Wednesday, April 30, 2014

After Thoughts

Those musings I made in the previous post, just over an hour ago, took me further down memory lane, during my teenage years. I was allowed much free will even over the choice of schools I went to. I was trusted to take the bus at 14, to and from Manila. I could have sleepovers at my classmate's house in Fairview, Q.C., which was quite far from where I lived.

That daily scramble for a ride home after school was a constant battle that allowed me little wins, and paved the way for bigger ones. Life teaches you, experience makes a person. It worries me that I am sheltering my children to the extent that they do not get to experience life as it really is. It's scary. Times have changed. 

Summer and Rainy Memories

Whoa! Halfway now through the summer break. April's gone just like that. And we remember it like the other past Aprils - sweltering heat. It's somewhat of small relief that at least it has been consistent that way, the weather I mean. It would have been such drastic climate change had the cold temperature we experienced from mid-January lasted until April. The weather in the northern countries, like the US and Canada, I gather from pictures shared by friends on Facebook had been so erratic, sunny today, snowing tomorrow. I guess it's become more 'normal' now, and they are enjoying spring and the cherry blossoms and tulips it brings. Thank, God.

My children are at mid-week now attending this yearly summer Bible Camp, which is organized by the Christian church we are blessed to be a part of. I mentioned in my post yesterday that we have to travel quite a distance to get to the church. The kids have to make a small sacrifice, waking up early like it's a school day. Curiously, they do not have to be forced out of bed. They do not complain about waking up early, the heat, and the commute, Kuya was okay toting a heavy backpack containing his Bible, a change of shirts for all three of us, face towels, and a hygiene kit, plus a water jug.

Yesterday, we took the taxi and train to get to the church. Today, we couldn't get a cab and ended up riding a jeepney to the train station. Looking at Garrett and Gab, I thought of the perils, and quickly scanned the other passengers. Not used to taking the jeepney, they seemed out of place to my eyes. Kuya put his jug on the floor, unknowing that it could be thrown off. Gab, seated on my left, was looking outside toward my direction, one hand clasped around the metal railing above the seat. But they were cool about the experience.

Why, time has changed so! I used to take the jeepney to school back in the 80s. I was in high school then and living in Quezon City. At dismissal, around 6pm, I'd hurry to Ali Mall in Cubao and run after my ride home, competing with other passengers. It was more challenging during the rainy months, normally when school just opened, around June to August. Imagine carrying a bag filled with books, clutching an umbrella, wearing a flimsy school blouse, and skirt. My shoes would get soaked, and at times, I, myself, would be soaked as well. They did not easily suspend classes then. The DepED, then DECS, strictly followed the storm signal as guide to suspending classes. Classes in high school only were suspended at signal no. 3! And that was rare. Now, you know the picture too well. Heavy rains can flood roads and prevent students from keeping to their school calendar.

Going back to my children's story, it's been a blessing to be present when they experience things for the first time. I let Garrett buy the train tickets. Gab is old and big enough to know how to slot in the card and get through the gates. The two would rather stand on the train. I told Garrett he could do that, should do that, actually, when he's all grown up. I said he has to offer his seat or stand as a courtesy to girls, women, the elderly, pregnant and PWD. The LRT line 2, plying Santolan-Recto-Santolan route, is comparable to Singapore or Hong Kong's MRT. Same manufacturer, I guess. That's one thing I'm happy about in terms of where taxes go.

I really enjoy this phase of my life. My children are spaced six years apart. And so it's now become manageable for the three of us to take off, take a train, a jeepney or a bus. They've also become easy to feed, not anymore the picky eaters they were not long ago. Yesterday, we left Quiapo around 1:30pm, in the thick of the summer heat. Not having had lunch, I was famished when we got off the train. The kids shared a cup of rice and a few pork chunks for lunch. I decided to have merienda at the station. We had siomai and donuts. Kuya and Gab, sweating and tired, ate with much delight, without any fuss.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Of Traffic and Obama

It's the second day of Garrett and Gab at the Bible camp, a week-long church activity, more known as Daily Vacation Bible Study (DVBS). It's held for children and youth ages 3 to 16 years, and open to all. This is their second year. They are committed to it and happy to be part of it that they are okay waking up at 5:20 am for five days during summer vacation. We travel from Taytay to Quiapo. Yesterday, we brought a car. Today, we took the Santolan-Recto train, alighting at Legarda.

We got caught in the traffic frenzy yesterday owing to Obama's visit. Roads were closed either by police or by militants. I am so poor at directions and spatial orientation, in general, that my driving is confined to the few places I frequent. I was clueless how to get out of Manila. I ended up on Lacson Avenue, sweating my way through the little roads before that, as I was holding my urge to pee, praying for a gas station. I took an abrupt turn at the corner of Fajardo and Lacson streets, found a uniformed policeman inside a half-closed restroom, and begged him to hurry up. I was desperate! And then I asked for directions from the officer. He suggested I take Espana and exit via Quezon City. I did just that, cutting cars from the corner I came from to make a U-turn on Lacson. I drove straight until I came upon two cabs -- with doors kissing -- that wouldn't budge. One driver came out shouting at the other driver. I was right behind them on the middle lane. The cars that were ahead of me either overtook them on the left or right. Silly me, I followed a jeepney that overtook from the right side. And then I got stuck, together with the cabs, causing more traffic! Imagine that. I was sandwiched between one of the cabs and the yellow rails that lined the road. I didn't dare move fearing there wasn't enough space to get through. Thank, God, the cab drivers decided to move apart and carry on. I was relieved that it happened after my call-of-nature trip to the gas station.

It took 2.5 hours to reach home. I couldn't curse the traffic and what or who caused it. I was excited to catch the early evening news and see yesterday's state visit by the president of the most powerful nation. I kind of like Obama. I dream of going to the US. I like seeing Obama give speeches, and was curious as to how our own president fared alongside such a powerful, charismatic, political figure. I caught the speech Obama gave at the state dinner. It was freaking creepy I thought, hearing him praise the two late Aquinos' legacy, the throw of dictatorship, the show of people power to fight for democracy and keep it, and how he referred to the good spirit of the Filipino, citing a local word "kalooban." Seeing the dictator's son and the convicted plunderer (an ex-president) applauding in the audience after the toast, that's creepy. Seeing presidential sister Viel Aquino exchanging pleasantries with Sen. Enrile got me wondering who was behind the seating arrangements. I caught something nice though. I thought Pres. Ramos was truly witty having kept Obama for a few seconds while shaking the other's hand in greetings as the latter was enroute to his diplomatically assigned seat.

Oh, the Philippines! Nowhere is it more fun, indeed! And I wouldn't trade it for another. Really.

The State Dinner venue, Rizal Hall, Malacanan Palace. Photo grabbed from Facebook page of Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines.

Monday, April 28, 2014

My New Bestie

I spent the last week mostly cleaning the house including the yard. I would start at 7 am when the sun had already made its hot presence strongly felt on this side of the earth. I would put on sunblock with SPF100 before venturing out to the street to do my daily sweeping of the front yard. In a few minutes, I would be perspiring heavily, my eyes squinting as the sunblock disintegrated and streamed down my face with my sweat. Sweeping our yard, in and out of the house fence, took about a half hour. I would cool down once I was inside the fence and watering the plants and the entire patch of land at the east corner of the house. That was my favorite part. I know it's inconsequential but could I just mention that I was starting to develop a callus on my finger? But the upside to all the cleaning, sweeping, mopping that I did was that I easily lost a kilo. Hmm, so maybe I should carry on.

While I was dead serious at killing time productively while my kids were away (with Yaya) on vacation, I made a trip to Ace Hardware to get cleaning aids. You tend to ignore the little things and only take notice when you're the one getting dirty and sweaty. So this was how I met and fell in love with my new bestie.

I thank the genius who fabricated this awesome microfiber mop. In just a few sweeps, I finally made the hubby happy. I removed with minimum effort the "agiw" hanging from the bedroom ceiling, that swayed with the air from the aircon vents. Oh, and that feeling of relief, not having to push heavy furniture because this amazing thing easily reaches nooks and crannies, I loved it! I am so shallow, yes. But, hey, when cleaning has become your daily chore, no matter what day it is (even on holidays), you'd dig me. This is a must-have cleaning aid. And one that would be worth your little investment. It costs 670 pesos. Your trusted "walis tambo" now easily fetches 200 pesos, and the typical mop with strands that get tangled costs about 400 pesos if you're buying a set with the handle and the rag. Needless to say, I know, that nothing is cheap nowadays. So make that investment now, and you'd not regret it.

I'm not an advertiser. I'm just a happy stay-at-home mom that likes to clean the house and wants to reach out in small ways to all the moms and others who could relate.

I write when I have time. It so happens that I have loads of that now while I wait for my children finish their Bible summer camp and music ministry workshop today until Friday. So brace yourself, dear readers, for more inconsequential musings. I hope your week has started out well. Happy musings!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

What’s your favorite new word? Sunnies? Besties? Or Selfies?

 Photo grabbed from sunnies-1-istorya.net_.jpg

In this era of sunnies, healthy eats, good reads, birthday greets, came besties and then selfies. Selfie was among the buzzwords in 2012, and last year, it was announced as the “word” of the year. You call these words urban or slang lingo. 

Language evolves with time, even the rules of grammar and style get shaken to allow more freedom of expression. Blogging platforms (like Wordpress, Tumbler, Blogger, Twitter), which allow just about anyone with access to a computer and internet to write and publish, have paved the way for unrestricted use of language. 

Now, a sentence does not have to always have a subject and a predicate, regardless whether it is of the exclamatory type that can go by one word and an exclamation point (example: Gosh!), or one that commands an action, as in “Go.” The important thing is that readers “dig” you. I see more and more adjectives being used singly and ended with a period: Perfect. Beautiful. Surreal. Damned. 

“Haha” and “hehe,” are now incorporated in sentences. They used to look out of place and wrong, but because they’ve pervaded blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other social media, they’ve been accepted as part of today’s lingo. Haha’s and hehe’s imply the writer’s mood, but they are not always equivalent to your typical, pleasant smiley. They sometimes convey that the writer is being condescending, irate, or vengeful. "Hehe" is more neutral or should I say more leaning to good vibes, denoting laughter and a happy mood in general. At times, "hehe," when used to respond to positive comments or praises on Facebook, hints of shyness or is an attempt at humility. 

So how do I end this blah-blah? GTG (short for got to go).

But before I go, I’d like to share with you the meanings of some of the words mentioned above. These are from Urban Dictionary:

A picture taken of yourself that is planned to be uploaded to Facebook, Myspace or any other sort of social networking website. You can usually see the person's arm holding out the camera... A selfie is usually accompanied by a kissy face or the individual looking in a direction that is not towards the camera.

An adoring nickname for one you hold in highest esteem, more commonly known as a best friend. A bestie is the person who you not only go shopping with on a regular basis but also trust implicitly with anything.

Another term for "sunglasses".

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Dear Gabee

Dear Gabee,

How are you? I am sure you are enjoying your short vacation with Lolo and Lola in Bulacan. Please don’t think about Mom when night falls. I am just here at home. I’m not going anywhere far without you. Remember you had me promise that I should not leave you to go to Viet Nam again? Why, you remember the time Dad and I went away so well. I think it’s because of the Vietnamese costume we gave you as pasalubong. You loved it so, didn’t you? You had requested to wear it to school several times, but I only gave in once. I know, my “kuching”, Mom is such a kill-joy. You can ask Kuya what that means.

You had me worried last night seeing you on FaceTime cry so hard, begging me to fetch you. I wanted to, Gab, to do as you wished because I also miss you. But I doubt whether you really wanted to come home already while Kuya is still there having fun with your cousins. I think you just miss Mom as much as Mom misses you. But, I am not crying. You know why? Because I know you’re fine and having a good time, and making Lolo and Lola happy just by you being there. I know Tita looks forward to going home from work because the house is happier and a lot noisier with you, your Kuya, and your cousins there. Hug and kiss them a lot, Gab.

Oh, I saw your diary! Lola and Tita posted on Instagram what you wrote. You told Diary that you hurt your knee on Day 1, and that you got annoyed with Kuya who wouldn’t stop dancing “Just Dance” on Day 2, and that you dream of becoming a dancer. How about today, Day 3? Tell me what happened. Write every day, and put those pieces of paper in your bag. I know you’re very careful with your stuff, and that’s a very good thing, too. All the stuff that you packed, make sure you bring them home again, together with your Dear-Diary notes, ok?

Tita also posted photos of you eating balut and chips. Balut is nutritious. Chips (or tsitsirya as you call it), you know, are bad, but having them sometimes is okay. Did you thank Tita? Always say thank you, ok?

I went to see your Ninang Anna today. She gave me your early birthday gift. You will love it!

I love you, Gabee. See you soon. Take care not to hurt yourself. I know small wounds do not worry you because you're such a brave girl.

Say hello to Lolo and Lola for me. And hug Kuya for me.

I am excited to hear all your kwento when I see you.

Love much, 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Baby in My Arms, Once More

It's day 3 without Garrett and Gabee. The two I'm sure are having a grand time in Bulacan with their cousins.
My me-time has been short-lived since my nieces, Kirsten and Bash, are staying in the house for a few days to keep me company. So I went about the day not only with my usual cleaning-the-yard and feeding-the-dogs chores, but with Kirsten to take care of while her mom took off to the parlor. Nanay is here as well so we take turns keeping the baby entertained and fed with water and formula. She's been breastfed since birth. Her mom has again tried another formula so she can leave the baby more often and not have to come running home the minute she gets texted that Kirsten is crying!
Kirsten is asleep in my arms right now as I type up this entry on Timeline Day One (an app the hubby has introduced me to). With Timeline Day One I can document my day with a photo or a narrative, my inconsequential blah-blahs. Who knows what value I would find in these blah-blahs years later when I'm old like Francesca in Bridges of Madison County? Some thinking I have going. Stop reading if you can't take it, haha! 
I can publish an entry on Timeline Day One straight away via Facebook. But I'd rather post narratives on my inconsequential mommy blog. I've been finding more time and motivation to write. I know to some it's a waste of time. But then I have plenty of that these days, especially this summer, I have no children to drive for, remind about school work, and help study for exams.
May is already coming up! How time flies! I used to carry Gabee in my arms like this. Now, she's off without her mama.

Erratum: Ooopsie, the app I mentioned is not Timeline but DayOne. Sorry. I've edited the post. :)

A Pleasure that Comes Cheap and Quick

I will admit to a pleasure that comes cheap and quick, as cheap as 20 pesos. See the picture below. That's my sister. She's tried it once, following my lead. Not sure if she liked it though.

This one below is my son. Unlike my sister, this happened without any influence from me. I came from the ladies' room and found him as such, seated, giggling, obviously enjoying himself. He got his sister to lend him 20 pesos so he could get a 6-minute massage.

Garrett checking out the massage chair. And those are my big thighs. :-)
This spot is so strategically located at the mall entrance from the car park. Yesterday, it greeted me again as I went in, and pulled me to it before I went out.

Here are some reasons why I am magnetized to this massage chair:
  1. I said it already, I know, but it’s the main consideration, so let me say it again. It comes at very affordable prices, flexible to suit my budget and free time: 20 bucks for 6 minutes, 50 for 15 minutes and 100 for half an hour.
  2. It’s effective. The machine kneads the back muscles and parts of the neck, head, and hips as well.
  3. No tips required.
  4. No hassle of changing clothes.
  5. Accessible within mall hours.
  6. You get consistent quality of massage, no disappointments or frustrations in the end. 
It comes with its downsides though, but do not significantly erode the upsides as I see it.
  1. You have bright lights above your head, making the experience not that relaxing.
  2. You must be ready to take the spotlight. Because this business is not yet that “mainstream,” people passing by would glance or stare at you, curious and probably thinking of trying it out themselves. If you go to a community mall, like the one I go to (SM Taytay), the chance of being seen by people you know is not remote, such as co-parents from your children’s schools.
  3. And then there’s the issue of whether the chairs are clean, so it’s better if you’re wearing jeans/pants to minimize skin contact.
  4. For someone who’s into massage as a de-stresser, the services of a trained masseuse in a reputable/decent spa or massage center are still better.
I thought I’d share these thoughts with you and get you to think about yourself, to pamper yourself because you deserve it! I would be happy to hear your thoughts, share them in comments, please. :-)