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Still Alice


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?

Happy Easter


"The risen Christ is celebrated in every opened flower, in every beam of nourishing sunlight, in every humble patch of green beneath our feet."

“The risen Christ is celebrated in every opened flower, in every beam of nourishing sunlight, in every humble patch of green beneath our feet.”

A blessed and meaningful Easter to all!


For a while now, since WordPress upgraded to a new post format, I have noticed this. I still use the old one by going to the Dashboard, choosing Posts then Add New. It will bring you to the old format. Since I am so used to it for the past five years or so, I still find it convenient and easier to do a blog post in this set-up. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks that easily, right?  I rather like the new apps and updates WordPress is making but sometimes, I find it harder to blog using all these.

I noticed that even if I post a new blog entry through this old format, when I make edits once it is posted, it reverts back to the new one with all my paragraphs lumped together in just one whole mess so I have to edit it again and press enter twice to make those paragraphs appear again. Why is this so? Have you noticed it too?

I am glad though that when I looked at my stats today, it finally reached 325,014. Today is Holy Saturday, easier to remember that Holy Week 2015 brought me followers too. The past three days, I was surprised by the number of visitors reading my blog posts.  It’s a nice feeling to be noticed in the blogging world.  Oh and there is 31% more left for me to use.

Blogging has become a way of life….certainly. I could not imagine my days not visiting WordPress. I could not imagine reading a blog post from my WordPress friends without commenting. I am enriched by the things they share in their blogs. I learn a lot too seeing photos of places I have never visited. I am blessed knowing a bit of a different culture from mine.

Good Friday Thoughts


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April Comes Too Soon


We have just been told that today, April 1 is the official start  of  summer. It’s funny really since here we are, a little anxious about a coming typhoon which reports say would be a really strong one. I am keeping my fingers crossed that when it reach Philippine shores it would weaken and let us enjoy the weekend. Easter Triduum will start tomorrow and there is Easter Sunday to really look forward to. This morning my son asked me if we will be able to do our annual Visita Iglesia  as we planned. I told him that if the weather gets really worse, we could just visit our Parish and  do our Fourteen Stations of the Cross there. What is important is to spend  our time in prayer, do our own reflections and remember that this is the most important occasion in celebrating our faith as Catholics. Time to reflect, time to give thanks, time to celebrate God’s overflowing graces. I remember a Lenten recollection I attended a year ago and the priest asked the participants what is their favorite passage in the Bible and most of us had the same thoughts and remembered these words:

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish  but have eternal life.  – John 3:16

This is the message that the season of Lent brings. Pope Francis in his 2015 message for the Holy Lent reminded us to ask the Lord: “Make our hearts like yours”, a heart which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalization of indifference.

April.

It’s stuck in my head again. Every time April comes, I remember it.  And I sing, silently. My April dreams sometimes are just that, dreams and longings, pleasant thoughts that slowly unravel and envelope me in the comfort of tears. Oh yes, you might wonder, I cry when I am happy. Over the years, silence has become a friend, a friend I seek and welcome.  I need not speak of my thoughts (the words would not  come anyway) but silence is there waiting for me to break into a song.

♫♪♫Little did we know

Where the road would lead

Here we are a million miles away from the past

Travelin’ so fast now There’s no turning back

If our sweet April dream doesn’t last♫♪♪

Here comes April and summer memories.


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.


Rich

They always say that everything happens for a reason.

I believe that too. It’s the same thing with friendship. It goes a long way, a lovely journey of discovery, a truly meaningful sharing with kindred souls. It’s hard to find true friends but when you find them, they are more valuable than gold. I treasure the days that I share with my friends. Some are there to make me laugh and make me realize that it is okay to cry, cleanse our eyes and hearts with all the hurts and pain. Some are there just to listen, no words needed but a ready shoulder and loving arms to make you feel you are truly worthy of being a friend. Some are there to give advice and make you see the truth no matter how painful it is to face. Some are there for a long time,  guiding you, lifting you up, rejoicing with you in your triumphs and  empathizing  with you when you are down. Some are there to make you smile and make the day worthwhile.

What a wonderful thing friendship is. What a wonderful world friendship brings.  And it’s true, “what a difference having a friend makes”.

P.S. For those friends I met through this blog, I could not thank you enough. You made a difference in my life.

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