Beginning our Third Week in the Philippines

I’m going to have to figure out something to do about our internet connection because this is driving me nuts. I can hit refresh all day long, and eventually get a five minute window to try to post something- but as often as not, in the middle of trying to post I will get this notice: “Connection lost. Saving has been disabled until you’re reconnected. We’re backing up this post in your browser, just in case.” And it never stops until, da da da daaaan: I get a 524 error. Or, I will hit post, and after an interminable wait, it will tell me it failed to post and has a 524 error, but it may have actually posted anyway, only I won’t know if it posted or not until I hit refresh for another 12 hours. I know, I know. My problem, not yours. But so exasperating. The only thing I really have not loved here is the internet connection issue everywhere we go. The Philippines has the worst internet of all of Asia. Also, we are going to need a permit to get internet in the house.

This is the beginning of our third week here, roughly. I think. While my husband is not working and our son is not in school I have no sense of time beyond Sundays for worship. The rest of the week is one long, lovely, interesting day full of new things to learn and see.

I’ve already mentioned (I think) that we had some of the people from church come over and visit. They really like the basketball court here at the school, so even though it is kind of far for them to come, they came to play, and we fed them pizza. They fed us friendship and grace, and we are the larger beneficiaries.

One of the men went with my husband to look at the house we are renting and helped explain some things and reassure us about what to expect. A couple of them helped us place the order for the pizzas. I got shopping advice from the sisters. One of the brothers helped the HM with pricing air conditioners and probably saved us a lot of money. And, as usual every time we meet, they worked on teaching me some Bisaya, and I’m practicing every day, although I don’t feel like I make much progress. They are so encouraging- and, of course, in every post I have to make mention of baby J. and what a sweet little baby he is.

He both makes me miss my grandbabies more and also comforts me over missing them at the same time.

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Vintage Recipe: Cheese Dream

The first sentence had me really excited about this recipe.  It is delicious, but you’ll recognize it:

“Our tried and true tea-house friend, the Cheese Dream, occasionally comes out in new dress. Try the following, for there is nothing better than any sort of perfect Cheese Dream for any lunch or supper. Make sandwiches of buttered bread and slices of cheese, cutting the bread about one-fourth inch thick and the cheese one eighth inch thick. Trim off the crusts and brown the bread richly and crisply on both sides in butter in a chafing dish. Serve on a hot plate with two or three spoonfuls of highly seasoned tomato sauce poured around each. Of course, the Dreams may be browned in”

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Random Observations

Interesting factoids: clothing brands hire the people who work in the clothing stores and sell you clothes, not the stores.
Bring your own toilet paper.
IT’s a comfort room, not a bathroom.
Hot water is only available in your shower if you buy an external hot water. I don’t know how they all work, but the one in our shower, the term ‘hot’ is rather an exaggeration.
There is only cold water from the kitchen tap. If you want to wash dishes in hot water, heat it on the stove top.
Most houses do not have ovens, just a two burner cooktop attached to a gas or propane tank.
We have a gecko in the room! Geckos, actually. I love geckos.
I have just eaten some freshly sliced pineapple so sweet it tastes like it was sugared.
The Filipino people must be the friendliest people on earth. Also, I am told, they love to sing.
You might find fresh green beans in three or four different places in the produce section because the produce is shelved based on the company which produced it, not on the product alone, so all of Farmer Jones’ produce is in one area, and all the McFarmed produce in another part (all in the produce section, though), and Choice farms produce yet another (Choice is the brand of eggplant I bought tonight).
It is hot and sticky, but honestly, not so bad as I was expecting. It helps a lot that we are arriving in December and not July. Or rather, March, which I am told is the hottest month of the year.
There is a rule for the guest quarters that you may not eat Durian fruit inside the rooms.
They sell Durian milk in the supermarket, and also melon milk, along with the more familiar strawberry and chocolate.
I have seen two or three cows out grazing in an empty lot here and there in town, as well as plenty of poultry and an occasional goat.
At at least one grocery, once a day the clerks mostly stop what they are doing (except not at the cash register), line up and sing and dance. No, I haven’t learned why.

We like it here.

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Free Kindle Reads, Because A book is the Only Immortality

Quoted from one R. Choate
Mistaken, of course. There is the immortality of the soul. But the immortality of books is also something for everybody to savour here and now, until we reach that other immortality.
colorful book border

  • Unless otherwise noted, books are free but this can change without notice. Doublecheck.
  • If you click a link and it doesn’t finish loading, just hit refresh. Sometimes the page just kind of hangs for some reason, I am not sure why.
  • If I don’t say, “I loved this book” or “I read this,” Or something along those lines, I haven’t read the book. I haven’t read most of these. I’m just your book bird-dog, sniffing up potential good reads.
  • I use various search methods to come up with titles. Then I read the blurbs, a couple of the best and worst of the reviews, and sometimes scan the free pages.
  • I screen out so many this way that I end up *not* posting more books I’ve looked over than I post.  And yet, still some duds slip through, please don’t hold it against me when that happens.

vintage BOOK with owls lettering

In The Valley Of The Shadow
by Josephine Daskam Bacon

Excerpt: His nerves were more sharply edged than he knew: an instant irritation
seized him.

“There is plenty of room in the back of the cart,” he insisted, “the
express people are very uncertain. Would you not better give me the

She swung herself up beside him with a firm, assured motion; for a
heavily built woman she carried herself very lightly.

“I think not,” she said decidedly, “the man has started, I am sure. I
would rather lose no time.”

He bowed and started the horse: he disliked her already. To a
deep-seated, involuntary disgust that any woman should have to earn her
living he added a displeased wonder that one should choose this method
of doing it. There must be disagreeable details connected with it,
embarrassments, absolute indignities: why did they not marry? This woman
was good-looking enough. She was very obstinate–almost dictatorial. His
idea of womanhood was hopelessly confused with clouds of white tulle,
appealing eyes, and a desire for guidance. It was impossible to connect
any of these characteristics with the woman beside him.

For a while they drove in silence. Then compunction seized him and he
remarked on the beauty of the foliage. She assented easily, but seemed
no more relieved by the speech than embarrassed by the silence. It
was impossible to treat her as a hired servant: one felt a strong
personality in her. Before they reached the house he was searching for
conversation that should not bore her.

By the same author, While Caroline Was Growing

Excerpt: “Now run along; what are you going in there for?”

“My jography.”

She stood for a moment looking out at the flagstone where William
Thayer had waltzed so seductively, then strolled slowly out, along
the porch and by the house. The lilies-of-the-valley were white in
the sidebeds; their odor, blown to her on quick puffs of west wind,
filled her with a sort of pleasant sadness, the mingled sorrow and
delight of each new spring. She bent her strong little legs and
squatted down among them, sniffing ecstatically. What was it she was
trying to remember? Had it ever happened? Years ago, when she was
very little—-

“Caroline! are you trying purposely to be naughty! It is twenty
minutes past nine!”

She muttered impatiently, stamped her foot deliberately upon the
lilies, and ran out of the yard.

It will never be known what Caroline’s definite intentions were on
that morning. It is not improbable that she meant to go to school.
She undoubtedly walked to the building devoted to the instruction
of her generation and began to mount the steps. What power weighted
her lagging feet and finally dragged her to a sitting position on
the top step, she could not have told; but certain it is that for
ten minutes she sat upon the text-book of geography, thoughtfully
interposed between her person and the cold stone, her chin in her
hand, her eyes fixed and vague. Behind her a chorus of voices arose
in the melody that accompanied a peculiarly tedious system of
gymnastics; she scowled unconsciously. Before her, clear to the
inward vision, lay a pleasant little pond, set in a ring of new
grass. Clear lay the pebbles and roots at the bottom; clear was the
reflection of the feathering trees about it; clear shone the eyes of
William Thayer as he joyously swam for sticks across it. Great
patches of sun warmed the grass and cheered the hearts of two happy
wanderers, who fortified themselves from a lunch-basket padded with
a red-fringed napkin. Happy yellow dandelions were spotted about,
and the birds chirped unceasingly; the wind puffed the whole spring
into their eager nostrils. Truly a pleasant picture! As in a dream,
Caroline walked softly down the steps and toward the north.

For ten minutes she kept steadily on, looking neither to the right
nor to the left, when the rattle of a particularly noisy wagon
attracted her attention. She caught the eye of the driver; it was
the egg-and-chicken man. He nodded cheerfully.

vintage BOOK with owls lettering

vintage BOOK with owls lettering

vintage BOOK with owls lettering

NOT Free, but interesting:

9.99 for Kindle version: The Entitlement Cure: Finding Success in Doing Hard Things the Right Way
by John Townsend
Amazon Review:
I was given this book a couple of months ago and asked to write a book review on it. I have taken my time, frankly, because I have been getting so much out of the book that I didn’t want to rush the process.

Dr. John Townsend, bestselling author of Boundaries, has done a great job of helping us all to understand how to help ourselves and others who battle against the curse of entitlement. We live in an age of entitlement: “the belief that I am exempt from responsibility and I am owed special treatment.” We see it everywhere, from employees who don’t feel the need to work, to self-centered children, to narcissists to prima donnas in leadership – and in ourselves.

There are some key takeaways this book has provided that have equipped me to tackle some challenges I’ve been avoiding. Let me lay out a few of them:

1. The Hard Way cures entitlement.
The Hard Way is “the habit of doing what is best, rather than what is comfortable, to achieve a worthwhile outcome.” I think we all know this intuitively, but having a definition helps. And the key is in understanding that the Hard Way is also the right way. Short cuts will only keep us from learning lessons we need to master.

2. Entitlement hurts ourselves and others.
We often think that our behaviors and bad habits are our business and ours alone. However, we live in community, our families, our workplaces; even our communities are affected by our choices and the way in which we live our lives. If we choose to engage in self-destructive behavior, it affects everyone who cares about us. If we choose to excuse entitlement in others, we simply pass along the responsibility which someone else must meet. Bad situations don’t get better on their own, much as we wish they would.


Subject to change without notice: Free Titles were free at the time I copied and pasted the links. But they don’t always stay free. The older, public domain books should, because they are all in the public domain, but sometimes….

Shameless money grubbing: I thought this was common knowledge, but it turns out it’s not- these are affiliate links. If you click on a free title and download it, I get….. nothing.  If you click on a free title and while you are at Amazon also buy something else, I get….. something.  Depending on what you buy, it will probably be somewhere between 4% and 7.5% of what you spend (I don’t get a percentage on penny sales) but I don’t pretend to understand how all of that side works. People have tried to explain, but they start with numbers and my ears buzz and I can’t hear.

Also, Swagbucks remains my favorite source for free Amazon gift cards. And if you haven’t joined, please click on the link and join so that I can keep getting free Amazon gift cards because I am still shameless.  Of course, if you regularly shop on line, you can also sign up for ebates, and then always check ebates first, before you do your regular shopping. You can get quite a tidy sum back on the purchases you were going to make anyway, which is not a bad deal.  And then you can use the money for books- or for other things.=)

Don’t have a Kindle? : You don’t have to have Kindle to take advantage of these offers. You can read them on various free reading apps. I often read mine on my laptop if they are short enough books.  Or I will start there to see if I want to finish it later or remove it from my Kindle already.   If you’re curious, this is the Kindle I have, and I have used others and mine remains my favorite. Mine has Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi and I don’t have commercial screensavers.   Personally,  I don’t like Kindle Fires because I am a crank like that.

If you like these free listings, you should also like my Facebook page, because I list other free titles there several times each week.

Yes, my Kindle gets slow because I stuff it too full since I have no sense of proportion when it comes to owning books, both real and virtual.

You can left click on a title on your Kindle and delete it from your device, while still keeping it in your list of titles at Amazon in case you want to add it back to your Kindle later without paying for the title all over again. Don’t delete it from folder at Amazon unless you want to rid yourself of it permanently.  Now that I have my tricksy little new phone, I have added it to my list of devices to which I can download devices.  Woot!

commentary sources: Most of the blurbs and book descriptions above are not mine, but come from reviews on Amazon’s page.

To organize the books on your kindle

Thanks for reading!

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Davao Diary: Language Lessons

There is a single vowel sound of difference between the Bisaya word for beard and the word for milkfish. (also, btw, Visaya and Bisaya are interchangable- the actual sound is more between a v and b).

I was able to pronounce milkfish correctly until I learned the word for beard, and then all of a sudden I was confused. I expect I will have to hear them both used properly a hundred times and correctly use them myself at least another fifty times before I am sure. (and this will hardly be the last time I, like the jackdaw in The Magician’s Nephew, am the joke).
It’s hilarious, really- of all the words to confuse . My husband grilled a beard for dinner. It was delicious. (unlikely). My husband has a milkfish on his face, and it frightens children. (Well, naturally.)
Of course, to native speakers, it makes about as much sense to mix up these two words as it would to us for somebody to be confused about whether cheer the team or char the team, although it is perhaps a less dangerous error to confuse beard and fish.
Children learn these differences without even realizing they are learning. They have a few years of exposure, experience, practice, and occasional correction, and then we say it comes to them naturally. It is a natural process, but if you look at all the steps and details of that process, it’s not easy.

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