Christmas is not always happy
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For me, Christmas stopped being happy when my Lola died in 2004. I’m sorry to say it and I don’t mean to make anyone in my family feel bad. But Christmas for me was going to my Lola’s house in Valle Verde.
I would say that out of all the people in the world, my Lola is one of my topmost favorite people that ever existed. She was such a gentle soul, I thought she was perfect.

I got especially close to my Lola when my Lolo died suddenly in 1974, and my Lola stayed in our house for a few months. She slept in a room I shared with my sister. Both my sister and I loved my lola so much that we would fight over who got to sleep next to her. So my Lola ended up sleeping in a folding bed and would alternate sleeping next to me and my sister.
She taught me how to pray the Rosary and gave me many rosaries and a flashlight because she knew I was afraid of the dark. So I would sleep holding a rosary with a flashlight next to me.

Lola Paying and I
Lola Paying and I at her old house. There are no words to describe how much I love her to this day.

But I digress….
I miss going to my Lola’s house for dinner after mass at the Valle Verde park. There was always a lechon, a turkey, and the best home-baked ensaymada. We would open presents at midnight and the floor was covered with wrappers.
I’m happy my son Ben got to spend a couple of Christmases at my Lola’s house. My Lola died the year after Markus was born, so I’m sad that Markus doesn’t remember Lola at all.

with Lola
My lola was bedridden for the last years of her life. Oh how she loved kissing Ben. I’m glad she got to enjoy him for a couple of years.

That said, I think about her every Christmas. Not everybody is happy during Christmas. Especially with social media, I have this feeling that there is this pressure for people to be or appear happy during the holidays. There’s a pressure to get a family photo and post it on social media to give the appearance that all is well and happy. But some of us are not. Some of us may be struggling with illness, broken homes, deaths, financial difficulty, and many other problems.

My tree may be full of gifts and I am touched and grateful. But I feel more joy wrapping and giving gifts. Christmas stopped being happy for me for many years but it matters to me that the children are happy.
We just came back from Japan. I am so exhausted but I’m grateful that we made it home safely with almost no turbulence considering the typhoon we endured yesterday.
Right now I’m contented to be lying in bed and writing this with my hubby at my side. In a while we will be having dinner in our house clothes, and I’ll be spending the night watching the Christmas specials of Little House On The Prairie.

little-house-on-the-prairie-a-merry-ingalls-christmas

I do miss the days when I was a child and was taken care of instead of me taking care of a household. I do hope I can make memorable Christmases for my kids. God knows I try.

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#TagahatidPasko ng Coke, Part Two
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Still in Tokyo and not stopping myself from drinking Coke, because hey, it’s the holidays.
Before I left Manila, Coke gave me an assignment to give away ten bottles of Coke to special people. Here are the next five:

6) Cleanup Crew
Meet my nurse Wanda. I’ve been hiring nurses to help me at home for several years now—for care after surgery, child birth, or when the kids are sick and I need to get some sleep. Wanda’s been my nurse for a couple of years now. She comes in twice a week for my coffee enema, having been trained at home by Detox Manila. I need my coffee enema due to my history of digestive and colonic problems. While most people can do enema themselves, I need Wanda to do it because I’d be too lazy otherwise.

Wanda

7) #OOTD Idol
Tito Greg is easily the most stylish one in my Dad’s Thursday Group (lunch club), with the spiffy Prada shoes. Aside from being one of the country’s most respected advertising professionals, Tito Greg is a well-known political adviser. I’m lucky he’s just a call away whenever I’m in some kind of trouble, especial the cyber kind.

Tito Greg

These are very special “Greg” shoes.

Greg shoes

8) Photo Op Peg
Tina Tagle is one of the most honest bloggers I know who has been blogging for as long as I have (more than 15 years). I know, because we both started on blogspot, which sounds so old school. Though she’s already in her 50s, Tina is never lazy to put herself together and post her looks online. This is how she keeps young. I admire her in many ways.

TIna

9) Bantay Bae
Meet Albert, my Dad’s Man Friday of maybe three decades. I’m simply amazed that he hasn’t aged. He’s the guy to go to when you want good coffee or ice cream at my Dad’s office. Besides being loyal to my Dad, he takes good care of the Boss, and for that I am very grateful.

Albert

10) Ambassador of Good Will
She may be a busy Councilor of Taguig, but my cousin Pammy can be counted on to fill in for Mayor Lani when we need her. I have never seen her in a bad mood and I’m proud of how devoted Pammy is to her job. Like Mayor Lani, I’m sure she’ll go a long way.

Pammy

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#TagahatidPasko ng Coke, Part One
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Happy Holidays from Tokyo!
Just before I left, Coca-Cola sent me a red sack with ten bottles of Coke to share with people who are just nice or help me around. I have lots of favorite people, it’s just hard to get hold of them in hectic, trafficky December.

1) Christmas Cheerleader
Meet my girl Friday, house manager, condo keeper, head cheerleader, and walking happy pill, Rem, who never has a bad day. My friend Penny once said of Rem: “What is she on? Can we bottle that?” I wish I could. Thank you Rem for coming when I need you most, when I’m craving for that grilled sushi or two kilos of Tatang’s lechon, which only tastes good with an ice-cold glass of Coke.

Rem

2) Hatid-sundo Hero
Obviously my driver Benji. Ever since our 20-year-driver Mang Seniong retired a couple of years ago, I thought it would be hard to find a good replacement. Benji started as my hubby’s driver, but Jeroen kindly passed him on to me because Benji has a brain and understands instructions, gets things done without asking.

Benji

3) Bidang buddy
Keri is my reliable “plus one” every time I have to go to an event and don’t want to be alone. She also makes sure I eat when she’s knows I’m having a really bad week. She will show up at my front door with a bucket of chicken or favorite mocha cake. Best had with a bottle of Coke of course. And she doesn’t leave until she knows I’m OK.

Keri

4) #OOTD Idol
Very few people in Manila dress for themselves, meaning, they don’t follow trends, they make her own. I love passing by Paul Smith at Greenbelt 5 to see what Michelle is wearing. She’s the woman behind those trendy fringy shoe accessories. Just look for her at Paul Smith.

Michelle

5) Helping Hand
Lino is my co-tenant at the NAC Tower. He won’t hesitate to run down to help me during a traffic altercation and is very calm at it. He’s also very nice to my dad, he feels like the brother I never had.

Lino

(To be continued)

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Only 6 days before Christmas!
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Are you done shopping yet? If not, head to your nearest National Book Store and look for Chuvaness x NBS products. Or shop online HERE. Thanks for the love, NBS!

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