There is nothing like waking up in the morning with the sound of nature telling you, “Hey, the Higher Power loves you and is giving you a gift to live another day.” Thank you, Big U.

Today, I woke up with the sound of a tropical rainstorm. Huge drops of water may be heard on our tin roof. The sound of the drops is a simple pleasure that has enriched my creative life at any age, at any place I woke up to with a dream in my heart. I cannot compare it to any other sound. It is so special in its own.

I looked out beyond the fence that separates our home from the forest. I observed the two narra trees taking a beating from the downpours, and so does the African tulip tree that our friend and neighbor Helna Grant gave for Wiel’s 56th birthday.

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The Knight Owns a Turntable and a Hundred LPs

A conversation piece, indeed:

Dutchy and I chanced upon this shop again where they sell old-school turntables (fabricated to look like antique, with bluetooth). I gushed. This has been in my bubble thoughts for a long time!

Now- He and I have a verbal pact to unclutter our lives that began two years ago since we renovated house: “Unclutter, declutter, throw and/or give away things that contribute to clutter!”

In short, one should throw away something from the house that hasn’t been used for a year BEFORE bringing in a new one. (Who do you think has more kitsch between the two of us?)

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Conversations with My Mother’s Ashes

Conversations with My Mother’s Ashes

In my dream, I heard my mom’s familiar whistle, ‘weet-woot.’ It was a sketchy dream, however, that sound was unmistakably hers.

Yes, she whistled like a “sigang babae”- far better than any man’s so I couldn’t really say like a man’s. It was her exclamation point to things, occurrences, & persons that amazed her.

I woke up & checked the clock, it was 3 AM. Even at death she remained an importunate spirit. She (or her memories) always picked 3 AM to wake me. Could it be the exact time she died? My brother Noel found her lifeless body sometime after 4 AM on March 27, two years ago.

I went to the hallway to pat the urn where her ashes resides. It rests on the foyer table beside the Buddha bust, a proud temporary shiny squatter of space. (She died a Catholic, she must be giving me the dirty finger right now. I didn’t care, she can’t push me around anymore with religion.)

I said: “Happy(?) birthday, Mama. (How can one be happy when one is dead? How can one have emotions? We living people are funny about greeting our dead that way. So I told her ashes: “I am happy to commemorate your birthday, Mama.”

(I am happy today, indeed. Today, Wiel & I came home to a lovely sunrise, chirping of birds, a glimpse of the mighty flight of the Luzon Hornbill. Our longing for home was cured by the taste of Malunggay con fruits smoothie for breakfast.)

Concepcion would have been 71 years old today.

I told my father & brothers that I would drive ‘her’ myself to Olongapo Memorial Park but that was since a month ago. I am using the time with that cold marble urn in the house to finally let her go. It has been two years- and I still get a shot in the heart whenever I think of memories we spent as mother & daughter.

“You are terribly missed, old girl.” The ashes in the urn might be a testimony to nothingness, that life on earth just ends there; and yet, my mother speaks to me everyday: in the way I live, and love, and find splendor even in the smallest gesture of kindness and beautiful feelings. (30)