Friday, April 23, 2010

Noisy and Geisha

Originally uploaded by Saila
During the long walk home from the MRT, I am usually deep in thought about what happened during the day and am usually oblivious to my surroundings. But yesterday during my usual long stretch, I heard a soft meowing sound nearby. Just a little ways ahead, was the cutest stray kitten. I wanted to stroke it, carry it, ant take it home but the condo I live in is too small for pets. :( It was hard for me to just walk on by...

And if you really knew me, you'd know that I have a really soft spot for cats. When I moved from a house to a condo, I had to relocate my dog and leave my cats behind. That made me feel really sad for a while.

I rescued Noisy and Geisha from a pile of rubbish outside my gate a few years ago. I named him Noisy because he couldn't/wouldn't stop meowing whenever food was around. He was very demanding but very good at keeping the mice at bay. He was always on the lookout for a good ear-scratching session too. I named her Geisha because when she was a kitten, her meows were soft, very feminine. She walked with a grace even I couldn't match. Oh and yes, she was pregnant every year.

Whenever I came home from work, they and Whitey-white would greet me and make "salubong" It felt good to feel wanted. But right after dinner, they would be at my door whining to be fed. And their stomachs had no limits!

"Sigh" I miss my pets very much, but I know in my gut that they are all well.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cool MRT tip for the Ladies

Here in the Philippines, the MRT has a special car in the front just for females, pregnant women, women/men with kids, and the elderly. You'd think it was a really good idea (if you're a girl) until you try to wrestle your way onto the train in the middle of morning/evening rush hour.

I've experienced all sorts of frustrations while waiting for my turn to get on the train during rush hour:

1. When guards stop the passengers from entering the platform area because here are too many people on it.
2. Guards take too long to inspect bags, packages, and what not.
3. Once on the platform, 10 trains pass by and you can't seem to get on because of the sheer volume of passengers.
4. Sweating like hell because once you get squished between alighting passengers there's no space in between your bodies for air to pass through.
5. Getting nasty looks from the other passengers because you accidentally blow air on their necks while cooling yourself with your own breath.
6. Once inside the train, you have to hold your breath until your stop in to avoid inhaling "toxic" odors from all sources.
7. Getting stepped on, pushed, squished, coughed on, sneezed on, and all that.
8. Having to deal with chatty women who don't seem to mind talking loudly, and giggling all over the place amidst women who are trying to keep their cool in the jam-packed car.
9. Once you reach your stop, you have to act like Moses and part the sea of passengers to get to the door...all the while praying that the door doesn't close on you.

Yeah, the cool tip? I was getting to that: Ride the 2nd or 3rd car. Trust me it's much quieter, and less catty looks when you accidentally step on someone's toes. Plus, you don't have to wait for 10 trains to pass by before you can get on. Although, there's not much you can do about the smell. Just have to bear it until your next stop. :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Thanks to Rain Man

It's past midnight and I can't sleep without writing an entry about what I felt after watching Rain Man (after 22 years) tonight on HBO.

I remember when I first saw the movie Rain Man 1988 (I was 15 then), I instantly declared it as one of my most favorite movies. Not only because Tom Cruise was such eye candy back then, but the movie struck a chord in me. It opened my heart to people with mental/behavioral disabilities ans saw that they have as much potential as anyone if guided by those who genuinely care for their welfare.

My son Kyle is 12 and he has Asperger's Syndrome (AS). He's an Aspie, as doctors will say so. It's in the spectrum of Autism but it is one wherein the individual is high-functioning. Even with AS, he can live, grow up, study, graduate, fall in love, get married and have children. He may seem uninterested and bored when he addresses you but it's only because he can't stand eye contact, especially when meeting new people. Aspie's speak in monotone. I think this is because they do not have the full capacity to understand other people's feelings and they find it difficult to express their own. They are innately incapable of small talk or flattery or lying. This is because they are more interested in the truth found in facts and do not have the desire or willingness to please others with meaningless chit chat.

As I was watching Rain Man tonight, I felt thankful that through this movie, autism was put on spotlight. In 2005 Josh Hartnett and Radha Mitchell starred in Mozart and the Whale, a story based on the life of a married couple with AS. And recently the movie Adam starring Hugh Dancy (Shopaholic) and Rose Byrne (Damages), which was a story about Adam, an aspie, and his journey to become independent when his father died.

All the attention these films has brought, benefited all aspies everywhere. Because of these movies, awareness for AS has grown, and hopefully, aspies can go on living like "normal" people do.

Thanks, Rainman.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Salisi Gang

I am so disgusted with robbers, muggers, snatchers, and con artists. To me they are scum of the earth. When an FB friend posted this video on FB I could only imagine how the victim felt: one moment she was happily eating her fries, the next minute she was frantic and confused as to where her valuables went. I just had to put this entry in to remind me and you to take better care of our belongings when eating out. Tsk-tsk. Be careful everyone!

Watch the woman on the left side of the screen.


I spent over 15 years singing in prestigious choirs and what I can say after that experience is " once a chorister, always a chorister".

When I started singing in a choir in college, I never thought it would become my passion. Learning to sing using my diaphragm, making my voice stronger and becoming more conscious of my pitch, having to get used to singing with another male and female voice simultaneously, was just the beginning. But once I mastered controlling my voice, and started performing in front of audiences here and abroad, it opened up a whole new world for me. Little do people know highly (and feared in competitions) Filipino choirs are regarded all over the world.

That's why when Glee first aired, I thought "well it's about time!" Although viewed as losers, the gleeks are the underdogs everyone cheers for because of their "inner beauty". If you haven't watched the show, it's about a group of highschool kids who by some weird twists of fate end up in the high school glee club. From the plot, you'd think it's a show for teens, but you'd be surprised how entertaining it could be for anyone who's into sitcoms and music. Um, wait, that's about everybody, right?

The show is filled with musical and dance numbers, which awes me a lot. How difficult it must be to put one episode together! Learning choreography, recording the music, memorizing their lines in between, that must be really tough, but absolute fun I'm sure! And tomorrow, April 14, season 2 begins! Woohoo!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Veet Challenge 2

I know I said I'd try the Veet wax strips on other parts of my body, but now I totally regret it.
I tried to wax my underarms last night and not only did it NOT work but it was painful. It left red marks on my underarms and it feels very raw. What's worse is that it only managed to remove 30% of the hair only. :(

Shaving/plucking is still more effective for me. But that's just me.

Discovering AS

They say Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton had Asperger's Syndrome.

It was 3 years ago when my son Kyle was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. His teachers told me years before that to have him checked by a neuro-developmental pediatrician because they saw something different about his behavior at school. He had outbursts in the middle of class, talked too much, got bullied a lot, laughed too hard, and though he was extremely smart, he couldn't seem to express his feelings as well as other kids his age. I was in denial for years and thought that Kyle's behavior was very typical of a growing boy who had a very wide imagination. BUT it was only when the teachers refused not to admit him into Grade 4 unless he had gotten checked by a child psychologist, so, I did.

Many people with Asperger's are often regarded as being eccentric.
They sometimes lack social skills, are obsessed with complex topics
and can have problems communicating.

I brought Kyle to a couple of doctors. The first, a neuro developmental psychiatrist, interviewed us and at the end of the consult told me that Kyle was absolutely normal and that there was nothing to worry about. But, I just had to have a second opinion. So I brought him to another doctor who after a series of tests told me otherwise. I didn't exactly know what Asperger's Syndrome was and when she told me that Kyle had it, I didn't know how to react.

She told me all the symptoms: difficulty with eye contact, unable to show feelings accurately, cannot decode simple expressions, monotone delivery of sentences, and so on. I couldn't believe she was pointing out all of Kyle's behavioral quirks so accurately and that they were attributed to a disorder.

I was stunned. I couldn't believe that he had a disorder. My little boy, who I believed was the most sensitive, affectionate, and loving person, had mild autism.

- to be continued...

Friday, April 9, 2010

I want to ride a dragon

The last movie I watched was Avatar. I waited for all the fuss about it to die down and saw it when it was running on its 5th week. Truthfully, I was disappointed because there were no cinemas showing it in 2D (except in Megamall, as I was told by a friend a bit too late), and so, reluctantly, I had to see it in 3D. I wish they gave the viewers a chance to choose the format they want to watch the movie in.

Anyway, How to Train Your Dragon is a different story. It's set in the time of Vikings where dragons were pests to be killed because they stole the livestock and destroyed the village as a result. It's the story of Hiccup and how he was eager to prove himself worthy of being the great chief's son by killing his very first dragon. But as the title suggests, things don't turn out the way he planned and he ends up actually being endeared to the enormous beasts.

I know it's supposed to be a kids film but it saw me gripping onto the armrests of my seat, covering my eyes, and yearning to ride Toothless the dragon and soar through the sky. The humor was very witty and not shabby at all. I'd be very happy to watch it again. My son Kyle told me at the end of the screening: "That was way better than Avatar." And I couldn't agree with him more.

I highly recommend this movie for all ages. As it was created especially for 3D format, you won't be disappointed in the whole movie-going experience. This one from Dreamworks makes a mark in my books. :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Subic Sunburn part 2

After having brunch at Xtremely Xpresso Cafe, we headed off to CamayanBeach Resort. The first time I went there, I didn't get to swim because we spent most of the day at Zoobic Safari and felt that it wasn't worth staying if the sun was setting soon. But now, the beach was first on the itinerary, so by hook or by crook, I was going to get some swimming done.

The entrance fee for day trippers was P300 for adults and P250 for kids. When we got there, there was only one cabana left and it was way over at the other end of the beach where it was rocky and far from the restrooms. So, we opted to just rent 8 monoblock chairs at P25 each just so we had a place to put our stuff. It was a great idea because that way we could move around the beach to our liking. Not to mention, MUCH cheaper than a cabana. :)

We spent the day sunning ourselves, lazing around, dozing off, playing nintendo games, swimming, walking around the beach, wading in the shallow part of the beach, and taking funny pictures of ourselves.

After we had our fill of swimming, we were craving for chips and drinks. But the Camayan restaurant didn't sell any chips (a strategy to make everyone buy food at the restaurant) so we hiked off to the other end of the resort to buy some snacks.

We were still waiting for the other half of our party and night was falling. We were asked to move our monoblocks to a more well lit portion of the beach and so we did. To while away the time, we played the song game (thanks to Oh for this very bright idea) which turned out to be a lot of fun.

Well, our friends Mgirl and Avril arrived really late. But it was quite a blessing because we got to watch the amazing Kawangis ng Tribu performers.

All in all , it was a day well-spent at the beach. I loved every minute of it!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Song games

It's funny how when you are in the company of friends, somewhere beyond any wifi signal nor cable TV, nor mp3 player to keep you amused, you can find the silliest things extremely funny and entertaining.

While in Subic, waiting for the other half of our group to arrive at the rendezvous point, we played the song game to while the time. You can play it in different ways. But it all boils down to how well you know song lyrics. Here are some categories:

1. ABC - the game goes clockwise. First player sings a song beginning with the letter A. Second player sings a song beginning with the letter B, and so on.

2. Connect the last word of the songs - Usually the song first player sings the first song that comes to mind and ends with the last word of a stanza OR can choose to surprise the next player by choosing the middle of a stanza/chorus to stop singing.

3. Thematic- All songs must contain lyrics that fall under a theme or category such as:
  • Names: "Think of Laura, laugh don't cry...Hey Jude, don't make it bad..., Roxanne, you don't have to put on a red light" and so forth
  • Places: "New York, country jungle where dreams are made of...Do you know the way to San Jose...Sweet home Alabama" and so forth.
  • Numbers: :5, 6, 7, 8 My boot scooting baby is driving me crazy...1,2,3,4 come on baby say you love me...We're starting back at one" and so forth.
  • Body parts: "I'm down on bended knees...put you head on my shoulder...get on your feet!" and so on.
  • Celestial bodies: "Earth angel, will you be mine...I can see heaven in your moon"
And so many more!

We definitely had a good time playing this game, and we're actually still thinking of new categories for the next time boredom hits.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Subic Sunburn

As I've mentioned in my previous entry about Subic, I was soooo excited about this trip because I felt that it was much deserved break for me from the pressures of work and house chores. Of course I made sure that the house was neat and tidy before we left, or else my mind wouldn't have been at peace during my vacation. :)

Packed in our trusty Suzuki Alto, with three good friends, we set out for Subic at 8:00 am. Well we could have left earlier but that's another story altogether. Throughout the ride, we passed through quite a number of toll gates. First of which was the one to pass through Balintawak which cost us P36.00, after a few minutes, we paid the P138.00 toll to cruise the NLEX,

after an hour we reached the great SCTEX highway and travelled at top speed (to the enjoyment of our driver) and paid P112.00 toll fee at the end.

The last toll we had to pay for was the Tipo Highway which cost the smallest fee of all: P18.00. So all in all, for future reference, you need to prepare about P304 just for toll fees.

There were a lot of pleasant sights along the way, though you could really see that summer had taken its toll on the greenery.

2.5 hours after leaving Manila, we arrived in Subic and we were famished. We decided to check out Xtremely Xpresso Cafe which had a lot of good reviews in the net for their Lavazza coffee, burgers and ice cream.

Unfortunately, we arrived at 10:30 am and they were only serving breakfast, thus no burgers for us. :(

So, I got the fried Bangus to be safe,

Alice got the American Breakfast,

Doyt got the English Breakfast

and our small friend Oh got a super sized Oriental Chicken Salad which at P150.00 could feed 4 people.

None of us got the Lavazza espresso because it was too warm for hot coffee and so we all got cold frappes which we weren't too happy about. (sorry, XX)

I guess this trip to XX will not be my last as I have yet to try their other entrees. Till we meet again XX! be continued

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Veet Challenge

I've always wanted to try waxing my legs or my underarms but never had the chance (yes, it never crossed my mind to buy a pack of wax srips at Watson's) to do it. Good thing, one morning as I went up to my desk, lo and behold, there was a gift pack from Veet! It contained a pack of wax strips, and 2 variants of the Veet creams for hair removal as well.

So, that very night Alice and I decided to try the wax strips out on her not-so-hairy legs before our Subic getaway with friends the next day. Here goes:

1. Rub the wax strip between your hands:

2. Slowly peel the strips apart:

3. Place a strip onto the skin and rub repeatedly in the direction our hair grows:

4. Immediately, pull the strip back on itself very quickly against the direction your hair grows. Hold skin taut to avoid discomfort.

Let me just warn you, there's a bit of discomfort there, but nothing we can't handle. :)

After ripping way all the wax strips, you can wipe your legs down with an oily sheet provided in the box as well. The result is smooth, har-free legs you can be proud to show off at the beach. Mission accomplished!

I just might try this on other body parts next time. :)