Apr 30, 2007

GREEN NAILS


I’ve never had the chance to go to a nail salon in months, so when our house assistant offered to do my nails, I was ecstatic. My nails had long needed a make-over, after enduring months of getting chewed on.

Excited, I bought a bottle of apple green nail polish. Our house assistant worked tirelessly and patiently for 3 hours (I had very short, uneven, and extremely delicate nails, after all). Finally, my nails were restored to something that looked the least bit presentable.

I vowed to keep them that way --- if only I could!

Apr 28, 2007

My bestfriend Lily


The overseas call from my bestfriend, Lily, came as a pleasant surprise, soothing as lozenges are to a sore throat.

I haven’t, after all, heard from her in quite a long time, and I’ve so much to tell her it was such a stress to keep them all bottled in!

I met Lily 10 years ago. The companies we worked for were sister companies (both now dissolved for reason I’d much rather not say). We immediately hit it off, as if we’ve known each other forever.

Well, all credit has to go to Lily. She could make you feel warm and welcome so easily … so effortlessly. She also has a tremendous sense of humour there’s practically never a dull moment when she’s around.

Lily fits the dictionary description of what a true friend is. She’s a great listener, generous of her time and resources, and you can always count on her in good times and bad.

I don’t intend this to be a euology for Lily. Though miles away (she’s in Africa, by the way), she’s far from being dead. But I want her to know as early as now how much I appreciate and treasure our friendship. I know there aren’t many like Lily in the world it is such a blessing to have met one in my life.

Thanks for the call, Lily! I had a great time laughing.

Apr 27, 2007

A PLEASURABLE WALKING EXPERIENCE


One sunny Wednesday, I got this sudden desire to take a walk in the minipark near my office. There wasn’t particularly special about that day. It was even excruciatingly hot, and the air was very dry --- hardly a perfect day for a walk.
But hormones raging, I changed my corporate heels into my pair of comfortable flats, and began my walk.
Aah… this is the life, I thought with a smile when I reached my destination. I felt as if I were in a different place, another continent, I must say, with tall trees lining the park, bending low with every breath of the wind. Overhead, birds were singing … or were they merely chirping? Or talking to each other? I couldn’t tell, really, only that they were making the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard. It was like being in a concert, the music orchestrated to perfection.
I walked around, allowing my thoughts to be drowned by the sounds of nature all about me. How beautiful it was, indeed, to be so close to nature!
I went back to the office just in time for the afternoon bell, perspiring but with a look of contentment on my face, and when my co-workers asked where I’ve been, I simply smiled and said, I just had the most pleasurable walking experience!

Apr 26, 2007

Declutter!


My sister has two extremely adorable kids, but adorable as they are, they could easily turn into green-eyed monsters when it comes to their toys. In fact, they now have a roomful of toys accumulated throughout the years. Headless dinosaurs, legless spiderman dolls, amputated barbies, and the like, are lying on practically every nook and corner of the house.

I was getting sick of the clutter, so I made a deal with them. I told them that for every new toy that they get, they would have to give me 5 of their old toys to give to the poor children. You know what? They liked the idea!

So now, every time they get a new toy (which is pretty often, thanks or no thanks to fast-food restos offering toys for every kiddie meal), they are only too excited to give me five of their old toys!

Isn’t that a nice way of decluttering their toy box while teaching them to be generous as well?

Apr 25, 2007

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Apr 24, 2007

MY FATHER, THE HERO

Some eight years ago, my dad suffered a severe stroke. There was massive bleeding right in the pontine area of his brain. He was in a coma, and the prognosis was grim. Nobody ever thought he would live for another day, or at most, three days.

A day and a half after that fateful day, he opened his eyes. But he couldn’t blink them at will. His movements were uncoordinated, and he couldn’t speak. He was bedridden and completely dependent on us for all his needs.

Many believed he was useless, a “vegetable”, even some would say. I begged to disagree, and turned a cold shoulder to anyone who said that within hearing distance from me. Because I knew, deep in my heart, that he was far from any of that. He could read with his eyes and followed instructions as best as he could. I kept a whiteboard handy and wrote down words for him to read. “Smile”, I’d write, and he’d break into a grin. “Blink 10 times”, and his eyes would flutter 10 times. He could count with precision! He would nod his head to indicate agreement, and shake it off to mean “no”. One time, I got so ambitious as to tell him to say name out loud. He tried his best, and came out with a loud whisper of what really sounded like my name. It was sheer music to my ears. Better than Beethoven’s symphonies or Chopin’s romantic melodies. It was simply the best sound I’ve ever heard in my life.

In his physical weakness, my dad was proof that miracles happen … that prayers are answered … that God exists … that the power of love is beyond anything we could ever hope for or even imagine.

He was a hero for making us see all these.

Apr 23, 2007

Stop The Tears


So you love onions. In fact, you couldn’t imagine anything fried and sautéed without them. You love them even more because they’re sodium-free, cholesterol-free, and fat-free. Plus, they contain fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and quercetin, an antioxidant that protects against cataracts, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
But you hate slicing them because they always bring tears to your eyes. Onions make you cry when the enzymes react to the air as you slice or chop them.
For tearless chopping, try these tips:
1) chill the onions
2) use a sharp knife
3) use swimming goggles to protect your eyes
4) burning a candle or have a bowl of water near the cutting board
Now that you can slice onions without crying, your next concern is how to get rid of the odor from your hands. Try sprinkling some salt on your palms and rubbing them together under running water. Or you may wash your hands and, while still wet, rub them on stainless steel, such as a cooking pot or steel sink.
Visit this site for more kitchen tips: http://www.wholefoods.com/recipes/kitchentips/onion.html

Apr 22, 2007

Writing Memos


Many years ago, when office employees would receive memos they’d usually tremble in fear. Because for a lot of people back then, memos meant a warning. Or a reprimand. Or something else that carries a negative connotation.

But memos aren’t always like that at all. In fact, if we are to really define them, memos are just written documents that are internal to the company. They could be anything --- an advice, a reminder, general info.

I’ve been writing memos for a long time, and I’d like to share with you some of the things I learned through the years to make them more effective:

1) Be personal. Don’t use the words, “the undersigned” when referring to yourself. This isn’t the dark ages, you know. It is always best to use the words, I, you, or we.

2) Avoid being too formal with words. Write as if you’re simply conversing, as if you’re talking face-to-face.

3) Use English words when you’re writing in English. Avoid writing, “as per your request…”. Instead, say, “As you have requested…”

4) Keep your paragraphs short. Long sentences will bore your readers and will make them lose track of the message you intend to impart

5) Don’t leave your reader out in the cold. Close your memo with a statement of what you want the reader to do.

Apr 20, 2007

Hello???


My job as a service officer requires me to be on the phone most of the time, whether it’s making business calls or answering them. So, I know quite a bit about telephone courtesy.

When answering a business phone, I find it appropriate to begin by stating the name of my agency, and following it up with a greeting, like good morning, for instance. Answering a business phone with the household standard, “hello”, is, to me, just so unprofessional. Introducing the name of your company is a form of marketing, isn’t it? And it only takes a few nanoseconds to do it.

Also, never answer the phone with a mere “yes?” I’ve encountered several people who do this, and, honestly, I think that is rather rude. It gives me the impression that the person at the other end of the line is in a hurry and would prefer doing other things to answering the phone.

It would be nice, too, to make the caller then feel comfortable by saying, “is there anything I can help you with?” or “how may I help you?” or anything to that effect.

And remember to tone down your voice. Modulate. High-pitches are always very irritating and could easily turn-off potential customers.

If you have other tips to share, you can post them here, too. Just send them through my email, toonatoons@yahoo.com.ph , first, then I’ll edit my post to include your suggestions.

Apr 18, 2007

Beat The Heat


It’s summertime! And the heat seems to be getting more excruciating each year. Punishing. A glimpse of hell.

Two things could happen with extreme heat --- heat exhaustion or heat stroke.


Heat exhaustion is characterized by heavy sweating, weakness, headache, weak pulse, dizziness, exhaustion, fainting, nausea or vomiting, and cold, clammy skin. Body temperature will seem normal. If left untreated, it could progress to heat stroke characterized by hot, red skin; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing; loss of ability to sweat; throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion and unconsciousness. Body temperature can be so high (103 degrees F or higher, though a person may feel chilled) that brain damage or death may result in fewer than 10 minutes if medical attention is not immediate.

Read more here: http://www.wnbc.com/News/1541414/detail.html

Beat the heat with these precautions:

1) Hydrate. Drink plenty of water
2) Take frequent baths
3) Apply wet tissues on your forehead
3) Dress lightly and in pastels
4) AVOID MIDDAY HEAT (getting out of the house between the hours 10:00 am to 4:00 pm should be an absolute no-no, especially for the elderly)
5) stay away from hot, heavy meals. Instead, eat light, eat fruits that have high
content of water

More tips are found here:
http://www.kidsource.com/kidsource/content/news/heat.6.25.html
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/getaways/080599/gear05.html

Apr 17, 2007

Writer's Block

You’re raring to write. But you have plenty of things going in your head. There are far too many voices all around you, and you couldn’t concentrate. Suddenly, your brain cells just freeze. And you can no longer think.

It’s Writer’s Block! And it happens even to the best of us.

It often happens to me, too, and when it does, these are the things I usually do:

1) Take a break.
2) Get up from my chair
3) Take a walk outside where’s there’s plenty of air
4) Read short articles and stories to get myself into the groove
5) Get myself inspired with soft music

If these don’t work for you, try the tips found here:
http://www.43folders.com/2004/11/18/hack-your-way-out-of-writers-block/

Apr 16, 2007

Truly A Success Story!

Many financially poor people would regard their poverty as a reason to remain exactly that --- poor.

So, it is rather a bit surprising, and inspiring, indeed, to hear stories of poor people turning the wheels of fortune in their favor. Like Aling Nora, for instance, who concocted Charmica Soap with just P1,000 and turned into a million-peso enterprise that sells to markets in Japan, the United States and United Kingdom.
The road to Aling Nora’s success was not easy an easy one nor was it a one-strike deal. From making ropes, she had to work hard as a housemaid, as seamstress, and even as a vendor selling repacked peanuts, butong pakwan, ginisang dilis, pansit, ginatan, and all kinds of snacks.
In 1996 she enrolled in soap making at the Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC), and after three false starts with different partners and a lot of frustrations, Aling Nora was finally able to put up a stable soap making business of her own.
With just P1,000.00, Aling Nora bought a big can of vegetable oil, caustic soda, perfume and other ingredients. The production of soap took place right in their own kitchen with a lot of help from her husband and daughters. Nora wanted to make the product well known as a good-quality soap.
And it is. Her soap, is, in fact, being exported to the US, United Kingdom and Japan.
Her recipe for success? Hard work, perseverance, prayers, love of family.
Read the whole inspiring story at http://business.inquirer.net/money/features/view_article.php?article_id=60535

THE RAINBOW CONNECTION


I was greeted yesterday morning by a spectacular sight --- a rainbow with all the seven colors vibrant and dazzling against the blue sky. For a few seconds, time stood still as I could only gaze in complete wonderment at the beauty above me.
Why there appeared a rainbow at that particular moment was because there was a slight drizzle (a blessing, indeed, after days of excruciating heat and dryness). Rainbows occur when sunlight and water meet in the sky.
Read more here: http://www.deltatech.com/rv/rainbows.html

Apr 14, 2007

I MAY HAVE FATTY LIVER


Oh, no, this is really scary! I think, I may have fatty liver, just like my sister. I have all the signs --- well, most of it anyway. Maybe, I’m a little paranoid, but I’m slightly overweight, particularly in the middle, and I find it so hard to lose weight, no matter what I do. Hunger strikes, cellulite creams, exercises --- none could get rid of the “bulges”. I thought it’s just bad genetics, but reading this article at http://www.liverdoctor.com/Section4/fattyliver.asp, makes me think twice. My immune system, too, has been down lately. I exhibit allergic and flu-like symptoms whenever my period is coming up.
I haven’t undergone any blood chemistry yet, so I wouldn’t know if I have elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels. And, I don’t think I have type 2 diabetes (although I have a tendency to develop it because my mom is a diabetic). Still, I have 3 of about 7 tell-tale signs (the others being tiredness, syndrome x, and high cholesterol and triglyceride levels).
What happens with a fatty liver, I learned, is that the liver is storing fats, instead of burning them. So, if I don’t do anything about it, my liver could turn into a bag of fats! Horrible, just horrible!
Fatty liver may be linked to heavy alcohol-drinking, diabetes, and obesity. But poor diet and certain illnesses, like tuberculosis, and use of corticosteroids, could also cause fatty liver.
Treatment depends on the actual cause of the disease. If it’s just simple fatty liver, no treatment is required, maybe just some changes in dietary lifestyles and losing weight. Still, it should not be taken for granted as this could tend to progress into more serious liver conditions.

---------
An insight from a friend, Femaildoc,

Definitely get your triglycerides checked; elevated blood fats usually precede a fatty liver, and they also are markers for a high risk of progressing to diabetes. Triglycerides, or blood fats, also require insulin to exit the blood for storage in fat cells. An elevation is the first sign of insulin resistance, and high circulating triglycerides are toxic to the pancreas, thus hastening the inability to make enough insulin that results in diabetes.

Femaildoc authors the following health blogs:
http://femailhealthnews.blogspot.com
http://vintagefemail.blogspot.com

these sites are definitely worth checking, especially if you're a health buff.

Apr 13, 2007

Friday the 13th

Even in this modern age and time, many of us may still experience what is called paraskavedekatriaphobia or fear of Friday the 13th.

Various situations/events may be cited that could, perhaps, help us understand why Friday the 13th has been considered “unlucky”.
The Last Supper, with stories that Judas was the thirteenth guest, and that the Crucifixion of Jesus occurred Friday.
That the biblical Eve offered the fruit to Adam on a Friday, and that the slaying of Abel happened on a Friday (though the Bible does not identify the days of the week when these events occurred). [3]
That it started on Friday, October 13, 1307, the date that many Knights Templar were simultaneously arrested in France, by agents of King Philip IV.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friday_the_13th
Personally, I never took much attention to Friday the 13th. I wasn’t superstitious, and to me, Friday the 13th was just any other day. Except this particular Friday the 13th on the month of February, 1998. That was the day my dad suffered a massive stroke.
Still, I believe it was just pure coincidence, although, admittedly, that happening still haunts me up to this very day.
How about you? Do you have paraskavedekatriaphobia? Any Friday the 13th stories to tell?

T.G.I.P.D

Thank God, It’s Payday!

I’ve been looking forward to this from the first day of the month. My last salary almost instantly disappeared with so many bills to pay and all that. They say there are two kinds of salary --- magic salary and the onion salary. Magic salary refers to salary that is gone in a blink of an eye --- like magic. You have the money in your hands for a fraction of a second, and then poof, it’s gone before you even begin to feel it. Onion salary, on the other hand, refers to net pay that is so low it practically brings tears to one’s eyes.

Nevertheless, whatever salary I’m receiving today, I’m thankful for it!

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