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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.

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WordPress just sent me this message.

Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com 7 years ago!
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!
anniversary-2x
Has it really been that long? I remember I opened my account here seven years ago with just one post, a poem from long ago. I didn’t even know how to customize my site so I only got to update it more than a year later. The last six years was a lovely journey though.  I met lots of online friends, people  who love the same activity as I do…blogging. Flying with WordPress is a great adventure with 1,142 followers, 1,618 blog posts  and a total of 320,456  stats later. I hope I could maintain this site for the next five years (wish me luck) probably with arthritic fingers and higher grade eye lenses. It goes with growing older and adding numbers to my age.

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How long has it been since I last posted here? It’s almost a week  and I need to catch on the many blog posts that I missed over the last few days. Busy, busy, busy – busy gardening, busy searching for books to read, busy reading at night until my eyes hurt from the glare of my cellphone. Oh well, it is nice to be back. I am just glad to know that even if I’ve been away for a while, I finally reached 320,000 plus (320,180 as of this writing). Not that it matters much but it is important to me that some readers go back to my earlier posts and leave comments. Having more followers of course in the last two weeks are an added bonus.

Last night, some thoughts were playing in my head but I was just too lazy to jot them down. Regrets come always late of course because I could not remember them now. I’ve been to my once-a-month  hair trim at David’s this afternoon and as usual I had a nice chat with some of the staff and their other customers there. My hair stylist told me that they will be transferring to Oasis hub by June and I asked her why and she said that the present site will be converted into a mixed-use structure with a mall and residential units.  When it comes to the latest news, they are always updated.That pretty started our conversation about developments in the area. Ever Gotesto mall which has been here for almost two decades will finally close its doors on Sunday. I asked them why and they told me that it was sold  to a larger entity whose owner is the richest man in the Philippines and included in the Forbes list of billionaires in the whole world. “You mean we will be having another SM mall here in our area?” They nodded in unison and a customer exclaimed “Good luck sa traffic”. I wanted to buy some kitchen towels but when I reached the mall, almost everything is packed and even the grocery shelves are almost empty. I felt sad for those employees who will lose their jobs because they were hired from an agency. Some tenants are just waiting for their contract to end. I asked one of my favorite shops there, a small entity that sells all things Japanese, meaning, their shelves are full of things made in Japan if they are going to transfer too and the cashier said they don’t know. I  always visit this place every time I go to Ever because I love looking at their small kitchen gadgets, I love looking at their tea sets and Japanese mugs/cups used in tea-drinking. Come to think of it, we have an SM mall at every nook and cranny of Metro Manila and suburbs, I am just wondering how many more they would build in the future. Do we really need all that much? It will always be a welcome development of course, I am just wondering what will happen to those small enterprises which are still existing in the area.

Yeay for good books. I finally found some books that I’ve long wanted to read. Some of them are e-books which will be part of my 2015 Reading Challenge. Here are some of the titles I’ve added to my TBR list. So excited to read them all. I am six books in advance for  this  challenge. I hope I make it this time.

  • The First Phone Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom. I’ve been on the lookout for Albom’s books since Tuesdays With Morrie.
  • The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. Just started reading a few lines. This is my third book of this author after the legendary The Secret Life of Bees  and The  Mermaid Chair. I wrote a short review of The Secret Life Of Bees long ago and watched the movie too. If I have time, I will look for the movie adaptation of The Mermaid Chair on YouTube and will watch it too.
  • The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. Finally, after a long search :)
  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. My book club friends rate this as a five-star. War torn Barcelona, 1945. So curious about the story.
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. I’ve long wanted to read this too but I could not find a copy.  I wonder why it belongs to the 500 must read books and one of the 1000 books you have to read before you die. It’s a friend’s favorite book.
  • The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy and Hard Times (Book 1)by Jennifer Worth. Set in East End slums of post-war London.
  • Shadows of the Workhouse (Book 2) by Jennifer Worth
  • Farewell To the East End (Book 3) by Jennifer Worth. I read the short summaries of these three books on Goodreads and I can’t wait to start plus the book covers of two kids on the last two say a lot. I love memoirs.
  • First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen. I’ve read books of this author before and I love the magical touch of paranormal in her stories.
  • The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson. I love every title with the word book in it, that’s why. A first novel so maybe it’s worth it.

I wonder how long it would take  me to finish these ten titles. We’ll see. How about you? What books are you reading now?

 

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I just have to share this. Another lovely blog post from my favorite author Richard Paul Evans and since he is an online friend at Facebook, I have the privilege of being updated with all his writings. It is a true story about his Christmas Box Foundation which helps abused and neglected children. The Christmas Box is the first novel that he wrote, rejected several times but when he self-published it, that was the start of his being noticed by readers. It is his personal story. He wrote it as a private expression of love for his two young daughters. It was not the first book I read though because I only found a copy years later. I guess that when you have something to say, say it and never mind if nobody listens or nobody reads it.

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Sometimes,I ask myself the same questions and oftentimes too, there is no answer and the easiest way is to give up. There will always be another option than the latter though, that of trying again and never losing faith that eventually, each will fall into place.  I believe that nothing is impossible with God, one kneels down in prayer and if we listen enough, He has the answer. He puts life back into proper perspective and we should not be blind to His call.

More than four years ago, I wrote about how it seems that when we move forward, there would always be something that hinders us but we have to go on making another step. Here’s the full texts of my earlier post:

TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK

Life is a dance. Sometimes, it is a harmonious fluid movement. We are in sync with the music, utterly attuned to the dance steps, well synchronized with the motion – two steps forward, one step back. Others may lead and others may follow. It is a mad dash to a world of perfect twists and turns, but the journey is not one long road to success and happiness. One wrong move, one wrong turn, one missed step would spell disaster.

We are constantly seeking perfection and excellence in everything we do but there is really nothing perfect in this world that we live in. Life is a meaningless pursuit without challenge. They say that the journeys walked in solitude are always the most remembered. There is something we always learn along the uneven pathways and the most profound events in our lives do not end with the six o-clock news and the setting sun.

Sometimes, I am amused by other people’s reaction upon learning that I have colon cancer and their usual question is “Are you really undergoing chemotherapy? You are looking good“. “Thank you“, I say. My big question is, how should one act and how should one look if you are diagnosed with this kind of ailment? True, it is a life-changing situation but I never think of it as a major setback. I believe that God won’t give us problems that we can’t bear. The agonizing moments that I have endured during the last few months have drawn me closer to God. God has been profoundly real to me, opening my eyes to the realization that not everyone  is privileged to endure even just a tiny prick from what He suffered on the cross. Martin Luther King aptly put it this way, “beneath and above the shifting sands of time, the uncertainties that darken our days, and the vicissitudes that cloud our nights is a wise and loving God“.

Life is a dance, and when we falter in our steps, God is there to do the rest.

(Just clink the link if you want to read RPE’s blog post).

 

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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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I’ve never been good at following “how to’s” unless it’s a complicated recipe that I need to experiment on.  Sure, sometimes they make life easier but it is different from following rules that you have set yourself to do. The step-by-step-numbered rules bore me. I wonder if I am alone in this because sometimes I do encounter blog posts like how to learn to be happy or how to be a good writer or how to make your blog more popular(taken from the point of view of  the author of course) but in real life we each have certain criteria and values that we wish to meet  that we think assure  us of happiness and success. It is like reading a highly recommended book but you find it boring. Short of saying “to each his own” we  have our way of coping and  facing  what is in front of us.  The way you look at things probably depends on how you view life itself. As they always say, you could see a glass half-full or half-empty.  It does not matter whether you’re 30 or 50, maturity comes not in the number you add to your age but in the richness of experience you encounter making you grow and learn a little more.

Now and then, I link some posts at Facebook  just to share with some friends who just want to click it and read. I was never sold to the idea though of  linking it to the app  NetworkedBlogs. Although WordPress is public too, it has a different set of writers/bloggers/readers  and compared to Facebook which is so noisy, I feel safe at WordPress.  Getting across your message to people who love the written words as you do is vastly different from seeing selfies and pictures that speak of what one had for breakfast to where they had dinner all in the same day.  My wall and timeline are set to friends only and I don’t allow my updates to be made public. There are things that you don’t normally share in cyberspace.

The other day, I finally decided to export my blog and copy it to my external hard drive. It is quite scary to lose all of the 1,597 posts  and all the five years of blogging coming to naught so I followed the  advice of a blogger friend, looked at the tools and downloaded export file. I’d like to do the same with my other three blogs.  If you haven’t done it yet, I also suggest you do, for safety.

A friend once said that blogging has become a way of life, do you agree?

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I haven’t blogged for…let me see….almost a week.  And sometimes when you haven’t expressed your thoughts in words for quite a while, it is quite hard to write again.  I am trying to catch up on reading while having coughing fits late at night.  The nights are long and cold while the days are sunny and bright, perfect chances of having runny nose and headache. I am feeling okay now but I have gone lazy blogging. I am grateful though that readers continue to visit my blog  even without a new post.

I miss the shouts and laughter of my grandson who spent a long weekend with us. Hearing his voice asking about this and that, being so curious about everything he see are quite welcome changes to an otherwise silent and quiet household. I am just amazed of the things Nate learned for a month that we haven’t seen him.  He has a favorite word now. He would say “later” when he is not inclined to take his milk, when he is not yet sleepy and when you ask a question that he thinks would be okay for later. Hahaha, funny how you can learn something from a two-year old child. Time is of the essence of course and sometimes you think time is running out  and you do your bit of everything in a hurry. That word later made me realize that I might have done it wrong,trying to do everything in one go  but you can enjoy the moment and do things later. He would just say I want milk when he is hungry and water please when he wants a drink. Learning to relax I think is one luxury that we have somehow forgotten and the smile, warm hugs and embraces of a child reminds you to take time out from this so-called busy life and just enjoy the moment.

I told my kids that the feeling was like celebrating Christmas Eve and looking forward to Christmas day. Imagine having midnight snack of a crispy bagnet (pork belly which is the Ilocano version of lechon kawali) with steamed rice at 1am, precious moments sharing a meal at an ungodly hour and having the time of your life listening to their stories. Waking up late and enjoying a  sumptuous  breakfast accompanied by Nate’s shouts of “yummy, yummy”, what more could you ask for?

Every year, Nissa gives me a copy of Bank of PI’s planner/journal featuring selected artworks from the BPI Art Collection. This year, they have Contemporary Realism. There is a featured contemporary artist for every month along with the original picture of the paintings and enlarged copies in another page. It’s almost too good to use as a planner. The cover is a painting from my favorite artist, Manuel Baldemor.

Precious moments, unhurried time enjoying the beauty of the now, making memories, finding treasures in simple things, I guess these more than make up for the days we haven’t seen each other,  just hearing each other’s voices on the line.

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