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Sunday, January 31, 2010

I Turn One!

You never really appreciate something until you've lost it. Or thought you did!

Some three days ago, I thought I lost my blog site! I cannot access it. Whenever I click on it, another site pulls up (a business site!). Alarmed, several blogging friends emailed me about it. I was clueless and had to spend some time reading through the help forums of blogger, before I finally came across a case that was similar to mine. It is called domain parking. Somebody illegally parked in my domain so when somebody tried to access my site, it pulled up a different site. I was tearful and frustrated. I thought I lost my site and my domain ( for good. With Doods's help, we were able to claim my domain back. It wasn't easy. We had to let go of my old template and use one of blogger's classic templates, this means loosing all my widgets. Oh well, better that than loosing my posts! Whew, after I painstakingly installed my old template back, I slowly added the old buttons, and my blog was slowly restored to it's old look. I was up all night and only finished two hours ago! Tedious! I hope nobody has to go through what I went through. It's scary!

Today, is a scan day. To some blogger friends who have been around for awhile, you must've come across some posts that mentioned my scan days. It happens every three months. Today is special. Today, I turn one! My oncologist said, after the initial first year, I am good to go. The chance of recurrence lessens!  *sigh*  I really hope it's gone for good!  Results will be read on Tuesday.  *gulp*

These lovely flowers are my way of celebrating. Today, my scan turns one... I have been cancer-free for a year now!  So much to look forward to! Yay!

It's Mosaic Monday once again at Mary's Little Red House. She graciously hosts this event every Monday. Stop by her red house and see what other mosaic makers have done this week. Thank you, Mary!

Saturday, January 30, 2010


On our way home, during the long drive from Arizona to Houston, we came across these abandoned houses. There is something haunting... and beautiful about the scene.

Click the badge if you want to see more scenic views. Happy Scenic Sunday!


Hello blogging friends,

Please bear with my site. It is under construction. Two days ago, the site itself, cannot be accessed. It was scary and frustrating. After doing some research, I found out it is being redirected to another site (some business site!) This occurrence is called domain parking. Some site was illegally parking in my site! Sad!

I am grateful to some blogging buddies, Icy and Betchai for emailing me about this matter. Icy emailed me through facebook while Betchai tried accessing my site from seven different computers and every time, another site pulls up. Thank you,

I lost my old template (huhuhu) and am trying to reconstruct the site little by little. 

Friday, January 29, 2010

Oklahoma @ Fun Friday

It is Fun Friday once again at our blogging group, Blogging for Fun. We are doing an A-Z meme. This week we are working on letter O. O is for Oklahoma.

 Turner Falls Park, Oklahome

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Piano Lessons, Anyone?

Sometimes, when I get home from a tiring day in school, I just want to sit and stare blankly at nothing. Sometimes, I do just that! Hahaha. On other days, after giving my brain a good rest, I take a shower, make myself hot tea and sit quietly and stare some more. When I have rested, I go to my piano and play. Playing the piano is one of the things that relaxes me. Sitting in the piano stool and hitting some keys can help make tiredness evaporate.

My Baldwin

I learned to play the piano when I was in second grade and have kept lessons until I was in high school. I learned the hard way. Piano lessons in the old days have rigid training and the pieces are somewhat difficult than the ones I see now. By difficult I mean, now, there are arrangements of the same titles that are so much easier to play (especially for kids) and yet would sound almost the same as their difficult counterparts. I have also discovered, there are easier ways to learn the piano. My friend, Miriam's son, Myron, even learned from youtube. Of course, learning the right way still matters.

One time, I was looking for free sheet music (these are costly in music stores) I came across a site that teaches piano lessons and provide good techniques for playing. It's been awhile since I have polished on my techniques, I just play, period. Now, am excited to review and take some refresher course. The site is amazing, it made learning to play the piano so easy. Piano lessons, anyone?

Ceiling Fans

Recently, blogger friends MJ and Joanie were talking about snowstorms and snowfall that is knee high. They were out enjoying a sleigh ride, skiing  and  snowball fight. While my friend, MJ, was making a snowman in West Virginia, Doods and I, here in Houston, were gardening under 65 degrees scourging heat. The frenzy of mother nature! Yes, it is warm here in Houston. Although, we do experience nasty winter and Arctic blasts, freeze is rare. But mother nature knows exactly how to balance things. Like all moms, she does not play favorites. On summers...oh boy, electric bills soar up high and the air conditioner is overworked!

When Doods and I purchased our house, we made sure that we had ceiling fans installed upstairs and downstairs. Here in Houston, even with the air conditioner, it can still be warm during summers. The ceiling fan circulates the air and helps condition the temperature in the house. The air conditioner does not get overworked.

Here in Houston and surrounding areas, ceiling fans are not only found in houses, even some restaurants have ceiling fans. Just the other day, our friend, Tam, owner of our favorite Vietnamese Noodle House, was talking about replacing her overused ceiling fans. She was saying, the fans have been in service for a long time and needs to be replaced soon before summer heat comes in full force. Instead of buying in retail, Tam is thinking of buying wholesale. Buying wholesale will save Tam a huge amount of money. It is cheaper to buy wholesale. She canvased online and found some good deals. After much deliberation, she found  Hansen wholesale ceilings fans competitive, reasonably priced and provides a variety of brands and styles. Hmm, if Tam can spare us one from her wholesale order, we are thinking of installing a ceiling fan here in my craft room.

Paid Surveys

Why bother with paid surveys? Why not! If you have free time to spare and would be interested to help big companies discover what consumers really want, then paid surveys will be worth your while. You would be helping the company and the millions of consumers like yourself. Even though it may seem too meager a job to sit home and get paid some $10-$20 on average for ten minutes of your time, paid online surveys are now a huge business, a million-dollar business!

Nowadays, huge companies really set aside big money to discover what customers have to say about their products. Companies accept that paid surveys are effective and helpful market research method. Consumer surveys directly communicate useful customer ideas to the product manufacturers. Your opinion as a consumer ultimately will help the merchandise and service industry develop and be more productive. This is valuable information, and the company is ready and willing to reward the consumers with cash for sharing their honest opinion.

The survival and growth of a lot of small and large businesses greatly depends on paid surveys. It is true that you may not be a millionaire just by doing paid survey, but it is a very good way to earn additional cash that can complement your main income. However, if you participate and complete surveys with specific and detailed questionnaires, there is likelihood that you can easily double your expected pay. It is easy and relaxing. You sit, click on some buttons, and before you know it, you've earned some extra cash! You have nothing to loose, try it, take surveys!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)

"Houston, we have a problem! Houston, we have a problem!"

Yeap, you guessed right. Today, am taking you guys on a tour inside NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration). A visit to Houston is not complete until you've seen NASA. Once a year, teachers visit the space center for the Educators Open House. It is an opportunity to present to teachers the new discoveries and additional features available at NASA. This is done in preparation for future field trips. 

The first watch worn on the moon.

This is the original command center that launched Neil Armstrong and company, aboard Apollo 11

left to right: Armstrong, Collins, Aldrin (and us! teehee)

Training Center

I am always excited for Tuesday to come because I can share about "my world." Thank you to Klaus, Sandy, Wren, Fishing Guy and Sylvia for hosting this wonderful meme. Thank you guys!

Click on the badge to discover photos that will showcase the bigger world out there!

Math Tutors Online

Most of the parents of my Kindergarten students are always excited to help their kids with homework. Some, even demanding extra work from the teacher. A parent-and-child take-home project gets both parent and child excited! But as children grow older, their subjects in school become difficult too. These parents who were eager to help their kids with kindergarten homework are still eager to help their eighth grader with their work, except sometimes, the homework is difficult even for the parents.  A good example of this, are the Math problems I saw my niece working on. It was just simple multiplication in third grade. It looked so easy, but when I was watching my niece, I realized she was solving it with a totally different procedure than the one I was taught during my grade school days. Like really different. It was using a diagonal columns. She was doing it fast, but I can't even solve one problem using her way! I can do multiplication, when I solve it the way I know how. I dare not teach her my way, because they were required to show the solution. I realized, with so much innovation, her way was actually an easier method than mine! So funny... but reality check, its everywhere!

Most often than not, parents want to help kids with their homework, but when the homework is way beyond the parents capabilities, the parents become limited and the children feel helpless. One time, my friend, Myla tried to be a Math tutor to her ninth grade daughter. It was so funny, instead of helping her daughter understand the problems in her homework, her mom (my friend) made it more confusing, then my friend, Myla, ended up confused too! Hahaha. Some Math help! Good thing, there are Math tutors online.  This online tutor is convenient. My friend, Myla, was saying, she can even sit down with her daughter, so she can  learn with her daughter and later can help her daughter with extra drills. The Math problem solver was so helpful and these at the comfort of their home. Myla does not have to drive her daughter to a tutorial center. The online Math tutor saves her precious time and gas money! If you are interested, you can even try their free online tutoring.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Choose A Good Luggage

Last June, Doods and I, together with our family, visited some countries in Southeast Asia. We traveled with a large party of nine. We took my three nieces on their first out-of-the-country experience. The trip wouldn't be complete without my mom, their grandma. Before we know it, my sister and Doods's sister were all tagging along. The more, the merrier, yay! My dad-in-law and mom-in-law, who had work and cannot join us, drove us to the airport instead. It was the first time for Doods and I to be in-charge of a huge party.  We've travel in a group tour, but we had only each other to take care off.  Traveling with family is a huge responsibility. Although, it was so much fun traveling with children. They are so funny and their delight at simple things communicate to the adults and contaminate the day.

Image courtesy of Village Luggage and Gifts

We hardly had time to prepare because we were in Asia for just two months, and this includes seing relatives and friends and touring some neighboring countries. We had to fly back to America in time to get my nieces settled before school opens. We were rushing things, and were in a hurry to get my nieces ready for the tour. We bought Luggage for each one of the girls and did not have time to scrutinize its quality. We did not worry much about the quality and material used because it won't be heavily used. The girls have very light clothing (its summer) a couple of shirt, shorts, a pair or two of flip flops and sneakers, one or two pieces of hats, that was it. Well, the luggage were fine at Malaysia, but on our way to Singapore, Catie's lost a wheel! Urg! We over-looked all the throwing and tossing from the cargo loaders at the airpost! It's such a hassle when something like this happens! My bro-in-law, Marlon, (Cate's dad) had to lift Cate's broken luggage as he pulls his. Lesson learned! Now, we make it a point to give importance to luggage even if we only have light stuff to put in it. All the tossing and throwing would take it's toll on a luggage with low-class material. We've checked online and found several that looks good and lasting. Delsey Luggage looks really sturdy for that non-stop cross country tour. Hartmann Luggage and Tumi Luggage looks equally sturdy, but light. I'd go for both. I might need a lighter one for the periodic out-of-state teacher conferences. But the thing that caught Doods and my attention, is the monogramming!  What could be cooler than monogrammed luggage!

Secondhand Works

Doods's was just talking to his friend, James, the other day. It's been awhile since those two touched-based. James is in San Francisco. He was the first person who welcomed Doods when Doods first came here in America. James was talking about the car that he bought for his daughter, who has recently acquired a driver's license.  Much as James wants to get her a brand new car, he knows it's more practical to just get a secondhand one first. A reliable secondhand Honda Accord to be precise. He is very happy with his newly purchased secondhand car for his daughter. The deal that was given to him worked well with his budget. James was just saying, his priority is not brand new, although it will happen someday, but with his limited budget, a reliable secondhand will work well with his daughter's short distance commute to school.

The thing that will go well with a secondhand car is a dependable auto repair shop that can help fine tune some things in the car and help maintain the car. James  looked online for a reliable  San Francisco auto repair, and one that will not overprice him. Good thing, canvasing for auto repair shops is as easy as one-two-three with repairpal. With one click, a site can pull up the different reviews for, and locations of, the different auto repair shops in any area.

As for James's daughter's secondhand Honda Accord, no major repair was needed, just a simple replacement of the timing belt and it is looking as good as new. He said the engine is so quiet, just like that of a brand new car!  Most often than not, secondhand works.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Monochrome Art

My first attempt of a monochrome mosaic. I had fun putting this mosaic together.

It's Mosaic Monday once again at Mary's Little Red House. She graciously hosts this event every Monday. Stop by her red house and see what other mosaic makers have done this week. Thank you, Mary!

I am very fond of Monochrome and look forward to this weekly meme. If you want to see more magnificent monochromes, visit Monochrome Weekly,  hosted by Aileni. Thank you, Aileni!

Buy A Smile

Much as we eat healthy and exercise everyday just to be on top of our game, there are other little things that we must pay attention to, such as our eyes, ears, teeth. Sounds minor, but are huge in importance. Truth is, am not the health guru, I just learn from interacting with my older co-teachers. Our music teacher in school, turned 71 last January. If you see her, she'd still pass for 50-ish, no kidding! She's so youthful! I love to hang out with her because she's so much fun and she oozes with positive outlook. She contaminates me with her enthusiasm.

For her 71st birthday, she told me, she gave herself the gift of a beautiful smile, and I mean literally, a smile. She was talking about how her teeth got so worn out from years of use. I was laughing at first, but she was serious. It got to the point where her teeth got worn out it was already chipping off at the edges, and the color was awful.  It was already distracting the people she is talking to. She can see them glancing at her discolored teeth. So for her 71st birthday, she got herself  dental veneers.

Dental veneers are thick layer of material placed over a tooth surface to either improve the look of the tooth, and/or protect the damaged tooth surface. Veneers are important tool for cosmetic dentistry. Veneers are so flexible, it can be use for one tooth that has been damaged or discolored, or multiple teeth to create a brighter beautiful smile. For my good friend, our music teacher, the grade of her eye-glasses are not the only thing she upgrades, she also upgrades her smile.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Great Blue Heron

This is the first time that I am joining Camera Critters. I discovered this site from blogger friends Cher @Cher Sanz Photoblog and  Judy  @ The Road to Here, mom to an awesome kitty, Miss Cindi Lou Who. Thank you, Cher and Judy!

I have been posting about critters ever since I created this blog. Am excited to network with other bloggers who are interested in critters.

On one of our visits to Brazos Bend State Park (an hour away from Houston) Doods and I caught sight of this magnificent creature. It would be difficult not to notice this beautiful bird because of its size, it's huge. Stands about three feet tall and has a wingspan of about six feet long. Imagine that!

It is elegant and has an amazing tendency to stand still which makes it an easy subject to capture.  They are frequently found in watery places like lakes, swamps, rivers, ponds and even the sea. Despite this, they are non-swimming water birds. Their diet consist of a wide variety of aquatic animals, including reptiles, amphibians, crustaceans, mollusks, fish and aquatic insects.

I enjoyed taking photos of this blue heron because it appeared to be posing. However, am still challenged to capture it in it's flying mode.

click on a photo to enlarge

I was fascinated by the reflection...

For more critter photos click the button below.

Does Rehab Really Work?

Rehabilitation, shouldn't be seen with a "to be or not to be" attitude. This is one topic I feel strongly about. Having witnessed, my husband's childhood friend and neighbor, suffer from substance abuse. It starts of as a light matter. It started as taunting from peers, to "taste the real thing." His peers challenged him with, "get a feel of the real thing!" and later, long after the peers are gone, he still uses. He has become a dependent! Even, he, the victim of such an addiction has no idea of the extent of the damage this problem can create. He started to use mildly, but once in the claws of such an addiction, it would be difficult for the victim to extricate himself. He tried to stop several times, but it was too difficult for him.

This thing is, this kind of addiction can happen to anyone. Even people who have caring families. Doods's childhood  friend was brought up by wonderful parents. Doods and I know them so well. The victim had siblings who are caring and supportive. Sadly, even the nicest kids can be influenced by peer at a vulnerable age of puberty, when the only thing that matters, is to belong. Such is the case with the victim.

After a year of substance abuse, the victim started to change, his actions no longer resemble that of the person we use to know. He has become temperamental, screaming and shouting at his siblings, even at his parents.He made it through high school, not without problems of fighting and other drug-related actions. But  he was worst in collage, he can't stay focused anymore, and has to keep dropping out. He cannot sustain a decent job. Even the easiest job seems difficult to keep. He  started getting worst, he started stealing from family and friends. He even sold some appliances in their house. He started staying out of the house. His parents can't get hold of him. His family became frustrated  and fearful of him and for him. Until one fateful night, he was caught stealing from a neighborhood grocery store. Only then did the parents got hold of him. People have given up on him, but not his family. His parents negotiated with the cops. They begged to send him to Drug rehabilitation instead.

The family were allowed to send him to a Residential drug rehab. It was difficult at first, the victim begged his parents one more chance and asked his parents to take him out of the rehabilitation center, but his parents persisted. They have to be cruel to be kind. Finally, they were able to talk him into staying. Even while his family wanted to help him, they do not know where to start. And there is also the problem of withdrawal. This could be difficult without professional help. The only option they have, was drug treatment. It was painful for both the victim and the family, but it is their only option.

The victim stayed in rehab far longer than the other patients, not because he needs to, he has found new life in rehab and even stayed on as volunteer when he finally cleaned up. The drug rehabilitation did him so much good. Now, five years later, Doods childhood friend has completely recovered from substance abuse. He got married last year and they now have a cute son. If asked, if rehab really works, I'd say, YES, it definitely does! I would not have written about drug rehab until I witnessed how it changed our friend's life.

Driver Access Saves the Day

My sister bought a new laptop last week. The first one this year after the misfortune of a break-in some weeks before Christmas. The burglar did not take anything bulky, but instead expensive tech stuff that he can easily conceal in his jacket. He took all their laptops and the girls's ipods. It was alarming that it happened in broad daylight. The burglar must've realized everyone is out of the house at that time of day. Anyway, in a household with three children all schooling age (9, 10 and 11) it is difficult to go without a computer at home. The children need to access their homework online, and of course the little comfort brought about by technology, such as email and picture sharing. They started with one laptop and are trying to work out a schedule until they can get another one for the girls.

When they came here to Houston to visit us for the winter break, I gave her my old but still very useful  printer. I got a new one from the desktop I bought. These PC packages normally comes with a free printer.  The thing is, when they got to Arizona, they cannot install the printer. Windows Vista cannot detect the printer.  Oh wow, that printer traveled for miles and it would be a waste if they cannot use it, it's still very good.  After inquiring from our techy friends, we discovered driver update. These computer drivers are available online. Driver download is as easy as one-two-three. My brother-in-law went online and did a driver update and voila, it helped them find the printer drivers for their new Vista computer. Amazing. Now the girls can print some of their homework. I knew my old printer is still capable of doing the job. Driver Access saved the day!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Back to the Beach This Summer

My nieces can't wait for summer, so they can go back to the beach. They moved here in America  from the Philippines, last July 2009.  Everybody got busy with getting ready to school, so they have not been to the beach since them. Tosomebody who have lived in an archipelago all their life, that length of time with no beach, is really a long time!  Teehee. The Philippines is made up of  7,107 islands, which simply means, there's practically water almost everywhere. It was a drastic change when they moved to Arizona. Not that they do not like Arizona. Contrary, they love school and have made several friends already. They also like the places they have visited around their area, and enjoy  the activities available.
Several of our friends recommended Myrtle Beach Hotel. They mentioned about the reasonably priced Myrtle Beach Resort. And regaled us about the Myrtle beach accommodations.  Friendly staff, easy transaction and the thing we like the most, the resort is newly opened in 2008. Yay! They boast of indoor and outdoor pool, and the highlight of course is the distance to the beach. The hotel is just a few feet away from the beach! Awesome!

The girls have been working hard in school, they deserve this break. Doods and I have started canvasing already. Good thing  a lot of things can be done online. Cuts the time in half. We can do the booking by just a click of the button. But I think after reading about Myrtle beach accommodation, we do not have to wait long or look elsewhere. Better secure that deal, so we can start to relax and wait for summer.

New Mexico

It is Fun Friday once again at our blogging group, Blogging for Fun. We are doing an A-Z meme. This week we are working on letter N.

N is for New Mexico

One summer, Doods and I and five of our co-teachers packed our bags and hit the road to New Mexico.


Amazing architecture behind us

Trying to imitate the statue. If I remember right, we agreed to imitate the facial expression as well, but I guess it's difficult not to smile in front of the camera! Hahaha!

Beautiful baskets! Amazing craftsmanship... and crazy models... hahaha!

See the beautiful hanging garden?


Oldest church structure in the USA

Capulin Volcano, New Mexico

Down there is where we parked (see the cars?)  and we're only half-way to the top

Ash and cinders at the crate of Capulin volcano

Anti-gravity act! Yipeee!

What we do best, goof around!

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