Friday, November 30, 2007

We Are on the Way to Our Twilight

Sister is 27, but something she ate triggered a bout of rheumatism (as well as allergies). It started out as allergies, but soon graduated to allergies and muscle pain (We are not mentioning the stomach spasms, which she also had). She suffered for about a day before she finally went to the doctor. Before she did, she self-prescribed some meds, like Claritin and Benadryl, as well as rubbed all sorts of ointments and creams on herself. (Side note: I'm making dried apple slices at intervals. Gotta have the apple cinnamon scent around this time! When I pause from blogging, I'm grinding whole allspice using an ancient mortar and pestle.) She's not one for waiting for something to take effect. Anyway, in the past couple of days, she has been to three doctors, has had an injection or two, and has spent a small fortune on different types of meds, including steroids ("Chip, what about the SEA Games? They might not let you compete." She's vying for gold in the hula hoop event.). Anyway, she's getting better. With all the expenses, I really believe prayer was the one that did it.
I myself prefer consultations with the internet and herbs for whatever's ailing me, mainly because I'm a tightwad, but also because I believe in herbal medicine. Chip did try natural remedies too, but she was having anxiety attacks, so that deterred nature (actually, the synthetics too) from achieving success. Anyway, for rheumatism, she dissolved honey and apple cider vinegar in warm water. She has also been submerging the concerned muscles in warm water with sea salt (salt reduces swelling - this might have been for the arthritis part, which she also has in the mild form yet. Hard to avoid since she works with her hands.)
Okay, I'm off to dry the apple slices in the oven. If they don't get eaten up in one sitting (that can so happen), I'm including them in my trail mix.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Let Me Check Your Pantry

I know somebody who chose one workplace over another based on the available condiments in the pantry. I'm not sure if she was kidding, but that's something I wouldn't put past this character. Anyway, they may not be so important as to dictate your choice of workplace, but I'll say condiments carry enough weight around here. Then again, you'll remember that territorial disputes have arisen from the greed for spices and think that perhaps you would've given up everything for Moluccas too.
Anyway, in my family, we're big fans of spices. Everything is sprinkled with cinnamon and baked goodies are nutmeg-infested.
Subtlety is lost on us. We want our sweets sweet and everything else spicy. We want great bursts of flavor and we're willing to experiment, so much so that matching food with condiments has turned into both a science and an art. We've even gotten crafty (did you receive the shaker of crushed dried Bird's Eye chilli, the bottle of beyond-picante salsa, the jar of pickled peppers - all homemade?). Contrary to our shunning of fads, condiments go through trends in our house. We always have the staples - salt, pepper, curry, crispy garlic chips, fish sauce, soy sauce, shrimp paste, sweet and sour sauce (BTW, I hate ketchup. I thought it looked like blood when I was a kid and never developed a taste for it.)... - but something would always reign supreme for the time being. For instance, there was a time when I was practically snorting wasabi (I just love how the tang just shoots up my nasal passages). Then, a few weeks ago pickled mustard leaves (In fact, they were consumed so fast they never got the chance to properly pickle at all.) were always present during mealtimes. These were shortly dethroned by roasted eggplant in a vinegar concoction. And then, lately, I've been craving peperoncini again.
With all the "excess baggage" I have now, I just thought it would be much safer to just write about food.;-p

Monday, November 26, 2007

Taek Won't Do

My cousin Jaymee competed again last Saturday in an open-belt event at a nearby mall. My Dad watched from morning until evening so Jaymee would have some moral support. Husband, Marguerite, and I showed up in the afternoon, but left after half an hour or so because Jaymee wasn't to compete until really late. It kinda sucks that the athletes were expected to just wait an entire day for their turn to compete, but the people concerned were used to it. Not the common relative who (yes, I studied taek won do myself and I positively reeked at it) had a freebie coupon for a bazaarnival happening on the same day. Anyway, I'm not an advocate of competition. I don't like the thought of an individual proving herself to be better than another. More so with the thought of anybody who needs to feel superior to feel good about herself. Obviously, I have issues. I'm very competitive myself and hope to overcome my bloodthirsty instincts. Sometimes I forget myself though, especially when watching Jeopardy and roar with triumph when I answer a question correctly acting all "in-your-face!" at the poor person who's watching with me. I'm competitive and lame. Anyway, Jaymee showed up in church with liniment strips all over her body the following day. (Side note: Some gooner friends of Jaymee thought I was her mother. I was outraged at first because that implied that I looked old enough to have a teenager. That was before I did a quick math and realized that I (31) am 18 years older than Jaymee (13), so, oh well... but let me tell you with a completely straight face that up until three years ago, I looked 18! Really! Why won't you believe me?)

Anyway, my SIL Christine had a booth at the Green Meadows Bazaar this weekend. She's selling toys, clothes, accessories... and some of Chip's stuff as well. There were so many booths with cool items, like this one with funny onesies. I exercised supreme self-control though and only bought food. I got several bags of baked tofu chips (for myself and my Mom), which I love. I'll try making some myself because they were rather expensive. Anyway, Christine will be at the WackWack bazaar next weekend. It would be great if you could drop by.

We also dropped by Books for Less yesterday evening. I love that place. Their books are a bit more expensive than Book Sale's, but they're generally in better condition. If you let me loose in either of these shops, I'll completely deplete our budget, so I try to keep my visits rare. Anyway, this time I ended up buying four board books that were already marked down from their original bargain prices. I don't mind giving Marguerite secondhand board books. I just clean them thoroughly using wet wipes or a piece of cloth with alcohol. I make sure to give the edges a good swipe and fan out the pages while drying. I thought before that that might not be enough so I googled to see if there was another more complicated way to clean secondhand board books, but other moms seem to be doing the same thing. I do know that Sister steams old moldy paperbacks before she reads them, but I'm not sure if that applies to board books.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Airing Out Shelved Sewing Projects

I haven't been sewing lately. And since sometimes I have to shame myself into action, I'm listing down pending sewing projects here. I'm enumerating based on the length of time each item has been gathering dust bunnies.
1. Marguerite's quilt - still in the process of cutting squares
2. shopping cart cover - almost done, just need to close up the last side
3. baby leg warmers - so far old knee socks have been cut
4. lovely thrift shop dress - needs altering
5. sling - it was going to be a hotsling, but I find that using the cloth rebozo style works better now that Marguerite is bigger (and heavier and more active). I just need to french seam the sides
Hmm, what's easiest to resume doing? It's not the easiest, but I better fix the dress so I can finally wear it. Then it's a right shame not to finish something that's almost done, so the shopping cart cover also needs to take priority. Now I just need to find the time to work on these things. Isn't it funny how I could have accomplished an entire project in the span of time I had written this blog? There's a message somewhere here that my brain is rejecting.

Friday, November 23, 2007

I Don't Intend to Be Groovy...

... and let Marguerite keep on calling me Ivy. She alternates between that and Mommy, of course, but sometimes she gets confused and calls her Nana "Mommy" too. Oh, I know she's just copying other people and experimenting with the use of my name along with some other dubious habits (knocking down blocks, using her water bottle like a salt shaker and sprinkling water on whatever - usually herself - until it's soaked...) and it's good for her to know my given name. When my cousin Jaymee was very young, she got lost in the airport and when the guards asked her what the name of her companion was, she couldn't give anything more than "Tita" (common Filipino term for aunt, comes from the Spanish Tíita). She didn't know my Mom's first name.
So, more news from the Marguerite front. Some other things she's into. She likes to take hankies (or some other square-ish piece of cloth) and fold them neatly (neatly toddler standards). I think she takes this after me. I don't particularly like housework, but I actually like to sort and fold. She has also been trying to catch spiders (the harmless jumping kind). She saw me drive one off the bed by clapping my hand on the bed, near it and making it jump until it got to edge. I suppose that looked like fun to her. This is not something I would like to encourage until she has learned more about the different kinds of spiders, but while she's not yet exploring on her own, I suppose the habit is harmless enough. I think she also might be cutting her molars (during my time, I was hospitalized for this. Teething is definitely serious business.). I don't care what the experts say. My kid gets a cold every time she cuts a tooth. Anyway, I'm doing everything I can to beef up her resistance in the meantime.
Oops, gotta work. Hasta luego!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

2-4-6-8... Who (sic) Do We Appreciate?

I missed a weekly whimsy again. Gaah, how the world must have stopped dead on its axis, snort. Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving to all the American readers out there.
Several years ago I wrote an article for a magazine about counting one's blessings, how important it is to have a grateful outlook. I really should bring out my copy of that article and peruse it. I wrote a whole bunch of inspirational blather for a time mostly because they sold. Unfortunately, my portfolio is in storage while we're waiting to move into our own place. Otherwise, it would benefit me to read through everything again.
Lately, I've been teetering between complacency and restlessness, but I would really much rather be truly contented. I have so much to be grateful for and yet I tend to focus on what I don't have. In my 365 Things to Do in 2007, one of the items was "to start and end the day with a prayer of thanks". So far, it has yet to become a habit. Usually, I open my eyes, upset that I couldn't sleep much longer or grousing about the quality of sleep I just had (ever tried sleeping in six inches of space having been sandwiched by two extreme sleepers - Husband, in the sense that he's the heavy and marathon type and Marguerite, in the sense that she's the acrobatic and traveling type), and then I mentally map out my day, overwhelmed by the number of things I have to do, a lot of which I wouldn't be able to accomplish that day anyway. Usually, I'm in the middle of brushing my teeth or having morning tea before I remember with a jolt to say, "Thank you, Lord." In the evenings, I usually fall asleep in sharp little staccato spells because while I'm dead beat and way past ready to call it a day, Marguerite is still pacing up and down the bed, all wide-eyed and still hunting down mischief.
How hard is it to realize that behind each subject of complaint is a wealth of things to be thankful for? I woke up when I could have just died in my sleep (our culture believes in bangungot and I have already experienced something akin to this. Believe me, after that episode there was no more doubting the power of Jesus' name); there's a new day, another chance to accomplish whatever task I had lined up; Husband got home safe; Marguerite is healthy, active, and thriving...
Anyway, as I wrote in the aforementioned article, so I write again, it's really all in the attitude.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Kate Needs A+

But not for school. Remember Kate? Still related to what happened to her, she now has to undergo a heart operation next week and she'll be needing a blood transfusion afterwards. If I remember correctly, her mom said that she'll be needing at least eight bags of blood. Please help Kate. If you're not A+ (or are far away - We're in Manila, Philippines), we'll thank you for your prayers, but if you are and would like to donate, please email me at [email protected]. The members of our congregation are usually very eager to donate. This time however, they only want A+ donations to match Kate's blood type and, unfortunately, there are very few matches in our church. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Blessings. :)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Weekends Can Never Be Too Long

I'm home-based, so what am I complaining about? Oh, it's not really a gripe. I just wish Husband's work schedule wasn't so crazy. Anyway, we went to Danie's 1st birthday party on Saturday. Danie's mom is my friend Tricia, the baking whiz behind Little Cakes Factory. The party favors were cupcakes, of course, but these were specially wonderful because on top of each was a picture of Danie printed on chocolate. I was certain I wouldn't be able to eat mine, but I had no trouble gobbling it up when the old sweet tooth started nagging at me.

After the party, Husband and I decided that we wouldn't mind seeing TriNoma after all. We were going to check out the place shortly after the soft opening last summer, but people told me that there were very few shops open, it was hot inside, and there were lots of mosquitoes to boot, so we put off our visit indefinitely. Since we're generally anti-pop, we thought we'd let the general public's curiosity run its course and ignore the novelty ourselves. Anyway, we finally saw it and, yes, it's a nice place. The Ayalas know how to do malls, no big surprise there. I'm not a big fan of crowds though, so I think I'll be sticking to the Shangri-la Plaza for my malling pleasure (in which I sporadically indulge anyway).

You'll remember that we bought a convertible car seat so we can keep Marguerite rear-facing for as long as possible, but we didn't bargain on the baby's adamant refusal to comply with the plan. We thought we'd try front-facing once, but now we're too lazy to switch back and too delicate (hah!) to endure banshee screams every car ride. Anyway, excuses, excuses. Btw, I don't think we have carseat laws here in the Philippines, but Marguerite is way over the 20-lb requirement for front-facing.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Let's Try to Read a Book

If you come over to our house, I can probably get Marguerite to read a book to you. She has a board book (she has non-board books too, but since she tore a page of a fifteen-year old copy of "Squirrel Nutkin", not to mention the second book one of my stories got included in, and a page of my story at that, she mostly handles board books for now) called "Let's Try" and she can read through the entire thing by signing or acting something out. It starts with "Let's try to eat everything up" and she would make the sign for eat while making chomping noises. Next, it says "Let's try to drink the milk", so she would sign "milk". For "Let's try to pat the cat", she would pat the cat in the picture while making cooing noises. Then it's "Let's try to drive the car", so she would sign "car" while trying to make the "vroom, vroom" sound. For "Let's try to wash your tummy", she would simply sign "bath". Finally, it's "Let's try to kiss teddy goodnight" and she would kiss the teddy bear in the picture. I didn't teach her to do that either. Marguerite just figured it out for herself by listening and looking at the pictures. Kids are so amazing.
Another incredible feat accomplished by my little wonder, no thanks to her Dad, was to hurdle the playpen wall from our bed. The playpen is pushed up against the foot of our bed. I was running around this morning tending to a zillion things so I woke up Husband asked him to watch the baby who was next to him in bed (we co-sleep), finishing her first bottle of milk for the day. I left the room and a few minutes later, I heard Marguerite calling me. When I entered our bedroom, I saw the baby in her playpen with Husband seated next to it at the foot of the bed. I thought it was all good until Husband made my blood run cold by asking if I had put the baby in the playpen. The floor of the pen is a sea of stuffed animals and plush toys, but it is still quite a drop if she lets herself free-fall from the top. Something similar happened when Marguerite was nine months old. I had left her with Husband who promptly fell asleep again and when I went back into the room, the baby was already on the floor, about to start rooting through the wastebasket. Both times, Marguerite greeted me with a mischievous grin, but both incidents could have very well taken a different route. So many things could have gone very wrong. It is very clear that God is protecting our baby from her dumb parents. You'd think I would have learned the first time, too. I think I'll keep on flogging myself in the meantime.

Please Take Heed

Ethan needs your prayers more than ever...


November 15 - Day 279

1st Update/9:17 [Ben] - Sorry again for another late update. This is my first opportunity. We haven't learned anything new today, in spite of what we expected. We do have one slight additional prayer request... I was sitting with Ethan about 20 minutes ago and playing for the first time at the apartment in a long long time (because we've been in the hospital). In the middle of playing he collapsed forward and I yelled "Becky". She was there within a second and we lifted his head up and he immediately woke up. So... was it a seizure? I would say so, but on the bright side he recovered almost immediately. Again, the reason this is important is that the seizure medicine that he requires prohibits the CHEMO from working effectively. So we need to remain seizure free at least until he is eligible for brain surgery. With that said, please continue to pray for the requests above.

One other announcement.... tomorrow the bone marrow asperate is scheduled for noon. We will post the update as soon as we know. This is very big. Before Ethan relapsed we prayed for "Miracle Monday".... this is the exact same procedure that we were praying for the first time. We are praying for this test to come back clean (0%) or empty. We would prefer clean because that means that there are still cells but there is no LEUKEMIA, empty means there is nothing.

The doctors do not expect this to happen with 5 round of chemo. This would be Ethan's first round of CHEMO since transplant, so it truly would be a miracle if it were to come back clean. PLEASE PRAY FOR TOMORROW.... IT WILL TELL US WHETHER OR NOT THE CHEMO APPEARS TO BE WORKING. Afterall, if the percentage of LEUKEMIA doesn't start to decrease, then we are out of options. We need to see it turn around tomorrow. Please spread the prayer chain... We thank you from the depths of our hearts for searching inside yourself to BeLIeVe... PRAYER WORKS!!!

November 14 - Day 278

1st Update/5:34 [Ben] - By far, this is the biggest update that we have ever posted. With that said... the phone has literally been ringing every other minute the last few days so please don't take it personally that we haven't answered. Our phone stay on silent. As always we want to keep you posted, so here goes....

There are so many urgent requests that I am just going to be short and to the point. A few minutes ago, they sent us to our apartment here to give us a couple days as outpatient staus. They are doing this because the next step is very likely going to be brain surgery. For that, they will check us into another hospital with neurosurgeons (specialists). For now, we are keeping specifics private at this point because frankly we just don't have any spare time. As much as we love visitors we are staying extremely busy here with everything being so day to day.

As for the rest of this, the doctors continue to impress the point... there is a very slim chance that he will survive as far as they are concerned. Ethan has now been given so much CHEMO that he will not be able to have children. Most likely he will need radiation in addition to the bone marrow transplant. THE ODDS ARE AGAINST HIM AND HALF OF THE DOCTORS ARE TELLING US DAILY TO SEND HIM HOME. THE OTHER ARE SAYING THERE IS STILL A CHANCE.

To make things even more interesting, a few minutes after we checked out of the hospital we were stuck behind a wreck and Becky looked up the rear view mirror and Ethan started shaking uncontrollably and then just passed out. Was it a seizure? We have no idea. At this point... we are just moving forward with our heads held high.

Please pray with a passion... please spread the prayer chain. IT'S TIME THAT WE CALL EACH OTHER OUT. I BeLIeVe... DO YOU? PRAYER WORKS!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

39 to Go to One Hundred; Random Stories about Marguerite

As soon as Dad turned 50, he started counting backwards to zero. If you ask him his age now, he'll tell you that he's 39. That is, 39 years short of a hundred. Last year, the congregation was very disappointed when they found out that he would be spending his 60th birthday in the States. That was just wrong. How were they going to make a big deal out of him officially turning into a senior citizen? Anyway, they more than made up for it this year. The church had the party last Sunday on the 11th. As usual, Tita Thelma was the Big Kahuna who ran the show. She's terrific for the job, although with that unfortunate tendency to play Martha (ditching worship service, heehee) when there's an occasion (slaving away in the kitchen, you know. I'll have you know that I am never Martha, even if not for the correct reasons. Um, please turn to the New Testament for reference, just in case you've been trying to understand the analogy).
Anyway, here are some scenes from the church party:

This is why you should never join eating contests...

Man in plaid gulps down whole hotdogs, eggs still in their shells, and polvorones still in foil wrapper. An example of how parlor games drive one to accomplish incredible feats. :-D

Allison and Chit, winning pair. Simple and sweet. Sway side to side, nothing flashy.
Bianca now has a dalandan permanently lodged in one eye socket.

This one just got uglier and uglier. People were begging them to give up.

The birthday boy...

We have an awesome church with a wonderful congregation. Laughter is a big part of our community. The chapel itself leaves a lot to be desired, but it's an inspiration in itself. Sometimes, we refer to it as the oregano or chili plantation for the grounds are covered by the mentioned plants in wild proliferation (which the members individually harvest according to their weekly menu). Built by church members, the chapel has no walls. In the summer, we try to match the heat of our worship with the prevailing temperature. Come rainy season, we all skulk towards the center, shrieking gleefully as strong winds carry raindrops inwards. Anybody can come in to join in praise and fellowship. We're not fancy here. We all know each other, the young kids are active in ministry, and we've got an octogenarian (just a few years shy of ninety) who comes to church every Sunday and takes his ushering duties very seriously. I used to complain that there was nobody there on my wavelength, but church life isn't about that. It took many years for me to realize that it wasn't supposed to be about me. Now, I love it and am continually blessed by it. I just had to get over myself.


Marguerite has taken to playing with my Mom's accessories (rings, earrings, and brooches excluded, just bracelets and necklaces... choking hazard, very low; strangling, medium, but she's carefully watched). She recognizes the box where Mom keeps them and would scream the house down until you give it to her. She would play with the lot for a few minutes before she would then pick up one of Nana's pearl chokers and insist that somebody put it around her neck. Like a very small drunk, she would stagger around the house in an exhausting (for the watcher) parade, proudly displaying her pearls.
For some reason (like having a mother who watches it nonstop on Youtube and, okay, who may have taught it to her a little...), Marguerite has added "Fabulous" (HSM2) to her repertoire of action songs ("It's out with the old and in with the new..." It's totally an action song). It's right up there with the classic "Twinkle, twinkle..." and the Wiggles' "Hot Potato". In case you're curious, her first ever action song was "The Wheels on the Bus".
But do you want to know what gets a lot of "air time" around here? "The Name Game"! I sent her to sleep yesterday going through all the members of our clan (Grandpa, Grandpa, Bo Brandpa, Bananafanafo Frandpa, Fee Fie Mo Mrandpa... Grandpa!) and when I started to repeat myself, I segued to the things that are usually exposed to her (binky binky bo binky...). It's actually a pretty good vocab drill.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Was It Special?

Thanks to all those who remembered. It was a good day considering so many things. What made it good? I slept the entire afternoon. The one thing that could rain on my birthday parade happened (okay, many things have the potential to ruin my day, but I decided from the very beginning that this was going to be a positive blog, so absolutely no snarking), but nature's something I have no control over (That is, I could have gotten pregnant, then I wouldn't have to go through it for roughly a year, but have I ever mentioned how vile my hyperemesia was? Btw, I am hunting down all of the people who told me that the cramps would go away once I give birth. They made me HOPE.) and the best way to deal with it is just to sleep it off. My Mom made it possible.:)
Anyway, Husband was so, let's call it endearing, waking me up at 12am on my birthday, first crackling a big bag of jalapeño-flavored chips, and then greeting me. I thanked him and tried to go back to sleep (because "Sleep! Yum, yum, yum!" - a la Cookie Monster), but a few seconds later he was giving me pescatore pasta from Amici di Don Bosco ("Oh, you can eat this later."). He walked away again, but only to come back with a bouquet of flowers ("Oh, you can put it in water. Er, I mean I'll put it in water now" - but he didn't). This happened a few times more: a book, a birthday card, a carton of wheat chips, camembert, pie... I'd thank him each time, a little bewildered because he was pacing back and forth, sometimes going out of the room, sometimes bringing something inside, sometimes taking it back outside, sometimes stopping to talk to me, just a confused flurry of activity to my sleep-addled brain, until there was no point going back to sleep so I sat up and considered eating one of the things (the edible ones, of course) he had given me. Anyway, mild mayhem and sleep disturbance aside, I have an adorable husband. Marguerite woke up at one point and stayed up for an hour or so. Husband took care of getting her back to sleep even if he still had work to do and had to wake up at 5.
Anyway, both Husband and my Mom gave me a banoffee pie. It's one of those times when my taste coincides with the fashion. For some reason, the banoffee pie is "in". It's the dessert of choice at Starbucks (I wouldn't really know about that. I don't drink coffee and I rarely step inside a Starbucks) and people are always serving it in " Come Dine with Me" (okay, so the season being aired here right now may be 2 years old and I'm not sure what that says about my perception of trends, but that's how I see it, lol).
Husband was supposed to take me out the evening of my birthday, but I still had cramps. We were supposed to go out again yesterday, but the cramps were still there in full force. Just in case I forget, please remind me that Husband still owes me a birthday date.

- Stop disturbing me and take a picture of my present!

The Marguerite is easily the prettiest flower in these pics.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Disrupting a Belief System and My Consumer Universe

I remember having breakfast with a colleague and our boss about three years ago. My friend was saying that she'd like to get a credit card, but she didn't know how to go about applying for one. The boss said something, then my friend said something and before anybody could exclaim "Charge this breakfast on my platinum!", I had been dragged into the conversation and was already apologetically confessing (if "apologetically" is synoymous to "snootily" and "challengingly") that I didn't believe in credit cards. Of course, having been given an opening to poke fun at yours truly, the boss started teasing me about this claim. How can I not believe in credit cards? They're not like ghosts; anybody can see them. Then when he was about to pay the bill, using his credit card, of course, he made a big production of covering up the card because he "didn't want to shock me". Harhar. :)
The thing is, I don't remember if my Dad ever said anything to outright discourage me from getting a credit card. I do remember when I was a kid that he gave up his credit cards because they were too habit-forming. He would always find himself charging even the smallest item because it was just easier to do so. My Dad has always had admirable discipline and when it comes to temptation, his way of dealing with it is to steer clear. Thus, the credit cards were banished from our home. When he began traveling abroad a lot, he started using credit cards again, but he made it a point to pay off everything on or before the due date. He's a firm believer in staying debt-free, something that has obviously rubbed off on his children. Sometimes, I muse in a philosophical vein, peace is having all of your bills paid, being able to count on a steady income, and regularly salting away a little extra for emergencies. Hmmm, good habits, but where does faith come in? That's another topic though. Going back to Dad, he made my Mom and Sister supplementary cardholders. He offered to make me one too, but I declined.
I spent the first three decades of my life credit card-free. Of late though, what with traveling abroad (I'm making myself sound like a jetsetter, but I haven't gone out of the country in three years.) and doing business online, credit cards are beginning to make sense to me. To cut to the chase and relieve you of this inane chatter, I want you to know that I now have a credit card. I've had it for a couple of months now. It's a supplementary account to that of my husband's and I have yet to use it (habit dies hard), but, yeah, I've conceded to the times (The end is nigh! OT: Do you believe credit cards would lead to the actual mark of the beast?). I do still believe that we must have the actual cash for our purchases. We'll just pool the different amounts aside to later pay off the credit card bill and we must always pay in full! Always! I get hives if I owe money. Husband finds this trait incredibly tiresome, but "peace is having all of ..." The question would be, if you have the cash, why not just use it instead of the credit card? And the answer would be, because of the reward points. We may only spend for necessities (how I wish this was true!), but if we garner enough points, we can get some extra at zero expense. Now we just have to be careful and extremely disciplined. You'll know if we actually are by asking me in a few months if we still have our credit cards because the very minute I find out that we can't pay the bill in full, I'm taking the scissors to them.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Tribute to Nana

It's my Mom's birthday and articles about her have gotten stale. I'm sure she would say that she enjoyed reading it and felt proud and flattered... but thus far, I've already had three published in local newspapers and a magazine honoring her as a mother, so a blog post is hardly original. Articles about her being "Nana" will hopefully come forth when Marguerite starts writing.
In the meantime, "Marguerite" made a collage for her (thanks to SnagIt and Word. The laptop I was using didn't have Photoshop:-( too bad.). I also guided her hand in writing a short note to Nana on nice sparkly paper. She yelled in my ear the whole time we were doing that. I would normally just leave her to her squiggling with thick crayons, but we were using ballpoints for that. Marguerite's gift also included a casserole baking dish (I had given another one to Mom in the past, but somebody who shall remain unnamed *ermchip* broke it by cooking with it over direct fire).
I would have made a montage, but Mom's hardly ever online (high technology scares her, plus she deliberately forgets anything we teach her regarding the internet). BUT she is going to check her email today as far-flung and not-so-far-flung members of the clan are sending a deluge of egreetings, so her friends need not think twice about sending her an email. Hint! Hint!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Be a Prayer Warrior for Ethan Powell

Things aren't looking good, but faith in God can easily move mountains. Believe that we shall continue to witness miracles through this little boy. He's turning one soon and I pray that his birthday be a joyous occasion in many ways.
Please take note of these very specific prayer requests:
#1 - No seizures
#2 - Chemotherapy to be effective

You can learn more about this at

Monday, November 5, 2007

Make Up for Lost Whimsy

I missed a week. I don't know which one. It must have been a really busy time. I didn't even notice. Or my Math skills are proving to be non-existent again.
Anyway, I just got both a manicure and a pedicure today. Whoa, big spender. Not really. We get home service from somebody who's like a family heirloom and has been doing the nails of the female members of my clan for several generations now. We love Aling Neneng. She contacted infantile paralysis/ polio when she was young, but she doesn't allow this to hinder her from living life fully. She also supplies us with gossip about her relatives, so that's a bonus. :-p I usually get just pedicures (regular cleaning, no polish) because I've declared the nails on my hand a lost cause. Getting manicures is a big commitment for me. Keeping my hands presentable is a full-time job I do not wish to take on. As for my feet, my toenails need a professional. I'm a very squeamish person if that hasn't come across yet and I can't deal with hangnails, ingrowns, cuticles, etc. I cut them three weeks in a month. When they get so they look like they got barnacles growing on them, I get a pedicure. That's still economical. I usually spend 50PhP (a little over a dollar) for my regular pedicure. I figure that's cheaper than having to recover from self-inflicted gangrene.
Aling Neneng's whimsy: "I wish my eyesight is still good when Marguerite gets old enough to get her nails done." Aw. Anyway, I have purple nails. The ones on my hands are even glittery. I'm living it up. This week, I have license to be flashy.:-p

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Pictures from Sister's Sale

I believe you'll recognize some people from Marguerite's party. They did such a good job of livening up the party that we decided to rent them from the mental institution again. Just kidding again! Like I said before, these guys rock.

Okay, what's a mini dress and two layers of skirt, a black shawl my Mom crocheted for my sister, and a tray of matchboxes supposed to make me look like? Nobody could guess even if I did add streaks of eyeliner on my face for grime (not evident in photo). I had to tell them, "The Little Match Girl" and each one answered me with, "Ooh, that story made me cry so hard." Yes, you can obviously feel sorry for this hefty version of the match girl. Look at my arms and ribs just wasting away. Snort.

- When weirdos wear black

The Early Birds. "We're gonna be late for the party!!!"

This is what happens when you come to the party late. Your Mulan costume remains in the closet and you borrow somebody else's witch's hat.

This is what happens when you remove your kids costume pieces (so she'd be more comfy. They go back on for photo ops) and leave them lying around.

The "Sixth Sense Award" goes to these two for the uncanny ability to sniff out photo ops. They have more pics. More. You have no idea.

- This is what happens when you don't come in costume and then you learn about the freebie, so you insist on making a costume and dash to the nearest convenience store for green crepe paper for your alleged Peter Pan costume, pester your host for Scotch tape, remain at the back while you toil on your impromptu costume for ten hours with only a kid who insists on wearing a Billy Crawford costume to a Bedtime Tales Theme Party (only he calls it Robin Hood. Sometime he gives in and lets others slip a pillow up his shirt so he becomes Quasimodo - the 'Lunchback' of Notre Dame, according to him) for company while the rest of the people holler wisecracks at you through the separating curtain. And then about five seconds after completing the costume, donning it and posing for a pic, the crepe paper rips. The fact really is, your costume is best when you're not wearing one, lol. Just kidding!

This is what happens when you come in costume, your pic gets taken and then gets posted and poked fun at by bloggers:[p. To those whose pics aren't here, I'm still waiting for Lalab to upload pics from her camera. To those who want to see the bigger version of the pics, add me as a friend on Flickr. Dated pics are Chit's, btw (Thanks, Chit!).