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Posts Tagged ‘guilty pleasures’


I have a library of books I have read which I have uploaded on Facebook via Goodreads app. I could not count the times that I blogged about books and reading and occasionally post bits of book reviews all these years. I used to update my books at shelfari.com, an online library where I personally met my reading buddies through a book club.  Since our well-loved books were destroyed by typhoon Ondoy back in 2009, I  got lazy updating the site and forgot those thousands of book titles that I’ve uploaded there. Lately though, while I was updating my journal I found a printed copy of all my books there. Yes, back then, you can easily print a list of books you have in your shelves.  I even have a wish list printed too.  I have marked those I have finally found while browsing at Booksale and getting copies of those hard to find  titles which a generous friend  brought home.

A friend got curious and asked me what my favorite books are so I am reposting this list of old-time favorites. They are just twenty  titles,  some of which  I have reread over the years. I bet if you are a reader, you have some of these in your shelves too.

1. Markings – Dag Hammarskjold
2. Seasons in the Sun – Rod McKuen
3. All I Really Need to Know I learned in Kindergarten – Robert Fulghum
4. The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint Exupery
5. The Prophet – Kahlil Gibran
6. Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom
7.  Letting Go – Morrie Schwartz
8. The Heart of Loving – Eugene Kennedy
9. Gift from the Sea – Anne Morrow Lindbergh
10. Jonathan Livingston Seagull – Richard Bach
11. Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am – John Powell
12. Simple Moments – Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVD
13. Charlotte’s Web – E. B. White
14. I Like You Just Because – Albert Nimeth, OFM
15. Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor E. Frankl
16. The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand
17. Embraced By the Light – Betty J. Eadie
18. It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It – Robert  Fulghum
19. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
20. Grow Something Besides Old – Laurie Beth Jones.

A few minutes ago, I saw a picture of Viktor E. Frankl on Brain Pickings. He was  the author of that riveting  and profound  book called  Man’s Search For Meaning. He  was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor.  I read it twice, once when I was in college and again when the kids were growing up.  It’s about his personal experience as a concentration camp inmate during the Holocaust.  I marked it as five-stars on Goodreads.  Maybe, reading that somehow shaped my views on history because until now, I am still  reading fiction and-non fiction books on  WW II.  Finding the Diary of Anne Frank cemented it though. I read Schindler’s List a few years ago, followed by another favorite entitled The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I collected books by Leon Uris too and most of them were all about Poland and WWII.

I digress.

I remember  copying lots of quotes from Frankl’s book and seeing him featured today on Brain Pickings  made me search for my three notebooks on quotations.  Weird? Maybe to some but I chronicled all those inspiring words religiously.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

And  the following line is  my favorite.

“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”  
Here’s more.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
“Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved. It finds its deepest meaning in his spiritual being, his inner self. Whether or not he is actually present, whether or not he is still alive at all, ceases somehow to be of importance.”
I probably might not  have answered the “why”. Suffice to say, I love visiting places and knowing how it is to live on the other side through books.
Today is Resurrection Sunday. May you all be blessed.

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I know, I know, you would probably say, life is not simple. Maybe, just like those Facebook profiles that say, “it’s complicated”,  it means a lot of things to different people.

You can be happy with a lot of things (that’s temporary) but it’s the simplicity of it which sometimes put a smile on your face. Yesterday was one such day that made me pause for a while and just  savor the hours that passed. My son is on a two-day team-building trip somewhere in Cavite and the house was so quiet except for the occasional barking of our three rambunctious dogs. They think they own the garden and one of them doesn’t know what to do every time he sees some passersby close to the fence, he probably thinks they are a threat to the peace and quiet of the afternoon.

I love that corner of the garden where I could put my feet up and read or sip a hot cup of afternoon coffee giving half of the bread to our dogs.  Every Sunday afternoon, there is this program in the AM band where they play old songs from the 60’s and 70’s but mostly from the 60’s. Yesterday, it was a two-hour feature of the Beatles. This group has been a part of my growing-up years and when my son was in grade school, we used to watch a test broadcast of Beatles songs and movies.  Sometimes I am surprised to listen to some downloaded songs on his MP3 with several Beatles songs. I smile and he laughs and we would begin to reminisce about those days.  The joys of a simple life.

I got myself engrossed reading a book with a different setting and a one-of-a-kind story. It’s my first encounter with the author Marilynne Robinson. 20575411

Lila is a fascinating tale of a homeless child,  “story of a girlhood lived on the fringes of society in fear, awe, and wonder.”  A limited vocabulary but full of thoughts and wonders about life  and  existence, such is Lila.  It’s a wonderful story of redemption, full of Biblical quotes that seem so essential in the story and in Lila’s quest on the meaning of grief and happiness. I understand this a trilogy, I haven’t read the first two books but this is a stand-alone story.  By the way, it’s my 21st book on Goodread’s 2016 reading challenge.

“If you think about a human face, it can be something you don’t want to look at,so sad or so hard or so kind. It can be something you want to hide, because it pretty well shows where you’ve been and what you can expect. And anybody at all can see it, but you can’t. It just floats out there in front of you. It might as well be your soul, for all you can do to protect it.”

Yes, I have started collecting quotes again, copying them on my little notebook. Back when I was in college, I have filled up three journals just on quotes alone. The beauty of a simple life.

18666006I have just started a new book, another new author in my list. Based on the summary it says,” Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands is the story of Emily Shepard, a homeless teen living in an igloo made of ice and trash bags filled with frozen leaves.”

“A story of loss, adventure, and the search for friendship in the wake of catastrophe, Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands is one of Chris Bohjalian’s finest novels to date – breathtaking, wise, and utterly transporting.”

I wonder if this would deliver, I am just on the first few pages. Seventy nine more books to go, this one included.  Such is the beauty of reading, you are sometimes transported in a world completely unknown to you.

Did a say, it is a simple life? But it is a life that is happy.

 

 

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♫♪And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart♪♪♫

Yes, my favorite time of the year is almost here.  Next Sunday is the start of the Advent season, the beginning of another liturgical calendar, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the Nativity of Jesus.  I love the ritual of praying and watching the lighting of the first Advent candle, it signals the official start of the most joyous season of the year.

I am glad there is always YouTube to provide the music, I won’t have to take out all the Christmas CDs  which are usually mixed with other DVDs the kids have accumulated through the years. Listening to Christmas carols all day long, singing  along and belting out those familiar tunes and inspiring words. Truly, it warms the heart. I love the Christmas album of the Günter Kallman Choir, the cool voice of Johnny Mathis, the romantic way our very own  Jose Marie Chan sings his Christmas compositions, Jason Mraz’ version of Winter Wonderland and the Pilipino Christmas songs from way back which speak of how we Filipinos celebrate Christmas. The latter would make you dance, stomp your feet and sing the familiar Tagalog lyrics.  Talk of tinolang manok, lechon, salabat, bibingka, puto bungbong, hot tsokolate and such recipes and delicacies that you can only find here. The joys of meeting friends and relatives, the fun of watching little kids singing their versions of Christmas carols and shouts of “namamasko po” and your shouts of “patawad” because there are no more loose coins in your pocket.

Gifts are wrapped finally but I think I would have to make another trip to the mall for those I haven’t marked on my list yet. We have put up some Christmas decorations but don’t have the lights yet anywhere outside the house. And it is this time of year that I am sure Nate would love to celebrate with us. He is three years old now and can appreciate even small gifts that he receives. I love how his eyes light up and his whole face transforms into a smile while uttering a single word “wow”.

Hmmm….now I’m counting! Did I say there are twenty-nine days to go before Christmas?

 

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Exactly five years ago I wrote my first post with this title so this makes it part 2. Never mind, this would just be in the same format as the first one I wrote long ago. Remind me of the happy times and my heart jumps with joy, nothing exceptional but just simple things that make me smile.

  • got my first birthday greetings from Bank of PI a week ago and I smiled at the thought of another birthday. Let me see, I’ll be turning 58, 59, 60 in two weeks, though I don’t plan to have a birthday party, I still look forward to the day.
  • Nate’s shouts of  “I love you Nonna” when he is in the mood to talk to me over the phone and I treasure the days that they come over to visit us, when the quiet becomes shouts of laughter and excitement. He loves seeing our three dogs, even calling them by names but when they come near, he is afraid and hides himself behind me.
  • Nate’s urging for us to visit the garden so he could pick  calamansi to bring home. Never mind that he loves to pick those which are still in their buds. He would always say, “ang bango bango” while enjoying the lemony scent of the tiny flowers.
  • the joy of seeing another bloom of my Gardenia though it’s quite a little late for its flowering season.  I usually enjoy the scented flowers during the months of May and June.
  • finding the fifth book of Richard Paul Evans. I have waited so long to read the last series wondering how it would end. It was one joyful ride, love always triumphs in the end.
  • the surprise little gifts from Nissa, she is so thoughtful that way. Lately she gave me a L’Oréal matte pressed powder and two big bottles of body lotion and I was like, “how did you know I need them?”  She simply answered “basta”.
  • enjoying a hot cup of coffee while staying in the garden and waiting for the day to bring another surprise, a bloom maybe or something that I could take a photo of.  I just planted my first blackberry seeds three days ago. Wish me luck that they would grow into seedlings so I could transfer them to a sunny spot in the garden.
  • learning to bake an upside-down cake. This was my favorite when I was in high school and I found a simple recipe on the net that was worth a try.
  • finding more online friends through this blog and enjoying all the blog posts on my reader. Having a steady number of visitors and views a day really make me smile.
  • seeing one of my favorite senators Kiko Pangilinan (I only have three among  the twenty-four) personally yesterday when Josef and I visited the 1st National Pork and Egg Festival  at Megatrade  Hall. He used to be one of our Dept. of Agriculture secretaries but he is now running for another seat in the Senate.  I love his sense of humor and the stories he shared while tending their farm in Cavite.
  • an early e-mail from a friend, another advance birthday greetings.
  • finding new books to read but  of course, that’s a given. Books are my best friends:)

Maybe, just maybe when I turn 59, life would give more surprises, something more to smile about, something more to be grateful for and  more blessings for the family.

Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life – Omar Khayyam

This is my 1,724th post. How cool is that?

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Yes, I know a lot of you would probably react and say “it’s too early yet”. I know, I know. Yesterday before my son left for work he asked me to listen to the new downloads on his tab saying that I would surely like it and adding that it’s my favorite album of all time. I was surprised. He downloaded the whole album of Gunter Kallmann’s  Christmas Sing In. Around this time every year, I would bring out the various CDs and play them randomly and one of them is the album Christmas Sing In. As if that was not enough, son said, “listen to this Ma”. We smiled, remembering those days when they were younger and we would listen to the Jackson Five belting out ♫♪Santa Claus Is Coming To Town♪♫.

Did you ever believe in Santa Claus? Did you let your kids believe that he comes on Christmas Eve bearing gifts that they asked and prayed for? I don’t remember my kids ever having asked Santa about what gifts to receive for Christmas although they each had a picture with Santa Claus, a perfect capture of smiling kids on Santa’s knee.  Those were the days when parents and their kids line up at one section of the mall  to wait for their turn to be pictured with Santa. I wonder if they still do that these days. Since I resigned from work more than fifteen years ago, my check list on buying Christmas gifts has dramatically narrowed down to just family and close friends. I do my Christmas shopping early depending of course on available budget and finding gifts for family and friends that they will truly appreciate. It’s not the cost that counts really, but the thoughtful gestures behind the gifts.

I remember our Christmas celebration last year with Nate’s infectious smiles while  embracing a Mickey Mouse toy which was larger than he was.  Back then, Mickey Mouse was his favorite. Now he is into Minions and large Lego blocks. I wonder what will be next when he celebrates his third birthday come November.

I bought a food magazine on home-cooked Pinoy classics. Chanced upon it when I went grocery-shopping. I would love to try those luscious local fruit pies (at least one on their list), recipes using coconut, and locally famous desserts. One can always buy them here (Cainta is famous for kakanin) but the challenge of course lies in learning how to cook them in one’s own kitchen. I would love to try the good old-fashioned Bibingka wrapped in banana leaves, topped with grated coconut, a little amount of sugar and butter and those cheesy Ube-Cassava cakes…heaven.

Oh, I am listening to the remastered Christmas album of Johnny Mathis. I think of Dad when I listen to this, he used to have an LP (a long-playing record) way back then.  It makes me smile and a little thoughtful listening to the catchy and lovely Christmas songs in the album.

I know, it’s that time of year again!

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It’s one of those  relaxed and lazy days of the week.  I asked Josef if he could accompany me to the newly opened library in our town and he readily agreed. I told him bringing the car was probably a mistake because of the horrendous traffic. Such common daily routine of  everyone ….traffic. He had all his IDs laminated while I waited at the library to talk to their assistants there. There is no licensed librarian yet and most of the volumes on the shelves were donations from the National Library.They have a sizable collection of National Geographic and several children’s story books, various local publications of food mag, travel and leisure. I had a good time chatting with the library assistants and I promised that I would donate some fiction/non-fiction books to add to their shelves. Finally, we have a modern and lovely town library with lots of computers and free wi-fi.Most shelves are still vacant though.

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Nissa gifted me with a lovely Zen Mandalas coloring book complete with a  set of Faber-Castell  colored pencils, sharpener and eraser. The designs look so complicated and challenging.  I was happy before having an ordinary coloring book, this one needs a lot of time before you finish a page. Coloring is a stress-buster. Josef  told me early this morning that I could upload Mandala on my tab. Practice, practice, practice. It is so addicting.  The final picture depends on how creative you are in choosing a combination of colors. Here are some photos that I practiced on before we went to the library.

image1image2image3image4image5image6   I  set aside reading again. I can’t wait to start coloring on an actual page.

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Ah yes, color me pink for the day.

I spent the early morning in the garden weeding a bit. I don’t know, our carabao grass needs trimming again, it seems to grow by leaps and bounds. The rainy days last week contributed to the rapid growth of everything. I had a lovely time picking some Calamansi (Philippine lime) from our two fruit trees in the yard. They are almost ripe, just perfect for a pitcher of fresh Calamansi juice. Our Bougainvillea planted at the corner outside our perimeter wall is blooming again, those lovely clustered pink flowers are a sight to behold. The shrub serves as a protection to our concrete corner wall where there is busy traffic every day. Even my pink rain lilies are showing flowers in every tip. My pink and yellow Portulaca are blooming too so are my pink angels. How lovely to see different shade of pink in the garden. I call it a pink Wednesday.

My son and I had a good laugh a while ago when I heard the Beatles playing on his tab while he was having a late breakfast. I asked him, “since when have you learned listening to that kind of music?” He said, “don’t you remember, we used to watch them when I was in grade school”. Oh, senior moments again.  I laughed. Of course, I remember now, there was this new tv station (on test broadcast for a few days) and they played those old movies by the Beatles and some clips of their concerts worldwide.  You bet, I am now listening to their music on YouTube while blogging:) Those were the days and the good thing about the 60’s and 70’s music is that you always have the option to listen to them even just on YouTube.

Do you find pleasure in listening to old music, that kind that resonates with you, that kind of music that was a part of your growing up years? I do.

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