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The day’s unfolding –

The sun’s rays take a bow

Streaming down your back.

The pressure of the day is real

You are as real as the sun’s face.

And you wait

As the day unfolds.

 

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Mulling over what 2017 holds in store.  It’s a  season of hope and new beginnings.  A new leaf in the calendar, a blank page   that needs to be filled with experiences, journeys and  daily happenings in one’s life. There is something nice about a new beginning. You are excited to make it a success somehow, you are excited to learn more about life itself and more excited to traverse an unknown journey with hope and faith in the  Almighty.

Time was when a new year is filled with resolutions so to speak. Now I call them  goals in life, those small  achievable things that make the journey  wonderful – the beauty of everything simple. the abundance of blessings one receives day-to-day, the fulfillment of  a dream.

I vow  to read more books this year, maybe  increase the previous 123 books I managed to finish  on Goodreads’ reading challenge for 2016. Hopefully, I’ll make it to the 150 mark. I actually started reading  an hour after we met the new year last night.  Travelling Light by Tov Jansson  is  a collection of several stories that cover so many subjects. I am just on the first few chapters of the book but I guess  I would enjoy it.  I wish I could blog every day just like before, never mind if they’ll just be a few lines without photos.  The richness of a simple story depends on how it is presented, whether one’s target audience is appreciative enough.  Hopefully this post would be the start.

I love to share with you a lovely quote from  Langston  Hughes’ Dreams. This has inspired me through the years.

Hold onto dreams
For if dreams die
Life is like a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

More dreams to hold. Welcome 2017 🙂 🙂 🙂

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September is almost at an end but the weather is so erratic sometimes which  makes you think it is still summer. Either the sun goes up early in the morning, heavy rain takes over in the afternoon or the rain comes early when you are asleep  and the sun shines a little late in the afternoon. Crazy.

I haven’t blogged for a week, that kind of post that needs at least five hundred words 🙂  Remember  that feeling that you wanted to write  a post but you don’t know how  to start? Remember that feeling when  you have lots of thoughts in your head chasing each other to come out but you don’t know  where to start? Remember that feeling that you would really love to update your blog but you don’t know when to start?

Maybe I am just feeling oh so lazy.  Yes Virginia, that’ s the truth.  I am on my 92nd book though, 8 more books to go and I’m done.  I don’t always find  good ones, some are just easy reads.

We left early to do our twice a month marketing this morning. I was delighted when I found fresh fiddlehead fern selling at P10 a bunch, got three for P25.  You’re lucky if a vendor gives you a discount because you are the buena mano.  It tastes so crunchy, just blanch it with hot water for a minute or two  then add slices of tomatoes, ginger and onion. Instead of ground pork as toppings,  I used a can of flaked solid white  albacore fried to a crisp. Josef loves it. Then we saw a young stingray being sliced by our suki vendor so we bought a kilo. They  clean it and remove the skin at your request. My son is an expert when it comes to flaking the fish, slicing and dicing ingredients.  The best way to cook it is in coconut cream with lots of diced  banana pepper, julienned  ginger  and thinly sliced red onion.  I am surprised that Rambutan fruits are still in season, a steal at P60 a kilo.  I love it when it is chilled. It’s fun to find fresh produce in the market.

We were supposed to celebrate my daughter’s birthday in advance today so I cooked Nate’s favorite sinigang, this time I used shrimp instead of pork ribs. Nate loves anything sour with all the veggies.They were on their way here this morning when Nissa  told me that they  were  going back because her mother-in-law was rushed to  the hospital.  Nothing serious, she was not confined, thank God.  Nate was actually looking forward to their monthly visit here. He said over the phone “see you later Nonna” but he must have meant “see you soon”.  More weekends to look forward to.

Lately,  I have explored a bit of WordPress, how to blacklist someone who makes those comments which are not really about the post or about the blog  but which are not classified as spam by  WordPress.  They are meant to provoke.  I have learned how to delete a follower who is not really into writing, when you click the site, you can’t even find it. Years ago, there was this site who made use of one particular post, changed  some words and they made it appear its their own. I called the attention of WordPress to no avail so what I did was to blog about that site for everyone to see.  I even learned how to use Copyscape to check everything here, I don’t know how  effective it is but at least  it is an option.  I am glad there is Akismet.  It has protected my site from 54,096 spam comments as of this writing.  I am grateful to WordPress for that.

Any app you have uploaded to your blog to protect it? It would be nice to hear from you, thanks 🙂

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I seldom post family pictures here but I can’t pass this up. Today is a lovely family day. We played blocks, I just wonder if the adults enjoyed it more than Nate. Mom was so amazed that Nate talks non-stop but when he is doing something like building blocks, he is so serious. There are shouts of laughter in between of course.

When you are blessed and lucky enough to have a loving and thoughtful daughter….your heart shouts with joy.

No special occasion but what a lovely surprise, a personalized journal with our photos on the cover. I love collecting journals and this one is so beautiful.Thank you so much Nissa. I love, love it.

 

Nonna and Nate at the garden. An afternoon of fun and laughter.

Nonna and Nate at the garden. An afternoon of fun and laughter.

 

I remember this. Nate was thrilled blowing a spare candle on his birthday cake. I love the message too: " Write until it becomes as natural as breathing".

I remember this. Nate was thrilled blowing a spare candle on his birthday cake. I love the message too: ” Write until it becomes as natural as breathing”.

 

Haha :) Nate's favorite during birthdays...making a wish The two of us.

Haha  🙂  Nate’s favorite during birthdays…making a wish The two of us.

 

Ano daw, wacky shots? I don't know how. Family is forever.

Come again, wacky shots? I don’t know how. Family is forever.

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Whoa!

In all my seven years in the blogging world, this is the first time that it happened to me. Yesterday I was so disappointed that I lost a 500-letter blog post because I forgot to save it before copying to another site. It was supposed to be a guest post for a friend here who welcomes other bloggers to share their posts on his site. Just click this link to see his wonderful blog. Hi there Pete, maybe some other time, I’ll share a post  on your wall. Much as I want to reorganize my thoughts and rewrite the whole thing, it’s a futile exercise. Maybe the WordPress app read it as “delete the whole thing” when I shaded off the post, ready to copy it but forgot to save it first.

I have always been careful when it comes to publishing new posts. You have to take everything into consideration, the grammar error mostly because when you’re the one who edits your post, there may be spelling mistakes, tenses that do not go well with what you have in mind, words that are not appropriate to use and such. The downside of using the proofread writing app here is that as long as the words are correctly spelled, it would tell you ” no errors were found”.

But there is  good news.

Last July 7, I received a message from WordPress that says;


On Thursday, July 7, 2016 you surpassed your previous record of most follows in one day for your blog DREAMS AND ESCAPES. Nice!
Most Follows in One Day
Current Record: 7
Old Record: 6

13590418_1222723001085059_4170030454128467523_nWhat a nice surprise! Since the beginning of the month of July, I noticed a trickle of new followers, one or two max within the day but that was okay with me because it is not every day that you get to meet new bloggers who take time to comment and visit your blog. That’s actually a bonus.  Based on my stats, I earned a following of 30 bloggers since the start of July 2016.  Thank you so much, I would love to return the favor one of these days by visiting your blogs too.

I’ve always been conscious of the remaining 29% free space that I could still use here.  Perhaps you have noticed that I don’t post so many photos like I used to  because they eat up the available space when you are using a free theme. I have another blog for photography which I lately updated, a different blog for the grandson, a new blog called Dreams Never End which I would love to use fully once this is filled up. My  gardening posts are quite erratic since they depend on what I find in my small garden that I would love to share.  Although it does not matter much because I would still share my thoughts here even if only a few read it, I am proud to have 1,667 blog followers, 1,819 posts including this one and a total of 413,032 stats at the moment.

Kudos to blogging. We make mistakes sometimes but they are learning curves too.

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There is this new feature on Facebook going on for I think about a year now. It’s called  On this Day which they feature every day to remind you of what shout outs you previously wrote on your wall. I chanced upon this, a short write-up on writing which I posted four years ago.

Using puff-words (using big words to sound smart) does not always mean you are a good writer. It’s not too uncommon for us to substitute words or phrases that strike us as fancier or smarter for simpler ones. It does not define that you are a good writer that way, what is more important is you get your message across simply and easily, walang palabok, as they say.

It earned a lot of comments from my writer friends who also think that  “a good piece of literature is one that uses everyday words in a way that encourages the reader’s mind to clearly envision the idea that the writer is trying to impart, not how much ‘highfalutin’ words the writer knows”.

I was lucky to get hold of a lovely book On Writing by Stephen King which I blogged about here a long time ago.  To summarize it, another friend said, just KISS which means “keep it simple sweetheart”.  She might have joked about its meaning but I also believe that in all things, simplicity is beauty.

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This morning, I received these greetings with the same familiar logo of WordPress.

Happy Anniversary with WordPress. com. You registered on WordPress. com 8 years ago. Thanks for  flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.

Thanks WordPress. Has it really been that long? I know I registered eight years ago but  it took me more than a year to actively start blogging. I didn’t know how to customize a theme. I didn’t even know what to blog about even if  back then, I had separate blogs on Multiply and Friendster. Unofficially, Dreams and Escapes  would be turning seven come May.

It’s been a long journey, finding your own niche in the blogging world using a popular site like WordPress. It’s been a long journey, giving a voice to what’s on your mind, tucking the fragments  of time in one’s memory, stringing words to make a long post, creating poems  and being amazed at the joys of taking photos, experimenting on macro photography. It’s been a long journey of faith and  hope.

The pleasure one gets when you publish something, the delight in reading and answering comments, the luxury of having loyal online friends who look forward to every post and the pleasure of  reading other posts and discovering  new blogs and writers – priceless.

I have five blogs in all with separate and different entries on each one.  Obsessed? Not really. Blogging has become a catharsis for me over the years. When life’s angst glares at  you in the face,  writing heals a little of the hurts and pains that it brings. Sharing the joys and inspirations will always be a priority though.  I have a  total of 1,766 posts excluding this one.1,545 followers and a total of 392,386 views as of this writing.  I don’t follow my stats on my other blogs. A while ago, WordPress informed me that I am getting upward spike on my Garden and  Empty Spaces blog. I haven’t updated the site for a long time.

Eight years! Time flies!

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I was quite surprised to see my stats today. For two consecutive days, I received notifications from WordPress that said, “Your stats are booming! DREAMS AND ESCAPES is getting lots of traffic.”  You feel elated when you see something like this and thankful that people read what you write about.  There was an  upswing  on my previous posts as far back as 2011. I don’t know why. Back then, likes and comments were a rarity.  I don’t remember if there were “like” features several years ago but I used to get around 300 to 400 visits a day  back then. Have things changed? I don’t know because lately, that was cut in half but still a sizable figure for an unknown blogger like me. I would still blog even without those likes and comments but then I have to admit that one becomes inspired when fellow bloggers follow your posts and leave wonderful comments in the process.

You might laugh at this but I still use the old format when adding a post. I am not making excuses but it is easier to write and edit your post in the old  format. Don’t make the mistake of re-editing though because it will revert back to the new one.  Maybe, I am really getting old, comfortable with what I am used to. It’s like those rituals that makes life easier – you have perfected waking up early, playing with the dogs at 6am, watering the plants and cleaning the garden of leaves and debris brought about by hanging amihan (northeast monsoons that bring cold dry air from icy Siberia), finding new blooms and wanting to capture them with your camera freezing the images forever, a snip of unwanted branches here and there and yes, getting hold of a good book when the chores are done.  Life is simple and I find joy and happiness in simple things. Even  listening to early morning news or a music program on my transistor radio while I am out in the garden is a bliss. More reasons to smile 🙂

There is an advantage of writing a post every day. You won’t feel that dry spell or what others conveniently calls  writer’s block.  You have all the ideas and words running riot in your head but you can’t seem to create a sentence that would fill the blank page in front of you.  You want to write about this and that but you don’t know where to start.  When you do it every  day, it seems easier though. I don’t think I could duplicate writing  daily. It really is a challenge for me now.

Writing out loud, hearing your voice in cyberspace, making friends, discovering new places, reading interesting blog posts and seeing those meaningful, lovely and beautiful captures shared by other bloggers – these make blogging worthwhile. It’s like writing a book of short stories on different subjects (sometimes emotions are played to the hilt) and sharing how life is in your corner of the world.

Did I say that this is my 1,762nd post?

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After several days of hibernation (hibernation indeed) I found myself staring at my PC monitor thinking what I will share today. This is one of those days when I could finally sit down and write. The Lenten season has started so I was a little busy with some updates on our Catholic page on FB. Ash Wednesday found us attending an early morning mass at St. Jude Parish.  I look forward to the next forty days of a blessed and fruitful season of Lent. Abstinence from meat on all Fridays of Lent, fasting and abstinence on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.  I prefer though to cut meat on some days too during the week as a form of sacrifice.

Oh yes, I’ve been busy scrutinizing the political platforms of various candidates vying for the presidency, aspiring to be the next vice-president and those senator wannabes who’ll be serving us for the next six years. The official campaign period has just started  and I see the same faces – the corrupt ones who don’t have the nerve to face the public and own up to what they did the past several years, the hopefuls who think that the future of all Filipinos rest on their shoulders, the neophytes in politics who believe that they could make a difference once they are chosen,  the candidates we call trapos (that’s traditional politics for you), the voters who don’t discern enough on who to vote for  (we have plenty of that here), a popular name of the candidate is enough for them. It’s name recall instead of choosing who could deliver. Believe me, I seldom write political blogs, I get a headache just thinking of who would win come May 9.  Who is sincere, who is bogus, who is fake?  I am hoping all of us Filipinos would learn from the lessons of the past.  Words are easy enough but doing what they promised to do has always been wanting.

Last night, I spent an hour reading articles from two of my favorite writers, Lucy Torres-Gomez and Barbara Gonzales. I have blogged about them before, how they inspire me with their writings.  Lucy is a  congresswoman from Ormoc and she shares about day-to-day life in her weekly column Love Lucy at Philippine Star, a national daily. Barbara is a seventy something who writes, teaches writing, crochets and creates fashion jewelries which she sells or give as gifts to friends.  Barbara lives alone (she always emphasizes that almost in every article that she writes) but she is not lonely.  Growing old has given her a new lease of life that not all people her age experience.  Growing old, having the grace to do things that one could be proud of.  What a life!

How have you been?

 

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I found my old tattered journal from wayback. The spine  has detached itself from the pages that were yellowed with age. Has it been 38 years ago? Yes,it was and  this was the younger me.

Dear Mayblue

It hurts really, this empty feeling within me. I like to be strong again just like old  times when I used to laugh my worries away, just like those days when I could wear a smile amidst problems. Oh, whats the use of recounting those things.

I used to be part of the audience, passive and all that but how I came to be the actress myself, I never know. All I am sure of is that, now, there is no turning back, no matter what reality has  in store for me, no matter how it hurts. I must go on. Can’t you see Mayblue, I am trying to be brave.

Some people think what a fine actress I am.  Others perhaps look down with disdain. The only thing that consoles me is the fact that every one of us in this cruel  world  is a thespian, the only difference is that are cast in different roles. Some play the lead role,  some are afraid to plunge their hands in the deep water lest they be drowned. I was one of the latter until I found myself playing the big part of the game.

I was sure of myself then. Call it the magic  of love reigning over me. I looked at life with rose-colored eye glasses with misty mornings and sun-bright days. I was way up and I felt great. See what love can bring Mayblue?

But when you have loved deeply and have been hurt so bad, you see things  in a different perspective, in a different light. I found myself running away from my own ghost, even to the point of  pitying myself sometimes. One thing I can assure you is that, I  never regretted what has been, after all, love was such a beautiful experience.

Don’t be deceived by what you see. Despite that calm facade, that undisturbed countenance, look closely and you’ll see a girl crying inside.

P.S.

I wish you were here. I  want to have a good cry.

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