It’s funny how we feel so lost when we lose things we have been taking for granted.

Yesterday, there was a strong typhoon that hit the country and plunged us in darkness.  Well, it wasn’t really dark since we lost our electricity around 9 am but it sure felt like the dark ages.

At least it was cool so we didn’t need electric fans.  We also have a gas stove so we had no problem cooking.  It made all of us think of creative ways of passing the time though.  I slept, read and baked.  The kids drew, played card games, and we also let them play outside for a little while.  I wanted to take a walk in the rain but the wind was so bad we decided against it.  There’s a big chance we could be hit by branches or bits of roof material and trash flying around.

We got our power back by 3 pm so we thought everything was back to normal.  However, our cable wasn’t back and we don’t have an antenna so the local channels have a very poor reception so watching TV was out.  We had internet after about 30 minutes but we lost it again at 7 pm.  And it only came back at around 12 pm today.  I felt so disconnected.

Electricity, TV and the internet are stuff we have everyday.  We take these for granted and feel so lost without them.  I can’t imagine how we could survive without these things.  Of course I know that millions of people in less developed parts of the world survive without these things but for us, it is unimaginable.

I don’t watch TV that much so I could survive without it.  But the internet is another thing.  I use it several hours everyday.  Even if we had power, it’s like there’s nothing to do on the computer without the internet.  I could’t check the news, check Facebook, and I couldn’t work!  And to think I’ve only been using it since the late 1990s.  Now, I can’t imagine living without it.

I guess we really do have to appreciate all the things we get to enjoy every day.  I’m lucky my family is safe and we weren’t really affected by the typhoon.  We were just inconvenienced.  Sometimes, we need to disconnect from our online lives and live real lives.  We have to build actual relationships and not just on social networking sites.  We also have to value our resources as we need these to support the lifestyle we are accustomed to.  Mother nature is still more powerful than us and we have to work with her and not against her.



List #28

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Time to make a gratitude list again.

1.  Post #100 –  This is my 100th post!  I never thought I’d stick with blogging this long and I am very happy that I’m still doing it.

2.  Timeline – Facebook had a lot of changes last week and though it was a bit confusing, I really like the timeline in my profile.

3.  Sims Social – My new gaming addiction.  I actually have to stop myself from checking my sim every hour or so.  (Maybe this shouldn’t be included in this list)

4.  Yogi Bear – This was our movie pick of the week.  It was a bit corny for me but the kids still liked it and it had some environmental lessons.

5.  Flexible work – I took time off from work twice this week, once to have dinner with family in San Juan for Dindo’s birthday and the other to have dinner with friends as Chris is here for a short visit.

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

The Impossible Goal

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Last Saturday, we got a free energy meter from Milo.  They had a promotion where you can get it for free for every Php 200 worth of purchase of Milo products.  So we got one when we went to the supermarket last weekend.

It was basically a pedometer and it also gives an estimate of the miles and kilometers walked as well as the calories burned from walking.  The packaging also said that making 10,000 steps or more per day is an indicator of an energetic life (or something like that).

It’s actually the second time that I’ve received a pedometer.  My sister gave me one a few years ago which I unfortunately lost.  But at that time, I didn’t really have a goal and I didn’t know how many steps I should be making in a day.

So I was really excited to find out this time if I am making 10,000 steps in a day.  I wore it the whole day on Sunday which was a typical weekend for me.  I wasn’t terribly busy but it wasn’t a lazy day either.  I did the laundry, defrosted the freezer, made pizza dough and cooked vegetables for Yumi’s lunch the next day.  At the end of the day, I ended up with just 2,300 steps.  That was a real disappointment.  And I thought I had been active that day.

The next day, Yumi wore it to school.  She did all the regular things 7 year-olds do and she ended the day at 10,480.  She’s a really active child.  Sometimes she’s telling a story and she’d just walk around while doing so.  She plays with the neighbors and is hardly still, unless she’s drawing or studying.

On Tuesday, Jari wore it school.  Again, it was a regular day, no PE or training or anything.  And he ended the day at roughly 11,000.  He said his classmates pressed the reset button so he just added up what he remembered and the ending tally at the end of the day.

So now, I really wanted to reach 10,000.  Yesterday, I wore it again.  I knew for sure that I’d reach it that time since I went on my usual one hour walk after bringing Yumi to school.  Then of course I did my usual chores around the house and picked Yumi up in the afternoon.  So, do you think I made it?

I didn’t!  I ended up with 9038 steps!  I think the pedometer’s broken.  Don’t you?

List #27

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Time to make a gratitude list again:

1.  Exam results – Yumi’s trimestral results were released last week and she did a great job.  She was even got the highest score in her class for Filipino.

2.  Football team – Jari started training with their school’s football team even though he isn’t a varsity member as only high school students can become part of the team.

3.  Pizza lunch – We had a great homemade pizza lunch yesterday!

4.  Shopping – We finally shopped for flour and stuff last Saturday!

5.  Health – I’ve finally finished my antibiotics and have a clean bill of health.

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

Advertising rules


We all love watching Phineas and Ferb on Disney channel.  If you haven’t seen it, you should.  They’re very creative and imaginative brothers who create the most amazing things.

Anyway, yesterday’s episode was when they were toy designers and they created Perry the Platypus toy.  And it became a big hit due to advertisement even though it does absolutely nothing.  The toy store even sold a brick as a toy and all the kids wanted one.

This episode shows how people are really influenced to buy stuff just because it’s on TV.  If it’s advertised, it must be good.  And it’s just ridiculous how people actually go for the most inane stuff.

I just think that our commercial culture is brought about by all the advertising that we see.  We get disappointed time and again (think infomercials), and yet we still keep coming back for more.  Advertising shapes how we view ourselves, our neighbors, our friends.  It tells us how to be cool and what we need to get respect.

In fact, I think a lot of items we have that we think we need, we really don’t.  But advertisers tell us that this is what we need, what we should get to show everyone that we are cool, that we are in, that we are successful and happy.

But life doesn’t work that way.  Chances are, everything you need, you already have.  And things that we think we want, probably won’t make us happy in the long run.  I try to teach this to my kids.  They always want the newest toys but most of the time, once they have the toy, they play with it for like a week, then they forget about it and they want the next new thing.  Or they go back to doing what they enjoy more, like riding bikes, playing outside or drawing and painting.

I think we should always view advertisements with a discerning eye.  Don’t believe everything you see and if you think that an item is ridiculous, it probably is.


Paper or Plastic?

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I don’t know why but I seem to be writing a lot about trash.  I guess it’s because I think this is one environmental problem that we, as consumers, have some sort of control.

It’s hard for ordinary citizens to have a say on the source of energy our country uses.  We can’t control the carbon emissions of factories.  We can’t stop deforestation and mining.  But we can reduce the amount of garbage we generate.

I would like to live like this couple in New Zealand who lived a rubbish free year or this lady in the US who is living a plastic-free life or this guy who lived a no impact year with his family.  With two kids though, it’s a bit more difficult.  They need to experiment and be creative and unfortunately, garbage is sometimes (often) a by product.  I do try to be more environment friendly when I do the groceries, usually by buying in bulk and choosing items which has less plastic packaging.

Sometimes it’s difficult to decide though, which item would be less harmful for the environment.  Let’s take sachets for example.  I hate individually packed items like shampoo sachets that are very popular here but shampoo bottles are made of plastic too.  I never buy shampoo sachets but I’ll admit to buying refill packs for cooking oil, soy sauce, ketchup, and dishwashing liquid.  Is this the wrong decision?  I figure that the bigger container will take up a bigger space in the landfill although maybe it could be recycled.  I just don’t know which is better.

And then there’s sanitary napkins.  When I was in high school, you can buy a pack of napkins where the only packaging is the container.  But now, napkins are individually wrapped.   I appreciate the convenience of individually wrapped pads but I think manufacturers should give us choices.  I don’t need to buy individually wrapped stuff that I’ll just store at home.  Also, in one pack, there are only, at most, 10 napkins.  That is definitely not enough for one month.  I don’t know why they don’t offer bigger packs, like how diapers are packaged.  It’s a staple, it doesn’t spoil, and it’s okay if we buy this in bulk.

Recently,  Modess came out with a cardboard box as a container for their pads.  I think this is a good move for the company.  However, there are only 5 pads in the container.  I don’t understand why the package is so small.   I guess they’re still testing the market to see if the new packaging will be accepted.  So I don’t know if I should buy this pack of 5 or a pack of 10 but in a plastic pack.

I guess most people don’t think nor care about these things.  But I do care and I think we all should.  This is just a little thing but this is something all women have to deal with every month.  Whether we want to or not, we create trash every month and I’d like to reduce the amount as much as possible.  I think manufacturers have a golden opportunity here.  They can change their packaging and market it as an environmental move.  Everybody knows the damage that plastic does to the environment.  It’s very convenient to use but as we all know, it doesn’t break down.  So why not package their goods in paper or cardboard?  It can be recycled and they can even use recycled materials for it.  Hopefully, companies will realize this and step up.

Or maybe it’s more realistic for me to  just wish for early menopause…

Road to Happiness


I caught part of an Oprah show last week and they were talking about happiness.  They featured the happiest city in the US (sorry but I forgot the name of the city) as well as the happiest jobs.

The mayor of the city said that they re-designed their city about 20 years ago.  They blocked the main street to vehicles so people can walk around.  They widened the sidewalks so people can hang out.  They built a lot of bike lanes and trails so people can bike, run and hike safely.  Everybody knows their neighbors.  Basically, they built the infrastructure for human interaction.  Of course it is still up to the people if they want to interact with others but studies have shown that it is through human interaction that we are most happy.

They also featured a person who worked at a toll gate just collecting payments.  She was very happy and enthusiastic.  She greeted all her customers warmly, wishing them well and just spreading good cheer.  You can see from her attitude that she really enjoys what she’s doing.  You can also see how the people she interacted with seemed happier after speaking with her.

Her attitude towards her work is really surprising.  I guess I’d never expect it from someone working at a toll booth.  Even Oprah said that when she passes through a toll booth, she always thought that that must be one of the dreariest jobs in the world.  I, too think it would be very boring and mechanical.  I forget that even in the littlest of tasks, we have the opportunity to make a difference.

We may think that happiness is directly proportional to how much money we make, how big our house is, how many cars we have, how many gadgets and toys we buy, but it really isn’t.  Most people who do have the money to buy all these things don’t have the time to enjoy them.  They’re usually working all hours and when they do go on vacation, they’re still thinking of work at the back of their minds.  Of course it’s nice to have all the trappings but I think it’s better to have what is important.  And I think what’s important are relationships.  Actual face to face interaction would bring us more happiness, I think, than all the gadgets in the world.  You may have everything but if you are alone, what good would that do?

Everyday, we have within our power to decide how our day will go.  Will we be kind?  Will we smile?  Will we be nice to our kids?  No matter what we do, we affect others with our attitude.  A little kindness goes a long way and a little smile makes everything seem nicer.  Let’s all take the road to happiness.  All it takes is a little time, a little appreciation and a little pleasant disposition.


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