Saturday, August 29, 2009

Feature Friday

I promised Ms. Trudy I would join the movie meme, so here's my list of old movies, in no particular order:

1. Gone With the Wind
2. Mary Poppins
3. The Sound of Music
4. Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head
5. April Love

and so many more I have to dig from my 'childhood archives!' I have already watched 4 more 'classics' on Ms. Trudy's list, so I won't add them here anymore. It's fun remembering.

Come and join! Post your favorite movies new or old, or movies that mean something or nothing to you, movies that were worth your time and money, and movies that weren't worth a cent, but you didn't find out till too late! I know it is Saturday now, but maybe it's not too late?

Happy weekend to you all!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Reflections

A few nights ago, Matthew asked me, "Mom, which do you prefer, Death or Glory?" I said, Death. He said, why. And I said, so many people want glory. Glory is fame. Glory is popularity. Sometimes, in order to be famous or popular, people fight. They betray their friends. They become proud and act irresponsibly. For fame and glory, many will sell their souls to the devil. It is not worth it.

Whereas everybody dies. And God does not care whether you are famous or not. What He cares about is if you have betrayed a friend or were proud and irresponsible or if you have sold your soul to the devil. He is the Eternal Glory, and in dying without the pursuit of fame or glory on earth, we glorify ourselves in Him.

It took a lot more words to expand on all the concepts but I think my son pretty much understood. After our discussion, I asked him, which do you prefer? He said, Death.

Matthew is also very much concerned about where he and AJ will go if Aris and I died at the same time. Those were his exact words. I said that we had already taken care of that, and told him the plan. He was most serious, after which he covered his face with his blanket (for we were in bed) and sobbed that "if that happens, I will miss you."

I consoled him with the fact (in so many words) that we all will be together again in heaven.

Little children have the purest thoughts, and in their most vulnerable, need to see that we are sad along with them, but at the same time, have firm convictions, to assure them that all is (and will be) well.


Today's news highlights on Ted Kennedy alongside that of the Dugard girl have affected me so much, for various reasons. There was much discussion in the family afterwards about love, and unity, and education, and safety, and trust, one no more important than the other. And it didn't matter that the children are young. Our sons are always a big part of everything that we do.

"United Nations"

Aris and I brought AJ to the mall so he could enjoy some time at the play area. It was most interesting to look at the people - so many different features that in my mind I had fun 'tagging' them as I watched my child. Among others, there was a middle-aged man, probably a grandpa who was wearing dark glasses, and looked Italian. There were three chinky-eyed moms who were probably Chinese, Korean or both. There was a Caucasian young man who, by his army shorts and haircut, looked very domesticated indeed with a diaper bag slung on his shoulder as he followed his toddling daughter around. There were two grim faced gentlemen who looked like Greeks. There was a funny black teenage girl who made us laugh by making his little brother dance. And then there were us. Oh, the children all looked beautiful in that little paradise.

We all looked different. We spoke different languages. But we all watched our young. And along with kissing boo-boos away, we shared smiles and laughter and small talk. That little play area yesterday held one of God's most fascinating artwork.

Honest Scrap

That is the name of one of the awesome awards Icy recently gave me. And the rules include:

- writing 10 honest things about you
- passing it on to 7 other people

So here are my 10 Things (funny that I'd just been posting 10 things on other people as well ^^):

1. I count the hours my sons sleep, and give them Benadryl when they NEED to sleep and they struggle NOT TO.

2. I heat canned food before eating it (ravioli, tuna, pork and beans - you get the idea).

3. I like to encourage people to write.

4. I find as I grow older that it's true what they say - there's no winning an argument with fools (for lack of a more fitting word).

5. I'm a night owl.

6. I like to sing (I'm no diva) when I'm stressed at work.

7. Bad manners appall me - I feel terribly embarrassed FOR the person who has no qualms about showing it.

8. I find that people who argue about faith a lot are the ones most confused about it.

9. I have found real friendships in people who have no titles, no money, and no fame.

10. I think 10 is not enough, but my tenth is I find humor in my own mistakes!

Thank you heaps again, Icy! Now for the seven people on my list. Please make room for:

Manoy Doro of Mga Sulating Pilipino
Ladyviral of In My World
Ricardo of Unloaded
Ms. Monique of Middle Ditch
Rainfield of My Journey
Karinann of Blessings For The Day
Kaydee of Teardrops and Rainbows

I will be posting the recipients of the other awards later! Have a happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Second Version of The 10 Scandalous Facts about Historical Figures

My dear friends, I sincerely apologize for the previous post of the same title. I hope this one is a much better version. Very, very interesting read! I am glad I found LISTVERSE which is the source of all these data and more! Please let me know if this is readable, I decided not to change fonts anymore. For those of you who are eyesight-impaired like me (waaaah!!), please click on the zoom on the bottom right (with the number and per cent sign, and just increase the zoom per cent and the letters will jump out of the page). Get ready to be shocked, and be glued for at least 3 minutes without interruption!

History tends to hide the unfortunate and unmentionable facts relating to people that become heroic or famous. Fortunately, it is usually possible to find the odd bit here and there – and that is what this list is about. Below are ten people who are either famous or infamous with obscure or scandalous facts about them. This is our ten little known (and often scandalous) facts about historic figures.

Adolf Hitler

Fact: Hitler was a tax evader
Recent research into papers relating to Hitler has uncovered the fact that when he became chancellor of Germany in 1934 he had evaded paying 405,500 million Reichsmarks in tax (6.3 million USD in today’s currency). Fortunately for Hitler, he was forgiven his tax debts when he was elected. It is believed that he earned 1.2 million Reichsmarks for sales of Mein Kampf alone, and avoided paying 600,000 Reichsmarks in tax on it. The official who forgave Hitler’s tax debt was “rewarded” with a 2,000 Reichsmarks per month tax free allowance (a huge amount considering teachers at the time were paid 4,800 per annum).

Winston Churchill

Fact: Churchill was racist
Sir Winston Churchill is so highly regarded for his skills as an orator and statesman that he was voted Britain’s greatest individual by the BBC in 2002. There is no doubt that his speech writing is a class above virtually every other modern writer of English speeches, and we are all familiar with at least one or two of his famous quotations, but what many people don’t know is that he also had a dark side. The best way to illustrate that is to let the man speak for himself:
“I do not admit… that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the black people of Australia… by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race… has come in and taken its place.” -Churchill to Palestine Royal Commission, 1937
“I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisonous gas against uncivilised tribes” – Writing as president of the Air Council.
“First there are the Jews who, dwelling in every country throughout the world, identify themselves with that country, enter into its national life, and, while adhering faithfully to their own religion, regard themselves as citizens in the fullest sense of the State which has received them…In violent opposition to all this sphere of Jewish effort rise the schemes of the International Jews. The adherents of this sinister confederacy are mostly men reared up among the unhappy populations of countries where Jews are persecuted on account of their race. Most, if not all, of them have forsaken the faith of their fathers…This worldwide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilisation…has steadily growing” — Writing on ‘Zionism versus Bolshevism’ in the Illustrated Sunday Herald, February 1920


Fact: Gandhi was a dirty old man
At the age of 36, whilst married, Gandhi decided to become celibate in order to achieve a state of enlightenment (through the Hindu religion). As he got older, he became more and more fascinated with sex to the point that, second only to non-violence, it was the subject he most talked about. In order to “perfect” his celibate state, Gandhi would sleep naked with young naked women. One of the women was the 16 year old wife of his grand-nephew Kanu Gandhi. When he wanted to share his bed with his 19 year old grandniece Manu Gandhi, he wrote to her father and told him that they were sharing a bed so that he could “correct her sleeping posture”. When his stenographer R. P. Parasuram found him sleeping naked with Manu, he resigned in disgust.

George Washington

Fact: Washington cleverly tricked congress into paying him obscene amounts of money
First of all, this is what elementary schools teach about Washington: “Later, in 1775, at age 43, Washington was appointed military advisor for New York, defending it from British attack. A few weeks later he was appointed Commander-and-Chief of the entire American army. He did not ask for this position, and did not even ask to be paid for it. [...] The most important reason George was asked to be president was that he was very honest, and people both trusted and admired him. He was the most trusted, admired, and respected man in the whole country.”
Unfortunately what they miss entirely is the fact that he turned down a salary of what would have amounted to a little over 1,000 per month, but said: “Sir, I beg leave to assure the Congress that as no pecuniary consideration could have tempted me to have accepted this arduous
employment, I do not wish to make any profit from it. I will keep an exact account of my expenses. Those I doubt not they will discharge, and that is all I desire.”
And then the shopping began:
- To cash paid for Sadlery, a Letter Case, Maps, Glasses, &c &c &c. for the use of my Command… $831.45- To sundry Exp.’s paid by myself at different times and places… on the Retreat of the Army thro’ the Jerseys into Pennsylvania & while there… $3,776- From September 1775 to March 1776, Washington spent over six thousand dollars on liquor
In eight years, by turning down a salary and taking an expense account, instead of being paid around $12,000, he was paid $449,261.51 in 1780 dollars (around $4,250,000.00 in today’s money).
Washington, being a clever man, tried the same ploy when he was elected President but he was turned down and given a set salary of $25,000 per
year. You can view scans of Washington’s expense account at the Library of Congress.

Martin Luther

Fact: Martin Luther was an anti-semite
Martin Luther, the famous Monk who started the protestant reformation, is often touted as a hero for standing up against excesses in the Catholic Church at the time, but what most people don’t know is that he was violently anti-Jewish and he made no secret of it. In 1543, he wrote “On The Jews And Their Lies”, in which he recommends that Jews be deprived of money, civil rights, religious teaching, and education, and that they be forced to labor on the land, or else be expelled from Germany and possibly killed (sound like someone familiar from more recent times?) He referred to the Jews as a “base, whoring people, that is, no people of God, and their boast of lineage, circumcision, and law must be accounted as filth.” He said that Jews were “full of the devil’s feces … which they wallow in like swine,” and the synagogue is an “incorrigible whore and an evil slut …” [Source]
He also put together an eight point plan to get rid of the Jews:
- “First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. …”- “Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. …”- “Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them. …”- “Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. …”- “Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. …”- “Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them. … Such money should now be used in … the following [way]… Whenever a Jew is sincerely converted, he should be handed [a certain amount]…”- “Seventh, I commend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow… For it is not fitting that they should let us accursed Goyim toil in the sweat of our faces while they, the holy people, idle away their time behind the stove, feasting and farting, and on top of all, boasting blasphemously of their lordship over the Christians by means of our sweat. No, one should toss out these lazy rogues by the seat of their pants.”- “If we wish to wash our hands of the Jews’ blasphemy and not share in their guilt, we have to part company with them. They must be driven from our country” and “we must drive them out like mad dogs.” [Source: Luther, On the Jews, 47:268-288, 292.]

Thomas Jefferson

Fact: Jefferson preached against whites having children with blacks, whilst doing that very thing and denying his offspring
Jefferson said “the amalgamation of whites with blacks produces a degradation to which no lover of his country, no lover of the excellence in the human character, can innocently consent.” Whilst preaching this rubbish, he had several children with his slave Sally Hemings who happened to be the illegitimate half-sister sister of his wife. While the rumours were around during their lifetime (which Jefferson implicitly denied), it was not until recent times that DNA testing proved that at least one of Hemings’ children was indeed fathered by Jefferson. In a letter to Secretary of the Navy Robert Smith dated July 1, 1805, Jefferson also admitted to having tried to seduce his married neighbor Betsey Walker.

Albert Einstein

Fact: Einstein was a philanderer
Einstein is perhaps the greatest mind of the 20th century and he and his most famous formular E=MC^2 are known by virtually everyone. Most people know he had a passion for the violin and that he started out life as a clerk in a patent office; but what most people don’t know, is that he cheated on both of his wives repeatedly. After splitting up with his first wife (because of his infidelity), he married his cousin Elsa. Shortly after that he had an affair with his secretary Betty Neumann. In a new volume of letters held by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Einstein described about six women with whom he spent time and from whom he received gifts while being married to Elsa. [Source]

Elvis Presley

Fact: Elvis was unhealthily obsessed with James Dean
Elvis exhibited many compulsive/obsessive qualities throughout his life which both helped and hindered his personal and public life. One of the areas that Elvis wanted to excel in was acting. He wanted to be the next James Dean and as a result was obsessed with Dean. He anguished over the fact that the roles he was given in movies were not (in his mind) substantial. Elvis knew all the words to “Rebel Without A Cause” that featured James Dean and Natalie Wood. Elvis sought out Wood because of her connection to James Dean. That relationship ended when Natalie came to visit Graceland and Elvis’ mother Gladys (who was domineering and jealous) drove Natalie away. Natalie confided to her sister Lana that “he can sing, but he can’t do much else”. The obsession with Dean led Elvis to intentionally befriend Nick Adams – a very close friend of Dean’s before he died and since his death rumors abound that Adams had a sexual relationship with both Dean and Elvis. [Source]

Andrew Johnson

Fact: Vice-President Andrew Johnson took his presidential oath whilst completely drunk
Andrew Johnson was the Vice-President during Lincoln’s reign. He had a strong disliking for the aristocracy whom he thought were there by the labor of the poor such as his own family. “Glassy-eyed and smelling of whiskey, he reminded Congress, the Supreme Court, the Cabinet, and pretty much everyone within hearing distance that they owed their positions to “plebeians” such as himself, then kissed the Bible and staggered away”. In response, the New York Times said “To think that one frail life stands between this insolent, clownish creature and the presidency! May God bless and spare Abraham Lincoln!” History shows us that God didn’t spare Lincoln and Johnson eventually became president. His presidency was such a disaster that congress tried to impeach him twice – successfully on the second attempt! He avoided being fired by just one vote.

Pope Pius IX

Fact: Pope Pius IX Kidnapped a Jewish child and had him raised as a Catholic
On the evening of 23 June 1858, in Bologna, then part of the Papal States, police arrived at the home of a Jewish couple, Salomone (”Momolo”) and Marianna Padovani Mortara, to seize one of their eight children, six-year-old Edgardo, and transport him to Rome to be raised as a ward of the state. The police had orders from Holy Office authorities in Rome, authorized by Pope Pius IX. Church officials had been told that a 14-year-old Catholic servant girl of the Mortaras, Anna Morisi, had baptized Edgardo while he was ill because she feared that he would otherwise die and go to Hell. Acorrding to Catholic Church doctrine, Edgardo’s baptism, even if illegal under canon law, was valid and made him a Christian. Under the canon law, non-Christians could not raise a Christian child, even their own. Edgardo was taken to a house for Catholic converts in Rome, maintained at state expense. His parents were not allowed to see him for several weeks, and then not alone. Pius IX took a personal interest in the case, and all appeals to the Church were rebuffed. Church authorities told the Mortaras that they could have Edgardo back if they abandoned their faith and converted to Catholicism, but they refused.
Despite international protests (including those from the United States government), Pope Pius IX did not relinquish Edgardo who eventually went on to become a priest. He was also a vehement supporter of the Vatican taking the first steps towards making Pius IX a saint.
You can read his testimony here and you can see the incorrupt corpse of Blessed Pius IX here (his face has a protective mask of silver on which is removed for veneration).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Celebrity Smarts

Source of data: LISTVERSE

15 Surprisingly Super Smart CelebritiesShare This- Published January 18, 2009

When you think of Mensa, the high IQ society, you probably think of Steven Hawking or Marilyn vos Savant. There are, however, some unlikely celebrity names associated with Mensa – a group which requires that members have an IQ within the top two per cent of the population. I have compiled a list of some famous smarties, some more surprising than others. I did my best to verify in more than one source that these were in fact members of Mensa. Sharon Stone, for example, is listed as a Mensa member on many websites, however, she confirmed she is not and has never been a member, as is commonly believed. This list is in no particular order, as not all IQ’s were available.

Scott Levy

Probably better known as WCW wrestler Raven, Levy studied criminal justice at the University of Delaware and originally wanted to be a lawyer. He has a reported IQ of 143.

Asia Carrera

Star of over 250 hardcore adult movies, Carrera has an IQ of 156. Before her successful porn career, at the age of 13 she played piano at Carnegie Hall and later attended Rutgers University.

Myles Jeffrey

Jeffrey is a young actor who does a lot of voiceover work. At age 6, he was given an IQ test and tested within the 99th percentile, making him a certified genius.

Glenne Headly

Actress, and wife of John Malkovich, Headly studied drama in NYC and attended the American College of Switzerland on a scholarship.

Quentin Tarantino

Violence-loving high school dropout Quentin Tarantino has an IQ of 160.

Steve Martin

Martin majored in Philosophy at Cal State and even considered becoming a professor at one time. His IQ is estimated to be about 142.

Geena Davis

Davis went to Sweden on a student exchange program and is now fluent in Swedish. Studied drama at Boston University, plays piano, flute, drums and organ and has an IQ of 140.

Laura Shields

An English model and actress, she earned an honors degree in chemical engineering from Leeds University. Her reported IQ is 158.

Alan Rachins

Rachins played a lawyer on the TV show L.A. Law and Dharma’s hippy father on Dharma and Greg. He enrolled at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, ultimately dropping out, but graduated from Empire State College in 1974.

Joey Beauchamp

Beauchamp is a footballer for the Oxford United, and is listed on British Mensa’s fact sheet under “famous members,” however they did not list his IQ.

Natalie Portman

Fluent in five languages with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Harvard, Portman pursued graduate studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Jimmy Savile

A British DJ, actor and television personality, he is best known for his BBC television show Jim’ll Fix It where he made the wishes of members of the public (mainly children) come true and as both the first and last presenter of Top of the Pops. Savile holds an honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) from Leeds University and is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Radiology (FRCR.) In the Mensa entry tests, his IQ was assessed as 149.

Jodie Foster

Foster graduated as valedictorian from the French-speaking Lycee Francais de Los Angeles, after which she attended Yale and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in literature. Her reported IQ is 132.

Dolph Lundgren

Lundgren attended the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. He received a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, in 1982, and the next year was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to MIT. IQ score: 160.

James Woods

Woods aced his SATs, got into MIT (but dropped out to pursue acting) and has a reported IQ of 180.

Lisa Simpson

Lisa has an IQ of 156 and has been a member of Mensa Springfield since 1999.

Dear friends, every word of this is from LISTVERSE.

Looked Like Jesus

When I was very new working in the States, and we were still living in Pittsburgh, PA, a member of the staff told me one morning, "We have a new patient in Room ___. He looks like Jesus." Eventually, that man was assigned to me. I knocked and entered the room. I looked. True enough, lying there in bed was "Jesus." He was white, gaunt, with shoulder-length sandy brown hair, and a bushy face. He looked very handsome in his sleep.

I remember feeling scared because whenever he was awake, he had that serious demeanor and a look in his eyes that told you he was thinking. He was as curious about this "Asian girl" as I was of him. He was soft-spoken when he talked of his family growing up, hippie days, a broken marriage, about brushes with the law.

He had Hepatitis C. Incurable. And he was always bleeding from somewhere. As I said, I was very new so it made me nervous going inside his room. He liked to follow me around, too, not only with his eyes, but physically. So I was always afraid he might slam the door one day and attack me. Really. Such thoughts on "Jesus." But I was always firm though kind, and he was compliant. At one point he said, I was becoming more and more Pittsburghian, and I didn't need to do that. He said to keep being Asian. What he didn't know was I was truly scared so I think I may have upped my act a little bit to gain some confidence.

He was homeless. I guess he found solace in that little room, and the consistency of the staff that cared for him. But one day they moved him to another floor. That day, I was assigned to other patients. But he requested that I transport him. I did. He looked very sad.

Within one week, "Jesus" died.


The kindness that we do today goes a long, long way. (I'd credit the person but I don't even know who said this.)

Wordless Wednesday - Love ya, Little Brother!

(picture also featured on other blog)

Matthew blowing to cool down the hot piece of pizza AJ bit off

The First Day

It was Matthew's first day of school. I was in much anticipation, and wanted to get off work quickly.

I fed him his breakfast.
Aris fixed his snack.
We reminded him to be kind to new classmates, be respectful and helpful.
He said he wanted cafeteria food, and I said not to use catsup (okay, only a very little bit).
I told him (for the millionth time) about the importance of handwashing (which he is good at - NO WONDER, did you say? ;o).
I asked him not to forget to pray at mealtime.
We all walked him to the room, where a few kids and parents already milled about.
We knew some of them and said hello.
I met Ms. Willingham again, his soft-spoken, smiling young teacher, and wished her all the best in my heart.
I also met the assistant teacher who was much older, Mrs. Richardson, who lived in the Philippines with her missionary parents when she was three years old and stayed there until she finished high school.
Mrs. Richardson blurted about Pancit right away, which was kind of fun.
Aris came in after parking the car, lugging all the materials asked of second-graders: several big black binders, crayolas, bottles of glue, clorox wipes and boxes of tissue, notebooks, among others.
We were only asked to have a few notebooks, one writing pad, one box of crayons, a ruler, a set of pencils, when I was in second grade back in 1977.
Aris and Mrs. Richardson fell into animated conversation about Filipino food.
The boy plopped on a seat next to his best friend, another Filipino boy who LOOKS like him.
They both started working on the paper which was laid out on the table in front of them, amid excited chatter.
AJ got busy introducing himself around the room.
He then settled on a chair in front of his kuya (big brother), AND 'worked' on the paper meant for the kid assigned to that table.
It was our cue.
We all gave Matthew an extra squeeze and kiss, and bid everyone good bye.
He was going to have a wonderful first day.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

This 'ber Season

Whenever I mention to non-Filipino friends that Filipinos herald the coming of Christmas by the 1st of September, I am always met by a huge amount of curiosity, wide eyes and a barrage of questions. Well, my dear friends, it is true! Haha! We have the longest celebration of Christmas that I know of all over the world!

By the 1st of September, Christmas songs will start peppering the airwaves, people start saving up for gifts, or buying them. The weather is noticeably cooler, and gets cooler still, until February. Even strangers are more convivial to each other. We love the 'ber season!

Except for the All Saints' and All Souls' Days on Nov. 1 and 2, there's nothing else between September and Christmas. No Christmas songs on those days, but there's a resounding comeback by the next! Christmas trees are up right after Nov. 2, some before.

Many also enjoy the traditional manito-manita (secret Santa) at home, in offices, schools, wherever there's a willing crowd. How you do it is you all write a fictitious name on a piece of paper, roll it up and put them all together in a container. Each gets to pick a piece of paper and that's the person you give a gift to depending on the rules. Rules may be weekly or daily (or whenever) gift-giving (not necessarily expensive), each week (or day, or whenever) corresponds to a certain gift that is simply described, and up for the giver (secret santa) to interpret. Say, this week, something long and slimy. It runs up till Christmas Day where each one reveals his true identity. Fun? You can say that again!

We also have our traditional Misa De Aguinaldo (misa - mass, aguinaldo - gift), which is a series of masses celebrated at dawn (around 4 at the earliest). It starts on Dec. 16th, and ends on the 24th, at midnight, a nine-day gift of the faithful to the Lord Jesus and Mother Mary. It is a very sacred devotion (novena), and I used to pine when there were times that I wasn't able to complete it. Then there's the noche buena (midnight meal) after the midnight masses On Dec. 24th (Christmas eve) and Dec. 31st (New Year's eve). And then there are the fireworks.

There are lanterns everywhere, of different sizes and colors. There are lantern parades. There's puto-bumbong (traditional rice cake, very famous at Christmastime), and lots of other traditional goodies awaiting church-goers after each dawn mass. There is just so much happiness unfelt at any other time.

And the holiday doesn't end on Jan. 1st. There's the celebration of the Three Kings on the 6th of January. Many Christmas trees stay up till February. Some decors stay all year long!

Sigh. It will be September in a week. I'm pining - again. I'm sorely missing all that.


The Philippines is more than 80% Catholic, and strong traditions are what bind people together.

What's Cookin'?


Aris makes the best in town! Whenever we are both off work, we go to the Asian store, which is more than 30 minutes' drive. But when we get home, we enjoy cooking to our hearts' content! Come join us!

Today's Flowers: Alstroemeria

Also called Lily of the Incas or the Peruvian Lily, some are winter-growing and some summer-growing. All of them are long-lived perennials. I find them in my patients' rooms all the time, fresh and colorful - white, purple, orange. Very, very attractive and soothing to the eyes. I hope you like them.

Sunday Catch-Up

Well, among other things, I got this done today. How about you?

Awards From Me To You

Yes, yes, they're up for grabs! One is called the Your Blog Is As Deer To Me As Cupcakes Award! It's for everyone on my blogroll! Check your blogsite out on my sidebar! Email me if you need help putting the button up on your sidebar! Dear friends, I read your blogs almost everyday, without fail! I leave my comments on your posts all the time! That shows how dear your blogs are to me! So don't be shy and let me see the cupcake award up there next time I'm on your sites! Hugs! And pass it on to any one whose blog you are following!! It's for all of them!

Now for the One Lovely Blog Award. I had to choose only 15, even though your blogs all qualify! The rule to this is you have to choose 15 more blogs to pass this on to. So, without further ado, here's my list:

Australia:Quadrat in Focus
Third Time's A Chance
The Legacy of Home
Kitchen With Kids
My Hodgepodge
The Joys of Simple Life
Jesusa's Corner
The Immateur Anthropologist
Reach Beyond Limits
Joyful Reflections
Thistle Cove Farm
Simple Beauty
The Main Ingredient

Pass the love on! Happy Sunday, everyone!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saturday Sibling Frolic

My kids love to play, waddle, walk, run, dive, name whatever it is, into anything, well, let's just say, unconventional. For example, instead of walking calmly on the sidewalk, they would rather tramp on the grass. Instead of leaving a good pile of autumn leaves alone, they would plunge onto it complete with Indian whoops, things like that.

Well, today, it rained.

Aris DOES NOT like them doing this on account of WORMS. And he said dog-owners sometimes let their dogs pee over them. But these puddles were NEW and FRESH. Not THE ONE (we all know it) where the worms were.
So when the little boy jumped in (see how happy he was, he even removed his slippers!) the kuya (big brother) joined in. Was I gonna say no? Not this momma. So they went from puddle to puddle and splashed with gusto. Daddy STILL said something. And of course, since mom is Ms. Sanitation, it was straight from the puddles
to the bubbles!

You bet I scrubbed them good, especially the little toes!

Clunker Blues

We were at Crown Honda yesterday, said our last good byes to Old Reliable,
and said hello to shiny, sleek youngster up there.

There was much mourning all the way home.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Friday Funnies

Hello, everyone! How about some laughs? Please sit back, this is quite a list. I got this from The News and Observer, and it's called Complaints About Co-workers. It says, what's your biggest beef about co-workers?


- is too sun-tanned.
- has big hair.
- eats all the good cookies.
- is so polite, it's infuriating.
- suspected co-worker is a pimp.
- is trying to poison me.
- 's body is magnetic and keeps deactivating my magnetic access card.
- is personally responsible for a federally mandated tax increase.
- was annoyed the company didn't provide a place for naps during break time.
- wears only slippers or socks at work.
- 's aura is wrong.
- smells like road ramps.
- breathes too loudly.
- wants to check a co-worker for ticks.
- thinks 8:00 am is too early to get up for work.
- wore pajamas to work.
- has bells on her shoes, and it's not the holidays.
- reminded co-worker too much of Bambi.
- spends too much time caring for stray cats around the building.
- (male) keeps using the ladies room because the men's room is not as tidy.


And would you believe, these are all true!

Thoughtful Thursday

Today, Aug. 21st in the Philippines, marks the death anniversary of Senator Benigno 'Ninoy' Aquino, a Philippine national hero. It remains an 'unsolved' murder, thanks to political arm-bendings. My country, as far as my 'adult' mind can remember, has weathered political storm after storm after that. Within two years of his death, his widow (who also just recently passed), became the First Woman President of the country. And among many young idealists born into and caught in the nation's passionate political strife, I was right there, rah-rah-ing, wearing yellow, the color of freedom.

On the very night that the ONLY president I had ever known in all of my 16 years was ousted, and flown outside the country, I was in Iloilo City, a Region you fly to from where I lived, or travelled by ship to reach (as the Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands). I was one of over a thousand high school students competing in a National Writing Competition. I won second place, amidst all the drama outside of that dark auditorium, and the topic we were asked to develop impromptu, my winning piece, was aptly titled 'The Youth of Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.' My winning was not extraordinary. Half the kid in my class could have done it, just give them a pen, tell them to read and focus, and be upbeat about the country as much as possible, and you'd have a winner. We were an intense young generation. If I had lost, I would still have been a winner from having competed alone.

Holding my trophy was little compensation for the general reason for the jubilation outside in the streets. I thought of Ninoy that night. He was also a writer when he was young, 17 years old when he was sent to Korea as a war correspondent. He had died when I was 14.

I was not sad when I thought of him. I luxuriated in the company of fellow young writers celebrating the death of 'Yesterday's' youth, which included myself.

Little did I think on that night that I would be saying that my children are 'Tomorrow's' youth. And yet I am. Many, many years later, my husband and I left the country when Matthew was 1. The boy speaks and understands the Pilipino language, and calls himself Filipino. He excels in school and is included in the Advanced Classes program.

I do not want him to have to march on the streets like his father and mother did before him, to clamor for change. But I will respect his decisions, when the time comes, to determine the form of government he wants his country to have, and to choose the country he wants to live in.

For now, I will rest my pen. He sleeps. And I'm sure somewhere, Ninoy is proud.

The Dino Experience

Hello, everyone! This was taken on Aug. 6th, after the trail opened and Matthew wanted to go back to the Museum. So, let's go and take a peek at the earth's inhabitants pre-humans about 65 million years ago!

All done! Whew! It was muggy that day, so we stopped by the ice cream bar. Then we headed to the Library (one-stop shop, can't be going out everyday for every single thing in this heat, ugh!). And on that note, summer's officially gone. I'll miss it, and all the timeless no-rush family fun. See you all! Keep safe!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gotta Love Our Heart

( photo source: my Friendster account)

A fellow nurse was reading the chart and droned on about a patient who was rushed to the hospital for chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, and indigestion. When she got to 'indigestion,' I said "Sounds like a heart attack to me." She said, "You're right! But how did you know, Cherie?"

It's simple, really. A heart attack's pain is usually on the chest, and in many people, it is found on the upper abdomen. Sometimes the pain is 'referred,' in that it is felt anywhere else but the 'heart' - like pain in the arm, neck or back gets referred to the upper abdomen, causing nausea and vomiting.

Whether we work in a hospital or a nursing home, HEART ATTACK is always one of the leading menaces the staff are on the constant look-out for. It, in fact, is the number one cause of death in the US. So here are the warning signs to help you think and act fast, when you are put in a situation where you or someone else might need help, where the heart is concerned.

Heart Attack:

Chest pain, or discomfort, which may be described as heaviness, pressure, tightness, fullness or acute pain ( One funny incident: I once asked a patient if it felt like an elephant sitting on her chest, and she answered no, that it felt more like a kitten sitting on her chest.)

Shortness of breath (either with or without chest pain)

Other symptoms (may or may not follow quickly): Nausea with or without vomiting (amazing thing is, some can still walk to and from the bathroom and clean themselves, and tell you about it!), cold sweats, lightheadedness, jaw or back pain, pain in one or both arms

In women, note also a persistent feeling of fatigue unrelieved by sleep, and anxious, nervous feelings.

What to do?

Don't joke around, it's not heartburn! Seek help immediately! If the person has a prescribed nitrogycerin tablet, capsule or spray, use as directed! Otherwise, call 911 if you're in the States. Or scream at the top of your lungs if you don't know what to do, to get somebody's attention.

Stroke, on the other hand, is the second leading cause of death in the US, so I'd like to write down the symptoms as well. Most Filipino men by the age of 60, suffer from this, too.


Sudden numbness or weakness
Sudden confusion with trouble speaking
Visual disturbances or changes in seeing
Sudden trouble walking, loss of balance or coordination
Sudden onset of severe headache without cause

Same thing, don't tell the person to rest, or drink a glass of water or anything else, but call for help! Call your doctor, if you don't have 911.

More importantly, PREVENT these things from happening by: living a healthy lifestyle - quit smoking, eat right, get more HDL (good cholesterol), exercise and maintain your weight, manage stress, and keep your diabetes in check. Some things we can't help if we inherited them.

For nurses and families who deal with these, be patient, no blaming, and include the patients in their care. Some nurses leave televisions droning on and on. Please. Ever heard of sensory overload? And I'm talking about healthy individuals. How much more people who can hardly breathe or have clots in their brains?

Gotta love our heart because there's so much to live for. Just a little reminder from your friendly neighborhood catwoman. Meow.

Life In A Petri Dish

These are friends from grade and high school. Where has life gone? We grew from losing our first teeth, to marrying or breaking up with our first loves, to getting or chunking our first jobs, to attending or missing our first school reunion, to talking about our first surgeries, to swapping stories about children, to living our dreams, fighting our battles, winning our distance runs.

Wow. Life is like cells in a petri dish. Our dreams, goals, aspirations, hopes grow, divide, at some point maybe atrophy, or die. But we keep plodding on, dreaming, hoping. It's a long ride.

Wordless Wednesday:The Cost of A Whistle

Can anyone please explain to me how a tooth fairy acquired a bank account? I guess the boy has TWO reasons for whistling (he says losing a tooth is one), but it's this money thing that's leaving me wordless.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Why Books

returning books previously borrowed
only to check out more
having fun with another kid, while waiting for us
putting together the wooden parts, also while waiting (we were also checking out books)
a train of names of Summer Readers glued all over the ceiling
of the County Library...
some shelved books at home
crying to be shelved (and a great many more in boxes, under the beds - gulp - and everywhere else, in the house)

It had not all been play and fun trips for the boys this summer. They're registered at the Durham County Library, and we've had countless trips there, checking out books and educational DVDs, with the boys using their own library cards. Matthew was also in the Summer Reading Program which offered incentives (prizes) after every 10 days of reading. Between M and AJ alone, we had brought home and returned at least 48 kiddie books in the last month alone. Here's the last list of those we toted back to the Library:



We Three Kings

William Tell

Trust Me, Mom!

Hello Ocean - Hola Mar

Chickens, chickens

Animals Are Sleeping

Piglet and Mama

You're Too Small

Winners Never Quit

Hungry Hyena


Yuck! A Toad

Country Animals

Favorite Mother Goose Rhymes

The Colors of My Jewish Year

Sarah's Shovel

My First Nursery Rhymes

My First Songs

Thomas and the Animals

Oh Davey

As you can see, they didn't need to be impressive, they just had to be FUN.

With the advent of all this hi-tech stuff these days, so many children (some as young as three) are already prolific PSP handlers, owners of ipods, and strongly compete with adults in the use of computers. Our sons are no exceptions, but the house restrictions apply. The computer has a password (Aris is setting up the other one now, and M has gotten it into his head to put in HIS own password, to protect it against US), and has played with his PSP only twice (last Christmas, and last month, for his birthday). He WAS big on his ipod but the honeymoon feeling lasted only for about a week. Now he'd rather follow the song and dance moves of his favorite teeny-boppers as they pop up on tv. And then again, when they are on the internet or watching tv, we are there to screen the shows.

Otherwise, it's hit the books instead. Not that they are excuses for the lack of better shows. They're just always there.

Books occupied my summers when I was a little girl. They kept me away from silly gossip and boy talk when I was growing up. These days, they provide inspiration for my blogs.

We had no Summer Reading Programs when I was seven. Nor did we need one. The nuns drilled us on Reading and Phonics, and this Catholic magazine whose name escapes me. Kids were made to stand in the corner in front of the class if they didn't know how to pronounce (I was spared that, thank goodness). And at home, our mothers and fathers (mothers more than fathers) made sure we spoke and wrote English as it should be spoken and written. I cannot remember a household without a complete set of encyclopedia, or a giant Webster's dictionary, alongside stacks of Reader's Digest magazines, and a Bible. All my childhood friends had and probably still have theirs in their homes.

It was such an ordinary thing not only for myself but for families like mine, at least in the town where I grew up, to live with books. We thumbed through countless card catalogues for researches and book reports in libraries FROM GRADE SCHOOL ALL THROUGH COLLEGE and didn't mind it. From that we learned organization and patience. In contrast, all that the librarians do now is punch in a few buttons, and ta-dah, we know which aisle to go. We didn't get voicemails from librarians saying our deadlines were up - we made sure to make that trip back to the library on time precisely BECAUSE we avoided the wrath of the mighty guardian of the books. We viewed librarians as fearsome creatures in those days, I think, which, for me, just reinforced the belief that books were sacred.

Which is why I am all for continuing the tradition of reading, and encourage everyone to do the same. Books, unquestionably, are.

Cents and Sensibility

It was the Pinata at a kid's party they attended. And that kid Alex who had cancer and sold lemonade.


My son, Matthew, seven, sold candies yesterday.

To neighbors.

He hitched up his skateboard, and made 'containers' out of paper and glue, and positioned himself outside the door.

He made his own signs, made up his own prices. I was MORTIFIED by the prices.

So imagine my surprise when, at the end of half an hour, he entered the house and showed me his earnings.

It may have been pity. Or just neighborly love.

But, am I convinced that this boy will never be hungry!

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someone very blessed to walk this life with you