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Sunday, July 3, 2022

Sunday is for Miracles

Getting takeaway.
I was honestly planning to stop blogging daily. I just didn't feel inspired and felt things were going nowhere. My doctors made me promise though to keep my brain working, that's why I blog everyday. I knew if I gave up daily blogging I would definitely deteriorate fast. I introduced daily blog themes to keep me going and to avoid focusing too much on things that don't inspire. So Sundays are for miracles!

The Miracle of Life

I have been through many nerve-wracking health episodes. I am grateful that I've always pulled through them. My doctors are actually amazed how I have survived two OHS and two PEs. They were so shocked when I climbed the Borobudur Temple a few months after surgery.

I clung on to my faith and the love of my family after surgery. I remember I kept playing my church songs playlist on my iPod nonstop. It did eventually drive my family crazy, but tbh I had no grasp of what was going on during that time. I was probably dazed from the anesthesia and medication being pumped into me. I think though it was all the prayers being said for me that really helped pull me through. 

I oftentimes stop myself from asking "Why?" I just remind myself to trust and follow God's plans for me. What I have been through health-wise is not for the faint-hearted. Aside from physical issues, it has also affected me mentally. It's not been easy for me and my family. 

This is my cross and I carry it with faith and love. There are good days and there are bad days for me. When it's a bad day I rest, when it's a good day then I can be a bit more active. It's alright, I'm just happy I'm able to spend time with my family everyday. 

Be grateful for the cross that you carry. Remember, God only gives you challenges that you can bear.

Happy Sunday everyone!

*OHS - open heart surgeries

PE - pulmonary embolisms


Saturday, July 2, 2022

Plantita Saturdays: Saving My Garden!


The past few weeks have been challenging. We were surprised with the invasion of higad in our garden. I immediately sprayed neem oil, but belatedly realized that it takes time for it to take effect. By the time we found the best solution to get rid of the pests the damage was already done. All my citronella plants died and the new seedlings were all eaten. When the numbers finally dwindled new pests started to come in -- slugs and millipedes. 

The most important thing I learned when I dealt with the higad infestation is don't just use one solution. Research and try different solutions until you find the best one. The best one for us wasn't spraying neem oil everyday or squishing the critters (it became messy). We were wary about using fire, so Sweetie did the opposite -- a water bucket. I added a teaspoon of neem oil to it and they died in less than 10 seconds. Add hydrogen peroxide and that will take care of slugs and millipedes. Those two are sturdier than the higad so they need something stronger. 


Proud plant momma! I planted this from seed! :)


I try to use organic solutions only because there are a lot of birds in our area, so I'm sticking to neem oil and the tanglad+oregano concoction to spray the leaves. My efforts have paid off and my blue ternate which I planted from seed has been blooming more. The flowers are also bigger than what I normally see. I'm glad I actively battled the pests because I could see that the plants I managed to save are all fighting back also and recovering nicely.


The last living pothos from Singapore. Decided to plant them in soil because they were not growing.
They don't seem to like the water and honey mixture here.


Writing this post mainly to remind myself of what I should do when it happens again next year. Research is key. There is so much to learn from gardening. Each plant has it's own needs. There's no one size fits all solution, so I like the challenge. My goal is to have a mix of food producing plants, plants that would protect other plants and I hope I'll finally be successful in growing flowering plants (to make my Mom proud). 

To motivate me to do better at gardening, Saturdays will be plantita updates! I'll post more specific tips on our gardening blog.

#BeKind #StaySafe


Friday, July 1, 2022

Lakwatsera Fridays: The Best Bulgogi I Ever Tasted

One of the things I miss from my "past life" is traveling. Majority of it was done for business, but what I enjoyed was experiencing different cultures and meeting people from other nationalities. I told myself that someday I'd write about it. Well, that time has come and I promised my doctors I'll write everyday so I can keep my brain well oiled. 

Back in 2019, I found myself in Yeosu, South Korea. It's not a common place for tourists, but I immediately fell in love with it. It's a port/fishing town in the southern coast of the Korean Peninsula. I took a bus from Incheon International Airport to Gimpo International Airport and stayed at the hotel across the airport. I took a short domestic flight the next day and checked in The MVL which had a great view of the bay. 

In the evening, the community brought me to have a walk-around in the city. We ended up in this quaint place that served bulgogi. I left the ordering to them and they got this huge pot of bulgogi. I told them it was so huge we might not finish it. They just laughed at me and said not to worry. True enough, the two pots they ordered was gone in a jiffy. It's the most delicious bulgogi I've tasted in my entire life! Like wowwwww. It was really far from the ones I've tried and cooked at home. Ganun pala ang original. I told myself I'll look for the original recipe and make some at home (note to self!). 




After a hefty dinner, we walked to Yi Sun-Sin Square. I enjoyed seeing the monument of Admiral Yi Sun-Sin, the greatest military general known for his victories against the Japanese navy. I was among teachers so they made sure I understood that part of their history. I loved walking around the square, but soon enough they sent me back to the hotel because they were going drinking. I capped the evening by getting coffee at the hotel cafe.  





Someday I hope I'd be able to visit Yeosu again. Something about being in a fishing town always makes me happy. :)

More about my trip to Yeosu on this blog post: http://aileenapolo.blogspot.com/2020/01/that-time-i-went-to-yeosu.html 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Throwback Thursday: Growing Up in a Catholic School

A few years ago my manager told me that I was the only person in my team who met deadlines. He asked me what was different from my upbringing. I thought about it and realized maybe it was my Catholic school upbringing that developed discipline in me. 

The nuns in our school were very strict. During rehearsals for our first Holy communion we had to sing the songs repeatedly until it was perfect. Noise was not tolerated. Our teachers would always remind us how to be proper. 


Would've been cute to post an older photo, but my scrapbooks are still in storage.


And there was that thing about uniforms. There were restrictions you had to follow. Huge wallets were not allowed because the bulge was unsightly. They later on imposed colors on hair clips you're allowed to wear. I loved wearing frilly socks back then, but they later on advised to wear normal looking socks. I wore hand-me-down uniforms for a time and I was flagged because the color was lighter. The funny thing is most of my clothes are blue. My high school friends also wear the same color whenever we meet up. 


I think we have an upcoming homecoming soon. I think it's on my birthday, LOL.


They taught us a hodge-podge of skills.  Aside from the usual academic stuff, we were taught how to debate, make speeches, cook and even carpentry and how to make lamps (discontinued in the next batch though due to many injuries and electrical failures). And more importantly, how to hold on to our faith. Probably all of us still carry a rosary in our pocket/bag. They also made sure we all learned how to fight for ourselves. 

I wrote a piece about my alma mater back in 2016 when it was accused of brainwashing students and it still holds true to this day. We may have been cloistered while we were growing up, but we were certainly prepared to face the outside world. "Ora et Labora," pray and work is what each of emulate. 


Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Wellness Wednesdays: Managing Stress and Triggers

I've decided to put a bit more structure on how I blog everyday. I noticed I've just been writing about a hodge-podge of topics and most did not make sense. Some were even depressing, so I told myself I'm the only one who can get myself out of this rut. The best way is to focus on matters that would be helpful for others. So today I thought I'd write about how I manage "triggers and stress". 


Happiness is finally visiting NBS again! 10 minutes wasn't enough though!


For people with PTSD like me it's important to address triggers before things get out of hand. I quit drinking the meds my doctor gave me. My goal is to reduce or remove my maintenance meds and he told me could stop as soon as I was settled in after I got home. I quit cold turkey two and a half months after and held on to what my doctor told me on our last meeting. He said, "You have progressed really well and I think you know how to manage it already." 

He was referring to "managing triggers and stress". Well after suffering through another bout of heart failure in the past two months, I knew I hit rock bottom again. The only way was up and here's what I did to manage triggers:

1. Walk away from the stressor. If it's a bad relationship that you have given so many chances to, just walk away. Love yourself more. 

2. Get help if there is someone who can. I normally ask help from my boys to manage service personnel who come to our home. I usually get overwhelmed with their questions, so they take care of entertaining them. 

3. Know your limits and rest when needed. I usually get frustrated when there's an activity I can't do. Sometimes when I feel I'm stable I ask to postpone the activity (i.e. doing groceries) to another day. 

4. Don't stress out over things you cannot control. Kuya told me that sometimes I care too much about making things work. So it's best of let go when there's something you can't fully control. This also prevents me from going into beast mode, hahaha.

5. Take things one day at a time. Every week I set major goals that I have to accomplish and then I break it down by day. I also make sure I have fall-back days in case there's a day I have to rest. 

My doctors would be proud of how much I've changed! They said that part of the issue was my personality. I was so focused on attaining my goals, I oftentimes prioritized that over myself. I should probably send them a postcard when we're finally able to go on vacation. 

Bee happy!

#BeKind #StaySafe


Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Quilt Projects I'm Working On

I've been focused on finishing the t-shirt memory quilt blanket for a few months now. I told myself I have to finish it soon since I started it in 2019. I've already made a number of lap quilts for friends, but I haven't made one for myself! I was set on finishing it this month, but I had to prioritize nursing my boys back to health so I abandoned quilting for almost 3 weeks. The good news is I have finished sandwiching it and have started quilting. If I spend 4-6 hours a day on it I might be able to finish it by mid-July. Still a big IF, haha. 




Another project I've been working on is a case for masks. Got this cute fabric last year and thought it would be perfect as a storage case for masks. I've made a couple and it just needs to be binded. I made this project to learn how to attach snap-on buttons. I usually attach a learning goal to my projects so I could develop more skills. I think I cut enough fabric for 10 mask cases, so I could attaching buttons. I gave one to my respiratory doctor's nurse in SG. She was so surprised I made it, haha. 




I still haven't completed making covers for all my appliances. I thought I was already done and realized I missed making one for the steamer and my oxygen concentrator. I've started the one for the oxygen concentrator. I'm using my rainbow fabric for it to match the other covers. The rainbow fabric has come a long way and I learned a lot of sewing techniques from it. I used to hand sew everything, but now I'm machine sewing as well to make the process faster (and to save my hand from carpal tunnel!). I need to finish this project asap! 




I just realized I only finished one quilt project this year -- the pink vinta throw pillow quilt! I wanted to make more, but I'm disciplining myself to finish my big projects first (I still have another blanket project that I started five years ago heehee). I hope when I have these things out of the way, I start other fun projects. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, June 27, 2022

My Dream Kitchen

In between bouts of dizziness, I've been pushing myself to move more. Discovered some more things that needs attention in the kitchen. A tile broke, another one is jutting out from its place and the cabinets are smelly. Not really sure what's going on there since the pipe isn't dripping. Also discovered that the cabinet is breaking up. The cabinet doors were just installed when we moved in last December. One of the original workers who built the house mentioned there's an underlying issue that wasn't fixed before. 


Monica's kitchen (Friends). Not the look I want, it's just nice and cozy.


I honestly want to re-do the kitchen. It looks nice, but it's so far not working well for me. I told my friend who's going to fix it I want to have a proper place for everything. He advised me not to spend a lot on it and we can work on the "face" for the meantime. I agreed, but the kusinera in me wants a better one. Well... since I found the cabinet issue this morning I think I have an excuse already to have it customized. For this, I'm invoking the mantra, "You Live Only Once". I've always wanted a nice kitchen and I just worked with what I had when we moved to the condo. 

So I thought, I'd list out what I want in my dream kitchen. Maybe the universe will finally give it to me:

Current kitchen.
1. Granite countertop, not the ugly fake one that always needs cleaning. 

2. Properly planned cabinetry where I have enough cabinets and drawers to fit my kitchen items. I need a place for: pots and pans, serving dishes, glasses and mugs, plates and bowls, baking stuff and a place to keep smaller kitchen gadgets. Also need a proper place to dry dishes. 

3. A decent coffee nook. I have my eye on the coffee maker that Anne recommended. I need a better place for it. 

4. I have the induction stove and oven which I like. Just probably need to work around it. 

5. A better functioning pantry cabinet. I have a big one, but I haven't been able to open the door fully because it's hitting the drawer beside it. Also thinking of switching it with the fridge (my fridge is so fat though). 

6. Maybe replace the kitchen table to a bar table. Not sure how it'll look aesthetically, but I think it'll work. 

7. I also need enough space for prep work and baking. 

Now that I'm retired, I'm finally living my dream to be a housewife. I may not be able to fulfill my duties fully, but one can hope and pray for a better quality of life. 

Happy Monday everyone. 

#BeKind #StaySafe