This nursy plays dirty and does it with pain...

Friday, December 28, 2007

December 28 is the 362nd day of the year (363rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 3 days remaining until the end of the year. This is the date I was born, many moons ago. I am one of the two daughters, second to the oldest of four siblings.
In the Philippines this day is called as NiƱos Inocentes. It is commemorated on December 28 as Holy Innocents' Day or Childermas in other countries. The innocents referred to are the children who were massacred by order of Herod who was seeking the death of the newborn Messiah. In the Philippines, Spain and Latin American countries the festival is celebrated in a manner similar to April Fool's Day.
... so now you know why I am innocent... hehehe!!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas in the Philippines as I remember it

I don't know how many times in the past I have blurted out about my strange (or maybe not) feeling towards the holiday season. I have been living here in America much longer than I did back home, the Philippines. As Christmas season approaches I get progressively home sick, so badly sometimes that I almost go into depression... go figure!!! I don't think I have any reason. I have my entire immediate family here with me in the US. We, in fact almost always have had great Holiday celebrations.

Is it my inner self that tells me each year to look back at my past when scarcity was it, so that I can stay grounded and thankful for what I have now in my life??? Is it my longing to the nostalgia of my youth when life was not too complicated??? I can't tell you for sure.

I know that Philippines has very long Christmas celebration. The predominant religion is Catholicism, thus the activities are influenced by that. WIKIPEDIA described Christmas season in the Philippines so accurately and how I remembered it...
Misa de Gallo (Dec. 16-24) Traditionally, Christmas Day in the Philippines is ushered in by the nine-day dawn masses that start on December 16. Known as the Misa de Gallo (Rooster's Mass) in the traditional Spanish, and these masses are also more popularly known in Filipino as Simbang Gabi, or "Night Mass". The Simbang Gabi is the most important Filipino Christmas tradition.

These nine dawn Masses are also considered as a Novena by the Catholic and Aglipayan faithfuls. This refers to the Roman Catholic and Aglipayan practice of performing nine days of private or public devotion to obtain special graces. In some parishes, the Simbang gabi begins as early as four in the morning. Going to mass this early for nine consecutive days is meant to show the churchgoer's devotion to his faith and heighten anticipation for the Nativity of the Lord. In traditional Filipino belief, however, completing the novena is also supposed to mean that God would grant the devotee's special wish or favor.

After hearing Mass, Filipino families partake of traditional Philippine Christmas delicacies, either during breakfast at home or immediately outside the church, where they are sold. Vendors offer a wealth of native delicacies, including bibingka (rice flour and egg based cake, cooked using coals on top and under), puto bumbong (a purple sticky rice delicacy which is steamed in bamboo tubes, with brown sugar and coconut shavings as condiments), salabat (hot ginger tea) and tsokolate (thick Spanish cocoa).
Christmas Eve For Filipinos, Christmas Eve on ("Bisperas ng Pasko") December 24 is the much-anticipated Noche Buena -- the traditional Christmas Eve feast after the midnight mass. Family members dine together around 12 midnight on traditional Noche Buena fare, which includes: queso de bola (Span. literally "ball of cheese"; edam cheese), "Tsokolate" (hot chocolate drink) and hamon (Christmas ham), and some would open presents at this time.
In different provinces and schools throughout the Philippines, Catholic devotees also reenact the journey of Joseph and the pregnant Blessed Virgin Mary in search of lodging for the soon-to-be born Jesus Christ. This is the traditional Panunuluyan, also called Pananawagan and Pananapatan.
This street pageant is performed after dark on Christmas Eve, with the actors portraying Joseph and Mary going to pre-designated houses. They chant wika wika bang bang, a traditional folksong that is meant to wake up the owner of the house as the actors ask for lodging. But the couple (actors) are turned away by the owners, also through a song. Finally, Joseph and Mary make their way to the parish church where a simulated manger has been set up. The birth of Jesus is celebrated at midnight with the Misa de Gallo, together with hallelujahs and Christmas carols. Everybody celebrates this tradition happily yet solemnly.

Christmas Day in The Philippines is primarily a family affair. Prior to the ticking of 12 midnight on 25 December, Misa de Aguinaldo is being celebrated. It is usually attended by the whole family. Misa de Aguinaldo is the Holy Mass celebrated to signify the Birth of Jesus Christ, the Roman Catholic Church and Philippine Independent Church (Aglipayan) in the Philippines' main means of celebrating Jesus Christ's birth.
Misa de Aguinaldo is also celebrated at dawn or in the morning immediately after sunrise before 10 AM, this schedule is preferred by Filipinos who choose to celebrate Christmas Eve with a night-long celebration of Noche Buena.

Preferably in the morning, Filipino families visit members of the extended family, notably the elders in order to pay their respect. This custom has been an age-old tradition in the Philippines called Pagmamano, this is done by touching one's forehead to the elder's hand saying Mano Po. The elder then blesses the person who paid respect. Aguinaldo or money in the form of crisp, fresh-from-the-bank bills is given after the Pagmamano, most usually to younger children.
A Christmas Lunch usually follows after the Pagmamano. The lunch is heavily dependent upon the finances of the family. Rich families tend to prepare grand and glorious feasts that consist of Jamon de Bola, Queso de Bola, Lechon and other Filipino delicacies. Some poor families choose to cook simple meals, nevertheless still special. When the family is settled after the lunch, the exchange of gifts is usually done. Godparents are expected to give gifts or Aguinaldo to their godchildren.

When nigh time falls, members of the family usually take part in family talks while listening to favorite Christmas carols. Some may opt to have a glorious Christmas feast for dinner.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Accidental ... whiplash!!!

October 30,2007 ... the great 2 days spent with my mother ended in a not so great note ... my back tire on the driver side blew that caused an accident. The tires were not old at all and the SUV - 2002 Mitsubishi Montero Sport ES just went through an overall check-up. It was around 3 PM, rush hour so the traffic was about the speed limit of 65 mph and there was a Sheriff car behind me so I was "behaving".

After hearing a big exploding noise, this SUV went out of control and swerved to the right to which I hit the middle part of a big semi truck. So then I attempted to correct it while it was shaking like jello. Luckily it followed my guidance to the left side of the road which was the median island. I put on the brake and checked on my mother then myself. I then attempted to get out to check on the damage(s) but could not open my door. The Sheriff behind me stopped alongside my vehicle and pried open my door so that I can get out.

An ambulance and a CalTran worker were around the area so they stopped and asked if they can help in anyway. I informed them that I was a trauma nursy and that my assessment told me that my mother and I were "okay".

The SUV was crunched up in the front and on the back passenger part. All fluids leaked out and the trunk door was ajar and I couldn't close it all the way. So we waited for the CHP (California Highway Patrol) for official report, tow truck and a phone call from my sweet car insurance guy.

We got towed and took the taxi back home from the tow park at the outskirt of the city I live in.

The following days were going for medical assessments and dealing with insurance procedures.

The verdict after 16 days... SUV was officially declared ... not financially reasonable to be restored. Another 4 days and I was told how much I would get for my totalled vehicle. I came ahead by 4 thousands...

So then the shopping for the replacement ensued. And here it is...

2004 Land Rover, Freelander. A certified pre-owned vehicle with free maintenance until 2012. All I have to do is drive it to any dealership and it will be maintained or fixed. It had only 36,000 miles on it and looks pretty brand new. It was used as the dealership vehicle. And it is all paid for. No car payment... the best feature. I could have bought a brand new car but did not want to deal with car payment which I haven't had in many years. The features I like about my new vehicle... the seat warmer and heated windows.

Friendship Award - bestowed by Nursy Fe

I decided to follow this meme from Nursy Fe's blogspot

She is always so generous of thinking of me. Thank you so much!!!

"And The First Class Friendship Award, I’m giving to:
NursyE - a very unselfish friend. She’s one of a kind. We met through a message board long time ago."

MOM (Mother of 2 Munchkins) aka Nursy Fe and I met in a message board turned war zone. Actually it was her darling future husband-to-be that was the co-member and eventually they were entwined and she took over as the active member. She and hubby now blessed with 2 gorgeous children... my cyberniece and cybernephew.
We then moved to another message board that was built by another sweet friend.
Nursy Fe was one Filipina that does not have any problems tackling life changes. She had more than enough education from back home and yet did not have any egotistical qualm about returning back to school for a career that she thinks will give her better "future"... nursing. I can bet to the fact that she indeed made a great decision...
Going to school, being a mother, a wife, a worker... sounds like a familiar story!!!
With that comment, I am bestowing this same award back to the generous giver... Nursy Fe. You indeed deserve this award more than once, twice and many more times over...

City slicker

Three days after Thanksgiving, very early in the morning, I was doing my usual routine of letting my 2 four-legged children out to do their business outside. Zipper was by the door when I opened my bedroom door to let them back in. It was so unusual not to have Duke with Zipper so I called out his name. No answer. I did it 2-3 more times but no Duke - very unusual. So I donned a robe and went out to see what was causing the mischievous Duke to stay outside. I couldn't find him anywhere everywhere the backyard so I started to get very concerned until I heard some rustling by my garden closeby the gazebo. As I was approaching closer, I can see Duke behind the plant looking up the fence. I looked at where he had his focus on and saw this...

I was surprised to see this early fence visitor. I live in a city. I don't see these creatures around here. It was a big surprise.

And it was just sitting there while Duke was so enthralled!!!

Well, he wanted to get hold of it so badly...

My hunky friend, K, had 6 of these on his porch one morning he said. This is his comment... "They come out at night or early morning.... hide in your trees, bushes. dogs and cats fight them... they have fifty-five teeth.but are harmless. they just look funny... they are more afraid of you. that is why they just stand there a stare at you."

Duke... meet Opossum!!!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Out of this world!!!

You might not be one of those believers in this kind of out of this world talks but this is just a personal view and experiences, so do as I live by... "have an open mind that is unattach to nothing..."

Near - death experience... NDE!!! You wouldn't believe they even have groups for this phenomenon. People do belong in many groups about this to share and vent out their individual experiences. I personally don't belong in any of these groups. I don't even think my thoughts and experiences with this can be recognized as "official" qualifications. Nonetheless, some things about it, I would like to share.

My "first" encounter about this issue was shortly after I turned into my 40's. I woke up or seemed to be,with amazing weight gain. I never had weight gain ever before so I brushed it off and just put in my mind that I would watch my diet and be active more... although I am the type that needs to be moving or doing something or I will go crazy. And so I did, but the weight gain escalated in a fast rate instead and so I just put more effort into trying to lose it... to no avail.

And so I was alarmed, as a nurse, this was not quite right to me. So I approached my primary physician and that started the many strings of blood tests, Xrays, procedures to check me out. When nothing seemed to be wrong but pointed to hormonal inadequacies that we put in the picture my OB-GYN. The only thing we can point the unusual occurrence was my hormonal switch was totally out of whack from many years of negligence on my part... lack of sleep, hectic work schedule, hectic school schedule, hectic motherly schedule and in the midst of deep depression with my (ex)marriage. I was not eating and when I was eating, I was eating wrong. I was a full time mother, full time student, full time employee and living in a not so harmonious marriage so my body was not given the proper rest and sleep for many years.

So then after group discussions between my primary physician, my OB-GYN, my physical trainer and my dietitian, we formulated a "treatment plan". It took quite a while before a mix of medicinal intervention triggered a favorable result, meaning finally my weight was coming down... hooooraayyy!!! This is all in the span of 4-5 years. So now I am working vehemently to get back to my "normal" weight... it is not that easy but I am thankful, it is the right direction and have not gained any more weight. It is a slow process but I am just glad.

So with that story of years of unknowing what was wrong, I came to a point of fear... fear that I was dying. My medical background did not provide any reassurance on this doubt. I just knew something "big" was wrong with me because it was unexplainable weight gain. So I prepared myself in the possibilities of "death". Can you imagine when I finally had some reason to negate that fear of dying??? I was a changed person. When weight was going down and I have a medical diagnosis to go by that I was celebrating of another chance of life. And that brought me this attitude of "less or no expectations"...

"Less or no expectations" in life is a blessing to have. It brings less sadness and less frustrations.

My second confrontation with death was two weeks ago when my mother and I were involved in a vehicle accident. We had such a great two days together. My first day off, we spent getting our spa pedicures, hair cut for her and hair wash with deep condition for me (I love my head to be massaged), then we had lunch, then off to see a movie. The next day we went to a nearby casino and it was one of my very lucky day... you would not believe the money I came home with!!! But that was dampen by our drive back home. We were talking away when suddenly we heard a big booom and then my SUV went out of control, swerved to the right and hit the middle part of the semi-truck. I was afraid at that time, that it was our end. I finally got control of the vehicle and attempted to swerve it to the left where there was a median road. Thank goodness, the SUV stopped when brake was applied. Thank goodness, I did not panic. I don't actually panic which I learned from many trauma nursing trainings.

So my vehicle is official declared "totalled" but that is not even important. The greatest thing is that my mother is alive and has minimal discomfort. We have to be under some medical supervision for a while... longer for me because I have more extensive "trauma". But we are alive.... and that was my second near-death experience. I joke about now having only eight lives left...

So what do you think? Any similar experiences!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Derma/complexion - vanity, youth, flaws, etc...

As I advance with my age, the physical flaws pile up or so it seems. I am still battling with my forever labile hormonal function that directly affects my weight. I am happy though that I can at least have some control now about this once "my health crisis"... a struggle still ... but is going the right downward direction. I recently consented to be the subject for COMPLEXION ANALYSIS. With this, my facial derma analysis was done. A report is shared.
The catch of course here is to tell me and encourage me to use their beauty products which are not the cheapest. Is it worth the money to hasten the process of aging and deterioration? hehehe maybe for those women who have spare change to use to buy these products.

With spots and blemish that I have... compare to other women of my age range???

I belong to the 34% ones... meaning 66% of women my age are worse off than I am.

I have 2% rating on my pores which is not the greatest. This is my problem area. My skin pore is too big that subject me into flare-ups of adult pimples during that time of the month. Also that makes my skin sensitive to many skin products out there.

Porphyrins is a very complicated chemical ongoing in the body that I can't even break it down to a simpler term that my brain can relate to. Anyways, my number is on the low side which means that I do have enough of this that cause the breakages in my skin which results in the blemishes and adult pimples.

The result of the wrinkle test denotes that there's 18% of women my age that have lesser wrinkle than I have. And 82% is worse off than me.

My complexion is on the 33% range meaning that this adds up to the cause of my skin breakdown. Not too fine but then it is not too bad.

UV Spots, the sun damage present on my skin is 228. The numbers reflects a very low damage and yet could be improved.

I enjoyed the pampering of the free session, the education on my complexion. I have to admit, I ended up buying the facial wash but that was all I was willing to buy into... hehehe!!!

Monday, October 15, 2007

My Desktop - "I am tagging NursyE"

And this is my desktop. Aquarium theme. I alternate between this one and the Nature theme. When I get tired of the wolf howls with the Nature theme then I switch to this one. Then when I get tired of the drops of water sound, time to do a switcharoo. I like the screensaver on this one because of the sound of water and the fish swimming. So soothing!!!

The icons on the desktop are related to school and work mostly. One of these days, I might put up an inspiring pic of a hunky... just to get me excited being infront of the confuser.

Here is the screensaver when it is still... otherwise it is usually animated...

Thanks, my sweet girlfriend Fe (MOM) for tagging me on this... I apologize for the long delay.

8 Random Facts About Me - tagged by Belle

This was a hard one so I had to ask a couple of friends for their random assessment of yours truly. I got nauseated... hehehe... of the randomness that Kay and Vincent shared. Anyways, here are ...

8 Random Facts About Me ...

Decent - Kay said because she never knew me to compromise any of my personal principles even it costs me some heart breaks. Hhhhmmm???

Funny - Kay said that she can't remember any encounter with me that she didn't at least smile. Most of the time, she (this is off the record) almost always had to "pee" her pants.

Charm? - Okayyy, this is debatable. I know I recently heard this adjective from the head of my Master's Program which caused havoc in my student life. Dr. C claimed that I was charming my way to that program and that I was charming all of my classmates despite the fact that I have a pretty decent GPA and that I impressed her with some of my work... hhhhmmm??? Kay's word - that I can talk anybody into doing anything... hehehe.

Persistent - that I move forward and only forward in an unstoppable manner when I set my mind into something... ignoring all hindrances.

Determined - I thought this was the same as the latter but Vincent said "no". I guess he'd seen my determination in achieving what I decide to accomplish.
Tenacious - this I think is a learned one from bad and sad experiences. More like a shield to protect me from unnecessary unpleasant "pain". Or that it is because this word comes with those words -- persistent and determination.

Patient - this one is a given. I am a nursy. One has to be a "patient" more ways than one to be in my profession. Although I think that I am less patient or tolerant as my age advances.
Consistent - this is the most nauseating, overly, exaggerated word given but I promised to post it as said. I was told that I am consistent in my love, care, attention, generosity to all that I care about. That "I give only one way"... meaning I don't wait, I don't expect and I don't care about reciprocities.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

It's beautiful - up North!!!

I had the opportunity to meet a wonderful person and to visit (again) the state of Washington and Canada. I think that where I was is a gardener's heaven because the weather is mild and almost constant all year round. I can walk all I want and not sweat and that tells me that I can be out in the yard all day working out and not perspire. With this kind of weather, the many varieties of flowers and other vegetation flourish with a vengeance. I enjoyed the walks (with Shadow) looking at each plant and flowers along the way. I was so envious that fuchsia was growing like crazy in every yard while I can not grow it here on my part of the world... too hot.

I like being surrounded by nature. And state of Washington provides that. The abundance of sea food and produce is something I can live with everyday. Water, bodies of water, streams, current, any water movement always brings comfort and peace inside me and there was definitely an abundance of that as well. And I can definitely get lost in any of the public markets and or farmers' market they have. My kind of shopping which reminds me of home - the Philippines.

The drive to Canada was fantastic except for the passport showing procedures. The construction is ongoing at the border to get ready for the Olympics. I finally had the famous Tim Horton's coffee. Honestly, I didn't think it was anything special of a coffee. I would drink G's morning French press coffee anytime. He makes it perfect for me. And with a slice of homemade apple pie... geeeezzzz, what a treat!!!

Here are some pics to share.

Shadow, a very smart patient dog. I enjoyed his company. Something about ball... he just loves, loves, loves any ball. He never tires of playing catch and gnawing any ball.

I was enjoying the Vancouver skyline while Shadow was taking a dip in the cold water, catching his ball. This bridge is the one by Stanley Park.

I don't know how many times I saw this same scenario... the water plane taking off and adding to the fascinating view of the Vancouver skyline. Neat!!!

You better believe that salted water is ccooollldddd, just the way Shadow likes it... perfect for his coat. He had that ball in his mouth.

The ever famous Totem Poles at Stanley Park.

The trip was cut short but nonetheless, it was well worth it. I learned a great deal!!!

Saturday, October 6, 2007


I always wanted an aquarium. The opportunity to have one came when I couldn't think of something to put in the atrium spot in my house. At the end part of my formal living room lies an atrium complete with sprinkler system. I didn't want to have plants there because of poor light source. I decided to put a 75 gallon salt water tank in the spot.

Why salt water aquarium? I like the idea that I can have many different colored fish and other water creatures. I read a couple of books from cover to cover about salt water aquarium. I checked 2 pet stores about prices of things I need to set this all up. I talked at length with a young salesclerk about my "want" and he gave me a website to check out and gave me a few pointers on having one. He later became my helper in maintenance of my tank until I learn to manage it myself. He comes over to my house every 2-3 months to check everything about the tank and my progress in maintaining it.

I was lucky enough that the tank set I bought was on sale with free set-up. It is not a cheap hobby. I am learning as I go along. I have lost 2 fish, just disappeared into the thin air or more like they were eaten... as my helper tells me. I am slowly building it up and learning the ins and outs of owning this fascinating contained salt water world...
It fits pretty good in the spot. I feel secured about where it is in case of glass breakage and or water leakage. It serves as a room divider between the living room and the hallway to the bedrooms.

I have 100 pounds of treated rocks, a few Damsels for fish. A few snails to keep the tank clean, mainly the glass case. Some cleaner shrimps that eat debris that keep the tank clean as well. A few Emerald crabs for the same reason as to help keep the tank clean by eating debris.

I see many new creatures on the rocks. I can see that the fish are getting bigger. I have to really get the hang of the pH deal so that the snails can be happier ... lost a few of them. Pretty soon I can let loose some bigger fish in there. My mom likes resting on the couch out in the living room because of the soothing sound of the water.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Preserving... my way!!!

Ahhh summer!!! My second favorite season after spring. But for me, it is a fleeting season. Everything in it seems to happen all at once. For a gardener as myself, summer gets to be hectic in such a short of time. A season of beauty and abundance, summer magnifies all the fundamental joys of a gardener: garden-fresh food; postcard-perfect scenery; a rainbow of flowers in bloom and an outdoor-living mindset that begs for spontaneous picnics. When spring comes, my lusting for summer starts. A reading perfectly describes what summer is for me ... "Like a torrid love affair, my relationship with summer goes through predictable cycles: We crave each other, passionately adore each other, then mutually burn out in the end".

Summer means working hard but having fun. More than any other time of year, the average summer day offers a buffet of options and possibilities. Mow, weed, harvest, repair, and process. Summer’s to-do list never ends. A celebration of seasonal abundance!!! One way I cherish the summer's abundance is preserving its yield. Although I downsized my garden 2 years ago, I still get quite a bit of produce. I resort into drying and vacuum-sealing/freezing so that I can enjoy the yield of summer throughout the rest of the year.
Tomatoes are one of those summer abundance that I have learned to preserve. I enjoy it as much as I can during the season by indulging in tomato sandwiches - smashed avocado on the bread, slices of tomatoes then lettuce and more smashed avocado on the other bread, some freshly ground pepper and eat away. It's heavenly!!!
Sometimes. I take some sliced up tomatoes, put them on the grill, top them with slices of mozzarella cheese then freshly picked Basil leaves, a dab of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and let them grilled ... great appetizer, snack or sandwich.
Dried up tomatoes, if you look at them at the grocery stores, are expensive. And yet so easy to make at home. After I wash and dry the tomatoes, I slice then cut them at least halves, or three slices if they are "fat". I try to squeeze out most of the seeds. then lay them on my dehydrator. I open all the vents of the dehydrator and plug and leave it be. I check once in a while to take out the ones that are dried up and to rotate the dehydrator plates.

The stages of drying ...

After drying the tomatoes, I divide them into 3 piles. One pile is vacuumed-sealed in smaller quantities so that I can use them in recipes that require tomatoes. When I want to use them, I soak them in water until plumped up then use as the recipe calls for. One pile gets chopped finely and put in a jar with EVOO. The other pile gets chopped in bigger slices then in the jar with EVOO as well. The finely chopped is used for more delicate recipes and the bigger chunks get to be used in sauces and soups and the like.

One other way I preserve is by vacuum-sealing then freezing. I first blanch the tomatoes - boiling the water in the pot, putting the whole tomatoes in and let it quickly boil again until the skin is peeling off. Scoop them out and into a container of iced cold water to stop the boiling process and maintain that natural red color.

Relish summer while it’s here and sing along with Sandy and Danny from “Grease” while sinking in your teeth in those juicy, tasty tomatoes: “Summer lovin’, had me a blast. Summer lovin’, happened so fast.”

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fleurs de Eden

I was admiring the flower entries at Nursy Fe's blogspot and gave me the idea to share the flowers I have in my garden. The summer might be winding down but the flowers in my garden keep showing off. Do you recognize them???