July 29, 2013

The older I get, the more I feel like I live for goals

(I just realized that we didn't take any single photo on that pizza night. So, hi. Here's is a photo of my cereal.)

This I realized over a planned pizza dinner with two close friends since college, Eileen and Tip. Conversation about what happens after graduation, getting a job at the moment, and goals in life, were just a bunch of topics we have discussed among others. In those fast-paced moments, for more than hours, Tip suggested about making a goal for every month. It was one of those striking, fleeting moments that led me to pause for a while and thought about that idea.

I didn't get serious about it that time and while moving on from one conversation to the next, it's always popping out in my head like it wants to be focused on quickly. After dinner, we decided to play Battle Realms just because it's what we used to do back in college. While playing for hours, I couldn't help but think about it over and over. After playing, we decided to take some snacks while waiting for the rain to stop. The thought was still there. It is keeping itself visible and clearer as the night progressed. Finally, I gave it a chance to be thought of when I got home, in bed.

Until now, after barely a month, I haven't really been very vocal about it. It's just in my head, sitting idly, waiting for me again.

I have a lot of goals. Proof are my crazy long list of things I want to do, to make, to write about, to buy, places I want to wander around in the near future, anything you can think of. But these things don't have that specific time in which I should have made it because I don't want to pressure myself.

Maybe that is the reason why having goals each month is such a heavy thing to do but obviously it is something I want to do because I can't erase it in my thoughts. Things are very uncertain now. But I have thought of trying to do it anyway.

Next month, I'm looking forward for a job offer. It's basically just the thing that I am looking forward to. So, I am finally taking it as my goal for the month of August. The goal is to get a job offer and once I get it, things will be certain somehow and it would be easy to make goals, I guess.

I have invited myself to think of the opposite which is not getting a job offer. That's a tough one, but it is a possibility. Maybe, just maybe, if that happens, well, c'est la vie. That's life. I would move on and find another job. Play the waiting game again. At least, I have a goal, right?

This is where the word 'focus' comes in. It's my word of the year 2013, focus. Focus on my goal. The very goal I want to hit right on the spot this time. That very goal which could lead me to a challenging life but could lead things into perspective and certainty, I suppose.

July 26, 2013

Letter Challenge: Your Siblings

Very old photo of us lined-up together. Eldest to youngest (with Mama)

(A letter of the youngest kid among six children about feeling hopeless at times, about missing the good old days, and about contentment.)

Dear Siblings,

Isn't it amazing how we are bound together by love? That no matter how each of us fail at some point in our endeavors, we still accept each other just because.

As the youngest, all I want is the best for all of you. Even though I am always left behind, I still hope and pray that I will be okay because I understand that all of you want to live your lives away from home.

Whenever I think about the past, when Mama and Papa were still alive, I become happy and sad. I miss those times together. Those times when we always eat together, spend time in the garden together, watch television together, share everything we have with each other, celebrate Christmas Eve and New Year's celebrations together. Thank you for making my life exciting sometimes. Everything is extremely different now. You have your own lives, I am still here. The magic is slowly drifting away. I wish it was the other way around.

I remember people telling me that I am such a cheerful kid. I am not the same anymore unless I am away with friends. I am alone and, in the recent years, been dealing with complicated things. I know it would get more complicated as the years progress.

All of you are lucky to have wonderful younger years because those were the last best years with Mama and Papa around. Now, I feel alone. Sometimes lonely, sometimes not. But still alone. I wish I had some people to guide me through life. If Mama and Papa were here today, I might have my everyday reminders about little things. I would not feel scattered if so.

During Christmas and New Year's in the recent years, I always think about our simple but happy, glorious and meaningful celebrations together as a family. I am almost alone during these times now that is why I think about it so I won't feel lonely. :) For the past years, I always treat these celebrations as the time to remember the joys I had together with the whole family years ago and the blessings I have currently. I will forever treasure them and carry with me wherever I go once I leave this life.

Our parents must be very proud and I am happy to know that you are all stable somehow. Knowing all of your stability, I am contented enough that if I would be gone, at least I have nothing to worry about. I am contented with our happy memories together, my life in the past years, and what I have currently. What matters most are the things that keep me happy and strong and those are not material things. Those are memories, positive feelings, and satisfaction from the people I truly care about (including friends).

I wonder if there is something in store for me tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, or the day after that. I wonder if I'll ever going to leave home as well? I wish I could live near all of you, each one of you... maybe every day would be the best. I hope there is something out there for me as well. Something that would help me flourish without anyone else stopping me. I am faithful to have another amazing and happy experiences in the future just as how hard (but I am trying to be brave not to cry every time) experiences I have now.

Thank you for always saying that I can do it. That I shouldn't mind whatever is happening around because the people who hurt other people just so they would feel on top would never always win.

Thank you for not forgetting about me.


The youngest kid among six who hid behind leaves in her early years,

July 23, 2013

Fun with Fabric Tapes: DIY Pen Holder

I have a lot of pens. So I needed something that can hold them together but I don't want to buy something ready-made because that would be expensive (although I would love to have that Hedgehog pen holder!). I have two pen holders now. The other one is a personalized tumbler I got on my birthday two years ago. It can't hold additional pens anymore so I figured I have to make a DIY pen holder.

Materials you need:
A clean can of soda or beer/any kind of jar
Fabric tapes (or washi tapes!)
Printed paper (optional)

Using a can opener, take out the cover of your can. Make sure you cut out the sharp edges before working on it. Cover the sides of the upper part of your can with a printed paper or you can use your tapes. I used a printed paper because I want it to look kind of rugged. Hehe.

For the body,  I used my fabric tapes. Stick them around horizontally and alternately. You can do it vertically or diagonally, or checkered. It's is up to you! :)

Add some embellishments if you have! I would definitely stick some when I find some cute embellishments for it. Maybe little butterflies will do since my fabric tapes are floral. ;) I am so in love with fabric/washi tapes. I will buy more soon. Do you use such decorative tapes? If yes, how do you use them? Do you make DIYs using it as well? Let me know. I would love to know! :)

July 20, 2013

Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath by Stephanie Hemphill


Sylvia Plath. I've stumbled upon writings about her and so her name sounds familiar to me. Later on, with the help of the internet, I learned who she was. I'm not a fan or whatsoever, but I would like to know her full story. I've been wanting to read her novel but unfortunately I couldn't find a copy in bookstores yet. One afternoon, while browsing through old books in a book sale, I saw a book not by her but about her. Without any doubt, I bought it. 

Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath by Stephanie Hemphill is a portrait of her life compiled in poems. Poems are written describing Plath from different perspectives, from different people whom she had shared her life with. I wish I have read her journals before reading this book but so far, I believe, Hemphill had written them in a way that a reader like me, who doesn't know Plath entirely, would understand how she was. Most poems are written in free verse and sometimes inspired by Plath's style or way of writing. Some poems are okay but most of them are heavy. Especially the poems right at the end of the book -- those that speak about Plath in her last days are really heavy. At some point, it made me kind of emotional. I actually hugged the book after I read it. It's like reading a life story about Plath and each dialogue of Plath's friends, lovers, families and others are written in different poems. The poems are very well-written. Hemphill makes me want to read more about Plath. I definitely recommend this book.

There are some questions in the book. Sort of a study guide.

What in this book inspired your strongest emotional response? Explain how it made you feel. Did it connect to your own life? How so? The part where I knew about Sylvia's illness up to the point where she took her own life. I felt sadness and anger at the same time. I just wished someone were there taking care of her... maybe it could have changed the way how she handled her life. I felt like she needed help all the time. I wonder if someone were able to change her mind, took her somewhere else where she wouldn't think about much of it, it could have changed the way she handled everything. Maybe her Psychiatrist could have helped better. Depression strikes once in a while to me and when it does, it takes too long to deal with it. Maybe in that sense I can say that what happened to Sylvia, happens to me, too, but in a lower degree, I guess. Not to the point wherein I would take my own life.

Do you think Sylvia's death was inevitable? Does knowing about her suicide make you respond differently to her novel and poems? Do you wish you didn't know how her life ended? Death is inevitable but the way Sylvia handled it could be avoidable. I haven't read her novel yet but I have read some of her poems. The first time I heard about her, I already know that she committed suicide but not about how she did it. So, I don't think it could change the way I read her writings in the future. Her writings are very beautiful for me and very personal which is why I think they are all special. I've wanted to know how her life ended. I wanted to know the reasons why she did it. I wanted to know what made her take her own life. Even though it makes me angry to think that she took her own life, leaving everyone who loves her, which I think is kind of selfish and just wrong, at least I have known something about her. But, anyway, she really was a beautiful writer. I adore her for that.

If Sylvia were alive today, what do you think she would write about? If Sylvia were alive today, she would have written stories and poems about depression, moving on, meaning of life, what's it like to be Sylvia Plath, where she could have been right now. She could have been a woman with lots of wisdom, stories and poems to share.

If you were to write a poem about your life, what episode would you write about? I would write about the things I did not understand when I was younger, the things that I understood now, and the things that I want to understand in the future. It would be about celebration of life.

July 17, 2013

Missed Connection: That friendly, cheerful and high-spirited gay guy

It was my very first job application here in the city. I feel kind of nervous at the time because I didn't know what could happen and there were hundreds of applicants. While walking towards the end of the line, I kind of feel uneasy and (again) nervous. As I decided to go home, I found myself at the end of the line. So I stayed. It was after a minute or less when you lined up next to me. A guy looking very neat with a backpack on. While waiting in the line, I checked my things in my bag and realized I don't have a pen. So I had to hurry and go to the nearest bookstore to get one. I was kind of hesitant to ask you for a reservation but I did anyway. You were very pleasing and said "sure!".

I came back and realized the line got shorter and you were almost near the entrance. You smiled at me and I said "thanks!". I feel kind of aloof because almost everyone is with a friend. I was just standing there... waiting. You were busy talking to your friend about the company and stuff. I am surprised (and thankful) because you initiated to talk to me. You were asking questions and stuff about me. Until we got ourselves seats, we still talked about the same topic and, sometimes, people around us. You seem to know everyone there. You are very friendly and cheerful.

The process was long. We changed seats from time to time until we got our registration numbers. Mine was 505 and yours was 504. We got to the initial interview, waiting to be called. From there, you met new friends again. I felt very comfortable with you. As if we're close friends for years. You kept talking about how you are hoping to get the job while I kept asking myself, in a deep thought, what I was doing there. It was almost 5 in the afternoon and you mentioned that you will be absent in your class at 5 because it seems that we're not going to be called before 5. You even said that it will break your heart if you won't get the job. I just hoped that we'll be okay after it.

We were finally called together in a group of 10. We found ourselves in a cubicle with other applicants. We were interviewed together, all of us, one after the other, describing one's self. You were the first one to be called. I loved how you delivered your speech. You had a quote as your intro and I was very proud because I know you are currently taking Bachelor of Arts in English. You sounded really good. Then, it was my turn. I was kind of blah. I didn't really know what to say first so I started with "my name is...". I was just talking and trying to pick up hobbies and stuff to say that would interest my listeners. After my turn, you turned to me and said "that was spontaneous" I smiled.

I was trying to keep my cool because I found myself kind of nervous about the situation. Mainly because it's my first job interview ever. Well, actually I get the same feeling every after I say something in front of people. It's something I hate the most, that feeling. I'd rather be the one at the back stage working than talking in front of so many people. By so many, I mean 5 or more. Imagine how I was in my Public Speaking class. All the applicants have spoken and after several minutes, the interviewer mentioned 8 names including yours. My name wasn't mentioned. I and with another girl passed the initial interview. I didn't know what to say to you. So, I just smiled at you and you wished me luck. You smiled, of course. I said, "thanks!".

I didn't thought about myself for a while. I knew your heart was broken (like you said earlier) but you can still catch up on your class which I thought was a good thing, I guess. And so I moved on with the rest of the application process. I admit that it was kind of boring without having someone to talk to. I missed your quirky presence.

I wonder how you are today, you cheerful and high-spirited gay guy? I hope you're doing well. Good luck with your studies.

And thank you for making my first job interview, that lasted about 8 hours, kind of fun! :)

July 14, 2013

Postcards for England and China

I made and sent two postcards last month. One for Beverly from England and Dina from China.

Beverly is the first person who inspired me to write. She doesn't know it, I guess. But I mentioned it, finally, in my letter. At the age of 13, I started keeping a notebook full of poems and whatnot. And I started keeping a diary before I started blogging back in 2005. She's one of my heroes. :) Back in high school and early years in college, she was my pen pal. We used to write novel-like letters but it suddenly stopped. I can't trace back who stopped replying but it doesn't matter. I hope someday our paths will cross again. I want to tell her a lot of things. Things that I didn't understand years ago but I do now

Dina is a postcrosser from China. I made her a dream catcher-inspired card because that's what I thought of while thinking about what kind of postcard should I make for her. I hope she gets it! :D

July 11, 2013

Pineapple Smoothie


One of my favorite things to make during Summer season is smoothie/shake! This time I made some pineapple smoothie! I'm lucky to have bought a sweet kind of pineapple in the market. Anyway, my point of making this one is to have something to drive me to exercise. It's the best prize right after a heavy workout! 

Pineapple Smoothie
Serving: 2 tall glasses

2 cups of pineapple chunks
1/4 cup of sugar syrup
1 cup cold water
2 tbsp. powdered milk

Put everything in the blender.
Blend until smooth.
Chill for 30 minutes or so.

You can add crushed ice in the mix if you wish to drink it right away. For me, I decided to do work out while having it chilled. So when I'm done, I could just take it out from the freezer and reward myself for a job well done!

If we're going to talk about workouts then count me out. Hahaha! It happened for several times though but it didn't last. I have done some exercising in the past months. It's just that I can't do it religiously. I think I am one of those people who just wants to do some exercise when they feel lousy and in the need to. Although I would love to have someone tell me right in the face to do exercise just because. Please don't judge. I'm just trying to defend myself from calling myself lazy. I know, I know. I shall list some exercises to do again for this month! ;p

I can't wait to do some workout plan for this month. :p

July 8, 2013

Braised Pork Recipe

One of my favorite Filipino dishes is Braised Pork or, in Filipino, Humba. It's almost always present during fiesta, birthdays, graduation, or any other celebration. It's a go-to recipe for most Filipino families. There are different ways to cook Humba. I like it when it is kind of sweet, less oily and with boiled eggs on the side. Boiled eggs aren't necessary for the recipe but I like having it because it is my favorite. :p

Here's how I made my version.
1. Boil eggs. Boil for 2 minutes. Let it rest in a covered casserole for 7 minutes. Set aside. This is a technique I learned to have a perfect hard-boiled eggs. So far, it never failed me.

2. Heat oil in casserole. Add pork belly over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Add 4 tbsp. brown sugar. Add 1 cup of water.

3. Add 4 cloves of garlic, minced. Sprinkle some black ground pepper. Bring to boil. Lower heat until meat is fork tender.

4. When meat is fork tender, let it simmer. Add some spring onions. Add the hard-boiled eggs. You may slice the eggs in half. You may also add your favorite herb like basil or rosemary.

It is much better to marinate the pork prior to cooking so the pork would have more taste.

That's all. :)
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