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Archive for December, 2011


He walks –

And his feet lead to the green door

He sees familiar sites

The rose arbor, the trellis he made before

He knocks –

And waits patiently

He asks himself

When did I  come here last?

He feels that sudden knot of fear

Regrets come late

Remorse is  an even bitter pill to swallow

Am I late, he asks?

The door opens

And he sees a stranger.

I am…..he says

Come in, the stranger answers.

The decor has changed

And the pictures are gone

Is this…..he could not go on

She died a year ago.

The stranger says.

She could have waited.

If you said you were coming back.

She could have told you.

She has never forgotten.

A decade –

Days and months of waiting

Even a loving heart

Sometimes feel tired

Even a  happy soul

Slowly dies….

And love, long after it’s neglected

Dies a natural death too.

He retraces his steps

And becomes

A solitary man

Once more.

 

 

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The stars are out tonight sending sinews of hope for a better tomorrow.  Just looking at the pictures of the victims of typhoon Sendong and listening to the news  of  how more than a thousand died  and many more missing makes me feel depressed somehow.  As I have always said before, you can never really empathize  unless you were a victim yourself and experienced the same thing they are experiencing right now.  Typhoon Ondoy made me wary of the things it brought and the lessons learned and until now, every time it rains, I still feel that uncertain fear.  But life has to go on despite everything right?

Yes, in times like these, I resort to  reading poems or sometimes just focus  on inspirational books to get by. One of  my early favorites (aeons ago, since I was still in college when I found him) is Rod McKuen.  It’s a little uncanny when you find an author who exactly echoes your thoughts and what you feel right at that moment that you need to reassure yourself that everything is well. I miss my only book I had of his works but at least I could google him up and still enjoy reading his thoughts.

There should be some silence in this place so thought can harvest things it’s lately caught. I hope that you will take this as a resting space. A bench provided just before the clearing up ahead.

Arms around me these past years have not been commonplace, your comfort passed to me from out there, somewhere – dare we call it outer space, has kept me safe. Your thought embraces better than the memory’s triumph over time. I have longed for you, thought up songs for you, missed and mourned you as the times passed past. Here you are. Brought back to me by your wish mixed with mine. Noise cannot touch us here. I will try and make for you the calmest place there is within this loud and getting louder world.

No map to help us find the tranquil flat lands, clearings calm, fields without mean fences. Rolling down the other side of life our compass is the sureness of ourselves. Time may make us rugged, ragged round the edges, but know and understand that love is still the safest place to land.

The journey back is always longer than the forward run.

Cats have it all – admiration, an endless sleep, and company only when they want it.

Once I thought ideas were exceptions not the rule. That is not so. Ideas are so plentiful that they ride on air. You have only to reach out and snatch one.

Strangers are just friends waiting to happen.

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Gone are the days when you dream of  shiny and luscious locks. When you get older, you have really no option but to wear it shorter – easy to manage and easy to control.  Back when I was in college, I used to have long hair and the curls never showed. Was it only yesterday that Mom told me, rather, she asked me why my hair is so “kulot”?  That means curly and wavy to you guys out there. And it really looks like I got a permanent perm without the benefit of going to the beauty parlor  or a hair salon to have it maintained.

I guess it runs in the family, my younger brother has it too, that’s why he has his hair cut close to his scalp. Some cousins on  my father’s side  have curly and naturally wavy hear too. The last time I had it cut was two weeks before Nissa’s wedding last month and it’s getting unruly again – no, make that –  it is unruly. My hair has fine strands so you can just imagine how it looks grown a few inches from my usual hair trim every month.  It makes me laugh a little and smile  🙂 on the side why I am even blogging about this.

The best thing is, when I visit my hair stylist at David’s Salon, I always get a chance to exchange ideas with them.  There is that perpetual complaint and observation about how hard life is nowadays and the costs of necessary things for one’s survival are getting sky-high, no longer reached by the common tao or ordinary citizens.  We talk about anything under the sun, sometimes, they update me on what is happening to the movie and tv personalities that they admire. I smile at the thought. One should not always get serious about life itself, a friend is fond of saying ” watch the wrinkles”.  Problems will always be there but our attitude towards them counts a lot.  Little worries actually make us focused and determined to face everything that comes our way.  I learned long ago that letting go and letting God takes control is really the best way to have peace of mind.  Worrying won’t solve your problems but being positive about life  makes it easier to bear. When I think of the times that I’ve been through the past few years, I am just amazed that being resilient  helped me go on.  It’s time to give back and thank God for all the blessings because in the long run they far outweigh the problems we encounter.

It’s five days to go before Christmas and I wish for peace for all of us.  A blessed Christmas to all!

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Two years ago, I received this lovely journal from my daughter featuring paintings of various Filipino artists and painters. Contempo featured several well-known artists of the land, the likes of  National Artists HR Ocampo, Mauro Malang Santos, Jose Joya, and Oscar Zalamea to name a few. It also featured the artwork of Ms. Phyllis Zaballero  who found my blog and even left comments about it.  It was actually a calendar notebook for the year 2010 but I made it as my journal, a reference notebook for all the Bible readings and reflections that I post at our Catholic site.

This  year,  I was in seventh heaven when Nissa brought home two similar notebooks simply entitled Amorsolo. One was a calendar notebook featuring the lovely paintings of our National Artist Fernando Amorsolo taken from the same art collection of Bank of the Philippine Islands where I worked for more than twenty years. The other was a journal with the same cover, featuring his  Mango Gatherers painting dated 1924. This collection was even more beautiful than the first one and I fell in love with it. Never in my dream would I ever own a Fernando Amorsolo so just looking at the reproductions gives me so much joy. Come to think of it, when you visit the 1851 Club of BPI, you would see these paintings adorning the several function rooms.

What a pleasant surprise to receive another journal, Modernism to Abstraction which is for the year 2012. As usual I took shots of the different featured paintings which even include an artwork of the only well-known artist I met personally, Manuel BaldemorI was just so excited not to share them here.

January 30, 1970

Jose Joya, National Artist

View of the Pasig River

Federico Aguilar Alcuaz (1975)

Still Life With Fish

Vicente Manansala, National Artist (1951)

Carroza

Mauro Malang Santos

Pahiyas Sa Lukban (The Lukban Fiesta)

Manuel D. Baldemor (1984)

Untitled

Juvenal Sanso

Abstraction 163

HR Ocampo, National Artist (1978)

Mother Earth Awesome In Her Beauty

J. Elizalde Navarro, National Artist (1995)

Don’t you just love having these as collections too? I do love the twin set of smaller journals which Nissa bought for me.

Still Life

Macario Vitalis (1942)

Cityscape

Arturo Luz  (1960)

Galumphing Ghost Town

Lee Aguinaldo (1980)

Diaphanous Series (Yellow)

Romulo Olazo (1986)

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We are on the last week of waiting –  with much anticipation and joy (hopefully) in our hearts. It’s Sunday again, a time to reflect and a time to pray, a time to give thanks and a time to be grateful.  I attended two masses today. One was a TV mass presided by Fr. Fernando Suarez and the latter at St. Jude Thaddeus parish in a nearby subdivision.I was so glad to see Fr. Leo Luanzon of the Marian Missionaries of the Holy Cross. He is one of my favorite priests and he always has a well-prepared homily relevant to the present times and to the gospel.  I always look forward too to Fr. Suarez’ healing masses on TV and he always has the best homily ever.  He said that the joy of giving is priceless and we should not deprive ourselves of giving joy. He talked about those he prayed for and got well because of their faith.  Healing, according to him is available every time we gather together in Jesus’ name.

Thank You Jesus!  We ask through  prayers but sometimes we forget to say thank you. I remember my journey towards my healing, the times I had to be in the hospital every two weeks for laboratory tests and every three weeks for chemotherapy.  I underwent chemo for five months and you can just imagine the days in between when I was so apprehensive of the outcome  each time I was  injected with a medicine that costs the earth.  In your heart of hearts, you believed that you are healed. And nothing is really impossible with God. As Fr. Suarez puts it, “Everything is possible because God gave His Son. Thank You Jesus!

My son and I had to go to the supermarket to buy some ingredients for next week.  I bought two sticks of chorizo de Bilbao because I am planning to cook Callos aside from the traditional fare we usually have during Christmas lunch and dinner. It’s a good thing a friend gifted me with a big bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil so that was out on my list but we had to find a good old brand of hot sauce.  Callos is a Spanish stew made from ox tripe and flavored with chorizo de Bilbao. In fact, it’s the latter that gives it that special  spicy flavor.  I made my Christmas groceries as early as last month but one can’t really avoid buying last-minute items  for last-minute recipes on the Christmas menu. Our rice cooker broke down a week ago and I found it hard to cook rice the traditional way, on top of the stove. Either it was too soft or it needed more water. Anyway, my  son offered to buy one for me, a  1.8L stainless rice cooker. We also found a collapsible chair with a good backrest  and we  bought that too. We will use it as a computer chair.

Oh, I did enjoy the drizzle while walking home this morning after the mass. It was a fifteen-minute walk , long enough to think about life and possibilities, long enough to think about Christmas in a week.  We finally had Christmas lights in the garden. Nissa and Obet came over yesterday to put them up, the rope lights are functioning again.

By the way, WordPress says:

“You published your 750th post. Goal of 750 Posts Completed
100% Congratulations!”

I can’t believe it! How was your Sunday?

 

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My heart goes out to those victims of typhoon Sendong. They say that death comes like a theft in the night.  Most of the victims who died were sleeping.  Some were confident that the typhoon was not that strong despite the constant warnings made by PAGASA but it brought heavy rains that even wiped out a whole barangay, toppled down cars and left many people dead and homeless.  They said that the areas affected were not usually under typhoons’  path and they never experienced flash floods before like this. Here is the latest update  on the typhoon.

I remember our own ordeal during  typhoon Ondoy more than two years ago, the worst flood that hit Metro Manila.  Unless you experienced the same thing and knew the feeling of being so helpless and weak , it’s never enough to say, “kawawa naman sila”. They need our moral support and prayers.  If we could not give material support, praying that they will not lose hope in this tragedy would be welcome. Let’s pray for strength for those whose families were lost in the flood. Let’s also pray that they would overcome this tragedy victorious  and never lose faith in a loving God.

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I don’t know why I am even blogging about them because they don’t really deserve a big applause from me. I am not generalizing but the few times I encountered some of them, it was all a fiasco.

Men on two wheels – either on motorbike or on bicycles, take your pick. Not long ago,I blogged about  someone whom my family and I saw right after we went out of the church for a Sunday mass. Our car was sandwiched between two motorbikes. I cringed at the thought of a whole family riding on a motorbike, obviously the father , without a helmet was behind what looked like a three-year old kid, and behind him was obviously the wife with a baby between them. Even my daughter was shaking her head when she saw them. Our minds were full of “what ifs”. What an irresponsible way to have your family exposed to dangers on the road, I really can’t imagine.

Four years ago when my dad was in the hospital my brother and my niece were hit by over speeding motorcycles in a span of a week.  My brother and his family were just vacationing from the US because dad was so ill by then. One morning, he and my oldest brother went out to buy hot pan de sal for our breakfast at the hospital. The little bakery was just across the hospital but it took them so long so I called up my oldest brother on the phone. Imagine my surprise when they said that they were at the emergency room because my youngest brother was hit by a motorcycle.  As usual, the driver was trying to beat the red light and he hit my brother’s left leg in the process. The police told us to file a case but my brother just shook his head because that time, they were leaving in a week and he didn’t want hassles on their trip.  So the driver got excused but the damage was done. My brother was in a binder when his family took their flight back to the US a few days after.  A week after that, my niece was just crossing the street to buy mineral water and again, she was hit by a motorcycle.  I was shouting at the hospital emergency room when I saw her on bended knee, with the bones kind of twisted.  Thank God there was no fracture. I talked to one of the directors of the hospital to suggest that they coordinate with the Pasig City government to  put an overpass for the safety of their patients and pedestrians crossing Ortigas Extension.

When hubby and I are out on the streets, I also cringe every time I see people on motorbikes getting in and out of traffic with total disregard to the other cars and vehicles who are sometimes just a hair’s breath near them. One can’t deny that most traffic accidents nowadays compose of people on motorcycles, slightly drunk sometimes or are on a race with other bikers on the road.  Such  total irresponsibility, if you ask me.

Now, here’s what made me hate them all the more the last few days compounding my first thought and idea that they are the kings of the road. Our street is presently under construction, being cemented and all. The workers have put a sign at both ends that says, ROAD UNDER REPAIR  with a further instruction to pass through another street, a little longer than ours.  Just imagine, the cement was still wet and they insist on passing through the very same area. My neighbors and I are like disgruntled police force just telling them to avoid the wet area that was just cemented. I am beginning to think that bike riders are the worst on the road, uncouth and most of the times, undisciplined.

I wonder  why some of us Filipinos are so fond of short-cuts. They keep complaining that the government is doing nothing to ease their plight and yet, they are these same people who completely disregard simple rules.  I tell you guys, you have no right to complain when you are the first to break the rules.  It’s the reason why we are not advancing like other third world countries which we have left behind many years ago. Some of us don’t know the meaning of the word discipline. Some of us just act for our mere convenience.  When you want something that other people would emulate, then be an example. Case in point, throwing candy wrappers and cigarette butts on the road, haphazardly, some people do this every time without even thinking that those trash would go back to them in case of flood.

I remember this old adage back in Pres. Marcos time, “sa ikauunlad ng bayan, disciplina ang kailangan”.  Most of us are sorely lacking in this, that is why we never prosper. We deserve a better Philippines, don’t you think?

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Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul. – Luther Burbank

I just can’t help taking shot of this when Nissa brought it home a day after her wedding. It’s her bridal bouquet. They are blooms of French Lilac Tulip  and  light Pink Equadorian Roses adorned with crystals and gysophila fillers and polypodium foliage wrapped with white lace ribbon accent.

I should have taken shots of my bouquet too but I forgot. It’s a single bloom of Casablanca lily with purple carnations, agaphantus and purple static fillers with a cord lace of purple.  It’s been a month now since the big day and I still miss her. I seldom see her now  but we communicate everyday via texts and phone calls.

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Yes, I am definitely counting since tonight is the start of Simbang Gabi, make that 4am or 4:30 am for Misa de Gallo tomorrow. And since I don’t always wake up that early, I usually attend the advance Simbang Gabi masses at the nearby parish.  The 9-day novena is something I always look forward to every year, it’s part our yearly tradition during the Christmas season.

Except for our Christmas tree which we didn’t put up this year because hubby is not around,  we have put up some favorite Christmas decor and the house smells of lemon wax and newly ironed curtains .These kept me occupied the whole morning.  It’s a back-breaking job, cleaning and changing sheets and ironing but it’s part of the preparation for Christmas. I always say, without sounding too preachy that this is a special event that we always  look forward to – the coming of Jesus. And it is not only  through wrapping gifts, cooking lavish and favorite food, attending family reunions, completing the Simbang Gabi masses that make Christmas what it is, we should also prepare ourselves  with a clean and loving heart.

One of the personalities that I so love blogging about is Lucy Torres. I don’t get to watch her often on TV since I am not your regular TV enthusiast but I get a thrill  every time I see her lovely face on TV. She and her husband Richard were Kris’ guests this morning on KrisTV. I love her simplicity, the way she expresses herself in front of the camera, the way she writes (I do miss her column at Phil. Star) about life and about her family and the things she loves to do like crafting.  She says that wrapping gifts is one of her ways of unwinding and relaxing  and dancing of course. And she and her daughter also make bookmarks.  I love making bookmarks too and sometimes I buy them in bulk and embellish them with shells, beads or silk flowers. And when I give books to friends, there is always a bookmark enclosed.

And that reminds me,  it’s about time I wrap the remaining gifts which I bought a few days ago. A friend once asked me why I bother having boxes and ribbons and nice wrapping paper for gifts to friends and family. Like Lucy, I enjoy tinkering with things like old Christmas decorations that I  could incorporate into the box.

OC, you might say but that’s the way it is for me. My daughter invested in some art and craft kits like stamp pads, cutter, craft scissors, linen  papers, silk flowers and designs, you name it, she has a whole cabinet full of craft materials. And now she is into bead works making bracelets, earrings and rosaries too.

I do have  more than a dozen chain rosaries which I made earlier as  gifts to friends this Christmas. And do you know that doing crafts is a nice  way of bonding with your family? Even my son makes rosaries which he sells in their office.

It’s ten days to go before Christmas, are you done with your Christmas shopping?

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I am really, really sorry it took me so long to respond to this. I almost forgot it until I saw the comment made by Giancarlo.  Thank you Giancarlo for the nomination.  Thank you too for subscribing to my site. The thing is it took me a long time to complete my fifteen list of bloggers to nominate since some of the links in my blogroll are not at WordPress. I just thought you have to be a legitimate  WordPress blogger to earn this nomination.

And here are the rules for THE VERSATILE BLOGGER AWARD:

1. Nominate 15 fellow bloggers.                                                                                                                 
2. Inform the bloggers of their nomination.
3. Share 7 random things about yourself.
4. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
5. Add the Versatile Blogger Award pic on your blog post.

Seven Random Things  About Myself:

1. I am a Filipina who loves to write and dabble in photography.

2. I am a survivor. It’s the real reason why this blog exists because I am sharing my plight as a cancer survivor.

3. I love to eat green mangoes, sliced thinly with the skin on and dipped in fish sauce or sprinkled with salt.

4. I don’t drink milk.  Weird isn’t it but  my mom said I was breast-fed as a baby.

5. Though I love to write and take photographs, I think I am a gardener at heart. I love to feel the earth in my hands and take shots of all the blooms in our garden.

6. I collect books by Richard Paul Evans, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Robin Cook and Rosamunde Pilcher.  It’s an eclectic mix of reading genre.

7. Just like most bloggers, I also dream of being published someday,  and share my journey on how to cope with cancer.

And here are the bloggers I would like to nominate for this award:

1.twisteen

2. As Kingfishers Catch Fire

3. Derdo’s Weblog

4. Here/Somewhere/Nowhere/Everywhere/There

5. Stumbling Along

6. Source of Inspiration

7. Fee bee’s photography

8. Exploratory Introspections

9. Happinessguru’s Blog

10. David Bigwood’s Photography

11. Bedell Photography

12. Caramelhugs

13. ArtSeblis

14. firstlighttosunrise

15. Going Dutch and Loving It

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