Friday, February 19, 2010

Reflection on Fasting

Okay this reflection is timely... taken from Didache (I subscribe online and get their emails daily from

Lenten Party - Ariel Diaz
“Is this the manner of fasting I wish...” – Isaiah 58:5

I’ve associated fasting with eating less or not eating at all. That’s why Lent is such a difficult season for me. I love to eat! Chicharon, kare-kare, sinigang, pasta, extra rice etc… yummy!
But Lent is a feast too — a “party” if you will. It calls us to feast on fasting. To enjoy its benefits, not to endure it. To be more intimate with the Host of the season by allowing our spirit to splurge — on a “bottomless” drink of living water, an endless buffet of spiritual food and grace in abundance.

In a special way, it allows us to fellowship with those who benefit from our fasting — sharing food to the hungry, providing water to the thirsty, giving to those in need, forgiving our debtors and serving our King. Ariel Driz

What is my attitude towards fasting? Do I allow others to benefit from it?

Lord Jesus, thank You for this season… for the chance to enjoy this spiritual feast! Amen.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chocolate Cravings

No chocolates, no chocolates, no chocolates...! I almost had a chocolate-chip cookie, but let go just in time, remembering that it's included in my abstinence from anything chocolate. Oh and I'm only on the 2nd day of Lent. I did pretty well yesterday on my fasting and abstinence, but did wake up at 2am to snack. It seems like that I'm eating a lot of other things, including junk food. Maybe I should include all junk food on my list.

I can't seem to get myself out of the kitchen and food cabinets in search for something to munch on - raisins, apples, cornick, oatmeal raisins - but I'm surrounded with chocolate - cookies, ice cream and the bars! Okay, I have to get myself busy doing something else - more productive... away from the kitchen and the chocolates!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Preparing for Upcoming Birthday

Benjo's 7th birthday is coming up. 7 is supposed to be another defining age and one that is celebrated. Benjo doesn't want the usual parties, but wants again to be in the water - splish-splashing happily! So be it! We've reserved a resort in Binangonan, relatively cheap and convenient that we have the place to ourselves. A big pool, kiddie pool, 7 bahay kubos, a veranda type area above the showers, all overlooking Laguna Bay. And a videoke free for our use!

I've prepared the invitations and am working on the maps and directions. I had wanted to invite all of Benjo's classmates, though I doubt many of them will be able to come. But it may be too many guests, so we're just handpicking those whom we already know.

There should be fun aplenty and we can't wait for the day to come!

Fasting and Abstinence

Today is Ash Wednesday. We haven't been to mass yet and not yet received the ashes on our forehead. We hope to attend the 5pm mass at Lourdes. It's also a day of fasting and abstinence. I've resolved to fast on chocolates and playing computer games (which has become an addiction - again - just recently, with this game that Joselyn found on GameHouse titled Mad Caps! It's not as bad as last time, but still an hour a day on games is too much of a waste of time). The chocolate attachment has also become too much, with the chocolates given during Christmas and those that mom brought home still in the ref and my cravings almost throughout the day to eat just one, then two...

I had my full meal for the day at lunch. Fried tilapia and tilapia in miso soup. Bread and water for breakfast. I wasn't supposed to snack but couldn't help buying some bicho-bicho and eating on one while waiting for Jojo and the kids to pick me up from the clinic.

The challenge is to continue on the fasting for the rest of the day and night. Then abstaining from chocolate and games for the rest of Lent. It doesn't help that Red Ribbon has this big picture of a delicious chocolate cake on their window.

It's best to pray and know that there is a bigger reason for this sacrifice. It's not about me, nor my willpower to overcome these temptations. With only my willpower I cannot do this.

Observations From the Corridor

Went back to my derma again today. The eczema is getting better but these weekly consultation fees and medicine and lotion costs are getting to be painful - in the pocket!!

Anyway, this blog isn't about my own pains, but some observations while waiting at the corridors of the 2nd floor Capitol Medical clinic offices. The adjacent clinic to my derma's is a popular pediatric. The 1st time I visited my doctor at this office, there were over 20+ people who had signed up their names on a pad paper taped on the door of the office. On the next visits, weekdays, the doctor was already in and each time the room opened to entertain another patient, you would hear cries from the inside. Poor little babies or toddlers probably getting their vaccination shots. But even poorer still were the other waiting babies and toddlers who would get greeted by the cries each time the door opened and knowing that their turn would be next. I heard some of the conversations of parents/grandparents/yayas, who would say that even upon entering the building their babies would already tense up and not want to enter.

I'm glad that we're over this, for the most part - although Joselyn still has a couple more vaccinations that we need to complete, then there's the yearly flu shots. But that monthly vaccination is over and so is all that holding the child down and crying from the pain is over. So I feel for these parents as I watch how they try to soothe their children.

Another observation too was the number of daddies who accompanied their young children. There were 3 daddies taking care of their sons who were about 1 year old during the short period I was there. Great to see these daddies taking care of their young ones and being hands-on dads.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Eczema Blues

I've been going to the dermatologists for the past few months. It started with what I thought was a fungus infection near my right toe, then it spread to the top of my feet. I didn't take any notice and tried some over-the-counter ointments, which helped relieve the itchiness, but didn't completely heal the wounds. I went to some professional help when the wounds started to ooze liquid. I saw some places in the mall, but this proved not to be a good idea. The person who checked me wasn't a doctor and she treated my wounds as fungus, but the medicine seemed to only make it worse.

I went to see a real professional near the kid's clinic and saw improvement, maybe mostly from the oral medication, plus the burrow's solution that dried the wounds and the other ointment that helped with the itchiness. She diagnosed it not as fungus infection, but as eczema, and suggested that it was a certain slipper that I was using, which I stopped using. I went back a couple of times, but when asked to go back the third time, I figured I didn't need to. Which was a bad decision. The eczema re-occured and this time on my lower leg, which spread and again itched and started oozing liquid. At the time, I started wearing socks to hide the wounds and Ate Emma had noticed this when we met them in Cubao, where Lenlen was scheduled to meet with her dermatologist. Ate Emma suggested I also see her doctor, which I reluctantly obliged to. That was back in November and I didn't make any follow-ups until the condition got worse. I started getting some reactions to my face as well as part of my arm. I went back mid-January and have been going back on a weekly basis. The wounds have dried up, although my legs are still not in a state where I want to expose it. I sure hope that it doesn't leave a permanent mark or at least not as big as it currently is.

I'm still not sure of the cause. My current dermatologist insists that it has nothing to do with the food that I'm eating and that I just need to have better blood circulation in my lower legs and have to prop up my feet when I lie down in bed. The rashes on my face is gone and I believe as a cause of the oral medication, it has really cleared my facial skin, except for some redness on my cheeks, which people mistake for make-up! I've gotten a couple of compliments on how nice the skin on my face looks. I do hope it is more permanent and not something due to the medications.

For now, I'm sticking to my dermatologist, even if it causing me some bucks for every consultation and medication. I wish I really knew what was behind all of it and why now when I've never experienced this sort of skin disease in the past. I hate to think that it's part of getting older, but I'm not that old, am I?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Reunited Through Facebook

Last Saturday we had dinner with a childhood friend... Heidee or Heids. It has been almost 27 years since we last saw each other and thanks to Facebook, we were reunited and were able to see each other again. She was visiting with her family from Australia and we had planned on seeing each other to catch up on ol' days. We were hoping to have some of our other Aussie friends join us but they weren't able to come.

We met up with Heids at Ascott Hotel where her family were staying. She introduced us to her family and in-laws, who were at the swimming pool area, where her daughters, niece and nephew were enjoying the cool waters of the kiddie pools. Her kids were adorable, especially little Mikayla, who kept chasing after her mom for a last kiss. Joselyn wanted to join them, but we didn't bring any swimming outfits for them, so she just jealously looked on.

We ate at a nearby Chinese restaurant where we reminisced on ol' days and remembered people we knew and places we went to ... she was surprised that some of the people from the ol' gang are here in the Philippines and we have met up with some of them.

Though Australia seems to have changed a lot from the stories she told - they've long moved to new suburbs - it is still the same laid-back place that I can remember. Compared to the hustle and busyness of Metro Manila, Canberra is more quiet, if not somewhat dull for some folks. But reminiscing on our ol' home for 8 years (I was 6 years old when I first stepped onto Aussie soil and left when I was almost 14 years old), I felt a longing to go back and trace my footsteps. Ray got a chance to do this 4 years ago, taking pictures of Duffy Primary School where we studied and the front of our ol' house on Blowering Street. There were some good memories in that ol' house and good 'ol Canberra. I hope I get a chance to write on these in the future.

For now, it's great to be able to be reunited with our friends and we hope that we get a chance to see them again and really... keep in touch.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Favorite Restaurants Closed Down

A couple of our favorite restaurants in our area closed down - both on Banawe Avenue. One was Chinatown's Best Food Restaurant, where we had our memorable wedding reception, plus other occassions, like birthdays or Mavic's graduation. It was a victim of storm Ondoy and though it did open for a few days after they dried up the place and cleaned up, I guess they did not fully recover and has kept the place closed since. Another one is Han Pao, where we had just eaten last December, but apparently it had closed down a few days afterwards. This one did open after getting flooded by Ondoy, but some sort of management conflict has closed it down.

We frequented Han Pao, especially for their Han Pao Noodle Feast, which was an assortment of different dishes including white chicken, wanton, green vegetables, beef and hot chicken, mixed with noodles and sauce, with soup on the side. The serving was big so we would end up having it for leftovers the following day.

The Chowking at the corner of Retiro and Mayon has also shut down. We saw a truck taking out the tables and chairs from inside. We had spent quite a number of meals in that place, but I guess the competition from the surrounding restaurants was too much for this one franchise. There are other Chowkings in the area, so we won't really miss that one too much.

Unlike Chinatown's and Han Pao... we sure do hope that they re-open again...