Thursday, July 30, 2009

Of Sid and Rick.

I felt so bad for making Sid harvest in my farm the other day. Now his wrist is sore, and he has to rest and not use it for at least two days. That means, we will miss him blogging for a while and he had to abandon farming as too much clicking action on the mouse puts a toll on his wrist.

He did tell me a funny story last night though about Rick. Those who have followed his blog knew by now that Rick is an amputee and of course carry a blue badge. One time as he was parking his car in the disabled parking area, a woman bitches at him and created a scene. She was furious why he parked there especially when she saw him walk away and obviously he doesn't look like someone with disability! She continue to make a scene that the supermarket security guards came out to check. They saw Rick took off his leg and was rubbing it while this woman didn't even notice as she was bitching all throughout and perhaps loving the attention she's getting. The guards had to asked her to leave and she was banned from ever coming to that supermarket again.

Yes, we know there are many insensitive people in this world. People who don't think before they speak. They will say whatever comes into their mind and not care even if they know they will create havoc in other people's feeeling. Oh, if only they will take time before they utter their words and give it plenty of thought, then maybe, it will save them from embarrassment and hurt feelings.

Kind words, are music to our ears, and everbody will respond to it nicely. So, before anybody speak, lets think it over first very carefully because words, when spoken cannot be taken back. It will only create hostility and what we say will only show how much we are lacking!

Get well soon, Sid. And thank you for the laughter!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Train of thoughts...

This morning I’ve been pondering many things about life, death, living abroad, fears, anxieties and the journey of discovery that is life. I admit I have always been a fairly contemplative person even as a kid, I’d often ponder all life’s great mysteries – why am I here?, why did I get born at this place and time?

I feel lucky to have been born into a hardworking, strong-minded, family where excuses are barely tolerated and I am expected to achieve despite any shortcomings. My folks, bless them, gave me a loving yet strong childhood where difficulties are not use as an excuse for not getting where they believe I could and should be. I value them for showing this strong approach as I fear I wouldn’t have amounted to anything, had it not been for their strong guidance.

But the news of sudden death like that of MJ made me realize that life can be gone in an instant and that we never really know when it will run out. I also vividly remember watching the September 11 attack, and I saw live images of office workers choosing to flee the World Trade Center buildings hand-in-hand and jump off when faced with the terrible decision of how to deal with the inevitable. These people were innocent folk whose only crime was turning up to work at the wrong place and the wrong time.

I’d like to say that life is a never ending journey which doesn’t stop till the lights are off. I'm not young anymore, and my life so far has taught me to try to appreciate the small things in life I often take for granted and to get out there and live in, and not let past hardships, wrongdoings, anxieties or any other obstacles hold me back.

Do you ever feel there is a greater calling for you? Is there’s an urge you need to scratch? Something you’d love to do but don’t have the confidence? Just know that this life is the only one we’ve got and it would be a shame to waste it.

There’s a lot I need to do and should do myself...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Look who's celebrating his Bday!

It is Ray's birthday today!!!

Ok fellows, I know I am risking his ire here by putting his pic, so cover for me, ok? I am sure those of you who haven't seen his photo from his page ( but who would, when he hid it beneath his blog page?)would be glad to finally see this Angry American.

Anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Ray, and hope you will have many more to come! Smile!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

The sound of darkness.

What a day!

My electric iron pop and burst, the pc has a very slow connection that I cannot go to my farm, there's nothing good to watch on tv, and the boy's aren't home yet. So, I lay down in bed and just feel the warm, soft breeze passes through the open second floor window. I watched as it gently nudge the curtain which slowly sway back and forth.

Then my eyes wandered outside of the window into the sky. Darkness has filled my quiet room but the rich and deep color lay scattered in all parts of the sky - orange, deep blue, brown, green, red - as if some impulsive artist slipped on a blindfold and went wild with his brush and palette! As I noticed the color getting stronger by the second, then quickly, the painting gets engulfed by the oncoming darkness. Night has descended.

Actually, it is early evening in the city. No longer day, not quite night. And here I am lying in bed in the newly arrived darkness surrounded by silence. It is my space, my little corner of the world. And it is comfortable. And quite...or so I think!

It is this time of the day when the heat begins to fade, but still lays quite heavy. It is a time when people, animals and things begins to slow down, but surely there is still plenty of activities. Under day time sky, it seems sounds become diffused and escape, but under the cloak of darkness, sounds hang around and become amplified.

Somewhere out there I hear the sound of a motorcycle driving away. I also hear a dog starts to bark into the darkness. Within seconds, another dog starts to join in. I hear a group of kids scamper by, yelping and laughing, their playful sounds disappear with them. I also hear the tinkling sound of a gas stove as my neighbor starts to cook. Then there is the sound of a fork, a spoon and a dish. In fact the sound resonates as if it's in stereo. Then a gate to a house slammed shut. A radio get started on. It is one of those cheap little portable radios that makes the music sound like it's being broadcast from far away.

As the gentle breeze continue to blow through my window, I lay still in the quiet darkness of the early evening and listen...

How about you? What are the sounds you hear from where you are now?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My new addiction.

I have not been blogging lately because I admit I have been spending time in my farm. You may ask where, in my backyard? No, you goof, in Facebook!

If you don't know what Farm Town is, you either aren't on Facebook, or you have denied every request! Either way I don't blame you, because it is all I think about. As you can see I can't even think about a blog post,(darn!)... All my mind can think about is Farm Town. When I started receiving trees and flowers and animals as gifts, I just ignored them at first because I don't want to play any game on this site. My first crop actually had all gone to waste because I don't visit farm town application - then I got hooked! Yeah, pathetic, you may say. I would even plot out a design on paper to get the best look of my farm, ugh!

Okey, so I basically own a farm where I can plow fields, plant and harvest crops, sell crops which is the main source of income, plant fruit trees, sell fruit, buy animals, houses, barns, fences, paths and even increasing the size of my land.

And if I'm short on funds I can go to the Market Place to ask for work harvesting other people’s crops. People have incentive to hire people because it doesn’t actually cost anything and the resulting crops sell for more than if they did it themselves. But I like to invite my neighbors (they are on my friends list too) to harvest and plow for me because it will cost less and they will gain needed points to move up to a new level. It also kept me entertained because I get to interact with them via chat while we are working on each other's farm.

Then, I signed up for Farmville...I have screwed myself this time!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Conspiracy - truth or fiction?

I know people love conspiracy theories, let’s face it. It is fun to argue about certain events and it really can make a believers or non believers blood boil. I know most of us have experienced the feeling that things were going on that we were not being told about. That things are happening in the world, our government, our town, our street, or out in the depth of the cosmos that might, sooner or later affect or influence our life.

Every so often we found ourselves looking over our shoulder as we feel something is happening but we don't know what it is. And with each new backward glance we see our world growing more complex. It seems there are experts trying to keep the left hand from knowing what the right hand is doing and all throughout, we ordinary citizens remain completely unaware of the workings of either.

Yes it seems conspiracy abound around us, some mundane, some ridiculous, yet all worth pondering about. When people are deprived of the truth we settle for rumor, speculation, and out-and-out fiction. The more we are kept in the dark, the more the grape vine hums. One way or the other, the information vacuum is filled even if its total fabrication.

Take for example the conspiracy theory of The Moon Landing - I think it is safe to say Apollo 11 did in fact land on the moon. There's the JFK Assassination which I believe 100% that the assassination of JFK was a multi-person event. I do not believe the cover story told to America. I wouldn’t be shocked if their own government was involved.

Another disturbing conspiracy is that the CIA is using mind control rays and lasers to erase awareness of the existence of Alien Lifeforms in the general public, ala Men in Black. Followed closely by theory that the US government was behind the World Trade Center/Pentagon plane crashes and that the US and Russian governments have the power to control the weather and tectonic plates and that the Asian Tsunami and Katrina were experiments gone wrong!

And have you heard about the "Chem trails” conspiracy? Many have apparently looked at the sky and seen airplane contrails and have to convince themselves that somebody very powerful are deliberately spraying poison on all of us - all over the world for evil ends.

Of course, still high on the list of all these conspiracies is the theory about the Shadow Government or the New World Order. These are group of elite people who are in control of the world politics, economy and security. These are the Bilderberg attendees and the Illuminati.

It seems though that Americans are more prone to conspiracy theories than Brits, probably due to the fact that there are more conspiracies in America than in Britain - Roswell, Area 51, and Elvis being alive to name but a few.

I can't think of any British ones, besides the Royal Family being aliens. They say the British Royal Family, and its inter-linking bloodlines, are actually reptilian, and that they come from a reptilian extraterrestrial race.

But that's just daft.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A morbid question, it is not.

If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do?

I know that many people ponder what they would do in this situation. This made me think as well. So here are some of the things that I would want to do if I knew I was going to die tomorrow.

Lets say I have the whole day, so I will spend my first waking hours praying. Although I admit I have been less than perfect in my Christian life, my belief in God remains strong. My main concern would be to pray for my family and their ability to get past this day with ease. The second concern would be to make sure that I am right with God. Finally, I would ask that my passing be a peaceful transition from this life to the next.

After calling friends and telling them how I appreciated their contributions in my life, I would like to take a walk with my children. Though they are adults now, these three people have played a big role in my life and well-being. The closeness that we have as a family has been an amazing strength through my life. Walking with them as we talked about some of our memories among other things would be a top priority. My greatest hope is that I could pass some peace onto them about my death. For them to know how very deep my love for them goes is one of the most important things to convey. One last time, I would look them each in the eyes and tell them "It will be okay."

Also I would like to have dinner with everyone. The entire family would have to be there. My parents and sister and everyone else that is in my extended family. We would laugh and travel down many roads of memory. My sister would know how much I appreciated the times she cared for me. My father would know that his strength gave me strength. My mother would know that whatever things happened in the past are truly in the past and that I no longer hold those ill feelings.

And finally, I would like to sit with my love( you know who you are). As the evening moves further along and everyone has gone home, I would sit cuddled closely with him. I would let him know exactly how much he means to me. Making him aware of how very much I appreciate his support when I wanted to realize a dream. He would know that my love for him runs far deeper than he could imagine. If the option exists, I would lay in his arms until the moment that I slipped from his arms - to God's.

How about you? What would you do if you were to die tomorrow?

Monday, July 20, 2009

The moon.

Yesterday, the world celebrates the 40th anniversary of the first successful moon landing. Although many still believe it was all a hoax, we could not deny the fact that it was historical. Every one was glued on their tv screen watching Neil Armstrong plant the American flag.

But I am not going to talk about it. I just want to talk about the moon and how it is, when the moon is over Manila...

Subtlety. This is the beauty of the moon. You can look at people without realy looking at them. The moon allows me to see at night, yet only what it wants me to see. It also allows me to think at a time when the mind is normally at rest.

He has always been up to his old trick. As usual he started small, growing bigger with each passing days and he showed off like I haven't seen in a long time. He was practically shameless. Heck, his icy coll light even brought us some of the finest weather ever felt in the city.

When the moon is over Manila, you could see this city in ways that you never thought possible. I find myself muttering quitely that the sprawling and teeming city actually for once, looked pretty and I dare say, charming. Somehow I found myself the recepient of warm and serene feelings towards my fellow citizen. Of course, I blame it on the moon. It is hanging like a 200-watt bulb in the dark sky, casting its net far and wide, affecting people all over Manila, in way subtle and mysterious.

Naturally, every mosquito in town came out to party. They held a full moon party, much to the chagrin of humans! The mosquitoes flew and bit and drank blood until they all passed out drunk. It's time like these, I would agree that mosquitoes in Manila tend to overdo it a bit.

But it wasn't their fault. They were merely reacting to a force greater than themselves. All over Manila, in everynook and crany, in every field and garden and wherever life existed, the moon worked its enchantment.

This isn't something that people really talk about. The moon is much too subtle for that. For a long time however, I will not be able to forget the night of the full moon over Manila.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A swine but no flu.

Amidst the daily collision of too many humans and industrial chaos, one can occasionally come across scene which is priceless that you just have to breakdown in utter laughter and tell yourself through chuckles and guffaws that, yes, only in the Philippines could one witness something so outrageous and yes, living in Manila does indeed have moments.

You see the other day, while waiting for a jeep to take me to the supermarket, I was eyeing the typical scene around me and wondered, like I like to do, about the sanity of the humans race and how it came to be that cars have managed to become the master of the people when it should be the other way around. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw a pig. Not that the pig was driving a car or anything like that. No, the pig was being carted along by two young guys riding a motorcycle.

The motorcycle had a big metal barred sidecar attached to it and the pig was literally stuffed inside the sidecar. The sidecar was rather large and yet it could barely hold this massive beast. It was as if the pig had been stuffed inside by some kind of packing machine.

His snout was jammed between two narrow bars in the front, gobs of pig flesh spilled out through the open bars on the side, and his giant pig butt protruded over the top of the back bar. The pig wiggled and writhed furiously but it was clear he was not going anywhere except to the slaughterhouse. Or somebody's backyard. Same thing really.

It's one thing to see the humans amidst all their mess, but to see a giant pig cruising along in the middle of a business district just seemed , well, interesting, to say the least. Especially when it starts to urinate in the middle of the road! Now a big pig does not urinate like Filipino guys, who can manage to pee against a brick wall in public and pretend they are merely reading the graffiti. No, the pig just lets it fly. And its not a little stream either. It's more like a fire hose!

So here is this incredibly massive pig shooting a water cannon pee right in the middle of rush hour traffic in front of God and everybody. Eventually he drained his bladder but he wasn't finished with the show yet. Oh no sir. He looked neither comfortable nor happy stuffed inside that sidecar and he was going to give humans, for whom he would soon be a meal, a piece of his, well, wasn't his mind, let me just say that.

When the motorcycle inched ahead and started to turn, this giant pig, with his butt sticking out over the back, started to let it fly - he dropped clump after clump of massive pig crap right on the pavement. Inches from stunned traffic cop, inches from the bumper of a brand new Toyota, inches from the sidewalk next to a convenience store!

The motorcycle and its suddenly relieved cargo found open road and sped away, after leaving us a noxious gift maybe 15 meters long. I recall my jaw had fallen open. At the same time I laughed hysterically. I don't know whose table that pig ended up on, but I can definitely say this: he sure as heck went out with a big bang!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Rain, rain, go away...

Its been raining non-stop. We have tropical storm "Isang" which is causing widespread flooding and forcing schools, offices and the country's stock exchange to close today. After looking at the weather forecast, it seems as though it will be raining and storming until tomorrow, presumably keeping us inside.

So what would I do if I am confined at home during a rainy day?

Well, the first thing on my list will be to sleep. There’s something about cool winds and the sound of rain on my roof that makes the shut-eye hard to resist. A warm bed and soft pillow to snuggle in, will be very tempting.

But of course, during this time when all the kids are also at home, I expect them to be looking for food. Well, isn't it nice to eat in? I mean since we can't go out, I will instead use my fingers to call my favorite fast food joint for a 30-minutes-or-less delivery.

And what better time to rearrange a room especially when a change is in order! I love to plot out a likely new layout for my living room or bedroom on a piece of paper before actually moving tables and chairs around so I don’t waste time and energy. A new arrangement doesn’t only look good, but it feels good as well.

Another activity I am inclined to do is read. From the newspapers and magazines, to books I haven’t touched since I bought them. I would cozy up on the couch or in my bed with a blanket, pillows, and a hot cup of coffee or tea, and enjoy a quiet couple of hours with a book. I can also doze off if I like.

Or I can highlight my hair. Sometimes feeling “blah” can be remedied by a slight change in appearance. Of course I won't be doing something drastic like using purple or a flaming orange on my hair! Hmmm... it would give me a kick just to make heads turn when I come to work on Monday, so it would be nice to highlight a few strands of my hair.

Ah yes, what better time to get on the computer for fun. Like maybe tend my farm and work on someone else's farm and get some points. Or just scan through websites and discover new things, or make up a screen name and let that alter ego loose in a chat room, if I dare, and converse with a number of people on a variety of subjects, from the serious to the absurd.

How about you? What would you be doing on a rainy day?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Call.

The "Call" had finally come!!!!

The call has been Kirst hope, her promise of better days. Yes, she assured herself, despite the frustartions of the past months, that someday the phone would ring with news that the hospital is now ready to operate on her. The dark side of The Call always has been that it might not come at all, a scenario too heavy to do anything with, but shrug aside as an impossibility.

Kirst had been in constant pain due to a stone blocking her bladder. She had gone through several operations which I cannot enumerate here, so better visit her page to understand why this is so important to her and to us her friends.

Let's pray that the operation will not be cancelled in the last minute, and that it will go smoothly and she will recover fast.

Good luck, Kirsty!!!

Whine for canines.

This post is not for the faint-hearted, especially those who own dogs.

You see, on my way home today I saw a burly guy pulling a dog by the leash and yelling to his drinking buddies that they have a "pulutan" (dish) to go with their beer.

I throw a nasty sneer to the man, as I imagined the horror the poor dog will experience when they held him down and bring the knife to his throat and the two by four to his head. I could imagine the hideous cry of panic and pain he would let out. The callous indifference of her captors and killers who would quickly perform the dirty deed - skin him, roast him, cook him and eat him. I imagine them having a long party as they devoured their delicacy.

Yes, I can see you grimacing with horror now. I know. That's because in your country, dogs are considered man's best friend. In fact some are treated better than people. There are people who would even send their dogs to dog camps for recreation, serve them expensive yuppie food, buy them designer clothes, and you talk to your dog as if they are people and can understand!

Actually, I too love dogs and I cried silly the day my pet dog died. But most street dogs here will repulse you. They are wretched, mangy and dirty. They have that look that comes from too much indiscriminate screwing around. Most are basically street mutts who pass themselves off as pets. They are good for barking at strangers and letting you know someone is lurking outside your house. Most however, appear to lead tormented lives, scratching and clawing at themselves all day.

For a second, imagine yourself being a dog in the Philippines and see how you would like it. Try sleeping in somebody's dirty, mosquito infested car night in and night out. Try living with vermin like mice and endless parade of cockroaches and blood sucking ticks. Try existing in a world where some people think your flesh goes quite well with beer or other alcoholic beverages.

I have thought of that and yet every time I tried to feel empathy and sympathy for other dogs, the emotion just dissipate. And it's common for other Filipinos. The best description of which is when a neighbor's dog died. I saw them put the dead dog in a big plastic bag and carted it away. Later, I asked him if he had buried the dog.
"No", he said nonchalantly. "I threw him on top of a garbage dump somewhere."
"He's just on top of a pile of garbage inside a plastic bag?!" I asked astonished.
"Well, what more should I do? I don't make space in my brain for the dog. I've got too many things to think about."

Yes, life in the Philippines! Survival is hard enough for the humans, so chaotic and crazy. Who has space left in their brain to think about the dogs?

For them they are just another hard luck creatures like themselves trying to survive in this dog-eat-dog, and I dare say, human-eat-dog world.

Let me go pet my cat now...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A prayer for Joey.

Please pray for our friend, Joey of Swindon, Wiltshire, United Kingdom. Just when she is excited to move to a new house and the prospect of going back to Uni next month, she has learned that she has contacted H1N1 flu virus. Swine flu could possibly kill her because Joey suffers from three chronic conditions - type one brittle asthma, Myalgic Encephalopathy aka M.E. and Fibromyalgia.

Now, instead of working on finishing her two books she has been thrust into the cold, sterile and scary world of hospitals, clinics and labs.

As I think of her, I am visualizing a white, healing light streaming her way. The two person in the house she is with. are manifesting the symptoms too - B and little Darla.

So let's pray that they will kick this illness and recover soon.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The market place.

Yesterday morning I woke up at 4 AM to go with my neighbor to a wet market. She told me about this certain market which is open only during the early morning, where food seller from nearby city come to buy their daily stock at prices half of any other market.

When we got there, I saw a bustling market. The place overflowed with activity as people gears up for another day. Other seller spill out onto the street, and parked vehicles take up a lane off the road. Jeepneys stream by, slowing down just long enough for people to jump off carrying their baskets.

Exploring the market is an assault on the senses. I start off with a bang in the meat section and my eyes were stunned by row of freshly killed pigs lying split open and spread-eagle on tables. My ears can hear the chomp-chomp sound of shirtless men, knife holster strapped to their waist, hacking at bone with their razor sharp knives and slicing the dead pigs into pieces. It's an orgy of bloody body parts everywhere. Pigs head, all with the same anguished expression are piled on top of one another. Intestines, giant livers, stomach and legs hang from hooks.

The icing on the cake as far as the senses go is the smell. The sense of smell tells you that what you are seeing and what you are hearing is all very real. In the meat section, a harsh and rank smell of blood and flesh fills the warm air.

In the fish section, the bountiful catch of every kind of fish imaginable is on display.Long skinny fish, big fat fish, colorful fish, are all inside tubs of ice water.The water spills onto the ground making walking a bit perilous (was it why it's called "wet market"?).

Around me people, many of whom, carries bucket filled with fish jostle for space in the narrow lane and it is difficult to tell who is selling and who is buying. Amidst all the sellers, other people walk up and down peddling everything from rice cakes, coffee, plastic bags, fresh pancakes, towels, and many more.

Next I walk over to the friendliest and most colorful area: fruits and vegetables. My country has the most incredible amount of fruits and vegetables you will ever see. Different kinds of eggplants, shredded bamboo shoot, several varieties of potatoes, white and purple onion, thick orange carrots, squash, pumpkins, cabbage, tomatoes, yellow banana, green banana, leaves of banana, trunk of banana trees, piles and piles of ripe green water melon, bright yellow mangoes, bundle of white garlic and other spices. The selection made me realize how resourceful we Filipinos are. Everything has a use in my country and absolutely nothing goes to waste.

My bag, now heavy with fresh food and daybreak coming, I walk through the mass towards the parking area. I listen to the sounds. Indeed, market have such a great sounds - people haggling over prices, sellers barking, people shuffling and running from place to place.

It is the sound of life at its core!

There is nothing high tech here. It is just people bringing the food to the people, who will then bring it to the rest of every household table. Market places are the pulse of every city.

As the darkness heads towards dawn, the action of the market mixes with the now waking city. The day's first streak of light appears in the sky.

I stare once again at the awfulness around me. It made me realize that amidst the squalor and loneliness of the city night there is life.

There is bounty.

And with it Manila gets set to explode in its daily frenzy.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Just want to thank you all for the greetings.

Just a short post as I'm heading to bed, and I know I will be a little bit busy tomorrow. Just a wee bit though.

Why do I love birthdays especially if it's mine?

Because, I am flooded with wishes and wonderful greetings! And because they emphasize the importance of family and friends and how we try to keep close no matter how geographically distant we are.

Sure, getting disconnected is so easy. In fact my eldest son has to move when he has to enroll in a provincial school. My mom who is married to an American now lives in the US and so is my brother. My cousins, for want for a better future for their family had taken up residency abroad. And I live away from my dad and other relatives because I have my work here in Manila. My high school friends are scattered around the globe too. And if you are reading this, it could be night there while it's morning here.

Indeed, there are many reasons why we can be physically disconnected from friends and family. It’s a natural thing, and there is nothing wrong with that at all. However, we should never fail to remind each other to stay connected no matter how geographically distant we can get.

I am glad that I have a loving support system from friends and family - oh well, like any family, it doesn't always work with all family members, as some has their own quirks, but somehow there is always a family member I can securely stay in touch with.

Add to the fact that social networking sites have allowed me to build relationships with friends and cousins overseas!

Oh yeah, I remember to have refused their invitation to Facebook before, but now I can see it's usefulness. There we can share stories, throw in some pics, and just inform each other what the other one is up to. E-mail has always been a good way to stay in touch also. And then there is of course the now occasional text messages from our mobile. I am happy that there are many ways I can connect and stay connected.

Now, let me check who hasn't sent their greetings yet...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

When swearing is a necessity.

Life is a disappointment if you don't know any swear words.

Disappointments either large and small fill our lives. But of course, most of them we pretty much roll through without great problem. Like if the movie I am hoping to see has left the movie theater, well, I will wait until it is on DVD or on television. I do not consider it to be a crashing event in my life!

So I am referring instead to major life disappointments. And boy, are there many!!!

But too often I encounter disappointment because my expectations are too high. Example of which is when I expect things from life or from people that they simply cannot give me, or if I expect unrealistic outcomes or behaviors, then I almost deserve to be disappointed.


Other times I also face disappointments in life is when I made one or more bad life choices. I think many of us fall into this trap - we make bad decisions in our choices around the people we relate to.

There is this nice Aesop fable of the crane who befriended a flock of crows. The crows went daily to eat the crop of a local farmer, and the crane went with them. One day the farmer was lying in wait; he threw nets over the flock of crows, capturing the crane along with them. The crane plead his case with the farmer saying, “I am not a crow, I was not eating your crops”. The farmer responded by saying, “you should have chosen your friends more wisely, you were with them, you will suffer their fate”, and he then dispatched the crane along with the crows.

See, if we hang out with the bad guys because it is fun or exciting, we will pay the consequences!!

But it is also true that disappointment often results not because our expectations were too high, or because we made bad choices, but because life or people fail us. People whom we love, and whom we have presumed love us, may do things that are thoughtless, selfish or hurtful. That is not our fault, and we have a right to feel that we have been failed by them and failed by life.

In terms of life, it is difficult to always know what is a rightful expectation and what is not. All too often, life is like the "Wheel Of Fortune". The wheel spins and one person wins one hundred thousand dollars, another person wins a Caribbean cruise, another wins a washer or a dryer, and then someone lands on “Lose A Turn”. There is a sense of randomness and luck to things.

I have learned through experience that there is something to learn from all our disappointment. It is through disappointment that we are strengthened. Therefore, it is up to us to find the good in every bad situation. Instead of asking "why me?" we should start asking "what can I learn from this?"

In every disappointment there is a lesson to be learned. However, it is up to us to look for the lesson.

Meanwhile, swear if you have to!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A kind of lonely.

I've been thinking recently about a phenomenon that I suppose has always been a part of life but that I think manifests itself in different ways in our modern world. It varies according to the seasons of life we find ourselves in, but it seems to be fairly prevalent regardless of our circumstances.

I'm talking about loneliness.

I had a talk with a friend the other day, and it confirmed my fear when he told me he is lonely despite the over 70 million population in there country.

So what is loneliness? Is it a feeling? A condition? I guess for different people, it means different things.

Loneliness is a very powerful emotion. Whether we would like to agree with it or not, loneliness is a universal phenomenon, it visits every human soul at some time in every culture, every race, every class, every age. To feel lonely is to join the rest of humanity in acknowledging that we are somehow fundamentally separated from each other.

Being lonely also means we are not able to share our deepest thoughts with anyone. We may have issues at home, or at the office. We can have issues with our relatives and friends. Yes, we at some point can carry so much hurt and guilt inside us but we do not know, whom to talk to, therefore we feel lonely. We feel all alone.

Loneliness is horrible, that is why I think the Internet when used properly is a very good tool. This is also why I post on this site because it lessens my loneliness. It distracts me from knowing that when I look around I do not see any humans. Yeah sure, animals are great to have to help ease the thought of loneliness, but it is not like they can have a conversation with you!

I think everyone has had that square peg/round hole feeling at some point in their life.

Now that I'm in my late forties, and with my nest about to be empty, I spend a lot of time alone. I cherish it. I love solitude. But every now and then, I just get lonely. Electronic connections with old friends are interesting and entertaining, but they can't substitute for even half an hour of face time and a good hug.

My loneliness of late is a funny breed—more like a homesickness, a hunger, for a conversation I want to have, a man I want to see, a friend I desperately want to talk to, a quick burst of my sister’s laughter, a jolt of inspiration at work, a moment of common understanding with my neighbors.

It’s a sudden pang of “I wish.” It’s the desire of “I want.”

Yes, it’s that kind of lonely, my friends.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sleeping with a smile.

They say that starting the day with a smile, could set the mood for our day. How about going to bed with a smile? Yeah, why not! It would be comforting to drift off to sleep in calm, happy mood. I bet it would make getting up with a smile easier too.

But then how does one go to bed smiling? Hmm…that will depend on what activities happen right before our bedtime, right? It’ll differ from person to person, but here’s what I’ve learned so far:

I don’t watch the news before bedtime. Keeping updated on current events is good, but I’ve found that all the bad news I watch keep me up late at night. I end up talking about what I watch, share my worries and think about the awful realities lurking in the city. Not all news is bad, but when the bedroom light is turned off, my imagination works overtime. And so I avoid watching the news.

I also avoid watching movies or reading books that are too heavy or too scary. The degree of a movie’s heaviness or scariness varies from person to person. The thing is they can keep the wheels in our head turning and turning... again, our imagination works overtime. That’s what happens to me anyway. Or maybe I’m just a scaredy cat!!

We shouldn’t go to bed angry with anyone, even with our self. If it seems impossible, I try to park my emotions for tomorrow and recharge for the night. Who knows, the night may cool my head and tomorrow will be a better time to patch things up. It’s always nice to go to bed knowing everything will work out tomorrow.

I say a prayer of thanksgiving. I make a mental list of the good things that happened to me today. I say “thank you” for each one of them. Of course, remembering the day’s happy times can definitely put us in a happier, calmer mood.

I do some light stretches and lunges before going to bed. I rotate my shoulders, move my head from side to side, and take deep breaths. Releasing my body of the day’s tensions can make me feel much lighter and happier as I climb into bed.

That’s it! When we go to bed with a smile, the day seems so much better than it is . We’d realize the day wasn’t so bad at all.

How about you? What gives you a happy snooze?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

From my second floor window.

This is in continuation to my previous post. I felt compelled to write this because I accidentally deleted the post when I had meant to post it. That's what I get from writing with one eye shut due to drowsiness. It's was almost 11pm!!!

Anyway, our new apartment is a typical two-bedroom concrete abode with a medium-sized living area/kitchen downstairs and two bedroom upstairs. Certainly nothing special. Well I consider myself a simple person. I don't require too many material things to be comfortable. One thing I love though is that perch above the action. Of course, one of the upstairs room is my bedroom, and it's where I stare out of the window, daydream, and where I check out the scene as it affords me a direct birds eye view of this small village.

There is a fair amount of action here, although perhaps "action" is the wrong word. It's more like a typical daily life in a quiet city village.It's just that my house literally sits at the end of the road, a poor marked narrow lane and well away from the busy highway. There is no thru-road through our village.

From my window I can see the top of coconut trees and water tanks in this subdivision and the next. On certain days I can look down the street and see men sitting in the worn wooden benches, their shirt rolled up around their bellies quietly sipping their brandy and ice tea. As the day wears on, they become louder, they laugh a lot and they start to do that drunken lean.

From my window I can watch the comings and goings of the residents here. I also watch as the various characters wander through trying to extract a few peso from the residents. The village is practically hidden and yet, they still manage to find us. The general quiet of this village is constantly being interrupted throughout the day by people selling their wares - the fish vendor, the guy selling "taho"(sweet tofu snack), the shoe and umbrella repair man, the ice cream vendor, and many others. And as the night fall, the ever present "balut" vendor. Easily the biggest activity of the day in this village is the buying, selling, delivery and carrying of items. It's truly amazing how we Filipinos spend an inordinately large portion of out day dealing with something so basic.

On some evenings, I can see teenagers gather regularly under the street lamp and play guitar and sing songs. Or mothers sitting on benches talking and laughing. Dogs and cats cannot be ignored as their noise would mingle amongst the existing ones.

But what truly amazes me is that time of day when it's not night and it's not day. The point where night just ends and morning has yet to begin. That's where the "blue hour" occurs. It can last for just a fraction of a second, but when it does, the entire world comes to a halt and there is complete and total silence.

Most people are asleep at that time or, if they are awake, are not paying attention. I once happened to be awake at that time and I found myself staring out of the second floor window looking out over the trees into the dark night.

And there it was.

For one precious moment the world had come to a complete halt. The wind died, the rooster and dog went silent, no cars or planes could be heard. A moment later the world explodes into a new day and the blue hour is gone.

A glimpse of some magic right from my second floor window.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Change.

I don't know what to write about today, but reading Sid's post made me realize that this month also culminate my one year stay in this new apartment, in this neighborhood. It was a year ago today that me and the kids had moved in this house, we now consider our home.

Of course it wasn't easy as I have become accustomed to the sound and sights that is unique to my old house. The crowing of the cocks, the chiming of the clock in the living room, the sound of the front door slamming as one enters or leaves the house, the familiar sight of the things in my room when I wake up in the morning... etc.

It was a mix of excitement and apprehension as I do not know what lies ahead when I decided to make that step of moving to another place. I don't mind that I am moving to a smaller house, to a smaller subdivision and to a strange community I would try to fit in. It was a change I want. A change I need. For me it was the chance to start afresh, get rid of the past.

It was a whole new set of challenges. Yes "challenges" sounds optimistic rather than "issues or problems" as I was trying to look forward; getting a new kitchen, new broadband provider, new cable line, new couch and dining table. Yes I have to buy a lot of new stuff since I had sold all my furniture because they are too big and will not fit in this tiny apartment.

But the real challenge is getting the kids to school as we relocated far from their school. It took an hour a bit, on a good day, to get to their school. On a bad day, an hour and half. On a really bad day, two hours. And it just continue to get worse, as the volume on the roads has gradually increased and the road works are falling ever further behind. They just have to adjust, putting an hour early of bedtime so they can wake up early and beat the traffic.

So here we are now one year after. The place isn't a mess anymore. Boxes had been unpacked, rooms are done... and we have fit in. A new set of keys. A change.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

It's July!

What my birth month means: JULY

Introspective and intense, you tend to be a deep thinker.

You are quiet and spiritual - and you have a unique perspective on life.

Your soul reflects: Lightness, luck and an open heart

Your gemstone: Ruby

Your flower: Larkspur

Your colors: Green and red

Yes, it's my birthday in July !! It will be on the 11th .. neat eh? I do like birthdays, don't you? I'll be officially 47 on that day, which apparently is the ideal age. Old enough to know better and still considered young. Go figure.

But this is odd, because I used to think I could imagine what 47 would feel like, and it’s just not like that. It’s not like that at all.

It’s just like being 25!

In that you feel like you’re twenty-five, but look at all the other 25-year-olds and wonder why they’re all acting so very young. Lol!

Well mainly on my birthday I am going to be working, because it’s a Saturday. I will, however, be taking the afternoon off to do some shopping and buy something for a special dinner with my kids. I don't normally celebrate birthdays with friends. It's always a quite celebration for me.

I will spend most of the morning, inbetween bouts of work, sitting in front of my computer, probably doing some serious blogging because it's important to keep yourself occupied as you reach advanced age. Ha ha ha, as if it's something new! And I will open my cards and open some presents, MAYBE.

And I will be grateful for all of that.

OHHH. That reminds me, someone asked where my wishlist had gone. It is now here and is filled with things I am meaning to buy at some point when I’ve got some money. But I don’t think you can use it from Canada, whichever nice anonymous person was asking, so thank you, I am grateful for the thought.)


And that is the end of it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The joy of waking up early.

Are you a morning person?

I know that for some of you, waking up early is such a struggle. But the morning tug-of-war begins with turning in late at night. That said, maybe it helps to sleep early. I am aware though that for most of us, the bulk of our relaxation time comes in during late evenings after work, or when the kids are already in bed. We unwind by going on the net, having late dinners with the spouse, a movie before bedtime, etc.

Waking up early before everybody does has its plus though, and it’s worth the try! Check out what i have enjoyed:

Enjoy quiet time with myself. While the sunlight is slowly streaming through the windows, I can have a cup of coffee or tea and just sit quietly on the couch, not thinking of anything at all, just enjoying the calming bliss of that moment. Connecting with myself first thing in the morning can be refreshing.

Calm my nerves. Getting out of bed is typically followed by my routine of heating water, taking a shower, dressing up, feeding the cats, rushing to work. Damn, it feels connecting the dots under time pressure! This time though, I have been able to pace the chores in a gentle manner. There is no need to panic as there is more than enough time for me to get everything together.

Eat a good breakfast. Instead of eating breakfast at work, or worse, skipping the meal (like I always do), I am able to prepare a healthy, filling morning meal. Better yet, I am able to enjoy every morsel of it. No quick munches on food, no big gulps of water to wash it down. It was a breakfast date with myself that I thoroughly enjoy.

However, the school break and my wrecked laptop at the office which had me writing post at night, had sent me back to my old ways. My mornings were panicky again and I completely forgot about the beauty of those morning moments with myself.

And then I stumbled upon a post in Zen Habits called 10 Benefits of Rising Early and How to Do It. The entry talked of how getting up earlier is good for us, and shared tips on how to achieve that morning nirvana. While reading it, the memory of that early morning sunlight came back to me, and I resolved to greet the morning earlier than usual again.

It starts tomorrow.

Are you a morning person? Do you enjoy quiet times in the morning?


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