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.