Monday, December 28, 2009

My Ideal Vacation Activity = This*

Ultra fine, white sand and cool breeze....

Snorkelling all day...

Tropical weather perfect for swimming and tanning...

Private, secluded island...

Clear, blue-green, South China Sea waters teeming with diverse kinds of marine life...

...and simply enjoying nature and God's awesome creations  :)

* Pictures taken during my recent summer vacation in Sablayan and Pandan Island, Mindoro.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Close Encounters with the Biting Kind

Very recently, I wrote about my dog show experience with Mr. M.  It was a beautiful bonding day capped with poses with mutts and several video shots, along with some long-range planning on what breed to buy for our someday family.

Will it be a Chow Chow?  Ah, but chows are too hairy and might trigger my skin allergies.  A Siberian husky, perhaps?  Ok, but they look scary, and my nephews and niece might refuse to pay me a visit when they see one in their auntie's house.  I also don't like doggies with black coats, so no no to German Shepherds or Dobermans

What about this?  Cute, cuddly Shar pei puppies!!!!


Cuddly too!!!

Up close and personal:  I think I've found our future pet!

Cutie babies ---- both of them  :)

Mr. M wants a big doggie like a Labrador or Golden Retriever, while I prefer the smaller ones.  I told him I want to get used to having a dog around the house first, then when I am fully adjusted, I'd say yes to a bigger canine companion.

But this I have to confess:  actually, I'm really scared of dogs.  Even now that I'm beginning to appreciate them, I still have second thoughts about having doggies in my house.  Here's why:

Photo Credits:  Photos 1 and 2, Photo 3 and Photo 4 

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Shawie, is that you?

Good thing I now have my own Kiko.  Hehehehehe  :-) 

Memo to self:
1.  Lose 10 pounds.  Make it 15 if possible.  Ergo, eat less and exercise more.
2.  Grow your hair!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Puppy Love

This is one post I'm sure Mr. M would not pass up the opportunity to view  :-)

This puppy might as well join a choir  :-)

Seeing this cutie convinces me all the more to buy and take care of one!

I just can't get enough of chow chows!

Merry Christmas !!!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

What Really Matters

Since the onslaught of Ondoy, my work life has never been the same.  We suspended classes for three weeks, and consequently, we now have to make up for all the lost class hours before March.  So Saturdays suddenly became working days.  Good bye to wet market moments with mama.  Adios to extra hours of sleep on a Saturday afternoon.  Sayonara to rest and more importantly, to date days with Mr. M because of the remedial classes.  It has become so insanely tiresome and stressful that I would often cry out and complain over my exhaustion.  Enough of this, oh please!

What aggravated the matter was that with the nerve-wracking and hectic six-day work week, I barely have quality time with Mr. M.  My Sundays are for church, me + mama bonding, and preparation time for the incoming work week, and sometimes he also has his own commitments, making togetherness a really sacred and treasured time for the two of us. 

One particular Saturday this month, problems piled up and stress level was at its most unbelievable high.  I had a meeting that lasted til 2pm, and with barely a bite for lunch, hopped to the next meeting til 3:30pm.  Then I received this text:

"Andito na ako sa labas.  Tapos ka naHalika na!!"

I get a tight hug, a loving squeeze in the arm, some comforting words of assurance, and the promise of another great, albeit short, bonding time together.  And suddenly I forget about the office and its problems and concerns.

I'm being mushy, but hey, this is my blog.  Allow me some form of cheesiness.  Hehehe  :-)

I am loved.  And that's all that matters. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's a doggie day!

Mr. M and our Siberian Husky bet bond together!

Doggie lovers and owners prep up the canine friends moments before the contest started.

One of the things that Mr. M brought into my life is how he sparked a heightened appreciation for canine friends in me.  Before, dogs were just out of my vocabulary.  I can't even tell the difference between a german shepherd and a bulldog.  I grew up surrounded by eight cats or so, and I thought that's just perfectly fine.  I go nuts every time my feline pets fight one another, but I think I'd go crazier in the company of barking pets.  After all, I'm scared of dogs.  Scared as in I'd shake and quiver whenever I see one in the streets, running after me even with its cutest smile and wagging tail.  But it looks like I got converted.  Almost.  Hehehhe

Last Sunday, I had the chance to go see a dog show with Mr. M at the Tiendesitas People's Village.  We also toured the Pet Village to see other canine friends being sold in the market.  And I must say, after that experience, I think I'm ready to ask him to buy a chow chow for me in the future  :-)

Here's a preview of how that "doggie-themed date" turned out:

Mr. M just couldn't take his eyes off the golden retriever and a mountain dog.

These doggies are more vain than me! Check out their uh, hair. hehehehe

Our all-time favorite and dream pet, chow chow!!!!!

Meet Max, a friendly bulldog

One of our favorites, a Siberian Husky, was declared the winner.  Yey!

In true doggie fashion:  doggies get pampered in a doggie parlor  :-)

A golden retriever puppy catches Mr. M's attention

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ondoy and moving on

It's just one of those days when I feel so lazy to get out of the bed and get my morning started. My alarm clock had been boisterously ringing, and I kept turning it off, hoping to log more minutes in snoozeland. But finally, I woke up a few minutes past six to a rainy Saturday morning. As usual, I had to hurry a bit and get dressed, since every week on this day, my brother Ron and I accompany mom to the wet market.

Everything was unusual. As we drove along Imelda avenue, the street was already a mess. Garbage littered the busy lanes, and water was already mid-calf high. It rained incessantly the whole time we were marketing, but it wasn't the type of shower the likes of which will scare you. It was just mild showers throughout, and since we already spent about an hour buying food for the following week, and the waters along Imelda avenue had surely risen even more, we decided to take a different route and go home via Amang Rodriguez avenue.

I helped unload the stuff we bought, then proceeded to enjoy my breakfast. The rain hadn't stopped pouring in since we left, but I just ignored it. The news the night before forecasted moderate showers, and predicted that Metro Manila was under Signal 1. So I sat on my computer desk and emailed so and so, and browsed such and such website, oblivious of the fact that small bodies of waters were already forming in our street.

It all happened so quickly. Mom cancelled her appointment for that day. Then, she asked me to start packing my bags and things, frequently calling out each one of us to hurry. This may be a mild shower for now, but something was definitely wrong. Pools of water had already entered our gates, and at the rate the waves were violently dancing through the streets, and at the speed by which the waters were increasing in volume, it was only a matter of time before the waters entered our home and swallowed everything it contained.

I looked at my watch: 12NN. Our maids started securing the appliances and electrical gadgets. Mom had started to pull out the meat and vegetables from the ref, and loaded them to an ice chest. Then it dawned on me: we were going to evacuate, and we don't know when we could go back.

I immediately got my office bag, my cellular phones and a charger. I also packed several undies, shirts and shorts. Then I hid and secured the jewelry and laptops, and piled my other stuff on top of one another. The rest was a blur.

We took a very quick lunch, perhaps the quickest meal I ever ate in my entire life, then left the house. It was already thirty-eight minutes past 12NN by the time we locked the front door, and the waters were already chest-high in our street.

It was the weirdest walk I ever took. The trip seemed like forever as I struggled to maintain my balance. Between seeing the water already chest-deep and still continuing to rise, and trying my best not to scream at the sight of cockroaches and rats swimming a few inches from me, I must say that this has got to be the worst calamity I ever witnessed since that devastating earthquake of July 16, 1990.

It must have been a few minutes past two in the afternoon when we finally reached Tita Emy's home. It would normally take me seven minutes to reach her house on a sunny day, but it seemed like forever when we walked to her house on that day. The good samaritans that they are, my sister's in-laws offered their humble apartment for the eight days that we couldn't find a shelter to sleep in. It was a nice and an intimate home, and it surely made us comfortable, but it was torturous having to endure the brownouts and the endless thinking about my things I left at home.

The next day, since all phone lines were cut, and Globe was practically useless too, my brother Ron and I decided to walk to Marikina to check on my brother Eric and his children. We walked for two hours, pausing several times to wash mud off our feet. He was okay, but the three vehicles were almost completely submerged in the flood. The first floor of the house was inundated neck-deep, but they managed to bring upstairs all the important gadgets and stuff.

Ours was worse since we had no second floor. When we went back to the house late Sunday afternoon, the water inside the house was still waist-deep. I guess I wasn't prepared for what I was about to see: the flood almost submerged the entire house! The ref was afloat, the CDs and compo were scattered everywhere, and my two laptops, which I earlier secured in what I thought was already a high place, was also very much wet. All my books were gone, and so are all the pictures of my siblings and nephews and niece. Woodwork stunk, and the house was a complete mess, with all the mud and crude oil clinging so tightly to the walls. The sofas were soaked and browned, and several glass works were broken. Piles upon piles of clothes were waiting to be washed, while several others were waiting to be discarded.

It took us around three weeks to bring back normalcy to the house. We took turns washing, drying, sorting, cleaning, scrubbing ---- everything! It was an endless cycle of waking up, cleaning a portion of the house, throwing out stuff, and resting awhile to eat, and then resuming everything again, until we retire at night, too tired and spent to lift a finger.

I have never seen a calamity of this proportion and of this magnitude in my whole life, and I hope I'll never see it again. Until today, the loss haunts me no end. I get a little paranoid whenever it rains, be it a momentary drizzle or a powerful shower lasting a few minutes. I struggle to avoid brooding over lost pictures, lost memories, lost clothes, and yes, lost books --- the very heart and soul of a teacher's entire career. I spent precious hours scouring every cabinet, and every pile I could lay my hands on, hoping that somehow, something could still be retrieved, repaired and redeemed --- to no avail. I am sitting in this neighborhood's internet shop, thinking about the two laptops I lost to Ondoy, and the desktop pc and table I have loved since my teens. I lie down at night, and turn several times, missing my old, firm bed which I lost to the muddy waters. I look around the house, and it seems bare now ---- devoid of the pictures of our tykes and toddlers in their cutest poses. I roam the street, and there's a mountain of garbage in every household.

Ondoy has taught me not to love material things too much, that I get so attached to them to the point of depression. Now that we have cleaned up everything, I miss my stuff, but I am thankful for the months and years I have been allowed to use them. I lost a lot of material things, many of which I might never be able to regain in my life, but I am grateful no one got hurt, or got sick in the aftermath. We came out alive from this disaster, and we truly thank God that we have each other --- whole and well. But most of all, Ondoy has taught me to trust God, though sometimes that very act seems illogical and useless to do. That Ondoy has claimed countless of lives and billions of property do not change the fact that God is good, and that He is in control of His universe. I often repeat in the church and in the office that God, in His wisdom, allowed us to do the marketing on the morning of the typhoon so that in the days to come when there was widespread panic-buying and hoarding, we would have plenty to feast on. We were perhaps the only household in our area who didn't have to line up for relief goods or assistance. We were literally feasting in abundance in the midst of the chaos.

The clothes have all been washed, and the carpentry works have begun. The home smells great again, and the floors have been waxed. Life goes on after Ondoy. God is good, and though I couldn't figure out a lot of things about this calamity, His grace shines through.

Ondoy hasn't robbed me of my joy. As long as there is life, there is hope, and we can start anew.

Meanwhile, excuse me as I go back to my daily grind. And yes, I'm shopping for a brand new laptop again, thank God :-)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Chicken Trippin'

Everyone who knows me knows that I love chicken.  As in I can eat chicken for lunch 3X a week!  We often eat at Kenny Rogers', so I decided, well, why not give it a little twist?

It's very simple. You just need the following:

  • 1 whole spring chicken
  • 3-5 pieces calamansi
  • 2 pcs medium size white onions
  • Ground pepper
  • Real Magic Sarap (optional)
  • Tanglad (the secret to making this a delectable dish!)
And here's how to cook this mouth-watering meal:
Smother the chicken with calamansi juice. Remove the seeds. Then, even out Real Magic Sarap (optional) and pepper all over the skin.

Insert the tanglad and sliced onions inside the chicken. Turbo-broil for 30 minutes on one side, then 30 minutes again for the other side.

Serve! (Oops, in this case, I already took a teeny weeny slice off the skin. Yummy!)
Enjoy the meal with Mang Tomas!
The dish didn't taste the way a Kenny Rogers' meal would, but it's a lot closer to Andok's. Ang sarap!

I have to thank the original chef among our batch, Enchie, for inspiring this entry. She maintains a recipe site, and I must admit, if I could be half the cook she is, my, my family would be so happy! Please visit her page for more great cooking ideas.

Have a great week end, everyone!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Her daddy's spitting image

Spot the difference :-)

The making of a Nihongo Sensei?

Just got to have that pic with the logo behind us...

Receiving my certificate from Ben Suzuki

with our pretty Senseis

with Dr. Andrada of DepEd at the forum

with fellow forum attendees

Monday, July 6, 2009

Snapping away

It was Pista ng Batang Pasig, and the Camera Girl was tasked to shoot some pics for the official documentation.

Here are some of the amateur-ish snap shots I took courtesyof my GE A735:

The banner says it all

Nervous eh?

Look left, look right, look....where????

The strokes from a future Picasso

Great contrast details...

I'm impressed!

Young artist at work

Filipiniana theme?

Awww..... :-)

Fans watch the next Juan Luna or Manuel Baldemor perhaps?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

Do you snore?

Well, do you, or at least someone that you know?

The last grandson in the family, Enrique just turned three years old last November, and for a boy who has just entered nursery, having him go through the knife was the farthest thing on our minds.

Until doctors confirmed our precious little boy had sleep apnea.

Ever since he was a little over six months, his parents and yaya had noticed that he keeps on snoring a little too loud, in fact, even louder than his grannies or daddy. We just dismissed it as something adorably peculiar --- a small boy 'roaring' like a mini-me of his papa or uncle both of whom we endlessly tease for their not-so-cute and oftentimes funny nocturnal habit.

Fast forward to when he was two years old.

While most kids would happily hop about and run and scream and wreak all kinds and sorts of cutesy kiddie antics, our small one wouldn't even budge. He would just tickle, laugh and play with us for a while, then he'd retreat to his quiet corner by the wall and rest. He would frequently pant for breath, and complain that he's tired. In malls and even in church where children are notorious for their unstoppable hyper ways, our Enrique would always request for the stroller --- a rarity for toddlers raring to walk and run and jump --- or settle for daddy or mommy's loving arms and shoulders. We thought that he's just shy, or that he's just a sickly little boy, easily worn out from playing and doing the things we normally expect of kids.

One night, my brother and sister-in-law dropped by the house. We discussed about The Medical City Hospital's Sleep Center, and before I knew it, doctors were wheeling Enrique to the operating room.

The verdict?

He had an elarged throat that was blocking his breathing; thus, the throaty, scary snore. Plus, he had to have his adenoids scraped so he could breathe better.

For six days our small boy was confined, crying and whining about his condition. We couldn't help but cry softly as he lay there helpless and begging to be taken home.

Here's the small boy as he was recovering from his operation:

Living on a bottle of milk. After his operation, Enrique was prohibited from eating solid food for a week, and had to be fed milk all the time.

Tatoo? The small boy shows me where the doctors put a mark on his arm for the skin test.

Tired and sleepy. The small one lacked sleep all week.

If you or a loved snores, please go and see a doctor immediately. Enrique's heart stops beating five (5) times for every minute when he was not yet operated on. Doctors were very happy that they removed his throat finally, since that would mean he'll get better quality of sleep after the operation, which will greatly affect his growth and development.

Friday, June 19, 2009

More Doggies!

If only I could have one..... ;-(