Sunday, July 31, 2022

Miracle Sundays: Work with All Your Heart

 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” (Colossians 3:23, NIV)

I once saved my allowance to buy my Mom a birthday gift. It was a standee that had the bible verse quoted above. It was shortened version that said, "Do all your work with love" and it had a cartoon drawing of a smiling lady. I don't remember how old I was then, but I remember why I got it for my Mom. I was always being scolded for being messy and thought maybe that would soften her up. 

She kept it in the bathroom and I think it might still be there. I saw it everytime I went to the bathroom and I guess it reminded me to do everything with all my heart. I probably went over and beyond because my heart had to be repaired and the stress ate my lungs too, haha. I gave it my all and really had a hard time letting go. All my doctors were in agreement that the stress from work was eventually going to kill me. 

I eventually found peace when I decided to go. I prayed hard because I was scared. How could I live if I didn't have income? My maintenance medications alone cost a lot monthly and it would be dangerous if I scrimp on it. I didn't want to be a burden to my family, so I prayed harder. I prayed and lifted all my worries to God. Eventually things worked out and I realized that God was redirecting me to be somewhere else. 

I would probably be gone now if I stood my ground and stayed. The stress would have deteriorated me further. Sometimes you just really need to listen hard and let go. It will bring you peace. The past week has been challenging for me. I pushed my body hard so I could take care of my boys. As always, I gave it all my heart and I'm happy I was able to prepare their meals yesterday because it was raining so hard the whole day. 

Thank you Lord for always taking care of us. Happy Sunday everyone!

#BeKind #StaySafe 

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Plantita Saturdays: Oh Hello Ms. Petunia

I was so happy yesterday after seeing the negative result of the antigen test. Took a shower and headed down to my craft room to avoid the bad air quality. After eating lunch I went out to check my plants. I noticed that those that survived the higad invasion have recovered. Their leaves are shiny again and they are becoming bushy once more. Lesson learned, don't wait too long to get help from professionals to take care of pests.

Anyway, as I was inspecting the plants I was pleasantly surprised a flower blossomed from the aglaonema pot. Mom gave me the pot early this year. It grew so beautifully and I took a photo of it a few days before it got infested with caterpillars. What I didn't notice was it had a companion plant in the same pot. I had no idea what it was until today when it suddenly blossomed a beautiful pink flower. 

Ms. Petunia

Of course being the noob gardener I am, I immediately took photos and used Google Lens to identify it. Ruellia simplex, also known as the Mexican petunia. I placed the pot of aglaonema on the top shelf of the plant stand because I wanted to make sure it wouldn't be targeted by a pest again. I really took care of it in the past month to make sure it's pest free. Also added some soil and fed it some fertilizer and neem oil to nurse it back to good health. Little did I know the companion plant would produce a beautiful pink flower. 

Aglaonema, little did I know Ms. Petunia was it's companion.

I'm fawning over the lone flower because it's the first time I've successfully made a plant flower. I know it was accidental, but it gives me hope that I'll be successful with my other plants. And it is a pink flower. It's a sign for me that me and my boys, we'll be okay. We have our loved ones up there watching over us, our family and friends praying and supporting us and we have each other. It'll probably be a week more before I get to hug my boys again. 

Happy gardening friends!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, July 29, 2022

Family Update: The Last 7 Days with COVID-19

Suspending lakwatsera Fridays for an important family update. I already edited part 2 of the Bohol adventure, but I still need to narrate it. I've been busy nursing the boys back to good health. They are feeling much better now. They are now in day 6 and 7 of their journey. Doctor advised to isolate until they don't have symptoms for 3 consecutive days. It's longer than usual because I'm immunocompromised. 

It's been hard. I've been very calm, but the stress and anxiety of your boys being sick affected my body. I wasn't sure whether I was experiencing the same symptoms as the boys. My vitals though were normal. Last night though something weird was going on in my chest. It was a strange feeling because I've never experienced it. My chest felt like it was liquefying (is there such a thing).

Well, because of what happened I decided to take an antigen test this morning. It was thankfully negative. It's been really hard to decipher whether I was having COVID-19 symptoms or symptoms from my current issues or PTSD. My primary goal though is to stay healthy and stable so I could take care of the boys. I woke up a bit late than usual, but felt better compared to the past few days. 

With Gab's "healing tinola". Best tinola ever!

Flight safety instructions always advise to secure your oxygen first before taking care of others. I guess it's the same if you are a patient and have to take care of other patients. I realized I should have made sure that I was careful with getting triggered. I've been calm, but I was so anxious about the boys I didn't secure myself properly. The air quality has been bad the past week. I had been staying at the dining room to be closer to the boys, but since it's not enclosed I was exposed to the bad air. That probably contributed to what I went through last night. I'll just take it up with my cardiologist when I see her again soon. 

Care package from friends!

All good, learnt my lesson and I've been staying in my craft room where air is filtered better. I also asked help from friends since the boys have to isolate at least a week more. They're going to take care of sending some supplies and change the water in my dispenser. I'm really glad and grateful they are better now and that I have amazing friends supporting us. Thank you from the bottom of my leaky heart. 

And thank you to my guardian angel and vaccines for protecting me. It's truly a miracle I did not pick it up. 

BTW, my inaanak, Jomar Tigcal has published a new book,"Simplifying Android Development with Coroutines and Flows". You can pre-order on Amazon ( and on Packt ( Congratulations Jomar! 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Throwback Thursdays: Long Walks in Darling Harbour

I mostly went on foot anywhere I went when I'm in Sydney. I walk to the office. Walk to the grocery. Walk to the mall to eat. I've always stayed in Darling Harbour and when I have time I cross the Pyrmont Bridge to get to the other side.

My main motivation is to get to Lincraft* (for obvious reasons). After I do my business at Lincraft I cross to the Queen Victoria building. The Queen Victoria building is a heritage building built in the 1890s. It served as a municipal market. It was restored in 1986 and is now a well-known shopping center. They have a lot of nice shops, but more importantly a toy store that collectors would love. I was able to buy a few Yoda figures there (budol is real!). It's a nice area and if you walk a bit more you'll get to St. Mary's Cathedral. 

The best time to visit Sydney is during spring. The weather is always perfect and it's always good to stay at Darling Harbour. There's a lot of restos in the area overlooking the harbour. I got to try them with Tita Chu. Miggy loved the Australian National Maritime Museum which is located beside Pyrmont Bridge. The mall was my savior whenever it would be too cold for me to walk outside. 

My favorite thing to do though was walk across Pyrmont Bridge. It's 369 meters, so I'd always walk slowly. I liked hanging out in the middle of the bridge to watch boats and the multitude of birds. Sometimes I would hear Pinoys banter with their friends. That would always make me smile because it would make me less homesick. 

The key though to those long walks I would make is the fresh air. That's elusive in cities in Southeast Asia so I'm always stuck inside an air filtered room. I realized that when we were in Bohol because I was able to walk more and do more. Perhaps time to move to a place with cleaner air? 

*Just found out it's now permanently closed, huhu.

P.S. Day 5 and 6, boys are feeling better. Still positive though so we're still taking all precautions. As for me, I'm just taking things slow. Not sure if the SOB I've been feeling is due to the bad air quality or if I'm coming down with it. Vitals are stable though so I'm very hopeful it's just the bad air. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Wellness Wednesdays: Live in Love not Fear

I must admit, fear gripped me when Sweetie messaged me that he tested positive for COVID-19. I was in the hospital for a CT scan with Miggy. I felt though that Sweetie was as scared as me so I set my fear aside and told him everything will be alright. The next day Miggy tested positive too. 

I super miss my boys.

It was a miracle though that I did not pick it up where they got it. We suspect it was from the airport or plane ride. From what I recall, the three of us were always together. We were only apart when they bought food and stood in the plane queue. Sweetie covered me throughout the flight because someone kept vomiting. We were seated in front so he kept passing by without a mask. Sweetie said he wanted to protect me that's why when his temperature went up last week he immediately isolated himself. 

I'm still scared. I was with Miggy the whole day last Saturday. We thought his cough was due to GERD, but I had him isolate when I heard him wheezing. The next day he tested positive too. Patients though are contagious a day or two before they test positive and I was certainly exposed. We're praying I don't come down with it. 

I keep reminding myself though that I should live with love not fear. I told the virus it has no space anymore in my body. I am rejecting it! The next 48 hours are critical for me because we'll probably know by then if I come down with it. It's been very hard to decipher the symptoms since I experience being dizzy, raised temp, shortness of breath all the time. I'm just resting in between providing food for the boys and chores.

Live in love, not in fear. Have faith that God will protect you and keep you safe from harm. 

Keep safe everyone. 

#BeKind #StaySafe 

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Craft Tuesdays: My Favorite Craft Shops and New Discoveries!

I haven't picked up a needle in over two weeks now. I thought the t-shirt memory quilt would be finished by now. There's so much going on I haven't had the time to sit and stay in my maker/craft room. I could probably finish the blanket in two days. Prioritizing the boys for now. All my energy is focused on nursing them back to health at a distance. I'm grateful for all the help I'm getting from friends and family. 

In the past few months I've had to research on getting materials I need for my hobby. I have most of what I need, but had to buy for some special projects like making curtains. I was overjoyed to discover that favorite craft material haunts are accessible online! Here's a list of places, online and offline, where you can buy materials:

1. Shopee/Lazada - ahh, you can practically get everything you need from Shopee and Lazada. I found some shops from Divisoria in the app. You just need to be a bit discerning in choosing the shop because some obviously are just resellers. For my quilt projects I only normally buy the backing fabric from Lazada/Shopee. You can find patchwork/quilting fabric also, but they're not as nice as those from specialty shops. If you're looking for fat quarters or other cut fabric, there's a lot of choices but most of them are from China. 

In case you need thread, Makati Supermart has a lot!

2. National Bookstore and Makati Supermart - they carry some basic sewing materials like needle,  thread, velcro, and scissors (if you're not fussy about scissors). You can also buy materials for making patterns like cintra board/illustration board/Manila paper and fabric markers. I could spend hours just going through the tools they're selling. 

3. Carolina's Lace Shoppe - I know about Carolina's from their shop in Glorietta. It closed though before the pandemic, but they have branches in Makati (Gil Puyat) and Market Market. I've also ordered some items online through their FB account. I still miss walking around their shop though. 

At Carolina's

Good thing I still have a lot of fabric for my projects, but in case I run out or need something else I can always order*.

Spotlight with Mom.
1. Joann ( - I purchased some fabric from them last year when I was still in Singapore. They have a lot more variety, just a bummer that there are some licensed fabric you cannot purchase when overseas. Their selection of wadding is also much more affordable and that's what I use for the big quilt blankets. 

2. Spotlight ( - I used to go to Spotlight at least once a month when I was still in Singapore. The aunties actually know me already and I miss just walking around the store looking for good finds. Well, Spotlight does not deliver internationally so if there's something I really need a friend can help send a balikbayan box to me hehe. 

3. Amazon - you can buy anything on Amazon and they have a nice selection of patchwork fabric, but it's usually much more expensive. I discovered Joann's from quilt groups I joined. I use Amazon just to look at items and then I try to find them elsewhere. 

I miss those days I could go to Tomato and Yuzawaya (in Tokyo), Lincraft (in Sydney), Michael's (the US) and Yongle Fabric Market (in Taiwan). I just realized what a rare opportunity that was for me. Now since I'm back home it's time for me to discover what we have locally and see what's feasible for my hobby. That would be a fun new thing to discover.  :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

*Wishful thinking - with currency exchange going crazy, I cannot justify buying anything for now. 

Monday, July 25, 2022

Home on Mondays: Dealing with the Dreaded Two Stripes

The boys have been okay. It's day 3 for Sweetie and he said his cough has lessened. He's also been exercising while isolated. Miggy is on his second day and he said his cold and cough has worsened. He started taking medication yesterday so probably the virus is pretty riled up. It's been hard for me to determine how I'm feeling since I always have something everyday. I'm also monitoring my temperature and O2 and other symptoms. So far nothing out of the ordinary. 

We went through the same thing last month when the boys had flu. We learned a lot when they isolated, so taking care of them now isn't as hard. I'm also much better now compared to a month ago, I just need to make sure my energy lasts until I turn the lights off before bedtime. 

In case you have someone who needs to isolate in your home, here's a list of what we've done:

1. Room supplies - we always have the following extra supplies in each bedroom: toilet paper, alcohol, dishwashing liquid and sponge, masks, and air purifier.

2. Own plates and utensils - to minimize interaction we learned it's better to provide plates, utensils and drinking glass/mug for the patient. We used paper plates and disposable forks and spoons last time and that wasn't really sustainable because it added to the trash (plus not environment friendly). I immediately gave the boys their own set once they quarantined. 

3. Water - what goes in the room doesn't go out, so we've been buying 6 to 8 liter water bottles for the boys. The virus is airborne and we don't know how long it lasts on surfaces. Also have a friend who said he was infected from their office water station. The big water bottles last 1.5 to 2 days per person. 

4. Medication - took us 3 days before the boys went for e-consultation. What we did this time was immediately do e-consultation. We've been using AIDE app and they have so far been consulting with the same doctor. I ordered the meds from Mercury Drug online and sometimes I get via the Watson's app also. If you need it same day Mercury Drug delivers the same day, just be patient and watch for their email. Watson's has express delivery, but I think it's not available on weekends. 

5. Food - to conserve my energy we've been ordering food via Grab. Friends have also been sending, so we're always eating something every hour (hehe). The doctor advised to eat more fruits and veggies. I got help from friends to buy for me since buying via the grocery hasn't been a good experience. Ahh, one thing helpful is to have snacks available. We usually have bread and instant oatmeal which they eat for breakfast also. That way I don't have to rush to prepare food in the mornings. 

The list is so far the key elements to managing the illness. My friends have offered to send a helper, but I'm wary of exposing someone else. So far things have been manageable and we're coping well. This morning I ate breakfast slowly and did one load of laundry. Things have been quiet and I've been able to enjoy watching vids on YouTube. It won't take long and I'll have my boys back soon. 

#StaySafe #BeKind

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Miracle Sundays: Perseverance

My boys have tested positive for COVID-19. With our movements the past two weeks we're not sure where they picked it up. I suspect though it was from our flight home. There was someone who kept vomiting the whole flight. He was seated three rows behind us and walked around without a mask. We were seated in the front row and he passed by our area several times to go to the toilet. Well, we have no way to confirm, but that was the most obvious way they could have picked it up. It also falls within the incubation period. 

Mask up guys!

We've always feared getting infected. We had a scare last month when the boys had the flu. The miracle was I didn't get it. They both isolated and the experience taught us what to do. We weren't expecting this to happen since we've always taken precautions, but it has happened. Sweetie had chills on Wednesday night and decided to isolate himself at around 3 in the morning. I woke up because he was restless. It was two days later when he tested positive. 

Miggy, on the other hand, was coughing off and on. He originally thought it was due to GERD. Last night I noticed he was wheezing, so I immediately sent him to his room to isolate. We both tested negative last night, but I felt something was different that's why I asked him to isolate. He tested positive this morning. Both have consulted a doctor through e-consultation and I just ordered their medication online. Their symptoms have so far been mild.

I am hopeful for another miracle. We are hoping and praying that I don't get it. A friend told me not to worry because my angel will watch over me. I have "given notice" to the virus that it's not welcome in my body. I'm already fully booked with other issues and my priority now is to take care of my boys. I am not afraid because I know God will take care of us.

Super thanks to all my friends who have been helping out! Your help, support and advise is very much appreciated at this time.  We are so far coping really well and have our game plan to win over this. We will persevere and hope to be back to normal by month end. 

Keep safe everyone!

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.” - John 15:7

#BeKind #StaySafee

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Plantita Saturdays: Getting into Succulents!

My track record with succulents is really bad. The culprit has always been overwatering. I just can't ignore my plants! My doctor told me to keep hydrated, so I feel my plants also need to be hydrated! You can't imagine the torture I felt when I was away on vacation. Anyway, together with the pothos my friend gave me were succulents. Her bilin was to re-pot them so they can grow properly. 

Kalanchoe pinnata also known as the mother of thousands/millions

I looked at the succulents and I honestly had no idea what they were called. I prioritized potting the pothos since I have experience taking care of pothos. I gave myself a few days before I sat down to re-pot the pots of succulents. First order of the day was to take their photo and use Google Lens to identify them. Then I did some research to understand what kind of soil they needed and how to take care of them.

Basically, the soil used for succulents is different from your regular plants. The soil has to drain well because succulent roots can rot easily if it's too wet. Rocks are usually put around the succulent to absorb more heat, prevent soil erosion and to stimulate root development. I didn't have these so I just ordered via Shopee. Good thing I ordered an extra set of small pots because I underestimated the number of kalanchoe pinnatas crammed in the pot. Here's how I re-potted them -

I must say the process of re-potting the succulents was both nerve-wracking and calming. The tiny plants looked so fragile and there were even tinier ones that the plant produced. I read that kalanchoe pinnatas are known also as the "mother of thousands". They grow babies at the edge of their leaves. These grow into new plants and they eventually fall and grow bigger. That's what I underestimated because there was a lot of babies on the soil when I removed it from the pot. 

I ended up using more than 10 pots. I read you should put it in indirect sunlight. I put half of them on the planter in the garage and the other half indoors. After a week I noticed that the pots in the garage seemed happier than the ones indoor. I moved the indoor plants nearer the front window where it's warmer. There was a number of babies I didn't want to cram in the pots so I just "threw" them in a pot with soil. They survived and are now growing nicely. I'll re-pot them properly when they're a bit bigger. 

Well, I hope they will survive because they will be good to give as gifts! I wasn't planning to buy plants for now, but I'm really happy Ate Rose gave me some plants to work on. Really hope I do better this time :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, July 22, 2022

Lakwatsera Fridays: Happy Tummies in Bohol!

After almost three years, we finally had a proper family vacation! Our last vacay was in December 2019. We went to Bohol to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. We felt bitin though and wanted to visit again. Sweetie had a travel fund that was about to expire so we decided to go back to Bohol. 

We picked up where we left off and chose a resort based on our trip goal. We just wanted to chill and relax. We didn't sign up for any of the local tours since we've done that in previous trips. We just wanted to breathe in fresh air and eat good food. 

I think we chose well since the resort has a strip of food places just beside it. The strip included our fam fave, Mooon Cafe, and we didn't need to go far to finally dine at Bohol Bee Farm. We were able to eat by the beach at Rojo Grill and Bar Restaurant and ate at the very instagrammable La Vara which was just across the resort. We only had room service once because we were so tired from swimming, haha. 

I have compiled the mouth watering meals we had in a vlog. We ate mostly in restos we could reach by foot. Only went out once to visit and dine at South Farm. Here's our happy tummy video. It shows how we gained 3-5 pounds each from our vacation. 

We were so happy how things were going, but felt bitin again. When the hotel said that our room was still available if we extended we took the plunge and extended one more night. That allowed us to swim to our hearts content. Will share about the place we stayed at next week! 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Throwback Thursdays: Sunset Walks in Taipei

I loved going to Taiwan. I felt a different kind of affinity the first time I went there. It might be because my paternal grandmother is Chinese. I never got to know her since she passed away when my Dad was a child. All I know is she's Chinese, eloped with my grandfather and had 9 children. Daddy was the youngest so it was really hard to get much information about her. Friends in Taiwan said they could possibly help find my relatives, but my grandma's maiden last name is fairly common there. 

I used to visit Taiwan 3 to 4 times a year. I loved going there because you can find a bubble tea shop every few meters! I usually stayed in a hotel near Taipei 101 since the office was there. In the mornings I would take a taxi to the office, but walk back to the hotel when I went home. I usually leave the office just before sunset.

From the office I would walk through several malls until I reached the hotel. The ten minute walk would usually take me 30 to 45 minutes since I would stop to window shop. I would usually buy N95 masks in one of the shops that sold Japanese goods. Then I would buy dinner and bubble tea at the food court near the hotel. 

Rain or shine gotta keep moving.

What I liked though about walking back to the hotel are the beautiful sunsets. They always reminded me of the sunsets back in Manila. I would usually chance upon the sunset at the long bridgeway near the hotel. I would usually stop to admire it before continuing my walk. That was why I never bothered wearing high heels and always brought my trusty Rusty Lopez shoes that had arch support. 

One of the malls near the hotel.

I never got to go around the tourist spots in Taipei (and across Taiwan). I didn't want to visit without the boys. I only got to see the famous Sun Yat Sen memorial hall from the window office (70+ floors up!). I did go to the night market once with Shin-yi. Never went on my own since I wanted it to be a fresh experience when I could go with the boys. 

Well, we don't really know when we can travel again. Flights to Taiwan are just less than two hours, so it should be doable in the future when things are safer for everyone. In the meantime I'll just keep those sunset walks as a happy memory.

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Wellness Wednesdays: Know Your Kryptonite

Now that my breathing has improved, I have a bit more energy now to move around. My doctor was happy with the progress I made tripling my daily step count. I truly believe that faith and putting your mind into getting well really helps. I've also been religious at taking my medication. I am still hopeful that the maintenance meds I take can be reduced. 

Faith, following your doctor's recommendations, taking your meds religiously, eating and sleeping properly is just part of the battle to being well. I want to have more good days than bad days (and maybe elimate bad days altogether). One thing that's worked well for me is knowing my kryptonite. This requires knowing your body well and listening to it. 

We came from a family trip recently and I'm really happy we were able to enjoy it. My major kryptonite are heat and bad air quality. We crossed the street earlier and I got dizzy even with an umbrella. We didn't make it to our targeted lunch place and instead went to the nearest resto. Whenever that happens to me I know I have sit in a cool place so I don't overheat. We immediately went inside the resto, sat down and drank water. I stabilized after a few minutes. 

I have many other things that affect my body. We're able to manage it well by knowing the triggers and avoiding it. I always bring a water bottle wherever I go and Sweetie has a portable fan in his bag. We bring a small air filter whenever we travel so I could rest well at night. Thankfully we haven't had the need to lug around an oxygen concentrator. I do need to avoid wearing a mask though, so we go out only when really needed. 

Did you know that starfish can heal themselves? They can regrow arms that are severed from their central disc and can grow again just from an arm (Source: The Guardian). Dr Joe Dispenza believes that humans can heal their body through their mind. My doctor was really surprised with my progress. Now that I have improved from less than 1k steps per days I have to make sure I don't slide back. I'm now trying to maintain 3k steps per day and including activities I wasn't able to do before I started progressing. Still a long way to go, but at least I'm a bit more productive everyday. 

Take care everyone! Keep your mask on whenever you're out!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Craft Tuesdays: Uniqlo Outfits + My Quilted Bags = Marvelous

My quilting journey started with making bags. For practice Mom cut 1.5" x 1.5" squares for me to piece together. It eventually became my lunchbag. Then she cut larger squares and it became a totebag. I still have those bags somewhere. I'll share it when I find it.

I still enjoy making quilt bags and it's easier to learn nowadays because there are a lot of YouTube videos you can follow. We dropped by Uniqlo today and I was once again inspired to think about making a quilted bag. Here's a few nice pieces from Uniqlo that would match with some of the bags I've made.

Hope I'll have more time soon so I can work on making more quilted bags. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, July 18, 2022

Home on Mondays: Practical Kitchen Ideas

I was so happy when I didn't see any bugs and critters last night when I checked my plants. The pest control company did a good job. They're coming back this week for a follow-up and to check the termite bait they placed. They said that would determine the extent of the infestation. We're sleeping soundly now that has been taken cared of.

The damage though means there's some fixing to be done in the kitchen. I have sent a list of what we need to the architect. I'm still clueless on the aesthetic side, but I have some practical things I want to have in my kitchen. 

Let's start with the things I'm keeping. Of course, I'm keeping the induction stove and oven and the exhaust. We just need to hide the hideous bitin exhaust and finally remove the wrapping. I'm keeping the condiments drawer and the huge drawer for pots and pan. I might request thought to add an area for pot covers.

One thing I need to do is to plot where I want to put items. In Singapore, most apartments have dish drain cabinets. You can just leave the dishes and glassware you use often in the cabinet. I have this but it's too small and a bit too high for me to reach. Might be feasible to put at a lower level right beside the sink.

I have two corners that are not fully utilized in the kitchen. Thought about having pull-away trays installed, but they're quite expensive. An alternative is to redo the cabinet so the corner is accessible. Another alternative is to do a corner cabinet. I'm a bit iffy about the cabinet because I want the kitchen to still feel spacious.

Another feature I want to integrate is a proper way to store my baking pans. Saw this cute way to store them.   An alternative is to have a floor level drawer, but I'm not keen on doing that because of unknown creepy crawlies.

And finally, I think it'll be useful to have a drawer for cooking utensils. I now have two holders on the counter and they look hideous. The clutter is stressing me out, so I hope to have a cleaner, more organized kitchen. Well, as they say, you have to declare things to the universe so it happens. :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Miracle Sundays: Suffering with Joy

“It is suffering, more than anything else, which clears the way for the grace which transforms human souls. Suffering, more than anything else, makes present . . . the force of Redemption.”

- St. Pope John Paul II

When I was a child my Mom would always tell me to lift all my pain to Jesus. Back then I just had toothaches and tonsilitis. Mom said the same thing to me when I was experiencing a lot of pain after heart surgery. I'd drink the meds and then I lift all the pain to Him. I guess that's how I managed to carry the cross. 

I have good days and I have a bad day. Today has so far been a bad day. Few minutes after waking up I had a migraine. Got a bit better, then an hour after I started feeling dizzy. I still am while writing this post. Sweetie would have forced me to lie down if he knew I was still dizzy. This happens often I know already when I should lie down. I feel I can still fight it so I'm staying up (in fact I watered my plants even before settling down to blog). 

This is my new normal and I have accepted it. If I focused so much on suffering I'd probably be very miserable. I know though I'm where I should be. I slow down and rest when needed. Do what I could when I can. I'm just grateful whenever I could exert a bit more effort. 

And looking back at what has transpired the past four weeks, it was a blessing in disguise that we postponed our family vacation. Sweetie and Miggy had the flu and a waterspout appeared near the resort we booked. That would have given me a huge fright if we were there. Well, postponing our trip also meant I had enough time to recover from heart failure. 

I was really looking forward to our family trip. The last one was in 2019 and I've really wanted to go to the beach. I was anxious about a few things: (1) Surviving the walk in the airport since we didn't book a wheelchair, (2) The question whether I'd be able to last an hour under the sun when swimming, (3) Random asthma attacks since I was doing oxygen therapy at night. 

Well, a miracle happened. By God's grace we were able to enjoy our family vacation without any major mishaps. The weather was beautiful the entire week. I was able to swim at the beach twice and I was able to try paddleboarding (just sitting, I didn't attempt to stand), I held a rabbit (don't tell my doc!), and we were able to meet a friend in person (the stairs to her showroom almost did me in though haha). The boys were always there ready to assist me. It was truly a beautiful week.


Always find joy in everything. It is hard especially when you're in pain or not feeling well, but I believe if you focus so much on the pain then you'd suffer more. Be grateful and have faith. He will take care of the rest. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Plantita Saturdays: Lego's Botanical Collection

Discovered this cute Lego collection last week when we went out for an errand. The "Lego Botanical Collection" was launched in 2020. They started with a "Flower Bouquet " set and the "Bonsai" set. Then they added the sets that I saw last week -




I told Sweetie I didn't see them at the Lego store the week before. Well, I was busy looking at the Star Wars collection. I didn't really look at anything else. Anyway, the collection is so cute and I immediately thought of the people who would love the "Bonsai", the "Orchid" and "Succulents". My biggest thought balloon though was, "If I had Lego plants, then none of them would die, haha" (yes, I've killed several succulents already). 

Each set though cost at least PhP3,000+. I immediately checked how much it cost in Singapore. It's just about 10% cheaper, not much difference. No need for it so it's not a justifiable purchase. Perhaps I could set a gardening goal and then have it as a reward. Hmmm, we'll see.

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, July 15, 2022

Lakwatsera Fridays: Traveling Alone in Japan

From being hopelessly lost during our family trip to Tokyo, I eventually learned the ropes of getting around in Japan. You really need to learn because taking a taxi is very expensive. Armed with Google Maps and the train card Uncle Fumio gave me, I eventually learned to commute everywhere.

I once visited a school. It was located in the outskirts of Tokyo. Told Yoshi-aan I'll just meet him at the station near the school. I checked the train line to take and the exact time of the train I should take. Uncle Fumio explained there are express trains and trains that stop at all stations. If you're going to a far away place it's best to take the express train. It's always on the dot. 

When I arrived at the school with Yoshi-san, the principal asked how I got there. I told her I took the train from Ropponggi. She was so shocked I made it all the way to their town by myself. I told her I just followed Google Maps. I beamed when she congratulated me for the effort, haha. 

Eventually I got bolder and took the Shinkasen by myself from Tokyo to Nagoya and then Osaka. Train stations in Tokyo are HUGE and you have to be mindful of the line you have to take. Yoshi-san graciously bought the ticket for me and I just asked him for some directions. Well, I made it and met up with him in Nagoya. The next day I travelled alone to Osaka. The funny thing is, Yoshi-san checked on me at the station to make sure I was at the right platform!

I never got scared traveling alone especially in Japan. I took basic Japanese and you can always ask for directions at the station. Knowing how to get around by myself made it easy for me to visit places I was interested in (like my fave place,Tomato). Well, we also had a special session on traveling. We were taught what to watch out for and some basic self defense techniques. Thank God I never had any issue. 

I miss those days when I had opportunities to venture out on my own. There's so much you can discover about your surroundings and yourself when you travel alone. Just always understand the situation locally and be mindful of local practices.

Shared how that trip from Tokyo to Nagoya went: 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Throwback Thursdays: Barbecue and Friends

During our recent trip we chanced upon a branch of our favorite grill place, AA BBQ. It's one of the restaurants we used to frequent in Cebu. I think it was Darwin who introduced it to me or maybe my colleagues at DPC. I super loved it and introduced it to the boys also when we visited Cebu together. 

We always order baked scallops and a myriad of meat and seafood. You select what you want and then they will grill it for you. The prices back then was so affordable and eventually I started bringing friends also. It's been awhile so I'm not sure if their pricing is the same.

Seeing a branch of AA BBQ got us excited. We thought about eating lunch there, but by the time we got over the shock of seeing one after so many years we were already quite far. Well, because of it we seriously considered extending our stay! That's how much happiness the place brought us. We checked the menu though and they don't have baked scallops in this branch. 

Well that goes to show that food can bring so much happiness. I enjoy eating at casual family places because you can just focus on who you are with while eating good food.

Maybe it's a sign that we're due to visit Cebu again soon.

#StaySafe #BeKind