Tuesday, 30 November 2010

ice ice baby

today, my usual 40 minute journey to work became 4 hours. the snow was treacherous, people were driving at 5 miles per hour (if that).

its snowing heavily until now.

news forecast say its going to be worse tomorrow. (which means no work for me).

how's the weather at your end?

{photos from the G10 while i was stuck in traffic}

Monday, 29 November 2010

fernando's kitchen

one of the best things i have grown to love in this country is the amount of talent in the streets.

busking is a nationwide phenomenon and everybody accepts it. most of these buskers are talented students of a performance college who are struggling students, or are struggling artists waiting for their big break.

i am easily impressed with good music, but most especially when the music they play are original and just under the radar.

one of the most recent one i encountered were the group called Fernando's Kitchen just recently over the weekend. they're normally a group, but that night, only two played.

that day, we listened to them, and i was transported from the cold and wintery cambridge to somewhere hot and exotic.

i am so into their music.

listen to their music.

video taken from their website...x

i parked for the day

..my life is a busy life. not busy in a corporate way, nor is it celebrity kind of way (hehe) but busy in a therapist-student-wife-sister-friend kind of way.

but today, i stay put. i had enough lieu time to use up, and the only day where its not busy with clients at work, is a Monday. so i opted to use it on a Monday. i literally could not use it on a Tuesday, Thursday and Friday as thats my busiest when it comes to client face-to-face.

anyone who holds a full-time work, to only have your weekends as your rest time would know that an extra day in the week is an added bonus to do some stuff relegated normally for the weekend.

so today, i was productive. i did not only have caught up with lost sleep. i also did a massive laundry turnover for linens for guests in the christmas period and of course, some banking.

its great. tomorrow, its another day of knowing people, listening to their story and be the rational perspective that will get them get over the hump.


my bank rang me again, they queried why i transfer X amount of money to a philippine bank on a regular basis. i had to bite my tongue to not be sarcastic and not say:" i assure you, i don't fund radical activities in the philippines." but i didn't. tempting, but i didn't, i feel that there is no privacy anymore.

i'm sure they're just weary of recent money laundering scams and funding of terrorist acts in some asian countries, but please, the meager amount i send, wont even feed an army of ants.

{photo: a red bus toy, at the antique's fayre in portobello market}

Sunday, 28 November 2010

cambridge yesterday

adrian did a lecture in cambridge yesterday. as a dutiful wife, i went with him.

all i did yesterday was roam around the town. and did some of my christmas shopping (for presents). i had some coffee breaks, a nice lunch, and met the husband after his talk in an espresso cafe, and went back again to the shops with him. left the place at 6PM and went home, and got some takeaway food, for dinner.

when we got in the house, we put the telly on, and had dinner. what a saturday. just how we love it.

the town was freezing cold. the frost has gone by then. this was around half ten in the morning..

some corners of the town

interesting nooks

its a bicycle town..all ages bike around..and the leaflets and posters so interesting to read, there's always a poetry reading somewhere, or a drama class somewhere.

a very popular publication...where some of the best academic books are published

the market was buzzing. this was by noontime already

i love market scenes..one day, i'm taking a project of compiling market photos all over the world.

this is the arcade where i took shelter from the cold

this photo was taken with Adrian with me. on our way back to the car, we saw the buskers. they are called Fernando's Kitchen. i truly love their music. a hint of latin, african, and jazz fusion. i wish i could afford to hire them for my graduation party,hehe (*dreaming*)

just before we drove home, Adrian requested for tea. i had cappucino. and a tart,haha.

its a lovely fill before our drive home:-)

its been my third time to roam around Cambridge on my own for Adrian's lecture day,sometimes, he does the lecture, sometimes,he attends one.

everytime, i am mesmerised how the town changes yet never still maintain's is history despite its modern tweaks..

urban planning in this country is very much entertwined with heritage preservation.

Thursday, 25 November 2010


i want to write a very long post. one that has so many words, so little spaces, a few pauses and hardly any breaths in between.

i do have a nice story to tell. well,a nice one for me and for my old age (hehe, tough luck on that!). something to re-read to myself. something that i can say i'm proud i've done (theres not much to say of that in my life anyway).

but, my energy is just nowhere to be seen. in fact, i just woke up in the couch, and adrian telling me to transfer to our bed (i fell asleep in the middle of the tv programme we were watching).

but i had a small window of opportunity,where there's silence from the telly mumbling about the news, and adrian tucked nicely in bed.

unfortunately, the energy isnt enough to get the story out there. im still (physically) exhausted, and my energy waning. but here, in my gut, i still have the need, that longing to blog, and i love that. i cant just pass that, can i?

so, in the effort to write something out of nothing, here's the attempt.

id leave the juicy details with me for now.

for the meantime, hug the ones you have in your life right now. they're precious.


Burj Khalifa in Dubai. this photo has stories attached too:-)

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

in a pickle

i got rushed to the A&E (that's ER for you) last night because i was bleeding from my nose heavily. gross.

i was driving home,from work and i could feel a cold trickle on my chin. because it was dark i couldn't see it. the cold trickle made my chin itch, then when i touched my chin, i could feel a wet patch, and on my lips too. I stopped for a few minutes in a dark wooden part of the country lane.

i checked my shirt and my face, and you would think i was punched or i had a face crash, then i realised the bleeding wouldn't stop. it was slowly trickling. i know there wasn't a scratch or a cut on my nose, so i was getting panicked.

i said, i might just as well go home as quickly as i should and then get help.

when i started the car , the battery (which we were having fixed this weekend) obviously died and wouldn't start.

the next best thing was to phone Adrian but he wasn't in the house as he was in the gym (i knew because i rang him at home just before i left for home, and he said he was on his way to the gym).

so i had to wait in the cold, dark dingy area in the middle of the country lane, bleeding, and (sobbing because of the cold,i might add), for m husband to pick me up and jumpstart my car.


after 30 minutes of shivering and cold fear, that i might die and not anyone knowing about it, i rang my work,and asked for help.

thank goodness for a kind colleague who brought a battery jumper and rescued me.

and when he saw me, he thought i was in an accident and because i was still bleeding, he had to bring me to the hospital,where i met Adrian fresh from the gym looking worried and harrassed (wild hair, not ponytailed after his shower,haha).

we were a scene out of comedy sketch at the doctors clinic. because of my medical history, i was asked to stay overnight in the hospital but i refused because the bleeding stopped at around 10PM. i was tired, and probably anaemic by then, but knew a goodnight's sleep and nourishment (and my warm home) wold be ok for me. plus, i cant miss today's work. i cant afford to be ill.

when i knew i had to go back tonight for some tests, i was alright, and given some drugs (some mild coagulating drugs). the doctor tried to scared me off with his prediction what i might be diagnosed with, but i'm not gonna worry about that. If i'm dying, i will die, i'm not scared to be honest.

today, i'm tired, over tired in fact, but i know whatever the outcomes are, i will still smile. for the meantime, id live life for me.


so if you think your life is shit, just think about other people who had to wait for life-threatening diagnoses. (catastrophising,haha).

and if you have a blessed life, be thankful, as you should be.

for the meantime, lets enjoy life's biggest party.


PS: im not dramatising. i just had a kidney scare a few weeks ago. problematic mandibular joint, arthritic joints,diabetes and now this. what's next i wonder?

i sure live a thrilling life. i live day-to-day for the last few months,haha. dont feel sorry for me as i am not sorry for myself. i think i have accepted the facts of my life.

but then again,if i go tomorrow, id feel bad because i didn't leave an explanation what happened between here and there.

the material and superficial things in life doesn't matter anymore. family, friends and love ones are top value for me. count yourself lucky if you have people who care for you.

i sure count myself lucky.


i was supposed to sleep early tonight, but i had to prepare for my groups tomorrow. best way to live life is occupy each moment with meaningful and soul-satisfying activities , and golly, i thank God for work,and my friends, most especially for my husband, who i know, is still kicking himself for going to gym last night. i know he wants me not to work, but i cant vegetate and wait for blood test results and scans. its the most awful thing in the world. i bet you, it will still come up with something negative, or maybe just an infection.

i dont want to have wasted time over a infection. and even if it means something grave, at least, i made each minute count.


my psychologist friend said: "some people who had to deal with alot in their early life tend to overwork and overdo things when they're in a crisis." hmmnnn..

and you must know, she's a published author of psychochogy books. she must be good.

me..pre-bloody times, hehe :-)

Monday, 22 November 2010

this space

i dont know what i want to talk about. but i do feel like blogging.

i dont know what about, but i do know i miss my little niece Mika.

she's a big girl now, and a happy little girl, but these are the only photos i have of her when i last saw her.

so tonight, this space is meant for her.


my heart grew bigger when she came into the family. i can just imagine if it was my own baby.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

the V & A kensington museum

this is a long overdue post. apologies to my sister who is so patiently waiting for this.


April, 2010

Ana and i went to the the Victoria and Albert museum to see their display of Princess Grace Kelly's dresses during her time.

Sadly,we couldnt take photos inside the exhibition but we could take photos of the other parts of the museum. Strict sila. Its such a bummer especially when you paid for the ticket to see the exhibit but then you cant take photos, boohoo.

some artefacts from the Ming dynasty

artefacts from the Aviso dynasty,hehe (the sis, Ana) and ancient China

statues from Asia

L:the sister who is my idol. she is so loved by me adored by her Ate's and Kuya's. she's very talented too.

R: the expanse of the solarium in V&A

China, the middle kingdom.

Ana, reviewing her photos. She and i love our museum treks. We are museum-fanatics.

L: some beautiful design on the wall. the V& A is world reknowned for their changing and rotational displays.

R: the ceiling when you come in

i am not sure what this was now. but it sure did capture alot of people's attention

the grand foyer


afterwards, an ice cream and some mini retail therapy at Fortnum and Mason

afterwards, we rushed for the tube to head to the Photographer's Gallery (another entry)..

Saturday, 20 November 2010

in a day's work

i am still in quandary where im specializing in therapy. the last few years, stroke rehab, paediatric and adult learning disablilities seem to be in my top preferences. right now, mental health is really giving me second thoughts as i am enjoying it at the moment.

for a long time, i work in amputee rehab, but i was sidetracked when i was called to work in stroke then paediatrics.

and yesterday, i was really in a confused state. if i tell you whats in a days work for me yesterday, you'd know why:

9:00 AM - a review of a client's therapy outcomes. whether it worked or not. and there you'd know feedback first hand.in this part, you either get alot of compliments, or not so much, or a complaint about other professions involved in their treatment.

10:00 - helping a client's 'advance directive'. its like a medical will. where one writes down on a legal document what ones needs are: psychiatric medications, symptoms when they become unwell, or who to call when they are unwell: example who to call when they are on top of a building ready to jump, or in a suicidal threat that could harm others.

its amazing their candidness about their illness,and how they laugh about it.

11:30-1:30- a community social skills group. a lunch at a local restaurant. with 7 clients and two therapists, myself and H. its basically to get over agoraphobia, lessen social anxiety and incease confidence in social situations.

we met with at a local restaurant and had glorious conversation with the clients. some are getting better than others, some, are still slowly progressing.

2:00-4:00PM - digital imagery (back in the centre). the day before (thursday) the group met up at a local park for the practical sessions, where we took nature and wildlife photographs. (the first week was architectural and urban shots ).

the conversations and the interaction from my group was hilarious. and so humbling and goodness do i learn alot from them.

i left at 5:30pm as i had to score each client on my notes (it has all to be functionality and symptom based) and write down outcomes. theres alot of paper shuffling in this job, thats the only part i occasionally dislike.


conversations from the lunch:

the head OT,H, who was co-facilitating the group with me talked about pets. she knew one of the clients J, a stay-at-home mum who is into animals, has a mini zoo in her backyard. she has chickens, pigs, cats,dogs and duck pets.

they talked about J's ducks for a bit, and how one her ducks is so funny,as she has been housetrained.

one the clients from the community social skills group, is T ,who used to be a hotel chef, said to H and the group, "you wouldn't believe what i saw the other day. a woman was driving with her car and a duck was sitting on her shoulder. I was so taken aback but no one seemed to have noticed it except me".

J, said, "it must have been me, coz my duck does that when im driving"

the whole group laughed. T said, "no, it wasnt you, im sure it was just me, but im not sure. but the lady was driving a blue Volvo"

J said : "thats it! thats my car!" .

the whole group including myself and the head OT was in hysterics, especially when T added "thank god for that, i thought i was hallucinating again, i had to ring my mum and ask for a reappointment with my psychiatrist".


conversations in my group in the afternoon..

one of the group exercises after learning changing the levels and contrast on their photos, was a group exercise (in pairs) of critiquing photos using good photographic elements: composition, framing, rule of 1/3rds, contrast and saturation, exposure, and focus.

i had to show them a slideshow of photos (taken from google images--just google 'bad photography', there are thousands that will pop up) and some of MY own bad photos (you know those that should be in the bin) to be critiqued using the elements . its for them to get courage to pair up with someone and speak their mind.

my clients are so talented and skilled, but they have no confidence whatsoever,and have little self-esteem. and would not speak their mind. they would run away from situations like it. and if they couldn't run away, they would end up in a mess.

i was showing them a photo that was so busy and underexposed and badly focused. i let them discuss with their partner and talk about the photos elements and critique each photos.

i encourage them by saying "what is wrong with this photo?.."or what do you think should have been done to this photo?" one by one, said, "its underexposed". one said"its not focused" the other said "the image is blurry", the youngest one who is one of the shyest (and who wouldn't say anything to hurt a fly) said "i would delete it". when he said it, i felt like i just climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. (and we also had a good laugh after he said it).

you can see the sense of overwhelming relief every time they say they speak their mind to the group. and mine.


of the clients in my photographic class is a graphic designer. he brought his laptop for the class. he said to me, he uses photoshop CS5 (when he saw i'm using CS4 on my laptop). he said, if i want it, he could install it on my laptop. that was a big bold step from him being poorly confident. so i couldn't really discourage him, but it was unethical to receive any gifts from clients. i said, i actually have a Macbook which i use for my editing. he said, "i have the Mac version too". uh oh, it was a dilemma to say No to his efforts of coming up with an offer.

i said "thanks, i would love to, but i will be slapped on the wrist if the bosses knew i accepted it from you." i explained about patients ethics and such. he was jolly about it, but damn. free download of CS5 would have been lovely.

propriety, honour and integrity is so important in this country, and it is good practice too.

{photo: ice cream vendor at Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu. India.}

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

mad hatter

"never trust a man, who when left alone in a room with a tea cosy,
doesnt try to put it on "..

~ Billy Conelly (comedian and celebrity)


Adrian trying on a tea cosy, (as he always does whenever he sees one in any shops), in one of the souvenir shops in India.

he looks knackered and distressed on this pic, bless him. he was dehydrated and tired. lack of sleep and dodgy belly reduced a handsome middle aged man into looking like that.

doesn't he have the most beautiful blue eyes? yes, i'm also biased.


Tuesday, 16 November 2010

christmas shopping

i had an oops! should i have, or shouldn't i have ? moment today.

during my creative activities group this afternoon, while doing our activity (flower pot painting), i asked the members whether they have done any of their christmas to-do list; ie shopping and decorating, during one of those awkward silent moments...

one of the women,M, who was a regular attendee didn't answer my question. a few said "nope, i haven't", a few said, "some bits here and there, a few christmas pressies covered, etc".

the assistant K, said to me after the group session ended, that she was trying to catch my attention when i was asking the question. M was apparently feeling sad because two of his nephews died recently in October, and apparently was saying that she is not looking forward to christmas and just want's to die.

i was shocked. i said "well, no one has told me that, and i sure have not seen it on her notes".

the assistant said, "well, she doesn't talk about it, and she only told a few people in the centre" (probably the head OT and her psychiatrist). i felt bad and apologised that i wasn't able to see her/the assistant's signals. not that we talked at length about it as this group were more or less have depressive symptoms and some have anxiety disorder, they hardly communicate in a group setting. which explains the need for us to create a very social atmosphere and using a medium (art) to increase focus and concentration on productivity and distracting them from obsessive negativity. so there was no lengthy discussion on the matter.

i apologised for not seeing her signals, but i didn't apologise for asking the question for the reasons:

1st) there was no way i would know about it if it wasn't written on the notes. no one tells me the recently divulged warnings or risks, when i've only started 4 weeks ago, so i didn't have ongoing rapport with M.

2) someone could ask her the same questions relating to christmas when she's out in the public, or all she had to do is watch TV at home then she will know its that time of the year, she has to get used to time-appropriate questions. (its not like i asked a random question, say about, World War 2..and it brought memories of her dead relatives,or something. the question was time-appropriate and anyone could have asked her that).

I observed now that some people's way of treatment is molly-coddling which i think does not benefit the clients. i think for therapy to work, it has to be relatable to the outside world. if we tiptoe and cover all the people in the centre with cotton wool, they might as well stay in a mental hospital as they would be molly-coddled there, and get institutionalised in the pretend cocoon.

in the real world,people will ask awkward questions, people will make fun of us, people will make insensitive comments, people will make abrupt remarks, and if their mental state is fragile for these comments and questions, and not taught how to deal with it, then they will not be able to cope with life, in general. they should be taught proper way of dealing with it.

assertiveness training should be taught,and also combatting negative thoughts. its not accepting that these comments are right, and in no way am i advocating for people to be push-overs, but knowing which topics needs their serious energy or approaching problems head-on but with a more rational calmer approach.

stewing on something in your chest,or your mind,can lead to serious problems. it will be a bubbling to a point one could explode. one can only take so much, its best to let out some issues in a manner that doesn't make one look like a twat, excuse my language.

i believe, M benefitted from me asking that question to group. it not only let her practice in dealing situations like that in public, but it also made her see, that is indeed almost christmas and she will never get away from probing questions relating to the season,whether she likes it or not.

how she feels with the question will never change. but how she deals with the question will be her assessment if she's benefitted from our therapy.


if i had to react every time someone makes a comment about fat people and other stuff that would relate to me, i would have no energy to do other things.

one of the best things we learn as we grow up, is learning to sift and to manage which comments take to heart,and which ones goes in the bin.

and selfish as it may sound, for my sanity, all the frivolous comments made by people i do not know, should not matter. unless they're people from the health department, now thats another story.

(needless to say, family, and love ones' opinions--now those you take to bed with you. but then again, only after some considerable sifting too.)


now let me ask you this question: how are you getting along with your christmas to-do list?


{photo: shop window announcement, oxford street, august,2010}

Sunday, 14 November 2010

little house with big memories

Adrian and I were talking about our house back in the Philippines; how we miss it, and how lucky we were to have bought it when the sterling pounds was a higher currency value than what it is now. (we couldn't have afforded a house if we have to buy it now at the rate).

Our house is a tiny two-bedroom house, with a small front garden and a side garage and a balcony. Tiny but it suits us, who initially just wanted a room to go home to.

For the first two times of being home, Adrian and i would rent a condo unit. Just some personal space for him as he feels embarrassed staying at Mama's and Papa's then small house in Linao. Adrian doesn't mind staying at another person's house, but if it has to be in a week, it would be too much tiptoeing for him. I didn't understand that then, because obviously, my parents' house are my parents house, but now i understand him why.

When were there, we like it better when we have people sleeping in the guest room, we normally have my sister over, or my mama, or brothers. We love a house filled with people.

Adrian brought up the topic about our little house today when we were having lunch. How we were lucky to have decided to buy one. Eventhough we have to pay monthly upkeep for the community rates, gardener and such, we were lucky too that the house was fronting a little hill, which they are not putting houses in. As its a subdivision, the houses are quite close to one another, at least were not looking at someone's house. We were lucky alone on that. We are lucky that when papa died, we didn't have to ask people to rush and book condo units for us and we have that extra feeling of home (more for him than me, really) away from home. (I must admit, when i went home on my own, i didn't stay in our house, i stayed at mama's house which was really a great decision).

We miss our house. Not because of the house itself. We miss it because everytime we remember it, we remember it fondly ,full of love and all the parties, the gatherings and the people who come and drop by our little abode, and the many more wonderful years Adrian and i are planning to make in it.

and when were in cebu, you are definitely welcome to come and drop by.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

thank you kai

{photo: my sister and i..just after having lunch in one of the farm/restaurant in one of England's countryside }


i had a big booboo this week, and the first person i turned to was my sister. she wasn't able to help on the matter as it was my stupid mistake and there was no turning back, but she was quick to my rescue.

and again, she helped me, in reconstructing the archive of my blog. for some reason, the old template, which was beautiful (thanks Mai) wouldn't show the old entries. i tried remedying the problem by tagging the entries its month and year, but if there was more than 7 entries in a month. you click on a month for the archive, only the latest 7 entries are retrievable. as im too embarrassed to ask for another retweaking of my blog as the designer did for me before, i i just had to revert back to a freebie template from blogger so i don't have to ask favors from my very talented friends who are busy in their lives too=)

i guess, i should stick to something easy and that's something i could do for myself (or my ever dependable sister Ana).

all's well that end's well.


My sister and her friend Monica, have a new venture/blog. Its an ezine called MadMag...go visit their ezine and enjoy their features.

i'm so proud of my sister. she's the mommy of the house while our mama is having a mini vacation in her hometown to see our grandmother and celebrate their fiesta. Ana cooks and takes care of the household like an old responsible adult.

She is mature-minded and kindhearted and never petty. sigh, its true what they say, sisters really are better versions of ourselves.

and i miss her so.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

the PaDI group

where i am is tough. great, but tough.

the first week i was there, i was asked to organise a therapeutic group which uses an activity to alleviate symptoms of mental health illness.

sounds great.but its not as simple as ABC. i dont organise a group just for the sake of.

i have to justify the therapeutic aims, goals, use of an outcome measure, and of course, i have to reason out the use of that kind of activity to use the activity as assessment tool (which means, when they're doing the task, they are being observed/discreetly of course, and outcomes are measured before and after each session to see if there were a therapeutic justification).

and be original.

if you are familiar with psychiatric dysfunction and Occupational Therapy's role, then you would be familiar with alot of arts and crafts, and recreational activities used as an assessment tool in a group. so what else could i do?,me thinks.

there already is a creative writing group. there already is the creative arts and crafts and the cookery group.

so PaDI was born. Photography and Digital Imagery group, my project.

two and a half weeks of research, working out the logistics, writing the aims and objectives, and client-centred goal assessment measures. basically, blood, sweat and tears for someone who has little time as me.

its a 5 week therapy group, 2 hour session every Thursdays and Fridays, composed of 5 clients ranging from different diagnoses, ranging from bipolar, anxiety disorder and depressive mood disorder , clients whose functions have deteriorated due to their illnesses.

the clients are so diverse ranging from a graphic designer (M, a mid 40s female), a games entrepreneur (E ,early twenties male), a published photographer (T, male in his 50s), a nurse (D, an early 40s male) and an admin executive (S, a late 30s something female), or they were before illness got to them. previous roles which they are unable to undertake due to breakdowns in their mental health. which means they are highly functioning individuals, they live in their own homes, but come to the centre for these therapies. they are just unable to perform previous roles due to crises in their mental abilities, so they cannot perform their jobs, their roles as mums, or they are socially isolated due to their anxiety to go out, and totally have left them without any self-esteem.

so why would a published photographer want to be in a basic photography course ran by me (who has just learned to know which button is which on my camera?) why would a graphic artist want to learn digital imagery every friday afternoon?

first, because they are unable to do so this moment in time. they have lost capacity to do the simplest of task. and secondly and more importantly, the goal is to develop social skills, decrease their anxiety /panic (and meltdowns) in social situations/groups, develop self-fulfillment and re-learn or learn new skills (if they haven't already) in a fun learning environment. these people forgot somewhere,somehow, how to have fun.


these people were handpicked to join this group because they are at a level they could understand the medium used, and are able to follow through the sessions in terms of learning and to manage their time and have a higher level of problem solving and routine. (although i also handle a lower functioning group, those who dribble and pick their nose in the middle of the table, or come to a shop wearing their undergarment on top of their clothes? but they are in my coffee morning group--basically to learn social norms and propriety and follow through simple day-to-day routine).

plus, these people also are interested in photography, to be asked to join, as it would be no use if they find the group uninteresting and has no meaning to them. (e.g. a person who is depressed and who is not interested in arts and crafts would not be asked to join the glass staining activity group, because they would end up killing themself out of boredom if its not something they would want to do. it will just depress them more).

all my 5 clients are interested in photography and its something they could relate to either because its job related to them, or something they enjoy. so we use it as a therapeutic tool.

two and a half weeks of hard graft on the research, making the structure of the sessions, has commenced today. doing my lesson plan and researching photography books, interacting with them and asking the clients to come to the sessions, and preparing the equipment needed, have today come to a head.

so far, today was a first day success.

this was us today making the most of the afternoon sun to do the practical session.

the OT assistant who was observing said,she saw some mood improvement and interaction between the clients. that alone is a testament how photography can be very therapeutic.

my clients are interesting and creative people. and it can get intimidating because some of them are more learned and more qualified than me, but i am not there to make photographers of them. i am there to facilitate a therapeutic activity to aid them in alleviating their symptoms ,and hopefully they will use recreational activities like these to relax them and give them the instant lift.

tomorrow, friday will be computer use/downloading of their work, putting them in files and naming files. simple as that.

a little digital manipulation (cropping, levels, curves and temperature adjustment on photoshop), nothing scary, just for them to get some sense of accomplishment of doing a task that they get to complete, whilst learning at the same time.

and they will have to share and talk about their work, and need to get into interacting, asking questions,and critiquing their own work. they are not critiquing others' work because this should be fun, and not competitive. ENJOY is the buzz word in the centre,if i may remember,and thats how photography should be.

the number of 5 clients is just perfect too, for the time allocated, and the attention i could give them for a one-to-one,if needed. just right

today, it was raining the entire day. i was rushing in the morning, and there were accidents on the road which got me stuck in traffic when i planned to be earlier than normal so i could prep for my group, but alas, traffic got me.

but you know what, i was blessed. by 2 PM, the rain stopped, and sun came out. it was still cold yet it was dry and there was sun, that was just pure blessing for our first session.

and it rained again by 4PM just as we were just going back to the centre to wrap up the session.

and after 5 weeks, there is an exhibit of everyone's works in the foyer of the centre and a graduation of some sort for undergoing a Basic Photography course.

and i cant believe, its my name signing them off on that certificate.

talk about sense of accomplishment, this is more of my therapy as much as theirs.


its alot of hardwork and brain scrunching (and fun too).

but i think, i will come out a better and more confident as a clinician after this.

well, let's hope so.:-)

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

sausage and mash, fire alarms and hoola hoops

there were 4 of us..penny and sarah couldn't make it. penny: due to an emergency crisis and sara: due to hubby being away in gibraltar.

so there were the usual suspects. myself, eve, tash and lisa.

we had sausage and mash (big portions) for dinner, crisps and choclits for pre dinner, cappucino-and-biscuit-afters and some hoola hoop competition.

and while the sausage and mash was being prepared, the fire alarm kept going off. the fire alarm people kept ringing and asking if everything was ok. it was, except the sausages were a little overdone,lol.

we chatted about our love lives, career, plans,holidays and christmas parties.

and they also told me off for not having been available to come and join them the last few months.

i reasoned out: "but thats life, we all have our moments when we need to prioritize something more urgent". but they could always catch me on my phone if there was an emergency of some sort.

they let me off.

since everyone's weekends are fully booked, we decided to see one another on a weeknight. *it gets like this just about christmas time or just nearing christmas, not alot of people have spare weekends for catching up*

its a night worth spending less sleep for. catching up with your girlfriends is always an energizer to fill up our tanks.

until the next chitchat session.


obligatory iphone pics..Top to bottom; Left to Right

talking about future holiday plans, pretending drunkenness,serious discussion about men and finances

Tash telling us about her new man, Eve battling with the hoop and glorious bite size choclits for in between stories.

ahhh girlfriends. i couldnt live without them.

Monday, 8 November 2010

the last few days according to my phone

(Top: L-R)

*beach afternoon, eating rossi's ice cream celebrating a morning volunteering (teaching music and dance for Mencap: a charity association that cares for the mentally handicapped)

*package from bestie Kharla, who never forgets to send my philippine products . no occasion. just because she's that thoughtful.

*a dinner for Thilak who just got back from the US and decided to come back and live in the UK. he said he wasnt enjoying his life in the US as he was working too much. as he is a married man, he needs to have the balance, so he's back in the UK.

*cheese and wine. still for Thilak's dinner.


*on the way to church yesterday, Big Ben

*London eye

*that photo is for my brother, Roi..I love the St.Casimir's church. It was international mass at Westminster Cathedral yesterday. different countries were part of the mass.

*and since November is month of the souls, i asked for mass to be said for the following souls..my papa, my uncle Bongbong/mom's brother, Adrian's parents, my uncle Bebot/mom's brother, Mimi's dad and my uncle Diko..


just finished downloading some printable puzzles and quizzes from the internet which i needed for my coffee club tomorrow. and while waiting to print them, i could not stop my urge to blog and read blogs.

oh well, some people are beyond rehab,haha. addict!

goodnight. dont let the bed bugs bite.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

what we need is LOVE

as cliche as it may sound, we all do need to feel we are loved.

eversince i've started specializing in mental health work, there are so many of the clients i work with whose illnesses and symptoms exacerbate when there was the threat of losing the love they have or lost their self-worth because of a trauma that they felt all love has abandoned them.

sad, but the reality is, when we feel our life experiences, (past or current) can jeopardize this protective emotion for ourselves, our mental health is affected.

one of the clients ive assessed, was a handsome man in his 40's who used to be a successful businessman. he had a big trauma of a road traffic accident, and ended in ICU for a few weeks wiht 50/50 chances of survival. but none of his family saw him nor visited him (they didnt know how to deal with it), his partner left him whilst he was in hospital, and his only brother texted him to tell him to not bother to call. ouch! he felt as if he had no one, no family, no girlfriend, no friends (he withdrew from them, as he was scared he would lose them too). he lost his confidence,and his self worth was rockbottom, and now he is depressed and has lost his business as he was unable to deal with the public. now,he is well physically, his stitches have healed, his spine fixed, but his heart and soul just shattered to pieces.

all he needed was a hug from his love ones. he had so much anger and pain, he wanted his world to end.

i just wanted to hug him, and tell him to wake up and smell the roses. but of course, he couldn't see that yet. or better, call his family and tell them to get their gear in act. but i am not allowed that either.

his friends should have come around, and visited him no matter the amount of refusal from him to not see them. (my friends in this country do that, i'm so blessed that i have friends who will break down the door if i start refusing relentlessly to not see them. unusual really for their culture. but it happened when i was so down when my father died, my friends arranged with adrian so i could go and see them. im blessed with a family too that never wavers. and of course, my friends back home in cebu, wouldnt wait for me to say NO to them, they would just come over and drag me by my hair if i even dare to think of not coming, so i could have fun,haha...counting my blessings today because of that).

his friends, should have made sure,he was ok. and made him feel even more loved. his family should have too, but for some reason,there are so much going on (emotionally) they werent able to.

i feel sorry for him, because he lost himself,when he thought he didnt get the love he wanted.

and my job is for him to be able to function to his best potential in society, and in his day-to-day activities as a person. yes,he will still be mentally ill, depressed and anxious, but then,he could start reintegrating to society and be able to perform his duties as a man/businessman/son/brother/friend.

there is hope.

and he is only one of the hundreds that we see in the centre who fell ill because of the loss of love.


you can imagine the rollercoaster journey of my days. one-to-one assessments with a person, can be tearful, uncomfortable, sad, and all emotional. but when it comes down to treatments, we do groupwork-type treatment ranging from creative activity (glass painting, collage making, etc, mostly craft-related), creative writing, relaxation treatments, or a coffee group which could mean many laughter-enducing activities and some real bonding moments. in a day, i could feel so sad (because of the stories i hear from a patient's life story) and in the next treatment, i could be happy as larry, enough to think that i could be the same as my bipolar clients,haha.

it is indeed hard if one has no rest nor focus. i could end up needing therapy myself. so i disciplined myself to get enough rest, and not to forego sleep (we always tell clients to get enough rest as it could be a trigger for a relapse of their mental health) but instead prioritise it.

(i have to remind myself to talk about my experience of facilitating an Anger Management group; how scary were the revelations there. it made me think, that there's anger, and then there's ANGER. it deserves a separate blog).

i promised myself to balance as much as i could, and put blogging as the bottom of my priority for the next few weeks, but i also promised myself, to make me a happy bunny, i need to blog at least once a week. since today i woke up late at 10:30am, i feel, i deserve a time to spend on my blog as of the moment without feeling guilty of lacking sleep.

time be damned. i could recoup sleep tomorrow night.


i have so many wonderful stories from where i am working. i am so blessed to be enriched by this experience, by their stories. im just a blabbermouth who wants to blog about it as writing them down makes a lasting lesson learned.

{photo:nottinghill area, corner portobello market}