Friday, September 30, 2022

Lakwatsera Fridays: London

I was able to visit London a few times. I didn't get to see much of it because it was always wintertime whenever I went. It was always too cold for me. I was able to walk around once and chanced upon an event at Buckingham Palace. I didn't see the queen, but there was definitely an event because there were a lot of people outside the gates waiting for something. 

All I was able to do that day was observe the crowd and admire the palace and the statues around it. I was bummed though I didn't get to see the London Bridge. As a child it's one of the nursery songs we used to sing and I was really curious to see it in person. Alas, I didn't have time since I was busy with work. 

Well, I also wanted to save sightseeing with my family. I just felt it wasn't right for me to do lakwatsa while on a business trip. The most I'd do is go grocery shopping and get takeaway after work, haha. I also always rushed home before the weekend to be with my boys. London though was challenging for me because of the weather, so maybe a future trip should be done when it's summer.

And, oh, I didn't get to see Platform 9 3/4ths too. Bummer.

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Throwback Thursdays: Mrs. Ponce's Typing Class

Sweetie asked me the other day, "How do kids learn how to type nowadays?" It was a curious question since we both learned to type on a typewriter. Miggy learned to type on a computer keyboard. I don't think he experienced using a typewriter even though we still had Mom's Olympia typewriter when he was growing up. 

I think I was just in second or third grade when my Mom started teaching me how to use the typewriter. It was a fascinating gadget for me. I even slept on the floor with the typewriter beside my bed. Mom had a lot of scratch paper and just let me play with the typewriter as much as I wanted. 

We had typing class in high school. Our teacher, Mrs. Ponce, had us decorate brown paper bags. We used it as our "blindfold" whenever we had typing tests. She'd play some music whenever we had exams. That was supposed to help us type faster since the songs were pretty upbeat. My seatmate, Rica, shared the playlist of the songs on Spotify (look for "Mrs. Ponce's Typing Class Playlist). 

We also had a typing class when I was a froshie in college. The typewriters were soon replaced by computers. We were the last batch that had typing class. Kids nowadays won't experience getting their hands dirty changing the typewriter ribbon. They also won't experience getting their fingers stuck between keys. Also, no need to use liquid paper whenever you make a mistake. And they won't be able to prank others by interchanging the keys. 

The heavy typewriter may be gone now, but I have many happy memories of using it. A portable one made me editor-in-chief of our literary folio in college. I just borrowed the portable typewriter then from a friend. It was also the last typewriter I used, since I've been using computers eversince that fateful day. 

#BeKind #StaySafe


Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Wellness Wednesdays: Exercise to Get Out of a Rut

When you cannot perform, japorms! - Marc Macalua

Getting out of a rut is half the battle to being well. I fell in a deep ravine in the past two weeks after I had a cardiac episode. The chest pain was unlike any I've experienced. I saw my cardiologist and she's still investigating what happened. The debilitating pain was followed by severe headaches that lasted for a few days. 

Whenever this happens I end up depressed and anxious. It makes me feel like it's the end of the world. I slept the headache off and prayed that it's not something serious. It's bad enough my doctor has suggested surgery. My doctors in Singapore though would disagree. They said it would be too risky for me to get poked. I'll still get myself reviewed by the surgeon to see if there's any hope to have a better quality of life. 

At some point when I was having migraine, I got tired. I told myself there should be a way to get out of it. Sleep helped, but the pain was replaced with back pain. I got angry at my body for succumbing to all these aches and pains. I told a fellow patient in the blood clot  group that getting out of a rut is half the battle to feeling well. 

I had previously enrolled in the Justin Agustin beginners exercise program. It was still too overwhelming for me. I've been following Bob & Brad on YouTube. They claim to be "the most famous physiotherapists on the internet", haha. Well, they've been on YT for 12 years now and most of the exercises they teach are similar to what Wendy (my PT) taught me. Found a few very basic exercise videos on their channel and started doing it. 

I've been doing 10 to 15 minute exercises the past few days and it's making me feel better. I was able to increase movement yesterday. I started with 10 minute stretching exercises and then did more than half of the upper body exercise. What's good about it is I have the option to do it standing or sitting down. Today I think I'll do some bridging to help ease my back pain. 

If you're as sedentary as me, you may want to try some of Bob & Brad's exercises. Just search for "Bob & Brad Jordan" on YouTube. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Creative Happy Tuesdays: Made a Huge Quilt Cover for my Oxygen Concentrator

My doctor required me to have an oxygen concentrator on standby. I've used it a couple of times, but realized I should keep it covered whenever I don't use it. Decided to make a cover using my rainbow fabric. I love using it because it's so colorful. 

Challenged myself to do it in squares because I wanted to practice piecing ends evenly while using a sewing machine. I was able to put together the squares quickly, but it took a few more weeks before I finished sandwiching and putting the whole piece together (I got sick). 

Finally finished the binding today and I immediately used it on the oxygen concentrator. It's a huge hideous gadget. It's beside the bed and makes our room look a hospital. Now it's providing a splash of color in our room, no longer covered by just a towel. Yay!

There's two more covers I need to make to complete my "rainbow collection". I need to make one for the steamer and another for the airfryer. When that's done I plan to make a new set in more neutral colors. It'll probably take another three years to complete the set, haha. 

I was telling Sweetie, I should've made a quilt cover for my car! Hahaha! It would've been a huge pain to have it laundered!

Keep creating to stay happy!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, September 26, 2022

Home on Mondays: Finally Got a Coffee Grinder

Our house came with a coffee nook, but the only coffee gadget we have is a Hario V60 coffee dripper which I got two years ago. I only weaned away from drinking 3-in-1 coffee during lockdown since I ran out of supply. I took it as a sign to explore drinking brewed coffee. I even enrolled in Commune's coffee 101 class to understand the basics. 

After the coffee class, Ros invited me to join the Coffee Home Brewers group on FB. The group piqued my curiosity more, but I told myself to take things slow. Members would share their coffee nooks and gadgets. I honestly drowned in the terminologies they would use, so I told myself not to fall in the rabbit hole. I read though that grinding beans is better than buying ground coffee. 

So, the sign to finally buy a grinder happened when Gab sent us some Cafe by the Ruins beans. I have been holding off to buy a grinder because I was waiting for "a sign", hahaha. I gave it a week more before I finally bought the grinder Anne recommended. I was really happy I was able to use a coupon to shave off 10% of the cost.

We also watched some videos on how to set it up. Took us awhile to affix the silicon gasket, but setting it up was pretty straightforward. Of course, the first thing we ground was the beans Gab sent. Still used the manual drip method to prepare my coffee, but, oh boy, I realized I should have bought a grinder sooner. The coffee was much more smoother and fresh. 

I hope the Baratza Encore grinder lasts for a long, long time! Now, time to save up for a proper coffee machine. At the rate I'm going, it'll probably take another year before I get to buy a coffee machine, haha. 

#BeKind #StaySafe 

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Miracle Sundays: Coping with Typhoons

 “God uses ordinary people to carry out His extraordinary plan.” (Unknown)

The alerts sent by NDRMCC has been making me anxious. PAGASA-DOST has announced signal #5 in some areas and Metro Manila has been under signal #3 and #4 in the past few hours. I'm anxious because #KardingPH was originally not expected to make landfall. It intensified though and moved further in. The previous typhoons did not make landfall, so I was hoping it would stay that way. 

Well, we've all so far been able to cope with typhoons. The worst for me was typhoon Ondoy. We almost postponed our wedding because both our homes were severely affected. After #OndoyPH happened I volunteered to help with crisis response. I did that for almost a decade. It helped me deal with the trauma and getting anxious during typhoons. 

I woke up today with pain in my lower back. The pain has been growing in the past two weeks. I suspect it may be because my doctor adjusted my medication. It's also been exacerbated by anxiety. I told myself last night it's funny how I never really had debilitating anxiety when I was younger. I was always able to cope. It's been found though that it comes together with having pulmonary embolism. 

Watched Doc Willie's video on dealing with anxiety yesterday. He enumerated several ways on how to cope with it and said, "No one dies from anxiety." That made me look back on how I've always been able to cope. After the flood put everything I owned under water during typhoon Ondoy, Dad scolded me because I started to cry. He told me, "Para yan lang iyak iyak ka na.

He taught me an important lesson that day. Don't dwell on the bad situation, get moving and do something. It's probably been hard for me to cope lately because I've been feeling unwell. I need to focus though on the future so I don't get stuck in a rut. And, of course, pray. 

Happy Sunday everyone. Take care and stay dry. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Plantita Saturdays: A Rat Ruined My Germination Project!

Boohoo! It's been a few weeks since I planted some seeds. Not many sprouted since the typhoon hid the sun for over a week. I gave it a few more days before I planted some seeds again. Lo and behold, the day after I planted the seed tray was trashed by a huge rat!

Miggy alerted us about an "animal" that was lurking behind the trash bin in the garage. We normally tie-up our trash every evening and put it in a covered trash bin in the garage. We do this to avoid attracting rodents. It has so far worked well for us since stray cats haven't been able to open the bins. I did not expect the seed tray would attract a rat. 

The seed tray was sitting in the garage untouched for more than two weeks. I only used two-thirds of it and only completed it early this week when I decided to plant more seeds. The sunflower seeds I planted on the last column was probably what attracted the rat. I was inspecting the seed tray when I heard something in the backyard. That was when I saw a huge rat scrambling up the bamboo to get to the property next door. 

The next day our friendly pest control supplier dropped by to check the termite bait. We reported the rat and they advised to just monitor the activity first since it may just be one rat scouting our property. I was  worried though that they might multiply and immediately got some cayenne pepper and Racumin. 

I read that rats don't like it when  you move things around, so we moved the seed tray to a sunnier spot in the garage. Placed the bait under it and hoped the stray cats won't come near it (the cayenne pepper should help ward them off for now). 

Two pieces of the bait and two pieces of the paste were gone the next day. I read it takes 4 to 6 days before it affects the rodent. We haven't seen it since we placed the bait the other day. We're just hoping it went back to its nest. I'm not looking forward to its horrendous smell if it dies in my garden. Sorry bud, pests aren't welcome in our home. We've also gone through a lot already this year and just want to finally get our gardening projects going. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, September 23, 2022

Lakwatsera Fridays: Tried Out Da Gianni Cucina Italia

Ended up at Da Gianni Cucina Italia one hot afternoon in June. We were at Westgate Center for Miggy's fitting. We originally planned to have lunch elsewhere, but it was so hot. Right before we exited the mall I saw that Da Gianni was open*. I then suggested to the boys to try it out. 

Save for a group of titas celebrating a birthday we were the only other customer. The place was cozy and it allowed us to escape from the hot afternoon sun. We settled in and an array of food. We normally try to get a variety of food to gauge if it's something we'd like. Here's what we ordered -

Lasagna bolognese

Fish fillet

Meatball spaghetti

Margherita pizza

The serving size was just enough to fill our tummies. We brought home some of the pizza since our individual orders made us full already. I liked the meatball spaghetti I ordered since it felt less acidic compared to other restos. It reminded me of the pasta I had when I had the chance to visit Rome. The pizza was also prepared much like how they do it in Italy too. The boys said they also liked the lasagna and fish fillet. I wish though they would expand their beverage menu. 

We enjoyed our dine-in experience at Da Gianni Cucina Italia. I noticed they also have a private room. It will be useful for a small dinner party. Do call them before going since I'm not sure if they're open everyday (their FB page isn't updated). Maybe we'll dine in again if we chance upon it being open. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Throwback Thursday: Why DFAT was so Memorable

Back in 2008 the Davao bloggers organized the "Davao Food Appreciation Tour". We were so excited since it was the first of its kind. For a few days we hopped from one resto to another to feature their food in our blogs. It was dizzying since we would cover five to six places a day. The best thing about DFAT though is we gained a lot of new friends.  

DFAT 2008, Marco Polo Hotel

Because we had so much fun during DFAT 1, we signed up for DFAT 2 the next year. The organizers mixed in some activities in the itinerary. One activity they offered was ziplining at Outland Adventure. I immediately signed up for it since I enjoy ziplining. Sweetie wasn't keen, but he went along. What I didn't know was he conspired with our blogger friends to surprise me. 

Headed to Pepper & Peppers after the adventure.

When we arrived at the resort I was told to leave my smart phone in the car. It was for safety they said. I complied without a second thought. Apparently, they didn't want me to have access to the internet in case someone spilled the secret (someone announced the engagement before it happened haha). While waiting for my turn to go on the zipline, I wondered why Sweetie and I were split up. I even wondered more when I was put last on the line. 

The answer was waiting at the other end of the zipline. I was winded when I hit the stopper because my camera hit my chest. Then I saw the huge signage that said, "Sweetie, will you marry me?" Then I was surprised to see Sweetie on the platform with a ring. We shared the beautiful moment with so many of our friends from all over the country. 

DFAT is a happy memory from 2008 and 2009. We got busy with work and life after that and we were not able to join the tour anymore. Many things have happened also since then, but I'm happy I'm still able to keep tabs with what's happening with the friends we gained from that tour. They'll probably laugh at our old photos once they see it again. We were all so balingkinitan back then! Haha. 

Here are my DFAT photos:

2008 DFAT Day 1

2008 DFAT Day 2

2008 DFAT Day 3

2009 DFAT

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Wellness Wednesdays: Using Essential Oils Everyday

It was my high school classmate who's now a doctor who finally convinced me to use essential oils. I had a lot of concerns before I started using it because I was afraid it might interact with my meds. It was another HS classmate and Ninang Jane who reassured me that there are ways to check whether an oil would interact with your medication, plus you can always check with your doctor. Well, my respiratory doctor did tell me not to use oils. I was interested though because I was keen to reduce using meds for everything. 

When I finally decided to try it I got a starter pack from Young Living. My initial goal was to use essential oils to help me relax and reduce stress. I researched all the oils first before I started using it. I had to make sure it would help me and not make things worse. After some trial and error I found the perfect balance for using oils. I now use it for the following:

My fave for tummy aches
(1) To relax 

(2) Disinfect

(3) Remove headache 

(4) Remove pain 

(5) Reduce swelling and control allergies

(6) Prevent UTI and sore throat

(7) Help me sleep

(8) Help with stomacheaches

(9) Help reduce fever

(10) Increase immunity

(11) For gardening

(12) Nourish my skin and hair

TBH I think Thieves helped me fight off COVID-19. All three of us were exposed, but I luckily did not succumb to it. It was probably my medications which included daily use of nasal spray and essential oils that helped reduce the viral load. I upped my use of EOs the week we were in Bohol and when we got home. My mindset was to prevent myself from getting sick and since I was the one taking care of the boys, I also diffused oils in the hallway to help disinfect the area. 

If you're curious to see how I use it, you can check out my essential oil board on Pinterest :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Creative Happy Tuesdays: My Pamana from Mama Lola

I used to hang out in my Mama Lola's room whenever she sewed. She had an old Singer sewing machine in her room. Eventually she taught me how to use it. She also helped me sometimes in my sewing homework. I never learned how to make clothes though or knit. Those were the two things my grandma loved to do. 

One thing I was fond of in her room was her sewing kit. I loved opening it and I would look through the contents. Of course, I always got scolded whenever I did that. What attracted me to it was the colorful pearl pins. I always told my Mama Lola to just give it to me when she got tired of it. 

She did leave it for me when she passed away. She had gone back to Bicol and lived there for a few years. She only came back to Manila when she got sick and was hospitalized. I unfortunately got the call from the hospital when she passed. I was just about to go to school then. I went to school without telling my parents that I already knew. I did not know how to deal with the news. I was on auto-pilot in school that day. 

It's been 33 years since my Mama Lola died. It was her birthday the other day and I completely forgot about it. I only remembered when a huge brown butterfly circled around me while I was watering plants. My Mama Lola loved the color brown. She always told the story that she stared someone down when she saw a lady wearing blue staring at her across a room. She soon realized it was her. She wasn't used to wearing blue and thought it was someone else staring at her. Maybe Mama Lola was color blind. 

I still have the sewing kit. I haven't really used it and kept the original contents in it. I opened it when I took the photo earlier and found some materials I used when I was in high school. I always kept the sewing kit close to me. The only time I didn't have it with me was when I lived in Singapore. It's now here in my craft room and I think I'll go through it soon.

I miss you Mama Lola. Thanks for finally finding me in my new home. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, September 19, 2022

Home on Mondays: The Termites are Almost Gone

Two months ago a cabinet door in the kitchen came off when the contractor was checking something. The hinge wasn't attached to the wall anymore. They said it was likely termites. It was horrific to find out that our new home had termites! We immediately SOS'd the pest control company who's been servicing our childhood homes. They came immediately and said we got the most destructive kind. They started battling the termites just before we went to Bohol. 

The pest control company came several more times in the past two months to check the bait they left. A few weeks ago I discovered that another cabinet door was starting to be unhinged. Good thing the pest control company came a day after and told us that the termites relocated under the sink. They also taught us how to hear the termites while they're gathering food. Here's how they look and sound -

"Do not disturb them," was the one instruction the pest control company gave us. They told us to avoid pounding the area where they were feeding. I was concerned that they were under the sink, but they said it was okay to wash dishes there. They tied the cabinet door so we don't accidentally open it. Well, we reduced kitchen activity altogether so we don't disturb the pests. 

My childhood home is also free of the pests now. They told us there were three kinds when they started working on the house. What we learned is both old and new houses can be infested as long as there's an infestation around your home. We were told that the termites came from the dead tree across our house. They said that termites will look for food within 50 to 100 radius. Don't try to treat them on your own because they will easily move to another area within your home if disturbed. 

I'm glad we got a reliable pest company. :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Miracle Sundays: Music that Heals

A few days after I was diagnosed with pulmonary embolism, Sweetie called and told me he had free tickets to the "Piano Guys" concert. I had just arrived home from work and had less than an hour to dress up and travel to the concert venue. We also had to squeeze in eating dinner before the concert.

The concert had started by the time we reached the venue. I was tired, but was so excited to watch the Piano Guys in person. I had been following them online because of their music. It was when I heard their song " It's Gonna Be Okay" I understood what healing music meant. Coming into terms with my illness was challenging and the song made me feel less overwhelmed.

And last night I was reminded again about how music helps heal you. Nyoy's song "Because of Your Love" came up on Spotify. That song also saw me through difficult times. I also had a playlist I listened to post-OHS. 

Music heals. It may be any kind of song as long as it resonates to your heart and soul.

Have a blessed Sunday everyone.

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Plantita Saturdays: Propagating Garlic

Two weeks ago I placed a couple of garlic cloves in rain water. I re-used a plastic cup and put some holes on the cover so it could hold the cloves. It started to grow roots in just a day. I replaced the water every other day and was surprised at how fast the roots grew. 

After two weeks I noticed garlic stems* growing and thought it was time to re-pot them. The roots were quite long already and I thought it would probably need other nutrients to flourish. 

Got a pot, added soil and a bit of chicken manure and planted the cloves. I spaced them out a bit and hope they'll grow more. It will take 8 to 9 months before I could harvest garlic. I'll probably propagate another batch because I read that garlic is a good companion plant for tomatoes. They help ward off pests and that's what I need to do for my tomato plants. 

The ginger and tumeric I propagated and planted have grown a lot. They really loved living in soil. I've kept them in the garage since it's been raining like crazy. I think they get enough sun since our garage roof is translucent. 

I'm thinking about setting up another plant stand in the laundry area. It's behind the kitchen and I'm thinking it would be good to place "kitchen ingredient" plants there. I'm just having a hard time germinating some of the seeds. I think it was because I planted them during the typhoon, haha. I'll try again when I'm feeling better.

Happy gardening everyone!

*Also called garlic scapes

Friday, September 16, 2022

Lakwatsera Fridays: South Farm in Panglao

We stayed in Panglao when we went to Bohol. We veered away from the usual tourist spots and thought it would be nice to visit a farm. I wanted to buy some seeds and experience being in a farm. After our short trip to Tagbilaran we headed to South Farm. 

First thing we did when we went to the farm is eat late lunch at Uma. They had a nice variety of food. Sweetie had this gorgeous piece of fish. I ordered spaghetti since it looked delicious from the photos. I included our Uma experience in this vlog (at 5:00). We had a nice time eating and chatting with our tour driver. I realized then that it's been awhile since I met a new person and listened to their life story.

We burned all the calories we ate after and walked around the farm. I excitedly went first to where the rabbits and guinea pigs were. I always wanted to have a pet rabbit. After seeing how much they eat I realized it's going to be hard since they eat a lot (also my doctor has prohibited me from having pets). I enjoyed the short time I spent with the rabbits and I got to hold one! 

Unique looking guinea pig.

After playing with the bunnies we went through the farm. It was inspiring to see very healthy plants and that spurred me to be more active in gardening. What I enjoyed was seeing many different farm animals. The goats even broke out of their pen! They immediately started eating a bush, haha. I didn't get scared because I felt they were just hungry and wanted to reach the plants outside. 

We soon reached the "lake" area where you can go fishing if you want. Around the lake were different kinds of birds. It was interesting to see them co-exist since they're usually separated in zoos/bird parks. The temp had cooled down by the time we reached the lake. I realized it would be nice to live in a farm. We originally looked at living outside of Metro Manila, but shelved it since we need to be in close proximity of our parents. 

South Farm was the only "touristy" thing we did in Bohol. It was fun and a different from what we usually do. I wasn't able to buy seeds since they didn't have any, but I'd be happy to come back and explore the farm more when we get to visit again. 

#BeKind #StaySafe 

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Throwback Thursday: Rest

Today I need to rest, so leaving this photo of a cute cat resting. :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Wellness Wednesdays: Keep Good Friends

I have several sets of friends. My school friends, my former work friends, my neighbors and special friends who have been an anchor since we got home. Mayo Clini and Carnegie Mello University has this to say about friends -

"Having friends and strong social support is good for your health. Studies have show that those with friends have less stress, fewer cardiovascular problems and stronger immune systems."

Pandemic buddies <3

Since the pandemic isn't over yet, my social life has been limited online. Well, it wasn't so different from when I lived in Singapore since I communicated with my friends back home online. What I missed most was having people around. Whenever I was at the office before I would eat lunch with work friends and sometimes we'd go buy coffee for merienda. Whenever I managed to go home I'd meet friends for dinner or coffee. 

It's been difficult to meet up with friends. We've had to be extra cautious since I'm immunocompromised. I've only had one lakwatsa with friends since we got home. We met up at Sonya's Garden in Tagaytay. That was a really happy day. Despite being cooped up we had so much to talk about. It was a great day and I wish we'd be able to do it again.

Keep good friends, especially those who understand you. They will stand by you. Send you food and help during emergencies. And the best thing about having great friends? They will also pray for you. Keep good friends so you can keep smiling and laughing everyday. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Creative Happy Tuesdays: Experiments

Mom stayed with us for a few days. Showed her the seeds I was trying to germinate, the newly boiled eggshells, the quilt cover I've been working on and an array of projects I'm working on. She said, "Your Dad was the one who loved to experiment." 

Yes, I remember. My Dad used to do a lot of experiments. He tried fish farming, grew kuhol in our backyard, tried making VCO and at one time we had a gazillion quail eggs at home. He liked trying new things and moved on to the next project when things didn't work out. Mom's interests were very different though. She likes gardening and doing crafts. She's great at saving dying plants and making discarded items reusable. 

I guess I take from both of them. Mom laughed when she saw the seeds I was germinating with tissue paper. That was why she suddenly remembered Daddy. Well, seeds I germinated did not make it. I'll re-do the experiment at another location. Most of my crafts are experiments. I do them mostly to acquire new skills, learn new techniques and have fun (I'm stuck at home anyway).

This year's craft experiments include:

(1) A Christmas tree skirt which I started last year. I made this because I want to have a Santa-inspired tree skirt.

(2) Mask cases which I also started last year. I made this to learn how to attach snap-on buttons. 

(3) Oxygen concentrator quilt cover. It will probably end up looking like my food processor quilt cover.

(4) T-shirt memory quilt blanket. I finished this recently. It's a lot of work, so the next one has been postponed to next year. 

(5) Curtains, had to customize for our windows since there was a lockdown when we moved to our new home. 

(6) Pink vinta pillow cases. This was inspired by a beautiful photograph. 

I have other projects planned, but will discipline myself and finish what I started first. Craft time has been reduced since there's a lot of other things I'm doing right now, plus I still need to rest to recover.

#BeKind #StaySafe 

Monday, September 12, 2022

Home on Mondays: The Helper Got Bored and Walked Out

Last week I wrote about planning for old age. This was brought about by two reasons: (1) My Mom is now 86 years old, and (2) I'm trapped in the body of a 80-year old. My Mom is actually stronger than me. She can still do stuff in the garden and neighbors see her sweeping in the front of our house. She's still fiercely independent and wants to stay in her house. 

Well, I've taken over managing her house. Things were going well and she even had a small party with her friends early last week. Then her helper dropped the bomb, "Naboboring na ako dito, gusto ko na umuwi ng Bicol." She agreed to wait for a replacement, but the day after feigned illness and then walked out on my Mom. My neighbor had to run after her because she didn't even bother to say goodbye to my Mom. She also did not account for the money Kuya left. 

I didn't bother with an "exit interview". I just sent her last pay++ and focused my energy in finding a replacement. It was stressful enough to find ways to take care of my Mom. She refused to stay with us. The boys brought her food and checked on her several times a day. But when we found the food uneaten and the faucets without water we initiated a plan to make her stay with us. Told her I'm sick and then had her stay in our house. What she didn't know is we offered to do her laundry the day before as a contingency plan. 

Chocolate milk in a Starbucks cup.
If you know my Mom, you'd know she's the most stubborn person on this side of the planet. She was angry, but after seeing freshly laundered clothes and the availability of a hot shower she relented. She even said she won't be able to sleep. She was fast asleep when I went to her room to say good night, hahaha. It was a terrible idea to allow her to be by herself. She didn't eat properly, didn't drink enough water and obviously jumbled up her vitamins. 

Mom looked really frail when she arrived. Her veins were very prominent and I suspected she was dehydrated. We immediately worked on getting her hydrated and indulged her with all her favorite food. The apo always got his way when he asked her to drink more water. To keep her from getting agitated I got her busy rolling paper for a project. We didn't finish it yet because I got sick from worrying about her. She constantly wanted to go back home and that really stressed me out. 

Truly grateful to our neighbor for helping out. She understands why elders just want to stay in their home. It is what is familiar for them and it holds good memories. It's hard for me though to manage two households since I'm not in the best shape and that's why I thought for the future I'd make it easier for Miggy, thus the old age plan. Putting on the oxygen mask on myself first (like in the airplane) because that would be the best way to take care of Mom at this moment. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Sunday Miracles: "Mama Mary and Her Children" Book Launch

The new installment of the "Mama Mary and Her Children" book will have it's virtual book launch on October 7, 2022! To join, please refer to the poster below:

For updates please follow:

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Plantita Saturdays: Organized my Seeds

I finally got around to organizing the seeds I've accumulated over the last few years. After watching several videos about germinating seeds I realized I haven't been storing them properly. The seeds were packaged differently. I wanted to store it in a uniform manner so it would be easier for me to find . 

Ordered some coin envelopes and then went to work when it arrived. Segregated the veggies and decorative plant seeds. Wrote out the name of the seed on the envelope. Found an old set of card dividers. The envelopes fit the Serioso Chili Garlic banig box. I think it's the perfect box to store seeds in. 

I was really surprised with how much seeds I have! Found some that we got for free from Singapore's National Parks Authority (just sign up and they'll mail seeds to you) and from our local Bureau of Plant and Industry (a neighbor worked this out). I had a lot of veggie seeds and realized I need to do better at gardening. I think it will be good to live more sustainably. 

Free seeds!

I planted some seeds over a week ago. I think I did it at a bad time because there was a typhoon. I filled up 30 slots on the seed starter tray, so far only have 4 sprouts. That's a really bad turn out! Not sure if it was because of the lack of sun or maybe some of the seeds have gone bad. I'm also germinating on wet tissue paper and the result has been bad too. Of course, I'll try again until I succeed.

The good news is, my tomato plants are finally producing flowers. I helped pollinate a few today and hope it will form. I have to help it since I rarely see bees visit. It's also been raining, so most of them are hiding. I'm trying to grow sweet alyssum because I read that it will help attract bees. Flowering plants will also help divert the attention of creepy crawlies away from your veggies. Also hope the sili seeds I planted will grow. I just got those seeds from the free sili whenever we order inihaw, haha. 

I hope I'll have a better season of gardening!

#BeSafe #StaySafe

Friday, September 9, 2022

Lakwatsera Fridays: How Much of the World Have you Seen?

I was looking at my Google Maps timeline. It recorded all the places I've visited across the world. Looking back, I was really very realistic with my dreams. It never crossed my mind to work abroad. The only traveling I did growing up was with my family. That's why I cried the first time I traveled to the US by myself because of work. 

When I stepped out of SFO airport, tears started to fall because it was very overwhelming for me. It was my first time to be by myself and far from family. I lived a very sheltered life. Dad would drop me off in school even when I was in college. I only learned to commute when I graduated in high school. 

Our family would travel and I got to travel more locally and internationally mainly because of my jobs. I guess some would say it must have been in my stars (haha). Also might be because it runs in my family. My ancestors were travelers and saw from research some were involved in shipping and trading, military and teachers. That's probably why I naturally gravitated towards a job that gave me the opportunity to travel. 

Can you guess where this is?

I eventually got used to traveling alone. Took a class where we were taught do's and dont's when traveling alone. We were also taught some basic self defense moves. I still cannot imagine how I managed to remove a huge person off of me during that class. The guru told us it boils down to having presence of mind and don't be stupid (haha). I was lucky I never encountered any issue traveling (unless you count being followed across Pakistan [but they thought I was a Kpop star that's why]).

I cannot say I've been to a lot of places, but I'm happy I managed to travel before being grounded due to health and the pandemic. I wish though I'd be given a chance to visit South America, Canada, Africa and other areas of Europe. For now there are a lot of videos to watch and we can explore places via Google Earth (one can go to Disney everyday!). Realistically though we'll probably stick to exploring the Philippines when it's safer and if my doctor allows me to. 

Where would you go?

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Throwback Thursday: Remembering Lola Iyay

Lola Iyay was my Mama Lola's* sister. I probably met her when I was 8 months old when my parents brought me to Villa Merced for the first time. Lola Iyay had a house across the beach and she'd take care of us whenever we'd go home to Pasacao. 

Lola Iyay was the complete opposite of my Mama Lola. She had a very hearty laugh and always had a ready smile. She also had a very good command of the English language because she used to be a teacher. They told me she also acted as a nurse during the war. Whenever I think about Lola Iyay, I always picture her wearing a daster, a farmer's hat, boots and she always had an itak hanging from her waist. It was also easy to trigger her tears. 

Villa Merced 

We spent many summers in Pasacao. Some of our neighbors would come with us, so they also knew Lola Iyay. That only stopped when the situation in the area became risky and we were advised not to visit. I don't even remember the last time I saw Lola Iyay and when she passed away. At least I still her remember her crazy laugh and the animated way she'd tell stories. I loved hanging around her when I was a child because she was a fun person. 

Too bad I was so young when she was still around. I could just imagine the many adventures she's been through. She was the youngest in the family and I can just imagine how she drove my very prim and proper Mama Lola when they were growing up. They also told me that her eldest sister, Ma Edad, was super strict. I hope I can get more information about my lolas from my Titas and my Mom. I'm at the point in my life where I want to learn more about my ancestors :)

Did you ever have a makulit na grandparent?

*Mama Lola - my maternal grandmother

**Itak = bolo

***Happy birthday Mama Mary!***

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Wellness Wednesdays: Breathe Deeply

 "Even as little as 10 to 15 minutes a day to deep breathing can help reduce stress and tension, lower blood pressure." - Harefuah Medical Journal

Breathing is an integral part of living. That was the first exercise I had to do after heart surgery. I was given a spirometer and it took me months before I could reach the volume my doctor wanted me to reach. Years later I had to befriend the spirometer again after I had PEs. Post-COVID I researched on what the boys could do to strengthen their lungs. It all boils down to breathing deeply. 

My Kuya told me that sometimes we forget to breathe. This can be caused by stress or an underlying condition. My doctor explained that we end up compensating by mouth breathing. This can cause other problems because you can easily ingest viruses/bacteria when you mouth breathe. And when you compensate you normally don't sleep well too. It took months before I was able to correct it and sleep properly. 

I get cranky and go out of commission whenever I have difficulty breathing. Yesterday when the heat crept up on me I suddenly found myself dizzy and having a hard time to breathe. Heat and oftentimes bad air usually triggers my asthma. Sometimes when I have an attack it takes days before I feel well again. My lungs are scarred that's why the boys are very protective of me. 

To strengthen my lungs I do deep breathing exercises at least thrice a day*. I do the 2-4 count, breathe in 2 counts, exhale in 4 counts. I do 4-7-4 when I want to breathe deeper. When I can't fall asleep, I do the 4-7-8 method, breathe in 4 counts, hold for 7 counts, exhale in 8 counts. Breathing deeply helps me relax and be calm, stabilize my heart rate and oxygen saturation. And there are many other benefits you can get from breathing deeply. 

As my respiratory doctor always said, "Breathe well and everything else will be well." :)

*If you had COVID-19, I read you should it hourly. Doc Willie has several exercise vids here.

#BeKind #StaySafe