Friday, May 30, 2008

Adventure Schooling and Still Going on about Terabithia

This post is about a great source of inspiration for many homeschooling families, but I'm sure many non-homeschoolers will also find it fascinating. Many of us who homeschool have aspirations about living a life of counter culture or simply a life less ordinary and, happily, learning about families like the Vogels stirs us into action towards such a goal.
This amazing family (Mom, Dad, and ten-year-old twin boys) is bicycling the length of the Pan-American Highway (Alaska to Argentina). They will be sharing observations and discoveries as they go along, so they will be providing a great resource for geography lessons among other things. At the end of their journey, the twins will also hold the record for the youngest people to cycle the Pan-American Highway. If you want to learn more, you can read their actual press release or visit their site.

So, I did tell you that when I like something, I can get really boring about it. Anyway, I thought the songs sung in Ms. Edmunds' class would make a great addition to my nighttime repertoire and as I was googling the lyrics for all three, I came across this video:

And I know you didn't ask for them, but here are the lyrics. I'm really just proudly dorky that way.:-)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ministering in Youth

Our church's annual summer music school had its recital/graduation last Sunday and it was a roaring success (because while we can be solemn when we want to, our congregation is the type that is rowdy and fun, ringing of shrieks of laughter and wiseacre cracks, all in the spirit of bonhomie and true feeling of family - had we been a living room, we would be the lived-in, bedraggled type). Obviously, the Music Department is the most involved (kudos to Maf who is their head) and while I ordinarily limit my role to spectator when it comes to their projects (I love music with a passion, but I fear that my sentiments are pretty unrequited), this time I was tapped to emcee along with Tito Ricky.
To God be all the glory, but I'd like to give some credit to those who worked hard and, bar a few individuals, they were all young people. These kids will not look back and regret that they had been idle in their youth. I am really very impressed by their energy, dedication, and enthusiasm. They basically had the whole program running. They were the teachers, the students, the tambourine dancers, the decorating committee, the food committee, the ushers, etc. (We even have a band of preteen kids - well, a couple are thirteen now, but they were preteen when they started out- , singing and playing instruments for the Lord.) And afterwards, they cleaned up and packed up and still had more than enough energy to mug for the camera. They're not very shy, these kids, as is obvious in the wacky shots. For days now, they have been posting and grabbing photos from each other on Friendster. Admirable as they are, they're not perfect, of course. They sometimes have to be shushed during the service (but come on, many adults do too), they sometimes have a falling out with each other, they commit mistakes that are characteristic of youth, but the important thing is that they are open to guidance and correction. It is our job to remember though that guidance and correction do not equate to censure. These young people are growing up and maturing within the church and that's a huge factor in their development. Anyway, it is my prayer that they continue in ministry for the Lord.
Hey, Maf, Cheska, and Jaymee, I stole some of your pics to post here.

(man, look at these shy-types! dark shot. marguerite and grandpa at the drums. marguerite and toni in vibrant red. cheska -previously referred to as big C in this blog - serving mini cupcakes.)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

(Web)Hosting A, B, Cs

Many bloggers out there, myself included, do not really have much technical know-how when it comes to the web business (hosting, development, management, et cetera). However, one of, if not the, best things about the age of internet is that most information is just a click away. Tips articles abound and web hosting tutorials are available to those who want to learn.

I know there are lots of bloggers who have decided to expand their blogs into actual websites. Their blogs, if monetized, get enough traffic for them to generate a pretty regular income. These folks can afford to spend a little to maintain their online identity and perhaps fortify a business. Maybe it has not gotten to a point where they can pay for web professionals to manage their site, so they need to look into and execute the details themselves. It’s all very DIY, which I love. If you’re looking to go in that direction, offers listings and articles on pretty much anything you need to know about web hosting.

I Never Really Liked David a Biblical character, I confess. I know he was a man after God's own heart, but I've always had a problem with too much charisma. It touches my natural sense of fairness. I feel that they get away with too much.
This is not the reason why I didn't involve myself in the American Idol hullabaloo about the battle of the two Davids. I just didn't have time. I did get to see the actual sing-off and despite the judges' comments, I feel that the deserving David won. He's ripe for the honor. He's much more seasoned, mature, and versatile. It does not hurt either that his final song is Collective Soul's "The World I Know", which I absolutely love. Before getting hooked on "Needs", which is the usual favorite (unless knowledge is limited to poppish tunes, then the usual fave would be "Shine"), "The World I Know" was tops with me. Another confession: during the time when Marguerite should have been listening to Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, and other classicals, she got more of Collective Soul. Back then, I was always watching their concert with the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra (there's the classical twist to it, hehe, I would justify) and little Marguerite got used to Ed Roland chanting "The World's Done Shaking Me Down".
I had a crush on Joel Kosche (even if Dean Roland holds the official man-pretty title), but was initially into Collective Soul because Ed and Dean are pastor's kids and I was/am always interested in celebs who are, and during a time when I really wanted to listen to rock, but still had my Dad's sermon against secular music (did anybody else get to go to camp and was forced to listen to the backmasked version of Led Zep's "Stairway to Heaven", heard "tsk, tsk, tsktsk" and was told that it said "sweet, sweet satan"?) ringing in my ears, "Shine" debatably had a Christian message.
So, yeah. I didn't get to see the AI finale and I'm really not heartbroken about it. Although I am happy that that David won. So you can say I semi-care.

Hammer Time!

I'd love to be able to do carpentry work, but have not had the chance to learn or experience it yet. Here's a conversation about a product that is both a hammer and a ruler.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

More Election Stuff... It's Starting Again

Survey sequels are so in! (Did I convince anybody?)

Nothing Crushes Us!

Them's fighting words, eh? It's a great thing to keep in mind just now when we received fresh insight into my sister's situation. I'm not sure if I'll ever be sharing it here, but we'll see how it turns out.
I really mean to blog about a book I've loved for a long time and its more recent film version. As much as I love it, would you believe that I don't have my own copy of "The Bridge to Terabithia" by Katherine Paterson (whose other works I also love, especially "Jacob Have I Loved"), but a few libraries will point out that I have a history of hogging their copies. No worries though, I'm getting a copy asap.
Anyway, Husband has a copy of the movie in his iPod and I've been watching it over and over again (Marguerite doesn't appreciate it. She always insists on watching "Hairspray" when we're in the car.). The first time I saw it, I fast-forwarded it to the end, ever hopeful that they didn't kill Leslie in the movie (the same way that I'm always hopeful that the written copy will turn out differently with maybe Leslie just moving away so she and Jess can get together later in life, maybe in college instead of in the Great Beyond... I'm sure this is some kind of complex - is there such a thing as a fairy tale/happy ever after complex? - but we won't go into that.), but even I realized that it was a forlorn hope.
I love that the Jess in the movie is cuter than the Jess in my imagination. I love that AnnaSophia Robb portrayed Leslie (I love this girl and the fact that the three things I've seen her in are all film adaptations of books I love - Samantha - An American Girl Holiday, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The Bridge to Terabithia) and I love that Zooey Deschanel got to play Ms. Edmunds. Chip and I are fans because we're always fans of Hollywood people who can really sing. And then, her name is so JD Salinger ("The Catcher in the Rye" was a bad influence to me for many years... I'm not saying that the book is a bad influence in general, but that the book had a negative influence on me.) and then, of course, she's Bones' sister...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Staying Home on Black Friday

Money management during the holidays is an uphill climb. This is especially true for me since I have a history of cramming when it comes to purchasing gift, thus adding to the stress factor generally associated with Christmas shopping.

Now that we’re a single income (plus my erratic freelance contributions) family, we really attempt to compound all astute economizing strategies to keep ourselves comfortably within our budget. Special occasions, however, are notorious for throwing a humdinger of a monkey wrench into all the careful saving and scrimping. What to do then?

With Christmas, we tend to scatter the shopping all through out the year, never getting anything trendy lest items get passé. When we are in the States, we culminate all the gift shopping for our regular recipients by Black Friday when there are great price slashes, but you gotta hate all the crowd frenzy. I, for one, cannot abide by tight crowded areas. I get claustrophobic and really cranky besides. In the past, I’ve had to tolerate the discomfort because some of the deals were incredible and I did not want to miss out on them. Thankfully, Black Friday deals are also now available online. This is a great alternative to waking up at the crack of dawn to hunt down great bargains. You can even get email alerts re black friday ads so you can know ahead of time which products to go for in the comfort of your own home.

Now that we’re on the other side of the planet, we can still avail of Black Friday sale items by purchasing them online. We usually limit purchases to big items, such as Husband’s gadgets from Best Buy, with incredible discounted prices. Fortunately we’re blessed to have relatives who come home from the States during the holidays so we simply use their address for shipping and we don’t have to worry too much about exorbitant shipping costs.

10 Random Facts Meme and Michael Maguire, Esq.

I was tagged by Chell to do this.

HERE ARE THE RULES: (As you'll soon see, I have a habit of breaking tagging rules.)
1. Each blogger starts with ten random facts/habits about themselves.
2. Bloggers that are tagged need to write on their own blog about their ten things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose 10 people to get tagged and list their breads.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog

And here’s my list, all random:

1. I hate ketchup.

2. I prefer small, intimate gatherings to big parties.

3. My sister and I recite entire movies or sing concerts to each other during long car rides. This is because if we like something, we don't mind watching or reading it over and over again.

4. I'm a big Les Miz nut and can get obnoxious about it. I'm always on the look-out for an opening to belt out "10 francs may save my poor Cosette!" (I was so bummed that the euro was already in use when I finally got to go to France) or croon "Empty chairs and empty tables"...

5. I cannot accept that the '90s is over or that I cannot wear Doc Marten's with everything.

6. While I also enjoy reading books targeting my age bracket, I would really rather read Newbery stuff.

7. I'm a very faithful wife, but I always have a crush on a celebrity (never a regular guy), with my husband's knowledge and reluctant permission, and the celebrity always has some resemblance to Husband. Right now it's Kevin Zegers (Aw, c'mon! You can so spot the resemblance if you tilt your head and squint and let your sight blur a little... except, of course, my husband is so much better looking ;-p)

8. If I have to choose, I'll be on Team Aniston. Can't stand Brangelina (harhar, obviously I'm running out of things to list).

9. I love game shows and trivia board games.

10. I'd rather go out not wearing makeup than not wearing perfume.

Consider yourself tagged.


Speaking of Les Miz, my favorite actor to portray my favorite character Enjolras is Michael Maguire (the best ever Enjolras... I don't care what Anthony Warlow fans say). Well, I'd like to congratulate Mr. Maguire for successfully graduating from law school. He sang the Star-Spangled Banner during the graduation rites. Here is the video.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Celebrities Can Do What They Want to

They can certainly campaign for their candidate of choice. They are free to do that, if nothing else. The ordinary (please don't resent the adjective, you know what I mean) voter is also certainly free to choose whether to allow herself to be influenced by fame. Campaigning and going for office are two different things though. Anyway, for that matter, celebrities are also free (well, most of them) to do the latter - free, not necessarily qualified. Another survey, people.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Thank God It's Payday

A payday loan is a small (the range is usually around $100 to $500), short-term loan that is supposed to help out the borrower until the next payday. It works just like a cash advance with your credit card, but a payday loan usually has a fee for every hundred dollars lent.
This option is quite popular among the working and lower-middle class populations who find themselves financially drained before the next payday. The borrowers figure out how much they need to tide them over until their next salary arrives and simply risk the fee in exchange for having actual cash.
Going to payday lenders may be perceived as a desperate measure on the borrower's part. The need for cash is often immediate and pressing and the fact that getting a payday loan will set them back even further usually meets an attitude of "crossing the bridge when they get there". Beware though. This is the kind of thinking that usually sinks borrowers in a debt cycle.
Many label the payday loan industry as predatory for taking advantage of other people's financial hardship, but there are those who simply look at it as an option that people who are not eligible for credit cards, bank loans, and other alternatives that require good credit history should be thankful for.
Some people who have been forced by circumstances to take advantage of payday loans point out that a conscious effort at money management is necessary not to get stuck in debt. If it means having to hold back $250 from your regular expenses to get out of debt, you do it even if you do not use your car for a month, cut back on water and power consumption, live off the land, etc.
For those who are considering applying for their first payday loan, there are services that offer the first loan free of charge. If a payday loan is the cash advance option that you pick, this is something you should look into.

Those Little Eiffel Towers Hooked Me

so I bought a Baby Couture bag. I was able to use it a few months before the strap tore. Just this morning, I found out from Milette's blog that the shop replaces damaged bags. I decided to look into this and found this exchange from early last year. I'm not sure if it still applies (Milette just left me a comment saying that it does). Anyway, as soon as I have time I'll pop by the Shangri-la kiosk (where I bought mine) and see if they'll replace my damaged bag. It wouldn't hurt to inquire. I'm not going to throw a fit either if they refuse since there are other bags around here that do for a diaper bag.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

G'Night, Sleep Tight, Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite

If I were to identify one of my nemeses, bugs would have to come first in my mind. There’s no getting rid of them. They do argue that they were here with the dinosaurs and will continue to thrive, pretty much indestructible, once the world has ended (along with Cher - come on, it’s an old joke). How ever unbeatable they seem to be, are you just going to take their abuse sitting down? No way! I’m especially pestered by those sinister little creatures, such as bed bugs, that you never see but leave itchy red spots all over you. With a toddler in the house, I’m extra obsessed about these things. I will not think twice about performing their massacre, but I want the process to be safe for the humans. offers great information on anything and everything about the pests. It covers everything from tips on how to spot them to how to treat bites. I’m sure you’ll be extra interested in the part that tells you how to kill bed bugs. It offers natural remedies so that’s, at least, an answer to my problem.

The Marguerite Show

So, basically she can recognize all of the letters but will not grant you the satisfaction of hearing her recite them. She is not one to perform tricks on command, dashing my stagemothering tendencies. She will start to count but if you prompt her, she loses interest and does something else. Maybe she will oblige you every now and then, but leaves you hanging when you start enjoying yourself. It can be identifying letters, animals, vehicles, body parts, etc. "What's this letter (I point to the letter A)?" Marguerite answers accordingly. "And this one?" Marguerite indulges ol' mom once again. She stops at C though. I know she knows which one is C because she gives it to me when I ask for it. Same with the other letters, but it never happens in one go. (Side note: For some reason her favorite letters are A, B, E, I, M, O, V, and Y.) She will dance when she wants to. Or sing, or jump, or do anything we all get so excited about, but the message is clear. She is not here for our entertainment. She gets hammy and all wonderchild, but like Eddie Vedder, she says it's not for you. Just let her do what she will.

Customer Service, Episode I

As expected, I think we may have reached the Phantom Menace stage. This one is mostly about surveys and if you look for it in the questions, there is some word about dropping this whole line of customer service questions for the time being. Please note that no such promise is given though, just asking you what your thoughts are about it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Okay, This Has to Be Done...

What needs to be discussed should be discussed... Is anybody else all nostalgic about New Kids on the Block's reunion? When I first heard about it, I was okay with it - perhaps I thought it was a little funny, but it didn't really concern me at all. I got over them when I was about fourteen and graduated from the teeny bopper/ boy band phase forever. I think straight from being absolutely gaga over NKOTB, I moved on to listening to ... hang on, I can't seem to remember; that was a dark phase and No! I was never into Guns N Roses ... I remember there was "More Than Words". And Mr. Big and Poison. And then Grunge exploded and I was watching Singles... blah, blah, blah whatever...
And then I caught NKOTB on the Today show and before I knew it, I'd picked up up Marguerite and was dancing and singing along to "Step by Step" and "Hangin' Tough" (man, that choreography! it never leaves you, pretty much like knowing how to ride a bike.) and "The Right Stuff"... Then Joey, err Joe McIntyre started singing "Please Don't Go Girl" and I felt all panicky, like I had to get Sheila and Jaybee on the phone because "Girls, You're gonna die!!! NKOTB's on TV!!!!!!!!!!!" (remember how you thought putting a thousand exclamation points would convey how important whatever you had to say was?). Marguerite was shrieking in glee from the crazy dancing. Good thing I was carrying her as I was this close to teasing my bangs for a complete trip down memory lane. Bring out the lime green and hot pink clothes and maybe spritz a bit of Electric Youth or Malibu Musk for ambience.
That was a prime point in my young life - right before I headed for the dark ages. My best friend Sheila and I wrote to each other everyday and we always PSed "Friends Forever, NKOTB Forever!!!!!!" (again with the exclamation points). Does it matter that I deserted them right before NKOTB came over to the Philippines for a concert? Three years before that, I was masterminding how the three (maybe four, if we could convince Jackie) of us would be able to kidnap the boys from their hotel (I was already free of the spell when it happened, but Sheila and Jaybee did complete the whole NKOTB experience by camping out in a room in the same hotel NKOTB was staying in). We sort of drifted apart in college having gone for different majors, but we did manage to spend an afternoon together when we were about twenty and Joe and Jordan were trying to break into the pop charts again.
Sigh. Good times, good friends. We are in our thirties and all have children now, as do the New Kids (KIDS!!!! that's a scream!), but I bet we can get downright silly teeny bopper if given the chance. Did you see those thirty-something-year-old women screaming their heads off in the Today Show? They could have been the three of us.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

An All-Consuming Topic?

Well, there's a part 3... it's like Star Wars! Await more sequels and prequels for it cannot be quelled.

I Don't Know

You may have noticed that I've stopped posting about my sister. It's a problem that I pretty much shoved to the back of my brain. When I get to feeling sorry for her or puzzling over how on earth this could have possibly happened to her, I just dismissively end the inner discussion with "God is in control." I try not to venture too much into my own thoughts because the doubts start creeping up and I don't want to go back there. Even as I write this, I can see that something is terribly wrong. With all my mouthing off about faith to encourage my sister and my mom, I think I'm also going down in the struggle I refuse to recognize. How can I claim to have faith when I've sunk into such despair? I suppose you can call it denial.
It has been six months, people. We still do not know what is really wrong with her. We've spent over Php200,000 on this unidentified malady and we're reluctant to spend more for no apparent help in return. It's true that a huge chunk of the problem is attitude, but we're generally at a loss as to where we are and how to deal. Only my dad remains steadfast in his faith and while it does often bring comfort, at times, it has also caused alienation.
I just want this crisis to be over. We're being broken down and humbled. I've been taught to expect a lesson and a blessing at the end of this trial, but it's hard not be short-sighted about the situation. I suppose there aren't any shortcuts this time. We are going to learn whatever it is that we need to learn and learn it well. But how does one teach her heart not to resent and rebel? It's not only Chip who's feeling angry. Many times I feel like just dropping to the floor to scream and flail around in the mother of all tantrums. I know we have a race to run and we need to stay the course and that means the length of one's life. But it's just really hard because when you know that you started out praying and hoping in earnest and when things seemed to drag on in a seemingly infinite impasse, it became hard to get comfort and quiet. Questions started whirring in your brain. They're there even if you don't acknowledge them and they eat away at you.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A WAHM's Spark of Hope

I have no qualms about getting paid for posts. This one is a sponsored post, in fact. I am a work-at-home mother and monetizing my blog is a legit earning option. I have been doing PayPerPost for a few months now and have also set up an account with the newest IZEA offering, SocialSpark. The opportunities seem just as plentiful and I like it that there seem to be so much more going on in it. It really is a social networking site besides an agency that bloggers can affiliate with to earn some money.

The thing with SocialSpark is that you get the chance to get waitlisted for a blogging opportunity. You simply wait for them to contact you with their go-signal to write your post. As with PayPerPost, the higher your blog ranking is, the more eligible you are for opportunities. I have no beef with that. Anybody can see the logic in it.

However, my experience thus far constitutes of joining the queue for three opportunities, one of which I’ve already been granted, but I got to read the email 12 hours after they sent it so I missed my chance. Customer support told me I just needed to sign up for the op again. That's okay although I hope they were quicker in granting the op in the first place so I didn't forget all about it. I really haven’t been active yet, but other users such as Celebridiot-com are already very much into it, as is evident in their profiles. You can see that they've tapped all of the features of the site and are enjoying themselves. I chose to link to Celebridiot-com's profile because you can see in it that the user has already been active.

To sum up, I like it that you can sign up for ops that you qualify for and just not miss your chance because all the others got to see them first and I don't like it that it takes a long time for them to grant you the op you signed up for. The great thing about SocialSpark is that it is still in its starting phase and you can be a part of its growth. Your comments and suggestions can help shape it into its improved version. My own suggestion is that they update you on the status of your application for an op. If it's being processed, say so. If the application was rejected, ditto.

This post is paid for by SocialSpark.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

5 Things About This Mom

I'll try to post 5 things that I haven't mentioned on this blog yet:

1. I have a collection of lighthouse-themed things.
2. I have 20/20 vision (thus far).
3. I get hives from extreme experiences (heat, cold, embarrassment, excitement... one time a boy I liked asked me out and I broke out in awful red splotches - very becoming, lol)
4. I used to hate my name, but I now love it.
5. My taste in music is so eclectic that I like anything from classic rock to acoustic folk, from grunge to... Barry Manilow (heehee).

Customer Service Rap

It's a continuation of that other survey.

Monday, May 12, 2008

It's Time to Party a la Mommyfest!

Hi. My name is Ivy and I started this blog to document precious moments with my daughter (Marguerite, 19 mos). It has since grown to include many other aspects of my life. Many details about myself are already enumerated in the About Me part of the sidebar, but to include some other facts about me, I’m answering a few questions I’ve been tagged with on one of my message boards.

***What I was doing 10 years ago:
In 1998, I was dating my future husband, finishing college and getting ready to enter the workforce.

***Five snacks I enjoy:
I have cravings depending on my mood, but as a rule, I love chips and pies.

***Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
I would increase my tithe. I would regularly treat my family to something fantastic. I have several charities in mind. I would spend seasons in idyllic locales (summer in Eze, winter in Zurich, fall in Paris, etc.). I would invest in big business as well as open a “little shop ‘round the corner” kind of store. I would buy and restore a lighthouse. I would work on my life’s to-do list (go on a paddlewheel showboat, visit Stratford-on-Avon, watch marionettes in Prague, yodel in the Austrian Alps, go sugaring in a maple farm, etc.)

***Five jobs that I have had:
writer, teacher, translator, cataloger/encoder of archaic documents, customer service representative

***Three of my habits:

read, write, daydream

***Five place I have lived in:
- Marikina City, Philippines

- Subic Bay, Philippines

- California, USA (just a short time)

- Santander, Spain (ditto)

***Five People I Want to Get to Know Better (aka Tag):

All of you - pls inform me if you did it, would love to read your answers.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

I started a cold yesterday. I've been doing everything I can to make it go away (vitamin C, copious amounts of hot tea and honey, also water, staying put as much as I can in one room temperature...). I was supposed to go to the store and then spend the entire day in the kitchen, but with the weather being what it was/is (thick with humidity - searing heat in the morning and early afternoon and thunderstorm in the late afternoon. With having to go in and out of ac-ed rooms, we're really dropping like flies here.), forget it. I have to take care of a teething child and have deadlines upon deadlines, so I'm postponing my way of celebrating Mother's Day. In the meantime, to the rest of you who are well enough to enjoy it: myspace graphic comments

Friday, May 9, 2008

Barking Mad

Husband is not yet over his cough and Marguerite has joined him since Wednesday, providing a harmony of sorts. Oh, how tranquil are the nights filled with coughing, sigh. Anyway, my daughter has a lower canine cutting through. Gosh those teeth. The only time Marguerite gets sick is when she's teething. She's uber-fussy during the night (which means I've gotten even more sleepless), and cranky, but still full of energy during the day. My mother who is a Carica fan got a bottle of lagundi syrup for her. As for me, I'm a firm believer in flushing, so lots of water, also elevated head during sleep, tepid lemonade and honey, Vicks on the soles of her feet then cover with socks, lots of cuddles and rocking... Sleep, elusive sleep. I can't remember anymore what it's like to sleep for nine solid hours. No hope of me getting some shut-eye on Mother's Day either because I'll be busier than a bee. Oh well, the things one used to take for granted...

"Thank You for Visiting Spinning Lovely Days...

...This is Ivy. How may I help you?" I intone to you in sufficiently lilting delivery. I did customer service work for a few months (back in the day when the industry was still a novelty in the country) and quit because a. It was depressing, and b. My Dad and sister were going to the States and between being depressed and traveling, there really is no contest. The thing is, just because customer service representatives are trained to take abuse and some can actually charm the socks off of you, it does not mean that you'll easily forget about your complaint. Or that the winsome CSR has not put you on mute and is continuing her conversation with another CSR reeking with faux sincerity all the while you are ranting and raving and threatening to bring your business elsewhere... Anyway, here's a survey on customer service.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Let's Have a Conversation about Tax Rebates

The survey is like that question "What are you gonna do if somebody gave you a million dollars?", except that it won't be that much. Getting rebates isn't hitting the lottery jackpot, lolz.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Graveyards Make Great Family Parks

Sunday late afternoon, we were on our way to a meeting, but we had several hours to kill so we thought we'd put in our shopping first. On our way to the store, we passed by Loyola Memorial Park and Husband had the brill idea of going in for a quick visit to his grandparents' grave. Okay, I was fine with that. I like Loyola. When Chip and I were kids and there still weren't any parks in Marikina, our parents used to bring us there early mornings so Dad could get in his daily run (he used to run in marathons) and we could feed the gold fish in the man-made pond. Anyway, naturally Mark couldn't find the graves. Marguerite had a fine time poking the ground with a stick, then later she decided to gather the green berry-things (do you know what they are?) that were littering the place. She was like a little ant hoarding things for the rainy season.

looking at tiny lavender moths; poking with a stick; gathering green berries

We went to the store after Marguerite had had her fill of fresh but humid air - you should have seen me sweat, er, glow). We went to a secondhand bookstore afterwards and ended up buying a board book because Marguerite would not let go of the thing and ran out of the store with it (the beginnings of a life of crime). I was not happy about that. I'm not prepared to pay 130 pesos for a secondhand book with all its corners scuffed. I can easily get a better deal from other secondhand bookstores. That particular store seems to be pricier than the other branches. As usual, it was "Hi! Hello! Bye!". I'm not worried that she's too friendly with strangers. Even if she does create a one-person greeting committee, she still would not go with strangers (or friends, for that matter).

We decided to go to Eastwood for dinner. We deigned show up in our sweaty, ratty clothes. The Angelos were performing when we got to there. They're like a cross between F4 and Il Divo, looking like the former and sounding like the latter. We had dinner and then we let Marguerite loose to chase after rat-dogs. She did a lot of dancing (a band covering the Beatles was on by then) and touching dirty things. Then while she high-fived one of the living statues, she would not let him carry her for a pic.
dancing after pestering the rat-dog behind her; dancing to the music of gushing water
posing with a living statue

Sunday, May 4, 2008

We Went to the Caravan of Fun

and we don't even have a picture to show for it. (Well, there's one, but it was just a close-up shot of Marguerite and it could have been taken anywhere.)
We were there all of 5 minutes when Husband noticed that I was melting under the hot sun (we got there around 2) and even his rebozo was sagging with Marguerite ending up somewhere around his hips (this is why I really prefer hotslings. I could have sworn my sailor's knot was perfectly executed and tugged tight!). We said we'd go in the mall (Glorietta), grab a merienda, walk around, and just come back out when it is cooler. We headed back out around 4 and wouldn't you know it, it was raining tomcats and bulldogs. That's probably why the heat had been so oppressive. We watched the participants huddle under the tents as we walked back to the parking garage.
C'est la vie.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

5th Annual MommyFest

Here's a great way for blogging mommas to meet other blogging mommas: join MommyFest as it throws a Blog Party celebrating its 5th year of hosting this interactive online event. Learn more about it here

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Business of Used Cars

I think you may have noticed that my husband has gone and started investing in cars. Cars have always been one of his passions and I thought as long as he’s already spending so much time on them and enjoying himself besides, he might as well earn from the hobby.
Before the cost of gas became ridiculously exorbitant, he used to drive around scouting for used cars for sale. Nowadays, he simply sits himself in front of the computer. This has proven to be just as effective and immensely more proactive. Websites which feature used cars for sale, such as, have search features that allow users to specify their requirements. They can filter their search to only include cars that correspond to their budget, location, and preferences regarding make, model, color, and seller. For instance, if you’re looking for a used ford, you simply indicate your requirements and with a click of the search button, the site can generate a listing of appropriate cars. There’s no need to waste your time looking at cars that would never have done anyway as you would if you were simply consulting car finder magazines.
These websites also offer other helpful features., for example, also has sections on buying tips, warnings against common scams, car reviews, insurance details, etc.

Parlez Vous Franglais?

I know I claim to be a francophone, but the truth is my French is almost gone. When I decided to focus on Spanish, I think my French dwindled to nearly non-existent. Lately, I've taken to reading French blogs and while I can still understand the gist of the posts, I find myself pausing every now and then to try and remember what a word means and how it is used in that particular sentence. I'm a methodical learner and quite ardent about grammatical rules (you really ought to believe everybody when they say I'm a dork). It really pained me to realize that I can no longer recall how simple expressions are phrased. I mean, I was a pretty good student - wait, you weren't there, nobody's here to contradict, so - I ruled in my French classes. Really, you would have hated me. Except that now, after all those semesters of ruling, I've had no practice whatsoever since (I mean I've even stopped watching TV5 - for that matter, I've stopped watching TVE too and that was the only reason we got cable) and now I can't even complete a sentence in straight French. My (non)skills have been reduced to Franglais (which I'm sure the French scorned when I was there). Oh, what to do? Because I love everything French, especially the language. (Well, for starters, to be more truthful, change that francophone claim to a humbler francophile) I really ought to review. Anybody interested in reviewing with me?

Getting Places the Green Way

I myself am a WAHM and even if I were working elsewhere, I would probably be using public transportation or carpooling. If my workplace was near enough, I would walk. At the price of gas these days, the most environmentally healthy ways to commute are also the most economical options. Anyway, I've got a survey here about the common ways of getting to work. You get paid to answer. I hope you'll take the time to do it.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Mayo Uno/ Happy May Day

I briefly considered dressing up Marguerite in college-activist attire (ratty shirt, grungy jeans, chucks, ethnic backpack...) and having her wave a placard for a May 1 ecard, but a tiny voice in my head shrilled at me just in time, "What is wrong with you? You never wanted to play with dolls as a kid! And btw, Marguerite? Not a doll!"
Hmm, my husband is down again with something, a pesky cough this time. Please don't think that I'm not taking care of him well. I do what I can, but I humbly admit that I do not control the weather or the fact that he decided not to use the car ac to conserve. I made him stay home on Tuesday because the thing won't go away unless he gets some proper rest, but same old-same old. Hopefully, nobody's going to make demands on him today as it's a national holiday and nobody should be working on Labor Day (let's just take it for granted that smart alecks have long ago pointed out the irony in that).
It's the usual story of tea and honey and he's added cough syrup to the regimen, but the cough's persistent. Now, Husband's considering antibiotics again. I had to put my foot down. Last time, he didn't complete the course, so taking them may end up being detrimental instead. Do you have any other natural remedy? Poor guy hasn't slept well in days.
Anyway, Marguerite may be too young for Labor Day symbolisms, but I'll come up with a way to celebrate May Day.