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31 May 2012

Encouragement: Colorado power pack and a giveaway

Encouragement. Don't we all need that?!

Unless you are a super natural being you need encouragement, just like any normal person. We are talking of the type that we need for day to day living.

As a working mother I need lots of encouragement and tips on how to run my household while raising a boy whose hyperactivity often coincides perfectly with times I tidy a certain part of our home. One minute everything's in order. The next I see the same things crumble right where they are like a sand castle dissolving in a rush of waves.

The Colorado power pack audio set by Lorie Flem works nicely for me. It is an audio bundle filled with help, suggestions and yes, encouragement for wives, mothers, or women contemplating a home and family. As I listened to it, I nodded several times, thinking 'how true!' or 'haven't I encountered that situation before?' 'How did I survive it, I wonder....'

This audio set is filled with inspiring examples of women in the Bible who, just like you and me, are wives and mothers who also had issues and struggles of their own.  They had personalities. They had attitudes. Exactly just like us. If they can be successful in their roles in those days so can we.

Check out these valuable inclusions in the bundle:

  • Keys to a queenly castle

  • Attitude Adjustments

  • Encouragement for the weary homeschooler

  • Cheerful children and challenging chores

  • Teach so they'll learn

  • Dawdling or diligence

  • Welcome home, Daddy

  • Doing enough and fortifying the foundation


Ladies, take this hint I got from the set: there's a way you can impact a certain thing when your husband walks through the door.

You can find out what is that and more from www.eternalencouragment.com for $29.97

And the giveaway: Get a copy of this audio bundle for yourself here. Leave a comment by May 31st. The winner will be notified via email.

I received this product as part of the Gabby Moms review program in exchange for a fair and honest review.

This post is also shared with Mommy Moments friends.

29 May 2012

Terminal 21

Terminal 21 is just another (nine-storey) shopping place in Bangkok. But you will be walking inside feeling like you are traveling. The mall is designed to look like an airport -It opened last year while the nation was dealing with the flood crisis.  Life does go on.  The world goes on. And it's right under one roof for Bangkokians and visitors -

I was here for the first time yesterday, but only to have brunch in Mexico opposite the Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, not far from the city's municipal railway -

There are more spots to see. Or I could get lost in a maze of shops in Tokyo.

 ABC Wednesday

25 May 2012

Joy

 
Tea and poetry
commemorate a milestone
on May twenty-third

A greeting arrives
happy birthday little guy!
aren't you eight just once
?

Smiling quietly
his reply brings utter joy:
I love you, Mommy!

Beautiful eight

On Wednesday, May 23rd CJ turned 8. Planning the celebration was ironically quicker in a distance than when I was personally fussing over every detail in previous birthdays. I woke up at half past six, Thailand time and waited for the clock to strike seven when it was eight in the Philippines to greet my little guy.

He was already out biking. My heart danced at how normal a young boy's activity that can be. Grandma hollered, "CJ! your Mom's on the phone!" Pause - then it was a trumpeting sound on the line. He let me in on it: "my Ben 10 sword, Mommy." Oh, okay. I thought it was new year there already.

Quite a birthday. Quiet and controlled as I put together a few things that bind us -


A reading to commemorate CJ's eighth year -


and eight things I am thankful for:

  1. reaching the eighth year in good health

  2. the opportunity to celebrate it

  3. big improvement on speech and motor skills

  4. having the means to provide for him

  5. feeling heaven's warmth on my tea table,

  6. which was filled with charm specially for the day,

  7. and being able to document it

  8. hearing "I love you Mommy"
In the stillness of midday, I smiled in gratefulness to God for carrying me this far in my role as a mother.

24 May 2012

Pet names

In this post: Booking Through Thursday and Thursday Thirteen


Lu asks
Do you have any pet that has a name inspired by your readings?

If not, what would you pick if you DID?

Do any of your friends have book-based names for their pets? (Or their children?)

Piano lessons were imposed on me when I was a little girl. My love for reading extended to the short background of the music or biography of the composer written on my music books. I think I enjoyed the reading part more than working on the keys. Fast forward to 2002 I bought a toy poodle and named him Mozart, that's him on the sidebar, after the composer. I use his photo as a bookmark.

My mother's dog is named Shakespeare, after you-know-who. (sorry for the HP reference). A fairy tale - addict young niece named one of our cats Snow White, and the other George, after King George.

Thursday Thirteen: Books the feature dogs

1. Odyssey by Homer features Argos
2. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov features Banga
3. Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie features Bob
4. Call of the Wild by Jack London features Buck
5. The Roly-Poly Pudding by Beatrix Potter features John Joiner
6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck features Candy's dog
7. Two Gentlemen of Verona, by Shakespeare features Crab
8. Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens features Diogenes
9. Harry Potter by JK Rowling features Fang
10. Farmer Giles of Ham by J.R.R. Tolkien features Garm
11. Ulysses by James Joyce features Garryowen
12. Adam Bede by George Eliot features Gyp
13. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens features Jip

Pet names

In this post: Booking Through Thursday and Thursday Thirteen


Lu asks
Do you have any pet that has a name inspired by your readings?

If not, what would you pick if you DID?

Do any of your friends have book-based names for their pets? (Or their children?)

Piano lessons were imposed on me when I was a little girl. My love for reading extended to the short background of the music or biography of the composer written on my music books. I think I enjoyed the reading part more than working on the keys. Fast forward to 2002 I bought a toy poodle and named him Mozart, that's him on the sidebar, after the composer. I use his photo as a bookmark.

My mother's dog is named Shakespeare, after you-know-who. (sorry for the HP reference). A fairy tale - addict young niece named one of our cats Snow White, and the other George, after King George.

Thursday Thirteen: Books the feature dogs


1. Odyssey by Homer features Argos
2. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov features Banga
3. Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie features Bob
4. Call of the Wild by Jack London features Buck
5. The Roly-Poly Pudding by Beatrix Potter features John Joiner
6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck features Candy's dog
7. Two Gentlemen of Verona, by Shakespeare features Crab
8. Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens features Diogenes
9. Harry Potter by JK Rowling features Fang
10. Farmer Giles of Ham by J.R.R. Tolkien features Garm
11. Ulysses by James Joyce features Garryowen
12. Adam Bede by George Eliot features Gyp
13. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens features Jip

22 May 2012

Songkran soaked



Songkran is the Thai new year characterized mainly by people celebrating it with water. According to Wikipedia, songkran is a term derived from Sanskrit, and may refer to new year celebrations in or parts of southeast Asian countries like Cambodia, Lao, Thingyan in Myanmar, Yunnan in China and northern Vietnam.

Fifteen years in the kingdom and this recently concluded Songkran on April 13-15 was only my second time participating and really having fun - in Huahin, Thailand's summer capital last year and in Silom, the country's financial district this year.

This is the Songkran 'make-up,' or that's how I call fragrant talcum powder mixed in water and rubbed gently on people's cheeks -



Originally, water in bowls is poured on the wrists only. People exchange good wishes and go their way -



Nowadays a huge fire hose spews water on revelers. In some instances it's not even water in the dippers, but whiskey.  Silom is closed to traffic. No one in this formidable crowd is dry. Not the cops, not the food or booze vendors, not even the journalists covering this event. In one corner people danced to Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive -



Songkran ammo - the red and blue water gun behind the ever present somtam (papaya salad), fried chicken and sticky rice in every Thai celebration -  


The Thai government provides mats for people having their Songkran dinner in parks. A nephew and a niece who flew in from Cebu in time for the frolic would have made perfect mat models but discretion had better be the order of the day if their aunt do not want to get murdered this early in her blogging past time.


Our World  ABC Wednesday

18 May 2012

Dust off

"Don't look at my feet, Grandma so you can not see that it's dirty," says CJ when he does not want to take a shower before bed.

Good heavens where did he get that? I always washed my feet before I went to bed when I was a little girl.  And CJ's Dad always showered. Our conversations at least didn't have indications that former Mom-in-law had isuues with ex-hubster on taking showers when he was CJ's age.

Honestly I am amused. But perhaps because I am not directly in line at the moment to deal with such 21st century child's progress in reasoning.

Good old psychology has been right all along to observe that 'little boys don’t take baths, they just dust off.' That takes me to a tantrum he threw in Hong Kong because I forced him to take a shower. 

Sometimes now I think I should have just let him dust off, although I don't think it should apply to dirty feet in bed. How long would this argument last, I wonder, but he's a boy and I'm just his mom learning, learning, learning.

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17 May 2012

Live in

In this post: Booking Through Thursday and Thursday Thirteen


abookandashortlatte1 asks

If you had to choose to live within a novel, which would it be?


Without much ado Harry Potter's Hogwarts! What a place to explore! I'd like to transfigure arrogant Malfoy into a cross-eyed cockroach. *kidding* And when I feel like cutting Snape's class I'll hang out at Hagrid's hut. Then during summers head to The Burrow. As Ron Weasley says, "it's not much, but it's home."

Thursday 13: My favorite places in Harry Potter


1. Hogwarts the moving staircases and all the magic learning!
2. The Burrow 'dilapidated and standing only by magic' ah!... wonderful
3. Hogsmeade Village appeals to the country girl in me
3. Madam Puddifoot's is where we will have high tea
4. Diagon Alley shop til I drop
5. Shell Cottage a newly-weds' home must be sweet and lovely
6. Weasley's Wizard Wheezes I want their anti-acne cream
7. Honeyduke's Sweetshop for my sweet tooth
8. The Leaky Cauldron when one day in Diagon Alley is not enough
9. The Three Broomsticks running a pub and living above it
10. Scrivenshaft's Quill Supplies good old writing paraphernalia
11. Magical Menagerie offers advice on animal care and health
12. Florean Fortescue's choco-raspberry with chopped nuts
13. Flourish & Blotts books of course

Higher heels, shorter strides

"Walking in high heels changes how women walk, puts strains on muscles, and raises risk of injury."

We know, we know, don't we? The bit on discomfort at least. But they are irrisistible wardrobe items. Could that be why we may also be aware but not really taking heed of expert observation that wearing high heels takes a toll on muscles and the pocket book?

According to a scientific study published on Medicinenet, the discomfort of wearing high heels can be explained by the changes in mechanics in the way women walk. They walk with shorter, more forceful strides; more muscles are employed and changes persist even when they wear flats or go barefoot.

Nine women who wear high heels for 40 hours or more per week for two years were compared with ten women who rarely wear heels. This is how the study was conducted:

Women walked at their own pace along a 26-foot, flat walkway while wearing electrodes on their feet and legs to measure muscle activity. The walkway was also equipped with a plate to gauge ground reaction forces, and cameras recorded their gait. Both groups walked down the walkway 10 times in their bare feet. Then the high heel wearers walked it another 10 times in their favorite high heels.

The results showed that the high heel wearers had shorter strides and mostly used their muscles to walk rather than the more efficient combination of muscle and tendon stretching employed by the women who wore flats.

Because their feet were stuck in a flexed, toes-pointed position for so long, the calf muscles of the women who wore high heels had also shortened and were under more strain. For example, the muscle strain rate in high heel wearers was about six times higher than in the other women. 

While I am aware of the toll high heels could take on feet, I did not know there could be changes in the way I walk as well. Aha! a duck and a zombie just came to mind.

Because of my job, wearing high heels is a default. I wish I could sometimes wear flats and jeans like university instructors in the US, but that is not the case in Thailand.

What are your reasons for wearing high heels? What kind of shoes do you wear to social activities? I would love to know.

16 May 2012

Justified exposure

May 3-5 came and went. I monitored CJ's convention activities online. From the grandma's daily updates I learned that CJ found a friend and was out playing with that friend while sessions went on. Brilliant. But then I go back to conscious-of-his-issues mode and I reiterate brilliant. He socialized and that's big deal to me. Day 3 was spent celebrating this -


I am happy to see familiar faces: neighbors' and church friends' kids. Some of them are regular guests at CJ's birthday parties for two consecutive years now.

They seem to be sharing a light moment with the audience -




Now I understand why CJ's developmental pediatrician shook her head firmly when I asked, "is it autism, 'Doc?" I braced myself for the worst; and it's one of those rare times when my heart leapt to Cloud Nine for not getting what I expected.

Never mind that I ended up paying for what turned out to be play convention. I just love signs that my money is not wasted on expensive therapy and even more expensive hours at the specialist's office.

14 May 2012

River city shopping complex

Quick info


Business hours: 10 AM to 8 PM, Sunday to Saturday
Majority of merchandise:  antiques, (specializing in Thai art and culture)
Feature: monthly auction (every first Saturday) in the 4th floor auditorium

Event going on: Nude & Erotic Painting Exhibition, 23 April - 31 May 2012 @ The Art Zone, 2nd floor

Location: 23 Si Phaya Pier, Soi Trok Rongnamkaeng, Yota Road, Sampantawong
Fastest way to get there: take the Silom Line BTS skytrain to Saphan Taksin Station. There's a free shuttle boatto the River City Shopping Complex.

***


Some fascination for antiques motivated this adventure.  With very limited Thai I took a shot of the address and asked a sky train station guard to write it in Thai. This is the Saphan Taksin pier where I waited for the boat to RCSC -

Capacity of this boat must be between forty or fifty passengers but there were only three of us on this trip: a European couple and myself



 Some of the sights during the boat ride are temple spires, facade of international hotels and high rise condominiums. Bougainvilleas did a pretty job on this building -



A boat carrying RCSC shoppers arrives at the Si Phaya pier

For some reason unknown to me the complex was virtually devoid of shoppers that day which was fine by me. Admiring these paintings was better in the quiet



The undisturbed shopping gave off a  'night in the museum' effect



Some of the art pieces on display: staring at these antiques could transport one to the whimsical orient -



This is RCSC entrance opposite the banks of Chao Phraya river. I like how it looks so modern on the outside but a different world on the inside.


 Our World  *   ABC Wednesday

10 May 2012

In or out

In this post: Booking Through Thursday and Thursday Thirteen


Heidi asks:
Do you consider yourself an extrovert or an introvert?

Perhaps a combination of both. I have been living alone since my big D in 2006 and I don't seem to mind; rarely wish for company. Seventy five percent of my king size bed is littered with books. I occupy the remaining 25% when I sleep. As for socializing I am happy meeting friends for lunch, dinner or high tea in or outside my nook. I love cozy cafes. Church, concerts, lectures, or family get-togethers  - I welcome them as revitalizing shot to my routine which is being alone.
 

Thursday 13: They are also in and out

Breakfast this morning was spent watching CNN's Pierce Morgan talking with people about President Barack Obama's support for gay marriage. I wonder what would these writers have said if they were the ones interviewed.



1. Sappho (600 B.C.) Greek poetess
2. Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) British statesman and writer
3. Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) English dramatist and poet
4. Lord Byron (1788-1824) British poet
5. Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) Danish poet and writer
6. Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) Euro-American writer and journalist
7. Walt Whitman (1819-1892) Euro-American poet
8. Herman Melville (18-19-1891 Euro-American writer
9. Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish writer and dramatist
10. Marcel Proust (1871-1922) French writer
11. W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) British writer and dramatist
12. Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) British writer and publisher
13. Truman Capote (1924-1984) Euro-American author

08 May 2012

Quaint


Medieval justice was a quaint thing ~ Frederick Pollard



I have yet to read what is that about, but the line appeals strongly to the history lover in me.

Quaint has become one of my favorite words since I searched the net for info and pictures of England in preparation for a trip there in 2006. There are several definitions of quaint. These are what I like the most:

  • having an old-fashioned attractiveness or charm; oddly picturesque

  • strange, peculiar or unusual in an interesting, pleasing or amusing way

  • skillfully or cleverly made


If you clicked images for quaint on Google, you will find mostly European cottages and churches in the countryside. As for quaint places in Asia, I'm sharing one that has been hibernating in my archives since I took it two years ago - part of Angkor Wat in Cambodia


Shakespeare's wife's cottage has to be quaint too.


ABC Wednesday

03 May 2012

Siblings

In this post: Booking Through Thursday and Thursday Thirteen


Heidi asks:

Do you have siblings? Do they like to read?


As an only child I often wondered what it was like to have siblings who like to read. Would we have a contest on who could read how many books in a month? Share and discuss each other's reads while munching chocolate? There were cousins. But all one did was devour comics while another read the same author I read hundreds of full moons ago - Irving Wallace. Parents regulated my reading pile, and Wallace wasn't exactly on their list of approved material, so it was fun sharing the secret read with a cousin who did the same experiment. We were probably looking for supplemental info to our high school sex education. I'm a fan of my parents' literary gifts; didn't mind reading alone almost all the time.

Thursday 13: Famous siblings - except perhaps the last pair, there's one common denominator among most of them: rivalry


1. Kate and Bianca in Taming of the Shrew- fought bitterly
2. Orlando and Oliver in As You Like It - relationship was marked by antagonism
3. Cain and Abel in the Bible - one brother's jealousy led to murder
4. Leah and Rachel in the Bible - competed for the love of Jacob
5. Ares and Athena in Disney's Hercules- competed over territory
6. Venus and Serena Williams, in tennis - compared with each other by the media
7. Janet and Michael Jackson, in music - compared with each other by the media
8. Rose and Maggie in In Her Shoes - alternately loving and argumentative
9. Michael and Fredo in The Godfather - their conflict was fatal
10. Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren, advice columnists - very close and publicly antagonistic
11. Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine, actresses - had an uneasy relationship from childhood and later stopped talking to each other completely
12. Ann and Mary Boleyn, The Other Boleyn Girl - contended for the affection of King Henry VIII
13. Elinor and Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen - two sisters very different in their ways of thinking and feeling


 Reference for nos. 1 - 11 here.
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