Saturday, November 23, 2013

heartwarming haiyan images

So yes, Haiyan.  In the midst of all the turmoil and the drama, there are a lot of things that made us smile.  I know everyone's probably seen all these by now, but I still want to compile them and re-share them.

* None of these images are mine; they've mostly been nicked off social media sites.

Relief goods with notes of inspiration. 
(Image: Bianca Gonzales)

Some 400 tourists stranded in Coron, Palawan who decided to help out and pack relief goods. 
(Image: CNN iReporter Arnold BillSo)

The story of the poor old lady who donated the only thing she could afford - a half-full packet of Bear Brand powdered milk.

As told by her neighbor:  Naiyak ako sa kapitbahay naming matanda (byuda, labandera, pobre). Kahapon nag-house to house ako hingi tulong pangdagdag para sa koleksyon namin ngayong sabado...  Tinawag niya ako...  Meron siyang inabot nakabalot sa plastic. Pagbukas ko, isang pack ng gatas na naka-open na. Sabi nya: "Pasensya na yan lang talaga maitulong ko sa taga Leyte. Walang wala talaga ako ngayon. Pero pwde mo yan itimpla sa mga bata doon. Magugustohan nila yan dahil BER BRAN yan". Di ako nakaimik. Tumulo luha ko sa harap nya. (From

Students from Sendai (survivors of the 2011 earthquake + tsunami) send their love.

Two American girls raising funds by selling lemonade. They made $200, which they gave to UNICEF.

Six-year-old Shoichi Kodoh giving his piggy-bank savings to the Philippine Embassy in Japan.

P. Diddy's kids setting aside some of their clothes to donate to the survivors 
(Image: TMZ)

The colors of the Philippine flag in New York.

And in Houston.

The first baby born in the Israeli Defense Forces field hospital after the storm. His mother named him "Israel".

Anderson Cooper keeping it real in Tacloban. 

Japanese rescue worker Shihegiro Matsuda, who speaks impressively fluent Tagalog. 

US Marine Maj. John Orio came to Manicani Island, Eastern Samar to distribute relief goods, and he was welcomed with local treats - fresh crab and coconut.  That's Pinoy hospitality for you.  
(Photo: Philippine Star)

A rainbow over Tacloban, some days after the storm. 
(Image: Dr. Greg Suarez)

And another in Ormoc. 
(Image: ABS-CBN / Chiara Zambrano)

And a rare double rainbow in Eastern Samar.  
(Image: Abdel Elecho)

Survivors in Tacloban take their mind off their troubles by building a basketball "court" from the rubble. 
(Image: David Guttenfelder)

And these guys made a boat out of salvaged refrigerator parts so they could go out and catch fish.

Staying strong. 
(Image: Ernie Penaredondo)

To everyone who helped out or are still helping out, a big thank you.

Friday, November 22, 2013

get over the hate - donate!

Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably already know about Supertyphoon Yolanda/ Haiyan - so I won't waste time reiterating everything other people have already said about it.  Days after we were visited by the strongest typhoon to ever hit land, we're still in a storm of sorts.  For one thing, there are still a lot of people in need of help.  And for another, social media is swirling with controversies, criticisms, gossip, and myriad opinions on what should be done, how things should be done, and so on.  It's quite tiring actually, to have to see all that, especially when people are craving for something to lift their spirits.

Anyway, I promised that this was going to be a purely-good-vibes blog, so I won't go into that.

I'm quite thankful for the positive memes and photos going around - testaments of hope and resilience and a general sense of love for fellow man.  To people spreading the positivity - thanks, cheers to you, you are a breath of fresh air.

I know we're not supposed to ignore the not-so-nice realities, but truth be told, I already feel so exhausted.  Exhausted physically and emotionally.  So I'd really like to take a break from all the negativity, thank you very much.

If the problem is so big that you can't offer a solution, just don't be a part of the problem.  i.e., Instead of wasting your time speculating, use your energies doing something good and helpful na lang.  Instead of hating, go donating.  ^_^

So here I am repacking rice for those relief packages.  It's a tiring and muscle-numbing task, especially after midnight (that's the time The Hubby and I, together with The Sister, decided to help out, figuring there will be less people then).  But really, it's fun.  It's like playing in a sandbox! Only with rice instead of sand, and adults instead of kids.

Some naysayers are forecasting that all that hard work will come to naught since a lot of DSWD relief packages don't get to their destinations.  But I don't care.  I will just do what I can in good faith, and trust the system.  If someone drops the ball somewhere along the line, I can be sure that it isn't me.

My family and I also volunteered to do some stress-debriefing / psychological first aid with the newly-arrived evacuees, but there was a surplus of counselors that night, so we eventually went back to repacking.

Right now there's this whole brouhaha over the operations.  So sad when politics get in the way of good things.  I have some opinions about that too, but I'll shut up now.

I'm no one important, and I honestly feel mostly useless - I mean, I'm not a rescue worker, I'm not a doctor, I'm not a media person, and I have just about no influence.  But I can still help in my own way.  Like the proverb goes, walang piso kung walang isang sentimo. 

I intend to keep volunteering and giving and praying in the weeks that come.  This is far from over, and I won't sit in the sidelines.

Friday, October 25, 2013

no-bake blueberry cheesecake

I haven't made this in a while, and I thought of making a batch as a housewarming gift of sorts .  No-bake cheesecake is one of the easiest desserts to assemble; I learned it when I was a teenager. I love sharing this trick with cheesecake-loving friends, because it's so amazingly simple.

You Will Need:

  • butter, softened
  • graham crackers
  • cream cheese
  • blueberry preserves

Here's How You Make It:

  1. Crush graham crackers into fine crumbs.  The easy, mess-free way to do this is to place them in a resealable bag and roll a rolling pin over, but any which way will do.

    How much crumbs do you need?  It depends on how big you want it to be, or how thick/ thin you want your crust.  I normally use a little less than a cup of crumbs for a 9-inch pie pan.
  2. In a bowl, combine crumbs and butter.  Add about a pat of butter at a time so you can control the consistency.  Your goal is a putty-like consistency, moldable like clay, but a bit crumblier.
  3. Place the crumbs-and-butter mixture onto your pie pan and spread it until it covers the entire base of the pan.  This will be your crust.  I personally prefer a thin crust, about one-fourth thick, but hey, it's your cake.  Press it down with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
  4. Soften your cream cheese.  It would be nice to have an electric mixer, but a bowl-and-wooden-spoon works fine too.  Like it much sweeter? You can stir in some sugar or all-purpose cream.
  5. Lay the cream cheese right over your pie crust.  Stick it in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Slather blueberry preserves (or any other fruit jam you like) over the layer of cream cheese.  voila!
Get Creative! 

  • Don't like blueberries?  Make it a cherry cheesecake! Or a strawberry one.
  • Make your own fruit jam for topping: Combine one part each of canned or fresh fruit, sugar and water; bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer until gooey. 
  • You can even use this trick to make an Oreo cheesecake.  Just use Oreos instead of Graham Crackers - be sure to scrape off the filling first.  Take the filling and some more crumbs, and mix it all into the cream cheese layer.  Top with crushed cookies.

Friday, October 18, 2013

making sinigang from scratch - with santol ^_^

When cooking, I try as much as possible not to use those "artificial flavor enhancers" that happen to be outrageously high in sodium.  I only resort to them when I'm in a hurry, or when there's a particular flavor that I have a hard time capturing - like the mouth-watering asim of sinigang.

One of my goals this year is to experience cooking different kinds of sinigang from scratch, using the various natural sour ingredients, or "pampa-asim". That means no short-cuts, no flavor packets, no MSG. The easiest natural "pampa-asim" to use is fresh calamansi juice, and I've even tried using lemon juice when I visited my mom in the 'States.  I have yet to experience making traditional sampaloc broth - I have it scheduled for the week after next.

My latest triumph has been sinigang sa santol from scratch.  I hardly see santol fruits these days, and I was quite happy that someone gave me a bunch.  After snacking on a fruit or two, I decided what to do with the remainder:  Use the santol for sinigang.

Santol broth is quite easy to make:

1.  Peel the fruit, discard the peel. Cut the fruit into wedges, careful not to break the seeds (any broken seeds must be removed).  Use 1 fruit for every 2 cups of water.

2.  Place in a pot and cover with water.  Boil for 30 to 45 minutes.

3.  Remove the santol wedges using a slotted spoon. Discard the seeds and mash the flesh.  Put the mashed santol back into the broth; cover and simmer for 3-3 minutes.

Ta-dah! Santo lbroth from scratch!  No need for those high-sodium flavor powders.  It's all natural and  sooooooo divinely flavorful.

To make the rest of the sinigang:

1.  Boil cubes of pork in the broth until sufficiently cooked.  Don't forget to add a bit of salt.

2.  In a separate pot, boil slices of gabi (taro root) until soft.  Remove from water and add to the broth when cooked.

3.  Add 2-3 banana-peppers.

4.  Meanwhile, boil more water in another pot.  When boiling, dunk kangkong and slices of eggplant and okra.  Add the veggies to your stew just before you remove it from the heat.

5.  Season, and serve hot.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

i did WHAT with milk?

My Dad gave me two cartons of milk the other day, saying he noticed I like drinking it.  I actually prefer almond milk, or sometimes low-fat milk when I need to stretch the budget - but I just received two liters of the full-fat variety.

I'm not exactly willing to drink full-fat milk, but I decided to accept the gift because it was a sweet gesture (minus my Dad's story about how he can't properly digest the stuff anymore, hee hee).  So I did a web search for recipes I could use milk in.  Just then I remembered a snippette I read in a teen magazine several years ago, about using milk as a homemade hair mask.  I remembering trying it out back then and that I was very happy with the result.

Image from

    So this is one of the things I did with the milk:

    milk as a hair treatment

    • After shampooing, apply milk to hair.  A spray bottle makes it easier.
    • Work it into your hair.  Leave it on for a few minutes. For even better results, leave it on for thirty.  A shower cap is a good idea.
    • Rinse well.

    The result:  soft, silky tresses.  I find it more effective in taming my hair than store-bought straightening conditioners.

    I was surprised to find a lot of beauty blogs discussing  the wonders that milk does for hair. I've read that it helps to remove product residue accumulated through the years, and it provides nourishment.  I also learned that the creamy beverage was used as a hair and skin treatment way before commercial shampoos were available.  This practice goes back all the way to Cleopatra, who bathed in milk because she believed in its healing and beautifying properties.

    A lot of women are opting for traditional hair treatments nowadays, and milk is one of the ingredients in some homemade shampoo recipes.  This method of washing hair in milk is an all-natural, sulfate-free alternative to conditioner.

    Friday, May 24, 2013

    refreshing rosewater

    I bought myself a small spray-bottle of rosewater when I stopped by a charming country store in Tagaytay.  I love the clean, delicate scent of rosewater, and I thought it would make a lovely linen spray.  I looked around and found that aside from its fragrance, there's so much more rosewater can be used for.

    the many (other) uses of rosewater

    1. Rosewater is a mild disinfectant.

    Who knew, right?  (Well, I sure didn't) In effect,  it can be used as a non-drying, sweet-smelling alternative to hand sanitizer.

    2.  It can be used as a facial toner.

    Given its antiseptic properties, rosewater is also an effective moisturizing toner.  It's a non-toxic, alcohol-free alternative to commercially-bought toners or astringents.  Simply dab on with a cotton ball.

    3. It de-frizzes and moisturizes hair.

    This was another pleasant surprise.  I swear, a few spritzes of rosewater into my hair made it softer and more manageable.  It's lighter and a lot less sticky than leave-on conditioners.

    4. The scent of rose helps you get a more restful sleep.

    Known to be relaxing, rose fragrances can help people (like myself) who have trouble sleeping at night.  So it's an absolutely clever idea to use it a linen spray!

    Food-grade rosewater can also be used in recipes, but I've never tried that yet.  I have no experiences to share about cooking with rosewater ... but that's a thought for a future blog entry.

    Friday, May 17, 2013

    no-cook fruity oatmeal

    Here's a clever way to enjoy oatmeal - without any cooking required.  This really works for me, since there are so many things to do at the start of the day, and I really appreciate a nutritious breakfast that spares me the unnecessary hassle. All I have to do is prepare it the night before and refrigerate it so I can eat it in the morning.

    "Why opt for this when there are instant flavored oatmeal packets available from the supermarket?,"  you might ask.  Good question.  My answer is that those instant thingies are often loaded with sugar and preservatives, and they have much less nutrition than good old classic oats.  Furthermore, their oat bits are near-pulverized, so they don't provide the same satisfying texture.  More importantly, no brand carries the delicious flavor of fresh, succulent, Philippine mango - which is waaaay different from what imported products try to pass as "mango".

    • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
    • 1/2 cup fruit juice or milk
    • slices of fresh or dried fruit  of your choice

    • a little bit of cinnamon, honey or brown sugar, or whichever sweetener you prefer
    • whichever nuts or seeds you like
    • 6 tbsps plain yogurt.

    1. Combine all ingredients and mix together.
    2. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

    That's it! No cooking required - soaking the oatmeal in milk or juice will make it nice and soft by breakfast time.  In the morning, you could stick it in the microwave for a minute or two if you want it hot; but it's nice as a cold treat too, especially on scalding summer days.


    • Apple-cinnamon oatmeal:  apple juice + bits of apple + a pinch of cinnamon + a pinch of brown sugar
    • Mangoes and cream:  milk + mango slices.
    • Banana-walnut:  slices of banana + milk + honey or brown sugar + crushed walnuts
    • Honey-almond:  almond milk + honey + slices of almond
    • If you're watching your weight, pass on the sugar and dried fruits (which often have a lot of sugar).  You could ditch dairy milk for almond milk (or your preferred substitute), or choose all-natural fruit juice with no added sugar.  

    Monday, May 6, 2013

    newspaper seedling pots

    Here's a brilliant recycling idea, which is particularly handy if you have a garden at home: seedling pots made of old newspaper.   It's an eco-friendlier, biodegradable option to the usual material  (e.g. plastic cups, tin cans, or the often-used plastic seedling bag).  It's pretty convenient too - you can drop a "potted" seedling right into the soil.

    It's surprisingly sturdy, and once you fill it with soil, it's stable.  And it's real easy to make, so voici --

    How To Make Newspaper Seedling Pots

    You will need:
    • old newspaper
    • a can or bottle


    step 1.  
    Open up your newspaper and separate it into sheets.  Tear a sheet in half along the crease, then tear in half again, like so:

    All you need is half a page, or one-fourth of a sheet to make one pot.

    step 2.
    Fold this lengthwise, leaving a margin of about 1-2 inches from the ragged edge.

    step 3.
    At the folded edge, and make another fold to create a "lip" about half an inch wide.  La la la ...

    step 4. 
    Next, roll the folded newspaper snugly around a can or bottle.

    It doesn't really matter whether the "lip" faces, just make sure the folded edge of the newspaper is parallel to the rim of the can.

    step 5.
    Holding the newspaper in place with your fingers, turn your can (or bottle) so the ragged edge of the paper faces upward.

    step 6.
    Fold the ragged edge in, like you would a parcel.

    Keep folding.  As tightly as you can.

    step 7.
    Now, slip the can out, and flip your little newspaper cylinder over.

    step 8.
    Remember the half-inch lip you made earlier?  Simply tuck your newspaper into itself to lock your pot in place.

    Ta-dah!  It's ready to use.

    Repeat the process to make several paper pots.

    Pepper Potts

    er, paper pots!

    Fill with dirt and plant your seedlings.   ^_^ Here are the ones we have at home, poised right where they will be transplanted soon:

    Friday, April 19, 2013

    how to make your own all-natural, chemical-free household cleanser /disinfectant

    I picked up this really brilliant idea from a friend's blog, and I decided to try it out myself.  It's quite useful and it costs next to nothing.

    You will need:

    • A clean jar (or any container that can hold liquid) with a cover
    • White vinegar
    • Orange peel

    You will simply have to
    • Pour an amount of vinegar into the jar.
    • Immerse the bits of orange peel.
    • Cover and let stand for a week or two, then fish out the orange peel from the liquid.
    Vinegar is a natural disinfectant, and the orange peel will neutralize it's rancid odor.

    How to use:
    • Transfer the liquid into a spray bottle - or any bottle you think will make it easier for you to pour out.
    • Spray directly on surfaces (careful though - don't use it on colored material or anything that reacts to acid).
    • Wipe with a clean, dry rag.
    • If you need a less potent solution, dilute with drinking water.

    Clever, huh?  I really appreciate this because I'm quite iffy about those commercial kitchen cleansers and disinfectants laden with all sorts of chemicals; I feel as if those things are not exactly safe for surfaces where I prepare food, like kitchen counters and table tops.  I mean, those products are poisonous, and what if the vegetables I'm chopping accidentally come in contact with the residue on a chemically-treated marble counter top?  Well, vinegar and orange peel are completely non-toxic.

    An all-natural homemade cleanser is also safe for cleaning things that pets or children use (like toys that they tend to put in their mouths).  No need to worry about poisonous residue.  ^_^

    Sunday, April 7, 2013

    lazy summer spag

    The basil plants in our garden usually dry out during the summer, but they're flourishing this year - the Hubby discovered that basil plants actually love sunlight, and they simply have to be watered well in the dry-hot season.  So now, summer means more basil. 

    Summer also means bigger, brighter mangoes and tomatoes.

    And hazy, lazy days when I'd like to spend as less time in cramped kitchen as possible.

    I hate the heat and the suffocating humidity and the fact that we can't afford to have 24/7 air-conditioning, but  I'm thinking my happy thawts now.  I do love basil and tomatoes and mangoes (trying to stay positive here ... it's so hot and dizzying).

    lazy summer spag for lazy summer days

    Olive oil
    Garlic, one half small head or 2-3 large cloves, minced
    Onion, one whole, large, chopped
    Tomato, 2 large, diced
    Fresh basil leaves, a whole lot, chopped
    Dried rosemary, 1 tbsp
    Olives, sliced, about a fourth to half of a cup
    Parmesan cheese, as much as you like
    Spaghetti noodles, whole grain is nice, about 2 fistfuls

    Tuna flakes, 1 can
    1 ripe mango, cut into cubes
    A dash of black pepper


    1. Cook noodles as directed on package.  Drain and set aside.
    2. Swirl garlic and onions in a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.  When the onions are slightly transparent, add tomato and rosemary and swirl further until tomatoes soften. 
    3. Smile.  
    4. Add the tuna flakes.  Or not, if you'd rather go vegetarian. Remove from heat.  
    5. Stir in cooked noodles, cheese, pepper, olives and basil (and mango, if you like).  Toss to coat.  

    Makes 2-4 servings.
    Nothing fancy, but The Hubby and the Sister swear it's good.
    Nice with a tall glass of ice-cold cucumber shake.

    Sunday, March 24, 2013

    how i got started on eating healthier

    It was just last year when I decided to take "healthy eating" more deliberately, purposely removing certain things from the grocery list and opting for more fresh (ish) vegetables and fruits.  I wasn't really attempting to lose weight (although I admit, that would be a pleasant side effect); I just wanted to do what I could to make myself less prone to fatigue, heart failure and other ailments when I get older.  There isn't any way to quantify the effects of my food choices, but I do feel proud of myself that I ... wait, what is it exactly am I proud of?  ^_^  Proud that I care about what I put into my body?  Proud that I've set a strategy of sorts and stuck to it?  Proud that I don't feel like such a heifer?  All of the above, I suppose.  Plus the added benefit of better well-being.  The point is, I feel good about myself.

    my easy plan of sorts

    A good intention doesn't amount to much unless there's some sort of plan to make it happen.  And a plan isn't much of a plan unless it's doable and time-defined.  It's a good idea, me thinks, to set out with a soft start if the goal seems overwhelming.  I initially took it easy on myself and set objectives that I knew I could accomplish.

    I started by declaring that every Monday is Meatless Monday.  Just every Monday - not a huge lifestyle shift there.  I could eat anything I wanted, as much as I wanted, as long as I don't eat meat of any sort.   No starvation required.

    As I got used to the occasional meatlessness, I extended the no-meat policy to every dinner.  Just dinners - I can eat what I want during the day, as long as dinners are light, like soup and crackers or tomato juice and carrot sticks.  Seriously, I grew to love the taste of raw vegetables, and veggies became my new snack craving.

    Of course all this entailed overhauling our regular grocery list too. Out with the processed, the high-fructose, the reconstituted, the overly sugary.  Okay, not entirely "out", but more like limiting severely.  In with the fresh and green.

    I then permitted myself to have soda on the weekends only.  Eventually my liking for soda waned until I no longer needed to bother restricting myself.

    I also adopted the habit of drinking a fiber-drink in the morning (or before pigging out), to make me feel full without eating so much, and to ensure I make, er, regular deposits.  Every now and then I take a spoonful of coconut oil (for its various benefits) and sometimes I have a relaxing drink of tea before bedtime.

    Just recently, I phased out dairy milk and replaced it with soy / almond milk, and did away with the usual cooking oil and substituted coconut oil.  I also added No-Carb Wednesday to the Weekly Schedule, In addition to Meatless Monday. So far so good.

    how i've seen it's good for me

    There's no way to tell for sure if there's any direct correlation between my new eating habits and my general feeling of wellness, but I've observed I've become less prone to depression and fatigue.  I sleep a lot better too.  That's gotta be good.

    I didn't set out to lose weight at first, but last I checked, I lost some eight pounds.  So now I think I should set a weight goal as well.  But I need to buy a new weighing-scale first.  :p

    Eventually, the Hubby voluntarily went in on the "healthy eating" attempts too.  He saw the notes I posted on the door, and he apparently thought it was a good idea.  I initially didn't think of inviting him to Meatless Monday and No-Carb Wednesday because I was pretty sure he would hate it, but then he started doing it on his own too.  ^_^

    One of the best benefits is that my new habits have curbed my cravings - it isn't so difficult to resist unhealthy eats anymore.  It's not that I prevent myself from having them (I actually don't believe in depriving oneself of of enjoyable food) but it has just become more natural for me to want healthier options.  I used to be able to gobble a large bag of potato chips in one sitting, but potato chips aren't as interesting anymore; I still love them, but I'm neither interested nor able to eat as much.  My craving for sugary sweets has also lessened somewhat.

    and next

    I still intend to keep up the healthier eating habits.  I'm thinking of adding "Fat Free Friday" to the weekly schedule, but I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet.  :)  Maybe a Fat-Free Thursday is more manageable.

    Sunday, January 20, 2013

    2012 bookwormery tally

    photo from gettyimages
    I think I said in an earlier post that I aimed to read at least 40 titles in 2012.  Did I say 50 titles? Well, maybe I did; I don't really remember how many exactly, and I'm too lazy busy to search through my old blog posts.

    So how did I do?  Lemme make a list of the past year's books.

    A.  Fiction

    I often play safe by selecting something from the bestseller list, or those with good recommendations from reliable sources.  But of course, finding a good book is hit-and-miss. The underlined titles are the ones I took the most pleasure in, i.e., highly recommended by yours truly.  The ones in grey font are i.m.h.o. awful, i.e., don't even bother.

    My fave novel
    this year.

    (1) Classics and Bestsellers
    1. Love in the Time of Cholera [GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ]
    2. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo [STEIG LARSSON]
    3. One Day [DAVID NICHOLS]
    4. Summer Sisters  [JUDY BLUME] *second re-read
    5. Atonement [IAN MC EWAN]
    6. The Lovely Bones [ALICE SEBOLD]
    7. Dracula [BRAM STOKER]
    8. Memoirs of a Geisha [ARTHUR GOLDEN] *second re-read
    9. Bridget Jones' Diary [HELEN FIELDING]
    10. The House of the Spirits [ISABEL ALLENDE]
    11. Life of Pi [YANN MARTEL]
    12. The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure, the Good Parts Version [WILLIAM GOLDMAN]
    (An observation:  Books #1-11 have all been made into movies, some of them very recently)

    (2) Lesser-known Titles
    1. Choke [CHUCK PALAHNIUK]
    2. Four Play [FIONA WALKER]
    3. Angelology [DANIELLE TRUSSONI]
    4. The Family Tree [CAROLE CALLAWADR]
    5. Picture Perfect [JODI PICOULT]
    6. Joshua [FR. JOSEPH GIRZONE]

    (3) Story Collections
    1. Shame in the Blood [MIURA TETSUO]
    2. After the Quake [HARUKI MURAKAMI]

    (4) Easy Reading and Children's Books
    1. Hope for the Flowers [TRINA PAULUS] *hundred-umpteenth re-read
    2. The BFG [ROALD DAHL]
    3. 100 Cupboards, Book 1/3 [N.D. WILSON]

    B. Nonfiction

    This year's fave
    non-fiction read.
    I endeavor to read as much non-fic as fiction.  It helps provide a balanced literary diet, me thinks.

    (1) Histories and Biographies

    1. Band of Brothers [STEPHEN AMBROSE]  *third re-read
    2. Conversations With Michelangelo [JAMES HALL]
    (2) Self- Help

    1. Wide Awake [ERWIN MC MANUS]
    2. How to Walk In High Heels:  The Girl's Guide to Everything [CAMILLA MORTON]
    3. The Pocket Muse 2:  Endless Inspiration for Writers [MONICA WOOD]

    (3) Treatises and Research-paper types

    1. The Prince [NICOLLO MACHIAVELLI] *first re-read, not counting required reading for school
    2. Origin of the Bible [Multiple Authors]
    3. The Manhattan Project: Big Sciene and the Atom Bomb [JAMES HUGHES]
    4. The Case for Christ [LEE STROBEL]
    5. Leading With a Limp:  Turning Your Struggles Into Strengths [DAN B. ALLENDER] *first re-read
    6. Rx:  Coconuts (The Perfect Health Nut) [VERMEN M. VERALLO-ROWELL, M.D.]

    (4) Coffee Table Books and Others
    1. 1000 Jewelry Inspirations [SANDRA SALAMONY] *umpteenth re-read
    2. Dear Mom
    3. Great Mysteries of the Past [READER'S DIGEST] *umpteenth re-read
    4. Mysteries of the Unexplained [READER'S DIGEST] *umpteenth re-read
    5. Seeing Salvation:  Images of Christ in Art [NEIL MACGREGOR]

    My 2012 total:   40 books (not including the Bible, which I read every year anyway, at least in part).

    I've reached my goal of reading 40 titles, but if my goal was actually 50 - aw, shucks - I'm  a mere ten books shy.  Now I kinda feel bad for taking a break from reading last October/November.  :/   Oh well, Even 20 titles ain't so bad, especially since I had a lot of fun and I learned stuff.  Going for better in 2013.  ^_^