Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Essence of a Woman

This post was written as an entry to FitFlop Philippines' "Essence of a Woman" contest, in commemoration of Women's Month. Please help by liking my entry here. Thanks!

Some say it is the ability to bear kids, some say it is the ability to love. Some say it is tolerance for pain. But my momma would always tell me that the one thing that drives a woman's spirit is INSTINCT.

See, most women do have the ability to have children, to love, to deal with pain, and yet, some do not. But if there is one thing every woman in this world has, it is INSTINCT - instinct to care for children that aren't theirs, instinct to love the unlovable, instinct to bear pain that isn't tolerable. When a woman is unable to bear children or to become natural mothers, that doesn't make them any less a woman.

My cousins and I grew up with nannies. Our mothers were full-time working moms. Although they were there for us at night, we clung to women who weren't the ones who gave us life. Our nannies were the ones who took care of us day in and day out. They were our second moms. And although we weren't blood-related, we were loved like we were their own. We were put first. They wiped our tears, held our hands, and had the instinct to protect and nurture us.

They also had the instinct to fight for us. To shield us from pain. My nanny cried with me the first time a boy made me cry. She was the first one to hug me and assure me that everything will be alright. It is the same for my cousin when her mom left for the States to work. It was her nanny that took over.

When my husband and I separated, my daughter clung to her nanny for balance. She became my little girl's shock absorber (as I work full time) -- her beam of strength and support.

You don't have to be a mother to be a real woman. It is the INSTINCT within each woman that defines her as woman. These nannies were never mothers. But they were more than mothers to us. They were women of essence.

(Photo shows my cousin Ayesha*, with her 70+ year old nanny, Yaya Julie.)

Incidentally, the Microwobbleboard technology applied to FitFlop sandals is comparable to the essence of every woman since like it, FitFlop sandals have the ability to absorb more shock than normal, and equip women with needed support and balance.

According to the Official FitFlop website, "FitFlop footwear is biomechanically engineered to help tone and tighten your leg muscles while you walk in them. Studies at the Centre for Human Performance at London South Bank University (LSBU) show that normal walking in FitFlop sandals can help:

- help increase leg and bottom muscle activity (up to 30%; so you feel less ache in your hips and knees),
- absorb more shock than a normal shoe
(up to 22%),
- help realign ground force reaction closer to your joints, and
- reduce foot pressure."

Truly a great shoe for the great woman.

FitFlop. Get a workout while you walk™

Wanna know more about FitFlop? Check out their website here. Be a FitFlopper! Like the FitFlop Philippines page on Facebook here.

* My cousin Ayesha was a Director and Business Team Leader at BNP Paribas. In 2009, she retired from banking to fully concentrate on her work for ARK, Advancement for Rural Kids, a New York-based, non-government organization she co-founded. ARK's mission is focused on improving education and health of school age children living in impoverished rural communities in the Philippines. To know more about ARK, their projects, and how to help, visit

W for White Hair and Wisdom

I stand in front of our living room mirror each day, checking out each strand of white hair poking through all the black ones and think, I am getting old. Two years ago, I would have thought I was lucky to be looking so young in spite of all the stress I've had to go through with my marriage. But now, I stare back at my reflection and sigh. This isn't me, I need a makeover. And my eldest daughter agrees, "Let's get you a whole new wardrobe. I'll choose your clothes," she says, "We'll use Ama's credit card."

Who says white hair were wisdom strands? I check out each one I've plucked and think to myself, "well, that's one more brain cell dead, rest in peace."

See, in my family, we've had history of Alzheimer's. I remember stories about my maternal grandmother washing herself over and over again because she's forgotten if she's done soaping herself. And it scares me. It freaks me out. And I make mental note after mental note, just so I remind myself to never forget. It has its downside though, especially when it comes to wanting to forget painful matters of the heart.

Forgiveness is a complicated matter. After reading an old post on forgiveness and remembering how forgiveness entails giving the other person a clean slate - forgetting the wrongs, I have once again been convicted (ouch!). You forgive AND forget. Not historical. Like it never happened.

Such simple words for something so difficult to do.

Ah yes, white hair. It is for every problem I've ever dealt with the wrong way. It may be genetic but true beauty emanates from within and dominates the outward appearance.

The joy of the Lord is our strength. It is by His Grace that we are made beautiful. My prayer today is that I learn to deal with each pothole in my life the way God wants me to deal with it -- overlook and overcome the pain by letting His grace overwhelm.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Setting the Record Straight

First off, I am not a housewife. I would LOVE to be, but I am not one. Lucky me, I have to work full-time because I have no one else I can depend on to raise my kids with me. Why? Well because I have been blessed by this season of single parenthood. Yes, blessed.

Second, I have never mentioned any of R's girls by name, be it first, second or last (initials, yes, to get their attention as they stumble upon this blog while googling for R, and only to let them know that I KNOW about them). Neither have I ever described their circumstances on this blog. My intentions to ever blog about them was one of the reasons this blog was revived in the first place. I started blogging about R to warn the girls that he was taken. But then later shifted to talk about my stand on staying married. If circumstances (I would never reveal her name) surrounding a girl's identity leaked out, then it is because I commented on another blog -- because that other blog's post hit so close to home (thank goodness that post with my comment is now down). BUT not because I wanted to seek revenge on that person.

Third, I have been hurt by the circumstances surrounding R's affair with this one woman, but I chose not to confront her nor expose her secret affair, even when I was feeling so vindictive and scorned. And yes, even it was so hard to comprehend, let alone swallow, because the truth was: I kinda liked her (her son would call up my daughter pa!). But no, we were never (NEVER!) friends. We were never introduced. The most I ever gave her was a smile.

And finally (this will be the last time I will talk about you or give you space on my blog), I know YOU read my blog, because you told R so. You claimed I even sent you a text and told him I created fake Friendster profiles to destroy his reputation. You know, I have never been accused of something as shallow as that. Why would I do such a thing? Am I the only woman in this world crossed with R's lewd activities? Girl, let me just say, I have long forgiven you. But I will never, never forget.

"If malice or envy were tangible and had a shape, it would be the shape of a boomerang." - Charley Reese

PS. While it is true that my kids know about their father's womanizing, it is not mainly because of this blog. R once took our daughter to see one of his women. There are other instances also when it dawned on her that this was the case when she saw pictures of R with someone else while riding in his car. Our daughter will be 9 soon. Kids are not ignorant. Let alone stupid. I think I would be the first one to shield my kids from horror stories about their father. This blog is actually a quest to leave a legacy they will be proud of -- not one of hatred, separation, or divorce.

Tactics of a Woman Scorned

I got to talk to a friend who recently found out about an affair her husband has been having for the past 2 years. She is, needless to say, torn. She loves her husband and is a good, good wife. She doesn't understand how this happened. He worshiped her when he was wooing her. And now this.

She is vindictive. Wanting revenge. The girl involved is someone she knows. "She's an acquaintance. We've met before." Apparently at parties hosted by her husband's place of work. She's hurt. "Sagad sa buto, K." And she cannot just sit and wait it out.

Over two weeks ago, she got hold of her husband's mobile phones (3!) and checked out each text. Of course she went crazy! She also commissioned the help of her cousin-in-law, who happens to be an IT expert, and had a personal email hacked. She's gone through home office drawers, cabinets, car glove compartments - just to spy on him. She even went as far as stalking the husband and following him around town (in a friend's vehicle).

When she first came to me, I thought she was going crazy. Then I stopped myself and remembered: This was me, 4 years or so ago.

Yes, I've been there. I've done that. And I understand. Women become helpless in situations such as hers. You feel the need to do something, albeit wrong.

My heart went out to her. It is hard -- her circumstances. You wouldn't know what to say, because to a woman scorned, there is no reasoning, no convincing, no advice. She does what she wants to do. And if that decision brings her to rage, there is nothing much you can say nor do.

So what do you do? What else can you do but pray? Teach her to ask for grace. I remember sitting on the floor of our walk in closet (back at our first home), crying out and asking for comfort and peace. I remember crying my heart out over the phone to one of my bestfriends (at dawn!) as he tried (t'was futile) to calm me down. I was crazy - a near lunatic. Who's to say what I should have done? My marriage was falling apart.

I cannot blame women who panic at the slightest sign of deceit in marriage. I was once there. Panic is actually an understatement to the flurry of emotions one feels when suspecting an affair. My friend couldn't deal with it. This was her way of coping -- panicking and getting angry. Guess what, her husband hated it.

I understand how it is. Believe me, I understand the need for wives (or girlfriends) to do something (anything!) just to get things back to how it was. But woman, you will never win your husband back with sly tactics. You will never convince them that you are their prized possession. You will never convince them to love you more when you remain paranoid, angry and bitter. They will only see the ugly part of it. They will despise you even more. The way to win in this situation is to LET GOD HANDLE IT. There's no other way to come out victorious but to give it all to God.

*Note to self: I should take my own advice. Ha!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Summer's Here!

School's out and my daughter's already bored.

It is different when you're older. Time seems to dash like marathons and before you know it, the school year's over. A loves school. She dreads being absent. She also dreads summer vacation. If she had her way, she'd want to be in school everyday. Yes, baliktad ang mundo para sa batang ito.

On the other hand, I am breathing a sigh of relief because I can now say goodbye to lunch prep and tutoring 'til the wee hours of the morning, well... only for a while. She's moving to a big school come June, and we're psyching ourselves silly for the early morning drive to school (her class used to start at 12noon so imagine waking up at 5am for your 640am class!).

So today, A is in the office with RL and me. "I have nothing to do", she says. That, inspite of the fact that she brought her thick Brain Quest workbook and melodica with her.

I'm racking my brains for summer activities. Something to keep her busy 'til at least next month. Art lessons, music lessons, you name it, she's done it. Well maybe not ballet or gymnastics, but that isn't really her thing. Why didn't I send her to Reading Dynamincs when we used to live on top of it? Argh!

I asked her for her summer wish list, and so far, here's what she wants to do:

1. Manila Ocean Park (scored tickets at half the price, so yeah...)
2. Active Fun (coupon deal from Metrodeal)
3. Fishing
4. Garage Sale (fancy she'd say this, LOL)
5. Fix room (see, iba talaga tong batang 'to)


Been missing out on posts of Bento lunches. Here are some from the last few days of school.

Hotdog crab and friends. (FAIL on the octopus and squid. Hehe)

RL's and my lunch. Hotdog bits, Hello Kitty Hard-Boiled egg and Salted Egg Mix.

Meatballs and Cherry Tomatoes.

RL's and mine. With arugula salad.

The Talk

I am writing this post offline, as my internet connection at home has not been fixed – yep, thanks to Globe. :P

I wrote a lengthy piece on my iTouch this afternoon, but decided not to use it. My head is swirling with thoughts and my heart, crushed.

Because of a comment on a previous post, I decided to have a talk with my daughter A. Not that this hasn’t been a topic of past conversations, but just the same, I had THAT talk again. Needless to say, the talk got her upset. She understands our situation completely, and has been trying to be strong, but yea, she cried. I couldn’t help but cry with her, because I know she’s been bottling it up. She knows her dad isn’t coming back, but she hopes someday he will think of her, miss her, and come back. :( It’s not that we have been downplaying the situation for her or RL, it is more like A has always been daddy’s little girl. (R didn’t have a job during the earlier parts of our marriage, and had the opportunity to stay home with his daughter most of the time. She was spoiled to the T. He adored her.) Today’s situation is different from what she is used to. And although it has been almost 2 years since R and I parted ways, I cannot find it in my heart to tell my daughter to stop hoping – to stop praying that one day, things will be ok.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you’d know that A is most affected by this whole situation. And RL? Well, he just doesn’t know what he is missing, so he is fine and dandy. I don’t know how it will be in the future for him, but I am hoping for the best. He has father figures to emulate, not at home, but men who play active roles in his life. I sure thank God for that.

I know that to you, it may seem I am not doing things right. But tell me; is there a better way to play things out? It is not easy being in my shoes. Sigh. It isn’t easy at all.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

C is for Carmex, Chuvaness and Contests

CVS, more popularly known as Chuvaness, had this contest on her blog where all you had to do was send out a tweet inviting the twitterverse tweeps to follow her. She was giving away 15 boxes of Carmex Lip Balms!

I sent out a tweet, as I always do with any of her twitter-based contests (the ones that brought her to relevance, kekeke) but didn't win.

It turns out that since I was "protecting my tweets", if you weren't following me on Twitter, you wouldn't see my mentions (@), RTs and Replies. So much for trying to keep my thoughts and retorts private. It is the same with the Cebu Pacific Hong Kong trivia contest. I couldn't win, because my tweets didn't stand a chance (it couldn't be read at all by 5J peeps!). Sayang.

So since I didn't win any of Chuvaness' Carmex swag, I did the next best thing. I went out and got my own Carmex loot!

I love, love, LOVE Carmex. A has really, really dry lips and this is the only lip balm that works for her. I love the icy feeling after each application. And the smell/ taste is just so addicting.

My little boy loves this too. He's sick this week (over-worked?) and I use this on him because it makes him forget about his stuffy nose and cold sores. I call it "icing his booboo", and he likes it.

Carmex is available at PCX stores, First Aid, Robinsons Department Stores, Landmark Department Stores (got mine from Landmark, Trinoma), Felcris in Davao, Suesh in Greenhills, Boracay Budget Mart and Red Dot in Laoag (of course I got all this from Chuvaness! This blog has all the info you need on what's hip and hot in Manila).

Use Carmex everyday and kiss dry lips away!

Interested to know more about this product? Like Carmex Philippines on Facebook here or follow Carmex Philippines on Twitter here.

Check out the Chuvaness blog here. And follow CVS on Twitter here. Kekeke! ;)

RANT: Globe is Dead.

Yes. My phone line at home is still dead. As it is with my broadband service. But what ticks me more is this: I've called Globe half a dozen times since Sunday, have gotten 2 Job Orders for onsite visits and yet, they cancelled and I HAVE NOT HEARD FROM THEM AGAIN.

The last Job Order for onsite technician visit was scheduled for Wednesday before 12noon. I took a leave from work just so I can meet them at home. But I received a call from Customer Care Tuesday evening, telling me that they were upgrading the system in our area and the tech people will not be visiting the next day.

Funny thing is, this wasn't the first time they cancelled this week. When I called the Globe Customer Care Hotline Sunday morning, I was told that the onsite visit was scheduled for the next day, Monday. At around 4pm that same day, right before church service, I received a call from Globe telling me that their tech team won't be visiting because apparently, the problem had to do with a system upgrade. They told me to expect a follow-on call the next day for updates. True enough, the next morning, Globe tried to call. But I was in the middle of my bath and didn't get to answer. I called to verify the call and the girl I spoke to (name withheld) literally read her spiel online when trying to give me a good explanation.

"Binasa mo lang yan, teh e."

"Ay, opo. Kasi yun po sagot sa concern niyo e."

Wow. I was hoping for something that made more sense. That afternoon, I received a text message from Globe telling me that the system has been restored. But when I got home, nada.

So I called again. Scheduled for another onsite visit for Wednesday as I was going to take a leave (coding day). Got another Job Order, and voila! The next day, they called to cancel once more.

I asked Ruby (the girl who called Tuesday afternoon to cancel the Wednesday morning visit), "But didn't you guys send me a text to let me know it was ok already? How long does it take for you to figure out what the problem is? Pasalamat sila I have no nanny at home. Or I'd go crazy knowing the kids are at home with no phone access.

Of course she couldn't give me an answer. I got half an assurance they'd call to give me feedback. It's Thursday today, and I haven't heard from Globe. I don't want to call them anymore because each time I call, I have to call again to report the landline or broadband, because apparently, they aren't connected and they can't transfer to another department. Makes you wonder if there really is some system upgrade going on or maybe these people just don't have enough tech people to send out.

Incommunicado... Yet Again.

3 days -- Yep, counting them, not because it matters to me, but more like because tomorrow is moving-up day for A and she wants her dad to know.

The silence is deafening, but I am used to it. We already know what silence means. It is not because he doesn't have load. More like because he is busy with something or rather, someone new. It is the way it is. It has been like this for the past so and so years. Then he gets tired after a week or so and will be in touch again. He'll try to make up for the silence and will send caring messages. But is that enough, really?

For the kids? No.

Take today for example. I found RL a Jojo Circus book from BookSale. We read the book after dinner and got to the part where Jojo introduces her parents. When I asked him to point to Jojo's daddy, he points; makes a face and asks "Where's daddy? Mine?" then answers his own question with "Wala naaaaa." I am not even sure how he'll take it when he's bigger. A has pics of her dad with her (she has tons) while RL has... 3. He has more pictures with my youngest brother!

It bites. :(

A is pretending not to care, but everytime my mobile phone rings or pings, she'd say "Is that dad?" only to pretend once again that she doesn't care when it isn't him. I mean, how do you remedy the situation? I'm tired of reprimanding him about his priorities, because really, how do you convince a man blinded by lust and infatuation? Ok, maybe love. LOL.

It gets tiring. That, plus I don't want him thinking I care. I only care about my kids. And if it hurts them, it hurts me. I cannot understand how he sees past that. But I will not attempt to find out. I am in this season of my life where I know that I cannot change anyone. And I definitely cannot change R nor his concept of fatherhood. I can only pray for extra grace to get over the hump, and hope that tomorrow will be a better day.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Looking for: Perfect Nanny

I have been without househelp for almost 2 months now. The nanny came back then left again. Yes, our very own Snow White and her dilemma with her dwarfs.

We are now on a quest to find a new one. I dunno. I actually enjoy being with the kids. I am blessed to be able to take RL to work. But I know this won't last long and the bosses will take notice soon. So yea, a new nanny sounds good.

Because of all the problems (debts and what-not) given to me by A's old nanny and her family (former helper was her sis, her cousin and her hubby's cousin both tried out for nanny positions, and RL's current nanny is another sis), my brother has been trying to convince me to look elsewhere. "Enough is enough!", he says. The truth is, this family has given me more problems than R ever did (LOL, ok, ok, almost). I think 30% of my new white hair can be attributed to them. Seriously, they were stress-inducers.

Don't get me wrong. I love my kids' nannies. I grew up with a nanny and loved her to death. Even sang (aray ko, obvious na edad) "Yaya" to the tune of Manilyn Reynes' "Mama". Bwahaha! Seriously! I did. I cried for a month when she left. My cousins' gardener (we lived in a huge compound then) got her pregnant and my mom couldn't tolerate the fact that she left my then one-year-old brother crying in the crib all night while she... well... yea... yun na!

Anyway, I was saying that I love my kids' nannies. Especially J, A's old nanny who worked with me all 7 years. She still does extra work when she has time (wait, more like when she needs moolah, teehee). But she now has two kids (her eldest is 2 weeks older than RL and her youngest came exactly a year later; yup, sinabayan ako). But she was there for me during trying times, even cried when news about R and you-know-what broke out. Got mad at ABS-CBN for showing half of A's face on the news. She is like the little sis I never had. Ok, maybe not. But yea, she was a friend.

My mom says I treat my helpers too well. I helped send our other helper (the nanny's li'l sis) to 2-year college. Gave her a job here in the office and paid her an allowance out of my own pocket (just so she has money for the commute to and from work). When her sis stopped working for me, I allowed her to stay with me to work a bit (she went to school during the day, and did the dishes and laundry at night) just so she can have 3 decent meals and money for school projects. And yet, this one failed me at the time I needed her most. I sent her a ticket to Manila (she was in Bohol for a vacay) over the Christmas holidays and asked her to pay me by working extra for a month. This was around the time her older sister (the current nanny) got the hives. And yet, she left without advanced notice (as in, she took a day off and never came back) because her cousin gave her a better job (she left this one, too, after a week). To this day, her clothes are still in my house. Her debts still unpaid.

My kids and I have been praying for a new nanny. I want one who is older (not necessarily thunder-old, but older than someone who'd go and meet a textmate with her ward). I am also praying for one who is a Christian. Better to get one who fears the Lord vs. one who fears dwendes and the like. Kekeke!

WANTED: A Nanny for Two Adorable Children
(Mary Poppins, 1964)

If you want this choice position
Have a cheery disposition
Rosy cheeks, no warts!
Play games, all sorts

You must be kind, you must be witty
Very sweet and fairly pretty
Take us on outings, give us treats
Sing songs, bring sweets

Never be cross or cruel
Never give us castor oil or gruel
Love us as a son and daughter
And never smell of barley water

If you won't scold and dominate us
We will never give you cause to hate us
We won't hide your spectacles
So you can't see
Put toads in your bed
Or pepper in your tea
Hurry, Nanny!
Many thanks

Jane and Michael Banks
(A and RL Catral, teehee)

Sidenote: We almost had one, my cousin's nanny (who gets 13K a month as she is nanny, tutor, driver, and friend) has a friend in her early 40s who was supposed to work for us. But alas, her current employer refuses to let her go. Sayang, she's a Christian and can do everything. God has someone better! Please help us pray we find one soon. Thanks!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Itch to Blog and My Net Provider

So I was trying to edit my S&R blog post Saturday evening when I got home to dead service. No landline. No broadband. I desperately tried to edit via Mobile, but waaah, my mobile provider's signal sucks in my side of town. I tried calling for technical assistance, but alas, they've cut costs and customer service is no longer 24/7. So I gave up on that and went to bed.

At 3am, I woke up remembering I had a Smart Bro plug-in and a 300-peso card I haven't used! Yes, folks, that was how urgent it was for me to edit my previous post.

What could be more pressing than news on shopping? Ha! I realized while shopping at S&R Fort that I posted the wrong price for those yummy Oreo Funstix! And I wanted to edit to let the whole blogging world know that I also got what I wanted and it was on sale. Nyaha!

(photo credit: Sterilite) These sorting hampers were on sale for P349.95 each!

Sidenote: I spotted Lorna T. shopping at the Fort branch and she wanted my sorting hamper (last piece, sorry po!). She had a personal S&R shopper with her (supervisor) and purchased 4 pallets of stuff! Crazy.

So my net service has been dead since Saturday evening, and I've called my provider 3x since. I've had pretty much bad experience from them. They always tell me that the technical people will come at a certain time only to have me waiting forever for Godot.

Thank goodness for SmartBro, I was able to edit my post. Seriously, all the down time with my other provider is giving me second thoughts about staying loyal. I'm a couple of months away from tie-in expiry and I can't wait to give my loyalty to a better provider.

But hey, why live with the hassle? Now is the best time for me (and you!) to get a new Broadband provider with SmartBro's Broadbandest Blowout! SmartBro's UNLIMITED Broadband Plans go for as low as P999/ month and they're hassle-free. What's more is if you sign up now, you get fabulous freebies - a FREE all-in-one HP printer, FREE Calls & Texts with SMART Gold Lite Plan 300 for 6 months subscription, and 1 month FREE broadband subscription! Crazy deal, too, huh?!

This offer is a once-in-a-Supermoon opportunity! Imagine, consistent surf speed and stable signal. Man, this is the broadband service of my blogging dreams!

Seriously, who needs the hassle when SmartBro is quick to the rescue? I am visiting a Smart Wireless Center tomorrow!

SmartBro's Broadbandest (Once-in-a-Supermoon) Blowout Promo is currently ongoing, until June 4, 2011. Choose from Plan 999 or Plan 1995. Visit your nearest Smart Wireless Center or any SmartBro accredited agent to avail of this great and fab deal.

Check out Smart Communications on Facebook here.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Crazy, Crazy S&R Sale!

S&R is having it's semi-annual SALE and it is C-R-A-Z-Y! I have been planning for this day since I last overspent at their store and saw the announcements. My friend M calls it the "deadly sale" since your wallet is sure to die. Yes, I was prepared for my wallet's demise. My plastics were ready to burn.

A and I strategized. We were coded that day (S&R Member's Treat - Great, crazy deals, March 16-20, 2011; 8am-9pm) so we planned to wake up before dawn on Wednesday to get our butts to S&R Congressional before 7am. We pulled through the gates at 620am and saw that the parking lot was half full of cars already! Yes, people were there early! The line at the entrance was a kilometer long. People were already bickering. And the guards were already stressed when we got in line.

The line at 630am. People were at S&R Congressional as early as 5am! Crazy!

The surprise was -- they opened their doors before 730am, and we were in the store about 15 minutes later (yes, that was how far we were from the start of the line). Each card holder was given a cart pass. You can get 3 carts per pass.

The store was almost full when we were there. Apparently, they weren't letting people without carts in. Yet, they had a lot of carts, so much so it was hard to traverse around the cart-filled aisles. Took us about an hour or so to get what we wanted. We were in line for the cashiers by 9am.

The lines (at around 10am) snaked all the way down to after the freezers. I was told it even reached the end where the cleaning aids were. Crazy!

RL was getting bored. I had no nanny, so I had to try every trick up my sleeve to get him to sit quietly in one of the carts. I had about 3 close-to-heart-attack episodes that morning when he got out of sight! We finished a bar of Mint KitKat, a whole box of Willy Wonka Nerds and 2 bottles of milk. Good thing I had my iTouch handy, that kept him entertained for a good hour or so.

Silly RL with my iTouch. Thank goodness for the Word World 99cent full app! So near, yet so far still from the cashiers.

Apparently, if you stayed towards the left side of the store, you will breeze through payment about 70% less the time we spent in line in the middle aisles. Well so much for knowing that tip after spending the whole morning waiting to pay for our loot.

I overheard a Caucasian and his Filipina friend talking while waiting to pay. And he exclaimed how Filipinos tend to overspend. The scenario was nothing less than panic-buying.

I must also say, there were a lot of rude shoppers at S&R Congressional that morning. Early on, when A and I were trying to wheel our carts around the store, a lady in her 50s bumped our cart with hers. I asked her politely if she could make way for A's cart, and she looked at her cart and angrily answered "e nandito na to, aatras pa ako?" I motioned towards A and said, "Pasensya na ho, bata po kasi kasama ko, baka mawala." She didn't even look at A. She went back to texting yet retorted with a "bata pala kasama mo, e kung ayaw mong mawala, dapat iniwan mo nalang!" It was a good thing I was with my kids, I mustered every ounce of self-control and asked for grace. I wanted to say a lot of things. Wanted to say "God bless you" but didn't think it was right to say that in a sarcastic way when I wanted her to fall off the earth (joke lang to ha, figure of speech). :P Nyar. Why are some people just so rude???!

So I hurriedly pulled A's cart into our lane, and left the old, rude lady to her nonsense. She must be one unhappy lady. Hmph!

The scenario at the sale was crazy! People were killing (figure of speech again, excuse me po) each other for Corelle dining sets (P3,499.95; Buy 1, Take 1). Who needs more than one or two sets? People piled up to 2 dozens on their carts! I saw three ladies fighting, over where the line was for Lifetime tables. Geez. Crazy! Crazy!

Almost there!

We finally got ourselves out of the place by noon. By that time, there was a long, long, LLLLLOOOONNNNGGGGG line of people outside the store, waiting to get in. People were stalking customers for their push carts. I had two customers escort us to where our car was parked, just so they can each get a cart. They even helped me load my stuff in! Cool!

A lot of good buys at this S&R sale, although I was looking forward to getting another sorting laundry basket (not on sale at P499.95/pc; EDIT: T'was actually on sale pala! Was able to get one at the Fort branch for P349.95). We went home with a dead wallet and tons of stuff I really don't need (oops!). Ok, ok, I need them. I am justifying each purchase, because really, I am a smart shopper, and not the shopping monster I've been labeled to be over at the Hong Kong thread on PEx. LOL!

Here are some of my S&R loot.

Plastic Toy Shelves for RL's room - got the Large (P2,299.95), Medium (P1,199.95) and Small (P899.95). Realized on my second trip back that the Medium was available in black (cheaper at P599.95!), so I got one too for the kitchen.

High Velocity Fan - 95 watts, P1,499.95

Folding Table - P999.95

Coleman Party Stacker Cooler - P1,099.95, now I can donate my old, foldable cooler to the office. Yea, summer is here!

I've always wanted to try replacing a meal with diet shakes. These were on sale at 44.95 a can.

You can't have too many liners - Kotex 135ct unscented, P149.95

These are really, really good. If you've tried Golden Oreos before, this is a must-try. Better than the regular Oreo Funstix! P84.95 a box.

My kids and I love the Farley's Gummi Bear brand. Better than Trolli (which has an acidic after-smell similar to, excuse me, uh... puke). P169.95 a tub (these are $5.99 at Duty Free).

Some Hershey's chocolate packs were on sale. We got A's teacher a pack of her favorite Milk Chocolate Kisses which were on sale with a P150.00 discount! The Miniatures were also on sale. Same discount.

Hershey's Kisses, 550g bag, P249.95

My brother asked me to get him these set of LED flashlights. When I went to get them off the rack, the sign said these were P1,000 off from the original P2,499.95 price. I was ready to pay P1,499.95 for these. But alas, when the cashier rang this up, they were P699.95!

I went to get myself a set the next day. Life Gear Glow lights - P699.95 a set

I also got 2 sets of Roman Shades, 48"W on sale at P1,499.95 Buy 1, Take 1. And the 23"W at P999.95 Buy 1, Take 1. Lots of cleaning stuff and food. Of course, we got a huge tub of deadly Nutella, too!

My friend MC is meeting me at the Fort store in a few minutes. So yea, 3rd time at the sale should be a charm.

S&R Member's Treat is ongoing 'til Sunday. Hurry, you still have tonight and tomorrow left. Warning: Leave your credit card at home. LOL!

Check out S&R's website here. And add them on Facebook here.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Morning After

What does one do when you wake up to disaster?

It is Surreal.

The Earthquake/ Tsunami aftermath is giving me goosebumps all over. I hear voices in my head screaming "The End is Near!" "The End is Near!"... makes you think, actually... "Are you ready for the end?"

I have a zillion thoughts swimming in my head. I got up really early today to catch the "morning after" news on Japan. More than 1,000 expected dead. Yes, hundreds dead, more missing. What do you do when tomorrow comes and you find yourself with nothing? Lucky you if you made it through.

Makes you reflect on life and how we always complain about our circumstances when the truth is, possibly, someone, somewhere else in the world (or even right next door) is having it much, much worse.

Reminds me of this post made by CVS on her Chuvaness blog, when she spoke about "Kulam" and recommended the bible verse Psalm 91.
Safe in the Lord
1 Those who go to God Most High for safety
will be protected by the Almighty.
2 I will say to the Lord, "You are my place of safety and protection.
You are my God and I trust you."

3 God will save you from hidden traps
and from deadly diseases.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you can hide.
His truth will be your shield and protection.
5 You will not fear any danger by night
or an arrow during the day.
6 You will not be afraid of diseases that come in the dark
or sickness that strikes at noon.
7 At your side one thousand people may die,
or even ten thousand right beside you,
but you will not be hurt.
8 You will only watch
and see the wicked punished.

9 The Lord is your protection;
you have made God Most High your place of safety.
10 Nothing bad will happen to you;
no disaster will come to your home.
11 He has put his angels in charge of you
to watch over you wherever you go.
12 They will catch you in their hands
so that you will not hit your foot on a rock.
13 You will walk on lions and cobras;
you will step on strong lions and snakes.

14 The Lord says, "Whoever loves me, I will save.
I will protect those who know me.
15 They will call to me, and I will answer them.
I will be with them in trouble;
I will rescue them and honor them.
16 I will give them a long, full life,
and they will see how I can save."

(New Century Version)

I want to say so much more, but words fail me right now. I have friends in Japan, a nephew in Tokyo. They are safe - thank you, Lord. Thankful that net connection wasn't cut with the quake and they got to update.

Stay safe, everyone.

Friday, March 11, 2011


I just wanted you to know that I was thinking of you. Hope all is well.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Nanny Woes Part 3

Well, folks, we're at it again. The nanny came, and left, just like that. Mind you, this is no new nanny. She's been with us for almost a year, and I've known her for almost 9 years, since she is the older sister of A's old nanny.

But yes, dwendes and hives. What can I do with stories like that? I mean, I tried talking her into seeing a doctor, going to the ER, taking Claritin, Benadryl, Allerta, etc. But nope. She won't buy my way. I talked to her about God and His omnipotence. But she chooses to leave it to fate. And faith healers, who, by now, are probably rich with her money.

So yes, what do you do when you have two young kids and no househelp? When you work full time? You seek help.

But God's grace is amazing. I may be a little stressed, but He took that all away. I am enjoying my kids, and everyone has been great!

Yea, so much for that lazy Saturday. T'was a rare treat. But yea, life is good.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The One That Got Away.

This post is dedicated to YOU.

Mark J. Macapagal
The Manila Times

In your life, you’ll make note of a lot of people. Ones with whom you shared something special and ones who will always mean something. There’s the one you first kissed, the one you first loved, the one you lost your virginity to, the one you put on a pedestal, the one you’re with…and the one that got away.

Who is the one that got away? I guess it’s that person with whom everything was great, everything was perfect, but the timing was just wrong. There was no fault in the person nor flaw in the chemistry, but the cards just didn’t fall the right way, I suppose.

I believe in the fact that ending up with someone, finding a longtime partner that is, does not lie merely in the other person. I can actually argue that an equal part, or maybe even the greater part, has to do with the matter of timing. It has to do with you being ready to settle down and commit to someone in a way that goes beyond the little niceties of giddy romance.

How often have you gone through it without even realizing it? When you’re not ready to commit in that mature manner, it doesn’t matter who you’re with, it just doesn’t work. Small problems become big; inconsequential become deal breakers simply because you’re not ready and it shows. It’s not that you and the person you’re with are no good; it’s just that it’s not yet right, and little things become the flashpoint of that fact.

Then one day you’re ready. You really are. And when this happens you’ll be ready to settle down with someone. He or she may not be the most perfect, they might not be the brightest star of romance to ever have burned in your life, but it’ll work because you’re ready. It’ll work because it’s the right time and you’ll make it work. And it’ll make sense, it really will.

So that day comes when you’re finally making sense of things, and you find yourself to be a different person. Things are different, your approach is different, you finally understand who you are and what you want and you’ve become ready because the time has truly arrived. And mind you, there’s no telling when this day will come. Hopefully, you’re single or be in a long-term relationship, or be married with three kids…it doesn’t matter. All you know is that you have changed. And for some reason, the one that got away, is the first person you think about.

You’ll think about them because you’ll wonder, “What if they were here today?” , “What if we were together now, with me as I am and not as I was?” .The one that got away is– the biggest “What if?” you’ll have in your life.

If you’re married, you’ll just have to accept the fact that the one that got away, got away. Believe me, no matter how fairy tale you think your marriage is, this can happen to the best of us. But hopefully you’re mature enough to realize that you’re already with the one you’re with and this is just another test of your commitment, one which will just strengthen your marriage when you get past it. Sure, you’ll think about him/her every so often, but it’s alright. It’s never nice to live with a “might have been,” but it happens.

Maybe the one that got away is the one who’s already married. In which case it’s the same thing. You just have to accept and know that your memories of that person will probably bring a nice little smile to your lips in the future when you’re old and gray and reminiscing.

But if neither of that is the case, then it’s different. What do you do if it’s not yet too late? Simple –find him or find her. The very existence of a “one that got away” means that you’ll always wonder…what if you got that one? Ask him out to coffee. Ask her out to a movie. It doesn’t matter if you’ve dropped in from out of nowhere. You’d be surprised, you just might be “the one that got away” as well for the person who is your “the one that got away.” You might drop in from out of nowhere and it won’t make a difference. If the timing is finally right, it’ll all just fall into place somehow. It would be a great feeling in the end, to be able to say to someone, “Hey you, you’re the one that almost got away.”

My Lazy Saturdays...

..are back! The nanny decided to come back Thursday morning. Yes, just in time for that re-piping job at home (yes, re-piping again, because we found another leak, and yes, after using up my 13th month pay on a previous re-piping job over the Christmas Holidays - nyar).

I promised myself I would sleep in today, but the knocking and banging woke me up at 830am. So I ended up flick fishing on the iTouch, and whiled away the morning in bed.

What got me out of bed? The iTouch going low-batt. LOL.

Seriously, this app is sooooooooo addicting. Perfect for the lazy me! My family loves going fishing. My best memories of my growing-up years involve fishing trips! Which reminds me, A has been bugging me to take her fishing. And yea, I think it is high-time we introduce RL to this lazy hobby. :) So I'm planning a trip to Cavite or Bulacan. Depends if the nanny stays this time. But yey!

Happy weekend, everyone!

Friday, March 4, 2011

More ImBento.

Ok, I am running out of ideas. That, plus my Bento stuff is all stored in some box somewhere in the attic. So with what little Bento tools I have, I can only create much. Yea, yea, excuses.

What got me into Bento anyway? I would say my greatest influence would be Flicker accounts of Bento love. LOL! And JanDi of Boys Over Flowers. Hahaha! And multiple trips back to the homeland where Daiso stores abound (this was before Saizen happened in the Philippines).

Two years ago, I started making A (and myself) Bento lunch. Then the old nanny took it upon herself to make us lunch and Bento became a thing of our past. But sometimes, I get the itch to make one or tryout an idea, and voila, more imBento.

Yesterday, I made A an egg sandwich Bento. I was supposed to make her Hello Kitty hard-boiled eggs, but man, the XL eggs at Shopwise are puny! I need to go find extra-extra large eggs to get those to work with the mold. So I ended up making her an egg salad.

A doesn't like her eggs this way, so I ate leftovers when she got to the office after school. LOL!

Today, after getting a small dose of Bento pics on google, I made her this.

A loves Pancit Canton with rice. Was initially gonna make Rice with Squid Ball "hair" but A didn't like the idea (squid balls were too spicy) so I went with plan B.

Yes, Bento is love. I shall scour the boxes in the attic and make decent ones next week. I hope.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


...was an easy Bento day. I got up early to make A her lunch request of crabsticks. She had leftover DoubleStuffed Oreo so that went in as well.

Yup, that's Cinnamoroll there (rice mold).

I love those Bento picks, don't you?

I had extra time on my hands Tuesday morning, so I made RL his own Bento snack of Bear bread and Japanese Mayo on the side. Knowing my little boy, he licked up the mayo before eating the bread. Haha!

RL's "Special Agent Oso" Bread.

But the next day was a different story, so forget about seeing any pics. It was Bento FAIL. LOL! I should go dig up my Bento stuff.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Disney Surprise!

We checked the list of winners for A's name, and it wasn't there. So when this came in the mail Monday morning, I was quite surprised!

We were aiming for the Flip Cam or the PSP, but hey, anything Mickey is a treat. So we were pleased to have won a Mickey Mouse. Yes, the computer kind. LOL!

Thank you, Disney Channel Asia for letting my girl win a prize from your So-Syok Giveaway! :) This made my daughter's day.

When Loved Ones are Sick.

I had a wild weekend. A was sent home early from school Thursday afternoon with a high fever and a bad headache. While attempting to down a tablet for her fever, she ended up vomiting on herself. It was good that it was a school holiday the next day, so we stayed home to monitor the fever. It went away Friday night.

Saturday morning, she woke up with dried blood around her left nostril. She is prone to allergic rhinitis so nosebleeds are a common sight (she takes after her dad). I consulted my mom on this and she says I can't be too sure, so I might as well bring her to the ER. But because A was her usual hyper self, not like anyone who was sick with something bad (but she didn't have a fever), the pedia told us to wait and see.

Sunday was a normal day. We did chores and church. Shopped for a new shower curtain at Megamall, a place we hardly see nowadays (well, now that we've moved farther north).

Monday, A had a school picnic. She wasn't supposed to go, but it was their last field trip for the school year, and she didn't want to miss it. She got back around 2pm, took a nap, and woke up with another nose bleed. This time, it was fresh blood. Needless to say, I panicked. I left the baby with my brother, and rushed A to St. Luke's for a CBC.

Turns out, she's ok, and it's a viral infection. Plus her nasal membranes are really thin and sensitive. Whew! Didn't think it would cost so much to be paranoid. But it's better to be sure and safe than sorry. One of our office drivers lost a 6-year-old daughter to dengue last month. It won't hurt to be extra careful and watchful, especially if the life of a loved one is at stake. I just realized that it's true what they, about parents going out on a limb to protect their kids. I don't really like hospitals. I only go there to give birth (LOL). But I'd do anything to make sure my babies are ok. I cannot bear to have them go through pain.

Then I realized further that the physical pain is easier to treat (paracetamol works wonders), but what does one do to treat emotional pain? How do you shield your kids from that?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Bad Temper

Was on my way to the office this morning, when, upon reaching the other end of the EDSA-Quezon Avenue underpass, we noticed traffic snailing its way towards the 1st U-turn slot.

A and I were wondering what the hold up could be, so I decided to roll down my window to check it out. Apparently, there was a stalled truck on the opposite lane, which held up traffic making its way through the U-turn slot. I was discussing this with A, explaining that the reason the traffic was going slow was because the truck took up almost 2 lanes and was creating a bottleneck, when to my surprise, the MMDA guy manning the traffic on the truck's side yelled my way "SIRA!!! (pointing to the truck) HUWAG KANG KO-COMMENT KUNG HINDI MO ALAM YUNG PINAGSASABI MO!"

I was with the 2 kids. Obviously, I wasn't there to pick a fight. And I wasn't even commenting on the MMDA guy! Heck, I didn't even see him until he yelled! I was gonna let it pass, when he looked my way again, this time with an angry look. A was getting scared. We weren't even doing anything. So I rolled down my window again and said "Bakit Kuya, may comment ba ako?" And mind you, I had to yell this out loud, because he was soooooo far away, he'd have to own super ears to hear any conversation A and I were having about the stalled truck (that is, if we were even talking about the MMDA guy). To my retort, he gave me a "meaner" look. It was like that for the next 3 minutes or so. I tried taking a picture of the guy when he wasn't looking.

See how far that MMDA guy was from me?!! Goodness! Clark Kent, isdatchu?

I then see him call to another MMDA guy near him, points to my direction, shakes his head, looks at me angry again, points again, and so on...

When I finally made the U-turn, he sees my car and gives me another sneer. It was at that instant I decided I wasn't gonna let this pass anymore. I took out my mobile phone again and snapped a photo of the mean MMDA guy with the bad, bad temper.

I checked out his name tag and on it had the surname ALFREDO (or ALFONSO, I couldn't quite make it out because I was too chicken to get near, lest he grabs my mobile phone through the car window). However, I made sure he saw me snap a pic.

See, Kuya? Pasalamat ka, I have a cheap phone cam. :P

Yes, he is quite lucky I have a cheap phone camera. He is short and balding. Approximately 40-something. And needs a woman in his life.

Manong, I wasn't talking to you. I was explaining the traffic situation to my 2nd-grader. Praning ka lang. Next time, take a cold shower first or make sure you get to do number 2. Masyadong mainit ulo niyo.

MMDA should not only advise their personnel to exercise enough to get their guts flat, they should teach them to respect the citizens they serve. And yes, Manong, it pays to serve others with a smile.

Ok, ok, you probably got out on the wrong side of bed, but still, you were so mean, you scared my little girl. So this is my kind way to remind you, you were out of line. God bless you!

Update on Roxanne

Just wanted to post this short and sad update. Learned that C and Roxanne's mom passed away today. Sigh. Life is short. All the more we should help Roxanne, who depended solely on her mother (her father has long passed).

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