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Archive for the ‘guilty pleasures’ Category


Heard Nate say these words while he was hugging his Dad, ” I love you Daddy, you are the best”. 

Kids have the best way of showing what love is, without artifice, without reservation.  What you see is what you get.  Every time they visit, he would say, “I want to stay here Nonna”  and I would tell him, “okay, tell your mom and dad that you want to stay here”.   Then he would say, “with Mommy and Daddy”.   How I wish that they could but he does not have a  minder and he will be in playschool come June. He took ten days of summer class last month.

Nissa posted several photos taken the other week  at the mall where they learn different roles and play with other kids. I love those lovely photos  where he was dressed as a chef,  a wait staff in a food chain and a doctor.  I asked him if he really wants to be a doctor and without batting an eyelash he said “yes”.  It probably would change in a month or two but for now, he wants to be Dr. Isidro.

Nate new 15

 

Nate new 16

I took a series of shots last Saturday while he was taking down his books from the shelf.  It was a  reading session with Nonna but that would be an update on my separate blog about him.

“I love you Nonna”, he said while he opened the car window before they went home.  Music to my ears.

 

 

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I have a library of books I have read which I have uploaded on Facebook via Goodreads app. I could not count the times that I blogged about books and reading and occasionally post bits of book reviews all these years. I used to update my books at shelfari.com, an online library where I personally met my reading buddies through a book club.  Since our well-loved books were destroyed by typhoon Ondoy back in 2009, I  got lazy updating the site and forgot those thousands of book titles that I’ve uploaded there. Lately though, while I was updating my journal I found a printed copy of all my books there. Yes, back then, you can easily print a list of books you have in your shelves.  I even have a wish list printed too.  I have marked those I have finally found while browsing at Booksale and getting copies of those hard to find  titles which a generous friend  brought home.

A friend got curious and asked me what my favorite books are so I am reposting this list of old-time favorites. They are just twenty  titles,  some of which  I have reread over the years. I bet if you are a reader, you have some of these in your shelves too.

1. Markings – Dag Hammarskjold
2. Seasons in the Sun – Rod McKuen
3. All I Really Need to Know I learned in Kindergarten – Robert Fulghum
4. The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint Exupery
5. The Prophet – Kahlil Gibran
6. Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom
7.  Letting Go – Morrie Schwartz
8. The Heart of Loving – Eugene Kennedy
9. Gift from the Sea – Anne Morrow Lindbergh
10. Jonathan Livingston Seagull – Richard Bach
11. Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am – John Powell
12. Simple Moments – Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVD
13. Charlotte’s Web – E. B. White
14. I Like You Just Because – Albert Nimeth, OFM
15. Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor E. Frankl
16. The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand
17. Embraced By the Light – Betty J. Eadie
18. It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It – Robert  Fulghum
19. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
20. Grow Something Besides Old – Laurie Beth Jones.

A few minutes ago, I saw a picture of Viktor E. Frankl on Brain Pickings. He was  the author of that riveting  and profound  book called  Man’s Search For Meaning. He  was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor.  I read it twice, once when I was in college and again when the kids were growing up.  It’s about his personal experience as a concentration camp inmate during the Holocaust.  I marked it as five-stars on Goodreads.  Maybe, reading that somehow shaped my views on history because until now, I am still  reading fiction and-non fiction books on  WW II.  Finding the Diary of Anne Frank cemented it though. I read Schindler’s List a few years ago, followed by another favorite entitled The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I collected books by Leon Uris too and most of them were all about Poland and WWII.

I digress.

I remember  copying lots of quotes from Frankl’s book and seeing him featured today on Brain Pickings  made me search for my three notebooks on quotations.  Weird? Maybe to some but I chronicled all those inspiring words religiously.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

And  the following line is  my favorite.

“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”  
Here’s more.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
“Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved. It finds its deepest meaning in his spiritual being, his inner self. Whether or not he is actually present, whether or not he is still alive at all, ceases somehow to be of importance.”
I probably might not  have answered the “why”. Suffice to say, I love visiting places and knowing how it is to live on the other side through books.
Today is Resurrection Sunday. May you all be blessed.

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I was quite surprised to see my stats today. For two consecutive days, I received notifications from WordPress that said, “Your stats are booming! DREAMS AND ESCAPES is getting lots of traffic.”  You feel elated when you see something like this and thankful that people read what you write about.  There was an  upswing  on my previous posts as far back as 2011. I don’t know why. Back then, likes and comments were a rarity.  I don’t remember if there were “like” features several years ago but I used to get around 300 to 400 visits a day  back then. Have things changed? I don’t know because lately, that was cut in half but still a sizable figure for an unknown blogger like me. I would still blog even without those likes and comments but then I have to admit that one becomes inspired when fellow bloggers follow your posts and leave wonderful comments in the process.

You might laugh at this but I still use the old format when adding a post. I am not making excuses but it is easier to write and edit your post in the old  format. Don’t make the mistake of re-editing though because it will revert back to the new one.  Maybe, I am really getting old, comfortable with what I am used to. It’s like those rituals that makes life easier – you have perfected waking up early, playing with the dogs at 6am, watering the plants and cleaning the garden of leaves and debris brought about by hanging amihan (northeast monsoons that bring cold dry air from icy Siberia), finding new blooms and wanting to capture them with your camera freezing the images forever, a snip of unwanted branches here and there and yes, getting hold of a good book when the chores are done.  Life is simple and I find joy and happiness in simple things. Even  listening to early morning news or a music program on my transistor radio while I am out in the garden is a bliss. More reasons to smile:)

There is an advantage of writing a post every day. You won’t feel that dry spell or what others conveniently calls  writer’s block.  You have all the ideas and words running riot in your head but you can’t seem to create a sentence that would fill the blank page in front of you.  You want to write about this and that but you don’t know where to start.  When you do it every  day, it seems easier though. I don’t think I could duplicate writing  daily. It really is a challenge for me now.

Writing out loud, hearing your voice in cyberspace, making friends, discovering new places, reading interesting blog posts and seeing those meaningful, lovely and beautiful captures shared by other bloggers – these make blogging worthwhile. It’s like writing a book of short stories on different subjects (sometimes emotions are played to the hilt) and sharing how life is in your corner of the world.

Did I say that this is my 1,762nd post?

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Gosh, the sudden morning rain prevented me again from finishing my garden chores but I am glad I don’t have to water the plants. Everything looks so green and fresh. Gone are the dusts clinging  to the leaves of the plants.

I’ve focused my time and efforts  just updating this site that I forgot I have to visit and post a thing or two to my other blogs. I must admit it is quite hard to maintain several blogs.  The thing is, years ago I  have decided to separate my gardening blog, photos, my blog posts on Nate and lately a new platform which I could use when I fully consume my allowed limits here. Got 29% more to go before it ends. Hopefully, without posting so many photos, I could still use this in the next year or two.

This morning (finally) I updated my gardening blog called Gardens and Empty Spaces, I really hope you’ll find time to visit it too. My intro page is quite long but you can find it on the widget sidebar, an easier way to know the gardener behind the garden:) I  also included some excerpts on my latest blog posts at my other sites.

Hop in, you are welcome to visit my backyard garden.

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I was about to start gardening but there was this sudden drizzle enough to wet the grass but not enough to water the plants. It made  me quite lazy to garden and played with our three dogs instead.  I haven’t taken any picture with the three of them together since they run around when I am in the garden.  I tried my tab’s camera to take a few shots though.

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Haha, they are camera-shy.  I often read in the garden  using my tab and sometimes they are curious enough to see what I am doing, short of wanting to take a sip of my coffee or tea. Sometimes I feed them a day-old pandesal and they like it.

Most of my garden blooms now are my orange and pink-striped lilies. I replanted some plants early this morning and trimmed my overgrown bleeding hearts.

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They are not as clear as those I take with my Canon camera  and it is not so easy to focus the subject when you would like to take macro shots. Such is the limit of a lower  megapixel.

My blackberries are thriving nicely. I planted five of them in  a row behind the house. Oh, and the spicy and sweet aroma of the oregano mixed with  minty  smell of basil  which I planted in a pot – heaven. Add  the lemony scent of my Calamansi flowers and you’ll get the feel of a small garden where you can stay for a while, write a few lines or two or just watch the world go by.

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Yesterday was Sto. Nino’s Feast Day. It’s a very important celebration for all Catholics in our country. Josef and I went to Tondo, Manila to visit Nissa’s family and her in-laws. I am amazed of my daughter’s familiarity with the place since  she got married more than four years ago. Whereas before I only heard of Tondo, slowly I am getting to know the place now. We met Nissa in front of the Tutuban Center. She  takes jogging to heart and regularly frequents the place on Sunday mornings  to take Zumba class and jog. It was quite lovely to see joggers with their pets in tow. I also discovered that going via that route is easier than taking a connecting train ride.  We had a hearty breakfast at Jollibee before proceeding to their place.

The Feast of Sto. Nino is almost a week-long celebration in most areas where the image of the child Jesus is their patron. Dawn processions, masses held in His honor,  lots of food, programs and dancing at the town plaza and having so many balikbayans from all over the world add to the festive spirit of celebrating.  Yesterday was also our town fiesta where I was born.

In Tondo, almost all streets were filled with people and it was quite hard to take a commute going back to Tutuban  Center  to take another LRT ride home to our place. Josef and I walked from Tutuban To Recto, my first long exercise since the start of the year.

I finally got my two copies of Richard Paul Evan’s books left by a friend with Nissa before going back to the USA after a two-week vacation.  Got two more key rings , with the  Statue of Liberty depicted beautifully in them. It is my first time to have key rings from New York.

Seeing Nate again was the  highlight of our visit. He was afraid of the dragon dancers on  the streets but he was so happy showing off that he is a werewolf with matching sounds to boot.

Such a happy occasion for the family. How was your Sunday?

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Gosh, where have I been the past few days?

I don’t want to whine since it is the beginning of the Christmas season but apart from the endless shocking news in our part of the world, our internet connection has become oh so slow, slower than an aging turtle on the move. I could not even see those photos attached to several blogs that I follow and to think that is not enough, my old PC is acting up again.I am grateful though that I haven’t lost all those people who visit my blog. I have now reached a total of 375,260 hits as of this writing. I know, for some bloggers, this would not matter much but it’s okay, at least I know that even if most of them are not my followers, they visit my blog and read what I write. For a blogger, that means you’re not alone in cyberspace ranting or sharing your dreams. I treasure so many online friends here who also share their thoughts with me, they are the reason why this blog still exists.

Life has become such that a day won’t be complete without visiting at least one social media or reading news online.  It makes me a little sad that for some people, texting is more acceptable than actual conversation and updating your wall on Facebook about the daily happenings in your life is more the “in” thing to do than calling or conversing with your loved ones. I know, I know, you would say, it can’t be helped because getting in touch  with them through this medium is faster and easier too. We are enslaved by time and that’s a fact. We worry that a day won’t be enough to do all the things we want to do. I know, sometimes I am guilty of this.

Josef and I usually linger at the dining table updating each other about anything under the sun. We talk about politics and he keeps asking me why I don’t blog about it.  I told him I might not be able to control myself and say things I’ll regret later. We talk about sports, basketball especially since we are both excited for the championship win between our alma mater, University of  Santo Tomas and Far Eastern University. We talk about his training at JP Morgan Chase and how different it is from his previous work. Oh yes, we talk about Christmas past and how we will celebrate it this year. With Nate around, it would surely be a blast no matter how simple it is.

I welcome December with so much anticipation and hope for better days ahead. My little sparrows are back, greeting me each morning with their lovely songs. What more could I ask for?

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