Saturday, January 24, 2015

Parc De La Chute-Montmorency And Saint-Anne-de-Beaupre

This is a late post, but I really enjoyed Quebec City! I might have a post or two left for this charming place.

After my friend's wedding, Kepi and I wanted to explore beyond Montreal. We drove to Quebec City and we truly enjoyed what this city has to offer.

Here's Montmorency Falls.

It was a refreshing site to see, and we enjoyed the walk from the Welcome Center to the waterfall itself.

I would have loved climbing up there, but my body wasn't strong enough. It just dawned on me that I've lost so much muscle that it may take me a while to regain my stamina and strength.

I heard that in winter, the rock faces of the cliffs on each side can get frozen and open for adventurous ice climbers.  This is one reason I told Kepi I'd like to see Quebec City in the winter.

The towering waterfall is 83 m (272') tall, a full 30 m (99') higher than Niagara Falls.

After Montmorency Falls, Kepi and I drove to visit Saint-Anne-de-Beaupre.  From Montmorency, it was a good 15 to 50 minutes drive to reach the shrine.

The Shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre.

It was so windy when we visited.

But inside the church, I felt peace and calm.

Churches and cathedrals have the power to make one feel small, but that's because it's true. In this vast world we live in, we are but just specks of dust.

This room we found by accident at the lower level of the church. The ceiling looked like a blue sky with stars. It felt warm and cozy.

There is so much to love and see in Quebec City.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Things Are Looking Up

It's another chilly morning here.

When I took this photo this morning, I did not want to go to work and wished I could just stay home and enjoy the view.

I've been trying to be more consistent with my blogging, but January is such a busy month especially at work. It doesn't help that I'm also going to class twice a week. The past few weeks have been spent catching up with numerous deadlines and preparing for our company Winter Board Meeting. It's unfortunate that I already feel spent and it's just the first month of the year. I need to figure out how to replenish my energy or I'll be dragging myself to work each day...not a pretty sight.

GREAT NEWS! Last night, my Oncologist e-mailed Kepi and I regarding my bone-marrow biopsy result.  She said, "Your marrow looks fabulous and you are 100% donor." I am HAPPY and GRATEFUL! My meds are now being tapered and I should be getting my immunization in time for Spring. Things have a way of working out after all.

On other news...

WINTER CLEANING! The first month of the year, I usually declutter my office as well as purge through my wardrobe for clothes that don't fit or that I don't like wearing anymore.  It is easier said than done, but I do hope to get better at becoming a minimalist.  I already have a big bag of clothes ready to be donated. For now, I'm going to stop shopping for clothes. Let's see if I stick to this resolution/plan.

In addition to purging, I'm also making a note that I MUST stop buying hoarding the following:

- pens
- bags
- highlighters
- writing pads
- notebooks
- sticky notes

Things are looking up!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

January 11: First Re-Birthday!

It is officially one year since my bone-marrow transplant (BMT)!

Today is my first re-birthday and I couldn't be happier.  Those who have gone through a BMT would fully understand what this day is all about.  I am beyond words.  I have no words that can truly capture what I'm feeling.

At the 8 AM mass, all I could utter were, "Thank you." I hope it is sufficient. I do hope I am worthy.

I didn't have a cake, so I just used one of my pill containers - "May cause dizziness."

Later that day, Kepi took me out for an Italian lunch, and we shared a slice of Lemon Cream Cake. The cake was delicious and we loved it.

This was taken on January 11, 2014. This bag took almost 6 hours to infuse.

The photo above was taken on Day 0, the day I got infused with my donor's cells.  I still remember it like yesterday.  I cried.

My heartfelt gratitude to my family, friends and everyone who gave me that extra push to keep going. Thank you to my donor.  Thank you God for giving me a second chance in life.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Chilly Update

I woke up to a gusty, chilly morning -7 degrees Fahrenheit!  My ears are tingly and my face is numb. It doesn't help that I'm hauling a big bag of books to be returned at the library. Fun stuff!

Spring semester begins today. I'm taking two elective courses (Tuesdays and Thursdays). It's ironic that this semester just started yet I can't wait for this semester to be over. Over - I mean graduate. I will decide later if I want to keep going. Hard to tell right now.

Next week, I'll be going for my one year bone-marrow biopsy. I am keeping positive. Hopefully, I will get my vaccinations soon. Yes, I have to re-take all my childhood vaccinations. I hope not all shots in one day or my shoulders will be sore.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that travel will be possible this year. Doctor's call though.

Also, my gallbladder surgery "might" push through as well. (This will depend if my biopsy result is normal.) I am scared of surgery, but it's better to have it done than suffer from weekly painful attacks.

Just a short update today. It's time for afternoon tea and biscuits.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Waiting For Christmas

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more! (Dr. Seuss)

After I submitted my research papers this fall semester, Kepi and I got busy with decorating our home.  Here's our Christmas Tree.
This year, I decided to bake cookies and muffins as gifts for our neighbors.  These are the chocolate chip cookies.
Blueberry Muffins with crumbs.
After they've cooled down, I packed them in Christmas boxes with candy stripes liners.
Each neighbor got ten chocolate chip cookies and four muffins.
I love the candy stripes liners.
This is the set up of our dining table.
I think we're ready for our Christmas dinner.
Simple centerpiece - a red lamp and jars of red and silver ornaments.

Yes, I've been so excited for this year's Christmas.  I have so many reasons to be excited. First, I am getting nearer my one year re-birthday for my bone-marrow transplant.  Second, I have a beautiful home blessed with a loving husband and two pets who love me unconditionally - Dizzy and Daisy.  Third, I have the unending love and support of my family and friends. Fourth, I will be another year older next month.

Truly, Christmas doesn't come from a store, but lives in the heart of each and everyone.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday In Pictures

Quiet day in the office today, so I took a short walk and a long lunch.

Below are my pictures of the day.

Leafless at Lafayette Park.

Clouds hover over The White House.

This guy stopped me from my walk.  He was too friendly. Perhaps he was hungry.

When I returned to the office, these gingerbread boys were waiting.  I guess it's time to have some tea.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Thanksgiving Update

Today is the last day of fall semester. It's been a tough journey.  

After my class tonight, I really should start writing my final paper on Russian Revolution and start enjoying the Christmas season. Besides, I still have cards to write, gifts to wrap and shop orders to take care of.

 Snow ushered quietly the day before Thanksgiving. We had a quiet dinner at home, and Kepi cooked a perfect Turkey.

 After our Thanksgiving dinner at home, we visited Brigit's house to have more Turkey and Filipino treats. Here's Kepi attacking the Turkey again.

 Ridiculous! This is how the mall looked like on Thanksgiving evening. People were out shopping.

 Black Friday! Kepi and I love the bargains on Black Friday.  We did hit our favorite shops. The lines weren't that bad. I was able to get some sweaters and movies. I'll start watching these movies once this semester ends.

 I also bought a Santa to put near the fireplace. It was so funny because people were looking at me and Santa riding my shopping cart. I think it's also because Santa has this bell on his hat that kept ringing while we rolled inside the shop.

Christmas Trees! After Thanksgiving, houses came alive with lights and wreaths and even cars came bearing with Christmas trees.

 Kepi and I visited our local home and garden center and picked our tree. The lights are on, but I haven't had the time to hang the ornaments yet. Our tree is about 7 ft.

 The snow stayed a few days. Here's Kepi and Daisy going out for a walk.

Crazy Daisy loves the snow.

 I baked these sugar cookies for Thanksgiving and they're a keeper. Crunchy on the outside and chewy in the inside. That's the way I love 'em.

 I baked these Blueberry Streusel Muffins two days ago. Kepi loves 'em. I'm testing out recipes as I'm thinking of giving baked goodies as Christmas gifts especially to our neighbors.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gobble Gobble

It's gobble gobble time of the year!

On Saturday, we decided to go shopping for our Thanksgiving dinner. The town shop, usually dead, was busier than usual. There was a lot of frozen Turkey at the freezer section. If majority of the shoppers were rummaging for the biggest bird, we were the opposite. Since there won't be many people eating the Turkey at home, we wanted a small one. The smallest one we could find was 10 lbs. That is still too big!

We got a Butterball, and this will be Kepi's first time cooking a full bird at home. We've usually spent our Thanksgivings in Atlantic City. This year, we'll be celebrating at home.

I sold my first batch of Chocolate Chip Banana muffins. I have a couple more recipes I'm working on, and I'm excited.

Yes, I have started my Christmas shopping and some are already wrapped. Some of these will be traveling via mail.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. (John F. Kennedy)

A beautiful Thanksgiving to all!