Monday, October 31, 2011

One More Hour

Processed Photo by Ronald

Last Saturday, just like every year, the time clock has been set, one hour earlier to take advantage of the daylight saving time. And I wondered: "What would it have been if instead of just moving the time one hour earlier, we were given the chance to go back an hour in the past, what would we have changed had we been given that opportunity?" I certainly would have done a lot more than what I am capable of doing in a normal hour of time. I would have done something more important instead, or would have done things differently.

One more hour, it seems so short and yet so long depending on what we are doing at the time. If we were having a good time, catching up with a deadline, or simply taking a nap, an hour will seem insufficient. However, if we were waiting for a snail to cross the street, waiting for the results of an exam, or waiting for a baby to be borne, an hour will seem eternal.

One  hour more,  or one last hour to "judgement day",  it is a matter of perspective, it is our
our own perception of our hour glass.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Mel

It seems just like yesterday when we saw you the first time, and as we accompanied you in your growing years, you amazed us with your metamorphosis from a baby that cried without seeming reasons at all, to a child that did everything that she was asked to do without any complaint, to a difficult adolescent that wanted to do everything all at the same time and now to a mature woman who keeps on striving to find her place under the sun, patiently, courageously and generously offering whatever she can to be of service to anyone, who needs help.

On this your special day, your family wishes you all the best not only for today but more so when you need it most. Be assured that you can always count on us for whatever your needs are and to share with you not only the happy moments but also the sad ones (which we hope are fewer than the other).

Celebrate, our dearest Mel, for even when we cannot be in Bournemouth with you, we will be with you to celebrate it as if we were there with you. We will pray that your wishes  as you blow your birthday candles become realities sooner than you expected.

¡Muchas felicidades, de tu familia con todo nuestro cariño!

Remember that a birthday is just a start of a 365 day journey around the sun. Enjoy the trip joyfully. Many, many, happy returns of the day.

Source of images:  Goodlight Scrap

Monday, October 24, 2011

Vanity of Vanities...

Mirror, mirror, who's the handsomest of them all?

King James version of Ecclesiastes literally "Book of the Teacher" 1:2 says:

"Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity"

The first time I heard this phrase was when I was in grade school.  I was wearing a beautiful fancy dress that my mother so patiently had sewn for me to celebrate an event in school and she wanted me to wear the best dress that she could provide for me.   I proudly walked around in my soft blue, organdy dress believing that I had the most beautiful dress that day.  I saw our Mother Superior (I was in a school run by nuns) and I greeted her with a beeming hello.  To my surprise,  the only reply I received was her words:

   "Vanity of vanities, everything is vanity".

For a long time, I thought about that phrase and there was only one meaning that I could think of  then.  "That I should avoid wearing lavish and fancy clothes".

In our everyday English usage, the word vanity conveys an image of excessive pride in oneself or in one's appearance, a picture of conceit and perhaps even arrogance. But what did the author of the book of Ecclesiastes actually have in mind?

I have read since several interpretations but the one that had a more profound meaning to me,  is the following explanation:  "That everything in this physical world is transitory, ephemeral, impermanent and without any enduring substance. We often try to cling to things, and attempt to resist changes, but alas that is wasted effort, like trying to chase the wind",  (Source:  Living from the heart) or follow a rainbow.  And I have to be furtherly enlightened after reading  Ecclesiastes (NIV)  which contains the fundamental truths in life expressed in such a poetic way as I agree with and to quote American 20th-century

novelist Thomas Wolfe  who  wrote: “For of all I have ever seen or learned, this book seems to me the noblest, the wisest, and the most powerful expression of man’s life upon this earth – and also the highest flower of poetry, eloquence, and truth. I am not given to dogmatic judgments in the matter of literary creation, but if I had to make one I could say that Ecclesiastes is the greatest single piece of writing I have ever known, and the wisdom expressed in it the most lasting and profound.”

Everything being transitory, ephemeral and impermanent, we should enjoy every second of our time of co-existence but at the same time not to forget that we should aim at pursuing kindness and goodness towards one another leading to eternal peace.

On the other hand, is there anything wrong with being vain?  No, if it is not an obsession. No, if you want to take care of your appearance and create a good impression.

Everyone has his own characteristics and unless it becomes an obsessive behaviour or Narcissistic, then there is nothing wrong, with being vain. 

Source of image:  Clip Art Guide

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Story of a Soldier

A story is told about a soldier who was finally coming home after having fought in Vietnam. He called his parents from San Franciso.
"Mom and Dad, I'm coming home, but I've a favor to ask. I have a friend I'd like to bring home with me"

"Sure," they replied, "we'd love to meet him." "There's something you should know the son continued, "he was hurt pretty badly in the fighting. He stepped on a land mine and lost an arm and a leg. He has nowhere else to go, and I want him to come live with us."

"I'm sorry to hear that, son. Maybe we can help him find somewhere to live."
"No, Mom and Dad, I want him to live with us." "Son," said the father, "you don't know what you're asking. Someone with such a handicap would be a terrible burden on us. We have our own lives to live, and we can't let something like this interfere with our lives. I think you should just come home and forget about this guy. He'll find a way to live his own."

At that point, the son hung up the phone. The parents heard nothing more from him. A few  days later, however, they received a call from the San Francisco police.
Their son had died after falling from a building, they were told. The police believed it was suicide.

The grief-stricken parents flew to San Francisco and were taken to the city morgue to identify the body of their son.

They recognized him, but to their horror they also discovered something they didn't know.
Their son had only one hand and one leg.

Source:  Nenette Garrido Fishr  (facebook)

Last night I watched a documentary on travel to Thailand that featured aside from the temples in Thailand, the mutilated victims of the mines in the fields.  Since begging is prohibited in the country, one of the means of living is to learn to play a musical instrument they can manage.  Likewise, some young adults in wheel chairs aim to entertain by dancing with special choreography adapted to their physical condition.  It is still lamentable to see people that have been mutilated specially from wars or land mines.  Let us hope that the present condition leads towards a better future to people everywhere.

I Hope You Dance - Lee Ann Womack

Here is an inspirational song on "Never Losing Hope".

I hope you dance once in a while even when you think you lack the rythmn!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

One, Two, Three... Balloons

(AP) |October 10,2011
El Paí

Mahfouz Bahbah is 12 years old.  He walks with some balloons in Kabul,  not because he has been given them as part of a prize neither is he participating in a game.  He can be walking distances until sunset, but he keeps on walking with the hope that maybe, somebody would buy some balloons.

Life for some can really be tough, tougher than what it is for the majority and yet these underprivileged people have no time to complain, they would rather do something to earn a living... even if it means selling balloons.  Balloons, anyone, pls buy me a balloon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Both Sides Now

"Both Sides, Now" is a single by Joni Mitchell and is one of her best known songs.  It has been commercialized by Jody Collins, sang by Frank Sinatra, Neil Diamonds and a lot of other artists, but I like this single best.

This song says a lot of things about love and emotions and how they affect your life.  It expresses all of the mixed emotions starting with the thrills of the beautiful and romantic feelings at the beginning and with the disappointing realities at an older stage in life.

This was featured in the 2003 British movie Love Actually.    The scene is about a woman who realizes that  her husband has given for Christmas a necklace she thought was meant for her.  She goes to her room and listens, while she cries, to this song on a cd which  her husband gave her.  (Source:  mollyc)

Through listening to  the song, one realizes  that Joni did not really feel love but only its illusions.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Poem About Family

Photo Of "Griffin Family" at All Women Stalk

What is a family like?

A Family Is Like
© Nicole M. O'Neil

A Family is like a circle
the connection never ends
and even if at times it breaks
in time it always mends
A Family is like the stars
somehow the're always there
families are those who help
who support and always care
A Family is like a book
the endings are never clear
but through the pages of the book
their love is always near
A Family is many things
with endless words that show
who they are and what they do
and how they teach you so you know
but don’t be weary if it's broken
or if through time its been so worn
families are like that-
they're split up and always torn
but even if this happens
your family will always be
they help define just who you are
and will be a part of you eternally

There's one sad truth in life I've found, While journeying east and west
The only folks we really wound, Are those we love the best.
We flatter those we scarcely know, We please the fleeting guest,
And deal full many a thoughtless blow, To those who love us best."
~ Ella Wilcox

Source:  Family Friend Poems

It is quite common in families that there be differences that cannot be patched but even when we choose to run away from our roots, eventually we all go back to our "proverbial egg that we were hatched from".

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sealed With a Kiss in Bhutan

The king kisses his wife in Thimphu
dpa | Nueva Delhi
Sunday, October 16, 2011

On Saturday, the king surprised  the 30,000 people gathered in his honor to celebrate his wedding  in the capital city of Thimphu  as he asked the crowd  if they wanted to see how he kissed his wife, as published in the daily press "Times of India".

The crowd answered as expected and while at first he kissed her on the cheek, after a second request, he obliged with a better than noble kiss.

This act would not have caught attention had it not happened in a country where a public demonstration of affection is not considered to be a common practice and much less is expected from the king.

Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, 31 years of age,  got married with a plebeian Jetsun Pema, 21 yrs old, last Thursday after a  fairy tales romance which led to three days of national holidays in the entire country of  a small kingdom in the Himalayas.

Fotos de Bhután
This photo of Bhutan is courtesy of Trip Advisor
Bhutan is a country with a unique history. The country was never conquered or colonised. The Bhutanese have, therefore, developed a culture free from outside influence. They cherish their institution of monarchy and have developed a deep sense of nationhood. So when they arrived in the modern world they already had an ancient culture strapped on to their backs.

Their pristine environment is another element that always dominated their lives. They live among beautiful mountains which have protected them from the vagaries of nature and also from human depredations. Living in splendid isolation they became a happy people.

No wonder they are among those with the high indexes of happiness in the world.

Source of Information on Bhutan:  Google Search

Saturday, October 15, 2011

False Spring in Autumn

My Pressed Flower Art- Chat
As I was chatting with my daughter last night, she asked me if I have noticed the strangeness of the gardens lately.  And rather surprised by the question, I asked her why.  To which she replied:  "nature seems confused because now buds are getting fatter with  flowers in bloom while plants go in brand new bright green".

This morning I looked into my plants and sure enough, I saw several growing sprouts from my plants that used to be idling usually at this time of the year. Then I looked at the leaves of the trees by my window and I was amazed that only a few leaves have turned to a different color when we are almost a month over from a technically autumn stage.  And yet, I no longer see the birds  posed by the branches  chirping their little heads in the morning.  The days are now shorter and chilly in the evenings. But the temperature is at summer high during the day and with no visible sign of rain in the clouds allowing the moon to be at its full splendor to accompany us in our short walks during the nights before we lay our sleepy heads to bed.  Whether it be false or real, the longer the warm and sunny weather lingers the better for us to enjoy nature at its best.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Filipinos' Attitude When Faced by Floods

Hauntingly Idyllic Inspite Flooding

By , ,
2:31 am Sunday, October 9th, 2011

The above journalists have gathered  stories that showed the Filipinos' attitude when faced by floods such as those caused by Typhoons "Pedring" and "Quiel" in Luzon.  According to their report:

In Ifugao, a man put together a set of plastic barrels to make a raft to ferry government employees between  Cagayan and the Cordillera region (when Pedring’s rains collapsed Burnay Bridge).

Charging passengers P10 for each trip, the man managed to earn P7,000 which helped him feed his family.

It was the same experience for Paulo Alvarez, a carpenter who rented out his wooden banca while carpentry jobs were unavailable.

“You can’t live on relief goods all the time,” said Alvarez, 47, to stress the value of self-reliance. He charges his passengers from P50 to P200, depending on the distance traveled. Alvarez said his earnings were spent stocking up on food for the household, especially rice. Worried about his children’s safety, he has been teaching them and their friends to swim.

Whereas, Fajardo said he and his family survived the week’s floods by moving to his brother’s house. They stayed on the small, unfinished second floor, where they slept on plastic chairs. “We slept in a sitting position, with our children on our laps. We looked for tarpaulin sheets and tied these to a tree to protect us from the rain,” he said.
But amid the hardship, Fajardo said, “we never thought that we would not overcome, we knew we would survive.”

There were nights with no food and they sought sleep to forget their hunger. They drank rainwater to sustain themselves. Fajardo said that when he braved the strong currents to find rice and canned goods for his family, he made sure that his relatives would have something to eat too.

Juliana Flores, 77, and 23 family members had to move out of their house in Barangay Calizon in the afternoon of Sept. 30 because they had run out of food and water.
“We were in a difficult situation, especially because our family has many children and we have an elderly family member who is sick. Our house is on high ground but the floods reached us… We had no choice but to leave so we can survive,” Flores said in Filipino.
She said they hired a boat that collected them on the terrace of their house’s second floor. They ended up in Barangay Lugam in Malolos City, where they found a family who gave them shelter for the night.

“We did not know anyone in Lugam but we knocked on a door. We pleaded that they allow us to stay for the night. We were lucky that the family was kindhearted and sheltered us, a family of 24 people, without asking for payment,” Flores said.

In Masantol, Pampanga, Marcelo Lacap Jr. refused to abandon Barangay Sagrada and seven other eastern coastal barangays because he was determined to help his neighbors—or more than 500 families.   With a report from Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon

In times of need, Filipinos maintain their unsinkable spirit and struggle to survive with the help of each other.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

World's Biggest Swimming Pool

Artificial lagoon where you can kayak
Biggest pool in the world

In Algarrobo, a coastal area situated a little bit more than one hour by car from Santiago (Chile) is where you can bring your kayak, a sailboat or even a boat to navigate because the lagoon  is big enough, although it is actually the biggest swimming pool in the world, that is, until now.

The artificial lagoon, the emblem of the privileged urbanization in San Alfonso del Mar, is 1,012 meters long and contains 250 million liters of water of  blue turquois sea color, with its temperature being maintained the whole year at 26 ºC.

This small lake occupies 8 hectares, the equivalent of 6,000 private pools each  measuring 8 meters long.  The  Crystal Lagoon Company, spent 2,5M dollars and five years of work in constructing this engineering wonder in the hotel industry.

For years, Fernando Fichmann, president of the Chilean company, had the dream of constructing a gigantic real estate project that would lodge the biggest swimming pool in the world.

Not only did he realize his dream but also,  obtained for the lagoon  the Guinness Award for the biggest in the world containing fresh water.  It cumplies with the legal rules on drinking water, for which reason it is considered as a swimming pool.

Jorge Barreno | Algarrobo (Chile)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Diet Another Day

A Dieter's Despair
© Don Hewitt
Oh my soul, be thou quiet
This is not 'another diet'
Just a program of exchange
Though some things do seem strange

Raw vegetables and 'brock-o-lee'
Does not sound too good to me
Lots of tofu and bean sprouts
While my empty stomach shouts

The meaning here is quite plain;
This program is designed for pain
Someone with anorexia planned
A program that tastes like sand

My hands are sweating, my soul is dreading
I must keep this thing from spreading
My only hope, the paper shredder
It finally made this diet better

Source:  Family Friend Poems
Source of image:  Fotosearch

Some people are lucky to be able to eat what they want without getting fat, but of course these are usually very active people who spend most of their time burning calories of what they eat.  But to some others whose daily activity is mainly centered on getting up and sitting down, this is where dieting becomes a must.  And yet, to this group the "must do" becomes "relish today, diet tomorrow" combined with "I am going to exercise everyday (except today)".

The best strategy when you encounter these judgments is to remind yourself: I don't have to like it nor ask if I "feel like it today"; I just have to do it.  That time is now, not tomorrow, the day after or the day after that. And this goes for me!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Wool Urban Street Art

Magda Sayeg, known as Knitta, is considered as the "mother" of this activity which started almost by accident in 2005. It occurred to Magda that by covering the handlebar of her store's door (in Houston) she would be able to attract passerbys along the street, her instinct proved to be right. And she started to knit for urban furniture starting from street lights, billboards, and cars which inspired a group in Valencia to knit covers for their famous bollards. (Pls refer to Post on Knitted bollards of Aug 14, 2011)  

A new fad has began called:

"Yarnstorming: the art of enhancing a public place or object with graffiti knitting" (Or putting knitting on something unexpected in public and running always giggling wildly) or so is it described by the friendly knitters in their blog.

If you want to see more of their graffiti knits visit their blog at

Source of article:  El Pais by Mari Luz Peinado Oct 6, 2011

Photos by:
Mary Roland - trees
César Ortega - bus
Jean Michel Sicot - sock
Urban Knitting - butterflies on trees                

Friday, October 7, 2011

Spanish Food in the Philippines

I ran up today with an article on a Spanish restaurant that is making a hit in the Philippines.  I refer to the restaurant Dali, (named after the Spanish surrealist painter, Salvador Dali) the latest addition to the thriving QC dining scene.

What called my attention is not the fact that there is a newly opened Spanish restaurant in the Philippines but knowing that the executive chef Pia Abadesco Herrera has dedicated herself in the study of the Culinary Arts Institute in New York, and has worked as private chef in America all this time after growing up in Europe. Strange to me when I would think that the one to be responsible would be of Spanish origin.

Although the menus are more or less adapted to the Filipinos' tastes like the paella being well done instead of "al dente" as to how they are typically served in Spain, or bocadillos with tenderloin steak, instead of the common beef fillet served as a fast food in most cafeterias in Spain.
It is nice to know that now the Filipinos can savor some of the Spanish food like the Manchego cheese, made in the La Mancha region of Spain from the milk of sheep of the Manchega breed, which is aged for between 60 days or two years. Manchego cheese usually carries the label of origin that guarantees its authenticity. Or the typical jamón serrano,  a type of (dry-cured Spanish ham), which is generally served raw in thin slices, or occasionally diced.  A foreleg prepared in the same manner is called paleta.

Jamón Serrano

As to the desserts, I am not familiar with what they have mentioned like the orange custard just as I have not had so far the "sorbet of red and white sangria", which is more likely tagged to call attention to the well known  Sangría drink in Spain.

But prices seem to be affordable with  average prices ranging from P105 to P285.  Maybe some of you can try their menus when you celebrate one of the important occasions.

Dali is at 40 Eugenio Lopez St. cor. Sgt. Esguerra, South Triangle, Quezon City; tel. 9280971.  "Bon appetit"!

Surreal array of Spanish staples

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Getting Married at 85!

Today the Spanish billionaire  Duchess of Alba, or more familiarly called as "Cayetana de Alba" at 85 fulfilled her wish of getting married to Alfonso Diez, a civil servant 25 years her junior after appeasing all her children's qualms  dividing her vast estates and properties among her clan before her marriage.

It is amazing how a woman of her age can be so upbeat.  As she came out from her nuptial ceremony with the people shouting with joy, she improvised some flamenco steps, after kicking off her shoes, to the delight of the crowd.  Spontaneity spells her name and it is  tremendously surprising how one can seem to be at the peak of her life at 85!  She was radiantly happy on her wedding day and nothing seemed to be more important than having been married to the man she loved.  On the other hand, Alfonso Diez, also had the look of a good looking man who just came to rescue his princess.  It just seemed like a fairy tale.

In the news, everyone centers on the fact that she is too old for him or that she is too rich for him but on final count, what really matters is that love conquers all and eliminates all barriers.  Love works miracles.

Source of Image:  The Guardian

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Colors of the Rainbow

Rainbow over Kansas
Photo:   Patrick Emerson

When the Sun is shining and there is rain as well, you may see a rainbow in the sky!

As sunlight passes through the water droplets, it is bent and split into the colors of the rainbow. Sunlight is known as visible or white light and is actually a mixture of all visible colors. Rainbows appear in seven colors because water droplets break white sunlight into the seven colors of the spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet).

You can only see a rainbow if the Sun is behind you and the rain in front. The main rainbow becomes visible at an angle of around 40" from the horizon. You might be able to see a second rainbow above the main one in which the colors are in reverse order. You can even make your own rainbow using a garden hose or water sprinkler to form the water droplets in the air on a sunny day.  Source of text:  Kids' Crossing

Rainbow over Melbourne
Photo: Jes

Double rainbow caught in black and white over Melbourne
This photograph proves that rainbows look stunning even in black and white. Notice the pronounced and dark Alexander’s band (the space between two rainbows so called after the scientist  Alexander of Aphrodisias, who first described the phenomenon).

October Winds

October has just started and although in Madrid it feels more like summer in most hours of the day, autumn slowly gets to invade the early mornings and evenings with its soft, cool breeze and short days creep while sunsets come earlier but linger less.

I love Autumn just like I love Spring for the changing colors of the leaves which in certain trees are much more visible just like in the maple trees and gingko which turn into different colors before they fall on the ground or as blown away by the mere greeting of the gentle Wind.

Autumn, it seems, tries to get us ready for the coming of winter, to be able to finish the tasks left over from the previous season that was left undone due to the warm heat of summer, stressful by itself, and discouraging any attempt to do anything at all but leisure. Autumn is a nice time to go for a walk and observe the changing colors of the leaves, and if you are lucky you can also see some of the few birds that lingered behind chirping as if looking for the rest of the flock to be able to unite with them.

Similarly, as the earth goes through seasons, so does a family in the course of time tangle its way through seasons.  Marriage, falling in love, and the birth of  children are times of renewal that can relate with  Spring.  The blessing of a peaceful and  pleasant period that some families are lucky to experience, give the feeling of Summer that does not seem to end.  As we grow while our children do too, somehow our leaves begin to take a different shade.  That stage can be called Autumn.  We might think that this seems like dying, but like the trees, this is only a sign of a new phase of life.  The times of crises which can be emotional, economic or otherwise are times for the family to stay close together, help each other out and endure what are sometimes the frigid winds of change. This period is akin to Winter.  Life is full of seasons and changes but with the  support of friends and family, we get by to brace ourselves against whatever demands that may come up with  the change of season.  In contrast with the earth season, the  family  season can become one big chain of love, hope and care. I hope we find beauty in every season.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Like Noah's Ark

Animals follow their instincts to survive
The rooftop serves as veritable Noah’s Ark of a few animals—cats, dogs, chickens, ducks and a pigeon—after the owners abandoned the submerged house in Gugo village, Calumpit, Bulacan. Unfortunately, rescue workers could only evacuate humans. LYN RILLON…

While people are being transported by boat.
Moving away from typhoon "Quiel"
From June to December every year, Filipinos have to brace themselves against the ruthless typhoons that affect several regions in the Philippines. Although the government has become aware of the importance of avoiding loss of lives through evacuation of endangered areas, the citizens are hesitant to abide mainly because of  the fear of looting of what can be their only possessions left behind by the aggressive trail of the typhoons.  Likewise amidst the warning of being  swept by the passing of the typhoon, some people think that the government is exaggerating and that they would be better off holding tight to each other and not move away.  Neither would fishermen allow themselves to lay aside their daily tasks of going into the sea to lose their earnings for the day.

But people learn eventually, even if through the hard way.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Wishes

To my dearest Kuya,

Today is your special day so be a star.  Hope you have a wonderful celebration from morning till night surrounded by the family.

Another year, another opportunity to have a better tomorrow.  Cheers for  continuous good health, a little wealth, love and peace around you. May God bless you with all his warmth and care specially today.

Here, is your favorite song:

Happy Birthday to my only Kuya!  Love  from Madrid and Bournemouth.