Help for addicts

I'm glad that nobody in my family has ever been admitted to an alcohol addiction rehab program, or at least none that I know of. This is not to say that members of my family have totally sworn off alcohol. These are mostly celebration drinks for our family, to be enjoyed by sipping, not by gulping or emptying one full bottle of alcohol after another. Which is wise, I would say, because alcohol and drugs mess with the way you think and the way you react to situations. Inhibitions are lowered, so if we indulge in such vices, it's very possible for us to find ourselves in situations that are, at the very least, embarrassing. Tragedies have also been known to happen because of the influence of these substances. How many times have you heard of car accidents resulting from drivers drinking too much alcohol or somebody under the influence of a mind altering drug? How many times have you heard of a crime perpetuated by an individual under the influence of some prohibited drug? And of course, these things are not so easy to get rid of, once you get the "taste" of them. Alcoholics compulsively drink alcohol. Drug addicts do anything -- steal, prostitute themselves, kill -- just to get their next fix. At some point, these become real compulsions, and eventually these compulsion destroys lives -- their own, as well as those of other people, most often their family and other loved ones. It's very difficult for us to force somebody to just quit. It has to be a firm resolve. The people who work in drug rehab centers and those centers that also deal with alcohol addiction rehab, are experts in gradually getting the addict to quit, and to hopefully not go back to these substances for their overall health and to prevent the social harm that these cause. Alcohol and drugs change lives, and in not a good way. However, there's help. Do check it out here! This is a US based site, but I do know there are rehab centers all over the world, including here in the Philippines, albeit not as luxurious as these US centers. An addict can and will recover, as long as he has the willpower to do so. Perhaps you know someone near this center who could greatly benefit from the help they can offer; please let them know, there IS help out there. -- JoeyV 04.25.2013

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Happy Chinese New Year 2013

Photo credit:  author's own
Happy Chinese New Year!  May good fortune smile upon you and your family!

CNY eve saw us welcoming the year of snake with fanfare.  However, not all is well.  Still thankful for all the blessings we received in the turbulent year of the dragon that was and looking forward to the year of the snake.

Will be posting details of our New Year's celebration soon.

Corned beef from scratch

My husband and I both love corned beef -- the canned ones.  His fave is Libby's and mine is Deli Mondo.

On our family's New Year's Eve dinner, there was a large block of corned beef roasted and served by that dinner's hired caterer.  It was, in my opinion, better than even my favorite canned variety.

After that I decided to try to make my own corned beef.  I am concerned about the preservatives in the canned varieties that are so readily available so I want a healthier alternative to a favorite so we would not have to give it up.

Most recipes I found contained saltpeter (or salitre, a common nitrite preservative).  I didn't want that.  Finally, I found one that I liked.  I did modify it a bit, though.

It was surprisingly easy.  :)  It did take a week of brining, though, so it's not a dish that you serve at the spur of the moment like the canned ones, but you can make a big batch and freeze some of them for serving later.

It was yummy!  :)  I know I'm going to do this one again

Here is the recipe I followed:  http://www.food.com/recipe/corned-beef-brisket-from-scratch-115220

And these are my modifications:

  • Since I was only experimenting, I didn't want to use a big 7-8 lb pc of meat.  What if we didn't like it?  So I just used 1/2 kilo (around 1 lb, I suppose) and adjusted the measures accordingly.
  • The only spices I used are peppercorns, laurel leaves and garlic.  The simple reason is that I do not have any stock of the others and I do not see myself using them in the near future.  Still turned out great. :)  Maybe I will try the spices next time.
  • I used ordinary salt and not kosher salt.  I did not know where to source kosher salt.
  • I used my mini crock pot to simmer for 4 hours at the end of the period so I didn't have to worry about not watching my LPG stove.  


It's a pity that I did not take any pictures.  The next time I make another (bigger) batch, I will take pictures and post them.

My mind is swimming with ideas on how to use the resulting delicious, flavorful meat.  I am planning to make sinigang, maybe try roasting it and serve with a barbecue sauce, flake some of it to use in sandwiches...  I'll post here if my experiments work!

Oh, since there was no salitre added, the end product is NOT pink like what we usually see in the commercial variety.  It looks somewhat grayish brown, since the blood has gone to the brining mixture during the 1 week brining period.

Has it been that long already?

It's been so long since I've last posted! So many things have happened in our lives and I have never been busier. Work has now taken a huge chunk of time for both me and the hubby. Also we've finally made the decision to move out from my mom's place and live on our own. My son is now a grade schooler and my daughter's at the end of her toddlerhood. All these have contributed to so many topics I would have wanted to write about, if only I had the time. Although I haven't had the time to write, I was still able to do my other constant -- maintaining my online store. While the income is not really that much, certainly not enough to cover our expenses, it has been helpful as an alternative income. It's also something that my kids can inherit, unlike my professional practice, which they probably can't. Lately, I've been thinking of doing more to promote my store. I was thinking if it would be good to have a custom poster done and display it in the lobby of our condo, so that my neighbors would know where to go if they need diapers or other baby stuff. I know that I could make my own posters easily with the software abounding nowadays, but I'm no graphic artist and professionally made [custom poster frames] look so much better than a DIY project. I've done a google search and I did visit the site where you can have a poster professionally done and delivered to you. You can send them a picture of the poster that you want. They will even tell you if the image size is adequate for the site. I'm thinking that I can actually do a custom poster of my family! Probably put together a collage of our fave times together and hang it in our living room for us to relive over and over again. After all, good memories are made to be cherished forever.

Play Pilipinas starts today!

Being the mother of 2 spirited children is something, that while enjoy, is also tiring for me most of the time. Blame it on the fact that this working mom is already in my forties. I simply cannot match the energy of the youngsters. That's why I do not know how a mother of eight, like Sigrid Sabarre Perez manages to do it. But I do agree with her that we cannot and should not stop children from playing, because it is what they do. It is through playing that children learn best.

However, how do we maximize play so children can benefit more?  How do we ensure safety for children at play?  Where do we find places for children to play?  What types of toys are suitable for our children?

Play Pilipinas, the brainchild of Sigrid, tries to answer these questions. And for the first time ever in the Philippines,a convention devoted solely to play is going to be held starting today!

So what's in it for people who are interested?

  • Exclusive discussions on the latest tools, theories and techniques on Play, delivered by experts and luminaries from fields such as Education, Child Development, Psychology and Marketing. 
  • Exciting workshops that illustrate the benefits of active play hands-on. Among these are workshops that interweave music and art into play.
  • Exhibits from toy designers, manufacturers and distributors showcasing the latest in toys, playground equipment, books, fashion and lots of other innovations.
  •  Winners of Make Space for Play Design Challenge.

For more info, head on to http://www.playpilipinas.org/.  


There's even a discount coupon available at Ensogo for those who would like to avail of the workshops.  (Click here to join Ensogo if you're not yet a member.)

So get serious about play!  It's not "just" playing.  For kids, it's how they develop and how they learn.

40plus

I've neglected this blog for so long that I'm pleasantly surprised to see that people still follow me. Well, I'm back. I hope I can regularly update as I used to do.

I'm already on my 4th decade of life. I still have 2 young children who I gave birth to in the ages considered to be high risk. I'd love to have another baby, but the fear of having problems due to my advanced maternal age and the fear of not being able to adequately provide for all my children, well, let's just say we're not actively trying. See, a Topamax Birth Defects Lawyer might be able to get you something if your baby turns out to have problems due to the drugs' side effects, but it will never give back totally what has been lost.  Having a baby past 40, while doable, is much more risky than doing so when younger.

Achieving balance, or at least trying to, gets harder and harder everyday. But each day brings along unexpected surprises and unexpected pleasure, sometimes tempered by disappointments and moments of sadness. Well, all the drama makes life interesting. We just have to embrace everything that life gives us.

Car accident

It was only lately (well, less than a year ago) that I finally got to use the comprehensive car insurance that I have been paying for the past few years. Some people may think it's an expense, but, really, if you know what to do, it will save you a lot of money and a lot of stress if you find yourself in an accident. The TPL (third party liability) covers only physical injuries up to a certain amount and does not cover anything else, not the damage to the car/s.

I only got to truly appreciate the insurance when I had a minor accident. They actually have everything on board to make accidents as worry free as possible for you. They would cover damages to the other vehicle up to a certain point, damages to own car, and damages to the person. If you get sued, they even have a legal team to represent you.

I wonder, though, if a tourist from the Philippines driving a rental car would need more insurance. What if we got involved in an accident? Do we need the services of an Austin personal injury attorney (when in Texas)? Would they even represent us, foreigners?

Anyway, I've found this:
O’Hanlon, McCollom & Demerath – Personal Injury Lawyers – 808 West Avenue, Austin, TX. 78701 – 512-494-9949
I wonder if they would entertain inquiries from people who come from outside the US and would not really stay permanently.

What's happening with the working mom?

I got busier!

I now got more clinics, 2 kids, one hubby and I have to bring to and from school, more blogs (check the sidebar for the latest posts!), and pending assignments for my Master's class! I also still have my online store.

I am hoping to come up with another blog. Good luck to me if I can still manage it!

How not to promote a website or blog

I got this from one of the comments up for moderation in my family blog:

*The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you werent too busy looking for attention.

Here's the actual blog entry.

The commenter obviously didn't read the entry before posting the comment.

Of course there was a website he was promoting, I guess (won't post it here -- why give them free publicity, right?).  But how would his comment lead to more traffic, I really do not know.  Maybe it will, a bit, but not really the positive type of topic.

Reporting this comment as spam...

Investing while working

Sometimes I feel so depressed about HAVING to work. But with a family to support, there is really no way around it. We really need to have money in order to pay for the basic needs of our family as well as self imposed essentials like a good education and good health care. That's why we occasionally also put some bets on the lotto, because we might just get lucky enough to be the recipient of a windfall. But, of course, such luck is "suntok sa buwan" or one in several million chances, which means that it is almost impossible. Almost, because you do have a chance of being lucky. But the really reliable sources of income are either actively working to pursue income, or investing.

Of course, investing entails risk, in a way it's just like gambling. But unlike gambling, it's a calculated risk. You decide on what investment to risk your money based on some available historical data and trending. Whether you buy gold bullions, real estate, stocks, mutual funds, etc., you need to study the investment instrument that you are interested, so that you'll know how much risk you are taking and you can determine how much you can risk for that particular instrument. You'll have to get a reliable agent too, because there are far too many scammers out there. The US Gold Bureau is one online resource for gold which look legit so I'm seriously considering buying from them.

I think the time for us to invest is now, when we still earn actively from our profession, as we can handle some losses for bad investment decisions. Of course for good long term investments, this will sustain us through the years that we would no longer be able to work actively.

And the tutoring for long exams start...

My son is going to have his first long exam this coming Tuesday, November 30.  This is the first time for him to have an exam that encompasses the lessons for a whole trimester.  He used to just have short quizzes. 

There's a first time for everything.  For my husband and I, this would be the first time for us to do marathon tutoring sessions.

I hope my little boy will be able to make it.  Keeping our fingers crossed!

A Christmas quiz

I took this quiz for fun, since December is just around the corner. I have to say that I didn't really do very well, just 5 out of 10 correct answers.  (Although the official results say that I know a lot...but diba passing is 75% :P).  I wish though, that they posted about the correct answers!  I do not know which of the answers I put in are the RIGHT ones!





You Know a Lot About Christmas






You got 5/10 correct



You know tons about the history and traditions surrounding Christmas.

When you celebrate the holidays, you never forget their true meaning - or all the little fun details.



Random Christmas fact: The average mall Santa is 5'9, 218 lbs, and 52 years old. The average waist size is 43 inches.


Lotto!

This morning, I bet on the lotto. I don't usually put bets, but then the pot money is a whopping 690plus pesos, so I thought, maybe I'd be lucky. Of course I was not lucky enough to get the windfall. Nobody won. So, the pot would even be bigger.

What would I do if I were the lucky winner of such a huge amount of money? First of all, I'd keep quiet about it. I won't tell other people. I'd set aside money to be sent anonymously to charities and foundations I believe in. Any relative who may need financial help may find some anonymous help too. I do believe in sharing blessings but I do not like to announce any sudden wealth to everybody else. It's too dangerous -- I might make my family targets of crimes. For myself and my family, I'd buy a modest house of our own near our current location. I'd set aside money to ensure my children's education. I'd put a certain amount in various investments like real estate, stocks and bonds. I think it would be prudent to buy gold too. And although bank deposits are not high yielding, I'd still put some money into it to ensure liquidity. And I'd still try to have my family live in around the same circumstances as we did before any win. No wasteful spendings just because we can.

Now, will I be lucky enough to win? Abangan!

Our laptop is back!

It's difficult to work if you don't have a regular computer. That's what happened to me. My hard drive crashed and for some reason, my laptop just wouldn't work. We thought that it was just the hard drive since my laptop is about 4 years old already and our hard drive is rather limited by now. I mean, 1tb hard drives were not exactly around during the time we bought this.

But even when we already bought a new hard drive and tried using the recovery disc, it still wouldn't work. Sigh. We really have to get it repaired. We were also advised to upgrade our RAM.

Figuring out that it would really be cheaper to have repairs done rather than buy a new lappy, we did so. Now it's back! And much faster too, thanks to the upgraded RAM! Woohoo!

Now our only problem is data recovery. Since our old HD is about 4 years old, it contains a lot of data, some of which are important. We really hope we can at least salvage some of them. Keeping our fingers crossed!