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Posts Tagged ‘family life’


I guess my hands still smell of paint and varnish.

Ah, it was a long weekend but our scheduled painting job for the roof is finally finished. They were also able to paint our concrete fence the other day.  I love the “gentle peach” look of the latter.  The roof was done in Spanish red. Next weekend, when it’s my son’s days off again, we will retouch the  steel grills attached to it.  I repainted our grotto and the surrounding wall and had a grand time retouching our concrete garden chairs and table as well. Mom is amazed that I could also use a  paint brush…haha.  She hasn’t seen me before on my knees doing some hard job of repainting. She is always appreciative of everything saying “wow, ang ganda”. Josef retouched our two gates and made finishing touches on our dining set. I still have another DIY project to do. I have three rattan baskets that I need to clean. I am thinking of applying the same clear varnish to make it presentable. I do occasionally use them as fruit  and bread baskets. These remind me of those times that we used to visit Dapitan Arcade and tried searching for some home decor which are locally made but are export overruns.  When one is lucky enough, you can find cheap rattan accessories, table accent pieces and cute catch-all boxes which you could embellish with ribbons and such.

I have missed reading other blogs for the past four days, still trying to catch up and finish a book I have started a few days ago.  It’s the 29th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution today and they only declared no classes. Poor commuters and office workers are stuck in heavy traffic right now because of a few people joining  a rally  occupying the southbound lane of EDSA. They used to declare this day as a special non-working holiday, I wonder why it’s only classes which were suspended. The kids now don’t even know the meaning of the EDSA revolution.  They could never duplicate what happened in February  1986, they could never replicate the millions of people who went to EDSA  with one common goal – to oust a tyrant leader. It seems today, each has her/his own personal agenda.  Gone are  the  times when commemorating such event was a happy affair.

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Busy Weekend


I am sure it would be a really busy weekend for us here. We are planning to have our roof repainted starting tomorrow (maybe for about three days) if the two painters would be coming in.  Our neighbor who had his house recently done referred me to the workers who did it and graciously made a list of what materials we will need. Early this morning I went to the hardware store where I usually get materials for our house repairs and such.  It is nice to haggle a bit and talk to the proprietor of the store.  Construction materials have certainly gone up.  I got a good discount compared to the prices of paints  and paints brushes which we previously inquired at the hardware section of a big mall here in our area.

Two years ago, my son and I repainted the walls of our bedrooms and parts of the dining area and kitchen. We just didn’t touch on the ceiling because the cornices have a different hue than the rest of the wall. Maybe if there is still time and if it fits the budget, I will have the ceiling retouched too. I enjoyed  learning how to use a roller brush with a ready-mix paint. I have to search a previous post here to get the exact shade of the colors  that we used before.  This morning, I saw a can of clear furniture varnish  and bought one and a small paint brush that I could use. Our dining set is  made of narra wood so I thought of retouching  and varnishing the chairs after cleaning them with soap and water. Mom said they are as good as new.  I could not tackle varnishing the table because I could not lift the glass on my own.  DIY is lots of fun if you don’t mind aching backs, dirty nails and fingers in the process.

I am looking forward to seeing Nate again tomorrow. They are coming over for a visit and Mom is excited to see him. I told my daughter to bring some food so I won’t have to labour in the kitchen for long.  A busy weekend with the family too.

Have a nice and blessed weekend everyone!

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The other night we just had dinner when Mom got my eyeglasses, perched it on her nose and said “lumalabo na paningin ko” meaning that her eyesight is getting poor. I laughed not because of what she said but she clearly forgot that she was wearing her own pair. So I told her that was mine, she looked at me, smiled and said, “sinusubukan ko lang, nawawala yung salamin ko” (she is just trying if it fits because hers is missing….hahaha). I removed both pairs from her eyes and told her that she was wearing it all along. She scratched her head and said sometimes she becomes forgetful.

She is temporarily staying with us, haven’t seen her for the last six months and my younger brother brought her here last Sunday. She insists she’s not yet “ulyanin” (loosely translated that means having Alzheimer’s disease….seriously). She is turning 86 in two months. I suggested that she stay with us for a few months but she insisted that she won’t be able to exercise when she is here.  In her language, exercise means sweeping the yard of endless dried leaves every morning, playing cards with some of our older relatives, planting some vegetables near the house, walking around our place in the province to look at what tree is bearing fruit  or what should need trimming.

Sometimes I wonder, I’d be so much blessed if I could reach her age still hale and hearty with just joint pains and sometimes elevated blood pressure. My brother said as long as she eats well, there is nothing to worry about.

Oh, she still watches  her precious evening soap operas on television :)  As she is short of hearing (her right ear can’t distinguish sounds now)  I have to set it a little louder for her to hear.

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The Catholic church celebrates Ash Wednesday today, 18 February and it is the official start of Lent, the beginning of our Lenten journey. I attended the 6am mass at St. Jude Parish,  a beautiful celebration of reminding us what the season of Lent means, what the  ashes symbolize.We are encouraged to attend mass in order to begin the Lenten season with proper reflection, conversion and repentance. It is a day of fasting and abstinence. Fasting means restricting the food we eat and the number of meals and the size of it while Abstinence is abstaining from eating meat.The imposition of ashes is a reminder of our sinfulness and unworthiness, it is a renewal of our commitment to follow Jesus and acknowledging the sacrifice He had made for our salvation.  I think next to the Christmas blogs that I write every year, my Lent posts come close. I would like to share a post that I wrote four years ago because I think the message is never too old to appreciate and remember. I particularly like the beautiful Lenten reflection I found on EWTN entitled What To Give Up.

Give up complaining – focus on gratitude

Give up pessimism – become an optimist

Give up harsh judgments – think kindly thoughts

Give up worry – trust Divine Providence

Give up discouragement – be full of hope

Give up bitterness – turn to forgiveness

Give up hatred  – return good for evil

Give up negativism – be positive

Give up anger – be more patient

Give up pettiness – become mature

Give up jealousy – pray for trust

Give up gossiping – control your tongue

Give up sin – turn to virtue

Give up giving up – hang in there.

Beautiful, isn’t it? And you might say, it is easier said than done, after all we are just human, capable of making repetitious mistakes, capable of abandoning good deeds  and choosing the easy way out, more focused on material things that make life easier, or so we think. But everyday of our lives we are given the chance to do something good for others if not for our selves.  I remember the time when I was in the hospital almost six years ago, it was my first time to undergo chemotherapy. I was expecting that just like the rest of the patients at the Ambulatory Care Unit at the hospital, I would lose my hair but the chemotherapy nurse assured me that I won’t . I was apprehensive at first, who wouldn’t be, but  I gave up the thought of going bald and I was elated and grateful that chemo drugs for colon cancer treatments do not result to that grim scenario. That’s a small miracle  for me. God must be thinking , I don’t trust Him enough.

We are sometimes too quick to judge other people. The thing is, we must look at our own inadequacies first. Unless we know what makes them the way they are, we are not in any position to pass  harsh judgment.  Think kindly thoughts and think positively.  Trust in Divine Providence, give up worry. How often do we feel anxious  about everything in our lives?   We are endlessly worrying because we want everything to be perfect but this is not a perfect world. If it is, we won’t need friends or our neighbors or our families even,  to make us smile.  Benjamin Franklin said, “Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. keep in the sunlight.”

Give up discouragement, be full of hope. I’d like to think that’s something I got lots of. Giving up hope is like giving up life.  When you  are  confronted by  a life changing situation, hope is a precious commodity that you cling to.  No matter how painful your situation might be, you can and you will survive it as long as you don’t lose that thin thread of hope. Sometimes, trials are really just blessings in disguise. They are God’s way of telling us to trust Him, always.

It is not easy to forgive when you are full of  hatred and bitterness. Let  us not plant hatred in our hearts because in the first place, we are the ones greatly affected. Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

What better life this would be if only we can follow these simple steps. Happiness is the simple thought of trying not to give up, just hang in there.

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I haven’t blogged for…let me see….almost a week.  And sometimes when you haven’t expressed your thoughts in words for quite a while, it is quite hard to write again.  I am trying to catch up on reading while having coughing fits late at night.  The nights are long and cold while the days are sunny and bright, perfect chances of having runny nose and headache. I am feeling okay now but I have gone lazy blogging. I am grateful though that readers continue to visit my blog  even without a new post.

I miss the shouts and laughter of my grandson who spent a long weekend with us. Hearing his voice asking about this and that, being so curious about everything he see are quite welcome changes to an otherwise silent and quiet household. I am just amazed of the things Nate learned for a month that we haven’t seen him.  He has a favorite word now. He would say “later” when he is not inclined to take his milk, when he is not yet sleepy and when you ask a question that he thinks would be okay for later. Hahaha, funny how you can learn something from a two-year old child. Time is of the essence of course and sometimes you think time is running out  and you do your bit of everything in a hurry. That word later made me realize that I might have done it wrong,trying to do everything in one go  but you can enjoy the moment and do things later. He would just say I want milk when he is hungry and water please when he wants a drink. Learning to relax I think is one luxury that we have somehow forgotten and the smile, warm hugs and embraces of a child reminds you to take time out from this so-called busy life and just enjoy the moment.

I told my kids that the feeling was like celebrating Christmas Eve and looking forward to Christmas day. Imagine having midnight snack of a crispy bagnet (pork belly which is the Ilocano version of lechon kawali) with steamed rice at 1am, precious moments sharing a meal at an ungodly hour and having the time of your life listening to their stories. Waking up late and enjoying a  sumptuous  breakfast accompanied by Nate’s shouts of “yummy, yummy”, what more could you ask for?

Every year, Nissa gives me a copy of Bank of PI’s planner/journal featuring selected artworks from the BPI Art Collection. This year, they have Contemporary Realism. There is a featured contemporary artist for every month along with the original picture of the paintings and enlarged copies in another page. It’s almost too good to use as a planner. The cover is a painting from my favorite artist, Manuel Baldemor.

Precious moments, unhurried time enjoying the beauty of the now, making memories, finding treasures in simple things, I guess these more than make up for the days we haven’t seen each other,  just hearing each other’s voices on the line.

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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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“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”
–Kahlil Gibran

Please indulge me. I promise I won’t be talking about Christmas anymore until next year.  Where was I? Ah, the beauty of seeing Christmas in the eyes of my two-year old grandson Nate. I think he is old enough now not just to make his eyes wonder at the tinsel hanging on a tree or and the nativity set he kept pointing at because we told him Baby Jesus was born today. In his excited voice, he greeted my brother and a close friend a Merry Christmas via Viber and they said that just hearing his voice was enough to make them smile and remember the significance of this happy season in our lives.

He was asleep when we came home from attending the Christmas  Eve mass last night but when it was time for Noche Buena, he was wide awake. He kept saying, “dami, dami” while looking at the gifts in one corner with his name in lots of the pile. Nissa gifted him with a big Mickey Mouse stuffed toy, almost taller  than he is and some battery-operated toys that he enjoyed playing with. At first he was reluctant to open the big package from Toys R Us. He only saw the back of Mickey and thought it was scary. We were laughing so hard when he finally glimpsed at his favorite Disney animal cartoon character and he embraced it while saying  “Mickey, Mickey” in an excited voice.

Christmas 2014 with Nissa and Nate and Mickey of course...

Christmas 2014 with Nissa and Nate and Mickey of course…

I told Nissa she should have taken a video on Nate’s reaction while playing with his robots and shouting and dancing at the same time – a spontaneous display of joy.  Such a simple thing to make a child laugh and smile and hug his mommy back. Every time I see a child’s  appreciation for what you give him, it reminds me of  how life should be lived – happiness is just within one’s reach if you’ll only learn to appreciate what is around you.  We can surely learn from a child.

Thank you so much for all your Christmas wishes and greetings. I am truly blessed and lucky for having you all as blogging friends.

Do you keep  a  New year’s resolution?  Have you made one?

 

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