Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Videos of Marguerite Performing in Church

Our church celebrated its 17th year anniversary last Sunday. The highlight of the celebration for me was the special number from the Kids Department. Marguerite finally, FINALLY danced through the entire song. The two pics here are of myself, my mom, my sister and my daughter, taken inside the church office. I added the second one because even though my husband cruelly lobbed off the top of my head, Marguerite is actually smiling/laughing there:

Anyway, you'll also notice that I finally learned to resize a video, thanks to a VirtualDub tutorial I found. I uploaded on YouTube the video of the last performance of the kids I kept on talking about here and embedded it as well, so you can compare how much of an improvement last Sunday's performance was. :) Also watch out for the little girl from one of the daughter churches who suddenly joined the performance and the brothers who suddenly started fighting at the end of the number, lol.

Where Can I Get Me Some Business Acumen?

The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that I'm supposed to continue this setup of staying at home with my daughter. The thing is, I really miss having a good steady income. I suppose I also miss all the other details, but that's not to say that I prefer them. I like what I'm doing. I just wish mothering paid more, lol. I frequently do get freelance work and I know I charge more than most of the other writers in this outsourcing program I belong to, but I happen to think my work is worth it, if not more (pls pardon the arrogance). However, I do wish I could think of a business that I could really get into. I have loads of ideas, but no follow through whatsoever. I do have lots of excuses and I'm so sick of them, I'm about to flog them all out of myself. Anyway, I do know that once I think of a business idea that I know I can actually develop and work on, the Internet is there to make staying at home while doing that possible. I do have to look into matters such as online marketing and networking (something I'm really horrible at - I'm of the mentality that it's all so contrived and, well, uncool - an attitude I really ought to ditch. Coolness, schmoolness... Do I think I'm in middle school or something?) and hopefully be successful at it.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Life's Little Pleasures

Recent projects include origami dolls and homemade apple chips. I didn't take a picture of the apple chips because the two attempts we've made were flops (edible, but, well, flops). The origami dolls weren't anything intricate and preschoolers won't have too much trouble folding and coloring them (FYI, Marguerite wasn't ready to fold and color properly, but she did play with them afterward).

Yesterday, Marguerite and I walked to the nearby mall. I let her blow 50 pesos (a little over a dollar) on the arcade (+3 extra tokens). She mostly rode those dinky cars and carousels, smashed ghoulies and shot hoops. After that, we went down to the book/school supplies store and bought domino and checkers game kits (these are some of the games I want Marguerite to grow up playing - not the ones on PSPs and other newfangled contraptions that keep on coming out in the market - anyway, she's not yet ready to play these games the conventional way, but she can watch the oldsters play and eventually learn). Our last stop was the secondhand bookstore, where I got three back issue magazines - Php90 (one came with a 2010 natural toy and craft catalog), a Christmas recipe book - Php25, and a replacement for one of the precious Fannie Flagg books that were damaged in last year's flood - Php45. Just Php160 (about $3.50) for things I consider priceless.

I love buying used books, especially if they have stuff like dedications, notes, gum wrappers, etc. in them. It's like discovering a mini-secret, a kind of connection to the previous owner. The recipe book bore a note from the givers (apparently it was a Christmas gift).

It said, "Merry Christmas, Susie Q! (the dots of the apostrophes on this note were hearts) You were our Christmas treat 31 years ago and every Christmas since!! God bless - Love, Ma & Pa '92". What a sweet message! I hope nothing happened to any of them and that's why this book was discarded. I personally wouldn't knowingly give away a book (a book my parents had given me at that), but I know other people are not as sentimental. In any case, their loss is my gain and this message just made this book extra special. :) Can't wait to try out the recipes (I don't care if Christmas is months away).

Yet Another Blog?

I have this idea for a blog. It's going to be a niche blog, something to do with natural living. Obviously, I'm no expert, but what I hope to do is to research stuff I want to find out, test whatever the fruits the research brings and then share my findings on the blog. Hopefully, this time I won't lose momentum. Also, the interest. Right now, I have four blogs and this is the only active one, lol. Sometimes, I regret having separate blogs for cooking and working at home, but what's done is done and it's also good that the WAHM one doesn't "contaminate" my personal blog as it's got quite a few rants and snarks in it, hehe. I mean, where else can I let off steam about delinquent clients, right? As for the new blog, I intend to do that one properly, with SEO in mind. Everything will be deliberate. I'll get a domain name and look for the best windows hosting. It will be informative and will require quite a bit of work, but it's something I'm really interested in, so I'll find the time. Of course, right now, it's all just a grand plan. I don't know how soon I can get to setting things in motion. Knowing myself, I can only hope it's sometime before the rapture. :D

Friday, June 25, 2010

When Growing Pains Are No Longer Associated with Kirk Cameron

We co-sleep and as much as we love doing it, the quality of sleep has just not been the same for me. Come to think of it, nighttime sleep has just not been the same since I started sharing beds with another person, lol. Since becoming a mother, actual restful sleep seemed to have gone non-existent. Anyway, with Marguerite, first there was the usual infant stuff (SIDS paranoia, etc.). As she grew older, there came what seemed to be very mild cases of night terrors (just crying), which were easily dispelled with soothing sounds and strokes. Of course, since her toilet-training days, there have been the sporadic nighttime potty trips too (she normally doesn't need to go until morning). Recently, Marguerite has seemingly been experiencing bouts of growing pains. In the REM stage, she would just thrash about crying, in the process delivering some well-placed kicks to her father and myself. If she actually roused from sleep, she would respond to our questions and tell us what was bothering her (her legs). I would normally massage her legs until she fell back asleep. I read somewhere that it would also help to give her some water. In any case, I'm just glad it's not anything truly worrying. In the meantime, here I am bleary eyed and wondering why rest just seems so darned elusive. Ah well, I intone in a philosophical vein, it's all just part of the marvelous experience that is motherhood.

OXIS and Ergothioneine

Sometimes keeping healthy just seems like fighting a losing battle. There's your harmful environment over which your personal efforts seem to impact but minimally, unless you decide to create a vacuum for yourself (and who can honestly thrive inside a vacuum?). There's the irreversible aging, which, unless you have tremendous lifestyle discipline, will surely happen no matter how much you protest. There are problems which will insist on hounding you all your life. The odds may be against you, but you're not about to give up without a fight, are you?
Companies understand that health is always a pressing matter and they continue to develop products that will address the issue. One such company is OXIS International, Inc (See Since 1966, it has been active in the medical field. Nowadays, their efforts are focused on their therapeutic nutraceutical products, cosmeceutical products, and proprietary formulations and clinical products.This is a good time for investors to get involved, even in terms of penny stocks, as OXIS remains the premiere provider for Ergothioneine, a potent antioxidant. It particularly deals with oxidative stress, which occurs when the production of free radicals and ROS/RNS exceeds the body's natural defense mechanisms causing damage to vital molecules in the body which may lead to cell dysfunction and cell death. Ergothioneine can neutralize increased oxidative stress. It can also conserve and maintain the levels of other antioxidants such as Vitamin E, Vitamin C and glutathione; increase respiration and the oxidation of fat; protect mitochondria from damage, etc. OXIS products have anti aging properties and address many aging-related disorders.

Letting Natural Creativity Flourish

So I've been watching more videos of Sir Ken Robinson. I found an older one that I like. I think he gave this talk in 2006:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

About This Biker Lady I Know

My sister and I were talking about the old MTV Asia and how we missed the old time VJs. I don't tune in to MTV anymore. Ohhh-kay, I sometimes watch "16 and Pregnant" and its sequel "Teen Mom" - not sure about the title - when I can catch them, but that's it. Okay, so maybe also when I chance upon shows that play old videos, but see? I don't even know what to call it. I really don't watch MTV anymore. During my time, old videos were shown in Danny McGill's "Classic MTV" (MTV on a Harley, hehe). I think he was my favorite VJ. Chip and I were talking about how thrilled we were that he and Kamal ("Kamal Sutra") ended up together. Anyway, Danny McGill certainly looked like he really rode big bikes and wasn't just some poseur (gosh, I'm still using this word!). Then again, why cater to stereotypes? I happen to know this octogenarian woman (a great-aunt of mine actually) who rides to and from our church in a big bike (her son drops her off and picks her up). Who'd have thought she was on her way to church and not to a biker singles meet-up (she's a widow)? Anyway, my great-aunt is a super cool lady and every time we get the chance to talk, she's always at me to go for another baby, lol.

News from the Fresh Air Fund

Sara from the Fresh Air Fund has just emailed me with more news regarding the program:

"Next week on June 30th we will have our first departure of Friendly Town trips... We have trips going to Southern & Central VT, New London area CT, Great Barrington, MA, Latham/Albany area, Ontario, Rochester area. Everyone is so excited that the children are coming into these homes and towns and that it's the first day visiting for summer 2010."

If you want to become a host, donate or just learn more about this wonderful program, go to

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Home Improvement

A good chunk of my recent writing clients has been interior design and home décor businesses. Now, I'm no expert, but the topic does interest me. In any case, I've learned so much from churning out the articles and site content I've been hired to produce. Incidentally, we're in the process of remodeling my parents' home, which still bear the traces of Ondoy's damage. One point of concentration would be the dining area. At the moment, Mom has four Dining Room Set options - hers, mine, and two of her deceased mother's. I think she's leaning towards one of her mother's as it's a solid classic and an inheritance to boot. She might discard hers, which is glass-topped and not very practical (although it has remained undamaged in the ten years it has been of service) or simply use it for something else. Mine is really too small and is currently functioning as a homeschool/work table. Anyway, we're very excited to spruce up the old place. I really hope and pray that there not be a repeat of last year's flooding, not only for the wasted home improvement effort of course, but for the devastation it could bring. We'd never experienced anything like that - so it could be a one-time thing or something new that could recur due to the changing conditions on this planet. All we can do short of moving is to pray and prepare.

The Rallying Call to Educational Revolution

What Sir Ken Robinson discusses in this video further fortifies my conviction to homeschool. At many points while listening to him talk did I want to applaud and shout "Amen!". As a matter of fact, I think I actually did. :)

Now, I know that circumstances may change around here and the option to homeschool may be taken away from us. Thankfully, there are more non-traditional schools to choose from and should there ever be a need to research them, I'll keep all of Sir Ken Robinson's points in mind.

PS: Sir Ken Robinson poked fun at the way pre-school has become so cutthroat and competitive. It reminded me of this show I chanced upon the Home and Health channel about parents of pre-schoolers and NY private school agents.  It was something like a reality show about the agonizing process of application to hyper-exclusive NY kindergartens. I'm sorry this may sound judgmental, but it was SO ridiculous. And disturbing.

The Stress of Moving

The place we're in now is another temporary spot for us. I'm hoping the next time we move, it will be somewhere we can take root. I'm seriously tired of moving. Since 2004, I've moved five times - from my parents' house in Marikina to an apartment in Subic Bay; from that apartment to the first house my husband and I stayed in (both places were provided by the school we worked at); from that house back to my parents' house and then to an apartment in Mandaluyong and finally back here in Marikina with my parents. We're staying here while we review our options for our own place. I'm tired of plunking down a big chunk of our income toward something that's not going to be eventually our own. The last time we moved, we had to hire movers as we just had more things then compared to the other moves. The previous ones, we could make do with repeated trips with an SUV and Husband's brother and cousin helping. Moving is really stressful. It really takes a load off to have efficient help. My grandmother has been moving around constantly since she reached retirement; she must be familiar with many of the Moving Companies in Los Angeles. In her case, first it was to retire in Arizona, but when my step-grandfather died, the ranch was just too big, isolated and lonely for her so she moved back to California. Since then she has lived in Simi Valley, San Bernardino, Arleta... I think most of her things remain in storage, lol.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cootie Catchers and Playdough - Just Some Childhood Staples

Remember making cootie catchers when you were a kid? Of course, I think I was already in grade school when I started fooling with them. Anyway, yesterday for art, we were supposed to make origami dolls, but ended up making cootie catchers. I think Marguerite sees them as some sort of puppets. I made the one in the picture as an activity picker (the choices are "spend time in the garden", "make smoothies", "play dress-up", etc.) Since this pic, we've made two more and it's just silly and fun. One is a hug sweepstakes of sorts (who will get Marguerite's hug - choices include people, loveys, and the fridge - I'd have included trees, but ours are crawling with big red ants); the other is something like madlibs (choices are adjectives and nouns; we pick a person to match the word with, eg. Uncle Giggi is... it could be anything from "cute" to "a potato"). Marguerite is actually still a little too young for them, but she gets them, especially the hugging one.

Btw, when we were packing to move, I threw out all of Marguerite's bunches of clay (they'd all come to resemble mounds of brown turd). Yesterday, she was suddenly asking for them and my mother quickly took her to a nearby school supplies store and voilà, we've got clay again. Living with grandparents...
Sigh, btw, how was your solstice? Mine was spent defending my method of parenting. Just because I prefer to not take the punitive approach in discipline somehow means that I lack discipline completely. People just seem to want me to spank Marguerite into shape. Apparently, I'm raising a spoiled brat. While I may resent the criticism on my part, what alarms me is the judgment and labels being heaped on my 3-year-old. I'm open-minded and I've had doubts, but I'm still convinced that this way is best for us. Rest assured that I realize this is experimental for us, having had no exposure to positive/gentle discipline AT ALL, and am ready to modify and correct as I go along. Fortunately, I can verbally spar with the best of them (and I mean "the best") so I won that duel.

An Interest from My Childhood

I grew up fascinated by Native American culture. Books like "Sign of the Beaver", "Island of the Blue Dolphins" and "Moccasin Trail" fueled this fascination. I was filled with romantic and mystic imagery. The women were beautiful and the men, noble and indestructible. As I grew older and read books with more mature content (which in no way means that I stopped reading children's books), the rosy haze of enchantment faded and I became aware of the journey the Indians have taken and the plight they continue to be in. The interest didn't end though. In fact, if anybody cares, I have a half-formed crush on Shaun Taylor-Corbett, lol. I also love their art and handicraft. I remember standing for almost an hour in front of a booth of a Native American selling hand-tooled metal and leather items at the Fresno Fair. I've always wanted to visit an Indian reservation, but haven't gotten the chance so far. I really don't care for the Twilight imagery that messed with my expectations either. I just read and learn what I can. For instance, I hear that dirt bike riding is quite popular in reservations and many Indians have graduated to the pros. It makes sense for Native American Business to support the sport and be an instrument in encouraging Indian youth to participate. Dirt bike and the relevant gear may be far from traditional Native American regalia, but I bet the essential spirit is still there.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Feliz Día del Padre

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all the dads out there, especially to my dad and to my husband.

Btw, if you want to say it in Spanish, do not follow this instruction on eHow

Step 1
Say "Feliz" for Happy. Pronounce it as "fay-leez."
Step 2
Say "Padre" instead of Father. Pronounce it as "pah-dray."
Step 3
Spell "Dia"' for Day. Pronounce it as "dee-ya."
Step 4
Put it together as "Feliz Día De Los Padre." Here "De" is the Spanish pronoun.

I wanted to leave the following comment, but I don't have an eHow account. I think membership is limited to the US. That's fine, I guess. They might want to screen the articles better though.

It's actually "Feliz día de los padres". Translated literally, it's "Happy day of the fathers". "Los", the article, and "padres", the noun it modifies, should agree in number (plural) and gender (masculine). "De" is actually a preposition, not a pronoun. It means "of". In other instances it can also mean "from". Having given this lecture on grammar, I'd like to add that in Spanish-speaking countries, it's more customary to say "Feliz día del padre" (singular).

I don't really want to snark, but why give instructions on something you don't know how to do?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Tale of My Husband's Eyeglasses

Sometime ago, my dad gave my husband Mark a pair of Ray-ban aviator sunglasses. Mark decided to replace the lenses with tinted graded ones as his eyesight is just plain whack. I suppose they were mainly for driving the car during the day. However, he found it tedious to keep on switching eyeglasses so he started using the graded sunglasses beyond driving. Count the fact that he was more dashing in them than in his usual spectacles - which are a little nerdy, understandably since they were chosen on their geek-rock/ska merits, hee - so he wore the Ray-bans more and more frequently. He would have worn them exclusively if not for the fact that they weren't practical at night. Things looked darker and he looked weird (in this case, a euphemism for dumb - what sensible person wears sunglasses at night?). So there followed a convoluted, confused and just aaaargh time consumed by the relentless switching from one pair of glasses to the other until the inevitable happened. Mark accidentally left the sunglasses in the conference room of one of his clients, never to be seen again. The moral of the story is... nada. Mark loses stuff all the time. We get over these things in time. Did I tell you about the time he lost his wedding ring?


Since we've moved here, it has been harder to stick to our homeschool rhythm. I've made a schedule that I loosely follow, but there are simply more distractions for both Marguerite and myself. I've been able to keep up my work-at-home schedule, but other than that, I think I've just been lounging. I've been trying to be conscious of how I spend my hours. It would certainly be ironic if I find myself lacking time here since I practically have no chores to do. It's not just homeschool too. I find myself less creative here. It's not the place. It's my attitude. For the past year and a half, I considered coming here a break from all my responsibilities. I suppose my mind hasn't transitioned yet. It hasn't registered yet that we actually live here and are not just visiting. I'm definitely praying for help getting myself organized.

Things That Are Worth the Interest

My mother-in-law has just left to go off gallivanting in Zurich and Paris, two of my avowed natural and spiritual homes, and naturally I'm pea green with ENVY. I hope she has a fun and safe trip though. If I had seen her before she left, I would have nagged at her to go to Café Schober (currently Café Felix, I believe) and to say "hello" for me to all my favorite Paris haunts, which I'm certain all miss me as much as I miss them, hee. Sigh. Give me the chance to travel anytime. I'll gladly go without signatures and trends, but I need me some of Samantha Brown's good life. Of course, travel to distant lands is on an entirely different luxury level from mere stuff. I would have to get personal loans upon personal loans to afford it. The thing is, my psyche's allergic to debt. I don't know, maybe I would consider being able to experience Europe as worth the months or even years of paying off loans and their interests. While we're at it, I might as well throw in some show tickets. How about that Les Miz anniv concert happening soon (huge nut over the musical, absolutely gaga over the TAC)? Of course, Lea being Fantine is sure to be awesome. However, my left eyebrow has launched itself into orbit at the thought of Nick Jonas doing Marius. I will be kind and simply say that Michael Ball's vocal quality is light years, LIGHT YEARS away and above... I wonder who will do Enjolras and if he will be as gorgeous as Michael Maguire... More importantly, where will I find the 150 pounds to see the concert, not to mention the thousand dollars or so for a roundtrip plane ticket? As I contemplate all this, I find myself immensely grateful that we have impeccable credit history, hehehe.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Grainy Pictures, Anyone?

I need to delete images from my phone, so I thought I'd upload them here first. They were supposed to be for blogging, but they're all of sucky quality (understandably since when did my phone ever take good pictures?) so I had second thoughts. The third thoughts pushed me to post them here anyway. Okay, the first one is of Marguerite doing watercolor leaf prints (homeschool arts and crafts project for that day). The second is Marguerite playing in the toy kitchen at the BCC Kids Club. The third is the color coded daily schedule I posted above my computer (Marguerite knows the colors and not the actual days) in the event that I linger without just cause here. Voilà les grainy pics!

Thoughts on Life

I just did something that may drastically change the lifestyle that we've favored for the past 4-5 years. Part of me is hoping that nothing would come out of this particular step that I took. Perhaps that's just me resisting change. To keep myself from going nuts (of the neurotic kind) over it (as what is my tendency to do in the face of making important life decisions), I've adopted a philosophical and spiritual attitude about it. Whether it's a go or not, it's all good. If it's for me, then I'd get it. Incidentally, it would also mean that God wants us to deviate from the current lifestyle. If it's not, I think I might actually feel a sense of relief. It would mean continuing in the path we've chosen. I remember when life wasn't this serious, when every little thing one did didn't have such a great impact on the general picture. Now, especially with the responsibility we have for our daughter's life, nothing remains trifling. Everyday is a lesson that builds toward the person that we are all to become. Health and mortality stare us squarely in the face and demand to be acknowledged at all times. Life insurance is no longer merely sensible, it has become rather imperative. Success and failure are very much sharply in evidence and there are no excuses. Why was I panting to get out of childhood?... This is what happens when I type without filter, lol.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mountain Holiday

We're back from a wonderful stay in the mountains. We were billeted at the Baguio Country Club, courtesy of our friend Emy. It was hard climbing down from the lap of luxury to face the long drive back to Manila. I remember when long drives were romantic. Now they usually mean keeping a little girl entertained and being armed with foresight and contingency measures for potential bathroom-related accidents. We did have a fabulous time and I'm happy to share some of the gazillion pictures we took:

Marguerite standing by the balcony door. I took the pic so it was on automatic, hence the lackluster colors.

We stayed in a penthouse suite with interesting nooks and crannies and hidden hallways. Here's one leading to somewhere (never opened that door).

ready to leave for a day of touring

in the club coffee shop while the rest placed orders for the bestselling raisin bread

 Marguerite loved the strawberry taho (this one came with sago; we were actually looking for something that came with strawberries)

posing in Igorot regalia

waiting to be seated at the popular '50s Diner (huge portions of great food for very reasonable prices)

one of the too few pics of my husband (he's usually the one taking pics) and he had to do this. sigh, husbands...

Love Marguerite's pose here
waiting for the others to emerge with designer coffee; in the interim, pic with Tita Cha

letting Marguerite loose on the side yard of Starbucks

Marguerite finds the first of many dandelions (I've converted her into another weed nut; you should see her with shy grass); trying to tell the time via dandelion clock

posing with Tita Emy

a little family pic (little is right since Husband resized all of them before uploading them in Picasa)

posing with Ate Sam and Tita Emy

just the females of our group

Marguerite in a patch of pine wood; finding dandelions and throwing needles at Daddy

walking to the Commissary; tired from the walk