Posted in 2014, blogging, books, Happiness, life, literature and Fiction, more books, silence speaks, tagged a bit of myself, blogging, books, letter-writing, life, literature and Fiction, silence speaks, thoughts on February 25, 2014 |
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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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Posted in 2014, blogging, city gardening, Close to Nature, Closer to God, guilty pleasures, journeys, photography, tagged blog stats, blogging, Close to Nature, Closer to God, flowers and blooms, gardening, photography, thoughts and ramblings on February 17, 2014 |
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My blog stats say I have 250,038 views right this moment. I can’t believe it. I’ve been blogging for a little more than four years now, on and off, when I feel like it and have something to share. The only time I blogged religiously every day was when I took up the 2011 WordPress Post A Day challenge. That was when my stats started to climb. For the last three years, I always get a surprise when one particular blog registers an average of 2,600 views in one day and that is during Mama Mary’s birthday every September 08. I don’t know how it happens but the search engine seems to be busy during Mama Mary’s birthday.
I wonder though which is better, having so many views in any particular day or having a lot of followers. A bit of both probably, I don’t know. I only have 678 followers at the moment (not that I mind so much if they follow me or not). There must be something they like about my blog so they read it. I am glad that some readers come back and read my older posts. Sharing my plight as a cancer patient/survivor has definitely evolved to some sort of an online diary – some experiments in the kitchen, some shots that I love to share, my garden blooms that get the largest share in my SD card, local places I’ve been to the past few years, books I’ve read and reviewed, thoughts and prayers. Imagine having a hodgepodge of topics encapsulated in 1,393 posts.
You ask, “Is it worth it?” My answer is a big “YES, definitely”. Here are some shots I took a few hours ago, they are my February blooms.
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These, I think, are lazy blogging days for me. For the past two days, our “normal” weather is back and take that to mean that the cold days and colder nights are gone but PAGASA says, we will still experience the cold weather in a few days but not as temperate and balmy as the days we experienced back in January. In the next two weeks, we’ll be experiencing a high 31 °C and a low 22 °C.
I was again lucky to find another book by Catherine Cookson , my 7th read this year. I was impressed with her writing style in A Dinner Of Herbs that I finished the whole book, all 725 pages of it in four days. I love a bit of history and the 18th century England setting was just perfect. It was quite a surprise that I enjoyed the book immensely and when I looked at Goodreads, most readers marked it five stars. I didn’t even know it was made into a series until I read some reviews so I got to watch a few episodes on YouTube. I know, some would say the book is always better than the movie adaptation but it is nice to recall the story while seeing the characters’ faces onscreen. I wonder when the movie adaptation of The Book Thief will be shown here. Some reviews say it’s emotionally flat and does not show justice to the beautiful book by Marcus Zusak. I believe that every film adaptation on any well-loved book deserves some merits because it is completely different from the pages of the book. I’ve read it twice, by the way and got to appreciate it better the second time around.
Our street is showing a new look. I woke up one morning several days ago and saw every light post decorated with red ribbons and rectangular red cloth crazily dancing in the wind. Oh, they dressed them for the V-day. Who celebrates Valentine’s day now? Florist shops would make a killing again with the costs of a few blooms thrice as much on a regular day. I always smile every time I see someone wear a red shirt on Valentine’s Day. Why do you have to wait for Valentine’s day to show and reinforce that love?
Yes Virginia, there’s a St. Valentine and he is a patron of love, young people and happy marriages.
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Posted in blogging, tagged blogging on January 9, 2014 |
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I wonder what’s wrong, I get “likes” notification in my dashboard but they are not seen on my post.
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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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Posted in blogging, books, Close to Nature, flowers and blooms, journeys, life, photography, silence speaks, tagged blogging, books, flowers and blooms, gardening, guilty pleasures, life, photography, thoughts and ramblings on January 3, 2014 |
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Yesterday has been a busy day for me, from sunrise to sunset (literally). Some friends are coming over in a week and I have to do a bit of general cleaning and check grocery supplies that I will use for our get-together. I am excited since it’s been more than a year since I saw some of them. Who says working at home is easier than an office job is exaggerating. I would exchange my slippers, garden hose and brooms for a day with a corporate attire complete with lunch at a nice but affordable restaurant, catch and exchange news with former office mates instead of listening to the radio all day long while doing household chores. One thing that I get to appreciate though is having my afternoon nap, try to catch up on reading a chapter or two then off to dreamland for at least an hour.
I promised myself I would jot down the titles of all the books I plan to read this year and count how many books I could manage to get hold of but rereading some verses from a favorite book of poems does not count of course. And I thought of challenging myself (for the second time) to post once a day here. The question is, would I be able to do it again? Sometimes, it’s not the lack of what to write about but how to go about catching one reader’s eyes to read my post till the end. I’ve seen plenty of quotes about 2014 saying that the days are like blank pages of a book that you need to fill up with your experiences, angst even and happy moments that you want to remember. I’d rather dwell on the positive side because I want the rest of the year to be stress-free at least.
New hope. New Beginnings. New Dreams To Uphold. I’ve never been good at keeping new year’s resolutions because I don’t make a list in the first place. I’d rather call them goals that one needs to reach and no matter how simple they are, it would be nice if at the end of the year, you’ve fulfilled some promises to yourself. The “me” times are just as important as having occasional chats with online friends or having a laugh over at Skype with a long-lost friend or relative. Noel, my youngest brother who is based in Tulsa is my regular caller on Skype. We would always talk about the kids and how life is away from one’s homeland, reminiscing the days when we were kids and marveling how happy we were despite the simplicity of life back then. We would touch on Philippine cuisine and recipes that he miss because Asian stores in their area don’t sell all the ingredients that he needs. We would laugh at some remembered jokes that made childhood memories something to treasure always.
On new year’s day, I took shot of some blooms growing in the garden. It’s something that would remind me of January 01, 2014.
Can you see the bud of this Mokara Orchid showing its face?
And when it is in full bloom, it would look like this.
This is my variegated Aglaonema. A few months ago, the main plant died on me but I was surprised to see this new bloom days after.
I’ve never been successful in propagating Crossandra from seeds. They’re now sprouting everywhere, randomly showing lovely orange blooms alongside my other plants.
There is a cold wind blowing outside and another cup of hot, hot coffee would surely be welcome. Here’s another promise I made myself starting this year, I would always appreciate what life has in store for me, no matter how painful some days may bring.
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Posted in 2014, blogging, journeys, life, WordPress Annual Report 2013, writing, tagged 2013 blog summary, 2013 WordPress Annual Report, blogging, life, thoughts on December 31, 2013 |
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I decided to make this public since I am proud that I’ve reached this far. For the past three years, I’ve looked forward to the year-end report of WordPress on my four blogs. I am sharing this with you. And I would love to thank all those bloggers who made comments and visited my blog. Thank you all for sharing with me and making everyday something to always look forward to.
Thank you WordPress
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Posted in Happy 2014, life, silence speaks, thoughts, writing, tagged 2014, blogging, life, New year 2014, silence speaks, thoughts on December 31, 2013 |
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Here’s a toast to more inspiring blogs for 2014. Looking forward to meeting more inspiring bloggers too. And I promised myself last night, I’ll take another challenge of writing and sharing my thoughts every day here.
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Posted in blogging, guilty pleasures, journeys, life, ramblings, silence speaks, writing, tagged a bit of myself, blogging, blogging challenge, life, silence speaks, thoughts, thoughts and ramblings, writing on December 11, 2013 |
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It’s been a while and that translates to almost a week without blogging. Here’s one sure proof that a day is not complete without writing those thoughts, some fleeting burst of inspiration but always, always would not come when you’re ready to write them down and immortalize them on paper, that is. Being busy does not help either and it was quite a busy week for me.
I’ve checked my dashboard closely since I got some e-mail updates from about.me , an app which let you make a short introduction about yourself but completely separate from the “about page” of WordPress. You can link it to Facebook, Twitter and WordPress. It helps that every update you post on WordPress is automatically posted as link to your blog. It’s only now that I get to appreciate it after almost a year of using it and earned views and compliments on the side. Maybe their feature on “Added Me to A Collection” is equal to the blog follows which they have here at WordPress. I am not too conscious on how many blog followers I have since I also carefully choose those that I follow so if you are in my orbit, I find all your blogs interesting, something I come back to now and then for updates and where I learn something too on everything you share. My blog followers increased a little though when I joined the 2011 post a day challenge. And when I think of it, I still can’t believe that I was able to challenge myself to write every day and share it with the world. It was fun and it brought me a very significant upswing in my stats which I think is more important than how many followers one has. It makes me smile when I encounter people who are not even my blog followers and yet make lovely comments in some of my posts. The last time I looked, WordPress has this update:
1,351 posts (and this is my 1,352nd)
239,378 viewed my page
And this is only for my main blog, Dreams and Escapes. I also have three more blogs which are steadily gaining views/followers/comments but I don’t regularly update them as much as I do with my main blog. And I want to be honest with you, I don’t regularly read Freshly Pressed but I admire those bloggers whose posts are featured there. And I don’t follow WordPress’s suggestions on what to write about except for participating in their Weekly Photo Challenge which I haven’t done lately. Four years ago, I started this blog to share my plight as a cancer patient/survivor and over the years it somehow evolved into something more personal than writing about doctor visits, chemotherapy and such. I am allowed 3,072MB to use but I already used up 1,889.85MB. That’s a total of 62% space used and I am wondering how the remaining 48% would last, always taking into account the pictures I attach on almost all of my blogs. Maybe, I have to cut on posting photos and update my Cams and Photos blog instead. I still picture myself blogging for the next three or four years, making regular updates on my blog about baby Nate. One thing I learned is this, having so many followers does not equate to more viewers and even if your blog has a few followers , if they like the content of your blog, they will always come back and visit you.
What about you? Do you find self-fulfillment in blogging? I do.
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Posted in Faith, journeys, life, ramblings, reflections, silence speaks, writing, tagged a bit of myself, blogging, Faith, life, reflections, silence speaks, thoughts on October 12, 2013 |
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Mar M, a friend who is based in San Diego posted several pictures of seagulls on his wall at Facebook captioning most of them with quotes from the lovely book, Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. I asked him if I could borrow one and he said yes. So here it is, a lovely picture of a seagull that truly reminds me of Jonathan, a fable about flight, life and having wings to soar to the sky. The book is about self-perfection and doing something one might think impossible but with practice and grace, one can do it. Those same quotes are heavily underlined in my little book of Richard Bach.
“Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.”
“You will begin to touch heaven, Jonathan, in the moment that you touch perfect speed. And that isn’t flying a thousand miles an hour, or a million, or flying at the speed of light. Because any number is a limit, and perfection doesn’t have limits. Perfect speed, my son, is being there.”
I remember those days when I started blogging here at WordPress, more than four years ago. I never knew that I could last this long in the blogging world and finally meeting online friends who share a bit of themselves like I do. During the early years, I didn’t care about stats and followers because all I wanted was to keep a blog and it took me almost a year to add something to my very first entry here and a few tries before I settled to this theme which I am still using until now. It’s been one long ride of happy thoughts, ramblings some times or just spur-of-the-moment string of words that need to be written somehow. Needing to share and hoping to inspire others, drawing strength from the knowledge that despite all the setbacks and ugly realities of life, I learn something new every day and blessings come pouring in.
I still believe in dreams. As I have said before in my earlier posts, dreams never end just because you have experienced something life-threatening. Sometimes, in your moment of weakness, you ask, “What have I done to deserve all this?” and the echo gets back to you. There are always roadblocks in our life and there will always be moments that you feel so abandoned and unloved but the times in between the dark hours are shining pots of gold.
Dream. Believe. Soar. There will always be a new life, a new hope and a new beginning. Learn the art of flying.
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