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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Welcoming and Celebrating (Globally) the New Year 2012!

Welcome 2012 and Happy New Year to all people of goodwill!

January 1st, being the first day of the year to most countries/people of the world, is considered a holiday and/or holy day. New Year is the time to start a new beginning, they say. That's why many people make their resolution on New Year. They promise to themselves to do good and to be better in life than the previous or past year/s. Many families and friends observe this Christian tradition by going to church, attend Mass. It is also the time to visit friends and relatives, and exchange gifts like in England where they practice it instead of during Christmas.

Celebrating New Year's Day is not a modern tradition. Actually, it has long been observed/celebrated during Babylonian era 2000 B.C. In Old Babylon, the celebration of New Year starts on springtime or the first day of summer. New Year's resolution is observed or continues to be done if the New Year's resolution is the return of whatever farming tools or gadgets/equipments borrowed from the neighbors. The Romans also celebrate New Year the same way we do celebrate it. Thus, January 1st is declared New Year in Roman Society.

In the United States, the current celebration of New Year's Day is marked by many popular and famous activities/occasions that have become a tradition each time New Year arrives. One of these annual activities is the celebration of Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California in which they celebrate their produce or harvest of oranges. The celebration starts with parade of colorful floats, artistically and beautifully designed for competition. Most of the materials used in the floats are roses and other flowers. Likewise, award-winning marching bands from different states and countries participate in the parade. The first Tournament of Roses Parade was held in 1886. Since 1902, this tradition included Rose Bowl (the football game championship competition of the chosen winning football teams). Rose Bowl continues to be popular as part of the New Year's day celebration in the United States.

There are also parades and football games like Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas; Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana, and that Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida.

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, people gather together to watch Mummer's Parade. "Mummer" is a person wearing a mask and fancy costume, and pretend or act like a comic or fool. Every year, thousands of people in strange/weird costume or outfit participate in the said parade.

The ever popular and well-known countdown/slow drop of Waterford Crystal Ball in Time Square in New York is a yearly nationwide televised event  and seen worldwide on New Year's Eve. Another annual popular event on New Year's Day celebration is the so-called Peach Drop in Atlanta, Georgia.

The central feature of the traditional New Year celebration is the food. Aside from the singing of "Auld Lang Syne" and the opening or popping up bottles of champagne or sparkling grape juice cocktail to drink, there's that black eye peas (for southwestern part of the U.S., and other foods  that are believed to be lucky or give/bring us "luck" on New Year's Day. Other cultures believe that newly-cooked rice, like in northern India, or cabbage gives us good luck or good fortune for the whole year.

Meanwhile, in Sweden, people attend church services the morning of New Year. Then they gather together for a feast on the table where they also drink this hot and spicy alcoholic drink called gogg (gluhg). Likewise, in Netherlands, it has been customary for the people there to eat donuts on New Year's Day.

In Russia, children residing in the city of Moscow visit Kremlin Palace of Congress. There they see a large fig tree called New Year Tree. This tree is decorated with colorful lights. Children also watch fairy-tale play and then they go ask for their gift to Grandfather Frost and his helpers, the snow maidens.

In other parts of the world, there are special food believed to bring good luck on New Year. In Japan, for example, there is this kind of fish called red snapper which has a pink color, considered to be lucky. On the other hand, Japanese houses are decorated with rice cakes and sprayed/incensed with the smell of pine trees. The Japanese have this belief or notion that they welcome New Year not owing anything or no debt to anyone.

In Greece, families share this cake baked from New York called "peta." And, there are loose change or coins inside the cake. According to their belief, whoever has the coins is considered lucky for the whole year.

In other parts of Europe, there's this roasted pig ("lechon," in Filipino) served on New Year's Day. Most importantly, there's an apple or orange place on the mouth of this roasted pig. But in Hungary, there is this kind of leaf or "four-leaf clover" that shows to be lucky.

There are countries that don't celebrate New Year on January 1st. Like ancient Greece, New Year is celebrated on the first day  of winter---either December 21 or 22. Others celebrate the New Year in the month of  March, or September. In Iran, New Year starts on March 21. They call this "No Ruz" meaning "New Day." Even to this day, New Year begins on a different date or day, like the ones mentioned above, for other people in other parts of the world.

The Jewish people celebrate the New Year, "Rosh Ha-Shanah" on either September or October. The Chinese people celebrate the New Year in January or February. For those of Islam religion, their New Year begins on the first day of their first month, called "Muharram." (Note: Above information culled from "Happy New Year" of CHILDCRAFT's Holidays and Birthdays and from an article in "A to Z Kids News.) -chris a. quilpa, 30 Dec2011

Friday, December 30, 2011

My (2012 and Beyond) Resolutions

For New Year 2012 and beyond, I resolve (or am determined) to live and love each day, as if my last, by trying:

     -to put Jesus, my Inspiration and Savior, first in my life by worshiping and praising Him always.
     -to continue to pray and give thanks to our Invisible but Almighty God for all blessings and graces I have received.

     -to strengthen/maintain a lasting faith with my chosen religious belief (Catholicism), in solidarity with and respect for others'.

     -to continue to be a good citizen, parent, partner, father, friend, brother, parishioner, listener, blog writer.

     -to remain connected, or reconnected, with family, friends, relatives, and brothers and sisters in faith.

     -to love everyone, my enemies (if ever I have out there, which I believe I don't), to the best I can.

     -to read more books and blogs, and informative, educational, entertaining, and inspiring articles.

     -to continue to listen to NPR (National Public Radio) and watch news on local TV networks and PBS and my favorite TV shows or programs, NASA channel, and international soap operas, with English subtitles, via YouTube (which continues to amaze me with so much stuff to see/learn in/from it. It's such a cool, useful site, truly a revolutionary, powerful medium/technology, to me). Thank you, NPR and PBS, NASA, YouTube, Facebook, and yes, of course, Google for your existence. You guys are really instrumental in changing the world. I salute all the people behind your creation, organization, and management. Again, thanks a lot for what you do to make our world a better place to live in.

     -to continue to do simple house chores, exercise, writing, singing, and observing the outside world with vigilance.

     -to continue to live to love to learn, and to learn to love to live by seeking and understanding the Truth, and to be open to new ideas for growth and self-improvement.

     -to simplify my life and save (more) money, considering the ideas of a blogger, by the name of Sam Luigi, from the internet or cyberworld that I came across while reading other blogs, as follows:
          1) donating/selling your extra stuff (things that you don't need anymore, in stead of occupying space in your room/house), 2) opening (or maintaining, if you already have) a savings account, 3) setting weekly (simple but achievable) goals for yourself (i.e. cleaning hallway closet, making dinner at home, going for a walk around the neighborhood), 4) moving around more than you do now (that is, increasing your physical activity like walking, jogging, running, or dancing to your favorite music), 5) cooking at home (more often, than eating out all the time), 6) turning off your phone and computer for a day (doing meditation/reflection, or "Sometimes doing absolutely nothing is just what you need," he quipped.), 7) skipping the impulse-buying, 8) paying upfront (that is, paying cash on hand for any purchase you do), 9) cutting your own hair (with Phillip's Norelco? I haven't tried but I may try to give it a shot next time, how's that?), 10) finding free or cheap ways to have fun (i.e. checking for deals on Living Social  and Groupon, using coupons, renting a movie via Redbox or Netflix, instead of going to a cinema or movie theater, or exchanging/borrowing video/games with/from friends), and 11) keeping things in perspective ("It's easy to dwell on one problem and let it consume you," he writes. "The next time you're angry, sad, or frustrated about something, consider how your problem looks in the grand scheme of things. Then think of one thing you've been blessed with and treasure it," he adds. "Good memories and good people help us fast-forward through the bad parts. It's easy to feel alone in your struggles, but I guarantee that you're not," he concludes.).

     -to continue to share my life with/to/for others, to be healthy and happy, to smile and laugh more often, and to stay optimistic and positive for a better life-world, and me, in spite of my present condition/situation.-chris a. quilpa 30 Dec 2011

Thursday, December 29, 2011

You're Not Alone

You're Not Alone

You're not alone
who wants to change the world
one simple poem or essay at a time.

Out there are bards and scribes
seeds they are scattered everywhere
they go, flower, and bear fruits
for the world to grow.

Like you out there are voices
singing different notes and tunes
trying to create a universal symphony
that speaks of love of freedom and equality
for all people to enjoy.

You're not alone
who wants change the world
with one simple poem, essay at a time.

Out there are thinkers and philosophers
ideas they are scattered everywhere
they go, sow and reap bountiful harvests
for others to savor.
(c) 2012 by chris a. quilpa
29 Dec 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It's Wintertime!

The cold and chilly days/months are here. It's definitely the season to wear warm but comfortable clothing, jackets and sweaters, and coats, mittens for babies and small children when they're out there with their family members. It's time for that early morning-brewed coffee, hot chocolate drinks, and comfort food and flavored soups during the day and night. Plus, a cup or two of hot tea to complete our mealtime, with a slice of cake or home-made cookies, and/or an apple or an orange or grapes or a banana for dessert. To some, it's family time together, gathering around a fireplace in a family/living room, enjoying food, with friends if they happen to be around visiting us or keeping us company, while listening to music, or watching TV or a favorite movie or video game, or reading a book, etc. It's just a good time to enjoy the comfort of home, especially when the heater is on  for most, if not all, of us who have built in or installed centralized heating unit in our houses. (Our winter electric and heating bills will certainly go up. That's always the case, though.)

For athletes/players, and snow/ice lovers, it's the time for sports/games involving ice and/or snow, such as bandy, bobsledding, broomball, curling, hockey, ice fishing, ice skating, luge, ringette, skeleton, skiing, skwal, slalom, sledding, snowboarding, and toboggan.

Winter, according to my Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, is the cold season between autumn, or Fall, and spring in northern latitudes (in the Northern Hemisphere from the winter solstice to the vernal equinox; in the Southern hemisphere from the summer solstice to the autumnal equinox). It covers the months of December, January, and February in the United States, and of November, December, and January in the United Kingdom or Great Britain and European countries.

December 21, this year, was the official first day of the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere. But in the Southern Hemisphere, summer has just begun and people there experience their longest day around 21st of December.

During winter, we observe that days become shorter. Sunshine is not as warm as in the summer. Wind is, at times, very chilly because in the Northern Hemisphere, the Earth's orbit is farther away from the sun than during summer months. Noticeably, most trees around are leafless or like skeletons; their leaves have fallen off, been blown away, scattered everywhere, to the ground. Why? Their leaves are too cold for the trees or shrubs and other plants to keep them. That's why certified gardeners and horticulturists suggest that we bring our potted shrubs or tropical plants inside the house if we want to enjoy them with their foliage and flowers intact.

Early winter, we see snow falling on mountain tops and some highly-elevated portion of those countries in the Northern Hemisphere. And as it gets colder, snow falls and accumulates in the lower places. In the morning, we see mists or snowflakes around, in our backyard, everywhere. Just imagine rows of houses or buildings in their rooftops covered entirely with snow! The whole community blanketed with pure white snow! Such a picture-perfect scenery outside! So cool yet a delightful sight to behold as far as the children and teens are concerned. They absolutely love to play with snow outside during winter.

What about other land animals/creatures that are wild out there? How do they cope up with wintertime? Other animals grow thick furs/coats to keep them warm. Let's find out what they do to survive. Skunks, bears and chipmunks hibernate throughout winter. Yes, they spend the time in close quarters, sleeping, in a dormant condition, such as the bears. This time, their metabolism slows down. That's why they don't have to eat everyday. They live underground for months. Others just come out to eat when the weather gets warmer. During hibernation, there are bears that give birth to their young. Likewise, when temperature drops, cold-blooded amphibians and reptiles, like crocodiles, undergo "torpor" or sluggish inactivity or state of suspended physical powers and activities, much like the bears. This state of hibernation helps the animals to control their body temperature. On the other hand, during winter, birds migrate to the Southern Hemisphere where the weather is warmer. Then they come back to their habitat in springtime.

How and what about us, folks? Adaptability is one of our primal or primeval characteristics as human beings who have existed for ages and eons. We live and have survived with all the various environments and seasons of life. We have clothing for special occasion and specific season, like winter. For summer, we wear light (cotton) outfit, shirts and shorts, sneakers, sandals or flip flop for foot wear. For spring and fall, in which we experience mild weather, we wear casual or formal wear. Of course, we want to feel comfortable. Our body tells us if we feel cold or warm or hot. So we wear something that is not only appealing and appropriate but comfy to our taste. To protect us from (extreme) cold weather conditions, like hypothermia or frostbite, we bundle up, especially when we're outside. Small children are vulnerable to cold weather. That's why we do our best to clothe them appropriately when they're out there in the cold. Yes, we wear anything to keep us warm and comfortable, in or outside of our homes---long-sleeve or two-layer shirts, ponchos or warm blankets, thick or insulated pants, gloves, boots, water-proof shoes, scarves for our neck, caps, other head gears, with mufflers, etc.

Now, smile and cheer up, folks! Well, let's talk about the so-called "winter blues" or that condition or state of being down or depressed or having depressed/melancholic spirits, okay? I remember, three years ago, I came across a newsletter "News You Can Use" by a regional medical center in our state. In it was this article about how to remain healthy this winter. The following are among the ways to maintain health during winter: 1) Sweeten or add a little sweetness to your food. Include sweet potato or yam to your diet. With 40 grams of fiber, sweet potatoes are a vital source of Vitamins A and C, and iron, besides having betacarotene as antioxidant. 2) Relax and rest, and refrain from being tired or stress out. Maintain a positive or optimistic attitude, as much as possible. No doubt, we should be in control of our emotions and feelings by focusing all the good things/happenings in our lives, rather than the unpleasant ones. Try to learn a new sport, like ice skating, if you're physically able and that you can afford. 3) Love or desire to go outside. Don't just stay in your house. If you can and are able, find time to give your body to do (even simple) exercise, walking or jogging/running, outside of the house, around the neighborhood, or in a nearest city park. That is, if there's no thick snow/black ice on the ground that compromises your safety from going out. 4) If you ski, practice safety. Use safety gears such as googles, special caps or helmets, and try to use that "over the counter" sports guard made of thick rubber to protect your teeth in case you stumble or fall. 5) Use sunglasses or colored spectacles. Even if it's winter, we still have get heat from sunshine, unless it's totally gray outside. Try using shades/eyewear that gives 100% protection to our eyes from UVA/UVB or ultra-violet rays. And don't forget to wear ski googles if you're outside and on top of a mountain. 6) Remember to think of your heart. In this season filled with joy and love, think of your heart. Visit your doctor to have your blood pressure and your other vital signs checked/examined. Same with your blood cholesterol and fasting blood glucose. Ask your doctor what needs to be done to help improve your health. 7) Drink. Do I need it, you ask? But, of course, you do. For us adults, drinking moderate amount of red wine, while having lunch or dinner, is good and beneficial to our health, especially this winter. (Note: Consult with your doctor, prior to drinking wine/alcohol, especially if you,re taking medication.) According to, there's this substance found in the skin and seeds of grapes , called "resveratrol" that's present in red wines. It is good for the health of the heart. While drinking it in moderation, it's also good to try "sparkling water" or "seltzer." 8) Don't overdo staying/snuggling in bed. Even if it's easy to turn the thermostat on ( to adjust the temperature, hot or cold, in the room or whole house), or to have multi-layered clothing/blanket at night, it's not a good idea when sleeping. It 's important to have room temperature to be between 65 degrees to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It helps to have a goodnight sleep if it's not too cold or too hot. Prefer to have a mild or cooler room environment and refrain from doing late exercise, prior to sleep, in order to have that "sleepy mood/feeling."

Yes, it's wintertime, folks! Brace ourselves with what may possibly come our way---harsh/extreme weather conditions with cold/bitter wind, snow, ice, etc. For drivers and travelers out there, let's observe safety and civility at all time (i.e, being tact and polite, and respectful when stopped by a State patrol or police officer, no road rage, no rude remarks or shouting at other drivers when confronted/provoked). Let's be extra careful and watch out for impending traffic jam (or any accident that may occur). For this coming New Year, especially if and when we attend/host a New Year's Eve party/celebration, let's not drink and drive. If we drink, let's drink in moderation. Beforehand, designate a friend-driver who is sober. Better if we call  home if we need a ride or are unable to (drive) because we're too drunk to drive. Remember not to endanger anyone, including ourselves. Yes, folks, we can save lives, make a difference in the world in varied ways. Let's practice common sense this wintertime and beyond. Have a Safe, Happy, Healthy New Year!-chris a. quilpa, 28 Dec 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Still Learning

I love knowing.

I'm still learning
just about everything.

I'm like a small child
curious and eager to learn
anything I wish and want to know.

I have a tendency to play
coy, observant and perceptive
of all things tall and small, and people
young and old,  sophisticated or ordinary.

I like and love to share
what I knew and learned
from my formal/self-education
discovery, research, and exploration
from all crude and authoritative re/sources.

Still living and learning, seeking and understanding
and trying to love-enjoy life despite its ups and downs
that's me.
(c) 2011 by chris a. quilpa
27 Dec 2011

My (2011 Christmas) Gifts

From Andrew and Christine: books
(Reaching for the Invisible God by Philip Yancey
and For One More Day by Mitch Albom).

From my wife Freny: $20 and a pair of Wrangler pants
(She already memorized my pant's size and length
now that I downsized a couple of inches, thanks God!).

From my neighbor-friends James and Felecia:
a gift set of George Martin necktie and suspenders
(made in China, where most of our goods come from now).

From our neighbor-friend Chris and his family:
a Christmas card and a tin can of Royal Dutch cookies
(delivered personally by his tween son Tigger).

From our friends all over the world: Christmas cards
and portrait of their families beautiful and lovely
(with inspiring wishes and messages of love, joy and hope).

From my dear brother and his wife from across the miles:
a glittery Christmas card with a meaningful message of love
(and an enclosed $100 check for my family to save).

From the Riley Family, my dear friends:
Archer Farms Nut and Trail mix party tray
and a Christmas card with two Red Lobster gift cards.

From my loving siblings in the East Coast and my in-laws:
best wishes---Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

And for my humble gift to you all: simply myself and Jesus.
(c) 2011 by chris a. quilpa
27 Dec 2011

Hospital Visit The Day After Christmas

Not my intention
to visit the hospital
(where I used to work
for eleven straight years)
a day after Christmas
but I did---not to be seen
but I did---not my plan
but to accompany my wife
with signs and symptoms
of not feeling well for days
of holiday jitters and bugs, unlike me
uncomfortable on early Christmas morn
and the day after, that's today.

Hard to hide, but I have had a heavy heart
and it burst out on Christmas Day morning
but in spite of my unexpected discomfort
I attended the morning church services
the Christmas Day Mass, with my family.

As planned, we had family Christmas
celebration in the afternoon with food
like "pancit" and rice cakes of different flavors
and gifts for/with friends, like the Rileys
who brought us joy in our midst
in the person of beautiful Baby Emily
our friend Mike's cute little granddaughter
the first child to his daughter Jennifer.

Carrying cute Baby Emily, I felt relieved
and that everyone in our party was happy
my face radiated with joy over my pain
and I was overwhelmed with a feeling
that Jesus visited me via Baby Emily
together, we ate our fill with thanksgiving
sharing what we all prepared the gifts
of company, comfort and camaraderie.

Tired but full and happy after the party
I slept with my discomfort forgotten
but felt the morning the day after Christmas
with light-headed feeling and uneasiness
with slight chest pain and difficulty breathing
that prompted me to have hospital visit today.

Yes, my wife and I visited the hospital
we were both seen and examined
separately at different rooms or stations
at the Emergency Room, with our reasons
and concerns and claims why we were there
because we're not at all feeling well
because we're sick, in the first place.

I was seen in the main ER by nurses and doctors
because of the nature of my conditions and complaints
but she in another part of the Emergency Room
by a physician assistant, she said afterwards.

We have had both chest X-rays taken
I in the main X-ray department
by a black guy X-ray technologist
while she in the ER X-ray room
by a former colleague, retired from the Navy
but currently a hospital civilian employee there.

I had oxygen tube on my nose
and vital signs monitored, including EKG
a male Navy nurse was assigned to me
drew blood on my left arm where he set up IV.

As soon as my wife was discharged
she came to my cubicle-room
where she saw me in that gurney-bed
with oxygen and all the attached cables
of those monitoring devices
which made me a little bit anxious
if my condition is not that good
or that it is bad, as I thought.

After three hours in bed for careful observation
I finally got discharged by that male Navy nurse
who I came to find out was a former enlisted
not as a hospital corpsman but with a rating
different from the nursing/medical field.
he directed me to go to the Pharmacy
on the second floor to pick up my medicine
the same disposition order for my wife.

Puzzled I was after the hospital visit
but it was such a good feeling after
to be there again at the hospital
not as a worker, healthcare provider
but this time as an outpatient in need
of medical attention and care.
(c) 2011 by chris a. quilpa
26 Dec 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas is...

(Introductory Note: The word Christ refers to "the Anointed One" or, the Messiah (the "One Who is Sent"). The word "Christmas" is first found in use in the year 1038. It comes from the Old English: Cristes Maesse or, the "Mass of Christ". On this day of the year, Christians all over the world celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Son of God---"the Christ"---fully God and fully man: God in human form.)

Christmas is...

a time to celebrate and commemorate
the birthday of Jesus, the Holy One
who came down to live among us
to give us life and hope.

a time to be merry
festive and jolly
to be well and happy
with our friends and family.

a  time to spread the spirit of the season
the joy of caring and giving
loving and sharing
of ourselves for others.
(c) 2011 by chris a. quilpa
24 Dec 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thank You

At the outset, I'd like to thank God for my life, via my parents (deceased), Jesus Christ for saving and inspiring me, my siblings and their families for their contribution to my life, and my family and in-laws for their love and understanding.

To all my friends and relatives, or relations, all over the world, thank you for always there, available when I needed you. A humble, sincere "Thank you" to all my teachers, and mentors, still living or dead, for all your efforts in helping me to become a better educated, and law-abiding citizen. To all government/church leaders, pastors, and missionaries, and saints I have come to know and who have influenced/inspired me to be good, I thank you. To all public servants, government leaders (local, national, international), I appreciate and thank you for working tirelessly to make our life-world safer, healthier, and peaceful.

I thank all of our fellow veterans, past and present, and our active and Reserve servicemen and women who have served, and continue to serve courageously, to protect our freedom that we now enjoy today, and for those who have helped others secure their basic human rights. Likewise, I am grateful for our police officers, patrol officers of all states, and those law-enforcement officials who have been doing their job well, protecting our citizens and maintaining law and order in our respective community. Thank you for all your service and sacrifices. To all our civilian support personnel,  thank you, too, for all your expertise.

To all past and present teachers/educators, academicians, medical/nursing/healthcare professionals, poets, writers, journalists, reporters, lawyers, judges, sales representatives, plumbers, electricians, beauticians, handy men and women, office workers, farmers, fishermen, bakers, chefs/cooks, bartenders and food servers, seamstresses, artists, entertainers, designers, architects, engineers, producers and directors, manufacturers, pilots and flight crew personnel, scientists, and others who contribute to make our life better, I thank you so much for all the good that you do and have done.

Finally, I would like to express my special gratitude to all the innovative and creative people behind the creation, production, promotion, and management of the internet, TV and radio programs, Google, Facebook, YouTube, and all people involved in the manufacturing of all the electronic and technological gadgets used to connect, and reconnect us  all. Thank you to all bloggers, photographers, music and film/video producers, and YouTube up-loaders.

To all who have disabilities, whether of mind and/or body, I thank you for your courage, determination, and inspiration, and for allowing me to get to know you and your stories.

And, thank you to all people of goodwill. May we all love, respect, and understand one another irrespective of who/what we are. Again, I thank you so much for everything that you do to make our world safer and peaceful.

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to us all!-chris a. quilpa, 23 Dec 2011

But I Am...

I may not be nice,
but naughty and silly,
does it matter
who cares, but I am...
living the present  moment well.

I may not be grand and sleek
like the piano you wish to play with,
I may not be the coolest car on the block
you always wanted to drive and cruise around,
I may not be the precious gem-diamond
you've always wanted to own or possess,
I may not be the award-winning, bestseller book/writer
you've always wanted to read again and again,
I may not be the best show, movie, or video
you always love to watch over and over again,
I may not be the best song or homily
you've always wanted to hear or listen to,
I may not be the awesome guy or pal
you always want to befriend or be with,
I may not be the good-looking actor-singer
you always wanted to aspire and emulate,
I may not be the best, the ideal, perfect mate
you may wish to spend the rest of your life with,
I may not be good enough, rich and powerful enough
that you've always sought for help or assistance when needed...

But I am...who I am...
living (and trying to enjoy) the present moment well.
(c) 2011 by chris a. quilpa
23 Dec 2011

To Be Happy, Love To Give

(Introduction. This is my plea to/for all of us: This Christmas and beyond, take it easy. Don't worry, be happy. Give to love. And, love to give. I tell you, it is liberating, inspiring, and fun. (I have done it before and I'll try to continue doing it, for as long as I can.) Yes, it changes everything for a better world, a better life to/for the rest of us.)

"Give, until it hurts." It's a statement that is powerful, meaningful, and commanding, yet inspiring.

I leave it up to you to interpret it, actualize it, live with it, if you so decide. But, as one big family of the human race, let's try to do our best to help alleviate the conditions and suffering of those underrepresented and underprivileged among us. Monetary or in-kind, big or small, our financial and moral support to charitable and/or religious organizations, social programs and projects do make a difference in other people's lives.

But a word of caution: Check out the organization/program/project, where you plan to give/donate your time, talent, and treasure, to make sure that it's legitimate and that your donation/contribution really goes to where it is intended.

Yes, my dear friends, there's joy (and life, and love, and hope) in giving! Despite our economic downturn, we have generous people in our midst who give for the sake of giving. Whether they are rich/affluent or barely making their ends meet, these people give because they find joy and happiness in sharing their 3t's (time, talent/s, treasure/s) with/to others. To them, giving isn't only about material thins. They love to volunteer, sing in a church choir, listen to a child or sick person in need of solace, comfort/company, praying for someone, going for an errand, doing simple chores for others, or doing just anything, i.e., writing/reading a poem, a short story, an article, that someone else finds it interesting, entertaining, enlightening or uplifting, and inspirational.

In Acts 20:35 of the Holy Bible, we read: "There is more happiness in giving than receiving."

Harvard University and the University of British Columbia did conduct a study in 2008 on the interrelationship of giving and feeling happiness. The report, published in a scientific journal Science, shows that people who made/gave/donated gifts to others and to charities are happier than folks who didn't give. The essence  or main point of the study's outcome was giving to others and to charity made people happier and was more important than how much money they have had. the researchers, led by psychology professor Elizabeth W. Dunn of the University of British Columbia, also found out that personal spending was unrelated to happiness.

"Happiness is a by-product of helping others," according to The Book of Positive Quotations (Compiled and Arranged by John Cook).

Let's take a look at Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most influential women in the world today. She looks happy, and engaging, each time she hosted her ever-popular and famous TV talk show, Oprah, now retired after 25 years? of existence. (She has had her OWN---Oprah Winfrey Network.) With her wealth and prestige, she has helped, and influenced positively, a whole lots and lots of people around the world. Yes, folks, even to this day, she continues to give her best to inspire others, to give back to society what she has received: money, wealth, wisdom, fame, and success. And her strong influence continues to flourish in the person of those people/professionals/celebrities who guested in her show, like Dr. Phil Mc Graw, Dr. Mamet Oz, Rachel Ray, Nate Berkus, who have their own TV show already, and the likes of artists-singers like Josh Groban, Justin Bieber, Michael Buble, Charice Pempengco, to name a few. all of the above-mentioned personalities are now successful in their own right. All because of Oprah's total giving of herself to/for others.

Mother Teresa (1910-1997) spoke highly of charity and giving. In fact, she lived it. A whole chapter in her book, No Greater Love, published in 1997, deals with giving. "Give of your hands to serve and of your hearts to love," she said.

When she was alive, doing acts of charity with fellow nuns or "sisters" in Calcutta, India, where she founded the Missionaries of Charity in 1950, Mother Teresa used to say: "I do not want you to give me your abundance...I want you to give of yourself. The love you put into giving is the most important thing...I don't want people donating just to get rid of something...Giving is something different; it is sharing... I also don't want you to give me what you have left over. I want you to give from your want until you really feel it!"

One of the great humanitarians of our time, and once considered a "living saint" by many Catholics, Blessed Mother Teresa received numerous awards attesting her "self-giving" to humanity, such as the United States' Medal of Freedom, the United Nations' Albert Schweitzer Prize, and the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

Now, folks, aren't we inspired to do something to be happy about? Love to give, if we believe that giving is loving, and loving is giving.

To be happy, love to give. Give to love and to be happy. Thanks for reading this piece of mine. Hey, congratulations! You've just given yourself a favor by spending your precious time with me via reading my thoughts today. (Yay, silly you, you might say!) I do hope and pray you're happy and inspired to do good for others. And with that, I thank you. I really do. And, please, spread the word. To be happy, love to give. Do it now, not later!

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year to all!-chris a. quilpa, 23 Dec 2011.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Visiting and Reading (and Writing) Blogs

Visiting and reading others' blogs is truly a learning experience. It answers to my question on my profile here which is what's out there? Everything that you've never thought of, you'll find it here. How much truth in them? That depends on the blog and the one writing/posting it. But, to my intuition, there's the truth, especially if such post is accompanied by a photo or two. I believe it to be true for why should I not, if it truly depicts life.

Reading the blogs of others, I feel amused, fascinated and entertained, too. I learn a lot from reading them. Bloggers and their posted, shared pieces and artistry may be truly inspirational and instructional, educational and informative. They are as varied as the blog they posted; as natural and beautiful and awe-inspiring as the photos/audio-videos/pictorials (of their families, children, pet animals, cars, toys, idyllic/pastoral scenery, tourist spots and other historical places of interests, food, recipes) posted. With accompanying music, and videos, too, on some of the blogs, they add beauty and color, and style to their blogs. They are diverse yet universal in their story-telling and communicating with others, like me. Somehow, I feel connected to these "bloggers" who represent a diasporic group of the entire human race. Like me, they talk/discuss about human conditions, and present or show issues, topics that require attention and re/action, or feedback, or comments. They are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, members of religious group, students, professionals, regular or ordinary citizens with views and news to tell. Their age vary. They are either male or female. Likewise, they have followers/friends who, like them, come from all over the world. For others, they use pet names to hide their true identity, I guess.

It makes my day visiting and reading other blogs, on the internet. It continues to amaze me how powerful the cyber world is! OMG! I can't believe what and how much/many stuffs are out there---zillion of info, and photos, and music, and videos, as well, in addition to billions and billions of income-generating ads!

Rest assure, folks, I continue to surf/visit and read other blogs, and write mine, too, for as long as I'm able and that my laptop computer, courtesy of my nephew Tony in San Jose, CA, is functional. I thank him and my sister Betty and family, too, for their love and care, and generosity, too. And to all bloggers out there, thank you for posting and writing your blogs. Last, but not the least, I'm grateful to my family for their support and understanding, and love for me. What are you, guys, waiting for? Visit and read (and write your) blog/s, too. Can't wait to see and read them. Go on. Good luck, and have fun!-chris a. quilpa 21 Dec 2011

About "Early" Retirement

"Welcome to the club!" That's what they say. I wonder what "club" were they talking about 'til later on when I got more exposure to fellow "baby boomers?" I couldn't believe it that I am now a "retiree." Am I that old and downtrodden already, huh? I don't hide my age and look. What you see in me is what you get! Plain and simple, folks. I may have changed a lot, physically, mentally, socially, but it's just me now---living the present moment well, to the best I can.

To retire doesn't mean to rest, for me. It means freedom, to me. Conditionally, I feel that I am free...since I retired from the Service six years ago.

Did I anticipate or expect "early" retirement? No, not at all. I have had plans, after twenty years of my US military service. One of them was to continue working, teaching in public school like my wife. Having classroom teaching experience (from the Philippines, 1977-1983) prior to serving in the US military, I have always been passionate about sharing what I have (knowledge, talent, skills, life experiences) to others who were eager and desirous to learn something from me. As a volunteer mentor-tutor, I have volunteered in various schools where I was deployed and got stationed at while still on active duty status. I did give my best shot, trying to make a difference in the world, just as I did in the military service---giving/providing optimal/quality comfort and care to all of our hospital's/clinic's patients, information dissemination to other healthcare givers and  beneficiaries about just anything relevant to military work and patient education, care and safety, and doing extra work above and beyond what's expected of me, a proactive team player.

But, as we all go through with life's ebbs and flow, performing our assigned tasks and responsibilities the best we can, without reservation, there are inevitable circumstances we meet/encounter beyond our control. We deal with them in/with various attitudes and approaches. At times, we don't know what to do, how to react appropriately, sensibly. We lose temporarily that sense of focus/direction/purpose in life in those moments, especially if our physical body was harmed or hurt, damaged or invaded. We feel all the different types of pain---tingling, excruciating, debilitating, numbing, to name a few---notwithstanding that long-lasting and chronic pain. We have a lot of questions left unanswered as to why such thing happened, how and why did it go wrong, despite our total submission of ourselves and complete reliance and dependence to those educated, certified professionals assigned to try to help us, to heal and take care of us. We're left devastated and depressed, and agitated, at times when the pain and suffering we have had become unbearable. We play the blame game. Sometimes, we think of things we never have thought about in life. What if..."Nothing matters at all, in life," we may utter in total dismay. We sulk and suck. But, then, we come to think that life goes on, that there's still the sun up there giving off light and warmth to our damaged, yet beautiful, wonderful Earth we live in.

Yes, I have dealt with all of the above situations. After years of analyzing and studying myself, with others around me, I come to manage my life the way I want it to be. Do I mind what others say or do? Not at all. I'm not affected by their rants or opinions. In fact, I respect and welcome them. Of course, I just have to sift or filter them to suit my taste. Actually, I learn a lot from them and those publicly-shared ideas. In the end, I come to realize that what matters most, what is important, to me, is the present moment.  This "living the present moment well" phenomenon or reality (which I've come across in 1980 while attending Genfest with the Focolare Movement in Rome, Italy) is what I've been trying to put into practice now. Nowadays, I let things go the way they are. No worry, no stress, no headache. Truly, it's not worth the effort trying to do/correct/change things that are beyond my sphere of influence. "Let it be, let it be..." as the Beatles song goes. Well, now you see how a previous knowledge becomes of good use, beneficial and influential to me?  

I may not be teaching now but I feel as if I've been doing it already, sharing my talent or skill and knowledge via this blog, writing simple poetry, article to everyone who wishes to know me more.

To rest is to relax. Yes, I do that, too. But to retire, especially if it's "early", is a whole new experience for me. It's a fact and a way of life, I think. And, I'm living and loving it, though I try to enjoy every moment of my "retirement." Yes, I live for now, for I feel free. But I continue searching for and knowing, and understanding the Truth that sets me free completely. That, I guess, is my ultimate goal and mission for the rest of my life. Agree or disagree with me, let's leave it like that. What can I say? Ciao! Be safe and have fun. And, I wish you all the best in life! Take care.-chris a. quilpa, 21 Dec 2011

About Chanukah or Hannukah

Since we live in a multifaceted world, so colorful and diverse, it's always nice and interesting to know and learn other (ethnic) traditions, other than our own. If and when we're open/exposed to ideas and other knowledge, we grow, and ultimately mature, and become responsible citizens of the world. By learning/knowing other cultures, customs and traditions, we become more aware of each others' (human) life/experience and, hence, try to work together to tackle with, or find solutions to our common problems, issues and concerns in order to live harmoniously, together, to make our life bearable and enjoyable, worth-living, that is. In doing so, we become (more) accepting and tolerant and understanding of others. After all, we're all brothers and sisters on Earth---all nomads, vagabonds, wa/onderers, but dreamers, explorers, risk-takers, losers-winners, sinners-saints, etc.


For Jewish community, Chanukah or Hanukkah (HAH-nu-kah) is the Feast or Festival of Lights. It is one of the most celebrated Jewish holidays. It's a time for family and friends, lighting the "Menorah," games of Dreidel, songs with children and sizzling potato "latkes." The holiday celebrates the events which took place over 2,300 years ago in the land of Judea, which is now Israel. Chanukah is a celebration of the victory of the Maccabees and the re-dedication of the Jerusalem Temple. It also commemorates the "miracle" of the oil that burned for eight (8) days. Hence, Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days. It begins on the eve of the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev, which falls in November or December.

In the land of Judea, Judas or Judah Maccabee and his brothers fought against the Syrian king Antiochus. The king had ordered the Jewish people to reject their God, their religion, their customs and their beliefs and to worship the Greek gods. As members of the Hasmonean family of Jewish leaders and rulers comprising the sons of Mattathias and their descendants, the Maccabees were finally successful in driving the Syrians out of Israel and reclaimed the Temple in Jerusalem. The Maccabees cleaned the building and removed the hated Greek symbols and statues, and they wanted to light the eternal light, known as the N'er Tamid. The eternal light is present in every Jewish house of worship. Once lit, the oil lamp should never be extinguished; however, only a tiny jug of oil was found with only enough oil for a single day. They filled and lit the oil lamp, and a "miracle" occurred as the tiny amount of oil kept the eternal light lit not for one day, but for eight  days! The word "Chanukah" or "Hanukkah", means "dedication or "re-dedication."


Today marks the beginning of the eight-day Jewish festival of Hanukkah. It celebrates the re-dedication of the Jerusalem Temple in 164 B.C., after it had been desecrated by the pagan king of Syria.

A nine-branched candle holders or candelabrum called a "menorah" (from the Hebrew word for "lamp") is used during this feast. The Chanukah Menorah is called a HANUKIYAH. There are eight candles, four on each side, and are lit successively on each of the eight days of Chanukah. The ninth candle, the main candle which is at the center of the candelabrum, is called SHAMASH. It is lit first and then is used to light the other candles. The candles are placed in the Menorah from left to right.

The nine-branched menorah is patterned after the seven-branched golden candelabrum used in the Temple. The latter symbolized, among other things, the seven days of creation.

After the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., it became a tradition not to duplicate outside the Temple anything that had been part of its rituals. That is why today, the menorah used in synagogues and in homes has nine, not seven, candles.

The Prayer for Chanukah Candle-Lighting

Every night during Chanukah, the candles are lit and the vening prayers are recited. Each night of Chanukah, another candle of the Menorah is lighted until all eight lamps shine on the eighth night.

Chanukah Customs: Dreidel

One of the best known symbols of Chanukah is the Dreidel (DRAY-duhl). The Dreidel is a four-sided spinning top. On each side is a Hebrew letter: "Shin," "Hay," "Gimel," and "Nun."

Dreidel is a popular game during Chanukah. Its origin dates back to Syrian rule. Children used to study the Torah in secret. The TORAH is the entire body of Jewish religious literature, law, and teaching as contained chiefly in the Old Testament and the Talmud (the collection of Jewish law and tradition consisting of the Mishnah and the Gemara and being either the edition produced in Palestine A.D. c400 or the larger more important one produced in Babylonia A.D. c500).

Chanukah Gelt

On Chanukah, it's traditional to give all children Chanukah Gelt (money). Of course, this beautiful custom adds to the children's happiness and festive spirit. Today, some Hanukkah Gelt comes in the form of chocolate.

(References: Holiday Guide, CHILDCRAFT's Holidays and Birthdays; Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, and The Little Blue Book (Advent and Christmas Seasons 2011-2012)
-chris a. quilpa
21 Dec 2011

In Search of Truth

exposed to all
i continue to seek
to try to understand
the Truth that sets me
free while roaming around
in circles going back and forth
breathing and giving life while i can
to others in need of/with Life, Love, Hope.

in search of Truth, i know i encounter confusion
rejection, tension, humiliation, prohibition, persecution
but armed and equipped, cloaked and clothed, insulated and shielded
with determination and Life, i will survive and succeed
even when i am gone, i'll be around witnessing
enjoying the fruits of my endless searching
for the Truth that sets me free
completely, eternally.
(c) 2011 by chris a. quilpa
21 Dec 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Inspired and Ready

Inspired and ready

to choose to continue

to live to love

to pray to praise

to sing to say

"Jesus, come!"

Jesus come

and fill me up

with your Love

that I can love

without fear

without doubt.

Inspired I am

ready to wait

and to welcome

You in others.

(c) 2011 by chris.a.quilpa
20 Dec 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Patience and Perseverance

wait and see
but don't lose hope.

St. Monica for her son St. Agustine
Sts. Zechariah and Elizabeth for St. John the Baptist
and many others out there not mentioned
in history past, they all waited...
and did not lose hope.
they had faith.

patience and perseverance
two words out of love
for life, from Life

wait and see
but don't lose hope.

have faith.

(c) 2011 by chris.a.quilpa
19 Dec 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Personal Season's Message

It's that time of year again when we all get excited, perked up and pressured (and stressed out) because of the holiday season. Perhaps, to most of us, Christmas brings nostalgic memories of family reunions sharing one another the spirit of charity, joy, and love. Somehow, this age-old Christian tradition offers/gives us a reason to hope for a better life, and to celebrate our lives amidst a crazy, unstable, volatile yet beautiful and wonderful world we live in. It reminds us of our unquestionable faith in Jesus Christ, our Saviour. His coming into our lives and His strong influence to/on us inspire us to continue to do good deeds and simple acts of love, in various ways and capacities, to others, near or far, who are also our brothers and/or sisters in Christ. 

As we observe and celebrate the holiday season with material and spiritual abundance, with funfare and merriment, let's not forget the less or least fortunate in our midst. We know and are aware that they're everywhere. They, too, deserve to celebrate, to enjoy the Yuletide season with our generous gift-giving (of ourselves), with our sincere and genuine generosity and kindness, with our open arms, warm hugs and kisses of comfort and loving care. Let's open our doors/hearts when they come---the children, young and old---innocently smiling and singing, to the best they can, Christmas carols that lift/ enliven our damp spirits. Their visit, with their parents, should not be regarded a waste of time for us, or a burden or nuisance to us. Rather, it should be a delightful blessing, an opportunity for us to practice charity and love.  After all, aren't we all children of God the Almighty, brothers and/or sisters of Jesus Christ?

Christmas, therefore, is a time for us to be all together, in unison with the rest of the world, welcoming with open arms and enjoying His coming and living with/among us. As we celebrate Jesus Christ's nativity in and among us all, we can imagine how and why we came into this world, too, out of love, with much hope and joy and inspiration. And, as we await with anticipation and excitement for the arrival of a new year, 2012, let's hope and pray that our world will be more peaceful, responsive to our needs, and safer to live and to succeed. Moreover, let's hope and pray for our government and religious leaders, worldwide, who are working tirelessly to uplift our economic and spiritual lives in addition to issues related to equality and justice for all. Happy Holidays to all!  -chris.a.quilpa/17 Dec 2011

Christmas Thoughts

Gifts wrapped under a tall Christmas tree
in the living/family room the fireplace is lit
its warmth is felt by everyone
gathered together as one
picture-perfect family
reunion---in the spirit of the season
the joy and love and peace
the giving and sharing
of one's Self to the others
the best gift that we can offer
that's the true spirit of Christmas.

As Christmas songs and carols played
and Yuletide wishes and greetings sent
to loved ones near or far
across the miles the world rejoices
for His coming down to us
to renew our hope and commitment
for Peace on Earth and Goodwill
to humankind!
(c) 2011 by chris.a.quilpa
17 dec 2011

Christmas Haiku

Christmastime is here
cool nights, early morning mists
yuletide tunes are played.

Church choir sing with glee
proclaiming His arrival
bringing Peace to all.

Jesus is the One
reason for celebration
for Christmas season.

Joy to the world now
Jesus is born among us
with Love, let's rejoice!

Winter wonderland
snow all over the ground
people having fun!
(c) 2011 by chris. a. quilpa
17 Dec 2011

Advent Antiphon

Come, Jesus, come
come fill us with your love
fill our hearts with joy and hope
with your Good News of salvation.

Come, Jesus, come
come sing a song for us
and spread your lovely light
to warm us up this wintry cold.

Come, Jesus, come
come lift our spirits high
erase our doubts and fears
and bring us your smiles and cheers.
(c) 2011 by chris a. quilpa
17 Dec 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

Out There, In the Open, Ideas Flow

Hello, out there, folks! Here's me sharing with you my random thoughts, ideas that came to mind while out there with my wife. Enjoy and have a pleasant day!

It's a good feeling, really (and so thankful I am) that I was able to have our 2008 Toyota Sienna its periodic maintenance and  professional cleaning, inside and out, already done at the local dealer where we originally bought it three years ago. As you know, folks, having been a retired US serviceman since 2005 (after 20 years of military service), I don't usually rise up from bed early, unless there's a compelling/valid and motivational reason for me to do so. But last week was an exception because of the above-mentioned case.
No, I wasn't pressured by my wife to have our van serviced and cleaned. (The fact is, she used to drive it daily to and from her school-work, but not anymore because I probably/finally have opened her eyes to the economic reality that we need to save gas =$s by not driving it to work. She now drives my old, but reliable and fuel-efficient, Toyota Avalon, five days a week.) I did it for myself, the initiative, I mean, to have it done before Christmas. It's just a simple gesture for Advent, for me, as I've been preparing myself internally/spiritually for His coming/arrival through my daily praying the Rosary/meditation and reading of The Good News/The Little Blue Book/Give Us This Day, and (active) participation in Sunday Mass/church services.

Now, here's a repeat performance, in my case, again. Yesterday, I had to wake/rise up early, at six in the morning, and be with her at work. Why? She took a half-day off from work for an "appointment." Although I slept good the night before, I believe, I have had that lazy feeling (of resentment), if you so describe it, the fact that my body was kinda signalling me to say "no, you don't want to rise up early. Just stay in bed and let the world turn as it is!" But, then, I had to rise up. I took a quick shower, even if the temp was in the upper 30s. Got dressed up casually after, and ready to go... out there, somewhere in other parts of the world. (By the way, I took my morning blood pressure pill , prior to going downstairs to rev/warm up the van.) I felt good, with her on the wheels.

Boy, it's so chilly and cold outside! But on the way to the city of Hampton, passing by the Monitor-Merrimac Bridge-Tunnel, we let the van's heater go on. And, with the Christmas carols played on the radio, it felt comfortable, being a passenger with chronic lower back pain problem. With delight, we sang along with the radio. Ah, the spirit of His coming is undeniably all over, in the airwaves, everywhere, as observed in houses and buildings, and stores/malls outside with fancy, elaborate Christmas decorations here and there.

Meanwhile, in the Science faculty room, I met one of my wife's female co-teacher (a newcomer there in school,she  said.) I also encountered Lorrie, my wife's long-time colleague in the department. She's white and her married name indicates that of Italian descent. We exchanged pleasantries, and then I took the time to personally acknowledged and thanked her for that usual, yearly Christmas card (with personal newsletter of hers) we received from her last week. Then, without time wasted, my wife and I headed to her classroom, with her teaching materials and laptop on hand, before the arrival of her students. A few minutes late, her students came in, one by one. After the morning's greetings, Pledge of Allegiance and announcement overboard by Mr. J, the school's principal, my wife briefly introduced me to her class. I smiled and said "Hello" and "Good Morning!" They seem to be respectful to a visitor like me, I thought.

Well, before the class started, I had the urge to use the Men's Restroom. Ooppsss, it's kinda untimely to use their restroom but what I can I do. I've got to do what is necessary for me, for my health, eh. Anyway, back to my wife's classroom, I really felt relieved, much better. I decided to sit quietly in a corner in her classroom, reading my Give Us This Day book (Daily Prayer for Today's Catholic), Advent-Christmas 2011 edition.). Unmindful of the teaching-learning evolution going on in her classroom, I just chilled out with my eyes and ears open to the book I was reading. But, you know what, I couldn't concentrate, what I was reading, or shall I say I had difficulty understanding what I was reading because of the "distraction" around me. Nevertheless, I had to force myself to understand the texts, and go along with the flow of life, remain calm and pleasant as much as I can be. Yes, that's exactly what I did! After all, I loaf a lot, trying to enjoy my life as a retiree.

Before I forget, for $6.50, I bought a box of KrispyKreme doughnut in happenstance from one of my wife's female high school students, named Anesha (who said she's doing fundraising with her group in school so they could go to New York on an educational field trip?) I could figure out my wife wasn't happy about me throwing out my $6.50, but I convinced her afterwards that such a gesture is helpful for a worthy cause for the students. Plus, I haven't taken a bite for a doughnut that's soft and sweet for a long time. I wished Anesha and her group good luck on their trip to NY!

It's planning time for her, after her first block class. That means that her classroom is vacant for the second block. That means that she does have time to prepare for her next class which is an hour and twenty minutes long, just like the first one? As for me, I took the opportunity to "taste" that doughnut. Yes, yummy! I offered her the box, but she said shed eat one later. I enjoyed another one. Boy, was I delighted and thankful for the moment! She, on the other hand, was busy getting some lesson materials from a drawer for her next students.

We went back to the Science faculty room to get go somewhere. Why? As I mentioned earlier, she took a half-day off because she has an "appointment."  Well, the truth of the matter is, we're going to Charlottesville to pick up our daughter in her dorm at UVA for Christmas break. She has just finished her Finals and she's ready to go home for the holidays!

After emptying our bladders, and bringing our stuff with us, we were ready to leave the school building. Walking through the hallway and passing by her classroom on the way out, we happened to see her subsitute (right where I was sitting quietly in that same spot in the corner of the classroom during her first block class), a female middle-aged teacher smiling at us. My wife approached her, told her she left a bottled water for her in the faculty room. Likewise, my wife also introduced me to her. From a distance, I smiled at her and said "Hi, how are you?" I didn't bother going near her anymore to shake hands with her, since we would be leaving the school-building momentarily. "Have a nice day!" that's what we said to her afterwards.

Well, it was past eleven in the morning when we headed for Charlottesville. As usual, she was the one on the wheel, especially if the trip involves two-three hours long. As I've mentioned in my previous published articles that I've written years ago, she loves driving. I do, too. But she does it more for she's got more experience way back in our native country, the Philippines. On the road, while listening to our CD on Christmas Songs, I ate my prepared lunch (a small portion of leftover boiled/steamed Thai rice, mild Italian sausage that I cooked a day ago, and vegetable salad with no salad dressing) while she ate doughnuts. She has one prepared lunch, too, but said she'd eat it later. The trip was smooth and regular. No traffic backlog, just perfect. And, the day beautiful and inspiring!

After eating, she suggested I have to text our daughter Tintin telling her we're out on our way there.  That's what I did. Then, my mind wandered while she was busy driving. Did I tell you how good the smell of our van was! Yes, I love it when it's clean and I don't smell it dusty inside. It's just plain pleasant feeling to me, even if the van is three years old now. I know, it's not like the smell of that brand-new vehicle that is capable of transporting people to wherever they want to go. But, I feel good sitting comfortably next to the driver in front who's experienced and safety-conscious. You bet, that's my loving wife (who drives me and everyone at home crazy?).

Out there, in the open, ideas flow as the title of this piece suggests. I wander and wonder when I'm out there seeing the world. Here's what I've scribbled on two small sheets of recycled pieces of paper, while she and I were on our way to pick up Tintin from her dorm at UVA (University of Virginia) where she's now fourth year in college. It's a simple poem which I titled "Out There, Ideas." I hope you like it.

Out There, Ideas

Out there
in the open
wild and unpredictable
events and happenings happen
planned and unexpected
while ideas flow like a stream
out there somewhere
constantly and uninterruptedly
flowing steadily...
as poets and writers capture them
in their poems, songs, stories, journals
for humanity and posterity
these ideas pregnant and meaningful
beautiful and wonderful
inspiring and inspirational
entertaining and educational
provocative and controversial
truly, they're out there
these ideas that inspire us
comfort and enlighten us
to seek further the Truth
that frees and liberates us
completely, unconditionally.

Yes, we're human
out of our beastly nature
because of ideas out there
in the open, up for grabs
for those/others who dare
to love and share life
and freedom to others.

Ideas---let them in
to transform us
and other worlds
out there.
-chris a. quilpa
15 Dec 2011

As expected, the three of us got home in Hampton Roads safely past seven last night, from Charlottesville. I'm glad and thankful we're home. I can't wait to see my son Andrew back home, too, for the holidays, next week. Thank you, Lord. And, thank you, Jesus! Until next time around, folks. Have a wonderful day and Happy Holidays to all of us!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Through This Village Old and New

Through this village
old and new
I've lived life
of struggles before freedom
and seen (most of) the world
with my desire to learn more
with an open mind and heart
that is accepting
what's out there
that is respecting
what others think and believe in
that is understanding
what the nature of man is...
       rebellious and impatient
       yet loving and compromising!

They say, no man is an island
I agree, we live to love (or hate) life
interdependently and independently
with our uniqueness and diversity.

Yes, we're all different
yet, one and the same...
we all belong to a village
of vagabonds and wanderers
searching for what's out there
to be explored and discovered
from our pool of dreams
in our village old and new
where we've experienced life
where we've seen the world
with our own worlds
and encounter other villages
other than our own.

(c) 2011 by chris quilpa

Hi World! I'm Back and Still Alive! Random Thoughts...

OMG, I'm bouncing back again! Thanks to God that I'm hanging in there, and very much alive (again, I suppose!) and trying to enjoy each moment of my  "semi-sedentary/retirement" life. Well, I just have to keep a positive attitude with a strong faith in Our Almighty God and my one and only Saviour and Friend, Jesus Christ.   Amidst my condition, living in/with pain (chronic lower back and fibromyalgia), I have to accept things as they are and to not regret what happened because it's done, and I can't go back to the days when I am able to function well. I won't say "normally" because things change in life, just like life itself. We all change and do a lot of transformation as we continue our journey in this life-world.

Today, Saturday, I have had the opportunity to visit my Facebook page and am glad and thankful to "re-connect" with my so-called friends and family members--- reading their and my previous messages/comments, and notes (posted poems) and seeing their and my posted photos, and finding new "friends." What an experience to be doing two things at the same time, listening to old songs of one of my all-time favorite artists or singers/actors in the world, Nora Aunor, via You Tube on another laptop (my son Andrew's old one that he used in college at the University of Virginia for four years, from 2006-2010). Thanks to my nephew Tony in San Jose, CA, for giving me this IBM laptop (an older version but still running great!), the one I'm now using for writing my blog. Hey, I've got to tell you what I've been doing lately: I've been using this IBM (Think Pad) laptop, a lot, in watching different soap operas, international, that is! I love it and am learning a lot from other culture via YouTube. Thanks, YouTube, and for those people behind posting/uploading those videos and films/movies.

(I've got to take a break from writing this blog, for a minute or two, to take in my morning routine meds for maintaing blood pressure. I have to take it every morning, probably for life?, an hour prior to having breakfast.)

Well, how are you guys out there? I bet you're all getting ready and prepared for the Holiday of all holidays, Christmas! Observably, Christmas decorations are out there, everywhere. I'm sure our houses and halls are decked, too, or they're still waiting to be decorated. My house is not completely decorated yet, but in time before Christmas, we're ready. I'm sure of that. Anyway, the holiday stress is getting into our system but, guys, let's chill out and take it easy. Choosing, buying the right Christmas present/gifts for our family and friends, and others; paying our bills on time, making sure that we don't miss anything that will affect our credit rating/scores, worrying what comes next with the economic condition we're all into, world-wide, etc. Problems here and there, local, national, global. And, what about our spiritual life, too? Let's not neglect learning and knowing The Truth who sets us free from everything that's mundane and earthly.Yes, there's always a revolution going on in other parts of our world. There's always chaos, destruction, persecution, war and diseases that can be avoidable and preventable. But, whether we like it or not, this is our world, alive and changing, evolving, transforming, hopefully for the better for all of us, earthlings. We have to accept the fact that there are comings and goings in life. That's just the law of nature. We live, we die, so others will survive. More explorations and discoveries are currently in the works, too, for the benefit of all mankind. On the the other hand, that elusive "peace" on Earth that we've been praying for ages remains a dream for us to work on and realize. Yes, our quest for an everlasting peace continues for as long as we're talking, connecting, and reconnecting with one another, globally-speaking. I know, it takes time. It takes a lot of love and efforts and energy to reach out to others. Making peace with ourselves, first, is crucial to achieving Peace on Earth for mankind. Patience, they say, is a virtue. That we have to observe to achieve peace. And, with our conviction to let us live together in harmony with others, respecting each others' equal rights as human beings, we'll be better of as one big human family. Okay, then, everything will pass and be over with again. Soon, another page of the calendar will appear, a new calendar will be hung, another new year has arrived into our lives. And, let's welcome the new year with hope and a renewed life, with a meaningful purpose.

Well, now, I have to stop here to try to enjoy the rest of the day! Take care, folks and until next time around. Have a wonderful, productive weekend! Happy holidays to all!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Good Feeling

Thanks to God! I'm alive and feeling good to be out there by our backyard while the sun is up. I did go out to water our apple trees and a pear tree. And my wife did join me, while I was watering them, and pulling out some weeds. It's such a wonderful feeling when the body and mind work together, or are in balance!

There's always that feeling of contentment, despite all the unpleasant happenings around us, inside and out, and in other parts of the world. Amidst the insurmountable changes and challenges we face each day, we continue to struggle and survive, to do what we have to do to make our life better. We all age and grow, as we continue to live.We overcome one obstacle after another for as long as we have hope.  

Monday, August 8, 2011

Insomnia Revisited

It's a few minutes past three, at dawn, today, and I couldn't sleep no more. I tried, though, but to no avail. I got up, feeling tired and wobbly, but I managed to slowly inch my way to the restroom in our room, to empty my bladder. (I don't want my wife to wake up for she's in her deep sleep.) Then, I went back to bed, trying to get back to sleep. But I couldn't. So, I prayed the holy rosary, silently or mentally, using my fingers for counting the decades and the Hail Marys. After praying, I attempted to get back to sleep. (My wife is in slumber, as I write this post. How I envy her!)

Ah, insomnia or sleeplessness revisited, an old problem of mine way back when I was in college in the Philippines! This has been one of my medical problems for years. Medications to aid me? I've taken them before but I don't remember their names. But, one of them I'm so familiar with it, because it's prescribed by one of my doctors. But, I just don't take it frequently because of fear of getting addicted, you know. In fact, as much as possible, I don't want to take drugs or medicine. I admit, I hate taking into my system any kind of drugs or medicine that's chemical or synthetic, unless it's necessary for my health and well-being. And that helps me in my quality of life.  

So, what do I do if I can't fall sleep or go back to sleep? Here I am, writing on this blog entry. That's how I utilize my time productively, I guess.

Why I can't fall asleep, after two or three hours of sleep? I don't know. Something bothering me? Not much, except a minor glitch in our financial status since summer 2011 started. Yes, money is tight, this time. But, my wife and I have been trying to manage paying our bills and other obligations, like pre-payment college tuition plan for our daughter, who'll be fourth year this Fall and graduating next year, Class of 2012. (It's good that we've built equity for our houses, the one we're living in, and the one that's a rental property.) And, we're hanging in there. I know, we're not the only one having this problem, especially this summer. I know for a fact that it's an ongoing problem for many, too, especially this trying times of downward economy. But, we're hanging in there. We're optimistic that we'll overcome this challenge in our family. Hopefully and prayerfully, we'll recover, once the school year starts. (My wife, by the way, has been a classroom teacher for over a decade, but she's a ten-month (a year) salaried employee in a public school in Hampton Roads.) Thanks to God that we have our caring family members, my siblings in other states, especially my Big Sister, and our friends around the area here, like the Rileys. And, yet, I have difficulty going back to sleep after I have slept for a couple of hours. I don't know, but I'm a light sleeper. That has been the case for years, since I got involved in that six-car accident way back in 1990, while in other state. But, I somehow try my best to manage my health well, despite the medical conditions I have had (as a result of that MVA or motor vehicle accident).

It's almost six in the morning and yet I don't have that feeling of sleepiness. Well, then, I have to continue using the 'net, and continue blogging, unless something comes up. Our house, meanwhile, is quiet, except for the outside sounds I hear, because our not-noise-proof windows that we have (They are as old as our house; they haven't been replaced yet since 1997! Aha, now, we're looking at another home project, for home improvement?)

Going back to my main topic, I guess, I just have to deal with it, if I can, without resorting to a sleep medication, like Ambien? No, I don't feel like taking this medicine at this time, even if I have one, unless I'm so desperate that it affects my health condition so much. No way! I have to think positive and my insomnia will go away, someday, perhaps. What do you think?

Now, the alarm-clock-radio in our room has sounded off---set to NPR (National Public Radio) News' Morning Edition. Okay, I've got to stop now, wake up my wife (who said last night that I've got to wake her up because she has to help administer SOL (Standards of Learning) test to her summer tutorial students  this morning. Well, folks, until next time around. And, as always, thanks for your time.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Getting Together, After Church

I woke up early at a few minutes past 4:00 o'clock this morning to use the restroom. My wife was in her slumber. I couldn't get back to sleep anymore, after praying the rosary silently. I was "nibbling" (or munching) probably ten pieces of that Ritz crackers (A Hint of Salt), while I was on the 'net, trying to find out what's the latest Philippine and world news, via Manila Bulletin online, and researching about Nora Aunor (who is currently there, after eight years of living in California, to do a TV series and a historical movie on the life of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, the Philippines' first president, per news reports.)

Preparing to go to church, I took a bath-shower after using the restroom, at around 8:00 o'clock. I didn't wake my wife yet who was still in bed. I thought of waking her up thirty minutes after. After getting dressed, I woke her up so she could prepare herself for the Sunday Mass. No, she decided not to take a shower, this time, the fact that she feels like she has some symptoms of the colds. She took the initiative to go wake up our two young adult kids in their respective room. That way they're also gonna be prepared for the church.

At 9:00 o'clock, we left the house for the 9:30 AM Sunday Mass in our parish. My wife and I were scheduled to do the Cup as Extraordinary Ministers for Holy Communion. Father David Cupps, our parish priest/pastor of clustered parishes, officiated the Mass, with the assistance of a visiting seminarian by the name of Danny Cogut  who delivered the homily. But before the homily, Fr. David announced to the congregation that today is the last day of Bro. Danny. (Revealing to us that his mom is Filipino/Filipino American (FilAm) he, therefore, considers himself half-Filipino. That's what he said to us when I asked him if he's a FilAm because of his looks. Yes, we had a chance to talk with him when we attended a reception in his honor, at the start of summer, one Sunday morning after Mass. We learned that he's with us for the duration of summer, to gain more church life experience. He also mentioned that his family, they reside in northern Virginia. But Bro. Danny goes to Baltimore  for his seminary studies.) Anyway, after the Mass, my wife and I brought all the cups, vases and pitcher used during the Mass to the sacristy for washing. While waiting for Fr. David at the sacristy, my wife and I talked and finally decided to give something, a check of $50, as our gift, to Bro. Danny who was, then, with us in the sacristy. While busy washing, we didn't notice that Fr. David came to the sacristy, afterwards, and changed his church attire and then left to go to another church. He's got a tight schedule, especially on Sundays, I observed. After washing those cups and vases, I handed Bro. Danny our gift check. We wished him good luck and that we'd pray for him as he continues his seminary school life.

Outside, at the facade of the church building, were our two children and my sis-in-law, and our friends, the Rileys, Mike, Myrna and their son Tony, our son's friend and former classmate in elementary. They were waiting for us. Now, we exchanged pleasantries. I asked how's their daughter and their son-in-law doing. They're doing well, they said. (Their daughter, Jenny, gave birth to baby girl Emily a week or two ago.) Myrna was inviting us to have lunch in their house. But, then, we finally decided to have luncheon together in a Chinese restaurant. That's what we did---another get-together for us friends.

We had a good time and had a lively conversation while finishing up our food/dessert at that Chinese or Mongolian Buffet Restaurant. Food was good and so was the get-together of our two families.

We thought we'd be the one to pay for the lunch, as originally planned. But, surprisingly, Mike did it for all of us. And, with that gesture of his generosity, we thanked him, and his family. I said to him, "I owe you one, Mike." He said, "no, Chris." Well, I thanked him, again, as we shook hands while walking to our cars in the parking lot. Likewise, I thanked Myrna and Tony for their generosity, too. They're such our close good friends. We're thankful to God for having them.  

Saturday, August 6, 2011

On the Power of the Internet

Yesterday was another lazy Friday, for me. In the morning, I basically stayed in our room, while my wife and her sister, my sis-in-law were out for most of the day---visiting a university, visiting their fellow co-worker, who eventually treated them for lunch at a Chinese/Mongolian restaurant, per my wife. "That's good." That's all I can say. I have no problem with that. In fact, I highly encourage her to go with others for a break. She needs it to restore her sanity and sense of freedom.

Me? Ah, that's one thing with me. When I got to know an information that I find interesting and worth going the extra mile to find out more about it, then it becomes a wonderful opportunity and truly a fantastic learning experience for me. Having the desire and and curiosity to know more (because I have the tools or means to find out more about such bit of knowledge or information, via my access to the computer/laptop/internet), I feel good and blessed.

So, what is this latest Philippine entertainment news or information that brings me into a state of excitement? Well, it's about the reported return lately to our native land, the Philippines one of the best and finest singers-actors in the world, after being away for eight years. (Per news report, she's been living in Los Angeles, CA.) Having the monicker "Superstar" (the only one that fits that description, to my knowledge) is none other than the phenomenal Ms. Nora Aunor. Admittedly, she's one of a few of my favorite singers-actors when I was still a teen in the Philippines. Yes, I love listening to her songs, mostly ballads. That's why she's branded as a balladeer, one of a kind. She's got that "golden voice," as what people often say. Both her singing and acting careers became widely known, and successful, for a span of four decades, from the early 70s to the twenty-first century. She doesn't have to prove anything now for she has achieved awards, honors and accolades, not only in/for her native land but also worldwide. No doubt, she's a legend in Philippine cinema and entertainment, up to this time. Now, why did she decide to go back, when she's considered out of the limelight? There's this good historical movie offer that she can't pass up or refuse---to play the role of Maria Agoncillo, the second wife of General Emilio Aguinaldo, our first Philippine president. With her three month stay there in the Philippines, she's also slated to do a TV drama series to be directed by one of her former movie directors, Mario O'Hara. (Long-time Philippine entertainer and comedian German Moreno, Aunor's longtime loyal friend and confidant, welcomed the latter upon arrival at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, August 5. Eagerly awaiting for her arrival, too, were Aunor's die-hard fans who have been ever loyal and loving to their singer-movie idol. Then, Aunor held a press conference.)

Now, let me talk about the usefulness and accessibility of the computer/internet, in connection with the above information that I've learned and just revealed to all. Ah, the power of the internet, it's amazing! Yes, it continues to amaze me as I continue to navigate myself into exploring more about it. That's exactly what I'm driving at, my curiosity and enthusiasm at knowing/learning more about this and that is tremendous. But, I take one day at a time to whet my appetite for learning more and knowing more. Thanks to the internet. I'm excited to know more, to become more entertained and knowledgeable and informed, and better, useful and productive citizen of the world. I know, I can still make a difference to others.

With the internet, I was able to look for more information about Philippine president General Emilio Aguinaldo. While reading about Aguinaldo's biography, from Wikipedia, I happened to come across a 1981 study project by a US Army colonel about the United States Military Academy (USMA)'s Foreign Cadet Program (FCP) in connection with the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).  In addition to information that I didn't know before, I got the opportunity to listen to Aunor's songs via YouTube. It brings back to mind nostalgia, memories of those were the days while in the Philippines in the early 70s. And, this also reminds me of how old I am now. But, I haven't given up learning and gaining knowledge. With my accessibility now with the internet, I'll be more informed, and entertained, too.

This Saturday morning, at 0815, after eating a cup of breakfast cereal with organic milk, I decided not to go to my backyard to water our fruit trees. Instead, I indulged myself in watching TV, on ABC's Good Morning America (GMA), in our room, while also in the internet. Here are some of the Top Stories for the day, from the said TV network program, hosted by Dan Harris and Bianca (I forgot the surname, which begins with a capital G, and sounds Russian, to me. Pardon me, folks. That's my next assignment or research, okay? I promise to know it.). Ah, the headlines, here they are, not in order: 1) 38 troops, including at least 30 Americans, killed in a helicopter crashed in Eastern Afghanistan; It is one of the deadliest..., 2) S & P (Standard and Poor) downgrades US credit rating (from triple A to AA+, 3) One person dead in Haiti from tropical storm Emily, 4) Woman dies in NC (North Carolina) flood while running from police, 5) China evacuates more than 200,000 as it braces for a typhoon, 6) Video rentals top sales for the first time since 2000, 7) Hiroshima marks 66th anniversary of Atomic Bombing, 8) Grizzly bear mauls hiker in Glacier National Park but manages to walk away, 9) US State Dept urges Americans to leave Syria, 10) Texas Gov. Rick Perry to hold controversial prayer rally (Sunday) in Houston, TX. There was also this news about NFL players inducted into Hall of Fame and about the conviction by jury of 5 New Orleans police officers during that powerful storm Katrina that devastated New Orleans, and that news about the resumption of testimony in a polygamist case...Well, that's all for now. Thanks for your time in reading this post or blog entry. Until next time around. Bye.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

To Post or Not:: Breaking News on TV about VT

Thanks to God that I'm getting better! Summer colds begone!

At about 1058, this morning, while I was busy watching TV, on WAVY TV-10 in Portsmouth, VA (a local TV affiliate of NBC), there's this Breaking News about a Gunman reported on VT (Virginia Tech) campus in Blacksburg, VA, by children on summer camp there. Momentarily following that news broadcast was this brief police announcement at the campus of Virginia Tech. Then, there was this latest news: "VT Campus on Lockdown."

Immediately, I reached out my cellphone and sent a text message to my wife who has a tutorial job in her school. Here's the content of that message: "Here is d brkng news in WAVY TV-10. Gunman reported on VT campus in Blacksburg, VA." Afterwards, I thought of forwarding the message to my daughter in C-ville. Then, after a few minutes, I sent my wife again another text message. The text read, "Va Tech Campus on Lockdown b coz of gunman reported on VT campus by 3 children n camp." Again, I forwarded the same text message to my daughter.

I logged on to the laptop that I've been using (my son's who lent me since the middle of May this year). I thought of sharing the info (regarding that Breaking News from WAVY TV-10 this morning) in my Facebook page, on my wall status. As I was typing the Breaking News info on my wall on my Facebook page, my mind was wandering/wondering. Should I or should I not? I couldn't make up my mind. I finished typing the info and it took me minutes before I finally press Share. I previewed what I posted/shared on my wall. Facebook was getting weird---it was getting slower to get back to Home page or Profile page. I don't know if it was the uploading or loading of info, etc. I changed my mind after I've posted the info. I went back to my Profile and deleted my wall message via clicking Remove Post. That's what I finally decided. Yes, I removed what I just posted or shared on my Facebook wall page.
I continued watching TV. I switched channel, from WAVY TV channel 10 to WVEC TV 13 News in Norfolk, VA (a local TV affiliate of ABC News.) The TV program being shown was The View, a talk show co-hosted by Whoopi, Barbara, Joy, Elizabeth, and Sherr, all five talented, outspoken, and opinionated women. But after a while, I switched back to WAVY TV-10, to get an update of the breaking news. Same headlines but with a phone interview by one of WAVY TV women broadcasters-reporters with a Virginia Tech student. After a while, I switched channel again to ABC's The View until newstime at 12:00 o'clock noon.  No development of that breaking news. Still, VT Campus on Lockdown. And, police still looking for that reported gunman on campus by young campers at Va Tech.

I decided to stay on WVEC Channel 13 News because after the noontime news would be the soaps like All My Children, One Life To Live, and General Hospital. I don't know about you, but I sometimes watch these soaps, from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.
My cell phone rang. It was my wife. I asked her if she has read my text message I sent her. She asked me if they found the gunman and I answered not yet. They're still searching and the campus is on lockdown, I added. She said that she and her sis, my sis-in-law, are on their way now to get/pick up our daughter in C-ville. I informed her that I forwarded the text messages to our daughter, too. "But she hasn't responded yet," I said. And, then I told her to be safe, to drive safely. "Luv ya," I said. "Love you, too," she said. 

Before the day is over today, I'd surely find out the latest about this breaking news from WAVY TV-10, and see what happens. I just hope and pray that no one was hurt and that everything will be alright. (I recalled what happened, four years ago, about Virginia Tech massacre in April 16th, 2007 that took the lives of 33 including the student gunman. I sighed, God please don't let it happen again!)

Well, at 1700 (5:00 o'clock PM), when it's time for news on TV, I learned that the VT campus lockdown was lifted, but the police there, as of this writing, are still continuing with their search for the reported gunman on VA Tech campus by three young female teens. A composite sketch of the reported gunman was shown on TV. What a breaking news it was! Whether the reported gunman is found or not, I would say that it's a good opportunity for Virginia Tech to test their latest emergency alert system, which the school did at 9:37 AM, per TV news.

And, finally, today is American President Barack Obama's 50th birthday, as mentioned by the media. To you, Mr. President, wishing you all the best on your birthday! May you have many more to come! May God bless you and your family! May God bless us all! And, May God bless America, and the whole world with Peace!