Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Prayer

Let me do my work each day; and if the darkened hours of despair overcome me, may I not forget the strength that comforted me in the desolation of other times.

May I still remember the bright hours that found me walking over the silent hills of my childhood, or dreaming on the margin of a quiet river, when a light glowed within me, and I promised my early God to have courage amid the tempests of the changing years.

Spare me from bitterness and from the sharp passions of unguarded moments. May I not forget that poverty and riches are of the spirit. Though the world knows me not, may my thoughts and actions be such as shall keep me friendly with myself.

Lift up my eyes from the earth, and let me not forget the uses of the stars. Forbid that I should judge others lest I condemn myself. Let me not follow the clamor of the world, but walk calmly in my path.

Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am; and keep ever burning before my vagrant steps the kindly light of hope.

And though age and infirmity overtake me, and I come not within sight of the castle of my dreams, teach me still to be thankful for life, and for time's olden memories that are good and sweet; and may the evening's twilight find me gentle still.
---Max Ehrmann

Monday, July 27, 2009

Clean Fish Tank

A month ago, we bought fresh plant to put in the tank and it really looked good in there. But after a week, problems started to come up. The water becomes brown and shells are coming out like lice. It was such an eerie-looking fish tank. Plus, it became overly populated.

I’m glad my husband helped me out. Well, he always does. He basically knows better than me about aquariums. It’s my first aquarium (a Christmas present from him).

It was indeed a great relief that my fish tank is finally clean! It's a mission accomplished last weekend:))

Friday Lunch Madness

I kept reiterating that I really had to lose few pounds but sometimes eating healthy foods can be a real blah. Pretty much, I stay on the right track on weekdays except Fridays and weekends. That’s a treat to myself, LOL! Hmmp, sounds a lot, huh?

Every Friday, I just can’t resist not going to the mall’s food court. It’s only a 5-minute drive from work. So, it became Friday lunch madness to me:D I just eat any fatty foods at the Filipino restaurant. I can't stop thinking about the litson-kawali, adobo and puto.

I’m just so grateful that all the foods are delicious here (which was a problem when I was in Taiwan). Plus, I felt like I’m not so far from my country because of the availability of the Filipino products and foods.

Ah, can't wait for Friday once again:D

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Maturity is Overrated

A sense of humor... is a needed armor. Joy in one's heart and some laughter on one's lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life. ---Hugh Sidey

That's a very good attribute about my husband. He makes me laugh. And when I remind him that sometimes it's too much for a sensitive me, he'll just say "Did you know that it's a sign of intelligence?" Oh well, I couldn't agree more:D

Have a great Wednesday all:D

Webs and Spiders

It’s actually the spider season. I’ve seen not only one but a lot of these spider webs and big spiders in the yard. I’ve never seen really big spiders before. Here’s one that’s outside my office.

You know, when we were kids- we used to collect spiders. We name them according to their colors. We usually put them in a matchbox with a very creative kind of compartments that will separate them all. Each spider has their own hole (made of cardboard) in that small matchbox. We always go out hunting for spiders in the trees. We all brag about how fight masters our spiders will be. Then, the next hour we let them fight. That is, letting the spiders crawl on a stick (broom stick from coconut) and whichever is killed- the owner of that spider will be the loser. Then, loser will give one spider to the winner as an award. Well, when you grow in a place that has a shortage of toys- playing with spiders is so much fun, lol!

Anyway, when I came back from Taiwan- I was so shocked when I saw a group of adults circled together alongside the street and they seemed so serious about something. Curiously, I joined in and found out that they bet on the spider fights. What? I thought those were kid’s games. So much astounding when I found out they have real money for that. Geeezzzz, they make it like a cockfight. Hmmm, I wish I could send these big spiders from the yard just so my little brother can win money from it. Seriously, my brother did win money from that spider fight. So strange!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Celebrating Life

One of the greatest truths about life is- it is difficult.
What makes it difficult is the very process of facing the problem.
It is the most difficult of all because it means pain.
Problems depending upon its nature
Cause us in sadness, disappointments, regret, anger, despair or fear.
Too complicated feelings, always uncomfortable;
Most people are unwise to confront it.
Oftentimes, we procrastinate,
We hope that it will just go away,
We pretend it doesn’t exist,
We ignore and forget about it,
Some even take drugs in hopes of forgetting about it.
We seek to avoid the reality rather than confronting it,
Yet, the alternative solutions ultimately become more painful.

Day unto day has its own rewards and unusual challenges.
Everybody has its own distinct worries and responsibilities,
We are not being separate from one another,
Some have greater worries than the others.

I just love reading inspiring stories of people who survived from cancer,
Or people who accomplished a lot despite poverty,
Or people who are very happy after eating one good meal in days.

The moment we look at the world in the larger view,
We can see ourselves so small, how tiny our worries are,
We feel so grateful we are alive.
We have the whole world in front of us,
We are given the gift of time
That allows us the endless opportunities.

Summer Heat

It’s been cooking in the office these days. My part doesn’t get enough air from the AC unfortunately. I had the fan running too while the AC is already down to 59F. We don’t have that much cool air here in the office than at the house. It’s more inland here.

Talking about summer heat, the community had implemented a “watering schedule”. We are only allowed to turn on our sprinkles three times a week. Oh my, oh my. We had the biggest side lawn in the neighborhood, I guess. Our grass will all be brown in few days. It’s really frustrating. Some of the neighbors decided to pull their grass out and plant more flowers. Some did some kind of a “desert” landscaping with cactus and stones instead of grass. Oh well, we’ve gotta do it; otherwise, we’ll pay 1,000 if we’re caught.

Making History

A’s best friend is getting married soon. So, all the guys went on a bachelor’s party in Las Vegas while the ladies went to San Francisco for their bachelorette party last weekend. As you know, there’d be lots of drinking and who knows-what’s-next.

We were all wondering what news they’re going to bring once they get back. We were expecting the guys might likely be the ones to get in trouble. Well, according to the grapevine- it’s not. Actually, it was the bride that made the history. Just watch this video on YouTube and see for yourself (wink, wink). Parental Guidance is recommended here. I didn't mean to offend you. She ended up in jail for few hours coz of it, hek hek. Aha, maybe a fun tale to tell to your kids, eh?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Movie Date

It was a very interesting movie last night. My husband buried me in suspense when I asked him what movie we’re going to watch. He kept telling me it’s a SECRET and it’s a cute movie. Okay, I wondered why it’s an undisclosed thing. It sounded weird to me. We even went to a different theater. I just gave up asking when we were on the freeway. I thought we might watch movie somewhere in LA and it’s already 9PM. Maybe he didn’t realize it’s Monday the next day. We usually watch movies every Fridays or Saturdays.

Apparently, he chooses not to tell me about the movie coz he was afraid I might say “No”. I have always told him that I really don’t like horror movies. And the movie is all about dead people. Well, not really…
Departures follows Daigo Kobayashi (Masahiro Motoki), a devoted cellist in an orchestra that has just been dissolved and who is suddenly left without a job. Daigo decides to move back to his old hometown with his wife to look for work and start over. He answers a classified ad entitled Departures thinking it is an advertisement for a travel agency only to discover that the job is actually for a "Nokanshi" or "encoffineer," a funeral professional who prepares deceased bodies for burial and entry into the next life. While his wife and others despise the job, Daigo takes a certain pride in his work and begins to perfect the art of “Nokanshi,” acting as a gentle gatekeeper between life and death, between the departed and the family of the departed. The film follows his profound and sometimes comical journey with death as he uncovers the wonder, joy and meaning of life and living. --Regent Releasing

The story was quiet unique and a superbly creative plot. It’s an unusual and a peaceful look at a sacred part of Japan's cultural heritage.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Savory Meals and Companionships

“What? Are you still sitting at the table?” my father shook his head with disbelief. We just laughed at him.

That’s usually the scenario after dinner time. It took us hours to get up, savoring on our Mom’s yummy cooking and meandering chats. We just talk about what our day has been, our friends and families.

We had this long, antique wooden table- probably built in the 1940’s and 2 long benches. Mom sits on the middle and while eating, everybody join into some sort of discussion. We are 8 kids in the family and so one sometimes had to shout to be heard.

My younger sister told us one time that her teacher called her too many names in school. Her teacher started calling her on my name up to the fourth sister's name before she got it right. We thought that was hilarious coz our Mom used to do that too.

Every time I come home from college, I saved tons of stories to tell on the dinner table. I really missed the fun and the atmosphere that I grew up with. I can’t wait to get home. That’s one thing that I was surprised to know at my cousin’s table. I never heard anybody talking. Everybody just seemed to concentrate on their foods. For years of staying with them, I always felt that eating is just another chore. The kids don’t have a good appetite and parents usually just swallowed their way through dinner. It’s sad to say that despite the delicious cooking my cousin prepared, I can’t linger over the delectable foods and like them, I just hurried my way to the kitchen.

Well, being married now- I could happily say that we do have the same table ritual. My husband is a cheerful, slow-eater too and sharing meals with him gives us the chance to know each other all the more where we can just sit relax and enjoy our meals together.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


“Blessed are they that mourn.” Can this be true? Is there any greater wretchedness than to taste the dregs of our own insufficiency and misery and hopelessness, and to know that we are certainly worth nothing at all? Yet it is blessed to be reduced to these depths if, in them, we can find God. Until we have reached the bottom of the abyss, there is still something for us to choose between all and nothing. There is still something in between. We can still evade the decision. When we are reduced to our last extreme, there is no further evasion. The choice is a terrible one. It is made in the heart of darkness, but with an intuition that is unbearable by its angelic clarity: when we who have been destroyed and seem to be in hell miraculously choose God.
--- No Man is an Island, Thomas Merton

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Eventful Weeks

(the entertainer my sis-in-law hired for the party-Wild, Wild West- theme)

Certainly, we had such action-packed days. I mean, for the past 2 weeks- from a great short trip to VA, an awesome family get-together on my brother-in-law’s birthday party and another family guest in the house. The family atmosphere is quiet overwhelming and so much fun! With that being said, I didn’t mean to ignore my blog and my favorite blogging friends. I’m always hoping to catch up pretty soon.

Yesterday, I had lunch with a good friend, D at the food court. I had mentioned before that the mall near our office had a Filipino restaurant (food court). I didn’t eat too much fatty lechon-kawali though. I don’t want to be too sleepy after lunch; there are just too many things to do at work.

It was pretty warm the entire day that we decided to eat dinner at PF Chang’s and stays for a while in the mall- do a little shopping and to cool off. While browsing around in one of the boutiques, I tried this fashionable ring on my middle finger. It got stuck right away and I can’t pull it off no matter how hard I tried. Geee… after too many attempts, I asked the sales lady for help. Whew! That was quiet an experience, LOL!

Time flies, indeed when you’re having fun! I haven’t been quiet on normal routine yet but it’s always nice to have something to break the ice of the common, unending habitual practices we’re attached to.

I hope you guys have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Helpless Beginner

All beginnings start with a Yes! But it's always impossible for me to say yes without asking "why?" in return. I don't remember the day I decided to become a Catholic but I do remember the days where I raised my voice and asked too many questions.

I thought being a Catholic is just about saying the rosary everyday and going to church every Sunday. I thought being pliant will lead me where God would want me to be. But how could you be pliant enough when an overwhelming pain could get in the way? How could you go on when you don't even know where it will lead you to? How could you continue on a journey where you don't even know you are making any progress? These being considered as traps on spiritual growth that made many creations turn away from God because they don't simply understand their own pains.

It happened that God in His wisdom does not cuddle the beginners. Rather, He uplifts and challenges the soul and force the beginner to grow in faith.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Comforting Expressions

I keep saying to myself that so much of life is shaped by the questions we ask of it. Questions like "what others think of me?" as opposed to "how can I live a meaningful life?" Each and everyday offers an opportunity to reconsider and redefine our own points of views. I always thought problems when not dealt thoroughly with will just suffocate out of us. It’s always a breeze when you can vent some, when you can write what’s bothering you, when you can pour out everything that’s in your mind. Sometimes it doesn’t matter when nobody cared to listen, when nobody agrees with you, when nobody can understand.

When I read my baby brother’s email, I had seen a matured man in him. Our relationship with our Mom is not perfect, there are ups and downs. I think, our Mom is in crisis on how to let go of her kids. She maybe aware of her boundaries but she’s still having a hard time dealing with it. Over the years, most of her kids just kept things to themselves.

Shifting for a healthier, more communicative, more interactive relationship was a great preference for our family. Thanks to the magic of technology, it wasn’t too late for my Mom to appreciate emailing, texting and chatting. It’s not that difficult to say the things we wanted to say anymore. We maintained an open communication.

Obviously, both our parents and us, kids are born on different eras. I’m aware of how hard it is to find our feet on this ever-changing world but it’s definitely a means of survival. I’m just grateful our Mom isn’t that closed-minded although sometimes her domineering personality will surface and she becomes defensive and tends to attack at first. I understand where she’s coming from.

Yes, there were quiet a few issues we don’t agree with. Arguments are of course inevitable and necessary so long as it’s productive. As Paul Tillich had said, the first duty of love is to listen.

Happy weekend, everyone!^-^

A Grateful Thanks!

When we were young, we always have a garden in our own rice field. Both our parents are very interested in planting and growing some crops and rice. Most of our weekends are spent in the ricefield- playing, helping our parents and enjoying the fresh wind. Our property is not that big but my Dad makes it a point that there’s no vacant lot. We had a variety of veggies along side the rice farm. While we were never able to sustain ourselves with what we grew, the care and the amount of cultivation of our produce taught us to be patient.

I remembered the long day of Saturday was only spent for harvesting the rice. We are not technically-advanced then. We did everything manually except the threshing part. The long summer of watering and weeding taught us that delayed gratification is the sweetest fruit. Even the pests and bugs who sometimes stole the vegetables had a lesson to teach us on how to share. Learning how things grew- helped me understand and able to appreciate the wonder of our Mother Nature.

At young age, I was able to learn that there is no such thing as easy success. There is no such thing as money that grows in trees. As what my Mom kept reminding me that “there is no impossible under the heat of the sun”. I have learned to stand on my own feet and value money the more. Maybe my parents didn’t realize the very impact of the labor we did in the rice fields. It was a very humbling experience and I’m very proud of myself to have experienced that very basic notion of being a gardener. As a gardener, the harvest of a life enriched in abundance of patience, humility, kindness and compassion was worth every sweat.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Wonderful Trip

I had wonderful time visiting my friends and their families in VA. It was a very interesting trip. I learned a lot about American history. I didn’t realize there are a lot of things to do in DC and 4-day vacation isn’t enough. There were a few clarifications going on while strolling at the Mall. I can’t believe I was so uninformed, lol! Further, I had finally meet my friend’s families. I stayed with them and it's amazing to know that we're both living our dreams now! God is really good:)

The short-trip turned out to be a very memorable one. Now I’m starting missing Ana, my friend’s 4-month old (wink, wink). Guess, we quiet bonded and her cute, charming smile is so infectious.

I was also touched by another friend’s hospitality. She really did take time to meet me at DC and tagged her husband and kids along. Now I understand why they kept telling me it’s complicated driving around DC.

We’re so blessed to have a perfect weather after having brunch at Georgetown. The kids bonded pretty good as well. The place wasn’t as crowded as the 4th of July which is a bonus. We missed visiting some other museums but that’s alright. We’ll do that next time, hehe…

Okay, you probably know what’s next, right? Yes! Pictures, pictures, haha! I had loaded my camera with tons of photographs. Just thought of sharing a few of those pictures. Hope you'll like it^-^ I missed these great ladies!


My Apologies

I had the best time hanging out on the net (face book) when I get bored at work- interacting with friends just like they’re around the corner. Wherever they maybe- East Coast, Midwest, Dubai, France, Germany, Thailand, Taiwan, Philippines, Singapore and even few blocks away. It’s fun and invigorating exchanging lines with some non-sense girl talk, you know. Besides, the flow of the conversation with like-minded people is always so natural, no pretense and can be quiet challenging. Do you agree?

My other favorite past time is reading blogs. I’m so happy to meet quiet a few interesting blogs the past month. Also, I would like to apologize to my fellow bloggers for not visiting their blogs for few days especially to my favorite commenters. You know, I had underestimated my time. I was hoping to post something about my upcoming trip but unfortunately, I was caught up doing the last minute work (payrolls, etc).

I hope I’ll catch up tomorrow.

The Wonder of Coconut

It was funny when my friend’s husband (American) bought her a few cans of coconut milk. He thought Filipinos drink that coconut milk, hahaha! Actually, we do drink water that comes with the coconut called “coconut juice”. The old people said it’s good for the kidney.

The Philippines is the world's second largest producer of coconut products, after Indonesia. About 25 percent of cultivated land was planted in coconut trees, and it is estimated that between 25 percent and 33 percent of the population was at least partly dependent on coconuts for their livelihood. Most part of the coconut palm is useful from its body, fruits, leaves, roots and even to its shell. It has become popular in culinary, medicine, cosmetics, furniture, diesel fuel and charcoal just to name a few.

When I was a kid, every time our neighbor had coconut harvest, I’m always excited. I loved looking at all those coconuts rolling around the grounds. We just patiently wait for the farmers to come down then we can gather the young coconuts and they gave it to us free. Our neighbor used to have this big hole where they make a slow fire with the charcoals and on top of it (about 6 feet) is a floor made up of bamboo. All the coconut meat are laid and have it cooked slowly or they literally make an oven out of it. That’s the easiest to way to dry the coconut meat especially when it’s rainy season. After it’s dry enough then its brought to the trader to be weighed. It’s called “Copra” and is further processed become a coconut oil.

I still remember our neighbor would wake up very early in the morning to gather all the juices from the coconut trees. If it’s fresh out from the coconut then it’s called coconut wine or if it’s being preserved then it becomes vinegar after few weeks.

Those people that are employed out of the coconut industry tended to be less educated and older than the average person in the rural labor force and earned lower-than-average incomes. However, you can’t just underestimate that. I can’t hardly believe that this neighbor of ours had been able to put his kids through college with just the money he make from his little coconut farm. Some of the kids became a Doctor, Nurses and even a Lawyer. Wow! He was one of those persons I really looked up when I was a kid. Sometimes, some people are just not aware that they have been able to touch other people’s lives with just a simple, decent act.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Bitter are the tears of a child:
Sweeten them.
Deep are the thoughts of a child:
Quiet them.
Sharp is the grief of a child:
Take it from him.
Soft is the heart of a child:
Do not harden it.
-Pamela Glenconner

Education in the Philippines has a similar system to that of the United States. These days, Filipino children enter school at about age four, starting from Nursery up to Kindergarten. At about seven years of age, children enter a primary school.

During our time though, the pre-school is only optional. When I entered grade 1 at the age of 7, I already know the alphabet and how to write my name. I guess, my Mom is such a good teacher. I did well in school although I’m pretty shy. I remembered in grade 3, one of my teachers assigned me to teach another classmate who doesn’t know how to read. I thought that was a big responsibility. I felt sorry for my classmate because he really cannot read even a simple word. Very curious, I went to their house since we’re neighbors. His Mom asked me how her son is doing in school. I just said- he’s learning just like me. Then, she mentioned she was not able to finish high school and she doesn’t want her kids to be like her who had a problem with reading. I felt so bad to realize how could a parent teach her kids and help with all their homework when she- herself doesn’t know how to read? I certainly understand her frustrations. If only she knew how her son was being bullied in school. I can still hear my teacher or my classmates teasing him that when a letter “A” comes in, it goes out to letter “O”- meaning, a zero score. I mean, it’s sad because it’s true. I just don’t understand why my classmates and even the teacher were so rude. It’s not his fault to be born not too smart.

But well, it’s how we are being measured in our society. If only his parents were rich despite him being dumb- it would have been different.