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Good Morning

Have a happy and blessed Thursday everyone!

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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?

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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?

 

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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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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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Except for the incident of the dogs (a ten-round boxing game), life has been quiet the past week. I am trying to avoid the intense heat of the sun so I only stay in the garden early in the morning before the sun is up. Grass trimming has been postponed again. Come to think of it, I haven’t even taken a single shot with  my camera the past days. The weather bureau says we still have at least two more weeks of summer before the rainy season sets in. We have thunderstorms though almost every afternoon.

I still feel a little  lethargic at times – those moments when all you want to do is sleep but you can’t, those moments when you want to read but the words dance in your eyes, those times when you want to prepare a good meal but so lazy to stay in front of the hot stove for long. I must really be growing old, feeling the pains of aching joints and such. I hate to think that this is still the effect of the exhaustive chemotherapy sessions I went through almost five years ago.  The residue of the toxic chemicals is still in my system and when my immune system is low, I easily get tired.  No matter how you try to avoid stress in your life, it is always there.

I have this sudden vision of going far off to a place where I could really, really unwind, without thinking of the daily home rituals that one has to do. Just being in a place where you can still hear crickets  and still see fireflies on a dark  night must really be heaven. Just being in a place where you can enjoy nature at its best, feel the running water on your feet and eat when you feel like it. Such a charmed life I know but maybe, it is still possible, don’t you think?

Life comes with a lot of baggage sometimes but it is up to us to lighten the load and enjoy the journey with a lot less on our shoulders. Life comes with problems that are sometimes insurmountable you would not even know the beginning and the end. Life comes sometimes with lots of tears and laughter. I’d like to believe though that this is just another chapter in my life, I just have to turn the page to change the scene.

A big congratulations to my son-in-law who has just been newly promoted as Senior Manager two weeks ago. I am so proud of him, he really deserves it.

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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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