SALAD DAYS (and pizza) Ahoy


I had a lovely apple and walnut green  salad and fresh burrata and basil pizza and just water please, with a slice of lemon  lunch last Monday with 2 friends from high school.   Lunching with my 58 or 59 and above friends is so much more meaningful now.  On different stages of our lives, both of them already grandmas  —  one just widowed, but already picking herself up and getting back on track with her projects.   The other (the good news first is that she only recently got engaged and already making plans to wed next year)  is  in town for a visit,  to be with her in-his-80s father who just finished a round of chemotherapy.   And I am just settling down in a new home  –  about time, my friends say.   We are happy to be where we are now.  We agree on One Day At A Time (hey, can that be a mantra?  “Odaat…..” )  and while we are smarter now to not dwell on the seemingly world-ending episodes of our lives, we still acknowledge the presence of uninvited frequent twin guests, Duty and Guilt.  We have spent most of our years, being the Dutiful daughter, the Dutiful wife, the Dutiful mother and still, we wrestle with self fault-finding  Guilt for not having done enough when, in fact, we know in our heart of hearts, that we have indeed done the best we could.  And, “So,” I ask my visiting friend while waiting for someone to come take our order, “what do we do with this GUILT thing?” I secretly want to play the blame game and she gives me an answer, an acceptable solution.  “GUILT.  When you feel it coming, say ‘Oh hello, Guilt.’” She pats the empty space next to her, inviting, “Have a seat. But …,” she says something like “I have other things to do or think about and so, really, you can’t stay.”   Now, why didn’t I think of that?  There is no blame, no rush to resolve, no martyr-like, chest-beating drama.  I am almost tempted to say it’s very ZEN. Well, there, I said it.   I thank her, or did I just exclaim a winning “YES!”  for this compassionate technique.  She smiles and cocks her head and I read in her eyes that she must have done this more than a few times to know that Guilt doesn’t really go away for good and, like all things we think that are troubling us, it just comes and goes.  We make peace with our Guilt for not doing more, at least for now.

The salad and pizza are served at the same time, and my just-widowed friend says a prayer of thanks for the friendship,  and blessings for the hands the prepared our meal.  The salad does not need a lot of tossing as the dressing has been carefully drizzled on the greens, fresh tomatoes and onions,  sliced apples, slivers of cheese and no, I  did not  imagine the  sprinkle of roasted walnuts.   We help ourselves, and I think to myself how strange  that “Salad days” is  a time of joyful youth and wild imagination and indiscretion when today,  our order of fresh salad,  no longer represents a life  without experience and youthful folly but rather a bowlful of  carefully thought out mix of vegetables and nuts, and some protein; each ingredient helping  bring out the best flavor of the other. That, for me now, is a Salad day.

The lunch does not go over an hour and a half (because we each  had something else to do at 2pm)  and between bites of our pizza with fresh burrata and basil leaves, we remind each other to TRUST in the goodness that is to come, never mind the short visits of our sense of Duty and Guilt.  We first  agree on this second chance to live our lives, this time to go on the next part of our journey with Purpose and Joy.  What? My widowed friend laughs, I am on my third chance!  And we laugh with her.

We split the bill, give each other hugs and go on our separate ways, for now. So much care, love and wisdom and sweetness served at lunch.  No wonder we forgot to order dessert.


  • delish salad photo by Inky Dario; follow him on Instagram 🙂 ink.stagram

Good Days and Bad Days

It’s funny now, but it wasn’t a few days, up to a few hours ago.  See, last month I read something that went like this — EVERYTHING IS TEMPORARY.  So if something wonderful happens to you, enjoy and really savor the moment.  But do not forget that it’s temporary. And then.  Something not-so-nice will take place and you just might get upset, even depressed, but you must keep in mind that even that is temporary. And so the cycle.

I thought, oh wow, this is true.  I must remember to milk the happy moments. And  when the not-so-nice happens, must let the moment pass —   must not brood, must not stew, must not stress.  Besides, “Stress, mom,” my daughter Cathy, the yoga instructor reminded me, “will age you.”  That’s it!  I decided to be happy, and try to always look at the happy side of things.

It’s been good for me lately, actually. New home, new interests,  especially when I started to blog (uh, this is my third post, happy-happy feels) and my close friends all “rah rah-ed” and were so excited and happy for me!  Oh yes, I was happy to be happy!

But really and quietly, I have been worrying because I could not find my ATM card for 3 weeks now. I know it’s just somewhere at home. Checked my bags.  Still no ATM card. 3 weeks.   And then last week, while I was putting on my earrings, the earring lock, you know what I’m talking about – I call it chapita, slipped from my thumb and pointer finger, made a clink sound when it hit the wooden floor and DISAPPEARED from the face of the earth.  No kidding! Went down on my knees to look for it, asked the maid  to sweep the floor. That was last week and still no chapita.    I wore my other pair. The one Honey gave me one Valentine’s Day.  When I removed it that evening, I placed it on my dresser, I call it tocador.  The next morning one earring was missing. I was beginning to worry.  Bad days.  And then yesterday, I could not find Honey’s ATM card, which he let me use for the past 2 weeks because I couldn’t find mine, remember?

And then it was hot today when I took my son to his art class. And when I dropped him off, I went to the drugstore (that’s how we call it here in the Philippines. Not chemist, sometimes pharmacy.  But mostly, drugstore and /or botica), I had to turn around 3 times before I could get a space to park. When I finally entered the drugstore, there were so many people!  Ugh!! And while I was waiting for my turn, I remembered that I had nothing in the refrigerator for dinner!  So after I fetched my son, who was already hungry like me, we dropped by the deli to buy sausages.

I was tired, hungry and starting to get hangry — and angry at myself for losing an earring and a chapita and worried sick about the 2 missing ATM cards.  The Bad Days were here alright! Did I think of EVERYTHING IS TEMPORARY?  NO!  By the time I got home, I felt so spent I wanted to cry. After leaving the bag of sausages in the kitchen ( and what was annoying was I found out that there was left over chicken from lunch, and so really, I did not have to make that side trip to the deli) I went straight to the bedroom, emptied my bag, again hoping to find my ATM card (yes, I was stewing still.)

And then Honey walked in and did the EVERYTHING IS TEMPORARY thing for me. He said, “Let it go, Hon, you’ll find them.”  And then, “Go have a shower and prepare for bed,”  after I told him I did want to have dinner. Next he said, “Why don’t you apply your essential oils?” Oh, I love that he believes in my new obsession.  And finally, he changed the subject and talked about what his schedule was going to be like tomorrow. (I didn’t envy him.)

My yoga instructor daughter entered the room, listened patiently to me while I ranted  and told me that everything was going to be ok. And she bought me 3 face masks :-).  My son said Good night and he was going to turn in early, and my other daughter, who was not home, checked on me through Whatsapp and told me to rest, after sending me funny memes in my Instagram.

Good Days, Bad Days. And so tomorrow is another day. I’ll make it good, thank you for allowing me to vent.

By the way,  I found the earring partner and chapita. Honey found his ATM card and put it on my dresser where I could see it while I put on my PJs.  Will let you know when I find my ATM card.  Maybe tomorrow.  It will be a GOOD DAY.  I feel it already.