Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Year in Review --

Last night Johann treated us to a really grand dinner at Days Hotel. They have really great appetizers, roast beef and a wonderful dessert table. The conversation was about the year that's ending and plans for the year ahead --

It's been an interesting year for me -- I've experienced so many firsts and learned so much about my life. I became a mom and gained an appreciation for my own mom and how she managed to take care of five children when I am overwhelemed with the experience of having just one.

I nearly died from an undetected UTI. When I was in the hospital, I went through a mental list of all the things that I wanted to do before I died -- (the list isn't so long anymore. ^_^) and what I wanted to do if I got out of that hospital alive -- (that list is long. ^_^)

I've been in Iloilo for half a year and I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoy being here. I love that everything is so accessible and I don't have to pack heavy whenever I bring Seth out --

2006 was a happy year and 2007 promises to be even better. There are trips planned and those dreamed about that I hope will push through.

Anyhoo, here's my list for the year --

Best gifts received this Christmas

5. A bag from my Aunt (really cool Alice in Wonderland print) which is big enough to fit a bottle, a disposable diaper and a lampin for Seth
4. Dinner with my sister and hubby, which was my hubby's gift (part 2) to me and my sister
3. A pair of Burgundy Crocs Mary Janes
2. A Canon Powershot A640
1. Does Seth count? ^_^ / Clean bill of health

TV Shows
5. Project Runway / Rockstar Supernova
4. Entourage
3. Grey's Anatomy (yes, we finally caved and watched it)
2. House MD
1. Prison Break

5. Superman Returns
4. Howl's Moving Castle
3. Welcome to Dongmakgul
2. Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest
1. The Prestige

4. Fidelity by Regina Spektor
3. Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol
2. Mr Brightside by The Killers
1. A lot of Coldplay (Clocks, Don't Panic, Speed of Sound, Yellow, Fix You, etc.)

Comic Series
5. Wonder Woman (Heinberg)
4. Batman (the current one by Morrison/Kubert)
3. All Star Superman
2. Daredevil
1. Fables

Books for the year
5. What to Expect on your First Year / Child of Our Time
4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
3. Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier
2. A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
1. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier / The Prestige by Christopher Priest / Suddenly Silver by Lynn Johnston

Discoveries for 2006
3. Mangosteen is yummy.
2. Being a parent is hard but the rewards can't be beat
1. Iloilo is entertaining and a good place to raise a child

Happy Thoughts
5. Fruits in Ice Cream, David's Tea House, Kettle Corn in Iloilo
4. Having really good doctors
3. Good, good friends (and realizing who they are)
2. My sibs, my parents
1. Seth, my hubby and my life

Things I did that I am most proud of
3. Reading all the books I've read (Tracy Chevalier was a discovery!)
2. Being Seth's mama (and doing it full-time)
1. Survive 24 hours of labor with enough calm to carry a conversation regarding teaching methods in Medical School

Friday, December 29, 2006

Looks like it's going to be a great year --

For theater -- Atlantis has announced that it will be staging Avenue Q in July 2007 and Jessica Hagedorn's Dogeaters in November 2007.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Adventure! --

While waiting for the mass to start last Christmas eve, I suddenly remembered the MV Doulos. I don't know why I remembered it, but I did.

The MV Doulos is a passenger ship that travels from port to port all over the world. One of their goals is to promote literacy by selling books at affordable prices.

I had hazy memories about going up the ship as a child and being overwhelmed by the number of books on board. I remember having about 100 pesos (a large sum during that time) and being able to purchase some comic books (Muppets) and other books. I told Johann about it and he was intrigued by it so I decided to read up on it online, hoping to find out when it would next visit the Philippines.

Wonder of wonders, MV Doulos was in the Philippines (Bacolod, more specifically)!

So Johann and I made plans to go to Bacolod to visit the ship. We planned the trip for the 26th because it was a non-working holiday. We took the 930am boat to Bacolod but it was delayed so we arrived in Bacolod at 11am. We immediately made our way to Doulos, which was docked in the same port. We paid the PhP10 entrance and then had to engage the precarious climb up the gangplank.

The bookfair is a lot smaller and the selection is limited to Christian books, recipe books and a shedload of books for children. I had to restrain myself from purchasing books for Seth. I ended up buying 4 board books that would help a child learn Chinese and one really cool board book of patterns and very nice graphics.

While walking around, I was suddenly transported back to my first visit to Doulos -- lost among the crowds, sweating from the stuffiness, overwhelmed by the number of shelves and books and excited to be part of something so... international!

Johann was able to find an excellent book -- Cinema Year by Year 1894-2003 -- a big-ass book (and steal for PhP600!).

Other noteworthy items there were Dr Seuss tape and book sets for PhP150 (Johann didn't want me to get it because we don't have a cassette player =P) and lots of really cool activity books for older children.

MV Doulos will be in Bacolod until January 2 and then it will be in Manila, then Cebu, then Batangas before heading to Taiwan. See the schedule here.

* * *

Amazing Race moment --

We finished touring MV Doulos at 1230. The boat we wanted to take had a 1pm trip back to Iloilo. There was another boat leaving at 1245pm but we were worried that we wouldn't be able to make it and waste precious time lining up for tickets to a boat we wouldn't be able to get on.

When we arrived at the other ticket office, it turns out they had run out of tickets for the 1pm trip and their next trip was at 230 in the afternoon. Johann quickly decided to run to the other office. We asked the guard and he told us that they were no longer selling tickets for the 1245 trip. Their next trip was at 215. We lined up for the tickets -- when we finally got to the counter, the ticket lady told us that they no longer have tickets for the 215 trip. I asked if they had tickets for the first class seats (PhP100 more expensive) and she said no. They did, however, still have first class seats for the 1245 trip. So we coughed up the extra cash to take that trip.

Lesson: Always make reservations.

* * *

Post-Christmas report --

It was an interesting Christmas. I was still on antibiotics, which was an annoying reminder of my recent visit to the hospital.

To be honest, it felt very un-Christmas-y this year. It was warm, and there weren't that many Christmas lights.

I was determined to find the magic of Christmas --

I saw a glimmer of it in Seth when he was looking at the Christmas tree with such fascination.

I saw it in my godson's younger brother as he excitedly opened the Christmas present we got for him.

I felt it when we had lunch with my aunt, my cousins, nephews and niece and grandma the day after Christmas.

I did get really cool stuff this year -- a Canon Powershot A640, which I'm still getting acquainted with and a really pretty pair of Crocs, which haven't left my feet since the 24th. ^_^

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Interesting Week --

It started two Mondays ago when I came down with, what I thought was, a flu. I had a high fever and achy joints. I stayed in bed and downed massive amounts of orange juice and vitamin C. I went to see a doctor later that evening and couldn't even muster up the energy to go down a few flights of stairs. I had started to get cold so I was bundled up in a blanket. The doctor gave me meds and suggested that I try to sweat out the fever.

So that evening, we did. My mom gave me a sponge bath (with tepid water) to try to get my fever down and then had to sweat the fever out.

I started feeling better that evening.

The next day, I woke up with no joint pains and no fever. We made an appointment for Thursday with a pulmonologist just to make sure it wasn't pneumonia. I was ready to be given a clean bill of health.

And then it happened. Right after lunch, I started to get chills. I was shivering and my teeth were chattering. I couldn't even make it to the bathroom because my limbs were too cold to walk. I had the yaya call my mom. By then, I was bundled under two layers of blankets and I was still cold. Johann was at work so it was my parents who had to make a quick decision to bring me to the hospital. At this point, I had already started turning blue/black.

I was admitted and an infection specialist was brought in.

Acute pylonephritis. Otherwise known as a Urinary Tract Infection gone bad. Apparently, I'd been hosting a UTI, which never presented any symptoms (later, we read that this sometimes happens) -- it only reared its ugly head in the latter stages when it hit my kidneys.

All would've been fine and dandy until they got the results back of my CBC and they discovered, serendipitously, that my SGPT/SGOT was five times the normal value. The SGPT/SGOT monitors your liver and how fatty it is. My doctor was worried that I might have Hepatitis. The doctor suggested that I get a hepa titer test to rule out all the Hepas. I also got a stomach ultrasound.

Results came back negative for hepatitis (whew!) and for anything else in my tummy (whew!) --

And then I got rashes. Thing is, I have really sensitive skin and there was this summer when the housekeeper decided to switch detergents on us and my sister and I got rashy. I broke out in rashes so we quickly changed hospital gowns (turns out, the one I was wearing had been kept in a dusty cabinet the day before) -- but, to be safe, they gave me an antihistamine and something for the rashes.

I was finally discharged last Sunday because I requested it. I still had a mild fever but paracetamol could manage it.

I still have a day of antibiotics and I need to go for a check-up with the doctor tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ce-BOO Pacific --

We purchased two tickets from Cebu Pacific last May for my sister and brother. We scheduled their trip to Iloilo for July. We had to reschedule their visit because my brother had an appointment on the week that they were supposed to come home to Iloilo so we had their Cebu Pacific tickets cancelled and we filed the necessary papers to process the refund. We were told it would take 45 to 60 days.

That was last June.

Last September, I called the local office and they told me that they had submitted everything to the main office in Manila so that should be where I should follow up the refund. The phone numbers I was given were impossible to get through -- they are constantly busy or they put you on hold and then hang up on you. Now, this is okay if I were making a local call -- but I'm calling from Iloilo.

When I finally got through, it seems the refund request was never filed so I had to refile and was told to wait another 45 to 60 days.

It is now December and still no refund. I've called their office and the only person I've spoken to is their operator who puts me on hold and then hangs up on me. What's strange is that they have two local numbers for accounting (loc 218 and loc 263) -- I was finally able to get through to 263 and the lady put me on hold and transferred me to 218! (And then they hung up on me.)

It isn't really the money that I'm after (I think I've spent more on long-distance calls than the amount to be refunded) but I'm really annoyed with the bad business practice. They're very quick to charge your credit card but they are slow as molasses to return the money.

I wonder how long it will take before they refund me my money.

BOO! Cebu Pacific, boo!

Monday, December 11, 2006

The fun that is Google Earth --

I used to live here --
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And now I am here --
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Google Earth

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I am --

Looking for new shoes. I was warned, when I got pregnant, that my feet would never be the same again -- that I would, most likely, go up a size.

I've been living in slippers for the past few months, waiting for my feet to shrink -- but I've now accepted that they won't. So I'm in the market for new shoes.

We spotted a really nice pair of canvas flats in Bench for less than 400 so I might pick up a pair tomorrow.

* * *

Gearing up for 2007 --

Since I won't be able to get the Starbucks planner for 2007, I've been shopping around for a nice generic planner at the local National Bookstore and I found one that I like. Will probably purchase it tomorrow. ^_^

* * *

Dinner tonight --

We had dinner with our friend, Lucia (Korean) at the newly-opened David's Tea House. I ordered my usual asado congee and poured a healthy spoonful (spoonfuls, actually) of the chinese chili sauce. It was fun introducing the different kinds of dimsum to Lucia.

We thought it was a curious franchise choice because it isn't THAT well-known... but Johann and I are happy that they are here because we are great fans of their food. ^_^

Since it was their opening week, service was a bit wonky --

We plan to go back in a couple of weeks when things settle. ^_^
The cutest thing!!! --

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Lomo teamed up with Superheadz of Japan to develop these really cute cameras. This one is a 110 camera and it comes in many designs. This will probably be Seth's first camera. ^_^

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I am --

Currently looking for another TV series to watch. Johann and I just finished watching Season 1 of Supernatural. Interesting show. Jensen Ackles, the guy who plays Dean Winchester, is a cutie. ^_^

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* * *

Earthquake --

A mild one. Intensity 4 according to the radio.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I am --

Currently (re)addicted to Neopets. I remember the first time I got into the game -- I had devised a plan to make a million neopoints in a month -- now I'm going at it again. ^_^

Oh, and new stop --

Check link list -- ^_^