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Will You "Stand By Me" ?

Stand by Me” is a song I consider as one of my favorites because the lyrics are so simple but they "stand-out”, and the tempo appeals to my quirky taste of soul, jazz and slow rock - all rolled into one.

I equate the song with precious friends who have been there through thick and thin and whom I could depend on, when all had turned their backs on me. These friends I could count with only a few of my gnarled fingers.

The first best friend I ever had was from high school. We were adversaries at first, having been pitted against each other in several academic contests. We were competing with each other for the top notch honor – valedictorian of the graduating class.

I had never been competitive. My measure of improvement was to compete with myself -If I had performed better in the suceeding event - then I would consider the endeavor a success.

She ended up with the honors.

Relatives urged me to file a formal complaint and to challenge her to an academic showdown, but by then I knew there were more important things in life than fame and prestige - one of them was friendship!

And she was my best friend! ( and still is)

I believed then that being on top of the class entailed integrity and a sterling character and she had both. There was no reason for me not to bow out.

We have had a previous agreement - before the announcement - that we would stay on as best friends whoever would earn the honor; and that the results would not ruin our relationship - and we did!

Up to this day, we still text each other, e-mail every now and then. She had planned to visit me before the start of the year, but things did not push through. She’s still unmarried by the way, guys….he he he...

I usually adjusted well with other people. They were all my friends but I didn’t open up to persons I consider “friends” but in reality are mere acquaintances.

I gained a second best friend in second year college. I didn’t warm up easily, but when I did. I made it a point to stand by my best friend against all odds. Not even a fight between us would stop me from defending her in front of other people.

She was one best friend everyone would like to have- a rare gem that could come once in a lifetime.

College was not easy and there were numerous challenges that have to be hurdled. Since my first best friend was “away” studying in another city. My second best friend was a blessing. Her name is Polly.

There was a time in my college life when I had turned into a “black sheep”. I was relatively young and was easily swayed by negative forces around me. (I guess the Jedi force was not with me then...) I had almost flunked second year because of my absences.

Some so called “friends” convinced me that life should be enjoyed at the moment- and so we went gallivanting around the city –painted it red, and watched all the weekly movies showing in all theaters; we went sight seeing, bowling, visiting places etc, etc…

Polly was just a mere acquaintance then. A “hi”, “hello” “good morning” - dorm mate.

One time though, she cornered me and said: “You know Jen, you have to set your priorities right.”

I looked at her with scorn and replied defiantly, ”It’s none of your business.”

That semester, I got a grade of 76. I have been a half- scholar the previous semester so mother and father were outraged. They learned all about my truancy and how I had squandered their hard earned money on trivial things. They summoned me back home and told me to quit college.

I was devastated. In spite of my delinquency, I had dreams of becoming a professional someday. I cried and wrote to my “friends” to come to my rescue – but no one came. Not even a whiff of concern had reached me when I was so forlorn and in need of consolation.

Only one letter came and it was from Polly – the person, I so ignored.

After a semester of being the homebody, when my parents were certain I had learned my lesson, they sent me back to college.

But they made sure I only had ample money to cover for my basic expenses. I was constantly stretching my allowance to make both ends meet. There were times I had only one dried fish (tuyo) with my fried rice (sinangag) for breakfast.

One dorm mate made a joke (a bad one for me) by sticking the lone "tuyo" into the mound of my fried rice. It stood like a sore thumb and everyone was laughing. I didn’t laugh though, and neither did Polly.

But thinking about it now, that was funny! It must have looked like a flag pole! He he he.

My so called – friends who were with me during my affluent months were nowhere to be seen. I tried to forget what they’ve done and extended my hands in friendship but they didn’t want it. In my time of despondency only Polly had always been there for me.

We would share whatever we had for breakfast, went to school together and studied together. She stood by me through thick and thin and had always provided the warmth and love when I was down and needed someone to cheer me up- even at the risk of being ridiculed. I was no longer the popular student because I was broke.

I was not easy to live with, (I and Polly had reserved the same room) and there were times I was a bad friend – but Polly never counted my infractions.

She wrote my faults/sins on water- easy to be washed out - but etched my good deeds in stone – these she remembered all the time. “You’re good, keep studying.” “You’re not dumb.” "You can do it."

We come across all sorts of people in our lifetimes. Sometimes we call them friends because they’re good to us. But would we stay on if they commit faults? Sometimes, when one small error is committed by our “friends”, this is the thing we tend to remember and forget all the other good things she/he has done.

It‘s like seeing the tiny dot in an expanse of white sheet. We should be aware of this, so we won’t be committing this “sin.”

True friends stay on no matter what.

There are significant lessons I have learned from my best friends:

1.No one is perfect. Accept people as they are.
2.If you want change, you should start first within yourself.
3.Focus on good things done by your friends and not on their “sins”.
4.Be loyal to your friends. Don’t talk behind their backs. True friends don’t do that.
5.Simple acts of kindness and thoughtfulness could strengthen your bond.
6.Actions speak louder than words. Say it and do it too.
7.If you want to have a friend – be a friend.
8.Treasure your friends; they’re one of the few gems in this world that money can’t buy.

In my adult life, aside from my 2 very best friends, I noticed that most of my genuine friends are “males”. Perhaps because male friends are easier to be with and they also treat me nicely because I’m a woman. (wink)

I understand there was also a heartwarming movie made about noble friendships entitled "Stand by Me" but, unluckily, I was not able to watch it.

I leave you with the song’s video and lyrics “Stand by Me.” By Ben King. (I prefer the original version)

Video by Adriancit0

Stand by Me - Ben E. King

When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we'll see
No, I won't be afraid
Oh, I won't be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me
So, darling, darling

Stand by me
Oh, stand by me
Oh, stand
Stand by me
Stand by me

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
Or the mountains should crumble to the sea
I won't cry, I won't cry
No, I won't shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And, darling, darling
(Repeat chorus)
Darling, darling
(Repeat chorus until fade)

Lyrics courtesy of Romantic lyrics


Planters in my Garden and Veranda

I was talking about gardening in my earlier post and how I had loved having a garden in my backyard.

Well, let me continue in this post.

In that garden, I would like planters to make the garden more pleasing to the eyes.

These Outdoor Planters would also provide more space to plant flowers and creeping plants. This would give more garden plots for my vegetables.

My plants would not only be in my backyard, but I would also prefer some window box planters and Indoor Planters in the veranda or living room.

These indoor plants would not only be healthy because they would take in carbon dioxide and bring out oxygen - which our body needs to survive - but would also add elegance and glamour to the ambiance of the house, especially the decorative planters.

I once had a creeping ivy in my veranda and it looked so romantic. Aside from this aesthetic value of providing a refreshing sight for my visitors, it had also served as a tool for relaxation.

When I had wanted to relax, I just stepped into my veranda took a comfortable chair, closed my eyes and inhale the tangy, oxygen-rich air and soon enough, I felt rejuvenated.

I have transferred residence now to an apartment and there are no backyards. But I still plan to buy planters for my living room. Plants should always be a part of a home's healthy ambiance.


What Do You Observe as a Blogging Code of Conduct?

A code of conduct is almost always established in any civilized, social community. The blogging world is similar to these social structures.

It is in this context that an international blogging code of conduct should be promulgated to set the ground rules for proper blogging decorum and conduct.

Although bloggers observe an unspoken rule in the blogosphere, several blogging communities established their own rules, because of a few, bad eggs who threaten to spoil the booming and dynamic blogging industry.

Several groups like the HP bloggers, the Blogging Wikia and many more have already established their own ethical standards.

Websites have their own guidelines that you have to accept and comply with before you could join their sites.

The rules of conduct that they have adopted have basically the same thrust - the respect for self and respect for others. i.e. be cautious and responsible of your words, respect the intellectual property rights of other people, etc.

Many are against this idea as they feel that it is a violation of human rights and that some unscrupulous people might take advantage of this to advance their own selfish ends; but this can be minimized by promulgating basic ethical norms that every blogger should follow no matter what diverse culture he comes from.

The Ten Commandments from the Holy Bible would be a perfect example. The commandments are clear, precise and concise. There are various, existing religions but their beliefs adhere to the same basic tenets of the Ten Commandments (i.e. Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, etc.)

This Code of Conduct that every Blogger should follow must set clear boundaries between what is considered as decent and indecent language, of what is bad behavior and good behavior. It should set clear laws and sanctions on the violation of intellectual property rights. It should also be a venue for the prevention of bloggers from exploitation, harassment, spamming and identity theft.

These are genuine crimes that only a Universal code of conduct could address and monitor. Integrity and honesty then would prevail.

These aspects could be included in the Code of Conduct for bloggers, which would make it more significant:

1. No discrimination as to sex, race, or creed we are all sentient, human beings.

2. Honesty and sincerity should be lauded, these have their just rewards.

3. The desire to help and support each other. A Magi once said: "Ensuring the welfare of others is ensuring your welfare as well."

4. No criminal activities. Criminals should not be allowed entry into the blogging world. If someone is caught, they should be given necessary sanctions. Crime does not pay.

5. Love others as you love yourself

These all boil down to the Golden Rule; "Do unto others, what you want others do unto you."

What about you? What do you observe as a blogging code of conduct?

Photo by cambodia4kidsorg


Travel in Style to Taloctoc

Having a sleek looking car or truck is a status symbol in most countries - especially third world countries.

Even celebrities are "conscious" of how good their cars look; so much so that we oftentimes watch on TV - celebrities becoming advertising agents.

As for me, the closest thing I had as a vehicle was a run-down old jalopy truck.

I would like to visit once more Taloctoc, the far flung village in the hinterlands of Kalinga, where I had spent my childhood days, and I would need to use something that could accomodate the whole family and be road worthy; I need a sturdier, durable and more ergonomically designed transportation.

I had always dreamed of a dodge 1500. It fulfills all the criteria I mentioned above and more.

A nissan maxima or a gmc would also be ideal if I travel alone. The outstanding interior and exterior built and structure would give me the assurance that I'll be safe on the road.

The ride from the city proper through the treacherous mountain- roads of Kalinga would be around 12 hours, which would definitely be a road torture for any vehicle. But these vehicles including the toyota camry review would endure any rough road and still be coming out whole. I've seen lesser cars give in to the arduous ascents and descents through these long and winding roads.

When I go back to the place where I have spent my happy childhood days, I would like to do it in style- in my dodge 1500!


My Backyard Garden

A beautiful garden is something I have always wished for since I started searching for a place to call my home.

I bought a modest bungalow with a spacious backyard that I had planted with vegetables and trees. I had a guava tree, an avocado and a cherry tree. There were eggplants, tomatoes, pepper and some lettuce. I had also planted the edges with roses; roses to discourage intruders as these have thorns.

My small garden - about 224 square meters- was very manageable for me. I had to make use though of a post hole digger, as I had to put up a wire fence. This was a very useful tool as it made my job easier and it facilitated digging.

My garden is not well manicured like my neighbor's.

Hers was beautifully sculpted because she had a more specialized garden equipment to utilize. She had skid steer attachments and zero turn mowers . It was a breeze for her converting the jungle which was once her backyard into a scenic and wonderful garden.

One day, I would be able to do that too!


How to Teach Your Teenage Boys to be Sensitive

Sensitivity is defined by Merriam Webster's dictionary as "the awareness of the needs and emotions of others". In other words, it is the feeling of empathy that you feel for other people. You are sensitive when you are able to feel what the other person is feeling; therefore, it belongs to the affective domain which is a behavioral branch of science.

How can you raise your teenage boys to be sensitive? You have to be aware that since it is an affective behavior that you want to cultivate, then you should devise the most effective method.

For teenage girls this is easier but for teenage boys, it could be more difficult as society expects them to be tough. Like when a boy cries, you can hear the mother say: Stop crying, you're strong. You're a big boy now," implying to the child that crying is only for the weak.

It is in this society's cultural norms that teenage boys grow nowadays. Before you could effectively teach them how to be sensitive to people around them, you have first to change their perception of what and how boys/men should behave. You can only do this if you start "teaching" them at the earliest time possible.

To raise your teenage boys to be sensitive then is a great challenge for parents. Below are suggested methods in doing this:

1. Teach by example

A lesson can only be taught effectively if you as the "teacher" demonstrate how it is done. You instruct them: "Be sensitive to other people's needs." But they observe you ignoring their grandmother, learning then does not occur because your spoken words do not jibe with your actions.

If; however, you have shown concern and took time to attend to their grandmother, then they would learn about one specific way to show sensitivity.

2. Let them read a book that touches on sensitivity

There are interesting teen books on line and in bookstores that talk about how to care for the welfare of others and how to be concerned about other people's feelings. "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Growing Up" and "The Little Prince" are two of the many books that you could encourage them to read.

3. Bring them to a community outreach program

When they see other people serving others without expecting anything in return, they would learn the value of noble, generous service. You could allow them to participate in the distribution of gifts to poor children. This would be an actual exposure and immersion for them and would leave an imprint in their young minds. The joy of being able to help and make other people happy would be a unique "high" for them.

4. Instruct them on the importance of body language

Body language would be a good way of knowing the emotions of other people. Being sensitive to other people's feelings would promote a more peaceful atmosphere. Teach them how to "sense" a brewing problem through gestures and actions. "Actions speak louder than words," so they say. They should learn through practice the negative gestures that would warn them of impending trouble.

5. Teach them to learn how to dialogue

Oral communication should be utilized to "sense" what someone is feeling. They should know how to utilize spoken language to convey and determine what the other person is feeling.

All in all, sensitivity can only be taught through demonstrative action. This is because it is a behavioral output. To be able to effectively teach your teen boys to be sensitive, you must have this trait within you. Persist in showing them how to be sensitive through your own actions. You could never give what you don't have!

Photo by Matt Dinnery