Finding Inspiration

Most of my blog posts end with a great quote so when blog visitors finish reading my posts, they leave my blog with words of inspiration.  The finest quotes are those that make you ponder about your choices and beliefs.

There are tenets that I follow for a long time. When I read someone with contradictory idea, I find it to be thought-provoking. I was reading some tweets from Teddy Boy Locsin and this one made rethink the path I am treading.

Since I am living an uncomplicated life, am I escaping from handling the complexities of real life? Of course not! I believe life is too short to dwell too much in complexities.  Why waste time on them only to end up being miserable? But I admit the tweet made me ponder and I like that.

As I continue to search for great quotes, I found out that there are quotes about blogging. If you also blog like me, we can be sources of great quotes someday. Who knows?  We have freedom to dream, right? I am only exercising my freedom to do so. 😀

Like I said, I often end my blog posts with a great quote. I’ll make an exception this time by sharing two quotes about education. Be inspired!

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

I came across this thought question.

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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”.

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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?

Spontaneity

I no longer have that tan line on my wrist where I usually position my watch. I do not wear a watch anymore. Being a freelancer, I own the time. I have power over it.  I can watch any TV show to my heart’s content. I can can catch up on my reading. I can develop this blog into a daily exercise in writing. The house will be in order. Everything will be in its perfect place. I can give Martha Stewart a run for her money.

Well, that’s what I thought. It is still time who owns me. Not having deadlines and a schedule to follow can be tough. I find myself finishing a book in one month. I used to finish a book in less than a week.  I clean the house only when I am expecting guests. I do laundry when I do not have anything to wear anymore. I do not even get to watch local TV shows as often as I want. My cousin and I were in a conversation and he blurted out, “What’s ‘sulit’? It is when you get more than what you paid for.” I thought he suddenly became articulate while I was away on a trip. As it turned out, it is a line delivered by Kris Aquino in a Nido commercial.

I am writing this because when I met up with friends last week to catch upon our lives, I find it hard to explain to them what I do. I am a housewife without a husband. I am sister who is an orphan. I am busy but unemployed. I am a boss without a staff.

Ironically, the thought question of the day on this site is:

My answer: I follow my heart. NAKS!

I love this life. Even if I only earn pennies freelancing, I am happy. I am available to anyone who needs me.  When my aunt needs company to check out something, I am there. When a friend needs a ear to listen to her woes, I am there.  When my cousin needs tutoring in her assignments, I am there.  I can have long conversations with anyone anytime.  (Well, unless I am asleep, sleepy or I left my phone in the room. ) I am able to cultivate relationships with people who matter to me. The material things do not matter.  I only need the basics to survive- food, water, air and shelter (with a little traveling on the side).

The thing is: this might not be forever.  There might be a time in the future when I will be married again to a regular job. As I have experienced, it often takes a priority role in my life.  This life of spontaneity will come to its end. I hope that I find the balance between a career and the relationships I sowed.

Since that has not happened yet, I savor every moment I have right now. When my cousin came yesterday bringing durian with the condition that I can only eat that fleshy piece of heaven if I accompany him to his errands, I hurriedly changed from my ratty house clothes into some decent attire. Beads of sweat trickled down my shiny face as I dressed up in this warm weather. I had no time to shower. I think the deodorant, powder and cologne did its magic.  I treasure unplanned road trips and spur-of-the-moment joy ride to undiscovered nooks in the city. The kind of freedom to do things in a spur-of-the-moment is precious.

I now find the tan lines on my feet outlining the band in my slippers. I like it. It shows that I have stepped out of comfortable shade and enjoyed the sunshine.

What to do when the computer needs repair

Fair warning: This is not a self-help guide on computer repair.  The blogger is just narrating about the alternative activities she got involved in without using her Internet connection.
 

 I confess. I am online almost 16 hours a day. (Gasp!) I wish I am one of those people pounding the keyboard doing codes to create innovative websites. Embarrassingly, I am usually on Facebook and Twitter. I use Facebook to get in touch with friends and Twitter to promote my articles.

This year, I have been to the computer shop twice already: the motherboard and power supply were replaced. Last year, the hard disk was replaced and RAM was upgraded. When the computer conked out the third time this year, I decided it is time to get a new one. I am glad to learn that the new system will cost me Php 7,000 cheaper than the amount it cost me to buy the old computer six years ago.  I can not see myself buying a laptop because with the same specifications as the new desktop I am eying, it will cost me Php 10,000 more. As much as I like the mobility in having a laptop, it is more of a ‘want’ than a ‘need’.  Besides, I am not that mobile. I like working with a normal keyboard.

With the computer under repair and the new one still being configured, what should I do with the free time?

CLEAN THE ROOM

Stacks of paper have accumulated in the room. Old CDs are still kept even if I do not use them anymore. I do not even know what is in them. While the room looks in order and neat. Dust had settled in the nooks and crannies. Since I am buying a new desktop, I might as well clear all the clutter and start anew.  So, the cleaning begins.

In the past, I still managed to keep some items because ” I might need these one day”. Then I thought of the hoarders I saw on Oprah. I decided I can not be that kind of person. I should not hold on to material possessions. I closed my eyes and placed all those papers I stacked all these years in a garbage bag.  I hope the garbage collector will find something of use for them. ( Do they segregate trash? I hope so or this trash is going to a landfill. Oh no!)

READ

The Hunger Games is a trilogy by Suzanne Collins. A copy was saved in my phone. IBecause of the free time I have, I was able to finish it.  All I can say is that I LOVE the story. The trouble with finishing the book is that I want to continue with the next book which is still in my computer that was under repair. Today I found out that it is going to be a movie next year. I hope it is gonna be a good adaptation.  GO and read this book!

Photo credit: http://www.thehungergames.co.uk

Visit the official website and download some excerpts here to see if this book catches your fancy.

 LISTEN TO MUSIC

Lately, I have been listening to The Script, Adele, Train and Katy Perry.  But alas! I have not loaded the music files into my cellphone so I have to be contented with what I have previously loaded. I checked my cellphone and I saw that I still have Lea Salonga, One Republic and Wicked cast recording on my track list. Not bad. In the middle of the night, I put my headphones on and listened to the soothing voice of Lea Salonga.

Here is a youtube video of her singing Promise Me: (Video courtesy of MSManila80)
http://youtu.be/dw4SroBh5RQ

LAUNDRY

This is not one of my favorite chores to do. But I got ‘new’ clothes from the thrift shop that need to be thoroughly washed. (Read: Ukay) My hands got some beating after all the wringing I did. Although my fingers looked tired and sinewy, it looked beautiful. (Like they say, “Beautiful hands are hands that work.” 😉 ) I went to sleep with a feeling of accomplishment.

One of my favorite things to do though is folding laundry. I find comfort in the smell of fresh laundry. Smoothing the fabric and folding it is zen-like. I like seeing neatly piled clothes.  Maybe I should get a job in a clothing store.

REFLECTION

I am relieved to know that I am not that dependent on technology. I still can enjoy my day without my computer. I knew this last year when we had scheduled brownouts for two months. Every afternoon, I spent it looking through old photos, reading magazines and listening to music. I found a nice spot where there was natural light. While some of my cousins ranted about boredom, I was perfectly contented where I was.

I am never bored anywhere:  being bored is an insult to oneself.  ~Jules Renard

The Commuter

I spent half of the day today doing errands, mostly paying bills. I have six locations to go to- bank, water district, power company, mall, health insurance, cooperative. Before I left the house, I already list down what I need to do.

Here are the bills I need to pay:

I am getting to all these locations by commute. I have always been a commuter. My family never owned a vehicle after I was born. My dad said he had a car and a jeep when he was younger. My mom never felt the need to own a car. I feel the same way. We live in the middle of the city in the province so traffic is not a problem. Getting to places is easy.

In the Philippine provinces, tricycles and jeepneys rule the streets. My city has these orange tricycles that will get commuters to their desired locations. All I need to do is to flag them down and tell them where I want to go. There are times that drivers get choosy with their passengers, though. If the location is unfamiliar or too far, there runs the risk of not getting to your destination on time. With patience, you will eventually find a tricycle driver who is willing to get you to your destination.

Now, if only I own a bike (or know how to ride one!), I can go places in my city without being snubbed by tricycle drivers. Actually, I used to own a bike and was able to ride it well. Now that I am older, I lost by biking skills. I now fear that I might crash and hurt my knee or bruise my elbow. Last year, I saw this bike in a university in Manila (Go, University of the Philippines! Forgive me for showing some school pride.)

Students can rent these bikes for a semester and bike through the school. What is cool about my school (ahem, ahem, UP pride!) is that there are bike lanes in the campus. (Look at those gorgeous canopy of trees! Who would not want to learn how to bike here?)

I can learn how to bike again if we have a lane like this in my city. 🙁
I will just settle for the tricycles and jeepneys in my city. My commute is still as interesting. Being in one with other people who just need to go somewhere like me is an experience itself (and I may need another blog post for that).

Now, when will we have electric jeepneys in my city like this one?

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