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Finally, we’re done trimming  the carabao grass. It’s son’s day off so we spent the late afternoon finishing the patch of grass that we left yesterday. It’s summer here now and 4pm is still a bit too hot for gardening.   Took time out to take a few shots of our lovable and cuddly dog Kuchi. She’s been with us for more than two years now and she has definitely grown. She has learned to open our screen door at the back . She has grown a little longer with those short legs and fan-like tail to boot. She is so “makulit”, always inching her way to get inside and sleep under our dining table. Lately, this is her favorite spot, a small area in our garden.

Her name is Kuchi!

Her name is Kuchi!

I am saving on space so I compressed the photos. A friend is giving us a new  male puppy, a mixed breed of Japanese Spitz  like this one.  Dogs have been constant companions for us since we moved here nineteen years ago.  I call our backyard garden “pet sematary”, it is where our previous dogs are buried.  Remember Stephen King’s book of the same title?

We did our marketing this morning by going back to Pasig market, an hour trip from our place when there is traffic. As usual, I enjoyed the haggling, I am happy with even just a peso discount on fruits and vegetables.  It’s been some sort of ritual for Josef and me to eat breakfast at the nearby Jollibee outlet before going to the market. He would always order hotdog with egg  and local sausage (longganisa) for me either with two hot cups of coffee or hot chocolate drink.  We would go back there to explore the garden center we saw this morning. I would love to buy a pot  each of citronella, rosemary or marigolds. Citronella is the most common natural ingredient used in formulating mosquito repellents.

We’re having fun at making simple kitchen recipes again. This morning, Josef prepared lumpiang shanghai made of different veggies which we bought earlier. Then we recycled the left-over spaghetti sauce my making pizza  using sliced bread.

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IMG_5696Our Tootsie roll sandwich is made of flattened sliced bread, with ham and cheese inside and rolled in bread crumbs before frying.  It is best served hot.

One can always experiment on  these simple and easy to prepare snacks without making a dent on one’s pockets.

Or you can boil fresh corn or sweet potatoes and they will give you enough fiber and they are healthy.

So much for this, have to catch up on reading Archetype.

 

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I miss sitting in front of my PC but the days are so filled with “things to do” so I am greeting you a warm hello and good morning in the meantime. I promised myself I would write another blog soon.

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I haven’t visited this corner for a while. No particular reason though except that I’ve been busy the past days. It’s Lent and I have to make advance  posts and do some research  for my apostolate at Apostles Filipino Catholic Community in which I am one of the admins. We now have  an astounding 51,000 members with a total reach of around 5 million views daily. We’re definitely growing.

Last Wednesday, some friends and I had a wonderful lunch at Max’s in SM Megamall. One of our members came home from Canada and she treated us  to lunch. I love bonding with them, we could talk about any topic under the sun, catching up on each other’s lives after almost three years – precious moments filled with laughter and sharing. One day is not always enough for all the things that we have to catch up on.  Friends are wonderful gifts from above. It was also my first time to visit the chapel located at the 5th floor of Megamall. One of these days, I would love to attend a mass at the Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord.

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One thing that I always notice every time there is a slack in my blogging is, it’s quite hard to write again.  One somehow loses the momentum of sharing one’s thoughts.  Oh well, sometimes, I feel so lazy to sit in front of my computer and think.  Apart from doing research, I have gone back to reading e-books.   Who knows, I may even reach my goal of 70 books to read this year. I am keeping tab of it  so I would know.  Right now, I am on my 17th book and just finished a wonderful one yesterday entitled The Help. I am less inclined to make a review though because I am excited to read the next book on my list. Finally, I was able to watch the movie adaptation of Markus Zusak’s  The Book Thief.  Read it four years ago and it was one of the best read I ever had. One can’t compare the movie versus the book because definitely, the book is more detailed but the acting is also superb and charming. Sophie Nelisse is perfect as the protective and loving Liesel.  I cried reading the book and watching it onscreen is equally touching.

It’s my grandson’s 16th month today but that would be in another blog.

 

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Early this morning I received a message from WordPress with their familiar logo. Thanks a lot WordPress for this lovely message:

Happy Anniversary!

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Woke up this  morning to the persistent sound of my son’s cellphone  which he left inside my room last night. Gosh, it was 4am. I tried to sleep a few hours more  but it was a useless exercise. I guess, it is a perfect time to visit this blog, the internet connection is quite fast.  The rest of the world (from our end) must still be asleep.

Wow, a hot cup of coffee with hot pan de sal to boot. A few minutes ago, I braved the five-minute walk to our neighborhood bakery to buy  pan de sal.  It is a bread roll that is a staple in most Filipino families’ breakfast. You can pair it with scrambled eggs, coco jam or what we call matamis na bao,  slivers of cheese or even sautéed   sardines. Take your pick, it goes well with everything. I’ve long wanted to learn to bake pan de sal  but it is more practical  to buy it.

I went back to reading e-books , discovering new titles, excited to acquaint myself with new authors.  Last night, I started  reading Letters From Skye by Jessica Brockmole. It’s my first encounter with the author. Fancy a different approach to writing a book – conveying a story through letters, no dialogue, a perfect spin of two stories fused together. Since I am still in the middle of reading it, I will reserve my five stars later. I love receiving letters, in any form but there is nothing that beats a real one with stamps attached on the envelope with that pasted smile on your face anticipating what’s written inside. It is even exciting when there is no written address and you guess who suddenly thought of you to send a letter by mail. When I was in college, my friend and I used to write letters to each other every single day although we were together at work as student librarians in our university. It was quite fun to write at the back of date due slips while absorbing the silence that a library setting brings. She is now based abroad and we get in touch through private messages on Facebook. Years ago, my sister-in-law gifted me with a complete set of Griffin and Sabine, a trilogy written by Nick Bantock. It is one of the precious collections I have in my small library.  In every page, you’ll see a facsimile of a postcard or a letter actually enclosed in an envelope, hand-written letters that excite. Imagine reading a book in  real letter format.  Reading the trilogy made me more in love with letter-writing.

The rain last night and the gentle drizzle  this morning made my plants happy. They are dancing in the rain and I love to dance too.

P.S. WordPress says this is my 1,400th blog entry.

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I woke up this morning remembering a well-loved quote in my head.  Many, many years ago, I  was on my way to school when I saw this guy who wore a shirt with a lovely quote written in front and it made a big impact on me. Oh yes, short of staring boldly at the words, I committed them  to memory and  that’s what I remember now. It was written by Langston Hughes, an  American poet , playwright and novelist.

Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.

Dreams keep us going don’t you think? And I believe, really believe that dreams do come true.  Maybe, in my subconscious thought, I remembered these simple lines when I wrote Dreams and Escapes as my blog title.  There are simple things in life that give extra meaning to our existence. There are  simple things in life that make us smile and inspire us to go on. There are simple things in life that always add color to our everyday existence.  When I was in college, I used to fill up whole notebooks of quotes, poems and inspiring words culled from the books I have read. It makes me happy to read them now and then, always with some remembered thoughts of long ago, the years in between, the tears and laughter and teenage angst and frustrations. I was lucky to have worked for three years at my university’s library when I was in college and still luckier to have read so many inspiring books and to have known so many inspiring authors.

I dreamed of one day writing something that would inspire. I dreamed of one day reaching out to people by sharing my thoughts. I am slowly getting there I guess.  Dreams inspire us to go on and see life in all its beauty, not blinded by the ugly realities that somehow we have to face.

One day, I’ll write a poem and will share it with you.

Hold fast to dreams For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird That cannot fly. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/16075#sthash.2OXIgkUr.dpuf
Hold fast to dreams For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird That cannot fly. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/16075#sthash.2OXIgkUr.dpuf

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My blog stats say I have 250,038  views right this moment. I can’t believe it. I’ve been blogging for a  little more than four years now, on and off, when I feel like it and have something to share. The only time I blogged religiously every day was when I took up the 2011 WordPress Post A Day challenge. That was when my stats started to climb. For the last three years, I always get a surprise when one particular blog registers an average of 2,600 views in one day and that is during Mama Mary’s birthday every September 08.  I don’t know how it happens but the search engine seems to be busy during Mama Mary’s birthday.

I wonder though which is better, having so many views in any particular day or having a lot of followers. A bit of both probably, I don’t know. I only have 678 followers at the moment  (not that I mind so much if they follow me or not). There must be something they like about my blog so they read it.  I am glad that some readers come back  and read my older posts.  Sharing my plight as a cancer patient/survivor has definitely evolved to some sort of an online diary – some experiments in the kitchen, some shots that I love to share, my garden blooms that get the largest share in my SD card, local places I’ve been to the past few years, books I’ve read and reviewed,  thoughts and prayers. Imagine having a hodgepodge of topics encapsulated in 1,393 posts.

You ask, “Is it worth it?” My answer is a big “YES, definitely”.  Here are some shots I took  a few hours ago, they are my February blooms.

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Oh, the comfort – the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person – having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.”
-  Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

I’ve been a lazy bug lately. No, don’t get me wrong. I am just resting my weary body from fatigue. The last few days, I was so busy that I was not able to check my blog and post something.  Finally, I found time to sit here for a while  and update my blog. When you haven’t been blogging for a week, it seems as if you’re starting all over again.

It’s all worth it though because our little potluck  lunch party was a success – lots of food, laughter and sharing. Those precious and priceless moments that only friends can enjoy together, something worth-reminiscing and the thought of it makes me smile.  We were joined by two priest friends, Fr. Tacky, a Franciscan and Fr. Boy, a Dominican. Not that it matters that they belong to different congregations because  they both studied in Rome and met there.  We took lots of pictures of course, what’s a party without those wacky poses and shots that make us laugh. We even have to use a tripod so we could all fit into the frame. There is this picture window  at our house that never fails to attract our friends and visitors to have their pictures taken there. Believe me, it has become some sort of trademark for the members  of our Catholic community  who drop by when they are on vacation.

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We had an exchange of gifts just for fun. Imagine the laughter we had when we simultaneously opened them and found things like a roll of tissue paper which Darlene said she will take with her on her trip back to Abu Dhabi, a small bottle of efficascent oil from Reena  which Matt got, packs of marshmallows  and so many more. What do you think, the gift should only be worth P30 and what can you buy with P30?  Reymon, aside from bringing three whole roast chicken gave us individual bags of gifts from Bench.

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They were surprised to learn that eating green mango with the skin on is the best way to eat one. I asked Joan to bring me some and when they saw me eating a slice, they all tried it  except Matt :)  Endless laughter!

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We can’t get enough so the party extended on to early dinner with ice cream, Fuji apples  and suman na pinipig (the best  suman I’ve tasted) for desserts. And they all said, “sa uulitin”.  Until next time guys.

One of the best gifts that we could ever have is the gift of friendship.

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What’s Happening WordPress?


I wonder what’s wrong, I get  “likes” notification in my dashboard but they are not seen on my post.

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There goes my dream of blogging every day to challenge myself again. For the past three days, I was not feeling so well due to bad colds and occasional cough which tax my strength until now. For two straight nights, I sometimes sleep sitting down with lots of pillows  behind me for support.  I hear these wheezing sounds that seem like mice chasing each other inside my throat and the best way that I could sleep is by lying flat on my back or sitting  down with my feet straight. Oh, the misery of having colds on a cold January. We may not be getting the extreme cold weather just like in other areas/countries but I think cold nights and hot days are not good combinations.  Lately though, the sun peeps through now and then and the weather is mostly cloudy during the day. I feel my achy bones taking it all in, it sometimes zaps one’s strength and I still have to prepare for the lunch party my friends and I have planned for Saturday. Good luck to me. I am praying though that I will be well enough to join the fun and entertain them here.

If my garden could speak, it’s probably complaining of neglect. I haven’t watered it for the past two days but my son promised that he will tend to it when he comes home tonight.  I miss blogging and reading blogs too and my eyes get  easily tired when I check messages on my cellphone. I am not used to small prints and it’s even harder to navigate.

Bad colds, please go away. January, please be gentle to me.

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