Archive for the ‘guilty pleasures’ Category

The other day, I was updating my journal, transferring some quotes and one-liner words that I have accumulated in my thought box when I saw this printed list of books that I have culled from my account at shelfari.com, the first virtual library that I have painstakingly updated when I started using social media (think Friendster and Multiply) several years ago. I could no longer access my account there since I have already forgotten my password. When most of our books were destroyed by typhoon Ondoy last September 2009 I haven’t visited the site as much as I wanted because it pains me to  see the titles of those volumes  and book titles. It makes my heart bleed just seeing that all those lovely books that I have collected over the years are now gone. The Shelfari site was where I met book nerds not just here in the Philippines but from some other countries too. From there a friend created a book club which is still active until now though I haven’t attended the monthly sessions for a number of years.  When I got sick, I stopped joining the group in their book discussions but I follow a number of those who have separate book blogs  both at WordPress and at Blogger.

I now keep tract of the books that I’ve read and the books that I want to read via Goodreads. My wish list back then was quite long but I have found several books through the years of searching for those copies either at National Bookstore or at Booksale. There is nothing like finding one particular book in your list when you least expect it. Here is my updated wish list for 2016. It would be nice if I could find even half of the remaining ones that I haven’t read yet.

  • Ada by Vladimir Nabokov
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  • A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • Caught In The Quiet by Rod McKuen
  • Happy All The Time by Laurie Colwin
  • Hello From Heaven: A New Field of Research-After-Death communication by Bill Guggeinheim
  • I Am David by Anne Holm
  • If Not Now, When? (Penguin Twentieth-Century classics) by Primo Levi
  • In Search Of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
  • In The Dark Before Dawn: New Selected Poems of Thomas Merton by Thomas Merton
  • Looking For A Friend – Rod McKuen
  • Love’s Been Good To Me – Rod McKuen
  • One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  • Rites Of Passage by William Golding
  • Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Christmas Box Miracle: My Spiritual Journey of Destiny, Healing and Hope by Richard Paul Evans
  • The Devil In The Flesh by Raymond Radiguet, Alan Sheridan
  • The Graduate by Charles Webb
  • The Heart Of A Woman by Maya Angelou
  • Honorary Consul by Graham Greene
  • The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
  • The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton
  • The Trial by Franz Kafka
  • Too Many Midnights by Rod McKuen
  • Traveling Light by Max Lucado
  • Watch For The Wind by Rod McKuen
  • West Wind by Mary Oliver
  • Witness To Hope: A Biography of Pope John Paul II
  • Your Name is Renee: Ruth Kapp Hartz’s Story As A Hidden Child in Occupied France by Stacey Cretzmeyer.

And last but not the least is P. Anciers’ Libertine’s Destiny. I read this when I was in college and the only copy of  UST’s Main Library was never in the shelf. Back then, when somebody returned the book, there was always someone who wanted to borrow it. The story started in Germany during WWII. If I were to rate it now, I’ll give it five stars. There is a discussion group on Goodreads about this book and some have sourced different libraries in the US to no avail.

What about you, do you have a favorite book that you want to reread and makes you smile just remembering  it?

A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.–Neil Gaiman

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I love Sundays.

I came home from an early morning mass and thought of trying a banana bread recipe which I copied several days ago. I found this site . It’s a Japanese array of cuisines and desserts where I  found several recipes using pancake mix. They had me at “sugar-free”. I love it.

You could try this, here’s how.


150 grams Pancake mix

3 ripe bananas

1 egg

50 ml milk

Use a fork to mash the banana until creamy. Add the egg and mix thoroughly with a wire whisk. Stir in the milk.

Add the pancake mix and roughly mix it with a spatula. Lightly grease the cake pan with a little oil or butter then pour in the batter. Bake for 40 minutes at 180 °C.

That simple, I adjusted the amount of ingredients though using 4 ripe bananas, 200 grams pancake mix and 100 ml evaporated milk. It turned out like this, a yummy sugar-free banana bread.


Have a blessed Sunday everyone!



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It’s one of those  relaxed and lazy days of the week.  I asked Josef if he could accompany me to the newly opened library in our town and he readily agreed. I told him bringing the car was probably a mistake because of the horrendous traffic. Such common daily routine of  everyone ….traffic. He had all his IDs laminated while I waited at the library to talk to their assistants there. There is no licensed librarian yet and most of the volumes on the shelves were donations from the National Library.They have a sizable collection of National Geographic and several children’s story books, various local publications of food mag, travel and leisure. I had a good time chatting with the library assistants and I promised that I would donate some fiction/non-fiction books to add to their shelves. Finally, we have a modern and lovely town library with lots of computers and free wi-fi.Most shelves are still vacant though.




Nissa gifted me with a lovely Zen Mandalas coloring book complete with a  set of Faber-Castell  colored pencils, sharpener and eraser. The designs look so complicated and challenging.  I was happy before having an ordinary coloring book, this one needs a lot of time before you finish a page. Coloring is a stress-buster. Josef  told me early this morning that I could upload Mandala on my tab. Practice, practice, practice. It is so addicting.  The final picture depends on how creative you are in choosing a combination of colors. Here are some photos that I practiced on before we went to the library.

image1image2image3image4image5image6   I  set aside reading again. I can’t wait to start coloring on an actual page.

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When music inspires, the soul rejoices and the heart is happy.

Yesterday was one of those days that kept me a little morose. Being alone has its rewards, the interminable silence that keeps your mind wander  but there are times when you feel that you need to do something aside from talking to yourself and your three dogs.  My son called up yesterday and told me that he was really happy to stay in Boracay for a week.  “I know” I said, it is a much-needed break. They will be coming home tomorrow and I am excited to see him again.

Out of boredom (yes, I was really bored) I played Christmas carols on YouTube. Seeing the digitally remastered  Christmas album of Johnny Mathis made me smile. It made me remember my Dad when he was alive. He used to have this LP and it was a family favorite  and we would all look forward to listening to the album in our portable player every time Christmas season comes. It brought back lovely memories  of the past, nostalgic and magical.  I visited Hallmark channel too and checked all the uploaded full movies that you can just click and play. I found A Song From The Heart  which was worth the almost two hours  I was glued to the monitor. It starred Amy Grant, Keith Carradine and D. W. Moffett. Amy Grant is cast as Maryann Lowery, a blind music teacher. New Age pianist Gregory Pavan (D.W. Moffett) became romantically involved with the talented  Maryann and coaxed her to have an eye operation because he knew she had what it takes to be world-renowned concert cellist. Oliver Comstock  (Keith Carradine), is cast as a close neighbor who has always worshipped Maryann  from afar. I had a great time watching and listening to the music. And as if that wasn’t enough, I watched another movie (for the nth time,  I guess).  I read the book  The Promise when I was in college and watched the movie adaptation with my youngest brother during the mid-eighties. That  was back when Danielle Steel was such a very popular romantic novelist and some of her books were made into movies. I was curious if the movie which I loved thirty years back would still hold the same  fascination for me. It did. I  think the latter was the movie where I memorized the name of the characters, aside from another favorite movie Dying Young.  I accidentally found  the book version many years after watching the movie several times too. The movie adaptation was I think better than the book and I loved the music of Kenny G.

The power of music – it makes you smile, it makes you sing too but sometimes it makes you cry. “Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence” so says Robert Fripp. Do you agree? I do.

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♫♪♫Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?
I don’t remember growing older
When did they?

When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn’t it yesterday
When they were small?

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as they gaze

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears

One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears
Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset♪♫♪

It’s crazy. There is a particular song playing in your head for quite sometime and then you suddenly hear  it on the radio. You smile and remember and the good feeling remains for the rest of the day.

When my daughter and my son-in-law were just planning their wedding, my thoughts kept going back to this particular song. Those were the days – the days when you were so excited to hold her in your arms, the days that you watched her grow up to be a very smart lady, the time you cried when she whispered “This is it Ma, I found the right man for me”.  A caring, nurturing and loving mother that you are, you  thought that she was still too young to enter married life. Is 29 nowadays still too young to get married? We wouldn’t have our little Nate now if she didn’t.

You remember the journals she painstakingly filled up that were kept under lock and key. That tiny key was kept somewhere safe. You remember her fascination for collecting stationeries in all sizes, colors and shapes, the small notes and letters attached to the door that you eagerly look forward to when you come home.  Same goes through with your unico hijo. You wait sometimes at the gate when he fails to come home on time. You are anxious when he does not answer your text or message on Skype or Viber. Goodness you say, he is now 31. But such is a heart of a mother, always praying for the safely of her kids.

♪♫♪When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn’t it yesterday
When they were small?♪♫♪

Yes, gone are the days when they were small but they will always remain happy memories that you treasure until you grow old.

You sing the song in your head once again and you smile.

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Ah yes, color me pink for the day.

I spent the early morning in the garden weeding a bit. I don’t know, our carabao grass needs trimming again, it seems to grow by leaps and bounds. The rainy days last week contributed to the rapid growth of everything. I had a lovely time picking some Calamansi (Philippine lime) from our two fruit trees in the yard. They are almost ripe, just perfect for a pitcher of fresh Calamansi juice. Our Bougainvillea planted at the corner outside our perimeter wall is blooming again, those lovely clustered pink flowers are a sight to behold. The shrub serves as a protection to our concrete corner wall where there is busy traffic every day. Even my pink rain lilies are showing flowers in every tip. My pink and yellow Portulaca are blooming too so are my pink angels. How lovely to see different shade of pink in the garden. I call it a pink Wednesday.

My son and I had a good laugh a while ago when I heard the Beatles playing on his tab while he was having a late breakfast. I asked him, “since when have you learned listening to that kind of music?” He said, “don’t you remember, we used to watch them when I was in grade school”. Oh, senior moments again.  I laughed. Of course, I remember now, there was this new tv station (on test broadcast for a few days) and they played those old movies by the Beatles and some clips of their concerts worldwide.  You bet, I am now listening to their music on YouTube while blogging :) Those were the days and the good thing about the 60’s and 70’s music is that you always have the option to listen to them even just on YouTube.

Do you find pleasure in listening to old music, that kind that resonates with you, that kind of music that was a part of your growing up years? I do.

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You might be wondering at the title of this blog post. I smile at the thought of using this beautiful tin box, once filled with pixies, toffees and dark chocolate – a gift from a friend.  I remember those days when I was in grade school and my maternal grandma and Mom had one each of those lovely rectangular biscuit tins which they used for their sewing needs. I loved tracing my hands on those lovely drawings (pictures of ladies in gowns  carrying dainty parasols and lovely hand fans). Nowadays, there are stores in the metropolis that carry these lovely items without the biscuits inside.

I found this lovely book (I wouldn’t know how to classify it, whether it is a chick lit  book or a contemporary one). Think of Sophie Kinsella. It’s a paperback edition of The Someday Jar by Allison Morgan. I was attracted to the book cover, a lovely jar of thoughts that revolves around inspiring life message. I am on the first few chapters but it had me smiling from the start.  It gives me the idea of keeping a beautiful glass jar with all the trimmings and full of colorful papers and short writings inside instead of this old tin box that has been with me for a number of years.

Back in 2011, I made use of one of the topics on the daily digest of WordPress, that of keeping an idea box. The wonder of participating in a Daily Writing Challenge was that they suggested topics which you have never thought of.  I keep small notebooks on hand, with lots of pens, sharpened pencils and markers. They come in handy when you think of something to write about but that is not practical when you are outside holding a gardening host and watering the plants or staying in the kitchen while cooking something for lunch. I collect journals too by the way. The tin box comes in handy for those times that you can’t make use of those small notebooks that you keep on your night table. Sometimes, those life thoughts come at the most inopportune moments, they play in your head for a little while and unless you immortalize them on paper, they would vanish in thin air and you can never capture them back, the way you thought of them a few minutes ago.

I just thought of opening my Fanny May tin box and smiled finding a list of books that I want to read, book quotes, cellphone numbers without names, medicine prescriptions, short lines, single words on small scratch papers but what I found so lovely is this prayer. I could not remember where I copied them from (senior moments working here) so whoever composed these lovely words, I will just say thank you.

LORD, in this life, I am often confronted with situations that make it difficult for me to think clearly. Grant me the patience and strength to handle anything I may encounter. Fill me with divine understanding so that I can quickly respond to the negative forces that would try to bring me down. May I find the peace and tranquility and calm that is only found in You.

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