Archive for April, 2012

There were times in my past posts when I would blog about saying goodbye to the receding month and saying hello to the new one. Lately though, life has been a bit muddled so I completely forgot all about it.  April was uneventful except for the time that two more members of my online Apostolate came over to meet me. It was the first time we saw each other after almost two years of exchanging comments at our group.  Carolyn came  home for a two-week vacation and Nestel who works in Angola came over from Bataan just to meet me. These are those times that I truly feel grateful for having friends who show that they care. Lilet  of course has been here  several times already so she knows the place very well.

Ah yes,I almost forgot,  Bobic, my eight-year old niece tagged along when my brother and sis-in-law brought back Mom from  a month stay in the province and we celebrated the latter’s 83rd birthday last Saturday.  My niece was brandishing a new cellphone which is even better than the one I am using. She proudly told us that she got the highest honors in Grade III so my brother bought her a new one. I wonder if this is practical considering her age but she could navigate every gadget she gets her hands on in a matter of minutes, and her texts come with smiley emoticons 🙂  She promised to take a short vacation  here once her advance summer class is through.

Come to think of it, I am listening to some songs in YouTube while typing this blog, humming along with the music, It Must Have Been Love from the movie Pretty Woman. Sometimes, just sometimes, I miss listening to songs  like this, definitely a  I am happy-you-made-my-day kind of feeling, if you know what I mean.  Next in line is Richard Harris’ MacArthur Park, another favorite . Goodness, it’s the thrill of listening to these old, old songs that makes me smile. One thing though that I am always reminded of every time month of May sets in is the song by The Bee Gees, First of May. That completes the nostalgia trip….haha!  I created a new account at Facebook because I am trimming down my contacts exclusively for close friends and will use it as repository for my blogs here on WordPress.  I thought of using  networked blogs, on second thought I don’t want to link every blog I post here.  And I was laughing out loud when a friend made a marathon of reading my links and even had a nostalgia trip reading I Do All My Crying In The Rain because she could relate. We both admire Cocoy Laurel. Those were the days, the days of Lollipops and Roses. 

And in between updating my wall, I am trying to finish Stephen King’s Cell.  This has been with me for the past three years, a book sent by a high school classmate from the US but it’s only now that I got the time to read it. You don’t read Stephen King’s books at night, do you? Because I am sure that if you do, you’ll get a nightmare.


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And it’s time to have that ice-cold apple juice for a change!

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A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed… It feels an impulsion… this is the place to go now.  But the sky knows the reasons and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons.  ~Richard Bach

And it always gives me joy every time there is an opportunity to take a few shots.  I love the mystery it possesses and the grandeur of life it always makes me feel.  Clouds – you’re again hovering near!

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It’s now 4pm and the sun is still searing hot. This is one of the hottest summers ever. It really makes one feel so lazy and lethargic. I wonder how long we’ll have this hot weather which easily burns the skin and makes one sweat like crazy. You could not even take a siesta, one leisure you used to enjoy a few months back.

Anyway, I tried reading but the words were a blur so I switched on the TV but the noontime shows were of no appeal to me. Then I found this program called Always and Forever….Today (A Tribute to Angelo Castro Jr.) being hosted by one of my favorite DJs of long ago, Long Tall Howard and Tina Monzon Palma on DZMM Teleradyo.  Who would not know the famous broadcast journalist Angelo Castro, Jr. of  The World Tonight fame?  He was the bespectacled guy with the well-modulated voice, he was behind the longest- running newscast in Filipino called TV Patrol. He succumbed to lung cancer almost a month ago at the age of 67.

They were playing famous songs of the 60’s like The Beatles, Everly Brothers, Vicky Carr, Frank Sinatra, and a spattering of the 70’s  Kenny Rankin and James Taylor. It was a good two-hours of listening and viewing pleasures.  Just like the rest who enjoy listening to the Golden Era of Music, I am a Baby boomer. I was eight  when I first heard of The Beatles and the Everly Brothers and a teenager during the 70’s. Gosh, remembering the childhood years, the teen crushes in high school, the guitar-playing schoolmate who had a penchant for singing James Taylor songs and  watching Tina reminiscing about one of my favorite song writers,  poet Rod McKuen made the hot afternoon tolerable. What makes the music of the yesteryears so different from today? It’s the simple melody, the easy recall and the lovely lyrics. And why are songs mostly about love?  Do they really convey the true meaning of the word?

I remember one of my friends who must have been greatly influenced by the group that he named his son after The Beatles, John Paul George and guess  what’s the nickname of the child,  it’s Ringo, of course.  (Paul, if you are reading this, I am sure you are smiling).  During the 70s, Stairway to Heaven was one of those songs that you kept humming wherever you go and  who could forget the Bohemian Rhapsody, a ballad, guitar solo and rock music all rolled into one? I remember my college days when my close friends and I used to watch the yearly concert of the UST Central Seminary.  I remember those seminarians who could belt out the high notes of the song like a pro.  But nothing could beat my most favorite song which still vividly plays on my head time and time again, Absolutely Free, Absolutely Beautiful by Magic.

Always and forever? Do you believe there is really such a thing? Or do they just live in songs and poems?

P.S. from WordPress:

Goal of 890 Posts Completed. Congratulations!


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I was actually trying to take some shots of the clouds one sunny afternoon at SCTEX on our way to Manila from Pangasinan, but the sun showing its  almost perfect orb was just a bonus. I took these series of shots from the car, never even focusing  on the subject properly.  It tried to hide its face behind those thick clouds  but its rays were still visible somehow.

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I received this wonderful message from a close friend who is also a cancer survivor like I am. It’s a one-line prayer that says:

Dear God,  I pray for a cure for cancer.  Amen 

Don’t we all wish  and pray that they would finally find a cure for cancer? And yes, I guess it’s a prayer that would change the world
.  If cancer is like your common cough and colds, you wouldn’t  really mind so much  because you are assured that in a few days, a week at most, you would be back to your normal self.  And your family would not be burdened with worry whether you will get well or not and they would not need to scratch their heads every time you are scheduled for that much-needed chemotherapy  because shelling out a hundred thousand pesos for every session of chemo is not a walk in the park.  And your hubby, whom you thought would best understand would not say, “naubos ang ipon natin dahil sa pagpapagamot mo.”  And those words hurt more than having that life-changing disease  because in his eyes the money you’ve saved is more important than you getting well.   And I have always said that you can’t really emphatize with a person all that much unless you have experienced the same thing yourself.  The anguish of knowing that you are not hundred percent fit and you know that you are living on borrowed time,  the feeling is all the more acute because at some point, you would ask,  am I on the complete road to recovery?  Pardon the sentimentality attached to this blog because right this moment, everything is so vivid in my memory – the surgery, the long stay at the hospital, the endless visits to the doctors, the heart palpitations every time you get the lab results, the feeling of being so helpless while  on chemotherapy, the endless prayers and knocks on every friend close to you to include you in their prayers as well, the times that you really tried to show you were brave and strong  in front of your kids, and  the uncertainty of knowing when you’ll get well.

And here’s another picture attached to the message:

All  you are asked to do is keep this circulating,  even if it’s
Only to one more person.  In memory of anyone you know
Who has been  struck down by cancer or is still living with  it.

A Candle Loses Nothing by Lighting  Another Candle..

So instead of forwarding it to my list of contacts, I chose to share this in a blog,there is a wider reach that way. In the past, I often wondered why breast cancer awareness campaigns always use  pink ribbon as a symbol. Why not other colors like yellow or blue or any other color for that matter?

Imagine, it took me three long years to learn this, that the symbol for colon cancer is blue.  If I were to choose, the last ribbon (All Cancers) would be appropriate.

Would it be okay if you say a prayer for us, cancer survivors, cancer patients and those who are presently undergoing treatments right now? Thank you so much.

Dear God,  I pray for a cure for cancer.  Amen 

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I told you, I am mad about documenting every bloom in my garden and this lovely hoya only shows its face once a year.  Hoya vines are also called wax plants because of their waxy and velvety blooms which look artificial.  I always look forward to seeing a hoya bloom in my garden every year.  I could not stop smiling while taking  a few shots of it.

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And I mean it is scorching!

A friend sent me a message and asked why she could not see my blog, and I thought, “you mean  a new blog post?” It’s only been three days since I haven’t blogged here. Come to think of it, I am even too lazy to open my PC and update our Catholic page at Facebook.  And you read the title right,  we are experiencing a very hot summer and they say that this will go on until the month of May. I am afraid to venture again outside without a  head-gear because 7 am is already humid. Yesterday though, it was my son’s day off so I asked him to drive me to the nearby Philhealth office in our place. Surprisingly, their service has improved compared to the times I used to regularly  visit  one of their branches to take care of my father’s needs when he was undergoing dialysis more than four years ago. I have to renew my health coverage (without any dependent) and one of the clerks in charge of processing  the MDR (Member’s Data Record) suggested that I can pay the premium in advance since by July of this year, they would raise the premium payment twice the present rate but he assured me that there will be improvements and additional provisions on what would qualify for Philhealth claims.  Oh, well, if you could save more than a thousand pesos, why not?  So I paid in full until December of 2013, one less worry to think about.  And the good news is, it took us less than an hour to finish the transaction, plenty of time to have lunch at Kenny’s and do a little grocery-shopping.

Though it’s a bit late, I want to share this picture which one of my co-admins did at our page. It was our second anniversary yesterday,  two years of lovely journey with the Lord.

This was taken at our second gathering last August 28, 2011 in front of Bahay Dominiko at Sto. Domingo Church. I initially thought of posting some of the members’ comments here on how AFCC (Apostles Filipino Catholic Community) touched their lives but then some are much too personal to put in a blog. Suffice to say, if they are learning a lot reading what we post at the page, we, the admins are also learning from them.  This online Apostolate is so dear to me, a constant reminder of God’s goodness and love for mankind.  If you ever happen to drop by Facebook, you can visit us, just type the whole name of AFCC and click like.

Tomorrow is mom’s 83rd birthday. Happy birthday mom, wish you were here to celebrate with us. I am really hoping to  see you soon. Speaking of birthdays, sometimes I could not imagine myself reaching the ripe old age of 80 and above. My youngest brother once told me that when you reach 80, everything is a bonus.  I told him that it is an even more blessing when you are given a second chance at life, surviving a life-threatening disease like I did. The more each day passes, the more I realize how precious life is.

Why does  celebrating birthdays makes us so nostalgic at times?  It’s because birthdays are really special. Celebrating another birthday is a new year in one’s life.

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The early years – when I could not resist taking shots of flowers and blooms. They never fail to put a smile on my face every time I see them. I wish I could compile all the macro shots I took  (hundreds of them) as far back as four years ago. The details, the place and the moments of joy when I took them are golden memories I’ll always remember with fondness.

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If you’re following my blog you would definitely ask, “what, food again?” I am wondering myself why lately, my blogs are focused on food.  Summer definitely brings that hungry feel, because every time I open our fridge, I often wonder what to prepare for the next meal. So I’m done with the tortilla  but I bought ten pieces of juicy apples which I plan to make as apple crumble. It’s not an immediate plan though because I am still in a quandary whether to use almond nuts which definitely cost sky-high  and which I still have to buy or  the local kasuy which you can buy cheaper.  One can eat the apples fresh  anyway if I decide not to labor again in front of the stove.Gosh, I am getting distracted because I am watching the Binibining Pilipinas Beauty Pageant 2012 while doing this blog.

Yesterday, a neighborhood suki passed by and he offered a bundle of these  young taro leaves which he says taste better than the traditional dried leaves which we make into laing. And he was right because it definitely didn’t need longer cooking  and it even tasted sweeter than the dried ones. We had it paired with pork barbecue , it was a yummy dinner. Sometimes, you don’t need to think of elaborate meals to enjoy eating, right?  You just need to be  a little enterprising , and a little budget goes a long way for one to enjoy home-cooked food.

Today, we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. It’s rather late to wish you a happy and blessed  one. Oh yes, I’m rather getting good again from hopping on a tricycle to a jeepney and I spent the afternoon at Metro East mall visiting one of my favorite jaunts, Booksale.  I found hardbound copies of Frank McCourt’s  ‘Tis and Angela’s Ashes but I have to forego buying them (could have been an upgrade on my two old paperback copies, one couldn’t  be too greedy)  in favor of another book by Preston and Child (my third one) and one more book from another favorite author, Barbara Taylor Bradford.

         One could not go wrong with a Bradford book since it always is a good read. And Preston and Child’s books are fast-paced, and never boring. I was actually looking for a book by Mary Oliver since a friend told me that she found a copy in one of her forays at Booksale.  And even the bigger National Bookstore don’t carry it.  Another friend told me that she sent a package with Richard Paul Evan’s book in it and she won’t even tell me the title.  It’s a result of our book discussion once at Facebook  which I put in a blog two weeks ago. It would really be a lovely surprise.

I was looking for some authentic Thai food ingredients since the ones Nissa brought home from her trip to Thailand didn’t last long in the kitchen.  I’ve tried the red curry paste and Pad-Kapraow  and they tasted different from the more popular yellow curry powder which is locally available. This time though I was lucky enough to find two bottles of Thai ingredients, a green curry paste (it has lemon grass) and basil garlic and chili stir fry paste.  I am excited for another experiment in the kitchen, be sure it will be  here soon.

The joys of living can be found in simple things – books, friends, cooking!

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