Monday, July 30, 2007

Harrison Padua Leonardo Memorial Fund

i just read newbie dad's post on rice daddies stating that harrison leonardo has passed away. i feel so devastated and utterly heartbroken... honestly, after reading his parent's farewell letter, i can't stop crying. i can't even imagine what his parents are going through right now.

after i first read and posted about harrison, like newbie dad, i started to read his mother's journal too. the last time i checked, things were going relatively well since he received an umbilical stem cell transplant in april. there were good days and bad days, but it seemed like this was status quo for someone who was battling cancer and that eventually he'd fully recover (and start REALLY annoying his parents). i just can't believe he's gone and that it happened so unexpectedly (for me)... it feels as if it had happened on my watch and i had fallen asleep.

harrison's courageous story inspired me to register myself as a donor via AADP in an effort to try to help him and any other children who were suffering like him. when we got the registration materials, i was so disappointed when i found out i couldn't register the paloma or the pork chop since they were still minors. especially, since their biracial blood type (?) is what they were specifically looking for. if you haven't already registered, please consider doing so and helping someone who desperately needs it.

i looked at harrison's picture and thought how much he looked like a sibling/cousin of our kids. and i know what it's like to be a small child, suffering from an illness in a sterile hospital room - so, i prayed and prayed for him and sent him lots of big invisible love and scintillating wishes on stars. i guess i'll just do the same for his parents and remind myself that he's better now and i'm sure he's in very, very good company.

a memorial fund has been established in harrison's name. donations of any amount can be sent to the following address:

SF Fire Credit Union
C/O Harrison Padua Memorial Fund
3201 California St.
San Francisco, CA 94118

please make checks payable to "Harrison Padua Leonardo Memorial Fund, Account 100314.S1.1"

rest in peace, harrison. mahal kita.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

voldemort married hermione!?

just kidding!!! i did read and finish it yesterday though... gotta say. i was kinda disappointed towards the end - specifically chapter 35. and i'm a pretty big fan of the books and the films. anyone else?

when we were in new york this past weekend, a friend of mine (living in nyc now) was telling me that new yorkers are really good at "staring at people with purpose". i thought about it and realized that no new yorkers were staring at me because they were all reading the new harry potter book - while walking, on the subway, probably while driving, etc...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

just an fyi - i'm alive!

the thin man and i had a GREAT TIME in manhattan! :) but we returned home to a sniffling & coughing pork chop (who is still not "talking" and fast approaching his terrible twos) with a newfound habit of eating soap and climbing out of his crib. so, i'm putting out his (and the palomas) towering infernos hourly.

i do have blog posts ruminating a plenty up in my noggin - and some even in draft form!

Friday, July 20, 2007

happy birthday bloggo chicago!

just wanted to say happy birthday to the "hawt" depends porn diva, bloggo chicago, aka barb - who apparently still gets carded for margaritas. *cough* botox *cough*

it's so weird and wonderful how the blogging world brings perfect strangers together only to find how many things "ahem" they have in common. ;)


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

not so hypothetical...

you are spending one full day, let's say it's this saturday (7/21/07) , in manhattan with your spouse/significant other sans kids. what is your itinerary for that day? where will you eat? what will you pay to see? where will you shop? what will you buy?

the most "manhattan experience" itinerary will receive a nyc souvenir (i luvs my tchotchkies) from me in the mail. fo' reals peeps! :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

oh how the mighty have fallen....

yesterday, i thought that i (like most women) had a pretty high threshold for pain:

* i went thru numerous surgeries from birth to about 5 years old to "cleave" my cystic hygroma from my neck.

* i got malaria.

* i menstruate.

* i've been waxed.

* i got tattooed in a store front window in broad daylight while reading antique car trader. yes, i was sober.

* i had to pack and re-pack a wound every day for a few weeks. it opened after i had surgery to remove a fibroadenoma from my right boobie.

* i went thru pregnancy, labor, delivery and breastfeeding. twice.

and today? today, i had to pop two advil for a 2mm canker sore that's planted itself on the base of my lower gum.


and i mean hurt like a swift kick to the privates, or using sandpaper for tp, or hacking off an appendage and pouring lemon juice on it.... OWWWWWWWWWWW!!!

happy birthday sugarmama!

i just wanted to send my best and brightest birthday wishes to Sugarmama aka MJ who blogs over at i want a little sugar in my bowl and chicagomomsblog. she is also the founder of filipinamoms blog.

maligayang kaarawan! if i could make a big pan of pancit, you know'd i'd be making it for you! :)

Friday, July 13, 2007

readers raising readers...

when the thin man and i first met each other in a swing dance class, we didn't like each other at all. actually, i didn't like him, his conservative politics, his fraternity ties, his sporty red convertible or his smug little "i-know-better-than-thou" smile. apparently, he didn't really think anything of me, my artsy-fartsyness, my red STP jacket, or my pee-wee herman bike.

for some reason, we always ended up at class about 15 minutes early. often, we'd end up practicing our 8 count swingouts with each other. after one too many criticisms on my dancing, i decided to start bringing a book to class so that he would do the polite thing and not disturb my reading or ask me to dance.

i brought the most liberal, feminist, modern, sentimental, paradigm shifting, thought provoking book i had in my library - "the cider house rules" by john irving. i locked up my bike with a smile. i was so sure that he'd leave me alone - FOREVER! and then, soon after i cracked open the book and hid behind it, the thin man walked over and said something like, "hey! i read that book! i liked it a lot! 'good night, you princes of maine, you kings of new england!" and the rest, as they say, is history...

it turned out that among the many things we found we had in common, the thin man and i share a love of books and reading. it's also foremost of the many hobbies that we want to introduce and encourage in our children. so, i'm happy to report, with great pride, that the paloma finished "reading" her 25 books (and drawing her book reports) for the chicago city of big readers program.

in addition to another 5 book prize, she received a nifty t-shirt commemorating her accomplishment, her name was entered into the weekly prize raffle and the BIG, GRAND, U PICK WHICH PRIZE raffle (amongst the choices of a bike, a scooter, a gameboy, an ipod, and a toys r us gift certificate, etc.. the kid chooses to enter the gameboy raffle. oh well.) anyhoo, just in case you were interested, the list of her 25 books (in the order she read them) follows:

1) "chicken and cat" by sara varon

2) "clara caterpillar" by pamela duncan edwards

3) "honk! the story of a prima swanerina" by pamela duncan edwards

4) "emmeline at the circus" by marjorie priceman

5) "apple pie 4th of july" by janet s. wong

6) "abuela" by arthur dorros

7) "tar beach" by faith ringgold

8) "josefina" by jeanette winter

9) "ballerina" by peter sis

10) "ginger" by charlotte voake

11) "ruby and bubbles" by rosie winstead

12) "imagine a day" by sarah thomson

13) "how high can a dinosaur count?" by valorie fisher

14) "imogene's antlers" by david small

15) "buzz" by janet wong

16) "princess chamomile gets her way" by hiawyn oram

17) "alice the fairy" by david shannon

18) "the heart's language" by lois ann yamanaka

19) "this next new year" by janet s wong

20) "who wants a dragon?" by james mayhew

21) "hula lullaby" by erin eittner kono

22) "daisy comes home" - jan brett

23) "big jimmy's kum kau chinese takeout" - ted lewin

24) "dancing in the kitchen" - wendy gelsanliter & frank christian

25) "fortune cookie fortunes" - grace lin (btw - for those of you who like me are fans of grace lin's books. i just found out, in the course of perusing her site and her blog, that her husband, robert, is not doing very well.

she writes in her last post dated 6/26/07, "I'm sorry to say that Robert is not having the results from his treatments that we hoped for and the written word no longer brings me solace. As Robert's body betrays him, so does the consolation of my blog. So for now, during these hard times, I say goodbye--hoping to find hope in silence."

my heart just about snapped in two when i read her words. please keep grace, robert and their family in your thoughts and prayers. he beat the cancer into remission twice before. i hope and pray he does it again.)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

how bored ARE they?

my kids are SO bored, they figured out how to make farting noises and yoga poses at the same time.

all by theyselves... 'cause i don't yoga... or feign fart.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

what the he**?

so is this really what passes for children's television today? biz "oh snap!" markie and julius the hijacked monkey? i have to look away whenever this trailer plays 'cause i think i'm going to have an epileptic fit.

why can't they just bring back hr pufnstuf, sigmund and the seamonsters and the electric company? WHY!!??

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

apple pie 4th of july

recently, i signed the paloma up for the Chicago City of Big Readers program:

"The program is open to all Chicago children age 3 and up. Participating children read, report on books of their choosing and have fun with programs and projects about Chicago. Children get a sticker for their book log for each book read and can win book prizes and earn a City of Big Readers t-shirt by reading books."

i'm not sure if the progam is run differently per library but at our branch, the kids get to choose a "prize" - bubbles, candy, jump ropes, small dolls, yo-yos, etc... - for every five books they read. after reading twenty five books, their names are entered into a large raffle where they may win iPods or bicycles or other random larger prizes...

i rarely find books with any asian characters/stories at our local branch, but for some reason, i'm finding more than usual lately. the majority of the books that the paloma has read have had asian or asian american stories or asian heroes/heroines. it's been really enlightening and empowering and has started some funny and thoughtful conversations between us.

eventually, i'll post the list of 25 books (she's at 21!) that the paloma has "read" (yes, i'm doing the reading, but she's doing the "book report" - a drawing of her favorite part in the book). but, i thought it was an appropriate time to share a book that the paloma just read called "Apple Pie 4th of July" by janet s. wong.

in the story, the young girl is bummed out that her parents have kept their store open on the 4th of july, while other neighboring stores are closed. she's embarassed that they're celebrating it with a *gasp* CHINESE food feast while everyone else is celebrating with apple pie. she says something like, "No one eats chinese food on the fourth of july." she sadly watches a distant parade go by from the store window. she's sure that her friends are watching it from the nearest street curb. to pass the time, she helps her parents by stocking the store with merchandise and helping customers find stuff for their "american" celebrations.

i remember as a child, feeling very foreign, very "unamerican" on the 4th of july, when my family would have a picnic somewhere maybe montrose beach or at a local forest preserve and they'd break out the adobo in the big pot, maybe a red snapper enveloped in foil with the head still on, the rice still in the rice cooker insert, and mangoes or leche flan or biko for dessert.

instead of red white and blue plates and forks, my moms would've brought the corelle and the handful of mismatched utensils we got from the thrift store. instead of a red and white picnic blanket, we'd bring a couple of the assorted and colorful banigs (straw sleeping mats).

it wasn't that i didn't like all of those things, or didn't like bein filipino. but i didn't understand why we couldn't be different, be "american" this one day out of the year... my pre-teen kingdom for just one day of the hot dogs and the jello and the hi-c.

despite some of these initial superficial letdowns, you could always find me completely worn out from all the laughing and running around playing picnic games like egg toss and sack races and pseudo badminton and volleyball. i remember one year, one of my aunts was laughing so hard while playing volleyball, that she peed in her pants. i felt so bad for her, but we were all laughing at something, i forget what, that after someone bought her some new clothes from the nearest kmart, it was pretty much forgotten.

anyhoo.... getting back to the book. after all that familiar sulking and moaning and groaning, the girl is surprised and shocked to find that people are coming into the store to order and pick up chinese food for their celebrations. some of the customers are chinese and some are caucasian. she tells them that there is no more chinese food. that she and her family ate most of it and there's little to none left. but her parents surprise and shock her again with new a fresh batch of chinese dishes that they just prepared. then, after store hours, they head up to the roof to watch fireworks and eat apple pie.

at first, the paloma did not get it... why was she sad? is she american or chinese? why wouldn't you eat chinese food if you were chinese? who doesn't LOVE egg rolls!? it was pretty comical. i tried to explain to her how the young girls' story is a lot like memories of my own childhood. how important it was for me to remember that just because i was brown and filipino, didn't mean i wasn't american, that there is no wrong way or right way to celebrate the 4th of july or any holiday for that matter and that americans (and filipinos and puerto ricans) come in all kinds of shapes, colors and sizes. this book also helped me to segue/re-introduce to her the reality that she is mixed and has more than one heritage. (i'm still SO disappointed that we missed the philippine independence day celebration downtown AND the puerto rican day parade in the humboldt park neighborhood.)

so, if you haven't already, check out the book and the writer's website - she has a TON of books/poetry, visits schools and writer's conferences, she even reads some of her work online too. :)

and have a happy relaxing holiday everybody! we don't have any plans as of yet... i think we might just sleep. 'cause honestly, there's no way we're getting any sleep tonight or the next night... in these parts, they're pretty partial to the M-80s and the cherry bombs... LOTS and LOTS of M-80s.

fire go BOOM!

Monday, July 02, 2007

theatre pink

it was a busy weekend for la diva, the paloma....

first off, we got her dressed in her best "theatre" pink (check out how they spelled "theatre". omg. how elitist can you get? - god forbid it be "carnation" pink or "bubble gum" pink. tsk tsk, our low unplucked brow is showing...) to attend her first "REAL" dance class at a "REAL" dance school. i'd link up the school but i took some photos on the sly... well, not too sly since the teacher was standing in front of me, and the flash kept going off. but they specifically asked that photos not be taken. so, ixnay on the otophay akingtay!

she and her classmates were so cute... under normal circumstances, i am my usual non-traditional self, boo-hooing and bah-humbuging the pink=girl, boy=blue paradigm. but, it was almost primeval. i could feel the overwhelming cuteness factor enveloping me while i watched the graceful whirling and floating brushstrokes o' watercolored pink... ok. i seriously have to listen to some sex pistols or something now...

the class is called creative movement 2 for 4 year olds. it's the class they take before pre-ballet at this particular school. i was so bummed that there were no boys in the class. the pork chop LOVES to dance and i think he'd love to take this class eventually too. he'd look so cute in one of those white shirt, black pant ensembles...

did you hear that? that was all the dads collectively rolling their eyes and their masculinity groaning in severe pain and anguish. oh relax. go pee on something standing up.

they started by doing some stretching. then, they did a lot of character dancing - dance like a bird, dance like a cat, dance like you have ants in your pants... and for the most part, the girls (who (we, the parents agreed ) are apparently a bunch of snarling blood thirsty wolves in sheep's clothing) listened very well. and of course, we were also thinking, don't kill the nice ballet teacher and pianist, girls! you look better in theatre pink than jailhouse orange!

the ballet school is very close to crown fountain in millenium park so, because she managed to delay getting thrown out of ballet class for behavior issues did so well, we thought we'd treat her (and ourselves) to some refreshing splashes in the water.

apparently, while the three of them were splashing around and i was off talking pictures. the paloma got admonished by another parent. the thin man told me later that the paloma splashed a boy with water. then, the boy splashed her back. then, the paloma angrily said something like "hey! don't splash me!" to which the boy's mother responded with something like "IF YOU DON'T WANT TO GET SPLASHED BACK. MAYBE YOU SHOULDN'T SPLASH SOMEONE IN THE FIRST PLACE."

although the thin man had no problem with this, i was NOT amused. i get that the mom's problem with the paloma was that she was screaming about her kid splashing her. but, knowing the paloma like i do, it wouldn't surprise me if she had done something like this to a good friend or a cousin or the pork chop. however, i cannot imagine her just splashing another child without provocation. it's just not like her. it bothers me because the mom took her son's side immediately, instead of trying to figure out the whole story and maybe help the children to play together better. the paloma ends up being publicly humiliated and comes away feeling "bad" instead of with a lesson about how (not)to treat people who may or may not become new friends. and really, is it EVER ok to yell at someone else's kid? really? 'cause short of a threat of serious bodily injury to my child, i just wouldn't do that.... and no, it's not a "model minority" thing. it's a "i don't think i'm really helping any situation by yelling at 4 year old" kind of thing...

this reminded me of a conversation i had with another mom about our moms' generation of moms and how we grew up feeling like the the "alleys had eyes". i remember saying a swear word once in the alley (two alleys really) behind my house. i thought i was SO cool. until i got home. where i got a "severe talking to" by my filipino mom, who found out about it thru the mom of a polish kid, who had overheard me say the word while playing in their puerto rican neighbors backyard.

despite all the 70s' "irresponsible" parenting mistakes and horror stories we hear about... sleeping on our tummies, our lead laced environment, all the missing safety restraints, the monkey bars of DOOM, the merry go rounds of NEVER RETURN and the see-saws of DEATH... i dunno... at least, our parents seemed like they were playing on the same team instead of against each other.

lastly, the paloma got to ride her new bike after a visit to jamba juice, a lunch and a restful nap.

i'll never forget my first bike. it was an old, rusted, dented, purple, kid sized schwinn that we got at a garage sale. i got up really early one morning. it was still a little dark. i taught myself to ride it by getting on, pedaling for my life and falling off - over and over and over again. by early evening, my knees and elbows were shredded and bloody. but, i'd figured it out how to ride a bike.

later, my mom bought me a DREAMY bike from another garage sale. it was another schwinn but close to mint condition. it was a glitter sky blue color with a white and silver glitter banana seat. it was heaven.

as you can see, the paloma has the "luxury" of a helmet and training wheels. yea! how i worship ye, oh safety product gods!!! i thought she did pretty well on her maiden voyage. she really never figured out the whole tricycle thing. but, the thin man was complaining about the bad pavements preventing her from really getting the hang of it.

yeah right, babe. you just keep on blaming the pavement. ;) i can't wait until you have to teach her how to drive stick.


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