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Archive for the ‘literature and Fiction’ Category


One is never too old to read wonderful fairy tales of our childhood.

One is never too old to read wonderful fairy tales of our childhood.

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side
near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that
happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play
with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by
bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a
long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or
have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you
are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you
get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all,
because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand”.

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Each day is a stepping stone into future days on the upward path. Enrich each day with gratitude and a time of quiet. – Lillian Marshall

Gosh, you won’t believe this! Yesterday I braved the traffic by taking  a commute   to visit the book sale at Books for Less in Pasig City. It is right in front of La Consolacion College where my two kids spent their high school so the place is quite familiar. This is the first time that I visited  BFL and I was  like, “Oh, Oh, I don’t know what books to buy”.

There were so many volumes on so many subjects  that I was in a quandary which to choose. Some look practically new with the dust jackets still intact but of course, BFL sells secondhand books.  I don’t mind buying secondhand books, I’ve done it for years at Booksale. I only get to buy new ones on the works of authors I am collecting  and those lovely editions that one can’t help having on one’s shelf. Sometimes, I just close my eyes and don’t look at the price :)  This time though, I enjoyed an hour looking for well-known authors that I like, discovering some fiction books that look interesting.  I was able to buy twelve books in all,  including a small volume  entitled Stepping Stones (meditations in a garden) with lovely flower illustrations on each page. I just love it. I also found another collection of short stories by one of my favorite authors, Rosamunde Pilcher. It was such a joy to see two more volumes of L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, classic stories that never grow old with time. I hope I will be able to find the missing three more volumes to complete my collection. There was also a memoir and a children’s book for Nate (which looks  new) and the rest are fiction books of authors that I haven’t read yet.  Josef  told me yesterday to go back there and we would bring the car so I don’t have to commute but he has to buy a replacement for our submersible pump for our small pond.  I am comforted by the thought that the sale would end on August 31 so I still have plenty of time to buy books. Did I tell you that I only spent P120 pesos for those twelve books?  Each one costs P10 pesos,  easier on the pocket, I must say. My book shelves are close to  bursting.

Today is the Feast Day of St. Dominic. Happy Feast Day to all  of my Dominican friends.  Fr. Lovell, O.P. (my adopted son)  texted and said that he is praying  for and offering his masses for the family.  I told him it is a noble gift to be prayed for always. What a blessing! I am sad though to learn that the former Rector of UST, Rev. Leonardo Z. Legaspi, O.P.  passed on this morning . He  was the first Filipino UST Rector.  He was a part of my high school and college life in the 70’s.   He died on the feast day of St. Dominic and on his  episcopate ordination anniversary, two special events that would make  it easy for his friends and family to remember. He would always say “Good morning” every time he meets students at the UST campus.  Requiescat  in pace. I’ll remember you in  prayers.

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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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You might think I am obsessed with books. I must admit, that’s a big yes, books  are almost always what I give Nissa on every special occasion that warrants special gifts and she appreciates them  until now.  And since we no longer have those children’s books  that we  have collected back when they were kids, I am starting to buy  and search for  books that I would love Nate to have.  Nissa bought several Brainy Baby DVDs complete with instrumental music CDs that she used to play when Nate was still in her womb. There is nothing like a good, sturdy book though that he can appreciate and hold. And this is the best time I guess to introduce him to his learning alphabet.  I am just amazed that books for kids have gone sky-high and I could no longer find those with thick leaves that won’t easily crumple and tear.  Anyway, I have found a set of Enid Blyton books  while arranging our small library yesterday and they were still in plastic, unopened and unread. I remember Nissa bought them a few years ago but maybe forgot all about them.
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Nate might still be too young to appreciate these but Nissa reads to him a lot and who knows in a few years, he’ll be reading by himself. I never  had the opportunity to read books by Blyton because when we were kids, reading was not a priority except those textbook stories written in the vernacular. I started serious reading when I was in high school  and my love affair with books has not waned through the years.  I spent the past few days catching up on reading, both e-books and those I bought on my several trips to Booksale.

And yes, reading brings you magic and adventures.

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Would you believe, I am beginning to love Jojo Moyes, a new favorite author I just discovered. The past week, I read three of her books. She writes simply but every character is unforgettable. There is that feeling where you want to know more about them long after you reached the last page. I wish I could write something substantial here, like a book review but right now, I am hooked on reading Schindler’s List. I’ve seen the movie  a long, long time ago, a  Steven Spielberg film that made me shed buckets of tears. This is the first time though that I will be reading the book.  And there is Schindler’s List 20th Anniversary Limited Edition Blu-ray combo pack made available last March 05, 2013.  And I wish I could watch it again, meantime  though, I’ll just enjoy the book.

schindler

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So how are you guys?  It’s been a while. I got addicted to reading e-books, that’s why. Not only that, for the past few days, I tried to finish two books by Jenny Colgan, two wonderful, funny and engrossing chick lit read.  She’s a new author on my list  so it’s quite a novelty to read something with lots of cupcake recipes and pointers on baking…yes….cupcakes.  I never tried baking cupcakes though since the few sessions that I had with Sylvia Reynoso Gala’s Culinary Studio , I took money-making courses like Chinese cuisine, making bars and cookies, cupcakes not included. Once you learned the basic of baking, you could always experiment on other recipes as long as you have the right ingredients. I’ve done that for the past few months and it’s quite a thrill to discover new things in the kitchen.

If you have time and if you love chick lit books, I highly recommend these two, Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe and book1book2 Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe. Both books have excellent reviews at Goodreads.

Of course,  reading an e-book could not compare to holding  and smelling a nice, newly printed book in your hands but then sometimes, it is easier to get hold of a copy and read  it conveniently through your phone. It does not need so much space on your bulging bookshelves and you can delete it once you’re done to give way to other e-book titles.  Reading is such an engrossing hobby and once you start all over again, you simply forget the time. When you are transported to a new world, there is a different kind of magic.

Maybe one of these days,  I’ll try cupcakes too.

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Okay, I am reviving my month-ender and  “happy new month” blog. I used to do it in some of my posts but sometimes, in the midst of daily living, you forget things that were part of your routine.

May has quietly faded into June  and  as always it left something to cherish and to treasure. It was terribly hot but the afternoon showers that we got during the last week  somehow diffused the humid feel of the month. Yesterday, I visited my daughter at her office at BPI to get a package  sent by a friend from the US. I took an FX taxi from our place to Ayala Avenue and along the way I was like a child getting re-acquainted with an old place and taking note of changes that were not there thirteen years ago. Thirteen years, seems so long  ago –  yes, it’s been thirteen years since I left Bank of the Philippine Islands  when I availed of an early retirement to take care of my two kids.  Seeing new faces  but looking for old ones who were my former office mates, I now can’t imagine myself as part of the young crowd waiting for elevator rides  and beating the 8:30am rush  to log  in to work. I was with BPI for more than twenty-one years, right after I graduated from college. Waking up early, car pooling,  early morning masses at Greenbelt chapel, lunch breaks and quick walks to Glorietta, afternoon rush to share a ride with friends on the way home, the routine of a working mom, they came rushing back when I saw the facade of BPI. Ayala Avenue has changed of course with more high-rise buildings sprouting from every nook and cranny, it’s after all the Makati Central Business District. What I noticed though was there were lots of people lining up the sidewalk of Ayala Avenue smoking. I am glad I brought a face mask. During my time, smokers just stay at the back of our building at the open parking space. Why can’t they totally prohibit smoking in public?

Sometime last October, I wrote a blog on the newest book of Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings dreaming of having a copy of it when it’s published. It has become one of my top-rated posts  although it was more of me than the book. Yesterday, I finally got hold of it and perused each word, smiling like crazy holding it in my hands, enjoying the feel of  silk because the dust jacket  is so smooth to the touch.

from odette

This is my second book of Mary Oliver and I love how she portrays nature in so many different ways. It feels like you are beside a brook or just looking at an unknown bloom by the wayside or discovering the glint of the moon on a dark night.  Odette, who has become a close friend sent me all these, three books, two latest publications from my favorite author Richard Paul Evans and a copy of A Thousand Mornings together with a hard drive which she says I could use for all the shots that I want to save. Speaking of blessings, they pour in a thousand ways too.

Let me share one of her poems with you. Reading her words always keep me inspired, silently smiling to myself and telling the old me, I am lucky, aren’t I?  The  journey is long but I am blessed.

The Gardener
 
Have I lived enough?
Have I loved enough?
Have I considered Right Action enough, have I
      come to any conclusion?
Have I experienced happiness with sufficient gratitude?
Have I endured loneliness with grace?
 
I say this, or perhaps I’m just thinking it.
       Actually, I probably think too much.
 
Then I step out into the garden,
where the gardener, who is said to be a simple man,
       is tending his children, the roses.

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