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Archive for July, 2017


Yesterday was another lovely day spent with the kids.  I am  always happy when they come and spend the day with us.  Nate has grown taller than a month ago. Sometimes he talks rapidly and you have to catch up and understand.  The excitement to share is there of course.  He always points to his toys when they are around. He has  a bag full of blocks and assorted toys here and  he always plays with them when he is around.

We enjoyed some moments reading his favorite books although he doesn’t know how to read yet but he has learned to memorize and recognize  his alphabet and numbers.

I took some shots on my tab while he was busy with his books.

Books and more books…..

 

Shall we start with this Nonna?

I hope when he grows up, he would appreciate more books. We had a great time  picking kalamansi together for them to bring home.  He was so excited seeing the big ones high up.  We told him to take a bath afterwards and he asked, “Are we going home after my bath? I don’t want to go home. I like to stay with Nonna.” We all laughed. He always equates taking his afternoon bath in going home soon.  He even asked his mom how may more sleeps till he goes to school again.

Family togetherness, it makes the day complete.

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Oh  my, July is almost gone.

It’s been raining since yesterday. We have these habagat rains again because of typhoon Gorio. Gorio is enhancing the monsoon rains all over Metro Manila and nearby provinces. One thing that I don’t like about rainy days is I have to clean our small pond afterwards. We used to have Koi fish  but one rainy morning, they were all gone flashed by heavy rains that saturated the garden.

The lazy day makes me  remember those days when my eldest brother and I were in grade school. Every rainy season, we would stay with my aunt  ( my mom’s older sister) the whole five days that there were classes. My mom was afraid  that we couldn’t go to school on time when it rained hard. We lived in an upper place from the town proper and we used to cross the river  through a wooden bridge wide enough for our feet to step on. When the water is high, the bridge sometimes disappears and we would use a raft made of bamboo poles. I was always afraid to stand and balance myself while crossing.  My aunt’s place was a bit near the school  and we just walked  to and from it.  We have a concrete bridge nowadays  where vehicles could pass through.

During summer months,  we go home every lunch break and we would have a run at the bridge most of the time. We would go home together with my  cousins, neighbors’ kids and some other relatives  and go back in the afternoon  for our classes. We learned to balance ourselves on the wooden bridge  when crossing.  Those were the days, part of our grade school life years ago.

When we started high school, Mom and dad decided to transfer us to Manila and we enrolled at the University of Santo Tomas where I finished college too. I had a hard time then adjusting to high school life in the city although we spent summer vacations with dad when we were young.  Bus and jeepney rides became a necessity. I could not imagine myself now riding on buses or jeepneys.  It was so different back then, pollution was not that heavy and commuters had easy access to public vehicles. Nowadays, LTFRB is so hot on the Grab and Uber rides unmindful of those colorum buses, jeepneys  and taxis on the streets of Metro Manila.  LTFRB is requiring those private vehicles affiliated to Uber and Grab to get similar franchise but they sat on those applications for a year. I must admit, riding a Uber or Grab is the most convenient way to travel aside of course from bringing your car to work.  Most traditional taxi drivers here are arrogant and  choose riders and places. It’s not practical to ride on jeepneys on longer routes because of pollution.

The rain has stopped finally and I am here…reminiscing.

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Son asked me if I watched the first year SONA of Duterte yesterday. I answered  “no”. I don’t listen to the guy nor watch him on television  by choice.  Sometimes though, radio programs air his speeches  but bad, bad me, I  always turn off the radio. I don’t want to be stressed by all the lies, the  arrogance and the curse words which seem to come out regularly from his mouth.  From what I read on a few comments on Facebook, he touched on as usual, the drug problems and extra-judicial killings but not how  we would be progressive on the economic front. He did not even say something about the burgeoning traffic in Metro Manila, the constant gridlock and LRT/MRT trains being always broken. He did not mention the problem about the West Philippine Sea which the previous administration focused on before.  He bent his ire on the media and human rights advocates.  He assured though that drug war will continue. I wonder if he has learned anything from the countries previously beset by similar problems.

During Pnoy’s reign, I have always blogged about his SONA  every year. I was one of those who clapped in front of the television and even jotted down how many times the audience did it. I watched some political analysts’ views right after the SONA.

Oh well, politics and politicians, so unpalatable at times but they are part of our everyday lives.

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Sunday Morning


Early this morning at the church, I was touched seeing this. They came in a little late for the start of the mass. The lady who looked to be around eighty something was in a wheelchair and the guy who pushed the wheelchair might be her son.  When our eyes met, the old lady smiled. You know that gracious way people act when you meet them for the first time.

Sometimes you just feel lucky when a little gesture such as a smile comes your way. It is even better when a total stranger looks at you and share it.  You think of how people get on with their lives and  that inner peace radiates.  Awesome!

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Who are you?

are you like the moon that

shines brightly now

then hides itself behind the clouds?

Or

Are you like the sea,

Violent sometimes

Yet, a haven to everyone?

What are you?

I could never understand

I dare not try to

I only know –

You are my shining star!

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I smell the scent of rain.

The sun shone for a while but it is getting dark again. A low pressure area is forming in the north that might bring  more rain to Metro Manila.  We always dread monsoon rains here because of flash flooding.  The  coming months of August and September  are usually the heavy rain months that extend sometime to the month of October and some strong typhoons still happen until December.  Gosh I always have that hidden fear during the rainy months. I am actually afraid when it rains non-stop and I am alone in the house.  I am praying there won’t be flooding here this season.

Senate and Congress are presently on interpellations    on the merits of extending Martial Law in Mindanao for another five months as desired by Duterte.  The 1987 Constitution states that  a president is only given 60 days to have Martial law in any place and beyond that, it needs the approval of  Congress and the Senate. This is a critical issue that they have to vote on. Knowing that there are mostly pro-Duterte groups  both in the Senate and Congress, they might vote for an extension although opposition groups are questioning the proposed rules of the special joint session. My gosh, they can’t even assure if they will be able to contain the rebellious groups in Mindanao after five months.  Will Martial Law extension ends the conflict there or would it just be  one of Duterte’s means to stay in control as they rightly believe?  There are thousands of   civilians who have fled their homes in Marawi City because of the conflict and some of the evacuees died of various diseases like dehydration.  Talk of human rights violation and extra judicial killing and there you’ll see how this government works.  Do we really need to extend Martial Law? So sad.

The Philippine peso is now at its weakest performance this year. Prices of basic commodities have significantly gone up.  Even those we buy at the wet market  are sky-high.

I am not really looking forward to the State of the Nation Address come Monday. I don’t want to hear more lies and cursing.  Where are we going?

P. S. 5:25pm

This came an hour ago. Breaking news:  Joint House-Senate vote: 261 affirmative, 18 negative. Martial Law extension wins.

Gosh, I don’t know what to say of our lawmakers.

 

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It’s cold.

I was hoping I will be able to finish trimming the carabao grass this morning but the garden  is wet from the rain. It rained so early  and according to news report, it is because of ITCZ (Inter Tropical  Convergence Zone). It would probably drizzle the whole day, that kind which we call tigatik or ambon in Tagalog. It’s that kind of weather that makes you long to go back to bed or either stay in a corner and read.  I just ate a cup of Banana and Honey instant oatmeal.  So lazy to cook breakfast. Or maybe, it the perfect time to drink that cup of instant coffee I’ve longed for all week.

Are you a tea or coffee drinker?

How many times have you heard this frequently asked question, “tea or coffee?”, be it in some obscure diners or  some  extravagant restaurants in town. During the past few years, many coffee shops have sprouted like mushrooms in the metropolis which only proves that there is money in coffee. Coffee drinking is synonymous to bonding with friends, closing deals with business associates and simply relaxing in the comfort of your  home while watching a good TV program or curled up in a corner reading your favorite book.

I used to be a coffee drinker, but now I have limited my coffee intake for just once  or twice a week, or when I feel I have the craving for caffeine early in the morning. Just can’t resist the aroma of freshly brewed coffee or a cup of the instant variety. Those of us who drink coffee know about caffeine and its effects. Though tea and hot chocolate have caffeine too, apparently, it is lesser. They say that three cups of coffee is considered an average or moderate dose, but what about the add-on  like cream, sugar and other kinds of sweetener put in a cup to make it more flavorful? There are various creamer mixes like Bavarian mint, Cinnamon spice, Irish cream, Hazel nut, mocha, Amaretto and other flavored creamers. And there are many ways of brewing coffee. Drip coffee makers have a fairly simple, quick and easy way to prepare a cup. Coffee grounds are placed in a filter basket inside the machine which is filled with water. The hot water drips through the ground into a glass carafe to produce brewed coffee.

When I was in college, I met a Japanese friend who taught me how to prepare Japanese green tea. Tried to teach her some  common English words so  she sent me packs of green tea complete with instructions on how to enjoy a cup. That pretty much started my love affair with the beverage. Green tea is dried, not fermented so it produces a lighter flavor. It’s good for colon cleansing.  There are several varieties of tea in the market today – black tea, Earl Gray, Oolong tea, Orange Pekoe and there are varied flavors too just like coffee.There is also bubble tea which are pearl shakes made of Tapioca (sago in our Filipino language). The tea is usually served with a gigantic straw which is just the right size for slurping. Hot tea drinks may come in the flavor of almond , lemon, vanilla, orange, spearmint, peppermint and chocolate mint. I love the brand Celestial Seasonings, Twinings in different flavors and Lipton Green Tea.  There are so many locally produced tea flavors here  too like ampalaya, malunggay tea, banaba and the like. They are all medicinal. Years ago, I bought a tea set, those dainty cups which are so cute and chic and I have been using them until now.

Tea or coffee, anyone?

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Josef came home last night and gave me a small bag. Inside was a lovely wallet designed like a webbed mat.  He is really that thoughtful. I guess when there is no particular occasion and you receive a lovely gift, you’ll be surprised too. This is not the first time he did this. One time he bought me a thick book at National Book  Store on how to make candles.  He knows that I would appreciate it. Yes, I used to make candles but I gave them as gifts to friends. I haven’t sourced materials for a long time now.  We often eat out when he is around or when I am so lazy to prepare something in the kitchen, we would order a take-out.

Even Nissa always brings something every time they come to visit us. It’s mostly toiletries and body lotions or moisturizer or make-up.  Nate would ask his dad to open the trunk of the car when they get here and he would give me those gifts always with a smile and something like, “We have a gift for you Nonna.”   I am so blessed my kids grew up the way they are – loving, giving and thoughtful.

I found a copy of  The Godfather by Mario Puzo. The first time I read it was way back in college and  I already forgot the details of the story except the name Don Corleone and the Italian  mafia. Over the years, it turned into a classic with two more film sequels. I haven’t watched it though but I found a full movie on YouTube. Gonna watch it after I finish re-reading the book.  This is my 130th read on the 2017  reading challenge. Twenty more books to go until the end of the year.  Hooray! After this maybe I’ll go back to memoirs and contemporary books.

Have a lovely week ahead.

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Sometimes there is an advantage in attending anticipated mass. As Josef was free last Saturday night, we decided to go to mass at 6:30 pm.  It made my Sunday free.

For the past two mornings, I’ve been in the garden digging, replanting and weeding . Getting ready for the rainy days.  The satisfaction one gets from gardening….priceless. I know some won’t agree with me.   Sometimes I don’t wear gloves at all.  It’s nice to feel the rough and coarse earth in your hands once in a while. And it’s nice to see recently trimmed plants lining the garden wall.  One of my friends who visited me last Thursday brought  a pot of pink shrimp plant for my garden. I have the yellow variety so this pink one would add to the beauty of the yellow flowers. I hope I could propagate it later.

Pretty in pink. Can’t wait to see this in full bloom. My pink shrimp plant.

 

A Celosia bloom

I bought a seed packet of this Celosia and planted  it  a few months  back. I wonder if it would produce another color.

Gardening is one relaxing activity that I could not give up.  Yesterday, I transferred some Portulaca plants and they are now flowering nicely in different colors. They are so easy to propagate and very good ground covers. If it does not rain this afternoon, will be able to finish uprooting the weeds outside.  Gardening is hard but the happiness and satisfaction it gives are priceless.

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So you think blogging is easy huh?

This is not to disillusion those who are new in the blogging community.  Some people might claim they are old hats when it comes to blogging. Some are successful enough having those followers in five digits.  Some are just there, observing, reading and sometimes commenting.

In all the years I’ve been blogging, I never attempted to write “how to’s” or make some suggestions on how to be a successful blogger. I guess when it comes to blogging, what is important is sharing something worth-reading, sharing a bit of yourself in the most sincere way you know.

I noticed over the years that there are some bloggers who don’t really take efforts about the content of their sites. They just visit several blogs and share links on their sites. Don’t you think that’s cheating? Oh I know, ping backs are great sometimes but not always. Years back, I encountered one or  two sites which stole my content, the whole thing and just changed some words in between. I got mad and called the attention of WordPress. It just stopped when I blogged about those two sites that they stole my content. I recently learned that you can actually block someone from reading and visiting your site or keep them away from posting comments just to call your attention.  One must be vigilant. I know  you would say, WordPress is public and unless you maintain your blog for your eyes alone, it would remain so.  It’s okay if you keep it as an online journal or a diary.  It’s your choice.

Starting a blog can be overwhelming or intimidating.  Nine years ago, a friend of mine at Multiply suggested that I start a blog at WordPress. I didn’t know how to build one much less customize but I posted  a lone entry in one of the free themes here.  Back then, I had a premium account at Multiply and had at least a hundred close friends who  were all active at the site.  It took me a year to come back here and learn to customize my site.  I’ve been blogging for eight years now and I am glad that I found this community of bloggers who share their thoughts in cyberspace. What a thrill to meet people around the globe. What a blessing to be able to read all those lovely posts they make and share.

There are always topics that we could all relate to. There are always subjects close to our hearts. As I have always said, blogging has become a way of life. It’s one perfect medium to meet online friends. It’s one perfect avenue to vent what one feels.

Blogging, anyone?

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