Monday, October 31, 2005

Raking, back pains, and witches

I think it was five years ago when my lower back started to bother me. After asking many questions, my doctor suggested that I delegate some more of the household chores to my family.

I am well aware of what triggers my back pain, namely, carrying heavy groceries, raking and shoveling.

I have found a solution about the groceries. I always bring several bags and I distribute the weight of my items evenly. I can usually get away with shoveling the snow. If I can’t, I do very little of it. I leave this chore to my husband although we sometimes fight about it. My sister usually beats us in shoveling the driveway, which we share, since she’s the one who has a car. I sometimes feel bad about it. So when Fall comes, I do tackle raking the leaves even though I know what’s in store for me. I would really like to leave this job to the kids, but you see, they won’t do it unless I start doing it.

And so Friday and Saturday of last week, I was out there with the rake, rubber gloves, several garbage bags and my three boys. Oh, don’t be fooled. It’s not their favourite chore either. They were just really being nice to their dear old mother. The store flyers are now full of wonderful things that remind them of Christmas and the wish lists are a-coming. I have started hearing “Mommy, can I have this for Christmas?” and I have started saying, “I’ll think about it.” Now, do you see what I mean? This is how it works well for all of us. I did only half the job and left the rest of the raking and bagging to them. I didn’t want to over-exert myself. And yet I still got this nasty back pain. It wasn’t as bad as last year though.

When I am feeling these aches and pains, I get cranky and grumpy. I can be in a lousy or foul mood. I can be a witch, not to everybody. Only to certain people. But I can easily be cured by a dose of TLC, an extra hour of sleep and a little trick-or-treating.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

About Halloween

All About Halloween

On Halloween lots of children wear costumes and lots of children have lots of candy. Some people put up lots of very spooky decorations and some people put a little bit of spooky decorations up.

On Halloween I will be a knight and my baby brother will be
Batman. Last Halloween my costume was the green Power Ranger and my baby was a pumpkin.

Sometimes my mom tells ghost stories, goblin stories and monster stories and after she reads them I get nightmares. I woke up at 1:30 that night and then somebody was opening the door and it was my mom

Written by Reggie in Grade 2, October 1996

Thursday, October 27, 2005

One Morning at the Grocery Store

It’s Saturday and I’m going to Superstore! Grocery shopping may be just one simple routine for anybody but not for a work-at-home mom like me. It is actually one of the highlights of my week. This is my chance to get out of the house and be around people other than my husband and kids after being cooped up in the house for the whole week.

“Good Morning,” greets the hostess standing by the entrance door. I smile and say, “Good Morning,” as I push through the automatic doors the shopping cart that reaches up to my chest.

I pause and look at my shopping list, which I prepared before I left the house. My list helps me remember to buy the things that I need and helps me avoid several trips to the store. This also helps me refrain from impulse buying.

Read the rest of this entry at Pinoyatbp.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Brad, the Raptors, and the game

Brad Pitt was in town shooting the film The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. I’m not really a fan. Although, I was excited at first when I learned that the shooting would take place at the antique Exchange District. The place was transformed into a Western setting. The crew covered the streets with dirt, buggies, and horses. But I’m not the type of person who would stand out there and watch a shooting just to take a peek at Hollywood stars. I’m not crazy about Brad, anyway. I know a few people who are more interested in gazing at the alluring Miss Jolie.

Well, anyway, I thought that there could be a chance that Brad would show up at the Raptors game last night. Although I’m not a fan, I thought it would have been cool to see a movie star in person. But he wasn’t there. And yes, the Toronto Raptors and Portland Trailblazers were also in town. My 11-year old son, Ryan, who is into basketball, and many other Winnipeggers had been anticipating for months in watching the only Canadian team in the NBA play at the MTS Centre. Ryland and I went with Ryan to watch the pre-season game. This was our first time to watch a live professional basketball game and our first time to be inside the MTS Centre arena.

Even though Vince Carter is not in the team anymore (he was traded to New Jersey Nets), thousands of people still flocked the MTS Centre. I saw several kababayans (fellow Filipinos). None of them I knew except for my friend Elaine and husband Myke who were seated on the other side of the court. We also saw Jordan, Ryan's former basketball teammate.

During the first half of the game, the scores were pretty close. But by the third quarter, the Trailblazers were leading by over ten points. The Raptors started catching up during the last 43 seconds. That’s when the game became exciting. People were booing the Trailblazers every time they scored a basket, which I don’t really understand. When I watched my kids play in the league this Spring, the parents cheered the players not only in their team, but even the ones in the other team. I just think it’s rude to boo them. But I guess this is what people do at these basketball games. And oh boy, was Ryland hyped up! He was chanting and booing with the audience. He also thought that it was cool to do "the wave." I did, too.

We wanted the Raptors to win but with less than a minute to play, it was hard to catch up. They ended up losing, 105-98. It was a good game, though. And a memorable one for us since it’s the first NBA game we ever watched. I wonder if Ryan still wants to go to L.A. to see the Lakers play. Hmmn.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Working, appointments, and dismal weather

Since I work at home, I don’t get out of the house that often. I know, I should set aside a few minutes to get out there and walk or something. But it’s not that easy when you’re running a household and trying to get through a 7 ½ work day. I get to go out every once in a while when I had to go to office meetings or when the kids or I have doctor’s or dentist’s appointments. And then, my daily routine gets all out of whack. During these times I had to get up earlier (a challenge for the night owl that I am) just so I could get my 7 ½ hours done before the end of the business day. I also need to manage my time more efficiently. I had to work harder on not getting distracted by chores or TV or the internet.

This past week had been a busy one for me. We had appointments on four different days. I don’t really mind it that much on days like these. It’s just that sometimes natataranta ako. I get stressed when I’m pressed for time. But it’s all good because I get to walk or run (to catch the bus). That's good exercise, right? Although, this past week had not been the ideal time to go out. It is so cold here now. Temperatures in the morning had been close to zero degrees C and highs of only up to around 14 degrees. It had been generally cloudy. It had been raining at times. Dismal weather is how I would describe it. Most of the trees are naked. Leaves have fallen. The kids did some raking but there are still leaves around scattered everywhere.

The Last Leaf

These pictures were taken two weeks ago. It was windy when I took the first one that's why it's kind of blurry. The second one was taken in our front yard on a cloudy day.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

My Guy

This is the first stanza of the song My Guy sung by Mary Wells. I have been unable to get it out of my head for the last few days.

"Nothing you can say can tear me away from my guy.
Nothing you can do 'cause I'm stuck like glue to my guy.
I'm sticking to my guy like a stamp to a letter,
Like birds of a feather we stick together.
I'm telling you from the start I can't be torn apart from my guy. "

We went out last weekend to buy him a new pair of shoes. Since we were at the mall, I had my printer ink refilled at Island Ink-Jet. While waiting for it, we had French fries and rootbeer at A & W.

It’s always fun to go out with him. We never run out of things to talk about. When we were walking back to Island Ink-Jet, he swung my left arm over his shoulder and he wrapped his right arm around my waist. We were like lovers walking arm in arm. I don’t think that I have experienced that before.

My first boyfriend towered over me. He was over six feet tall. I barely reach five feet. I don’t think we even held hands because we were afraid that somebody would see us. Patago kasi ang date namin. My next boyfriend, who became my husband, is not the type who shows affection in public.

So I was thrilled when my seven-year old son Ryland and I walked stuck together through the crowded mall. Ganuon pala ang feeling when you’re walking arm in arm with somebody. It’s like you’re shouting to the world, “Hey, I am with someone whom I love and who loves me.”

Sunday, October 16, 2005

I am thankful for...

I have mentioned before that we don’t really celebrate Thanksgiving (second Monday of October here in Canada). But I guess in a way we do. Although we just stay home, we cook something special like spaghetti and chicken (in lieu of the turkey).

The younger kids would bring home a paper cut out of a turkey and for wings, they would cut out strips of paper where they wrote down the things that they were thankful for.

This year, Ryland’s says:

I am thankful for…
- the food
- my bed
- my eyesight
- that I get a lot of love (Aww!)

You see, I always remind my kids to finish what’s on their plate and that they shouldn’t complain if they don’t like what we’re having for dinner. How many times have they heard me say, “You’re lucky you have food to eat. There are many kids in other countries who barely have anything to eat.” Sometimes I feel guilty nagging them like that especially when my voice gets stern and my youngest one starts to cry. And I guess this is the reason Ryland is thankful for the food.

I know he loves his bed. His mattress is the newest one in the house. We bought it two summers ago when we replaced his old soggy bed, the coils of which were poking his back.

I just love that he said that he’s thankful for his eyesight. For the last two years this child has been on the borderline of wearing eyeglasses. I just got an appointment with his optometrist for next week because I think it’s time for him to wear spectacles. Last year he said that the priest was blurry when we were at church. He’s not seeing clearly and yet he’s still thankful for his eyesight.

He’s thankful that he gets a lot of love. If that doesn’t melt your heart, I don’t know what will. I’m glad that he feels that way because he is surely surrounded by love.

I am constantly amazed at how my children pick up the little things that I say or teach them. I always try to instill in them that they should be thankful for the things that they have.

I, myself, used to fret about things. Like the time I contacted my high school classmates in 2002. I was jealous of their jobs especially this one classmate who is a successful CPA (Certified Public Accountant). I was a CPA back home but I wasn’t able to pursue the career when I migrated to Canada. On the other hand, this classmate, who longs to be married and have kids, was envious of me. I then realized that I have a decent job as a benefits examiner, a comfortable life with my husband and these three wonderful children and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world.

In spite of this realization, I still find myself complaining and fretting. About people getting promoted at work and how I am stuck in my position because I chose to work at home. But of course I don’t regret choosing to work at home because of the reasons I’ve mentioned here and in Confessions of a Work-At-Home Mom.

Every now and then, I complain about my twin size bed. About how small it is and how I am always at the edge because my husband hogs the bed. Until I realized that he just wants to be closer to me and there I am trying to distance myself just so that I could get enough sleep (wink). How lucky am I that I sleep with someone who loves me. Some people don’t. How lucky am I that I have a soft (even though it’s creaky) and warm bed. Many people who have been hit by the hurricanes don’t have a bed to sleep on or a roof over their head.

I guess Thanksgiving is a day that has been set aside so that we could reflect on the things that we are thankful for. Thank you, Ryland, for reminding me.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Autumn Leaves

Blogger Ange has a very nice illustration of autumn leaves in Clamoo.

The red leaves are my favourites. There aren't a lot of them though. I had to go out of my way just to get these shots. Click away.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

The Colours of Fall

The snow is gone. Well, for now. It will come back to stay sooner or later. For the meantime, let us enjoy the view.

These pictures were taken these past two weeks. We were driving home from church when we spotted the (first) sight below. Four trees of different colours in one spot. Isn't that lovely? Click on the images for a larger view.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Early snow

We were blanketed with wet snow yesterday, the first this season. And it's quite early.

Somebody else's flowers survived the cold weather. I pulled out my withering plants several weeks ago.

It was cold and slushy. Ryland's socks were soaking wet when he came home from school.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

OOPS, He Did It Again

I always remind my three sons (and my dear husband) to flush the toilet after they use it, especially if they did number two. Because really, who wants to see somebody else’s poop.

I know, I am their mother and I’ve seen plenty a poop when they were still in diapers and when they were still toilet training. But come on, my youngest is seven and I thought I’ve already graduated from Toileting 101.

I also remind them to close the lid after they use it. Actually, what I tell them is to close the lid and then flush. This way the bacteria aren’t scattered around. A little tip I learned from an Oprah show. I thought this would solve our toilet seat problem.

Read the rest of this entry at PINOYatbp, where I am guest blogger.

PINOYatbp is a community blog that offers news, articles, and recipes - written by fellow Pinoys (slang for Filipino) from all over the world.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Yellow Tree, Very Pretty

I took advantage of the sunny weather last week and I went out to take pictures of the lovely scenery outside. The leaves are turning into different colours and they are a pretty sight. Click on the images for a larger view. I will post some more in the following days.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Retiring Gracefully

Rowena Delmundo, 55, retired on September 30, 2005 after 15 years with GWL.

But as Michelle, her supervisor, said, she doesn’t look like she’s retiring. Rowena looks as young as ever. She doesn’t seem to age. She’s as beautiful and as elegant as she was on May 27, 1996, the day I started working at GWL.

Before that, Rowena worked at the Toronto BPO as preprocessor. When the BPO integrated, she moved to the Winnipeg office and then in 1996, she took on the role of a benefits examiner.

At first, I thought that her name was Norweena because of the way Pat, our Trainor, pronounced her name. I didn’t know that here in Canada, they say Rowena (Ro-wee-nah) differently than we do in the Philippines, which is Ro-weh-na. I was very glad when I learned that I was training at the HDCC with a fellow Filipino. She was very amiable and she introduced me to her other Pinoy friends. We always had lunch together at the north end corner of the cafeteria.

Read more and view pictures here.