Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Goal for the day


Classes were called off for the second day in a row due to bad weather. Miguel's quarterly exams start the following day but by 9:30AM he's already reviewed all his lessons and done his piano drills. Nothing left for him to do the rest of the day.

Me, about to leave for work (ha! late!) : Miguel, I think that you should have a goal for today.

Miguel, playing while watching TV: What?

Me: I know! Why don't we ask Lola (Grandma) to teach you the rest of your piano piece? After all, you were supposed to have piano lessons today.

Miguel, self-importantly: I already have goals.

Me: Like what?

Miguel: Watch TV.

Me: That's not a goal! Okay, that's it...your goal for the day is to learn the rest of your piano piece.

Miguel: I don't want to learn the rest of my piano piece.

Me: I'll give you 5 extra minutes of Playstation time if you learn it.

Miguel, turning away: No thank you, I don't need 5 extra minutes.

Me: But if you don't learn it you'll lose 5 minutes.

Miguel, suddenly running toward Lola: Lola, can you teach me the rest of my piano piece?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

How to make a strawberry-flavored cake

Cute, isn't it?
That's what you get when you watch too much of Dexter's Lab and

In his words:

You get a cannon, then take out the bullets, then replace them with strawberries.

Now that's what I call a recipe for world peace.

Just to enlighten you, the cannon at left shoots icing; the one on top shoots sugar; the one at right shoots strawberries; and the one at bottom shoots butter. The finished product comes out at the lower left corner. He was conscientious enough to draw two legs for the machine to stand. And of course don't forget the remote control!

He even drew instructions on how to set up the machine:

On my birthday, he wants me to make a strawberry-flavored cake using this diagram. Piece of cake, huh?

It rains, I sneeze

So it takes an allergy at 2AM for me to blog.

It's not unusual for me to wake up early in the morning just because I feel cold - even in the summer. What's worse is when I wake up feeling cold,and then I sneeze.

Once that happens, it's goodbye peaceful sleep.

To the fortunate, oblivious ones, it poured this morning - as in typhoon-grade downpour, the kind that makes you wonder where in the city it's flooded right now and whether classes will be suspended.

Checking at my cellphone, I saw a message from my co-parent that came in at midnight: classes suspended according to the news. Yahoo!

That means I don't have to get up early, my son doesn't have to get up early, he won't get caught in the rain, and more importantly - he has a chance to recover from his month-long cough.

We've been to the pediatrician 3 times in the past 3 weeks. My son was getting frustrated that his cough hadn't gone away. Since he had no fever and it's persisted for so long, the doctor suspects that it's brought about by allergy. Another possibiliy is primary complex, so we took an x-ray to help us find out.

And he had to prescribe stronger medication this time. He was even apologetic about it - I can see that he's not too keen about giving prescribing antibiotics and other such medicines.

So unlike Miguel's other pedia, who always brought out the big guns at the slightest symptoms. By age 3 my son was no stranger to corticosteroids; he was even taking puffs from a babyhaler. We were at her clinic once a month, without fail. That's why I left her.

When I switched doctors Miguel's visits were limited to maybe 3 a year. And I like Tito Doctor's less aggressive approach. That's why I'm still sticking to him.

During yesterday's visit, I frustratedly asked him why Miguel's cough won't go away, and he pointedly told me, "because it runs in your family." Well I am exhibit A right now, with my inflamed sinus and post-nasal drip brought about by a 2AM downpour.

I'm trying to comfort myself with green tea right since there's no Claritin in the house. It seems to be working. But more than that, my son is sleeping soundly. His medication seems to be working too.

Fingers crossed, please. And prayers.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Art attack weekend

Thanks to Neil Buchanan for the snake activity. Thanks to Ninang Aly and her Fun Factory book for the pull-down puppet activity.


Thursday, July 06, 2006


Miguel hit the jackpot this weekend: 2 Superman movies, trips to Powerstation and Egg, coming-home gifts from my bro and his wife, plus his latest object of fascination - a chess set that he coaxed out of my sister-in-law G.

While we were eating a post-movie merienda he took his tita's hand, ostensibly to show her the baby grand piano that was playing on its own. Then I saw them heading for the arcade and the toy store, and I knew that my beloved sis-in-law was about to be hijacked. Or rather, held up.

They were in the toy store by the time I caught up with them, and sure enough, G had asked him to choose a toy. Well, she did miss his birthday so it was a kind of belated gift. He pointed excitedly at wooden box that had sported a chess board. I suggested that he get the classic "barrel of monkeys" instead. But he liked the box because it read "5 games in one." In other words, he wanted something for 2 or more people.

G gladly bought the set, which contained pieces for chess, backgammon, checkers, dominoes, and pick-up sticks. He was so excited that the moment we got home we played a game. Surprisingly, he was quite good for a first timer. And not surprisingly, I made a lot of mistakes. Much like my billiard and bowling games, I'm lousy at chess. But I discovered that it's so much nicer when you're playing just for fun.

I won in the end; it was probably the first time that I've ever won. But it was a good game. I've never really had an interest in chess before, but with Miguel's new fascination for it, I'm already looking forward to the next game.


Monday, July 03, 2006

Mr. Potatohead as you've never seen him before

Here, tucked inside Miguel's latest art Mr. Potatohead.

I really like it.

I know that my brother would be appalled if he sees this, it being so girly.

You can blame me for that, because most of the stuff is mine. And I was the one who gave Miguel the violet paper. He asked me for colored paper, and that was the only unused sheet that I could find.

The round box came from a craft project I made in one of Mama Aly's children's parties, and some of the beads came from a broken bracelet of mine. That's why everything looks so girly. And that's why I like it.

The earthworm, of course, is his.

But honestly, as an artist, I find it quite good. It's an example of unbridled creativity, and I totally support it. Except that I don't know if anybody will pay money to buy it off him.

Actually, you could call it a collaboration, because I was the one who wrapped and taped the potato, "so that you can see the shape," as he instructed. And I was also the glue gun operator.

The sweetest thing is that Miguel made it for Ninang, who just left for camp Friday night. He made it for her because he will miss her. Awww. Too bad she won't get to see it for 21 days.

I reminded him that since he has to keep it intact, he cannot play with Mr. Potatohead until she comes back. His response: "Grr. I knew that I should have put holes in it."


Die, varmints!

Okay, so I've been waking up around 2AM or 4AM for the past 4 days. And guess who's responsible? No, not my wisecracking, hyperactive, super inquisitive, ADD-suspect son. But scores of tiny, sneaky, stubborn, insiduous, stinging ants! In my bed!

What did they think I was, a midnight snack?

Lately ants have been invading strange parts of our home, like my mother's bathroom and the computer table. They must know something that we don't.

My guess is that they invaded my bed because I sorted Miguel's pre-school artworks there a few days ago. I suspect that among all those drawings, stained glass windows, mosaics and mixed media, there must have been some sugar. For the record, I do not eat in my room...and neither do I store snacks there.

I thought that vacuuming the mattress would do the trick, but apparently not. They may be tiny, but their bites really do sting! By the 4th night I had had it with the rude awakenings. So instead of brushing them off my bed or crushing the nasty biters between my fingers, I decided to be more methodical in my extermination.

No, I did not burn the mattress. I just got pieces of scotch tape and stuck them in between. A bit labor-intensive, but sure to get the job done.

By now you're starting to worry if I have a sick mind. But if you ask me it's more humane than what I did to that cockroach in my bathroom when I was in college. Never again! Besides, it would ruin the marble tile.

Now I've got a tiny collage of scotch-taped ants on my bedside table. I'm thinking of posting them on my headboard, just as a warning to other intrepid ants. Kind of like Vlad Dracula impaling victims in the front of his castle.

You can run, but you can't hide!


Saturday, July 01, 2006


Woke up at 2AM, and as I sometimes do when I wake up in the middle of the night, I started to fix my room.

My first target was a clear book filled with a hodgepodge of stuff, namely Miguel's piano pieces and bits of my portfolio. It's about time that I organized it, since he practices piano every day. I keep forgeting to buy another clear book, so we'll have to share this one a bit longer.

Going through through my partial portfolio, I noticed that I had included a short story and a children's poem. Those were from the days that I wrote for children's educational TV. I looked at them side-by-side with my print ads, and then I realized: my short stories are way better than my print ads.

Not to say that I haven't had any ads that I'm proud of. They're all decent, some are cute, and a few I really like. Just a few. But the stories - now those I really enjoyed writing.

It takes a little blood and sweat too to create a story. But sometimes you can call it "sweet sweat." You don't mind the effort. Other times you work too hard that the story becomes "tired" and you have to throw it out. And then there are times when the work is effortless; when you crank out a good piece - or a good painting - in just 30 minutes. But that's rare, I must point out.

By "good" I mean "good enough for me." Keep in mind that your friends are a different set of critics, you colleagues another, the publishers yet another, and the general public still another.

Gosh, when I think about it I have so much output - in terms of paintings and writings as well. At the time you make them they are all okay, but when you look at them after a few years your opinion changes. Except for the ones that you're really proud of.

But what matters I guess is that you're satisfied at the time that you produce it.

Gee, I talk too much. Gotta get back to bed.