Consciously

When I was still a kid, one Sunday School lesson from church that stuck to my mind was about the word CHRISTMAS. The Pastor told us that “Christmas” was coined because it represents the birth of Jesus Christ. And it is sad that some people, who are always out to find short cuts in life, tend to cross out Christ in Christmas to make things easier. Thus the word XMAS came to be.

Now that I am grown up, I haven’t forgotten that simple yet powerful lesson. Indeed, why should we write Christmas as Xmas? To make writing the word easier? To help kids spell the word without any difficulties? I personally find that sad.

In this era of text messages using cellular phones, I inwardly cringe when I see Christmas greetings using the word Xmas. I am not judging you guys, mind you. And I am definitely not lecturing, nor trying to be pious. I am also a person with her own accepted foibles. It’s just that, I want to make others realize the significance of consciously putting Christ in Christmas. Yes it’s just a word, and yes it won’t probably make any great difference in the world’s overall situation. But wouldn’t it be great to have that feeling of utmost and deepest respect to the One who’s the “reason for the season” ... knowing that in the future, we’ll still be seeing the word Christmas during the Holidays? I fear that future generations will be too used to the spelling of Xmas that Christ might disappear in the celebrations. Now that would be scary.

Some of you might see this piece as something worthless. Maybe. But it’s what I stand for and what I believe in. Humor me and let me get this off my chest.

Enough of the musings ... let me just wish you all a very Happy Christmas and may you and your families have a Wonderful New Year ahead.

God bless!


Volunteers Needed

In case you'd like to share a little of your time through volunteer work, World Vision Philippines is still in need of volunteers for the next two weeks in the repacking of relief goods for the typhoon victims in Quezon province. They are very much lacking in manpower due to the huge volume of relief goods they are receiving.

Their office is open 24 hours. Please call 372-7777 if you need more information or visit www.worldvision.org.ph. World Vision is located in Quezon Avenue, just a little distance after the "kanto" of Roosevelt. Right side if you're coming from EDSA.

Thank you so much! Your help is greatly appreciated!


Late

It was only yesterday that I was able to put up the Christmas tree and lights in the living room. I wasn’t yet feeling very Christmassy the past couple of weeks, being swamped with work and having had not much time thinking about decorations.

To psyche myself and get me in the mood for decorating, I decided to buy a new set of decors and change the theme color of our Christmas tree, which for several years now, were the same old gold-colored balls and knickknacks my mom bought a long time ago. I went to the department store and decided on royal blue when my eyes fell upon cute silver ribbons decorated with blue stars and strands of blue string. Good thing there were tiny silver bells too with blue accents and royal blue balls of sizes just right for our Christmas tree. Of course I added a pack of Christmas lights with blue bulbs in the shopping cart.

So I went home, armed with my very first set of Christmas knickknacks. I haven’t felt the inclination to buy any these past years since my husband and I still can’t afford to have a house of our own. But the thought of accumulating different themed sets of different colored decors for variety every December cheered me up. By the time we get to have our dream house built, I just might have a complete selection of decorations.

Daniel helped me attach each piece on the tree. When we finished, he stepped a little way back and surveyed our handiwork. With fingers on his chin, my six-year-old gave his verdict “Beautiful!” Even my husband commented “Wow, great job mom!” when he came in after walking the dog outside. It’s always nice to receive complements of something you worked hard on.

Hmmm, now I’m thinking ... red would be a good color scheme for next year ...


Getting Silly Over Barbie

So sue me! This thirty-something mom is planning (not yet sure but getting there) to give herself for Christmas ... dyaran! ... Barbie dolls Ericka and Annelisse from the movie The Princess and the Pauper. Shhh! Don’t tell my husband just yet or he’ll tease me until way past the New Year. I’d rather the jokes come after the Christmas gifts are unwrapped.

Ok, ok, it may seem that I’m losing my marbles but hey, cut me some slack. I grew up having only one, and I mean ONE, simple doll. We weren’t well-off enough for me or my sister to demand Barbie dolls from our parents, who were mind you, already working hard to provide us the quality education they wanted us to have, which we did.

But I dreamed then that one day, I’ll be able to buy myself that coveted toy once I have my own money to spend. However, the years went by and other more important priorities had to come first place. I thought I have already relinquished that girlish dream.

Then came this movie ... the Princess and the Pauper ... that had such beautiful songs with wonderful melodies and heartfelt meanings. When I happened to see the ad in Cartoon Network (nope, not me but my sons who were watching) the other day, about the two dolls who can “sing” songs from the movie, my brain started ticking. I think if I am to indulge myself of a childhood fantasy just once, this would be it. (If you’re wondering why I don’t just buy them for my daughter, let me tell you, I don’t have one *sniff*. How tragic eh? But I’m having lots of fun with my four sons notwithstanding.)

So tell me I’m silly and I’ll agree with you. But right now, I feel that having the ability (and willingness) to be childlike sometimes make us adults better able to relate with our kids on their level. Hmmm. Just thinking aloud.

Nevertheless, I still feel a little daft just thinking about this. And if you feel I need a good whack on the frontal lobe, (to borrow my friend Monique’s favorite expression) ... spank me! :D


Song In My Head

I saw a Kenny Loggins album last week which has a cut of the song Return to Pooh Corner. I have been intrigued with that song since I saw KL in an interview before about how he’s compiled songs and made it an album for his son, sort of like lullaby music.

So I bought a copy and listened. Uh-oh the mommy antenna went up and my first thought was “My kids are gonna love this!” All my boys are avid Winnie the Pooh fans. They love watching and reading stories about the silly old bear and his friends.

The other night, I surfed the net for the lyrics of the song and printed it out. The next day, I called my six-year-old Daniel and showed him the lyric sheet. “Pooh?” he asked. “Yup, this is a song written by this man (showing him the CD cover) for his son so he can sleep at night,” I replied.

When I played the CD, I traced the words with my forefinger while singing along. Daniel’s eyes widened in delight. He loves music so much and I guess the melody also touched his heart as it did mine. In no time at all, he was earnestly trying to catch up on all the printed words while singing along. He’s an expert now when it comes to the chorus hahaha.

That night, I think we played Return to Pooh Corner more than a couple of dozen times until Daniel fell asleep. He’d want me to skip everything else on the CD and just play the song over and over.

And now I’ve got a song in my head, which fortunately is very pleasant and soothing to the senses. So I don’t mind if I suddenly find myself humming while in the middle of writing something on the computer. And it goes like this ...

So help me if you can I got to get
Back to the House of Pooh Corner by one
You’d be surprised there’s so much to be done
Count all the bees in the hive
Chase all the clouds from the sky
Back to the days of Christopher Robin and Pooh ...




Most of us must have already decided about what to give our kids, nieces, nephews and godchildren for Christmas. How fortunate these children are, having people who care so much that they are sure to receive not just one or two gifts but lots.

But can we stop for a moment and think of the thousands of poor children in our country? Kids whose only wish for Christmas may be perhaps three complete meals just for that special day, or to be able to hold even a tiny doll or toy car in their hopeful little hands.

Help change a poor child and his family’s lives now! Give the Gift of Hope and sponsor a child today!

For only P450 a month or P15 a day, you can already send a poor child to school, provide him/her with basic necessities and health care; help him/her develop good values, and assist his/her family and community put up livelihood projects that will eventually help improve their way of life. This is made possible by pooling your monthly child sponsorship donation with those of other child sponsors.

World Vision has been helping poor Filipino children since 1957. Over 200,000 kids have already benefited from World Vision’s child sponsorship program. Currently, more than 88,000 poor children nationwide are under World Vision’s care.

Please join the vision of sending every poor child to school by sponsoring at least one child now. YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO CHANGE THE WORLD, BUT YOU CAN CHANGE THE WORLD OF ONE CHILD.

Visit the World Vision booth in Glorietta now. They will be there until the end of December. Inquiries on how to sponsor a child are welcome at 372-7777 or contact Mr. David Liban Jr. at 0927-5612704. You can also visit their website at www.worldvision.org.ph

On a personal note, may I share with you that my husband and I decided to sponsor a six-year-old girl last year (the same age as our James who is a special child but is not able to go to school due to his disability) and we are sure glad we did. I am blessed by how much Rutchie (that’s her name, close to mine) has grown from the first picture I saw of her last year to the annual report sent to us lately. We correspond through letters (coursed through WV) although her mom is the one who’s writing for her as Rutchie is still young and can’t write long letters yet. She was an honor student in her preschool class last March and how that made us so proud of her! Nowadays, when I’m buying stuff for my four boys, I would also be thinking of her and wonder what she’d like to have. We have sent her simple gifts already and she wrote back how much she loved them. That sure warmed up this surrogate mommy’s heart :) 

Thank you for reading this far. I pray that God will touch your heart today.




The Bill Porter Story

I did it! After several tries (and soul searching if I really deserve to be more tech-savvy hahaha) I finally figured out how to download HBO’s program line-ups for the month on my PDA. Okay, okay, you might be thinking “That’s too easy! Anyone dumb can do that.” But for this mom who didn’t see the light of the internet until I already had four kids, that’s a cool feat!

Last night, I stayed up until three o’ clock this morning until I finally discovered how AvantGo works for my Palm Pilot (rather my brother’s since he just let me use it while he’s not too busy with skeds :P).

Well, this afternoon I was so thankful that I did have the HBO schedules. Too bad, only one network is allowed for the free AvantGo accounts, I would have downloaded Cinemax’s too! Anyway, I saw that a new movie is coming up at 4:45pm so I thought of waiting and see what the movie “Door to Door” is all about.

And man, I’m glad I did. The preview said it’s a true story of a man with cerebral palsy who became a salesman despite the odds. Since that condition is close to my heart (my son James has CP) I overrode all protests from my other kids (who wanted to watch Cartoon Network – again) and requested that I be given a chance to hog the TV too just for an hour or two.

What an inspiring story! Made me pray harder that James can at least attain that kind of mobility (walking, talking etc.) someday. *sigh*

William Macy, the actor who played Bill Porter and whom I’ve seen to play antagonist roles on TV before would never be the same before my eyes. He has played the part so well that he has my deepest admiration.

My other sons, who had no choice but to watch with me or do their own thing outside my bedroom, stayed. They got engrossed too in the story that they started asking me lots of questions (that distracted me so much I’m gonna repeat watching the movie when it’s shown again on Wednesday next week) like “What happened to his mom?”, “Will James be a salesman too when he grows up?” “Why are they fighting?” “What happened? I didn’t get that.” The innocence of kids!

Oh and did I mention I cried buckets while watching? But I was surreptitiously wiping the falling tears or else I’d be made fun of by my mischievous kids again. After the credits have finished rolling, I stood up and got a tissue from the top of the dresser. Joshua also got a piece of tissue and blew his nose. Which made me look at him in wonder. He was sniffing! To which he answered my unspoken question “I think I’m getting a cold.” Hahaha, proud little man. Then he said, “Mom, when you go online later, can we visit www.billporter.com? That’s what it says in the movie right? So I promised “Sure son, later.”

Now that I’ve been to the website, I’ll be saving the URL on my favorites link so Josh can access it tomorrow when he’s awake. I hope that my sons, young as they are, also came away from that movie with the inspiration, joy and hope that I felt after watching it.



Frustrated

I don’t know what it is about me and rainbows but darn, this penchant of mine about rainbows have extended to fascination with two songs about them, which unfortunately, I can’t find the lyrics to!

I’ve been searching the net for sooo long now that I’m almost ready to give up. So please if you have complete lyrics of the following songs, do email them to me, please, please, please.

Here they are: Rainbow’s End by Sergio Mendes and If I Could Reach Rainbows by David Benoit (yes, it's no longer instrumental). If you haven’t heard those before, and you’re a hopeless romantic like I am, I’m pretty sure you’ll love the melodies of those two.

Thanks!


We bought a DVD of Peter Pan the movie. I like that version although I was a little disappointed at how they portrayed mermaids as dark creatures. But everything else was great. The way Peter Pan, Tinker Bell and the kids were flying … so fluid, so smooth! The cast of characters were well chosen, in my opinion at least. And the chant “I do believe in fairies!” brought me back to my childhood for a while … to recollections of the times when I too, was fascinated with those mystical creatures I only read in storybooks.

photo borrowed from imdb.com
But the thing that moved me the most was when the credits started rolling. I first saw “Produced by Muhammad Al Fayed” which was followed by “In Memory of Dodi Al Fayed.” As if I knew them personally huh. From I what heard in the news, the young Al Fayed didn’t live like a saint when he was alive (if you’re still clueless, he was Princess Diana’s lover who died with her in the car crash). I’m not really sure why, but the sweet gesture of the father dedicating something to his son struck a chord inside my heart.

photo borrowed from people.com
It made me more thankful that right now, I still have my whole family here with me. All my four sons are doing fine and my husband is as strong as ever. I just wish we could stay intact for as long as possible.

What I saw brought home the reality that no matter how rich and powerful you are, the moment that fate has decided to take a loved one from your life, you are as powerless as the next human being. So let’s all take a moment to thank God for every new day that life brings complete with all the people we love by our side.




Funny, funny movie

Yesterday, my husband and I were able to watch a movie together after such a long, long time. Imagine, the last one we've been to was Evolution! Gosh I can't even remember if it was two or three (?) years ago already. And that was with the whole clan. An outing of sorts with all the kids (ours and nephews included) in tow plus my sisters-in-law. We weren't able to go out together much since one of us always had to stay at home with our special child James. Good thing we have a reliable nanny now whom I can trust to look after James for a few hours.

Finally we got to go on an impromtu date! I interviewed a resource person in Manila for an article I'm doing and he texted me if I'd like to go to a movie. Of course I said yes. I told him as long as it's not a scary flick, I'm fine with a comedy or romantic one. He suggested White Chicks.

Hah, how hilarious can those Wayan brothers be? I've never laughed that loud for quite sometime now and it was a good feeling. I forgot my worries over deadlines and assignments for a few hours. Sooo nice.

I particularly enjoyed digging my elbows in my husband's ribs during the scene when Marcus gets falling asleep while his wife was talking. "Daddy, that is so you! Men!"

The movie made me smile in a lot of ways and I'm thankful we got the time to be together. By the time I had to go home to Laguna, and he to Alabang (he goes home on weekends only due to the demands of work, *sigh*), I was missing him already even before I got on the bus headed to the province.

My friend Inez delightedly said "Wow, after 11 years of marriage, the romance is still there!" when I chatted with her this afternoon. And I have to wholeheartedly agree.


TV Time Galore

Until about a year and a half ago, our little almost unknown town here in Laguna has been untouched with the technology of cable television. Last year, we were offered subscription and we declined since there were only a few good channels available. For P250, I felt it wasteful to spend on a cable connection without even HBO or the Discovery Channel on it.

Until about a month ago, my brother, who only comes home every two weeks, decided we should finally subscribe since he always gets frustrated not being able to watch the F1 races when he’s here. He offered to shoulder the monthly payments of P300 (they increased it already!) while the installation fee fell on me. Practical person that I am, I was convinced that the DVD player is still sufficient.

Until two days ago, I was still undecided (still no Nick, Disney nor Discovery channel in the line-up!) when my hubby took the decision out of my hands. He said go ahead and he’ll pay the installation fee.

This afternoon, the cable guys came and bore holes in the ceiling so the long cables can travel from the post outside. Okay, I have to admit it was a good decision, judging by the way the kids stayed glued on Cartoon Network right after the TV was turned on. They only got to watch cable channels whenever we’re in my inlaws' or sister's houses in Manila so I guess it’s a real treat for them being able to see new episodes of some of their favorite shows without watching them on CDs over and over again.

As I am still a practical and thrifty mom, I can't help but think ... now I only have to worry when the electric bill comes ...


Having a Break

My two older kids are on semestral break for one week. They've asked to spend the time with my in laws and their cousin in Manila. So now I've had three days already of peace and quiet... and I'm beginning to miss the noise.

It's different having them here, always getting in my hair with all the wrestling matches they do with their littlest brother and the bickerings over who's gonna watch his favorite show on TV at the moment. And yet, I miss them ... the apologetic embraces when they want to say sorry, the way they would watch James for me when I need to take a long bath, the way they say "Mommy love!" when they want a quick hug.

So now I'm longing for my boys and good thing they'll be home again in two days' time. By then, I would have had the rest I was so craving for the past two weeks or so after being swamped with my article deadlines.

But ask me now, and I'd gladly say I would prefer the noise that my kids make than this too quiet moment. Oh ok, reality check ... I should be thankful for this respite ... 'coz by the weekend, surely my life will be returning to normal.



A Different Kind of Crazy



My kids are into Garfield nowadays. After they watched the blasted movie with their cousins, they found the lazy, fat cat's antics funny. I didn't. Recently, we got a CD of the film (don't ask where we got it) and the mania started all over again.

I had to chaperone them when they watched the movie two months ago and though there were some funny scenes admittedly, the message of friendship the film was touting felt a little lame. At least that's how I see it. And now the "reruns" are being shown everyday. They like watching it so much. Argh!

I find Garfield selfish and odious. He reminds me of someone I didn't particularly like in the past. Oh well, to be irritated by a cat (and an unreal one at that!) is a waste of time so I'm gonna shut up now :P


Movies

I seldom go to movie houses. Aside from having not much time to indulge in such outings, I prefer waiting for the released VCD/DVD versions so I can watch in the comfort of my home ... it’s inexpensive, no exorbitant fees to pay, with an endless supply of popcorn and drinks. That’s what I like!

Yesterday, as I was traveling on a bus on the way to Manila, the movie that was playing on-board was Ice Age. I love kiddie movies and haven’t had a chance to watch this one yet. So there I was, sitting contentedly (though wishing for some popcorn to munch on), watching the story unfold and whiling away the time otherwise spent in boredom during other two-hour rides without a TV to grab my attention.

Shucks I had to brush away a tear (I’m such a ninny for happy endings!) during the part where the baby had to say goodbye to his animal friends. So touching, so heart-breaking.

On the way back, I happened to ride on another bus with a TV. So I was able to watch Van Helsing for the first time too! Hmmm, the special effects were impressive. I don’t normally watch films like those but what choice do I have on a moving bus with nowhere else to go but sit? So I tried enjoying the movie. And surprisingly, I did!

Hmmm, It’s just now that I realize how much those TV sets inside buses entertain passengers during long trips. And I must admit that whoever thought of that in the first place, was a genius.



Nickelodeon's Get Up, Get Out and Go Play!

Last Saturday was indeed a day of fun. I brought Josh and Daniel to The Fort where the World Day of Play was held. The kids had fun with the games. They tried out the Velcro-like suit where they got plastered on the wall. I can’t wait to have my film developed so I can post one shot here. It was so funny coz Daniel got stuck sideways while Josh was grinning ear to ear beside him.

We also fell in line (for almost 2 hours!) just so they’d be able to try the trampoline thingy with the stretching ropes where you bounce up high into the air. Too bad, Daniel got scared after two bounces and asked to quit. And good thing the long wait wasn’t wasted when Josh got in the harness and jumped to his heart’s content.

They were given free shirts with the WDoP logo. I discouraged them from trying out the slimy slides and kiddie pools though where there was green goo all over. I was afraid they might catch cold getting so wet and the weather not being as sunny as expected since it rained a little on and off the whole afternoon.

I took lots of pictures so they’ll have souvenirs of a memorable day. It was nice to see them happily enjoying childhood without the problems that we adults face most days. They will have enough of those when they grow up. At least, happy memories such as these cannot be taken away from them. And by then I hope they’d think that I gave them as much opportunities as possible to be just kids while they were still young.


Friendster Works!

Okay, so I'm now a believer. When I signed up at Friendster (I forgot how many months ago that was) I was doubtful if I would be able to really find and reconnect with old friends I've lost contact with.

When two former dormmates in college sent me messages and added me to their list of friends a couple of months ago, I was happily surprised. Last week, it was with joy when one of my best buddies in fifth grade "found" me through Friendster too!

So now I got to exchange mails with them again. And my life got richer ...


Oh My, Oh My, Am I Excited or What?!

Yahooo! At last! At long last! Robert Downey Jr. is soon to launch his debut album. Finally, after all these years of waiting (read: members of the RDJ mailing list, The Last Party, have been wishing for this to happen for so long) we will have a compilation of his songs! Excuse my exuberance (oops did I hit you with the cartwheel?) but I really love this guy’s voice. He’s also a talented composer if you don’t know yet. Just listen to the instrumental called Snakes in Downey Unlimited, go to the music page or just click on the background music link on the home page and you’ll know what I mean.

Hey fellow fans, here are the links about this great news:










Now this is a happy day! Can’t wait for that solo recording to come out. I do hope it’ll be the success we RDJ fans have been dreaming of.

Good luck Robert! And don't mind those sour-graping critics who don't even know one end of the musical scale from the other. Hmp!




Interesting …

I was assigned an article about Internet Advertising a week ago. As I was browsing the net for commonly used terms, I searched for the correct meaning of spam. Guess where my search led me … correct! The Hormel website.

I found this paragraph funny but a little sad too:

“We coined this term [SPAM] in 1937 and it has become a famous trademark. Thus, we don't appreciate it when someone else tries to make money on the goodwill that we created in our trademark or product image, or takes away from the unique and distinctive nature of our famous trademark SPAM. Let's face it. Today's teens and young adults are more computer savvy than ever, and the next generations will be even more so. Children will be exposed to the slang term "spam" to describe UCE [unsolicited commercial email] well before being exposed to our famous product SPAM. Ultimately, we are trying to avoid the day when the consuming public asks, "Why would Hormel Foods name its product after junk e-mail?"

Read the whole article here.


Bored or Too Busy? Either Way ...

Whenever I'm in toxic mode, having to write several article drafts all at once and needing to beat simultaneous deadlines, I try to take a break once in a while and breathe ... it helps if I play a game or two just to clear my mind of all the words dancing inside my brain. Come take a breather, enjoy these games, puzzles and escape rooms:

The Crimson Room [I was able to get out of this one!]

Mystery of Time and Space (MOTAS) [Drat, I always get stuck in the third room! Any clues out there? Anybody?]

The Da Vinci Code Game [Didn't have the patience to see this through since I haven't read the book yet, but hey, I'm putting it here for you guys who have :)]

Orisinal Games [A motley selection of "childish" games which I still enjoy playing once in a while. The game Pocketful of Stars is my favorite because I love the serenity the background music gives me. I also find the sight of a little girl in her nightgown trying to catch stars, cute.]

Extreme Game [I won here and guess what the prize is! Play the game and find out!]

Ok that's it, I'm going back to my articles. *Sniff*






Seven and Counting ...

Oooh so tired but happy! Yesterday, we celebrated James’ 7th birthday. Just family. My in-laws came from Manila and we spent the day simply exchanging stories. I cooked several dishes for lunch and spaghetti in the afternoon. My sister-in-law brought a bagful of tortillas with yummy salsa and mom-in-law prepared chicken for barbequing. They also brought a big bowlful of macaroni salad and several kinds of fruits. While hubby roasted the chicken outside, the kids and their cousin played most of the day away. James was happy enough to watch and smile.

We are just thankful to the Lord that although James still has physical and mental challenges to conquer, he gives us so much joy just by being here with us. If you want to know more about him, our special child, perhaps you’d like to visit my other blog and see the article Very Special Indeed! where I wrote something about him last year on his 6th birthday.

Let’s all focus on thanking God for the blessings we have in our lives instead of being consumed with annoying things that will surely pass. And that reminder goes for me too.


TAR in the Philippines

I guess most Filipinos (who are aware of the show) were eagerly awaiting yesterday’s episode of The Amazing Race coz the next pit stop is the Philippines. Even my Filipino friends from other countries said they’re excited to see their homeland through TAR.

I felt a twinge of disappointment when Nikki said “I don’t know anything about the Philippines!” For those of you who saw it and missed out on some things, let me share with you some info about my country:

-- The “ox” the contestants used for plowing the field is called a carabao or “kalabaw” in our native language. It’s a very strong animal indispensable to most farmers.

-- The jeepney they placed trimmings on is one of the forms of public transportation here.

-- The Coconut Palace where the pit stop is, is made almost entirely by materials from the coconut tree. It is an extravagant structure made during the reign of former President Ferdinand Marcos, which they spent so much money on while most of the rest of the country languished in poverty.

-- The girl dressed in the Philippines’ national costume who welcomed the contestants is no other than Luli Arroyo, daughter of the current President, Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

So there, at least you now have some idea about the Philippines.


Finally! ....

...I got the comment tags now under each post. Don't ask me how it got there though coz I have no idea. After a few weeks of trying to get the comments to appear, I finally gave up and emailed Blogger support. Someone (thank you Kimmy!) emailed me back and said she added some codes necessary to make the comments work. Much as I tried to read and understand the help section about the dang thing, my brain can't seem to absorb all the complex details (see, I really am a techie ignoramus!).

It would be interesting to find out what you visitors really think about my posts. Do feel free to click comments and enter a message there. Thanks!


Awesome!

Wheee, I'm finally getting the hang of this photo insert thingy. Ugh, I'm such a techie ignoramus. Imagine being in blogger for a year and a half already and it's only now that I got to show off (indulge this affliction that all moms have)the photos of my wonderful kids!

I got myself a Zeitgeist (whatever the origin of this word is, the real thing is great!) today which made me very happy. Happy viewing!




Testing ...

I signed up at flickr.com yesterday. I was having a difficult time discovering how to use photos for my blogs coz I don't understand much of the html schmoolah of using source from a folder I'm supposed to have in my computer. See? Just trying to explain it makes it more complicated!

Anyway, when I found out that flickr makes it easier to upload pictures in blogs, I signed up. Now, I'll try to do my very first photo upload (Exclude the Robert Downey Jr one. The html code came from Downey Unlimited and it was fairly easy to add to my template.) and see if it works.

Would like to share with you a shot I took of Daniel a couple of years back when he got a black eye after falling down while running. I love this picture -- with his pensive expression, adorable cheeks and the brilliant colors that came out in print. One of the best pictures I've taken with my Rolleiflex SLR camera. Enjoy!



Bear With Me

I’d like to invite you to view my kids’ “drawings” using Windows Paint. I have converted the bitmap files into gifs and uploaded them to a photo blog website. Please do visit Creative Kids when you have time and kindly leave a comment or two. I’m planning to surprise the kiddos with the website once I’ve uploaded all their current projects. Too bad we lost a lot of their works when my hard disk crashed a month ago. That’s why I’ve decided to “keep” their new creations in the web where they are likely to stay for a long, long time.

Please indulge a mother’s wish to show the world how proud of her children she is. Thanks so much!


What’s with Dora?

Two weeks ago, as I was reading a Dora the Explorer book to Daniel in Powerbooks Megamall, a little girl who’s about three plunked down beside us and animatedly joined in the storytelling. I was amused at the way the little tot would excitedly insert lisping comments like “Twyfer no twifing! (Swiper, no swiping!)” It was so sweet that after we finished, she said goodbye with “Thank you for the stowee!” How nice to feel appreciated!

It’s amazing how my kids (ages 5, 6, 9 and 10), and so many others I know, are so crazy about Dora. The CDs I bought several days ago are already scratched from constant use. Perhaps having brown skin like Dora, makes it easier for Filipino kids to identify with her (well, it’s another matter when it comes to Spongebob :P). I was pleasantly surprised yesterday to find Daniel counting his fingers in Spanish!

It’s a very nice, interactive show that lets kids participate. The songs hmmm, sometimes sound out of tune and yet kids love singing them. They are very easy to follow with simple lyrics that are easily remembered. Another great kiddie show that teaches good values, stimulates children’s minds and keeps kids out of Mommy’s hair for an hour or two :)



The Philosophy of Charles Schulz

I like this forwarded email. It says a lot about our world today. That of putting so much weight on what others might think of our actions, no matter if those people know us (or even care about us!) or not. I have learned these past years that whatever I do in whichever way, what's important is that I am understood and still loved by the people who matter the most to me -- my family and friends. Forget the bystanders!

Just for fun, my answers in italics ....

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schulz, the creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip.

You don't have to actually answer the questions. Just read this straight through, and you'll get the point.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world. (George W. Bush? Michael Jackson? hahaha! whoever, whatever ... )
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners. (Duh, say what?)
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest. (Who cares to know?)
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize. (Sorry, not my forte.)
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winner for best actor and actress. (Spare me the headache.)
6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners. (.....zzzzzzz.....)

How did you do? (Badly! :D)

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school. (Prof. Ivy Contado-Ongkiko, Prof. Sandy Flor, Mrs. Asuncion, Ms. Medelyn Ruth Negre, Ms. Cora Bullecer)
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time. (Jeff, Bon, Niet)
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile. (Nanay, Tatay, Pastor Caloy, Tita Arlyn, Kuya Ver)
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special. (Ate Beth, PJ, Inez, my star circle friends, my high school and college barkada, Daddy Pepe, Ate Tweet)
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with. (Geffrey, Leland, Josh, James and Daniel)
6. Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you. (fellow parents who unselfishly shared their trials and triumphs through the smartparenting egroup -- unsung heroes all)

Easier?

The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care. (True, true!)

- Charles Schulz


On pictures and cutouts

I like helping my preschooler Daniel with his assignments. He’s a very diligent child and seldom complains he’s tired even when there are more than five pages of answering to be done. He’s in Kinder 2 now.

Just this morning (his classes are in the afternoon), we tried finding pictures of animals that walk, run, climb, fly, crawl and swim. Last night he finished several pages in his English book so we left the Science assignment for today. I’m not exactly sure why, but I find it peaceful turning magazine pages one after the other to find what we were looking for. Daniel was flipping pages too and would now and then be distracted with things he sees. “Look Mommy, I saw Littlefoot!” he said when turned to an advertisement page for the Land Before Time video. “And there’s Bambi!” on a page about movie reviews. He looked so adorable sitting there, eyes shining with delight with every discovery he makes. Though it took us longer to find the photos that we wanted, watching my son having fun simply by looking at magazine pages is amazing. (My only regret is that we had to cut photos from National Geographic because the other magazines don’t have much pictures of animals. Oh well, for the sake of good grades …)

It is quite relaxing to do something that doesn’t require much effort. I like trimming the pictures so they’d fit in the squares provided for in Daniel’s textbook Kind of a pleasant break from my hectic researches and article writing. Then I’d put glue on the back of each cutout while Daniel tries to stick each picture on the proper spaces after he slowly read the heading. “F-l-y. Hmmm, the bird goes here …. S-w-i-m. I’ll put the fish here….” It doesn’t matter that some of the pictures were stuck at odd angles. That feeling of accomplishment and pride that he showed after he said “Mommy, finished!” was worth all the effort.

This morning I had enjoyed a great bonding moment with my son.



Subject: Women's problems

Got this email today. Made me smile. Enjoy!

I never looked at it this way before:
MENtal illness
MENstrual cramps
MENtal breakdown
MENopause
GUYnecologist
AND When we have REAL trouble, it's a HISterectomy

Ever notice how all of women's problems start with MEN?



Indulge me. I can’t seem to think of anything good to write about today. So let me just share my thoughts and feelings right now …

… I’m missing my husband coz he only gets to go home to us during weekends
… I’m excited of going to Manila tomorrow to get some of my magazine cheques since I’ll get to drop by hubby’s office and we can go out for dinner before I go home alone after
… I’m still ga-ga over the The Corrs’ new album Borrowed Heaven
… I’m almost finished reading The Heavenly Man by Paul Hattaway
… I’m winding down after a hectic day of being referee to three of my rambunctious kids who seem to enjoy making my headache worse by fighting over silly things
…I’m getting tired of training our half-breed Dalmatian dog, Panda, to poop in the garden. Every time I release her from her chain after she ate, she would go straight to the cemented part of the garage and poop there. Argh!
… I’m writing two articles for a magazine for public school teachers and enjoying it immensely
… I’m planning to download again those Robert Downey Jr. songs from the DU site so I can listen to them offline
… I feel I’ve gotten over my hard disk’s crash of last week and the subsequent loss of all my saved files.
… I have a cold since last week and I hate taking Decolgen (though I have to, to stop my runny nose) because it makes me groggy for the first three hours and makes me just wanna crawl in bed and sleep. If only I could, but I have to take care of James, my special child.
… I’m still thankful to the Lord for all the blessings He is showering upon us despite the little problems I’m getting myself worried about
… I’m getting sleepy so I better post this in blogger before I go off to dreamland




Forever Downey



Call me fanatical but I've always admired, no loved Robert Downey Jr's versatility.  Most people probably know him only as the actor who played Chaplin or that adorable guy named Peter Wright in Only You (my favorite movie by the way) or the lovable lawyer Larry Paul in Ally McBeal's Season 4.  But do you know that this guy also sings beautifully and even composes songs among his many other talents? Do visit my favorite RDJ site Downey Unlimited and know more about this guy who has been through hell and back and is now picking up the pieces of his life, wonderfully if I may say so.

Please don't fail to click the Music link on the home page and try to listen to his music. Hear samples of his throaty renditions of "Chances Are" with Vonda Shepard or "Ev'ry Breath You Take" with Sting. I love each and every one but my favorite of them all is "Snakes-the piano version". It's such a hauntingly beautiful melody that I have Real Player play it again and again as background music every time I'm using the computer. It relaxes and soothes the senses. Once you hear it, you'd probably wonder how deep the sensitivity of the composer's soul is to be able to conjure that kind of music. And I tell you, Robert is definitely such a guy.

Oh and if you suddenly find yourself among the multitude of his fans, welcome to the club! Do let me know if you do and I'd welcome you with open arms :)



As Good As It Gets
 
I’ve just watched the movie As Good As It Gets for the first time last night. If it hadn’t been shown on TV, I wouldn’t have had the chance to see it. Yup, me the mom who only gets to see the “in” movies when they’re already out on video or shown on TV.
 
If you haven’t seen it, do! I’m planning to rent it in Video City coz I know there must be a lot of scenes I missed which Studio 23 had to cut to save airtime.
 
And boy was it good! I never thought Greg Kinnear could act that well. I knew him before as the host of a funny videos show and didn’t expect him to shine in his role.  His facial expressions were priceless. Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt (as usual) were great! I think those three were cast perfectly in their roles. They performed with flying colors. Who would think Jack Nicholson could portray an obsessive-compulsive guy convincingly? Oh, and I loooove the dog! Gosh, such a cute bundle of fur. Wish I could have one like that. Oh well, guess I have to settle with our half-breed Dalmatian named Panda who’s adorable in her own right.
 
I like the story too. It has the pleasant twists and unexpected turns not commonly found in most movies these days. And not to forget the great dialogues! "You make me want to be a better man," gave me the shivers just like that line "You complete me," from Jerry McGuire. I really regret not seeing this in the big screen. No wonder the movie had so many nominations in the Academy Awards before. A thumbs-up flick for me!


Free Comics Workshop

My kids and I were at the Nautilus workshop last Saturday. My eldest loves to draw and even makes his own comic books from stapled pieces of bond paper so I thought they’d learn more about the craft through the seminar. Oh and they were so thrilled about the caricatures two of the artists made for them, we are planning to have them framed soon.

For comics enthusiasts who might be interested to join too:

NAUTILUS COMICS, publisher of the critically acclaimed comics anthology SIGLO: FREEDOM, has just released its new publication. It's a new monthly comic book entitled CAST, a coming-of-age story geared towards young readers.

In celebration of our recent successes, Nautilus Comics and its stable of creators will be conducting free comics creation workshops all over Metro Manila. Some of the most talented and acclaimed comics creators in the country will be on hand to share their knowledge in comics creation - from comics history and theory, to writing and illustrating, to publishing your own material. Creators include CARLO VERGARA (National Book Award for Zsazsa Zaturrnah), ARNOLD ARRE (award-winning creator of After Eden), GERRY ALANGUILAN (Wasted, Superman: Birthright), LAN MEDINA(Silver Surfer), Dean Alfar (5-time Palanca Award-winning writer), Nikki Alfar (The Lost, ab ovo), Jason Banico (Baylans), Marco Dimaano (Angel Ace), Andrew Drilon (Subwhere), Honoel Ibardolaza (two-time Palanca Award winner), Elbert Or (Two Color Truth Theatre), and Vin Simbulan (National Book Award winner for Isaw Atbp).

The first wave of workshops will be held on all Saturdays and Sundays of July, 1 - 4 pm.

July 03 - Powerbooks Greenbelt 4
July 04 - Seattle's Best Coffee Paseo de Roxas
July 10 - Powerbooks Greenbelt 4
July 11 - Seattle's Best Coffee Alabang Town Center
July 17 - Powerbooks SM Megamall
July 18 - Seattle's Best Coffee Harisson Plaza
July 24 - Powerbooks SM Megamall
July 25 - Seattle's Best Coffee Katipunan
July 31 - Powerbooks Alabang Town Center

In addition, pre-registrants get personalized caricatures from the artists for free! E-mail nautiluscomics@gmail.com for more details. If you'd also like us to conduct workshops in your schools or universities, via your student organization or school administration, don't hesitate to contact us via nautiluscomics@gmail.com or contact Marj thru 892-1191.



The Race is on!

Whooopee! The Amazing Race has finally started! I set my mobile phone’s reminder alarm for 9:30 yesterday morning so I’d be able to watch the premier. And watch I did.

What I love about that show is the diversity of people trying to outdo each other and doing their best for the million dollars (Who wouldn’t? For a million dollars? Come on!). I also enjoy “traveling” with them to different places which right now are only in my dreams to visit. Ah, how I wish they would accept contestants from other countries. I’d love to be join with my husband. I’m sure our more than a decade of marriage will be a great factor in sustaining us through the rigorous journeys.

And hey, I’m anticipating the last leg of the race since the 13th pit stop will be here in the Philippines! Too bad for the contestants though coz I’m pretty sure they’ll find the traffic in Manila awful.

I haven’t chosen who to root for yet but I’m keeping my eyes open for the two moms (a fellow mom surely relates to these women), the black couple (I feel their close bond) and the father and daughter team (I miss my dad so much).

Oh well, whoever wins, I’m sure they’ll be deserving of the prize. After all, with those difficulties they were all going through, they are all winners already in their own rights.



The Missing Tag Board

Uh-oh, my tag board’s gone kaput! It seems there was a huge problem at tag-board.com and they were talking about human errors that wiped out a lot of data. I’m giving it a few days more and see if they will be able to resolve the problem. Or else, I guess I have to start anew :( As Winnie the Pooh says "Oh bother!"


Happy, happy, happy me! I bought the newest Corrs album Borrowed Heaven two weeks ago and found it great! Of course I immediately surfed the internet for lyrics of the songs which made me understand them more.


I love all the songs but my favorites are Summer Sunshine, Angel (makes me think they made this song for their mom who passed away due to cancer) and Humdrum. I find the third one sooo funny. It’s reminiscent of their other hit I Never Really Loved You Anyway. Here’s the chorus:
I wanna take you for granted
Drift while you’re talking
Bathe while you’re downstairs
And chat on the phone

Fall asleep before bedtime
Pass in the hallway
Forget your birthday
And shrink all you clothes.
The other night, I was teasing my husband, “Beware when I start singing that song to you!” Being the lovable bear of a man he is, he said “You just try!” with a smile on his face. Ah, I’m glad I get to sing these kinds of songs just for fun :)




TAR is back!

Good news to fellow Amazing Race fans! I heard the show’s having a premier on July 7, tentatively at 9:30 am via satellite, Philippine time on Studio 23. Mark your calendars! Another adventure is about to begin.


Yahoo!

I was pleasantly surprised to open my yahoo mailbox and saw their notification email that they’re increasing storage space from 6 MB to 100MB! At last I won’t have to frantically erase messages too often.

Hmmm, what could be the reason they did that huh? I’ve just read a post from one of my egroups that it must be due to Yahoo being threatened by Gmail, the newest free email provider on the net. Whatever the reasons, I loved the results.


Changing Blog Settings

At last! I finally discovered how to change my archive settings. Ugh, I’m such a techie ignoramus. I wasn’t satisfied that the archives were shown as weekly when I wanted it to appear as monthly for easier browsing. I had to email Blogger Support to know that. Good thing they’re so helpful!

Now I have more space, I can finally add the links I’ve wanted to place here a long time ago.

Thanks Blogger Support! You’ve been a great help!



I like the result of my test ... holds true for me :)




you're american beauty. you're full of hope and appreciate the beautiful things in life.

take the which prettie movie are you? quiz, a product of the slinkstercool community.




Still on Survivor: Who did you vote for?

Aw shucks, I’m such a Survivor fanatic. I have logged on to the CBS website to vote for an all-star contestant who I thought deserved the bonus million dollars. Me who watches the show all the way from the Philippines!

Who did I choose? The lovable (???) oaf of a man who had made tie-dyed shirts a fad. What can I say? Rupert was hard-working and I loved seeing his reunion with his wife in one of the reward challenges. They seem like such a solid couple which clinched the vote for me.

Just thinking aloud ….

P.S. Oh hey, he won! Congratulations Rupert! I hope you use the money wisely.



Survivor: The Love Story

I’m such a sucker for happy endings. I have watched Survivor All-Stars these past weeks and though I hated the scheming and lying parts, I can’t help but feel joyously happy for Amber and Boston Rob. Whew, as I watched the finale show, my heart started beating fast when Rob interrupted Jeff to say he’s got something to say to Amber. I was anticipating a marriage proposal and yup! Rob produced a ring! How’s that for the ratings?!

I’m sure a lot of people didn’t expect that to happen, myself included. But isn’t it just so awesome to fall in love within 39 days? What’s more incredible is the fact that they’ve seen each other through good and bad times, not to mention being grubby and having just-woke-up-in-the-morning looks.

I wish them both all the happiness they can give each other. And let’s not forget the one million dollars that Amber won plus the brand new cars they now both have … wow, definitely a good way to start a marriage!


An Election Reminder

Fellow Filipinos, as we vote tomorrow, let us help in our own small ways by simply alphabetizing the names of our senatorial, provincial board and city council candidates before writing them down on the ballots. That way, we will be making it easier for the teachers to find the names without jumping from one end of the checklist to another.

Thank you! :)



Last Minute Appeal

I’ve just received a text this morning. “Please forward to all UP alumni. John Osmena must never become senator again! He cut by almost 50% of the state budget for UP! That’s why UP and PGH are now in poor condition.”

And I agree. I have read the essay UP President Dr. Francisco Nemenzo wrote about what Osmena did for the University of the Philippines. That John O. does not deserve to be re-elected again. Hmp!

Please don’t vote for him.


Who Will You Vote For?

Who me? I'm still one of the undecided ones. With all the information overload we see on TV, hear on the radio, read in the newspapers and even thru emails, it's getting harder and harder to decide. But I can say with pride that I love my country enough to think thoroughly whom to vote for. And my decision is getting clearer every day. I've received emails about the so called run-off system. That of voting for the most likely to win (according to surveys) and who is less evil and much less ignorant between the two top candidates. But is that wise? (Obviously my choices are not among the top two).

Then somebody sent me an email about an article written by Conrado de Quiros. Allow me to share it with you. Perhaps, it will also help you in deciding. Bottomline? As a Filipino, I'd like my vote to count, not for someone else but for me, my family and my kids' future.


LOSERS
by Conrado de Quiros

I CAUGHT parts of GMA Network's "Debate" TV program last week. Its topic was whether people should vote for another candidate if their own had little chance to win-at least, as determined by the surveys. I was astonished by some of the arguments there, made in particular by those who thought the answer to that question was yes. Whose candidates – Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Fernando Poe Jr. -- of course were enjoying good ratings in the surveys.

One of those, articulated by a Macapagal-Arroyo supporter, was that the voters owed it to their country to do so. If their candidates had no chance to win, he said, they must vote instead for the next best candidate, the one who was more likely to win. That was Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, he said. He quoted Manuel Quezon who said, "My loyalty to my party ends where my loyalty to my country begins." You could use "candidate" for "party," he said, and the same principle
holds. It was imperative, he said, that we give the next president a clear majority so that she could rule the country well.

Well, to begin with, if the fellow had done his homework, he would have known that it wasn't altogether altruism that drove Quezon to say what he did. Bolting his party was the only way Quezon could fight for bicameralism, which was also the only way he could get past the shadow of Sergio Osmeña Sr. So long as the legislature was unicameral, Osmeña would always be the recognized leader. But with a Senate and a House or Representatives, Quezon could become Senate president and challenge Osmeña's leadership from that position of power. Which he did, eventually becoming the new top dog.

In this country more than in any other, the devil himself may quote the Scripture to serve his purposes, the scoundrel herself may quote principle to mount perfidy. Quezon's remark has become the motto of every opportunist, ka "turncoat," in this country, of politicians who switch parties as easily as they do Italian shoes, chief of them Macapagal-Arroyo, who has pretty much traversed the entire alphabet switching from one party to another.

But the comment about voting for the "strong candidate" as an act of patriotism is idiotic. To begin with, the last time I looked the principle was still: "I vote for a candidate, he wins. I do not vote for a candidate, he loses." That principle is tacitly recognized by those who are trying to cajole the voters of other candidates to vote for theirs simply because they are strong. If they are strong, then they do not need the votes of the other voters. If they do need the votes of the other voters, then they are not strong, or as strong only as the other voters vote for them. However you slice it, that's
still the rule.

And one that applies exceptionally forcefully in these elections given, as one guest in the show rightly pointed out, the enormous number of undecided. That is the phenomenon in these elections: The closer we get to them, the more undecided the voters become -- the exact opposite of the trend in past elections as we've known them. If any candidate, including the so-called "weak" ones, can stage a last-ditch rally, he or she could still make it. The huge number of undecided also quite incidentally reflects an alarming public mood, one given to cynicism and despair. The point is to make the undecided decided, the despairing hopeful, the lost found. And the only reasonable proposition there is for them is to vote for the best rather than for the "strongest," the capable rather than the popular. For one who has experience turning things around from bad to good, as Raul Roco has done to the Department of Education, rather than from bad to worse as Macapagal-Arroyo has done to the country.

There is only one wasted vote to speak of. That is not the one you give to the candidate you think ought to win but doesn't. It is the one you give to the candidate you know shouldn't win and does -- because of you. You do not vote for a candidate simply so that she or he will win, you vote for a candidate so that the country will win. Voting for a candidate is not the end in itself, it is merely a means. You want a candidate to win because he or she is good for the country, not because she or he is good for herself or her friends.

You don't win because you end up on the side of the scoundrel who wins. Or who wastes your money to put up ads and billboards to win. You lose. The truly wasted vote was the one that went to Joseph Estrada in 1998, notwithstanding that he won. The truly wasted vote is the one that will go to Macapagal-Arroyo in 2004, whether she wins or not. That is a waste for the country. That is wasting the country.

It is neither patriotism nor pragmatism to vote for someone simply because she or he is leading, it is suicide. You only pragmatically screw yourself by making someone who has ample experience only in lying, cheating and stealing win, or continue to rule the country. You only show patriotism in the sense that lemmings show patriotism by throwing themselves off a cliff simply because every other lemming is doing so. I do not know why we want to become a country of
lemmings.

And finally, I've said it before and I say it again, when you vote you are not just voting for someone, you are voting for yourself. You are not just weighing a candidate's character, you are weighing your own. You are not just determining a candidate's merits, you are determining your own. Your vote doesn't just transform the country for good or ill, it transforms you for good or ill. You cannot vote for a candidate you know sucks just because she or he is strong
without damaging yourself, or your soul. What patriotism? You can't be true to yourself, you can't be true to your country. You can't be true to yourself, you can't be true to your flag.

You can't be true to yourself, you'll always be a loser.



Back to the Basics

Whew! I don't know how to write with a pen anymore!

With the high technology gadgets we have now, we often forget that there is still the trusty pen and paper to store our data with. Having had my mobile phone stolen last year and losing a lot of my contacts' phone numbers (silly me, always trusting the phone to store everything!), I found time last night to write down in a notebook my newly accumulated phone book entries from my new celphone. No more storing in the computer 'coz a crashed hard drive wouldn't be any use if ever, would it?

Halfway through the more than 200 names and numbers, I felt my hand resisting the urge to write. I got so tired quickly! Me, who can go on all night typing and typing my article drafts on the computer keyboard can't find the strength to use a pen for long. Man, that was a wake-up call for me!

And my handwriting! Ugh! Gone was the fine script I knew I could do so well before. It seemed like the scribbles on paper weren't even mine at all. Got to start practicing to write again.... on paper .... like my kids .... like when I was back in college ... like when my boyfriend (now husband) and I were still exchanging letters every few days or so .... like that!


Downey and that Volvo

Check out Volvo's new promotional film starring Robert Downey Jr. at Volvo's UK website and be amazed as I was at the surreal and fantastic story.

It is also a great treat for us RDJ fans, seeing him in another great project this year :) And yes, if you wanna know, I downloaded the film :D.


Fw: Letter to Loren Legarda from an Assumption batchmate

I received a forwarded email last month. I forgot all about it until I was cleaning out my yahoo account. I noticed that it hasn't taken the round yet with any of my egroups (I have several) so I guess most of you haven't read it yet. It's such a courageous piece. I admire the woman who wrote it, whoever she may be since I don't know her personally. I'd like to share it with you because I feel exactly the same way as the writer was feeling. (I hope that by this time, Loren Legarda had already read this too).

Dear Loren,

A couple of weeks ago, in a bus from Baguio to Manila, I overheard the conductor ask the driver, "Sino pare'ng iboboto mo, si Noli ba o si Loren?"

And the driver replied, "Ang ibig mong sabihin, yung tanga ba o yung traydor?"

At about the same time, I saw a newsclip showing you and FPJ, among others,dancing with some gaily costumed people.

I saw it for just a minute, maybe even less, but as I watched, the image of you - hands up in the air, face smiling so widely, body moving to a rhythm I couldn't hear - eerily reminded me of another dancing lady senator, only three years ago, looking just so in the august halls of the Philippine Senate-turned-Impeachment Court: Tessie Aquino-Oreta. You were there too. But if I remember right, you were weeping while she did her two-step, and I was weeping with you. Now, uncannily, you were the dancer, and I felt like weeping again.

When I read in the papers that you had left your party, I had goose bumps.

And I smelled something not unlike fish. Soon enough, I was reading about you being FPJ's vice presidential candidate. My heart sank.

If you care to know, my heart's been sinking a lot lately. I don't need to detail the issues confronting our country to you, of all people. Though I never really expected it would also sink on account of you.

I will be honest. I did not vote for you when you ran for Senator. When you won, I had my doubts. But I decided to give you the benefit of it. I knew you to be intelligent and hard-working, and I believed you would pour those qualities into your service to the nation. When you turned Senator-Judge, I put you on my prayer list. And up until the proceedings were overran by history, you made me so proud: of being an Assumptionista, of being a woman, of being a Filipino. Like you.

There was a recent get-together at Rina Lopez's home, which I missed, where some batchmates expressed their disappointment over your alignment with FPJ.

I heard that the long and the short of it is that you had made up your mind and that you believed in FPJ and in Tito Sotto. This should be when I ask the how-could-you question, but having heard also how you made it clear that it was okay for these disappointed batchmates to not support you as they belonged to a mere 1% of the electorate, I have frankly lost all appetite for what might be your answer.

Instead, I will withdraw from you the benefit of my doubts from almost six years ago. For I have doubts no longer.

You are, however, still on my prayer list. Additionally, I will pray that should the future prove me wrong and vindicate your choice, I may have the grace to apologize to you. But first, I will also pray that in the coming elections, for the sake of our nation, you and you running mate may both lose.

I have absolutely no expectation that this letter will affect history one iota, not national history anyway. But in my personal history, it will affirm that I spoke my piece, and my children might perhaps appreciate that.

I did not, in conscience, remain indifferent. You see, ako ay Pilipino, sa isip, sa salita at sa gawa. I always have been.

Sincerely, and very sadly,

Annie Panlilio Salvador








Somebody Stop Me!

Oh no! I’m getting hooked on a Yahoo game called Spelldown! After being enamored with Gamehouse’s Letter Linker and Super What Word, I’m now getting addicted to another word game. Oh well, at least I get to hone my vocabulary :)


I took the Blogging Personality Quiz at About Web logs and I am...

The Writer
Words captivate me. And, I like to capture words. Blogging enables me to write often. It also provides a place for me to share what I write with a reading public. I can be funny, inspiring, intelligent, cynical, or morbid. It doesn't matter what I write about in my blog. It only matters that I write.



Hmmm, I guess that's true....I love to write, I write what I feel like writing at the moment and I have found that some people even enjoy what I write. That is something....


Fact: There are so many poor Filipino children who want to go to school but can't. Majority of them are forced into child labor to augment their family's income. Still, what they earn is not enough to live on.

Right now, there are 6,000 Filipino children who need your compassion. They come from the poorest of the poor barangays all over the country. Would you kindly spare them your help?

Be part of World Vision Philippines' sponsorship program. Focusing on the child’s needs and partnering with the community, World Vision helps Filipinos find permanent solutions to poverty, through child sponsorship.

Child sponsorship works when a person pledges to give a monthly donation of P450 (or only P15 a day) to a child. The monthly sponsorship is used to ensure that his/her sponsored child will get formal education, value formation, safe drinking water and sufficient health services. Moreover, the community in which the family lives will be provided with livelihood projects.

Last year, SM Supermalls and Glorietta in Ayala Center gave WV free-rent space for one month each to hold the mall campaign child sponsorship project dubbed “Gift of Hope”. From the two-month campaign, they were able to invite and encourage 1,200 mallers to become child sponsors. At the moment 88,411 children are already under World Vision's care, but 6,000 more are still waiting to be sponsored.

As the school year comes to an end this March, the start of another in June is fast approaching. The 1,200 kids who were sponsored from the last campaign will now go to school. But there are still 6,000 waitlisted children, a number of which have already been waiting for several years now. It is really heartbreaking to think that some of these kids are getting older and older every year while waiting for that chance to get a sponsor.

Kindly visit the Gift of Hope Booths in these locations:

Robinson's Galleria (at the back of the fountain near the elevators) -- until March 31, 2004

The Enterprise Center in Makati -- bridal/debut/bar mitzvah fair -- March 25 and 26

Shangrila Plaza -- April 1-30

SM Megamall and SM City -- starting May 1

Thank you so much!




Be a child sponsor today!

World Vision Philippines is once more holding its Gift of Hope campaign, this time in Robinson's Galleria Mall. Their booth is near the fountain and they will be there until March 24th. Kindly visit them to know more about how you can help an underpriviledged child and his/her own family thru their child sponsorship program. Thank you! :)


The Oscars

Wow! I enjoyed watching the Academy Awards yesterday. The opening “movie trailer” starring Billy Crystal was soooo hilarious! My sons were guffawing as each scene from movies were played and Billy exchanged for a certain actor. We all laughed the loudest when we saw Billy looking like Gollum in a Lord of the Rings scene. I also loved the songs he sang about each nominated movie. Who wouldn’t laugh on that part about downloading the LOTR last night and it that took him so long coz the movie was, well -- long. He delivered the songs so well. Such a funny, funny man.

Sadly, I haven’t been able to watch ANY of the nominated films. Yes, even LOTR ROTK! My kids already saw it with my husband. I haven’t had time these past several years to go to movie houses often so I am always the last one to know the whole stories. I’m not much of a movie-buff anyway. I’m contented waiting for the release of CD copies.

Anyway, I looked at the stars with a little touch of envy as Angelina Jolie, Renee Zelweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Charlize Theron and Liv Tyler among others paraded on the screen looking oh so beautiful.

As to the nominees, I couldn’t even start to choose as I haven’t seen them in their roles. But I am now intrigued to see Monsters so I can see why Charlize bagged the Best Actress trophy. As for Sean Penn, the Oscar was a long time coming. I loved his acting in “I Am Sam” before and wished he’d get a trophy for that role but didn’t. Now, I’m sure more than ever that he deserved that statue he brought home.




Find!

My five-year-old son Daniel always has some chosen words for certain situations. Whenever he was asked if he liked doing a particular activity or eating something new, he will answer with a lisping “Yes!” in ascending pitch.

For the past two weeks now, I’ve noticed that whenever I issue orders such as “I said wear your slippers!” or “Please put that back if you’re not using it anymore,” his answers would consistently be “Ok! Ok! Ok!” fired in rapid succession in the same ascending pitch while muttering to himself as he goes to do what I asked him to.

The other day, as I was talking to my husband on my mobile phone, I answered “Ok, fine!” to a question he asked. Later that day, as I was telling Daniel for the nth time to change his shirt because it looked dirty already, he reluctantly left his toy on the floor and answered in irritation, “Ok! Ok! Find!”


Remembering Tatay

When I rode the Jeepney the other day, there was a father and his daughter sitting directly opposite me. I noticed how the girl was clutching at her daddy’s arm and the father holding one of his daughter’s hands while they sat companionably in silence.

Suddenly I missed my own dad terribly. He passed away almost four years ago and yet, there are times like these when I would miss him so much it makes tears come surging on the surface of my eyes.

I remember how we would watch movies together at home. He enjoys those action and period movies so much that my husband and I wouldn’t rent videos without finding something Tatay would like.

Now that VCDs and DVDs make movie-watching easier (no more time-consuming rewinds!), I would find myself thinking in the middle of a good movie that “Tatay would have enjoyed this one too.”

My father was a good-natured guy. He joked a lot and was such a friendly and helpful person that his funeral was said to have one of the longest processions in our town’s history, made up of people from our community and most of his relatives and friends from far away. That large number of people who paid their respects affirmed how much he was loved and appreciated by many.

Until now, there are times somebody would suddenly blurt out “I wish your dad is still here. He was such fun to be with.” Or whenever election times come around, I would hear comments like “Mang Romy would have made a good barangay captain unlike those people running now.” As it was, Tatay died while he was still a barangay councilor but people then were already urging him to run for captain. As his daughter, caring comments like those really warms my heart. It also shows that other people aside from our family missed him a lot too.

I also long for Tatay’s presence acutely whenever my youngest son would receive awards or have school activities where he would perform to the delight of everyone. I bet Daniel would have made his Tatay Lolo very proud. Daniel was still a baby when my dad retired from work. He would “sun” his apo in the early mornings, walking all over town and stopping by to chat with a lot of neighbors and friends. No wonder my son became more popular than I or my husband whenever we were out for a stroll. People we don’t even know would greet Daniel with indulgent smiles and my son would respond enthusiastically with waves and toothless grins.

I’m so glad we still have those home video footages I took of Daniel and his lolo. Amazingly, up to now, my already five-year-old son hasn’t forgotten his grandfather but would happily browse through photo albums now and then to look for pictures of Tatay Lolo.

I believe with my heart that somehow, my dad is still here watching over us. And that proves that much of his memories stayed to comfort and cheer us. It’s an affirmation that even though somebody went on to “the other side”, he will never be forgotten by people he loved and who have loved him the most in his lifetime.


For fans of FRIENDS

I was sent this link about the last taping day of the hit sitcom series Friends. I'm one of their avid fans and I feel personally sad that it would be ending soon.

On the brighter side, Matt LeBlanc will be starring on the spin-off "Joey". That ought to be fun too.

So here's saying my early goodbyes to the six people who've made me laugh and shed tears throughout the years ... Farewell Rachel, Phoebe, Monica, Chandler, Ross and Joey. I'm sure there will be a lot of reruns in the years to come :)


My Little Hero

Last Friday afternoon, I accompanied my five-year-old son to the awarding ceremony of their sports festival. A lot of kids weren’t there. Perhaps their parents thought it best if they just opt out of the activity since games are not really counted as academics. They sure missed a lot!

Daniel’s yaya was the one who went with him from Thursday ‘til Friday morning. She recounted how my little trooper competed gamely with other preschoolers in the easy games category. Daniel told me when he got home that morning, with matching wide eyes, “We had a banana-eating contest and I almost threw up!” I couldn’t help but laugh when he demonstrated what happened.

That afternoon, the teachers facilitated the last few games. Only the elementary students were able to form groups with sufficient number of players. Very few preschoolers attended so those that were there were left to their devices. Daniel had fun running around half the basketball court (the other half being used for the ongoing games) and chasing some of his classmates.

I just sat at the bleachers with Leland (my ten-year-old), who went with us and who grew bored quickly. When he was urging us to go home, Daniel said “But I don’t have a medal yet!” I wasn’t even sure he’ll be getting one but I agreed that we finish the whole thing before leaving.

It was really a pleasant surprise when they were giving out the MVP ribbons to the preschool category, Daniel’s name was called! I barely had time to rummage through my bag for the camera I have there. I took a shot of my son, so proud and full of smiles wearing the ribbon proclaiming him to be the Most Valuable Player of their team.

Ah the simple joys of parenting!


Earning extra without paying a cent?

There's a new "business" going around in the internet these days. It's called smspays. What you do is to register your mobile number and they will send you text advertisements based on the topics of interests you checked during registration. Each text you receive corresponds to a fee which they claim the advertiser will pay you. You'll get your check after your earnings accumulate. What's more, the program is international so your country probably is on their list. Go check it out!

Anyway, since it costs nothing to register, I did hehehe. And since it is kind of a networking scheme, would you also register and be my downline? Pretty please? :)

Just click on this link http://www.smspays.com/reg_country.asp?refer=168939 to register or read more about the program before registering. Please don't forget to place my referror # 168939 there. Thanks a bunch!



Two websites you ought to see!

A friend sent me these links about The Interview with God and Pathways to Peace.

Both touched me deeply. The background photos were breathtaking, the music peaceful and the messages powerful! Feel the wonder I have felt while watching them.

The words and beautiful images will have a lasting effect on you, you'll see. It had, on me!




Cerebral Palsy Feature in I-Witness

I watched I-Witness last Monday night on GMA 7. The topic is close to my heart as I have a son with cerebral palsy. It was very inspiring to see fellow parents with children having the same condition as my son’s, coping and surviving too despite the odds. I commend the way that television show has been creating public awareness on different issues for many years now.

I cried when I saw the little girl whose parents lived in Luneta park for two years! Her seizure manifestations are exactly the same as my James’ although my son’s attacks were few the past six years due to Phenobarbital maintenance and occurs only when he’s asleep. In that instant, I prayed with all my heart that little Cresilda have all the medical care she needs soon.

I also shed tears when the mom of another child said “I fear the time when I’ll be gone and wonder what will happen to my daughter. Who will take care of her?” That is exactly how I feel about my son. I guess it’s a worry that all parents of special kids have. It’s a comfort to know that God hears prayers and I trust that if and when the time comes for me and my husband to leave this world, our other sons will be there to help, love and take care of their brother as we did.


How disappointing!

I am disgusted at the way my softhome account has been actively and unjustly filtering my mails. I’m enrolled in the ewritersplace weekly writes course and found out that I was missing several issues because emails to me have had delivery failure several times. I can’t understand why softhome has to block an address which is sending me emails every week for almost half a year now and which I am always looking forward to.

Then I got to wondering, my softhome account is the one I’m using as a mailto in all my blogs! Argh, perhaps that’s why some people who have been emailing me before about the blogs have stopped writing altogether. If you are one such person who had emailed me before and had it bounced, my deepest regrets and apologies! I’ve changed my mailto address so you can now email me at my hotpop addy.



Happy New Year everyone! How was your holiday celebrations? My family and I enjoyed our time together. No schools for the kids and hubby free from office work for the meantime. We spent New Year’s Eve in my in-laws’ house in Alabang and happily, their village is just behind Ayala Alabang so we got to see really good fireworks from 10 pm onwards.

My husband tied his hammock (the strong canvas type which was a gift from a friend from Cambodia) on the rooftop terrace and the whole family took turns on it while watching the fireworks blazing all around. I was surprised that the two of us can sit or lay there together without falling. And my hubby being a heavy one! Amazing!

Ugh so many food, I felt bloated most of the time. Yeah, me and my hearty appetite :P I wouldn’t be surprised if I gained 10 pounds from all the things I ate during Noche Buena and Media Noche.

I hope all of you enjoyed the celebrations too. And for this new year, may we all have the joy, peace and prosperity we are all praying for.
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