Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sign Me a Song

Those who know me have a pretty good idea how much into signing I really am. I'd always been interested in it, but I never really took the time to learn it properly until I had Marguerite. My knowledge extended as far as the songs I learned to sign in camp and Sunday School. When I became a mom, it was a foregone conclusion that I would be signing to my baby. Marguerite learned to do her first sign at 8 months, but believe me, I started signing to her when she was but a newborn. That's just how much of a signing fool I really am. Thankfully, Marguerite didn't lose her signs when she became verbal. Talk about keeping those signs! She even signs (and talks) in her sleep. Marguerite doesn't sign all the time though. I notice that she does it to entertain herself or to drive home a point (like if she feels that I haven't been paying attention to her, she'll scream whatever it is that she wants, hands signing furiously). The plan is to just keep on signing away. Of course, I see videos like this (Pearl Jam's "Given to Fly" in a concert in Missouri) and I just get more inspired:

And then Glee comes up with this episode (The New Directions jamming with their competition from the Haverbrook School for the Deaf) and my commitment to signing is further reinforced. Sorry, couldn't embed a video as all of the videos I found had embedding disabled. Glee, sigh, Glee. It could prove to be lethal to the hormonal. In a split second, you switch from howling with laughter to bawling like a baby. And back. Just over and over until the hour is through. And maybe some more after that, like aftershocks of an earthquake.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Uh, Who Exactly Is Spencer?

Remember when I said I was going to learn calligraphy? Well, I still have to learn the workings of a fountain pen, but I have been practicing the Spencerian script. I'm going to make you suffer through pictures taken with my phone because I'm too lazy to bring out and then wield the Nikon, lol. The writing on the left is my normal cursive.

The following is supposed to be comparative, but since the image is as clear as cloudy skies, just take my word for it when I say that the first specimen is my regular writing and the second one is an attempt at Spencerian.

And finally, Spencerian using three lines (too big for my normal penmanship size).

* From wiki: "Spencerian Script is a script style that flourished in the United States from 1850 to 1925. Platt Rogers Spencer, whose name the style bears, was impressed with the idea that America needed a penmanship style that could be written quickly, legibly, and elegantly to aid in matters of business correspondence as well as personal letter-writing..."

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Singles, You Rock My World

I think I've mentioned several times on this blog how much I love the movie "Singles". Set in Seattle during the peak of the grunge revolution, the movie revolves around the lives of twenty-something friends who live in one apartment complex. Anyway, it was on HBO last night and forget it, I'm still in full revertigo mode. The movie came out in 1992, when I was in high school and thought that was what life would be like in a decade (I'd live in rainy Seattle and watch bands every night). The main figures of the grunge era were in that movie (except for Nirvana, which some would argue to be very remiss - however, I was never into Nirvana, so who cares). That baby-faced (and remains to be beautiful) Eddie Vedder (with Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard - I think they were Matt Dillon's bandmates in Citizen Dick), Chris Cornell, Tad Doyle, Layne Staley (hair still long and in dreads - with Jerry Cantrell who's always had my dream hair, but mine has always been more like Eddie Vedder's or Chris Cornell's)... Husband certainly had a fine time calling out the names of the musicians. And doing air guitar. Or drums. There was a profusion of plaid and long floral dresses and the other staples of grunge fashion! I'd wish for all of it to come back, but it never really left me. Yeah, I still don grunge and think I can get away with it (and, yeah, as far as I'm concerned maroon matte lipstick never goes out of style!!!) - kind of like a great aunt of mine who wore '50s fashion with poodle skirts and bobby socks back in the '80s. I felt all weird watching the movie. I guess I was having a tough time reconciling being 33 with the revertigo. It does take you back, you know. Your inner 16-yr-old sees it as a portent of things to come, but the current you knows it didn't happen that way. Your twenties were spent welcoming the new millenium (remember when the modern woman was referred to as the woman of the '90s? harhar) and yeah, the number 1 hit according to Rick Dees when we exploded into 2000 (not the new millenium just yet, but that's when we all did those fireworks) was "Smooth", hardly even post-grunge although a post-grunge character was involved (and yeah, I had a crush on Rob Thomas back in the day). Gosh, remember when GenX was the hip, relevant age? Now, they've labeled the following group as GenY. That sucks. That's not how it works. It's not the freakin' alphabet. Why do I sound all whiney and angry and angst-ridden? That's probably just the revertigo talking. Anyway, the GenX stereotype is supposed to be that of a cynical and frustrated, grunge wearing, alternative music listening jobless slacker. Yeah, GenX! lol Going back to the movie, it was during a time when "Dyslexic Heart" was yet to be forever ruined by association with this local teen series called TGIS, which adopted it as its theme song (gag me with a spoon - okay, I don't really feel that strongly against it, but I haven't used that expression in the longest time and just decided to go for it anyway). Did you also know that the mime in the movie was Eric Stoltz? I had a crush on him back in the '80s - remember "Some Kind of Wonderful"? It had Mary Stuart Masterson too, who Husband thought he looked like back when he was a young girl (okay, he's not really a transgender, but he was a pretty little boy, lol)... That's an entirely different story. To reel myself in back from that particular digression, I'll talk about Jeremy Piven's bit role and how that Elvis Costello-Public Enemy mashup (excuse the non-vintage Glee terminology) has stuck with me through the years (What's so funny about... peace, peace, peace... love and under... peace, peace. / Death Row, what does a brother know? peace, peace...). Also, Victor Garber's role was the tiniest of cameos, but who cares? The fact that he was even there just made the movie even more adorable. Anyway, I leave you with a link to this "You Might Belong to Generation X If..." list (some of my faves: You're doing absolutely nothing with anything pertaining to your major degree... One word: Corduroy... You, yes you, sat down and memorized the entire lyric sheet to "It's the End of the World as We Know It"...) and this video excerpt from the movie. Look! It's Eddie!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Discount Surgical Stockings

Would you believe that I first came across the concept of surgical stockings while watching Glee? I knew stockings could be supportive, but I had no idea they could be used as part of a treatment. Apparently, surgical stockings are prescribed to help prevent a variety of life-threatening possibilities, deep vein thrombosis for one. They can also be used to manage conditions such as leg ulcers and edema. However, just because these stockings are worn for medical purposes, it does not mean that they cannot be fashionable. Jobst ultrasheer, for instance, come in various shades and sizes. They look and feel very soft and silky without taking away from their efficacy. They are also the sheerest physician-recommended surgical stockings there are. They are made of a blend of nylon, spandex, and silicone for optimum convenience and comfort. The material, which features Jobst Advanced Comfort, moves moisture from within to the outside of the stockings in aid of evaporation and a cooler feel to the skin. Knee-high versions come with a comfortable wide top band. There are actually many variations available. You can certainly find the length, toe design, color, support concentration, etc. combinations that suit your needs best and promote optimal leg health.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Experience Rice at SM MOA

Getting sick is such a pain. We missed church, we didn't get to see my family, we didn't get to do the groceries, and now I get to sound like such a whiner (hehe, like this is something I can't control.). Anyway, by God's grace, I know this week will be a healthy one for us. I have a couple of posts I want to do, but I don't have the energy for them just yet. Anyway, I'd like to remind those in the Philippines that this week there's the Experience Rice Exhibit at SM Mall of Asia. All the details can be found here. My beautiful friend, Chona, is one of the organizers, so please give the event a visit. :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Flushing out the Woozy

I, for one, can't wait to get back to normal. The thing is, I was expecting all of us to be okay by now, but Husband relapsed; Marguerite caught our cold; and I'm, well, still a little woozy. I've mentioned here before that I'm not really a fan of taking pharmaceutical drugs. When I can, I normally just go the natural, herbal route. I'm also a strong believer in water therapy and the power of quiet rest. When I do take meds, it's usually because I need to get fixed up (I just made myself sound like a broken radio or something) right away and just resolve to bear the side effects. Most of the time meds make me feel even more out of sorts than the actual sickness and they leave an unpleasant... essence (for lack of a better word) in my entire body. It's not just an aftertaste, although it does include a chemical taste in my mouth... Anyway, they also usually screw up the natural healing process of the body, so that in the case of a cold for instance, suddenly the mucus is all dried up but it's still lodged somewhere in your body unflushed and instead of feeling well, it just feels like there's something wrong (or in the case of taking loperamide, your diarrhea does get suppressed, but somehow a short bout of constipation follows...). Anyway, that's how I feel right now, which is strange since I hadn't taken any drugs at all. There's nothing else I can pin this feeling down on except the 1000mg ascorbic acid tablets Husband had given me (we had a bottle of 500mgs so I wasn't sure why he had to buy 1000mg ones. Couldn't we have just taken two of the 500mgs?). Anyway, I've been feeling weird since taking them (I've stopped, of course), exactly as though I had taken OTC cold medication, but without the bonus of getting drowsy. Oh well, I'm dealing with this by taking in lots of liquid to flush it out of my system.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hit Pay Dirt with Dirt Devil Holiday Buying Guide

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Dirt Devil. All opinions are 100% mine.

The Dirt Devil Holiday Buying Guide is what every thrifty and budget-conscious shopper should get hold of before true holiday madness kicks in. They should read it from top to bottom, read it as thoroughly a second time, and just keep on reviewing it anytime they need to make a purchase. It is a godsend to the frugal and a joy to the money savvy. It covers everything - absolutely everything. It lists both Black Friday and Cyber Monday websites, tips on finding promo codes, free shipping shortcuts (did you know there is actually an annual Free Shipping Day?), rebate how-tos, etc. There are over 300 ways to save with online shopping and the guide mentions them all. The Dirt Devil Holiday Guide also offers great holiday deals on the perfect Dirt Devil gift for men, women, and the entire family. All of the sections are very useful. It even addresses the general love for freebies and as soon as I saw the list of sites with free print-ready things for kids, I started visiting and printing away. The guide certainly makes sure that you maximize and get the best of your online shopping experience. For sure, the Dirt Devil Holiday Buying Guide does not only come in handy during the holidays, the tips and tricks it shares will prove to be useful the whole year round. I know I’ll be regularly checking out the sites listed under Deal-a-Day Sites.

We're the Ones Who Make It Fun

I subscribe to Ellen C. Braun's and in one of the recent newsletters, she featured this video to stress how we can make even the mundane stuff more fun:

If I had come across it, I would have totally played "Blue Moon" just like Tom Hanks did in "Big".

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ski Butlers

Won’t skiing or snowboarding be more fun if you didn’t have to worry about the mundane details? If you’re currently gearing for some sporty fun in the snow, check out Ski Butlers. They have received many excellent reviews, with customers commenting on the amazing service, the friendly and professional staff, and the affordable rates. They offer everything from skis and boards to helmets and other accessories. They service the top skiing destinations in North America, including California, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, and British Columbia. The Butlers' Park City Ski Rentals for instance guarantee the service of expert technicians, who bring the sizes you specify and more to make sure you end up with a perfect fit. The website is very user-friendly with a step-by-step flowchart of how the rental process works. They offer the best rental equipment at the same rates as the rental shops, if not cheaper. These are all made available to you without you ever having to leave your house. You simply go to the website and all you ask for will be delivered to you in the comfort and familiarity of your own living room. No more standing in line at the rental shop, served by harassed employees during peak skiing season.

Dropping Like Flies Here

On Tuesday, Marguerite and I got sick. It became clear that I was also sick later in the afternoon. Hard enough when your kid is sick, even harder if you're sick yourself. Too bad Husband couldn't take the day off work yesterday as he had a series of meetings with clients scheduled for the day. Normally, we would have gone over to my mom's, but Mom was also sick so that was out. Mom offered to send Lala, her helper, over, but I was hoping Husband could finally take a day off work so that wouldn't be necessary. However, Husband got home last night and was clearly sick too. I don't know how we're going to cope today. Good news though, Marguerite is much better. I think hers was just another case of cutting molars.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ebooks at Borders

Technology has redefined so many of the things we used to know. For instance, there was a time when reading meant holding a book and flipping through the pages. It meant needing to have a light on to see the text of the book. Nowadays, ebooks are a cool and green alternative to the traditional way. Borders keeps up with all these new technologies and while it continues to offer great deals on an extensive selection of books, CDs, DVDs, magazines, etc. it also has a wide variety and a long list of ebooks for those who prefer the hi-tech approach at reading. With the advent of ereaders, ebooks have become more accessible and handy. Screen reading may be done anywhere since ereaders are even more portable than some paperbacks. Exclusive to Borders is the Elonex ereader. You simply have to order and download from the over 50,000 ebooks available on the site, and you can have a virtual library at the palm of your hand. All these things used to be unthinkable. These ideas were only present in science fiction stories. These products are the dictates of the times though and Borders keeps the balance by offering both the classic and the hi-tech.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Marguerite and Fevers

Marguerite woke up perfectly fine this morning. Or so it seemed to me. She was her usual rowdy self. Sometime before lunch she told me she had an owie in that area between her brows. I thought she might have bumped her head on something. I inspected the area she indicated, found it unmarred and massaged it soothingly. I thought she felt hot, but I had just been washing the dishes so I couldn't be sure. She was getting cranky around that time though, so I got her to quiet and settle down in bed. She fell asleep right away. She woke up a little later and I noticed that she was still hot. I decided to take her temperature and the first reading was 38.2. She seemed to have some discomfort and sensitivity to light. I got a wet washcloth and placed it over her eyes and forehead. She fell asleep again. I texted Husband and my mom about Marguerite's condition and went online to consult our family physician, Dr. Google. First, I looked up the symptoms of dengue and swine flu, and then I googled the symptoms she had exhibited thus far and came across meningitis. I did the chin tuck test and she seemed fine with that. At one point her temp went up to 38.9, but the last check gave 37.6. At this point, I'm really just observing. I'm not used to this. Marguerite's a healthy girl. She could run a temperature and still instigate her normal level of chaos. Even when she had chicken pox, she behaved perfectly well. Not that she's not capable of mayhem right now - she just threw seven different kinds of tantrum upon waking up because the headphones were ugly and her blankie had fringes. Right now, she's watching "Little Einsteins" on TV. I thought she wouldn't be up to TV since she had a headache, but that was the only thing she didn't find offensive. Apparently, my offers of water, juice, yogurt, milk, book were all affronts to her sensibilities - oh wait, she did grab the tambourine and struck it angrily a few times before she threw it down in a fit of temper. Spirited even in sickness. My position now is, anything for some quiet. She's had several short naps, but too short for me to get anything done except put in this post in fits and bursts. Oh, I'll also have you know I'm still on consultation with Dr. Google as I type out this entry. Actually, gotta git as she's ready to get cranky again. Please pray for my little girl. Thanks.

Singing Bowls

When I first heard of singing bowls, I had visions of bowls belting out songs or people singing into the bowls (for acoustic purposes?). Anyway, it was an intriguing concept and even though my guesses were so off, what singing bowls actually are remains fascinating to me. These bowls are actually sort of inverted bells. Their sides and rim vibrate and produce a sound. They have been in use for spiritual traditions in Himalayan Asia for centuries. Buddhists can use them for meditation and prayer, but even non-Buddhists are also wont to acquire them - some using them in yoga, some believing they aid in healing and therapy, some using them for performance, etc. They also certainly make great conversation pieces in the home or office. Most traditional singing bowls are made of metal, but nowadays they may be made of quartz for added healing powers. Silver Sky Imports offers such along with other meditation products, like gongs, beads, incense, etc. Crystal Singing Bowls do not only produce beautiful tones, they’re luminously gorgeous as well. With the proper lighting, they look even lovelier. Crystal though they may be, they are crafted to be durable and sturdy for the frequent strikes they are to receive. They come in varying sizes and pitches and each one includes a small round rubber stand and soft suede striker.

Glee Made Me Cry a River

I know it has been almost a week for those in the US, but over here it was just aired last night. The anticipation was something fierce for this episode - oh wait. Hi, everyone! I'm talking about Glee. Anyway, I've had a semi-crush on Artie for some time now (love his voice - I hear he's the best dancer among the original Glee members. How ironic that his character is the one in the wheelchair. And Finn is "dancing" away.). I actually forced myself not to read recaps (but I couldn't resist watching videos of the performances on YouTube). Since I was so excited about seeing this episode after being deprived of new episodes for so long (long meaning 1 week), I decided that it was only logical (it's really not) to go berserk and just indulge in sugar decadence. In preparation for the Glee hour, I fixed myself and Marguerite a mug each of Red Hots apple cider, a big bowl of buttery cinnamon popcorn (gotta have cinnamon in the air), and a huge slab of Black Forest cake. I then proceeded to bawl through the entire show. Honestly, no other comedy has made me cry this hard. Artie! Sue and her sister! Puck! Kurt and his dad! I also drank Marguerite's cider because she didn't like it. Good for her. All that sugar! Tsk! Chip and I were texting each other the entire time ("Is it just me or is this show cry-me-a-river?" "OMG! Brit is so nice!" "What's with this episode? Even Puck is making me cry!"...). It's times like this that I really miss having my sister close by. You should have seen (or heard) us when we first discovered Josh Groban (on Ally McBeal - the first episode he appeared in). Please ask me who Josh Groban is so I can answer you with... "Who's Josh Groban?! Kill yourself! He is an angel sent from heaven to deliver platinum records unto us. And if he were here right now I'd club you to death with his Critic's Choice Award." *smiles sweetly*
Urgent PS: If you know of a really good effective way of flushing sugar out of the body, please leave a comment!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Baby Formula Fact

I was supposed to facilitate a baby trivia quiz/game in a baby shower, but we ended up not doing that. Anyway, from the list of questions I learned that the typical cost of raising a child in the United States for the first year of life is about $7000. According to data, $2000 of this amount goes to formula alone. This is why experts and the federal government are encouraging mothers to breastfeed. Not only will the baby get the best kind of nutrition this way, the parent/s also get to save loads of money. In line with the breastfeeding campaign is a new program from WIC, a federal agency that provides food and access to health services among other things to low-income women and children. WIC has reallocated the funding for infant formula along with other provided foods. This move means that many low-income parents may now have to pay for baby formula themselves. They should know that through the Infant Formula Act, infant formulas all meet the FDA nutritional requirements and have passed all its standard inspections. Nutrition expert from Weill Cornell Medical College Dr. Barbara Levine pointed out that there is no nutritional reason to insist on getting a major brand. I did a calculation of how much a mother could save by switching from major brand to store-brand formula at more than half the former’s price and she may spend less than $58 per month. Any parent should get excited about being able to put this amount to some other good use or to simply save it.

What I Got from Mafe Whose Birthday Is Today :)

My closest church friend, Mafe, gave me this yesterday for my birthday:

It is this cool, vintage Japanese tray set. It goes without saying that I really love it. It's so nice to have a friend who knows you very well. We've known each other for almost 20 years and counting. Just to date us, hehe, we went through the Dead Poets Society phase together (among other things), lol. It is actually Mafe's birthday today, so...
Happy Birthday, Mafe! Hugs!

The Very Handy Eddie Bauer Infant Travel Bed

We threw a baby shower for my SIL last Saturday. She’s about a month from delivery and we’re all so excited for Baby Matthew to get here. I personally miss having a newborn to take care of. I love all the stages, but one does pine for those that are already done. I actually still find baby items very fascinating even if my daughter is way past the need for them. I remember what a big production it was just to go to the mall. Happily, there were various products and technologies to make life with a baby easier. Something that’s sure to come in handy is an eddie bauer infant travel bed. It gives the comfort of a regular baby bed and so much more, but it’s amazingly portable at the same time. It has a collapsible frame and is very compact and lightweight. For longer travels, you can be assured that it’s easy to pack. It also comes with generous storage pockets where you can keep all the essentials, as well as a convenient strap for easier carrying. The surface is made of nylon, which you can simply wipe clean. Traveling with it actually means not having to hunt down bathrooms with changing tables since you can  just change your baby while he or she is in it. It may be designed for travel, but you can be certain it comes in very useful at home too. You can bring it from room to room without any hassle. The eddie bauer infant travel bed measures at 31 x 20 x 9 inches and comes with padded bedding, a fitted sheet, and two soft mobile toy features. It is perfect for newborn to 6-month-old babies.

Jubilant Filipinos

I'm not about to be the only Pinoy blogger who does not blog about Pacquiao's win yesterday. I actually prayed for that, lol. Chip was already psyching herself that Manny P wouldn't win, so she wouldn't be so disappointed if he lost. She was saying that Cotto was so much bigger, blah, blah, blah. However, Manny had already shown many times in the past that he could beat fighters who were bigger and heftier than he. I normally don't enjoy watching boxing, but any fight with the potential of making a Filipino a world champion is important, of course, so you can say I've watched most of Manny's fights. Anyway, besides the fact that it was Sunday and we weren't fanatic enough to pay to watch the fight live, we just waited for my aunt in Fresno to deliver the results as soon as they were available. We were still having lunch when the phone rang and Chip (who was in our parents' room, watching Glee replays on Jack) shortly thereafter started shouting "Pacquiao WON!!!" We all rushed to the bedroom and excitedly got the details. Not even minutes after Chip had taken the call, a long blast of fireworks (and some more) erupted from somewhere nearby (probably the city hall). We switched the TV to a local channel and there was a news feed about Pacquiao's victory running at the bottom of the screen. Naturally, we watched all 12 rounds even if we already knew how it would turn out. Even jubilating about Pacquiao's win, I couldn't help but feel sorry for Cotto. The fact that his little son was there watching just broke my heart. :( That's why I'm embedding a video of La Diva singing the national anthem instead of the fight, hehe.

I Enjoyed My Century Bangus Fillet in the Car Stranded in Flooded Famy

As you know, Husband’s work is mostly overtime, so I really go the extra mile when it comes to making sure he gets to have bonding moments with myself and our daughter. Instead of complaining about the fewer opportunities for quality time together as a family, I’ve resolved to just get creative and simply make even seemingly ordinary moments special. Now, add Husband’s photography and music gigs to his schedule, and family time can get virtually non-existent. IF we don’t watch it. Husband’s a good man and an awesome dad. We’re not about to let his crazy schedule get in the way of family togetherness. One of the ways we’ve dealt with this is to go with him to his shoots and practices.

Of late, he has had to do shoots in out-of-town settings, so instead of being bummed about him working weekends, we just looked at these gigs as opportunities for travel for the entire family. We actually love road trips. When Husband and I were working in Subic, we regularly traveled to Manila and back. We’ve learned to make these long drives fun with games and singing. Of course, the dining experience was also interesting, considering that we used to pass by so many eating establishments in the hours we spent on the road. Three years later, the circumstances of these road trips have been modified. We now have a daughter and a tighter budget. Despite the budget, road trips remain special. There are still singing and games, but while restaurant stops have diminished considerably, we’ve rediscovered the fun in impromptu picnics and the coziness of eating in the car. The problem with this arrangement is that we have a very picky eater with us, hence I have to be very strategic in planning our road trip menu. I must admit, while I do not count calories, I do obsess about nutritional intake. Also, Marguerite remains an ovo-lacto-pesco vegetarian with the occasional chicken or turkey thrown in, so the meat protein aspect is something that I used to fret over (fruits, grains, veggies, etc. were easy enough to bring) until I crossed paths with Century Bangus Fillet. Suffice it to say that Marguerite likes it and enjoys both tausi and Spanish style.

Century Gourmet Bangus Fillet is a real godsend because while I do like the flavor of bangus, it has got to be one of the boniest fish out there - so yay for Century’s very thoughtful decision to go boneless, lol. It’s also inspired how the available styles are tausi and Spanish, both very savory and distinct. Of course, canned delicacies are no good unless you have a can opener, but Century has addressed that by putting its bangus fillet in easy-to-open cans with pull tabs (if I sense that Marguerite is hungry and we're still not ready to stop and park, I just open a can and feed her, no problem). It certainly covers all the important aspects - nourishment, handiness, convenience, etc. It is also very filling. That's why when we were stranded in Famy, Laguna on our way to a shoot in Sinaloan on that fateful Ondoy Saturday, we remained very much well nourished despite not being able to leave the car for many hours.

We took the Rizal route instead of South Luzon Expressway. The car being buoyed by a mini wave on a flooded bridge in Antipolo should have been a portent of worse floods ahead, considering the incessant downpour. We bravely ploughed our way on even though I was really thinking we should have turned back and just waited out the bad weather in my parents' house in Marikina(!). As it turned out, continuing on our way was the wise choice. We got stranded a couple of times, true, and water seeped through the floor of the car, but we remained pretty comfortable. We had plenty of food in the car since I had already planned for a meal to be consumed in it (or on any nice grassy patch that we could potentially encounter). Even in short drives, having a picky eater along has trained me to bring food that I know she'll enjoy anyway in case she won't go for any of the choices in a restaurant. Thank God really that Husband and I are always in a thrifty frame of mind. Otherwise, we would have probably just planned to drive through one of the fastfood places or stopped to eat in a restaurant. Even with no access to a store, we were able to have a nutritious lunch of Century Bangus Fillet, bananas, and sandwiches on time and feel blessed that we were well fed and relatively safe. We did prudently ration our supply at that time since we didn't know how long we would be stranded. We eventually were able to cross the flood, only to be denied access through a bridge about a kilometer from our destination by the military. The soldiers occasionally allowed small vehicles to cross and towards the late afternoon, we finally got to the shoot location (yes, the shoot did push through). We ended up staying the night in the resort (the original plan was photo shoot in Laguna in the morning, birthday party in Tandang Sora at 2pm, and despedida/reunion in Gateway at 6pm - that horrible Ondoy wrecked lives, properties, and at the very least, plans). Naturally, Marguerite was difficult during dinner, but she did eat some more Century Bangus Fillet (ah, the wisdom in rationing) when we went back to our room. On our way home the following day, we anxiously stopped at a minimart to stock up on supplies in case we got stranded again. However, we were thankfully able to drive all the way home to Mandaluyong (via SLEX - Rizal was still flooded) without further incident.

Because of this experience, our practice to always have a supply of  handy and healthy goods, such as Century Bangus Fillet, with us in the car has certainly been reinforced.

Here’s Marguerite holding her lovey (KittyCat) and her baon (Spanish style) during one of our early morning travels. She definitely knows what her priorities are, lol.

Check Out the iLASIK Video Contest ($5000 Grand Prize)

All you video enthusiasts out there, both amateur and professional, let me inform you about the iLASIK Video Contest. As you know, Abbott Medical Optics Inc (AMO) is a leading name when it comes to laser video correction. True to its commitment to vision improvement, it has launched the “You Gotta See This” Video Contest to find inspiring stories on how a better vision could or has already improved somebody’s life. AMO is inviting you to make a video showing how improved vision makes a big difference. So far, there have been entries of original music videos, sports videos, and videos on daily life. Here are the contest requirements:

1. Submit a video for one of the following categories:
• “My contacts are getting in the way of my good time”
• “My favorite sport or activity would be so much cooler with better vision”
• “You should see life after the iLASIK® Procedure”
2. Invite your friends and family to vote for your video. The votes are one of the deciding factors in choosing the winners.

Entrants have a chance to win $5000 as grand prize, an HDTV package worth $2500 for the first prize (1 first prize winner for each of the 3 categories), or a Flip UltraHD camcorder worth $199.99 for the second prize (1 second prize winner for each of the 3 categories).

To submit, view, and vote for videos, go to

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Dad's Birthday and My Daily Checklist

Today is my dad's 63rd birthday. I happen to know he likes being a senior citizen, lol. His hair went gray early, but he's still got a full head of those strands and his face remains youthful. He's as active as ever, as mentally alert and agile as ever and I wish that he will continue to enjoy good health for a long long time. I pray that his ministry continue to grow and that he remain a good testimony and a blessing to our church. Happy Birthday, Dad!

Side note to our congregation: If the church is planning a party, stop referring to it as a surprise one, lol. We do it every year!

I used to have this propped in front of me when I was at the computer. It's a list of my daily goals, a reminder of what I want to achieve everyday.

I had to use the board for something else, so I traded it for this sign:

And then I added another one on the wall across the bed (another place where I often dawdle).

You see, Marguerite and I were playing bistrot and we had to use the back of the original sign for this:

If you're a fan of E.L. Konigsburg, you know that's nothing but plain old mac and cheese ("From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler"). :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Of Crime and Firecrackers

You know what can make me positively homicidal? Firecrackers at night when I'd just put my daughter to sleep. (You overly eager @#%$^s, wait until New Year's Eve!!!) Over here, the holiday season starts when we hit the -ber months. 'Tis the season to develop hernias from stopping one's self from storming out of the house and screaming abuse at inconsiderate and thoughtless neighbors with a penchant for loud noises. The thing is the culprits aren't even my close neighbors. They probably live a couple of streets over. Sigh. Tranquilo. I'm in my 30s. It's never too early to start caring for one's heart. Anyway, I was planning on working on a story (I haven't written a proper one in a year! There was a time when I used to churn out these short stories daily. Now, I can't seem to find the time. Or the focus.), but since Marguerite woke up, I had to go back to bed and keep her company. I read and sang to her (only my child would stand this type of "musical" assault) until she was properly drowsy. To be productive, I took out my knitting and worked on a blanket until I nodded off. I think I fell asleep before Marguerite did, lol.

Anyway, I also want to thank Bambie for the following award:

It had the same rules as the lovely blog award. There are so many blogs I recently visited that are deserving, but I'm afraid I don't have the time to follow the rules this time. If I dropped an EC on your blog, feel free to receive this award from me, lol.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

La Philosophie de Trente-trois

The day I turned 13, the Berlin Wall started to come down. It is with pure conceit that I associate my passage into the teen years (certainly the dark ages of my life, lol) with this epic, historic event. It really amazes me to note that I can now count decadeS since I hit puberty (in my case, that actually came way too early). Will I ever stop being in awe of the fact that youth and all its glory (and follies) happened THAT long ago? I remember waxing philosophical, nostalgic about leaving youth behind when I turned 25. It didn't help that I loved the movie Singles with a passion and one of my fave quotes from it was Janet Livemore's (Bridget Fonda) "Somewhere around 25, bizarre becomes immature." The purported urgent significance of marking a quarter of a century was not lost on me. I wrote an article for a women's mag about making good on the promise of my youth (only copy lost in the flood). I also wrote a short story related to certain realizations about the passing of youth for another magazine (also lost in the flood - aargh, the angst of my teen years - unfounded and silly though it may be - is threatening to creep back in. Don't worry; it's probably just revertigo.) What was I actually doing then, the day I turned 25? I was in Las Vegas, celebrating my birthday with my dad, my sister, an aunt and uncle, and a group of nice strangers my dad was counseling on starting their own church. No, that was hardly epic. Pleasant (my sister and I are actually still raving about my birthday cake until now), but not really momentous, lol.
Btw, if it hasn't occurred to you yet, I'm really just blathering.
I don't like being in my 30s. It's so not me, lol. This is pathetically funny because I was always the kind of child who was panting for the next stage, desperate to leave childhood and youth and the lack of power and control behind. Am I going to make a similar mistake and dwell too much on the past, hankering for the good old days that are now mere memories getting more distant with the passing of the years? I do enjoy looking back, but I do recognize the potentials of this stage and I'm always hopeful that the best is yet to come. I'm happy to note that disposition can be self-taught. I'm glad to recognize willpower as a force to be reckoned with. I do notice my natural negativity (my mother must have eaten something disagreeable while pregnant with me) diminishing with the gradual approach of what I hope to be wisdom. Going back to my penchant for the past, I am that kind of person though - a history buff, a lover of the vintage, and even as a kid, I was into the oldies but goodies... That's okay, right?  However, please feel free to smack me around if it gets unhealthy.
I'll have you know I don't really know where this is going. Or if I even have a point.
It has been my habit to keep birthdays philosophical and veer away from the material. Thirty-three. Two ways to look at it - depressing or... not depressing, lol. I've decided to go with the latter. I asked myself how I should turn that supposedly special event progressing in a highly normal fashion (which  was potentially dangerous - if I didn't catch myself, I could have found that depressing) into something positive for myself. That was to be my gift for myself - a promise of improvement. I made a list of 33 things I wanted to learn in the next year. Encouraged by my recent success with learning to whistle with my fingers (I kid not), I launched myself into this undertaking and the list is now done. I actually have a sort of growing waiting list of other topics or skills I want to learn, which kind of annoys me because the 33 thing was supposed to be symbolic. I'll share a few things here:
- whittle
- shooting stars and constellations (which might prove to be opportune as Marguerite has been asking for a "steluscope" - don't ask me where she learned about telescopes)
- calligraphy
- relearn my piano pieces (3 years of lessons and I only escaped with the intro for a couple of pieces - pitiful!)
- play an entire song on the guitar (even I'm getting sick of the intro to "Push" - I'm not into Rob Thomas anymore)
- birds
- Hawaiian (the language)
- the book of Revelations
- Child Ballads
- distressing furniture

I also leave you with Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" - my personal theme song around 7-8 years ago, lol.

Monday, November 9, 2009

At Least There's a Pic

We attended a recital-cum-birthday party yesterday. It was really fun. Too bad we arrived late and missed most of the recital part. That's Marguerite "participating" in one of the games (she mostly stared, I think, but she got the toy horn out of the deal and she loves it, lol). I also finally got to watch Husband's new band in action. I don't really feel like blogging, but gotta fight these spells. :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Day Filled With Sugar And Hula

There were lots of food yesterday. The grasshopper pie wasn't a disaster, lol. It was just one of the many desserts available yesterday (no wonder Mariqueños are known to be courted by diabetes all their lives, and oh, many sadly succumb - we just can't quit sugar, tsk tsk). Anyway, it was my mom's birthday, but somehow Marguerite ended up with a couple of gifts herself. One was this hula ensemble from my mom's cousin Tita Cora (just one of the multiple Tita Coras I have, lol):


Marguerite wore it the entire time we were there. She danced to our shameless mangling of "Pearly Shells", "Tiny Bubbles",  "My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua Hawaii", and even "Mele Kalikimaka" (Hawaiian Christmas song). Actually, she danced to everything. Chip and I, being proud Gleeks, naturally launched into our Glee repertoire and, yeah, Marguerite danced away. Anyway, she also got a Toys R Us gift certificate from dad, mom, and Chip (thanks!). I guess it was also a happy day even for the non-birthday girl, lol.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Feliz Cumpleaños, Mom

It's my mom's birthday today. She's now one year shy of being a senior citizen, lol. If there's somebody who needs a break, it's my mom. She has been functioning like a nurse for the last decade or so that she's ready to receive her degree (she did pre-med BS Bio for college, so add that to the experience, would that make her qualify for a BS Nursing diploma? lol). First, my grandparents, and then for the last couple of years, my sister (who's much better now, for those who care). She needs some serious pampering and gallivanting and having fun and just plain worry-free living. That's my birthday wish for her besides all the other usual wishes (good health, blessings...) - F.U.N.

Marguerite and I made a grasshopper pie for her birthday lunch.

To our Mom and Nannie: Have a fabulous (last non-senior citizen, lol) birthday! Te queremos muchísimo.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Lovely Blogs

Thanks to Levy@LivingLifetotheFullest for this lovely award. It means so much. :)

To accept this award here are the rules:
Post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Now I am passing this award to the following 15 bloggers:

1. Grampy/Russ
2. Maitri
3. Margie and Edna
4. Joan/Sharkbytes
5. Mara
6. Vera
7. Czaroma
 8. Kaye
9. Auntie E
10. Bingkee
11. Supermommy/Stacie
12. Angelrhona
13. Yami
14. Leigh
15. Zizzybob

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Where to Go for Successful Downloads

It gets easier and easier to download all sorts of things from the internet these days. Sometimes I wonder what my youth would have been like if all these conveniences were already present then. A powerful search engine that offers the opportunity for you to successfully download anything from games to music and films absolutely free is It has a huge torrent files database that is regularly updated by bots that cover a multitude of sites with files, such as tv torrents. The site’s interface is fairly simple and nobody will be intimidated to make use of its service.

Fresh Air Fund + OneSight

I've written about the wonderful Fresh Air Fund program here several times. Through it, inner-city children are given the experience of a lifetime with a trip to visit a volunteer host family from the suburbs or country, or a fun-filled and educational stay at one of the program's camps.

This past summer OneSight reached out to the program and helped over 3000 Fresh Air children by making sure that every child who needed the gift of sight was screened. OneSight and their traveling optical clinic are able to help at Fresh Air camps. Together, the Fresh Air Fund and OneSight are able to provide free eye exams and eyewear to the children who need them each year. You can give your support or simply learn more about this program here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Back When I Liked Cartoons

I haven't done a revertigo post in a while. Anyway, as you know, these revertigos are spurred by stuff I see on YouTube (YouTube, why can't I quit you?). I came across a Rainbow Brite video and got all nostalgic. I was one of those kids who got over cartoons way too early (my husband will tell you how corny I am with my lack of interest in the retro cartoons he watches online). I think the last cartoon I kind of followed was Captain Planet and that was mostly because I was interested in environmental stuff. Anyway, I do remember liking Rainbow Brite.


I wanted to watch the Garbage Pail Kids, I think, but it was too gruesome. I wasn't into the Care Bears, but I can look back fondly at the time when all my friends were.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Free Printables

All you parents out there, homeschooling and otherwise, I think you'll find very useful. It offers plenty of free printing materials for all ages. It has items such as music sheets (which is really neat, since I'm trying to teach Marguerite how to play the piano - um, she's not ready for formal lessons yet though - and all my old John Thompsons, Michael Aarons, and John W. Schaums would have all been damaged in the flood if they hadn't gone missing first) arts&crafts (always looking for projects), activities (inspiration, ideas...), lessons, etc. The really great thing about the site is that you can print out all these for free (hence the site's name, lol). It's certainly worth a visit. Go check it out. :)