Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Finally Got This After 40 Years

My parents were very strict about what kinds of toys I had when I was growing up. Titay showered me with Barbie dolls and I got my first Lego set from my Ninang when I was 4 years old. I also got a Cabbage Patch which was the rage back then. Mommy though did not allow me to have ET, Yoda and Alf. Someone gave me an ET figure and it was one of my favorite toys. Mom always cringed whenever she saw it. 

I was never allowed to have gaming devices. We did not have a Family Computer or Atari. I was also in college when I got to try my friend's Family Computer. And I was already working when I learned how to play Pokemon on my PC. I think I managed to wear down my Dad because I remember I had a Game & Watch Mickey Mouse device and a PacMan watch. Those were the only devices I owned. 

What I really wanted to play was Super Mario. Sweetie finally made my dream come true. On my birthday he presented me a huge box. He put me to work unboxing one box after another until I finally got to his gift. It was a Super Mario Bros. Game & Watch. Waaaaaawwwww! It was a super huge surprise for me! 

Of course I immediately started playing the game. I also put it beside me when I went to sleep (just like a kid would haha). I've been using it the past few days and I realized I don't have enough gaming skills! I so far couldn't get past level 1-3! Hahaha. 

Thank you Sweetie for the surprise! I think I'm going to spend more hours on this than my Switch. LOL. Love you <3

CB///*Yr2/142 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/165 #NewG305 #Home63 #StayHome #BeKind 

Monday, August 30, 2021

Breakthrough Coming!

My respiratory doctor told me last week I need to get vaccinated before I go back home. We've been working on my transition the past few months. He's the one who saved my life three years ago when he discovered I had a huge clot in my left lung. He saved my life again when he instinctively tested me and saw I had multiple clots in my left lung. A nurse told me that he said I was a challenging case, but he really took care of me. He's a rockstar doctor. 

The discussion about getting vaccinated started when I asked him if I should get the flu vaccine. He said we'll do it in my next appointment. He then asked me if I've been vaccinated for COVID-19. I said no because my vascular surgeon said it wasn't safe for me. He reassured me it was safe for me and I should definitely get it before I go home. The next day I tracked down my cardiovascular surgeon and vascular surgeon to get clearance. 

My cardiovascular surgeon is in the UK right now, but he kindly responded to my Whatsapp message. He gave clearance for me to get vaccinated. On my birthday, my vascular surgeon, the one who said I shouldn't get vaccinated, also gave his clearance for me to get vaccinated. Yaaaaasssss! That really made my birthday happy since I want my family to be less worried for me. Of course, we still need to take precautions. 

I did some research over the weekend and saw the MOH has some guidelines for those who are medically ineligible. One should check back with your specialist every few months since more research and data become available. I guess my doctors finally gave clearance because there's more data to support that it's safe for me. I'm now trying to find out how I can get vaccinated at a hospital. MOH website stated that if you are immuno-compromised or have health issues you can request to have it done at a hospital. I'm just waiting for my doctor's nurse to respond to my request. 

I'm also happy that Miggy and my Mom got their first dose. They only felt sore for a few days, but have been fine so far. We've had to remind Mom everyday not to do any gardening for the meantime. The rest of my family have been fully vaccinated. Thank you Lord :D

Day 30 Minimalism challenge, Re-purge your wardrobe. This is what I started to do at the beginning of the month. I realized though that I didn't have the space to keep those clothes that I plan to bring back home. As it is our home is currently really messy since we've started to sort things that will be brought home. We stalled sorting for now until we finalize plans with the movers. For my wardrobe I'm thinking what I should do with my winter clothes. I used to use it a lot when I traveled, but I think it's going to take years before I use them again. What about you? What have you done with your wardrobe? 

CB///*Yr2/141 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/164 #NewG306 #Home64 #StayHome #BeKind 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Eggs Benedict, Flowers, Cheese, Lechon and Lots of Love!

I had an amazing birthday. We decided to just stay home since I wouldn't be able to dine anywhere. We also decided not to have visitors since I'm not vaccinated and have to be more careful. Nonetheless, I had a happy birthday even with the restrictions. 

I was overwhelmed with so much love and care from family and friends. I thought it was just going to be a normal day, but I got a lot of surprises from the time I woke up. I did not have to worry about food because it just kept coming! Breakfast from Jac, a cheese platter from Ms. Myna and lechon from Cathy and Mike! The food will last until tomorrow. Our tummies are super happy! 

The day was also made beautiful with lots of flowers! Oh my! I wish I could preserve them since they are all so beautiful! I love flowers because they remind me of my Mom and her beautiful garden. I hope I'll be able to have my own gorgeous garden in the future. Thank you my Westies family for making my day beautiful. Hope to see you soon once I complete the good news I shared with you guys last night!

I spent an hour on the phone with my Mom last night. I always celebrate my birthday with my Mom. The last we were able to do that was in 2019. We spent the whole day out together with Sweetie and Miggy. That was in 2019 and that year me and my Kuya gave her a surprise party for her 85th birthday. I told her that we'll get to celebrate her birthday this year together.

I'm so grateful for all the lovely greetings. I also got surprise video greetings from team QSR and close friends. I teared up when I saw the greetings from my teacher community. I miss all of them and it was a good reminder for me that I did some good in the past 15 years of my life. 

I thank God everyday for the gift of life. After having another PE and getting poked from tests often I thought I wouldn't make it. My Mom reminded me yesterday that she went through the similar issues when she was my age, but she's now 86 and strong. I got my strong will and positive outlook in life from her. So I told Sweetie yesterday, we'll have to go for gold*!

Thank you everyone for your well wishes. I wish I could comment back to each and everyone of you, but I might get blocked again from commenting! I'll have to do it slowly I guess haha. Love you all! Keep fighting!

*Gold - golden anniversary

Day 29 Minimalism challenge, Say no to something. It took me years to learn to say no. I realized though I got into this health mess because I allowed myself to be bullied into doing more than I could. My body and mind battled with each other for many months. They're good with each other now, but I have to be mindful that they continue to agree with each other haha. So no, no, no, no and bullies be gone! 

CB///*Yr2/140 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/163 #NewG307 #Home65 #StayHome #BeKind 

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Gonna Make It the Best Year!

I'm celebrating two milestones today, the start of my 46th year and my 15th Googleversary! It's the beginning of a new year for me and I want it to be an amazing year! My one wish will be granted when I finally go home later this year -- for my family to be together again. 

The challenges I've been facing, I know it won't disappear overnight. I will continue to face them bravely with faith that God will answer my prayers in time. There's a lot I'm looking forward to in the coming months. A simpler life with family, reconnecting with old friends and I hope to create more happy memories. 

I spent a lot of time thinking in the past few months. I had to think about what's best for me and my family. I have accepted the fact that my body has changed. I'm no longer the young 30-year old that embarked on this exciting journey. I had been given an extraordinary opportunity in the last 15 years, but given my current circumstances today it is time for me to move on. 

Birthday, 2019.

I'll focus on transitioning back to my life in Manila in the next few months. I hope I'll be able to personally say goodbye to all my friends in Singapore. And I hope I'll get clearance to get vaccinated. Please pray for me :)

Day 28 Minimalism Challenge, Clear out your makeup collection.  I don't really have a lot of makeup since I rarely wear any. I started to check my stash a few weeks ago and found out some of my stuff have dried out. Some smell like a grandma already so I tossed out those things already. Easy peasy.

CB///*Yr2/139 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/162 #NewG308 #Home66 #StayHome #BeKind 

Friday, August 27, 2021

Finally a Good Day :)

 have been facing a huge scary monster the past six weeks. That's the reason why I've been antsy and morose. Last July I had a routine check-up with the OB my urologist referred. It's been a long time since I went to see an OB and I thought I might as well get myself checked while I'm here. 

I breezed through the tests since I was confident there was nothing wrong. I was wrong. My doctor's nurse called on a Sunday and asked me to come in the next day. They found a mass and swollen lymph nodes. I was required to do a biopsy. The schedule took longer because I was referred to another hospital by the surgeon. She said they could care for me better at the other hospital. 

I went through the procedure last week. A senior doctor took over the test to keep me safe. I was just a bit dizzy after, but was sent home immediately. The small wound healed after a few days. I just had to avoid strenuous activities and carrying heavy stuff. 

Woke up early today to get the results from my doctor. She said there was nothing to worry about with the mass. It was benign and just fibroids. The nurse explained to me further that it's just tissue. My doctor though is scheduling another biopsy to check the unusual lymph nodes. Hopefully it's nothing serious. 

Thank you to my prayer warriors for always praying for me. And thank you Papa God for this good news. The week did not start well, but now I can celebrate my birthday tomorrow without any worry. Best birthday good news ever! Whew! 

Day 27 Minimalism Challenge, Eliminate a toxic relationship. I totally agree on this challenge! In the past year I have also cleaned up my feed and unfollowed people who keep posting toxic posts. It's really best to surround yourself with positivity. 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Goodbye Heavy Baggage

I know I have been so morose the past few weeks. I have been feeling anxious about my health. To calm myself I meditate, pray, use essential oils and exercise. There is a belief that emotions could get you sick. "Intense fear and panic attacks can really make our blood clot and increase the risk of thrombosis or heart attack." That's from a study by the University of Bonn (source). 

I tried to process what happened yesterday before I went to sleep last night. I asked myself why I was so affected by getting rejected. I realized I've been carrying a lot of resentment in my heart. It's because of unmatched expectations. I need to better appreciate those who are giving me the support I need than expect from those who are not there for me. 

Expectations are the heaviest baggage you can carry. Sylvia Plath said, "If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed." I resented the rejection yesterday because I expected to be treated differently. It will be better for me to let go of my expectations.

Chade-Meng Tan taught us an exercise when I attended his class. He said what's better than feeling grateful is being grateful for someone else. I thought about my friend whose daughter was in the ICU and intubated for over two weeks. I've been praying fervently for his daughter to get well. Yesterday he shared that his daughter is being discharged. The collective prayers of all his loved ones and community paid off. I felt so grateful for me. 

And that's what calmed me down last night. I shed tears of frustration through the process, but I felt so much better. I thanked God for healing my friend's daughter and started to pray for another friend who I found out has COVID-19. I'm hoping my personal prayers get answered too, but if not I'm sure God has a different plan for me. 

Let's all pray for each other my friends. 

Day 26 Minimalism Challenge, Get all your errands done. Yes! I have a lot of "online errands" to do today. I have to respond to the movers I reached out to and email my doctors. An angel also reminded me last night to get a second opinion regarding my vaccination. My to-do list today is quite long and I will make sure to finish it! 

CB///*Yr2/137 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/160 #NewG309 #Home67 #StayHome #BeKind 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021


Today I was turned away by a coffeeshop and a restaurant because I'm not vaccinated. The people at the restaurant were kind. They allowed us to sit while waiting for our takeaway. The coffeeshop crew though were quite rude. They said they'd only allow me if I had a swab test. They made me feel like I had the virus. 

I rarely go out. I even got myself an exercise bike so I don't have to go to the gym or go out for walks. I only go out to see my doctor. I went out today to see my doctor and then went to the mall for some errands. In between errands I usually rest at a coffeeshop for about 20 minutes and then go my way. I make it a point to sit away from people. 

I'm grateful that the crew at the restaurant were more sensitive. They allowed me to sit and asked why I was medically ineligible. They even told me to take care. I think that was a better approach versus how the coffeeshop did it. 

I know they have these policies in place to protect all of us. It would have been helpful if they had signages on the shop stating that you need to be vaccinated to dine in (they didn't). The protocols keep changing so it gets confusing (the last time I was there over a month ago I was still able to dine in). 

My doctors also have different opinions about getting vaccinated. One says I have nothing to worry about, another one says it's too risky for me. One did an eyeroll. Another just looked at me. Sigh. I will get the help of my champion doctor to figure this out. Pray for me?

Day 25 Minimalism Challenge, Batch cook your meals. Maybe I'll be able to do this when I'm back home. I don't know about you, but I cook very slow. I usually take so long slicing stuff because I have to make sure I don't cut myself. I use up at least an hour just cooking one dish. Yup, that's how slow I am haha. But maybe when I have more kitchen space I'd be able to plan things better noh? 

CB///*Yr2/136 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/159 #NewG310 #Home68 #StayHome #BeKind 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Are You Afraid?

My Mama Lola.
There is so much uncertainty nowadays. It's created a lot of fear in us. At the beginning of the pandemic I could say I was still a bit reckless. I'd go out for my PT sessions and go to the mall after. It came to a point where Sweetie would pick me up from my PT session so I'd go straight home after. 

My PT sessions ended a few months ago. I only go out now whenever I have a doctor's appointment. I rush out of the hospital after my appointment. I think it's normal to feel scared. We don't understand everything there is to know about the virus. The virus has been a menace and the past few weeks I see many more friends getting infected. The number of people passing away within my circle has also increased. 

I know I am at higher risk because I am medically ineligible to get vaccinated. I was trying to make sense of the fear last night. I know I need to take more precautions and I have to live like a hermit. I realized though that my grandparents lived through the 1918 pandemic. It took more than a decade for things to go back to "normal". The "Spanish Flu" had more than 500M suspected cases, and estimated 20 to 50M died (source). 

But my grandparents lived through it. Papa Lolo was born in 1904 and Mama Lola was born in 1915. I think my paternal grandparents were older than them since my Dad was the the youngest among 9 siblings. I'm not sure what their circumstances were during the 1918 pandemic, but what's important is they survived it. I wish they were still alive so I could ask what they did back then. They probably took a lot of care and followed protocol back then. 

I don't know why I thought about my grandparents. I was just trying to figure out how I should not live in fear. Living in fear will be bad because it releases toxins to your body which will make you more sick. To curb this feeling I have to keep restating my intentions and have faith that God will continue to protect me, my family and all my loved ones. 

It's okay to feel scared. Just remember that Papa God only gives us challenges that we can bear. This is a huge challenge for all of us. The best thing to do about it is to learn, adjust and do what's best for the whole community. Stay home, get vaccinated if you're eligible and do what's needed to protect your loved ones. 

Day 24 Minimalism challenge, turn off notifications. I did this for a few months as instructed by my doctor. I think more than turning off notifications, you have to discipline yourself from checking your phone every few minutes. I purposely did not install social media apps on my tablet too and it's been a quieter life for me haha. 

CB///*Yr2/135 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/158 #NewG311 #Home69 #StayHome #BeKind

Monday, August 23, 2021

My Zipper

I'm part of a couple of patient groups. It's been very helpful for me to be with people who are going through the same thing as me. Much like your community for your interests or hobbies, patients come together also to help each other. 

Last weekend patients in one of the groups asked to share their "zippers". The zipper refers to the scar left from your open heart surgery. It's usually 8 inches long. Depending on your doctor it can leave a long red mark or a nice white line. 

I remember crying a few weeks after surgery. Sweetie was helping me dress and I saw the long red angry scar. Sweetie asked me why I was crying. I told him I felt ugly. He immediately reassured me and told me I'd be beautiful no matter what. I didn't think much about the scar after that and it eventually healed. 

My doctor said not to put anything on the scar. Good thing I followed my doctor's advise because from fiery red, it turned to pink and then white. In the beginning I used to cover it up, but I realized I should wear my scar with pride. I survived an ordeal because of my strong will and faith. 

I have other smaller scars because I had to go through another OHS to drain fluid from my heart. Everytime my surgeon checks me he proudly says his work is beautiful haha. It took him twice the time to work on me (I remember waking up in the middle of the operation!). Patients who need mitral valve repair today are lucky because there's a non-invasive way of doing it already. The recovery time would also be faster for them. 

When I look at myself today I see all the scars, even the tiny ones from butterfly needles, dextrose needles and when they poke me for tests etc. I just look at them now as testaments to my love and faith. I am grateful everyday that God has been me my life. 

Day 23 Minimalism Challenge, Empty your junk drawer. I learned from a friend that it's useful to have a box where you can put stuff that you don't have time to put away yet. I put mine in a tote bag. I have a bad habit though of just leaving it in the bag haha. From where I'm sitting now I could see I have four bags I need to go through. I'll do that today! 

CB///*Yr2/134 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/157 #NewG312 #Home70 #StayHome #BeKind

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Reconnecting 10 Years

I always knew that I would eventually go back home. That made it really hard for me to adjust to life in Singapore. It did not help that I had to travel a lot. It was impossible to put down any roots or establish deeper relationships. I did make some friends, but between traveling and being sick half the time it did not really leave me enough time to socialize. I'm grateful for the friends who have been patiently been there for me the past ten years. 

Two years ago I realized I needed to make a better effort at keeping in touch with my friends back home. It's not really enough to let your presence felt by liking their posts or leaving comments. I missed a lot of important occasions already and I felt I needed to be physically present for get togethers. So in 2019 I organized a get-together and then I went home again to surprise someone for a birthday. It made me really happy and it helped my healing journey. 

I'm so blessed to have friends who are always just there for me. It's really important to have a solid support group. Last night we had a farewell video call for one of our friends who's moving to the US. We ended up looking at our old photos and it felt like no time was lost. The funny thing is when we're together we don't feel we've all aged. I really look forward to going home and being able to send them stuff from my kitchen. And hopefully have those get-togethers again (eventually). 

Day 22 Minimalism Challenge, Evaluate your storage. I have been doing this by part in the past week. I started with my fabric stash since I realized I just kept ordering fabric without checking my stash haha (#fabricaddict). I made a list of projects and then a list of fabric I need to complete those projects. Now I just need to make sure I stick to those projects haha. We're also evaluating our freezer today since we need to start emptying it before we go home. I'll be making a list also of things to cook for the next few weeks and won't be doing groceries anymore. 

CB///*Yr2/133 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/156 #NewG313 #Home71 #StayHome #BeKind

Saturday, August 21, 2021

LF: The New Mister Rogers!

Mister Rogers is a legend for me. I came to know him when I was just 4 years old. His show would come on after the US national anthem. I still have vivid memories of that time. I guess I still remember it because we spent six months in the US and I watched him everyday. 

Mister Rogers was a very kind-hearted person. He mainly taught everyone to love your neighbor. The Golden Rule. Be nice, be kind, be loving, be thankful, be grateful. I may not remember the details of Mister Rogers' show, but this are some of the things I learned from him. 

I've been watching interviews and speeches of Mister Rogers and I realized we need someone like him. If he were still alive he'd probably talk about how to be a kind person online. The other night just before I fell asleep I realized there's someone kinda like Mister Rogers. He always sees everything in a positive light. He always points out the good in people. We see him almost everyday when he posts his vlogs. 

Can you guess who's kinda like Mister Rogers? Kulas of Becoming Filipino! We discovered his vlog last year. We love how he's been sharing his positive experiences in the Philippines. He always sees the good in everything and that's why I thought he's a bit like a new-age Mister Rogers. 

What do you think? :)

Day 20 Minimalism Challenge, Re-evaluate your to-do list. Ah yes, this is something I've been meaning to do the past few days since I realized our plan to go home is coming near. Acccck! I hit a hump in my plans since the mover I've been using for the past decade closed shop (huhuhu). We've used them several times and I was heartbroken when I found out they closed. Anyway, this is just one thing on my to-do list that I need to prioritize. I have to carefully plan how to pack-up ten years of my life and bring it back home :)

CB///*Yr2/132 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/155 #NewG314 #Home72 #StayHome #BeKind

Friday, August 20, 2021

Wiped Out

I had to do a test today. It was a short one, but got so wiped out. I think I'll just get some more rest and just blog more tomorrow. 

Oh, and I'm so relieved Miggy got his first dose of the vaccination today. He said he feels awful right now. Hopefully he'll feel better soon.

Tomorrow: I found a new-age Mr. Rogers! 

Minimalism Challenge: skipping today, will continue tomorrow :)

CB///*Yr2/131 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/154 #NewG315 #Home73 #StayHome #BeKind

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Upgraded to One in a Million

I was surprised to get so many nurse visits after I had heart surgery 8 years ago. They were a curious bunch. One of them explained to me that I was a text book case, occurring only once in a hundred thousand people. She was referring to the veins in my neck. 

Since then I was told not to allow just anyone to probe or poke me. I had a venogram last June again and I think I traumatized my doctor haha. They have been trying to solve the mystery of what's causing my clots. They decided to do another venogram, a proper one, to determine the cause. Knowing the cause is important so you can prevent another clotting incident. 

Well, they got some clues, made emergency plans (if really needed) and declared I should not get the vaccination for COVID-19. My doctor said that I will most likely have a severe reaction to it and he won't be able to save me. I also had myocarditis last year after I caught a viral infection from a taxi driver. 

My manager always joked before that I should probably live in a bubble. I was a magnet for viruses and got sick at he oddest times. I caught the viral infection last year from that one day I wore a fabric mask. I wore a fabric mask because my doctor told me it'll be better for me. I have accepted that I do need to live in a "bubble" now. I'm able to cope with lots of hugs from Sweetie so far and look forward to Miggy's super hugs when I get home. 

It's not fun to have a medical condition. It requires a lot of patience, tibay ng loob, and faith. My doctors always say that I have a good understanding of what I've been through. Sometimes I ask God why have I been blessed to live. I realized last week that I am still around because God loves me and wants me to share to everyone that faith and love can really keep powering you on. 

Day 20 Minimalism challenge, Create a relaxing space. Ahhhh I have just upgraded my spot on the couch. I got this cute "toast" pillow which I just realized is made of memory foam. It was supposed to be a surprise for Miggy, but it looked so comfortable when I opened it I decided to use it for myself! It's been the perfect add-on to my spot on the couch. 

CB///*Yr2/131 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/154 #NewG315 #Home73 #StayHome #BeKind

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Daisy, My 12 Year Old Netbook

Growing up my Mom kept telling me to take care of my things. She'd always point to the wooden bed which she bought with her first salary in the late 50s. That bed is still in use at home and it's as sturdy as ever. I take care of my things the same way. 

We've started to assess our things in preparation for our trip back home. We're now going through old devices to decide what to do with them. After some research I found a company here in Singapore that processes e-waste. They require quite a status update on the devices before submitting it to them for review. So yesterday that's what we did. 

I was super surprised to find out that my MSI Wind netbook, Daisy, is still working. And it had two programs still running, a telenovela I was watching the last time I used it (probably around 2015) --

And Chrome with Google's old logo --

Preserved in "sleep" haha. Apparenly I never updated it to Windows 10, it's still on Windows XP. I remember trying out Neverware* on it a few years ago and it worked. I have a lot of happy memories with Daisy. It was what we used during our wedding to play our videos and it has a cameo on our wedding video. Daisy was also my travel companion back then since she was the perfect size for me. 

I don't think I'm ready to give up Daisy for now. She won't be useful anyway if I donated her. Sweetie cleaned her up so I'll just use her for writing offline. I'm definitely giving up my Asus Vivobook and Miggy's old Acer laptop. The Vivobook could still be useful, but the Acer one will probably need a lot of fixing before it becomes useful. 

As for other devices, I don't really own other devices. I also used Miggy's old phone for my local SIM. All my other stuff is probably back home in Manila. We'll deal with that in time. Up next for review: books!

Day 19 Minimalism challenge, Venture Outdoors. I only go out now whenever I have to go to my doctor. I do go to the balcony everyday to check on my plants. If Sweetie decides to go out for a walk today I could probably tag along with him. In case it rains, I have my exercise bike :D

*If you're a company or an organization with a lot of old branded computers you can consider using Neverware on it and donate it for schools/student use.

CB///*Yr2/130 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/153 #NewG316 #Home74 #StayHome #BeKind

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

10 Reasons Why I Bought a Chromebook

The last time I bought myself a laptop was in 2013. I had a rocky relationship with that laptop because it started deteriorating just before it turned one. The keyboard became unusable and had to be changed. Good thing it was still under warranty, but it was never the same after that. I still used it until early last year even though some keys were not working anymore. 

Oh yes, I'm a cheapskate when it comes to purchasing devices. It takes me years to decide to buy something new. Instead of buying I would use Sweetie or Miggy's discards until the laptop dies on me. I'm not fussy when it comes to devices as long as it works smoothly. I realized I probably spent more usage time on Miggy's old Toshiba Chromebook (2015) than on my 2013 laptop. Why? Because the Chromebook never gave me any headaches. I turn it on and boom I can do my tasks seamlessly. 

It was like Christmas when I received my first Chromebook. It was just there sitting on my desk. I started using it immediately. It was the first Pixel Chromebook. It was heavy but a beauty. I've had it for more than 5 years now and it still works! I fell in love with it and used my Mac less and less and one day just completely stopped using it. I realized I could do everything on the Chromebook anyway. 

The Chromebook has been perfect for me. Here are the reasons why I super love Chromebooks:

1. No maintenance needed. It updates by itself and just tells you to restart when needed (which is rare!).

2. It doesn't make me wait to use it. I turn it on and tada I could immediately do my stuff on it. 

3. You can do anything using a Chromebook. I write, edit videos, do social media etc. on it. There are a gazillion apps you can use from the Chrome Web Store and Play Store (Android). 

4. Amazing battery life. You can just go on and on. 

5. It's lightweight. I'm not allowed to carry heavy stuff so the weight has been perfect for me. 

6. It just keeps running! I have the gen 1 Samsung Chromebook which I got in 2014. It still works! Actually all my Chromebooks still works. 

7. You can work seamlessly on any device. 

8. In my experience, any Chromebook brand is good. I've used the Pixel (gen 1 and 2), HP, Samsung, Toshiba, Acer, and Asus. It all worked for me. 

9. I never needed servicing for any of my Chromebooks. They all still work! 

10.  I feel secure when I use a Chromebook. Do you know Google pays money if you're able to hack it's browser? (News here).

So after 8 years and using Sweetie and Miggy's old devices I finally decided to gift myself with a new laptop. I got a new Lenovo Thinkpad Chromebook C13 Yoga. Reasons on why I got this device are here. It's supposed to be the Chromebook for grown-ups. It's a bit pricey, but I decided to invest on this Chromebook because I expect it would beat the number of years of service my 2013 laptop gave me (7 "good" years). I hope to have many years of happy time on this Chromebook. 

Oh, here's my unboxing video!

Day 18 Minimalism challenge, Go out without your phone. Oh this is something I can't do. I need to have a phone with me all the time in case of an emergency. Maybe I should remember to use my medical bracelet whenever I go out!

CB///*Yr2/129 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/152 #NewG317 #Home75 #StayHome #BeKind

Monday, August 16, 2021

10 Seconds for Those Who Helped You Along the Way

It's always a beautiful day everyday for Mr. Rogers. I was four years old when I first encountered Mr. Rogers. We were visiting Titay in Chicago and every morning I'd watch Mister Rogers Neighborhood. Mr. Rogers had a beautiful soul. I wish we had someone like him in this day and age. 

Just a happy photo with my boys. This was in Melbourne a few years ago.

I chanced upon Mr. Rogers inspirational speech and thought it would be nice to share it today. He asked the audience to think about all the people who helped them get to where they are and say a silent thank you. It was a powerful 10 seconds for the people in the theater. People got emotional as they thought about the people who helped them. 

When was the last time you thought about the people who helped you become who you are today? It took me more than 10 seconds to reflect on all those who helped me along the way. My heart was immediately filled with gratefulness. It was a warm feeling that ran throughout my body. 

Try this as advised by Mr. Rogers. It will definitely brighten up your day :)

Day 17 Minimalism Challenge, Don't complain all day. Oh wow this is a hard challenge! Haha. I always complain when I feel something wonky in my body. I'll focus my mind then on being grateful today. Happy Monday everyone!

CB///*Yr2/128 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/151 #NewG318 #Home76 #StayHome #BeKind

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Spinning My Way to Biking Again

I finally completed 5 days of spinning on our exercise bike. Yay! I was also able to complete 18 minutes on it non-stop. That's a huge achievement for me! It's a far cry from doing "one minute on, one minute off" which I used to do with my physiotherapist. Before she left she told me that I could increase the minutes, but stop if I have a hard time breathing. 

I'm half-way to my target -- 30 minutes non-stop. I chose to get an exercise bike because biking is the one "sport" I really liked when I was growing up. I used to go with my Dad and his friends when they went walking around the village on Sundays. During summer vacation I'd go biking with friends around the village. 

My first bicycle was a red BMX. I learned how to use it on my own while the EDSA Revolution was happening. Mom's garden was the perfect learning space. I remember I would be called to go inside whenever helicopters would pass by. I didn't get to spend a lot of time with the red BMX because it was stolen! My parents eventually got me a yellow BMX bicycle. 

I super loved my yellow BMX bike. It had a basket and a cute bicycle bell. I made a lot of happy memories with that bicycle. I eventually outgrew it and I think my Mom gave it away to one of our workers. I still think about it fondly. 

And that's one of my intentions. When I go home I want to be able to bike around our village again. I hope it'll be with Sweetie or Miggy. I could bike to my Mom's home and bring her some pandesal from our neighbor. And go to the park and spin Pokestops. Ahh, it makes me so excited to go home! 

Do you have a favorite childhood hobby you'd like to do again?

Day 16 Minimalism Challenge, Don't spend money for 24 hours. I could go for days without spending money. It's the advantage of just being home. Part of my recovery process includes doing more chores. I've been trying to cook more the past few weeks. I was really happy when I was able to bake cookies last week because I was able to share some with my neighbors. Hopefully with increased energy and stamina I can do more and have more days when I don't spend money. 

CB///*Yr2/127 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/150 #NewG319 #Home77 #StayHome #BeKind 

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Defining Intentions

I've been trying to keep a good balance between online and offline time. There are days when I end up being unproductive because I have my eyes on my phone. It's unhealthy especially for your mental health. I fell into that trap again in the past few weeks. I had to intentionally break the cycle because there are other things I want to do. 

I have been reviewing the things I've learned from Dr. Joe Dispenza*. He is a neuroscientist, lecturer, researcher, educator etc. He's been sharing the science behind being able to heal yourself. He stumbled into it when he broke his spine from a bicycle accident. Kuya enrolled me in his online class to help me and Dr. Joe in a nutshell said that if your behaviors match your intentions then you will have a new emotional experience that would change your body and mind. You can change your future by defining a new intention. 

I followed this as part of my healing process when I had my first PE in 2018. I got better and I continued what I was doing. I realized I missed a huge piece of the puzzle -- getting rid of my addictions. That included being a workaholic, the inability to say no, taking in many challenges, being busy all the time etc. It is my software (mind/personality) problem which has severely affected my hardware (body). I mentioned yesterday why it was a huge struggle for me. I can say this now because I have already accepted that it's a problem and a past I have to move forward from. 

I have a lot of faith that I will be healed through prayer and good intentions. So today I declare that I will be healed and will be biking around my village in the next few months. I will be able to breath freely and the scars and veins (and loose screws) blocking good blood flow will be healed. I will be healed so I can do my next mission. 

*Dr. Joe - you can learn more about healing yourself by looking him up through YouTube, his books or website. It's a really interesting perspective and he's also explaining it scientifically.

Day 15 Minimalism challenge, Stay offline for a day. Haha, this is not possible! As I mentioned I have intentionally been budgeting my time now. I balance my day now by defining what I need to accomplish for the day. I do that first and just use the extra time I have for online stuff. I usually blog now after eating breakfast then I go offline to accomplish my to-do list. It's certainly made me more productive and gives me time to clean up my kalat at home. 

CB///*Yr2/126 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/149 #NewG320 #Home78 #StayHome #BeKind 

Friday, August 13, 2021

Forgiving and Accepting Yourself

Last night I almost went down the "Why is this happening to me?" road. I managed to stop myself because I've already resolved that question awhile back. I read somewhere that when you're faced with challenges it's better to look at it from a different perspective. Instead of asking "Why is this happening to me?", ask "What am I supposed to learn from this?" or "Is there a new mission God wants me to do?"

At some point during this harrowing journey with my weird health I got tired from overthinking. I blamed myself for getting sick and for not taking care of myself better. For not heeding the many signs that was leading to my current condition. I'm lucky I have a friend who kept reminding me that I shouldn't think about it that way. No one could have predicted that I would get sick, not even my doctors. 

My friend also kept reminding me not to feel guilty that I had to rest. I've always been on the go since high school. My Mom would always say, "Baka nasosobrahan ka na. Magpahinga ka naman!" I felt really guilty that I was not contributing especially since I know I was needed. It would break my heart whenever my teammates and partners would tell me they missed me. Good thing my friend was patient at reminding me that it's okay not to be okay and I shouldn't feel guilty about it. 

I guess it hit me hard because my love language is "acts of service". Not being able to do my work was unforgivable. Eventually I got tired of beating myself up and finally listened to my friend. I finally like the new me. I wake up, eat breakfast, drink my meds and go about my new no-pressure, no-stress normal. Stress is really bad for me as I learned the other day (nosebleeds all-day ftw). So I've been taking things one day at a time and just leaving everything to God's Will. 

Day 15 Minimalism challenge, Evaluate your last 5 purchases. Uh-oh... these are my last 5 purchases:

 (1) Just ordered lunch even though I still have leftovers in the fridge. 

(2) Essential oils - I could have probably omitted one of the four I got, but I got it for stock and I got a free one that I was planning to buy next time, so might've been a good trade-off. 

(3) CBTL coffee beans and merienda - coffee beans yes for everyday coffee, but could have skipped the merienda since their food has always been blah. 

(4) Cable holder, for future use, wasn't really needed (but it was so cheap!). 

(5) Small device bag - also got this for future use when we go home, could have probably skipped buying since I'm not really going anywhere when I get home noh?

I should seriously stick to my weekly allowance and determine what I really need :')

CB///*Yr2/125 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/148 #NewG321 #Home79 #StayHome #BeKind 

Thursday, August 12, 2021

The Saga Continues, Keeping the Faith

It was a busy day for us today. We both had to see our doctors. I had to see a new doctor today because the doc in the other hospital thought that this doctor could care for me better. I'm fine with it since the other hospital is closer to where I live. 

I honestly did not expect for another issue to crop up. I just had a routine check-up and that's when the issue was flagged. I am scheduled to have another test next week. I hope the results would not be problematic. I've been through a lot already, I just hope and pray things would get fully better now. 

Meanwhile while waiting for the test I've been working hard to increase the exercises I do in a day. I do wall push-ups and exercises in the morning (really helps support my back and lungs). And then I use the exercise bike. I've been dreaming of the day when I can get a bicycle and go around our village again. One thing I've totally forgotten to do is the Justin Agustin gentle exercise regime I enrolled in. I'll resume it tomorrow!

Day 13 Minimalism Challenge, Make a gratitude log. I did this as a challenge awhile back. I think about feeling grateful everyday especially when I feel down. For today I'm truly grateful for healthcare workers for their care. 

CB///*Yr2/124 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/147 #NewG322 #Home80 #StayHome #BeKind 

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Mr. Stormtrooper's Story

Mr. Stormtrooper celebrated his fourth birthday at home yesterday. We were reminded of it when his arrival video popped on FB. I told Sweetie we should celebrate his birthday! We were not able to celebrate yesterday because both of us were feeling unwell (#signsofoldage). So I thought we could do it today. 

I lined up Mr. Stormtrooper's buddies for a family photo. He used to stay in Miggy's room in our former flat. We put him there to watch over Miggy. Since we moved we put him in the living room so he could watch TV with his buddies. I think he's happier in the living room now since he gets acknowledged by those who VC with us. 

Couch view.
So, how did Mr. Stormtrooper end up with us? Well Sweetie's friend, Hannah, called him up one day and said she had something for us (since we like Star Wars). The store at her place was just going to dispose of Mr. Stormtrooper so she asked if she could have it. They gladly gave it to her. He was due to be disposed that day when she asked Sweetie to pick him up. 

Sweetie would have taken the MRT going home, but Mr. Stormtrooper was required to have his own card! So Sweetie ended up walking through the train station with Mr. Stormtrooper in tow. You can just imagine the many stares he got. Sweetie got a cab and Mr. Stormtrooper had to stay on the front seat. The seat had to be fully reclined for him to fit. Sweetie said the taxi driver kept looking at Mr. Stormtrooper throughout the ride. They also got a lot of weird stares from pedestrians. Haha. 

I've re-uploaded his coming home video here. It was a happy day haha. And yes, we are bringing him home with us. Just need to figure out how we can bring him in one piece (maybe he'll fit the Jolly gigantic box?).

Day 12 Minimalism Challenge, Spend time with loved ones. Well I do this all day now everyday. Yesterday I spent an hour on the phone with my Mom. It was pretty hard for me since I start losing my voice just a few minutes through our conversation. Well I usually have her do the talking anyway and just ask questions in between hehe. That was the big thing for me yesterday since I had to lie down the rest of the day. My prayer every night is for God to heal me so I could spend more time with my family. 

CB///*Yr2/123 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/146 #NewG323 #Home81 #StayHome #BeKind 

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Mom's Lockdown Formula

I had a nice chat with my Mom earlier. She shared updates on what she's been doing and not doing. I'm relieved she's just staying home. I had a panic attack when I heard she went out last January to visit the church. She only told me she did a few months after. Good thing Kuya also confiscated her driver's license because it's prevented her from going out. 

My Mom has adjusted well to the new normal. Senior citizens have generally not been allowed out since last year. She used to complain in the beginning that she wanted to at least go to church. Good thing she understands the risks of going out and have just stayed home. She only got to go out because one of her friends took her out for a spin. 

Here's my Mom's happy to be home formula:

1. Telebabad with her amigas - yup, it's been quite hard to reach her by phone! Well, she also gets regular calls from us and her grandchildren. 

2. Gardening - it's a known rule, if you want to call Mom, don't call her during her gardening hours haha. 

3. Sewing and quilting - I sent Mom a huge box of quilting materials to keep her busy. She loves hand quilting stuff and I asked her to make me some throw pillow covers for Christmas hrhrhr. 

4. Praying - growing up I always saw my Mom with her prayer book. She'd be sitting quietly on the bed praying. She does this all day and I'm sure she's busy doing that now. 

5. Watch the news - I'm sure my Mom misses Dad. They used to discuss the news a lot. I get bits and pieces of it whenever I call her. 

I think the key to my Mom's happy lockdown vibe is the fact she has a lot of hobbies. She always tells me there's a lot to do at home. She's excited to grow more pechay using Kuya's hydrophonics set-up. Maybe I'll try that too when we go home. 

Day 11 Minimalism challenge, meditate your day. I spend some time meditating everyday. It helps me calm down and center myself. There are days though where my mind just doesn't stop whirring. What helped me learn how to meditate was the Headspace app. I just went through the 10-day trial of the app and the I've been using the technique for years now. I think I'll revisit it for a refresher course :)

CB///*Yr2/122 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/145 #NewG324 #Home82 #StayHome #BeKind 

Monday, August 9, 2021

Happy 56th Birthday Singapore!

Majulah Singapura! Happy, happy 56th birthday Singapore! 

Singapore has been my home for 10 years now. Today I wanted to celebrate what I'm grateful about living here. 

1. My life was extended here thrice - I had OHS to repair my mitral valve and my respiratory doctor saved me twice from PE! This was made possible by my guardian daddies who brought me here. 

2. Miggy's completed schooling - one reason why I grabbed the opportunity to move here was to make sure I could pay for Miggy's tuition. Grateful for the opportunity because I was able to send him to school here. I'm so glad he finished back in 2019. 

3. We were able to buy a home back home - I lived like I was in Manila to be able to save. I was able to live on a SG$50 weekly allowance the first few years (thanks to the free food at work) and that's how we were able to buy our first home. When you really put your mind to it, you can do it. 

4. I met a lot of amazing people - I never imagined I'd meet so many people from different walks of life (and nations!). It never occurred to me that I'd have so many lovely friends from other cultures. 

5. I learned a lot - I'm grateful I've been able to work with a lot of awesome, intelligent people. I'd like to believe I evolved a lot from being the shy, super introverted person I was when I moved here. I learned a lot from the people around me. I also became a better, more confident version of myself. 

6. It was an experience like no other - from just covering Southeast Asia I eventually expanded across Asia Pacific. Wow oh wow, I had so much fun exploring and getting to know other cultures. And key to that was Changi Airport! I always looked forward to traveling and would go to the airport early to complete my travel rituals. LOL. 

7. Appreciating parks - I must admit exercise isn't really in my vocabulary, but when I moved here I learned to appreciate the parks they situated within neighborhoods. We used to walk from Harbourfront to the beach in Sentosa. The West Coast Park became part of my breathing exercise regimen. I'll probably do more walking when I eventually go home. 

8. Efficiency - one of the best things you can experience in Singapore is the efficiency of systems. If the train breaks down, there's a back-up bus that's ready to be used. Renewing your pass is done through an appointment system. When you go to the center it takes just ten minutes and you leave with a new pass. When you go to your doctor's appointment you'll usually see him within 15 minutes of your appointed time.  (Even the Philippine Embassy is efficient with time here!). 

9. The Zoo - my favorite zoo here is the Jurong Bird Park. I'm really grateful they have super well-maintained zoos here. It's on my bucket list to visit the bird park one more time before we go home.

10. Celebrations - one thing I learned more about here are the different holidays other religions/cultures celebrate. I now have better appreciation of CNY, Eid al-Fitr, Edi al-Adha, and Diwali. We'll now celebrate that too when we go home. 

And before I forget, I developed my love for milk tea because of Singapore! I will definitely miss Toast Box, Fun Toast, Killiney, Ya Kun Kaya Toast and Wang Cafe. Sigh.

Thank you Singapore! You will be forever in my heart <3

Day 10 Minimalism Challenge, Ditch the makeup for one day. Hahaha, I rarely wear makeup! I wore lipstick two weeks ago and promptly had an allergy. LOL. I guess for this challenge I'll look through whatever makeup I have and throw the ones that smell like a grandma already. I recently checked my mascara stash and they were all dried up already. Gosh, that's how long we've been just home! Aside from following this minimalism challenge, I've been clearing out "tiny bubbles" in my home and getting rid of stuff I don't use anymore. 

CB///*Yr2/121 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/144 #NewG325 #Home83 #StayHome #BeKind 

Sunday, August 8, 2021

An Oily Life, a Birthday Gift for Myself

I have been using essential oils for three years now. I had several friends reach out to me about it. I started using it in 2018 and I liked it. I've had to do a lot of research since I have to make sure that the oils I use do not interact with my medication. 

I use EOs to lift my mood, help with asthma and allergies, poo spray and kabag. I usually put a drop of eucalyptus on my mask before wearing it. I also started using laundry and dishwashing soap from the company where I get my oils. It helped reduce my allergies and I feel my plates and utensils are cleaner. 

I finally bought myself a nice storage box for my essential oils. I've been looking at it on Amazon for a year now. I was ready to purchase it a few months ago, but it went out of stock! I ordered it a few weeks ago and it arrived yesterday! Yay! I put it by my bedside. I super love it!

I have pinned my favorite blends on Pinterest. Follow me at @aileenapolo :)

Oh I also realized that the follow by email of Feedburner will end soon. If you want updates about my blog, please follow my FB page, Twitter or Instagram. Oh, I'm also on MeWe! 

Day 9 Minimalism Challenge, Donate old books. Ahh yes, I have so many books here with me in Singapore. I've started to sort them to give away those I'm not bringing back home. I have marked some already that I'll be sending to friends :)

CB///*Yr2/120 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/143 #NewG326 #Home84 #StayHome #BeKind 

Saturday, August 7, 2021

The Unvaccinated

My Mom made sure I completed all the required vaccinations. I remember those times Ninang Lumen, my pedia, would bribe me with a lollipop everytime I got vaccinated. I was lucky also because I got my Mom's immunities to common illnesses like chickenpox and measles. When I became a Mom I made sure also to complete Miggy's vaccinations. 

They're starting to roll out new policies here. They're giving more benefits for those who are vaccinated. I wonder what will happen to people like me. I have a medical issue that would put me at risk if I get vaccinated. My vascular doctor identified me as one of those who can't be vaccinated. I could potentially die if I took the risk. 

Even if my doctor gives me a certificate I could carry I'd always be at risk. Sweetie and I were talking about how we're going to manage it. We'll have to take more precautions. This means I won't be enjoying any of the usual things I do like going to the mall or doing groceries. Honestly I don't want to live in fear, but I'm like a magnet to viruses. 

It's disenheartening, but this is the reality I'm facing right now. How does one live the life of a hermit?

Day 8 Minimalism Challenge, Journal for 20 minutes. I don't keep a journal anymore because my blog serves that purpose. Sometimes though when I feel like writing something which I want to keep to myself I write it on Google Docs or Google Keep. I have a planner where I try to keep track of daily milestones. I used to stick flight stickers on it. Now I just stick food delivery stickers on it. Since there's not much outdoor activity for me, I also keep a quilting journal. It's where I track completed projects. I do that so I could see the progress of my quilting hobby :)

CB///*Yr2/119 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/142 #NewG327 #Home85 #StayHome #BeKind