Sunday, December 29, 2013

Busy weekend after Boxing Day and before the New Year

On Friday, December 27, I went for my 2nd session of physiotherapy for my right rotator cuff. The treatment is going very well. I just have to do the prescribed exercises so that portion of my body will heal faster. I injured it 16 months ago in August 2012.
I'll also have to see the physio for my back as the doctor at the Pan Am clinic recommended it so. (It is the same doctor I saw for my rotator cuff.) He said that the left side of my back is quite tight and that my spine is slightly curved to the left (or is it to the right?). I am not sure which caused which. But the doctor said that the physio will prescribe exercises for me which will correct the situation. I hope that the exercises will work. I like the doctor because he said that blaming ageing is convenient but we can work around age with proper eating, regular exercise and less stress. I have heard and read that before but when I heard it directly from him, it made a lot of sense.
In the evening, we went to McPhillips Station with our friends, two (2) other couples and one individual. The Ladies played bingo and my wife won one of the bingo games. One of the guys played blackjack (he broke even) and the other played Texas Hold 'em (he won). I just watched.
After the bingo, we went to one of our favorite late night Chinese restaurants. Our friend who won at Texas Hold 'em treated us to late-night snack. Three of us had congee (Chinese rice porridge) with salted pork and century egg. It was good, as usual. By the way, the temps on Friday were higher than normal - still below zero C - and it started to snow 
On Saturday, December 28, we woke up to about 3 inches of snow. The temperature has dipped significantly overnight. And there was more snow and some wind which caused the snowdrift along our driveway being blown into the driveway. We are, of course, in Winterpeg, Manisnowba. My wife and I decided to go back to McPhillips Station to try our luck at the Matinee Bingo which had a jackpot of $120K. The person who won that game missed the jackpot by one call. To win the jackpot, you have to complete the game within a certain number of calls. We then had an early buffet dinner. The buffet restaurant opened for dinner at 4 PM. We were the 2nd set of customers. Saturdays they had prime rib which is quite good. And as I was about to start on my late night snack, Mikey came home with a pot of goto (rice porridge with tripe) cooked by his godmother, Sis Espie Lapiña. Whenever Sis Espie is in Winnipeg (she and her husband, RWB Neil, work in Calgary), she prepares goto or arroz caldo (rice porridge with chicken), which are my favorites. So I put my snack in the fridge and get a big bowl of goto. Ah, carbs.

The temperature went down further overnight. So on Sunday, December 29, we had temps in the low -30's C with windchill in the low -40's C. There were less people than usual at Sunday mass at St Peter's Roman Catholic Church. I was able to get parking near the church and get a seat inside the main hall.
When I got home, I changed into a suit to attend the Meeting of Winnipeg Chapter, Order of DeMolay.

They invested Bro Justin Lapiña and Bro Kristian Regalado with the Chevalier Degree.

They also put on the Majority Service for Bro Kristian Regalado and Bro Jared Lapiña.

Lastly, they installed the officers for the next term, led by MC Arnold Calambacan, Jr.

Here is a picture of the four (4) Chevaliers invested in 2013, all of who are PMC's. L to R: Bro Mikey Uson, Bro Justin Lapiña, Bro Kristian Regalado, and Bro Jared Lapiña.
In the picture on the left are proud father, Bro Noel Regalado (L), and son, Bro Kristian Regalado (R), now both Senior DeMolays.
Proud father with two sons, all of them Freemasons. L to R: Chevalier Jared Lapiña, RWB Neil Lapiña and Chevalier Justin Lapiña.
Three (3) Legionnaires of Honor, L to R: Dad Dave English, Chapter Dad; Dad Brian Langtry, Chairman, Advisory Council; and Dad Chibu Uson, Executive Officer. Dad Brian was invested as LOH on November 17, 2013.

 All the Ceremonies were performed excellently by the Installation and Investing Teams.
After the Meeting, we had a repast. The family of the new MC, Bro Arnold Calambacan, Jr brought a lot of food.

I have stopped counting the calories and carbs I have ingested over the past week or so of holiday feasting. And there are still New Year's Eve and New Year's Day and so on and so on. More calories and carbs. I need to be serious in exercising - not only for my shoulder and back but also for my belly. Otherwise, I might need a major change in wardrobe size.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Last three (3) weeks of December 2013 until Boxing Day

From December 1 to 24, the Masonic Family of Manitoba provided Gift Wrapping and Coat Check Services at the Garden City Shopping Center. Each day, one Masonic Body manned the stall. I was able to assist on the following dates in December:

  • 4th - Scottish Rite
  • 5th & 7th - Khartum Shriners
  • 10th - Scottish Rite
  • 11th - Order of the Eastern Star
  • 15th - International Order of DeMolay
  • 17th - Order of the Eastern Star
  • 22nd - International Order of DeMolay
  • 24th - Grand Lodge of Manitoba

Of course, as Christmas drew closer, more people had us wrap their gifts. During the very busy times, it was really hectic and a bit stressful. But we had a lot of fun throughout. We had a few people ask about Freemasonry and the various Masonic Bodies. We even had one man start knocking at the doors of Freemasonry. In the picture on the right, we have two (2) Ron's co-wrapping a gift. RWB Ron Church, SGW, is on the right and RWB Ron Hodge, Past Grand Patron, Grand Chapter of Manitoba, Order of the Eastern Star (OES).
On December 12, Thursday, Queen Winnipeg Chapter No 1, OES, had its last Meeting for 2013. Each Member invited a "guest" for the evening. My guest is a co-Member in the Chapter, RWB Stano Spina.
On December 13, Friday, Mae and I attended the Annual Ladies Dinner of the Khartum Komedians. The winner of the door prize was Noble Bruce Barton, Khartum Chief of Staff.

In the picture on the right, Noble Bruce Barton (L) received the door prize from Illustrious Sir Potentate Andrew Skene (C), while Noble Kevin Davis (R) was watching.

The evening's entertainment was a magician. In the picture on the left, Noble Rick Holberg (R), Potentate-Elect, provides the audience participation for the magic trick, which was first performed by the great Harry Houdini, whose real name was Ehrich Weiss and who was a Freemason.
The food was wonderful and the fellowship warm, making for an excellent evening, despite the very cold weather.

In the morning of December 14, Saturday, we had the Monthly Breakfast of Fil-Can Cabletow Lodge No 189 at Canton Buffet. That same morning, there was a fundraising breakfast for the Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan Relief Fund. We just joined that breakfast that morning.

In the afternoon of December 14, I had the pleasure of being the Installing Master of Winnipeg River Lodge No 154. Installed as WM for 2014 was WB Don Carganillo, at whose Initiation and Raising in 2008, I was present.

Here is a picture of the 2014 Officers, Installation Team and other Brethren after the Open Installation. There was a lot of food, which was everyone enjoyed.
On December 16, Monday, I attended Selkirk Conclave No 6, Red Cross of Constantine ( I joined the dinner before the Meeting. The food was excellent and the fellowship very warm. At the Meeting, we constituted Companion Ted Jones, PGM and Grand Secretary and Companion Stuart Allen, PGM as Knight Companions of the Conclave.

In the picture on the left, we have the two (2) newly constituted Knight Companions figuring out the table puzzle, as all new Knight Companions of Selkirk Conclave No 6 have done in all ages. They did not disappoint the other Knight Companions. But they took a lot longer than when my batchmates and I did it last year.

On December 19, Thursday, Mikey and I went to the Pan Am Clinic to have Mikey's right ankle (an old injury) and my right shoulder checked. Mikey will have an MRI in March to verify if there is any soft tissue or muscle damage. I had to go to a Physiotherapist for my rotator cuff, which I injured in August last year (2012). I have since gone back to the Physio once. On December 23, Monday, I returned to the Pan Am Clinic for my lingering backache. I will be seeing the Physio about my back on December 30, Monday. I need some exercises for both my right shoulder and back, aside from other exercises for cardio and taking it easy at the dinner table during the Christmas season. It will be a struggle for sure.

On December 20, Friday, Keystone Council No 172, Allied Masonic Degrees (AMD) ( held its Installation. The outgoing Sovereign Master, Ven Bro Ron Church, invited representatives from the various Masonic Bodies and their Ladies to dinner prior to the Meeting. We had a wonderful dinner prepared by Lady Carol Hadley and JW MWB Al Hadley. At the Meeting, MVB Cliff Hardy presided at the Installation, where I had the honor of being installed as the Sovereign Master of 2014. MWB Al Hadley was installed as Senior Warden and RWB Mason Jardine as Junior Warden.

The 7th Annual Christmas Party of Fil-Can Cabletow Lodge No 189 was held on December 21 at the Khartum Shrine Center. One of the entertainment numbers was a dance by some of the braver and brazen Brethren.
Of course, the line dancers went to the dance floor when their favorite line dance music was played.
Even Santa Claus danced before giving out the gifts to the children.
The traditional pictures of the Brethren, Ladies and Children were taken.

On Christmas Eve, we had dinner at the residence of RWB Junn and Sis Lisa Manalang. It was, as usual, a feast of very sumptuous dishes. Calories and carbs galore.
At around past 1 AM on Christmas Day, we went home, still feeling quite full from the dinner. We then had our annual picture prior to opening the gifts. This time we had Ate Anna in the picture via facetime from Warren Hospital in Phillipsburg, NJ. She is on Night Rotation this December and worked on Christmas Eve. It was a bit sad that she was not with us this Christmas. We are looking forward to when she comes for a visit in early January. We'll keep the Christmas tree up and decorations in place.
The picture on the left is from Anna's iphone when we were talking via facetime. Technology is wonderful when it works.

On Christmas Day, we slept in. Then we went back to the home of RWB Junn and Sis Lisa Manalang for Christmas Day Lunch (and more).

The children were also there enjoying themselves. It is quite a privilege to be part of the lives of the children.
RWB Neil and Sis Espie Lapiña were in town for the holidays and were also at the Christmas Day Lunch.
Of course, everyone ate a lot.

We slept in again on Boxing Day. Mae and I then bravely went to Walmart, to Bed, Bath & Beyond and lastly to Costco. It was not too bad. We were able to avoid the traffic and had very little problem getting a parking spot and near the door, too. We did not dare go to any of the shopping centers or big box stores as we did not intend to buy anything from those. We survived Boxing Day in 2013! And we walked off a few of the calories from the previous days' lunches and dinners.

Next challenge: New Year's Eve Noche Buena. Sis Espie Lapiña will be cooking goto (rice porridge with tripe) and RWB Neil Lapiña will cook dinuguan (pork in "chocolate" soup). We will have fish and other dishes care of RWB Junn and Sis Lisa Manalang. I will cook sinigang na baboy (pork and veggies in tamarind soup). There will be other Brethren and Ladies who will be there, too. But we will specially miss RWB Jun, Sis Aries Pagunuran and their two (2) lovely daughters as they will be in Phoenix. AZ then to visit the sister of Sis Aries.

I trust that you all had a blessed, meaningful, wonderful and the merriest Christmas. Enjoy the rest of the holidays.

Until my next post.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A quick review of 2013 - it is almost over

Wow, it is now the 2nd week of December and the Winter Solstice is coming up soon. But I have not updated my blog for any 2013 event. So here goes a quick review of this year.

2012 Potentate of Khartum Shriners, Illustrious Sir Harry Rosenbaum, at the Installation of the 2013 Officers of Khartum on January 19, 2013 at the Khartum Shrine Centre.
Illustrious Sir Andrew Skene, being installed as the 2013 Potentate.
The 2013 Potentate and Divan. I humbly accepted my appointments as 2nd Ceremonial Master and Co-Chair of the Membership Committee of Khartum Shriners.

The new Potentate, Illustrious Sir Andrew Skene, at the Post-Installation Dinner with the Divan and Past Potentates.

At Friendship Chapter No 67 on Jan 21, 2013. The two (2) Sisters (2nd and 3rd from the left) were honored for their 50 years in the Order of the Eastern Star. In the picture are from L to R: Brother Frank Toporowski, WGP; 1st honoree; Sister Louise McLachlin; Sister Sandra Ebata; Sister Elizabeth Evans, Grand Secretary; and Sister Jean Hutchinson, WGM.

Six (6) new Nobles were created at a Mini-Ceremonial of Khartum Shriners on Jan 28, 2013.
The new Nobles, from L to R: Nobles Rico Villarin, John Baptista, Conrad Cabrera, Glenn Baggao, Noel Regalado and Norman Manlapaz.

Fil-Can Cabletow Lodge No 189 Fellowship on Feb 2 at the garage of Bro Tony Bantados.
Ladies Night of Fil-Can Cabletow Lodge No 189 on Feb 9, 2013 at the Casino on Regent.

The Tambourines Unit at the Daughters of the Nile Tea on Feb 11, 2013.
Illustrious Sir Andrew Skene, 2013 Potentate, presiding at his first Stated  Meeting for the year, on Feb 28, 2013.
Celebrating the 5th Anniversary of  Fil-Can Cabletow Lodge No 189 on March 8 at The Players Country Club

No, this picture was not taken in Texas. It was at the Masonic Family Western Night on March 9, 2013 at the Khartum Shrine Center.
On March 23, Winnipeg Chapter conferred the Honorary Initiatory Degree (DeMolay) on nine (9) Master Masons. They became Members of Russell L Wiginton Chapter.

On the last weekend of March, my wife, daughter and I went to Elkhorn Resort in Onanole, MB (Wassagaming area) for a very brief vacation. The weather was great.

On April 13, Mae & I were given tickets to the Kenny Wizz - Michael Jackson History Concert here in Winnipeg. Kenny Wizz did an excellent impersonation of Michaeil Jackson.

On April 25, Sister Carole McElheran was honored for 50 years membership in the Order of the Eastern Star at Queen Winnipeg No 1. L to R: Brother Robbie Green, Worthy Patron; Sister Carole McElheran; and Sister Barb Green, Worthy Matron.

April 29 Khartum Past Masters Club Meeting
I had the pleasure and honor to preside the 64th Midwest Conference on Masonic Education from May 3 to 5 here in Winnipeg. We were joined by the Executive of the Phillalethes Society, which held their Annual Meeting during the Conference. Here is a picture taken during the installation of the new officers. led by the new President, MWB Craig Davis, PGM of Iowa.
MC Jorem Concepcion (L) was installed as the Master Councilor at the May 11 Open Installation of Winnipeg Chapter, Order of DeMolay, by PMC Justin Lapiña.

On the May long weekend, my wife, daughter and I drove down to Minneapolis for a quick holiday. While there, we found some really hot stuff (see picture on the left).
Fil-Can Cabletow Lodge No 189 held an Open Installation on May 25. WB Darwin Agustin was installed as the WM.

On May 28, Mikey graduated from the University of Manitoba as First Class Honor in BSc (Honors) in Actuarial Mathematics.
That same afternoon, I was elected as Grand Sentinel of the Grand Chapter of Manitoba, Order of the Eastern Star.
In the evening of May 28, the Grand Chapter of Manitoba, Order of the Eastern Star, held the Entertainment portion of the Grand Session.

On June 1, we had a grad dinner for Mikey at Dimsum Garden.

The 138th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba was held from Jun 6 to 8 at the Hilton Suites Airport. On the right is a picture of the 2012/2013 (outgoing) Officers, led by MWB Al Hadley (L).
The Grand Master for 2013/2014, MWB Doug Webster, being installed.
The Job's Daughters made their presentation to the new GM.

On June 12, Jeselle Manalang received the Sacrament of Confirmation at St Peter's Parish Church with me as her Godfather.

At the June 20 Stated Meeting of Khartum Shriners, the Potentate, Illustrious Sir Andrew Skene, assisted by the Chief Rabban, Noble Rick Holberg, presented Noble Walt Nilsson with his Certificate of Membership.
We drove to Brandon on June 23 for the Homecoming of Brother Jim Finlayson, Worthy Grand Patron, Grand Chapter of Manitoba, Order of the Eastern Star. WGP Brother Jim is from Queen Mary Chapter No 3 in Brandon.

We took some time to relax and smell the flowers in the Assiniboine Park garden.

On July 8, Khartum had its third Mini-Ceremonial for 2013. The three (3) new Nobles created pose with the Potentate. L to R: Noble Jun Magsino, Illustrious Sir Andrew Skene, Noble Stan Barclay and Noble Alan Gomez.

Fil-Can Cabletow Lodge No 189 held its annual picnic on July 27 at the Kildonan Park.

The 5th Annual Masonic Family Round-Up was held on July 28 at the Khartum Shrine Center. Following are pictures from that event.


The 5th Annual Camping of Fil-Can Cabletow Lodge No 189 was held from Aug 2 to 4 at Birds Hill Park

There was a good number of PinoyMasons of Manitoba who attended the International Peace Garden Lodge Meeting on Aug 10 at the International Peace Garden.

The Atengs were there, too.

After the meeting at the International Peace Garden, we proceeded to a fellowship hosted by the PinoyMasons of Manitoba - West.

On Aug 17, Winnipeg Chapter conferred the Initiatory Degree on one (1) regular DeMolay and three (3) Honorary DeMolays. The regular member is the grandson of one of the Honoraries.

The PinoyMasons of Manitoba participated in the 2nd Annual Manitoba Filipino Street Festival on Aug 24.

Marching from Northgate to Garden City.

On Sept 1, four (4) families drove to Kenora, ON for the day. We were going to have lunch in a Greek restaurant there. However, because it was a holiday, the only restaurant open was a Chinese one. We still had a wonderful day though we didn't have a Greek lunch.

At the Sept 19 Khartum Stated Meeting, we presented Membership jackets for those who were first-signers for at three (3) Nobles created in 2013.

Queen Winnipeg Chapter No 1, OES, held an Initiation on Sept 26.
Khartum Shriners held a Ceremonial on Sept 27.

The new Nobles.

Khartum's Fun Night was held on Sept 27 at the Viscount Gort Hotel.

The Potentate's Ball was held on Sept 28 at the Viscount Gort Hotel.

On Sept 29, Winnipeg Chapter conferred the DeMolay Degree on Bro Seth Audet and on 15 Honorary DeMolays.

Then we conferred the DeMolay Cross of Honor on Dad Rico Villarin.

Here is a picture taken at King's Park (near the U of M) during my lunch break on Oct 2.
L to R: RWB Stan Barclay, RWB Baldur Johnson, Bro Knut Marud (visiting from Norway) and VWB Nels Jacobson.

Khartum's Pioneers Lunch was held on Oct 5.

From Oct 10 to 13, MWB Jun Espino, Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of the Philippines, visited Winnipeg. The picture on the right was taken at parking slot for the Grand Master in the parking lot of the Masonic Memorial Centre (MMC) of Manitoba. MWB Jun E and I parked our bums there for the picture.

On Oct 11, MWB Jun Espino was received at a special joint meeting of Fil-Can Cabletow Lodge No 189, Winnipeg River Lodge No 154 and Capitol Lodge No 136 at the MMC.

We brought MWB Jun E and his traveling companions (VWB Rox Malabanan, VWB Ayong Lorenzo and VWB Vic Vallejo) to various interesting sites in Winnipeg. Here is a picture taken at the viewing deck of The Forks. Do you think they had fun when they were here?

On Oct 24, Sister Nancy Drewniak, Worthy Grand Matron of the Grand Chapter of Manitoba, OES, made her Official Visit to Queen Winnipeg Chapter, of which I am the Associate Patron.

Winnipeg Conclave No 4, Order of the Secret Monitor held a meeting on Oct 26. We inducted and received Bros Gary Dunn, Vic Bryll and Bert Manalang. The Officers for 2014 were also installed. I was appointed as the 4th Visiting Deacon.

We drove down to Grand Forks, ND on the weekend of Nov 2 & 3 to attend the Hoe Down of the OES for Manitoba, North Dakota and Minnesota. Each Grand Jurisdiction made a presentation for entertainment. Here is a picture of ours.

Khartum Shriners held an Appreciation Lunch for the Presidents and Chairmen. It was well attended.
WGM Sister Nancy Drewniak and WGP Brother Jim Finlayson made their official visit to Jephthah Chapter No 22, which is the WGM's home chapter. Her daughter is the WM and her husband is the WP.

On Nov 16, the Grand Chapter of Manitoba, OES, held a fundraising lunch, the proceeds of which will go to the Masonic Foundation of Manitoba and earmarked for use of the Transportation Program of the Canadian Cancer Society - Manitoba Division. It was well attended and quite successful.


Here is a picture of Dad Brian Langtry during his investiture as a Legion of Honor (Honorary), Order of DeMolay, on Nov 17. Very well deserved!
Bro Jorem Concepcion, MC of Winnipeg Chapter, presided at the investiture of the Chevalier Degree of Bro Mikey Uson (R) and Bro Jared Lapiña (2nd from R) also on Nov 17.
At the Nov 17 of Winnipeg Chapter, some of the Chapter Members were presented achievement awards.

On Nov 19, Khartum held its last Mini-Ceremonial for 2013. We created the following new Nobles, L to R: Noble Jesse Tait, Noble Kelvin Carrothers and Noble JB Casares.
Khartum Shriners had a Stated Meeting on Nov 21. The traditional Parade of Glory was held then. One of the presenters was Illustrious Sir Don Thomson (L) who presented the gift from the Past Potentates Association to Potentate Illustrious Sir Andrew Skene (R). In the center is Noble Chief Rabban Rick Holberg.

As Liaison to the Drum & Bugle Corps, I attended their Annual Meeting on Dec 3.
Chief Rabban Noble Rick Holberg (2nd from L) represented the Potentate.
Presiding over the Meeting was President Noble Rick Jones (standing).
It was a wonderful dinner and meeting.

Khartum Shriners participated in this year's Masonic Family Gift Wrapping Service at the Garden City Mall. On Dec 7, Potentate Illustrious Sir Andrew Skene (R) and Lady Irene (C) assisted in wrapping gifts.
Dec 7: Khartum Divan Christmas Party - While waiting for the food, the attendees had to guess who were in the baby pictures on the wall. I was only able to correctly guess 4 out of 20+. Of course, almost all of them identified me in my picture.
Dec 8: Khartum 2014 Planning Session
Potentate-Elect Noble Rick Holberg presided at the 2014 Planning Session. The Divan Members and their Ladies were present. I was elected as High Priest & Prophet (HPP) for 2014 at the Elections held last Friday, Dec 6. I was not at the meeting because I was part of the Installation Team at Capitol Lodge No 136 that same evening. I sent in a letter to Khartum stating that, if I am nominated for HPP for 2014, I will accept it. I guess nobody else ran for that position so ...

The Khartum Past Masters Club (PMC) held its last Meeting for 2013 on Dec 10. We held our elections and installed the 2014 officers.
President: Noble Walter Fast
1st VP: Noble Wally Roth
2nd VP: Noble Chibu Uson
Secretary/Treasurer: Noble Brian Monkman

Noble Paul Drewniak was the installing officer.

A very important event in 2013 was the acceptance of our daughter, Anna, to the Family Medicine Program at the Warren Campus of St Luke's Hospital in Phillipsburg, NJ. She started in July. In this picture, she proudly wears her lab gown which she received on Dec 9. If she looks tired, it is because she has been working 14-hr shifts at night. Her December rotation is Night Shift.
Needless to say, my wife, Mae, and I are very, very proud of Anna Uson, MD.

Another very important event in 2013 was our 30th Wedding Anniversary on Nov 26. It has been a wonderful 30 years. I am looking forward to another 30 or more equally wonderful years with my ex-GF and wife, Mae.

Well, I am now caught up with the various key events in 2013. I hope that this chronicle of my "travels" is of interest to some of you.

Until my next post.