Music In A Cajon

I remember I used to drum my hands on the table while listening to my teachers in primary school. Some years later, I saw on television, a guy drumming on what appeared to me then as an ordinary wooden box while sitting on it. I thought, it was just part of the band’s act. After all, it’s kind of “cool” to look at.
Now, I know that this cool thing is called Cajone. It is actually cajon in Spanish (pronounced as ka-hon), which means a crate or a drawer. I was right, it’s wooden! Cajones, a six-sided, box-shaped percussion are played by tapping the faces with hands or fingers. Let’s acquaint ourselves with cajones.

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Experience It
Experience It

Green Diaper

Modern times have definitely lessened the inconveniences of yesterday. Housekeeping, for instance, used to be an herculean task. However nowadays, technological advancements have made it easier.  Parents can now multi-task; doing the laundry, cooking, baking, and cleaning the house all simultaneously. Having a baby is another serious matter, but parents have modern conveniences to thank for – safety baby car seats and carriers, baby trolleys,   baby gears, disposable diapers, and much more must-haves to ease the responsibility and difficulty inherent to having a baby.

We have all these beautiful, very well appreciated conveniences on one hand, but unfortunately, as a consequence we have got on the other end of the spectrum important and pressing issues to deal with.

We have to face fairly and squarely the effects, by-products, and aftermaths of all the present comforts if we are to continue life in comfort.  Let’s take diapering for instance. It is very alarming to know that millions of tons of disposable diapers are discarded in landfills every year. If this rate continues year after year, will the convenience we have now worth the discomfort our kids might experience in the future?

Perhaps taking this into consideration as we decide on what diaper to use, would make a great difference.


Source: Fix.com

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Play It Better

12 string guitar

I have always been using a six string guitar since my high school days.  I have seen people bringing their twelve string guitars and I have heard hit songs with twelve string guitars playing on it. But it was not until I played it personally that I truly appreciated the beauty of it.

The twelve string guitar just sounds better, fuller and brighter than a six string guitar. There are dull moments for a six string guitar but the twelve string guitar seems to make it fun, creative, lively even.  The combination of the 2 strings playing the same note with low and high octaves seems to create that brighter sound with the bottom strings creating that chorus effect like sound makes the 12 string guitar a better musical instrument than that of the six string guitar.

What have you got? 6 or 12 string guitar….

Which is your favorite?

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Krathong Making

Here are the materials needed in making a krathong.

  • Banana trunk
  • Leaves
  • Pins
  • Flowers

Procedure:

  1. Cut banana trunk into 2 to 3 inches chunks.

    2
    chunk of banana trunk wrapped in leaves
  2. Wrap it with leaves. It could be banana or some other kind will do. You may also fold strips of banana leaves into triangular shapes resembling a lotus to cover the chunk of banana trunk with.
  3. Use pins to secure the decoration into the banana trunk base.
  4. Decorate it with different kinds of flowers.
  5. Finally, stick in a candle and incense sticks.

 

Thai people add in the krathong lock of their hair and pieces of trimmed nails.  This is to symbolize that they are want to drive off misfortune and bad things in the past.

 

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DONT’ MESS WITH THE IMMIGRATION OFFICERS

Krathong Making Contest

Loy Krathong is celebrated on the month of November.  The word “loy” means to float in English.  Krathong, on the other hand, does not have an exact English equivalent as far as I know.  If you have any idea please let us know in the comment section below.  It is somewhat like a floral “float” made from either banana trunk or bread, with a candle and incense sticks. They then float this on a river, lake, or pond.

Some schools run a contest to make krathong making even more exciting and memorable.  In the university I work with, students majoring in English were responsible in running the entire program, which started with a brief history of the celebration; followed by the krathong making; and finally the contest.  Students and staff were welcomed to participate.  Everyone gathered in the faculty hall, took the materials, and made their krathong for an hour.

 

Here are this year’s beautiful krathongs (2015)

Happy Loy Krathong!

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“Talking Back” Is Actually A Good Thing

Do you agree?

Lately, this has been a source of stress for us. Our 6 year old has been “talking back” every time she does not get what she wants.  As parents we want our kids to grow with a great sense of individuality. We dream for them to become adults of sound values, independent, and incredulous to the trickeries of this world.  With this in heart, but confronted with this bitter reality gave us a sense of not being in control of the whole thing.  Most of the time the more we demand to be followed, the more rebellious kids become, and at the end of the day if feels like the whole situation is getting out of hand.

An article from Yahoo Parenting “Kids Who Talk Back Becomes More Successful Adults”, caught my attention. The article explained that the “talking back” should be treated more of an important training ground than a nuisance. This is their way of exerting a sense of self control over their lives.  By curtailing them from reasoning out or negotiating with us, we are actually molding them to become submissive, insecure individuals who might be prone to bullying and the likes in the future.

Well, this is good, right? It means parents can still turn the table around and make things right. But I personally think that the manner of “talking back” is of utmost importance. Screaming and yelling, finger-pointing, and name calling should be avoided.  If the “talking back” is done in a manner other than these, even parents who grew up in a conservative family or in a  “talking back is plainly not possible or else” kind of family, will understand and compromise sooner or later.

Our parenting style is, often than not, a reflection of the family environment we grew up with. In the natural course of events, parents kind of naturally adopt whatever they are used to and whatever they themselves were exposed to. So, if ones family background is anything but “open, free to talk, children have a voice” environment, then to change something that is almost like a second skin is ultimately a tremendous challenge. Nevertheless, a change we need to take, right?

Do you agree?

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Relationship Changes When You’re Becoming a Parent

There is no doubt that parenthood changes relationships; many couples reject the idea of having a baby because they are afraid their relationship will be affected. Less time spent together, having to take care of someone who is completely dependent on you, and the need to cover for extra expenses make any mom or dad-to-be feel worried.

But let me tell you something: your relationship will change anyway.

Everything transforms as time goes by, and so do relationships, no matter if you have children or not. And there’s a different way to look at the problem – yes, becoming a parent will change the relation you have with your partner, but it does not necessarily need to be a bad change, if you know how to cope with it.

Are you ready for the challenge of becoming a parent? Here’s what to expect and how to get over the most common pitfalls:

Unresolved issues in your relationship reappear

A new baby puts an extra strain on your relationship, and issues you have been sweeping under the rug suddenly reappear, exactly when you don’t need conflicts and have less time and energy to manage them. It’s important to discuss and deal with these problems before the baby arrives – pregnancy is the moment to balance and strengthen your relationships and get prepared for difficult times.

The quality of communication changes

Many couples experience decreased marital satisfaction during the transition to parenthood because the quantity and quality of their communication both decrease. It becomes more difficult to talk spontaneously as topics like childcare become more important and prevail over others.

The only cure is to make an effort and find the time needed to reconnect every day, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Think of an activity you could give up so you communicate with your partner – instead of spending time on social networks or obsessing over minor housekeeping stuff, choose to spend some valuable time with your partner.

The baby becomes the center of your world

A common mistake that many new parents make is investing all their energy in the new baby. The most important topics become doctor appointments, getting the baby’s room ready, and even looking for preschools. After the baby’s arrival, new issues arise and they continue to become more important than your relationship.

There are some things that new parents need to understand though: your baby doesn’t need you 24/7, you cannot make things perfect, and, above all, having a healthy relationship with your child depends on the relationship you already have with your spouse. Your marriage or relationship should stay at the base of your new family, so remember to invest time in it as well!

You have higher expectations from your partner

As a new parent, you become more demanding with yourself because you want to offer the best to your child, and you start having higher standards for your partner as well. Many fathers feel that whatever they do to help with kids or housekeeping, it’s never enough. Give up the consuming determination to get everything right and understand that good is better than perfect, which doesn’t even exist, after all.

Giving your baby everything he or she requires to be happy and healthy is simpler than you think; and what the new member of the family needs, above all, is two parents who love each other and have a strong relationship.

By the Couple Clinic, a company of Winnipeg couples counsellors (www.winnipegcouplesclinic.ca).

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Thai Insurance: Batprakansangkom (บัตรประกันสังคม)

Thai Insurance:  Batprakansangkom
Thai Insurance: Batprakansangkom

Batprakansangkom is a government insurance of Thailand. It comes as one of the benefits for working here.  There are private insurance of course if you opt for it, or if the company you’re working for is affiliated with one. Personally, though, I’ve been with the government insurance since a came almost ten years back. It may not be the best. There are better ones somewhere in the world for sure, but as a Filipino I can’t help but compare it with Philhealth.

Last month I was hospitalized, got in with nothing but my health  insurance card  and driver’s license. Meals were served. After 5 days, I walked out of the hospital with my medicine, and without paying a dime. This is totally awesome! Any Filipino who have had experience of some sort with the Philippine government insurance would totally say the same.  I wish something like this for the Philippines. Anyway, what are the benefits I got from Prakansangkom so far.

Medicine and doctor’s fee are FREE in designated hospitals and clinics.  Clinics usually open after working hours until 8.00 in the evening. Which makes sense, right? One doesn’t have to skip work or school to do a simple medical consultation or a follow-up check up. You can use it as many times as you need it.

Maternity compensation is given by Prakansangkom on the month(s) you are on maternity leave. This is given aside from the monthly salary you receive from your employer as part of the company’s maternity benefit. What is so awesome about this is that compensation is given in lump sum, without delay and without further ado, the moment you present the child’s birth certificate.  You just sit and wait for 5 to 10 minutes depending on how busy the insurance office is, and voila! You walk out with your money. For foreigners, additional documents like a copy of your passport, visa, and work permit are needed.

There are other benefits, I will talk about them in my next post.

 

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Is exercising at home really as good as going to the gym?

Absolutely.


The place of exercise, may contribute to the success of attaining ones goal of getting and staying fit, but the greatest chunk depends entirely on ones consistency. It is the most important key.  Exercise physiologists say, sure, exercise at home have their own disadvantages and distractions but consistent exercise at home or the absence of it is the same story as going to the gym.

Home exercise equipment has come on in leaps and bounds over the past few years, which is a good thing.  Global economic and societal changes have greatly affected how families manage and set priorities.  There have been huge, steady, upward trend in stay-at-home-moms (SAHM), working-at-home-moms (WAHM), even working-at-home-dads (WAHD), and individuals holding 2 to 3 jobs to make ends meet.  Whichever the case maybe, these are individuals who do not either have the luxury of time or money to hit the gym or join a health club.  Exercising at home is the most ideal way of getting and staying fit for it is as integral to ones life as eating and sleeping.  As mentioned earlier, exercising at home has its own disadvantages and distractions, but there are ways around it and even make it fun and worth looking forward to.

Convert a room, a corner of the house, a patio, or even a veranda into a mini gym.  It does not take much effort and money to do this.  Inexpensive exercise equipment such as fit balls, push-up bars, dumbbells, and exercise bands are accessible in stores.  Even prices of treadmills are at a discount at both physical and online stores.

Schedule your exercise at your most convenient time.  Following a rigid exercise timetable is not the be-all and end-all.  It is not something to fret and discouraged about.  If something comes up, re-schedule it at an immediate time. Remember the key is consistency.  For moms, having to exercise at a scheduled time every single day is a luxury.  What can be done is to grab every opportunity one has in a day to do some exercise.

Be encouraged and be pushed to exercise and to exercise some more by listening to upbeat music.  Most often than not, upbeat music starts me up and keeps me going.  Some upbeat music that you could include in your playlist – Move like Jagger (Maroon 5), Single ladies and Girls Run the World (Beyonce), Super Bass (Nicki Minaj), Uptown Funk (Mark Ronson), and Shake It Off (Taylor Swift).

Last but definitely not the least, having the right attitude is essential.  Even though buying ourselves new exercise wardrobe or a new pair of running shoes somehow encourages us to exercise, these after all are extrinsic motivations. What’s needed to keep the fire burning is intrinsic motivation that pushes one to go on and on until a goal is achieved, and to continue to go on to keep that goal. Changing ones mindset is a good start. Write down your goal, make a diagram of your progress, or if you aim for a fit and shapely body, post a photo of it on your gym wall.  Keep thinking of this goal just like how much time you spend thinking of what to prepare for every family meal.

Remember, the key is consistency. Happy exercising at home.

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