Monday, October 25, 2021

Dusk

Untitled

Looking at the orange skies on Sunday's sunset, I remember this beautiful song

This is my father's world
And to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings
The music of the spheres

This is my father's world
The birds their carols raise
The morning light, the lily white
Declare their maker's praise

This is my father's world
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas
His hand the wonders wrought

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Light rain

Light rain greets us as we drive to Rizal Park this Sunday morning. Nanay buys flowers to arrange for church. Flowerless pulpits bother her. Our house tries very hard to have flower cutting; even pictures, paintings, and cross-stitch art at home have floral themes. Waiting by the road, on hazard, I listen to Charles Wesley’s “And Can It Be That I Should Gain” (1738).

Light rain greets us as we drive to Rizal Park this Sunday morning. Nanay buys flowers to arrange for church. Flowerless pulpits bother her. Our house tries very hard to have flower cutting; even pictures, paintings, and cross-stitch art at home have floral themes. Waiting by the road, on hazard, I listen to Charles Wesley’s “And Can It Be That I Should Gain” (1738).

No condemnation now I dread;

Jesus, and all in Him is mine!

Alive in Him, my living Head,

And clothed in righteousness divine,

Bold I approach th'eternal throne,

And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

A blessed Sunday!

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Home visit

Visiting Tita Beb, Tito Henry, my cousin Matt, and my nephew Jared (son of my cousin Ate Bing) today, after lunch. Manong is coming with me. He'll get some writing done in a café in Gen San (says he needs a change of venue to keep his verbal juices coming), then I'll pick him up once I'm done with clinic and meetings. It's a wonderful excuse to visit Polomolok, where I used to spend summer breaks as a child. Praise be to God for those memories of endless games, merienda, and trips to parties and beaches with cousins who are all grown up now, with families of their own, but who remain childlike—and sometimes childish—in an endearing way.

Sleeping cat

Untitled

Picked Lola up yesterday for an eye consult in Marbel and saw Moon, this beautiful cat, sleeping on a throw pillow. Lola will need a cataract surgery. Been complaining she couldn't see well with her right eye. Had many good laughs during the trip. 

Monday, October 18, 2021

,

In the tunnel

Untitled

Read Mavis Gallant's In the Tunnel this morning: a short story about a young Canadian woman (Sarah) who falls in love with an older man (Roy) and stays with him in "a low building that [she] thought was an Indian lodge." Roy's friends (Tim and Meg Reeve) own the place. They are used to Roy bringing many girls around. 

Started feeling irritated and angry towards Sarah for her unwise decision—why elope with an older man she hardly knows? 

Tita Mavis, always gracious and respectful to her characters (and we can learn from her example of understanding and suspending judgment), writes as the story winds down:

Her father would say it was all her own fault again. Why? Was it Sarah's fault that she had all this loving capital to invest? What was she supposed to do with it? Even if she always ended up sitting outside a gate somewhere, was she any the worse for it?

I know several friends and family who have made wrong decisions, leaving them with fatherless children and broken families. This story resonates with that theme: if love is in all the wrong places, it is love at all?

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Not my own

John Calvin, Ch. II (“A Summary of the Christian Life. Of Self Denial”). 1: 
O how great the proficiency of him who, taught that he is not his own, has withdrawn the dominion and government of himself from his own reason that he may give them to God! For as the surest source of destruction to men is to obey themselves, so the only haven of safety is to have no other will, no other wisdom, than to follow the Lord wherever he leads. Let this, then be the first step, to abandon ourselves, and devote the whole energy of our minds to the service of God.

I remember the song, "I'm Abandoned to the Captain." (Oasis Worship, Celebrate King Jesus – Praise & Worship Collection. ℗ 2012 Classic Fox Records. Released on: 1996-03-06. Music Publisher: (c) 1986 Birdwing Music). We sing in in church. 

I'm abandoned to the Captain
Of the mighty hosts of Heaven
And I pledge Him my allegiance
'Til the earth beholds His Kingdom 

Friday, October 15, 2021

Old and new

I expected my new laptop—a MacBook Air, space gray—to arrive yesterday. But the delivery man from the courier company couldn’t find my home address; I’d later learn he didn’t ask around. The website thus registered the issue as “The company named in the Company Name field on the transport label is not the entity located at the physical address.” I was supposed to “provide new or updated consignee address.” Another person reading the notice would imagine I lived somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle.

This morning I went to the warehouse facility in GenSan, about 200 meters from my clinic. The security guard asked me to wait outside: they have my package. The laptop was wrapped in a brown box, which was wrapped by a thick transparent plastic. I placed the package in the backseat of the car, thanked the warehouse people, and drove to another hospital to see a patient.

I hadn't planned on getting a new computer. My old MacBook Air, around seven years old, remains functional. Sure, it’s a bit slow at times, when too many tabs are opened, or when I activate Garage Band by accident. There are moments when a restart is required. But the machine gets things done—Zoom meetings, Keynote or PowerPoint slides, Word or Pages, web browsing, and Netflix. I drag it in my clinics and use it for my consultancy and faculty work. It is only about 10 to 20 percent less efficient than when I had bought it at Robinsons Manila with my first salary; this was on my first year internal medicine residency. I remember that afternoon: my friend Racquel Bruno accompanied me after work. She said, “It feels like Christmas morning.” Her MacBook Air, she tells me, is still alive and kicking. We used our Macs on mortality reviews, meta-analyses, and the many paper work and researches we had to submit. 

Colored lines

My old Mac is special to me. It has been with me on my overseas trips for conferences. It has proven a trustworthy company in presentations, lectures, and audits. I wrote papers, essays, blog posts, and stories on it. I recorded my podcasts with its built-in QuickTime player. I used it for my diplomate exam in medical oncology. So it pained me when, on October 5, vertical lines appeared in the screen’s center. Forums in the internet said it could be an LCD error, which requires replacement of the screen. It could also be a motherboard issue, which needs a special restart (it didn’t work). I was forced to get a new one.

I borrowed my brother Sean’s laptop, which runs on Windows, to tide things through. I reached out to a schoolmate from Notre Dame who fixes Apple products at a minimal fee. Just when I was about to meet Jeff, the vertical lines had disappeared. The screen looked normal. MacBook Airs are self-healing, after all.

Mac

I had just finished transferring all files from the old to the new Mac, and I’m writing this post so I could get used to the keyboard. For the file transfer, I used Apple’s Migration Assistant, which clones the old to the new. It took 30 minutes to complete the entire process. Sean made me a cup of lavender tea for the meantime. I also entertained myself with an Elizabeth Bowen story, “Mrs. Windermere.” Sean said, “Daw nami man ang laptop mo, Manong, ah. Nami iya color.”

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Rereading Stephen King's story with fresher, older eyes

Untitled

Untitled

Treated myself to a Stephen King short story on this bright Sunday morning. "All That You Love Will Be Carried Away," which appears in his collection, Everything's Eventual: 14 Dark Tales. Read it first in high school. Now I have older eyes, with a fresher perspective; and I've been driving. A salesman in the American Midwest stops by a motel to kill himself then second-guesses his decision. Ending is open-ended, but I like to think it ends happily. Rained last night. Plants in Nanay's garden are refreshed. Getty hymns play in the background as the family prepares for Sunday worship. Take care, dear friends!

Sunday, September 26, 2021

No-movement Sundays No. 3

Car wet from last night's rain. Roads empty. Fog on the bridge connecting Marbel to Tupi, but visibility was good. Rolled down my windows twice, on the way to the hospital—first, in Polomolok and then in Gensan. Passed through without fanfare. Standard phrase I say is "Maayong aga, Sir. Doktor ako, may pasyente lang nga bisitahon." Don't care much for a putting up a sign ("Medical Frontliner") on the car window; some colleagues do. Military men saluted and wished me well, almost apologetically, for hindering my passage. "Pasensya na, Dok," they said. Overheard one young soldier said, "Daw kabáta pa sa iya ba." Didn't bother telling him I'm 34. On the way back home, noted four dogs playing in the middle of the road when I passed by Palkan. Almost mistook a brown dog for a gigantic poop, or a pile of cardboard. Sleeping on the outer lane as I passed through Judge Alba Street, it seemed satisfied with my driving. Dogs are taking over the roads when humans aren't around.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

A picture of peace

Been working on my assignment for the Old Testament survey class taught by Pastor Allan Luciano of TMAI. This beautiful passage from Dr. Thomas Constable's commentary on Amos struck me. 

If cruelty to other nations makes God angry, it is because His heart is set on kindness. If oppression stirs up His wrath, it is because He desires people to live in peace. If violations of human rights call down His judgment, it is because He longs that people experience happiness and well-being. His sovereign government always moves toward the best conditions for humanity, and He resists what disrupts those conditions. Amos closes with a picture of the world over that God desires and will bring to pass eventually. It is a picture of peace.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Alien versus predator

Alien versus Predator helmet

Just before we passed through the Silway 8 bridge, Sean woke me up. I was sleep in the backseat, and he was driving. Hannah, his girlfriend, was beside him in front. We promised Alyza (Klai, as we call her), Auntie Nanic's second daughter, that we'd treat her to new shoes and dresses after she completed her summer job of scanning old photos from the baúl.

“Manong, look!” 

We saw the man and his wife (presumably), trailing behind us. The wife hid her head under the otherworldly appendages flowing out of the man’s helmet. The couple rode without a care in the world. They were safe; they had helmets. And they were enjoying themselves.

Naturally, I remembered this line from Matthew B. Crawford's book, "Why We Drive":
Life often feels overspecified, fully modeled and determinate, but the road has a dicey quality to it. We usually have a destination in mind, but when we get behind the wheel we expose ourselves to unexpected hazards, as well as unlooked-for moments of discovery. On a road trip, you encounter landscapes and human types beyond the ken of your usual routines, and there is something rejuvenating about this. It reminds you that there are possibilities you hadn't reckoned with, lives you could have lived—or might yet.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

,

The birds of the air

Untitled

This bird's nest, outlived by its occupants, fell from the kamuning tree. 

The birds visit in the morning. They sing and dance, with not a care in the world. They hide in the canopy during rains. 

Birds remind me of these comforting words of Jesus:
Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26)

This has been a tough week so far, but God's word sustains me.  

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

, ,

Death and burial—Calvin's encouragement

John Calvin to M. Falais

Letter CXXXIII—To Monsieur de Falais. Directions for his conduct towards the Emperor Charles V. Geneva, 31st May 1545. An excerpt:

It matters little what we have to endure in this world, considering the shortness of our life. And if length of days should be granted us, it is well that the Son of God be glorified by our sufferings, and we be participators in his glory. Since, for the love of him, you have begun to die to the world, it will be necessary to learn henceforth what it is to be buried. For death is nothing without burial. This is the consolation which it becomes you to take, that you make not deceive yourself, but prepare to endure even unto the end. And yet the cross you bear is very easy compared with that our of Master. When it shall please him to impose a heavier burden on you, he will give you, at the same time, shoulders to bear it.

John Calvin's letters are a breath of fresh air, balm for the weary soul, and encouragement to the heavy heart. 

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Tatay's fruit trees

Untitled

Two years after Tatay's passing, we still receive fruits from the trees he had planted years ago in the farm. This is guyabano (Annona muricate), or soursop. When we were kids, Tatay would bring home pasalubongkakanin, fruit, snacks—each time he went out of the house. The fruit harvests remind us of him. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Friday, July 23, 2021

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Not an easy story, but wildly enjoyable

Peter Orner on Mavis Gallant (via The Atlantic):
That's why "In Plain Sight" is not an easy story. It's wildly enjoyable to me, but to get to know another person, to really know them, you've got to be patient. That's why I pick up a book, after all. Fiction is one of the few ways I get that slowed-down feeling. Everything else in my life is moving so fast. But when I read, especially when I read Gallant, I pause. What I want to do is immerse myself in someone else for a while.
Gallant says stories are for shutting out the world, this way, for just a moment. "Stories are not chapters of novels," she says. "They should not be read one after another, as if they were meant to follow along. Read one. Shut the book. Read something else. Come back later. Stories can wait."

Thursday, July 15, 2021

,

Recording podcasts

Oncology Podcast Series screenshot

Kuya Imay was one of the first people who knew that I was commissioned to record a series of podcasts about cancer. The first episode is now out in Docquity, an app for doctors. 

Many years ago, at the Matulungin apartment, I recorded a few podcasts which would never see the light of day. I turned on my laptop's voice recorder app, brought it near him, and threw at him a barrage of questions in English. "Kuya, this is being recorded. What are you doing now?" He would speak in English at first, but would conclude his statements in Bisaya, and eventually, in laughter. I still have those files, Kuya, so don't you dare cross me. 
Powered by Blogger.