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Posts Tagged ‘silence speaks’


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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Thank you Lord

for these silent moments.

I am grateful

for the times I felt so down

and You made me feel Your

presence.

 

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Allow me to rant a little.  I am trying to avoid stress but this makes my head ache. Two years ago, my immediate neighbor (our properties are divided by a fire wall and since our house is on a corner lot, it is the only house next to us) decided to have a second floor of their house. My problem started then because our roof near their house was destroyed when debris of cement and hollow blocks rained on it. They didn’t have protective covering so I have to make a proper complaint to our homeowners’ association to remind them of it. After two weeks I went to the engineering office of our town, showed them the pictures of the damage done by our neighbor to our roof. They sent someone to inspect a week after several follow-ups but at that time, no worker was around so they didn’t talk to the owner. In short, they left the project hanging, with just plain hollow blocks encircling the structure, no beams to speak  of (and that is dangerous for them and for me too), no enough steel bars to hold it and I presumed seeing the site, there was no building plan and building permit. The framework looked pathetic.

My brother is an architect so I had him check the site from our end and he said the building was not safe. I had a few arguments with the owner to no avail.  We had our roof repainted and repaired  three weeks ago. Our two painters even cleaned the area where bits of cement got stuck. Two days ago, while Mom and I were having naps, we heard a loud noise coming from our roof in three successive times. Since it was my son’s day of, I asked him to check it, true enough, some debris were there, and it was like our newly painted red roof was scattered with cement powder.  I talked to them and we argued, the owner (the wife, I mean) was like a tiger let loose on a cage together with her daughter telling me that I am always complaining so I told her I have a right to complain because this is my property. She hurled insults that were too personal and has nothing to do with what we were trying to resolve. I told the story to some of my friends and most of them told me to sue her for slander and oral defamation. I don’t want a stressful life so I’ll just probably make another visit to the engineering office of our town so they could visit it. Her husband promised that they would put a net but until now, they haven’t done yet and the debris kept raining on our roof.  My son took pictures again and we haven’t removed all those debris yet. Come to think of it, at least they should offer to clean it, right? The half sack of cement, sand and hollow blocks we collected two years ago from our rooftop is still lying in a corner of the garden, evidence of their not so neighborly attitude.

I get along well with our neighbors across the street where we live, they are like extended family but this particular one is a pain in the neck. How I wish we could choose our neighbors but they are here to stay. Inconsiderate people never learn.

And if I may add, this is how their structure looks like.

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Look at our gutter, it is full of debris. and that dent on our roof….it was two years ago when they started their house renovation.

Look how poorly done it is, this is on our side and those hollow blocks....crazy....

Look how poorly done it is, this is on our side and those hollow blocks….crazy….

Crude....the coco lumber they used two years ago were left hanging on our property line and when the two painters removed them they crumbled into pieces.

Crude….the coco lumber they used two years ago were left hanging on our property line and when the two painters removed them they crumbled into pieces.

No corner beam done here.....

No corner beam done here…..that’s their roof.

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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.

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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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WordPress just sent me this message.

Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com 7 years ago!
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!
anniversary-2x
Has it really been that long? I remember I opened my account here seven years ago with just one post, a poem from long ago. I didn’t even know how to customize my site so I only got to update it more than a year later. The last six years was a lovely journey though.  I met lots of online friends, people  who love the same activity as I do…blogging. Flying with WordPress is a great adventure with 1,142 followers, 1,618 blog posts  and a total of 320,456  stats later. I hope I could maintain this site for the next five years (wish me luck) probably with arthritic fingers and higher grade eye lenses. It goes with growing older and adding numbers to my age.

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How long has it been since I last posted here? It’s almost a week  and I need to catch on the many blog posts that I missed over the last few days. Busy, busy, busy – busy gardening, busy searching for books to read, busy reading at night until my eyes hurt from the glare of my cellphone. Oh well, it is nice to be back. I am just glad to know that even if I’ve been away for a while, I finally reached 320,000 plus (320,180 as of this writing). Not that it matters much but it is important to me that some readers go back to my earlier posts and leave comments. Having more followers of course in the last two weeks are an added bonus.

Last night, some thoughts were playing in my head but I was just too lazy to jot them down. Regrets come always late of course because I could not remember them now. I’ve been to my once-a-month  hair trim at David’s this afternoon and as usual I had a nice chat with some of the staff and their other customers there. My hair stylist told me that they will be transferring to Oasis hub by June and I asked her why and she said that the present site will be converted into a mixed-use structure with a mall and residential units.  When it comes to the latest news, they are always updated.That pretty started our conversation about developments in the area. Ever Gotesto mall which has been here for almost two decades will finally close its doors on Sunday. I asked them why and they told me that it was sold  to a larger entity whose owner is the richest man in the Philippines and included in the Forbes list of billionaires in the whole world. “You mean we will be having another SM mall here in our area?” They nodded in unison and a customer exclaimed “Good luck sa traffic”. I wanted to buy some kitchen towels but when I reached the mall, almost everything is packed and even the grocery shelves are almost empty. I felt sad for those employees who will lose their jobs because they were hired from an agency. Some tenants are just waiting for their contract to end. I asked one of my favorite shops there, a small entity that sells all things Japanese, meaning, their shelves are full of things made in Japan if they are going to transfer too and the cashier said they don’t know. I  always visit this place every time I go to Ever because I love looking at their small kitchen gadgets, I love looking at their tea sets and Japanese mugs/cups used in tea-drinking. Come to think of it, we have an SM mall at every nook and cranny of Metro Manila and suburbs, I am just wondering how many more they would build in the future. Do we really need all that much? It will always be a welcome development of course, I am just wondering what will happen to those small enterprises which are still existing in the area.

Yeay for good books. I finally found some books that I’ve long wanted to read. Some of them are e-books which will be part of my 2015 Reading Challenge. Here are some of the titles I’ve added to my TBR list. So excited to read them all. I am six books in advance for  this  challenge. I hope I make it this time.

  • The First Phone Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom. I’ve been on the lookout for Albom’s books since Tuesdays With Morrie.
  • The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. Just started reading a few lines. This is my third book of this author after the legendary The Secret Life of Bees  and The  Mermaid Chair. I wrote a short review of The Secret Life Of Bees long ago and watched the movie too. If I have time, I will look for the movie adaptation of The Mermaid Chair on YouTube and will watch it too.
  • The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. Finally, after a long search :)
  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. My book club friends rate this as a five-star. War torn Barcelona, 1945. So curious about the story.
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. I’ve long wanted to read this too but I could not find a copy.  I wonder why it belongs to the 500 must read books and one of the 1000 books you have to read before you die. It’s a friend’s favorite book.
  • The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy and Hard Times (Book 1)by Jennifer Worth. Set in East End slums of post-war London.
  • Shadows of the Workhouse (Book 2) by Jennifer Worth
  • Farewell To the East End (Book 3) by Jennifer Worth. I read the short summaries of these three books on Goodreads and I can’t wait to start plus the book covers of two kids on the last two say a lot. I love memoirs.
  • First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen. I’ve read books of this author before and I love the magical touch of paranormal in her stories.
  • The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson. I love every title with the word book in it, that’s why. A first novel so maybe it’s worth it.

I wonder how long it would take  me to finish these ten titles. We’ll see. How about you? What books are you reading now?

 

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That’s  right, I am just borrowing the title from a book I have just read.

Have you ever chosen a book because the title and the book cover make you smile and make you remember something deep, memories that you treasure in your heart? I did just that, three days ago. In between re-reading inspirational and uplifting books for the season of Lent, I managed to find a lovely book by Kelly Moran. It is my first time to read a book from this author. Inspiring romance books are not really my cup of tea but I got curious that it received mostly five stars on Goodreads.  An easy read, amazing and heartwarming tale of  friendship, family relationships,  and getting on with life despite all the setbacks, finding love and meaning  in the end.  I don’t normally post a book review when I blog about a certain book that I’ve enjoyed reading, it’s for you to find out.

A friend once told me that when a book makes you cry then it must really be good. I love the poetic style of the author, the play with words  – I can almost imagine those intense moments, I can almost touch the pages of the family albums and commune with nature  the way it was told in the story. It’s actually one of my best reads so far for my 2015 reading challenge.  And as usual, I had my journal ready to write some quotes that I liked.

Don’t let the past get in the way of the now.

How many times has the past hindered us from making decisions in our life? How many times have we let the past rule our present life?  Learning to let go and learning to move on might not be that easy but sometimes we just have to do it for our peace of mind.

Home is where they love you and care for you. Home is where you go back to when there’s nothing left and you want to find peace again.

What a difference a moment can make.

Speaking of the 50 books I wanted to read this year, with no particular author in mind and no particular book on my list, I have just finished 12. Next in line though are memoirs and the books I have of Mary Oliver.  I want to reread Randy Pausch’ The Last Lecture, it inspired me when I was undergoing chemotherapy. I want to get reacquainted again with Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays With Morrie. My former surgical oncologist saw a copy I read at the hospital when I underwent surgery more than five years ago and he said it was a good book so I gave him a copy. My cardiologist who was a very caring doctor too saw my pile  and told me I had good choices of books to read. I gave him one too. They are both doctors so they could relate to what ALS is all about.

I just love books. The solitary hours are more meaningful when books take you to places you’ve never been, people you’ve never met and a world probably more interesting than your own.

When the leaves stop falling, you find love.

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