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Breast Cancer.

My Grandmother died from it. She had a double mastectomy, but she still died. My Grandmother is my name sake. My given name. I never knew her. I listen closely to all the stories I hear about her. Advances in technology weren't as sophisticated back then. I wonder if she had a chance, how much I could have learned from her. I could have known her. Can one miss someone without even knowing them?

My doctor told me I needed to have a screening done. With a lot of cancer in my family, and arriving at that "age", it just is a wise thing to do. I still haven't made an appointment. I have some fears.

Test and misfortune that comes our way is not beyond the course of what others have had to face. Many of us have been let down in life and seen loved ones suffer without reason. We've been pushed to our limit and when we think we cannot take one more thing, that one more thing still comes. But we will always regret if we hadn't done something early. Because you won't wonder if it is too late. October is the month to make an appointment if anyone already hasn't. We need to promise ourselves. Because "The best protection is early detection".

100 Greatest YouTube Hits in Under 4 Minutes

What I Learned from Ondoy

1. I do not need a big house. I just need a place where my family and I can stay and rest.

2. I do not need to be rich. My money can't save me.

3. I need friends who I can count on. They will save and help me when I am in need.

4. I do not need a lot of things. Basic necessities are enough. "One is enough."

5. I will only buy things I need - not want.

6. I won't waste time.

7. I will save money - just enough to help others in need.

8. I will always work for a company who helps their employees (and who looks for their employees when they are missing.)

9. I should be grateful with what I have now - it can be taken away from me at an instant.

10. Everybody should learn how to swim and how to save others.

"Things don't go wrong and break your heart so you can become bitter and give up. They happen to break you down and build you up so you can be all that you were intended to be."--Charlie "Tremendous" Jones

Grabbed from Ms. Honey Zafra via Facebook

If your vehicle was submerged in water (An Open Letter)

Dear friends,

With the recent devastation that our countrymen suffered due to flood, we would like to give some practical tips to those whose vehicles have been submerged in water.

First, don't try to start your vehicle as this might short circuit the electrical connections and damage the computer module, if the vehicle is equipped with one. Let it stay and dry for a day or two. Disconnect the battery and have it towed to your nearest dealership/autoshop. You may call Caltex towing at 812-7878 or Malayan Camille at 687-8505 for company owned vehicles. For personally owned units, you may also have it serviced in your home if you have a trusted mechanic.

All consumables, meaning, fluids of the vehicle must be drained and changed upon inspection (engine oil, transmission oil, brake fluid, steering fluid, water in radiator/reservoir, etc.). All filters (oil, fuel, transmission etc.) and spark plugs must also be replaced or as maybe recommended by the dealership’s authorized technicians. Of course, your vehicle will need interior and engine detailing.

I hope this reminders will serve as your guide to prevent any further damage to your vehicles.

Thank you.

15 Storm Survival Tips


1. Monitor the news or your local weather station for updates on the storm situation, when it will hit and how strong it will be.

2. Move to higher ground. Move away from creeks, streams, rivers, and strom drains. Flash floods can sweep over an area without warning, and you may only have minutes to get to safety. Note that flash floods can occur up to 12 hours after heavy rains. Move animals and livestock to higher ground, bring pets inside. Move your valuable and furniture to higher floors of your home, if possible. Check your gutters to make sure they are clear of leaves and debris. You may also opt to park your cars on higher ground. You can opt to leave some possessions with someone who is not at a flood-prone area.

3. Stock up on supplies. Fill up clean plastic bottles with clean water and store as much water as you can, especially if you live in a flood-prone area. Immediately charge all essential electronics like cellular phones, which you will have to use in case of emergencies. You should have a family emergency kit stocked with essential supplies that can last you a minimum of 3 days. Items include: flashlights, battery-operated radio, weather radio, water, canned food, can opener, first aid supplies, medicines. Prepare and emergency kit for your pets as well. If applicable, keep copies of your home or insurance papers inside sealed plastic bags.

4. Prepare your escape routes. Practice what you will do in case of flood. Map out safe routes where you can get from your office to your work. Coordinate with your neighbors, in case of extreme floods. Figure out how you can get from your location to safer ground. Decide on a meeting place away from your home where you and your family will gather if you need to leave your home and family members become separated. Prepare escape gear like floating devices, snorkels, swimming gear or inflatable rafts for worst-case scenarios.

5. Keep note of emergency hotlines in your area. Philippine hotlines are: 734-2118, 734-2120; 911-5061, 912-5668 (National Disaster Coordinating Council), 527-6136 (Coast Guard); Meralco (16210).


1. Keep your radios tuned to a local radio station and follow all instructions. If you are told to evacuate, move out of the house or building to safe, high ground.

2. Turn off all electricity using your breaker box (main power switch) and turn off the main gas valve. Disconnect any equipment that uses water (like washing machines and dishwashers). Avoid burning candles for light, and never leave fires unattended.

3. Never walk or swim through swiftly moving water. Avoid flooded areas. Floodwaters that are above your knees are dangerous. Turn around and go back to higher ground. Never try to cross floodwaters standing or in a vehicle. Water that is 2 feet deep can carry away most cars, including Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs). If you find floodwaters on the road, turn around and find an alternate route. Abandon your vehicle immediately if it becomes surrounded with water or the engine stalls. Seek higher ground immediately.

4. Try to stop water from entering your home by putting plugs in sinks and baths and weigh them down with a sandbag, pillowcase or a plastic bag filled with garden soil or a heavy object. Plug water inlet pipes with towels or cloths.

5. Attempt to keep contact with your neighbors to make sure everyone is safe and so that you can pool (and later ration) supplies when the situation calls for it.

6. If your car is swept into the water and submerged, do not panic. Stay calm, hold your breath, force your wait outside, and swim to the surface. If you are swept into fast-moving floodwater outside of your car, point your feet downstream. Always go over obstacles, never try to go under. Do not enter floodwater.

7. If you are stranded on something above floodwater, such as a tree or building, stay put and wait for rescue. Call for help if you are in danger.


1. Even if the storm is clear, keep listening to weather reports and only return to evacuated buildings if you are told it is safe to do so. Beware of sharp objects and pollution in flood water. Watch out for live electrical wires. Be sure the electrical current is turned off. Watch out for animals, especially poisonous snakes that may have entered your home during the storm. Keep safe from loose plaster or ceilings that may have come loose.

2. Assess the damage. If you have evacuated from your home and wish to turn back, be sure the structure is not visibly damaged and in danger of collapsing before entering. Do not use electrical appliances that have been wet, because there are hazards of electric shock and fire.

3. Avoid water-borne diseases. Assume that any water in flooded or surrounding areas is not safe unless local authorities expressly declared it to be so. If there is no safe water supply for washing, use bottled water or disinfected water (by adding 5 drops of liquid household bleach and let sit for 30 minutes).

Before entering an area that has been flooded, try to don protective clothing to avoid contact with floodwater. Decrease the risk of mosquito or other insect bites by using insect repellants. Throw away all food (even canned ones) that have come in contact with flood water.

SOURCES: Fairfax County Office for Public Affairs, Direct.gov.uk, firstaid.about.com, Federal Emergency Management Agency

Traces of Flood Caused by Typhoon Ondoy - Manila

Swimming Car

Source: dambz24

Ayala Avenue Subterranean Walkway

Source: iReport (Taken around noon of September 26, 2009)

Raging Flood of Marikina - Water vs. Truck

Source: chaQee79

Which is the Highest? SM Marikina? Flyover? or the Flood?


Stranded People on the Roof - Libis

Source: INITIATE360

Mandaluyong Public Swimming Pool

Source: dembercastaneda

Calamba, Laguna

Source: krapella089

Timog Avenue, Quezon City

Source: jonkyr34

Katipunan Flood

Source: mimiedejesus

When Nature Hits You

Source: iReport

Blog B-Day

Happy Birthday little Blog. You are one year old today.

and Happy Birthday to me. I better be one year wiser.

(top image French Vanilla Ooh Lah Lah cupcake from Cupcake à la Mode...)

Designer: Johnny Swing

Johnny Swing is a pseudonym for a furniture designer who has created a series of chairs using ordinary items as material for his work. He is a trained sculptor and licensed welder, and not a porn star as his name might suggest. (Did anyone else think that?)

Born in Salisbury, Connecticut in 1961, he studied at Skidmore College (I almost went there) and then the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He has been working as a professional artist for the past two decades: first in NYC’s Greenwich Village and now on his farm in Vermont. His past experience includes creating furniture and interiors for corporate clients, as well as appearing on the Discovery Channel show, "Junkyard Wars” (2001-2003 seasons). His works can be found in the Robert Crowell Museum in Newfane, Vermont and the Storm King Arts Center, Mountainville, New York.

His interest in coins isn’t anything new. When he was five, he set up a toll both during his parent’s parties where guests would have to buy one of his drawings before they were allowed to pass through the hallway.

Johnny Swing has created his Obsessive Furniture Line which makes use of common, everyday materials like glass jars, nickels and coins repurposing them to give new life to ordinary objects.

He has also created a series of chairs created from coins -- functional furniture creations which also serve as unique pieces of sculpture.

This is the fourth in his coin series, but my favorite. The coins are not welded together which lends to a clean, floating appearance. Instead, they are held together with a U-shaped metal wire which is welded at the back side edges of the coins. The legs are stainless steel.

Some critics have said he defacing money by using it in this manner. But there is something so slick, cool and shimmery about his chairs -- like a bonefish quietly swimming in shallow, brilliant tropical waters before it darts away. At first, they seem unyielding and cold, but there is something so tactile and intriguing. I’ve been reading that one of these chairs will set you back anywhere from $10,000 each to $25,000.


This sofa is the second in a series of furniture made from coins. Created from 7,000 nickels, it is fixed together with 35,000 welds and rests on a substructure of stainless truss work. It weighs about 125-lbs. Johnny Swing spends about 300 hours sculpting one of these. I read it retailed for $51,000 a few years back.

Above is the artist in his creation. However, there is something about this arm I find a little… threatening. Anyone see this too?

This is the third in the series: each chair uses 1500 half dollars and is created with 7000 welds. It looks comfortable, no doubt. I’d put a pillow behind my head, curl up sideways and flip on Bravo TV. (A bit reminiscent of Eero Saarinen’s Womb Chair.)

You can purchase this one on Vivre for a small $59,000 – yes, the amount of 0s I typed are correct.

See more on his Johnny Swing site HERE ; And on Design Boom ; Top image from Metropolis Magazine click HERE to read an interview

Anyone? Thoughts?

More "Falling" Women

William Holman Hunt shocked his female viewers when he painted “The Awakening Conscience” in 1853. This melodrama of sin and recognition was meant to teach women a vital lesson about her role in society. Surely this gave cause for some women to be upset?

A new ideal of womanhood was developing in the nineteenth-century. Spurred on by the anxiety created by the Industrial Revolution, the expanding mercantile-industrial middle class needed to establish a new identity and self-justification. The world of commerce was becoming increasingly the play ground of corporations rather than individual entrepreneurs. (Does this sound familiar today?)

The Industrial Revolution promised material and cultural success. And it was delivered with the abuse of laborers, absence of personal tax and the marginalization of women. With the increase of money came vice and debauchery -- something the revolutionaries fought so hard against to win their independence from Britain -- which began to creep in and contaminate the new world. “Luxury,” one American writer urged Thomas Jefferson in 1782 “consisted of a dull, animal enjoyment which left minds stupefied and bodies enervated by wallowing forever in one continual puddle of voluptuousness.”

Women were advised to cover up their arms and legs. And after age 16, the wrists and ankles. This image dates from 1868. (I have no idea where I got this image, have had it for years, my apologies for lack of credit.)

Something had to change. Reform was needed. Instead of reorganizing and recognizing the greed of emerging capitalistic society, reform was controlled in the home. With economic changes came a new family dynamic. Men left the home to work while women stayed behind to care for the house and children. This is nothing new, this structure has worked in the past and it works for many today. However, back then a heavy burden was placed upon women to be moral guiders. This “new ideal of womanhood” created very particular attitudes about work and family. It was clearly defined and drilled into girls at a very young age. It essentially had four characteristics that any good and proper young woman should cultivate: piety, purity, domesticity, and submissiveness.

Religion or piety was considered the core of woman’s virtue. It was to be the source of her strength. Young men looking for a wife were cautioned to first look for piety; if that was there, everything else would follow. Religion was considered the divine right of women. It was a gift of god. Her piousness gave her the strength to control the naughty and vulgar world of men. Women were warned not to let their literary or intellectual pursuits take them away from religion. If so, she could risk being barren.

From Godey's Lady's Book March 1850, Philadelphia. Quiet moment between friends before THE wedding night.

Purity was the essential piety to a young woman. Without it she was considered unnatural, unfeminine or worse no woman at all. She was considered a ‘fallen woman’. The marriage night was to be the single greatest event of a woman’s life. It was then when she “bestowed her greatest ‘treasure’ upon her husband”.

Mrs. John Farrar (Eliza was her name) wrote in a manual The Young Lady’s Friend lending advice how to avoid trouble: “Sit not with another in a place that is too narrow; read not out of the same book; let your eagerness to see anything induce you to place your head close to another person’s.” It was a huge success in America with reprints well into the 1890s.

Were women really buying into this?

“The Old, Old Story Was Told again at 3 O’Clock in the Morning” chromolithograph (although this version in b/w) unknown printer, c. 1870.

I was walking Billy one warm summer night. A cab came to a screeching halt and out poured three young girls from the car door, falling over one another into the street. They were also falling out of their dresses and shrieking in drunken obnoxious laughter. One girl couldn’t find her 4” high-heel shoe and another was uncertain if this was even the street where she lived. In the darkness, a sneer of disapproval came over my face followed by a cold shudder. I thought – wow - my friends and I certainly dressed differently at that age. And then a cold clammy sweat began to seep from my pores in horror knowing years ago I had untamed nights like that. I felt a little ill, but why? Would I have not blinked an eye if this was a taxi full of three young males? What if these were older men? Would that be any less appropriate? Was I judging these girls because they were girls? Haven’t we come a long way?

One girl could not get her key into the door and began doubting that she lived in the house. So she decided to take a nap in the front yard. The other two girls were laughing and dancing in the street. The cab driver, concerned, got out of his car and came up to me. He said: “Is this how young girls behave in your country?”

Smart or safe are not two words that came to my mind to describe this behavior. But I am certainly glad to be a woman living in this country. Although his comment did make me wonder: has conventional gendering behavior not changed that much? Today, how many husbands sit at home anxiously taping their foot as they await their drunken wives to teeter-totter home giggling at 3 O’clock in the morning? Women seem to just get annoyed when husbands come home from a late night out drinking -- they hog the bed, they smell and they miss the toilet. But men seem to fear when women behave this way. As if they will sully their reputation or run off you a much younger man... Double standard still prevails.

Guess the Date: Shoes

My mom was flipping through a box of old photographs the other day and found an article she had forgotten she tucked away. Any guesses as to the year it was written? (Click on image to read the article...)

Noynoy Aquino for President in 2010 Election

Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III officially announced this morning, September 9, his decision to run for president in the 2010 elections.

The presidential scion delivered his announcement at the historic Kalayaan Hall in Club Filipino, Greenhills, San Juan City, on the 40th day of the death of his mother, former President Corazon Aquino. Filipino tradition heralds the 40th day as the end of grieving period for relatives.

Like Cory Aquino, Noynoy also made the announcement as an answer to the overwhelming demand of the Filipino people for him to join the 2010 presidential race. If elected, Aquino will become the country's 15th President.

"Tinatanggap ko ang hiling ng sambayanan. Tinatanggap ko ang habilin at tagubilin ng aking mga magulang... Bayang Pilipinas, tatakbo ako sa pangpanguluhan sa 2010," Aquino said.

Noynoy, who will be the Liberal Party's standard bearer, also asked the president of the political party, Senator Mar Roxas, to be his running mate. Roxas still has not made any reply whether he would accept the offer or not.

Present in the announcement were Liberal Party members Senators Manuel "Mar" Roxas II, Francis Pangilinan, former Sen. Franklin Drilon, Quezon Representative Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III, former congressmen Florencio “Butch” Abad, and Nereus Acosta, singer-composer Jim Paredes, former Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz, and Leah Navarro of the Black and White Movement.

Noynoy’s four sisters, Ballsy, Pinky, Viel and Kris, were also present.

Watch Noynoy's announcement below:

Video source: ABS-CBN 2

Alessandra Ambrosio