Big Construction Job


A couple of days ago, classes were suspended due to a typhoon.  The weather was really bad with strong rains and winds.  That left me with two bored kids at home.  I don’t want them watching the TV or playing on the computer the whole day and they can’t go out to play.

Good thing they remembered that they had this kit.  It was a Christmas gift for Jari but they never got around to opening it.

They love watching Handy Mandy and this is a good activity for them to somehow build something.  They decided to make a birdhouse.  They said they feel sorry for the birds who don’t have shelter and are wet due to the rains.  I took some pictures of them working on the project but for some reason, it got lost so I had to settle for pictures of the finished products instead.

After working the whole afternoon, they completed making the birdhouse and a table.  They still have to finish the painting job though.












The kids were pretty happy with the result.  I’d have preferred it if the material was real wood and the product could actually be used.  But I guess it’s still good practice and a great way to engage children and get them interested in doing something outside their realm.  I hope that they will graduate to making actual useful stuff as I think carpentry skills are pretty useful to have.


List # 20

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Time to make a gratitude list again:

1.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – As mentioned, I’m a Potter fan and Jon and I had a movie date to watch this without the kids (don’t tell the kids!) while they were in school.

2.  Home Alone 2 – This was our family movie pick for the week.

3.  Bored in the Kitchen – This is my new blog just for my cooking adventures 🙂

4.  WordPress – I’m thankful for having a wonderful home for my blogs so I can try my hand out at this writing thing.

5.  Political will – As I mentioned, I’m happy that garbage segregation is being enforced in my area and this gives me hope for our future.

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

The End

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I watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 yesterday.  I’m a big fan of Harry Potter, both the books and the movies.  I’m a bit sad that it has ended and there are no more new movies/books to look forward to.  But as with all good things (and bad), it must come to an end.

I’m not going to write about the movie, or the book.  I’m actually going to write about the ending, or rather, dying.

Intellectually, we all know that dying is part of living.  It is the logical outcome of life and we would all die in the end.  A lot of people are preoccupied with eternal life though, doing all they can to live forever, like making horcruxes and storing bits of their soul in them to be recovered later.  But even ordinary people take extreme measures to prolong their life.

I sometimes watch a show titled Obsessed  where ordinary people with obsessive compulsive tendencies are treated.  There was a man who was obsessed with staying alive.  He goes to the gym about 8 times a day and pops about 30 pills everyday, all these to ensure that he stays alive long enough for scientists to find a cure for aging.  His treatment was not so successful as he wasn’t really open to changing his outlook.  He did reduce his time at the gym, instead of 8 times, he only goes like 3 to 5 times.  For the therapist, the treatment was a failure.  For him, it was a success.  He wasn’t really open to the idea of changing and we really can only change if we want to, the motivation has to come from within.  It doesn’t matter what the world says, if we don’t want to change, we can’t.

That man was an extreme case but everyday, I think we do things that will prolong our life.  We exercise, eat healthy, take vitamins and use products to control the signs of aging.  Of course we should keep ourselves healthy as this will ensure that we can enjoy our life.  But if we spend most of our time calculating calories, browsing the internet for the new magic pill, blowing our money on products that promise to keep us looking young, then I think we have a problem.

We will all die.  We must learn to accept this.  Everyday, someone dies.  But life goes on.  We can’t dwell on the possibility of death.  Sure let’s take care of ourselves.  Let’s prepare for the future.  But let’s also be in the present.  Let’s enjoy today.  Let’s make the most of our time here.  Let’s help someone, let’s spend time with our family, let’s enjoy our food, let’s spend some time doing what we enjoy.

In the end, what really matters?  Would it matter if you lived to be 40 or 60 or 100?  Would it matter if you had wrinkled skin or grey hair?  Would it matter if you had a million dollars in the bank or dozens of properties and cars?  I think what matters is the legacy we leave behind, the memory that people will carry in their hearts, the impact that our life has left on earth.  In the end, I’d rather be surrounded by friends and family than by possessions.  As they say (I forgot who), live your life as if it were your last.  One day you will be right.

Kudos Basureros!

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Last March, I wrote about the garbage segregation project supposedly being implemented.  They’ve threatened not to pick up the garbage that’s not segregated but I’ve never seen it happen.

Well, they made some changes this month.

About two weeks ago, I was surprised when the garbage truck came by on a Tuesday.  Their schedule for pick-up was Wednesdays and Saturdays and we have not been informed of any changes.  We asked the collectors and they said that the schedule has been changed to Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.  They said that Tuesdays and Saturdays were for biodegradable waste and the non-biodegradable waste will be collected on Thursdays.  I was happy about this news as it would really force people to segregate and just bring out the appropriate trash.

My hopes then were dashed as I still see all sorts of trash taken out during garbage day.  I walk everyday after bringing Yumi to school so I can see (and smell) the garbage along the streets during garbage day.

Last week, some people from the baranggay came around informing us of a meeting about garbage segregation to be held at the baranggay hall.  They then again reminded us to segregate and only bring out the correct type of garbage on the assigned day.

So yesterday was biodegradable day.  As always, I walked around and again saw all sorts of garbage, even among my neighbors.  Imagine my surprise when I heard the collectors talking to our neighbors and I saw them bringing back in their house boxes and other non-biodegradable trash.  They actually followed through!  This is amazing and the first time I’ve actually witnessed such a thing.

I admire the basureros as I know it’s difficult for them to talk to people and actually implement the rules.  I know it’s such a small thing but it’s a start.  I guess there’s still hope for our country if this is done consistently, everywhere.  I just hope that this will be sustained and be the start of even bigger projects to solve our garbage crisis.

Keep up the good work!

3 Idiots

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As mentioned yesterday, Jon and I watched 3 Idiots last Sunday.  All I knew about the movie prior to watching was that it was an Indian movie about 3 college guys.  The movie gave me a different perspective of India.  Based on movies I’ve seen, I always pictured India as this overcrowded, dirty city, much like our slums here in Manila.  But the movie showed a different India.  The college was very nice and the countryside was very clean and picturesque.

The movie talked a lot about how we all treat life as a race, where only the first will succeed.  It attacks the educational system that gives more importance to passing exams rather than actual learning.

As a student, I always felt pressured to pass if not ace all my exams.  My parents expected a lot from us and they’re disappointed when  we come home with a line of 7.  So, if you come home with a grade of 90 in Math and 76 in Filipino, they will notice your Filipino grade and not even notice your Math grade.

Now, as a parent, I sometimes see myself as falling into the same trap.  What I would really like to see in my kids is their trying to do their best and striving for excellence in their work.  If I know they tried their best, I’ll be happy.  That’s easy to say but hard to do as sometimes I focus on the mistakes too.  I consciously have tell them what a great job they did before moving on to how we could correct the mistakes and make it better next time.

The movie says that as long as you do your passion, success will follow.  I guess that is true but it still takes a lot of work, but since you’re doing what you love, I guess it won’t feel so much like work.  Success is different for each individual and we should only be concerned with our definition and not with other’s.  I think that getting to do what you love is already a big sign of success.  It takes a lot of courage to follow your dreams though.  You might encounter people who will put you down and tell you to be more responsible and go for what is achievable.  It’s easy to make a living but if you’re miserable, what’s the point?

My problem is finding my passion.  I’m 36 years old and I still don’t know what I want to do for the rest of my life.  At least I know what I don’t want to do and I’m not doing that.  I’m lucky that I have the luxury to stay home and try to figure out what I really want to do.  What I have discovered in one year of not working full time is that I really like working in the kitchen.  I also found out that I still like teaching, but only if the student is willing to learn.  I also like learning new things and reading stuff I would never read before.  I also learned what is not important to me and what I can let go without even missing it.  And what I love most about this time of my life is that I get to spend everyday with the people who are most important to me.

That said, I want to end with these words, “Aal is well.”

List #19


Time to make a gratitude list again:

1.  Sunny weather – It’s actually very hot but I’m trying to be positive so I’m grateful that it wasn’t raining.

2.  Gulliver’s Travels –  This was our family movie pick of the week

3.  3 Idiots – I watched this with Jon and it was actually very good.

4.  Birthdays – It was Jon’s mom’s birthday last Saturday and we had a good lunch with the whole family.

5.  Space – I’m happy to be living in our two-bedroom apartment.  Some people just have one room to call their home and it’s really crowded and uncomfortable.

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

Who’s counting?

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I only discovered the Duggar Family about a month ago while channel surfing.  I was very amazed by their story and the challenges they face with 19 children.  I did see that they’re doing very well and are living quite comfortably.

About 2 weeks ago, I came across a special feature about a family here with 22 children.  Their lives cannot be more different than the Duggars.  They live in poverty.  The parents only finished up to grade 3 or 4.  None of the children have graduated from high school.  They’re pinning all their hopes on one daughter who’s now in third year high school.  It was a very sad story indeed.

I think the major difference between these two families is education.  I have nothing against big families as long as you are able to provide for your children in a manner they deserve.  I think family size is a personal decision and there is no right or wrong way of going about it.  I do, however, consider education as necessary.  I’m sure the Duggars knew what they were doing in bringing forth 19 lives.  They have at their disposal ways to control the number of children they would have.  This other family though, I think, didn’t really know how they could stop having children.  Of course abstinence is key but do we really expect a married couple to not have sex when it’s the only free recreation they have?  They said they didn’t want to have so many children but didn’t know what to do.  They didn’t have the tools to stop getting pregnant.  And that’s just sad.

One thing that really struck me was what one of the children said when asked what her dreams are.  Her dream is to eat three times a day.  You can’t get more real than that.  That really puts things in perspective as to what real problems are.  For us, eating three times a day is the bare minimum, something not to think about.  Sometimes we eat even 5 times or more a day.  If we eat less than 3 meals in a day, it’s by choice.  We forget that to others, survival is a bitter fight.  What we would consider as problems are just inconveniences, something that wouldn’t matter 5 years from now.

The disparity really makes me think how one’s situation in life is sometimes brought about by pure luck.  I do believe that each of us has the capacity to better ourselves however, our life situation dictates how difficult the journey would be.   We really have to deal with the deck we’re dealt.  Hopefully, we’ll learn the tools we need to survive and flourish along the way.

Life isn’t fair.  It would be up to us to somehow try to balance it out.

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