Available Balance
Learned How to Knit, Am So Happy
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Yesterday, I had achieved something that is included in my bucket wish list: to learn how to knit!

I considered acquiring that new knowledge/skill as success. I can always be busy in my vacant hours and could not think of what to do to avoid boredom. Knitting is one of the solutions, aside of course from reading blogs or playing games in my tablet.

Knitting as an Art

There are times that I always wanted to do some crafts to keep my hands busy, and one of the skills I longed to learn was how to knit. I admire women in the movies who are knitting. They are particularly shown in some old movies when women are always at home caring for their families. Or some grandmothers who keep themselves busy knitting a cap, a scarf, or socks for her grandchildren.

It is so nice to create something out of your keen interest for it; or using your time and skills in doing crafts like knitting, which I consider as a work of art too!

Learning from Youtube Tutorials

After buying the yarn, I looked for two chopsticks at the kitchen which I will use as the temporary “needles” for knitting. I made one end a bit pointed to make it easier to use when scooping the yarn.

So I intently watch the Youtube tutorial for beginners; the first of which was how to hold the yarn and the needle, and how to cast on. At first, I was so confused and felt dizzy following the step-by-step movements of the hands, of the needles and the thread. My yarn became out of shape with my repeated mistakes, sometimes it got entangled. I almost give up, during the first day that I tried to follow the tutorial for beginners.

It was good there is a man who is in the tutorial video, and he made the procedure so slow so it is easy to follow. Those who do not know or do not have any idea how to knit will surely feel like his head spinning, like me, I got a headache trying to follow the steps. It was good I did not give up. I tried and tried, until I finally learned the basics which is to start with making the first cast.

Now, when I am not playing games or reading/writing blogs, I turn to knitting which I found to be so relaxing. Of course I always have to stretch my back from time to time because it can cause backache especially when the posture is not right.

I am happy to think that soon I can make my first knitted pouch.

Appreciate the Work of Service Crews, Common Employees, Laborers
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Image credit:Pixabay.com, free images

Now that I came to know that most service crews, and other employees receive very low salaries, I appreciate them and their efforts just to earn a living.

It was so different from the situation in the past when I do not pay attention to them, or blame them for little mistakes they do. It is best to understand that they are humans too, and you are more fortunate not to be in their shoes, not to experience what they are experiencing in their desire to earn money for their families.

Peddling Wares in the Streets

The situation of people selling wares on the streets is more difficult than do the service crews in restaurants, or groceries, etc. The peddlers have to walk under the hot sun to sell items like fans, toys, food, bottled water, or candies to commuters or other people on the streets.

Some peddlers are exerting more efforts like those carrying a big wooden bench/chair or wooded bed for sale. It is so heavy, they have to carry it from one street to another. I do not know if they were able to sell any of those items.

Vendors Cooking Along the Streets

There are vendors who carry portable stoves to sell boiled peanuts, eggs, or corn on the cob. They are using a small cart which they push where there are many people waiting to ride public transportation like buses or jeepneys. Some are waiting for taxi rides.

The vendors using carts are usually chased by the authorities for blocking traffic flow. So they always have to be alert to avoid being arrested ot their carts/wares confiscated.

Wash Your Car/Wipe Your Windshield Boys

Some people who are so poor are so enterprising in creating ways to earn a little money. Some of them would carry a pail, soap or sponge and offer the driver to wash or clean the vehicle for a fee; or just to wipe the windshield while the vehicle is stuck in traffic.

Some of them also offers to watch the driver’s car or vehicle while it is parked in a public parking area where there are no security guards. They get some coins for doing it.

These are the lowly jobs that poor people do, or those who are unemployed in a formal job, just to make the ends meet; to feed themselves or help augment the family’s income.

We should understand them, understand their situation and be kind to them. Always think that you are luckier than them in so many ways. And the best part of it: they earn a little money through honest means, by exerting effort instead of stealing or other illegal means to have money.

She Died After Undergoing Beauty Enhancement, Who’s to Blame?
March 29, 2017
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Photo of Audrey Hepburn from Pixabay.com free images. Thanks

It was in the television news last night about a girl (or a lady) who died after undergoing beauty enhancement.

It was liposuction which involved the removal of fats from specific parts of the body, example is the abdomen or tummy mostly for women. I did not heared the details of the news because I was busy cooking. Just heard my husband saying the lady was beautiful and yet she still had that beauty enhancement.

It was still unknown if the doctors or medical practitioners were at fault; or what caused her death. It is still under investigation, and apparently the operation of that health clinic was stopped pending the results of the investigation.

Some Are So Vain

It is not bad to aspire to look beautiful, sometimes it is needed especially for people whose work are related to beauty or appearance like when one is a model or product endorser; or a public relations officer of a company where she meets a lot of clients.

Sometimes it is best to be grateful of what your are, of how your physical attributes are, rather than spending lots of money and having to take the risk of the dangers involved in such medical operation. It is like “meddling or tweaking” in what God had given us.

Natural Means is Best

Going natural is the best thing to do. One can attain good looks, or a fit body not by undergoing liposuction and other beauty enhancement through proper diet and regular exercise.

There are people who were so fat, but with regular exercise and disciplined diet, they were able to achieve a beautiful body. However some physical looks can not be altered like the shape of the nose, the fullness of the lips, the shape of the face, the eyes, etc. So some people undergo surgery to attain a high-bridged nose, or full lips, some had their eyebrows permanently tattooed, etc.

There are women whom you can no longer tell if they are still the person you knew them before because after undergoing beauty treatments, they appeared to be another person!

One Can Be Beautiful Inside

There are people who looks beautiful because they exude beauty from the inside. They do not look so beautiful physically, but they look charming because they have good character; they are finesse, or elegant in the way they carry themselves. They have good manners, and know how to deal or talk with different people of different personalities. They can communicate well with the higher echelons of society, and even with the lowliest level, even to the workingmen. Such person is beautiful inside and out. She does not need beauty enhancement, or artificial beauty, but it is natural beauty emanating from inside of herself.

Are We Free to Use Photos from the LB Media Library?
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Photo above shows my personal photo of a yellow gumamela flower

I thought of posting this blog upon reading a comment of @cely at the Literacybase Thinkers Group where she lamented that a member here used her personal photos for his/her blog post.

I felt the same way yesterday when I saw my personal photo and he/she used several of it in his/her blogs with the same titles. I was so annoyed, why he used it even it did not match his/her “blogs.” I opened one of that “controversial” blogs and found the content so spammy, it looks like it was copy/pasted from the net. It occupied almost all the front wall of Literacybase for blog titles. It was a photo of a beautiful beach here in the Philippines which I took with my cellphone camera about two years ago.

This is the reason why I was adamant in using photos from the Literacybase.com media library. It could be a member’s personal photo and he might not feel so good about it.When you have personal photos, you own it, and it is not good if someone will just use it, like it was being stolen from you.

In fairness, there is no markings on photos here at the Literacybase media library, so how can a member put some image credit for that photo he lifted from it?

This is the reason why I always use my “signature photo,” of a yellow gumamela, or Hibiscus flower which I also used for my avatar in other writing sites, though it is red in color. Then I saw a member who also used it. I thought it was alright because the writer posted a good blog, compared to that “spammer” who used my photo of a beach several times, posted at the same time!

So to avoid using other people’s photos, I turned to free photos at Pixabay.com. It is for public use, and it stated there that anyone can use it even without attribution. But for me, I always wanted to thank the photographer, and though it is free to use, I put image credit to Pixabay.com for that free photo.

I noticed some people here using photos with “shutterstock” watermark. And I read from one of the blogs in another site that there is a “shutterstock” watermark because it is not free to be used; they will charge the one who used their photo. So be careful in using photos with the “shutterstock” marking. I just do not know if they also have free photos.

I wish I could know how to put watermark on my photos, so other people can not just use it. I am still studying how to put it in my files for blogs.

Do you know how to put watermarks on photos?

Thinking of What to Cook for the Family is Hard
March 28, 2017
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The Best Summer Fruits & Veggies You Should Be EatingImage Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/fruits-vegetables-artichoke-banana-155616/

It is hard to cook for the family especially when your children are so choosy of food.

One member would like chicken, the other would like pork, and another would like fish. Then the husband likes vegetables. If you were the one tasked to plan or cook a meal, what would you do?

I just plan a meal that will be acceptable to all. It should be a healthy one. Either fried fish with a vegetable side dish. It can be stewed fish with lots of vegetables.

Sometimes it is a combination of chicken and vegetables like chicken stew. It is called “tinola” in our local dialect. It has green papaya that are sliced big, ginger, garlic, onion, and pepper leaves or if none, moringa leaves. Sometimes if there is no green papaya, some people use chayote (Sechium edule).

The garlic, ginger, and onion, along with small slices of chicken were sauteed, then the sliced papaya is added. When the papaya is already soft, add water, then when it boiled, add the pepper leaves.

This recipe is healthy because of the ingredients.

We rarely cook pork. Maybe once a week only. If pork is the main dish, I see to it that there will be lots of vegetables that go with it.

Since most of the family members are out during the day, I usually cook good meals in the evening when they are all home. For breakfast, it is just simple fried or boiled eggs, rice, or fried dried fish. I add fresh tomatoes if the viand is dried fish. Sometimes I make scrambled eggs with lots of onions, garlic, tomatoes and some herbs.

For lunch, I am usually alone, or just me and my husband, so we just eat whatever is left in the refrigerator. Or just plain stewed fish with okra or lady finger, eggplant, tomatoes or spinach leaves.

Though my family is choosy with food, they always appreciate my cooking. And I always see to it that I prepare healthy meals for them.

This is one of the joys of being a mother; of taking good care of the family.

Do you also cook for your family?

What Are Your Frustrations in Life?
March 28, 2017
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Many of us have some frustrations in life. It could be work-related, about a career, family, and even little things or knowledge you had wanted you had.

These are some of my frustrations in life, or wished I had achieved:

1. Be a lawyer. It is one in my bucket wish list when I got tired of working in an office. While watching the trial lawyers in court, defending each other’s sides, I marvelled in the thought that I wished I was one of them and engaged them in verbal match; of contest of logic, and so on.

Even when I retired from work, (early retirement though I was just 44 years old that time), I planned to take an online career or distant home study program leading to a degree in Law. But certain circumstances prevented me from pushing that plan.

2. Learning How to Drive

When I was working in an office, I enrolled in a driving school because we were planning to buy a car that time. But due to very hectic schedule, my plan failed. So now, I always lament that I did not learn how to drive.

Iam too nervous now to learn how to drive because of rude drivers on the road, and the congested traffic!

3.Learning How to Play the Piano or Violin

I always love the sound of a piano and violin. More so of violin which only few people know how to play. I wished I had enrolled in a piano or violin lessons when I was younger!

4. Learning How to Ride a Bike

This is one of my frustrations which still nags me today! If I learned to ride a bike, I can go places without using a car, or using gasoline which is so expensive. It is also a good cardio exercise. So to remedy this, I asked a machine shop to make a three-wheeled bike (trike) for me. I am using it for my morning exercise around our place every morning after I had walked for some 20 minutes.

5. Learning How to Knit.

I know how to crochet, how to embroider, but I do not know how to knit. I admire knitted clothes, socks or caps. So yesterday, I bought a yarn, thread used in knitting, and used two chopsticks as knitting needle. I am learning it through tutorial in Youtube. I hope I can learn it. I already learned the basic casting, or the first step, but I wanted to learn it all, hopefully!

Do you also have some “frustrations” in life?

Weather So Erratic, Could Not Walk
March 28, 2017
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acelawrites photo of a beach

This morning after I posted a blog and read and commented on some blogs here, I dressed to come out and walk, my usual morning daily walk.

But as I go out, I noticed the dark clouds and it is drizzling, the road is wet, and so it is not advisable for me to go out. It seems the weather is so erratic. It should had been the start of summer season in the Philippines, but it rained!

Last night, I heard the rain, and so I thought it will shine in the morning because it is summer here. But it still rained, so I have to do other options, like logging in again here are Literacybase to post this blog.

In the past, when we say it is summer, there is no rain; only so much sunshine and the temperature rises also. As high as 35 to 50 degrees Centigrade in Metro Manila. But in our place, it is usually relatively cooler than in Metro Manila because it is located in a higher place and there are still lots of plants and trees to make the environment cooler.

In the northern part of the Philippines, it is warmer, except for Baguio City, which is cool, because it is located in a mountain, so it is called the Summer Capital of the Philippines. So many local and foreign tourists go there especially during summer vacation.

Another place where people wanted to go is the beach. There are so many beautiful beaches here in our country, and the most famous is Boracay Island in the Visayas. It is famous for its white, fine sand. There are also famous destinations like in Palawan, Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro, in Bohol, Siargao, in Ilocos Norte, among other beautiful seashores in the country.

My mind drifted to these beautiful places because the Lenten Season is about two weeks from now and it is customary for us to go to some local places here to rest and relax. We also visit different churches during the Lenten Season.

And so this morning because I could not go out and walk outside, I will use my strider, or air walker exerciser to have that needed walk. The strider can simulate the walking motion and it has less impact on the knees and other leg joints. I might also go up and down the stairs for added exercise.

When you can not go out to exercise, to jog or walk, what alternatives do you do? Does the erratic weather also frustrate you?

Plant Vegetable Cuttings, Your Instant Garden
March 28, 2017
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(Note: photo of a pechay plant from Pixabay free images)

Do you buy vegetables, particularly green leafy vegetables in the grocery or in the market? Then if you happen to buy ones with long stems, you can have some planting materials to start your own garden.

After removing the leaves that you need for cooking, or the young stems, put it in a container with water, the matured end of the stem submerged in water and let it stand for a few days. You can change the water to prevent the stem from rotting or to prevent mosquitoes from breeding there.

When you noticed roots coming out at the basal end of the stems, transfer it to the place you wanted to plant it; maybe a vacant space in your garden, or in a pot with good kind of soil. Cultivate the soil first to let water and air seep through it and to allow the roots to freely grow.

Water the soil first before planting it but do not place it directly under sunshine to prevent wilting. If you have some compost or rich soil, or vermicast, put it on the soil around the plant to make it healthy. I also use vegetable peels as fertilizer.

I do not apply commercial or synthetic fertilizer because it is more healthy to apply natural fertilizers. Vermicast are usually found in rich soils where there are many earthworms. They are the earthworm’s waste material which can make your plants grow healthy.

Water your plants occasionally when you noticed that the soil becomes dry. Soon you will have your own leafy vegetables garden.

Example of Vegetables That Are Easy to Grow from Cuttings

Since we became conscious of eating a lot of green leafy vegetables, we usually buy spinach, water parsley, celery, and local vegetables like “alugbati” or Malabar spinach or Basella alba, along with moringa, okra or lady finger, lettuce, pechay, cauliflower, and broccoli, among others.

Of the vegetables I mentioned, water parsley, spinach, and alugbati are so easy to grow from cuttings. There are also other vegetable condiments that are sold with roots intact so you can grow them too, like citronella. But citronella grows well if directly planted into the soil and not in pots because it has massive root system.

If you care enough for your “instant garden,” soon you will experience the joy of harvesting from your own plants. You can get just enough leaves you need for cooking so you can have a lasting supply as your plants grow so well.

Remembering “Lola Walis” (Broomstick Grandma), Where is She Now?
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This morning, I looked for our broomstick because I will sweep some paper scraps at the garage floor. Then I suddenly remembered “Lola Walis,” or Grandma Broomstick.

I called her with such a name because I failed to ask her real name. She was about 80 years old or about 90, but she still walks so far along the road peddling her broomstick. She is about four feet tall, and of very light built, but she looked strong in spite of her age.

A broomstick is made of coconut midrib tied together to form a broom for cleaning. Each coconut frond or leaflet is scraped and the remaining midrib is tied together when they are about two inches thick, and strong enough to sweep the floor or yard. It is usually used in the Philippines to sweep leaves, and other garbage on the ground or pavements. It is also used for cleaning concrete floor with water, in place of a brush.

She Sells Broomstick Everyday

I met “Lola Walis” some years ago in a nearby town when I had a small business there. One day, she approached me and told me to buy a broomstick from her. She said she sells it for Php20 per piece.

She said she is just helping her family earn a living though she is very old. But she can walk so many kilometers of the road to sell the broomstick. I asked if her children allowed her to still work for the family, but she just smiled. I did not know if she had the permission of her children or if she was just doing it on her own will.

But compared to other old people, “Lola Walis” is very strong to walk everyday even when it rains or when the sun is shining so hot in summer. Maybe she will become weak when she stop walking everyday.

Met “Lola Walis” in Our City

One time, I met “Lola Walis” in our city. I asked her why she was there, and she replied that she gets some of her broomstick from a supplier in our city. Sometimes she and her grandchildren were the ones making the broomsticks.

Again, she requested me to buy her broomstick, but I said I still have the one I bought from her. She looked hungry and thirsty, so I just handed her the Php20 but I did not get the broomstick. She smiled so sweetly and thanked me.

From that time, I did not see her anymore. Could she be sick, or she finally retired from selling broomstick?

Note: The photo of an old woman from Myanmar from Pixabay free images by jpeter2)

I used the photo because she resembled “Lola Walis.”

Single Mom Strived on Her Own; Success is Hers
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While at the church yesterday morning, we saw the single mom who we had helped in some little ways in the past. She told us that her daughter is about to graduate this June in a leading state university in our country.

The girl is talented, so when when was still in the grade school, her Mom, who was left by her husband for another woman, tried all the best she could to live and to have her lone daughter attend school in spite of the odds.

The mother did all things to earn a meager income. She would ask us to do our laundry or clean our home. Though I was also trying to save during those days because I gave up my career to take care of my family, I allowed her to work for us on weekends.

She is a hard worker. While she is doing the laundry, I would always engage her in a conversation to know something about her and her family. They were not originally from our place, they just migrated here from a nearby province, so I “interviewed” her to know her background because I do not want strangers inside our home.

A Battered Wife

She said her husband was a drunkard, who would sleep all day, and she was the one forced to look for a living, to work so they can have something to eat. And the worst part, the husband would always hurt her when she could not produce money. Later she knew her husband had another woman. When she learned about it,she decided to leave their house. She and her daughter fled to our place and found a room to rent for the two of them.

Intelligent Daughter

It was good she decided to go away from her irresponsible husband. She said all she had in mind was to support her daughter who performed well in school, getting good grades. She was already in high school or second level of schooling when they transferred to our place.

Every school openings, she would always worry on how she can buy school supplies like notebooks, uniforms, etc. for her daughter. So since I learned about her background and knew that she was honest, I would always lend her money, in advance payment for the work she will render for us. Oftentimes, I would not get a part of it as a “gift” for her talented daughter.

Then we transferred to another place and we lost contact with the woman and her daughter. And yesterday, we saw her at the church. After the Holy Mass, she approached us and told us that her daughter will be graduating this June 2017. She is a state scholar and will graduate as a Chemical Engineer.

We thanked God that the woman is successful in rearing her daughter. And we are so happy we had been a part of her success.

(Note: my original photo of a yellow gumamela flower)