Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fun With Picture-Taking

Some photo, looney fun...  I rarely find myself in front of the camera, I'm usually the one taking the shots.  And that's fine with me, since I'm a little camera-shy :).  But on one of Benjo's days off (we had just got done with the PFC - Parents/Facilitators Conference, parents-teachers meeting) and the teacher only had good things to say.  So, we were in an extra-malimbing mood and decided to take photos of ourselves.  I resized them and put them in one picture.  This was a lot of fun - the picture-taking and seeing the results afterwards, that I think I'll try it out with Joselyn and with both kids...

Putik!

Putik!
Dirt mixed with water
Mud, yep, mud is what you call it
But this isn't ordinary mud;

Putik!
It's all over the road, I can't avoid it,
Splash, my sandaled foot slips,
Ay, my toes are now covered with it;

Putik!
Rains are now coming down hard,
Vendors trying to cover their wares,
My own umbrella doesn't seem enough,
I'm still getting wet;

Putik!
One man spits on the road,
Yuck, gross!  I imagine it mixing with the mud,
But there are other things worse,
Which I don't care to think about;

Putik!
Wish it didn't rain,
Wish we had cleaner drains, cleaner roads,
Wish people would be more disciplined,
I wish to go home;

Putik!
After 3 hours of being out,
Half of the time walking,
Walking through the streets filled with mud,
I'm finally home;

I change my clothes,
I wash my feet, legs, hands and face,
I look at my jeans and sandals,
Need to wash these too to get rid of the...
Putik!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Miss Philippines, Brown and Proud

I've been walking with more of a sway to my hips these past few days.  Hahaha!  Well I walk this way when I'm on my own like I am right now or when no one is looking.  I think it's from watching Miss Universe the other day and the exultation at seeing Miss Philippines in the top 5.  Everyone must agree that Miss Philippines, Venus Raj, is beautiful.  If she had a better answer to the question that she was given, she may have ranked higher.  But nevertheless, being in the top 5 is a great achievement.

One guest on this certain talk show that I happened to switch to, a previous Miss Philippines herself, commented on Venus' unique beauty and added she doesn't even look Filipino.  What a statement!  What is the Filipino or Filipina supposed to look like?  But I do get her point, looking at Venus, you would think she's Indian or Middle Eastern.  She doesn't share the chinky eyes or the whiter (or some say yellowish) complexion of other Asians or Malays.

Her skin is dark, maybe too dark to some.  But I'm so glad that she represents the Philippines.  Maybe more women here will now be proud of their darker complexion instead of idolizing the whiter skinned artistas (actresses) that we often see on television.  How many commercials have I seen that promises to give whiter skin by just using their cream or soap?  There are way too many of these commercials.  An evidence of Filipino's mentality.  If we see someone with darker skin, we associate it with being poor.  The logic behind it, I guess, is that poor people have to work outdoors under the burning sun and do not have the luxury of air-conditioned cars or homes.  So the whitening creams and soap commercials target the poor and middle class.

I used to have an insecurity about my color too.  I lived for 8 years in Australia, in the mid-70s to the early 80s.  My Aussie classmates were fair-skinned, almost paper white, and when we would sit next to each other I would on many occassions see the stark difference between my forearm and my classmate's.  I'm sure they noticed it too, but most were kind enough not to care, especially at our young age.  I have a picture, which I'll try to dig out and scan, of my class back in my elementary years.  I was the only dark-colored girl there!  So I was different.  But I'm glad that that insecurity didn't effect me in the long-run.

Now, fast-forward to 27 years later, I am quite proud of my kayumanggi (brown) complexion.  I'm happy too that I don't sunburn easily like Caucasians.  And I'm proud that someone with the same complexion as me represented our country in the Miss Universe pageant, with head held high and hips swinging gaily. Congratulations Venus!  You make our country, our kababayans proud.  (Something that we all need right now.)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tasteless and Insensitive

We Filipinos are in the news, but in such a bad light.  Due to the hostage-taking tragedy a couple of days ago, it seems the whole world is against us, especially innocent Filipinos working abroad.  It was an isolated occurrence with a tragic ending.  One where the inefficiency of our police and other officials were magnified a thousand-fold with live telecast all over the world.

I saw pictures of the hostaged bus on the internet yesterday.  Some fool put Barney's figure in place of the gunman and another picture had Mr. Bean's picture in place of one of the victims being taken out from the bus.  What for?  Is this supposed to be funny?  Well, it is far from it!  It makes me angry to think that some people are making this incident a joke, where people lost their lives and where survivors are now suffering from loss of sleep and various phobias, not to mention the loss of their loved ones.

Those pictures that are posted on facebook and other networking sites are tasteless and insensitive.  We are better people, we are better Filipinos than what these photos convey.  Not all situations call for a laugh or for a photo-op, especially these kinds of tragedies.  We should think twice before posting and passing on these types of pictures.

Fighting The Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes all around.  One, two or even three.  Small, you'd think innocent, but could carry such a deadly disease.  We're doing what we can to keep our house mosquito free.  We think the mosquitoes may have acquired an immunity from the insect spray that we use every so often.  Jojo has tried burning the skin of lansones.  He insists that the smoke from the burnt skin will clear the air of these pesky insects.  But I'm not so sure.  The smoke fills the house and causes us to cough.  What's worse, getting bitten by a mosquito or suffering from lung disease???

I killed one this morning, tried to bite me on the leg.  Smack!  I missed, then he tried my other leg, that persistent bugger... Smack!  I got him that time!  One down, I feel victorious!  I saw another in our bedroom which I didn't catch.  Our bedroom has to be mosquito-free, it's our sanctuary.  Gonna try to get that miniature monster.

Been putting insect-repellant on the kids before they set off for school.  I tried using it one time for myself when I was outside washing the clothes.  Doesn't seem to work with flies that seem to ignore the smell of the repellant and continually bug me and my sores.

The cases of dengue has risen 50% since last year according to the DOH.  Heard stories from our school that several kids, all in one class, got sick with the dengue fever.  They're blaming the school.  Joselyn got the dengue last year, we spent two days in the hospital.  It was a good thing that we caught the symptoms in its early stages, so she didn't need any blood transfusion, just some rest with a regular IV during our hospital stay.  I really do not want a repeat of all that.

Okay, back to the battlefield... got my spray, ready to attack the blood-sucking critters that are abundant in the garden.  Saw one just fly by.  This is war!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hostage-taking, such a tragedy...

I had such a mix of emotions last night as we were watching the live telecast of the hostage-taking in front of Quirino Grandstand.  The kids had just finished with their TV time, with Jojo interrupting every once in a while to turn the channel to the news.  It was live action drama, drama that we would usually watch on the likes of FPJ movies.  But it was all too real.  And when we saw live how the driver climbed out of the window into safety, so fearful, being mobbed by the media, blurting out: "Patay na silang lahat!".  I felt a chill and gasped.  It took them so long, why, oh why, did it come to this???

And as the policemen came closer to the hostaged bus, I said "turn off the TV".  This was not the type of scenes that kids should be watching.  Too real, too violent, too sad.  We first sat in silence.  I tried to get my wits together, my emotions intact.  I had my kids to think of.  But there were kids involved and that's what made it all the more heart-breaking.  The kids didn't seem to want to play with their usual toys, so I told them to get a book and we read the book of "Tom and Jerry" together, making them laugh and smile again, and for awhile forget the current tragedy that was happening only several miles away from us.  Jojo would pop his head once or twice giving us updates until I signalled him to stop.  He got the picture and stopped.

It wasn't us nor of anyone we know.  But they were innocent victims, caught in a situation that they could do nothing about.  It could've been us.  The first thing to come to mind was when the kids had their field trip last year.  Their first bus ride and they were on their own with their teachers and other assistants.  Would this event give them some fear of riding a bus?  Would we allow them to ride on a bus without us?  It could've happened to anyone.

As we know now, the hostage-taker died after being shot by policemen.  The hostage-taker shot 8 hostages.  There were survivors, thank God, but they had to witness the death of their loved ones and will forever be scarred because of this tragedy.  We all want to make sense of it all, put blame to whoever.  Lord, help us... heal us of our wounds, our pains, our confusions.  Your paradise, Your heavenly Jerusalem seems so far away right now.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Jeepney Ride

Picture of jeep taken from link.
Strangers all, no familiar faces,
But faces that are too familiar;
Filipinos from different walks of life -
Students, office workers, vendors,
Young, old, poor, middle class.

There is no chatter,
People just trying to ignore each other;
I take quick looks at the people around me,
I get some looks back, and quickly turn away,
Do not dare to stare too long.

The sound of the motor roars,
Others beep, then roars, louder still,
Smoke follows, I cover my nose,
People around are off to school or work,
Starting out fresh, but sweat rolls from their foreheads.

The seat is not too tight, I have some room to move,
At least I’m not sitting with half my behind on the seat,
I’ve done that before, wobbly legs followed;
No, this is as comfortable as it gets,
Ahh, a cool breeze from the open window behind me.

I try to close my eyes, trying to rest awhile,
Seen enough of the people around me,
But still being wary, opening my eyes every few seconds;
Others getting off, others getting on,
I awake from my daze, getting ready for my stop.

“Para mama”, “Sa tabi lang po”,
The driver finds a place to stop,
Hopefully not in the middle of the street,
To stop near where I need to go,
The jeepney stops and I quickly get off with others.

We have shared a ride together,
These people whom I do not know,
For just a few minutes, a few moments of our lives,
We all had one thing in common,
Our jeepney ride.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bye Mom, For Now...

About 30 minutes from now, Mom's flight will take off - about a 13-hour direct flight from Manila to San Francisco via Philippine Airlines.We've dropped off Mom how many times now?  At least once a year for the past 4 years.  We're so used to the scene that we no longer shed a tear, knowing that soon she will be back.

The downstairs area is so silent now.  If Mom was here, she would probably be either sleeping on the couch with the television still on or on nights when she tries to stay awake to watch her favorite teleseryes, she plays games on the computer.  Text Twist and the Spongebob Collapse games are her favorites.

I know Mom must've been lonely being here downstairs by herself at night.  She never wanted to be left alone.  I know she kept the television on even if she wasn't watching.  The silence was more deafening and/or threatening.  There were nights when I would turn off the tv hearing her snore.  Then a few minutes later, she would wake up and turn it back on.  She couldn't sleep without the tv being on, as if it was her noisy companion.

The kids are sound asleep now after being home for over an hour.  We didn't run into too much traffic on our way home from the airport.  We left Mom at the care of the porter who helped her with her luggage.  I kind of felt some anxiety leaving Mom to a stranger.  But it's their job and I'm sure Mom will tip him generously.  She's probably already boarded the plane by now.  I sure hope that she gets to rest and sleep on her flight.  I pray too for the safety of their trip, for the pilots and crew members to be guided well.  I pray most of all that God may keep Mom company - on the long flight, in their landing, in her travels, during the times when she's with her sisters or with our relatives, on the days when she wants to come back home, on the days when she feels lonely.  Lord, bless my Mother.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ano Ang Ginawa Niya?

"Ano naman ang ginawa niya?", she asked with a smirk, looking at the expansive building that was then the unopened Ninoy Aquino International Airport 3.  Of course, she (whom I will not name to avoid conflicts or arguments), was referring to Ninoy Aquino, who died on the terminal of the then, Manila International Airport, after being assissinated and whose name replaced the old airport and also bears the names of the newer more modern airport.

Ano ang ginawa niya?  Well, he died in the face of danger, because he did not want to continue living his safe existence away from the country he loved.  Was that enough?  What greater show of sacrifice can someone give than to give up his life.  No, he did not want to give up his life.  He had many plans for the country, for his family and he wanted to be a part of all that.  But his life was cut short.  He knew it might happen and yet he came home, boarded that fateful flight and came down out of the airplane to the awaiting danger.  It only took seconds.

Ano ang ginawa niya?  No, he didn't build bridges, nor highways, nor a cultural center.  I don't even know of his contributions as senator, though I know they must've been many.  I just read an article that he had written.  He was a knowledgeable man, a man who knew of our country's history, its conflicts, the influences of those who had governed our country and the need of the Filipinos to rise in spite of our past.

Ano ang ginawa niya?  He wrote, he spoke when he could and what a great speaker he was, he dreamed, dreamed for a better Philippines, and he loved, loved his family and his country.  If he had lived, he may have become our next president.  And what a great president he would have been.  But he didn't.  He died on the tarmac and it happened so suddenly.

Ano ang ginawa niya?  The legacy he left behind has inspired a thousand more to strive to continue his dream.  What he has left behind may not be something that can be seen like in the buildings or roads, it is not something material.  What he has left behind is his spirit, a spirit of hope, of bravery, of love of our fellow countrymen and of our country.  It is a spirit that lives on even to this day, a day when we remember that 27 years ago, Ninoy came home, but only to touch the land that he loved with his bloodied body.

Ano ang ginawa niya?  In his words, "The Filipinos are worth dying for." And he did just that.  He died, so that our eyes can be opened, so that we can live in truth, so that we can learn to love our country and be proud to be a Filipino.  He is still very much alive today, but our struggle still continues.  He has set an example that each Filipino should follow.  Let us all remember Ninoy, his life, his struggles, his dream, his death.  And remember that we all have our own responsibility to become a better person, to become a better Filipino, 'cause someone sacrificed his life for us.

Ano ang ginawa niya?  What did he do?  He lived a noble life and died a hero's death.  It's really a question not worth answering.  I didn't answer it myself during that time, too numb by the absurdity of the question.  Isn't it obvious?  Maybe not to all.

Friday, August 20, 2010

That's the Catch

"Would you like to receive a free bag?", a pretty saleslady asked at the motorshow that we were attending.  I first looked at her blankly, not quite sure what to answer.  Anything with the word 'free' would surely be answered with an enthusiastic "Yes!".  But a free cotton bag with the company's name all over it... did I really need another bag?

The saleslady continued, ignoring my disinterest, "... all you have to do is write how you can help save the environment on this small green piece of paper."  That seemed easy enough.  I was waiting for the catch as I wrote the first thing that came to my mind:  "I will use less plastic.  Reuse whatever I can.  Conserve and live simply."  That paper was actually a sticker which I was asked to peel off and tape on a life-sized tree figure (I think it was made of styrofoam, of all things), along with the other green papers with random ideas on how to save Mother Earth.  They didn't even ask me to write my name on the paper or did they ask for my contact number.  They just handed the cotton, lime-green bag.  No strings attached, no catch.

Joselyn took the bag in excitement, another addition to her growing bag collection.  It was no extraordinary bag, we have others similar to it, quite dull to be honest.  But we said "thank you" to the kind lady and went on our way.  Now, back at home thinking of the day's events, I remember the bag and I remember what I wrote.  From now on everytime I see or use that bag, I will remember.  That small green note, that idea or should I say "promise" that I made that no one will know or remember - no one except me and the maker of all living things.

So, there was a catch afterall, a subtle one, one which deals with our conscience, a catch worth more than the money in my pocket.  But a catch that is worth our future and the future of the world we live in - if we remember and take our written "promise" to heart.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Resume My Blogging

I miss the actual blogging.  It was a good exercise for my brain and practice for my writing skills.  Editing doesn't seem to be so important.  I've reviewed some of what I've written, added notes, links and images to the blogs that needed something more interesting than plain text.  But I guess if what the words say is of interest, there shouldn't be any need for pictures to make it attractive.

I will begin again with my blogging, not looking back unless I have a need to.  One good thing about going back to my previous blogs was to read about the "plans" I had written about, but never pushed through with.  Plans like cooking phad thai, which still remains on my "To do" list.

So tomorrow I will begin - again - with one or two blogs per day and to edit any previous ones as time permits.  I will go for quality writing - whatever than means.  Writing that is more than just lazy words or words that come from a lazy mind.  Words that will inspire, words that will get one to think, to feel, to be moved into action.  I think that's what this should all be about.  Not merely for selfish reasons, to let out an emotion, a grudge.  Even if it is for this reason, it should at least bring me and whoever reads this to become a better person.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Finished Reading "Me"

I finished reading "Me" by Katharine Hepburn just yesterday. I had dropped it almost completely the whole of last week and was wondering if I would ever finish the remaining chapters. It's different from reading novels where you want to continue because of the storyline and the suspense that it creates. But non-fiction is different, you read bits and pieces and can stop at any time and pick up at any time without missing a beat, for most books anyway. I'm glad I did finish it though, 'cause the last chapters were actually the most touching parts of her lives. Her life with and the way Spencer Tracy died and her special part in his life, the house they shared and the struggles he had during his last years; the car accident she had (ran head-on to a telephone pole) and how she and her faithful assistant recovered; her struggles with her aging body and the many people who she shared her life and career with.

What a life she led. Such a spirit - courageous, never giving up, honest and frank, and full of life even to the end. But her end was still far from the end of the book as she lived more than decade more. Wow, to live half her adventures! But like I mentioned in a previous blog, she lacked spirituality that comes with faith, but I hope she did find it before she died. I still have to find and watch one of her older movies. Another movie to add to my list: "The Corn Is Green".

Monday, August 16, 2010

Start With The Editing

I said I wouldn't blog for at least a week so as to go back to what I've written and do some editing. This may be harder than I thought. My system is so used to blogging. But it's important to read on what I've written and re-do if I have to. Editing isn't such a glorious job but it is a necessity and even more important than the writing process. So here I go...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Time To Edit

I have to make this one a quick one. My little girl is still awake and she wants to go to sleep but can't without Mommy (or Daddy, but who is fast asleep) helping her to sleep. I would love to have more time to blog but I just don't always have the time. I'm under pressure most of the time, pressured for time, pressured for something of substance to write. I honestly don't know if anyone reads this blog. It's not supposed to matter, but it kind of does, somehow.

But to be honest most of what I write may not be of interest to anyone but myself. And even if I were to read it, I would bore even myself. For this next week, I will go for quality over quantity. No more 2 blogs a day goal, well at least for now. I will go over what I have written, re-write, add, delete, edit, add more pictures even. Then maybe it might give more substance to someone else and not be just empty thoughts.

Time for bed...

Sales, Underwear and New Camera

I seem to have difficulty blogging on weekends, maybe because the kids are out of school and I tend to sleep in a little later in the morning, if you can call 6:30am sleeping-in. I would love to wake up later, but the kids are awake even earlier than me. They're used to waking up early on the schooldays.

I'm full after eating a dinner of longganisa, fried rice and mango. Sounds more like breakfast ha? Harder to think, sleepy as well and tired...

We were at SM Sta Mesa earlier. Our plan was to first go to Soen to buy some underwear that my cousin wanted Mom to buy. Underwear here is much cheaper than in the US and other places abroad. Soen makes good quality panties and bras. (Soen is a Philippines-made product. Something to be proud of despite the many international competitors. Sad to see though that their website features foreigners as their models, another proof of our Colonial mentality that still abounds.) Even their infant wear is of good quality. Joselyn got a dozen panties for her 1st birthday and they lasted 'til they couldn't fit her any more. Plus they fit her thighs well, unlike the Gap panties that she also got as gifts which are too loose and don't hide what they're supposed to hide.

Anyway, we thought Soen opened around 9am, but it opens at 10am. It was around 9:30am so we decided to go to SM Sta Mesa first. We were early, but the basement section with the foodcourt and grocery was already open. We had merienda first and then trooped to find CDR King to buy a memory card for the camera that Ate Connie sent. The kids, especially Benjo, was so excited about the new camera. It's so light though that I'm scared they might drop it. So they got mad when I told them they couldn't play with it unlike the other older camera. It has 12megapixels, really clear compared to our previous 2mb. It also has video with audio. We're going to have fun with this one. Plus, get this, rechargeable batteries! So, no more buying costly batteries. A BIG thank you to Ate Connie!

SM Sta Mesa had a weekend sale, a big draw so there were more people in the mall than usual. We hardly go to this mall and do kind of get lost in it. Jojo did get to buy 2 tshirts for P50 each as we were passing by on our way to cdr-king. After getting so used to Divisoria and ukay-ukay prices, I just couldn't think of the sale tags as bargains. The blouses at Soen were really nice, but again the prices P800+ was way too much. Maybe when I do get myself a good job I'll treat myself with a nice, even expensive blouse. For now I'm contented with my old ones and the ones that I get for gifts.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Quiapo and Villalobos

So we did go to Quiapo, Mom and I. Got the washing done around 8:30 and left the house a little after 9am. Jojo was out having breakfast with Doc Jess, so I left him a note saying we should be back by the time he picked up Joselyn from school. And we did just that. Actually Jojo didn't come home so didn't see the note.

Anyways, it is a Friday and Quiapo church was packed with devotees. Hanga talaga ako sa mga taong pumupunta sa simbahan na ito tuwing biernes. Grabe talaga ang sakrapisyo! As religious as I am or I think I am, I still hate the inconvenience of long lines, the heat and crowds. I see the many people from all walks of life come to the church and really participating in the liturgy, songs and mass. We only went in for a few minutes. Kind of guilty that my main purpose for going to Quiapo was not to attend mass, but to buy the glittering stones that were sold nearby.

It's been ages since I've been back to Villalobos and there are so many changes, more stores that sell beads, accessories and such have cropped up. Since we were time-strapped, I went to the stores that I was used to going, the one on the left that sells - Butangting is the name that is on their price tags and the more well-known and more well-supplied Wellmanson's. I love the supplies at Wellmanson's and wish I had more time to browse around. I found some nice beads, but couldn't find the exact kinds that Mom had brought back from the US. I have enough though to keep me busy. Didn't get to buy any batteries for my camera, so again, no pictures. (Pictures and the following text added after editing - August 16)
The above are some of the necklaces that I made from the different blue beads that were available in the box that Mom sent back. The first two are "symmetrical", having the same type of beads on both sides. The others are assymmetrical, which I tried after seeing the combinations that Joselyn was putting together at random. It really was interesting to see the different shades, shapes and sizes put together. It was unique and actually required more "artistry" than in doing the balanced style. I gave one of these assymmetrical ones to Ate Elvie as a birthday gift, which I hope she liked. Like I mentioned in my previous blog, I was kind of getting tired with the blue theme and wanted more colors. I searched the Quiapo stores for different shapes and shades and sizes, but my budget could only go so far. Plus I couldn't find the nice quality glass beads that Mom had gotten. But here's what I made with the red and clear beads that I bought. I still have more in stock and will try to find time this week to get another creation done. I hope to give some to Mom to bring back to the US for my aunts and cousins.

Jewelry-making, Chores, atbp.

I only blogged once yesterday, breaking that goal I made of 2 blogs a day. I hope it won't become a habit. There were opportunities especially last night when the kids were in bed. But again, it was late by my standards (9:30pm) and I was tired and to be honest, lazy. So here I am starting out early, hoping to make up for breaking the written "rule".

I search inside for something to say. My mind is blank but only for awhile. I try to think, to concentrate, but the sounds from the TV, mostly commercials, disrupt my thoughts.

I got a lot to do today. Handwash the kids' uniforms is first on my list. I would love to have time to go to Quiapo this morning. I've gotten into jewelry making again. But the blue beads that I've been working with (the ones that mom brought back in the balikbayan box several years ago) are now getting tiresome. There are great shops of fashion jewelry supplies on Villalobos street. It's been over a year I think since I've last gone, the last time was with Ate Connie when she bought some beads for us to make as pasalubong for her friends and co-workers.

So, let me start my chores, if I am to get them done on time. Will let you know later if I do get to go to Quiapo. It will be nice to get out of the house, too many hours indoors. Do need to get out, not for fresh air. We all know that it will be more polluted air that I will breathe sitting in the jeepney. I try to cover my nose with a hankershief, but it makes me look like a snob. It is necessary though and I hope that the people next to me don't think I'm covering my nose because of them. Though I have to admit, it is sometimes because of them - sweat or perfumes that are way too strong. Oh, the jeepney ride - an experience you won't forget.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Innocent Victims

Such a wonderful morning, but to wake up to the news (and bad news at that) is not so wonderful. A 3-month old baby fell into the creek after his mother found that the make-shift bed of blanket's knot fell apart. Oh my God! Some people were searching in the darkness of the creek near Barangay Pag-asa. My heart fell, thinking and imagining the baby drowning. 3 months! To live above a creek with floors with holes.

Corruption kills and it's news such as these that you want to blame someone. Where is the government when you need it? People should not be living under the bridges, in homes made of left-over wood and carton boxes. Food, shelter, clothing - these are our basic necessities, to live a life of dignity. Our basic needs, our basic rights.

If they had a decent home, that innocent 3-month old would not have fallen into the creek. Carelessness, living in danger, just living, victims.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Funny Tales

Another late blog night. It's before 10pm but it's late for me who is usually already sound asleep during this time. I really am a morning person and do write better in the early morning. My brain's half asleep. Even last night as I wrote that "poem", I was in a daze, half of me in dreamland.

I wanted to blog on some funny stories. These stories I want to write down so that I won't forget them. Too good and funny to forget.

One of Benjo's classmates last year is no longer studying at Angelicum. We thought that he may have moved to the afternoon session, but we haven't seen him waiting outside their classroom at dismissal time. He was one of Benjo's close friends and he's been missing him. Yesterday, when Benjo came home, he told Jojo that Miguel has moved, "nag-abroad na siya!", ("he's moved abroad (or overseas)!"). Then when asked where he moved to, he said "to Mindanao!". Hahaha! Well, Mindanao is far enough away to be called "abroad".

Another funny tale is from our dentist friend (the mother of Benjo's classmate), who told of one of her patients who was asked to fill up an information form. When the patient got to the part for "Sex", she looked at the dentist and exclaimed: "Ay, doctora, matanda na ako para dyan!" ("Doctora, I'm too old for that!")

This one is quite old, and I think I've heard it before, but it is a true story from the time when Jojo was working as a janitor in the US. He was working with someone else, whom we'll name John Dela Cruz. Someone came up and asked if they had finished with a certain room: "Are you done?" Jojo's co-worker answered, "Ah no, I'm John Dela Cruz". He thought he was looking for "Don".

All obvious mistakes, but makes for a wonderful laugh.

On Digital Cameras

I was about to take a picture of the necklaces I made yesterday to post here, but my camera is totally low on battery. How much have I spent on battery on this camera? Probably as much as it was worth. Mom bought this Canon PowerShot A200 back in 2002 before she left Canada for $200 Canadian dollars. It was on sale and back then Can$200 was about P7000+. So it was a good deal, a great deal considering the countless shots I took of the kids when they were babies, our trips to different places and meetings with friends and families. All captured in digital format and most are saved on CD.

We were one of the first with a digital camera back then. How I loved that I could just click away, not worrying about the number of pictures I've taken and see it instantly as I uploaded the pictures to our PC. But of course the payback was the ... battery. Low-bat was a usual complaint after several pictures. I've compensated by not using the LCD of the small display and sometimes not using the flash. The pictures though have also been compensated in quality, too dark, or too blurred.

I look at some of the pictures that mom took when we were younger. I remember she had a fancy camera. I think she was fond of photography back then too. But the problem was it was too complicated and she didn't know how to use its features, thereby having pictures turn out blurred. "Sayang!" ("Waste!" or "Too bad!"), I tell myself, when I see our family picture, the one where we looked so happy just sitting on the front lawn. We know it's a picture of us, but our faces are blurred.

The "in" thing right now are the digital SLR cameras that take wonderful, clear pictures. Those that the professional usually use but now even the amateurs are carrying. Oh, how I would love to have one of those. But they are expensive (sigh). Wouldn't it be worth it to capture quality, clear pictures while the kids are young and the moments are right? How much is too much? Here's one for my wish list.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fashion Jewelry-making

I almost forgot to write my second blog today. I was about to go to bed, the kids already fast asleep, when I remembered. It's been a busy day, made busy due to making some fashion jewelry. This was a hobbie I was into quite a few years back, even making a small business out of it. I still have so many beads left and even if I want to go to Quiapo to buy others, I want to make what I can with what I have. Mom also sent over a case of different beads a few years back that I've only used once. These are beads of different shapes and sizes of blue. Quite pretty, but I do want to get beads of different colors.

I made 3 necklaces today which I'll take a picture of in the morning and post it here. I made one a few months back which I liked and only got to wear the previous Sunday. The ones I'm making I think I'll give away as Christmas gifts or give to my relatives in the US when Mom flies back. Yes, before we know it, Christmas will soon be here, so preparing for gifts this early is a wise idea.

Painting With Words

A blank canvas, ready to be painted on
With words. Does it have to be a thousand?

A thousand words can paint more than one picture;
The picture painted depends on the mind
Capturing the images.
On the interpretations of the words
There can be so many.

But what power these words convey
It can make one smile, laugh, cry, remember;
It can inspire love, hope, joy, peace and even war.

Words. Use them wisely.

Continuing with Katharine Hepburn's "Me"

I'm almost done reading Katharine Hepburn's "Me". One of the touching parts of the autobiography was the letter that her father wrote her on her 21st birthday. It was simple, funny and straight from the heart. If all parents could leave their children with such treasures. More than any material possessions that we can inherit from our parents, these letters, words of comfort, words of love are what we will value most.

This got me to thinking about writing to my own children even if they are still too young to really read and understand. I know that I leave this blog as a momento of my life, my inner thoughts and feelings. But it would be different to give others, not only my children but also other people who I care for, some letter in my own handwriting. It is more personal, though sending it to others abroad would take days, even a week or more, but the wait should be worth it.

How many times does Katharine Hepburn write the word "lucky" in her book? Several times in different chapters. She called herself lucky to have the parents that she had, lucky to get a part, lucky to be at a certain place, lucky to meet a certain person. Was it luck? Or just her attitude towards life. She was truly a fighter, her success in theatre and in the movies only show us half of the person she truly was. Others may have succumbed to the rejections she encountered, but she didn't dwell on it and opened herself up to the next opportunity, the next job. She loved what she did and really got involved with the many aspects of her career. She didn't dwell on the negatives, hardly read the critics' reviews. She doesn't mention much about religion, I don't think she had a particular religous stance, though was it her grandfather who was a pastor?

Her family though didn't dwell on the sad events of their lives and neither did Katharine. When she mentions her brother dying at an early age, she doesn't get into detail. Even when the people she loved or were close to her died, she doesn't write much of her mourning period. They, her family, didn't believe in mourning and just wanted to move on and be "happy". This is something that I would have to contradict with her about. Mourning is so much a part of life, as in the sad phases. You can't truly be happy without dwelling on the sad events of life.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Eating Paotsin Meals

We went to SM after the kids got off school. I know it's a Monday and we would usually go out near the end of the week, either on a Thursday or Friday. But I think it's more of a reward for them to continue with the rest of the school week.

We had lunch at Paotsin, one of our favorite fast foodies that seems to be popular wherever we go. We usually go for their "shark's fin" (I put it in quotes, because we all know it's not shark's fin or else it wouldn't be so cheap) with rice combination. Recently they introduced laksa to their menu and it tastes real good. It's not too spicy so even Benjo enjoys the noodles and soup. Their buko pandan juice is also a great addition.

This company seems to be a success. I wonder if it would be a good investment??? I did a short search on the internet just now on Paotsin and found a site where someone commented that the company does not franchise but is totally company owned. Too bad, seems many others would also be interested.

Supermom to the Rescue!

My last blog was on a hot and controversial issue. The topics I write about here are mostly trivial, even boring or should I just say "safe". Who could argue about topics like household chores, a nice outing with friends and family, etc? But it is these constroversial topics that do get my juices stirring and makes me want to write back. It's also the reason why I got interested in reading the Opinion articles and in part, got me interested again in writing. Those opinion and editorial writers are courageous. It is so true, that the word is mightier than the sword. Many journalists have risked life and limb for the stories they tell. And to them I pay my utmost respect. Am I willing to follow the same route? I'm not sure. For now, I have a story to tell but it is again trivial and safe, but to me an important one to tell. So please bear with me as I write...

I am a homemaker, wife and mother. Or let me switch that around in order of importance - wife, mother and homemaker. Too often I do put my homemaker chores in top priority, which I know is not right. Maybe it's because I see too many of my chores left undone and do find myself a failure in making our house a home.

The other morning, two teleradio reporters popped a trivia question to the listeners: "How much dust would accumulate in a thousand years?" Where they get these trivias from I do not know! The lady reporter kind of rolled her eyes and answered quite wisely: "Well, it depends on where you live!". Correct! If you live where I live, it would probably be more than a foot or more! I didn't stay to hear the answer but now I'm curious to find out what it was. I do know that only after a week, our furniture, for example the organ which has become more of a decorative item, accumulates about one-fourth of a millimeter. Wipe that up with a rag and you get ... quite a dirty rag! And that's just the organ. Actually even after wiping it clean in the morning, you can already see the accumulation in the afternoon. That's how dusty and polluted our air is!
This is a picture of one of the basahans (rags) we bought near Blumentritt where they sell for P20 per bundle of about 15 or more. It's made of bits of material sewed together. Well, I took this picture last month because I liked the pretty and happy image on the rag. Poor basahan, or course, is not so pretty any more and is covered with dust and other undesirables.
It was as I was cleaning some time ago that I realized the importance of what I do (and what countless other mothers and household help do). These dust particles that fly in the air and finds its way on an object and sometimes stays there are bad for our health, especially the air that we breathe into our lungs. I felt so good one day after cleaning our room and removing so much dust on the furnitures and curtain rods.
It was a realization then how important my role was - I was saving myself and my family from a possible illness by removing these particles that can do us harm. No more did I feel that it was just a worthless chore, but felt more important than say, the president. Hehe! Let's not get overboard, you say, but you may follow my gist.
So it was a eureka type of moment, one of exhiliration and satisfaction. I am a homemaker, cleaner of the home, dust-fighter, protector of my family! I am Supermom!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My Stance On Contraceptions

Let me get a little more personal. Too personal perhaps. I'm still thinking if I should even click on publish after I write these thoughts or if to leave it in draft mode.

This one is a reaction to today's opinion article, that of Patricia Evangelista's article titled "Criminal". I understand where she's coming from and I truly feel for the many women who have been through the different abortion methods that have caused them their health and even their lives. The medical staffs who let these women go on bleeding sometimes to their death is truly insensitive and even immoral.

My stance on this issue, specifically on contraception and the options available to women... I am Catholic and try my best to be faithfully so. I have been married for over 8 years now, happily so with two beautiful children. I would love to have more, but I have health issues and maybe our economic status at this time also limits us to two. We have never used any contraception to avoid getting pregnant, no condoms, no birth control pills. We use the natural method, either abstinence or withdrawal method. I know there are others, like the rhythm method, which I honestly don't know enough to practice. But the methods we have used has worked for us.

I believe the problems of unintended pregnancies runs deeper and can't be solved by the use of plastics and pills. After I gave birth to my second child, my OB-Gynecologist advised spacing out child births ideally to more than 4 years and gave me a prescription for birth control pills along with instructions on when to take the pills. Either this or have my husband use condoms. I told my husband about what the fine doctor suggested and we both agreed that our consciences did not want us to use either.

The problems run deeper and it won't be solved by plastics and pills. Education, alleviation from poverty, spiritual rebirth. Yes, I dare say it, spiritual rebirth. Despite our country's dominantly Christian/Catholic religiosity, our morality is still low and getting lower still. Sex and its effects are seeping into our society.

I do not want to judge those who chose abortion. But the examples you gave were of people who had a choice. It was not a matter of life or death, but mostly because of economic reasons. The 2nd unborn child got in the way of Maricel's getting a job as a domestic helper abroad, the 9th unborn child was already too many mouths to feed for the mother of 8.

This is a big and serious issue, too much for one sitting. But let me end (for now) that if there is something that both sides of the Reproductive Health Bill should focus their attention on are those "doctors", who with or without the passing of this bill, will continue their illegal practices and continue to risk the lives of thousands of women and their unwanted child.

St. Dominic

Today is the Feast day of St. Dominic. Unknown to many even to the parishioners of Sto Domingo parish in Quezon City where we went to Mass this morning. I myself only found out after the kids came home with a letter and envelope asking for a donation for the Dominican missionaries. Sto Domingo church has been renamed to Our Lady of La Naval and Sto Domingo Parish Church. There are many devotees of Our Lady of La Naval, which celebrates its feast day in October. Maybe this is why too few celebrate the feast day of Sto Domingo. I really do want to read more on the life of St. Dominic. What an incredible contribution St. Dominic made to the Church and how many priests look up to him as an example of their life as preachers.

From the above website link, I found the following quote from St. Dominic: "The enemies of the faith cannot be overcome like that," he said. "Arm yourself with prayer instead of a sword; be clothed with humility instead of fine raiment."

St. Dominic de Guzman, pray for us.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Thank You For The Words of Encouragement

I want to say "thank you" to all those who appreciated my writing and gave me words of encouragement, most of which came in my younger years. I wrote letters to family and friends. Ninang Cristy said I wrote well and I had good handwriting. We were in Australia then and I wrote to her in the US. I wrote to one of my good college friends when we were on summer break and she said, quite surprisingly, that it was a good letter and I was a good writer. An English teacher (sorry, I forgot your name) back in College, also said that I wrote well, gave me some tips and corrected my incorrect usages of tenses (I still have problems with these). My teacher too was surprised. Maybe it's because I'm quiet in person and even if I talk, it's difficult for me to express my thoughts. And yet, here in written form, the words and thoughts flow so easily.

Anyway, thank you all for giving me the encouragement I need to continue with my writing.

On Creative Writing

I've been reading some websites on Creative Writing. There was one, Creative Writing 101, which asked questions relating to "Why Do You Want To Write?", and it was amazing that I answered 'yes' to almost all and a 'maybe' to some.

I'm glad that I seem to be in the right direction with setting a goal of writing two blogs per day. It is my writing exercise. I have seldom really come upon a stumbling block where I don't have any topic to write about. I've started off sometimes turning the computer on, going to this blog and then typing how I don't have anything to write about and then a thought comes up and my fingers just keep going. Just like now. :)

Do I want to get into Creative Writing or am I already into it? I've got several stories in my mind, not mine but others that I can relate to, that I want to put on paper. It will definitely be more than just journal writing like I'm doing now. It will be longer for sure, take more of my time, more work, more sweat and maybe tears. Am I up for it? Is this where my passion lies? It will be a challenge for sure. I will read more on creative writing, tips and ideas - and keep honing up on my skills by practicing here in my blog.

This is an exciting time... an adventure indeed!

Friday, August 6, 2010

An Unexplainable

Explain this. The other day I was outside washing clothes (what's new?), Mom was inside playing computer games, Jojo just left the house to buy some ingredients he needed for our meal. Our main entrance to the house has a wooden door and a screen door. The screen door has a sliding lock that you can only lock when you're inside the house. The screen's automatic swing doesn't make it close all the way, so to prevent insects or any creatures roaming outside from going inside, we either push the screen to make it close, or pull the wooden door close.

It was a Wednesday, "basura" (garbage) pickup day. Jojo had already brought out the garbage but didn't put it outside the gate for pickup (some neighboring cats sometimes open up the plastic bags and leave a mess). So I get up from my washing and take the basura out. I shout to mom asking if there is any basura left inside the house. She gets up and goes outside and then asks me where Jojo is. I told her he left. She looks at me curiously and asks then why was the screen door locked? Again, you can only lock the screen door from the inside. Mom insists that she did not get up from her chair and insists further that the screen door was locked. She called out to Jojo thinking that he might be upstairs. I told her again that he is out.

So, how was the screen door locked? Tah-dah-dah-dah!... (Twilight zone music). "Minu-multo yata ako!", "I think I'm being haunted." I think my mom was half-joking. She goes out of the house to do some errands. I check out the lock on the screen door and experiment on trying to lock it by just leaving the part you hold up and then quickly closing it. I couldn't do it, but it may be possible. When Benjo arrives from school, over lunch I told him the story and I ask him his opinion. "Baka multo!", (Maybe a ghost!). Hahaha! His answer was the same as mom's. Scary thought, not so much about being haunted, which I dont' really believe, but of getting locked out by accident.

Will It Rain?

I watched the different shades pass by above me
Shades of blue, white and gray
The whites and grays cover the sun
Brings darkness and I wonder
Will it rain?


The wind is blowing, the whites and grays pass the sun
Lightness is back and so is the heat
Again, more whites and grays, more grays than whites
Darkness envelops and once again, I wonder
Should I bring the clothes undercover?

But the wind is stronger, the grays move away
Sun shines brightly to help dry the clothes
I get a call, "help me bring the clothes in.
It's starting to rain."
So I stop wondering and stop the poem I'm writing

(August 17: I wrote this poem on a whim, took only a couple of minutes. Didn't know I was writing a poem, just wrote what came to mind. Funny how it does rhyme. Picture from the following link. Would have loved to take my own picture. Will try to do that next time.)

A Reflected Life

I've changed the title of this blog several times, maybe a reflection of my uncertain objectives for this blog. The blog url "letsgopinoy" I had used in my previous website and continued it here. My main purpose was to journal my travels and experiences while living here in the Philippines. The trouble with that came when our travels became too seldom, having young kids in tow and being on a low budget. I still try to journal some of our travels whenever we do go out.

From "Lets Go Pinoy", I changed it to "Unpaved Path", journaling more on my personal experiences living here in the Philippines from the point of view of one who has lived abroad. I still journal on this too, mentioning places, friends, families, experiences I've had abroad and comparing them to my life now. Unpaved path referring literally to the paths, streets that are not smooth nor straight, but has many bumps and obstacles.

I first came upon the term "Reflected life" on reading my devotional "Companion". It was written by Father Steve Tynan who writes the commentaries for Companion. I can't find the exact day it was on right now (July 21, I found it afterall), but I remember it well. He wrote: "An unreflected life is not worth living." From that time on, I tried each night before sleeping to reflect on the previous day. Upon meditating on this term some more I realize that it is more than the act of reflecting or analyzing or thinking. A "reflection" has another meaning, as in "to see our reflection in the mirror", or to put it in a more spiritual context, "to see the reflection of God's image in us or in our lives". Yes, an unreflected life is not worth living, especially if it is of a life that is a reflection of something other than God's. I want my life to have meaning, I believe my life has meaning. But I do not want to go on each day like a robot doing chores and what-have-you just for the sake of doing them. I want to reflect on life - its goodness, its triumphs, its struggles, the big and small things - that all matter - and give meaning.

"A Reflected Life" - this blog is where I write my reflections of life - a life worth living.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ukay-ukay

Went shopping at an ukay-ukay store. There's one in front of Sto. Domingo church and while we were waiting for Benjo to get out of school, Mom, Jojo, Joselyn (who gets out an hour earlier than Kuya) and I climbed the steps up the overpass to the store across the bridge.

The right part of the store has the cheaper items, as low as P25. This is where we bought most of our items, several blouses, polos and jeans that I found for myself. The left part of the store has the fancier and pricier clothes. The prices ranged from P100 upwards. Mom found a couple of blouses, one for P120 and another for P150. Really good finds.

I would love to go to more ukay-ukay stores. The variety, the wide range of choices and of course, the price suits me just right. This isn't the first time I've been to an ukay-ukay store here. I went to one in Cubao where we found Benjo's batman costume last year.

Back in the US, I frequented thrift stores especially Goodwill. I think it was my aunt who got me interested in buying at thrift or second-hand stores. The first time I went into a thrift store, the smells were a little overwhelming and I was a little unsure if I wanted to buy anything at the place. But I saw the fun that my aunt had in looking at the different items on sale, filling her trolley with clothes, shoes and other finds, then go to the cashier and pay only a fraction of what you would at a department store.

I'll be back at the ukay-ukay when I have more time, maybe on my own since I seem to find more things I like if I have my time to myself.

Blog Fun, Benjo, Cooking Bug...

I've started to really enjoy designing this blog, as you may be able to tell. Added a couple of fun widgets, like the family stick figures (they don't really look like us, but it was the closest they had available) and the fish widget which the kids enjoyed "feeding". We have a real fish tank, but at least with these fish on the blog, we don't have to worry about overfeeding :)

Well, I think Benjo is back to his old self. He was at his high-energy self this morning. This little guy is really something special. And I hope I'm not saying that because I'm his mother. But he is. He's been kicking around, saying that he's practicing his karate. I'm still debating on whether to get him into martial arts, something that he is interested in, especially after watching "Karate Kid". Angelicum does provide Taekwondo classes, but I don't think they have Karate. I'd like to research on the different types of martial arts though to find out which is best.

I cooked again yesterday and this morning. Well, I baked yesterday - banana cake. It was one of those instant packages where I add a couple of ingredients that happened to be handy. The kids love banana cake. I should bake this more often, really simple and only takes about 10-15 minutes of preparation time and 20-30 minutes in the oven. This morning, I made Benjo's usual chicken noodle soup and pho chicken soup for Jojo and me, both the instant types. I see a pattern here, which I hope to break.

When I first tried the Pho noodles that Jojo found at Quincy supermarket, I was horrified at the amount of sodium that I read on the packaging. Are you ready for this? ... 65%!!! I thought that the sodium in the regular chicken noodle soups were already high at 25-30%, but pho has double the sodium! I don't put the whole flavoring in for both the regular chicken noodle soup and the pho, only about half the package. I add additional noodles and water, which lessens the sodium and saltiness. It still tastes great and the kids love it too.

I don't know what I've caught, some sort of cooking fever? Remember, I'm not the cooking type, I bake some, prepare the table, eat and do the dishes. Jojo and Mom does the cooking. But I'm craving for some Thai tom yum soup and phad thai. I do miss our favorite Thai restaurants in Seattle - Thai Cafe is the first place I experienced the whole new world of Thai food and where my friends and I spent many good times at. I'm going to look for an online recipe to try them out.

(August 18: Here's a recipe for Phad Thai that I found which I hope to try.  It sounds promising, chicken, eggs, good stuff that the kids like on their own... Now when to find time to try this.  I'll try this week.)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Katharine Hepburn

I've been reading "Me: Stories Of My Life", Katharine Hepburn's autobiography. I have been wanting to pick up a book to read and this is as good as any on our shelf. But I was reading it thinking that the author was still alive. Maybe because she looked so alive in her pictures and of course, the stories being told seemed to be coming from a voice that is just right beside me. But she's been dead since 2003. The book was published in 1991.

I found this out while doing a search on the internet for some of the plays and movies she made, in the hope that I may be able to find one at the video rental store that I can borrow. I have a mental list of some that I would like to watch, which I'll write here:
  1. A Bill of Divorcement (1932)
  2. Morning Glory (1933)
  3. Little Women (1933)
  4. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
  5. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
  6. Love Among the Ruins (1975)
  7. The Corn Is Green (1979)
  8. On Golden Pond (1981)
I think I've seen "On Golden Pond", but I would love to see it again. Knowing more about her, from her own words, will give me a different perspective as I watch her movies.

Rain On Our Picnic

Due to popular demand, we were back at the Quezon City Memorial Circle after picking up the kids from school. The same group (maybe we should start calling ourselves the "Tuesday Group") of parents and kids were present. I would love to say that it was a very pleasant outing, but I would be half lying. The rains fell on our picnic - literally! It was around 1:30pm I think that the rains started falling heavily and we seeked shelter at a nearby hut (glad the management of the Circle thought of this or we would have been soaking wet). But the kids already had their share or fun, play, cotton candy and ice cream (the last two thanks to "Ninong" Doc :)


The food was less of the cholesterol/high-blood pressure inducer type and consisted of hotdog of different types, white chicken with ginger sauce, spaghetti and another dish from Chona which I didn't get to try (was planning on trying it but the rains fell). We first sought for shelter when some drops of rain started falling but they were too few and went away. Then about half hour or an hour later, the real rains fell and we all ran carrying what we could to the shelter.



What we left behind on our picnic table we had hoped we had covered, but the strong rains seeped in the lids of some of our containers and Doc's rice turned into lugaw, my spaghetti sauce turned into soup and the left-over cotton candies turned hard but was still good to eat! Even the sauce was still okay to eat and we mixed it with the remaining noodles and divided it for takeout.

Back to the rains... it was the scary type of rain, reminding us of Ondoy last year. It didn't let on for probably 30 minutes and we could see the salespeople on the side closing shop so the floodwaters would not get in their store. The water was slowly rising and we were all wondering when we'd get out or whether we had to swim out.



When the rains subsided, we got our things ready and walked on whatever dry path we could but had to cross a pathway which was flooded up to our ankles. Back to our car, we were happy to get out of the wet and rains, change whatever clothes we could and finally get home. We were all tired - from the earlier heat, then the play and then the rains. Well, it is August, the rainy season - this is something we should be expecting more of.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Healing and Protecting My Sores

My right thumb has a sore again. Very painful when used the wrong way. My eczema sores seem to be getting worse. My last blog on it I had mentioned that I was going to try for a more holistic approach and try virgin coconut oil. That only lasted for a day or so 'cause the itchiness was so aggravating. The VCO could not control the itchiness and I'm not sure if it helped with the dryness. So I went back to my medication of Betamethasone/Gentamycin cream until I used that up and then used the similar cream that Ate Connie gave Betamethasone with Valerate. I've been on it for about two weeks now. The first week using Burow's Solution, which helped calm down the itchiness. But now some sores are so dry and chappy like the one on my thumb which I think caused the opening of the wound and bleeding.

I'm not sure about this self-medication. But I am staying away from the Prednisone pills that caused me such terrible withdrawal symptoms. I had Jojo buy me a box of surgical gloves - a box of 100 costs P150 at these medical supply stores in Sta. Cruz, Manila, compared to about P400 at Mercury!

This has helped me somewhat when I do my housework. Though the powder inside the gloves may be irritating my fingers and on humid days my hands tend to sweat inside the latex gloves. It is better than the rubber gloves I used before, though I don't like the idea of so much waste and try to reuse them as much as I can. I do wish there is some other option, like maybe gloves with cotton insides and rubber or some other waterproof material on the outside. Wonder if there is such a glove out in the market?

Ube, Purple Delicious Jam

While we're on the topic of food... (this isn't supposed to be a food blog, but this is one topic that we can all relate to) let me tell you one of my favorite sweet desserts. The above picture says it all. Bought over a week before when we past through Tagaytay on our way back from Batangas. It's good for two weeks if refrigerated. I don't think this one will last two weeks!

We brought one container last week to our parents/kids day out and it was a big hit with the parents. It is definitely one of my favorites. You know, I was craving for ube when I was pregnant with Benjo. I didn't find any at that time as good as the Good Shepherd Sisters' Ube Jam. Maybe the good Sisters pray over their products that's why it tastes heavenly :) Every time we go to Tagaytay, it's a must to go by Good Shepherd Sisters and buy their Ube jam and sometimes get a halo-halo to beat the heat.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Carbonara

I cooked this past weekend. Quite a mean feat for one that only cooks rice and fries eggs, hotdogs, etc for the kid's baon. Jojo was out for the day (wedding in Binangonan) and Benjo was getting hungry. Jojo is the chef of the family and I usually try to leave the kitchen to him when he's around. But Saturday he was out and I had the kitchen to myself.

I see carbonara sauce in the cabinet and pull it out to read the instructions. Mmm, I think to myself, I can do that. They asked for bacon and parsley, we didn't have either. What we did have was left-over Spam and a can of button mushrooms. I dice the Spam and slice the mushrooms while the spaghetti noodles are boiling. I'm feeling like a pro with Benjo as my assistant!

Taking this picture was an afterthought, which explains the half-eaten plate. It was taken on my 2nd try, when we didn't have any spam left and I opted to use ham (from a can). Another good substitute.


The result was actually not bad, it was, if I can say so myself, rather delicious. Benjo thought it was too although I had thought he liked mushrooms, but he separated them on his plate. The Spam which I first thought was overcooked, turned out to be crunchy and added texture to the sauce. We added grated cheese which made it even more tastier. It was such a big hit with Benjo that he asked to make it again the next day.

Here's a recipe that I would like to try next. Tuna Noodle Casserole. My friend back in Seattle made a similar recipe which I thought was quite good and more importantly, so easy to make.

Pinapaitan

Mom cooked pinapaitan this past Saturday. "Pinapaitan" literally means "made bitter". It uses the apdo (the gallbladder of the beef), to make it bitter. I was actually looking forward to this dish, though I don't like bitter food. I like it without the bitterness, a little sour. "Gusto mo yata sinigang", Jojo once told me. Yes, I like it when additional sourness from kalamansi is squeezed in the soup of the pinapaitan and when it's not too bitter, or hardly at all. But mom put the whole plastic of apdo sauce making it so bitter. I was so disappointed that when my mom asked me to taste it, I said "kayo na lang magubos nyan!". ("you finish that!"). Yuck, so bitter! I could tell mom was disappointed too in part at my response. I, too, felt ashamed at what I said, a little childish, but I was so looking forward to the dish. She took out all the water from what she made and put a new batch. The bitterness was still there but not as bad as before. Well, they don't call it "pinapaitan" for nothing.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

More Than Enough

I just wrote a few hours ago about how I want or how I need a portable computer so I can blog when a flash of thought that I feel I need to share comes to mind. After getting up from the computer to give the next person their turn (Joselyn this time), what do I see on the kitchen table but a small notepad and ballpen I've been carrying around with me to journal Benjo's medication intake. How portable and readily available can a notepad and pen get???

We seem to forget these basic tools, so used to electronics and modern gadgets. Remain simple. Reduce. Turn back to the basics. These are some of my ideals which is so hard to follow in today's fast-paced, technology world.

I don't need a laptop. Having a PC with an internet connection is more than enough. It should be enough. And if not, we have lots of paper and pens and pencils in the house to compensate.
Today's Gospel reading and Father Jerry Orbos' article in the Inquirer today reminds us of the evil nature of greed or the dangers of always wanting more. We went to the 8am mass today instead of the usual 7am mass. The 7am and every second mass thereafter are said in English, which I prefer since I better understand the readings and the whole mass. But we woke up late and I had a little difficulty with the tagalog Gospel reading. "Kasakiman" was mentioned several times in the homily. I kind of understood, but was not sure of the English translation, until now. "Greed". Be forewarned of all kinds of greed. Guilty of this sin, I am. Yes, I have too many excess luggage, which I do not know what to do with. And yet, why am I so unwilling to share it with those who do not have?

Ninong Jojo and Michael's Restaurant

I feel at a loss today - of words that is. Writer's block? Hehe! Or is the pressure I put on myself of writing two blogs a day getting to me. It would be so much handier to have a portable computer, so I can blog when an important train of thought comes to mind. I'll put that on my wish list.

My husband was one of the ninongs at a wedding yesterday. Only he attended the wedding of the son of one of his friend's in Binangonan. The invitation was for "2", but there's 4 of us, 5 if we include mom. So I said it was best to just stay home. Plus I had the usual housework to do.

The wedding and reception was held at Michael's Restaurant, one of the restaurants in Binangonan that serves native food. We've been there as a family a couple of times before. Great food, especially the seafood dishes! Try the dalag fish, a specialty of Binangonan. Another favorite is the calamares and the crispy hipon. It's been awhile that I've tried these dishes because of my eczema and my possible allergies with seafood. My memory will satisfy for now.