Archive for the ‘guilty pleasures’ Category

♫♪And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart♪♪♫

Yes, my favorite time of the year is almost here.  Next Sunday is the start of the Advent season, the beginning of another liturgical calendar, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the Nativity of Jesus.  I love the ritual of praying and watching the lighting of the first Advent candle, it signals the official start of the most joyous season of the year.

I am glad there is always YouTube to provide the music, I won’t have to take out all the Christmas CDs  which are usually mixed with other DVDs the kids have accumulated through the years. Listening to Christmas carols all day long, singing  along and belting out those familiar tunes and inspiring words. Truly, it warms the heart. I love the Christmas album of the Günter Kallman Choir, the cool voice of Johnny Mathis, the romantic way our very own  Jose Marie Chan sings his Christmas compositions, Jason Mraz’ version of Winter Wonderland and the Pilipino Christmas songs from way back which speak of how we Filipinos celebrate Christmas. The latter would make you dance, stomp your feet and sing the familiar Tagalog lyrics.  Talk of tinolang manok, lechon, salabat, bibingka, puto bungbong, hot tsokolate and such recipes and delicacies that you can only find here. The joys of meeting friends and relatives, the fun of watching little kids singing their versions of Christmas carols and shouts of “namamasko po” and your shouts of “patawad” because there are no more loose coins in your pocket.

Gifts are wrapped finally but I think I would have to make another trip to the mall for those I haven’t marked on my list yet. We have put up some Christmas decorations but don’t have the lights yet anywhere outside the house. And it is this time of year that I am sure Nate would love to celebrate with us. He is three years old now and can appreciate even small gifts that he receives. I love how his eyes light up and his whole face transforms into a smile while uttering a single word “wow”.

Hmmm….now I’m counting! Did I say there are twenty-nine days to go before Christmas?


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It’s been some years since I did this. I have planned to do a third part but I didn’t just have enough time to go over my previous blog posts and do it again. WordPress says that my latest entry was my 1,724th post, add that to some random writings that I deleted because they were too long. I must admit, 500 to 600 words are the ideal length which are convenient to read, beyond that, it gets a little boring unless of course you are writing a short story, but that’s just me talking. We each have our own style of writing and our own subjects to write about that you can’t just limit them to short paragraphs.

Four years ago, I painstakingly summarized a line or two of some of my earlier blog entries and posted links for easy access.  This is the third part. Let’s see how this goes. Just click the links to read the full posts.

It’s never too late to dream of something that would lift up your soul. It’s never too late to weave dreams again and make it a reality. Who says you can’t write about your journey towards happiness?  Who says you can’t share the times you felt so low but  still can smile?  We must treasure moments like these, those times when an old dream emerges as something new, dressed in hope and faith, a promise of a new day. Going Back To Old Dreams.

There is something so nice about waking up in the morning to the sound of bird songs and the fresh touch of raindrops barely hanging on the leaves.  It magnifies the soothing color of green all around.  I’ve always dreamed of taking  pictures of raindrops. I love those crystal clear water captured in photographs. Maybe this is how poets see the beauty of a morning after the rain – the sudden burst of color, the green countryside, the fresh dew of the morning.  If I were a poet, I would paint them all in different colors. That’s how we see life sometimes, we associate how we feel with colors. Color me happy for today. I see everything in a bright rainbow shade.It Rained Last Night.

One hello is worth a thousand goodbyes.I Love Sundays

Being alone does not mean that you are lonely, it just gives you ample time to do things at your own pace and leisure. Sometimes, solitude gives us that perfect excuse to just be. Solitude.

Life is good. It is an interesting pathway of several journeys. Christmas In June

I guess writing is sometimes synonymous with befriending silence.  When you write, you are alone in your thoughts. When you write, you are listening to the silence in your heart. Befriending Silence.

Do you think first impressions last? I do believe that a possible friendship begins with the first word you utter. And I do believe that sometimes, just sometimes, first impressions last.Oh Me, Oh My

And when you are presented with life’s choices, just live each day as though it were your last.Life’s Roadblocks.

Last night, I had a long chat with Lovell over the phone and he asked  how I am. I told him I had bouts of urinary tract infection lately. I was struck by what he said that God must love me so much to entrust me with all these  pain and sufferings because He knows I can carry them and I have enough faith to go through life without being bitter about it. My answer was simply this, ” I lift everything to God and I am offering it all to Him.

There are times when tears flow when I think of  the days I went through the past two years. I am lucky and  I am blessed that God gave me a second chance at life.  Everything is grace. Moment of Truth.

How one acts in public speaks so much of one’s personality. Do you agree?Life As I See It.

Do we freely give our time and effort without counting the cost? Because this to me is a perfect example of being generous. A Bit Of Laughter, Here And There.

2011 – the year when I dared to join Post A Day challenge.

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Exactly five years ago I wrote my first post with this title so this makes it part 2. Never mind, this would just be in the same format as the first one I wrote long ago. Remind me of the happy times and my heart jumps with joy, nothing exceptional but just simple things that make me smile.

  • got my first birthday greetings from Bank of PI a week ago and I smiled at the thought of another birthday. Let me see, I’ll be turning 58, 59, 60 in two weeks, though I don’t plan to have a birthday party, I still look forward to the day.
  • Nate’s shouts of  “I love you Nonna” when he is in the mood to talk to me over the phone and I treasure the days that they come over to visit us, when the quiet becomes shouts of laughter and excitement. He loves seeing our three dogs, even calling them by names but when they come near, he is afraid and hides himself behind me.
  • Nate’s urging for us to visit the garden so he could pick  calamansi to bring home. Never mind that he loves to pick those which are still in their buds. He would always say, “ang bango bango” while enjoying the lemony scent of the tiny flowers.
  • the joy of seeing another bloom of my Gardenia though it’s quite a little late for its flowering season.  I usually enjoy the scented flowers during the months of May and June.
  • finding the fifth book of Richard Paul Evans. I have waited so long to read the last series wondering how it would end. It was one joyful ride, love always triumphs in the end.
  • the surprise little gifts from Nissa, she is so thoughtful that way. Lately she gave me a L’Oréal matte pressed powder and two big bottles of body lotion and I was like, “how did you know I need them?”  She simply answered “basta”.
  • enjoying a hot cup of coffee while staying in the garden and waiting for the day to bring another surprise, a bloom maybe or something that I could take a photo of.  I just planted my first blackberry seeds three days ago. Wish me luck that they would grow into seedlings so I could transfer them to a sunny spot in the garden.
  • learning to bake an upside-down cake. This was my favorite when I was in high school and I found a simple recipe on the net that was worth a try.
  • finding more online friends through this blog and enjoying all the blog posts on my reader. Having a steady number of visitors and views a day really make me smile.
  • seeing one of my favorite senators Kiko Pangilinan (I only have three among  the twenty-four) personally yesterday when Josef and I visited the 1st National Pork and Egg Festival  at Megatrade  Hall. He used to be one of our Dept. of Agriculture secretaries but he is now running for another seat in the Senate.  I love his sense of humor and the stories he shared while tending their farm in Cavite.
  • an early e-mail from a friend, another advance birthday greetings.
  • finding new books to read but  of course, that’s a given. Books are my best friends :)

Maybe, just maybe when I turn 59, life would give more surprises, something more to smile about, something more to be grateful for and  more blessings for the family.

Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life – Omar Khayyam

This is my 1,724th post. How cool is that?

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Yes, I know a lot of you would probably react and say “it’s too early yet”. I know, I know. Yesterday before my son left for work he asked me to listen to the new downloads on his tab saying that I would surely like it and adding that it’s my favorite album of all time. I was surprised. He downloaded the whole album of Gunter Kallmann’s  Christmas Sing In. Around this time every year, I would bring out the various CDs and play them randomly and one of them is the album Christmas Sing In. As if that was not enough, son said, “listen to this Ma”. We smiled, remembering those days when they were younger and we would listen to the Jackson Five belting out ♫♪Santa Claus Is Coming To Town♪♫.

Did you ever believe in Santa Claus? Did you let your kids believe that he comes on Christmas Eve bearing gifts that they asked and prayed for? I don’t remember my kids ever having asked Santa about what gifts to receive for Christmas although they each had a picture with Santa Claus, a perfect capture of smiling kids on Santa’s knee.  Those were the days when parents and their kids line up at one section of the mall  to wait for their turn to be pictured with Santa. I wonder if they still do that these days. Since I resigned from work more than fifteen years ago, my check list on buying Christmas gifts has dramatically narrowed down to just family and close friends. I do my Christmas shopping early depending of course on available budget and finding gifts for family and friends that they will truly appreciate. It’s not the cost that counts really, but the thoughtful gestures behind the gifts.

I remember our Christmas celebration last year with Nate’s infectious smiles while  embracing a Mickey Mouse toy which was larger than he was.  Back then, Mickey Mouse was his favorite. Now he is into Minions and large Lego blocks. I wonder what will be next when he celebrates his third birthday come November.

I bought a food magazine on home-cooked Pinoy classics. Chanced upon it when I went grocery-shopping. I would love to try those luscious local fruit pies (at least one on their list), recipes using coconut, and locally famous desserts. One can always buy them here (Cainta is famous for kakanin) but the challenge of course lies in learning how to cook them in one’s own kitchen. I would love to try the good old-fashioned Bibingka wrapped in banana leaves, topped with grated coconut, a little amount of sugar and butter and those cheesy Ube-Cassava cakes…heaven.

Oh, I am listening to the remastered Christmas album of Johnny Mathis. I think of Dad when I listen to this, he used to have an LP (a long-playing record) way back then.  It makes me smile and a little thoughtful listening to the catchy and lovely Christmas songs in the album.

I know, it’s that time of year again!

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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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