Sunday, March 30, 2008

What Are You Grateful For? - a tag

Rachel tagged me with this meme: "What are you grateful for?". (Or, if you prefer, what are you complaining about?)
Thanks, Rachel. For me, I always feel better after reflecting on things that I am thankful for. Here are some on my list:

I am grateful for yesterday because I felt the coming of Spring.

I am grateful for having raised three wonderful boys who gave my husband and me no problems, whatsoever, along the way.

I am grateful for having grandsons (I am still desperately praying for a granddaughter!). They remind me that life goes on and on and on.

I am grateful for my health. It assures me of more years ahead that I can enjoy the presence of my relatives: children, sisters, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles; and friends.

I am grateful for my sanity. It gives me strength to think and weigh things that come my way so I could lay them in their proper places.

I am grateful that I have A Supreme Being to believe in, that way, I can always find the right reason why everything that is happening within and around me happens.

I am grateful for the ticking on the clock. It reminds me that i have to do what I have to do because the last second will never come back.

To do the tag, please copy and paste starting from "Start Copy" until "End Copy". Add your link at the last number on the list.

*Start Copy*

In order to be able to achieve and maintain happiness we need to, actively, be able to do two things: Complain and then let go (Dump the baggage, the roadblocks to happiness.) Express Gratitude (The open expression of gratitude promotes happiness.) After all everyone has something to be grateful for and/or something to complain about. If you would like to share, please follow the appropriate link and do so: “Are You Grateful?”, “Complain Complain Complain.”

Add your name to the current List of Contributors: 1-Attitude, the Ultimate Power 2-Max 3-DianaCA’s Metamorphoses 4-Mental Poo 5-My Thoughts 6-Baba Doodlius 7-Wake Up America 8-Life is a Roller Coaster 9-Life is beautiful 10-Pinay Mommy Online 11-Nelle-LucidCreativity 12- Juliana of PinayWahm 13. Hailey of Hailey’s Beats and Bits 14. Soulful Thoughts 15. thecookntchermom 16. NEXT please

*End Copy*

I am tagging Ellen and Chona for this meme.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Lemony Spring

What a refreshing scent.
I was washing breakfast dishes when my eyes lingered outside the kitchen. That's when I thought: "Hmmm, the backyard lawn needed some watering." I opened the door, put on an old pair of rubber shoes, unrolled the hose, and turned on the faucet. As I got closer to our lemon tree, I had to turn off the water so I could smell the lemon blossoms completely. I even heard a bee buzzing busily.

Spring has really come. While the flowers are announcing that there will be more lemons in the future, the branches laden with fruits are shouting "You don't have to wait. We are right here!"


Happy birthday, Rachel!
Today is a very special day, for you. Not only are you so blessed but you make others feel blessed, too. Everyone who visits your site feels a little lighter and brighter, I know I do, after experiencing your posts. Thanks to you, now I blog, too. If not for your encouragement I don't think I would last this long.
Again, wishing you the best and a prayer for many, many, many more years. Have a great day!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Host on the Web

I am still not very sure if I exactly understand the principle behind web hosting.
Since I started blogging, I've been always on the lookout for blogs that have pages that appeal to me. When I web-surf, I often find myself staying longer on a site simply because the colors seem right to me, or the layout is what I wish to have on my own site. Other things that attract me into a page are the way sidebars are designed or arranged. Drop downs are some of the things I wish I know how to incorporate into my page.
Kaushal Sheth from India, designs custom themes, for a nominal fee, for anyone who may be interested. He also creates Wordpress themes, some of which he took screen shots of and posted. While his posts are quite sporadic, as of his last post, he promises to make it more regular. His archive also contains tutorials on different facets of publishing and posting. One who visits his site won't get lost because his posts will link you to the origin of whatever he happens to be discussing about. As good as he is in his trade he is still on the lookout for the best web hosting sites and shares his list with the blogging world.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

View more Wordless Wednesday Participants here

Shocked, and not as a culinary term.....

I got the shock of my teaching life today!
Oh, no! I didn't get the pink slip.
I went to our financial officer and inquired how much I still have of my department's account and I almost fainted when I saw the amount on the grid - $2.99! How on earth can I manage with that knowing that there are still three months left in the semester?
What happened was I forgot to tell my administrator that I should have been given an additional amount to cover my intersession classes. I tried calling him but luck of all luck, he was attending a district meeting and will be out for two more days! So, now, I can't do anything but keep my fingers crossed!

But something good greeted me when I arrived home. The computer is now working, again. The last two days, I couldn't post anything because of some glitch (again) in the windows program. Thank God for Kirby, he did some tweaking, and now I'm back!

The sun never fails to shine after the rain!

A Song Poem

I used to call it a song poem because to me it sounded more like a poem than a song. I really didn't care much for it and couldn't understand how anyone, especially the young ones, can spend hours listening to rap songs. But after hearing Will Smith, I got en-rap-tured. I know that there are many good and accomplished rap artists but he is the one that I can recognize easily, maybe because I enjoy his movies, too, not to mention that I also like the messages he sends through his songs.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Holy Week

Dear Everyone, I will not be posting for the next four (4) days. Hope you will still be around when I come back. Till then.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happy Birthday, Ed

Ed's birthday is tomorrow, St. Patrick's day. But because it will be a work day we held the party for him yesterday. It was a truly fun day. The climax of the celebration was watching Manny Pacquiao win the Boxing Super Featherweight title. Our house was filled to the rafters, figuratively and literally speaking.
A group were in the living room to watch the fight on HD while another group were in the kitchen watching from the old mini-TV. I kidded them that the rate in the living room is $100.00 and in the kitchen $1.00. You could just imagine the decibels of their shouts each time Pacquiao landed a punch. Children were covering their ears each time.
But the highlight of the whole affair was the Passion reading initiated by our friends Andy and Gloria. They, together with Fina, Ate Lily and Mareng Dely, started singing the Passion of Christ and Ed and I have the responsibility to finish the book until Good Friday. The group also decided that we will start a yearly tradition with families taking turn in hosting the reading.
Holy Week has started.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Money Sense

My father, when he was still around, would always remind me: "Start saving now, hija." I would always say "Yes" but kept postponing. I saved, who didn't, at least I tried to, and if I may add, very, very hard, but only enough for a day or two, just in case.
Then children came. With a growing family, the more we saved the more we spent so the money that came in went out as fast like sand pouring through a sieve. Friends and relatives always tell us that with the amount we're earning we shouldn't be worried about money anymore. I know we shouldn't but, as I kept telling our cousin accountant who helps us with our annual income tax returns: "Where did the money go?"
One problem with me, I know, is I don't do any accounting at all. I simply convince myself that this is what I have to buy because this is what I expect to come. Wrong attitude towards money. Also, as my friend Gloria keeps reminding me - the two of us wouldn't get rich because even when we know that we have only 50 cents in our purse, if someone needed a dollar, we would search for the extra 50 cents to help, even if it meant borrowing from others, which was often the case.
Then, reawakening arrived. Our first house wasn't so "friendly" (that is another story) so we got deeper into debt. That's when we realized we should have really put more into our savings. But it was too late. As the saying goes, no use crying over spilled milk. We looked for resources we could find to tide us up. We borrowed, and borrowed and borrowed more, hoping and praying that something better would come our way and we could get off of our debts. Wrong hopes. Unanswered prayers. What we were hoping and praying for never came. Because we had to pay our debtors almost simultaneously, we got even deeper until we had no choice but to dip into what our parents had left us.
Looking back, if there was a then, maybe we wouldn't get too deep into our financial trouble. We would have had the chance to have someone assess our situation and give us the advantages and disadvantages of borrowing. Then we could decide the best plan for us. We would know what we could afford to get and to pay back.
To those who may be in the same predicament we were in, don't shy away from credit counseling agencies or financial services providers. They may be able to offer you the help you need.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Neither Hot nor Cold

Getting additional years in your life is not an asset, that much I know now and it was confirmed for me today.
When my kids were young, and they requested something, I remembered. If I forgot to do as they requested, one kiss would make everything OK. Now that I am much much older, remembering things get harder, my children get older and can't get off their minds that I forgot. Lester and Mylynn are in the height of their pursuit of a side career - getting licensed to be insurance agents. Naturally, they have to divide between themselves those they commonally know for their clients, including me. Mylynn, maybe, asked me once if I wanted to get additional insurance. I may have said no, or yes, she didn't repeat the question until I forgot about her having asked me completely. Lester, on the other hand collected some data from me and hinted that he might be elevated to the next rank if I would sign on some dotted lines. I did.
Now, can you guess what happened?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Dream dreams

As far as I can remember, coming to America is one of my very first dreams.
I grew up fantasizing about America. I would use as a pillow a Sears catalog that one of my uncles always brought home from the city hoping that my dream would be a reality when I woke up. I would look at pictures of houses complete with furnishings and pretended I was in there entertaining friends.
I never outgrew that dream. As soon as I arrived in America, my husband and I looked for jobs right away so we could realize that dream. Dreams don't seem to have any ending. Now we have another - where to retire.
Living in a wooded coastal area can be a healthy choice. New Bern NC real estate in the State of North Carolina, offers a progressive community that is ideal for raising a family or entertaining vacationists as well as keeping and caring for retirees. It also offers numerable choices of homes, condominiums and towne homes, both in traditional and contemporary designs. Each community is fitted with facilities to satisfy everyone's needs: either socially, physically or emotionally. Besides, you can commune with nature anytime. Comparing with other cities with comparable amenities, their prices are affordable.
Come on, pay it a visit. You might even fulfill another dream.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


After posting my disappointment, I decided to try posting Jacob's pictures one more time. Instead of uploading three pictures all at once, this time I tried uploading the pictures one by one.
As I keep telling my students: "There is no problem without a solution."

Problems Again!

I was so excited to post some pictures of Jacob in his tuxedo. You know, he was a coin bearer to his Ninang Jill and Ninong Carlo's wedding yesterday. After the church ceremony his parents took him to our place. Oh he was so handsome! His tuxedo fitted him so well he reminded me of a young man already, quite a leap from when he was just a tot in his diapers. How time flies. I know his Dad took a lot of pictures already but I wanted to make sure so I let him pose again for me. He was more than willing to oblige, showing off his suit to a T.
I was all set to download his pictures to accompany this post but each time I tried uploading I got an error message. That was last night. Today, I tried again and still no luck.
I am so disappointed I want to shout!!!!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Value Your Workers

As an employer, how much do you value the life of your employees?
There is a new Corporate Manslaughter Act that will take effect on April 6, 2008 across the United Kingdom.
In this law, corporations and organizations are liable if it is found out that the cause of death of their employee, or employees, is because they didn't follow health and safety procedure as prescribed and required by law, either through their own negligence or arrogance because they are more concerned with how much profit they can accumulate. It is high time corporate employers regard their employees as valuable commodities, too. After all, will they accrue profits if they didn't have their workers to do the job for them?
An employee can do the best he can only if an employer does so, too.
I hope all countries will enact a similar, if not the same, law.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Now I Can See

I just came from my optometrist.
I had been noticing that every time I stopped reading, say, a newspaper, my vision got blurry when I raise my head to look at another object. I got concerned so I went to my optometrist. She gave me some sight tests and made new prescription for me. Because I didn't want to part with my Channel frames, (well, actually, it is more because I don't want to pay extra) I requested that only the lenses be changed.
I am excited to go to class tomorrow and see the reactions from my students. They had been asking me what ever happened to my bling-bling glasses. (I had been using my computer glasses while waiting).
Tomorrow they will see it again. And I am grateful I can see clearly once more.

Hello, Are You There?

Every time my second son or his wife needs to use the phone in our place, their intro is always: "I'll use my card, mom." Thinking that either of them will use their credit card, I told them I won't mind them using the phone. After a few more calls, they asked me for my phone bill. I showed them and they said, it's better that they use their card, again. So, I got curious. What is in that card that they prefer it to using the phone directly when after all, I see them dialing so many numbers? They explained to me that they are using phone cards because they don't want to be tied into a contract, for example, not allowed to switch to another plan for a set number of months or years without having to pay beyond what they signed for. In other words, being penalized for using extra minutes, or paying late.
My son also added that it is a cheaper alternative to paying monthly bills with so many hidden costs added and that it is affordable for them because they only spend for the number of minutes that they actually use for their calls.
Listening to my son's and my daughter-in-law's explanation I started thinking: "Everything they said makes sense."
For questions about what type of calling cards to get visit this site, which also offers so many options to choose from including prepaid cards which, I think, will be a great help to a budget conscious person like me.

Thankful Thursday

I am very thankful that I kept this picture of long,long ago because every time I look at it memories of those happy days when my three sisters and I were together start flashing before my eyes.

I am thankful that HE created the photographer that took this picture otherwise I will have nothing to remind me of those happy days.

I am thankful for the hands that invented the camera so that this picture could be taken, produced and printed.

I am thankful for the camera that captured the true image of my sisters and me in that particular moment.

Enjoy the gratefulness of many more here.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Lose Some, Win Some

Today, I decided to give my students a review of what we had covered last semester in the form of a quiz. While not completely disappointing, I wasn't satisfied with the result. A very low percentage took time to remember the basic culinary terms that were taught last semester. Only about 30% of the students remembered the functions of the food nutrients in the body. And to think that everyone of them had had lessons on them, in one form or another, in one of their Health classes!
A dash of consolation for me was the fact that over 50% were able to match the right utensils for the respective cooking and preparation skills involved in a recipe. Quite a picture of the future, hmmmm.......
Well, while you lose some, you win some.

Insure to Ensure Safety

My husband and I have several experiences related to insurance.
While he was driving along a side street, someone coming from a driveway backed up on him deeply denting the side of our car. He got down and talked to the other driver. They exchanged numbers, addresses and went their separate ways. He gave the data to our insurance agent only to be told that the data he got from the other driver were non-existent. They were all fake. We ended up paying for everything because our co-payment was more than the amount needed to cover the actual damage. We were just too happy we were not hurt.
Four years later, we were again involved in an accident where we had to undergo some medical treatment. While we were not seriously hurt, undergoing medical treatment was necessary to strengthen our claim. We learned later that we could have received more money based on the damages had we used the facilities that our insurance company had suggested for the medical treatment we needed.
I am quite satisfied with our latest car insurance. After comparing the amount of insurance premium we're paying with the amount that some of our friends pay for theirs, I find ours to be very reasonable. Our insurance agent is very accessible and well educated about his trade. He is always ready with answers that we can readily understand when ever we need some questions answered. He is also very open with suggestions on how and where we can save if we wanted some extra items included in our coverage.
As I drive along the freeway going to and from work everyday, I couldn't help but notice the increase of motorcycles zooming by me. I wonder if the driver, or should I say, racer, carries a sufficient Motorcycle Insurance just in case.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Pancit and Calamansi

Our calamansi tree bears fruit all year round. Even if we generously give to our neighbors and friends we are still left with so many that the rest just fall and rot on the ground.
The top picture shows Kirby and Hazel picking some fruits last summer. While they were enjoying clipping at each and every branch, Ed was preparing a dish of Pancit. His recipe is the miki-bihon type with bokchoy and sitsaro, carrots and chopped shallots. He also added some sliced and fried fish cake and tofu.
Eating Pancit will not be complete without a dipping sauce of calamansi and either soy sauce or fish sauce. Bob Apetit

Every Payment Is Worth an Investment

Owning a house is everyone's dream. You feel as if you have accomplished everything once you've signed on the dotted line and received the key to the house's front door. Then in your mind you start planning on how you will improve the house. You already have the palette of colors dancing in front of you. The fabrics, the accessories, the furniture. You think of nothing else but how you will make it your dream house.
Then you are suddenly jolted from your dream. The monthly bills now flash in front of you. Water and electricity bills. Property taxes. Property insurance. Hazard insurance, and the bulk of it all - the mortgage monthly bill. Wait, what about food. You need to eat, too, so you can work and earn to pay those bills, don't you?.
Buying a house can be daunting - from deciding when and where to buy, what style to choose, how many bedrooms and baths. And of course, deciding how much mortgage one can afford. is a site that offers free mortgage quotes and enables a buyer to figure out if, say, the house is within his price range. A first time buyer is first informed and then given the right to choose from among the different types of mortgages - whether a fixed rate mortgage or a variable mortgage would be to a buyer's advantage or not. Also explained is how interest rates are figured out.
A buyer is first made into an informed and educated consumer before he is asked to sign on the dotted line for his first mortgage because every payment he will make should be worth an investment.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Happiness is ..........

Been wanting to call Cita but somehow something would come up making me miss doing so. But today, I was in luck. Had all the time to make that call. It was nice to hear her voice, her cheerful voice. Said she's OK and that her children take turns in keeping her company. She jokingly asked if I would be willing to adopt her. Of course, with open arms, I assured her.
She inquired where Ed and I go to hear mass and if she could join us sometime. The only hitch is, she added, we had to pick her from her place. We'd be very glad to, I said.
It was so nice to hear her laughing. After all, she just lost her husband, Dion (or Boy as we fondly called him), a month ago almost to this day. Actually, I am very happy.

We Did It, So Can You

The place was beautiful. The house needed some updating. We were happy. It would be our very own. Our very own home in America. We signed on the dotted lines.
A week before we moved in my husband received notice that his hours at work would be lessened. We started calculating. Ah, no problem. We'd just cut on some expenses and we would be OK. Then a day before moving in, my supervisor told me that the school was sizing down on personnel. It so happened I was the last one hired.
I didn't see any problem. I thought it would be easy to find another job. How wrong I was.
Hubby and I tried to connect with different agencies. We would be hired for some days, then on other days, we're on vacation. The first two months were OK. We were busy working on our new abode - fixing shelves, planting new shrubs, changing counters. But as hard as we tried, regular job wouldn't come our way. And worst of all, we were cutting deeper and deeper into our savings. I felt we were really in big trouble when my eldest son's graduation from high school came. My husband's relatives from Seattle came to join us celebrate but I was so embarrassed because we couldn't even afford to take them out - even to the cheapest fast food restaurant. Friends had to help us out with a potluck party.
Creditors started calling. I was in a panic mode everyday. I was just so thankful, even to this day, that I didn't lose my mind. A credit counseling agency helped us fix the situation.
If you are caught in the same situation, try consulting with IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement) manned by people who can help you clear your debts. You can get help on how to analyze your credit situation and how to consolidate your debts. And you can do it all online.
Avoid going deeper. Rise up.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Seems Like T'was Only Yesterday

I felt the urge to reminisce about our yesterday so I started pulling some old, old albums from the shelf. Thoughts flowed by when I came upon this picture.
It was Christmas morning of 1984 in Kano. Is it really that long ago? Patrick hurt his foot so he had to walk on crutches. This was Jet's first Christmas in Kano, Nigeria. Looking at this picture, it seems like it was only yesterday when they themselves were little kids and so excited to know what was inside those wrapped packages.
Today, they are still excited - excited to see what their own sons' reactions will be every time they open the gifts they give them.

A Place to Hide

"Hurry up," my eldest son told his wife. "Hide this somewhere before the guests arrive." That was always the scenario every time we were expecting visitors or guests. Where and how to hide things that keep piling up so fast. If you're like my husband, this problem is not new to you. Hubby loves to buy and keep. Old ones, new ones, you name it he buys it. My sons call him a junkie. And 99% of those he brings home is just that - in the home. He just loves and enjoys what he does. He tries to keep his accumulations away but they have gotten to a point where there is no more extra space left to hold the rest anymore. We have used every empty space available. From under every bed to the crawl space between the ceiling and roof of our garage. We've tried renting a room in a storage building but we feel like we're throwing the rent money into the wind just like that. My sons came up with a solution. Every time they stop by, they will take a look at the piles of boxes, pick one box, and if their dad's not around, take that one box away to I don't know where. And to tell you honestly, I don't want to know. But as often as my sons take away boxes, that's also as often as hubby brings in his "treasures". I simply see no end in the cycle. I am seriously thinking of getting one of those concrete garages. They come in different sizes and styles. Parts like walls, ceilings and doors are made from very durable materials like fibre cement, stainless steel and wood, just to name a few. And maintenance is almost nothing. You can even custom design your own. Mix and match the various alternative design options that Lidget Concrete Garages offer and you can have your dream storage, or workshop, space!