Running Notes: Using Prompts

Today we’re trying prompt #1 – Outside the Window of 365 Creative Writing Prompts from think written.

Outside my office window are overcast skies and gray, wet asphalt.

Traffic was horrible today. It only took a few hours of early morning rains to paralyze public transport. I was surprised — I usually leave the house after the morning rush (around 9AM…I assume most people are at their desks by then) and it takes me around 20 mins to get to my office. Today it took almost an hour. Wow.

I don’t drive. I used to not want to because well, growing up I wasn’t allowed to. Long story but here is how I felt when I hit my late 20s and suddenly it would be tons convenient (for my Mom, who wouldn’t let me before!) if I knew how to drive:

She’ll deny it but I’m pretty sure I didn’t hallucinate her whole speech about me wrecking a car & dying. It was traumatizing.

Now, that it’s becoming even more expensive to get around, driving myself to an office less than 6km from where I live seems excessive. I guess till I work farther away, I’ll never consider buying a car.


Running Notes: Surprise -Indecision Helps Nobody

Bringing back my running notes because nowadays, I never seem to be able to finish a whole post.

What are the running notes? 

These are basically reflections of 10 sentences (more or less). Things I jot down as the day goes by.

Today’s running notes are on indecision. Specifically, on being an indecisive house guest.

Here goes:

As your hosts, we want you to have a choice of activities. We prepare the information so all you have to do is choose. Nothing is more frustrating than hearing the ff. after presenting guests with options:

“Whatever. It’s all the same to me.”

It devalues the time and effort of hosts. It is mindless and disrespectful. And it doesn’t make the task easier.

What’s worse, it’s lying. Let’s face it, you have a preference. Everyone does.



Happy Birthday, Dad.

I remember writing your obituary.
I wrote it with all my heart; the words punctuated by sweat, tears, shock, resignation. 
It was the best & worst thing I ever wrote. I put all the details, chose my words carefully — but missed the part where the readers could find what was left of you (the body is a mere vessel).
Perhaps, I wanted the world to know that you were gone.
But I did not want the world to bear witness. It would make it too real.
I still miss you. It never goes away.
Always, there is a joke missing a few peals of laughter. Always, there is a meal half-savored. Always, our family photographs have room for one more person.
I love you, happy birthday — Dad.

Blue Cheese

There’s an afternoon I remember distinctly. I think I was around 5 or 6 years old. My maternal grandfather, Lolo Angie, was taking a nap in the spare room of our homeMy mother’s siblings and parents are all based in the States — and visits like this were rare. I had been sitting in the kitchen (probably polishing off a sugary treat — pasalubong from Lolo) when I heard him calling me.

I rushed to the room. He was holding a piece of foil containing an unfamiliar chunk of food and some crackers. He handed them to me: “Tikman mo.” I gingerly took the crackers & spread on the unknown substance. I took a bite & made a face. My grandfather chuckled. I’d tasted blue cheese for  the first time and I was not happy.

I took a bite & made a face. My grandfather chuckled. I’d tasted blue cheese for  the first time and I was not happy.

Still, I’d see him  having a bit of cheese and crackers during his stay and I’d have a nibble or two — in between games of “sawsaw-suka”. Sawsaw-suka is  a finger game and we played the Bisaya version…it involved  a boat, a kulasa (girl) and a buwaya (crocodile).

By the time he was set to fly back to the US, I loved that moldy cheese so much that was fixing our snacks myself. My grandfather had that effect on many people. The things he loved just rubbed off on you. He’d never insist you do something or like something — he just showed you and let you experience things for yourself.

The evening I turned 30, I was enjoying a chunk of my favorite Roquefort when this particular afternoon with my Lolo Angie came to mind.

I suddenly became aware of where I was — in a beautiful house that he helped build but never set foot in. Like my lifelong love for cheese, he was responsible for so many good things in our life even as he lived miles away. In our family there was simply no room for doubting Lolo’s (and Lola’s) love — you simply knew you were loved.

Even if we spent so little time in the same space together; Lolo Angie left deep imprints on my character. He taught us all that family came first. He was the eldest of his siblings and he put them and his nephews and nieces through school. He showed us all that hard, honest work has its rewards.

Above all, Lolo Angie demonstrated an unwavering brand of faith — the kind of faith in God and in others that makes this world a far better place than when we first came into it.

Thank you, Lolo Angie. Thank you and enjoy the cheese platters there in heaven.


Angelo Taala Acuña | May 30, 1924 – June 12, 2016

“The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away,

and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.

2 Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in”

Is. 57:1-2




Give Like a Child

My daughter’s friend recently celebrated his birthday. My daughter and I bought the gift together. As we browsed, I decided the present must be useful. I thought about what the parents of my daughter’s friend would say. I thought about how much I was willing to spend. So much back and forth in my head to buy such a small token.

Some days later, we were wrapping the present & I asked my daughter to help. She got out her box of stickers and started decorating the plain brown wrapper. I’d noticed she was using her favorite stickers. I realized she might not understand that once she gives the gift to her friend, the stickers wouldn’t be coming back.

“Are you sure? Those are your favorites.”

Oo nga. It’s for my gift. I’ll give him my favorites,” she said as she continued to stick on more stickers. When she was done, all of her favorite stickers were on the gift.




I watched her with awe. Her idea of giving was so far from mine. In fact, I couldn’t call my cold calculations in the shopping mall “giving” at all.

With an open palm, my daughter freely shared what she loved most, precisely because it was what she loved most.

May we all learn to give as children do.