Saturday, 8 February 2020


Dr Jamie, my neuro ophthalmologist, one of only 30 specialists in her field in the Philippines gave me a thumbs up today, she cleared my recent eye problem. 

Ye Hey! I can drive again!

In mid-November last year, I saw everything double and linear objects slopped at the ends when both eyes were open. That's when I saw an ophthalmologist who confirmed nothing clinically wrong with both my eyes but referred me to Dr. Jamie who explored further.

After some tests, Dr Jamie said the nerve in my left eye experienced some kind of an attack, hence it doesn't synchronize with the other.  

"The deviation is not extreme, so I'm hoping your condition will go back to normal in 3-4 months", she said.  
She prescribed meds and the use of an eye patch alternating both eyes.   I have to manage my sugar and cholesterol intake as these may have triggered my condition. 

I was really worried. What if my eyes won't go back to normal?  What if it will get worse?   It was a big inconvenience that I couldn't drive and cross a busy street on my own.  When I was driven down the road, cars looked like there were two of each; when we turned a corner, it looked like we just missed bumping cars. Things looked normal up close with my patch on, though my peripheral view was limited to less than 90 degrees.  

My children did not want to wait 3 months, they wanted to know what's wrong straight away.  So I underwent an MRI and  to our great relief,  results  proved nothing wrong with the brain and everything connected to the eye. 

As I waited for my eyes to heal, my older daughter, our only child who lives in town came to the rescue. She patiently drove me around; to the supermarket, the drugstore, the bank and my doctor's appointments.  

The good part about it is that I enjoyed bonding with her especially when we hung out in the coffee shop while waiting for appointments. This also gave me a glimpse of how my life will be when I'll grow much older and more helpless in the future. 

She immediately ordered an eye patch online since my doctor ran out of her stock and the item is not available anywhere. For a week I wore one that my husband improvised out of a face mask. Eventually we got the ordered one and then my younger daughter abroad also sent me a pair for both the left and right eyes.  

I found out that there are a lot of good and compassionate people out there.  Strangers helped me navigate the few steps up and down the church.  My acquaintances in the neighborhood wanted to know what's wrong and how I'm getting along and offered to accompany me to where I was going in case I can't go alone. 

Most of all, I have a support group of people closest to me: my immediate family.   My son said:
 " I'm praying very hard for your recovery Mom and I'm happy you are taking this matter with optimism". I replied that I have faith.  I'm sure, both my daughters equally prayed hard for me as well. 

My son's in-laws were concerned and consoled me; a dear friend also volunteered to bring me to the doctor and do errands; my older daughter's in laws have devotedly prayed for me; her mother-in law, the Hijas de Jesus congregation of nuns, one of them being my daughter's sister-in-law; a candle was lighted for my recovery in Fatima, Portugal by another sister-in law. 

But more than these enormous help, I had unwavering faith that I will get healed.  I also prayed very hard and made special devotions.  I pleaded for the compassion and intercession of Our Mother of Perpetual Help who never failed me.  I offered everything:  my work, joys, sacrifices, sufferings and frustrations everyday to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and for the healing of the sick. 

After this experience, my heart goes to all the blind people; life must truly be hard for them.  Imagine the frustration of those who wasn't born blind and are learning to live another kind of life again. 

I can't say that I am a very religious person but I am devoted to my religious faith.  So whenever I am helplessly dealt with challenges like my eye condition, I don't despair.  I've always accepted life's challenges with resignation because I know there is only One who can help me best, our Creator Who does not abandon us and has plans for all of us. 

Monday, 16 December 2019

My MRI, Magnetic Resonance Imaging Experiemce

Are you aware what takes place in an MRI, Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan?  Well, you'll get scared if you know that you will go inside a closed machine.  Moreover, since the purpose is to see what's wrong inside the body you are also wary about the result; that it could possibly change your life is unfathomable.  

I just underwent three scans.   Before the scheduled procedure last week, I asked: 
“Is the procedure invasive?”,  my doctor, a neuro ophthalmologist, one among only thirty doctors in the Philippines who specialized in the field assured me that “it’s fairly safe”.   

Fortunately I had a blood test two weeks ago so I got cleared after I showed my creatinine level result. This is important to ensure that the kidneys can filter the dye used for contrast. 

I asked for allergy precaution and I was prescribed anti-allergy tabs, prednisone to be specific, that I took twice ; one tablet 10 hours before and another one 2 hours before the procedure. 

My close friend, a nurse told me to wear comfortable clothes without anything metallic.  For the first time in 50 years, I took off my wedding ring.  My friend also adamantly cautioned me to close my eyes before I will slide inside the machine. 

In a waiting room, a nurse explained the procedure; which greatly quelled my apprehension. She then inserted an access on the back of my palm for the dye to go through.  My last minute questions properly clarified,  I went through the procedure with a better frame of mind.  That also erased doubts that may otherwise prompt me to consider backing out at the last minute, and to run passed the nurses in the radiology room. 

I asked if there is medication I can take to prevent allergy from the dye after the procedure but I was assured that taking lots of water, 8-12 glasses within the next 12 hours will flush down the dye. 

The technician assisted me while I lay down the "bed" part of the machine. He told me what to expect before putting the earplugs; that I must not move my head; that the initial scan will last 30 minutes; then they'll bring me out to inject the dye before the contrast scan which will take 15-20 minutes more. 

He covered me with a thick and heavy blanket and put a cloth over my head like a helmet, leaving only my face exposed. He handed me a buzzer to alert him should I find something wrong. Then he must have pushed a button and I was swallowed by the machine. 

I tried to sleep it out but it was impossible because I was quite nervous so I just prayed the rosary, counting the Hail Mary's with my fingers, the only body part I can move along with my toes. I completed 3 mysteries and halfway through the 4th.  

Finally, true to the time specified, the grinding sound stopped and I was out of the machine. However, since I was in a confined area: which is pretty much like a coffin, and my eyes closed, it felt like it lasted forever.  I remembered to take one glass of water right after. 

Back in the waiting room, I saw my daughter eagerly waiting and probably quite nervous as well, asked how I was feeling and I assured her I was fine. 

The nurse took off the IV access and told me to watch out for allergies: hives, rashes, itchiness, redness, runny nose, dizziness, coughing and vomiting  in the next 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Should this happen I'll need to go to the emergency.  Thank God, I did not experience any. 

MRI is really quite an experience, hopefully I'll never have to go through one again.  Mind you, MRI is not cheap. I'm just glad that the result turned out well. 

Sunday, 15 December 2019

Life Is A Cycle Of Waiting: Shall We Wait In Happiness Or Impatience?

Yes indeed! our entire life is a process of waiting as we go through life's passages.  From birth, we wait to be able to walk, to grow until we can go to school.  We wait until we graduate to get a job.  We get married and wait for children to come. We continue working until we retire, and then we finally wait for our next life. 

Our parish priest in his pink vestments on the 6 am mass this morning happily said that today, we light the pink candle.  Today, the 3rd Sunday of Advent is a happy occasion. 

He says that the best way to live life is to be happy.  For every stage of life there is the process of waiting.  Whatever cards we were dealt with in life, we should not get bored, grouchy or impatient. What's the rush? We have a lifetime. 

Jim Henson said: " Life is meant to be joyous, fun and fulfilling". 

Of course there are occasions when we can't help but be impatient, the best example is coping with heavy traffic.  How can we make good use of our time when caught in traffic?  

We could listen to good music and even sing along,  if we are not driving, we could read an ebook; catch up on emails or return calls from love ones. We could even pray the rosary, in fact we could do anything to entertain oneself. 

Oftentimes however we can't help but feel frustrated, bored and lonely.  Could it be that we are losing or missing out on the meaning of our own life? 

From the 15 quotes on the Meaning of Life, Anais Nin made me understand:
"There is not a big cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we each give to our own life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person".  

How then can we start finding again the meaning of our own when it seems to elude us?

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe said: 
"The man who is born with a talent which he is meant to use, finds his GREATEST HAPPINESS IN USING IT"

If we were given only a few days to live, how shall we live it?  Will we wallow in self-pity, anger and despair? Or choose otherwise?

We always have a choice to make good use of the time left.  We can choose to be happy. 

Friday, 8 February 2019

In Search For My Next Big Thing

"Mom, what are you doing now, aside from crocheting?", my son asked while we were having brunch during the Christmas season.  At first, I couldn't answer, I was at a loss because  I wanted to tell him I'm doing something big, interesting and productive but there was none, at least that's what I thought then. 

I can understand why my son asked because he knows that his Dad and I always have "things to do".  Just like our two daughters, he is encouraging and supportive of our interest because they want us to enjoy our lives.  My son always read my blogs and gives positive feedback  in spite the  of hundreds of emails he reads and responds to everyday at work.

Since we sold the convenience store, I have been soul searching for something to do but it only gave me blank boards. 

However, after talking to my younger daughter the last time she was in town, she said that I don't need to do something big for a start.  "For instance, start to focus more on your health and do related activities.  There are many little things you can do, it need not be big and spectacular". 

You see, my idea of something-to-do should be financially productive.  Since I got married, I always pulled my weight in that department that's why I've always geared my activities towards an earning venture, something I always enjoyed doing.  But my daughter enlightened me that it doesn't always be so. 

Therefore, as I start this year on my 8th decade, I'll keep an open mind,  ready for my next big thing. In the meantime,  I aim to celebrate my life in good health, joy, love and peace.

Saturday, 15 December 2018



Last week, I decided to crochet again, a  hobby I learned from my Mama.  My fingers were itching to do both the  pansy and the grape doilies, two of my favorites.

I just finished these two, the grape and pansy doilies.  My Mama must be smiling down from heaven seeing me pick up this craft again.

I have been looking for the catalogue of patterns Mama left me that I kept all these years.  I know I had it somewhere.  It is old but so precious because from it I was able to master following written crochet instructions. 

I cant crochet without written instructions, while some people can't follow crochet instructions, I'm not one who looks at a finished product, count how many chains, single crochet, double crochet, treble, popcorn and  picot stitches there are and imitate. 

I did not despair when I couldn't find my catalogue because in this time and age I can google.  If I were in this predicament in my Mama's  time, I would be desperate by now.  

So I decided to look up my favorite doilies on line.  I got lucky that  among the numerous doily patterns,  I was able to find those that I love most. 

Going through the doily images was like going down memory lane; seeing familiar doilies and table runners exactly like those that my Mama and I made awakened cherished childhood memories.  On line, most of the patterns were classified as vintage, some were still in black and white pictures,  but I'd like to think about them as classics. 

Memories of those happy times with my Mama, my aunt Nenet and I crocheting came back to me.  I recall afternoons sitting at our terrace, the radio tuned in to DZRH, the station that played music the whole day, while we crocheted away. 

That's also where we listened and sang along the latest hits.  As we listened, our pencil and the unfinished draft of the lyrics of our favorites were on the ready to write down and/or fill-in the gaps to complete the song; though we could have waited for the song hits pamphlet that comes out weekly to look up the lyrics.  

We looked forward to a program, second guessing which of the songs made it to the ten top hits of the week.  Those were the times of Ricky Nelson, Paul Anka and Neil Sedaka.

In later years of high school and college,  I did a lot of crocheting.  I sold doilies, table runners, shawls, cardigans, pot holders, coasters, and even bed covers, anything that people ordered from me.   I recall one Christmas break in college, I had to do marathon crocheting to complete an order of a queen-size bed cover.  

I never lost interest in the craft having crocheted on and off in the intervening years that I still have some colored thread in my stash. When I thought I'd crochet again, I brought them out and saw I had white thread, pink and yellow so I started to make the flowers for the pansy doily. 

Since I love the grape as well, I had to go down to One Stop Shop for the violet and deep lavender thread.  Below are pictures in completing the grape doily.

Getting there

Almost done. Just one more leaf

Below are a few pics of doilies I copied on line with their instructions plus others. I Intend to make them all.

Rose doily that I started to make. 

I'm making the flowers now. 

Dafodil doily

Tulip doily

The rest are aster, petunia , holly, pond lily, edelweiss, blue bell and many more.

Earlier, I thought I'll make some for Christmas gifts but now I want a collection first, who knows where this will lead me.  Besides, I enjoy making them and you know what, I need the radio playing while I crochet. 

Wednesday, 17 October 2018


I thought I'd combine pumpkin, moringa and carrot and cook these two ways.  The crunchy veggie patty and veggie roll;  "ukoy"  and pritong lumpia respectively to us Pinoys. 

Preparation of Ukoy.
Mix half of following ingredients: 

 Grated pumpkin ( kalabasa)

Grated Carrots

Moringa leaves, sun dried half a day to remove bitter taste

 Chopped spring onions and celery leaves

Pre-sautéed minced pork 

Add to the mixture a tsp of cooking wine, egg, corn starch, salt and pepper and form that into patties and fry.   It would have been great if I had baby shrimps to top the ukoy but since this is a spur-of-the-moment decision, I had to make do with what I had in my ref. 

Preparation of veggie roll: 
In a tablespoon of oil sautee the other half of the veggies, add a reasonable amount of the pre-sautéed minced pork and season with salt and pepper.  Let it cool awhile and wrap into a roll and deep fry.

I was walking with a neighbor this morning and we got into talking about the challenges of cooking for two especially the idea of avoiding leftovers.  Oftentimes it is a trial and error to cook just enough, I don't want to be short also. Rewind 5 to 10 years when veggies were still so affordable, I used to buy a lot and cook a lot too.  

Recently however, veggies are putting more dent in our marketing budget that to be practical, I now count the number of string beans, pieces of eggplants, miniature bitter gourd, bunches of leaves, etc. I will need for the week. Veggies wilt, you know. 

We are lucky that Jim's backyard okra plants give us around  6-8 pieces daily.  "Why, that's great", my neighbor replied. It is really great since oftentimes okra at the market are no longer tender.  This was when she told me that she makes veggie patty with moringa leaves, pumpkin and egg.  

I thought I'd try her idea two ways.  Hence the ukoy and the "fritong lumpia". 

Sunday, 14 October 2018

I Made Dried Banana Blossoms

Do you use dried banana blossom?  I always do for adobo, braised beef, Pata Tim,  arroz caldo and all other congee.  

I often sauté banana heart in salt and vinegar with a little sugar and pepper; actually it's like pickled banana heart.  This is a great appetizer and my sister's favorite.  When she visits, I always serve this for any meal. 

But I have to remove a lot of the outer covering and only use the inner tender portion and end up throwing away the outer blossoms as shown below:

These are what I usually throw away.  

When we harvested two banana hearts last week, I thought I would not waste the outer blossoms.

I need to remove the plastic looking part in each blossom as well as the part looking like a match stick as shown 

Once this is done, the blossoms are blanched for 20 minutes in water with a tablespoon of salt.

Once drained, I made a mixture of equal parts of soy and sugar 

I soaked the blossoms in a soy and sugar mixture overnight.  

I drained again and sun dried. 

 I placed these in ziplock in the refrigerator and these will last for a long time for future use.