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Posts Tagged ‘a bit of myself’


experiment5

When life seems a little hard to bear

Surrender to the quiet

And listen to the hush of the wind.

There -

You’ll find peace.

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I miss my darling Nate. A few minutes ago, he shouted, “I love you Nonna, bye” in such a clear voice that all I was able  to say  was, “I love you too baby, take care”. Such is our exchange  over the phone that I wanted to call him back  to hear his voice again.

While we were at church today, there were lots of kids around Nate’s age and I was so surprised how behaved they were when the mass started. There was  this mother and a new-born daughter  right in front of us (a family of one of the lectors/commentators)  and I can’t help but remember those days when Nate was just a  baby and I wrote about every development in his young life accompanied by lots of pictures on my phone and on my camera. Josef even bought a video cam when Nate was born.  This tiny tot will hold our hearts forever.

Moments like this always makes me nostalgic, remembering those times when the kids were growing up. I still keep their notes, letters and drawings  in a shoe box that I lined with recycled Christmas wrappers and lovingly arranged together with their school recognition awards /certificates and medals. They were both achievers and  they made me proud.  Josef was an honors student until high school while Nissa maintained it until she graduated from college. I remember that time one of her professors called me up at home (I was retired by then) and excitedly shared the news that the deliberation for graduating honors students was over and Nissa garnered the highest Latin honors in her batch and graduated Magna Cum Laude. For a parent, it was  a dream come true,  an ultimate reward for all the sacrifices  and the sleepless nights worrying about the days they came home late from school. The three of us all graduated from UST, three alumni who embraced a Catholic education.  I couldn’t be prouder than most moms out there,  I was the proudest mom when we came up the stage to award her with a silver medal embossed with the  seal of the university and her name engraved at the back.  Even her transcript of records were written, “Graduated Magna Cum Laude”.  I remember Mom and Dad’s smiles when we came home and Nissa lovingly placed her medal on Dad’s neck and said to them both that it was for them too. Mom cried and dad was teary-eyed.  When she graduated from her management training at the bank where I used to work, it was my turn to cry with such joy and happiness.

The joys of parenting. The pride you feel when your kids grow up as responsible adults.  I am praying that someday, Nate would be as  smart her mom.

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Funny how music can turn you into being happy and contented  or it may ruin your day because it makes you remember an event in your past tied up to the music. Most of the time though, it brings that funny smile on your face and you sing along and you wish  you could go back to the times when life was simple and uncomplicated.

Let go.

How often do we here these two words that somehow seem so easy to say but hard to do? Music teaches us how…sometimes.  How often do we associate some particular lyrics of a song to the long-ago days that we are so fond of reminiscing? Oh, the world of growing older – always, always remembering. My youngest brother and I love to talk of the days when we were young kids in the province. The four of us  (my three brothers and I) are all in our fifties now. We don’t always say how time flies because it always does.  The years in-between mattered though, the years when we could be together with just a phone call.  It’s quite hard now to be together with miles of distance around us.  Just a few days ago, my youngest brother and I talked about what life was like in our old house in the province, how Mom’s eyes  would light up when she and dad would dance together to the tune of  some waltz music that until now would make me remember those days every time I hear it. Such a pity I have two left feet so I never learned.

Music.

They’re playing 70’s and a smattering of 60’s music now, some soulful tunes like Two For The Road  and Vincent.  There is a story behind that song, I told my son while he was busy playing some games on his cellphone. Then we both talk of the Beatles, the times when he was in grade school and we would watch a test run by a local TV station by showing movies and concerts of the Beatles. I think it’s the only old group that he could clearly associate with.

Music is the language of the soul.

Where words fail, music  speaks – Hans Christian Andersen

 

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The other day, I thought of challenging myself to write every day this year. I did that in 2011 and that was when fellow bloggers added me up and commented on my posts.  Before, I never thought of blogging as something that could become like an obsession in self-expression. My early entries were all about survival – about health, about attitude towards life itself, about faith but above all, it was about almost a year of being tied  at home. My days were spent on the road going to and from the hospital, seeing several doctors, having those much dreaded lab tests and always the nervous waiting at the ambulatory care unit for more sessions of chemotherapy. That alone taxes one’s strength. I thank God for miracles and blessings – I am a survivor!

I read the comments some of my blogger friends posted lately and I am greatly touched that at one time in their lives, they were somehow inspired by some posts here.  Particular mention goes to Kay who said that she found my blog at a most trying time in her life back in 2013. May I quote you here Kay? “I believe that it’s heaven’s hands at work when I found you and the blog! Thank you for reading my words too.” As bloggers, we always look forward to the time that we get noticed in the cyberworld. Never mind that there are more gifted writers out there and you could never compare yourself to them.

Writing is addictive, do you agree?  There is that certain euphoria, a sudden lift of joy from the heart as soon as your pen begins to touch the pristine pages in front of you or at the moment you position your fingers on the keyboard and form the first sentence.  You dream of course that some people would find  and notice you but what really is more fulfilling is you are attuned with your feelings and your thoughts are like small jewels that come unbidden and you smile like crazy because you have started a dream. Sometimes, you just stare at the blank page or at the white screen in front of you and wonder what you will write about – then you write about “writing” because you feel comfortable sharing your thoughts. Blogging blues you might say but the euphoria is still there.

I promised myself that 2015 would be my “reading year” and fifty books to read would probably be enough. One book a week would not be bad. Have I told you that I have a draft on the list of books I read last year? It was never updated because I got tired of listing one more book as soon as I finished it. The excitement continues, turn the page and be lost in it.

 

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I love collecting journals, that’s a fact. I have at least a dozen more  blank pages to fill up. Of course when you love writing, you also having so many writing materials at your disposal right? I won’t say, it is a love affair with tech pens, colored pencils, Sharpie  and Stabilo markers. It all started when I was in my junior year in college majoring in Economics. I was fascinated with graphs. I don’t know of any other course that uses more graphs than Economics. Theories are presented in pie charts, bar graphs, curves, the X and Y points and the like. Using graphs means using different colors of pencils/pens to make it more understandable (at least in our time).  I am digressing again so let’s go back to paper and pen.

Just this morning I noticed that I was half way through a thick journal that I started almost two years ago, when Nate was born  and I scribbled some notes while we were at the hospital. It was followed by several recipes  and baking tips culled from the internet. Lately it has become a hodgepodge of thoughts and  ramblings, friends’ contact numbers and mailing addresses, quotes taken from recent reads, books I want to have on my shelves and some scribblings that I haven’t published on WordPress. Haha, this is really funny :)  A friend gifted me with a Pilot tech pen labeled .7 so I asked Josef if the print is smaller than the three tech pens he bought me with a .4 mark. He looked at me as if I have forgotten to do simple Math or Arithmetic, hay!

Last Saturday, we were at the mall and first stop was at a bookstore. I was looking for a fine-point marker that I could use to label my grocery purchases. You might find it weird that despite the expiry dates written clearly but finely on each can and box of grocery items, I still write them in bold letters and arrange them in  the pantry by expiry dates. OC? Probably.  Sometimes, I get confused by the words Best By, Use By, Best Before. What do they actually mean when you see these words? When it says the expiry date is 12/14, will it expire right at the start of December or by month-end? Packing codes which are a jumble of numbers in a particular product  are mostly found in cosmetic  items, shampoos, detergents, toiletries etc. I  asked a shop assistant once in a grocery store how they know when an item like bars of soap are already expired. He told me that the dates displayed on the box is the manufacturing date and  the expiry is normally three years after  if they stay unopened.

Do you read nutrition facts on grocery items? I do, although at times even if you know that it is not that healthy, still you buy it. Junk food is plenty in grocery stores. It is your own look-out to feed yourself with such unhealthy snacks just because you are tempted  to grab them at the grocery shelves.  This  Christmas, I  am planning to cook my own home-cured ham, a healthy alternative to store-bought ones that are sometimes too salty for my liking.

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I know, I know, some of you would probably say or think there is still time. It seems as if time is running out on me, of course not and that is not why I am writing this blog. At some point in our lives, we think of things that we would like to do, things we would  like to try at least once, things that somehow in the course of the years remain just that –  pipe dreams, still.

When  the kids were young and I was still working, I kept on thinking, when they grow up, I would plan to do all these but family life will always be a priority and still is until now. These come in no particular order or how important they are in my life. I just thought I could still make up for lost time and do a thing or two.

enrol in a culinary school. And I don’t mean just the six sessions I did at Sylvia Reynoso Gala Culinary Studio with Sylvia herself and her two kids Ernest and Morella.  Learning the basics of cooking for more than your family and close friends, learning how to prepare Chinese food with fresh ingredients, learning how to bake bars, cookies and simple bread, I think there is more to culinary arts than this. I learned a lot though, but still it was not enough. You need  sizable financial resources now to enrol in a named culinary school and I don’t have that.

–  rappelling. Rappelling, are you kidding? How can that be? My daughter did it when she was in high school  in one of their school activities. My knees tremble looking down from a higher place. That goes the same with zip line.  Nissa has lovely pictures when she and her friends did zip lining in Tagaytay. I remember one time when we went to Enchanted Kingdom and they did all the rides except me. I was content watching and taking pictures.

biking. Oh please, don’t laugh. At my age, I never  learned how to bike. The only brave thing I did was to drive a tri bike, the one which has a back ride. I had good balance that way, perfect opportunity to drive my children around the village when they were kids. Every kid in town learned  how to bike, except this kid.

-swimming. I’d like to think I have an affinity with the sea with all its angst and gentle waves lapping at my feet but I was so afraid to let my body sink into the water without touching the floor.  Staying on the shore, looking at the blue ocean waters, watching the sunrise and the golden sunset and finding shells were more my thing. Back in the province, we have this clean river where we used to  go  to during the summer months or where we catch fish at the start of the rainy season.  Those were the times when I truly enjoyed it, fishing with mom and dad during school break.

horseback riding.  Here in our country, that’s for the upper class, if you know what I mean. My grandson Nate is luckier than I am because he has already experienced a pony ride in Tagaytay.

writing a book. There is still a possibility here but I only dream of writing one, some sort of memoirs perhaps. Ambitious, right?  I’d like to share to the whole world, particularly to those undergoing health issues right now  that there is life after cancer, that you could still  dream  after chemotherapy, that the latter is not always the best recourse for treatment.

I don’t know if I could do one of these but I am sure I could still learn to cook paella (with all the ingredients and trimmings) or probably chicken galantina for Christmas Eve and bake my birthday cake next time.

 

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Mornings are definitely getting colder. Officially, we’re now at the start of the Amihan season, dominated by trade winds which means cooler temperature.  Hopefully, gone are the days of flash flood, thunderstorms and endless rain showers.  On second thoughts, it is during the months of November  and December that the Philippines experiences stronger typhoons when the southwest monsoon meets the northeast winds. I like this lovely season best of all, a  clear sign that  Christmas is near. Oh, I am not counting, I’m just excited about it all :)

Imagine yourself going to bed at an ungodly hour of 7pm and waking up at an even crazier time of 3am. I like it though, when you feel the palpable quiet all around, no motorcycles and motor cars to disturb the peace, just those silent moments of introspection and soul-searching.  It’s an additional bonus to write a blog with an uninterrupted and faster internet connection.

Gosh, I’ll be turning 58 in ten days, a certified  and indulgent “lola”.  Life is good and I am grateful. When I think of the times I went through in the past I could not help but wonder how I was able to stay standing still. Those are my favorite words nowadays, standing still.  Standing still amidst the vicissitudes of life, standing still amidst the trying times that you have no control of, standing still despite and in spite of every bend on the road that you encounter.  I am grateful though for the endless blessings that God bestows on me and my family.  Believe me, the trying times make  one stronger and braver  because they make you realize that you possess that inner strength and courage to face it all.  I remember what Nissa told me yesterday about what Nate recently learned. I smile at the thought that my almost two-year old grandson  is learning positive attitude  at such a tender age. When you say “God is good“, he would answer in a clear voice with two hands raised, “all the time”.

A friend once told me that as you get older, you tend to reminisce about the good old days and the times that made you really, really smile. Isn’t that what life is all about?  The past carries with it lessons that would help us in our present journey. I do remember. We ought to be growing wiser with age and welcoming getting older with grace.

Joy is shaped by simple pleasures.

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