Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Wellness Wednesdays: Make the Time to Prettify

I was better at taking care of my looks when I was still working. I honestly got lazy moisturizing during the lockdown. My cardiologist had a dermatologist look at me too when I was hospitalized. She just advised me to moisturize everyday (luckily she did not find any issues!). 

I was browsing through a PE* patient support group last week and one of the patients advised that it would help if you make the time to make yourself pretty. Fix your hair, moisturize, put on some make up, wear some earrings. Make the effort to look good because it will help you feel good. 

Thought it was good advise. The day after I started to moisturize twice a day. I also started to wear earrings after taking a shower. It did make me feel better. Last Sunday, I finally got a haircut after over a year. I've been attempting to do that for six months now. I even asked the hair dresser to give me some bangs! LOL. 

While it doesn't remove the fact that I sometimes feel unwell during the day, at least I'm more presentable now, haha. A friend told me to buy a new pair of sneakers. Told him I rarely go out. He said I could wear them at home. Haha. Told him, maybe I'll eventually get there. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

*Pulmonary Embolism

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Creative Happy Tuesdays: My Ambitious Christmas Project

My dining chairs are black. I had them made that way coz I could make quilted seat covers. You can also buy seat covers online. I saw some cute seat covers online, but they're too small. My chairs are too big, so I'll just make some. 

After getting inspiration, I started doodling on how I wanted my first seat cover should look like. I decided on a simple Santa and snowman design. I quickly pieced the base together and soon realized it was harder than I thought it would be. 

The first big hump was the size of the face. The first one I made was too small. I made several templates before I replaced the face. I'll just use it for another project. The second hump was making the nose. I thought it was as easy as making pincushions. It took several tries before I was satisfied with what I made. Third challenge was making the mustache. Then I realized I didn't have big buttons for the eyes. Luckily the one I ordered online was delivered in two days.

I'm probably just halfway through. I'm debating on whether I'll add more hair and a beard for Santa. I didn't realize it would be this challenging, haha. The tree skirt was much easier to do. Hopefully, I'll be done before Christmas!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, November 28, 2022

Home on Mondays: Aspergillosis (Orange Spores) Grew on the Kitchen Cabinets

The wood removed from our kitchen started growing orange mold spores. They are called Aspergillosis and can cause infection. I felt very unwell after I tended the plants yesterday, so I probably inhaled some of it. Wore a mask when I went out to spray them with vinegar.

The workers were thinking about re-using the cabinets that were removed. After seeing how the wood that was used easily dissipated when it got wet, Mang Gary said it was like biskwit when wet. They just shook their head when they saw that the cabinets eventually developed spores. 

I was so excited when we moved in our new home almost a year ago. I thought the kitchen was perfect. I noticed a strange smell from the drawer though when I started to put away kitchen items. Complained about it and the contractor just adjusted something under the sink. The smell though persisted and we were told to "monitor" the situation. 

Few months later, one of the cabinet doors came off when it was opened. Pest control crew confirmed it was termites. We only found out when we ripped up our kitchen that the smell was coming from where the termites lived. It wasn't the drainage which we originally suspected was the culprit of the bad smell*.

I just thought it was  a good thing we decided to renovate the kitchen. The ruined cabinets due to the termites, the smell, the kitchen lights that got wet and eventually finding out about the bad electrical installation, soured my relationship with my kitchen. Those orange spores would have eventually found it's way in the kitchen since the cabinets do get wet**.

We requested to have the discarded cabinets removed immediately since it was making me sick. I tried to keep it from spreading by spraying vinegar. It helped a bit, but they were just too many and I was afraid it was going to spread to my plants.  The infested cabinets were removed the next day, whew! 

So if you see orange spores (or fungus) growing on your cabinets, do not touch it or go near it (wear a mask). You can remove it with bleach, vinegar or hydrogen peroxide solutions. I used vinegar and it immediately dissipated. I know though it would take several sprays and days to completely remove it, so it was a relief when it was immediately removed. I read that these things grow in the bathroom too. Just keep things clean and you should be alright. 

*There were other issues with the drainage.

**The cabinet doors were installed incorrectly. They were jutting out of the countertops. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Sunday Miracles: Christmas is Just Around the Corner

It's advent already! How time flies! It's almost a year now since we moved to our new home. I was hoping to prepare our home for Christmas early, but alas there's still a lot of work to do to make our home safe. Yes, safe. We were finally having some cabinets installed and we requested the firm to also check our electrical installation since lights kept flickering.

We opened a full can of snakes when the garden lights were removed. It kept short circuiting and we felt unsafe. Still reeling from the trauma of the fire behind our house, we asked to review our indoor wirings. Let's just say it wasn't just a can of snakes, but a cargo truck full of snakes. We discovered something that could lead to a huge disaster. 

And it's really been stressful for us. Strange noises and strange smells have been making us paranoid. I explained the situation to my Tito and he reiterated what the electrical engineer told us. The situation is really concerning and potentially perilous. I'm grateful my boys are there because the stress hasn't been good for me. 

They say that you should always deal with life with a grateful heart. TBH it's been very hard for me not to freak out about our house. We saved up for it for 15 years and we thought everything would be in good order. I reminded myself that it's a situation that can be corrected and we're getting help to fix the issue. It's also a good thing that we discovered the violations early, at least we can avoid a potential disaster.

Advent is a good time to take stock of what you have and what you can look forward to. This year has been really challenging for me and my family. I take comfort in the fact that Papa God is there. Mom also keeps reminding me to just pray. Let's just hope and pray for a good and happy Christmas :)

"Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” - Matthew 19:26

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Plantita Saturdays: Poinsettia Season!

It's poinsettia season! Of course, I just had to get one. I actually got two, one for Mom and one for me. I suspect though the one I gave Mom is doing better. Mom always had poinsettias during Christmas. They stayed red beyond the Christmas season. I figured it was easy to manage. Not. 

Since it's my first time to have this plant, I did some research on how to properly care for it. Here's some tips I got -

  • Immediately water the plant once you get home. 
  • The plant prefers cooler weather.
  • They prefer indirect sunlight.
  • Place it away from heat sources and windy areas. 
  • Water only when the soil is dry.
  • Only put fertilizer if you're keeping the plant after the holiday season. Hopefully it will re-grow (I'm not hopeful). 
I think I need to transfer the poinsettia from where it's located now since it's been shedding a lot of leaves. It's still quite pretty though and I hope it stays alive until after Christmas. I'm thinking whether I should buy more, but with renovations ongoing I'll probably just try again next year. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, November 25, 2022

Lakwatsera Fridays: That Time I Went to Dhaka

Visited Dhaka, Bangladesh almost 10 years ago. It was a very short trip where I attended a mapup and a devfest. It was a rare experience to visit South Asia. The funny thing is they though I was a local. They said I looked like a Bengali from northen Bangladesh. They said people there were fair-skinned like me. I truly have a generic Asian face. 

With Monirul and Hadi.

It was an epic trip! A happy memory was experiencing the hospitality of my scout-bro, Monirul. He welcomed us to his home and where we were able to sample local cuisine. He asked his chef to prepare non-spicy chicken for me. He said all their food is spicy, but he knew I don't eat spicy food so he had something specially prepared for me. I can confirm everything is spicy, even the non-spicy chicken, haha. It was a heart-warming experience though since I got to meet Monirul's friends too. 

The mapUp was meant to map Banani Road, one of the main streets in the city. It gave me an opportunity to see what were popular businesses. I managed to visit a grocery also and what they sell is very different from our groceries. They had many different types of spices and tea I don't normally see. I got some tea for Sweetie and he said it was definitely different from other countries. 

The only landmark I was able to visit one of their famous lakes. I don't recall the name of the lake now, but I remember it's a beautiful spot in the city. It was so serene and you won't feel that it's in the middle of a concrete jungle. Too bad we didn't get to stay long since it was just a quick stopover. 

What struck me about the people is their passion. Those who mapped were all volunteers and the developers were all excited to make something that would help their country. Some of them I met in one of the events I did in Indonesia before I visited Dhaka. 

Hadi and I had a very memorable "exit". I got food poisoning and he almost got detained. Everyone truly thinks his country is full of gold and that's probably why they tried to withhold his passport. We sent an SOS to Monirul and we managed to go home. Hadi was so scared I won't make it through the flight. I did and went straight to the clinic at the airport. They said the medication given to me were not meant for food poisoning (lol). It was nonetheless a memorable trip and Monirul will forever be one of my favorite people (he gives amazing hugs!) :)

*Chronicling my old adventures since I know someday it would be harder to remember. :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Throwback Thursday: Life Begins at 40

One of the happiest day in my life was when I had my debut at the age of 40, haha. I came across some of the photos while decluttering. It made me smile because a lot of my friends throughout the years were present. I even have friends who flew in to attend! Mom, my boys and the titas I grew up with were three too. Of course, my choir family was complete.

It was a very unique celebration. Sweetie took charge of organizing it and there were a lot of surprises! We selected to do it at the AIM Conference Center because I had good relations with the team managing it. They also have really great food. The venue is also comparably more affordable than hotels, have ample parking space and we could let our hair down there. All the suppliers were also friends which I think is key to having a great celebration. 

My introverted self is always anxious whenever I celebrate my birthday. I don't really like the attention. I remember hiding when I was a child whenever I had birthday parties at home. I only settle down when it's time to eat. 

The party was a whirlwind of surprises. The Gaylas dressed me up as a fairy and then there was a flash mob led by Sweetie. I have videos of the night somewhere. On hindsight, I should have had it edited since I never had the time to edit. Well, I have a gazillion photos from the evening and it's fun to look at it every so often. Core memory ftw!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Wellness Wednesdays: Alleviated Back Pain Overnight

I was so miserable last Monday. I woke up with back pain again. I've been experiencing it since September. I would wake up in pain and it sometimes made me cry. I was really feeling miserable all day on Monday and I felt hopeless. 

I started having back pain in 2019. It was really debilitating. I couldn't sit and I would even work at other spaces in the office where the chair didn't hurt my back. I was referred by my orthopedic doctor to a spine doctor. After a CT scan I was told my spine had started to degenerate. Luckily, my doctor said we could try physiotherapy. 

Since the hospital's PT sched was always full, my ortho recommended me to go to a clinic. It was the clinic that did Sweetie's PT for his knee. I soon started seeing the best physiotherapist in the world, Wendy. Aside from helping me with my back, Wendy also did some pulmo rehab for me. She saw how hard it was for me to exercise, so she helped improve my breathing too. Soon enough my back and lungs started to feel better. 

Last September, after the cardiac episode, I woke up with debilitating back pain. Sweetie had to help me get out of bed. The scan I did last July hasn't been seen by a spine doc/ortho since I don't have one here. The one I know lives in Mindanao (maybe I should do a VC noh?). It was hard, but I worked my way up to do the PT exercises Wendy taught me. 

The exercise helped, but I would still feel pain. The strange thing is I'd only feel the pain before I woke up. It's been interrupting my sleep and after two months I just really felt miserable. My pulmo has referred me to a spine doctor and I hope to see him soon. 

Last week, I saw Ninang Jane post about the Uratex back care mattress. I read more about spine degeneration and one reco was to check your mattress. I thought I'd give it a try and ordered one. It surprisingly arrived last Sunday, but we only added it last Monday. 

Woke up yesterday morning without back pain. I was so amazed since it's been two months since I started feeling pain. I guess the mattress we bought is too soft for me (I'm used to sleeping on the floor). Well, the Uratex back care mattress has been a great add-on. I'll continue to exercise (maybe finally break the 10-minute mark?) since I also need to lose weight. 

If you're experiencing back pain, don't think twice and buy this topper asap! 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Creative Happy Tuesdays: Made My First Christmas Tree Skirt

I started this project last year in Singapore. Originally planned to finish it during quarantine, but I ended up resting. Only started sewing after Christmas since we were busy. I was also iffy if I should continue the project at some point since I realized I should have done my original plan (santa-tree-santa-tree). Oh well, it was already pieced together so I thought I'd finish it to learn a couple of things. 

It was my first time to make a tree skirt. It took me some time to make the template. I dug up some Manila paper to make sure my measurements were correct. The ones I saw on Pinterest and FB groups looked really polished and beautiful. I told myself I could always make a new one in the future, besides I started putting up several Christmas trees last year, haha. 

Piecing the design together was easy. It was quite gnarly to sandwich the batting and backing fabric since the project is quite big. I had fun quilting it though since it was my first time to use metallic colored thread (it's inexpensive when you buy it here locally). As it took shape I liked the design a bit more everyday. 

I got stuck making the mustache. I made a huge mustache for another project and I made the mistake of adding the batting after I sewed it. With the small mustache for this project, I ironed on the fabric on interfacing first, then sewed it with the batting and backing together. It was a bit difficult to flip it, but it was faster than adding the batting after. 

I also struggled with the nose. I thought it would be as easy as making pincushions. My Mom taught me how to make those the summer before high school. Making noses was a bit difficult. I eventually got the hang of it after making half a dozen noses. Lesson learned, use filler instead of leftover batting. It shapes better. 

Eventually assembled Santa's face. I decided to alternate Santa and gnome (Santa doesn't wear green afaik). Turned out cute, but I'll change the design when I eventually make a new tree skirt. 

#BeKind #Staysafe

Monday, November 21, 2022

Home on Mondays: We Ripped Up Our Kitchen

Our kitchen had a lot of issues from top to bottom. Floor tiles started breaking, then we discovered the termites, then the ceiling started leaking in several areas. The leak also affected the lights and the kitchen became too dark to do any cooking. The cabinets and drawers also smelled bad even though we kept it clean. We also couldn't remove stains on the countertop.

It was supposed to be a brand new kitchen when we bought the house. Damages were due to poor workmanship and bad materials. A friend who's a contractor advised me a few months ago to just do some touch-ups since things were still new. We decided to renovate after we found issues in the electrical installation and the damage from the termites. 

It took just two days for everything in the kitchen to be removed. The first thing the crew checked were the broken tiles. They told us that the tiles were not properly installed that's why they kept getting dislodged*. Unfortunately the same tiles are no longer available, so we decided to change the tiles (the tiles are slippery too). 

3 tiles adjacent to it are also broken.
There are other tiles across the house with the same issue.

When the cabinets were removed the workers commented that the material used was just like paper. They said it'll disintegrate once it gets wet. The plywood used for the countertops were not also treated. The cabinets that were removed and moved out soon developed orange mold (Aspergillosis). Imagine if that happened while it was still installed. 

I always thought the bad smell from the cabinets and drawers were due to bad drainage**. Partly it was due to that, but the bigger culprit was the area that the termites infested. We couldn't see it because it was behind the cabinet. It was a really bad infestation and the pest control company said it probably started before we moved in. 

The electrician warned us not to use the lights after heavy rainfall directed the leak to pass through the bulbs. We had been complaining about the leaks for many months, but it was always just a band-aid solution the former contractor did. Electrician also found other issues which is hazardous for us. 

I'm glad we decided to renovate the kitchen. I was getting sick also from the smell whenever I got a whiff of it. It is expensive to renovate, but the family's safety is our priority. All we wanted was to have a new home where we could build new happy memories. The journey though has been riddled with issues that could have been avoided. 

*This is a problem we're encountering across the house.

**Plumber did confirm that p-traps were not installed across the house.

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Miracle Sundays: Intentions

What is your intention for the space? This was the first question asked by our de-cluttering coach when we met her for the first time. I knew she was going to ask that question because we watched some of her videos before we met her. 

We moved out of our condo unit for two reasons: safety and our lifestyle has changed. I needed a safe space since I'm immuno-compromised and I need a space where I can better recover. It was a huge struggle to leave my old life. I only felt calmer when I realized God was re-directing me somewhere else. 

I'm still praying for my new path. For now I'm focusing on getting better. It's been hard since there are days when I feel unwell all day. I guess this is where I'm supposed to be for now. As we go through making our house a home, I hope we'll be able to define our intentions so we can have the home we want. 

Happy Sunday everyone. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Plantita Saturdays: Growing Ginger from Kitchen Scraps (3rd Month Update)

Got a lot of ginger from a friend when the boys had COVID-19. I made salabat for a few weeks and even tried making ginger candy. We still had a lot though, so I researched how I could possibly plant some of them for future use. I use ginger sparingly also when I cook, so it would be more economical to have it in my garden. I can just get some whenever I need it. 

As of October 22 before it was inundated with sawdust.

I read that I could just put the knob in water* and allow roots to grow. It's time to plant it in soil once you have roots and stalks growing. It's been 3 months since I put some knobs in water. I put them in a covered area where it would get morning sun. Leaves soon grew and the plants looked very happy where they were located. I would water them whenever the soil was dry. I also gave it fertilizer once a week, usually diluted rice water. 

Rooted knobs in rain water. Just change the water every 2 days.

The plants though got stressed when we had some work done in our house. Sawdust would cover the leaves and it was cumbersome to clean the leaves. I noticed the leaves started to yellow and wilt. Last weekend I got help from Miggy and transferred them under the bamboo trees outside. Ginger prefers to have some morning sun and thrives in partial shade. The rain from the past week cleaned up the leaves and they soon enough looked happy again. 

I should probably be able to harvest some of the ginger by summer time. Yay!

*I used rain water

Friday, November 18, 2022

Lakwatsera Fridays: Yummy Goodies from Bacolod

I never lost the weight I gained from staying in Bacolod for a week. My hotel was just a stone's throw away from Calea, so you can just imagine all the sinful cakes I ate while I was there. In the past year, a good friend has been sending us goodies from Bacolod. We'll never go hungry because of her. 

Here's a few goodies that's really better when you get it from Bacolod:


When we terribly miss it we order from JT Manukan and Chickey's (Chickey's also has chorizo).

Calea Chocolate Cake

There's no alternative for Calea chocolate cake!

Manapla Puto

A stall in Makati Supermart has puto Manapla, quite expensive though.


There's no alternative to freshly made piaya from the market here in Manila. There are the usual pasalubong variants though.


I've only so far eaten napoleones from Bacolod. Have not tried buying here since it's better if it's from Bacolod. 

Nom nom nom. :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Throwback Thursday: High School Friends

It's been more than three decades since I've been in high school. Some of my schoolmates have been my friends since we were 8 years old. Funny thing is I've been so bad at remembering the birthdate of one of my friends. I always thought it was November 16. So for many decades I'd always greet her on the 16th. I was only corrected because of FB. Her birthday is actually on November 15. 

Missing one here, I think she took the photo.

I greet her on the 15th when our other amigas send their greetings. Sometimes it's really hard to teach old dogs new tricks. I'm lucky my friend is one of the nicest people in the world. We weren't the popular kids back in HS, not the brainiest ones, and not exactly the most quiet ones. I guess we were the reliable, regular kids. 

We were happy in our own little world. We had our baon and ate at the lunch counter everyday. We'd sometimes go to the canteen to buy a drink or additional food or ice cream. Even until now we always eat whenever we meet up. 

Most memorable though was a tradition we started in HS. We'd celebrate Valentine's together. We spent a night in a friend's house and had a measly dinner at a Japanese restaurant. "Measly" because we only each saved up 100 pesos to dine out. We ended up hungry and ate again at my friend's house. Hahaha. We continued the tradition for many years. 

Our parents were very strict, but they allowed us to spend a night in each others house. The five of us would squeeze in each other's bedrooms. I don't remember anymore what we'd do, but it was always fun. To celebrate times we'd purchase matching blouses/pajamas. Last time we did this was in HK when we got matching bear pajamas. 

It's been very hard to bring all of us together in the past decade. One already lives in China, I just moved back here. We were supposed to meet up a few months ago, but schedules and COVID-19 got in the way. We decided to do it another time when it's safe. I hope it happens before one of us becomes a lola, hahaha. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Wellness Wednesdays: Counting Calories

My cardiologist told me after heart surgery that it was certain I would start gaining weight. He told me that my heart wasn't going to compensate anymore since my valve was repaired. True enough I started gaining weight. I was able to keep a good weight until I had pulmonary embolism. The medication kept me bloated and breathing issues limited movement. 

My cardiologist advised me before to count the calories I eat. This was before I had a PE. I tried it again a few years ago and it did not work. I continued to gain weight, the lockdowns did not help because my stamina further deteriorated.

Since I still haven't lost weight, I thought I'd try again. I started counting calories on November 3. With that I avoided eating meat. Back pain reduced and I felt lighter. I also water the plants by hand everyday and I do some stretching two hours before bed. I try to move around the house as much as I could. Much as I want to spend more time outdoors, the air quality has been very bad. 

The good news is I finally lost some weight. I weighed 10 days after I started counting calories again. I lost 4 kilograms. I didn't expect it since I haven't really increased activity and I've been having asthma attacks. It is encouraging and I will continue counting calories. Who knows, maybe my stamina can increase. :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Creative Happy Tuesdays: Moving Back In the Maker Room

We've actually been calling my craft room, "The Maker Room". I've been using the room for sewing and other hobbies, so I thought it would be more appropriate to call it a maker room. After removing the two huge cabinets, we were able to have the new cabinets installed.  

Over the last few days, I started moving back in the maker room. The boys brought in my sewing table and the fabric I boxed two weeks ago. I previously had 2 huge glass cabinets and an Ikea cabinet. It housed all my fabric, but not the other sewing materials. 

I looked at a lot of craft rooms of other quilters. The plan was to have floor to ceiling cabinets, but I realized I needed desk space. We changed the cabinet design two weeks before the scheduled renovation. Included a desk area and replaced the bottom part with drawers. 

Still a bit messy now, but I've been able to resume sewing.

Unboxed the fabric and managed to fit them in the two end cabinets. I put my favorite rainbow colored fabric in the middle cabinet. After that I worked on removing the other sewing materials from the boxes I shipped them on. Almost everything surprisingly fit! The only thing that I'll have to store somewhere else are the wadding and a bag handles box since they are bulky. 

I've decided to get some native boxes from Magayon Handmade for the items I'm storing on top of the cabinet. I'm still thinking about what kind of lighting to use for the cabinet cove. I also probably need a floor lamp so I could see what I'm doing better. One thing we'll install also is a design wall. It will make it easier for me to organize my quilt projects. 

I'm aiming to finish organizing the room by month end or whenever they finish renovating the bathroom. I'm turning it to a powder room since I don't use it anyway to shower. :)

#BeKind #StaySafe 

Monday, November 14, 2022

Home on Mondays: The Termite Aftermath

From the damage the termites made, the pest control company informed us that the infestation probably started even before we moved in. They identified the type of termites as coptotermes. The nastiest of the lot. They said it probably came from the dead tree across our street. Termites can travel up to 100 feet to find food. The seller of the house admitted that they had not treated the house after the renovation.

We thought the best option was to renovate our kitchen. The cabinet surrounding the sink was totally damaged and there's been a horrible smell in the cabinets. We were hoping to keep the kitchen as it is since I already had the color changed before we moved in. We've been afraid that the countertop might just crash one of these days, so we decided to have it fixed. We also need to have the electrical installation and tiles re-done. 

The pest control company gave us the go ahead to renovate a month ago. They said the colony is dead and it would be safe to renovate. Today the cabinets were demolished. What we were seeing since treatment was done was just the tip of the iceberg. We finally saw the extent of the damage that happened.

This is what we saw during treatment:

And this is what we saw today:

We informed the pest control company and they're coming over this week to treat the area. They said it would be better to treat it before we install new cabinets. I'm so glad that Pixa Company has been reliable and effective at treating the pests in our house (they also took care of the higad situation since it became so gnarly). 

Lesson learned, before buying a house, ask the seller for proof of pest treatment. I remember my Mom regularly had our home treated before. I started having Pixa treat her home three years ago since the pest situation became uncontrollable already. They found three types of termites in her house and different variants of roaches. It's an old house so taking care of it is different ballgame.

#BeKind #StaySafe 

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Miracle Sundays: Life Away from the World

I started "living away from the world" even before lockdowns started. I worked from home several times a week. My health started its decline after my first PE in 2018. I fought hard to stay "normal" and do my regular activities. I noticed though that it got harder and harder for me to travel alone. I couldn't keep up with physical activities. I'd get left behind walking from the office to the restaurant. 

I did not have a hard time adjusting to the lockdown. I was able to work longer hours. I missed going out, but I secretly rejoiced since my stamina was very limited. Eventually the stress made things worse for me and I spent a year going in and out of the hospital. 

The struggle was real. My reality changed drastically. I could no longer do the things I loved doing. I couldn't even spend more than 10 minutes on a video call without getting tired. My body gave up on me. It took me many months to understand why I had to slow down. And many more months to understand that God was re-directing me. 

Today's Didache reflection prompt is, "If things get overwhelming and you feel disconnected in your inner life, step back, then go slow." My doctors always told me that my personality wore down my body. I always went for the gold and they said the stress would eventually kill me. It did because I couldn't do anything anymore. 

After my second PE, one of my doctors mandated for me to stay offline. I followed his advice and realized how disconnected I was from my inner self. I kept serving others, but I did not take care of myself. God had to bring me to the bottom and practically maim me to bring back my old self. It was at that time when I disconnected from the outside world that I found myself again. 

I woke up today feeling like my old self again. My doctors always wondered how I'm still alive and kicking despite the odds. Love and faith. That's all we need :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Plantita Saturdays: Understanding Fertilizers

I just realized after killing off the garlic and lettuce a second time around, that you have to be mindful about what fertilizers (pampataba) you give to your plants. It's all part of the learning process so I told myself not to feel frustrated. I can always plant again until I figure out the right way. 

I paused planting anything for the time-being since it's bagyo* season and we have work being done at home. Sawdust has been flying everywhere and it's been cumbersome wiping it off. I probably need to move them tomorrow before they start again. 


Spent a day last week reading up on what fertilizer goes on which plant. When I was in SG I just put rice water on everything once a week. I noticed though that the tomatoes and bell peppers that grew were smaller, so I knew something was missing. 

There's many different types of fertilizers. I'm trying to avoid synthetic ones, so I also watched a couple of videos on how to make homemade fertilizers. Much as I want to use organic fertilizers, there are some that would be hard for me to make myself. Here's what I understand so far about providing your plants proper nutrition -

Compost - the secret to a healthy plant is to germinate it in properly prepared soil. Adding compost and organic matter to soil to improve its properties. I tried making compost before in SG and it ended up as a stinky mush. Apparently you have to add green + dry ingredients together with soil. Water it once a week until everything decomposes. 

Complete fertilizer - I just got it off the shelf from an online platform and watered the plants with it once a week. The plants looked healthy, but they weren't producing any fruits. It's synthetic and I realized it's probably not complete after all. Apparently this is good for flowering plants.  

Epsom salt - epsom salt is good for some plants. It provides magnesium and helps seeds germinate, makes plants bushier and encourages plants to flower. How much to put depends on the plant. 

Nitrogen - best used for green leafy plants. I read you can make swamp juice and then use it to water your plants. The easier alternative is to just use urea. 

Potassium - plants like tomatoes and tomatoes need a lot of potassium. I've been making banana peel tea for my tomatoes and they've been producing more flowers. I just need to be more vigilant in helping them pollinate (no bees in our backyard so far). Another thing I'm about to try is camp juice (banana peel + epsom salt + burnt eggshells). 

It is overwhelming, so I'm working on making a matrix to make sure I provide the right pampataba for the plant. This would hopefully help me keep my plants alive and productive! 

Happy gardening everyone!

#BeKind #StaySafe

*Bagyo - typhoon

Friday, November 11, 2022

Lakwatsera Fridays: Shopping in Ginza

One of my favorite places in Tokyo is Ginza. I visited the place for two reasons: (1) Buy an "autumn coat", and (2) Visit a craft shop. I learned from my colleagues that in Japan they follow a color code depending on the season. I was scolded for wearing a bright red blouse during winter, haha. Apparently during winter you should wear dark colored clothing. Autumn follows a different palette as well. 

I think it was my Tita who said it would be easier to buy a coat in Ginza. I went straight to Ginza after dropping off my luggage at the hotel so I could buy an autumn coat. Unlike malls in the Philippines which are wide and have 4 to 5 stories, stores in Tokyo go upward. I promptly got lost looking for the floor that had coats. Up and down I went going through a couple of stores. 

Can you spot Uniqlo?

Once I was done with my errand, I went to Yuzawaya. It's the only craft store I found in Ginza via Google Map that I could reach by foot. The craft store has been around for more than 60 years and, oh boy, they sell a lot of beautiful Japanese made fabric. I always spend at least an hour in the shop whenever I'm able to visit. Japanese people quilt, so they carry quilting accessories that are unique. I loved the shop so much they signed me up to be a member, haha.

But, alas, I discovered that Uniqlo has a 12-floors shop in Ginza! Like, OMG? 12 floors? A Tokyo trip isn't complete for me if I'm not able to visit this amazing Uniqlo branch. Since Uniqlo is from Japan, prices are cheaper and they sell items that are not available outside of Japan. It's an unforgettable place to visit. 

Best day to visit Ginza is on Sundays. They normally close the main street from traffic, so people can walk around and some cafes set up tables and chairs too. I don't know if they made changes since the start of the pandemic. I can imagine it's getting busier now since they've opened up Japan for tourism again. 

I still use the fabric pencil I bought from Yuzawaya. I use it almost everyday and it's so far the best one I've tried on fabric. So I'll always remember Ginza because of that. Not sure though if I'll be able to brave the steep stairs from the train station if I went there now. Maybe someday. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Throwback Thursday: Palm Pilot Chronicles

Unearthed photos I had saved on my palm pilot. Yes, I had one 15 years ago. I think I kept it for 3 years until a friend bought it off me. The photos were backed up from a Nokia phone and my first digital camera, a Kodak cam. I realized I had a good work-life balance back then. I wasn't always stuck working since me and my colleagues went out often, we had company outings and I spent time with friends on weekends. 

Wendy's with Dad and Mom.

Miggy and I were still living with my parents at that time. Life was so simple. From Monday to Friday I'd go to work. Sleep in on Saturdays and then do choir service for the anticipated mass. Attend choir practice and then have dinner with friends. We oftentimes also hang-out in someone's house after. It was a good, happy routine. 

Birthday at home.

I thought I was going to work at the yellow pages forever. I had purposely looked for a company that was good for single parents. Work was from 7am to 4pm, that meant I got home the same time Miggy got home from school. Weekends were free for extra-curricular activities. I loved the routine and I got to spend a lot of time with Miggy. 

The last photo I backed up on my palm pilot was a photo of me and Sweetie. We had just gotten together as a couple and we had several photos taken (from a web cam). Miggy was holding up his Spiderman blanket behind us to cover up his messy bed, haha. 

The start of a new era.

I don't have that many photos from this era. Most of my photos back then were printed from negatives. All of them went underwater during typhoon ondoy. These were some of the precious ones I had backed up from my palm pilot. I was only able to save my computer when the basement was suddenly flooded. So these are truly precious! :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Wellness Wednesdays: Keeping PTSD Under Control

I have PTSD for a long time now. I had done well post-OHS because I was able to keep myself busy. It was the PEs*** that ruined me and my game. It is common for blood clot survivors to have PTSD and it's only recently that a study was started to investigate it further. 

I had the worst PTSD attack two months ago. It shattered the coping mechanisms I established. It even re-opened old wounds and caused a cardiac episode. It was very scary and it took all my will to hang on and fight back. It took all my strength to get out of the hole. I even tried to look for a local doctor to help me, but I was told there is a shortage. It meant I had to try harder. 

I did not want to take the emergency meds I set aside. I already conquered it early this year. Taking it would mean I'd really need to see a doctor. I re-traced my journey to remember what steps I took to establish my coping mechanisms. Thought I'd write it down in case I need it in the future.

1. Focus on happy memories, that's the purpose of the happy memories photo book. 

2. Progress together with your sewing/quilting projects. At least 1% better than yesterday.

3. Grow something. Refresh your soul by spending a lot of time in the garden (also effective in keeping you offline). 

4. Exercise, start with stretching exercises then graduate to more strenuous ones when you can. 

5. Get a pet. A cat adopted us and he's so far brought us joy. We eagerly wait to see if he eats the food we give him. This is a new add on my list. It will probably be a bad idea to pet the cat (if he allows me), so I'm just content he's around. 

6. Get lots of hugs. 

And, of course, pray hard. 

I watched a video about managing intense emotions. She advised to just accept and embrace it, but remind yourself that it is happening because it was triggered. Writing can help release you from it. You also don't really need to talk about it, just ride it out. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

*PTSD - post traumatic stress disorder

**OHS - open heart surgery

***PE - pulmonary embolism

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Creative Happy Tuesdays: Mademoiselle vs. La Fleur? Craft Room Accent Wall

Aside from proper cabinets for my craft room, I was given the option to have an accent wall. Since it's my "cave" I thought a pink wall would be cute. I had my room painted pink way back and kinda miss it. Early last week I was asked to choose the shade of pink I wanted from a color palette. It was hard! I didn't want it to be too bright or too light. It's hard to choose because I need to make sure I don't get tired or annoyed by the color. 

From the many shades of pink I chose mademoiselle and la fleur. Mademoiselle was more vibrant and youthful. I have a shirt in the same shade. It also reminded me of my old room. La Fleur was a different shade of pink. It looks a bit peach depending on the lighting. It reminds me a bit of my 2022 planner and happy flowers. 

Mademoiselle vs. La Fleur

On Saturday, Sweetie informed me that the team had painted the two shades of pink on the wall. I had to make my choice. When I saw the wall I was immediately attracted to mademoiselle. It is a comforting shade of pink and reminded me of happy days. La fleur though was what I originally wanted. I thought it's more age appropriate and would signify a new chapter in my life. It also felt like a very stable shade of pink. 

I went out of the room after looking at it and pinged some friends for advise. Posted the options on my stream, but the result was 50-50. Everyone was torn about the choices too, haha. A friend took it a step further and explained to me what kind of accessories would match the room. Mademoiselle would match with silver colored accessories. La fleur would match with gold colored accessories. My pink bench though matches better with mademoiselle, but I could always make a cover for it. 

First coating

After thinking more about it, I finally decided on a shade. I chose la fleur since it looked more fresh, it's I think more appropriate for my age, if ever I add accessories, I'd prefer gold, and it won't make me crave for strawberry ice cream. 

Shiny new craft room
(the painter said he loves the color)

Over the next few days, the cabinets and paint job were finished. I just went down and the room is ready for me to move in. We'll have it cleaned first before I organize my sewing materials again.

Thank you Lord for the beautiful gift :)

#BeKind #StaySafe