Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gift giving to older people

I'm really not a good gift giver. I mean, what kind of gift do I give someone who's older than I am, more accomplished than I am, and has a lot more money than I do? You cannot give an ang pao to an older person, that's for sure. There goes a surefire, one-size-fits-all, always appreciated gift.

In general, too, unlike kids who are easily made happy by an inexpensive toy, older people tend to know the value of things and would somehow make you guilty if you picked not only the "wrong" gift, but also a gift that's low on the monetary value.  While people will always say that it's the thought that counts, you do not want your father/mother/grandparent/godparent to feel anything but good when they receive your gift. That's why I sometimes try looking at websites like these: After all, while it's the thought that counts, memorable gifts do make the occasion even more memorable for the celebrant.

I am ashamed to say that I can only afford buying simple toiletries for the elders in my family.  But I'm glad to see that they actually do enjoy those gifts and actually use them!  I guess the thought really counts!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My grandfather's generation

They say that Tsinoys are good merchants and good businessmen. Maybe. Or maybe they just had to train themselves to be good in business. Most of the older Tsinoys, like my grandfather, came over to the Philippines in the hope of earning money and maybe giving his family a better life. With limited education, no contacts, no knowledge of either Tagalog or English he stepped onto Philippine shores, and very young to boot (some accounts say he was 16, others had him pegged even younger at 13) -- I can only imagine what he went through to improve his life and that of his family's. 

Nowadays, we have the benefit of computers with business intelligence software, MBA programs, college courses, a better command of Tagalog and English, and still we cannot really match the success attained by that generation.  Or maybe since everybody then was so down in the dumps at the time due to war that there was really nowhere to go but up.  Nevertheless, you had to admire how resourceful they were to be able to make something out of their limited (monetary and otherwise) resources to provide for their families. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I love the weather we're having right now -- chilly enough for me to wear my long sleeved shirts, chilly enough for me not to sweat and not to feel tired too easily. 

It kinda reminds me of our overnight stay in Tagaytay just after Christmas.  We decided to have a little break and went to Tagaytay.  Of course, there were a lot of people since other people had basically the same idea.  So we weren't really able to move around, but we were enjoying the very cool climate -- so cool you'd think we weren't in the Philippines at all.  My little girl didn't even want to take a bath!  LOL!  And she's usually so excited about baths!  It was definitely jacket/sweater weather! Just the right Christmassy climate that I was missing lately!

Since we stayed at our relatives' house, we didn't really pay for lodging.  We did have to bring our own beddings though.  Good thing the fleece blankets we brought were enough, there was no need for heaters or electric blankets.

Hubby and I are actually contemplating on going back for a quick break, maybe in the summer when E is on his school vacation. My kids are only young once and we want to make memories with them. :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Still on tummy bulge

To follow up on my previous post about my (lack of) shape, I should click here for ab workouts as they are almost my only problem area.

I've always been a not-so-active person. And no wonder, since academics are preferred over any sports or extracurricular activities. Which means that sometimes I'm pretty much on the outside looking in, if you get my drift.

Now my husband is suggesting that we run around our little village early in the morning.  I'm all for it except that we need somebody to look after my kids.

Will I ever get my abs to be flat?  Well, I guess the only way to find out is to actually follow instructions.  Good luck!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I'm fat -- or at least my tummy is

The fact that my old clothes no longer seem to look nice on me is due to the fact that I look perpetually pregnant.  I've always wanted to wear a cheongsam but because of my shape, I doubt that it will be anytime soon. It's annoying to be always saying "no, I'm not pregnant, I'm just fat" to people who ask, but hey, it's probably my fault. Sometimes it's a bit tempting to just look for the easy way out and ask other people about diet pills that work. I mean, how hard is it to pop a pill every so often? So much easier than dieting or exercising, right?

However, I do remind myself that I don't really need to lose weight.  What I need is to workup in order to reshape my body into a more pleasing shape so that clothes will fit better and I will feel so much better about ourselves!

Friday, January 14, 2011

It's a girl thing?

My male cousin and I had a conversation which made me realize all the more that the wedding and everything that goes with it -- the ceremony, reception, cake, bridal gown, bridesmaid dresses, decors -- are mainly a girl thing. 

Girls usually have this mental picture of how they would like like during their wedding day.  So when my cousin opined that weddings are quite a waste of money, being so expensive and all, I laughed nervously, saying "it's for the bride" knowing that it is. 

So, I was pretty happy when my husband actually disagreed but kept his thoughts to himself.  Turned out that he still thought our wedding day was beautiful and wouldn't have it any other day.  Awww.... :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My (mom's) phone

While the world is going gaga over Ipads and touch screen phones, I just remembered that I actually have a touch screen phone. It's an HTC, although an older model. Seeing all those htc desire reviews reminded me all about it! It was my mom's. She gave it to me when she acquired an IPhone. The reason why she gave it to me was because it was in Chinese.  (She bought it in Taiwan and she always preferred Chinese, even with her computer programs).  That's the main reason why I haven't gotten around to using it, the other reason being my reluctance to transfer the phonebook.

Well, my more-than-6-year-old business cellphone has more than outlived its usefulness.  It still works like a charm, to be fair.  But I guess I'd better move forward with the times and use my mom's gift while it's not too passe yet. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My handy husband and not-so-handy me

One thing my mom appreciated about my husband is that he is quite the handyman. He could be counted upon to put on his work gloves and do things around the house -- fixing simple plumbing, for example, or doing simple repairs on small appliances. Unfortunately, the males in my family (my dad and brothers) were not very handy around the house.  It was my mom who was the all around handywoman.  My dad would rather hire somebody else to do the job.  Since I did not inherit  my mom's resourcefulness, I am so lucky that my husband more than makes up for this!  I love that we actually do complement each other very well.  I would like to think that I'm a better money manager.  I'm also a better writer, but he's a better photographer!  We also schedule our days in such a way that one of us has time to attend to the kids' activities, while the other is at work.  Ah, (married) life is generally good. :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Our Japanese solution

Sometimes we wonder why we bought a crib at all. Or even a bed. Our kids never really liked sleeping in the crib (thankfully it's a pack and play type so that they were used as a playpen when the kids grew and stood up) and preferred to sleep with us. Honestly, we also preferred that. It was so much easier for a breastfeeding mom like me to just be beside my baby.

Now we sleep on the floor. 2 twin sized mattresses put side by side on the floor, to be exact.  That's because we only have 1 bedroom and the 4 of us sleep together.  A bed, even a king sized one, is already too small for us.  The mattresses are perfect because we don't have to worry about any of the kids falling off when we are asleep.  This is what we call our "Japanese solution".  :D

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Not so sweet

I do not know if it's the rule for Tsinoys, but in my family, the men (and women, too, for that matter) are not really that showy of their affections, especially towards their wives and sweethearts. I mean, a Pinoy would have the usual flowers and chocolates for Valentine's, and even in a long distance relationship, the girl may wake up one day to find Chicago flowers delivered to her even if her guy is not around.  Well, to be fair, it is now much easier to arrange these things, but in all my parents' years of marriage, I can count on the fingers of one hand the times that my father sent flowers to my mom.  I suspect that my grandparents had even less of those floral gifts.

But they did strive to be the best providers that they could be.  Unromantic, but ultimately much more practical.  That is why my grandfathers came to the Philippines, to seek a living and to provide more for their families, since the Philippines at that time was considered a land of opportunity for many Chinese (I believe it still is), and endured all the hardships of being separated from their families.  That was the time before email and the internet.  Mail was slow in coming too.  Money remittances were actually sent through the mail too (not advisable in these times).

Now, the times have continually evolved and so have the Tsinoy men and women.  My dad, although, he was not a flower giving sort of man gave other gifts to my mom -- designer bags, jewelry, perfumes -- which are much more expensive but stick around much longer than flowers.  Younger Tsinoys who are more Westernized already also tend to go the flowers route.  I guess they're sweeter though less practical.  :)