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Archive for the ‘guilty pleasures’ Category


Given the opportunity and the know-how, would you try growing mushrooms in your backyard?

This morning, Nissa brought me an oyster mushroom fruiting bag  from their trip to Amadeo, Cavite last Saturday. It was a gift from a relative who has started mushroom production in that area.  I am excited to try it. I love mushroom, any which way it is prepared and  one is rest assured of its freshness and safety when it is grown in one’s backyard.  this fruiting bag only needs to be sprayed with water twice a day and should be kept in a dark and cool place. Wish me luck, I hope it gives me a nice cluster in two weeks. She also brought  a pack of Amadeo Coffee. It’s a different kind from the instant one that we are used to because it is brewed.  Amadeo produces the best coffee this side of town and is also known as the coffee capital of the Philippines.  Gonna try it  tomorrow when I have enough time to prepare it and enjoy a sip.

Now I learned what a “sandwich hug” is. Nate is just so showy with how it’s done with Nissa and me, our three heads so close together with him in the middle holding tight with a bonus kiss. What a lovely Saturday, another visit that I would treasure :)

I hope it is not too late if I greet you a nice weekend too! Happy weekend friends. Keep those smiles :)

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I can’t believe April is almost gone.  The lazy bug caught me again and blogging has taken a backseat for a while. Gone are the times when the day is not complete without writing a few words and posting them here.  I feel comfortable now blogging once or twice a week but I still read posts/updates from friends every day.

You won’t believe this, I’ve become so obsessed with books lately that sometimes I laugh at myself how  I’m gonna read these books  that I have collected all these years and some  e-books that I have on my phone. Hugging a book close and the comfort of turning the pages, loving the scent and smell of the printed pages. Yesterday, I took note of the recommendations of Goodreads based on similar subjects that I have read before. Historical fiction, memoirs and contemporary books still top the list. There was even a time that I visited the list of the 1000 books you have to read before you die but I narrowed it down to the top 500 but not necessarily followed it to the letter. If that is not a book obsession, I don’t know what is.  They call it bibliomania :) I haven’t gone that far yet…no….not yet.  I have a long list which I wrote in my notebook about new authors and new books that I want to read. I am trying to discover Asian authors and so far Khaled Husseini is the best although I found more names who are quite new in the field of writing.

I remember reading On Writing by Stephen King a few years ago, a book borrowed by Nissa from their Stress Management Office then found a brand new hardbound copy later  (still with the dust jacket on) in one of my trips to Booksale. Imagine the joy of finally owning a copy.  He said and I quote “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” “Reading in bed can be heaven, assuming you can get just the right amount of light on the page and aren’t prone to spilling your coffee or cognac on the sheets. ” That’s another line from Stephen King’s book and I laughed out loud when I read it before because it happened to me not just once but several times. At least it was just a glass of water and not a hot cup of coffee :)

When I encounter people who say that they are not fond of reading, I try to compose my facial expression not to frown and say “you are missing  a lot”.

P.S. Goodreads says I have read 28 books (56%) out of the 50 books that I challenged myself to finish this year. Maybe, I could add 10 more, what do you think?

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Back to the grind. Ah,  I mean back to blogging! It’s been a while.

I got so engrossed finding new books and new authors for Goodreads’ 2015 reading challenge. I’ve finished  twenty-three books out of the fifty that I promised myself to read this year. YA books, Chick Lit, classics, fairy tales, you name it, it’s a random list of them all.  My last read would be the memoirs of course, save the best for last :) Back when I worked as a student librarian at the Humanities Section of the UST Library, I encountered so many classic books but I didn’t have the chance to read them except for a few titles like Gone With The Wind, Crime and Punishment, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn and of course some of the  books of the Bronte sisters. Balancing a full load in my Economics course and a six-hour job at the library was quite hard and I missed the chance to read all those classics.  When I started working, my reading genre changed a lot. I found new authors, more books to read and collect. Anna Karenina and Doctor Zhivago remained on my wish list though over the years. Yesterday, I found a copy of the latter and just started reading it a few hours ago. A fellow blogger and a friend at Facebook sent me the link to Lara’s Theme, the soundtrack of the movie adaptation of Doctor Zhivago.  What a lovely idea, I got more inspired. It’s a long read…perfect for the summer days ahead.

This morning, our ISP was changed from SmartBro to HomeBro. HomeBro is owned by the largest telecommunications company here in our country, PLDT. Since SmartBro is now under PLDT we have to switch to  the new one. HomeBro Ultera includes a built-in wi-fi router so we have to set aside our old router. I quizzed the three installers who took care of the installation and they said that this is definitely faster than the old one. We’ll see. I don’t download much, it’s more of internet search and blogging.

I wonder who is more excited, the mommy or the baby. Nissa has enrolled Nate to summer  school and today is his first day in class. She wants Nate  to learn to interact with other kids. I think it is a 12-session class at one hour and a half every other day. Kids nowadays are so smart. Last night he said, “I’m going to school Nonna”. Pretty excited too, I guess.

Are you shy Nate?

Are you shy Nate?

What am I doing here? haha...

What am I doing here? haha…

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When the sun shines longer each day, it’s summer.

When the wind blows early in the afternoon  diffusing the heat of the morning, it’s summer.

Many of us look forward to summer despite the fact that a day could really become a scorcher. Summer for school kids means a long, long vacation. Summer gives you that perfect excuse to stay longer under the shower, find a nearby place that has a private pool to visit,  go to a beach and soak under the sun or if you just want to stay at home you can join your little kids  in their inflatable pool.  My son loves  to wear the most tattered and frayed t-shirts during the summer months, you could almost see several little holes in them. He says it becomes more comfortable with frequent washing.

What I love about  summer is  the profusion of different kinds of flowers. Sometimes, when you are lucky, those  few annuals show their heads and surprise you with lovely blooms.  Fruits are also something to look forward to.  Mangoes are the best fruits you can find in our neck of the woods. I haven’t visited Pasig market yet but I am sure there are plenty of star apples now, honeydew melons, mangoes, water melons, pineapples, papaya and many, many more.  I am looking forward to tasting sineguelas (Spanish plum)again.  Don’t you just wish you could enjoy drinking fresh buko juice everyday which is so healthy and beneficial to your health? Fresh young coconuts  are available in almost every corner of the neighborhood.  Singkamas (Jicama) as we usually call it  here are  aplenty  during the hot summer months. I know some call them turnips but it is not the variety of turnips that you usually find in other countries. Although it taste bland to some people who are not used to it, it is one of my favorite root crops.  They are best eaten cold with a little salt and vinegar used as dip. They are also mixed with other vegetables to make spring rolls. I haven’t tasted lomboy (we call it duhat in Tagalog and Java plum in English) for quite sometime now but I remember the days of old when my cousins and I would pick these juicy fruits when school is out. Armed with bayong or baskets, we would climb trees  even under the heat of the sun and gorge on the plum, juicy fruits.

There is a fresh mango smoothie cooling in the fridge. It’s definitely summer.

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Almost a month ago, I blogged about my key chain collections and one of my online friends here, a fellow blogger offered to send me some from the UK. Yesterday, the package finally arrived. They are priceless gifts, something that I would treasure for always.  Wow, I now have some lovely key rings from England.

I love them all but I like the Big Ben best...

I love them all but I like the Big Ben best…

Pete regularly comments on my blog posts and I am glad that I am also updated on what life is like in a far away country like the United Kingdom. I find his blogs truly interesting and a joy to read.  Take time to visit his blog.

I asked the post delivery man why they still collect a certain amount when delivering  such small packages and he said that it does not go to the Post Office but  to the Bureau of Customs.They used to charge P40 pesos for it but now it has gone up to P100. Are they overcharging?  I had this previous experience with a private courier  about two years ago.  The package was delivered to me two days after my friend sent it from the US via FedEx. She sent me three paperbacks and paid for the special tariff fee but when it reached me, I was made to pay P1,600 pesos, way more expensive than the total cost of the three books. That is one of the reasons why I never order  anything online, be it books or gadgets that would cost you double the amount when it arrives here.  A friend told me that it is cheaper to send something via ordinary mail but then you are not assured if it will arrive at its destination on time , if it  arrives at all.  I am glad mine did, thank you so much Pete for these lovely key rings.

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What if you wake up one day and you don’t recognize the face you see in the mirror? What if you look at your hubby and kids and you can’t remember their names? Scary, isn’t it?

The last time I was so engrossed with medical thrillers and stories about the medical field was when I found Robin Cook, a doctor and author of a number of books that I collected over the years.  Cook’s books deal on different subjects like medical malpractices, health insurance issues, the science of Genomics, Bioinformatics and some medical information that we would not normally think about.  A few days ago, I found a copy of a very informative book by Lisa Genova, Harvard-trained Neuroscientist, multi-awarded for her first book called Still Alice. I can’t put it down, because the subject had that big impact on me. I gave it five-stars.

May I just quote its short summary on Goodreads?

Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At fifty years old, she’s a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics with a successful husband and three grown children. When she becomes increasingly disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life–and her relationship with her family and the world–forever. At once beautiful and terrifying, Still Alice is a moving and vivid depiction of life with early onset Alzheimer’s disease….

My thoughts go back to those days when I was sometimes forgetful. Have you ever experienced  entering your room supposedly to get something but as soon as you are there and open a few drawers or cabinet, you simply forget what you wanted in the first place?  You go out empty-handed then go back again to get it. There were several instances that I asked my son Josef the name of the corner store near our place because I often forget it. I used to think it is called 7-Eleven when its actual name is Mini-Stop, a convenience store that is open 24 hours just like 7-Eleven. And there is this name of an ornamental plant  that I used to grow in my garden  because of its dainty and lovely flowers. Don’t ask me now because I could not remember it.  It begins with B…ah…that’s it, it is called Begonia.

I digress.

I love some of the quotes I found in the book Still Alice, poignant words that made me shed a few tears.

“She liked being reminded of butterflies. She remembered being six or seven and crying over the fates of the butterflies in her yard after learning that they lived for only a few days. Her mother had comforted her and told her not to be sad for the butterflies, that just because their lives were short didn’t mean they were tragic. Watching them flying in the warm sun among the daisies in their garden, her mother had said to her, see, they have a beautiful life. Alice liked remembering that.” “You’re so beautiful,” said Alice. “I’m afraid of looking at you and not knowing who you are.”

“I think that even if you don’t know who I am someday, you’ll still know that I love you.” “What if I see you, and I don’t know that you’re my daughter, and I don’t know that you love me?” “Then, I’ll tell you that I do, and you’ll believe me.”

…My yesterdays are disappearing, and my tomorrows are uncertain, so what do I live for? I live for each day. I live in the moment. Some tomorrow soon, I’ll forget that I stood before you and gave this speech. But just because I’ll forget it some tomorrow doesn’t mean that I didn’t live every second of it today. I will forget today, but that doesn’t mean that today doesn’t matter.”

There are books and there are books, sometimes though you find something so unforgettable because it makes sense and you learn a lot from it. Some would probably shy away from reading something like this so I won’t recommend it. Nissa told me that they bought a DVD copy yesterday but she hasn’t read the book yet. I am looking forward to watching the movie adaptation.

What book have you read lately that made an impact on you?

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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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