Find your place on Earth and Dance!

Video

Quezon City, Philippines is where I grew up. Now I live in Vancouver, beautiful British Columbia, Canada. And where are you from?

I could dance with Matt to this beautiful music of Garry Schyman feat. Alicia Lemke – Trip the Light, fell the joy of being alive and remember that we are all the same.

If all the days come to pass
Are behind these walls
I’ll be left at the end of things
In a world kept small

Travel far from what I know
I’ll be swept away
I need to know I can be lost
And not afraid

A Star is Born

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Barbara Streisand is not the only star born as Jewish. There are many Jewish Canadian Stars such as Joanna Gleason, William Shatner, and Lorne Green. Allow me to introduce a new budding star with the same heritage, Ben, the big … Continue reading

Learning to be at home

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And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at … Continue reading

Blessed be the Winter

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It’s winter. I used to dread this season of long days of darkness. Very little light affects my health and mental well-being. I never had this problem when I lived in the tropics where the sun shines. Learning to come … Continue reading

The Sacred Journey of Salmon, Bald Eagles and A Bear


Salute to the Sockeye “Song for the Salmon” ~ Salmon Society

Photo by: Fred Zhang published by National Geographic October 23, 2014 Daily Dozen

Photo by: Fred Zhang published by National Geographic October 23, 2014 Daily Dozen

“Sockeye salmon is an anadromous species of salmon found in the Northern Pacific Ocean and rivers discharging into it. This species is a Pacific salmon that is primarily red in hue during spawning. Juveniles remain in freshwater until they are ready to migrate to the ocean, over distances of up to 1,600 km. Their diet consists primarily of zooplankton. Sockeye salmon are semelparous, dying after they spawn. Photo location: Sorrento, BC, Canada”

One of my co-workers went to a salmon festival last month to witness the famous salmon run. The rain was shining (raining hard) and the temperature was above normal (balmy). Needless to say, there wasn’t much to see and she came home disappointed.

For salmon’s survival, the water temperature has to be between 3 to 15 Celsius and it influences the incubation rate of the eggs and the time they hatch.

And here comes November, a perfect weather. The salmon braved swimming upstream, spawned and stop eating. They are just too tired from the ordeal of migrating to fresh water, have no more energy and died.

With an abundance of salmon along the river, this is a perfect season for the bald eagles and the bears to feed on them. What better way to have a Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival but watch out for the bears!

Photographer: Danny Chan ~ 1st Place Winner

Photographer: Danny Chan ~ 1st Place Winner

As for the bear, I am deeply saddened by the news yesterday that a West Coast express train hit a bear.

From Illness to Independence

Bipolar

Source: International Bipolar Foundation

This week I will be posting a series of awareness to advocate for people who suffer mental illness. As much as I would like to discuss my experience, I would rather share what is happening NOW.

I want everyone to know that a lot of people are striving to be back in the main stream and live a so-called “normal” life with the help of caring people and  communities.

It pains me to read and hear that these people are called “selfish” because of the illness especially one committed suicide.

The other night, I was watching the news how a boy raised funds to help his friend received the operation his friend badly needed. His friend is suffering from cerebral palsy and can hardly move. He raised more than enough money for the operation. The main question for the boy was what made you do it.

His answer was: “If you see someone needs help, you just help them.”

Yes! Just help. It’s that simple from the mouth of a boy.

The world would be better if we can help one another.

Thousands of people with chronic mental illness live productive lives in Metro Vancouver thanks to the support offered by Coast Mental Health. The non-profit organization provides housing, vocational training and employment opportunities, and community resources to over 4,200 people with mental illness every year. In recognition of Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct. 6 to 11) Coast strives to spark meaningful discussions about mental health.

Mental illness is a thief. It can rob you of your identity, take away your livelihood and isolate you from friends and family. It can leave you a shadow of yourself – alone and hopeless. And if diseases like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia were not bad enough, add to that the pain of stigma and discrimination.

Coast Mental Health is a non-profit private organization that supports recovery from mental illness by providing intervention and care. From our meal and clothing programs and supported housing, we see restored dignity. And from our life skills training, education and employment programs, we see reduced poverty and increased security.

With the right supports, people can and do recover from these illnesses. Mental illness is simply another obstacle in life.

Find out what Coast Mental Health does to help individuals suffering from mental illness and homelessness, click here.

Source: Coast Mental Health and International Bipolar Foundation

 

Bennettville: A Vancouver Story

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Today, looking southwest from the dock of Bridges Restaurant, you see commercial wharves, and office and residential buildings. Sixty-three years ago, this area was a tidal flat rising to an elevation of 20 feet at the railway tracks, which were … Continue reading

Priceless

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Photographer’s Note: ‘Cayenne’ in the back, six months old 🙂 one of the twelve puppies we fostered for the BCSPCA animal shelter in Squamish, British Columbia Canada…’Raine’ in the front, also a rescued dog….almost two years old…we love them both! Cayenne is … Continue reading

Between Mom and Dad

Between Mon and Dad

Between Mon and Dad is Abby.

Abby is a rabbit. In the eyes of these homeless couple coming from Toronto, Abby is their baby. Having Abby in their life brings out their humanity to extend their love to take care of an animal even though they are homeless.

I took this photo in between times on my way home carrying with me a Canon PowerShot SD1000.  It’s just an ordinary camera that helps me get out of my head and self.  Having a camera focuses my thoughts outward rather than inward. Photography is a beautiful technique to relieve mental illness.

Just for fun, I submitted it to National Geographic’s assignment “The Animals We Love” titled Mom, Dad and Baby Abby.

Yesterday, I received an e-mail stating “a National Geographic editor favorited your photo, Mom, Dad and Baby Abby, on Your Shot. Robin Schwartz added your photo Mom, Dad and Baby Abby as a favorite.”

Needless to say, I am elated.

Out of 14,953 submissions, this is one of her 1,401 favorites.  Thank you, Robin!

Making the most out of it.

Morning Story and Dilbert

“Life will only come once, so make the most out of it.”  via Words to Live By.

Suffer?  I refuse.

Being out of job for the past few days due to teachers’ job action, I am enjoying the four hours of being in the public supporting the teachers during their strike.  Meeting people on the street, getting to know teachers and peers, more time to exchange words , playing with dogs at the park, watching all the feathered creatures and enjoying the garden across the office are just a few pleasures that embrace during this tumultuous period.

As part of being in a unionized job, we respect the picket line.  We do not cross the line to support the teachers in solidarity.

I have so much respect and admiration for the teachers. They are like the second parent of the child.  As a matter of fact, most children spend more time at school than spending time with their parents.

It appears school ended prematurely for the children but the graduating class are still required to take their final exams with or without the teachers.

In the meantime, I will continue to count my steps as I pound the sidewalk walking side by side with the teachers and still have a few laughs along the way.

And it’s not all that bad, actually.  The professional staffs are still working to step on the plate that we left behind at the office.  On top of that, they come out to converse with us bringing  a  box of donuts and muffins to fuel our energy.

Grade 5 Music Composition

Musical composition by Annelise Yates (Grade 5)

Musical composition by Annelise Yates (Grade 5)

The Impossible Adventure

Took a swim through the sea
In search of what could not be
Yet there within the waves
A whale with a friendly gaze

Chorus:
How does one chase a dream?
It’s not an easy as it seems
Keep your eyes on the prize
Relax and enjoy the ride

I felt a long pull
To go where the whale might go
Followed it in a haze
And if I should fall behind
I focus right and fix my stride
After a while the going gets rough
As I try to keep my head above
My lungs on fire, my legs grow weak
Just as my chances are looking bleak
The waves turn grey like the sky
I know that I’m going to cry

Chorus:
My eyes well up
And through the tears
I see the whale crystal clear
And in the distance I see a shore
It seems like something I’ve seen before
Then and there I realize
The beach before my very eyes
Is the one I left behind

 

Background:
There are several exhibits (again) on display at work created by the students. Of all the exhibits, I admire this musical composition. Making a mental note, I must take a photo for show and tell. Of course, I know very well not to rely on my memory; it likes to procrastinate.

Yesterday afternoon, when I returned from my break, I was ready to take a picture but when I arrived the board was empty. I was so disappointed and I was muttering to myself. A couple of men and a girl must have heard me and they turned around. Told them my disappointment that the song I was admiring is gone!

“Are you looking for this?” One of the men said.

“OMG! That’s it! Do you mind if I take a photo and share it in my blog?” I was so ecstatic that all is well.

Forgetting my manners dues to excitement, I really should be speaking to the girl because it’s her composition. Regaining my composure, I addressed the man and the young lady at the same time, if it’s alright.

“Of course.” They gladly allowed me to take some shots.

Filled with gratitude with their kindness, I promised that I will send them a link of this post.

What an Impossible Adventure I had.  I am pretty sure as Annelies matures, there will be room for improvement in her creative mind.

Fasten your seatbelts.

It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
This is week two of the Teacher’s rotating strike in British Columbia, Canada.
Friday is Vancouver’s turn.

Better make the best of it and go for a joy ride.

 

Source: MBRANSONS

On the home front

 

strike2
When April comes, rest assure that it will be a bumpy ride.  Budget season falls in April and all school districts have to balance their books.  It’s never been easy to balance the books when the funds are coming from the Provincial Government.  When there is no funds; programs are cut, head rolls and the students suffer.

A particular program was under threat, Strings program, an instrumental music program that is an international language for all students.  One doesn’t have to speak their native tongue in order to be part of this and children have an ingrained talent to play a music instrument.

Needless to say, there were so many heartbroken teachers, parents and students. The sound of violin death score is playing in the air.

Some psychology and gifted-education program were also in the chopping board.  This is another very important program for students that are “challenged”.

The public has spoken to express their concerns about the effect of these cuts to their children.

Music aids the cognitive development of a child.  According to scientific study that exposure to music makes kids of all ages smarter in math especially classical music. The practice lessons are helpful for the students to have structured time rather than face time. Further musical training enhances the brain structure of the child in language and reasoning.

As for therapy sessions, parents need help how to educate a child with behavior, speech, attention deficit or high functioning. Without these vital resources, it’s impossible for the child to learn and fit into the norm of school structure.

The month of April is over and these services are spared for now. Problem solved?  Not really.

May is a power struggle between the Teachers and BC Public School Employers. The teachers are on a rotating strike this week and will continue until next week should there be no resolution in terms of bargaining on class sizes and remuneration.

Field trips, camping trips, sports practice and others are cancelled.  Graduation is coming and will the teachers be there for the graduating class?

Dear Parents,

As you are aware, the BCTF is now in phase 2 of job action, as well as an imposed partial lock-out by BCPSEA. This directly impacts the level in which teachers are able to be involved in field trips, including our regional track meet.

And while we exercised every reasonable option to carry on with this event, unfortunately, we have had to make the decision to cancel our District Zone Track and Field meet that was scheduled for May 30th. We realize this is very disappointing for the students who have been working very hard in their gym classes to qualify for the events at the Track meet as well as parents who enjoy being a part of the day.

We encourage the children to continue with their personal fitness training to support their future endeavors in track and field events.

This is a challenging time for all those involved in BC schools. Thank you for your understanding and support in this matter. Please contact the school if you have any questions.

Yours truly,

The Administrators 

On a personal level, Lucy my niece is in three of these events and she is really looking forward to it. It’s a very sad time for Lucy and my family.

My feelings are split between the teachers, education, children, parents, the whole British Columbia, my colleagues, and me. Of course, the bottom line for most is no ticky, no laundry. Meaning, no pay.

The children, have mercy on these children.  They are the one’s suffering.

Nelson Mandela said that education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Weapon?  Heaven forbid, not at the cost of the children.

Power Nap and Pwer Struggle: A Child uses a strike sign for shade while her mom walks a picket line outside school in Vancouver. Photo credit Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press via Vancouver Metro

Power Nap and Pwer Struggle: A Child uses a strike sign for shade while her mom walks a picket line outside school in Vancouver. Photo credit Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press via Vancouver Metro

Presumed Heterosexual

Look at it at the point of view when a child is born.  

May 17there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.“ ~ Pierre Elliot Trudeau

“There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” Those unforgettable words made famous by Pierre Trudeau in 1967 caused a tidal wave of controversy that rippled across the entire nation. Trudeau’s Omnibus Bill brought issues like abortion, homosexuality and divorce law to the forefront for the first time, changing the political and social landscape in Canada forever.”

Awareness day: May 17 is National Day Against Homophobia.

Public school system in British Columbia is gradually adopting a strict policy on anti-homophobia in order to create a safe structured learning environment for the children and it’s employees. 

These posters are educational materials used in an ongoing staff development that I attended.

Do you know that homophobia is one of the major causes of drugs, alcoholism and suicide on children?  So think twice or more before acting negatively, it can have a devastating effect.

Winter Olympics Rewind

canada-hockey-2010-vs-1924

To this date, I can still remember where I was, what I did, what happened next and who I was with when Canada won the Ice Hockey in 2010 Olympics.  It was a monumental time for me and I don’t even like sports.

“Ice hockey was actually first introduced in 1920 at the Summer Olympics. Unsurprisingly, Canada has withheld its reputation in the sport, having won the very first match at the 1924 Winter Olympics, as well as the last in 2010.”

Source:  Mashable.com:  Winter Olympics now and then

A sign of recovery

Video

Riding the BC Ferries from one island to another is always an exciting trip for me especially when El Capitan will announce that there is a pod of whales ahead.

A rare sighting happened on Monday, February 3 when there were two pods in sight off the coast of the harbour in Nanaimo, BC.  The pod of orcas hunted the pod of dolphins and ended up killing two of them in full view of the ferry passengers.

Orcas is also known as the killer whales.  They are the wolves of the sea.  This is a transient group that hunts for  mammals including seals.  The resident Orcas eat salmon only in this area.

With the return of the dolphins and the boom on harbour seals, it’s indicative that the water is recovering  This means that there will be more interaction such as this in the future.

This is the nature of things as  David Suzuki will say.

Source: The Province

The object of raising the roof

There are a couple of bus boards that caught my attention in the lower mainland.  Simple photographs of men before; as a child, and now: as an adult.

Blake and Dave as children grew up from normal childhood with normal lives.  Happy as can they be.

These ads attracted a lot of attention.  I could see people standing and looking at them for the longest time.  I wonder what were they thinking and what emotions do the pictures evoke from them.

These are their photos as an adult.

It is difficult for me to be objective looking at these subjects.  Humans are not subjects nor objects.  These simple photos brought out the big question: “what happened?”  Good question.

Bus boards captions:
Now you know where homeless adults came from ~ Blake
People from normal childhoods with normal lives don’t  end up homeless. ~ Dave disagrees.

This photo campaign is from Raising the Roof that provides objective facts about what and who are the homeless.  Reading about it gave me a better understanding of the goal of the photo campaign. Blake and Dave are no longer strangers to me.

Bus boards photo credits: Raising the Roof

Bears of British Columbia, Canada

Greenland posted a video that is made from British Columbia, Canada and I was hoping to see a real bear made in Artic!

 
 

British Columbia has Kermodo and Grizzly bears. I think this Polar bear from Greenland wants to move in Canada.

Very clever, The Fourth Continent.

Guess who’s coming to town

Yesterday’s event section at Metro News: Hilary Clinton headed to Vancouver as a keynote speaker on March 5, 2014 for an event on Women’s Leadership Circle.  Expected cost $600 a ticket.

z hilary clinton

As much as I want to see Hilary, $600 dollars will go a long way not for me but to the needy.

The purpose of this post is to challenge the Vancouverites instead of spending it for the Leadership Circle to hear  Hilary, donate this money to the needy in Vancouver.  Or better yet, send it to the Philippines for emergency relief.  Canada will match your dollar.

Be a servant leader instead.

Related Articles:

Reflection after the storm

Memories came flooding in, seeping out of my memory bank.  The earthquake, the storm, death, then calm.

Sea of Galilee

Being born in the Philippines Mother nature rules.  Nature does not discriminate, from the young and old, from the poor and rich, from the ordinary to famous folks; we are all affected.  One of the saving graces, I now live in beautiful British Columbia, Canada.  Hardly any storm but plenty of rain and cloudy days.From what I can remember, Father was swept away by the sea, never to be found.  Was there a storm at the time that caused ragging waves?  I still have yet to know.  Mother had a nervous breakdown when Father died.  Was it his death or the thought of having to care for 13 children, the youngest four months old.  I was only four years old.  Most of my memory is vague maybe it was buried with Father in the sea.

Flying debris, the tin roof blown by the mighty wind, trees falling down, roaring of the wind, torrential rain and flooding are the effects of nature passing through.

Then came Ruby Tower crashing down.  It was intensity 7.7 in the Richter scale.  People rushing out of their homes.  Me standing by the canal, the water creating a whirlpool and saw a huge rock emerged from the ground.

We were spared from these disasters except Father.

The Voice of God in a Great Storm
A Psalm of David. (Psalm 29) 
 Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name;
worship the Lord in holy array. 
The voice of the Lord is upon the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord, upon many waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful,
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. 
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars,
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, 
and Sir′ion like a young wild ox. 
The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness,
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. 
The voice of the Lord makes the oaks to whirl,
and strips the forests bare;
and in his temple all cry, “Glory!” 
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king for ever.
May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace! 
 This is a  Day of Grace.
 
Related Articles:

Expression of Apology and Hope

When we forgive, we have to let go of our own feelings, our own ego, our own offended identity, and find our identity at a completely different level—the divine level. I even wonder if it is possible to know God at all—outside of the mystery of forgiveness.  ~ Mystery of Forgiveness
Source: CNS photo by Art Babych

Source: CNS photo by Art Babych

The Archdiocese of Vancouver, Archbishop Miller addressed former residential school students on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission event.  He acknowledged the role the Church played in “implementing the Canadian government’s policy which involved forcibly separating children from their parents.”

THE APOLOGY

Distinguished members of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Venerable Elders, Survivors of the Indian Residential Schools, First Nations Brothers and Sisters, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Speaking on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of Vancouver, I am here with you today to acknowledge the role we played in implementing the Canadian government’s policy which involved forcibly separating children from their parents and families and placing them in Indian Residential Schools.  through generations, this deeply flawed policy has led to unbearable pain and suffering.

At the five residential schools which existed within the boundaries of the Archdiocese, we were entrusted with safeguarding the children and young people under our care. However, we failed to live up to the trust placed in us. Over the century of their existence, tragic incidents of cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse took place at these schools. We hold in high esteem those survivors who have had the courage to tell the truth about their harrowing experiences….

Read the full letter here

Related links:

Sweating with Fear – Saturated

Can one get any wetter?  Wet is wet.  That’s it.  These were my thoughts as I was feeding the ducks at Stanley Park and another thought pop up.  Do ducks get wet?  Or does water just roll down on their backs?

What an introspective mind I had that afternoon for a simple activity of feeding the ducks when I can just easily enjoy the moment.   And I did.

z WP Sept 28, 2013 (1)

These ducks are smart when they see humans.  They very well know that we can’t resist feeding them even when there is a sign “DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS.”  Ignoring the sign, I have half a loaf of baguette that I do not want to waste.

On the other side of the bank, I saw a racoon.  Go away, bandit, you are not invited.  Do you think the bandit understands?  Of course, not!  Bandit had his eyes on the bread.

What happened next, bandit went for a swim across the bank, on my side of the lagoon.  Then bandit started calling his family: “Come and follow” in bandit’s purring sound.  A Mama and a baby raccoon heeded his call.

Now what? How am I going to get out of this situation?  The exit is where the raccoons are.

Please note that this may sound like slow motion but this incident happened in a flash.

Panic set in.  I started to sweat and wanted to shout “Go away”.  Too late, they came charging towards me and all I can do is jump on the bench.

Help ~ thieves ~ bandits; these raccoons are stealing the bread. I threw the bread to the other side of the lagoon, they run after it. I quickly jump out of the bench and ran out faster than a speeding bullet.

Sweating with fear during this incident, wet and saturated with my perspiration.  I am safe and sound.

Let it be written, Let it be done.

The gathering of Truth and Reconciliation Commission ended with the walk in solidarity with the aboriginals and non-aboriginals.  Thousands braved the day in a wet, wild, and wonderful walk.

We were banging drums, singing traditional songs, wearing button blankets and hats as we marched along the Georgia Street.

walk-for-reconciliation-0130922

The stories told were very horrific and sad about the treatment the aboriginals received from the white people especially at the residential schools.  These are the survivors who came to have their stories documented for the history books.

As horrific as it was, the gathering will be the beginning of a journey toward reconciliation. Canada is stepping forward to share the pain it created.  From here, we can move towards healing.

The keynote speaker for this event was Dr. Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr.

One day, you’ll be able to join hands together and say in the words of my father and it will be a truth in this nation.  Free at last, free at last, and thank God almighty we are free at last.”

May the stars carry your sadness away,
May the flowers fill your heart with beauty,
May hope forever wipe away your tears,
And, above all, may silence make you strong.
Chief Dan George

Related Articles:

September 22, 2013 Extravaganza

There are so many activities that are worthwhile today.  Which walk should I attend? 
When I started planning today’s walk, the first option I chose was AIDs walk.  I have supported this walk since I have I know people who have this disease.  Now, it’s just another illness like a common cold.  The only thing is there is no cure, only prevention.  It is a good cause. 
Suddenly, invitations to go out for walk came up such as:

These walks are about Reconciliation.  I think it will be a gathering of all Nations to walk towards reconciliation.  Reconciliation is a good thing in order to have peace and unity.

Walk with Us
 It will be a very interesting day. 
Not only I will be with esteemed leaders such as Suzuki and the Elders, Dr. Bernice A. King, a Baptist minister and the youngest child of iconic U.S. civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will deliver the keynote address at the start of Canada’s first-ever Walk for Reconciliation. 
Sorry, Aid Walk Vancouver some other day.  I have a better offer. 
Related Links:
 
 

A line a day makes a pattern

And the red flags are up for the United Way Campaign.  Kingsway Street is lined up with all these banners to remind us that United Way kick off is just around the corner.

United Way Banners

United Way Banners

Across the street is an electrical box.

Electric Box - Front view

Electric Box – Front view

Lines are bisecting each other that make a pattern, a street pattern.   This is the front view.  The most important part because Metrotown Mall is a major destination for most people to shop till they drop.

This is the back view or maybe front since you can see the door handle.  It doesn’t matter.  It all depends on point of view.

Electric Box - Back View

Electric Box – Back View

This is a side view.  Central Park practical covers the entire panel.  It’s a beautiful park by the way.

Side View

Side View

The main streets are Kingsway and Nelson.

Kingsway and Nelson

Kingsway and Nelson

This is a major intersection with traffic light patterns. 

I have just given you a good map of Burnaby’s main hub.  Come on over and I’ll meet you at the mall for coffee.

Summer is over

This is blocking the view.

Good thing summer is over.

Source: Flickr/CC-BY-2.0/Kyle May

Think of it this way, he has from October to May to hit the gym and start working out.  If he remains the same, Paul Sullivan has something to say about it.

You’ll have to fake it.

Turning that spare tire into a six-pack will take the whole summer and you’ll be ready for your beach close-up just in time to head back to school, fool.

There are a number of things you can do, like suck your stomach in as you stroll, all nonchalant, along the shore. If anyone asks why your face is so red, just tell them you burn easily from the neck up. Like all those other red-faced shore stalkers going by.

Then there’s the briefest-possible-moment-of-exposure tactic. Just drag your beach blanket and mummy kit as close to the water as you can without being swamped, then disrobe quickly, flashing your bi- or mono-kini, and then immerse yourself up to your neck as quickly as possible.

To get out of the water successfully, repeat in reverse. Do not, like Daniel Craig, emerge from the surf in glorious 3D slow motion. You’ll scare the little kids on the beach.

Make sure to do whatever you can to avoid the inverse beach fitness rule. That is: The less fit you are, the more flesh you expose. Don’t be that guy with the beach ball for a belly and the speedo. If that bikini didn’t look quite right in that artfully lit Swimco mirror, how do you think it’s going to look out here, in the stark light of day?

I don’t want to cramp your style, but you don’t have any, especially when your body is a gallery of all your deepest thoughts written in flesh. Tattoos, even Angelina Jolie’s — especially Angelina Jolie’s — don’t make it better. You look like human graffiti.

There are some people, of course, who look fantastic on the beach, all fresh and tousled and tanned. They’re called children. They don’t count.

Paul Sullivan is a writer for a local newspaper, Metro News.

Your Country

As part of getting to know you, I am very keen in finding out what country you are blogging from.  
Can you please tell me what Country you are from?  Thank you. 
Source: Geology.com

Source: Geology.com

Here’s a map of the world. I now live in Canada originally from the Philippines.

Let’s Go Inside

Oh, a cemetery!  I exclaimed to my friend.  Let’s go inside and look for ghost.  
From what I’ve heard, this is a haunted cemetery and there were ghosts sighting.  On a hot day in the middle of the afternoon, it would be fair to assume that ghosts do not show up in broad daylight.  It’s too hot for them to come out.  Besides they are hard to detect when the sun is in full beam. 
My friend ignored me because she hates ghost after having a bad experience when the ghost went charging right into her face.  I thought it was funny, but not for her.  Instead, she told me that the this is the  burial-place of Emily Carr; only if she can remember where it was. 
Off we went, inside the cemetery.
Pushing Daisy

Pushing Daisy

It’s a beautiful old cemetery.  I found one that is adorned with flowers; real living white Shasta daisy garden.  This is what I call pushing the daisies.
Sarah Jane Pearse

Sarah Jane Pearse

And this is the oldest tomb in the cemetery.  I wonder what kind of life this person had and what caused her demise.  Inscribed is Sarah Jane Pearse on the stone; what a beautiful name.  She lived over a hundred years old. 
We went round and round in circles in the cemetery looking for Emily Carr.  I can’t find the tomb, not even a single apparition.  There was a group tour at the cemetery and I really would like to speak to a living soul who knows where the tomb of Emily is.  But my friend is such a kill joy she wants me to keep quiet.  Zip my lips. 
Finally, I am tired from walking and took a rest under the canopy of trees.  In my mind, I spoke to Emily.  “Emily, show me where you are buried.  You hear me?”  As soon as I said that, I saw a white butterfly coming towards me.  What an interesting thing to see a butterfly when there is not even a peep from the birds due to the heat.  
Decorated Tomb

Decorated Tomb

Where did you come from butterfly?  I walked towards where the butterfly came from and I saw two people standing by a tomb from the distance.  Walking towards them without a sound, I could see that the tomb has a few things on it. Curiosity took a hold of me and I want to find out what it was.  When the couple left, I went closer.  Much to my surprise, it’s her.  Emily Carr.
Emily Carr

Emily Carr

Emily Carr, thank you for hearing my words and for sending a messenger to show me the way to you, a butterfly.
Dear Mother Earth

Dear Mother Earth

Artist in Residence

“All Children are artists.  The problem is how to remain an artist once you grow up.”  Pablo Picasso

Artist 2013 Gallery

Artist 2013 Gallery

These are artwork created by one of the students at the school board.  Enjoy but please do not copy and save for your own interest.  Thank you.

The Artist

Artist Self-Portrait

Artist Self-Portrait

A Celebration In The Park

Happy 125th Birthday, Stanley Park.

It was a two-day event celebrating Stanley Park’s 125 years on August 24 and 25, 2013. 
One could easily get lost in a 400 hectare of land and many trails within the park.  Just to walk around the wall is about 10 km and takes me three hours. 
There were over 200 activities going on.  Too many to choose from.  Staying at The Lost Lagoon could practically occupy me the whole afternoon.  There is music, sports, walking tours, opera, adult zone, kid’s zone, flower zone, you name it, spread all over. 
Since I wasn’t prepared, I asked the volunteer which is the best place to go?  She pointed me towards Second Beach.  When I arrived at the beach, it’s mostly for an adult section with beer garden.  Of course, on the beach, there is more human skin showing than clothed people. This is not my kind of place and entertainment.  I’m too young for this kind of activity. 
Off I go and did a 180-degree turn, retraced my steps and walked in the opposite direction headed north. 
Lucky me, this side is more picturesque and a place to relax. There are so many shades of summer in the Rose Garden that it took my breath away. 
 

I pretended that this is my garden and filled my being with the freshness of the garden. 
And who is Lord Stanley?  He was the Governor General of Canada in 1888 and helped keep the park.  
 

Carefree Circle

Our clan from different parts of the world gather together every two years for a reunion at the lake of Chilliwack, British Columbia.  It is normally a weekend of fun and frivolity; a carefree weekend and then some. 
Some people will start coming in on Friday to stake out camp grounds and picnic fields that is big enough for our family, relatives and friends. 
I normally show up for the main event, the fun part; eating and games. 
The most meaningful part of reunion is when we gather in a circle.  A Prayer Circle.  
We prayerfully give thanks to our Creator for providing us the opportunity to be together and be grateful for the gift of life.  We live behind all our cares to our Creator in order for us to be free of worries and concern, just for today.  Amen. 
And the fun begins.  
 

Meteor Showers

Many years ago, a warm summer evening, I took Carson and Emma, my friend’s grandchildren up in the mountain to watch shooting stars.  It was about the same month as now, August. 
There were hardly anyone on Cypress Mountain.  It was a perfect place for star-gazing and count shooting stars.  Of course it was more fun to challenge each other and see how many shooting stars we could count should our eyes are fast enough to spot them. 
The best way to look at the sky is to lie down on the pavement and we did exactly just that in the middle of the parking lot.  We just hope that nobody will drive up and run over us.  
As it turns out, the shooting stars became meteor showers.  It was spectacular. 
Cypress Mountain: Photo credit vancity

Cypress Mountain: Photo credit vancity

 The Meteor show which occurs in mid-August is called the Perseid Meteor Shower.  It is also known as “The Tears of Saint Lawrence.” 
Who is Lawrence? 
Lawrence was an early Christian deacon tortured to death by the Romans in AD 258. His saint’s day of August 10 coincides with the Perseids buildup. 
Lawrence’s responsibility is to handle the material goods of the Church, and to distribute alms to the poor. When Lawrence knew he would be arrested like the pope, he sold the material goods of the church and gave all the money to the poor of Rome. 
The prefect of Rome thought that the Church is rich because they use silver cups for the sacred blood and golden candlesticks.  He asks Lawrence to bring all the Church’s treasures for the emperor.  
Lawrence replied that the Church was indeed rich. “I will show you a valuable part. But give me time to set everything in order and make an inventory.” After three days he gathered a great number of blind, lame, maimed, leprous, orphaned and widowed persons and put them in rows. When the prefect arrived, Lawrence simply said, “These are the treasure of the Church.” 
Needless to say, this angers the prefect and sentenced him to death. 
According to legend, Laurence was martyred on an iron grill over a fire, during the ordeal he quipped to his persecutors: “Turn me over. I’m done on this side!” 
 
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Help me to be pure, but not yet…

I have a habit of buying cards when I visit places instead of taking pictures. I keep them for a long time, enjoying it and then I mail them out to friends or families.   
There is a particular card that I kept and I placed it on altar.  When I opened it, I wrote: 
December 6, 1991
Course in Miracle
Westminster Abbey
Mission, BC
 
That is a lifetime ago.  It was the time when I still have a car, when the gas price was only 50 cents to a litre, when I owned a four door sedan, V8.  The car was a guzzler.  But it took me to places where it is unreachable unless one has a private vehicle.  I was thankful for this car. 
Westminster Abbey is a beautiful serene place situated on top of hill. 
I must have taken a retreat at the Abbey but I cannot remember what the course was all about.  As for the miracle, the card is still with me.  The writing is beautiful and I have memorized it by heart.  It was written by St. Augustine. 
 
Who is he? I asked.  I really do not know much about him but he has a famous quote prior to his conversion:  
O Lord, help me to be pure, but not yet. ~ St. Augustine 
I have committed this prayer by heart.  
It is a daily mantra that I say on the way to work or when I go for a walk.  The mantra is very meditative and in the end, it is no longer I that is present but the Spirit of God, in this body.
 
 
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Hello World…. Come to Canada…Today

Come and join us in celebrating Canada Day, today, July 1st. 
In Vancouver, British Columbia, it will be an all day music, entertainment, and activities for the whole family.  Other events are: 
  • Citizenship Ceremony
  • Great Canadian Invention Hall
  • Port Metro Vancouver Zone
  • Extreme Sports Show
  • Canada’s Army, Navy and Air Force
  • Buskers and roaming entertainment
  • Food vendors offering cuisine from across Canada
  • Canada Day Parade
  • Canada Day Burrard Inlet Fireworks Show 
 HAPPY CANADA DAY !!!
Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day!

 
My friends
Love is better than anger.
Hope is better than fear.
Optimism is better that despair.
So
Let us be
Loving, helpful and optimistic.
 
Quote from a great Canadian
Jack Layton 1950-2011
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Rose Prince of British Columbia, Canada

The annual pilgrimage to Lejac is almost here, from July 5 to 7, to honor an Aboriginal woman who has inspired many due to her simplicity of life and faith. 
Pilgrims

Pilgrims

Rose Prince was born on Saturday, August 21, 1915, in a small house on a hill in the Carrier Nak’azdli First Nation and behind the convent near Fort James. Rose was a Dakelh woman who has inspired an ongoing Catholic pilgrimage. Prince was born in Fort St. James in 1915, the third of Jean-Marie and Agathe Prince’s nine children. Jean-Marie came from the lineage of the great chief Kwah. 
When the Lejac Residential School was built in 1922, Prince was sent to this school along with the other children. At 16, still attending school at Lejac, her mother and two youngest sisters died in an influenza outbreak. Devastated, she opted not to return home for the summers, staying on at the school instead. She was a quiet and unassuming student. She was a gifted and attentive student, a child of deep faith and outstanding love for God. 
After graduation, she remained at the school, completing chores such as mending, cleaning, embroidering, and sewing. Prince contracted tuberculosis at the age of 34. She died on 19 August 1949. 
Two years later, in 1951, several graves west of the Lejac Residential School were relocated to a larger nearby cemetery because a railway passage has to be constructed. During the transfer, Prince’s casket broke open, and workers were apparently astonished to find Prince’s body and clothing in pristine condition, despite the years that had passed since her death. Other bodies were examined, but even those who had died after Prince showed signs of decay.
Witnesses said her body was still fresh, and “as if she was sleeping,” with “just a little smile on her face.” The bouquet of flowers on her chest was withered, but some observers maintained that a fresh rose lay in her hands. Others did not see the rose, which was said that the rose may have been a spiritual vision seen only by some. Although all of them agreed that the entire body and the clothing were in a state of perfect preservation.  The story spread, especially in the Carrier Nation. 
Miraculous happenings attributed to her through visiting her grave and taking earth from her grave. 
Every year, my family joins the pilgrimage to bring roses to cover her grave and pay respect.  Every year, I missed it due to work obligation.
Rose Prince Grave

Rose Prince Grave

 I must say, I am proud for the Aboriginals to have an outstanding woman from their nation. 
Rose Prince

Rose Prince

 “Heavenly Father, you shared so deeply with Rose Prince, of the Carrier Nation, your gift of serenity, and shared with her your love for your creation. 
Grant through her intercession that we may share your serenity and your peace of soul, and may we too rejoice in the beauty of creation that surrounds us on every side.” 
 
 

Awakening the Spirit of the Dragon

Each year, festival honours the ancient Chinese tradition of dragon boat racing with an Eye Dotting and Dragon Blessing Ceremony. 
Dragon Boat Logo

Dragon Boat Logo

An altar is set-up on the dock for a Taoist Priest to perform the ceremony.  The dragon boats are dressed with ornate dragon head and tails.  The boats are all lined up for blessing.  Invoking the Goddess of the Sea, the Saints and the Immortals through chanting and burning joss sticks cleanses the race course, competitors and boats.  This will charge them with the strength of the Dragon. 
The priests make offerings to the five elements and directions:
  • East – joss sticks representing wood
  • West – flowers representing metal
  • South – candles representing fire
  • North – water representing its elemental self
  • Centre – fruit representing the earth
 Eye dotting ritual is the climax of the ceremony which officially awakens the Dragon. Ancient Chinese dragon mythology has it that the Dragon sleeps in the mountains and travels to the water when it is awakened. 
And the race is on….. the 25th Annual Dragon Boat Festival.

25 years ago, I did join the race.  The name of our team was “Wet, Wild and Weary”.  I kept the T-shirt for memorabilia.  Did we win the race?  In our minds, we are the winner.  Joining the race is already a sign of winning: a sign of courage that we can do it.  And we did.

Curves ~ Flaunt It

Have only one rule: 
Be your wild 
Naramata 2013 ~ Peacock front

Naramata 2013 ~ Peacock front

 courageous 
brilliant self 
Naramata 2013 - Peacock back

Naramata 2013 – Peacock back

 every single day. 
Naramata 2013 - Up close and personal

Naramata 2013 – Up close and personal

No matter what.

Fleeting Childhood Moments

Naramata 2013 ~ Okanagan Lake

Naramata 2013 ~ Okanagan Lake
 Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains.  ~~ Diane Ackerman

Naramata – God’s Country

During the last 1980’s, riding the car with no boys but female bonding was the in thing.  Tripping around is a trip from place to place; pure adrenalin devoid of drugs, sex and rock and roll.  Should there be marijuana, it’s all for recreation use only; let’s smoke a “J” is what we said.  Destination: Naramata, British Columbia, Canada. 
Janet, a friend with Russian family in the country side wanted to visit them.  I have car, why not.  Those were the times of footloose period from Brian Adams to Bruce Springsteen.  We visited the Russian Doukhobors and Freedomites.  Can’t really tell which one is which for all I know they are human being just like me.  Being introduced to Babushka who are so hospitable and all we did was eat their Borscht.  This was my initiation to a Russian family.  Lovely people.
Picture courtesy of Naramata's office site.

Picture courtesy of Naramata’s office site.

The best part is Naramata.  We stayed in a cabin of Janet’s cousin, in the middle of an orchard, on top of the mountain, overlooking the Okanagan Lake.  The air is so pure and intoxicating.  Smell of lavender, cherry blossoms and apples blossoms permeate the atmosphere. 
But I was dog tired from driving around that day.  Hit the sack, lights out and nothing, literally nothing could wake me up the following day.   
In a deep slumber, I can smell a different aroma all too familiar that tops the natural sweet scent of Naramata.  JAVA… java… java… Ah, definitely, I am in heaven.  Starbucks was not in the picture then.  The smell is so close to my nose and I heard this dulcet voice calling me over and over again “P-e-r-p-e-t-u-a”.   I must have responded “Yes, Lord, here I am.”  
I opened my eye, Janet holding a pot of coffee at my bedside.  Now that’s what I call heavenly delight.  JAVA and Naramata: God’s country.  
Naramata, here I come. 
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Artist in Residence

At the school level, give the children a booklet, pencils and crayons; they are happy as they can be to start drawing.
Artist in Residence

Artist in Residence

Children are born with the propensity to draw at an early age.  There is really no need to teach the children how to draw.  Random scribbles will change over the years as the child matures.  Drawing is the language through which they are best able to express subtle or complex perceptions, thoughts and feelings.  These are vital for mental development, emotional health and healing. 
Artist in Residence

Artist in Residence

Drawing is the child’s most effective language for achieving these goals.  These are some of the drawings the school board posted for us to admire at the head office. 
Artist in Residence

Artist in Residence

30×30 at Play

This is the third week of David Suzuki’s challenge to take 30 minutes of outdoor activity daily for the month of May.  I am having so much fun with the challenge.

He has the right idea for the child in me ~ Playtime.  Of course, I have a playmate, my nephew’s son; Baby James.

 look ma no hands 

Here are a few games you can play in nature as suggested by David:

•Hunt for bugs! Try to spot one you’ve never seen before, then find out what it is. (Be sure to put the bugs back where you found them.)

•Grab that kite that’s been gathering dust and fly it in a nearby park.

•Indulge your inner child, and climb a tree or roll down a hill. Or better yet, take a child with you.

•Go on a simple nature scavenger hunt. Search for something feathered, something with legs, something very old, and something changing.

•Invite family or friends for an after-dinner stroll down a green street.

•This weekend, take a hike in a local park or conservation area.

•Head to the nearest woods for a “forest bath.” This Japanese practice improves sleep and increases vigor.

•Get your feet wet: head to the nearest body of water and dip your toes in.

•How long has it been since you’ve skipped stones? Visit your nearest creek or pond and try your hand.

•Make a mud pie. You know you want to.

•Take a walk in a park or a forest and search for animal homes. What kind of creatures lives there?

Most importantly, have fun!

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Voting Thyme

Honestly, there is nothing aromatic when it comes to voting.  Profanity and preposterous words do come out from the politicians.  He said / she said.  Blame: your fault, nope, you started it.  Blah, blah, blah.
voting placeWhat can I do?  It’s slim picking.  Listening to them during the debate, I envision their noses are gradually getting longer and longer and longer.  It’s Pinocchio time and this is not Disneyworld. 
I hope the ballot will be like spin the donkey or maybe multiple choices or maybe a Russian roulette.  Basically, I shot myself for making a mistake of voting for this person.  Oh well, learnt the hard way. 
This is my chance to exercise my right to vote; if I don’t then I just forfeited my right to complain.  Not that I am a complainer, I just want my right to complain if the need arises. 
It’s so tricky because I also have to consider my personal belief, values and faith.  Who is the best candidate that is pro-Life be it human or non-human at any stage of living?  Then there is the environment to think about.  Is the politician will sell B.C. to another country for the sake of economy?  How will this affect the new generation? The older generation?  Currently, luck is on my side because I am in between these generations. This is too much to consider for a simple folk like me.  
So help me make the right decision, today.  
“B.C. democracy may not be pretty, the candidates may not be pretty; you may not be pretty, but it’s all we’ve got, so we’d better make the most of it.” ~ Paul Sullivan 
“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” ~ Grumpy old Winston Churchill.

Atheist and Zen

What does an Atheist and a Zen have in common?  They are both have a column in Common Ground magazine.
David Suzuki
David Suzuki writes an article about Science Matters.  He is an atheist. He denies the existence of God but his work, in my opinion, is about godly matters such as the Nature of Things.  His mind is fascinating and captivating.  He was born in Vancouver, Canada.  I have attended his lectures.  David wrote the book The Sacred Balance. 
Eckhart TolleEckhart Tolle writes an article about Finding Zen.  He is the author of the Power of Now and his latest book, A New Earth.   A spiritual teacher, born in Germany and took residence in Vancouver.  I have never seen him nor read any of his books. 
Common Ground has articles about Sufism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sahaja Yoga, and Inter-Faith, to name a few.  However, I still have yet to see an article about Catholicism. 
Reading this magazine expands my curiosity about other belief systems.  The more I understand the more I become in tune with my own personal faith as a Catholic.  Catholic means “universal”. 
Excerpt from Suzuki: Science of Breathing:
“Your next breath will contain more than 400,000 of the argon atoms that Gandhi breathed in his long life. Argon atoms are here from the conversations at the Last Supper, from the arguments of diplomats at Yalta, and from the recitations of the classic poets. We have argon from the sighs and pledges of ancient lovers, from the battle cries at Waterloo, even from last year’s argonic output by the writer of these lines, who personally has had already more than 300 million breathing experiences.” 
About.com excerpt from New Earth:
People believe themselves to be dependent on what happens for their happiness, that is to say, dependent on form. They don’t realize that what happens is the most unstable thing in the universe. It changes constantly. They look at the present moment as either marred by something that has happened and shouldn’t have or as deficient because of something that has not happened but should have. And so they miss the deeper perfection that is inherent in life itself, a perfection that is always already here, that lies beyond what is happening or not happening, beyond form.” 
QUOTE – Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard: Life must be lived forward, but can only be understood backward. 
Keeping this quote in mind, I don’t believe in the Power of Now.  However, I know what awareness, mindfulness and what is.  At least with the Science of Breathing, I learned about science as well as part of my faith, knowing that I am breathing in the argon of those people at the Last Supper.
 
 

 

The Beauties and Beast

New photos keep on showing up on the Facebook.  Someone has been so busy adding hundreds of pictures and I can’t keep up with it.  I wonder who amongst the circle of friends of friends and more friends have done this? 
There were pictures of these women working out at Steve Nash Gym, shopping, dining out and much more.  Pictures galore. 
Wow, all these beautiful women.  Where have they been hiding?  Should I say where I have been hiding?  It is interesting and odd when none of us are beauty contenders in comparison to these full-figured women.  Number one:  we do not have the height.  But rest assure we have this singular beauty.  
These women are contestants of Miss World Canada 2013.  I know who the beast is. I can’t seem to get anything out from him except these pictures to show me even more.  Even the Philippines Chronicle is waiting for him to submit his article not just pictures. 
I’ve counted at least 42 contestants from this link: Miss World Canada 2013.  Pick which one do you think will win. 

As it turned out, these photos are coming from not a beast but from an Angel.  Angel is my baby brother, one of the official photographers for the event. He has a way with his charm and good nature.  A babe magnet. 
 

Howyadoing?

Having fun yet?  Enjoying the outdoors?  Feeling good? 
Well, if you are not, do something.  Get out there. 
Weekend was spent doing gardening and with family.  I think I had an overdose of family activities.  Or I think it was heat stroke due to unseasonable summer like weather.  I could spend all day in the garden and still not be able to see all the miracles in a small patch of land.  All of these activities made me feel good. 
Walking underneath a sakura tree when the wind is blowing, it feels as if it’s snowing.  This little girl sure knows how to have the joy of  falling blossoms on her. 

This is week two of 30×30 David Suzuki Nature Challenge.  Join, come and live the Nature Challenge.

 
 

A Promise – A Vow

I made a promise – I vowed that one day, when Stacey had won her fight, when she was healthy again, when she was ready, I would ride with her in the Ride to Conquer Cancer which she never had a chance to complete. In December 2012, I received a text message from Stacey, which simply read: “Let’s do this!”I am looking for your support for one more ride on June 15, 2013 – to thank and support the doctors that saved my Dad, to help keep a promise to a friend, to help celebrate Stacey Olynyk’s victory over cancer and to help dedicate this ride to her twin sister Karen – inspired by her unimaginable strength, courage, bravery and fight.

Thanks for your support! “LET”S DO THIS!” ~~ Mike

Mike is my cousin and I am so proud of him.  I wrote about his dad when I started blogging titledLove and Valor”.  I also featured our Grandmother and his family (before he was born) in Mosaic of Cultures.

I received an e-mail from him tonight “ONLY 5 DAYS LEFT TO GO!”  Oh dear, here I go again, the greatest procrastinator of all.  I haven’t done anything in terms of supporting him.  I have until May 11.  Well, I thrive on pressure. 

It’s either I go to Victoria to cheer him and his team, go see my Aunt to buy some tickets, use the snail mail for the donation or donate on-line.  Too many choices.  I’ll sleep over it and tomorrow, with a fresh mind, I’ll decide. 

Without any further ado, my bragging rights.  Meet Mr. Mike Gonzalez and The Team Spaghetti Factory.  Let’s conquer CANCER! 

untitled
 
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30 x 30 Nature Challenge

Number 30 represents the number of days in the month of May.  The next 30 is the number of minutes it takes to be healthy.  And you may want to add 30 easy steps in attaining a healthy and happy lifestyle that cost a cinch. 
For the next 30 consecutive days, David Suzuki came up with this brilliant idea how we can connect with nature.  The more we connect with nature, the smarter, healthier and happy we become.  He further stated that getting outside even makes us nicer and more likely to clean up the planet let alone our act.  Staying indoors will give us the cabin fever and you know what it does do to your disposition in life. 
I can attest to what David is saying since I wander around, meander or plainly loiter on this earth.  During my coffee and lunch breaks, I go outside the board; rain or shine.  I definitely need to go out and be in touch with nature.  Call me a snob, call me unsociable, call me a loner, I prefer to be out walking, taking a peek what is coming out of Mother Earth, listening to the birds singing, feeling that wind on my face, basking on the early morning sun, and much more. 
But of course, going out takes so much effort, eh?  Nah, rest assure David made it more possible for us to have fun and for your benefit.  And the benefit has a ripple effect.  Only you can discover this benefit once you take the challenge. 
So, I say, come and join the challenge even though it’s a Canadian Challenge.  You can also partake in your own country and encourage others.  Join, come and live the Nature Challenge. 
 

Vancouver Racers Go Extra Mile in Boston’s Honour

This was the headline on the newspaper.  Vancouver Sun Run became Boston Sun Run.  The event official colour was blue and yellow in memory of Boston.  Many runners at the run wore these colours of Boston Marathon’s colour, too .  It was a success. 
The weather cooperated that day.  The sky was sunny and the bed of flowers was all in bloom as the run around Stanley Park.  It was perfect day for 48,196 participants in all walks of life. 
At the last-minute, more runners signed up to be united with our neighbour, United States of America.  The first female that reached the 10K run finished it in 32 minutes and second was from USA.  For the men’s, the first man to finish was from Kenya took him 29 minutes and second was from USA. 
Two of my nieces, Nicole and Andrea, joined the run,  Nicole wore blue.  They were proud to be part of it and so is the whole family for taking the courage to support others as well.  They called this triumphantly as Sun Fun Run in their face book.

Definitely, this will be an unforgettable experience for most people with a tinged of sadness.  They were all racing for Boston. 
And they did it! 
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A for Ashram

Yashodhra Ashram set in the beautiful mountains of southeastern British Columbia, sounds so inviting to spend while I was in between times. It’s a place for all ages and backgrounds who want to further ones self-development.

Its main purpose is to stimulate open intellectual and spiritual enquiry, supporting the potential of transformation in each person.

I decided to sign up for a two-week stay in working Yoga and paid my way to do work in the ashram. The cost was minimal and I can join a course offered when I was off duty.

Working yoga was basically about mindfulness.  Doing the same thing over and over and paying attention to what I did.  For example: one of the duties was to sweep the floor.  I swept all day long until my mind got carried away from the swinging of the broom from left to right; right to left; back and forth, forth and back.  It was meditative.  Oh, cleaning the bathroom was an experience and a half. What came about was instead of cleaning the bathroom; I was cleaning my internal thoughts.  The weeding in the compound, peeling potatoes, burning trash, these can take me out of myself.  Pretty Zen or what?

Hatha Yoga was also offered.  The poses for Hatha Yoga took getting used to because it required meditation; active imagination for me. The contortion involved was not a problem for this body was younger then.  The favorite pose I did was the Archer where I imagined the arrow released boomerang and struck my heart.  The image came to mind was when a lance pierced Jesus Christ.

Whatever I learnt, I translated it to my Catholic upbringing.

At the end of the property by the cliff side, a Temple of Divine Light overlooks the Kootenay Lake.  The Temple is a place for those who want to find the Light in their own religion or practice such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islāmic, Judaism, Taoism and a lot more.  I learnt how to sing a Jewish song, Hindu song and danced the Lord’s Prayer.  They have service called sat sang which I was having a hard time grasping due to words used are not related to Gospel written in the Bible.

Across the lake is the famous Ainsworth Hot Springs and I could easily escape the ashram should I need to take a hot bath.  There are no bathtubs in the ashram since it’s not really a 5-star hotel.  There must be at least five of us in the “chalet” and my quarter is up in the attic that I froze my extremities. 

I lasted one week.  Why?  Here’s an interesting story.

One early morning, I saw a man by the main hall.  He was hippie looking, long dark hair and beard.  We waved at each other and thought he is a new comer.  I was on my way to the temple in search for this divine light. I met one of the workers that was frantically running and I asked him what the commotion was all about? “Intruder alert”, he shouted.  Oh dear, I followed him because I don’t want to meet a bogey man by myself.

The next thing I knew, they were escorting the hippie looking man out of the property.  When he was out of the property, I took the courage to speak to him.  He said he went to the dining area, asked if he could have something to eat and he has money to pay for the meal.  He was denied and asked to leave.  It was very upsetting for him because he thought that this is a Jesus place where he will be welcomed.  I felt sorry for him and beyond disbelief.  The man looked harmless to me; he is clean-looking and did not emit any odor.  With this nose, I can smell FOUL

Intuitively, I know I do not belong to this place.  I took that as a sign to say adieu.  Pack my stuff, went to the office to file my resignation letter and they may keep the balance as severance pay. Then I hitch hiked out of that galaxy.

Did I find the light?  I did.  The intruder showed me the way and the light.  Another temple, another time.

A Day at the Park

Reading comics is one of my best past time during my childhood days.  I think this is how I learned how to read since I don’t remember any nursery books when I was growing up. 
To date, I still read the comics section of the newspaper.  Skipping the front page, I bee line to the funny section.  Eat your dessert first, I must admit.  The real world will give me indigestion. 
There will be a huge rare comic auction from Avenger to X-men this weekend in Vancouver.  One comic is estimated to sell at a mere $20,000.  Gulp!  I will pass this one as much as I enjoy reading Incredible Hulk. 
Looking for more funnies in the Web, I cannot help but share this site.  The writer gave me permission to “reblog” it.  Enjoy. 

A Day At The Park

Capture

CLICK THE THUMBNAIL ABOVE

Wandering in the most unexpected places

When I am not seeking, I wander around.  For some people, they call it loitering.  For the law makers the rule is “No loitering, otherwise, you will be charge with vagrancy.”

I’m not really scared with this ruthless or useless law.  For one, I know a lawyer, I can easily say, sue me or I’ll see you in court.  If not, I have friends in higher places that will defend me, men with guns, aka, cops.

With my wandering round and about especially during coffee or lunch break, the Westside is residential area.  There are a few residents I’ve met along the way and we are all on first name basis.  Most of them are retired, leaving along.  Some looked alone and lonely.

Ian was alone for most times.  Talking to him was a challenge because he speaks in rhymes.  I realized that he was telling me his poems.  It took me awhile to understand his speech because he was toothless.  Vagrant, he is not.  He just sits at the park writing his thoughts of poetry down.

One day, he presented me a booklet of his poems, first edition. What a sweet man.  I received more booklets from him over the years, yet, I don’t know anything personal about him.  But he seemed to enjoy talking to me while I listen.

Recently, I have not seen him around.  Until one day, I saw a fellow who lives in the same building as Ian.  Ian passed away in October last year, he says.

This is a sample of Ian Rudkin’s poetry, page 23. My Song Is In My Step.

Sense Beyond Fueling

I’m responsible for myself;
I’m naturally at home.
Nature is my health
And symptom is this poem.
I heed what I sense
And do what I eat.
I cause a few events
By work and not by feat.
I cannot assume help
Especially what was error.
To help, I try to tell
Some insights, touch and caring.
It seems a truth that women
Have far more sense than taste
In fact the sense for living
On which respect is based.
Signed: Kind Wishes from Ian Rudkin
Spring is here and the weather is getting warmer.  I will miss his presence sitting in  the bench under the shade of maple tree.
Farewell my friend.

News Worthy

I’m trying to get back to the swing of things and that means back to the news.  

The news today is filled with April fool’s joke.  Even the coming election in May is a joke.  The re-introduction of PST (Provincial Sales Tax) from HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) is one massive joke.  We shall see how our economy will react to these changes in British Columbia. 

This video caught my attention.  It’s about WestJet, an airline industry.  I sure hope they are just pulling my legs, otherwise, I think I’ll just walk.  Oh, I didn’t mean to dismiss them that quick, this will be an opportunity for me to travel with Maurice and Lucy, my cats.  

YES!

 

Pretty in Pink

We need you. 
Yes, You. February 27, 2013 is PINK SHIRT DAY.  Wear Pink. 
What is Pink Shirt Day? 
Pink Shirt Day is inspired by two grade 12 Nova Scotian students in 2007 who decided to take action after witnessing a grade 9 student being bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school.  The students bought 50 pink t-shirts and encouraged schoolmates to wear them and send a powerful message of solidarity to the bully. Six years later, the Pink Shirt Day campaign continues to raise awareness and provide education and funds for anti-bullying programs in BC and Western Canada. (source: CKNW  and CBC), 
Support, stand up and be counted. 
Pink Shirt, pink tie, pink ribbon, pink shoes, pink hair, pink tutu, you name it. 
Wearing pink is showing your Love, Acceptance, Respect and to STOP any negativity towards one another.  I am pretty in pink.  See for yourself. 😀 

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 Pink is a Peaceful Colour.  Pink is Action.  Action speaks louder than words. 
Come and Join me in this Peace Movement.
 
Check these out:
Make a Noise
VSB: Massive Pink Day Dance
VSB: Pink Day stronger than ever
Vancouver Giants: Flash Mob Hockey night
Peace by acting – summer4soul
B4Peace 
 

The kindness of strangers

Today’s ground breaking news close to where I live, Courtney is finally going home or at home by now in San Francisco. 
A heart-warming story about random act of kindness.  Watch the second video first to know the story.  Take Care, Courtney.  Click on the link: Courtney Canter goes home. 
This post is inspired by Kozo and Cheri and Bloggers4peace

Genie in a bottle or 12 Steps program

Did you say major changes? Sure, I want to have a baby, let me go window shopping and buy one.  Sure, I will visit the a sperm bank to find good genes.  What a silly decision. 
I made a 360 degree turn yesterday and I am still thinking about the what if situation.  
Yesterday was Sunday and I left the mass early because the priest is boring.  I could have easily changed the situation but I stayed until closer to the end.  I did not wait for his blessings. 
Walking as fast as I could in a cold rainy February zigzagging around people, I made a 360 turn.  What made me do that?  My peripheral vision saw a person sitting on the cement outside the mall.  
Meet April in February 3, 2013.  
I asked are you ok?  Then she started crying.  She’s a new face in the block.  I recognize most of the street people in Metrotown Mall.  April made a wrong decision last night according to her, was accused of lying and hates being called a liar.  She left the facility where she stayed for two months to change her life, slept on the street last night and unfamiliar with the city. She came from the Island, up north of BC.  The time was about 2 pm. 
All of this happened out of a blue, don’t ask me why I paid attention to this stranger.  I don’t like WHY question.  Therefore, I did not ask April the why question. 
Did I make a conscious decision to help her?  Yes or No? No. Did I hesitate?  There was no hesitation in my part, I just acted.  She needs a place to stay for one night; she’s looking for the Aboriginal Lodge. 
I’ve asked April only one thing.  April, I want you to pray to your God to help us find you a place.  She sheepishly said yes with a worried look on her face. 
Skipping all the details, I found her a place to stay by 7:30 pm.  An emergency shelter.  We were wet, shaking like a leaf, tired, cold.  We shared a cigarette before we parted and made sure she was inside this beautiful blue looking mansion in a residential area that I’ve never thought it existed closed by where I live. 
This is in response to Daily Prompt: Changes.  Come and join us, it will change your life.

Mother Earth

I love Mother Earth and for this reason I became an activist in so many ways. 
Indulge me on this one: carbon footprints, zero mile diet, recycling, bike to work, think green, nature of things, save the children, etc. 
To put things in perspective, I cannot save the whole world.  I know I can do one thing for myself and Mother Earth.  I gave up my freedom to fully go where ever I go, when I want.  My car. 
This decision was a difficult one.  In order for me to make a decision, I always think “two things”, a choice.  Asking myself what do I want to give up in order to make a positive impact to Mother Earth and humanity:  Cigarettes or Car = 2Cs. I have divulged this information about me in my post about Pilgrims Progress and Flawed: Guilty. 
Listing the pros and cons, they are both cons.  What about the lesser of two evils, they are both evils.  What is easier?  Car it is.  
What made me choose the car?  The pollution: all that carbon in the air that is killing the plants and animals.  Greenhouse effect is what the scientists call it.  The oil and gas industry is a greedy corporate industry.  Think of Athabasca Tar Sands that is happening in Canada.  Oh, don’t get me going on this Daily Prompt.  My blood is boiling at this minute early in the morning. 
People are so righteous when it comes to smoking, even the government. When people see me smoke, I hear nasty remarks and poor attitudes, they are holier than thou.  I ask them: Do you drive a car?  Huh? is their response.  What does car got to do with cigarettes?  Do you have time to listen to me while I smoke in front of you?  No, is the response.  Then stay away from me and keep on walking.  I am killing myself when it comes to smoking, I know that.  You have no idea what I gave up for Mother Earth! 
There’s one less car now in Vancouver.  Mine. 
This is in response to Daily Prompt: Global.  Come and join us, it’s fun.
 

WPC: Unique – Laughter

When I go to the beach and see these Giant Laughing Statues in English Bay, Vancouver, BC, Canada, I can’t help but smile.  Not just me, the whole crowd is smiling as well.  It’s a unique public art work. 
Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.  ~Mother Teresa 

 “Laughter is the best medicine. Laugh and the world laughs with you. Be grouchy, you’re on your own.” A comment from my post on Monday Morning Humour Me.
 
 

Spread the Word

The word is Acceptance. 
It doesn’t take too much to become excited when it comes to children of the world especially the students. 
The evening news the other night caught my attention and I immediately went on Global TV on-line to get the link.  Shared it on my Face Book and the next thing, my friends are commenting and sharing the video.  The video has now gone viral according to the news. 
First thing I did at work was shared this to my peers.  And Diana responded saying that her daughter is somewhere in that news.  Oh gee, Diana, tell me more.  Not much to tell because she did not attend Hockey Night in Canada.
I am very proud of these young generations for having the courage to dance in the largest crowd and wear pink to promote Anti-Bullying. It’s coming up soon next month, February.  I am not so sure of the exact date.
School is not just all about studying, the Board also teaches the kids the basic of life so that they may learn to be compassionate, kind, loving to any a few.  I am hoping these students will create a peaceful generation.Enjoy the video and here’s the Global TV News link should you want to read all about it.
 
 Global TV BC – Vancouver School Kids Stage Anti-Bullying Flash Mob at a Giant’s Game. 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond – Tip of BC

Have you tried taking with you four teenagers for a field trip in a deserted mountain?
Well, you have to think twice about it.  No, not just twice, ask yourself “are you insane?”  I thought about it and the answer is No, I’m  Auntie Mame. Remember?  I said that at the beginning of blogging.
Atlin, British Columbia springtime at the tip of BC.  Not quite, it’s still Frigid Zone there.  Mr. Gernot of Monarch Mountain took us in.  We were the only people up in the mountain.  Yes, there were Monarch Butterflies.
It was a trip of a lifetime for the boys.  They are still talking about this to date when this happened 13 years ago.  They are now adults.  The common question was “How come you did not marry Mr. G?”  I don’t response to this kind of question.  Too personal.  Sometimes I retorted “wait till your Mother hears about what you boys did in the mountain.” 
Yup, to date, cross my heart, mum is the word.  I will keep their secrets until my dying days.  Besides, it’s their responsibilities to tell their Mothers.  What about Fathers?  Fathers were boys once before, they understand.  And the boys will admire me more when I am gone.
 
View from higher grounds.  Beyond is the frozen lake

View from higher grounds. Beyond is the frozen lake

Walking towards the lake to check it out.

Walking towards the lake to check it out.

Whew , that was a long walk. We are walking on solid water, frozen lake.

Whew , that was a long walk. We are walking on solid water, frozen lake.

Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

What your fortune cookie tells you

“Daily Prompt: 32 Flavors.  Vanilla, chocolate, or something else entirely?”  I choose something else entirely. 
The cheapest way for my family to dine out is to go to a Chinese restaurant, New Lakeview Seafood Restaurant. The restaurant manager knows us and it’s the only restaurant, I think, that is crazy enough to accept a boisterous huge family. My family is loud and that’s why I live alone, away from the maddening crowd. Can’t really stay away from them far too long because sometimes I need to hear real voices; otherwise, I hear voices in my head. We try to meet at least once a month for a group birthday celebration; one big party for all celebrants of the month.  
After chow time, my nephew made a suggestion when it’s time to crack open our fortune cookies.
Fortune Cookie

Fortune Cookie

 “When you read your fortune cookie, make sure you add at the end of the sentence ‘in bed’  nephew said in his soft-spoken English accent. 
 “Are you talking dirty again?” the adults turned their head to nephew and exclaimed this in unison.
 “No, you guys are the one who is thinking dirty. I just want to have fun. Just play along with me. OK?” nephew retorted.
 “Sure, sure.” adults agreed.
 Just imagine all the ruckus of laughter as this is being spoken loudly.  So here are samples of the fortune in the cookies
 Sister #6: A thing of beauty shall bring you great joy … in bed (she’s happily married)
 Sister #5: You will soon be blessed with unexpected good luck … in bed (she dedicated herself in RCIA – Rites of Christian Initiation for Adults)
 Sister #4: You will be the centre of a special group’s attention … in bed (she’s one of the celebrants)
 Sister #2: Your genuine talent will find its way to success … in bed (she gave up her sewing business as a dressmaker in order to propagate the Devotion to Infant Jesus of Prague)
 Me:  Desires that are not extravagant will be granted … in bed.  OMG.  I was the laughing-stock (no comment)
 It was so much fun. Thanks to my Rocking Nephew, there is a whole meaning on fortune cookies.  Huffington Post begs to differ and wrote an article about how ridiculous the messages are.  Click on this fortune cookie to read.
 Of course, we say grace before meals even though we are in a public restaurant. The family that prays together stays together.
Prayer before meal:
We come to join in the banquet of love,
Let it open our hearts and break down the fears
That keeps us from loving each other.
            sung by Dominican Nuns at mealtime
 MORSEL: If you judge people, you have no time to love them. — Mother Teresa

Pssst … Meet me at work at 5 PM today

What do you mean you don’t know how to get here?
Me:  It’s so easy to get here.
He:  I’ll drive and pick you up.
Me:  No.  Go Green.  Take the public transit
He:  Me?  Don’t know how?
Me:  Easy.  I’ll show you how.
 
Me:  The address is 1580 West Broadway, Vancouver.  Not East, OK?
He:  How do I get there from MetroTown?
Me:  Here’s a Trip Planner.  It will tell you where to go and you need $2.75.  The fare went up.  Not $2.50.  Make sure you have the exact change.  The machine does not give you change.  It takes credit card tho’.  Keep your ticket.  There’s plenty of Transit Police.  If you do not have proof of payment, you’ll get a ticket for $200.  That’s our one month’s grocery! 
translink trip planner 
He:  Ok.  That’s easy enough.  Where do I meet you.  Front of the building?
Me:  No.  At the back of the building?
He:  What do you mean at the back of the building?  Can you be more specific?
Me:  Ugh.  Do I have to draw you another map?
He:  Yah!
Me:  Click on the map on the trip planner.  OK? 
Pause:  (I have to think like a man here) 
Me:  I tell you what. Here’s a step by step instruction. 
1.  Once you get off the bus at the corner of Broadway and Granville, you will see Chapters Bookstore, across the street.  Go there.
2.  LOOK.  There is a look sign on the ground as you cross the street heading Chapters.  Look both ways, OK?
3.  Keep on walking straight, do not turn left, do not turn right.  Do not even dare to go shopping at Chapters.  Keep walking.
4.  At the corner street, I do not know the name of the street, at the end of the block, turn left.
5.  You will pass Restoration Hardware, an underground parking lot and a high-rise on  your right side.  Stay right, OK.
6.  After the high-rise.  You will see a park.  This is what it VSB back of the building.  It’s a park.  See the high-rise? 
VSB - Park. Back of the building

VSB – Park. Back of the building

He:  Yah, yah, yah.  I can see VSB and the high-rise.  Ummm.  anymore landmarks.  Is there a place for me to sit?  A bench?
Me:  It’s raining for Pete’s sake. You’ll get wet sitting on the bench.  Walk on the side entrance and you will see these:
Pass this figure, turn to your left, up the ramp or stairs.  You choose.

Pass this figure, turn to your left, up the ramp or stairs. You choose.

 
Me:  Do Not, I repeat, Do NOT imitate this!
Keep on walking.  He`s not gonna play with you.

Keep on walking. He`s not gonna play with you.

Me:  NOW, on your left, there is a glass door.  Open the door.  There is a seating area and you will see this.

Stand right here and pet the rabbit

Stand right here and pet the rabbit

Me:  Call me from your cell and I will be right down.

He:  Hi Honey, I`m here.

I think I shall never see…

When I look outside my balcony towards north, facing the horizon, I could see Grouse Mountain of North Vancouver. When it’s covered with snow on a beautiful sunny winter day like today, it’s spectacular.  I feel like making a trip and climb the Grouse grind.  Not. 
I cannot due to just being plain lazy.  Then I look down below.  Sigh.  My beautiful tree is no longer there.  I gave that tree a hug all the time.  I love watching the squirrels going round and round the branches.  The racoon checking out the tree at night for food.   My winged friends make it their home to nest. 
When it starts to flower and seeds, so much pollen floating in the air.  Much too much pinecones and don’t mind if I have to rake them out.  The beetles in summer months come out at night.  Lucy and Maurice the cats exercised their hunting skills. 
One year, Father Winter came with a vengeance, covered the tree with snowy splendor.  And then… sad, the branches cannot carry the load of white powdery stuff.  Needless to say, I bid goodbye to the tree and all I have left is this memory. 

Daily Post: Stroke of Midnight – First Night

“Where were you last night when 2012 turned into 2013? Is that where you’d wanted to be?” 
First Night is what we call it here in Vancouver.  In my life, it’s a family event.  We all gather around anxiously preparing for that countdown.  Children are excited and they are the first one to blow the whistle.  Hush, it’s not midnight yet, but they can’t wait to be the noise maker.  
The dining table is filled with food.  More food, same as Christmas.  Ugh.  I can’t bear to see the same food.  My body is already screaming for simple food that I am so used to.  Baked, boiled or broiled.  The arteries are now starting to clog up.  Cardiac delight is what I call this traditional Filipino food.  We died eating happily. 
Is it New Year’s yet, kids are screaming.  In a minute, we’re almost there.  How many times have we said this “in a minute” to the kids?  They have no concept of time.  We have said this all night long. 
COUNTDOWN:  10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…. Happy New Year!  Hugs and Kisses.  Open the windows and let the Spirit of New Year in.  Pots and Pans are all out of the cupboard.  Banging on them is our noise makers.  We were shouting out on the top of our lungs for the neighbourhood to hear.  Play the music; will somebody please play the music? 
  
All of these happened in my younger days.  At the stroke of midnight, I was at home happily ensconced in the couch watching the celebration on TV with my cats Lucy and Maurice.  My own little family, not with the crazy clan that I love dearly. 
Of course, I played the Feliz Navidad, cha cha cha; all by myself, sending out prayers and blessings to the world, just like any other night.   Then, lights out, nanight. 
Thank you Lord for another day.

This is my Quest…

A writing challenge: New Year’s Resolution not a dream, not impossible… 
Many times I resolved to make a resolution, a total failure.  Therefore, I resolve to fail less… three is doable.  It will be more of a goal, and not a resolution.  I make my goals fun and enjoyable, not a chore.    
  • Every year, I make sure that I do one thing that I haven’t done in my life.  For example, last year, I learnt how to bake cookies and cakes.  I was well liked by those cookie monster and cake fiends.  A very expensive way to learn.  Done.  Next?  Next is learning how to bake a traditional ham or turkey that my family always make.  The guinea pigs are my next door neighbour who made me mushroom soup for Christmas.  And I did, ham first.  We had it for New Year’s Day.  Now my neighbour wants it to be a tradition.  Are you kidding me?  The turkey has to wait.  The guinea pigs will be my nieces.  I promised them to have a YaYa cousinhood at my place.  They were pinning since they have not set their foot in my sanctuary.  They saw the pictures in the Facebook and how they love to check it out.  Yah, right.  It will be a dry get together, I said.  They agreed.
  • Gardening.  What new plant would I want to try this year starting from seeds?  This would take time visiting Garden Centres, reading Garden Magazines and visiting Community Gardens.  I enjoy gardening and it’s so much fun.
  •  Walking.  This is a must since I am planning to join Walkers’ World this year to Santiago de Compostela.  It’s vital that I am able to walk at least 10k a day.  That is equal to walking around Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC.  Not a big deal, since I do walking meditation and I have now a camera to take pictures along the way. Can’t wait.

A Prayer of New Beginnings by St. Mary

God of new beginnings, we are walking into mystery.
We face the future, not knowing what the days and months will bring us
or how we will respond.
Be love in us as we journey.
May we welcome all who come our way.

 
 

WPC: 2012 Memories, pressed between the pages of my mind

Pick the best pictures from your 2012 and have those pictures tell everyone about your year 
Memories, pressed between the pages of my mind.  
These are what matters to me in 2012.  From life to death.  New Year should always start with new beginnings, a new life.  But year 2012 stared with someone dear to me being called back Home.  Not just dear friends but dear companions, the Cats in my life.  Angels I call them now.  From sorrow to joy, with the birth of my nephew’s son, this is a delightful surprise.   Baby James is a new life and a beautiful beginning for the year 2013 not just for me but for everyone in my family.  
Shalom Aleichem.  To Life! 

 

DP: Gimme – Traditionally Speaking

Christmas in the Philippines is one thing I miss here in Beautiful British Columbia, Canada.  It is the happiest and most awaited celebration. The Philippines is so rich with traditions.  The Christmas lanterns, caroling, fireworks will start in mid-December.  Noche Buena is what we call it meaning Christmas Eve.

As a child, it’s hard to be patient; can’t wait for Christmas and it just doesn’t come fast enough.

The focus is attending midnight mass, a birthday celebration for Baby Jesus.  After this, we go home and have a feast.  I mean the feast of traditional Filipino food.  The gather is circled around my family and anybody who does not have a family to celebrate with.  This is the real meaning of Christmas for me.

There is no Christmas tree, and we do not believe in Santa Clause.  What we believe is the Three Kings.  Three Kings arrive on the first Sunday of January.  That’s the time we received gifts in our family.  This was fun.  What we did at the eve of Three Kings, we lined up our shoes on the stairs, one pair only for each sibling.  When we woke up, run down the stairs, our shoes were filed with candies.  We really believed that Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar (names of the three Kings) came bearing gifts.  Gifts of candies not Frankincense, Myrrh and Gold.   This is how we end our Christmas.  It’s the longest Christmas celebration ever.

Three Kings

Three Kings

 “Was there a special gift or toy you wanted as a child but never received? What was it?”

Being with my family, visiting relatives and god parents to pay respect and ask for their blessings are the best gift I received.  I couldn’t ask for more.  No toys.  Sometimes, I received money but it wasn’t important for me.  What was important is we give one another our love and faith-based on the birth of Infant Jesus, Mother Mary and Joseph.