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Monday, February 25, 2013

Weekend with Andrew in The Capital and The Land of Mary (with Photos)

Hi, folks and friends! How are we all doing today? Did you guys have a wonderful weekend? Hope you had a good, relaxing weekend.

Well, my wife Freny and I spent the weekend with our young adult son Andrew in The Capital and The Land of Mary. That's right, in DC and Maryland where he currently works and resides, respectively. As you may well know, we've visited him a couple of times last year, though. But in his old address, that is. We've met his housemates and they also shared, one time, with us the dinner they collaboratively cooked or prepared. (They graciously invited us to partake what they've cooked that night. And we were so thankful for their hospitality.) I still can vividly remember the dishes they served us: Andrew did cook fried asparagus, he said, while one of his housemates did pork chops. Beth did the (boiled) white rice. We had a lively dinner, with red wine. We had a great time that night. Eventually, we ended up spending the night there. Truly, we did enjoy each other's company, with animated, engaging conversation.

This time, Andrew and his housemates have moved to another house last month. Knowing that they've moved to another rental house with same housemates, Freny and I have decided to visit him. And his housemates, too. But before leaving Hampton Roads Saturday, we went to a Filipino restaurant in Virginia Beach where we bought a tray of "pancit bihon" and "lechon kawali" and that sweet banana fried rolls for Andrew and his housemates.

Arriving in DC/Maryland, after almost four hours on the road, (thank God for GPS), Freny and I learned from our son that Beth wasn't there. Andrew said that the latter left that Saturday morning for New York. But she told Andrew that we could spend the night there if we so decide. We found out that she left us a note (in her room) welcoming us to their new house. She graciously offered her room for us if we decide to spend the night there which we did. Likewise she told us to feel at home and that she'd see us next time. (The following day, Sunday morning, while getting ready to go to Sunday Mass at the Basilica, Freny wrote a note thanking her for her hospitality. We left her also a present---a box of chocolate and a bottle of locally produced wine from Chesapeake.) Now, I don't know if it's inappropriate (rude or impolite) for us, her guests, but we used our own bedding since we brought our own pillows and blankets (which we don't normally do. And most of the time, we spend the night at one of the chain hotels there where we usually do.) Anyway, Freny and I had the opportunity to see graduate students Den and Kev again, and to meet another graduate student Pat, and a Professor by the name of Chuck, other two of  Andrew's housemates whom we haven't met before. We shared with them the cooked food we brought from Hampton Roads.

The following day, Freny, Andrew and I attended Sunday Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in DC, next to Catholic University of America. As you know, each time we're in DC, we always visit the Basilica.) We had lunch there at the restaurant adjacent to the store shops at the Basilica. (Wish Tintin was with us, too. She's in D-ville where she got her first job after college.) Afterwards, we took pictures as souvenirs. Then, we drove Andrew back to his house prior to leaving DC/Maryland for HR. We had a great time together with Andrew, I'd say. At least, we had the opportunity to see him again because the last time we saw him was when he came home for the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

It was past 8:00 o'clock p.m. when we arrived home. As always, Freny did the driving. Man, she's a pro when it comes to long distance driving. As she said, she loves driving. No doubt about it.

Well, this is all for now, my dear folks and friends. Until next time around. Take care and have a great day, everyone! As always, I pray, "May God bless us all!"-chris a. quilpa, 25Feb2013

Post Script: Photos below were taken on 24 February 2013 in "The Land of Mary" and The Capital.
Here's a picture of Andrew. Behind him is the new house where he and his housemates reside somewhere in "The Land of Mary."
A snapshot of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC, where we attended the 10:30 Sunday Mass, 24 February 2013.
Here's Andrew and me, in front of the Basilica after attending the Sunday Mass and having lunch at the restaurant there.

Here's me and Freny at the facade of the Basilica, after the 10:30 Sunday Mass and lunch at the restaurant inside the National Shrine where there's also gift shops.
 On our way back home to Hampton Roads, we stopped by at this Welcome Center/Rest Area in Northern Virginia. Here, we took the time to have our picture taken by a fellow traveler. To him I say, thanks, man.

Thanks for taking the time with us. Hope you enjoyed and learned something from me/us.-caq

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thursday Thoughts in/with Prayer and Songs, and Poetry

So chilly and cold, today, Thursday, OMG! Even though there's plenty of sunshine over here in Hampton Roads, the temperature is bone-chilling! I found this out when I went out from my backyard to bring in our trash bins that were already emptied by those trash collectors who came to our area this morning, before noon, I guess. Anyway, that's just my little ranting. No, I'm not complaining about the weather at all. I'm just stating the facts or reality that's what we have right here, right now in Hampton Roads. How's it in your region, my dear folks and friends, btw? Well, I wish you all the best. Let's keep warm and dry, and bundle up as necessary. I learned that in other parts of the country, in the heartlands/plains, like Kansas City, Oklahoma, Missouri, they're experiencing winter storm (with heavy snowfall). May God bless those affected by the winter storm! God bless us all!

I'm okay, I would safely say. Living in/with pain, I'm hanging in there, thankful to be alive. Like everyone else, my life has its ups and downs. With bad back or chronic lower back pain, and fibromyalgia that's forever bothering (or pestering) me, it's difficult to keep life on the balance, at times. But what can I do but accept the fact that I'm physically disabled. (At times, my mind is affected, despite my struggle to keep myself sane and sensible.) Yes, I just live now, this very moment. It's what matters to me---this present moment.

A few hours ago, this morning, while using the restroom in our bedroom, I've prayed the Holy Rosary. I've prayed for others, too, especially for our sick, wounded, ill, injured all over the world, myself included, that we get well and recover soon again. I prayed for the safety and well-being of all our troops, travelers/commuters, and our missionaries, our pastors/priests, sister/nuns, and seminarians all over the world, including the intentions of our current pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI. I prayed for all of our beloved dead loved ones, all victims of different wars, the Holocaust, victims of gun violence, AIDS, abortion, poverty, injustice, protests and/o or uprisings/revolutions, and fatal accidents and diseases; and also victims of calamities (man-made or natural). I felt a little relief after my prayer and singing songs of praise and worship. Yes, I listened to my songs (of Christmas) that I've taped or recorded on my old (Panasonic) cassette player early December 2012. I continued recording my singing of church songs of praise and worship on the other side of the blank cassette. This is a relief for me, trying to cope with my medical/physical problem/s. I tried to enjoy the moment, via my singing and capturing it on my cassette player. Thank you, gracious God, for the opportunity to pray, praise, sing and thank you for all of your blessings to me, to us all.

After my singing "performance" and recording "session", my wife phoned me from her school-work to ask me how am I doing. I said, I'm doing okay, still in our bedroom, haven't been downstairs yet to have breakfast. (I did eat a few pieces of Ritz crackers, though, afterwards.) She told me she's going to have her lunch since it's break time for her. That's a brief conversation, almost routine for us, especially during lunch time.

While still in our bedroom, I happened to browse a couple of my old copies of "Bannawag," an Ilokano magazine for all Ilokanos (natives of northern Philippines and/or people who communicate with Ilokano language.) Browsing their pages, I felt nostalgia, homesick. Yes, my dear folks and friends, I thought of my birthplace and my younger days while (living) there. You see, it's comforting (but at the same time disheartening) to reminisce the years with your native land. I thought of scribbling something---an Ilokano poem.

Downstairs, I found myself walking through our eat-in kitchen and then to a restroom next to it because I have the urge to to use it again, even if I already had my regular routine in our restroom upstairs by our bedroom. There, I scribbled these (poetic) lines in Ilokano...

Idi, Ita, Iti Agnanayon: Ilokanoak

Wen, saan.
Saanko a nalipatan...
Saanko a nalipatan ti nakayanakak
ti lugar a dimmakkelak
ken ti umuna a pagsasaok.

Ngamin,  Ilokanoak.

daytoy ti maibagak:
Saankonto mapukaw 'toy kinataok
ken daytoy lengguahek
ta naibinggasen iti amin a parte ti bagik
pati 'toy panunutko, riknak, ken pusok.

Daytoy ti pudno:
Kailiwko dagiti makmakan ken masida
iti Amianan a naggapuak.
Adda latta iti panunotko ken riknak
dagiti nabati a kakabsat ken kakaanakak.
Kailiwko pay dagiti gagayyem ken kaarrubak
ken ti Bannawag a magusgustuak
a paglinglingayak ken pakaadalak
adu nga impormasion maipanggep ti biag.

Kailiwko ti linnangen-langen ken panagkakaarruba
panagpipinnadigo ken panagtatagnawa
a saan a makita-marikna iti sabali a daga
 a nakaisadsadan 'toy maysa a pinarsua
Ilokano a nanumo dayta.

Wen, saan.
Saanko a nalipatan ti kina-Ilokanok
ta ammok-nalaingak pay laeng nga agsao
ken agbasa ken agsurat iti Ilokano.

Uray pumusayakton, ikuykuyugkonto
ti kina-Ilokanok a pudno.
Diakto ibain a maysaak nga Ilokano
iti aramid, sao, ken panagpuspuso.

(c) 2013 by Chris A. Quilpa
I'll see if I can translate the above Ilokano poem (another time), for you, dear folks and friends. But basically, it tells about my identity, being an Ilokano yesterday, today, and forever, who can safely and proudly say that even if he is an expatriate living/residing in USA, he longs for his birthplace, that he didn't forget his homeland and his first language---Ilokano, and that even if he passes away, he would bring or leave with him his Ilokano identity to the grave, and that he's not ashamed of his being a true Ilokano in actions, words, and thoughts.

Well, this is all for now, my dear folks and friends. Until next time around. Take care and have a nice day, everyone! Enjoy, have fun but be safe! As always, I pray, "May God bless us all!"-chris a. quilpa, 21February2013

Monday, February 18, 2013

Chronic Pain (Recurring) on Presidents' Day

Good Monday, everyone! Today is Presidents' Day in the US of A. It's a holiday, for those observing it. Why did I say this? It's because there are school systems, colleges and universities that don't observe this day. Hence, there are students who have school or classes today. Not my wife, though. Her school, where she has been teaching Chemistry for over a decade, observes this holiday. But she has to leave the house, this morning past eight, nevertheless, with our daughter Tintin (who didn't leave for D-ville yesterday) to a dental appointment. On the other hand, the elementary school playground by our backyard is so quiet today. No cars parked on the lot, except the school building, some leafless trees, and houses around, and a bright, blue sky and the sun. No one at the school premises. Not even the Canadian geese that frequent the area. Not today, though. What an amazing view outside from our bedroom! So peaceful and quiet the surrounding is! Now this is what I call serenity? I guess so. Thank God! It's an awesome and beautiful day today! I have nothing to complain but to be thankful for what I have, what I see, what I feel, what I think, what I believe...

I, on the other hand, have just risen from bed due to "head" (Navy parlance or terminology) or restroom call. Mind you, I have had a difficulty getting up from bed due to chronic back pain problems. (I know, it's acting up again---my physical disability or condition that debilitates me, at times, and robs me of trying to enjoy life.) Plus my joints all over are so sore and so is my head, kinda light-headed, too. My hips are acting up, too! They're painful. Even when I attempt to stretch my whole body. OMG, help me to bear the pain and agony! It's that feeling again that my spine and hips are kinda coming/pulling apart from each other! But what can I do but to try to manage it (fibromyalgia, DDD and DJD) in such a way that I don't get depressed. I hate to be depressed! I don't like it. Despite having chronic pain and fatigue all over my body, almost daily, this is one thing that I always try to avoid---being depressed (and hopeless)! I set my mind to have a positive attitude, as much as I can. And one thing that helps me, though, is praying, like praying and meditating the Holy Rosary. That's what I just did while still lying in bed this morning. (Likewise, I need to take a pain reliever medicine, too, to stabilize my condition.)

Suffering is a part of life; I've known and experienced it for years. I don't feel like recalling or going/looking back at my past life, at this time, in which I encountered/experienced hardships and suffering. They're too painful to recall and recollect. But I would say, in all honesty and reality, that sacrifice and suffering are human experiences. And we all know that they are universal. In all parts of the world, there are people, like me, who are suffering, and sacrificing, for others. Because life is not fair to/for all of us, we have to experience suffering and sacrifice. Wow, where did I go now? I've been ranting/rambling again, huh?Alright, let me continue "documenting" with my feeling/condition today.

Well, as soon as I've taken my regular morning medicine (for lowering/stabilizing high blood pressure), I decided to write this post to somehow capture my feelings today. I'm okay, btw. I'm hanging in there, and trying to manage my chronic pain. (I know, this is minute or nothing compared to what Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, and Redeemer has suffered.) I'm thankful to God, our Heavenly Father, that I'm alive and good.

Wow, Freny and Tintin are back home from their dental appointment! Unbelievable! Tintin has just had her teeth cleaned and Freny her problem tooth fixed, in a matter of not even an hour since they left the house? That's incredible! Amazing! That's quick (excellent) service! Btw, I think, it's about time for my cleaning, too. It's been six months since the last check up and cleaning. I'll find out if I can call the dental clinic and schedule for an appointment sometime today for next week or so.

Well, this is all for now, my dear folks and friends. Until next time around. Take care and have a nice day, everyone! And, Happy Presidents' Day, too! As always, I pray, "May God bless us all!-chris a. quilpa, 18February2013

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Two Church Services on The First Sunday of Lent

Good Sunday, everyone! How's Life treating you nowadays, my dear folks and friends? Me? I'm doing okay, I think. Thank God, we're alive, living the present moment well. Hope you're doing the same.

Nope, there wasn't snow on the ground this morning when we (my sis-in-law Rose, my wife Freny, young adult daughter Tintin and I) left the house (out) for Sunday Mass. Only remnants of snow that fell late last night remained stuck in the front and rear of our cars.

Today, as we know, is the first Sunday of Lent. At St. Paul's, Fr. Dave, our pastor, officiated the 9:30 a.m. Mass. Freny and I, along with two more colleagues plus Fr. Dave, were scheduled today as Extraordinary Ministers for Holy Communion (EMHC), with assignment to distribute The Host (consecrated Body of Jesus Christ) to our fellow parishioners. Since I was assigned to do Host A, my first time ever as volunteer EMHC, I was the one responsible to get the two golden bowls or "containers" with consecrated hosts/bread from the altar and give them to Fr. Dave in preparation of the Holy Communion portion of the Mass. And then to receive (from Fr. David) and put those containers with the leftover or remaining consecrated "hosts" back to the altar where they're safely kept and locked after the Holy Communion.

God/Jesus knows how I felt bad leaving the church not finishing the whole worship service/Mass. I wanted to finish the Mass since it's almost the end, just the community prayer of thanksgiving and singing and the announcement of any information (if there's any) and the blessing by/of Fr. Dave to us all. But I have no choice but to leave the church building with the rest of my family. Why? Tintin is scheduled today to play piano, being a paid pianist, at a Christian church in a neighboring city in Hampton Roads at 11:00 a.m. That's why she's home this weekend. As you know, she comes home every other weekend because of her commitment there every other Sunday. Anyway, that's the reason why we left St. Paul's early. I do hope God/Jesus forgives or understands us. for this.

So, this Sunday, we have attended/participated in two church worship services. How cool is that, huh? Does that make us more holy, you ask? That depends on each one of us concerned. But, as for me, I hope so. I'd like to think that I try to work myself every day to be good and holy. And that when I pass, I'd be saved.

Afterwards, we went Chinese. At a Chinese Buffet Restaurant, that is, where I had a little taste of this and that, and sushi, and just simply a glass of water. One thing that added flavor or enjoyment to our dining was that we met (or talked to) a party of three middle-aged diners who, they said, are parishioners at Church of Resurrection, one of the four clustered parishes in our area. St. Paul's, where we've been registered members for years, is another one of them, btw. Why clustered parishes? I believe the answer to this is because of the shortage of priests. That means that a priest/pastor has not only one parish but two (or three small) parishes to manage or take care of. For the four clustered parishes in our area, we have two pastors/priests: Reverend Fathers Dave and Chris. The two just shares responsibilities to four churches or parishes entrusted to them by the diocese.

Overcoming temptations was the overall theme of both Fr. Dave's homily and the other pastor's message in another Christian church today. That's what the Holy Scripture/Gospel readings (from St. Luke 4:1-13) for this first Sunday of Lent in which Jesus was tempted by Satan while the former was having a "retreat" in the desert for forty days.

Yes, indeed, we're all prone to temptations, like Jesus. We have to battle our "demons" everyday. With our faith in God and Jesus, our day-to-day battles and struggles won't be for naught or in vain. We're stronger than we thought. With our constant prayer, asking for forgiveness (and be sorry) for our sins, and trusting in and relying on the power and goodness of God our Heavenly Father and His Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, we'll be okay. That's my belief.

Well, this is all for now, my dear folks and friends. Until next time around. Take care and have a wonderful day, everyone! And, Happy Presidents' Day tomorrow, for those of us observing it! As always, I pray, "May God bless us all!"-chris a. quilpa, 17Feb2013

Saturday, February 16, 2013

At A Service Station

Good Saturday, everyone! How are we doing in this cold, chilly, cloudy day? (The forecast in our was that it's going to rain this afternoon and snow late tonight or tomorrow, Sunday morning.) Btw, how's the weather in your area? On the other hand, I do hope that you're doing well. I'm good, btw. Thank you, God.

This morning, after using the restroom and praying the Holy Rosary, I went to the nearest Automobile Service Station to have my daughter's car its periodic maintenance, i.e. oil change. It's about time to have it serviced because on the dashboard it shows the maintenance required indicator light. That's why she's home this weekend from D-ville where she works as a college adviser in one of the high schools there. (She's sharing a two-bedroom apartment unit with a female friend and fellow co-college adviser. (But her friend works in another high school.)  One thing more why she's home is that she's scheduled to play the piano this Sunday at a Christian church in Norfolk. As you know, she comes home every other Sunday because of her obligation as a paid pianist there. Last night, I told her that she and I would go to the service station so she can get used to it. What I mean is that she needs to take care of what needs to be taken care of (like her car). That's her responsibility. But, my wife Freny said not to wake her up. Instead, she's with My wife with me.

As soon as we've checked the car in, we were told to have a seat and wait at the lobby. That's why I am writing this blog post at this moment. Freny, on the other hand, is currently enjoying/sipping a cup of cappucchino, compliment of the Service Station.

I was in this service station the other day to have our 2008 van be checked for some indicator lights showing in the dashboard. (We bought it there, brand new, five years ago.) After the mechanic has examined it, I was told that there are repairs to be done: The engine has to be brought down due to a leak. The break pads are thin, and tires need to be replaced, in addition to change oil and filter. In addition, that yearly state inspection which is due this month has to be done. I was told to just leave the van there and that someone would give a ride back home, and that they'd give me a call the following day when our van is ready for pick up. That's why I went back there yesterday afternoon to pick it up. What a surprise! The whole service and repair costs me over $1,500. Man, that's unexpected of me! Anyway, what is important is that it's already fixed and functioning again, I believe.

Well, after 15-20 minutes of waiting at the lobby, the service manager approached us to our table to let us know that our daughter's car is done. That was quick for an oil change! (And I haven't got a sip of my coffee yet because I'm busy doing this post.) That's service! Thank God.

I have to sign off now, my dear folks and friends. We have to go. Until next time around. Take care and have a wonderful weekend, everyone! As always, I pray, "may God bless us all!"-chris a. quilpa, 16February2013

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Lovely Thoughts on A Day of Hearts

Today is Thursday, February 14th. What's so special worldwide on this date that even a toddler knows? You bet, it's Valentine's Day! Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! Hope you're (doing) well, blissful, joyful, and hopeful, especially on this special, lovely event or occasion.

Yes, it's a day of hearts for young or old, rich or poor, black or white, gay or straight, etc. Now, where do we begin? To tell a story that is older than the world? A love story that knows no boundaries, no no regrets, no reservations...It all began this way: Two hearts become attracted to one another, time after time. Then the feelings become exclusive and mutual. Love developed or formed and eventually transformed into a beautiful thing, a precious thing. Relationship is built. Commitment to each other follows. The bond is sealed, with all the trust and hope for a brighter future. Love blossoms. Over months and and/or years, love grows and becomes sweeter, and stronger. Forever together, 'til the end of time. Finally, Love is the only thing that matters in life/the world.

Love comes, or manifested, in many ways and many shades. Love is here, there, everywhere. Furthermore, the right to love is a human right, a basic right that should not be denied by any law of the land or law of faith.It is a fundamental right by every citizen here on Earth. Irrespective of economic and educational status and rank, color or creed, gender or political leanings, love rules. Love reigns. Therefore, Love must be safeguarded, cherished and treasured.

On this Day of Hearts, let Love shine always in our hearts so that peace reigns (or there's peace) in our world. There is peace when and where there is Love!

Well, there's my one dollar take on today's global event. Once again, Happy Valentine's Day to you all! To my wife, you got me and I love you...always!

This is all for now, my dear folks and friends. Until next time around. Take care and have a lovely day, everyone! Enjoy and have fun with the Love of your life. As always, I pray, "May God bless us all!"-Chris A. Quilpa, 14Feb2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Today is Ash Wednesday, the Beginning of Lent

"You are dust, and to dust you shall return." (Genesis 3:19)

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten Season, for Catholics and other Christian denominations all over the world. I hope that, despite your busy schedule, my dear folks and friends, you had the opportunity or time to attend the church/worship service today and that you received ashes from your pastor/priest (or other church ministers) by placing them on your forehead (with the sign of the cross) as he utters, "Remember, man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return," or "Repent and believe in the Gospel." I just had it today in my parish. Thank God that I was able to make it. Know what? I was kinda late, about ten minutes and it was hard to find a parking for our van. Observably, church attendance was almost full today. Well, that's usually the case, I guess so, especially this time of the year in which we have those guests and visitors, non-regular parishioners.

Btw, what is the significance of this ancient practice, this traditional church ritual of receiving ashes on our forehead, you ask? Simply it reminds us that, as human beings living in this physical world, we'll one day  pass away, face the inevitable---our mortality---and continue our journey to another world where we finally meet our Maker. That's what we believe. That's our faith.

What do I know about Lent? And how do we prepare ourselves for this holy Easter season. Let me think and recall what I learned so far: Lent  is a time to do repentance and penance; an opportunity to examine our lives, do some sacrifices, i.e. giving up something that we used to do/have/enjoy, especially today, Ash Wednesday and on Fridays which are days of fasting and abstinence.

Fasting is observed by all 18 years of age and older, who have not yet celebrated their 59th birthday. One full meal is allowed on a fast day. However, two other meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to each one's needs. Eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids, including milk and juices, are allowed.

On the other hand, abstinence is observed by all 14 years of age and older. No meat is allowed on days of abstinence. However, when health or ability to work would be seriously affected, the law does not oblige.Ash Wednesday, all Fridays of Lent and Good Friday are days of abstinence.

Lent involves praying, fasting, alms-giving, while doing some meditation (on the Stations of the Cross), reflections on the Passion, Suffering and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior.It is a time of spiritual/faith renewal. It's that time to learn to know more about our faith, about Jesus Christ, especially, if we're trying (our best) to follow His Words and teachings.

This Lent, I try to live and enjoy life well, especially the present moment, with prayer and thanksgiving, and charity. Likewise, I'll continue to do simple acts of love for others, as much as I can, and trying to forget myself for others.

Now, let me ask you, fellow Catholics and Christians, if there's one thing that you'd like to (temporarily) give up during the season of Lent, what would it be?

Well, my dear folks and friends, this is all for now. Thanks for your time, reading my thoughts for today. Hope and pray that you're all doing well. Take care and Have a nice day! As always, I pray, "May God bless us all!"-chris a. quilpa, 13February2013


Monday, February 11, 2013

An Unexpected News for/from The Catholic Church: Pope Benedict XVI Resigning

Note: This Monday morning, when our alarm-clock-radio (permanently set at 0600 on NPR, National Public Radio) started broadcasting NPR News's Morning Edition, I was still in bed, while my wife Freny was already preparing herself to go to work. The unexpected "Catholic" news broke out about the (announcement of the) resignation of the Supreme Pontiff of The Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI (former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany), the successor of the late and more popular Pope John Paul II, currently called or known as  Blessed John Paul. It was a surprise for me and my wife, I believe, when I heard of the news. Immediately, I thought of his old age (85) and declining health as probable, valid reasons why he's resigning.

Now, as the day went on, the news spread out like wild fire. Yes, it's all over the world, in TV and print media. It's in the Internet, in Facebook, YouTube, blogosphere, etc. I knew for sure that that news would surely be a hot topic to talk about, especially for 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide. And that it would not fade away in a matter of days the fact that the Holy Father's stepping down takes effect the last day, 28th, of February when the Season of Lent is in full swing. (Lenten Season, for the Catholic Church, will officially start on Ash Wednesday, 13th of February 2013.)

So what's my take or what can I say about this "shocking" news of Pope Benedict XVI's announcement to resign as our head or overall leader of the Catholic Church? At first, I thought that it doesn't make sense to me, for he's not supposed to do for as long as he lives and that a resignation of a Pope hasn't been done for ages or centuries to my knowledge. In fact, I don't know or remember any Pope who stepped down from his position. What I do know is that he can only be replaced when he's dead, that the College of Cardinals will select from among its members to succeed him. On a second thought, I thought that it makes sense for the current pope to step down because he's old and that his health is declining. (Only he knows if he's still capable or not to do the job assigned to him.) The rigors and responsibilities of being the head of the Catholic Church, as we all know, are tremendous and overwhelming. With a failing health due to old age, I believe, our current Supreme Pontiff is ready to hand over the authority/responsibility as head of The Catholic Church that he's held for eight years? or trying to relinquish his authority (now that he's still alive) to someone, whoever will be chosen from among the cardinals, who is more active and energetic to lead The Catholic Church. On the other hand, it's a welcoming thought, I believe, for The Catholic Church, because as a universal church, we have to make changes in sync with the times. We all know that changes in and around the world are inevitable, whether we like it or not. Yes, changes are taking place in our world at a fast pace brought about by technology and innovations. People's ideas change. Our thinking and feelings change. Even our beliefs, too, I think. Such is our journey of life here on Earth. For as long as we have life, we undergo change/s.

What do I expect from the new, chosen, pope? Younger and more liberal-minded. And more inclusive. That's all.

Well, I'm embedding herewith below a post/link from one of the Catholic bloggers that I follow or read regularly. I have no intention other than share to/with you, my dear folks and friends, about this news/information of Pope Benedict XVI announcing his resignation today. Thanks to Marcel of Aggie Catholics for his insights.-chris a. quilpa, 11February2013

Aggie Catholics: FAQ About Pope Benedict's Resignation: Q - Why did he resign? A - Because his health was quickly declining and he didn't feel he could adequately provide the leadership The C...

Friday, February 8, 2013

At McDonald's on a Rainy Friday (Morning)

Yey, it's Friday! What can I say but thank God that we're alive and well! It's cold and soaking wet over here in Hampton Roads! Yeah, it's a rainy day today. Actually it started last night. That's the weather right now. I can't complain. In fact, I take it as a blessing from Above. The forecast is that we have to experience a steady rain(?) all day today (which I doubt that). But we're not expecting snow. Unlike in other northeastern part of the country, i.e., New York, Connecticut, Boston, today or this weekend that they're going to have this historic "Blizzard of 2013." Hopefully the folks up there are prepared and safe. On the other hand, let's pray for the safety and well-being of all travelers and commuters. May God bless them and that they reach their destination safe and sound.

Btw, how's the weather in your area, my dear folks and friends? Mild and sunny, huh? That's good. What matters is that as long as we're safe and healthy, and good (in our dealings) with one another. Yes, that's what matters right now to us all as we live (and try to enjoy) the present moment well, with faith and hope, prayer and thanksgiving, without regret, remorse and/or reservation. Today is another blessed day for us all. Carpe diem, mi amigos y amigas!

This morning, after praying the Holy Rosary, while using the restroom in our bedroom (as usual), I thought of having breakfast somewhere. That's what I did! So, here I am at the nearest McDonald's, as I'm scribbling or jotting down my thoughts on a McDonald's tissue paper, while enjoying my big McBreakfast meal with a medium-size coffee (with cream and sugar). Alone, by myself, that is. But, of course, there are diners, too, come and go, and those who are in other tables.

Sitting comfortably at the back corner, occupying a table for four, adjacent to the restrooms (there's one for females, one for males), I am like a camera capturing or monitoring what's going on inside the restaurant, and out. While eating my scrambled eggs, sausage biscuit, hash brown, and then my pancakes with hotcake syrup, and sipping my coffee, I've been alert of my environment, having presence of mind. My eyes are roving; my mind wondering and wandering, but sensibly thinking and pondering. What a blessed, though busy, day we have! Thank you, God. And thank you, Jesus!

(At this time, I'm done with my breakfast and have given thanks to God for the food/blessings I've just received today.)

Well, here's me transcribing/writing my thoughts (from that tissue paper) unto this blog post, while still at McDonald's. They're already serving meals for lunch because it's lunchtime now. (I may be going to a retail store nearby, sometime today to buy some stuff that I've listed/noted for the house, after writing this post and posting it to my blog.) The restaurant is getting busier with incoming diners who are of different backgrounds (economic, social, educational). But from what I observe, so far, majority of the diners coming in and out are blacks. (With a number of whites, I suspect I'm the only brown diner at this time.) I have no problem with that. Though we're different in some ways, we're all one and the same, in my perspective. We're all children of God, I believe. Diversity is what makes us wonderful human family. All of us have rights and responsibilities that we have to safeguard and uphold as we live in a democratic society, the Free World. Respect for human rights is, therefore, a must. Respect for life is our advocacy and concern, Living together in harmony with one another is the essence of our existence, while trying our best to care for our environment and planet Earth, in general.

Hey, wait a minute, guys! Wow, what a change of weather over here! It stopped raining now! The sun showed up and smiling! (I know that it's always up there! But at times, the cloudy sky covers it and that the sun seems to hide from us.) Thank God! It's a blessed and beautiful Friday, after all! I believe in miracles, you know. See, it's good to be optimistic and hopeful. Life goes on, and business as usual.

Well, I'm grateful to our Almighty God that I have had the opportunity to be here at this time, sharing my thoughts to you guys. This is all for now. Until next time around. Take care and have a wonderful weekend, everyone! As always, may God bless us all! Bye!-chris a. quilpa, 08February2013

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Witnessing Wednesday's Wonder

Note: As I was walking around the house and going downstairs while praying the Holy Rosary this wonderful Wednesday morning, I automatically opened the door by our eat-in kitchen leading to our wooden deck and backyard. What did I see or witness outside? Although it's a little cold and chilly, I witnessed a bright, clear, cloudless, sunny day! And on the school playground, a flock of Canadian geese peacefully "grazing," walking sluggishly together, while the leafless trees around standing still as if they're observing quietly what's going on in their natural environment! Yes, the glowing sun is up there giving light and life and warmth to all creatures big or small below. What a beautiful, wonderful Wednesday it is today! Thank you, good and gracious God! You are, indeed, the Creator of all things bright and beautiful! You are Life! (I went back upstairs quickly to get my fancy camera and then started taking photos, trying to capture the scenery outside.)

Now, here's what I have scribbled on a piece of paper, to this blog post:

Wonderful Wednesday

The sun and the sky
blue, bright, clear, shiny and warm
a beautiful day!

Wonderful Wednesday
beautiful and colorful
hopeful and peaceful!
The Canadian geese
on the school playground I see
peace and unity!

For all your blessings
for all of your creations
thank you, gracious God!

(c) 2013 by Chris A. Quilpa

There you have it, my dear folks and friends---a haiku-style, simple poetry of mine inspired by the wonderful experience I witnessed this blessed and beautiful, wonderful Wednesday. I do hope you've been inspired and delighted as I am today. Life matters. Its beauty and wonder is beyond compare. Therefore, live it as it is and try to enjoy it while you can. Be grateful for what we have and be content with it. Living the present moment well with Him is an experience beyond compare.

This is all for now, my dear folks and friends. Until next time around. Take care, enjoy the day, have fun, and be happy! As always, I pray, "May God bless us all!"-chris a. quilpa, 06February2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Weekend and Today's Thoughts with an Update

Good Tuesday, everyone! How are we all doing this wonderful day? Busy doing what we have/love to do as always, huh? That's great! If you were to ask me, I'm grateful to be alive, living the present moment simply well. Thank you.

This past weekend, Tintin, my young adult daughter, was home from D-ville where she currently lives and works after graduating from college in May last year. As I've mentioned in my previous blog posts, she comes home every other weekend due to her commitment as a paid pianist in one of the Christian churches in neighboring city here in Hampton Roads. Each time she plays piano for the church service there, we usually attend Sunday Mass first at our parish, St. Paul's before we go to that Christian church with her. That means we also attend or participate the church service there. Afterwards, we eat out at a restaurant near our house. Then, she drives back to D-ville in the afternoon. That's what's happening in our household each time Tintin spends the weekend with us.

Speaking of dining, at times, we vary the restaurant where we dine, for a change of atmosphere and food. This past Sunday, after Mass and the church service worship in Norfolk, we ate at a Chinese restaurant in Portsmouth. The day before, Saturday, we ate lunch-pizza at the food court at Naval Station's Navy Exchange where we had a couple of our watches battery-replaced by their Jewelry/Watch Repair Service. Btw, my thirty-year old Seiko watch ran out of battery or power lately. It was given to me by my sister Betty in 1983 as soon as we landed at SF International Airport for the very first time that we arrived in America as new immigrants, with my younger siblings). Still in operation, this time piece of mine is older than my two young adult children! Can you imagine that? That'w how I take care of some of my stuff that will last, no doubt,  longer than my life. I, therefore, consider this watch one of my prized personal, material possessions because of its sentimental value. That'w why we went to NOB last Saturday.)

On the other hand, Andrew, my young adult son, doesn't come home so often (only occasionally) because he's based in The Capital where he's been working there for less than two years now. But we get in touch with him, like Tintin, almost everyday via phone. (Mind you, my wife, Freny, their mom, doesn't go to bed each night til she gets hold of them. Seriously!)

Well, Super Bowl XLVII Sunday, in New Orleans, is over and was well played. Congratulations to Baltimore Ravens for winning the NFL championship game. They scored ahead of the 49ers in the 1st to 3rd quarters of the game, sort of an indication (or a premonition) that they would win. Congratulations, too, to San Francisco 49ers for  their performance to the end. Final score: 39 for Ravens; 34 for 49ers. Btw, what's significant to mention in this year's national football championship game? Let me recall: The singing of America the Beautiful by Sandy Hook Elementary School (Newtown, Connecticut) children with award-winning movie actress and singer Jennifer Hudson. There's the singing of the National Anthem by singer-musician Alicia Keys, sitting down while accompanying herself on the piano. There was this unexpected power outage or interruption at the dome. And, of course, the Harbaugh brothers, Jim and John, both head coaches of the football teams, 49ers and Ravens, respectively. They're both family men and Catholics, too, from what I learned. Lastly, there's the entertainment portion, during half-time, by famous singer-actress Beyonce Knowles and company. About those TV ads? Entertaining, too.

I don't know why, but yesterday I woke up so early and I couldn't get back to sleep. (Freny kept on snoring and I had difficulty getting back to sleep. I was kinda restless, though). Anyway, as usual, I just spent the day with my regular routine: praying and thanksgiving, simple physical conditioning in the house (not outside because the weather was cold, still), eating breakfast, snacking, watching videos and movies, reading, and preparing for dinner. Since we have had left-over food and steamed rice, I just cooked fried rice (with sauteed garlic-onion-corn and young peas, and sliced sausages,  mixed together). I did watch a couple of  movies, comedic and hilarious, while listening to NPR (National Public Radio). Hours before bedtime, I watched videos on YouTube.

Today seems to be a mild, sunny day in Hampton Roads. Well, after praying the Holy Rosary, inviting Facebook friends to visit and inviting everyone to pray, too, this morning; using the restroom, eating breakfast, I watched TV news broadcast and morning show, while our radio is on NPR. Then, I prepared a bill to be mailed. I'll go out, to the post office sometime today. I might also go to the Commissary, too. We'll see. Definitely, I will continue to watch soap operas and videos on YouTube. And, as far as dinner is concerned, I don't know yet what to prepare. On the ref, we have vegetables like broccoli, zucchini, organic Romaine lettuce, cabbage, and onion. On the table we have a tray of avocados, a bowl of pomegranates, some apples and oranges, and bananas. While the TV is on, as I write this post, I am grateful to be alive and well, living the present moment as it is, without any reservation. We all know, life is precious, short and fleeting. That's why, in my case, I try to live and enjoy it while I can, and have fun while I can. Thank God.  And, thank you, Jesus! My thoughts for today: Be happy and thankful for what you have right now. Life, after all, is what matters the most.

Well, this is all for now, my dear folks and friends. I have to figure out what to cook for dinner. (I'm not worried about my lunch for I have left-over fried rice and other cooked stuff in the ref.) Okay, until next time around. Take care and have a great and wonderful day, everyone! As always, I pray, "May God bless us all!"-chris a. quilpa, 05February2013

Update: 05 Feb 2013 @ 1950, I did thaw one pack of frozen glazed boneless chicken which I planned to cook it in the conventional oven, prior to leaving the house to mail our bills/letters.  No, I decided not to go to the Commissary today when I went out to mail a couple of letters to the post office. Instead, I drove to Farm Fresh where I bought 8-piece grilled chicken, 2 lbs. of cooked/steamed shrimps with a dash of Old Bay seasoning, 3 cases of bottled water @24 count each case (on sale for 3 for $10), a bag of fish fillet, and buy one, get one free bags of Frito Lays chips/crisps.

Back home, I didn't cook steamed rice for I already did yesterday, aside from that fried rice from our left-over rice the previous day. What I did is I put that bag of glazed boneless chicken back in the fridge. Then, I cooked sauteed zucchini and celery with onion, garlic, olive oil and oyster sauce for flavoring. Hence, along with the cooked food I bought from Farm Fresh, that's for dinner, my dear folks and friends. Yummy! Now, what's on your table for dinner? You know, I'd love to learn to cook new recipe. Any idea or suggestion for me to consider next time I prepare something for dinner? Let me know, ok? Thanks.-caq

Friday, February 1, 2013

First of February, with "Lumpia"

TGIF! (Thank God, It's Friday!) Yes, today is the First (Day/Friday) of February, ladies and gentlemen, my dear folks and friends. Good Friday to us all!

What comes to mind when we've embarked on the month of February? Aren't we excited when February is here? What's significant about February? Let's see what's to be remembered, observed, celebrated...

Today, as some, if not most, of us know marks the 10th year anniversary of that tragic Space Shuttle Columbia disaster that killed all the crew (seven astronauts) as they were returning or reentering Earth's atmosphere. The seven astronauts who perished along with the disintegration of the Columbia were Rick Husband, William McCool, David Brown, Laurel Clark, Michael Anderson, Kalpana Chawla, and Ilan Ramon who was an Israeli Air Force Colonel-fighter pilot and the first Israeli in space. (May they rest in peace. Amen.)

This Sunday, February 3rd, is the XLVII (47th) Super Bowl, the National Football League (NFL) championship game which will be played between San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans, LA. I'm leaning towards the 49ers to win the game. How about you, folks?

February 13 is Ash Wednesday for Catholics and other Christians around the world.This day marks the start of Lenten Season.

Next, we have, of course, the anticipated and ever popular February 14, Love Day, otherwise known as Valentine's Day!  Then, on February 18th (Monday) is Presidents' Day in the US of A, a national holiday to honor past and present US presidents.

Well, well, well...This morning, after praying the Holy Rosary, I was already in my PT gear and about to go out when I found out it was chilly cold and windy outside, with at times cloudy and sunny. Yes, it's freezing cold again, back to the real winter weather! What can I say but to bundle up and keep myself warm. So then I finally settled to just walk around the house and did a little stretching.

After my late "cereal with milk" breakfast, I  prepared that thing that I have planned to do late yesterday afternoon---making "lumpia" or spring (vegetable/meat) roll. As you know, we have had those "lumpia" wrappers months ago in our fridge. It's good that they're there, readily available when we're ready to make it. It's just that we got lazy or didn't have initiative to make lumpia. (It's time-consuming, that's why. It's easier or much better to just go eat out at a Filipino/Chinese restaurant if we feel like eating "lumpia.") However, early evening yesterday, I already did cook the main ingredient which is the ground beef.) It didn't happen because my wife and I, along with my sis-in-law, visited a friend-patient in the hospital last night. My wife has already planned it days ago. But today, I'm determined to do/finish it.

And, yes, I did! Now, finally, it's done---my lumpia making/wrapping. The estimated count: less than fifty pieces of "lumpia." And I even fried some to taste. Crunchy and yummy, with ketchup or vinegar sauce! I saved four pieces for my wife and my sis-in-law.

"Lumpia," anyone? It's homemade, unlike the ones you have in a Filipino or Asian/Chinese restaurant. Yeah, making/wrapping "lumpia" takes time, a lot of patience, and skill, though. I'm glad I did it today for I haven't done it for months or years? Anyway, I did it just for fun and to keep me busy.

Below is a video (I came across from YouTube) about How to Make Lumpia. I don't own the video. I thank YouTube and the uploader of the video. No copyright infringement intended.
This is all for now, my dear folks and friends. Until next time around. Take care and have a wonderful day/weekend, everyone! Thanks, too. As always, I pray, "May God bless us all!"-chris a. quilpa, 01February2013