“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.” – By Hal Borland
Lauren views Singapore cityscape December 31, 2010

Tonight’s New Year’s Eve celebration is the first time that our children are away from home. It will just be the two of us. Butch and me, well the two cats and my trusted two helpers. The last couple of days were rough on us especially the cancelled family vacation to Singapore, my surgery and being away from my kids for the first time in my life. Yet all that is in the past.

I will affirm the good things for the New Year 2011. I will offer a prayer, wait and expect good things to happen to me and my loved ones. Whenever I wonder what is coming, I tell myself the best is coming, the very best love and life have to offer, the best God has to send. I open my hands to receive to claim it and it’s mine.

I see the best in my mind and envision what it will look and feel like. Then I let it go without obsessing over it. Instead I become excited and express gratitude for all that I have achieved this year, all that I am and for all that I will become.

I am thankful for all the blessings for the year 2010…

1. Having the opportunity to interview 7 presidential candidates and empowering myself to understand the electoral process by being in it rather than just being an observer.


2. Getting a part-time contract to work with Vibal Foundation as their associate editor for the features section of the Philippine Online Chronicles. It is my first paid work since I left employment to be a full time mother in 1987. (I always thought companies stopped finding you useful when you reach over 40. I should know. I tried getting a job.)


3. A siblings’ reunion in San Francisco, in happier times, not funerals. I miss them a lot. We are so close even if we are continents apart.


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All of us have had the experience of a sudden joy that came when nothing in the world had forewarned us of its coming – a joy so thrilling that if it was born of misery we remembered even the misery with tenderness. Antoine de Saint-Exupery


That’s not the surprise gift yet, well almost..

Butch and I promised not to give each other expensive Christmas presents because of the planned holiday trip to Singapore. We told each other “Let’s just shop there”. As most of you know, that did not happen. I still gave him a token gift, you know something to open, having that element of surprise and wonder during Christmas day. He had none to give me that day. I know him to be a generous person and I just shrugged it off. Maybe he didn’t have time to shop at the last minute, having to deal with my surgery and taking care of me. While recuperating in the hospital, I only thought of “what could have been..” if we were all together during the holidays. My husband often assured me there will be more family vacations so to “just get well”. I kept my optimism high, letting only positivity reign my life and focused on my recovery.

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I am sure I am not alone in using Skype to greet family members. Family members in different parts of the world would want to be together but are unable to. Skype has brought a new level in Christmas traditions for those that can’t spend Christmas together. Just a few minutes ago, my daughters (who are right now in Singapore for the holidays) called me up in my hospital room.
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My heart grows tender with treasured childhood memories and love of family when the Christmas season comes. I believe we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time. It is an exciting moment for me.

christmas-in-hospitalEverything was planned at the last minute. My daughter, M based in Australia called me December 10 that she was spending Christmas in Singapore. I entertained the thought of spending it with her too. It was all set. Butch, Lauren and I were booked to leave December 23. I was looking forward for family bonding moments. Things didn’t quite happen the way I envisioned it. On December 22, while on my way to the bank to prepare our dollars for the trip, I felt this excruciating pain in my middle abdomen. To make the long story short, I had an operation on December 23 at 3 PM. I had bilary colic. I knew I had some gallstones in my gallbladder but they were small , and didn’t need immediate surgery. Two small stones lodged in the common bile duct causing my bilirubin, amylase, liver enzymes to skyrocket and the terrible pain. Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy was not possible because the surgeon wanted to run a dye in the biliary tract to trace the stones. The surgery took 3 hours and I was told it was a complicated surgery.

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hospitalThe abdominal pain started last December 16 but after a massage, the pain was gone. Then that sunday, my sister in law told me she has gallstones. As she described her symptions, it sounded like mine. So on Monday, I visited Philcare, my HMO for 23 years. An ultrasound of my abdomen on Tuesday showed I had 5 stones which were only .33 cm and didn’t need surgery, however my blood tests showed I had bacterial infection.

The extreme pain started at 10:00 AM today. I cannot describe the excruciating pain. Cold sweat was all over my body. There was no way the pain would go away even with two Buscopan pills. By 11:30, my husband drove me to the emergency room. There were so many people in the ER that I wasn’t attended to at once. I begged for pain reliever. The gave me IV for abdominal pain. The pain refused to go away. They tried Demerol. Pain still didn’t go away. I asked for more and the doctor gave me higher dose of Demerol which relieved me but only for 3 hours.

The gastroenterlogist assessed the problem to be biliary colic probably due to gall bladder stones. Repeat ultrasound was done this afternoon–distended gall bladder found. Doctor thinks a small stone could have lodged in the common bile duct this morning.

This pain I was told is due to a dislodged gall stone. My liver, pancreas enzymes, were elevated. My blood sugar shot up to 379 due to body stress. My surgeon says he will try laproscopy with open surgery as the last course of action. Then change of plans..it will be open surgery just when the pain and tenderness is totally gone.

What gives? I told attending doctors to please check my blood sugar as it is still high and might not be ideal for surgery.

I am a bit sad that I won’t get to meet M who is flying in from Australia. Butch will stay with me. L will fly as scheduled.

Surgery is scheduled at 8:00 AM 12 noon, December 23. I hope they find the dislodged stone and that I recover fast.

Tired from aimlessly walking around the Eastwood mall, I sat by the door with my daughter while waiting for Butch to pick me up. Who would drop by in front of me but this friendly Santa Claus who then chirped “Hello” with a gleaming smile. I smiled back at him and asked for a photo. Snap…

santa claus and my wishlist

Santa Claus is so much a part of my childhood memories. Feeling like a kid, I wanted so much to have a photo shoot with Santa Claus again. My overweight dad was often chosen to wear Santa Claus costume during children’s parties. I was five years old when I first caught daddy playing Santa Claus in parties. He was dressed all in red and white fur, from his head to his foot. A bundle of toys flung on his back, and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack. As he handed me a gift, I saw his wedding ring and my eyes beamed “Daddy is Santa Claus”. He pretended not to hear me but I knew. For some reason, I still believed in Santa Claus.

I stopped believing Santa Claus was real by the age of seven. It was my sister Lorna who told me that she caught dad placing gifts by the bed. For some reason, I was not disappointed. In my child’s mind, daddy is the real Santa Claus.

It’s always good for us to pause
And think awhile of Santa Claus–
That jolly symbol we revere
When we approach the changing year.
Behind his beard so long and white,
In which our children take delight,
There beats a heart from color free
Which bids all children “come to me.”
MARSHALL M. MORGAN, “The Spirit of Santa Claus

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Football is like life – it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority. Vince Lombardi

Congratulations Azkals. You made every Filipino proud because of your perseverance and heart towards the sport. We are still proud you made it to the Semi-finals despite the challenges in the training. Congratulations Indonesia.
Photo credit:firequinito.com

The Philippines’ magical run in the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup came to a halt Sunday night after falling prey to Indonesia, 0-1, in the second leg of their semifinal clash at Jakarta’s Bung Karno Stadium.

Defeated but unbowed.

Thank you for finally bringing football to the Philippines. There are more football lovers now. It all starts here, so keep going and continue on. We’ll keep on dreaming.

Like @aupijuan said in Twitter, “Azkals Christmas gift to us was giving us hope that Filipinos can truly be good at FOOTBALL. Thank You Azkals!”

I admire the discipline it took to get this far and I agree with @hotmainila in Twitter that even “Note: with no tradition, no record and not even a frigging stadium to call its own, PH made it to the semis”

Perhaps it is time to encourage football starting with our kids.

Mark Elliot Zuckerberg

Facebook co-founder is the person of the year.

For connecting more than half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them; for creating a new system of exchanging information; and for changing how we all live our lives.

Why am I not surprised?

Facebook reconnected me with old friends, relatives who have migrated abroad and then reunited.

Facebook brought me new friends.

Facebook widened the subscription of my food blog to over 17,000 facebook users.

Facebook allowed me to share information about voter’s education, grief support and online advocacies like the FilipinaImages.com

Facebook is a playground to relax , a place to unwind and just browse through the activities of my friends. How I love the updates.

Facebook is a fast way to contact a friend, even faster than email.

Facebook has indeed changed how we all live our lives in ways that are innovative and even optimistic.

You all know that, of course or else you would not have gotten here and read my blog entry.

Mark Zuckerberg is the man who brought us all here in Facebook.

Photo Credit to Time

““Real justice will not come from a human court, only from God.” says Bishop Aniceto Arigo

My heart goes out to Lauro Vizconde. He broke down as the the Supreme Court decision was read. Why wouldn’t he feel devastated? He lost his family 19 years ago. Justice is all he wanted. As a mother of a young kids in 1991, I was so worried that a crazed killer might just be lurking around. My kids are adults now and they still remember the bloody murders.

But this is the Supreme Court giving the decision. Voting 7-4, the high court ordered Webb’s release due to inconsistencies in the testimony of star witness Jessica Alfaro and the failure of the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.

It does not help that Freddie Webb is spewing out insensitive remarks to Lauro Vizconde, ” Instead of being aggrieved, maybe he should be happy that an innocent person is coming out of jail”. It is a joyous occasion for Freddie Webb but why would I expect Lauro to be happy? He was seeking justice for the death of his family members. Think it is easy to accept the decision, if justice has not been served. Think if your family was wiped out. The traumatic and savage circumstances surrounding the murder creates these unbearable waves of emotion. Then Freddie is just feeling relief that his son has finally been released after 15 years. The Webbs are also victims of the justice system.

What is justice anyway? Justice is the firm and continuous desire to render to everyone that which is his due. The Webbs got their justice. Lauro Vizconde is still seeking it. There is no justice.

Justice over the deaths in the Vizconde family has not been realized yet. In time, God will reveal his plan. In HIS time. Maybe Lauro will not get the justice here on Earth. I have faith that justice will be served in HIS time. Faith is all Lauro needs right now even if justice seems bleak.

My friend, Cathy feels the same way I do, “Prayers now for tolerance, wisdom and kindness. Joy for Webb et al but also strength and kindness for Mang Lauro who was mired in grief for 19 years. The verdict is like a second death. But to be wrapped once more in vengeance would be like a second prison too. Divine justice, in His time.”

““The Supreme Court is not the last court. We have what we call divine justice because … our capability as human beings is limited.”

Indeed, the Supreme Court found Webb et al. ““legally innocent,” but they have no way of determining their ““moral guilt or innocence.” The Supreme Court is just human and can only establish legal guilt. Moral guilt is beyond its competence. It is only God who has a say on one’s moral guilt.

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