Posts Tagged ‘guilty pleasures’

Just done with my 89th Goodreads book challenge for this year.  Here’s my short review on Goodreads.

I am giving this five stars. Wow, what a great read! A story of two kids who survived the Peshtigo fire in Wisconsin, the greatest fire in American history in 1871 and a six-year old orphan, a survivor from a Chicago fire on the same day. A story of struggles and triumphs, a story of ups and downs, a story of survival. 

Tess Hilmo is on my list of newly discovered authors. She writes a wonderful story, amazing children’s dialogue. The characters are fictional but the events were based on true stories. 

I am always drawn to historical fiction. I find them even more arresting to read than your run of the mill romances. I wish I could find more books like this.

Eleven more books to go and I’m done.  How lovely it is when you find a book this good.




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Finally done with trimming the carabao grass. Josef finished it this morning. This afternoon, we swept all the debris.

Our good neighbor Jom gave me several seeds of  white Ternatea, Kadyos (Pigeon pea), Roselle and Burgundy  Okra which were given by Ray, another member of our group.  There were even cuttings that I am not even familiar with except the Shingles stem. I am excited about the Burgundy Okra, haven’t seen one yet except in pictures.  I already have the Blue Ternatea, they are growing nicely but don’t have flowers yet. Glad to have seeds of the white ones too.

I am a member of a closed group called Gardener’s Tambayan and the members  are all garden enthusiasts. We exchange notes, plant seedlings and seeds. Some have beautiful garden features. I am quite envious of their well-paved gardens. The seeds were given free by another member of the group and  Jom gave them to me.  They  had their monthly get-together (for the Eastern Rizal members) this morning.

So excited to see them grow and bloom. I wish I have  a larger garden so I could plant more.


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Finally reached my 2,300th post including this one but that does not include the additional 523 posts (total) in my  other four blogs. The stats here is just for Dreams and Escapes.

Sometimes I feel I lost my muse, finding it hard to write after so long. Sometimes I feel I have already covered all the subjects that a blogger like me writes about. Sometimes I feel I am sharing too much – family life, my garden, my friends, photographs I took over the years, books I read and books I still have to read in the future, dreams and what have you’s.

But sometimes I think they are never enough. As long as one is alive and kicking, you get to experience life and all its angst all the more. You get to learn through time and the journey may be easier to navigate  or the road may be full of stones.

I made a similar title of this post six years ago. There is still that desire to get in touch with the world in general and to close friends in particular. One good thing about this blogging genre is that I found many online friends here, read about their lives in the process. I treasure the times when I open my reader feed and I see their names and their updates.   I feel so excited to see their lovely photographs, read about how life is in other countries far and wide.

And I’ve always said that blogging has become a way of life for me.

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Just can’t help but reminisce a little – from some recess of memory.  More than  four decades ago, I was exactly in this same vein and wrote Drops of Ink in a Blue Sand which I adopted as title to my journal entries from way back. My journal is now a tattered notebook and the prints are no longer clear.

24 October ’77-Monday
2:45pm QC

October is a young girl scattering her days with life’s golden dreams, wishing a thousand wishes and dreaming myriads of dreams.

These twenty years of my life are varied hues of green, pink, blue and yellow. I think of my Octobers, this one particularly, which is rapidly melting into my twenty-first……..

But not without a tinge of nostalgia, for after all, remembering and saying goodbye to everything that has been a part is not without its tears. Twenty is a fragile thing, like a crystal glass wherein  your very soul is reflected there. It is tender, a soothing music of late night’s dreams, yes – twenty is a varied hues of green, pink and yellow.

But hope is a resplendent and effulgent thing.  and so, once more, I gather my dreams and rebuild my sand castles, look back at this lovely season which is slowly and regrettably falling into that never-never world where beautiful and pleasant things are laid to rest.

The hurt and the pain I will try to bury deep in the limbo of forgotten things lest I remember and make myself cry again. I will only recall the good and the beautiful, the nice and the pleasant:

* the evening walks along Espana on rainy evenings of August, Gilda’s and Marilen’s shout of “what are friends for” simply because they didn’t bring any umbrella to cover their heads.  the laughter, despite the knee-deep waters and the all too unpleasant smell of buses and jeepneys, the elbow-jerking and seat-grabbing with other students;

* the little talks with Grace, Emmie and Thea about anything under the sun – from Emerson to Merton or from Simon’s “Bridge Over Trouble Water” to the Carpenters.  the poetry sessions with Rey, Tony and Mike.  the little arguments, Rey saying that he never read Kahlil Gibran and Emmie insisting that Gibran is simply superb.

*and that afternoon I deliberately didn’t punch-in my time card only to see a movie with Grace somewhere along CM Recto.  how we cried at the thought of saying goodbye, at the Little Prince’s farewell to his pilot friend and the fox and the Little Prince’s secret, “it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eyes”. how we followed every word, remembering those much-thumbed thoughts and heavily underlined passages of the equally beautiful book of de Saint-Exupery. we left the movie house with misty eyes but filled with new hopes and pleasant thoughts of tomorrow and the next green, pink, blue and yellow mornings of our lives…..

*the cold feet we had in our Speech class, delivering those not-so memorized lines in front of our frowning professor who made us wonder if we got and pronounced the “th’s and the “f’s” right to her over-sensitive ears. and of course, that happy feeling of knowing that you can act after all;

These are just part of the season of my life that I will never forget. Grace, Ailene, Emmie, Thea, Rey, Mel, Fred, Gilda, Marilen, Boyet, Mike, Oscar, Sue, Nory, and Eddie……those seemingly endless names of my equally wonderful friends. Rest assured, I will treasure every moment of our times together.  Thank you Mel for the evening walks, your patience in waiting for a ride with me although you live just a stone’s throw away from UST. You know Rey, I still keep the poems you gave on that red-colored February.  Emmie, I will surely miss your sisterly advice. Grace, what about our daily exchange of letters? Someday, I will visit you at the convent to recall those green, pink, blue and yellow mornings and the thousand wishes and  the myriad dreams we had and will always have with Him. 

And always, I will keep the gifts I received on my twentieth birthday. Of course, there will be other seasons, other places and other green, pink, blue and yellow mornings but this October will always remain tender even if the other mornings turn to gray and the myriad dreams turn to ashes.

One of my close friends is now a nun  while one of them is  now a  priest. Some of them are still my friends.  We still get in touch through Facebook and get to see each other once in a while.

Sometimes it is nice to recall those days, they make you smile and  cry a little, they make you feel young again. The days of youth maybe gone but the memories remain. days to treasure, days to remember.


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Yesterday was another  lovely family day. Played with Nate, gave him a bath and picked calamansi for them to bring home.

When  he got bored with his meager toys here, he suggested that we open the PC so he could play. He knows how to play Bejeweled and when he hits the target and see the word  Excellent, he claps his hands and points to the  scoreboard.  He asked me to open Warcraft and StarCraft but I told him those were not for little boys like him. It is only his Ninong Josef who play the games.  I showed many photos that I took previously and those which Nissa forwarded through messenger. He was happy.

He tinkered with my tab, finally finding the camera and took shots of Nissa sleeping on the bed. I erased most of them because they were not in focus and so blurry. Before they left, I took a few shots not being aware that  he set it to video. So we had so many one minute and fifty seconds video shots while he was making faces in front of the camera. Naughty, naughty Nate.  He ended saying “Do you like it Nonna”?

I asked him about school and his classmates. He said that he brings lunch to school because his class ends at 11:20 am.  When his classmates noticed it, they also brought their  own.  “Girls are not allowed“, he told me, meaning it is an all-boys class.

I promised to buy  him some marbles to play with next time he visits and toy soldiers too, he added. He brought with him a big transformer car but could not  make it  go because the batteries were not charged properly.  So we just converted it to a big robot.

The happiness of a child sometimes lie in simple things.  They don’t need really complicated toys to make them happy. It was another wonderful day, another day to cherish.

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Will this never ends? I found twenty comments on my spam folder with the usual sites before with the word sexy at the middle of the e-addy.  I am guessing this is only one person using different e-mails.  I don’t know what they get  out of such useless spam  comments. Waste of time really. I even noticed that my comments on two blog posts by friends  were  “liked” by a spammer with  the same e-mail address. What do you think?

Equinoxio21, an online friend advised me to bring back the re-blog button by going to “sharing” on “My Site”  menu   and clicking the “Sharing buttons”  and saving it. Voila, the re-blog button appears again. Thank you!

I found another book by one of my favorite authors (aside of course from Mary Oliver, Richard Paul Evans, Khaled Hosseini and many others) Nadia Hashimi.  Hashimi is an American doctor, a bestselling novelist and a women’s rights advocate.  Her parents are Afghans so she always write about life in Afghanistan.  Since I encountered Khaled’s Hosseini’s books years ago, I looked for other Asian authors and found her.  I’ve read three of her books before two of which I posted reviews here two years ago. When The Moon Is Low is Goodreads’ Best Book of 2015, I actually wrote short reviews about her first three books that I read. Here’s my take on this: One of the best books I read so far on the 2016 reading challenge. I wonder why I am always drawn to historical novels (I am an old soul) and stories about Afghanistan always make me cry.

The Pearl  That Broke Its Shell came second on my reading list although it was her literary debut novel. And I wrote: “A painful but riveting story about what life is like for women in Afghanistan.”The Pearl the Broke Its Shell interweaves the tales of these two women separated by a century who share similar destinies.” Here’s a lovely quote from that book.

“Life has typhoons. They come and turn everything upside down. But you still have to stand up because the next storm may be around the corner”.

The third book is entitled One Half From The East.  I am reading the fourth book now. Just like the first three books, this one looks so good. A House Without Windows is a haunting story about friendship and the plight of women in Afghanistan.

If only I could find her other book which I think is the newest so far.  When you find such gifted authors, you always look forward to what they write about.

Yes, I remember another author, Khaled Hosseini, Afghan born and also a doctor. His memorable book, The Kite Runner was adapted into film which Nissa and I watched years ago. We cried inside the cinema.



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Here we go again. I just checked my dashboard. Yes, I do check it once or twice a week before posting photos on my blog. They might eat up my remaining  free space. My goodness,  I received  20 spam comments  still with the same question “what”. They never stop, such irrelevant word. It is not even connected to any of my posts. And then there are about 5 comments that didn’t show in my notification and they were just labeled  “pending”. These glitches are sometimes really annoying.

I went back to reading. Just done with a lovely story about a Russian intelligence officer and a CIA.  Knowing how the KGB works and how the CIA trains its manpower is a very interesting subject. The author, Jason Matthews is a retired officer of the CIA’s Operations Directorate.  He worked there for more than thirty-three years and “engaged in clandestine collection of national security intelligence, specializing in denied-area operations. Matthews conducted recruitment operations against Soviet–East European, East Asian, Middle Eastern, and Caribbean targets.”

I seldom read books like this, I am more into historical books  that deal with WW II  and the atrocities committed by the Germans  in various concentration camps  in Nazi occupied countries. I love reading about the bravery and the resilience  of people who survived the  war.

I have yet to find a free movie adaptation of Red Sparrow.  And I understand there are sequels to this book.  It’s a trilogy actually but I could not find the others, Palace  of Treason and The Kremlin’s Candidate both published    in June 2015 and March 2018 respectively.

I am on my 67th read now according to Goodreads. I may be able  to  finish early  the reading challenge I set myself to do this year, that is reading 100 books until December.

Oh yes, I am so happy to have found a book of poems by E.E. Cummings. I have just started reading it, Selected Poems by E. E. Cummings. When I was in college, my colleagues at the library and I used to quote  his writings.  Our favorite lines are these:

“the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses”

“i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart”

“the most wasted of all days is one without laughter”

I am not really sure which poems carried these lovely words. We just loved them.

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