Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ciao Bella

You Are Italian Food

Comforting yet overwhelming.

People love you, but sometimes you're just too much.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Advice and Growing Up

Sooner or Later

Pull the hair back from your eyes
Let the people see your pretty face
Try not to say anything weird

Save your questions without answers
'Til your old enough to know that things ain't as they appeared

Before you go out in the sun
Cover your skin and don't get burned
Beware the cancer, it might kill you when you're old

Be first in line, raise your hand
Remember everything you hear
And playing in the rain is worth catching cold

Sooner or later
We'll be lookin' back on everything
And we'll laugh about it like we knew what all was happening
And someday you might listen to what people have to say
Now you learn the hard way

We only want what's best for you
That's why we tell you what to do
And nevermind if nothing makes sense

'Cause it all works out in the end
You're just like us without a friend
But you can build a privacy fence (Yeah)

[Repeat Chorus]

Somethings you have to learn them all on your own
You can't rely on anybody else
Or the point of view of a source unknown
If it feels good and sounds nice
Then it's your choice don't doubt yourself
Don't even think twice

Pull the hair back from your eyes
Let the people see your pretty face
You know they like it when you smile (Find a reason to smile)

Try not to focus on yourself
Share that love with someone else
Don't let the bitters bring you down (Down)
Don't let anything bring you down

I was in the taxi cab on my way to work listening to my mp3 player, which I haven't done in ages, and this song started playing. I originally liked it because I thought the melody was upbeat enough but today, for some reason, I found myself really listening to the lyrics. I liked the imperfectness of the advice and how real some of what was sung really is. I liked that I could imagine saying these words to my son and daughter without feeling bad about not being able to explain more or be clearer or more true to what reality is. Because I think I would have liked it if someone had told me more about those aspects of life that are hard and difficult to understand or accept. Oh, I am all for keeping innocence and all. I would not dream of taking that away from my kids any sooner than need be. But, for myself, I guess I would have just wanted to be better equipped for the hard parts as well. I think it's important to have that balance. Funny what you realize when you grow up.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Perspective is Everything

Over the past few days I've been going through my own personal typhoon and I came out of the rainstorm with a few realizations. I realized that I haven't really paid attention to ME in a while. Yes, my friends in the QA room will snort themselves to death over that statement, I know. But it's true. This isn't the self-obsessed, laugh-trip kind of statement that people are used to hearing me say. This time, I am serious. Contrary to popular opinion that I am all about ME, I actually found that I am not and this caused me to really spin when I couldn't answer the question "who am I?".

I know who I used to be.

I remember I used to love to dance. I would go out with friends almost every weekend just to go dancing.
I remember I used to love to drink. Ok, I admit I used to drink like a fish. But I'm not referring to my frequent overindulgences here but to the 2-3 cocktails that were my staple for a normal night out.
I remember I used to go to the salon every month for a hair treatment, every 2 weeks for a manicure, pedicure, footspa, and threading, and every 3 months for a haircut.
I remember I used to have a facial every month and a Glycolic treatment every 2 months.
I remember I used to have more than 5 pairs of pants (denim) and more than a couple of pair of slacks. I also used to have a closet full of blouses segregated into "going out", "office", "casual" categories. And I used to own skirts and dresses!
I remember I used to go out every Friday AND Saturday. Go out, see bands, see friends, drink, dance, have fun.

I don't remember the last time I did anything on that list.

I would skip the personals in the supermarket because there were so many other things needed. I would forgo a night out because I had to be home to be with my hubby, who would end up going out some of the time anyway, or to see my kids, who would be asleep. All my clothes are maternity clothes and I can count the type of any kind of clothing in that closet, let alone segregate anything. I haven't seen my colorist or stylist since November last year, although I have been to a couple of salons once or twice that were much much cheaper but had so-so service. And I've been dying for a Mojito but I can't seem to get around to getting one. My friend Anj would constantly text me, "do it for yourself" and " you have to feel good about yourself too". And I never really believed that that was important. Until now.

I realized that I have to take care of ME more now. I have to rediscover who I am. Granted I can't do everything with the same frequency and abandon as I did when I was single. I haven't forgotten that I have 2 kids now who need my time and to be supported as well. But I realized that, in my effort to be the best friend, wife, mom, and child, I forgot to just be the best ME. I have to peel off all the layers of defense that I plastered on in response to dislike, which I just stretched out over everything and everyone (jaded?), and get back to the me that used to be a lot of fun to be around. This is going to be so hard since I've gotten used to putting everything before me (the stuff I listed down) and to thinking that what I wanted personally was frivolity I could do without. But I figured when I find myself again I will be better armed to weather any more typhoons should they come my way, to know what to do and how to act because I would know what kind of person I am and what I deserve. Livi said once "you are responsible for the way people treat you" and while I think there is merit in that, I don't think you can take this step without first taking responsibility for yourself.

So, here I am at 29, doing what I did when I came home from England at 19- trying to find myself again, love myself, make myself into the best me.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Nat Knows Best

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

Easier said than done.


Livi and Am were talking about Am's new braces and teeth work in general when Livi said "I would just get veneers and cover it all up". Is my life just a set of veneers?

Greed is it.

Lust:Very Low

The Seven Deadly Sins Quiz on

Is this really me????

Cleopatra, Helen of Troy, and Vicki

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Second Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Low
Level 2 (Lustful)Very High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)High
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)High
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)High
Level 7 (Violent)Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Very High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante Inferno Hell Test

The whole team took this quiz March 7, 2007 and I was in Level 2. 1 year and 4 months down the road...I am in the same bloody level. While this is a good result compared to others (who are in really low levels, hehehe), others have gotten "gooder". Does this mean I am really doomed to be the same? Ack, connected to an earlier post, does this mean that people really don't change. Waaaah. Back to lightness please.


I just recently watched 'Under the Tuscan Sun' and I loved it. I don't think I would've liked it as much around 5 years or so ago. I don't know. Maybe I've just gotten old. Or maybe, after being on my own for a few years now, I just now truly understand my fears. There's quotes that sort of speak of some of my fears.

"Do you know the most surprising thing about divorce? It doesn't actually kill you. Like a bullet to the heart or a head-on car wreck. It should. When someone you've promised to cherish till death do you part says "I never loved you," it should kill you instantly. You shouldn't have to wake up day after day after that, trying to understand how in the world you didn't know. The light just never went on, you know. I must have known, of course, but I was too scared to see the truth. Then fear just makes you so stupid."

There are 2 things that stand out to me in this quote: the fear of not knowing (which is different from the unknown) and fear itself. I am not referring specifically to the topic in this quote but rather the effects of the topic. I think there is a lot to be said about not knowing. A lot of negative things. I never really believed in the saying 'Ignorance is bliss'. I really believe that the time of not knowing always runs out and then that 'bliss' just becomes an even bigger nightmare, something fueled by all that time believing in what wasn't. And then there is fear itself. Fear can do so many things to people. It can make the smartest people stupid, the loudest people silent, the most sensible people scatterbrained. Mostly I detest how fear just makes you stop and question yourself and everything you believe in and want. This is why I admire people who can move beyond fear, whether it be fear of a thing, a person, or a situation, to get to what they think they truly deserve. I want to be brave too and to have clarity. I don't think this is too much to ask but why is it so damn hard?


I can't believe I'm back to where I was more than a year ago.

Shame, shame, shame.

I thought people were supposed to be able to change. I thought the only constant was change. I;m not sure I know what to believe anymore. I think I should just focus my energies on dealing with disappointment.

Oh, and Avril was right. "Love is a gift. Not an obligation."

Thursday, July 24, 2008


You Are A Realistic Romantic

It's easy for you to get swept away by romance...

But you've done a pretty good job keeping perspective.

You're still taken in by love poems and sunsets

You just don't fall for every dreamy pick up line!

The Road Less Traveled and This IS the difference?

When I was a kid my parents used to tell me to study hard, get as good a set of grades as possible, and earn that degree. This would arm me for the future. This would be what would help me have a better life. They also told me to study what I loved, this way I would be more naturally inclined to do better, therefore getting better grades, etc. This would always translate to success. And success to me was doing what I loved the best way I knew how and earning well because of this effort. I am not so sure now if this really is the case. I am earning pretty well for the industry I am in, granted, but it seems these days there are more higher paying, more in-demand IT-based and math-based jobs. This is a totally opposite field from the one I've spent years trying to better myself in. Take for example Accounting. I know several accountants that seem to have a whole field of prospects to choose from lately. High paying jobs with the added benefit of living abroad. Was this the path I should have taken? Would this have made my now better, at least money and career wise? Here's a snippet from an online article I read earlier today:

"As enrollment reached at an all-time high over the past three decades, it seems the popularity of the accounting profession has no intentions of slowing down among students.

Queen-Hubert attributes this to the financial crisis. "In today's world and with the high price tag of a college degree, parents and students are looking for careers that offer long-term prospects and skills that can be portable amongst industries." And right now, accounting seems to add up."

As a mom, I am always concerned about my children's future- both how I can provide for them as a parent and what to teach them for them to have good, comfortable, productive lives. Looking at what's out there in the market, I kind of wish I took a more flexible course in College. Perhaps something to do with Communications, or IT, or even, God forbid, Accounting. This way I would be in a better position now to get a higher paying job. However, I really liked what I took up in College. I had a blast during my college years both in living out my student experience and increasing my knowledge and skills. I am not sure if the prospect of more money in the future is really worth doing away with that experience. Given that I am on uncertain ground on this topic, what then do I tell my kids when the time comes for them to choose the path to their future? Do what you love and the rest will follow (even if sometimes I really just doesn't), or be practical and think about the best way to achieve a good life (meaning- monetary comfort)? Confusion.

Again, I seem to have stumbled upon an answer that seems to have no right or wrong answer. Sigh.

(to read the entire article, go here).

What's my English?

I saw that Numi took this test and I was curious to see how I would score.

Your Linguistic Profile:

65% General American English

20% Yankee

5% Dixie

5% Upper Midwestern

0% Midwestern

I never thought I would be 20% Yankee. It's a funny thing.

Monday, July 21, 2008


I was inspired by a short post in a friend's blog. In the 3 short paragraphs in the post you could really feel the love from the writer to the object of affection. This sounds cheesy, I know, but it also made think about the power and beauty of love in itself. And life and reality. I remember when I was 11. I remember writing in my diary trying to conjure the perfect man. The one who would one day sweep me off my feet and envelop me in a cloud of love.
Below were my favorite quotes about love from a movie. They're from 'Meet Joe Black'. I liked the movie but honestly 90% of that like is encapsulated in the following quotes:

"I want you to get swept away. I want you to levitate...Sing with rapture and dance like a dervish. Be deliriously happy, or atleast leave yourself open to be."
"Love is passion, obsession, someone you can't live without. If you don't start with that, what are you going to end up with? Fall head over heels. I say find someone you can love like crazy and who'll love you the same way back. And how do you find him? Forget your head and listen to your heart. I'm not hearing any heart. Run the risk, if you get hurt, you'll come back. Because, the truth is there is no sense living your life without this. To make the journey and not fall deeply in love - well, you haven't lived a life at all. You have to try. Because if you haven't tried, you haven't lived. "

I'm much older now and the pictures in my head have somewhat faded, their corners rather frayed. I used to believe that love was just like this. All like this. And that anything less was, well, just that....less. I think differently now. I know now that love like this does exist but it is never without it's pains, that it cannot be as great and powerful and sweet without these pains. How could one appreciate the beauty without even a glimpse of the ugly? That doesn't mean that one should settle. I guess what I am saying is I've learned to see the beauty in imperfection and the value of the head and the heart, and to just go on the journey and to not try so hard. It's like a quote from 'under the Tuscan Sun':

when I was a little girl,
I used to spend hours
looking for ladybugs.
Finally, I'd just give up
and fall asleep in the grass.
When I woke up,
they were crawling all over me."

I'd like to believe I am holding my ladybugs.

A Thick Silver Lining

Ok, so I've been hobbling around on this sprain for 2 weeks now and I can say I abhor the fact that I cannot do the things I normally do- mundane things like doing the grocery or fixing the meal. I can't even visit my son's room as often as I would like because it's a whole extra flight of stairs up, and this is bloody difficult on crutches. But there have been some surprisingly pleasant things that have happened over the weekend that made me forget (ok, just for a few hours anyway) just how handicapped I am at the moment.

Saturday evening my sister-in-law celebrated her 39th birthday with a big party. My son, having just recovered from a cough and fever, was excited to be able to join the festivities for the night. He was bouncy and lively and chirpy. The funniest moment was when we were called to start getting food. He came up to me and said (complete with zealous arm gestures) "Come on Mommy. Let's go Mommy." I answered and said "Ok, can you please help mommy? Can you give Mommy her crutches?" These were leaning against the sofa. He nodded and said "ok mommy". Then he marched his 2.11 year old self to where my crutches were standing, held them by the sides and gave them to me with a big grin. Then, he waited for me to position myself before he started walking to the buffet table beside me. Isn't that just too cute and sweet? Really.

Next pleasant event. I usually do the groceries twice a month and I have a very strict budget. If I go over the budget, I have to make instant decisions about which item(s) to remove from my shopping cart. Usually, I think about what I currently have, if this is enough to last through to the next period, or if I no longer have, it can I do without it for the meantime, etc. Obviously this entails knowing more or less what you have and don't have. This has always been my arena. Not that my husband never showed interest. It just seemed easier and more natural for me to take control of it since I'm more detail-oriented and the one who does the shopping in general. Since I am currently on crutches, my hubby had to do the groceries this weekend. To prepare him, I told him that there was a strict budget and that if he should go over this he would have to make instant decisions as to what to leave out. I also gave him a detailed grocery list. He brought his 13 year old niece with him, spent roughly 2 hours in the grocery, called me about 10 times to verify certain items, but came home p450 under the budget!! I was so proud. And, despite his comments about how lost he would have been without his niece and how long it took to park and how long the cashier lines were, I think he enjoyed the experience.
The cherry on my Sunday happened in the evening of the same day. I had to put my daughter to sleep as her yaya was watching my son, whose yaya had to leave for a few hours to attend to family issues. Unfortunately, this happened at the same time as dinner- and I had not prepped anything. Imagine my surprise when my hubby says "You want me to cook?". Of course I acted as nonchalantly as I could (he's not very big on making big deals out of things) and told him to go ahead. He prepared fried rosemary chicken and Nido soup. His niece helped again but the effort of defrosting, marinating, frying, setting, everything that goes into creating a meal, which he hardly ever has a hand in, was a very big deal. Snaps for my hubby!!

The positivity was plentiful over the weekend.

Friday, July 18, 2008

What's the Deal?

Do you ever wish that sometimes that other person would go through the same lengths to understand and be patient as you do?
Do you ever wish that sometimes that other person would stop to consider that perhaps you are having a hard time with every single thing you have to do?
Do you ever wish that sometimes you could just stop and just let that other person do everything you're doing just so that that person would have a first-hand idea of what it's like to be you for even just a day?

I am not saying that I want to be waited on all the time, or that I want things to go my way all the time, or even that other people should come to the same conclusions as I do or see things the same way I do all the time. In fact, I've often said that different perspectives and opinions can be healthier than being exactly the same. Neither am I saying that I am abused in any way. Sometimes I just want to be cared for, respected, loved with the same care, love, and respect that I give.

Fun Again

I got this from Insights from the Grocery Cart, particularly this post.

:: July 18, 2008

:: 6:30am

:: Just Red Ribbon.

:: Got a Red Velvet Cake for my sister-in-law.

:: 29 years old

:: mostly mature

:: mommy and daddy

:: Nope, middle child

:: SM, Landmart, Robinsons

:: yes

:: yes!!!

:: Already married.

:: my hubby

:: i used to be.

:: secret

:: only girl

:: hmmmm, for the appearance of all around stability- Tom Hanks.

18. WOULD U LIKE TO MEET Josh Hartnett?
:: why not

19. where do u think ur bestfriend is?
:: at her office, where she spends 90% of her time

:: last night actually

:: not really

:: money

:: a Suzuki APV or a Crosswind- or a Hybrid car

:: not interested

:: just for going out, but not really

:: Petroleum Jelly

:: already have

:: also already have

:: four if i had more money but two is great as it is

:: nope

:: not really

:: yes

:: UK

I'm tagging Livi, Avril, Numi, Ren.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


HAHAHAHAHAHA!! I love my officemates. They are funny, funny, FUNNY people. They really can lighten your mood and make your problems seem far away (at least for a little while). The best part is, this is mostly done unintentionally. That just goes to show what kind of natural humorists we have in the office.
The most recent funny episode involves the yin to my yang- Numi. See, she promised, swore, did everything short of waving a magical wand or using Saidar to etch her promise in Cuendillar (for non-followers of Robert Jordsn's 'Wheel of Time', Saidar= female source of magical power, Cuendillar= unbreakable material that was used to seal the Dark One away from the world) that SHE WOULD NEVER BUY A PINK LAPTOP.
Guess what? Over the weekend, she did!! And she took such great pains to hide it. I cannot write down or hope to describe here how funny it was when I found out. I wonder if Livi knows. I can't wait to spread the hilarious news!!

(I got the picture of Mr. Burns from this site).

Fairy Dust

Find Out Which Disney Girl You Are!
created with
You scored as Tinkerbell

She's sassy, she's sarcastic, and she's such a fashionista - Tinkerbell is definitely one of the rebels of the Disney girls - just like you! Sometimes that temper of yours can get you into hot water, but at least people know you're there for them in the tough spots!













Aurora (Sleeping Beauty)












Snow White




I love the results of this quiz!!


Those who have visited my blog more than once know that I have changed my template four times already. I never am content with what I see. I don't know if it's the fickle nature of the Gemini, or just me never really being satisfied. And this got me thinking about some things.
Appearances can be deceiving. This cliche has been used again and again and again but really, it makes sense. A person can look and act completely satisfied and yet be suffering from some perceived loss or lack within. A person may display acts of kindness for all to see but then be cruel when just with you. A person can act like your best friend and then stab you a million times in the back. Similarly, a person can appear to be the biggest bitch in the world when in fact she's your strongest supporter. In a world driven by appearances, how can one tell the genuine from the fake? Do you really leave it to your instincts to tell the difference? Is it true that these whispers inside, these butterflies in you stomach, speak the truth for you to know? What if your instincts have failed you before? What do you do then?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Medicines and Natural Remedies

I was shocked, and I mean SHOCKED, when I called the drugstore last night to ask for costs for medication my kids need. Because my son has been coughing for almost a week now, he's had no appetite. And so the Pedia told me to give him appetite stimulants. When I called to ask for the costs of 2 different kinds of appetite stimulants, I was aghast to hear that one small bottle (90ml) of one brand costs p160 and one (120ml) bottle of the other brand costs 400!!!!!! My goodness. That's not even the biggest amounts I am going to drop in this post. My daughter has very sensitive skin so I need to always have skin asthma ointment handy. She ran out of this said ointment over the weekend. When I asked about her medicine, the pharmacist told me that her tube, which originally cost p850, now costs p1060. When I asked for the alternative ointment the Pedia prescribed, this cost a whopping p2050!!! Unbelievable. The cost of EVERYTHING is rising now and this is alarming when you think about the medicines you need. How I wish there were natural supplements or medication for what my kids need as they tend to be less expensive. Not only are they sometimes less expensive, you also feel safe in the knowledge that what your are giving is preservative or chemical free. Take for example one of the more popular natural remedies around today Himalayan goji juice . I saw this product featured on Oprah some time ago and I remember wondering about it. Could such a product really have all these healing effects? You could imagine my surprise when my husband came home with a bottle over the weekend! He told me he and his mom decided to try it out to see if the little cystic bumps they had on their arms would dissolve. According the the person who offered it, the juice could help with that. Well, so far I can report that he's been feeling a lot cleaner on the inside and that the juice has helped with his digestion. And you don't even have to take too much in one go to feel the difference. This, of course, had me thinking. So I researched a bit and found some useful tips on this site. I am hoping for more feedback on this and to find other remedies I can maybe consider for my kids. Anyone have any info I can research?

Monday, July 14, 2008


In one of the Harry Potter Books, Albus Dumbledore says "It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." I'm struck yet again by the weight of these words.

Choices. Everyday we make choices. From the simplest of choices like choosing between chicken or beef or between watching TV or reading a book, to the more complex choices like whether to invest in Mutual Funds or Franchising, we are surrounded constantly by the need to make a decision and to choose. These past few days was a recent test in the choices I had to make.

My son has been sick lately. He's been down with a cough and, for a couple of days, a fever. Naturally, I want to be there to nurse him back to health, to be present if he feels insecure, and to just assure him that (at least for this part of his life) Mommy will help make things better. But I couldn't be there all of the time to do all of those things because I had obligations I needed to fulfill to make sure he and his sister would be ok in the long run. Yesterday morning I took him to his room to sleep and he ended up crying for 10 minutes and calling for his yaya. Now, it took every little bit of me not to cry as well. I couldn't blame him. She was there when I was not, at least half the time. So I picked him up, put him to bed, and hugged him until he fell asleep. Thankfully, he was chipper and excited to see me and to tell me about all his little discoveries when he woke up 4 hours later. My daughter is another story. She has just been growing up so fast. It really bothers me that I have to get updates about he progress from her yaya. Yes, I do see a lot of these things myself when I am taking care of her. But it isn't the same as it would be if I were there all the time. And I felt the same way when my son was less than a year old, except to a lesser degree as there was less taking my attention back then.

So, Choices. Am I choosing well?

I know I am doing what I have to do now and it really is for the best. I am not blaming anyone for this nor am I under any misconception that the world owes me any favors. I often dream of making it big and finally having the means to spend 90% of my time at home but I know that I have to work to make this happen. The kid in me wants to go back to the days when you could squeeze your eyes shut and wish for something and it would actually be possible to see that wish come true. But I know from experiences in my relatively young life that, in the end, I make it happen, no one else. I have to stifle down feelings of resentment because I know that is just the brat in me stomping her foot and wanting her way. I have to take deep breaths to not be so angry that it has to be this hard. I know that if I were lucky enough to have financial support then great, but, if not, then I would just be one in the legions of moms on an endless quest towards financial stability and that I would not be, in any way, unique. And I know I have written about this before but why does it always seem like I am doing something wrong? Is the sacrifice of time with my kids, watching them grow, being there to teach them what I think they should know, really worth it? I think I know the answer to that question. In fact, most of the time, it really isn't a choice. How then do other working moms do it? How do they have steady marriages, full careers, and are good moms who raise good kids all at the same time? I don't get it. I wish someone would teach me how to do this right. Because I honestly often feel like I am doing it all wrong, and that I am drowning in things I have to do, missing the things I want to do, not really liking who I am and yet feeling powerless to change things given the circumstances.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Courage Knows No Bounds

I am amazed at how many strong women I know. Women of strength, substance, and courage. And, while one automatically thinks of the likes of Christianne Amanpour, these women look and act like your everyday person. They don't go to high risk places or interview famous people. They aren't on TV or magazine covers. But they live their lives expecting "nothing less than what they are worth" regardless of situation of consequence. While a lot of people would shake their heads and say, "of course! What else should you expect?", I am sure these same people will recognize that this isn't always the case and very often one gets less than what they are worth despite always striving for better or the best. These women moved out of their comfort zones, faced the unknown with relatively no help, armed just with hope and strength and an unwavering belief in themselves. Amazing.

So, in hard times, I try to remind myself to just be brave. I hope I can be even just half as courageous as these women I know.

"Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow." (Dorothy Thompson)

"Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live."(Dorothy Thompson)

Working From Home

As a working mom of 2 very young kids (one is 2.11 and the other is 8 months), I always think about how my work life affects my family. I am perennially feeling like I am 'stuck between a rock and a hard place' especially when it comes to the important events of both my husband and kids. I work what can be considered odd hours (even if it is a M-F job) so sometimes I can't help but miss an event. So I suppose it's not surprising that I've considered working from home. I always thought that this wasn't a viable idea for people with families but I have lately found that there is a lot to be said about working at and from home. This should be the tag to catch the attention of interested people like me, Make Money Online . I found that, while reading through the posts on hangelbel's work from home, there are a lot of lucrative and interesting things one can do!! And these are varied ideas as well, complete with definitions and opinions. It's a really informative read for those thinking seriously about working from home. Luckily, Livi brought up the possibility of making our department home-based. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this is given serious thought and hopefully works out.

A Lover of All Things Food

I love food. I really always have. And I love it more now that I have more confidence in my cooking and baking skills. My husband and friends encourage me whenever they give me positive feedback about a dish or a pastry I've tried out. And I love the fact that, so far, my son likes 95% of the things I whip up for him.

Most of all, I looooooooooove pasta. They are filling, varied, delicious, and easy to make. You can create almost any kind of tasty pasta dish with just a few basic ingredients . Often, when I have some down time at home and I am hungry, I turn to pasta to fill me up. My current favorite Pasta dish has a taste of the local with a splash of Italy. I was inspired by a dish I say my friend Ren and her boyfriend Joff eating one working day while I was roaming the mall on my lunch break.

I call it Black Olives and Tuyo (not very fancy huh?)

Olive Oil
Black Olives, sliced
Pasta (Spaghetti or Fetuccine would do fine. I've only tried this with the ribbon pastas.)

In a non-stick pan, fry your tuyo in regular oil. When it is almost cooked, add Black olives and some Olive Oil. Turn off the heat and remove fish from the pan. Only use the meat of the fish but do not flake this too much as it is yummier with some chunks. Return to the pan with the oil and fish residue, no heat.
At the same time, boil some water in a pot. When boiling, add salt. Add pasta and cook al dente. Remove pasta and place in the pan with the fish meat and olives. Add a little more Olive Oil and heat through.

Serving size depends on how much you want to eat and proportions of the ingredients are according to personal taste. This is really yummy and easy to make.

Now, in the spirit of all things yummy, let me post 2 recipes that look really really good and, my favorite adjective when it comes to cooking- EASY as well.

I got this from Cooking with Amy, a really informative and interesting food blog.

Spaghetti with Walnuts and Anchovies (adapted from Adventures of an Italian Food Lover)
Serves 2 as a main course, or 4 as a first course

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3-4 filets of oil packed anchovies
2 Tablespoon chopped walnuts
pinch of chili flakes
3 Tablespoons minced parsley
8 ounces spaghetti

Heat the olive oil over low heat and cook the garlic until it softens and barely begins to color. Add the anchovies and mash until they dissolve into the oil. Add the walnuts, chili and parsley, stir and remove from the heat. Cook the pasta in boiling water until it is 3/4 of the way done.

Drain the pasta and reserve some cooking water. Toss the pasta with the sauce and cook over high heat, adding about 1/3 cup cooking water. Cook, adding more cooking liquid as needed, until the pasta is al dente.

Brie & Bacon Fettucine
serves 2 - 3 as a main dish or 4 as a starter

1/2 lb fettucine
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
2 strips of bacon, chopped
1/4 cup brie, rind removed
1/4 cup of pasta water (water the pasta has cooked in)
black pepper
parmesan cheese

In a large skillet saute the bacon and onion slowly over medium heat until bacon begins to crisp and onion is light brown. Meanwhile cook the pasta in salted water until al dente.

Take the pasta out of the water with tongs and place in the skillet with the onion and bacon. Add the brie. Toss with the pasta water. When the brie melts, add a good grind of black pepper and serve with a scant sprinkling of parmesan cheese on each serving.

I can't wait to try them out!!

As a bonus, I've included the recipe to my cocktail of the moment, the Mojito. I was inspired by Martini Moms. This drink doesn't really go with the Pasta recipes but it's a fabulous drink you can prepare anytime you need warmth and a buzz in a moment. Enjoy!

3 fresh mint sprigs
2 tsp sugar
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 1/2 oz light white rum
club soda

In a tall thin glass, crush part of the mint with a fork to coat the inside. Add the sugar and lime juice and stir thoroughly. Top with ice. Add rum and mix. Top off with *chilled* club soda (or seltzer). Add a lime slice and the remaining mint, and serve.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Kid Friendly Dish

I only discovered the joys of cooking and baking after I got married. I guess it really does make a difference when you have to cook. Anyway, since then I've been experimenting with different recipes for meals and desserts. My son's in the picky eater stage so finding recipes for kids that are easy to cook or bake is something that excites me no end. I saw this recipe on the Oprah website.

Brownies (with Carrot and Spinach)
Created by Jessica Seinfeld
From the book Deceptively DeliciousSM
Makes 12 brownies

Brownies (with Carrot and Spinach) These brownies fool everyone! You won't believe how scrumptious they are (or how good they are for you) until you make them yourself. Just don't serve them warm—it's not until they're completely cool that the spinach flavor totally disappears.

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup carrot puree
  • 1/2 cup spinach puree
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp. trans-fat-free soft tub margarine spread
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup oat flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 350°. Coat an 8" x 8" baking pan with cooking spray.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or over a very low flame.

In a large bowl, combine the melted chocolate, vegetable purees, sugar, cocoa powder, margarine and vanilla and whisk until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes.

Whisk in egg whites. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt with a wooden spoon.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into 12 bars.

It looks good and easy to make. I think I will try it. I am hoping my son will like it.

Studying Abroad

To this day I still say that one of the most memorable experiences of my life was my stint as a student in the UK. I will probably bring this up many more times in the future as I feel it really changed me. Next year it will have been 10 years since I left that country behind and yet it often feels like it was only a couple of years ago that I was waving goodbye to my Malaysian classmates in Heathrow. I've already mentioned three things about the UK that stand out to me, in another post. But what those years mean to me is in more than what was extraordinary, but also what was commonplace. The quaint Covent Garden in London, the little shop where I got a medieval wax seal, the old lady who gave me a token of a boot which was supposed to be for good luck, the artist who etched the very first pencil drawing of my dog (who has passed away now), the numerous, confusing stops in the Underground, the quiet scenery while walking to Buckingham Palace, the bus trips to the country, the small grocery stores and the dime a dozen Body Shops. I can go on and on. I always tell myself that I would love to have my kids experience that kind of a stay in another country. And I feel a certain kind of kinship for other people who do or have done the same thing. This exchange student had these experiences abroad as well. It's interesting to read about his situations and feel the similarities and differences to mine. Truly, studying abroad is a must.

This is Fun!

Lists like this is one of the reasons I am enjoying blogging so much.

From Livi.

Here’s the game: you have to answer the question with ONE WORD only and then you have to tag 4 people.

1. Where is your cell phone? WAITING
2. Your significant other? WORKING
3. Your hair? TIED
4. Your mother? SERVING
5. Your father? PROUD
6. Your favorite thing? LAPTOP
7. Your dream last night? NONE
8. Your favorite drink? MOJITO
9. Your dream/goal? RICH
10. The room you’re in? OFFICE
11. Your hobby? BAKING
12. Your fear? POVERTY
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? STABLE
14. What you’re not? EXTROVERTED
15. Muffins? NOPE
16. One of your wish list items? SLIMNESS
17. Where you grew up? ORTIGAS
18. The last thing you did? ATE
19. What are you wearing? COMFORT
20. Favorite gadget? LAPTOP
21. Your pets? CUFFLINKS
22. Your computer? DELL
23. Your mood? UNSURE
24. Missing someone? KIDS
25. Your car? NONE
26. Something you’re not wearing? GLASSES
27. Favorite store? M&S
28. Like someone? NO
29. Your favorite color? AMBER
30. When is the last time you laughed? TODAY
31. Last time you cried? SUNDAY

TAGGING: Ren, Affie, Jerry, Ruy

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Whenever I think back to my years in England, I think of 3 main things: the Weather, the Lifestyle, and the Football. Let's go through these topics one at a time shall we?
The Weather: Living in a tropical country is fantastic for some people, but for me, it's often boring. Funnily, I happen to like the cold. When I went to the UK I was overjoyed to find the temperatures I had always wanted. I remember marveling at the colors of Autumn and the sunny-yet-coolness of Spring. I miss these 2 seasons to be honest. They made things so much more interesting for me.
The Lifestyle: This was also quite different. I was a student when I lived in England so that is the perspective I will be using as my point of comparison. Student life in the UK is definitely much more to my taste than student life here in the Philippines. While the scene is interesting enough in my home base, the mix of cultures, the access to more Premiere activities, and the vast choices one finds in a school in the UK, I found, were much more exciting. Aside from that, the many different extra-curricular activities made my head spin. It helped that, as a student, you are given a lot of discounts and freebies therefore making it easy for me to enjoy the student life in and outside the campus without straining my wallet too much.
The Football: Finally, the thing that amazed me the most was the love of everything Football going on all over the UK. I am not a sporty person. Never have been and yet I found myself drawn to the infectious fever that was the English Premiere League and the World Cup. In the Philippines, the sport of choice is usually basketball so it really was new to me to see all these people so obsessed with Football. I ended up quite enjoying the sport and still follow it as often as I can today. I am sure that people who have always loved Football or those who have grown to greatly appreciate it (as I do)would find this site EPL-English Premier League very informative, helpful, and interesting.
As an aside, I always love bumping into blogs that give me a little taste of what I lovingly consider my second home- the UK.

Quarter Life Crisis

I've been looking through Facebook recently and I've been marveling over the fact that I was able to find a lot of my classmates from elementary and batch mates from high school. In fact, I was pleased to start communicating with some really old, good friends again. At the same time, I've been amazed by the lives they lead today. A few are pretty well-known, a few have remained good looking, a few look really happy living their full lives abroad. This led me to reflect on myself and where I am right now. Is this what is commonly known as Quarter Life Crisis? I know I enjoy my job, I love my family, and there is a lot of opportunity still out there. But sometimes I think about the "what if's" and get depressed. And then I feel guilty for feeling depressed. This is very tiring. I wish I could figure it all out already.

Who Do You Believe?

A very interesting case was presented to me a couple of weeks ago. It's something I am still unsure of as to how to answer. Before anything, of course, let me give some background.

This story is about 2 very good friends of mine- Kay and Jason.

History: Kay and Jason have been married for almost 5 years. They were together for 3 before that. They have 1 child, a daughter, who is 3. Roundabout the end of the 3rd year of their marriage, they went through what is commonly called a "rocky patch". Jason had an affair, and Kay found out about it. They were able to get through it though. It wasn't easy. I watched from the sidelines as Kay struggled to find trust and Jason struggled to find redemption. Now they appear ok. Until Kay called me with a dilemma.

Background: In the middle of the whole bruhaha that was the affair, Kay had discovered that one of Jason's close friends knew about the affair from the beginning. Why would this be a big deal? Well, this friend had also become her friend, or so she thought. Thus, the discovery of the knowledge felt to Kay like a betrayal as well. Needless to say, she deleted all info of the friend (whom we shall call Sandra) from her contacts- cel phone, email, multiply, friendster, facebook.

Present: Years had gone by and suddenly Sandra had found a way to contact her. It seems one of Kay's officemates knew Sandra and it was through him that Sandra got Kay's contact details. Kay told me Sandra contacted her telling her she wanted to meet to talk. Kay considered and decided to hear her out (over my strenuous objections). It was this talk that was interesting.

Sandra presented all the arguments for her case, for why she did what she did (meaning: keeping the knowledge of the affair a secret for a long time, sometimes even asking normal couple questions about it, regardless of the fact that Kay was also supposed to be her friend) of friends being caught in the middle, having bad personality traits winning in situations of drama, etc. She also said that she understood Kay's ill-feelings towards her but she told Kay she wanted to explain her side and she hoped that, through this Kay would have a more accurate picture of what her position was, and that she could save the friendship. Kay told me that her arguements were quite convincing so, in the spirit of being open-minded, she decided to give Sandra a chance. After this, Kay and Sandra met one more time over coffee just to catch up and try to make a go at mending the friendship.They talked about their lives at present, what was new, what was old, etc. It was during this meeting that Sandra involuntarily divulged to Kay that Jason had mentioned to her very recently that he just wasn't feeling a friendship connection with Kay and that he was disappointed that Kay always wanted to spend her free time with the daughter. Now, I had to struggle to keep from saying "I told you not to talk to her anymore". You should have heard Kay explaining how surprised she was to hear that. She told me she just smiled at Sandra, thanked her for the head's up, and then went home. When she and I talked she explained that she was confused about what Sandra had said because 99% of the time, she and Jason were together, either out with friends or at home relaxing. Kay said she did spend time with the kids as well but this was usually at the same time Jason would be at the office (he works in real estate hence the odd schedule).

The Dilemma: who should Kay believe? Should she go with what she sees and feels, what she knows from the way she interacts with her husband, and from what appears to be a good, mending, growing relationship despite the fact that she had been wrong about their state of affairs before (circa the affair); or does she believe Sandra? Who has brought dependable information to her on several occasions before, who would appear to have no reason to be destructive, but who naturally cannot be trusted the same way anymore?

What do you guys think? I'm stumped.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Of Children and Husbands

I read a post from on why we love the person we love and it really took my breath away. Let me outline the points I found particularly interesting and why.

When we’re little, our mother is the center of our attention, and we are the center of hers. So our mother’s characteristics leave an indelible impression, and we are forever after attracted to people with her facial features, body type, personality, even sense of humor. If our mother was warm and giving, as adults we tend to be attracted to people who are warm and giving. If our mother was strong and even-tempered, we are going to be attracted to a fair-minded strength in our mates.

The mother has an additional influence on her sons: she not only gives them clues to what they will find attractive in a mate, but also affects how they feel about women in general. So if she is warm and nice, her sons are going to think that’s the way women are. They will likely grow up warm and responsive lovers and also be cooperative around the house.

Conversely, a mother who has a depressive personality, and is sometimes friendly but then suddenly turns cold and rejecting, may raise a man who becomes a ‘dance-away lover.’ Because he’s been so scared about love from his mother, he is afraid of commitment and may pull away from a girlfriend for this reason.

While the mother determines in large part what qualities attract us in a mate, it’s the father–the first male in our lives–who influences how we relate to the opposite sex. Fathers have an enormous effect on their children’s personalities and chances of marital happiness.

Just as mothers influence their son’s general feelings toward women, fathers influence their daughter’s general feelings about men. If a father lavishes praise on his daughter and demonstrates that she is a worthwhile person, she’ll feel very good about herself in relation to men. But if the father is cold, critical or absent, the daughter will tend to feel she’s not very lovable or attractive.

I have 2 kids; a son and a daughter. You can imagine why this excerpt was very interesting to me. I knew even before I had my kids that parents affect their future relationships in many ways. But the difference is the reality that now I am a mom and what I do, how and who I am, can directly affect my little boy. This is scary, very scary. I am not the most easygoing person. Neither do I think I am particularly extroverted. I can be exacting as well. And I am a self-confessed nerd, bookworm, geek. I often place a lot of weight on knowledge and logic and reason. But I try not to judge people as best I can, and I am working everyday on seeing the positive in the situations I find myself in. It is scary to think that my son can use me, and all my neuroses, as a benchmark for what he would want for his future wife/mate/partner or that he can turn out as a reaction to who and how I am. For my son, I would hope for a woman who would bring out the best in him, inspire him, and love and be faithful to him. I would also like for him to love knowledge but to be open to experiences that could give him knowledge books never could, to be more sociable and not so uptight when he grows up. Gosh, I hope I am not damaging him in any way.
My daughter's development is of equal concern to me. My husband is very extroverted, not much of a bookworm or an academic even, very free with rules and ideas, and has a tendency to lean on self-centerdness and selfishness. Now, this is in no way meant to bring him down. But naturally, for my daughter, I would want for her to grow up with a thirst for knowledge and pushing the boundaries to become anything she wants to be, to have clear limitations, clear ideas of what would acceptable and unacceptable to her, and one who would be capable of loving greatly. As for an ideal mate, I would hope for a person with much the same qualities as the person I wish for my son- someone who would inspire her and bring out the best in her, someone who would love and be faithful to her. I hope my husband inspires her to be these things.

Or as George Burns, who was Jewish and married the Irish Catholic Gracie Allen, used to say: his marriage was his favorite gig, even though it was Gracie who got all the laughs. The two of them did share certain social similarities–both grew up in the city, in large but poor families. Yet what really drew them together was evident from the first time they went on stage together. They complemented each other perfectly: he was the straight man, and she delivered the punch lines.

This excerpt was what spoke to me the most. I believe my husband and I are rather opposite in most our ways but that these traits not only make the relationship interesting but also make us complement each other in our own unique way. Even if he sometimes wishes for more commonality, and I sometimes agree that some arguments would be easier resolved if the just automatically agreed, I still end up thinking that they way we are and who we are is what makes "us" work the way we do. And that differences aren't necessarily bad. And that there can definitely be beauty in discord. I am hoping that I am showing and convincing my husband of these points every day we spend together and every time we work to make our relationship better.

Pain, Eyesight, and Medical Coverage

I fell down the stairs early Sunday am. I consider myself someone with a relatively high pain threshold but that was p-a-i-n-f-u-l. I have very bad eyesight see. I am near-sighted. And, stupid me, in my rush to see why my son was crying, I forgot my glasses in my room. To give you a better picture of my house, let me compare it to a typical English house. You know, the ones that go upwards instead of sideways? So I rushed downstairs to get to my son who was in the living room with his yaya, then I brought him to his room on the 3rd floor, and I rushed down to the 2nd floor to my room to get my glasses while he was on the throne. I fell down the last 3 curving steps of the stairs that leads from the 2nd to the 3rd floor. Fantastic huh?

Thankfully I have good HMO coverage. When I went to the hospital Monday (after my the swelling of my foot had not subsided and had gotten decidedly swollen instead), I had a consult, x-rays, and diagnosis- all on my HMO!! This was great because going to the hospital is quite expensive. The only sucky thing though was that my HMO did not cover the crutches I needed. So now I have to look around for inexpensive crutches. It would have been silly to get crutches worth 2k when I would be only using them for 2 weeks max. I am using one of those four-legged cane thingys that my husband was able to borrow from his friend. It isn't very helpful thought. I am hopping around now, every muscle I know and didn't know aching like mad, and not getting really far. Would anyone have info as to where I can get inexpensive crutches asap? ahhhh, Pain!!!!!