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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Nice Dusting of Snow - Fist snow fall of the season



It was Dec 7 when the first fall of snow came. We’ve been waiting for it for a while already. Last year, it came around November. This year, it’s late but it came none the less… re assuring us of a white Christmas.

It came in slow fall, with huge flakes falling slowly and surely. It would have been nice to be out there immersed in it all. But I have to contend being out in the balcony staring at the beautiful flurries fall and cover the still green grass. I am sure that the children in school would have had the chance to go out and greet the snow personally.





There’s not much right now. The snow that fell today is just enough to dust the ground and a nice contrast to the green grass and the pine leaves.





There’s this thing about snow that make you love it and hate it. Well, children have always thought the snow is the coolest thing around in winter (except the gift giving during Christmas time..hehe). But for us adults there are lots to dread about. Behind the pretty, clean, velvety exterior that brings feeling of attraction to go out and play with it is the coldness that makes your ears and nose red and numb. It makes the road harder to drive through and walking in icy walkways is this risk of falling down and getting a concussion. We can worry all we like but snow is very much part of winter that you either love it or leave it. For me, I’ve always contented myself at looking at it falling behind a huge window with a cup of hot chocolate drink in hand. But I guess this year I would like to enjoy it more by being out and plunge myself in the midst of this white, cold thing and enjoy it more closely. Probably try a snow ball fight, make some snow angels, and be adventurous enough to do tobogganing. Brrrr…. I better get my gears ready…hehe

Monday, November 30, 2009

Celebrating Friendship - Nov 29, 2007



Treasure the friendship you receive above all. It will survive long after your gold and good health have vanished."
— Og Mandino


Let me dedicate this post to a dear friend. I have not met her personally but she became as dear and as close to my heart as any bestfriends would ever be. Ours is a unique story. Each living a world apart, met through the world wide web and together began a journey of sharing and caring worthy of telenovelas and the likes. Today marks our first chika, the commencement of a long line of letters, emails, calls and chats. The beginning of a great friendship oblivious of time and space.



I have a box I call “jules box” filled with goodies from her. Whenever I am lonely or sad… I go to my jules box to find something that would lift my spirit up. It works everytime… until now I can still pick up one thing inside the box that would bring me to smile and bring me inspirations. It gives me countless ideas of what to do or what to write about. She is everything a friend is about and if Ibegin to describe her, I would not be able to finish my post. :) Hopefully ... i'm not promising anything ..hehe... that I would beable to bring her out in some of the future post I make.




She knows me enough to write my life story. And I hope I know her enough to write hers. A lot of times I long to hold her hands and to feel her warmth beside me. To share a cup of coffee and talk about anything endlessly. I wish I could always run to her house just to see her and say hi. But I guess that could wait.

I hope to meet her someday. Give her a huge embrace enough to catch up on those times we are apart. Until then.....
Thank you for being my friend Jules!!



Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Lost Symbol – by Dan Brown




To live in the world without becoming
aware of the meaning of the world is
like wandering about in a great library
without touching the books.
The Secret Teachings
Of All Ages


How will I start my story of Dan Browns new novel? Hmmm… The Lost Symbol somehow .. lost me. Well, compared to The Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, this last sequel didn’t come up with something new. When I say new, it’s not just new, I was kind of expecting big and spectacular. It did however kept up with the usual suspense and fast phase thrills of the two previous novels. There was a moment there that I thought Dan Brown has killed the character of Robert Langdon. I was saying to myself… the lead character is dead already and I still have several chapters to go through. Don’t be alarmed… Robert Langdon is not dead. Surely another sequel is in the process.

Robert Langdon has found himself involved in another adventure (traumatic in the most frightening way). He was summoned to Washington DC presumably to be a guest speaker when he found himself in the middle of a severed hand and an annoying assistant director of the CIA. In one night, he was tricked, harassed, fled, kidnapped, tortured, killed, re-born, and found the lost symbol. If I was in his shoes…I would be catatonic by the time I was re-born. How can one person go through those experiences in one single night? The trauma is just too great.

Anyway, the story is about the obsession of one man to find the lost word of the Ancient mysteries that is guarded by the brotherhood of masons. It was written that it was buried somewhere in Washington DC. It was complicated by the involvement of CIA claiming some sort of national security. As expected, only Robert Langdon has the capability to decode the many secret code that protects the treasure. With the involvement of Masonic brothers, he unravelled the truths behind the secret codes which some were really hard for him to accept being a non-mason himself. There were new technologies added to the story like the Noetic science, the breathable liquid, the thermal imprint thingy…hehe.

What is the lost symbol??? Should I reveal it? Nah… I will only ruin the suspense to those who are reading it or about to read it.

Laus Deo – praise God

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cast your burdens upon me.. and I will give you rest.




This song has always inspired many. The many I mentioned includes me of course. But never in my life have I really felt its meaning than during my recent moments of crisis. A crisis so overwhelming, so tragic that like a heavy boat in the midst of torrent waves, I must unload some of the weight to stay afloat. I have to cast my burdens so I can focus on living. So, I did. One night, I prayed to God and asked Him if He could take these lumbers off my shoulder. I don’t want to think and worry about them from now on and He may do whatever he pleases with them.

Little do I know that He not only took the burden and carry them on His own shoulder but He is also working on them. One day, He sent me a note saying… “Your burden No. 1 has been taken cared of”. It’s that easy… the burden that I’ve been carrying for years have been taken cared of. I am a testament to His grace, wonders and blessings. Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Different CNE Experience



Through the years I have developed certain anticipation to our yearly trek to the CNE. CNE, by the way is Canadian National Exhibition. A yearly end of summer fair held at the Ontario Place. It’s the last douse of summer fun before the school starts. Like i said, it just calls on me every time. This year is very special. Why? I get to share it with some very dear friends. My barkada from university days came to visit me all the way from New Jersey and also from Hamilton. It’s been how many years since we all last saw each other? It was like 20 years already! Now we have our own families and it was so nice to see and hug each other again. There were too many to say and too many to catch up on. We’re just happy to be so close to each other again. I hope we could do this many times.

The CNE itself is the same as ever but this time it was made extra special by friends who proves that “ the house to a friend is never long” . I thank God for the opportunity to feel once again the warmth of a friends embrace.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Better View




We moved to a new home! My youngest has reached the age that she needs her own space and that’s the main reason we moved from a two bedroom to a three bedroom apartment. The main thing I like about this new apartment is the view from the balcony. We are still on the tenth floor but the balcony is facing a huge park. In the mornings the park is a really really serene place where birds sing and in the afternoon it is filled with children laughing and screaming while playing games.


Below is how the park looks like in summer as seen from the balcony. The grass is green, the trees are lushed with green leaves and the air is fresh and warm. I love to spend my mornings looking out and enjoying the scenery while having my coffee or doing some stretching.


video

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Jersey Boys – The Story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons



A Musical Performance
Toronto Centre for the Arts


I’ve had the privileged to watch a musical performance of the Jersey Boys yesterday and I should say it’s one of a kind experience. It’s a total entertainment. My two aunts and I were seated right in front of the balcony level which is not so bad at all considering the distance. We can still see the faces of the singers and audio is no problem at all. It’s just so sad that they won’t allow any camera during the show.


“The smash hit JERSEY BOYS is a candid and powerful story of how four blue-collar boys from the wrong side of the tracks became one of the biggest American pop music sensations of all time. They wrote their own songs, invented their own sounds and sold 175 million records worldwide – all before the age 30.

Previews of Jersey Boys in Toronto started on August 21, 2008 with the North American touring production. Audiences and reviews alike raved about this Tony Award-winning musical, and a Canadian production seemessly continued performances in Toronto, playing to more than 300,000 people and growing.”

Audrey Dan, President
DanCap Productions



The musical number consisted of two acts with a 15 minute intermission. The first act includes popular songs like “Oh, what a Night”, “Silhouettes”, “You’re the Apple of my Eyes”, “Earth Angel”, “Sherry”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Walk Like a Man”. It’s so nice to see all the retro fashions they are wearing. I feel like dancing with them but I don’t want to embarrass my aunts..hehe. The audience are mostly senior people who were probably in their teens during the groups time in the limelight. I am not complaining but if there were more younger people ...they would probably be standing and dancing and screaming with the band. The second act includes the songs “Bye Bye Baby”, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, “Fallen Angel” and “Rag Doll”.

The story line is very good, the jokes were hilarious, there was a bit of drama at the end, the props are very good ( coming like me who is a first timer in this kind of shows), and the choreography is superb. I wish I could watch more musical shows in the future.

I found the video below in youtube. It’s pretty much how the musical went except that the one we saw has different singers.









Monday, June 15, 2009

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown



Victoria Vetra: "Religion is like language or dress. We gravitate toward the practices with which we were raised. In the end, though we are all proclaiming the same thing. That life has meaning. That we are grateful for that created us."
'
Robert Langdon: "So you’re saying that whether you are a Christian or a Muslim simply depends on where you were born?"

Vittoria Vetra: "Isn’t it obvious? Look at the diffusion of religion around the globe."

Robert Langdon: "So faith is random?"

Vittoria Vetra: "Hardly. Faith is universal. Our specific methods for understanding it are arbitrary. Some of us pray to Jesus, some us go to Mecca, some of us study subatomic particles. In the end we are all just searching for truth, that which is greater than ourselves."

This is an excerpt from the book which I find true. In the book, Victoria is a scientist and Robert is a Historian. Robert Langdon is the main character ( he reminds me of Indiana Jones!!). This novel of Dan Brown is intriguing to the max as he uses verifiable places and historic events. This makes the story one of a kind. It places the reader in the fine lines between fiction and reality. It breads a vague impression of ‘what if’ this is really true? ‘What if’ this can really happen in the future? What better story is there than one that allows the mind to think and wonder.

The story was about the age old conflict between science and religion. It started with a death of a scientist (which turned out to be a priest too) who happen to discover the antimatter. The death also leads to stolen antimatter big enough to annihilate an entire city. The head director of the scientific company contacted Robert Langdon, a professor of religious iconology at Harvard. Why a professor and not the police? The dead scientist was also branded on his chest the word “Illuminati” which falls under the specialty of the professor and at the same time, the director needs to keep the death at low profile due to the technology involved. Hence, started Robert Langdon’s adventure to the search of the stolen antimatter. He met Victoria Vetra, the adopted daughter of the murdered scientist and together they tried to solve the mystery behind the Illuminati. Their search led them to Rome and the Vatican City where an enclave is currently in progress. From here on was an action pact adventure that includes kidnapping of 4 cardinals, the heinous death of these cardinals on the hands of the Illuminati assassin, the controversy over the untimely death of the Pope, the involvement of the Swiss Guards, the death of the director scientist, the antimatter being located somewhere in the Vatican city ready to explode at 12 midnight and all these while the world is watching. This explosion will evaporate the whole Vatican City together with all the cardinals congregated to elect a new Pope. I especially liked the speech of the camerlengo. How did it ended? Did the anti matter exploded? Were they able to catch the assassin? Who won? Was it the Illuminati or the church? The anti matter did explode. The assassin was stopped. ... and the mastermind revealed (not to the world though). The rest of the story I leave to you guys to read.

The lesson? Why must we be thorn between science and faith? Don’t they come hand in hand? I do admit when we began to study the big bang theory in school, I was confused for a while. I learned very early in life that God has created everything. He made Adam and Eve. But then, at school they were telling me that man came from apes. Did that changed the perception of my faith? No. A lot of things can be explained now through science, but these answers breads new questions. And while waiting for answers, we rely on our faith, on our God, to someday reveal it to us. Let science be the child, curious and hungry for knowledge. Let God be the parents, providing tools and guidance for the child to grow and learn from its mistakes.

Let me end this with another excerpt from the book:

"Mr. Langdon all questions were once spiritual. Since the beginning of time, spirituality and religion have been called on to fill in the gaps that science did not understand. The rising and setting of the sun was once attributed to Helios and a flaming chariot. Earthquakes and tidal waves were the wrath of Poseidon. Science has now proven those gods to be false idols. Soon all gods will be proven to be false idols. Science has now provided answers to almost every question man can ask. There are only a few questions left and they are the esoteric ones. Where do we come from? What are we doing here? What is the meaning of life and the universe?"

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Adam .... my American Idol :-o

video

Oh my God! He is singing the saddest song ever. It’s one of the songs that have captured my subconscious attention around the early part of this year. I just love Adam Lamberts performances in the American Idol. He’s my secret bet for the winner and I’m just flabbergasted when they announced the first place (same thing happened in the Dancing with the Stars Winner). Adam did well in delivering this song. Even the way he dressed for it, even his very eyes can send out the emotions needed to completely entrance the audience. I knew because all through the performance, I can’t take my eyes off his face. I can’t take my eyes away from looking at his eyes… very intense and full of melancholy. From there and then, I’m Adam hooked.

After the show… I went looking for my daughter and asked her to download Adams Mad World performance in Itunes. I just have to put this in my blog. I promised myself not to talk about the mystery of why he didn’t win because in my mind and heart he’s the winner!


Anyway, here’s the lyric of the song:

"Mad World"


All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
And their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow


And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying
Are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you
'Cos I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It's a very, very
Mad World


Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday
Made to feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, sit and listen
Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, no one knew me
Hello teacher tell me what's my lesson
Look right through me, look right through me



Friday, May 22, 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – a movie


“Life isn’t measured in minutes, but in moments.”


Curious indeed!!! It’s more liked bizarre to me. Who would want a backward life? Who would want to go through life in direct opposite of all others? It’s awfully lonely and darn scary! Although scientifically impossible, one (like me ) cannot help put themselves into his shoes.

Benjamin Button, the main character portrayed by actor Brad Pitt was born old. How? Somehow it was linked to a blind man’s clock which winds backwards. I do not want to dwell deeper than that. It was recollection of past events as written in the diary of Benjamin Button himself. It was like a story telling about Benjamin, his life and his love who is Daisy (portrayed by Cate Blanchett) in a very weird circumstances. How his mother died giving birth to him and his father unable to accept how different he is. He was left on the care of a deeply religious lady and then met the girl he is destined to fall in love with. How they met in the middle and how destiny has played its part in their lives.

The dilemma in the movie is more like how would two lives in opposite direction live it’s fullest? Is it fair that Daisy be left alone to raise their daughter? Is it fair for their daughter, Caroline, to be left oblivious of her root? Is it fair for Benjamin to be far from love ones? The author has decided to break them apart for reasons that not everyone would agree with. But life is really accepting whatever the truth is. In the end, Daisy still ends up taking care of Benjamin. Caroline’s ability to love and understand was undermined and she was upset to know about it too late. Why would we prefer normalcy than accepting what is different?

My favourite line in the movie:

“You never know what’s coming for you....”


Where have you been?

“Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been?
I’ve been to London to visit the Queen.
And what did you do there?
I frightened a little mouse under a chair.”


I’ve been distracted for a while. For the last few weeks I felt like I lost my creative thinking. My mind has shifted to being imaginative to being real (and boring). And sometimes reality is not an easy thing to write. When your body isn’t feeling so good... it drags your mind into it. So I slumped and let the happy moments pass me by without so much as a word. I thought I could shelve the dreams and imaginations for a while and concentrate to a more life threatening matter at hand. I was wrong... I miss my writings on my blog. After two months I realized that I don’t have to be seriously planted on the ground at all times. I can get my mind to rise into the clouds and fly and think of happy thoughts and to dream of a world apart from my physical being. I need to go back to reading, to writing, to a longer commune with nature. And maybe by doing so, I can physically heal faster.

My camera has taken so many pictures of past events. They were never given the chance to be posted. To be celebrated with words and emotions worthy of them. From now on, I will try to give myself some slack ... to go to the shelves of dreams and play a little.... and not be guilty about it.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Blue Hannah - Reality


Artist's Comments :

+蓝色的玫瑰+

Inspiration: Emily, my mother's Co-worker and friend
Used: Photoshop and HW tablet

I drew this while thinking of Emily.

When you're in a tough situation; in sickness or health; It might seem to be impossible to resolve. When you're world is crumbling and everything seems hopeless. Always remember to smile and we'll help you through it. Whatever the problem and no matter the costs, we'll defy gravity for you. So enjoy every moment of the present. Cherish all of the past and embrace the future.

Blue roses are reality. I'll make sure of it.
-______________________________________

The young artist's name is Hannah. She’s only 15 year old but very talented. It was really a surprise to me that she had dedicated this amazing work of art in my behalf. Even the write up is so touching.

To Hanna... thank you for the warm thoughts and the dedication. Your drawing has made me feel a lot better and brought hope to a weary heart. I wish to see you and give you a big hug someday. And this I promise you...
my future though vague for now,
I have the past to guide me through
and the present to do my best.

Friday, April 10, 2009

I believe


Saturday, April 4, 2009

CN tower and its glass floor

I know sometimes I’m such a coward! I could not set even a foot on this darn glass floor. It just scares me to death looking at how high I am and how fragile the glass I’m stepping on. But you will never guess how brave my daughter is!

But first, let me say something about this glass floor of the CN tower as described in wikipedia. The first picture below I googled just to show the glass floor from the outside of tower. I could not possibly take such a shot with my camera.


The glass floor and outdoor observation deck are at 342 metres (1,122.0 ft). The glass floor has an area of 24 square metres (258 sq ft) and can withstand a pressure of 4,100 kilopascals (595 psi). The floor's thermal glass units are 64 millimetres (2.5 in) thick, consisting of a pane of 25-millimetre (1.0 in) laminated glass, 25 millimetres (1.0 in) airspace and a pane of 13-millimetre (0.5 in) laminated glass. Some people experience acrophobia when standing on the glass floor and looking down at the ground 342 metres (1,122.0 ft) below. In 2008, one elevator was upgraded to add a glass floor panel, believed to have the highest vertical rise of any elevator equipped with this feature.[10]

Pretty impressive, eh? Anyway, no matter how rigid and strong they say the glass is, I still could not find any courage to step on it. Let the brave hearts do it.


See how high it is?

These feet were not mine!


My dear daughter enjoying the glass floor.



Too much!

A little video of the glass floor....


video

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My First Egg Custard Cake

Not so bad... for a first timer. My son preffered the egg custard by itself but I wanted him to try first.



a cake with a cause.....
How did my son find it? well...he still like the egg custard by itself. A few more years and he'll come around..hehe

Saturday, February 28, 2009

CN Tower -- a different perspective

As close as one can be. I didn't know you my dear have patches but who cares?




wow... I almost saw the end of the earth.



The urban jungle




Align Leftas far as the eyes can see.





No glass but the screen is needed. It was freezing in here.





the lake from high above.




See the following videos for more action: enjoy the ride




video

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Family Day Adventures- Part 2- CN Tower


We had breakfast at Niagara Falls and out of the blues decided to go the CN tower. The map above shows our route by car. It’s about 126 km and takes around an hour 24 minutes. The route traverses the outline of the Lake Ontario. It would have been shorter if we can cross the lake on a direct path. During our travel we can even see the CN tower over the other side of the lake. See the picture below:




I enhanced the picture so that the outline of Toronto be more visible beyond the lake.



Defining the Toronto skyline at 553.33m (1,815 ft., 5 in.) and the world’s tallest for over 32 years, the CN Tower is Canada’s national Tower, an architectural triump, engineering Wonder of the Modern World and award-winning dining and entertainment destination. With breathtaking views from 3 observation levels including the Glass Floor and Sky Pod, world’s highest glass-fronted elevator featuring glass floor panels, theatre, ride, arcade, shopping and award-winning dining at 360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower – it’s Toronto’s must see visited by almost 2 million people each year.


CN Tower Highlights:


The Sky Pod ---- we skipped this, which means we're coming back definitely
Lookout Level and Horizon's Café
Outdoor Observation Desk ----- freezing in here
The Glass Floor ----- i will have to post this separately
"LEGO Racers: The Ride" Simulator Ride ---nope we're there just to observe hehe

360 Restaurant - I'd like to try this sometime, i find it romantic to have dinner here
Marketplace Shopping and Café
The Edge Arcade

Details:

1. Price includes admission to the tower and the viewing areas ( Lookout Level and Observation Deck). There is an additional charge to visit Skypod which can be paid upon arrival or on the Look Out Level.

2. Tower is open from 10:00am to 10:00pm Sunday — Thursday, and 10:00am to 10:30pm on Friday and Saturday. Attractions (Simulators, To the Top, and the Arcade) are open 11:00am — 7:00pm daily.

3. Food is available at the 360 Restaurant (reservations are recommended), the Horizon's Café, or the Marketplace Café.

4. The Marketplace features 12,500 square feet of quality shopping.

5. Cameras and video cameras are permitted (and are a "must bring"!)

6. Casual dress is appropriate; however, a jacket or coat is recommended for the observation level.

7. Appropriate for all ages (except for those with a fear of heights). Height restrictions apply for simulator rides.

8. Wheelchairs can be accommodated. Service dogs are welcome.

9. Parking is available in multiple areas around the tower.

10. Prices vary depending on time of day, time of year, and proximity to the Tower. During the Family day... a family of four costs around $65.00.

Regular admission cost can be found here.

next.... some of the pictures and videos we took.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

What else is there in Niagara besides the falls?



Yup!!! The Clifton Hill.... the street of fun at the Falls.
But beware! it's fun but it can also be a pocket drainer.


There's the movieland! Did we watch a movie?? Nah....



Arcades with games and rides.... good thing my kids outgrew this kind of thing already.


Huge ferris wheel... not for the faint hearted... me included..hehe


Restaurants!!! No hamburgers for us. We went for a full breakfast at Denny's.



Souvenir shops!! my daughters favorite and my wallets lament.



Ripleys believe it or not museum. Interesting building!!!



Last but not the least.... the bridge going to the US of A.
Next trip will be beyond that bridge.... with me driving...lol

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Family Day Adventures.... part 1

It was a holiday, at least in some provincial level. I am referring to February 16 being a Family Day. It’s an extra day after the weekend for families to spend more time with each other. I am fortunate enough to be working in a family friendly company so I had this day off too. Although most of the shopping stores were closed, most of the family attractions were generous enough to offer discount for families visiting their places. So, the zoo, the museums and other places have half price discounts!

It’s fortunate enough to have a mild weather this day. The maximum temperature is 1 degree and it was bright and sunny! This is the best we can have since its still winter. Perfect to go out and have some fun without the snow. We celebrated Family day in two places. The first place we went to is Niagara.

Off we went to Niagara Falls for breakfast! It’s a two-hour car ride but we wanted to be able to get away and see the falls in winter. We had a great big breakfast at Denny’s Restaurant. After that, we just had to get our butts for a walk to the falls. The air is chilly at 1 degree but the wind makes it feel a lot colder (colder means around –4 to –6 degrees), so under the bright shining sunshine we are wearing our coats hoods up. Meet Niaga Falls in winter:


The mist is alot thicker.....



The water is also denser. This is due to ice crystals in the water.


ice formations on the rocks near the fall.


The river covered with ice. Can we ice skate? Definitely not! It's too thin right now.

The falls seemed to be lethargic ...... I think I like the falls better in the summer time.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Making scents of it all.....



I got this on valentine’s day

Interesting bottle

Interesting scent

Casual and low key...



Reminds me of long walks on the beach

Like everything is okay...



Everything falls right into place.