Where the raindrops as they're falling tell a story...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A letter for Xofia

Hi, Anak!

It has been a year and 16 days since you came into our lives, and there's no single moment short of wonderful! We have learned that you are a cautious toddler. Not quite the spirited one like Mommy. Daddy likes to claim that you got that from him, which I, of course, have no proof of denying. You may not be as advanced in motor skills as the babies your age, but you remain the calmest, most poised baby I have ever seen. Wait, where did you get that? Your mom is a self-confessed anxious freak who breaks down in the sight of house clutter. OK, so maybe just as a result of my OC-ness.

As willing as you might be in experimenting your new skills in the comfort of our soft bed and your playpen, you hesitate being as active on hard surfaces. You’ve fallen off one time when you were about 8 months. You cried the biggest cry I’ve ever seen you do. From then on, you have stopped staying in the edges. Right now, though, you love testing us. You’d crawl as fast as you can towards the edge and when you’re right there, you’d stop and wait for our warning. The moment you hear us say “Hala, hala! You’ll hurt yourself there!” you’d crawl back up with the biggest grin. You know you’re not supposed to stay there, and you know we will be jumping on our toes the moment we see you a foot from the edge.

One evening, you woke up at 1 AM, and played. Daddy and I have to stay up as well. You wanted us to play with you! And though by virtue of age, you are technically a toddler, we have yet to see you toddle. This time, though, you didn’t disappoint. From the headboard, you turned and bravely took the first three consecutive steps before slumping back. I was unable to contain my surprise and joy, I cried! But I had to stop right away because crying, in whatever form, upsets you.

You love books, and you love it most when I read them to you. You point to illustrations in your books just like Mommy does when I read you a story. Most of the time, you’re contented flipping through your books by yourself while Mommy reads hers in one corner. But when you get bored, you’d crawl up to Mommy, and with a ready smile, tap my book. I cannot say a serious “NO” because all I see is that cute little dimpled cheeks. I have to try harder to let you know I’m serious.

You love crawling about your Pooh puzzle mat. You’d point to the characters and babble. It’s like you’re making up a story about them. It’s so much fun to just sit there and observe you. Until last night, you have never tried venturing out those marbled floors beyond the expanse of your puzzle mat. This time, you bravely took the challenge and did it. You circled the edges of your mat and tried the hard surface. You crawled all the way up to the kitchen! Your Daddy had to tell you to come back and stop yourself from getting dirty. The first few warnings, you did and came back to the safety of your mat. But you wanted to explore more! So you tried it again, and just smiled at your Daddy when he demanded for you to come back. I had to laugh and asked him to leave you be. You were having fun exploring! I’ll take care of the dirt later.

Have I mentioned how you yelp every time Daddy and I are home? You’re like the cutest puppy who’d, if you could, run up and about because you’re so happy to see us. You’d literally jump and slump butt first in your playpen. You did this once sitting down when you were a lot younger. The time you “kicked” those legs in an imitation of a jump, you hit your head on the floor. From then on, you were so careful in “jumping” when you’re not in safe confines, i.e. strapped with a seatbelt, in your playpen. Yes, you are the most cautious baby. I even saw you once trying to strap your stroller seatbelt when your nanny forgot to.

From all these Anak, I’d like to leave you with one lesson. This may not be as important when you are so young, but here I am again, hoping that you’d read all the things I’ve written for you when you’re old enough. Sometimes life gives you lemons. So, choose your lemons. Choose those that are worth the sour face. Choose your fights, because some are just not worth your time. I will want you to fight your own fight, but I will always be around for you. I will be constantly cheering you on, albeit staying in the sidelines.

Alternatively, like how your Ninang Aileen aptly said, “When life gives you lemons, ask for tequila and salt!” Go see your Ninang how that’s done. :-)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

What is more amazing than this?

Scrapbook Saturday

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Big hug to my top 5 EC droppers

I think my lappy-toppy Sam is sick. She refuses to connect to the router. It came to a point of me getting peeved why the connection always fails. I've tried every possible fix Windows recommended; still nothing. The hubby tried when I was about to "punish" my lappy-toppy for it, and decided she might be having a viral infection. Something that Mr. Norton can't detect. Or maybe just some settings screwed up. We decided to have her checked the soonest. So much for downloading whatnots. In the meantime, I'm using H (short for Horatio), the hubby's lappy, for my surfing. Gee, he lets me play with his most-priced toy. No DOTA tonight teheee!

And to further the grace and be more thankful with all the good things around me (instead of getting pissed over things I can't control), I decided to devote this entry to my 5 top card droppers. Guys, thank you, thank you, for taking the time and clicking that 4-letter word DROP on my EC widget. Here's one big hug to all of you!!!

And to all who happen to visit me here, please visit these wonderful bloggers, and do drop them some ECs as well.

biggest XOXO

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Purpledsky and 7 things about her

I got another tag from faeryrowan; and this time, I'm supposed to tell the blogosphere 7 facts about me; facts that I haven't mentioned anywhere in this blog. Whew!

Here are the rules:
A. List these rules on your blog.
B. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog.
C. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.

Now, here are 7 things about me that I believe I haven't written in any of my blogposts yet.
  1. I pack a mean punch. A friend once wondered if I really were a girl.
  2. I once worked as a sales executive for Toshiba notebooks. Didn't last a year.
  3. I *hate* human resource work. Never really utilized my college education.
  4. I was there when my grandmother died. I saw how life slowly left her limp body.
  5. I used to not like pasta until I made them myself. I believe I made them a lot tastier :-P
  6. I am married to the most humble UP Law alumni there is in this planet. Yes, I am a lawyer's wife. :-P
  7. My real name is Bernadette, after my grandfather's Bernardo; which means bold bear.
Now, I wanna know 7 more things about shimumsy, sheila, darlene, miss write, chef francis, caffeinated-muse, and rosilie.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Impromptu chicken

This is the husband's current favorite. While I was doing my usual breaded breast fillet using my own breading, my mind wondered how this delicate meat would taste like coated in bold, rich spices; pan-fried in butter. And as usual, curiosity got the better of me. I went ahead, thawed the rest of the chicken breast and did all in 20 minutes flat (depending on the size of your pan).

My spice combo is composed of heavenly doses of garlic, black pepper and coriander. Now, where did I get that perfect combo? From McCormick Grill Mates(R) Pepper Steak Seasoning Mix. Fast, easy and hassle-free. OK, OK, I cheated; but a working mom has to think of how to do dishes faster and yet appetizing. This is one of my best-kept secret; which I think is also kept by many. This certain Grill Mates seasoning mix is lucky to stay a day in the shelf. People like me hoard them if given the opportunity to. So, you have to understand that even though I cheated, at least I'm considerate enough to share this with you :-P Anyway, on to the how-to:

Slice 1/2 kg breast chicken fillet to desired thickness. In a large mixing bowl, place the towel-dried breast fillet slices. Sprinkle 1 pack (45 g) McCormick Grill Mates(R) Pepper Steak Seasoning Mix and a little sprinkling of salt onto the meat, making sure all sides are covered.

In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat butter until no longer foamy. Pan-fry each fillet slices turning over only when brown on different areas.

Enjoy the fruits of your labor! :-D

Take me to HOME COOKING tab

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hard times

...are here to stay.

I just finished balancing the books and allotting cash to bills that are soon due. After all the computations, without considering those that are still in the bank that are yet to be encashed (which is not much, btw), my household is left with a meager P3,300.00 cash. Now, tell me, how am I going to tide that over the next payday? Ah, the wife is left about to split her head open with migraines from budgetary causes. While the husband drowns my worry playing DOTA, I retreat to my blog and resolve to list down things that we could do to lessen the expenses.

Water use
Can't do much on that area. The husband, being part of the developer company of the subdivision we're staying, enjoys the "privilege". Not that we're such waste because I think I'm the most prudent user when it comes to water. I cannot imagine anybody in the household using water unnecessarily go their merry way without me nagging them into submission. I am a conscious consumer, and I enforce the same practice throughout the household.

Power consumption
It's not that we're such big users of energy, it's VECO charging whatever on us. I couldn't even begin to allow myself read the bill let alone understand why they're charging me for System Loss. WHAT?!?!?! I can only complain, and not expect anything from it. Because really, where am I to go? I'd rather focus on cutting the kilowatt hour/day usage of the household. But how do I do that with a daughter that cannot stand the humidity of this country even for a minute?

We cannot turn off the airconditioning at night. Xofia will be all over complaining. Actually, with her around, we have the AC on, plus that cute electric fan. We are considering on installing a ceiling fan which might help with spreading cool air in the room. We'd have cooler air even if we have the AC at low.

Trade my no-frost refrigerator with an ordinary one that uses lesser energy. That's a no-brainer. That being said, who's willing to buy my no-frost ref? Any takers?

Change all incandescent to energy-saving lamps. We cut costs, plus we'd be doing Mother Earth a huge favor. Now, we're down to 3 bedroom flourescent lamps that need changing. Guess I'd have to forgo aesthetics for more practical reasons. Sigh.

Eating out
Definitely limit this to once a week. The husband and I have lunch together once a week on a weekday. I think we're on our way there. Most days, and if I'm feeling like super wifey, I cook early in the morning for our packed lunches.

I actually think that this one's more energy-efficient than staying home especially on extra humid days. The mall offers free airconditioning, and a chance for my baby girl to socialize. If only gas prices stay low.

Forget Kia Carens. Forget Mazda super-cool manual/automatic gearstick. Buy a motorbike. Pros -- motorbikes are more fuel-efficient, and can get through traffic jam no Carens or sedan can. Cons -- accident prone, free dust and soot to bask in, limited riders. I have one condition before getting on that frail motorbike: life insurance for us both.

With the taxi fare starting at P40, cab drive is, I think, out of the question.

Jeepney is out of the question as well. It will be a lot less efficient for us to use the jeepney because of our location. Travel time will triple, and hey, I'm a working mom, I need all the free time I can afford to bond with my baby. 'Nuff said.

This gets me into thinking really hard. Just when did living become this costly? this difficult? Is living in this country still viable? Is this the worst of it all, or are there more forthcoming?

How can we ever get out of it? A friend answered: by migrating. Now, that's a thought.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I think I died

and went to pasta heaven.

Exactly the words I uttered on my first mouthful of this delicately flavored pasta.

Don't be fooled, though; you can whip up a pasta like this in only 20 minutes. Trust me.

This is just a variation of our favorite tuyo and garlic in olive oil pasta. I used the same ingredients and added red-ripe, plump tomatoes.

I think I haven't mentioned in this blog the specific brand of bottled tuyo we use. This is locally made, and is only available in Metro Ayala supermarket. The bottle is covered in yellow paper, and tied with a twine up on the lid. The name in the bottle reads "Of tuyo and garlic in olive oil" -- probably the manufacturer's attempt at poetic marketing :-P Anyway, it's the only tuyo in olive oil in the market, everything else is in soya oil or corn oil. It shouldn't be that hard to find.


pasta, cooked according to packet directions, set aside some pasta water
1 bottle tuyo and garlic in olive oil
1 whole head garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
200 grams red-ripe plump tomatoes, roughly chopped

  1. Cook the pasta. Drain and set aside. Save a cup or two of pasta water.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, separate the tuyo and garlic from the oil. Shred the tuyo using your hands. Prep the rest of the ingredients.
  3. In a heated pan, pour the olive oil from the tuyo. Add more olive oil as necessary.
  4. Saute fresh garlic slices.
  5. Add chili flakes.
  6. Add chopped tomatoes. Mix until softened. Pour a cup of pasta water. Cover to simmer until tomatoes are cooked.
  7. Add tuyo.
  8. Season with salt.
  9. Still on stovetop, add pasta and toss well.
  10. Remove from heat; and serve at once.
Note: For the non-native, tuyo is a local term for dried herring fish. This one that I particularly like is the lightly salted variety.

Take me to HOME COOKING tab

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thank you -- from Xofia and us

We never realized it until we saw her in action. Yes, our one-year old "reads" the cards first; and takes a moment as if she knows what the card says. I'm not sure if she saw us doing this (she's currently in that "aping" stage of toddlerhood), or this is just one of her many ways to practice her fine motor skills. Enjoy the slideshow!

Thanks, everyone, for taking the time to shop for Xofia :-) She loves receiving gifts and is happy that she's remembered by all of you, guys! Xofia also sends her hugs and big thanks to all who sent cash gifts. Those will be deposited in her savings account. We are currently pooling these gifts until it's big enough for an In-Trust Fund.

And from Bong and me, we cannot thank you enough for sharing your time and being with us during our daughter's first birthday. Above all, for the prayers. Surely, you all are a blessing to this little family of ours. We hope that you continue praying for Xofia that the Good Lord may heal her tiny heart.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


What goes around comes around. I think that one just hits me right between my eyes. I cannot think of any valid reason aside from mediocre customer service, why we still don't have our internet connection back. Must be the universe's way of telling me it's pay time for all the merry, free-internet days. But hey, it's not my fault. And I'm not being defensive here. See, we have a friendly neighborhood wi-fi provider. Every time our provider's connection sucks, which is very often, I go check for available networks, and there he was, the ever reliable friendly neighborhood wi-fi provider. He sustained me on nights that Globe Broadband went on it's usual hiccup spells. He kept frustration at bay. :-)

Now we don't have anything because the friendly neighborhood provider also disappeared about the same time ours went bonkers.

Sigh. I miss him.

The power of positive attitude

I blogged awhile back that I thought our househelp (H4), now Xofia's yaya, weird. We later realized that she's just naturally a happy person.

This Friday, our other househelp (H5) was undergoing some difficult marital problems. She must have been so stressed with it that it manifested on her health. I gave her mutivitamins to take care of the nausea. And to further the care I extend to the members of my household, my mother-in-law and I offered more advice on the marital problem. Something to do with taking care of ourselves first and everything else will follow. Yet, tried as we might, we were never able to make her at least smile.

Then here's H4. "Ayaw'g guol-guol te, kay samot ta ana masakit. Dapat pirmi tang happy." she told her with the sweetest smile. Then she added, "OK lang yan, te. Ang importante ay mahalaga." Ladies and gentlemen, she has a sense of humor! Needless to say, that sent the heartbroken H5 laughing.

And I think this will not be the last opportunity for H4 to unknowingly dispense her wisdom amidst innocence; and certainly, there will be more jokes forthcoming. :-)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Time flies

and it flies fast.

The husband and I found ourselves not believing that a year has passed. I guess it usually is like that with sleepless nights and cuddles, little butts and upturned noses, soft giggles and bruised foreheads; and everything else that's sweet and wonderful. I dare not mention those moments when I cry myself to sleep praying for a better life, better world for Xofia. Those moments, usually at the dead of the night, when Xofia wanted to cuddle herself to sleep leaving mommy up and awake. Because everytime I feel her hear beating next to mine, all the negativity that the world can afford to throw at me melts away. She has that power in me.

I am currently in a weird situation right now (absurd, I know), and any rational being wouldn't believe how the situation ever happened the way it happened. The picture that kept popping in my head was our 2-year old neighbor running to his mommy to kiss his boo-boo away after he scraped his knee from a fall. I was so blown away by the similarity of the situation I couldn't shake the feeling off. Then I enter our humble house and she greets me. All those negativity melts away like ice cream under the sun, reduced to nothing but mediocrity and trivilities blending with the dirt in the soil. Ah, nothing can beat that!

Here's the uber-cool invite that her Ninang Jan made. Super thanks, Ninang Jan! It is my ardent wish that Xofia will get that artist trait in you (you're her ninang already, so there must be some way for the trait to get included in her genetic makeup LOL). Enjoy, everyone!

PS: Will post more when the ever elusive connection is back. Ciao!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Best Gift Ever

Promise, I'm doing my tags, starting now :-) And because I have no automated way of knowing/checking those tags I missed, can you, pretty please, remind me if I missed yours? :-)

Anyway, here's one beautiful tag this morning from shimumsy. Thanks, girl, this really touched me.

Be sure to read on till the end of the story. You'll never regret it.

***Start Copy Here***
Friendly Rules:
1. Simply copy the inspirational and in the end write down the lesson you have learned out from this.
2. Put your own blog name and link. Pass or tag this to your friends to inspire them.
3. Start copy from "Begin Copy" until "End Copy" to your blog.

A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer's showroom. And knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted.

As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car.Finally, on the morning of his graduation his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him.He handed his son a beautiful wrapped gift box.Curious, but somehow disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with the young man's name embossed in gold.Angrily, he raised his voice to his father and said, "With all your money you give me a Bible?"And stormed out of the house, living the Bible.

Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realized his father was very old and thought perhaps he should go to him. He had not seen him since that graduation day. Before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possesions to his son.He needed to come home immediately and take care of his things. When he arrived at his father's house, sudden sadness and regret filled his heart.He begun to search through his father's important papers and saw the still new Bible, just as he had left it years ago.With tears, he opened the Bible and begun to turn the pages. His father had carefully underlined a verse, Matt. 7:11, "And if ye, being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father which is in heaven, give to those who ask Him?"

As he reads those words, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer's name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words...PAID IN FULL.
How many times do we miss God's blessing because they are not packaged as we expected?

I trust you enjoyed this. Pass it on to others. Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for...
***END COPY***

Like the young man, I'm guilty of overlooking the real blessing just because I was quick to judge by what I saw. Impatient girl that I am, I cannot guarantee that I will always have the time to wait until the real gift will surface under those wrappings. The husband is the patient one. Notice the tagline of this blog? He waits, I whine. And I am not ashamed to admit that his kind of patience continue to be an inspiration and an aspiration of mine. :-)

I'm passing this beautiful tag to:

soreal, faeryrowan, caffeinated-muse, constance and dabawenya.


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