Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for March, 2015


Saturday.

It was another lovely day spent with my daughter’s family. They came over to visit us after almost a month of not seeing each other. We survived on Viber calls and Skype messages. Nate has grown. He has grown taller and his words now are in a complete sentence. I haven’t taken any picture the last few months because my camera broke and always when they come over, we tend to be  busy catching up on news, playing with Nate  and just happy being together.

Last Saturday, I had  a chance  to take a few shots, pics of Nate and Mom, Mom and Nissa, the three of them, Josef and Nate. As always , I was behind the camera. He was thrilled to see his new book which a friend gave two weeks ago for his birthday.  I call him our little bookworm. He easily identified all the animals included in the nursery rhymes. I was amazed.  Maybe their various trips to the zoo helped a lot. We learn from a child right? Unafraid, ready to explore and always curious about things.  So trusting, so confident,  secured that he is loved.

Yesterday, I received a message from WordPress saying that I have made one hundred posts on Our Little Bundle Of Joy. I started it a few days before he was born last November 2012 with the thought of documenting every precious moment with him. I showed his pictures once and he said “Nathan, Nathan”.  Nissa is making an album of their trip last year to Dumaguete City and Siquijor.  I love those pics showing Nate enjoying the beach and the kiddie pool. Nissa has a way with words, the photo descriptions are just lovely. She’ll have it printed later. I wish I could make a similar one but I am not familiar with the program she is using.

Here’s a lovely book quote for kids  (using Nate and Josef’s pic which is included in my latest blog post). Our Little Bookworm The happiness of teaching a child to love books and reading. Someday, we would explore bookstores together.

Do you remember your favorite books when you were kids?

And did I tell you that Nate wants to be an astronaut? I asked Nissa how that came about. she said that he remembers the movie/pictures he saw of astronauts. Such a big dreamer for one so young, he is only 2 years and 4 months old.

Read Full Post »


Rich

They always say that everything happens for a reason.

I believe that too. It’s the same thing with friendship. It goes a long way, a lovely journey of discovery, a truly meaningful sharing with kindred souls. It’s hard to find true friends but when you find them, they are more valuable than gold. I treasure the days that I share with my friends. Some are there to make me laugh and make me realize that it is okay to cry, cleanse our eyes and hearts with all the hurts and pain. Some are there just to listen, no words needed but a ready shoulder and loving arms to make you feel you are truly worthy of being a friend. Some are there to give advice and make you see the truth no matter how painful it is to face. Some are there for a long time,  guiding you, lifting you up, rejoicing with you in your triumphs and  empathizing  with you when you are down. Some are there to make you smile and make the day worthwhile.

What a wonderful thing friendship is. What a wonderful world friendship brings.  And it’s true, “what a difference having a friend makes”.

P.S. For those friends I met through this blog, I could not thank you enough. You made a difference in my life.

Read Full Post »


holyweek

For us Catholics, today is the start of our Holy Week celebration.  I attended an anticipated mass last night and have the palms blessed.  I love how the presiding priest explained the meaning of the blessings of palms.  The way to Calvary is full of pain and thorns but Jesus emerged the winner through death and rising up again on the third day. He brought us tremendous blessings through the Holy Cross.

Max Lucado, a favorite inspirational author aptly put it this way and I quote, ” Jesus was not on the cross for His sins. He was there for ours.”

May you have a blessed and meaningful Holy Week.

Read Full Post »


Hi everyone! How have you been? It’s been a while and there is no valid reason neglecting this blog except that I was just busy. It’s Holy Week  next week so I have to finish everything (gardening included) so I could at least spend it in quiet reflection and visit some churches for our annual Visita Iglesia.  Hopefully, Josef and I could do the Manila loop on Holy Thursday. I wish mom is strong enough to join us in the Stations of the Cross. I love visiting churches nearby during the season of Lent but I haven’t ventured in the churches of Manila yet  We have done the Rizal area as far as Morong and Cardona and several towns in Laguna.  Rizal province and Laguna have the most beautiful century old churches in the Eastern loop, well-preserved and they have lovely facades. One time, we tried the churches  in Marikina City, Josef was driving and we got lost along the way. Marikina has a lot of one-way streets and it was quite confusing.  Hopefully, we could do it again and I suggested if we could just take a commute since most churches in Manila are near each other.

I am catching up on my reading. All the Light We Cannot See is my first book of Anthony Doerr. It’s Goodreads’ choice 2014 winner. It is a historical fiction set during World War II, a  wonderful and moving account on the lives of two teenagers, a blind girl from France and a German orphan boy  who grew up in an  industrial and mining town  in Germany. I love reading about WW II, be it fiction or a true account of what happened. My parents  have their own personal account of it when the Philippines was occupied by the Japanese. The book is another facet of history as told by Doerr. I love Markus Zusak’s  The Book Thief  (read it twice actually) and almost all the books of Leon Uris about  the war in Poland and what life was like in Ireland during the Industrial Revolution, subjects that keep me awake for hours until my eyes  can no longer decipher the words. Here are some interesting quotes from the book. I jot them down as I read them.

“Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.”
“We rise again in the grass. In the flowers. In songs.”
“I have been feeling very clearheaded lately and what I want to write about today is the sea. It contains so many colors. Silver at dawn, green at noon, dark blue in the evening. Sometimes it looks almost red. Or it will turn the color of old coins. Right now the shadows of clouds are dragging across it, and patches of sunlight are touching down everywhere. White strings of gulls drag over it like beads.

Read Full Post »


Just in case you are wondering what this is all about, I just set up a new blog. I deliberated on new titles that would somehow relate to my main blog here, something which is just as easy to remember as this one. I came up with Dreams Never End. What do you think? Come to think of it, it is even harder now to choose a free theme that has all the widgets you want to add, some don’t allow header images. Since I posted my 1,628th  blog entry, I was so conscious that adding more high-res pictures would eat up my remaining free storage. I scanned the themes provided by WordPress and most of the new ones are not free anymore.  In fairness to WordPress, there are new themes that are still free but not as good and user-friendly as the popular ones.  It’s hard to start from scratch again, meanwhile I would make the new one as repository for future posts, if I find enough time to update it.  Wish me luck.

And here’s the good news. Early this morning, our “not-so-friendly  neighbor” came by. I was surprised seeing her face at our gate.  She apologized and said that they are still in the middle of finishing the second floor of their house and told me not to bother cleaning our roof since they will clean it when they are through. I told her to just be considerate and put plywood to catch the debris  that is rapidly filling up our roof gutter.  I suggested that they consider reading the National Building Code so they would know what they should do and what they should avoid. I am not being mean but it is better that it comes from an authority than from me.  I also told her that I don’t like to have enemies, besides they are my neighbors. Believe me, this is answered prayer. I prayed the whole rosary for them the night we had that exchange of ugly words. I am giving them the benefit of the doubt, hopefully they would be true to their words. I told mom about it and she said, “they should have done that, informing you about it before they started”. I am glad they realized their mistakes. For those who don’t know the whole story, let’s go back to a few posts.

Humility never goes unappreciated. I am glad she is humble enough to admit her mistakes.

Read Full Post »


IMG_6586

Thank you Lord

for these silent moments.

I am grateful

for the times I felt so down

and You made me feel Your

presence.

 

Read Full Post »


A_wrinkle_in_time_digest_2007

“Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.” – Madeleine L’Engle

I started reading it two nights ago and it got me hooked. Reading YA is sometimes a joy….the ingredients are all there, science fiction, fantasy, children’s literature. I wonder why I only found it only now when it was published as early as 1962. Would also love to see the film adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time. I still have few more pages to read.

Read Full Post »


Allow me to rant a little.  I am trying to avoid stress but this makes my head ache. Two years ago, my immediate neighbor (our properties are divided by a fire wall and since our house is on a corner lot, it is the only house next to us) decided to have a second floor of their house. My problem started then because our roof near their house was destroyed when debris of cement and hollow blocks rained on it. They didn’t have protective covering so I have to make a proper complaint to our homeowners’ association to remind them of it. After two weeks I went to the engineering office of our town, showed them the pictures of the damage done by our neighbor to our roof. They sent someone to inspect a week after several follow-ups but at that time, no worker was around so they didn’t talk to the owner. In short, they left the project hanging, with just plain hollow blocks encircling the structure, no beams to speak  of (and that is dangerous for them and for me too), no enough steel bars to hold it and I presumed seeing the site, there was no building plan and building permit. The framework looked pathetic.

My brother is an architect so I had him check the site from our end and he said the building was not safe. I had a few arguments with the owner to no avail.  We had our roof repainted and repaired  three weeks ago. Our two painters even cleaned the area where bits of cement got stuck. Two days ago, while Mom and I were having naps, we heard a loud noise coming from our roof in three successive times. Since it was my son’s day of, I asked him to check it, true enough, some debris were there, and it was like our newly painted red roof was scattered with cement powder.  I talked to them and we argued, the owner (the wife, I mean) was like a tiger let loose on a cage together with her daughter telling me that I am always complaining so I told her I have a right to complain because this is my property. She hurled insults that were too personal and has nothing to do with what we were trying to resolve. I told the story to some of my friends and most of them told me to sue her for slander and oral defamation. I don’t want a stressful life so I’ll just probably make another visit to the engineering office of our town so they could visit it. Her husband promised that they would put a net but until now, they haven’t done yet and the debris kept raining on our roof.  My son took pictures again and we haven’t removed all those debris yet. Come to think of it, at least they should offer to clean it, right? The half sack of cement, sand and hollow blocks we collected two years ago from our rooftop is still lying in a corner of the garden, evidence of their not so neighborly attitude.

I get along well with our neighbors across the street where we live, they are like extended family but this particular one is a pain in the neck. How I wish we could choose our neighbors but they are here to stay. Inconsiderate people never learn.

And if I may add, this is how their structure looks like.

IMG_6614

Look at our gutter, it is full of debris. and that dent on our roof….it was two years ago when they started their house renovation.

Look how poorly done it is, this is on our side and those hollow blocks....crazy....

Look how poorly done it is, this is on our side and those hollow blocks….crazy….

Crude....the coco lumber they used two years ago were left hanging on our property line and when the two painters removed them they crumbled into pieces.

Crude….the coco lumber they used two years ago were left hanging on our property line and when the two painters removed them they crumbled into pieces.

No corner beam done here.....

No corner beam done here…..that’s their roof.

Read Full Post »


There is really no contest between the two. I love both and this is actually another experiment because it was the first time I used chicken as the main ingredient instead of ground pork. I haven’t baked anything in a while, desserts or recipes. I am not really that too busy  but the last few days have been so stressful that I have to think of a way to relax and cooking relaxes me. One morning while we were having breakfast, Josef and I discussed about what we used to prepare on the table and I told him, let’s prepare something for mom that she would surely like. My mom is turning 86 in a few days and she’s talking of going home to the province before the month ends. I told her to wait for her birthday here. There is no reasoning with our old folks once they decide on something. She just told me yesterday to call my brother so he could fetch her. One thing I like about her is that she is always appreciative of what I cook. When she is not familiar with it, she watches  me prepare the ingredients and asks questions.  We’ve been on mostly fish and vegetables since the season of Lent started and Fridays are totally “no-meat days”. Sourcing what is available in our pantry, here it is, a yummy chicken shepherd’s pie. It always tastes good with panini bread, just plain grilled slices.

Mom loves the melted cheese and mashed potato on top. Baked it just to melt the cheese.

Mom loves the melted cheese and mashed potato on top. Baked it just to melt the cheese.

Never been good at taking pictures of food. One more try, that is...

Never been good at taking pictures of food. One more try, that is…

P. S. And here’s the recipe,as promised Ren. You would need the following:

1 whole deboned chicken breast, boiled and cut into bite-size pieces

2 boiled potatoes

1/2 stick butter

dash of pepper

white onion, diced but it is better to cut it into small cubes

1 large carrot

1 cup of green peas

1 small can of Campbell Cream of Mushroom

grated cheese

Mash the potato with 1/2 stick butter, set aside. Saute onion, carrots, green peas and chicken then add in the can of mushroom last. Don’t put salt because the saltiness of the cream is good enough. Put in a baking dish, top with the mashed potato then grated cheese. A friend suggested that you can add bread crumbs to the cheese to make it crunchy to the bite  (it’s up to you). Bake for 30 minutes covered in aluminum foil or until the cheese melts. Serve hot with your favorite bread. I used the regular American loaf bread pressed on a Panini maker.

Read Full Post »


I am getting frustrated. Maybe this is the wrong time to upload pictures because our internet provider is so slow. I wonder why. This morning I made a backup of all the shots I took since January. I copied them to my hard drive including the pictures of Nate that Nissa forwarded to me. Better be sure than sorry.

Since I posted the pictures I took of my garden blooms earlier in another blog, I am sharing  them with you. They are in high-resolution format. Again, my problem here is lack of free space for uploading. At least at Gardens and Empty Spaces, it’s just my 86th post. Come visit my other blog if you are not yet subscribed to it.

Do you know that I also collect key chains as a hobby? It started with just one gold-plated gift from a former boss one Christmas  season thirty years ago. I have  more than two hundred pieces from different countries mostly in Asia. All of them are gifts from family and friends. Those who know my penchant for collecting don’t find it hard to give me gifts. Yes, key chains are enough. I recently received two from Nissa, one is from Singapore and the other one is from Brazil (Football Connect). Last Saturday, Reymon, one of my friends who came over for our small party gave me two more. He visited Malaysia and Hongkong late last year and bought some lovely key chains. After all these years, they haven’t tarnished.  I wish I could find some from Europe like Spain or France or Netherlands or UK, I don’t have those yet. I have a Bible key chain too, the only one I bought years ago but I could not read the words since they are too small. The wonderful world of collecting.

A friend recently signed me in to another book group, this time at Facebook. I’ve missed attending their monthly meetings since I could not keep up with their discussions. Every month, they hold it in different places with assigned moderators. Two questions that elicited so many comments were these: 1) What are your three favorite books of all time? 2) What are you reading right now? I love reading their comments and what books really  influenced them or inspired them that these are their favorites.  Number one on my list is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I reread this for the third time when I found a paperback copy at Booksale a few years ago. It made an impact on me when I read it way back in college. Number two is Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. I can truly relate to this. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery comes close to third of my favorite. I got two more actually, The Road Less Travelled by M.Scott Peck and Man’s Search For Meaning Victor Frankl. What about you, what are your favorite books? Would really love to hear from you 🙂

Oh, this Smartbro is really so slow 😦

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »