26 May 2011

Under the Sea...or something like it

(reposted from my old blog)

They couldn't wait to get there. (Sigh)

In the bus:  "Are we there yet?" 
"Are we getting off now?"

We got off and I hailed a taxi. "What! we still have to ride again?!"

Noah: "Can we get down now? Is it here?"

Me: "We're almost there. Konti na lang."

Finally, we arrived at the Manila Ocean Park. Caleb and Noah were all over the place..like it wasn't their first time. Running here and there. I had to call out to them that we had to get tickets first.

It was actually the monthly staff get-together of the company I work for. We were free to bring our kids. So I grabbed the opportunity to spend quality time with my sons. Nanee? Well I wanted to take her along too, but my husband said, "Next time na lang. She's too young and you'll have your hands full with the two boys..."  So Nanee stayed "home."

Although I would have to say that the place was dark, as in really dark (we were even told to disable our camera's flash), my two boys really had a blast. I guess they wanted the dark to highlight the smaller aquariums that housed the exotic fish species. 

At first Caleb and Noah were worried about losing sight of me in the dark. (What with all those people--it was a Saturday.) But I told them, "Just have a great time. Enjoy. Don't worry about getting lost. I won't let that happen. I have both my eyes on the two of you."  So hand in hand they went from aquarium to the next. Ooohing and aahing and wowing at each sight. They particularly enjoyed touching the starfish. I had to practically pry them from the starfish tank.

As much as I would want to give a really descriptive narration here, I doubt that at this time. This is kind of a rush entry. I just want to say my kids had fun. I hope whatever photos I uploaded tells the story. 

Anyway, on a scale of 10 I'd rate the watery park an 8. I found the glass tunnel that was supposed to make you feel like you were under the sea a bit overhyped. It was too short for me and the actual lighting was not the same as that on their webphotos (What did I expect?). For a mom, I found their "fishspa" too pricey (P120 per head!) even if I gave in to Caleb's request to try it out. 

The so-called FishSpa was simply an enclosure with two small square pools (about 6-7ft by 4ft) with fish in about 12 inches or more of water. You were supposed to take of your shoes and socks or whatever footwear you might have on, roll up your pants and sit at the edge of the pool with your feet in the water. If you sit still enough the fish will come and massage your feet and give you a really neat pedicure. Am joking of course. They just gathered around your feet and picked off the dust or grime or what-have-you on your feet. Ugh! if you ask me really.

The boatride was even more expensive! (P150 per head and you don't have the boat to yourself; you share it with 5 other people who paid the same price. What's supposed to be great about it? Well, you're supposed to row atop the humongous glass aquarium. But actually the boat floats on water that has a glass bottom. Parang virtual rowing out to sea or something. 

No! I did not get my kids tickets to the boatride. That was just too much. I just coaxed them towards the souvenir shop where they got to pick remembrances of their trip. We spent about an hour and a half for the whole tour of the oceanarium. The rest of the Ocean Park was still under construction. (Yes, they're not completely done with it.) 

We were famished. The boys were whining that they were hungry. When I learned that we were no longer going to have a meeting, I hailed a cab and took my boys to SM Mall of Asia. The food outlets at the Ocean Park were already full. Those that weren't were not serving rice--mostly pizza, cookies, noodles. We ended up at a really lunch-crowded McDonalds. The boys didn't want to walk any further to look for a better place to eat. So we bought our lunch and settled down. We took a brief stroll in the mall after lunch then headed home. 

I was smiling because they had really big smiles on their faces even when we were on the bus headed for home.


(reposted from my old blog)
The first time I let her down on the beach she took a careful look at the sand and cautiously put down on foot with the other slightly raised. "Dirty!" she cried. And I said, "No, Nanee. It isn't dirty. It's called sand." She wasn't convinced as she looked up at me with a grimace on her face.

So I took off my sneakers, dug my feet into the sand and wiggled out my toes. She smiled and said, "Take off shoes..." I did and she started feeling the sand with her bare feet. I suppose she loved the sensation because after that she was smiling and walking around, toeing the sand, picking it up in her stubby hands and flinging it around.

I brought out the beach toys I had brought along for the occasion: plastic spade, rake, small wheelbarrow, dinosaur mold and hippo mold. She began digging and raking and piling up sand. Pure fun.

Later, I changed her into her "wet suit" which were basically just a tanktop and girlie briefs. I put up her hair in a pony tail and off she went with her exploration of the beach. I took her out to the sea a couple of hours afterwards. We ran to meet the waves crashing in on the shore. She squealed then reached up her arms for me to carry her. I guess she found the breakers too much to deal with. But she was most certainly fearless for a two-year old at her first time at the beach.

09 April 2011

Paid Beach Bum

I seem to have this recurring career fantasy these days: getting paid to tryout beach resorts around the world. Talk about a whole new meaning to the phrase "paid vacations". I even have in my computer, a couple of folders with beach images and beachfront houses. Except on this blog, my profile pics on other social media are beach scenes.

The sea always leaves me enthralled and exhilarated. It can be angry and terrifying as well as tranquil and quiet.It is vast but has definite boundaries as it kisses the shore and grasps at it longingly. The beach is where sand and sea hold hands. That's why I also think it's romantic.The resorts and vacation places built on and around the beaches are simply accessories on a natural beauty.

I love the idea of swinging from a hammock between palms, feeling the sea breeze gently go through my hair while I listen to seashells whispering the secrets of the sea, all the while tapping on my laptop keys a review of the resort and its service. I email the review then hop on a plane to the next sun-and-sand place to be reviewed. (sigh) It's like a never-ending vacation. And the best part is I get paid for it! Not to mention the added perks of adventure and meeting new people at each place.

Plop! Time to burst the fantasy bubble. Reality is I have four kids that still need my undivided attention. Hying off to exotic beaches one after the other is so not possible unless I choose to abandon my kids or raise them via the internet or through my mobile phone.

Okay, maybe I should just try for another career fantasy. How about writing reviews of restaurants or food joints. I love to eat anyway. Who doesn't? But then if I think of all those calories and fats ending up on my ever widening and plumping middle, well, that kills the fantasy. I do have a fast metabolism rate but somehow everything gathers in the middle. 

Oh well, I think I'll stick with my reality for the moment. Who knows, I might make the beach obsession a reality after my youngest goes to college--which feels like some lightyears away. (groan)

07 April 2011

Crisis Comparisons

Two weeks ago, I had a horrid internet connection crisis. It first started out as intermittent connection but then it got worse. I'd only have suspicious patches of connection. Suspicious because there seemed to be a "schedule". I'd only be connected at around 10am, lose connection after lunch and then connection gets back around 3 pm. This weird internet connection schedule recurred for a week in spite of repeated calls to my ISP's customer service. The temptation to rant and rave was great but since I used to work in a call center, I knew those reps there didn't really know what was going on. They are given a set of spiels for the day or week depending on what's going on with the company that hired them. And so I resigned myself to filing a no connection report almost everyday. And as expected, they always promised some sort of action within 24 hours. (eyeroll)

Anyways, my connection crisis persisted for another week getting worse each day until I had no connection at all. Of course my boss had to call me, on a Saturday morning yet! And I found myself at the receiving end of another corporate version of ranting and raving. I think it's my third within my almost four years with the company. Hmm...I'm averaging one per year, aren't I.

What with my crummy internet connection, my work was lagging and my make up schedules were piling up. Not a very good impression on management or the client I was assigned to. I was fully aware of that. But my home-office situation is kinda complicated. Too long to explain here so I'll leave it at that--kinda complicated. Which meant I could not readily go out to some internet shop and continue my work there.

So the pressure was on and I resented the time limit. I had no control over my internet connection. It was my ISP's problem. I thought they ought to cut me some slack. Now I wanted to rant and rave about my ISP and boss. 

And suddenly perspective hits. My personal crisis gets swallowed by Japan's earthquake-cum-tsunami disaster. Talk about crisis! Have they got a biggie in their hands! And I'm suddenly thinking, hey ho! compared to theirs, my internet crisis doesn't even register on the crisis scale.

While I got annoyed over intermittent/zilch internet in my home, imagine how a lot of Japanese were not only annoyed over the sight of their cars and neighborhood being swept away by an angry rush of water. While I sulked over my boss' irate phone call, too many Japanese people were too numbed to discover they no longer had jobs or sources of income.

Even if I can argue that a crisis can be relative and any one's crisis can be real as real can be no matter how small it may seem to others, still you have to get the right perspective. See the bigger picture. Only then can you shut up and be grateful. =)

16 February 2011

The Kitchen Sink

Who would've thought I'd find refuge in the most unlikely place--the wall fronting my kitchen sink! I was surprised myself, come to think of it.

Today just wasn't my day. It didn't start out right and it didn't go well. The kids were having a field day all over the house while I had to meet my quota of processed mall links for the day. Aggravatingly enough, no matter how many times I mentally pep-talked myself that "attitude is altitude", I honestly could not muster enough motivation to turn things around.

Did I hear someone ask, "Have you tried praying?" Yes, I did. But it was more like frantic 911 calls every hour to the heavens to have mercy on me and grant some divine intervention. I was thinking about being bodily whisked away to some far flung island with white-sand beach, a hammock between two palm trees, soft sea breeze and quietness. NOT!

Divine intervention came in the form of my on-autopilot-body pouring hot water into a mug of instant coffee+milk+sugar, pulling up a chair against the wall facing my kitchen sink and clinging on to the steaming mug for dear life. The wall was a surprisingly comforting buffer that partially separated the kitchen from the rest of the house. I could still hear the kids but they couldn't see me and vice versa. I even put up my feet on the counter top and watched the slow trickle of water from the leaky faucet.

Miraculously not one of my spawns decided to take a peek and see where I had disappeared to. And for a few minutes I had some me-time. Not what I exactly had in mind every time I craved for some me-time but pleasantly surprising that it did the job to settle me.

Hey, my God is the God of the impossible so He could've easily taken me to my dream me-time spot on the beach at the blink of an eye. However, that divinely sponsored vanishing act would've frightened the kids so He gave me the most practical spot available. *sigh* Okay, maybe next time...

10 February 2011

Woohoo! I Got My Period! ... and other woohoos!

Yes, I actually jumped for joy (and relief) when I got my period last month...and early this month as well. Why the woohoo and jump-for-joy number? Well, having my period means I AM NOT PREGNANT! Okay okay. With all due respect and sensitivity to all women out there wishing their period wouldn't show up because they'd rather that a baby turns up in it's place, I WISH YOU THE BEST BABY EVER! 
May you have all the babies you've always wanted. Really. Honest.

It's just that with me, well, I consider my quiver full with four kids. Three sons and one daughter. Great mix and interesting personalities enough for me to handle for a lifetime. (Broad smile) But seriously, to be entrusted with co-shaping and co-mentoring the lives of four uniquely created persons is already a God-size responsibility. I am humbled. I am blessed. And I am definitely honored.

This situation with my monthly period wasn't punctuated with joy in the past. I'd be grumpy and always rant that I should've been a guy. I've even gone to the point of saying that when the world is over and I get to see Eve in the great yonder, the first thing I'd do is slap her. Yeah, I know. I'm crazy. But God sure has a way of handing out an eye opener. I never thought I'd be so happy to welcome my period. Another lesson in giving thanks in all situations. 

And now on to the other woohoos! I've been assigned to mentor and disciple three women leaders in our church. Humbling. It's actually a challenge to step up in my daily walk with God so as to set a good example. Our weekly meetings are not only fun but encouraging and uplifting. 

Another woohoo! is the fact that my firstborn will be graduating from elementary school this year. Yup, I'm on my way to having a teenager. God help me! Challenging as well as exciting at the same time. 

And a final woohoo! Our church fam is celebrating its 7th year anniversary this month. Jubilee year! This year's theme is "Reaching Your Generation." It's time to snap out of our comfort zones and get moving with the Great Commission!

And there you have it...my major WooHoo! moment and other woohoos!