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Out of the Loop

I miss blogging. I miss the smell of the trees in our yard which I get to smell before going to work. I miss the rains. I sorely miss a lot of things about my previous life. Uh-oh. Now I’m talking in tongues, huh?

I have left my blog uninhabited for the past few months. I did not even get to blog about Word Camp. Shame on me. In fact, I left my life hanging for more than a month now.

I am just in a limbo. I am not there, but I am neither here. Last night, I did not sleep.

I was surprised to see that there was light outside when I opened my eyes. My body physically tried to rest but my mind was wandering the whole night. No, its not breastfeeding Ira that mattered last night. I have come to master the art of sleeping while nursing her. It doesn’t bother me anymore, not one bit. There was something else that made sleep impossible. And honestly, even I couldn’t figure it out.

I am at the point of my life where I am trudging today because I know I am headed for tomorrow. But what if today seems nowhere? What if today doesn’t seem here?

Oh my. I am talking in a language that is foreign, even to me.

Maybe this is the effect of being out of the loop for so long. I hope I can find today soon. Or better yet, I hope I can find myself soon.

Massage at Home

I first tried body massage some six years ago and after the first try, I instantly fell in love with it.

I used to have home service by Jojo. He’s gay and he does all things for us. My mom used to pay for it so I would text Jojo weekly for our beauty regimens. Jojo would give us foot spa, nail treatments, hair treatments and a massage. But after moving from one house to another, we lost touch of him.

I loved his services because they were given to me right at the comfort of my own home and I can have them anytime I want to. No lining up, no need to dress up, no need for travelling to and from.

Then I discovered a Spa in Banawe, Quezon City. I forgot the name of the Spa but it was very affordable. My dear friend Chubby and I would go there almost every week, if budget allowed us to. Evlyn Spa, as Chubby reminded me the name, is right in front of Bench Fix Salon so our Banawe trip would usually be for hair and body treats. I even had the chance to let my hubby try it and he loved it as well.

But when I became pregnant, I had to take a rest from my weekly massage. I promised the therapists that I will be back as soon as the OB says that I’m okay to go.

But since we now live in Mandaluyong, a Banawe trip has become tiring for me and hubby. We have tried nearby spas but we didn’t get to like them as much as we loved the Banawe Spa.

Months after giving birth, on our way home, I saw a sign in Makati that says “Massage at Home“. I got the number and told hubby about it. Hubby, as always, was ecstatic about it and asked me to try calling the number. At first I was hesitant because it might be a phony massage service or it might be run by a syndicate of thefts. We tried it nonetheless and it turned out none of our fears were true.

In fact, it was the other way around! We had a great time such that we would have it as often as we could (weekly, if possible). We have tried different therapists and recently got hooked on Ella. She has been with Massage at Home for many years now and I can personally vouch for her. Not only is she good at massaging our stress away, she is trustworthy and you can sleep all throughout and not worry about your any of your things getting lost. I especially like her Foot Reflex and Full Body Massage. All my body pains and stress are relieved when I get my massage from Ella.

She is the very first person Ira said “Hi” to. On that night alone, Ira said “Hi” to her approximately ten times. Up until now, Ira likes waving at her and now that she can walk around the house, she imitates what Ella does to us by joining in the massage. At the end of the session, Ira would end up with oil in her tiny hands!

I personally recommend Massage at Home. Therapists are always on time and they have many therapists who are of service anytime you want. The only time that their therapist failed to show up was a day after Ondoy (which was understandable). I prefer getting it at home because I save a lot of time and money. Hubby and I need not dress up just to get oiled after. Right after having a massage, hubby and I snooze off to la-la land because we don’t have to travel home anymore.

Massage at Home is located in Makati and they specifically cater to home service. They offer Full Body Massage, Foot Reflex and all other types of massage, and even Facial, as Ella said. They are open daily, from 1PM onwards, and you can call them at 742-1829.

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*This is not a paid advertisement but rather a personal recommendation from a satisfied customer. 🙂

Loving Long Weekends

Since we had the new president, long weekends have become scarce. For working peeps, that’s disheartening. I have nothing for and against the previous and new presidents, but if there is one thing I loved about GMA’s administration, it must be her economic policy on long weekends. But for reasons only he knows, PNoy chose to deviate from that policy. Luckily, we had two consecutive long weekends which made me think that working four days a week isn’t so bad after all. Hubby said if he becomes president of the Philippines, that’s the first order he will draw up. I couldn’t stop laughing with that silly dream. Not a bad idea, huh?

Because this weekend is a long one, hubby and I met up with good friends Ino and Sheba. We had fun at dinner just talking about anything we missed about each other for the past couple of months. It always feels good to be in their company. We met up at Greenbelt and spent almost an hour just looking for a place to eat. Can you believe that? Restaurants and bars were packed because of this long weekend fever. Good thing we found good seats at Fish & Co. We ate to our hearts content, although missed out on desserts.

The waiter nicely offered hubby a privilege card which entitles us to 20% discounts in any of Bistro restaurants, including our favorite Friday’s. The card seemed pricey at first but getting it gave us a consumable coupon which we can use on our next visit. Hearing that, I chose not to oppose hubby’s decision to get the card. Its like we will just have no choice but to eat out again next week. 🙂

I suddenly remembered all the coupons that my boss gave me months back, giving discounts and freebies. I am such a rat pack that I tend to forget where I placed all these little papers. Some of them probably expired without having been used. What a waste, huh? If these Coupons she gave me can be found online, I would have found them easily. 😉 I would have bookmarked them right away.

So now, even if tomorrow feels like Sunday already, hubby and I will probably watch a movie, eat out and play around with Ira. And on the real Sunday, we will slack off the whole day and have DVD marathons. Oh I really wish we could have more of these long weekends more often. Less stress and less headaches for everyone. Philippines would probably be a better place. Hahaha. 🙂

WooThemes: Royalle

In my short stint here at WordPress, I have changed themes several times already. I like changing my theme every now and then. Its like changing the theme on my mobile phone.

Recently though, I haven’t had the chance to browse through the various themes WordPress offers (and boy, are they many!). But WordCamp emailed me about WooThemes and I thought I’d check it out.

For me, the theme of your blog is somewhat a reflection of your personality. I say somewhat because I do not think it can be an exact gauge as to what kind a person is, but then it gives us a hint, right?

I usually do not pick girly themes lest my blog seem too loud, with all the pinky stuffs and flowery ones. I love a touch of girl in the theme, but I like it subdued. That’s why it is hard for me to pick themes. But when I see one that I like on that particular day, I easily pick it.

So when I browsed on WooThemes, the theme Royalle immediately caught my attention. It had a touch if pink in it, but not too girlish. The whole design looked subdued to me and upon checking the features, it made me like it more.

For one, the color is changeable. In fact, there are five colors to choose from. Now, isn’t that amazing? That means that when I’m feeling a little more serious, then I can just change the color of my theme, instead of browsing through the hundreds of themes available and choose again. Quite neat, huh?

It also has all the widgets I need, the customizable bars on both sides and one has complete control on the excerpt of posts displayed.  I also like the fact that you can put in the networking sites that you have so that you can just create a link there. But the highlight of Royalle for me is the changeable colors. As my mood varies on different days, I sometimes want vibrant colors, some days I just want plain blue, as my current theme shows. So now, I can choose to be girlish or neutral both on the same day, without having to change themes at all. Convenient, huh?

Oh well, let me drool over Royalle for now. And if I have time, I will check the demo for each one that I liked next to it. Its actually fun though time consuming. 🙂

The country is currently swamped with news about the hostage crisis which lasted approximately twelve hours yesterday. TV reports and even internet articles are more or less focused on what happened last night. Personally, I feel devastated. It is even ironic that such tragedy happened at the very place where our current president was inaugurated.

I may not be an overly patriotic person, but I love my country to pieces. And its disheartening that one man’s personal quest now has trampled upon the entire nation’s reputation.

I pity those Hongkong nationals who only wanted to enjoy themselves and visit the Philippines. I pity the members of the assault team because of their unintentional shortcomings and their seeming lack of equipment and/or tactics. I pity our country who must suffer economically because of all these. We can continue to speculate and rant all we want, but lets just be glad its over.

There is no else to blame in this saga but the perpetrator himself. If he had problems with the justice system or if he feels he have been backstabbed by the police service, he could have held hostage all the corrupt officials for all he wanted, but he should not have dragged the lives of innocent people to the mud he is into. If he felt he is in hell for what happened, he should have stayed there and spared others.

Many nasty remarks about how the police handled the situation are being said. But I think they did what they can, maybe not enough, but they did what their trainings taught them. I have several policemen for clients and I sense they are not adequately trained too. The fact that they lacked equipment is not likewise their fault. It is the entire system that falls short of what police service must be. But to personally attack those police officers who happened to be on duty yesterday is in bad taste. I commiserate with the families of those police officers who could have felt like dying seeing their loved ones face death like that.

I don’t know what else is left of yesterday. One thing’s for sure though, lives were unthinkingly broken last night. Even those who survived the ordeal now have shattered lives. I cannot imagine seeing people being shot in front of my eyes. For sure, a lifetime of therapy cannot alter that.

I am hoping that no person can ever think like PSI Rolando Mendoza, ever again. He knew what he was doing was a mistake, but he wanted to prove that he is mighty and that he can hack it. But it is human nature to fail, to go through problems. But the world must not stop when that happens. When he lost his job, it was not the end of the world. His life did not begin and should not have ended with him being a policeman. He could have sold pancakes for all we care, but his ego was just too big for him to handle. If there was a mistake in how his case was disposed of, killing people surely would not reverse it.

I don’t know how this happened. Dang! Even the Ms. Universe 2010 hype has been stomped upon by that hostage crisis. Suddenly, Police Senior Inspector Rolando DR Mendoza is more famous than Maria Venus Raj. Maybe this is what he wanted, after all. But at whose expense? That part he may not have mulled over too much. He was just too keen in getting what he wanted, at the expense of people who did not even contribute one bit to his plight.

Now lets move on Philippines, there are so many things to do. Lets pray together for those broken lives, including that of Ronaldo Mendoza.

A3 Scanner

I photocopy and scan a lot of documents. It comes with the job.

But since I am hardly adept with gadgets and other computer accessories, I usually ask my hubby to do it for me. He has scanned copies of all our identification cards, even our passports.

I first asked him to do it when I needed to authenticate the documents of my SIL Ate Debbie when she was processing her papers for her work in Australia. I was on maternity leave then.

Hubby didn’t know that the sizing of the documents mattered a lot. He scanned all documents using the regular scanner and resized the documents. When my SIL submitted them to the agency via email, she was asked to rescan her scholastic transcript of records to their regular A3 size. Hubby had to look around the office for a scanner that has a scanning solution for the exact size of the documents. Luckily, he found one and was informed that in the whole office, it was the only A3 scanner that we have available.

When he told me about his dilemma (which took days, by the way!), I quizzically asked, shouldn’t each department have its own  a3 scanner? It would be more convenient for everyone because then we can easily scan all types and sizes of different documents. Our office secretary shared the same sentiments, saying that our scanners are quite outdated already.

And since I work and notarize documents at home, I think I also have to get my own scanner. Maybe its good to start looking for one that can accommodate all my scanning needs. 🙂

The Thursday a week before last, a good friend asked me if I still wanted a reservation at Fontana Leisure Park. I said yes, but due to budget constraints, we plan to go there August or September. She surprisingly said the Villa is free and that I would only have to pay for a meager sum as maintenance fee. So with just short notice, the whole family except for my eldest brother stayed at Fontana last weekend. Even if hubby and Ira just had fever that week, we simply could not resist the offer. But that’s not what my entry is all about. So fast forward to my real topic.

After a fun weekend, we arrived home Monday afternoon, just a little past 5PM. Before we left, we had to close the water meter because hubby involuntarily messed with the shower handle, thus the leak. Our doggie Buster was reeking with his pee and poo combined (ulk!) so we had to wash him instantly. I asked (our newest) Ate to open the water meter. She came back and simply said “nakapadlock po”. I thought she was referring to the railings around the water meter, so hubby said he will be the one to do the honors.

So there came hubby to open, and voila! The water meter was indeed padlocked! By whom? Our good ole’ service provider, Manila Water. I have always taken pride with the fact that our area has good water service.  Even in the latest issue of water shortage in the metropolis, we were not a bit affected. But on that particular afternoon, I wanted to strangle to death whoever caused the padlocking of our water meter.

I immediately went to check our bill and we all realized that we missed the due date of our bill. This month’s water bill was a disaster because we had a flush leak, so there was somewhat a thousand percent increase in our regular bill. Yes, almost a thousand percent! But that’s another story, of course.

I called up 1627, the customer service of Manila Water. A friendly Abigail answered the line. After some verification questions, I went ahead with my complaint. I lamented that they (whoever did it!) shouldn’t have padlocked our meter considering there was no one to give consent because not a single soul was home. Much to my dismay, she retorted that it was SOP that when there is a disconnection notice for a certain customer and their people go to check if it has been paid, and there was no one at home, they will disconnect it. That answer fueled my fire inasmuch as I said they are public utility service, with full emphasis on the last word. So I said, where is the service? For all you know, the customer died. Or someone from his family died. Or he had an accident. Or whatever. It would have been more prudent for them to come back the next day to check if that customer still hasn’t paid.

I told her I have a one-year-old baby and a sick father who cannot stand, even just for a night, without water. I told her further that we have work the next day, and how do they suppose we go to work? Without a bath?

She kindly suggested that I can pay through any 7-11 branch and call them again to request for the reconnection of our service. Dear Abigail assured that it can be reconnected even at night. Okay, I thought.

I asked hubby and my brother to rush to the nearest 7-11 and pay our bill plus the reconnection fee. I told Abigail that I am paying that stupid reconnection fee under protest, just so I can have my service back.

After 10 minutes or so, our bill was settled. So there I was dialing the same number with a different agent answering my call, this time it was Catherine. When I gave her the details of my receipt, she went on to say that it is “possible” that our service can be reconnected that day, with a maximum of five days. Its like the devil got into me after hearing the words “possible” and “five days” that I shouted, “Five days! Do you know what you are talking about!” She went on to show empathy on the line by apologizing for the inconvenience. I said no. Do not give me the empathy spiel coz you do not have an idea as to how I feel. I said I used to work in a call center, I don’t need the damn spiel.

I asked Catherine if she has a baby. She said no. So I said, then you don’t know how I feel. We do not have a single drop of water. I need my service back. I told her that Abigail assured me that it can be done so I wouldn’t have it any other way. I further told her that if they do not remove the padlock in an hour, I will have to remove it myself. She said I shouldn’t do that lest I pay a penalty for doing such. I laughed at the idea of the penalty and told her that when they disconnected my service, it was because I reneged on my obligation to pay on time. But now that my obligation has been fulfilled, I have every right to access to my water service, so in an hour, whether they are there or not, I will have my service back, and I then I hang up.

After about thirty minutes, we heard the faucet in the bathroom running. They didn’t bother to buzz and tell us that they are reconnecting the service. Anyways, I didn’t care anymore just as long as my service is back.

I have usual bouts with these customer service people. This usually happens with my phone service, especially when DSL connection is a problem.

I commiserate with them because I, too, have been a call center agent once. I know how it feels to deal with an irate caller. And yes, I try to talk to the agents as pacified as possible. I just hate it when they tend to give me BS and spiels, which I know they have memorized over time. I especially hate it when one agent promises you one thing and another agent says its not possible. I have had these a hundred of times already and I am sick of it.

Nevertheless, we had a happy ending. We got our service back and we were all happy. I plan to write our provider about this nonchalant treatment of their customers.  My neighbor told me that they saw these people who padlocked the meter and she informed them to come back the next day as no one was home. I understand these people are merely sub-contractors, being measly paid for every water meter disconnected. I perfectly understand too that as customers, it is our own lookout to pay on time. But when no one is home, shouldn’t you think again and come back the next day? Who knows what happened to these people. Even MERALCO doesn’t cut services that way.

I don’t know. Sometimes the word “service” has no meaning anymore. Sometimes business is more important than true service and these utility service providers tend to forget why they exist in the first place.

Ira @ 14 months

My dear princess has grown big. Uh well, not actually big coz she takes after her parents, small, that is. But in my eyes, from the time that she sleeps incessantly up to now that she knows how to refuse napping, she is now a big baby.

Her used-to-be dresses have now become blouses and her rompers are just so tight fit that she looks fat. She walks a lot like crazy and she cries if she’s not allowed to walk outside. Crazy I say because she walks around the yard more than ten times, or until she gets tired or thirsty. When she reaches that point, she will just leave whoever she’s with and walk towards the house. My Tatay would laugh with this daily routine of hers because she has unbelievable energy daw.

However, she refuses to wean from breastfeeding and would just cry endlessly if I insist on putting her to sleep with the use of bottle-feeding. The mommy in me would easily give in, knowing that the days of her complete devotion to me are about to end. I know too that by breastfeeding her, I am trying to give her my best.

Yesterday, she just turned 14 months old. Hubby and I have a long way to go when it comes to parenting but we are taking things in stride, learning each little thing as it comes. Because of lack of sleep (thanks to typhoon Basyang!), we almost forgot that she turned 14 months yesterday. Hubby became so sad that we had to buy a cake for Ira just to make up. But because of unexpected series of events, it took us 3 hours to come home and the cake is unrecognizable by the time we opened it for Ira. Sigh. Well, as they say, its the thought that counts. 🙂

This morning, we came to work quite late because Ira refused to drink milk from her bottle. Whenever I’d get up from the bed to take a bath, she would cry hysterically and shout “dede”. I tried to leave the bed once and she cried laying her face flat on the bed. She raised her face up and showed her pursed lips with matching “tulala look“. She wasn’t crying anymore but she had tears in her eyes. Hubby and I both wondered what her act was all about.

Hubby would usually be frantic about me not taking a bath on time but this morning, no one dared to question Ira. We had to switch on the TV to divert her attention by watching Dibo the Gift Dragon in Playhouse Disney Channel. She finally took her bottle and laid back to watch. Haay, kids nowadays talaga.

Today I found out that I won the Kids Central Watch Time Management Contest. Yahoo.  Thanks a lot imom! Isn’t that a perfect gift for Ira? When I receive the prize, I will take a picture of it and write a post about how I came to join the contest.

I really want to make frequent updates about my little one but time just prevent me from doing so. I will update this post by posting her more recent photo.

Anyways, happy 14th month my little one! Mommy and Daddy love you to pieces. Mwah! 🙂

Yesterday was the feast day of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

See, I am not a devotee or someone who is able to go there regularly. But when I took the Bar, I sought all avenues where I can possibly get help in passing the Bar. So I pleaded for help from Our Lady and went there as often as I could. I think I may have finished several rounds of novena. Even after I became a lawyer, I have tried my best (yeah, sometimes not quite enough) to go there and visit to light a candle for my prayers. But after I got married and had Ira, my visits became more seldom than ever. I cannot even recall the last time I visited Baclaran.

It is always a great relief for me to go there. Its like going to Quiapo Church for me, and like going to Our Lady of Manaoag.

This is why I feel blessed for having been able to go there midnight of Wednesday to pay some respects to her feast day. The flowers near the altar are just bountiful and super pretty.  I know it was a great blessing to have been able to go there. I know that even without constantly going there, I am being blessed everyday with Her prayers.

May we all be blessed continually through Our Lady’s intercession and prayers.

Birthday Blog

What if we are all like celebrities who celebrate birthdays all week long or all month long, huh? Wouldn’t that be fun? 😉

I am just asking aloud because I will be celebrating my birthday this coming week. Since my Dad is now with us and he is celebrating his birthday the same week as mine, and my nephew Kenji tomorrow, we are thinking of celebrating together.

I grew up in a family who celebrates birthday. I have noticed that some of my classmates did not give much fuss about their birthdays but for us, its the other way around. I don’t know now whether that is good or bad because it formed some sort of a habit for all of us in the family.

Since we did not know months ago about Tatay’s abrupt arrival, I was making lambing to my hubby about what I want for my birthday. I just want to eat out. Because really, I am tired of doing all the cooking (eyes rolling, argh!), especially that Kuya Jme will be working that day. I really just wanted to eat on this fancy looking Italian restaurant here in Makati, or Melo’s in Jupiter, or just ribs at Racks. But since bringing the whole family would probably be more expensive than just cooking at home, I might have to go for the latter.  Sigh.

This my second birthday that I have Ira. Last year though, post partum problems were creeping up on me and my birthday kinda just breezed through me. But this year, we have big plans. And if we are really allowed to make birthday wishes, I will wish for the realization of these plans. I wish our plans will push through and that I wish our decision to pursue these plans will turn out to be the best.

I am at the point in my life where I am looking for the path where I and my family will trudge through. I realized that I may have become a lawyer at a very young age so that I will have opportunities to pursue different avenues in my life. And that’s what I will do…with my family’s help and God’s loving guidance, of course. 🙂

So there, happy birthday to me! And may we all be happy today and always! 🙂