10 Things That Make Life Better

Life is a journey and there may be bumps along the way. Let us not allow those bumps to prevent us from enjoying the ride. I have my moments of frustrations and a few times I have exclaimed in my head, “What have I gotten myself into?” I am an advocate to taking responsibility for my actions and taking risks. If something fails, there is a lesson to learn somewhere in the experience. And if you find success, it is a sign to enjoy the sweet rewards.

I tend to find the positive side of things. I can be the annoying and cheery girl who tries to inject humor in conversations. ( Sige na nga, minsan corny.)

Here are the ten things that made my life better the past month:

1. Skype. My aunt in Canada just recently learned how to Skype. It took awhile for us to use this means of communication because I do not have a decent webcam. Early this year, I bought a laptop because when my computer broke down on Christmas day, I realized how my work depends a lot on having a computer. I also get to talk to my cousin in Cagayan de Oro through Skype. We goofed around. When she tried to show me the neck pillow she uses, I showed her mine. Yes, we were like our crazy ten-year-old selves.

2. Little surprises. This was a creative pay-it-forward meme circulating on Facebook early this year.

I got my creative pay-it-forward gift. Thanks, Alma!

3. Random visits. My cousin came for a visit. She is my first friend in this world. Yes, she is the same person on Skype.

4. New desserts. We forgot to try this cake store in one of the subdivisions here because it is quite far from our place. Good thing that another cousin who dropped by to visit us gave us this cake. Yummy!

5. The new pope. For some reason, I am drawn to the simplicity of the new pope. I am a Catholic but I was never religious. I go to church, pray and try to be good person but I do not like joining religious organizations. I always feel like a sinner around these people. Pope Francis looks like a regular grandpa and it makes me hopeful. If you are on twitter, you can follow him here.

6. Rekindling traditions. We have not joined dawn Easter mass in years because we could not wake up that early. This time around we made an effort to wake up and I never regretted joining the mass. It was held near the park. There were a lot of people already but we found a spot where we can sit down.

Two days before Easter, there was an incident in a mountainous part of the city where pilgrims observe the Station of the Cross. I wanted to join that activity because I have not yet been to that part of the city. Good thing I did not go because I was not able to find a companion or I could have been one of those who got caught in the crossfire.

7. Friends. One classmate had a vacation here from overseas so my classmates and I were invited to his house. It was a fun afternoon of reminiscing high school memories for which, ironically, I was not a part of. When I say classmates, they were my classmates in grade school. I was the outsider but I never felt like one. We arrange another get together for another classmate and he did not show up. (Sa madaling salita, he stood us up!) He was apologetic and we understood. He had to look after his son that night. Since friends already brought food, we spent the night chatting and taking the 5 languages of love quiz. It is based on a book by Gary Chapman. It was meant to determine the method for which you show or accept love from another person. I found out that I want quality time. One friend wants physical touch and another loves receiving gifts.

8. Zumba. I felt the need to really lose weight. I already quit drinking coke and other beverages regularly. I only drink water. (Full disclosure: I drank coke three times since April 1.) I also don’t eat for 12 hours. I still have not observe changes in my body so I thought of engaging in an exercise activity. I thought of Zumba because it is fun. I try to exercise three times a week and I schedule it during brownouts. Mindanao has been experiencing rotational brownouts. To maximize my time, I exercise during brownouts because I cannot work without an internet connection. I still have not achieved my desired weight and I have not gained back my graceful moves (ha!) but the fun dancing is worth the trouble especially when I have nothing to do during the brownouts.

9. Free food. McDonalds gave away McMuffins on March 18 and my aunt got a free coupon for it when she came out from church that morning. She forgot to ask for extra coupons for us so we all shared this one piece of McMuffin. Ha! 10. Game of Thrones is back. I have to rub that in. I have read the book and I think the series is better than the book only because I had a hard time reading it. A friend shared this photo which made me laugh. How about you? What are the things that make your life better?

6 Things I Learned This Week

I always wish that there are more than 24 hours a day.  I have a lot of pending things to do before leaving for vacation. I have only three days left do them all. Despite the tight schedule, I learned lots of things this week.

1. Online loading

I discovered that I can load my phone through BDO’s online banking system.. I enrolled my mobile phone number and immediately tried their service. I got  the amount even before I logged out of the system. It was fast and instantaneous. I hope I won’t abuse this feature.

2. Cheaper printer ink

I have not used my printer in almost a year. I try to go paperless as much as I can. It is eco-friendly and budget-friendly. However, I need to print tickets and itinerary for the trip. My printer ink costs Php700. I already tried the refillable kind and it does not work for me. I ended up spending more. So I went to my favorite computer shop to buy my ink. The owner introduced me to a budget-friendly version: still an original ink but at a cheaper price.  Nice move, HP!

My ink at P440 with original labels and all!

It only costs P440. The shop owner told me that it prints lighter than the P700 version which I do not mind because I always use “draft-mode” when I print to save ink. I think it prints pretty good. I do not see the difference between this and my old HP ink.  I am happy with my savings! 3. Cafe Mocha

I learned that I can have a more delicious and richer cup of instant coffee if I mix coffee and milo.This kept me awake while I worked. 4. First day of school

It has been a long time since I graduated from school and the only school-aged person in the house just got back from vacation so the frenzy of shopping for school supplies was out of our radar. We did not realize it until we were walking in the sidewalk of our small town and we literally bumped into people. I could hear my personal bubble space bursting.  hehe! My aunt wanted to buy a bag for the our trip so off to the weekend ukay-ukay street bazaar we went. She did not find the bag she wanted. 🙁

5. I really, really love the friends that I have

Nah, I knew this a long, long time ago. Thefriends that I have from childhood, grade school, high school, college, work and others I met along the way, I treasure them. This week’s frenzy made me remember this thought. We got an exciting news from one friend that it triggered 2,500+ chat messages (and counting!).


Source: goo.gl via kat on Pinterest


I think my friends and I will be like these two in the future. HA!


Source: Uploaded by user via kat on Pinterest


6. Unconditional Parenting

A friend wrote a lovely letter to her husband about the joy of parenting. She and her husband have an unconventional way of parenting and it worked well with their kids. I wish I can post her letter here but  I think it deserves a place in parenting magazines. Maybe I should convince her to blog. 😀

It has been a full week and I have another full week ahead!





Source: pinpal.in via Kathline on Pinterest

5 Secrets of Happy People

Although I have my moments of sadness, I always have a happy disposition. I have the advantage of being an only child. I can easily amuse myself even if I am alone. While I enjoy the happy solitude, I also treasure the company of other people. Good conversation over good food and the laughter that ensued never fail to warm my heart.

I found this article online.  So let me share the 5 secrets happy people know and what I know.

1.  Be grateful.

For this week, I thank a thoughtful aunt for these yummy treats.

2. Novelty keeps the life fresh.  I  am still as curious as when I was a kid. I am willing to try anything new.  (Wag lang buwis buhay.)  I learned to cook baked mussels this week inspired by Connie Veneracion. (cook? bake? redundant. pagbigyan niyo na. hehe)

We also tried making these: iced coffee jelly, ginataang bilo-bilo with mais and ube jam.

3. Set humble goals. I am content with what I have but I do admire people with big dreams who work hard towards achieving them.

4. Go with the (fitness) flow. I remember one of Reese Witherspoon’s line in Legally Blonde: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.”

I do not have an exercise regimen but I do walk the dog morning and afternoon everyday (when the weather is good). I fear I might grow bigger muscles in my right arms because it takes a lot of strength (more like resistance) to control our hyperactive dog.

5.  Share the wealth.  I do not have much material wealth to share to begin with. What I do have is time and big smile (kita gilagid). Both I am willing to share. If you find it hard to smile, just look at this adorable photo.


Happiness is the cure

If I check the statistics,  I am already approaching midlife.  My father died at 69. My mother, 61. If I base my own mortality on my parents’, the 30’s is my midlife.  No, I am not having a crisis nor an emo moment. I sometimes think of my health when I eat too much. HA! Excuse my morbid thoughts but I sometimes wonder what disease will kill me in the future.  I fear it might be a problem on the digestive system. I have abused those organs for years. 😳

I’ve always been a healthy child.  I am not using ‘healthy’ as a euphemism for being ‘fat’ or ‘chubby’.  I am healthy because I do not get sick often. I have been admitted to the hospital only once in my life and I cannot even remember it because I was a baby then.  I get cough and colds during the rainy season. I cannot remember the last time I had fever.  When I proudly pointed out to my mother that I am always healthy, she told me the reason why: it is what she prayed for. (Awww <3. l love you and miss you, mama.)

Life is short. Even with proper nutrition and lifestyle change, there is still no guarantee for longevity. For whatever health conditions a person may have, I think that happiness is the cure. 😀

Source:  http://sayingimages.com/happiness-quotes-best-images-with-quotes-about-happiness/

Source: http://sayingimages.com/happiness-quotes-best-images-with-quotes-about-happiness/

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

I came across this thought question.


I have been busy lately that I felt the need to pause because I might miss something beautiful. A lot of things make me smile. I am really easy to please.

1. The nephew.

Two weeks ago, the little guy was taken to the hospital for fever and abnormal bowel movement. It was amoebiasis. When the IV needle was inserted to his tiny vein, he cried his heart out.  I told him, “Don’t worry, you won’t remember this happened.”  I said it with conviction. Like him, I had amoebiasis when I was a baby. I don’t remember it happened. That was the first (and the last) time I was hospitalized.  I even think that my stomach  can fight any other bacteria who want a piece me because my stomach already won a war against amoeba. In college, there was a food poisoning incident in my dorm. Nothing bad happened to me even if I ate the questionable embutido. Here’s the little guy two days after being confined.  Doesn’t he make you smile?

2. The pet.

My aunt’s dog is now big. He barks at strangers. His barks are deep and strong. He can startle anyone. It can be embarrassing when we have guests because he barks at them as if they are criminals. He is truly a guard dog. The only command he understands is “Sit!”.  He is funny whenever there is a siren blasting in the streets. He apes the sound by howling so loud and so creepy.  I took the chore of walking him in the morning and in the afternoon. He makes me feel like I am protected from harm. People we meet while walking would change their course upon seeing this large dog. That makes me smile.

3. Little Treats.

I am home most of the time. My cousin who works nearby would take his lunch in my aunt’s house. He would drop by my room to take a short nap. We would catch up on the latest news. Whenever his payday is near,  I would egg him to buy me pizza, coke, ice cream and whatever food that catches my fancy.  It takes awhile before he gives in to my requests. It takes constant nagging. ha!  The other day, he brought me ice cream cake. It pays to be persistent (and annoying! ;))

4. My penmanship.

When I uploaded a scanned copy of a page in my journal in college, a few of my friends commented on my pretty handwriting. Too bad, the digital age ruined my nice penmanship. I am trying to recapture the lovely penmanship. When I get it right, I smile. When I don’t, I can always try again.

5. The weekly trip to the market.

This is a chore I do not like doing. The market has wet floors. I don’t like the smell and I always go home smelling like a fish. But I have no choice but to go with my aunt because I need to save money. I pitch in my food budget with their budget and I join them in their meals. It is a clever trick. I do not have worry what I will eat everyday. HA! This is also a weekly bonding activity with my aunt.

When I was on a trip, my cousin accompanied my aunt to the market. The vendor noticed my absence.

Vendor:  Asa imong anak? (Where is your daughter?)

Aunt, without blinking: Nilarga. (She went on a trip.)

When I got back, I went to the market with my aunt again. I have a habit of just waiting for her in one corner while she hops on one stall to the next.  The vendor noticed me.

Vendor: Asa imong Mama? ( Where is your mom?)

Me, pointing at my aunt: Tua. ( There.)

We anticipated a long conversation so we did not bother to correct. It is a long explanation: She is my aunt, single, without child. She is my mother’s sister. My mother passed away. No, I don’t live with her. Yes, I’m single. No, I don’t have a job. It is exhausting. The market trip gives me my weekly dose of iodine. 😀 This appetizer only costs Php 5.00!

6. Manageable health problems.

We had a health scare. Last week, my aunt’s urine was reddish. We went to the doctor immediately.  She underwent various laboratory tests. Her ultrasound showed  kidney stones. The x-ray showed an enlarged heart.  The electrocardiogram show a left bundle branch block. She has high blood pressure. Cholesterol is high. Uric acid is high. The good news: no diabetes. The results were alarming for my aunt because she never had health problems before and now she is bombarded with a lot of medications. She  was prescribed medicines for each condition. Every time she takes her medications, she frowns at the prospect of swallowing bitter pills. We often encourage her to see the positive side: be thankful for the reddish urine. There are medical conditions that do not show symptoms until they got worse. Because of the blood in her urine, we found out about her other problems. Good thing there are medications available. There are some diseases with no cure.  We kid her: “You have a big heart, literally and figuratively”.


taken from pinterest.com

7. The gift of sight.

I do not have a perfect vision but it makes me smile that it did not worsen. I started wearing eyeglasses when I was 11. I had bouts of severe headaches. My parents suspected I had problems with my sight. True enough, after I had my eyeglasses, I never had headaches as severe as before.  My first eyeglasses, they say, were correctional ones. They would correct my 25/25 vision.  Through the years, I have a love and hate relationship when it comes to wearing eyeglasses. I’ll wear them for a year and quit wearing them a year after. In 24 years, I have had five eyeglasses with different grades: (25/25, 100/75, 50/50, 100/50, 50/50).  Now, I have astigmatism with a 50/50 vision. I am glad that through the years, it never got worse. I know friends who are blind without their glasses. I’m not.

8. Music. I have reached the age where I do not recognize new singers or new songs. I get my updates from my cousin who is in high school. I stick to my perennial favorites like Lea Salonga and Josh Groban. Thanks to Glee, YouTube and friends who are music fans.  My playlist now includes Train, One Republic, The Script.  A friend shared this music video. It’s upbeat and fun. I heard my cousin sing the song a number of times but I did not appreciate it much until I saw this video.

9.  Family and friends.

I am an only child and single. At 33, I became an orphan. Yet I do not feel alone nor lonely. I have an extended family in my aunts, uncles and cousins. Family and friends are there to keep a smile on my face. I cannot choose my family yet I was lucky enough to be blessed with people who love me.  Friends, near or far, put a little smile on my day. It may be through witty banter with their cute kids, a funny status update or a simple compliment. I am thankful for the family and friends I have. They have managed to touch my heart in many ways.

10. Faith.

So, what are the ten things in your life that make you smile?

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