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Archive for the ‘2015’ Category


Blogging  about “blogging”  again.

When I checked my dashboard, this is supposedly my 1,600th blog post. Of course, I would not say “I can’t believe it” because for the last five years and nine months I’ve shared my thoughts in cyberspace more particularly at WordPress. I started it more than a year before that but as we all know, when you are a neophyte at WordPress you are almost afraid to share  and you don’t even know how to make your site something worth-visiting. I still believe that the contents matter more than the themes you choose. Sometimes I wonder what all those 1,599 posts are all about, the almost six years have become a metamorphosis, a kind of transformation from just sharing my plight as a cancer patient and survivor to touching on such delicate subjects as love and politics. I love blogging about what I’ve been through in the early years that I found out I had cancer  although at times it pains me to remember those days. When I read the comments and sharing of some of my readers who have been and are in the same journey as I am, I am just overjoyed that this blog has a purpose after all.

I miss some of my blogging friends who just quietly left the scene and  stopped writing and it is sad because I enjoyed their posts. Is it all worth it? Is it worth one’s time to stay in front of a moody computer and fill the blank spaces with what you think about the world, about life and about everything that catches your fancy? I think it is. Looking at my stats summaries, the highest views registered a total of 13,716 in the month of September 2012 and the closing of the same year yielded a total view of 97,386. Top posts remain the archives/homepage but the all time blog entry  that has the highest views is  our first road trip to Tanay back in 2012. I am amazed where those 314,941 total stats (as of this writing) came from because I don’t have that much followers but sometimes the search engines go crazy and point to my posts. Maybe, I am just lucky covering so many subjects almost everyday.

I joined the Post A Day 2011 the whole year. I don’t think I’ll be able to repeat that. Back in 16 January 2012, I regularly posted about the impeachment of Chief Justice CJ Corona (they were busy afternoons glued to the television screen with mom) until the time he was finally issued a final verdict of guilty on 29 May 2012. A friend even commented that I made it easy for those students who were given assignments to share their own views but came up with “copying and pasting” what they saw on the net. There were lots of comments like “thanks po for sharing”   :).

For those blogging friends who are consistently making comments and liking my posts, thank you. For those who visit my site regularly, thank you so much.

Hooray to blogging!  May I ask, what do you find interesting in a blog? You’re welcome to share, thanks.

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Just started on my reading marathon (if you could call it that). I finished reading book one today, a nice first-novel  chick-lit by Deborah Meyler called The Bookstore. I promised myself that I would at least read 50 books this year. For a bookworm like me, that is not much actually. I know of some members from my book club who could and do manage to read books as much as a hundred.  As it has books on its cover and there is the word book on its title, I guess that made it my number one of the fifty books I want to read. I don’t have a list  because I don’t want to concentrate on just fictions.

I must admit I cheated a little since I started this one on the last days of December but  put it  on hold because of Christmas and New Year celebrations.  For a first time novel, I found it charming and nicely written. Here is a short summary culled from Goodreads.

A witty, sharply observed debut novel about a young woman who finds unexpected salvation while working in a quirky used bookstore in Manhattan.Impressionable and idealistic, Esme Garland is a young British woman who finds herself studying art history in New York. She loves her apartment and is passionate about the city and her boyfriend; her future couldn’t look brighter. Until she finds out that she’s pregnant.

Esme’s boyfriend, Mitchell van Leuven, is old-money rich, handsome, successful, and irretrievably damaged. When he dumps Esme—just before she tries to tell him about the baby—she resolves to manage alone. She will keep the child and her scholarship, while finding a part-time job to make ends meet. But that is easier said than done, especially on a student visa.

The Owl is a shabby, second-hand bookstore on the Upper West Side, an all-day, all-night haven for a colorful crew of characters: handsome and taciturn guitar player Luke; Chester, who hyperventilates at the mention of Lolita; George, the owner, who lives on protein shakes and idealism; and a motley company of the timeless, the tactless, and the homeless. The Owl becomes a nexus of good in a difficult world for Esme—but will it be enough to sustain her? Even when Mitchell, repentant and charming, comes back on the scene?

A rousing celebration of books, of the shops where they are sold, and of the people who work, read, and live in them, The Bookstore is also a story about emotional discovery, the complex choices we all face, and the accidental inspirations that make a life worth the reading.

I love going to bookstores. A trip to the mall would not be complete without visiting one. Even if it is only to browse and find new titles, it is a joy in itself.  I was a student librarian once when I was in college. I spent almost three years of my college life working part-time at the Humanities Section of the main library of University of Santo  Tomas. Where would you find such wonderful books in Literature, Psychology, Ethics and  Philosophy but there? Those days were the best years of my college life – learning the basics of a library work, finding joy in books, making new friends  from all the colleges of the university. Reading The Bookstore made me remember those long-ago days and it makes me smile just thinking of it.

Can’t wait to start The Goldfinch which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2014.

 

 

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Personally, I have nothing against them – those psychic and fortune tellers who predict  the future, 2015 particularly. I just get irked when I turn on the TV and the more popular TV channels are showing the same format in their shows. This and that TV personality would split up this year, a reporter will die from car accident, there would be more calamities to come.  There are also phoned in texts of televiewers giving their time of birth, birthday and the fortune-teller would say a few words about them as in,  outright? Come on people, I would not even believe that. They are cashing in on the vulnerability of their customers (even radio shows have interviews with psychics). Feng shui experts are on the loose.

Some of us love to believe in luck, that is why, even some important decisions are made based on the suggestions and expertise of these people. I strongly believe that only God knows what happens in our lives. I remember when Nissa got married three years ago and she has to fit the gown before the wedding. Mom said she should not do it because it is bad luck to do so.  You know, our old folks believe in so many myths which they inherited from our ancestors. It would be more of a disaster when  on the wedding day, it would not fit, right? So we defied all the age-old beliefs.

I remember the mass we attended on New Year’s Eve, the priest asked the congregation what year  2015 represents and someone from the back pews answered it is the year of the sheep. The priest said that is a Chinese zodiac.  No offense meant to our Chinese readers here.  Chinese New year does not even begin until February.  I think we inherited our penchant for serving twelve or thirteen fruits on the table during media noche from our Chinese ancestors. Every fruit represents the 12 months in the calendar. It’s tradition! Serving sweets is another tradition that we have because as a family we are supposed to stick together through thick and thin. I buy different fruits during this time not  because I follow the twelve lucky months of the year but I like how they make the table preparations so colorful and they are healthier than the pasta dishes, meat recipes etc. I enjoy tasting the juicy and sweet chico fruits that I only get to see aplenty during new year. There are more traditions that a Filipino family believes in. Please read my post on how a typical Filipino family celebrates the beginning of the year on top of the war-like zones we see in all areas of the Metropolis because of firecrackers and fireworks. Year after year there would be statistics of firecracker victims flashed on news reports but some people never learn. There were thousand of families who lost their homes on the first day of the year just because of some careless throwing of a firecracker that got inside one of the shanties  and razed hundred of homes in Quezon City alone.

“2015 is the year of our Lord”, the priest said.

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The other day, I thought of challenging myself to write every day this year. I did that in 2011 and that was when fellow bloggers added me up and commented on my posts.  Before, I never thought of blogging as something that could become like an obsession in self-expression. My early entries were all about survival – about health, about attitude towards life itself, about faith but above all, it was about almost a year of being tied  at home. My days were spent on the road going to and from the hospital, seeing several doctors, having those much dreaded lab tests and always the nervous waiting at the ambulatory care unit for more sessions of chemotherapy. That alone taxes one’s strength. I thank God for miracles and blessings – I am a survivor!

I read the comments some of my blogger friends posted lately and I am greatly touched that at one time in their lives, they were somehow inspired by some posts here.  Particular mention goes to Kay who said that she found my blog at a most trying time in her life back in 2013. May I quote you here Kay? “I believe that it’s heaven’s hands at work when I found you and the blog! Thank you for reading my words too.” As bloggers, we always look forward to the time that we get noticed in the cyberworld. Never mind that there are more gifted writers out there and you could never compare yourself to them.

Writing is addictive, do you agree?  There is that certain euphoria, a sudden lift of joy from the heart as soon as your pen begins to touch the pristine pages in front of you or at the moment you position your fingers on the keyboard and form the first sentence.  You dream of course that some people would find  and notice you but what really is more fulfilling is you are attuned with your feelings and your thoughts are like small jewels that come unbidden and you smile like crazy because you have started a dream. Sometimes, you just stare at the blank page or at the white screen in front of you and wonder what you will write about – then you write about “writing” because you feel comfortable sharing your thoughts. Blogging blues you might say but the euphoria is still there.

I promised myself that 2015 would be my “reading year” and fifty books to read would probably be enough. One book a week would not be bad. Have I told you that I have a draft on the list of books I read last year? It was never updated because I got tired of listing one more book as soon as I finished it. The excitement continues, turn the page and be lost in it.

 

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I am reviving (oops, that sounds like it’s dying), I have updated my other blog Gardens and Empty Spaces by posting lots of pictures I took of our garden in the province when I last visited there. I have neglected it for so long and it looks pathetic.  I set that up so I could separate the photos from the usual shots that I take to go with my blog posts. May I invite you to visit me there too and maybe follow if you like?  Thank you.

It’s a rainy New Year this side of town, just enough drizzle to wash away the dirt and grime brought by endless firecrackers which our neighbors lit last night.  The fireworks were lovely to watch but they added to the polluted air and brought more toxins which are so harmful to all living things. The firecrackers were something else though, it felt like we were in the middle of a war zone a few minutes before and after 12am. Even Kuchi, our Japanese Spitz hid herself under the bed. Despite the warnings from the Department of Health and reminders from  Pres. PNoy, Metro Manila was a bedlam. I don’t know why they don’t want to ban it completely. There are cities that have designated some areas for fireworks, I wonder why every city and town could not do the same. Waste of money and so dangerous because most of the victims are children who don’t know anything better or are just too stubborn to listen.

It’s the first day of 2015,  the start of another 364 days wait. How was your new year celebration?

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