Tag Archives: leisure

A Glimpse of My Garden

My garden is my refuge…my reality! In a world of chaos and drudgery, I am reminded of life’s simplicity as I touch the soil. Just like the little girl in the farm! I don’t have an award winning garden, but I have a reminder of what is important to me and the people I meet in life. This is for my curious niece, Donna, who wants to see a glimpse of what I have in my garden half-way around her world…maybe, both our connection to the Philippines that we missed. I’m sure the rest of her generation, which I equally treasure, would know a little more of mine.

Rescuing a piece of forsaken yard is a back-breaking exercise but rewarding when a little leaf or flower starts to sprout after a long wait.

It's the baby mint sprouting back to life!

 

Back to Life...yay!

An apricot tree down yonder the morning glory.

Apricot tree showing off its new leaves.

For a while...I will enjoy its purple flowers.

My Morning Glory...as it clings to the bare palm base.

 

When things are in shambles, and thoughts get chaotic…even my not-so-private garden can transport me to another place in time. I remember our small farm  where our mother lovingly tended her flowers and vegetables, despite the absence of running water. She had her creative ways of strecthing our well-water consumption! (It’s our secret!) Here are some of the flowers I remembered most that just came into being in my own garden-in-progress.

Just spouting from different places...even between the bricks.

More of the white flower with forgotten name.

Three of them in this picture!

Nudging its way is another purple variety ...which I like better.

When I look at the plants in my garden…be it a flower or vegetable, I remember faces–or just memories–of people in my 6 decades of traveling life’s path. Too long to document here…just enjoy everyone’s contributions if you may!

This pink bush just grew back last spring...dead again by now.

I love this one...I wait for them every year!

Bougainvilla reminds me of home...needs an arch soon.

I love this ground cover that I had to buy a starter piece.

One of the roses I enherited in this garden.

It's a unique one I call--tiger cactus.

Top of my tiger cactus blossomed to a huge head of flowers.

There goes a full view of my tiger cactus.

They come every year...now with purple and pink, too.

I had to buy this one from Home Depot...glad it was on sale.

Another cheap Home Depot flower, but covers the ground beautifully.

Nothing can beat this 99-cent cactus variety, anyhow!

My favorite mother cactus...more to come!

 

Originally posted at https://zylla3.wordpress.com

Christmas in the Philippines

I just received a call from my cousin, requesting us to take them to the airport on Monday. For some reason, a blessing rained on them that they have to rush to the Philippines for a week. I’m envious, but I’m happy for her that she could celebrate her Gold Birthday (if there’s such a thing) with her family in the province of Negros Occidental.

I’d been hoping for the day when my husband could witness Christmas in the Philippines. We’d always gone home in June which allowed us 6 weeks of rainy day vacation–not that I’m complaining–it’s still time with the family! But…Christmas!!! It’s the most celebrated time of the year.

Maybe, I’ll add pictures when I get the chance.

UPDATE: 3-19-2011

After 3 months I finally got to my pictures–dropping off my cousin and family at LAX. Their flight was supposed to leave sometime at 10 a.m.– and 3hrs before departure they must be at the airport, shooting for 7 a.m.! The plan was to leave between 5:30 and 6 a.m., and of course…at 4:30, everyone was getting ready. It was a rainy morning, and Christmas travel being always busy–time allowance should be factored in for wise measure.

Entering LAX

As the light changes colors.

Mesmerizing colors!

Leaving the lights behind.

It's the LAX tower!

It's just another plane!

We're almost there...inch by inch!

Here we come...Philippines!

 

Of course...we need a cart--or 2!

Sure...3 boxes and counting!

Time to head home in the rain.

Thank G*d for a little break from the rain.

           And most of all, we missed most of the traffic…glad we were not on the other side of the road. I think, there was an accident we just missed.
           Fast forward to them coming back just in one weekI still say not even Christmas can make me do it. (SIDE BAR: I did it once in 2005…for a once in a lifetime family reunion while 9 of us siblings were still complete…still are, which is a blessing! They tried to at least accommodate my one week spring break.)
          Sort of our golden rule–Take the SHUTTLE in coming home, and don’t bring back a lot of stuff. I, most especially, don’t want to wait for any delayed flight…my husband and I take the shuttle ourselves when we come back from vacation. I even refuse to take anything that wouldn’t fit in our carry-on luggage. WHY?
          Here’s just why–my cousin & family missed their connecting flight in another country, waited overnight and almost did not get on the unconfirmed new connecting flight, chanced another available flight from Manila to the province, and– lucky enough to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas (also her 50th Birthday)–with the third day just enough to go back to Manila for their flight back to the US. Mission accomplished!
           However, the following day she had to go back to work…only to find herself too sick to finish a day of work. She and her daughter got sick for the rest of the week. How can anyone convince me that Christmas in the Philippines for a week is worth all the trouble? To me…this would simply be a torture!

 

Posted at https://zylla3.wordpress.com

One Saturday Afternoon at the Beach

It’s getting close to summer again…with the heat and my niece being here in California, what better free entertainment for kids on Saturday afternoon than the beach. In her heart she’d rather be in the Philippines, but this is the closest she can get to home. And she’s still enjoying it anyhow. A beach is a beach is a beach.

Since we had some kids to help grow up 11 years ago, we had a few free tricks to keep them entertained. Somehow we never ran out of kids. We revisited our favorite beach hang out–still with the same 3 boogie boards we have kept in our garage. My husband and I were lazy then, and we’re still lazy now. We have our chairs, ensuring that we could see them not going too far out in the water. My niece was really comfortable playing with the younger ones.

Did we say it’s free? So…the kids had to go ahead while we were wasting our precious gas going around–waiting for a break to find a parking space. What better way to find them than being close to guardpost #27?

Then they were gone as we got there…off to the water. Nevermind the big waves.

Still hot at 5 pm…really windy, and we could see that the waves were bigger than they would have wanted it to be to swim comfortably enough.

Hhmmm! Should we really dare? Now touching it–the water seems colder too.

Maybe it’s not so bad if we start getting wet…isn’t that right? Aren’t we brave???

Why don’t we build sandcastles first? That could probably keep the chills away.

Yeah! Sure, isn’t it fun? Just wait a minute…the sand is starting to hurt my palms.

Whoaaa! How can we keep the waves from destroying our castle? More…more!

Okay…okay…stop! Our little hands can’t stop the waves from crashing into it.

Going…going…Gone! It’s time to really enjoy the waves…not that cold anymore!

Ha…ha…ha…didn’t I tell you the water is fun and not that cold once we’re in it?

The two kids didn’t really seem convinced they could ride their boogie boards.

Stare at the waves!!! If we wait a little while, these waves might take pity on us.

Wheeeew! I don’t think so…it’s eating me alive! Where am I??? Can you see me?

Yay! I’m still alive. Actually it’s really fun being swallowed and spit up by a wave.

As the kids continued to find joy in the cold water, which they swore wasn’t cold anymore, I found some other entertaining diversions with a little help from my ‘lil camera. My niece thought my shots were pretty creative and my husband wondered if it was the same camera he was using to take his drum pictures for his website and eBay auctions. Of course, it is! It gave me simple pleasures today.

I love this picture! Can you guess what you see up in the sky? A crescent moon?

I guess, this is what they call wind surfing…and this guy is having a blast! Yes!

I just can’t catch him doing the flips too. It’s fun watching him. No, no…not me!

Here’s another one…*flip*…truly mesmerizing! He has the ocean all to himself.

Footprints in the sand…little footprints…wonderful sand…happy children…sigh!

And that’s my foot…against the sandy shore, inching to test the water. Bbrrrrr!

…my husband lost into oblivion…starting to wonder if the kids aren’t cold at all.

Sure, it’s getting windier…and colder…and darker. If we’ll leave it to the kids, they’ll keep saying it’s not cold even if the little one had said to her older cousin: “Why do we enjoy the sand hurting our hands?” “Why are we having fun in this cold water?” And, I’m sure there are many more questions similar to what I’m asking…but it was a fun afternoon for them, and a welcome break for us–even for just the change of venue.

Originally Posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

Loving Those Young Coconuts

It’s been known that a coconut palm is an indesputable tree of life (?), but my husband loves it for some simple pleasures it provides. It all started when our family friend who has the tree at his sister’s house got curious as to how a foreigner would like it. Since he had some ready for picking, he went to climb it himself. They have the dwarf version so it wasn’t so bad. Proud as he was of that beautiful bunch fresh from his tree, he handed two to my husband to see what he would do with them.

This green coconuts are soft and could be eaten in several ways.

The juice had been saved; they’re ready for anyone to scoop them.

My husband’s turn to figure out what to do with his share. Yeahhh!

Nothing better than drinkin’ it str*t–hmm, straight from the nut.

Coconut trees thrive in tropical places, which means we can find these incredible trees in abundance in the Philippines–beach, mountains, or valleys. I’m counting the days when we go on vacation in June. I should have booked our tickets in March [but I’d been so consumed by blogging] and now I’m hoping that our agent would find cheaper ones than what I found at the internet today.

Here are a few coconut shots from the beach of Boracay when my sister’s family went there in October. My niece got one of those heavily discounted tickets during the rainy months. You just have to know how to dodge the storms–just kidding–pray that there wouldn’t be showers and thunderstorms while you’re on board the plane, I guess. Be brave and Boracay beach will not disappoint you.

The beach still seems welcoming; discounted ticket is worth braving the storm.

Did the storm run the poor boat aground? It’s simply high tide…isn’t that so?

Now…it’s really bad. The storm is here and it’s starting to really sink that ship.

Nah…they had a wonderful time, and maybe one day, I will take my own pictures of the coconuts. Too bad…when I was growing up in Negros, I didn’t have the chance to take pictures to contrast the inland coconuts, and some of them were even in the middle of sugarcane plantations. Those were the days I did not even realize how our lives were enriched by the coconut trees planted by my grandfather’s parents. I just knew they were my gradfather’s pride…and our family’s joy in many ways.

*Originally posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

Love from the Heart, Life from the Hearth

You have to love the Philippines to come back and retire there; you have to love life to be in front of the hearth without complaint. I don’t know why someone would search for ‘kitchen in the Philippines’ but it reminded me of the ‘dapog’ [hearth] we have while growing up in the remote farm of Hacienda Estrellas [I think it’s Spanish, meaning ‘farm of stars’] but it was really named after the sugarcane plantation owner’s last name of Estrellas.

However, let’s go back to that kitchen a long time ago. Oh, I wish I had the picture of that hearth as it was the essence of our family’s simple existence. Numerous poignant stories of growing up revolved around there. [Another blog later maybe or when I learn to do the links]. I should probably mention…there was no electricity and running water. Unless you have gone camping, you probably won’t understand that kind of survival. Don’t get me wrong, it was the time dearest to my heart. Maybe one day, I’ll recreate our place in my dream village.

The hearth inside the house is a luxury in the farm. That’s how I look at it now, considering that most farmers and laborers have a Nipa Hut just enough to give the family a roof over their heads…that when the night comes, they would find shelter from whatever lurks in the darkness of the night. They usually cook outside [lucky to have a make-shift cover to protect the hearth from rain].

If you can visualize 3 rocks arranged in a triangle, that’s the basic of the hearth. These rocks elevate the pot and allow the chopped pieces of wood to be positioned underneath the pot. This is just the preliminary activity; the actual cooking has not begun yet. If the luxury of an old newspaper wrap is not available, you just have to be resourceful to find your fire starter from nature as wood will not catch fire like the way the stove’s pilot light would start your cooking. It’s a lot of blowing, which is probably a good lung exercise. It could be a lot of crying too–from the smoke…or maybe from the hard work. Nobody questions…it’s a chore to be done.

I actually came across a few of the different pictures of bathrooms that one of the Lonely Planet pioneers took in his travels, and I think that was pretty interesting. You reeeally wouldn’t want me to post the Philippine ones, but that’s an idea someday when I travel to the bundoks [Tagalog origin of boondocks]. I’ll try to see what I can find on these kitchens though. I think I have one blurry picture from 50 years ago when they were cooking outside during some celebration [not digital…scanning???]. This must have been the reason why Filipinos have traditionally want a ‘dirty kitchen’ in their houses. Did you say why would someone want a dirty kitchen? Believe me, we cook a lottttt of things that could make our kitchen dirty. I’ll show you some when I get to it.

For now, I have the ready pictures of — what can be better than Fairrr[h]view kitchens. I was ambitious at first and I thought I’ll have the small stove/oven combination in the furnished unit. My sister was practically aghast at the idea, but she went along with one trial. After a year without any takers, it was transferred downstairs when we finally did my own kitchen.

      grn rm

 This is the kitchen [fan-only unit] with the ‘dirty kitchen’/laundry area. 

    

Our A/C unit kitchen–same layout in all other units, just different colors.

This kitchen [from the window] shows the location of the cooking area.

The second floor 1st unit has an extended area intended for family gatherings.

This family hub is still at its finishing stage; now it’s the hubbub of activity.

This picture has no bottom cupboard yet, same style as the one above the sink.

My sister wanted to finish the kitchen downstairs so she transferred the stove.

 The cupboards were done by one of the workers with doors bought from SM.

 

This island needs bar stools but I’m too cheap…maybe my worker can make one.

Still with miniature fridge…and on the other side of the door is the dirty kitchen.

 The dirty kitchen…still clean–no plans for dirty cooking yet.

    

My favorite nook–adjacent to the dirty kitchen/our bedroom extension.

Our bedroom is connected to my favorite little nook…a secret access just for me.

From the hearth…to the heart of Fairview, or should it be from the heart to the hearths of Fairview apartments. Where are we? Stuck here in California in an old house [that I equally love] but hard to maintain for just the two of us–again! Even my husband misses my family as much as I do…especially the bigger kids that keep him company. I can’t blame the guy for wanting to retire before retirement.

*Originally posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

EIU Celebrated Asian Heritage: Philippine Native Dress

Let me take you on a trip back to ancient Philippines. But for now, our travel won’t go beyond my memory as a child exposed to the different costumes worn during dance festivities showcasing folk dances from different provinces.

Yesterday [Sunday], Eastern Illinois University joined in the celebration of the Asian Heritage, and students were encouraged to dress in their native dresses. My niece, of course, had an array of choices, considering that this fragmented archipelago has rich cultural differences reflected in the day-to-day lives of its people in more ways than one, especially in their manner of dressing. Having said that, which one should she represent–the Christians, the Muslims, or the other ‘religio-ethno-linguistic’ groups? This was yesterday’s question, today it is answered below.

The Maria Clara’s popularity made me wish we’re not separated by distance to facilitate the fittings. She wouldn’t have known how to make any alterations, and without her measurement, that would be a tricky proposition. I decided to rely on whatever material was available and the least complex cut I could recreate. I believe this native dress was simply worn by the ladies in most Christian areas before the Spaniards had influenced everything that was Filipino [maybe, not really]. But then I’m only relying on my fuzzy memory more than 3 decades away from my historical facts to say the least. [This is something I plan to revisit in my future website.] 

 

Skirt with adjustable waistline and blouse could cover the elastic.

 

Blouse could be tucked in and elastic in skirt hidden with the sash.

 

Another possibility of adding color to show your own creativity.

 

———————————

My niece just emailed [pictures later when I learn to use Feed Footer plugin] me that during the celebration yesterday, they let her wore the Maria Clara instead, and a kid wore this ‘baro’t saya’ as the color suits the youger one better. Isn’t it wonderful, I didn’t try to sweat it out with the Maria Clara? [The fitting was alright; she has the kid’s size.] I think that’s what it is–‘baro‘ technically means dress and ‘saya‘ is long skirt. This was the ancient Filipina’s day to day attire. Its simplicity may have suited the tropical climate and the poor Filipina’s lifestyle [or status] under the Spanish regime.

 

*Originally Posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

 

Survivor Philippines, Reality

Survivor reality show may be one of the successful shows on TV [even without me watching it]…but I’m still stuck in time with Matlock and Perry Mason. I’m not big on reality shows…can’t stand drama and clashes on TV. There’s so much of that in real life. If I want to watch real survivors, I can do that when we’re vacationing in the Philippines. I just have to stand from the balcony of our house, and I will see the reality of existence. That’s one reason I have no cable TV here in California; that saving alone goes a long way to help one family’s survival in the Philippines. [DSL though is another matter; I’ll go hungry for this internet connection. It helps save my sanity!]

pan-de-sal vendor

Early morning you’ll wake-up to the call of the pandesal (bread) vendor. Just what you need for your coffee.

Vegetables come to your house...just have to wait.

Vegetables come to your house…you just have to wait at your doorstep.

Want some fish with your vegetable…that too can come to your house?

 tricycle vendor

 Snack time in the afternoon, maybe in the morning too.

working--cement mixing

This is cement mixing…with audience–also waiting for something to collect?

road work

Nawasa (water connection repairs) before roadwork.

Why then am I wasting my breath on TV Survivor? I googled it–still fascinated–Survivor: Micronesia; Survivor is even going to China??? In one of our little talks today, my husband mentioned Turtle Bay Resort is going out of business [?], and it’s up for sale as condos. Nice retirement…facing the ocean, only for $250,000. ONLY??? Well, again, this is Hawaii. And he threw in…it seems Survivor films their TV episodes there, not that we care. Not that we can afford it either, just wishful thinking. I tried googling it anyway [life with google]… after 3 pages, that’s the end of it.

I’ve seen a bit of Turtle Island, Fiji, and more Turtle Islands in other parts of the world [didn’t go into them anymore]. However, I didn’t see the turtle island that my joker friend was saying we have in the Philippines. Of the many uninhabited islands we have there, we can afford to have snake island too, and whatever animals we fancy to have their islands. After all we have only about 1,700 islands humankind can really visit–not all of the 7,107 (maybe 1 more during low tide)–isn’t that enough islands for every animalkind?

If you’re interested in that retirement condos in Turtle Bay Resort [?], Hawaii, have fun with Mr. Google as your guide. It’s not really in my line of interest…I’m already sunk in that apartment of ours in the Philippines. Now I’m reminded: Taxes, taxes, and more taxes, and tax time is almost over. I’m one reality survivor in the Philippines. [sigh!]

——————————–

I’m coming back to this post to let you know: There Really Is Turtle Island in the Philippines! Check this out– http://philecotourism.wordpress.com/2008/04/02/my-turtle-island-birthday-prayer/  –it’s by a volunteer and the group of dental students. I’ll check it out further. Serendipity is creeping up in my blogs!

*Originally posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

I Must Be Getting Crazy!

I can’t help but post one more time. Like the internet bum that I am, I have no idea how I got to [WP] Matt’s recent post “New Dashboard Design & March Wrap-Up”…this explains my new dashboard layout. Thank goodness, I wasn’t the culprit. I’m getting this phobia that everything I touch turns ‘kapowww’! Lost!

When I started my comment, I thought I was the first one…only to find out when I hit Submit, I was #41 I guess (41 Responses…). Whoaaa! I wasn’t the only one lost. A few even said the change happened in the middle of their posting–pretty historic to me. The others said they love it; I won’t be able to tell the difference as I’m barely scratching the surface. I can’t really say it’s diamond!

Amazed as I was, I left a follow-up comment (still awaiting moderation)–which further amazed me when I saw not 41 responses anymore above but (81 Responses…)! Let me go back there and amuse myself more this time. This is getting to be my life, huh?

*Originally posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

Digital is my Second Language

I am just thinking through my mouse…mouse musings? I thought English is my Second Language; then Digital is my Third Language (DTL). I like DSL…it gives me the feeling of ‘speed’ although in reality it’s far from that.

Just as I was starting to have some familiarity with my dashboard, I’m now back to square 1. Now it really looks different. Do you realize how irritating it is to look for the Edit button after you hit Publish? When I finally found it, my head was ready to explode…my eyes, oh I can go on whining! Hitting the tags won’t take me to WP anymore; it takes be back to my post. I miss watching my ‘coconut’ float somewhere at WP.

My energy is zapped; how can I ever get to learning Feed Footer, etc…? My tired ESL brain was initially defaulting to [Foot Feeder]. I’d better give my mouse a rest. My cross-wired brain is turning weird now or maybe I’m getting cross-eyed…what’s the difference? If my brain turns out to be brian, should I blame my fingers or my brain? Maybe, Brian? An error is an error…is an error…! Stop!

*Originally posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

Dancing with the Stars: Cheryl Bautista Burke

I didn’t mean to write about ‘Dancing with the Stars’ again, but Cheryl on the TV morning news teaching teenagers to do ‘the moves’ caught my attention. Then, I thought…that’s nice! [I’m a frustrated dancer, so DS is one of the very few shows I’d like to watch on TV.] Then I remembered my Filipino friend once mentioned [the 1st time she won] that she’s partly Filipina. I didn’t think much of it then, but now I thought…something related to the Philippines.

My friend is right! Wiki: …of Filipino & Irish descent. Bautista is Filipino last name [Spanish origin]. She grew up in Atherton, CA. –Hey! There’s an Atherton School next to my house in the Philippines.– It’s in Wiki too that she had helped a couple of schools with their fund raising. Whoever is Matthews Lawrence, my husband is Lawrence Matthew. Coincidentally, today she’s having the Grand Opening of her ballroom dance studio: Cheryl Burke Dance, San Francisco. Google brought me to her website: www.strictlycheryl.com 

I’m on the “google stage” at this point of being a DSL learner [Digital is my Second Language]. Everything amazes me from my WP dashboard (which seems to look different today) to whatever I find in Google World–[sigh] if only I could upload my ideas here by saying, “Beam me up, Scotty!” If I’m not quoting this right, I can always use the ESL excuse [English is my Second Language]. Hay, naku…tama na (in short, enough is enough)! At the end of my Google session, I’m so bogged down by the information from the technical to the human aspects of what’s out there. Indeed, what a tangled web enough to choke even an old woman’s innocence! [wink, lol]

*Originally posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com