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Posts Tagged ‘thoughts and ramblings’


He said, “we must come back here”.

Oh yes, why not? Fancy my son being so supportive of my hobbies. Although he is not into fiction books like I am, he loves accompanying me to bookstores and  letting me find more books to explore and read. Yesterday was one such lovely day that we got to spend together after a lightning trip to the supermarket to buy groceries. Grocery-shopping, reading labels  and nutrition facts, finding something  new, making list of items that we need to buy – purely routine for some but it’s a joy for me to do.

Last week when he saw  what I bought at Books for Less, he promised to go with me to buy more.  Who would not be thrilled with that? I thought he would be put off by the gargantuan  and riotously arranged books  on display there but he found out something to his interest, a hard-bound book on games  (cards, magic tricks etc.) and he was hooked. He was even surprised that all books on sale are at P10 pesos each.

And more books.

When I think of all the books still left for me to read, I am certain of further happiness. ~Jules Renard

When I think of all the books still left for me to read, I am certain of further happiness. ~Jules Renard

I found two more books on Christmas, one is a collection of short Christmas stories by Rosamunde Pilcher  and a novel by Debbie Macomber.  I found a copy of Taylor Caldwell’s Captains and the Kings.  I watched the tv series decades ago. That was mid-seventies, I think when television programs were something to look forward to, not the sort of teleseryes  (soap operas)  that they have now that I never bother to watch. I remember watching it with Mom and Dad along with the television  sitcom John and Marsha, the longest running comedy series that made us  all laugh.  I love history even if they are just written through fiction books. It is now hard to find mass-produced copies of novels written by great writers from way back except maybe in second-hand bookstores  and I was lucky to find Captains and the Kings. It has mostly five-star ratings on Goodreads .  I am also excited to read Los Alamos, a first novel by Joseph Canon. I have just finished reading the second book of  Ken Follett on WWII and  this would be a nice follow-up since its setting was at the end of WWII. How lucky could one get, right?

Yes, of course.

Yesterday, when Josef said that we have to come back and add some more to my loot, I readily answered, “Yes, of course”  with a smile on my face that says, what a lovely day!

What books are you reading at the moment?

 

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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.

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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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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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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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I told you, I am on a reading marathon and just finished this much-talked about book, The Fault In Our Stars. I wrote a short review on Goodreads.

I don’t normally read YA books, once in a while though, I read something that makes me laugh or cry. I am not even familiar with the author John Green, this is my first read actually. I don’t even know there is a movie adaptation being shown. What made me choose to read it over all the other books and authors I am familiar with? The subject is so familiar that I wanted to shout, “been there, done that, felt those awful moments while an IV was attached to my arms”. I felt those tingling sensations on my fingers that hurt like hell and those times that I just stared at the ceiling wondering if I will get well. the fault in our stars

There are lots of good and bad reviews on Goodreads. Some rated it five-stars, some were quite so honest that they weren’t even touched by the plot of the story. No crying sessions, they say. Maybe when you have experienced something as life-changing as having cancer then you could truly empathize and relate with the book. I did.

I wonder if the movie adaptation is better than the book. I’ve watched the YouTube trailer but if you don’t know that the two characters are cancer patients/survivors, you would just classify it as another young adult love story.

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What do you say about someone who cries while reading books that deal with families? You’ll probably laugh and say, “it’s just fiction, they don’t happen in real life”. That’s one good thing about reading Jojo Moyes books though, they seem real enough that you don’t want them to end  and you think about the characters long after you’ve read the last sentence and the last word. I encountered Jojo Moyes a few months ago. She was a new author in my reading list so I didn’t expect that I’ll enjoy her books.  I am on my 6th book now and so far, Me Before You, the first book that I read is one of the best and so is The Girl You Left Behind. I won’t go into the details of the stories and I wonder if I’ve even blogged about them before, suffice to say, I rated most of her books four and five stars on Goodreads.  The other day, I started reading One Plus One and it really made me laugh and cry and felt all other emotions in between.  Find out why.  I am quoting this short summary from Goodreads.

Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight-in-shining-armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever.

This is her best so far and I intend to read all her other books when I finish my self-imposed gardening assignment. On second thoughts though, gardening will always be a priority. I could not let the carabao grass and the peanut grass grow unmanageable again. My back aches just thinking about it.

Jojo Moyes, you are the best!

 

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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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