Thursday, August 11, 2016

Painted Sky

I took this photo during our Panama Canal cruise.

The view was fantastic and serene.

The sea was calm and the sky was on fire. Beauty abounds.


Please come back anytime next week to check out my book giveaway.

Linking with Skywatch.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Weekend Gardening

The mosquitoes have been devouring my legs and arms whenever I'm on the backyard working on the garden. But, I am overjoyed because my tomatoes, bitter gourd, snow peas, peppers, moringa, and molokhias are healthy and fruitful. The great thing about a bountiful harvest is that we get to share them with our neighbors.

Daisy looks so happy as she watches me fill the basket with tomatoes.

Fushimi Peppers and more tomatoes.

August ushered in quietly. There isn't much news on my side of the woods.

However in the weeks to come (not scheduled yet), I am excited to feature an author, Aidan Mc Nally, who wrote a book, Two Sons Too Many. Please do come by and read my interview and get to know the author himself and his new book.

I hope everyone's having a great weekend.

PS - I'm reading the new Harry Potter book at the moment.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Short And Sweet

Ok, I haven't written for a while.

Sometimes, we need to step back, enjoy the usual things or the little things, and live without the pressure of writing about it.

Majahual Beach, Mexico

After my gallbladder surgery, Kepi and I flew to Florida in late March to catch our cruise ship at the Port of Miami. Our cruise ship sailed to Colombia, Honduras, Panama (crossed the Panama Canal), Costa Rica, Belize and Mexico. I will be posting photos from our travels, but for the mean time, I will post a lazy bullet update.

At the moment:
  • I am recovering from my leg procedure. I am hoping the hemangioma will start to shrink (doctor said 4-6 weeks), as it's been difficult and painful to move with its weight. I am praying this is the last procedure for me. I have grown weary of hospital visits and smells.
  • My vegetable garden is beaming with tomatoes, bittermelon vines, peppers, malabar spinach etc. A fruitful garden makes my heart so happy and contented.
  • Lastly and what's been occupying most of my time is, the search for a new career. After ten years in the non-profit industry, I got the jolt I needed to start searching for a new one. I'm not sure where I'm heading, but I am hoping that the puzzle pieces will fall into place...soon.
I am hoping to visit your blogs soon. I'm still adjusting to my new schedule.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Wednesday Mutter

It's Wednesday and I don't feel like working. This is probably because I didn't get a decent sleep last night. It felt rather warm even if we're still supposedly in winter. We did get one big snow storm, but this winter was the warmest I've ever experienced while living in Maryland. I'm so afraid we'll skip spring and head straight to an excruciatingly hot and humid summer.

I hope I'm wrong.

Today, we're expected to reach 79 degrees. That is 20 degrees above normal temperatures for this time of the year.

This is a park close to our house.

On another note, I am recovering well from my surgery. Thank you to all your well wishes and prayers. I think that my system is still adjusting to the loss of my gallbladder, but I've been feeling much better the past few days. The stitches are coming out next week.

Linking with Wordless Wednesday and Skywatch.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Waiting For The Train

This morning, I took this photo while waiting for the train to work.

The photo looks calm and snowy; we got about an inch or two of snow dusting last night.  What you don't see is the cold, frustrated crowd waiting for the train. You see, we were offloaded at this station due to some technical difficulties, and my usual 45-minute commute became a two-hour ordeal.

I know the new manager of DC Metro is making some changes, but DC Metro delays are frustrating  especially when you're running an hour late to work.

Linking with Skywatch today.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Finding My Happy Place

What do you do when you're nervous or scared of something? Because I'm nervous as hell at the moment.

I have big ticket items on my list for the next few months, and I'm not talking about concert tickets. I'm actually pertaining to (1) a root canal; (2) surgery this week; and, (3) a second possible surgery sooner or later this year. I feel overwhelmed.

I am scheduled to undergo Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy this Thursday. I know it's one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures, but I'm a worry wart and it doesn't make things easy.

My question is, "How many more medical procedures do I have to go through?" I'm frustrated and there are times I feel defeated in my quest for normalcy. Somehow, I've forgotten how it feels to be normal. What is normalcy anyway? For a BMT survivor, I guess this is my new normal - to keep fighting and surviving.

I've been unable to get a decent sleep the past few days, so I've been keeping myself occupied by "going out" (walking and shopping) and if I'm at home, I bake.

 I feel happiest when I'm baking. The humming of my mixer helps dull the pain of my worries.

My mind turns to happier memories as the oven warms my kitchen. I feel excitement as the aromas of cinnamon and vanilla fill my home. My sense of taste takes over as I savor every bite of anything I baked.

When I bake, I am in my happy place.

Linking with Wordless Wednesday.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Maryland: Swallow Falls

On our second day in Oakland, we visited a couple of indoor flea markets in the morning; I found a cookie jar and a first edition of the book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  In the afternoon, we decided to do a little hike to Swallow Falls.

The trail was icy and slippery, which made for a treacherous hike. I wasn't sure if I was sweating from anticipation to see the falls or from fear of slipping and landing flat on my back. My boots couldn't get a good grip. It felt freezing up in the mountains.

My excitement unraveled when I saw the beauty and nature that surrounded me.

Waterfalls frozen in time.

Icicle ornaments.

 We had to get off the trail to check out these beautiful ice formations by the shore.

Island by the Youghiogheny River.

Swallow Falls wasn't as big as I expected, but it was refreshing to hear the rush of the freezing water.
The sound of the waterfall was zen. I felt the pulse of the river and the quiet breathing of the trees. I also realized how time doesn't exist in places like these.

I want to go back.

Linking with Wordless Wednesday.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Oakland, Dora And Oliver

My birthday gift from Kepi was a massage and a weekend retreat.  

So this recent weekend, we packed our bags and drove to Oakland. Oakland is located at a high elevation and considered to be among the snowiest and coldest locales in Maryland. Our drive took us three hours. From the window of our car, we passed through forests, mountains, small towns, lonely bridges and log cabin homes with thick smoke bellowing from their chimneys. It must have been really cold that day.

We got to our inn late - about 10 PM. According to the owner, who patiently waited and brewed cups of tea for us once we arrived, the original part of the house is 100 years old; it was expanded to create more rooms for guests.  The house is no longer a residence but a place for retreat and wellness.

The house looks rustic outside. The inside is decorated nicely with antique chairs, wall clocks, old photographs, wooden chests and vintage books. The older part of the house is newly renovated, but I know that it has survived many cold winters.

I felt like we stepped into the pages of a hundred year old book.

One of the drives we took was to visit Deep Creek Lake. It was and probably is still frozen. My massage therapist told me that there's a town buried in the middle of the lake. I still have to do research on this story, but it's a fascinating one.

Meet Dora guarding the garage door. She's making sure no one blocks her owner's car.

Every morning, you can find Oliver basking in the sun in front of the kitchen door. I guess he loves it there because of the delicious and warm aroma of blueberry pancakes, smoked bacon, apple bread and fried sausage and potatoes wafting through the kitchen door.

During our weekend stay, Dora and Oliver made us feel welcomed and at home. They were there every morning and they met us in the evening when we came home from our hikes or drives.

I will be posting more photos from Oakland soon, as I've only managed to download and edit three photos this week.

Linking today with Wordless Wednesday and Skywatch.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Daisy Naughty, Daisy Nice

Here's Daisy pretending to be half-awake or half-asleep. This photo makes me laugh every time I look at it.

I think she just finished playing catch with Kepi when I took this photo, so she was probably tired from all the running and catching.  I have to say that at 13 years old, she has the exuberance of a puppy.

We adopted Daisy from a rescue group in 2014. When we first met her, we bonded right away and we instantly became a family. She was my therapy dog during my long recovery from transplant. She's my angel.

Well, she's not totally angel-like.

We know she tries on every seat or couch in the house when we're not at home. She also ate the 16 party cupcakes I baked and left for cooling on the dining table.  And most recently, she managed to reach the bacon on the high stove. Poor Kepi couldn't make his BLT sandwich when he came home.

Well, no matter, we still love Daisy - naughty or nice.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Cloudless Sky

After three days of storm, a bright sun and a cloudless sky greeted us.

It is also time for recovery.

Linking with Skywatch.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Surviving Jonas

We survived blizzard Jonas!

It's been three days of on and off shoveling and trying to clear the driveway from snow. My arms and back are so sore and I am just physically and mentally exhausted. Storm Jonas dropped about 3 feet of snow in my area and it will take time before we'll recover.

Saturday, second day of storm: the snow was up to 2+ feet. Our neighbor was out battling snow with his snowblower, which later broke.

It was a losing battle.

Our main street and sidewalks disappeared in a few hours.

Sunday was the second time we were out shoveling again. The sidewalks were more like trenches.

While we shoveled all day, Daisy found solace on the snow and welcomed the warmth of the sun.

Linking with Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Winter Advisory And Blog Award

Taken - January 2015.

I thought Mr. Winter had forgotten the good ol' State of Maryland.  For some time now, our weather has been more spring-like than winter. It was sort of a dull Christmas season because it was devoid of any sort or form of white dusting. Then lo and behold, there's been a lot of chatter about a winter weather advisory for this coming Friday! We're talking about a blizzard watch!

I'm not sure if I should get excited or worried because I commute to work and a snow storm means slippery roads and train delays. I'm still hoping our office will decide to close and I'd get my first snow day of the year. Yipeee!

Well, let's leave the topic of weather for the time being.


This week, I've been given a blog award by Saturday Thoughts; it's been ages since I received one. Thank you so much for the award.

7 Random Facts About Me

  1. Since my transplant and I lost all my hair due to chemo, I have no patience in letting my hair grow. I've been keeping my hair really short since then.
  2. I work in an industry that has nothing to do with what I studied in college. Can anyone guess what I do?  (I studied History in undergrad by the way.)
  3. I still prefer snail mail to e-mail.
  4. I love it when it rains. It brings me a feeling of relief.
  5. I am starting a new blog dedicated solely for travel and photos - kayni: travel cafe. I hope I can keep it up. This blog, kayni's corner cafe, will remain as my personal blog.
  6. If asked what I'd love to do full-time - travel.
  7. I love to travel but I hate flying.
NOTE: I am supposed to nominate a number of blogs for this award, but I'd suggest that anyone who'd love to do this post are welcome to do so. Just do let me know so that I can come read your post.

Display the award in your blog.
Thank the person who nominated you.
Share 7 random facts about yourself.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Ireland: Driving Through The Connemara Loop

To pick up where I left off before I went on my unplanned hiatus from blogging, I'll continue featuring photos I took from our May 2015 vacation to Ireland.

In Galway, we stayed at a B&B called Periwinkle. Our host, Joan, was great and so helpful in providing maps and directions regarding our travel plans there. For our drive, we followed the Connemara Loop.

Although it rained on and off during our drive, I managed to capture (I think!) the essence and beauty of the scenic Connemara National Park. We planned Connemara National Park to be a full day of driving, but the area is so beautiful that each turn is a delight. We had to make so many stops.

We passed through this area on our way to Killary Fjord.
A cutie was actually observing me when I got off our car to take some photos.
Kepi and I sat here for a long time. The fairy island looks so inviting and the view was calming and beautiful.
Irish Blackface Sheep grazing nearby.
At the Connemara National Park, it was the emerald open fields and mountains that spoke to me. Located on the West Coast of Ireland, this place have survived time and the lashing of the Atlantic wind. It is wild and I absolutely love it!

I am linking with Skywatch Friday.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Second BMT Re-Birthday!

Today, I'm celebrating my second re-birthday from a bone-marrow transplant (BMT) that took place on January 11, 2013. If you're interested about my BMT journey, it's here.

Thank you to my family, friends and my BMT medical team for all their help and support.

Most of all, THANK YOU to my unrelated donor for giving me the gift of life.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Of Walls And Tears

It's a dreary, drizzly Saturday.

Kepi just lighted the fireplace, and I could hear wood crackling as the fire devours the pile. Today, I'm enjoying the company of Kepi, Daisy and Dizzy. I treasure days like this - quiet and relaxing.

Yesterday was a different story. It was a day of medical tests and the ever dreadful bone-marrow biopsy. What really surprised me (and made me emotional) was that they've started performing the biopsies at the floor where I got my ATG and chemo treatment.

The walls were like pages in a diary. Every minute I was there, the memories of my bone-marrow transplant flooded my emotions. It was those same walls that witnessed the most terrifying, painful and challenging days of my life.

Yesterday, the same walls welcomed me back and recognized that I am still fighting and standing. Because life is always worth fighting for.

Tears poured after my biopsy.

Chatting with the nurses and technician before my bone-marrow biopsy.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Year's Day

On New Year's Day, Kepi, Daisy and I were out for an afternoon walk when we caught glimpse of the lovely Maryland sky. The sky was a perfect backdrop to the almost leafless trees of winter.

The sky was on fire for a moment, then darkness took over.

This is my entry to:
 Wordless Wednesday
Ruby Tuesday
and Skywatch Friday.