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Saturday, March 29, 2008

I Made It a Rule...

not to snark here and this isn't really a snark, but more of a warning/reminder. A few months back Ren from an unschooling group I belonged to (she's actually considered to be one of the authorities/veterans on unschooling) posted a comment here telling me to always question doctors. Okay. I never thought I was one given to blind trust. I guess I never really thought much about it at all, but frankly, isn't blind trust what's happening every time you consult a doctor, especially those with exorbitant fees and call themselves diplomates. You trust their knowledge and training so much (mostly because you're desperate to relinquish responsibility and control to somebody who supposedly knows a lot more than you do) that you believe their diagnosis, obey their recommendations for tests, bring their multiple prescription notes to the pharmacy to purchase the drugs (the more potent, the stronger dosage, the better - for the business apparently being run here, at least) that they were very quick to prescribe. Except this time, there was no diagnosis (they admitted confusion) even after a slew of tests that did not clarify anything (if you've been following the saga of my sister's illness here - just check out the health label - you already know that she has gone through tests galore and has consequently been traumatized by the experience/s) and yet there were drugs. Let's not even mention this grotesquely uncaring neurologist who screwed up somewhere thereby causing the Mystery of the Missing MRI Films and then made himself no longer unavailable to us on the pretext that he was about to leave for Switzerland to further his studies (go back to basics, dude, and try to remember what your service is all about). He was weeks away from leaving, but thus was his excitement that he decided his shop was fully and irreversibly already closed and just, you know, Sorry, suckers!
Anyway, we have been convinced for a while now that my sister is about to get better. We were willing to wait months to get her back to normal; after all, it took more than four months for her to deteriorate to her present state. However, the setbacks were pitless. We said we'd work on getting her as healthy as she can be and then deal with the yet unknown disease (hyperthyroid, one of the diplomates says, but we are too suspicious now - the thyroid scan seemed to show otherwise), if there is in fact one. So, how's the plan to work when she has been vomiting and still experiencing excruciating pain and having erratic emotional outbursts (at one point, she was bent on getting herself into catatonia, thus was her depression)? What a test of faith! My mom was at the point of collapse as well from sheer physical and emotional exhaustion, not to mention the mental anguish. It was impossibly to discuss Chipi with her without her bursting into tears. We were in the throes of discord, divided as we were on how to deal with the situation. Some have unshakeable faith and some are prone to panic and we are all just unspeakably tired (Please, I know that this is nothing compared to what others may be going through, but this has been the biggest storm in my life so far and it's natural that I be extremely melodramatic about it). Chip's vomiting was getting worse everyday, the pains were getting more frequent, and her disposition was sinking to dangerous depths. My mom asked me to google the drugs that have been prescribed to my sister to check for side effects and, boy, what a revelation.
Here's what I found:
Tapdin (hyperthyroid) - side effects included vomiting and joint and muscle pains
Omeprazole (heartburn/ acid reflux) - side effects also included vomiting and headache
Gabapentin (pains) - what a whopper, turns out this is an anti-epileptic which may cause patients to have suicidal behavior, side effects also include vomiting and pains; also, it's not to be taken at the same time as antacids (would omeprazole be considered an antacid?)
My dad has always had the theory that Chip's condition was brought about by taking the drugs that were prescribed to her to get rid of her "allergies". Remember back in November I blogged about my sister's allergies and the muscle pains that followed? I just cringe (actually more of sob) at the light and humorous tone of this post. Who was to know what was to ensue, right? Anyway, first there was itchiness without any skin manifestations (My Dad says he experienced the same thing when he was under a lot of stress right after his stepfather died and he was constantly driving back and forth from Arizona to California and he really wanted to go back home to the Philippines, but he had to assist my grandmother with her affairs. Note, my sister was under a lot of stress at that time as well.). She took lots of medication for it. She was injected with steroids and went on take more forms of oral steroids. She went on to have pains and reached a point when she was no longer ambulatory. She was still being plied with all sorts of drugs for the pain. But guess what, I recently had to write about psoriasis topical treatments and one of them was steroids. So, did you know that steroids suppress the immune system? In my very non-medically-trained reasoning, I just thought, what if taking steroids for non-existent allergies, weakened her immune system and caused her to have all sorts of symptoms? Maybe I'm wrong, but no point for the doctors either as they can't figure out what's wrong even with all their impressive credentials.
Just to add extra fuel to the fire: Marguerite's old pediatrician (not the current one) prescribed steroids for her insect bites and didn't warn us not to use it for more than five days. She was also the one who got all excited about Marguerite's cold (the common kind) and faster than you could say "achoo!" she had already ripped out a prescription for antibiotics. Brava!
I'm not saying you shouldn't consult doctors anymore, but, just, Amen! to what Ren Allen said about questioning what people say, especially doctors. However, I am, in fact, saying that, if you can help it (mind the qualifier), you should say "no" to drugs, and not just the prohibited ones.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Here I Make Good on a Promise

Remember several aeons ago when I blogged about the birds Marguerite got for her birthday? Didn't I promise to go out "later" and take their picture? You probably thought I'd never deliver on that promise and you were almost right. It was pure chance that made me finally take their picture. A really awesome thing happened last Monday. We had a visiting lovebird that decided to hang out with our own birds for an hour or two that morning.

The girls from my grandmother's house were the first to notice the visitor. They said that it was exactly like Marguerite's lovebirds. When I went out to the garden to take a look, I noticed that it was a bit different, however. I saw that its eyes were different with a white ring around each one and its colors were also more vibrant. I immediately went inside to google if this was indicative of a disease, but the white ring feature led me to identify the kind of lovebird it was. What we have are peachfaced lovebirds, while our feathered stranger (a welcome one definitely) was a Fischer's lovebird. It flew around, but mostly stayed near the kamias tree, the caged (poor envious things) birds, and the birdhouse.

We've been looking out for it, but it has not returned yet. We hope it's okay. I wanted to catch it, but I think leaving food and water out for it would be a better arrangement and it is also possible that it would go back to its owner. Some birds are trained to do that. Anyway, it was a magical experience for city people who hardly ever see anything flying freely except for sparrows and pigeons. It reminded me of the time when a stray owl landed on our eaves when I was a kid. I, of course, wanted to keep it, but the people from the corner house came over to claim it. I'm sure now that it was illegal to keep it, but those same people used to keep a monkey too.

Anyway, here are Marguerite's lovebirds.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

You Know You've Turned into a Hermit...

It pays to take the scenic route home. We veered several kilometers off the road to our house and found a wonderfully creative bakery/restaurant called Pan de Amerikana, which sells wheat pan de sal the size of hamburger buns. Apparently, this was how pan de sal was made in the '50s. I can believe that. My mom is always saying how everything was served in bigger proportions back in the olden-golden days. Popular hard candy brands tasted better and were the size of little rocks, she says, bread came in bigger loaves and were not so airy... Well, you can't really blame companies for coping with the times and inflation. I suppose they had to find cheaper alternatives for ingredients and make everything smaller.
Anyway, don't you just love discovering something great right in your backyard? I googled it and it seems it's really one of the tourist spots in my city (Man, I should get out more). Classes go there for field trips and tourists include it in their itinerary. The wheat pan de sals (panes de sal?) were awesome. They were chewy and just the right taste. They were served fresh-from-the-wood-burning-oven-hot and my daughter really loved them. I think you can also get them in White Plains (I know I've seen a sign with the same name), but the place in Marikina is just more awe-inspiring. We weren't able to try out the restaurant because it was closed at that time, but I glanced at the menu and it seemed to feature Marikina dishes (they're really good, even if I say so myself, on the sweet side though). Anyway, I'll try out the restaurant even if just for the ambience. There's a windmill, a treehouse, a pond, etc. I'm not sure if I remember correctly, but I think the place offers art classes as well. The place is very "True and Amazing Vacation Homes" (I loved loved loved this show on the travel channel. I loved the theme song, too.).
Anyway, we'll be going back soon to check out the other wares. We'll probably hold off eating at the restaurant until it's cooler (Can you blame me for wanting to stay indoors when the weather is like this? Folks from elsewhere, it's summer here and at the peak of mugginess-a-la-Manila.). We'll try the wheat ensaymada next time as they were all out when we were there. Anyhoo, should you find yourselves in our fair city, check out the 1950s pan de sal, etc. at the Pan de Amerikana. PS. check out the site... better pictures there.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Easter Photo Shoot

I made the easter eggs the usual way (crayon and food color). I didn't have fake grass, so I just ended up dying paper towel for the bed. I emptied Marguerite's block wagon, loaded it with the eggs, flowers, and two stuffed bunnies and the set was all... set. The only element missing in the picture was Marguerite herself, who was in an awesome mood and was set to oppose everything anybody said. We did get one picture that was passable and I posted that yesterday, but I wanted you to see how it looked before hurricane Marguerite got into the picture.

Also, what it looked like while Marguerite was in full force.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Jesus Is Alive!

Almost didn't make it, but happy easter, everyone! If Marguerite looks a bit misty in the pic, it's because she has a cold and was really also crying right before this was taken besides. I was restraining her from hurling the easter eggs and, of course, she had to throw the mother of terror tantrums, so...


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Earth Hour

My husband emailed this to me:
***
Earth Hour: 8:00-9:00pm March 29, 2008
On 29 March 2008 the Philippines will join countries around the world as we literally "turn the lights out" for Earth Hour - an event that will fuel awareness on climate change and prove that when the people of the world work together, they can make a difference in the fight against global warming.

Earth Hour will take place throughout the Philippines from 8 to 9 in the evening on Saturday night, 29 March 2008. WWF invites you to participate by shutting off lights for 60 minutes, organizing your own "lights-out" event or by forwarding this mail to your friends, workmates and family.

Launched in Australia on the 31st of March 2007, Earth Hour moved 2.2 million people and 2100 businesses in Sydney to turn off their lights for one hour. This massive collective effort reduced the city's energy consumption by 10.2% for one hour. With Sydney icons like the Harbour Bridge and Opera House turning their lights off and unique events such as weddings by candlelight, the world took notice. Inspired by the collective effort of millions of Sydneysiders, many major global cities are joining Earth Hour in 2008, turning a symbolic event into a global movement.

YOUR participation will go a long way in spreading the message that we, as individual droplets working collectively - can create an impetus far more powerful than the mightiest of rivers. For more information, log on to the WWF Earth Hour page at: www.earthhour.org
.

If you want to learn more about how else you can help make Earth Hour in the Philippines a success, reply to this email or drop us a line at (632) 920-7931, (632) 920-7923, or (632)920-7926
***
PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD :)

Cuentitos Españoles

Thanks to GinnyBerry of Blackberry Blessings for sharing her discovery of this site, I found another great resource for kiddie Spanish lessons. There are books from other nations as well, but I haven't checked them out yet. I went straight for the Spanish texts. Actually, I don't think there was one from Spain. The set I linked to has South American stories.
And, um, not that it would stop you, but if you're leaving spam comments, don't waste your energy anymore because I moderate comments not to screen negative ones, but to screen spam. Anyway, there's probably some spam robot/program or whatever you call it involved here, so it's like reasoning with a door knob. I thought I'd try anyway.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Mom and Daughter, Drug-free

Marguerite continues to cut teeth. This last one, she was, as usual, feverish (but I'm sure that doesn't have anything to do with teething *snort*) and she also had sores in her mouth. When I googled the symptoms, I ended up looking the possibility of chicken pox (which I've successfully ducked and dodged for 31 years), hand-foot-and-mouth disease (which sounds bovine, but is really all-baby), and this other thing, canker sores I think. I vowed to observe and not panic (hah!). I plied her with liquids and tried to regularly mop her up with a damp cloth, which made her indignant for some reason. My mom looked at her gums and noticed swelling and pronounced it "probably teething" again. The fever was gone by the following day and Sunday, we were thankfully able to go to church where Marguerite's father, I suspect, let her lick the dusty, rusty swing house. He denies it, of course.
Sunday morning, I woke up at my usual wee-hour-schedule to get some work done, but my stomach had other plans. Before I gave birth, I usually resorted to taking drugs in only a couple of situations, namely hideously unbearable menstrual cramps (which occurred monthly, and which they told me would go away once I bore a kid and which consequently made me to pronounce all of them as liars) and an upset tummy (because I was always so scared of having to do #2 in some unknown bathroom). After Marguerite's birth though and my campaign for my daughter living a more natural lifestyle, I no longer take drugs to deal with those two. Menstrual cramps I just try to sleep off and when I can't, I just bear it, perhaps not grinning, but I'm still tolerating something I used to consider as intolerable. As for an upset tummy, I just eliminate what needs to be eliminated and resort to peppermint or chamomile tea to soothe the revolution. Since I no longer work outside the home, an upset stomach is no longer the source of panic that it used to be.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Get Back on the Credit Horse

Don’t you think everybody deserves a second chance? I mean, especially if you’ve learned your lesson. Some of us start our credit history at an early age, during a time when people are arguably still lacking in maturity and its usual byproduct, responsibility. Perhaps some of us didn’t even know there was such a thing as credit history. Then there are those who hit a bad patch in their lives and were just not able to cope. There are so many things beyond our control after all.
Fortunately, there are institutions who believe in giving those who need it a second chance. You can find them all at BadCreditOffers.com, a free online resource featuring bad credit cards and other kinds of loans. It compares the different services for bad credit on the market and provides links to their application. It can guide you towards the offer that’s perfect for you.
Once you’ve embarked on the journey to redeeming yourself, try to keep it straight. Recognize a second chance for what it is and put yourself back in the good graces of the finance world.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Homeschooling, How Much Do I Love Thee?

Let me count the ways - and start off by sharing this video. It is awesome! You'll understand why so many people are so passionate about homeschooling.
Still about homeschooling, here's an update on the California homeschooling appellate decision.
Edited to add, still about homeschooling: Marguerite and I have been playing games from this site. There are times when she insists on joining me at the computer and I usually let her watch something Spanish from YouTube and then I learned about these toddler games, which was a stroke of luck somehow because Marguerite loves them.

I Thought the Spice Girls

should have had spices for names, instead of "Sporty" or "Posh", but they didn't ask me. Anyway, I went over to blogthings and took the spice quiz and lookit, I AM GARLIC.
You Are Garlic
Of all the spice types, you are the most universally loved.
You get long with pretty much everyone, and you leave a lasting impression.
You adapt yourself well to situations. You can fit in or stand out, depending on what you're called on to do.
What Spice Are You?
Actually, I took it last night too and I must have answered it differently because I ended up cumin then. That surprised me since it pegged me as some sort of sultry smoking (I don't smoke) adventuress-type. Good thing I retook the quiz because garlic is what I really am more like. Otherwise I would have had to go out and get myself a rosewood cigarette holder...
What do you mean I'm running out of things to blog about? I'm not! *all outraged and defensive* I was just taking a break from writing articles.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

This Is not a Political Blog

I repeat, this is not a political blog... I have refrained from commenting on what's happening here in the Philippines even if I do have very strong opinions about it because, hey, it was a conscious decision to name the blog "Spinning LOVELY DAYS" and not "What's Wrong with the World?".
However, this is something I'm concerned about. I don't live in California, but I've been there and it's a wonderful place, really quite ideal for homeschooling families (hint, hint). Anyway, I learned about this from my local homeschooling egroup and it's really pretty worrisome. It would seem like it doesn't really have anything to do with me, but one doesn't want certain people to get ideas. Marguerite is not yet school-age, but I believe I'm passionate enough about homeschooling to go underground should something similar ever happen here. I have teaching credentials myself, but I don't think a parent needs them to effectively teach his/her children. I know laws are made to protect and uphold basic rights, but this one has very limited provisions and could hardly work in the best interest of the most involved.
Anyway, let's pray for homeschooling families in California.

Just When You Think

that your daughter is some kind of genius and is going to be potty trained early, she has an accident (except that it was pretty deliberate) in the tub while you're giving her a bath and to deceive you, she doesn't give fair warning like she usually does and you are simply alerted by the smell. You continue bathtime in panic mode because admit it, you are pretty prone to hysteria and can lose your head over the most minor of situations. You emerge from the ordeal needing a drink, but it's high noon and there's nothing dandy except an old bottle of wine in the fridge. You have nobody else to tell except your sick sister, who finds mirth in the episode you recount and defeated, you think, "there's the silver lining in all this." Gosh, the stress levels of motherhood...

Sunday, March 9, 2008

First There Was a Bed

You know how the focal point of the bedroom is the, duh, bed? I mean, really, the kind of bed you have in there dictates the ambience of the entire room. I like to think that I don’t really go much for themes (except that I really do), but I prefer for the elements in a place to complement each other, and if there were to be contrasts, then they have to be striking and work really well.
Now, I have no credentials whatsoever in interior decorating, but I like to believe that I have enough aesthetic sense. If I were to decorate a bedroom (not ours, because, really forget ours. There’s a playpen and what seems to be a bookstore-cum-toyshop sprinkled with gadgety-type things from Husband and it only ever looks okay for exactly 5 minutes after cleaning and then, Oh just forget it!), I would pick a bed and go forward from that choice.
Now, the perfect bed. Sigh, if only I could have a hundred rooms to designate a perfect bed for each. Let’s say I pick this ( from a line of Oak Beds), which is a subtle beauty. The color is great, a nice neutral shade that would work wonderfully with a variety of decorating styles - whimsical with splashes of vibrant colors, modern with solid neutral hues, minimalist with colors blending into each other in unobtrusive harmony… It is definitely a great bed to work with, allowing for many options.
If you find beds inspiring, you can have your fill of them, all different kinds here:
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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Heads-up for a Shameless Plug

I almost forgot and you can just ignore this if you're not a relative who would be thrilled to see my byline; I have an article in today's issue of Manila Bulletin.

Because the Molars Have Been Kind-ish,

the canines are coming in with a fury. Yes, people, we are cutting fangs (and perhaps a few more molars, too) and Marguerite has been extremely fussy and feverish to boot! She has been tugging at her ears, but she's not showing signs of an ear infection, so I'm positive the fever's coming from those swollen places in her gums. I have been plying her with liquids. Later, I might give her a couple of ounces of chrysanthemum beverage, which has fever reducing properties. I guess I'll simply let her sweat and pee the fever out. I still have KoolFever, but I read this right after that other time Marguerite had a fever and now I'm sticking to applying a damp cloth. As for the swollen gums, just cold teethers and biter cookies (I'll have to make some more, note to self). No drugs for my Marguerite. Anyway, just yet.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

All the Time

I used to find it cheesy how nowadays when the worship leader exclaims "God is good!", the congregation shouts back "All the time!" because of that song. It mostly bothers me because I'm a creature of habit and always still shout "Amen!" since, come on, that is what has always been shouted in worship when you agree to something.
But the thing is, yes, God is good all the time. Just in case you didn't know, God's goodness is with us ALL THE TIME. And, yes, I mean, even at this difficult time in our lives.
Take yesterday for example.
The socket-thing near our bed, I don't know the technical term, but there was a loud ZZZZZT!!! and the power fluctuated for a moment. I was on the desktop at that time in the middle of writing an article I hadn't saved yet. There didn't seem to be anything untoward after that, but I couldn't rest easy. My Mom asked the people at my grandmother's house if they experienced the temporary fluctuation as well and they said "no". We were all non-technical-mechanical-minded females in the house at that time, two of which were a baby and a temporary invalid. My Mom began to smell something burnt. We looked for the source. I threw open our bedroom door and voilà! The smoke began pouring out. I called the city's emergency number (161) and told them what was going on while yelling for Mom to turn off the main switch. We couldn't see a fire, but something was definitely burning. Mom turned off the main switch, but turned it back on again because it was dark and then, for some momentary loss of good sense, she began unplugging everything and when she saw the blackened outlet, she began to unplug appliances from that, too. I didn't know she was doing that in our room, just that she went back in. I was still on the phone when there was suddenly a loud POP! and our bedroom glowed orange from within for a moment. So, anyway, Mom did experience a mild burn on her hand, but God was still protecting her because she was able to drop the plug quickly enough. So, anyway, the city electricians came over and I won't go into the details of what went wrong (socket too big for the plug, room to wobble in, causing friction, thus burn - sigh). But it occurred to me, I was taking a nap shortly before that happened. I only woke up because I received a call and had to go online to work. Marguerite was also in the room just minutes before that happened. Anyway, do you see it? Is God good or what? If you must know too, I turned the computer back on and the article was retrieved through the Auto-recover-auto-save-whatever feature of Word.
Also, my Dad came home last night with Chip's thyroid scan/uptake scan results and they indicated that her thyroid activities were all within normal. We still have to show it to my sister's endocrinoligst, but my physician cousin took a look at it and his evaluation was good too. The situation is really very confusing and even if we don't understand anything at all, we know that God is in control and we do not need to worry.
*Edited to add: My Dad just got back from the endocrinologist and Chip is, in fact, hyperthyroid. The size of her thyroid is normal, but there are small nodules around it. I'm glad that we didn't get too excited about what we read since we knew we're in no way equipped to evaluate the scan at all. It doesn't change the fact that God is in control. Hopefully, we can find out soon how this situation looks in the big picture.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I'm Too Busy to Blog,

but we are selling one of our cars, so:

Daihatsu Charade 1992 - AutomaticTransmission, Mica blue, new tires, new battery, newly overhauled aircon, new ball joints, fresh original interiors.
Engine - 1000cc 3 cylinders. Price: Php85k negotiable

Email me at spinninglovelydays@gmail.com if you're interested.

(20-03-08) Edited to add: Thanks for your interest, but this has been sold.