And so it is Christmasūüé∂

Tis’ that time of the year when changes happen, when people dig deeper to reinvent once again that childhood magic and gleefully recapture lost but not forgotten spirit called Christmas. For me it has been one of those rare times when I shared my children and their loved ones under the same roof. Distances foregone to rendezvous as a family on this special day. My rusty cooking was called to order and my son and daughter transformed in my eyes. They were once again youngsters coming home from school ravenous and appreciative of anything I prepared. Till today, Mama’s cooking will always standout from anyone’s, as I have been told countless times. How comforting and rewarding. The long hours stood peeling, chopping and mixing seemed oblivious of fatigue then and now. At times I sigh that they grew up too fast.

Out in the street a smiling vendor in a Mexican Corn Cart was selling Elote. This is the only time of the year that I have seen Food Carts late in the night. Tis’ Christmas!



So it seems like a century had passed since I blog about anything. It’s because I had a semi forced hiatus brought on by series of events, some upsetting and life changing but survival instinct veered me from what could have been a fall to a dark pit and I slowly and painstakingly emerged unscathed and stronger. I’m in conclusion that it is not just the genes or strong stock we have inherited from our parents but the inherent will to live and survive…a gift from the Almighty from the first sign of life in us. Whatever I went through is way back and I’ve started walking and not
looking back. Not that I’ve forgotten but rather remembering for it was a part of me once.

I’m happy to share some moments on my last visit to San Francisco…a mini family reunion. Two birthday celebrations, my daughter, Melissa’s 25th and my daughter in law, Masha’s 33rd. The events took place in Camp Curry, Yosemite Park, California. <!–m








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Simple pleasures…

After¬†the peace and quite existence I have enjoyed in five years ended, a change I had only envisioned transpired and¬†suddenly became a reality far more than I imagined.¬† A chaotic daily events¬† seemed to speed past me and hardly gave¬†¬†me a chance to breath and catch up which brought to mind how slow, passive and uneventful my five years must have been unless I count the numerous doctor’s visit I took with my patient,¬†the highlight of which was a gelato treat or cinnamon pretzels after the visit.¬† I am currently half way caught up with the speed of life around me.¬† The brief hiatus gave me a chance to take a deep breath and smell the coffee, something I used to do in a rush and¬†drank while driving.¬† I was also able to feast my eyes¬†with simple things as I did my daily walk around the neighborhood.¬† I noticed the greens and flowers soaking in the sun and¬†trying to hang on before the winter cold set in.



With this thoughts I was instantly revived and life is good again despite the loss and changes I¬† must face.¬† There was in fact a sense of excitement of what’s to come and a feeling of warmth and gratefulness¬†for the past.¬† Moving on¬†was welcomed and not dreaded.¬† I appreciated everything in front of me and around me and saw them with fresh eyes.¬† Sunset light coming through the trees in Newport Beach and creating colorful hues in the water was dramatic and inviting.


Dinner with my cousin¬† Cynthia Garcia (Nena) in a quite caf√© was not just bonding but reconnecting lost times.¬† I did not realized till then how I missed my cousin’s antics and funny stories mostly recounting our good old days back then.¬† What seemed to be insignificant became obvious that they were fractions of the bigger picture that made up our family circle.¬† Phone calls to my Chicago family warmed my heart and cousin Lita Gebusion kept the tab updated.


Now, as I turn another leaf in my Book of Life, I embrace¬†the new beginning and welcome new faces that will write its own story to be relived one day and retold many times over.¬† As each one passes like ships in the night, I will remember….it is only so long but not goodbye.

Meet Edna


Thanksgiving brings out thoughts of¬†good deeds and good people in my life…too many to count in my ten fingers and ten toes combined.¬† This Thanksgiving, I give honor to an untiring and dedicated lady who has always been here for me especially when the bad and sad times comes.¬† She is not articulate or smart in today’s high tech world but she is your good old fashioned supportive person.¬† We are all blessed by her presence in our lives.

She has a green thumb and can revive an almost dying plant.¬† Her garden is blooming and the fruits, vegetables and herbs are happily supplying the kitchen.¬† She has an invisible wand that seemed to whip up amazingly delicious dishes at a moment’s notice.¬† Her talent as a wife, mother, grandma and auntie is as endless as her title. ¬† At times I catch her doubling as a dog groomer to the little four legged residents of her household.¬† Other times, she is the seamstress especially on last minute alteration. I sat countless times in her kitchen watching her bake bread pudding and¬† sipping coffee while she merrily multitask shuttling from the stove to the oven in between whipping up another dessert in time for the family dinner and all the time chatting with me.¬† I am awed by the ease of her performance.¬† If I will attempt to do this, I am sure there will be missing¬† ingredients and the kitchen will be a big mess not to mention dinner will not be on time.¬† It is always a delight to spend time with this sweet and unassuming lady I fondly¬†call Mama Edna, my auntie.¬† I am sharing my blessings and adulation long overdue.¬† Here is Edna Labayen Garcia.








When I think of home everyone in the family comes to mind even those that had been long gone and the most recent additions.¬† Memories of childhood flashes back.¬† The weekend visits to the Ancestral home to partake in a sumptuous lunch prepared by the ladies of the family and great grandpa’s ritual of asking me to read him his Spanish newspaper.¬† There was abundance of homemade sweets made from sticky rice with coconut milk and brown sugar, fried bananas and assorted local grown fruits among many other goodies.¬† We have a big family and when we have parties it seems that half of the town was in attendance.¬† Cousins by the dozen which made it fun and something to look forward to for me and my three siblings.¬† My feet has taken me to foreign shores but home is never far regardless of the distance.¬† It is my roots, my anchor and constant reminder that when the going gets tough, there’s always home.