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Archive for the ‘guilty pleasures’ Category


It’s been a while.

It’s been raining cats and dogs here for the past days and I only saw the sun showed its face briefly early this morning (for a few minutes actually)  then she played hide and seek  with the thick clouds  never to show up again the whole day.  We were alarmed when Marikina River reached almost critical level because the rain dumped so much in thirty minutes causing the river to swell. Marikina is adjacent to our town so they have to open the eight gates of Manggahan floodway which is so near to us.  There are pockets of water in some areas until now. Old folks call this “siyam-siyam”,  nine days of prolonged rained brought about by the southwest monsoon.  Well, it is the rainy season so what can we expect but I am praying hard that flash floods won’t be a problem for us  during this wet season.

You wonder what the smell of rain is. It threatens but at the same time the sound of raindrops gently falling on the roof is quite soothing. The drizzle is quite nice for the plants but the downpour makes them swim too much in water. And when it rains, you have so much time in your hands to read. I have just finished my 79th book on Goodreads’ 2016 reading challenge, 18 books in advance.  When you are lucky to find a subject quite different from your usual reading genre, you devour it with gusto. I found a treasure in reading The Secret Ways of Perfume. You would think that a scent of a perfume is just that, something you like but we don’t know the complexities of how it is made, you need a detailed study on the combination of scents (the essences of flowers, herbs and spices). There is something that soothes, energizes, inspires. lavender, bergamot, roses…learning the world of perfume creation. How nice!

How was your Sunday?

 

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I went back to gardening  after letting my hands heal for a few days. Goodness, I have to trim the carabao grass again, they have grown quite wild in three weeks.

This morning I was at the garden at 5am, still dark for some but it was nice to see the world unfolding with a hot cup of coffee and the company of our dog Noki.  Mimi went back to sleep besides mom as soon as I opened the door to our dirty kitchen.  Have you ever spent an early morning smelling different garden scents? The sweet aroma and spicy scent of oregano, the spicy and sharp fragrance of ginger leaves that linger,  the lemony smell of calamansi flowers and the intoxicating scent of gardenia flowers  captivate the senses. You wish you could put each scent in a bottle and maybe use them to make scented candles.

Last week, I trimmed one of our calamansi trees. Time is a gentle and  nice reminder that new life will always be something to look forward to.  Look at those healthy leaves sprouting like crazy.  It is always nice to see something growing in one’s garden.

new life

The rhizomes of the turmeric I bought at the wet market have finally produced buds.  I planted them in three pots and they are thriving nicely. It is  my first time to try cultivating turmeric in my garden.

Ginger foliage

Ginger foliage…

I only have one potted ginger and the roots are ready for harvest. I wonder if ginger produces flowers just like the turmeric. I can’t wait to see it blooms.

And these capped my early morning garden adventure, my bleeding heart blooms.

Bleeding hearts

Bleeding hearts…

It is good to be alone in a garden at dawn or dark so that all its shy presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought. ~James Douglas

 

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He asked, “are ghouls baby ghosts Nonna?” I answered “they’re not.” So he went back to his mommy and ninong and shouted, “ghouls are mother ghosts”. I think they didn’t hear him because they were busy talking.

I asked him how many stars he received in school. He pointed to his wrist and counted….eight, nine, ten. Then he laughed, a typical Nate laugh, what a joy to hear it :)

He saw our candy jar in a corner and asked if he could have one so I told him that’s a cherry menthol candy. He looked at me probably thinking about that “menthol” taste then he said, “I’ll give it to Mommy”. Wise kid.

It was another lovely day spent with Nate.

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Oh my gosh, 62 books out of 100. I really can’t believe that I am 11 books ahead of schedule on my 2016 Goodreads Reading  Challenge. And before you say I have lots of time to appreciate the written word, it rains a lot every day so gardening is always relegated to the back seat and sometimes reading takes priority. I was able to start trimming the carabao grass this afternoon  (a back-breaking job every month)  but the sudden shower made me run indoors.

To discover new authors, what bliss! Goodreads provides a list of new books every month and a list of all time popular books but what I appreciate most is discovering new authors who are just as good and as talented like your favorite writers. One such author is John Hart. Where were you all this time John?

I seldom give five-stars to the books I read, just maybe about 6 in 50 books but Redemption Road  had me from page one, a gripping page-turner from beginning to end.  I don’t normally summarize a book as a  kind of review, it’s up to the other readers to find out. Well, I’m back to chick lit and memoirs and historical novels.

Did I say reading Redemption Road is worth your time?

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“I guess that’s all forever is…Just one long trail of nows. And I guess all you can do is try and live one now at a time without getting too worked up about the last now or the next now.”— Nicholas Evans (The Horse Whisperer)
“Sometimes what seems like surrender isn’t surrender at all. It’s about what’s going on in our hearts. About seeing clearly the way life is and accepting it and being true to it, whatever the pain, because the pain of not being true to it is far, far greater. “— Nicholas Evans

I am looking for that last book published by Nicholas Evans. It’s now on paperback. I  wish I could visit National Bookstore soon and buy a copy. I have copies of his four books published earlier than The Brave, have re-read them all because I simply love the stories.

theBraveNew

Nicholas Evans was born and grew up in Worcestershire, England. He studied law at Oxford University, graduating with first class honors.  He is one of my favorite authors.

 

 

 

 

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Oh my, it seems like months since I last posted here.  Thank you for those visits even if there is nothing new to read.  No valid reason though except the same old one, been busy the past few days.  Blogging took a back seat for a while.

Gardening has been a priority of course. It rains almost every day now so those unwanted weeds sprout like crazy too. Every two weeks, I need to trim our carabao grass, a tall order for aching backs and sore muscles.  The reward though is more than enough to make me smile. All the Portulaca I planted three weeks ago are blooming now in different colors of yellow, white, orange and pink.  They are the most easy to grow annual plants.

Saw this white rain lily in early bloom. Flowers only appear during rainy season bu they are nice grown cover.

Saw this white rain lily in early bloom. Flowers only appear during rainy season but they are nice ground cover.

Yesterday, I attempted to cook my version of Bicol Express  for our lunch.  It’s  that popular dish from the Bicol region where coconut seems to be the main ingredient in lots of their local dishes. And know what, the main ingredient here is not the pork but the sliced green Thai chili peppers that we have plenty of.  The dish is really hot and it requires a lot of rice to go with it. I omitted the shrimp paste since Josef is allergic to shrimp, used ordinary rock salt instead.  It was yummy.

Bicol Express

Bicol Express

Some of my friends are urging me to cook another dish in coconut cream which we call Ginataang Santol.  I asked  my favorite vendor yesterday if they have the Bangkok variety but she told me it is not yet in season.  Would love to cook this again when I find those sweet Bangkok santol in the market.

I was able to transfer all the photos I took on my tab at Photobucket and to my hard drive.  Better be safe than sorry. One  more thing I need to do and it is a hard and dusty undertaking – to clean our book shelves and separate books, the favorites and most important ones from those we just bought on a whim. There are some authors that I have never known before but surprisingly delivers a good  piece of  a story.

Eight books in advance for my 2016 Reading Challenge in Goodreads. Hooray!

 

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Good day fellow bloggers. Finally I could  (really) sit down and relax, write a short post before gardening again. The sun is still hot that is why I am afraid to go out and align/replant those rain lilies which are blooming at the moment. They are not sensitive plants so there is no problem there. Oh, what a nice surprise, I see a new color, a lovely shade of white. This morning, I planted another head of pineapple which I saved from the one I bought at the market today.

I am proud of my niece who graduated from Nursing a month ago and recently passed the Oklahoma Board of Nursing. Three nights ago, I was chatting with my youngest brother  and he casually mentioned that her daughter will take the nursing board the following day. She did it and the whole family is proud.  We have two nurses in the family now, hooray.

Josef and I will be attending mass tomorrow at Sto. Domingo Church. It’s been a while since I visited the place. Fr. Lovell left me a souvenir from his trip to the Holy Land  two weeks ago. We don’t get to see much of each other since  he is on assignment and the information desk is a handy place to leave and pick  things up. Killing two birds with one stone, that’s what!

I am about done with my second book on Jennifer Worth trilogy. Four books in advance, finally:)

Just being grateful for simple blessings. I hope you’re having a lovely and blessed weekend.

 

 

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