Getting by

It’s getting tougher each passing day. As in the photo, it’s like praying for the heavy rainfall to stop and urging the sun to come out because the rusty, leaking roof can’t take it anymore and will break your house anytime. The irony that is life. We’ve been dealing with the pandemic for over a year now. How many times have you heard somebody say “COVID is real!” Perhaps they got sick and hospitalized and lost a loved one, or among those who believed the virus and the vaccines to be a hoax or scam. You’d think you’re lucky you haven’t caught it yet and still alive. Unfortunate that the new variants of the COVID-19 virus are now widespread, causing the health statistics to get broken again and lockdowns becoming the usual, vicious remedy. And our social feeds becoming an online obituary is not exactly helping.

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Upskill for free with Skillshop

If you’re looking to explore and upgrade your skills, particularly on Google’s professional tools and solutions, but thought such would put a huge dent in your budget, you’ll be happy to know that there’s actually a one-stop-shop training website called Skillshop where learners at any level can get online training to master the Google products, tools, and platforms for free. Doesn’t matter if you’re already a seasoned pro or just started with your upskilling goals, Skillshop offers comprehensive courses that you can take at your own pace to help you excel in your job, scale your business, or secure that next big opportunity you’ve been prepping up for.

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Watch for health

Watch your health they said and I took it to heart. No, I actually took it to my wrist, because I needed to check on my heart. For years now, I’ve been using a digital watch that doubles as an activity tracker when I workout, usually quick runs, after work. This, after a doctor, warned me that my heart needs my attention. But with the global pandemic happening, forcing us to stay at home, work remotely, but running out of focus when it comes to our own well being, I’ve been wearing it now most of the time to watch my health. And recently leveling it up when I finally got myself an Apple Watch SE.

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Don’t get easily duped

You think you will never fall victim to a phishing attack or any online scam, what with all the information security technologies and data privacy restrictions businesses claim to have put in place to protect us, consumers. While I don’t get that many unwanted emails recently which usually go straight to my spam folder, a few serious-looking messages will sometimes pass through the filter and get into my inbox. Not that you’ll have a hard time figuring out if they’re fake, these email messages make it look like they’re coming from a legitimate company you signed up with, the most common of which are supposedly urgent notifications from banks instructing you to click on a link to update your details. You end up losing your hard-earned money if you don’t think twice before you click.

The internet is rife with heartbreaking stories of people getting duped and their savings drained until empty. Enough to scare you to change your account passwords more regularly. And with all the gadgets we use daily that now pay more attention to security, you’d think we should be good. Not at all, and at a time when we’re faced with uncertainties given the pandemic, these scammers aren’t stopping, in fact, they’re getting better. Last month saw me too busy, and if I didn’t take a second look, I would have been duped. Unsuspecting, with an email that arrived at a bad time.

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Vax on the rush

Pasig's vaccination card you'll be proud to show off.

On the day my wife and kids and others in our compound are getting their 2nd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Caloocan, I finally also got mine in Pasig. It’s only my first jab and had to sign up in the city where my work is located because I just couldn’t miss work and probably won’t last if I line up at 4:00 am and spend more than 8 hours waiting in too long a queue. Because that’s what my family had to endure, and many others in our barangay and perhaps in other cities as well, just to get vaccinated. Everyone seems to be rushing to get vaccinated now because of news that vaccines are scarce and running out of supply. And that some establishments are now requiring proof of vaccination before you’re allowed entry.

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Plantita wife, happy life

My wife's plant garden in and out of our house.

If there’s anything good this pandemic has ever given us, it’s that we now have more time on our hands at home, thus the opportunity to become our own chef or baker, craftsman or DIY guy, online seller or next-door tutor, and plantita or plantito who can turn any humble dwellings into green sanctuaries. My wife’s one and has turned our home into her own garden or what I jokingly call Jumanji. No, our house doesn’t look anywhere near that messy jungle from the movie, but almost every room or corner of our house now has a pot or two of her plants. I’m not complaining, of course, I’m just as happy to see her happy with her plants.

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Respite and repeat

The Nintendo Switch Neon

Every Friday when work’s done, I look forward to a weekend of rest and spending more time with my family. A respite from my somewhat strict daily routine that I stick to since I started working for my new company. On repeat for the past several months now, while I have yet to get used to wearing a face mask the whole day and the occasional face shield when going to public places. I’m not complaining though, I’m thankful that I have work and enjoy what I do. And whenever I’m home and my wife’s busy tending to her plants, that’s my cue to grab my Nintendo Switch and play for an hour or two of my favorite games.

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Empty sala and word puzzles

An empty sala filled with family memories

Whenever I see an empty sala, just like the photo above of a resort’s lobby where I was billeted for a cable convention a few years back, it reminds me of the day I lost my father. I may have had a love and hate relationship with my tatay, but I can’t help but miss the strictest and OC person I know in my entire life. Being the youngest, I would walk at least two kilometers to buy him three newspapers almost every morning, a broadsheet and tabloids. He reads them while in the toilet for hours and solves all the word puzzles, English and Tagalog. Word puzzles that still puzzle me that I couldn’t solve or finish as he did, but I’m lucky to have been influenced by his smarts, especially my interest in reading. My father’s not perfect, he wasn’t trying, but he always made our family his priority, and as we celebrate Father’s Day, I’d like to honor him as the best and smartest in his own right.

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