Monday, April 30, 2012


[caption id="attachment_10694" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Prang Sam Yot, Lopburi[/caption]

Prang, in architecture, is a tower-like spire, usually richly carved. It's a common Hindu and Buddhist shrine element from the Khmer Empire. In Thailand prangs appear only with important Buddhist temples. They were adapted by Buddhist builders around 1350 - 1767 in the Ayutthya Kingdom and 1782 - 1932 in the Rattanakosin Kingdom. ~ Source

It's the annual monkey party in the Thai countryside of Lopburi.  Prang Sam Yot is famous for being the party venue every year. Those prangs teemed with monkeys when I arrived. I stood opposite while deciding which entrance to approach.

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Organizing Happiness: review

Do you sometimes think bad moods you feel may be due to the disorganized state of things around you?

If you suspected so, Organizing Happiness can help you, like it helped me deal with clutter issues, acquaint or reacquaint yourself with habits that will make you and others happier, and use spiritual weapons and organization inspiration for happiness.

The longer I have been busy with job and social responsibilities, the farther I have strayed from bible-based advice on living an organized life so well-presented on this ebook.

Being used to having paid help do cleaning and cooking chores for me, my place has become a war zone of clothes, books, stilettos, and my kiddo's toys here and there  following changes in our living arrangement. Having the practical illustrations and gentle advice of this darling ebook around mitigated my personal struggle with domestic chaos.

Author Lorrie Flem's attribution of clutter on "not having a designated place to put things" nailed it for me. I actually went to a supermarket to buy keepers.  I also tried the '15-minute' suggestion and indeed was amazed to see the bedside table got tidied up, the dresser tamed and the garbage sorted in just 15 minutes.

Under one of four headings in this ebook, I am especially delighted to be reminded of Philippians 4:8 - “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”

Be inspired as I am. You can read Organizing Happiness for free by signing up for the Eternal Encouragement newsletter. Find details of this ebook here. Unmistakably relevant to fellow moms keeping a home as well as working single ladies, I am sharing this post over at Mommy Moments , Happiness is..., & Color Connection.

Friday, April 27, 2012

CJ's convention and CaCoy's colors

My moment as a mom this week was to enlist CJ in a Children's Convention on May 3-5. He is going with Grandma. I gladly anticipate results.

As an auntie I recall a happy dining moment with nephew CaCoy.  We - cousins, spouses and kids lazed an entire week away in Huahin, the Thai royal family's summer home. One of those evenings we had dinner in the night market opposite the beach.

I marvel at CaCoy's changing colors.  With a half Spanish paternal Grandma I swear he was pale pink as a baby. With football in school his ecru skin slowly vanished. Then he went chasing coconut bugs in the glare of the tropical sun. That was the final straw. He turned midnight black without further ado.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


In this post: Booking Through Thursday and Thursday Thirteen

Charlie Quillen asks:
Has a book ever inspired you to change anything in your life, fiction or non-fiction alike?

Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad, Poor Dad inspired me to change the way I look at money.  Kate White's Why Good Girls Don't Get Ahead but Gutsy Girls Do helped me change the way I evaluate myself.  The Da Vinci Code inspired me to change my attitude toward The Bible.  The entertainment of puzzles in Dan Brown's work and its references to concepts that ring a bell around times long ago when the Bible was spoon-fed to me, sparked a fancy to rediscover non-fiction mystery that the Bible has abundance of, as well as advice and knowledge that never gets old.

Thursday 13: Inspiring changes. Which ones speak to you best?

1. Change brings opportunity. ~ Nido Qubein

2. Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein. ~ Life's Little Instruction Book

3. Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change. ~ Jim Rohn

4. Use what talents you possess, the woods will be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best. ~ Henry van Dyke

5. Each person's task in life is to become an increasingly better person. ~ Leo Tolstoy

6. Remembering you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.  You are already naked.  There is no reason not to follow your heart. ~ Steve Jobs, 2005 Stanford commencement address

7.  The greatest mistake you can do in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. ~ Elbert Hubbard

8. Twenty years from now you will be disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~ Mark Twain

9. Change is the constant, the signal for rebirth, the egg of the phoenix                     ~ Christina Baldwin

10. We all have big changes in our lives, that are more or less a second chance.      ~ Harrison Ford quoted by Gary Jenkins, Imperfect Hero

11. Someone was hurt before you, wronged before you, humiliated before you, frightened before you, beaten before you, raped before you, yet someone survived. You can do anything you choose to do. ~ Maya Angelou

12. We have a strategic plan. It's called 'doing things.' ~ Herb Kelleher

13. Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful is it is encouraging because it means things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better.     ~King  Whitney Jr

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


It was a quiet Khmer morning. Friends and I were traveling to Siem Reap. The van we were riding in slowed down by a procession. Curiosity managed to snap a shot of what looked like a miniature house carried by a truck. As it disappeared into gathering speed I saw a coffin inside it.

The deceased apparently had something thousands of his countrymen we visited at the Killing Fields the day before never had - an obsequies.
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Friday, April 20, 2012

Smells green

Children. Don't they amuse or annoy and even confuse when they are cheeky? When they call a white object blue and accompany that declaration with a cute smirk - at least I, as a PDD mom find my mind in a pirouette over a little cheekiness from my boy.

Grandma chats with a neighbor. The chat goes on for awhile and CJ plays precocious: "Shut up!" hands on ears and pretending to be distressed, "I'm going to sleep. Everyone, quiet!"

A friend's son, Daniel (the chubby chinoy on his mom's lap) behaves like CJ in some ways. While the rest of the family gathered around the TV for a pinoy movie to conclude our dinner, Daniel and I sat on the bed where he nailed one delightful observation:

Daniel: Auntie, what is that?

Me: (examining the bottle) A liniment. What color is it, Daniel?

Daniel: Green.

Me: (muttering to myself) Thank goodness I don't have to smell like a quack doctor's patient with this product. (then back from my private thoughts) Come Daniel, here, lovely winter mint.

Daniel: (in perfect accent and perfectly imperfect grammar) It smell green!

Immediately I was transported to market day in Cortona, to Francis writing on a postcard, "it even smells purple." Remember Under the Tuscan Sun?  This was obviously a coincidence of color perception but let me just hurray how kids can be marvelous.

Especially when they're not fighting like cats and dogs as these siblings used to when they were little. Look at them now - so peaceful :D. They're going to kill me if they discover I'm blogging about them but they are too busy to read their old aunt's drama so I should be safe for now. That's the niece in a previous post, the one I gifted with a pair of silver heels for her graduation. I heard they were too big so she stuffed tissue paper in them. What grief those shoes must have caused her toes, poor baby.

These two flew in from Cebu last week. We celebrated Songkran (Thai New Year) together which was loads of fun. I'll probably blog about that later. Meanwhile, what a diversion tweaking these photos on Photobucket or I probably just had too much time. But surely, happiness is when you don't have to celebrate a major holiday alone.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Literary pet peeves

In this post: Booking Through Thursday and Thursday Thirteen

Bookish Sarah asks:

What are your literary “pet peeves”?

Put too many swear words in a story and I lose interest. Too much cursing sounds like limited vocabulary, stunted creativity. The other one is something I have experienced for the first time - a novel with an unlikeable character. The Wise Woman is my first Philippa Gregory. If I wasn't fond of historical fiction (besides thinking that Gregory is brilliant at her genre) I wouldn't have minded not finishing the book. The heroine is so unlikeable almost every page developed in me a distaste of her that even her death in the conclusion didn't convince me it redeemed her. I want my reading experience (outside work) to be a pleasure; not characters that I don't enjoy.

 Thursday 13: Unusual words that begin with letter N

You may be familiar with or have encountered the following words already. If you do not know what they mean, I hope you have as much fun guessing as I had fun putting them together. 

1. nephogram - is a photograph of (a) lungs     (b) diaphragm     (c) clouds
2. nodated - means (a) knotted     (b) sprained     (c) inundated
3. neuralgiform - is like or shaped like a (a) brain     (b) nerve     (c) esophagus
4. nidify - to build a (a) nest     (b) an invalid argument     (c) wooden box
5. nesiote - means living (a) by a lake     (b) on a dessert     (c) on an island
6. ninon -  is (a) silk      (b) cotton     (c) taffeta
7. nacarat -  means (a) tangerine     (b) bright orange-red     (c) gold
8. naology - is architecture study of (a) a temple     (b)a manor house     (c)a castle
9. natiform - is shaped like (a)a nose     (b) buttocks     (c) hips
10. nemoricolous - means living in (a) valleys     (b) forests     (c) mountains
11. nervure - means vein of a (a)petal     (b) leaf     (c) fruit
12. nipter - is ceremony of washing the (a) feet     (b) nose     (c) hands
13. nepenthe - is something capable of making one forget suffering such as              (a) a drink     (b) an inhalant     (c) a liniment

Answers: 1. (c) clouds   2. (a) knotted   3. (b) nerve   4. (a) nest   5. (c) an island        6. (a) silk   7. (b) bright orange-red   8. (a) temple   9. (b) buttocks   10. (b) forests   11. (b) leaf   12. (a) feet   13. (a) drink

Courtesy to The Phrontistery for the list.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


According to the Phrontistery, nesiote is an obscure word. But defined, nesiote sounds as modern as can be.  It means living on an island. My family trooped to an island for a reunion last year.

This is part of the Fisherman's Village on Elephant Island in Thailand. Nesiote probably applies best to fishermen who live here -

Albert Einstein wishes that "somewhere there existed an island for those who are wise and of good will."

Laurie Anderson claims: "as a New Yorker, I'm someone who lives on an island and looks across to America."

George Gordon Byron in a letter to Thomas Moore mentions "the greenest island of my imagination."

This was rather a grey morning but my reverie was full of bright colors as I maneuvered these rocks. A world-class violinist washes up on shore.  Ladies in Lavender fades to a fact: I just love island - living during holidays.

ABC Wednesday

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Getting kids to eat healthy meals

It's a challenge; and understandable enough: if it's hard getting adults to eat healthy, how do we go about this business on kids?

I check what I am doing or not or have done against professional advice that I read.  MedicineNet nutrition experts suggest ways for parents to guide their children to eat a sound diet.

Avoid power struggle
"Do it because I'm the parent" or worse, "Eat or else..." Have you said something like that to your kids during a meal? Once I told my son, "no eat, no play." I realize it could be a form of slight power struggle. He ate but couldn't have understood why he had to eat in order to play. Author of The Parent's Toolshop Jody Johnston Pawel explains that this rationale does not work for long.

I had no idea children have to be exposed to a new food 10 to 15 times before they accept it. If they play with a berry on their plate, parents are advised not to give up but keep encouraging them to eat. Suggested exposure is 1 or 2 new foods a week.

Don't label
We may refer to children who are difficult to feed as "limited eater" rather than "picky." Experts claim that kids under 5 are normally selective eaters.

Build on the positive
A child's growth spurt is an opportunity to introduce new foods, but don't let your child eat all he wants just because things have become easier on the dining table.

 Let kids participate
"Get a step stool and ask your kids to lend a hand with easy tasks in the kitchen," says Sal Severe, author of How to Behave So Your Children Will Too.  He gives the logic here: if children participate in helping to make the meal, they are more likely to want to try it.

Don't bribe
Do you use sweets to get your child to eat what you want him to? I sometimes do. But experts advise parents to avoid it because it can send a message that eating veggies should involve a reward.

"The real reward of sound nutrition is a healthy body, not a chocolate cupcake."

Beware of over-snacking
If you remember your mom or dad giving you less to eat between meals, they were right. The problem is not the child does not like new food, but he is actually already full from snacks. Children can consume a lot of calories from milk and juice or chips and sodas.

"Good snacks are those that supplement meals, not sabotage them."

Role modeling on the dining table
"Do as I say, not as I do" is not just old, it's wrong.  You can't expect your kids to have salad while you are having french fries.

Defuse mealtimes
Don't discuss your child's eating habits during meals. Tense talk loses people their appetite. Parents can stress the importance of good eating through stories around bedtime.

Give it time
Children are known to grow out of limited eating as they grow older. One day you may be surprised to see them eat healthy food on their own; without being told.

I didn't like vegetables for as long as I can remember when I was a kid. But at age 19 that  was no longer the case. I finally learned the value of healthy eating.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Are you a mabsoot?  The world will most probably light up if you are. What makes you a mabsoot?

This blue sky holiday on a sunflower field made me go, "and I think to myself what a wonderful world!"  I was quite a mabsoot.

The Dalai Lama says "happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions." I thought I would make a little experiment; see what would an action mean to me so off I shopped in Chatuchak, a huge weekend market known to bring seasoned shoppers to their knees.  I came home with sore feet, but thinking the Dalai Lama was right.

What really made me a mabsoot after shopping like a madwoman was my vintage loot.  It makes my heart dance as merrily as it did when I browsed the graveyard at St. Mary's church in the shadow of Scarborough Castle and found this -

“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

That's Abraham Lincoln. And I tend to agree with him. Making up your mind to be happy is easy, and not as costly as shopping.

There's a Facebook page called Mabsoot. On its 'About' you will read that it's only for people of religion like laughter.  The page profile image made me laugh and decide that I'll be nothing else than a mabsoot today, and hopefully always.

You have figured out mabsoot already, haven't you? The Urban dictionary defines mabsoot as a happy person. The origin is Arabic and why they say it's commonly used in Hebrew slang, I don't know, don't care. It's just nice to be a mabsoot.

ABC Wednesday

Friday, April 6, 2012

A smoking computer, a real phone and a reason

All the while I was imagining CJ's computer was being used mainly for homework and educational entertainment. Oblivious me. The use has been more like games. It is probably time to buy a new computer again as the old one overheated last night.  Smoked to kingdom come. Bye-bye Pooh Bear (nickname of CJ's computer).

So the Grandma complained that after Pooh Bear, CJ's attention has been on her phone.  I asked what he was doing with it. "Games of course," Mother sounded exasperated. "But he's never been exposed to that sort of thing," I countered.  "Well, hello Girl, it only took your son one look at his cousin doing it, and now he's into soccer, soccer, soccer!" Ops....

These boys have a little explaining to do.

The poor Grandma tries to hide her phone lest some mischievous fingers tinker their way to it. They usually do and when she needs to use it, she hears this:

"Buy me a real phone Grandma so that I will not borrow yours. Tell Mommy."

"So that I will not borrow yours."  Some reasoning, eh? Boys!

Actually I have been eyeing kiddie phones even before CJ was born. But I've been putting the plan aside because I only want it for monitoring purposes and ever since I haven't seen the need. Following last night's awakening I googled kiddie phones, and saw these choices:

Some have parental control, and some have only two buttons - "Mom" and "Dad."

Will I be bonkers to hope that they do not have games in their techie bellies? I'd love to hear your thoughts or recommendations.

The phone game investigation still stands. But I'm not hard to negotiate with. A few cute antics and my heart melts away forgetting that Pooh Bear is now resting in peace.


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