Monday, June 30, 2014

I Made It!

     So it's finally happened. The day towards which I had been working so hard arrived and around the middle of last May, I finally got pinned and marched - I graduated from nursing school! I was definitely thrilled and felt such a big relief to learn that I had passed our final exam. Although I did not get the final grade I was hoping for, suffice it to say that I passed and somehow got to stay just within the honor roll.

     It's now been about a month and a half since that wonderful day. We had a breakfast practice for the pinning ceremony to be held later that same day. It was fun and kind of relaxed that morning while we were practicing, but right after that was a whole other story! I wasn't planning on getting my hair done at first, but when I realized that just braiding my hair would not cut it I rushed to get an appointment at the salon and thank goodness I was able to get one. I almost messed up the timing though, because by the time my hair was done I had just enough time to get home and change into my nursing whites. Thankfully the school was close by so we still got there with enough time to spare for final touches.

     The actual ceremony had me feeling all these mixed emotions - happiness, nervousness, sadness and excitement. It was funny to see some of my batchmates who were also feeling the same way, yet trying to put a lid on the tears that threatened to ruin our make up before we could even get on stage. The entire ceremony was beautiful with its share of bloopers that made it all the more memorable and uniquely ours. And the aftermath - it was mayhem! But a nice kind of mayhem...sigh....

     All this would not have been possible if not for support and encouragement from a lot of people. Thank you to my entire family, wonderful professors, hard working nursing department support personnel, friends and classmates. You all gave me the tools I needed to succeed what is probably the most challenging thing I had ever done, and for that I am deeply grateful. Most of all I thank God for blessing me with all these opportunities and for guiding me through it all. I promise to keep trying my best now that this chapter has finished and a new one is beginning. There are new things on my to do  list (there's still that bachelors degree in nursing), and I'm raring to get started on fulfilling them.

© Margj Castillo, Between You and Me, 2010 - Present.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

...But the Greatest of These is LOVE...

     The title for today's post comes from a verse in the Bible (1 Corinthians 13:12-13), and is one of my favorite verses. Today is supposed to be a day for love, but it seems to have become one huge commercial venture that may have lost its essence. So I just thought to share with you all some inspiring stories that I read in the February 2013 issue of Reader's Digest. These remind us that it's not just a day for couples but also for family and friends we hold near and dear.

"Love on Hangers"

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     Mel and Jo Ellen (Joey) Schwanke have been dressing alike for fifty years. Whatever outfit Joey wears, Mel always made sure that his shirt or tie would be of the same material so he would be a perfect match. It all started with a black formal dress that didn't fit quite right on Joey's full figured frame. He then went and bought some material that he had custom made just for her. Since the mid 1950's they have accumulated 146 matching outfits. They're still dressing alike, and still do everything together. (Click here to read an article about them.)

"Love as a Hardcover"

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      Bryan Martin gave his daughter Brenna the sweetest gift a dad could ever give for her high school graduation. Using Dr. Seuss's book Oh, the Places You'll Go, Bryan started creating his one of a kind gift. He started when Brenna graduated for the first time (in kindergarten). He asked her teachers to take a page to write down comments about her at the end of the school year. He did this every year until her senior year in high school. Brenna was very moved by her dad's thoughtfulness and the nostalgia his gift brought.

"Love in the Mail"

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      Jean Tiffin's daughter, Carol, was at a loss for a gift to give her on her 89th birthday. Previous gifts had been judged either too pretty to wear or too expensive. Then she remembered how excited her mother was whenever she got mail - even a simple store catalog made her so happy! So Carol decided to launch a campaign for her mother to receive as many birthday cards as possible by appealing to her church, on facebook, and even to Jean's favorite disc jockey. Jean was indeed thrilled when she received her birthday cards - all 136 of them.

      So there you have it. If these stories have touched you or even given you some ideas for Valentine's Day, then you are most welcome to try them. I'm very sure your loved ones will greatly appreciate it.

© Margj Castillo, Between You and Me, 2010 - Present.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

     It's always nice to get these pleasant surprises every once in a while, especially when you least expect it. Hmm, but then again, it won't be much of a surprise if you were expecting it, right? hehehe... Anyway, one of my blogger friends, Malou of Thinking Outloud, surprised me with not one but two blogger awards! Yeay!!! Isn't that so nice and sweet of her? So thank you so very much Malou, I'm not quite sure I deserve the award but I definitely appreciate the recognition. Thanks to all the people who also take the time to read my posts here and in my other blog (In Review - I might as well shamelessly plug it here, hehehe), as well as the others who just happen to pass by whether intentionally or unintentionally.

     Now, each awardee needs to do something to help spread the love and in a way pay it forward:
  • Each person must list 11 things about themselves.
  • Answer the 11 questions that the tagger has set for you PLUS you MUST create 11 questions of your own for the 11 people you will nominate with this award. 
  • Choose up to 11 bloggers linking them to your post. Go to their page and inform them of the nomination. Absolutely NO tag back.
  • Remember to ONLY tag bloggers with less than 200 followers.
     My choices for recipients of the Liebster and Sunshine awards are:

2. Roni Flores - Marikina Food Trip
3. Diosa - Relationships 
*I know it says in the rules that I need to tag 11 people, but I'm afraid I won't be able to follow this particular rule since I don't follow that many blogs. I hope this won't lead to my award being revoked. ;-D

     Here are the questions I would like them to answer:

1. What are the top 3 songs that you would include in the soundtrack of your life?
2. Name the person who has had the most impact in your life thus far.
3. What is at the very top of your bucket list?
4. If you could go back in time, what event would you want to witness in person?
5. Do you prefer living in the present or do you wish you'd lived in an era in the past?
6. Who would you like to spend one whole day with and why?
7. If your house was on fire, what one thing would you make sure to save?
8. What place would you like to visit that you haven't been to yet?
9. What's your favorite way to relax?
10. What one food can you eat a lot and not get tired of?
11. When was the last time you said "I love you" and to who?

     Now for the questions that I need to answer:
  1. What side of the bed do you sleep on? Right, sometimes left or the middle too
  2. Do you believe in ghosts? No, not really. To me they're in the same category as vampires and zombies.
  3. If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life what would it be? Any movie with Audrey Hepburn
  4. If you could only read one author until the end of time who would it be? So hard to choose, I like several authors! I guess for now it'll have to be David Baldacci.
  5. Would you rather serve a week in prison or try and survive for a year alone in a jungle? I'll take my chances in the jungle.
  6. How old are you? 39 (there, I said it! nyaaaaaahhhhhh)
  7. If you were on death row, what would your last meal be? Some kind of comfort food, like tinolang manok; nothing lavish or exciting since I doubt I'd have much of an appetite anyway. And some top grade dark chocolate.
  8. What would you want to be written on your tombstone? She lived her life to the fullest.
  9. If anyone in the room could be your slave for a day, who would it be and what would they have to do? Someone with a lot of money like Donald Trump, and have him donate money to a lot of causes that need funding. And maybe have him buy me a house or two as well. :-)
  10. What was the last thing you said to someone? Thank you (to my mother in law who was giving me a berry shake)
  11. If you had to choose between a millions bucks and being able to fly, which would you choose? A million bucks, that I'll try to turn into more so I can do a lot of things with it. Good things, that is.

© Margj Castillo, Between You and Me, 2010 - Present.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Man vs. Angry Sea Turtle

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     We often hear about encounters between man and other creatures in the wild. Some are scary, some adorable, and some funny. This particular video posted on YouTube shows a rare glimpse of a sea turtle, an animal we usually think of as mild mannered and gentle. While the clip doesn't exactly show a turtle gone wild, it does offer a rarely seen facet of its personality.

     To the diver's credit, it interacts with the turtle in a gentle manner. However, I wouldn't recommend placing your hands near a turtle's mouth if you value your fingers. It was kind of amusing to see the turtle snapping at various parts of the diver's body, like a boxer being shown punching in slow motion. On the other hand, I never realized just how massive and intrusive an oil rig is until I saw this video. I can only imagine what the ocean's inhabitants make of it, as well as all the ruckus created when it is being constructed. No wonder Mr. Sea Turtle got miffed enough to go back and have a second try at the diver.

© Margj Castillo, Between You and Me, 2010 - Present.

Meet the Happiest Creature on Earth

     While scrolling through pins on Pinterest, I came across a picture of the quokka (pronounced kwak-a), a marsupial found in southern Australia. The size of a cat, it kind of looks like a cross between a kangaroo, a koala, and a rat with a seemingly permanent grin on its face. Click here to see a video and article on this adorable creature.

     Although it may not actually be feeling the emotion of happiness or is perpetually happy as its expression implies, who can resist that cute, chubby face. One just can't help but smile in return. Let's just hope that the species' population decline stops before it's too late.

© Margj Castillo, Between You and Me, 2010 - Present.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


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     That pretty much sums up how I feel this weekend. Just three weeks into the semester and I'm already weighed down by all the readings, skills that need to be learned, exam, assignments, and online material from not just one but two different resources. And all these are just for one subject. I'm actually taking two subjects this semester but thank goodness the other one is not as demanding. Otherwise I'd be pulling out all my hair by now. I don't think bald is a good look on me. Then again, the sem's still early. I can still lose some hair by the time Christmas rolls around. Not a nice prospect when it's winter time and snow is falling.

     But this is all just venting. I'm glad I've finally started on the nursing program. Two weeks from now we'll be going on our hospital clinicals. We'll be dealing with actual patients, walking around in an actual hospital unit. It's exciting and kinda terrifying at the same time. Even with my medical assisting experience and background, I feel a kind of performance anxiety. It's going to be health care at a whole new level. At the very least I hope to uphold the directive of "do no harm". And that I don't do a face plant while on duty. Can you imagine doing that in front of a patient?

     Anyway, enough venting and goofing off. I hear my megaton textbook calling me.

© Margj Castillo, Between You and Me, 2010 - Present. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Farewell to Summer

     To me it still feels like 2012 had just started. But as the cliche goes, time flies and now summer is almost at an end with autumn close at its heels. This summer I wasn't able to go to the beach even once, nor did I get near a pool at the least. But one of my favorite summer activities that I'm glad I did get to do is have a barbeque.

     On the eve of Labor Day holiday we finally got the grill out to do a simple barbeque for dinner with just the family. On the menu were chicken drumsticks, potato salad, steamed veggies and rice. The only thing I got a picture of were the drumsticks while they were grilling, everything else are a pleasant memory by now. These drumsticks were marinated in a simple ketchup based marinade, and happily enough they turned out ok. Next time I'll take an extra step to make sure it comes out really tender.

chicken drumstick on the grill, yum!

      What's your favorite summer activity?

© Margj Castillo, Between You and Me, 2010 - Present.