25 February 2024

Doors, why do there have to be doors

Last 12th Feb I recommended The Good Place to a friend. It's one of my favourite shows on Netflix and I'm sure he would like it too. But like most movies or series that I watch only once, I would have forgotten what happened between the start and the end. And so I decided to have another go at all 4 seasons.

I just completed the series Last Friday (23 Feb) while on my way back home from work.

The first time I completed this series, I felt a sense of wonderment. This time it hit different. I felt a deep sadness. 

Like the characters who were trying to figure things out, I was also in the middle of wading through new territory as I went to the South Island with my son to help him set up for Uni. It was difficult to find calm during those times, but during the times I waited for him to return from school, or when sleep evades me, The Good Place kept me company.

Perhaps the situation I'm in at the moment of parting ways resonated with the theme of the series. It's just too much of a coincidence. I would like to think that someone, somewhere out there is trying to send me a message that things will be alright.

One day at a time...

(For some reason, this series reminded me of the song Doors)

21 February 2024

'cause life's a constant change, and nothing stays the same

It's 2.30pm. I'm in my son's room, counting the minutes til he comes back from Uni, counting the hours til I fly back to Wellington. I can't help but think how time has flown. I can still remember cradling him in my arms while I read the latest Harry Potter book. I loved giving him rides on my shoulder whenever we were out and about.

And now here he is, moved away from us to pursue his university studies.

As parents, we could only wish that our kids have been listening to our words of advice, and that he will be ok now that he will be far from us. We pray that our kids will be safe, and that we don't want to nag them about going home once in a while but that's what we always want to say but we keep quiet and hope they do.

We hope. And we pray. And we will always be there, no matter what happens.

16 February 2024

If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing that I'd like to do

This week was quite a roller coaster.

Last Tuesday, my daughter went off to her Year 8 camp. Then yesterday I accompanied my son here at the South Island where he will be flatting as he starts his first year of University, and his first time to be away from us.

I didn't know if I should feel happy, or sad, or angry. At one point I felt anger was the best way to cope.

But as I sit here in my son's room (he's gone off to have dinner with friends), and I saw my daughter on a video call home safely, I feel more at ease. The tension I felt at the start of the week has started to ebb and I feel relieved.

If I were to grade this week on a stress meter, it would have been an 8 (with 10 being the highest). Last monday as I brushed my teeth and saw my face on the mirror, I muttered to myself: 'Parenting sucks. Why should our kids have to go away?'

We actually had a fun weekend prior to this. We went on a tramp, we got two beautiful cockatiels, and we had meetups. 

 I was on a high, but that crashed on the Tuesday.

Looking back, it doesn't seem so bad now. I am hoping for the best, hoping that my son listened to my words of advice, and that he will be safe. I am looking forward to going back home and see my daughter and wife again.

05 February 2024

Where seldom is heard a discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day

I'm starting at a perfectly blue sky today and this song just snuck its way into my head. 'Home, home on the range' must be as old as time itself; I learned this song when I was in grade school and was taught to me by a friend. And it' such a simple and fun song to sing to!

Miranda had reminded me of how awesome pets can be, especially to those who feel down in the dumps. For some reason pets (cat and dogs most especially, I think) have a knack for empathy.

I haven't gone close to a cat or a dog recently. It's mostly due to hayfever which I developed here in New Zealand. I haven't had this before; I might as well blame it on age. But when I was a kid, we had loads of pets at home. At one time we had some fish, a dog, a couple of cats, a pair of ducks, and some chickens (the chicken's don't count as pets I guess). Then I had took care of white mice too! So I'm no stranger to having pets around.

One time at a friend's house, I suddenly had a longing to rub the ears of their pet dog. He took to it, and then this progressed into a belly rub. I did take my nasal spray that day so I had a bit of protection, and wanted to just have this few moments with the dog. But the dog get coming back for more ear rubs and I gladly obliged. Suffice to say it made me happy that afternoon to be with a dog so gentle and kind. 

26 January 2024

These are a few of my favourite things

The 'task' I chose from Miranda's book today is to list down five things I'm grateful for today.

As I stare out the window of the bus on my morning commute, I actually started getting anxious about completing the list. I mean, five things? That's a lot isn't it?

But just then a family with kids scrambled onto the back seats and the mum exclaimed 'we're going to have a fun day today!' Then she started reciting their itinerary. Not that I wanted to eavesdrop but she was talkjg loud enough for the entire bus to hear! She must really be excited herself for this trip. They're going to the museum where there's a dinosaur exhibit. Then off to the playground and have some gelato.... to which the kids enthusiastically agreed. I decided to whip out my phone and write this little memoir for my blog later in the day.

So the first thing I'm grateful today is for that family who reminded me that we choose how our day goes!

To be able to walk in the CBD on a fine, sunny day.

Come to think of it, I'm happy to be working. Sure, there are stressful times, but what job doesn't have that?

In the bus, going home. I'm grateful to DJ Vista who spun amazing 80s mixes on YouTube. I like listening to his music, reminds me of the good old days. I discovered his work mid last 2023. His mixes were amazing and quickly became my go-to background music. So imagine my shock when I learned that he took his life early this year due to depression :-(. It's such a cruel disease. Outward appearances can be deceiving. He appeared to enjoy what he's doing but it's really hard when this awful feeling overtakes you. I felt greatly saddened by his loss, but I will keep playing his music.

I just came from music practice. Yes, I'm a frustrated singer :-). I'm grateful for this opportunity to be in a group who accepts you even when you're out of tune.

And I'm grateful to be able to return to a home and have a good night's rest.

19 January 2024

I see trees of green, red roses too.

One of Miranda's daily tasks was to watch It's a Wonderful Life (or re-watch if you've seen it already). In other parts of the world, you can call this a quintessential film for the Christmas holidays. Not so much in the Philippines and here in New Zealand, though. My go-to film would have to be Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer from Rankin-Bass.

But I've seen this movie 'advertised' in so many ways in social media and news so I knew I just had to watch it. But where? It's not available in streaming sites.

I was pondering on purchasing a DVD copy online when I decided to search further. Luckily I found Beamafilm, a streaming site free of charge if you use your library card! And fortunately I have one!

The film was shot in 1946 and has, in some ways, a similarity with the story of A Christmas Carol in that the main character gets to live in a "what if" scenario, an alternative reality of sorts. The story is straightforward enough, but it's the latter half of the movie that struck a chord. I don't want to give away the plot; I'm sure there are other sites that discuss that. But personally I found the movie thought-provoking. It makes you think about decisions you make and how it affects those around you and the circumstances that would have been altered. It is more of a grown-up film though, I think. I would not have enjoyed it if I saw it when I was a kid. So I think that the timing of getting a hold of this film in my middle age is just right.

But there's a nostalgia feel for Christmas films which is established only if you actually watched it year after year. And Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer has that for me. When this film is played on the local TV channel it was a sign for me that Christmas season has arrived. And in the Philippines, that's as early as September! And while it's not as popularly screened here in New Zealand, I don't have to worry about that as I have it on DVD.

But will I watch this movie again next Christmas? Yes I will.

12 January 2024

All right stop, collaborate and listen

Yes I know, I know. I haven't posted what I have done from Miranda's book the past few days. I found a number of the tasks a huge challenge, actually. Like getting my fellow commuters to sing (I might do a solo in the car instead), or pay for someone else's meals (I'm not a talk-to-strangers person, to be honest).

So in a sense, I'm actually missing the point of the book, which is to try something new and have a fun experience in the process. Attempting to do everything is stressful, which is what we're trying to avoid in the first place!

So instead of trying to complete each task every single day, I will choose something I can do for the week and post that instead.

Speaking of which, I did manage to enjoy a quiet evening with a glass of wine and a TV show which just popped up when I flicked the channel.

Miranda's Christmas special! Such fun!

08 January 2024

7 & 8 Jan with Miranda

 Guess what. We found the perfect place to gallop. At the Castle Hill in Canterbury!

I asked some kids who were with us to join me in this frivolity and they heartily obliged, as you can see in the video! Some trampers were actually coming our way and were bemused by the gallopers approaching them. Such fun!

For the tasks listed for these two days, I chose the one that requires me to give a lollipop to a lollipop lady. I was actually confused by the term 'lollipop lady'; I had to search it up! It appears a Lollipop lady is a woman who helps children cross the road. They hold up a round 'stop' sign which resembles a lollipop, hence the namesake!

Sadly, there are no lollipop ladies in our part of the world but I know something else that can be just as fun - an ice cold bowl of vanilla ice cream which I shared with my daughter!

06 January 2024

5 & 6 Jan with Miranda

Do I see a trend here? I'm trying to catch up every couple of days with my reading. Miranda might not approve... or would she? Barely 20 minutes til the next day starts and here I am writing about my daily 'tasks'. Well... for the last two tasks I have at least completed one, so that's a 50% personal success rate!

Today's task is to listen to Shonda Rhimes' TED Talk of 'My year of saying yes to everything.' And Miranda's right. It's an awesome talk. And I think that based on the past few afternoons I spent with my daughter at the skate park I have done something good to start the year. And help my son out with looking for a place to stay when he starts uni.  I want to make a conscious effort to listen to my kids moving forward.

As for the other task, I have to find a place where I can freely gallop... tomorrow...

05 January 2024

3 & 4 Jan with Miranda

 Such fun! Actually we are still on holiday while a number of people have already started work. Miranda would be proud!

The third of January requires us to have a banquet. We don't really eat out much as a family so I hope this one will suffice. We had a late lunch in a nearby restaurant.

As for the 4th of January, I need to do something interesting while on a zebra crossing. Will skip and hop on the first one I see!

02 January 2024

1 & 2 Jan with Miranda

 Well, I've gotten off to a fine start with the book! New Years Day was interestingly busy, and when I realised I had to start with the book it was already 11.55pm and I was in the middle of posting a new year message on Instagram! Same with the day after New Year's; yesterday we were outdoors most of the day and returned home at nearly 10pm.

But better late than never! Although... I don't have a captive audience at the moment so I can't do the Day 1 activity. As for Day 2... I don't have popcorn at the moment and we're about to leave so I can't sit and watch a movie! So I'll have to do those another day!

On a positive note, we're doing such fun stuff, so I'm sure it will be fine to delay a few more days.

My view at the moment. So relaxing.... before we head off to another adventure.

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