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Posts Tagged ‘a bit of myself’


Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields…

Watch, now, how I start the day
 in happiness, in kindness.

- Mary Oliver

 

I am sure one of my favorite authors,, Mary Oliver would not mind if I borrow the title of her poem. I often blog about her and how I enjoy reading her writings, simply worded and yet they have deep meanings that touch the heart and the soul.

The sun is up and I could feel its warmth on my face although at the moment it is playing hide and seek with the clouds. We are still experiencing southwest monsoon and there is another storm coming but at least we could enjoy the weekend without worrying about flash flood and heavy downpour.

Yesterday, I finally finished cleaning our bookshelves, sorting books  and arranging them according to authors. The books  Nissa, Josef and I  have collected over the years  are all placed on the higher shelves  along with the lovely ones (craft books, Calvin and Hobbes comic books which my son collects, mythology and some non-fiction).  Every time I do some dusting here, I always read a few titles and remember the times my kids and I bought them. Some are gifts from close friends who know of our penchant for reading. I can’t  resist  re-reading  the boxed set of Nick Bantock’s The Griffin & Sabine Trilogy. IMG_6174Years ago ( I don’t remember now), my sister-in-law sent me this set as a birthday gift and it is one of the treasures that I have in my book collection. IMG_6176IMG_6175 The three books are actually my introduction to an epistolary novel, work of fiction written through letters but what makes it so lovely to read is that, the letters are  actually written on real stationeries with attached envelopes to boot.  It makes me smile reading these lovely letters again.  The Griffin and Sabine story is an extraordinary tale of love, beauty and art.

Believe me when I say that I again found duplicate copies of some books from authors that I collect. It’s a good thing they are just mass-produced paperbacks. For a while, I enjoyed reading e-books, but there is nothing like holding a good book in your hands, lovingly turning the pages and exploring  another world in another time.

Do you love reading? Do you also collect certain authors in your bookshelf?

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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