Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Wellness Wednesdays: Are Hand Massagers Helpful?

Last week I wrote about my pain reliever collection. It came up because I injured my arm and it's been hurting. I think it's my torn ligament that got triggered, so I used ointments and PT exercises to alleviate the pain. I had to do that since Sweetie and Miggy were still in isolation when the pain started. It would've been too risky to go see a doctor by myself. 

When Sweetie ended his isolation, he introduced me to his collection of hand massage gadgets. Yes, with an "S", haha. He's been trying to find the best hand massage device for a few years now. I never tried it since I did not have a need. I was following some hand massage videos, but the gadget made a huge difference. 

Hand massage gadgets

I tried the black one first. It was quite overwhelming and gave too much pressure, so Sweetie aborted the massage after a few seconds. He told me that the long, white one would leave dots on my hand after the massage. I've seen his hand with dots several times after using it, so I skipped using it. The best one among the three was the small white one. 

The "Comfier" hand massage device also has good reviews from Jay. I've been using it for over a week now and I feel my arm is almost back to normal. I think what also helped was the heat it would provide while it's massaging your hand. I read that heat is better when you're lower arm hurts. I've now reduced the arm exercises. I also don't use as much pain reliever anymore. 

I guess as you age these gadgets help provide relief. Prevention is key though and as my doctors keep reminding me, keep moving! 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Creative Happy Tuesdays: How to Make Curtains

Creating something always makes me happy and calm. My doctor encouraged it when I eventually got depressed after going through several medical episodes. It helped center me and it became part of my therapy. 

When we moved back to the Philippines and moved to our new home, the first thing I had to make were curtains! None of curtains I owned fit the windows and sliding doors, so I resolved to make them. Making it by myself allowed me to choose the fabric to use. It allowed me to explore other types of fabric. 

It was my first time to make curtains. I figured it would be easy compared to quilting. Got help from the boys to measure the windows and sliding doors. After that I got linen fabric on Shopee. I was happy to find out that there were so many suppliers from Divisoria selling on Shopee. 

Here's a tutorial how I made a simple rod curtain -

Step by step guide also available on my Needle Adventures blog.

When I have time to make, I'll probably try other types of fabric :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, August 15, 2022

Home on Mondays: Is Shipping Your Home Items to Your Home Country Worth It?

We did the big move back home in November last year. We choose between sending our items via LBC or by shipping it. It was 10 years worth of accumulated stuff, so we decided to get help from a shipping company. 

We made a detailed list of the items we were set to bring home. We eventually decided to ship our things because of our toy and fabric collection and appliances (TV, piano, several air purifiers and kitchen appliances). We thought it might be too risky to ship those items via balikbayan box. Our cleaner also told us that the TV she sent back home was damaged. 

Requested for a quotation from several reputable companies. They came to our home to inspect the items we were going to ship to assess how much it would cost. We eventually chose the one that was associated with the company that brought my items when I moved to Singapore. We asked a gazillion questions and we were reassured that our items will arrive safely. 

Our things were packed a week before our flight. At the end of the second day all our items were put inside a container van. It was locked and immediately loaded on the ship. The shipment arrived three weeks later and delivered to our new home on the first day of December. 

We finished opening all the boxes last summer. We had a spreadsheet of everything that was packed and how many boxes were packed. It was almost double of what we estimated if we sent everything via balikbayan box. The cost would probably have been the same. 

The advantage of shipping your items back through a shipping company is they have people who would help pack your items. The items are insured and they make sure everything will arrive in one piece. So far, only one item has been missing, my old MSI laptop. The drawback though were unforeseen additional expenses. 

We were charged additional fees for the volume. We were surprised about it because when we unboxed most of the boxes were not full. What was more painful was getting charged the customs fee six months after the items were delivered. The fee was 250% higher than what they quoted. The amount really affected our budget since we were originally told that there were no charges anymore. 

So, was it worth it? I think it was since it was not possible for us to pack the items ourselves. All our appliances and collections arrived in one piece (old MSI laptop still MIA). We could have probably saved money if we split up our items. Sent the appliances and other risky items via a smaller container van. Then send less valuable items via balikbayan box. We could have also de-cluttered months ahead of our scheduled departure, but that would have been dependent on being well enough to do it. 

We were initially happy about getting all our items in one piece, but that was quickly erased when we were given an unexpected large customs bill. The receipt showed that it was billed in November 2021. We were only told about it in April 2022. They also gave empty promises about a discount and allowing us to pay in installments. So the happy service turned sour and left us disappointed. 

We just decided to pay it in full since we just want them out of our lives. Shipping your items back home? Do think twice about it. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Miracle Sundays: For Mama Mary

I just realized it's been five years since I contributed to Book 5 of Fr. James B. Reuter, S.J.'s book "Mama Mary and Her Children". I flew home for the launch which was held at National Bookstore. I met Tita Cherry (Castro Aquino) and got to see my friend, Rowie Matti, again. It was a special occasion for our family because my Kuya also contributed a story for the book. I took a leave and flew home so I could attend the launch. Of course, I brought my Mom with me. 

I knew Rowie and Tita Cherry were preparing for a new edition of the book because they asked if I could contribute or have my Mom contribute to the book. I tried to convince my Mom to write, but there were pressing matters at home which prevented us from meeting the deadline. Little did I know that God had other plans for me to contribute. 

In early July, I heard about the passing of Tita Cherry. I reached out to Rowie to send my condolences and for some strange reason I offered to help edit the book if she needed it. Fast forward to early August, my boys were in quarantine due to COVID-19. Rowie messaged me five days before her editing deadline with the publisher, she needed my help. 

Mama Mary and Her Children Book 5 launch, September 2017.

It was really a bad time. My boys were still in quarantine. I was taking care of them full time and I was exhausted from doing everything at home. To top that off, my right arm was constantly in pain. I could barely lift anything and typing on my laptop caused more pain. But, I said yes. I did not hesitate to give my help even though I knew it would be challenging. 

After Rowie sent the manuscript, I immediately worked on it. Finished 40 pages on the first day. I told myself, I would do 40 per day and I should be finished by Sunday. It took me about two hours to cover 40 pages. Told myself, easy peasy. I ended up not editing anything on day 2 because I was in so much pain. I did exercises, put on salonpas, tried different pain relievers and oils. I was avoiding taking meds because I already have a lot of maintenance meds which I take. Day 2 was really bad I had to take a pain reliever. 

I made up on day 3 and finished 60 pages. My arm was so painful by the time I finished. I prayed to Mama Mary to heal me so I could finish editing the book so Rowie could meet her deadline. I woke up in the wee hours of the morning in so much pain, I took another pain reliever and prayed harder. I was feeling a bit hopeless on Day 4 because I was once again in pain. Told myself I'd just work through it and again said a little prayer to Mama Mary. I even took off the wrist brace because it was getting in the way of typing in my comments. 

Going through the last 60 pages was somewhat a breeze. There were just a few typographical errors, spacing issues. I felt like I was actually reading a published book already. Halfway through the 60 pages the pain in my arm dissipated and I was able to focus on reading the stories word for word, period to period. And it was truly a joy to go through all the stories. It was a good reminder to me that I am Mama Mary's child and that she would always be there for me. 

God really works in mysterious ways. I hope Rowie meets the deadline and that the book will be out by Mama Mary's birthday. 

Have a blessed Sunday everyone!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Plantita Saturdays: Got My Blue Ternate to Bloom More Flowers

Got some blue ternate seeds from this shop and planted them last summer. It took awhile before it sprouted. When it did it started to grow longer and produce many leaves. It just grew longer and longer with no flowers in sight. 

I thought maybe I was doing something wrong. Did some research and found out that you have to prune it a bit. It's the way to tell the plant to start blooming. After three months since I planted the seeds it finally bloomed on June 3. It was just one big flower. It was so pretty.

I noticed though that there were tiny dots on it. Also noticed that some of the leaves were being eaten by leaf miners. I immediately cut them off. I got excited when more flowers started to appear. Things quickly went bad when we suddenly had an infestation of caterpillars. To save the plant, I physically removed the caterpillars and treated it with neem oil. Surprisingly, the plant seemed to like the neem oil and started to produce more blooms. 

The caterpillars though left the plant weak. It looked sad and got more sad when I got busy taking care of the boys when they got sick. I eventually found the time and started giving the plant some fertilizer. I also sprayed it with neem oil again since the caterpillars came back. After two weeks it started producing big blooms again. 

I think we should be able to use the blue ternate flowers for tea! Yay! The secret sauce to getting your blue ternate to bloom more is TLC + weekly fertilizer + neem oil twice a week. :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, August 12, 2022

Lakwatsera Fridays: Sentosa Grillfest

Back when we lived in Singapore, we used to stay in Harbourfront. On weekends we'd walk from our home to the beach. It would usually take us almost an hour since we also play Pokemon Go while walking. It was a 3 km. walk. How I miss those days I could walk that far. 

The last time we were able to hang out in Sentosa was when they had the Sentosa Grillfest in 2019. I invited some friends to come with us since I thought they would enjoy the experience. The event was set-up at Siloso Beach Walk. It was a short walk away from Beach Station and you could smell the yummy food being grilled while walking. 

There were a lot of different stalls and you could tell which was good from the long lines. Good thing we came a bit early and planned what food to buy. There were a lot of tables and chairs scattered across the venue, so it wasn't really hard to find a place to eat. It's been three years and I guess the food was okay. What I remember more was the heat. As my HS classmates term it, hulas na hulas kami, LOL. Well, here are some photos of what we had -

I know they have similar night markets here. It's not near where we live and I wish we had this in our neighborhood. I miss strolling through night markets and eating whatever smells good (haha). I wanted to go to the Legazpi Sunday market, but the boys are stricter than ever. What I'll do for now is research what food we could get for delivery. I know some popular restaurants also sell their ready-to-cook food. 

No new lakwatsas for now. You may want to check out our latest Bohol adventure, here's our travel diary -

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Throwback Thursday: Pixar Exhibit in Tokyo

I got to visit the Pixar Exhibit at the Mori Arts Center the last time I visited Tokyo. It was just a stone's throw away from where I was staying, so I thought it was something I could do after work. I was interested to see the exhibit since Miggy was about to finish his animation course. I thought it would give me a better understanding about the process of producing an animated film. 

I was given a good view of how Pixar creates its films. The first part of the exhibit walks you through the process of creating a film. I would usually ask Miggy how they created things and seeing how Pixar does it made me understand better why it takes so long to create a project. 

It was fun to see how Pixar created some of the popular characters from their movies. They had sculptures and sketches on display. Then as you move forward through the exhibit they would show how the character develops into what you see on screen. How I wish I had Miggy with me when I went through the exhibit. 

At the end of the exhibit I bumped into my colleague. He also went around and I bumped into him at the museum shop, haha. He was picking up a few things for his family. The shop was already closing so we both rushed to finish our shopping. After going around the visit I called up the boys to update them about what I saw at the exhibit. 

#BeKind #StaySafe