Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pipe Cleaners

Visited a huge crafts store for the first time in the US back in 2003. I love paper, scrapbooking anything, pens, and arts and crafts stuff - pretty much anything that you use to create with your heads. You can image my reaction when I stepped into the store. I was both dumbfounded and giddy. Have you ever seen Scrooge McDuck swim in his pool of coins and throw them up in the air with glee? That's what I felt like doing.

So I had myself a field day and bought whatever my budget would allow me at the time - all sorts of colored and textured paper, googly sticky eyes, colored wire, these poofy sparkly pom poms and all other sorts of stickies used for embellishment, colored sand (yes.. colored sand), photo corners, etc.

I still have a bunch of this stuff with me today - partly because I haven't gotten around to putting together a huge number of scrapbooks (they're time consuming! and expensive!) and partly because I used to have a weakness for hoarding pretty things that I thought I'd never see again if I used it up.

I do have one item stored that makes me wonder what I was thinking when I purchased them: pipe cleaners. Not literally pipe cleaners (I think) - but could very well be a pipe cleaner I suppose? They're basically long pieces of wire wrapped in all sorts of colored.. ehm.. fuzz? Being wire, you can basically bend them into any shape you want. I guess seeing them reminded me of my child hood and art classes in school. Though come to think of it, I don't remember actually using them for anything as a child. Lol.

So yes, I have this bag of pipe cleaners which I guess I intended to use for scrap booking but found out later on that they're pretty hard to glue down. Had no idea what to use them for after that so they kind of sat in storage for years.

Decided to give half of my stash away. Thank goodness for friends with kids who still like arts and crafts. Better off in that home than in mine.

Hmmm.. maybe I oughta add the colored sand to that list. Lol.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Midnight Snack

Pictured above is a yummy grilled mashed banana & peanut butter sandwich my sister grilled (in butter! eep!) for me recently as a midnight snack. Yum :)

(kippy hungry for a midnight snack too.. then again.. kippy's always hungry for a snack)

I know you aren't supposed to eat 3 hours before going to sleep, but midnight snacks are such a staple! Whether it be with family, friends, or even by yourself, who doesn't like scrounging around the ref for some ingredients to rustle up into something comforting to the tummy and soul?

First memory I have of a midnight snack was during the summers we'd spend in the Philippines with my grandparents. My lola and I would have toasted bread with butter and liver spread with some Milo & Nido to smack on as a "beverage".

There are too many favorite comfort midnight snack foods to even begin to list here.. top of mind though? Hmmm....
  • Grilled cheese sandwich (variations include small grilled cheese & garlic sandwich, grilled ham & cheese sandwich)
  • Indomie's Supermie (Indonesian instant noodles. The freaking BOMB. Grew up eating this as an after school snack along with a cheese omelet)
  • Hot chocolate (Nestle's Quik, Milo, Swiss Miss, Tablea.. or our own concoction of milk, sugar, cinnamon and cocoa powder)
  • Glass of milk and whatever cold cake fortunate enough to have lasted its first day in our household
Fellow foodies, what's yours?

Noise Pollution

Sat upfront in a bus ride home today. I think the bus driver was new because the ticket collector/ barker dude was giving him tips as we were driving along- go this way, don't pick up passengers here, etc. One comment that surprised me was when he told the bus driver, not to honk his horn as we drove by Guadalupe because it wasn't allowed. True enough, there was a "bawal bumusina" sign posted on on electric pole. I've seen those signs around but never thought anyone would actually follow them. It was an amazing revelation... Filipino drivers following road rules?!

I personally cannot STAND Manila buses and their honking. You would think their crazy driving would be enough to call these giant road roaches, nuisances but you add their gritty smoke belching and their affinity for making noise whenever they can. Buses seem to especially love honking their horns when they are in the presence of OTHER honking buses (why not add to the noise right?) as well as sections of the road that are semi-enclosed (why not magnify an already deafening noise right?).

We drove by the bus stop along Ayala, where the noisiest and most annoying group of buses along EDSA usually hang. For the first time, I noticed not only another "Bawal Bumisina" sign, but the relative silence that filled the air. SO WEIRD. I don't know if it was because there were MMDA milling about, but it the silence of the buses was definitely music to my ears.

It'd be pretty darn lovely if buses could shut their horns up forever.


Kind of reminds me of that Friends episode where Joey Tribiani "learns" to use air quotation marks.. then proceeds to misuse them throughout the entire episode.

I'll tell you this much - seeing the constant (mis)use of these quotation marks at the clinic I went to today for a blood test, surely made my wait more tolerable.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Packaging Love

Purchased some items from VMV Hypoallergenics recently. I'm still testing out this particular line of products, so I have yet to see it through to give it my ultimate thumbs up or down. I did though, fall immediately in love with their shopping bag!

Made of great, thick board in an elegant light creme with wonderfully sturdy handles. I love that the branding on the handles and the bag (though it can't be seen here) is very simple - for the most part, it bugs me when brands garishly scream their brand by pasting it on every square inch of merchandise they own.

What I love the most about this bag is how they keep the mouth of the bag from opening up. Many staple (ick) their bags shut. The VMV bag handles are dual purpose; they act both as carrying handles as well as drawstrings that are secured at the base with a regular bow. Because of the thickness of the bag itself, the mouth doesn't flap open when being swung around (like you do with all shopping bags right? lol).

I ADORE great packaging.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band

Some of the best movies I've seen I watched growing up. I don't know why that is- maybe the simple appreciation of seeing wondrous things through the eyes of a child? Maybe movie's really WERE better back in the day? Or well.. here's my favorite.. because anything retro triggers with it a deluge of warm and fuzzy feelings and memories?

I blogged first about watching an old favorite here. I recently decided to watch on youtube "The One and Only, Genuine, Original, Family Band" - another personal oldie but goodie.

The movie apparently didn't do so well, but I love it regardless. I think it maybe the first movie I watched with choreographed song & dance numbers. Plus for the longest time, I was very much into stories of the American Midwest that took place in the late 19th century, thanks to things like Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" books (love love love this - should purchase these books and read them again!) and "Oregon Trail", an old Macintosh computer game we used to play in school.

I must have been 8 the last time I saw this movie- that's a helluva long time ago! Yet I found myself singing along with ALL the songs as I watched it on youtube! I think i was smiling throughout the entire thing.

Here's one of my favorite scenes- looks like dancing show downs in movies have been around for some time! Love the song & dance number (calling JONELSKI), and the costumes of the girls with their petticoats, long undies and slim boots (for a lack of anything better to call them, lol). Plus John Davidson's so dashing with his dimples. I don't think you see Kurt Russel in this clip, but look for Goldie Hawn - she plays a giggly dancing girl with a pretty major dance role towards the end of the dance off.

The movie also stars Walter Brennan who plays a grandpa both in this movie and in another old favorite, The Gnome-Mobile with the two kids from Mary Poppins; Disney seems to love recycling their tried and tested stars. Lol.

I haven't watched too many old movies come to think of it. But I love the very few I've seen. Maybe I ought to spend some time catching up on classics. Any suggestions?

(photo credits: http://www.ultimatedisney.com & http://moviegoods.com)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Chocolate Vs. Lemon

I adore chocolate, but a great lemon dessert can turn me into a traitor at the snap of its zingy zesty fingers.
Particularly, these rich spongy lemon cupcakes and buttery tangy lemon squares. Gah.

Speaking of lemons, A kalamansi / lemonade slushy would really hit the spot right about now.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ready for the Ride

Went back to my old office today to clean up and out my files.

Sorting through my files was like an unexpected walk down memory lane, a nice way to close the chapter that was the last half year of my work life.

Each document I flipped through brought back an interesting rush of memories:
  • The eagerness I had at the start of the project
  • The feeling of tentativeness that sat at the back of my mind while I tried to quickly become familiar with the unfamiliar
  • The ease of mobility I felt when I finally got to a point where I felt the group trusted me (perhaps even more than I did of myself, lol)
  • When acronyms that were so alien to me at the start became part of my every day work vernacular
  • The excruciating tension I constantly fought when I battled with procrastination and the overwhelming amount of work during the week of my event
And finally of course:
  • The exhilaration of running on adrenalin
  • Feeling the awesomeness of a group of people moving together to make your event a success
  • The pride & joy I felt in seeing everything coming together
  • The happy exhaustion I felt towards the end of the day
  • The delicious sleep I had right after that.
It really felt like such a unique experience. Though I've come to realize, that though many of the details may differ in the future, the ride will be the same, should you choose to go on the ride anyway: the feeling of excitement but unfamiliarity at the start of something new, the high level of stress experienced when committing to something with hard work and then, the elation felt after seeing and experiencing the fruits of your labor.

You come out stronger and wiser each and every time. Glad I decided to finally push myself to get out there again instead of hermit away into a place that's safe and comfortable. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's not the kind of life I signed up for.

I've been testing the work waters for the last year, gingerly dipping my toes into a seemingly murky pool of scary-ness. Wasn't sure if I had the right skills to survive out there. A year later, pool of scaryness has turned into a vast emerald ocean of sparkling possibility (yes.. ting alert) and I am ready (and excited!) to jump in and swim swim swim.

So Universe, I'm at a crossroads here - a shove in the "right" direction would be very much appreciated thank you very much! :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010


(photo of art piece taken at "Art in the Park" in Salcedo Village, 2010)

I had a a number of meetings one week where all my corporate clients each had a mug full of finely sharpened pencils sitting on their desk, ready to be plucked and used at their disposal.

The other half of my two person team at work also prefers to use a pencil.

I on the other hand, use a pencil maybe... never? Unless I am circumstantially forced to do so, I haven't actually used a pencil in goodness knows how many years. Tool of choice is always a pen. Come to think of it, I actually don't know why I prefer a pen over a pencil. To think I used to LOVE bringing back to Indonesia boxes of number 2 Mongol pencils! Though I also remember with equal fondness my love of pens. I can spend a lot of time rummaging through carousels of pens, testing each one (always with "hello my name is" over and over again!) until I find THE perfect pen that feels great in the hand and writes like a dream. And don't even get me started on fountain pens - my favorite writing tool growing up was this wonderful Body Shop fountain pen that came with this big tub of ink cartridges in all sorts of Care Bear colors.

Should anyone ever establish the evolution of man and his writing tool, I would say that the "pencil -> pen" movement is a natural progression, a shift that you naturally do without stopping to think about it or looking back. A pen was something you were lucky to use as a kid if you were ready and confident to go forth with your work and not make a mistake. As a kid, I remember doing drafts of work in pencil before I'd go over my answers in pen. Even in art, unless you're fabulous at free hand, pencil is always the first level of work you before you go over your work with a more permanent writing / coloring tool.

So I guess that kind of stuck. A pen feels and looks more professional, at least in my eyes. And doesn't ink last much longer than graphite? Doesn't pencil eventually get all smudgey? I like keeping my notebooks so I don't want to open my keepsakes years down the line only to find pages of unintelligible grayness. Accordingly to a friend though, he says pencils DON'T smudge and that yes, they do last. Dip a piece of paper in water, the pen runs but the pencil marks don't.

Regardless, I was curious to experience the sensation of writing with a pencil again. So today, I sharpened an old pencil lying around and brought it with me to a meeting along with a small white rubber (love new clean white erasers!).

And the verdict?

Well, I gotta say, it was strangley, a lovely and very freeing experience! As weird as it sounds, using a pencil seems to really lend itself to jolting the mind and getting those creative juices to flow. There is something delicious about feeling the soft crushing of the tip of a finely sharpened graphite as it glides across the paper- like it's working for you by also putting in the extra effort to document whatever it is you need to document. I may now permanently convert to using a pencil for note taking or brainstorming.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Efficiently Renewed

My drivers license has been expired for over a year now. Almost a month short of two years actually. Well, you know how it goes, the longer you put it off, the harder it is to push yourself to get it done.

Thanks to the LTO E-Patrol, I got mine renewed in a jiffy! The E-Patrol is LTO's attempt at making the lives of busy peeps, a little bit easier. It is a fully furnished and automated bus that travels to different areas, offering car registration and drivers license renewal services.

Surprisingly, I had no problems with it. I say that because I live in a country where for the most part, anything that has to do with the government DOESN'T work. The e-patrol was servicing my village that day - and in the span of 30 min, I filled out the form, did the "medical", had my mug shot, ehm i mean photo taken and received my new license. Winner!

As a side comment - I must say, what a pimped out bus! It would've been nice though if they A/C'ed the ENTIRE bus and not just the enclosed section for the people processing the papers. Poo.

Glad I got it done before my license hit two years. Apparently after that, renewing the license becomes a bit of a hassle, ie: you gotta retake the tests, etc.

Perhaps the next step for me would be to actually use the license for its primary purpose noh?

In other news, I'd like to give myself a big pat on the back for FINALLY getting one blog continously going. This is my 100th entry to date. Yay me :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Memory munchies

I had a burrito the other day. Now eating burritos and other Mexican dishes in general is no biggie, i have it often enough not to miss it. This burrito was different though. The taste, texture and everything about it reminded me of burritos we used to make while growing up in Indonesia. During sleepovers, my girlfriends and I would sit in my kitchen and make our own burritos using pre-prepared ingredients: tortilla wraps, burrito/taco beef (ie: ground beef cooked with this yummy burrito/taco mix), store bought salsa both mild AND spicy (the kind you usually eat with chips), sour cream, shredded lettuce and grated cheese. You layer the ingredients, roll up the tortilla, then stick it in the microwave or oven toaster to warm it up. Then bite. Eeep! Yum! Eaten with friends around a table while chattering away about some new boy we were crushing on, or gossiping about another friend. Darn they were good. Could eat a million of those in one sitting.. which I probably did (entonces.. lol).

I love how certain foods, and more specifically, certain tastes, have the ability to vividly transport you back to a certain memory and subsequently, the emotional impressions the memory left with you.

Taho is another example of one of those foods. I have this yummy breakfast treat a lot so flashbacks are not as striking as the one I had with the burrito, but it brings me back nonetheless. Taho reminds me of summer vacations spent in the Philippines, particularly at my lola's place. When I would get up in the morning and zombie-drag my feet into kitchen for breakfast, there would always be several glasses of taho waiting on the thick wooden table, each covered with these silver coasters to shoo away the buggies of course! I'd get down to the level of the glasses and give each one a good look, noting which one had the most syrup. Then I'd pick up the coasters on each one, to note which one had the most sago. My top pick of course would be the one that had the most of both. Hehehehe. Sorry, eldest child, eldest apo on one side and youngest on the other (at that time), so I've got me some nurtured bratty qualities ;) So yes ANYWAY, taho reminds me of my childhood... and for many of us, who doesn't like remembering simpler times?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Lenten season. Around this time last year, I gave up sweets. This year, I'm back with advantage. No chocolates and cakes for me thank you very much. I wonder if I should just give them up for good. Ha. YA. You might as well just lock me a room and suck out all the air.


According to mom, I used to believe that the blacker the ash wednesday cross was on your forehead, the more sins you had to atone for. So.. how black was your ash wednesday cross? ;)

Monday, March 8, 2010

what the: WIRES

I can't stand messy wires- computer wiring, telephone cords, etc. Now take your usual mess of wires, magnify it by a gazillion and post it up on a telephone pole for all the world to see.

What an eye sore. Especially irritating for example, when you want to take a picture of the sky. Not like you can reach up and move it aside right?

If we really MUST display our electrical wires this way, could they at least be not so.. messy?! There are little hooks that keep wires regular wires in line right? I wonder if someone could come up with giant industrial versions for these visual distractions? Hmm.. I wonder if you could braid wires? Lol.


This year, I find myself waiting, waiting a lot as a matter of act. Waiting for my next trip, waiting for my next influx of cash, waiting for results, waiting for the pounds to drop, waiting for a project to finish, waiting, waiting waiting. Some of this waiting comes with a lot of action from my end- things I need to do to get my goal and thus, enabling me to move forward. But the most irritating type of waiting is well, the waiting where you simply.. wait.

Strangely, I don't remember having waited so much in the past years. Then again, it's probably because I didn't put myself "out there" as much as I have this year.

I was told recently by an empathic friend that I need not be in such a hurry. I suppose I feel like I'm making up for time (make that 2 years) lost during my years of drudgery, lol. At least it felt like drudgery towards the end. Though every time I think this, my head tells me I'm silly, that I learned a lot as well from those seemingly lost years, blah blah blah.

There seems to be a fine line between impatiently (anxiously? restlessly?) waiting and looking forward to something. I guess I'm writing this to remind myself to step back and enjoy the journey, and proactively learn from the present things I have committed and chosen to do. No day but today right?

Looks like I may need to re-look at my daily gratitude journal by opening up my awareness to a new level of gratitude.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Time Management

photo credit: http://heuristixx.wordpress.com/2009/10/07/math-problem-solving-and-mind-mapping/

I was with a colleague a few weeks back and I saw him scribbling on a piece of paper what looked like a very organized brainstorm. I learned later that he was fixing his schedule for the week, using a technique called mind mapping. My colleague is a very well put together guy and I couldn't image how he could run his life out of something that looked so deceivingly disorganized.

If you look at the photo above, you can see my schedule looks NOTHING like a mind map- I obviously organize my time very differently. I've always had a serious curiosity for learning new ways to up my time management and improve work efficiency so every so often I'll research and read up on time management techniques and tips. Over the years, I've put together this jumbled way of what I feel works best for me and my personality. I am still far from perfecting the skill and finding THE perfect mix and match for me.

So maybe I'll give this mind mapping a try and see how I can incorporate it into my current system. I do like the creative aspect of it!

How do you guys organize your time? Do share some tips if you have any :)