Some Major Throwback

girl-writing

Old style writing

Oh my… It has been a while. No, let me rephrase that — It has been a long while. It makes me wonder, What the *%$@ had happened to me?  How could I leave my blog (again) like an orphan just like that?! 

Actually, it was pretty easy, really. I got myself busy doing other things — sometimes relevant and exciting, most times mundane.  And then I tell myself I don’t have the inspiration to write… and then I look at my computer and feel insecure and I start asking myself, Can I still produce something worth reading? 

And then because I’m unsure of myself, I end up not writing. No attempt even. What a coward. Yes, I’m psycho like that… 

Then this morning I received an email from a book group I am part of, asking me if they can feature me and my book (yes, that lovely book I wrote a couple of years ago) on their site.  They are featuring Filipino authors and they asked if I would be willing to answer some questions.

I was over the moon, so, Of course, yes!!!  My first thought was, I will gladly answer a hundred questions if need be! 

Thank you, God, for nudging me and waking me up from my stupor.

Thank you for reminding me that I am a writer and writers are supposed to, uhm, write. 

This year has breezed by quite fast somehow. It’s now September and we are beginning to hear Christmas carols being played in malls (Really?! So soon?! But yes, really!). 

What could be a better way of making the most of your days than by spending them with the people you love?  And I was fortunate enough to travel several times this year with loved ones…

So for my Hello-I’m-back-blog, I thought of sharing pictures of our family trip to Singapore last April.  

Yeah, yeah, it’s such a late post, but good memories never fade…  (like I can get any mushier than this!!😉

Hello Singapore… we meet again.

You have to pardon the eye bags. My dad, mom and I took the flight departing at such an ungodly hour!

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My customary plane selfie

After depositing our bags at the hotel, our first stop was Marina Bay Sands for an afternoon of (window) shopping…

 

 

My mom, ever the fashionista. 🙂

My dad having his own photo shoot while my mom was shopping somewhere…

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Oh, hello there!

And then we were joined by the star of Singapore… (with his equally dashing brother father)!!!

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My two Miguels 

 

First dinner in Singapore.

Family is love, indeed.

Day 2 was all about serious shopping in the morning…

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Walked ’til my sandals broke…

… and then some serious partying at night!

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Same pose, different attire.

At the Roar of Singapore 4 boxing event, in full support for Filipino boxers and boxing commentator and analyst…

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… as well as foreign talents — who might get rich and famous in the future, one will never know! 😉

Day 3 was about waking up early and hearing the voice of your dear friend Victoria calling your name...

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Coolness! 

And still more walking…

… and hiding from the sun.

When afternoon came, it was time for — 

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Yale-NUS visit!!

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So, who do you think is the boss?! 🙂

Tired but never weary…

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Papa enjoying the stage at the Performance Hall 

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The neighboring NUS buildings at the back

Yale NUS College tours are always, always an awesome experience. 

On Sunday morning, we went on a Chinatown adventure…

 No caption needed 😉

Then we finally got ourselves some yummy Hainanese Chicken meal that Singapore is known for…

Lunch.

Miguel was not feeling too well that day so we just decided to meet up with him in the evening.

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Dinner and after dinner…

Goodbyes are always difficult… But we are thankful for the memories. 

And it’s always nice to look forward to the next hello.

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Brunch before flying back home

The trip was short but we made a lot of memories along the way.

I am glad I was able to spend time with my parents. I am grateful that they both are still strong enough to travel and we still get to experience and enjoy things together.

At the same time, I am joyful that I got to visit my son. My son was able to show his grandparents his school, his home away from home.  I know my parents couldn’t be any more proud that Miguel is where he is right now.

Truly, we do have a lot to be thankful for. 

As we waited for our flight back home, I couldn’t help but ponder… 

Yes, time flies… So very fast. Our kids grow up fast. Our parents grow old. We get old(er). And so we make good use of our time. We spend our hours with the people important to us… we make time for the people we love. 

We make memories… happy ones that will forever warm our hearts. 

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… and we take selfies. A gazillion, if that would make you happy. 

 

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Photo credits: Girl writing cartoon via google images; Singapore trip photos courtesy of author’s ever reliable iPhone 😉 

 

 

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My Fitness Journey Part 1: How it All Began

Superhero

Fit to be a Wonder Woman… or not.

Sometime first week of October 2017…

So there we were one morning, the hubby and I, waiting outside the clinic of our Orthopedic Surgeon friend.

The hubby has been complaining of back pains for several days. After going to the gym and then boxing and then cleaning the garage, his back started aching (I blamed the house chores but he didn’t find it funny). He tried to dismiss the discomfort for some time until he couldn’t anymore, so off we went for a consult with our favorite ortho. 

As we waited for his turn, I noticed a sign in the clinic that says “free bone density test upstairs.” I teased the hubby about it. Told him he probably needed it because of his age and because he was complaining of back aches. He just shrugged.

Finally we were inside the doctor’s clinic. The good doctor asked what was wrong, hubby told her about his routine, then she made him do some bending– front, back, left side, right side, a little squats, etc.  She said there doesn’t appear to be any broken bones since the pain isn’t excruciating. There’s no swelling, either. It was most likely just muscle pains. He was given some pain medication and we were told to just observe for a few more days. 

I, on the other hand, was not done teasing the hubby, and wouldn’t let up. So I blurted out, “There’s a bone density test upstairs. Maybe he should take it!

The doctor’s face lit up when she remembered the test and said, “Oh yes! That’s free. Why not take the test?” I gave my husband a smug look.

Women have higher risk of osteoporosis and weakening bones.” she continued.

Only then did I realize that she was talking to ME. Not my hubby-with-the-back-pains. Her full attention was directed towards me. 

“How old are you again?” she asked. I was so tempted to give her a fake age (like I always do when asked), but she’s a doctor so I couldn’t lie. When I told her how old I was, she replied, “Go ahead. Take the bone density test upstairs. It’s free anyway! Just come back to me for the results. It won’t take long.”

Okay, so my teasing pretty much backfired.

Half an hour later, bone density test done, we were back at the orthopedic doctor’s clinic… And she was giving me tips on how to strengthen my bones. 

Suffice it to say, I failed the bone density test miserably. No, I don’t have osteoporosis* yet, but my results were pretty much gearing towards that end. I got a negative T-score which meant I had low bone density (medical term is osteopenia). And it was a high negative, ergo closer to osteoporosis… and I mean really close.

Osteo- what?! Weak bones?? All I could think of was — At my age?! But I’m still young! 

I was in a daze as the doctor rattled along. “Your bone density is way below normal so you are more prone to bone injuries and fractures. But you can still fix that by drinking milk… Walk in the mornings so you’ll get a good dose of Vitamin D… Exercise to strengthen your bones. Do these before your bones get brittle.” 

Milk? Sun?! Exercise??!! Is she enumerating the things I dislike? I never liked drinking milk… In fact, coffee flows through my veins!… I totally loathe staying under the sun, getting all sticky and sweaty… And exercise?! Didn’t I just say that I don’t like getting sweaty? My idea of exercise is taking long walks — at the mall!! 

Am I being punished??

“You need a lifestyle check,” she continues, “I don’t want you to just rely on calcium supplements, also to avoid developing kidney stones. So drink milk, eat veggies, have proper diet, sunlight for vitamin D, exercise. Do these first. We’ll do full body bone density scan after a year.”

She lost me at ‘You need a lifestyle check…’

On the side I could hear the hubby saying, “See? I have been telling you for the longest time to exercise. Not for aesthetics but to strengthen yourself,” he said emphatically.  I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. I heard voices but the words were swimming in my head.

Before leaving the clinic, still overwhelmed and very confused, I had one last question… “Looking at my bone density results, how old do you say are my bones?” I asked.

Without batting an eyelash, the doctor replied, “Oh, about ten years older than your actual age.”

Ouch.

And so we left her clinic that morning with my husband having muscle pains, and me having, well, weak bones.

Guess who came out the clinic with a smug look on the face? Wasn’t me. 😦 

Watch out for My Fitness Journey Part 2! 

 

Credits: Wonder Woman photo via google images (highbrownmagazine.com file) 

*Osteoporosis is a condition of fragile bone with an increased susceptibility to fracture. Osteoporosis weakens bone and increases risk of bones breaking (source: Medicinenet.com). Osteopenia refers to bone density that is lower than normal peak density but not low enough to be classified as osteoporosis. Bone density is a measurement of how dense and strong the bones are. If your bone density is low compared to normal peak density, you are said to have osteopenia (source: Webmd.com).

A postcard and a smile

It’s mid January?? Already?! Where did the days go??

I still remember writing my last blog post.  It was before the previous year ended. I remember signing off for the year. While I was writing that, I even thought to myself that I was being a tad melodramatic.  Surely I’ll be back blogging the following day… or several days after… But is it really January 18 — and is this really my first blog for the year?! Geesh. 

After the holidays, you’d think that once the rush is over, everything will settle down, everybody goes back to their normal, day-to-day routine… back to regular programming.  I thought time will slow down. Well, I thought wrong. 

The days still breeze by so very fast…. it’s just up to us to make the most — and the best — of the 24 hours that we have. 

So, where did I go and why did I leave my blog orphaned for almost three weeks?!

The family started a new business venture farther down south of the Metro and I have been pretty hands on. I spend several days of the week at the site to check the operations. When I get back home at night I still do some finance work. It’s fun and I am learning a lot. I am kept busy, too. Ergo, I haven’t had the chance to sit in front of the computer and write something.

My mind’s just too preoccupied with other things… but my heart was yearning to write something…anything! 

The other day I opted to stay home and take a day off.  The original plan was to unearth the draft of what was supposed to be my second book and to start working on it again. Either that or post a new blog. Whichever was easier. I told the hubby I would spend the day writing — or sleeping.

I did neither. I practically spent the day in my night-shirt, watching Hallmark Movies (the other option was a Criminal Minds marathon which I decided to save for another day). I thought watching those mushy movies would inspire me to write. Nope, still nothing. Maybe Criminal Minds would have been a better option. I was so unproductive.

My muse has left the building. 😦 

So there I was, a writer feeling quite out of sorts… a storyteller with no story to tell.

Once again I was beginning to be engulfed by insecurity. Couldn’t seem to shrug off the small voice whispering in my head, “You dare call yourself a writer when you can’t even compose a simple blog…”

And then I got a gentle nudge from above.

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My very first — may even be my ONLY — fan mail!!! 

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It was waiting for me as I stepped out of the house this afternoon.

It was a postcard from a reader of my book. I still can’t believe that not only did she buy the book, she went through all the hassle of writing me, reaching out to thank me for the love story I wrote… and telling me how much she enjoyed it… She even mailed the card, with real stamps and all!! I love snail mail!! 

The mail came at the most opportune moment… It came at the time when I was feeling tired, weary and uninspired.

It’s nice feeling appreciated. It is also nice to know that my work touched someone’s heart. It somehow reminded me of why I enjoy writing in the first place.

I often say that I write to inspire. I guess sometimes I should also open myself up and allow others to inspire me, as well.

Thank you, dear postcard sender. It was a very sweet and thoughtful gesture and it totally, absolutely made my day. 

Now I am inspired to write again.

The best love stories are the ones that will leave a smile on your lips… or a tug at the heart. 🙂 

 

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Photos are mine. This blog was written late January 18 and published in the wee hours of January 19… Talk about inspiration 🙂  

The Little Outfielder that Could

balls

Catch me if you can…

        The 12 year old batter stands at the batter’s box… confident, ready to swing his bat. And when he did, he hit the ball hard. The ball went high and far. By the looks of it, the ball would drop at the space right between centerfield and leftfield. The batter started to run, hoping he had hit a double at the very least.

      The small 10 year old centerfielder ran as fast as he could to get to the ball before it reaches the ground. He dove – and caught the ball. ‘OUT!’ cried the umpire.

        The parents clapped, cheered, went into a frenzy.

        Several plays later, another big boy stood at the batter’s box, swung his bat perfectly, allowing it to hit the ball and send it flying once again to the outfield.

        The same centerfielder took his time, tracked the ball like a pro, then ran to the right spot where the ball was going to fall. OUT! 3rd out! The inning ends.

        As the parents were cheering and exchanging high-fives, I took a glimpse of the boy’s father who was beaming with pride. When he saw me looking at him, he said quietly, “He remembers what you told him. He listened to you…”

About a month before that international tournament, I went to watch this team of 10 year olds play in the local setting. It was the first tournament they played in as a team. Come to think of it, it was their first time to seriously play together. At that time, the coaches were still gauging which position suits each player best. 

During one of the games, I noticed this player – their centerfielder – looking a bit lost. I think distracted is a better word. Since there was no action in the outfield at that time – meaning no ball was going to him, I could see him fidgety and his attention was wandering elsewhere. At some point he seemed to be watching the ongoing game on the other field. He looked bored out of his wits.

After the game, as the boy and his dad were saying goodbye to the team and to me, I heard the boy say to his dad, “I don’t like being an outfielder.” I saw the look of boredom on his young face. In his mind, he was probably thinking being a pitcher was way cooler. Or, catchers control the game. The action was almost always in the infield. But the outfield is far… And for the most part of the game, nothing happened in the outfield. He probably felt he barely contributed anything.

I couldn’t help myself so I went up to the boy and said, “You know, my son used to play baseball. He was also an outfielder like you. And you know what, he was one of the best – if not, the best outfielder in his age group. He was really good!” The little boy looked at me expectantly, so I continued, “You know, when you are playing against really good players… the ones who can hit hard… you know the balls that go really high and really far?well, the team needs a good outfielder for that. Someone who can catch a really high fly ball or block a line drive. And when you play in international tournaments, you will get a lot of those. You will face a lot of big batters. So your team relies on you to get that out… You’ll see.”

The boy smiled at me shyly. I added, “So don’t think your position is not important. Be the best outfielder you can be.” I ended with, ”I’ll introduce you to my son when he’s around. He can tell you stories.”

I am not a coach. Okay, I admit I sometimes get too involved in the games that I seem to coach from the bleachers. Yet that afternoon, I wasn’t talking to the boy as a pseudo-coach. I was talking to him as a parent.

Early on my husband and I have ingrained in our own son the value of hard work and diligence. We don’t expect him to be perfect, but we expect him to give his best all the time. Whether in his academics or in sports, we trained him to give his 100% because not doing so will mean shortchanging himself.

We also taught our son the value of respect. Respect for authority and respect for whatever position given him. When my son started playing baseball at age 8, for the most part of his first season, he was the “wanderer.” He was the 10th player on the field. He was placed somewhere between the centerfielder and the second baseman. We told him, “If you’re going to be a wanderer, be the best wanderer there is!” He took that to heart and true to form, he never lost focus and fielded whatever ball came his way.

When my son started training as an outfielder, his training was pretty intense. I remember the first time I watched him train this way – he was 12 years old then. My husband and another coach will take turns batting really high fly balls to the outfield. My son learned how to track the ball so he’d know where to position himself for an easy catch. Other times he would need to dive to get to the ball. I was really scared as I watched him darting left and right across the wide field.

More than being scared, I was impressed, too. It was just practice but my son showed determination and tenacity. Imagine how he performs during actual games.

To some people, his position was “just” outfielder. He was no star player. But he gave his 100% all the time. His teammates knew they can count on him when the need arises.  He will catch that fly ball. He will block that hot line drive to outfield. He will do what he is trained to do, just the way he trained for it. He will get that out.

From zero to hero…

To this day, my son faces whatever situation, game or challenge that he is up against, with the same determination, hard work and grit. Mediocrity is never an option.

In life, we don’t always readily get that “position” that we want. Most of the time, we have to work hard to achieve it. We either have to start somewhere – or we are given something different from what we aspire for.  I personally believe that you can be a star, regardless of what position you hold. What you make of yourself is more important.

What matters most is that you do what is expected of you, you give value to what you can do, and you give your best, every single time. Your time to shine is bound to come.

        After the game, centerfielder came up to me with a big smile on his face. Their team may have lost the game, but he had two winning moments. That was more than enough.

        I smiled back, letting him know that I was glad I was there to witness it, and that I couldn’t have been more proud.

beginner

Note to self! 

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photos via personal FB account and google images

November to remember

It’s two days ’til December… Less than a month ’til Christmas. This morning, I woke up to this: 

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Saddest Christmas tree ever 😦

And I couldn’t help but feel bad. 

I have always loved the Christmas season. I love the festive atmosphere. I love looking at the Christmas decors, watching the lights, and listening to Christmas carols. And yes, I love going Christmas shopping. I normally finalize my list sometime late October because I like doing my Christmas shopping early. By mid-November, I’m done setting up the Christmas tree and lights.

I am a gift giver. I relish the whole process — from making the list, to buying and wrapping gifts… I even like putting them under the Christmas tree (that I lovingly set up and decorated). This entire practice gives me a certain high.  

At nights before I sleep, I spend some time getting lost in the Christmas lights. Simply watching them relaxes me. I may go to bed exhausted from the day’s activities, but there’s always a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.  I call this my Christmas feeling.

Things have been quite different this year, though. It’s almost December and our tree isn’t up yet. No Christmas decors… no Christmas lights outside. In fact, there are even several busted regular bulbs inside the house that I have yet to change.

Yup, I have been neglecting quite a number of things around the house lately. I don’t know if this has something to do with our ’empty nesting.’ Since we no longer have a little child in the house  who will appreciate the decors and the lights (as much as I do), well, it suddenly doesn’t anymore feel as exciting to decorate. Somehow it is different when you have someone — other than yourself — who admires, appreciates, and gawks at that Christmas tree you have painstakingly set up for more than half a day.

So, right now, all we have is a bare tree. No lights. No gifts. No warm, fuzzy Christmas feeling.  Bah-humbug.

So what kept me busy this whole month of November? Let me backtrack a bit.

Okay, last week I was in Singapore. Again (Yey, Singapore!). You see, our Baseball Club sent two teams to play in a Thanksgiving Tournament. My husband was the head of delegation, and we pretty much spent a big part of November preparing for the trip. But unlike those other tournaments where I was on top of the travel coordination, this time we had parent leads who took care of most of the travel details. I only assisted where I was needed, giving them tips and suggestions on certain matters. And since I had no son playing in the said tournament, basically, I was just a tag along.

For a split-second I asked myself if I should still go with the team, knowing full well that I will be paying for my own expenses. Besides, weren’t we in Singapore just a month ago for the Parents’ Weekend? (Remember the previous blog?) And didn’t we extend that last time because of my son’s injury? (Remember the blog before the previous one?)

So I asked myself, is it still practical? Should I go or should I just stay home, fix my house, prepare for December, shop for Christmas?

I believe that home is where the heart is. And the heart is where the family is. My husband will be in Singapore. My son IS in Singapore. They are my home. Of course, I had to go to Singapore, as well. 

And yes, there’s also Sephora in Singapore. But that’s beside the point. 🙂

Snapshots from the Week that Was…

You’d think that since we were in Singapore, my husband and I will be able to spend a lot of time with our unico, right? Uhm, wrong! He’s in college… and the term’s about to end… he had a lot of school work to finish, papers to submit. So after seeing him and having dinner with him on the night that we arrived, well, we basically did not see even his shadow for the next several days.

Since the main reason for the trip was the baseball tournament, our days were filled with baseball games… and moments.

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The weather was not always good… 😦

We brought two teams composed of boys mostly aged 9-10 and a couple of 11 and 12 year olds. One team played in the 10u age group, while the other played up and joined the 12u group.

Unfortunately for the 10u team, all of their games started at 8am. Since they needed to be on the field an hour before for warm-up, it meant waking up and getting ready really early and being in the bus by 6am. 

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Daybreak 

On the morning that I rode the bus with the two teams at 6am, I asked myself — Why do I still do this? I don’t have a son playing in this tournament… Why wake up early? Why even spend the day on the field?

And then I see the boys.

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Habagat represent!

I see the smiles on their faces. I see their excitement. 

I see their determination and grit.

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I see their courage in the face of bigger, stronger boys. I also see their eagerness and willingness to learn, to get better.

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Hi, Callum! Habagat 2015 

I get to experience baseball moments, however small or grand, in and out of the field. I  also get to see relationships — friendships– being formed.

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Two teams, One Habagat.

Plus, I get to meet new people, form new friendships of my own.

Incidentally, in all my 7 years of being part of the Club, I do think that this is one of the coolest bunch of parents that I have spent tournament days with. 

These parents cheered like crazy and they supported each player, not just their own sons. And you know what, the players responded. The boys appreciated being cheered on.  The parents gave whatever support they can, the way they knew how. 

What’s commendable, too, was the fact that these parents knew their boundaries and did not overstep them. They let the coaches coach and the players play. Talk about respect.

Going back to my question on why I still do this… Perhaps I still get myself involved in the sport because as I watch the boys grow and learn, I also grow and learn with them.

So that was basically how the week went. Daily baseball games, a little shopping on the side (with a lot of walking)… 

Lots of stories, fun and laughter with fellow parents. Lots of selfies, too.

On our last day, well, we got to spend it with the most important person in Singapore (at least in my book)…

This is home.

So, all that kept me busy this November.

Maybe by the time I get to post this seemingly neverending blog, well, December will be just a day away.  I think I am now ready to get that warm, fuzzy feeling back.  

I will set up our Christmas tree tomorrow, lights and all.

😉 

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This blog was written 28th of Nov. 2017. Photos are mostly mine.