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Archive for the ‘ramblings’ Category


It is always nice to reminisce the good old days. I wonder how many times I’ve blogged about something like this, mostly about books and music, music and books, a lethal combination that makes the  heart happy.  Every Sunday is one such opportunity to reminisce the good old days, the relaxed time, the “me” moments. Never mind if the laundry basket is almost full of dirty clothes that need to be loaded in the washing machine, never mind if the side yard needs sweeping from the jackfruit trees that shed leaves like crazy, never mind the half-finished and newly dug  earth just waiting  there outside. My aging body refuses to work on Sundays so it is spent catching up on reading and listening almost all day long to the music of the 60’s and the 70’s. Most FM radios play them anyway and AM bands have followed suit, so instead of news, I listen and sing along.

This morning, I had a nice chat with my brother who lives in Tulsa with his family. It has become a ritual for us to spend thirty minutes to an hour exchanging news via Viber. Talk about technology advancement and free calls from far-off  US of A.  I just recently learned how to use Viber, I had it installed on my phone  and removed the app for Skype.  I get to call my daughter Nissa and listen to my grandson Nate shouting “Nonna, Nonna, hi” over the phone thru Viber. I think this is the best medium for free calls and messaging. Gone are the days when you are often afraid to make overseas calls because you dread to see your phone bill rising to high heavens.   It is always a riot of laughter while swapping stories with my youngest brother. We talk about our kids (mostly) and food (all the time) and how hard life is nowadays but as always we get to reminisce on the good old days (again).  He loves to cook and sometimes shares his recipes with me. This morning, it was chicken gumbo and bamboo shoots.  Alden, my other brother who lives in the province with Mom brought me fresh bamboo shoots the other day. I have some of it cooked in coconut milk with lots of  sliced green pepper, the rest I put in the freezer for future use.

Books-For-Less-Warehouse-Sale-August-2014

Nissa sent me this early this morning (an ad from Books for Less).  She said I would surely enjoy finding treasures there. I am excited but they are closed on Sundays.

I hope you are enjoying the weekend.

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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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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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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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It seems like the month of April is rapidly fading into oblivion. I used to blog about beginnings and endings of each month but I got tired of it eventually. There was nothing that significant about this month except the canonization of the two Popes that I admire and yes, seeing Obama speaks  to the Filipino people. I think  during those almost two days that he was here, the Filipinos loved him more than they did PNoy.  I remember, I met another online friend  (one of our newest admins at our Catholic page) who came over to visit me two weeks ago. The month really seemed to have come and gone too soon.  I am grateful though that I was able to update my TBR list, read a few books from unfamiliar authors and posted short reviews at Goodreads.  When I’ve finished what I am reading now, I would go back to e-books. I still have around ten books there that I haven’t read. Lately, I came across  Josephine Cox and Elizabeth George. Cox’s Whistledown Woman and The Beachcomber are quite engrossing, although some reviews at Goodreads are quite disappointing.  I don’t base reading a book on previous reviews because I prefer to explore it on my own.  This is the first time that I got hold of one of Elizabeth George’s books. I found her personal page and read about how she wrote those mystery novels  (in a series, that is).

May is such a lovely month, they call it  the month of flowers. We don’t have spring season here but summer always brings lovely new blooms in my small garden. Never mind the inevitable heat that we have every day (you’ll get used to it when you live here), never mind your exposure to the sun’s rays when you are brave enough to go out  and do some errands that need to be done, just don’t forget your umbrella and a handy fan in your knapsack  to beat the heat. In a few months, when rainy season sets in and you find yourself dreading flash flood and heavy traffic, you would wish it is summer again.

Sometimes, I ask myself  “have I become a recluse?” preferring to just pass the days quietly doing household chores, playing with our dogs, gardening when the sun has set  or before it shows its face in the morning, reading, reading to my heart’s content and experimenting with some recipes in the kitchen. Oh well, you’ll reach that age when happiness are just quiet days that you spend doing the things you love, no pressure and no deadlines. Of course I always look forward to the monthly visit of my grandson, my daughter and son-in-law. Those are the times that I really treasure. Nissa tells me that Nate now knows how to say Nonna. I can’t wait to hear him call me Nonna.

I ran out of butter. I was planning to bake chocolate crinkles just for the fun of it. This afternoon, I harvested more than a kilo of calamansi in our backyard. There are more than we could use, almost every branch is thick with fruits and yes, I still have about seven jack fruits to harvest and a few ampalaya for pinakbet. Living a provincial life in the city, wouldn’t you say?

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IMG_5839

You dream of one day having your own place

under the sun,

like a bird that glides its wings and soar

Why should you look for more?

If  you could feel the  honeyed breath

of the morning on your face

and the softness of wet grass on your toes

wouldn’t that be enough?

But you look for more

because love is never constant

and life is not perfect.

Still, you dream of one day -

finally finding peace at last

finally smiling at yourself

finally knowing that happiness

lies within you.

You cannot conquer the world

but you can dream, still!

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IMG_5703

Sometimes,

I hide myself behind the flow of words

If you are clever enough

You’ll catch me  peeking

from a curtained widow

admiring the view

but never brave enough

to open the door.

Sometimes,

life seems so difficult

and one’s smile catches the tears

one look that lingers

that one goodbye

erases hundreds of hello.

How could you not see

that life  is sometimes

hard to journey through?

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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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