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Posts Tagged ‘photography’


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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It was a busy weekend but days before that I was so lazy even to go out because of the summer heat. I finished three books in one week.

Fancy an early morning breathing  in the heavenly fragrance of Gardenia and Amazon Lily flowers mixed with the lemony scent of Calamansi (Philippine lime) flower buds.  It’s a perfect excuse to stay in the garden for a while. My Gardenia shrub is flowering again, a bit early for the month of May when it shows its blooms almost in every tip of the branches. I didn’t know that Gardenia symbolizes love, harmony and grace and it was named after Dr. Alexander Garden, an American botanist, until now. I just love Gardenia and when it is in bloom , I always take shots of the lovely white flowers.  Our two Calamansi trees are on their flowering stage too but the fruits are there all year-long.

Finally, one of our jackfruits was ready for harvest. I was as excited as Josef when we finally harvested it the other day and this morning, I sliced  it with a sharp knife and  separated the pulp from the rind. Josef just wants  it  fresh and cold from the ref.  One can cook it as “langka preserve” or marmalade, the way you cook other fruits in season.

Jackfruit, anyone?

Jackfruit, anyone?

The young green one is cooked as a yummy vegetable dish, either sautéed in pork or cooked in coconut cream with lots of chilis. Try it, it is best served a little hot and spicy.

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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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There is really no contest between the two. I love both and this is actually another experiment because it was the first time I used chicken as the main ingredient instead of ground pork. I haven’t baked anything in a while, desserts or recipes. I am not really that too busy  but the last few days have been so stressful that I have to think of a way to relax and cooking relaxes me. One morning while we were having breakfast, Josef and I discussed about what we used to prepare on the table and I told him, let’s prepare something for mom that she would surely like. My mom is turning 86 in a few days and she’s talking of going home to the province before the month ends. I told her to wait for her birthday here. There is no reasoning with our old folks once they decide on something. She just told me yesterday to call my brother so he could fetch her. One thing I like about her is that she is always appreciative of what I cook. When she is not familiar with it, she watches  me prepare the ingredients and asks questions.  We’ve been on mostly fish and vegetables since the season of Lent started and Fridays are totally “no-meat days”. Sourcing what is available in our pantry, here it is, a yummy chicken shepherd’s pie. It always tastes good with panini bread, just plain grilled slices.

Mom loves the melted cheese and mashed potato on top. Baked it just to melt the cheese.

Mom loves the melted cheese and mashed potato on top. Baked it just to melt the cheese.

Never been good at taking pictures of food. One more try, that is...

Never been good at taking pictures of food. One more try, that is…

P. S. And here’s the recipe,as promised Ren. You would need the following:

1 whole deboned chicken breast, boiled and cut into bite-size pieces

2 boiled potatoes

1/2 stick butter

dash of pepper

white onion, diced but it is better to cut it into small cubes

1 large carrot

1 cup of green peas

1 small can of Campbell Cream of Mushroom

grated cheese

Mash the potato with 1/2 stick butter, set aside. Saute onion, carrots, green peas and chicken then add in the can of mushroom last. Don’t put salt because the saltiness of the cream is good enough. Put in a baking dish, top with the mashed potato then grated cheese. A friend suggested that you can add bread crumbs to the cheese to make it crunchy to the bite  (it’s up to you). Bake for 30 minutes covered in aluminum foil or until the cheese melts. Serve hot with your favorite bread. I used the regular American loaf bread pressed on a Panini maker.

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“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”

I love quoting these lovely words from one of my favorite writers,  Henri Nouwen,  for they exactly describe how friendship should be and what it really means to me, when you could be just as you are with them, when they accept you in their lives and in their hearts, warts and all.

Last Saturday was another lovely celebration of friendship.  A few close friends came over to just celebrate the day with me and mom.  Two of them will be celebrating their birthdays this month and what a fitting way to share laughter, smiles, hugs, serious stuff (you would not believe this  but most of our topics touched on our faith and the beauty of being a Catholic) and food of course. Mom was so amazed to learn that they came from  places outside Metro Manila and she was full of questions like how I met them,  why they are visiting me when we could choose to go out  and spend the day in malls, she asked where they work, things that a typical mom wants to know. When they have left, she said “ang babait nila”. Mabait in English has no exact meaning but it encompasses various traits like being kind, gentle, friendly, generous, amiable, considerate, you name it, it is all in there in that single word.  We had a good laugh of course while we were taking pictures. They brought their cameras  and we took some shots.

That's mom on the extreme right. She was gracious enough to join us in our picture-taking.

That’s mom on the  right. She was gracious enough to join us in our picture-taking.

For WP2

for WP3

Food galore....

Food galore….

Sinful mango cake from Red Ribbon...

Sinful mango cake from Red Ribbon…

IMG_6578

We were all so full  we just snacked on polvoron (yummy powdered milk candy from Red Ribbon), boiled peanuts and adobo peanuts while sharing and discussing so many topics, touching even politics and world affairs.

It was a lovely day to celebrate friendship.

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Gosh,  how time flies!  I can’t believe that it’ll be summer in a week or two. Here comes the sun and probably a series of brownouts that the Department of Energy is warning the public since last year. And it is not a case of I hope we have enough supply because it will definitely happen (according to news reports). I am thinking of buying a rechargeable fan to beat the summer heat.  Despite these setbacks though, summer would always be welcome, never mind the heat, we are used to it. What I love about the summer are the varieties of local fruits you’ll find only during the season, mangoes (we produce the sweetest mangoes), star apples, santol (wild mangosteen) siniguelas (Spanish plum) rambutan, avocado, duhat (Java plum) and many more.  My annuals bear flowers during the summer months and I love the surprise I always see in my tiny garden during this season. I could now see a growing  kamantigue with its dark violet flowers.

This has been a productive week for me. I finished painting two spans of our fence grills, three more to go. I bought garden soil and did some repotting  and replanting of my prayer plants. I have three varieties of them. I found a white vinca growing outside and replanted it too in one corner together with the pink ones. Mom said I should take a rest because every day I am outside trying to refurbish our small garden. We have this old lampshade made of ceramics and  when the electrical wiring was not working anymore, I made it into a garden accessory and repainted it in black together with a water fountain that we no longer use but still a lovely accent piece in one corner. It’s hard work I know but the fulfillment one gets seeing a new look is priceless.

Of course the day would not be complete without taking a few shots.   Here’s a picture of my Shanghai Beauty.

Pretty in pink...

Pretty in pink…

 

It's called Mexican Firereplant or  Wild Poinsettia

It’s called Mexican Fireplant or Wild Poinsettia

 

How was your week?  Happy weekend to all!

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A few days ago, I posted a blog at Gardens and Empty Spaces, some shots of my garden blooms.  I was excited to see my Amazon Lily in all its white glory. Here it is finally :)

It belongs to the family of Amaryllidaceae.

It belongs to the family of Amaryllidaceae.

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