Saturday, July 31, 2010

Update on Fortitude

Hi. I'm about to push Fortitude again. I just had my second piece published on the front page ("Revertigo" May Not Be a Real Word, but It's Very Real) and am just a little over a dollar short of retrieving my investment (after that, I can spend the rest of the year just writing for profit).  Also, an update on the review center: I posted here before that they pay you $.02 to review (just giving a piece a score of anything from 1-10 -- you don't have to write anything; and if you have a piece up for review, you don't get to participate so you can't influence its overall evaluation), but they've changed the rate to $.05. That's more than what you can earn chatting up a storm over at MyLot (incidentally, I also have a MyLot referral code, in case you want to give it a try, hee: Of course, at MyLot, sign-up is free and it is fun to join discussions, but if you're there for the money, you have to focus on tasks (that was lucrative for me until one of my pieces was rejected for no good reason - I asked for details and was ignored - and it occurred to me how risky the setup was. In my case, I'd spent all that time writing something, wasting time I could have spent minding my daughter, without any real commitment from the task provider -- I guess the point of that short rant is that MyLot should provide better protection for task takers). Anyway, Fortitude, MyLot, if you want to be nice to me, go ahead and sign up under my referral. :D

Friday, July 30, 2010

Of Little Vandals and Kitchen Sprouters

Yesterday for outdoor play, we got out the chalk and played some hopscotch. I went inside to tend to something only to go back a few minutes later and find this community of freaky chalk people. Marguerite told me that the first three were our family (Daddy, Mommy and Midgy). Aw. I'm so proud of my daughter's art (no matter how creepy, or that it's a form of vandalism - don't worry, it's our wall). We're cleaning it up with water today. I also told her to stick to the ground and leave the walls alone.

See those lines connecting the heads? Apparently, they're hands. And if you think that those two lines below the head are supposed to make a neck, you're dead wrong. They're legs. Cool, huh?

In less alien people type matters, Marguerite actually likes sprouts, so we're growing some in our kitchen. We don't have one of those sprouter contraptions (I have to decide if I want one), so we're doing it the old school way with glass jars and an old panty hose.

Bright Beginnings

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of PBM Products. All opinions are 100% mine.
I have written about Parent’s Choice several times here. Usually, it was to point out that store brands are just as good as big commercial company brands. The main difference was in the price, of course. At times when we have no other option but to be practical, we have to make sure that when we pay extra, it is actually for something that provides extra. Otherwise, we are simply paying for a name and that is plain foolish. Parent’s Choice is keen on letting the public know that infant formula products have all been regulated by the FDA to provide the nutrients that a baby needs, hence a more expensive brand is not necessarily a healthier option for your baby. Parent’s Choice offers Bright Beginnings, which come in various versions - premium, organic, with lipids... It has a new can design, which looks really attractive with the sun being all symbolic, emphasizing both “bright” and “beginnings” (as in a sunrise). The letters are also multi-colored, which somehow depicts energy and vitality. You can check out Bright Beginnings available at In case you did not know yet, they sell more than diapers over there. They pretty much have anything that you may need for your baby. If you want to buy Bright Beginnings, you can purchase it directly from the site.


What's Weird?

I've been called one countless times (once even in a note accompanied by roses - given by somebody who was even more of a freak than me) and this quiz certainly doesn't negate or confirm it as a fact (it's just a silly quiz - and weirdness is totally relative besides), but it was fun taking it...

You Are 48% Weirdo

You're definitely quite strange, but you can act like a normal person when you have to.
(But just because you can act normally, it certainly doesn't mean you want to!)
You have normal aspects to your personality... but you usually don't choose to emphasize them.

Are You A Weirdo?

Blogthings: If Quizzes Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Take Quizzes

Long Live the Small Towns!

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Ramblers Way. All opinions are 100% mine.
If you have been reading my blog, you would know that I have a passion for the “old school” way of life. That is probably why I love vintage items so much. There is much to be said about the old fashioned way and if people usually hanker for the olden days, I think it is safe to say that they have just cause. Things might have been less easy, but the values were also stronger. Nowadays, it is easy to lose focus with all the distractions available to us. I find myself fortunate that I have people who have influenced me to patronize small business and to buy local as much as possible. I love those family businesses, the mom & pop shops, those downtown stores… I never even had the chance to use the term “downtown”. Sadly, I grew up in a time when people went to the mall instead. Thanks to reading and a penchant for listening to the older generation reminisce about the past, I’ve come to appreciate the virtues of a small town. Sadly, many small towns have suffered as big business made its presence felt and forced small shops to close in its quest for the bigger bottom line. This is why companies that are consciously revitalizing the small towns should get as much support as possible. The Rambler’s Way is one such company. Its operation and production process is absolutely domestic. Americans can rest assured that its fine wool products are 100% Made in America. It has purposefully tapped into distressed small towns to help the communities thrive again. I think it’s good to bring in a level of awareness in the consumerism we practice. We should definitely know more about the businesses we patronize.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Marguerite's Penchant for Picking Flowers

Marguerite loves going outside. She's forever picking kamias (fruit from cucumber tree/tree sorrel) because our mature tree is simply abundant with fruits. She also loves picking flowers and leaves, so I thought yesterday's art activity could incorporate this penchant of hers again (last time, we did leaf printing). We picked yesterday-today-tomorrow flowers (Chinese honeysuckle) from the front fence and other leaves from the plants. Anyway, I got this idea from somewhere I can't remember. I made a note of it in my mind to do this a long time ago, but it took me quite a while to get around to doing it, so now I can't remember what my original inspiration was.

Marguerite loves going for walks with her Nannie (my mom) and when she gets back, she usually has a flower for me (sometimes also for her Aunt Chip). To show appreciation, I tuck the flower behind my ear or in my hair and when it's about falling off, I use it as a bookmark for my Bible. At the rate the flower giving is going, I'll have every page in my Bible bookmarked.

I suppose I'll get to the point when I don't have to keep every little thing that Marguerite gives me, but for now it's absolutely unthinkable.

Daydreams of Our Own Home

Mark and I have decided (until we re-decide otherwise) that instead of finding another place to rent, we will just build our own house. The details as to the “where”, “when” and “how” have been partially worked out and it does seem like we have finally come across a feasible option. I can tell you though that the process will involve a lot of DIY. It will definitely be designed to emphasize sustainability. It won’t exactly be off the grid, but it will have lots of natural light and breeze coming in. I’d love for it to run like an earthship, but we’ll see if we can learn enough about the technology involved by then. I see a lot of restored and rustic furniture in our future home. We will probably abound in recycled wood. Obviously, we are not contemporary sort of people, but I think our tastes are eclectic enough not to completely bar modern pieces. I also have the makings of a femivore - at least, my ideals run along the same lines - so I see lots of edible plants, a fish pond and a chicken coop (perhaps also a mushroom patch, thanks to the chickens?), and everything pretty much in aid of homeschooling. :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Search Results

As I have mentioned before, I am in the process of looking for a suitable ballet school for my three year old daughter (where they have fun and informal classes for kids her age). I really just want her to be actively involved even if it’s really just mostly play. Since it is not easy to just go out and hunt, I do my research online and thus far have come across a few studios with possibilities. These places have really designed their pages to be informative and convincing. They have really tapped the potentials of the Internet. For the casual search engine user, we just assume that the search result list toppers are the most popular, but there’s logarithm and keywords and tags and other whatchamacallits. That’s why if you are a business trying to engage the online market, it makes sense to consult the expertise of a Social Media Agency. You would want to do things right. I mean, based from experience, I tend to just stick to the results on the first page generated. When I can’t find anything satisfactory, that’s only when I check out the other pages. Proper and effective marketing should bring in positive results, so the effort is probably worth it.

Apple Pie Chants

Marguerite and I got in some baking yesterday. We chose apple pie as our victim, er, fare this time. First we prepared the crust (everything from scratch). That was fun. We even made up a little chant as we mixed the flour with the butter (no Crisco for us), if I remember correctly, it went something like "Squish the butter/mix with flour/for the crust/of apple pie". Not exactly Shakespeare, lol. And it was impromptu so we didn't bother to rhyme, hehe. While the crust discs were chilling, I squeezed in time for a visit to the dentist (there's one right next door and another one at the corner - I went to the corner one; Remind me of these perks the next time I complain about living in a commercial area) followed by a visit to the nearest thrift shop (at the other corner). The dentist had given me a discount since he was friends with my uncle, so I used the hundred pesos (about $2) to treat myself to ten blouses (10 pcs for Php100 - not bad, considering that I was able to score designer brands - not that I was looking out for them). I haven't bought myself clothes since I had to buy maternity wear, so I thought I was due, lol. I went home and Marguerite and I continued our baking. The end product was good, but my mom suggested baking the bottom crust and filling halfway before covering it with the top crust and baking all the way through. I also should have lined the edges with aluminum foil to keep them from toasting like that, but I don't mind toasted edges. :)


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

TMI: On the Matter of Floaters

I warned you. Only mothers concerned with their children's poop will care to read this. The thing is that, because of several cases of our toilet not flushing everything in one go, I noticed that Marguerite's stool is always a combination of floaters and sinkers. The floaters cause the need for repeated flushing. Either I simply have a probing mind or I'm a natural worrywart, but I dared to broach the subject with my mother and sister. My sister assured me that floaters are good quality poop. She said that they indicate a fiber-rich diet. Momentarily appeased, I put off the research I had been all set out to do until it finally occurred to me that hey, Chip has been wrong before (the thing about her is that she says things with such authority and in an incredibly convincing manner that I really just tend to take her word as Gospel -- even as a child, far be it from her to admit she didn't know; she would invent stuff just to give you an answer, lol). I googled the matter and found that floaters can actually be indication of disease. I didn't think Marguerite's case would fall under any of them though, so the other explanation was the amount of gas in the poop. To give credit to Chip, I did find an article (you'll find anything on the Internet) that said vegetarians generally produce floaters. As confused as I am as to the real cause of floating poop, the confusion has actually given me temporary relief. Marguerite's bowel movement, except for the fascination of the floating portion, appears to me as normal and healthy. Now, I believe you'll be thankful for the lack of picture. Good day to you all!

Monday, July 26, 2010

On Va Danser?

I have to make a decision about ballet class. Marguerite loves it, but she doesn't really know how to behave in a structured class setup. She's not consistent about following instructions and she gets distracted by the mirrors (she would often pause and mug in front of them, lol). If the teacher wouldn't mind having a student like that, I would continue to let Marguerite attend just for fun and exposure. I tried conditioning her for structured class, but I didn't expect her to fall into required behavior right away. She's 3. I don't want to curb her natural tendencies, unless it involved safety and rudeness (I don't count failing to keep still and pay attention in a group class rudeness in a 3-yr-old, btw - it just means she shouldn't be in such a place yet).The process requires a succession of immersion attempts, but working with other people, I have to accept that they might not be willing to subject themselves to what they might perceive as an aggravation (they also have to think of the other students, besides), thus the natural option is probably to wait. In the meantime, I'm looking for a place where Marguerite can go once or twice a week for ballet fun and exposure in a more informal setup. We can just try again the studio we've been going to next summer. Perhaps Marguerite will be more inclined to focus then.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ready for Worship

It's dawn on Sunday morning and I'm excited to go to church. There's nothing extra special going on, except maybe my sister and Lyka's song number (Chip's first since she got sick back in 2007 - she was very active in the music ministry before that), but I'm just really in the right frame of mind for worship now. It was a simple lesson that took me years and years to learn. It's not that I'm a slow learner; it was just that my mind was not open to this particular lesson. "God loves obedience more than sacrifice," "Be conscious of what you put in/feed yourself"... are just a couple of lines (not verbatim - I told you about the epidural) from somebody's interview that stood out to me. My journey to spiritual maturity has been arduously and frustratingly slow and pocked with numerous standstills and setbacks. I'm still not mature, but I think I'm finally progressing. Of course, all the learning had to be preceded by a humongous amount of discontent... Anyway, the point is that I have renewed vigor for worship and service to the Lord. It's like a mini, personalized revival, lol.
Before I start prepping for church, I leave you with this wonderful song by Reuben Morgan (Again. With Matt Crocker this time. What can I do? The man can write! FYI, his was also the interview I was talking about.). So, basically, if I would consistently adopt the attitude of this song, I'd always have things in proper perspective. As my dad always says (which, in turn, I never heed - well, used to), "Set your eyes on the eternal."

On the day when I see
All that You have for me
When I see You face to face
There surrounded by Your grace

All my fear is swept away

In the light of Your embrace
Where Your love is all I need
and forever I am free

Where the streets are made of gold

In Your presence healed and whole
Let the songs of heaven rise to You alone

No weeping

No hurt or pain
No suffering
You hold me now, You hold me now
No darkness
No sick or lame
No hiding
You hold me now, You hold me now

In this life I would stand

through my joy and my pain
Knowing there's a greater day
There's a hope that never fades

Where Your name is lifted high

and forever praises rise
For the glory of Your name
I'm believing for the day

Where the wars and violence cease

All creation lives in peace
Let the songs of heaven rise to You alone

For eternity

All my heart will give
All the glory to Your Name

 Oh and totally not related... My article "The Thrill in Reading Pre-loved Books" is on the front page of Fortitude. Please check it out. :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Oh Woe Is the Mosquito Magnet...

... who suffers the uncomfortable and unbecoming welts of her affliction; she is driven to fantasies of massacring those wretched parasites by the millions.
Dengue season in the tropics again! Duh, what am I saying? Dengue is an ever present threat around here. It just intensifies further during the wet season. Unfortunately, mosquitoes love us so much. In a room with ten or more people, those vile bloodsuckers home in on Marguerite and myself and nobody else. Is it the food we eat? Our blood type? I know studies mention carbon dioxide and lactic acid and two-headed cows, but how are we worse off than the next person? Whatever it is, the mosquitoes are not about to leave us alone, so we simply resign ourselves to arming for combat. We spray citronella oil-based repellents throughout the day and use this nifty badminton racket type zapper (which you can control better than the usual lamp, which just sits there and waits for dumb mosquitoes to commit suicide). The racket is really fun for your inner sadist or if you're particularly vengeful. Don't make me feel guilty about killing mosquitoes because I just won't. Anyway, mom got Marguerite anti-mosquito patches. These are all-natural and DEET-free as well, so I thought why not use them on top of all the citronella oil. I think the patches are eucalyptus-based, so they smell better for one. They work. Heck, they all work. But not against NINJA mosquitoes, which trained to be absolutely indestructible.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Let's Begin with Do-Re-Mi

One of my biggest frustrations is my lack of musical ability. I took piano lessons for three years and have nothing but the intro parts of Pastorale, Für Elise, Que Será Será, Let Me Call You Sweetheart and Tarantella to show for it. Oh wait, I also know Silent Night. I started taking drum lessons, but my teacher was always late, so I ditched them for good. My husband tried teaching me guitar, but gave up 10 minutes into the first lesson. I also sing out of tune, mostly flat, as a rule. I love music though. I like teaching my daughter songs, but I’m afraid she’s learning off-key versions from me. We can’t have that. I’m seriously thinking of taking singing lessons for beginners. Why not? If anybody needs it, it's me. I don't think it's too late either. I think I can learn to do anything if I did it methodically (I'm that kind of person), seriously and with determination. I may not be a natural, but I know how to be a good student. Anyway, it’s high time I did something about this lifelong affliction of terrible singing.

What I Found in San Diego

I loved San Diego when I visited it. I think if I had to choose between Los Angeles and San Diego, I would go for the latter. I especially love the area of Seaport Village with its fascinating shops and a gorgeous view of the Coronado Bridge. I don’t know where it is now, but I remember purchasing a fake Angelina Jolie (pre-Brad Pitt - for restriction, Billy Bob Thornton was indicated) driver’s license in one of the stores. I tried showing it for ID one time and was rewarded a sneer. I thought I looked enough like the picture (waiting for lightning to strike me). I really didn’t understand what the problem was. It must have been the smile. Maybe while I was already in San Diego, I should have popped over to Dr. Safarian's, the best cosmetic dentistry San Diego. Of course, for a true Angelina smile, I’d have to get my lips done too. I think it goes without saying that hers is significantly, well, puffier. Then again, I can’t even find that driver’s license anymore, so what’s the point?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fortitude: Get Paid to Write About Stuff That You Love

Hello. I finally did it and signed up with Fortitude. So far, it's the writing site that makes the most sense to me. You have to pay less than $25 for annual membership, but that amounts to just a little over a dollar a month. It's an online magazine that publishes new issues daily. When you get published on the front page (determined by the number of good reviews your piece gets), they pay you anything between $10 to $100. If your piece doesn't make it to the front page, you still get a dollar for it. If you get to publish something everyday for a month, you've pretty much gotten your year's membership fee back. The fee is a means to stop people from gaming the system (making multiple accounts to give good reviews for their own articles, etc. I really wouldn't know.). Also, you are not allowed to give reviews if you have a piece up for review. This way, you cannot influence the outcome of the next issue's list of articles. It sounds pretty fair to me and the articles I've read are well-written. If you're particular about where your articles are published, it's safe to say that in Fortitude, they will be in great company. You also get paid $.02 for every review you give.
I do think Fortitude is the site that "behaves" the most like a regular magazine. I wish I had submitted my 3 Bukisa articles and 1 Triond article there, which in the past several months have earned exactly $.10 altogether. I'm pretty naive about gaming those systems and have no intention of learning, so I suppose Fortitude is the better fit for me. If you do want to take pity on me and view those articles though, the links are on my sidebar, thanks. They obviously also pay for referrals and I'd appreciate it if you sign up under mine: Get Paid to Write for Fortitude.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We Made Bread

I've always wanted to bake bread. I just have this idea that food is more wholesome if they're homemade. Of course, store-bought stuff may be more fortified with other nutrients, but come ON, does it have the ingredient of love? Does it? Does it? Okay, you don't have to answer.
The point is that we have homemade bread right now, courtesy of yours truly and... it can be better. I followed a recipe and now having tried it, I know how to tweak it to suit our taste better. My mom, ever the Mariqueña, said to add more sugar and since I'm a true blue Mariqueña myself, I shall comply. Anyway, it's edible and quite (debatable) presentable. The kitchen also smelled wonderful while it was baking. Marguerite ate a slice with pesto butter, so that's good. I think my mom and dad had slices this morning too. Marguerite, btw, also helped. She valiantly stirred and kneaded alongside me.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Finger Knitting the Day Away

You know what's addicting? Finger knitting. I'm not even really making anything (well, I'm making crocheted mary janes again - pink ones this time, but that's not what I meant). I think, I'm going to turn some of them into hairbands, bracelets and scarves. It's very hypnotic - all that weaving and looping... I tried teaching Marguerite how to do it but what mostly happened was I did all the work, only using her fingers instead. She does have her own version of finger knitting:


Monday, July 19, 2010

PBW#2 Marguerite's Trial Ballet Class

It was a busy weekend yet again. Saturday morning was Marguerite's trial ballet class. She loved it, but she still needs to learn how to behave in a structured class. We'll give it another go this weekend and decide if we should start now or wait a little bit longer. She's only 3 after all, so there's no rush.  Either way, I'm getting her proper leotards and pointe shoes, hehe. That is, if my mom doesn't beat me to it. We also got to see the children of friends of ours, who turned out to be studying ballet there too. That was a nice surprise. After that, we went with Husband while he hunted up car-related thingies, then we headed for church for the worship team practice (he was the guitarist on Sunday) and to let Marguerite do tambourine dance with the church "tambouriners" as they practiced. Chip followed since she had to practice her special song number with Lyka (they're singing "Desert Song" next Sunday). Good times. It's quite fun spending time in church outside of the regular services. Sunday started with the usual Sunday Service. For the afternoon fellowship activity, Mark and I left Marguerite at the church (I made that sound like Jesus at the temple, hehe). The kids had a movie afternoon while our age group went to visit the newest member of our congregation, one-week-old Euan Flores, in his home. Now, I leave you with pictures from M's first ballet class.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My Commitment to Change - Thus Far in My Journey of Transformation

Change has been a constant presence in my life - in all our lives, I’m sure. After all, a lack of change probably signifies a lack of life. That’s how it worked out in languages anyway - a language dies, it stops evolving. Or is it the other way around? Amongst the many stages I’ve had in my life, none has produced such a drastic change in me than motherhood had. All those major and minor changes that occurred in my journey to this point in my life - in terms of the spiritual, the physical, the material, etc. - helped prepare me for the most important role that I’ve ever taken on.
In many ways, motherhood is like the point of no return. Once it happens, there’s no turning back. You’re responsible for another life and the job is literally 24/7 (even more so in my case since we co-sleep). The demands never seem to let up and when you think about it, you only get one chance so you have no choice but to get things right (and with these thoughts, you kindly qualify “Right doesn’t necessarily mean perfect” and remember that you read somewhere that there is no room for perfectionism in motherhood). It still remains that it’s a person - no matter how small - you’re dealing with. Every little thing you expose her to contributes in the shaping of the person she is and is to become. That’s my belief anyway. I was pregnant when the weight of that realization settled on top of the physical weight of my tummy and my figurative shoulders felt the overwhelming magnitude of what the job entailed - a relentless mindfulness that gave whole new dimensions to conscious living.
I read a lot. I examined myself, the kind of person I was. I analyzed my own upbringing. Eventually, I made choices. I determined what I wanted for my daughter: goodness and happiness. That wasn’t very hard. At the end of the day, I resort to radical - fundamental, not revolutionary - thinking as a rule. That’s my way of coming up with answers. The next step was to figure out the way to get to that end. Based on the books, articles, blogs, etc. I’d read, I zeroed in on the kind of lifestyle that would best aid us in developing the values we’ve chosen for our family… Now, let me say that I’ve always had a penchant for the anti-pop, but that mostly manifested in superficial things - taste in clothes and accessories, reading and listening preferences, etc. I’d never really had to commit to anything truly alternative until I ventured into attachment parenting and the home life it usually segues into - homeschooling, natural and simplified living, etc.
My own exposure was to that of the mainstream, the traditional… All the tenets of AP did not come naturally to me. My inclination was toward the opposite, in fact. And yet there I was, defending my stand on co-sleeping, babywearing, delayed vaccination, etc. When it came to discipline, not only did I have to fight the urge to be punitive, I also had to deal with the judgments - that I was spoiling my child, that it was not biblical not to spank, that it was to my child’s detriment not to instill fear in her… Everything grated and wore away at my resolve, which to date constantly needs patching up as my philosophies continue to quake and alter - I just reason that it’s how we can keep things fresh, that it’s actually a process of reevaluation and adaptation. Let’s not even get into the great unknown that has been my conviction since before I got married and had a child - homeschooling. This early - my child is 3 years old and shouldn’t even really be in school yet normally - I’m already dealing with the socialization argument. I’m already bored by the non-issue, so I’m not going into that.
Another part of the change involved my work. About two months before giving birth, I’d resigned from a very good job as a Spanish teacher at an international school and found myself freelancing as a writer and as a translator once again. Despite my work-at-home status, we’ve essentially been reduced to a single-income family. In moments of doubt, I just tell myself that simplified living is a small price to pay for what I’ve gained in return - the opportunity to become my daughter’s primary caregiver AND influence, the opportunity to miss very little in her life. Since we were keeping things simple anyway, I thought I’d do away with house help and before I knew it, I had transformed myself into a 1950s housewife, consumed with homemaking and childcare travails. I cook, bake, sew, knit, crochet, and have been on a DIY streak. I, who had all her Home Ec projects made by her mother, have taken the handmade pledge! There was nothing in my training and even my personality that indicated this was how I was going to turn out. It’s not something I’m proud of, but I grew up with a slew of helpers and my mother tended to have a conniption fit if it seemed as though my sister and I were to face hardship in any way. The people who’ve known me since girlhood didn’t bother to hide their amazement that I was able to accomplish feats such as normal childbirth, maid-free living, uh, independence, etc. I must have given the impression that I was a spoiled wimp, but thankfully, I’m gradually proving everybody wrong. Or maybe I was actually spoiled and wussy, but my commitment to being a good mother gave me the strength and will to transform myself.
I’m not saying that everything has been smooth-sailing since I adopted the lifestyle shift. If anything, I’ve mostly been inconsistent, but it doesn’t mean I’m about to throw in the towel. I just need to keep myself inspired and motivated. I also pray a lot for guidance. It helps to post reminders and lists around me, in case I catch myself getting lazy.

Just a couple of the many lists I've created and posted to remind myself of the important things I need to do.

There are several points I really need to work on: natural lifestyle, positivity, spirituality and balance. Natural lifestyle has something to do with our food consumption and the activities we partake in. As it is, we still find ourselves eating fastfood and other preservative and artificial flavor/color laden stuff, albeit only occasionally. The TV is also too accessible for my comfort. We should definitely have more time for outdoor play and other naturalist activities. These are particular areas for improvement. In terms of positivity, I have Reuben Morgan to thank for the idea that I have to feed myself good things to give out positive stuff as well. Some days it seems to me as though I’ve never gotten over juvenile angst. No wonder if I keep on listening to the unofficial soundtrack of my teenage years (cue in the bass line of Smells Like Teen Spirit or Billy Korgan wailing “Despite all my rage, I’m still just a rat in a cage”…). I’m still too impressionable for my own good, so I have to be careful about what I let in. In terms of spirituality, my desire has always been to be able to maintain a worshipful attitude. I’m in love with my own self too much and that definitely messes up my priorities. When it comes to my daughter’s spirituality, preaching won’t hack it. She has to witness and be involved in a system that nurtures our belief. Praying without ceasing and constant awareness of God’s presence are musts that we have to work on. Balance is also something I have to remember to observe. I’ve never been an efficient multitasker and I have the tendency to go from one extreme to the other. It is definitely not a natural talent of mine, but is something I have to learn and acquire. In this case, balance touches on the different roles I play. My inclination is to champion motherhood and forget about my own personal needs, my being a wife, a friend, etc.
When I think of change, I have to view it in a positive light. It has to be about improvement. While the driving force behind all these transformations may have been the intention to create a beautiful life for my daughter, I really have to do it for myself as well, for the journey to the best person I could be in such a way that I could glorify God and be a good testimony for Him.

Why I insist on spinning lovely days...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

How We Coped with the Blackout

24 hours without power... it wasn't so bad. At least, it was a little cooler than usual. If that had happened during the summer, I would have been less philosophical and more, well, foaming-at-the-mouth livid. Anyway, lots of places have generators, but the one at the Eastwood Mall was particularly fierce. We took advantage of Mark's unintentional day off, dragged my cousins Jaymee and Luigi along and went to the Cash & Carry to get a new pair of shoes for Marguerite. Then, we headed off to Eastwood for dinner and to watch the dancing fountain (Marguerite loves it). It's like a miniature version of the Bellagio fountain, also very entertaining to watch and quite magical if you're a little kid. I think it puts on a show every thirty minutes for several hours every night, dancing to two songs each time. Mark caught on video the fountain dancing to "The Show", a winsome little tune from Lenka. Keep in mind that there was a citywide blackout going on when this was taken.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Idle Musings

My sister, who blogs over at My Swirly Ageless Mind (on my bloglist), has a crush on Hillsong's Joel Houston and we recently saw a picture of him dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz for a costume party (I hope... otherwise the costume would be pretty hard to explain). I could be polite and say that he looked pretty in the costume but only if pretty could be synonymous with hilarious or, well, disturbing (imagine a hirsute six foot five inch giant in ribboned pigtails and a short baby blue pinafore). Anyway, I was thinking about it and it occurred to me that should he and his friends ever need to go in Scooby Doo Costumes, he would make a pretty good Shaggy. Of course, he would have to do something about his posture and such. Also, Shaggy's kind of scrawny and lanky, so he might have to starve himself for a week or so for the effect to be spot on. Anyway, if I'm thinking about possible costumes for a Hillsong worship leader, that means I probably spend too much time dawdling and having idle musings. I'm not sure if that's better or worse than obsessing about the things I do have to think about, which is my natural inclination. Having said that, guilt has overcome me and I'm now off to research Waldorf stuff for my daughter's homeschooling.

Monday, July 12, 2010

PBW#1 Playground Mayhem and Reunion Fun

Sassy Mom invited me to join the weekend photo meme/linky group she started and here I am, happy to oblige. Saturday started out quiet and ended with me wanting to burrow my face under my neckline (which, if done, would  have only resulted in exposure of an expanse of stretchmarks and rolls of fat otherwise known as my tummy). Husband got home late and instead of heading on to Greenhills as planned, we ended up at a nearby mall for dinner and playground time for Marguerite (rainy season means diminished outdoor playground fun, so we make do with the indoor variety). Anyway, here are pictures from dinner, but not counting Marguerite knocking over a glass of mango juice and asking to go to the bathroom three times (oh and she got some honey mustard on her middle finger and ended up flipping off everybody in the vicinity for about two minutes - Mark naturally had to take a picture), it was really pretty uneventful. Look:


And then off we went to a playground, a place where I intend never to show my face again. Unlike other places, this one allowed children Marguerite's age to play unaccompanied. I wanted to see if Marguerite would be fine without my usual supervision, so I sent her off to play and parked myself in the waiting area where I could still watch and intervene if such a need arose. There were some close calls with an unpleasant older boy (no prejudice here; the boy had skirmish after skirmish piled on top of other skirmishes), but the staff was pretty vigilant about stuff like that. What they or I didn't foresee was a little girl who climbed up to the loft (where the girly toys were - dressers, toy kitchens...) and decided to empty her bladder there without any warning whatsoever. We're talking about a little girl who has been trained for more than a year. A girl who in no uncertain terms tells you that she wants to pee or poo. I quickly took the said little girl to the restroom to change her and when we were done, she had every intention of going back to play. I told her that the playground was closing (it was close to 9pm) and proceeded to moan until the next day how embarrassed I was (out of M's earshot, of course). Mark -- well, my husband is made of tougher mettle and requires much more to give in to embarrassment - assured me that places like that expect to encounter accidents like that, but I was all - that's why I should have gone in with her... Hanyway... I've been known to flog myself over smaller matters, soo...

Sunday, it was off to church as usual. The worship part was particularly beautiful and moving, so naturally I cried my eyes out, forgetting that I had non-waterproof mascara on (since Marguerite hid the waterproof ones in some obscure location) and afterward had to wipe my black streaked face, but not before Marguerite got a load of it and gave her commentary, "You look like a monster, Mommy." My mom who was seated next to us started laughing her head off. Marguerite thought it necessary to repeat her statement - twice, at that - in case I missed it the first time. I just said, "Wow, thanks so much, Midge." Kids!

For the afternoon fellowship, our group shared tips and played a game. I was in charge of sharing natural alternatives. Mark took pictures but I looked especially frumpy, so I'm not posting any of those.

Afterward, the three of us headed to SM North where I met my HS classmates for a small reunion. When I was a junior, I transferred from a Catholic girls' school to a small Christian school where I made some really great friends. Here are some of them:

Mark and Marguerite left me there to continue Marguerite's prematurely aborted playground fun from the previous night. Here are pics from that. It was thankfully uneventful, save for Mark being told to get his grown-up butt off the slide.


It was a happy weekend. Thanks for reading. :)