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Friday, January 27, 2012

Kikay Friday : That Terrible Itch and My Magic Potion

When I was pregnant with my son, I had very little problem and felt great from the time I learned I was conceiving until around my 7th month when the ring finger on my right hand started to itch.

That itch persisted and began to spread to the whole of my 2 hands. After days and nights of painful scratching and endless soaking (in hot water, cold water, vinegar, and various concoction), I gave up and consulted with my OB. Her initial impression was Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy or PUPPP but to get a second opinion she referred me to a dermatologist who gave me prescriptions of mild steroids.

my hands - beginning to heal 2 days after I had Enoe

PUPPP is a rare pregnancy-related skin rash (a nasty one, I swear!) that normally starts at 35 weeks of pregnancy (mine started at around 30 weeks) and usual 'victims' are moms-to-be of baby boys. My OB told me that of her 27 years of practice, I was only her 2nd patient with this rare condition. Anyway, some studies show that fetal male DNA causes skin irritation. Aha, that proves how men can be really a pain (or should I say, an itch) in the ass of women!

The steroids didn't do its job and the 'rashes' spread to my upper torso and back. Although thankfully my arms, legs, neck and face were spared, the terrible need to scratch gave me sleepless nights and uncomfortable days. There was a point when I wanted to have my hands cut off or just to jump out of the window (first floor lang ha).

my tummy - shedding off skin, a sign that the suffering is over!

The fact that there seem nothing that can soothe me, even temporarily, enough to just even allow me to sleep was frustrating. My OB, the chairman for the OB Gyn Dept of Medical City, although very sympathetic for my sorry state, told me it will only go away after I deliver the baby. I almost told her to slice me open that very moment.

Left with no other recourse, I began searching for anything that could keep my skin constantly moisturized to somehow appease the itching. I found some advice from the internet about how colloidal oatmeal works great for soothing rashes and irritations from poison ivy, bug bites, chicken pox, eczema, and other skin conditions. This led me to a frantic hunt for lotions that contain this 'magic' ingredient and luckily I found Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion.

It didn't take away the rashes but it did help with the itching. Not 100% scratch-free but at least I was able to get a couple of hours rest from the worry before it hit again (then I'll have to reapply Aveeno). I'd have to say it carried me through 38 weeks, something I thought I couldn't wait for any longer during those hellish times.

Now, I never ran out of this lotion and I've stashed many other Aveeno lotions of other variants. To say I am hooked would be an understatement. It has even become my alternative for my son's skin allergy in lieu of steroidal ointments prescribed by his pediatric derma.

(So to those who wonder why I am so obsessed with lotions, now you know!)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tikoy ala Turon

What is Chinese New Year in the Philippines without the traditional tikoy on the table? Tikoy or Nian Gao is sticky rice cake that is believed to bring good fortune when consumed during Chinese new year.

At home, we've always cooked tikoy the old-fashioned way - that is slice them thinly, dip in beaten egg and then fry (each side for about 2 minutes). It's a filling and delicious snack enjoyed with  a cup of tea or coffee although most of the time, I prefer to partner it with softdrinks.

Anyway, my colleague recently showed me another way of cooking tikoy and that is to do it ala Turon way. The process is actually very simple:

1. Slice the tikoy into desired size. Personally, I don't want it too thick so I made it about 1/2 inch and long just enough for it to fit nicely into the lumpia wrapper.

2. Wrap the tikoy in lumpia or spring roll wrapper together with a slice of jackfruit (langka). You can add macapuno or peaches for an extra fruity-sweet kick.

3. Deep fry until golden brown.

The taste of jackfruit blends sweetly with the sticky rice and I'd say I wish I had known this method earlier. As a variation I also tried topping it with ice cream (Tikoy-Turon ala Mode) and the kids love it.

I think we've going to have tikoy more frequently at home now.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Letting Daddy Drive

The Hubby embarked on a new role before the last quarter of 2011 started. It was something we prayed for, but didn't expect so much as not to get disappointed in case it didn't happen. But the good Lord understood our hearts' desires and He granted our prayers.

That role requires that The Hubby takes a mid-day/midnight shift which means we can no longer do our usual carpooling going to work and of course sleeping together with the kids. Family meals on weekdays are now a thing of the past unless we have breakfast together - something we need to work on in order to catch up and have a real conversation (not through FB, YM or SMS).

Looking back during our first 2 years of marriage, we had the same dilemma of having opposite time schedules, and back then it really put a strain on our relationship. I'll fetch him at 8am from his office and he'll drive me to the hotel where I used to work. Then in the evening, he'll pick me up and then I'll drive him to work before going home. Seems a pretty smooth arrangement at first but the demands of our careers made it impossible to keep up and leave the office at the exact time we wanted.

Thankfully, we survived that phase and by the time we have kids he was already on permanent day shift. Permanent day until everything changed again last year.

Now for the second time, I found myself getting the hang of having dinner alone and driving all by myself.  It's also a challenge discussing about household stuff, the children's activities and our own plans as we either have wait for an opportune time to sit down and talk or take advantage of technology to keep everything about our family running smoothly. Putting the kids to bed at night is also one tough routine I still wasn't able to put in place as they obey their Dad more than me. I guess that's where majority of the difficulty sets in.

On a positive note, the adjustment seems bearable because I have little ones who make the transition with me. In fact, it's the kids who need getting used to having no Daddy at night.

Truth to be told, I actually like the new schedule now if only for the sake of the children. Although The Hubby is pretty much asleep the whole day and suffice it to say, er, 'useless', it's still good that there's at least one parent in the house with the children. It kinda minimizes the worries of leaving behind the children solely to the care of the nannies. I no longer call home to check every now and then if the children have been fed,  bathed or if anyone came or called. Somehow I feel secured that Daddy is home just in case.

I guess that's the most important factor of all and the reason why we welcome this change (aside from the career move) even if as husband and wife this setup isn't too ideal. From my point of view, the children's welfare must take the center stage at all times, non-negotiable.

I am treating this phase like a car ride where I am happy to take the passenger seat and let The Hubby drive, if that what it takes to keep order at home and at the same time let The Hubby's career take another leap. (Anyway, I am a good backseat driver).

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I carved your face
onto a surface of a
heart I thought was
A vague treasure
I’ve longed to hold
even for just a scattered

You wander in my thoughts,
rummaging my system
with wicked enchanting smiles,
that resemble silent
incantations of powerful

I saw you in my deepest
only a figure in the dark,
blowing the wind and
casting spells on rustling

A silhouette playing games
in my dreams…

I was browsing through my old stuff in one of my huge transparent plastic boxes in our storage room and accidentally unearthed my stack of old journals - those thick notebooks I converted into diaries. See, before blogging became popular, I was already into 'jotting down' my daily life on paper.

Anyway, there was this notebook filled with essays and poems I wrote as early as 1988. Hey, that was when I was just 13!

There were a lot of things I wrote over the next few years even when blogging has started to emerge. Most of them I dare not show anyone, not even to The Hubby, but all were there filling pages after pages of my journals. There were a few that I couldn't believe I whipped out of nowhere... like the poem above. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Kikay Friday : Scents and Sensibilities

I was in Megamall last week and a had to take the lift from GF to Level 4. As soon as I entered, I smelled something very very familiar. I tried to look behind me to check where (or from whom) that scent was emanating from but the lift was so full I could barely move. As the fragrance lingered within the enclosed elevator, I had flashbacks of those lovely days in college that it made me close my eyes and smile.

The scent was that of Fahrenheit, my ex-boyfriend's (now The Hubby) perfume. I used to secretly sniff his polo when we were still dating - I just love the smell of it and how it blends sweetly on his own natural body scent (read: sweat). A few years later, he changed brands, some of them I like and some I just have to bear with. For me, the best scent that matches him was Fahrenheit. It's a perfume advice he couldn't follow easily because The Hubby never buys perfumes, but rather all were being bought by his mom (yes, up to this very day).

I read an article recently of how closely connected our olfactory nerves are with that part of our brain that triggers memories. I guess that explains how easily we associate certain smells with events in the past or people we've met. Perhaps that's also the reason why no matter how popular or well-liked a certain scent is, some people especially women will never wear it. I remember smelling a concentrated mix of Sandalwood when I was 15 in Jeddah. It smelled so bad I felt nauseous and the scent haunted me even after I washed it. From then on, any perfume with a dominant note of wood (sandalwood) repulses me.

I somehow can distinctly identify people close to me without even looking by the scent they wear especially if they are consistent and use the same brand over and over. Like my grandmother, for example, who used Tatiana by Diane von Furstenberg and nothing else. She'd wear it to church, when she takes me to school and even to the market. It's like a secret extra piece of clothing she wears.

But I said consistency is the key which is hard these times when new perfumes are popping up in the market like mushrooms. We all know how we like to switch fragrances in a whim especially when a popular brand is introduced to us in the women perfumes section in the mall. I, for one, keeps around 12 different scents in my closet - most of them were gifts.

Personally, I like to mix scents of my 'low key' perfumes like eau de toilet which are less concentrated (thus I don't have a signature scent). Those that doesn't smell too strong are usually safe to combine so feel free to experiment. On the other hand, no matter how much you want to use all the different scents, remember that 'less is more' in the perfume arena. It's great leaving a trail of scent after you exit the elevator, but it's another story if people get dizzy or sneezing as you walk along.

Monday, January 09, 2012

When I Grow Up, I Want to be a Supermodel

When we were children, friends of our folks or relatives would often ask us what we want to become when we grow up. It's also the most-awaited question in Little Miss Philippines, right?

I met this girl in Intramuros during a photoshoot trip -
she approached me, told me she wants to be a model and
asked me to take her picture. She's holding a tiara she
must have picked up somewhere.

I remember vividly how I've always replied that I want to be a doctor. That was before I got scared of blood, of ghost, and of anything gory. I still held on to that dream 'til the day I started applying for college admission when instead of taking preparatory medicine courses, I applied for Engineering. Quite far and totally unrelated to what I originally planned.

Actually, before wanting to be a doctor, I first aimed to have very long hair and marry Alfie Anido. He was the 'love of my life' then. I was five years old (oh yeah, five and so alembong, hahaha). Unfortunately, Alfie got involved with Dina Bonnevie and was murdered. That left me heartbroken at six years old.

My Darling Sister used to love playing with water that she once aspired to become a laundry woman when she grew up, while my Little Sister saw the 'benefits' of being a teacher on Christmas Day (no. of students = no.of gifts) that she announced one day that she wants to become a teacher.

When I recall these times with my sisters, I can't help but laugh. Such good memories are so sweet to relive especially now that we're all grown up and with our own families. It's also good to note that none of us turned out to be anything we planned to be when we were small but we are all happy with what we have become nevertheless.

I'd like to believe every child, rich or poor, has a dream or ambition in life. It can be a simple toy he never had or to finish high school for a street child. For me, a child's dream symbolizes how bright he foresees his future to be.

In my favorite orphanage, the children's way of welcoming visitors (new ones they never met) was to introduce themselves with their name, age and what they hope to be someday. It's an interesting exercise - to hear and learn that despite being abused and abandoned by their own parents, they still want to be 'somebody' in the future. In our visit last year, most of them want to be singers or dancers but in my recent encounter with them, most have changed their dreams into professions like being a teacher, a lawyer or even a nun. And that is perfectly fine, right? It means they continue to see better days ahead.

That is why I was moved into tears when I saw a documentary of a little boy from Payatas dump site who spends every single day digging through hills and mountains of garbage for food, junk or anything that can be sold. He was asked what he wants to be when he grows up, and his reply was, "Wala po" (Nothing). The reporter asked him again. "Wala? Wala ka bang pangarap?" (Nothing? Don't you have a dream or ambition?) and he confirmed his answer although he was almost in tears, "Wala po" (Nothing).

I thought (and hoped) it will be the last time I am going to watch a child who doesn't have a dream until I met Ivy, a very shy abandoned child, who answered "I have no dream, I don't want to be anyone" when I asked many times in different ways about who or what she wants to be when she grows up.

dearest Ivy, how can we put glow into those eyes?

Here's a child looking straight at me with no tinge of hope in her eyes. It was a low moment of my visit, and I almost cried. I couldn't imagine what's going on in her mind - to be an orphan and be hopeless and dreamless just like that. Isn't that the saddest thing? To be in a septic tank and just accept your fate that you'll be swimming there forever?

I don't know what I can do, perhaps in my small ways I can, to help these children have faith, and hope and dream again. I pray that an angel of any form (maybe a teacher, a social worker, a religious person) would meet them someday and change their life for the better.

So, what did you want to be when you were little?

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Kikay + Mantis @ 10 Years

Everything started back in 1993 when we were in our sophomore year in Engineering. We didn't like each other, at least for a couple of months, but thanks to a classmate/suitor who asked you to act as bridge or messenger to get to me, we got to know each other better.

college days - still young, fresh, and innocent LOL

I don't recall anymore how everything started but we became officially together in September of 1994. That's almost 18 years ago, believe it or not!

Eight years later you waited for me at the altar while your Best Man whispered "Bro, it's a long walk from the church door to the altar, you still can change your mind."

But hey, you didn't (are you glad?)

That was 10 years ago. A decade has passed and we're still together. Amazing, just amazing.

It wasn't that smooth, yes I know. It was like a ferris wheel ride. Sometimes we're up, sometimes we're down but the important thing was we kept looking up even when we seemed stuck below.

You know how I love mincing with words, and how I sometimes think I am good at it. But for you and for this intance I'd come straight to the point...

I love the life we have together and am looking forward to the many years that await us. Thank you for the kids we have and for the next to come *wink*.

I am thankful we managed to get through 18 years of being together and 10 years of being tied to each other. Years are just numbers - what matters is after all these time I am certain you would still choose me and I would still stick with you.

Happy Anniversary my Mantis. I love you :) (eeeewww! ang cheezy!)

Your Kikay

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

'To Do' List 2011 Review

At the start of 2011, I made a ‘To Do List’ (instead of a New Year’s Resolution) to serve as guide to the things I want to accomplish for the year.

Now let me review the tasks I've successfully completed and come up with a new list for 2012 or shall I just recycle my last year’s To Do List as my new goals?

1. Take the kids to a holiday overseas, maybe on Eone's 5th birthday. – not for Eone’s birthday but we managed to take them to Hong Kong in October/November. Had a great time too, visiting the grannies. 

2. Lose 20 pounds (comments and reactions are NOT welcome, hehe) – recycled for 2012 (and 2013, 2014, 201x hahaha!)

3. Rearrange our bedroom. – Boo! In fact, we’re more cluttered in year 2011!

4. Simplify my closet. This means getting rid (either donate, sell or give away) of all the unused stuff that have accumulated over the years. – tried many times but failed. I am still too much in love with my make up, lotions, bags, etc.

5. Spend my birthday in Boracay (and this better be a gift from The Hubby).Yes, and it was a blast!

6. Reunite with at least 3 long lost friends. – If reunite means adding them in Facebook, then this one could be crossed out. But actually meeting them and bonding with them again, nah, I think I better keep this for another year.

7. Double up my time deposit. This is non-negotiable. – Major fail! (because we traveled a lot this year? Hehe)

8. . Start reading books again. – just 1 book. Boo!

9. Start a new business.  - Boo! It definitely must happen in 2012!
10. Organize at least 3 charity works.  - 2 completed, 1 underway. Not bad but I will keep this in my list.

Jeez! That's only 2 completed out of 10 in the list. My gulay, such a disappointment :(  But on a positive note, I was also able to accomplish a few things that are not in this list - like that Great Bicol Escapade, the revival of my blog (and earning from it) among many other small successes.

Anyway, I will come up with a new list (more like an updated one) and see how I fare this 2012.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

My Most Unforgettable New Year

Dear Daddy,

Someone asked what's my most memorable New Year's eve celebration. It didn't take 10 seconds for me to recall a very unforgettable one when I was just around ten.

It was when you got a bit drunk during the New Year's festivities with relatives, neighbors and friends. You were drinking at home in our garage while waiting for the clock to strike twelve. Occasionally, you and company would light one or two firecrackers and my sisters and I would cover our ears (and eyes) because we were scared of the blast.

I am not sure if that was the holiday before you went to Jeddah but I recall Mommy had just undergone a kidney surgery that same year and was fast recovering. We had a makeshift Christmas tree, made from a real tree. You removed all the leaves, dried it, painted it white and adorned it with ornaments of different shapes, colors and sizes. It was a pretty tree, although different from my friends' display at their home.

As the year turned into a fresh one, everyone shouted 'Happy New Year!' and you, having had a little too much of a drink, took a fountain fireworks and lit it up right in the middle of our living room.

I saw Mommy's face - helpless and scared that the sparks might hit our curtains and start a fire. My sisters and I, quite naive and unsure of what to do, just watched as the fountain burn itself away.  I watched while the colorful sparks hit our sofa cover, our carpet and other furniture. You were laughing, having a blast it seems.

When it was all over, every single thing made of cloth were filled with burnt holes. Amusing at first, but I knew Mommy was so annoyed. I wonder if she got mad at you for that (she probably did).

Honestly, I grimace when I recall that particular scene in that one unforgettable New Year. I thought it was very irresponsible of you to have 'fun' and endanger burning our house down. But after you went to heaven, I miss you so much every New Year that I would rather you light 10 fountains inside our home and see you laugh again the way you did back then.

I miss you Daddy but I know you are celebrating a new life back in the arms of the angels.

Happy New Year!


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