March 21st, 2017

Barely a month has passed since I got converted into a cacti and succulents enthusiast. Well, sort of.

Am not a hardcore gardener. Never, in fact. Plants of whatever kind die in my hands so fast and so easily. And that is why I earned the title “brown thumb” courtesy of jowa. Whenever I touch a plant, he would follow suit and touch it as well for fear that it might suffer an untimely death. Familiar? Yeah, sounds funny but my hands are quite similar to the angel of death in a number of ways. I might have taken the title too seriously that it took me many years before I have overcome the fear of planting my own greens.

Recently though, I chanced upon pretty-looking, teeny-tiny potted plants in the market where I buy our weekly groceries and food supplies. At first, I only marveled at their sight. Cacti and succulents of many types and varieties. I tell you, the sight is enough a “budol-budol” in itself! Yung tipong pag tumitig ka pa ng matagal, itataya mo na lahat ng pamalengke mo at uuwi kang masaya kahit na wala pala kayong kakainin for the week. Just kidding. Shemps, I have enough sense naman to do that. To make the long story short, I shelled out around 30 percent of my grocery budget for them lovely plants! Whoa.

And jowa was like, “what did you just buy again this time?” Too bad, it only took hours or so and he was also converted into one. I had the last laugh, as usual. Nowadays, I’d catch him surfing the net for varieties, sun and nutrient requirements, soil types, acclimatizing, and many other infos needed to care for cacti and succulents. While I familiarize with the names and does potting, he’s the more hands-on. He knows what to use if we can’t buy cactus mix, for example. He knows which varieties should be more exposed to sun or which has more resilience to watering.

So, why are we hooked on these plants? First of all, succulents and cacti provide a lot of bang for your money. Their colors and textures are so strikingly beautiful. Wait, til you watch them all blossom and boast of their flowers. Second, these plants don’t really need too much attention or water. In short, hindi sila KSP. I have one succulent na tinatawag na stonecrop kasi kahit iwanan mo lang sya sa isang tabi, wag diligan at wag paarawan, keri lang. Tuloy ang buhay ng bakla. O ha, may pinagmanahan. Mana sya sa akin. Third, these plants are manageable because of their size. They can be placed in great containers that make them mobile.

Ayun. Nakakatuwa lang that we really strive to find time to do the things we want, amidst the challenge of both domestic and personal growth chuva requirements. Kung sabagay, lahat naman may lugar basta gugustuhin lang.



The Big Scare

January 22nd, 2017

Negative. The word in itself connotes something harmful or bad, and yet today, “negative” means celebration. For days and weeks now, I’ve been having morning sickness, dizzy spells, missed period — signs usually associated with conceiving or pregnancy.

Alam mo yung namamalengke ka lang tapos makakaramdam ka ng pagkahilo, biglang panlalamig ng sikmura, parang masusuka?

Forever the paranoid, I immediately dropped by the nearest drugstore and bought pregnancy kit after experiencing the sensation.

Why all the fuss?

For women like me in their late 30s, with two teenagers, the least we have in mind is to go through the same bittersweet predicament fifteen years ago. Fifteen years old na kasi ang bunso ko. Oo, masaya sana na may bulilit ka pa sa bahay, laruan pag nabuburyong, kakampi pag inapi ka ng mag-aama mo, pero marami din kasi talaga ang dapat na i-factor-in sa ngayon, age notwithstanding. Kailangan mo ng KKK. Kayamanan, kalusugan, at katapangan.

First of all, I have an allergic rhinitis. A friend in high school almost had rendezvous with the angel of death when she conceived in her mid-30s. She also has rhinitis. Imagine the ordeal? The sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes plus the medication could possibly be harmful. Thankfully, she and her beautiful daughter survived to tell their story.

Second, life is more relaxed now with grown-up children. To conceive means to give up your me-time, to wait for your tummy pop up after nine solid months, to see yourself in the mirror with puffy every-thing (nose, eyes, chin, feet, hands, etc).

Third, conceiving means saving more money! You don’t just burst a child into this world to suffer. A parent must be able to give proper care, education, nourishment, and all other requirements for the baby to grow normal. Di ba? Ang complicated. Sana kung pwede lang na basta umire sa hangin at bahala na si baby sa buhay niya. Pero hindi nga ganoon.

Anyway, the kit showed just one purple band visible on the test region. Hooray! It gave me a glimpse of hope that the monthly red will soon follow. I was so yabang and all, like a real gung-ho. But in the days that followed, wala pa rin. Hinayupak. Saan naglamyerda ang monthly red, aber! My fear escalated. Besides, the morning sickness and dizzy spells won’t go. Yesterday, I decided to perform another test. Walang sukuan to. Pucha.

There’s a slight probability (maybe) that the first test got wrong. Eh kasi ginawa ko sya in the middle of the day. Ang sabi sa instructions, wait until early morning for your urine is most suitable since it generally contains the highest concentration of hCG or human chorionic gonadtropin.

Well, surprise.

Result says negative still!

Jowa was supposedly excited. He told me about considering a good OB Gyne, a nice-sounding (and profound?) baby name, and talking our panganay and bunso to raising their baby brother or sister. Baka daw nung umalis sya ay tumakbo ako sa doktor at pinatanggal ko para negative ang lumabas. Mga ganung eklavu. To be honest, I’m also excited with the prospect but not with the difficulty that comes with it.

Could there be false result? I don’t think so. However, there are possible reasons for false result:

  1. Abnormal medical condition. So far, wala naman akong ganoon. Unless sasabihin mong abnormal yung allergic rhinitis ko. Hindi naman. Ako siguro, pwede pang tawaging abnormal most of the time.
  2. Ectopic pregnancy. Walang history nito sa angkan namin. Eto yung pregnancy outside of uterus.
  3. Ovarian cyst. I had a general check-up at safe naman si matris, sabi ni ate doktora!
  4. Expired kit. Nyahahaha! Di ako bumibili ng expired na pregnancy kit.

So that’s the story.

I guess kailangan na naming mag-celebrate. Yun lang!

Hunger Games

June 1st, 2016

Sorry for the allusion. I don’t know how long this (pretension towards food aversion) will last. I just thought of giving it a try, and so this vow not to touch food, much less stare at any. =( My office mate offered her lunch a few minutes back. I just said no. But I took her Twinings (Pure Camomile).

Last night, somebody approached me and mercilessly declared how I’m showing flabs all over. For health reasons, I was advised to stop eating. Or that’s how I understand it to be. Stop eating. That statement pinched my heart. You see, I enjoy food so much that it feels like total deprivation not having any.

But maybe. He’s right. Every time I have to walk a few miles, or run an errand — I notice a different kind of tiredness that wasn’t evident before. I used to be lithe and petite in college, even when I had my first born. However, marriage, and another baby, plus an income way higher than before, probably made me this…uh, overweight person who has no control of her food intake.

Maybe it’s about time I accept the fact I’m no longer getting any younger. Let’s give this a try.

Woes of an Overweight Mom

February 24th, 2012

Lately, I’m like a vehicle whose brakes have been badly broken. My hunger pangs have become ever-present, even right after consuming five servings of rice and viands. Construction workers would be shamed at this utter display of arrogance.

Imagine, a woman in her 30s, eating like its the end of the world?

This morning, my eyes almost popped out of their sockets after our bathroom scale registers my current weight. S-e-r-i-o-u-s-l-y?

How depressing. I wish fats and cholesterol can be easily washed off by water. Now I know why I keep having strange palpitations in the middle of the day, and why my nape and my back often hurts.

Maybe its my way of coping with daily stress at work and personal life. When I eat during lunch time for example, I don’t settle for just one meal (rice plus at least two viands), I’d better have icy-cold soft drinks, an ice-cream thereafter or any sweets (meringue, chocolates) to “sense” that I have indeed taken my precious lunch. In the evening, before going to bed, I still raid our cupboard for loaves of bread, coffee, and whatever will fill my digestive organs.

Whatever happened to the skinny girl I once was? I often told people before that I’d have some “fats” (to go with my skeleton of a frame) someday. Not one instance that I did not get ridiculed by how thin-looking I was as a young adult. Was it rebellion on my part? Was it again, as Randy David puts it, a manifestation of previous deprivation?

For what reason it might be, the most important thing is to address this unhealthy eating habit. So I’m starting now. And I mean, now! God help me.

First step I did was to tell my office mates to ignore me during mealtimes. I’d love to see my grandchildren grow up in the future. With that in mind, I’m serious at watching the food I eat, and eating in moderation. I said maybe, they can exclude me from snacks which I love as the mid-afternoon sets. I practically gorge on pancit malabon or palabok, with kakanin on the side. Maybe I’ll have to pass on that one too.

Second step is to be more physically active. I liked it that my workmates recently have developed love for bowling. Every Thursday after office hours, we go out to play this game. Last night, I won three out of four games. I was ecstatic! My record during our first four visits to the bowling lane consistently placed me  in the “kalabasa” (loser) award category.

Third step is to nourish my brain. When you eat a lot, you feed only one system. You overfeed it, in fact. Boosting the brain is to divert attention from food. Aside from sharpening the memory, brain training preserves our gray matter and puts it in excellent condition.

Says Sharon Begley in her Times Magazine article, “By raising our mental game…we know more, understand more deeply, make greater creative leaps, retain what we read, see connections invisible to other — not merely to make the most of what we have between our ears now, but to be in a word, smarter…” To do this, I guess I’ll have to engage my Elmo and Faith to play word puzzles with me. Plus I still have unread books waiting to be finished.

Yet…I’m still hungry! Haha. Lord help me.

Taking Off

November 9th, 2011


Blank, empty, white, clean space.

I’ve been straining my eyes staring endlessly at my monitor, wondering how to start converting a 500-paged report into a single page file. Overnight.

For a while, I thought ‘relaxing” would do the trick. You know the drill: clear the mind, be still, be positive, etcetera etcetera.  It’s not working for me though. Re-reading and going through the file makes it all the more complicated.

How do you perform such a “miracle” without losing the essence of the entire report? What are the odds that what you will produce will still be able to cover all the essentials of the document? I am speaking here of a year’s worth of accomplishments – replete with figures and numbers, and hordes of technical/scientific terms. The paper is literally pregnant with all that.

How about employing some “black magic”, I told my officemate,  if only to comply with the requirement. Times like this make me want to double-take and question whether I am staying at the right place, at the right time.

When situations similar to this crop up, I imagine how easily I brushed through my work as program director for scholarship in one private company, or how fulfilling it was working in the academe. I think about the excitement of my NGO stint as a fresh graduate. Is it worth my sanity now to be worrying on a task so simple yet so daunting?

Then again, aren’t challenges supposed to enrich us? The universe is trying to make a point, and a very good one.  It might be trying to instill how “immediacy” can create a state-of-the-art learning environment. You get all the benefits akin to a traditional workshop setting, like you’re being subjected to a schedule that must work for you!

My respite? Crafting a compelling piece or article. Funny, but somehow I get to manage my own life that way. By taking a “detour” in order to prevent stagnancy. You don’t stand still when you’re stuck in a rut lest you become vulnerable to extinction. You get a diversion and do something else.

When you can’t take off with a certain task, celebrate brilliance and creativity!

There. I am so magulo. It shows.


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