My 30th December food fiasco.

My vegetable viand burned and yet again. My daughters had long given up on the food I present them, not that I do not concoct foods well, it’s just that I have this bad habit of leaving my cooking when it is simmering. And when I get back, the pan is black as charcoal. Shucks. And my girls try to salvage whatever is edible. Talk about carcinogen. Sigh.

I am that, and I also don’t like it. I patiently prepared the papaya with shrimp, sauteed in garlic and onions, with a dash of pepper. Would have been a good meal with the marinated boneless bangus, or the danggit that Jean bought from the vendors of Talim Island.

But I turned to throw the peelings out there on my compost, under my now tall and leafy avocado tree. And my greens seemed beckoning, needing a little sprinkle, so I turned on the faucet and showered the droopy plants.

As usual, i got carried away, hopping from pots to flower box, enjoying the feel of the December air…., then I spotted the chopping board I used for the peelings, and remembered my cooking.

I did give it a dash, almost sliding, my flip flops are worn. I didn’t beat the nick of time. The shrimp is in a sorry state. So is the papaya. And the boneless bangus.

I will just wait for Jean to wake up and fry the danggit. That’s what we’re having for breakfast. It is good with vinegar with chili.

By the way, the real red labuyo is harvest from my garden. I still have plenty, if anyone needs some. It’s for free.

— feeling hungry.

Musings on Palm Sunday

The Longest Gospel on Palm Sunday.  email this discussion to a friend?

myLot reputation of 92/100. eileenleyva (3130)   ranked 1 out of 67 in catholic 2 days ago
Today is Palm Sunday, or Domingo de Ramos, and we troop to Church carrying, waving our fascinating, ribbon-adorned branches.Years ago, a young barrio lass made the most intricate weave of coconut palms for me and my sister. We were proudest waving our most enviable palms, and sigh, really wish I still could have the best branches to wave to our Lord.My daughter bought bamboo art branches for today, and am excited to wave my cutest, littlest branches. I will boast my palms, ha ha.

Not to forget the most important part, today commences the week-long passion we have to observe for the impending suffering of our Lord. The Gospel narrates the sacrifice our Lord gave for us. Let us try to heal ourselves, meditate, join recollection and retreats, confess our sins, and carry our cross. Let’s go and live the Gospel.

Summer Rain on a Palm Sunday  email this discussion to a friend?

myLot reputation of 92/100. eileenleyva (3130)   ranked 1 out of 67 in catholic 22 hours ago
Every time, Palm Sunday is a joyous occasion, not only are the children wide-eyed, delighted over the colorful ribbons and intricate weave of coconut palms, but the adults as well, mindful of what is the best looking palms they could get at a reasonable price.The side pavements, and to some extent, the roads, too, leading to the church grounds, are adorned with happy palms vendors, the kind ones offer smiles, too, that Palm Sunday is always festive, belying the sadness that Catholics would have to go through the week ahead.My daughters and I were grateful for the little summer rain that refreshed the air. After Mass, some old schoolmates called my girls and they had a half an hour chat, updating on what’s up with whom and so on… The girls have come a long way from their formal school years, and they realized that on a Palm Sunday morning, after we were surprised by the summer rain.happy


Unexpected Angel Online

Sigh! I have to check myself. My mom is in the worst of condition, and I could’t care for her. She’s an ocean away. And I stay tuned to whatever progress, or the lack of it, via internet.  Good thing there is this stuff, albeit the waiting could also be painstaking. Nevertheless, I stay online, and become miserable by the minute…

Until a High School mate suddenly greeted me “Good Morning!” I was surprised, for I was real depressed and agonizing and I thought I couldn’t communicate sanely with anyone. But she asked how am I?, and I, who always says my true state of being, simply answered how bad I feel… And unexpectedly, she gave me some of the most beautiful words of encouragement I needed. And some sound advice also on how to be realistic…

And of course, for a brief moment, I pondered on how I must not allow my Mom’s helplessness and my own melancholy get the better of our situation.

My classmate continued:

“There’s nothing that’s too much for you if you’re trusting God. You can handle whatever comes your way because God promises that He’ll never put more on us than we can bear and deal with.

Said that was the quote she reminds herself with everyday, as it was posted on her desk. Made me pause and reflect really, for I always contend that I love God. And that love must be premised with trust, or it will not be love at all.

So, I did thank my classmate of long ago, and now my new online friend. She replied”

“Always here for you, anytime. Dinner tonite is chicken soup and pot roast with veggies. Kain na tayo. They say God brings people unexpectedly in our lives as His instruments, ako kaya yun ngayon? I am honored to be able to deliver His message and hopefully lighten your load. O ayan, maybe I will be lucky to be mentioned in ur blog as the “unexpected messenger.” lol Keep smiling!”

Ha ha, I am smiling still as I write this blog. Thanks, Edelyn, you are my unexpected angel online, bringer of good feelings.

Why my friends are exceptional people.

I do not have many friends. but the few that I have are, without a doubt, exceptional. Like Winnie, and her husband Nick…

Okay, Nick is confined in the ICU, and the heart attack that he had was not mild, as initially diagnosed, it was the “fatal” one. He is alive now all because his office mates were able to rush him to the emergency room within minutes after he complained of chest pains, sweated coldly and vomited. The ER was able to administer med, oxygen, and so on.  Damn lucky? No. No. I believe that his guardian angel was with him all the time. And he summoned the Powers to aid his ward.

Well, I was early at the Capitol Medical this morning. Winnie asked me to bring her to the Shrine of Padre Pio. She said that she needs to pray for a miracle. She  told me that Nick promised to bring her to the Shrine Saturday, but the cardiac arrest occurred Friday. So I promised that I’d come early, and bring her to the Shrine, and also see Nick.

I came in an hour earlier than all the visitors. It was a Sunday and there was no traffic. A male nurse ushered me to Nick’s ICU Room I. It was totally quiet, except for the beeping sound, the electrocardiogram, I supposed. Nick opened his eyes and I held his right hand, the one free from any tube.  I said, “Nick, it’s Eileen.”  He answered, “Nasaan si Winnie?”  I explained that she must have been too exhausted from the previous two days of worrying that she is late this morning, but she is alright, and that he must recover soon so Winnie doesn’t have to worry anymore. He said yes and I led him into a prayer, the three Hail Mary’s and the Memorare, my most effective prayers in time of distress. When I finished, Nick asked for a tissue, and I went out to ask for one from the nurse, for I thought that only sterilized tissues and cotton are allowed. There was no nurse, so I went back and told Nick that I have wet ones in my bag. I took one and asked him what is it for, and when I looked at his face, tears were rolling down his cheeks. I told him not to cry and wiped his tears, Winnie would soon come. He slept again and I went outside so as not to disturb him. When Winnie arrived, I told her what happened. She went inside the room and when Nick saw her, the first thing he said was “Sorry.”

Sorry for what?   That he is the cause of Winnie’s worrying and exhaustion? Oh gosh, I’ve known Winnie and Nick for two decades, but only now did I witness their kind of love. Each doesn’t want the other to suffer, and if both could spare the other of such suffering, they would.

I told Winnie later, on our way to the Shrine, to brace herself for the “in sickness” part of her vow, for it will not be easy. She said yes, as bravely as she can muster.

We took a bite at Jollibee.  Then I brougjt Winnie and son Patrick to the Adoration Chapel of Christ the King at Green Meadows, where one special person brought me once before… It was silent there…

Then we proceeded to the Shrine of Padre Pio, the miracle saint. Patrick supported  his mother. We queued to touch Padre Pio’s stigmatic hands, knelt down before the miraculous image of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, kept quiet in the chapel of St. Francis, lit candles, and surveyed the catacombs…

On our way back, I told Winnie that my chest is also very heavy, and this must be the sorrowful part of our lives. She agreed. I added we have to endure this stage and look forward to the glorious.  Winnie thanked me, as I dropped her and Patrick at the entrance of the hospital. I told her I was at her beck and call. That’s what friends are for.

Okay, why are my friends exceptional people?  Hmm, I am sure you know why.

Home Alone Beating Boredom

Technically, my Artemis is with me. So there is nothing to worry about. I do talk to her and she nudges my thigh when she needs some food, but that is all our relationship is all about. My lovely bitch is more interested in the chained labs and poodles whose daily walk routine mean excitement for my Greek goddess. And there is the matter of shooing the jellicle cats away. And when Artie comes inside the house, she simply loves sleeping instead of bothering me with the household chores and my own siestas. Well….

So, I feel home alone. What is that thing they call empty nest syndrome? I do hope I would not succumb to such ever. Depression is a scary disease. I am glad I have loads of work, and before I could even think about the word rest, it is already time to go and fetch my girls.

Today is one example of what I am ranting here. I was up at 4:30 am, half an hour late from my daily waking time. That was because I had a late night last night. My Jean went on overtime again and I waited one and half hours for her at McDo. And the traffic home was, as usual, a jam. I have a long cut, but I suppose many motorists had already discovered my route, and now I am not by my lonesome self passing by the graveyard….

I cooked some fish pops and crab omelets and fried some rice for breakfast. It is a good thing that there are easy to prepare meals for days like this, when the body wouldn’t want to rise up from the bed. And Jean and Tish enjoyed my new gourmet… ha ha… but I think the ketchup made the seafood better tasting.

And I tackled the laundry just as I turned the computer on for yahoo news…. I was hanging the clothes by the time the girls got down for the new day. And minutes later, after hurried baths (I still don’t understand how my two girls seem to take their baths leisurely but are still able to beat the clock by the time I bring the L3 out), we were traversing the zig and the zag on the way to UP, and the highly congested Katipunan Avenue on the way to the train station.

As always, I am one of a hell driver, and I know many are peeved with the way I nose myself in the bumper to bumper situation, but what can I do?, I have to beat the clock at 7, especially today when I am number coded.

So I was back home a little after 7. I drizzled tank water on my new plants, especially the wild weed chleome that Tish needs for her thesis. I did pull out some wild grass and trimmed the sampaguita vines, and by the time I finished, the rain has gone and the hot sun was upon me. So, I came inside the kitchen and disinfected the sink and the floor and washed the rugs and cleaned the oven… Then I headed to the bathroom for a real good bath, the quick morning shower whilst my girls were eating were taken only because I want to feel fresh while driving. Bath always mean shampoo and conditioner, and indulging in the soft lather bubble soaps make… That done, I made myself some cream cheese croissant. And my Artie had to feed on her merienda of fried chicken and nothing else….

By noontime, the clothes have dried and I was on to ironing while listening to the horrid news.

And now, here I am, pretty bored with the reruns that followed the news, so I turned on this gadget, hoping to make a few cents before the day is over.  I am glad there is facebook, and currently I am communicating with one treasured friend from a quarter century ago. I have lost a few friends in the past, including some I believed were gold. Alas, not everything that glitters is gold. But I am happy that here is one lost friend found again… true  treasures lost has ways of coming back… 

And the ennui, it’s nothing.

My Jean during her composing moment…

I didn’t know my Jean would write songs, but she did compose one for her college graduation, and now she wrote a perky tune for our high school alma mater.  Here she is, recording her composition for her batchmates…

Mickey Mouse Party

My lifelong friend Menchie turned 50, and in all eccentricity, she celebrated it with her favorite mouse of all: Mickey Mouse!

I brought my two girls who were initially bewildered when we received the Mickey invitation, but later got excited about what costume to wear. Both swore that they never had enjoyed a golden birthday party in such a hilarious but intimate, loving and genuine fashion. The Sarreal and Aquino families, Menchie’s mathematically endowed clan, do not need entertainers for hire to provide fun and laughter. The clan is already blessed with a natural host, raw but with vibrant vocal chord balladeers, superb dancers, and comedians…

Kuya Tony was a riot! And her girls, wow! galing! 🙂

Menchie’s 50th birthday was held @ Rustica Restaurant Mother Ignacia St., 1st of May!

A Toast to Friendship

Believe it or not but I was in the basketball varsity back in high school.  I was not a good player but I think I enjoyed the game back then. For whatever it was worth, the games took me to many other schools and enabled me to marvel at new faces, new playgrounds or gyms, new experiences…

And back then, I had a buddy called Menchie Sarreal, a good player and a kind friend. She was a year younger but we were practice partners, about the same height, the same built, both beautiful, so they say, but hers was classic… And she was good in Math… So yes, Menchie was the brains, beauty, and brawn chic…., great, except that she was the youngest in a brood full of brothers…probably why she never got married, but that is another story….

Though the years, Menchie and I would only see each other once every blue, blue moon. But the friendship we built in the varsity was enough for me to ask her to be godmother to my first born. So the friendship was sealed for life.

Menchie had explored the world, packed her bags whenever she felt the itch to see the New York skyline or whatever whim that urges the wanderer…  That came to a halt though when she discovered she had  cancer and had to yield to some surgery, chemotherapy and swallow maintenance pills. Well, she got better and hopped on to see some parts of the world where friends and family were based…

She called me up the other day though and asked if we could go to Padre Pio’s chapel together. I obliged, more because I had been wanting to see her for the longest time….

She’s a bit thinner but is growing her hair back again. She sports a newer car, wears the same maong jeans, and carries the same old happy smile. The mannerisms are the same, but the stories we exchanged were life defining!

Menchie, wacky with her laughter, serious with her sentiments, ever genuine with her love for family and friends, hurt but hanging on, scarred but ever brave and sincere, quiet when words are not necessary…

I once said that I had a special list that bears the name of my friends…

Mench, you made that list special…

I had a happy day just chatting with you, yaikks!, the skeletons in our closets are dancing…

Our Neighbor Danny Gave Us Avocados!

Rarely does my doorbell ring.  So I was hastened to stand up from my mylotting because of the prompting doorbell call.  Good thing Jean was still home and she kindly attended to the the ringer at the gate..  It was Danny Sanchez, our neighbor . He gave us avocados again. Wow!

Danny underwent surgery early this year.  He was diagnosed with colon cancer.  He is due for chemo therapy but he is seriously considering to forego that because of the expenses it would entail.  Sigh!

Danny had been my only one kind neighbor actually.  He was the only one who helped me when the robbers broke into my home. He was also the only one who had been kind enough to advise me about the status of the neighborhood, and how I should deal with the perks and pests!

Now that he is seriously ill with a life-threatening disease, he is even the one to give us fruits, even if the avocados are only harvests from his tree.

Some people are simply kind, like Danny!

Bosom Buddies

Jean and Tin were classmates in second grade at St. Scholastica’s Academy.  Jean stayed in the academy whilst Tin opted for the tough Philippine Science high school training.  Jean enrolled at the UP for college  but Tin chose the Jesuit-run Ateneo education. Jean had explored the domestic sites but Tin had scaled Europe’s scenic destinations.

The two friends had gone on different directions for education or life’s practical experiences. But whenever they meet, it would be to watch a movie and eat out.

Iron Man 2 was their date yesterday.  And like Ratcliffe in Harry Potter, Bloom in Lord of the Rings, Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean, who was it in Star Wars?, the two went gaga over Downey and his techie gadgets over buckets of popcorn.

Jean and Tin had been bosom buddies.  Although they had made other friendships along life’s ways, whenever they see each other, it had been like life is so light and easy to live.

Trivial?  No they are not!  Probably the best in their chosen fields.  But Iron Man just caught the children in them. They never did let go of that.

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