Thought Bubbles...

musings, rantings, and what-have-you, about my own small part of the world, and my 'sometimes' not so-ordinary life...something to read and reflect on, and which hopefully will bring a smile to your face... :)

Friday, October 28, 2005

Shopping expedition

The long weekend is set to start tomorrow yet, but already filed for vacation leave. Why so? Why, to go shopping, of course! :) Ben had this bright idea of going to La Divi. For the uninitiated, that’s good ole Divisoria! The mecca of shopping bargains galore. But it also means where there’s shopping, there’s money, lots of it, and unfortunately, there are also snatchers, pick-pockets and other undesirables. Luckily, we weren’t going to THE Divisoria, but to the airconditioned counterpart, albeit a teensy more expensive, but hopefully, a lot safer, Tutuban Mall. The fact that it’s airconditioned, and an actual covered mall are pluses. You get almost the same price as Divisoria, in the convenience of a mall. So, off we went.

Took the LRT, and our first stop was 618 (or was it 168? I forget). It’s a new ‘mall’ manned by mostly Chinese/Taiwanese sellers. The accent is unmistakable, and though they hardly spoke English, they could bargain in Filipino. Made our way through the crowd, which was surprising considering it was a weekday. Haggled and walked, and haggled some more, then trooped to the cluster malls of Tutuban. Shopped, and shopped some more! :)

It was already 6 p.m. when we decided to call it a day. Yup, a whole day of shopping and what do I have to show for it? Well, dearies, for just Php 2,500., I went home with 1 ¾ yard of linen cloth, 2 sexy white blouses, spandex jogging pants, a picnic mat, 3 packs of facial cleansing wipes / makeup remover cloths, and for the kids, 6 pairs of pajamas, 6 pairs of beach shorts, 3 polo shirts, 2 pairs of house slippers, and as gifts, chinese-inspired placemats and matching chopsticks sets, 7 bead bracelets & necklaces, and 2 kiddie shorts & shirt sets. Happy? You bet. Going home, in a crowded jeep, stuck in traffic, in the rain, and Ben and I STILL had smiles on our faces from our shopping expedition. There will certainly be a repeat. :)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Magazine junkie

Kickboxing class was cancelled because of the heavy downpour and the fact that most of Manila was flooded, so went home early and got a headstart of the early weekend, and my planned general cleaning. Gosh, didn’t realize I have LOADS of magazines, be it GH, Woman’s Day, Redbook, Oprah, In Style, People, Self… When I stacked up all my old magazines, it was 2 stacks of 2 feet high each! Note to self, after reading the mag and salvaging whatever useful article I can, dump it in the trash! No use holding on to these mags anyway. Well, unless you’re a pack rat like me, and think “hmmm… maybe I can still use these in the future”. Yeah, right! :D

"Hi, I'm sheila. And i'm addicted to women's magazines".

Seriously, if you read just the front covers you’d get a feeling that women’s magazines have an answer to everything! From “Be more patient – quick!” or “Are you indecisive? Not sure?” ... Heh heh heh... Okay, exaggerating… :D But really, they are a great read. Especially on a rainy day, while in bed or on the sofa, while watching tv (okay, I’m a multi-tasker!) and eating! What a sweet life! :)

Visiting friends

Got off work early to do an ocular inspection of the different venues for our Christmas party, and later on decided to drop by my previous employer’s office. It was nice to see old friends again, if even for such a short while. It was like a homecoming with my co-workers welcoming me with open arms, placing leis on my neck, shouting welcome…oops! cut to tropical dream accidentally again… ;->

Seriously, it felt VERY nice to re-visit my former co-workers and feel the friendly welcome. Even from my boss, the COO. Busy as he was, it felt good that he took the time to see me and chat. The fact that I didn’t leave any work hanging, that I turned over well to my predecessor, and even actually helped find my replacement, these things they appreciated. I’m actually quite proud to say that with all the companies I’ve worked with previously, both employees and managers alike (well, most of them!) they were sad to see me go. Lesson learned, don’t burn any bridges.

Embracing my dragons

Last night, I delivered my basic speech #4 towards my CTM. The speech project from the new manual is "How to say it". Got a lot of nice feedback and am encouraged to do speech #5, and soon! Here's a copy of my speech. :)

Embracing my dragons

FEAR! Such a strong word that it instantly conjures up images of ghosts, goblins, monsters and dragons! But of course the reality is that these things don’t exist! Or do they?

We each have our own dragons, or things we fear. If I ask you right now what you fear the most, I’m sure each of us has at least ONE thing we’re most afraid of. What is it? Bugs, snakes and creepy, crawling insects? Cats? The fear of dying? Of growing old?

My fears? Years ago, I was in a very bad relationship. How bad, you ask? Have you ever woken up one night, not being able to breathe, because someone was strangling you? Have you ever experienced a loaded gun being pointed at your head? Or being held by your shirt, dragged from one room to another? Have you ever seen your kids cowering in fear in a corner of the room while your partner shouts at you and belittles you? It’s true, I experienced those things as I was in an abusive relationship. I was emotionally and physically abused. The things I was going through that time, I wouldn’t even wish on my worst enemy. So you can imagine what sort of fears I was faced with. I was afraid of dying… I was afraid of leaving my 2 kids… but surprisingly, one of my biggest fears then was that I was afraid people would find out that my life wasn’t perfect.

I grew up in a happy home. I felt loved and I had no worries. So I went into marriage thinking that it would be as happy as the home I grew up in. But sadly, that was not true. When things started becoming ugly, I was masquerading, and I was pretty good at it! With my co-workers, friends, and family as well, I was good at hiding… hiding the tears and the bruises. Looking back now, I can only shake my head, “What WAS I thinking?” But I guess I still held hope that things would change, because another fear was that I didn’t want my kids to have the stigma of growing up in a broken home.

So what changed my view? It came to the point when I said “enough is enough”. And when I realized that my prayers had changed. From “Lord, please give me the strength to overcome these trials”… to
”Lord, PLEASE don’t give me strength or else I might just kill him with my own bare hands!” or “Lord, please kunin mo na sha!” True!

The fear of people finding out my life wasn’t perfect, and judging me as failure…
My fear for my kids growing up in a broken home…
The fear of being a single mom…
these fears were all still there but these fears, these DRAGONS, I gladly embraced, when I bundled up my kids, and together, we left their father 3 years ago, in April 2002. Then, I didn’t know what the future held for me, but with faith in GOD and knowing my family’s love for me, I knew things would be a lot better for me and my kids.

Which is why I can SOOO relate to this story I read, about shaolin monks. At the time of a shaolin monk’s final martial arts test, an urn embossed with a dragon is placed on a fire, and the monk embraces the hot metal, scarring his flesh with the image of the dragon. It is believed that to embrace the dragon is to befriend your fears, your obstacles and make them your strengths.

I embraced my dragons years ago, and I still do. The dragons I’ve embraced recently -- I’m afraid of getting hurt and overpowered. So what did I do? I took up kickboxing!

I’d love to be a trainor and public speaker, but I’m afraid I’ll fail, so what did I do? I joined Toastmasters!

Tonight I embraced another dragon. I’m standing up here in front of you now, baring my soul.

Friends, I encourage all of you to look deep inside you. What dragons are you facing now? Think about it. Face your fears, embrace your dragons, and you’ll overcome your obstacles.

Good evening, everyone.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

“Salisi” gang

A friend sent me a warning regarding fake census takers. The modus operandi is that the people who knock on your doors and ask how many occupants are in the house are actually the feelers for the robbers.

Ironically, just yesterday morning, our next-door neighbor was victimized by a "salisi" gang.

Once the husband left the house 6 a.m., 2 men came into their place. Turns out when he left, he left the door open thinking that the maid would close it once he left. The maid was then at the back yard doing the laundry and when she came into the house, she saw one of the men coming down from the stairs already! The other man was outside, acting as the lookout. They
looked stoned so it's a good thing that instead of confronting her, the men just hurriedly left the house. They reported the incident to the barangay
hall, but it seems that they have very little interest in doing something about it. We suspect that some of the barangay tanods even know these men, and may in fact, be in on the crime. tsk tsk...

Be careful... times have changed...

Friday, October 21, 2005

Kids' Gi

Since the kids have taken up judo/brazilian jiu jitsu, i'm seriously considering buying them each a gi. These are different from the karate gi which is made of flimsier cloth. The judo gi has to be of a weave tough enough for the throws and what-have-yous that the kids have to go through. But at Php 1800 each, i have to think long and hard before buying it. Well, more the kids than me. Gosh, I told the kids once I buy them the gi, there’s no turning back for them! They'll really have to take these judo classes seriously from then on. Imagine, the expense for the gi and the monthly fees as well. Oh, i dread the thought of Patrick suddenly deciding that judo/BJJ is not for him. But judging from the pics, the boys are both enjoying their "rough play". Patrick is seen here with Stephen Kamphuis, the head instructor and owner of the dojo, while Paolo is seen 'wrestling' with one of his classmates at judo class. I'm pretty sure the expenses are all worth it, considering what they'll get in turn... discipline, and a way of defending themselves. Plus, the feeling of being part of a cohesive group, or better yet, a 'family' in the dojo. :)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Angst…and joy

I don’t know why, but I was such in a foul mood the whole day yesterday. I was pretty okay actually, but friends noticed how easily irritable I was. More than usual, I guess. My good friend Dan sent me text that he was in the area and would drop by for coffee, and what do I text back? “Now na!” Not even a “hi” or “okay”… Then after a few more minutes with me texting him, “where are you? Will you take long? I don’t want to wait! You better take a cab already!” etc. Gosh, I was so impatient it’s a wonder that Dan still decided to drop by after sensing in my messages that all was not well with me. He assumed it was just one of those days in a female’s life but nope. And up to now, I just don’t know what it was. Just felt particularly irritable and impatient, period. Don’t bother to ask once more, or all hell might break loose.  Yup, it was that bad…

When I got home, just wanted to stay in bed. So after kissing the kids, went up to bed to read a magazine. A little later, Paolo went up to the room, smiling sheepishly. He had a handful of fries, and offered this to me, and gave me a peck on the cheek. Patrick was not far behind, and with a naughty smile on his lips, he came over, gave me a hug and a kiss on the lips! Wow! I hugged the kids and told them that earlier I was in a bad mood, and just how seeing them earlier had ‘dissolved’ my foul mood. But it was their hugs and kisses which really melted ALL my stresses away. True! Any parent can surely relate to the feeling. That felt good. :D

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Cueshe's STAY

Chorus from Cueshe’s hit song STAY:

So if you’d still go, I’ll understand
Would you give me something just to hold on to?
And if you’ll stay, I’ll hold your hand
Cause I’m truly, madly, crazily in love with you

Swoon…wouldn’t it be nice to have someone sing this to you? ;->

Wala lang... :D

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Toughening up...

A former co-worker who hasn’t seen me for a while, commented on how slim I looked. That made my day! :D Others have started asking me my exercise regimen. Not happy with just my saying that I’m into kickboxing, but asking me in detail what we do! So dearies, imagine this:

For starters, doing crunches but not just the regular crunches, mind you! While in the crunch position, we have to do 3 sets of 15 reps of jab-straight. Then still in crunch position, 3 sets of 15 reps each of inside hammer, then inside elbow, then outside elbow, upward elbow, then downward elbow. Hey, if these aren’t what they’re really called, don’t blame me ha! Coz I’m usually in a state of near exhaustion that it would be difficult for me to retain any info! Need I mention again that for each, we had to do 3 sets of 15 reps each!?!?! Haller…

The crunches are bad enough, but with the additional ‘activity’, I would be really panting for breath at the end of each set. And that’s just the warm-up!

The rest of our session we’d be doing sparring with the instructor. Started off at 2 minutes, then 5 minutes, we’re now up to doing 7 minutes of sparring! Doing jab-straight- knee up, then later on, jab-straight-roundhouse kicks (left and right). Whew!

The first time we did this, I had a big bruise on my thigh, and smaller bruises on different parts of my leg. The big bruise was from all those knee ups while targeting the bag. Toughening us up! But for what? I’m afraid to ask… hehehe… ;->

Oh, and looking at us, in uniform with our knee support, elbow support, machado shorts and shirt, hand wraps, we look menacing! Grrrr… Hahahah! No, not really. I remember Coach Stephen (head instructor and owner of the dojo) getting his picture taken with us, and even with our gear on, we don’t look menacing at all! He jokingly christened us ‘Team Marshmallow’. Bwahahahahah!

Oops, how can I forget! To complete our ‘look’, we use mouth guards as well. Another bright idea of our dear, dear friend and kickboxing instructor Carlo (can you sense I’m saying this through gritted teeth, heheheh). Anyway, aside from the protection, it’s there to train us to breathe properly and deeply. Well, at least that’s what he said! If you ask me, he just wants us to use it so he doesn’t hear us complaining! Too bad there’s no blinders or else I’m sure he’ll want us to wear that, too, so he doesn’t see our dagger looks! Yup, if looks could kill… hehehe… Seriously, Carlo is so used to seeing us giving him those dagger looks, that he just shrugs his shoulders, and makes us work even harder!

That’s the suffering, er… training, we’ve been doing the past months or so. But 2 sessions ago, we did something else. The newest form of punishment Carlo has introduced is making us do bent knee leg raises which we jokingly call our “in labor” crunches. Imagine how a woman giving birth looks like… sitting up, arms supporting the body, feet in stirrups… and that’s what it looks like! That plus, the breathing we have to do and it is so like we’re doing Lamaze! Hehehehe…

I think the reason why our training is effective is that Carlo varies our workout from time to time. I read in a fitness mag before that after a while of doing the same exercises over and over, the body tends to adjust to the movements, and you reach a ‘plateau’ wherein you don’t see any improvement. This is the perfect time then to vary your workout and try something new. Well, at least that’s what I think Carlo is doing. Deep inside, I sometimes feel he stays up late at night just thinking of new ways to torture us! Peace, Carlo! Heheh… ;->

Carlo lately has been saying that I don’t have a right to complain and in fact, should be thanking him since many people have commented that I have slimmed down. So alright, okay, I concede. Salamat po! :)

Incidentally, I found out that it's Carlo's birthday today!!! so bossing/master/sensei/kuya/punisher/torturer CARLO, Happy Birthday!!! Peace! :)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Mid-year conference

The past 2 days I was up in Antipolo for Toastmasters' Luzon Mid-Year Conference. And what can i say? I enjoyed the facilities at MMLDC, and the fun, laughter, and camaraderie of Toastmasters. And look at the trophies we, oops, i meant Jennie brought home. Here we are posing with the trophies as if it were ours. Hehehe...

Looking forward to the next Annual Conference in DAVAO by April of next year. Woohoohoo! Need to start saving up... :)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Christmas in the air

Yup, you read it right. The countdown to Christmas has begun. Actually, as early as September 1, I already heard Christmas songs on the radio, would u believe! Well, as far back as I can remember, the first day of the “ber” months, ergo, September 1, people are already happily anticipating Christmas. On radio stations and tv as well, there are the countdown to the days till December 25. Ah, only in the Philippines. :)

I felt Christmas in the air when I opened a care package from my parents. (Care package, or what we often call ‘balikbayan’ box even when there’s no balikbayan arriving with the box! Hahaha! :D). But I digress…

Opening the box, I saw a package of Gourmet shelled chestnuts! Christmas from the US. Heheheh… Anyway, I love chestnuts! So I hurriedly opened the pack and started eating away. Yum! (The kids don’t like it, which is okay, since that means more for me! Bwahahah!)

I haven’t started my ‘official’ Christmas shopping yet, but I do have a lot of items saved up already to give away. And though I dread the throng of people that I’ll surely be sharing shopping space with, I actually enjoy shopping for gifts, period. Trying to find that perfect item for the joker in the family, the “kikay” friend who loves makeup, the toys that the kids have been pleading for… Shopping galore! Now to just wait for that Christmas bonus… ;->

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Chicken pox


Been a looong time since i last posted. Guess what? Paolo has chicken pox. :( He's been staying home from school since Thursday. luckily, not too many pox came out. No problems with itching either. Great meds that he's been prescribed. Not worried about catching it from him since i got chicken pox way back in college. But Ben scared me and said there's a new strain which you can catch. He even suggested that i get shots for it, at P2,500 a pop! And in the ass! i don't know which will hurt more, the shots or the expense! Geesh...