Archive for March, 2011

I can’t believe it! The first quarter of the year has ended. Three months of blogging, 109 blogs – this is my 110th blog  since January 1st actually and my 479th post since May 2009. And to think I was quite apprehensive to join the Post A Day 2011 challenge here at WordPress. Now I realized that there is really big advantage when you are blogging everyday because  it seems so natural, everything that you want to blog about is still fresh in your mind. Thank you WordPress for this challenge.

Tomorrow  is April 1. Every time April comes, I always remember the song April Fools by Dionne Warwick. The song goes like this:

In an April dream
Once she came to me
When you smiled I looked into your eyes
And I knew I’d be loving you
and then you touched my hand
And I learned April dreams can come true.

It’s definitely summer now, no doubt about it. Summer spells going on road trips,  a dip  on the beach or just idling one’s time reading in a cool nook in the garden.  I feel so lazy when summer comes, there’s nothing productive there actually except perhaps tending the garden and making sure the plants don’t dry up in the hot sun.  I still prefer the morning sun of course, because I am a “morning person”. Haha, what does that exactly mean, you ask? I just like to wake up early in the morning just to see the sunrise. There is something magical there, don’t you think? Dawn break, sunrise, sunsets, twilight , I love them all. It makes me think this world is a beautiful place only when you see what is beyond the daily grind of living. Sometimes we forget to appreciate the simple beauty of things  around us.

Two days ago, I wrote to one of my favorite authors, Richard Paul Evans telling him that finally, I’ve found a copy of his latest book, The Walk. I was overjoyed to get a short e-mail from him. How nice!  And here’s what he said in reply; Thank you, Arlene. for your kind words and for sharing my words! Best, Richard. And here are more quotes from him, from his different books that I’ve read.

I am not a believer in love at first sight. For love, in its truest form, is not the thing
of starry-eyed or star-crossed lovers, it is far more organic, requiring nurturing and time
to fully bloom, and, as such, seen best not in its callow youth but in its wrinkled maturity.
Like all living things, love, too, struggles against hardship, and in the process sheds
its fatuous skin to expose one composed of more than just a storm of emotion–one of loyalty
and divine friendship. Agape. And though it may be temporarily blinded by adversity,
it never gives in or up, holding tight to lofty ideals that transcend this earth and
time–while its counterfeit simply concludes it was mistaken and quickly runs off to
find the next real thing.” (from his book the Letter)

Denial, perhaps, is a necessary human mechanism to cope with the heartaches of life. (from The Christmas Box)

If you have someone to love, you are lucky. If they love you back, you’re blessed. And if you waste the time you have to love them, you’re a fool.
-The Christmas List- p. 296

…for we are all amateurs at life, but if we do not focus too much on our mistakes, a miraculous picture emerges. And we learn that it’s not the beauty of the image that warrants our gratitude–it’s the chance to paint. (from Finding Noel)

And did I say, I can hear the song humming in my head? ♪♫ In an April dream, once she came to me♫ ♪. Happy new month everyone!


Read Full Post »

Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows. – Pope Paul VI

Much has been said about the three Filipinos who , a few minutes ago met their death by lethal injection at the People’s Republic of China. Sally, Elizabeth and Ramon died because they were found guilty of drug trafficking. They might be your typical overseas Filipino workers  who sacrifice their lives, balancing the act of being away from their families and earning a few dollars in far away countries. Were they  tempted with easy money promised by drug dealers or were they innocent victims? Some people say  that the  Philippine government did not do well enough to defend them and they were not provided enough help while undergoing trial. Some people say that PROC is too strict in implementing its laws of death sentence to those found guilty of possessing drugs. Drug traffickers found guilty of carrying at least 5 kilo of marijuana  or less than two ounces of cocaine are punishable by death. Some people say that if not for the big drug syndicates freely flaunting their trade in Philippine shores, these should not have happened.

Where are those people who made Sally, Ramon and Elizabeth risked their lives in carrying these prohibited drugs? Were they caught or are they still roaming around looking for new victims? I heard from reports that there are around 72 more Filipinos sentenced by life imprisonment and death in China. We could not entirely blame China for what happened because in the first place, it is following its laws and who are we to interfere? Even its own citizens are not spared from death penalty. But really, we have no right to take a life except God.

I grieve for the loss of our kababayans and sympathize with their families. I was thinking, what if , one or two of them were just innocent victims?  Let this be a lesson not just for our government but for all of us. It’s about time we enact laws with more teeth and it’s about time that we let everyone know that we mean business. Senator Loren Legarda, chairperson of the Senate foreign relations committee said that “the Philippine government must not be a nation pleading to other nations not to execute its nationals.” She said further that there is a need to strengthen our anti-trafficking laws and make sure that Filipinos leaving the country initially as overseas Filipino workers  must not be doped by these illegal drug syndicates.

Guilty or not  or victims of circumstances, it is still painful to see their families suffering and in pain. The whole Filipino nation is one with you in prayers.

Read Full Post »

I took  shots of the garden blooms and some of our vegetable plants early this morning and hubby suggested that I harvest our Calamansi. We have two grafted Calamansi trees which I planted many years ago and they haven’t stopped bearing fruit.  They are part of our garden landscape.

Here in our country it is simply known as Calamondin or just plain Kalamansi but it’s known elsewhere as Philippine lime.  The flowers  emit that sweet and tangy scent much like pomelos and oranges when they are in bloom. Kalamansi is one of the most basic necessities in Philippine kitchens. It is used  for marinating either fish or meat or  sea foods and anything that requires something sour. It is also used as dip, mixed with soy sauce or  as juice drinks, hot or cold. I wonder if  we could survive  in the kitchen without these small, juicy, tangy fruits which are very similar to lime. They are best used fresh.

The fruit also has several medicinal uses. It can be a good treatment to itchy scalp, to heal insect bites, remove freckles, clear up acne and pimples. It is also used as a deodorizer and  for stain-removal.  It is also a popular home remedy for cough. And if you want your skin to stay smooth and blemish free, you can gently rub it with kalamansi before taking a bath.

Read Full Post »

The assumption of time is one of humanity’s greatest follies. We tell ourselves that there’s always tomorrow, when we can no more predict tomorrow than we can the weather. Procrastination is the thief of dreams.” – Richard Paul Evans (The Walk)

Touching base with old friends gives you that feeling of warmth and anticipation, it’s something that evokes memories. Yesterday was exactly just  that. Hubby, my daughter and his boyfriend and I went to visit an old friend and spent a few hours catching up. We met Fr. Aly fifteen years ago when we had our house blessed. Back then  he was only about two years into the priesthood. We’ve kept the friendship all these years. My daughter is getting married in six months and she wanted Fr. Aly to preside over the wedding. There is nothing like a good friend whom you’ve known over the years to share this very important event. My daughter was just in high school when we met him.  It’s nice to reminisce and think of the good old days – the joys of laughter and sharing!

We went to National Bookstore afterward to buy stationeries and imagine our delight when we saw the books we’ve been waiting for on display for all eyes to see.  Nissa was waiting for a trade paperback edition of the last book on the Hunger Games trilogy entitled Mockingjay and there it was prominently displayed. Hooray! I am as excited as she is to know  what will happen to Katniss Evergreen after the first two books which we read two months ago.  I can’t believe this! I was idly browsing the new titles when I saw this book with a very nice cover but it was on paperback.  I grabbed it before somebody else  sees it. The Walk has been on the market  for almost a year and every time I visit national Bookstore, I ask the sales clerk if they carry one such title. Finally, finally, my first book of Richard Paul Evans in paperback. I’ve collected most of his novels (hardbound at that)over the years but I lost most of them to typhoon Ondoy. I am slowly building up my library, carefully choosing the books I buy, except of course during my forays at Booksale where I usually find hidden treasures at such a lower price compared to NBS. The sales clerk at National Bookstore was beaming at me when she said, “that was published by Simon and Schuster and we were lucky to have these  on paperbacks” , pointing to the two more volumes left at the display counter. “Yes”, I said. The previous times that I bought the hardbound editions, they put a dent in my pocket.  Isn’t  it so obvious that I am a fan? Richard Paul Evans is an online friend at Facebook  and it keeps me  updated with all his upcoming novels. The second in the Walk series Miles To Go would be released this coming month.  How nice if National Bookstore would carry it as well.

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the Child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.- Luke 1: 26-38

Today,  March 25, 2011, we are celebrating the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. It  is now celebrated as a Marian Feast, a joyful celebration, Mary’s consent to the  divine plan of redemption.  It’s nine months before the Feast of the Nativity of Jesus.

Fiat” means “let it be done” in Latin. Mary’s fiat, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done  to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38) shows us that Mary is the model of obedience and humble faith.

Happy Feast Day of the Annunciation!

(picture taken from the published painting by Philippe de Champaigne)

Read Full Post »

How I’ve missed the days when I could putter around and  uproot some stubborn weeds growing side by side with our garden plants.  This morning, I joined hubby in trimming our overgrown carabao grass and that means three weeks  is long enough for it to stay uncut.  Yesterday, my son cleaned our small pond. Sadly, we lost another Koi when he transferred them to a smaller drum while cleaning and replacing the greenish water of the pond.  It’s like fall here, our avocado tree is replacing  its leaves with flowers in almost all  tips and branches. We normally sweep them clean morning and afternoon. Such a daunting task at times but its okay, that’s another reason to stay in the garden a little longer.

The sun was hot on our backs at 7:30am so  we didn’t  stay long.  This afternoon, we finished the task of cutting the grass. I love the smell of newly cut grass. It gives me the feeling of being home and you can walk barefoot and nobody would mind except maybe our three dogs and our four-month old puppy. They think the garden is their territory and when they see you so relaxed reading or just cloud-watching, they would watch and wait for just one small gesture that they are welcome to join  you, romping like crazy. They are a joy to watch but disastrous for our small garden.  I took some shots of it before it gets dark  experimenting with the subdued light of sunset and dusk.

The peace and serenity just watching the curved path and the even length of the newly cut grass is a welcome blessing. One could find such happiness here.  You can never resist the temptation of pulling a weed or smelling a lovely bloom.  Such surprises you find  makes one stay in a garden worth all the aching back and soiled hands and fingers.

John Ruskin  has aptly described it when he said,”The highest reward for man’s toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it”.

Truly, the  garden  is a place to feel the beauty of silence and solitude.

Read Full Post »

It was a joy to watch OWWA (Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration) Administrator Carmelita Dimzon being interviewed on ANC Cable TV.  Prior to her present post at OWWA, she was the former Deputy Administrator of Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA).  She graduated Magna Cum Laude at the University of Santo Tomas with a Bachelor of Arts degree major in English and minor in Philosophy.She also took graduate studies in Public Administration at the University of the Philippines.

You might wonder why I am blogging about her. She was part of my high school life, it was through her that I got to appreciate the subjects, English and Literature.  I remember those days when she taught us how to appreciate  and understand good poetry and a nice story.  Line by line, we had to interpret the meaning of almost every poem in our literature books because of her. Ah, the days of memorizing  the poem, Invictus by William Ernest Henley. I could not exactly remember now how it goes but I sure can recite the last lines, “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.” And yes, the days of understanding the short story of The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe, they were somehow deeply ingrained in my memory.  Correct grammar, right tenses, proper use of verbs and adjectives with  emphasis on the right pronunciation of words – these were the things that I remember about her.

A few years ago, I went to POEA to renew hubby’s medicare certificate and I thought of visiting her at her office,  with no previous appointment, sort of killing two birds with one stone.  I introduced myself to her secretary as a former student in UST. Imagine my surprise when she went out of her way to greet me and asked about how I was and she also briefly shared the nature of her work as POEA  Administrator.  After all these years, she remains the same Miss Dimzon that I knew way back in high school.

Kudos Ma’am, I salute you for all your efforts in extending a helping hand to all our OFWs.

Read Full Post »

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer– Albert Camus

Read Full Post »

I just received an e-mail from the organizers for Earth Hour for 2011 when I joined their site and made my lantern as a show of support. Here it is.

Hello arlene,

Thanks for making a lantern and showing your support for Earth Hour. Check out your lantern at http://www.earthhour.org/content/lanterns/56028/lantern.jpg. You can save it to your desktop (right-click the image and choose ‘save image as’).

If you haven’t already done so, tell all your friends on Facebook, Twitter and My Space – why not add your lantern to your profile.

Suggested copy:

Facebook: I created a lantern to show I my support for @earthhour. Create your own at www.earthhour.org/lantern/

Twitter: @earthhour I created a lantern to show my support for Earth Hour. Create your own at http://www.earthhour.org/lantern/

And remember, please turn off your lights for one hour, Earth Hour, 8.30pm, Saturday 26th March 2011.

Thanks for being part of this,

The Earth Hour Team

PS. If you’re not on a social networking website, how about forwarding this email to at least two friends? To make it easy, we’ve written some text at the bottom of this email. Just press the ‘Forward’ button in your email client, and delete all the text above the message.

And here’s the lantern I made last night. It was fun making it. You’ll get to choose the design and the color.  It’s a show of support for Earth Hour.

I’ve been blogging about this the past two years. It actually started in 2007  in Sydney, Australia and other nations followed in 2008. Earth hour is held every last Saturday of March annually and is organized by World Wide Fund For Nature. The idea is to turn off non-essential lights and other electrical appliances for one hour “to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change.

One hour is just a little sacrifice for all of us. Let us unite and take part on March 26, 2011 at 8:30pm. Be counted.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »