Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Wild Wild World of Ebay

Yup, I must admit, I'm an Ebay virgin. It's a whole new world for me. Should I jump into it with both feet or test the waters first? The idea of buying something in ebay is exciting yet scary at the same time. Not so, my DH. DH is what you would call an ebay denizen. Even when it was in its infancy, DH was glued to the screen, waiting to bid on the last second, to snipe some complacent individual out of his/her bid.

I remember one of the worst fights we ever had. The year was 1998. Our computer was then a bulky desktop that was parked in the small landing between the stairs and our room. Our internet connection was through a dial-up modem, which was connected to our phone downstairs. Thus, if either of us was online, it meant that our phone was busy. It also meant that you had to be very careful walking down the stairs because of the cords snaking through the steps.

DH is an avid collector. He collects action figures, McDonald's Happy Meal toys (remind me to tell you about the time when he just had to have all the 101 Dalmatians, and no, he didn't go to ebay for them), antiquarian books about the Philippines... The list is endless. That summer he was into collecting vintage toys. Specifically, the toys he remembers playing with as a child. He even browsed his mom's family albums to search for photos of him with toys. He had these photos tacked in a board behind the computer and he patiently searched ebay for them.

That time it was a tin tank that runs over a flat giant gorilla. He had been waiting for days to bid on this item. And at 3:00 that morning, he patiently waited for his opportunity to make the tank and the gorilla his. I awoke from a deep slumber feeling very thirsty. I said "hi" to him as I groggily walked towards the stairs. And then disaster struck! In my haste, I tripped on the telephone wires on the floor. I heard him yell and while I steadied myself, he scrambled to re-connect the wires. Yes, my gallant husband didn't even care that I almost fell over the stairs. He was more concerned with his bid. And unfortunately for him, in those precious few seconds of disconnection someone outbid him by a mere $0.01. He never lets me forget about that. And I never let him forget that I almost died (okey, I am exaggerating) because of his preoccupation with outwitting, outsmarting and outbidding other toy collectors.

Fast forward to now. I finally got a paypal account, so now I could ebay. But as I said earlier, I was not sure how to go about the whole thing. So I kept bugging DH to help me. I wanted him to bid for me using his account because he has a feedback of 100%. I have yet to build a record and I was concerned I'd make a big boo-boo and be branded negatively forever.

It seems I have to test the waters on my own. So tentatively, I placed a bid for a Quickutz Moxie SkinniMinni Die set. It was less than 30 minutes before the close of the bid and it was still $9.50. I put in a maximum bid of $10.50 and then I waited. For what? I do not know. Hehehe. I guess I was trying to check if someone had set an automatic bidding for this item. I then got engrossed looking at other stuff in ebay and when I came back, the auction was over and I had been outbid by 50 cents. I had an a-ha! moment. I have to set a higher maximum bid if I wanted to win something. (Obvious ba? Hehehe.)

My next foray was another learning experience. The bid was at $9.50, so having learned previous lesson, I typed a maximum bid of $19.50 (medyo nagdalawang-isip pa ako bago ako nag-confirm, pero sige na nga...). Less than a nanosecond later I had feedback that I was outbid. Again. Wah??? So fast? How did that happen? I realized then someone had set a higher maximum amount than my $19.50. I didn't bid again. It was much too expensive for my taste already. I didn't want that diecut so badly anyway.

Three more attempts and I finally got the hang of it. I was having fun. I bid here and there, always stopping short of actually winning. So if you saw unusual activity on Quickutz items these past two days, that was me. LOL.

Bidding is actually quite exciting. It's a little bit like gambling so I can understand why some people are so hooked on ebay. And I know if I'm not careful, I could be like my DH was 10 years ago.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Budget Travel Itinerary

With 3 KiDS and two adults, all paying full fare, there is no other way to travel. If we want to be able to do a lot of sight-seeing or stop at the prerequisite Toys 'R' Us (and of course, Michaels and Joann's for me and Barnes and Noble for DH), we have to find the best bargains in terms of air flights and hotel accommodations. So I'm glad I stumbled on this site which guarantees the lowest hotel rate publicly available on the internet for U.S. hotels.

While we have friends and family in L.A., it's sometimes better to stay in a hotel so we can come and go as we please. Besides, not everyone is ready for my KiDS' rambunctiousness. Planning to stay in Los Angeles hotels seems just the ticket to spare everyone from extreme guest fatigue. :-) I'm sure the KiDS will enjoy visiting the La Brea Museum and Universal Studios again.

I have always told DH how much I enjoyed San Francisco when I last visited, and I'm sure he and the KiDS would, too. I particularly enjoyed the relaxing drives outside the city to Carmel, Monterrey and Tiburon and I would love for them to experience those. Unfortunately, my roommate from college has since moved so we would definitely have to book a San Francisco hotel if we were to visit there.

And who says there's nothing much for children to do in New York? Well, my KiDS are geeks so I'm sure they'll enjoy the museums. Will have to make sure we go on free days, of course. Hehehe. Then there's the zoo in Central Park. We really have to find cheap New York hotels because NYC can be expensive. Maybe I'll visit my old office (well, it's an official landmark that I can showoff to the KiDS) and try to get free lunch from my former bosses. Wink- wink.

Oh, well, all this planning makes me want to go right now, but I know I will get better deals if I pre-book online first. Everything should be planned perfectly. And in the cheapest manner possible. (Must leave money for scrapbooking stuff.)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Album Fillers

It has been a hectic month, what with medical emergencies, housework and office work. But I had been raring to scrap, not because there was a creative urge that couldn't be ignored within me, but because I couldn't stand that there's three blank spots in my album. The 20-page album (40 LOs) which I started late last year is almost full, except for three LOs. I couldn't move on until those 3 blank sheets are no more. There's nothing more fulfilling than completing one whole album.

Sapilitan baga, heto ang naging resulta. Sorry, no time to take better photos and edit such. I'm really more comfortable with my Microtek scanner but it needs cleaning. I'm still looking for a local service center.


My girls have a love-hate relationship.

When you're not fighting, you're hugging. It seems to me though, that it's always Kahlo who initiates the first contact. But regardless, Sarah always seems happy to hug right back. I wish there were more moments like these. They're more precious than the snubbing or the pretending the other doesn't exist. 6/12/08

Paper - Basic Grey; Stamps - Autumn Leaves; Ink - Tsukineko Versamark; Embossing Powder - Ranger Polysparkle; Diecut - traced Big Scoops parenthesis to make two more; Paints - Making Memories; Stickers - EK Success; Glitter - Hero Arts; Pen - Gel Writer; Punch - Fiskar's; Adhesive - Saunders.

Finally got to use the elusive Threading Water puncher which Ching gave me as a birthday present. I love how the stamped image added texture and glitz on this simple LO too.


When DH and I travel, our biggest problem is taking photos of us together. Since we hike most of the time, we don't bring a tripod. In this trip, we brought one small enough to fit in the pocket but I broke it as soon as I tried using it (Ssshhhh...he thinks it broke because of shoddy workmanship.) We also don't like bothering other people to take our photos. But maybe we should change our attitude about that. :-)

capture moments...capture love...capture the look of love. DH and I hamming it for the camera, on a plane from Boracay, 9/03/06 trip. capture our wacky personalities.

We are not so bad when it comes to photographing our KiDS. But when it comes to capturing photos of us together, we could certainly do better. Between your antics and my off-center shots, I should be smiling.

Papers - Prima; CS - Debbie Mumm; Chipboards - Heidi Swapp; Pen - Uni-Ball Signo; Adhesives - Saunders.

I Can't Help It

What can I say I love to eat, and this photo at one of my favorite restaurants, Italianni's, with favorite friends certainly captures that.

I won't write it down cause I reveal my weight in this LO. Hehehe. Time to hit the tracks and exercise!!!

PPS - Making Memories; Flower - Petaloo; Stamp - Hero Arts; Ink - Tsukineko; Rubons - Imaginisce; Foams - American Crafts; Pen - American Crafts; Adhesive - Saunders; Ric rac - Joanns.

My first time to stamp on a flower. And I did it after I had adhered the flower on the LO. It was really an after thought. Thus, I had a minor accident with the ink pad which slipped from my fingers and fell right on my LO and stupid me, I tried to wipe the impression off with baby wipes - see top of LO. I'm still thinking whether I should fix it or leave it as is. But knowing me, I know I'll just move on to the next LO.

So that's it. I'm so excited at the idea of filling a fresh new album with more creations.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

My Studio Azul Win

Bragging much? Hehehe. Sorry, I couldn't think of any other title. The grey skies and the cold winds combine to make me too lazy to come up with anything else.

Anyway, this is late because I actually found out I won last June 1. And today, I got my prizes from Mia of Studio Azul. Yummy papers from Crate and AC Thickers. I've always liked Crate papers but for some reason never bought any, so these are just perfect for my girly-girl LOs. Thanks, Mia and Tin.

Up until now, I still cannot believe that Iris chose my version of her LO. There's that goofy smile on my face again. This is one of the best compliments anyone's ever paid my scrapbooking.

And also, I've received questions on how I made the U in "All About U". Well, it was one of those experiments that failed. What my son Diego would call a happy accident.

I was aiming for a beaded U actually. So I covered the raw chipboard with pearl UTEE and before it dried up, I poured beads over it. Unfortunately, not all the beads clung to the UTEE. I removed those few that did cling so I can start over again. And then I thought I liked the effect of the "holes" on the chipboard. So I heat embossed the UTEE again and deliberately used the beads to make more pock marks on its surface. I then sprayed gold Radiant Rain for a two-tone effect. I am not the type to experiment on techniques much, so this is the closest I'll ever get to being experimental.

Here's to more happy accidents in the future. Hmmmm...maybe my winning was also a happy accident. LOL.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Respecting our National Flag

This was supposed to be a post for National Flag Day last May 28, but I was quite overwhelmed with family matters for the past few weeks as you may know. But I think it still merits posting.

I don't know about you, but since grade school respect for the flag has been programmed in my psyche. Always face the flag and stand straight when you hear the national anthem playing. The Philippine flag should always be raised higher than any other flags. The flag should promptly be taken down from the flagpole before night fall, and it should never never touch the ground. (We used to freak out as flag bearers when a part of the flag would accidentally scrape the floor.) I have taken these rules to heart, that until now, whenever I see our flag hang incorrectly (when it's pinned on a wall, the blue field should be at the viewer's left, you don't just turn it 90 degrees making the blue field at right), I would look for the person in charge and ask them to correct it.

Other things that bug me, which, when you read the National Flag Code or R.A. 8491, are unlawful are: 1) personalities appearing in advertisements with the flag as the backdrop (especially true for election posters); 2) manufacturers using the flag as trademarks for designs and labels; 3) people wearing the flag as a costume or uniform (I think the Reyna Bandera in Santacruzans is tolerated because of tradition, although I do not see how she fits in the story); 4) imprinting words and images on the flag for advertising purposes.

Yes, I know, you're beginning to think I'm a loon, all because of a flag. Maybe so, so imagine my reaction when I saw this:

An innocuous child's toy you might say. I think some people would even rejoice at this, because to them, it might be a symbol of Manny Pacquiao's recent wins in international boxing. I'm sure the manufacturer intentionally capitalized on that. But to me, it's not right. It is a punching bag, after all. Would you take pleasure in punching a symbol of your nation? Literally? What are we teaching our children?

DH has a conspiracy theory: China shipped a huge lot of these toys to Mexico, and now Mexican children are using these punching bags to train as pugilists.

Kawawa naman ang aking bayan. Ginawa na namang punching bag.

Let's put more respect for some things that symbolize our freedom and independence shall we?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Scare

So, about two weeks ago, I had quite a scare. And no, I'm not talking about turning 41. Although come to think of it, that can also be a scary proposition. What with osteoporosis, menopause, memory gap (ok, wider memory gaps) in the offing. Thank God, my body doesn't feel like it's in forties yet. Woe to you who says I look like I'm 40 or older. Grrr.... :-)

Anyway, my earlier post about Sarah being sick did turn out to be dengue! I don't know where she got it. We stayed put most of the summer, with a few trips to Lola Mama's house in Marikina and to the mall. Still we are mobile, and the mosquitoes are mobile and then wham! Somewhere in the universe, the twain did meet.To make it worse, damn mosquito wasn't content to bite just one kid. She had to have a taste of Kahlo, too. So it was that I spent the week of my birthday in the hospital. (For a timeline of events, you can view my KiDS' blog here.)

It's not easy taking care of a sick child, so I am grateful for the efficient staff at SDS. I am glad that is not a teaching hospital because I do not think I could have tolerated interns coming in every 30 minutes to "check" on the patient. Still, since I took care of them full-time (DH had to earn money to pay for the hospital bills hehe), I had to find ways to entertain myself. I finished the Chronicles of Narnia (yes, all the seven books) in 4 days. And on the 5th day, DH smuggled in our DVD player, so Sarah and Kahlo were able to watch Pokemon (sadly, no cable in the hospital.) I also managed to watch Season 3 of The Closer.

But all's well that ends well, the KiDS are fine now, and I am one happy albeit tired and older Mama. The good thing, I discovered this small restaurant at the back of the hospital called Qizia. They serve really good pesto pasta and at really cheap prices, too. Didn't have a chance to take food photos cause I usually ate in the hospital room in styropor packs. Not very picture-worthy but oh so delicious.

So one life challenge hurdled. School will start this Monday, so I expect more challenges on the way. Heaven help me!

BTW, I did have some sort of a birthday party before we went to the hospital, thanks to Ching, who so kindly turned a welcome salo-salo for herself to an impromptu bday party for me. They even got me a birthday cake, and a really cool present which I will brag about, I mean blog about later. :-) Ching is a scrapbooker based in the US who came home to the Philippines with her family for a brief vacation. Nina and I went all the way to Novaliches to meet her and her husband Bob. We had a lot of fun meeting them. They're really such a sweet couple.