Friday, December 31, 2004


It's New Year’s Eve!

I started work early as I had to go grocery shopping. Our fridge was almost empty.

When I opened the blinds, what did I see? Snow on trees. They looked like soft cotton stuck to the branches. White snow looked pretty on the branches of the evergreens. When I opened the doors to check how much snow fell, I could hardly open them. I started clearing our front steps. I was thinking about my courier guy. I shoveled a little bit of the snow with my dustpan, just enough for him to go up the steps. But we really needed to shovel the pathway so that he could enter the yard. There was about three feet of snow. I’m lucky that I don’t have to venture out there. Poor delivery guys and mail carriers.

(Although this picture was taken last year, this is what it looks like after a blowing snow.)

Sis and R shoveled the snow. I would have helped if I didn’t have to work and wasn't pressed for time.

My supervisor e-mailed the WAH staff wishing us all a Happy New Year. He also said that he wanted to stress how important all of us are and that he really appreciates the good results we have contributed to the office. He also added, “It’s probably hard to feel like you’re part of the team when you work from home and don’t get a chance to interact with other staff or management.” These are exactly my sentiments. I was touched by his e-mail.

I learned that some people were not able to go to work. Our courier has been cancelled as well. There was no delivery today. It was a good thing that I had quite a few claims left. I worked at least 5 hours. I suspected that I might have to make up the time lost. We will know on Tuesday.

When I finished my work, I tried to call a cab but I couldn’t get through. All lines were busy. I was ready to take the bus to the nearest Safeway but I asked sis if she could give me a ride to Superstore. She agreed, as she was going out to shovel Mama’s driveway. Mama couldn’t get her car out the back lane in the morning and she took the bus to work. My niece A and Angelus went with sis to help.

Thursday, December 30, 2004


It was very windy during the day. We could hear the ice pellets blowing against the house. There was a blizzard warning.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004


I worked. R doesn’t have work until January 3. Then he will learn when they will be laid off. Sigh!

Gameboy marathon yung 3.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

A call from the Middle East

My cousin Lou called from U.A.E. to greet us a belated Merry Christmas and a (advance) Happy New Year. She said that she had a hard time getting through. The lines must be busy. I asked her if they were affected by the earthquake. No. I asked about her Christmas. She said that it was not a holiday there because it’s a Muslim country. Although, some white employers gave their employees a day off. I think naghanda rin siya at nag-karaoke daw sila. New Year’s is a holiday there. But their store (a photo shop) will be open. Parang sa ‘Pinas din. Here in Winnipeg, stores are closed on Christmas and New Year's Day.

There were already 40,000 people dead and 11 countries affected by the tsunami.

Jumping off the walls

I made mac and cheese and pizza for supper. RK whispered to me, “Mommy, this is like a party.”

Too many sweets and too many chocolates made the two young ones hyper-active. They were jumping off the walls. They were jumping and running all over the house. BONG. Something fell. One of the picture frames in the living room came down together with my gold trimmed reindeer ornament – the present I got from work. The antler came off, so did the golden box it was standing on. I didn’t get mad but RC and RK were speechless when they saw it broke.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Devastating news

No work. Sis and I decided to drop off our inaanak’s present. Then we went to Long & McQuade because RG wanted to try out flutes. I told him before that I couldn’t buy him a new instrument. He just wanted to try out a few. All three kids went with us. RK fell asleep on the van. RG tried three professional flutes. They were quite pricey, ranging from $2,000 to $7,000. He’ll have to wait until he’s working to buy one of those.

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring was on TV. Although we have it on DVD and watched it before, we still watched it. After the movie, I watched the news about the tsunami in South Asia. It was so devastating. Nine countries were affected killing 25, 000 people.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Magkapatid nga kayo

Merry Christmas. I woke up at 6:30 a.m. RC and RG were up before me, went downstairs and opened their presents. I started cooking crab and corn soup. Last night, I cooked pancit, baked cookies and made fruit salad. Instead of the traditional turkey, I bought barbecued chicken. RC gave me a present, an angel that he did at school. It was made of a tiny flowerpot and a wooden ball for the head. RK had a present for me as well. It was a candleholder made of a Gerber jar covered with multi-coloured tissue paper and trimmed with red beads, similar to the Red Lobster necklaces we got during the Taste of Manitoba.

R didn’t get up until past 8:00 a.m. although I kept waking him up earlier. He was still eating breakfast when Mama came over at 8:20, told him to hurry up because we didn’t want to stand up in church again like we did last year.

When we came outside, RC said, “Why is there nobody outside?” There wasn’t a single soul out there. I told him that in the Philippines, the streets would be full of people on Christmas Day. No wonder Filipinos here want to go home for the holidays. Mas masaya raw kasi duon.

The church was elegantly decorated. In addition to the silver stars that have been hanging above the altar since the first week of advent, the altar was decorated with bright red poinsettias. There were clear glass cubes and white cotton strips that looked like ice and snow. There were several three-feet tall Christmas trees adorned with Christmas lights. There were also boxes wrapped in shiny gold paper. The boxes have white paper on top of each printed with the words: Joy, Love, Forgiveness, Peace, Hope, Charity, Justice, Faith, Jesus – the gifts of Christmas. The huge crucifix at the front was covered with a long dark cloth with a big eight-pointed silver star. The walls were decorated with green wreaths adorned with more silver stars. I saw people dressed in their best, well only the ones who weren’t wearing their winter coats.

During the sermon, which was a very nice one, RC started to have a tummy ache. I asked him if he had to go to the washroom. At first he said no. After a few more times asking him, he said yes. We went to the washroom. When he came out I asked if he “went.” He said no. When we came back to our seats, I smelled his utot.

We had lunch at my sister’s place. She prepared spaghetti, lumpia, ham in pineapple, and garlic bread. Mama made puto-bumbong and cheesecake. I brought the food that I prepared last night and this morning. Mama mentioned that she saw Myra yesterday and told her, “Mommy, nakakatuwa naman si RG. Napakamaginoo (He’s a gentleman.)" Last night, when we talked to R’s Tatay on the phone, I heard R told him, “Namumupo si RG, ano.” He does say PO. Well, I guess that we must be raising him right. I am proud of him.

After lunch, we took lots of pictures and opened presents. I heard sis say, "A, look at the present I gave Lola, it’s a sewing machine.” I thought to myself, what was she talking about? I was the one who gave it to Ma. Sis got the same present I got for Mama. It was a watch in a sewing machine trinket. And it turns out that we bought it from the same store. “Magkapatid nga kayo,” said Mama.

My pamangkins gave me a thank you card. They wrote very touching words like: “Thank you very much po for taking care of the little ones when they were sick and preparing the food during lunch. Thank you very much for substituting for our parents and helping our younger siblings with lunch. Thank you for taking care of us while my mom and dad were in the Philippines.” I was happy to know that they appreciated my help when all I did was allot 45 minutes of my day to them during those 2 weeks and let the sick ones stayed with me during the day while I worked. It was Mama who helped the most. She stayed with them and cooked for them. This is what families do. And I just want to stress that it feels good to hear the words "Thank you."

We watched Spiderman 2 there. Later at home, we watched Jet Li’s “Hero.”

I was so exhausted at night.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Ganuon talaga

I worked half day only. After lunch, R came to Superstore with me. We had a plumbing problem later in the afternoon. Sis did, as well, because our pipes are somehow connected. We called Roto-Rooter and luckily they sent someone over. I was worried that since it was the holidays, no one would come. Why is it that expenses like these come up when you least need them. Sis confided that they have racked up quite a few credit $$$ in their recent trip. “Well, ganuon talaga. At least nakauwi kayo,” I told her. Eh ako nga, haven't gone back home in 13 years.

Sis showed me their pictures from the Philippines. They were able to recover their deleted pictures. Nakakatuwang tingnan yung mga Cosmos bottles. Drinks over there still come in glass bottles pala. They also have pictures at Luneta. They had shots with the statues of Maria Clara, Rizal and his execution. I was also surprised that they still wear those black rectangular pins kapag namatayan.

RK has been asking for the past couple of days if he could open his presents "now." I told him that he has to be patient. I was surprised that my kids didn’t ask if they could open at least one present tonight. They usually do on Christmas Eve. It’s probably because they already knew what they were getting. They went to bed at 10:30 p.m. We had to go to the 9:00 a.m. mass in the morning.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Play with me

R came home early. It was his last day of work.

RK: Mommy, can you play with me?
I felt guilty. I have been so busy working overtime this week.
Mom: Okay, after work. After supper
We played “Operation.” We had fun.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Yucky chore

RK had an accident (#2) in his pants. Mommy, wash my bum-bum. Why do I always have to wash your yucky bum-bum?

During his last medical check-up with Dr. D, she asked me if RK already knew how to wipe himself. That was when he was in kindergarten. I said no. She said that I should teach him. What if he has to go in the toilet at school? I think that RK could do it if he wanted. He’s just being a baby. And I guess in a way, I’m holding on to that next step at independence because he’s my last baby. It’s comforting to me that he still needs me even with that yucky chore.

In deep freeze

We are in the deep freeze again. Minus 46 windchill. I couldn’t see outside the window in my workstation. It was all covered with frost.

I washed the children’s winter jackets. They smelled like pritong ulam. I forgot all about RK’s drawings. Every Saturday at church, he gets restless and so I let him draw on my little notebook. He then takes the pages of his drawings, folds them neatly and puts them in his jacket pocket. They were still there when I washed it. The pages were shredded into pieces. I told him about it now instead of waiting until the next time we go to church. He was ready to cry but I told him that I was sorry and that he can make new drawings. It went pretty well.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The bliss of working at home

RG went to flute lesson today to make up for Saturday. I told him to bundle up since windchill was minus 36 C. It was very cold. In my workstation, I wore a sweater and wool socks. I covered myself with a blanket. On days like these, I really appreciate working at home. I don’t have to go out there in the bitter cold. And since the kids were on vacation, I let them do the chores. I don’t have to do the dishes. Today I asked RG to give RK a bath since I was working overtime. This is the bliss of working at home. I am working overtime in the comforts of my home surrounded by my children. This reminded me of when I was a little girl and I would hung around in our tailor shop - Papa on the cutting table and Mama on the sewing machine.

At night, R was calling RC. RC came down and went upstairs again. I heard R calling him repeatedly.
RC: Mommy, Daddy wants me to pull his white hair. I don’t want to do it.
Mom: Why?
RC: I’m playing with my Gameboy and I can’t pause it.
Mom: Then tell him that. (I thought that he just didn’t want to do it)
RC: But I already told him (He started to cry)

My father used to make me pull out his white hair, too. And I loved it because I was fond of my father. But I don’t understand why R has to make his kids do something they didn’t want. If it’s a household chore, fine. Kids shouldn’t complain. But if it’s for personal grooming… Come on. Give them a break if they don’t want to do it.

Monday, December 20, 2004

And the fun begins

It was the first day of school vacation. I have work until Christmas Eve.

RK: Mommy, Kuya RC said a bad word.
Mom: What did he say?
RK: He said that I look stupid.
I took a deep breath and instead of reprimanding RC, I just told RK…
Mom: But you don’t look stupid. You look handsome. Just ignore Kuya RC, okay.
RK: Okay

And the fun begins…

As usual, RC was playing basketball (Koosh ball) in their bedroom using the blue hamper as his basket/hoop. He would say, “Oh yes, he scores another one. Two minutes to go in this quarter. He tries to save it. He saved the day.” Or “70 needs to get a goal before the time runs out. Eee yaw. Touchdown.”

RK had been busy making his own YuGiOh cards, cutting and pasting paper. Kalat na naman.

RG was in the computer most of the time. Sometimes, he was in the basement playing PS2 games.

We miss him

On Vicki Gabereau, Patrick Lane was on. He was the author of the bestseller, “There is a Season: A Memoir in a Garden.” He spent a year in his garden writing about his alcoholism. I want to read that book. My father was an alcoholic and I want to read the life of an alcoholic from his own perspective.

When sis came back from the Philippines, Mama confirmed with her if she really wanted to bring Papa’s remains (bones) here in Winnipeg. My aunt has mentioned it to Mama on the phone. Mama told sis that it would be better if we left his remains in the Philippines because that’s his hometown. I also added that all his brothers, sister and relatives are there. We sure all miss him. Sis and I missed out on having a father. And I’m sure Mama misses him too.

On the last weekend of every month, Brother Jorge always asks those celebrating wedding anniversaries to stand up after mass and he blesses every couple that would. I think it was about a year and a half ago, in June, when Mama wanted to get up. I whispered to her, “But ma, patay na si Pa. You’re no longer married.”

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Blustery weather

We were supposed to attend Tatang’s 70th birthday party at Kumkoon Restaurant at night. Tatang is my Kumpareng T’s father. But Mama called and said that it was windy and still very cold outside. Blowing snow. She didn’t want to drive. Can we not go? She asked. Okay. Sayang! I was looking forward to having some Chinese food.

RK showed me words that he wrote in handwriting and he read them, too. I was surprised.
Mom: How did you learn to do that? (They haven’t learned it in school yet. He’s only in Grade 1.)
RK: I copied it from my agenda.
He’s a smart boy, this one.

Mom: I like your haircut, RK. You look handsome. You know what’s handsome? Pogi. You know, Lola calls you pogi.
RK: Yeah, I know.
Mom: What?
RK thought long on how to put it in words. I tried to help him
Mom: Girls are beautiful and boys are handsome.
RK: Yeah, that.

RC and RK were wrestling each other on the sofa. RK got hurt. He showed me four fingernail marks on his left arm. RC pinched him. I reprimanded RC.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Below 36

RG’s flute teacher called. She had the flu. No flute lesson today. RC wouldn’t go to catechism. He said that he was tired. I didn’t force him to go. He probably wasn’t feeling well as he complained of a tummy ache earlier.
Mom: Can you go next door by yourself?
RK: Yeah, I can.
Mom: Be careful when you walk there on the side of our house. Remember? Water was dripping yesterday and now it’s ice. It’s slippery.
RK: Yeah, I know how to walk on ice.
He took off his right boot and showed me how he curls his toes towards the ground for a grip.
Mom: That’s good. How did you know how to do that? I do that too.
RK: Oh, because when I walked on ice I did that and I didn’t slip.
Mom: Good boy.

The temperature dropped down to minus 36 C in the afternoon. After mass, sinasal ng ubo si Ma when we were in the car. There was frost inside the windows and we kept scraping them. My friend E called at night. She was already at the party. I told her that I wasn’t coming. “Sana dinaanan ka na lang namin. Hinahanap ka nila,” she said. Nahiya na ako to ask Mama to give me a ride. It was so very cold kasi. Besides, Mama doesn’t like driving at night. Malabo na ang mata. And the venue was also far from our place.

Friday, December 17, 2004

On drinking and punishments

When I came down at lunch, I heard birds chirping. I saw some on our deck in the backyard. It was warm outside. I wondered where they came from. You’d think that they have all flown south by now. We have hit a plus 4 C today.My friend E called and asked me if I was attending our Christmas party with the tropa tomorrow. Marie was wondering because I hadn’t asked for directions yet. I told her that I knew where that place was. I hinted that Mama doesn’t like driving in that area because it’s very confusing there, very busy and the cars go very fast.

On the news: The rules will be changing regarding driving when you had too much to drink. If they catch you and there’s a child in the vehicle, they will take the child to Social Services. I have a mixed reaction to this. I’m all for punishing the drinker, but not the child. That could be traumatic for an innocent child. Oh, I know about being traumatized as a child. I’ve been through that.

On gingerbread houses and Christmas songs

RK brought home the gingerbread house that he made at school. It was very nice. It even included a gingerbread man. The house was decorated with candy canes, jujubes, M&Ms, and there were pretzels around the house. RG also made one in Grade 1. RC said that he never made one in school.

RK and I listened to a Christmas tape, the only one we have in the house, “The Jackson 5.” When he heard “I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus,” he said, “That’s yucky.” He asked me if I’d kiss Santa when I see him. I said yes. He said, “Ooh, yucky.” R has hundreds of CDs, yet no Christmas ones. My favourite Christmas song is “O Holy Night.” I have goose bumps every time I hear that song.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

He still needs me

On The View, Meredith was talking about how she was up until 2 a.m. Her son Ben and a classmate were doing a report when the computer froze and made the report all garbled. His son woke her and asked for help – his 16-year old son, who won’t talk to her anymore. (I felt for her) She said that although she felt terrible for his son, she was glad that he asked for her help in the middle of the night. He still needed her.

Yeah, I feel that way too. RG seldom talks to me anymore. I have to initiate conversations to make him open up. The only time he initiates small conversations is when he needs something, like when he wants to go to a store to buy something. I am glad to know that he still needs me at times.

A lesson in giving

It was Blake’s turn to come over. He came at around 6:00 p.m. I let them play in my bedroom as RG was already practicing his flute in their bedroom. When we were all downstairs waiting for his mom, RK offered Blake the Pot of Gold chocolates. Blake picked the rectangular signature piece. That was RK’s favourite. The other day, I ate the other signature piece. Ooops! I told him that there was another one on the bottom layer and he could have that one. So when Blake took a bite of the chocolate, I watched for RK’s reaction. He didn’t react.

Blake’s mom came at around 7:30 p.m. When they were gone, RK started to cry.

RK: Blake ate my chocolate. Hoo hoo.
Mom: (Uh oh!) That’s okay. I’ll buy some more next week.
RK: But he ate my favourite.
Mom: That’s okay, because he’s your friend. Sometimes we give our friends our favourites.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Of dark lines, languages and relating to boys

On The View, they have been following Elisabeth’s pregnancy. She is about 4-5 weeks pregnant now and the dark line on her tummy has begun to appear. Oh, I remember that line on mine during my pregnancies. It is called linea alva, while pregnant and linea negra after pregnancy.

On Ellen, Melina Kanakeredes was on. She said that she speaks Greek to both her children. But her youngest daughter is kind of confused because her oldest daughter talks to her in English. That was the same experience I had. But Melina was more determined to speak only in Greek to her kids at home. I do speak Tagalog to my kids but sometimes I still catch myself using the English word for a word that they understand in Tagalog. I talked about this before in Do they speak Tagalog? in Catherine's Corner.

On Dr. Phil, a wife of a marine, whose husband is on Iraq, and who has three boys, asked Robin, “Being a mother to two boys, how did you make them relate to you how they were feeling?” Robin’s answer was “I tried to relate to them. I would say, when I was that age, I went through the same thing and this was how I felt.” That was a good advice! Dr. Phil added that of course, girls tend to be more open to their mothers than boys are.

Little visitor

RK invited Evan to come over. He came at 5:30 p.m. They played in his bedroom with their YuGiOh cards. His mom picked him up at around 7:00 p.m. She said, “Evan really likes RK. He said RK tells the best jokes.” I told her that he can come over any time.

I’m glad that RK is making friends at school. I was very shy and had no friends at school when I was his age.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

But didn't it?

At lunchtime, I went out to do some errands. It was cold but it was easier to walk. The streets and sidewalks have been plowed. The pair of tire-tracks made the sidewalks look like they were mini-roads.

On Oprah, the topic was about stage moms and dads. There was this guy Duncan Nutter, who has seven kids and has been pursuing a career on Broadway. He also wanted his kids to be actors. So they left their big house in their hometown and they all moved to New York. Oprah thought that it was HIS dream that he was really pursuing and not his kids’ dreams. “My life didn’t stop when theirs started,” he replied. “But didn’t it?” Oprah said. I thought that she was right. In a way, we have to sacrifice our dreams when we start to have children. They have to be the priority. I think that’s why it is important to plan ahead if you want to have children. Because having children means you’re willing to sacrifice some of your dreams, some of your life.

Monday, December 13, 2004

A lazy day

I was relieved because sis was back. I didn’t have to go over there at lunch to help the kids. I felt so tired today. I usually do on Mondays, anyway. It was a lazy day. I found myself cleaning out the lint, crumbs and staples inside my keyboard. Ho hum!

RK came home from school with the sniffles. I still let him play outside when he begged. He was about to cry. I called him back after 30 minutes only.

At night before bedtime…
Mom: RK, you have to take medicine.
RK started crying.
Mom: But this is Triaminic chewable tablets. The orange one. Don’t you like this?
RK: I don’t like it (hoo hoo)
Mom: Oh, you like this. This will make you feel better.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

They're back

Sis, F and Carus arrived today. My niece A wanted to drive but Mama didn’t want her to because of the slippery roads. The very thoughtful A baked a cake for her parents.

I went over there after I did my groceries. R’s parents had some pasalubong for us: Goldilocks pulvoron, dried mangoes, a handbag, a necklace and a pair of earrings for me. Sis also gave me some cornick, hopia and pastillas.

It looked like F had deleted their pictures from the digital camera. Uh oh!

Saturday, December 11, 2004

More sad news

We were having breakfast when the phone rang that distinctive ring. I knew it was an overseas call. It could be Lina. No, it was my cousin Lou calling from U.A.E. She told me that Auntie Baby had an accident. She was riding a jeepney when it crashed and she died. The other passengers survived. She was the only one who didn’t. Auntie Baby survived breast cancer and now she died in a jeepney accident.

Blowing snow

RG: Mommy, what medicine can I take? (for his cold)
Mom: The Actifed.
RG: Oh, that one makes me sleepy.
Mom: Well, that’s what cold medicines do. They don’t really cure the cold. They just cure the symptoms, thus making you sleepy.
RG: I’ll take it after my flute lesson.

It was Children’s Christmas party at work. RC and RK didn’t attend catechism. All the kids wanted to go because we were going shopping after the party. We met up with RG in the bus that he was on from his flute lesson. Only RK was eligible to get a present. He was the only one under 8 years old. I saw some friends with their kids at the party.

RK slipped on ice when we got off the bus downtown after the party. I thought he sprained his left hand. No, it just hurt a little.

We went to KP. I told the kids that we were buying their Christmas presents but won’t open them until Christmas. Instead of me buying them stuff that they didn’t really want, they could buy what they want. I don’t know what they want anymore. It was windy. Blowing snow. As we walk from one store to the next, small snow pellets sometimes blew in our faces and they hurt. I told RC and RK to look down while we were walking. RG and I were holding and guiding them anyway. The wind was gusting and there were times that the wind was literally blowing us away. It was also hard to walk. It was like walking on sand on the loosely packed snow. It was very tricky to walk, too. There was ice under the snow. You had to watch every step. The thing with the temperature going up, the snow melts, and then the next day the temperature goes down again, the melted snow freezes and turns into ice. Then it will snow again and we have ice under snow.

Friday, December 10, 2004

We can't find him

When I was over next door warming up my pamangkins' lunch, the phone rang. It was Ancie. She was calling from school. “Tita, is Diko (Angelus) there? We can’t find him.” I told her he wasn’t and to wait for him a little bit more. “If he doesn’t show up, can you guys walk by yourselves?” I asked her. She said yes, but I was worried and decided to go out and get them myself. I met them walking with Angelus. Amica was crying. I guess Angelus was making her run, or walk faster and she was tired. Amica is a slow walker. I held her hand and told her to stop crying and that she didn’t have to walk fast. They had enough time.

Having to help the kids with lunch, I found myself multi-tasking more than usual. I usually use my lunch time to cook or start preparing our dinner, or do laundry. On days that I have appointments like today, I have to manage my time in such a way that I could still complete my 7 ½ hours of work. This week, I have been leaving them after they were all seated and eating and then I would go home to do the stuff that I usually do at my lunch time. Like today, I unloaded the washer and loaded the dryer. And then I went back there. They were all done eating except for Amica, who is also a slow eater. They usually go back to school after 30 minutes. The kids have been very polite. They always said, “thank you po.” The other day, Angelus’ jacket zipper was broken. The zipper opened up from the bottom when he bent over to tie his shoe laces. (Don’t you just hate it when that happens?) I fixed it up for him. I realized that I have been these kids' mother during lunch for the past two weeks.

After school, RK asked if he could play outside with his cousins. I let him play since it wasn’t very cold. He came home later with wet socks, boots and pants. I told him to let his boots dry over the heating vent.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

On strike

A Florida couple went on strike when their 2 kids, a 12-year old daughter and a 17-year old son wouldn’t help out at home. The couple camped out in front of their house and left the kids to clean up after themselves.

That is why I think that we should give children chores while they're younger. Make it a routine. If we start when they're older, it gets harder.

My Sentiments

I was kind of stressed out during the day as I was pressed for time. We had the Holiday luncheon at work in the afternoon and the children’s Christmas concert at night.

In the morning Heather e-mailed me and asked if I was attending the luncheon. She invited me to join her, Christy and Dorothy. She and Christy were meeting before the luncheon and Dorothy would be saving them seats. I told her that I was meeting my friend E. That was very nice of her. She was thinking about me. The thing with working at home is that we lose regular contact with friends and when there are gatherings like this, we just have each other to mingle with. I am lucky that E was always there, keeping me company. Actually, she was the one who suggested that I meet her before the luncheon so that we could sit together.

I left at 1:00 p.m. First I went to the postal outlet at Shoppers Drug Mart. There was a line up and we were held up because the debit machines have been acting up. It was already 1:54 p.m. when I left Shopper’s. E and I were supposed to meet at her desk on the 10th floor at 2:00 p.m. There were lots of people waiting by the elevator – waiting for friends so that they could walk together to the luncheon. When Christy came out of the elevator, she said, “Come on, there’s nobody up there. Everybody’s gone.” I told her, “I’m meeting my friend upstairs. She’s waiting for me.” I missed the elevator going up. Another one opened and who came out. It was none other than J, Auntie Jayne’s twin. Hoy, dito ka na ba nag-tatrabaho? I thought that she was just working in the same building. I later realized that she’s with the same company. I told her that I was meeting my friend upstairs. Anong floor? Tenth floor. O duon ako galing. I missed the elevator again.

When I got to the tenth floor, E was very anxious to leave. Ba’t ngayon ka lang. Kung sinu-sino na ang tinawagan ko. Naku sorry ha! Ilang beses kasi ako na-iwan ng elevator.

We headed to the luncheon. We saw the tropa (girls) in one table. There was only one seat left. E sat with them. G and L were in the next table. I thought that there would be an extra seat for me. But there wasn’t. I stood there between the two tables for what seemed to me an eternity. I should have accepted Heather’s invitation earlier. Now I have nowhere to sit.

Ate C led me to her unit’s table. Hindi ko naman sila kilala. Eh di magpakilala ka. Instead of standing there in the middle of nowhere, I sat at the empty seat with all these strangers. I felt like an outcast. I look forward going to these gatherings to catch up with my friends and I felt that they didn’t feel that way. Or was I just being self-centered? The world doesn’t revolve around me. Later on Ate C came over and introduced me to the guy beside me. Pinoy pala. The girl on my other side was Pinay as well.

The Pinoy said, “Ilang taon na po kayo dito?” PO? Do I look that old? Of course, he was just being polite. I am still taken by surprise if adults say PO to me. The Pinoy did try to have short conversations with me, which was really very nice. And later during the conversation, he did tell me that I look young to have a 15-year old child. So, okay lang.

Most of the time, I was very uncomfortable. The thing with me is, I am very ill at ease with white people at these gatherings. I tend to be very quiet. Having one-on-one conversation is fine with me, but not a group setting like that. If we were all Pinoys, I could easily jump in and out of the conversation. Akala ko makaka-table ko yung tropa ng mga Pinay. Pero heto at pakiramdam ko ay itinapon ako dito. Himutok na himutok ako pero siyempre hindi ko ipinahalata. I understood that they did not intend to do that, but I felt really bad.

I sat there while they chatter. I saw Ate M. She was with a table of white people. Further up there, I saw my Kumareng Em with a group of white people as well. The two looked comfortable with them. I was just not. And then I remembered what Kumareng Em told me last summer when my other Kumare, N, came for a visit. She said, “My husband thinks you’re mataray.” Aray ko po. It bothered me that he thought that. But am I? That’s probably why they don’t come every time I invite them over. Well, maybe I am mataray, but with a certain subtlety. Although around white people, I am very shy and quiet. I need to develop my people skills especially with whites. But how can I develop it further when I have chosen to work at home? Although, I have no regrets. This is just one of the pitfalls of working at home. I still love being at home when the kids come home from school.

The food was okay. We had cream of mushroom soup, turkey with gravy, whipped potatoes. I didn’t eat the veggies –carrots, rutabaga, asparagus. I finished my cranberry maple mousse and it was good. The others barely touched theirs, claiming they were already full.

We were given envelopes, some of which indicated prizes, some not. I was lucky to get a prize. It was a Christmas ornament – a crystal-like reindeer with gold trimmings. It matches the decorations on my Christmas tree at home! I felt better when I opened my gift.

When I got up to claim my prize, I met up with E, who also got one. “Okay ka lang duon?” she asked. “Oo,” I lied. I couldn’t tell her my sentiments. How could I, when she was very accommodating and always trying to make me feel like I was still part of the group. Although, it hit me just then. I am no longer part of the group. She knew that and mentioned it in one of our conversations a long time ago. Yes, they welcome my presence whenever I am there, but I am no longer in their circle. I felt sad today. I felt the same sadness that I felt when my Kumareng N left for Calgary. N and I used to talk on the phone about kids, married life and other things. I was able to confide in her. Then she left. Then E and I got closer. And I am thankful for that because I am able to confide in her, too.

That's too bad

I came home and worked some more. The kids and I had to leave at 6:15 p.m. I made them eat supper at 5:30 p.m. They were all coming to watch the concert. R didn’t want to come. What else is new? When I was getting dressed, I heard RC and RK fighting. RK started to cry. I was already stressed as it was and I couldn’t take it. If we were not leaving, I would have let it go. But it was RK’s concert and I didn’t want him to have puffy eyes while performing. So I lost it. I shouted and made both of them come up. I tried to make RK stop crying. He said that RC was singing a song about him. So I reprimanded RC. Amica and Gaudie were also performing this night. A came with us, too. I videotaped the concert. RK looked so tired. It was a good concert, though.

When we were walking home…
RK: Gage wasn’t there.
Mom: Why?
RK: His mom is working.
Mom: What about his dad?
RK: I think he doesn’t have a dad.
Mom: Oh, that’s too bad

Kids here in North America are exposed to different family arrangements, unlike when I was growing up in the Philippines. I couldn’t talk about my parents’ separation with my classmates because it was sort of taboo and it was hard to explain to people about our situation. But here, kids are able to talk freely about these issues with their friends.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

You can do anything

On The View, Kathie Lee Gifford said, “My parents told me, you can do anything, including fail.”

Those are just the right words to say to our children to encourage them to pursue their dreams and at the same time prepare them for the disappointments in life. I like that.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

St. Ambrose

The calendar said, St. Ambrose, bishop, Dr. of the Church. So he was named after the saint. Happy birthday, Pa. I hope that you are resting in peace up there in heaven.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Two more sick ones

The smoke detector went off this the morning. I used the burner where the beef broth spilled last night. This prompted me to change the batteries of all 3 smoke detectors, which I had been putting off since the time changed to Daylight Savings Time. There were reminders all over the TV stations to change the smoke detector batteries in the Fall. It’s just that I’ve been so busy lately.

My nephew S didn’t go to school this morning because he was throwing up last night. Niece A called me and said that I didn’t have to go over there at lunch since S was home. I went anyway to make sure that S was okay and able to help his siblings. I then learned that Ancie went home after first period because she wasn’t feeling well. S picked her up at school. S was feeling better after lunch and went to school in the afternoon. I helped them out at lunch and made sure that everything was unplugged and turned off in the kitchen. Ancie stayed with me and I made her take a nap.

Thank you God

RK was reading the Early Reader’s Bible. He likes to read so much that he’ll start reading anything. (Mana yan sa Mommy.)

RK: Long ago there was no world, no sun, no moon, no stars. I will make the world, God said. So God made the world. I will make the sun, God said. So God made the sun.

Mom: Did you understand what you read?

RK: God made the sun. Yey!

His bright eyes were wide open. He had that sweet open-mouthed smile on his face – that same smile when he tells me “You’re the best, Mommy.”

RK: Have you thanked God? What does that mean, Mommy?

Mom: Did you say thank you to God?

RK: Thank you, God. Yey!

Then he said that he’d make a present for me. He went to his bedroom so that I would not see it. It was a surprise. But I knew that he was cutting letters as he came back a couple of times. He asked me to cut a letter S and then a letter Z.

RK: What did you say, Mommy?

Mom: Zed

RK: It’s zee.

Mom: Sometimes we call it zed.

It’s so easy to teach RK to read. I remember when RC was just learning to read. He got frustrated easily. If I helped him sound out the words and said the words before he could, he would cry. When I let him figure it out on his own, he would also cry. Sometimes we wouldn’t finish reading a book. He would be crying and it would upset me. Then I’d feel guilty for not being patient enough. Those were difficult times for both of us. I am glad that those days were over. With RK, if I read a word before he did, he would just tell me, (sometimes a little bit upset) “Oh, I was gonna say that.” And he would continue reading. No tears. The next time we encountered that word, I would let him read it first. Or I would give him some time to figure out a word and I’d step right in if it took him longer than the others.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

What am I teaching him?

RG and I went downtown after lunch. I told him to watch where the bus was going so that he could learn how to go there by himself. As if I was ready to let him do that. A&B Sound is just in front of the MTS Centre. It’s very easy to find. It was the first time I saw the MTS Centre, finished, in all its glory. I’ve seen it on the news on TV and the pictures in the papers. But this was the first time that I stood next to it.

First, RG and I went to City Place . When we were leaving, a white guy, who looked pretty decent, approached us and asked if we could spare him some change. His car wouldn’t start and he needed bus fare to go home. The poor guy’s ears were red and he looked like he was telling the truth. I gave him one of my bus tickets, instead. If he were a Pana, I probably wouldn’t have given him any money or ticket. That’s also what I told RG. I told him, “If it were just you, don’t give any money to anybody, especially those Pana.” Am I prejudiced or what? Am I teaching my child to be one as well? Also, it’s just hard to trust people nowadays.

Each life affects the other

The movie “The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” was on ABC. I have wanted to buy the book for a long time but it was about $35.00. And it was only over 200 pages. It was on sale at Superstore at 40% off for a little while. But still, it was $17.00, and just for a thin book. I thought it was still too much. (Yeah, that’s me, cheap.) I was happy when I learned that they made it into a movie. It was about this guy Eddie, the Maintenance guy at Ruby Pier, a carnival. He died saving a girl when there was an accident. Then he went to heaven and met five people that he met on Earth, but he didn’t know that each of these five people had some connections and effects on his life. I’d like to tell the story, but I don’t want to spoil the ending. You might want to read the book. I, myself, might buy the book after all.

I feel that I have sort of experienced what Eddie experienced in heaven when I contacted my former classmates, especially my encounter with M. I was glad that I encountered M again since I was bitter towards M for a long time due to some things that happened back home. When we contacted each other, we cleared things out. Every encounter with each of my classmates gave me some answers to the things that happened in my life. I think I summed it all up in Assignment 6, “Reconnecting and Healing,” which I will share later.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

It's a skating rink out there

RG was asking me last night if we could go to Long & McQuade (music store). I told him that we may have to wait until the Christmas holidays. He wanted to try out flutes. I asked him, “Why, do you want to buy a new one? We’re still paying for your saxophone.” We couldn’t afford a new instrument. He said that he just want to try out flutes.

At lunch...
RG: Mommy, do we have time to go to A&B today?
Mom: Not today, I’m working. We can go tomorrow.

Me: R, lalabas ka ba?
R: Sinisipon ako eh.
Mom: Okay RG, we’ll go tomorrow after lunch.

At church, Brother Jorge said, “I’m glad that you’re still all in one piece. It’s a skating rink out there.” Indeed, it was. We entered the parking lot of St. A and it was as if we entered a skating rink. I didn’t think that I could walk through that ice without slipping. I asked RK to hold me and we walked slowly, without slipping.

Mama said that Ancie threw up last night and that Gaudie had diarrhea. Uh, oh! When will it ever stop.

I finally transferred our home videos to VHS. My niece A, who is working on the school yearbook, wanted to borrow the tape of the concert because the person who was in charge of videotaping it for school run out of batteries that night. I recorded four tapes – RG’s graduation in June, RG’s band camp concert in August, RG’s birthday and his recent winter concert in November. We all had fun watching the winter concert especially the last number “Mustang Sally.” The guy who sang the vocals was very good. RK kept singing, “Ride Sally Ride.” He was so funny.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Warmer and tired

The temperature rose to plus 3 degrees C. After lunch, I scraped the melted ice in the deck and cleared our front steps of snow. Nakakahiya naman sa mail carrier and my courier guy. I didn’t want them to slip in our front steps. Baka mademanda pa ako.

I have been getting up before 6:30 a.m. everyday since Monday. This morning, since we didn’t have any lakad (appointments), I decided to get up at my usual time, just before 7:00 a.m. I was so tired after supper that I left the dishes in the sink to do them later. Meanwhile, I lay down on the couch while RK sang silly songs for me. Then I heard R washing the dishes. (???)

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Feeling better

When I went over next door this morning, I asked, “Does everybody have scarves on?” I also brought an extra one just in case anybody needed it. “Nobody is allowed to get sick anymore,” I added. Ryan chuckled. Of course, I was only kidding, even last night when I said that to my kids. “You guys have to take care of yourselves. You don’t want to get sick.”

Gaudie was feeling better and went to school.


I’ve had this blister on my right hand since last week from oil splatter while I was frying maple ham strips. It looked nasty. I covered it up with band-aid when I went to the parent-teacher meeting and when I went to Dr. D. and Dr. J. Now I have a paper cut and a couple more cracks on my skin. My hands get so dry especially on weather like this. It is very cold outside.

Winter Concert

Today was RG’s concert. I planned on starting work early but I was delayed when I checked my emails this morning. I wasn’t able to start until 9:30 a.m. I already did 30 minutes before I woke up the kids, though. Now I was stressed out, as we had to leave at 5:30 p.m. for the concert.

R came home early.
RC: Mommy, Daddy’s not coming to Kuya RG’s concert.
Mom: Why?
RC: His back hurts.

So now, I have 2 extra tickets worth $5.00 each. I didn’t know that RG didn’t need tickets. I bought one for him, too.

It was only the four of us that went, the 3 kids and I. Niece A wanted to go but this morning she told me that she didn’t think that she could come. I didn’t either. I was glad that she realized it herself. Her siblings needed her at home.

It was very cold tonight. I had to remind RG to wear his black socks before we left. Their attire: black shirt, black dress pants, black socks and black shoes. They had to be at the Concert Hall at 6:10 p.m. Concert was to start at 7:00 p.m. I brought my magazines and the kid’s books and Gameboys so we won’t get bored.

When we were waiting at the lobby, I asked this family if they had enough tickets. They did. I explained that I have 2 extra ones. The dad joked that I could stand by the door and sell them. “Isn’t that illegal?” I asked. I guess it wouldn’t be. I was thinking of scalping tickets. That’s when you sell them for a higher price. But I was going to sell them for the same price. Later on the mom found me a buyer. Another lady bought my two extra tickets. Sigh of relief.

I saw Omar’s parents. His mom was looking for Mama. I told her that she goes to bed at 8:00 p.m. She likes to get up early. Mama and I met Omar’s parents during the Jazz competition earlier this year. She saw RG’s two brothers and asked, “How it is like to have three boys?” “Well,” I began, “they’re pretty good boys. Although, sometimes they can get rough and restless especially in the winter months. They spend most of the time inside and they get bored.”

We weren’t allowed to enter the concert hall until about 6:45 p.m. We seated ourselves in Section 4. We had a good view of the stage and I thought they were better seats than the ones in the balcony. The closer seats were better since I was videotaping and taking pictures. RG had solos on both the flute and the soprano sax. He went to see us during the intermission and asked me to tape the Senior Jazz Band, which featured the music of Duke Ellington and in which Sam had a solo. There was this Senior 4 student, Catlin, who had solos on the baritone saxophone here and there. He was quite good. I thought the best part was “Mustang Sally,” played on instrument and vocals.

I didn’t realize that the concert would last two hours. I didn’t anticipate that the two kids would be out past their bedtime. RK got bored and kept asking, “Is it almost time to go home?” The concert ended at around 9:30 p.m. We stayed at the lobby while waiting for our bus to arrive at 10:23 p.m. RK complained that his legs hurt. He fell asleep on the bus. When we were almost on our street, I woke him up. He was about to cry. I told him not to. We came home at around 11:00 p.m. R was already asleep. Once the boys were inside, RC and RK started bickering and RK cried. I was too tired to deal with them and made them go to bed right away.

Won't talk

On Vicki Gabereau, an author wrote in his book about how his father physically abused him in childhood. His brother won’t talk to him. The brother believed that he shouldn’t be talking about their dead father like that. This is the same reason that I’m hesitant in talking about the abuse that I witnessed in my childhood. I don’t know how people will react to it.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

All good things come to an end

When I woke up RK and kissed him, he said that he didn’t want a kiss, only a hug. Sometimes when I kiss him, he would wipe his cheek with his palm. I'm glad that he still lets me hug him. The other two don't. Sometimes I’d stare at him while he’s sleeping. His skin is so smooth and he has this soft tiny moustache. He has been hairy since he was a baby. I’m trying to savour this closeness since I know that before I know it, he will grow up and start to pull away, like his older brothers did.

I mailed my Christmas cards today while the kids were having lunch.

It snowed in the afternoon.

After being a 74-day champion on Jeopardy, Ken Jennings finally lost with winnings of $2,520,700 to Nancy Zerg. RC and I have been following Ken and wondered when he’d finally lose.

The category: Business & Industry
The clue: Most of this firm’s 70,000 white-collar seasonal employees work only 4 months a year.
Nancy’s answer: H & R Block
Ken’s answer: Fed Ex
Alex Trebek called Nancy the giant killer and commented that all good things come to an end.

Before the final answer was revealed I knew that the answer must have something to do with taxes. (I once worked with the Taxation.) I was right. How could Ken not get it? I was kind of sad to see him lose.

Monday, November 29, 2004

I knew it!

I decided to start work early, 6:30 a.m., since I had to leave at around 5:00 p.m. for my dentist appointment. The phone rang at around 7:00 a.m. “Gaudie is not going to school. He has been throwing up since last night. Can he stay there with you?” That was Mama. “I think he had too much pasta last night. He threw up. I gave him warm milk. Threw up again. This morning, I think we didn’t warm the soup up really good. He threw up again,” she added. Yan na nga ba ang sinasabi ko. She probably let him eat as much as he could. You can’t do that to kids.

Seven-year old Gaudie stayed with me while I worked. I let him take a nap in RK’s bed. Later, he went downstairs and I gave him some arrowroot cookies. That was the closest thing to crackers that we had. (I didn’t realize that we had Skyflakes.) I knew that crackers are the best thing if you are throwing up (like when you have morning sickness during pregnancy). I gave him water to drink, from the Brita, not cold. He was fine. He didn’t throw up. I let him watch TV until around noon. We went to their house and waited for his siblings. Then he asked for his bucket and begun throwing up. I decided to call Dr. D. It was a good thing that we got an appointment at 1:00 p.m.

Dr. D told me to give him crackers (I was right), diluted apple juice, ginger ale, Powerade, or 7-up (I knew that too).

The sidewalks were very icy. It can be very tricky walking on ice. I tried to avoid the shiny ice as much as possible. But kids just slide through ice as if they’re skating. I see them sliding through the ice gracefully on their way to school. Sometimes, I still slip.

I left at around 5:00 p.m. for my dentist’s appointment. It was already pitch dark outside. Houses and apartments were lit with Christmas lights.

I had a root canal. I asked the dental assistant how long it would take. She told me about an hour and a half. She placed the rubber dam around my mouth, which would be open for the entire procedure. I wasn’t looking forward to that. Dr. J told me to open my mouth as wide as I could. He started poking and probing on my tooth. I held on to the armrests for my dear life. Sometimes he would squish my lips really hard. That felt uncomfortable. We were done in an hour. Dr. J couldn’t finish the root canal because it was complicated. There was not enough room in one of the canals for him to get through. He referred me to a periodontist, a specialist who will finish the procedure.

The Greatest

I watched the final showdown of “The Greatest Canadian.” I have been following the show and watched the documentaries of the top ten finalists. It was very interesting to learn about these Canadians. It’s like studying Canadian history.

Top Ten (in order):
1. Tommy Douglas, Father of Medicare
2. Terry Fox, ran the Marathon of Hope, fought cancer
3. Pierre Trudeau, the charismatic Prime Minister, promoted bilingualism and multi-culturalism
4. Sir Frederick Banting, discovered insulin
5. David Suzuki, a scientist whose cause is to save the planet
6. Lester B. Pearson, won the Nobel Peace prize for creation of UN peacekeeping force
7. Don Cherry, hockey commentator
8. Sir John A. MacDonald, the first Prime Minister
9. Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone
10. Wayne Gretzky, The Great One in hockey

I have been rooting for Douglas ever since the show started. Without him we wouldn’t have free visits to the doctor and free hospitalization. At first, RC was rooting for Gretzky because he’s into sports. Later, he switched to Fox, probably because of the yearly Terry Fox Run at school. Today, he said that he was rooting for MacDonald. He said that they were discussing about it at school and they voted for their favourites. RC changed his mind. He learned that MacDonald united Canada. That was a good choice. Although, the majority of his class voted for Douglas.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

On leaving, overtime and trimmings

Sis, F and Carus left at 5:00 a.m. Carus was cranky because they only had a couple of hours of sleep. Our friend T drove them to the airport. Mama and my niece A also went. Mama said that she overheard A telling her 14 and 11 year old brothers, “Guys, if you don’t obey me, it will be really hard for me.” Poor A. She's only 16.

I remember the first time Mama went abroad. I was only 15. Of course, this was a different situation. Mama left sis and me with my aunt so that she could work in Canada. I was crying the first time she phoned us. I couldn't talk. I was sobbing.

I worked 5 hours overtime. I would have done more if I didn’t have to do my groceries and leave at 5:00 p.m. for church. The other day when I was talking to my friend E, she told me that she told the girls how we were discussing about overtime. I told E how it came up in my yearly evaluation with my Supervisor earlier this year. I felt guilty that I didn’t have any overtime last year. It’s hard enough to pull a seven-and-a-half workday as it is. So overtime during weekdays can be really tough. Overtime, in our yearly performance, falls under ‘team effort.’ Performance looks better if we contributed to the team.

I always carry a small notebook in my purse where I could write ideas that pop in my head, or when I need to write a phone number, address or notes. When we are in church, RK gets bored and I let him write in my small notebook. Tonight he wrote, “I like Christmas because of all the presents.”

After supper, I brought up the Christmas tree and asked the kids to help me bring up the decorations. We set it up in the living room by the window, where it always has been during the Christmas season. They put up the trimmings. Last year, I bought gold and silver ornaments. It’s nicer to look at if there’s a motif. The kids can still hang up the decorations that they will make at school.

Friday, November 26, 2004

News travels fast

It was RK’s and RC’s Parent-teacher meeting. They didn’t have school today.

At RC’s room.
Mrs. M: I heard that you are looking after the kids while your sister is gone.
Me: Oh no, I will just be helping them out since we live next door to each other.
Mrs. M said that she didn’t know until about a month ago that RC and Angelus were cousins. She also said that the two always want to be the first. Well, that’s RC. RC is improving in writing and speaking. “And he is just so cute,” she added. She mentioned that we seemed to be a good family. “That’s good parenting,” she said. I beamed.

At RK’s room:
Mrs. S: I heard that you will be looking after the kids.
Me: Oh, no. I’m just helping out. My mother will be staying with them.
RK is learning very well at school. I told Mrs. S that I’ve noticed that he’s been reading very well. He does a lot of reading and writing at home.

At night, I went over next door. Sis and F haven’t started packing yet. It was a good thing that sis was able to apply for passports for her and Carus that quick. F already has a passport since he went home just last May to celebrate his mother’s birthday.

I told my niece A that she wouldn’t have to come home at lunch. I would come over to help the kids. Sis mentioned something about a WILL. I told Mama jokingly that if anything happens to them that we would take 3 kids each. I would take the girls. I didn’t want any more boys as I already have 3.

I was over there for about an hour and a half. I would have stayed longer but I haven’t had supper yet and I needed to get the kids to bed since they have catechism in the morning.

RK: Mommy, I missed you.
Mom: Oh, You missed me. But I was just next door.
RK: I cried when you were gone.
Mom: Oh!

Thursday, November 25, 2004

You learn something new everyday

At noon, I went to Pharma Plus and mailed a request for a sample copy of a magazine. This is part of my assignments for my course. I also went to Royal Bank to buy a money order for back issues of a U.S. magazine that I ordered a few weeks ago. I confirmed with the teller that I can’t pay a U.S. company with a Canadian cheque. I have to buy a money order for that. The guy told me to go to my own bank. He thought that my bank wouldn’t charge me for it. So off I went to my bank. The lady at the counter told me that there was a charge of $6.00. She told me, “If you buy the money order at the Post Office, they will be cheaper. You can buy them at any postal outlet. Pharma Plus has one.” “Oh, I was just there to mail something,” I said. I went back to Pharma Plus and bought my money order. I paid Cdn$7.26 for the US$6.00, plus $4.00 fee. All that trouble just to order that US magazine. It was also a good thing that I called the telebus for the bus schedules, or I would have been out for a long time.


On the Dr. Phil Show, Rachel was on. She was a 16-year old who got pregnant and her parents, especially her mother, weren’t too thrilled about it. The day after she told her mother that she was pregnant, her mother sent her to a maternity home. Apparently, Rachel and her mom weren’t getting along. Mom thought that Rachel was rebelling ever since she met a boy, and was furious to learn that it wasn’t the same boy who got her pregnant. Mom sent her away because there were two little sisters at home. She was “protecting” them. Rachel felt betrayed to be yanked away from her family just like that. She missed being home and being with her sisters. Mom felt that she didn’t know how to deal with Rachel’s problem and so sent her to the maternity home, which was a good facility and would help Rachel during this difficult time.

This reminded me a lot of when I was 17 and a girl my age got pregnant. Let’s just call her P. P's older sister was the first one to notice her bulging stomach. Their mother didn’t even notice, or she was probably just in denial. P run away from home to her friend’s house in Bataan. P’s family asked the police’s help to find her. When they did, P was made to stay at ‘Auntie C’s house, where sis and I were also staying. P wouldn’t tell them who the father of her baby was. She told them that she was raped. But P told my cousin T that it was actually her high school teacher who got her pregnant. Her teacher was married and has a family.

P’s mother sent her away to ‘Auntie C' because she didn’t want their neighbours to know about the family disgrace. Her mother also made arrangements to have the baby adopted. She said that if P didn’t know who the father was, how would she know how the baby would turn out. P was helpless. The baby was taken away from her right after birth. She didn’t know who adopted the baby. She didn’t even know if it was a boy or a girl.

P is now married and is trying to have a baby. I’ve always wanted to ask her about her first baby. Did she ever try contacting her child? He or she must be an adult by now. But I don’t know how she feels about that. I don’t want to stir emotions that she probably wants to forget.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

sad news

Sis called me after lunch. F’s Nanay died. She was over 80 years old. She has had asthma attacks recently and passed away in the car on the way to the hospital. Nanay had recently confided to son Dante that it’s sad when you’re that old already. She has been widowed for a long time.

RK read Dr. Seuss’ “Go Dogs Go” all by himself. He has learned a lot.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

I need a good laugh

It’s winter wonderland outside. It’s time to bring out the winter boots and snow pants. It looked slippery outside.

I enjoy watching “The Ellen Degeneres Show.” She just cracks me up. On days that I’m feeling blue, I’ll just watch Ellen to get a laugh and I’ll feel better. Sometimes I laugh out loud even if I’m alone.

My friend E called. I was asking her if they were going to the holiday luncheon on December 9. They were and I asked her to save me a seat in their table. She’s in training now for medical benefits. It reminded me again that I’ll be stuck in my current position as long as I work at home. It doesn’t really bother me that much because I really enjoy working at home. The kids are my priority and my current situation is working very well for all of us. Besides, if I give up working at home, I won’t be able to write as much. It would be really hard to give up the comforts of working from home.

I finished reading The Good Earth. I first read this book about 20 some years ago and I had no recollection of what the story was all about when I started reading it this time.

Monday, November 22, 2004

It's beginning to look a lot like...

I overslept. RG woke me up at 7:10 a.m. I got up and felt the ache in my lower right back. The raking. The right side. I was sleeping on my right side.

Jamie Lee Curtis was on “ The Ellen Degeneres Show.” It was Jamie's birthday. Every year on her birthday, she would call her mom and walk her through the final moments before her birth. “Ok Janet, it’s time to push.” Her mom would then make the sound of a crying baby. Jamie was in tears since she lost her mom just recently. Her mother was Janet Leigh, star of the movie classic, Psycho. Jamie said that she believes that a birthday is something between you and your mom, whoever you are in the world. That was so beautiful and so true.

There were snow flurries in the afternoon. The kids went home with wet jackets. Well, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. It’s the first snowfall of the season. It wasn’t as dark at night anymore with the reflection of the snow on the ground.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

The day after

R left the beer bottles and glasses on the coffee table in the basement. I didn’t clean them up. I refuse to clean up after his drinking mess. It always brings up memories of Papa’s drinking. One scene is still very vivid in my mind. It happened in our kitchen in Noveleta. Mama was crying while she was washing the floor. Papa must be having a meal on the table. It looked like Papa was mad at Mama, or he must be drunk. This memory comes back to me everytime I see R’s mess after a night of drinking.

The kids and I went to Mass with Mama. On the church parking lot, we saw Terry’s youngest son driving their van. Student driver. He’s 15 ½. RG would be driving soon. How scary is that.

I finally finished and mailed Assignment 6 and got RG’s birthday party out of the way. Sigh of relief!!!

I raked the leaves in the backyard. I wanted to get them out of there before the snow falls. It’s good that the snow is late this year because I haven’t had the chance to rake the leaves up until this day. I didn’t really want to do it but nobody else would. I didn’t want to leave the leaves there all Winter. When the snow melts in the Spring, and the leaves thaw, there’s gonna be molds, not good for kids with asthma. I asked RG to help me bag the leaves since I wanted to take it easy. Bending over makes my back hurt.

After raking the leaves, I lay down for a nap. I asked RK to lie beside me and tell me bedtime stories. He’s good at making up stories. I woke up at past 4 p.m. and did the rest of the vacuuming.

I was really tired at night.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

On birthdays

Happy birthday, RG. 15 years old na!

I cooked spaghetti, made macaroni salad and bought 2 whole barbecued chickens. I also ordered 3 large pizzas. Sis, F, and the kids came over at around 3:30 p.m. C dropped her kids off at around 4 p.m. Ate A dropped off her boys at around 5 p.m. The sisters were trying to avoid each other. (???) They were not in speaking terms. K said that it has been 4 months since she last saw her cousins. They were happy to see each other again.

I had this conversation, similar to the one I had with C earlier, when Ate A picked up the boys:
Ate A: Ilang taon na si RG?
Me: 15 na.
Ate A: Biruin mo ang laki na ano?
M: Oo nga eh. Matatanda na rin tayo.
Actually I only notice that I’m getting older as I watch my children grow. Aside of course from the certain aches and pains here and there. I still feel young at heart.

Ate A also asked me, “Lagi mo silang ipinaghahanda kapag birthday nila ano?” “Syempre, so that they feel special,” I replied. “Bakit sila ba hindi mo laging ipinaghahanda?” I asked her back. No, she said.

As long as I could remember, Mama has always cooked pancit on our birthdays. Even when sis and I went to live with ‘Auntie C,’ there was always at least pancit on our birthdays. I’ve continued to do that until now. I cook either spaghetti or pancit (for long life) on our birthdays.

R’s friend N came over when everybody was gone. Nag-inuman sila and of course the stereo was blasting again. They didn’t hear the neighbour ringing the doorbell. I came downstairs and told them. N parked his car on the neighbour’s driveway. The neighbour asked them to move his car.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Of break-ups, striped, and legacy

On “The View,” the ladies were talking about getting over a break-up. It’s hard for everybody. And it’s not really good if you have a low self-esteem. I think that’s why it has been hard for me to get over my first heartbreak. My first boyfriend didn’t even formally break up with me. He just stopped seeing me. When I saw him later on with other girls, I couldn’t help comparing myself to them. I thought, of course, that girl, or this girl is taller than me. Why would he want to stay with a short girl like me when he was six foot tall. My self-esteem sunk after that break-up.

RK has encountered the word “striped” in 2 of the books that he read this week. It’s cute to hear him read stripe-ped, which of course I corrected on both times. I remember when RG used to read jump-ped (jumped).

On “Primetime-Prince Harry and the Forgotten Kingdom,” Prince Harry spent a year off before college in Lesotho helping kids infected with AIDS. His mother, Princess Diana, planted a seed in her sons. Harry wanted to continue her mother’s legacy. He felt that’s what she would have wanted him and brother Will to do.

William was 15 and Harry 12 when Diana died in a tragic accident trying to avoid the paparazzi. Just to think that William was only as old as RG is now when he lost his mother. I couldn’t imagine my kids losing me at such young ages.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The cake

It was the warmest day of the week. I decided to go today to buy ice cream cake at Dairy Queen. I went during my lunch break. I bought the biggest size (a slab) as I need one for around 20 people. I had to wait for the bus home for about 30-40 minutes. I was worried that the cake would melt. I stayed away from the sun. There was a picnic table outside the store. I went there and placed the cake on the seat behind the shadow of the table. I thought of going back to the store to ask the girl to put the cake back in the freezer. But I was worried that if I did, I might miss the bus. It comes only every 40 minutes during the day. I just waited outside. It was a little cold anyway as I had to wear my gloves. I figured it was just like fridge temperature. So it wasn’t that bad. Forty minutes of waiting and another 30 minutes on the bus – that was over an hour that the cake was outside the freezer. It didn’t melt though. The decoration and icing didn’t get soggy. The cake was saved.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

On taxes and fighting

RK, RG and I went to Zellers. RK needed to buy a present for his friend Blake. RG still couldn’t find winter shoes that he liked. He bought 2 sweaters instead. I told the cashier that the sweaters were for my 15-year old son so that I won’t have to pay taxes. She said that the no-tax is only for 14 and under. “Actually, he’s still 14, his birthday is next week,” I said. I didn’t know about that no-tax thing. She said that it depends on the store. Some stores impose the no-tax for 12 and under.

At night…
Mom: RK, don’t fight with Kuya RC, okay, also not with Kuya RG. Fighting is not good.
RK: But you fight with Daddy. This house is a fighting machine.
Although he said that in jest, I was taken aback. So my kids are aware of it. We should really stop fighting, especially in front of them.

Saturday, November 13, 2004


I worked 4 hours overtime today.

I e-mailed invitations to Ate A and C to come over next week on RG’s birthday. I didn‘t know that they were not speaking to each other. I just learned it from sis when I called her. I respect the sisters (Ate A and C) but I hate being caught in the middle of any tampuhan. I have been in situations like that before with family members and sometimes even friends.

At night, Kumpareng R and N came over. The stereo was blasting and I was ticked off again. But I tried to keep my cool. And I am proud of myself for that. I’ve been working overtime all week and I just want to relax. I told R to keep please keep it down when he came up. Later N also came up and talked to me when I was in the kitchen. He called the other day looking for R. He didn’t know that R’s gone back to work and that I work at home. It’s hard to be friendly when I am tired and ticked off.

Friday, November 12, 2004


Kids still had no school although I had work. The muscles on my arms were sore. Kids were testing my patience with their bickerings. The shrimp burned. I asked RG to look after the shrimp. He either didn’t hear me when I told him to turn it off in 5 minutes or he was too pre-occupied in the computer.

I noticed that I have more patience with the kids than I do with R.

Or it could be just that I realized that although RG's a teen-ager now, he is still just a kid. When I was around 12 or 13, Mama, sis, and I were living with my aunt in Manila. Mama was out one day and has asked me to prepare lunch before she came home. (Although we were living in the same house, Mama insisted to Auntie that we prepare our own food.) Well, I was young and I totally forgot the time. I forgot to cook something for lunch. Mama was very disappointed at me when she came home starving. I guess I didn't want to show my disappointment to RG since he does help a lot around the house. This was just one time that he messed up.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

A back-breaking job

Remembrance Day. No school. It was a holiday but I worked 3 hours overtime. After lunch I asked the kids to help me rake the leaves. I would really rather not do it but the lawn really needs raking and R wouldn’t do it. “Ako na lang ang maghuhugas ng pinggan,” he said. He picked the lighter chore. That really ticks me off. Later that day, my back hurt.

Monday, November 08, 2004


This is one thing that I seem to be practicing lately. I had been putting off fixing RK’s winter jacket until it gets colder. And of course we woke up to a minus 1 degree C. I hurriedly sewed the hole on his jacket while they were having breakfast.

Yesterday morning, I went rummaging through the children’s old winter clothes so that I could have an idea of how many pants both RC and RK needed because we were going shopping that afternoon.

Another thing I’ve been putting off is Assignment 6 in my course, “Breaking into Print,” which is due on November 28. I have to mail it to U.S. at least one week before the deadline. I don’t know why I always wait until the last 2 weeks before sitting on an assignment.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Heading south

The kids and I went shopping for pants, winter boot and shoes. These kids grow up so fast. It was kind of cold outside and some people were already wearing their winter coats. We still had our spring jackets on. We should have worn our winter coats. When we were walking home, we saw the birds in the sky flying in a straight line. It was cool to watch them do that. They must be heading south for the winter.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Something fishy

The house was smoky from overfried fish when I came home from grocery shopping at noon. They were already starting to have lunch. RG was upstairs puffing his inhaler. RG is allergic to fish. He gets rashes around his mouth when he eats fish. Even a spoon that has touched fish will give him rashes. He hasn’t eaten fish since we learned that he was allergic. I think I did let him try a couple of times before, but he still got the rashes. Sometimes when R fries fish, and he likes them overcooked, it gets smoky in the house. RG’s asthma would then act up.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

He's blurry

RK had an appointment with the optometrist. He went to see her last year and she asked us to come back this year. RK’s vision testing at school went okay. But RK has been complaining whenever we were at church that he couldn’t see the priest at the front. “He’s blurry," he would say. Sometimes he would wear my glasses but he couldn’t really tell if he sees clearly with them on.

Before we headed to the bus stop, RK and I went to 7-11 to buy bus tickets. I realized that I forgot to bring the doctor’s address with me. We hurried back home to get it, but we missed the bus. We walked up the street all the way to the highway where we were to catch the connecting bus to the clinic. It wasn’t that cold anyway and we took our time walking so that he won’t get too tired. We enjoyed looking at the bushes which had these lovely bright red-orange colour. Most of the trees were already leafless.

Last year the optometrist told me that RK was on the borderline of wearing glasses. As of now, he has difficulty reading from a distance but doesn’t need to wear glasses yet. Although, he will for sure in a year’s time. In the meantime, she suggested that I ask his teacher to make him sit at the front of the class and try to watch if he’s squinting. If he does, he has to be checked again and he may need to wear glasses sooner.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Ate Vi

Today is Vilma Santos’ 51st birthday. She is called Ate Vi (Vee) in the Philippines. That’s not how they say Vi here in North America. When RG was in 3rd or 4th grade, he got an invitation to his friend’s birthday party. When I called the boy’s mother to confirm that he was going, I asked for Vi (Vee), as indicated on the RSVP. The voice on the other line said, “Oh you meant Vi (Vye).” That was embarrassing.

What's holding you back?

After dinner, the commercial/public announcement from Manitoba Public Insurance came on TV. It was about a kid who lost his father because he didn’t wear his seatbelt. The announcement appealed, “If you’re not wearing your seatbelt, what’s holding you back?” RK blurted out, “the chair.” Kids say the darndest things.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Of childbirth

The cast of Finding Neverland was on Oprah today. Kate Winslet said that she felt guilty when she had her first child by Caesarian Section. She was not a petite woman and she thought that she had good child-bearing hips. After 37 hours of labor, she had to have her baby by C-Section.

I had similar feelings. I felt that I had an incomplete experience in childbirth since I didn’t get to push my babies out. I was in labor for over 20 hours with both my 2 oldest sons but I wasn’t dilating progressively. I had C-Sections with both of them. When I got pregnant with my 3rd baby, my gynecologist suggested that I should elect surgery. I even questioned her suggestion. She threw a question back at me, "With your history, are you really willing to go through long hours of labor and then have surgery at the end anyway?" So I elected to have C-Section with my 3rd baby.

Growing pains

RK was experiencing leg pains again – growing pains. I remember when RG experienced those pains. I brought him to the doctor and was told that those were growing pains. She explained that his bones were growing. I used to massage his legs with Oil of Wintergreen. Now, I massage RK's legs without the oil. “Growing Pains” was also the title of a TV sitcom that I used to watch.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Can I have one more?

There are too many candies in the house (Halloween treats). I don’t like it. RK kept asking me, “Can I have one more candy?” I kept saying, “Okay, only one.” But I think that he’s had more than enough by the end of the day. I was worried that he might dirty his pants when he’s sleeping at night. It has happened to RG before.

When RG was about two years old, R, RG and I went to live with Tito R for a little while. I suspected one afternoon when I came home from work that Tito R gave RG a bag of M&Ms. I think I told Tito R that he shouldn’t have given RG too much chocolates because he could have diarrhea. When we were all sleeping that night, all three of us in bed, (Tito R was kind enough to let us use his bedroom and he slept in the couch in the living room) R suddenly woke up when he felt something wet. RG pooped in his pants. Diarrhea. We all got up to clean the mess.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Fall back

Daylight savings time starts again. We set our clocks back one hour. Good for me, I gained one hour of sleep.

R was going downtown and I asked him to bring RC to buy him a new pair of shoes. I coaxed RC to go as he really needed new shoes.
Mom: There's a hole on the bottom of your shoe and they're already getting quite small anyway.
RC: (threw his head back on the chair) But we have to go trick-or-treating.
Mom: You will be back home before we had to go trick-or-treating.
RC: But I want to buy new shoes in the Spring.
Mom: If you need new shoes in the Spring then I'll buy you another one. If your shoes break any day now, then you'll have nothing else to wear.

He didn't go. I told him that he has to go next weekend before all the runners are gone in the stores and replaced by winter boots.

RK got a good scrubbing when I gave him his bath.

The return of Darth

The kids and I left at around 5:30 pm. RG wasn't planning to come but RC said that he didn't want to share his treats with RG if he wasn't coming. That's why I think RG decided to come anyway. RK was dressed as Darth Vader, RC carried the Death's ax, and RG wore his Wizard hat. I wore my Witch's hat. I left R a bag of treats to give out, although I knew that he wouldn't open the door to the trick-or-treaters. It wasn't very cold that night but when we were halfway through the wind kept blowing my hat on my face. I just took it off. RK carried a UNICEF box and a few gave some money. We did the houses on our street, then we crossed and did a few more streets. We came home at around 6:45 pm. They got quite a lot of treats, sorted them and filled about 2 purple bins.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Bitter cold

It was very cold, very bitter. When my taxi came at Superstore, a lady asked my driver if we could share the ride. I guess she must have been cold waiting outside. I couldn't understand what she was saying but she seemed like she was about to cry. She was going up the same street as I was and so I agreed. We dropped her off first. The driver asked me how much I usually pay for the cab. I told him around $5.50. He only asked for $5.00.

RC, RK and I had haircuts. After RK finished his turn, I checked out his hair cut and found libag behind his left ear. Oh, I hope Amanda didn't see that. When we came home, I reminded my children that they should scrub themselves, especially those hidden nooks and joints, when they take a bath.

A few days ago, I asked R to bring RC shoe shopping next time he goes out. R wanted to bring him now but RC didn't want to go. I told R that he's already tired anyway since he had catechism in the morning and they might not be able to get back before mass.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

The curse of the bambi

The Boston Red Sox won the World Series last night. The curse of the Bambino (Babe Ruth) was finally broken. The last time the Red Sox won the world series was in 1918. People believed that the baseball team was cursed ever since Babe Ruth was traded to the New York Yankees in 1920.

RC and I had a lightbulb moment that morning when we were watching the sports news. We were trying to figure out what the curse meant. We also learned that bambino is Spanish for baby (Babe Ruth). RC said, "That's why Daddy calls RK bambino!" Oh yeah, of course, I thought. Then he shortened it to Bambi. It used to tick me off every time he called RK Bambi because that sounded like a girl's name or Bambi the deer in the Disney movie.

There was a lunar eclipse last night. This was the first time that a lunar eclipse happened during a Baseball World Series. The eclipse wasn't visible here since it was cloudy. The moon appeared red because of the dust in the air.

Downsides of working at home

I attended the townhall meeting at work. I first met up with my friend E and our other friend CD. I was teasing CD because she was starting a new position as a Claims Systems Specialist. She had also wanted to work at home but I guess she wouldn't be interested now. One downside of working at home is that I can't get promoted to a higher position. I will be stuck as a claims adjuster until I go back to the office. But that's okay with me because working at home is easier and less stressful for me while I raise my young kids.

The meeting had a Halloween theme. The first agenda was about fraud, then about the quarterly results. There was a Jeopardy game afterwards. It seems that everybody has been a fan of Jeopardy since Ken Jennings started winning game after game. He has earned over $2 million and he's still winning. After the townhall meeting, the Work-at-Home Staff had a meeting with Mike, our supervisor, and Jen. Jen and I used to be in the same unit before and she reminded me that I was her pass-up buddy. And here she is now, our Team Assistant. Talk about role reversal.

Char, one of the WAH staff and who was sitting next to me at the meeting, mentioned how her husband always complains when there's no supper ready when he comes home from work. "What does he think I do all day at home? Lay around in bed the whole day?" Char complained. I was in the same situation when I first started working at home.

When I was still working in the office, R would get home before I did. He would start supper since I wouldn't be home until 5:00 or 5:30 p.m. I used to pick up my youngest son at daycare after work. So when I started working at home, there was this adjustment period that we went through. He didn't realize that although I was home, I was working. The first couple of days there was no supper ready when he came home since I was still working and I thought that he would continue doing what he had been doing before, prepare supper. But he was expecting that it would be ready since I was home. That's when I started to ask the kids to do more around the house. I taught RG how to fry meat. Sometimes I would start preparing supper during my lunch break or cook the next day's meal at night after supper.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Sigh of relief

R finally went back to work. Sigh of relief! It's just that sometimes we couldn't stand each other and we bicker. Although, he was a big help when he brought RG to the orthodontist and RC to the dentist on two different occasions. At least, I didn't lose time from work during those two days.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Of drinking, self-esteem and careers

We went to Ramon's 50th birthday party. When we were in the car on the way there, R told us that Kumpareng B was caught by the police drinking and driving. His license was suspended for six months. That's what I kept telling R. He'd be out drinking and he would let his friends, who had drunk, drive him home. It's not just about having your license suspended. You aren't thinking straight when you've had even a little to drink. It just really upsets me. It's better if he just stays over and come home the next morning.

When I was a little girl, Papa had this motorcycle which we called scooter. He went to his friends' houses drinking. One night, he didn't come home. Mama frantically traced the path to his friend's house. She found his motorcycle in a ditch by the side of the road. He had an accident and had been brought to a hospital. Luckily, he wasn't badly hurt.

At the restaurant, Tito R and his girlfriend was seated in our table. Tito R mentioned that RC is the most handsome of the three boys. It irritates me when people compare my three boys to each other. (But of course, I didn't show my displeasure out of respect for the elders.) Kids, or people in general, shouldn't be compared, to their faces for that matter. Every individual is special in his/her own special way. When I was a child, I've heard people say that my sister was prettier, lighter(mas maputi), and bubblier (mas bibo)than I was. These comments made me recoil inside my own little shell. I was already shy and the comments just lowered my self esteem more.

Ramon invited about 150 guests. R saw some of his old friends. The invitation was for 12:30 p.m. but it was almost 2:00 p.m. when the food was served. We were already starving by then. This is what we call "Filipino time." Guests will come an hour later than what it says on the invitation. That is an annoying habit.

After the party we went to St. John's Music to have RG's flute fixed. There was a dent and the keys were leaking. RG also bought some music sheets. Mama asked RC if he was interested in music as well. She said that he should take up flute lessons too so that he could use RG's instruments and books. I told her that we can't force a child to take music lessons just because his older sibling did. The interest has to come from the child. I then learned that she told my sis to take up Commerce so that she could use my books. No wonder sis was messed up back then. I thought that she wanted to take the course because of her own will. Well, she didn't use my books anyway because she went to a different school. And she dropped out of college after 2 years, entered the convent and came out after a year. She went back to school, took up Education, but didn't finish it either.

At night, some of R's kumpares came over. Nag-inuman sila. I asked them to keep it down because the kids have school and I have work the next day. Somebody kept ringing our doorbell that night and every time they checked, there was nobody out there (???).

Saturday, October 23, 2004

More on letting go

RG went to flute lesson. He took the bus by himself. Last week I showed him where he can wait and catch the bus to go to his teacher's house. I was kind of worried, still having a hard time letting go. I hung around at home after he left for about 30 minutes before I did my groceries. I wanted to be there just in case he came back or called.

I thought that we could rake the leaves but it rained again.

R went to church with us (!!!) There was hardly any room for all 6 of us in Mama's car. RC and RK were playing Jeopardy questions in the car. We've all become fans because of Ken Jennings. We cooked the ulam when we came home. We ate a little later, but that's fine.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

It's hard to let go

RG and I went to his school for the Parent-teacher interview. It was a very cloudy day, very gloomy. The brown leaves on the ground were wet and soggy. They didn't have that crisp crunch when you step on them. Some of the trees were already leafless. There were three guys in front of a high-rise apartment with leaf-blowers that also vacuum the leaves on the grass. That makes a back-breaking job easier.

RG doesn’t talk that much. We'd all be on the dinner table talking and he'd just be quiet. Sometimes I'd ask him something and he would take a second or two before he answers with a short response. Sometimes he wouldn't even answer, would just say "ah, um." And that would be it. When it's just the two of us like walking to school today, I'd break the silence by uttering something like “Before we go home, let’s drop by at Mac’s to see if they have Drano. That bath tub is clogged again.”

I had an interview with Mr. E, RG's Science and Homeroom Teacher. He said that RG was doing good and was above the average group in his class. RG mentioned that he already has a career, which is Music. Mr. E said that's good that he already knows what career he wants to pursue. He mentioned names of universities with good music curriculum that RG might want to attend, like our very own U of M, there's also one in Toronto, and even one in Texas. I hope RG doesn't go as far as Texas. He is such a good student and he gets good grades in his other subjects. I think that he would do as well if he pursues a different career in let's say Science or Math. But he is just so passionate about Music and who am I to hinder his dreams.

At night in bed...
RK: Mommy, where's my old bed?
Mom: We threw it out in the garbage.
RK: So where is it now?
Mom: The garbage truck took it in the garbage dump where they put all the other garbage.
RK: I miss my old bed.
Mom: But it was old and the spring coils were already poking your back.
(He started crying.)
Mom: Why are you crying?
RK: I miss my old bed. hoo hoo hoo
Mom: Oh RK. That's okay. Go to sleep now. I'll stay here a little bit more.

Friday, October 15, 2004

got in trouble

RK: Mommy, I had a five-minute time-out at school today.
Mom: Why, what did you do?
RK: Because Mitchell wanted me to look at this picture and I went to him. Then the teacher said that it's not my seat and I shouldn't be there.
Mom: Oh, then next time tell him no. Did you have to face the wall when you had a time-out?
RK: No, I have to go to my seat and put my head down on the table.
Mom: Ohh...

Later that afternoon, RC went to my workstation and I heard R calling after him.
R: RC, bumaba ka dito at inuutusan kita.
R was fuming mad, he went upstairs and grabbed RC by the arm.

That night at bedtime.
Mom: RC, why did Daddy get mad at you?
RC: I don't want to talk about it.
Mom: Ahh, why? Talk to me.
RC: No, mommy, I don't want to.
After a few more proddings, he told me that daddy wanted him to put the old rice on top of the newly cooked one, but RC wouldn't budge because he was writing something. I have that problem with RC, too. Well, I guess now, he learned his lesson.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

monkey hug

I was preparing breakfast in the kitchen when RC said, "I think RK is crying." I went upstairs and of course he was.

Mom: Why are you crying?
RK: Because you didn't call me.
I already woke him up 10 minutes ago and as usual I said that I'd come back to get him.
Mom: I was still preparing breakfast. I was gonna call you. You want to come down now?
RK: Yeah.
So I carried him, he hugged my neck with his arms and circled his legs around my waist. I call this the monkey hug. I don't even have to hold him and he won't fall.

Rain and wet snow. RK came home in the afternoon, his socks soaking wet. I made instant noodle soup for snacks.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

something brown

RK had to bring something brown to school. I said, even if he forgot to bring anything, he could tell the teacher that he brought something brown. And he said, "I know, I am brown."

RK wrote on his wish list: marboos
Mom: RK, what's marboos?
RC: Oh, I know, he wants marbles.

Monday, October 11, 2004


RK asked, "Mommy are we having turkey?" No. I cooked spaghetti. RK kept saying "Mommy, you're the best," because he likes spaghetti. Binola pa ako ng anak ko.

In the afternoon, I pulled out the dying and withering flowers that I planted out in the front and the side of our house. My marigolds looked like this when I first planted them in June.

R heard me complaining about my back when I finished. "Hindi ka kasi nag-e-exercise." He didn't have the to say that. Siya nga itong tamad kumilos at laging nasa harap ng computer or TV. While sometimes, I feel like I'm a single mom. I'm the one who's always up on my feet, the one looking after the kids, going to doctor's and dentist's appointments. If I ask him to give RK a bath, he sometimes makes me feel like he's doing me a favour. Even my niece A was complaining that he doesn't pitch in in mowing the lawn. Nakaka-inis.

R was upset that I have asked Shaw to remove our free channels. We've had them since March. When I called Shaw last week, I was told that they haven't got the chance to remove the free channels in some areas. I felt that we were stealing from them. R said that there were lots of household that still have the free channels and it was not a big deal. Well, that's not how I want to raise my children. (And I'm also scared that if Shaw discovered it on their own, that I would have to pay a sort of penalty.) RC also wanted the channels back and even added that to his wish list. I told him to ask Daddy to pay for them and then we'll have them back on.

I clipped R's nails on his right hand since his left hand was weak due to his injured finger. It was the first time I did it. I cut my kids' nail, but never his. I noticed that his right pinkie is crooked. He said that it's been like that eversince.

At night, RK and I read Dr. Seuss' “Hop on Pop.” He read most of the words. I taught him how to read the rhyming words. RC was amazed at RK’s progress in reading.
Mom: That’s how you all were, when you guys were just starting to read.
RC: Even me?
Mom: Yeah, and Kuya RG, too.
I gave RK lots of pats in the back.


Christopher Reeve, the original Superman, died at the age of 52 on Sunday. He has such an incredible story and determination. When Barbara Walters interviewed him after the horse-riding accident that left him a paraplegic, he said that he believed that he'd walked again. "And if you don't?" Barbara asked. "Then I don't," said Chris. "You just play the hand you're dealt."

Sunday, October 10, 2004

of blankets and oo's

RC: Daddy, why don't you come to church with us?
Dad: You cook, and then I'll go.
RC: But sometimes we have food and you still don't go.

We had to walk to church today since Mama was out of town.

At night:
RK: Mommy, you're the best. Because you washed our blankets and they smell good.
Mom: Binola pa ako ng anak ko.

RK was reading the words good, soon , etc. correctly. But he was having difficulty with door, floor, etc. The double o’s make different sounds in these words.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

A busy day

I woke the kids up at 6:10 a.m. We had a dentist appointment at 9:00 a.m. We needed to get on the 7:49 bus.

RK: Oh, I don't like that smell.
Mom: That's the grass... the dew... that's the smell of early morning.

The trees were turning yellow-green. A few were turning yellow-orange. They were lovely. Leaves have fallen on the ground.

After the dentist appointment, we went shopping for some more winter clothes. Then we had lunch at McDonalds'. When we came home, I asked R to bring RG to St. John's Music to buy music sheets that he will need for his flute lessons. I then went to Superstore and brought RC and RK with me. I was so tired when we came home. I took a nap on the couch. Myra and Ramon came and dropped off an invitation to his 50th birthday party. I was embarrassed because the house was a mess.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004


R got hurt at work. The middle finger on his left hand got stuck with the metal posts that he was piling. He was brought to the ER. He had four or five stitches. He's looking at two weeks Compensation Benefits.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Of sports and tim

THE TWINS ARE WAKING UP IN THE BIG APPLE THIS MORNING says the walking headline at the bottom of the TV screen. It took me a moment to realize what it meant. Actually I thought it meant that the baseball team was winning over another team in New York. Until RC told me that it meant that the Minnesota Twins were practising in the Yankees Stadium that morning.

I didn't know much about sports until RC got interested about 2 years ago. (I tried to get interested in basketball before, but R didn't have patience with me.) First thing RC does in the morning is turn on the TV in the kitchen and put it on any sports channel or news. We fought over that in the summer, him watching too much TV, sports for that matter. Not harmless you might think, but when he started having headaches, I said that was because of watching too much TV and staying up late at night watching TV.

He asks me a lot of things that he hears on TV, especially when I'm watching the news and in turn, he tells me anything I want to know about sports. When we watch Jeopardy, his face lights up when Sports is one of the Category and he is happy when he knows the answers to the questions. When there is a Music category, he calls RG to watch with us because sometimes RG knows the answers.

I savour precious moments like these. They remind me of moments I spent with Papa when he would help me with my homework, when we played scrabble as a family, or just when I would ask him about anything under the sun. I thought he was very smart.

RG got his Annual Book from his old school. He wrote -- Ambition: To meet and work with Nobuo Uematsu. Fate: Will end up working for American Hi-Fi.

RK: Mommy, Tim (RG’s friend) is lucky.
Mom: Why?
RK: He only has 2 letters in his name.
Mom: (wonders) What letters?
RK: T and M
Mom: Tim is T-I-M.
RK: Oh. But September has tim.
Mom: Oh, that is T-E-M.