For Ontario residents

My uncle and his family lives in Toronto. I don't know if they've already heard of the ontario phone book where you can look up any unknown phone number. I'd better tell him all about this if he doesn't already know. This is a great service since you would be able to screen any potential prank callers and telemarketers, who are real nuisances if you ask me.

Trick or Treat!

Ethan went trick or treating yesterday. Here is his costume:
He's the little boy in the angel costume. The photo was taken from his school halloween party. (Click on image to get a bigger view).

Lookit all the loot he got! (Again, please click on image for a bigger view)
The orange bag was the prize he got for being in the 10 cutest costumes. Not bad, noh, considering that there are more than 500 participants. :) Other categories were 10 scariest, 10 best United Nations costumes and 10 best Disney costumes.

It was fun, and all we had to do was provide some goodies for kids who pass by our house!

Cool Eye Protection

I've always been an advocate of sunglasses since I know for a fact that our eyes need UV protection all year round. Damage from UV has been blamed to be one of the chief causes of age related macular degeneration and of cataracts. Although the cause of pterygium is not yet that clear, sun exposure is also known to be one of the factors.

The great thing about sunglasses is that they are not only functional, they also do a lot in spicing up your outfit. There are cool men's sunglasses in different styles, some great for using for sportier outfits and some which will look good even with suits. I know some men who do not think much of other men who wear sunglasses, but they not only look great, they also protect your eyes.

There are also great looking women's sunglasses which may become key designer pieces in your wardrobe, especially since they are pretty affordable and lasts long compared to designer clothes. You can use these not only for protection, but also to protect your eyes.

The other great news is that these designer sunglasses are now available online at affordable prices. Think I'll have one for myself.

Yoiks, I lost my files!

Ye, it can happen ... and our first reaction is a blank stare that says "What do I do now?" ... and then, we kick ourselves "Why didn't I backup my files?"

For very important files, I usually back them up somewhere. We have an external hard drive that we use occasionally, especially for pictures. We also make digital albums on CDs and don't erase the images on the SD cards.

For other important files, I also email myself.

Web Hosting Reviews

Among the numerous web hosting companies out there, which one truly gives you the best value for money? Short of actually experiencing each of them, wasting time and money, it's best to get the opinions of other people who have actually tried out the various services.

Web Hosting Rating actually gives the strengths of each web hosting company. They have ranked each according to which one is the best for the business, which one is the cheapest or most affordable, which one is the best for blogs, etc. etc.

Be prudent and review each hosting company before sinking in your money into one. In a way, it's like marrying somebody. It's difficult to leave when you're there, so make the wiser choice at the beginning.

Still On the US Elections

On the on The Chris Matthews Show, October 19th topics were: Can McCain rescue his campaign as the economy sinks? Who benefits as McCain and Obama question each other's character?

On The Chris Matthews Show, October 26th Chris Matthews leads with: "A different country. America changes. It did in 1932 with the coming of New Deal and in 1980 with the Reagan era. Will the election of 2008 bring an American epoch of Obama? Frustrated by a fitful war. Shaken by a financial free fall. Is the country turning to something truly new?"
The panelists:
-- Anne Kornblut is covering the campaigns for The Washington Post.
-- Clarence Page is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune.
-- Andrea Mitchell covers the race for NBC News.
-- John Heilemann covers politics for New York Magazine, which has his latest story on the cover this week.

Politics here in the Philippines ain't a lot different. Come to think of it, there's hardly any election that could be classified as truly fair and truly clean. Who survives after all the mud has been slung is going to be the winner.

-- updated 10-26-2008

Heart Repair

The mitral valve is one important component of the heart. In some cases of congenital anomalies, this may have some problems, either being too slow to move (too stiff) or too loose. This also happens in some cases of acquired heart conditions especially in elderly patients.

One option for these cases is to do a mitral valve repair. This is an open heart procedure and should be done by cardiothoracic surgeons who are especially trained to do such advanced, delicate procedures.

Sometimes the damage is simply too great that the only other option is to do a mitral valve replacement.

It's always prudent to look for the right doctor for the job, but more than that, we should always remember that we, as patients, should be proactive in looking after our health, observing the proper diet and the proper habits, so that we could have a better quality of life.

Ethan Turned Three! -- Part I

Ethan had his birthday a little over a month ago. We had not one , but 3 celebrations to mark the day! One in school, one in my mom's home, and one with my in-laws on the Sunday after his actual birthday.

First up, we had a small party for him at his toddler school. It was a lot easier than the McDo party we had when he turned one, since there are fewer "guests" and they are all there in school, and it was very short, only about 30 minutes. Yup, short and sweet. Just the way I like it. Theme-less too, so easier to get generic stuff.

We didn't have any invitations made. I didn't think that would be necessary, because my memories of school parties just consisted of bringing the cake and ice cream and balloons to school. Anyway, I reasoned that the little guests would already by there anyway. I did inform the teacher, not only so that he will know about the upcoming activity, but also so that he would be able to advise me on what is allowable or not in school.

We only had finger food. This was on the advise of Teacher Randy. He told us that classic fare like spaghetti and fried chicken would require the help of the yayas and/or teacher aides. Finger foods are easier for little hands to handle by themselves. Not only that, the servings are smaller, perfect for small tummies. We just bought cheese sticks, cocktail hotdogs (no sticks -- I'm an ophthalmologist and I'm paranoid about barbecue stick injuries), and chicken popcorn. I had it cooked at home and brought to school. We just HAD to include birthday misua, though, because it's traditional for us Chinese. Instead of providing paper plates, we bought small plastic microwaveable containers so that the kids can bring their food home if they cannot finish it.

Instead of getting a big cake, we got mini cuppies (not regular sized ones) from Quintbelles. I think that was a good idea! Toddlers don't really get to finish the regular sized cupcakes anyway. We just arranged it so that it spells out Happy 3rd birthday Ethan (see picture). Thank you so much Elaine! We loved how it looked! The children loved licking on the icing too!

We prepared some theme-less loot bags.
They're actually small pencil cases. We put bubbles, small jellos, lollipops, a small ball, a small toy watch and another small toy inside. Simple lang. I bought mugs for the teachers and the aides and filled them with candies and decorative paper clips -- it's a pity we forgot to take pics). For the tags, I printed out pictures of Ethan and the recipient (or of the whole class if I can't find any with just the two of them).

Balloons were provided by the school. We didn't really have a set program, but the teacher incorporated the lesson about age and birthdays in that day's class. I think that was better, actually. :)

And Ethan actually blew out the candle on his birthday cupcake for the very first time in his life!

It's just a pity that Ethan was not feeling well during his birthday (he had the beginnings of viral bronchiectasis) but he was such a trooper! I believe he would have enjoyed it even more if he were not feeling under the weather.

Will have a Part II. Watch out for it.

In the meantime, I hope that these tips for birthday celebrations on a very tight budget would help you. Enjoy!

Consider This

If you are living in the United States, you really should consider using the services of especially if you have doubts about a certain telephone number. If I were there, I would have utilized those services because I know that there are so many of those unidentified callers out there who may turn out to be people you'd want to avoid. I hope they will soon expand their services to include the rest of the world, including the Philippines.

Coffee Break 1.41

Here's another coffee break question by Jan:

Being a little older means I have different groups of friends from different stages in my life. In general, we reminisce about the time that we had together, the people we knew, people/events/places during that stage of our lives.

For example, I was in high school in the eightees, so, baduy as it seems, we sometimes reminisce about the Bagets movies, Top Gun (with a young Tom Cruise), new wave music, and Madonna when she was young. We chuckle about some pranks pulled by our classmates. We remember some of the teachers, for both good reasons and otherwise.

But mostly, we update ourselves on what's going on in our lives. We trade stories of our jobs and our families. We wonder about our friends who have been MIA for quite a while. It doesn't really matter which group of friends it is, as long as we meet again, it's like we have so much to talk about.

The New Dating Scene

The dating game has become high tech too, since the introduction of the internet. If you are a man looking for a woman for dating or otherwise, there are now more options to meet women via online women personals. Of course, it goes without saying that you should be careful too, because some people may still out to be not quite what you're expecting. Still it's a long way from just waiting for your parents to choose your mate for you.

The Crying Game

My little boy is starting to try getting his way by hitting us where it hurts most -- emotionally. Most of time, he cries because he did not get his way. But he's pretty selective to when to turn on the waterworks. I think we the parents are more subject to these emotional displays because he thinks we're more gullible.

He's actually a good and obedient boy, most of the time. I guess he's trying to test his limits. They don't call it the terrible threes for nothing. The important thing is that we know when to give in and when not to.

Annoying Phone Calls

I get a lot of annoying people from people I really do not know. It's such a waste of time and energy, and sometimes they do not take no for an answer. With a caller ID, internet connection and this website which allows people to Report Phone Numbers, maybe I would be able to identify those annoying callers and avoid them at all costs.

It's Starting....

The nights are a bit longer. Stores are putting up Christmas displays (oddly, next to Halloween displays), and people are flocking to Divisoria and the malls. And, people are planning their vacations.

Here's why:

Better Way To Keep Memories

Ever since the advent of digital cameras, more and more photos are left in hard drives or SD cards. I'm one of those moms who are guilty of not having a physical photo album in which my son's photographs are showcased. My mother-in-law has been convincing me to have them printed, since for her, looking at pictures on the computer screen is not the same as looking at actual photographs. I actually agree with her. I am bothered, though, about the amount of loose pictures we had from childhood which remained unbound or have fallen off old photo albums. Time really does not guarantee that precious pictures will be kept forever, and photo albums are sadly not as durable as they used to be.

I did make an album of sorts back when my son turned 1. I printed out images on photo papers and had them ring bound by an office supply store near our home. Now, looking at it, it looks very rough, but I was proud of it. It also served as a guest book during my son's birthday as the guests signed up on the white pages. Too bad not too many guests signed, because they took a long time, as they were busy looking at the pictures!

We have already compiled quite a pile of pictures. However, I probably would not do it the way I did before, printed it out myself and had it ring bound. I would like better prints, better layout and of course better book binding for those precious photos. I came across, which offers machines especially for this purpose. I'm thinking that this will not only be great for my family's albums, but will also make a great business. There's an ongoing contest and I'm trying my luck. Who knows, I might just be making beautiful photobooks in no time at all!

The Other Boleyn Girl

Just watched "The Other Boleyn Girl" last night. I was struck by how easy it is for a monarch to dictate the lives of the people under him, even his queen/s. The only reason why King Henry VIII married Anne in the first place is because she would not allow him to be intimate with her unless they get married and she becomes queen. He therefore cut ties with the Catholic church and set up his own Church of England so that he could have his marriage to Catherine, his first wife, annulled, since the Pope did not want to grant him an annulment. Anne got pregnant soon after her pregnancy but gave birth to a daughter rather to the son that the kind desperately wanted. King Henry's roving eye was already seeking other women by then. Eventually, Queen Anne Boleyn was beheaded on charges of adultery, treason and incest, even if no concrete proof was given.

The narration is supposedly by Mary Boleyn, Anne's sister, who became Henry's mistress way before he married Anne.

I do not know how much artistic license was applied in this case, or if this story is historicall accurate, but it certainly was an entertaining movie. Maybe I should read the book.

Mailbox Talk

I don't know why it's so difficult to find really nice mailboxes here in the Philippines. The ones I see in home improvement and hardware shops look almost the same to me. I know, mailboxes are just places where the postman leaves your mail, but it should also have a bit of aesthetic value, don't you think? After all, it does occupy a prominent place outside your home. I've seen some around the village which look like personalized Whitehall maiboxes.

I do love the look of the Whitehall maiboxes, especially the wall mounted types. I think the "kartero" here do not really notice the mailboxes unless they're right on or beside the door. What we have at home is a floor mounted custom maibox located little to the side of the gate. Guess what, they still put our mail in between the gate openings. So, now, our mailbox is not serving its actual function of receiving and protecting things we get from the mail. So, I'm guessing the wall mounted one near the front door will be a better option, one I will probably get if and when we have our new home.

Not a Cry Baby...

My son can be pretty manipulative at times. I think he may be trying to get his way with crying. How would you explain the fact that he does not cry when he falls or bangs his head but cries loudly when he doesn't get to watch his favorite DVD? How do you explain why he cries because it's bedtime and he still wants to play? How do you explain the fact that he cries more when my husband and I are around? Arte no?

Definitely time to hold our ground and be firm about rules.

Can't Be Too Careful

I don't know if people really are becoming more sexually depraved or the media just reports it more often, but everyday, you hear some news of how a little child has been raped or abused by a much older adult, sometimes even related to the child. I wish we had a way of doing a local Sexual Predator Search online so that we can at least be aware and make some precautions so our children won't be the next victim.

Coffee break ver. 1.40

Another Coffee Break question from Jan:

I've always loved talking with my cousin Garvin. He was what my husband would consider an old soul. He was always startling us with surprisingly adult conversations even when he was less than 10 years old. He was so mature for his age.

One Christmas (I don't know how old he was), my mom brought him to National Bookstore to buy him a present. She gave him a 500 peso bill to spend in whatever way he chose.

Garvin: You don't have to give me a gift, A-ko (aunt).
My mom: But I want to. Here's the money, buy anything you want and use it up.
Garvin: OK

After a while....

My mom: Haven't you picked anything yet?
Garvin: Nothing yet. Everything's so expensive. Sayang pera

After a while, he finally chose a book worth much less than 500 pesos, paid for it, and gave the change to my mother.
My mom: O, that's it? You still have some money to spend.
Garvin: This is okay na, A-ko. Thank you very much! I like this and it's enough for my Christmas gift.

My mom was so proud of him! I was too! It goes to show how good a child he really was, and what a fine adult he would have turned out to be.

I miss him a lot! He would have loved playing (young) uncle to my son. Oh well, I guess God has other plans for him.

Something's A-Brewin'

I do not know if you are aware that I actually have another self-hosted blog over at . This one is more of a blog about my life as a doctor. I didn't really get a big company to do the hosting for me since it was a shot in the dark and I was not really sure about what I want to do. Instead, I got a small startup with a one man team. It's main advantage is that it's cheap. It's main disadvantage is that when my webhost is offline for an extended period of time, I can't contact him. Overall, I'm happy with the hosting and I feel that it is adequate for my blog.

I am thinking of cooking up something else, though. And for this project, I would likely look for a bigger company, since I am guessing that this is going to be a lot more complicated than a simple blog. I am going through web hosting ratings and feedbacks from people who have used their services before. Since I am going to spend quite a bit more money than I did with my blog, I really have to make sure that I would get my money's worth. Companies who have already won some web hosting awards definitely have the edge, but I would not discount others who don't. Another consideration is budget. Mine is tight, so expensive deals are off.

I'm also looking at some very informative web hosting tutorials. I'm not really an internet expert so this is all very educational for me. I may eventually need someone with more IT knowledge to help me in the long run, but for now, I can only rely on myself. That's why I want to arm myself with more knowledge so that I would be able to achieve what I set out to do.

What is it, anyway? I'll just inform you guys when it's up, coz I don't know yet if this will work. I'm crossing my fingers, though, that this will.

Tell Me Something I Don't Know

October 12th, on The Chris Matthews Show, Chris asks his roundtable to "Tell Me Something I Don't Know" ... this weeks roundtable: Gloria Borger of CNN, Howard Fineman of Newsweek, Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, David Ignatius of The Washington Post

The Other Side

As I've mentioned before, Chinese women are not usually placed in their families' "family book". I am hoping, though, that the free genealogy service that I have found online would make it easier for me to search the females up the line of my family tree. Who knows, we might actually be related to some important person but we just don't know it.

I'm On Plurk!

If you notice my website, there is a new widget. It's Plurk, and it's pretty addicting. I post comments, my friends get to see them, and they can respond to my comments. Pretty cool way to get in touch online.

In case you're interested, join us with our tsismisan online. My plurk page is here, just click to join!

Website Reviews by Actual Users

Sometimes, it's a little more difficult than we think to look for good and reliable websites. Everybody promotes his or her own website as the best ones. But which ones are, really? It's best to depend on User Website Reviews by actual visitors of the different websites so that you would have a more objective assessment of which are the best websites for your needs.

The Way Students Nowadays Do Research

I've always thought that students nowadays have an easier time with doing their researches since information was so widely available and so easy to obtain using a simple click of the mouse. Search engines like Google have definitely made researching easier for all of us.
The Whole Internet Truth
What we have to watch out for is misinformation. It does not mean that if the information is out there, it's all bound to be true. When researching, we still have to use our very own "computer", our brains, to filter out which are true and which are not.

Area Code Help

The telephone system in the United States is so much more sophisticated than ours since you can actually pinpoint the place where the phone is located. It's pretty complicated to Find Area Codes without some online help, though, given that there are so many states and so many cities (Some states are even bigger than the whole Philippines!) But with the advent of technology, it can actually be done quite easily.

Age 79

You Will Die at Age 79

You're pretty average when it comes to how you live...

And how you'll die as well.

Pretty good, I guess. Considering that I don't practice as much "healthy living" tips as I'd like to. They say that life expectancy is more or less dependent upon the distaff side. I believe the women in my family had lived past 80, so 79 is pretty close.

Looking Young

I'm already 38. People say I look younger than my real age, but I know that I cannot stop the damages my advancing age will do on my skin. I'm starting late on my age-defying ritual of nightly creams. I've been told, though, that resurgence is a much better option.

Being curious, I decided to check out the resurgence informercial available online. If I could be as beautiful as those featured women, I'd be one happy woman! Nevertheless, if what they claim is true, then I guess I should consider getting a murad resurgence therapy to keep me looking young for as long as possible.

It's a sad fact of life that women are often judged according to how good they look, whether or not they have other abilities or talents. But on the flip side, we should also think of looking good, not because of how others perceive us, but because we want to feel good about ourselves. And that means that, aside from appearances, a woman should always strive to be the best in her field.

My Ideal Pet?

I'm not really fond of pets, but just for fun, I tried to see what kind of pet would suit my personality.

Your Ideal Pet is a Cat

You're both aloof, introverted, and moody.

And your friends secretly wish that you were declawed!

Frankly speaking, I am a bit surprised. I've never been that fond of cats. I like dogs more. But then, I'm not really a pet person at all. I'd admire other people's pets but I do not really have the inclination to look after pets of my own.

Tracing Your Roots?

Have you ever tried tracing your family tree? So far, I haven't, but I'm guessing I trace it from the males in the family. You see, Chinese families generally keep a book of genealogy in their hometowns, but only the males are included. Daughters are considered unimportant and are married off anyway, so they do not have a place in the family genealogy book. Instead, they are included as a wife in their husband's family's genealogy book, if at all. At least that's how my grandfather used to explain it. I don't know if that's the case with all families, or just with ours. But that just makes it difficult to trace the maternal line.

Fall 2008 TV: another survey

I'm more of a reader than a TV watcher. When I'm alone that is. Lately though, I do not have the budget and the space for new books. But surfing the net also has a way of eating up my a good way. :)

My husband and I like to have DVD marathons of CSI, House, Scrubs, etc. We call it our date. When the little one is asleep, we pop in a disc, get out the drinks and chips and watch until we feel sleepy already.

Lately, though, it seems that we don't even have time for that! Sigh....

In the News

The impending pardon of Claudio Teehankee Jr. as well other well-placed, high profile convicted criminals have cast doubt on the justice system here in the Philippines. It was claimed that the victim's family had known about the impending pardon, but they don't seem to and are mourning the lack of justice in allowing a convicted double murderer to be released after only 13 years in prison.

It's nuts. I don't know if we even have a good way to check on the records of the inmates that we have now (something like the kentucky inmate search) so that the ones in power can truly decide who are those criminals that deserve to be granted pardon and those who should rot in jail.

How's Your Attitude?

Your Attitude is Better than 60% of the Population

You have a good attitude. While a realist, you do see the positive side of most things. People love to be around you.

Where Is He?

I have an uncle who we haven't heard from for a long time. He was estranged from the family but he unexpectedly showed up at my father's wake 8 years ago. He said that it was a coincidence that he happened to see an obituary with my dad's death. He promised to keep in touch and left an address where we could reach him. A few months later, my grandmother (his mother) passed away. My mom sent someone to locate him at the address that he had given us, but he could no longer be located. We heard rumors that he had gotten sick and passed away, but we can't confirm if this was indeed true. We don't even know where he was at that time, because apparently he had moved out of the address he gave us before we looked for him. I wish we could have an easy way of searching through death records so that we can find out for ourselves if what the rumors stated were true. I wish it were not, because he's still family and we dream of being reunited somehow.

Are You In Love?

Your Love Score Is: 75

It's truly love. You have an amazing partner and a wonderful relationship.

Your relationship isn't perfect, but you know how to work with each other to make it better.

You both listen to one another, give freely, and do your best to make things work.

While you have ups and downs like any other couple, you're good at getting through the bad times together.

And although you find it easy to love your partner, you understand that lasting love doesn't come easily.

You are both willing to give this relationship everything you have. And luckily, that's all it takes to make it work.

Perfect For Nursing Moms

One problem that new moms face is to find an appropriate outfit to be able to initiate breastfeeding. Most available hospital gowns do not have an opening aside from the single one that exposes more than what patients would want to. Not only that, most of those gowns are very thin, virtually see-through and does not provide warmth at all. New mommies are forced to bring their own alternatives, like their own nursing nightgowns or jammies, but these garments are not perfect too. If the mom had a Cesarian, in all probability she has an IV and a urinary catheter, which may be difficult for these types of garments since they are not really designed for hospital use.

I came across a site which features versatile hospital gowns which are a cut above the rest. These gowns provide adequate coverage, are made of comfortable soft, skin sensitive microfibers, and have several discreet openings which may be exposed as needed. These are perfect for mommies who would want to initiate breastfeeding as they only have to expose a small portion of the chest. And, of course, they also look a lot better and a lot more stylish than the usual hospital gowns. Say bye-bye to having to choose between function and style, because these gowns provide both and more!

There are several designs and several colors to choose from. They also have matching hospital pants. I'll repeat: They are stylish! So you can just buy your own and continue using them while on your maternity leave so that you're both more comfortable and better looking too.

Not only are these gowns great for nursing mommies, they are also great for other patients with other diseases and other procedures. These are great for people who have to undergo radiation therapy, for instance, and also for people who need to undergo some sort of rehabilitation on a certain portion of the body only.

Coffee break ver. 1.39

Another coffeebreak question from Jan:

My short answer is: NO! A double MURDER? Absolutely not. 3 years is not enough time for him to pay off his crime.

I admit I was still willing to give PGMA a little bit of slack. I actually pitied her sometimes for having so many detractors because I believe that SOME of her decisions have some basis, one way or another.

But for her to actually give pardon to SEVERAL big name criminals who are neither old, sick nor inform...This is way too much! Sure, she CAN give pardon, but she must have used that power wisely. This certainly lowers my opinion of her several notches. The people who advised her to do this are themselves criminals.

Need IT Help

As I have mentioned before, I am seriously contemplating on making a better website for my micro business. Unfortunately, I do not have the advanced IT knowhow, so I'm doing the next best thing-- looking for experts in the IT field who can handle my needs. I must confess that so green in such matters that terms like Active Directory and Exchange Tool are beyond my comprehension yet. That's why the company or individual that I eventually choose to build and maintain my website should be able to do the Active Directory Management, because, frankly, I can't.

I am quite proud of teaching myself a lot of things about working on the computer. Most of the things I learned and I now know are through self discovery. I have the sinking suspicion, though, that setting up an impressive website is probably not one of those things that I can discover for myself.

About Books!

I got this from the n@w mailing list:

1. Two books that you can read over and over again
Doctors by Erich Segal
Tomorrow Never Dies by Sidney Sheldon

2. Top 3 fave books
Doctors by Erich Segal
Tomorrow Never Dies by Sidney Sheldon
Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Kiyosaki

3. Book that you started to read,but can't finish reading
Lord of the Rings -- I skip chapters on this. I actually prefer the movie.

4. Book that makes you sleepy

5. First book that you bought with your own money (not bought by parents)
I can't remember which. But I guess it has to be one of my "leisure" pocketbooks. My parents didn't buy me any, as far as I can remember. What they bought me were textbooks and "serious" books, and some storybooks when I was younger.

6. Most expensive book you bought
I can't remember. Maybe the "dummies" books I have? For my leisure books, I seldom spend more than 400 pesos unless I really, really want it! I'm fine with second hand books.

7. Book given to you as a gift
The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach
Love Strong by Green

8. Favorite author
Plenty! I have no particular favorite, but I love the works of Sidney Sheldon, John Grisham, Judith McNaught, Erich Segal and many many more.

Chic and Cheap Glasses

Lots of people I know hate wearing eyeglasses but cannot live without them. It's because they think that (1) eyeglasses are ugly and unfashionable and (2) eyeglasses are expensive.

That's not always the case. As attested by The Clark Howard Show, you can actually get attractive spectacles without breaking the bank! In fact you can get one pair for the low price of 8 dollars, all in!

I particularly like this pair:

Don't you think they look like Sarah Palin's glasses, which have become very fashionable of late, ever since she became the Republican bet for vice president? :)

People have realized that eyeglasses, when chosen properly, can actually complement your total look and give extra points for fashion and attractiveness. I know somebody who actually wears spectacles even if she does not need it (she uses plano -- no grade -- lenses). I do agree that it does make a face look a little bit more dignified, somehow. That's very important for "serious" jobs like lawyers, accountants, doctors, etc. where a person is oftentimes judged based on "business" look. However, there are already some glasses which offer a more "quirky" and casual style if you're not that stiff. And believe me, they all look good!

Would You Be a Good Wife or Husband?

I've always wondered if I am, in fact, a good wife. As everybody knows, when you get married, both of you should start thinking in terms of "we" rather than "I". You no longer decide things just for yourself but also in terms of how it will affect your spouse and your children, if you have any. I've always wondered if I've been a good enough wife (I'm realistic enough to know that there is no such thing as perfect). OK, so here goes....

You Would Be a Good Spouse 85% of the Time

You have what it takes to be an amazing wife or husband.

You are caring, patient, giving, and romantic. You are willing to work for a marriage.

More than anything, you're not about to let your ego ruin a relationship.

You are humble and unselfish. And that's the key to being a good spouse.

Massage for Expectant Moms

Pregnant moms need pampering, but some people (both patients and masseurs/masseuses alike) are hesitant about massage because of the perceived delicate nature of pregnant women. While it is true that you should not treat a pregnant woman the same as an ordinary person wanting/needing massage, there are actually pregnancy massage techniques which are not only safe, they also help in ensuring that preggy moms get all the relaxation, pampering and other health benefits that they need at this time.

The next time I get pregnant (which I hope is soon!), I would consider buying a pregnancy massage DVD and try to convince or cajole hubby to giving me a pregnancy massage himself. You think he'd agree? After all, we're in this together!

Another massage that I think would benefit a lot is the lactation massage. I had a wonderful breastfeeding experience with my firstborn that I hope I would be able to duplicate with my second. But I'm also aware that if ever we do get our longed for second child, it would be a little more stressful since we have to give attention to both kids, unlike with one who has our full, undivided attention. I know that stress could affect milk supply too. With all the melamine scare around, it's still going to point out that mother's milk is still the best.

College Education from Home

I'm currently enrolled in a distance education course in the University of the Philippines Open University. However, the course I am currently enrolled in, Masters in Hospital Administration is not a pure distance learning, because we have a monthly face to face encounter with our professor and our classmates. Nevertheless, this model is pretty useful for busy working individuals like me who do not have the time and the resources to be full time students. I am glad though, that I could pursue this course because I have a great childcare support system consisting of my mother and the nanny who could take care of my kid whenever I have to go to class.

If I didn't have that support system, I would have to forego my degree or go for a totally online one like what they now offer in Nouveau University, with a conditional license to grant degrees from the Arizona State Board for Private Post Secondary Education. Of course, having a degree in a US based school like Nouveau University has its advantages and disadvantages. We have to admit that college and graduate education here in the Philippines is still very inexpensive compared to other countries, especially if you're talking about University of the Philippines. This is still the case even if there have been a few tuition increases already and some students are in fact protesting over perceived "high" school fees. But I'm going off topic here.

I guess the biggest attraction of a degree obtained from a US based institution like the Nouveau University is the prestige of being educated abroad. You know how much that counts for over here. And since it's distance learning, you can actually save on travel, room and lodging fees, and of course, you can still work to pay your tution.

I do not know the whole process of getting into one of their programs if you attended high school over here, but you can just contact them for more information.

Try Your Luck!

If you're a Pinay blogger like me, you should join , the online forum for Pinay bloggers, started by a Pinay blogger. It's free to join, and you get to meet and interact with your fellow Pinays online. Now there's more reason to join since there's a cool contest ongoing right now! Want to know more about it? Click here!

Extra Sleeping Space

My husband and I have been thinking of getting mattresses for quite a while now, since our bed is not enough for the three of us (we co-sleep), but we really did not have enough space in our small room. We thought getting air mattresses would be a better option, but my mom told us that they bought several during a summer activity in her temple and the mattresses didn't last until the next activity. I guess they're not all created equal. We ended up just buying ordinary foam mattresses for our daily use but I'm still considering air mattresses for unexpected sleepover guests because they are easier to store, but I'll have to check for review to see which the best brand is before I actually go out and buy.

Yaya's Day Off

Yaya C. told me a few weeks before that she's taking today off so that she can spend time with her parents. I agreed. I didn't expect to be doing anything productive while the little tyke is awake. With his cousin Kuya G., it was virtually impossible for these 2 rambunctious (but fun!) boys to have any sleep! He finally crashed when he was having dinner (even had some food in his mouth pa), but it turned out to be a short nap. He woke up at around 8:30pm. My hubby and I fell asleep before he did, and when I woke up at around 11:00 pm, he was still awake, probably very bored (he was just lying in bed playing by himself in the darkened room), and smiling at me when he saw that I was already awake.

Haynaku! :)

Make Soy Candles

A few year ago, candle making was all the rage by "crafty" men and women. You can see beautifully crafted candles everywhere -- as wedding and birthday giveaways, inexpensive housewarming gifts, birthday and Christmas gifts. Though the trend has since waned a bit since then, several people still love those beautifully crafted, beautifully scented candles.

My son's pediatrician and my kumare introduced me to soy candles. These are organic, clean burning (no soot), beautifully scented, long lasting candles. I'm planning to buy a few as gifts for the coming Christmas season. I would have loved to learn how to make these candles, but, well, I simply do not have the time to do so. But for moms who would be interested to make their own soy candles, I've actually found a site which specializes in candle making supplies. Sure, you can find fragrance oils and containers locally, but I do not know of any local shop selling soy wax.

I hope that this site will be as informative for you as it is for me. Enjoy making your Christmas gifts!

This is my 500th post!

I can't believe that I have so many posts already! It seems just like yesterday when I decided to blog regularly. Now I have other blogs already aside from this one!

In case you haven't heard, I am holding a 100th post anniversary contest at my other blog, http://www.practicaltipsandmore. It's running until October 25, 2008 . I'm giving away a spa set (room and linen spray, massage oil and essence burner oil). Why don't you go check it out here?

As for this blog, the second anniversary is coming! I'm thinking of ways to celebrate my blog's birthday! Any suggestions?

Professional Insurance?

The days when the doctors and dentists were looked on with unquestioned respect is over. That was the time when medical malpractice was hardly heard of. But patients have since become more discerning and have started questioning some practices of health professionals. Though it's true that most health professionals are decent human beings who never intended for any mistakes or accidents to happen, the truth is that they do, even with the best intentions. Health professionals are, after all, human, and humans are far from perfect. But we all strive to be.

Nevertheless, we do have to stand by our decisions. Patients may not understand why complications may occur, but they certain would not hesitate to question and demand for professional liability so we might as well be prepared for such eventualities. I would hate for the Philippines to turn into a litiginous society like some countries where McDonald's is sued for getting people obese, for scalding people because hot coffee wasn't labeled as such, and a burglar actually sued the homeowners because he had an accident while trying to enter their house! That would be such a scary thought! But it appears that we don't have a choice, because people are already heading in that direction of thinking. Preparing ourselves for the possibility that we may get charged eventually, even with the noblest of intentions and the most unexpected of results, is the best thing that we can do. I do not really relish the thought of having to take on an insurance hedge against malpractice. Having said that, I believe that a patient will only sue his doctor or dentist if there is a lapse in communication and things don't go according to plan. Patients then question the doctor or dentist for doing whatever was done. I believe that with proper priming and communication with the patient and his family, possible side effects and complications would have been discussed at length so that there would be few surprises and even fewer disappointments and lawsuits.

Fall TV Season Has Begun

Another survey for TV addicts! I'm not really an addict but I do enjoy some TV shows. But I do not have time to regularly follow the shows that I want. I sometimes just buy the DVDs later for the season that I have missed so that hubby and I still get to watch them. We call DVD marathons our "dates". :)

We're roughly two weeks in to the new Fall TV Season. What have we seen? What do we like?

Popular Wedding Gifts -- Oven Toasters

Whenever a wedding comes along, one of the more popular gifts are oven toasters. They are actually useful gifts as you can use them from toasting bread, heating food (although it's not as efficient as the microwave oven) and bake a small loaf of bread or cake or a small batch of cookies. We have one but it's still in storage since we have still have an old but working one. We know of others who receive six! Just goes to show how popular these are as wedding gifts. How many DID you get?

If you want to know which ones are the better ones, given that there are so many brands in the market, you can look up .

Managing Time Management

Managing Time Management

Have some problems re: time management lately, so I found a little comic relief here. I have so many things to blog about, and so little time! I even have a blog carnival that I'm supposed to make the roundup but I really haven't got the time to! Oh well...That's the curse of multitasking :).

Improving My Business Website

I've been thinking a lot lately of going a little more full time with my online microbusiness at Ethan's Store. Do come and visit us at . We sell mostly unique personal care products, a lot of which are organic and virgin coconut oil based. Our prices are very competitive and our products WORK! My bestseller is the Coco Cabana Natural Insect Repellant which is virgin coconut oil based and contains essential oils of citronella, lavender and lemongrass. I've been using it on my son ever since he was a few months old and it has really kept mosquitoes away from him!

As you can see, I've gotten my own domain for it but it's still I still use a blogger template. I admit I'm a neophyte at building and maintaining a website, most especially an e-commerce site.

I've seen a lot of people having great, professional looking designs. I'm thinking that it might be worth it to have a professionally done Website Design. It can't be denied that image counts for a lot, especially in business. It's different from a personal website or blog, which can look "unprofessional" but still look nice, as it is somehow an expression of a person's individuality. In business, however, I think there should be a more polished, corporate look, especially for a "serious" business.

I'm looking at some web hosting companies which would help me put up my dream business website. One of those which I've come across and which I'm adding to my shortlist is Heritage Web Solutions. This company has a client base of over 30,000 websites. They must be doing something right for so many people to trust them. I've looked at their portfolio and the webdesigns look great! They claim that all their designs are unique and ultimately, that's what I want, not some copy of another website.

Are they the right people to make Ethan's Store come "alive" on the net? What do YOU think? Is my search over?

What Makes Me a Good Friend?

You Are a Good Friend Because You're Honest

Like it or not, your friends are going to hear the truth from you.

You know that the truth hurts, but living a life of lies is much worse.

So while you're definitely kind and supportive, you don't pull any punches with your friends.

Everyone knows where they stand with you. And what you like and dislike about them.

While some may be initially turned off by your honesty, your friends have come to consider it a virtue.

After all, in world of white lies and deceptive politeness, you can be counted on for honesty and integrity.

Your friends need you most when: They need good advice or an intelligent opinion

You really can't be friends with: Needy, emotional people

Your friendship quote: "True friendship can afford true knowledge. It does not depend on darkness and ignorance."

Our Condo

As I have stated previously, my husband and I have put in a reservation for a small condo unit. We're planning to rent it out so that we can have a small extra income and an additional solid asset which we can later pass on to our children. We're starting to pay the downpayments already, and we've decided to get a housing loan from Pag-Ibig fund for financing.

The thing is, we're planning to just take out a maximum of 750,000 peso (Philippine) loan because we want to take advantage of the very low annual interest rates of 7%. Higher than that amount means a pretty hefty jump, meaning annual interest rates of 10.5%. The only problem is that we now have a small amount of cash that we have to pay upfront. I'm guessing that our savings could cover for that. I'll have to make further computations and budgeting. Otherwise, we can probably consider taking a small cash advance loan to cover for that. We'll have to see.

Lighting Up!

My husband and I do not always agree on what type of lamps we should use in our future house. He's more of the function before form type, and would rather to use white light in desk lamps so it would be easier to do paper work. He's right actually. It is so much easier to work under the right lighting, and so much more economical in the long run.

However, I do believe lights in the living room and foyer should not only serve the purpose of lighting up the room, they should also serve a decorative function. I'd love to put some nice lamps and lamp shades at strategic places, so that the soft lighting would serve to give a more inviting atmosphere.

I guess we'd come to a compromise somehow. :) And since it looks like it's gonna take awhile before we actually get a place where we'll be buying for ourselves and living in, we can still try to convince each other. :)

Coffee break ver. 1.38

Coffee break from Jan!

I actually don't know many...or I've forgotten some of them. I've heard of siblings named Amen and Alleluia. I guess their parents are religious. I've got to admit...there's a quite a nice ring to their names, don't you think?

Of course, there's the model known as Apple who has an equally beautiful sister named Orange. I'm just not sure if those were their real names or not.

I also know a little girl named Christmas...who was born in September and somebody named July who was born in August. Their parents must have had their own reasons for those names.

I'll post some more if I think of any. :)