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24 February 2012

Kiddie Fest: sack race partners

"They got second place in the sack race. I asked Maybelle to accompany him. They're getting ready for the mass dance now."


That was my mother's SMS on February 17th.  I had forgotten that CJ was in Marbel for the Kiddie Fest, a children's activity organized by the Department of Education, participated in by both public and private school children.


Reality poked me again:  I am doing long-distance parenting right now and have to live with bits and pieces of this arrangement until we snag a better option. Fortunately I can be grateful and happy for the presence of loved ones in my son's life while I am not physically around.

Maybelle is my deceased cousin's youngest daughter. I took this photo of her and CJ goofing at home last summer. I am glad they get along well.  Thank you, Maybelle for being CJ's sack race partner.


I imagine myself leaping about with a 7 year-old in a sack. My mind flies back to a parade of high heels and work suits in my apartment, and I feel like bursting into laughter.  The funny feeling should at least soothe missing the fun of my son's activities.


This post is linked with Happiness is... and Mommy Moments.


21 February 2012

Few of my Favorite Things

Julie Andrews allegedly sang a parody of the Sound of Music tune My Favorite Things at an AARP benefit to commemorate her 69th birthday. I thought it was fun and interesting, even though there was no confirmation that Julie Andrews did sing it. Thus, 'allegedly' as About.com-Urban Legends put it.


I was thirty-five then, and getting conscious of the fact that in five years my life would begin. I like believing in "life begins at forty." To mark my 40th birthday last year I did my own lyrics revision. And came up with this: 



If you are not familiar with my blog: CJ is my son, Mozart is my fur kid (picture on sidebar), my mother is a soprano, and I am usually her piano accompanist. My father's second wife, RIP Father, was the chess; and my mother beat him in scrabble mercilessly. I grew up watching an uncle's ballroom dances and staring in wonder at his trophies. My pet peeve is internet/computer inaccessibility. I hate a runny nose with fervor and although I am stuck in the city, I am a country girl at heart. And oh, in case you were wondering about the three ***, that is deliberate as I haven't yet found the person who will take the place of those asterisks.


I tried singing my own lyrics to the tune. It was crazy, but fun.


[youtube width="400" height="344"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfbB0p-yyLA&list=FLKQWqda5YnKsqqNm8xCIpDw&feature=mh_lolz[/youtube]



This post is linked with ABC Wednesday. Paper Border Courtesy: Liam's Pictures from Old Books


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17 February 2012

Holes on the wall

How often do you get to a cafe with part of its walls like this?


To be honest I had no idea what was this. But I love literature, and I am always thrilled to spot references to it in places I do not expect them to be at. A bit of skimming tells me this is from a novel called Holes by Louis Sachar.  It won the 1998 National Book Award for Young People's Literature, and was adapted into a film in 2003.

What adds to my delight is finding that in 1999 Holes won the Newbery Medal for "most distinguished contribution to American literature for children."


'For Children.' As moms aren't we always on the lookout for media that we would consider sharing to our kids?


This post is linked with Happiness is... and Mommy Moments.

Fan fiction

Have you ever written any fan-fiction? If yes, why and for which book(s)? If no, would you like to and for which books(s)?


For that matter, do you ever READ fan-fiction??


No, I haven't and probably never will as I am no writer. But I'm not closing my doors either. Maybe when I'm old and sitting on a rickety rocking chair caressing a china cup of white tea, I will. Who knows... my muse just might poke me.

I have Sarah Gray's Wuthering Bites, and Seth Grahame-Smith's Pride, Prejudice and Zombies on my bookshelf right now. I bought them and never read them. At least not yet. Maybe when I'm old and sitting on a ....

Right after I finished writing my master's thesis, I devoured fan fiction for Harry Potter. There must have been too much remnant of scientific stuff in my life I felt so deprived of pop lit that much. Recently, I came across The Obituary of Charlotte Collins. It was an excellent travel back through time I almost forgot it was fiction.

Just a side note or in case you'd be interested: the Brontes wrote fan fiction themselves. How interesting is that!

Booking Through Thursday

If the shoe fits

It seems everyone has something to say about shoes. I do. Two years ago I wore the same pair of shoes while exploring Macau and Hong Kong, playing golf, traipsing the largest temple on earth and to the funeral of my Education chief, while dreaming of Cinderella's shoes. Mine must have self- transformation power to have been worn at entirely different occasions, and still got away ticktock gorgeous. Here's what others say -


1. If the shoe doesn't fit, must we change the foot? - Gloria Steinem                                 A day after Mother's Day; went shopping in Siam Paragon



2. "Why are 'Messiahs' always represented as wearing sandals..? If you think about it, as a society we seem to use open toed sandals to convey the presence of an open mind. Why?: I have no idea, but the trend is definitely there to be seen." / Nowhere near any temple; this is about to get inside Hard Rock


3. The wearer best knows where the shoe pinches. - Irish proverb / Pink crocs out on a warm night for Iberry icecream


4. Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson / Some parliament member handing me papers. The walking pair is another subversive head. Both our theses received awards.


5. The fact is, sometimes it’s hard to walk in a single woman’s shoes. That’s why we need really special ones now and then to make the walk a little more fun.~Jenny Bicks / St. James goofing in our yard with two other tiny black booties


6. "A girl can do anything in the right pair of shoes." / Strappy wedges at my son's 7th birthday party in Jollibee Marbel


7. I did not have three thousand pairs of shoes. I had one thousand and sixty. ~Imelda Marcos  Traipsing the largest temple on earth - Angkor Wat


8. Funny that a pair of really nice shoes makes us feel good in our heads — at the extreme opposite end of our bodies.” -Levende Waters / Vivienne Westwoods at the Mariinsky Ballet


9. "Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes." / Mulligan's Bar Khao San, Halloween 2010


10. Terrorism, hurricanes, and acts of God can't part a true Imelda from her shoes. ~ Jane Blahnik / David Foster, Peter Cetera, Natalie Cole Concert, October 2010


11. "I have multiple personalities. And I need shoes for all of them." / Waiting for doors to open; Eagles live in Bangkok


12.  A shoe that is too large is apt to trip one, and when too small, to pinch the feet. So it is with those whose fortune does not suit them. ~ Horace / off to attend a colleague's wedding reception


13. I want to write a book about shoes that’s full of footnotes. ~ Jarod Kintz / one of those weekends


Megan and Janet host Thursday 13

10 February 2012

Airport flowers

A one and a half, early morning flight from Manila usually arrives in Gensan when the sun is blazing. Too hot. I understand why this flower has wilted. Looking at all these DSLR products everywhere tells me this shot is blurred. I am a little dissatisfied of it myself but I am keeping it for good reason.


And that is because my son gave it to me at the airport.



A friend passed through the same airport a couple of weeks ago. I was wondering if this was the same flower as the one my son gave me.


It looks like a flowering tree. I never gave it any other notice beyond vaguely thinking it's pretty and that's that. But I guess now you would know why I think it is more than just pretty.


This post is linked with Happiness is... and Mommy Moments.

09 February 2012

Famous dyslexics

Top Gun glamor Tom Cruise. Not new. Einstein, Currie, Edison. Entrepreneurs and nobel laureates - believable enough as research links dyslexia with high cognition and creativity. When Cher acted in the Mask as a mom who could not read, I didn't know she was also dyslexic in real life. Names like Kiera Knightley, Andy Warhol and George Washington made me go 'they too?' Now some 13 other biggies:


1. John Lennon. It was his voice singing "you may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one" I was hearing while traipsing the killing fields in Cambodia.

2. Nigel Kennedy.  ... all those violin music I have been fortunately subjected to lately

3. Leonardo da Vinci.  Just huge.

4. Pablo PicassoPortrait de la tante Pepa

5. Hans Christian Andersen.  Fairy tales are so alive in my world!

6. Agatha Christie. I wanna get my hands on The Body in the Library

7. Terry Goodkind, author of The Sword of Truth series.

8. F. Scott Fitzgerald. Hmnn... I have never finished reading The Great Gatsby

9. John Edmund Delezen. I play Eye of the Tiger when writing killer university exams

10. Fannie Flagg. I still have Fried Green Tomatoes. Unopened.

11. Philip Shultz, winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

12. Patricia Polacco, children's author and illustrator

13. William Butler Yeats. I guess I will be austenuating 'a fire in my head' for awhile


Megan and Janet host Thursday 13

07 February 2012

Dyslexics and Developmental Pediatricians

Let me begin with an observation on the latter.  Developmental pediatricians in the Philippines are a rare breed. Or that's what I noticed. From society and organization websites, to forums, to word-of-mouth, to my own experience, they seem to be outnumbered by people who need their expertise. A parent of a child with developmental delays has to wait weeks or months to see one developmental pediatrician.


Only thirty are listed on the Philippine Society of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. Twenty-five in one Filipino autism blog, and that is not purely DevPeds. A child psychologist, child psychiatrist, and pediatric neurologist are mixed in the list, although they certainly are a big help too.


At my son's speech therapy and psychology center I hear the same account from other parents - securing a time slot with a DevPed is hard. They are all fully booked throughout what could turn into a year. You may be lucky if someone withdraws but that rarely happens.


I'm playing this by ear: I guess the picture is different in the west where for every special problem there always seems to be a corresponding expert. The perk of advance knowledge. Advance research. Wealth.


Back then I never heard of DevPeds or children with developmental issues were just undiagnosed. Recalling those years in the grades there were indeed a few who could have benefited from relative specialists. There was this practice among elementary school teachers, of assigning a child who knows well ahead to tutor a classmate who is behind lessons. Poor Christina. She would shed tears of frustration as she struggled with simple phrases. And poor me.  I would frown in exasperation as I sat with her wondering why she crawled through sentences.


Dyslexic? I hope at least now Christina doesn't mind being in glamorous company. There are more than rare of them, like some listed on dyslexia the gift site list.


Among actors and entertainers: Whoopi Goldberg and Keanu Reeves
Among inventors and scientists: Alexander Graham Bell and Pierre Currie
Among artists and designers: Leonardo da Vinci and Tommy Hilfiger
Among athletes and political leaders: Muhammad Ali and John F. Kennedy
Among entrepreneurs and business leaders: Richard Branson and Ted Turner
Among writers and journalists: Agatha Christie and Byron Pitts

Here's looking forward to third world DevPeds becoming as less and less rare as dyslexics around the rest of the world are famous contributing members of global society.


ABC Wednesday         

02 February 2012

Books on fire

In this post: Booking Through & Third Sentence



Have you ever read a random book left in a waiting room or on a park bench, etc., and did you like it?

Often I wonder when will I experience this. I mean finding a book left somewhere which happens to be something I would like to read. Yesterday I browsed the latest arrivals at Kinokuniya. By the time I noticed that I have been standing by the shelves for almost an hour on 3-inch heels, I was tired and sat on a bench where I found some YA fiction left by the inventory staff. I read parts of the first chapter, but aware that the book had to be accounted for in only a few minutes, I put it back on the bench and went to discover a very attractive spot - the Charles Dickens Bicentennial Anniversary collection. Ah... party! Now if i found one of those left on a park bench, I would warm that bench.

*More bookish answers at Booking Through Thursday


Book: The Wise Woman by Philippa Gregory

3rd sentence: "The walls were orange and scarlet, with the bobbing light of reflected flames, and I could hear yells of angry, rioting men."

Thoughts: It's like a scene in a movie, or that night when I and my roommates were awakened to be told that the administration building was on fire, a memory one could not easily forget. I remember feeling so worried and terrified for the nearby library. The fire was speeding to its direction. Even now nineteen years later, I could hear the crackling flames and see students running here and there. Much like this opening scene in Gregory's The Wise Woman, I relate with the main character as she woke up in chaos. She in an abbey, I in a boarding college dormitory on a hill.


*Proud Book Nerd hosts Third Sentence Thursday
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