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Posts Tagged ‘a bit of myself’


Four years ago, I blogged about my niece and her fascination for coloring books. Do you know that coloring books and the time you spend making a magical picture out of the pages are stress-busters too?  A friend of mine  swears that she gets to relax while coloring a picture and being busy with choosing what colors to combine. She suggested that I buy one too but I cannot find something that would suit my desire to color. Either they are too complicated or too simple for my taste which I think are understandable since they are intended for kids, right?  There are times though when just like kids, we want to have a stress-free life and going back to old favorites (when you were five or six) help save the day.

This morning,  Josef and I spent a few hours just relaxing at Eastwood City after visiting St.  Padre Pio Chapel nearby. It would not be complete if we can’t visit a bookstore (that’s a given) so off we went to Books For Less and later at National Book Store.  I found another book by Lincoln Child, an author I discovered a year ago.  Terminal Freeze deals with climate change. I don’t even have to read the whole cover summary to convince me in buying it.  I’ve been reading  e-books for the past month and  it  is a nice change to be able to hold a real one again. The smell of a new book never fails to make me smile.

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“I bet, when we reach home, you will start coloring this“, Josef said pointing to the paper bag from National Book Store. I laughed and told him, “You guessed it right”.  You see, I was excited to start.  I actually took a shot of the three pages  that I started coloring. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated, they are just simple pictures that probably a seven-year old can color but then it is the thrill of making those pictures more vibrant and lovely that counts. I was even in a quandary whether to use dandelion or apricot for the faces. Back when I was into cross-stitching about a decade ago, I have memorized the chart of colors for the thread that I used. There are as many variations of one color, different shades  on the color wheel.

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Some relaxing moments – priceless minutes spent coloring.  Why don’t you give it a try? Unleash the child in you once in a while.

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I knew that I won’t go back to being 100% fit the first time I heard the word “cancer” more than four years ago.  I have enough of hospital and doctor visits so I gave up visiting one. A month ago, I felt an excruciating pain on my left knee so I have to look for a doctor near our place and it was my first time to visit a government hospital. Consultation is free of course but there are charges for laboratory tests. Compared to private hospitals, they charge a bit lower than the normal rate. It turned out I have gout and I have to take medications for three months before I go back there again.  Visiting doctors and hospitals always reminds me of the ordeal I went through when I was having chemotherapy.

Last Sunday, I underwent Quantum Resonance Magnetic Analysis. The QRMA is a rapid (it only takes a minute), accurate, non-invasive testing method. “The main analysis items are over 30, including cardiovascular and cerebrovascular condition, bone mineral density, trace elements, blood lead, rheumatism, lung and respiratory tract, nephropathy, blood sugar, stomach and intestines, liver and gall, cranial nerves, gynecology, prostate, bone disease, the trace elements of selenium, iron, zinc and calcium, etc.”  Suffice to say, I need to have a detox for three days and have to change my diet and eat more fruits and vegetables. I’ve been so careful with  my diet since I had surgery for  colon cancer so I’ve wondered why there are still so many health risks that need to be addressed. It is so frustrating to know that  despite being so careful about it all, the results are not good.  Lack of calcium intake when I was a kid contributed to the weak bones that affect me now. I don’t drink milk  and I never like its taste and mom used to say that I was completely breastfed as a baby. I could tolerate milk products though as long as it is not pure milk. 

The things you do to stay healthy but then how sure are we that the things we eat nowadays are free from chemicals that ravage our bodies? Even fruits and vegetables are not safe unless they are locally grown in your own backyard.

Health is wealth so they say and I agree.

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Early this morning I received a message from WordPress with their familiar logo. Thanks a lot WordPress for this lovely message:

Happy Anniversary!

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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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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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Two weeks ago I’ve blogged about Adam, a boy Josef and I met at the church and I was impressed by his manners. What a nice surprise because meeting him again this morning made my day. He saw me near the door of the church office and said, “hello po, nagkita po ulit tayo”, at the same time he took  my hand and said “mano po”.  The words “mano po”, a gesture made by taking the hand of the elder and putting  it on one’s forehead  is a sign of respect and literally means “bless me”. That moment, I felt like we’ve known each other for quite a long time although it was only the second time we met him.  What a well-mannered boy. He waited for us after the mass and pointed his grandparents to Josef and me.

What a blessing to meet kids like Adam.

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Call me a little OC when it comes to entertaining but as much as possible I see to the tiniest details that are sometimes overlooked when one is a bit busy in the kitchen. This morning, I made a list of the things I need to do and posted it where I could check everything before my friends arrive tomorrow. Earlier on, we have decided on a potluck lunch and merienda  but I will prepare baked macaroni with meatballs and marble potatoes with ham and cheese spread.  I was busy the whole day despite an occasional headache that makes me rest after each task that I finish. They say they are okay with disposables – paper plates, plastic spoons and forks and whatever you can use to save on washing later. I am not used to it though so I washed two dozens of china ware, several Pyrex  trays, three dozens of spoons and forks  and lots of drinking glasses.  Never mind that there will be chaos when the party is over, I just don’t want to balance my food precariously on a delicate paper plate, one wrong move and everything topples over.  Neither do I want using plastic spoon or fork that sometimes breaks  in the middle while you are eating.  I think that’s more practical when you are attending a children’s party or a pica-pica type of food, when kids can’t handle a big plate nor hold a glass safely in their hands.

I’m looking forward to meeting all of them again.  Hopefully, this would be a success. There is always a certain kind of joy in meeting friends, kindred souls who would make you smile even if they tell  and share with you the ugliest anecdotes , repeated stories that become longer with the retelling.  At least four of them are coming here for the first time.

I am excited.

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There goes my dream of blogging every day to challenge myself again. For the past three days, I was not feeling so well due to bad colds and occasional cough which tax my strength until now. For two straight nights, I sometimes sleep sitting down with lots of pillows  behind me for support.  I hear these wheezing sounds that seem like mice chasing each other inside my throat and the best way that I could sleep is by lying flat on my back or sitting  down with my feet straight. Oh, the misery of having colds on a cold January. We may not be getting the extreme cold weather just like in other areas/countries but I think cold nights and hot days are not good combinations.  Lately though, the sun peeps through now and then and the weather is mostly cloudy during the day. I feel my achy bones taking it all in, it sometimes zaps one’s strength and I still have to prepare for the lunch party my friends and I have planned for Saturday. Good luck to me. I am praying though that I will be well enough to join the fun and entertain them here.

If my garden could speak, it’s probably complaining of neglect. I haven’t watered it for the past two days but my son promised that he will tend to it when he comes home tonight.  I miss blogging and reading blogs too and my eyes get  easily tired when I check messages on my cellphone. I am not used to small prints and it’s even harder to navigate.

Bad colds, please go away. January, please be gentle to me.

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Sometimes, you meet people who leaves a nice impression long after they are gone (just a brief encounter)  and you smile at the thought that just by  greeting  each other, it gives a nice feeling of joy.

Yesterday, Josef and I were seated at the second front pew of the church and beside us were a foreign-looking kid and  probably his grandma who smiled at us when the priest said, “Let’s greet each other good morning”.  The kid looked at us long and hard and said in perfect Tagalog  with the right accent and intonation, “Magandang umaga po”.  I smiled, how polite he was.  He sang with us and actively participated in the mass. Even when the priest delivered his homily, he listened intently.  During the communion, he asked my son Josef, “Anong pangalan mo kuya?”. I asked his name in return and he said, “Adam”.  I was curious so I further asked, “How old are you?” and he answered “Twelve”.

A boy of twelve and he knows how to carry a conversation. I was impressed. When we left the church, he said goodbye to us and smiled again.  Maybe, when Nate grows older, we’d talk about things and such and I would be the happiest Nonna in the world.

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I wish I could sleep a few more hours and dream of something nice and lovely but I’ve been awake since 3:30am, same time that I wake up on the days that my son has to leave for work at 5am.  On second thoughts, waking up early has a lot more advantage than staying late in bed.

Gosh, hanging amihan is really here, signalling cold nights and occasional cold winds outside. I went out for a while to sweep in front of the house, cigarette butts, candy wrappers, plastic with straw in it, so annoying to see them every morning and I can’t stand clutter. I wish our neighbor who has a sari-sari store would find it in his heart  to place a trash bin outside his store and tell his customers not to throw garbage haphazardly. And I wonder why passersby can’t discipline themselves to dispose of their garbage properly, they never learn and maybe they never will.  Enough said.

The sky is clear but still dark and the quarter moon makes star-gazing lovely. I used to spend time star-gazing every time I go home to our province in Pangasinan. The silence and quiet sip into your bones and  you feel at peace with the world. There is something so fresh and untouched,  unmarred by the noise of cars and motorcycles passing by. For one thing, the best time to write  (at least for me) is always in the quiet of early mornings. Thoughts come chasing each other waiting to unfold. Sometimes though, when you put them on paper, they go away  and you can never recover those fleeting thoughts the way they should be written and the way you want to write them. Does that happen to you?

I think I need a hot cup of coffee and go back to the garden to watch the day unfolds – something precious, something meaningful, something to look forward to. It’s a new day after all.

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