Monday, November 23, 2015

The Depth of Friendship

After Papa's departure at the Villamor Air Base Mortuary, he was brought to his final resting place in Libingan ng Mga Bayani. The ceremony was lengthy and elaborate, but it was very beautiful. Just like his arrival honors, the morning of the 30th of October, there was an assembly of soldiers at the Mortuary and at Libingan ng Mga Bayani, and then we walked to where he was finally laid to rest. 

My Papa's PMA classmates

Of the entire ceremony, the presentation of the flag was the most memorable for me. After the pall bearers folded it, just before they presented it to my mom, it first made its round among Papa's mistah from the PMA. It was very dramatic. One by one, they took the flag and pressed it to their heart, a symbolic gesture that made me cry even more. I mentioned it to my girlfriends after. Almost the entire class (those still living) attended the necrological service and then the internment, the following morning. I was telling them I hope that when we're that age, we'd still be devoted to each other. They have a Viber group and they keep in touch with each other's lives. The bond formed decades ago, still intact and strong. 

Friendship is really serious stuff for me. Some people collect them in bulk but I am the type who is willing to let go of those who are not worth my time, just so I could focus on those who matter most to me. I prefer friendships that are genuine. More so, I put real value on the type of friendship that defends and protects...  I call this BLIND LOVE. 

True Friendship Demands Blind Love

Blind love is when you love despite and in spite of. It is when you pick a side and you stick with that side because you are loyal. This is true for family. My sisters and I have made a pact to always honor blind love. This means that we will have common enemies and we will always fight for the same team. This also means that we will always be there for each other, no matter what. And in the Romeo and Juliet notion of things, it means that I will proudly Mercutio the butt of any Montague in sight (for my sisters). 

I also demand blind love from my friends. I do not speak it, but I quietly expect it because I will give you the same type of loyalty. I have said goodbye to many people for different reasons. Some of my old friendships are now very casual, some have been downgraded to social media connections and some are totally down the drain (depending on the cause of the falling out). You see, I will fight for a friendship, as much as I can, but I have always been willing to let go of friends who are disloyal, dishonest and most of all selfish. 

I had one falling out with a long time friend because she was disloyal, dishonest and selfish. I trusted her with my story and she played with it like it was common information she had to share to all. You see, despite my "public" existence here in my blog and social media, I am a private person. It may not be easy to understand because here I am blogging, but know that the stuff I share here are filtered and carefully censored. This means that when I reveal something, it is information that I can openly talk about. When I tell you, A SECRET, it means that I am entrusting to you a portion of my life that I would rather not let anyone touch. I am very particular about my sensitive private life and I expect my friends to respect that because I will do the same. I seem loud and open, but that is not exactly the case--AND SHE KNEW THAT. 

I expected my friend to defend and protect me, because she was supposed to be on my side. I would've done the same for her... I would have fought for the team, but I was so surprised to find out that she wasn't taking my friendship seriously--that really hurt me the most. It was painful because I chose her for a reason and I realized I did not know her well. For that, I do not fault her, I picked her to be my friend and so I chose to remedy the situation. My mom would always tell us to choose our friends wisely, so I eventually chose to let her go. We are generally okay (not immediately), but I eventually explained and apologized for my decision. We, however, will never be close again. 

True Friends = Soulmates 

During the day of my Papa' s burial I watched one of my Papa's best friends as he said his lonesome goodbye in front of the coffin. He was there for maybe 30 minutes, I did not see him cry because he had his back to me, but I saw him gripping a handkerchief.

After we went back home, we received more messages from his friends and they continued to speak of friendship, brotherhood and how this now extends and is immediately transferred to us (in Papa's absence). My Mom also got to talk to "that best friend"... and when she asked him why he loved my Papa he said: "Because we understood each other. We were both loners. He was the only one that got me." And I immediately made a mental examination: Do my friends understand me? Do they really get who I am? For years I've had the opportunity to meet a collection of people. I found out that it is not hard to make friends, but I also learned that it is not easy to find ones that are REAL.

When Papa passed away I gained a deeper appreciation for many of my friends. God has truly blessed me with friends I feel I do not deserve. During the stretch of the wake and to this day, I continue to receive care from all directions, it is heartwarming and invigorating. I do not have a lot of friends, I've said that before, but I have amazing few. The core of the friendships I share with people have been tested by time and I am grateful for each one of them. I have lost some people in the past and every loss was not easy. The one I recently lost initially saddened me, but when a friendship is not nurturing but is instead damaging, you have to let the wind take it somewhere. 

And then hope for the best...

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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Sleepless Nights

Clock ticks. Eyes open. Darkness.

Early morning sleeplessness
Wide awake and alive
The deafening sounds of nothingness
Envelop me

Lying awake sleepless
Staring at the wall
Every breath I take
I feel nothing at all

Troubled mind and sleepless
Counting sheep in my head
My beating heart it thuds aloud
Like a marking band

My thoughts are raging aggressively
As I lie awake in silence
Questions cascading rapidly
Like a waterfall of dread

Clock ticks. Sun rises. Sleepless.
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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Longest Drive Home

The following is my eulogy for the necrological service of my father, LTGEN Pedro Ike I Inserto (Ret):

My drive to and from work is always a long one. But on October 29, I took my longest drive home...

Mom's words still reverberate in my head. My screams probably still echo in the narrow corridors of my workplace, but he is now gone forever. You see, ever since we started going in and out of the hospital, I have slowly come to terms with the fact that papa will be gone, but I admit, I never imagined it to be this soon... or this way. No one really gets to prepare for this... but it is what we have to face. When I wake up in the next days he will no longer be there for me to kiss, for me to argue with, for me to give medicines to. Everything will be different and it scares me. 

On my drive home that day, I had thousands of question in my head. The bumper-to-bumper traffic situation didn't help my eagerness to see my papa before he leaves our home for the last time, but the influx of messages and calls felt like warm embraces for my slowly breaking heart. 

It wasn't easy for my family to see Papa deteriorate the way he did. A strong man, he slowly lost control of his body and his life. Those who knew him well, know that Papa was strong, firm and determined. He wanted to reach the stars and he got for himself, THREE. Papa has accomplished so much in his life, but his greatest pride were his daughters. We are the sum total of his hard work. He and my mom made us their priority and when he was slowly getting weaker, he drew strength from the fact that he's done well with us. He would always say: "Made na ako!"

Papa pushed us hard like he did his soldiers because he wanted the best for us. When I took the board exams, I remember Papa coming to me and asking me how it was. I said: "I did my best Papa", then he just looked at me and said: "BE SURE". He brought us up to be strong so that we could make sure choices in life. He never dictated what we had to do. He raised us to be adults and he merely reminded us of the importance of being FIRM and CERTAIN about everything. 

Papa, now that you're gone, you can rest assured that we will be alright. We will miss you all our lives and I know it will be painful, but your girls will be alright. Tomorrow, after everyone has left, we will be alone and the weight of your absence will be real. We will cry... there will be lots of tears, but yes, we will be alright... YOU MADE SURE OF IT. 

Moving On

It's been almost two weeks since my Papa left us. The afternoon we arrived home from the burial, we all tried to catch up on sleep, but only stole a few hours. That went on for a few days, but it got better eventually. In the last few days I am already able to sleep soundly--no longer awakened by thoughts in the middle of the night--I wake up and its morning. I delight when I see the light of the sun reflected on the window because it gives everyone a fresh start. I don't exactly know what fresh start we need, but it is a comforting thought to know that we can, begin again.

Anyway, speaking of beginning again, we all try our best to continue with our days without him... but its not really easy. Last Sunday, I should've been filling up his prescription, cutting his meds and organizing them into the pill boxes. Mom also mentioned to me that night: "Tomorrow, can you pick us up at Heart Center after work, your papa has dialysis?". The routines will be hard to forget. Papa will be hard to forget because we loved him so much and he's made a big impact in our lives. It will take some getting used to--and I tell you it doesn't really make a difference where we are. It is sad at home. It is sad outside of the house. It is sad in the car. It is sad. 

When we started going in and out of the hospital, I found it a little weird that mom would take pictures of everything. We had pictures all over and they weren't allowed to take photos in the Dialysis Center, but my mom was able to sneak in a lot of shots of Papa. Now, I am grateful that she documented everything (even the gross details) because I keep going through them. I want to remember everything about Papa. I want to remember when he was healthy and happy... And I also want to remember the journey he took, up to his last breath. I even want to remember the many times we argued about his food choices because even though we fought, he would look at me in surrender when I tell him: "You can hate me everyday, I will still monitor your food and meds!"

Anyway, during his 4th night at Villamor Air Base Mortuary I gave him a tribute during the service. Different from my eulogy, I wanted to remember Papa for the man that he was and I want to share and elaborate on that short tribute here. Papa was:
  • A Man of Few Words. If you text him his standard reply was K or TKS (for thanks). And he motivates or demands by saying two words: "BE SURE". Everyone heard those two words from him, even his aides when he wanted them to perform a task with certainty. It had a simple threat to it... a sort of warning. It was just two words but you tremble in fear.
  • Generous. Not just to us, he was generous to people around him. He was helpful, especially to people who needed his help and he never asked anything in return. During the wake, we were approached by different people and they shared stories about Papa--stories I've never heard before--it put a lovely smile on my face. 
  • Simple. He loved going to the palengke on weekends. He enjoys ukay-ukay and Divisoria. He taught us to enjoy the simple things in life and to be grateful for the simple luxuries we could afford. 
  • Strict. Growing up I had a curfew of 11 pm that sometimes stretched to 1 am, with him calling 30 minutes before the deadline to make sure I was on my way home already. There was even a time, when we still lived in Camp, my sister and I snuck out of the house to go swimming at AFPCOC (clubhouse) and when he discovered what we had done, he rushed to the swimming pool and stood at the entrance. He merely stood there and waited, until we saw him. Of course when we did, we knew we had to come out of the pool and leave with him immediately. 
  • A Great Father. He loved spending time with his children: taking us biking in Luneta and swimming in Los Banos, Matabungkay or Puerto Azul. He also loved storytelling during bedtime and we enjoyed all his stories even though they all started and ended the same way. He also loved watching TV series and movies with us. He sat with us on marathons of  Prison Break, Band of Brothers, Made in Chelsea, Downton Abbey and Glee (or whatever chick flick his screaming daughters were watching).
  • A Great Provider. We are the VIF (Very Important Family) and he made sure to give us the best life experiences, but he prioritized our education the most. During breakfast one time (when I was still in school) he said to me: "Anak I don't have much. Wala ako ipapamana sa inyo. But I will invest all I can in your education so that you can build a good future. That will be my legacy to you". ("My daughter, I don't have much. I have no riches for you to inherit. But I will invest all I can in your education so that you can build a good future. That will be my legacy to you").
  • A Hard Worker. And he always told us to work hard for our dreams. He always said, you have to dream it and then work hard for it. Like when he wanted to be a defense attache and then a general. He always took time to listen to our career plans and was always a proud spectator of our individual victories. I believe I am an achiever because my Papa was one--and we all want to be like him. 
  • A Family Man. He loved his parents, sincerely and took care of them. Both my lolo and lola stayed with us at home. They had their own house, but when they were getting old and weak, Papa took them into our home to receive better care. The night before my lolo passed away, papa gave him a long bath, shaved his beard and dressed him up to sleep. I always remember that night even though I was still very young. He also loved his sisters, beyond his capacity, because he was the only boy and he was their protector. He wasn't affectionate. Papa wasn't like that but he loved his family the way he knew best to do. Finally, he loved his wife and his daughters... so he gave us a good life. This, of course, remained true until his very last breath. 

I still get messages and calls from friends and family asking me how I am. I'll admit it's not easy... it won't be easy anytime soon, I guess. I am, however, in great awe of the Lord. I've been back to work and my sisters have resumed their individual realities, as well. Life goes on, you know, and we have to brave it up just like soldiers. We are women of Ike Inserto and we are women with a mighty God... it is not easy, but we go at it day by day by, fortified by God's embrace.

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Patient Chronicles: Thou Shalt Not Succumb to DIY Braces

At the place I work for (away from my clinic) we often do mouth exams and we encounter a collection of patients per day. It is a monotonous task, so for PEE and APE I use a regular script and just let things flow naturally from there. "When was your last visit to the dentist?" is the first question I ask and based on the answer I either say: "What did you have done, then?" or "You need to visit your dentist every 6 months for cleaning and check-up". The conversation/consultation will go on according to the eagerness of the patient to hear about the condition of his dental health. Sometimes you get a good interaction and you feel fulfilled to have helped someone, somehow. Sometimes you get blank stares (so I stop talking immediately) and sometimes you get those who are more interested in checking their Facebook feeds (so I get the cue from that) and conclude everything. 

Anyway, when I saw this particular patient, I went on with my usual script and when she said: "Never pa", I looked straight into her eyes because she had braces on her teeth. 

Crix: Never ka pa nagpadentist? (You've never been to a dentist?)
Patient: Hindi pa po. (Never).
Crix: But you have braces, how is that possible?
Patient: Ako lang po nagkabit nyan. (I put them on by myself).
Crix: This is DIY braces?
Patient: Opo (Yes). 

And yes, all hell broke loose. No, I'm just kidding. I kept my composure but I gave her a lengthy lecture about the dangers she's facing. Understand that you cannot simply go arts and crafts on your teeth and mouth because there is no such thing as DIY braces. Believe me, it is so much more than just sticking the metal boxes on your teeth and changing the colorful rubbers every month. When I first heard of this phenomenon and saw it on Facebook, I wanted to flip. My friends, other dentists who practice orthodontics, all had things to say and just to make sure I get through to all of you who are brave enough to DIY your orthodontic issues, I will go point by point with this. 

Braces is not a fashion trend

I want to start with this because I feel that the bulk of those who carelessly make the decision to have DIY braces are after the supposed glamour it brings. Braces are not glamorous. They are uncomfortable, hard to clean and annoying. Many of those who get braces, would rather not and are more keen on finishing the treatment (as fast as it can go). If your sole purpose of getting braces is because you think it looks good on you, then you are being ridiculous. Orthodontics is a corrective approach to dental malocclusion and misalignment. If there is nothing to correct, then there is no need for braces. 

On their own the brackets, rubbers and wires do nothing. When they are brought together, they initiate movement and bring about changes in the mouth. You cannot install braces and expect it not to make changes. So if your smile is not indicated for orthodontic treatment, why do you have brackets in your teeth? It is not a hair clip or a scarf that you put on to enhance your look--it is not!

Orthodontics is a learned theoretical and practical skill

Dentists earn their craft for six grueling years. After I graduated, I studied Orthodontics for a year and a half, others go through even longer (and gain a masteral degree). To properly understand how to diagnose and correct various issues, we studied the anatomy and physiology of the teeth, bones, gums and periodontal tissues. Orthodontic treatment with braces is more than just changing your rubbers every month. There is a specific science involved in the proper selection of brackets, wires and forces, so please respect that dentists know better than you. 

DIY braces sellers will tell you: "It's so easy to do!" No it isn't. We are often boggled by cases of our own. We consult colleagues regarding troubled cases and help each other solve puzzles we're stuck on. Moving teeth is not easy, but it is so easy to make mistakes that will have irreversible repercussions. Please respect our profession and skill--we earned it. 

Your teeth are merely held by fibers and bone. The bone takes some time to break and build. 

Have you ever gotten a tooth extraction? Do you remember how it was done? To remove teeth, we merely push and pull. We use some sort of screw (elevators and luxators) to loosen the teeth from its position and we extricate the teeth from the socket by forcefully grasping it with forceps. We merely push and pull because the teeth are held in place by fibers within the bony sockets. What I am trying to say here is that, it is easy to "pull" teeth by accident if you do not know what you're doing with your DIY braces. 

Understand that we time orthodontic adjustments in calculated intervals because we cannot put too much force on the teeth. Inasmuch as we would like to magically move your teeth in one pull, we are afraid to pull it out by accident. To move teeth, bone needs to break and for teeth to stabilize in its new place, bone needs to build. This means that when you pull to the right, bone will gradually break on that side and a space will be created on the left as the tooth migrates. If you do too much of this, without allowing for bone to rebuild on the point of origin, the teeth may become extremely mobile--you can lose it. This is what usually happens with DIY braces. 

Worry about what the naked eye cannot see

Again, it is more than just having brackets and colorful rubbers on your teeth. It is so much more than pulling teeth together or moving teeth around the jaw. There is a big phenomenon happening under the gums and bones that you cannot see. We take xrays and we take note of bone support when we move teeth. Please believe me when I tell you that you do not know what you are doing to your teeth and be afraid of what you cannot see. Be afraid of what your careless decision might be doing to the bone that holds your teeth. Be afraid of what you do not fully understand.

Orthodontic treatment (braces) are expensive for a reason

I realize that many of those who succumb to DIY braces fall victim because they do not have the budget to pay for regular treatment. Orthodontic treatment is not cheap, but they are costly for a reason. When you go for treatment, you are paying for a number of things: the skill of the dentist, the materials, the chair time (multiple) and so forth. Treatments run for months or years, so you pay for the entire package.

Rather than looking for cheap... look for something affordable. There is a big difference. Cheap is low quality and you have to be worried when something that is supposedly costly is being sold to you for a very low price. Find something affordable, something that you can handle. Talk to your dentist about a payment scheme you can manage. There are affordable packages that will give you the chance to pay for treatment. If these are still very high, then take some time to save up for it. Most orthodontic issues are aesthetic, so there is no urgency. If this is true for you, then be patient enough to wait for the time you can afford "proper" treatment rather than to try to "DIY" your smile. 

Tooth loss is irreversible

If something goes wrong with your careless effort and you end up pulling teeth, I'm sue know that tooth loss is irreversible. If you pull it out, you cannot simply take it back. There is no "rewind" button that you can push. If you are unlucky, you can lose your teeth and that's it--you say goodbye and there is no turning back. 

It is not fun to wear dentures

If at the end of it all you lose teeth because of your smart decision, you will be left with no choice but to wear prosthesis (pustiso). If you have enough teeth left, you can wear fixed dentures (crowns) but if you do not have enough left to support a fixed prosthesis, your only option is a removable denture. Ask anyone with dentures, they would rather have their natural teeth back. Dentures, whether fixed or removable, will never compare with real teeth. They may be fabricated to perfection but they will never be like the ones you lost. 

Anyway, you may not be concerned about your teeth but I am. Anyone out there who purchased DIY braces and are "treating" themselves, I am scared for you. I am scared because you have been misinformed. I am scared because if you think you saved money, the reality is that you may be facing even bigger trouble. I am concerned for you and this has nothing to do about pride, ego and superiority. I am a dentist. First and foremost, I am a health practitioner and once upon a time I took an oath of service. I genuinely care for the welfare of people's teeth and that is true for every case I handle and for every patient I see or consult with. You are making a big mistake and I feel for you. 

Please be concerned...

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Giving Waze a Chance

Believe it or not, I've only started using Waze recently. Very much old school, I use Googlemaps to navigate through Metro Manila. I get the address, find it on the map and study the route I am supposed to take. I admit it is quite annoying because I sometimes have to stop in the middle of the street to check the map again, but I survived with it for years so I have no complaints. With this method I don't need internet connection (I copy the map before I leave) and I rely on my own skill, not a voice. 

Actually, during one dinner with my friends I was the only who got to the restaurant on time because everyone else got lost following Waze. Some prankster changed the directions to Locavore so all my friends ended up at some house. That justified my decision not to be on Waze---it's blind trust, that's not healthy. 

Giving Maze A Chance

Anyway, everyone is "Waze this Waze that" so I said I might as well just give it a go already. That was a few months ago. I downloaded it for the first time, but I looked at it and just got confused with what I saw. I found the map with the icons so annoying, I couldn't read through it properly so I stayed on the app for like 5 minutes and I deleted it right away. 

Recently, however, I have this friend who's been convincing me to use Waze. He loves it... he's very dependent on it (calls himself the Waze ambassador) and regards it as the best application ever created, so I decided to give it another chance. I mean, I ought to really, because when I went to Batangas with my cousins a few months ago we survived the entire journey through the mountains just by trusting the voice on my cousin's phone. It is pretty amazing, honestly--and I knew I was just in denial. I downloaded it (again) and for a dry run, I used it going to work, following a route I am very much familiar with and then I decided to put it to the test on my way to and from a party (in a location that was completely unknown to me). 

It's all about blindly trusting someone/something (the English-speaking voice on the phone). It forces you to succumb to technology and its supposed capacity to navigate you via GPS. It is also trusting in the power of your phone's battery to survive throughout your journey and your network connection to stay active the entire time. When you use Waze, you let it take the wheel in a Carrie Underwood notion and basically let the machine drive you to your destination. 

Going to the party using Waze was a nice experience.  I plotted it before I left the clinic and I let it take me to where I had to go. I, seriously, wouldn't have known how to go there otherwise so I was quite pleased with its function. After the party, I decided to let it take me home (or at least at EDSA) but it, unfortunately, took a long route so I got completely nervous. I was seriously getting worried that Waze wasn't working right anymore. I was lost. I didn't recognize the place and I was following someone who was telling me to just keep going straight. Even worse, I had gone over my red wine limit for the night so I wasn't very alert. (Big tsk tsk Crix). I had no choice but to trust the system. The voice said go straight, so I kept driving, until I found myself in a familiar place. Whew! 

Anyway, this Waze thing is not easy for a control freak like me, but I realized there are certain things in life that you just have to try. When I first downloaded it, I didn't even give it a chance---I deleted it right away and went back to my comfort zone. We all have the tendency to favor the familiar and to shut down on things that are unknown, but I realized that when you close your doors on everything, it's like you're putting yourself in a box (and what kind of a life is that?). I refused to try Waze because it was new and complicated. I had a trusted system that I was very much familiar with, so there really was no reason for me to find an alternative to map reading. I was good with what I knew, I was fine. However, sometimes you don't really know what you're talking about, until you try it. And yeah, I'm no longer talking about Waze.

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Monday, October 19, 2015

Why I Love Coloring and Why You Should Start Coloring Too

For more than a month now, I've been into adult coloring. And for those who are completely clueless about the whole idea, it is not some sort of censored/pornographic coloring activity. It is given the name because compared to traditional coloring done by kids, it is more detailed and definitely hardcore. Children will hide from adult coloring books and wouldn't know what to do. As a matter of fact, I invited my little cousin to join me one time and it took him hours to pick a page/design and then even more time to choose a first color to use. It's the Everest of coloring--it's serious stuff. Children cannot handle adult coloring books (exaggeration of course). 

I first saw it on a friend's Instagram and I asked her where she got the books because it was my first time to see something like it. After that, I tried to look around different bookstores but couldn't really decide whether I wanted to do it. The question: "Am I not preoccupied enough?" kept running in my head, so I became content just checking out my friends' posts on Facebook and Instragram.

I finally started when my two friends gave me coloring books. What was I waiting for... all I needed were coloring pens, so I got a box of 48 Classic Color Faber Castell. Since then I have worked on a couple of pages and it's really fun. The last time I did some serious coloring was in College--we were required to draw and color muscles, bones, organs, cells and all sorts of science stuff. I went full-on nerd on my bones and muscles, it even had shading (I promise!) Anyway, I would like to invite you to join in the fun by enumerating the many reasons why I love it:

It helps you kill time

I've always mentioned the abundance of lull hours I have in the clinic, waiting for patients to arrive. While we have days when lunch is at 4 or 5 o'clock in the afternoon, there are days when I am forced to kill hours in the clinic, so I read, write, watch movies/tv series, play clash of clans and now---I color. It is amazing how much time coloring can consume. Sometimes I lose track of time, I realize I already have to go home. Haha!

You will work on one page or spread for about one to seven days (even more), depending on how intricate the design is. It is so much more than just putting color on paper, you want the picture to come to life so you'll need to do some layering, shading and blending. It took me about seven days to complete that spread above. It is from The Time Garden by Daria Song and however laborious, I loved the challenge of going through every single brick on the page.

It is a relatively cheap hobby (unless...)

Coloring books are priced between Php300 up to Php1500 (I think). Some are quite cheap because they're fairly basic, but there are expensive ones that are priced over Php600 because they are drawn by famous artists and the books are quite thick (with pages over 50 to 100--or more). At first glance you'd think that's a lot to pay for a coloring book, but if you have to work on a page for one week... imagine how many weeks you have all covered before you need to get another one. At the moment, I have 5 coloring books but I only bought one, at Php600. I was quite lucky to have friends who love me, so I juggle between the different books so I wouldn't get bored.

What is actually expensive are the coloring tools, but it all depends on your preference. I only got the 48 Faber Castell Classic Colored Pencils at Php515. There are more expensive brands that sell for a couple of thousands and  I have a friend who has a massive collection of coloring pencils and pens (but she's crazy, that's why!). She has so much and they're quite expensive too, I told her I'll visit her house and steal some of them.

It teaches you to be patient

As I've mentioned, a page or a spread will take about one day to a week (or even longer). The drawing/design is very detailed and elaborate, you cannot rush work on it or you'll make a mistake. You have to look at it, imagine it with colors and plan your move before you begin. When you finally do, you cannot really carelessly color the entire thing, you have to give it definite strokes, to make sure you get the right color and more importantly, to do so, without going beyond the lines. Coloring demands time and by committing to it, you take on the challenge of completing a "project" that may take days to finish. That's a lot of time. Coloring a page will ask that you sit down and patiently bring life to a drawing.

One of my girlfriends got a coloring book from her husband. At that time we were all quite keen to start coloring and she immediately started. Minutes into the first page she closed the book and quit the hobby altogether: "Ang boring! Color ako ng color di pa rin tapos isang page!" ("It's so boring! Been coloring for a so long and I'm not even done with a page yet!") It's safe to say that this is not really for everybody. As a matter of fact whenever I'm coloring, I have this friend who hovers around saying: "Sumasakit mata, kamay at ulo ko sa ginagawa mo!" (My eyes, hands and head hurt just watching you!") Hahaha!

It exercises your creativity and imagination

When you first encounter a page its just drawing... upon completion, it is something else. Understand that when you work on a page your goal is to give it an interpretation that will bring life to the lines. You can give it a realistic rendition, and that means to color leaves green, the sky blue and so forth---or you can give it an out-of-the-box interpretation and play with colors. There really is no right or wrong because you are entitled to make the page your own.

I often stalk other people's work online. I'm curious about the different interpretations they give to a given page and I get so amazed just looking, especially the work of artists that give a night rendition to the drawings. Night interpretations are my favorite... the renditions I see online are wild and unbelievable, it is actually my dream to be able to do one soon. At the moment I give my pictures realistic interpretations. A beginner, still, I feel that I need to truly hone the way I play with the natural colors before I try to stretch my imagination.

It is very fulfilling

The work involved and the skill displayed in adult coloring is admirable. People who labor on a page or spread deserve to take pride on what they have accomplished, so they display it on social networks. My work is very much mediocre compared to what I see with my friends and those that I stalk, but every time I finish something it feels so amazing. My hands are tired, my callous pronounced and my I am nearly crossed-eyed but truly elated. I always feel victorious after completing something, especially when I've been working on it for a week. You've seen the page before you worked on it and then you see it after you've labored on it for days and you surely want to give yourself a pat on the back, When someone shows appreciation of your work--the sense of fulfillment is even greater.

I've been into adult coloring for over a month now... I haven't done much and I still have a lot to learn,, but I am enjoying it so much. My sister said: "You tire your hands in the clinic and to relax it, you tire them some more". I think she's right about that, this may not be so good for me, but I don't care. I'll rest my hands when I'm old and wrinkly. Coloring is fun, I tell you. So if you are considering it and are merely put it off, you should go for it. I promise it's FUN! Well, it's not action packed fun, but you know what I mean!

Happy coloring!

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I Want A Beach House

I wasn't always a fan of the beach, but I developed a new love for the sea, sand and sun during my last Boracay trip. I love to swim. My dad enrolled me in swimming classes when I was young because I had very bad asthma and he wanted me to overcome it. It helped a lot and I grew up loving the water, so I loved the pool. I love plunging into the water in a dive and I love swimming deep... touching the bottom. I love swimming laps and practicing the different strokes I know. I love the water but I'm not a fan of the sea because the water is salty and it hurts my eyes. Also, you can't really swim much in the beach unless you go really far--and that's dangerous.

Snorkeling in Boracay. Im the one on the left, with the pursed lips. Not the one that was completely cut out of the photo. 

During my last Boracay trip, however, I got to really swim. While I was a failure in cliff diving at Ariel's Point, I exhausted our time there swimming and I realized it is fun to swim in deep salty waters. The beach is annoying because it is shallow and sandy, but when you're taken to the deep parts of the sea---Oh my! 

Anyway, back on topic, sometime in July this year I went to Batangas with my cousins and we stayed in a private beach house. We rented it for a small fee (I think maybe cus it was owned by someone my cousin knew) and we all began to fantasize about having one for the family. 

A beach house. It doesn't have to be lavish. It could be basic, as long as it is adequate (and can house my massive family). It doesn't have to be in an expensive location, just as long as the water is nice. I wasn't always a beach lover, but I've always loved how it looks--especially the colors it forms with the sky during sunrise and sunset. You do not have to get into the water to enjoy it, you can just lounge in by the water with a book and take it all in. Bask in the sun and breathe the magnificence--I love that!

To wake up and see the water. 
To wake up and be reminded of how amazing the Creator is that He's given us something this beautiful.

Trip to the Beach with My Cousins

Anyway, while the beach house is still a DREAM we'll just book annual beach trips as we usually do--but I reckon it's about time  we stopped booking it during the rainy season. We've always asked ourselves "why" but it happens everytime---we book beach trips when the storm is headed our way. 

On our journey to Lobo Beach in Batangas we were lucky enough to savor the experience for an entire afternoon before the storm decided to land. By Sunset, the storm was already raging and only the boys had the guts to brave the sea and its slightly untamed waves. We also endured 3 or 4 blackouts during our one-night stay. When the first and third one happened, I conditioned myself for an all-nighter but the electricity came back and we all had a good sleep. Yes the roaring wind and splashing of sea water woke me up in the middle of the night, but I remembered Jesus in the storm, said a quick prayer, and continued on dreaming. 

"Next year can we plan the beach trip in the middle of summer, please?" Someone in the family should really take charge of this. Maybe it's part of the tradition. Maybe it wont be a Blanco Beach Trip if we wouldn't have to encounter a storm. Maybe we're risk takers and we crave the adventure. 

Beside the main house there are cabanas. They're perfect as a sleeping or reading nook. 
Anyway, I really want a beach house and I think I'd love to retire in some remote beach province in the Philippines (away from the traffic and the loudness of the city). Unable to fully function as a dentist but with able hands to type on the keyboard, maybe I will just write---that would be lovely, huh? 

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Saturday, October 10, 2015

To Lose the Use of My Hands

The other week, while we were having dinner at home, we found out that my dad's old security detail got into an accident while cleaning his motorcycle that cost him his thumb. My mom delivered the initial details in hysterics and we all thought he cut his hand, but we sighed a minuscule air of relief when we confirmed the loss of just one thumb--the one on the right hand.

Almost immediately, we began counting the many things Mang Jun wont be doing anymore (or have a hard time with) given the disability. Can he still drive? Can he fire his gun? Will he be forced to go on early retirement? How will he eat? Can he ride the motorcycle? Will writing be difficult now? Will he get a desk job now? Well, a thumb is one of five on each hand, but it is a crucial one. So although we are grateful that it was all that he lost---it sure, would be best if he has a complete set of five fingers, right?

Enter Paranoia

As I continued to think of the catastrophe, I suddenly realized the value of my own hands. Not that it is more valuable than others (than yours), but as a dentist, understand that I would be "nothing" without them. While other senses are essential for my work, the ability to move my hands is what makes everything possible. I need my hands to hold instruments and manipulate structures in the mouth. I need my hands to help patients and I will be rendered useless, without them.

Dentistry is the perfect marrying of theoretical and practical skill. Back in school, they made us go through a lot to make sure our hands are ready for the battle. We drew and colored the skeletal system of cats, sharks, humans; we carved teeth anatomy on waxes like real sculptors, making sure we got every curve and pit that perfectly differentiates teeth from each other; we are asked to complete a list of clinical requirements (within a time limit)--the work of our hands scrutinized and graded in the most grueling step-by-step fashion by overly critical instructors. In the six years before we earn the degree and title, our hands are put to the test. They are trained to perform and that is what I do, day in and day out in the clinic. I let my hands perform what my mind deems fit for the well being of the patient. If I lose my hands, even just one (even just a finger), I sincerely wouldn't know what to do.

The Dentist's Hands

My uncle (the one who was the dentist before me and the reason why I became one) used to man the fireworks display committee during New Year's Eve. He and the boys would usually go overboard, even with the loud firecrackers but that all stopped when he became a serious dentist. A profession wasted if he loses his hands, we're now more into the light display rather than loud exploding spectacles.

The loss of Mang Jun's thumb made him cry like a baby. When my mom received the call from his sister, she mentioned that he was bawling. I would be the same, I can only imagine. The drama queen will go on all sorts of emotional acrobatics until I fully come to terms with my brand new life. I'm sure it wont be easy. I fear early onset arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. I fear all kinds of misfortune that could fall onto my hands because once a upon a time I wished to become a dentist and I wouldn't know what to do if I am told that I can no longer be one.

For now, I remain grateful that my hands are perfect---slightly rough and calloused (a little veiny too) but fully functional in the clinic and for extra-curricular activities such as coloring and Clash of Clans. Haha! Stay safe everyone!!!

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Weak Heart

He has a weak heart
broken into pieces
the blood flows in slow motion
through his veins

He has a weak heart
missing pieces
his breathing is faint
always catching his breath

He has a weak heart
It whispers
It cries for help

Weak heart...
Weak veins...
Strong Healer
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Monday, July 20, 2015

Song In My Head: Big Girls Cry

I first heard Sia in "Chandelier", that's a good song too. I like Sia, she's just all the about the music and I like artists like that. This song, I think I just heard on the radio on my morning drive to work and I didn't know it was Sia until I Shazam'd it. I immediately searched for it on Spotify and I've had it there for awhile until I listened to it intently, and realized this is MY SONG. Not exactly reflecting my emotions at the moment, but this speaks who I am. I am a big girl now---34 years old, quite grown, but I cry and I cry like a baby. I don't think there's anything wrong with that... 

Big Girls Cry

Tough girl
In the fast lane
No time for love
No time for hate
No drama, no time
For games
Tough girl
Whose soul aches

I'm at home
On my own
Check my phone
Nothing, though
Act busy
Order in
Pay TV
It's agony

I may cry, ruining my makeup
Wash away all the things you've taken
I don't care if I don't look pretty
Big girls cry when their hearts are breaking
Big girls cry when their hearts are breaking
Big girls cry when their heart is breaking

Tough girl
I'm in pain
It's lonely at the top
Blackouts and airplanes
I still pour you a glass of champagne
I'm a tough girl
Whose soul aches

I'm at home
On my own
Check my phone
Nothing, though
Act busy
Order in
Pay TV
It's agony

I may cry, ruining my makeup
Wash away all the things you've taken
I don't care if I don't look pretty
Big girls cry when their hearts are breaking
Big girls cry when their hearts are breaking
Big girls cry when their hearts are breaking

I wake up, I wake up, I wake up
I wake up, I wake up, I wake up
I wake up, I wake up, I wake up
I wake up, I wake up, I wake up
I wake up alone

I may cry, ruining my makeup
Wash away all the things you've taken
I don't care if I don't look pretty
Big girls cry when their hearts are breaking
Big girls cry when their hearts are breaking
Big girls cry when their hearts is breaking

The title of my blog often gives the impression that I am a sissy and I guess I am somehow because my tears have the tendency to fall like water from an open faucet. I cry easily and I cry without ceasing. Actually, I gave myself the name "drama queen" because I've always been called one. I cry at movies. I cry at difficult situations (i.e being caught by the traffic police). I cry when pets die. I cry listening to sad stories and when I am telling a sad story. I cry when singing (especially praise songs). I cry when I am being shamed or shouted at. I am a girl and I cry... but it doesn't mean that I am weak. 

Just because I am bawling my eyes out, does not mean I cannot fight battles because I can. Yes I cry, and I can cry and I have cried everywhere: in the chemistry laboratory at CEU, in the zoology laboratory at CEU, in the canteen at CEU, in restaurants, in cars, in bars--even in front of strangers. Sia said it best when she sang: "I may cry, ruining my makeup... I don't care if I don't look pretty.. big girls cry when their hearts are breaking". My exterior is not tough, I break easily. Those who know me well, know that I am fragile and weak like that, but they also know that when I break I can pick myself up and live another day. 

So yes... I may be a drama queen and my tears will always be overflowing... but that's just the diva in me. My core is strong. My foundation stable. My secret: My God is unbreakable

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