Thursday, December 31, 2020

Goodbye 2020, Finally

I want to go back to this day. 
It's two hours to midnight and it feels like the eve to the new millennium. Remember 1999? That time when we were so apprehensive what may happen when the clock struck 12. There was a lot of fear then that computers may break down because of the change. The clock struck 12 and there wasn't any disruption. 

Now it's two hours to 2021 and all of us are hopeful that the new year will be better. Admit it, you're probably hoping that the new year will just magically wipe away the ugly year we've just been through. I did not sleep a wink last night. It was a side effect of the strong medication my doctor gave me. And yes, I'm hopeful that when the clock strikes 12, a magic wand will wave and transport us to a better year. 

And that my friends is what hope is all about. The desire to be better. My physiotherapist yesterday interviewed me about my ordeal before we did any exercises. I told her that I took a walk at the park last week because I wanted to push myself. I cooked noche buena also because I wanted to have some form of normalcy. It did more harm than good because I ended up having a relapse (thus the strong meds). 

Our last family photo of 2020 before Miggy went home. 

My physiotherapist said, "It does feel like you're trying hard to push for normalcy. Do you feel like you're fighting it because if you just give in you might end up in a worse situation?" She understood perfectly how I feel and I'm exhausted from fighting. I told her I feel defeated because we keep going back to zero. We make progress then I get sick and then we slide back to the beginning. She said that these are just little humps on the road and we just need to keep fighting. I'm lucky she's my physiotherapist. 

And that's just like 2020. We're all in this fight to defeat this virus. It is exhausting, but remember you're here today because your grandparents or great grandparents survived the pandemic. The new year may not be the miracle salve we're looking for, but a new day and a new year always brings promise. 

Happy new year everyone! Praying for a blessed and safe new year for everyone. 

CB///266 #StuckAtHomeDay/296 #StayHome #BeKind

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

My Shiny New Skills from 2020

After doing another Dear 2020 letter I realized that not everything was bad. The biggest struggle for me was being far from Miggy and my Mom. What 2020 allowed me to do was learn new things and explore some things I always wanted to do. Here's some new skills I developed this year:

My Home Panaderia Project

I always wanted to learn how to bake bread. What kept me from doing it was the yeast stuff and time. Oh boy but it was hard to get all the ingredients (especially yeast!). I jumped into it when I finally got all the ingredients. I decided to focus on baking Filipino bread since it's quite expensive to buy it here in Singapore. It was really challenging especially since it required technical skills on rolling the dough properly. 

Some of my bread didn't look good, but at least they were edible. I haven't moved on to phase two of my Home Panaderia project. I want to perfect first my Filipino bread buns before I move to other kinds of bread. Check out my efforts on this playlist.

Becoming a Balcony Farmer

When we moved to our new place I thought it was a good idea to do some gardening. My attempts with gardening date back to 2010 when we moved to a duplex house that had a small garden. My efforts were only successfully with veggies so that's what I decided to work on. I planted mustasa, tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper and jackfruit. Sweetie helped me by consistently watering the plants every morning.

We were pretty successful with our mustasa and tomatoes. The cucumber and bell pepper thrived for awhilte but never bore fruit. Unfortunately pests attacked the cucumber and it eventually spread out, killing the bell pepper and jackfruit. The tomatoes slowly dwindled away because of the rains and probably the pests too. It was a good first season and we're now preparing for a second season of planting. Check out our farming adventures on The Balcony Farmer.

Recipes for My Son

I learned a couple of new recipes this year, mostly easy to cook recipes of food that I miss from home. I also wanted to teach Miggy how to cook his favorite food since he's in Manila (that's why it's called Recipes for My Son). I think my most favorite new recipe is tapa ala Jollibee. My next step is to learn more seafood recipes now that my doctor has allowed me to eat Omega-3 rich food again. 

Making Happiness Projects

One of the things I did to cope during the lockdown was to create a happy photobook. I got the idea when I asked friends to share a happy memory with me. I thought it would be useful to preserve their comments with a photo. It took me a few weeks to complete the book and now I have something I can look at whenever I'm not having a good day. I have a few friends who followed suit! 

Being stuck at home isn't so bad after all. Aside from baking, gardening, cooking and making photobooks, I got to work on my quilting project too. It's an old skill, but I think I improved a lot this year and I got to use the sewing machine Sweetie bought for me. And I think this is one thing I'd like to remember 2020 by. 

What about you? Did you gain any new skills being stuck at home?

CB///265 #StuckAtHomeDay/295 #StayHome #BeKind

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Dear 2020 (Part 2)

Dear 2020, last January I wrote you a letter and asked for a better second month since January didn't start very well. I had planned for a spectacular 2020 since 2019 did not work the way I wanted it. But 2020, you had a mind of your own. Now that the year is almost over, let's see what happened to the spectacular year I planned -

- errr, things have gone downhill since May! I did achieve some fitness goals, but that went haywire when the circuit breaker kicked in. And now I'm on an extended medical leave. I'm still hopeful that things would get better.

Home Management - the move forced us to remove some stuff. I had plans to reduce clutter, but ugh blame online shopping (marked not safe!). We need to seriously declutter over the next few days. There's one thing though I managed to do and that's to get a pest control company to work on my childhood home.

Work on Financial Freedom - we were working on this, but had to set aside our plans since we couldn't go home.

Reading and Writing - my original plan for blogging was to complete a 30-day challenge. I kept it going since it has helped me cope. In a few days I would complete 365 days of blogging. Yay! On reading, I have a couple of new books! But I have read none because I've been so busy. The only thing I've consistently read is Didache.

Breaks - true to form I received a reminder from HR to take breaks. I would take one-two days off every so often, but I guess I should have taken longer breaks.

Travel - the only travel I did this year was back to Singapore last January. We've all been grounded since. We did a staycation last November. We wanted to do one more for Christmas, but then I got hospitalized. I really wanted to explore more this year.

- ended up learning how to bake bread! I learned through YouTube University haha. I focused on Filipino bread and you can check out what I made in my Home Panaderia playlist.

Hobbies - still quilting, I made a huge batch of mug rugs which I gave away for Christmas. I'm not done yet though. I did start a new collection -- Baby Yoda! Sweetie surprised me with one and that started the collection.

Play - sigh, I haven't really done any playing. My Switch has been in it's bag for a few months now.

Special Projects - I wanted to work on gathering our family recipes. Ended up starting with my own recipes. Check them out at Recipes for my Son.

I'm glad I made a list and after reviewing it I realized I was able to do a couple of things. The biggest setback though is my health. What 2020 took away was time with family and friends. We're still lucky though because there's technology that allows us to make video calls to connect easily with our loved ones. I'm also thankful that my family has been okay. 

A friend pointed out that the biggest challenge about this pandemic is dealing with your mental wellness. Her whole family was infected and only she and her newborn baby were spared. I agree with her since I'm still living in fear that I might get it or someone from my family would get it. And now that there's talks that the "second wave" has started the nightmare continues. 

So, dear 2020, I hope you don't spill over your bad vibes to 2021. I want to see and hug my family soon. 

CB///264 #StuckAtHomeDay/294 #StayHome #BeKind

Monday, December 28, 2020

Finally Reached Level 40!

I was in Tokyo when I started playing Pokemon Go back in 2016. My teacher friend, Kaoru-san, taught me how to play. I remember it very well, it was a weekend and we were at a school for a workshop. It wasn't available yet in Singapore so I was excited to try it out. I played a lot for a few months and then eventually became a casual gamer (*log-in only when I remember). 

Pokemon Center at Changi Jewel, October 2019.

The thing that got me going was my boys. I would play when they played. Miggy was our guru since he knew a lot about Pokemon. I throw a mean curveball because Miggy taught me how to do it. To be honest I don't really understand all the rules, I just keep catching and battling haha. 

Last November Sweetie said that the level 40 legacy medal will be given to those who reach level 40 by end of the year. At that time I still needed about 1.5M to complete the level and though I'd never reach it. Early December Sweetie said that you can earn up to 4k+ XP from excellent throws when you're using a lucky egg. 

On community day I earned 300k and I thought, oh maybe I'll make it. I was not convinced since I still had over a million to go. I also did not have any friends who were due to become my best friend, so the only recourse for me was to catch more or do raids (no go for raids though).  

Then I got sick and was told to stay offline. Good thing Sweetie got me a Pokemon Go Plus gadget. It took care of catching for me and Sweetie took care of spinning Pokestops for me! When I get to play I'd try hard to make excellent throws. That's what helped me finally reach level 40. Sweetie reached level 40 on his 4th year of playing (blog post here) and with his help I finally reached level 40! Yay! 

Thank you Sweetie and Miggy and all my friends for being the best Pokemon Go buddies ever! 

P.S. Thought I'd celebrate this small win today. Unfortunately my recovery is still very slow and I had to hospital hop to see my other doctor to fix me. I'd like to keep this as my happy thought for today. 

CB//263 #StuckAtHomeDay/293 #StayHome #BeKind

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Our 11th Anniversary Date

Our date yesterday did not push through for several reasons: (1) Our cleaner finished late, then (2) it started raining hard, and (3) I had another giddiness spell after completing an email. We decided to postpone our date to today. We instead ordered some yummy food via Grab and just ate at home last night. 

The day started beautifully, no rain in sight! Once we got on our ride it started pouring haha. We just wanted a simple merienda date so we went to the newly opened Hundred Acre Creamery at Clementi. The cafe just opened a week ago and is inspired by Winnie the Pooh's home. 

We had to wait awhile since the cafe had limited seats. The staff were very friendly and kept checking on us while we waited. We didn't mind waiting since there were several Pokestops and Gyms in the area that kept us busy. We eventually got in and got gelato, coffee and tea. Just chilled for a bit and then checked out a local bakery and fish shop before going home. 

We just had a short date since I'm still in recovery mode and I'm still building up my stamina. Last year's celebration was more planned out since we went to Bohol together with Miggy. We love doing family trips and things are just not the same since Miggy's back home. We originally planned to go on another staycation, but we just had an unexpected one at the hospital (lol). We also think it'll be better to hold off doing staycations for now. If we really want to we can always sleep in the second room in our apartment. Hahaha. 

So that's how our 11th anniversary date went. My friend, Boss said, "Just like steel, the 11th year anniversary symbol, may your marriage continue to shine & be strong for all the years to come." I haven't gotten Sweetie any anniversary gift yet, so maybe I should find something made of steel heehee. 

CB//262 #StuckAtHomeDay/292 #StayHome #BeKind

Saturday, December 26, 2020

11 Years of Sweeties

A few weeks ago a friend's friend who we met for the first time thought that Sweetie and I were just a couple. We laughed out loud when he said he thought we were not married yet. We were both so kilig because that meant we looked young! Hahaha. 

Eleven years ago, Sweetie and I tied the knot on boxing day. It seems just like yesterday to me when I walked down the aisle to be wed to my one true love. As many married couples would share, it's a roller coaster ride as you journey through life together. 

In the last eleven years, it's only been this year that we've been together constantly. We were LDR for 5 years before Sweetie moved to Singapore too and in-between that I traveled a lot for work. This year has been exceptional since we had to be together 24 hours a day for many months. I must say, Sweetie has been the best person to be stuck with at home. He's been my rock.

To be honest we haven't really planned how we'd live our life. We had no idea that we'd eventually live in Singapore. What's been important for us is to keep the family together. It was really hard for both of us when Miggy moved back home because he's always been there. We haven't seen him for more than ten months now, but we constantly communicate everyday. 

I think the reason why my friend's friend thought we're still an unmarried couple is because we're still very sweet to each other. We've been like that since we got together. We still surprise each other, I troll him a lot, and we show our affection a lot to each other. We laugh a lot and just know when we need each other more. I guess it boils down to what my Mom advised when I was single, "Aside from love, marry someone who has the same values as you". 

Happy anniversary Sweetie. Cheers to more fun and loving years together! I love you <3

CB//261 #StuckAtHomeDay/291 #StayHome #BeKind

Friday, December 25, 2020

Our Christmas Traditions

Growing up our family had Christmas traditions. I started thinking about it last night when my friend who has a new baby pinged to greet me. I told him it's time for him to create his family's Christmas tradition since he now has a baby. 

I remember we'd have huge family reunions when I was growing up. My Mom comes from a big family and whenever everyone was present our house would be full to the brim with my titos, titas and cousins. Eventually this grew bigger when my generation started producing babies. My Dad also comes from a bigger family and I remember one huge family reunion when a pregnant cousin's water broke in the middle of the party! There was a mad scramble to bring her to the hospital.

Here's some of the traditions we do annually -

Family Portrait - of course, family photo is a must! We also started this tradition in our little family. It's usually a family photo with the Christmas tree and a family photo at church. This year we're not together, but we still found a way to be together for our annual family photo. Check it out (see above)!  

Christmas Feast - my cousins and I were talking about our traditional family food. Each family brings their specialty. Titay used to make her lengua  dish, Tito Ben would bring seafood or steak, Dad would make his casserole (a.k.a. shepherd's pie), Tita Josie also brought a special dish (I just don't remember right now), I'd usually make Spanish adobo because Tito Mon loves it, Mom would prepare ham weeks ahead from scratch (it was like a science experiment) and there were many others. 

Noche Buena - we usually have noche buena after attending the midnight mass. This changed when my parents got older and we just hear mass on Christmas day. Noche buena is usually a full spread of food, ham, spaghetti, lechon manok, macaroni salad, embotido, are staples. When it's just Jay, Miggy and me I usually just prepare ham, spaghetti and macaroni salad. I prepared the same this year and Sweetie just ordered food for Miggy. I took so long cooking last night, so we ended up having Christmas lunch instead haha. 

Gift Giving - during our family reunions, Tito Tony usually distributed the gifts. The gifts would usually fly through the air since Tito Tony would normally throw the gift towards the person. That's why it was important to mark gifts as fragile if you were giving anything breakable (so he wouldn't throw it!). Eventually we shifted the tradition for the youngest in the family to do the distribution. 

Personally though I prefer to open gifts at the last hour of Christmas day. I usually set aside gifts that come from friends and open it at the last hour. I like doing this since it makes the day longer and there's still something to look forward to before going to bed. 

Things changed a lot in the last decade since we lost most of our elders in the family. Most of my cousins are all married now so that meant they have additional family reunions they need to attend. We started a new tradition last year by dining out. That's what started me on Recipes for My Son because I realized that we should have preserved our family recipes. So I started with some of the staple food I cook. 

Merry Christmas everyone! This year is definitely a different kind of Christmas for all of us, but I'd like to think this year has brought us an important gift. It taught us what is valuable and brought us closer to each other. 

CB//260 #StuckAtHomeDay/290 #StayHome #BeKind

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas 2020: Celebrating Far Away from Home

Celebrating Christmas in the most unusual way this year. This is the first Christmas I'm celebrating without my Mom and Miggy. Most of us won't have our families complete. The other night we had Christmas dinner with our friends. We made the effort to have a Christmas spread, but realized that there were many things missing, i.e. veggies! We all agreed it was hard to celebrate Christmas without our Moms since they always made sure there was something healthy in the handaan

As a promise to Baby Jesus, I got up and trudged to the park to re-start my fitness journey. It came with aches and pains, but it's the only way for me to move forward. Wish me luck!

For many years now I have been preparing noche buena. I can't help but laugh at myself because last year I actually cooked pinakbet as part of our Christmas lunch with Mommy and Dad. It was my first time to cook pinakbet because my friend Buddy from sent me a box of veggies.  Dad took home the rest of the pinakbet because he liked it a lot. 

And that's what I'll miss most this Christmas - my family. Kuya and fam are in Indonesia and Australia. Ate and her fam are in the US. I won't get to see my cousins, titos and titas and I won't get to eat our traditional family feast! Tonight it's just Sweetie and me and Miggy over hangout. We'll still come up with a Christmas family photo. Watch out for it!

Merry Christmas everyone! Warm hugs to all!

Happy birthday Baby Jesus =)

CB//259 #StuckAtHomeDay/289 #StayHome #BeKind

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Fun Board Games to Try

Got to try some board games recently with my neighbors. It was so fun and I can't wait to try it out with friends back home when this pandemic is over. Here's what I got to try -

Saboteur, the goal of this game is to find the gold in the mine. You're given an identity that you need to keep while building the map. If you're a miner you need to pave the way to get to the gold. But if you're a saboteur you need to foil the attempts of the miners to get to the gold. The fun in the game is guessing who among your friends have the same identity as you. We had a lot of laughs playing this game. 

Off Track, I'm glad we tried this game since I got this as a gift! I don't have the patience to learn the mechanics of a new game. I normally leave that to Miggy hehe. The game is a bit similar to Saboteur, but instead of a mine, you have to build train tracks to reach the destination of your assigned identity. It's a bit

more complicated than Saboteur since there are four identities that are assigned. This is a game made here in Singapore so it was interesting to see the different MRT stations in the game. 

Pictionary Air, this game definitely requires a lot of energy and stamina! It's like your usual Pictionary, but this one comes with an app that you need to install in your phone and cast the game to your TV. It's hilarious to see what you try to draw on air without looking at the screen! Can you believe I ended up dancing Pearly Shells to get my team to guess the word "shell"? I drew the logo of Shell (the gasoline provider), but my drawing was a wreck so I decided to do a hula dance to get them to guess it right hahaha. It's a really fun game, but bring lots of energy and brain power to play it! 

I'm glad I got to experience these games with my friends. We just laughed the night away and this is what I need at this time. Thank you so much Westies. Hope we can do it again for new year! 

CB//258 #StuckAtHomeDay/288 #StayHome #BeKind

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Clearing My Cache

Spent most of the day offline. My best friend came over to bring the cakes she baked for me. Check it out --

My doctor also advised I should list the work I left hanging, work on some that are essential. This would help me sleep better since I've been having a hard time sleeping since I've been hospitalized. So I worked for two hours to clear pending matters. Ended up getting giddy again after, but I think it will help me sleep better tonight.

Just resting for now and doing activities to rest my mind. Hope you are doing well and preparing for Christmas!

CB//257 #StuckAtHomeDay/287 #StayHome #BeKind

Monday, December 21, 2020

Where are you in the Galaxy?

We're just a tiny speck in the universe, but did you ever think about where the planets and stars are from where you stand? This is a question my doctor asked me earlier when I dropped by for my follow-up checkup.

He then showed us where the planets were from where we were standing. He was so excited to show satellites, the Hubble space telescope, stars and where the planets were situated. I realized that my idea of planets has always been what was taught in school. In my mind, they are out there all lined up. But if you really think about it, from where you stand, the planets are in different positions. 

App screenshot.
I got more curious and found a news clip by Kuya Kim Atienza. He said that Saturn and Jupiter are aligned today and the alignment happens only every 400 years! This meant that Saturn and Jupiter were aligned fully with Earth. From the app they were on the same spot and you have to click on the planet to see the other planet. That was quite interesting. If you want to try it out, download Skyview Lite free.  

Now I know that Mercury is usually on my left side where I usually sit on the couch. Jupiter and Saturn are on my right side hovering above our dining area. Sagittarius, the archer, is watching over us while we watch TV. These were where they were this afternoon. I'm excited to try out the app at night and explore the stars. I used to love doing that when I was younger. Now it's going to be easier to identify stars through the app. 

How I wish I could be at a beach somewhere so I can see the stars more clearly. I remember those times we were in Pasacao and my Ate and Kuya taught me how to identify the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper. Around us the trees would light up too because of fireflies. I rarely see many stars from my balcony, it's either always cloudy or there's just too many lights. I hope I could regain my strength back soon and do an evening star gazing walk. 

CB//256 #StuckAtHomeDay/286 #StayHome #BeKind

Sunday, December 20, 2020

My Grown-up Christmas Wish

A year ago in Manila. 
Last night's Didache reflection spoke to me deeply. If you're going through challenges, you shouldn't dwell so much on the struggle, but you should be more focused on the future outcome. It was a good reminder for me and made staying offline more bearable. To get well and be able to do the things I still want to do, I have to follow doctor's orders. 

To help me stay offline I set limits on distracting apps so it won't send notifications. I also kept my phone under my pillow. Out of sight, out of mind! I did respond to a few messages, watched a few videos, but eventually I got busy with other things and the silence became comfortable. 

Through the silence and having my hands busy sewing, I was able to think through how I should proceed. I didn't sleep well last night because I was worrying about all the work I left hanging. Eventually the Peace & Calming oil helped me fall asleep. My sleep though was filled with several weird dreams. 

As I worked through my quilt project I was able to re-focus and remind myself that it's not my fault I've been sick. I need this time to rest and heal from what this terrible year has brought. There is still so much to be thankful for this year. My family has been coping well despite some challenges. We're all apart, but we're here for each other. My only wish is good health for everyone and hope we can see each other soon. 

How I wish I could be with you two this Christmas.

And my sole Christmas wish is for the whole world to heal together and defeat this pandemic as one big community. 

CB//255 #StuckAtHomeDay/285 #StayHome #BeKind

Saturday, December 19, 2020

It's Hard to Stay Offline

My doctor advised me to stay offline, reduce screen-time, and rest. I was surprised they mandated an extended medical leave so my body can rest and recover properly. I understand why my doctor mandated this, but it's been hard to stay offline. 

I woke up early and was about to get up, but Sweetie encouraged me to sleep more. I did because my head was throbbing. I took a peek at my phone and my head hurt more. I immediately turned it off and went to sleep. I finally got up after lunch because I was hungry. 

Yesterday's ride back home. 

After lunch I took several peeks on my phone. I think I'll need to keep my phone away from me so I can stay offline and keep my mind off work. I also need to stop multi-tasking to give my brain a proper rest. I guess it's the time of the year to clear the cache. 

For the next few weeks I'll catch up on sleep and spend more time doing offline stuff like reading books and quilting. Last night I finally finished decorating our tree since the additional gnome decor finally arrived. I'm still working on my Christmas project and started to work on it again today. The funny thing is I ended up sewing my daster on it. That means I really need to rest! 

I sewed my daster to the quilt! Gaaaah.

Will focus on resting my mind and body for now. I will still blog daily :)

CB//254 #StuckAtHomeDay/284 #StayHome #BeKind

Friday, December 18, 2020


Staying at the hospital is really exhausting. At the ICU, I'd wake up hourly because the blood pressure monitor would turn on every hour. At the regular room someone would also come in often. Since we had a breakthrough last night, I asked my doctor if i could go home.

Before I could go home, I was still assessed by an additional doctor. Within a minute of waking up, she was assessing me and then the other doctors arrived too. I only got to pee two hours later LOL. I must've looked hideous.

Got cleared to go home by one in the afternoon. Luckily, we still got served our lunch. Hospitals used to have this bad reputation serving tasteless food. I think I gained weight during my stay because food just kept coming non-stop. Check out what I had before going home.

The ride home was a bit stressful since the Grab driver drove so fast. I couldn't even spin any Pokestops! I remember that time I went home after heart surgery. I clutched on to my chest because I was scared it would open up haha. 

Arrived home before two and we both promptly fell asleep on the couch. I'm on medical leave until month end and doctor's order is to rest. Christmas is going to be definitely quiet this year.

Grateful to all my doctors, nurses, radiologists, and health practitioners who took care of me. Will follow your orders :)

CB//253 #StuckAtHomeDay/283 #AdmittedDay5 #StayHome #BeKind

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Will Mostly Be Offline

It's day 4 at the hospital for me. I now have four doctors taking care of me. I feel much better today and hopefully can go home tomorrow. 

Further investigation is still being done and may take until month end. My doctor wants to put me on an aggressive rest treatment and asked me to go offline for now. I'm on a mission though to complete 365 days of blogging so will just post updates here through my blog.

Tata for now.

CB//253 #StuckAtHomeDay/283 #AdmittedDay4 #StayHome #BeKind

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Embracing Oddball-ness

I'm still in the hospital. I'm feeling better now, but still a bit groggy. Walking around the room makes my head hurt so my doctor said I shouldn't rush going home. They are taking care of me really well and I think it's the best time to really understand what's going on in my body.

The last thirty months have been the most difficult for me health-wise. More than when I had heart surgery. I suffered for three quarters before I was diagnosed with pulmonary embolism. It was resolved, but was followed with many other issues. 

You might wonder why it took three quarters before my PE was diagnosed. I was being cared for by one of the best respiratory doctors here, but he never suspected I'd have PE. I only found out after I insisted to get a second opinion from another respiratory doctor from another hospital. 

The other doctor listened to my plea. By then I could barely walk without getting breathless and I was in so much pain. It took almost two weeks of tests before he found out what was wrong with me. It took awhile because I'm an oddball.

I realized this week that doctors diagnose you based on symptoms and what is most common for your profile. The tests help confirm it and then off you go to treatment. My first respiratory doctor never thought I had PE even though I told him I wasn't getting well from the asthma meds. Even the ER diagnosed me with mild pneumonia when things were getting worse.

I don't blame them, it's just the way it is setup. Just think, for physically the challenged people it's always a struggle to move around because the world is set up for normal people. My breathing issues forced me to find ways to get around that won't require me to use the stairs. Only a few people understand that limitation and I have been laughed at because I insist on taking the lift instead of going up a flight of stairs. 

This year has been really difficult for me because I've been getting sick even though I've just been working from home. I tried hard to follow the advise of my doctors, drank the meds, did physiotherapy, but I just couldn't do my regular activities anymore without feeling something. 

And it finally dawned on my doctors I'm an oddball. I'm so much grateful to the radiologist who corrected her initial assessment that I may have PE again. I don't, but it has opened a Pandora's box that's challenging my doctors to see what's the best next step for me. I trust them because they saved my life seven years ago and who knows what they figure out may help other oddballs like me.

Pray for me?

CB//252 #StuckAtHomeDay/282 #AdmittedDay3 #StayHome #BeKind

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The Exit Door

I did not expect to be admitted at the hospital yesterday, much less end up in the ICU. I mentioned a few weeks ago that things are just complicated for me. I'm an oddball and my body is just different from everyone else. My doctors are still figuring out what's making me giddy*.

Ending up in the hospital felt much like being thrown in the set of Grey's Anatomy. The doctor and nurses in the A&E rushed about to figure out what was wrong since I have a history of pulmonary embolism**. In no time I was being scanned and tagged as fragile and put in the ICU.

I had to be scanned again which is a rare occurrence according to my doctor. The radiologist saw something that no other radiologist has seen. This means further investigation is needed to determine what's making me giddy. 

I had Sweetie braid my hair so I could at least look tidy

The last time I was at the ICU was 7 years ago after heart surgery and I barely remember it. This time I remember my stay. My bed had a good view of the Exit. One thing I could say is the vibe is very different from the ER. It was calm, but noisy with so many machines beeping, nurses rushing about and doctors hopping from one room to another.

The Exit door was my TV. I watched people come and go. Doctors coming in, patient visitors, patients being wheeled in, trays of food being delivered. Watching the door made me wonder about the different uniforms of the staff. I now know that dark blue scrubs are for surgeons. Radiology folks wear maroon, nurses from the ER have nice flowery uniforms while ICU nurses wear a beige uniform. I guess their uniforms are important so you know what their skills are. 

Just before I was moved to a regular room I saw a lolo doing physiotherapy. When he passed by my room he was hunched over a medical walker and his PT was giving instructions on which leg to move. I was amazed at the effort he was giving to move his leg. You know a fighter when you see one. And that was a good reminder for me to just hang in there.

Grateful for my doctors, nurses, all the health workers taking care of me. Thanks to everyone messaging. I'm limiting time online for now and will get back to you as soon as I can. 

*This makes you useless to do anything. I had to take breaks in between paragraphs to finish this post.

**Pulmonary embolism has a high mortality rate so a history of it sends people in a frenzy.

CB//251 #StuckAtHomeDay/281 #StayHome #BeKind

Monday, December 14, 2020

Early Staycation?

Woke up this morning feeling nauseous and asked help from Sweetie to message my doctor. I was concerned that the change in medication is what has been making me ill. He suggested we go to the A&E.

And that's how I ended up having a staycation errrr getting admitted at the hospital. I'm in good hands so please don't worry. 

*My finger above looks like I'm phoning ET (80s kids ftw!).

#CB//250 #StuckAtHomeDay/280 #StayHome #BeKind

Sunday, December 13, 2020


Sorry guys, I have no energy to blog today. I was much better yesterday and went walking with Sweetie, but things just suddenly switched back to not okay status. Don't want to bore you with the details. 

Maybe my blood is low on milk tea content? Lol. 

Hopefully things will be better tomorrow. 

#CB//249 #StuckAtHomeDay/279 #StayHome #BeKind

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Do You Still Send Snail Mail?

I still like sending physical cards. Every so often I send postcards to friends who I know like receiving snail mail. Last weekend we toiled over our Christmas card list. I thought it was the least I could do since we couldn't go home this year. 

Part of the process was to update addresses. I do this annually, but this year I had to get the addys of my cousins. I realized I knew how to get to their homes, but never really knew their mailing address (are you the same?). Now I have a list of addresses I was able to send some cupcakes for them too. 

We rushed to the post office this morning. Good thing Sweetie went with me since it took us a while to finish placing the stamps on the cards. The staff had to help us since the line grew long outside (sorry guys). Next time I'll probably buy the stamps ahead of time and do all the work at home. 

I normally try to make the Christmas cards myself, but I've been busy so I ended up using boxed cards. I wish I had more time to create things. I'm super looking forward to the Christmas break! 

#CB//248 #StuckAtHomeDay/278 #StayHome #BeKind

Friday, December 11, 2020

Dance to the Rhythm

Waiting for meds.
Yesterday was what my PT warned me about. It was a two steps forward, but three steps back kind of day. Went to see my doctor this morning for my regular check-up and he gave me medication for the meds. I'm on the fence on whether I should bother my cardiovascular surgeon.

I think this is the day I realized that I need to understand more about living with arrhythmia. It was discovered six months ago when I just suddenly had dizzy spells and strange heart rate. I was so exhausted (just as I have been since yesterday). My doctor explained to me when it happens my heart beats like it's on a marathon. That's why I feel so exhausted. 

I had to stay at a cafe after my check-up since I felt so groggy. Ate a bit before going home. It didn't help that the Grab driver was arguing to pick me up at the other side of the hospital. I refused since I booked my pick-up location correctly and it would have been detrimental for me to walk a block to get to where he was. A little empathy picking up passengers from a hospital would go a long way noh. 

Got home and did some important stuff for work that couldn't wait and then I took a long nap. Woke up when Sweetie arrived. I'm thankful that the nap helped because we had a scheduled housewarming get-together that I didn't want to miss. Seeing friends always helps me get better. 


Tomorrow I have to do a bit more research how I can conquer this weird heart rhythm. The strange thing is it springs on me unexpectedly and normally when I'm doing much better. It shouldn't be that way. I will not be defeated. 

Pray for me, k?

#CB//247 #StuckAtHomeDay/277 #WFH165 #StayHome #BeKind

Thursday, December 10, 2020

The Unexpected Rhythm

Started my day really early today, but after three meetings I just suddenly felt dizzy. Thought it would be gone after resting for 10 minutes and had to take the rest of the day off. 

It was an unexpected arrhythmia episode I guess. I'm still not okay despite napping most of the afternoon. I was supposed to have physiotherapy today so I checked in with my PT via Whatsapp. She suggested I keep my feet up and monitor for swelling. Yup, legs were swollen when I woke up. Sigh. 

My PT did warn me though that recovery won't go smoothly since I've also just transitioned to new meds. It's just so strange for me since I even went to bed earlier last night. 

Pray for me?

#CB//246 #StuckAtHomeDay/276 #WFH164 #StayHome #BeKind

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

10 Life Skills I Learned from My Mom

It's my Mom's birthday today! I super duper miss her already and wish I could hop on a plane to be with her today. I had a project I planned to do this year with my Mom since I wanted to learn more about her creative process. For now since we couldn't do it I've been sending her materials to keep her busy. 

1 - Praying 

The first thing I learned from Mom is how to pray. I still remember her teaching me how to pray before going to bed and she's the most prayerful person I know. Priority is to trust in Him for everything. 

2 - Diskarte 

One of the most important skills I learned from my Mom is diskarte. When I was growing up I witnessed my Mom working on one of the most important projects she worked on in her life -- helping get our parish church built. And Mom was in-charge of everything at home, so I saw her make things move. 

3 - Organization Skills

Ahh, I may not have picked up Mom's neatness (my home is permanently an organized chaos), but I could easily work out in my head how to deploy a project. Mom always had lists and she would tick things off when a task is completed. She's also great at anticipating things and would always be ready. 

4 - Keep Calm, Do Not Panic

Mom is the most calm person I know. I have never seen her panic. She'd always remind me there's no sense in panicking and it's just a waste of time. 

5 - Keeping Busy

Mom always complains that I never stop doing anything. Well, I got that from her. She's always doing something - sewing, gardening, reading, fixing the house etc. She's always up and about. So I never had issues being stuck at home.

6 -  Saving/Money Management!

Mom was a banker and of course I was one of those kids who had a Banco Filipino Happy Savers Club account! That's how I learned how to save. Originally I was planning to use my savings for my future wedding! I used it to pay for grad school. (More about money management here).

7 - Working for What You Want/Need

My Mom would always remind me that she won't be around forever. I had to learn to be independent. At the age of ten I was already selling things -- old clothes, my hand-made pincushions and homemade cards. If I wanted something, like a book, I'd have to save for it. 

8 - Can't Cook, No Problem!

See life skill number 2! And that's what the telephone is for according to my Mom. (It's my Dad who knew how to cook). 

9 - Girlfriends

Mom always told me to choose my friends carefully. Choose those you can trust and can count on. I have so many aunties who have always been there for Mom. 

10 - Be Yourself

You cannot please everyone, just be yourself and stay with people who have the same values as you.  

Happy birthday Mom! We miss you so much!

#CB//245 #StuckAtHomeDay/275 #WFH163 #StayHome #BeKind

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

The Story Behind Jaybucks

Jaybucks started because I have a bad habit. I tend to forget to eat breakfast once I start working. I don't remember the exact year Sweetie started making sandwiches for me. It must have been 2014 or earlier. All the notes are back home in an album in Manila. 

The term Jaybucks started as a joke. I love all the sandwiches Sweetie makes for me and I teased him that maybe one day he'll have his own coffee shop. Thus the term Jaybucks was born. 

The notes with the sandwich started because Sweetie promised me he'll replace all the love letters and cards that perished during typhoon Ondoy. So for many, many years now I have Jaybucks food and notes. Here's one from the earlier ones -

Jaybucks circa 2014

The notes sometimes reflect current events, like this PBB Jaybucks sandwich -

Jaybucks circa 2016

And sometimes there are puzzles!

Jaybucks puzzle

And sometimes he takes a break!

Jaybucks on break

When we have friends over, he ventures into creating samplers -

Jaybucks sampler

And, of course, Christmas is always special -

Jaybucks Christmas special

Today's Jaybucks was my favorite tuna sandwich :)

Happy wife, happy life :)

#CB//244 #StuckAtHomeDay/274 #WFH162 #StayHome #BeKind