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Friday, July 1, 2022

Lakwatsera Fridays: The Best Bulgogi I Ever Tasted

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

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

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




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





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

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

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Throwback Thursday: Growing Up in a Catholic School

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

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


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


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


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


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

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


Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Wellness Wednesdays: Managing Stress and Triggers

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bee happy!

#BeKind #StaySafe


Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Quilt Projects I'm Working On

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




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




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




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

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, June 27, 2022

My Dream Kitchen

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Monday everyone. 

#BeKind #StaySafe


Sunday, June 26, 2022

Happy Pride! Love Always Wins

Some of my friends attended the pride march yesterday. In my previous job we usually had a month long celebration. The office was always colorful during the month of June. My favorite place was the Harry Potter-like stairs that was dressed in rainbow colors. One of the secret hallway floor was also made colorful during the month. And normally there would be a month-end celebration. I miss those days!




I'm not going to write a long-winded post about why we should respect everyone's choices. I've always believed that we should just love no matter what. The golden rule after all is "Love your neighbor". 




Just love <3

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Back to Regular Programming

The boys are both up and about now. Yay! Miggy ended his self-isolation today. I was really surprised he lost weight! He said he spent time exercising more while he was stuck in his room. To celebrate, we got brunch from Presko Coffee. It was my first time to see their lunch menu. I got the the seafood pink pasta and it's now a new favorite! Yum-yum!




I  must say that the boys getting flu was a blessing in disguise. We were supposed to go on a family vacation this week. Good thing we postponed it because a waterspout (ipo-ipo) was spotted where we were supposed to go. That would have been really scary! Staying home also helped me recover from another bout of heart failure. I feel better now, thanks to my cardiologist. Seeing her next week for a follow-up. 

Kalat pa more...
So today was the first day we all got together again. The boys decided to pick up from where we left off two weeks ago. They're unboxing boxes from the condo. We scheduled the Squeaky.ph angels to come tomorrow to clean and disinfect the rooms. They were the ones who packed the boxes a month ago! I guess Sweetie wanted to show that we started working on them haha. 

We found some of my favorite kitchen items and a gazillion gift wrappers I got from Divi a long time ago. Also found two crates of Christmas decor we haven't used in 5 years! It's going to be fun setting up maybe four trees this year hahaha. My stamina has improved also, so we should progress better. We're scheduled to start work on improving the storage situation in our new home soon. 

Higad situation: found tiny wrigglies in a pot yesterday. I tried scooping them out. It was impossible, so I made a neem oil concoction and watered the plant with it. Checked today and they were dead. I hope the neem oil got the eggs too. Still found five fat ones running around today. That tells me the infestation isn't over yet and I have to be vigilant. I hope it'll be over soon because I want to plant seeds again. 

Happy weekend everyone!

#BeKind #StaySafe


Friday, June 24, 2022

Tried Randy's Donuts

A good friend sent us two boxes of Randy's Donuts on Miggy's birthday. We weren't even aware that Randy's Donuts is now available here, haha. Our friend though lives in the middle of where the action is so she let's us know whenever there is something new. She knows we never go out, so she takes care of keeping us updated and calorie-filled!




The box was huge. It's as big as KK's box of 12, so I thought she sent two dozen doughnuts. When I opened the box I was surprised to see how huge the doughnuts were. They looked like stuffed toys because of the size. The boys were still in isolation, so I took a photo and asked them to choose. They probably thought the doughnuts were small because they chose two each! They were so shocked when they got the doughnuts. I cannot imagine how they finished two in one sitting.




I just got the candy-sprinkled one and it took me an hour to finish it. The candy sprinkles made the pink icing more sweet. Good thing the doughnut itself wasn't sweet. It didn't really have a distinct taste like KK or DD. Those doughnuts I could distinguish from other doughnuts. Randy's Donuts was just okay and a tad bit too sweet. I finished a liter of water while eating one doughnut hehe. 




It was good to try and I appreciate my friend got us some. She said she found the doughnuts too sweet and she only eats half. Told her it was a good experience for us to try since I only knew about it from her, haha (it's like we live in the boondocks). Oh, I tried it with coffee this morning and I sliced a fourth of three flavors so I can try different variants. TBH, they all tasted the same haha. It's pairs well with coffee though, so will do that again next time. 

Have you tried Randy's Donuts?

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Together Again on His Birthday

Sweetie has finally ended his self-confinement. It's great because it's his birthday today! He was already waiting for me at the dining table when I woke up. We split a doughnut while ordering lunch. We decided to get Din Tai Fung since we haven't tried that here.



 

We gave Miggy his share and settled in the maker room to eat. Miggy will be out by Saturday. By then his cough should be gone. We miss spending time with him in person and I miss his hugs. Well, we should all be back to regular programming soon. 

Happy birthday Sweetie!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Another Unique Birthday

We were supposed to be at a family vacay this week to celebrate Sweetie and Miggy's birthdays. We were so excited and I even bought sun screen haha. Well, as always, we have to be flexible about circumstances. The boys are still in their own rooms until their cough gets better. I do hope Sweetie gets out tomorrow since it will be his birthday. 

I was looking forward to an in-person celebration since we missed Miggy's birthday in the past two years. We were stuck in Singapore. We just ordered food for him and sent a huge balikbayan box of stuff haha. Well, we'll just make up for it next week. 

To celebrate Miggy's birthday we just had food delivered. I thought if we can't party together, we could have an individual feast! I also had three gifts for Miggy. I surprised him by giving it to him in three drops, haha. I even wrapped it for posterity. 

Tomorrow will be Sweetie's birthday. Maybe it'll be a bit different if he decides to end his quarantine. Well, we'll see how things go. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Defeat is Not an Option

My heart sank when I saw several of my plants dead from the higad invasion. The damage: 4 citronella plants, basil, 2 lettuce pots, a caixin flower plant, mustasa and newly planted zinnias. Nakakagalit pramis. I toiled many months to get those plants going and in less than a week they're all gone. But that's nature. What it taught me is to be ready for this when it happens again.




I've been able to so far save some of the plants my Mom gave me. I've been hovering over them, plucking away the critters. I've also been spraying neem oil to ensure that the eggs don't flourish. The tanglad-oregano concoction has worked wonders. I think they hate the smell and run away when sprayed with it. I've seen some freeze and die. I've been spraying everyday since I discovered the invasion and I noticed they are getting thinner by the day. 


It was already dead when I found it on a tomato leaf.
Probably ate a lot of leaf with neem oil.


I'm focusing only on the potted plants since I don't have enough neem oil. I've also taken most of the lemograss and oregano and have to give them time to grow again. I don't think the critters like the bamboo so I've generally just sprayed the ones we pass by often. Even though I'm actively protecting my plants, we have started to see butterflies and moths flying around the house. The nice thing about that is they can help pollinate my tomato plants that are flowering again. 

Ang Cardo Dalisay vs. higad: neem oil with castille soap + tanglad and oregano potion. 


I can't do anything anymore to my plants that I was not able to save. It just means I have to care for the news ones better. I'll probably plant again and buy new plants when the higad season is over. I should probably get some help also to trim the grass and the bamboo. It's starting to look like a forest now here hehe. 

Defeat is not an option and that also applies to me. I've been treating this as God's way to push me to move around more. Granted that by early evening I feel like my body will dismantle soon, but two weeks ago I wouldn't have been able to do this. I would also have not been able to take care of my boys. So there is always hope to get better. I just have to be in the right headspace so I can take care of myself and others (including my plants). 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, June 20, 2022

Tropical Hut and Me

I'm really happy to see the newfound support being given to Tropical Hut. Since we got home we have been ordering TH delivery every other week. I always order the classic cheeseburger and macaroni salad. I also like their dinuguan and we always get their rice meals. It's comfort food for us and we're happy because we're sandwiched between two branches now!


The classic Tropical Hut burger, 2008.


I first learned about Tropical Hut when Kuya used to visit a friend in BF. I was the key so he could borrow the car, haha. I eventually got to know TH more when I worked for a telco. It was one of my accounts, so I I got to visit all the six supermarket branches. Their head office used to be in EDSA and I remember everyone was always nice. Of course, I always had a snack whenever I visited any of the branches. 

I used to sell cookies too and always got all my ingredients at Tropical Hut. They had the best prices when it came to baking supplies. I got to visit the BF branch often because I used to bring and pick up Miggy from school everyday. Sometimes we'd stopover at TH to buy merienda before going home. 

I was looking for a photo of TH in my photo baul. I only found one from 2008! It's funny how you take for granted that some things will always be there, so you don't bother taking photos. I've been ordering smaller burgers the past two months, but the bigger burgers are still wrapped in tin foil the last time I ordered. We just got some TH a day or two before it trended. I'm just happy to see more people are trying it. Do check your area because it looks like they are expanding!

#BeKind #StaySafe


Sunday, June 19, 2022

Mom + Dad

I was both Mom and Dad for Miggy until he was 15 years old. It was challenging, but I was very lucky I had my Dad. From the day Miggy was born, Dad was a doting grandfather to him. He wakes up very early and gets Miggy at around 4 am so I could get some sleep. Dad also took care of non-Math subjects whenever Miggy had questions. They were two peas in a pod. Everyone said that Miggy looked like his lolo's mini me. 

Both my parents supported me, I still had to fulfill the responsibility of being both parents to Miggy. It was hard, but I focused on one thing, Miggy. Everything I did and all decisions I made were for him. I have a friend who's also a single parent. She asked me how was I able to fulfill my obligations. I told her I'm sure she'd be able to be able to provide for her son's needs. 

Love, sacrifice and hard work . That's what all parents do for their children. And when they grow up, let them fly and be whoever they want to be. I'm grateful though that in our journey as Miggy and Mom, Sweetie joined our little family. It was not just me who suffered the empty nest syndrome when Miggy decided to go back to Manila after his studies. Sweetie and I were both so sad when he went home, we'd stay out late everyday. We dreaded going home to an empty apartment. 

I had Miggy early. I'm glad I did. My health did not allow me to have another one, but I was always meant to have a child. That's probably why he came earlier. Being a parent is a journey to enjoy and be treasured. Just love and have faith, everything else will just fall into place. 

Happy Father's Day to all <3

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Postponed Birthday Plans

We were supposed to go on our first family vacay next week. We wanted to celebrate Sweetie and Miggy's birthday out of town. The boys are much better now except for a cough. We decided to postpone the trip since the doctor advised it's better to isolate until they finish their medication. It's just the regular flu, but we're treating it like a contagious illness since we're still in the middle of a pandemic. They both don't want me to pick it up. 


Birthday lunch at Marche 2019


I hope they'll be out by their birthdays. It would be a bummer if I couldn't even hug them! I wanted to at least have a nice dinner at home with our parents, but for safety we'll just do it later on. What's more important is for everyone to get better first so we could enjoy our vacation. I'm grateful that the resort allowed us to re-book without charges. 

I just remembered, the last time we celebrated their birthdays together was in 2019! We were still in Singapore then and celebrated by dining at our favorite restos, Nana's Green Tea and Marche. This year we'll just order some yummy food and stay home. What's important is we get to be together again for our birthdays! Yay!

#BeKind #StaySafe


Friday, June 17, 2022

Battling Weedle errr Higad!

It's my first higad season in our still relatively new home. Kevin of Epic Gardening said that they may be beneficial for your garden if there's just a few. They do eventually turn into pretty butterflies. I love butterflies and I know these critters are food for the birds too. I'm actively battling them for two reasons.

 


First, I will never forget that time when I almost lost my best friend because of them. We were walking home from the park with Miggy. As we were walking a tree doused us with falling leaves. There was a caterpillar on my bestie's shirt. It was flicked away. We thought nothing about it. Got home and almost an hour later I get a call which I did not understand at all. 

I only found out later on that the best friend suffered anaphylaxis from inhaling the caterpillar hair. Some were probably left on the shirt. He was so worried about Miggy that's why he called from the emergency room. That's reason number 1 why I'm actively trying to minimize the invasion. Those things can be nasty. I had two rashes yesterday after spraying neem oil even though I didn't touch any of them. Good thing I was wearing a mask. 

They were perfect the other day.

Grew this for six months and I'm not sure if it will recover.

Of course, reason number 2 is I don't want my plants to be ruined! I have been trying to grow some flower plants from seed since January. They ate them up! I sprayed a lot of neem oil on them last night and still found several caterpillars on them this afternoon. They seem to prefer flowering plants. Even my pretty aglaonema was not spared. My Mom gave them to me, so I need to make sure I care for them properly. I read they also like seedlings and I've just planted several seeds the past two weeks. Trying to protect those that have sprouted. 

I've been spraying neem oil with castille soap the past few days. I'm not really sure if it's effective since I don't really see any dead caterpillars. I don't want to use chemical insecticides since I read that birds eat them. Neem oil is like a medicine for birds so it's good for them. 

I'm about to try a concoction that Kuya Arlan taught me. He told me to boil tanglad (lemongrass) and oregano and use it to spray the plants. Good thing the free oregano plant I got is still very much alive (insects hate it). I also planted the tanglad I got from the supermarket and it's thriving. Got a bunch this afternoon and left it boil. I'm just waiting for it to cool so I can spray again. I read you should spray it at night because that's when the caterpillars actively eat. 

Don't ever touch those seemingly cute little things. I was trying to identify the ones we have here now. They're not even the cute green ones, but brown hairy ones. Some of them are so fat they look like tiny stuffed toys. I just ordered a proper garden spray. Bought two so I can give one to my Mom. I think 95% of her plants are flowering plants. So I can't help but worry for her. 

How long does higad season last? I remember there was a time when I was in elementary school when the nuns had to suspend classes because of the infestation. We had several huge acacia trees in campus. It was always a bad time for us during higad season because they fall on unsuspecting kids. I was lucky I was spared back then. Hope it will be over soon. 

#BeKind #StaySafe




Thursday, June 16, 2022

Tripled My Steps!

I have a measly base of 1,000+ steps per day. Post-PE in 2018 I was able to do 6k per day when I'd go to work. This dwindled in post-2021 PE, but I was able to work it up to 3k when Sweetie and I would go to the park at night. I'd average 2k per day at home now, but this spiraled down to 800 to 1,000 in the past two months. I deteriorated after experiencing heat exhaustion in March. 

My new cardiologist worked her magic on me and I'm happy to share that I feel I'm getting better. I've been forced to move around more in the past two days when both Sweetie and Miggy had to isolate. I've been able to triple my daily step count average. And I had uninterrupted sleep last night. Yay! 

Renewing my stamina has been hard. I told Sweetie it's actually good I've been forced to fend for myself for now. I've had to rest in between serving* them meals. I only wash my own dishes since the boys have their own dishwashing paraphernalia so we could avoid contact. It's been therapeutic even though my knees shake after going up and down several times. What it tells me is I have hope. 


West Coast Park, Singapore, 2020.


I want to have a better quality of life. I don't want to live cooped up in the maker room and I definitely don't want to become a recluse. I'm lucky I have bosom buddies who I can chat with about mundane stuff everyday. And I definitely don't want to do an activity and then promptly get sick for a few weeks after. 

I prodded the boys to do an e-consultation today. I reached out to my pulmo, but he resumes his clinic on Monday. They're trying it now. Sweetie's antigen tests have been negative the past 4 days, Miggy also for two days. This is a good sign! I just want to make sure they don't have an infection, so they're talking to a doctor now. Maybe tomorrow Sweetie can rejoin me in the outside world! Yay! 

*Thank you to the trusty delivery service!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Two Down, I'm the Last Woman Standing!

Both my boys now are sick. They're currently doing an antigen test. Sweetie doesn't have fever anymore, but he's still coughing. Advised him to still stay quarantined since there reports of late positive COVID-19 test (read here). I read that the vaccination sometimes delays it. 

I'm really grateful I'm feeling better now. The last few weeks have been challenging for me. The new pill the doctor gave me seems to have worked and I've been doing oxygen therapy at night. I think that helped ease the strain on my heart. I was working on improving my stamina the past few days by gardening and my energy is slowly coming back. That's important because now with both my boys sick I have to take care of everything. 

First order of the day was to get them breakfast. The air quality has been pretty bad because of Mt. Bulusan so I can't really hang out in the kitchen, so I just had some food delivered. Set up two stools now outside the bedroom doors. We agreed to wear a mask whenever anyone goes out of the room. I used the disinfectant spray gun for packages around the house last night, but I'm not sure if that would be helpful. I just also wash my hands whenever I go out of the bedroom.



To minimize bringing out stuff from the bedrooms I got bottled water and provided the boys with utensils and dishwashing paraphernalia. Actually, Sweetie had prepared some items in the guest room in case anyone needs to be quarantined. Sweetie wanted his honey ginger tea with him, so we put it in a cooler. We just switch the cooling bottle every 12 hours. He has his own kettle. Of course, they have their own meds and alcohol. The WHO provides a useful guideline for home quarantine.

No one has test positive, but we're treating it as COVID-19 just to be on the safe side. The biggest fear of my doctors is for me to get it. I'm not stressing over it, just leaving everything to God. I just want my boys to get well soon. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

The Secret to Long Life

Happy to share that we're doing well. Sweetie is still in isolation, but so far his antigen tests have been negative. To be sure he'll stay one more night in isolation and test again tomorrow. He also needs to rest so this forced rest will be good for him. I've been out of commission so he's been my superman. The new medication has helped a lot and I think I'm getting better. 

Sweetie checking his step count.


I'm breathing better now so I'm working on upping my stamina. I'm doing this through my happy exercise -- gardening! It's been a good exercise because I'm forced to squat and do a lot of arm movements. Met a few caterpillars though in the last few days. They probably came from the trees from the property beside us. I so far haven't seen a lot, but I sprayed some neem oil to be sure. 

It was on the pot I was about to grab! Good thing I saw it before I could touch it.
Would have been a gazillion times itchy!


I had Miggy transfer my plants in pots from the pocket garden to the back garden. They were looking so sad already because of the dry-wet-dry weather cycle. Trimmed a lot of dead leaves the past few days and hope they will recover. I'm happy though that the plants my Mom gave us are all still alive! They probably still have her magic in time that's why they're going strong. 




I planted some seeds last week and some have started to sprout. Yay! I think it's a bad time though to plant seeds since it's been raining off and on. I haven't been able to harvest anything yet since I've been a bad home gardener. Well, I think my plant babies appreciate the renewed attention because I finally saw the rope tomato forming flowers! I hope though the rain doesn't ruin them. 

Of course, Mom was in the garden this afternoon.


Gardening has been a good way to heal and center myself. I was in a really bad place after the elections. The quiet of working with nature really has a different kind of magic. It really helps calm and heal. It's the reason why my Mom is healthy and strong at 86. Caring for other living things other than yourself I think is the secret to long life. 

#BeKind #StaySafe


Monday, June 13, 2022

From Bird Cam to Jay Cam: Isolation

My superman Sweetie is sick. He started to have fever yesterday and was complaining of body ache. He was so busy all weekend taking care of two sets of workers. He also drove me to Makati Med for my heart test, so he was really tired by Saturday night. He still woke up early on Sunday because there was still repairs being made in our home. 

Good thing they finished just after lunch. We had him take a nap so he could rest. He went downstairs and joined us to eat. I decided to go back upstairs by 5:30pm to force him to rest again. By six he was having chills. We managed his fever with Biogesic and it slowly went down. We were able to hear mass late in the evening. 



I turn into a light sleeper whenever someone is sick at home. I didn't notice though when Sweetie moved to the guest room at around 5 in the morning. He said with his symptoms it was probably better to isolate. We set up a receiving area outside of the room and I left a box of the antigen test we brought home from Singapore. He took it and it was negative (whew!). He'll still stay in isolation for the meantime even though he doesn't have fever anymore. He'll take the test again tomorrow so we're sure. A friend suggested though we have him do a PCR test, we'll observe for now. 

Sweetie had set-up an extra camera in the guest bedroom so we could see the birds hanging out in the area. They have been attracted to the window of the guest bedroom for some strange reason. For now we could see Sweetie through the camera. It really gives me peace of mind to see him. I'm able to monitor his condition also and so far he looks like he's bouncing back really fast. Maybe he just need to really rest. In the meantime, Miggy and I are also grounded and observing our health. Also got help already for some important errands we were supposed to do today. 

#BeKind #StaySafe


Sunday, June 12, 2022

Happy Independence Day!

The first thing I saw on Twitter this morning were the funny tweets on #rp612fic made by netizens. It's a continuation from previous years when they spoofed the revolution. The tweets this year though focused on bits and pieces of history and it's characters twisted with recent events. Here's a few popular ones -

https://twitter.com/duhrednozz/status/1535653290809036803


https://twitter.com/funsizeflyboy/status/1535818502053195776


https://twitter.com/CenVierneza/status/1535655211515031552






We enjoy this freedom now to post anything and we should remember to say a prayer for all our ancestors who fought for our freedom. And that hard earned freedom we should continue to protect. 

Have a Happy Independence Day everyone!

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Some Upgrades at Home

Sitting in the dark amidst hammering and the sound of the walis tingting scraping the concrete garage floor. I'm in the dark because the solar crew turned off the electricity to connect the panels to the electric panel. It will take about two hours to finish the work and I hope my Mi Fan battery lasts. 



After a lot of encouragement from my Kuya we decided to get solar panels installed in our home. We're using the same company he used for Mom's home. The crew said they'll finish the installation today, we'll likely get to really try it tomorrow since the panels didn't get enough charge today.

I'm both excited and nervous whenever we try something new. I know solar tech has been around for awhile now so it should be safe. I'm just really anxious whenever there's something new that requires power. Much like the anxiety I've been having since I started using the oxygen concentrator. There's a long list of "don'ts" when using it!
Aside from the solar project,  we're also having our roof fixed. It's been leaking. I don't want to have a waterfall like what happened at Mom's so I nagged and nagged to get it done. I hope this second round of repairs will finally address the leaks. We're also having the master bedroom floor reinforced. It feels like we're on a trampoline whenever we walk across it. It makes me dizzy. That required a lot of nagging also to get done. 

I didn't get to work on my quilt project. I took care of the food tasks. Thanks to Grab and the restos I ordered from I didn't have any issues with it. I wanted to hang out upstairs to help, but it was really a struggle to breathe through a mask so I stayed in the maker room most of the day.

Hope all the works will be finished by tomorrow :)

Friday, June 10, 2022

In 2003 It was Only PhP20 per Liter

I remember, buying a 1.5 liter bottle of Coke was always more expensive than a liter of gas. In 2017, a 1.5 liter of Coke cost PhP50 each or about PhP33.34 per liter (Source). Gasoline cost an average of PhP46.16 per liter (Source: DOE). Technically, a liter of Coke IS cheaper than gasoline, in my mind though buying a bottle was more expensive than buying gas. Gas provides energy for your car, Coke provides energy for you, lol. Well, Coke is a staple in my Mom's household (it's still on her bi-monthly grocery list). 


Found this photo in my baul. In 2003, a liter of gas was about PhP20. 
Doubled at PhP37-41 in 2010 (source).
Unfortunately can't find the price of Coke in 2003. 


Well, a full tank averages about 42 liters for a sedan. A thousand in 2017 would be half tank, nowadays you need to pay 2k to fill up half of your tank. And a 1.5 liter bottle of Coke is about PhP70 now (varies a lot depending on where you buy). This means it's about the same price per liter of gasoline in 2017. 


2017, took this photo of a new gasoline station on the way to Baguio.
A liter of gas was about PhP33.


I noticed that things started to get more expensive in the past six years. Cost of living here is still much cheaper compared to Singapore. In Singapore we always just used a basket when we went to the grocery since at the blink of an eye ten to fifteen items can already cost PhP4k. I do my Mom's groceries and I've been able to stretch PhP4k to cover 30 to 40 items (including her bottle of Coke Zero [don't tell her I'm not getting the original one!]). 

Habang maikli ang kumot, matutong mamaluktot.

I think all of us Pinoys are familiar with this Filipino saying. Bend when the blanket is short. At home we've only been spending now for food and utilities. Much as I want to do more joyrides or visit Tagaytay more often, we know it's the time to stay within the blanket. We'll just save up for a proper vacation and skip the fun stuff for now. The future feels so uncertain and seeing our leaders focus more on themselves than the citizens isn't reassuring at all.  

Be prudent. 

#BeKind #StaySafe


Thursday, June 9, 2022

The Journey of Making a Memory Quilt Blanket

I collected a massive amount of shirts since I joined Google in 2006. Through the years though my shirt size grew from extra small to never mind. Chalk it up to achieving the Google 10 (now 15) a few times. I joined during the time the company used to give a lot of shirts for employees. I kept all the shirts because I thought I'd eventually lose weight and be able to wear the old ones. Of course, that did not happen. 

I took a break back in 2019 and cleaned out my closet. Found my collection of t-shirts and thought it was a good time to start making a t-shirt memory quilt. Cutting the shirts was a painful process. T-shirt fabric isn't the same as the cotton fabric normally used for quilting. I gave the leftover parts of the shirt to my Mom for her rug project, so nothing went to waste. I didn't finish cutting the shirts so I brought it back to SG with me. 




Did some research to understand the process of making t-shirt quilt better. Got the fusible interfacing and other fabric I needed online. I managed to finish cutting the shirts while in Singapore and intended to fuse the interfacing with the shirts while in quarantine. Ended up sleeping through quarantine hahaha. Only got to work on it again early this year when the boys set-up my sewing area in the living room. 

I've been toiling on it for many months now. I spending two to three hours about four times a week. It is tiring and progress is dependent on my health too. My doctor asked me if I get tired working on it. I said no since it's fun for me. I also used a sewing machine to work on it, but I did hand stitching to piece the fabric together. It's hard to align pieces via a machine and I wanted the lines to be more precise. That's what I wanted to improve from the last pieces of blankets I made. 




I think I'm 80% done with the blanket now. I pieced two sets of two rows together. I'm now in the wrestling match phase of quilt blanket making, hahaha. I call it a wrestling match because it's hard to manuever heavy pieces of fabric that's been sandwiched with wadding. Good thing I got lighter wadding from Spotlight. I think I'll finish merging all seven rows this week. I'll add the backing next week and then make the binding. I should hopefully finish before end of the month! Yay! 

#BeKind #StaySafe