[Not a Book Review] Nothing to Envy

I just finished reading “Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick.” It’s my very first book that I finished this year, actually for some time. I’m so proud of myself. πŸ™‚

The last batch of books I had read we’re kind of gloomy; they’re all about sickness, dying, and death.

Then I pick up on crochet, and reading a book has totally not in the to-do list. Also, no book fancies me lately. I no longer have patience for fiction except for Crazy Rich Asians. @.@ 

Until someone commented if I’m not into reading books. I think the person was kind of worry that I spent so much time on “crochet,” and was just trying to be helpful by suggesting that maybe I could try reading books to kill time instead of hooking.

I was this tiniest felt “insulted.” Like really, you can tell me I’m ugly or my instagram posts are so vain but to suspect that I don’t like or don’t read books…. char!

So there, I updated my goodreads. 


If you’re following interviews and documentaries about North Korea, there’s nothing really much new from the book. Well, except for the part that “defactors” (North Koreans escapes) will pass through or may not get over the adjustment phase of being in a free world, which I wish the author wrote more about it in depth. When you come from a very strict structured country, then suddenly you got freedom, it can really be paralyzing, right? That would be something nice to read more about.

No. I have no fascination with North Korea. Though socialist & communist ideologies, but not on any deep level, kind of intrigue me thus I pick a book about this from time to time. So maybe this will be theme of my books-to-read this batch. 

#squadgoals

Meg had been uber excited talking about this event for a month in advance: her friend’s going to have her birthday celebration in Ayala mall. She had tasked Mark already to bring her to and from the mall, her budget and such.

It was kinda surreal that this thing is happening — Them doing this “big people” kind of stuff. And, yes, that “mall stuff” is another thing but that’s for her to “understand.”

So there she was in my jeans and my shirt. She’s been using my shirts and jeans for some time now. @.@ I wish I were more fashionable and have “taste” but ohwell.

No one’s excited to #squadgoal with me.

It will be very few years, and she’ll probably not needing a papa or a mama to  bring her to whatever destination she’ll be uber excited to go.

Well, the boys, they’ll be most probably be happy to just be at home with videogames. 

Entrance Exam Season

Every time Mati would randomly ask his sibling about what’s their dream job, Meg’s default answer is “author” while Migi is “building glass cleaner” (because of his “love” for wall climbing probably).

As much as I wanted to be so open-minded, embrace my kids’ whateverness, deep inside there’s that “scientist or astronaut” wish for your kid. So I always feel that maybe Migi is just joking or maybe change his mind.

But Migi’s high school / grade 7 entrance exams results / ordeal is saying that I should be taking more seriously his “building glass cleaner” dream.

He did not get in to the list of PISAY. He is not in top 10% of graduating class to even fill out Sci-High’s application form, and he’s too “middle class” for UP High.

I know that part of not judging a kid on some grades etc churvalo.

So there, I might have to start looking at having a “building magnate” for the first child instead of an astronaut.

On to greater heights with you bebeboy.

Waiting in Vainness

A friend gave me a wonderful “healing charm” bracelet for Christmas. It made me think if I’m still in pain, grieving, or unwell? 

It was my mother’s 1st death anniversary last Jan. 17. Sometimes, I wonder if I did not grieve enough, felt sad enough over her death.

When emotional issues like this comes up, I crochet. I crochet so my mind will not be idle, and no emo thoughts would get in. I hook and hook and hook and hook and hook.

I started crocheting when I was watching my mother in her last days; while we were waiting for her “rebirth.”

And, now she’s gone, I’m crocheting to put death to thoughts I don’t want to entertain; while (yet another) waiting. 

I felt like Life is a one big waiting. In between is a series of waiting. I won’t preach about making the most of waiting blahblah because at the end of it, seriously, no one will hold it against on how you make it so lame or good except for the memorial company who will ask photos of you for a slideshow presentation. Of course, you want to give photos of #yolo and happiness to St. Peter memorial. 

#yolo
Ate Mona/Elsie and few friends have been asking why I’m givinng away all the things I crocheted. Well, it serves its purpose already. I made them to fill in the gaps of waiting. And, I honestly, I don’t really want to see the finished stuff I made after. I dunno if I find them ugly or I hate to be attached. 

But not these latest 2 finished items:

I don’t like making table runners and motifs but they actually turn out cute. πŸ™‚

Who wore it better: the table or me?!?

(Finally, I got a photographer. But a photographer does not necessarily means it makes me look more beautiful.)

I got this yarn for free from a raffle by Ashley’s Crochet. I’m not a violet/purple person so this yarn color was not something I was excited about. But it’s perfect for this cousin-in-law who loves purple. She was messaging me about making her some thing so receiving the yarn was the perfect timing.

Anyhow, I love how the color gradient turned out. I also love the feel of it; and most of all, I love how I make it look pretty.

(Panuhot lang po iyan.)

I so want to keep it.But I can wait.On to the next “waiting.”

OOTD: cropped top by i

Lippy from @keihlasmom travel loot

Shades from Color Me Run

Yarn Therapy

So I quit my job, and went yarn hoarding. Not really! My yarn numbers are not that massive. 

This batch arrives today from Baguio. I love the acrylic yarns (indophil & lanalon)  from Baguio. You can check Baguioyarns.com for solid colors of acrylics.

These ones are lanalon. Compared to indophil, Lanalon looks and feels rough at first, but it gets fluffy as you use it. 


If you want those color mixes, you can check Baguio Yarns by Miss Crochet A Lot, and Ashley’s Crochet. There are a lot of other sellers but these 3 from Baguio are whom I have experience. And, they’re very super fast and professional. 

The cotton yarns from Baguio is something I kinda have a love-and-hate but I do have a few cakes of them.

So that’s why I tried dying my own cotton yarns. It’s very hard to find the “thicker” type (worsted) of ply-ed cotton yarns. There are a lot of imported but they are quite expensive.


The cotton we used mostly here locally are the “threads.” They’re just slightly bigger than the thread we used for sewing.

I’d been avoiding using them because I find awkward to hold the tiny hook for the tiny thread. And, because it’s tiny, the project may also take more time to finish. 

But I’m loving the feel of it.

And, also thanks to friends who donated yarns to me! The latest fancy yarns from Boyeng from JPN. @.@

Ang Hindi Marunong Lumingon

This 2017: to become a fulltime fashionblogger of her own sustainable handmade fashion studio — You know social entrepreneurship, the fancy term for capitalism. 

Welcome to my environment-friendly pool. Look fabulously breezy in this top from my Summer collection whether by the beach, in the pool, or doing laundry.

Wanted penpal. Perfect to look extra sultry for souvenir / memorabilia / profile pic photos.

This top perfect for sun bathing; not tested in water bathing.

Insert caption: Ang taong hindi marunong lumingon sa kanyang pinanggalingan ay “talikodgenic.”

Photo credits: Ate Mona / Top for an Aunt.

Now accepting orders for Summer Collection. Free loofah. 

[Day 3 Negros]Β That Last Sip

“Sagada has no tableya because cacao only grows in low-level altitude. We only have coffee beans,” said this senior lady  vendor in Sagada’s market. Yes, Sagada people like Cebuanos prefer to answer back in English than in Tagalog. And, yes, I was stupid enough to look for “tableya” in Sagada. @.@

But, yes, I was no longer stupid to look for coffee beans when we went to Dumaguete (Negros) last week. 

We were able to try “painitan” in Valencia when we were in Negros last week, but not the popular in Dumaguete. I wanted the kids to try it but the place we’re staying was so far up in the mountain that it’s going to be “paniudto” when we get to “painitan” in Dumaguete. Kidding! (Painitan usually refers to tsokolate (hot cocoa drink) & puto (sticky rice cake of sorts).)

Going home, we went via RORO in Sibulan port. If ever we’d relocated in Dumaguete area, I’d pick Sibulan because Dumaguete is getting too city; Valencia is too much tourist spots & expats favorite. 

Violin Mountain, one last shot.

The following photos have no relation to this post; but I need to show them off. They’re all taken by Mati, the only willing person in the family to do this favor for me.I crocheted the top as a gift for my aunt so it deserves to be flaunted.

We arrived 1-hour earlier in Sibulan for the Roro schedule. The ADD in me just cannot do nothing while waiting. So I went alone (because the rest were lazy as Mark) to check the nearby market in the hope that I could chance upon a “painitan” center. And, I got lucky!

The stickiest “tsokolate” I ever tasted in a painitan. It was like melted chocolate.

Bohol “tsokolate” has always been on top of my favorite, but I guess it’s Sibulan now. But their tsokolate/tableya has a distinct “tangy/sour” kind of taste like when you have that too dark pure chocolate kind of sourness. I love it; but the kids kind of look for the usual chocolatey-sweet tableya.

My tableya loot from Negros: the melted was from Valencia; the rest from Sibulan.

Last sip before boarding…

[Day 2 Negros] The Ultimate Top 9.8 Things To Do in Dumaguete / Valencia, Negros

Dec. 29, 2016

For 2 nights, going “home” looks like so “probinsya” life. It’s total darkness and dirtroad. And, I’m not complaining.

The one or 3 people we met when walking early in the morning always pointed to us the fancy resort on the other  side of the mountain. I guess they felt pity on us being on the not-fancy part of their town. I tried hard not to reply that we have a lot of those fancy resorts back in Seyboo; we want this DIRT ROAD! Kidding; We really cannot afford the fancy resort. @.@ 

The place we’re staying ⬇️. It should not be misspelled as Violent (corny!).
I felt we’re being glutton on this day; we kind of cram all the Top 10 Things to Do when in Dumaguete / Valencia:

Al Fresco Breakfast at Valencia Plaza

I really love this strip of eatery / carenderia across the Plaza / Church of Valencia. 


Trekking to Casaroro Falls

Dip into a “public sauna bath”

We went to Pulang Bato, Valencia popular for its “steamy” scene. It’s amazing to see “smoke” blowing up on the sides of the road. I’m not sure but this is probably where the geothermal plant of Valencia must be located. Anyhow, we did not go there for the geothermal plant. 

We took a dip at Red Rock Hot Spring, which seems to be also the plan of other people. With more people coming in, it can get really intimate in the pool. πŸ™‚

Climb for P50

Anywhere we’ll go, Migi would always take his climbing shoes with him. So as not to disappoint him, we drop by at Greyhound Climbing Gym, located in the FU Gym (Foundation University North Campus). It’s manned by a local legend climber, Mich, so it’s a decent indoor climbing facility in Dumaguete. 

Cafe Chilling

Meg has this thing for hanging out at “cafe.” I don’t know where she got that “cafe” concept.

For the few cafes I’ve been to in Dumaguete, i think Poppy’s Coffee tops the “chill feel.” On the “coffee” part, Mark would call them “hotel buffet” coffee.

Gadget rules this family. @.@


Walk?!? Nah!

I really love the University town feel of Dumaguete though lately, it kinda feels it’s also having the “American Dream” phase — too many cars. Or maybr it’s just the Holiday.


Upscale Carenderia

I think Sta. Teresa resto replaces Gabby’s Bistro as our default go-to eating place. It’s cheaper, and Gabby’s kinda felt too greasy. But Gabby’s is always something to be in the itinerary.


Stargazing Attempt


[Day 1 Negros] Chongkayla Village

Dec. 28, 2016

(I think it’s apt to call this trip now as Negros because Negros Oriental and Occidental is now just one province.)

Sometimes airbnb-ing would take us to a a place like this, taking the path less travelled literally. 


Mark had been planning for a Christmas holiday trip with the kids for some time. The original plan was Biliran but backed out at the last minute after his meticulous research that there’s not enough amenities for a “children” type of  activity like swimming pool, or JollibeeMcdo. So we decided that Biliran is  reserved for a legit “backpacking yolo” kind of trip; I mean you know like millenial kind of trip.

So last minute, we decided to go to Dumaguete because it’s kinda tried and tested destination. But then somehow we ended up in a truly remote area of Valencia; probably not much different from Biliran.

So we stayed in a placed owned by a year+-old Chinese immigrant. It’s located in the Mt. Violin (I dunno if he just made it up or it’s the place legit name). Based on google maps, we thought it’s just a bit on top of a hill in Dumaguete. But based in real life,  we’re right above smack on a mountain area minus the cemented road kind of mountain.

Being entertained by a legit newly immigrant Chinese with his very new acquired English who said that he’s never going back to China (or probably I just did not get his English right), this remote piece of Valencia felt like those mountain villages of China featured in documentary videos. Think about those mountains in the border of Himalayas.

In  between of trying to understand each others conversation, it made me wonder if China had been so harsh to him and his family or is he just very risk-taker to decide to relocate in the Philippines despite the language barrier?!?

Seeing him attending to us with his 2 young daughters in tow makes me think that immigrants tend to be successful is probably because they have the need to work harder, harder than the locals to make it in their new place.

———-

More photos from Day 1.

Maria’s Batchoy, default breakfast place in Dalaguete.


Maayo shipping line. I think fee for back and forth is P1k+. You can pay in advance for the return ticket.


They’re so grown up. @.@


The Bean Connection or Scooby’s or both. Meg said we should hang out at cafe. @.@


Lunch was at Jo’s Inato Chicken in Sibulan. I really love this branch because of its boat-shaped tables. πŸ™‚


Twin Lakes: Lake Balinsayao & Lake Danao

The lake’s water level is noticeably lower this time compared to our 1st time here. They said it’s because of the summer.
Lake Balinsayaw

Lake Danao
Sta. Teresa Resto

CMS Drama. Google, y u?!?

Google, why you can make snazzy design for your home page every minute but totally forgot about blogspot.com?!? 

I started blogging unknowingly back in 2004 after giving birth. I might credit Migi for inspiring me to write because he was not an easy baby making parenting such a confusing thing; it’s so confusing that it made writing an easy thing to do. Well, it was really more of ranting than writing. 

The early “mommy blogs” of mine was in multiply because back in 2004, it was the easiest CMS / semi-blogging platform to use. I did try livejournal, typepad, wordpress, blogger, vox, and whatnot at that time.

Multiply was killed in x years ago. So there I lost a lot of my childish, ppd-driven posts. I still do have the texts, and photos (Thanks to Daryl). I planned to upload them again, but when I re-read them, I cringed. It’s like so jeje, which is really the truth. But the WWW is where I can pretend I’m not jeje. @.@ So somehow, Multiply being dead was a blessing in disguise.

So I moved to google’s blogger, blogspot.com, because i felt Worpdress is too professional, too #fashionblogger #photoblogger kind of CMS. It’s like a place where you need to do SEO, and all the html hack for your design, and sliding photos on home page. It’s not jeje enough for me. πŸ™‚ 

Owkei, I picked blogger because it’s too useless to tweak that all you can do with it is write / blog. In my case, rant. πŸ™‚ Really, I picked blogger because I find it more for just random personal, a bit intimate, thoughts.

(Rule of thumb back then: blogger for personal blahh; wordpress for not-personal blahh. Because I do use both, and I actually have more worpdress sites that i “maintained.”)

For some reasons I do not know, with all the brilliant people and money of Google, Blogger blogspot.com got stuck while google’s home page got a snazzy design look every day. 

Then Blogger’s iOS mobile app just crashed and crashed lately. I mostly update from the phone just because so. It became just a muscle memory to me. When I tried on a desktop or laptop, I just don’t feel the need to populate the worldwideweb with my yet another beautiful thoughts. I guess because of the big-ness of laptop screen, there’s too much distraction. So that’s how a big thing the blogger mobile app to me!!! 

I waited for it to be owkei for months. Yes, months, that’s how I “like” blogger! But nothing, happened! 

So I guess, hello wordpress! The pressure of becoming a professional blogger is high.

I actually was thinking of medium because it’s so sleek, fancy, and intellectual. But i might end up not writing any thing because the pressure to be intellectual is so high. 

Tumblr also but it’s too millenial. I get lost with their dashboard. And i don’t get the “reblog” feature. I mean ?!?

So there. Wow! Did I just nitpick on CMS platforms?!? I can get so overdrama on web apps. @.@

On to becoming a professional influential blogger.