Thursday, September 30, 2010

John Stamos Causes Massive Revertigo

I'm not really going to talk about Glee. This is somewhat of a revertigo post, so prepare for juvenile drivel. The people who can best relate to this are GenXers like myself. I'm going to talk about John Stamos. FYI, Chip and I can no longer say John Stamos like normal human beings. Every time we have to mention John Stamos, we turn to each other squarely (if the other one is in the room) and repeat "John Stamos" a la Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in "Step Brothers". You know, from that scene that went like this (not verbatim):
Dale: Okay, name your favorite dinosaur?
Brennan and Dale: Velociraptor!
Brennan: Favorite non-pornographic magazine to *bleep* to?
Brennan and Dale: Good Housekeeping!
Brennan: If you were a chick, who's the one guy you would sleep with?
Brennan and Dale: John Stamos!
Dale: WHAT?!?
Brennan: Did we just become best friends?
Dale: YEP!
Anyway, sigh. Uncle Jesse. John Stamos ("JOHN STAMOS!") doesn't seem to age. I wonder what it's like to be Jayma Mays (Emma). She's Chip's age. Think. I'm 3 years older than them. I am the same age as Candace Cameron. I was about 11-12-13 (I probably gave it up after this, since the show ran until 1995, but I have no memory of the latter seasons) when John Stamos ("JOHN STAMOS!") was being all hot as Uncle Jesse. Jayma would have been in between DJ and Stephanie's ages. It's like a Katie Holmes-Tom Cruise thing, except less because it's just for TV and not real life. So, basically an 8-yr-old grew up to be in her 30s and be John Stamos' ("JOHN STAMOS!") love interest when he's almost 50 except that he looks 30 and just honestly hotter. He should totally play a Greek god (has he?). They're going to make him sing and do percussion in Glee, right? Preferably in a Beach Boys episode. I mean, they have to. Really. I can still vividly recall pictures of him from my copies of 16, Teen Beat, Tiger Beat, etc. One was with 21 Jumpstreet's (Johnny Depp is another forever hot dude) Holly Robinson (did they date?), another one with Paula Abdul (hehe), more with the Romijn woman... I know John Stamos  ("JOHN STAMOS!") is just a recurring guest, but Emma should totally (I mean, TOTALLY!!!) ditch Will Schuester forever and marry Carl!!!
When the revertigo subsides, I realize more than ever how many years have truly passed. I do miss being a tween, or the tween equivalent then (because back then the tween behavior seemed to start later - maybe 10-14, instead of 8-12? Or maybe that was just me). Before I know it, I'll probably have a tween myself. Hopefully, Marguerite is not going to be as ridiculous as I was.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Is Your Cake Decoration Running? Then Better Go Catch It!

Nah, the old fridge joke doesn't apply. Tell me the truth? How many times did you try that on your friends? Anyway, Marguerite and I did some baking again yesterday. Still a strawberry cake (basically the Tennessee Strawberry Jam Cake I made before with some adjustments since I didn't use strawberry jam, but a can of pie filling instead) and still a birthday thing. I followed this recipe for the recommended frosting, but it was so runny. Seriously, I decorated the thing with the fondant strawberries and lettering (Marguerite loves the fondant part; she basically treats it as playdough, which it kind of is...) then I rushed to the bedroom to get the camera and by the time I got back to the kitchen, they had inched away from their original places, hence the appearance of falling off the edge (that was not intentional). I didn't add candles anymore. It has been a week after all, lol. Yes, I often overdo things, if you're wondering. :D

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Paper Dolls and Clay Play

I was going to give Marguerite paper dolls as well for her birthday (homemade as well), but I learned that Chip was already going to give her a set from her favorite store, so I dropped that  from my list. I don't know about you but paper dolls are so cool. I'd choose them over Barbies anytime.
My mom forgot her vow never to give Marguerite modeling clay again and got her some more. The little girl gets so much fun out of them that we can all just choose to ignore the turd-like pieces that abound weeks after the opening of the package.
Anyway, one of the bonding activities between Marguerite and her aunt is the clay thing. Chip likes messing with them and creating little food creations for Marguerite. She has always been a dab hand at conjuring little trinkets. Before she got sick, she used to make accessories. She has been making them again, but not in the same volume that she used to. I'm really thankful that my sister is well now, for obvious reasons and some. I had vivid ideas of the relationship Marguerite would have with her, of the things she could share with her niece that it was really heartbreaking to see their interaction limited to practically just being in the same place. Chip got most of the talent in the family (hey, I got some too! lol) and Marguerite can learn so much from her. She had classical voice training, for one, and I had dreams of Marguerite growing up singing opera with her. I wanted them to dance together, craft together, cook and eat gourmet together (Chip also studied culinary arts)...  I want their relationship to be one of those special aunt-niece bonds. And now, Chip is better and all my visions from when Marguerite was a baby can be realized. Thank you, Lord.:)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sunday School Party

As I'd mentioned before, Marguerite had a mini party to celebrate her birthday during Sunday School. She served mostly unhealthy snacks, but the children appreciated them. I thought of serving fruit kabobs and pretzels, but cowered under peer pressure and served hotdogs and chips. Btw, I didn't bake the cupcakes. They're store-bought. I just frosted and decorated them. I got the same bunting and balloon from Wednesday and taped them up in the Kids' Place of our church. I prepped for 30, but so many kids were missing yesterday (either they were absent or staying in the service with their parents), so there was still plenty left when the service ended so some of the adults got to sample the nutritious fare, lol.

(Below: cupcakes, Marguerite mugging for the camera, some crazy group pictures, junk food, my cousins - the famous Tita Patch and Aunt Jaymee - and Ate Lyka, one of Marguerite's fave teachers)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Best

Marguerite is throwing a mini birthday party at Sunday School today. The cupcakes are done, but I still need get the other things ready... That's why here I am blogging, lol. Also, "Image of the Beast" is being shown tonight as part of our movie month. Q&A follows afterward. So far, questions about what happens to babies and other innocent children during the Rapture, the status of the Tribulation saints during the Millennium, rumors of people with microchips already embedded in their person, etc. have already been raised. It has been very fascinating thus far.
Our church is pretty conservative in its values. It discourages a lot of things from habit. I mean, like stuff that was discouraged in the '50s that has become quite acceptable through the years. For instance, we still discourage going to the cinema (take note: discourage is different from prohibit). Watching movies is fine, but movie houses have a reputation for certain behavior that it's just safer to disassociate yourself from it. I remember one of my favorite YA books, "A Long Way from Chicago" by Richard Peck, mentioning movie night in a small rural Illinois town back in the '30s. The movie house I think was a makeshift tent with folding chairs and a projector inside. It was supposed to be the height of excitement and everybody came but Baptists. :) We're not Baptists. We're Pentecostals, but we're led by an old-fashioned Pentecostal (my father), so we can relate to that.
And then there's the dress code. I grew up in a time when people donned their Sunday Best for church and each member toted a Bible. In our church now, you will see a sea of denim jeans (ehem, Mark) and Tshirts (at least, he always wears a collared shirt) and many don't have a Bible to read during Scriptures. Honestly, your outfit shouldn't matter so much, but it does say something about your attitude toward worship. You want to be comfortable, but you also want to honor God with your best. There was some hullabaloo at Congress earlier about a stricter dress code (a couple of women, including former Pres. GMA had attended sessions wearing sleeveless dresses). I mean, the fuss over being in the presence of fellow humans, no matter how illustrious (I can hear your snort, hehe; let's just operate on the presumption that these elected officials are true statespersons), why can't we accord God the same honor when He deserves so much more? Why can't we present ourselves to best meet the standards of beauty in God's eyes? Decency, modesty, holiness... (the 20-yr-old me wouldn't believe that this is coming from the 33-yr-old me, lol). Of course, these are all just guidelines. You can come to worship in our church in any outfit, unless, of course, if you are in ministry, then there are rules.
I know that sounds hoity-toity to some people, and I should know; I spent many years on the other side. How many times have I engaged my dad in debate over individuality? Having attended the most liberal university in the country during a time when I was at my most impressionable, I was really confused for a long time. I think as I grew in faith and started to really seek God's kingdom (and believe me, I am far from being consistent about this), I began to see the resistance I'd put up not as a search for truth and understanding, but as what it was: a reluctance to be obedient.
Ooh, it's almost 7. I'll just squeeze in one more point and then I'm outta here. The point is that what the church can't force on young people, the parents can. I remember going to church with my aunt in the States. My sister and I hadn't brought proper church clothes with us to our vacation, so I asked if it was okay to wear jeans. My aunt said "yes" and my cousin looked incredulous. She said something like, "Really? I always thought it wasn't." And my aunt said that their family upheld its own dress code for church. I feel that's how it should be. If the church can't impose, the parents can. Not only with clothes.
I didn't really get to discuss this as well as I had hoped for. I need to get ready for church though.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Marguerite Names Hamsters, I Sic My Sick Humor on You

Voilà les premières pets de Marguerite! Aren't they cute? Marguerite finally gave them official names: Buddy and Boy. Please don't ask me. I asked her if she was sure she wanted to name the girl (the brown one) Buddy and she was quite resolute. She wouldn't budge about calling the boy one Boy either. I guess that's what happens when you leave the naming of animals to a 4-yr-old. Well, they were her pets, so the right was hers anyway. I thought she was going to be a copycat and name one of the hamsters Rhino because she kept on saying "Just like Rhino in Bolt", especially when they're in their ball. You know the really great part? She gets to name them, but I get to clean the cage today. Oh, Marguerite will help, of course, but that's just the ticket to make everything extra-dandy, lol. Sigh.
And since yesterday's post was all serious and dramatic, I'll add this funny list for good measure. I found this some time ago, but I needed a good laugh, so I looked it up again. I'm highlighting the ones that really tickle me (which will probably reveal a lot about my personality, but I'll risk it):

25 Funniest Country Music Song Titles (original author unknown)

1. Get Your Tongue Outta My Mouth Cause I'm Kissing You Good-bye.
2. I Don't Know Whether To Kill Myself or Go Bowling.
3. If I Can't Be Number One In Your Life, Then Number Two On You.
4. I Sold A Car To A Guy Who Stole My Girl, But It Don't Run So We're Even.
5. Mama Get A Hammer (There's A Fly On Daddy's Head).
6. If The Phone Don't Ring, You'll Know It's Me.
7. She's Actin' Single and I'm Drinkin' Doubles.
8. How Can I Miss You If You Won't Go Away.
9. I Keep Forgettin' I Forgot About You.
10. I Liked You Better Before I Knew You So Well.
11. I Still Miss You Baby, But My Aim's Gettin' Better.
12. I Wouldn't Take Her To A Dog Fight, Cause I'm Afraid She'd Win.
13. I'll Marry You Tomorrow, But Let's Honeymoon Tonight.
14. I'm So Miserable Without You; It's Like Having You Here.
15. I've Got Tears In My Ears From Lying On My Back Cryin' Over You.
16. If I Had Shot You When I Wanted To, I'd Be Out By Now.
17. My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink, And I Don't Love You.
18. My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend and I Sure Do Miss Him.
19. Please Bypass My Heart.
20. She Got The Ring and I Got The Finger.
21. You Done Tore Out My Heart and Stomped That Sucker Flat.
22. You're the Reason Our Kids Are So Ugly.
23. Her Teeth Were Stained, But Her Heart Was Pure.
24. She's Looking Better After Every Beer.
25. I Ain't Never Gone To Bed With An Ugly Woman,But I Sure Woke Up With a Few.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Introspective Parenting Post Alert!

My friend Jeanne forwarded this video on unschooling to me and it's very timely. Occasionally, I go through episodes of doubt and self-questioning about certain decisions that I for the most part made (Mark generally agrees, but he's still learning about these things, which is largely a manifestation of trust and confidence in my judgment). I suppose the doubt and the questioning are good things, right? Introspection keeps me on track or at the very least, honest. Why am I exactly going for these alternative ways? Do I honestly think they are best for our family, especially Marguerite, or is it borne by a lifelong habit of just going against the flow? Homeschooling, positive discipline... I'm already feeling the strain and this is only the beginning. Marguerite is being compared and labeled. I shouldn't stand for it. They can just take their inaccurate adjectives and shove them. Comments sting and can erode my resolve if I let them. Am I wrong to let them give me a pause to really study the situation? And am I objective or just defensive in my analysis? I'm new at this. Advices come from people of all kinds - veteran parents (who may have raised happy/unhappy/adjusted/spoiled... children), childless adults, people who know us, people who don't know us but talk like they do... What can I do, right? Pray for guidance, read up, go with my gut... Maybe I just need a thicker hide. So, Marguerite is not like the other kids, but isn't that what I was going for anyway? It's early days. Maybe this is what that grown person in my mind go through in childhood. I want a child who is different, who is not easily affected and yet sensitive, who is free but gently guided and trained, molded by example and not by force. I'm not always on top of the situation. As a parent, I'm probably pretty lazy, but I refuse to spank. I can understand the philosophy of spanking without anger to let children associate certain behavior with pain (like lab rats - I obviously do not subscribe to the idea). I wouldn't trust myself with any permission to hit. The desire ever only comes when I'm furious. In moments when I can keep my head and give my complete attention, I can find other ways to deal with the situation, a teachable moment, I'm sure. How easy it would be to say "It's wrong to do that. Here's a swat to help you remember." Can I be certain that children would be mature and magnanimous enough to understand that it's for their own good, that years later when they remember that time, it would be the guiding love of the parent that would stay and not any feeling of hurt and resentment? Would they understand that punishment was done out of concern and not out of anger and vindictiveness or could it be a moment to demonstrate patience, empathy and true control? Admittedly, I need a lot of work. I do a lot of snarling and Marguerite has already gotten my angry face down pat. Do I dare let myself spank? Even if spanking (the anger-free kind - I have yet to see an example of this) was really the way to go, it still wouldn't be for me. Anger is already something I have to deal with; compound it with the guilt and I'll just be pure misery. Also, with my campaign for a positive life, I can't reconcile spanking with positivity. Then again, what do I know? I'm just a rookie mom. I need the experience to really know.
I know I completely went off tangent there. Hi, this post should have been about homeschooling, another alternative option this deviant mom loves.  Maybe I'll talk about that when I have a video on positive discipline, lol.
Here's the video I was talking about (hope the post didn't sound too hurt, hee!):

Learn Free from Lillian Mauser-Carter on Vimeo.

Storage Dilemma

As I have mentioned here before, we’re temporarily living with my parents again. About 80 percent of our stuff is in storage right now. It’s a good thing we have that bodega on the property so we don’t have to rent space for storage, but it’s not actually a good place for storage anymore. For the moment we’re making do. For starters, since it’s unoccupied by humans and hardly get any activity, it’s probably crawling with vermin. Besides being gross, those disgusting little (or maybe not so little, ugh) creepy crawlies can also be very destructive. You would want to keep your stuff in a clean and dry place with ample security and easy access, right? Our bodega might be accessible, but I’m not certain if the ceiling is free from leaks or if it’s even really a safe place. For sure, nobody’s standing guard at the door. It’s the rainy season right now and I have books in those boxes. Sigh. In places that get a lot of rain, such as Seattle or London (Self Storage South Wimbledon area is probably popular among tennis enthusiasts who make the pilgrimage during tournament season), people looking for storage spaces should really check for dryness. Even if no rain water comes in, the place could still get damp. Okay, I think I’ve convinced myself. I’m getting antsy for real right now. I’m going to insist to Mark that our stuff be transferred to the old maid’s quarters in my grandparents’ house.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Marguerite's Birthday

Here are pictures from my daughter’s birthday. I never got around to baking that cake, but I’ll do it today or tomorrow. Mark got a mango cake from the bakeshop and since Marguerite was expecting strawberries, I just added 4 pieces of strawberries from a can. I jazzed it up with a fondant M and strawberry, as well as candles to make it look more birthday-ly. I made a cape and a puppet theater set (freaky cat - looks really evil, not intentional - and freaky frog, pig’s semi-okay). Sometime soon we’re going to dye the playsilks I got her.
We also got her a couple of pets. We’d love to have a dog or a cat, but since we’re temporarily living with my parents again, it’s not the right time for housebreaking anything. We were supposed to get Marguerite a goldfish, but two days before her birthday, we saw a video of a hamster eating porridge (because we were having a Pease Porridge Hot chanting spell at that time) and she started gushing how cute it was and wanted to watch the other hamster videos. I got the idea and presented it to Mark, who agreed with it. So now, we have two hamsters here whose names keep on changing every hour. We’re hoping Marguerite will finalize them today, so we can actually call the hamsters something.
We were supposed to go to Snow World, but my mom wanted us back in time for dinner, so Mark and I decided to postpone that trip closer to Christmas (not that close, probably November) for better atmosphere. We ended up at Fun Ranch instead, which is always fun for little kids. Marguerite got to play putt-putt and bowling for the first time.
We got back in time for dinner. My mom ordered a cake from her baking whiz cousin who insisted on giving the cake as a gift instead. This time, my cousins were there to celebrate with us, so they spent the evening playing with the hamsters and watching the Glee replay (Rachel Berry got pwned by Sunshine Corazon!).
Anyway, Marguerite said it was a happy birthday, which was the whole point, so YAY!

Playing Office

Right after college, I had a business that I didn’t really want. I’ve never been particularly business-minded, but my father didn’t encourage employment. He wanted us to be our own bosses and was willing to lend us the capital. It might have been a great idea, but I suppose there should have been training in business to precede the carrying out of this ideal. What we had a lot of training of instead was being children. We were les enfants terrible way past our teenage years. My mother did own a preschool and she was a great teacher, but she ran the thing like a charity program. She didn’t really care to make it profitable as she saw it more of a ministry. I later taught in that preschool as well, but I never involved myself in administration matters. Anyway, since my grandparents had plenty of commercial properties in this city (the majority sold in the last year of their lives - sickness, impractical business practices, spoiled children, a drug addict son, etc.), I didn’t have to worry about rent in my overhead. I furnished this space to be my office - an office that barely saw me - with a desk, a file cabinet, cheap office chairs, etc. It was really just like a bigger version of my daughter’s toy office. I played at having a business. I didn’t do any active marketing or research or anything else you’re supposed to do in business. I got bored and disillusioned with the thing, got myself a job and paid my dad for the loan.

Marguerite Is Four

Dear Marguerite,

Where did the past four years go? I know they've been filled with many wondrous moments - pure wonder heaped with generous portions of other adjectives spanning the distance that my vocabulary can run and beyond. I just tried to capture and pin down feelings as a tumult of sensations rose in my chest at the thought of my years thus far with you. I think I nailed wild and hackle-raising as scenes from potty training flashed past to cushy-cozy and sublime at the recollection of sleepy cuddles and sweet hugs.
I've been collecting and documenting everything. I've got scrapbooks, notebooks, memento boxes and yet the past four years still seem surreal. One moment I had a teeny tiny baby I could hold with one arm and the next, this vivacious little girl who lets you know her GRAND IDEAS in WORDS and does things for herself and learns with and without my INTENT that it's a little panic-inducing.
Right now, I look at the sleeping you and bar the long hair and the glimpses of teeth your slightly parted lips offer, you don't look much different from my images of you as a sleeping baby. But you'll wake up soon and, instead of coos and gurgles, you'll greet me with a good morning. Sometimes you ask if I slept well. You'll get up and try to find out what's new this morning, curiosity showing in a very lovely light in your eyes. It's another one of those scenes I've stashed for permanence and easy retrieval in my mind, alongside images of your 2-month old head snoozing on my chest and the feel of your soft, delicate newborn body in my arms. Occasionally, I worry that my mind isn't big enough to hold all the memories I want to preserve. I'm definitely backing up with plenty of journaling (blogging included). Should you learn to read before the great rapture happens, you're welcome to read everything (naturally, as they're mostly letters to you) and hopefully everything I was feeling as I wrote them would translate themselves well from those pages. It is very important to me that you always be aware of the love that accompanies you ever-present as you live your life.
We thank God always for blessing us with a most lovely daughter. Dad and I take this particular "stewardship" very seriously and pray that we be terrific parents and teachers to you. My desire for your future is termed in the abstract - goodness and happiness. You can be whatever you want to be and do whatever you want to do according to the will and way of God. My hope is that we expose you to the proper training and that you grow up loving and worshiping Jesus, being the best that you can be to bless and glorify His name.
Te quiero muchísimo, mi hijita xoxo

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cuddle Up to Your TiVo This Fall

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of TiVo. All opinions are 100% mine.
I first heard of TiVo from an episode of Friends. Remember that time when Rachel asked Phoebe to accompany her to dinner with Rachel’s father so she could tell him that she was pregnant? Rachel kept on beating around the bush, answering “I got TiVo” when asked what was new with her. Phoebe got exasperated and when Mr. Greene asked what Tivo was, she said that it was slang for pregnant. Anyway, that particular TiVo definition may have earned its place in urban dictionaries, but the real TiVo has brought TV viewing to whole new levels.
One of my Facebook friends just posted on her status that all her shows are back this Fall and that life has meaning again. I’m sure all the Gleeks out there echo the sentiment. What if you’re like me and can’t be home in front of the boob tube for the premiere? Doesn’t TiVo appear to you as something absolutely heaven sent? With TiVo Premiere and the new TiVo Slide remote, you can celebrate the return of all your favorite shows this season. Beyond being a simple DVR, TiVo allows you to find your favorite TV programs, movies and Web video whether it’s on cable, Netflix, Amazon On Demand, Blockbuster On Demand, YouTube videos via the TiVo Search feature. If you want to zero in on all the 2010 Emmy faves, the exclusive TiVo Search and TiVo Collections features can get you caught up with a couple of clicks. You can find everything from upcoming episodes to previous seasons on Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand or Blockbuster on Demand. Features such as the Fall TV Guru Guide which keeps you updated on all the new shows this fall will guarantee that you won’t miss out on any great TV. The TiVo Premiere also has something like IMDB, which gives you an actor’s work history, with the bonus of being able to watch it right there via YouTube, Blockbuster, Netflix, etc. This one, I really like. I’m a great one for research (because I’m obsessive) and my curiosity can be easily sated with the availability of such a feature.
Big TV fans know the true value of TiVo. If you’re one and have yet to “Like” it on Facebook, I suggest you head on over to its Facebook Fan Page.
Incidentally, you can also Enter to Win TiVo’s 30 Slides in 30 Days Sweepstakes. Daily winners will be chosen once a week and notified via email. A new winner is chosen daily, so enter everyday for your chance to win.

Back to Normal on Thursday

Hi! I'm still here, just really, really busy with stuff for Marguerite's birthday, and we're not even having a real party! I don't know if I'll get done everything that I need to do, but I'm praying for things to go well. So far, I need to stitch on the ribbons for the cape, crochet one more puppet, build the theater, cut and hem the playsilks (I can hem these after her birthday, I guess), make a pop-up birthday card (not to mention compose her birthday poem - I make one every year, remember?), bake her birthday cake... I must be nuts! I actually already edited my to-do list. The original one was way more ambitious. In the meantime, my husband will buy that one bought present and take time off work to spend Marguerite's day with us. Is that fair? Oh, I know I heap it all on me myself with my handmade pledge, so I shouldn't complain, but I grew up whiny, so... Anyway, I'll return to my usual dropping, clicking, commenting... on Thursday.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Early Shopping is N/A Here

I truly envy those who have already begun their Christmas shopping. I am never ahead when it comes to these things. All I can take care of now is what I label “generic” presents, something I can give to everybody. I’m thinking Spinning Lovely Days 2011 calendars? Mark will have to take care of the pictures and the design… well, of everything really, hehe. I got plenty of ideas though, absolutely brimming with them. Having said that, I can’t really get too involved with that right now because as you know everybody in this family has a birthday coming up before Christams (save Mark whose turn is just over and Chip whose birthday is right after Christmas and can be lumped with that shopping although she has specific demands about her Christmas present and birthday present being two separate entities). Of course, Marguerite’s birthday is on Wednesday (Glee Season 2 Premiere and we have to be out! Who cares? Marguerite’s fun is more important!!!). I have a month to rest/prep before my mom’s birthday is up and it’s her 60th, so it’s a really big deal. My birthday comes two days after that and my dad’s exactly a week after. My wedding anniversary comes 4 days before Christmas too, so… I guess everything around here happens in the -ber months.

Some Good Customer Care

I recently had to get in touch with the customer service department of a certain big online business. I was so surprised to get an immediate and helpful reply. I am so used to having to nag to get some assistance in matters not pertaining to sales that I was totally thrown. I was so grateful for the attention that I felt the urge to create paeans for the company. I found myself extolling its virtues to my sister before sobriety came upon me and I realized that while the assistance I got was a good thing, it should have been expected. I’m just so used to rotten customer service, especially with regards to online transactions (either you get some standard reply or get no reply at all) that I temporarily lost perspective. Judging from my reaction, a good customer care department is definitely a smart investment, especially if it’s trained well to handle irate clients with complaints, take for instance the department that handles The March Group Complaints. It’s a worthwhile expense if it can cause good PR and guarantee continued patronage. After all, how many businesses have I sworn off because I found its customer service totally useless?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Prepping for Marguerite's Birthday

I actually recently baked another cake, but I couldn't take a picture since my phone camera's busted and when I checked our camera, there was no memory card in it. I am intimidated by any form of gadgetry and far be it from me to dare fiddle with Mark's beloved (beloved until he decides he needs a newer model) camera, so I just slunk off with my tail between my legs.
Anyway, the cake was a trial Tennessee Strawberry Jam Cake and it turned out pretty good. It was a practice run for Marguerite's actual birthday cake. I was hoping to bake her some chocolate cake, but when I asked her what cake she wanted for her birthday, she specifically answered, "a strawberry cake." I had to ask. That's a little problematic because strawberries are rare finds in the produce section even when they're in season up in the mountains. Canned strawberries also do not frequent supermarket shelves around here. I wasn't about to hunt down these items, which have the potential to be as elusive as the Holy Grail if given the chance. I also didn't want to use a mix, which my mom actually has somewhere in her pantry, so I looked for a recipe that  instead used strawberry jam, which has always been plentiful in supermarkets.
Marguerite liked the cake and said it would do for her birthday cake. I just pray I can make the one for Wednesday cute enough to be a four-year-old's birthday cake.
Regarding her presents, I'm 98% done with all the stitching for her patchwork present. I need a break from that, so I'm currently crocheting like mad for the other set of presents. After that, I'll be doing some painting and cutting and gluing and pinning... You'll see everything on Thursday (if they turn out presentable, hehe). Wish me luck, lots of it, on her Christmas present because I've decided to do some actual carpentry work for that one, lol.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Homeschooling Widget

I've decided to add a button/widget that links to all my homeschooling posts on my sidebar. I've met a few people lately who visit my blog for homeschooling thoughts and I want them to have easy access to the homeschool-related posts here since, as you know, sometimes I talk about stuff like rhinoplasty and motorcycle dating besides other non-homeschooling matters. :D


The posts aren't just about activities that we partake in as a homeschooling family. They can be about news, articles, videos... but all have something to do directly or indirectly with homeschooling.

The Things I Learn to Appreciate After 30

I think the last decent pair of sunglasses I owned vanished into the great unknown and they had probably already been missing a few months before I even noticed. That just goes to show how scatty I can be about my things. That pair wasn’t Designer Sunglasses or anything but I doubt that I would have been more careful otherwise. I don’t really like wearing glasses of any sort. I find the weight, no matter how minimal, on the bridge of my nose uncomfortable and I feel like they prevent me from seeing the real world, lol. Most of the time, my sunglasses ended up perched on top of my head. Lately, I have come to realize how protective they can be. As somebody who is used to enjoying great eyesight, I’m certainly very paranoid about the eye-related (this is my suspicion anyway) headaches I have been having. My eyes are getting strained on account of different elements and I count any sort of glare to be a culprit. Also, all the squinting I do outside is unbecoming, besides being a veritable cause of wrinkles. I guess what I’m trying to say is I need a new pair of sunglasses.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I *Heart* Horsies

I was one of those kids who were absolutely crazy about horses. I had posters of stallions and I read and watched Black Beauty avidly. I read Marguerite *smile* Henry and collected books from this series called The Saddle Club. I never asked for a pony, but I do want (present tense) a miniature horse. When I was about 8 years old, my grandfather bought a mare for his farm in the mountains. My sister and I thought of names to suggest - cute ones, all beginning with the letter H. I was really partial to Hershey, but whatever; my grandfather decided to name her Hilda for reasons unknown. At least, the name still began with the letter H. It could have been worse, I guess. Not that Hilda isn’t a good name, but the Hilda I knew back then was a nun in my school. I didn’t think the name suited a horse. Anyway, the love for horses followed me into adulthood. I’m not really a rider, but I do love watching the sport. The summer I was in Santander, I spent many afternoons watching the Concurso Hípico Santander. My friends didn’t get the fascination, especially since I didn’t bet. I suppose it takes another horse lover to understand. I remember juvenile jokes about somebody being such a horse lover that she’ll grow up to marry a horse, but for the really passionate, that’s rather close to the truth. Not that they’d actually marry a horse (although wasn’t there something similar in the news a couple of years back, some woman married a horse?), but they have to find somebody who shares the passion, do stuff like check out equestrian dating service to find their match. In my case, my husband isn’t really into horses, but agrees that it would be a good idea to let Marguerite have riding lessons later.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Book-ish Matters

I know I recently talked about catching Matilda on HBO. Well, last week, they showed Harriet the Spy several times. I have always loved the book. Marguerite enjoyed the movie (Michelle Trachtenberg is so cute there. Forget Gossip Girl and all her recent work, I'll always think of her as Harriet.) and I showed our copy of the book. She has professed interest in reading it even though it's not a picture book. The reading thing, sigh... if it happens early, then it happens early. She has plenty of exposure even if there's no formal teaching. She might surprise me as she has many times over. As far as I'm concerned, there are to be no "formal" reading lessons until she's developmentally ready. How do I know when she reaches that point? She'll let me know. :)

Going back to the HBO lineup... I hope they show more of this sort of movies (film adaptations of children's books), not for Marguerite's sake, but mine, lol. I love 'em. You know what I would like to see? The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. Chip caught it on TV back when she was a kid, but I have yet to see it.

Speaking of reading, Mom and Chip went with us to Marguerite's dance class, the location of which is right next to a secondhand bookshop. They spent almost the entire hour there and came out with a bulging shopping bag. I personally got two DIY/craft books, a children's book (Sprout's Window Cleaner), and a back issue (March/April 2010) of Capper's Magazine (which naturally, if you know anything about me, hehe, I love - it's a magazine for small town and rural dwellers; it has articles on farming, gardening, nutrition, etc.). I had to get out of there as a measure of self-control. Otherwise, I would have bought so much more. Btw, I found this ad on the Reader to Reader section:
I would like to locate an Army soldier I met in 1944 at a USO event in New York City, at the Waldorf or Roosevelt, when I was in the Navy. I don't recall his name but he has my 1940 high school class ring, and I would like to have it back.
:D I would really love to know the story behind that...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sunday Afternoons at Our Church

I grabbed that picture from my friend Maf. That's not from yesterday, but from the other Sunday when we had the Philippine Memory Team over. It was so sweet. Marguerite was leading them in a game of Ring Around the Rosy. I tried joining them, but Marguerite was the only one used to playing with me. The other kids pretty much told me to make tracks and I slunk off like a playground pariah, lol.

September is movie month at our church. Yesterday, we had a free screening (open to everybody) of "A Thief in the Night" with a Q & A portion afterward. The Sunday School teachers sold popcorn (cajun, cinnamon sugar, buttery salty) and nachos, as well as drinks (funds raised for the Christmas pageant). There were also brownies and pizza rolls, care of my cousin Cheska. My other cousin Luigi sold plastic balloon to keep the kids who weren't watching busy. I think the teachers will expand their menu the following Sundays. We're giving a free screening of the End Times series. "A Distant Thunder" on Sunday, followed by "Image of the Beast" and "The Prodigal Planet". To cap movie month off, we're also showing Benhur, which I'm actually dreading. I'm sure it's a fantastic cinematic piece, but I associate it with Holy Week in the Philippines when it was uber-traditional (Catholic). Cable TV wasn't available yet and we had to endure repeated airings of the Ten Commandments and Benhur (a Charlton Heston extravaganza, hehe) until Wednesday. Thursday until Saturday, there's a complete media blackout (not even newspapers). All you could hear were the neighbors wailing "pasyon". I tell you, the boredom could turn you stark raving mad. Compounded with Philippine summer heat, I was practically foaming at the mouth. Fortunately, most Holy Weeks, we were off to camp. The travel part was still rather traumatic because on the road, we would see men involved in self-flagellation. It was really very disturbing (mind you, a Catholic child might have seen it as natural, but I wasn't one and didn't believe in the ritual). Nowadays, there's Cable. The malls only close on Friday and Saturday. And we're still away in camp anyway, so yeah, it's been a while since I last saw Benhur.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

More Upcycling: Snap or Memory Game

I think I have the beginning of arthritis on my hands. They only hurt after long bouts of stitching, knitting, crocheting, etc. Right now, I'm working on a patchwork cape (one of Marguerite's presents) and everything is hand sewn. Gotta take care of these hands better.
Yesterday, I wanted to see if Marguerite can already play Snap or the Memory Game. The thing is, we only have electronic Memory Games and I have no idea what has happened to our decks of playing cards and Uno cards (I'm thinking the flood got them, but they could still be around somewhere.). Anyway, we still have these pocket calendars from the last election. My mom got several stacks of them since they're from her cousin who ran for Congress (and lost, but his party list won, so essentially, he's still in Congress - brief foray into political tone: The party list thing is just nonsense. I think it should be scrapped.). The ones in my knitting bag were the ones I used in my booth during the DVBS Mini Fair - see?

I just used them as number markers (the kids gave me a playing ticket, they got to draw a number from another deck, and the the corresponding number card from the table bore the prize they'd won). Anyway, I thought maybe I could turn them into something else. Why not playing cards? Marguerite and I worked on them last night. I drew the outline of simple shapes and she got to color them.

We tried playing Snap first, and while she got the idea. She wasn't really interested in playing it. We tried the Memory Game next and she showed even less interest. I'm not sure if she's too young or too excited to do her own thing, because as soon as I'd let her take over the game, she started arranging the deck in matching pairs. I guess that was more fun for her. I actually fell asleep (we were already in bed) watching her have a go at her game. I think she stuck to it for 30 minutes before I woke up and told her to get ready to sleep. She dutifully gathered the cards and neatly put them away.

Btw, here are pics of Marguerite from the other night as well: