Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Who's afraid of the big bad tiger?

I was rather blasé about it while I was there, but when I went to bed that night I thought to myself, "OMG! those are killers!"

I was imagining being on the other side of those bars. Went to sleep hoping that I wouldn't have any nightmares about it. Can't believe that I actually looked into the eyes of a tiger and lived to tell about it.

Miguel looks scared in this photo, but he's quite okay about it. He totally loved our trip to Subic, as did I, tiger fears aside.

I've asked him a few times what his favorite part of the trip was, and the answers always change: the swimming pool that looks like a beach," the bubble fight in the jacuzzi, and feeding the camel at Zoobic safari.

My favorite was the bubble fight. Dennis was right; the jacuzzi rules. Special thanks to him and Essie for the weekend at the Subic Yacht Club :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

And the winner is...

number seventeen!

Happy accident it was that Miguel decided to wear the magician costume this Halloween. And to think that he's had it in the drawer for the past 3 years! He'd put it on now and then as the mood suits him, especially when he wanted to do a "magic trick." Thanks to Tita Nanie who provided the costume, complete with hat and bugs!




Oh, and here's the rest of the gang: cousins Selene, Gian and Dino; cousin-in-law Anne and "baby brother" Jyo, and second cousins Chloe, Chino and Tara (with Anne again).







































And here's the token celebrity pic, with Marvin Agustin, who handed out the prizes for the costume contest:

Saturday, September 15, 2007

How to stop a dam

Miguel made this months ago, after I told him about the construction of the Three Gorges Dam along the Yangtze River. There are many arguments for and against it, but what made him oppose it was my remark that man can create many things, but "can never create what God created."

The dam is more than halfway through, and will be completed by 2009. When the Three Gorges gets flooded, mankind is going to lose one of the world's most beautiful natural sites. Not even I have seen it, but if you don't want to miss it, better visit before 2009.

Anyway, so convinced he was about stopping the dam ("Mommy, we have to go to China!") that he even drew out some plans. It's quite comprehensive, and involves: us sabotaging the blueprints with chalk and eraser; throwing pebbles into the turbines to stop them from turning; and releasing termites onto the finished part of the dam.

Not everything he drew is clear in this jpeg, but you can figure it out. Just don't report us to the Chinese authorities.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Supernova Sky




I just heard this over the radio on my way to work, and it's my instant favorite! Granted that it's not new (at least 10 month old) but I really dig it. Just let it load before you hit "play."

Monday, July 02, 2007

Conversation with a dog

Saturday night my brother's Minipin Hitler was pawing my mom for food at the dinner table. Seeing him, I said, "I'm sorry Hitler, but it's bye-bye for you."

"What do you mean?" Miguel asked.

"Well," I said, "now that they have a real baby, Hitler's not going to be their baby any more." I was referring to Dennis and Essie and their new baby Jose Yolo, a.k.a. Jyo. I went on to explain to Miguel that our Jackrussel terrier Rover used to be like a "son" to me. But when I became pregnant, I knew that I would be too busy to pay him attention because I was going to have a real son.

"Do you know that before you were born, I had to sit down and say goodbye to Rover?' I told Miguel. "I wanted to explain to him that I would be very busy with my new baby. That's what I meant when I said that it's bye-bye for Hitler."

As soon as I had explained this, Miguel got off his seat and said, "Mommy, can I wash my hands after this?"

Miguel went over to Hitler, crouched on the floor beside him, and stroked his head. "Goodbye Hitler. I'm gonna miss you. You're cute. I'm gonna babysit now. Okay. Goodbye. I'm gonna miss you. I'm gonna be babysitting now. (Pause) Wish me luck."

And with that he got up, went to the kitchen, washed his hands, and then got back in his seat to finish his dinner.

Now that's what I call closure.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Everything is evil

The good news is that my thyrotoxicosis is in remission. The bad news is my cholesterol level is up. And she wants me to take Lipitor 3x a week. What?!?

As I said to Alice, Lipitor is for overweight, middle-aged men; not sexy thirthsomething me! (My apologies to those reading this who are taking Lipitor.)

So here are the stats:
Total cholesterol 203; Normal range 50-200
HDL (good cholesterol) 75; Normal range 40-60
LDL (bad cholesterol) 114; Normal range 0-100

Actually this isn't the first time that she wanted me to go on statins. She prescribed it last December, but after consulting with my cardiologist brother, I decided to just change my diet. That meant eating oatmeal everyday and no more Chickenjoy (leftovers from Miguel's kiddie meal). That's because my bro told me that my numbers were not critical and that I'm better off avoiding the side effects of the drug. Or maybe because I'm the youngest in family and it's also hard for him to accept that I'm approaching middle age.

Anyway all that oatmeal didn't make a dent in my LDL (it only went down 3 points compared to the previous test). So after thinking about it, I decided that I have to take more drastic dietary measures. Goodbye evil carbonara! Goodbye pizza! Just last Saturday I had nothing but carbonara and pizza, and the following day I could swear that I could feel the blood dribbling through a clogged artery! Ack!

Goodbye Jollibee and McDonald's! Funny thing is that I really don't eat much fastfood; only Miguel's leftovers I guess. I pondered over this as I ate evil pork sinigang for lunch. Everything is evil.

But then, my blood sugar is okay. So I can still eat cake.

Also, I considered that I should start exercising. I suppose that I have no excuse anymore since it seems that my hyperthyroidism is in remission.

Oh, and I gained 4 pounds. But I'm okay with that. And my doctor tells me that it's okay too.

Monday, May 28, 2007

First exhibit

His is the still life in the upper right-hand corner. Not bad for a six-year-old, but then mommy has a lot of inside knowledge on the trade.

We never missed a single art lesson and religiously did all the homeworks. Mr. Sena gave him a grade of 97 and told him that he was going to get a trophy. We were glad, although at first we told ourselves that maybe everybody gets a trophy.

On graduation day, a LOT of trophies that were given, although I finally understood what they meant. I like the way Mr. Sena explained it:

"If you get a trophy, you are most outstanding. If you get a medal, you are outstanding. If you get a certificate, you are only standing." Mwahahahaha!

A lot of students got trophies, but not everyone. However, one girl went away with a trophy plus 3 gold medals: one for best in homework, one for best in group work, and one for best card. Those were the additional awards that distinguished the truly excellent ones. This girl, only in her tweens, had a one-woman show that summer and even donated a big amount of the sales to art scholars. She deserves every bit of praise and encouragement.

Another award I enjoyed was one that Mr. Sena made up on the spot. When Miguel's twentysomething classmate Kathy was called to the stage, she came went up in cropped jeans, a brown cotton blouse, and accessories worthy of a gimmick at Greenbelt. Mr. Sena commended her for her outfit and instructed one of his assistants to give her a gold medal for "Best in Costume."

Love that man!

Seriously, he's the best art teacher around, for kids and adults alike. Let me give you another insight as to why:

During his speech, he asked us if we wanted to know the secret of being a good artist. It was so silent, you could hear everybody pricking up their ears to hear a nugget of wisdom from a great master. And he said, "Mahalin mo ang magulang mo. (Love your parents.)" Huh?

"Dahil sila ang magbabayad ng materials mo at magpapaaral sa inyo. (Because they will pay for all your art materials and pay for your lessons as well.)"
Wahahahaha!

He really brought the house down.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Disgraced tooth fairy

I blew it.

This morning when Miguel woke up he went to my room carrying a tiny ziploc plastic and asked, "Mommy, why didn't the tooth fairy leave me a gift?"

I blinked. I froze. I didn't say a word. I really am so lousy at lying.

Looking at me straight in the face, he clambered up my bed and asked, "Mommy what are you hiding?'

...

He asked me the same question over and over again, and I looked at him, asking myself if he was ready to handle this. Well, more like I was thinking of how to get myself out of an embarrassing situation. First attempt: "I guess the tooth fairy forgot. Why don't you write her a note and put it under your pillow again tonight?"

But no. He kept asking me the same question, "Mommy, why are you smiling? What are you hiding?"

Sigh.

I hope you other tooth fairies out there won't get mad at me, but I actually told him the truth. Didn't seem like a bad thing to do either because more than once he's already asked me if I was the tooth fairy. But the only bad part is that I didn't just get stripped of my fairy badge; I busted my mom as well. Because she was the one who provided me with a Sudoku book for Miguel one time when he lost his tooth.

For a moment tears welled in his eyes and I asked him, "Are you sad because there is no tooth fairy or because you didn't get a gift this time?" He paused at first, then replied, "Because there isn't a tooth fairy."

"Tell me the truth," I asked.

"Because I didn't get a gift this time." We laughed.

Just like his mom, he's a lousy liar too.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Finally!


















Or should I say, finale! After weeks and weeks we finally watched the season-ender for Heroes volume one. I've been addicted to this series ever since my officemate started downloading and sharing the episodes on a regular basis.

For the season ender, we booked the conference room for lunch and connected his laptop to the big screen. Turn out the lights, cue in some chips, and voila! Forty-five minutes of sword-slashing, cranium-slicing action. The most common observation is that the last episode was a major cheesefest. My personal favorite was Ando's parting line to Hiro, "You look badass." :)

Nothing beats episode 20, as in HANEEEEEEP! GRABE TALAGA! This one was just, ah, okay.

But I will always be grateful for episode 20, so yes, I will watch volume two when it comes out. Someone in the office will be downloading it for us; I'm sure of it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Best Mother's Day gift yet

I gotta hand it to my son, he knows how to make a girl happy.

More than a week ago, he already told me what he wanted to give me: "Mommy, for Mother's Day I'm going to give you a realxing spa." He figured that he can borrow Ninang's foot spa and let me have a treat. No way was I going to stop him.

On the day itself, while the rest of the family was either munching away or swimming after our big Mother's Day lunch, he organized the spa for me. What a delegator! After asking for Ninang's permission to use the foot spa, he asked Aida to get the spa, Yaya to get the hot water, and then asked for a glass of grape juice for me.

And what, you may ask, was his contribution? "It comes with a free car show!" he said. Which meant that as I lay back in his bed, my head propped up with pillows and my feet in a warm foot spa (his is a trundle bed, which is quite low), I watched as he played with his remote-controlled car. After the car show, there was a robot show too - meaning that he tied some ribbons around 2 robots and I watched as he made them fly and crash through the air.

And oh yeah, after my feet soaked for 20 minutes, he handed me a towel and then gave me a foot massage! That was the cutest foot massage I've ever had, if you can call it that :)

By the way, his original plan was to give me the foot spa in Lola's room, so that I can play PS2 while I relaxed. I nixed the idea, but it was a charming thought. I enjoyed the car show much, much more.

Oh, and I know you're going to ask anyway: he got the idea from Cartoon Network, which had a Mother's Day promo, and one of the prizes was...you guessed it...a relaxing spa.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I know what you did this summer

Finally! A picture from Mambusao, thanks to my mom's phone cam. There should have been a lot more, but forgetful me forgot the camera in Manila. This was my second visit to Mambusao after more than 20 years, and while some things have changed, a lot still stayed the same. I recognized the house where we had our first grand reunion in 1983. And while a lot of names sounded familiar, I was able to remember some of the faces too.

One of the biggest changes was - surprise! - I was the adult now. I was the one herding a little kid, giving permission to go and play with the cousins, and introducing the clan onstage. Sheesh. My mom and her cousins are getting older and fewer. Last time I was in Mambusao, my grandmother Flora was the senior; now it's my mom.

Anyway, Miguel had a blast there. So much that he wanted to stay behind - with me, of course. I had forgotten how great it was to be a kid from Manila visiting the province. Take this picture for example. Miguel got a kick out of holding that banner as we walked (or danced) around town.

I remember that somewhere there's a picture of Dennis too, circa early 80s, holding up an arch for the Flores de Mayo in Surigao. Those were the little "perks" that we got from our aunts and uncles. (Aside from unlimited Playstation time from mommy.) They sure know how to show a kid a good time - then and now.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Holy mackerel!

Got Miguel's report card yesterday, and guess what, turns out the little tyke has 2 awards!

Sheesh. If I had known sooner, I would have gotten it on time.

Pardon me for my ignorance; I'm a first time big school mom. I forgot to pick it up last March 30. No big deal, I thought; I can pick it up later. But I didn't realize that you need the last report card to enroll your kid the following year. Oops. So off I march to Ateneo the moment the registrar's office re-opens after its summer break, and...holy cow! 2 awards!

The first was the Guardian Angel award, for academic excellence. I knew that it existed, but I didn't know that he qualified for it. I always thought that you had to have perfect 100's to get that award. (Bang head against wall.) Maybe half the class got the Guardian Angel award, but still! We have to celebrate!

The second was a certificate for being "Well-Behaved and Mild-Mannered" in class. Awww. Yaya was incredulous, because she knows how raucous he - and practically everybody else for that matter - is on the bus. She couldn't believe that he was behaving in the classroom. But yes, my dear Reiza, he really is an angel in class. I've been to their room a few times, and I can say that he is very well-behaved.

Gee. Now I really have to give him an "award shelf." I'm really proud because these are things that he earned completely on his own. Like I said, half the class probably got an award as well. But it's just so great to see his efforts validated this way. Way to go kid!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I believe!

I must say, Marlon has turned me into an instant convert. Girlfriends, don't say that I didn't tell you about it. You really must try Olay Total Effects. It's been only 2 days and I'm totally sold.

You must buy it with the cleanser though. Marlon uses the serum as well, but I haven't gotten around to that yet. Right now I'm just too happy with my new facial cream.

And it has broad spectrum sunscreen too! :)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Ode to Joy

Gueli had his third recital last Saturday. It was nice seeing the same faces again - Ems his piano teacher, Marion the directress of his old pre-school, the familiar moms and dads, and of course the recitalists. It's become a small community that meets on a yearly basis. We all know each other - some by face, some by name, some by face and name. And it's great to see how much the kids have grown - how much taller, prettier, or better at singing or playing the piano.

There were a lot of new gimmicks for this year's recital. Unbeknownst to us parents, Teacher Ems had the kids videotaped during their lessons. She had each child address his or her parents on cam, thanking the parents for letting them take lessons, and dedicating their recital pieces to them.

Call me a sucker but it was very touching. I've always been glad that Miguel and I stuck it out with Teacher Em's piano lessons. In the beginning we had problems about late or cancelled lessons, and there was a time when I considered looking for a new teacher, but my mom advised that I let Miguel continue because she saw that he enjoyed it.

Then, when Miguel had his first recital, that's where I saw Teacher Em's passion for teaching kids, and I really admired that. You don't find a lot of that these days. In the years that followed the lessons became more regular, and Miguel has really become adept at piano. Sometimes he'd mix together 2 pieces that sound alike, or play the same piece on a higher octave or on a different scale. As Teacher Ems said, he has good musical ears.

And he does practice every day.

Oh by the way: another gimmick Ems had for this year was a competition. Aside from their recital pieces, each child had to play a competition piece. For Miguel's level, it was "Ode to Joy." Miguel knows it by heart and can play it with his eyes closed. I knew it would be a cinch for him, but I just reminded him to play the chorus from piano to forte, repeat the chorus, and do his best. He knows that it's my favorite piece too.

And well what d'you know...he came away with the gold medal! Teacher Ems reminded the kids that it wasn't a serious competition, and it wasn't. But of course we were all proud - me, mom and Mike. Miguel said he didn't think he would win, and that if he didn't, he wouldn't cry. Mom said that after hearing everyone play, she was sure that he would get at least silver.

Me? I just had a feeling he was going to win something. He didn't miss a single note. He remembered to play from piano to forte. And he remembered to repeat the chorus.

Anyway.

It was just such a good day :)

(Miguel asked me later on what she meant that the competition wasn't serious. After a bit of thought, I said that if there was a big prize involved it would be serious. Har har!)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

For Ms Santamaria

As with any school day, Miguel was sleepy when I woke him up on February 14. But when I greeted him "Happy Valentine's Day," he bolted right out of bed saying, "I have to make a card for Ms. Santamaria!"

At that point I could have whined, "What about me?" but I didn't. I think that it's sweet that my son's knee-jerk reaction to Valentine's Day is to make a card for his teacher. Unless of course his teacher was a man.

Then he went to his toy shelf, and I asked him what he was doing. "Looking for a gift for Ms. Santamaria," he said. Handing me one of his Kiddie Meal action figures, he said, "Wrap this please." I convinced him to give a wooden puzzle block instead. But then Ninang came in and, being a teacher herself, convinced us both to give his teacher a pack of Hershey's Kissables.

Going back to the card, he insisted on a plain paper board, which he wrote and drew on. I would've been contented with "Happy Valentine's Day" but he wanted to say more. The personal touch. It was only after all this hullaballoo was over that he agreed to get dressed for school.

Even over breakfast, he would ask,"Mommy, where is my gift? Did you wrap it? Did you tape the card on?" Such attention to detail. I hope Ms. Santmaria enjoyed the gesture. I sure did...as if I were on the receiving end of that card.

...

When I got home that night, I had a card from Miguel as well. It read "I love you Mommy even when you stink." Sound familiar?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The smurf smile!















Defined as "smiling without showing teeth," this was taught by none other than Ate Mara during our Christmas eve celebration. Miguel picked it up right away and put it to good use the entire night.








I think, though, that the best smurf smile belongs to Ninang Aly :)