March 30, 2009

Afraid of the Beast

When our daughter Angelica was small, I took her with me to pick up our babysitter. As I approached the house, I noticed that her dog, usually penned in the backyard, was lying on the front porch. At first glance, the dog looked benign. But to my alarm he sprang to his feet and attacked Angelica, who leaped for my leg, shinned to my waist, and somehow ended up wrapped around my neck and shoulders.

March 27, 2009

A New Friend

While flying from Europe back to the US, I found myself sitting next to a little girl who never stopped talking from the moment she sat down. She told me the history of her family and all about her puppy, who was in the hold of the plane. She pointed excitedly to everything around us, “Look at this! Look at that!” I couldn’t help but think that 8 hours of this could make for a very long flight!

We chatted for a while until she suddenly got quiet. She pulled her blanket up around her, so I thought maybe she was going to doze off. I quickly took advantage of the break and reached for the nearest magazine. But before I could open it, I felt a little elbow in my side. I looked down at her and she threw out her little hand and said, “Hey, Joe, wanna be friends?”

March 25, 2009

A Walk In the Park

Our house in Boise , Idaho , backs up to a park with a walking track. You can see most of the path from our kitchen window, and because of that I’ve learned to recognize people by their walk.

There’s a lawyer from down the street who’s always in a hurry, an elderly man who trudges slowly by, a woman who strides with purposeful steps. Each has a characteristic gait.

March 23, 2009



In a big pan or wok sauté 5 cloves of diced garlic and 2 sliced onions, then add ¼ kilo pork sliced into small pieces, ¼ kilo chicken liver and gizzard sliced into small pieces. Add 1 cup of chicken stock and a pinch of salt and simmer for 15 minutes or until pork and chicken giblets are cooked. Then add ¼ kilo shrimps shelled, deveined and cut into half and the vegetables as ¼ kilo cauliflower broken into bite sizes, ¼ kilo string beans, 111/4 kilo snow peas or sitsaro, ¼ kilo cabbage cut into squares, 3 stalks of celery cut into 2 long pieces, 1 carrot sliced thinly and 1 each of red and green bell peppers cut into strips. Add 1 cup of chicken stock, 3 tablespoons of fish sauce or patis and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved in ¼ cup water. Cook for about 10 minutes and add 3 tablespoons on sesame oil Add salt and pepper to taste.

March 20, 2009

Puerto Galera Bay


Puerto Galera Bay is considered to be one of the world’s best bays by a Paris-based world club. Because of its natural beauty, diverse marine life, rich history and economic contributions, an award was given to the bay. It is a sanctuary of coral species and mangrove species and nine of the world’s sea grass species. It has also provided a safe refuge to seafarers during storms throughout the century.

March 17, 2009

140 Year-Old Lobster Freed

A lobster which was supposed to be in a dinner plate was set free by the restaurant owner. The lobster was said to have been caught somewhere in Canada but was marketed in New York . They were praised for their action of letting the super centenarian crustacean live out his days in peace and freedom. The lobsters’ age is around 140 basing on its weight which is 20 pounds. Good move!

March 14, 2009

Able to Forget?

On a cold, dreary November day, I attended the funeral of a friend. During the eulogy, the widow began to sob loudly. At that point, the pastor spoke odd words meant to comfort: “That’s okay. Someday you’ll be able to forget.”

Able to forget? The widow’s expression made it clear that she had no desire to forget. Cherished memories of her husband provided a comfort and joy she intended to cling to, anticipating a heavenly reunion someday.

March 10, 2009

Distressed Travelers

After a long journey from Hong Kong, which involved a 7-hour layover compounded by a 3-hour delay, we arrive in Chicago . We missed the last flight to Grand Rapids , our destination, by just 20 minutes. The airline arranged hotel rooms for us, and we took a shuttle for a short night’s rest. We must have been a pretty sorry sight to the hotel staff. One of them looked at us shook his head and simply said, “Distressed travelers”. Perhaps in the travel industry that is the common term, but it was new to me.

March 7, 2009

Common Sense

Voltaire said, “Common sense is not so common.” He was right! In a society that has grown increasingly litigious, we are inundated with warnings on products, mostly because some people lack common sense. Just read the following instructions.

On a hair dryer: Do not use while sleeping.

On an iron: Do not iron clothes on body.

On a chainsaw: Do not attempt to stop chain with your hand.

Common sense can be learned from experience or the teaching we received from those we trust.

March 4, 2009

Cocoy’s Birthday

Death, divorce, and disease could be called the three Ds of misery. They slice through life like a tsunami of sorrow, raising doubts and destroying dreams.

Recently, a friend and I agreed that the previous year was one that we both would just as soon forget. Each of us had suffered one of the three.

Our conversation brought brought Cocoy to mind. In a short period of time, he lost his children, his health, his wealth, and his wife’s respect. Cocoy’s distress was so great that he pleaded, “May the day perish on which I was born.”

March 2, 2009

Making A Masterpiece

One of my earliest memories of my dad is that he loved doing paint-by-number pictures. The canvass was large, but the numbered segments where a predetermined color would go were very small. Dad would sit in his chair in our basement for hours, working meticulously with his painting in front of him and a cup of coffee at his side.

As a girl, I would sit on the basement stairs and watch with fascination. My interest did not stem from a misguided thought that doing paint-by-number work made my dad a great artist. Rather, I was amazed at how patiently he would work on each painting. Finally, the thousands of silvers of color became an image that Dad considered well worth the effort.