Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kudos to Robert and Johann!

We held a small garage sale yesterday. We took advantage of the holiday so my cousins would be home from school and they could sell their own ware (the younger two - Jaymee and Luigi - sell cutesy items, while the eldest - Cheska/Tita Patch - sells brownies and pizza rolls that she makes herself). Chip and I got rid of old clothes and other clutter (although what we dragged out of boxes are but a small percentage of our overall clutter). Our friend Maf came over as well and hung out with us. Her husband Obet is coming home tonight from competing in the UK Open Memory Championships in London. We're very proud of him and his teammate JR. JR came in 9th and bagged a silver medal for speed cards (he was but two seconds behind the winner), while Obet came in 11th overall. That's very impressive showing for the two competition newbies. It was the first time for the Philippines to compete and our two representatives fared very well. I think they caused quite a stir over there for being new faces and for coming from the farthest country (most of the competitors were European). There is another competition - the biggest deal in this sport, I believe - in China this coming December and I hope and pray that our Memory Whizzes do even better and that they get all the support that they can get from the country, especially the government.

You can watch a video about the competition here - embedding disabled, hmph! Obet and JR screentimes are at 0:13-0:16 and 1:34-1:43. :)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Flu Is Back in Our Home

It's Mark's turn to come down with the flu. I guess I'm relieved again that it's not the mumps. We haven't settled that issue yet (call-out to my MIL: has he had the thing or not, and was he vaccinated against it? Mark's memory of mumps episodes in his family is pretty vague. I'd love to be certain. Quarantine issues, you know.). Either way, it's such a bummer. Marguerite missed her dance class yesterday as just as we were getting ready for it, that's when her dad woke up and needed to be tended to. Now, I'm missing church yet again, but Marguerite can go. Anybody from my parents, my sister, or my cousins can take her. Anyway, I don't want my husband to feel bad about being sick. He works so hard and it's kind of a blessing that his episode happened during a long weekend. This way, he doesn't get to miss work. We were actually supposed to join a tree-planting activity at the La Mesa Dam tomorrow, but I'm not about to let him out even if he's better. A relapse is just everything the flu is with fangs on.
Anyway, have you tried keeping an almost 4-yr-old away from a sick person? An almost 4-yr-old who has turned into Chatty Cathy XTRM. She has this habit of talking away - on and on and on - nonstop... without punctuations... with lots of invented words... interspersed with dance and song, also impromptu and made-up... with bursts of laughter and screaming, and sometimes theatrics too... I told her to stay out of the room so Daddy could rest, and the next moment, she was in there with her "doctor" toys telling Mark, "I be your doctor you got germs you give me germs oh no I'm so tired I'm sick Mommy (just a bit of drama for my benefit when she saw me) open your mouth Dad come on (trying to pry Mark's mouth open with the eraser end of a pencil) gibberish gibberish you take your medicine I take your temperature where's the thermometer I tickle your armpit..." Yeah, I'm pretty sure she has to go to Sunday School today. Her dad would really welcome a few hours of quiet around here. Hearing that constant chatter (even from two rooms away) is pretty stressful if you're sick.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Knitting Bunting and the Prolific Blogger Award

It's knitting time once again. I'm making triangles for bunting as you know we have a couple of birthdays coming up. It's a simple pattern, but a counter would still be necessary since I do it in front of the TV while I get my daily dose of Criminal Minds and NCIS reruns (Mark Harmon is a stone cold fox).

Also, I'd like to thank Maggie and Sharkbytes over at My Quality Day for sharing the Prolific Blogger Award with me. It's now my turn to share it with other bloggers I deem worthy of it. :)

Dave at Lizard Poop
Vera at Verabear
Mhel at Marikenya
Chip at Swirly Ageless Mind

Go ahead and grab it:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Vanilla Cake and Marguerite's Sugar Frenzy

Mark and Marguerite's birthdays are in September, so I'm trying out cake recipes to see which ones will serve well for their birthday cakes. Yesterday, Marguerite and I got to work on a simple vanilla cake with orange vanilla frosting. She stirred and beat, as well as greased the cake pan. Fortunately, she was already off elsewhere when it was time to frost the cake. It turned out okay, although my sister said she preferred the cake spongier. It was a hit with Marguerite though. I gave her a small piece, the frosting of which she promptly polished off, her little index finger making various inroads on the surface of the cake. She did eat the cake itself as well, but not before she went on a sugar-induced frenzy, running through the house, screaming this song that she made up (about vegetables too - the irony, huh?). That went on in full force for a solid hour, with further bursts of "aftershocks" afterward, lol. I finally got her settled down at 9:30. We had said our prayers and I had read her three books before I turned out the light. With just the night light on, Marguerite kept on calling out titles of books she wanted me to read to her. I told her it was already too dark and I'd just tell her a story. I began to narrate the story of Goldilocks but she interrupted me right at the beginning and began to tell her own made-up story (about bears too, but it was pretty hard to figure out what was going on in that story). She fell asleep doing that. Ah, sugar - a true force to be reckoned with.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

We'll See You Soon, Ate Emely

More bad news for us. We mourn the passing of a great friend and sister in the Lord, Emely Mampusti (I don't know her married name). She came to work for us as my sister's nanny back in 1982 and stayed with us for 12 years. She was one of a few in the long string of helpers we've had who truly became family. Unlike many of the girls who came before and after her, she was one who truly helped and did not become a headache. She got married when my sister was 15 (yes, Chip had a nanny until, well, after that), which was her reason for leaving us. She moved back to her province on the island of Mindoro where the Lord blessed and prospered her family. About a month ago, she began experiencing terrible headaches and she was misdiagnosed with typhoid fever. Further tests showed that what she had was, in fact, hydrocephalus meningitis. My dad went to Mindoro yesterday to visit her. He was her pastor for many years (he even officiated her wedding... Side note: I suppose it is heartening to realize that so many people still consider my dad their pastor even years after they had stopped attending our church. He's always asked to officiate their weddings. The last instance involved a girl who moved away when she was about 8 years old. We heard again from her after more than twenty years when she asked Dad to officiate her wedding. She currently attends a big and, sadly, impersonal church where she didn't really get to forge any friendship with the members or the pastors. For something as important as her wedding, she wanted somebody who held significance in her spiritual life. Sad fact for the big church, but heartening for me, the pastor's daughter, hehe. End of long side note.) and she was really a blessing to our family all the years that she stayed with us. Had Chip been stronger, she would have gone along (she was Ate Emely's pet - uh, you should know that everybody spoiled my sister and Ate Emely did more than her share of indulging the little brat, lol). It was as though she was just waiting for Dad to get there. She passed away as soon as Dad had left the hospital. He didn't find out about Ate Emely's death until he got home at about 1 this morning (he insists on not having a  cellphone). He did know that she didn't have long. We take comfort in the knowledge that Ate Emely is now with God and we shall see her again "in the sweet by and by" (I seem to be thinking in hymns lately). I pray for Ate Emely's family, especially her husband and two children. May the Lord's comfort and peace be with them during this difficult time.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Grief and Shame

I had migraine attacks most of the day yesterday and went to bed at 6. I didn't learn about the terrible tragedy until this morning. I am overcome by a tumult of emotions over what happened. It's mostly grief and sadness, but they are decidedly mixed with frustration, anger, shame, etc. Irresponsible sweeping statement alert (given at a time when judgment is colored with high emotions and it is best to hold off saying anything): How is the PNP supposed to gain the people's confidence when half of them seem to be the bad guys and the other half incompetent bumblers? So many things went so wrong when they didn't have to. The lack of - what's the word? training - is evident in everything from the major factors to the little details.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Temporary Until the Rapture

Our current bedroom is probably an interior designer’s nightmare. It has a bed, a dresser, three hampers, two of which contain toys and books, several bookcases, a child’s study desk, a toy crate, some more racks for toys, a computer table, a cajon (the percussion instrument) moonlighting as a bedside table, my checklists on the walls… It’s a temporary arrangement, so it doesn’t bother me. For now. I do want to have an idea from Mark how long temporary lasts with him. I mean, it could be anything from a matter of months to a whole decade, right? Semantics can be so relative sometimes, lol. If he’s thinking, only until the great rapture happens (I can already hear him: mansions on streets of gold, you can’t beat that - he would too use this reasoning, not really from a Christian perspective, but mostly to make me apoplectic with rage) then I probably won’t be amused. Anyway, as far as Bedroom Furniture goes, I think I’d still go for eclectic with lots of whimsical elements. I would try to consider Mark in the picture, but he’s so easygoing, I’m sure he wouldn’t complain about colors and accents. He can sleep anywhere and he likes sleep way too much to allow little things like décor get in its way.

PBW#4 Parties at Our Church

Over the weekend, we attended two parties, a birthday one and a bon voyage one, both of which were held at our church. On Saturday, we headed straight from ballet class to a churchmate's 1st birthday celebration (hence Marguerite's attire). It was really fun. Marguerite is beginning to appreciate children's parties and now gets excited about the food and the entertainment. She's usually very suspicious of everything and takes a while to get used to new things, but that day, she announced that she wanted to participate in the game (fanning a paper fish) and was so adorable going at it even after the game was over, lol. She was the youngest, so she had special status and still "won".

For the Sunday afternoon fellowship, we had a send-off party for a member of our congregation who's set to leave for London tomorrow. We're very proud of Obet (Robert Racasa) for being the country's representative to the international Memory Championships (I'm not sure what the exact name of the tournament is, but it's for brainiacs, lol). He's Maf's husband and Antonella's dad. He was a chess master (I guess, he still is, but I'm not sure if he still competes) and now owns a school that offers courses on memory enhancement (okay, I'm not sure about the exact terminology - but if you want to be a more effective and retentive student, that's the class for you). Anyway, he demonstrated some of his super powers (hehe) yesterday at the party. We gave him 10 sets of 8-digit sequences and he was able to recall them perfectly. He could also tell you the day any date in history fell. It was really very impressive. The only other time I saw something like that, I was watching a documentary on "idiot savants" and Obet is definitely not one. He's the most down-to-earth person with the most side-bursting, hysterical anecdotes. Also, I'm not sure if they do it on purpose, but he and Antonella usually match in color with the clothes they wear to the worship service, lol. Anyway, we thank and praise God for this blessing to Obet and we continue to pray for his success and safety as he travels to London to compete. I'd include a picture of Obet, but the only good one has him posing with a string bean, lol. Antonella's in the pic below though. She's seated beside Marguerite. Our church is currently into banana leaf feasts, which are fun (not usually my thing, but I was eating with a group of dainty female eaters, so it wasn't too bad, lol).

To understand more what the memory thing is about, see 2 Filipinos to compete in int' memory contest.

Blogthings Will Tell You What Kind of Californian You Are

I was recently wasting time over at Blogthings and one of the quizzes I took was What Kind of Californian Are You. Now, I have relatives all over the state, and I really enjoyed each area that I got to visit. However, I thought that I was either a San Diego type of Californian (San Diagan, according to Ron Burgundy, lol - you don’t know Ron Burgundy? Will Ferrell in Anchorman? Okay, never mind. It’s not important.) or a San Francisco one (I’m just going by the places that appealed to me the most), but no. According to Blogthings, I was a Sacramento Californian. Really? I seriously doubt it, but who am I to question the wisdom of Blogthings? Anyway, most people are familiar and drawn to Los Angeles, but I kind of found it depressing. There are lots of pretty areas, but the vibes did not agree with me. Anyway, my friend Karen must feel the same way because she’s moving to one of the bedroom cities after more than nine years of living there. I guess, it’s also mostly a practical move. She’s single, but economizing applies to everyone now. So, Karen, with a truck from Moving Company LA in tow, is off to a suburb an hour away. Watch out for her on the Metrolink. She’ll be on it every morning starting this week.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Two Ladies I Love

Two weeks ago, I got together with two of my closest friends from my Subic days. Before that, I hadn't seen them for close to three years - if I'm not mistaken, the last time would have been in Subic when I went back to speak about writing (not that I was really any authority). Of course, we were all connected in Facebook and I bugged Malen a few times to let me quote her as my expert for articles I had been assigned to write, but it had been forever since we had all gotten together for a serious gabfest. A reunion was definitely in order, even if this one was somewhat realized in a rush of panic because Malen was soon to leave for Busan. It was really very opportune that Wanie had recently been transferred to the Manila campus, so she was also here in the city. Anyway, it was a lovely night - long overdue, of course hehe, but one that I'm really thankful for. Hopefully, it wouldn't take years for the next get-together to happen. It would be so cool if we could gather that old Prayer Meeting group of ours for a reunion. Of course, the ladies from that group are more far-flung than ever, but it's still a nice dream, lol. Anyway, here's a pic from that night, the only one I think (our camera was sitting in a box at home, too big and unwieldy for me and too forgettable for Mark, hmph). I stole it from Wanie's blog.

These two beautiful ladies have been such a blessing in my life and their friendship means the world to me. :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Senseless Habits

Lately, I've been in the habit of putting off breakfast until I've gotten all my morning tasks out of the way. As a result, I'm dizzy with hunger by the time I log out of here. There's really no reason to starve myself. I just have a hard time being flexible sometimes, obviously to my own detriment. It's just one of those dumb idiosyncrasies (which ought to tell you that I'm not a multitasker). Anyway, this morning, I made a very conscious effort to get up and go to the kitchen for something to nibble on so I wouldn't start feeling faint - at just around this time too. Good thing my mom made some sugar-and-spice cake yesterday, so I had something to tide me over until my real breakfast. On second thought, there's always something for me to snack on while I work. I really just don't choose to.

That's a piece of cake, if you can't tell

Wretched season, this. Everybody's getting sick. Now, even my baby nephew has the flu (so does his mom). It's horrible when babies get sick. You scramble to do all that you can to make them feel better and still feel super helpless.

On top of being miserable, you also miss out on things. While we were sick, we managed to miss Mark's number in church (and I was sooooooo looking forward to it - good thing there's a video of it, but I'm not sharing it anywhere or Mark'll have my head, lol), a birthday party and a playdate. Fortunately, Marguerite's dance class really wasn't meeting last Saturday since the teachers had a concert or we would have missed that session too. Right now, Marguerite and I are working on fortifying our systems again, but thank the Lord, we're no longer unwell.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Stains and Heart Appliqués

Marguerite and I are well now, but I'm still trying to take it slow. With the flu, the relapse can be an even worse episode. I did think a little crochet work would be harmless, so I made these three heart appliqués for Marguerite's red gingham dress. I'm not sure how it got that stain on it, but I'm not about to discard it or upcycle it since it's actually still a little big on Marguerite (I just adjusted the straps so it would fit her) and she hasn't exactly worn it to go out yet (just a couple of times for pretend play here at home). Anyway, I thought I could just sew something on top of the stain to cover it up. Don't ask me for the pattern of the heart because I really just winged it. I thought about adjusting that rickrack too while I was at it, but I didn't want to push my luck. Anyway, it's not so bad; makes the dress look homemade.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Flu Tales

So, in the end, it turned out to be the flu, what Marguerite and I had. M's vomiting, we pinned down to this yogurt drink not agreeing with her. My mom had some too and declared it nasty. My husband finally got to go home last night as it was already relatively safe to do so. We had changed the sheets and disinfected the room, so he probably wouldn't catch it himself. He can't afford to get sick. He has a ton of work to do, plus photography gigs lined up for the following consecutive weekends, if I'm not mistaken. I would have been safe from the flu myself if I had gotten some proper rest, but as it was, my immune system was pretty shot from the lack of sleep (I told you how I tried to eat my way into stronger immunity, to no avail). Anyway, this reminded me of an episode when I was pregnant with Marguerite and I had to nurse Mark through a bout of flu. There was no one else to do it. Protected by prayers, a surgical mask and religious washing up after every encounter, I tended to my sick husband. When he got better and he was no longer contagious, I finally got to remove my mask. Mark did a double take when he saw me and couldn't help exclaiming, "You're fat!" I guess I had puffed up some more in the span of a week. Since there was no way that he was delirious, I have no intention of forgiving him for that crack. I'm still biding my time before I make him pay for it. :)

Aptitude Isn't the Limit

I have never had aspirations to study business. I have just never been inclined. I declared Math as my Waterloo way before I even learned what Waterloo was. My dad used to be an accountant and he studied business in college. He worked in this field until I was about 12 and then he became a fulltime minister. I think he was hoping my sister and I would have gotten some of his knack for business, but Chip and I simply did not have the aptitude. I studied languages, while Chip went from Speech and Drama to Music to Early Childhood Care and Development. Of course, there’s aptitude and there’s drive. My best friend from high school, who is also into the arts, managed to get herself an MBA with no trouble. She’s decidedly more artistic than myself, but also infinitely more practical and ambitious. When I get down from my airy-fairy ways, I might consider that it’s worth my while to have an MBA degree and prep for the CAT 2011 Entrance Exam. I do like being a student. In fact, I think it was the thing I was really good at. I had no trouble being a nerd. It came naturally to me. Being out of school and in the real world, now, that didn’t agree with me so well, lol.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Birthday Meme

Still sick... will catch up with the comments and mail as soon as I'm completely well. So, having said that, here's another meme:

Look up your birthday in Wikipedia. Pick 4 events, 3 births, 2 deaths, and 1 holiday.



1620 - Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower sight land at Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
1921 - Albert Einstein is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work with the photoelectric effect.
1967 - First issue of Rolling Stone Magazine is published.
1989 - Cold War: Fall of the Berlin Wall. Communist-controlled East Germany opens checkpoints in the Berlin Wall allowing its citizens to travel to West Germany. This key event led to the eventual reunification of East and West Germany.


1973 - Nick Lachey, American singer
1980 - Vanessa Minnillo, Filipino television personality (hey, didn't she date Nick Lachey?)
1988 - Nikki Blonsky, American actress


959 - Constantine VII, Byzantine Emperor (b. 905)
1953 - Dylan Thomas, Welsh poet and author (b. 1914)

World Freedom Day (United States)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sick but Still Posting

Down with the beginnings of a flu, or at the very least, a bad cold. Posts won't be very coherent for the next couple of days, lol. Consider it proper warning. Had next to no sleep while Marguerite was sick. I tried making up for it by stuffing my face, but that did nothing except give me a couple of more pounds (although I didn't really check - my mom did helpfully point out that my face was rounder than normal - and, no, probably not the mumps since I've already had it. them? who cares.). so yeah, I'm in bed with lots of water and tea and a few Sweet Valley Twins and Babysitters Club books, also Anne of Avonlea, which my mom spirited away to read herself. Guess I thought i'd get in some revertigo while I was out of commission. Hope this wasn't too bad.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hope to See You in Church!

I think we can attend the worship service today. Unless Marguerite is really still too weak (she's much better though), we'll go. I've been reforming my attitude towards the Sunday service. It's not something we can blow off at the merest provocation or the least inconvenience. Going to church is not the core of salvation, but I'm of the belief that it is necessary for growth. There are instances when going to church is not an available option, so in this case, you do what you can to seek out further learning and edification, as well as some form of fellowship. Anyway, I asked Marguerite if she's ready to go to church and she told me, "Not yet. It's still dark." Good point. Think I'll ask her again a little later.

When you're really too busy to blog, but need to post something ... a meme is the answer!

Who I look like - For the longest time it was Amanda Page, but now... I guess a fat version of Amanda Page
Who I act like - a cross between Phoebe Buffay and Monica Geller (hoho, different extremes, I know, but it's true)
Who I want to be - ... like (I have to add) Sue Grafton or Fannie Flagg (writers I admire)
What my style resembles - lately, it has been ... my sister calls it Duggar, lol, but once upon a time, it was very boho (and way before boho became trendy)
What style inspires me - unconventional, creative ones
What style I avoid - the trend

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Guess Who's Mellow and Who Should be Mellower

Marguerite's much better, so thank the Lord for that. She does have a cold now (so the fever may have been caused by that), but at least that is usually easily dealt with. She's also gotten more energetic that sometimes she forgets herself. We have to take it slow for now to avoid a relapse.

I don't really have much time to blog, so I'll leave you with a song that I just love - "All the Heavens" written by the wonderfully talented Reuben Morgan. And this is a version that I really dig - Reuben Morgan's version in his World Through Your Eyes album. I'm in love with it because it's so mellow (the version usually sung in church is a great excuse for belters), so the sentiment is there, the melody is delightful, but it's so MELLOW that you know if you're moved by it, it's because you get what the song is saying and are not just carried away by the high notes - does anybody get that?

Anyway, here it is (it's not a real video - just a pic of the wrong album cover, lol):

Friday, August 13, 2010

Marguerite's Fever

Marguerite is being healed by the Lord. That's right. We've claimed healing. She started yesterday okay and as the day progressed, she developed a fever; complained of a headache; wouldn't eat; slept all day, but fitfully, and started vomiting (her first experience ever since she stopped with the spitups) in the afternoon. Naturally, I got busy with Google and emerged out of that totally paranoid. The thing is that, my cousin Luigi has the mumps and I was watching out for its symptoms. Marguerite didn't get the MMR vaccine and since she and her Uncle Giggi played a lot together, it's totally a possibility that she could have caught it. If you already didn't know, we've decided to delay vaccination against the common childhood diseases until Marguerite is ten. We'd rather she got immunity the natural way. If by ten, she still hasn't contracted them, then we would vaccinate since older children and adults have more serious episodes of these diseases. So far, we're done with chicken pox and only have measles and mumps to go. Anyway, anytime Marguerite has a fever, I get paranoid about dengue. As I spend more time googling symptoms, my list of diseases to get paranoid about just grows longer. My initial decision was to wait until the following day to bring her to the doctor next door, but by nighttime, I couldn't stand it anymore and called my husband to come home (he was supposed to stay over at his folks' place since he hasn't had the mumps yet and until we were sure it wasn't a case of mumps, he was to stay there), so we could bring Marguerite to the emergency room. By that time, I was pretty sure it wasn't the mumps. Anyway, to keep this from turning into a novel, the doctor ruled out the mumps and the other things I was panicking over. We had Marguerite's urine and blood tested (at midnight, so it all felt very ER - Marguerite was totally cool about the finger prick and curiously watched as the lab tech squeezed blood out of it) and everything's normal (from the symptoms, the doctor had been suspecting UTI). Marguerite is still lethargic and cranky, but we're certain that she'll feel better soon. The credit goes to prayer and all the glory to God.

Gonna Back Up

I have a gazillion videos of Marguerite on my phone and on the computers. I think I might be overdoing the sentimentality. I just can’t seem to delete any picture or video with Marguerite in it. In effect, I have practically every video and picture of Marguerite taken by my phone still in its memory. Deleting just feels so wrong to me. That would have been okay if I were more conscientious about backing up these files, so since I’m not, I guess all the sentimentality is useless. I’m a complete flake when it comes to backing up files. I do want to do something about it though. The last time I didn’t take the time to back up, my portfolio of published pieces was destroyed in the flood. Now, it’s as though I’d never written any of them. I mean, the money has long been spent. Who knows if those issues have been archived somewhere or not? I really need to do something about the pics and videos on my phone. The last time a gadget went kaput on me, I lost many of my pictures from my trip to Europe. I should have learned my lesson then. The first chance I get, I’m going to get me a blank dvd and put everything in it. Or get Mark to do it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Playdate with a Bonus of Birds and Itchy Grubs

Yesterday, Marguerite had a playdate with another homeschooler. We went to a nearby park for them to run around and indulge in some outdoor play. It was a thoroughly wonderful experience marred by two unpleasant incidents. The first was about this man trying to catch this bird. It was a uncommon bird (that is, less common than the usual sparrow). It was brown, something like a mocha color, with white on the underside of its wings. It was about the size of a pigeon, but had a more slender and graceful frame. I think it also had a longish tail. I tried looking for it in the Birdwatch gallery, but I'm pretty useless matching memory with pictures. Note to self: learn more about birding. If you can identify which bird I mean from that paltry description, please let me know. I'm really quite sleepless about it. This is a bird that you can find along the Marikina River. While you're at it, maybe you can also identify the reddish brown chicken-like bird that can be found in the area too (Please don't tell me it's a chicken... unless it's really a chicken). Anyway, the first time it happened, the bird landed on a low tree branch and this man tried to grab it with his bare hands. My friend and I were seated a short distance from this, so I called out to the guy in Tagalog, "Don't try to catch it. Just let it fly freely." Good thing the bird was able to fly away. The bird later returned to the tree and this time, the man tried to hit it with a rock. I shouted at him not to do that. Fortunately, he wasn't a good shot, so the bird got away again. I hurled a couple of preachy remarks at him. Later, I saw the bird land on the concrete center of the amphitheater and a moment later, two young boys tried to catch it as well. What the heck!!! It made me so mad! The area should be better policed for incidents like this. I mean, where exactly do I go to report activities like that?
The second incident involved those wretched itchy grubs. The park was just plumb full of caterpillars, both harmless and itchy. The mosaic benches beneath the acacia trees were particularly prime spots. Anyway, one landed on my bag. They always find me, as surely as flying balls also home in on me. Bugs, balls... sigh. I don't think I even got to touch it, but I had rashes anyway. For some reason, Marguerite got rashes too and she didn't even get to hold the bag. Mine subsided right away (still there, but no longer itchy or inflamed), but Marguerite's were really bothering her tonight even after copious salves and two baking soda baths. I had no choice but to give her some Benadryl.
Also, our noses are a little sunburned.
I'll definitely do it again. We'll just stay away from acacias and put on some sunscreen next time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

More on Building a House

I have recently been consumed with thoughts of house designs. For starters, I had to write a gazillion articles on the subject, and then second, we have been wanting to build our own home. Naturally, there are budget limits and other boundaries, but with the resources we have now, we can come up with plans and whatnot without the need to hire an architect. Then again, my husband comes from a family of architects and although he isn’t one himself, he may have picked up some tips and tricks. Side note: the grand design was for him to turn into one too, but, haha good luck with the thought! Let’s just say he wasn’t so inclined and I’m really glad he wasn’t coerced into doing something that wouldn’t have made him happy. Going back to building a house, of course, my husband could also just consult his father. Or not. Whatever. We’re really just at the daydreaming stage for the moment although, of course, I’m raring to get started as usual. We have to wait for certain go-signals and we really do have to put in prayer and really seek out what God’s will is for us regarding the matter.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Cappella Love

I'm trying to get the momentum to blog again. If anybody's interested, our weekend went great. Marguerite is officially enrolled in ballet. After her class, we headed to church so Mark could practice with the worship team (he was one of the guitarists). Sunday, we had a lovely service and in the afternoon, we had a super fun fellowship activity. That's it for the weekend update.
My sister already shared this on her blog, but I'll share it here too. Mark directed me to this video on YouTube and I've since become a fan of University of Oregon On the Rocks. I'm not into Lady Gaga at all, but I love listening to a cappella groups and this one is really funny with hilarious choreography besides.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Camping My Way

One of the things I want our family to do regularly is to go camping. Now, I love nature, but nature in its wild state normally does not agree with me. I attract bugs like nobody’s business and I’m allergic to anything that hasn’t been sprayed with Lysol, lol. That’s a joke, but the thing is that apart from the bugs, the sweat, the dust, the humidity (one of the reasons why I enjoy outdoor activities better outside the tropics), there is really something else that gives me itchy spots. Sometimes, I think it’s my own hair. I know that sounds really wussy, but I’ll have you know that I’ve gone camping many times (was a girl scout, a church kid, a teacher who was forced to go with her students…) and while I probably enjoyed myself, I was also the type of camper who moaned piteously about the discomfort - especially when it came to accessible bathrooms. This is why if I’m to arrange a camping trip myself, I’ll probably arrange to do so with the use of rvs in mind. I mean, all the comfort and conveniences of home right there in the midst of wild nature (which probably defeats the whole idea of camping).  I could go hiking and fishing and whatnot and easily trudge back to the rv where I could get comfy, especially in the bathroom.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Fresh Air Fund Needs Hosts

I just wanted to let you know that even though the American summer is nearing its end, The Fresh Air Fund is still looking for hosts. Bless a child's life by opening your home to him and letting him build precious memories that he will cherish for a lifetime. :) More details here.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Age and Grace

I wish it were easier to age gracefully. I suppose it’s all about values. The vain would certainly have trouble coping with the toll age insists on taking on the physical. Now, I may not be the usual girly type of female with a passion for the usual girly things such as makeup, shopping, fashion, et cetera, but I do like looking good, even if it’s my own idea of good. That’s my personal brand of vanity and things such as the weight and the complexion still figure into it, although thankfully I couldn’t care less about trends. I recently saw an interview with model Paulina Porizkova and she seems to have a healthy attitude about aging. She didn’t pretend to be above wanting to look good. She pointed out that she had to work hard - exercising and eating right - to stay gorgeous. She also expressed that she didn’t look as fabulous as she would have wanted, but c’est la vie. It’s all part of the process that is life and she extolled the virtues of natural beauty. The fact however is that people have their own issues and with many women, a standard of beauty rules. If cosmetic surgeons like Dr. Alan Dulin can help them get to their goals, then good for them. Far be it from me to judge. We all just deal with our own issues the way we know how.

Going Bananas Over Baking

Is it obvious that we have plenty of bananas? Marguerite and I decided to do some more baking. We made banana cream pie yesterday and it got a little hairy - just lots of flour everywhere, most of it on Marguerite herself. She sliced the bananas for me, which means that instead of thinly sliced, some of the pieces were good-sized chunks. While we were making the crust, she started the "squish the butter, mix with flour" chant we made the other time we were baking apple pie. Anyway, my mom's electric whisk was one of the casualties of last year's flood, so I had to make do with a manual one and it was good exercise. I thought my arm was going to fall off.

I got the recipe online and while the pie turned out okay, we all thought it could use some more sugar. Is it the Marikina tongue? Everything seems more bland to us. Also, when I took the pie out of the oven, it looked like this:

I set it out to cool and then went to my room to rest a little (the meringue part got me all tuckered out). When I went back to the kitchen, there was the pie, back inside the oven. My mom said she poked the meringue and it was still wet. Hmm, I guess she knew better? Anyway, we got it out and it ended up looking like this:

It turned out okay anyway. I'll try making one again, but not anytime soon. My arm is still in convalescence.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Baking Again (Mini Muffins)

We were at it again. Baking, I mean. Mini banana muffins this time. I got the recipe from here, a site that caters to kids who are learning to bake, hence the simple instructions. However, if you're going to try it, I suggest adding more sugar and making it 2 bananas, instead of one. Also, I added a dash of cinnamon, just for the smell. I had to make self-rising flour as well since all I had was all-purpose (just add baking powder and salt). Marguerite loved the process. In any case, banana mashing posed very little risk of waste and mayhem. After that, it's all stirring and ladling into the pan. I had to use the ensaïmada molds since Chip used the other muffin pan for beading and was never again seen. It's really pretty simple. The browner ones are not burnt. In fact, some might prefer the crunchier top (still soft inside).

Cottage Holidays

There was a time when I had a long list of cottage blogs “favorited” on my Internet Explorer browser. Whenever I had time to kill, I would consult the list and click on one or two of the blogs listed (I have to say that cottage is just one from the many blog lists I used to have there - I had homeschooling, natural living, foodie, crafty, etc. etc.). Anyway, my PC crashed and the favorites went kaput along with it and then I got a lecture from my husband about not using Bookmark or Diggit or StumbleUpon, but here I am still using IE’s Favorites and Firefox’s Bookmark like some incorrigible creature. Honestly, the things I consider hassling! Anyway, going back to my point about cottages… I love them. A cottage is just my type of abode. If given the choice to choose among a hotel, a villa, and a cottage, I’d definitely go for the last. Cottages are just so quaint and charming, and to holiday in one while touring a picturesque locale, it’ll be like stepping out of a storybook. Also, cottages rentout for cheaper than hotel rooms. Of course, there are probably no amenities like at a hotel’s, but the cottage experience alone should make up for that.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Next Day Flyers: Top Quality Printing with the Fastest Turnaround Time

Now that I have my own domain and have been more actively investing in my blog’s promotion, I have been wondering if I should bring it to the next level in terms of publicity and advertisement. For starters, I shall be needing the services of a good printing company. I want to have Spinning Lovely Days calling cards and postcards created. Perhaps later, I can also look into having other marketing materials made, such as flyers to give away in the next bloggers’ convention. In fact, while I’m at it, I should also look into getting better brochures for my church.

For top-quality printing with the fastest turnaround time, Next Day Flyers is the company to reach. It is trusted by more than 80,000 customers, not only for the great quality of their product and service, but also for their excellent work ethics: they believe that “all businesses, no matter their size, deserve easy access to custom promotional and direct mail material.”

What’s in a name? In Next Day Flyer’s case, it contains a promise that print ready files that are completed and approved by 6pm PST are printed and ready to ship out the next business day. Located 15 minutes from the Los Angeles Internal Airport, the Next Day Flyers modern facility includes a temperature controlled prepress area and pressroom, which allows each printing to be under the most consistent conditions possible. Besides Next Day Printing, the company also offers Easy Online Ordering, Free Design Online Service, Free Specialized and Seasonal Templates, Blog with Design and Marketing Tips, and Customer Care via Phone, Email and Live Chat.

If you want a printing company that is committed to exceeding your expectations at every opportunity, Next Day Flyers is the service for you.

Monday, August 2, 2010

PBW#3 New Ballet School, 777 and "Crafty" People

Over the weekend... (pics taken with my phone because the camera was with Mark a couple of yards away - I couldn't just ask for the camera. The things I consider a hassle!)

First, I found another ballet school for Marguerite. I warned them that she was very typically 3-yr-old and they said that they were fine with that. Here's Marguerite with Teacher Love on what ended up to be a one-on-one session (the two other girls didn't show up):

 Mark took us out to eat at Banapple, but not before we had to tag along to various car and electric guitar places (ho-hum). Marguerite loved the marble mosaic top of the tables. Banapple is a very cozy place, just the kind of restaurant you'd want to be holed up in while it's pouring buckets outside, which it was...

Sunday, there was the service, of course. Between that and the afternoon fellowship, I checked my yahoo inbox (something I do very sporadically, hence the amount of unread mail - it's digests upon digests from various egroups - homeschooling, crunchy parenting, herb gardening...) and look at this cowinkydink: the number of unread mail read 777, which is supposedly God's number. No, it doesn't mean anything. Otherwise, I'd have to take coincidences with 666 seriously too.

Our age bracket's afternoon fellowship had a paper tearing collage activity (very arts and crafts, except we didn't do it with our children, lol, and we thought we'd usurp the kids' department's space as well, while we're at it - we said we'd graciously donate our work to the walls of the Kids' Place, but basically we just needed a place to display our handiwork, lol). Most of the works featured verses and inspirational quotes, but somebody whose kid's name is Midge is clearly a deviant and made this (took me hours!)

My friend Maf also gave me this paperweight. Incidentally, the last picture of our project is also from her phone that's why it's clearer. Anyway, she saw the lighthouses in a magazine and knowing I'm gaga about them, she got the image and decoupaged it on this rock. I love it! It's now part of my collection.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I Could Have Done More Worthwhile Things While I Downloaded

The thing with Blogthings is even if you said you'd just do one quiz while waiting for something to download, you really can't stop once you start. So, look and estimate how much time I wasted over (umm, I'm not actually including all of the quizzes I took):

Your Life Will Be Calm in Ten Years

You're the type of person who takes things as they come, and you do your best not to worry.

You know that there's a lot in this world that you can't change - and you're not about to try to change it.

You are confident and content. You don't feel like you need to push too hard.

Try to break out of your comfort zone every now and then, though. Have an adventure! You are risking complacency.

What Will Your Life Be Like in Ten Years?

Blogthings: Free Quizzes for Everyone

You Are an Exotic Beauty!

No matter what your ethnic background, you've got a unique look

And your one of a kind beauty makes an imprint in every man's mind

You hardly ever wear the same outfit twice, and your hair is always changing

As a result, your look is always new and fresh - never outdated or stale

What Type of Beauty Are You?

Blogthings: We'll Tell You The Truth... Someone Has To!
Hawhawhawhaw! I wish!

You Walk Through Life

Your journey through life is steady, conventional, and calm.

You're likely to stop and smell the roses every chance you get. Your life is simple but bountiful.

You believe that it's important to have good morals. You always do your duty, and work comes before play.

You value stability at home and at work. You do your part to smooth things over the best you can.

How Do You Travel Through Life?

Blogthings: Discover the Parts of Your Personality that Have Been Hiding
Mostly true

You Belong in the Baby Boomer Generation

You fit in best with people born between 1943 and 1960.

You are optimistic, rebellious, and even a little self centered.

You still believe that you will change the world.

You detest authority and rules. Deep down, you're a non conformist.

What Generation Do You Belong In?

Blogthings: Quizzes and Tests and Memes, Oh My!
So true, which is really uncanny!

You Are 55% Normal

While some of your behavior is quite normal...

Other things you do are downright strange

You've got a little of your freak going on

But you mostly keep your weirdness to yourself

How Normal Are You?

Blogthings: We're Not Shrinks, But We Play Them On the Internet
I guess this supports the result of the Weirdo quiz I took a couple of days ago. :)