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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Weekend Thoughts and Happenings

Good sunny Sunday, everyone! Hope and pray you're doing well, so far, as we continue to welcome, live out or embrace the offerings and surprises of Summer 2012. Let's hang in there and try our best to celebrate and enjoy life this summer with hope and Love.

Perhaps, to  some or most of us, we've watched on TV the opening ceremony of 2012 Summer Olympics in London last Friday night, July 27. I know that some of us are monitoring the games and progress of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. And that we're cheering, and praying, for our favorite athlete/s that s/he won one of the medals. Anyway, we wish all the participating athletes from around the world the best. In the spirit of sportsmanship, may they play their game fairly as they compete for the gold, silver, and bronze medals with their fellow Olympians. Personally, I pray for the safety of all---athletes, chaperons, coaches, celebrities and world leaders, and tourists, and residents--- in London as they continue to enjoy the Games and tourist spots and places of interest there. May the Almighty God bless them, and keep them all safe and sound always!

How's my weekend, you ask? Well, friends, I have to tell you that I'm doing okay, resting and relaxing at home while managing my intermittent back and hip pain. Basically I'm just chilling out, staying at home napping, snacking while reading or composing short, simple poems/narratives, blogging or watching movies, enjoying listening to and watching music, on YouTube, of those Top 10 Finalists of American Idol 2012, Season 11, as they continue touring and entertaining their fans around the country. I'd like to thank the uploaders of those videos from the AI concert tour they've attended. Thank you, guys, for sharing and letting us watch and enjoy your videos on YouTube. Do appreciate your resourcefulness and initiative. Thank you, YouTube and Google.

Friday, my wife and I visited the naval hospital where I used to work and eventually retired. No, we didn't go there to see a doctor but to follow up a referral from our doctor to the Dermatology Clinic. In other words, we went there to make an appointment to see a dermatologist, and to schedule a periodic mammogram for her. We visited the chapel. We thought there was a Friday Mass there but they don't. So we just prayed the rosary while there. We ended up having lunch there at the Galley. From the hospital, we drove our way to the NEX where I had a haircut. Three months ago, I had that boot camp haircut. Three months after, I decided to have that haircut again. I saw the same barber who did mine three months ago (in April). Imagine, me having a military haircut again! (My wife said I look old with this haircut! Really? I like that!)
Yesterday (Saturday), I stayed home almost all of time, trying to manage my chronic lower back pain and a headache. Call me a couch potato, if you will. That's true. Just resting and relaxing while watching TV on PBS, listening to music and/or watching videos on YouTube. And, snacking crisps or potato chips and fruits. I have had to snack that glutinous rice cakes, too, that my sis-in-law bought from her friend and co-worker. Likewise, I didn't go with my wife and our daughter, and my sis-in-law to our friends' (Mike and Myrna) house where they held a first birthday party for their granddaughter Emily. I just didn't feel well going with them. I just issued them a check to give for Baby Emily.

Today, a sunny Sunday, my sis-in-law, my wife, our daughter and I attended the Mass at our parish with our new parochial vicar, Rev. Fr. Chris H. as celebrant. My wife and I were not scheduled to do any ministerial work. But, we're always ready and available to be there with our fellow volunteer Extraordinary Ministers for Holy Communion if one or two didn't show up for whatever reason/s. Well, unexpectedly, I did join/help those scheduled EMHC during the Communion rite because one fellow volunteer who's supposed to do distribute the host (the consecrated Body of Christ) didn't show up. I don't or didn't mind at all. It (my volunteering as one of EMHC) is all for the love, service and glory of God our Almighty Father. I try to do share my talents, skills for as long as I'm able, even if I've been having sort of physical disability.

One thing that my wife and I did after the Mass was to share a number of our friends, fellow parishioners, our weekend gate-away experience, away from home. We told them about our surprised visit to Rev. Fr. Jarek, now the pastor at St. Jude Catholic Church in Christiansburg near the City of Radford where we also participated in the Mass there last Sunday. We shared with them the joy and excitement we all have had at Fr. Jarek's residence where we experienced his kind hospitality with his Mom. We were excited to show them some of our pictures with Rev. Fr. Jarek and his Mom, and a couple from Suffolk who also visited Fr. Jarek that Sunday.

So, where we did we go after today's Mass? Since it's almost lunch time, as always, after Mass, we decided to have lunch at the NEX/Commissary where we had Subway sandwiches and sweetened iced tea.My wife and I shared that foot-long steak sandwich. Yummy! (My thanks to my sis-in-law who paid for our lunch today. Thank you, Rose!) At the Commissary, we bought groceries and some goodies, or snack food, and fruits like bananas, watermelon and honey dew. 

Now, here I am. Back home, in our (Master's) bedroom, with my laptop listening to music while blogging. The TV in our room is also on from the Olympics coverage a while ago to PBS again.

Well, friends, this is all for now. Until next time around. Take care and Have a nice day, everyone! May God bless us all! Peace be with you all!-chris a. quilpa, 29July2012

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Reflections on My Life as I Live It with Force

Having lived my life since birth, I realized that there is this Force that is guiding me or steering my life to what I am now today. Even if I made plans for my future world, when I was old or mature enough to express my independent mind, I came to realize now that there were moments in my past life that (they) didn't make sense to me. Curious of things around me then, and even up to now, I have come to realize that life is not only what you make it but live it with all the unexpected twists and turns that are or were beyond my control. Whatever happenings in the world that came my way as I try or tried to live in a community or society where I ought or should belong, there exists already a destiny in every life of a human being.

Because of this Force that is mysteriously guiding or steering our life, each of us becomes alive and spirited, and motivated to do good, to do something to make our life better and for others to appreciate and benefit. To me, this Force is beyond compare, always there to let us live our life with our own choices and decisions that, at times, not in conformity to whatever knowledge, or beliefs, we have. This Force allows us to make mistakes, so we can learn something about our life and why life is unfair and different from one human being to another. This Force doesn't control us but gives us the will to think and decide what is best for us. This Force empowers us a free will, a mind that is powerful and capable of doing things that can make or break us, that can unite or divide us, that can make us love or hate one another, one that triggers us to feel happy or sad, hopeful or hopeless. This Force is always within us, living in us, breathing in us until the end of our life.

Aware of life's fragility and uncertainty, I have come to realize that what matters most is now, the present moment. Nothing is important than now, this precious moment, as I write or am writing this blog post. With this reality, I have nothing to fear or worry because when my time comes I know and am very sure that I did try or have tried to be consistently good, and beneficial to others even if I know that my life is not perfect and so is the world. Like others, I have found my life to be simple, yet complicated because of the influence of my surroundings or the world where I live. As I continue to live, to try to enjoy life, I realize how we, all humans, are interconnected, one and the same, yet different and unique in our style and/or way of living. I realize how precious life is to be wasted because of poverty, inequality, disease, war, negligence and violence. Yes, I have come to realize how life is unfair, that we have this destiny once we're born, even if we all have this Force guiding us and steering our life to contentment and peace. Finally, I have realized that without this Force in our life  we're nothing but fleeting moment, no substance, nothing worth-remembering. I am thankful I feel this Force in me, working in me, and continue to inspire me to live and enjoy my life with others who can bear and understand me. This Force, I believe, is God, our Almighty Father, Creator of life on earth. Thank you, God, for my life and the people around me who treat me the same way they treat themselves and others. Thank you, Jesus Christ, our Savior, who died for me and inspired me to accept suffering and sacrifice as part of life.---chris a. quilpa, 28July2012

abitadeacon: Obama's HHS mandate begins Wednesday; state sanctioned religious persecution is here!

abitadeacon: Obama's HHS mandate begins Wednesday; state sanctioned religious persecution is here!

abitadeacon: Breaking News: Federal Court halts Obama's abortion pill mandate

abitadeacon: Breaking News: Federal Court halts Obama's abortion pill mandate

Friday, July 27, 2012

'Let the Games Begin" in London, UK: An Olympic 2012 Poem

(Note: As the London 2012 Olympics opens or commences today, Friday, July 27, the author of the poem below wishes all athletes and their coaches and all the tourists and residents of the host nation the best of everything---all for the glory of God, the Source of Life and Hope. Likewise, he wishes all gathered at/for the 2012 Olympics in London, UK, a fun-filled, and safe summer!)

Summer 2012 Olympics in London, UK

Medals in gold, silver and bronze
they're up for grabs for the winning Olympians 
out of all the athletes from around the world 
competing and excelling in their chosen games
at the 30th Olympiad in London, UK
where the athlete-participants gathered together
to break the world record in sports
events that will catapult them to fame
and fortune they've been working and dreaming of...

"Let the games begin, today," they say
in London, United Kingdom
where sports enthusiasts, celebrities, world leaders, and tourists flock
to witness the unity and diversity of humanity in action
of all participants and spectators in awe
with fun and anticipation and excitement
all for the glory and greatness
of sports competition and long tradition
that the season of summer 2012 offers and brings
to the world in peace, and turmoil in other areas
while winning victory is in the minds and hearts 
of all athletes and countries vying for honors
in the spirit of fair play and sportsmanship.

To all Olympians past and present
young and old
medalists and runner-ups and nearly victorious
your spirit soars while the games are played
and dreams fulfilled while enthusiasm overflows
with pride and joy beaming in every winner's heart
while tears of gladness and sadness mixed up.

London is glittering with gold, silver and bronze
as the Games of all games begin today and the dream is realized
now, hail to you all athletes of the world
you are the best and the chosen ones to compete
representing your country with pride and dignity
playing your best to win accolades and honors, indeed!  

(c) 2012 by chris a. quilpa

Monday, July 23, 2012

Away from Home: A Long, Detailed Narrative

Good Monday, everyone! Glad and thankful that I, together with my wife, was able to get away from home, even for a few days. Glad and thankful that we're back home, again.

Allow me, if you will, to recollect and remember (again) where were we and what did we do, see, meet, while away from home. Our getting away started Thursday when we left Hampton Roads by land. That is, we took our van with us. My wife did the driving, most of the time. (If you were following my blog, or have read my previous blog posts, you know that I've mentioned her that she loves to drive, especially on long distance travel. The truth is, she did most of the driving when we left California in 1994 for the east coast.)

Thursday afternoon at about 2:30, we arrived at the campus of JMU (James Madison University), in Harrisonburg. My wife, along with fellow Chemistry teachers from various public high schools in the state, was  scheduled to attend/participate in a one-day Chemistry Demonstration Workshop on Friday, July 20. My wife said she got lucky to be included in the list of teacher-participants because one of the teachers who earlier registered for the workshop backed out.

Anxious to see the building where the workshop will take place, my wife parked our van in one of the open space parking lots in the campus. And we started walking away from the parking lot. As visitors, we roamed around the Biochemistry building and inquired from somebody we met at the university campus. (FYI: This is our second time to visit JMU. Our maiden visit there was in 2008, just driving around the campus when we had college visits for our college-bound daughter. From there we drove all the way Interstate highway 81 South down to Radford U. We spent the night in Christiansburg, and the following morning attended Sunday Mass at a Catholic church there near a public high school. I don't know, but I found that lush and mountainous area amazing and captivating, and quite suitable for healthy living. Though it's pastoral and idyllic, that place, to me, is beautifully landscaped by nature. I just loved it.)

Now, let me continue with my narration. It was a blessing, I would say, to have met and known a fellow countrymate, who happened, at that time, to be hanging around or waiting for someone at the hallway. We're so delighted that we have had the chance or opportunity to meet new friends. Eventually, we came to get to know him and then found out that that someone he was waiting for is his wife who's attending a pre-workshop orientation that time. Then, my wife finally joined the group. They entered one of the lab rooms. Meanwhile Ryan, our newly-found acquaintance/friend, and I patiently waited for our better-halves, in the hallway, while we busied or occupied ourselves engaging in a polite, lively, and nostalgic conversation. Nostalgic, because our conversation was focused on our native land, the country of our birth, the Philippines. From him I learned that he and his wife, Darlene, (who's pregnant and due to deliver their first baby in September) are both from the Visayan island, particularly Cebu. They're currently residing in Emporia where Darlene got employment as a Chemistry teacher in one of the public high schools there. On the other hand, I told him also about myself and my wife and family.

By the way, our (my wife and I) original plan was to lodge in one of the hotels outside, near JMU that Thursday night. But since we learned that there were enough rooms available  for other workshop participants, my wife and I decided to stay or hang around with our new friends in one of the student dorm buildings. We learned earlier that the young couple had already a room reservation there. They occupied room 103 while we in room 107. One thing, though, we shared the same bath and restroom. Speaking of privacy, of course, we have had. It just a matter of taking turns in using the bathroom.

Dinnertime came. We, all four, agreed to eat out at Wood Grill Buffet restaurant. (My wife and I are familiar with this restaurant for my family have eaten out at the same restaurant in C-ville. Food was great! And so was the service.) We truly had a good time, enjoying each other's company.

Back to the campus where we spent the night, we were awaken by a (false?) fire alarm in the building in the morning at about 6:30 or 7:00. Fortunately, my wife and I were already awake and that time, my wife was eating Ritz crackers (A Hint of Salt) for breakfast. It's good that we're prepared with our stuff to bring them back to our van. Immediately, we vacated our rooms, with our stuff with us. Outside, there were also people (I don't know if they're college students studying this summer) quite annoyed by the deafening alarm. The four of us walked our way, with our bags and stuff, to our van which was parked in a designated area. Then, we left the residential hall building for the workshop, not knowing exactly why the alarm in the building sounded off. At that time the fire department and a couple campus police cars arrived to the scene.

As soon as our spouses entered the Biochemistry building, for the Chemistry workshop, Ryan and I decided to have breakfast outside. We found this eatery that has free WiFi. There, we got connected and played with our respective laptop while enjoying our coffee, egg and bacon sandwich (for me), blueberry muffin (for him), and our fruits. We kinda lounged there for a while, with others also.

At about 12:30 p.m., Ryan and I drove back to the campus, parked on the same spot near the Science building, because we're thinking that our spouses would call us, inviting us for lunch in the university's dining hall. Waiting and waiting for their call, we got bored and felt uncomfortable sitting in our van outside because it was warm and humid. It was past 1:00 p.m. when we finally decided to go out and have lunch. Driving our van, I saw a Mexican restaurant, similar to the one at C-ville. I asked Ryan if he wanted to have lunch there. He didn't mind so there we had Mexican.  Since I couldn't finish my food, I saved half of it for my wife.

It was about 2:30 when we drove back to the campus. Ryan and I hang around in the Science building awaiting for our wives and the culmination of their workshop. While he was playing with his smart phone and/or Ipad, I was reading a copy of Madison publication whose cover is the outgoing or former president of JMU, Dr. Rose. The university's main library building was named after him, I believe.

Finally, while on the hallway, we saw our wives and their fellow teacher-Chemistry workshop participants coming down on the stairs from the second floor. Their young professor-presenter was figuring out where they're going to have a pictorial or sort of a photo session. We followed them, around forty of them, to a spot in the building where Ryan and I did take souvenir pictures of them with our own camera.

After saying those goodbyes among the participants, we, four, drove to the Student Center where we turned in the keys to our lodging room. FYI, my wife paid about $45 or $50 for the night we spent there in one of the student dorm rooms, in Chesapeake Hall.

Saying farewell or goodbye to our new friends was kind bitter-sweet. We hugged each other and told each other how much we enjoyed each other's company. We learned that they're driving to Richmond where they may spend the night with their friends there. My wife and I extended our invitation to visit us in Hampton Roads someday. They also did the same. When they asked us where we'd go next, if we're going back home after the workshop, we told them of our plan to visit our dear Fr. Jarek, our former parochial vicar, who's assigned to a new parish, St. Jude Catholic Church, near Radford. We told them our plan to spend a night or two there and attend the Sunday Mass. Before they left us, we reminded them to take good care of themselves, especially their precious little one who's due to arrive this September. I wish them all the best, a safe trip, and that we keep in touch with each other.

Almost 4:30 p.m. when we left JMU. As usual, my wife did the driving. We cruised I-81 South all the way down to Christiansburg. It was a smooth trip, thanks to God. We've just had a couple of stops on designated rest areas along the way. Nice, wonderful views on the way, the mountainous areas all green covered with trees, those farmlands with green pastures, the cows and rolled stack of hays on the fields, vast cornfields, and the Blue Ridge Mountain Prkwy, and the long and winding roads leading to different places of interests---these are the ones that have made our travel road trip awesome, amazing, and unforgettable! Plus the people whom we've met, come to know and befriended in the process.

As soon as we arrived at our destination, we looked for and found the church where Fr. Jarek is now the new pastor. No, we didn't call Fr. Jarek that we're visiting him. It's a surprise visit for him.

Now, since it was getting late in the afternoon/evening, we had to look for a place to spend the night. No, we didn't make any advanced hotel reservation because we thought that we could easily find a room available for us. On our first try at one of the hotels that  we'd like to spend the night, there was a room, only one room left that's available. It has a king-size bed with a jacuzzi. Why we declined to get it, after we've seen the room? It's a smoking room. Sorry, but I don't smoke. And neither was my wife, really.

Thanks to God. After a couple of hotel visits, we found one, not far from the Interstate highway, where we had a room available for us that Friday night. You know it's pretty reasonable, the cost of staying per night there, with two double beds, air-conditioned, with TV, small fridge, coffee maker, and free Internet access. There was also a complimentary breakfast. And it's a non-smoking room. Perfect for us, two.

Saturday morning, after a simple breakfast from the hotel (a bowl of cereal with milk and a chocolate -glazed doughnut, and a cup of orange juice), my wife and I went back to our room. There, while the TV was on and while trying to watch and/or listen to some songs on my laptop, via YouTube, I did write a blog post, a poem, about killings and violence around the world, specifically the recent movie theatre shooting in Aurora, Colorado yesterday, Friday, July 20th. (In my previous post, a simple poem, I mentioned that I don't pay much attention to what's going on in my world, specifically events that, to me, are sad and depressing. But I would be callous or insensitive if I were to completely ignore something that is tragic and devastating to human family where I belong.)

At that time, my wife kept on dragging me to go out and see what's out there around Christiansburg. I told her to wait for a couple of minutes while I was busy blogging. Afterwards, I took a quick shower. Then, we went out, dropped by a gas station and filled up our van's gasoline tank. As we roamed around, we saw this seafood restaurant and, hence, had lunch there. We saved some of our leftovers for the night. Then, we continued driving, cruising around the town. We came across and visited a local small museum, gave a couple of bucks as donation, and took souvenir photos while there. We asked the receptionist about direction and other places of interest in the area.

We passed by a local supermarket and decided to turn around, and bought some goodies, and other stuff that we planned to give to Fr. Jarek when we see him and his Mom tomorrow, Sunday, at St. Jude. After doing grocery, we went back to our hotel, put some stuff in the small ref/fridge, etc.  Night time came, we ate our leftover fried sea-food from lunch while watching TV.

Sunday morning, after shower and quick breakfast, we're set, so eager and excited, happy, and ready to go see Fr. Jarek, and his Mom, attend the Mass at St. Jude Catholic Church, and meet people. Prior to checking out at the hotel, we double-checked our stuff to make sure that we have everything, all our stuff, in our van, that we didn't leave anything behind.

In about ten minutes cruising the Interstate highway, we arrived at the church. There were three or four cars already parked on the parking lot beside the church. The time was 9:25 a.m. In front of the church, as we were entering it, we were welcomed/greeted by a Brother Knight (of Columbus). We both introduced ourselves to him, told him about our "surprise" visit to Fr. Jarek. Inside the church, by the left side of the altar, were choir members practicing/rehearsing for the Mass. My wife and I knelt and prayed, for a while, at the back pews. Then, we decided to go out of the church after since we have enough time to go around the church. We took photos of the church and surrounding areas. I didn't know that there's a lone house by the hill a few yards from the church. (The church is surrounded by trees and if you didn't see the marker by the roadside that there's church there, you'll never know at all.) We found out later that the house is the pastor's residence. So, therefore, that's where Fr. Jarek resides now, with his Mom. Truly so, while I was taking a picture of the back of the church, we saw, from a distance, Fr. Jarek and his Mom walking down towards the church. Yes, that's them, I said to my wife. Quickly, we walked back towards the entrance of the church.  And there, he is, Fr. Jarek! We warmly greeted and hugged each other, led us to the church where his Mom was kneeling and praying by the back pew or seat. At that time, another couple, like us, came to see him, too.

We sat all together while waiting for the Mass to start. That Brother Knight, who initially welcomed us to the church (his name is Arne and he's a grand knight of their council), asked us if we'd like to bring or do the offering of the gifts to the altar. Definitely yes and we did! Before I forget, before the Mass, one of the choir member-parishioners, asked the whole congregation if there are faithful visiting the church for the first time. She wants us to be acknowledged or recognized by standing up and that we mention our name. I spoke and told the congregation that we're parishioners of St. Paul's where Rev. Fr. Jarek used to be our parochial vicar. The wife of the other couple also spoke. From her, we learned that they're from St. May's where Fr. Jarek was their parochial vicar, too. (I was not sure whether they're parishioners of St. Mary's in Chesapeake or in downtown Suffolk. Later on after the Mass, I found out that they're parishioners of St. Mary's in downtown Suffolk.)

We sang, praised and prayed together with the rest of the congregation which, I observed, was mostly Caucasian, with the exception of a mom and his young teen son who are of Indian descent. I didn't see other colored people there, except us and the mom and son I just mentioned. Likewise, they use the Glory and Praise book (which we're familiar) for the church hymns. Attendance-wise, I noticed that the church was well-attended. Not completely full but almost full. In my estimation, churchgoers or parishioners that day was around two hundred  more or less. The atmosphere was, however, solemn but warm and pleasant. Personally, I felt a sense of belonging while there in the church. Fr. Jarek seemed to have that connection with all of us there. I hope and pray that he does an excellent, if not outstanding, job of spreading God's Word and ministering to the community, and doing his campus ministry in Radford. I pray for his success and that God showers him with all the blessings and graces he needs to accomplish his Diocesan goals. (Dear Lord, protect and watch over Fr. Jarek and his Mom, and all the parishioners of St. Jude and all students under his care. Guide him and lead him to a life full of faith, hope, love,charity and security, with his Mom. These I pray, through the intercession of Venerable Fr. McGivney, Blessed John Paul II, and finally Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with You, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.)

Well, here's the highlight of our visit to our dear Rev. Fr. Jarek. He and his Mom invited us to his home or residence which is on a hill surrounded by trees and other plants. Father gave us a tour of his residence, showed us all the rooms and the levels, including the basement, of his house. They offered us drinks and served us, initially, home-made lemonade, while his Mom started preparing something in the kitchen. Their kind and warm hospitality enabled us, their guests-friends, to feel at home, like an extended members of their family. We had a good time, engaging in a lively conversation with Kelly and his wife, while his Mom was so busy cooking two of her favorite recipes---Polish sausage stew and soup 9with two different kinds of sausages. At times, Fr. Jarek went to help his Mom in the kitchen, or started setting up the table with the utensils we're going to use. My wife also tried to help them set the table. Then, not long after, we're all sharing and savoring the food that his Mom cooked---Polish stew and soup, with two different dishes, of two different kinds of Polish sausages. Yummy, indeed! And, healthy and nutritious, too.

I tell you, Fr. Jarek is so down-to-earth Man of God. That's my honest observation about him. He's very likable and well-loved. That's what I see and feel. He exudes that charisma that makes you feel relax, at ease, when you're with him. Jolly and funny, at times, as reflected in his pleasant, friendly demeanor, he also delivers insightful homilies that you can relate to. (In my Thank You e-mail that I sent him this morning, I mentioned to him how I wish we have more like him in our community. May God bless him and his Mom always!)

About 2:30 p.m., we bade goodbye to Fr. Jarek and his Mom for we indicated to them that we're driving back to Hampton Roads, that afternoon, after being away from home for three days. We expressed our heartfelt gratitude for their kind and generous hospitality. We shook hands and hugged each other, again. We also did the same thing to Kelly and his wife for having known them that day. They, too, were leaving for Roanoke where they'd plan to visit one of their daughters.

It's a wonderful learning and life experience having such a good, interpersonal relationship with people, like Fr. Jarek and his loving Mom, whom we've come to get along with and appreciate, in the spirit of faith and love of God and Jesus Christ, brotherhood, charity, and solidarity. There's that feeling of contentment when people come together, share one another's culture and faith, and learn from one another, and ultimately understand each other. There's that spirit of peace and love and charity that permeates in the hearts of men and women of goodwill.  There's unity in diversity among humankind living in one world where we all share a common bond, and a common goal---to help and care for and love one another as one big human family.

After four to five hours on the road, my wife and I finally arrived in Hampton Roads again. Yes, sir, we're back home tired but contented, with fond memories of our three-day escapades or get away. Midsummer, after all, is not that boring but wonderful and refreshing, and uplifting, even if the weather is generally warm and muggy, and temperature is sizzling and sweltering, hot and humid, and hazy, most of the time.

Well, my friends, this is all for now. Until next time around. Thank you for your precious time. Hope and pray that you're having a good time, and a safe summer. Take care now. May God bless us all, always!-chris a. quilpa, 23July2012


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Why the Killings and Violence?

(Note: With the unexpected sad news about the movie theater shooting rampage in Aurora, Colorado on Friday, July 20, 2012, (by the suspected shooter James Holmes, 24, a PhD graduate student), killing 12 moviegoers and wounded about 59 others, and other atrocities and violence around the world, the budding writer/poet has thought of sharing you, readers, his reflection about killings and violence around the world. He seeks, or continue to find, an answer  to his question, hence, the title of his poem composed while in Christiansburg, VA.)

Why the Killings and Violence?

Unpleasant and unexpected bad news
and happenings always occur and come out tragic
so terribly and horribly gross and barbaric
as if we're much worse than beast in the wild
most of the time fatal and devastating,
that we're shaken and broken
numb and completely frozen
and physically and psychologically ruined
after knowing what happened
what the outcome of these
senseless and thoughtless acts of barbarism
and planned or unplanned execution of ideas
damaging to human race, in general.

Violence and killings here and there continue
as we all try to struggle to survive
while others try to live and enjoy life
while they can, for whatever means
using what they have to become
famous or infamous, mean and lawless.

Why, oh why, we're unreasonable at times
to the point that we go berserk and crazy
and out of control that we destroy everything
we have built and dreamed as we try, at least
to become successful in our own way
but, unfortunately, at the expense
of innocent lives of others wasted and sacrificed.

Shall we always witness these
random acts of violence and genocide
these inhumane treatment of a few
who always try to break the law
and damage and divide our humanity
shall we always anticipate mourning and weeping
while others continue to celebrate their twisted victory
in a battle that has no ending.

To all the victims of all atrocities, massacres, tragedies 
in the world, yesterday and today
we pray, "you didn't deserve to be gone
in our midst, brothers and sisters
but rest in peace...
we'll all be together again, someday.

(c) 2012 by chris a. quilpa

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Nothing More

Nothing More

It's liberating
doing nothing
but living
while breathing.

No need
for me
to work
but live
and loaf.

I let
you do
the things
I did.

You learn
to understand
my story
over time.

I long
nothing more
than enjoy
the moment.

Nothing matters
but today
I do 
live free.

No one
would dare
to control
my life.

I have
no desire
for more
in life.

I want
nothing more
but live
life simply.

(c)2012 by chris a. quilpa

What Makes Me Free

What Makes Me Free

I used 
to pay attention
to listening and watching
current events and breaking news
I don't
care or mind
listen, watch, pay attention
what's happening around my world
I live
trying to do
what makes me free
from everything that enslaves me
I am
trying to breathe
like every living being
endowed with rights and potentials
I learned
how to overcome
life's challenges, crises and changes
I do
strive to continue 
what makes me free
from everything that enslaves me.

(c) 2012 by chris a. quilpa

Monday, July 16, 2012

Of Sleep, News, and American Idol Music

At the outset, I thank you, Almighty God, that my young adult son arrived safely back in DC last night. Thank you, Lord, for watching over him always. I pray for his safety and well-being, as always.

Good Monday, everyone! Did you sleep well last night? Guess who always anxiously asks that question to us parishioners each time our former parochial vicar happens to officiate or celebrate Sunday Mass with us? If you're a regular reader to my blog posts, you'd know the answer off the bat. You betcha, it's Rev. Fr. Jarek. (He's promoted as pastor and now assigned in a parish in Radford City.) That popular question of his resonates in me. Once in a while, especially on Sundays, that is.

Now, if I were to answer that question today, I would definitely say, "Not really, Father!" I didn't sleep well. Just minimally good, I suppose. I'd tell him that I went to bed  past eleven last night, but woke up early this morning at five. I usually wake up to the sound of our alarm-clock-radio that's always set at six, every morning on NPR (National Public Radio) News' Morning Edition. But still in bed for two-three or more hours after. Unless I have an urge to use the restroom to pee or poop. 

On the other hand, I tried to get back to sleep but couldn't anymore. (My wife, at that time, was in deep slumber. How I envy her!) So, what did I do? I prayed a very short prayer of thanks to our Almighty God for all the blessings we've received. Then, I used the restroom that's within our master's bedroom. After that I went back to our room quietly, sat on that Queen Ann's chair by my bedside, observing my wife's sleeping. Man, she's a sleeping beauty!

At that time, I decided to turn on the TV, tuned in to Daybreak news. I had to turn the volume down so as not to wake her up. Minimal noise doesn't bother her, you know. Next, I plugged in my laptop, logged on and went straight to YouTube. This time, I plugged in my earphone to my laptop while watching and listening to those videos of the American Idol 2012 Tour concert performances from various cities. I thank those concert goers or fans who have attended/witnessed those tour performances of AI 2012 top ten finalists and painstakingly took time to upload and share their videos with us, YT viewers. At least I have already an idea  about the AI 2012 Tour Live concert. 

At six, our alarm-clock-radio sounded off and the hosts of the NPR's Morning Edition alternately began broadcasting news. My wife was still sleeping at that time. I was focused on my laptop, though. Then, I walked my way to the restroom. After that, I went back to my chair and resumed watching/listening to AI 2012 Top Ten Tour Live performances  on YouTube. (It's possible that I may have fallen asleep, or taken a short nap, sitting comfortably on the chair while listening to music on my laptop. That's beneficial to me.)

Past eight, this morning, I prepared myself, and got dressed before waking up my wife to accompany me because I remember that I have to pick up my medication refills that I should have picked up three days ago, last Friday the 13th of July, but forgot about it. My wife and I agreed to have breakfast or brunch outside. That's exactly what we did.

Thanks to God that the pharmacy techs didn't put my med refills back on their bottled containers on the shelf or shelves after I missed picking them up on the designated pick up date for three days. Well, driving back home from the Scott Center Annex Pharmacy, after we've had my med refills and breakfast or brunch there at the NEX of Naval Shipyard, I thought of dropping by a Walmart store that's along our way home anyway.   What's the reason why? I just thought that they may have that CD of one of the AI 2012 Top Ten finalists, Joshua Ledet, that I don't have yet and planned to buy it. 

Entering the store, we walked through straight to the entertainment/electronics/music-video department. Yes, they have it! Still at five bucks each, except that one CD (AI Season 11 Top Ten Highlights) which is sold for $7 per copy. I wondered if they only have CDs of the top five AI 2012 finalists. I inquired from one of the sales associates about it and she confirmed what I thought. Only the top five AI 2012 finalists have CDs on sale, exclusively at Walmart. At least, I have  in my possession one CD for each  of the top five finalists. Plus a CD of the of AI Season 11 Top 10 Highlights. No, I didn't buy that CD featuring five duets. But, there's one thing that I'd love to experience. Attending their Live Tour concert! Because there's not a scheduled AI Season 11 Tour Live here in our state or area, I wouldn't be able to personally meet or see the AI 2012 finalists performing. That would be great. But, it's okay. At least, I have a copy of their CDs with me and their videos to enjoy on YouTube. (Thanks, YouTube!) It would be nice if my CDs were signed or autographed by the respective artists. (And, personally, I would express my profound admiration and gratitude for their gift of music, when I meet them.) That would be greatly appreciated. But, again, that's alright. I'm cool, nevertheless. I'm content and happy for now for I've got their music to keep on playing and listening. Thanks to God for these young singers/musicians who are sharing their talents and now living and/or working on their dreams of becoming successful artists/performers. May God bless them all! And I wish them all the best in their musical career.

Well, folks, it's sign off time, again. Until next time around. Thank you for your time. Take care and Have a wonderful day, everyone!-chris a. quilpa, 16July2012


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday Mass and Luncheon with Family, and Music

This weekend, I'm glad and thankful that my young adult son came home for the weekend. The last time he was home was when we had his sister's college graduation party in May, this year.

Thank you, Lord! You made it possible for our family  to be together again and to be with you this Sunday. Yes, we're all together in your house of worship today. We're with you with other fellow parishioners during and after Mass. We're with you again with your Son, Jesus Christ, through our pastor, Rev. Fr. David. We listened to your Word, Dear God, and we listened to your Son's message via our pastor's homily. You told us to go in peace, make peace and spread your Word of Life and Hope with/to others who seem to be lost, abandoned, neglected, losing hope, and hapless, and helpless, and voiceless. Yes, your Beloved Son, urged us to go out, like his Twelve Apostles, to tell others out there that You are our Almighty Father, and that your Son, our Savior. You let me and my wife be of service to you today, during the administration or distribution of the Holy Communion. We looked up in the eyes to each parishioner we encountered and willing to receive the consecrated body of Jesus Christ. We prayed and praised and sang with the congregation today. We expressed our thanks to You for having our pastor with us, for allowing us to gather together and shared the Good News---that You and Jesus Christ always love us, no matter how sorry we are for our weaknesses and imperfections, that Jesus Christ, Your Beloved Son, died for us so we may have life and see light again. You inspired us that we can change for the better, and we can hope again, after all the bad things we've done to/for you through others. Yes, you let us know that you always love us, and forgive us, and give us hope and Life to continue seeking and understanding the intricacies and the mysteries of Your Existence. Thank you, Dear Almighty God, for today! And all the beauty and blessings of your goodness and generosity, and love.

After Mass, our whole family had luncheon at one of the buffet restaurants in Chesapeake. As always, we prayed before and after eating. That's to be expected, as usual. We had a good quality time, while savoring and enjoying our food. We had the time to be just together again, eating and sharing the food with/to other diners, like us. Again, I'm glad and thankful that my adult young son spent the weekend with us. He'll be back again to his work in DC this afternoon. Hopefully and prayerfully, he'll arrive there safely tonight. Of course, we miss him, as always. But, we have to let him go to do his work, to be out there where he tries his best to help and serve others, our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters who need help and inspiration, and enlightenment, and computer skills.

Back home, we're just chilling out, and trying to enjoy the present moment with the rest of the family. (As I finish writing this blog post, I'm fortunate to have the time to watch/listen to the PBS television.)

A while ago, I have been listening to a couple of American Idol 2012 finalists' songs via their CDs that I happened to purchase at Walmart last week. For my CD collection, I have with me the CDs of the following: Phillip Phillips, Jessica Sanchez, Hollie Cavanaugh, Skylar Laine, and the America Idol Season 11 Top 10 Highlights. I still need to buy Joshua Ledet's and others' in the Top Ten in another Walmart store since they don't have one in the store where I bought the CDs of those mentioned above. The truth is, this is my first time, in the history of AI that I bought CDs of those AI's singers.

I don't know about you but I do believe that music plays an important role in our quality of life. As for me, I need to listen to music to get entertained, feel good, enjoy and have fun in life. I may be right, or you agree with me, if/when I say that music can enhance the quality of life each person wants to have. Music can lift your spirit up when you're down. It can put you to relax and sleep productively. Like a cup of coffee, it can perk you up. It triggers you to be active and energetic. It can make your day so bright and gay, even if the weather outside is not perfect to your standard. It can make you laugh, when you feel blue and depressed. Yes, music is a stress-buster. And I believe that. It can make you feel young, too, even if you're in your retirement or golden age, literally. Why? Because music is a part of our life. Listening (or singing) actively to music changes our mood and we feel good/well. It helps change our outlook in life, and we become positive and more optimistic. Thus, our personality is transformed and manifested in our face such feeling of joy or happiness, and contentment.

Remember those lullabies that our mothers and/or fathers, or older sisters/brothers used to sing to us when we were babies? Those tra-la-la-la-las  we listened to when we're trying to get to sleep? Now, even if you're not musically-inclined, wanna join me in belting out a smash hit in the 80s or 90s? C'mon, even if you're monotone, or out of tune, you can always try. If Phillip Phillip, or Heejun Han, can sing, you and I can, too. Are you joking? I'm not kidding! Singing can be learned, like other skills, believe me. It's just a matter of practice, you know. Agree or disagree? Okay, let's close our mouth, seal our lips and try or start humming Do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do...and vice versa. If, at first you don't succeed, try again, and again...until you got it right. Now, let's listen to a song of our favorite singer/s and try to follow or copy exactly his/her way of singing. That's how those successful singers started before they became famous, I do believe. Most, if not all, of them copied the style of singing, even their voice, of their singing idol before they started to become original. Unless they have a very unusual, unique and distinct voice that no other has the same voice as theirs, per se. Singing skills can be developed, too. One way is by attending or having a formal vocal training, like some opera singers. Anyway, let's listen to music, a song that we're familiar with or have been listening for quite a time over the radio or in television. Then, we can try singing or repeating what has been sung. Or, let's do a sing-a-long. Just for fun, huh? Heard about karaoke? They have some videos on YouTube. Type karaoke and you'll be surprised to know some songs that we can practice singing, with lyrics, of course.

Well, I better sign off now, my friends, so I can listen to more music. I always go to YouTube for some of my favorite singers/artists. (Remember, I have had my previous blog posts featuring some of the singers I became familiar with, i.e., Nora Aunor, Charice Pempengco, The Lettermen, X-Factor winner Matt Cardle, David Muzio, Boyce Avenue, etc., while surfing the 'Net and exploring YouTube. Thanks, YouTube!)

Until next time around. Take care and have a wonderful day, everyone! May God bless us always!-chris a. quilpa, 15July2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

Nuggets of Wisdom from George Carlin

TGIF, everyone! Yes, Thanks to God It's Friday again! I don't know about you, folks, but I am looking forward to a wonderful, relaxing weekend. I'm very sure you, guys, too. Thank you, Lord, Almighty Father, we're alive and doing well! Thank you, Jesus, and to all of you, peace-loving people! May God bless us always!

I heard the name George Carlin before, years ago, but I didn't pay much attention about him that time. Now, this calm, sunny and warm Friday morning while I was rummaging through my files, in our (Master's) bedroom, I came across some papers stuck in one of my yellow folders. Curious that I was, I found out they're e-mails that I randomly received when I was still active in the U.S. Naval Service doing education training for our staff-personnel and healthcare beneficiaries. I'm glad that I printed out some of my e-mails that dated back since 2004. I've no idea why I saved or kept them. But wait, I know why I kept some of them. They're inspiring, entertaining and enlightening to me, I guess. One of them is this e-mail from a certain Rex Barker who "would like to share a wonderful message by George Carlin." As I was re-reading it, I thought it's good to share with you all, too. After all, it's inspiring and has truth in it, though.

(As I'm writing this post, I am also doing research about George Carlin. Per Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia online, we learn from the first paragraph of his biography that George Denis Patrick Carlin (May 12, 1937-June 22, 2008) was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, satirist, actor and writer/author who won five Grammy Awards for his comedy albums. Noted for his black humor, as well as his thoughts on politics, the English language, psychology, religion (he was raised a Catholic), and various taboo subjects, Carlin was posthumously awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2008.)

Let's take a look or watch (but caution: the performer uses the F-word frequently!) one of George Carlin's stand-up comedy act performances. Isn't he funny and entertaining? (Note: I don't own the videos embedded with my blog post here. No copyright infringement intended. Thanks YouTube and the uploader of the videos used here.)
Now, per that e-mail from Rex Barker, here's the wonderful thoughts or "words of wisdom" from the late George Carlin. I believe these were lifted from one of Carlin's books or from his stand-up performances:

"The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.
We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy less. we have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time.
We have more degree but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgement; more experts, yet more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor.
We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things. We've cleaned up the air, but polluted our soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.
We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom.
A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.
Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.
Remember to say "I love you" to your spouse and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.
Give time to love; give time to speak, and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind."

There you go, my friends. I hope you had time off to chill out and laugh at your worries away, while watching Mr. Carlin's. Again, I thank you, YouTube and the uploader/s of the videos here.

Well, as Mark Twain wrote: "Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place."

Until next time around. Take care and Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! Peace be with you all!-chris a. quilpa, 13July2012

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Zeitgeist: A Concept, Movement for A Better or An Ideal World?

Happy Thursday, everyone! How are we all doing these (summer) days so far? Any interesting news to share us? Any place you've visited lately? Movies you've seen or watched that made an impact or gave you a new perspective in (your) life or the world in general? I, for one, have just found out, or learned, something from YouTube today. And, I'm sharing it with you, okay? Now, if you will, do please continue reading this blog post on...You won't be disappointed. And you'll surely learn something, as I did. Go on...

It's unbelievable what technology, especially the Internet, YouTube, can do to inform, enlighten, entertain and/or educate an ordinary person, or citizen of the world, like me. This morning I happened to come across a video/movie that led me to learn something about the Zeitgeist ideology or movement, and the Venus Project, and about Jacque Fresco, its co-founder. (I thank Wikipedia for the quick information about the topics I just mentioned above.) What can I say about this idea or movement? It looks ideal and worth-studying and exploring, or considering, like other ideas or concepts that may or can help enhance the quality of life we have on planet Earth. What an ideal world it would be when we all accept each other as one big human family, living in harmony and equality, and do our best to conserve and preserve our natural resources! I kinda like the idea advocated by Jacque Fresco of the Venus Project. I wonder if it remains an idea or a concept, though. (But I found out later on that it's a movement.)

According to Wikipidea, Zeitgeist is "the spirit of the times" or "the spirit of the age." It is the general cultural, intellectual, ethical, spiritual or political climate within a nation or even specific groups, along with the general ambiance, morals, sociocultural direction, and mood associated with an era.

Considered a sustainability advocacy organization, the Zeitgeist Movement campaigns against money-market economy which its members argue should be replaced with a resource-based economy in which money should serve no purpose. Members of the movement, including Jacque Fresco, focus on raising awareness of those issues mentioned or discussed in the documentary films Zeitgeist Addendum (2008) and Zeitgeist: Moving Forward (2011). Critics say that the film is an "outright propaganda" and a "surreal perversion of the genuine issues and debates."

Folks, I'm just sharing with you what I learned or found out today. If you're quite intrigued about it, or curious about this Zeitgeist thing, then by all means check it out for yourselves, okay? Thank you. Now, let me continue to share with you about this knowledge or information I learned today.

Co-founded in 1975 by a former portrait artist Roxanne Meadows and by structural engineer, industrial designer, and futurist Jacque Fresco of Venus, Florida (USA), the Venus Project is an organization which "aims to improve society through the worldwide utilization of a theoretical design that calls for a resource-based economy. This theory uses a sustainable cities and values, energy efficiency, collective farms, natural resource management, and advanced automation with a socio-economic system based on social cooperation and scientific methodology."

Per Wikipedia, this Venus Project was founded on the idea that all nations are corrupt and this corruption comes from the use of money. Fresco advocates an economy, a resource-based economy, where resources are allocated by a computerized automated system referred to as the Cybernation.

Well, while watching Zeitgeist Addendum, I found myself scribbling some lines. I just don't know what came to me but I have to let my thoughts out. Here's what I've written down on a 5 1/2" by 8 1/2" white card:

Why We're Killing Each Other

I don't understand 
I don't know why
We're killing each other
Why we're destroying one another and the world
Why we're comparing and competing with one other
Instead of taking care of each other
Loving each other as one people
Living together in our one world
But, why, oh why, we fight each other 
When we should accept each other
For all of our beauty and imperfections 
As bothers and sisters belonging
To one big family---the human family
Capable of being united and free
From all worries, problems and stresses
That we now have made, created and invented
Out of fear, greed, corruption, miseducation, domination.

I don't understand
Why there are rich and poor in our midst
When we should all be sharing Nature's bounty
When we should all be living 
Together in cooperation, love, and harmony
Peace, justice, and equality
While utilizing the world's natural resources wisely
Caring for our environment and our patrimony
So that no one is left out or behind us
As we all go, move, and walk together forward
Embracing changes in our life-world
Celebrating our uniqueness, differences, and oneness
In a world where we should all belong together
In fair or stormy weather
In sickness or in health
In good days and bad
In darkness or in light
We live for and love one another 
As one big human family 
Forever and ever. 
But, why are we killing each other?
And why are we destroying our world?
(c) 2012 by chris a. quilpa

Well, folks, this is all for now. Thank you for your time. Until next time around. Have a nice day, everyone! Take care. May the Almighty God bless us all!
P. S. Thanks to YouTube and the uploader of the videos I embedded here with my post. No copyright infringement intended. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Periodic Hospital Visit and Nostalgic Feeling

Hello, everyone! Happy Tuesday to us all! Hope and pray that you're doing well, amidst all the happenings around us, here and there, everywhere. (At least, there is still this music that captivates us, soothes our weariness, lifts our spirit,  makes us smile or laugh at our life's craziness, and tries to restore our sanity.Yes, we have this Music that lingers on and makes our life bearable and worth-living. That is, if we listen with an open heart and mind. It's that good feeling of being human and alive, and well, with others and our Almighty God.)

This morning, my wife and I visited the hospital because, first of all, I ran out of a medication (refill) that lowers cholesterol. I've been taking this medication for a while, for years, actually. So, I just needed a refill or new prescription from my Internal Medicine doctor. Secondly, I have to tell/show my doctor about my right foot, specifically the sole of my right foot, that has been bothering me for months. It's painful when I walk, especially when there's pressure involved. I don't know know if there's a foreign object that got stuck in the sole of my foot or if it's a plantar wart. Or, something else. Third, I have to show/tell him about this thing, a mole, maybe, on my upper right cheek, near my right eye that's kinda itchy, at times. It's so tempting to touch or scratch it or play with it to relive the itch. Fourth, I have this slight burn (first degree?) on my right forearm, below the elbow (probably due to carelessness on my part), that I got while doing some oven cooking/baking of a family-size tray of frozen lasagna (Italiano) which I bought weeks ago at the Commissary. Another valid reason for our hospital visit is for my wife to make an appointment for that periodic or yearly women wellness check up.

Thanks to God, I was seen by one of the doctors in Internal Medicine today, as a walk-in outpatient, even  though I didn't have a pre-scheduled appointment there. As for my wife, she got or made an appointment for tomorrow.

With my hospital visit, I had all my objectives met. And much more than I've expected. I have my medication for lowering my cholesterol, same prescription and low dosage. I had a consult (pending) to see a dermatologist. I had my X-ray of my right foot. (I was able to see again my former co-workers, one of them, Gerry who, like me, has retired from the Service but currently working there as a civilian X-ray Technologist. What a nice, nostalgic feeling to drop by, once in a while, at the Department where I've spent over a decade working there, encountering lots of experiences with military and civilian staff-personnel, In and Outpatients, and sharing all that I've got to both co-workers and health care beneficiaries. Each time I go there, I always remember some of the people that I've worked with, those who are gone, and those no longer here on earth, especially (May they rest in peace! Amen.) Lots of memories that I always cherish.) I was able to make a periodic follow up appointment to see my rheumatologist next month. My wife and I did attend the 11:30 AM weekday Mass in the hospital's small chapel (third floor, across the OR (Operating Room) department. And, after the Mass, we had Navy (chow) lunch at the Galley---I don't remember now when was the last time I had Navy chow there. I tell you, I always go home full. I mean, my stomach is full every time I dine there. Cost to eat there is so cheap or reasonable. This is one of the things I like having been in the U.S. Navy. None of us, military people, goes home hungry because we're so well-fed, and taken care of, even our health and well-being. Hats off and my sincere gratitude to the U.S. Navy for everything it has done for all of us.

Well, folks, this is all for now. Until next time around. Take care and Have a wonderful day! Be safe. Keep (your) cool, my dear people of goodwill. God bless us all!-chris a. quilpa, 10July2012

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Relief from Summer Heat and Thanks to Chris B.

Hello, everyone! Good Monday to us all! How's life and summer treating you nowadays? Having fun and vacation, somewhere else, miles away from home, even for a while, huh? That's great!  Keep (your) cool, people! And, try to be happy and enjoy the moment for it's fleeting, okay? Life is too short to be worrying, you know. Smile and laugh a lot while you can. Thanks to God, we're alive and well!

Good news for us here in Hampton Roads. Per our local meteorologists, we're anticipating cold fronts on the way! That means we're getting a bit of relief from this sweltering heat that has been giving discomfort or bothering most of us for the past days. Yes, Sir, compared to past days which we have had high temp in the upper 90s to just over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, now we're beginning to have high temperature just in the mid to upper 80s (degrees Fahrenheit). For some of us, I guess, that is bearable enough, especially when we're out doing work outside, but covered, or enjoying summer while in the beach, on the shore, or in the park with family and/or friends.

Word of caution, though: We're still vulnerable to heat-related injuries/illness, for as long as we're outside, under the sun, for a prolong period of time. (I know, I still have some darker brown spots on my chest area where it has been exposed to sun while visiting a couple of beaches in Hampton Roads before, five to ten years ago. Back then, I just love to wear shorts and sleeveless shirts or top tanks while out there strolling down the seashore, enjoying the calm, warm waters of Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. I know, I should have applied some kind of sun tan lotion on those parts of my body, i.e., shoulders, chest, back,  exposed to the sun. I should have known better. Now, I have to suffer the consequences of my negligence? I only wish I don't have skin cancer or melanoma, which I don't think so.) That's why, during the season of summer, we have to protect ourselves from too much, or prolong, sun/heat exposure. Safety and prevention are the keys to having fun or enjoyment this summer.

Still, for some of us who are vacationing somewhere, under the penetrating heat of the sun, we need to protect our skin. We need to have head and shoulder covers, as much as possible. We need to dress comfortably, wearing loose, light clothing preferably made of cotton. And, we nee to drink water enough that we don't get dehydrated.

Well, thanks to God, that our new air conditioning unit is doing great and giving us so much comfort this summer. I thank God for having known Chris B., a good and wonderful friend, who has been doing/fixing our AC each time we have a problem. This time, we had no choice or alternative but to heed what he has been suggesting us for a while. Though it involved a substantial amount of money from us for a new AC unit, he ultimately replaced our original AC unit which is as old as our house that was built in 1997. Before, he used to add CFC or Chlorofluorocarbon, or commonly named "Freon" in that unit outside, by our backyard, or replace the worn-out fan motor in that one in our attic. Those work he did can last for another summer. Until finally, it's really that time to replace the whole AC system unit for efficiency. Again, thanks, my friend Chris B. for all that you've done for me and my family. God bless you and your family!

Well, what more can I say but Good Monday to you all! Hope and pray that you're healthy and all doing well. Take care and Have a wonderful, fun-filled, but safe and joyful, summer, everyone! Until next time around. God bless us all!-chris a. quilpa, 09July2012

Sunday, July 8, 2012

On Our First Sunday Mass with Fr. Chris, Lunch Buffet at "Kainan"

As heatwave continues to reign over the eastern part of the United States, and elsewhere, we have no recourse but to seek relief in cool, air-conditioned, places like staying at home, going to the library, mall, in our respective church where we attend/participate liturgical services. That's what my wife, sis-in-law, daughter, and I did this morning.

We did attend the 9:30 Sunday Mass, with our new parochial vicar, Fr. Chris, officiating. FYI, he's just been ordained a Catholic priest lately. (I miss Rev. Fr. Jarek! Hope and pray he's doing very well in Radford.) Now, though my wife and I are not scheduled today to volunteer as Extraordinary Ministers for Holy Communion (EMHC), I was asked, prior to the start of the Mass, by Peter, a fellow parishioner of St. Paul's, if I'm available to do the Host D for him, that is, giving/administering the Holy Eucharist or the "Body" of Christ to our members of our church's choir. He's the one scheduled for today but said that he's doing the collection (of gifts from parishioners). But, of course, I'm always ready and available for Jesus. I didn't have any problem with that so I said "yes" to him.  And that's what I did. I had to wait, though, for the choir (to finish their communion song) before administering each member the "Body of Christ." I always feel so holy, I thinks, and honored, and fortunate to do this activity for Jesus, through others. Thank you, Lord, and thank you, Jesus, for the opportunity of serving you, even in small way.

After Mass, my family had the chance to handshake and "welcome" Fr. Chris as our new parochial vicar, as other parishioners did the same. He seemed cool and reserved, though. First impression of him, while he was delivering the homily or sermon: He did it, not on the pulpit, but in front of us, close to the pews. He probably wanted to be close to us, to connect with us. He's likened to a teacher or a lecturer walking side by side. Like others, I have to move my head slowly from left to right, following him talking to us, discussing or explaining today's Gospel readings (from St. Mark 6: 1-6) which is summed up this way: Jesus began to teach in his home synagogue. The people, knowing Mary and Joseph, came to understand the wisdom Jesus shows and Jesus tells them: "No prophet is without honor except in his native place."

Outside, air was dry and hot and humid. No doubt, we can feel the heat already. As we gather, or shall I say congregate, in small groups, at the facade of St. Paul's Catholic Church, as we usually do, after Mass, we had a short conversation with our friends Mike and Myrna who brought their soon-to-be one-year old granddaughter Emily to the Mass. Like me, I suppose they're enjoying their retirement. On the other hand, other parishioners were still there, too, engaging in friendly chat with their friends, too. Then, we bid each other goodbye.

Where did we head to, after Mass? We decided to have lunch in a Filipino restaurant in Virginia Beach. But first, we drove to a gas station where we fill up the tank of our "oldie but goodie" Avalon XL.

Arriving at the "Kainan" Restaurant, we're delighted to see a busy, vibrant eatery with lots of diners already having luncheon. It was like a feast! Yes, we had a lunch buffet, courtesy of my sis-in-law. Lots of food, eat all you can, that is. (I didn't know that they serve lunch buffet there on Sundays, since that was our first time to have it there. But we have been there before, like the past Christmas, where we ordered or bought rice cakes and other dessert goodies by the trays.) While almost done eating (my dessert), there was an abrupt power outage there. OMG, despite the fact that we're full, we're getting restless and uncomfortable. We had to finish our dessert quick so we could leave the place that's becoming warm around. But then came back the power. Thanks to God!

What's next for us? Well, we drove back North, close to our place. We stopped by at a Dollar Tree store to buy Sunday's copy of The Virginian-Pilot. We also bought some books.

Then, drove back home where it's comfy and cold. Home again, this time. Thanks to God. We're good, and cool, I guess.

Until next time around, folks. Thank you for your time. Here's wishing you a fun-filled, but safe, summer! Take care and enjoy the season. Keep, or maintain, your cool, everyone!-chris a. quilpa, 08July2012.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Summer Heat and Heat-Related Injuries/Illness

There's no denying that summer is in full swing in the States. Most especially in the East Coast or eastern part of the United States where there is this so-called heatwave going on right now. Mercury rises as temperature goes up. That's always the case. It's the season. Let's deal with it. Apparently, when we're outside doing work or recreational activity, under the sun, let's take time to take a break, hydrate ourselves or drink plenty of water, wear  light clothing, preferably cotton, or dress lightly; use sunglasses and a hat or anything to cover our head and body, and seek shady areas, under a tree, for example. But, for some of us, especially with health or medical problems, it's better to stay indoor, or at home, where it's air-conditioned. Let's bear in mind that prolong exposure to extreme heat can be damaging or fatal.

During this time of the year over here in the Old Dominion, particularly in Hampton Roads, summer or the weather is basically warm and muggy, hot and humid. With crystal-clear-blue skies, there's absolutely plenty of sunlight to keep everyone (and everything) feeling so warm, and uncomfortable (to some), especially when we're outside trying to have fun and enjoy summer activities with our family, friends, and/or pets.

As the (summer) heat is (going) on all over the land, we have to think of safety, prevention, and protection. We should be aware of too much, or excessive/extreme, exposure to sun, especially when we're engaging in outdoor activities, such that we won't damage our fragile skin and/or become victim/s of heat-related illness or injury like heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

(At this time, I remember what I learned from the U.S. Navy Hospital Corps school. Let me share this knowledge with you, folks, if you won't mind. Note: FYI or For Your Information purposes only! Thank you.)

According to my rate training (course) manual, Hospital Corpsman 3 & 2, excessive heat affects the body in a variety of ways. When a person exercises or works in a hot environment, heat builds up inside the body. The body automatically reacts to get rid of this heat through the sweating mechanism. This depletes water and electrolytes from the circulating volume. If they are not adequately replaced, body functions are affected, and initially, heat cramps, and heat exhaustion develop. If the body becomes too overheated, or water or electrolytes depleted, the sweat control mechanism of the body malfunctions and shuts down. The result is heat stroke (sunstroke). Heat exposure injuries are a threat in any hot environment, but especially in desert or tropical areas and in the boiler rooms of ships. Under normal conditions it is a preventable injury.

Heat Cramps: Excessive sweating may result in painful heat cramps in the muscles of the abdomen, legs, and arms. Heat cramps may also result from drinking ice water or other cold drinks, either too quickly or in too large a quantity after exercise. Muscle cramps are often an early sign of approaching heat exhaustion.

To provide first-aid treatment for heat cramps, move the patient to a cool place. Since heat cramps are caused by loss of salt and water, give the victim plenty of cool (not cold) water to drink, adding about one teaspoon of salt to a liter or quart of water. Apply manual pressure to the cramped muscle, or gently massage it to relieve the spasm. If there are indications of anything more serious, transport the victim/patient immediately to a hospital or medical facility.

Heat Exhaustion: Heat exhaustion (heat prostration or heat collapse) is the most common condition caused by working or exercising in hot environments. There is a serious disturbance of blood flow to the brain, heart, and lungs. This causes the victim to experience weakness, dizziness, headache, loss of appetite, and nausea. the victim may faint, but will probably regain consciousness as the head is lowered, which improves the blood supply to the brain. Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion are similar to those of shock; the victim will appear ashen gray, the skin cold, moist, clammy, and the pupils (of the eyes) may be dilated. The vital signs usually are normal; however the victim may have a weak pulse together with rapid and shallow breathing. Body temperature may be below normal.

Treat as if the victim were in shock. Move the victim to a cool or air-conditioned area. Loosen the clothing; apply cool wet cloths to the head, axilla (or armpit), groin, and ankles, and fan the victim. Do not allow the victim to become chilled (if this does occur, then cover with a light blanket and move into a warmer area.) If the victim is conscious, give a solution of one teaspoon of salt dissolved in a liter of cool water. if the victim vomits, do not give any more fluids. Transport to a medical facility as soon as possible. Intravenous fluid infusion may be necessary for effective fluid electrolyte replacement to combat shock.

Heat Stroke: Sunstroke is more accurately called heat stroke since it is not necessary to be exposed to the sun for this condition to develop. It is a less common but far more serious condition than heat exhaustion, since it carries a 20% mortality rate. The most common feature of heat stroke is the extremely high body temperature (105  degrees Fahrenheit, 41 degrees Celsius, or higher) accompanying it. In heat stroke the victim/patient suffers a breakdown of the sweating mechanism and is unable to eliminate excessive body heat built up while exercising. If the body temperature rises too high, the brain, kidneys, and liver may be permanently damaged.

Sometimes the victim may have preliminary symptoms such as headache, nausea, dizziness, or weakness. Breathing will be deep and rapid at first, later shallow and almost absent. Usually the victim/patient will be flushed, very dry, and very hot. The pupils will be constricted (pinpoint) and the pulse fast and strong.

When providing first aid for heat stroke, remember that this is a true life-and-death emergency. The longer the victim remains overheated, the more likely irreversible brain damage or death is to occur. first aid is designed to reduce body heat fast.

Reduce heat immediately by dousing the body with cold water or by applying wet, cold towels to the whole body. Move the victim to the coolest place possible , and remove as much clothing as possible. Maintain an open airway. Place the victim on his or her back, with the head and shoulders slightly raised. If cold packs are available, place them under the arms, around the neck, at the ankles, and in the groin. expose the patient to a fan or air conditioner, since drafts will promote cooling. Immersing the patient in a  cold water bath is also effective. If the patient is conscious, give cool water to drink. Do not give any hot drinks or stimulants. Discontinue cooling when the rectal temperature reaches 102 degrees Fahrenheit; watch for recurrence of temperature rise by checking every 10 minutes. Repeat cooling if temperature reaches 103 degrees Fahrenheit rectally.

Get the victim to a medical facility as soon as possible. Cooling measures must be continued while the victim is being transported. Intravenous fluid infusion may be necessary for effective fluid and electrolyte replacement to combat shock.

There you go, my friends, my summer thoughts for today. May your summertime be enjoyable and memorable. Have fun but be safe out there. Take care and think safety always! Keep (your) cool, folks! Until next time around.-chris a. quilpa, 06July2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

In Celebration of Fourth of July

"When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation..." and so the Declaration of Independence, adopted by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, began!

July 4, 1776 was to become one of the most important days to all Americans. Why? It's because it meant Freedom! The new nation, that is United States of America---the Land of the Free World--- became free from the British reign.

Ever since that day, the annual holiday celebrations have occurred in every town and city/state, and other U.S. territories, in the United States---with parades of all kinds, including marching bands, soldiers, men and women of the Armed Forces, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and veterans of previous wars. There have been floats, parties, picnics in the parks, concerts in open spaces and/or water/oceanfronts, with songs and speeches, lots of music and display of colors, the Stars and Stripes or Old Glory everywhere, in public buildings, cemeteries, and other public gatherings.

Independence Day is spent rejoicing in the freedom of our country. In many places, this special holiday surely ends with spectacular fireworks display in different parts of the country.

As we celebrate America's 236th Independence Day, let's offer our prayers and be thankful to God the Almighty for our men and women in the United States Armed Forces who have proudly served and fought to the end, and those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice---giving up their lives---so we may enjoy the freedom and independence we now cherish.

Folks, I'd like to re-post and share with you my poem Fourth of July which I've posted in my blog a year ago. (My poem was originally published in Sandpointer, newsletter of then Naval Station Puget Sound, Seattle, WA, in 1991, and subsequently in The Dry Dock, official publication of Naval Medical Center San Diego, CA, in 1994. Fourth of July was registered in the United States Copyright Office, the Library of Congress on Dec. 23, 1997.) Hope you like it. And, thank you for reading this blog post. Happy Fourth of July, everyone! May God bless us all! And God bless America!

Fourth of July

I was born on the Fourth of July
Each year, I celebrate my Freedom,
My Independence and Liberty
Cherished and enjoyed by all
My people of different colors
From all corners of the world,
who desire to live with me
To share with me their hopes,
Their sentiments and frustrations,
Their dreams and aspirations
To make our world a better place
To let others live and be free
United and liberated, like me.

With pride and power,
Valor and vigilance,
I celebrate my birthday
With fond memories of my past,
The history that I inherited
From my forebears and forefathers,
The history that I wrought
For all generations to keep...

With spectacular fireworks all around
And parade of colors everywhere
My Independence reigns everywhere
And I exult with glee and jubilation;
With open arms and loving heart
I welcome all who seek refuge,
Who long for peace and brotherhood...
Offering each and everyone my Freedom,
Justice, Liberty, and Democracy,
With pride, power, and prosperity
Beauty, equality, and security...
Wishing all a fair and equal share
Of all my blessings from Above!

The Fourth of July is a very special day
to commemorate my Independence,
A day of unity and victory,
A day of remembering our men and women
Who volunteered their future 
And sacrificed their precious lives
From wars fought and won,
From crises overcome and resolved... 
Yes, today is a day of thanksgiving
For those those who have served 
And are still serving and protecting me
And others' lives around the world,
Keeping me strong and always ready
To watch and lead our world! 
Copyright 2012 by Chris A. Quilpa