Manual Labor

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Our printer had gone to printer heaven months ago but we haven’t replaced it yet.  We seldom print anything at home so it wasn’t really an issue.

Yesterday, though, Jari had an assignment for school that he needs to type and print out.  Good thing my mom has a typewriter that we can borrow.

It was the first time my kids had seen and used a typewriter.  Actually, it wasn’t too bad since it was an electric typewriter and you didn’t have to pound on the keys, unlike the manual typewriters I’ve used when I was younger.

So after Jari wrote what he had to type, Jon taught him how to use the typewriter.  He liked the experience of typing but of course kept on making mistakes.  After an hour and lots of paper wasted, Jon finally did it for him.  I know, I know, we shouldn’t do our children’s homework.  But he did write it himself and he did try.  It was getting late though and he needs his sleep and we also have to save the trees. 🙂

I remember back in high school, I had to type several papers using a manual typewriter.  In fact, now that I look back, I also used a typewriter for papers in college (I just dated myself).  I literally went through reams of bond paper to make reports.  And I hated having to put in footnotes because I had to manually adjust the roller to put in the footnote numbers.  And you had to be mindful of the margins, etc, etc.

Young people don’t know how easy they have it now.  They can research online instantly instead of poring through card catalogs in the library, finding the books, borrowing them, writing down notes in index cards, and returning the books.  They can edit several times without having to waste paper.  They can copy and paste without actually copying and pasting.

Sometimes I think the convenience that technology brings makes people lazy.  They want things instantly and expect instant gratification.  However, life doesn’t work that way.  I think we appreciate things more when we have put a lot of thought and sweat in it.  For me, home-made gifts are always better because you know that the person has put time and effort in making you something.  This is probably also the reason why we are never satisfied with stuff we buy.  We buy something that we think will make us happy but after a few months, we’re looking for the next thing to buy.

It’s nice to expose our children to the old-fashioned way of doing things.  Cook and bake together, instead of take-out.  Do projects around the house.  Play real games, instead of virtual ones.  Use the phone and have conversations and not just chat or text messages.  Have them write, draw, compute and type manually.  This will help all of us to appreciate the benefits that technology has given us but at the same time keep us grounded and realize that we are not slaves to technology.

Technology is a wonderful thing.  We can save time, money and effort by using it properly.  Manual labor may not be as efficient but if it is a labor of love, then it becomes a beautiful thing.

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List #24

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Time to make a gratitude list again:

1.  Celebrations – We still had a simple dinner with my mom on her 78th birthday last Thursday and we also celebrated Jon’s brother’s birthday last Friday.

2.  UP – I remember all the lessons I’ve learned in and out of classroom during my college years.

3.  UP Haribon – As mentioned, this group has made a significant impact in my life and I’m very thankful of being part of the group and for all the friends I’ve made.

4.  Dragon Wars – This was our movie pick of the week and while I didn’t like it much, it was still time spent with my kids.

5.  Bread – This is my new “instant” gift, I gave milk bread to my mom and brought country bread to San Juan.

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

Wasting time

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I’ve been more “addicted” than usual to Facebook this past few days due to being part of groups that are very active.  I’ve been part of different groups before but it’s really more of announcements and stuff, but now, discussions are actually taking place.

I’m currently part of three very active groups, one is for Pinays (Filipino women), one is for UP Diliman (where I went to college) and one is for UP Haribon (the organization I joined in college).  In the first group, I barely know anybody but the threads are all interesting and it’s very enlightening to read about other views and experiences.  In the second group, I know a lot of people but it is just a fraction of the whole population of the group which has ballooned to more than 30,000 in less than one week.  It’s fun to read about shared experiences in the university though and see what changes have happened since we were there.  It’s in the last group where I’m most comfortable.  This was the group I hanged out with most.  This was the group that made my college life most memorable.

I’m the youngest of 5 children and all my sisters went to UP.  So when I took the UPCAT, I really felt the pressure.  I knew I’d never hear the end of it if I didn’t pass.  Good thing I did, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I became a part of UP Haribon on my second year and I really felt that I belonged.  I only knew one person when I joined but I really felt at home.  I spent most of my time hanging around and just chatting or playing games.  Unfortunately, tambay hours were interrupted by classes :).  Actually, I think I didn’t hang out as much as others since my parents were quite strict and they expect me home at a certain time, since they know my class schedule.  So the trick was to choose classes that are far apart so there would be a lot of time in between to do nothing.  In fact, I remember when I had to go to school on weekends, or on days where there are no classes and my dad would say, “Nag-aral din ako.  Wag mo kong lokohin.”  And in my mind I would retort, “Pero hindi naman sa UP.”  But of course I would just say, “Kailangan po talaga…”

I really miss being in college.  When else is it okay to waste so much time just hanging out?  Although I now know that those times are not wasted.  Hours spent hanging out are actually investments, investments in relationships, in friendships, in life.  I’ve made my best friends in college.  We still spend time together, but of course not as much as before.  We’re now busy with children and work and other grown-up stuff.

This is why I love the groups.  I can hang out virtually anytime, read previous threads, reminisce and make new memories together even if we’re apart.

Family Matters

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We had a grand reunion last Sunday to celebrate a couple of milestones.  It was my Aunt’s 90th birthday and my mom’s 78th (celebrated in advance).  It was great catching up with cousins overseas and other relatives.  Most of my aunt’s children are based in other countries and it was a major feat in logistics to have them all here to celebrate her birthday.  I haven’s seen some of my cousins in more than 10 years and it was really interesting seeing them again, with their children who are now grown up too.

Situations like this make me realize how important family really is.  As kids, of course our families are everything to us but as we grow up, we somehow lose sight of that fact and we decide that friends are more important.  I know when I was in a teenager and a young adult, I didn’t really look forward to reunions.  It was an event I had to endure and I couldn’t wait until I’m with talking with friends again.

Now that I have my own family, I’m starting to understand that family does matter.  I would like my children to get to know their distant relatives.  I now actually enjoy having conversations with family members and listening to their stories.

As they say, you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family.  In the same vein, they can’t choose us too and yet they still love us unconditionally.  They may disapprove of our choices but they will accept us.  No matter what happens, our families will always be there for us.  I guess this is why most people take their families for granted.  But they won’t always be there.  I was never close to my family, preferring to spend time with friends.  But I now find that I look forward to my sisters’ visits since my kids like playing with their cousins.  I also like hearing from them and catching up.

I guess I’m getting old.  Life is too short and we really should spend time building relationships instead of walls.  We may have differences with each other but we are family.

List #23

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Time to make a gratitude list again.

1.  Sean – I’m happy to have known him for 19 years.  He was a good man and has touched a lot of lives.  He’s in a much better place now and I look forward to seeing him again when it’s my time to go.

2.  Birthdays – It was my Aunt’s 90th birthday yesterday and my mom’s 78th on Thursday.  We had a grand reunion yesterday to celebrate and it was great seeing relatives from all over.

3.  Banana cakes – I brought banana cakes to the party yesterday and I’m happy that even with all the commercial cakes available, my relatives complimented me on my cakes.  Of course they’re my relatives so maybe they were just being nice  🙂

4.  BPI rewards – As I’ve written, I really appreciate the rewards.

5.  Facebook – It seems to be a part of daily life now and it is the easiest way to reach a lot of people to share news and events.

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

Rewards

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There are a lot of bad stuff going on, riots and shootings and crime, so I thought of making a positive post to counteract all the negativity going around.

I used to have a credit card(s) and with credit cards, you can get lots of rewards.  They have points and rebates and stuff.  This is all great if you are very disciplined and can really pay off the full balance every month to avoid paying outrageous interest on your purchases.

When I first had a credit card, (maybe 15 years ago?), I was definitely that person.  I paid everything full and could save a huge chunk of my salary.  But of course, life happened, and with that, unexpected circumstances.  So there were times that the credit card got paid minimum amounts until the amount became impossible to pay at one go.  I realized there is no way I could get out of debt without help and without stopping the usage of the cards.

So, a few years ago, I made a call and made a payment arrangement.  I’ve stopped using credit cards and finally paid off my credit card debt last year.  It’s difficult to overspend when you’re using cash because if there’s no cash, that’s it.

I do miss the rewards that cards have to offer though.  Sometimes I’m tempted to get another card but I don’t want to go through that road again.  So, I’m really thankful that BPI offers rewards for using the express payment system.  My ATM card basically functions like a debit card and I can only use the amount of cash that I have.

I usually use this for back to school shopping and groceries as it’s more convenient, no need to withdraw and stuff (I sound like an ad).  But it’s true.  Anyway, last year, they had this reward where if you purchase a certain amount, you could get Jollibee food items.   We love chicken joy so that was a great reward for us.

This year, they tied up with Chowking for their reward.  I’m not really a big Chinese food fan but it was still a good reward.  We went shopping for shoes a couple of weeks ago and we decided to eat at Chowking that time.  I think their food had improved from the last time I ate at Chowking so that was good too.

I’ve been a BPI customer for I don’t know how long and I really appreciate the level of service they provide.  I am looking forward to more great deals in the future.

Holocaust

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I read the book, Holocaust by Gerald Green last month.  It was very poignant, powerful and disturbing.  While it was a work of fiction, I felt what it was like to live in Germany during those years.  After reading this, I am again reminded how fortunate I am to live in a relatively conflict-free area.

In school, we learned about the holocaust but it wasn’t in great detail.  I could never really understand how a whole nation could get it into their heads that they are the superior race and all other races had to be eliminated.  This book has really opened my eyes to the holocaust, both from a soldier and a Jew perspective.

The book gave some background into how relatively good people can be corrupted into changing their whole mindset.  How ordinary people look the other way when others are subjected to terror because they cannot afford to sacrifice their own way of life.  It also showed how much courage some people had and how they fought even if this would ultimately cause them harm or even death.

I don’t really know who to blame for what happened in Europe during those years.  On one hand you could say they the soldiers, the officers, the police, the people, had no choice.  They had to follow orders or else they would experience grave consequences.  On the other hand, how could you live with yourself, with your conscience knowing that even if you don’t directly do harm, by not doing anything, you are letting evil happen.  You could also say, what’s the point of saving one life, one family when millions died.  Like the starfish, it matters to that family.

I can understand soldiers killing soldiers during war.  But to kill unarmed, naked civilians, that is really unforgivable.  Their only crime was being born a Jew.  We have no choice into what family, country or religion we are born.  Why is this a crime?

It also amazes me how Jews would willingly follow orders and think the best of the situation.  It is very admirable but at the same time sad.  They are able so survive on very little.  It was mentioned in the book that you only need very little to survive.  But even survival was not an option for most Jews.  Very few fought back and most just accepted their fate.

After reading this book, I question why people seem to not have learned anything from history.  The bombing and shooting in Norway shows that there are still people who feel that others have no right to live.  I don’t think racial discrimination will ever be totally eliminated no matter how politically correct people try to be.  However, being a bit biased is yards different from killing innocent people.  We should all try to be tolerant of each others’ beliefs.  We are all different and we all have things to learn from one another.  Live and let live.

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