Really gross post ahead.

Okay. We live in Manila. As in Paco, Malate area Manila. Old Manila. Manila City. Near markets. And esteros. Etc.

We sort of live near a squatters' area given that our 'barangay' is located between a railroad and an estero. Although the people in our street actually own their homes, and these homes have titles, just a stone's throw away from us all are the squatters.

And have I said that we live in the Old Manila area?

I have? Okay.

And what's one of the common problems of living in an old city? Aside from the noise and pollution?

Pests, of course.

Our homes are apartment-style homes. And though we're not Bree van de Camp OC about cleanliness, I like to believe that our homes are 'kept' homes. But these homes are old homes (our walls overlap and all that sh!t) that my parents bought over two decades ago. We've renovated some but the structure's generally what it's always been.

Thus, we had to contend with our share of cockroaches and mice. They're gross but we're used to them and have learned to live with them. We make sure we still dispose of our trash properly, and don't leave food and spills for them to feast on etc. There isn't a day that I didn't wish for them to evaporate from the face of the earth but I know that between their species and ours, they are made of hardier stuff.

So, although they are a nuisance, I can live with them. I've learned to live with them. Bug sprays and sticky paper catchers are part of our grocery list.

But what of rats that are as big as cats?

Have I said anything about my morbid fear of rats? I'm scared of mice too (all rodents in fact, and rodent-looking thingies like rabbits and tarsiers) but they're generally too small to actually threaten me. But rats? They're not only scary-looking, the implications of all the germs and disease they bring along with them is just mind-boggling. Plus, they actually destroy properties.

My childhood is rich with stories of me squealing while standing on a chair as I watched my parents/our helper de-rat the house. But then we had a cat for a while... and didn't have to deal with rats in our home for a long time.

But I guess times are hard, even for rats. So they're now extra vigilant about making homes for themselves in people's homes. And no matter how much we clean our home, if neighbors don't do the same, rats can still propagate. Plus, they have the canals running through all homes as their designated subway to people's scraps (and laundry, and pictures, and toys, etc.)

Rats managed to gnaw away the cement in our kitchen cabinets (those above the canal) and thus managed to access our home. They were having a field day in the kitchen when I was pregnant (this is at the other house, where we still eat and cook, and not in our home, where we sleep and watch TV and go online) and I really thought i'd miscarry because of them. I stopped going there.

Then suddenly the rats stopped coming. So all's well again in our old homes.

Then they returned. The house beside my parents' underwent major renovations, which seemed to drive the rats crazy. It's funny in a bad way but it seems the houses in our compound shared the rats so when this one house got repaired, we got its share. Or maybe they were all nesting there and were just driven to the neighbors. I dunno.

And for the life of me, they got to a chair where my son's sketches were kept in an envelope. Imagine how violated and threatened I felt, having my son's sketches all gnawed up. Grr.

So enough was enough. We had a cousin of mine clean the canal, close up all holes he could find, install steel bars in the CR, etc.

Just three days after we've 'dealt' with them... there was a big rat again. We thought that maybe it was wise enough to lie low during the repair, nesting behind my father's old component. My cousin managed to trap it and kill it. (hurrah for her)

But the following day, there were more! Ugh.

My cousin killed them all again. Which is good really but for the fact that the rats couldn't then tell the others to stop going to our home for they will be killed. Sigh. How are they getting inside?

Through the pipe of our kitchen sink, we discovered.

Talk about tenacious. Stubborn. Etc.

So we started leaving a big pot of water there so they couldn't get through.

This morning, we found a hole gnawed on the woodwork of the screened window that also acts as exhaust window in the kitchen.

I am going crazy here.

My Mother insists that we use poison but my cousin is scared of using any because she says she's easily affected by them. I can't handle the poison since i'm breastfeeding and am scared too. My husband has offered to do it... but we're scared of one other thing.

What if the rats die trapped somewhere they shouldn't be? And what if they also spread the poison and it affects people (I did say we are connected via canals to those living in slums right?).

People abroad might suggest that we hire exterminators... which we can do, but won't really solve our problem.

Because the real issue here is that Manila is infested with pests. And unless there is a city-wide program to clean up surroundings, I doubt this will be remedied by rat traps and poison.

So yes, it's the biggest incentive for me to get out of here. I am just having problems with coming up with the money for that too.

the pressure's on

8:42 AM Wednesday, May 28, 2008

... for me to earn.

No, it's not that hubs is moaning about his financial obligations already. And we're not exactly destitute. We could, however, start really spending less.

And honestly, I don't miss working. I just think I do but what I really miss is earning. I miss having my own money. I miss having money. I miss not feeling guilty about purchases.

I miss being able to give gifts to hubs. I miss spending my own money for nieces and nephews. I am close to using up all remaining earnings from my old work now... i've been saving it to pay my insurance premiums this July. After that, i'd really be penniless. No money to my name.


So the pressure is on for me to earn. Unfortunately, when God showered entrepreneurial skills, I was still sleeping.


Meanwhile, we should be on dengue alert.


2:32 PM Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I have been actively convincing other friends to blog... even setting up their blogs for them. I have been having problems with beta blogger templates though, because my understanding of html is very limited and i've always been a classic template user.

But for them, beta blogging would be more convenient.

And now, I am trying to change templates.

And yes, I started another blog... as if I am not going insane already with all that I maintain. But these mini projects help keep me sane and make me feel important. Naks.

Come June, I know i'd be preoccupied with all my school requirements. Maybe that will also help with the sanity and self-esteem.

photohunt: shoes

2:57 PM Saturday, May 24, 2008

Babies grow up so fast. And they get to a point where they get to express their preferences way too soon. My son started refusing shoes when he was around three months old. I really can't blame him though. His feet are fat, so the usual infant shoes wouldn't feel right. My mother-in-law took it as a cue to buy bigger sandals for him, but they're too big and heavy for his feet.

Since babies' feet are still developing and their bones there are still soft, it's really not necessary to have them wear shoes. So I stopped trying to squeeze his feet in any. I just bought bigger socks for him, which he also dislikes, but cannot remove as easily.

And without us knowing, we have amassed this many pairs as gifts from friends and family. We only bought one pair of shoes for him, the one he used at his christening (the white with yellow lining at left, bottom row). And for the life of me, I cannot find the pair for the three booties on the right which is too bad really because I loved the blue one. The one he used the most are the infant sandals at the bottom row. And I cannot wait to use the brown moccasins his godmother bought in France for him (left-most, top row). I just hope he doesn't kick it off till we lose it.

So yeah. My son has turned Imeldific without him even wanting to. People stopped giving us shoes though when they noticed that my son isn't going around with any. Hehe.

delaying reproduction

5:03 PM Friday, May 23, 2008

A friend of mine who married someone who is based in the US is one of four remaining non-Moms in our peer group. She actually wants to have kids already, I guess because she cannot help but be carried away with our own ramblings of how joyful and rewarding and challenging it is to have someone so small rule your heart (and household). That, plus she IS married to a man she really loves and they do want kids.

However, her husband does not want to have a baby yet. He wants them to learn and manage their money better before inviting the expenses a pregnancy and a family addition will bring. Plus, they are still struggling with the mortgage rates of their home because they're living on their own, separate from his family (which my friend isn't in good terms with).

Good thing for them, the mortgage they got suited their needs perfectly.

We, her friends, just cheer her up by reminding her that she is among the youngest in the group, and could afford to wait. Plus, we're pretty sure that if ever she ends up pregnant anytime soon, her husband will also be ballistic with delight. I mean, who can resist the gift of child with the person they love?

And money matters have a way of working themselves out anyway, so long as you get the right help from the people who know best, and manage your spending and saving.

Years ago, a friend of mine got in quite a fix. She maxed out her credit card. She loved to shop, and was very brand-conscious. But she was also very generous, because she also shopped for us, her friends, and for her boyfriend.

She got to a point where the credit card company was already breathing down her neck. I think she's only been paying the minimum amooooount that hardly covered the interest. Good thing for her, she was her dad's little pet and he bailed her out of the expensive fix.

Not quite sure if she learned her lesson. But I am very sure that there are all too many women/people like her who use their card too much. Especially since credit cards are now even offering up to two years of waived fees and minimal payments as low as P600 monthly. So every little new dress, and the perfect little bag to go with it, and the must-have shoes... all are charged to the plastic. Every cup of calorie-ridden frappe is malso charged to credit. It is just so easy now to live a luxurious lifestyle filled with spa appointments and facial treatments and trips all over the country. Meanwhile, millions are also incurring so much debt and making credit card companies richer by the compounding interest they accrue.

But what about those who have seen the light and want to turn over a new leaf... those who are bravely recovering from their bad credit... but are also in dire need of cash? What can they do?

Well... it's a good thing that there is such a thing as a bad credit cash loan, a form of payday loan given to those who have bad credit history. All is not lost then. Money can still be a friend even if it sometimes teaches really harsh lessons.

Of course, the plastic dependency has got to stop.

I am uninspired.


Lacking sleep.

I seldom catch a cold. Usually, what I get is a sinus allergy attack. But this cold has been driving me and my son crazy for a week now. And it's still raging.

I've been told that most colds are viral and go away on their own, even if you take some medication for them or not. But dang it, it's been a week!

And I fear that I may require antibiotics because my throat is giving me grief too.


Forgive me my friends, it's not so cool to be typing away on the keyboard while also wiping a runny nose.

photohunt: Candy

5:58 PM Sunday, May 18, 2008

One of the candies I really cannot resist, eventhough it's just really pure sugar... is the sugar goodness of sugar flowers on a cake.

Yeah, that's way too much sugar in one sentence... but really, I love them so much. And I find the tasteless ones (like the ones Red Ribbon or some wedding cake makers use) simply horrible for not delivering that sugar high in a punch... in just one bite.

Talk about cavity-inviting... but heck, sugar flowers will always make me a little girl at heart.

some kinda anorexic

4:10 PM Friday, May 16, 2008

It feels cruel to even use the term loosely...

But it's really weird. I didn't notice that I was shedding all the weight. Then one day, I just realized all my clothes lay limp on my body already. I hadn't realized that I was going around looking like a combination of ghost and house help.

I was back to my pre-wedding weight... only my form is wider. But I was back to my pre-wedding weight.

And everyone is just gasping at how much weight i've lost.

And it felt weird telling them that I didn't go on a diet, didn't really exercise.

And then, this unexplainable appetite came upon me... that I found myself eating around six full meals, on average, daily. Eventhough i'm full already, I couldn't help myself... I had to eat. Somehow, my body went into panic... so I was going on binge overdrive. We even thought I might be pregnant again, but am not.

So now i've gained 3 lbs. back. And that feels weird too. I am torn between glee over the weight gain, and sadness too. I mean, of course the weight loss meant I was a healthier weight. But I am still struggling with the ravenous appetite. Heaven help me, it's horrible to be in this unconscious tug of war.

I have to start eating healthy again. And I have to manage my weight instead of being motivated by it. I owe it to myself. There are a thousand sunsets I have yet to witness with my family.

I Hid the Yamashita Treasure

3:42 PM Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Well, at least it feels like it... given that it hasn't been found yet. Same way that I cannot find my EON Card, my passport, and so many other things. And yet I am positive all are just at home.

And I have turned the house upside down looking for lost things many times... but usually, it's just easier to get a replacement than find them. And these are things that I didn't just throw on a table like I do most things... what I lose are usually really important things that I made sure to keep away.

I know, isn't it ironic?


Then again, the Yamashita treasure could be a mythical treasure... while my passport isn't.

photohunt: ANY

12:18 PM Saturday, May 10, 2008

I must have missed a month's worth of Photohunting because am usually so busy in the weekends that I can't find time to blog.

Anyway, I was torn on what to post for a theme that is so open. Of course, the first instinct was to post a picture of my son. But I shall resist the stage mom instinct...

This picture, taken just before rains started to come down, is of the Baguio Cathedral (Our Lady of Atonement). It features a dramatic aisle that is perfect for weddings and stained glass features by the altar.

But I happened to take this picture not because we were there for religious purposes... but because the Church offers great parking in the congested, confusing streets of Baguio City.


8:58 AM Friday, May 09, 2008

I cannot help but wish that I have something poignant to say... that I am going to elaborate on endings and closures.

But i'm not.

I'm just going to say that I don't miss my period, which visited me last on the sad morning of Py's burial back in December 30, 2006. It's really great not to be wearing sanitary napkins and worrying if a trip will coincide with red-letter days.

I don't know how long breastfeeding will keep my period away though. And I could be pregnant again without knowing it. Yikes!

tagged... who am I?

7:31 AM Thursday, May 08, 2008

I AM… happy with my life. No regrets leaving the workforce to become a stay at home mom.
Tagged by Christine :)

I WANT... a telephoto lens for my DSLR.

I HAVE... nicer boobs now :D

I WISH... I can earn through paid blogging again.

I HATE... not being able to grasp the science in photography.

I FEAR... losing loved ones. (greatest fear ata ng lahat ito!)

I SEARCH... for more patience, more kindness, more tolerance and understanding in me.

I WONDER... what would have happened if I decided to strike out on my own and travelled the word earlier in life.

I REGRET... not being friends with my Mom growing up.

I LOVE... my husband and son real much!

I ALWAYS... botch up my own schedule so am always cramming and running around to finish chores/tasks.

I AM NOT... good at selling anything :(

I DANCE... really sensually :D

I SING... to my son all the time. Weirdly enough, it comforts him even when am out of tune all the time.

I CRY... when I haven't had enough sleep for days.

I WRITE... what comes to mind, what's cose to heart.

I WON... a spelling bee contest in Grade 2 and 4th year HS.

I AM CONFUSED... as to why most parents look outside of themselves for their child's entertainment, education, utrition, etc.

I NEED... to find ways to earn so my husband wouldn't be burdened so.

I SHOULD... remember to enjoy what I have all the time and not worry about what I don't have more than necessary.

THE LAST THOUGHT YOU GO TO SLEEP WITH IS... "Please God, let me have some sleep." :D

Now, I am tagging Mari (opkors), Panaderos and Fionski

i was late... but not too late

1:57 AM Wednesday, May 07, 2008

As a child, the daydream was always to travel to a place and time where I can see for myself what I was reading about.

So I wanted to see castles and forests when I read my fairy tales.

And I wanted to live in log cabins and collect firewood and wear aprons... when I read about the life of American Pioneers and their covered wagons.

And I wanted to fish, and to see snow, and to watch a train hoot by from a hill. I wanted to see different sights, different lifestyles, diferent people.

But my parents never travelled much. In fact, we never had a family trip... only those once-in-a-blue-moon trips to the beach or Our Lady of Manaoag with my father's clan. Thankfully though, my Mom usualy had office outings to the beach so I am pretty sure i've been to Ternate (Cavite) twice during jellyfish season. So Baguio and Chocolate Hills and Hundred Islands all remained to be places I could only appreciate from post cards and magazines.

That must be the saddest part of my childhood... that I only ever got to daydream but not live the dream.

It was only when I was already working that I got to see the Philippines. So I really relished every provincial trip. Then I got involved in mountaineering which led to my enchantment with Sagada. It was great being somewhere else, able to revel and marvel at where other folks are coming from. And I really want to see more of the world, while people still have not exchanged the trees and rivers for modern housing.

Alas... i've only been to Hong Kong and nowhere else abroad. I didn't do my best to go for bigger adventures because I wasn't too keen on stepping out of my comfort zone (where food is concerned). But I am growing bolder now. Not really financially able anymore as before... but I believe I haven't left it too late yet. So there is hope for the intrepid traveller in me to be gratified. Just maybe in tranches. And maybe not in the ways i've daydreamed to go about it.

tomorrow, I escape

7:33 PM Friday, May 02, 2008

... the heat of summer in Manila by heading to the City of Pines.

Hopefully, Baguio will be a sweet oasis for my parched body that has been slowly dying from the intensity of the heat and humidity here. It is really times like these that I hate living in a tropical country. If only I can walk around naked and wet at home, able to jump in the shower for a sprinkle of water all the time without needing to mind a son, the computer and all other things that will get wet or soiled.

But sigh... even the water that flows from the taps is warm.

A friend says it's raining in Baguio most afternoons. I worry about catching a cold... but cannot help myself from also silently looking forward to shivering while sipping hot chocolate at Cafe by the Ruins.

Thank you to the powers that be for the reprieve.

Around four years ago, I joined a certain ygroup where I made lots of good friends. We became so close that we started our own ygroup where we can rant and rave to our heart's content without really having to share those with so many faceless people. Plus, aside from all the ygroup-related stuff, we talked about our favorite music, our love stories, etc.

The camarederie our 'clique' enjoyed became evident to some of the others in the bigger ygroup at a grand EB. Maybe some thought us too loud and visible. But surely it's not our fault if we were a group who were game in joining singing and dancing and eating and kissing contests? But anyway...

One or two women approached one of us to ask if she can join our group. And though most of us liked those two women, all were apprehensive about having 'new members' who didn't have as long a history with the ygroup as we all had. And dang me, I said something like... let's just hang out with them but let's not let them join us, since they might not be in the same wavelength as us (since we were a pretty crazy bunch).

Can you see how easily that can be taken out of context? :)

So yeah... although we didn't mean anything MEAN, it did sound a trifle elitist. As if we're too good a group to have new 'members'. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So imagine the uproar it caused when one of us elaborated on what I said and mistakenly sent it to the whole ygroup.

Ugh. Talk about ugly.

I felt so bad because the one who accidentally sent it is a truly helpful, friendly, wonderful woman who has went out of her way many times for other members of the ygroup. And suddenly, there are these people who are labelling her as elitist, arrogant, etc. Ugh. Talk about angry.

And we couldn't fan the flames of these people's wrath by defending our friend... surely you know how others who don't really have much of a life will stick to their guns and insist on having the last say? And we didn't want more obnoxious remarks thrown our friend's way, she felt bad enough as it was.

Sigh. We even got a 'public scolding' about getting a big head etc.

But we decided to just keep mum and stay friends. We knew what we meant and we know we were the most helpful bunch in the ygroup anyway. For a time though, rather than broadcast to all something we know is helpful, we'd just privately message someone. It was either that or be branded as a know-it-all all over again.

Around this time too, I always got asked to join YM conferences... where some older members of the ygroup have formed their own clique, and were only too happy to pass judgment on my friend. Actually, I even think they were only inviting me for comic relief... somebody to make fun of, after. One of them, in particular, hated me for reasons I don't know... and she'd sometimes type in the wrong window (where I can read it) her comment about how sablay I was for saying something was so... only, it wasn't me that said the something she thought was stupid.

So, yeah... I wondered if she was a truly happy woman, wife and mother. Because if she were, why would she be threatened by me?

Around this time too... i'd see nasty anonymous comments left in my main blog. And a friend did say that she would sometimes be asked to YM conferences only to be deluged with judgment about how promiscuous my blog is.

After all, I was posting nude (if cropped) pictures of myself.

Imagine how annoyed that made me, to have a friend hassled over my blog. Why not invite me? I'd gladly answer questions even if I don't defend my choices of blog entries! And why keep coming back to get upset? Isn't that a sick, stupid undertaking?

And why this post? Because someone just told me that she was one of those who were around when others were being offended by me posting a picture of my butt. It seems, they were all like, "why did she have to post a picture of her a$$?"

Well, why the hell not?

And given my grief these days about not having that fine specimen of an a$$ anymore, I am seriously more than happy that I was able to immortalize it when it was still truly glorious.

It's just really ugly that some adults, who are already married and raising kids, still don't have enough life experience to respect other people's way of life. And if only I don't want to court bad karmic retribution, i'd really wish their husbands to be frequenting MTC and jacking off on some of my posts! Just so they'll really have something to be threatened about.

And yes... I am still bloody insomniac.


Meanwhile, if you're looking for a cute christening gift, or torn about how to dress up your baby's feet... consider baby socks with shoe designs.