Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Prize from Sharkbytes' Birthday Contest

Remember Sharkbytes' Birthday Puzzle Solving and Writing Contest? Anyway, I won second place and I got to choose her book North Country Cache: Adventures on a National Scenic Trail as my prize. I got the parcel notice from the post office on Monday, so Marguerite and I went there on Tuesday to claim it. I started reading it right away and couldn't put it down. My initial plan was to get my writing assignments out of the way first before I settled down to enjoy the book, but I made the mistake of sampling just one essay and got hooked. That means I'll be cramming work this weekend, lol.
Joan Young aka Sharkbytes is an excellent writer. Her essays are honest, insightful and witty. They make me want to actively take up hiking too (although not here because I'm beginning to think I'm really allergic to the tropics, and there's also the common notion that most pieces of wilderness here are probably crawling with rebels... or the military, whichever is the real bad guy). I certainly hope Marguerite would be into it. It certainly seems a very enriching activity. Anyway, the book is an entertaining read for hikers and non-hikers alike. If you enjoy and avidly follow My Quality Day (as I do), then you'll find the book a real treat. Thanks, Sharkbytes! It's an awesome prize! One day Marguerite will enjoy reading it too (as opposed to just posing with it, lol).

Some Authentic Apfelstrudel and Linzertorte from Vienna Restaurants

I have a friend who lives in Vienna and she's coming home for a visit soon. Now, when asked what I want as a gift from the place, I usually say some Marillenschnaps (apricot schnapps). However, since I'll be breastfeeding by the time she gets here, I think I may have to come up with some other request. I guess any Austrian delicacy found only in vienna restaurants will do. This reminds me that my mother-in-law, who is based in Zurich, won't be around when the baby gets here. That would feel different since she was here to greet Marguerite as a newborn. Anyway, we'll have to postpone our dreamed of visit to Switzerland to make way for expenses for the new baby. Hopefully, she'll still be based there when we finally scrimp together the money for a trip to Europe. It would be great to go to galleries and see art zurich style. I know Zurich Art would be just right for my taste, a fine blend of the classic and the modern. At the end of the day, the trip would probably be mostly about going to Café Félix (Schober). I've mentioned my obsession several times. That, and, well, getting some schnapps, lol.

We'll Have to Make Way for Floor Removal

My mom is thinking of getting our floors redone. The flood from 2 years ago did some pretty damage, not just staining. Anyway it's time for a do-over. The thing is, we don't really want the hassle and inconvenience of a floor upheaval. We'll just have to make that sacrifice if we want to have better floors. Some sort of floor removal will have to take place. Some areas that have a bit of erosion going on will do with floor grinders. In any case, the entire thing will have to go through concrete floor polishing before new flooring can be applied. I guess while we're at it, we might as well have the walls repainted and the furniture replaced. This is probably why my mom is hesitant to have this done. She won't be satisfied with just one step. Of course, all these need money, which just would not grow on trees as we wish. Maybe when Social Security decides to finally give my dad his money, my mom can have her fun renovating the house. In the meantime, it has to be one step at a time. A good place to start would be the floors. And maybe the walls. While we're at it. lol

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hey, I Taught Those Kids!

This post is really just inane whimsy.

I've known for some time that an old student of mine has entered show business. I think it was Chip who told me. This wasn't really such a big surprise as his father had also been a well-known singer in his heyday. Anyway, about 10 or 11 years ago, Simon Wood and his sister Sydney were in my high school English classes in the small Christian school where I taught part-time. Simon was a junior while Sydney was a freshman. I have never actually caught Simon on TV or heard any of his songs, but I have googled for pictures. It seems he has grown out of this particular look he had then. At that time, he wore thick-framed glasses and kind of had an endearing geeky style. He was a sweet boy, very good-natured, although he didn't really fit in well with most of the other kids in that school. That's probably partly because he spent most of his childhood in the States. Anyway, I'm glad he's doing well in his chosen career. He's probably in his early or mid-twenties now, something that his former teacher finds hard to accept (mostly because that means I'm clearly no longer 24 myself, lol). In any case, he was one of those kids I was extra-fond of (I didn't have pets... there were always just kids who appealed to me more for one reason or another), although I didn't really  get to know him that well since I was usually gone by noon. If he remembers me at all, his recollection would probably be of a very short (most of my students towered a foot over me - and that's me with heels), somewhat nutty teacher who had a big frizzball of hair every time it rained and went on and on about matchbox 20's Rob Thomas. Well, crazy or not, I hope he and his classmates learned something from me.

The other boy I'm going to talk about wasn't actually a student of mine. He was in 6th grade when I taught in that same Christian school. I stumbled across the fact that he has also entered show business purely by accident. One of my Facebook contacts gushed in her status update over the hotness of one Xian Lim. Okay, I'm talking about a woman who's older than myself, besides also being married with two kids. Anyway, I thought the name was familiar, so I went to google images again for verification. My suspicion was correct. It was that chubby 11-year-old boy I'd known a decade ago. Of course, now he's quite the heartthrob, it seems. I'm really quite pathetic about the local entertainment scene since I don't watch any local TV at all except for the news. I wish I could be democratic and say that I don't watch any TV at all, but that would be, well, a lie. Anyway, Xian was a very cute boy even as a child, and a big galoot. It goes without saying that he also towered over me (I really should have taught kindergarten instead) as young as he was. I don't really know much about him since he wasn't even my student at all, although I'm pretty sure I'd reprimanded him a couple of times in the hallways or in the cafeteria... He was 11; he understandably had many moments of mischief at that age.

So, basically I'm just namedropping here, lol...maybe also reminiscing... At the end of the day, I guess I'm mostly just amazed that these kids aren't really kids anymore, which brings me back to... well, I'm in my thirties and two months after this baby comes out, I officially hit middle age (if I base it on the biblical life span of 70 years... and if recent surveys are to be believed). Sigh. Life seems to take on a more bittersweet flavor as it progresses.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Steel Cabinets Fascinate Me at the Moment

Mark, Marguerite and I have been shopping for a chest of drawers for when the baby gets here. Anyway, we made a choice pretty fast (the budget made that possible for us) and then just enjoyed browsing through the store. Now, we have this space up front that's meant to be a commercial unit. For a time, my mom had her preschool there when she was she was just starting out. At other times, the structure was a store. When one of my uncles got married, he turned the space into their living quarters and that was the end of its commercial use. When my uncle and his family moved to Canada (5 years ago), the place was turned into a bodega. It's actually prime location and it's really a waste not to use it commercially, so some of us have had ideas on how to use it profitably. Mark has his idea, Mom has hers, Chip has hers. and I'm afraid I do too. It's a matter of who will come up with the capital first. That's why I was having extra fun browsing through furniture store. For my thing, I need some steel cabinets. I want some nice ones and not the usual utilitarian filing cabinet, which we have several of actually rusting away in storage along with a flammable storage cabinet. We should sell those. Anyway, for my "business" (I don't know why I felt the need to put it in quotation marks), some nice steel storage cabinets would do. Of course, that's not all that I need. I think, before anything else however, I need that capital. It's fun planning in the meantime.

WARNING: Pregnancy TMI

Sigh. This pregnancy. Sure, I had a harder first five months with Marguerite, but I didn't get all these weird asides going on. With my first, my skin was nice and smooth (except for the above the knee ingrown hair I incurred after shaving AND the stretch marks - which btw in my case itched toward the latter part of my pregnancy - the oldies here say that only happens if the baby in your belly has lots of hair, and sure enough Marguerite was born with a full head of hair. Cowinkydinks like that make you wonder, lol). I also didn't suffer from constipation AT ALL. This time around, I've had a few constipated episodes, but the really weird thing is the warts around my neck area. It's a good thing I'm not growing them on my face. My skin also has darker undertones in specific areas. However, the really annoying thing is the ITCH. At first, I thought I was getting bitten, but sometimes, rashes would show up on my arms, nape and back. They'd subside and then flare up again. And then, there's my scalp. It gets so itchy sometimes that I have to stop working and just start brushing my hair vigorously (in effect, really just scratching my scalp). It sometimes even wakes me up at night. I asked my mom to check for creepy crawlies and dandruff, but those weren't the cause of the itch. I'm really just itching. I consulted a pregnancy thread on the Mothering forum and discovered that other pregnant women also go through the same thing. So if you see me scratching sometime, don't worry about parasites; I'm just pregnant.

Might Order Checks Online

I'm thinking about opening another current account with another bank. I somehow get this feeling that it's more prudent to put my money in several places instead of just one bank. I've been going with this really old bank. It has been around since the time of the Spaniards, so its record for endurance is really good. It's actually the oldest bank in Southeast Asia. It managed to survive various economic crises, two other colonizations, two world wars, as well as a greedy dictator who pretty much took over all the big businesses. I'm thinking that's as rock steady as a bank can get. Anyway, nothing on earth is infallible, so maybe I should also put some business in another trustworthy name in banking. In any case, I shall have to order personal checks again. Honestly, I can keep track of my payments better when I use my checkbook. Anyway, the next time I order personal checks again, I might order checks online. I think I'll have a wider variety to choose from, for one. Maybe I'll go through the selection with Marguerite and let her help me choose. Speaking of which, maybe I'll make some toy ones for her.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My Supply of Gift Wrap

I'm still sorting through all the junk I decided to save in hopes that I could reuse or recycle/upcycle them. I noticed that I still have a lot of leftover gift wrap from several Christmases and birthdays ago. These are sheets of wrapping paper that were used to conceal gifts that we got, so, no, we don't belong to the rip-the-gift-open school. The thing is that, we do reuse these things; however, they just keep on coming in droves. gift boxes, on the other hand, we usually end up jazzing up to turn into keepsake or memento boxes. Other boxes, which are not big enough, still end up being used for organization purposes. It's the only acceptable way to be a packrat anyway, if you're big on order. Otherwise, the place turns into a jungle of clutter. What am I talking about? This place is, in fact, a jungle of clutter, so I guess despite my claims of being a nut for organization, I really still need to declutter. And, if truth be told, I'm not that organized either. I'm too lazy to attempt order (my brand of order) with a little kid around. I justify the laziness by claiming that I don't want my kid to develop anal retentive tendencies.

For the Wha?

I was on Facebook the other day and I saw that one of the young members of our church had ended one of her status updates with a "FTW". I was shocked and called this to Chip's attention. Fortunately, Mark heard me and informed us that it meant "For the win". I was all, "Since when? What's that even supposed to mean?" He told me to go ahead and google it, so I did and true enough the more common meaning of the abbreviation/acronym is indeed "For the win". I felt like somebody was sadistically messing with my weltanschauung... "FTW" is supposed to be positive? For some reason I couldn't accept that. So go ahead use it to mean "for the win", but know that if you hear it from me, I'm using it to mean its original meaning -- which means that you won't hear it from me at all. Ah, these things... But you have to realize that I'm also the person who refuses to acknowledge that Pluto is no longer a planet.

Friday, June 24, 2011

An Ark Really Sounds Like a Good Idea

Okay, this is a scary time here in the valley. Yesterday in the early evening, the flood signal rang throughout the city. It was this prolonged siren wail that lasted a few minutes. Both my dad and Mark weren’t home. Dad was at the Shangri-la EDSA while Mark was at work. I did call him to tell him to come home right away. He said okay, but texted me a few minutes later saying that he couldn’t go home yet as parts of Makati were flooded and traffic was horrendous. Anyway, our street or the highway wasn’t flooded yet, and the river hadn’t actually overflowed yet at that time (Mark said it already had by the time he drove past it last night - the river is about two hundred meters away from our house, if you must know, but we’re in a much  more elevated area, so we’d never actually been flooded except for that freaky Ondoy episode), but the rain wasn’t letting up. I did make a list of things to rescue (camera, documents, electronics, etc.) and of survival supplies (flashlights, Kitchen Utensils, food, water, etc.) in case the flood threat became very real. They sounded the second alarm sometime during the night. That meant river water had already spilled over to some neighborhoods. I hope people were evacuated as soon as possible. So, yeah, you gotta love the monsoon season.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Social Security Woes

My Dad is 65 years old in November. To date, he has yet to receive his Social Security pension or the lump sum members get once entering retirement age. First, it was a problem with his name. He had that fixed. It was a long, tedious, and often frustrating process, but he had it done. His name fixed and everything, they still weren’t ready to give him money. He simply persevered in following up on that. Finally, some results. They were finally going to give him the money he deserves. But of course, they had to botch up his records, adding years for a company he hadn’t worked for. My dad reported the error, refusing to receive money that wasn’t meant for him. Many people commented that he should have just kept quiet since it wasn’t his mistake anyway, but my dad is a pastor and a very honest man. So anyway, 2.5 years and 7 follow-ups later, he still hasn’t seen a red cent from his pension. I’m not sure how hard it is to delete some erroneous input from somebody’s records, but apparently it takes years. Mark has a friend who has an aunt who works at the SSS, so we’re hoping she could help my dad. Hopefully, he could get his money soon. He has some obligations with property taxes and the like, but I really hope he gets to have some fun with his money. He could do whatever he wishes with it - take my mom on a trip, furnish their house with nursing home furniture for laughs, invest in business, finance some church expense, give me some of it (hint, hint)… If that money would just get to him.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Baby Boys Aplenty

Is there a pregnant woman out there who's going to have a girl? I was just wondering if there's something in the air or water or general global conditions that's making us conceive boys because ALL of the women I know who are pregnant (or who just gave birth) are having boys. Let's see...

Mark's uncle and his wife Donna had a boy in April.
My cousin April had a boy in May.
This blogger I follow Amy had a boy this month.
My cousin Florence is having a boy in July.
My friend Boomy is having a boy in August.
Our friend Emy is having a boy in September.

I know Natalie Portman had a boy. But wait. Jennifer Connelly just had a girl. How do I know this? By having a writing gig that focuses on entertainment news.

Anyway, here's an old article (from 2005, I think) that discusses the boy-girl ratio. It states that Filipino women are second only to the Chinese in having the highest ratio of boys to girls. I really couldn't feel this growing up. Or even in college. In the UP French Club during my time, there were about 5 boys in a membership of 30 and 2.5 of them were gay. Whatever I meant by 2.5 is left up to your imagination. So, yeah, more boys coming...

Sorting Through M's Old Stuff

I spent Monday morning going through various Cardboard Boxes looking for baby stuff. I made some welcome discoveries, such as things I had thought were destroyed in the flood were actually in the second floor. That means an intact swing, baby bed and new born car seat. I also found an electric sterilizer, which I had thought I had already sold in one of the garage sales still here. Naturally, I found boxes and boxes of baby clothes. Mom was amazed that I had managed to save Marguerite’s almost entire infant wardrobe. Honestly, when I was putting them away for storage, I did have thoughts of Marguerite’s younger sibling using it someday. I suppose unconsciously I was hoping for or expecting a girl (simply because boys never figured much in the scheme of things here). I knew I put away stuff, but I had no idea to what extent, because I did give stuff away too. And yes, I got teary-eyed sorting through all those baby clothes, sniffling and thinking, where did time go? How did it happen that I have an almost 5-year-old instead of that tiny baby. Sigh. Hormones and natural sentimentality. Anyway, most of them (the baby things, not the hormones) will still be put to use since during the time before Marguerite’s birth and about two months later, most of the stuff we got for her was in neutral colors. We actually had lots of blue. Her crib was blue, the diaper bag was blue… After that, I realized that pink looked really sweet on baby girls (and that it made me hyperventilate to have somebody mistake my pretty baby girl for a boy) so a deluge of pink followed that short moment of neutrals. Having a baby boy will definitely be a novel experience. We spent Monday evening at the mall and went to check out the baby section. We didn’t need any of the usual stuff like strollers, playpens, car seats, etc. since we still have Marguerite’s, but it was still interesting to look around. Glancing at the price tags, I was so glad we’re already pretty well-equipped. Going through the clothes section, I realized I would now be shopping for chinos and polo shirts instead of dresses and blouses. I hope to remember to stay away from alligators.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dedication Being What It Is

I know a lot of people wouldn’t agree with me, but I don’t think godparents are necessary. Godparents would be awesome if they actually cared for real about being godparents, but that’s often not the case. I think you could attribute this sentiment of mine to the fact that my mom chose 3 women who were mostly absentees my entire childhood. She chose a lady boarder they had at one point (when I was really small, my grandparents took in female boarders since they had two extra bedrooms). I guess they were really close at the time I was born. My godmother moved to Australia when I was in preschool. I’ve never seen her or heard from her since. She and my mom got together perhaps 3 times in the last 30 years, but yeah, I wouldn’t know her if I bumped into her. My other godmother is my mom’s cousin. She was the most active one when I was growing up - that means I got a gift from her every Christmas and that’s about it. And then when I was 8 or 9 she moved to the States and it’s the same story. We exchanged letters a couple of times when I was a teenager since she’s a journalist and I thought she’d be a good role model, but she got married and got too involved with that life, so we stopped writing. My last godmother is my mom’s sister, an aunt of mine whom I’m very fond of, but she’s been living in California since before I was born, so she also missed out on my childhood. These are all good women and the fact is that I didn’t think they’d been remiss in their duties when I was growing up. I had no idea what to expect from a godmother anyway, except that annual Christmas gift, but now that I’ve had to choose godparents for my child(ren) too, I’ve thought about what their duties are supposed to be and compared that with the frequent reality and I’ve decided that godparents are unnecessary. So the point is that when I send out christening invitations, people shouldn’t expect the usual christening setup. Our way, being protestants, is already different from the usual Filipino baby baptism, but it’s even more non-traditional in the fact that it would simply be a solemn prayer of dedication in front of our church. Friends and family think it’s a huge mistake - what about all those gifts?!?! Exactly. I want the dedication to be what it actually is supposed to be.

Unintentionally Successfully Unschooling

I’ve been having some trouble keeping up with Marguerite’s homeschooling. I know I said I’d be loose about it anyway. Preschool for us would be more unschooling than anything else, but perhaps with a touch of Waldorf. However, yours truly has some trouble deschooling, so I’ve been sitting her down with some informal writing lessons, reading by recognition, arts and crafts, etc. But since I decided to take on more writing gigs, sigh, homeschooling around here has lost the structure that I was building (for myself to keep myself organized - not at all for Marguerite; she, on the other hand, is supposed to have rhythm - which, in fact, has sadly gone awry for the last couple of weeks). I suppose I’m just continually amazed at children’s capacity for learning. Despite my attempts at active teaching, it seems her learning really comes from exposure from doing stuff, from playing with educational toys, from (I confess guiltily, not because it’s a crime, but because I just really have so much guilt to spare) watching TV… My mom who’s been “all things preschool” (owner, directress, teacher…)sits her down to for some informal evaluative activities and she’s also amazed at some of the things Marguerite knows how to do. She’s doing really well for a kid with no formal schooling.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Someone Ought to Pay Mark Not to Name Babies

We still don't have a name for the baby. I mean, we still haven't deliberated on one because I already have one (the secret one because there's a good chance we'd end up going with that name; Marguerite seemed to like it and then immediately forgot all about it), Marguerite has one (Diego, as you know, but it's not happening) and Mark periodically tosses out a rock n' roll name at me just to get my goat:

Mark (out of the blue):  I have a great idea for a name!
Me (excited and curious): What?
Mark (gleefully): Jimmy Page Goze!
Mark (2 days later): I have another idea for a name!
Me (the sucker who hasn't learned yet - so just as excitedly): What?
Mark: Jimmy Hendrix Goze!
Mark (a few days later): Now I really know what to name the baby, and I know you'll love it.
Me (had learned her lesson, but still asked anyway): What?
Mark (positively chortling): Slash Goze!

Harhar. He knew how much I wasn't into Guns n' Roses or Slash's Snakepit or Velvet Revolver or any other band Slash might have been in.

Anyway, I think Mark has this idea that 18 years from now, our kid will enter the UP College of Fine Arts with Led Zeppelin Santos, Purple Haze Cruz, Jim Morrison Gomez, etc. (names all made up by me - sorry if your name is actually one of these). Except that I know he's really just joking. Or I think I do.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Looking for Long Lost Remote Controls?

That kid Marguerite has too many toys. We sat down the other day to sort through piles of the things and chose which ones to save, discard and sell. She was brave at first and then she said, "I'll miss my toys, Mommy." Sigh. I still have a garbage bag of stuff we'll be selling soon. That probably comprised about 2% of her toys. We still have mounds and mounds of them in our small area. Our helper has gotten tired of putting toys away (Marguerite does put her toys away herself, but in the million times she has to do it per day, one or two instances coincide with the helper's time to clean our bedroom) that she just absently tosses things in Marguerite's toy boxes (baskets/hampers/bags). At first it was annoying to find remote controls we'd been looking for stored among the toys, but we really couldn't blame her. One time, long missing Laptop batteries were salvaged from the jungle of legos and wooden blocks. The thing is, if you leave stuff lying around like Mark does, you have to expect a little child to think it's fair game. I personally have long given up on having things that are in good condition. Mind you, Marguerite's actually long past the stage of breaking DVD players and other toddler mayhem. We're actually about to start all over again. Sigh. Just thinking about it. Anyway, even after reminders not to mix up electronics with Marguerite's toys, we still unearth stuff like old chargers, USB cables, TV Parts, adaptors, etc. I guess the logic there is that if they were on the floor, then Marguerite must have been playing with them and so they belong with Marguerite's toys.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Experience Life and Art Amsterdam Way

My friend used to be based in Amsterdam. She was there back in 2004 when I was in Paris. We thought we'd be able to get together, but she had just come from a very expensive (Disney) holiday in Paris with her husband and kids, so she wasn't inclined to go back anytime soon at that time and while I did plan to visit her in Amsterdam, I got a job instead and had to cut short my stay in Europe. I would have loved to see my friend and Amsterdam, of course. The rest of the Netherlands, in fact. I wanted to eat at amsterdam restaurants and check out art Amsterdam style. I wasn't interested in checking out the red light district, of course, or the weed scene. I was already too mature and Christian to be curious about those things at that time. That's probably why God didn't let me go when I was in college. Anyway, I wanted to see the quaint, traditional side of the Dutch nation. I wanted to see the museums of art in Amsterdam and the old windmills and the tulips. When I think of Holland, I envision scenes from a book my sister gave me years ago - Hans Brinker/The Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Stuff Said During Car Rides

Marguerite is starting with the are-we-there-yets. We had to take a long-ish drive to a pool party in Lagro, QC (it was pretty far - not out-of-town far, but far for something within Metro Manila. I once asked a college friend where it was and she answered, "It's at the end of the world." She was not far wrong.) Saturday night and that's when it became very clear to me that my daughter has reached that stage. She has asked it before, of course, but I put it down to real curiosity. Last Saturday, as the drive got longer, she leaped from 5-minute-intervals to about 1-minute with the question.

On Sunday, we hung a right at the nearest golden arches and drove thru. There was a Grimace mascot at the parking lot and when we pointed it out to Marguerite, she said, "It's a giant purple hairball with a face!" I'd say, pretty accurate. We had a debate over what food or drink Grimace was supposed to represent. Mark kept on going "something ube (yam)". Oh right. Grimace is one of the early characters. Even if McD's has ethnic offerings in some places now, I don't think yam ever figured in the menu (not that I did any kind of research, so correct me if I'm wrong). Well, I googled and milkshake is the answer.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Stainless Steel Coffee Maker (Non)Secret

I know it's pretty dumb, but I don't know how to operate my stainless steel coffee maker. I actually have another one, but I'm letting my mom use it - except that she doesn't anymore. We're not really big coffee drinkers around here. I remember this guy I worked with asking if I wanted to help (we were organizing something that was like a school-based spiritual fellowship), and I said, "Sure, anything" an iota of a second before it occurred to me that he might ask me to work the stainless steel coffee maker in the room, which is exactly what he asked me to do. Of course, like an idiot I had to tell him that I didn't know how to make coffee (and I know some people are really particular about coffee so I wasn't about to subject myself to coffee snobbery). He said he didn't either, so we just stood there wondering if the coffee will make itself until somebody rescued us. Growing up not doing anything is really bad. I tell my mom that now. I literally didn't know how to do anything because other people did it for me. I had to learn everything (including stuff like using a kitchen knife and cutting nails) embarrassingly late. I've improved some now, but working stainless steel coffee makers is still beyond me.

Checkups, Vitamin Supplements, Etc.

For this pregnancy, I've been having hip pains. They go away after a few minutes, but they usually occur when I get up from lying down. I just walk them off and they go away. I remember with Marguerite, the pain was on my wrist, and I got it doing something really simple - opening our bedroom door. It also went away eventually. Anyway, so far that's the only discomfort. I don't have join pain (joint pains). I am fat, but I don't feel bloated. My feet are still okay, but I won't be 7 months pregnant until Saturday. 7 months! Where did time go? Which reminds me I have to go for another checkup this week and restock on vitamin supplements. My doctor doesn't suspect gestational diabetes, but she might have me tested anyway. I do have to watch my weight though. Maybe I should hit the gym, but I've never been a gym going person. The only time I ever worked out in one was when I was taking weight training for PE. I sucked at it, as expected. Marguerite and I pass by a gym when we take our walks and it looks like a sweaty enterprise (duh). The guys look like they have coconuts for muscles and are pumped with nitric oxide supplement. I think I'll stick to our walks.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Review: "Daddy Dates" by Greg Wright

"Daddy Dates" is a how-to guide for fathers on taking out their own daughters on one-on-one outings and in the process, establishing a stronger bond with them. It is supposedly the "road  map for any dad to raise a strong and confident daughter". It's not your typical  parenting book written by a PhD. Greg Wright is your average dad who stumbled across a  surprisingly simple and yet effective method of  connecting with his daughters as well as impacting their lives positively during the typical years of growing pains. The book is aimed at fathers with at least one daughter, but it's really for any male who wishes to establish  a special relationship with the females in his life.

I thought the book very entertaining. It is humorous and engaging, even if I  found some of the ideas already familiar. It does give many useful tips, and if I were a father raising a daughter, I'd be excited to try out an idea or two as soon as possible. I'm not a father, but I'm married to somebody who is and we're raising a daughter together. I'm definitely making my husband read it as I'm certain it'll benefit our family immensely. Incidentally, I was also able to read the book from the perspective of a man's daughter. While I undoubtedly have a good father, I don't remember him taking me out on a real "daddy date".  If we had done "daddy dates", I think my foray into dating life would have been a more positive and secure experience and not one that was prompted by magazine articles from doubtful sources.

The book has a good blend of theory and illustrations from Wright's personal experiences. The basic idea was discussed thoroughly, with plenty of insight and wit. Another good thing about it is that while the author knew what he was talking about, he never came off sounding like a know-it-all. He's somebody whom fathers could feel would be able to relate to them, even in their moments of confusion and uncertainty.

(Disclaimer: As a blogger I received a free review copy of this book from Booksneeze. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.)

Friday, June 10, 2011

We Do Plenty of Audio Conferencing Over Here

There was a time when I was so hooked on chatting that I'd get to my STS class (the last course I had to take, plus one PE - I graduated in the summer) more than an hour late. That was during the early days of chatting, of course. It just seemed so awesome being able to talk to all these people from all corners of the world. That must have been really early because I remember that was before "You've Got Mail" came out. And then later, of course, you could actually talk to each other and even see each other if you so wished. Anyway, ever since I started working at home, I've had to do a lot of Audio conferencing with clients or my writing team. I've participated in some in my pajamas. Getting in touch with someone nowadays is just so simple. It's crazy how the world seems to be getting smaller and smaller. My sister teaches via Audio conference as well. She could do video too, but that's more of a hassle. Many online teachers prefer Audio conferencing to video conferencing, of course. Sigh. All these technologies are so amazing. Everything is just so easy. I kind of miss the time when you had to wait hours to get a dial tone on your phone.

Vinyl Banners for Every Little Thing

I recently found the tarp poster we had printed for Marguerite's first birthday party. I wonder if she'll want to display it in her room when she finally gets one. It's a great remembrance from a special time in her life of which she probably has no recollection ever. It's cute anyway. It has her pictures and gives the date of her 1st birthday and dedication party. By the way, I'm not delaying dedication again this time. I know a lot of people do it for practical reasons, but I just want to dedicate my child the soonest that I can. We don't have to have a party (I expect some people to protest). Anyway, I'm trying to remember which Printing Service we went with that time. It's so easy nowadays to have Vinyl Banners printed. I remember when making signs for birthdays involved markers and some construction paper. I guess times are just different now. Understandably, it's harder to paint on cheesecloth than it is to email a design to a printing company and let them do the work. Stuff like Yard Signs are professionally done now. It's so easy nowadays, and much cheaper, I guess. I wouldn't really know. I have no idea what it would have cost in the past. I'm just assuming it became affordable because of the technology.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I'm really not complaining. The earning opportunities are true blessings. However, I need me some proper sleep. I remember being pregnant with Marguerite and staying in school until past midnight working on the yearbook. So yeah, this is nothing new. I'm not as worried now. Marguerite was born healthy enough despite all the stress I had to go through. That was a brilliant move - getting pregnant right after I agreed to be yearbook adviser. Anyhoo, I'm so exhausted. I'm writing for 4 clients simultaneously - possibly more, I can't remember. And then blogging opps come my way too and I feel that I just can't let anything pass... I pray that I find enough energy for all this work AND taking care of Marguerite (thank the Lord really that I don't have to worry about any other chores while living with my parents). I pray that my patience does not desert me as it usually does when I'm tired. I pray that I be thankful always and less inclined to whine.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Christian Schools for Troubled Teens

I may have been angst-ridden as a teen, very prone to depression, which even caused me to drop out of school for a time, but I could never really classify myself as troubled. I was just angry about being a kid and finding myself unhappy with my situation all the time. I love being different now, but back then, it made for many moments of insecurity. Anyway, when I became a teacher, I encountered students who were truly troubled. And unlike me, they did not have the support of two loving parents and a stable home life. There were many times when I felt that I was so much more naïve and innocent than they were and that I did not know where they were coming from despite my years ahead of them. I thought then that it would be wonderful if they could be in a place where they could just heal. Somehow, school was just adding to their problems and not many teachers took the time to consider their students' setup at home. For them, their classes were the priority and their demands were to be met without delay. Some of those students were really better off attending schools for troubled teens. That way, their needs would be catered to more properly. They would have teachers who were trained and qualified to deal with them. The kids could get the proper help they needed instead of the bumbling efforts, no matter how well-intentioned, of somebody like yours truly who's just not equipped with any know-how regarding that matter. For kids who've suffered trauma, schools for troubled teens could be a place of refuge. If trouble is originating from home, therapeutic boarding schools will help immensely. A place run by Christians is preferable, of course. After all, true change and healing stem from a spiritual renewal.

Crazy Busy

Oh my life, I'm so busy. Got a haircut because I was just getting too heavy and I didn't need my hair to add to that (I'm one of those big haired people). It turned out okay. I don't really care since I always have my hair up. And then I've got a deluge of work, which I've been begging God about anyway, so I dare not complain. So anyway, I don't really have time to blog... Además, mi esposo estaba enfermo hoy (todavía está) pero sus clientes tontos no le dejaron en paz ni un minuto. Pobrecito.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fête Frets

I have to say that I’m really thinking about Marguerite’s birthday celebration this year. For the past two years we’d mainly focused on giving her a really fun day, useful and enjoyable presents and a modest class party in Sunday School. However, she has been to quite a number of childrens parties since then and I think she has developed expectations based on them. We could cater to that, tweaking things a bit so it’s not as assembly-line trendy, but my main concern really is that I’d just have given birth at that time, probably no more than two weeks. I expect to be really out of it from childbirth and the ensuing brand spanking new baby in the house experience. Even delaying celebration another two weeks to make it a month and maybe even make it a double celebration with the baby’s dedication wouldn’t be enough. And the fact really is that I find it hard to be enthusiastic about parties with, you know, crowds (you should ask me how I define crowds - there’s a good chance I’ll say, “20 people”), lol. I’m really more about intimate gatherings. For kiddie parties, I prefer just a handful of Marguerite’s friends, providing them with food and fun activities… I should just stop talking about this. I really don’t know what my point is.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dirt Bikes and White Gloves

This is a picture Mark took with his phone some time ago. The fishing thing is something we agree on. I haven't gone fishing in years (the last time was in Spain and shush, I didn't have a license, but some port regulars - we were right near the Grúa de la Piedra - specifically an elderly Argentinian man I called Tío Cacho and a 14-yr-old Spanish boy named Diego, let me have a turn with their fishing rods) but I do enjoy it. I'm pretty squeamish, but I don't mind live bait. We really ought to take Marguerite fishing sometime, but I have an idea that she'd prefer the plastic fishies in the inflatable pool. Anyway, Mark and I mostly agree on what we want for our daughter, but sometimes I get the idea that we have different ideas about how Marguerite would turn out. He's been talking about car racing, getting muddy doing rough road stuff, toting dirt bike gear, camping and backpacking, playing drums and guitar and being in a band -- while I'm mostly envisioning tea parties, bookshops, fabric crafts, piano lessons, etc. It would be awesome if Marguerite could do everything. At the end of the day, it's really up to her. We'll just support her whatever here real interests may turn out to be.

Still Thinking of September

I know I mentioned before that it would be cool to throw a luau birthday party for Marguerite (and she’s at the age when she’s already asking for a party). I could already picture the cute luau birthday invitations. However, our church music department had a Christmas luau, so it’s kind of “been there done that” now. Also, I chose to give birth to Marguerite when the monsoon season is at its craziest over her. And then, this year I’d probably have just given birth one to two weeks before Marguerite’s actual birthday. It would be insane around here then. Of course, I could do all the planning and prep before the baby gets here and just leave the execution to Mark, Chip and my mom… Oh the things that plague my mind now. Sometimes I still get amazed that I now think such grown-up, motherly thoughts. Anyway, speaking of the baby, I think I may have a name. I still have to suggest it to Mark, but I wouldn’t be revealing it here until, well, the baby comes out. The thing is, I might change my mind at the last minute, so I’d better not say. Anyway, Mark has to like it too. Right now, it seems pretty perfect to me. It’s kind of like Marguerite - not that common, but not that far out, something from nature, kinda biblical (since, you know, it’s a variation of Margaret), sounds well with Goze… Anyway…

Cootie Catchers, Not the Paper Kind

I mentioned before that I had a recent infestation on my hands. That's right. Marguerite went to day camp and came home with an itchy head. I thought at first it was just nits, but to my horror I found some lice too. Cooties terrify me, but I had to get those things out. I bought a nit comb and started the massacre. I placed my harvest on strips of tape so that they wouldn't end up going back onto people's heads. It was a mild case, but that was bad enough for me, so I started searching for remedies. Mark wanted to use those treatment shampoos, but I didn't want harsh chemicals on my daughter's head, so I googled a natural and safe alternative and found out about Oilganics.

I was all set to buy some when I decided to google home remedies instead. I found a common method of eradicating the parasites (something akin to the gas chamber approach). You could use either olive oil, coconut oil (what I used), mayonnaise, or petroleum jelly. You're supposed to smear the scalp and hair with the thing and then cover the head with a shower cap for about two hours (longer if possible). Do several shampoos right after. The process is supposed to suffocate the disgusting creatures (both egg and critter). I'm not sure if it was really just such a mild case that it was that easy to solve, but I have to say I was really relentless. The enemy was completely vanquished in less than a week (right after the suffocation). Now, I kinda miss them. NOT! Now, I compulsively check Marguerite's head for signs of infestation after she plays with other kids (btw, her hair is always in tight French braids or twists now). I know it's obnoxious, but I'm not about to have a repeat of that episode. The shock, the panic... too much for me.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Shopping for Scrubs

I’m determined to have Mark right there with me when I give birth. Is this desire born out of vindictiveness or a genuine desire to share that special moment with him? Mostly, the latter, I think, but there’s also a part of me that wants to go, “See what I have to go through?” Anyway, my doctor is a little concerned that Mark may not be equal to the experience. They’ve had cases of husbands suddenly feeling faint from all the blood and gore and before they knew it, they had a second patient on their hands. I think Mark’s stomach can handle it. He could even really get into it and don scrubs for men. That could get confusing though. I can already hear somebody saying, “Who’s that incompetent nurse who keeps on getting in the way?”
It would be interesting to shop for scrubs anyway. Over at, they have some for kids. I’m sure Marguerite would be adorable in kiddie scrubs. It might even inspire her to be a doctor. Are there many homeschooled doctors out there?

Before I Start Buying Poker Chips

We recently got a free deck of cards from one of the fast food places we ate at. Naturally, Marguerite was fascinated by it. We started playing Memory with it, but later I thought I might as well teach her War (which is the most boring card game on the planet) and Old Maid. A few days later, I started teaching her Solitaire (but she knows to call it Patience with an affected British accent). I think that's it for now. We're not even supposed to play cards around here. I have a picture related to this, but it's in my phone and, well, good luck to me uploading that.

Baby Dreams and the Nesting Instinct

So far, I’ve had two dreams about the baby that I can remember. The second one I had just last night. I think I had them more often when I was pregnant with Marguerite. Anyway, the first dream, I was supposed to be sleeping with the baby beside me and then I sort of sat bolt upright remembering that I was solely using cloth diapers for this baby, even at nighttime. I checked and sure enough, the baby was wet, but not fussing at all. I still hurried to change him, but you know how it is in dreams, for some reason I couldn’t seem to get the job done. Last night’s was weirder. My mom and I were just supposed to be watching my belly twitch from all the baby’s movements inside and then suddenly these two little hands started reaching out. I thought it was like that picture of the tummy with the baby’s foot clearly outlined on it. I teasingly held out my index fingers and the little hands held on, like a born baby. And then suddenly the baby was out and I was panicking because he wasn’t even 7 months yet, even if he looked okay. Oh well, I suppose it just means I’m feeling the crunch. September will be here in no time. Got so much stuff to do. First, we have to fix this room up. Paint walls and Shutters, rearrange furniture, remove general clutter… I find I’m not yet equal to the task as of now. Still too lazy. No hurry though. I’ll be nesting soon enough.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Recital Night, Cars, and Baby Names

Hi! Between homeschooling and WAH gigs, I’m super busy at the moment. Nevertheless, I decided anyway to squeeze in some time for my neglected blog. Don’t count on anything thought-provoking though. I want to keep things light here since I’m doing mental acrobatics with all my writing assignments. It’s really more of just pics from Sunday night. It was our church’s annual recital. I didn’t emcee this year. Chip did, but I wrote the script. Mark sang the solo part of the finale number, btw. So pics!

In baby news, we’re in the process of looking for another vehicle. Right now we have a sedan, which is designed to seat 4, but can squeeze in 5 (3 of whom are prepared to be uncomfortable at the back) without the car seat. When the baby comes, it means he stays in the back with Marguerite, who’s still too little to sit in front, and I will get a crick in my neck with all the straining and craning I’ll have to do sitting in the front passenger seat. That’s why we think we should get a vehicle with three rows. We’re not that particular. It’s not like we want a new BMW, but Mark is determined not to drive a station wagon or a minivan. He’s looking at big 4WD things. Then again, we might just stick to our car. Who knows? Speaking of the baby, we don’t have a name yet. Marguerite likes Diego, but we’re brainwashing her into choosing something else. For starters, Diego already belongs to a problematic uncle of mine… and the name is really very popular in the Philippines.