Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Story of the Empty Stocking
upon a
clear, there
was a child's
cry. A blazing
star hung on the
stable, and wise men
came to bring gifts. We
haven't forgotten that night
down the centuries. We celebrate
it with the cry of bells and gifts,
especially with gifts. We buy them;
we wrap them; we put them under the tree.
You give me a book; I give you a tie;
Cousin Martha has always wanted a lemon squeezer!
Oh! we forget nobody, adult or child.All the
stockings are filled. All that is except one. We have even
forgotten to hung it up. The stocking for the Child
born in a manger! It is His birthday we are celebrating!
don't ever let us forget that! Let us hung His stocking
and fill it with the gift of love, patience, tolerance, understanding
for each other, all that is needed to have Peace in ourselves
peace with our fellowmen, peace for mankind.
This is not an original story. It is based on a speech made by a known movie actor,
I think it was Cary Grant. At this time of the year it is good to reflect on the message.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Memorable and Sad Reminders
Eight days of rains in Bogota, New Jersey
in the first weeks of
the month of October,
year 2005
have soaked my files and records
being kept in the basement
for a good number of years.
A week after the inundation, and
having just flown back from my
country of origin, the Philippines,
I had the chance to go over the wet files
to see what can be discarded,
what can still be dried and kept,
what memoirs should be forgotten,
what memories should be kept preserved!
I was jolted to see an envelop
that contained so much memories!
An itinerary for a
Northwest Airlines flight #72
for September 11, 2001, Tuesday,
from Manila to Newark,NJ with
a brief, stopover in Nagoya, Japan
and in Detroit of the US of A.
A three $5.00 meal vouchers
issued by KLM Northwest dated
September 14 of 2001 at
Winnepeg, Canada, certainly
not a part of my itinerary.
An unused boarding pass from Nagoya
to Detroit for Seat #29 D
for 1330 pm.
Two baggage claim checks
that were never used
for unloading at Newark, New Jersey.
And last but not the least,
A receipt and itinerary from
Greyhound Lines,Inc.
showing departure from Detroit
on the 14th of September at 10:35 am,
arrival at Pittsburgh at 6:15pm;
departure from Pittsburgh at 6:45pm;
arrival at Philadelphia at 1:15 am;
and on September 15, 1:35 am,
departure from Philadelphia and
arrival at Newark, New Jersey at 3:20 am.
I was met by anxious and exasperated kins
who had been waiting since September 11.
This had been the longest flight that
I have taken from the
Philippines to New Jersey.
The normal flight should have been
departure from Manila on September 11,
arrival in Newark same day September 11.
Should I discard the contents of this envelop
and bury the memories
of the four days being stranded at
of the five days of uncertainties and
anxieties not only of myself but
those who were nervously waiting
for my return?
of the discomfort felt while waiting
for hours on the plane for a go-signal
to disembark
where we had no visas
to step on that foreign soil?
of experiencing snipping dogs,
meticulous inspections of every bit of
parcel in our bags and luggage,
and the one- on- one interviews by the
military as we were about to be
brought to our hotel for the night,
of endless meetings with airline personnel
and government officials of Winnepeg
on the matters of funds regarding
accommodations, flights and the like!
Oh should I forget the gruelling 24-hour
Greyhound bus ride I decided to take
to bring me to my destination
from Detroit to Newark, New Jersey
by way of Pittsburgh and
Philadelphia ?
No, I don't think I should forget
that I was also a victim of the Sept 11
terrorist attack that put down two
buildings in New York, a plane
carrying hapless passengers, and thousands
of people lost, injured and dead
because of the treacherous attack.
I won't forget the Filipinos in Winnepeg,
Canada who gave us support morally
and otherwise during our ordeal,
I won't forget Northwest Airlines that billeted
us in a hotel instead of making us
sleep in the airport or elsewhere
and shouldered our accomodations even
for just a day,
I won't forget the governor of Winnepeg
that agreed to shoulder our expenses for the
second day in the hotel,
I won't forget the Northwest stewardess
who stayed with us and gave assurances.
I won't forget the patience of my kith and kins
who anxiously waited and searched for
my whereabouts because I could
not communicate with them
in the midst of chaos and confusion.
I thank the Lord for giving me the
courage to withstand all the discomforts
especially the gruelling 24-hour bus ride
from Detroit to Newark.
Yes, I will keep all the reminders in my
file to preserve the memories.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Sunday, I'll fly to Bogota
of the state of New Jersey
in the US of A.
Surely I'll miss so many things,
but most of all I'll miss
the "little ones".
I'll miss the sticker girl!
who loves to put art and color
in every nook,
every cranny,
every dull and plain surface,
and even on shirts!
I'll the miss the dribbler!
He loves to dribble and kick
in the bedroom,
in the sala, in the dining area,
everywhere,except in the toy room.
I'll miss the "oh, whatever" guy,
He picks the phone,asks questions,
kills questions with his "oh,whatever"
cute expression.
I'll miss the "spic and span" young lady!
She can't stand chaos,
she can't stand clutters and mess,
she stands for order,neatness and system
she's very prim and proper!
It was fun being with them
for three short months!
They certainly munched with "gusto"
my "Belgian Sugar Wafers "!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The dictionary defines paradox as
a seemingly contradictory statement
that may nonetheless be true. The
word is synonymous to enigma as
in the enigma of the Sphinx, mystery as
in the mystery of the Trinity,
oddity, puzzle, inconsistency, absurdity
and the like.
In my slumbook,
I have quoted "the paradox of
climbing high to lowest depths; and
the Christian way of bending low
to reach the stars."
The world is now reeling and operating
on many paradoxes and ironies.One
newspaper columnist has enumerated
some of the many inconsistencies
in and around us.I cannot help but
become more aware and conscious
of the many oddities and absurdities
in the name of progress, and I quote:
"taller buildings but shorter tempers;
wider freeways but narrower viewpoints;
bigger houses but smaller families;
fancier houses but broken homes;
more conveniences but less time;
more degrees but less common sense;
more knowledge but less judgment;
more experts but more problems;
more medicine but less wellness;
higher incomes but lower morals;
more food but less appeasement;
more kinds of food but less nutrition;
more acquaintances but fewer friends;
more effort but less success;
more leisure but less fun;
much in the show window but
nothing in the stockroom."
On behavior and character,
we notice the propensity
of people to:
"drive too recklessly and fast,
get too angry too quickly,
spend too recklessly,
stay up too late,
get up too tired,
talk too much,
lie too often
watch TV too much,
love too seldom,
laugh too little,
read too seldom,
pray too little.
As a people,we have
multiplied our possessions but
reduced our values;
learned to make a living, but
not a life;
we've added years to life,but
not life to years;
we've been all the way to
the moon and back, but we
have trouble crossing the street to
meet the new neighbor;
we've conquered outer space, but
not inner space,
we've done larger things, but
not better things;
we've cleaned up the air,but
polluted the soul,
we've split the atom, but
not our prejudice,
we write more, but learn less
plan more but accomplish less
we've learned to rush, but
not to wait.
we build more computers to
hold more information,to produce
more copies than ever, but have less
we've become long on quantity,but
short in quality.
These are the times of fast foods but
slow digestion,
tall men but short character,
steep profits and shallow relationships.
these are the days of two incomes,but
more divorce.
These are the days of quick trips,
disposable diapers,
throwaway morality,
one- night stands, and
pills that do everything
from cheer,
to quiet,
to kill.
In a line,
these are the times that try men's soul!

Monday, September 19, 2005

The word means so many things
to so many people.More often
than not the word connotes
something negative.To some
the word is synonymous to
witch,monster, wicked, cruel,
inhuman, meddler, nagger,nasty and
so many other things.
But one page in my slumbook
stands out with the title
"To His Mother"
I clipped this poem of Minnie Price

long before I met
the man of my life, long before I
got hitched and begot children.

Unfortunately, I
didn't get the chance to meet her

as she was already gone
when I got married
to her son, the best and the most
wonderful person in my life,one of the

best things that ever happened
to my life.
Nevertheless, I kept the poem
in my slum book and I read and re-read
it so many many
times over and over again.
Today, I decided to blog the poem and
dedicate it to all the daughters-in-law in
the whole wide world. Hopefully the

ugly connotations would fade and in its stead,
a fresh new vibrant image could emanate.
" To His Mother"
"Mother-in-law," they say, and yet

Somehow I simply can't forget,
T'was you who watched his baby ways,
who taught him his first hymn of praise.
Who smiled on him with loving pride
when first he toddled by your side.
And as I think of this today,
Methinks that I'd much rather say
just "Mother."
"Mother-in-law," but oh! t'was you
Who taught him to be kind and true;
When he was tired, almost asleep,
T'was to your arms he used to creep,
And when he scrubbed his tiny knee,
T'was you who kissed it tenderly.
When he was down you cheered him too
And so I'd rather speak of you
as "Mother."
"Mother-in-law," they say and yet-
Somehow I never shall forget
How very much I owe,
To you who taught him how to grow.
You trained your son to look above
You made of him the man I love.
And as I think of that today
Ah then with thankful heart I'll say-
Our" Mother."

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A Page in my Slum Book
written in 1957, 48 years ago
The title is "To My Son"
I didn't know then that
I would have four sons in a row
and a daughter, too.
So in my mind I modify
the title to
"To My Sons and Daughter."
I thought today is an
opportune time to blog the
poem for the sake of my four sons
and daughter so they can
read my admonition to them
even when they had not yet been
thought of and conceived.
They started coming only in
1960,1962,1965,1972 and 1980,
a span of twenty two years.
And the poem goes:
"If you can live,and make your life worth living,
Do well your work and not neglect your fun,
If you can find your joy as much in giving,
As getting paid for what you may have done;
If you can hold the world at a safe distance,
And pick and choose the way that you would go,
And then hold on with sure but fine insistence,
You'll be a friend that men will come to know.
If you can love and hate in true proportions
The things that go to make or mar a man,
And free your mind of wild and silly notions
And measure up to this as best you can.
If you can do these things and win approval
You'll have more spunk than yellow in your spine,
And I, your Mom will watch with pride unusual
And thank the gods that you are sons
and daughter of mine."
This is a clipped poem written
by Gordon Higham
And up to this point in my life,
it remains
my admonition to my four sons
and daughter.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Six Days in August of 2005
Three days in Ho Chi Minh,
a city in Vietnam
just enough to savor
the fresh young "buko"
the curry chicken swimming
in coconut milk,
the yummy beef,melting in the mouth.
just enough to get exposed to the thousand and one
pictures of the anguish of war,
the mutilated bodies of women and children,
the deformed bodies because of dioxin
in a Vietnam Museum of unforgettable memories.
just enough to experience the Cu Chi tunnel
that spoke of a people
who in their time of need
made their imagination and intelligence
work out booby traps, and a network
set deep under the earth
to live,to dine, to meet,to fight.
Now that I have seen it
my admiration for the Vietnamese people will linger on!
Three days in Siem Reap Angkor,
A town in Cambodia
just enough to feel spiritual,
the Buddha images,
temples and monuments,
most of them in ruins but still retaining
the Angkorian art and architecture.
just enough to be awed
by Javayarman VII, the monument builder,
who made Buddhism the state religion
and made his giant stone face grace the facade
of some monuments
Fifty nine of his giant faces, not a single one
similar to another is in Bayon,the capital city
of Angkor Thom
Dozens of temples, but the legendary ruins of Angkor Wat
and the giant faces of Bayon are enough so as not
to get temple fatigue.
just enough to go
hie off to the marketplace
to haggle and bargain
for Cambodian carvings
in wood and in cloth!
Six days in August, unforgettable!
Thanks to Gary & Melissa,
Ryan & Tricia and to Lidie
for giving me the opportunity!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Lidie has just left
with her Ateneo group of fourteen
to far away Pampanga!
It's a sleepover weekend
at one of the many houses
of Henry, he who is almost ready
to leave again for Los Angeles
in the US of America!
Perhaps it's a bon voyage affair
perhaps it's a get-together cum
despedida for Henry and not only for
Henry but also for Yuri,
who is also leaving for Switzerland.
When friends leave, there is a little ache and pain.
Shakespeare says,"Parting is such sweet sorrow"
Sometime next month or the month after next,
I'll also leave for Bogota, New Jersey of the US of America!

Monday, August 08, 2005

A Lady Named Gina
This afternoon I called up Gina,
she who cares,
she who gives comfort,
she who sometimes scolds
she who is so organized,
she who sees a reason for most every problem.
she who offers a cure for some aches and pains!
Gina is a friend
she is much more than a friend,
she belongs to a different culture,
but she understands most every culture.
she could be very meticulous
she could be very compassionate
hers is a shoulder to lean on
hers is a heart that cares.
"Gina, I need ....; I'll send my helper."
The answer is "yes"
no "if's"and" but's",
and "what-have-you's."
The envelop arrives, properly sealed and labeled.
That's Gina!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Something About Sofia Again
She's three
She's not cuddly
She's an imp!
It's hard to decipher her writings
on her doodles and her drawings.
I see aifoS and oniV and aloL too
on a few pages of her doodles.
I see ymmoM and yddaD on one of the doodles.
I asked her who is that with aloL walking under a cloud,
but with the sun's eyes wide open?
It's a" robot" holding hands with aloL!
I asked who were the other three
walking with iediL,
And she said,"her sdneirF!"
"I'll slide this under her bedroom door,
she squeaks, "eidiL is still sleeping!"
Sofia is fascinating!
Her mood is determined as soon as
she wakes up in the morning.
Why her style of writing words in her doodles?
She's left-handed; she's a lefty,
and I think she is an outie too!.

Monday, July 25, 2005


i just read two blogs of the happy little girl
it made me wonder, it made me think.
there were so many ??????????????????
a few easy ;a few somewhat easy;a few difficult to answer.
happy little girl somehow shows her potential
she scrutinizes well......................a future lawyer?
she observes well...................a future scientist?
she explains well.........................a teacher perhaps?
one thing is sure
she's a thinker
she's a curious gal
she's an inquisitive little happy girl.
Keep it up ARIANNA! You got what it takes to know the answers to every question!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

A New Trick
"Vino, I'm wondering why
I didn't hear a cry, not even a whimper
from you and Sofia,
when you were given your flu shots
by Dr. Eva, your pedia,
last Saturday. Tell me what's your secret?"
Vino puckered his lips and began to blow
like an expectant mother
about to deliver a baby,
and weathering all the contractions
that come minutes apart
till the baby's head pops into the world.
"Mommy Tricia taught us the trick, so no "aray!" he reveals, smiling mischievously!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

from a teeny weeny wisp of a two-year girl, too mature and adult-like, a quick response to a
"That'a yummy-looking drink!
It looks good and so refreshing!
Lola, it's a strawberry drink'
but I cannot SHARE,
I am sick! he,he,he..........

"'s so cold in your bedroom
I'll need a blanket to watch the show with you brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.It's cold "
Just when my cold feet were getting warm
(quickly pulls away the cover in spite of my cold feet)
" You need a BLANKET!" (jumps on the bed and gingerly
pulls a sheet from the pile of pillows and covers Lola
with her multi-colored sheet, her blanket!)

God Bless you ..................Sofia!
the budding traits of a six-year,he with the soulful eyes , a load of patience, a generous heart................

"Okay, it's time to go!
Say goodbye to Tita Melissa, Tito Gary and cousins Arianna and Roque,"
The boy with the soulful eyes and sharing heart runs near the door,
with with a hand-load of dum-dums, a few falling on the floor one...two...three
and one or two bars of Snickers ( no plastic bag)

hands his load to Tita Melissa, his " take home give away", a Filipino trait!
Thank you Vino for your spontaneous show of your sharing heart!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Physical Therapy at MCU

yesterday,I went to MCU
presented the referral from Dr.Melissa of Makati Medical Center
to the physical rehab department
of the MCU hospital, a stone's throw from our place.
the PT in charge scrutinized the referral,
referred it to the medical rehab doctor,
asked about Dr Melissa Zamuco Mercado,
and her relationship to me,
read and read directives numbers one to six
consulted each other and discussed specifics before turning to me.
"will your doctor not be offended if we first do numbers 1 to 3 of her orders?"
"we are a little bit conservative here, we observe first the patient's
response and condition after numbers 1 to 3."
I agreed to their suggestion, " I'll take care of tellling Melissa"
she will understand; she will not disagree; she's my daughter-in-law,
she's the department head at the medical rehab department of the MkMH.
They gave me the works,
first, the hot pads,
then the ultra-sound (gel first before turning the machine)
then a gentle massage with some kind of powder on my right butt
the final step was strapping on the bed, around the waist,
around my arm loosely and on my leg
it's traction
only 20 pounds
next time a little more
they can't give me 40 pounds right away
I barely felt the traction, the Master Pt was on hand,
one young volunteer by the name of Ana kept talking,asking questions,
and the other other quiet intern, Joyce
and the Master PT hovered over me during the entire session!
I remember my sessions at the Holy Name Hospital at Teaneck, New Jersey
just one therapist, Kimberly Dupree, handled me
put me on the hot pads and the hot machine,
let me do the stretching and other exercises, while
she goes back and forth to her other patients.
kimberly was nice, greeted me with a hug and a kiss each session.
But the Filipino caregivers are there by your side all throughout the session to see that everything is okay. I guess all PT's are gifted withat tender loving concern.

Monday, July 18, 2005

One of the first things I do back home is to go through
the paperworks.
solicitation notes,
statements of accounts,
bills to be paid at marami pang iba.
It's fun,
it's tedious,
it's sometimes confusing,
it's an exercise in remembering,
it's much more!

A birthday card from good old St. Theresa's Alumnae Association
47 years and they have not forgotten me and my birthday!
in spite of the changes in the board membership
in spite of my silence.
The STC alumnae newsletter too, two of them
with all the news they can gather about members far and wide
spread out in every part of this wide wide world.
I love my school and everything it stands for
even if it had its last hurrah in San Marcelino,Manila
for the last so many years.

The good news is
like a Phoenix
it is coming back
it is being revived
to teach Theresian values
and relive the Gold and Blue!
Thanks to a group of Alumnae!
I got an invite
to participate
in the rising of the Phoenix.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Blogging at Caloocan
It's a beautiful day at good old Caloocan! The grandchildren are here with Daddy Gary And Mommy Melissa. The kids are great! They have grown so fast.It's their turn to teach Lola Nitz a new thing,"how to blog". I am excited at blogging.I can't wait to do it regularly especially when I return to Bogota. It's good to post reflections periodically.It will deter vegetating and keep me excited each day. And it will help me record all the interesting happenings with regard to the family especially the children and their families.I guess during the twilight years of one's life, one cannot help but reminisce on one's life.It's a good way to keep the spirit alive!