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Archive for April, 2017


Had to wake up early to go to the supermarket to buy ingredients for the  birthday celebration we are planning for Mom tomorrow. SM East Ortigas Supermarket opens early at 7am every day. So convenient for early shopping. When it comes to a simple celebration, we always prefer home-cooked meals.  Sirloin steak, chicken lollipop, barbecue, baked potato marble and Filipino style spaghetti.  When we celebrate birthdays at home, there is always Chines bihon  (pansit) or spaghetti on the side. Yesterday, I cooked pansit  for mom, for the two of us actually, had it for lunch and merienda.

I wanted to bake some cookies since I have those M & M baking bits given by a friend last week but I feel so lazy to jot down what to buy, maybe when Mom goes home, I will.  We’ll just have store-bought cake for dessert.  I haven’t done any baking lately, trying to avoid sugar and too much carb. I have been to my internist for my month follow-up check-up the other day. No more lab tests, thank God but my medicine for BP was changed to a higher dose. Though the doctor’s fee is free because of my JP Morgan health card, the cost of medicines is sky-high.  I have to take four kinds of medications every day for I don’t know how long but I feel good.  Gone are the earlier days of always making a mistake when I am in front of the computer blogging. My fingers are quite steady now.

I talked to Nate last night. He was shouting that we will see them again soon. Yes, they are coming over for lunch tomorrow. Nissa offered to cook spaghetti.  When we cook spaghetti, it is not just from a can, we make sure that we buy fresh ingredients to go with it.

Looking forward to another family bonding.

 

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I am greeting my mom early for her 88th birthday. It is her birthday tomorrow but we will celebrate it properly when the kids are around this coming Saturday.  Sometimes I wonder if I’ll be able to reach that ripe old age of 88. She is the youngest of four sisters and the oldest is almost a hundred years old now.  Their generation  is quite different from ours. They were not able to enjoy the age of technology which we call the internet nowadays. I remember though that we used to have that manual Underwood typewriter where Dad typed most of his correspondence at home.  My parents both studied shorthand writing. I was intrigued. When  I was in college, I took up six units of steno but that was all.  I never learned to appreciate shorthand. You need patience and skill to use it.  I don’t know if shorthand subjects are still offered until now. Here’s a picture we had earlier with mom, my eldest brother  Roy and my son Josef. The pinkish color in the background was because of the overhead lighting.

Some say you are totally blessed when you reach  80. The added years are a bonus to one’s age.  Maybe so, but those times are the times you feel your age. Pains and other illness crop up and  you need maintenance medicines for longer life.  They grow a little forgetful. Mom is hard of hearing, oftentimes, I write messages to her so she will understand and will be able to read them.  We don’t get to talk as much as we used to because she always says “I don’t know, I could not hear you“. What she hears are garbled sounds on her right ear. The  left is totally deaf.  Years ago, we bought her hearing aid upon the advice of  an otolaryngologist  but she never adjusted to it. Maybe old age has contributed to her hearing loss.

Happy birthday Mom, we love you. Good health and happiness always.

 

 

 

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I just received this  message from WordPress a few minutes ago with this logo:

“Congratulations on writing 100 posts on Gardens and Empty Spaces!”

Haha, it’s my 100th blog post on my other blog  Gardens and Empty Spaces. I have long neglected this blog because for the last six months I haven’t taken  pictures of my garden  until today. I have to use my tab to take photos. I am glad that for every milestone in blogging,  WordPress has always a reminder so we  won’t forget.

Come visit me there if you have time.  Would love to update it at least once a month.

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I’ve read somewhere about those seven signs when you are seriously broke. Seriously, I don’t think there are just those  seven signs for you to realize that you really don’t have enough to tide you over until the next pay-day or until your next pension.

My goodness, there must be something wrong with people who try to live beyond their means. Nowadays,  gadgets are always updated almost every six months and there are people who just can’t help themselves, they need to buy the newest and latest model of cellphones, tabs, lap tap or what have you maxing out their credit card limits in the process.

Since I started working at the bank back in 1978, I also started keeping a small notebook of  my daily expenses religiously updating it at the end of the day. Why, even a twenty-five cents worth of candies was written there. I kept a tab of my monthly budget and summarized it yearly when my two kids were still at university. I had several envelopes marked for marketing, for groceries, miscellaneous, Nissa’s and Josef’s allowances and for small indulgences now and then. That only stopped  a few years after my optional retirement from the bank where I worked for more than twenty-one years. Since then, I’ve been conscious of how and  where to spend wisely.Sometimes though, I am an impulsive buyer too. There are those things that we just want but don’t really need. Economists always tell us, save first before you spend. That seldom happens though. By the time the 15th or the end of the month is near, you are using your credit card to buy things.

I learned a lot while I was working at Bank of PI. You learn to save money the right way, you learn to invest in some funds the right way. They will teach you how. You will learn to curtail a little of those unnecessary expenses. You will learn to handle money. Money  per se is not evil, it’s how we handle it. There  are people who think money is their  God, the more they have, the happier they are.  You are rich when you have enough but you are richer when you have peace of mind, you can get up in the morning without worrying,  when you could admire simple things that give you happiness.

Is living beyond your means an ideal set-up? I don’t think so.  It would probably gives you more problems than you presently have.

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Whether we admit it or not, most of us live our lives on autopilot. We wake at the same hour, go to the same place of work or worship, talk to the same people, eat at the same restaurants, even watch the same TV show….

But sometimes the evolving terrain of life requires us to evolve with it. When those times come, we usually find ourselves quivering on the

The Mistletoe Secret

precipice of change as long as we can, because no one wants to dive into the ravine of uncertainty. No one. Only when the pain of being becomes too much do we close our eyes and leap.

Thus begins the first chapter of Richard Paul Evans’ The Mistletoe Secret. Another book to cherish. It’s my 75th book on Goodreads’ 2017 Reading Challenge.  I can relate to this book because the story is about a blogger who feels so alone and lonely and she writes what she feels through a blog.  She thought no one cares but there was someone out there who continued to read her blog.  This is the premise of the book until the guy decided to look for that blogger and you guess it right…there is a happy ever after, but of course.  The story line is simple but it has depth of emotions and feelings. It’s been a long time since I read a book by Richard Paul Evans.  His writing style is not that complicated but I love how he delves into  life in general and relationships in particular.  It’s what I like about RPE’s writing.

I am halfway through my committed books to read for this year, 150 in all. One thing with a new book is that you can’t help but  smell the pages and no dog-ears please. Use a book marker.  I started reading a few excerpts of Mary Oliver’s Upstream when it was published  late last year but now that I have my copy, I will enjoy reading her essays.

What have you read lately?

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Alleluia, the Lord is risen.

Today is Easter Sunday.  We say in  Tagalog, “Maligayang Pasko ng Pagkabuhay”. It is not even about Easter eggs and bunnies ( the celebration has been too commercialized because of those).  It is about our Lord Jesus Christ rising from the dead. He paid for our sins by dying on the cross.   It only goes to show that the resurrection is a triumph,  life is more powerful than death.  Here’s to new life, new hope and new beginning for all of us.

We attended Easter Sunday mass early today. The church was full, we sat on plastic stools. Today is also the renewal of our baptismal promises. Whereas before   our godparents  uttered those words for us, today, we said the same words. We reject Satan and the lure of evil in  our lives. We believe in God, the father Almighty, we believe in  the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church. We believe in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.

Easter Sunday is celebrated solemnly in every Catholic  Church. The Paschal candle is blessed and lit  throughout the Paschal season  and that is during Easter and on special occasions like baptisms.

Whereas before we abstained from eating meat every Friday during the Lenten season,  one could start again if one wants too.

Happy and blessed Easter to all. Have a nice week ahead.

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Out of the blue, a friend who arrived home from San Antonio about a month ago called me up and said she is coming over for a chat.  Of course,I was elated.  Who wouldn’t be? The last time we saw each other was sometime in October 2014. she said her package has arrived and she brought all these gifts for the family. She even gave some cash to Mommy when she found out that Mom is having her birthday on Wednesday.

Two hours of updating on each other’s lives although we always chat on  Messenger in between.  She brought with her a dozen pocketbooks, baking chocolates, Spam, Skittles and M & M for Nate, a box of Pringles and two hardbound copies of two of my favorite authors Mary Oliver and Richard Paul Evans. Upstream is Mary Oliver’s latest book while The Mistletoe Secret was published last November.  To own such copies, priceless. This is my third book  of Mary Oliver, the first two are books of poems while this one are essays she wrote.  I’ve collected several books  of Richard Evans.  His latest will be out in the market in May.

Celebrating friendship – the smiles, the laughter, the serious talk about life itself, the many, many things that make friendship beautiful. This is the only time that she is free because she has come home for good and has many things to do.  Who says online friends are not real?  We used to be online friends at the Catholic site on Facebook where I am one of the admins. it started with just a few chats in  a group which my priest friend, our chief administrator created. We saw each other several times in the past. Every time she comes home, we make it a point to see each other. This is one of those blessed days to renew friendship. Just so happy.

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Can’t  really pass this up. Late this morning I received a message from WordPress with the familiar logo which is an upward spike. Gosh, I have to take a look at my stats right there and then. Yesterday it was close enough to 300 views then as of the moment, I have 250 on my dashboard.

Your blog, DREAMS AND ESCAPES, appears to be getting more traffic than usual! 34 hourly views – 8 hourly views on average
A spike in your stats

Most of the viewers  are from the Philippines. They probably took note of the churches we have visited before during our annual  Visita Iglesia.  It’s been two years now since we did our fourteen stations prayers and readings at our Parish in town.  Before we did the eastern loop of the Laguna towns, the province of Rizal, some churches in Quezon City and Marikina  City.  Tradition is that we should visit at least 7 churches in one day and do two stations of the cross in one church.  Tonight there is an early celebration of Easter Vigil with Psalm  readings and probably baptism of Catholic converts too.

Oh well, I am just glad for the upward spike on my stats.

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We are still observing Easter Triduum which began last evening and will end on the evening of Easter  Sunday. It is the summit of the Liturgical Year. Yesterday, Mom  and I attended the  Last Supper mass  at 5pm. Josef had work so he was not able to attend it with us. this morning though  we were early at the church for the fourteen stations of the cross, prayed the rosary afterwards then took a look at the Lenten procession going on.  The procession is a yearly ritual of our town every good Friday. It depicts the 15 mysteries of the  Holy Rosary.  Looking forward to Easter Sunday which we locally call Pasko ng Pagkabuhay. This afternoon, there will be reflections on the Seven Last  Words on local television. I always watch it which starts at exactly 1pm until 3pm. That’s the only regular program we get to watch during Good Friday. Most programs on this day are a repeat of previous ones. Even shopping malls are closed and some open at 12pm  on Black Saturday. It is really a quiet celebration of the Holy Week.

I get updated again with my reading some inspirational books. Those books that I get to read during Lent particularly during Holy Week.  It’s comforting to learn more about Jesus’ sufferings to redeem us from our sins. We are blessed that we have this yearly Lenten celebration to deepen our faith and say thanks for all the blessings we had throughout the year. Those times that we erred and sinned in the process, those times that we let injustices done to our friends and neighbors, those times that we just didn’t care at all – those are the times that we get to remember today and we repent. Our Lord has taken all the beatings  until he died on Good Friday to resurrect on the third day which we look forward to on Easter Sunday.

Have a blessed Paschal Triduum.

 

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Oh my gosh. this is crazy. I saw the video of a flight passenger of a United Airlines plane being  dragged down his seat and forcibly being taken out of the plane. United Airlines said they were overbooked that is why they have to  lessen the number of passengers in that particular flight. He didn’t want to because he is a  doctor and some passengers were  waiting for him in his destination. Of course, the netizens were  downright angry about what happened.  Even the other passengers were shouting at the security force of the airline. Human dignity is clearly missing here. Gosh, the humiliation of being forcibly  taken out of the airplane even if he has fully paid his air fare.  What are the rules when it comes to overbooking? Shouldn’t it be voluntary on the part of the passengers? Why should the airline overbook in the first place? What kind of customer service do they have? Latest report said that the video has become viral and the stocks of United Airlines went down today.  Is offloading allowed in other airline flights too?  So far, here in our country according to some aviation officials interviewed earlier, that hasn’t happened yet and they don’t want something similar to happen. They ask volunteer passengers if they could transfer their flight on another one and give some compensation in the process.

Remember that virtual pet back in the 90’s called Tamagotchi? The original design is being reintroduced in the market by Bandai. Back when it was still new in the market, I bought two for Josef and me although it was a little expensive. I used to bring it at the office and checked on it regularly to feed and do all the things one has to do with a real pet. I had a good few months playing that digital toy.

photo credit to Bandai

The kids of the nineties have grown up. and Tamagotchi was replaced by other virtual toys in the market. I wonder if it would be as popular as it was back then. I remember a priest friend who  asked me before what good it would bring to play with one. I just said for relaxation.  Oh, I guess I would still buy one when it comes in the market.

It’s Holy Wednesday and some Christians call it Spy Wednesday. It was this time when Judas betrayed Jesus with thirty pieces of silver. There is a procession here in our parish this afternoon. Have a blessed week.

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