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It’s Dad’s Birthday


All these years since I started blogging, I’ve written about Dad usually on his death anniversary and his birthday. Mom I think has forgotten that today is Dad’s  97th birthday. She forgets so many things now unless you remind her.

Dad left us one Wednesday night in December 2007. After so many years battling with ESRD (end stage renal disease), I thought we could still spend another Christmas with him despite the hardships we all faced while he had those dialysis sessions twice a week six months before he died.  Until now, sometimes I wonder if dialysis is really helpful . They drain your blood and put it back without all the nutrients it has accumulated the past days. Then another session of taking so many medicines so you could gain your strength before the next scheduled dialysis.  At his age when he died (he was almost 85), those sessions at the dialysis center kept him weak but we had to do the last recourse because we wanted him to still be around with us.

You know that kind of remembrance where you smile at the thought of those long ago days and you’re sad at the same time because you lost a loved one.

My youngest brother made this photo collage last year. When dad died, he collated all the photos in his possession and brought  home the Kodak Easy Share (digital picture frame) that we  shared to family members and friends who came to visit us. Just like me, he is a keeper of memories.

When Multiply closed shop, he copied all the photos I uploaded there and told me that anytime I needed them, he could send them to me.

Wherever you are Dad, happy birthday. I miss you….still!

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Tuesday At The Garden


Woke up a little late because I went back to bed after Josef left for work at 5 am.  What a cold morning, perfect time to have that green tea while watering and inspecting the plants in the garden.

I harvested dried pods of blue ternatea to give to friends when they come over. The two vines I planted have so many green pods and flowers and they are nice covers from outside. They are happily climbing my steel matting. I have two dried red okra ready for planting. A cousin wants to try planting too. When I posted those pictures of my red okra, a lot of people reacted asking, “is it edible”? Of course, it is. It is just like the green one only in a different color.

Some months ago, I got some dried Zinnia flowers at the park near the house. Just planted them this morning. I do hope, they will thrive.  Jom, our good neighbor gave me three cuttings of African tea and I put them in two empty bottles with water. They are now sprouting leaves.  I’ve tasted a freshly brewed cup before. It tasted great.

 

I wonder where I’m going to plant these once they grow a little sturdy. Lack of space is the problem although these are not bushy plants. They are medicinal too.

And here’s something I love about gardening.

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just  the body, but the soul. – Alfred Austin

A Dangerous Fortune


My gosh,I just can’t put it down, all 596 pages of it.  I’ve read eleven of his books including this one.

It’s Ken Follett. Same thing happened to me when I first read Pillars of the Earth and the succeeding book on the series. 

 I really can’t review it any better. All the ingredients of a powerful plot  are here – greed, lust, power, ambitions.  Yes, it is a typical Follett book that grips you from beginning to  end. He really knows how to tell a story. And since it involved bank collapse, I was  even more interested.  I remember those days I worked for more than twenty years at one of the largest banks in the country.

I spent most of the day reading, it’s my seventh book for this  year’s challenge. I was trying to look for  a movie adaptation but all I’ve seen were trailers of the movie.

Talking Of Pets


I just smiled and laughed.

Josef and Jovy left Oreo inside the house with me early this morning but he knew they were planning to visit Jovy’s grandmother.  I could not hold him since he was so restless, he kept on spinning in my arms. I said goodbye when we were outside and he kissed my cheeks. Haha 🙂

When they were pretending to say goodbye to him, he just ignored them looking out at the open gate. He knew of course that they would not leave  him behind. He is so used to going with them on short trips that sometimes, he is even the first one to ride in the car. They were at the mall early last night and he had his usual walk/exercise.  When they came home, he went to the comfort room and drank lots of water from his plastic cup. Thirsty, haha!

He is usually quiet when it is just us at home.

 

Fresh From The Sea


I chanced upon some fresh items at the wet market early this morning. I bought 1/4 kilo of dulong  which I made into fritters. Dulong is called silver fish in English maybe because of its color. A very tiny fish, barely an inch and quite transparent in appearance.  It is a popular dish in the Philippines. Fritters and patties are so yummy especially when the dulong is fresh. I also bought sea weed which is eaten fresh with tomato salad.  Some call it lato but I guess there really no  English translation for this one. Locally, we call it  Ar-arosep. 

Yummy lunch for  mom and me.  Blue rice is of course a given.

At Last


Finally yesterday, we were able to fix mom’s problem regarding her  pension. Have to wait in line for more than two hours before we were interviewed by the  SSS in-charge of senior citizens’ affairs. He asked why it was not honored by the bank. I told him, it is all about her signature. He said, “Nay, I will allow you any type of signature here,  your physical presence is more important”.  He told me further that the bank “is just a go-between SSS and the pensioner, it is your money, not theirs”.  Gosh, I can’t believe it, SSS is more lenient than the bank itself.  The clerk-in-charge did not recommend guardianship since only one would be able to represent mom whereas if we  have those requirements for a  legit representative,  any one of us, her kids would be able to renew her pension. He wrote all those required papers we have to produce. If she could no longer sign and can no longer go to any branch at SSS, she could use a thumb mark with a letter of authority thumb marked too, ID of the representative,a barangay clearance, sketch of the house where she lives, and a latest picture showing her reading a newspaper with the latest date clearly visible. Things that would prove she is still alive.

Some requirements but I think it is better to go directly to  SSS than to suffer such inconvenience with the bank. The  frontliner at the bank even told me that SSS is strict now since she won’t give me an ACOP form to fill up. I was able to acquire two extra sheets at SSS. How’s that BPI? Why can’t you serve your customer in a manner that would not inconvenience them?


My goodness. I am just pissed that the bank didn’t honor the renewal application of mom’s SSS benefits because her signature is different from when she applied years ago. She is the beneficiary of dad so she has to  renew it every year, go to the bank and sign ACOP (Annual Confirmation of Pensioner’s Program). She almost couldn’t see the line allotted for her signature.   I only received the bank’s advice that the ACOP was rejected by their branch manager a few minutes after we got home.

They referred us to an SSS branch where she needs to elect a guardian to represent her. My older brother accompanied us to the bank. Mom finds it hard to go out without a car so we have to wait for my brother’s free time so he could drive for us. SSS (Social Security System) is always full. You need to fall in line and wait for a long time before you can be served. Even a simple inquiry needs a number so they could attend to you.  I hope they find a way to make home visits to our senior citizenry who could no longer fix their pensions on their own. Such is the  kind of government we have, simply lacking.  They are not compassionate about the aged population. What if a pensioner is ill and could no longer walk or something?

Come Monday, we have to accompany mom again and go to SSS for that update.