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Archive for the ‘family life’ Category


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.

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Josef  and I left the house early so we could avoid the traffic that usually goes with the morning rush hours. A few minutes would really spell the difference.  For the past three years, we  have renewed the registration of our car at the LTO Quezon City office and my brother who has the same ending number for July sometimes accompany us or has his car registered at the same time. He said earlier that he might not be able to register it early so we went ahead today. Imagine our surprise when we saw him already parked in front of the emission testing center  at LTO.

We waited for their offices to open,  we were there before 7am. It took us about thirty minutes to wait for the emission testing, issuance of insurance certificate and registration. Last year, most branches didn’t have stickers upon renewal but I was glad to see that my son won’t have to come back for it this time. They were ready with the 2014 stickers.  One thing that made me laugh while recounting to my son why it took me a few minutes to finish was that the receiving clerk  mistook me for a senior citizen and wrote SC in bold letters on the xeroxed copy of the car’s certificate without even asking if I am one.  The perks of having a few grey hairs at your temple. You are on the priority list and that also holds true when you transact business in government establishments and banks. There is a separate line for SC.

Earlier on, my brother and I talked about what we will do when we reach the senior years (he is older by only eleven months actually) because Senior Citizens enjoy some privileges that make life a little easier. Under the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, the SC enjoy  a 20% discount and exemption from the value added tax on the sale of goods and services like medicines, medical supplies and professional fees of  attending physicians in all private hospitals, actual fare in public transports, 5% discount on grocery items to name a few. Here in our place, they even give you a basket of groceries every time you celebrate your birthday and free medicines for common  everyday ailments.  We talked about finally having retirement funds  from  the Social Security System. He is also a colon cancer survivor like am I. Thank God for miracles, he is on his 11th year being cancer free. I am still praying every day that we would both reach the age where we can still enjoy the company of our grandchildren.

Anyway, I am looking forward to being called a senior citizen in exactly two years and three months and I’ll be one….gladly.

 

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I set my alarm clock at 4am but I was  awake long before I pressed the snooze button. It’s Monday and my son and I were supposed to have our car registered at the LTO. Mondays are his rest days so we thought of going there early so as to avoid the long queue of cars with plates ending in 7.  It was raining though and I don’t want my son driving in the rain with traffic to boot. Typhoon Florita (internationally named Neugori) was upgraded to a super typhoon. Though it is still in the Philippine area of responsibility  and it won’t likely make a landfall, it is bringing monsoon rains in several places.

By the way, I would love to thank those new online friends who are now following me here. I know, 793 followers are not much to other bloggers’ standards  but then I am so lucky and grateful that they read my blog. Right now, my stats are blooming  registering a high 270,981 visits. That’s a feat if you ask me.  I am always conscious of  the fact that I nearly consumed two-thirds of the allowed 3.072MB limits. I used to post high-resolution photos in my earlier blog entries but then I realized that it would easily eat up my allowed free limits so I opened a new blog for my photos two years ago, I think. Of course I don’t expect that it will gather as many followers and visits like this main page but at least I get to see my macro shots in full. If you have time, you can visit it here. I am reviewing some of my earlier posts and trying to adjust the photos to at least medium sizes.

Every week, my daughter makes it a point that I get to talk to my grandson Nate over the phone. Although Nissa and I get in touch every day, I only get to hear Nate’s voice over the weekends. We see each other once a month, they come over so we could catch up on things. Sometimes, I laugh at the things Nissa shares in her messages. Yesterday, she texted that at Nate’s age, he is really a smart little boy. She told Nate, “Mommy will make you milk, ok” and he answered “ok”. I laughed when I read it and I missed him all the more. Last night, I got to talk to him for about a minute. Nissa told me that  when he saw my picture on Nissa’s phone, he said, “Nonna, Nonna”. I love it that he always responds to the non-stop “I love you” although sometimes he could not pronounce it yet correctly. He is a year and seven months old now, that stage where he listens to every word you say and try to imitate it.

It’s still a little dark outside. I’d love to take a few shots of the rain droplets at the garden.  What a cold morning and the drizzle has not stopped yet. Good morning :)

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The past days, I didn’t have the energy to blog. I am still busy with gardening,what with the onset of the rainy season and the carabao grass seems to grow by leaps and bounds.  I actually hired somebody to clean our side yard outside because I am planning to have it planted with some green veggies.  As is the case with people who are not really into gardening,  they can never visualize what you want to do with it. I have to tell him how to remove the stubborn weeds by turning over the soil and removing the roots embedded there. It is even more time-consuming to give instructions and see if he did it the way you wanted. Gardening is hard I know and  when you don’t have any love for the earth, it would be just one tedious task that you will have to do again and again.

My son and I did our marketing this morning back at Pasig market. It is always something I look forward to because I am so curious about what fruits we could buy that are in season which would save us a few pesos. Santol is selling by the crates and a kilo of the Bangkok variety  with that sweet and juicy pulp is selling at P20.00 and the ordinary ones are at P10.00 a kilo. I was thinking of cooking ginataang santol so I bought two kilos. The last time I cooked something like this was about a year ago. I have forgotten how yummy it is, with the sour taste blending perfectly with the coconut cream, Thai red chilis and a bit of ground pork  to make it more tasty.  Filipino recipes cooked in coconut cream won’t be that authentic without the hot taste of red or green pepper. I am also planning to plant the local siling labuyo in our backyard. Josef was delighted when he saw  bright red cherry tomatoes. We could use them for fresh vegetable salad.  Locally produced zucchini are a lot cheaper than the imported ones. I also got the orange variety of sweet potatoes, what a joy! It is always a thrill to discover  something  new  to buy and something nice to experiment on in the kitchen.

Yes,I was able to catch up on reading. I laughed out loud while reading Sophie Kinsella’s I Got Your Number. I know, you’ll probably say, most of her books are funny and humorous but then, don’t we sometimes want to read books that are simply relaxing?  Just imagine, four books in one week and I am on my 5th one,  another book by Jojo Moyes. That’s a feat if you ask me :) I could not wait though to do some looming again but it has to take a back seat in lieu of gardening.

How was your day? I am looking forward to what July has in store. I’ll be on my 5th year in remission by July 14th. Thank God for the gift of health. I bow my head for all these graces and blessings.

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It’s been a while. I know, I know, I was beaten by the lazy bug, a perfect excuse being not able to visit WordPress for a while. I really miss blogging. For the past seven or six years, I’ve shared my thoughts and reflections  online, from Friendster to Multiply to WordPress. Some friends are urging me to open an account at Pinterest, what for, I am happy with blogging at WordPress. I feel that even if I am sharing myself with the world in this medium, I can still maintain my privacy and the growing friends that I have here respect each other’s thoughts and ramblings. We may differ in a lot of things but we have the same quest for self-fulfillment and happiness. Blogging is like  a favorite chocolate brand that you seek now and then.

We’ve heard of the adage, into each life some rain must fall and we always interpret it as problems we need to overcome. When we think of it positively, we could say, those drops of rain that sometimes drown us  could be a series of blessing that we should be grateful for. The sun always shines after the rain, right? There are moments though when one feels the weight of the world on one’s shoulder and you feel helpless and afraid.  I remember, sometimes too vividly, the hurts and the pains of the past but I’d rather not dwell on that feeling for long. I let myself cry when I am alone, I let myself reminisce about the happy times but that is all there is to it, reminiscing and letting the tears flow silently for a while. I met a friend the other day and we had quite a long chat about life.  I told her about my struggles with my health almost five years ago, the pain of chemotherapy, the  worrisome kidney bypass a year later  and everything that came after that. She said I am so strong to have endured all of it and I answered back that I have to be for the sake of my kids and for my health.  It’s hard to let go I know but that is how life is. We cling to our faith and pray that we will be strong enough to face and carry our own crosses  in life. Sometimes though, we are in a hurry making a life that we forget to live.

It is my son’s 30th birthday today, something more to be thankful for – celebrating the gift of life and the gift of motherhood. I think this is one of those rare times that he spent his birthday away from home enjoying  the falls of Majayjay. I am getting old. Having grown-up children allows you to comfort yourself with the pleasant memories of their childhood, cherished thoughts of their growing up years, their own pain of chasing their dreams, finding their own niche under the sun and building their own treasures of good memories.

This afternoon, I heard my grandson over the phone  said “hi Nonna” and that was enough. I smiled, thinking happy thoughts about my family.

 

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Can't get enough so I made two Dragon Scale bracelets last night.

Can’t get enough so I made two Dragon Scale bracelets last night.

A reversible Sailor's Pinstripe bracelet. It was a challenge doing this.

A reversible Sailor’s Pinstripe bracelet. It was a challenge doing this.

 

My kids are really spoiling me. Josef bought more rubber bands in pastel and assorted colors while Nissa gave me this bracelet organizer to display the things I made. I feel like a child given her new set of toys. Some designs are really challenging to make and it is lots of fun to decide on color combinations.

Sorry, this is a bit too short, just to let you all know I am still alive and kicking and   enjoying looming.

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The monsoon  rains woke me up. For some strange reasons, I could not sleep last night and here I am, wide awake after just a few hours of sleep. The past week has been a little busy, busier than most actually but at least our little garden is looking like a proper garden now. Except for the vacant space outside our fence which still needs to be cleaned of growing weeds and whatnot, our carabao grass is now properly trimmed, my lone gardenia shrub has been deadheaded of dried flowers that sprouted the previous month.  I repositioned some of my Amazon lilies in a partly shaded area under our two lime trees.  Such is the backbreaking job of a gardener but a fulfilling one too.

As usual, I’ve been able to catch up on my ever-growing fascination for making bracelets out of loom bands. A friend asked what will I do will all those colorful bracelets. Well, I enjoy looking at them in the first place and son says, it is really a good way to unwind. True, sometimes though, the design is a little complicated, you miss something in between and you have to repeat it all over again. Another friend said she enjoys looking at the colorful bracelets that I post on my timeline and she even suggested that I buy my supplies near their place where the loom bands are cheaper than buying them in malls. Why not, it is just a 15-minute jeepney ride from our place.

Last Sunday, I had a chance to talk to my grandson over the phone and I say, time flies, really! He can clearly utter, “Hi Nonna” now. He has learned so many words since the last time we saw him. I am impressed with Nissa’s desire to teach him  everything. At eighteen months, he already knows a lot which reminds me, they went out to dinner last Sunday and Nissa sent me some pictures of Nate and another boy, a little older maybe, hugging  each other. Long lost friends? Nah, they were just at the next table where my son-in law, Nissa and Nate dined. Children have that natural inclination to be affectionate. Nate has the habit too of waving his hands at the wait staff of any food establishment that they go to.

The joys of everyday things.

The joys of everyday things.

It’s a glorious morning, the sun is up and my plants are happy  being drenched early from the rain. Hooray, this is my 1,450th post.

 

 

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You might find this hilarious just as my son did when I recounted what happened two nights ago. We have three dogs, a Japanese Spitz, a half-bred Rottweiler and the  half-bred Labrador-Japanese Spitz given to us by a friend a month ago. The latter has grown big in the month that he has been with us. He prefers to eat rice instead of the puppy food that we bought for him. I think he is jealous of the other two that he always see that they eat a different thing every meal.  He always is the first to finish eating and always try to steal the remaining food the first two have on their plates.

Two nights ago, I kept watch of him while the two dogs were still eating but before I knew it, our other dog was on top of the Japanese Spitz and they were at each other’s throat.  I could not separate them. I remember my brother who used to say that  one way of breaking up a dog fight is to pour water over them. Well, I had a pail of water on the ready to no avail.  It seemed like they were even more determined to do a round ten before they stop.  I was so exhausted I felt I’ve run a mile longer seeing them that way for about five minutes.  Our puppy got scared seeing the fight between the older two that he cried and howled for a very long time trying to just stay in a corner of our dirty kitchen. Normally, they are docile and well-behaved dogs.

It was a boxing match alright, reaching the end of the rounds with no rules and  nobody winning the game.  Poor me, an ineffective referee.

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Here I go again with the same thought every time I don’t get to post for a few days at WordPress,  it is hard to start all over again. It seems as if the thoughts you have in your head vanishes like thin air when you are  ready to share and ready to write about it.

I’ve been sick for four days last week, that kind of feeling when you can’t do anything but shut your eyes and wish the pain of a gargantuan headache will just disappear. It was further aggravated by the  summer heat we are having at the moment and a fever that simply would not go away. I am not exaggerating. I’ve probably consumed gallons and gallons of water just to beat off the heat. I was still lucky  and blessed though because last week,  Mom, my sis-in-law and niece had a five-day short vacation with us so they did the cooking, cleaning the house and watering my plants while I was indisposed. My ten-year old niece was so attentive  she could pass for a nurse. She is good at doing those relaxing massages that make you feel sleepy.  She was seven when she last stayed with us during the summer and I am pleasantly surprised how she has grown to be a very responsible young kid.  I wish they could have stayed a little longer.

It is hard to go back to your normal routine when your body is weak.  I am taking things easy and that means the laundry is piling up, the carabao grass needs an immediate trim and our new puppy made a minced meat of my  bromeliad, even my angel plants didn’t escape from his roving eyes. This afternoon, for the first time this summer, it rained hard in our area, enough maybe to save on that much precious water for at least two days.

In between bouts of headache and fever, I was able to show my niece how to bake Chocolate Crinkles. I can still see the joy on her face and the smiles when she tasted the batter and said “ang sarap” which means  it is yummy. Since it was my first time to try the recipe, we have to go by the book, a step by step procedure that she could really understand. Surprisingly, they came out well, a good partner to the green tea our neighbor gave us when she learned that I was sick.  It was crispy on the outside but chewy and soft to the bite. She made me promise to teach her how to bake more goodies when she comes over again to visit us.

Yummy Chocolate Crnkles

Yummy Chocolate Crinkles

I learned two more designs to my growing fascination for Rainbow Looms. It is quite hard (at least for me) to follow the instructional videos on YouTube which an eight-year old can easily do. My son bought more colors and they are really expensive.  Maybe when I am well enough to sit in front of the computer, I will learn more.

 

 

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Let us not talk  about whether it is a fruit or a vegetable.  All I know is that fruits grow on trees and vegetables are harvested on the ground just like pumpkin, cucumber and squash. If it is a fruit, it is a healthy and refreshing one but then you’ll wonder if it is also considered a vegetable.

Yesterday, son and I bought a large watermelon at P100/head.  Watermelons are in season now and every summer you could enjoy them  served as desserts, mixed with other veggies as salad, refreshing coolers or if you are enterprising enough you can mix them with jellies or you can make them into ice pops. I love them cold and plainly sliced. They are anti-oxidants and so rich in vitamin C.

water melon

This reminds me of a recipe I tasted last week when some friends and I dined at Crisostomo Restaurant at Ayala Fairview Terraces.  It was my first time to visit this mall and  dine at Crisostomo. All branches serve authentic Filipino recipes and all the recipes are named after some characters in Rizal’s book, Noli Me Tangere and some biblical characters too. Crisostomo must be Crisostomo Ibarra.  One of the recipes we ordered was called Sinigang ni Eba and I was pleasantly surprised that they mixed it sliced watermelons. Oh boy, it was simply delicious. The blend of the tangy tomatoes and tamarind and the sweetness of the watermelons is just out of this world. Even their Laing (taro leaves cooked in coconut cream) was just as yummy. Would love to explore more of their recipes one of these days. Although, it is a bit pricey to dine there, you have lots of menu to choose from. Good ambience, friendly wait staff. They have a branch at Eastwood which is very near our place.

crisostomo

(note: second pic culled from the official website of crisostomo)

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