Memories

Do you remember how we spent hours 
Talking about everything
And laughing about nothing?

Do you remember how we walked for hours
Not really knowing where we're going
But kept walking anyway?

Do you remember walking in the rain
On a rainy April day?

Sadly, you don't.
But I do.

And it's sad when you're alone
In remembering happy times
You spent with those
Who have forgotten.

Yesterday I texted with a former co-worker who was once mistaken for my mother when she brought me to her husband’s workplace. We had not seen each other for years, and I was happy catching up with her.

When I reminded her of that time when she brought me to her husband’s workplace and the trip that we took after that which was full of hilarity, she said she had forgotten all that. And it truly made me sad, not just because she had forgotten but also because, I know, one day I will also forget.

A day will come when all those crazy things that made me laugh will be as if they never happened. My friends and I are all getting close to that time when our memories will cease to be memories. No one will remember.

The practical side of me says, “Would it matter that no one remembers when you’re already dead?” No, it wouldn’t matter when I’m dead, but right now when I’m still alive and capable of remembering, I cannot help feeling sad knowing that some of the best times I’ve had with people I care most about have been forgotten by them. Not because they don’t care but because those memories have been buried underneath newer memories and retrieving them is not as easy as it used to be when they were younger.

I, too, am guilty of forgetting many things, and I know one day I will forget walking hand in hand at the park with my husband, reading books with my son, laughing with my family, driving around the city with my best friend, having coffee with my other best friend…

These are all memories which, at the moment, I am still capable of recreating and remembering, but inevitably I will forget. C’est la vie.

Youth and wisdom

When I was three and twenty 
I thought I knew everything that mattered
It didn't matter that I could not find
"The value of x in an angle,"
As long as I  knew who mattered in a love-triangle.

Friends came to me for advice,
I listened; I counseled
And thought I was wiser than my folks,
Who could not understand how young people thought and loved.

A score and more have passed,
And now I can find
The value of x in an angle, even in a circle!
I have learned more about the world than I did
When I was three and twenty.

But then I  have also found
How cocky I was at twenty-three
Giving advice that now seem silly,
Thinking I knew better than the elderly
Whose wisdom I now think to be sound.


Thoughts while flying

When you reach a certain age, 
You tend to look back at your life
The same way you look down
At the view from your window seat
Thirty thousand feet above the ground.

You see the blueness of the ocean
The greeness of the mountains
And you marvel at the beauty
And feel peace emanating from within you

But then as your plane nears the city
You see the unsightly smog hovering over it,
The gray waters that surround it
Then you get a sinking feeling as the plane descends.

Memories give us the same sense --
Of happiness when we think of the good times,
Of loss and sadness when we think of the bad ones.
But we can choose to look at the amazing view from our window seat
And fasten our seat belt and look straight ahead

When the view only brings sadness.

New Chapter

Taking this trip feels like 
Going to a battle
With only courage
As your fuel
For which you have a full tank;
Experience and knowledge --
Your only ammunition
Of which you have barely enough.
Yet you go on, you fight
On a suicide mission
For the future,
For the ones you love,
For love. For life

New Day: A Haiku

A new day, new life

The old, pain-filled year has passed.

This new one brings hope.

—–

I had a very busy November and December, and this busy-ness is not ending with the end of 2020. Yet, I am very grateful for so many things, and I’m sure we all can find things to be grateful for even though we may have suffered some.

But life has always been like that, hasn’t it? We win some; we lose some. We can acknowledge the pain, but we shouldn’t let it stop us from living because life isn’t all pain. There are joys, too. We just have to open our eyes and hearts to them.

Thank you for visiting my blog. I wish you and those you hold dear all the best for 2021. May we all find more reasons to be grateful in this new year. 🙏🙏🙏🙏

Therese 01/01/21

Unwind: A Haiku

Everyone’s rushing,

Rushing like they’re in a race,

One needs to unwind.

—–

I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to write or read (except for the news and short FB posts.)

I need to unwind, but….

This is a photo of a flower in my garden. I don’t even know what it’s called. I have to look it up. If you know its name, please let me know. 🙏

Have a great week!

T.

My Garden: A Haiku

Always something new

A new leaf or a flower —

My little garden.

My mornings begin with a visit to my garden, and each time, a new bud makes me smile. How can I possibly have a bad day when my garden always gives me a reason to smile?

May our mornings always begin with a smile. ♥️

T.

Plant whisperer tales

There’s no need to yell

I can hear you well, so well

Just please be gentle.

——–

When I just started gardening, my aunt said to me I should talk to my plants like my late mother did. We both remember very well how my mother talked loudly to her plants — loud enough for my two then-young and naughty boy cousins who had fun “hurting” my mom’s plants. My mom would “talk” to her plants and say, “What was that? A little boy hurt you? And you’re upset?”

Now I don’t worry about kids “hurting” my plants, and I don’t talk to my plants. But recently I planted a couple of cutttings of flowering plants and I’ve been waiting to see them grow and for leaves to come out. Two days ago, I jokingly “said” to the cuttings that if they didn’t show me any sign of growing, I’d just get rid of them. The next day I saw the tiniest green thingy on the one stem, and I had to laugh. It may all be coincidence, but I was just so happy to see it.

Like I’ve written in another post, gardening takes a lot of patience, but it can also give one happiness, no matter how simple it is.

My mornings begin with a visit to my garden, and each visit is an exercise in patience and a gift of simple joy.

Quietude: A Haiku

Strength, wisdom, kindness —

They can only come to one

Who knows quietude.

Now that I’m back home in the house where I grew up, and living with my two sisters and a nephew and my son, it is not very often that I get to find some quiet time.

I am way busier now working from home compared to working full time in China during the last 17 years, which makes me treasure more those years of solitude and reflection.

Thankfully there’s gardening and visiting my tiny garden in the morning allows me some much needed quiet moments.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: A quiet moment

Patience

When kids your age were running,

You were just learning to walk.

When kids your age were talking,

You just uttered your first word.

When kids your age could bounce a ball

You just learned how to throw.

Don’t worry, son.

Life is a game

Not just for the fastest,

The strongest, or the smartest

But for the ones with the most patience as well.

And we have a lot of that stuff.

We’ll get there.

Someday: A Haiku

img_3288

Your sweet smile, laughter — 

Who knows why? I hope to see

What you see — someday. 

———————–

My son has a very infectious smile and laughter. Most of the time though, we don’t know what makes him smile or laugh. We are just happy to see him happy.

Sometimes he makes me say, “dinosaur” and then, “roar!” And that’s enough to make him smile as he walks away from me.

If only our joys could be as simple.

———

The other day, I got a message from Ahmed asking if I could help promote the comic book he created which features a superhero with Autism. This project aims to spread awareness about Autism. It’s called The Epics of Enkidu.   You can click the link to learn more about the project. 

 

Note: A Haiku and a Thought

Simple scribbled word

On unpretentious paper —

A note makes one’s day.

—-

It does not take much to put a smile on someone’s face — a very simple gesture of kindness or thoughtfulness can do that. A text message asking how somebody’s day went can make that person feel that someone cares. A flower picked from the garden to give a family member one is stuck at home with, can most likely brighten that person’s day.

We do not need to do something “big” to prove we care and make someone happy.

Sometimes a simple note on a Post-It can do the trick.

Happy weekend!

T.

Discovery Prompts, Day 23: Note

Silence: A Haiku and some thoughts

In the midst of all

This life’s hustle and bustle —

Silence from within.

—-

After spending a couple of hours marking papers in McDonald’s (I can’t work at home as I’m always tempted to do something else like doing laundry instead of marking papers!) I went to my favorite noodles shop which was noisy as it was lunch time. Traditional Chinese music blaring from the speakers, a group of young women at a table behind me talking loudly, buses, cars and motorcycles driving past, some honking — so much activity and noise, loud noise.

But as soon as I started thinking of the issue that I’ve spent months thinking about — all those sounds went away. My eyes were only perceiving the movements not quite different from a boring, black-and-white silent movie.

I was figuratively alone in a figuratively quiet but in reality very noisy place.

This made me think of most people’s capacity to tune out noise or to tolerate minor irritants if they truly want to and try. I am saying most people because I believe most of us actually have this capacity to do so, but perhaps there are many who just refuse to even try. And of course there are those who have some sensory or emotion regulation problems who literally cannot stand certain irritants (like my autistic son who does not mind loud music but cries and gets angry when he hears other children crying!)

I have heard and read numerous accounts of people complaining about babies crying during a flight, especially a long haul one. Some reactions and suggestions offered I find quite unhelpful and extremely unsympathetic. I understand that there are parents (or grandparents!) accompanying children on a flight who may not be bothered by the child’s crying and do not care that other passengers are bothered by it. I honestly think these people are in the minority though. Most parents or caregivers on the flights I’ve been on (and I fly several times a year) do try to get the child to be quiet. But yes, there are those who don’t, and their indifference is more annoying than the child’s behavior.

As I said, I have read reactions and comments that are quite unhelpful or are extremely unsympathetic to parents who do try their best to calm down their child (and I believe they do because, let’s be honest, no sane parent loves to hear his/her child cry or be noisy.) Some people said: babies should not be allowed on a flight. This is very unhelpful because these people who complain do not know why the family are traveling. One never knows unless one asks why somebody is traveling — maybe for a holiday, or maybe to see a doctor. But one doesn’t even have to know — everyone has the right to fly and they are paying for it like everyone else.

I have taken several flights with my son, and thankfully he has always behaved himself (we have 2 flights coming I hope I don’t jinx them!) Even as a baby (at 5 months was when he had his first flight), he never cried. But also as a parent, I have always prepared for our flights — toys and gadgets to keep him occupied (I am also lucky that my flights with him are no longer than 2 hours.) However there are babies and young children who are really bothered by ear pressure during flight and parents who do not know how to deal with it. (click here for Tips) When I travel domestically, I usually say something to the parents (fellow Filipinos), “Maybe baby needs his bottle or pacifier?” but in international flights, I tend to keep quiet as the culture is, “Mind your own business.”

There are misbehaving children with parents who let them be and there are babies who cry whose parents just let them be. But there are lots of good parents who do try their best and babies who, for whatever reason, just cry! I hope we can be more sympathetic. We were all babies once — were we always so angelic?

So going back to my main idea — we are capable of tuning out noise or tolerating minor irritants. We surely can if we truly want to and just try. We do not even need noise-cancelling headsets to do this. To prove this, pay attention to how you sometimes tune out your best friend when he’s going on and on about something you’ve already heard a thousand times. That easy.

Silence.

Morning: A Haiku

Arise! The sun is up.

Come and see what daylight brings.

Come! Beauty awaits.

I am a morning person, but my husband isn’t. But once in a while I can get him to go out for a walk with me early in the morning.

This morning we had beautiful weather at 15C (59F) and walking past the lake I spied an egret (one of the few who haven’t migrated south). To me it was a beautiful sight, and made me smile. (I know I sound like a drama queen, but it is that easy to make me feel happy!)

And it came to me that there’s so much beauty to see early in the morning that people fail to see because they are still in bed. I feel lucky to be able to see and be touched by such a simple sight.

I hope you find something to make you smile today.

Happy weekend!

T.

Wish: A Haiku

If I could I would,

Paint the best picture of how

I remember you.

—-

Leaving the office today, I looked up at the sky and saw the clouds. I wanted to capture the image of the tree with the clouds as the background, and the result is, to me, much nicer than I imagined. To me, it looks like something I would really like to paint, if only I could!

Tree: A Haiku and some thoughts

Weary from this world

Where no one can give comfort,

One sits in a tree.

—–

As a child, I loved climbing trees. There used to be guava trees in front of our house before my uncle built his house there and a java apple fruit tree behind one of my aunts’ house, which is behind our house. My grandfather made sure all his 8 children lived in the same place, so where I grew up there are 7 detached houses where my mother and her siblings had built their homes.)

My sisters, cousins and I used to climb the trees in the afternoons and sit on the branches (we were all young and thin!) and pick fruits. We were all pretty good at climbing back then. (I can probably still climb but I don’t think any of my sisters or cousins will dare! Lol!)

So whenever I see a tree, I judge it as being climbable or not. Part of me really wants to climb when I see street trees (here they are mango trees) , but living in the city, I don’t want to embarrass myself. A couple of years ago, I went to visit my former professor and he had a very climbable tree in his yard, so I asked if I could climb and sit in it. Being eccentric himself, he said, “Why not?” So, I did!

Sitting in a tree gives me a wonderful feeling of being safe and worry-free, especially when I hear the rustle of the leaves when the wind blows.

At my age now, I see a lot of trees that were I ten years younger, I would consider climbable, but can only look at with a sigh. I wish I could teach my son to climb a tree. That would probably need hundreds more of occupational therapy sessions, but who knows.

Arachne: A Haiku

Day and night she spins,

Weaving an intricate design

Borne of human pride.

—-

I don’t have a picture of a spider or a spider’s web, so this handwoven straw fan would have to do. It probably wasn’t human pride that led the maker of this fan to become a weaver, and no Athena to punish her, but like Arachne, he/she has to work hard.

The Other Side: A Haiku

Enigmatical,

Imagined prosperity —

Then…reality.

——

The grass is always greener….

People sometimes imagine a better life somewhere else, unhappy with what they have. They follow their desire and get all excited about their new life only to be disappointed after a while.

Sometimes it’s not a change of place that’s needed. Just a change of heart. Or mind.

Happy weekend! 💕

T.

The Sun: A Haiku

Do not get too close.

It will burn you and blind you,

Farther — gives you warmth.

—–

Some people are better seen (or heard) from a distance, too. 😛

(Btw, the framing of this picture is far from perfect as I wasn’t even looking up when I took the picture! Just pointed my phone camera to where I felt the sun was and click! Hey! It wasn’t too bad!)

Have a lovely week! 💕

T.

Circles

We move in different circles

Some wider than others

But not necessarily happier.

It doesn’t matter how big or small

The circle you’re in,

What matters is who are in it:

Who are they to you?

Who are you to them?

Do they matter to you?

Do you matter to them?

Some circles are big but empty.

Others are small but not petty.

——–

I have a 4-day weekend this week. So, happy weekend!💕

T.

Shine bright: Two haikus

Though clouds block the way

Find slits through which to shine bright

Shine bright and give light.

———–

Dark clouds hide the sun

Then the wind blows and clouds move

Briefly — the sun shines.

———-

I was on a moving bus when I took the picture above. I have always liked watching the sun’s rays through the clouds. To me it always feels like the land is being blessed.

But the haikus I attempted to write aren’t about that. They are about being optimistic and sharing that optimism with others.

I hope you find reasons to be optimistic today! 💕

T.

So near, yet so far

Seen from a distance

Laughter heard across the miles

But untouched — unreal

——

Technology has made our lives easier and communicating with family more convenient.
Yet, somehow seeing your loved on the screen of your computer or phone or iPad is not the same as holding their hand or hugging them.
Online communication still seems so unreal.
Maybe it will feel “normal” in the future. Maybe.
Happy Tuesday!
T.

LAPC: Candid

Gentle and glowing,

She dazzles every creature

With her candid pose.

—–

I know Ann-Christine suggested candid photographs of people and animals, but I don’t have lots of those that I think I can share publicly. Then I saw the moon tonight and thought, “What a beauty!” And I attempted a haiku praising the moon, and thought of the word “candid.” So there. 😉

Have a lovely week!

T.

Lens Artists Photo Challenge: Candid

On Death and Promises

My husband and I have the weirdest conversations between a married couple simply because I am weird. One of the things we talked about a couple of years ago was what would happen WHEN I die (because I have to die first, and I would never forgive him if he dies before me! To which he agrees. He says he would like to be able to give me a proper funeral. This I truly appreciate.)

I told him that at my funeral, he can look around and see who among my friends he can marry. Well, this was too weird for him. (But perhaps he was just thinking my friends would be too old for him!)

When I told my friends and sisters about this they thought I was crazy.

Maybe. But my point is, I would like my husband to be happy when I leave. My only condition is that whoever that woman who can make him happy is, should accept my son like he is her son, because I want my son to be happy too.

Unlike the characters in the Disney movie, “Coco” who feel the need to be remembered — I don’t feel the need to be remembered. It would be nice to be remembered, but I am not sentimental about it. What matters most to me is number 1: my autistic son is taken care of until such time he can look after himself; and number 2: that the people I love will go on to live happy, healthy lives after I’m gone.

The day before my mother died, I saw the look on her face change when my then 13-year-old nephew who is my mom’s first grandchild, entered the room. Her eyes lit up, and there was a fondness for my nephew that was so visible that I, her youngest child, felt a little jealous even though I was already 44! We all knew she had not wanted to leave yet because she was worried about him. We gave her the assurance that we all would take care of each other.

I have tried to keep that promise.

I hope that when it’s my turn to go, I would get the same promise that my son will be taken care of. And that they will keep it.

🙏🏽

T.

———

Sonnet 71 by William Shakespeare

No longer mourn for me when I am dead

Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell

Give warning to the world that I am fled

From this vile world with vilest worms to dwell:

Nay, if you read this line, remember not

The hand that writ it, for I love you so,

That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot,

If thinking on me then should make you woe.

O! if, I say, you look upon this verse,

When I perhaps compounded am with clay,

Do not so much as my poor name rehearse;

But let your love even with my life decay;

   Lest the wise world should look into your moan,

   And mock you with me after I am gone.

Not Today

Sunset in Jimei

The bottle will remain unopened.

That pack of cigarettes will stay unsmoked.

Those cheesecakes calling me as I walk past the bakery will be ignored.

And the backups won’t be hearing from me anytime soon.

For as long as there’s a teeny bit of will left in me…

You’re not winning again.

Not today.

——

Be strong. You are loved. ♥️

T.

“Do not Go Gentle into that Good Night”

Three years ago this month, I lost my mother. And every year this month, I buy flowers (pictured below) that I put next to her photograph. Every year in March, as I look at both flowers and my mom’s photograph, I am reminded of the uncertainty of life, of its ephemerality and the sadness that comes with being left behind by those who go before us.

This month my musing on the transiency of life is made even sadder by the thought of 2 of my best friends facing serious illnesses. My 3 best friends, unlike me who wanted to die at 20, have always wanted to live long, happy, healthy lives.

For the lovers of life, I hope you never lose that WILL to live even when doctors give you that diagnosis that sounds like a death sentence. I hope in your heart will burn that desire to prove the doctors wrong and that you “RAGE against the dying of the light.” ♥️

T.

Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night

by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Inevitabilities

When I was in my early twenties, I truly understood the meaning of “everything has its end.” Both good and bad. Since then I have always been aware of how the happiness I may be feeling at one time, may turn into sadness any minute. As a result, I’ve learned to treasure happy times, and to look forward to the end of my troubles. This has worked quite well for me over the years.

Yet at that moment when I am going through a difficult time, it always seems as if the end is taking forever to come.

Like it is now.

Though I know I’ll be able to sincerely smile and laugh again, for now faking it will have to do. This is part of the process. Real happiness will come again, perhaps in a day or two, a week or two, a month or two. Or a year.

But for now, patience.

May you have patience to bear whatever burden you have on your shoulders today. 💕