A Bit Scary Bits

Don’t let your fear paralyze you. The scariest paths often lead you to the most exciting places. – Lori Deschene

Hello 2016, you’re almost over. As we flip our calendars to November we also celebrate wifey’s birthday. This year though is a lot more special for today she reaches that phase when life they say begins–she’s now 40! We find it always funny that it happens at the very same time when everyone flocks to the cemeteries to pay respect to their dear departed. Anyway, happy birthday to you milove and may God bless you with better health and longer life ahead. For one, Marcus and I need someone to cook for us.

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This is usually the week when scary stories and TV shows come around. I recall those years when we would get glued in front of Magandang Gabi Bayan’s Halloween episode but the fact that we now know videos can get manipulated has made me a lesser fan of any similar shows. Some current events news are much scarier lately–EJK, anyone?

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Our compound was empty as everyone paid a visit to my sister-in-law’s grave so it’s just Marcus and I for several hours. After dropping off wifey at the cemetery, I briefly left Marcus in the tub and suddenly a shriek echoed. I rushed back to see Marcus staring not at a zombie but at a harmless spider on the wall. It made me recall wifey’s story about the other DMD mom’s observation that their sons too freak out at the sight of insects and spiders. Maybe it’s that feeling of not being able to run or at least walk away that makes them feel scared of those crawly creepers. Makes sense to me now.

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Wifey has this weird habit of staying until the midnight to welcome her birthday but last night she fell asleep early–didn’t text her as I was on training. Hehe. Soon she felt someone shaking her. It was from someone with a pair of tiny cold hands. It was Marcus. Being a late sleeper, he waited for the clock’s two fingers to strike 12 so that he can greet her happy birthday. See it’s not all about scary stuff for today’s blog post. Sweet.

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That quote on top by the way is from Twitter. Yup, about a year or so of hiatus I’m starting to check it out again. I feel I’m being called to report for keyboard warrior duty. Be scared.

I’m scary even without a mask. (Taken in Bacolod two years ago.)

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Two days off.)

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The (tough) challenge to turn minimalist

My current focus has been on the path of being a minimalist. It’s not that I live a complicated lifestyle, full of stuffs to flaunt or experiences worthy of a Facebook or Instagram post. I’m not one of those but I feel that there are still opportunities to declutter and make my life simpler yet fuller—the basic philosophy of minimalism. Thankfully, the transition is made easier as there seems to be a trend and resources to face this challenge as what I have found mostly on Becoming Minimalist.

Do not be fooled though, for decluttering is a big word. It does not only mean disposing physical objects like decades of magazines, baby toys, used clothes, gadgets, etcetera, but it also means dealing with emotional burdens like grudges, lost opportunities and anxieties, whether due to attachments to things we cherish the most or for some other reasons, that hold us back from moving forward and achieving a life that’s less stuffy.

The need to face this challenge head on started to become more serious when we decided to transfer to another house. I was hit with a realization that we have things at home that have either never used or that we will never ever need. This despite giving away clothes regularly when we hear on TV about people needing some due to typhoon or fire. We’ve also given away some of our son’s old toys on trick or treat days or on Christmas seasons. Still it seems that those weren’t enough.

Except for movable things like the stand fan and a turtle in the basin, this area remains clear like on our first days. I have also blocked my wife’s plan to buy a stationary bike.

So when we eventually got settled in our current house, I made sure that more unnecessary stuffs will have to go—having no shelf or extra cabinet helped in the decision making. So far I have given away paperbacks that I once find hard to dispose due to sentimental reasons. Marcus has also agreed to say goodbye to some of his old McDonald’s happy meal toys and Duplos. Wedding gifts like tea sets, plates, glass bowls and the likes were also given away with wifey’s permission. Every one of us did our part in clearing the tangibles and make the house clean and wheelchair-friendly.

Some of the books that have once made me occupied in the parking lot have been given away. I’m now using Kindle.

Clearing the mind of anxieties, however, is a tougher enemy and is an ongoing battle. To let go of what-would/could-have-beens is often hard to shake off. While I have started to get used to look at Marcus straight in the eye when I reassure him that not being able to walk shouldn’t be a big deal, I would sometimes catch myself seeing images of him once walking naturally and him running around and enjoying an active life as an adult.  But maybe it’s the life that isn’t meant to be and acceptance means changing sail and let fate take its course.

Yesterday, during the homily the priest made the perfect reminder. He said that human as we are, we tend to easily forget that what we currently have are all temporary; worse, we become so selfish that we refuse to share to those that need the most. That was spot on.

I know that what I try to achieve in a world of consumerism and self-centeredness is a feat full of obstacles. The temptation to give in is always present so focus to the goal is key. Honestly, I do not know when I would achieve minimalism or if there is even such point, but I am willing to take on the challenge and see how far I could let go of clutters so as to live life as it should be lived.

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This was tough parenting week for us. Marcus has been playing this online Minecraft game called Skywars. He claims that there are banable offenses like hacking and teaming up that results to him getting killed unfairly. When it happens he get so frustrated yet the more he wants to get even. And one frustration leads to another—me included. To prevent this from happening again, I uninstalled his Minecraft PC application in front of him and eventually his user account just to realize soon that I shouldn’t have done it. Anyway, it surprises me that he recovered sooner that I thought and it’s as if nothing happened to the game he loves the most. Maybe he would be a better at letting go than I would ever be.

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Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Letting go of my comfort job.)

Mother: A Hero without a cape

It is a fact that we find comfort when we hear the word mother. For a mother gives us warmth when we are cold; food when we are hungry; consolation when we are sad; companionship when we are alone; encouragement when we doubt our own self; and love even if do not give her love in return.

Yes, a mother is never selfish. A mother is always willing to go beyond her human capacity. She makes us smile even if she can’t. She keeps us healthy even if she isn’t. She shows us there is life even if she is dying. That’s because a mother is a hero without a cape, not an armor even. A mother is a real life Wonder Woman, forget the glamorous bikini and crown. She does not need to fly to impress for being a mother alone is impressive enough.

Our  mother  is  ageing well.

You see motherhood is a 24-hour job. A mother becomes jack of all trades when the situation calls for it. She becomes an medic on call; a technician who fixes things; an engineer who builds toys; a magician who transforms a messy house back to its original form–at least for a day. She can be a police officer who maintains order; a lawyer who defends; a customer support who patiently listens to and addresses complaints; a personal chef who cooks great meal on demand. Name it, a mother could and would do it.

So on this special day, here’s a salute to all mothers–present and gone, old and young. Happy mothers’ day to all wonderful women, especially to my to our own nanay, to my mother-in-law, and to wifey–smile, I’ll handle the dishes for now.

Bacolod, 2008

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Mood: 3/10 Honks!  (Drafted  and  published  using  a   broken   phone.)

We are safe, Thanks Kiddle

Google recently launched a search engine that is kid-friendly. My wife said that she has tested it and had me try it myself this morning. Unlike the regular Chrome, or any other browsers, Kiddle does not auto-fill which means the danger of our kids typing a misspelled word or phrase and with SEO taking over to suggest options is over. Of course, Google also placed filters to allow only sites with age appropriate content to appear. If our tech savvy kid would accept Kiddle as his main and only browser is another story.

Just exaggerating but yes we are safe for now. Thanks Kiddle.

 

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Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Check baby check.)

Enter the Exit

“Daddy, that’s exit! Wrong way yan!” protests Marcus upon seeing the big EXIT sign as I make a turn to the Greenfield toll gate during a recent trip to Nuvali. Wow, the kid has a point. Among the confusing road signs that we have (which we have a lot by the way) here in our country is the EXIT. Why? Can you recall seeing a toll gate sign that says ENTRANCE? Well, I may not have been paying attention but I can’t remember seeing one.

And I am not alone because I know a lot of drivers would agree. For example, “to go to SLEX (South Luzon Expressway), use the Carmona EXIT,” “If you’re coming from Batangas, you can go to Festival Mall via the Alabang EXIT” are just two examples of common direction instructions that mention EXIT whether that’s coming from or going to the expressway way. Either way, we just neither have an Alabang ENRANCE nor an SLEX ENTRANCE. So can we blame kids as young as Marcus to have the impression that their dads who have been their role models of a good driver—all the others are irresponsible, aren’t they?—are now obviously violating a traffic rule?

The immediate answer of course would be to explain it to them. But would it be plain and simple? I doubt it. It would take some more road trips, and similar you-are-wrong objections, before we can finally make them accept that what they have seen on the ‘opposites’ segment of their educational videos do not apply all the time. Yes, the opposite of ENTRANCE is EXIT but for some reason people who designed the toll gates didn’t consider that there will be parents with mini backseat drivers, who will start to learn how to read, and who will sooner or later question why in the world is his father entering a way with a big and clear exit sign. Good luck to us.

To all dads who will be on the road, happy father’s day! And I hope you don’t miss the exit…or entrance…to your destination.

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Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Got a mini LED key chain with my name on it as father’s day gift from wifey. Yesterday, Marcus gave me a car. Toy car.)

A Coaching Technique That Applies at Home

Just realized that the best wrap up of the day is watching my young child sleep. It makes me ponder what was done right, what was done wrong, and what could have been done better. Come to think of it, it’s like coaching people at work except that this time I talk to myself.

Good night, Marcus. You are loved.

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Mood: 1/10 Honks! (Great day. I was in Nuvali but not to work.)

Slow Down and Stop

Most of us would agree that we hate being stopped. It is the reason we strain our necks to investigate what keeps traffic from moving, often times it is what causes us to blare our horns madly to coax that unsuspecting guy in front of us to step on it.

When sickness strikes, we desperately try to fight it off. We question the heavens why us, when will we recover. And we want that damn recovery fast.

At work, we get impatient when that dream job we have been applying for just doesn’t come so soon.

And in our family, our children or spouses bear the brunt whenever things don’t go our way.

Any sign of stopping we just immediately hate.  When something breaks our momentum and keeps us indefinitely stationary we become impatient, frustrated, and irrational.

But what we must realize is that there are always reasons, important ones, that we are stopped on our tracks. For one, it is the time we are given the opportunity to reflect, to analyze, and to reconsider. Being on the go makes us feel invincible, too proud, too detached from reality, and worse, from the very people who are supposed to be the main recipients of why we want to keep on moving.

On that note, this holy week, whether too pious or not, let us allow ourselves to slow down or come to a full halt and appreciate what we currently have, what we have achieved so far. Let us stop and remember to thank the divine power who in the first place has kept us going throughout the whole year.

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Mood: 1/10 Honks! (My last work day for this week.)