Seeing Home

I belong to a Yahoogroup of mostly women who spend a lot of their time on their computer – both on- and offline. A lot of them create tags using PaintShop Pro; they would then offer those tags up and group members can have their name put on them, for free. Like this one:

I am in three groups now. One is a group owned by a tagger, and I am just there to snag. The other is a sharing group where I get most of my freebie fonts and other graphics files. I joined that one so I can have something to share in this third group. Group number three is open to both taggers and snaggers, but tags aren’t the only things shared. There are sub-groups or committees in T4S, much like an organization. There are groups for people wanting to learn PSP, and a support group for those who want to lose weight, a recipe sharing circle, among others.

The first group I ever joined some three or four years ago was Friend2Friend. F2F was not just about the graphics files, it was really a community of women from all over the world. To this day, I’m not much of a forum person because I got so used to just logging on to my email and seeing all the chatter from women of all ages and from all over. 

Although most of the women in the group were much older in years, and led very different lives from mine, I felt that I truly belonged there. That I had found friends. For the past three years, I always receive a lot of interesting Christmas cards posted from the other side of the world. I only resigned from the group because I didn’t have time to perform “duties” as a leader of one of its committees, and eventually I couldn’t be an active member. Perhaps it’s time to think about rejoining. 

Anyway, it was through F2F that I first learned about PaintShop Pro. I signed up for the PSP Workshop and went through tutorials that taught me the basics of the software. There was always someone available to help you out with a software question, specially when you were dealing with the weekly assignment. 

Whew, I had no intentions to reminisce about F2F. What I really wanted to share was this photo that I recently received from one of the groups. It reminded me of Auntie Nellie’s house in Bangaan (in Sagada, Mt.Province):

I seriously don’t know why I don’t have a picture of her house that shows her lovely front yard that’s as filled with color as this artwork is. Maybe I do but I’ll have to search for it.

I’m not sure that I ever had a picture in my mind of the house that I’d like to grow old in. But I think it pretty much looks like this.  Mind you, I have no green thumb, so I have no idea how I could get a lovely garden. But since I am dreaming, it’s not impossible.

I’d always thought that the sala or living room would be the central part of my house, just as it is in my parents’ house. We are a family who spend their time at night gathered around the TV. We don’t hie off to our rooms until bedtime. Lately though, when Alfred and I discussed future homes, we kinda agreed that the kitchen would probably eat up a lot of the space. He would cook, I would bake. So maybe the kitchen will be the central space in this, our house. I can’t wait to map it out how it will look, and to pick the many appliances we’ll be needing. 🙂

When we were building this house at 19th street, where we all still live, everyone was involved in choosing the furnishings. There were times that we’d go to the builder’s depot as a family, just to pick out the bathroom faucets, kitchen sink, tiles and even paint. I actually enjoyed those times. I didn’t mind at all. If we do decide to move in to the condo instead of renting it out, I know I will have fun fixing it up. Unless the cost frustrates me, that is.

Me. Family. Others.

I had a good rant yesterday but I still didn’t get right down to the bottom line. It seems that I am easily derailed from my original line of thought. I get easily distracted these days.

My mind is working overtime – I have so many ideas and so many things I want to do. It’s like hearing voices in your head and you don’t know who to listen to first.

So what is the bottom line? I guess it’s that I am not involved in something bigger than myself. It’s that whatever I do now, it’s all just for myself mainly. I can’t even really say I am helping my family.

I’ve had it so easy. My parents were always able to provide for us. The one time or another that we’ve been in crisis – I didn’t truly feel it. They’ve never really put the burden on my brother or on me, to take over support of the entire family. There never really was that pressure. Okay, so maybe I had it easier than my brother did.

When I took my first job with the NGO, I was never required to give any portion of my salary to the family. Except to pay for the water bill – which isn’t that big. Well, for one, my pay – there really wasn’t that much of it. I knew that my mom would’ve just preferred that I save the extra that I got. Which I didn’t do, by the way. When my brother started working at a call center, it was already clear how much of his salary was going to the family. I didn’t hear him complain though.

When it was my time to earn bigger, well, they still didn’t really require anything from me. I don’t know exactly when my dad asked me to eventually give a fixed amount to my mom on a monthly basis – but even that wasn’t strictly implemented. Mom doesn’t remind us you see. She’d take what we’d give. Oh and the amount was less than half my brother’s contribution. For awhile I paid for our ISP, because I really was using it most of the time, but even that sort of was taken out of my hands eventually.

So I was already earning as much as my brother was but he was still was the only one religiously contributing to household expenses. Yet he’s still the one who was able to save up – ugh his savings is probably ten times more than mine!

My dad sort of reminded me about this. And he really does have a point. I should pick up some of the slack (my terms not his). So for the last two months, I’ve been contributing to the family income. Still not much, but at least there’s some.

And I’m thinking of doing a little more.

I’ll probably volunteer to cover the water bill again. No way am I going to shoulder electricity – leave that to the one who has an airconditioned room. Or maybe it should be the phone/Internet bill this time around? We’ll see.

And since I am the last person to leave the house at daytime, I will clean up. Nothing too exhausting – just sweep the flour, dust the tables, and keep everything in order. That way I’ll get my brother off my back too about his having to tidy up when he gets home from work. Maybe I’d be more keen on cleaning up if we had one of those Miele vacuum cleaners. Nah, I don’t think so, not really.

Maybe when I succeed in this, when I do even just a little for my family, I’ll be able to crawl out of  my shell once again and step out onto the bigger world. Maybe then I can reconnect with others and do something for a cause that’s bigger than just myself.

Kids. Prayers. and a Freebie :)

Wow. Since coming back from Bohol, I have not spent as much time on the computer lately, as I used too.

Pre-Bohol, my days off work were alternately spent between sleeping and all things related to my blogging. This weekend, I have been sleeping, yes, but I haven’t been on the computer much.


Whenever I get the chance, I take a nephew or a niece (or two, or more) with me, or tell stories about them to anyone who would care to listen. It is not at all surprising that the whole extended family is interested in what happens with each child – be it at school or elsewhere.

My 11-year old niece Dal, E’s elder sister,  was in a concert yesterday and all hands were on deck to support her. Even my Papa (grandfather) came with us to watch. It was a showcase of sorts and it was more like a school presentation than a concert, but it was fun to watch 🙂

While at the mall a few months ago with my cousin Candy, Dal was approached by a talent scout and was asked to audition for a spot at a kiddie show at some UHF channel. After discussing things with her parents, they decided to give it a go. She was accepted to attend a series of workshops. It went on from some time in May and they had their graduation rights on Sunday before last. I learned last night that she had already been chosen to be one of just 10 new kids to join the show. Yay!

We were all so proud of our girl, and it’s not just because she’s ours. She was so confident up there dancing. I always knew she could dance gracefully but this was the first time I saw her do so quite confidently. She wasn’t conscious at all in front of a full auditorium!

Here’s a video of the kids performing outside, just for me, three years ago. Dal is the one to the very left.


Joy, a friend of mine from Asia ACTs, was with us at the concert too. She had known Dal and the other kids from when I would take them to work or to an event we had.

From the concert and some snacks, we went to see Daddy Abueva at the hospital. He had suffered a stroke (there’s a more technical term to what actually happened) while in Davao with his son and son-in-law checking out wood for his various projects. With the doctor’s approval, and with an actual doctor accompanying them, he was flown back to Manila a few days ago.

We were there for about five hours. Yep, that was a long visit. We didn’t really intend it to be that long, specially knowing that he needed to rest.  But only Mommy Abueva was there when we arrived and we actually got around to chatting with her and keeping her company. In my years at Asia ACTs, and the many times she had us over for dinner, I didn’t really get the chance to just chat with Dra. Abueva like that. It was actually very easy. 🙂

There were other visitors too, and then eventually, Kuya Jimmy (Ate Ami’s husband) and son Dino came over; then Kuya Lawin, who was taking night watch. That was our signal to exit, we didn’t realize it was already late!

Daddy Abueva doesn’t seem to be in any danger anymore, in fact, he is raring to get back on his feet. But he still needs to rest, and go through some therapy. Being in bed though has not stopped him from being his funny self. 🙂

The family would appreciate prayers for Daddy Abueva’s fast and full recovery.


No, I am not giving away anything. But Flergs is. I’ve been a fan of Flergs for some time now and I couldn’t pass up the chance to win a kit that she had made.

Growing in Grace Magazine is running a promo to give readers the chance to win the Dusk Mini Kit, or perhaps even the entire Dusk til Dawn set? See the lovely new badge over at my sidebar? Click on it so you can read all about the promo. Before you go though, check this out:

This is my current desktop wallpaper. It’s a freebie desktop from Flergs’ blog and it was made using stuff from the kit in the promo. I just plopped it over one of my photos at the white sand beach of Panglao Island in Bohol 🙂

Go on over and check out the promo and the freebie desktop. You know you want to 😉

Other stuff. Come on, you’ve made it this far in my post, take a few more minutes 🙂 Thank you!

Yesterday, I saw a banner over at the tennis courts about individual lessons. I had asked my mom to check it out further since the court is just right in front of her office building. If I can afford it, I’d give it a shot. It’s been four years since I first tried the sport, with my uncle giving me free lessons.

Tennis would give me the much needed full body workout, and probably the kick in the butt I’ve been needing to get back to losing weight. I’m still not sure if FitRight is helping me out in that department, though I think it is. I’ve also been thinking about dietpills lately. I used to swear never to go near any product like that, but maybe it ain’t so bad?

Mistaken Identity – Lisa Scottoline

How would you feel if you met someone who was your complete opposite (in personality and social stature) but who looked exactly like you? Then that person tells you she’s your twin?I would probably freak out and then run to my mom and dad! 




That’s what top notch lawyer Bennie Rosato did when it happened to her. She also took on the reponsibility of being the alleged twin’s defense counsel in a capital murder case.

Mistaken Identity - Lisa Scottoline  



Mistaken Identity - Lisa Scottoline

The last Scottoline book I read was Legal Tender where Bennie was accused of murder herself. In Mistaken Identity, Bennie has already established the all-girl law firm of Rosato and Associates and is living with her boyfriend Grady (who I thought was the murderer back in Legal Tender, hehe). Mary and Judy were in this book too and the former was shown as having second thoughts about her chosen career. Doubts that were later dispelled.

This case represented a turbulent time in Bennie’s life: she learns that she has a twin, finds her dad, loses her mom, and she is almost killed. It is as if she loses her family – but in the end also learns what family really is all about – just not what she has always thought a family is or should be.

Mistaken Identity somewhat challenges our perceptions of family – is it merely blood and genes or something less tangible? I grew up with a loving family and I have good relationships with cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents too. Without a doubt, they are family to me. But I know that my heart also considers family, people who have no blood relation to me. I have lots of kuya’s (elder brother), manangs (an older female), uncles and aunties because I grew up in a very close knit community. When Alfred and I started talking about wedding plans I had to explain to him that for my side, close family and friends is still a lot people.

Because I had read four of even five other Scottoline novels before this, I felt like I already knew Bennie, Mary (and her parents), Judy, Marshall, Grady and even Lou. I was even waiting for Anne until I realized that her story comes much later. This is what’s great about her books, you can feel the familiarity as if you were part of the firm, of Mary’s family, yet you wouldn’t be lost if it was the first book you read.

While preparing for this post, I stumbled upon the author’s website and found that she has a Tote bag promo. She sends you a tote bag if you send her proof that you bought two copies of her latest novel, one to give away to a friend. I have been thinking of giving away/reselling-for much less- books that we have here. Maybe I’ll launch that project by purchasing two copies of Lady Killer. The thing is, I don’t think it’s already available locally. I would love to get that tote though. Hehe.

Oh, more book news… I am getting the Twilight Saga. I finally decided that I do want to read the whole series. I found a book store that still had paperback editions of the first three books and my friend will be picking them up for me this weekend. Breaking Dawn will have to wait – I’m not as hard core a fan to get the hard bound edition. 🙂

I gotta scoot, I promised a friend I’ll look into Scottsdale Real Estate information for her. She has recently migrated to the US and her family’s looking to setup permanent residence in Arizona.

September First – Family

Today, we were up before 6AM to make it to the morning service held in honor of my late Lola, Maggie Somebang.

Though the mass was held at 630 in the morning, there were still quite a number of people in attendance, mostly relatives and close family friends. We served breakfast right after the service, and my aunt made delicious carrot muffins to go with the usual breakfast fare of longganiza, scrambled eggs, and corned beef with potatoes and peas.

September 1st 2008 marks the fourth anniversary of her journey to heaven. It has been four years since our lives were drastically changed. Four years since. Somehow, I can say it is a bit better now, compared to the year after.

After breakfast, Alfred went home while I paid my cousin Ton a visit. She had an operation to remove a myoma and a cyst on her ovary (which is thankfully benign – a chocolate cyst). We stayed there for hours, talking about many things concerning the family. Caring for her was her girlfriend Margie, with me visiting is another cousin, Candy, and our niece Dalnes. I haven’t been hanging out with any of them in a long time. So being there in the hospital was a good time to spend the rest of the morning.

By 1PM, her doctor finally came back and gave clearance for her to finally go home, four days after the operation. She had been worried about the cost of her extended stay there, so she was relieved to be finally able to leave. I didn’t wait until she was actually discharged though, Dal and I left Candy and Margie to assist the patient.

Sometimes I can’t help but think how different times are now. I wonder how things would be different, specially in the lives of some of my nieces/nephews.

Lola, I know you’re up there, preparing the house in which we all would again be spending time with you. Some of us need your support more than others; I know you are there when they need to make crucial life decisions. I hope that when you look down through the clouds, you see us and feel proud, or at least happy with the paths we’ve  taken. You are remembered and loved. Always.

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