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Archive for April, 2017


Today is Holy Monday and everything seems so quiet. Even our dog Noki, just slept in the corner of our kitchen.  Our three kittens though keep exploring around the place, mostly at the garden and some of the time inside the  house. It’s a good thing they never venture to the living room to scratch our sala set.  I am always on  the lookout, they might discover it soon and then bam,   goes our upholstered furniture.

I  reviewed my earlier posts, back in 2011 and 2012 when I was so active participating in the weekly photo challenge where WordPress usually give a word that would define the photos you want to upload. Those same shots somehow filled up my free space  in record time.  Back in those  days too, they usually give some feedback on one’s latest post. I wonder why the last few years, it is no longer done.  I rather liked it that way. Seemed like they also read those earlier blog posts to  make even a one-word comment.  It  was quite rewarding that they used to do that.

It’s mom’s 88th birthday come April 20. I wonder if my brother would fetch her before the day. At times, she is beginning to be forgetful and her right ear has gone deaf. She has never adjusted to a hearing aid many years ago. She said that she kept hearing so many sounds that she could not understand.   I wonder how she could still laugh and shouts when she watches her favorite programs on TV. She only watches one channel. I am not much into TV watching so sometimes she likes the sound quiet and low.  When I go out I usually write where I am going so she would not complain.  We could not talk much the way we used to because she could  not understand everything. Either you gesture with actions or make your voice a little louder for her to hear. She plays solitaire every day, a card game she is so fond of.

We talk of getting old.  That’s where we will all go someday. I think there is a  big difference between getting old and growing older. When you get old, you just add a number to your name but when you grow old, you acquire wisdom with age.  Life deals us circumstances beyond our control but as we grow older, we become wiser too. Experience always teaches us something. Either we learn a lesson or it falls on the wayside.

What was your Monday like?

 

 

 

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I have previously blogged about our Lenten celebrations in so many posts before. Today, Palm Sunday, is the start of the celebration of Holy Week. It ends on Saturday, April 15 then Easter starts with Easter Sunday next week.

We attended an anticipated mass last night.  The palms we brought were blessed thrice. Most of the time we attend such masses the night before during Palm Sunday. There usually is a Palm Sunday procession in the morning. Palm fronds  are blessed. It signifies the triumphal entry of our Lord  into Jerusalem.  Holy Week is a solemn celebration for us Catholics. We remember Christ’s passion and  death for our sins.

Thank You Lord for these silent moments.

Quiet days in contemplation, quiet days of  reading  inspirational books I have collected through the years. I love the works of Thomas Merton, a Catholic writer, theologian and a mystic. He was also a  poet and a Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani.  Back in college, I encountered  his works particularly his book, The Seven Storey Mountain. It’s a timeless spiritual book that influences  probably millions of  Catholic readers worldwide. My favorite though is a thin copy of  Thoughts in Solitude  given by a friend a few years ago. I always read it now and then.  I have some favorite quotes from the book:

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”

“Words stand between silence and silence: between the silence of things and the silence of our own being. Between the silence of the world and the silence of God. When we have really met and known the world in silence, words do not separate us from the world nor from other men, nor from God, nor from ourselves because we no longer trust entirely in language to contain reality.”

Henri Nouwen’s books come next.  He was a Dutch Catholic priest, writer and Theologian. I have three of his books which I also read when I am inspired. I bought them a while back at St. Paul’s.  I am quoting this lovely prayer for Lent which he wrote in A Cry for Mercy.

“How often have I lived through these weeks without paying much attention to penance, fasting, and prayer? How often have I missed the spiritual fruits of the season without even being aware of it? But how can I ever really celebrate Easter without observing Lent? How can I rejoice fully in your Resurrection when I have avoided participating in your death? Yes, Lord, I have to die—with you, through you, and in you—and thus become ready to recognize you when you appear to me in your Resurrection. There is so much in me that needs to die: false attachments, greed and anger, impatience and stinginess…. I see clearly now how little I have died with you, really gone your way and been faithful to it. O Lord, make this Lenten season different from the other ones. Let me find you again. Amen”

How lovely it is to encounter such gifted writers. How lovely it is to read their  inspirational works again.

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PAGASA has finally declared officially yesterday that we are now into summer. They say that we really don’t have summer because we only have two seasons of the year, the dry and the wet. People got used though to calling the dry days and months summer here. It would lasts until probably the last week of May when thunderstorms in the afternoon are regular occurrence.  It is not yet that hot within the day but there are almost no clouds in the sky. For those of us who love the beach, it’s time for that much-needed dip. Just don’t forget to have sunblock in your bag. Days would be longer than nights.

Finally too, I am almost done with my gardening job – trimming the grass, weeding and replanting some of my ornamental plants.  I haven’t touched  anything outside our perimeter wall yet but I guess, the weeds outside our fence need to be uprooted too. They are growing  tall and unmanageable.  Our Santan  plants need trimming too. That would have to be postponed for a while because they are presently in bloom. I love those red flowers, they are lovely under the sun.

I haven’t blogged for two days but I noticed the decline in my views yesterday. It’s down to a little over a hundred compared to the previous five days before that where it reached more than two hundred a day. I remember that those times when I blogged every  day were the same days that my stats went  up. Really, we are only good as our last post although I noticed  that there are some posts that always stay at the top.  I have some favorites but they are no longer viewed now.  I guess participating in writing one post a day really helps. Back in 2011, I did that but it was never repeated. It was  kind of taxing thinking of what to write about every day for the entire year. Maybe in the future I’ll do it again.

I’ve put aside reading for the last three days but I am trying to catch up again with Lang Leav’s poems and Mary Oliver’s thoughts mixed with my fiction books.  It is always nice to get to know other people’s thoughts and dreams. I am inspired by their writings. Sometimes I  wonder where they get all the inspirations to write those lovely texts. I am envious.  I’ve been an admirer of  Mary Oliver for so long but I only have two of her books. A friend bought me a copy of Upstream,  (my 3rd one) her latest but we haven’t seen each other yet.  I read the reviews of the book, read some excerpts from it and I am really looking forward to have that book on hand.  I follow her on Facebook that is why I am updated.  I like almost all of her poems but this one is a favorite. Would love to share it you.  It’s called Wild Geese.

“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
  in the family of things.”

It is summer now, let me correct that, it’s the beginning of the dry season here.  Would just love to enjoy the sun  and reading.

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It’s one of those days that I get to trim the carabao grass again. Although they are growing   a little slow because it is summer I need to weed out unwanted grass too.  The weather is just right for afternoon gardening. I am just halfway through,  I still have so many things to do in the garden.  It was quite windy but the sun shone brightly.

Our two jackfruit trees are bearing so may clustered fruits again. I noticed the small  fruits at the base of the second tree not knowing that the first tree has born fruits earlier.  I took one to cook in coconut cream.

The remaining five are now large enough to ripen. They were a little up the tree so we really didn’t notice them earlier.  Maybe in a month or two, I could harvest again. Every year, these two trees give us  fruits. All we do is water them every morning together with the other plants we have here plus the two Philippine lime shrubs (kalamansi)  that bear fruits all year round. They are just perfect for a small garden.  Some branches are in their flowering stage.

I am getting impatient with the lavender I planted late last year. I wonder how long it would take before it would bear flowers. The herbs I  planted at the same time are doing well. Maybe the lavender need not be watered daily but the weather is hot here so I water them every day.  Gardening is really a hit and miss thing. Sometimes you’ll see some flowers resurrecting in the heat of summer. Sometimes there are unknown plants that just sprout in a corner.  I find fulfillment in gardening though just like I do with reading and blogging.

Gardening is also a relaxing activity and growing things from seeds and branches are just wonderful.    You won’t notice the passing of time when you are in a garden. Some of my bulb plants and the Amazon lilies planted in pots are presently in bloom.  Oh to see them bloom again. What a reward!

Do you love gardening?

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Sometimes I think I am sharing too much in cyberspace.

Probably you would say, “me too”.  This thing called blogging has taken up a lot of my time sometimes I wonder if other still read my posts.  Are we all too busy to blog, too lazy to comment, too indifferent to click like  or just enjoy reading posts from other bloggers?  We have those times when the screen in front of us remains a blank for so long while we are thinking of what to share and to blog about.  There are times when we all get too enthusiastic to write about the happenings in our lives. Are we sharing too much?

What do you think?

As I have said a long time ago, this blog started as a sort of catharsis for me when I was taken ill almost eight years ago. I needed an outlet to write my thoughts  and share my journey.  It helped me a lot during those sleepless nights and endless laboratory tests and doctor visits. It is a diary that was published online. I am glad of those friends who still follow me until today, fellow bloggers that I follow too and the new ones who recently found my blogs (yes I have five but not all of them are updated).  I am more inclined to see photos of different places  and people shared about by other bloggers.  I am not fond of selfies though. I’d rather post photos of my garden blooms or my family members.

I  take joy in reminiscing, going back to old times and places that made me laugh.  Life is sometimes full of angst that we   have to bear so I’ll choose to remember the happy times, those blessed days  that made me smile and remember things with fondness, the days that laughter and happiness reign in the heart.

So far for Dreams and Escapes, I’ve written 1,955 posts excluding this one.  I am growing old with this blog but I like how it is turning out.

My question remains, are we sharing too much?

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I don’t know what really happened. My supposed to be blog post published itself without any write-up. Funny, I just have to delete and put it to trash.

I just remember, today is the 12th death anniversary of St. Pope John Paul 11. He died last April 02, 2005. I have blogged about him in the past more than I care to admit.  He is my favorite figure in the Catholic church.

My goodness, I lost most of my uploaded e-books on my tab. My device storage is almost full. My tab won’t take additional photos although I deleted most on my Viber app. There are so many pre-loaded apps on the phone  that you cannot erase including Facebook.  The SD card loaded here hasn’t been loaded yet so my son transferred all my e-books to it but along the way, some of them won’t copy and import.  I lost my down loaded classic books of all things. Those that remained were mostly historical fiction and some short stories and poems. Even my memoir books were lost in the process. I have to go online again and buy or maybe get to those free books online.  Maybe when I am not that busy, I would find those books again. I really wonder what happened, now I have lots of free space on my tab, both on the device and SD card. Aldiko e-reader is not that nice on the SD card.  It shows the title but I cannot arrange the books in alphabetical order, both author and book titles.  I wonder why.

Books are that important to me. I cannot live without them. Although I have so many volumes accumulated on our shelves since typhoon Ondoy back in 2009, I still crave for more. My son tells me I am a book addict. When you find it a joy to hoard, (yes the word is HOARD) books that maybe a book addiction. I haven’t read all of them yet. There are still too many on my TBR list. There are authors that I like. Richard Paul Evans is one. I even have an album on the quotes lifted from his books that I copied and pasted  from Facebook. Rosamunde Pilcher and Diana Gabaldon are nice historical reads. Robert Fulghum is a favorite too. I love his practical approach on life depicted in his writings.  Tuesdays with Morrie and The Little Prince are on my shelves so with Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I find them inspiring and the messages they evoke are timeless.

April is just beginning and I just finished 43% of my reading challenge on Goodreads.  Hopefully, I’ll finish earlier than December 31st.

Are you a reader?  What are your favorite books?

 

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One of the many joys in going to the wet market so early in the morning is finding fresh ingredients for simple meals at home. Josef specifically requested that we buy fresh  tofu blocks. We call it tokwa in Tagalog. When you coagulate soy milk and press it into curds, tokwa is made. The usual recipe for this is it is mixed with fried pork and dipped in Philippine lime with soy sauce. We make it differently though.  Sometimes we cook it  in coconut  cream and it is a little dry when cooked.  One thing that we do is fry it to a crisp, sliced  thinly then we sauté in fresh tomatoes and ground pork. When it’s done we add in fresh, chopped Chinese parsley  or kinchay as we locally know it. Partnered with fried fish, it is a perfect meal.

Ginisang Tokwa

We had this for lunch with broiled milk fish. Oh so yummy dish. I blogged about this a long time ago with a different photo. Took this shot  with my cellphone camera.

Try it, it’s healthy.

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For the past several years, we spent Holy Thursday in several churches for our annual  Visita Iglesia. It is always a joy to discover new sites and churches to visit. One of my favorite destinations is the eastern loop comprising Rizal towns and some towns in Laguna.

Rizal is  a picturesque province with so many other nice views, scenery and tourist attractions to visit. Laguna has preserved its old churches which go as far back as  1800. The plains of Mabitac town are so green you would think it is not summer in the area.

Discovering new places, spending time in prayers, what a joy! The vivid green of the countryside is an attraction in itself. I’d like to go back here and visit these places again.

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