Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Panic buying?

As I mentioned in a previous post, my household was one of those fortunate to escape the devastation wrought by the typhoon last weekend. Though oblivious to the rampaging waters of Katipunan at the time, I was too busy to think about grocery shopping last Saturday. Then by Sunday, I already knew what happened but hubby was out helping a friend (hence, no one to carry my grocery bags), and I needed to go to the mall to buy a few things I need for my hospital bag.

Come Monday and I was ready to go to work. I didn't have an excuse not to go... my house was not affected and I won't be passing any flooded area. When I got home yesterday afternoon, I decided that we can't survive with the dwindling supplies we have at home so I went to the grocery store with my housekeeper.

There were no available baskets or carts!

I was surprised... even during the Christmas season, that grocery store NEVER ran out of carts. I noticed the long lines at the check out counter and most of the people had huge boxes of biscuits, noodles, canned goods and their carts were literally overflowing. As I was standing there staring, a grocery attendant wheeled a small kiddie cart and asked me if I wanted it. Oh... might as well. At least we won't have to carry our purchases on our arms.

To my further surprise... the chicken counter was empty... EMPTY! There were literally no cans of sardines left. There was no Spam. The vegetables left on the shelves looks wilted (I needed to buy celery). The noodle section was half empty and emptying quickly as I watched. The fish section was also empty. The meat section was not really empty but it was obvious that the best cuts were no longer available. In other words, there was nothing much to buy.

Looking at the people around me, I was wondering if I should go on panic-buying mode and just grab anything I could. But these weren't clothes or shoes... so I wasn't really that enthusiastic. We were used to buying certain brands of food when we get our groceries because we know we like them. I didn't want to just get anything and then later find out that no one at home wants them. I knew there was the possibility of another typhoon coming on Thursday. Maybe that's why people are stocking up (or maybe they are donating to relief operations). I ended up buying cookies, junk food, 2 packs of noodles that I was willing to try, a coupled of canned goods (literally a couple... meaning 2 cans), juice and ingredients for Lumpiang Shanghai (that was all I could find that I knew I can eat)... in other words, nothing much.

Worried that the same thing might happen again if the storm does hit, my husband kept nagging me. So tonight, we are going to try a bigger grocery store. I'm hoping to get 2 gallons of water at least (oh, the grocery I went to last night was out of bottled as well).

Monday, September 28, 2009

Calling 117

This is just a side story to our typhoon Ondoy experience.

While my husband and I were watching TV, there was a car parked near our house whose alarm went off. We weren't sure who owned that car but whoever it was was either not home, or deaf. He/she won't turn the alarm off.

My husband went out on his bike to check the situation in our area for a few minutes and while he was out, I went to our bedroom and realized that the car alarm was very loud because the car was parked on the side where our windows are and there was no way we could sleep that night until someone turns it off. I sent my husband a message to ask for help from one of the police patrol cars usually stationed near our house.

When he got home, he told me he didn't see any patrol cars so I should just try calling 117 because he noticed that the car looks abandoned... there wasn't anyone inside or nearby, but the car windows were half open.

So I tried calling the emergency number, 117.

Some emergency number... it took several tries but I was unsuccessful. I was able to connect once because I saw my cellphone counter starting but all I got was dead air. I was charged for that call. My husband tried calling as well and all he got was a recording that says "For emergency calls, please dial 1-1-7." Hello??? We were dialing 117!

My husband finally decided to just go out and go to the police station himself to report the car but as he passed it, he saw some people pushing the car towards the end of our street (the owners? car thieves??). That ended our car alarm problem but I was still annoyed at 117.

What if it really were a life-threatening emergency?

Where were you when...

Do you find yourself recalling some momentous event in the past and asking yourself, where were you when it happened? Or what were you doing then? I think typhoon Ondoy which hit several areas in Luzon would be one of those.

Unlike many others, I won't have a memorable story to tell. Last Saturday was like any other Saturday in my household. We stayed at home all day. It was raining, but not that hard, and there was hardly any wind. I was wondering if there was a storm but had too much on my mind to think of turning on the television to check the news. See, I was planning to pack my hospital bag last weekend to get ready for the big day. But I also had some last minute things I needed to get done for the baby's nursery so I wanted to put everything in place to see what else I need.

My energy not being it's usual levels, I was exhausted come noontime. While we were having lunch, I told my husband maybe we should start decorating for Christmas the following week while I can still move around. He told me why wait until next week when there was no time like the present. I felt like I was working towards a deadline and my attention was entirely focused on all the things I was doing at once.

Too tired to do more, I settled down around 6PM and joined my husband in the living room to watch television. Imagine our surprise when they showed footage of Katipunan under water with newscasters saying water was neck deep in some parts. We were stunned and thought the media was exagerrating. My husband went outside the house to check but can see no sign of the devastation that was hitting Metro Manila. We were very fortunate. Our street was not affected but apparently, all roads leading out of there was underwater.

(So to my friends who expressed their concern, thank you so much! We were safe the entire time. Our area in Katipunan was not affected.)

They started showing footage of other places where the flood waters reached rooftops of 2-storey houses and people were camped out on their roofs with their families as rain continue to fall, waiting for rescuers which we all know now won't reach them for hours. I felt terrible... and somehow, a little guilty. While people were fighting for their lives... I was thinking of Christmas trees in September. And then they started announcing the general areas that were experiencing heavy flooding and to my horror, the area where my mom's house and my grandmother's house are was in the list. I checked my cellphone and noticed for the first time that I had no signal. I started running around the house looking for a place where I can get a signal. I was finally able to get my phone working and called my mom. They were ok and their area was not suffering either. The worst thing that happened to my family with regard to this typhoon was that my sister was forced to walk in flood waters up to her waist from the train station to our house. It took her a few hours to get home but she was already safely at home when I called.

We continued to watch the news in disbelief all night. It was obvious that the country was not ready for a disaster of this magnitude. Sad thought. It took hours to mobilize boats for rescue operations and the best that this guy with the National Disaster Coordination Council can do is to tell people to try to understand that they are having a hard time reaching them and that the best they can do at the moment is to stay calm and "...pairalin ang self-rescue or self-preservation". That annoying phrase was being repeated by the news anchors several times. Tell that to the family on the roof, scared sh*tless as they watch the flood waters continue to rage and rise around them, who are calling for help. "Pairalin nyo na lang po muna ang self preservation nyo."

Come Sunday and we see a lot of people organizing relief operations. My husband and his friends attempted to reach one of their friends in a heavily affected area to extend their help and spent the entire day there. And then we see the military being deployed... and you can't help but wonder, where were they yesterday?

Friday, September 25, 2009

What does your birthday mean?

I was getting bored reading tons of reference documents so I did a little surfing. I tried looking for the meaning of my birth date and this is what I got:

I decided to check out what "despot" means from http://www.onelook.com and this is what I got:

That's... um... funny, hehe :)

Find out what your own birthday means? Check out

Friday, September 18, 2009

Baby Shower

My team mates from work gave me a baby shower last Wednesday (September 16, 2009). I was really surprised because it came earlier than I expected (we usually give showers during a person's last week of work before they go on leave and I will still be here for another 2 weeks... I hope).

Thank you so much! I really like everything I got :D

Gifts... gifts...

... and more gifts! :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How to Buy BPA-Free Anything

Since my husband's conversion to my BPA-free philosophy last Friday, we've been checking most of the plastics at home. I saw an episode of The Doctors last week (though I think it was an old episode) discussing BPA and they mentioned that one way to check if the plastic you are using is safe is to check the recycle number. I only remembered them mentioning that you should avoid products with recycle number 7.

More research yielded more information. To make sure you are buying BPA-free plastic products:

1. Check the recycle number. Avoid getting anything with recycle numbers 3, 6 or 7. Items with recycle numbers 1, 2, 4 and 5 are said to be safer.
(source: http://www.ehow.com/how_2106730_buy-bpa-free-baby-bottles.html?ref=fuel)

Recycle numbers can be found inside the recycle symbol (3 arrows in the shape of a triangle) usually molded at the bottom of plastic bottles. They look like this:

For more technical information on the meaning of recycle numbers, you can check out this site that I found: http://www.earthodyssey.com/symbols.html

2. Check the label. Most BPA-free products indicate they are BPA-free in the labels.

I've been checking recycle numbers of the plastics at home and though I have 5's... most are 6's and 7's. The Starbucks water bottle I've been using for a couple of years has recycle number 7. Good thing I don't really put anything hot in it, just cold water.

Motherhood 101: Going BPA-Free

I love my husband... I do! But sometimes it takes all of my willpower not to dance around singing out "I told you so!!!"

Latest issue: BPA-free anything.

BPA, or Bisphenol-A first entered my vocabulary a few months ago during a conversation with one of my officemates who asked me if I was getting BPA-free bottles for my baby. She told me she had to order online to get these bottles abroad because at the time, they were hard to find in our part of the world. I did a little research on BPA and found out the harmful effects that some experts are attributing to BPA exposure on babies.

So what is BPA?

"Bisphenol A (BPA) is an industrial chemical used to make a hard, clear plastic known as polycarbonate, which is used in many consumer products, including reusable water bottles and baby bottles. "
(source: http://www.chemicalsubstanceschimiques.gc.ca/challenge-defi/bisphenol-a_fs-fr_e.html)

Though some studies have shown that BPA has little effect on adults and children, exposure of babies up to 18 months shows increase risk of cancer and diabetes later in life, early onset of puberty, negative effects on the reproductive system, etc. Canada is working on banning baby bottles that contain BPA while several big establishments in the US (like Walmart and Toys 'R Us) will be removing them from their shelves by the end of the year, I think.

Given this information, I was still not totally convinced due to the price tag of BPA-free bottles. Until I saw these:

Playtex Ventaire Crystal Clear

Sometimes, you just have to see something you really, really like to convince you! They looked so pretty and classy! Trust me, the picture does not do these bottles justice. These really are pretty but they were a bit pricey (mall price for these here are almost double the price listed online) so my husband was dead set against it. He told me that the BPA issue is just a marketing campaign being used by manufacturers to charge high prices for their products. He told me that we were raised using the same bottles they are now banning and we turned out fine (I didn't want to raise the point that most of the people I know have complications during pregnancy). I decided to settle for these instead:
Playtex VentAire

These come at a lower price tag but with the same great user ratings, and still he said no. The "are-you-telling-me-she's-not-worth-it?" card doesn't seem to sway him this time. I planned to buy these anyway when he's not with me and let him deal with it when he sees it at home. Good thing my friend, El, said she's going to give me a set as a gift (thanks El!). I plan to buy a few other BPA-free bottles (from another brand maybe) to supplement this starter set.

Since then, I made an effort to buy baby items that are BPA-free, with my husband rolling his eyes, pouting and giving me dirty looks everytime he sees me at the check-out counter. I have learned to ignore him when I go shopping.

Last Friday was different. Friday night saw me at the babies section of the department store yet again, looking for a few items we still needed (and a few others we don't but I still wanted anyway). My husband wandered off for a while looking at other stuff and when we met up at the check-out counter, I saw that he was reading a brochure. When we got home, I saw that the brochure was from Babisil, discussing the effects of BPA. He showed it to me and asked "Hey, what if we buy this?"

Babisil Silbottle

So that was the shelf he was looking at. I just stared at him for a while, resisting my "I-told-you-so" urges.

"Did you check how much those are?", I asked because I know they cost around the same, or more, than Playtex VentAire Crystal Clear.



"I like them, the look nice... and they're anti-colic, see?" (oh, so now he knows what anti-colic means... another concept I've been trying to explain to him for months!)

Sometimes, you really do just have to see something you like.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Buzz of the Moment: Kanye and Taylor on VMA

I've only had the chance to watch a video replay of this episode a few minutes ago though I've been seeing Twitter posts, Facebook messages and blogs about what happened so I knew what Kanye did. Watching it and seeing Taylor's face was an entirely different matter though... I agree with everyone... that Kanye was an a**h*le is not even a question anymore.

What the hell was that? And how did he manage to go on stage unauthorized anyway? I thought security and program management was strict at events like those. Poor Taylor... Good thing Beyonce was gracious enough to give her her well-deserved moment.

Project Nursery - Part 3

I swore to myself that I will turn one of my spare rooms into a nursery before the end of September (see Project Nursery - Part 1). And I even posted my design inspiration (see Project Nursery - Part 2). However, I got distracted... and lazy... and then discouraged when my husband vetoed the ceiling light that I wanted (telling me it looks like a "palanggana" i.e. cheap plastic wash basin... hmph!) and refused to paint the ceiling to look like a sky X( There goes my theme... I promised myself I'd get the room repainted but it definitely won't be before the end of September. Baby's stuff are alread in there and I don't want anything smelling of paint this close to D-Day.

Here's what I managed to accomplish so far:

Window area

Closet area

I also replaced the black metal bed with an extended single brass bed (my old bed from my mom's house, you can see the posts in the window area photo), but I will post photos of that after I finish the entire room and put the finishing touches.

For the window area, I put in a sheer swag curtain in pastel pink, yellow and green, and used wall stickers to create my night sky theme (yeah, yeah, there are 2 moons with one sun mingling with stars... not exactly astronomically accurate but that's what the pack came with!). I don't have the energy to do stenciling as I initially planned :( I'm going to add a couple of frames on both sides of the windows like this:

The pink frame that will go on the left is the 12-months photo frame where you put photos of your baby each month, while the green frame that will go on the left side is a family tree photo frame where you put photos of both grandmas and grandpas and mommy and daddy and baby. I just haven't gotten around to telling my husband to drill the holes so I can hang them. Maybe next week.

The closet area, I'm not yet so happy with. I also used wall stickers to create a garden theme but I am not yet sure about the positioning. My husband said I should put them at that level so you can see them when you're lying on the bed... I want to place them a bit lower... Hmmm... good things those stickers are removable. Anyway, I also created a sunny sky theme for the wall above the closet.

This is it for now. I plan to buy the set of drawers I want this week. Then I still need to get the table cover (which will match the garden theme on the closet) made. And I need to buy sheets for the bed that will match the overall theme (good luck to me!). I should be done in 2 weeks.

Friday, September 4, 2009

I miss...

... my beautiful feet.
Every time I look at them now, they're all puffy.

... my shoes.
I don't fit into any of my shoes anymore. I've been stuck to the 1-3 pairs that will fit my puffy feet for a few months now. I was looking for a pair of shoes this morning and I looked at my shoe organizer and realized I miss wearing my shoes and appreciating how nice my feet used to look in them. I hope they still fit me after all this. If not... well, perfect excuse to start buying new ones >:)

... my wedding ring.
I've gotten so used to it. But I only stopped wearing if for a couple of weeks. Hopefully, I'll be back to wearing it again soon.

... being able to walk gracefully.
Walking nowadays, aside from being a pain, consists of lifting your entire right side... then your left... and hope that you are moving forward in the process.

... a peaceful and uninterrupted night's sleep.

... being able to sleep on your back without anything hurting.

... being able to sleep without anything hurting... period.

... my clothes.
Maternity jeans suck. Maternity clothes suck.

... my artificially straight hair.
It's back to being all thick and wavy and difficult to keep neat.

... stepping into a weighing scale without wanting to cry.

... Diet Coke, beer, coffee.