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Posts Tagged ‘guilty pleasures’


Given the opportunity and the know-how, would you try growing mushrooms in your backyard?

This morning, Nissa brought me an oyster mushroom fruiting bag  from their trip to Amadeo, Cavite last Saturday. It was a gift from a relative who has started mushroom production in that area.  I am excited to try it. I love mushroom, any which way it is prepared and  one is rest assured of its freshness and safety when it is grown in one’s backyard.  this fruiting bag only needs to be sprayed with water twice a day and should be kept in a dark and cool place. Wish me luck, I hope it gives me a nice cluster in two weeks. She also brought  a pack of Amadeo Coffee. It’s a different kind from the instant one that we are used to because it is brewed.  Amadeo produces the best coffee this side of town and is also known as the coffee capital of the Philippines.  Gonna try it  tomorrow when I have enough time to prepare it and enjoy a sip.

Now I learned what a “sandwich hug” is. Nate is just so showy with how it’s done with Nissa and me, our three heads so close together with him in the middle holding tight with a bonus kiss. What a lovely Saturday, another visit that I would treasure :)

I hope it is not too late if I greet you a nice weekend too! Happy weekend friends. Keep those smiles :)

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I can’t believe April is almost gone.  The lazy bug caught me again and blogging has taken a backseat for a while. Gone are the times when the day is not complete without writing a few words and posting them here.  I feel comfortable now blogging once or twice a week but I still read posts/updates from friends every day.

You won’t believe this, I’ve become so obsessed with books lately that sometimes I laugh at myself how  I’m gonna read these books  that I have collected all these years and some  e-books that I have on my phone. Hugging a book close and the comfort of turning the pages, loving the scent and smell of the printed pages. Yesterday, I took note of the recommendations of Goodreads based on similar subjects that I have read before. Historical fiction, memoirs and contemporary books still top the list. There was even a time that I visited the list of the 1000 books you have to read before you die but I narrowed it down to the top 500 but not necessarily followed it to the letter. If that is not a book obsession, I don’t know what is.  They call it bibliomania :) I haven’t gone that far yet…no….not yet.  I have a long list which I wrote in my notebook about new authors and new books that I want to read. I am trying to discover Asian authors and so far Khaled Husseini is the best although I found more names who are quite new in the field of writing.

I remember reading On Writing by Stephen King a few years ago, a book borrowed by Nissa from their Stress Management Office then found a brand new hardbound copy later  (still with the dust jacket on) in one of my trips to Booksale. Imagine the joy of finally owning a copy.  He said and I quote “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” “Reading in bed can be heaven, assuming you can get just the right amount of light on the page and aren’t prone to spilling your coffee or cognac on the sheets. ” That’s another line from Stephen King’s book and I laughed out loud when I read it before because it happened to me not just once but several times. At least it was just a glass of water and not a hot cup of coffee :)

When I encounter people who say that they are not fond of reading, I try to compose my facial expression not to frown and say “you are missing  a lot”.

P.S. Goodreads says I have read 28 books (56%) out of the 50 books that I challenged myself to finish this year. Maybe, I could add 10 more, what do you think?

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I wonder if  you could really call it happy amidst the devastating news brought about by the destructive earthquake in Nepal.  Let us pray for the repose of the souls of those people who didn’t survive and pray too for the survivors who will pick up the pieces again – beneath the rubbles, destroyed homes, broken spirits.  May they have strength to carry on. I share your pain Nepal.

I attended the 6am mass at St. Jude Parish. The heat here is such that you either go out early or attend the last evening mass to avoid the humid feel of the day. I walked a mile, no  skip that. I walked back going home, a ten-minute-very-much-needed exercise, rather make that twenty because it was a leisurely walk savouring the scents and sounds of the early morning while my mind was busy with lots of thoughts that I need to write. Some people here are not really showy with their smiles unless you greet them first and smile at them, then they would have that lovely smile on their faces and you get  to be greeted “good morning”.  That’s an experiment I do to people I meet, it is lovelier though when you get to see familiar faces then it becomes a genuine gesture of smiling and greeting.

Funny how you could observe things while walking around the neighborhood. I could smell coffee and newly baked pan de sal in the air. There was  a lady in her front yard drinking coffee and the dogs patiently waiting at her side probably for a scrap of bread or what she is having for breakfast. I could smell fried tuyo while walking further. It is a staple in a typical Filipino breakfast paired with sinangag (fried rice) that maybe  has lots of diced garlic  and egg (cooked any way you want). Or maybe, there is that yummy (but sinful) longganisa . Longganisa is the Pilipino equivalent of sausage and it even tastier  dipped in vinegar with lots of chillies.

We make do with instant coffee every day. It is the fastest way to prepare it, a teaspoon of coffee granules with a teaspoon  of sugar. Ah wait, I just remembered that I baked cookies last night. It’s kind of nice to pair it with a favorite cup of Raspberry Zinger herbal tea.

Oatmeal Raisin cookies...

Oatmeal Raisin cookies…

These are your regular Oatmeal Raisin cookies, so soft and chewy but have that crunchy feel  to the bite. I used multicolored  chocolate candies and reduced the sugar by half. The sweetness of the raisins and chocolate are good enough.

How was your Sunday?

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Back to the grind. Ah,  I mean back to blogging! It’s been a while.

I got so engrossed finding new books and new authors for Goodreads’ 2015 reading challenge. I’ve finished  twenty-three books out of the fifty that I promised myself to read this year. YA books, Chick Lit, classics, fairy tales, you name it, it’s a random list of them all.  My last read would be the memoirs of course, save the best for last :) Back when I worked as a student librarian at the Humanities Section of the UST Library, I encountered so many classic books but I didn’t have the chance to read them except for a few titles like Gone With The Wind, Crime and Punishment, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn and of course some of the  books of the Bronte sisters. Balancing a full load in my Economics course and a six-hour job at the library was quite hard and I missed the chance to read all those classics.  When I started working, my reading genre changed a lot. I found new authors, more books to read and collect. Anna Karenina and Doctor Zhivago remained on my wish list though over the years. Yesterday, I found a copy of the latter and just started reading it a few hours ago. A fellow blogger and a friend at Facebook sent me the link to Lara’s Theme, the soundtrack of the movie adaptation of Doctor Zhivago.  What a lovely idea, I got more inspired. It’s a long read…perfect for the summer days ahead.

This morning, our ISP was changed from SmartBro to HomeBro. HomeBro is owned by the largest telecommunications company here in our country, PLDT. Since SmartBro is now under PLDT we have to switch to  the new one. HomeBro Ultera includes a built-in wi-fi router so we have to set aside our old router. I quizzed the three installers who took care of the installation and they said that this is definitely faster than the old one. We’ll see. I don’t download much, it’s more of internet search and blogging.

I wonder who is more excited, the mommy or the baby. Nissa has enrolled Nate to summer  school and today is his first day in class. She wants Nate  to learn to interact with other kids. I think it is a 12-session class at one hour and a half every other day. Kids nowadays are so smart. Last night he said, “I’m going to school Nonna”. Pretty excited too, I guess.

Are you shy Nate?

Are you shy Nate?

What am I doing here? haha...

What am I doing here? haha…

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Hi everyone! How have you been? It’s been a while and there is no valid reason neglecting this blog except that I was just busy. It’s Holy Week  next week so I have to finish everything (gardening included) so I could at least spend it in quiet reflection and visit some churches for our annual Visita Iglesia.  Hopefully, Josef and I could do the Manila loop on Holy Thursday. I wish mom is strong enough to join us in the Stations of the Cross. I love visiting churches nearby during the season of Lent but I haven’t ventured in the churches of Manila yet  We have done the Rizal area as far as Morong and Cardona and several towns in Laguna.  Rizal province and Laguna have the most beautiful century old churches in the Eastern loop, well-preserved and they have lovely facades. One time, we tried the churches  in Marikina City, Josef was driving and we got lost along the way. Marikina has a lot of one-way streets and it was quite confusing.  Hopefully, we could do it again and I suggested if we could just take a commute since most churches in Manila are near each other.

I am catching up on my reading. All the Light We Cannot See is my first book of Anthony Doerr. It’s Goodreads’ choice 2014 winner. It is a historical fiction set during World War II, a  wonderful and moving account on the lives of two teenagers, a blind girl from France and a German orphan boy  who grew up in an  industrial and mining town  in Germany. I love reading about WW II, be it fiction or a true account of what happened. My parents  have their own personal account of it when the Philippines was occupied by the Japanese. The book is another facet of history as told by Doerr. I love Markus Zusak’s  The Book Thief  (read it twice actually) and almost all the books of Leon Uris about  the war in Poland and what life was like in Ireland during the Industrial Revolution, subjects that keep me awake for hours until my eyes  can no longer decipher the words. Here are some interesting quotes from the book. I jot them down as I read them.

“Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.”
“We rise again in the grass. In the flowers. In songs.”
“I have been feeling very clearheaded lately and what I want to write about today is the sea. It contains so many colors. Silver at dawn, green at noon, dark blue in the evening. Sometimes it looks almost red. Or it will turn the color of old coins. Right now the shadows of clouds are dragging across it, and patches of sunlight are touching down everywhere. White strings of gulls drag over it like beads.

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And since it is my 7th anniversary, allow me to repost a blog on the beauty of exchanging letters, it’s now what you call snail mail. I still look forward to these snail mails that seldom arrive on our doorstep nowadays.  I wrote this more than four years ago but I still think of those friends who used to write those long, long letters. By the way, they are still kept in shoe boxes but I covered the latter with Christmas wrapping paper :)

Have you ever wondered how you were able to get by when the use of typewriters, e-mails, texts and such modern way of communication were not yet in vogue?  Or shall we say, do you still find it a delight  to receive something from the mail, those seemingly heart-stopping-oh-so-exciting moments when the mailman hands a letter to you addressed in bold strokes of the hand, and not just your familiar utility bills?  I still do and  I still get excited receiving one.

Hubby and I spent the early part of the morning cleaning our large floor to ceiling cabinets and disposing some of the things we have accumulated over the years – a big box of baby clothes,  children’s dresses, jumpers, sweaters and everything  a baby of a month to a  child of six or seven would need.  After all these years, they are pretty much  still in good condition so I selected some  layette, around two dozens of bird’s-eye diapers which my mom painstakingly embroidered at the edges when my two kids were born.  The rest, together with some transformer toys  still in their original boxes,  we bundled and told the garbage collectors to give to their neighbors or to  whoever would need them.

Imagine my surprise when hubby handed a big bag of old, old letters which I thought were all destroyed, with the rest of my more recent mails, by flood Ondoy last year.  And I mean,  they are really,  really  old, some of which dates as far back as 1971.  “Set them aside’, I told him,  “I’ll take care of those.” Most of them were addressed to me anyway. I found myself in awe of  counting around three hundred or  so  letters from a grade school friend, from a cousin who never failed to send a postcard everywhere he docked, letters from my brother-in-law when he was assigned in the Middle East,  letters from college classmates,  small notes from some high school teachers, lots of  postcards from different part of the globe, concert tickets  during my college days,  daily notes from my  then best friend,  and some quaint bookmarks from pen friends from Japan.

Letter1

I was fascinated and I felt I found a treasure just sorting the pile.  I spent the whole morning reacquainting myself with these old friends who made an impact in my young life.  These are my personal treasures –  living  testaments on how I was as a teenager, struggling with college life and  the emotional upheavals.   The pain of first love, the disappointments  early in life, the support  and encouragement from close friends some of whom are still my friends until now, the days of sharing  on what life was all about, these made me what I am today.   My tears were flowing as I read some of those letters all over again – tears of joy,  a big YES, tears of reminiscing the past, partly, but most of all I am glad, truly glad that these letters are still here with me after more than thirty and close to forty years.

Letter2

Letter3

This was from a  friend who lived all the way from  Aparri, Cagayan.   I am just sorry that we lost touch after all these years. To think we could touch on such subjects as the values of friendship, the woes of college life, the books we have read and shared.  He was a terrific writer.

I was laughing out loud while reading letters from two of my friends at the Philippine Military Academy.  They were recounting their training –  the jump squat, the push-up etc.  They were frankly telling me how to court a girl while touring her around the campus of PMA.

I have another friend who has now migrated to Canada, and believe me, we used to write each other everyday when we were together as student librarians at the UST Main Library.  Please don’t tell, but we used up a lot of date due slips for stationery.   She was  a little older than  I am  so we  kind of adopted each other as the younger/older sisters.  It was through her that I poured my heart out.  I am glad that after 37 years, the friendship is still going strong.

Letter4

I remember this, it was the first day of issue of the  University of Santo Tomas  (UST)  stamp, the 50th anniversary of the College of Science.  It was dated June 07, 1976.

Letter writing is definitely an art and I don’t mean posting and sending them via the internet, it’s the art of choosing a good stationery, composing an interesting message and writing in a style that would enthrall and fascinate  the receiver.  I still get excited receiving one via snail mail. There are still people out there who prefer the good old-fashioned way of letter writing.  And my heart beats an unusual rhythmic sound every time I get a surprise from our Kartero. At least now, they use a motorbike instead of walking from house to house to deliver mails.  They are here to stay, don’t you think?

I wish they’re here to stay. Just like holding a new book in your hands and smelling its printed pages, there is that certain thrill of receiving a letter written in long hand and delivered via snail mail.

 

 

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Some friends are coming over tomorrow, friends I’ve met at my online Apostolate when I was just starting as an admin there. Time flies, it is almost five years now since I met them.  They are definitely younger than I am, some call me Mommy, a lot of them call me tita (an adopted auntie) and I consider them my extended family. They help me grow and in the process, I am learning a lot too. There is no dull moment when they are around because we could talk about anything under the sun, we could share some serious stuff about their lives and their families. Sometimes, I wonder how we have bonded this close considering we don’t see each other often, they are just a text away though. Two of them are celebrating their birthdays this month so we decided to hold an informal gathering here at home. They told me not to stress myself preparing the food as they will just bring it over so I will just probably bake marble potatoes and boil a kilo of fresh peanuts  which I bought from the market this morning. I already prepared a laing dish, a personal favorite. Laing  are dried and shredded taro leaves cooked in coconut cream, diced pork  or shrimp and chili. It need not always be spicy, but  the chili goes well with the coconut cream and that is applicable for some dishes that use the latter.

We chanced upon this fresh alupihang dagat in the wet market today and my son told me that he hasn’t tasted it for more than a decade so we bought a kilo. I have to make research on what it is called in English, it’s mantis shrimps. The only downside is, it is hard to get the meat because of its pointed shell but I think it taste better than shrimps. It was a yummy lunch paired with sautéed ampalaya with eggs.

Bear with me, I am just excited meeting old friends again. Never mind the gargantuan task of preparing and  washing drinking glasses, plates, utensils for us to use tomorrow because I a not a fan of disposable plates and such.

When friends meet, hearts warm. I just love this Scottish proverb. It always holds true.

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