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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Last Day of October 2012 Narrative

Good Wednesday, everyone! And, to those of us who observe/celebrate it, Happy Halloween! For Catholics all over the world, Happy All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day (on November 1 and 2, respectively)!

This morning, as soon I rose up from bed, the first thing I remembered was that I did write a composition about Halloween. And it appeared in our local community newspaper, Suffolk News-Herald, four years ago yesterday. I thought of sharing it with you, my dear folks and friends, so what I did I tried to locate my files about those simple and random imaginings I have had. Eureka! Yes, I found it. Thanks to God. (I do hope you guys had a chance to read it because I did share it to my Facebook friends as soon as I've finished transcribing it as one of my blog posts.)

(As I'm writing this post in our living room, while our TV set is on to news broadcast, our door bell rang. It was five minutes before 6:00 p.m. Guess who were in front of our door? Three kids in their lovely costumes! Behind them was a female adult, most likely the mother of one of the children. I gladly gave them each a Fun Size milk-chocolate candy and candy bars (M & M and Twix) which I've prepared an hour or two ago while I was preparing/cooking for our dinner. (I bought those sweet treats yesterday at Dollar Tree Market.) After giving the kids goodies, I asked the Mom if she won't mind that I take one snapshot at the costumed and made-up kids. She gave a nod and said, "I don't mind, go ahead!" Quickly I grabbed my camera and aimed at the kids who were gracious enough to pose for me. (I hope I can embed in this post later.)

Let me continue my story-telling for today...After using the restroom in our room, I time-checked. Why? I've thought of having breakfast at McDonald's. And it's already 10:50. Hurriedly, I brushed my teeth and changed my clothes. It's five minutes to eleven when I was on my way to the restaurant, driving our van and with my laptop with me. It was a minute before they changed the menu, from serving breakfast to lunch. Gladly and thankfully, I was still able to order a breakfast meal. That was my "brunch" already.

(Blogging Pause or Interruption @ 1838 (military time). The door bell rang. I opened it. Five kids in their costumes were on my front door, in unison, "trick or treat!" I just let them pick out what goodies they want from this earthen sombrero-like container. Their female adult escort from afar, our driveway, asked the kids, "what are you gonna say, kids?" They all said, "thank you!" to me. I'm so delighted to see them in their varied costumes, some spooky, others decently lovely. Then, kids came one group after another. @1845--- 2 kids; @1846---3; @1856---2 kids; @1859--- 10 children; @1903---5; @1906---4 kids; @1907---10 kids; @1911---5; @1913---one female teen; @1921---3 kids. I kept on refilling my "sombrero" container, not a basket, please. I feel good that I bought a lot of candies and goodies. Hopefully, it will be enough for the children coming for trick or treating. It's now 1933 as I continue blogging. No door bell heard yet. That's probably it for the night, with a total of 53 kids who came to my house for trick or treating. This activity ends @ 2000, per the city's regulation. I still have about 30 Fun-Size milk-chocolate candies/goodies left on my sombrero-shaped earthen bowl.)

Now to continue my narrative...While there at McDonald's I did visit Facebook and went back to my blog. From FB, I came across a shared link from one of my FB friends. I was touched by the article and the videos (courtesy of ABC News) about child abuse/molestation particularly of this so-called victim number one of the (infamous) former Penn State football coach who was finally convicted to life imprisonment (by a grand jury) for child molestation/sexual abuse, per media reports. I made a comment for my FB friend, telling her that I've read the article and watched the videos in which victim number one, Aaron Fisher, now 18 years old, was courageous to speak up, tell the truth about his case when interviewed by one of the correspondent-reporters of ABC News 20/20. I also thanked my FB friend for sharing that link to FB.

At that moment, my brain was alert, telling me to go to my blog and so I found myself writing down my thoughts via my blog. As a result, I have this post Wednesday's Thoughts (with the poem Trust No One which deals with a victim of child sexual abuse/battery/molestation and his or her conviction to fight for justice.) But, of course, I shared this post to my Facebook friends.

Having been loafing there at McDonald's for three hours plus, I finally decided to quit. I, therefore, drove back home, brought out our trash bins, the black and the blue and placed them at the designated area, by the curbside, ready for pick up tomorrow, Thursday.

Then, I prepared something for our dinner. I boiled black-eyed peas or beans with bitter mellon or "ampalaya" (from our fridge), and with sliced onion, a can of salmon, and flavored it with oyster sauce with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. On another burner was a pan with that hot Italian sausages cooked with water until brown with fat or oil from them. And, of course, with left-over steamed rice. That's what's for dinner for us, my dear folks and friends. What have you prepared, by the way? Any simple recipe for dinner that you can share to me? Do appreciate it.

After cooking, you know what I did. Chow time, of course! Yeah, it's time for me to eat. You know me, I always like to eat just after cooking because I want to taste, first of all, what I prepared. I don't know if you agree with me when I say that home-cooked meal is better and healthier. But not all of the time, though. I know. All of us, sometimes or at some point in time, want to also eat out, to savor what this or that restaurant or eatery serves or prepares. Especially if that restaurant is well-advertised or well-known, either by word of mouth or by paid advertisement.

Well, this is all for now. Halloween is over. This is my last day of October 2012 narrative. Hope it didn't bore you to death or contribute to your ennui. Hope not. Anyway, until next time around. Thank you for your time. Take care and have a pleasant day, everyone! As always, I pray, "May God bless us all!" And, God bless our fellow men and women and their families who were hard-hit or badly or grossly affected by Hurricane Sandy. May they find comfort and joy in their recovery, with God's grace and mercy! To all victims of Hurricane Sandy, may they rest in peace. Amen. May their families find peace and comfort in their period of sorrow and grief. My personal and sincere condolence goes out to them.-chris a. quilpa, 31October2012

Wednesday's Thoughts*

My thoughts (after reading a shared link from one of my Facebook friends, Michelle, and while watching/listening to the ABC News video/s about Aaron Fisher, the so-called victim number one (out of a number of children-victims) of Jerry Sandusky, a former Penn State coach convicted and sentenced to life behind bars for sexual abuse and child molestation, per news report):
                                                    Trust No One

Trust no one, they say
when you're out there
(even with others your age)
but things happen
to both young and old
(even with the same sex)
and trust is violated
in the end...

The act is repeated
again and again
one is suffering
the other at ease
or temporarily satisfied.

Again, it happens
again the suffering
again the satisfaction
until the damage has been done
for him (or her).

The effects and repercussions are felt
and seen, sooner or later
for the one suffering
victim, ignored
even when the incident reported
because he (or she) was young
no power yet to tap
no (political) clout and influence.

Helpless and hapless
he (or she) was
feeling guilty and unworthy
that all he (or she) sees
nothing but fear
shame and darkness..

But along the way
there was a ray of hope
and light at the end of the tunnel
vision the victim has made 
him (or her) stronger 
he (or she) became 
enlightened and empowered
and, finally, decided to speak up
with the media behind him (or her)
exposing the truth
by telling the truth
what has happened
with one thing in mind:
to seek for justice
not only for himself (or herself)
but for others
with the same story
pattern of use and abuse
and denigration of his (or her) dignity.

In the end, Light shone
and Justice prevailed
but, at what price
when one's spirit was shaken
one's body invaded
and violated?

(c) 2012 by chris a. quilpa

*Written while having breakfast or "brunch" this morning after eleven, at the nearest McDonald's.

Laughing At Our Fears On*

"Strange false faces, costumes, too/ Let's go out and all say Boo!/ I'm so scary and so are you!"

There we go...Trick or treat! Happy Halloween, everyone!

Ah, it's going to be Halloween. That means some, if not most, houses are decorated with seasonal flags, carved pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns. It also means children have already selected or are ready with their Halloween costumes.

I imagine there will be kids in their Batman or little princess attire. Some will be dressed up in just casual clothes with their plastic or canvas bags on hand, hopeful for an assortment of sweets or goodies. Likewise, there will be those older kids dressed as ugly, scary beasts, vampire-like creatures or witches.

The kids, accompanied or escorted by their parents, will be  going door to door around the neighborhood, greeting the homeowners with a shout of "Trick or treat!" while the latter have prepared some goodies, candies, chocolates and other sweet treats to give them away.

In my research, the tradition of observing or celebrating Halloween originally came to North America from Ireland more than a century ago...

When families from the Old World made their way to a new home in America, they brought many of their customs with them. 

The very name of Halloween invites superstition and mysticism, perhaps beginning with the Druids, centuries ago. the Druids began their New Year on November 1, and they lighted fires in honor of the sun god.

The people of Great Britain continued these beliefs, and some of these mystical practices survive even today.

In Ireland, it is believed that a man named Jack was so stingy that he was not allowed to enter heaven; he was also barred from hell because he had played too many tricks on the devil. poor jack was made to walk the earth carrying his lantern until Judgement day.

Since the days of the Romans and Egyptians, people have believed in witches. Even in the early years of our country, some women were thought to be witches and were burned at the stake.

People also believed that the future could be predicted on Halloween. For example, here's a popular tradition in Ireland: A supper was prepared of chopped onions, parsnips, and mashed potatoes. Into this concoction was stirred a thimble, a coin, and a ring. It was believed that the person who was served the thimble would never marry, the receiver of the coin would have great wealth, and the ring meant that the fortunate person who found it in his serving would marry within a year.

Children in Scotland created jack-o-lanterns from large turnips, lit by a candle placed inside.

In England, there was a belief that if a young girl peeled an apple, pared in one piece, swung it around her head three times, and let it drop to the floor, the peeling would shape the initial of her sweetheart.

The custom of children going door-to-door asking for sweets goes back to the seventeenth century, when Irish people asked for money so that a feast might be prepared. Today, some people collect money for UNICEF on Halloween.

Whatever the tradition, Halloween is fun, and sometimes, if it's meant to be---well, a little, anyway!

Well, today, Halloween, in my observation, has become millions or a billion dollar business, from Hollywood to the aisle of the nearest discount store. But kids of all ages still get a kick out of the cheap thrill of good ghost story, and they abound this time of year. It's just an indication that fear is part of life. It's normal to be afraid sometimes, and it's okay to have fun with that fear sometimes. Yes, we do celebrate, and capitalize on, the "ugly" and the "scary" part in/of us.

In the predominantly Catholic Philippines, where I originally came from, I don't remember having this Halloween event for children. Instead, we go clean the public cemeteries the last week of October. That is, en masse, we prepare our cemeteries to be visited or revisited once again. Gravesites or tombs are freshly painted to honor our beloved dead. We pay homage to our beloved departed on November 1, All Saints' Day, and on November 2, All Souls' Day. In addition to remembering our deceased loved ones, we also honor the Catholic Church's saints. We believe that these saints inspire us and guide us in our daily lives. Whenever (and wherever) we pray, we ask their intercession so that our prayers become meaningful, and hopeful wishes will be granted.

In my native country, we go to church cemeteries in late afternoon or early evening and lit candles at the tombs, offering our prayers and flowers. At times, Mass for the dead is said in the public cemetery by a town priest, who then blesses and sprinkles holy water on the gravesites.

The event or occasion is a great chance to see and mingle with friends and family members who may have been away from the community for months or years. In other parts of the country, people have this practice of offering food for the dead.

On the other hand, Philippine public and private schools, and colleges, are closed. It's like Memorial Day, Philippine-style. But, we do observe it not for one day only but on two consecutive days, November 1 and 2.

To all the Catholics around the world, my wishes for a Happy All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day! And to all kids in all of us, have a safe, fun Halloween!-chris a. quilpa, 31October2012.

*This piece of mine appeared in the Opinion page of Suffolk New-Herald on October 30, 2008.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Day After Sandy's Visit in Virginia

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Bye, bye Stormy Sandy! Thank you for sparing us (in our area) with your wrath, although you left us grounded yesterday to receive your tremendous rainfall. Yes, you dumped us with your unbelievable  squalls and downpour that flooded our low-lying areas, saturating our grounds everywhere. Your "Frankenstorm" surged, damaging some roads and houses and businesses elsewhere (but not in our area, thanks to God), delaying and cancelling schools and travel flights, closing our public offices and buildings, but you didn't dampen/damage our spirit. You didn't blow or wash away our hopes, even if you downed some of trees and power lines, and destroyed some of our infrastructures, etc. Not at all, Sandy! Life is more precious, to us, than anything material. We'll survive and we'll see the Light  at the end of the tunnel...We're safe and we continue praying. (To those victims of your power and fury, I pray, "may the souls of the faithful departed...through the mercy of God, rest in peace." Amen. May their families find comfort and loving care in their midst of sorrow and grief.)

Yes, Sandy, we're more prepared than ever. We're courageous and resilient, as ever now, to face life's uncertainties. We're hopeful, though, that we can pull through, that our life be back to normal, and that it will get better as we move on living our lives with our Faith and freedom. We're stronger and fearless because we have Faith. We put our trust in the Creator. And we believe in the love, protection, and goodness of our Almighty God, our Heavenly Father. Thanks to God that you're gone, and that (hopefully and prayerfully), you'll find your way out of our radar for good. Thanks, anyway. Yes, the worst is definitely over now in our area, although we're experiencing cold weather. What, winter is here already? No way, man! We need to get comfy! (FYI, I just switched our HVAC unit on from AC to heater today!)

To all of our TV news reporters and broadcasters, media people and meteorologists or weather men and women, and civilian and military personnel who were out there yesterday, repairing utilities and power, maintaining peace and order and security, and those involved in the rescue, cleaning, and administering support services to those affected by Hurricane Sandy, we thank you. Thank you to our doctors and healthcare professionals who have been taking care of our patients, especially our babies and elderly. Thank you to all of our public servants. Thank you for your unquestionable commitment, service and leadership. Kudos to everyone who deserves it.  Thank you, good and gracious God. And thank you, Jesus.

My wife Freny, along with her sister Rose, went to work this morning. A little late than usual because of the two-hour delay reporting notification she received (via phone, and from local TV announcement) yesterday.

As usual, while I was using the restroom in our room, I did pray and meditate the Sorrowful Mysteries of the holy rosary (of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Heavenly Mother to all) along with a video from YouTube. (While praying, I even shared the video I used to my Facebook friends, hoping and praying they did their part.) I also listened to some Catholic music videos by artists such as David Haas and Marty Haugen. I also shared a couple of selected videos from YouTube to our Facebook friends, to give them the opportunity to listen what I'm listening. I do hope you guys had the chance to listen and enjoy those music videos. Thanks YouTube and the video uploaders.

After breakfast, I prepared our bills to be mailed. Then, after getting dressed up, with warm jacket and a cap, I drove to the nearest post office to drop my mail. From there, I went to one of my banks to pay my monthly car payment. From there, I dropped by at Dollar Tree Market where I bought some (inexpensive) wine from Spain and U.S., some Thanksgiving cards, munchies and goodies for the visiting costumed kids who'll be here tomorrow evening. For Trick or Treating!

Remember Halloween? Well, it's a tradition here in the U.S., and other countries, to have candies for these cute, scary kids, you know. Yap, I'm ready for Halloween tomorrow evening. Nope, I'm not gonna be wearing any costume. Been there, done that, man! I remember, Freny and I used to bring our two kids, young Andrew and Tintin (in their Halloween costumes) in the mall and going from door to door in our neighborhoods to receive candies and treats. Arriving home, with bagful of goodies, we'd all be munching sweets while watching TV or doing their homework.

Well, what's for dinner, my dear folks and friends? I just cooked some sausages and green beans, and steamed rice. (Today, I decided to use our new rice cooker, with warmer. Freny and I bought this at NEX last week because we gave the old one to our son.) Thanks to God that we didn't experience any power interruptions in our area. I hope and pray that the millions of people (who have been in the dark since yesterday) in other states like New Jersey, New York, and up there will have their power/light restored soon. And that they can start their recovery and repair, and clean up of whatever that were damaged, etc.

Folks and friends, this is all for now. Until next time around. Take care and Have a wonderful day, everyone! May God bless us all, always!-chris a. quilpa, 30Oct2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Aggie Catholics: The Average Catholic Does Not Know Christ and What...

Aggie Catholics: The Average Catholic Does Not Know Christ and What...: If you didn't know, the Vatican recently ended a large and important  Synod of Bishops covering the topic of the New Evangelization. Why...

Rainy and Stormy Monday

Good Monday, everyone! It is still rainy and stormy, and windy over Hampton Roads and elsewhere in the East Coast. Local TV news report that some areas have been under water, especially in Norfolk. Due to storm surge, there are areas in the East Coast that are flooded right now. (Lots of closings, classes cancelled, coastal flood warnings, and I understand, there's this proclamation/declaration of state of emergency by some state officials in their respective state.) Unfortunately, there's this tremendous outpouring from the sky today! Yes, it's water, water everywhere! And the ground is soaking wet, or saturated, all around. (I pray that all is well that ends well for us all! I believe in the loving care and goodness of our Almighty God, through Jesus.) But we're glad and thankful to be alive and well. Thank you, good and gracious God! Hope and pray that we have power (of all sorts, eh!) so we can continue to be well, okay, all right.

Personally, I thank and pray for all of our men and women working out there, covering, reporting, updating us with the latest news; our utility crew, medical staff-personnel, and service personnel, and to our military and civilian personnel who are working hard to maintain peace and order and security around the country and throughout the world. May God bless us all!

This morning, I have shared to our Facebook friends a video from YouTube, the one I used while praying along the Joyful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Heavenly Mother and Mother of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior and Redeemer. I invited everyone to pray the rosary along with me. I do hope and pray that someone, somewhere out there did pray his/her rosary. Thank you, God. Thank you, Jesus. Mother Mary, pray for us!

Just a thought: Mother Nature has a way to help us rethink what matters in life. She is definitely a physical force to remind us that despite our progress, technological advances, intelligence, we're still vulnerable because we're humans, imperfect. She lets us show the way how to get us all back together, in unity with others, to show what we are capable of, what we can do to re/connect with the rest of humanity. Mother Nature neutralizes, checks and balances our life-world. She takes control when we're going too far to the point that we become helpless and hapless. Just a thought for me, for us, to ponder...

This kind of weather condition (Hurricane Sandy) is not Greek to me. Experience-wise, I've had enough of this in the course of my life's journey way back in my younger years in the Philippines. Natural occurrences, such as this, are part of life, I do admit and believe. (BTW, we're frequently visited by typhoons in the tropical Philippines. Nothing we can do about that because of the geography, location of the country in the world map.) Positively, we will get through all these "storms" in our life; we'll overcome, one storm after another. For as long as we have Faith and hope, we'll be fine. We'll move on and life goes on...Change is inevitable in life. Change changes changes...Our time will come when it's time, you know. All of us have a life span, physically speaking. That's reality, to me. (But I believe that we have a life everlasting with our Lord, after our life here on earth.) That is why, I live now---this present moment matters to me most; it's what counts right now, for me.  (I do hope and pray I make sense to you, my dear folks and friends. That we're on the same page, that is.)

Again, just a thought: Literally and figuratively, rainfall is good. It's not that bad at all. We need cleaning and cleansing. It refreshes us, relieves us from "dry spells" in our lives. It nourishes us and the environment and the world as a whole. Plants, trees, and other creatures grow and develop to their potentials because of outpouring rainfall. It's a source of new life, too. To me, rainfall is life.

Mother Nature is a part of our life. Whether we like it or not, we are a part of Mother Nature. That's my belief and understanding.

Well, my dear folks and friends, this is all for now. Until next time around. Take care and have a wonderful day, everyone! As always, I pray, "May God bless us all!"-chris a. quilpa,29Oct2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Weekend's Journal

Yay, it's rainy, stormy, windy in Hampton Roads! We're feeling the pinch of Hurricane Sandy from the Caribbean since yesterday. Prayerfully, we hope that everyone is safe and ready for any eventuality. To those victims of Hurricane Sandy in Haiti and other islands in the Caribbean, may the souls of our departed brothers and sisters, through the mercy of God, our Father, rest in peace. Amen. (The latest local news update we have in some parts of Hampton Roads is that there are flooded areas in Norfolk, Hampton, and other neighboring cities. Hopefully, water will recede in those flooded areas soon.) May God spare and deliver us from any crisis relevant to this weather (disturbance) system! God bless and keep us always! We trust in your care and love for us.

Yay, I couldn't believe it last night! I was writing my blog post, from our kitchen and continued to our room upstairs, when all of a sudden---BAM! it's gone! I was on my fourth or fifth paragraphs when my left pointing finger unconsciously or mistakenly pressed a key on my laptop, and everything was erased! Mind you, my dear folks  and friends, I was so tired and feeling sleepy last night but I thought I could finish my post prior to going to bed. In a split of a second, everything was gone! So, I gave up my blogging since my bed has been waiting...

Referring to my Composition Book, here's what I recalled from what I've written for my blog post last night...

27Oct2012 (Saturday)

My thoughts after waking up:

Everyone prepares
for the coming of Jesus
to welcome Him home.

@0847---Prayed along the rosary with a video on YouTube while I was using the restroom; Used a video uploaded by lovetrinity8; Meditated on the Joyful Mysteries.

After using the restroom and praying my rosary, I went back to our bedroom and surfed the 'Net. I came across a video or two on medical issues by certain certified/licensed doctor-lecturers. One of them was speaking about Human Fetal Circulation. Cardiology was the topic of the other doctor-lecturer who works in one of the well-known universities in California. These videos were so educational and highly informative, especially for those medical-nursing students. I did check on other video uploaders whose topics were about medicine and pharmacy or pharmacology. They're very interesting. Anyway, I had to stop my video-watching on YouTube because my wife just brought up a cupful of hot oatmeal with milk for my breakfast. Thanks a lot to my loving wife Freny.

At first, I was adamant to go with her but I gave in yesterday afternoon to Freny. Despite the (unwanted, unpleasant) weather disturbance swirling somewhere in the tropics and heading towards the Northestern U.S or Eastern Seaboard, i.e, Florida, the Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland, we went out to a neighboring city where we attended the one-year death anniversary of our friends' Mom. (We did attend their Mom's funeral last year, same month, and from then on we became closed friends. We even visited them, and stayed overnight in their house when we were on a week's vacation to California in mid-August, this year.) Lots of food, with guests/visitors present. We had the opportunity to see our friend Boy who came all the way from California, just to be with her two sisters and their remaining folks and relatives in Hampton Roads. We came to know one of their guests, Greg who informed us he came to the US first as a postgraduate student in physics. He also introduced us his visiting Dad, Viktor, who wasn't fluent in English. per Greg's account, he's married to one of our friends' nieces. And having bought their house in Norfolk, they've been married for two years, with no children yet. Currently, Gregory is working in one of the physics laboratories in another city. I did say this to Greg: You could be a physics teacher for they need Science teachers in school. But he was quick to answer: No, Chris, I'm more into research. Then, we continued our conversation in our friends' family room while their TV was on a Filipino cable channel (which I didn't mind because we were engrossed in eating and at the same time engaging in intermittent chat with Greg and our friend Boy. We didn't have the opportunity to talk to Greg's Filipino wife who was somewhere around the house with her fellow cousins and aunts? There was a group of our friends' guests/visitors who were playing cards in the kitchen, while some were in the living room chatting. Such occasion was truly an opportunity to meet new acquaintances and friends, making connections and interactions, engaging in conversations/discussions with topics ranging from economy, the forthcoming General Election 2012 in the U.S., etc.

From our friends', Freny and I went to NEX in Norfolk to buy a replacement to our old rice cooker that's inoperable already. Rain continued, on and off, intermittently. In short, the ground was wet yesterday (and even today, Sunday).

After dinner last night, I started watching music videos on YouTube. Then, after an hour or two, I started blogging. I continued it upstairs in our room, while TV was on. Then, in a split of a second, BAM! My blog post was gone! Nothing was saved when I tried to go over...Bedtime followed.

28Oct2012 (Sunday)

Awakened to the sound of our alarm-clock-radio that's always set on NPR (National Public Radio) at 6:00 a.m. everyday, I rose up from bed @ about 7:00 this morning, while Freny was still asleep. It was Bob Edwards Weekend on the radio. And Mr. Edwards's guest this morning was "Goosebumps" book author R.L. Stine. My thoughts (which I scribbled on my Composition Book) at that moment that Mr. Edwards was interviewing the author...

We love to wear masks
to live our fantasy world
we love to pretend.

Then, it's the call of the restroom. Afterward, I  prepared myself for Mass. I woke up Freny so she could prepare, too. I thought that Rose, my sis-in-law, was already preparing also in her room.

It continued raining, this morning, as we got out of the house for Sunday Mass at St. Paul's. But, of course, we dressed up appropriately for the weather. Freny was scheduled to serve as volunteer Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion (EMHC) today. No, I wasn't on the list. But, lo and behold, I was called to fill in for someone who didn't show up because of inclement weather probably (or possibly). I'm game, Lord, I said to myself. I'm ready, as always. Rev. Fr. David, our pastor for four clustered parishes including St. Paul's Catholic Church, was our priest-celebrant. The Gospel, he read, was according to St. Mark. It spoke about Bartimaeus, a blind man, hearing Jesus called out loudly, "Jesus, son of David, have pity on me!" Jesus summoned him and, seeing his faith, cured him. Bartimaeus followed Jesus.

In his homily, Rev. Fr. David talked about Bartimaeus who didn't mind those people who prevented him to speak up by asking Jesus to help him see. Fr. David connected this experience to everyone who has something to say but s/he is probably feeling unworthy to say it or share such knowledge or skill/s to others. His main point, to my understanding, is that we have to be embolden to share whatever ideas/thoughts or experiences we have, especially on religious issues that may be useful to the whole parish or community of faith.

After the Mass, we had an opportunity to shake hands with friend-parishioners like Mike (Myrna's husband), Paul, and, of course, Rev. Father David. As I was about to put my cap and about to shake hands with Father David, he said, "I love your hat!" Thanks, Father, I replied, as I removed my hat just as I was about to descend from the steps of St. Paul's. (I bought that one in C-ville, a year ago, I think.) Now, at that moment, I told Freny that I have an idea what to give to Fr. David for Thanksgiving Day or Christmas. I hope I'll be able to find the same model or style, somewhere in any malls in the area. I doubt if they carry that style I have in the NEX. Well, we'll see.

We went to NEX after the Mass, had brunch there at this chain restaurant. Then, afterwards, we just roamed around the store. I bought a bottled of red wine, locally produced in Chesapeake. (It tastes good, for I've tried one before. Excellent, inexpensive table wine, though!) I also bought a soft-bound book, about Declaration of Independence and other writings/articles by 16th U.S. president Abraham Lincoln. (I paid the book ahead of time, while Freny and Rose were still window-shopping, I guess.) Yap, I've got to feed my mind, not only my belly, you know! I don't know about you, folks and friends, but I like/love books. I like to be enlightened and educated, like everybody else, I guess.

Arriving home, we found out that my red wine was missing! Freny phoned NEX. They have it! She told Andrew (the NEX employee whom the former checked the shirts and whatever merchandise she has out and paid) that we'd be there in an hour. BTW, Rose went to her part-time work. She'd be home at 6 p.m., I think so.

After changing clothes, from church clothes to casual wear, Freny and I found our way to NEX. On the road, we listened to songs of American Idol 2012 season 11 winner Phillip Phillips, just to keep us going amidst the inclement weather. Just to get our red wine we left off or forgot at the check out register awhile ago, we're back at NEX. From there, we proceeded to the Commissary store where we bought some stuff again. Over a hundred buck we spent right there just for the groceries.

Yeah, man! I did try to cook chili beans for dinner. Actually, I just wanted to try cooking this, because I found that chili from Wendy's a challenge for me. So that's what gave me an idea, from that chili beans Freny and Rose bought when they went to pick up Tintin at D-ville last weekend? Good! I did my own version of chili beans. After cooking, you know what I usually do, folks and friends. I tasted or ate it, with Freny. The latter decided to go to our friend Myrna's to share some of my cooking and that rice cakes that Rose bought from her co-worker today. (We dropped by to pick it up, from the store where Rose is working part-time, once we were on our way home.) That's what Freny did. I didn't go out with her, this time, because I decided to stay put and to start my blogging. And that's what I've been doing since Freny left and even when she arrived minutes ago. So, I think, I have to sign off now, my dear folks and friends.

Until next time around. Take care and have a pleasant Sunday, everyone! We have to get ready and brace ourselves with this weather disturbance that forecasters have predicted to be a powerful storm? (Yes, we just learned that Freny doesn't have school/work tomorrow. Since last night, one of the universities in Hampton Roads has already announced they don't have classes tomorrow, Monday. No classes tomorrow. Yup, classes are cancelled because of the incoming Hurricane Sandy in our area. That's good, I think. So we have to be prepared to be safe and to do what we have to do with whatever comes our way. We can always pray, though.) As always, May God bless us all!-chris a. quilpa, 28Oct2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday's (Reflective) Thoughts

Happy Friday, everyone! TGIF (Thanks to God, It's Friday)! And we're looking forward to a wonderful weekend, in spite of an impending weather disturbance (storm or hurricane Sandy?) that's brewing somewhere in the southern tropics and heading off to the Eastern seaboard. Weather TV reports remind us that Storm/Hurricane Sandy will be felt/here in Hampton Roads by this weekend, if not Monday?

Well, whatever happens, we're living now---the present moment! This moment in our life is the one that matters now---my writing this blog post, sharing and communicating with you my thoughts, ideas. Carpe diem! Life is short and fleeting to be worrying, under stress. Let's keep and maintain our cool, my dear folks and friends! As they say, live life one day at a time. And, trust God and have faith. He'll deliver us from all of our angst and uncertainties. Smile and try to be happy! Peace!

Friday. TGIF! It's praying time for me while using the restroom this morning. Yes, dear folks and friends, I prayed along the rosary with a video from YouTube. It's Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother Mary and Queen of Heaven and Earth, and Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior, for all of us believers. Again, thanks to the video uploader and to YouTube. Thank you, good and gracious God! Thank you, Jesus!

Now, while surfing the 'net, after using the restroom and praying the rosary, I came across Halo Series videos uploaded or published by MachinimaPrime. Kinda cool, man! This sci-fi live-action video (war) games, on YouTube, are entertaining, and fun to watch! I find them educational, useful and influential, despite the fights and violence portrayed in them. The military-action drama in them are real and human, with all the robotic gadgets employed. You can just imagine how technology shapes and influences our lives and our future nowadays. How powerful our minds are when confronted with conflicts and uncertainties that are inevitable to occur even if we try to live a normal, peaceful life. Just wondering what's going on in our world of reality and fantasy! Let's accept the fact that there will always be war, wherever it may be, because we're humans and imperfect. With all of our wildest imaginations and crazy ideas, we're adventurous and exploratory, at the same time. We love to conquer and dominate. We're risky and explosive, at times. We're challenging and overwhelming, because we're thinking human beings.

Well, watching these videos reminded me of my son's old video games he has played with his classmates-friends before. I didn't pay so much attention to these videos before  but now I'm beginning to like them. I know, I have a lot to catch up but I'm on my way there, slowly but surely. I maintain an open mind, you know. I believe there's always something to learn anew when you continue to explore and find out what's in, up, out there.

Anyway, my dear folks and friends, I just wish that you're doing well in these tough, but fun, times. For all we know, we're done with the Election 2012 and that we're back to normalcy, if ever there's normal life that we're longing for. But we have faith. And a family to count or depend on when necessary. That's all that matters.

As Proverb 3:5-6 states: "Trust in the Lord with all your might. and lean not unto thy own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy path." Fear not, my dear folks and friends! If God is with us, who can be against us?

This is all for now. Thanks for your time and patience and understanding. Until next time around. Take care and Have a wonderful Friday and weekend, everyone! May God bless us all! Always...chris a. quilpa, 26Oct2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Catholic Videos on YT

Good Thursday, everyone! (As I'm writing this blog post, I'm also watching/listening the 2012 World Series Baseball Game between San Francisco Giants and Detroit Tigers on TV.)

Praying the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Heavenly Mother and Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, is a wonderful opportunity for me to use my time wisely, while using the restroom in our bedroom, especially in the morning. Strange but true. Such an unusual place to pray to and praise God, our Heavenly Father! Well, whatever works for you and me, there's no such thing as a specific place, and time, to pray and to give thanks to our loving God and his Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. We ask, as always, the intercession of our Blessed Virgin Mary, our universal Heavenly Mother.

Yes, Thursday morning, I prayed and meditated on the Luminous Mysteries of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Heavenly Mother and Mother of Jesus Christ, our Savior. I prayed along my rosary with a video by CatholicTV on YouTube. (The video above is what I used in praying my rosary. It reminds me of my experience when I went to Rome, Italy in 1980, stayed there for one month and a half. Unforgettable, fond memories with the Gen and the Focolare! Thanks to YouTube and to the video uploader. No copyright infringement intended.)

Afterwards I did a little research about praying the rosary on the Internet, out of curiosity. I came across this website (to find peace and serenity in your life) where I saw this Inspiring Quotes on the right side of the page. I noted it down on my Composition Book. Here's the quotes from Pope Benedict XV: "This (rosary) prayer is perfect because of the praise it offers, because of the lessons it imparts, because of the graces it obtains and because of the triumphs it achieves."

I also watched a couple of videos on YouTube that relate to Mother Mary and the Rosary. This is what I thought: The rosary is a way to know Mary and the intimate relationship between our Lord, Jesus Christ and his Mom, Mother Mary. While watching and listening to the videos by CatholicTV, I scribbled these lines on my Composition Book...

Many names

         Many tongues
Many, different colors
But one Faith
One big family
                    The Catholic Church.
                                           -chris a. quilpa, 25Oct2012

Afterwards, I did eat cereals for breakfast. Then I came across a video on Holy Cross Ordination Mass 2012. The newly-ordained priest was a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, in Indiana, USA. I watched it so patiently since the video was 2 hours long. The ceremony was solemn. It was also joyful, to me, because this young man with immense possibilities and potentials, has committed himself fully to (be a follower/disciple of) our Lord Jesus Christ. He answered God's call to live or practice a life of chastity, poverty, and obedience. May God bless him and his loving and understanding family!

In between watching the video, I did visit the website of the video uploader, cscvocations. And to learn more about the university mentioned, I visited  Wikipidea. Thanks to Wikipedia for the useful info. I learned something again. (In fact, I'd love to visit Notre Dame campus and attend a Mass at the Basilica of Sacred Heart there in Indiana. Someday, who knows?) See, my dear folks and friends, for as long as we're alive and able, and have access to the internet, we can always gain knowledge for ourselves, and for others, too, when we share or transmit such info to others for their benefit.

Well, for the rest of the afternoon, after preparing something for dinner, I did watch a couple of my favorite soaps on YouTube. Thanks to the video uploaders and thanks, YouTube. Also, thanks to Google and Blogger, and Facebook.

Well, this is all for now, my dear folks and friends. Until next time around. Take care and have a beautiful day, everyone! May God bless us all!-chris a. quilpa, 25Oct2012.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wednesday's Post

Happy Wednesday, everyone! How's the weather in your area, my dear folks and friends? Well, here in Hampton Roads, we have a beautiful, mild Fall weather. Plenty of sunshine, no sign of shower, with little breeze. Leaves of trees appear to be changing their colors as they start slowly falling down. In some areas, we've seen some already on the ground, like some scattered pumpkins displayed in specific areas. Looks like Halloween is undeniably forthcoming! Enjoying this weather, I am. And, I don't have any reason at all to complain. Thanks to God, life is good!

As usual, this morning, I prayed my rosary while still in bed. Since it's Wednesday today, I said and meditated on the Glorious Mysteries of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Heavenly Mother. These are: 1) The Resurrection of Jesus 2) The Ascension of Jesus 3) The descent of the Holy Spirit 4) The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and 5) The Crowning or Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

After doing my daily routine in the morning, I took my medicine for blood pressure maintenance. Then, I prepared myself to go out. (I kept putting it off. I got so lazy to go out of the house even if I were ready since yesterday to go and mail our bills to the nearest post office in neighboring city. Well, that's me. If I don't feel like going out, nobody can force me to do so, you know.)

I only had an apple on my way out to the post office. But while our van is warming up, I did bring out our trash bin by the curbside for tomorrow's pick up. Not much garbage in it, though.

From the post office, I drove to the Commissary to buy groceries. Arriving there after 15-20 minutes, I decided to fill up gas on our van prior to going to the Commissary store.

Pushing my grocery cart from one aisle to another, I bumped into a friend, Harold, from Holy Angels'. He was there shopping, too. We had a brief conversation. Just like the old times when we were attending Masses at Holy Angels' years ago. He asked how's my family. I told him we're doing well. I mentioned him about my two kids who are both working now, in two different places. When he asked about my wife, I told him, "she's busy in school, as usual." Anyway, we had to continue our shopping.

I couldn't believe it. I ended up paying more than $150 for the groceries! Well, what can I say but that's the way it is when you're shopping for food supplies for a week or more. Even if you stick to your shopping list there are times when you buy some stuff that come along in the process. At least, we have provisions for a week or two. Thanks to God!

On my way back home from the Commissary, I was enjoying my cinnamon swirl bun with water. I'm aware of my driving that I did drive slowly below the speed limit. I've come to realize now that there's no need to beat the speed limit or over because we'll get to our destination anyway in time. Yes, safety is everybody's responsibility. And, that we have to stay focused and not to get distracted by anything. (I know there are drivers out there who are reckless and crazy or "tarantado" and "kaskasero." They try to cut you off, overtake you, provoke you, etc.) We have to keep or maintain our cool, man! It's not worth having an accident that could be so destructive or fatal, you know. Again, safety is everyone's responsibility.

Now, you ask me, what's for dinner, my friend? Well, before I answer that (question) I have to unload my grocery, okay? And, after that, I nuked that one slice of leftover pizza from D-ville for my late lunch. Okay, I'm ready to prepare something for dinner. My dear folks and friends, I'm proud to tell you that I cooked beef stew and steamed white rice. In addition, we still have that leftover blackeye peas with "alokon" yesterday. Still tastes good, you know. Yes, we're ready to set the table. (Actually, as I've revealed to you before in my previous (older) post, I don't need to wait for my household once I've cooked a dish. I always eat after cooking because I feel like the food is better once it's newly-cooked. You know what I mean.) Ah the red wine, bring it on, man! I need it. I always have a good appetite, I don't know why. I love eating. Especially if I were the one who prepared the meal. Yay, my pants are getting tighter! Yap, I'm getting full. I don't think I still have (room or) the stomach for that dessert. Thank you anyway. Thank you, good and gracious God!

Well, this is all for now, my dear folks and friends. Until next time around. Take care and Have a wonderful day, everyone! As always, May God bless us all!-chris a. quilpa, 24Oct2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Past Weekend, Yesterday and Today's Journal

Saturday, 20 Oct 2012---I was one of about 30 participants who attended an eight-hour class related to Driving Improvement Program in a neighboring city. (This is in connection with a speeding ticket I got sometime last month, one Sunday morning on my way to church. My very first time to have a driving-related ticket, yay! I was lucky that day!) Fee to this class was $65. Terry, the instructor, tried his best to make the class interesting by: 1) sharing some of his life experiences with his family 2) discussing issues about safe driving 3) showing videos and discussions followed 4) asking us why we're there attending his class.
He treated us with pizza for (late) lunch. I got to know a few of fellow class participants like Robert and Eric. Both are in the construction business/industry. The former has a speeding ticket. The latter, who I learned as the class progressed and the day went by that he's attending the class on voluntary basis and has just decided to join the local police force lately. When I asked how long is his police academy class before he becomes a police officer, he said it takes six months. I also learned that he's a veteran Sailor, having served nine years as an aviation mechanic. He has two young children, wife who's an ER nurse at a local hospital.
Every hour, in the class, we have ten minutes break---to stretch out, to use restroom, etc. Before 3:00 pm, we had a brief review or recap of the lessons (which are very educational and informative) about safe, responsible driving, Alcohol and Impaired Driving, Drinking and Driving, Car Crashes Incidents related to DUI (Driving Under the Influence), Emotions and Driving (road rage), Driving Emergencies, Ultimate Driving Challenge, etc.The last part of the class was taking a 20-question test. Then, the test was administered by Terry. At the end of class, Eric and I had handshake and wished each other Good luck! I got my Driving Improvement Program certificate for the completion of the class. (I will present or show this to the judge on my appointment next month.) Lesson learned: Observe rules and safety in driving, at all times. And slow down, observe speed limit! In my Composition Book, I wrote this My Thoughts: Safety is everyone's responsibility.

Sunday, 21 Oct 2012---Tintin spent the weekend with us. She's back in Hampton Roads because she's scheduled to play piano for a Christian church in a neighboring city, every other Sunday of the month. And she gets paid $100 for her playing piano for the Sunday church service. So, we attended that 9:00 a.m. Mass in our Catholic Church, at St. Mary's in another city, each time Tintin is home on weekend. But most of the time we go to our parish at St. Paul's in another neighboring city. Our pastor (of the four clustered parishes in our area), Rev. Fr. David, celebrated the Mass with us. Church attendance was full at St. Mary's, which is smaller (building-wise and attendance-wise) compared to St. Paul's.
After the Mass, I've wanted to attend the coffee-doughnut fellowship at St. Mary's multipurpose center. But we have to go for Tintin's piano church service. We drove to another city where Tintin played piano in that Christian church. Churchgoers there, I noticed/observed, were mostly seniors or retired.
After the church service attendance, we drove back closer to home and had lunch at our favorite Seafood Restaurant.
After lunch, we went home, prepared to bring Tintin back to D-ville where she works. It takes 3 1/2 hours drive, one way. With us, on the road trip, was our friend Myrna, a retired nurse and wife of Michael, our friend and fellow parishioner at St. Paul's. Myrna just wanted to see for herself the place.
We had one rest stop at a convenient store where I bought bottled iced tea for four of us. I like the strawberry-flavored versus the lemon-flavored tea. Arriving in D-ville, we passed Tintin's apartment because we decided to show Myrna the public high school where Tintin works. And also the only Catholic church and school in the city.
Then, we drove to Tintin's place. (BTW, my wife Freny did the driving, as usual for long trips. And, on the way, we refueled our van even if it has half-full tank.) Her apartment mate and fellow college advisor was already there. She's also a UVa graduate, like Tintin.
We left D-ville at about 8:30 p.m. We had one rest stop, at Pizza Restaurant, where we bought two large pizza for $23 plus tax. I bought two because we'd give one (pepperoni pizza) for Myrna and the other one (sausage pizza) for us.
Irresistible because it's newly-baked and the smell was so good, I ate one slice of our sausage pizza. Freny had one, too, while driving. When offered, Myrna said she's okay. She decided to munch pistachios. She said she was still full having eaten roast beef sandwich and fries (we had them from Arby's, next to the gas station/convenient store where we bought a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread for Tintin).
Arriving in Hampton Roads, past 11:30 p.m., Freny and I brought Myrna back to her house where Mike was waiting for us. They thanked us for the pizza we gave them. We both said "Good night!" as freny and I headed back home. Thanks to God, we arrived home safe and sound, before midnight! Tired we were. I went upstairs to our room, while Freny was downstairs with Rose, her sister, my sis-in-law.

Monday, 22 October 2012---I had these thoughts, written/scribbled on my Composition Book, prior to doing laundry. Yes, it's Laundry Monday for me! I haven't had laundry of my accumulated stuff, used unwashed church clothes, for months! I tell you, I can go on attending any occasion with one-time use of my clothes, without washing them at one time. Not to brag but the truth is that I have enough clothes (new and slightly used) to wear a lifetime, man! Thanks to God! I don't know about you but I love wearing my wardrobe. Especially those casual wear, you know. Lots of them. So many that our closet is too small to accommodate them all! Yay, I can't believe how much we've accumulated through the years! I need to do something about it. I know what to do. Yes, I know; we're kinda guilty of this thing called "hoarding?" But not as bad as others I see on TV, though, to the point that their house is already too messy and disorganized and unkempt. We're doing fine, I believe. Lesson learned: Material things will pass. We, human beings, wanderers on planet Earth, will one day have our turn to pass this life to the next, like our ancestors did.

But let me get back to my original thoughts. Here's what I've noted on my Composition Book yesterday. It's untitled:
I'm a sinner
I know
I'm not a saint
But I want to be one
I believe
I have a chance
I have an opportunity
In living with His Word
In doing good
In thinking no evil
In dying a good, simple, humble life
For Him and others.
I'm a sinner
But not forever.
(c) 2012 by chris a. quilpa

Tuesday, 23 Oct 2012---I prayed the Holy Rosary along with the videos on YouTube, while using the restroom in our bedroom. Since I used the restroom quick, I wasn't able to finish my rosary. So, I continued it in bed, with my laptop on one of the videos on YouTube. Then, after that I watched/listened to another video on praying the rosary, focusing/meditating on the Sorrowful Mysteries. I was still feeling groggy and sleepy at that time.
While still snuggling in bed, (I like this Fall weather!), I did listen to some Catholic church songs on YouTube. Then, afterwards, while browsing the videos on the right side on my screen's laptop, I happened to come across this video uploaded by steve silvia (from San Diego, CA). Anyway, I got stuck on one of his video which he titled Salvation through the Catholic Church, the Bible alone teaching is a lie, with a background music "Come to the Water," sung or performed by St. Louis Jesuits. I tried reading the notes on his video and also the comments. He started by asking, "Did you know that religions go by the name of their founder?" That's when I learned something about Martin Luther, the so-called founder of Protestantism?, John Calvin of the Presbyterian religion, and John Smith of the Mormon Church. Silvia noted that the former was a Catholic priest "who fell away from the Church through pride, and married a nun" and eventually excommunicated because "he was the first to raise the standard of rebellion and revolt against the (Catholic) Church of God." Comments about the video were aplenty. I read some of them and Silvia tried to share his thoughts and ideas, too.
Well, I continued listening to Silvia's music videos (Catholic Church songs) even while I'm downstairs in the kitchen, finding out what's to eat for my "brunch" and at the same time preparing something for our dinner. There's one video of his that I'd like to share to my Facebook friends but I don't know if it's possible. The artist is Anathema and the song is titled Anyone, Anywhere? It's very touching. I like the melody, too. Sort of very mellow but dramatic. It has this them about homelessness. Yes, we have homeless in our midst, that's the truth. It's a global, societal issue that you and I have to face, like poverty and sickness, and crime.
For "brunch," I had that leftover roast beef sandwich from D-ville, and a cup of coffee, and that peanut butter-strawberry rhubarb preserves (from D-ville) sandwich. Pretty heavy, huh? Anyway, here's what I've decided to cook for our dinner: purple hull peas or black-eyed beans with some left-over sausage and left-over baked scallopini pork chops, and a can of salmon sardines, and a bag of frozen dried vegetable (from the Philippines, I don't remember the name, at the moment. It's not "malunggay." Yes, I know now. It's "alokon" in Ilokano.) How's that, huh? Yummy! For flavoring, I used a tablespoon or two of oyster sauce. Bon appetit! I know for sure that someone will be happy when she gets home.
So, without further delay, my dear folks and friends, I've got to sign off now. You know that I have something to do. (I still have to watch my International soap on YouTube! Probably later on, after cooking and eating dinner. Sounds like a good plan to me.) Enough of my blogging, this time. Until next time around. Thanks for your time. Take care and Have a terrific Tuesday, everyone! And, as always, I pray, "May God bless us all!"-chris a. quilpa, 23 October 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday's Observation Post

We always have test questions in life
But we don't always have the right answers.

We love or prefer to talk more
Than to listen to others' life stories.

We dislike criticism as much as possible
Because we don't want to be hurt or offended.

We disregard or don't want to make a stand
When confronted with issues that don't matter to us.

We don't fancy the idea to be poor
That we strive to survive and succeed.

We claim to be free in life
But we live in bondage of all sorts.

We encounter life's changes and challenges 
But we're uneasy or reluctant to welcome its seasons.

We're quick to condemn and judge
But we're slow in forgiveness and praise.

We love life and money than anything in the world
That we're obsessed with living longer and looking younger.

(c) 2012 by chris a. quilpa

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday's Free Verse

To Let You Know

this morning,
while in bed
I prayed to You
hoping I continue
living to keep on praying
for myself and others dead
from whatever reasons and ways
and for those still alive, like me a sinner
and sick and injured and ill and managing
trying to make do of what life has to offer
me, a life-long student and forever learner.

this midday, alone
while still in the house
I ate my brunch from leftovers
while listening to NPR on our radio
downstairs by our family room that is cool
but reasonably quite messy and devoid of style.

after eating,
I did nothing
but listen and watch
music videos on YouTube
that's amazing and inspiring
so fascinating and entertaining
to me, a lifer, loafer, music-lover.

I went to my bank
and withdrew money
in its ATM by the front door
then, on my way home, I pumped gas
then, dropped by Totoy's Filipino restaurant
and bought cooked food for dinner at home.

just to let you know
I'm not in the mood today
to cook or prepare something
for me, my wife, and my sister-in-law.

ah, such is life
when you're retired
you just try to take it easy
not to worry and get weary.

(c) 2012 by chris a. quilpa

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday

It's Thursday, everyone! Plain and simple. Hope and pray that you're doing well. I'm okay, just to let you know. Thank you, good and gracious God, for I'm alive!

I prayed my rosary (with Luminous Mysteries in mind) while still in bed, this morning. After probably thirty minutes, I rose up from bed to use our restroom. While waiting for the time, I decided to watch on YouTube that German soap (with English subtitle) that I've been watching for months. Again, I'm amazed at the role social media, like YouTube, plays in information dissemination and education. That in a split of a second, you'll see, hear, watch what happened or what's going on in the world.

After my restroom use and watching videos on YouTube, I arranged our bed, then went downstairs in my pj. To have breakfast and to figure out what to cook or prepare for dinner. But while downstairs, I found myself walking out into our backyard where I took care of scattered rubbish weeds, under the morning sunshine. I was about to put a bag of garbage in the black trash bin that's in front of the house by the curbside but it was already emptied. So I did bring that black bin back into our backyard, while the other blue bin hasn't been emptied yet. FYI, the garbage collector truck comes once a week, and that is, every Thursday.

I was sweaty when I came in the house. I removed my clothes, except my underwear. With my clothes in one hand, I went upstairs to change. Then, I went downstairs in the kitchen, but this time with my laptop. Logging on into the Internet, I went straight to YouTube and watched videos. First, I watched a video about Islam. The, after ten minutes, maybe, I came across a video of an advocate-activist/YouTuber who claims to live in his private SUV vehicle for months. Wow, he's got lots of videos on YouTube, with different topics or social issues he talked about! A Californian, he seems smart, engaging, passionate, and insightful and entertaining, too. He seems angry, and very much disappointed and frustrated, at times. And, one thing more, he's an advocate for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender). From his talks, he denounces the two-party system and advocates the alternative party candidate for this coming Election Day on November 6, 2012. He seems to make sense in what he's talking about. There was also that video in which he talked about socialism and capitalism, etc.

Anyway, while watching his videos and discussions, I came to realize that there are people out there who live in their vehicles for whatever reasons they have, just as there are homeless everywhere. This time, I recalled what I have written in one of my previous blog posts that deals with homelessness and poverty in America.

It's disheartening to find out why things happen the way they are, yet we have choices and freedoms living in a democratic, free-loving society like the U.S. My mind is filled with lots of questions that I don't know the answers. I keep on wondering why do we have such and such problems, etc. Hay, the more I come to know something, the more I get confused and with doubts, even about my faith, sometimes. Ah, life complex and complicated, can be confusing and demanding,  can never be fair, to my knowledge and observation. Why is it so, dear God? I need to pray for guidance and enlightenment...

This is all for now, my dear folks and friends. Until next time around. Take care and Have a nice day, everyone! Peace! May God bless US always!-chris a. quilpa, 18 Oct 2012

Aggie Catholics: Why Young Catholics Leave the Church & What To Do ...

Aggie Catholics: Why Young Catholics Leave the Church & What To Do ...: A  5-year research project from the Barna Group  highlights  6 reasons  why young Christians leave Christianity. I will comment below, b...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What Does It Take To Be A Public Servant?

(Introduction: What do you think? Does the title of this blog post of mine political (even if I keep on saying I'm apolitical)? I don't know or think so. What can I say, my dear folks and friends, but I'm a practicing (or call me a devout) Catholic Christian and a U.S. (naturalized) citizen. I have exercised my suffrage or participated in elections in the past. And, as a concerned, law-abiding citizen, I intend to do it again this year. I have expressed my (political) views before as evidenced in the following article (which appeared in Suffolk News-Herald on October 2, 2008) that I'm going to share with you, if you allow me, please. I need to omit, chop off, or not to include, the first three small paragraphs as they're no longer relevant to the present situation. Thank you.

I know, it's only a matter of weeks before we have the  Election Day in America on Tuesday, 06 November 2012. And, observably, political campaigning has been in full swing for months. Presidential and vice-presidential candidates have been crisscrossing the country, especially in those so-called swing or battleground states such as Ohio, Florida, Virginia. And, whether we like it or not, we have to get (actively) involved in the political affairs of the country because, one way or another, we're affected by what's going on in our society, government, for as long as we're resident-tax payers of the country.) 

Possibly more applicable or appropriate for local government employees, I believe, here's the text of what I've written (and published) four years ago...

Now, (this is just my take), here's my personal perspective on what it takes to be a public servant. If you're a public servant, you're prone to scrutiny by the public and the media. That's the price you have to pay. Your actions and decisions are being analyzed and, at times, criticized. Your critics and detractors are always on constant watch. They're critical in every move you make and every action (or position) you take.

As a public servant, you are accountable for all your actions. You are responsible to your constituents (who supported you, financially or otherwise), and the whole populace, who look up to you for (strong, exemplary) leadership, honesty, and integrity.

Leadership and transparency are two of the important qualities I (personally) am looking for in a public servant. Without these characteristics, such public servant ceases to be one. He or she leads by example. what he or she preaches, he or she practices and applies in his daily life.

A public servant is a public trust (we know that). I want a public servant who is trustworthy; who can genuinely serves the public and not the other way around, that is, to be served by his/her constituents. If he or she has a conflict of interest in serving his or her people, then he or she should have no business governing or leading the people. as I've mentioned, he or she should put his or her own welfare aside for the public's welfare. 

As they say, you cannot serve two masters at the same time. (If you do, you don't have the same degree or intensity of attention or service for both, I believe.) Where lies your interest? Your own personal business or the people's business? If your interest is not in the welfare of the people who elected you, then you have no business working in the government. Make way for someone or somebody who is truly and sincerely a servant of the people and not  the one being served. After all, you are a public servant whose primary duty is to serve the public, the people in the community who look up to you for your excellent or outstanding public service. Then and only then will you be known as a leader who inspires, motivates, listens, leads by example, and leads us to progress, prosperity, and success.

Politicians take heed: You volunteered to serve the public or the government. therefore, you are obligated to serve in the best interest of the people whom you govern and lead. You are not in the office to make yourself rich at the expense of your constituents. Don't let your people down and don't disappoint them. If you do, and become corrupt or ineffective and unresponsive to their needs, you lost their trust and respect. they will find ways and means by which you will be ousted or removed from your office or post. Don't ever think that because you're powerful you can't be replaced. There are a lot of people out there who are watching you and monitoring your intentions, dealings and movements, with the advancement of technology. Be aware that, as I've mentioned earlier, you're under public scrutiny all the time! The electorate is not dumb. (They may seem passive but they're vigilant.) Your character speaks of you. So, are you ready to serve us, to lead us the way to a more progressive community (or country), to govern us in a manner that exemplifies the true public service, in the real sense of the word? Are you ready to listen, to go out personally and feel the pulse of the community/ Are you ready to sacrifice your time, talent , and treasure where needed?-chris a. quilpa, 17 October 2012

Wednesday's Wisdom

A wonderful Wednesday to all of us! Thanks to God that we're alive and well, as always!

This morning as I was using the restroom in our Master's bedroom, I prayed the Glorious Mysteries of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary (our Heavenly Mother and Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer) along with a video on YouTube. To recall, here are the Glorious Mysteries (to meditate and pray on Wednesdays and Sundays): 1. The Resurrection of JesusChrist, 2. The Ascension of Jesus in Heaven, 3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit among His Disciples, 4. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, and 5. The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth.  

For a different voice or view, I used a different video, from a different uploader, this time. The praying time was under 20 minutes, though. I don't know why but after praying along the rosary, and after using the restroom, I got curious of another video on YouTube (on the praying the rosary, Glorious Mysteries) that I found myself clicking on it. This time the uploader is FatherJeffrey. The praying time was longer, less than 30 minutes. And, I didn't notice myself but was praying along again this time. So, here's that video. (Disclaimer Note: I don't own the video. No copyright infringement intended. Thanks to YouTube and the uploader, FatherJeffrey.)

After praying along the rosary, I prepared myself for I have decided to go out, have breakfast or "brunch" at McDonald's. 

You know, dear folks and friends, I'm still trying to find/get that winning stamp/s of the restaurant's Monopoly Game which I'm sure your'e familiar with. And mind you, I've noted or listed down the stamps that I'm missing or needed in order for me to win one of the prizes they have. (Here are the stamps I needed to win: Tennesse Ave., Virginia Ave., Mediterranean Ave., Pennsylvania Ave., Vermont Ave., Ventnor Ave., Short Line, and Boardwalk.) Most of the time, from the wrappers of my egg-sausage McMuffin sandwiches I have had, I got lucky to have a free one quarter-pounder sandwich or one free medium-size fries. One time, I had a free McFlurry something for dessert and I did keep it for a while. Eventually, on one occasion, I did redeem my prize. Another time, I got this stamp that says I won a one-day Redbox DVD rental (which I haven't redeem, and now I don't know where I placed or kept that stamp already. I thought I kept it in my wallet but it wasn't there anymore.)

Here at McDonald's, I have just eaten (and enjoyed, not gobbled up!) on one of my two breakfast sandwiches, and have drunk or imbibed (?) 2/3 of my large-size 69 cents coffee with cream and sugar, prior to writing this blog post of mine. No, I didn't get any of the winning stamps, so far, today. That's okay.  

Now, recalling what I was thinking while in our restroom at home, a while ago, I have thought of writing or talking about praying (the rosary) in unusual places. At that time I was thinking of myself, praying (the rosary) almost daily in our restroom, while doing my daily routine in the morning or "eliminating my waste from my system." (Strange, but true! Yukky, huh?) I was also thinking or imagining others, folks of different careers or professions or vocations who may be praying in other unusual venues such as in a busy subway station, at work in the office, in the open while walking or jogging or bicycling or biking, or rowing or kayaking, in the fields while tilling the soil, harvesting, in the waters or lakes, or high seas fishing or cruising, in school while teaching or dealing with students with a disciplinary case, in the park, in the forest hunting or in a cave exploring, in a studio awaiting for a recording session to start, in a photo shoot, film location awaiting for the camera to roll while waiting for other (late) co-stars to show up, in a prison cell, in the air 20,000 miles above the earth en route to final destination or another stopover country, etc. Okay, simply put, the wisdom of my thinking is praying can occur everywhere else, wherever you may be. I understand now, as I continue to live (to try to live a life of Faith and to enjoy life), that there is no specific place or space to pray, to communicate our inner thoughts to our Creator, good and gracious God. The important thing is that we give thanks to God for our life, be it ordinary or simple or complex, with all the ups and downs and the uncertainties it brings us. As a sinner and/but believer, I try to find time to pray each day. I do hope and pray that you, my dear folks and friends, do the same, too. As far as I'm concerned it's better to have Faith than nothing (to believe) in life.Thank you. Thanks to God. And, thank you, Jesus.

I think, if my memory serves me right, I've mentioned in my older or previous blog posts that I tend to be apolitical. But last night, I watched the 2nd presidential debate (town hall meeting style) between incumbent President Barack Obama and former Governor (of Massachusetts) Mitt Romney, via the national public television station PBS. The venue was at Hofstra University in New York. The event's moderator was CNN's Cindy Crowley. As an undecided voter, up to this moment in time, I came to realize that both candidates of the Democratic Party and the GOP's Republican Party, respectively, have different views and approaches on to how to lead the country, how to turn around or stimulate the economy, to create jobs, to help or strengthen the middle class, to solve our energy problems (and less dependent on foreign oil), to address foreign policies, etc. It's always predictable that after the debate, there's the analysis of the network's political analysts and commentators, or pundits, personal reactions or feedback to the democratic forum.

Anyway, I have to sign off now. (I still have to go to the post office to drop off my mail, one of my car bills, you know. And to prepare or cook something for dinner. I did thaw a pack or packet of beef stew prior to leaving the house this morning. I may cook beef "adobo." How's that?) Until next time around, my dear folks and friends. Thank you for sharing me your time (by) reading this blog post of mine. Take care and Have a wonderful day, everyone! May God bless us all. Always...chris a. quilpa, 17October2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuesday Thoughts

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Last night, I went to bed late. I don't know about you, dear folks and friends, but there are times that I don't feel like sleeping early. Especially if I'm doing something that's so interesting that I couldn't refuse but to finish it. I'm talking about watching a movie on YouTube. What's so interesting about this movie that robbed me of my sleep? Well, it was kinda dark, surprisingly historical, but brutal and fatal. At first it didn't seem to be gory but it was. In the end, though, the protagonists survived the ordeal.

The film, though it claims to be fictitious, has something to do with college fraternities. Prior to watching the movie, I have found out earlier, or early evening last night, about this "ragging" (the psychological and physical torture inflicted by senior students to new students or "pledges" in school), while I came across a video about it on YouTube. That was my first time to come to know the term, which is similar to bullying or hazing in schools or colleges. Later on, I learned that it was employed by the military to build unit or team cohesiveness. Somehow, after World War I, these military personnel who survived, returned home from war, and eventually went on to college to further their education, were the ones who introduced this activity in school/colleges/universities they attended. Little did I know then that ragging was rampant in countries like Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh (from Wikipedia). (I ended up reading a report about this topic by a certain Indian organization which advocates the ban on ragging in colleges and universities.)

Anyway, I was wondering if ever there's benefit/s derived from ragging. What good is there about ragging? If there's nothing beneficial about this activity, then why does society condone its practice? Just wondering, though.

Well, this is one interesting thing about the Internet, specifically YouTube, which I'm becoming an aficionado, so to speak. You'll never know what you'll find out while using the Internet. That's why I've mentioned before that the power of the Internet continues to amaze me, while I continue to learn things. (Thanks YouTube, Google, Blogger, Wikipedia, and Facebook.) And, at times, you'll never know who or what to believe from the ones you've read or viewed or watched. At times, confusion is the word that comes to mind, in stead of enlightenment. That's why I have to be cautious. I have to try to weigh things before I make decisions or judgement. That'w where my Faith comes into play. I try to pray to our Almighty God for guidance and enlightenment that what I've said or done is the right thing and not the other way around. Although I'm aware that I'm a sinner, like everybody else, I try to stay the course to a faithful life, one that keeps on trying to do good and to do His will. Now, you ask me, how do you know if you're doing God's will? That's between me and our Almighty Father, you know. He knows that I've been trying to follow His commandments, be an honorable and humble man, and law-abiding citizen.

This morning, I prayed my rosary (contemplating on the Sorrowful Mysteries) while in bed. Mother Mary, pray for us, your children! Then, I did use the restroom (doing routine, elimination of waste, that is!). Afterwards, I'm herewith writing this blog post while still in our bedroom. Outside, it's sunny and bright, with clear, blue skies. No, I don't see any Canadian geese on the school's playground this moment. They must be somewhere else this time. I see cars parked on the school's premises. The atmosphere is kinda calm, quiet and peaceful! Thank you, good and gracious God, for such a beautiful, nice and wonderful Fall weather! Thank you, Jesus!

This is all for now. Until next time around, my dear folks and friends. Take care and Have a terrific, turbulent-free Tuesday, everyone! As always, I pray, "May God bless us all!"-chris a. quilpa, 16Oct2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

abitadeacon: Reformer, mystic, Doctor of the Church, Saint

abitadeacon: Reformer, mystic, Doctor of the Church, Saint

Monday Musings

Good Monday, everyone!

Here we are again, as we begin another week of living life with Faith and Love! As I'm writing this blog post, I'd like you to guess where I am at the present moment. You betcha, I'm at McDonald's where I just had my breakfast or "brunch?"

Before I go on, I'd like to tell you that I did pray my rosary (Joyful Mysteries) this morning while still in bed and while our alarm-clock-radio was on since 6:00 o'clock am. (It's regularly or automatically set at that time, for my wife Freny who goes to school-work before seven.)

Before leaving our house this morning for McDonald's, I did also continue a little bit of that laundry chores that my wife left off last night. I folded the clothes that were in the dryer and put the ones that were washed (but not dry) in the dryer. In the meantime while waiting for the clothes to be done, I did a little walk around in our wooden deck, by our backyard overlooking the school playground. Guess what I saw from a distance at the school playground? About fifty Canadian geese! They're congregating in that elementary school playground. And unperturbed by a lawn maintenance crew, mowing the vast playground with his noisy lawn mower. Anyway, I had a bit of vitamin D from the sun this morning.And, fresh, crispy cool air from trees nearby our neighborhood. What a feeling of relief! Truly a blessing to be alive and well! Thank you, Almighty God! And thank you, Jesus!

Now, as I continue developing this thoughtful narrative, I've noticed that more and more people are coming in to dine here at McDonald's. Well, it's lunchtime, that's why. Besides the place is almost always occupied with intermittent diners from different walks of life. Such is business, especially in the fast food industry. Blue and white-collar employees, military personnel on lunch break, ordinary workers or wage-earners, come to eat or enjoy their bites out of the fast food restaurant's famous burgers and fries, and either McCafe or whatever beverage the customers prefer to drink. It's for convenience, Man! In about ten-fifteen minutes, these customers are done, having enjoyed their "eat" while resting their stomach for a while before they go back to their respective work. Such is life in the fast lane, huh? Fast food with fast service, with a smile at times, from uniformed McDonald's employees. And to each his/her own, unmindful of other's business.! At least, that's how I look at it, each time I come here not only to spend less than five dollars for breakfast or "brunch" but also to just chill out and have that so-called "slice of life" outside of my house. As I've mentioned in my previous posts, I'm just trying to enjoy life now, living the present moment well and letting time takes its course, while managing my chronic lower back pain, etc. It's true, life is too short so I don't want to make it shorter by doing foolishness that endangers my one and only life. No, I won't succumb to such and such foolish idea or thought that's against my Faith principle.

BTW, before I forget, I just had this "total baldness" haircut since Saturday. My FilAm barber at NEX didn't believe me when I said I wanted my head to be an all-out clean or complete shaved off. When he handed me a mirror showing me what he did, I disagreed. I reiterated what I said: clean head, please! He had no choice/option but to redo my "haircut." But I gave him a reasonable tip he couldn't refuse. "Thanks, Man!" he said as my wife and I were leaving the shop for the Commissary that Saturday afternoon (this past weekend).

Yesterday, Sunday, as usual, my wife Freny and I and my sis-in-law Rose attended the second Mass at St. Paul's. Freny and I were scheduled as volunteer Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. We did Cup 3 and 4. That is, we gave out or distributed the consecrated wine (the Blood of Christ) to our fellow parishioners. Rev. Fr. David, our pastor of the four clustered parishes, officiated or celebrated the Sunday mass with us. He reminded us about the Catholic Church's observance of the Year of Faith, from October 2012 to November 2013, the ways in which we deepen our Faith and our role in the New Evangelization of the Church. (I did try my best sharing some articles {related to this issue} from Catholic links to our Facebook friends last week, with the hope that they've had a chance or opportunity to read them.)  
Well, I better sign off now. Until next time around, my dear folks and friends. Thank you for your time. Take care and have a nice day, everyone! As always, "May God bless us all!"-chris a. quilpa, 15Oct2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Random Thoughts Haiku

(Introductory Note: I was alone outside by our wooden deck, overlooking our backyard and the school playground, this beautiful afternoon, listening to and observing the whole wide world. As I gazed at my surroundings, from left to right, up to the open azure skies, there's this immense feeling of peace and joy, especially when this flock of Canadian geese passed by overhead in V-formation! They turned around and, too bad that I didn't have with me my camera, what a view! God, it was amazing! Such an awesome,  wonderful feeling! Thank you, Lord, for the beauty of your creation! Thank you, Jesus! Thus, here's what I've written while in the open...)

up the cumulus
clouds like patches of cotton
floating in the sky.

fresh air, mild weather
sunshine, clear blue sky, cool breeze
such a gorgeous day!

out in the open
scenic views are a delight
nothing to compare.

amidst the turmoil
in other parts of the world
there is hope and life!

there's nothing to fear
if we let Him rule our life
peace is in our hearts.

Faith keeps me going
to live the present moment
well with love and peace.

(c) 2012 by chris a. quilpa

Friday, October 12, 2012

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month*

(Disclaimer Note: The following is for informational purposes only. If you're the one/s concerned, consult or visit your doctor or healthcare provider. Thank you.)

In my desire to share my thoughts, I took some time to write about an issue that pertains most especially to women. (But men are also vulnerable to this problem as I have encountered one case while I was still working in a naval military hospital a decade or two ago. Yes, men can also have breast cancer. The National Cancer Institute reports that about 2,000 men are diagnosed each year.) I dedicate this piece in honor of the memory of my mother-in-law, Zeny, who passed away due to breast cancer almost two decades ago. Had she lived through the years, she would have witnessed how her two grand children have grown to become college students. (Author's note: They're both college graduates and now working, attached to or connected with AmeriCorps.) Mama Zeny did have a mastectomy (surgical removal of the diseased breast) and chemotherapy afterwards. But, I learned afterwards that the cancer has metastasized (spread throughout). May she rest in peace. Amen.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This observance highlights the importance of early detection, prevention, and protection from breast cancer and other related abnormalities. It's been said that early detection is the key to cancer survival.

In his book, "Breast Care: The Good News," Dr. W.R. Spence notes that breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women between the ages of 40 and 55, second only to lung cancer. He also writes that about one in every 10 will develop benign breast tumors, nine out of 10 breast tumors will be found by women themselves, and 9.5 out of 10 will be alive five years or more after treatment. So with early detection, the rate of survival could certainly be 95 percent. Breast cancer survivors attest to the fact that early detection plays a vital role in their survival and success.

Meanwhile, the American Cancer Society has set guidelines for early breast-cancer detection. At 40, all women should have at least one screening or baseline mammograms (the very first X-ray data or pictures of the breasts that serve as the basis for future comparison). For women age 40 and over, they should have a mammography every one or two years or as directed by their doctor or healthcare provider. Women at high risk should have a frequent or regular mammography, as per their doctor's recommendation. Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam every three years, and every year for women 40 years old and over. For women starting in their 20s, a monthly breast self-exam is an option. Women should know how their breasts normally feel and should report any breast pain or change (unusual appearance and/or size) promptly to their doctor or healthcare provider.

Moreover, Dr. Spence also recommends females should perform breast self-examination at least once a month. These exams play an important part in the early detection of any breast abnormality. The best time to perform them, he suggests, is seven to 10 days after their last menstrual period. To learn or find out more how to perform a breast self-exam (BSE), visit (Note: There are also educational videos on YouTube about this topic. You're more than welcome to check them out for yourselves. Thank you.)

To recap or sum it up, routine mammography is one of the best tools to detect breast cancer. If you haven't had one, consult or visit your doctor and, if s/he recommends an X-ray of your breast, obtain a referral from her/him to have a mammogram.

Now, once your doctor or healthcare provider has accessed/obtained/reviewed the results of your mammogram, he or she'll confer with you and if he or she found something significant from the X-rays s/he'll tell you upfront. That's when a follow up visit to your doctor will be set or scheduled.

For information about National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, visit To learn more information about breast cancer, call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 or visit their website at Likewise, contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at a. quilpa, 12 October 2012

*The above article of mine appeared in the Suffolk News-Herald on 09 October 2008.