Eclipse

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Eclipse by Richard North Patterson was the book I finished this month. I actually started this a few months back but I was very busy so I couldn’t sit down to finish it.  It’s a very compelling book and very relevant to our life now.

This book really makes you ask yourself some tough questions. What price are we all willing to pay to maintain our lifestyle? How do we measure the value of human life? How do we balance business, politics, environment and people?

The book talks about a fictional country called Luandia. It was very well described and I can imagine the events as actually happening.  It is just so sad that a country who has rich resources would go to ruin.  You’d really think that the discovery of oil would help everyone in the country. However, as we all know, only a handful get to benefit from it.

The recent turmoil in the Middle East and Africa really highlights the fact that being oil-rich is no guarantee for progress and growth. Governments have a huge responsibility in putting things in order. Companies also have a responsibility to conduct their business in a manner that is respectful of the people and of the environment. These words are easier said than done. Relationships are complicated. Politics and business are complicated. There’s no easy fix. There’s no easy way.

It is very easy for me to sit here and blame governments, blame businessmen, blame criminals. But we all play a part. We’re all interconnected. One person alone didn’t cause the problems nor can one person alone solve the problems. But one person can influence the people around him. And they can then influence others. It’s like the concept of pay it forward. Let’s all pay it forward. Let’s all make small changes with our lifestyle. Let’s all be more mindful of how we use our resources. Let’s all call for clean governments. Let’s all support businesses that conduct their business in an ethical manner. I am hopeful that together, we can all institute change. These problems may not be happening in our own backyards but we all share the same Earth and protecting their part of the Earth is protecting our part as well.

 

Ivy and Bean

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There’s a book fair in Yumi’s school this week and she came home last Tuesday with a wish list of five books, I think.  I told her she could get only one.

My kids love going to bookstores and reading there but they seldom touch the books they have at home.  They always request for books but end up buying coloring books or art materials but never books.

This time, I decided that we would buy a real book. Not a magazine. Not a fact book. Not a short story. Not a collection of stories. A real book. She wanted Diary of a Wimpy Kid but I think she’s only interested in it because of the movie. I have read some of it but I didn’t really want to start her off on that.  As I was browsing at the fair, I saw Ivy + Bean which looked interesting.  I read some parts of it there and I decided that this would be a great book for her.

When we got home, she immediately started reading.  This was the first time that I saw her absorbed in a book for hours. She only took a break from reading to do her homework, to eat dinner and to take a shower.  She even chose reading over going outside to play with the neighbors.  That is amazing. The book is 120 pages and she’s already on page 103.  I am really happy at how fast she read and how interested she is.  I hope that this will be the start of a life long love affair with books.

The book is about Ivy and Bean who are both seven years old and all the stuff that they do.  My daughter is seven and I think this is why she likes it so much. The book is the first one in a series.  My daughter now wants to read all eight books in the series.  She asked if we could buy the second one this weekend.  Hmm, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.

Polvoron Activity

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A couple of months ago, I bought a polvoron mold.  We all love polvoron and I decided to give it a try since I know it’s fairly easy to make and cheap to boot. I looked for a recipe online and there were a lot to choose from. They’re all very similar but I chose this since I like Goldilocks polvoron, too.

But of course, life happens and I never did get to make polvoron. Until a couple of weeks ago when the kids kept on asking me to buy polovoron. I finally said we’ll make polovoron and they can help.  They ended up doing the bulk of the work.  I only toasted the flour and they did everything else.

Please forgive the messy table.  Cousin Aliana was there to help. We doubled the recipe and in a couple of days, they were all gone.

This is definitely a successful activity and it may be something that we’ll do again real soon.  Give it a try!

Eat, Pray, Love

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I’m quite happy to report that I’ve somehow been doing the things I listed in my I’m back  blog.  I’ve limited my hours of work, just 5 hours in the morning and 5 hours in the evening (at most) and maybe, a couple of hours on weekends.  I’ve blogged at least once per week (although last week was on my other blog).  I’ve tried out a new recipe, Cinnamon-Walnut Cake. And I’ve finished a book. Yey!

A lot of things have been said about Eat, Pray, Love, both the book and the movie.  I never read any of the reviews, nor have I watched the movie.  I have heard that it was very good though and it was about the author’s self searching.

This is a great book.  It is very well-written and the author is a fantastic storyteller. I found myself laughing out loud while reading the book.  I have to admit though, that of the three places she visited – Italy, India, Indonesia, the one I would like most to go to is Italy.  I love great food and I would like to enjoy simple pleasures. What can be more pleasurable than enjoying great food?

Seriously, it’s a wonderful journey Elizabeth Gilbert went on.  Not all of us have the opportunity to embark on a similar journey.  We can’t afford to take off for a year from our “real” lives. Heck, some of us can’t even afford to take a week off from work.  But it was like I went to those places just by reading her words.  This is really what I love most about reading, how we get transported to different worlds without leaving our homes.

Hopefully, I will get to visit Italy, probably when my children are grown.  If I do, I’ll tell you all about it. 🙂

2011 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.  I got the email and was very surprised with the numbers.  I know it’s not much but I still didn’t expect to generate such numbers.  I hope I at least get to match the numbers this year.  Happy new year everyone and keep on blogging!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,800 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 47 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

I’m back! (Hopefully)

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I can’t believe it’s been two  months since I last wrote here.  It’s been a hectic November and December.  It’s a new year and hopefully, I can pick up the habit of writing again.

The last thing I remember writing about was the new job I found.  As I’ve said, it’s not regular so I felt that I had to take full advantage of it when work is available. Unfortunately, that meant I didn’t have much of a life the last couple of months since  I was always working.  I felt like I was even working more hours than if I did have full time work outside the home.  It’s kinda hard to stop when no one will tell you to stop.  I haven’t read a book in months.  I haven’t read any blogs. I haven’t tried new recipes.

I think it’s time for a fresh start.  Hopefully, I get to do the following:

  • Limit the number of hours I work (and stick with it!)
  • Blog regularly (I hope weekly)
  • Try out a new recipe every month
  • Finish a book every month
  • Get back to appreciating the simple things in life

This is a very simple list and I’m sure easily accomplished.  I just want to clarify, though, that I’ll do these things as long as I feel that they are contributing to my quality of life.  If I read a book just so I could say I did so but I’m not enjoying the experience, then that defeats the purpose of the list.  The list is a guide for me to enjoy my life as these are the things that I love doing.  If my interests change, then my list will change as well.

I hope this blog will continue to serve as an outlet for me.  I’m not really a great writer and I really feel small when I compare my blog to others that are so wonderfully written.  I just remind myself that I’m doing this for me, as a venue to express my thoughts.  I’m not trying to gain a following nor am I trying to make a career out of writing.  I am actually surprised that there are people who read my blog.  I am happy that some people take the time to ready my ramblings.  Thank you very much and I look forward to continuing on with you in this journey we call life.

List #33

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Time to make a gratitude list again!

1.  Family Day – Yumi’s school had their family day last Saturday.  It was a fun-filled but tiring day!

2.  Work – I’m happy to have work that keeps me busy in a productive way. (I’m trying to be positive here 😀 )

3.  Sunny weather – No rain at all last week!

4.  Express Scribe – This is the tool that I use for my new job and it’s really helpful.

5.  Kiki’s Delivery Service – This was our movie pick for the night.  Kiki’s cute and the kids liked it, as always.

That’s it for this week.  What are you thankful for?

 

List #32

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Time to make a gratitude list again!

1.  New part-time job – As I mentioned last Saturday, I have a new source of income and it’s great, although I’m still figuring out how to schedule everything.

2.  The internet – I really have to thank whoever invented the internet as we can work anywhere for anyone at any time.

3.  Willpower – I have finally blocked Sims Social in my Facebook account as it is a time hog.

4.  Google Docs – I’ve only recently learned how to use Google Documents and I think it’s great to have your files saved in Google’s servers so you have that security that it’s stored securely and can be accessed anywhere.

5. Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer – This was the movie we watched this week and I never realized how rich it was in terms of lessons on diversity, fitting in and individuality.

That’s it for this week.  What are you thankful for?

Priorities

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I mentioned last Monday that I was invited to take a test for a new job.  I’m happy to report that I passed!  They sent me some forms to fill out and some videos to watch to train me for the job.

When I checked my email on Wednesday morning, I was informed that I was good to go and could start working.  The work in this company is self assigned, so you could work as much or as little as you want.  However, I found out that they usually send out the files to be worked on at around 6 am, my time.  I’m still asleep at that time, then I have to bring my daughter to school, then take my morning walk.  I’m usually home by 8 am, then I have to eat breakfast and do the chores.  So, by the time I read the email, it was almost 10 am and there was no more work to be done.

So, I have a dilemma, should I work after bringing Yumi to school, or should I still walk and if there’s no more work, then sorry.  I could take the files before I bring Yumi to school, then take a walk but I might not finish the work within the deadline.  I certainly don’t want to miss deadlines so early in the game.

As it turns out, they sometimes send files at other times.  Yesterday, they sent it early evening my time.  By that time though, I couldn’t work on it either since I’m doing online English conversation lessons at night.  Today, they sent it around noon.  Finally, I got to work on a decent number of files.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, I forgot to eat lunch because of that.

I have to figure out a way to do this properly.  I have decided that I will continue walking.  I enjoy my time outdoors, and it’s my only exercise.  I should also discipline myself to check for new files only at certain times of the day.  There is no need to check it every five minutes.  Finally, I should realize that this is just extra work, we won’t starve without it so there’s no point in stressing myself.

If you’ll excuse me, I need to check the file before I go to bed. 🙂

 

List #31

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Time to make a gratitude list again:

1.  Recognition – It was Yumi’s card day last Tuesday and she’s an Outstanding Student, which means she did great work for the first trimester.  She really wanted this and I’m very happy that she got the honor.

2.  Unexpected gifts –  I got a surprise visit last week from old neighbors and was sent some stuff from Australia.  I guess I have to thank Facebook for this too, otherwise, we would never have gotten in touch.  I have now tasted Vegemite!  Thanks Connie!

3.  Unexpected offer – I signed up with oDesk maybe 2 years ago and never really got anywhere with it.  Then suddenly, I got an offer for a transcription job, well, not an offer but a test for a transcription job that may lead to some longtime work.  Did the test and now just waiting for results.

4.  My Neighbor Totoro – This was our movie pick of the week and it was really cute, the kids liked it a lot.

5.  La Mesa Ecopark – We went to La Mesa Ecopark yesterday for some birding and the kids had a great time!  It was tiring (and hot!) but we all enjoyed being around nature, and it was our first time to see the dam!

That’s my list for this week.  What are you thankful for?

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