Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Island of Sodor

By putting together Yohan's individual playsets, we were able to replicate the Island of Sodor, home of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends. The Island of Sodor is a "magical land that could only be accessed via a Magic Railroad or by using mysterious "gold dust".

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Bicol Express

Jules cooked Bicol Express for lunch. I realized we have different spiciness tolerance. He told me it wasn't spicy because he used very few peppers. The dish was delicious but I think I had to drink a pitcher of water to put out the burning sensation in my mouth. Jules on the other hand, didn't seem bothered at all. I think he would have wanted more peppers. But being a considerate husband and all, he toned down the spiciness for me. I said maybe next time he could just set aside some for me and he could make the rest of the dish according to his taste.

Could it be Asthma?

Asthma?! I've been having a hard time breathing lately so I went to the doctor for a check up. He said I may have asthma. Oh my, that's bad news! He prescribed some medicines and told me to come back if symptoms persist.

My mom has asthma so there's a possibility I may also get it at one point. Hope it's a false alarm.

The doctor also told me to start a regular form of exercise. Now, that's a tough one. I admit, I need some form of exercise because I easily get tired from doing small activities. Jules is encouraging me to play badminton with him. Now, that means extra expenses if you ask me. I would have to buy badminton shoes and a racquet. I would rather buy new sandals. ha! ha!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Demise of Planet Pluto

Planet Pluto, 1930 - 2006

You won't exactly find it on the obituary but the International Astronomical Union announced Pluto's demise last Thursday.

It seems that the small planet has failed to pass the specifications of being a planet raised by the astronomers. According to the International Astronomical Union, one has to be "a celestial body that is in orbit around the sun, has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a ... nearly round shape, and has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit" in order to be categorized as a planet. It appears to be that Pluto has failed these specifications, thus, it has been demoted to that of a "dwarf planet."

Sunday, August 27, 2006

My Lil' Cowboy

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Yohan was invited to a cowboy party by Sean (Jules' godchild). Mom Norma was kind enough to make Yohan a cowboy vest. The Y patch gave the vest a nice personal touch to it.

I wasn't able to take a proper picture of Yohan wearing his cowboy outfit so I'll just describe it. He was wearing a checkered yellow polo, brown vest, khaki pants and matching cowboy hat.

I was very lucky to find a cowboy hat in a small toy store for only P59.00. Before that, I saw a nice cowboy hat but it costs ten times more so I was delighted to find a much cheaper one. The hat wasn't on display. I was about to leave the toy store when I thought of asking one of the sales staff. It was my day coz she told me that she had a few left in the storage room. Lucky me!

It was quite a big party. I guess most parents have grown accustomed to giving their children a nice party when they turn seven. I remember as a child, my parents also gave me a memorable party when I turned seven. Many parents I know give big parties for their children at ages one, seven, sixteen and eighteen.

Yohan enjoyed the magic show but he was more captivated by the fire eating stunt. He watched in awe as the cowboy put the blazing flame inside his mouth. Yohan looked back at me with a questioning look. I told him that it was a trick that he should never try at home because it was very dangerous. I told him that only professional people can perform that stunt.

The cowboy host gave away a few sculptured balloons. Yohan eagerly waited for his turn but he didn't get one. He seemed very disappointed and I really felt sorry for him. I was glad that he didn't cry and seemed to accept that only a few lucky ones got balloons.

To cheer him up, we went to McDonald's drive thru to get him two Happy Meals. We knew it was the first day of the Pokemon Happy Meal promo so Yohan was truly delighted to get his Pokemon characters. He chose Picachu and Blastoise.

The lil' cowboy went home smiling after all.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Feeback from Down Under

I received an email from JW, the employer of my dear friend Cris. It goes...

Dear Rachel,

This is to let you know that I have received your e-mail indicating your interest in employment at my McDonald's Restaurant. I am at present working with Australian Immigration on the requirements to allow me to sponsor overseas staff. I thank you for your interest and will contact you when I have received the necessary information from the Immigration Department.

Kind regards

Jeff Watkins

I thanked him for sending me some feeback and told him that I'll just wait for further advice.

Cris recommended me and Jules to JW and assured him that we're hardworking individuals. The three of us used to work for the same office and we've been good friends ever since.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Tisha performed her magic trick infront of the family.
It was a nice magic trick and she garnered a loud applause.
It's common practice for a magician not to reveal his or her secrets.
But Tisha made an exception for Yohan.
She taught him the ropes and the novice Yohan gave it a try.
He was an instant hit!

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The magician puts the rambutan inside.
Ala ka zoom! Ala ka zam!
It magically disappears.
Abrakadabra !!!
Ta-da! The rambutan is back.

Window of Opportunity

Cris called me yesterday to ask if I was interested to work for McDonald's Australia. Her boss told her they needed one more to complete their team and Cris thought about me. Her boss is willing to sponsor me. Cris gave me the email address of her boss and I sent my resume the same day.

Later Cris texted me to ask if I had any experience in the food industry ... which I don't so that might be a problem. There's really no harm in trying. I told her that if it doesn't work out, I'm willing to wait for other windows of opportunity to open.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Tarnished Beauty

I haven't been to Guimaras but I've seen how beautiful it is on photos.

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It's a pity that its beauty has been tarnished by the recent onslaught of oil spill.

The M/V Solar I, an oil tanker chartered by Petron, the country's largest oil refinier sank in the area of Guimaras Island, Philippines. The oil tanker was said to be carrying 2.4 million litres of oil, headed for Mindanao.

I've learned how devasting an oil spill can be to the local marine and coastal ecosystem. Fishermen and their families are hardly hit by such a catastrophe because fishing boats are normally grounded until authorities declare it safe to go fishing again.

I've seen news footages of the oil spill and I was shocked to see the extent of the damages. In one particular village, the walls of some houses were splattered in oil. The shore was a vision of black ebb and flow. It's terrible to think how much of the marine life has been terminated and remain in peril because of the accident.

Authorities claim that it could take months or even years to clean up an oil spill. The long clean up period is a reflection on how ill-prepared our country is for a disaster like this.

I just hope that the government will hold true to its promise to help the citizens of Guimaras especially the fishermen find alternative sources of livelihood until the sea is cleared of pollutants. I also hope that Petron will face their responsibilities to those affected.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Vegan Friends

I tried to become a vegetarian once. My friend Cora inspired me to become one. We started by abstaining from pork and beef dishes. It was difficult at first but we realized it could be done. We changed our diet to mainly vegetables, fruits and seafoods and occasional chicken. Cora helped me gradually remove chicken from my diet and concentrated on fruits, vegetables and seafoods. We somehow referred to ourselves as semi-vegetarians at that time. I was a successful semi-vegetarian for almost a year. My cousin, Atila also joined the bandwagon. Our next goal was to remove chicken and seafoods from our diet.

But something went wrong along the way. I was too weak to resist the corn dog that my officemate gave me. I was very hungry at that time and there was no other food available. All it took was a single bite and all my vegetarian efforts collapsed like a wall struck by a battering ram.

I failed and they succeeded. Cora and Atila are now full pledged vegans.

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Jules and I watched Atila's soccer game at Ateneo a few months ago. After an exciting game, Cora and Atila treated us at their favorite vegan restaurant in Greenhills. When I read the menu, I was surprised that the dishes sounded and looked like the typical meat dishes but used special kind of meat substitutes. It tasted relatively good considering that it wasn't real meat.

What's good about my vegan friends is that they never judged me for failing to become a vegetarian. We still enjoy talking to each other despite some differences on dining choices.

New Look

Just finished the new look of my blog. I still have much to learn about html but I'm getting there. Learning is fun.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Fighting Disease with Prayers

Jules, Chary and I visited Len at her place last Saturday. It was a truly welcome sight to see her at the doorway. It was only a few weeks ago when she was in a hospital bed stripped of her memory.

Len was down with Encephalitis a few weeks ago. I wasn't familiar with that disease. I looked it up and got this definition:

Encephalitis literally means an inflammation of the brain, but it usually refers to brain inflammation caused by a virus. It's a rare disease that only occurs in approximately 0.5 per 100,000 individuals - most commonly in children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems (i.e., those with HIV/AIDS or cancer).
It was Mary Rose who texted me about Len's condition. She told me that Len was at St. Luke's due to persistent high fever and swelling of the brain. It was scary to receive such news and I hurriedly called some other friends to pass the news.
I wasn't feeling well myself so I texted her husband that I might not be able to visit her at the hospital. At her condition, I did not want to risk passing anything to Len. Her immune system was down and it was best if I kept my distance for a while. I just kept in touch daily with Marlowe.
The first few days at the hospital brought a scare to everyone. Len lost most of her memory. She could not remember names and events. She could not even remember the name of her husband. There was a point when she experienced difficulty standing up and suffered involuntary body movements. Len could not even eat by herself.
I felt helpless not being able to see her at the hospital. Some friends who were able to visit told me how sad it was to see Len in such a state. She was always full of life and it was hard to accept what has happened to her.
While Chary was visiting Len, she found out that the doctor told Marlowe that they should start praying because it was a serious disease. There was a big chance that Len might not be normal again. That news brought tears to my eyes.
Sheryl and I organized a daily prayer session among friends. I composed a short prayer and forwarded it to some friends. We all agreed to spend a few minutes each day to recite the prayer for the benefit of our dear friend, Len. A few of us even taught our children to say prayers for their Tita Len.
I realized how strong prayers could be. God is very kind because he answered our prayers. He gave Len a new chance in life. Len came out of the hospital with no trace of her illness unlike some people who was able to fight the disease but remained burdened with partial paralysis or other bodily disfunctions.
Len told us that it was a virus. She may have gotten it anywhere. She could have gotten it at the mall, at the sports club or the supermarket. It's a scary thought that we are so vulnerable to disease carring agents because they are often invisible. We can keep those disease agents at bay by taking vitamins to improve our immune system and living a healthy life.

It was great to see our friend back to normal. Her experience made me appreciate my life more. I realized how lucky I am that my family is in good health. On this day and age, many types of diseases are evolving and we should always be grateful for each sickness free day that we have.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Ellating News in the Morning

Got a phone call this morning.
I heard Lyonnel's exuberrant voice on the other line.
He called to deliver a good news.
What a nice way to start the day.

Its always stimulating to hear good news esp. in the morning.
Lyonnel called to say that Alexa's results came in.
He called the previous night to tell me that her daughter might have amebiases.
It was so sad to hear that Alexa, being only 3 months old might be suffering for such illness.

Lyonnel sounded so sad last night.
That's why the change on his tone this morning was a real welcome.
He sounded very happy when I answered my cellphone.
There was a good reason behind his cheerful tone.

He called to tell me that he just got the lab results.
Alexa was negative for amebiases.
Thank God.
What a relief!

Lyonnel called to thank me for my prayers.
He said that he's always thankful to have me as a best friend.
I told him that I felt the same way.
If he only knew how much his friendship meant to me.

When we put down the phone, I felt I wanted to say more.
Since he was already on the road, on his way to work, I decided to text him instead so he could read it when he reached the office.
This was my text message to him:
Thank you for calling best friend. It's always ellating to hear good news esp. in the morning. I'm so glad Alexa is fine. Looking back, we used to talk about school, what music was cool, the latest car accessories and new places to go. You'll know that we've been through so much together because of how our conversations have evolved. From school, cars and now baby stuff. I'm really grateful that we've shared so many things together. Hope we'll always be like this.
Lyonnel replied:

You will always be my best friend. You and your family will always be family to
me. We shall never change. Love you, Jules and Yohan. Thank you for your

Hearing his voice and reading those words were enough to ensure a great day ahead.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Love Messages Inside Nine Balloons

Remembering ...

When Jules and I were dating, he surprised me with love messages inside pink balloons. We have been dating for nine months, hence, nine balloons.

I was waiting for him to pick me up at the office. Much to my chagrin, he was unusually late for our dinner date that night.

When I got home I saw tell tales of clues on the stairs leading to my room. I felt like a child following every clue with an anticipating heart. It was fun reading the notes.

As I got inside my room, I saw pink balloons scattered on the ceiling. Previous clue suggested that there were love notes in each balloon. I had to pop each balloon to read the letter inside. It was a beautiful surprise. I loved popping the balloons to claim the treasure. I've kept those love messages inside my box of memory. It's now part of my happy memory collection.

My husband and I have been married for six years now and he never runs out of surprises.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Authors Plea

I've always been a fan of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter Series. Together with millions of fans, I'm waiting for her to finish the seventh book, the last in the Harry Potter series. I cringe with the idea that Harry Potter is a possible candidate to die in the book. J.K. Rowling had mentioned in previous interviews, that two major characters will die in the last book.

It seems that even renowned authors are also pleading for the same cause. John Irving and Stephen King, made a plea to J.K. Rowling not to kill the fictional boy wizard Harry Potter in the final book of the series, but Rowling made no promises.

I hope that J.K. Rowling will heed the plea of her readers and not let her hero expire.

Monday, August 07, 2006

You Rock

My husband and I are not musically inclined.

We don't know how to play any instrument and we don't sing.

We're the only ones in the family who doesn't join in the karaoke fun despite futile attempts of family members to give us the mic.

But it seems our son is showing some signs of being musically inclined.

He loves musical instruments, both toys and the real thing.

He loves singing and even dancing.

It's nice to know, we might have a musical representative during family gatherings after all.

Leisure walk with Bruno

He seemed a little restless.

Heart beating unusually faster.

Breathing a little heavily.

Eyes sparkling with anticipation.

Tail vigorously wagging.

Bruno's excited to go for a walk!

Shown in the photos is my son taking our dog Bruno for a leisure walk on a nice Sunday afternoon. Much to our amusement, both Yohan and Bruno obediently sat down after hearing the command "Sit!" from Jules. It seemed that Yohan got a little tired during their walk and opted for a short rest. Bruno patiently waited until Yohan was ready to move on again.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Wheel Cap Pilferage

Darn it! Someone stole one of our car's wheel caps (not actually sure if I got the term right -- i'm referring to the centerpiece of the mag wheels). Not again! We also lost one of the wheel caps of our previous Honda Civic. It also got stolen. I can't believe it could happen twice to us.

Just noticed today, when I was about to ride the car to take my son to school, that a wheel cap was missing. It was probably seized during the stealth of the night while my husband was playing badminton at Lipa. He parked the car just outside the court where he regularly plays.

Sometimes, what seems to be a safe parking area could prove otherwise. Theives seem to randomly pick an area to do their atrocious deed. It's appalling to think that some people are reduced to this kind of illegal act because of the economy's downtrend. Poverty is not a ticket for crime and yet, sadly, some people are inclined to dip their hands in unlawful acts because of extreme poverty.

With a heavy heart, I looked at the hollow area of the mag wheels ... an empty space ... an eye sore. There is a dire need for wheel cap replacement to bring back the aesthetic balance.

Well, at least it's easy to replace. Looking at the bright side, at least it wasn't the actual car that got stolen. That would have been a tremendous disaster.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Breathless Charm

Child's Prayer

Every night, my son and I say our night prayers together. In our prayers, there is always a part when we ask the Lord to bless the people close to our hearts and we say their names out loud. We even include the names of our pet dogs, Miko and Bruno.

One of our dogs, Miko passed away recently. For some time now, we would say a special prayer for Miko. I taught my son to ask the Lord to bless Miko in Heaven. When Miko died, I explained to Yohan that Miko went to Heaven. He seemed to have a little understanding of death at his young age. His Dad taught him through the help of some cartoons. In Justice League, some villains die during the encounters and Jules used those as examples.

There was one time when I forgot to include Miko in our prayers. I was about to conclude our prayers with the sign of the cross when my son interjected by saying No... (I guess he meant stop, you forgot one), Lord bless Miko. It was a good sign that my son was praying earnestly because he noticed that we forgot someone.

The other night, while saying our night prayers, my son included the name of an unlikely person... Spiderman. He said, Lord please bless Spiderman. I looked at him and he was serious. I almost felt like laughing but stopped myself from doing so. I wasn't really bothered because Yohan after all is just an innocent child and meant no disrespect at all. But it was a relief that he did not include Spiderman in our prayers the following night. :)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Water is Not My Element

I regret never learning how to swim. I watch as other people, effortlessly glide in the water. Swimmers look so adept in their water environment, it makes them look regal.

My son hasn't learned how to swim yet. But he seems happy when he is in the water. In fact, it's so hard to convince him to get out of the pool once he's in there. Good thing my husband knows how to swim. He can teach our son when he is ready.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Lost Comment

Oh my, I've made some template changes in my blog to include HaloScan commenting. After saving the changes, I discovered, that the new template somehow erased the only comment I ever received on my blog. boo hoo! I don't know how to retrieve it. I guess I should be more careful about making changes next time. I'm fairly new at this but I'm learning more and more about blog basics and add-ons. I realized blogging is a good outlet for me. It's becoming addictive but very rewarding.