It’s Christmas Time (Again)

MERRY CHRISTMAS !!!
Creative Commons Flickr image from Rejik.

The most awaited start of the ‘ber’ months is here. It is the time when us Filipinos begin to feel the spirit of Christmas. Like today while waiting for Marcus to finish his class I heard on the radio Band Aid’s It’s Christmas Time. What’s more, the station will now play one Christmas song every hour until December.

It is also to be expected that any time soon people will see malls with Christmas decorations and yuletide tunes playing in the background and in effect, like a subliminal message, entice more people to spend and splurge.

But one doesn’t need money to enjoy what we claim as the longest Christmas season. In the name of tourism–local and foreign, spectacular giant Christmas trees and sparkling lights are expected to illuminate streets of major cities and business centers–Makati commercial business district, Rockwell,  and Nuvali are places to be. Petron gas stations have likewise held their annual Christmas decoration contest which I hope they continue this year.

A better way of course to feel the real spirit of Christmas is to start as early as now to realize the true reason of this celebration. Admittedly, however, in the midst of strong influence of commercialism, to see Christ in the middle of it all is a big challenge. For most of us, we get lost when we have the material things that give us that Christmassy feeling. It therefore helps to reflect regularly each day and recognize that there is deeper reason behind all these. God bless everyone, it’s Christmas time.

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Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Labor day in the US.)

Weight Conscious

I bet that among the dreaded moments for most people ending their vacation is when it is time to pack up. Whether that be from the separation anxiety that comes along with it or just the thought of finding stuffs and figuring out which one goes where back inside the bags. There are others of course who worry about having excess baggage because of the new items that they have accumulated over time such as due to impulsive shopping or, for lucky ones like me, stuffs received as gifts or hand-me-downs from people from tate. But nevertheless how these things were acquired all of these could get someone in trouble at any airport’s check-in counter. And I’m not letting this extra stress happen to me especially that I’m traveling with my ever restless 4-year old.

So yesterday after buying some pasalubong for folks back in Luzon, and suddenly remembering that other than the box of BongBong’s delicacies I just got is an additional big Samsonite luggage (this is among my freebies and majority of its content also hand-me-downs) at home, I rushed to the mall’s Handyman store and purchased the cheapest analog luggage scale available.

This early morning, after packing almost all of our stuffs, I got to test the scale and I think that it’s probably picking up close to the exact weight. I also discovered that this one has a 39-inch tape measure that could come handy in checking waistlines overall dimensions of luggage that anyone plans to hand carry. The luggage scale can weigh up to 34 kilograms (75 lbs.) and costs only P325 (approx. $8).

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Part of making sure that Marcus’ stuffs are intact is the tedious task of checking that his new Lego bricks (from my sis), not Duplos which means these are smaller, are all accounted for. And I’m now giving myself a pat on the back for sticking to my decision not to open his other Ninjago kit while we are still here in Bacolod.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks!(I can smell breakfast. I’m expecting more excess weight.)

300 Days

I think that most people would agree that December vacations are never enough as these usually happen so fast. At some point, the holiday activities, no matter what these are, just seem to overwhelm everyone and the realization that they have missed doing something comes always too late — any effort to recover from it is usually futile. And I just woke up feeling like so, just like how it felt back in 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009…

Christmas vacation days are once again almost over.

Today, our parents’ house will be one less family in the evening and couple days later Marcus and I will be on our flight back home. The bedrooms will be once again unoccupied. No more humming of air-conditioners or the rickety sound of the electric fans. Home sweet home will be empty once more — their fat mongrels will have their space back. But I hope that there will be always next time which at the very least, about 300 days from now.

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Bon voyage Ron, Jing, Megan, and Arisrei. And to quote your ex-governor, ‘hasta la vista, baby!’

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (I need a weighing scale.)

An Apple A Day

I can’t remember the last time I got something pricey but I won’t even try to recall when or what it was. For now, I appreciate the fact that I now own my first Apple, albeit a hand-me-down. Thanks to you my Santa Clauses, it made me feel I wasn’t so naughty this year.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (First blog entry from my first iPad.)

I Need Prayers…and Burgers

I just had an interesting exchange with someone:

Email message: I was about to ask you last Sunday na pumayat po kayo (you have lose weight)…Do you need prayers?

My reply: Yes, I need prayers…and burgers…

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I don’t know how my other friends and immediate family will think once they see me because other than losing weight I am starting to sport a longer hair with the goal to get that ponytail back (I will try if I can find a pic) which I had when I got married and maintained until around 2004. Let’s see this Christmas vacation once I am home and and which is also when I’ll know if I can fend off food that will be abundant this time of the year. Few more days, time’s fast.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Dear God, Thanks for good health.)

The Guardians and the Bible

The Guardians. (Image from the web.)

The last page of the calendar is already out. It is already December but lately a lot of news on TV have been overwhelmingly sad. Crime rate is going up and this is not the Christmas season that most of us once knew as kids and definitely not the one that we would like our own kids to remember. It is therefore a relief that behind all the negativity around us are things that tell the young minds that Christmas is still around the corner.  Among these is the movie Rise of the Guardians.

Thanks to the creative geniuses at Dreamworks Animation as they have once again concocted and produced a movie that not only entertains but at the same time conveys a subject matter that kids do not easily find nowadays. Rise of the Guardians is an animated film about Jack Frost and other popular mythical characters but appearing in their not usual form:  there is the authoritative Santa Claus (known as North), the cranky Easter Bunny, the sexy tooth fairy, and the nonverbal Sandman.  And of course, there is the bad guy named Pitch, aka the boogeyman.

Originally, I got attracted to this movie just because it has a Santa Claus  but its appeal grew twofold. As the movie goes along I begin to notice that behind the spectacular animation and funny scenes (I became a fan of the golden Sandman) is a story which I think has a lot of biblical references thus making those lessons from the holy book easier to digest by the younger ones.

To cite an example, among the lines in the film “…for as long as they believe in us, we will guard them with our lives” actually has its own mature equivalent from Genesis 18:26: “…if you can find a man, if there is any that executes justice, that seeks the truth; and I will pardon it.

And the one told by Jack Frost said to Jamie (not verbatim): “you don’t stop believing in the sun just because it is hidden behind the dark clouds” made me recall the one from my other blog regarding an argument about faith between a  student and his atheist professor.

While it is highly likely that its young moviegoers, like Marcus who knows more Ninjago characters than Saints, won’t fully understand yet the deeper meaning of the messages that Rise of the Guardians relay, it is nice to know that there is another movie this yuletide season that conditions the minds of our kids, through good entertainment, what the values that they are supposed to know and do at least during Christmas time.

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There are things I realized while watching Rise of the Guardians:

  1. I never knew Sandman as someone associated with kids’ dreams. I blame Metallica and Spider-Man.
  2. Despite recently celebrating my birthday, making me closer to that age wherein they say is when life begins, I am among those who get excited at the sight of that fat man in red suit.

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Recommended read: Should you tell your kid the truth about Santa Claus?

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Going to a Christmas party for Marcus.)

Marcus Shares His Old Stuffed Toys

Finally, after much deliberation, our son’s stuffed toys will soon have their new home. It has been about half a year already when we decided, with our son’s approval, that most of the stuffed toys that used to be on our bed will be kept. But hating that these cuddly toys will just remain inside a plastic bag for good, we have been thinking of potential recipients and this week we zeroed out on one – a child institution where my employer will be having its outreach program. So with some anxiety, very normal to someone letting go of prized possessions, the three of us dusted off, tagged each toy with a personalized gift card, and packed the toys ready to be hugged by some of the kids in Sto. Domingo.

Wifey and Marcus teaming up to tag the stuffed toys.

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Stuffed toys from Marcus to Sto. Domingo.

Please don’t feel bad if you can identify one of the stuffed toys. Be proud that a toy from you that once made Marcus smile, and feel so appreciated, will have another chance to cheer someone up and that it is also a toy that has taught our son the value of sharing this Christmas time.

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FYI. One of the Spongebob stays.

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Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Exam day for Marcus. Another review coming when he wakes up. Will make it a love-one-another-warmly session this time. Will try.)

The Christmas Leftovers and I

People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas.” – unknown.

It’s been three days already since I’ve been eating the chocolate roll that we had for Noche Buena. My diet since then has been on leftovers and thankfully, it looks like this day will be the last unless our refrigerator reveals another Tupperware with foods waiting to be consumed.

Leftovers, however, need not be boring. Thankfully wifey is good at cooking that leftovers get some twist during every other meal. Like yesterday, the embutido met up with the excess spaghetti sauce, and presto, instant spicy recipe that went well with rice for lunch. The dessert is the seemingly immaculate chocolate cake but paired with a couple peach-sago salad transformed into something better.

I’m not sure yet, if what’s happening right now inside my body as the last time I had an intense activity was when I joined a badminton dual-meet two weeks ago. After that whole day of flexing, jumping and smashing, I was on calorie collection as if some polar bear stacking body fats for hibernation. Now, I’m trying to avoid stepping on the weighing scale. What you don’t know won’t hurt you, right?

I don’t know if I could fit some real cardiovascular activities among some other plans I have during this vacation period. The nearest I can get some sweat out are cleaning up, detailing the car (which I already did from 7-12 noon yesterday), and fixing stuffs inside the house.

Fitness gurus say that what matters most with each person’s well-being is looking good and feeling good about his own self. Well, I think I’d prefer for now that ‘feeling good’ part. Let’s worry about the looking good aspect next year while I compete with those running the treadmill in the gym.

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Mood: 3/10 Honks!