Find your place on Earth and Dance!

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

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

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

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

What a day. Snow in Vancouver.

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    It hardly snows in Vancouver. Winter is not winter, without snow. Last night it snowed. Calvin:   Wow, it really snowed last night! Isn’t it wonderful? Hobbes: Everything familiar has disappeared! The world looks brand-new! Calvin:   A new year … … Continue reading

In this corner, the winner is ….

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It’s not a festival if there is no music and dancing during the Vancouver Mural Festival 2017. More than eight blocks closed to the traffic to accommodate all the fun and festivities. What I enjoyed the most was the dance … Continue reading

Have no fear

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danger, Danger, DANGER! Animals on the loose at the City of Vancouver. Bear, Raccoon, Bunny and Bee. What is happening. Are these animals now moving to the city since we are encroaching on their habitat? I hope not. Fear not, … Continue reading

Words don’t fit the picture

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To see the Haley’s comets from Vancouver was FANTASTIC! Still remember the days I saw it. Too bad that was the time I do not own a single media to capture the image. Really? You didn’t even get one shot!!!!!? … Continue reading

Discovery of Knowledge Network

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  Reporting from the streets of Vancouver, Canada, Stanley Q. Woodvine writes about the challenges of homeless life, as well as on personal interests like anime and computers. via sqwabb — Discover Nothing better to do tonight and looking for knowledge … Continue reading

Amber Alert

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When a child is missing, we can make a difference by sending out Amber Alert to secure the child’s safety as quickly as we can. Meanwhile in Vancouver, BC, an infant is venerated by thousands of people at the Cathedral, the image … Continue reading

Trout Lake Circa January 14, 2017

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Spinning myself around 360 degrees to get a full recording of my favorite place, Trout Lake, a place where I grew up with fond memories.

It was more than 20 years since the lake froze. The ambiance? Refreshing!

With all kinds of people, nationality, ethnic language, 4-year family generation and a baby on the way; I would have wanted to use the music “Of Foreign Lands and Places.” We were all in the same place at the same time to experience Joie de vi·vre.

Ah … such glorious memory.

Walking on the frozen lake feels surreal.

An experience we will remember for a long time ~ Trout Lake

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trout-lake-jan-14-2017

We discovered that there is no language barrier to strike up a friendly conversation, have a few laugh and just enjoy a frozen lake on a perfect sunny day.

The atmosphere was heavenly. An ambience we could not ask for anything more and an experience we will remember for a long time.

I thank God for this amazing day!

Letter to Premier of BC and Ministry of Education

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Today, I e-mailed the Premier of BC, Christy Clark, and Ministry of Education, Mike Bernier reminding them their responsibility as elected officials. As much as I want to remain quiet about what is happening in Vancouver public system, I am … Continue reading

Mending Lives

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Stitching keeps broken parts together. A simple stitch can literally mend lives. All it takes is a sewing needle, thread, pair of hands and a heart determined to restore in order to stay connected. To prove the point, these are series … Continue reading

I could hear the grass laugh.

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When the sky closes up, it stops raining. Grass grows where it’s planted and dies silently with hardly any rain for the past three months. The care given to this grass is better than a Persian carpet. Who needs a carpet when I … Continue reading

Snow in June?

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Our city is really off when it comes to weather. This winter we hardly had any snow but last year, we had snow in June. It’s definitely off-season to see snow in June especially in Vancouver. Daily, I take this route going home … Continue reading

I’m Singing in the Rain

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Vancouver aka We(s)tcoast And we live true to this name Wet and cold. I own plenty of umbrellas Orange, Blue, Green Printed, Floral, Strips Even a Canadian Maple Leaf brolly. They are no ordinary canopy Each one represents my personality And … Continue reading

Old is inspiring. Old is beautiful. Old is character. Old isn’t dead.

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Notice how distinct older dog’s faces are compared to more youthful ones. All the telltale signs: lumps and bumps, gray hair, chipped and missing teeth. Some had loss their eyesight, some were missing their eyes altogether – evidence of both … Continue reading

Weather forecast

The Drop at Vancouver Convention Centre

The Drop at Vancouver Convention Centre

Rain. Never ending rain.

The Drop pays homage to the element of water and the untamable forces of nature which are omnipresent in Vancouver.

Omnipresent? More like “ever-present”.

I’m longing for winter. You know, the snow flakes.

Four Corner Angle

“I love my stories being multi-layered, and coming at it from different angles so that you don’t understand the film’s true emotional motivation until the very end.” ~  M. Night Shyamalan

pride angles

Look up north, look down south
Look west and look east
The street is lined with colour
pride street

The City of Vancouver created a permanent rainbow-coloured crosswalk in Davie Street village to cover all angles in celebrating city’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and queer communities. This area is LGBTQ friendly.

From Illness to Independence

Bipolar

Source: International Bipolar Foundation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Coast Mental Health and International Bipolar Foundation

 

Bennettville: A Vancouver Story

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

Between Mom and Dad

Between Mon and Dad

Between Mon and Dad is Abby.

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

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

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

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

Needless to say, I am elated.

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

Grade 5 Music Composition

Musical composition by Annelise Yates (Grade 5)

Musical composition by Annelise Yates (Grade 5)

The Impossible Adventure

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fasten your seatbelts.

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

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

 

Source: MBRANSONS

Say it with flowers

Joanne

What a beautiful thing, a bouquet of tulips for me.  Thank you.

Knowing that Mum, how much longer will be in town for a couple of days in Vancouver waiting for the cruise ship to take her and her family to Alaska, I immediately said: Coffee is on me!  The last time she was here, we didn’t even know that we were in the same place when there was free hugs for hunger.

When meeting someone for the first time, we gave each other a clue so we can find one another.

Mum said that she will be the person with two heavy bags under her eyes on the hotel lobby waiting. Me, I will be that silver fox with  long hair. Well, I did not see any woman with heavy bags.  Mum found me first.  It’s so easy to spot a long silver hair but not the fox. Who am I kidding.

It was a real pleasure to meet a blogger in person.

We chatted animatedly as if we were long-lost friend over coffee and dinner by the Waterfront of Vancouver.  Thank goodness, the weather cooperated and not a drop of precipitation.

Mum and family must be in the middle of the ocean by now and have passed the narrow inside passage of Vancouver Island.

Thank you again for the flowers, Mum, and for taking the time to meet with me.  Safe journey.

Sakura for Jae

Here’s something to look forward to when you visit Canada in spring.  I kid you not, Sakura is all over the place in Canada.

This is just one tree.  Imagine walking underneath the boulevard all lined up with Sakura, it’s snowing pink petals.
sakura jae

“What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms.” 
― Kobayashi IssaPoems

This is nothing in comparison to my fascination with this yellow flower when I first arrived here in Canada. I just love these Lions of the Spring. One cannot appreciate the beauty of Cherry blossoms without having to fall for these beast.
Lions of the Spring

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring.

The man gave up his shoes

VANCOUVER — A bus driver has had his faith in people restored after witnessing a rider wearing plastic bags instead of shoes given a surprising gift this holiday weekend — a stranger’s own shoes and socks.

shoes

The “soul-touching” interaction Saturday on the No. 341 route,  a Coast Mountain Bus Co. driver of 16 years who was off-duty at the time while returning from Surrey B.C.’s Vaisakhi parade.

“It made my heart melt,”  “He just took his shoes and socks off and said, ‘You can take these, don’t worry about me — I live close by and can walk.’

“People usually don’t care or even look at other people on the bus, they didn’t even want to sit beside this guy because of how he was dressed.”

The recipient was “shocked” by the gift and afterwards remarked, “What a nice guy… Did that really happen?”

 

Source: Toronto Sun

Life on the street where I live

After a long wet coast winter weather, the street life in Vancouver springs into action.  Yes, spring is definitely in the air, and we celebrated it with a hug with the resident Vancouver’s critters. There were five of them, and I met four cute, soft and furry critters that came out of their hibernation giving out hugs.

This is Duh Bear, not a grizzly bear but a gentle softie softer than toilet paper.  He definitely dislikes any hunting trophy.

A reluctant hugger

A reluctant hugger

Hugs for Hunger is a fundraising event to welcome spring.  1 Hug = $1 donated by the sponsor to help the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society.  All we have to do is give the critters a hug.

A Bear Hug

A Bear Hug

I hug all four of them, and $4 was donated to the Food Bank.  What a lovely way to spend the day watching passersby giving hugs.  It was definitely a joyful and happy day.

A bunny hug with pink ears.  This one left me hopping for more hug and, of course, he accepts a bribe of carrot sticks for more squeezes.

Bunny Hug

Bunny Hug

To hug and Bee hug has a positive effect on one’s well-being.  If you get stung, you will feel this tingly butterfly feeling in your chest and tummy.  Oh, what a lovely feeling sweeter than honey.

Bee Hug

Bee Hug

And here’s the Raccoon coming towards me ready to steal my heart away or maybe the garbage that I carry.

I'm coming to get you.

I’m coming to get you.

I think the Raccoon has already been to the garbage since I don’t see any takers from him.  Just take a look at this one running away from him.  Pepe le phew!

No, no, no, Mr. Stinker

No, no, no, Mr. Stinker

Finally, someone took pity on him and gave him a Hug for Hunger.

All Good.

All Good.

It was a very successful day.

“The magic of the street is the mingling of the errand and the epiphany.”  ― Rebecca SolnitWanderlust: A History of Walking

Guess who’s coming to town

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

z hilary clinton

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

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

Be a servant leader instead.

Related Articles:

Expression of Apology and Hope

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

Source: CNS photo by Art Babych

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

THE APOLOGY

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

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

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

Read the full letter here

Related links:

Final Journey on Earth

She came to Canada by steamship as a young woman in 1958 with a four-day train ride from Halifax to Vancouver as her introduction to Canada.  Vancouver offered the beauty of the ocean, along with the comfort of the mountains that reminder her of her home in Italy.  She married, raised a family, and lived in Kitsilano where she was known for her garden and flowers, which she carefully tended until just weeks before her passing.

Gina Antonioni  July 26, 1936 to October 30, 2013

Gina Antonioni July 26, 1936 to October 30, 2013

She was a supporter, a volunteer, and active participant at the Italian Cultural Centre and Villa Carital until her illness would no longer allow her to help.  Through her work, at Arbutus Manor for many years, and involvement in various clubs and groups, including Catholic League of Women (CWL) and the Circolo Trentino, she had built a large and varied group of friends.

Catholic League of Women

Catholic League of Women

The Easter candle is lit at baptism and lighted again upon death. “In dying we are born to eternal life.”

Easter Candle

Easter Candle

We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves.  If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.  For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. ~ Romans 14

Related Link:  Leave of Absence

Leave of Absence

Leaving work mid-morning, my commitment was at 11 a.m.  It’s close by to work, walking distance but I haven’t been to this place.  Plenty of time to walk the inside streets, enjoy the beauty of the autumn day and the rain stopped.

This is the west side of Vancouver, a beautiful neighbourhood that takes pride of their surroundings.  The environment is warm and welcoming.  Homes are old, mostly heritage, painted houses in living colours and well-kept.  Luscious garden, recycled items, ornamental trees and chair to sit around.

There’s nobody around and understandably so, it was work week and the children were at school.  I found myself alone in sweet serenity to commune with nature.

I reached my destination.

Heritage Building

St. Augustine Church.  This is the first time for me to visit the church.  As mentioned in my previous post, Candle in Spain,  I say the same prayer when I visit a church the first time hoping my wishes will be granted.  I did not because I was there for my friend to attend a Mass of Christian Burial of her mother.

Related Link: Candle in Spain

Let it be written, Let it be done.

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

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

walk-for-reconciliation-0130922

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

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

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

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

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

Related Articles:

Summer is over

This is blocking the view.

Good thing summer is over.

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

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

You’ll have to fake it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.  
 

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:

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
 Related articles

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. 

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.

Philippine Independence Day

Since the beginning of June, the Filipino community is celebrating the Philippine Independence. 
A brief background:  The Filipinos revolted against the Spanish in 1896;  followed with an outbreak of  war between Spanish and American.  With the help of Americans, Philippine gained its independence on June 12, 1898. 
In Vancouver, several venues were going on: 
Raising of the Philippine flag at the Vancouver City Hall
Raising the Flag

Raising the Flag

  
Waterfront Party for two days 
North Shore Waterfront

North Shore Waterfront

 
Traditional Dancing 

 
Traditional clothing 
Traditional Clothing

Traditional Clothing

 
Behind these pictures is the Paparazzi aka my brother and the mayor 

National Anthem – Filipino language with English translation 
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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:

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.
 
 

 

As Above, So Below

One has to have good walking shoes in order to travel far on foot.IMG 100  But how many shoes do I need?  And which one will go with my attire for the day.  Decisions, decisions.  It’s hard enough to think what I have to wear everyday to work, to pick the best shoes is another story.

IMG 101

It’s a beautiful sunny day.  People are happy based on this drawing on the sidewalk.

The one o’clock sun cast a shadow in front of me and I can see how the wind ruffles my clothing.  Good thing I remembered to tie my hair, otherwise, it will be all over the place.

As I thought of what is above me, it reminded me of the Emerald Tablet written by Hermes.  There are other thinkers who have expanded it so well.

IMG 104

Heaven above, heaven below;

stars above, stars below;

all that is above, thus also below;

understand this and be blessed.

 – Kircher, Prodrom

 

 

 

The writings on the ground say it all.  I hope who ever Tara was found some compassion IMG 102to forgive the writer.  For Tara in another language means compassion.

Even after all this time,
the Sun
does not say
to the Earth,
you owe me.
Look
what happens with
a love
like that. It
lights
the
WHOLE SKY.

As for the tablet, this is what I captured that speaks close to my heart.

IMG 107

Related links:

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! 
Related articles

A Day at the Park

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

A Day At The Park

Capture

CLICK THE THUMBNAIL ABOVE

Wandering in the most unexpected places

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sense Beyond Fueling

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

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

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 
 

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.
 
 

Something to Look Forward To

At this time of the year, when I look outside my window, all I see is darkness.  Winter Time.  As the days move forward, we are now gaining more daylight and that is something to look forward to.  More light. 
The view from my window, are balconies of the next low-rise apartment complex.  From the distance, I can see the Rogers Twin Tower at Metro Town.  A third high-rise building is slowly rising.  I can see the construction crane.  
For most time, when I look outside, I look below.  Right in front of me is a Holly Tree. 
The Holly tree was a giant wiry mess then.  The owner wanted to cut it down.  I beg to the Manager not to cut it down for there are so many birds and animals that take refuge on this tree.  Thank goodness, the tree was spared.  The bottom part was cleared, now we can see the trunk and stand underneath.  The tree top was trimmed, now I can see who lives behind the tree. 
I love this tree.  The Hummingbirds made it their humble abode.  They own it now.  Underneath the tree, I cultivated the earth and turned it into a garden. I named it, “Holy Garden.”  Why Holy, it’s a long story. 
As for now, I left the Christmas trimmings on it.  See what I mean?
Holy Tree Garden

Holy Tree Garden

This is in response to Daily Prompt: Window.  Come and join us, it’s fun.
 

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. 

Pssst … Meet me at work at 5 PM today

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

VSB – Park. Back of the building

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

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

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

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

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

Stand right here and pet the rabbit

Stand right here and pet the rabbit

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

He:  Hi Honey, I`m here.

I think I shall never see…

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

Daily Post: Stroke of Midnight – First Night

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

This is my Quest…

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

A Prayer of New Beginnings by St. Mary

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

 
 

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