quotations from my readings from way back.  The beauty of reminiscing and getting in touch with the old self, the beauty of rediscovering  how life was many decades ago. I even found drafts of letters to friends during my college years.  And I found these,  two black and white pictures with Dad and my youngest brother. I had a good laugh at my brother’s  bell-bottom pants  and my short skirt (so seventies). Never mind, these were our school uniforms at the University  of Santo Tomas four decades ago. I just want to share them here, I am afraid I may misplace them again.

Those were the days and these are treasured shots with Dad.

Those were the days and these are treasured shots with Dad.

There is something so nostalgic about black and white or sepia pictures of long ago.  And I remember these because my dad received a gold medal as exemplary employee of the university. That is why,  the four of us kids  (my three brothers and I) studied in UST from high school to college and my two kids are Thomasians too.  I am grateful though and proud of being an alumna of  the oldest existing university in Asia. In terms of student population, it is the largest Catholic university in the world in a single campus.  The Pontifical, Royal Catholic University of the Philippines, that’s UST for you.

I started reading Captains and the Kings by Taylor Caldwell, another historical novel that reminds me so much of Frank McCourt’s  Angela’s  Ashes  and Trinity by Leon Uris.  I am always fascinated by Irish-American history.

What book are you reading now?

Today’s Quote


MaryOliver bday

This particular quote is one of my favorites.  She’s a sunshine on a gloomy day.

Happy 79th birthday Mary Oliver.  I pray that you will continue to touch us with your lovely thoughts and inspiring words.

 

Standing Still


It has been more  than five years now since I ventured into blogging at WordPress. It took me almost a year before I was able to add something to my lone post  (a short poem, if I remember) because I didn’t even know how to navigate the site. I didn’t even know how to pick a nice theme that would go with what I planned to write about. Blogging at Friendster and Multiply before opening one at WordPress was quite easy but I was not able to save all my blog posts there when the two platforms  bade goodbye for good. Sometimes I wish I could recapture what I wrote there but thoughts are fleeting, you’ll never know what would inspire you, something good enough to share, something good enough to write about, something good enough to inspire others too.

I started Dreams and Escapes  because I wanted to share my journey as a cancer patient/survivor. I dreamed of inspiring people who are traveling the same journey with me, maybe not  on the same road but with the same destination, that of getting well and living life without that extra baggage of thinking that we are  not hundred percent fit.  I was pleasantly surprised that a lot of them found my blog and they come back to update me on what is happening in their lives. That alone is one blessing that I treasure so much.  Through the years, it has evolved into an online diary (well, sort of). Through the years, I have shared so much of myself through my short posts and I deeply appreciate  the views, comments, likes and finding new online friends.

Life is hard. Who said it isn’t? Life is one long journey of faith, hope and dreams. Into each life some rain must fall so they always say. Sometimes though, that bit of rain becomes a deluge and it’s hard to see the sun shining through. Sometimes, you swim into it without knowing how you will reach the shore. Sometimes, you just stare and remember in some distant past how life has been. You wonder how you stayed standing still.  You wonder how you got through the storms. You remember the days you cried. You remember the days you laughed with tears of joy.

I always look forward to this day. September 8 is Mama Mary’s birthday in the Catholic calendar. For the past three years, my blog  has registered a tremendous leap and all because of my various posts on Mama Mary. WordPress must be wondering where all these viewers are coming from because they have sent three messages since last night saying that my stats are booming and my  blog is getting lots of traffic.  And all because of Mama Mary. Though  one can’t measure how popular or how good a blog is, having more than a thousand viewers at any given day is so amazing.

Life may be hard but the lovely moments always stand out. The meaningful experiences always teach a lesson.  Here I am, standing still.

WordPress says: 

You published your 1500th post on this blog!

Salamat Maria


Maria1

Hail Mary, full of grace….

Date Squares


This afternoon, I got really, really bored  so I started to update my journal, transferring some recipes I culled from the net for future kitchen experiments. I have to check our pantry if there are available ingredients for what I am planning to cook. Then I saw a pack of dates (my last one actually…huhuhu) which I am saving for my no-bake fruit cake. I don’t know where I could buy dried dates here (aside from the fact that they are expensive locally) but I was craving for something sweet. I’ve baked dates  bars before but I recently found a simple recipe sans vanilla extract and cinnamon powder.  Baking saved the boring afternoon. I love the smell of something cooking in my oven, the calming moments while waiting for it to bake, the oh-so-yummy look of it when it’s done.

Date Squares...oh so yummy!

Oh so yummy Date Squares!

If you want to try this, here’s the link.  I reduced the sugar because the dates are naturally sweet and used calamansi instead of lemon. Happy baking.

 

 

Inspiring Others


I found this lovely quote from Francis Kong’s blog while  updating my blog  links and I want to share it with you.

“You don’t need to be perfect to inspire others. Let people get inspired by how you deal with your imperfections.”


Allow me to be a little sentimental once more so I quote:

“May I see you again?” he asked. There was an endearing nervousness in his voice.

I smiled. “Sure.”

“Tomorrow?” he asked.

“Patience, grasshopper,” I counseled. “You don’t want to seem overeager.

“Right, that’s why I said tomorrow,” he said. “I want to see you again tonight. But I’m willing to wait all night and much of tomorrow.” I rolled my eyes. “I’m serious,” he said.

“You don’t even know me,” I said. I grabbed the book from the center console. “How about I call you when I finish this?”

“But you don’t even have my phone number,” he said.

“I strongly suspect you wrote it in this book.”

He broke out into that goofy smile. “And you say we don’t know each other.”

Ah, the joys of discovering  what love is amidst the pain of  suffering.  Two months ago I read the book  The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, a new author in my list and wrote  a short review  about it here hoping that I’ll be able to watch the movie adaptation someday. I’ve finally watched the movie yesterday through Nissa’s phone while teaching my grandson Nate a few lines of the song Bahay Kubo, a timeless Tagalog folk song that every Filipino child knows by heart ( would love to make this into another blog). As a stand alone movie, it was very good and it strictly adhered to the story in the book. Isn’t that what movie adaptations should be?  Shaileen Woodley shines as Hazel Grace Lancaster, an intelligent sixteen year old teenager coping with terminal thyroid cancer. She was supported by Ansel Elgort as Augustus Waters, her love interest,who lost his leg because of osteosarcoma.  I won’t go into details of the story, I am sure most of you have read the book too.

When you are going through the same journey, it does not need much to understand how it is to be afflicted with a terminal illness. You would understand the pain and insecurities one goes through while undergoing treatment. You would understand the moments that you almost want to give up on life but still you hold on because there are people around you who love you just the way you are, baggage and all. Watching the movie reminded me of my pain of surviving cancer making it easier to relate. Believe me, I had a good cry. Nissa said she cried buckets when she watched it.  If you ever get the chance to see it, have a hankie nearby and a hot cup of coffee.

John Green says “there is no shortage of fault to be found amid our stars”.

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