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You’ll probably laugh at this. In the first place I don’t claim to be a grammar police. Sometimes, I just have that deep frown permanently pasted on my face when I see words used wrongly or misspelled  or simply added to a sentence without even checking their  meaning.  When I started blogging here at WordPress more than four years ago, I  wrote this post because I got tired of reading  some blogs from another site  with wrong grammar and sentence construction. We learned even from grade school how to build a simple sentence with the subject and predicate  put together as they should be. I also read in one Facebook  meme that our generation is lucky because back then, we didn’t rely on Mr. Wiki or Ms. Google. We learned the hard way, didn’t we?

Watch That Grammar

In between learning how Twitter works and experimenting on  how to use Twhirl, I’ve read some blogs on USTe.tv posted by some alumni and students.  One thing I noticed was, most of them could not even distinguish if they are, an alumni, alumnus, alumna or alumnae.  Alumni is usually used as a general term for graduates of an educational institution while alumnus refers to a male graduate. Alumna is a female counterpart of an alumnus and alumnae is the plural of alumna.  Some of course post blogs without even checking if there are typo errors or  if the sentences are grammatically correct.  One could get away with errors while typing but having a sentence mangled just because one is not aware of how to use the proper words is quite disappointing to read.

We often talk about how young people speak and write nowadays. Shortened and abbreviated words in texting did that.  They seem to be lost without the help of a spell-checker.  As I’ve said before in my previous blog, English seems to look like a mangled language too. Outside of academic and professional contexts, writing is something you make in your own personal style and sometimes you get away with words that would make it easy for your readers to understand.  And it’s not about being perfect because nobody is, it’s about respecting your readers and making sure that they don’t have to reread a sentence before they could understand it.  Bad sentence construction? Take a look at these phrases and tell me what’s wrong with them:

- do not overact to the things that you have thought have hurted you
This comes from someone who claims to be a writer and a blogger.  There is no such word as hurted  in any dictionary that I encountered. Hurt is already a past tense.  You can say, I was hurt or I am hurting but never use the word hurted.  Hurt is a word where the present tense, past tense and past participle are the same.

-do not start or make fights most prolly… Prolly is  a web-slang  on the internet which means “probably” but you don’t normally use that in sentence construction just to be “in” or something.  It still has no exact meaning in the dictionary.

-past failures and disappointments kept hunting me.  Wow, hunting, she probably means haunting, right?

-I am worried about the future for I do not know what it will offer to me.. …. Hmm..it should have been, what it will offer me.

-She was angry because she don’t know also……   Remember, don’t is used  in plural nouns so it should have been, she doesn’t know also….

-While we are at the main building, it started raining…..  It should have been, “while we were at the main building, it started to rain.  Past tense and present tense should not be used in one sentence.

-I am  just hoping it will be notice…. It should have been , it will be noticed with a d.

I don’t mean to sound like a perfect grammar teacher here but it just makes me cringe to read how certain words are used incorrectly.  And here are some commonly mistaken words used:

a.  Your and You’re – Your is a possessive pronoun while  You’re is a shortened version of You are, so you must say, “you’re welcome”.

b.  Loose and Lose – Loose means not firmly fastened or not tight or not precise while lose means removal of a thing or unable to find

c. Me and I – You start your sentence with I, not me.

d. the use  of i.e. and e.g.  These are Latin phrases,id east means “that is”. It is a way of saying “in other words”. exempli  gratia means “for example”.

e. Its and It’s – It’s is short for it is and is a contraction while its is a possessive pronoun.

f.  There and Their – There is used as a pronoun or reference to a place while their is a plural possessive adjective.

g.  Unless and Not unless – the use of  unless is conditional and it means “if not” or “except that” so it can stand on its own without adding not as a prefix.

h.  Do and Did – Do is an irregular verb and Did is a past tense of Do.  The infinitive here is Do so when you use Did in a sentence, it should always be followed by a present tense.  The correct usage would be:  I did visit the place instead of I did visited the place.  This is a common mistake we make when using the word “did”.

I particularly remember an actress who usually tries hard to answer in English even without understanding the questions asked of her and the conversation goes like this:

Tv host: Congratulations on your forthcoming marriage!

Actress: No, it’s not my fourth, it’s my first…
Can you guess who said that?  I rest my case.

(P.S. Watch my grammar, I might have missed something here. WordPress says this is my 1,520th post)

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I am lost.

I am lost in a sea of words that  will never get to be  seen in print. I struggle with the thought on how  I will string the words and make  a beautiful line or two.  Not inspired? But I am. Busy? Not so much now. Lazy? Most likely. Come to think of it, I visit WordPress every day just to be updated with posts from online friends that I follow.  I sometimes make comments but I still could not find the “like button” inside a post,  not just mine  but all posts that I visit. It is forever “loading”.  You can’t see me liking your posts, rest assured though that I read them and I do sometimes get inspired by your words.

It’s a peaceful night.

I watched  YouTube last night but it took so long  to load (hopeless internet connection) so my son suggested that I sleep early and  wake up early too to catch up on everything. I wonder why I had this sudden craving for cheese pimiento spread paired with a crunchy slice of Vienna bread.  Since I don’t know how to make one, I have to find it on YouTube. Such a simple thing to do but I never tried it before. Talk about simple things that make  one smile.

I hear the music.

Gosh, this is even crazier than before, it’s 1:55am and I should be in deep slumber but I am wide awake. The quarter moon and a sprinkling of stars are clearly visible from my window.  It’s a beautiful sight and I am transported to another world while I listen to Richard Clayderman’s instrumental music.  I have several CDs of Richard but it is nice to listen on YouTube when the internet connection is good. Another favorite is Kenny G. I could listen all morning to their music and not get bored.  Listening to Kenny G. always reminds me of the movie Dying Young and as always I can relate to the whole story, from the point of view of someone who has to struggle with health issues.  I was lucky enough to find the book on a sale bin at Diplomat.  The book  was written by  Marti Leimbach.  I love the movie adaptation better though. Sorry Marti, you made me cry but not as much as Victor and Hillary did.

Oh, it’s John Green!

Last weekend,  Nissa brought her  boxed set of John Green books which her sis-in-law gave her on her birthday last month.   I am not a fan of YA books.  So far, the only John Green book that I read was The Fault In Our Stars  and even wrote a short review at Goodreads.  I am giving these a go as soon as I find time to buy a plastic cover at NBS.  Nissa never goes without covering her books first before reading.  Here are the titles included in the set:

  1.  Looking for Alaska
  2. An Abundance of Katherines
  3. Paper Towns
  4. Will Grayson, Will Grayson
  5. The Fault In Our Stars

Are you a John Green fan? Join me in another reading marathon. By the way, Richard is playing the song Feelings now.

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They come back in snatches, like a favorite old song that keeps you thinking how you felt while you listen and sing along. They come back, like the gentle patter of raindrops outside  your  window sans the frightening thunder and lightning that always accompany a thunderstorm. They come back and they make you smile.

Our overhead light got busted and you might think it silly that I am using a LED  light attached to my transistor radio to type my way through. I am afraid  I would forget these lovely thoughts if I postpone writing them even for an hour. I spent  the early evening visiting my favorite writers at Philippine Star. The latter is a  favorite national daily too because it was through their invites that I got two articles published a few years ago.  I was so happy that I got paid for  writing an article about OFW families, which we were back then.  I am digressing again. I read the editorial  page of  the Philippine Star now and then but I never skip the lifestyle section of the paper looking for Second Wind, a byline by Barbara Gonzales and Love Lucy by Lucy Torres. The former is a 70 something retired advertising executive who shares her journey with her readers. She writes, teaches writing, does arts and crafts while Lucy is the Lucy Torres Gomez, a house representative from Ormoc down south.  I am inspired by their writing style  that I laugh sometimes all by myself while reading their articles.  Lucy writes fluidly about her early childhood, her dreams when she reaches 85 (haha), her penchant for arts and crafts, her preference for writing short notes on pretty stationeries and sealed in even prettier envelopes, the midnight snacks she always craves for with hubby Richard.  These remind me of the days growing up in the province.

When we were kids, my aunt had a small sari-sari store that sold  everything from bubble gums, Vicks candies to Tancho pomade and that green aftershave/cologne that they used in barber shops  way back then. My favorite was the Vicks candies in small packets with free plastic rings that my cousins and I used to collect. All my fingers would be adorned with different colors of rings in different designs. Heaven! The treasures of youth.  I remember the happy times  when my cousins and I would gather dry twigs to use for cooking  and during summer, armed with wide baskets and bayong,  we would go out in the heat of the sun to gather duhat (black plum) for afternoon snacks. My girl cousins would use fresh annatto seeds growing in the backyard to color our lips,  and we would use madre cacao to curl our hair.  On moonlit nights, my cousins and I would play patintero or luksong tinik and tumbang preso. They were priceless games that a child of ten would definitely enjoy. The best though were the times when we would drink coconut juice straight from the tree and later eat the buko as soon as they were scraped from the husk.  By the  way, buko is a  young coconut.I had my share of climbing trees too (guava trees) mostly. Those were the days,  lovely memories of the past.  Some may be a bit hazy but the fun attached to those long-ago days are still fresh in my mind.

They make me smile with that pleasant ache of remembrance.  Traipsing down memory lane. What were yours, can you remember?

 

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Sometimes it is hard to get back one’s muse. I’ve put aside blogging for the past week because I don’t know where to start again. Blame it on the erratic weather we have here and the things I need to do a week after the monsoon rains left us – a garden that needs attention although it is not that immediate, plants that need trimming, a pond that needs to be brushed of dirt and needs repainting.

I have this blasted cold for almost a week now and for the past three nights I find it hard to sleep because of  bouts of coughing. It’s that time of year again that almost every one you meet on the streets has colds. September is about to end and we are experiencing hot and sunny weather early mornings and thunderstorms in the afternoon.  Son says to set aside today for rest, he specifically told me to just relax and not touch anything in the garden. The only relaxing thing I could think of is to catch up on my reading but I get sleepy most of the time, probably the effect of the cough syrup I am taking. I seldom watch TV or DVD  for that matter, I have no patience with watching telenovelas but I listen to the news every day.

I got a nice surprise early this morning while watching the dogs having fun in the garden. I saw two Gardenia blooms, the flowers wide open and the sweet scent made my morning.  For the past several years, the only time I get to see  gardenia flowers in our garden  are during the months of May and June.  What a nice surprise.  And I remember this  touching  story I read and I blogged about a few years ago, about a girl who receives a gardenia every time she celebrates her birthday. When her mom died, it stopped coming and that’s when she knew that it was her mom who gave her all those blooms.  Today, my daughter turned 32 but her family was not around to celebrate with us. They attended a 7th birthday celebration of one of Nate’s cousins.  My brother who lives in Tulsa opened a  family group chat on Viber  and it is always a joy to exchange a word or two (longer if we have time) and talk about anything under the sun. That’s the kind of bonding we do have nowadays because it’s been years since we last saw each other.  You would see spur-of-the-moment postings on what-do-you-have-for-breakfast-today. Crazy you might say but it’s fun and the joyful moments are priceless. He craves for Filipino food, rice specially, I am contented with left-overs the night before and Nissa has her own breakfast regimen at the office.  We hear the laughter ringing through our phones sometimes and it feels great being with the family. It’s nice  to know that they are always there when you need them most – to laugh with, to cry with, to reminisce upon the happy times when we were staying in an apartment when the kids were  small.

We are celebrating the Feast Day of San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila today, our first Filipino saint.

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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?

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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!

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Happy Sunday!

I wish I could blog more often on our  precious bundle of joy but it is just a monthly update every time my kids come over for a visit. I wish I could say how much I love discovering something new that Nate has learned  in a month – new words, new things that he has recently discovered too, the minute or two we spend on the phone saying  hi and hello  to each other, seeing him learning how to use a spoon on his own and feeds himself with the Yaya’s help. They are the things that make  me smile although sometimes I wonder at the thought that he is really growing up fast. He’ll be turning two in three months. I smiled when Nissa said that we still have our birthdays to celebrate (hers on September and mine  on October) before even thinking of celebrating Nate’s birthday.  I also smile at the thought that when Nate is old enough to read and see my blog he would appreciate all the pictures and posts that I uploaded about him.  He earned four blog followers today, not that it matters much but it makes me proud that some people like what I share with them. I wish I could continue writing about his growing up years.

The BER months are almost here. I can hear Christmas songs playing over the radio. We celebrate the longest Christmas season in the world (I think) that starts at the beginning of September and ends way beyond the celebration of Three Kings.  I love Christmas, it is my most blogged about topic every year. I am looking forward to the season because no matter how hard life is and how commercialized it has become, it is still the happiest one we have here.  Have I told you that I also collect books with Christmas stories?

How was  your Sunday?

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