I’ve Moved!

A lot of things are still going on with my new blog but just a heads-up for those of you following me that I am preparing to continue this blog under a new domain name. It’s about time since I’ve spent many years on this free platform. There are many more things I can do on a self-hosted one; thus, the decision to move.

The new blog has all my old posts but I’m fixing a few things that did not carry over from this blog to the new one so please, bear with me while I fix them.

Here’s To Life! can now be found at janeuymatiao.com

PLEASE VISIT ME THERE. And if you’ve bookmarked this site’s URL, do change it to janeuymatiao.com. See you!

Celebrate International Left-Handers’ Day 2009 Today (August 13)!

Lefthanders in their Right Minds

Left-handers (popularly called Lefties) comprise only about 7-10% of the world’s population.

Up until the last generation, left-handed children were forced to switch to the right hand by most parents. It’s only now that lefties are acknowledged for their uniqueness and creativity.

Based on studies, here are some interesting trivia about left-handed people:

– Some famous Lefty personalities are US President Barack H. Obama, Henry L. Ford, Mark Twain, Jimi Hendrix, Michelangelo, and our very own Rafael “Paeng’’ Nepomucen and Emmanuel “Manny’’ Pacquiao.

– Men are slightly more likely to be left-handed than women.

– When NASA began searching for imaginative, reliable, multi-talented people for the moon, 1 in 4 Apollo astronauts turned out to be left-handed (a figure 250% greater than statistical probability).

– Left-handers reach puberty 4-5 months later than right-handed people.

– Lefties tend to draw figures that face the RIGHT.

– Probably because they use the right side of the brain more, lefties appear to be better in the music and arts scene.

– According to neurologists, lefties adjust more readily to seeing underwater.

– Left-handers seem to excel in sports such as tennis, baseball, swimming and fencing.

– The probabilities of producing a lefty are as follows: 1 in 10 if both parents are right-handed; 2 in 10 if one parent is left-handed; 1 in 4 if both parents are left-handed.

– 4 of the 5 original designers of the Macintosh computer were left-handed.

– Lefties account for a large percentage of those in remedial reading classes.

In my family, three of my kids were born Lefties. Our second daughter, C2, was born left-handed but since I did not know any better then, I taught her to use her right hand so she would not have difficulty in a right-handed world. However, our 2 succeeding children, both boys, also turned out to be Lefties. And to this day, I wonder about this because while we have other lefties in the family (my sister and some in-laws), both me and my hubby are right-handed.

We are fortunate that in the boys’ school, they took pains to accommodate lefties by providing desks with left-sided arm rests. It’s not so bad anymore now that they are in high school because the desks are tables with ample room for you whether you are right- or left-handed. But at home, I still have to contend with bumping elbows with M2 at the dinner table.

In 1990, the Left-Handers Club was established and on Aug. 13, 1992, they launched International Left-Handers’ Day. According to their website:

This event is now celebrated worldwide, and in the U.K. alone there were over 20 regional events to mark the day in 2001- including left-v-right sports matches, a left-handed tea party, pubs using left-handed corkscrews where patrons drank and played pub games with the left hand only, and nationwide “Lefty Zones” where left-handers creativity, adaptability and sporting prowess were celebrated, whilst right-handers were encouraged to try out everyday left-handed objects to see just how awkward it can feel using the wrong equipment!

These events have contributed more than anything else to the general awareness of the difficulties and frustrations left-handers experience in everyday life, and have successfully led to improved product design and greater consideration of our needs by the right-handed majority – although there is still a long way to go!!

Today, I greet all Left-Handers, including my lefty kids and blog readers. You are unique and in a class all your own. You have your own place in this world and can make a great contribution with your creativity and artistic talents.


Jesuit Online Retreat 2009

You can be online, at work, at home, abroad and still be able to do a personal Lenten retreat at any time, at your convenience.


Fr. Johnny Go, SJ, in his spiritual blog, Pins of Light, has given a heads-up on another online Jesuit retreat (The Silences of Lent) that anyone can do for Holy Week. The first online retreat launched by the Jesuits in 2008 was a resounding success as it allowed many people who had little time to spare or who were far from a Holy Week Retreat venue to set aside as little as 30-45 minutes on each day of the Holy Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil) and be with the Lord.

Fr. Johnny writes about this retreat:

Ours is a God of Silence, but He keeps different kinds of silences. And during Lent, more than ever, He is silent, for His deepest silences are experienced in the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus.

Lent is a season full of silences: The Silence of Gethsemane, the Silence of Calvary, and the Silence of the Empty Tomb–each one is different from the other. Maybe if we understand God’s silences in Lent, we will better understand His silences–and language–in our own lives.

(UPDATE: Here’s an invite to the online Lenten Recollection)

Project: 50Leaves

We are a bookworm family. My kids and I love to read — a lot! We have outgrown storage shelves in the house. Where to put the books we continue to buy is becoming a space problem in itself. So when C1 decided to launch her very own project called 50Leaves, it did not surprise me and shows just how far her love of the written word has come.

I am reposting this from my girl’s blog, China Doll in the Philippines, and am the first to formally support her drive to get people reading again. C1’s personal drive is to get the love of reading back into people who have forgotten this joy. The aim is to read 50 books within 2009. Not textbooks or professional journals. Not just chapters of a book (as in assigned class readings). Not magazines. These should be non-academe or non-professional books. The kind you would get at a bookstore for leisurely reading.

In her blog, C1 explains the title of her project and why she decided to make it public:

So why 50Leaves? Basically, my personal aim is to read 50 books in a year. That’s about  4-5books a month. Seems like a hard task, but that’s part of the point. I chose leaves because leaves always remind me of books. It could have stemmed from the word “leafing through books”, but I’m not quite sure. People nowadays don’t like reading books. They’d much rather play video games or watch the boob tube for hours on end, which is sort of sad. Before all these modern technologies, people spent their time reading and expanding their vocabulary, indulging in classics or plays and such. Now, ask a person to read a book and most will ask you if it’s a requirement for school or not. People have lost the love of reading and the love of books. I’m hoping to bring that back for some.

Personally, I think 50 books in a year may be too much as i am now reading a book the thickness of Harry Potter. That alone is probably worth 2-3 books! But what the heck, it is not the quantity but the desire to read that is spurring me to support her worthwhile project. If kids in school can be taken out of internet cafes and computer gaming for part of their lives and to settle down reading noteworthy books, I believe we can raise the bar in terms of education and knowledge power.

We are still working on other mechanics but I encourage you to join this project. The goal is not merely reading 50 books by end-2009. The aim is to rediscover the joy of reading. Relish the journey more than the destination.

I have started a book list on my sidebar to remind me to keep going at reading. Unfortunately, I cannot post my Shelfari bookshelf here due to free WP limitations but you may be able to post yours. That would be a good start!

Here are the mechanics so far (as taken from her blog post):

How to join:

i. Leave a page/entry dedicated simply to this project. Entitle it 50Leaves. I shall leave a comment on your page if the project title will be changed.

ii. On that page/entry write down (in numerical form) title of the book/s you are reading B author of the book you are reading C a vague idea of the date you finished the book (doesn’t need to be specific, could be just the month, or could be down to the exact date). If the book you are reading gets finished kindly put on bold the entire line. If the year ends and you haven’t finished the book, kindly cross it out/put it on strikethrough. (see examples below)


1. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (finished around April)

2. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

iii. Once you’ve written a page and followed at least A and B of the previous number, please don’t forget to link to this specific page on your blog (and entitle it as Project:50Leaves) and please don’t forget to leave a comment below with your name and link url to your 50Leaves blog entry/page. You’ll officially be part of Project:50Leaves once I’ve left a comment on your blog and added your name and 50Leaves page into the list of project members below.

iv. At the end of the year, leave a tally at the end of the list saying how many books you’ve finished. It would be easy to count since the books you’ve read will be in bold.

v. Extra bonus. If like me, you like to write reviews, you can choose to do so. Write your reviews on a separate blog entry then link to them via your 50Leaves list. Just please remember to keep your page neat and clean.

Jupiter + Venus + Moon = Smiley Face!

In astronomy-speak, it is called a planetary conjunction — when the planets seem closest to each other. The National Geographic News article ” Planets, Crescent Moon to “Frown” on Skywatchers Dec. 1″ said what we would see is a frown but lucky, lucky us here in Metro Manila tonight because what we saw in the skies was this (I only had a digicam so I leaned on a window ledge to steady my hands while taking these using the slowest exposure my cam had):



Tonight we saw the 3 brightest celestial bodies — Jupiter being the largest planet, Venus being the closest planet to Earth and our own moon! Some historians even think that a similar conjunction could have been the “Star of Bethlehem” source.

Whatever it was, so many bloggers took pictures tonight, blogged or Plurked about it and shared a special moment together. What an amazing happy night tonight was! 

Special thanks to a special friend who gave me a heads up to look up into the sky.

His name is MAX!

Yes, so now you’ve met my new love. But I never did get to tell you his name, right?

Well, his name is MAX. I have my own private pet name for him but for the world, this shiny, new hunk of metal is MAX – short for My Apple Xtreme! 🙂

I guess having the power of the earlier Macbook Pros makes my baby qualify to be called Xtreme (at least till the next more powerful model comes along!).

It was also as close to a man’s name as I could think of and quite close to “Mac”, which he is. And it also reminds me of Max Alvarado whom you would either love or hate for his contrabida roles in Pinoy movies till his death in 1997. I used to be amused when he did comedic roles as a bad guy and the name Max does conjure images of a bouncer.

Do you give names to your laptops? Do share them with me so I know Max is not alone…

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