My sister Chip and my cousin Cheska have been experimenting in the kitchen to come up with goodies to sell. Their last efforts resulted in really yummy orange chocolate bonbons and rocky road cookies. Just with the people in this compound as their market, the goodies didn’t last long. I think Chip and Cheska mean to sell them at the church bazaar, but my husband Mark has already offered to sell their ware at his office (we’re polar opposites when it comes to selling - I’m horrible at it and hate to do it, while he’s really good at it and enjoys it). This could be the start of something big for the two ladies. It would make a great story too. Chip, as I’ve mentioned here before, is recovering from hyperthyroidism, while Cheska, who’s only 18, is still in school studying to be a librarian (she’s actually already getting orders for brownies and other baked goodies). If they’re serious about it, they could make it work.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
The title is for pure Halloween sensationalism, lol. Does anybody know what plant this is? It's a creeper that crossed over to our side of the fence from the vacant lot next to us. My mom called me the other day to show it to me. She was wondering about the fruit. She'd already cut the parts that hung over our wall, but I suppose she's thinking if the fruit is edible, maybe she wouldn't be so quick to yank the weed out, lol. I know it's a stray because the property next to us belongs to Mom's cousins (this used to be a street where all the residents were related to each other by blood or marriage) nobody has lived there for at least a year. And of course, it looks like a stray. So, there were two fruit colors. I guess the yellow is the riper version? Can anybody help? Is it safe? Dangerous? Edible? Is it herbal? Useful for anything? I tried googling it, but I really didn't know how to phrase the search words. Anyway, I didn't see the plant from the search results I got.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Is this a far-fetched theory? I'm suspecting my toothpaste of causing my chin to break out. This is the first time it has happened to me, although I'd heard people say before that they couldn't use certain toothpastes because they caused pimples. Anyway, I'm currently using Colgate Fresh Confidence with Cooling Crystals (Spicy Fresh) and it just occurred to me that my chin started breaking out since I started using it. The rest of my face is fine. It's really just my chin. None of the other Colgate toothpastes I'd used in the past ever did the same to me, so I'm thinking it's really just this particular product. Can anybody else relate?
My mother and I just love the Anne books (Anne of Green Gables, Avonlea, the Island, Windy Poplars, House of Dreams, and Ingleside). This is something that we don’t share with my sister Chip. She can’t abide books with too much narration, lol. She likes them with plenty of dialogue. Anyway, as of the moment, I’m rereading (at the same time I’m reading a Waldorf book, a parenting book, and “Jacob Have I Loved”, lol) “Anne’s House of Dreams”, which is about the beginning of her married life with Gilbert Blythe. Gilbert is about to start his practice as a doctor in a place called Four Winds.
Sometimes I wish I still live in a time when doctors make house calls, are conscious of their bedside manner, and wear top hats and tail coats, etc. Of course, now doctors wear medical uniforms lab coats, which are more “clinical”, I suppose. Maybe it’s also more practical? For instance, it’s quite common for doctors, especially the young ones, to be wearing jeans under discount scrub tops. Naturally, as what is usual when it comes to clothes, there are regular kinds and special kinds. To those in the know, they probably aspire to wear high fashion scrubs. I suppose they’re as high fashion as medical wear can get, something to do with color, material, cut, etc.
Of course, it’s not only the uniforms that have evolved. When I think of Dr. Watson or doctors in Agatha Christie novels, they’re definitely different from doctors in Sue Grafton novels. It’s just the hazard of time, I guess. I tried imagining Gilbert Blythe and Anne Shirley as characters in today’s TV shows and immediately stopped. Their values wouldn’t allow them to fit.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
I enjoyed nice manicured hands for about two hours and ruined them painting the backdrop for the angel and shepherds scene of our Christmas pageant.
I don't go to the salon for a mani-pedi. I don't go to the salon for anything actually. I used to go to the salon for a trim, but since I now just tie my hair in a ponytail, twist the mess to the right and snip, and then twist it to the left and snip (does it sound like dance steps), I don't get to go anymore. If you'd been wondering who had made a hack job on my hair, well now you know. I would still go to a spa for a proper facial, but maybe I can learn to do that properly too? I guess the DIY bug bit me deep and hard.
Anyway, a mani-pedi is not something I can do at all, so we have this legendary (in these parts) lady who comes over to give us manicures. Aling Neneng contracted polio as a child and cannot walk without assistance. Notwithstanding that, she's very self-sufficient and makes a good living for herself. She's like a family heirloom. She did my grandmother's nails, her daughters, her granddaughters, and Aling Neneng is praying her eyesight would still be good when Marguerite is old enough to get mani-pedis.
So, I got my fingernails done in the morning (I don't get them painted since the nail polish would probably be ruined by the next day and since I don't know how to repair that, I would have to go around for weeks with chipped nail polish) and then the Sunday School teachers came over in the afternoon so we could work on the props and backdrops for the pageant. So far, one backdrop, three sheep, three shepherd's staff, one star down... We listened to Reuben Morgan while working. :)
Yes, that hand is mine, not a child's. I've always had short fat fingers, lol.
In other matters, I recently read about the benefits of dry brushing in this article. I think I was googling how to get rid of cellulite naturally (I have dimples on my thighs, not on my cheeks) and an article suggested that. From there, I started reading about dry brushing itself. Apparently, the following are its benefits (you can read the explanation for each in the actual article):
1. Removes cellulite2. Cleanses the lymphatic system3. Removes dead skin layers4. Strengthens the immune system5. Stimulates the hormone and oil-producing glands6. Tightens the skin preventing premature aging7. Tones the muscles8. Stimulates circulation9. Improves the function of the nervous system10. Helps digestion11. AND it’s easy, inexpensive and invigorating!
So I thought, it wouldn't hurt to give it a try. I got myself a dry brush the next time I went to the store and have used it exactly twice so far. I'm still trying to include it in my daily routine. Do you know anything about dry brushing? Did it work for you?
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I already told you about the Book Sale right next to Marguerite's ballet school. I didn't mean to go. Honest, I didn't. But Mark was waiting with me and was fiddling away on his phone, which I thought was very anti-social and annoying, considering we had the chance to wait together (I usually have to wait alone) and could chat and not be bored. So I got up and told him he could wait by himself, I was going to walk around. He looked flabbergasted at the role reversal. I usually do the waiting while he does fun things to amuse himself. So that's why I went to the bookstore thinking it wouldn't kill cheapskate me to spend Php10 (less than $.25) on a back issue of a magazine (I had the time to really scavenge). I found a Country Living worth Php65, compromised, telling myself I could live with paying Php65 for an issue from this year, made my peace with that, AND THEN courted danger by browsing. I ended up buying 5 books:
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend (I already have the complete series - but the book was in good condition and I'm seriously considering selling books online - just books that I like that my kindred might be looking for, hehe)
Tree by Leaf by Cynthia Voigt (Will post about Cynthia Voigt another day)
The Flip-flop Girl by Katherine Paterson
Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson (Had read many times library copies)
Anne of the Island by LM Montgomery (the only book we didn't have from the series)
Mark can just blame himself.
Today I'll focus on the books by Katherine Paterson. She's one of those writers whose books I buy without even seeing if the synopsis would interest me. She wrote one of my all-time favorites "Bridge to Terabithia". She was a missionary's daughter who later became a pastor's wife. She started her teaching career in Sunday School. Obviously, I'm conceited enough to think there are parallelisms between us, lol.
Considering how much I love Katherine Paterson, the books are clearly a steal. I don't care that they're so evidently used since you know how much I dig pre-loved books.
"The Flip-flop Girl" is a great book for a tweener to read. It's not Paterson's best, but it still has the elements of great writing. I think it's also a very inspiring read for teachers, reminds them that their students are more than just their roles inside the classroom and have so much more going on in their lives.
If I didn't love the story of "Jacob Have I Loved", I would love it for the title alone. There's no Jacob in my life and as much as I like it, the name has been forever tarnished by association with the Twilight series. I think the novel is genius. It won a Newbery of course, but the thing is, even though at the time I read it I thought there was nothing similar in my life to that of the characters in the story, I was still able to relate so much. It's a peculiar situation that somehow strikes a chord with everybody. Just like "The Flip-flop Girl", this book is great reading for children, and is just as enlightening for adults.
I don’t know why, but I suddenly have this desire to get a cross pendant for myself. I’d never wanted to before in my life, but now I want to get one for myself and one for Marguerite. It’s definitely not for bling, although I do want it to be tasteful. I want a classic simple cross with understated elegance. I guess I feel that if I’m going to accessorize, it might as well be another way to indicate to the world what my beliefs are. Not that everybody who wears a cross is a Christian (definitely NOT), but for me (and for my daughter hopefully), it is to be symbolic of our faith. Also, I think I’m due for some proper jewelry. Some people could erect jewelry display cases to showcase their collection while I practically don’t have anything. I have my engagement and wedding rings and a really nice pair of diamond earrings which my grandmother gave me when I was in second grade, the only survivor from my childhood. That’s about it. I used to have quite a few gold accessories when I was a child since I had a single aunt working in Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately, I also had a drug dependent uncle who pretty much stole everything he could pawn or sell. I don’t really care to have a jewelry collection now (although people do say it’s a good investment) since I’m more of a lapis lazuli- feathers-Swarovski -paste kind of girl (whatever I mean by that), but I do want a nice cross pendant.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Phoebe from "Friends": Mine's gonna say, "Phoebe Buffay, Buried Alive"
Here are some more pictures from the graveyard.
Sharing a sweet moment with Tita Christine; Which didn't last long, lol; Surveying the land in her Sunny Sheila Tubman attire (only fans of Judy Blume would understand)
As I mentioned yesterday, I took pictures of epitaphs that interested me. I'm sure I would have found more, but I stuck to the little knoll where the remains of Mark's grandparents are buried. All in all, that part of the vast cemetery was already quite representative (although it's quite new -- oldest burial was from the '80s; there are older graves in other parts). It said a lot about the Philippine society. Most of the epitaphs were in English with a sprinkling of Tagalog, Spanish and Chinese. I hope you don't think blogging about them is disrespectful. I did leave out the names.
Since I was a Spanish major, I took pictures of the Spanish ones:
"Your children and grandchildren will never forget you"; It says "Un recuerdo afectuoso de sus hijos" (A fond remembrance from their children) - I think they intend to scrape off the black paint later to make the letters stand out
Many played it safe and used standard epitaph text: "Your Memory Remains in Our Hearts Forever" "Ours for a Little While, With God Forever", etc.
I thought this one had the correct attitude:
I thought this was concise, but romantic:
My mind immediately cooked up a story for this one. She was so young too, see?
The following, I'm quite unsure of:
"Come to me who are tired and heavenly laden..." Was it an honest error or a pun?
The statement is a little awkward, but we all get the gist and that's what's important.
I'm really not sure about this one. I think the love in life and in death should at least be equal, if not more in life when it counted, right? It could be there's a context I don't know about...
Monday, October 25, 2010
We went to the cemetery yesterday and had a picnic (that's totally normal here in the Philippines). It was Mark's grandmother's birthday last Friday, so some of the Gozes decided to get together at her grave and commemorate it. It was a nice day for a picnic too although it looked like rain before lunch. After church, we went home to change and then quickly headed to the cemetery, which is in Marikina, about 2 miles away (as the crow flies) from our house.
I actually took pictures of epitaphs that interested me, but I can't access those pictures just yet (dead batteries, moody card reader... I'll spare you the boring details... All photo credits go to my SIL Christine). There were also several toads. There were lots of birds, but I'm too slow to take pictures. Sparrows and swiftlets galore. I saw a yellow and black bird. It seemed smaller than the orioles we had a lot of in our backyard in Subic. We did see many of those black birds with two white spots on the underside of each wing. Anybody know what I'm talking about?
Here's Marguerite, looking quite sun-kissed:
Following a toad as it hopped into a hole in the tree base:
Group picture -- we actually have decent ones, but I thought this was more interesting. That's my husband carrying our baby nephew on the side of his neck. Don't ask me. I had no idea what he was up to or I would totally have gone "Muuuuuuuuuuuhrk!" Incidentally, no babies were hurt in the shooting of this photo:
Sunday, October 24, 2010
I think I was a bit misunderstood in yesterday's post. That was supposed to be more tongue-in-cheek than it came off. Sorry about that. I can be really flippant sometimes. It totally serves me right that I just got an email from a friend that made it sound as though I was in some sort of desperate crisis, lol. People, I am perfectly fine. There are many things I am thinking about (it's just my nature). It's true I tend to have too many things on my plate, but I like being busy with things that interest me. My list of "worries" is real (although you'll notice that many items are really trivial, hehe), but is probably much shorter than that of, say, a mother working outside the home. I guess I wanted to poke fun at my moments of wishy-washiness (I don't think that's a word, but you know what I mean), at the fact that I think more than I do, etc. I think my hyperbole towards the end also crashed and burned on me, lol. I want to thank people for the encouragement and tips I received - they really do apply and are appreciated. However, I also want to correct the impression the post gave that I am drowning in worries. :)
I hope pictures of cute things, like a little girl feeding hamsters, will make up for this:
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Some of the things preying on my mind right now:
- How to boost my page ranking - It went down with a resounding splat when I switched to my own domain name (this used to be spinninglovelydays.blogspot.com). That was in March of this year. It hasn't recovered since. Got any tips?
- What to get and do for my parents' birthdays (they're a week apart and coming up really soon)
- If I care enough to do anything to make my own birthday (2 days after my mom's) special or shall I pretty much just ignore it like I do every year
- If Marguerite should wear a costume to celebrate "Harvest" (what we call Halloween so we can celebrate it, hehe) and if we should let her join any of the trick or treat events in the city
- Our church Christmas pageant, which I'm directing
- This other secret-ish event coming up before the pageant (which I'm also spearheading with a couple of other people)
- The super special church Christmas party we are planning
- Whether to sell anything at the church bazaar (it might not be as much fun if I'm minding a booth, lol)
- What to give for Christmas
> deciding which ones will get handmade and which ones will get store-bought (I know some people won't enjoy handmade items, so I still have to get something from the store)
> deciding the look of this year's Christmas ecard
> designing Marguerite's present, which I am making
- That this novel I'm writing was initially supposed to be 12000 words long and is now 18000 words and nowhere near finished... The thought of having to edit out parts is depressing me, sigh
- Homeschooling Marguerite (that I'm secretly hoping for something to happen to the TV so it's no longer readily available to Marguerite - she pretty much dominates our TV; or that I should be more zealous in engaging her in productive pursuits - cuz really, why take my frustration out on the TV?)
More really, but I don't think I'll air all of them, lol... I always unnecessarily worry myself into a pathetic mass of nerves before I get moving. I'm thinking I'm getting too old and less healthy for that kind of strategy and I need to change it?
Friday, October 22, 2010
Children and stains. No matter how "careful" (I'm not careful at all) you are, spots still manage to sneak in and place themselves permanently on almost-new clothes. They're like an inevitability, lol... Anyway, to avoid being wasteful, I thought I'd just cover up those stains with something. So far, I've tried appliqués, embroidery and dyeing and they all worked. My most recent project involved appliqués. Marguerite has this cute Tshirt with wings on the back that she loves (it's not new, but she's not done with it yet... naturally, she pretends to fly whenever she wears it) and it has several gray spatters on it. I'm not the neatest person out there, but I do prefer that my daughter not wear stained clothes (doesn't mean I don't let her wear stained clothes because I totally do-- at home).
The crochet hook is actually pointing at a stain. I'm not sure if you could see that.
After the appliqués:
Chip thinks I should have added turquoise, but I'll try it simple this time. It's easy enough to just add more if it doesn't work, lol.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Marguerite and I, along with Aunt Jaymee and Tita Patch (Cousin Cheska) attended SamMustSwim's Let's Get Wet album launch last night at the Hard Rock Café. Marguerite is easily the youngest member of the audience, lol. I'll add more pictures of the band in action later.
My 13-year-old cousin has been bringing his Atari to our house and letting Marguerite, et al, play. That’s old school. However, it’s still a video game, no matter how vintage. Anyway, he’s just doing it for kicks, thinking it’s a hoot because the technology is 30 years old, lol. I see no harm in letting Marguerite try it out. She also fiddles around with a PSP and that Nintendo thing when they’re in her vicinity, but we don’t have our own video games except the ones on our phones (even then, her favorite game on Mark’s phone is the one where she tickles this virtual cat or she says things and the cat repeats what she said in a meow voice - watch out, I think I may have promised her a cat as soon as we get our own place, hehe) and she knows the phones are not really for playing video games. As much as she thinks video games are interesting, she finds board games even more so. They’re more tangible for one. She has most of the staples - chutes and ladders, checkers, chess, scrabble, etc. She loves to set the play pieces next to each other in organized rows. Naturally, she doesn’t know how to play them properly yet. I’d love a complete set of all the traditional board games for all of us. I just really like those old games. For instance, I don’t see a lot of backgammon sets anymore. I’m definitely getting one for Marguerite. It’s a cool game. I remember this very moving scene from the old TV movie “Raid on Entebbe”. I think Yoni Netanyahu and the character that James Wood played were playing backgammon with a couple of other guys on the plane to Entebbe and then suddenly somebody started singing “Hine Ma Tov” (love this song!) and then the entire plane of soldiers was suddenly thundering the song in a kind of victory/praise moment. I’d really love a copy of that movie.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
One of the moms in my homeschooling group, Tes Wilson, is a financial fitness coach. When we met up last Wednesday, she gave the kids presents in the form of Moonjar money boxes. I really appreciate the gift and I think it's a really nifty concept, considering I've no head for money matters. I know how to be frugal, but I wasn't trained to go after something that I wanted that was "beyond our means". In a way it was kind of a good thing in that I turned out not materialistic. However, thinking that way was very limiting and it discouraged me from exploring creative possibilities. It also ingrained in me a feeling of helplessness and lack of control, an idea that when it came to finances, I was just supposed to be dependent on my parents and limit myself to what they gave me. I did want things, but somehow had this notion that it was wrong and just pointless to keep on thinking about them, so quell the desire I did. I think I turned out rather evasive of finances, like money is not something I could directly look at. I'm very conservative about it. I stay out of debt, but somehow cannot deal with it at all, as though it was embarrassing to think about it. Now that it's my turn to teach a child about money, I want to be able to do it right in such a way that she will have a healthy attitude toward it. I want her to see it as a blessing to enjoy as well as manage correctly. Definitely, it's something to be grateful for.
Marguerite has started with Moonjar. She's only four, so a big part of the fun is putting the money boxes together. There are 3 boxes marked Spend, Save and Share. We were supposed to glue pictures depicting the goal for each box, but since I didn't want to cut and glue, I just drew pictures on Post-its (easily replaceable too).
Marguerite has decided that she wanted to get Legos since she enjoys playing with them at Hobbes and Landes. That's going to be her first purchase under Spend.
The saving part was a little harder to explain, but she did say she wanted to go to the beach when I asked her if there was a trip she wanted to take or a place she wanted to see (I was so relieved she didn't choose a place abroad, lol).
For sharing, I kind of decided for her. I thought orphans were something she would easily understand and relate to, besides the fact that our church is already affiliated with a local orphanage/shelter.
Since we were already teaching her about money, I thought, why not start with tithing too? It's a habit/practice that should start as early as possible, as far as I'm concerned. Otherwise, it might turn out to be something that frequently slips the mind or something that is easily compromised with.
There is even a passbook for this ingenious coin bank version. With it, you can note the percentages (tithe is automatically 10%, of course) and actual amounts. You can keep track of deposits, so it's an early lesson in bookkeeping, I reckon. :)
We got started right away. Mark and I gathered all the coins we had on hand and gave them to Marguerite.
Note to Tes: It's a terrific gift for both the teacher and the student. It made this valuable lesson easier for me to teach, and Marguerite is definitely having fun using it. Many thanks once again! :)
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
In the middle of all the fretting over Megi/Juan, Marguerite and I baked some strawberry pie. I tweaked a strawberry hypocrite pie recipe I found online and came up with voilà -
It could be prettier, but people are eating it, so I guess it turned out okay. As usual, Marguerite liked the stirring, beating, kneading, flattening, etc. parts. That's her in the pic working on the custard.
I haven't stepped out of the house, but my cousins say the winds are pretty strong (definitely not as strong as they are up north) and, of course, rain has been quite persistent throughout the night. Metropolitan Manila, of which we are a part, got a Signal No. 1 (this refers to the wind capacity alone - just because it's not blowing that hard, it doesn't mean that floods aren't going up), but the rain has been persistent since early yesterday evening. Mark had a gig at the Fort and was sure to come home late. I was beginning to worry, but thankfully, I could just pray for his safety and trust in God's faithfulness. I was able to sleep peacefully. From what I've gathered from reading news online, Manila has thus far been casualty-free in relation to the typhoon. The area that's receiving the full brunt of the cyclone is the north. I'm praying that the thing would just move on and steer clear of other countries (Vietnam, China and Thailand certainly don't need it any more than we do). Sigh, I thought as soon as we were done with September, we could breathe more easily about a possible Ondoy repeat, but with La Niña screwing up the normal monsoon schedule, all bets are off.
In other news, here's a pretty picture of Marguerite. It's actually my new Facebook profile pic (my cousin Cheska took it during Sunday School - she's Marguerite's teacher. Incidentally, she doesn't like how she looks in the pic, hence the multitude of stars, lol):
Monday, October 18, 2010
When I first met Mark my junior year in college, he was the vocalist and guitarist of a band that mostly did rock covers. Their drummer migrated to the US and the group disbanded. A few months later, he and my best friend's husband got together with a couple of other guys and formed a rap rock band (this was during the height of metal rap popularity - sometime after Beastie Boys and Rage Against the Machine, but before Limp Bizkit or Linkin Park - hated this genre!!!). I don't remember exactly what happened, but I think the group just fizzled out. People were beginning to focus on finishing college. After this, he took over as bassist for another band, (I think I'd just graduated from college this time) which did more mellow but alternative covers (I remember them doing Alice in Chain's "Heaven Beside You" and Weezer's "Say It Ain't So" - this is more my kind of sound; I love rock music with three-part harmonies, hehe). People started getting jobs, I think, and then the guitarist migrated to the States too. Soon after, Mark replaced the drummer of this new band, the genre of which I still can't identify to date... from what I can remember of it, there was something like narration - I can't call it singing - backed by really heavy instrumental music... Yeah, well, that group kind of fizzled out too, especially since Mark decided to join this cover band (it was probably two shades cooler than a real show band, but the garage doors symbolically closed on him, lol), which might not have been his usual thing, but was the one that finally gave him real money doing music. They did everything from pop to ballad to ska to classic rock, depending on the crowd at the venue. They got to record for a couple of collaborative CDs (which I gave as Christmas/birthday presents for a couple of years, hehe) and then Mark got married and moved to the mountains. His work there didn't really give him a lot of leeway to moonlight with a band although he did play the drums for this worship group people from our workplace started for the community. He didn't get to do a lot of it since I was pregnant-ly puking all over the place and was just so pathetic, he had to take care of me. We moved back to Manila and for a couple of years, all the music he did was for our church. Just when it was beginning to look like his band days were over, he joined another one. This band, SamMustSwim, is going to launch its album "Let's Get Wet!" at the Hard Rock Café in Makati on Wednesday, October 20. You can find out more about it here.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Remember Marguerite's hamsters, Buddy and Boy? I wrote about Marguerite finally giving them names here. Btw, Boy's name has evolved to include the article "The" preceding it. That's how Marguerite refers to him-her, something like The Rock and The Situation. It caught on. Here's the breaking news. Now, I don't know who first said that the brown one was female and the gray one was male, but whoever it was (I suspect Mark), I took his word for it. Imagine my chagrin when I saw something that shouldn't have been there when Marguerite was playing with Buddy, holding her-him upside down and tickling her-him on the tummy (something that the hamsters do not appreciate, I think). I began to form a suspicion and to verify it, I got The Boy and flipped him-her upside down. Sure enough, his-her thing was missing. There obviously was a mix-up somewhere. I don't know whose fault it was, but I think I'll just go ahead and point the finger at Mark. So now, in effect, we have a female hamster whom we call "The Boy".