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Archive for the ‘guilty pleasures’ Category


Saturday.

It was another lovely day spent with my daughter’s family. They came over to visit us after almost a month of not seeing each other. We survived on Viber calls and Skype messages. Nate has grown. He has grown taller and his words now are in a complete sentence. I haven’t taken any picture the last few months because my camera broke and always when they come over, we tend to be  busy catching up on news, playing with Nate  and just happy being together.

Last Saturday, I had  a chance  to take a few shots, pics of Nate and Mom, Mom and Nissa, the three of them, Josef and Nate. As always , I was behind the camera. He was thrilled to see his new book which a friend gave two weeks ago for his birthday.  I call him our little bookworm. He easily identified all the animals included in the nursery rhymes. I was amazed.  Maybe their various trips to the zoo helped a lot. We learn from a child right? Unafraid, ready to explore and always curious about things.  So trusting, so confident,  secured that he is loved.

Yesterday, I received a message from WordPress saying that I have made one hundred posts on Our Little Bundle Of Joy. I started it a few days before he was born last November 2012 with the thought of documenting every precious moment with him. I showed his pictures once and he said “Nathan, Nathan”.  Nissa is making an album of their trip last year to Dumaguete City and Siquijor.  I love those pics showing Nate enjoying the beach and the kiddie pool. Nissa has a way with words, the photo descriptions are just lovely. She’ll have it printed later. I wish I could make a similar one but I am not familiar with the program she is using.

Here’s a lovely book quote for kids  (using Nate and Josef’s pic which is included in my latest blog post). Our Little Bookworm The happiness of teaching a child to love books and reading. Someday, we would explore bookstores together.

Do you remember your favorite books when you were kids?

And did I tell you that Nate wants to be an astronaut? I asked Nissa how that came about. she said that he remembers the movie/pictures he saw of astronauts. Such a big dreamer for one so young, he is only 2 years and 4 months old.

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Hi everyone! How have you been? It’s been a while and there is no valid reason neglecting this blog except that I was just busy. It’s Holy Week  next week so I have to finish everything (gardening included) so I could at least spend it in quiet reflection and visit some churches for our annual Visita Iglesia.  Hopefully, Josef and I could do the Manila loop on Holy Thursday. I wish mom is strong enough to join us in the Stations of the Cross. I love visiting churches nearby during the season of Lent but I haven’t ventured in the churches of Manila yet  We have done the Rizal area as far as Morong and Cardona and several towns in Laguna.  Rizal province and Laguna have the most beautiful century old churches in the Eastern loop, well-preserved and they have lovely facades. One time, we tried the churches  in Marikina City, Josef was driving and we got lost along the way. Marikina has a lot of one-way streets and it was quite confusing.  Hopefully, we could do it again and I suggested if we could just take a commute since most churches in Manila are near each other.

I am catching up on my reading. All the Light We Cannot See is my first book of Anthony Doerr. It’s Goodreads’ choice 2014 winner. It is a historical fiction set during World War II, a  wonderful and moving account on the lives of two teenagers, a blind girl from France and a German orphan boy  who grew up in an  industrial and mining town  in Germany. I love reading about WW II, be it fiction or a true account of what happened. My parents  have their own personal account of it when the Philippines was occupied by the Japanese. The book is another facet of history as told by Doerr. I love Markus Zusak’s  The Book Thief  (read it twice actually) and almost all the books of Leon Uris about  the war in Poland and what life was like in Ireland during the Industrial Revolution, subjects that keep me awake for hours until my eyes  can no longer decipher the words. Here are some interesting quotes from the book. I jot them down as I read them.

“Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.”
“We rise again in the grass. In the flowers. In songs.”
“I have been feeling very clearheaded lately and what I want to write about today is the sea. It contains so many colors. Silver at dawn, green at noon, dark blue in the evening. Sometimes it looks almost red. Or it will turn the color of old coins. Right now the shadows of clouds are dragging across it, and patches of sunlight are touching down everywhere. White strings of gulls drag over it like beads.

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Some friends are coming over tomorrow, friends I’ve met at my online Apostolate when I was just starting as an admin there. Time flies, it is almost five years now since I met them.  They are definitely younger than I am, some call me Mommy, a lot of them call me tita (an adopted auntie) and I consider them my extended family. They help me grow and in the process, I am learning a lot too. There is no dull moment when they are around because we could talk about anything under the sun, we could share some serious stuff about their lives and their families. Sometimes, I wonder how we have bonded this close considering we don’t see each other often, they are just a text away though. Two of them are celebrating their birthdays this month so we decided to hold an informal gathering here at home. They told me not to stress myself preparing the food as they will just bring it over so I will just probably bake marble potatoes and boil a kilo of fresh peanuts  which I bought from the market this morning. I already prepared a laing dish, a personal favorite. Laing  are dried and shredded taro leaves cooked in coconut cream, diced pork  or shrimp and chili. It need not always be spicy, but  the chili goes well with the coconut cream and that is applicable for some dishes that use the latter.

We chanced upon this fresh alupihang dagat in the wet market today and my son told me that he hasn’t tasted it for more than a decade so we bought a kilo. I have to make research on what it is called in English, it’s mantis shrimps. The only downside is, it is hard to get the meat because of its pointed shell but I think it taste better than shrimps. It was a yummy lunch paired with sautéed ampalaya with eggs.

Bear with me, I am just excited meeting old friends again. Never mind the gargantuan task of preparing and  washing drinking glasses, plates, utensils for us to use tomorrow because I a not a fan of disposable plates and such.

When friends meet, hearts warm. I just love this Scottish proverb. It always holds true.

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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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A few days ago, I posted a blog at Gardens and Empty Spaces, some shots of my garden blooms.  I was excited to see my Amazon Lily in all its white glory. Here it is finally :)

It belongs to the family of Amaryllidaceae.

It belongs to the family of Amaryllidaceae.

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That’s  right, I am just borrowing the title from a book I have just read.

Have you ever chosen a book because the title and the book cover make you smile and make you remember something deep, memories that you treasure in your heart? I did just that, three days ago. In between re-reading inspirational and uplifting books for the season of Lent, I managed to find a lovely book by Kelly Moran. It is my first time to read a book from this author. Inspiring romance books are not really my cup of tea but I got curious that it received mostly five stars on Goodreads.  An easy read, amazing and heartwarming tale of  friendship, family relationships,  and getting on with life despite all the setbacks, finding love and meaning  in the end.  I don’t normally post a book review when I blog about a certain book that I’ve enjoyed reading, it’s for you to find out.

A friend once told me that when a book makes you cry then it must really be good. I love the poetic style of the author, the play with words  – I can almost imagine those intense moments, I can almost touch the pages of the family albums and commune with nature  the way it was told in the story. It’s actually one of my best reads so far for my 2015 reading challenge.  And as usual, I had my journal ready to write some quotes that I liked.

Don’t let the past get in the way of the now.

How many times has the past hindered us from making decisions in our life? How many times have we let the past rule our present life?  Learning to let go and learning to move on might not be that easy but sometimes we just have to do it for our peace of mind.

Home is where they love you and care for you. Home is where you go back to when there’s nothing left and you want to find peace again.

What a difference a moment can make.

Speaking of the 50 books I wanted to read this year, with no particular author in mind and no particular book on my list, I have just finished 12. Next in line though are memoirs and the books I have of Mary Oliver.  I want to reread Randy Pausch’ The Last Lecture, it inspired me when I was undergoing chemotherapy. I want to get reacquainted again with Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays With Morrie. My former surgical oncologist saw a copy I read at the hospital when I underwent surgery more than five years ago and he said it was a good book so I gave him a copy. My cardiologist who was a very caring doctor too saw my pile  and told me I had good choices of books to read. I gave him one too. They are both doctors so they could relate to what ALS is all about.

I just love books. The solitary hours are more meaningful when books take you to places you’ve never been, people you’ve never met and a world probably more interesting than your own.

When the leaves stop falling, you find love.

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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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