Showing posts with label Celebrations / Inspiration / Gratitude. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Celebrations / Inspiration / Gratitude. Show all posts

04 March 2014

One fine morning

Someone says good memories are for bad times; not that I'm having one. It feels good to express gratitude.  I look over my week and notice that I put in effort to turn yesterday's emotional glitch around. The attempt was successful. I am happy. So on to this life-enhancing exercise of sharing joys and faves:
  • attending an art exhibit whose artist I have personally met from a fundraiser for Haiyan victims last year
  • a friend I haven't seen in 25 years who now lives in the UAE rang and we chatted for two hours
  • Pompeii and Robocop
  • someone tells me I am her inspiration. Whatever she meant I thought knowing that was inspiring as well
  • memories! I woke up one fine morning this week and reminisced:
this spot in a splash resort, so appealing to the country girl in me  (Del Rio, June 2012)

exploring a lake with young nephews and nieces (Sebu, 1 January 2014)

finding myself in a lovely tea room free to dream as much as I want (Cassia Cafe and Tea Room, 2010),

while sipping green tea with milk and honey. I promise it tastes divine!

and having steak and kidney pie with mashed potatoes and chutney for brunch. This makes me look forward to exploring more charming cafes. They are cozy worlds in the midst of buzzing Bangkok.

Weekend Reflections
Friday's Fave Five
Picture Clusters
Share the Joy
Water World 
Our World

24 February 2014

A sweet blue situation

Ever experienced being disoriented while traveling? It was not jet lag in my case. Fourteen hours on a Bangkok - London flight with additional whirl changing air crafts in the UAE, and I was strolling around Scarborough Castle early the next day. So the culprit was very likely the stress around my mutilated passport.

A few minutes before deplaning in Manila, I learned that our pilot was a lady. I whispered wow as I recalled how the plane felt as if it was gliding playfully on its side through a forest like a merry fairy shortly after take off.

And that takes me back to a sweet dilemma: PhD or learn to fly?

So as I waited for my cocktail during this year's Valentine al fresco dinner with single friends, I fancied engaging both, but one at a time. Then the server came with my drink miffing me out of doctoral and helicopter reverie to a vision in sea green!

You see I deliberately ordered Blue Hawaii for Sally, and what did I get? Ah well, at least the glass on the right seems true to my color intention. I still gave a nice tip and quickly dropped the disappointment for more significant things, my faves this week:
  • one month absence from work all forgiven; salary is intact, no deductions whatsoever
  • surviving a boardroom situation: I ate linguistic implausibility though I've been in this playground long enough to judge which games are worth stressing over. From the registrar's report to the PR chief's apathetic statements to a colleague's lecturer issues, our chairs swiveled in butt-kicking tension for over an hour
  • Dan Brown's Inferno. Finally. I bought my copy last year but got sidetracked by Crichton and Grisham. Like usual, my insomnia antidote
  • transfer of my visa from the mutilated passport to the new one is complete. The thing is a gnawing stomach in a terribly long queue is no joke. I risked losing my number by sprinting to a cafe and made it back on time!
  • life-saving visa salmon and honey lemon tea brunch; that's how I call this

11 February 2014

See you later, alligator!

There's something about going up in the air. Some kind of high. I may have felt homesick watching the buildings grow smaller as the plane zoomed into space, but it's cool joy to welcome the normality of getting back to work.

Thursday my passport was sorted. Suddenly I didn't want to think of Bangkok. I packed wondering when I can come back home. But then it's wonderful to see the end of this stress so of course this one tops my faves for the week. There was one final thing I did before dealing with airports and immigration.

I went to see my old man.

Back in 2005 I defied sorrow that only death could pull off by glaring at it in my mind dry-eyed throughout the burial ceremony. How dare you snatch my father, you massive coronary! 

Fast forward to 2014. Holy Garden Matutum Memorial Park was breezy when we walked in. The kiddo insisted that his Tigger relaxed beside my anthuriums. It gets easier each year. Time does heal.  

Less than thirty-six hours later I flew back to life in the fast lane. And didn't I just love the legroom around my 1A seat!

It will be a year or two before I can have these delicacies again. I want to hold on to this memory one more time before facing cafe meals eaten hurriedly beside computers:  At church potluck Pastor Mandreza got busy pairing off widows and widowers. For the first time ever I didn't mind the banter over the possibility that my mother could marry again. Better yet, I didn't know what made me full: these coconut sport dessert and fern salad or the laughter galore.

28 January 2014

Life in the slow lane

As if the delay of my passport release was not enough, the office of Academic Affairs emailed to remind me that my work license was expiring. So much for being happily stuck at home, sweet home. I should probably start pleading for a miracle. There had to be something to make up for this black cloud over my holidaying head. I tried looking around and it's wonderful to find joys and faves despite all this trouble.

Ever tried going around looking for something you fancy eating in a downpour? Life in the slow lane. You can afford time to do what you want the way you want it. It was like stepping back into a world where deadlines don't exist. No alarm clocks. No meetings. Just friendly vendors selling fruits under trees in front of their houses.

Tuesday I sorted out a couple of beneficiary issues on my health insurance. If you are familiar with how paperwork is done in the Philippines, you would consider yourself lucky if you got things done in one go. This time I did and to celebrate I took Ma and Cj to Barrio Otso (Village 8) to spend a lovely afternoon eating a yummy dessert.

A friend said that my passport issue could be a sign that I should not go back to Bangkok, at least not just yet. Political unrest is happening there right now anyway. I thought it could be. I'm falling fast for the mountains around. They give the country girl in me a rather better view of the world out there.

Then Wednesday I rang DFA and was told my passport was on its way to Gensan from Manila. Things are looking up. My heart leapt to my throat. I am thankful and excited.

So this is what I fancied eating. Through the rain. Wish granted.

21 January 2014

More laughter than tears

It has been raining a lot in my part of the world. There have been storm signals again. We are crossing our fingers. I take a walk around the neighborhood.

i. Everything smells fresh
ii. Sunshine bathes the plants

iii. In the afternoon, grey skies appear again. But as a pluviophile I have fun thinking, "ta-ta it looks like rain..."

The next day I sort out a little problem with my passport. Having it replaced takes time. I re-book my return flight to Bangkok twice. This 'glitch' is causing issues at my job though I choose to be optimistic. Whatever happens I hope I am ready.

iv. So here comes Mr. Helpful of the Department of Foreign Affairs. He appeals my case in the Manila office and apologizes profusely for the delay although it's not his fault. That is enough for me. I am grateful for the positive attitude, and I celebrate that with a choco harmony treat.

(Aunt Ludi, Robinson Gensan)

v. I'd like to share these words, and a picture that my inner world relates with.

"As I stumble through this life,
help me to create more laughter than tears.

Never let me become so indifferent,
that I will fail to see the wonder in the eyes of a child.

Never let me forget that my total effort is to cheer people,
make them forget, at least momentarily, the unpleasantness in their lives, 

and in my final moment, may I hear You whisper:

"'When you made My people smile, you made Me smile.'" ~ Unknown

15 November 2013

Learning from tragedy

Super typhoon Haiyan teaches me a few things. They make up the highlights of my week -

Realization that it could happen to anyone. Not that I welcome something terrible, but it's better to be prepared for an eventuality the best way possible.

A keener sense of gratitude for the fact that my family is all right and no one I know is hurt. Two years ago we went to this island for a reunion. I cherish the memories now more than ever.

Appreciation for things usually taken for granted. I barely noticed these skies above our rental resort until I had to watch the Haiyan destruction -

Skywatch: the family reunion sky

Urgency to help. It's probably due to awareness of issues around donations or charity work that I tend to find out a few details first before I get involved. This time I extend whatever I can without question. I'll give give give - just spare my loved ones.

Giving up some comfort for a time; deliberately not hanging out in places like this -

Mellow Yellows: TWG tea can

I love my high teas. But in the wake of Haiyan, sitting in posh chairs sipping from china is a weekend routine I decide to refrain from doing for now. A little weaning won't kill.  I'm thankful for the lessons.

Monday Blues: the blue swan cup

08 November 2013

Sit on a story and rub shoulders with tea

Anyone who needs a blue-sky holiday, please raise your hand.

There goes mine.

Holidays spoil us, don't they? At least that's one thing they do with me. Wasn't it only weeks since that quick romp in the Lion City? And now I'm planning the next one -

 Skywatch: Far Far Away

- over tea. It started when an FB friend in Salzburg suggested, 'Sis, how about a literary tour in five years? Europe? Fatten up the piggy.' Automatically I said why not.

So I just gave myself a lot to keep boredom at bay. Stock investing and PhD were prominent as I alternately gaze out the garden and on its reflection on my sunglasses. They should be worth engaging in while the five years roll.

Weekend Reflections: garden on shade

'Our thirst for tea is never far from our craving for beauty,' says James Norwood Pratt. I like the idea.

Meanwhile I can't believe my dean approved another leave - the third one this year, flight is confirmed which means >

I'll be home for Christmas!

My heart just leaped to my throat. This will be only my third time in sixteen years to be home for Christmas. It goes without saying a celebration should be in order.  And since I'm fond of dining out, this time I tried a

Korean buffet though I went to this restaurant mainly for the shiitake and salmon -


So these were my highlights for the week. I'm thankful.

01 November 2013

Ladybugs and choirs

It's another day to count faves and highlights. Here are mine this week -

A ladybug visited me. What a cute surprise! It's the first time I saw one that was not on a leaf or flower but on my very pillow so I cherished the moment. It hopped on some books (I read in bed) before flying out the porch. As a kid I loved watching ladybugs in our little garden. They're some of my favorite creatures.

Ma leads her group (all widows except one) to win first place in a provincial level choir competition. I found out on Facebook, thanks to a friend. So that's why she seemed unable to talk long when I rang last week. They were practising. Sometimes I get a bit annoyed that I find out first from other people, but okay, I get it - it's her way of teasing and she's fun like that.

Grandparents' Day celebration in church. It felt nostalgic looking at photos and reading comments of their children who I went to church with. How time flies! Yesterday they were us. I am particularly thankful to Ma for taking care of CJ while I am overseas. How did she find the time for choirs and all that?

Last night's party was great, despite an improvised venue. The original huge street party was canceled as Thailand mourns the death of the Supreme Patriarch (head monk). I have never been that keen on Halloween parties but this year I thought I should experience one once and for all. I came as Grumpy Cat which I shouldn't have done because I can't stop grinning, but yes, it was fun :D

 Dr Sunee's spooky dessert

Brunch by Pizza Company: garden salad, cheese bread and sour cream, chicken sticks, and milk chocolate smoothie. I never eat pizza in Pizza Company, just like I never drink coffee in Starbucks, but these places are the answer when I'm hungry and lazy to cook.

Linking with Fave Five * Picture Clusters

20 September 2013

Gift of a dear son

There is something about finishing a book that I find lovely, in the case of a Maeve Binchy bestseller at least. It's like getting acquainted with the characters off the pages, and then saying goodbye to them in your head.

As a university instructor I relate with this quote from Nights of Rain and Stars:

"Teachers of every kind needed a chance to go out and talk to people of other countries, otherwise they could get caught up in the internal politics of their own university."

"Internal politcs." Lord knows how tricky the thing is in my playground. It makes an upcoming trip seem opportune. Arranging the trip even turned out well.

At the vice president's office to file a leave -

VP: What's this, Hazel? Where are you going?
Me: Out of town, boss. Give me three days.

He approved it immediately, but then still holding the paper, asked:

"CJ alright?"
"Yes, boss. My little guy is doing fine."
"No. I mean have you asked him permission yet that you're going to..." he adjusted his glasses, "what country are you going to this time?"

Boss gone cute! Sometimes I forget that he is not just my boss but also a close friend of the ex-hubster which explains how the CJ bit got into professional protocol.
It's good to be reminded how blessed I am: 

Photo Courtesy: Back Roads Living

And finally this week, my first attempt at Chili con Carne wasn't so bad.

Visit: Sally's Blues * Fave Five * Picture Clusters * Share the Joy

13 September 2013

Keep calm and age well

Life is full of promise
There is so much it has to give,
so much joy and wonder
yet to be explored.

You can always meet the challenge
every single day you live,
when you walk in faith
together with the Lord

Amanda Bradley's words cheered me up 15 summers ago. I was going through some tough time and a thoughtful friend gave this card to me. I kept it and never saw it again until recently while rummaging through my drawer in the office.

Family over for lunch. Space is limited in my nook but I'm glad they came. Old family tales were retold. I rang overseas for Mama to join in some of the conversation. Ouch phone bill, but familiar voices are worth it.

Book shopping makes me happy.  World Book's Young Scientist and The Questionary for CJ and a coffee table book for me. Pictures inside Mary Ford's Cake Decorating book are a stunning eye candy.

A pretty little thing to wear to an occasion I do not yet know, is I think okay sometimes. I do look forward to it - maybe at The Authors' Lounge in Mandarin Oriental to have tea where Ernest Hemingway once had tea himself many years ago.

Humor on Rocky Road. I played a little joke on myself during my birthday and inverted the numbers on my cake. I thought I was only this age once I was entitled to be amused.

29 August 2013

The fairy tree

Delight is a heart of pearl-white beads, a pink ribbon and satin flowers. My students gave me this token on the occasion of the Queen's birthday a couple weeks ago.

Fun is buying yourself something nice though you know you won't wear it everyday. This watch will be on my wrist as I host lunch for cousins and their kids come Saturday.

Joy is finding something very charming in the midst of modern technology. I call this the Fairy Tree. It sprung out in the middle of the former World Trade mall; appeals highly to the country girl in me. 

Yum is a succession of crepe cheese cake, coconut ice cream, Auntie Annie pretzels with sour cream sauce and grape-blueberry juice, tiny butter and banana cupcakes, chicken salad and Pepper Lunch beef steak to fuel a series of film screenings.

Anticipation is excitement over getting things ready for a little family gathering on Saturday and celebrations which are going to be spread through normal professional duties. 

Friday, August 30th is my birthday.  I am thankful that I have reached another year intact despite troubles in the past. The scars are manageable; lessons enough to keep me growing. Life has been very good.

Friday's Fave Five * Picture Clusters * Share the Joy

22 August 2013

Tea on the porch

I love rain. Some of my dearest moments are rainy afternoons when I get to read or just sit on the porch and watch the earth getting soaked. And I got to do that this week with

a cup of hot Lady Grey. It's 'fragrant, bright and light... infused with orange, lemon and bergamot.'

Tara Road by Maeve Binchy was a lovely read from all the Grishams, Crichtons and Dan Browns my nose was buried in in the past weeks.

This dream of walking a tree-lined dirt road that leads to a pretty little cottage seems to have intensified in the last recent weeks. I realize it is a pipe dream, at least for now.  So I make do with a flower shop. The sight is therapeutic.

Flower shops, just like book shops are some of the happiest spots people can be in.

For yesterday's brunch I ordered a salad randomly. With mind at work I just hoped it would be worth its price. It was. Some days turn so well, yummy and healthy.

This has been a week filled with blessings to enjoy and be grateful for.


Linking with: Friday's Fave Five * Picture Clusters * Share the Joy

15 August 2013

Queen's birthday week

What a pleasure to wake up, realize it's a holiday and therefore... free time! Thailand's Queen Sirikit had her birthday on Monday. It was also Thai Mother's Day. After a little FB chat with a cousin we, her kids and two uncles headed to a place we used to avoid (pricy) but always wanted to see.

Chocolate Ville is little Europe / America in Asia. Business is mainly dining with lots of photo opportunities. Some spots, particularly the Waterfront Glasshouse made me fancy another visit to England.


What's a celebration without food? There were loads but my favorites are (upper, l-r) fried oysters and santol salad topped with peanuts; (lower, l-r) chocolate strawberry cake and mango chocolate mousse

I never realized how beautiful a quiet moment could be by a pretty window like this until I did. It was like looking at a lovely book cover and walking right into it. 

Over in the city center, Dasa Books is having their Blow-out sale - $.29cents each. I had a little spree with 15 titles. Such a treat for book lovers.

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