Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sunday Sound Trip # 13: I Know by Yasmien Kurdi

Ummm... let's be cute today. I just hope not too many people see this post hehe. Don't get me wrong, I mean I really like this song, it's simple (like a teenage puppy love poem) and Yasmien has a good singing voice here. Just a bit "stoppy" as if she's trying to remember where to pause or like being too conscious about the tempo and timing. Still I liked this song *geez I'm blushing hahaha*

It hurts the sassy pride y'know. This song is "tweetums" and cheesy stuff (which I prefer in pizzas only) and I'm not like those things... It's just that... I like it in all honesty and I'd like to sing this song to the husband when I'm in that cheesy mood (darn I let it out!). Don't look at me with raised eyebrows... okay... I KNOW. >:(

Apparently, I even got her name spelling right *sheesh* (last note: I'm not a die hard fan okay? thanks...)


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday Sound Trip # 12: 4 Seasons of Loneliness by Boyz II Men

Good memories... this song make me think of that most blissful time in high school, 3rd year. Every day with my bestfriend and being classmates with my inspiration? That was just great. School was tough but I didn't notice that. ;)

And I remember, it was the same season I first heard the song. What I meant was around December (if my poor memory is reliable that is) my favourite season in the Philippines because it is the coldest, not that we have that many seasons to compare with haha. That was inside the school service. It was one of those songs that make you fall in love with it at first hearing. Plus it's Boyz II Men, they're legends. They're the type who can be quiet for years and come back still loved. The last time I saw them perform at X-Factor Australia however, they were just 3. Can someone please tell me about that? Anyway, *sigh* this song doesn't fail to make me shiver even after all those years...


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunday Sound Trip # 11: You're Beautiful by James Blunt

Just recently listened to this song again, after like 7 years maybe. I remembered someone sending me this song and now I'm thinking, yeah, thanks, I AM BEAUTIFUL hahaha!

Gotta apologize for some profanity though, just like what the person who sent this to me told me... that was 7 years ago did I mention that?

Anyway, enough non-sense. Let me take you down to memory lane (I'm pretty sure one way or another the song will remind you about that time... 7 years ago. Hahaha! Enough stressing that!)


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Some Cool Catalogue Products

Browsing around some catalogue called “HomeCare” one idle morning, I found these products really cool. I didn’t buy any of what I’m gonna share subsequently though haha.

First, I realized that as a woman, purses are what I love best. I don’t know. I just recently discovered that up to now, I’m still attracted to the part of shops where purses are being displayed. And from this catalogue, I instantly fell in love with these ‘Floral Embossed Ladies’ Purses’ in shades of red and purple. The purses have 3 sections for banknotes, 2 credit card slots, a zipped compartment, snap-shut coin purse and 2 heart-shaped windows for ID for $18.90.

Next, there’s this really cute porcelain doll called ‘Mary Beth’ for $24.90. It’s nice but I’d never buy one at that price and just for display hehe. The tape dispenser, for $14.90, I think is really creative. This dog would never get tired of holding out the tape for you. Mugs are common gifts during the holidays but this one will stand out. For $9.90, this mug has glowing candles feature. It will light up when the mug is filled with hot drink! How cool is that?

These products make life easier. This set of ‘Versatile Bendable Hangers’ won’t leave unsightly bulges in the shoulders of blouses and will secure clothes with slippery straps. Although I think it’s a bit expensive for $19.90 hehe. Have you ever tried dusting off your blinds? If you have, you’ll definitely agree that this ‘Microfiber Blind Cleaner’ will make the job tons easier and for $4.90, should be a good buy. I remember when I used to make bead watches and struggled with fitting them because it kept slipping off my wrist. This bracelet helper is a really great idea for just $6.90.

Some of the products I think would be useful for me such as this stretchy double combs for $7.90 set of 2. Okay, I do doubt if it could hold my hair bun in place but it seems like a nice substitute to my usual chopsticks. The ‘Purple Micro Polar-Fleece Gloves’ for $19.90 look very stylish. I was thinking this could serve me well at the time I felt really cold in my workplace at Philex hehe. And the tummy trimmer for $14.90 is just what I need. Ever since I’ve gained fat, I’ve been having trouble wearing my skirts. I didn’t want to buy new ones though and not entirely because I was being thrifty but also because I was hoping to get that 24.5 inches waistline again hehehe.

How about making life easier in the kitchen? This ‘Non-Stick Chef’s Knife for just $11.90 is brilliant for cutting cakes. Say goodbye to that nasty experience having all the icing stick to the knife and you end up licking the blade haha. And the ‘Multi-Blade Herb Scissors’ makes snipping greens easier although the price is a bit expensive for $19.90, I think.

Some of the things I found could be great gifts for my family such as the owl pendant for just $8.90 which my cousin Riann would love. She’s a great fan of owls. The Gecko Wall Deco on the other hand, reminded me of my mom who has this great fear of lizards and its family hehe. I know she’d just kill me if I’d send one of these for her despite that vibrant colour hehe. But perhaps it would be worth spending $22.90 just to see the reaction hahaha! The red flower brooch is something I’d like to create. For $9.90, It would look great against a black blazer.

When I saw this ‘Black Cat Book Ends’ I thought it would be perfect for my little sister Julie. She loves books and cats. But at $34.90, uh, I realized she might rather want one of this Japanese Kokeshi Dolls for just $12.90. I suddenly remembered that she likes Japanese and red better than books and cats (hehe).

Finally, for the kids, I found this amazing ‘Star Projector Light’ and for $12.90, it’s quite cool enough. The kids would find it hard to sleep when it’s on though. And how about this ‘Under-Sea Wall Sticker Set?’ Demi and Daisy loves under the sea themes ever since they’ve had that Little Mermaid inclination. But for $7.90, it’s a bit expensive especially since they’d just tear them out from the wall in less than 5 minutes. So I think the ‘Aquarium Theme Shower Curtain’ would be a better buy at $9.90. Taking the kids for a bath would be easier. It’s getting them out that would be difficult.

So that’s it! If I were to buy all of these things it would cost me about $300. That’s about Php13,000, so no thanks hehe. I’m okay just by looking at them. Maybe, if I were to buy just one though, I’d choose the most important which is… the tummy tucker? What do you think? :p

Friday, November 30, 2012

Newfound Friends

Funny how things end up better than we sometimes expect it, as with the case of the Skillmax Course I took which began during the last week of October 2012. When I enrolled in this 5-week jobseekers’ course, my main objective was to find a job as soon as possible. In fact, I didn’t expect that I’d finish the course at all. My friend, Lanie, had been guiding me since we met a week after I came to Australia even before I took this course. So I had an idea what to expect and this actually killed the interest a little so it got me a bit bored during the first week of the course.

Top (from L to R): Abhishek, Jenny, Yan, Lalitha, Aswini, Harmanpreet, Mythily, Runpinder, Stephen
Bottom (from L to ): Majid, Dewa, Saeed
Excellent class ^-^
Taken after Saeed left for his family back in his home country. Good luck to you mate! See you when you return here with your family. ^-^

We started out 16 in the class. Most of us were from India, two from China and I was the only Filipino student. A week afterwards, one of us got a job which was great! The teacher did inform us that towards the end of the course, the class would be getting smaller because some of us would be getting a job. But it ended there. Up until the last week, the class didn’t get small mostly because of the season.

Yesterday was our last day in classes. We decided to have a simple lunch party to celebrate our friendship. We were not just classmates anymore but friends who support each other towards our goal. Indeed, everyone was just so helpful. One of us went back to his home country and will return next year with his family. Some of us will be taking additional studies. Others have found volunteer jobs and the rest of us would be pretty much keeping hopeful that we get our jobs if not this year, God willing early next year.

It’s funny how much we know about each other now. When I first met them, I thought I won’t be able to even associate their names with their faces, which is a talent I am very poor at. But throughout the short period we’ve been together, sharing burdens, happiness, interests, opportunities, we gained new friends. We could talk among us and point out the soft skills we demonstrate in each experience… Hehe, just kiddling. It’s kind of a private joke that all this job hunting stuff would stick to us like glue forever… ok that’s exaggerating of course, just until we get a job.

We may not have gotten out of the course with a job but we gained something more important, friends. For new migrants like us, who encounter the difficulties of first time settlement coupled with the nagging feeling of missing our home country, meeting new friends is a very fulfilling experience. It helps a lot in keeping us from getting despondent. Yesterday, we went home feeling happy and sad at the same time. We will not be witnessing each other’s mock panel and one-on-one interviews anymore but I know we will continue supporting each other in achieving that actual interview.  The class has ended but not our friendship. We have become part of each other’s journey in this new chapter of our lives which we have started in our new home… and I thank God for this simple experience which I now value as a gift.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Yummy Butterscotch for Dummies! :D

When I was a lot younger, my aunt used to bake butterscotch when she visits us in the Philippines. It was the best I tell you! My mom copied her recipe and used to make it back when we still bake. That was a really long time ago so imagine how happy I am when my aunt made butterscotch last weekend! It was so nostalgic like homecoming, except that I am not really "home" anymore or rather, I am in my new home and still denying it because... well, I'll be having my family with sooner though (this shall be another post) and thank God. I am so happy amidst my desperate situation :D

So let me share you the butterscotch process although not the "secret ingredient" if there's one hehe.

First, you take 4 cups of flour. Mix in 250gms/ea of pitted dates and prunes (sliced into small pieces) and chopped walnuts (depends on how much you like to put in).

Then in a separate mixing bowl, melt 500gms of butter, mix in 1kg (yep that's 1 KILOGRAM) of raw sugar and 8 pieces of egg.

Then use a mixer to blend the ingredients together. It should turn out smooth like this:

Afterwards, mix in the flour with dates and prunes and walnuts. It should look like this:

Then place the mixture in baking pans. Cover the entire surface with foil.

Uh-oh... I knew I was going to forget something important. I failed to take note of the temperature and for how long! Anyway, I'll just update this post when I get this info. For now bake them in the oven is the next procedure.

Finally, you could enjoy yummy dessert after meals, when watching TV or when you feel like relaxing. It's perfect with a cup of coffee! Enjoy!

Friday, November 9, 2012

To “B” or not to “B”

To “B” or not to “B” that is the question. But first let me show you something...

Well, that’s a shame now isn’t it? I bought this wallet before I left my home country, it’s only been a month and now it’s damaged… I really want to say F! as in Fine! That’s what I get for buying cheap ones hehe. Actually, the gold buckle at the end of the strap that’s supposed to close it just got loose, but it’s still very much useful. It seems like a disaster though especially since I don’t have my craft materials here to do the trick. A tiny dot of glue stick could fix the whole thing really but I left all my materials at “home.”

I’m not sure if this is a sign or a test. But quite coincidentally, I saw this Guess shop inside Westpoint – Blacktown having sale on their bags and ladies’ wallets. Of course I’d been dying to own one of those chic but cute wallets but I kind of didn’t NEED one… until now maybe?

So the question is to “BUY” or not to “BUY.” For 2 days I’ve been going back to the same store and although I’ve probably familiarized myself with every style they have, I seem to be in deep thought as to what to choose. But in fact, what I was thinking deeply about was if I should buy one. I’ve found a really cute one, it’s black (it’s not the cutest but it would do coz it’s the cheapest hehe) for $14.99 and for less than 25% that would be $11.25!!! Not bad even if converted into peso so I was really tempted to buy it. Afterwards I got away feeling kind of saintly for having that much discipline to say “no.”

Well, at least I don’t feel the need to buy one yet. Probably when I’m earning my own income I’d consider it a necessity but for now I could do with this little damage in my wallet. With lots of more important expenses to save the money for, for fare, first and foremost, and mobile charge next ‘cause it’s starting to diminish, replacing wallets are just not on my list of priority at the moment. So I ended up with the decision not to “buy.”

And what do you know? I made the right decision! I carefully inspected the little gold buckle and discovered that it has two tiny screws on each end so that if I press the screws down really hard, they would make a tight grip on the strap and the buckle won’t come off! So now it’s fixed. I’m glad I didn’t purchase the cute wallet even if it was the cheapest otherwise my conscience would have been the one damaged now hehe just kidding… I’m glad I made the right choice. It pays to be frugal after all… oh, forget I said “that’s what I get for buying cheap ones.” ;)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday Sound Trip # 10: If I'm Not In Love With You

Remembering the days when you were trying to win my heart, dear love...


Reminiscing: My Choir Days

Was it like 8 years ago? Quite a long time ago but such were good memories I will never forget. In fact, while I reminisce now, I see everything as if they happened yesterday.


I was once a choir member in my home locale Church, Village East, where we started out as a humble group of more or less 10. Small as we were, we did achieve great things and as incredible as it may seem, we competed in the Annual Music Ministry Competition finals division once upon a time. Of course, we didn’t win. What, against the local choir of Cubao, who at that time held the championship title for 3 consecutive years, if my memory’s not mistaken? Still, we reached that level hehe. Our almost winning piece was “Ito Ang Araw” which became a memorable thanksgiving song for me.


So much has probably changed by now. Back then, choir groups competed for 2 categories: “Himnario” and “Tanging Awit.” For the “Himnario” category, the judges picked out 2 songs for us to perform, one lively and the other one solemn. Now our Hymn songs are numbered and they just pick out the numbers, not the titles. It was up to us to associate which song was picked. With more than 100 hymns and lyrics to memorise, plus 4x voicing to learn (soprano, alto, tenor and bass), it was a wonder we even qualified to join at all. After all, we were considered a “young” group of choir then. But that's how it was back then. They encouraged us to learn the hymns by heart so that we may get rid of the hymn booklets we're holding out every time we lead the congregational singing. Nowadays, choir members are a lot luckier. With the overhead projections installed in most locales, they had gotten rid of the booklets alright, by more convenient means hehe.


Anyway, back with the competition, we put more effort with the “Tanging Awit” then. We learned the voicing and choreo by heart, etc. I am not delving deeper into the details though. The venue for the final competition was the Apalit Convention Center which the stage alone was almost 20meters wide already (forgive my poor ability to estimate but that’s how it honestly seems to me) and we were like 10meters away from the judges and farther away from the audience. Being heard had been a difficult task to perform already especially when your voice box has a limited volume like mine. Anyway, I said I wasn’t going to discuss details here and frankly I vaguely remember anything except my heart pounding. Besides we didn’t win, so there's no really justice if I even took the lime light.


Overall, being a choir member had been an amazing experience for me. I was never the talented and self-confident type or person to be even considered for such. But that’s what made our Church choir beautiful: we sing because of faith, not because we’re great...


Looking back, I know I will always be gratified for this opportunity. Despite the extreme intake of ginger ales or raw ginger itself, or the shortness of breath which could probably have killed me (joking), or despite almost ripping my vocal chords apart trying to reach the HIGH soprano pitches, even if I never became a good singer, I will always be thankful. Because nothing compares to the joy of being able to dance at the slightest recognition of a thanksgiving melody (without a care and as if we were toys operated by keys), the happy memories with fellow choir members turned friends, and most of all, to have been able to praise and serve God with joyful song of praises... those were priceless...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sunday Sound Trip # 9: If I Never Knew You

Brief intro: Funny, today's not Sunday but I'm posting my 9th Sunday Sound Trip post. Forgive me but I just have to share this song NOW. Yesterday, the internet connection was very poor. Anyways, this is one of my favourites and I dedicate this one to my beloved husband whom I've been missing so much since I've left my home country...

If I never knew you
If I never felt this love
I would have no inkling of
How precious life can be

And if I never held you
I would never have a clue
How at last I'd find in you
The missing part of me

In this world so full of fear
Full of rage and lies
I can see the truth so clear
In your eyes, so dry your eyes

And I'm so grateful to you
I'd have lived my whole life through
Lost forever
If I never knew you

If I never knew you
I'd be safe but half as real
Never knowing I could feel
A love so strong and true

I'm so grateful to you
I'd have lived my whole life through
Lost forever
If I never knew you

I thought our love would be so beautiful
Somehow we made the whole world bright
I never knew that fear and hate could be so strong
All they'd leave us where these whispers in the night
But still my heart is singing, we were right

Oh, if I never knew you
There's no moment I regret
If I never knew this love
Since the moment that we met
I would have no inkling of
If our time has gone too fast
How precious life can be
I've lived at last, yeah yeah

I thought our love would be so beautiful
Somehow we'd make the whole world bright
I thought our love would be so beautiful
We'd turn the darkness into light
And still my heart is singing, we were right
We were right

And If I never knew you
I'd have lived my whole life through
Empty as the sky, never knowing why
Lost forever, if I never knew you, yeah

Saturday, October 20, 2012

My Second Dream

When our visa was granted, it was one of the most ecstatic moments in my life. I was blushing very red that time out of excitement, and I can't help but smile from ear to ear. I immediately called the husband to share the good news for I was at the office when it happened. All my closest friends were happy as well when I told them this great feat.

Indeed it was a big feat for me. I'm not sure how or why but perhaps because Australia was supposed to be a greener pasture, of maybe because the process had been a tough one to undergo. But after the dream had been granted, little did I care about what shall come up next.

Humans, as long as we are alive, we do not stop dreaming for the dreams serve as our goals and the goals guide us to the paths which we are to undertake. In between those dreams are the realities. That is where I am now and my next dream is to be reunited with my family.

I care less about the realities. While I was waiting for the visa grant, I just went on with my daily routine: work, family, friends. It wasn't so difficult back then I suppose. The most comforting parts were the times I look forward to ending the day with my husband and my little ones. There's nothing like being home after a tiring day at work. But the realities I'm in now are much too difficult to ignore. It was circumstance which put me where I am now.

To begin with, I battled with the thought of separation with my family at least a month or so before my departure. There was the time I got sick for an entire week, countless times of crying, moodswings that were more frequently irritable and distressed... But those experiences do not compare to the ones I have been undergoing from the moment I was to board the plane. Thoughts with painful impact: the last time I was picking up my daughter at school, the last time I was teasing my youngest daughter, the last time my husband and I ate dinner, the last time I was sleeping with them on our warm bed. All those last times and yet I failed to make them special because I was too forcused on the next dream that I didn't even notice the realities coming.

Right now I live with all the luxury of time and comfort which my tita and other relatives provide me. Plenty of time I didn't have back then... I could listen endlessly to music I love, read books to my heart's content. Even the cool weather I enjoy here which was opposite in the Philippines. But oh, how I'd give anything to be back home. I'd give all my time to my babies just to be able to cuddle and kiss them right this instant. I'd bear the hot weather just to be able to sleep beside my husband tonight...

I miss them so much. This is the painful reality I am bearing now. No amount of first-time-adventures can console the yearning in my heart. Every souvenir photos and memoirs of my firsts here in Australia are but documentaries to tell my love ones that here I am, finally, fine and okay. Because I know if they think I am happy, they'd be happy too.

But I miss them so much. And I can't wait until my second dream is granted. Right now, my prayer is that God, please let this moment be not too long. I miss them so much.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

So Mr. Voyager, Shall We?

For many consecutive Sundays, I didn't post my usual "Sunday Sound Trips." For one thing, I didn't feel like sound tripping. It's more of the relaxed weekends which I no longer want to have in the meantime. Weekends have to be action-packed these days to maximize the remaining days I have before I leave. It's only a week now until my dreaded departure and yet I haven't packed a single thing in my luggage bag. Well, I have been preparing. Checking things that I needed to bring and buying those that I might need. But as you can see, Mr. Voyager is still inside his plastic. Untouched. Even dreaded maybe.

But it's now or never. If I don't face this now (or rather later after posting this blog), I'll never get enough time to make inventory list of the things I'm bringing.
What made the delay was mostly distraction actually. With the few days left for me to create memories with my loved ones, it was difficult to allot time for the Voyager.

Time have been spent worthwhile though, so there were no regrets. First off, I had just recently resigned from work, 28 September was my last day to be exact. Of course, the last days at work were the most hectic ones. What with the job turnover and all, and the making of the souvenirs for my dearest friends (which I'm gonna post a tutorial of one of these days),
Sample souvenir magnet
plus the planning of the despedida party which was a surprise for me, there was simply not enough time for other things. At this point before I move forward, I'd like to express my sincerest thanks to my bosses at Philex Mining Corporation, sir RNM, ma'am PNM, and ma'am SPS. To the Finance team in general, as well some friends from the rest of the departments, thanks also. Until now, I can't get over the gratitude.

Moving on, aside from the resignation from work, there was the outing with "relatives". This one's a little bit complicated and I don't feel like pouring in the details hehe. I just had to grab at the opportunity now because it might take some time again to see them in the future.

Then there were the occasions with my family and in-laws. For 2 consecutive Saturdays, we spent time with my husband's family for a whole day, the second Saturday with my family as well. The most recent one, which was just yesterday was a swimming party in Bosay Resort Antipolo. It was Normel's birthday coupled with my despedida I guess. Thanks so much to Normel for sponsoring and to ate Marie for the foods.

And now, while the kids are still asleep, I'm gonna make some bonding time with the Voyager. So, Mr. Voyager, it's now or never... Shall we?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

PDOS Accomplished!

The Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar or PDOS, is necessary before leaving the country... You got to pay Php400.00 for that essential sticker (you can't leave the country without it) which they're gonna put in your passport and the seminar, as they say, is free. We called to ask before going there and the operator told us to arrive really early because they only accommodate up to 40 persons, up to 60 for special cases such as people coming from provinces. I'm not sure if they'd give consideration for those whose departure date is very near, like me, so we took the advice and went there very early.

Going inside the CFO building, my heart is pounding nervously but thank God, all went well. The person in the front desk checked our requirements and aside from the photocopies, the documents were complete. Everything went smoothly, it took less than an hour of processing up to the payment part. In short, there was plenty of time to kill since we arrived aroung 10am and the seminar wasn't until 2pm.

After the payment, the cashier instructed us to get back at least 30 minutes before the orientation time. Getting out of the building, we walked a great distance to look for ESTABLISHMENTS around. My heart sank with the discovery that the place was not a magnificent one to get stuck in. I had to blurt out loud, hasn't Henry Sy thought of conquering this place? It was disappointing because usually, government units are frequently visited by people thus, plenty of recreation nearby. Well, the walk wasn't altogether futile. We found a BDO bank after a kilometer walk and were able to settle our due bills.

Afterwards, we figured we have to eat. The long walk made us hungry. Sad to say, there was only Jollibee and McDo around. Since I do not like to eat at Jollibee, that left us no choice except McDo. So we walked farther on and found this place which I do not remember the name, except that it has "goodies" in it. Forgetting the name is for it's own sake I guess for reasons one has to read on.

To start with, it was probably the MOST expensive lunch I have ever spent on for Php236 for 2 persons. Why? Because it was like paying to eat something spoiled for one thing. The husband ordered beef pares with rice while I ordered the all time favorite sizzling sisig with rice. When my food was served, I winced at how it looked like. It was mostly onion bits with shreds of something that looked like canned tuna meat and some bits of pork skin that looks blanched than cooked. And the taste was like... sinigang. I'd rather say sinigang than think I had been eating spoiled meat okay? It was one of a kind... really. The pearl milk tea we ordered was none better either. To be fair, the pearls were okay but the tea itself was bland to tasteless and there was little difference between the hazelnut which the husband ordered against the caramel which I ordered. To add injury to the disappointment, my husband's milk tea was lukewarm hahaha.

All in all, I felt bad and ungrateful after we ate. I didn't even finish the food. Usually, when one's hungry, the food should be extra delicious to the tongue. Not that specific meal though. There was plenty of leftover food on my plate because I can no longer take the "sinigang-style" sisig they served me. Leaving the place called "goodies," I wistfully looked at McDonald's. Our stomachs were full though so we just went back to CFO.

A few more minutes of waiting, the seminar finally started. The seminar was quite helpful although I have to suggest that the speaker should have started with the settlement topic first and leave the least relevant, like the history of CFO, the statistics etc, last. The most important topics were rushed but luckily, they gave away booklets and pamphlets.

With the tips in mind, not to mention the food experience, it's time to get prepared. It's just a week before I leave and this makes me nervous, disturbed, anxious...

I'll leave this blog for a moment to get inner peace (then the kung fu "panda style" moves...)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Demi's 1st Quarter in School

Time flies so fast! Cliche right? But it's so true and I feel it pushing on my panic buttons, no denying. Demi's schooling have gone smooth so far. In fact, she's performing with flying colors. 

She has been awarded this very cute Merit Certificate:

Talent-wise, she's not lagging either as she had won 1st place during last month's competition for the Linggo ng Wika celebration.

The report cards' had been released last weekend with their grades for the 1st quarter. I'm quite pleased with the results of course. :)

Can't help feeling proud. Thank God for the happiness. I hope this is just the start. I wish I'd be going up the stage someday for both Demi and Daisy. My parents were sure happy when it happened. I wonder what the feeling would be like. Although I know it's gonna be ecstatic, in fact, the major reason I worked hard on my college graduation was to make my parents feel this at least even once, I'd look forward to experience this also.

Pulling myself back to NOW (hehe), I'd say thank God and congratulations to my baby!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Sound Trip # 8: Turn Back Time by Aqua

If only I could turn back time... back to the days when life was a lot simpler...

Give me time to reason, give me time to think it through  
Passing through the season where I cheated you  
I will always have a cross to wear 
But the bolt reminds me I was there 
So give me strength to face this test of mine
If only I could turn back time  
If only I had said what I still hide  
If only I could turn back time 
I would stay for the night, for the night
Claim your right to science, claim your right to see the truth  
Though my pangs of conscience will drill a hole in you 
I've seen it coming like a thief in the night 
I've seen it coming from the flash of your light 
So give me strength to face this test of mine
If only I could turn back time 
If only I had said what I still hide 
If only I could turn back time I would stay
The bolt reminds me I was there 
The bolt reminds me I was there
If only I could turn back time  
If only I had said what I still hide 
If only I could turn back time 
I would stay for the night
If only I could turn back time 
If only I had said what I still hide 
If only I could turn back time 
I would stay for the night
If only I could (If only I could) 
If only I could (If only I could) 
If only I could turn back time 
I would stay for the night
If only I could (If only I could, if only I could) 
If only I could (If only I could, if only I could) 
If only I could turn back time  
I would stay for the night 
If only I could (If only I could, if only I could) 
If only I could (If only I could, if only I could) 
If only I could turn back time

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Lorax: My Kids' Latest Fave

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I think it has been almost a month since I introduced this new movie to my kids. That was after we all got fed up and felt the need for something to replace Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas, which was Daisy's addiction before The Lorax. For five times a day, she'd ask someone to play the DVD and dance to all its musical part. I was successful with the divertion except that she got hooked with Lorax instead. For five times a day, she'd ask someone to play the DVD and dance to all its musical part. But wait a minute, didn't I just said that already?

Anyway, not that I'm complaining. I enjoyed the movie myself. For me, the whole 1 and half hour was action-packed so there never was a dull moment. Plus, the Once-ler was very comical and I can't help but laugh at so many of his naughtiness particularly his reaction when he realized that the Lorax was the one who sent his bed to the river haha.

Who wouldn't want a movie that's so full of laughter, good music, profound insights, and could tug at the heartstrings at the perfect timing? That's the quality of the whole movie package. I believe it had been altered from its original book basis which was written by Dr. Seuss. But the changes made were graceful and actually made the story better perhaps.

So what's the fuss about The Lorax? The Lorax was a mythical creature "who speaks for the trees because they don't have tongue." He was accidentally summoned by the Once-ler when he chopped down a Truffula tree to make his all-purpose invention the "thneed." The Lorax tried to drive him away from the "paradise" except that the Once-ler promised never to chop down another tree again.

When his invention turned a success though, the dilemma started. The Once-ler called on his family to help him with his business, but lazy as they were, they disagreed to harvesting the "thneed" materials the nature-friendly way and coaxed the Once-ler to chop down trees. In the end, greed had gotten the best of him, he forgot his promise never to chop down trees again, and "biggered" his company, factory and corporate sign.

Soon his "biggering" activities destroyed the paradise but the Once-ler was so focused with his success and according to him, nothing was going to stop him. But when the last Truffula tree fell, he realized that the paradise had been destroyed and that fall of the last tree was also the signal for the fall of his business.

Without a home, the animals in the paradise deserted him. Without a business, his family deserted him. Without the trees, the Lorax deserted him, leaving behind a slab of stone that says "UNLESS."

What will the Once-ler's next step be? Will he find out what the Lorax meant with UNLESS? Will the paradise still be restored? And what happens to life without trees?

Overall, the Lorax is a very light movie recommendable for all ages. The music is really interesting and nice. As for the lessons, I think it's more than the environmental message that people should fight against illegal logging. On a broader view, I think it is also about harnessing our corporate greed, or just greed in general and about caring more in order to see the changes for the better that we want to see.

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Wake Me Up When September Ends

I should have so much to write about. Actually there were 3 on my list: movie reviews for The Lorax, which is the kids' favorite at present, With Honors and The Cure, a couple of old movies I've watched as a student in high school. But I feel the need to write about my pessimistic feelings first, hoping to get rid of them and be able to move on and do well for the remaining days I have before I leave. I have to deal with fear, anxiety, depression head on so that I may find my health back. Despite these negative feelings, I have plenty of happy plans for my family, especially the kids.

I don't understand very well what the subject song title wanted to convey with its lyrics but right now, this is what I feel. September marks my last month in work. It marks all the other things that I should be prepared about. For me, the ending of September is a nightmare. And I'm dreading the day when I will have to leave as it gets nearer.

It's effect on me unconsciously was stress, then depression. For the full week last week, I got sick. I was struck with the worst pharyngitis I have ever experienced in my entire existence coupled with blisters on my lower lip. I'm losing a few pounds and I think that's one good thing that resulted from the ailment. I've been meaning to lose some weight as my skirts and blouses are getting a bit skimpy to wear. But I didn't mean I'd lose weight the HARD WAY. Anyway, thank God the sore throat doesn't hurt that much anymore and my lips are starting to look normal although it still hurts to smile or open them wide when eating.

I am almost halfway through the month. Here at this part, it is most suitable to play the background music for the movie JAWS when the shark was after someone because that's how I feel with time. It's like time is running after me, chasing me and when it catches me, I don't know what worse thing will happen to me. I am already becoming depressed okay? I don't know what else time could do to hurt me more.

What hurts the worst is that you see a trouble and yet you are incapable of changing things even if you know the solution. Because the hardest to bend are people. When people are involved, I discovered that I am powerless. My problem with people is so great it's like a big bundle of tangled fabrics that is very difficult to untangle. First, there is fear for their faith. It no longer matter that what I really desire for them is good because in the end, they will choose the enemy. They've done this once, they will do this again. Second, is fear for their future. Right now, I see what is wrong with the household management. I try to sort things out for them, tell them what should be best done. But in the end, my good intentions are ignored because my ways are so unlike theirs. My ways may even appear harsh. But it's just because I wanted a good future for them.

And all this nightmare will always be a bad dream unless I wake up and say, it's over. I don't want to a part of this anymore. I GIVE UP... I have a life to live also.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday Sound Trip # 7: I'll Remember by Madonna

I was in high school when I first loved this song. My classmate, Terrie, who had a cassette tape of Madonna lent me the music, so thanks to my friend for the generosity not only for the joy but for the profound lessons I have derived from the art. Listening to the music now brings a great deal of nostalgic feelings. It brings back to the time when I was so much younger, fresher and so eager to be an achiever.

One great movie which I'm reminded of when hearing this song is "With Honors" (1994). I have learned from this movie that success in life is besides school, work, and all the other dreams we want to achieve. The greatest graduation we should prepare ourselves with is life so that we may graduate it "with honors and without regret." 

And that is achieved when we see that humanity is not measured on the wealth or prestige we had on earth, but on lives we have touched and influenced through our random acts of kindness...

And now I give you, one of my favorite songs... I'll Remember.

Say goodbye to not knowing when
The truth in my whole life began  
Say goodbye to not knowing how to cry
You taught me that

And I'll remember the strength that you gave me  
Now that I'm standing on my own
I'll remember the way that you saved me
I'll remember

Inside, I was a child
That could not mend a broken wing
Outside, I looked for a way
To teach my heart to sing

And I'll remember the love that you gave me  
Now that I'm standing on my own  
I'll remember the way that you changed me
I'll remember

I learned to let go
Of the illusion that we can possess  
I learned to let go
I travel in stillness

And I'll remember happiness
I'll remember  
I'll remember
I'll remember

And I'll remember the love that you gave me
Now that I'm standing on my own
I'll remember the way that you changed me
I'll remember

No, I've never been afraid to cry
Now I finally have a reason why
I'll remember


Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Phantom of the Opera: A Review

The Phantom of the Opera is a famous story documented by the French author, Gaston Leroux. Since it's original publication in 1911, his work has been adapted in various theatrical and film versions. As well known as it is for ages, this was the first time I took interest to grab a copy and read what's all the fuss about. As for the motion picture, I have yet to check it out.

At first, reading the prologue sent me into a wild confusion. Here, Leroux explained how he did his research over the "Opera Ghost" mentioning a number of uncommon names which are difficult to pronounce. Before he wrote the book, he was convinced that the OG existed in flesh and blood but his initial interviews prove otherwise. The major confusion was caused by the disappearance of the actress Christine Daaé in the middle of her performance followed by the loss of the Viscount of Chagny, Raoul, and the discovery of the lifeless body of his brother, Philippe, by the banks of a lake. Without the phantom's participation which was the missing link, people speculated that the brothers fought because of the older one's disapproval of the love affair between Raoul and Christine, irregardless of the fact that both brothers "worshipped each other all their lives". Anyway, the prologue is better at second reading, after the book has been finished.

Honestly, I was a little bored while reading the book. For one thing, it was difficult to assimilate the foreign names. Then, although Leroux had ascertained that the OG was real, the circumstances made it not easy to believe so. For instance, how could the Managers of the Opera House hear something in their ears and see no one? And what human can cause Christine Daaé a majestic performance when the girl was an ordinary singer as can be? And what with the death head and yellow eyes that glow in the dark?

One other thing that was quite perplexing was that despite Christine's realization that the OG was tricking her, she decided to play by his rules. A lot of times, she denied her love for Raoul and made him miserable with jealousy. But instead of taking pity over him, she thought otherwise and said "poor Erik!" (which was the OG's name btw). I couldn't understand why she took pity on the OG who apparently caused nothing but trouble, or evil, to those around him. I was thinking, why didn't she just went away from the Opera when Raoul was so willing to make her his bride.

Almost through, I dragged myself to reading the rest of the story for I do not want to leave it unfinished. Besides the first impression of incredibility over the book, there was one other reason for the total loss of interest. Last Monday, holiday, I took my little siblings out and found a treasure!
Yes, I found this treasure at Booksale for only Php35! Imagine my joy!
This book was part of my childhood days and after perhaps, 15 years, I'll be able to read it again. But that shall be another story.

Going back, I almost had the urge to set aside the Opera Ghost and start with this treasure yet I felt bad at having to start something and not ending it. So I read on. Fortunately for me, I had enough discipline at the time. The story turned out impressive towards the end! All the skepticisms I've had with the reality of the OG was answered as Leroux shared the journals of the "Persian" who knew about Erik too well. Every one of my confusions had been cleared. I began to understand the ironic feelings that Christine had for the OG for I, myself, felt the association with these feelings. Erik's genius and obsession with Christine was frightening. He did things that were horryfyingly evil. But the Persian said, Erik, who had not been loved even by his own family, might not even know the difference between good and evil. Everything that he did was out of necessity. He only wanted simple things, to live like a normal person, with a wife he can take out on Sundays. But the norms of the humankind did not allow this possible to him. Thus, it is quite natural, that one feels pity over him.

In the end, one thing I realized was that OG was capable of loving. He was as human as all of us can be but his ugliness did not let him live a normal life. And I can't agree with Leroux more when he said:

"...he had to hide his genius or use it to play tricks with, when, with an ordinary face, he would have been one of the most distinguished of mankind! He had a heart that could have held the empire of the world; and, in the end, he had to content himself with a cellar."

It was the exact same thing I was thinking about Erik. If I had met him, I might have cried and held his hand too, saying "poor, unhappy Erik!"

The book's ending gloriously redeemed the pessimistic notions I had at the beginning. My only goal was to finish the book and move on to the next. After reading though, I found myself staring into space... imagining, contemplating. Erik was such an extraordinary person. He should have been a loveable person, if one was only willing to see past through the facade. Such strong feelings I had for the OG, mostly pity and I can't help but wish that somehow, he get his second chance at life to be happy and normal and free. But it's useless. He's long dead. It's just a shame how the norms of mankind can sometimes make life miserable...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Buwan ng Wika 2012

Last Saturday, 25 August, we participated in Demi's school program in commemoration of the Buwan ng Wika. This is in support to the heroes of our country who are given a date in August to be celebrated and remembered.

Part of the program is to showcase the children's talent in singing, group dancing and declamation. This part was announced way earlier but because of the busy-ness of the circumstances and my forgetful character, I didn't remember to choose a talent for Dem until it was but 2 weeks away. Now I'm a little bit choosy with presentation although I can say that nobody really has the showbiz blood in either side of the family. I don't want to settle with the songs suggested by Teacher, namely "Ako'y Isang Pinoy" or "Ako ay Pilipino." I wanted something unique and chose "Isang Lahi" instead, which later turned out to be a good decision because most of the kids who sang, from Prep down to Nursery, performed the song "Ako'y Isang Pinoy."

True, the song I chose is a bit hard plus we don't have much time to prepare so I had to make amendments with the minus one I got from YouTube. Here, I thank the person who upload the video and my sister for teaching me how to convert the video to mp3 file through a site. Equipped with a talent for cramming and a few know-how in editing videos using Windows Movie Maker, I just had to cut away the second stanza and voila! Demi was all set to perform.

One other cramming I did was buying the Filipiniana dress which I only wondered about on the morning of the day before the program itself. I asked my husband what the children should be wearing and had a hunch it would be a Filipiniana dress but he wasn't sure either so I went to office in the morning and had to take a leave in the afternoon after my husband verified that my premonition was right to buy the dress (*stops to breathe air :p*). The truth was, I had enough experience with this back when I was a student myself to know better and that I was even negligent to the last minute hehe. So I still didn't possess the good diligence of a father of a family. First is because I'm not a father of course, second, because I wasn't able to foresee promptly.

Well, everything paid off, even the fact that Demi caught colds during the program, as what happened with the Nutrition Month last July. The day before the kids were to recite, Demi lost her voice. I promise I did not overdo her practicing. It was plain coincidence coupled with the unpredictable weather. But since she was singing this time, the whole situation got me nervous. I didn't pressure ourselves though. I just told my baby to do her best and quite naturally... she brought home the bacon. Hehehe... Please allow me to exercise the bragging rights of a mom ;)

And now I give you, the first placers (because these sisters are always one), Demi and Daisy!

Before her performance. Not a hint of stage fright. I was the one nervous haha.

Demi's very first medal! I'm so proud of my baby :)

One thing that's cute about kids is that they don't let their achievements get into their heads. At the end of the day, they're still as simple and pure as they are.

With friends:

The main objective of the program has been achieved: another milestone in building up these kids' self esteem. For me, they are all winners! :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday Sound Trip # 5: If I'm Not In Love With You by Jennilyn Mercado and Janno Gibbs

"I miss you... I don't know why this is happening to me. I never expected to feel this way again so soon. For many nights, I am expecting that I would wake up one day and the feeling would be gone but it's only getting stronger and deeper each day. Although it's too soon to make conclusions, I want you to know that I am happy. Ironically though, there is this constant fear that when I finally fall in love with you, you will suddenly realize that you don't love me anymore.
For a while, I wanted to be alone, I enclosed myself again inside my comfort zone. I'm surprised that just lately, I am opening up myself to you. Right now, I am really vulnerable...
I had many heartaches in the past, I almost said I will never fall in love again. But I want you to know that I am willing to try one last time to fall in love again with you... I am willing to risk getting hurt again, because I trust your words...
I do feel how much you love me..."