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!” 
 
Related Articles:

Cast in stone – Masterpiece

Departures and Arrivals

 A photo taken 33 years ago in Manila reminds me how sad and brave my grandmothers were as they bid us farewell for our journey to Vancouver.  After final blessings, embraces, and tears, we boarded the plane with suitcases crammed full of everything we could bring from our old life.  Everything except my cherished umbrella which we had somehow neglected to pack.  I loved that umbrella the way other four-year-olds treasure dolls or teddy bears.  My new friends were mystified by my broken spirit and broken English.  I did not know the word for umbrella.  “My payong, my payong.”  I repeated woefully.  I wanted the umbrella that had sheltered me from the hot sun. 
I wanted to escape this strange place where umbrellas held the wind and rain at bay.  As I got older the memory of my umbrella drizzled away.  I planned my getaway: Paris, Tel Aviv, New Delhi … even Toronto.  Anywhere but rainy, boring Vancouver.  Like my parents, I sought a better life elsewhere.  Unlike them, elsewhere left me disappointed.  I yearned for the seawall and for Granville Island and salad rolls.  In my homesick mind, I heard the seagulls at Kits Beach, and breathed in the deep green peace of a day spent at UBC.  I longed to smell the cedar tree in the backyard of my childhood in Marpole, and to taste the vegetables my parents tend there.  I ached for Vancouver. 
Today, I show the photo, taken all those years and countless lost umbrellas ago, to my husband and children.  I will leave umbrellas behind, but I don’t forget where I have been or how far I traveled to get here.  Once it was a distant destination promised in a photograph.  Now it is the place I love and call home.  ~ Bernadette Gonzales McGrath 

The story of Bernadette is in two places.  One in Marpole, close to where she used to live, attached to a lamp-post.  The second is a monumental rock where each word is cast in stone, at Queen Elizabeth Park, a forever chiseled story.  A masterpiece. 
Bernadette and I are cousins.
 

You Must Change Your Ways….

As I get older and wiser, I am more aware of the children and their concerns for their future.  My hope that there will be a home for them I call Mother Earth. 
I want them to enjoy Mother Earth as I did when I was younger, in nature, to know all living creatures big and small. 
Recently, two high school students came to our meeting to voice their fears about their future.  They are young activities.  These students needed our help financially to help them kick off their environmental campaign against the government’s plan of expanding the Coal Harbor. 
We could hear from their voice how distressing it is for them to grow up in a polluted place in Vancouver.  We could feel their fear and we supported them, financially, just enough funds to help them pay for the flyers, bulletins and maybe buttons. 
What a courageous and remarkable young minds. 
In 1992, a 12-year old girl traveled all the way to Rio de Janeiro and spoke to the United Nations Earth Summit about her concerns on climate change.  She spoke for five minutes, five minutes that silenced the world.  
That little girl came from Vancouver, BC, Canada.  Her name is Severn Cullis-Suzuki, daughter of David Suzuki, a Canadian environmentalist.  This is an excerpt of her speech. 
“I am afraid to go out in the sun now because of the holes in our ozone. I am afraid to breathe the air because I don’t know what chemicals are in it. I used to go fishing in Vancouver, my home, with my dad until just a few years ago we found the fish full of cancers. And now we hear of animals and plants going extinct every day – vanishing forever. In my life, I have dreamt of seeing the great herds of wild animals, jungles and rainforests full of birds and butterflies, but now I wonder if they will even exist for my children to see. Did you have to worry of these things when you were my age? All this is happening before our eyes and yet we act as if we have all the time we want and all the solutions. I’m only a child and I don’t have all the solutions, but I want you to realise, neither do you!” 
 
21 years later, nothing has changed.  She returned to Rio again in 2012. She explains from a new perspective why it is that she believes humanity will act to change our future. 
If you don’t know how to fix Mother Earth, please stop breaking her.  Be part of the solution.
 
Related Links:

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.” 
 
 

Canada Day Special

LunchThis is so exciting when we received a broadcast message on Monday from the cafeteria.  Centre Café will be serving a Canada Day Special.  Woo who!0 
Never will I miss this one.  Every year, this is what I look forward to: Crispy Chicken.  I made sure that I ate light breakfast and no snacking between meals  to make sure I will bring my appetite for this feast. 
The cafeteria is decorated with Canadian Flags.  The cooks are all dressed up in red shirt.  Service with a smile.  Love them from the bottom of my stomach.  They are the best. 
Most staff will put in their order ahead of time.  Sorry folks, first come first served.  It’s unfair for the walk ins and order the special only to find out it’s sold out before it even gets served.   So, I went early to the cafeteria to beat the crowd and had my lunch pack to go. 
What a festive environment.  People are now starting to flow in having the same idea as me.  We were just like noisy children eager to have our last meal because it’s the last day at school.  Once this place is filled with staff, it is full of laughter.  A happy bunch of people.  
And here’s a feast fit for a queen.  Ah, Crispy Chicken, Artichoke Salad, Potato Wedge and delicious cake.  I’m eating lunch at my desk to focus and savour this moment.  
Bon appétit!
Crispy Chicken

Crispy Chicken

 This is just too much food for me and I took the rest home for dinner.
 
 

Fresh Off The Boat

The excitement is brewing because on July 1st., we will be celebrating Canada Day. 
I remember when we entered Canada. Coming off the plane, I needed to go and do Number 1.  Since everything is new to me, I was totally lost.  The washroom was nowhere in sight.  Finally, I saw a man in uniform, a security guard.  And I flagged him down and asked. 
Sir, can you tell me where the CR is?
CR?  He answered me with a question.
You know where I can go wee-wee.
Wee-wee?  Another question. 
My goodness, I hate it when someone answers my question with a question.  
Since I am fresh off the boat, I maintained cool.
Sir, what I mean is comfort room, CR.
Ah, you mean Canadian Railway? 
UGH!  Okay, I better try a different terminology then. If this kind of conversation would go any longer, I might as well pee right there and then.  Can’t he see I was already crossing my legs? 
No Sir, I want to void.
Void?  What do you mean void? 
I guess the American English is not recognized in Canada, I thought. 
Sir, what I mean is I want to sit on a throne!
Ah, you mean the washroom.
Whatever, I thought.
Sir, please, sir.  Hurry.  I really have to go. 
Cross my heart, I never heard of a washroom in my life.  Maybe I should have said it in plain English toilet or commode. 

If this is not love, then what is?

When it comes to perfect love, I can only think of my Mother.  
Mother has so much love to share.  The story of Mother’s love is no different from others but in my mind, of course, is the best. 
Everybody calls her Mother: her siblings, my family and our friends. 
What kind of love did Mother shared?  These are collective stories shared by one generation to another generation. 
Mother gave up her own education in order to take care of her younger brother.  She reached Grade 4.  Why on earth would a young mind give up her future for a younger brother?  Don’t they have anybody to take care of my Uncle?  The family is rich, for one.  They can afford to hire a nursemaid.  But that is beside the point.  Mother took care of her brother. 
Mother married a soldier.  They had four children and their father died at a young age, cancer of the lungs.  Widowed young with four children.  Who would marry her now?  Who would take care of the children?  During those days, fathers are the one who is a provider.  Enter my Father. 
It was a whirl wind romance.  Father married Mother and he adopted all four children.  Mother must have been an extra ordinary person for Father to fall in love head over hills with Mother. 
Investigating how my parents met, I’ve asked my Uncles.  They didn’t even know that Mother married again.  No wedding pictures to show off.  
Father is a beautiful man, a woman’s man.  He must have been a good provider to my Mother because he was a Civil Engineer.  He travelled to remote places to build roads and bridges.  Being away from home, there must have been so much activity in the bedroom because they procreate 9 times.  In total, there are 13 of us including my half-brother and three half-sisters. 
On top of that, I heard there are other siblings outside the marriage.  Mother went through extremes of getting to know this family.  She helped them.  Why on earth would Mother do such a thing when Father was philandering outside the marriage? 
Then Father died.  We are left with Mother’s love. 
The love of Mother does not end there. 
When there are children born out of wed lock in our family, Mother will search for them and bring the children to the family.  I heard that Mother bought (yes, paid for) one child from the mother in order to bring up the child properly. 
The house we lived was only a two bedroom apartment.  People come and go.  My siblings’ friends call her Mama Chuchi.  It was full of life and love even though we were poor. 
Mother helped young women  by teaching them how to sew.  Mother paid for their work even though they lived in our tiny apartment and received free board and lodging.  It was a symbiotic relationship.  One remained with us until to this date.  We managed to take her to Canada and she is my 14th sibling.  She and I grew up together. 
I don’t recall hearing Mother say to me: “I love you, Lady”.  No. 
Words are not important for Mother.  She laid her life not just for me but for everyone.  Mother’s love is based on her faith. 
If this is not love, then what is? 
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
 
Related link: Weekly Writing Challenge:  Love in the 21st Century

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.

News Worthy – Press Release for Teachers

Tue, June 18 – A grade four class in Surrey wrote a press release promoting their teachers, hoping to get some media attention. 
The students wrote to Mike McCardell of Global BCTV.  Mike is always out there looking for story god.  This time the story came knocking on his door and he doesn’t have to chase it.  The story came to him and he showed up. 
The story is about the kids who love their teachers.  They are going to do African dance to raise money for their teachers to go to Zambia. 
So the students sent “Press Release” to Global BCTV: 
“We have been fundraising money because my teacher and another teacher are going to Africa in July.  We have so far raised $3,000.” 
“Our Grade 4 class would really appreciate it if you could come to our school and interview us because we would like to share what we have accomplished.”
 These 50 children wrote letters to get Mike to come.  Press releases with neat printing and with endless hearts were sent to the TV station. 
To see more of this news worthy to be shared, click on the link. 

http://globalnews.ca/video/653253/press-release-for-teachers

Prayer of the Six Directions

Prayer of the Six Directions
(Indian Prayer) 
Great Spirit of Love, come to me with the power of the North; make me courageous when the cold winds of life fall upon me.  Give us strength and endurance for everything that is harsh, everything that hurts, and everything that makes me squint.  Let me move through life ready to take what comes from the North. 
Spirit who comes out of the East, come to me with the power of the East, the light of the rising sun.  Let there be light on the path I walk.  Let me remember always that you give the gift of a new day and let me never be burdened with sorrow by not starting over. 
Great Spirit of Creation, send me warm and soothing winds from the South to comfort me and caress me when I am tired and cold.  Unfold me as your gentle breezes unfold the leaves on the trees.  And as you give to all the earth your warm moving wind, give to me warmth so that I may grow close to you. 
Great Life Giving Spirit, I face the West, the direction of sundown.  Let me remember every day that the moment will come when my sun will go down.  Never let me forget that I must fade into you.  Give me beautiful color, give me a great sky for setting so that when it is time to meet you, I come with glory.
Giver of All Life, I pray to you from the Earth.  Help me to remember as I touch the Earth that I am little and need your pity.  Help me to be thankful for the gift of the Earth and never to walk hurtfully on the world.  Bless me with the eyes to love what comes from Mother Earth and teach me how to use well your gifts. 
Great Spirit of the Heavens, lift me up to you that my heart may worship you and come to you in glory.  Hold in my memory that you are my Creator, greater than I, eager for my good life.  Let everything that is in the world lift my mind and my heart and my life to you, so that we may come to you always in truth and in heart. 
Amen. 
Today is a day for celebration and recognition of the First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples of Canada.  June 21 often coincides with summer solstice.  
In a retreat, I learnt this prayer and committed it to heart.  Now I offer the same prayer to the people of Canada’s First Nations

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. 
Related Links

 

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

The Great Escape

With all the good intentions of seeing the progress of sweet Lucy, sometimes life goes awry and yesterday was a long day.

To escape how futile asking for an apology, I leave it behind and head out for a great escape.

One just has to look at the surrounding environment and soak in the beauty what it has to offer.  It is free for the asking.  It’s priceless.  I am off to follow the yellow brick road in Granville Island for a scavenger hunt.

Granville Island Public Market

Granville Island Public Market

Granville Island is a paradise. 

It has a market, buskers, picnic stations for private parties, and plenty of friends in the pond.  There is family of ducks and geese, turtles, pigeons and a red-winged black bird that I hear yet hidden from sight.  I could hear its screeching call.  

Tuck in the corner, there is a private party going on.  I wonder if they need another person to celebrate, just a thought. Time passed by without noticing how many hours I was here.  The last time I looked at my watched it was 4 p.m.  Next thing I know it was 7 p.m.

Time to take a ferry ride home

Time to take a ferry ride home

Goodness gracious, my furry friends are hungry, must go home to feed my beasts. Ah, what a great escape.

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!

Related links:

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.

 
 

Awareness, Awareness, Awareness

It’s all about awareness.  Be aware that you are not alone. 
There is nothing to be embarrassed about, no need to hide, hiding is futile.  Numerous people, even celebrities have declared to the whole world about how mental they are.  I do not suggest you to do the same.  The message that I want to impart is that there is help out there. 
Patty Duke wrote her memoir “The Brilliant Madness” is an excellent book how this illness became manageable.  Even William Styron wrote “Darkness Visible”, his memoir of madness.  They are both good reads. 
It’s Mental Health Week from May 6 to 12, 2013 in our community.  Let’s learn, talk, engage, reflect and be involved how we are affected by this disease.  The Canadian census states that one in every three Canadians will experience problems with their mental well-being.  That is a high ratio.  I hope they are wrong. 
So, I encourage you to be involved in your community especially to your loved ones.  Be open about it.  Mental illness is just as common as an ordinary headache or cold. 
Personally, I do not call this mental illness, I call it brain disease.  And that is another story.
 
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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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Meals on Wheels

Didn’t I just tell you that I prefer to spend outdoors on 30×30 Nature Challenge?  Well, I do.  Even on lunch break, I don’t chin wag with my colleagues and sit around at our lunch room or at the Food Fair.  Instead, I go search for the best Meals on Wheels. 
Hot dog stands.  These kiosks are so popular and the line-up would measure up as long as a football field.  Well, I am exaggerating.  Maybe, there are at least four people ahead of me. 
When it comes to line up, I prefer to entertain myself rather than get cranky waiting to be served because I am so hungry.  All I can think is that MSG on the hot dog.  It is so tasty and salty.  I just love the savoury flavour of a hot dog.  Jumbo dog is the best with all the trimmings. 
Anyway, to entertain myself, I either speak to the person in front or behind me as my victim.  If only they know, tee hee.  
There was this tall person in front of me and I crank up my head to say “Hello up there”.  He was towering over me.  And he seemed to be delighted with my opening line, (this is not a pick up line, ok!) and we started talking.  We talked about this and that.  To be a good conversationalist, I make sure I get the other person talking more that I do.  And he did talked a lot about himself. 
What I remembered the most was how he spent time with his son taking him on a helicopter ride to see an aerial view of Whistler Mountain.  To see the grandeur of the forest, the Gondola moving from one peak to another, the bears running around and to land on the glacier was an experience and a half for his son. 
Our conversation was cut short because he has to order and bid adieu.  That was the end of our intimate brief encounter. 
The following week, hot dog time again.  I just have to get rid of this craving.  There was hardly any line up and I saw this big poster of a man posted on the stand.  I asked the vendor if that is the owner of the stand and that I remember talking to him last week.  
“Do you mean you don’t know this person?” the vendor exclaimed.
“Am I supposed to know him?” I responded with a quizzical facial expression.
“What? Don’t you really know him?” he asked again.
“Does he know who Perpetua the seeker is?” I questioned the vendor. 
The vendor laughed at my retort. 
Guess who that man was.  No other than…. 
2013 May 2 Tom Selleck
 You guess it right.  Tom Selleck. What do I know?  

Related reference:

 
 

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. 
 

Mosaic of Cultures

The first thing that comes to mind about culture, I think of Mosaic.  
Being an immigrant, Mosaic is the place for new comers to Vancouver.  MOSAIC is a multilingual non-profit organization that helps immigrants and refugees settle and integrate into Canadian society. 
In Vancouver, diversity is important and has different kinds of festivals for different ethnic groups.  The City helps us understand and introduces the new Canadians.  There are various pictures with stories posted along the main areas of those people that share their stories. 
Walking around downtown, I saw this particular picture and I thought they look familiar. As I read their story, I said to myself: “Hey, just a minute now; that is my Grandmother and one of her daughters, my Aunt. Their story was selected as part of the new Canadians.
Lola, Tito & Tita, Cousins

Lola, Tito & Tita, Cousins

  This particular post, I see it every day on my way to work.

When people ask me what nationality I am, I proudly say, I am Canadian.  Strangely enough, my answer is questioned.  
“Really?” 
“I say really.” 
“Aren’t you a Filipino?” 
“Nope, I am Canadian.” 
Silence for a minute, thinking for another minute and finally they understand what I mean.  
“Ah, I see says the blind mice.  You came from the Philippines and now you are a Canadian.” 
“Precisely.”  That is my final answer.

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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What’s Up?

Before Up, there must be down.  What I mean by down is a position not in the negative sense. 
Starting a rainy Vancouver day, which is nothing unusual, this is how the Canadian flag flies and the Sun came up, the Canadian Flag is up and flying proudly. 

 What are up on this picture are crystals, colourful balls, stalk of bamboo plant and a bird house. 
Crystals, birdhouse, bamboo, colourful balls

Crystals, birdhouse, bamboo, colourful balls

 The crystals reflect a million and one playful prisms up on the ceiling as well as down on the carpet.  Lucy as playful as ever chases the light while Maurice hides because he cannot stand being teased. 

The colour balls represent the planets in the constellation that glows in the dark.  I still have yet to put it up properly.  On the wall is a shadow of the bamboo plant.

 The bird house is a place for Finches and chickadees.  It is a safe place to grow up for two generations of Finches, total 8 baby birds.  One baby finch was born up there so far.  There is also a nectar feeder hanging up on the balcony ceiling for the Hummingbird while Lucy watches intently.  Maurice is a gentle soul that leaves the bird alone.

I am up here in my balcony looking down the garden.
Garden taken up from the balcony

Garden taken up from the balcony

I was up to having fun when I posted this: How’s your mental state?  So, what’s up with you?
 
Related link:  April 19, 2013 Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

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

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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!

 

Bells are ringing

Gallery

This gallery contains 2 photos.

It’s wonderful to be woken up by the bells of Fatima first thing in the morning.  From the balcony of our hotel room, I could see the steeple of the Cathedral.  Every hour, the bell chimes the song of El … Continue reading

Eiffel Tower – The Tower of Love

Gallery

This gallery contains 2 photos.

There goes Uncle C (UC) gathering his harem to take to the Tower of Love.   Watching UC with all these single women in the pilgrimage was so much fun.  I’m so glad he is enjoying himself.  There are a few … Continue reading

Courage to come back

The sign states: “No Trespassing, Private Property”.  What a strange sign when there is a church in this land?  How can I attend the church as a stranger in this property when it is situated in the middle of an Indian Reserve? 
Took all my courage to trespass in a deserted street and I was cautious of my surrounding.  I felt that there were eyes looking at me as I walked along the street and to my relief I saw a gray nun heading toward the church. 
I felt much better when I was inside the church.  The congregation was mostly Native Indians and elders.  Much to my surprise, they were very hospitable to me.  I felt at home.  Soon, I became a regular every Sunday Mass at St Paul’s Church of North Vancouver for a short period. 
Here I met Starr.  She is kind to me and a little bit on a serious side.  I told her that I was just passing through on my way to Thailand to do volunteer work.  Starr confided that one day she would like to do an altruistic work.  I said by the grace of God, it will happen, just keep praying about it.  That was year 1998. 
Before I left the church, there was an activity of hanging a star on a Charlie Brown Tree.  Anyone can take part to hang a star and share what it means to her or him.  Then Starr came to me and lead me to where the tree was.  She pick up a star and hanged it. 
She introduced me to the congregation that the star represents me as her “hero” because of what I embarked to do in Thailand.  I was a surprised by her kindness. 
When I came back home to Canada, Starr has obtained a home.  Her plan is to help out destitute troubled women.  The house will be a recovery home for addicted women.  I helped her a bit on some legal papers.  I provided her with boxes of books from my own collections of religious books for her house.  As a present, I gave her a meditation book “God in All Things by Anthony de Mello”. 
Then life got in a way.  
I’ve lost in touched with Starr until one night in 2010 I was watching the evening news.  The news was the Courage to Come Back Award presented by Coast Mental Health. They called a name that is so familiar to me, Starr Peardon, a recipient of the award. 
Oh my goodness, I have to watch this, dropped everything and glued watching the television.  
There is so little I know of Starr.  As far as I’m concerned she’s a beautiful person and I never once asked her what her background is.  Then I learnt her story from the news. 
Starr was a drug addict, drug dealer and a criminal.  She was in and out of jail and gave up her children to foster care.  However, it was in the correctional facility where she had her conversion.  
In an article written in The Province Newspaper, I quote: 
It was while doing time at the old Burnaby Correctional Centre for Women that the jail’s chaplain, Hank Smidstra, prayed over her while she detox. 
“This strange thing happened. It was like a warmth. Like God put his arms around me. I didn’t believe in God,” said Peardon. She woke up the next day and knelt on the concrete floor. 
“I prayed to a God I didn’t believe in. I swore and I cried and that same peace descended on me. That was my conversion experience,” 
With her conversion experience, Starr was able to  fulfill her dream.  “Talitha Koum”, meaning “little girl, rise” is the house for “broken women”, a place of healing.  Countless women have turned around their life with her help.  It is going strong until now. 
Courage to come back starr
Last year on March 31, 2012 we celebrated Starr’s retirement party.  And she has all the reason to smile for being an instrument of God.  And I have all the reason to smile outward and inward when I think of her.
God bless you, Starr Pedron. 
This article is a true story written for Writing Challenge: Truth.
 
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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 
 

Funny Valentine

How time flies! Jim and I have been married now for 32 years. We are blessed with six wonderful children. 
Looking back, it baffles me how we got together against all the odds. He’s Protestant. I’m Catholic. He’s quiet, reserved and shy, and I am loud, cheerful and always laughing. He came to Canada from New Zealand in 1970, and I arrived from the Philippines in 1976. In 1978, our paths crossed in a disco club. I was there with my friends and sister. Jim was “window shopping” with his friends. 
He tells people that he “picked” me, but I tell them that I was the one that seduced him with my dancing. I like teasing him and bossing him, and he doesn’t mind being told what to do. I suppose our differences are what attracted us to each other! We got married four years after meeting. His siblings came for the wedding and were surprised when they met me. I wasn’t the submissive “Oriental” girl they had in mind! I laughed so hard. And I’m still laughing. –   Evelyn Logan 

Evelyn is a year older than me. 
The fact of the matter I met Jim first at the disco place.  There were four of us girls who just want to have fun, I was the youngest. Four men came in our circle.  The girls choose who they want to be that evening, and I was left with the left-over; ended up with Jim since nobody chose him.  Later that evening, Evelyn came telling me she likes Jim.  Translate that in a sibling way, I want what you have.  I said sure.  So, I told Jim, “Hey, my sister likes you.”  Jim was insulted as if I was brushing him off.  
Anyway, to make a long story short; they got married.  I was the bridesmaid, Godmother to their first-born and then some. 
Her second son posted this on CBC News.  And here I am, sharing the best love story for today.

 

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

R.U.L.E.S – Blog for Peace February 2013

In my site, there is no badge on Bloggers for Peace because I did not join.  I mentioned to Kozo, if it’s okay to write just about it.  Request accepted.  
I am not much of a joiner, follower or a member of any kind of organization.  I am not even a registered member of the church I go to.  The reason being, my belief is we are all One Body, One Mind.   By default, I am a member, no need to sign up. 
Whew, now I have said, I feel peaceful. Ah…. 
A few years ago, I volunteered as a Big Sister for one of the students at False Creek Elementary School.  My little sister’s name is Megan.  We were sisters for at least three years. 
What I want to touch upon is how I valued the school’s R.U.L.E.S.  It stands for:
R – Respect
U – Understanding
L – Learning
E – Education
S – Safety
The school has a Code of Behaviour: Keeping our school safe, healthy, happy and a productive place to learn. These are basic rules that elementary students understand.  It is a basic training on growing up as a future peacemaker. 
I remember when I was in elementary, we were taught Good Manners and Right Conduct in a public school.  The title of the program is different from today’s education but in essence it’s the same principle.
Since religion is not part of the curriculum in a public school, it teaches peace and compassion.  Recently, I received an e-newsletter about children’s choir.  I’ve asked for permission if it’s okay to share it. Request granted. 
In my own personal opinion, we have to teach peace early to our children.  I don’t have any children.  Megan, my little sister, was the only child I became closed to at the school and we had so much fun in our peaceful ways. 
Here’s the video of the children singing just one candle for peace.
 
And here is my candle for everyone.
 What does it take to be peaceful articles:
Love is the answer
A call to service

First name basis

The Filipino way, most people’s first name is Maria.  There are so many Maria’s in our family, me included.  However, we don’t use our first name.  I use my second name.  My only wish is I wish I wasn’t named Maria. 
The trouble started not in my childhood.  It started when I came to Canada.  
The officers saw how long my name is, they started using Maria.  Employers did the same thing, Maria.  Well, I felt there is no use in contradicting them since they are having a hard time pronouncing the name.  
When I say my second name, the common response is, Huh?  How do you spell that?  P as in Peter, E as in Eve, R as in Richard, P as in Peter (again), E as in Eve (again), T as in Tom, U as in Uranus, A as in Apple.  Perpetua.  What? Petula?  Never mind, call me Maria.  The names that I just called out, they understand, but not my name. 
As for being Maria, oh the trouble I go.  Maria seems to be a troubled name.  People started singing “How do you solve a problem like Maria”.  Sound’s familiar? 
It was only in 2010 that I decided once and for all, I will use my name that I am accustomed to hearing.  Perpetua it is.  Again, my colleagues of 13 years, they kept on calling me Maria.  Sorry, folks, I am not responding to that! 
So here I am, as a Canadian Maria, signing and dancing to the Sound of Music. 
 This is in response to Daily Prompt: Childhood.  Come and join us, it will make you sing.

The Evolution of Medicine

In Canada, I pay medical premium for a minimal cost.  The amount of taxes that is taken out of my income is about 30%.  That’s a lot of money considering my income is so little.  I assume the tax is used in part for the medical system. 
Sometime in the 90’s, I was hospitalized for 4 months.  Should I have paid the cost of hospitalization, I would become “mental” thinking how I am going to pay the bill.  I am grateful that it was fully paid by the government. 
My knowledge in medical system is next to nothing; therefore, there is nothing intelligent I can contribute to this post except for insane Medical Humour. 
The Evolution of Medicine 
I have an earache … 
2000 BC – Here, eat this root. 
1000 AD – That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer. 
1850 AD – That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion. 
1940 AD – That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill. 
1985 AD – That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic. 
2000 AD – That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root. 
Suggestion for the Automated Switchboard of a Psychiatric Hospital. 
Thank you for calling.
 If you are obsessive-compulsive, press  ‘1’  repeatedly. 
If you are co-dependent, ask someone else to press  ‘2’. 
If you have multiple personalities, press  ‘3’, ‘4’, ‘5’  and  ‘6’. 
If you are paranoid, we know who you are and what you want;  just stay on the line and we will trace the call. 
If you are schizophrenic, listen carefully and a voice will tell you which number to press. 
If you are depressed, it doesn’t matter which number you press, we won’t answer your call anyway. 
If you are a GP, forget about referring a patient because there aren’t any beds.  
 
Source: Humour MedJokes
 
This is in response to Daily Prompt: Healthcare.  Come and join us, it will expand your mind.

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.
 
 

Raise A Reader

The previous Premier of BC started a campaign called “Raise A Reader”.  I once saw him handing out newspapers to public for free to encourage reading.  I politely accepted the newspaper; however, I cannot stand reading the news, all that bad stuff going on local and globally.  I quit reading the newspaper. Subsequently, more newspapers were produced for free.  There’s the 24 hours and Vancouver Metro.  A friend of mine used to work for 24 hours.  I started reading 24 hours because of her.  Then she changed professions, does not want to take pictures and become a paparazzi.  I quit reading, again.

In my travels, I met this nice elderly Filipino lady. One day, on the way to train station, I saw her giving out Vancouver Metro by the train station.  I started reading again because of this Filipino lady.  To help her out distribute the newspapers, I went to the extent of taking five newspapers to further distribute them at work.

I’m beginning to like Vancouver Metro because it has more good news than bad news.  Or maybe, I am just selectively reading the good part.  Besides, it provides easy to follow food recipes and this is the best part.

For Tuesday, January 23, 2013 issue, the headline was “Nothing to Fret My Pet!”  It is actually a love story of a woman and her deer.  To make the short story even shorter: they will live happily ever after when it was decided by law makers not to forcibly separate them.  I love happy endings.

Source:  Vancouver Metro

Source: Vancouver Metro

 To read more about it, here’s the link: Metro News.

 Psalm 42
As the deer longs for running streams… so my soul longs for you, O God.
 

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. 

News Worthy: Something to Chirp About

Move over Princess Kate, there’s more important event happening at Queens Park, New Westminster, BC.  It’s better than a royal event; it’s a rarity, for people who are nature lover. 
It’s a bird, not superman.  It’s a rare red flanked blue tail bird from Siberia that winters in Japan and made an emergency landing in my neighbourhood.  This little thing must have been charged with Eveready Battery: it kept going and going and going.  Or maybe the break wasn’t working.  I just love the beauty of all things small and wonderful.
With my canine nose sensitivity, I managed to track down Mr. Gordon and asked him if I can use his photos and quote him.  He gladly agreed and then I let go of his pants.  Yup, this is another power of canine: teeth biting the hem of his pants.
Thank you Mr. Gordon and these are his pictures.  What a beauty!  For more pictures, click on The Canadian Warbler.blogspot.ca 

 

 

On the other hand, I wonder if the bird misses its flock.  I am feeling lonely for the bird being alone by itself.  I hope it will find its group and be reunited with them.  God speed little birdie.

And here is the clip of the news  Global News Video  and  Vancouver Sun. 

Enjoy.

 
 Related Links:
The Canadian Warbler.blogspot.ca
Burnaby Bird Guy.wordpress.com

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.

January 6, 2013 Notes to file: On Peace

Gallery

This gallery contains 3 photos.

Returning from 2012 Pilgrimage, I applied something I learned.  I changed my signature sign off with Pax Tecum and sometimes added this characters _/\_ .   Pax Tecum is a Latin word for Peace Be With You.  It was quite funny because … Continue reading

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: Immortalized in Stone – Professional Day

“Your personal sculptor is carving a person, thing or event from the last year of your life. What’s the statue of and what makes it so significant?
Yeah, no school.  It’s Professional Development Day.  What can I do to take advantage of this day?  Teachers have so many options offered by their association.  Staffs have two courses course offered by their union:  Dealing with Difficult People and Assertive vs. Aggressive.  The venue is located at one of the schools.  Since I am a staff member, I registered for both. 
The school was empty when I arrived.  It’s strange to be at a school with no children running, playing, laughing. The hallway was so eerily quiet. The office was manned by administrative support staff.  The classroom where the seminar was held has a bulletin board with different articles posted.  Having an inquisitive mind, when there’s a bulletin posted, I read what is posted be at school or lamp-post.  
Two articles caught my attention: “Stop workplace drama” and “Myself and the world around me.”  One of my peers wanted a copy of “Myself…”  I offered to take a copy for him since I know where the photocopy machine is located.  I also wanted a copy, and I used my camera to take a picture of “Myself…”  The picture didn’t turn out properly.  Thank goodness my peer has a copy. 
Should I want to be immortalized, I want a plaque written according to “Me and My World” placed at school ground and head office.  This poem speaks volumes about my second life in another part of the world.  The flags which she drew happened to be the same country were I came from, Philippines, and we both now belong to Canada.  I am proud of this child and for the teacher who helped her shape her mind and for the parents as well.  I contacted the teacher at the school if she could ask the student to allow me to share her poem.  Request granted.  Sharing is the best way to learn, and I am sharing with you a brilliant child’s mind about Know, Belief, Wonder, Fear, and Dream.  
Janzen Camara is the Author of Myself and the world around me.  She is a Grade 10 student of Tupper Secondary School, one of 108 schools of Vancouver School Board.  Thank you, Ms. Janzen Camara. 
“Example isn’t another way to teach, it is the only way to teach.” – Albert Einstein

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.

DP: Plead the Fifth – WHY? The answer is blowing in the wind.

What question do you hate to be asked? Why? 
Really?  What kind of question is that? Plead the Fifth?  Plead what? Plead the Fifth Amendment?  Is that what you mean? 
Plead the Fifth Amendment?  No way, I refuse to answer for this might incriminate me.  In Canada, we call it Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Self-Incrimination.  This is my answer. 
“Do you swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God.”  And then I swore on the Bible.  This was my experience as part of a Jury for 10 days.  A priest once told me when he is called on to swear on the Bible he refuses because he has already taken the Oath when he decided to serve God and mankind.  Of course, I forgot about this when I was asked.  I placed my hand on the Bible, and I said:“I swear.” 
It was quite an experience and an honour to serve Canada being selected as a Jury.  It made me think that the future of this man lies on my hand should I decided against the other jurors.  I was Number 8.  Mind you, we were given a manual on pointers on how to become a jury and how to make a decision based on just law.  No bias, no discrimination.  The jurors came from all walks of life.  One juror, in my opinion, was very fashionable.  She made sure that she is well dressed for the public and for the Judge.  This is not a criticism.  It’s important that we are dressed properly.  But once we deliberate behind closed doors, we have to divest ourselves.  Not our clothing, but our just minds.  We have to have an open mind without the probability of a doubt. 
We did reach a verdict.  NOT GUILTY.  Whew.  I was glad we came to a conclusion.  What was the case, you asked?  Joe vs. the People.  Joe was accused of killing his brother.  Just like in the Bible, Cane killed Abel.  But Cane was guilty; Joe was not. 
Back to swearing on the Bible to tell the whole truth; when I was a child, my Mother always reminded me to tell the truth.  That is so plain and simple.  Should you ask me WHY, the answer my friend is blowing in the wind.  (click to play the song) 
Tell the truth, try, you might like it. 
One Minute Meditation:
“Why is everyone here so happy except me?” “Because they have learned to see goodness and beauty everywhere,” said the Master. “Why don’t I see goodness and beauty everywhere?” “Because you cannot see outside of you what you fail to see inside.” || Anthony de Mello, SJ